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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

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What crappy way to wake up and read that horrible news. 2009 has some big question marks now- Utley and Feliz's health, Ibanez's ability to stabalize the offense, and now this suspension.

If you need to relive the 2008 season, you can enter the contest on my blog to win the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies World Series Collector's Edition 8 DVD set

At least we don't need to worry about the wear and tear he might suffer from pitching in the WBC. He should be well rested when he returns from his suspension.

Read this last night when I saw it pop up during the fiesta bowl... disappointed in the PA,to defend Romero then change his stance on the situation is wrong. Romero was clearly mislead through the situation. Romero, however, should have known that he would be held responsible in the end for what ever supplements he took.
Regardless, I hope I'm at his first game back to give him a standing ovation when he takes the mound.

At least he'll be super fresh for the 2nd half and the playoffs...He'll be back in June, its not the end of the world.

We definitely need to get another lefty reliever for the pen now...a GOOD lefty reliever for the pen.

Romero got screwed! If there is any justice in this crazy world somebody will realize that before the formal announcement comes out today.

The World Series hangover has now developed into a full blown headache as the winter gets colder and most of the Phillies news will be focused on this vomit inducing JC Romero suspension and body aching eight arbitration cases. Thank you to The MLB Network, as its existence supplies some water and aspirin as we wait until pitchers and catchers report.

Weitzel: I think you make some good points, but there are two things at work here. 1) JC Romero really believes he did nothing wrong and things like checking with the PA back him up in addition to the racial issue. 2) MLB baseball wants to show that it is still tough to the public while sending a message to the players not to get too close to the line. There isn't a lot of middle ground here.

The bottom line to me is did this gave JC Romero an unfair competitive advantage the way steroids would? I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the answer is no. Therefore the full 50 game suspension does not serve justice here. He's losing money, will have to hear about this everywhere he goes (imagine how the new Mets stadium will be towards him) and is publicly embarrassed in addition to embarrassing the WFC. He doesn't deserve all that from this offense.

The idea of already starting the season with JC Romero and Chase Utley on the sidelines is not promising. We were lucky last year with injuries and players missing time. Hopefully luck isn't running out.

Arbitration and this. The test has begun Jr.

Last night's statement from Jr...: "Um, no comment?"

Way to back up one of your players, Mr. GM. Jackass.

My guess is that Amaro now tries to trade Coste or Stairs for faily cheap lefty reliever.

Is Aaron Fultz available?

Yes, Fultz is still available, but he too has a suspension looming over him for excessive rosin bag usage.

50 games is one third of season - not 50 days - hard to bring in someone for 1/3 of season and what happens to that person when
Romero does come back? I would not be surprised to see some sort of law suit. To me it sounds like he has one.

Fultz signed with the Reds two weeks ago.

Ya know when the Phils went over-slot to sign some draft picks last Summer? Maybe this is MLB's version of payback for not towing the line.

Maybe Wally Ritchie is available!

At least he's trying!

I don't understand how a product you can go and buy at any Vitamin Shop or GNC in America is banned by MLB.

The ESPN story claims that the packaging of the product did not contain the warning label until the late summer or fall. The MLBPA said it was not banned until the fall. So, weird name or not, I think that Romero is screwed... big time.

Romero def. needs to fight this in court, get the suspension reduced. He absolutely has to.

ugh pretty bad news. I heard Mitch Williams say on WIP this morning that Scott Eyre is an excellent insurance policy... i'm not convinced. Eyre is a one-two batter guy that gets a few awkard swings. Romero was intimidating, blew away lefties, and hardly ever had the ball put in play, as e did walk a bit too many batters.

It'll take 2 of the bargain bin lefties to come close to 1 of JC romero

Here is a link to the product he used:

http://anabolicminds.com/store/1347.html

36.95 is going to cost him 1.5 million

it seems to me that there must be others that have used this product. Is Romero the scapegoat?

I believe (ex?)Marlins started Sergio Mitre was also involved.

Let me get this straight: Romero had his suspension doubled because he didn't initially comply with MLB's ruling? Regardless of whether they told him that would be the case up front, I can't think of a precedent for that. I can't see how the union could let that one go by without a huge fight.

I find myself skeptical towards Romero's stance, also. There's always been something a little questionable about his character, and I don't think it's necessarily appropriate to buy fully into his martyr/victim angle. This strikes me as a situation in which both sides are lacking a good deal of sense. In any case, the best-case scenario is that they get the suspension chopped back down to 25.

Tony D's link does not have a testimonial from Romero but it does scream danger.

I am not sure what the bottle states but pimping testosterone on that link makes one a little skeptical JC had some inkling this could cause some problems.

Also - didn't he also test postitive for something related to fertility drugs when he and he was were taking them to get pregnant?

Wacky idea...give Bastardo a chance to be a LOOGY in spring training. His stuff is suited for that role anyway. Eyre is your primary LOOGY and Bastardo is the 12th guy on the Staff. ]

Stranger things have happened...he's supposedly pitching pretty well in winter ball.

A second pitcher will receive a 50 game PED suspension, according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. New Yankee signing Sergio Mitre had a trace amount of andro in his system. It was another "thought to be legal" supplement purchased at GNC. Mitre will serve the suspension while rehabbing from elbow surgery in the first few months of the season.

I think Romero is screwed...

However, this is a really messed up situation. Reading the article on Philly.com raises some questions.

"Meanwhile, according to the arbitrator's report, Lien sent a sample of the supplement to MLB for testing. The tests showed the supplement contained a substance that could result in a positive drug test. A copy of those results was sent to commissioner Bud Selig's office in July."

Why wasn't Romero informed of this before his test on August 26th? Had a memo gone out from MLB immediately, Romero would have stopped using the supplement.

There's also this:

In an e-mail exchange, Arnold said there was nothing in his supplement that should have created a positive drug test.

"We have funded two independent clinical studies (one done at Baylor University) that have been peer reviewed," Arnold wrote. "These studies demonstrated the efficacy and safety of the product. We also have funded studies that have demonstrated the compound's compliance with FDA regulation. Furthermore, we funded another study at [the University of Illinois] in Chicago using classical protocols that demonstrated that 6-OXO is absolutely not an anabolic steroid."

So what, exactly, did Romero test positive for?

****So what, exactly, did Romero test positive for?****


Yeah, I almost wonder if he was taking this supplement AND something else and is crying wolf to look innocent.

Either way its not the end of the world, he'll be back 1 June (Game 51 is that night). If anything he'll probably be a fresh boost to the bullpen.

1) I like the Bastardo idea.

2) How did the Yaks get Mitre? If he was available why did the Phils not go for him? He's not more than a 4 - 5 SP, but he's a serious GB pitcher; and if you're not gonna go get Derek Lowe, Junior, then Mitre woulda been a plan, at least.

I just realized I said "Yaks" for "Yanks;" that's actually kinda funny.

NEPP: Obviously, there will be tryouts in ST for Romero's replacement. The team won't spend money to sign anyone. Bastardo is an extreme longshot.

Eyre cannot replace Romero because Eyre is horrendous vs. righties. Romero's splits weren't pretty either, but he could get enough righties out to make him a usable setup man when necessary.

"Obviously, there will be tryouts in ST for Romero's replacement. The team won't spend money to sign anyone."

On the other hand, Romero doesn't get paid during the suspension, so that's $1.25M made available.

Sorry, JW, but after reading this: www.philly.com/philly/sports/20090105_Phils_Romero_facing_50-game_ban.html I am having a little trouble with the "has merit" part. Sounds a lot more like rules for their own sake with a heavy dose of posturing thrown in.

****NEPP: Obviously, there will be tryouts in ST for Romero's replacement. The team won't spend money to sign anyone. Bastardo is an extreme longshot.****

I agree its a longshot...that's why I said "wacky idea". He's doing okay in the Dominican though...2.60 ERA with 25 Ks in something like 34 IP...he has walked 17 though. So basically he's the JC Romero of the DWL.

Reading this:

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3812334

I think J.C. should sue MLB. It sounds like they make up rules as they go along.

Once again I'll ask, can we PLEASE look at Juan Cruz now? Is there any doubt we go out and sign 40 something Russ Springer now?

Juan Cruz isn't that great against leftys unfortunately. Though we could probably get by with Madson, Park, and Cruz if we HAD to.

It ain't gonna happen either way.

Cruz allowed a .159 BAA vs lefties last year. That sounds pretty good to me!

Rather odd set of circumstances and background to the story. Still, I would rather have MLB set a precedent and actually send a message about the drug policy then stand idly by as they did for the better part of 10 years. Bud Selig using the Sgt. Schultz "I know NOTHING!" defense was pretty laughable at best.

There is possible upside though in the longer-term for the Phils:

1. Forces the Phils FO office to likely make a move and acquire another bullpen arm via the Value Village approach. However, this offseason has been much different than any other in recent past and it is pretty likely there is a going to be a decent veteran arm out there a reasonable price.

Problem is the Phils have to spend the money and I bet they are just as content to pocket the extra $1.25M (which of course they are almost guaranteed to count the full cost of Romero's salary this year in their annual payroll).

2. Romero comes back around Memorial Day or the first week of June with a fresh arm. Romero's arm has had a bunch of mileage on it the past 2 seasons in terms of appearances and to a lesser degree IP.

Romero will likely provide a real boost to the bullpen just when you might have certain arms like Madson or Durbin hit a point where they have a bit of a dead arm.

Romero was a huge lift when the Phils acquired him 2 years ago off the scrap heap when they were desperate to fill in a bullpen whose best arm at the time was El Pulpo.

It is becoming evidently clear that this team is going to likely struggle out of the gate with the questions around Utley and Feliz along with Romero's suspension.

They generally have played very poorly to below average in April under Cholly's tenure and I don't see that changing this year. At best, the Phils tread water the first 4-5 weeks of the season at .500 or so. Just can't afford to dig themselves too big of a hole in the interim.

MG - Here' the problem.

If it happened the way that Mitre and Romero say, which it may have, then the anabolic steroids are getting into the products like nuts get into chocolate bars - in trace amounts at a factory level. It means thatany kind of dietary supplement might have trace amounts of the stuff in them. I do not hear that MLB is ready to ban the use of any OTC Dietary Supplement. Since they are not banning anything until after someone has already used it, and since the product continues to be legal, how can they fine someone for its use?

It's like they discover that beer is a PED (which it might be for some of us); should they suspend all Major League players who kick back with a brewsky retroactively?
(BTW: is it "brewsky" or "brewskie?")

I may be mistaken, but I don't believe that the Phillies simply get to pocket Romero's $1.25 million - I believe it's technically still paid to him since it's a guaranteed contract, and he is fined the same amount by MLB. If memory serves, the fined pay is given to charity.

This blog seems to indicate that this is the case, if the player so chooses:

http://schaeffers-daily-market-blog.duedee.com/2008/6/27/Sports-Blogging-MLB-Fines-Go-To-Charity-Right/36002/

My solution to the suspension is to sign Derek Lowe, move Park definitely into the bullpen, use Eyre as the only LOOGY, Madson to set-up and pray that first half Durbin returns to take over the 7th innings. In June we get the second LHRP back.

I view this as the excuse to mess with the budget for the sake of the staff.

Bad news, I'd like to hear more from J.C. on how he tried to confim this was ok to take before he used the product. He may have been screwed, but in this day and age as a pro ball player you better have your juicy fruit gum sent to the lab before it goes into your mouth. There is little wiggle room here. I'm pissed.

OTOH: Maybe Vic Darensbourg is still available???

The Phillies' owners are probably secretly happy about the Romero suspension, as it puts another $1.25M in their pockets. There's no way they're going to dig into their pockets and sign a decent FA reliever. I could definitely see them making a salary-neutral move where they trade Coste or Stairs for another bullpen arm, but it's pretty hard to imagine that either one of these guys would yield the Phillies anything halfway decent.

Obviously, losing your No. 3 reliever for 50 games is going to hurt. But if they can get a solid start to the season from 2 relievers among the threesome of Durbin, Park, and Majewski, then the loss of Romero won't be the end of the world -- provided no other relievers in their bullpen get injured, that is.

Andy: I like your thinking. Personally, I think the solution to the Romero problem is to trade Eric Bruntlett for Albert Pujols.

I'm going to go with Brewski over the other spellings.

RSB- what has Romero done that would bring his character into question?

The Other Kevin - Your are probably right since it is a guaranteed contracts unless their was some type of penalty clause in their which is hard to believe.

Andy - I see your point but you are taking it to an extreme. It sounds like Romero willingly took a substance he knew might be questionable and then adamantly refused to knowledge it.

i'm surprised we haven't gotten a flood of met trolls accusing the Phillies as cheaters yet

One thing this does - increases the role of Park out of the bullpen in the early going. I don't know if this is a good or bad thing.

If Park gives up a bomb or two early on that lead to Ls, the Phils fans are going to get on him unmercifully as they did Ryan Franklin a few years ago.

There should a some veteran relievers who there like Villone this offseason who are going to linger on the FA market due to the nature of the market this year. I really hope that 500-700k or so doesn't prevent them signing a stopgap measure to fill in the bullpen for the first 2 months of the season.

Al Holland? Willie Hernandez?

It likely will be a Value Village type guy along the likes of Seanez last year. I just doubt it works as well as Seanez did you contrary to popular opinion was pretty effective the first few months of the season and Phils got good value from considering they paid him at the veteran league minimum.

If this does get the 1.25 mil off the books then somebody should make a quick run to their local GNC and slip in a little something into Adam Eaton's lemonade.

BAP: The 1.25 million doesn't go back into the owners' pockets. It goes to MLB charity, I believe. Good to see your cynicism hard at work though.

MG - I'm not sure I agree with it being "extreme."

His statement indicates that he wondered about the supplement, despite it not having a warning and despite it being sold OTC. He consulted the team trainer, who said "meh." He consulted an additional nutritionist, who said, "no problem." MLB had said nothing to anyone about it; the PA had no info that it was banned. And, list of ingredients wise, it should have been okay. When told that, yes, he should not use it, he complied.

I think a lawsuit might be a reasonable, not extreme, outcome over the suspension.

But, hey, if we go with the "sign Derek Lowe" plan, I'd be okay. In fact, I'd recommend the Phils buy a whole case of this stuff, remove the labels and send it to Adam Eaton.

ZT - I'm shocked! Shocked! To see anyone making any implications about Adam Eaton on this site! Shocked!!!

Anyone see that the A's absolutely stole Giambi today? The market for aging sluggers is crashing faster than the stock market in 2008. I would think that Giambi would be worth more than Burrell, not almost $10 million in guaranteed money less. I know Giambi isn't what he used to be, but if he could be had for that amount I would have signed him, traded Howard to Boston for Lars Anderson, Clay Bucholz and Justin Masterson and then used the saved money to sign Derek Lowe.

for everyone who thinks JC got screwed / should sue / MLB are making him a scapegoat / bending the rules.

It feels that way to me too. BUT his suspension was upheld by a third party arbitrator.

he probably can't sue, and we probably don't have all the info the arbitrator did...

Couldn't we offer Lowe something like $4 million this year and $18 million the next two years (3 years, $40 million?) Budget wise, we could easily do that.

GT - We probably don't.

If the Phils are just looking (which we know they're probably not) for a LHRP to grab as an early season replacement, both Beimal and Ohman are still out there I believe. Both are good against LHBs and decent against RHBs. Beimel has more equitable splits, while Ohman eats LHBs for breakfast.

If you look at the wording of the MLBPA's response, you will note that they agree with the arbiter's decision as final. They won't sue for a change in the decision.

But Major League Baseball (aka The Commissioner's Office) inflicts the punishment. They can sue to get the PUNISHMENT reduced. I think this is the process they will take.

Len: I agree that a 2-year, $10M deal for Giambi is excellent value. But the difference between Giambi's 2008 salary & Howard's 2008 salary would be a good $5 to $6M short of landing you Derek Lowe and, with the addition of these 2 players, you will have made the oldest team in the major leagues a great deal older.

Giambi turns 38 tomorrow. He's already a poor hitter for average and he's only going to get worse. Giambi is a decent fit for a low-payroll team like the A's because he's a productive player for $5M. But, as was highlighted by the Pedro Feliz debate of a few days ago, just because a guy is good value for the money does not mean he is someone I want on my team. A 38-year old, .240-hitting first baseman is not someone I want on my team.

I believe in November there was an very unfamilar addition to the Phillies 40 man roster, Sergio Escalona.

His future is as a LOOGY-type and is actually 24 years old. John Sickels and Phuture Phillies have briefly touched on him recently with some positive future abilities.

The Phillies probably knew about Romero then and figured he might be an option in the short-term.

just wanted to mention that the Phillies FO KNEW that JC was going to be suspended for 50 games next year before the end of the season; so perhaps they expect the Park signing to mitigate the impact of losing Romero for the first couple months? the Park signing now makes a little more sense given that the bullpen didn't lose anybody from the WFC team.

Paging Mike Zagurski.

Where is RJ Swindle when you need him?

****Where is RJ Swindle when you need him?****

Milwaukee ;)

CY:
I believe he's on a spiritual quest to Nepal to discover how to slow things down.

Sign Joe Beimel!

I'm a fan. His ERA was a little misleading but he never allows HRs. Perfect fit for this club.


Andy: I agree. When I'm hungry for a snack and I can't find a chocolate bar I always reach for the 6OXO-Extreme, just as J.C. did. This supplement, by the way, supposedly raises testosterone levels and is marketed as a performance enhancer.

bob: "The Park signing now makes a little more sense given that the bullpen didn't lose anybody from the WFC team."

Except for the fact that Park said he signed with the Phils because the FO assured him it viewed him as starter.

Clear up the drug rules for me please. Is a player suspended after first positive test? Because Romero wasn't told about his first positive test until AFTER he took second test. If he had known he was testing positive, would have stopped taking supplement and second positive test would have never occurred.

clout: And it wouldn't be the first time a player suggested there was more to a promise than existed in reality. I'll be shocked if Park gets any more than a token look at the rotation in spring training and a few spot starts during the year.

Now if he looks great in spring training then I got no problem giving him a look in the rotation when the season starts.

BAP: That sounds pretty plausible to me as well. He just wanted to play in Tampa for a team with a chance to be in the Series. Here's the key paragraph, which is hard to argue with:

"I don’t think the economy explains much of the discount. The inferior-but-similar Ibanez received a far superior contract in the same market conditions. Ryan Dempster and A.J. Burnett both received big contracts that I believe exceed their expected values. Furthermore, I believe the potential damage to MLB from the recession has been exaggerated by management, who want to convince players to sign for less. Though baseball will suffer, I think the damage will not be that large and short-lived. I’ve been following the economic impact stories closely, and baseball—like other major sports—seems to be somewhat resistant to recessions. Fans love their sports teams, and following sports is a relatively cheap form of entertainment. In any event, the economic downturn cannot explain the magnitude of Burrell’s discount—a short-term deal for nearly half of his potential revenue generation."

It's the sort of gratuitous Selig-stroking comment: (Amaro) "We care about J.C. and appreciate his contributions over the course of the year and a half he's been with us. We also staunchly support Major League Baseball's drug policy and commend the efforts associated with that program" that makes fans inveigh against Amaro and the rest of Monty's cronies. Especially when the PA is willing to say this: "The union respects the arbitration process and treats the decision as final. In our view, though," Weiner said, "the resulting discipline imposed upon Mitre and Romero is unfair. These players should not be suspended. Their unknowing actions plainly are distinguishable from those of a person who intentionally used an illegal performance-enhancing substance."

clout: I know that storyline fits into what you want to believe, but I think it's a little too convenient. Jason Giambi is much older, but he got less guaranteed for next year than Burrell did, after putting up similar but superior production than Burrell last season. I doubt that he also took a major discount solely for the chance to return to the A's. Burrell got what his market value is currently perceived to be. Deal with it.

BAP: Yeah I'm sure the FO is doing handstands over losing Romero for 50 games. You're ridiculous, and erroneous in your beliefs.

The money as was outlined earlier in the thread doesn't go back to the owners.

But why let facts get in the way of insanity right?

Brian G: Yes, Burrell apparently got what his market value seemed to be. But the point a lot of intelligent baseball analysts (Neyer, Law, BP, Sabernomics) are making is that market value is low for what his actual value is. Meaning that it was a great deal to sign him for that. It doesn't help the pro-Ibane, anti-Burrell argument to say that Pat signed a cheap deal. In fact, it makes the argument that we should have been the ones to sign him to that deal.

Jack: Surely you can't mean that. Our resident expert, Mikes77, assures us that Burrell got exactly what he was worth, and there has been no collapse of the bad-D corner-outfielder market. Surely he knows more than the guy at Sabernomics.

From Fangraphs.com's analysis of the Pat Burrell signing:

"Those two wins cost the Rays $8 million per year, or $4 million per win. This just continues the trend we've seen this off-season, as this shapes up to be the best buyer's market in recent history. Based on his +2 win projection, we'd have expected Burrell to get something like 3 years and $30 million if this was a normal off-season, but the economy forced him to sign for a discount in order to solidify a job with a winner."

Other interesting info from Fangraphs. They now have a new statistic in which they put a monetary value on someone's season. I won't explain it here... but you can read up on it over there.

Anyway, over the length of Burrell's 6-year, $50M contract, Burrell was "worth" (according to Fangraphs) $54.2M.

Last year, Burrell was "worth" $12.6M and Ibanez was "worth" $9.7M.

Brian G: Giambi is 38 years old. Deal with it.

Still sounds weird to hear "go to Tampa to play for a contender". I bet they can't even top the Blue Jay for their place next year.

re: giambi

That does seem like a steal. He's proven that without steriods he still a very good hitter. OPS+ north of 170,180,190 in three straight years back in his roiding days, while 161,148, and 128 in his past 3 full seasons.

Zolecki was on Gargano and Macnow this afternoon while I was listening:

1. He said it was likely the Phils have known that this suspension was coming since Nov when the ruling came down. Not sure exactly we what he was refering to but it sounded like the Phils were pretty sure that Romero was going to get some kind of decent suspension to start the season.

2. Zolecki thought the Phils were going to go with "an internal solution" until Romero comes back. Yeah. Great solution considering that finding a lefty arm for the pen internally has worked so well the past 2+ years.

Here's what I think: The Rays took advantage of the depressed market for corner OFs that occured due to the abormally high supply of similar players and the supposed effects of the economic recession on MLB teams (which is probably overstated and exaggerated, but perception becomes reality here).

The Phillies misjudged the market, overpaying early because they wanted to make a quick strike and because they didn't yet realize the depressed market that would occur.

I don't blame the Phillies for anything sinister, just lack of foresight and general mismanagement. Which is bad enough.

Truth: Chill out, dude. I was making a joke. Considering your many recent personal attacks on me, I'll remember not to defend you again the next time someone refers to you as the "Untruth Injection."

The problem with equating the value of a player with his contract, as Brian G, mikes, flipper and several others are doing, is that it assumes the values assigned by GMs (via contracts) are always right. Some contracts turn out to be bargains (as Burrell's and Giambi's appear to be) and others turn out to be disasters (as Zito's did and Burnett's could well be.)

Good post Jack. I'm sure if they had a better idea of the market at the time, they wouldn't have spent as much as they did.

However, I still believe that they were much more willing to spend a few more dollars to get Ibanez than wait around and be able to save a few to get another one of the LF on the market.

And as many have said before, you can't really judge if they were right or not until you see their performances on the field.

RSB didn't use the proper word with "character." I would say there are some "questionable" things working against Romero. Like:

1). The ease in which the Phils were able to get him in the first place, off waivers from Boston, who cut him loose after posting a deplorable 3.15 ERA.

2). In 2006, Romero tested positive for a precursor of testosterone, which he said was a fertility supplement his wife, Erin, and he were taking. The case was dropped.

3). The response by Phillies officials to the suspension today.

I have nothing against Romero. Traditionally, baseball handles matters like these poorly. The players union fed Romero misinformation, but I don't know if advice over performance supplements should really be their jurisdiction.

Good story. Bad blow for the Phils. Consider it an unlucky 60-day trip to the DL. Between Utz, Romero, Feliz, they're dealing with more setbacks at once than at any point in 2008.

2 things:

One, Romero should have been smarter and waited until he heard back fom MLB on the supplement test. Besides, he said he bought the new supplement because the store was out of the one he had been using. Hmmm, I guess he didn't have time to drive to another store during the day, because most MLB games are at night.....oh, wait!

Two, I wonder what this board will look like if the Rays, who with Burrell have added to a pretty imposing lineup, make it back to the WS and win? Worse yet, what will this board look like if the Phils and Rays face off again and PB gets a WS winning hit, or is in the middle of the rally? Hmmmm?

I will admit when I heard a quick mention of Romero being suspended for 50 games while still face down in bed, my immediate reaction was aaah crap, they caught him.

I was more surprised to see this drama unfold than I would have been if it was an action shot of him being injected by a Mark McGwire bobblehead syringe.

At the risk of being called a racist, he fits the bill. A fringe level latino who sees a quick rise in performance, hits a wall around the drug policy enforcements, and then conjures up a second wind. *cough Freddy Garcia cough*

What I would love to see on "the economy" being blamed for the FA market this offseason is an analysis of previous recessions and their affect on attendance if possible.

While owners may be playing the angle hard that the economy is affecting their revenue projections, I am willing to bet initial season ticket sales were solid until about the stock market really tanked in October. Even then, I bet that most season tickets sales were pretty brisk.

What I do think is going to be affected though is single game sales tickets and wake-up sales - particularly towards the later part of the year when national employment is likely around 9% or so and in some markets will be north of 10%. This will be near/quite-near Post WWII high and will likely affect overall attendance after the ASB to some-degree.

AWH: I'd spend more time wondering what the surface of Mars smells like after it rains, that holds a better chance of being relevant to your life than your Burrell story.

...as in more people will have time off to go to games?

Jack: And I completely agree with what you've said, and was advocating at the beginning of the offseason that the Phils should wait for Burrell's price to drop.
My only point was regarding the argument over the contract that Burrell would get. Clout said he would get 3 years 45 million, and as recently as a week ago was basically calling people stupid who said Burrell might have to settle for something like 2 yrs 15 mil. Now, as a cover, he's going with the baseless theory that Burrell accepted significantly less to play for a winner.
I just enjoy poking fun at the arrogance of clout, but of course have no interest in arguing against his strawman that I "equate players' values with their contracts", which is so obviously stupid. Please give me a little more credit than that.

Romero was let go from the Red Sox because of CONTROL issues. Not anger control issues. Because he couldn't get the ball over the plate.

His BB to K ratio was 15 to 11 before he was let go. They also had 2 other Lefties in their pen. And brought in veteran right hander Mike Timlin to replace him.

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