Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Mitchell Report, Rowand Deal and Other Musings 

First off, the Mitchell Report came down yesterday and I have a couple of thoughts:

1. I am pleasantly surprised to see that no current Phillies are mentioned on the report. David Bell, Lenny Dykstra, Ryan Franklin, Jeremy Giambi, Todd Pratt, all former Phillies, all made the list, but nobody like Pat Burrell or Ryan Howard or one of the Phillies other stars made the list.

2. There are some shockers on the list, starting with Andy Pettitte. Andy Pettitte? I would never have guessed that he used steroids given his thin-ish physique. Some members of the list kinda figure – Miguel Tejada, for example, and obviously Barry Bonds.

3. Not surprisingly, Mitchell lays the blame at the feet of everyone in baseball, from management to the player’s union. It is difficult to quibble Mitchell’s assertion that this was a problem that nobody wanted to confront. Certainly the players union deserves scorn for fighting, as vigorously as they could, any testing and resisting changes to the MLB’s policies.

4. Mitchell is also probably right in advocating no discipline for current players named in the report because of the resulting chaos that is likely to result.

Will the Mitchell Report fundamentally change the game of baseball? I doubt it. It is embarrassing to baseball, to be sure, but will it really spur changes? The Players Union will continue to fight testing. Management will quietly look the other way. The players will attempt to circumvent the testing system. The Steroid Era will march on.

The best thing for baseball to do is to declare an amnesty. Admit you've done it, come clean, pledge to be clean in the future. If you are willing to admit you've made a mistake, then all is forgiven. If you continue to lie, equivocate and fail to admit reponsibility for your actions, then you should suffer the consequences.

After an amnesty the consequences ought to be severe: a ban for 3-5 years or a lifetime ban. The only way baseball can ever hope to get a handle on this is for there to be severe consequences to attach to using steroids and lots and lots of testing. The Players Union will fight that tooth and nail. But the deterrent of testing - which heightens the chances of being caught - and the prospect of severe punishment - not just a few game suspension - are the only ways to stop players from doping. Don't count on it.

On to the Aaron Rowand signing … I must admit to being very, very surprised to see Aaron Rowand in San Francisco. Rowand, who seemed to embody the blue-collar toughness of the South Side of Chicago and Philadelphia, is now on baseball’s left coast. Rowand is going from Yeunglings and Cheesesteaks to Chianti and Tofu Hot Dogs. It seems like a bad fit. I'm sure that Rowand will be a favorite of the Giants faithful, but I just can't imagine them being as enthusiastic about him as Phillies fans were.

Five years and $60 million bucks was too rich for the Phillies and I don’t blame them. Statistically, his reputation as a terrific defensive centerfielder was undeserved these last two seasons. His play was extremely average. Sure he made the high-light reel over at ESPN with his patented run-into-the-wall catches, but the numbers showed that Rowand was pretty average in terms of his range.

As for Rowand's offensive abilities, he's generally a free-swinger (119 strike-outs in 2007) who doesn't draw many walks. Rowand was able to put up nice numbers for the Phillies in 2007 (27 Home Runs, 89 RBI, 45 Doubles) in part because he was playing in a hitters part. Good luck doing that in San Francisco where the Park Factor for Home Runs was 69 and was 99 for batting averages.

I think letting Rowand walk was the smart move. To the Phillies really want to tie up $12 million a year when they could use that money to get help for the pitching staff? And do the Phillies, after the Pat Burrell experience, really want to tie that much money up for the next five seasons? If Rowand flops, the Giants will have an financial albatross around their neck until 2012. The Phillies have a perfectly effective and low-cost alternative in Shane Victorino as well.

Season in Review: Hitting will be sometime next week.

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I agree with you completely in your assessment of Rowand's value. At the end of his five-year, $60 million deal with the Giants, he figures to be more of a fourth outfielder rather than a difference-making player in center field. Plus, his numbers were inflated at Citizen Bank's Park, evidenced by his splits.

Also, his defense is continously overrated, and, as he gets older, his arm strength and range are only going to continue to get worse.

He had a solid .OPS and VORP in '07, but it should be interesting to see how those numbers translate at AT&T Park.

The Phillies were wise to stay away. Considering the Giants are projected to finish last and should start rebuilding, I was scratching my head after hearing about their efforts to obtain Rowand. At least they did not trade Tim Lincecum to Toronto for Alex Rios.

In regards to the Mitchell report and the Phils', there was a great article about how the '93 team's legacy is now tainted.

Impressive blog, by the way.
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