There are no shadows in darkness. Shadows only exist once light is cast on an object. There’s been a great deal of darkness exposed in baseball and the Angels lately because light is finally being shed on longtime problems.
Some people suck. Mickey Callaway is (allegedly) one of them. But we only know this because five women spoke up and shed light on his behavior. Twenty years ago his behavior likely stays in the dark and the string of victims continues.
MLB needs to make it easier for women to shine light on such behavior. The Olympics has a hotline, the NCAA has resource center, there’s help for youth sports, and RAINN does great work. Where are you MLB?
Again, this isn’t a new problem. And, just like with positive PED tests, when names come out that shows the system to root out the unscrupulous ones is working to some degree. Let’s get a real system in place and be happy when it works.
Speaking of women in MLB, how long until a woman is an umpire at the big league level? The NFL and NBA have women officials, after all, and I’m pretty sure replacing Angel Hernandez and Joe West would be considered progress on multiple fronts.
Another crisis in America is mental health. Drew Robinson’s incredible story has gripped the baseball world. Shortly thereafter Andrelton Simmons revealed his battle with suicidal thoughts. One man shining his light inspiring another to do the same. That was followed by Levi Weaver of The Athletic shedding light on his mental health journey. Again, a generation or so ago they would have faced their battles in isolated darkness, considered mentally weak, scoffed at for having it all and not realizing it.
The Drew Robinson link is your long form reading and the time is well worth it.
Of course, for Angels fans there has been a series of calamities these last two years. Thankfully Mat cares enough about the team to call them out over misdeeds.
Yes this is my “glass half full” response to this week. But it is true. We’re only seeing these problems because light is being shone on them. They’ve always existed but now we can bring them out into the light, look at them, and hopefully work towards a better environment for the future.
And while I generally despise moral relativism, if you think baseball is in bad shape now take a look at Sunday’s Super Bowl game. You have a massive cheater who looks like a choir boy. There’s also a violent nutjob, and a guy who threw furniture off a balcony nearly killing a baby and has been accused of multiple sexual offenses on one sideline and a guy who beat his pregnant girlfriend then beat and likely broke his two year old son’s arm on the other.
Roberto Osuna is clearly in the wrong sport.
Back to real baseball, the Angels completed the trade of Jahmai Jones to Baltimore for Alex Cobb. Fangraphs perfectly describes Cobb as “something a little worse than average but significantly better than replacement level.”
Honestly this hurts a bit. Jahmai is a great guy and I’ve grown incredibly fond of him over the years. When I was first added as a staff writer at the old site I sent out a series of messages through Facebook requesting interviews. Jahmai replied immediately. Four interviews and countless text messages later he’d made the show, where he still made time for me.
I’ll say it again, you’re lucky if your kid chooses Jahmai Jones as his favorite player.
Essentially taking Jahmai’s place on the depth chart is Robel Garcia, a former Cub with huge power and a lot of swing and miss.
Where does this leave the Angels roster now? Another great breakdown by The Athletic.
Looking for good news, MLB Network named Anthony Rendon the best third baseman in the game.
And despite being surround by stars like Rendon and Trout, David Fletcher still stands out. Glad to see he’s getting some love.
After bringing Cobb on board, the 2021 payroll is creeping up near the 2020 level. Arte said payroll will not go down, he didn’t say it would go up. Depending on the amount of Cobb’s money that is deferred, we likely still have enough for some lower level bullpen arms or maybe a Goodwin type to patrol the outfield.
Bullpen arms are coming off the board quickly, though, and that likely continues as Spring Training gets nearer. Alex Colome stays in the AL Central and joins the rival Twins while the Diamondbacks snag Joakim Soria, much to the despair of our own Chase Kimura.
Definitely look for Perry to try to build depth through minor league deals. We often throw the term “minor league” deal out there like it is a standard, cut and dry deal. That is anything but the case. They are surprisingly complex and differ greatly from MLB contracts.
The minors are always a struggle, no more so than in 2020. Here’s a very interesting piece on how the players navigated the unprecedented year.
As far as the 2021 season getting going, the MLBPA and owners continue to act like high schoolers and couldn’t even join the same call with federal authorities to hear suggestions on starting the season safely. The MLBPA will get their own call in a few days and hear the same suggestions.
I think it is only fitting on this week I honor those who bring light to things that I honor Wendell Smith, legendary sports writer for the Pittsburgh Courier. The baseball HOF has an incredible collection of his work. Wendell was given a nice portrayal in the movie 42 and was instrumental in pushing the public discourse on integrating baseball and by extension America. He also ghost wrote Jackie Robinson’s newspaper column and much of his autobiography. The newspaper column is a fascinating angle often overlooked in the Jackie Robinson story. I definitely recommend that link.
That’s Wendell’s picture up above. I’m going to get lost in those papers for a while.
Enjoy the big game Sunday or don’t. The clock is ticking towards Spring Training…..