Results tagged ‘ Lance Bergman ’

Bergman Should Not be a Rays Option

This is one slugging Free Agent I had hoped the Tampa Bay Rays would avoid like a plaque. Not that his lifetime .296 average and 360 Home Runs do not make you salivate a bit, but Lance Bergman to me is “Pat Burrell Part 2” if the team did sign him. This is not to say Berkman could fill the gaping First Base hole and possibly the Designated Hitter slot in the Rays anemic line-up, but I truly feel he is just 1 injury away from tossing his glove into the bag for good. 

I would hate to see Bergman come here with the Rays Republic’s high expectation that he can make us forget the Burrell, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon and Luke Scott DH fiasco’s from the past. Sure his defensive skills at first base might be light-years above anyone the Rays currently have in their system, but when a guy goes through 2 knee surgeries in a season (2012), you have to enter into any discussions with an air of caution. Seriously, hasn’t the Rays Medical staff had to tape, bandage and use ointments on enough players over the last 2 seasons to warrant someone coming in healthy this Spring and beyond. 

You also have to be a bit weary when Berkman tells the media in an interview he “wants to be paid like a 3-hole hitter”. That in itself might and should be the red flag the Rays need to turn their attentions towards another target. Can this team afford even thinking about a player who might want to command a 8 figure salary who also has shown bouts of injury time sprinkled into his great career numbers. Considering the St. Louis Cardinals paid Bergman $8 million for 2012 and he only played in around 32 game during that season and was out significantly early on in the Cards. This Rays franchise can not handle another “Burrell” moment with tight payroll that should again be near the $ 70-million dollar threshold. 

This is a guy who many teams are doing the old “kicking the tires” mode on Bergman right now, and hopefully the Rays are just being diligent and checking in on Bergman without any serious want for his services. Sure Bergman could be the Rays answer to a few holes in their field or line-up alignment, but not at a time when his health and season long durability has question marks all over them. I truly hope the Rays did just do the diligent thing and just check in on Bergman with no real want for him because even a 15-day Disabled List stint with no clear back-up plan in the mix could become a huge personnel thorn in the Rays side as this team again tires to establish some dominance in the American League East.

Some might take the notion I’m a bit shell-shocked still by the whole “Burrell Era”, and they might be right. I know this team can not have another player who goes down even short-term with nagging injuries like Burrell did in his Rays tenure. This team of course can not guarantee their player’s health will stay at an optimum at any time, but taking on a health risk like Bergman is not in the Rays best financial interest. Leave Bergman for someone else, this team can and will find better.



My Tweak to the Home Run Derby Selection Process

Everyone might remember I had some reservations on the new “Captains” format for the State Farm Home Run Derby. After thinking about it for a day, it might have some legitimate merit, but maybe it can be tweaked a bit, just like the selection process. Hopefully today I can outline my ideas, and maybe some day M L B will take credit for it ( just kidding).

The Captain format did take the selection process out of Major League Baseball fingers, but it ended up being a collection of “buddies” taking turns hitting a baseball more than a competition that let fans from all over the country, and other countries outside the United States see our budding stars. Sure American League Captain David Ortiz made an overall very impressive four-some, but even Ortiz made sure to mention several times that he picked his “boys”.

So why not make the American League and National League leaders at the All-Star Break the Captains in the future? That would give more of a guarantee to the assembled baseball fans the best long ball hitters from both leagues at the top of the equation. In 2011, that would have made Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista and St. Louis Cardinal Lance Bergman the first 2 players selected for the Home Run Derby. Combined the pair have crushed 55 balls into the stands heading into the All-Star Break.

From there I would love to trash the current “Final Vote” premise and re-institute it with 8 names from each league to have a week’s worth of voting to decide the final 3 candidates to stand with Bautista and Bergman as members of both the American and National League squads. Sure there is still the horror of the large market teams stuffing the ballot box, but I have a solution to keep multiple players from each squad off the final selection team.

To keep the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Cardinals and possibly the Dodgers from stuffing the ballot boxes, there can be no multiple players selected from the same franchise. That ruling would have split up the 2011 pairings of Adrian Gonzalez and Ortiz, plus would have made either Rickie Weeks or Prince Fielder the Brewer possibly selected to the team. This rule would have also eliminated Matt Holiday since Bergman would have been the Cardinals representative.

Such a regulation would keep an unbalanced Home Run Derby squad that should of included players like Cincy’s Jay Bruce, White Sox Paul Korneko, Ranger Nelson Cruz or even Oriole’s Mark Reynolds.

This system also has a flaw or two that need to be ironed out, like this year’s winner Robinson Cano might not have been picked with this format since Mark Teixera and Curtis Granderson had more Home Runs heading into the break than Cano.

Sure there are thing to be worked out, and holes to fill by players not wanting to participate, but M L B could get those “Yeahs” or “Nays” at the conclusion of the All-Star voting and hype up the Home Run Derby selection process with an entire week of plugging certain players, or maybe even trying to get a up-and coming player most of the country has not seen hit the ball like the Marlins Mike Stanton a chance on the big stage.

M L B made an honest effort this season to correct some past Home Run Derby wrongs, and they are steps in the right direction. Now by also involving the fans in the process, we can get a more suitable and diverse selection that will have people again excited about the event.

Watching Bautista and Weeks struggle last night was painful at times, and there is no doubt some people changed the channel……With a few slices and dices, the Home Run Derby can come back in Kansas City for the 2012 All-Star game lean, mean and pounding balls after ball into those fountains. That would be a pure joy to watch.