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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chat with Keith Law [Transcript, October 25]

Top Chef, top snark, top chat.

Fritz (Atlantic City)
How would you handle the odd player development news in Pittsburgh if you just now named the GM because we know if you were the GM this wouldn’t have occured?

Klaw
  (1:07 PM)
It wouldn’t have occurred if anyone else were the GM, as far as I can tell. I’ve spoken to senior execs from multiple other clubs, and not only did they all say they’ve never even considered this kind of ‘training’ exercise, they all offered derisive comments about what the Pirates are doing. Assuming the Pirates do make a GM change as a result of this, I would expect player development to be cleaned out. You need a fresh start to reestablish credibility within the industry and with your own players, that we’re not going to put you at risk or treat you in such a demeaning fashion any more.

Klaw
  (1:08 PM)
That might be the part that bothers me the most. These players are adults. Stop treating them like freaking boarding school students.

And on the heavy side:

Ryan (Radnor, PA)
Your buddy Missanelli here in Philly has been discussing the possibility of trading Howard to the Rays. Apparently he and the rest of the listeners don’t think Hellickson is enough of a return. Thoughts?

Klaw
  (1:47 PM)
That’s hilariously delusional. Besides, why would he want to trade the preeminent power hitter in the game?

Greg Franklin Posted: October 25, 2012 at 05:20 PM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: keith law, online, pirates, rumors, sabermetrics, scouting

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. John Northey Posted: October 26, 2012 at 06:40 AM (#4283981)
Hope that was sarcasm... Klaw's comment about Howard being the preeminent power hitter ... Howard has hit 31/33/14 HR the past 3 seasons, his OPS+ has been 127/126/91 those years. He is recovering from injury, is entering his age 33 season, and is owed $130 million over the next 4 years (5th year is $23 mil or $10 mil buyout, factored in buyout so view year 5 as $13 mil). If I was running Philly I'd consider a bag of balls more than enough to take that contract off my hands. FanGraphs lists his PEAK value at $22.9 mil (in 2006) with his past 3 being worth a total of under $10 million.

Howard is powerful and can hit the ball a long, long way but his contract is a millstone and with his poor defense and baserunning he has to have a 850+ OPS or he just isn't worth keeping let along paying $25+ million to. If you could get Hellickson for him then you'd be nuts not to take the deal. Of course, the odds of the Rays taking on a contract like that is 0% given they cannot fill their park with a winning team.
   2. Blastin Posted: October 26, 2012 at 07:03 AM (#4283983)
It was definitely sarcasm.
   3. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 07:16 AM (#4283984)
What's the "odd player development news" out of Pittsburgh?
   4. JoeHova Posted: October 26, 2012 at 07:52 AM (#4283988)
What's the "odd player development news" out of Pittsburgh?

Like a month ago there was a story about some idiot assistant GM who had the idea to put their prospects through 3 days of what was purported to be Navy SEAL training. Now it turns out that one of their top prospects was injured during the training and the Pirates apparently attempted to cover it up.

edit: link to the discussion of the original story here. Apparently Huntington gets credit for the idea as well, not just the assistant. And here's a link to a summary of the injury story. And here's a link that says Mark Appel, who the Pirates failed to sign this year, retweeted a story about it. There is some thought that this will hurt Pittsburgh's ability to sign players and Appel taking notice is presented as evidence in favor of that idea.

   5. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: October 26, 2012 at 07:56 AM (#4283990)
Like a month ago there was a story about some idiot assistant GM who had the idea to put their prospects through 3 days of what was purported to be Navy SEAL training. Now it turns out that one of their top prospects was injured during the training and the Pirates apparently attempted to cover it up.

D'oh. I think it's hilarious they give the players long lists of what they can't do so they won't get hurt and then they decide SEALs training is a good idea.
   6. TerpNats Posted: October 26, 2012 at 07:59 AM (#4283991)
Like a month ago there was a story about some idiot assistant GM who had the idea to put their prospects through 3 days of what was purported to be Navy SEAL training. Now it turns out that one of their top prospects was injured during the training and the Pirates apparently attempted to cover it up.

Apparently the GM gets credit for the idea as well, not just the assistant
If the Pirates had any sense, this should be for them what l'affaire Smiley Gonzalez was for the Nats, or "the fumble" in 1978 was to the NFL Giants -- the last straw. Alas, I don't see any Mike Rizzo or George Young on the horizon for the Bucs.
   7. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 26, 2012 at 08:29 AM (#4283996)
Now it turns out that one of their top prospects was injured during the training and the Pirates apparently attempted to cover it up.


Gregory Polanco was not injured during the training - he aggravated an existing ankle injury, after he had been cleared to participate. The Pirates issued a statement that was not at odds with the facts but which wasn't exactly forthcoming, either. They handled it badly, to be sure, but that's not the same thing as trying to cover it up.

-- MWE
   8. JoeHova Posted: October 26, 2012 at 08:46 AM (#4284002)
They handled it badly, to be sure, but that's not the same thing as trying to cover it up.

Perhaps. It seems clear that they tried to obfuscate the role their new training regimen played in Polanco's re-injury.
   9. Flynn Posted: October 26, 2012 at 08:47 AM (#4284003)
Gregory Polanco was not injured during the training - he aggravated an existing ankle injury, after he had been cleared to participate.


Call me crazy but that sounds like injuring something. You can injure something that's already been injured. Disregarding whether it was a good idea in the first place it also raises questions of why somebody who was already injured was cleared.
   10. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 08:51 AM (#4284009)
Yikes.
   11. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 09:02 AM (#4284013)
There is some thought that this will hurt Pittsburgh's ability to sign players and Appel taking notice is presented as evidence in favor of that idea.


If the SEAL training is all that kept us from signing a bust-waiting-to-happen like Appel, it's already paid for itself.

Call me crazy but that sounds like injuring something. You can injure something that's already been injured. Disregarding whether it was a good idea in the first place it also raises questions of why somebody who was already injured was cleared.


It was a sprained ankle, which he re-tweaked while running. Have you ever sprained an ankle, and then twisted it a bit after it's almost-totally-healed? Just like that.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 09:38 AM (#4284035)
Gregory Polanco was not injured during the training - he aggravated an existing ankle injury, after he had been cleared to participate. The Pirates issued a statement that was not at odds with the facts but which wasn't exactly forthcoming, either. They handled it badly, to be sure, but that's not the same thing as trying to cover it up.

It was a sprained ankle, which he re-tweaked while running. Have you ever sprained an ankle, and then twisted it a bit after it's almost-totally-healed? Just like that.

Why would you even consider firing a GM for something like this?
   13. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 09:51 AM (#4284042)
If the SEAL training is all that kept us from signing a bust-waiting-to-happen like Appel, it's already paid for itself.


With 20 years of "bust" adequately describing the whole franchise, is it the uncertainty that vexes you so?
   14. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 09:53 AM (#4284044)
Why would you even consider firing a GM for something like this?


I don't know. I think most of the local baseball media spent the offseason drinking paint thinner, and they totally forgot how to write actual baseball stories. The press coverage over the last six months or so has been hilariously stupid.
   15. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4284047)
I don't know. I think most of the local baseball media spent the offseason drinking paint thinner, and they totally forgot how to write actual baseball stories. The press coverage over the last six months or so has been hilariously stupid.

It's not like military PT is going to be anything particularly stressful on professional athletes (I'm sure they weren't doing real SEAL training, e.g. swimming in freezing water). The US military must put tens of thousands of total couch potatoes through it every year.
   16. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4284048)
With 20 years of "bust" adequately describing the whole franchise, is it the uncertainty that vexes you so?


Appel just isn't that good a pitching prospect. His fastball doesn't have much movement, and you can see it for miles because of the mechanics of his delivery. For months leading up to the draft, I said that the one high-profile guy I didn't want them to take was Appel (but that we were lucky because he'd probably get chosen before our pick). Well, ####.

If the Pirates hadn't taken a swing at Appel, they had a pre-draft deal in place with David Dahl, who totally destroyed rookie ball and looks like a future star. So yeah, when it comes to the entire Appel experience, I'm filled with rue.
   17. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 10:03 AM (#4284050)
It's not like military PT is going to be anything particularly stressful on professional athletes (I'm sure they weren't doing real SEAL training, e.g. swimming in freezing water).


It's even dumber than that. The hugely successful Pittsburgh Penguins did the exact same SEAL training a year before that, and nobody in the media said #### about it at the time.

This isn't about rational analysis. It's about looking for stuff that sounds stupid and using it as a causus belli to smear the guys in charge of the team. For what purpose, I'm not sure.
   18. PreservedFish Posted: October 26, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4284066)
If the training wasn't stressful, what would be the point?

"ALRIGHT MAGGOTS. I WANT TO SEE YOU JOG AROUND THE OUTFIELD 5 TIMES."
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 10:26 AM (#4284071)
If the training wasn't stressful, what would be the point?

For the military, at least, the point is for it to be psychologically stressful. To break down individualism and foster group cohesion through group effort, shared suffering, and a common "enemy", the DI.

Also, what is physically stressful for a bunch of regular recruits should be a breeze for professional athletes. Art Donovan tells a story about how the college football players infuriated their DIs in WWII b/c the PT was so easy for them, compared to the practices they were used to.
   20. Bad Doctor Posted: October 26, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4284100)
It was definitely sarcasm.

Yeah, Law had one or two showdowns with Mike Missanelli, a Philadelphia sports radio personality, after the Howard extension was signed. Missanelli was very dismissive of the opinion that the contract was a huge overpay, well in excess of what Howard would get on the free market, and continually specualted about the huge dollars the Yankees or Red Sox would throw at "the preeminent power hitter of his time" or some such thing.

The other popular local meme after the Howard extension was that his power made him a "game changer" ... it may have been an interview with Missanelli in which Klaw made a great quip, something along the lines of, "Yes, Howard is a game changer in big situations. He forces the opposing manager to literally change the game by bringing in a lefthander to completely neutralize him."
   21. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4284115)
Is this actual SEAL training or stuff branded as "SEAL Team Training"? Because we've got a group here in Richmond that does the latter in the mornings (as I'm sure is the case in most cities), and it's not-so-rigorous to the point that some guy tried to recruit me for it (i.e., handed me a flyer and gave me a pitch) recently. I'm not in terrible shape, I've run a marathon, and I run four miles a few mornings per week, but I'm nothing like in great shape. It would hurt the next day for sure, but I suppose I could do it. So if Bucs prospects were doing the same types of things that these kinds of groups do, then I'm not sure what the big deal is. Injuries happen.

But maybe I'm not seeing something here.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4284124)
Is this actual SEAL training or stuff branded as "SEAL Team Training"?

It can't be actual SEAL training, no company would sign off on the liability. The initial course has something like an 80% drop-out rate.

I'd guess it's something like regular basic training, but they use former SEALs as DIs to get the "brand".
   23. I am going to be Frank Posted: October 26, 2012 at 11:08 AM (#4284143)
So not the training from "GI Jane"?
   24. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 11:17 AM (#4284159)
It can't be actual SEAL training, no company would sign off on the liability.


Yeah, my question was kind of stupidly phrased. I guess it went to how rigorous this stuff really was. I hadn't noticed the link to the earlier discussion at the time.
   25. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 26, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4284163)
If the Pirates hadn't taken a swing at Appel, they had a pre-draft deal in place with David Dahl, who totally destroyed rookie ball and looks like a future star.


I'm not ready to go off the deep end on Dahl yet. You're in an environment where teams are averaging nearly six runs per game, and while Dahl led the league in just about everything he wasn't *that* much above and beyond. We need to wait and see what happens when he gets to a full-season league.

-- MWE
   26. dr. scott Posted: October 26, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4284168)
Friend of mine from college broke his back in actual SEAL training (well I guess it was the test they put you through to determine if you can join the SEALs. Real shame, he really wanted to be a SEAL.
   27. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 11:25 AM (#4284176)
Friend of mine from college broke his back in actual SEAL training (well I guess it was the test they put you through to determine if you can join the SEALs. Real shame, he really wanted to be a SEAL.

Was he able to stay in the military, or was he disabled?
   28. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4284206)
Is this actual SEAL training or stuff branded as "SEAL Team Training"?


It's the latter. Flipping tires and group-carrying telephone poles and the like.
   29. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM (#4284209)
I'm not ready to go off the deep end on Dahl yet. You're in an environment where teams are averaging nearly six runs per game, and while Dahl led the league in just about everything he wasn't *that* much above and beyond. We need to wait and see what happens when he gets to a full-season league.


Fair enough. As always, Mike, I'll defer to your judgment on prospects.
   30. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 26, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4284254)
I'm not ready to go off the deep end on Dahl yet. You're in an environment where teams are averaging nearly six runs per game, and while Dahl led the league in just about everything he wasn't *that* much above and beyond. We need to wait and see what happens when he gets to a full-season league.


You're not necessarily down on Dahl, are you? Just cautious.

It would be fun to see what a truly elite hitter could do in Coors. It's kind of alamring to realize that Dahl is actually younger than the Rockies franchise.
   31. DL from MN Posted: October 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4284265)
So they learn how to bounce a ball on their nose?
   32. greenback calls it soccer Posted: October 26, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4284292)
So they learn how to bounce a ball on their nose?

Then Tony La Russa clubs them to prepare them for their major league fates.
   33. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 26, 2012 at 12:52 PM (#4284313)
You're not necessarily down on Dahl, are you? Just cautious.


Yes, just cautious. I wouldn't have been unhappy had the Pirates drafted Dahl.

As always, I like to remind people of Mitch Einertson.

-- MWE
   34. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4284424)
Sure, Tony Bernazard would listen if Pittsburgh called...
   35. Pleasant Nate (Upgraded from 'Nate') Posted: October 26, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4284461)
As always, I like to remind people of Mitch Einertson.


Caution is certainly warranted for players with success at very low levels. This is probably picking nits, but I'm not sure Einertson is the best example -- he had his own flags, beyond just age/level/environment. Comparing to Dahl, for example, he had a substantially worse K-rate, less implied athleticism (SBs, 3Bs), and was overly HR dependent (as opposed to Dahl's more appealing 2B/3B/HR splits). Dahl has his own flags (BB rate is just okay, high BABIP), of course, but I'd feel much about about him than Einertson given the nature of the flags.
   36. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 26, 2012 at 04:15 PM (#4284486)
This is probably picking nits, but I'm not sure Einertson is the best example -- he had his own flags, beyond just age/level/environment.


Of course. I use Einertson only as a reminder of what can happen when you don't look for those flags.

-- MWE
   37. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 04:25 PM (#4284494)
It's kind of alamring to realize that Dahl is actually younger than the Rockies franchise.


Whereas Jamie Moyer is older than all but five franchises.
   38. Walt Davis Posted: October 26, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4284578)
was not at odds with the facts but which wasn't exactly forthcoming, either.

The email quoted in the link which is quoted from Kovacevic specifically says that Polanco opted out of the seal training because of the injury. Polanco and a teammate clearly state he took part in the training and re-injured himself there.

"Polanco was NOT injured during that workout. He actually injured his ankle during the season. He opted out of those workouts, as he has continued to battle swelling but no pain."

Also the original injury was in mid-August ... and he still has swelling?

The hugely successful Pittsburgh Penguins did the exact same SEAL training a year before that, and nobody in the media said #### about it at the time.

In fairness, hockey is just a wee bit more physical than baseball. And anything that keeps those guys from getting drunk and banging their heads against a wall is a step in the right direction.
   39. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 26, 2012 at 06:03 PM (#4284583)
Whereas Jamie Moyer is older than all but five franchises.

Let's not exaggerate here. Jamie Moyer isn't even older than all the expansion franchises! He was created a year later than the Mets, Astros, Angels and Senators/Rangers.
   40. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: October 26, 2012 at 06:35 PM (#4284604)
"ALRIGHT MAGGOTS. I WANT TO SEE YOU JOG AROUND THE OUTFIELD 5 TIMES."

"A DONUT?!?! WELL PRIVATE, YOU ARE GOING TO STAND THERE AND EAT THAT DONUT WHILE THE REST OF THE PLATOON EATS THOSE DONUTS OVER THERE ON THAT TABLE!"
   41. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: October 26, 2012 at 06:46 PM (#4284613)
Throw bat donut into pool.
The guy who comes out with the bat donut is guaranteed a spot on the roster.
What could possibly go wrong?
   42. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 26, 2012 at 06:54 PM (#4284626)
"A DONUT?!?! WELL PRIVATE, YOU ARE GOING TO STAND THERE AND EAT THAT DONUT WHILE THE REST OF THE PLATOON EATS THOSE DONUTS OVER THERE ON THAT TABLE!"


This is how Billy Butler trade rumors get started.
   43. Pirate Joe Posted: October 27, 2012 at 12:03 AM (#4284753)
It's even dumber than that. The hugely successful Pittsburgh Penguins did the exact same SEAL training a year before that, and nobody in the media said #### about it at the time.



And that doesn't even quite capture the full stupidity of it all. The Penguins actually did this first (I believe) three seasons ago. They decided it was such a raging failure that they went back and did the same training regime again the following year. All the contemporaneous reports from the players at the time were overwhelmingly positive. They all (or at least all of them who spoke publicly) loved it. Kovacevik certainly knows all this, what with him being a former Penguins beat writer and a huge hockey fan and all. Especially since there were stories about it in both papers in town and on all the local news shows.

There are hundreds, literally hundreds, of pro and college sports teams that have gone through this type of training. Just a few weeks ago Coach K put the Duke basketball team through a similar training session. But he's obviously a complete moron who knows nothing about coaching elite athletes, so who cares what he did.

   44. Sunday silence Posted: October 27, 2012 at 01:09 AM (#4284768)
prolly goes without saying but this just another example of what an utter waste mainstream newspapers, talk radio, etc. is when you dont have critics to vet this stuff.

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