Q: On the Recent Pete Rose News, from Don Garvey
Hey! CD, I read your column all the time and assume you have an opinion on the recent Pete Rose saga. I would like to know what you think should be done? Thanks.
As both a Phillies and baseball fan, I have been following the Pete Rose story almost since its inception 14 years ago. While a small boy growing up, one of my fondest memories was watching Rose play. His love for the game, his determination to win, and his zest for competition was quite clear.
Although he was often a thorn in the side of the Phillies, even going back to 1964 during the 10 game losing streak that cost the Phils the NL pennant, I admired the way he played. When he joined the Phils in 1979, it seemed a perfect fit, and the 1980 World Series championship proved this correct.
Frankly, I always believed he was lying about his alleged betting on baseball games. It just didn't make sense that baseball would wrongfully accuse its all time hit leader and a player who had been a wonderful ambassador for the game. It bothered me that he denied it for so long and I am glad that he has finally acknowledged it.
Do I feel he was passionate enough in his apology? No. Do I think he could have done more to show absolution? Yes. Do I think he will ever fully understand the gravity of his sins? Not in this life. So, where do we go from here?
It is my feeling that Pete Rose should be voted into the Hall of Fame as a player. He is worthy of the honor, and a HOF without its all time hits leader seems a bit incomplete. However, Pete Rose should not be allowed to receive total absolution for something that is at the very core of sport… the belief by fans that all games are played honestly and with total devotion to winning the game fairly.
If this is ever
compromised, sport becomes meaningless as a viable activity, and fans will
quickly lose interest. So my recommendation would be to allow Rose to be placed
on the HOF ballot as a player, and let the sportswriters determine his
worthiness for the Hall. After all, many writers will never vote for Rose,
regardless of his worthiness.
However, I would not allow Rose to ever work for a major league team again. His dream is to manage the Cincinnati Reds and he should not be allowed to do this. He must accept responsibility for his crimes and this would be a punishment that he would find harsh, but fair. Keeping him ineligible for the HOF only makes him more sympathetic to a certain fan base who feels he is being punished too harshly.
I would only allow him to
work under the guidelines of Major League Baseball, and they would employ him to
speak at high schools, colleges and minor league ballparks about the dangers of
gambling, and to discuss openly his wrongdoings. This employment would be
subject to review every 3-4 years and baseball would have the right to change
his restrictions as they see fit.
I also would have a separate room added to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, specifically to record and discuss the events of the 1919 White Sox, Pete Rose, and other past baseball figures who gambled or took bribes on baseball. This would prove informative and educational. It would be a timeless reminder to all that Pete Rose's plaque in the HOF is a reminder of his greatness, and of baseball's forgiveness, but also of his terrible mistake in allowing his weakness to tarnish his reputation forever.
Hope this helps, Don, and
thanks for becoming the latest member of the Phillie Pulse. Hope you write
Q. On Upcoming Phillie Moves and Acquisitions, from Chad Ridge
do you see the
Phillies making any other moves before spring training? Do you think they need
another lefty reliever?
Good question, Chad, and one that will be dealt with in two of the following questions! Look for the Phils to announce the signing of veteran outfielder Doug Glanville in the next few days. The Phils seem enamored with Glanville's speed, his ability to hit and his defensive presence. I am also convinced that as a former University of Penn man, he is quite popular with U of P graduate, Dave Montgomery, the managing general partner of the team.
As for a need for another
lefty reliever, I think the Phils feel they addressed this issue when they
claimed lefty Victor Alvarez on waivers from the Dodgers. Alvarez has major
league experience and has been quite successful at the minor league level. I
also expect the Phils to take a long look at lefty Greg Kubes, who pitched at
SWB in Triple A last season.
Now, do I think Alvarez or Kubes is the answer to another lefty in the bullpen? No, I don't, but I do think the Phils are prepared to see how they do in spring training. A lefty I like that is available is former Brave, Giant and Oriole, Damion Moss. While pitching for the Braves, he was highly successful against the Phils. I expect him to resurface with Atlanta so I doubt he is on our radar screen.
Take care, Chad, and thanks for the question.
Q. On the Signing of Placido Polanco, from Donald Schell
Hey! CD, what is the status of Polanco, is he signed yet for 2004?
Donald, this is a question I am asked often, not only about Polanco, but also about Jimmy Rollins and Vicente Padilla. As players with at least three years of major league service, all are eligible for salary arbitration.
While there was some sentiment earlier about offering Padilla a multiyear contract, the Phils have now decided to offer all three players simple one year deals. The offers will be made this month. The players will counter offer what they feel they are worth and if it goes to arbitration, the arbitrator will decide on one of the other.
This is a business that the Phils are quite good at and they have never lost a case. They even defeated agent Scott Boras when he represented Travis Lee in arbitration. Keep in mind that the Phils are generally considered to be quite fair in salary offers and rarely get involved in contentious negotiations.
I believe that they will settle with all three players before arbitration and if history is any guide, they will pretty much split the difference between the two salaries. For example, if they offer Polanco 3.2 million dollars and Polanco asks for 4.2 million dollars (and these are just my numbers, not actual ones!), then the Phils will probably be inclined to split the difference at 3.7 million, plus incentives.
If I were to venture a
guess, I would say that only Rollins might take the Phils to arbitration. He
seems to have had some difficult negotiations with the Phils and might be
inclined to let an arbitrator decide his value. I do not see Polanco or Padilla
ending up in arbitration.
Welcome to the Pulse, Donald, write again!
Q. On the Signing of Doug Glanville, from Ed Siegler, Philadelphia, PA
Hey! CD, what is the real deal with the Glanville signing? What do you think the Phils are thinking?
Ah, Ed, my answer has not been a popular one with many Phillie readers, but here is my take on the Glanville signing.
Most fans think that when Glanville is signed, he will replace either outfielder Jason Michaels or infielder Chase Utley on the roster.
Michaels would probably be traded for a relief pitcher or Utley would be sent back to SWB for a third season. While I fully acknowledge that either scenario is possible, I do not think so. I believe the Glanville signing is entirely tied to the David Bell situation and here is my premise.
Living on the West Coast in Southern California, I read almost daily of Shawn Wooten and his desire to receive an opportunity to compete for a starting position with his former team, the Anaheim Angels. While the Angels desperately wanted him back, they would not guarantee him a chance to start.
Please keep in mind that
Wooten was happy in Anaheim and chose to leave for a chance to compete for a
starting job. In fact, he has lost over 20 pounds to improve this quest. Two days after he was let go by the
Angels, he signed a contract with the Phillies. On the very same day that the
Phils announced the signing of Wooten, they began to float the Glanville signing
balloon, almost completely out of nowhere.
I believe these two scenarios, the Wooten signing and the possible signing of Glanville, are related. I think the Phils are very concerned about the availability of 3rd baseman David Bell for 2004 and indicated to Wooten that if Bell were unable to play, then he would be given a chance to platoon at 3rd base against lefties.
Since Wooten is a notoriously slow runner and weak defensive player, and Bell is a solid veteran presence on the team, the Phils see Glanville as a replacement for both! I believe the Phils see Glanville as the veteran presence on the team and in the clubhouse to replace Bell if Bell is unavailable. The fact that he can be used as a late game pinch runner for Wooten, and then possibly kept in the game as a defensive outfielder, makes him even more appealing.
I am fully aware that this scenario is thought of as quite a reach by some of my readers. I also understand that connecting these dots takes a real leap of faith into the understanding of how the Phils brain trust might view this situation.
However, given Bell's
uncertainly concerning his back, Wooten's announced desire to compete for
playing time, and the timing of the Glanville announcement, it was not too
difficult to put all three stories into one scenario.
One thing is for sure… we will know the result very shortly, as spring training is less than six weeks away. I expect all three players to be in Clearwater when training camp begins.
As always, thanks for the question, Ed, and for your continued support of the Phillie Pulse!
Q. On Shawn Wooten's Playing Time, and What Position He Will Play, from Nilesh Seshadri
position do you think Shawn Wooten will play and can you tell me a little bit
As you can tell, Nilesh, Shawn Wooten has become quite a popular figure in Philadelphia. I have seen him play on several occasions and the first thing I will tell Phillie fans is that he will remind them of Pete Incavilia.
Short, stocky and powerful, Wooten takes a vicious swing and generates solid power from his wrists. He has lost lots of weight so he should be in good shape this season. This was always a criticism of him while he played for the Angels.
Wooten is a very versatile player and I think the Phils will take advantage of this versatility. He can catch, and this will allow greater use of 2nd catcher, Todd Pratt as a pinch hitter.
He also is quite adept at
1st base and can give Jim Thome a rest against tough lefties like
Randy Johnson and Tom Glavine and also give him a rest when the Phils play on
hard surfaces like Montreal.
Yet, it is at 3rd base that I think Wooten will see the most action. I believe he will play the hot corner against left hand pitching, while Utley will play against right-handers. I think Polanco will play 3rd base when Utley is in the lineup and move over to 2nd when Wooten plays.
I also believe Wooten will
prove to be a very valuable right handed pinch hitter off the bench. He will
provide the Phils will solid power and should prove a fan favorite. Hard working
and friendly, Wooten is exactly the type of player that Phillie fans appreciate
and support. I think this was an excellent signing!
Hope this helps, Nilesh, and write the Pulse again soon!
Q. On the Possible Signing of Roger Clemens with the Astros, from Dominick Patrone, Richmond, VA
Hey! CD, how do you feel about the possible signing of ace right-hander Roger Clemens by the Houston Astros? Do you think it changes the balance of power in the National league?
Dominick, I am glad you asked this question as I have a very strong opinion on Clemens joining the Astros. While I have absolutely no problem with Clemens pitching with a team close to home, I think the way it is being handled is terribly wrong.
Far be it from me to be an apologist for the New York Yankees, but I think this whole scenario is unfair to the Yanks, especially GM Brian Cashman. First, lets try and remember how many good bye sendoffs Clemens received, from his last visit to Fenway, his last this, his last that!
Frankly, it almost became nauseous to see the Clemens good byes at every park. Even Derek Jeter made a comment to the effect that "Clemens farewells seemed to take place for over one month!"
Through this whole ordeal,
while Clemens insisted his decision was final, Cashman kept holding out hope
that he might change his mind. Yet, when he walked off the field to a standing
ovation during the World Series, and then came out and tipped his cap to the
adoring crowd, it really seemed over.
Cashman indicated that he would have offered Clemens arbitration if he thought there was the slightest chance Clemens would pitch again, if only to protect a draft pick. Remember, this was the Phils initial strategy in regards to Millwood, and it was universally applauded.
When Cashman became
convinced that Clemens was really retiring, he didn't offer arbitration. Then
not one week after the arbitration date was over, Clemens announces he may sign
with Houston! What??? This is wrong and ML baseball should address this issue if
and when Clemens officially signs with the "Stros… and he will!
I think that Commissioner Selig should choose one of two options. Either he refuses to approve Clemen's contract until May 1, the date he could have returned to the Yankees, or he awards the Yanks a supplemental draft pick in the first round.
There is a dangerous precedent being set here… a star player announcing his retirement, only to unretire after the arbitration date is over, and then signing with another team. An agent like Scott Boras would someday use this to his benefit, that is for sure!
However, because of the power of the baseball player's union, and Selig's dislike for King George of Yorker, I don't think he will do anything. In fact, not a discouraging word will be said. This will not move me from my position… this is wrong!
As per your question about the balance of power in the NL, I think this makes the Astros the favorites. They were already, along with the Phils and Cubs, probably one of the three strongest clubs in the NL. If Clemens remains a power pitcher at 40, the Astros look to have a very strong staff of Pettitte, Clemens, Oswald, Miller and Robertson.
While certainly not overpowering favorites, I would think the Astros would become the team to beat in the NL.
Thanks again, Dom, for a timely question! Write again anytime to the Phillie Pulse!
CD from the Left Coast