Over the weekend, Yu Darvish signed a 6-year deal with the Chicago Cubs; reports say the deal is worth $126M with incentives that can raise the deal to $150M. A report this morning at CBSSports.com says that Jake Arietta turned down a similar deal offered by the Cubs. Since Arietta has been with the Cubs for the last 3 seasons, it is interesting to compare the two pitchers:
- Yu Darvish is 31 years old and will turn 32 in August. He has been a durable starter averaging 26 starts per season. His career ERA is 3.42 and he averages a bit over 200 strikeouts per season.
- Jake Arietta is 31 years old and will turn 32 in March. He too has been a durable starter averaging 26 starts per season. His career ERA is 3.57 and he averages about 130 strikeouts per season. He won the Cy Young award in 2015. He has also – mysteriously – led the NL in wild pitches in 2016 and in 2017.
Neither Darvish nor Arietta had his best season in 2017, but neither had a bad season in 2017. Looking at history, these two pitchers on average are very similar; it is not surprising that a GM devoted to analytics would “assign” them relatively equal values. Because of the similarity of their career records, it may be that the Darvish contract sets the general parameters for deals that may be extended to Arietta as the bidding for free agent pitchers comes down to the wire. Of course, it will behoove Arietta’s agent to get him something more than what is in the Darvish deal if only as a face-saving gesture; but I would not look for Arietta to be getting any offers either 10% higher in salary per year or much longer than 6 years. [For the record, I think 6 years is the longest contract I would offer to a 31-year old starting pitcher – – and yes, I have heard of Nolan Ryan.]
There was a report last week that LeBron James could be added to the Golden State Warriors team adding to the speculation as to where James will ply his trade next season. I do not pretend to understand the nuances of the NBA’s soft salary cap, but I will go along with the idea that it can happen financially. I also have no insight into the LeBron James master plan for the remainder of his career. I do want to say this about that rumor/report however:
- If the Warriors actually add LeBron James to their roster, the NBA can abandon any pretense it has that its regular season means anything AND that its playoffs short of the Conference Finals and the NBA Finals mean anything.
For years, we have heard leagues wring their hands over “the integrity of the game(s)” and how said “integrity” is the foundation of their enterprise and the cornerstone of fan interest. That is true. Here is something else that is true:
- There must be some semblance of competitive balance in that league. If the Harlem Globetrotters played 41 games in one city against the Washington Generals, the interest in those games would drop to zero after about the 5th game because everyone knows what happens when the final buzzer goes off.
Let me be clear. I do not give a fig where LeBron James plays next year; he could start his own NBA franchise on the moon for all I care. [Elon Musk can be his “transportation partner” …] However, if the Warriors can put a starting five on the court of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, LeBron James and Klay Thompson, I will ignore any and all NBA games until the Conference Finals.
Mentioning LeBron James naturally makes me think of the Cleveland Cavaliers who totally redid their roster at the trade deadline last week. So, here is a question for you:
- Suppose you were commissioned to write the history of the Cleveland Cavaliers as a franchise. How would you handle the Isaiah Thomas Era there?
I read a report over the weekend that in the Olympic Village in PeyongChang there are 110,000 condoms to be given out “as needed”. That leads me to ask two questions:
- Does the IOC have a corporate partner providing these condoms and do the condoms have the Olympic logo with the 5 rings on the packages?
- How badly do the NBC execs wish they could televise on one of their cable outlets some of the “events” where those condoms play a strategic role?
Speaking of the Olympics – sort of – it should not surprise any regular readers that I am not glued to my TV watching hours and hours of Olympic coverage. I did tune in briefly over the weekend; and in the “studio summary of the day’s events”, I found myself waiting for NBC to cut to a shot of Bob Costas sitting in a chair at a ¾ angle to the camera opining on the meaning of something that happened in PeyongChang. Mike Tirico is doing a fine job as the major domo of the coverage; I do not mean to throw shade on him at all. However, for me, something is missing from the telecast…
There was a report last week that the father of one of Dr. Larry Nassar’s victims tried – unsuccessfully – to attack Nasser in the courtroom while victim statements were being presented to the judge. Intellectually, I know that is the wrong thing to do. I do not have any daughters, but I do have a granddaughter; and if Dr. Nassar had done to her what he has done to other young girls, I am not sure that I would have been able to attend that hearing and behave in the way that I know is correct and proper. There is in the recesses of my reptilian brain stem a feeling that wants me to say to that father:
- I understand. I only wish you had a better attack plan.
Finally, consider please, this comment from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald:
“Someone stole the 7-foot unicycle belonging to Red Panda, a popular basketball halftime show performer. Here’s one police chase I wouldn’t mind seeing.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………