The time for pitchers and catchers reporting is almost here, which means time for early fantasy drafts to start and for all fantasy managers to start to get their poop in a group for 2013. But before that, let’s pay tribute to one of the greatest players, and human beings, Major League Baseball has ever, and will ever see – Stan Musial. Let’s get it!
Stan “The Man” Musial – The Greatest Person to Ever Play the Game of Baseball:
The baseball world lost one of its all-time greats this week – not only in playing stats and on field performance, but also as a person and a man. Stan “The Man” Musial passed away this past week at the age of 92 leaving Cardinal Nation and baseball as a whole in morning. Musial was a player of rare mettle and character, whose incredible abilities were somewhat lost in the Midwest before Cardinals games were nationally televised, even after putting up numbers that only a handful of players in MLB history have ever come close to matching.
Playing in 3,096 career games he put up 3,630 hits (3rd best all time), 475 home runs (28th all time), 1,951 RBIs (6th best all time) and held 55 baseball records when he retired in 1963. Musial also was the last player to total more than 425 total bases in a single season with 103 extra base hits in 1948 – even the steroid era could not match this accomplishment even once. Only 12 players have accomplished this and he is the only one since 1923… wow!
Musial is also one of only three players to ever pass 6,000 career bases with his total of 6,134 – Hank Aaron and Willie Mays being the other two. ARoid is the closest active player with 4,750 total bases and Pujols, who was at one time considered heir to the Musial crown in STL before following cash to LAA has 4,206 over 12 seasons to date. It can’t be said enough how much Pujols gave up for an extra $20M and I still am still 100% certain he either does, or will, regret leaving St. Louis.
Musial also won 7 NL batting titles, played in 4 World Series, won 3 NL MVP awards and is only one of 7 players to ever reach base 5,000 times (this list does NOT include Ruth, Mays, Williams or Bonds). He posted 725 doubles (3rd all time), a .976 OPS (13th all time), 1,949 runs (9th all time), a career .331 batting average (30th all time) and a 119.8 WAR (7th all time). He did it all playing for one team his entire career and did it with constant grace and humility.
Vince Scully asked, and answered, the question of how good was Musial in a broadcast in 1989 by saying “How good was Musial? He was good enough to take your breath away”. Musial was always and entirely a humble and polite player and person, regardless of how good he was or how amazing his performance on the field was.
Bob Costas, who has likely interviewed as many MLB players as anyone, once said Musial batted 1.000 as a person – I am not sure if anyone can find a more important measuring stick for a man in the end.
Some News This Past Week from the NL:
- Jason Motte and the Cardinals settled on a 2 year $12M deal this week signing the flame-throwing closer through his arbitration years. Motte had asked for $5.5M from the Cardinals in arbitration for 2013. Great deal for STL as Motte will be a top-10 closer for the next two years and free agency at 32 years old is good for Motte. If Motte puts up 40 saves a year over this deal STL will be in a tough spot to pay for that service from a 32 year old closer when they have young fire throwing arms in the system (Rosenthals, Kelly, etc.) but, even then, Motte looks to be a solid top-shelf closer for more than two years to come. As for his fantasy line for 2013 I would strongly expect a repeat of 2012.
- The Marlins signed Chad Qualls to a minor league deal this week with an invitation to spring training. Qualls, 34, has 597 major league appearances as well as 51 career saves and has pitched for PIT, ARZ, TB, SD, PHI and NYY since 2004. Slow down Loria, wouldn’t want you to break the bank…you dirty, lying, thieving, crooked, piece of pond scum.
- Kris Medlen pulled out of the WBC this week to ensure he was present for the birth of his first child. Hard to knock the kid for this really, like he says “you only get to have your first baby once”… brilliant. Of course I would expect that the Braves brass think this is a great decision - after the second half Medlen put up in 2012 the Braves would definitely like for him to have a standard spring training and not over exert at the WBC and/or risk injury. I still think Medlen will be the most over drafted pitcher in this year’s draft and will drastically under achieve relative to his ADP.
Rants and Ramblings:
Top free agents still not signed – Michael Bourn and Kyle Lohse: the cost of picks and money in return is still totally killing the market for the likes of Lohse and Bourn, but teams should still have these guys signed sometime around when pitchers and catchers report. The Mets seem to have interest in negotiating with Bourn and his agent Satan, er, Boras – the catch is they don’t want to give up their 11th pick, which was originally the 10th pick and protected under the CBA, until the Padres couldn’t sign there 2012 8th pick and were awarded the 9th selection in the 2013 draft and bumped the other teams down a spot, including the NYM from the 10th to 11th spot. Get all that? We are all some glad the MLBPA and MLB made all these changes to the CBA to protect each other and not ruin free agency or make things more confusing…
The biggest move this past week was the D-backs sending young stud Justin Upton to the Braves for Martin Prado and 4 prospects (which didn’t include any of the top pitching prospects from ATL). I won’t get too much into this as Mac Vincent did a great job covering this here, but I just don’t get what ARZ is doing here – trading away pure talent once compared to Griffey Jr. for not that much in return? They might get a long-term deal out of Prado, but they could have got that when he hit free agency without giving up Upton, so really I don’t get it. Even if Justin doesn’t amount to the next Griffey, playing in ATL with his older brother will definitely help his mojo compared to 2012. ARZ will regret this trade as Upton makes many all-star games in the future…but somehow Towers still has a job in Arizona?
Billy Hamilton, über speedster prospect Cincinnati, will get an audition from the Reds in spring training as a center fielder. It is doubtful he makes the roster as his expected full-time arrival date is 2014, but a full blown shot this spring should really help him out in the confidence section. He has worked a lot in winter leagues on bunting and fielding after moving to CF from SS and the thought of having a player steal 100+ bases in a season is something any fantasy owner will salivate over. Odds are he will get some time in the majors in 2013 and likely more than just a September call up too. If he is still available in drafts in keeper leagues he is a must pick if you can stash him as his ceiling and potential are too much to pass on right now. But, in non-keeper leagues he is more a guy to watch closely and nab off the wire when his call-up comes this summer or so.
AJ Burnett was starting his throwing program this year; obviously his control is a little off judging by this. I am sure it will come, but maybe his family should keep an eye out until he reports to camp.
Don’t forget – we are getting closer to seeing the Dobber Baseball fantasy guide for 2013!
Catch me on twitter @CanuckHoppy