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The 2011/2012 Offseason, or In Which the Marlins Grab Players and Everyone Else Blinks and Watches

I am in a much bouncier mood than I’ve been in a long time.  Because there are no boxing tweets in my Twitter timeline!  There are actually tweets about baseball!  There is actually baseball news!

Well, some baseball news.  Mostly it’s beat writers musing on the pointlessness of bringing so many media members to Dallas to mill around in the lobby.  In fact, my favorite Winter Meetings quote ever which completely sums it up was from Rangers beat writer, T.R. Sullivan last year, “Talked with Red Sox manager Terry Francona 1-on-1 in the lobby today and he told me exclusively, ‘Hey TR, good to see you.’”  Isn’t Sullivan awesome?

But still, something is better than nothing.  And we have something, for sure.

Heath Bell is in Florida.  So is Jose Reyes.  So might be C.J. Wilson, Cody Ross, heck, Brandon Belt!  Yeah, Brandon might be going to the fab new Marlins stadium.  I mean, probably not, but them Marlins do seem to be getting just about everyone, so who knows?

We might as well rename this: The 2011/2012 Offseason, or In Which the Marlins Grab Players and Everyone Else Blinks and Watches.

Fun, right?  The Giants are not expected to be big buyers this year (then again, are they ever?) and the Rangers are busy mixing cocktails or whatever because hosting this shebang is a full-time job, so they probably won’t do much either.

That means I am free to sit back and enjoy the show and speculate as to what it’s like when Jon Daniels and Jed Hoyer run into each other in the back hallway. 

Right now I’m thinking it’s all:

Jed:  Hey, you hear I’m with the Cubs now?

Jon: *grunts*

Jed: Pretty spiffy, what we’re doing over there.  Even SF Diamond Girl predicted we’d go to the World Series in ‘13 or ’14.

(At this point fantasy ends abruptly.)

Okay, that last part probably didn’t happen.  But this is my blog, à la my dream in Inception, so I can just make it go however I like.  Which definitely means references to yours truly.

I think I need to do another GM roundtable in honor of these meetings now.  Can you tell how smiley I am, even through cyberspace?  This is quite possibly my favorite time of year, baseball-wise, which means altogether.  Yes, I am a wee bit odd.  Yes, I am aware.  Yes, I appreciate you telling me, even so.

Work it out, Jed and Jon.  You guys will be meeting at a roundtable tomorrow and I want no bickering.

Diamond Girl

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The Truth You Haven’t Been Hearing About CJ and the Rangers

You’ve probably been hearing that the Rangers don’t-have-enough-money-think-they’re-good-without-CJ-just-aren’t-interested.  But the truth is something quite different and, in fact, quite peculiar.  It has to do with an iPhone app and a long-forgotten interview clip with Wilson himself.  What is it?  Read on.

(And yes), it took a whole bunch of super sleuthing on my part to find it out.  I’m channeling my inner James Bond rather well these days, huh?)

Do you remember way back when the media couldn’t get enough of the Rangers playing Words With Friends in the clubhouse?  And they interviewed CJ over and over (and over) about his genius intelligence and absolute brilliance at the game?  Yeah.  And in one of those interviews that I remember distinctly but can’t really (at all) find.  [Update:  thanks to the wonderful @cat4d1 on Twitter, we have the clip!  You can watch it here.]  CJ says: “He [Jon Daniels] was really frustrated that I beat him the first time, so… we’ll see.  Hopefully it doesn’t, you know, complicate the contract negotiations next year.”  We all laughed.  It was funny.  It was a joke.  Or so we thought.

But then he became a free agent and there were the Rangers and JD; distinctly, well, chilly about him.

At which point I leapt to my feet and stuttered excitedly, “It was the… it was the… the… game!  Words With Friends!”  And while everyone around me was completely puzzled, I was and still am confident that I have hit the jackpot.

I can’t decide if I suspect it was CJ or Daniels who made the mega-move, but someone here is a sore loser and I am inclined to suspect CJ.  Either way, this just goes to show that GMs and players should keep their distance or else be prepared for the consequences.

Or, at least, play Hanging With Friends by the same creators because it is seriously a lot more fun.

This is, of course, the scoop you come to my blog for.  You’re welcome

007 (Diamond Girl)

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One Tough Act to Follow

(How cheesy is it to use an Eminem line when talking about a Detroit ballplayer?  Very cheesy indeed.)

Verlander.  One tough act to follow, no doubt about it.

Not only is he funny and sweet and humble, he also won 20+ games, went to the ALCS and then won the American League MVP today, backing up his Cy Young Award win last week.  First pitcher to do it since 1986.  (Cue the googly eyes.)

Whoa.  Whew.  And other expressions of surprise and admiration that begin with “W”.

Congratulations to Justin and the Tigers and the city of Detroit and Marshall Mathers, III, while we’re at it.  And Chrysler.  And Ford.  Actually, not Ford.  They make hideous cars.  Just Justin and the Tigers.

But can I just get all critical here, though, and suggest how mega-ly dramatic this all would have been a red carpet show?  I think I’ve said this before.  In fact, I’m sure I have.  But really, picture it.  Baseball players in wonderful silver suits and funny presenters- like, yes, myself- and major drama, camera-cutting-from-face-to-face as the announced the award winners.

Some crocodile tears wouldn’t be too bad either.

And hey, if you can get someone who happens to be Jennifer Lopez to wear a sparkly bodysuit and drive around in a weird car on stage?  That’s even better.

But why or why or why do the Rangers insist on Neftali starting and then put a knife to his back and make him pretend to like it (looking at you, Jon Daniels Knife Bearer)?  Speaking of drama.

Diamond Girl

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Did Epstein Say Strawberries ‘N Cream?

General Managers talk in a dialect of their own.  This, we know.  But sometimes that dialect resembles more of a full-blown, foreign language.  Sometimes I have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.  Case in point (this is Theo Epstein, talking about not hiring Mike Maddux as manager of the Cubbies):

“Mike was a very strong candidate and we spent a lot of time talking about the job. The thing that stood out with Mike is that were some more factors that went into our discussions with him with any other candidates. So in the end, it wasn’t the right fit at the right time.

“But I’ll say he’s going to be a fantastic big league manager. He’s already an incredible pitching coach and will make a great manager some day. I’m glad he was part of the process.”

-Quote from the fantastic blog of T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers beat writer, http://trsullivan.mlblogs.com/.

I read that quote maybe five times over, before deciding it wasn’t just me.  It was also him.  I’m sorry, but what does, “The thing that stood out with Mike is that were some more factors that went into our discussions with him with any other candidates” mean?  I mean, really?

Maybe there was supposed to be a “than” or “as opposed to” in there, between “with” and “any”.   Or maybe he said “strawberries ‘n cream” (that would be “our discussions with him strawberries ‘n cream any other candidates”.  Totally likely, that.) and poor Sullivan was just so confused that he decided to omit the word altogether and hope nobody noticed.

Questions, questions.

One GM thing that does make sense?  This.  (Okay, it actually made no sense- who would willingly choose to visit Times Square, let alone sleep there?- but that makes the gesture all the more wonderful and selfless, I suppose.)  Cashman also does awesome things like dressing up as an elf.

He is getting on my good side quick, needless to say.  So was Theo, actually.  Until that quote and this video where the focus is most definitely off.  Not his fault, but still.  Wrigley Field is beautiful and all, but you generally have the camera focused on the foreground or the interviewee when doing an interview.

Maybe they should get a new cameraman in addition to a new everything-else-that-could-be-new-under-the-sun.

In all seriousness, though, I am sort of selfishly glad that Maddux is staying in Texas.  He looks better in Ranger blue than Cubbie blue.  Not to mention that he’s a darn good pitching coach.

Diamond Girl

p.s.  JD is still siddin’ down and talking things over (as previously discussed here).  I can’t speak for the Force, but the world is in balance.

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Papelbon and Cheesesteaks, Executive of the Year Stuff and Kemp and His Billion Years

Papelbon to the Phillies was announced officially today.

(Do I use those eyes too much?  Well, of course I do.  But then again, I am so bemused most the time that they are the only way to express my emotions.  A picture speaks a thousand words and all that.)

It’s a boatload of money and a boatload of years.  You want specifics?  Fine, more specifically, it’s four years, 60 million.  For Papelbon.  Yeah.  That makes sense, right?  I don’t meant to question the wonderfulness of Rubén Amaro Jr. or anything like that, but I personally would pay that kind of money to send Papelbon elsewhere- anywhere else than my team.  Still, if he was going to leave, him and dem Phils were probably a match made in heaven.  Okay, yes, I kinda really don’t dig Jonathan.  That much is clear.

But does he like cheesesteaks, I wonder?

(Sorry, terribly, necessary joke.)

Anyhow, my whole thing from last year about being willing to get stuffed into someone’s suitcase to go the General Manger meetings still stands true.

I mean, don’t endless talks about labor plans and the ‘Stros moving leagues- will they?  Won’t they?  Will they?  Won’t they?- sound absolutely riveting?

(Not, that is.)

Then again, I would dearly love to be there when Jon Daniels is named Executive of the Year.

Because he will.

He most definitely will.

Or else… there will be consequences.  Dire ones.

Diamond Girl

p.s.  And, oh, Dodgers?  Not to question your brilliance either, but do you really- and I mean really- want Kemp for so many billions of years?  Think carefully.  Yes, there is a right answer.  Yes, you are totally being tested.

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