Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Picks of the Pen: Manny Being Talked To

Ever since his quick escape from baseball due to a failed drug test, again, Manny Ramirez has had more time for the important things, like children, and standing awkwardly next to grills.  We’ve had more time for important things, too–like sports news completely free of the clown’s childlike antics.  Was he a legend with some quirks?  Or was he suffering from serious brain damage throughout his career?  We’ll never know.

But what we do know is that his rumored discussions with the Orioles could be the start of a new generation of Mannyisms.  He’d dominate the headlines, he’d stir up steroid debates, he’d create endless “Manny Being [Insert thing here]” hash tags, he’d appear in montages of his career with circus music playing in the background… he’d just generally create a thunderstorm of hyped up bullshit that, well, had to be at least partially enjoyable to him.  Otherwise he’d stop doing stuff.

So just in case we’re on the verge of Manny Ramirez overtaking baseball news for the next two months, let’s take as many deep, fresh breaths as we can while still free of the toxic spew of the media succumbing to a one-man news cycle.

Links are down there.

Blaine Blontz

One of the big-name Cuban defectors signed last week and it wasn’t Yoennis Cespedes or Jorge Solar. Gerardo Concepcion, an 18-year-old left-handed starter, signed a $7 million deal with the Chicago Cubs Thursday. Concepcion is likely to get his start in the minors, but few details have been released regarding the youngster. Luke Blaize of Cubbies Crib offers his thoughts on the signing and gives readers a better idea of what Concepcion brings to the table.

Now that we’ve reached the month of February the countdown until pitchers and catchers report has officially begun. As an Orioles fan, the offseason and spring are often my favorite times of the baseball year; after all, you can’t be eliminated from contention in February (Or can you?).

While I get to continue in my state of optimism (denial) for another two months, ESPN’s David Schoenfield is doing his best to burst my bubble. Schoenfield’s Thursday article touched on the fact that the Orioles need a new wave of stars. I guess you can read it while I do my best to avoid anything negative regarding the Orioles until the regular season begins.

Justin Klugh

Look, you can trade Jeremy Guthrie all you want, Orioles; that’s not going to fix your pitching problems.  And you can acquire Jeremy Guthrie all you want, Rockies; being at the front of a rotation doesn’t make him an ace.  The important thing is that we all lean back and glean what the perspectives of both teams may be in this case; for instance, why the Rockies felt Guthrie was worth getting, and who the Orioles are receiving for giving up all of Guthrie’s “veteran leadership” or whatever they thought he was doing.

For what it’s worth, however, the Baltimore Sun had a decent little write-up on Guthrie’s departure, as well as his role in this tirelessly crappy era of Orioles baseball.  It provides solid perspective for a buried franchise, and gives one of their older leaders who, despite his win-loss record, still… wore the… uniform.  I guess.

Chris Carelli

Jonah Keri writes about the poor prospect of pitching prospects becoming stars in the big leagues. He uses recent free-agent Edwin Jackson as an example of the can’t miss pitching prospect that never materializes or comes to fruition later than expected. Jackson is good, sometimes very good, but not quite the elite pitcher many projected him to be. Not mention he is now throwing for his 7th team since entering the majors in 2003. Keri suggests that maybe we just have to wait until some of these players are no longer prospects before we witness their potential, much like Jackson now.

Matt Musico’s piece on Call to the Pen, predicting the 2012 Comeback Player of the Year for both leagues could certainly come to fruition. I won’t give away his choices, but the AL player couldn’t be at a lower point and the NL player wasn’t on the field during the regular season in 2011. Each has no where to go but up. That said, each has a tough road ahead and no guarantees of success.

Justin Hunter

Dan Lependorf of The Hardball Times analyzes wins, payroll, and attendance. He notes that the correlation between wins and payroll isn’t as strong as one might expect. This is something I discussed on my old site way back in August of 2011 - not that I’m patting myself on the back or anything.

Mike Luna of Nolan Writin’ examined how Josh Hamilton‘s health, both physical and otherwise, may play a roll in his potential contract extension. It’s sad to relate a disease such as alcoholism to the business of baseball, but it is a legitimate concern, and Mike does a good job reminding us of that.

Kyle Davis

Jared Macdonald of Jays Journal gives an extensive and informative recap of the Blue Jays annual State of the Franchise event.

At the Platoon Advantage The Common Man submits a nuanced and measured response to the news of Josh Hamilton’s recent drinking of alcohol.

Matt Musico

I read the story about Josh Hamilton reportedly drinking in a Dallas area bar recently.

I also thought the Manny Ramirez piece was interesting.

Doug Wachter

My picks for this week are Ben Lindbergh’s article on inefficiencies in managerial decision-making from BP and John Ricco’s analysis of the Phillies homegrown/purchased production from That Ball’s Outta Here.

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