By Jason Wojciechowski on August 4, 2015 at 8:51 PM
We finally got an A.J. Griffin update, though it's worth noting that the second half of Slusser's tweet is wrong -- Tyler Ladendorf is on the 60-day disabled list, not the minor-league list, the difference being that he's not currently taking a 40-man roster spot. Anyway, the Griffin update is basically "no update." He's not throwing yet.
It's morbid, but we're too the point with Griffin's shoulder now, immediately following Tommy John surgery, where I'm worried about the probability that he never pitches in the majors again. He's still probably more likely than not to do so, but what odds are we talking about that he's Mark Prior? They're not zero. They were never zero, to be fair, but they're a lot higher now than they were two years ago. (In some omniscient sense that's not true, but from our limited information here on the ground, ants that we are, it's close enough.)
What about Joey Wendle? I'm concerned. Scouting isn't stats, but Wendle hit .253/.311/.414 at Double-A last year and is at .274/.308/.405 at Triple-A this year. He's a second baseman, sure, so the bar is low, but it's not that low. These are way below Eric Sogard's numbers in the high minors; Nerd King hit for about the same power, but posted OBPs in the high .300s, not the scraping-the-barrel .300s that Wendle is hitting. (Those OBPs, after all, were what made him such a stereotypical Oakland target in trade.) And remember, Wendle's already 25. He can't spend another two years in the minors figuring it out and still have any upside left in the majors.
Maybe Chad Pinder can't arrive to play shortstop and move Marcus Semien over to second soon enough. (Pinder's 23 and is hitting .316/.364/.469 in Double-A this year and was a reasonably well-regarded prospect coming into the season.)
Dave Dombrowski is out as President and General Manager of the Tigers after a very successful decade-plus run there. It isn't clear yet whose idea this was. Official word is that it was mutual, but who knows what's really going on behind the scenes. The timing, immediately after a sell-off of tradeable assets in acknowledgment of the team's place in the standings, is curious. Al Avila, father of Tigers catcher Alex Avila, will take over.
I have some ideas for what Dombrowski could do next. All the talk is that he'll be a president somewhere -- Seattle, Anaheim, Boston, etc. That makes sense, especially because that was the role he was originally hired for in Detroit. Long before the President-GM duo became all the rage (see Friedman-Zaidi in LA, Sabean-Evans in San Francisco, La Russa-Stewart in Arizona, and Shapiro-Antonetti in Cleveland, off the top of my head), Dombrowski was brought to Detroit over the top of GM Randy Smith. Six (bad) games into the first season of that arrangement, however, Dombrowski fired Smith, took the reins, and that was that.
So here are my two ideas: Billy Beane becomes president of the A's (or some other title, respecting the fact that Michael Crowley is already president, but in a different sense that Beane would be), Dave Forst becomes GM, and Dombrowski fills Forst's vacated AGM role. The A's will have to promote Forst at some point or lose him to another job, so the time is ripe. And surely Dombrowski would love to be an assistant in such a dynamic, interesting front office after 24 years as the top dog in Miami and Detroit. Right? Sure!
Alternatively, he could coach my beloved Lakers. You can't convince me he wouldn't be better than Byron Scott.
Speaking of which, I like the hiring of Al Avila to run the Tigers from here on out because it cuts against the baby GM trend a little, along with Dave Stewart (late 50s) and John Hart (mid-60s). Now, Stewart and/or La Russa might be in the middle of absolutely wrecking the poor Diamondbacks, but Ken Kendrick gets everything he deserves and, in any event, again, diversity is more fun than a bunch of boring white dudes from Wall St. with the same damn haircuts.
In Game of Thrones / baseball news, there's this.
Politics! Just because you had to pay your dues at the early part of your career with inadequate pay, no benefits, inhumane scheduling, and all the rest, that doesn't mean we can't do better for the next generation. The narrative that every past generation has paid their dues so the future generations have to as well benefits exactly one class: the bosses. If you're going to buy the narrative the bosses are selling, I sure as hell hope you're one of the bosses.
This applies in countless areas of the economy, but the ones that come to mind for me include: the entertainment industry's insistence that unpaid internships are the only way to make the business go; the absurdly stressful early years of being a doctor; the absolute grind big law firms expect from their junior associates; and, most relevantly to this blog, the absurd wages and conditions experienced by minor-league baseball players. Maybe that latter group are technically exempt from federal minimum wage laws and maybe they aren't, but there's simply no moral case to be made that it's okay that they're living four to an apartment in some of the cheapest cities around, eating peanut butter from the jar and just hoping to survive to next week.
Not relatedly, but sort of relatedly, stop telling people that there is a way to get where they want to go in their careers. You see this in the journalism school vs. life experience debate, the MFA vs. life experience debate, the law school vs. literally anything else debate, and on any panel about how to make a career in Hollywood. Your experience is your experience. It is nobody else's. Maybe what you did works. Maybe it doesn't. Maybe we need a diversity of experiences!
TV! There's talk of a Revenge spinoff, which of course means the chattering classes are trying to get some hot Nolan Ross action moving. I am in favor. I quit watching the show in the middle of the ... second? season, but I still have a large, comfy place in my heart for good ol' Nolan Ross, the best friend a revenge-seeking 1 percenter could ever have.
All of this is more than True Detective, at least.
When I find myself in times of trouble, Tami Kitty comes to me / squeaking words of wisdom: please pet me— Jason Wojciechowski (@jlwoj) August 5, 2015