Friday, May 2, 2008

The Roof Is On Fire

By Josh Elwell

Only two teams in MLB have the balls to pull off true fire sales: the A’s and the Marlins. I’m trying really hard to remember what else they have in common. Oh, yeah – they field championship-caliber teams! Joe Fan and Joe Morgan would both have you believe that a fire sale is for bitches. (I’ll find that quote from Morgan another time.) However, that’s not the case. For everyone who knows the joy that is Live Free or Die Hard, a fire sale is actually when John McClane comes in to shut down a three-stage coordinated attack on a country's transportation, telecommunications, financial, and utilities infrastructure systems. Did Timothy Olyphant’s character really think he had a chance? We’re taking about John “yippee ki-ay motherfucker” McClane! All right, moving on…

If anyone thinks the 2008 San Diego Padres are in contention for the pennant, much less the World Series, you’re just as sadly mistaken as Timothy Olyphant was. When Tadahito Iguchi squeaked a HR out last Saturday night, I couldn’t have been more upset. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, I actually wet myself a wee-bit (that’s my new measure for urine – use it) and then I got upset when I realized there’s no point to be excited, because the Padres aren’t a championship team. The longer the Padres’ front office thinks they are, the longer some much needed trades don’t come. There is not one hitter to be feared and not one relief arm to be trusted. Kevin Towers has proved he can fix the latter but the former is something that continues to hinder us. That is, until Jim Edmonds came aboard. I kid, I kid. Towers lost a bet with God on that one (which means Towers’ kid still has cancer).

Back to the fire sale, the Marlins did it in ’05 when they shipped off Josh Beckett, Juan Pierre, Mike Lowell, Luis Castillo, Paul Lo Duca and Carlos Delgado for packages including Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Mike Jacobs. (That doesn’t mention other players we’ll be hearing about soon.) They finished the sale this last off-season by trading away Miguel Cabrera & Dontrelle Willis for a package including stars-in-the-making Cameron Maybin & Andrew Miller. So far that’s looking pretty good as they sit in first place in the NL East.

Their famed ’97 fire sale after their World Series win sent them to last place in ’98…and another World Series win in ’03. Yeah, they sucked in between, but two rings in seven years are worth it.
The Orioles are trying it this year too after dumping Erik Bedard & Miguel Tejada (who’s actually 55, which I’ll be revealing when I interview him from the stands next time the Astros are in town). But any team attempting a fire sale with Kevin Millar, Brian Roberts and Melvin Mora still on the team obviously pulled out like it was prom night.

The A’s are in a perpetual fire sale, trading away and letting walk, elite players approaching out of their price range. See Johnny Damon, Miguel Tejada, Jason Giambi, Keith Foulke, Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, Dan Haren, Nick Swisher and Moneyball. I leave Barry Zito off the list because anyone being paid $126 million to throw a few pitches out of the bullpen doesn’t need to be counted as elite. Oh, and the A’s are in 1st place too, sitting in the top 3 of the most winning-est teams over the past 10 years – not a bad strategy.

Alright, with all of the pretext out of the way, here are my demands. In return, Kevin Towers, I’ll give you the cure for cancer that you missed out on when you traded for Jim Edmonds.

(1) Recognition that your current strategies will not produce a championship.
(2) Making the moves necessary to alter that strategy and give the long-waiting fans of San Diego the offense we so dearly miss. Yes, I’m talking about the trifecta of Tony Gwynn, Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley. And if anyone dare mention steroids and Caminiti in the same sentence – I’ll stab him.

Cool. That’s that - two simple requests. Can you do that Kevin?

My suggestion: start with Jim Edmonds. End with Khalil Greene (he doesn’t want a long term contract anyway.) And somewhere in between, dump Greg Maddux, Randy Wolf, Glendon Rusch, Trevor Hoffman, Brian Giles, Tadahito Iguchi, Michael Barrett and Tony Clark. We know why they’re there - you’ve created an aging, name-based smokescreen with guys who are getting in the way of the Padres future. On second thought, keep Greg – we might as well have a little fun while we lose.

In the meantime, I’ll be at Petco, rooting them all on. I mean, shit, it’s just baseball.
(Keep in mind that Kevin Towers does not have a child with cancer, nor do I have the cure for it. Although I’m sure that by writing about baseball, I’ll find it. Damn right I’ll find it.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So true.