Daily Grind 12.14

The annual mediocrity splurge is upon us. ‘Tis the season.

We see it every year, MLB teams handing out millions to sub .500 pitchers, aging role players, and the next ‘Ichiro’s’ of the world.

Remember the Cubs in 2010? Their payroll peaked to $144 million when they signed Alfonso Soriano, Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Aramis Ramirez, and Kosuke Fukudome to long term deals. That bunch lost 279 games over the previous three seasons.

Chicago Cubs Press Conference for Alfonso Soriano

The Cubs are reportedly willing to eat $26 million of Soriano’s remaining $36 million owed.

This insane offseason may take the cake. The Angels gave a former drug addict $125 million. Zach Greinke, a social anxiety sufferer, signed a deal to play in the 2nd biggest US city. His contract could reach $158 million, a lot for a guy who sports a 6.48 postseason ERA.

Somewhere Curt Flood is dancing in his grave.

St. Louis, typically conservative, handed out $7.5 million to a 37-year old left-handed specialist. Today we learned they signed Ty Wigginton, 35, to a deal that might reach $5 million. That seems a bit steep for a little right-handed pop off the bench. Worse, the deal comes a day after trading away Skip Schumaker, which I wrote about yesterday.

Quickly on Wigginton…I don’t hate the signing, but I struggle to understand why it’s for two years and a lucrative $5 million. Who the hell were they outbidding?

Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers

This fan mocks CJ Wilson, who left Texas for LA. The Rangers won the AL West while LA missed the playoffs.

The market for mediocrity has become incredibly inflated. I can’t help but wonder where the bidding stands for Kyle Lohse, whose best two seasons came in contract years. Pick your poison, would you prefer pureed broccoli or canned tuna? I‘ll pass on both, thanks.

All of these deals shape the market for guys like Adam Wainwright, looking for extensions as they enter a contract year.

Prior to this year’s frenzy, I was keen on resigning Waino…but the madness has me rethinking. I’m not a fan of 5+ year contracts in general, but especially a pitcher. The health risks are obvious, but the financial burden is crippling.

The Cardinals are in a strong position with deep pitching depth. Trevor Rosenthal, Joe Kelly, Lance Lynn, and Shelby Miller all project as components within the rotation. That’s not even including Carlos Martinez, Tyrell Jenkins, or Michael Wacha. Now it’s loony to think each will stay healthy or actually pan out, but even if half do, thats a blueprint built to win–with Waino or not.

Of course for every 100 crazy contracts, we see a Jared Weaver, who accepted less money to stay in sunny California with a team who projects like a dream team on paper. Perhaps Waino will take that route, and I wouldn’t be shocked because he truly loves St. Louis and the Cardinals organization. I can hear his genuineness when he talks about it. Money is not his ambition, rings are.

The Wainwright situation will certainly get interesting. But in the meantime, enjoy the Edwin Jackson’s, Shawn Marcum’s, or the newest Cubbie, South Korean reliever Chang-Yong Lim.

***

I am a big fan of another Molina in the dugout. Benjie Molina, older brother of Yadier, officially accepted the assistant hitting coach role today.

***

Steven Jackson chimed in on Sam Bradford’s scrutinized progress:WEEK 15 PICKS

Packers @ Bears
Giants @ Falcons
Bucs @ Saints
Redskins @ Browns
Jaguars @ Dolphins
Broncos @ Ravens
Colts @ Texans
Panthers @ Chargers
Seahawks @ Bills
Lions @ Cardinals
Steelers @ Cowboys
Chiefs @ Raiders
49ers @ Patriots

***
Damien Lillard absolutely went off last night against San Antonio for 29 points. He’s a prime candidate for Rookie of the Year, especially with Anthony Davis’s troublesome ankle.


The Knicks absolutely dismantled the Lakers at MSG last night. The Lakers are a complete mess, and the Knicks are shooting lights out right now.

Thanks for reading, keep ‘Grindin.

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