Good morning party people! I am subbing in for one Mr. Frank Ryan this Thursday, as he is incommunicado. With it not being my normal week, I was a bit out of the loop, as yesterday was my beloved wife’s (age redacted) birthday as well as the three month anniversary of our little munchkin gracing us with her presence, I am going to hit on a few topics from the week rather than going exploring on any single one topic for 1,800+ words.
Hanley Ramirez signs with Cleveland on a minor league deal
Despite how this offseason has gone, regardless of rose-colored glasses or not, you have to abide by some simple rules, one of them as follows: you can’t be upset with any minor league deal. So while I would generally love to bemoan the fact that better hitters such as Evan Gattis, Adam Jones, even Carlos Gonzalez remain on the middle-class-free-agency scrap heap, all considered too washed to be worth their MSRP stickers, I will be happy Hanley is in the fold. I will choose to look past the fact that he only played 44 games for Boston before being outright released from a playoff contender and eventual World Series championship roster. A blind eye will be turned to his career-second-lowest ISO in 2018, the same as with his career-worst 89 wRC+. Instead, I will be hopeful that the Ramirez of winter league is the real one, the one that had an OPS of .829 in 75 plate appearances for Tigres del Licey.
Where does HanRam fit in the roster for Cleveland? If he produces even a smidge in spring training, expect him to be the near-everyday DH, allowing for Carlos Santana to play the field rather than spend defensive innings in the dugout next to Brad Mills. Where Santana plays in the field remains to be seen, as the early games of spring have shown newly acquired Jake Bauers as the primary first baseman. Why manager Terry Francona is entertaining the idea of Carlos in the outfield is beyond me, as Bauers in his short career has almost triple the number of outfield innings that Santana has. Bauers is hardly a plodder,1 and first base is often where you attempt to hide a player who lacks the sprint speed to be able to cover ground in the outfield. However, regardless of who lines up in left field on Opening Day, the signing of Hanley and the probable presence of him as the DH does help the overall mix in the outfield, as Santana or Bauers are both huge upgrades over whoever was going to come out on top of the two-spot fight for the corners.
Greg Robinson signed a one-year deal worth at least $7 million
A lot of my feelings were covered here in yesterday’s mini-roundtable about the contract offered and subsequently agreed to one Greg Robinson, so I will try not to rehash a lot of my thoughts. But what I bring up here is, yesterday there were talks of complaints on the Twitters of Ken Carmen’s show on 92.3 The Fan that the Robinson contract was a waste. PFF grades can be taken or left, I like to use them as benchmarks for a season or half season-long production, but game-to-game breakdowns of them can be messy. I bring them up because PFF gave Robinson a 59.6 for the season overall but a 68.7 for pass blocking. With the way the league is going offensively—pass first, run later—and despite the fact that Cleveland now employs the best backfield of any NFL team with the addition of Kareem Hunt, I will take those pass blocking numbers for the franchise’s blind side. Is Robinson an elite left tackle? Absolutely not. Is he getting paid like one? Uh, that’s a no too. Looking at the average expenditure at left tackle, Cleveland only has $7,576,666 invested in the position against the cap for 2019.2 That’s good for 22nd out of 32 teams, three million below average. That type of surplus, coupled with Baker Mayfield, Myles Garrett, Denzel Ward and others still playing on rookie contract deals, creates surplus and cap space and allows for resources to be spent on other positions. Robinson is an average tackle, could be replaced by someone in the draft, but at $7 million, he’s a steal and a starter. That’s how playoff teams get built.
Lofi, chillhop, and classical crossover mixes are my everyday mood
I love music. I can sing-ish, not nearly as well as my multi-talented wife, but one of the common areas we have is we love to sing together. Often we share mashups or duets and tell each other we need to learn this, and I will find myself learning some show tune she likes so I can sing with her in the car.3 It’s very similar to how on Glee they “gave” each other songs as gifts. That being said, I can’t listen to “songs” when I write, but I have to listen to something. As I’m typing out this paragraph, I have the YouTube channel “24/7 lofi & chillhop radio – music to sleep & study” on in my earbuds.4 I had never had the thought of simple beats playing would make a difference, but having songs with lyrics playing while writing leads to me typing the song, or getting distracted singing the song when I should be finishing a thought. YouTube has hundreds of lofi channels, and if beats aren’t your thing, I have another aid for you: classical crossovers. A few months back, I discovered there are string quartets that do covers of pop songs, all of which have no lyrics being sung. I amassed over 30 songs onto a playlist made on Apple Music, but any of these bands can be found elsewhere on other streaming services. Add this playlist and enjoy.
The Rant Of The (Every Other) Week
We were blessed with two rounds of LeBron James. One can argue that the split was inevitable the second time, as James and owner Dan Gilbert had a…terse…relationship. Knowing that his years in Cleveland were limited, it was no surprise when he journeyed West to the Lakers. While this Lakers season has been great schadenfreude for Cavs fans, I just hate what it has done for the LeBron legacy, even with it being much of his own demise and doing. The lack of hustle on defense, the shooting-of-a-movie-this-summer-plans getting leaked midseason, the calling out of a roster that was “worthy” of his arrival in July, the blatant angling for an Anthony Davis trade that even further alienated a roster that is definitely better than the group James drug to the NBA Finals last year…all of it is tattering a player that is still quite possibly the best that has ever laced up some sneakers. No Cavs fan really wanted LeBron to do well, but not like this…not like this.