At Bat: Maybe a life in sports media isn’t all its cracked up to be. Or at least for Terry Francona it wasn’t, who left ESPN after a year after being a part of one of the worst collapses and clubhouse controversies in a long time.
After watching his Red Sox lose the AL Wild Card on the final night of the 2011 regular season and having to deal with accusations that he lost control in the clubhouse in the final month of that sesaon, Francona’s contract wasn’t extended, leaving him unemployed until ESPN made him a baseball analyst for Sunday Night Baseball this year.
Now, before a team has even claimed a spot in the LCS, Francona has signed a deal to be the next manager of the Cleveland Indians for the upcoming 2013 season. What’s the big hurry to come back to baseball, especially for a team far from contending in the AL Central? How about enjoying life for a bit instead of stressing yourself out?
Losing Francona isn’t that big of a loss for ESPN as he wasn’t that great for them anyway. And restarting his managerial career in Cleveland is probably a safe situation for him. It’s definitely a smaller market and will not draw nearly the amount of media attention he’d get elsewhere on how he’ll handle this clubhouse better at the tail end of the season than he did in Boston.
On Deck: What are the Texas Rangers going to do moving forward after losing the AL West on the last day of the season and the first ever AL Wild Card? Apparently, the two-time American League champs are going to hold off on talks with outfield slugger Josh Hamilton for the time being and see what the market’s like this offseason.
Are you serious Nolan Ryan? Your Rangers were one out away last year from their first ever championship, and besides a late collapse and the stupid Wild Card play in game, the Rangers still enter the postseason as a strong favorite to win it all.
How do you let one of your best offensive players test the free agency market? Hamilton had an amazing offensive season with 43 home runs and 128 RBI and you’re just going to let him possibly walk? This lineup needs him if the Rangers want to remain contenders not only in the AL West but for a championship as well.
I understand not wanting to pay a guy like Hamilton millions when he could enter rehab at the drop of a dime. But if Ryan really wants to make Texas a winner, the only way to do that is to sign Hamilton now and avoid competing with other clubs and having to up the ante to keep him in Arlington.
In the Hole: Or at least that’s where the New York Mets will be if they make third baseman David Wright a Met for “life.” It makes sense why the Mets would want to sign him and keep him as the face of the franchise in years to come, but the numbers that are being thrown out of what he could make to finish his career in New York is ridiculous.
The rumors currently have Wright making nine-figure deal for six to eight years. If he and the Mets don’t come to terms on a deal before he becomes a free agent, the Mets could make an offer of $160 million for eight years to put all competitors out of contention. Yes, there is a dumber franchise out there than the Chicago Cubs who signed Alfonso Soriano to an eight-year deal at $136 million.
I know it is apples and oranges to compare the Soriano contract with Wright’s because when Soriano was brought over, I doubt many fans saw him coming in to be the face of the franchise. Wright is still a great role model for the game of baseball. But having a guy make that ridiculous amount at the end of the deal where his numbers will be significantly less significant for the club is just idiotic. Because he is a baseball poster child, he’ll still make millions in endorsements in the New York area and the Mets should be careful putting all their money into one player and focus on the future, too.
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