Andy Warhol is Everywhere

“They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” — Andy Warhol

Truly one of the artistic giants of the 20th century was Andy Warhol (1928-87), whose influence on art, music, film & mass media was revolutionary in the 1960’s and remains with us today.  Indeed, humanity needs to face this genius honestly and deal with the depth of his work– in order to understand the obstacles capitalism places in our paths towards emancipation.

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Warhol was dangerous & subversive. He was (and still is) viewed as an enemy by the ruling elite, which explains why his films have been ignored & trivialized, and remain largely unseen by the public.  Most can only be viewed at his Carnegie museum in Pittsburgh.

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The Andy Warhol Museum is the largest museum in the country dedicated to a single artist, and its collection includes: 900 paintings; approximately 100 sculptures; nearly 2,000 works on paper; more than 1,000 published and unique prints; and 4,000 photographs. The film & video collection includes 60 feature films, 200 of Warhol’s Screen Tests, and more than 4,000 videos. [1]

Any exposure to Warhol is welcome these days, and the Portland Art Museum is holding a print exhibition through January 1, 2017, which attempts to make sense of an immense body of creativity– and largely succeeds.

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Briefly, Pittsburgh-born Andek Warhola was a sickly child with a deep attachment to his mother. He acquired the name Warhol when he was mis-credited in one of his early advertisement pieces– and assumed it from then on.  Warhol was gay, in an era when being gay was unacceptable to elite taste. He was also extremely insecure about his body, and enjoyed making other uncomfortable in their own skin.

A great example of this in his art are his films, which are awkward to watch, and unlike anything film makers had ever attempted.  The point was making the viewer feel self-conscious, and thus becoming part of the film.  This powerful & revolutionary concept changed film & mass-media production forever.

Warhol first exploded into mass consciousness with his Campbell’s Soup Can paintings  in 1962.  Even his prints in a series (pictured below) make a powerful statement on nutrition, marketing & food distribution.  The original ‘Soup Can’ series is in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

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Andy Warhol was famous for making other people famous. Nowhere was this more apparent than in his Factory of ‘Superstars’ and in his collaboration with the Velvet Underground.  The Exploding Plastic Inevitable was a multimedia production by Warhol, featuring his films, performing dancers, and the music of the Velvets– who were Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Maureen Tucker.  Everything is meticulously detailed in this must-read rock biography:

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Andy Warhol’s best biography is also written by Victor Bockris, with whom he collaborated in television projects, as well as Interview magazine.

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In summary, Andy Warhol & Pablo Picasso are rightly considered to be the two greatest artistic geniuses of the 20th century.  Picasso finally made his peace with the art world, and became the wealthiest painter in human history. Warhol was murdered in a hospital bed in Manhattan, by a philistine ruling clique that cares only about maintaining their privilege, and nothing for art and human culture.  The capitalists may have killed Andy Warhol in person, but they will never extinguish the power of his art.

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Pitching Motion Analysis

Pitchers get injured. That is no news flash as throwing a baseball at 90-100 MPH is an unnatural act which stresses the body to its physical limits and sometimes its breaking point.  With that understood, there are ways to prevent injuries to pitchers, and it all comes down to physics & bio-mechanics.

A MLB pitcher must have correct mechanics to maintain a healthy and sustained career.  This is true for relievers as well as starters.  In this article, the proper motion for pitching a baseball will be illustrated & described.  Anyone with an interest can learn and apply these correct techniques to their own motion. Pitching coaches must know everything described below, or else their efforts with kids are of no value, or even worse– destructive.

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Let’s start with proper mechanics. The most critical position for a pitcher to maintain throughout the loading part of his wind-up is the “Flex-T” position.  Both shoulders need to be locked into this straight-line posture, in order to avoid excessive strain on the shoulder capsule and the elbow.  From there both forearms are flexed, which minimizes strain throughout the kinetic chain. Below is Nolan Ryan, one of the greatest & most durable power pitchers of all-time (late in his career), locked into the Flex-T:

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Fatigue is the enemy that cripples pitchers with correct mechanics. The photo below is an illustration of the most common mechanical flaw in pitching, which is over-rotation of the upper arm/shoulder. This is the proverbial, “reaching back for something extra” doesn’t really help, in fact it’s damaging.  If the shoulders are not held into a straight-line posture, the excessive strain will lead to shoulder/elbow breakdown, unless immediately corrected with a strong Flex-T posture:

Analyzing a pitching motion can be difficult, as many things are happening in the <2 seconds it takes a hurler to deliver the ball to home plate. While reviewing video, it is helpful to pause and scroll it forward manually– frame by frame. Using this method, we will evaluate some of the best pitching motions in the game, as well as some problematic ones.

The hardest thrower in MLB is Aroldis Chapman, who just signed a 5-year/$86M deal with the NY Yankees.  Focus your attention at 21-22 seconds into the video, which is the best view of his motion in this clip:

Aroldis Chapman has fluid & flawless mechanics, which is what creates all his power. He over-rotates his hip turn, but still holds everything together throughout his motion because he’s such a great athlete. This reduces his injury risk considerably (although not absolutely), which is what Yankee GM Brian Cashman needs on a 5-year deal for a power pitcher. The key to longevity will be for Chapman to remain strong & flexible in the hips & core.  Here’s more science on what make Chapman so extraordinary:

Chapman disagrees with how Cubs used him in postseason  12-16-16  [1]
If I was Aroldis Chapman, I’d be upset with Joe Maddon too, as he was abused– by any rational definition of pitcher handling. No one appreciates being abused. Yes, it won the Cubs a WS, and yes he’s well-paid, and that’s why they play em’, and flags fly forever, etc…, but Chapman (at least) should have been informed by his manager that he was planning on using him extensively in both games 6 & 7– and clearly he’s saying he wasn’t. It’s his career (and a lot of $$) at risk, pitching fatigued, so he had a few parting words out the door. Anyone who can’t understand that is a hypocrite and/or has never competed. I would love to hear Joe Maddon’s thoughts on all this.
BTW, Yankee fans should be ecstatic, as Brian Cashman has done the impossible which is to replace Mariano Rivera.

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One of the most durable and effective starting pitchers of this era is Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers.  Not surprisingly his motion is extremely compact & efficient.  Note the beautiful balance throughout his delivery:

Not heeding the principles of sound mechanics & thermodynamics has catastrophic consequences for pitchers, as well as teams trying to build & maintain a staff.  Here’s Tyson Ross, whom the San Diego Padres just released, despite being one of the best pitchers in the NL from 2013-15. Ross over-rotates his shoulders, and doesn’t use enough hips in his delivery, which has led to his shoulder problems:

Below is Steven Strasburg, the celebrated #1 overall pick by the Nationals in 2009, whose MLB career has been one injury issue after another. It’s not hard to see why, as the right shoulder severely flies out, creating all kinds of stress on the rotator cuff & ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). This is the game which he was taken out of last season, before being shut down. Note that Strasburg has pitched 200+ innings only once in his 7-season career:

Below is a really poor motion, that deserves scrutiny.  RHP Zach Lee is from Texas, listed as 6’4″, 227 lbs– age 25.  Scouts would project this kid to be sitting at 95-96 MPH and touching 98 with his fastball, with a 92-93 MPH wipe-out slider. The slider in the video rolls in at 88 MPH, and is a “hanger.”   The Seattle Mariners just released him for fear of what Mike Trout does to pitches like that.  Everything describes hereafter happens at 3-4 seconds:

Look for Lee’s forearm being nearly vertical as he starts his rotation towards home plate. This leads to the eventual “forearm fly-out,” seen clearly at mid-rotation. This severely stress the UCL, causing velocity/control loss and eventually leads to TJ surgery. Lee also doesn’t pronate at the finish, another major mechanical flaw which leads to velocity loss and eventually soft-tissue breakdown of the elbow and/or shoulder.  Lastly, his drive-line ends up towards the lefty batter’s box, instead of straight home.  His push-off the rubber could also be improved, and his hips are sluggish– which is really the root of all his problems.

The most likely reason Zack Lee stinks is because he’s hurt– due to faulty mechanics.  The Padres just claimed Lee off waivers, and if he is ever going to pitch effectively for them, he needs an immediate MRI of the right elbow & shoulder along with both hips– as there is major damage in there.

Injuries must be evaluated & diagnosed first, followed by a treatment plan for full recovery & rehabilitation. Next, the pitching mechanics must be corrected. It needs to be a total commitment by everyone from the player, to the coaching & medical staff, or else it fails. It’s a lot of science, but it’s also that simple.

Addendum 1-4-17: The San Diego Padres are considering a 6-man rotation in 2017. The traditional & sabermetric argument against 5-man rotations (vs. 4-man rotations) is that the ace gets less starts. The Padres don’t really have that problem, as they don’t have a true ace. Luis Perdomo is probably their opening day starter, and the Padres have high hopes for him, but no one claims he can match up consistently with Clayton Kershaw or Madison Bumgarner– who are true aces. The issue the Padres have is keeping their arms healthy, which means limiting their innings. A 5-man rotation asks for 32.4 starts per pitcher, meaning #1 & #2 get 33 starts over 162 games. A 6-man rotation asks for 27 starts per pitcher. Since the drop-off in quality isn’t as much of an issue as limiting fatigue and preventing elbow & shoulder blowouts, the benefits are clear in this case. Even with an injury, the fall-back is #7 starter, or a 5-man rotation until the pitcher has healed. This is a good year for the Padres to experiment, as they have nothing to lose on the field.

One last point on a 6-man rotation is that it doesn’t limit innings on a pitcher who is effective and can handle the workload. If a starter averages 7 IP in 27 starts, then he will pitch 189 innings. 7.1 IP/start is 198 innings, etc… It’s about economizing and going deeper into games, when they’re ready. A 6-man set-up will allow teams the flexibility to stretch some guys out, while protecting others.

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Most Popular Posts & Why?

These are the most popular blog posts on this site (so far) according to the analytics, and my explanation as to why?  They are listed in chronological order.

Girl Model (2011): A Film Interpretation May 27, 2013
This is a beautiful & horrible film, and a true work of art. But it’s so harsh that most people will shun it, so I attempted to summarize its contents in words. This film has many angles & shadows, and I have much admiration for the filmmakers as well as the film’s star Ashley Arbaugh. This heroine is not a nice person, and she’s still doing some pretty horrible stuff, but she made a brutally honest attempt to redeem herself. Also attached to this essay is an early demo of “Anna Rex.”

Ashley Arbaugh

American Football & Early NFL History & NFL History: The Super Bowl Era August 18, 2014
This piece originally had no images and was over-linked. My goal was to write a complete history of the NFL in ~5000 words, as I was looking for one to read and couldn’t find anything. American author Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book you want to read, and it hasn’t been written, then you must write it.”  That’s what I did. This 2-part essay was published during the end of the NFL pre-season, when there is usually nothing happening, and all the football junkies are starving for new content. It initially received a mixed-to-cool response. A few weeks later the Ray Rice elevator assault video was released to the public, and this essay has gained traction & readership ever since.

SI 2015 Swimsuit Issue Pictorial Essay February 13, 2015
For a long time this was the most-viewed post on this site. It was when I started using images, which obviously helped.

Next Year's Cover Girl

Marquette: What’s in a Name? February 23, 2015
MU is a strong academic university, and many alumni I’ve never met have read this piece. It ends with a few comments I received from MU friends on Facebook, and my responses to them.

Mark Denning Dressed as Marquette's First Warrior

Taipan! (1982): Gameplay Basics & Tips May 10, 2015
I wrote this piece in an evening and it was one of those few that turned out perfectly, needing no editing after publication. It is the definitive ‘cheat sheet’ and it has been viewed by many competitive personalities in business & politics.

Taipan! Emulator High Score

Orlando Tragic Basketball: 1989-Present May 13, 2015
This was another situation (like the NFL) where there was no comprehensive & honest history of this franchise, anywhere. I have lived in central Florida since August 1994, so I know about the Magic. This is a lying, slime-ball, bush-league organization and as long as the DeVos family owns the team, it will never change. The simple truth about this organization is astonishingly hard to get at, precisely because it’s so bizarre & incompetent.

Billy Donovan Magic

Criticizing the Critics May 28, 2015
Since I am blacklisted for being a Marxist artist, I decided to take a review of the critics. “Turning the camera around,” is a revolutionary concept.

Leonard-Cohen

My Life in Corporate Dental June 8, 2015
This piece has been read by only a handful of dentists across America, but it inflames passions on all sides. It is the only accurate description of today’s marketplace, and this piece should be read by all dental students or anyone considering entering the profession.

Aspen Propaganda

U.S. Government 2015 Budget Analysis August 5, 2015
When I began blogging for real in late 2013, I didn’t use any images for a long time. As I developed my own style, I became more artistic & experimental– see: mp3/blog format. My goal in this post was concision: to explain a huge concept (U.S. government spending) in as few words & images as possible. Writers at the WSWS have reviewed at this piece, and I believe it has beneficially influenced them.

US Tax Revenue 2015

Modern U.S. Election History November 2, 2015
Again, I went for concision on a broad topic. One of my best political pieces.

November 2000

Where Were You When…? January 1, 2016
…you learned Kurt Cobain was murdered by Courtney Love and her accomplice Cali Dewitt. I outline all the evidence direct & indirect, and it’s overwhelming. Also embedded is my YouTube video cover version of “Radio Friendly Unit Shifter.”

Kurt Cobain Scorns Courtney Love

Maria Sharapova, PEDs & International Politics March 10, 2016
I’d written a few generic pieces on tennis to establish a base of knowledge & understanding for American fans, and wasn’t planning on writing anymore until the news of her doping suspension broke. This is one of the longest piece I’ve written and one my best as it discusses sex, sports & politics with insight, depth & Marxist precision. If all the links are engaged, this piece becomes very powerful in impact & scope. I follow Maria Sharapova on Facebook, and posted the link to this piece on her page, with the comment “You were set up, Maria,” the day it was published. Sharapova moved that post & link to the top of her comments and maintained it there for weeks. This piece has been translated into Russian Cyrillic and other Slavic languages, as the search tags to this post look like a Dostoevsky novel with multiple versions of her name. WADA, the ITF, and the rest of the media kept changing their stories; and Sharapova kept hitting them back with social media, so I kept adding to this piece and it became an updated serial through early April. When her final suspension was announced in early June, this piece exploded (3 months after publication) like nothing I’ve ever posted. This post has been read by 4 times as many people as my second most-read article. There’s some mysterious force making all this happen, and I’d love to meet her someday.

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Why Does Danica Patrick Wreck So Often in NASCAR? March 24, 2016
I’ve noticed that when I write about beautiful women, I get results. Everything I write about NASCAR has Danica Patrick in it, because in many ways she’s bigger than NASCAR. That bothers most of the good ol’ boys, so she gets targeted & wrecked a lot. No one ever seemed to know why she was finishing so poorly, as the comments in the media and on her social media pages were filled with haters hating, while clueless ‘fans’ offered nothing helpful in her defense. The final straw for me was seeing her get wrecked & sent airborne at Fontana by Kasey Kahne, in which brazen recklessness went undisciplined (once again) by NASCAR. The only way to prove anything in NASCAR is to provide video links, along with a concise explanation of each event. YouTube has everything NASCAR, including every Danica Patrick DNF. I went to work, and this is one of my most influential posts, as its conception & organization really maximize the blog concept to its fullest potential. Maria Sharapova has been read the most, but this piece gets viewed more consistently than anything else I’ve posted.

Danica Patrick

Use & Abuse of Personas July 21, 2016
This piece is slippery & elusive by design, and it applies to everyone on the Internet.

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O.J. Simpson & Racialism August 25, 2016
ESPN’s five-part series OJ: Made in America prompted me to write this essay, and it has really struck a nerve with people. The Democratic party’s use of identity politics is a conscious strategy to divide the working class. Nowhere has this been more destructive than in racial politics.

OJ Trial Jury

Undiagnosed Hip Injuries & Stubborn Fat Loss September 8, 2016
This is a very recent post, but it has quickly gained traction and now has medical terminology search tags, indicating that it’s been reviewed by orthopedic physicians, bariatric & sports injury specialists, etc… I believe this is well-deserved, as it connects many dots.

pelvic-apophyseal-avulsion-fracture-diagram

Fascism Wins Election 2016 November 9, 2016
This was published within an hour of Hillary Clinton’s concession call to Donald Trump. Only WSWS writer Patrick Martin matched/surpassed this analysis on that day. In the ensuing days I published pieces on the political death of liberalism & Hillary Clinton, which have already been vindicated.

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MLB ‘Steroid Commissioner’ Gets HoF Nod

MLB’s 16-member Today’s Game Era Committee is an offshoot of the old Veterans Committee. It nominates non-playing personnel and players who were passed over during Baseball Writers Association of America election period.

Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, Davey Johnson, Mark McGwire, Lou Piniella, John Schuerholz, Bud Selig and George Steinbrenner were the candidates considered by this committee for the 2017 Hall of Fame class.

These are the 16 people who make up that committee, which voted Bud Selig into the MLB HoF, against the expressed will of baseball fans everywhere. At least 12 of them voted for him:

Hall of Famers: Johnny Bench, Whitey Herzog, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Pérez, Frank Robinson, Ryne Sandberg, Ozzie Smith

Executives: Bill Giles, David Glass, Andy MacPhail, Jerry Reinsdorf

Media: Bob Elliott, Tim Kurkjian, Ross Newhan, Tom Verducci

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Bud Selig will be inducted, along with Atlanta Braves GM John Schuerholz and any players elected by the BBWAA (announced January 18) at Cooperstown, N.Y. on July 30– which also will be Selig’s 83rd birthday.

One can only see this for what it is– political horse-trading & backroom deal making. A straw poll on Bud Selig’s popularity among baseball fans would run 90+% negative. This is well-deserved for:

1.) Being the Steroid Commissioner
2.) Cancelling a season & World Series in 1994
3.) Attempting to contract the Montreal Expos & Minnesota Twins
4.) Bankrupting the Montreal Expos, then MLB’s subsequent gutting of the franchise from 2003-05 [1]
5.) The 2002 All-Star game hosted in Milwaukee, which was to be his triumphant farewell to a Brewers franchise he owned & mismanaged for over 20 years, which turned into a fiasco by going extra innings [!] with both managers running out of pitchers. Selig intervened by stopping the game, which ended in a tie & a hail of boos for the commissioner from the hometown crowd
6.) Refusing to be at the game when Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s career HR record, proving more his own gutlessness & lack of leadership than anything else

That’s just off the top of my head.

Selling MLB to Fox hasn’t helped the game in any way either; outside of enriching owners, management, and star veteran players. More exploding graphics, late starts, soaring prices and Joe Buck in our faces isn’t good for baseball. This is why many fans have turned to free advanced media to get around as much of the hype & commercialization as possible. It isn’t easy.

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What Selig did best was make money for the owners, and the owners are the ones who control the game– including the HoF committees. That’s how Selig breezes in on his 1st ballot, when an entire generation of all-time great players are shut out. [2]

This hypocrisy is simply class struggle, as this is a labor/ownership issue, with management & the media co-opted as tools to control & scapegoat the players. The message sent in the Selig (& Schuerholz) HoF selection is, ownership & management take no responsibility for the PED era– it’s all on the players. That position is irrational, contrary to the facts, and insulting to the intelligence of baseball fans everywhere. When bootlicks like Richard Justice apologize for this garbage, they need to be shouted down. [3]

Baseball fans everywhere are disgusted by this selection, and the only way towards improvement is for fans to start speaking their minds, and more importantly with the wallets.  These institutions need to be ruthlessly exposed for their corruption, no longer deserving of fan support. That is the only message the people running the game will understand. It is the only path towards the betterment of the game.

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Padres Clean House & Amputate

Norris returns to Nats in deal with Padres 12-2-16 5:47 PM ET
Derek Norris had about as tough a season as any catcher could have in 2016. The entire Padres rotation was disabled and/or traded. Their All-Star closer (Fernando Rodney) was also traded. Due to service time issues and a hand injury to top catching prospect Austin Hedges, Norris was forced to carry too much of the load, as backup Christian Bethancourt is still a liability behind the plate. Teams can’t have poor defense from the most valuable defensive position, which directly affects the entire pitching staff. Norris is a bounce-back candidate because he’s going to a much better team with competitive depth. This is another nifty move by Padres GM AJ Preller to clear roster room & salary, while adding value.

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AJP waited as long as he could and found a situation in Washington to maximize his return with a high-upside young Latin American arm. Preller is essentially continuing his summer selling spree. and will now seriously shop Ryan Buchter & Brad Hand, two of the most valuable commodities on the market: effective & cost-controlled lefty relievers. AJP will be looking for big prospect hauls, or no deal. The alternative is big $$$ free-agent closers, which is a volatile and costly market, so there should be plenty of interest.

The Derek Norris trade also ends any irrational speculation of AJP being unable to make deals after his MLB suspension.  Everyone who paid attention now knows it was an old-school vendetta from East-coast teams whom he had made look foolish on a scouting level. The fallout from the MLB suspension was Padres team president Mike Dee being fired, which has strengthened AJ Preller’s position in the organization. Dee’s replacement has yet to be announced.

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SD’s Ross non-tendered, now a free agent.  Righty had October surgery; Pirela, Amarista, Sanchez, Edwards and Johnson let go     12-2-16  ~9:00 PM ET

Shoulder injuries are high risk, and the thoracic outlet surgery to correct Tyson Ross’ problem is still healing.  In addition, there’s rehabilitation & strengthening of the shoulder capsule, which will take him into the summer (at least) before he’s possibly able to pitch. That’s not worth the money (~$10M) as he was going to be in his walk year.  AJ Preller had a chance to trade Tyson Ross in 2015, but held out.

What really cost the Padres with Ross was not getting an early diagnosis. If they had figured it out early, then the surgery could have taken place in time for him to be ready for 2017. Tyson Ross was hurt on Opening Day, and the Padres medical staff didn’t even get a diagnosis until September. That incompetence stung the Padres organization– big time.

I am not around Tyson Ross & the Padres, but I recall reading for months in their MLB forum about “shoulder tightness” and “fatigue issues” which are conditions & symptoms. The Padres were rehabilitating without knowing the cause of the problem. By early summer the Padres had Ross throwing again, even featuring his slider against medical orders according to manager Andy Green.

Part of this debacle was hard-headedness on Tyson Ross. He also set himself back by injuring his ankle in a hotel room, so there are red-flags about his head and what he’s thinking, but the major issue was the Padres medical staff not diagnosing the condition sooner. That is their job, and it took far too long to figure out a problem which has affected others, and has precedence in sports-medicine. All this cost the Padres $9.625M in 2016, and leaves them without the front-line starter they were expecting to have through 2017.

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Final Notes: A new MLB CBA was ratified on the eve of its expiration, and will run through 2021. The major takeaway from a business standpoint is the change in the International draft system, where each team now gets $5-6M/year, with a hard spending cap.  The Padres are penalized for the 2017-18 period, and can’t spend over $300,000 on any player they sign, but with the hard cap now in place, that hurts much less than it would under the previous system.  Padres CEO Ron Fowler was leading the negotiations for the owners. A.J Preller played it perfectly knowing the system would be scrapped and revised under the new CBA, grabbing the lion’s share of the most-talented prospect crop under the old rules.

This was the most contentious of the labor issues, as several Latin American players voiced their opinions at the bargaining table concerning the exploitative nature of this annual third world talent grab by MLB.

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Jon Jay signed with the Chicago Cubs for 1yr/$8M. The Federalist is a winning player, who is undervalued.  The San Diego outfield youth movement now has room to sort itself out.  If Jay hadn’t been beaned in the wrist by Gnats RHP Gio Gonzalez, he probably would have been flipped at the deadline. Jon Jay was leading the league in doubles with an excellent OBP when he got hurt. Many Cardinals fans this past season talked about how they still root for the Federalist, and I imagine many Padres will now do the same. The Cubs grabbed the perfect guy (at a bargain) to fill CF, and that makes them the team to beat again– already.

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Compared to Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Mark Trumbo, etc… (albatross contracts waiting to happen, due to their age and defensive liabilities), Jon Jay is a steal and proves the brains running the Cubs will keep them in front for the foreseeable future.  Staying away from most of the remaining free agent market, is required for GM’s serious about winning. Smart GM’s save their budget and deal from strength at the 7/31 deadline, for what their team needs most.

MLB article “Non-tendered players hit free-agent market” is a good early list of low-level free agents, of which pitchers will draw the most interest.  AJP now has an extra $20M or so to spend in a very thin market. This will be another interesting Padres off-season, where trades will be the primary vehicle for competitive teams improving, as the free agent market is mostly barren & very costly.  AJ Preller also has Padres fans guessing who he is going to take in the Rule 5 draft, with the 3rd pick on December 8.  Preview at “10 intriguing names for the Rule 5 Draft.”   Remember, AJP made a record four selections last year and two are still on their 40-man roster–  RHP Luis Perdomo & OF Jabari Blash.

Padres reveal lineup of 2017 uniforms   11-22-16

Padres need brown in their uniforms for continuity with their nickname. The Milwaukee Brewers are another organization that had an awesome look (ingenious 70’s/80’s logo design with the glove & ball being the ‘M’ & ‘B’), and threw it away for a generic one. You have to have brown in the Padres uniforms, otherwise it doesn’t make sense. The debate is between yellow or orange as its compliment. More money than brains making these decisions. Who, specifically designed & approved this? This is supposed to be the easy part of franchise building.

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Rule 5 Draft Results 12-8-16:

3. Padres: Allen Cordoba, SS, Cardinals is their major Rule 5 pick of 2016.
AAA phase: Padres had the 2nd pick and took Trevor Frank, RHP, Indians
Linked is a brief bio on Allen Cordoba, who just turned 21 and hasn’t played above rookie ball. [1]

This is an intriguing selection, and it would be a bigger jump than RHP Luis Perdomo made last year. Cardinals fans and personnel are probably not loving AJP, after looting them again. Cordoba provides depth behind Luis Sardinas.

AJ Preller also traded for the top 2 Rule 5 picks, right-hander Miguel Diaz from the Brewers, catcher Luis Torrens from the Yankees.  AJP got the top 3 picks in the Rule 5 Draft, which is unprecedented. The cost of a Rule 5 pick increased from $50,000 to $100,000, and from $25,000 to $50,000 for returning a player, in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Total cost for the Padres claiming the top three Rule 5 picks (& a AAA selection) is $324,000, plus the cash to Minnesota & Cincinnati– who also get a PTBNL.

Round 1
1. Twins:  Miguel Diaz, RHP, Brewers No. 21 prospect
2. Reds: Luis Torrens, C, Yankees No. 17 prospect
3. Padres: Allen Cordoba, SS, Cardinals No. 19 prospect

The Padres didn’t lose anybody, so Preller did a great job managing & protecting his roster. He’ll probably let the market settle a bit more before he moves in on free agent pitching. AJP filled his 3rd catcher & backup infielder slots with these selections, obtaining the top available starting pitcher as well. Tell me that isn’t impressive work?

Padres complete trade for Rule 5 pick Torrens
Friars send VanMeter, cash to Reds for catcher 12-9-16
Josh VanMeter is now listed as a 3B, and hit .198/.248/.274 in just over 100 PA’s at AA San Antonio in 2016. He’ll be 22 next spring and is way behind for his age– likely destined to be a career minor-leaguer. This and $500-$700k (best guess) is what it cost the Padres for the top 3 picks in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft, all of whom were top-30 prospects from organizations with deep farm systems: MIL, NYY & STL.

With the Winter Meetings over, the Mariners, Twins & Pirates will be competing with the Padres for FA pitching bargains.  For the 2017 Padres, only 1B Wil Myers & 3B Yangervis Solarte (thanks NYY) are proven. Fans are hopeful on long-time prospects C Austin Hedges & RF Hunter Renfroe, as well as newbie CF Manny Margot (Kimbrel trade). They are going with Luis Sardinas and a Rule 5 utility guy at SS. Christian Bethancourt and Rule 5 pick Luis Torrens make 3 catchers, with some interesting flexibility for Andy Green. LF needs a bat, with Alex Dickerson being the best internal option at this point, and Travis Jankowski as a 4th outfielder– until he learns to hit lefties. Second base is still a bit of a mystery as Ryan Schimpf was incredibly productive at the plate for half a season, but his defense was fair-to-poor. Cory Spangenberg will be ready, but who knows what to expect from him at this point?  Fans only hope he stays healthy, which leads to off-season priority 1A (after acquiring starting pitching), which is cleaning up & improving the medical staff. The Padres invested ~$75M in the J2 draft, with many of these young prospects being pitchers. The Amateur & Rule 5 drafts have also yielded high-upside pitchers for the Padres under AJP. These arms are potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, if they can be kept attached. The point is, with these investments in talent it’s critical to their development to keep them healthy. If that fails, then all this planning & hard work has been for naught.

The most veteran player on the current Padres roster is Carter Capps, with 4+ years of MLB service who is Arb2 in 2017. Every other player is Arb1 or less, giving this team payroll flexibility, especially as the dead money moves off the books. Every Padres fan needs to know this schedule: 2017 $31M, 2018 $20M, 2019 $10.5M, 2020 $8.5M. That’s the cost of foolish handouts (Byrnes/Gyorko) and FA splurging (Fowler group/AJP for Kemp & Shields).

Final Padres off-season thoughts:  Four teams have dealt with AJP since his suspension: Nats, Twins/Angels & Reds. New Twins GM Thad Levine even went so far as to say, “Working with San Diego in this regard was extremely beneficial because they’re very creative.” See: Twins trade for RHP Haley in Rule 5 Draft 12-8-16. It was a very creative deal as the Twins got the pitcher they wanted (for free, paid for by SD), the Angels got some cash, and the Padres got the pitcher they wanted for a few extra hundred thousand dollars. Win-win-win. The only wariness other GM’s need to have in dealing with Preller is that he is a shark.

There are only 3 teams in which relationships between organizations were damaged by AJ Preller’s various dealings: the Red Sox, White Sox & Marlins.

I believe GM Dave Dombrowski would make another deal with Preller, if they needed say (ace lefty relievers) Brad Hand or Ryan Buchter, because Boston is always in it to win it and will do whatever they feel is necessary, putting hurt feelings aside.
The White Sox would be tougher to deal with, because they really feel burned on the James Shields deal, which they were. It was just a bad trade, no medical issues there, but owner Jerry Reinsdorf won’t forget it. That’s a family organization and the front office will have its orders, so any attempts to deal with them will likely be fruitless, as their price will always be too high for AJP.
The Marlins I believe will refuse to ever deal with AJP again. Preller made their front office look foolish three times in 2016, once in the Fernando Rodney deal and twice in a few days with the Cash Out & then the Colin Rea trade-back. This is a petty & narrow-minded organization, owned by a complete scoundrel. It’s too bad because they had a nice team in 2016, until bad trades (then the Jose Fernandez tragedy) ruined it.

jose-fernandez_1992-2016

Jose Fernandez 1992-2016 

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