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Tragic, Tasty Injury

With the Sawx in T.O. and my NESN feed blacked out (fuck you, Extra Innings) I’ve spent the last few days taking in the Pirates series victory over the Dodgers. Let’s go Bucs! Last night’s fourth inning Pierogi Race was marred by Cheese Chester falling and breaking his foot. Though Root Sports had a tape of the incident, the following footage is courtesy WWE, the only news source GCBL Blog trusts (more on that later).

The Pirates have announced that Cheese Chester is out 6-8 weeks with a broken foot. He’ll be replaced by Potato Pete from the next home game on August 5. Potato Pete has been in retirement since 2001 but would be a hot betting favourite in his return to the warning track if we took bets on this, but we don’t (more on that too).

Notes:

–The Twitterverse is all over the place on this one. #prayforcheesechester is trending. Many folks are offering get well wishes. On the other hand, as Root Sports scrolled the tweets last night, some people thought it was comical and one cold tweet read “Stick a fork in @CheeseChester: he’s done!” 

–Conspiracy theories already abound that the injury was staged, wrasslin’ style. Cheese Chester got the injury while turning around to taunt the other pierogis. The injury came on the last night of a home stand, allowing Chester to lose the title (in wrasslin’, we call that “dropping the strap”) so he can go race in another area (in wrasslin’ promotion terms, “another territory”). Although this footage doesn’t clearly show it, the lady doctor (according to Pirates.com, “pierogiologist”) put her stethoscope on Chester’s knee. Pirates colour man Bob Walk tried covering that up by saying “well, that’s where the pierogi’s heart is: they have one in each leg”. Not sure I’m buying it.

–Furthermore, we’re not taking bets on any pierogi races these days because, in 2010, it was revealed that pierogi races in Pittsburgh are fixed:

http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22297882/22677238

I’ve got enough shit to worry about with Italian soccer, so never mind the heartburn crooked pierogis can cause. And before reading the article, I never knew that Jalapeño Hannah was such a cheating cunt. 

–The incident conveniently let Buccos’ [play-by-play man Greg Brown off the hook. Brown had spent the previous couple innings taking serious ribbing over reminiscing about the previous night’s interview with “outgoing Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn”. Both broadcast partner Walk and the infamous Boys in the Truck refused to let it go. Until Cheese Chester ate it, that is.   

–My wife says that these particular Pierogis are Ukrainian, so it’s only a matter of time before Russian President Vladimir Putin gets blamed for the injury.

–Lastly, Curacao Littleleague Assistant GM and former Pirate Randall Simon just wants it out there that he had absolutely nothing to do with this. Simon once whacked the Italian sausage with a bat in Milwaukee’s similarly themed Sausage Race. Simon was suspended three games by MLB and pled guilty to Disorderly Conduct, paying a $432 fine. Worse, Simon’s ex-gf on Curacao edited the English-language daily, and led with the headline “Randall Simon Beats Meat in Public”. So there it is Randall, this one’s not on you. Randall has asked that we temporarily change our team name to “Pray for Cheese Chester”. 

You got it Randall. We all understand the situation. Potato dumplings aren’t supposed to bend that way.

What’s this league coming to?

Mendoza dropped Dan Haren.

I think Dave and I were working off the same draft list as he kept picking off my “sleeper” pitchers just before I was going to take them. Fister, Garza, Wheeler, Haren. After a crummy year in Anaheim and another crummy year in Washington, Haren in the 19th seemed like a nice upside play, especially with half this year’s starts coming at Dodger Stadium. 

Well, he’s been traded in our league and Mendoza just cut him. 4.30 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and lest you think the surface stats were lying, an FIP of 4.50.

Those numbers aren’t really useful in our league. His home-split is actually serviceable though (3.40 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 34/7 K/BB) but maybe Mendoza had no space for a half-pitcher.

What’s interesting is not only did Mendoza not keep him, he couldn’t trade him. Somebody might well pick Haren up on waivers (somebody like me!) but nobody offered him anything he deemed useful.

Funny old world. 

Gattis for Lohse: Is that Ethical?

Frodo gives: Kyle Lohse

WNM gives: Evan Gattis

I can’t say too much terribly bad about Kyle Lohse. I drafted him and packaged him off pre-season for Stephen Strasburg. I must think Lohse is pretty good. He’s gone through a pretty nasty rough patch over the last month though (32 IP, 1.38 WHIP) and I’m sure Frodo must be thrilled to be rid of him. To get a catcher-eligible easily on pace for 25 HR, well, that’s practically robbery. Advantage Frodo.

So let’s talk a couple points of ethics.

First, Frodo ripped off the rookie. That’s kind of poor but as I wrote yesterday, maybe he just has to take his lumps.

Second, and of greater concern to this desk, Frodo ripped off a bottom-feeder with no legitimate shot at the playoffs. Some opinion from the league office would be interesting here. While nothing’s illegal, and everybody’s theoretically alive, one or the other of these two humps should have had the decency to think that a 25-HR hitting catcher for a journeyman SP just doesn’t smell right after the All-Star Break.

Our club doesn’t protest trades but we are disappointed in this one. It’s legal, sure, but it ain’t right.

Mailbag: Regrets re: the Rookie

Hi CL,

Did we do a poor job with the rookie this year? Should we have helped him more?

Feeling Guilty

Dear OJ,

Well, I did my best. I posted this:

http://gcbl.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/advice-for-the-new-guy/

and was told it was fairly useless crap, so I left it at that. If other people feel they should have helped him out, that’s on them. To be sure, there are things about the format that are tough the first time through, but for Murray and Dutch Boy they seem tough the umpteenth time through, so that might be poor analysis. There are also some player-specifivc rules (like not letting Dave rip you off) that usually need to be learned the hard way.

I beat him down twice. If he’s back next year I expect I’ll beat him down again.

Thanks for writing,

CL 

New Week, New Playoff Odds

Looks like seven for four spots. Too bad Burger has to play one of my teams this week.

TO MAKE PLAYOFFS

Curacao Littleleague 100%

Slumpbusters 90%

Mendoza 70%

Burger 65%

Saget 65%

Champion 60%

Assclowns 45%

Shagsters 40%

Nookie 35%

Coach 20%

Jose Oquendo 4%

Underdogs 3%

WNM 2%

Swine 1%

 

Why Don’t More MLB Teams Do This?

Via Rotoworld:

“Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Cardinals “would want a financial commitment” from David Price before they agreed to trade for him. The “financial commitment,” presumably, would be in the form of a long-term extension.”

OK, if a team is looking for a rental, fine, this doesn’t apply. But if a team is considering extending a player, it’s in the interest of both clubs to get the player to agree to the extension as part of the deal. The NBA does this for slightly different, salary-cap reasons with “sign-and-trade” contracts, but, in soccer, this type of deal is the norm not the exception.

Soccer free agency is perhaps the world’s friendliest for players (at least in civilized countries). Every player is an unrestricted free agent on his 18th birthday and at the end of every contract. (As a corollary, an unhappy player can almost always force a move mid-contract.) So it becomes necessary for clubs to know what they’re getting when they pick up a player with only a year left on his deal.

That said, I’d want exactly what the Cardinals want re: Price. Price, still only 28, has a year left of arbitatrtion (and a raise from this year’s $14M is assured). As such, a Tanaka-type contract isn’t too far away from the truth–buying out next year, 7 years at about $160M looks close (unproven Tanaka got $155-for-7 and his club got $20M on top).   

In return, if the Cardinals know they have Price locked up, this is good for Tampa as it means they can demand more. Given Tampa’s relative inability to develop hitting prospects, an economical Allen Craig, a cheap Matt Carpenter, and a sky’s-the-limit-but slumping Oscar Taveras would nicely cover off a package of a locked-up Price and aging Zobrist.

Kershaw Trade, Pt.2

We’ve got a set of interview questions out to Frodo and if he responds, we’ll happily give him the last word. This post claims he made a bad deal from his side.

It’s clear what he’s been doing. Drafting King Felix and Sale has worked out for him, and getting Waino on the cheap has encouraged him to accumulate pitching. And there’s something to be said for that–why not? If other people are going to undervalue a commodity, scoop up however much you can at a discount. I (think I’m trying to) do that every day gambling.

Something must be working: he’s won 7 out of 8 weeks, beating us, Slumpy, Mendoza, and Burger in the process. This week, he’s hammering our AA affiliate.  

But the metaphor here isn’t gambling, or picking up undervalued stocks–it’s stock car racing, or Formula 1, or IndyCar, or whatever.

To build a winning race car, you need to produce two things: straight-line speed (which we’ll equate to the bulk stat world of hitting) and downforce to keep speed up in the corners (with more ratio stats, different setups in starters and relievers, and so on, the analogy is pitching). Most racing series’ regulations mean that if you set the car up to improve one of those two things, you necessarily weaken the other.

This space has long agreed the the hardest deals to pull off are the ones that swap hitting for pitching. We salute our brave little hobbit for getting these trades done. But we claim he’s gone too far out of balance, like the race car with too much downforce. Stats can come from anywhere, but the production received from Davis and Hamilton, the players traded away, roughly coincides with the eight-week hot streak. 

Now, finally, Frodo has picked up too much of a good thing. The offence is middling again, and his opponents will steal at least a couple pitching categories whenever they want by employing one of two opposite, extreme strategies:

–Pitch 32 innings only, going after Sv, Hld, and maybe ratio stats

–Stream the shit out of him conceding the ratio stats but lustily attacking the counting stats

Frodo still has time to balance his team, but this deal is a step back from the perfectly running race car he may not have realized he had.

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