Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Fountain Of Youth In MLB

The recession, or whatever you want to call this economic downturn, has hit the free agent market. HARD. Other than the Yankees, and they always love to be the exception to the rule, especially because (oh, the horror!) they missed the 2008 postseason, free agent signings are down. Less than 45% of the declared 2009 free agents have found a home. They are dangling, rich and dangling. But it would be nice for them to know where they're going to end up in '09. Add to that situation the youth movement, maybe by necessity or maybe by smart recruiting, as is the case for the Red Sox. Peter Gammons wrote a piece for espn dot com on Saturday, and here's a bit of it. I'll link the entire article to this post's title, but before you click, read this and then my comments will follow. Here you go...

"...but in baseball's post-Canseco, post-BALCO, post-Mitchell world, the game is different. The game cannot escape its past, not as long as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds remain media fixations 16 months since their last games, not as long as the Hall of Fame ballot remains a moral issue. We all know that chemists get paid to create better stuff than testing chemists can detect, but the game is different. Back in May 2005, Theo Epstein told his scouting folks, "The game is going to change, and we'd better be prepared for it." Two of the players drafted weeks later, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie, were key elements in a Boston team that won 95 games in 2008.
You could put Jimmy Rollins on Dustin Pedroia's shoulders and they might not be taller than British actor Neil Fingleton, and they have won MVP awards the past two years.
In this post-amphetamine, post-HGH, post-steroids, post-whatever era, 35 is the new 40, or, as Hall of Famer Jim Bunning said in the congressional hearings three years ago, "When I played, when you turned 35, you were old."

Peter here. Gammons' point was this...many teams will be developing their young talent right there, on the field. Look at Jed Lowrie and Jacoby Ellsbury of the Red Sox. They blossomed right in front of our eyes. I'm a Red Sox fan, and everyone in Red Sox Nation and Red Sox International knows that Theo Epstein & Company has excelled at recruiting the right guys each and every year since he's been in Boston. The dividends have and will continue to pay off. The Yankees? They've spent hundreds of millions of bucks this year to acquire three of the best and most valuable players. But they will have to surrender their first, second & third round draft picks. Hey Hal, hey Hankie, pick your poison...you seem SO good at choosing the wrong one.

OK, ok, I'm finished. That last paragraph was a colored blur to me. I couldn't type fast enogh...the words were literally pouring into my brain. I can't type that well in the first place, but usually I can keep up with "that voice in my ear." I did! And I hope that little voice never stops. As always, BE WELL, and click on this post's title for the original Gammons piece. Have a great Sunday.

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