Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Kevin, sweetie, I really didn't mean those things I kinda said

Hey Kevin Towers, it's me, Diesel. It's no secret that I'm a Padres fan, and that I'm also one of those faceless internet pricks who sits there and second-guesses everything that's happening in the baseball offseason this year. And, unfortunately, I even started criticizing you for a move that you didn't end up making. It's clear to me now that you were testing me, seeing if doing something crazy like signing a 37-year-old utility player who had an OBP of .327 last season to a multi-year, multi-million-dollar contract, was going to drive me away. I should have seen it for what it was, but I was spooked by all the other batshit stuff that GMs have been doing this offseason. So, I'm sorry. I should have never doubted you. Here, I brought you coffee this morning. The broad at Starbucks said it was Sumatra. A dollop of honey, just how you like it. Are we cool? I hope so.

Because I am tempted to offer to clean your fucking toilets for the next season after the Greg Maddux signing. I never thought I would want to hug someone after hearing the Pads signed a 40-year-old pitcher to a $10 million contract, but it's nothing short of a masterstroke. One year, with an option for $7 mil in 2008? Pat Gillick isn't even worthy of rimming you.

Some might wonder why I think this is an awesome deal for the Padres. No, I did not smoke peyote this morning, and imagine that I've time-warped back to 1995, when Mad Dog put up one of the sickest pitching seasons of my lifetime. I realize that this the dude who hasn't had a defense-adjusted ERA under 4.00 since 2002. I know this is a dude who barely struck out more than five hitters per nine innings last season. I know he's at best a No. 3 at this point in his career, and on the Padres he's no better than the No. 4 starter. But I don't care.

Here is why this deal, Kevin, is the best of the offseason (not that I'm telling you anything you don't already know, because you're awesome and you read Moneyball without having a seizure and you have fine taste in pseudo-Hawaiian shirts that are somehow still respectable in a professional setting):

- Maddux is still good for 200 innings a season, which is not something that can be said about many pitchers his age. Rubber-armed pitchers are manna from heaven for a team that relies so heavily on its pen.

- Maddux still sports a GB/FB ratio of close to 2:1. That's still pretty damn good.

- 2006 OBP against: .301. Not great for him, still pretty damn good all things considered.

- Eckstein-Counsell Grittyness Quotient (ECGQ3.2): 79.7. The league average is a paltry 14, mainly because most of the players aren't short white dudes. But Maddux is still off the charts on this scale, even though some pundits dismiss it since he's actually talented at playing baseball.

But here's the best part about your deal with Mad Dog, Kevin: It's only a one-year commitment. Everyone's been focusing on the salaries being paid this season, but that's missing the point. It's the years. That's why, surprisingly, the Dodgers got it exactly right with the Wolf signing, and the Phillies got it all wrong with the Eaton deal. And the Rangers got it wrong with Padilla. And the Mets, probably, with Barry Zito. In this market, playing ball with free agents means accepting annual salaries that would have made George Steinbrenner blush three years ago. But that doesn't mean you have to swallow long-term deals (especially ones with no-trade clauses ... you hear me Astros?) and retarded salaries. If Maddux ends up sucking, it's really no harm, no foul for the Pads. In a year, he's gone with a buyout, and everyone's happy. When Adam Eaton is two years into his deal, the Phillies are going to be waxing poetic about being under Burrell's contract, because at least he was above replacement level. And that kind of pain won't even come close to the hurting that Zito is going to be putting on a team in year four of his deal.

So, in conclusion, Kevin, this is one dude who wants it to be known that he loves his GM very much. And, wants to make it clear to certain members of the blogging population with overactive thyroid glands that there's a reason the Pads will be in the playoffs again this season, and the Phillies will not despite the fact they have Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. It's because Pat Gillick is a douche, and KT is clearly not.


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