FIRE JOE MORGAN: Woody Paige Still Writes A Column


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Monday, June 02, 2008


Woody Paige Still Writes A Column

I won't lie: sometimes there is despair in the life of a sports metacriticism blogger. What if sportswriters have slowly but surely wisened up over the years? What if the level of discourse in the columnosphere (the mainstream equivalent to the blogosphere) has improved from insanely batshit crazy to merely mildly provocative? What if writers have actually started to read and/or fear us?

Then I remember Woody Page still has a column and I breathe a sigh of newsprint-scented relief (so scented because I have eaten his column out of pure righteous fury).

In his latest missive from the Insane But Harmless Room at Arkham Asylum (I think the Clock King (Wikipedia: "He has no super-powers or abilities other than an absolute sense of time and timing") lives there as well), Woodrow (his real name) espouses the trading of one young Matthew Holliday, which in and of itself is not a preposterous idea. But wait until you see some of the trade proposals Woodford (not his real name) has in store for us:

The Rockies will finish out of the playoffs this season with or without Holliday...

Holliday would be a significant addition for Cleveland, and the Rockies also could send best friend Garrett Atkins or Brad Hawpe.

In exchange, the Rockies could seek starting pitcher Cliff Lee (8-1, 1.88 ERA and four superb pitches), a middle reliever and an outfield prospect. The Rox, depending on the second player in the deal, play Ian Stewart at third or in left, and Ryan Spilborghs becomes a full-time starting outfielder who could be the next Holliday.

Let's break this down:

Holliday, 28, career OPS+ of 130, coming off seasons of 137 and 150


Cliff Lee, 30, who seems to be the very definition of an average pitcher -- career ERA+ of precisely 100 and a WHIP of 1.338. Outside of the nano-Lilliputian chance that he's all of a sudden figured it out and will win multiple Cy Youngs, isn't this, I don't know, maybe the absolute crest of the Cliff Lee market? Isn't this buying high on a package of Cliff Lee and a couple of minor leaguers?

Oh wait, Woodward (not his real name) also wants us to throw in:

Atkins, 28, career OPS+ of 110, coming off seasons of 136 and 112


Hawpe, 28, career OPS+ of 111, coming off seasons of 120 and 129

And how about "Ryan Spilborghs becomes a full-time starting outfielder who could be the next Holliday"? There's the small issue that Ryan Spilborghs is four months older than Matt Holliday and has managed to play a little over one season of major league baseball in his career, in which time he's been serviceable, but still -- do you really want to hitch your wagon to Ryan "Steven" Spilborghs' star? At that point you might as well count on some superduperstardom for Seth "Sleeping With Bienemy" Smith.

To recap: Cliff Lee. Coors Field (even post-humidor). For a season and a half of Matt Holliday, maybe you could do better. But wait: The Wood (1996 Omar Epps vehicle) wants to do worse:

Or, consider: The Rockies acquire Cleveland pitcher C.C. Sabathia, who got off to a terrible start before settling. It would be 2007 Cy Young winner for MVP runner-up.

Sabathia will be a free agent at the conclusion of the season.

Let me remind everyone that earlier, Woodruff Paige himself wrote that "The Rockies will finish out of the playoffs this season with or without Holliday," and yet in the very same article he now proposes that they trade Holliday for a guy whose deal ends even sooner than Holliday's -- a deal that ends, in fact, at the end of this already-doomed year.

This is what's known in sportswriting as "Idea Followed By Sentence That Absolutely Devastates Previous Idea." Classic W.C. Heinz shit. Heinz would write a whole article comprised entirely of contradictory couplets, drink 800 drams of bourbon, and fell a bison with a revolver, all before noon. Now that was a sportswriter.

But it would make sense for dollars to the proven 27-year-old left-hander — probably close to $100 million over five years. He would be precious for years for the Rockies' pitching staff. The Monforts have to get over the Hampton/Neagle debacle. There is a humidor at the ballpark, and the Rockies always need a (No. 1) starter.

But there is absolutely no guarantee that once traded to the Rockies, Chuck Sunday would sign a fucking five-year deal with them. Why would he do that? Two-thirds of a season in Denver is really that persuasive? Counting on him to fall in love with a Colorado snow bunny?

Don't like those possibilities?

As a matter of fact, The Pagemaster (1994 Macaulay Culkin vehicle), I do not. I am a reasonable human being.

How about the Blue Jays, the Tigers, the Braves, the Mariners, the Cardinals, the Rangers (who have two starting pitchers available — and the injured Jason Jennings — or the A's (Rich Harden, and they flip Holliday next season).

Rich Harden (~105 IP from 2006-present)?

Here are the Rangers' starters, all the way down to "T. Diamond."

1. V. Padilla
2. K. Millwood
3. S. Ponson
4. S. Feldman
5. D. Mathis
6. A. Murray
7. J. Jennings
8. L. Mendoza
9. B. McCarthy
10. T. Diamond

Any of those guys look worth a year and a half of Holliday? Yikes.

The Giants? Holliday would be The New Left Fielder, and perhaps the Rockies could pry Tim Lincecum, and others, away from them.

And just like that, Woodhouse changes his bargaining strategy from "I'll give you Holliday for half a Southern Chicken Sandwich" to "I demand a foursome with the owner's wife and twin daughters." Timmy Lincecum strikes out 68 batters per inning and is controlled for five and a half more years.

In Wood-dar's universe, this translates to: "We'll give you 200-odd games of Holliday for him, but you'll have to throw in 'and others.'"

I guess maybe this would work if Holliday were 38 and you could sell Sabean on his veteran experience.

All in all, a fine effort from Mr. Paige, and I look forward to reading his work again soon. God bless you, sir, for maintaining this blogger's faith in insanity.

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posted by Junior  # 8:29 PM
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