Happy Festivus, VEB!
As you surely know, today is Fesitvus. For the unfamiliar who didn't bother to click the link, Fesitvus is a holiday which occurs every December 23, which originated from Seinfeld and has its own unique traditions and heritage. All people who write about sports on any level are required to write a certain number of words about either Seinfeld or Bruce Springsteen, and as a casual fan of The Boss at best, I guess I'll play catch-up here.
Cardinals sign Mike Leake, and a Festivus poll...
...of VEB readers in the comments suggests some skepticism of the signing. After a flurry of rumors on Monday night, Leake signed with the Cardinals on Tuesday to a five-year deal worth $80 million, with a mutual option for 2021. Although he lacks the elite-level pitching pedigree of David Price or Zack Greinke, Leake has been a steady pitcher over six MLB seasons. After being drafted 8th overall by the Cincinnati Reds in 2009, Leake debuted in MLB in 2010 and pitched with the Reds until last year, when he was traded to the San Francisco Giants at the trade deadline.
The Airing of Grievances
- The most notorious element of the tradition of Festivus is the Airing of Grievances, during which participants tell guests the ways in which they have disappointed them over the past year. Joe Schwarz got the ball rolling with his questioning of the Mike Leake rumors. Joe questioned not only whether Mike Leake was worth the contract he was rumored to be getting (and later got), but whether the Cardinals had a pressing need for a starting pitcher at all.
- Later, I wrote about the Leake signing and pondered whether Leake was actually a material upgrade over incumbent rotation candidates such as Tyler Lyons, Marco Gonzales, and Tim Cooney. A good point I saw made in reference to my post was that Mike Leake's $16 million per year price tag could very well seem relatively unsubstantial in five years, given the sharp upward trend of free agent contracts. Although I'm still reluctant about the move, considering how much free agency has changed in the last five years did give me some hope to consider how much it may change in the next five years.
The Feats of Strength
- In non-Mike Leake stories, Craig Edwards went into further detail with his, ahem, strong case for Jim Edmonds to make the Hall of Fame (or at least to hopefully stay on the ballot for a while). It's been a pretty extensive VEB movement (since #SignJasonHeyward worked out so well and all) but, when you look at Edmonds's numbers, it really does write itself. Also, I'm calling dibs on launching the "Scott Rolen 4 HOF" campaign in two years. Yep, right here and now. You are all my witnesses. I'll parlay this into a future airing of a grievance if I must.
- In keeping a little bit more with the true meaning of the "Feats of Strength" (basically, it's a wrestling match), Ben Markham "wrestled" (I'm so sorry) with some potentially worrisome trends in the 2015 statistics of Randal Grichuk. Although Grichuk has shown several glimpses of raw power, his high strikeout and low walk rate suggest he may be limited going forward. Hopefully, Ben is wrong and this is ridiculous but, unfortunately, he makes a strong case.