Tim Brown

  • Yankees refusing to pay A-Rod home run bonus a joke

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    I'm not sure where the New York Yankees have been for the past 20 years, but they should know the game got a little sideways on us for a while. In fact, not unlike the snow that howled past their office windows by Monday afternoon. It went this way and that way, and there was a lot of yelling, and some crying, and by the end a lot of folks were knee-deep in a real mess that, granted, was not snow at all.

    Baseball – and baseball was not alone but has seemed like it at times – became a buyer-beware game. That meant you didn't always get what you paid for. On the other hand, for a good long time you got more than what you paid for, so in the end it looks like a tie.

    Nobody, if I recall, gave back the home runs or the complete games or the 100-mph fastballs or the championships (or, most of all, the revenues) that came with the great PED blizzard of the past generation. Nobody cleared his voice and announced he would pass on the fingered or suspected drug users because the game should be honest. Hell, no. When you need a cleanup hitter, you buy yourself a freakin' cleanup hitter. Anybody around here wearin' a badge? How about a clerical collar? Thought not.

    Grab a shovel.

  • New commissioner Rob Manfred maintains connection to soul of the game

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago

    It’s not a requirement or anything, but we like there to be a soul beneath the suit, behind the nameplate, somewhere in there among the brooding bodyguards and backdoor entrances and corporate gamesmanship.

    We don’t ask that baseball’s commissioner be a desperate romantic. The game has enough poets. Just that there’s a little more to him than shiny town cars and company lines.

    If it matters, and for some reason it does, it always does, it’d help if he cried the day Thurman Munson died, stayed up ’til dawn when the Tigers won it all, fell asleep on the porch to Jack Brickhouse. That there once was a little boy in there, before the Ivy League, before the rat race, before the nine-to-fives, before everybody forgot what you looked like when he laughed.

    We are not blind to what baseball is, that being a $9 billion industry, in no small part because of the deeds of its last commissioner. But it can’t start and finish there, because that’s boring and really quite, well, soulless.

    “August 10, 1968,” Rob Manfred said. “I was 10.”

    They’d push through the turnstiles and Robbie would run the rest of the way.

    “Every single time that I walk into a ballpark I get that same feeling,” he said.

     

  • Nationals hope Max Scherzer can make them more than January champs

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    Down the hall and around the corner, the baseball field was dusted by snow. That was OK. The Washington Nationals wouldn’t need it for a couple months.

    It did, however, remind that parades are not scheduled in January. They are not held in meeting rooms. Or during press conferences, even televised press conferences, even televised press conferences that include a place on the dais for Scott Boras.

    Max Scherzer on Wednesday afternoon wore a white jersey – No. 31 – over his shirt and tie. His wife, Erica, held a bouquet of roses. Many Lerners filled the first couple of rows. They’d all agreed to exchange seven years of employment for $210 million, and they all talked about winning, and they’re all pretty sure one should lead to the other.

    And, well, of course it should. By operating from an area of surplus (Ted Lerner’s savings account), the Nationals tended to an area of surplus (their starting rotation), and as of this moment are the best team on frosty, unplayable paper.

    Which is, by recollection, yes, about where they were as of this moment last year.

    So, NL East favorites? Sure. NL pennant favorites? OK. World Series favorites? Maybe.

  • Source: Max Scherzer agrees to seven-year deal with Nationals

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    Max Scherzer, the ace of a free-agent class that included Jon Lester and still features James Shields, has agreed to a seven-year contract with the Washington Nationals, a source told Yahoo Sports late Sunday.

    Financial details of the contract were unknown, but the deal could be worth as much as $200 million.

    Assuming no complications in the final negotiations, the Nationals would place the right-hander near the top of a powerhouse rotation with Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo could choose to trade one of his higher-end – and pricier – starters and slot 15-game winner Tanner Roark into the rotation, as well.

    Scherzer, 30, won 70 games for the Detroit Tigers over the past four seasons, was 39-8 with a 3.02 ERA over the past two, and was the American League Cy Young Award winner in 2013, when he was 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA.

    Scherzer reportedly rejected a seven-year, $160 million extension offer from the Tigers last spring training.

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  • Rangers, Prince Fielder hoping time can heal all wounds

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    What the Texas Rangers put forth in 2014 was less a baseball season than a ghastly hour-to-hour slog that sometimes resembled baseball and mostly served as a reminder to the children there’s no reasoning with the game. At all. Ever. So, good luck. (And we need to have a talk about Santa.)

    No sense rehashing the details, so let’s just say everybody got hurt, so many that if you didn’t personally pitch for the Rangers last season you were hardly trying, and the manager resigned in disgrace for decisions not even related to the worst Rangers team in three decades, and Ian Kinsler somehow came within 67 wins of getting his wish.

    Yeah, there’s bad and then there’s finishing second-best in Texas, which the Rangers pulled off comfortably. That happens when all the previously mentioned stuff means you’ve become among the worst in the league at hitting, pitching, defending and maneuvering around your own dog. (And we need to have a talk about Derek Holland.)

    They got beat by a tarp in New York. Granted, it was a very aggressive tarp. Still, it’s a reasonable sign a team can start packing the bat bags on its season.

    Now what?

  • Braves continue their radical rebuild

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 15 days ago

    The issue for the Atlanta Braves, as all could see, following a season in which they led their division for nearly 100 games only to finish 17 games back:

    Trending upward in the NL East: Washington, New York, Miami.

    Treading (admittedly deep) water: Philadelphia.

    Trending downward: Them.

    So, in a winter that already had seen Jason Heyward and Justin Upton jettisoned for young players – pitching was the emphasis – and a presumably better tomorrow, the Braves on Wednesday appeared to be nearing a trade that would send outfielder and catcher Evan Gattis to the Houston Astros for three more young players, two of them pitchers.

    According to reports, the Braves would receive two right-handed pitchers – Mike Foltynewicz and Andrew Thurman – and third baseman Rio Ruiz. The trade is pending physicals and therefore is subject to change.

    Meanwhile, much has changed in Atlanta since general manager Frank Wren was fired, John Hart was hired, and everyone stepped back to look at what the Braves had become.

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  • Why not voting for the Hall of Fame is right for this BBWAA member

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 21 days ago

    “Thank you,” Pedro Martinez said. “Thank you for voting for me.”

    He was enduring a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon. Before launching into one of my usual long and convoluted questions that makes perfect sense to me, I’d dutifully congratulated him on his coming induction and that was his response.

    Thank you for voting for me.

    And I totally would have, too, had I cast a Hall of Fame ballot. I hadn’t. So upon Martinez’s graciousness, I felt a tinge of, I don’t know, not guilt exactly, not regret, but maybe a conflicted sadness.

    That it had come to this. That it should have, years ago.

    Now, nobody cares what 1/550th of the BBWAA voting bloc does or does not do – Aaron Sele votes apparently notwithstanding – but after 15 years (and another 10 spent earning a vote), I didn’t want to be part of it anymore. The ballot sat on my desk for a few weeks. When the deadline passed, I folded the ballot into thirds and slid it into the folder that holds copies of completed ballots from over the years.

    I didn’t care about the voting limits – 10, 12, unlimited, made no real difference to me.

    The results of the votes? I thought they were almost always fair.

    It’s just not for me anymore.

  • Pedro’s Hall call part of a one-of-a-kind legacy

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 23 days ago

    The young dreamer short the half-peso to board a bus in Manoguayabo, Dominican Republic, headed anywhere, left to ponder his life’s course from the shade of that mango tree, has found his way to Cooperstown, N.Y.

    Five-foot-11, maybe, 170 pounds, maybe, Pedro Martinez – the Jheri-curled, Zim-spiking, Yankee-sired, Bambino-plunking, Grady-hypnotizing, mango tree-lazing, changeup-floating, chin-grazing, Mini Me-hoisting 219-game winner, the three-time Cy Young Award winner, the World Series champion, the steroid-era slayer – is, at least 25 years after turning his pockets inside-out, a Hall of Famer.

    That is the rare journey, of course. That is the rare man, too, and the rare pitcher, one built more like the civil servants he was born to than the overstuffed hitters that stood between him and this day.

    So it was on yet another January day when some of the news was about the broad shoulders and slim consciences left behind that Pedro Martinez would be celebrated. What he did. How he did it. That journey, when, at times, it might have seemed only he believed.

    “I followed on his words,” he said.

    Chief among those words, he said: “Integrity.”

    Of the game. Of the family. Of his journey.

  • Dodgers exploring an intriguing gamble with Chin-hui Tsao

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    There are, one supposes, at least two reasons the Los Angeles Dodgers hope to sign 33-year-old right-hander Chin-hui Tsao, banished five years ago from Taiwan’s professional league for allegedly conspiring to fix baseball games:

    First, he was terrible at fixing baseball games.

    Second, when he’s not conspiring to fix baseball games, Tsao (allegedly) throws 95.

    Well, there’s a third: Did you see the Dodgers’ bullpen last summer? Taiwan may well look into banishing half of those guys, too.

    While it’s fair to assume Tsao is remorseful for his actions – according to reports, he agreed to throw two games in exchange for “benefits” from gamblers – and we are a forgiving society for those whose fastballs tend to warm up a radar gun, inviting a player banned by not one but two leagues (three weeks ago the Australian Baseball League voided his contract with the Adelaide Bite before it began) ought to be sticky for Major League Baseball.

    Think Black Sox. Think Pete Rose. Think about the official conniption over Alex Rodriguez’s occasional poker habit. Don’t, please, think about the clubhouse March Madness pools.

    At this point, it’s somewhat vague.

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  • There’s one thing you can’t call these Padres: boring

    Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    There’s an art to being the San Diego Padres, a franchise bound by turnover of general managers, team presidents, owners and therefore directions, which helps to explain the club’s current run of, let’s say, mediocrity.

    Most years, they hang this piece of, let’s say, art, stand back a ways, and set to adjusting the corners. This side is too high. Then this side is too low. And now this side is too high again. And, sigh, wouldn’t you know, maybe the damned wall is crooked instead, and all the swaying palm trees and cooling marine layers in the world aren’t going to help.

    So, what the heck, somebody’s eventually gonna have to put down the level and throw a freakin’ sledgehammer, which brings us to rookie general manager A.J. Preller and the last couple of weeks.

    Preller arrived from Texas four months ago with a reputation for untiring competitiveness, that coming from his work in Latin America for the Rangers and, perhaps somewhat, a spidery frame that suggested he more than once chose the job over lunch. In the process of identifying a successor to Josh Byrnes, Preller was dubbed the maverick candidate, the dude who, if necessary, would machete a path to organizational relevance.