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As Baseball Ideas go, this one’s HOF.

April 17, 2014

Image     I never figured out why Tommy John isn’t in the Hall of Fame. 288 wins, 3.34 ERA, Gehrig Award winner (a big deal to me), and a lot bigger balls for career-saving surgery than this writer ever had. 

Watching the Twins broadcast against RA Dickey and the Jays this afternoon, they played an interview with the man himself. Here’s his concept, which I’ve fleshed a tiny bit:

1) Come June 1, call a meeting of your third starters at every minor league level. If one of them’s an idiot, take the fourth-starter on that team instead.

2) Explain the cold hard facts of life: third starters aren’t making The Show. They’re there as a courtesy to the other organizations’ hitters, so other organizations will provide third starters to pitch to yours.

3) Make them an offer they can’t refuse: $100K to give up the dream of their regular career path in favour of taking a roster spot on the short-season Low-A team to learn the knuckleball. 

4) Lather, rinse, repeat every June 1.

Some of them will crap out, but they were going to anyway. The goal is to start a steady stream of guys moving up the system who already understand the ins-and-outs of minors baseball. Starting in Year 3 or 4, if one knuckler cracks the major league roster every two years, that’s one more big-leaguer than you had beforehand. Maybe you use the smartest guy of the ones who don’t succeed as a specialized pitching coach.

I like it. 

Extra Bags: Here’s something I didn’t know about roster rules:

Teams can call up a 26th player for a doubleheader, sure…

…but in the specific case of a day-night doubleheader where one game is a postponement of the game the day before, the 26th man is only eligible in the night game. Reasoning: the visiting team might have more trouble than the home team to get a guy there for the early game, which would give the home team an unfair advantage. The supposition is that both teams could certainly get somebody there for the night game.


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