Today’s post is about some of the baseball news that came across the wire yesterday. And, in my opinion, it’s some of the strangest news I’ve heard all spring.
#1 – Ubaldo Jiminez was suspended for the first 5 games of the season for hitting Troy Tulowitzki. Not huge news . . . in the regular season. But, this was a spring training game, and it was the first pitch of the game! And, because of your stupid decision, you’re costing your team one of your starts. Now, here’s where it gets even weirder to me. It seems that everyone is pointing to the fact that Jiminez was traded from Colorado, instead of being signed to a long-term deal, that is the motivation behind his newfound rivalry with the Rockies. He was upset that they gave big money to Tulo and to Carlos Gonzalez, but considered him expendable. Huh? Tulowitzki is probably the best shortstop in the game right now. Gonzalez has done nothing but produce since coming up from the minors in ’09 (never had an OPS below .878). Meanwhile, Ubaldo has had essentially one-half of a fantastic season in 4 seasons, and was playing poorly when he was traded (6-9 with an ERA around 4.50). What were you thinking Ubaldo? One all-star appearance in four years doesn’t exactly make you worthy of a big contract!
#2 – The Reds gave Joey Votto the fourth largest contract in major league history! Don’t get me wrong – I still think Votto is one of the best, if not THE best first baseman in the game right now. But, why in the world is a team like Cincinnati spending that kind of money on one player? It just shows that they still haven’t figured it out in Cincinnati. Let me make it plain: you’re a small market team!!! In other words, you can’t afford to be investing $225 million in one player, no matter how good you think he is. Look at Tampa Bay, look at Minnesota in years past, look at San Francisco. Smaller market teams don’t generate extended success without developing some excellent pitching in their farm systems. And, THEN, you can sign a couple valuable batters to reasonably high-end deals (something in the 7-year, $100 million range), which allows you to put the right pieces together to have a competitive team on the field. What were you thinking Cincinnati? Have you learned nothing from the last decade of practically ignoring the importance of a legitimate pitching staff? A contract like this means resigning guys like Brandon Phillips after this season will be nearly impossible. A contract like this means signing any high-end starting pitching can’t be a realistic option. And, unless Cincy has some excellent crop of young starters coming up in their system that I don’t know about, that’s going to be a big problem.