Thursday, July 13, 2006

A Big Kickoff To Baseball's Second Half

Two bits of news from baseball today:

• Major League Baseball has a new television contract. Fox has extended their coverage of the All-Star game, an LCS to be named later, and the World Series for seven years. They also plan on upping the number of regular season games they show. The other big mover was TBS, who will show the entire first round, and starting in 2008, the Sunday night game during the regular season (displacing ESPN). Whichever LCS Fox doesn't show is still up for grabs; it will likely land on TBS, or be given to Fox for pennies on the dollar.

• Aside from ESPN, who is losing its two biggest marquee baseball events, the other big loser here is the Atlanta Braves. 2007 will be the last season that their home games are carried on TBS, which has been their home for over 30 years. Over the past 25, TBS' national exposure played a big role in expanding the Braves' popularity, and helped them stake a claim as 'America's Team'. The move shouldn't come as a complete surprise, given that the man who once owned both parties, Ted Turner, is completely out of the picture of both ownership groups. For years, Turner had used the network to promote his team, and vice-versa. Still, given that the Braves on TBS has been a staple of television as long as I can remember, it's a bit sad to see this era end. Even though I don't the Braves, and hope they spend the next few years in the cellar, I can't help but get a little nostalgic. Growing up, you could always count on a 5:05 start to a Braves home game to keep you occupied on an otherwise dreary day.

• One final note on the Braves getting the boot from TBS: I wonder if the higher ups at Time Warner knew this was in the works. You have to think that this will have an adverse affect on their attempts to sell the team.

• In the second bit of news, the Reds traded Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez to Washington as part of a package that netted them bullpen help and spare parts. Of the players they are receiving, only Gary Majewski can be expected to make a big impact in Cincinnati right off the bat. But he won't make enough of a difference to off-set the offensive dip that the Reds can expect without Lopez and Kearns in the lineup. You know how it's often said that whoever gets the best player wins the trade? The Nats got the two best players in this one. Hats off to Jim Bowden for a job well done. He has just picked up two players in, or approaching their prime, without giving up a top player or prospect in return. Conversely, the Reds shot themselves in the foot with this trade. Their offense is much worse, while their bullpen is marginally better. A good tradeoff? I doubt it.

• I missed the "biggest" news of the day, that being Sidney Ponson signing with the Yankees. Well, they certainly need a heavyweight for their rotation, and he fits the bill - literally, if not figuratively. On the other hand, it's entirely possible, even probable, that he will be touched by the elixir that seems to rejuvenate any veteran pitcher who comes to the Bronx in the middle of a season. He could be this season's Aaron Small or Shawn Chacon, which may cause me to vomit, then peel the skin off my face. Of course, he could also eat Jorge Posada between innings during his first start, which I can't imagine would be good for team chemistry.


At 11:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Their offense is much worse, while their bullpen is marginally better. A good tradeoff? I doubt it."

"marginally better". The Reds added a solid pitcher and a talented rookie to the worst bullpen in baseball. This trade changes the entire complexion of the bullpen (Coffy can now go back to being a setup man for which he is much better suited, and now , a lead after six innings will actually be safe. Plus the acquisition of two solid relief pitchers will take the presure off of a decent starting rotation. and Kearns and Lopez can be replaced.

In case you hadn't noticed this team had lost 22 out of there last 29, and had blow 11 out of their last 18 save opportunities. Now there is actually some hope for the rest of the season.

At 8:32 AM, Blogger Avi Schaumberg said...

Ponson: On the one hand, there's a good chance it won't work out. On the other hand, at $150,000 for the rest of the season (with St Louis on the hook for the rest), he couldn't be much cheaper.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Alex said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:35 AM, Blogger Alex said...

Their depth at the field positions is already tenuous, and has taken a hit with Ryan Freel hurting. I would worry about their outfield depth especially, with Kearns elsewhere and Junior Griffey's groin due to give out any day now. Chris Denarfio has looked pretty good so far, but we don't know if he can keep up this pace, and it doesn't look like he'll come close to replacing Kearns' power numbers.

I agree that Majewski is solid, and Bray might have a bit of an impact in middle relief this season, but I don't think their gains in the bullpen offset the losses to the offense. On second thought, with some combination of Royce Clayton, Rich Aurilia, and a healthy Ryan Freel, they might be able to replace Lopez's numbers, but I still think giving up Kearns without acquiring any other depth in the outfield is a bad move.

And as Jim Bowden said in the article I linked to, position players tend to be better bets than relievers. I still give the upper hand in this one to the Nats.


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