Read the tea leaves with me
Something’s been bothering me for a while, so I’m going to throw this out — the broadcast crew operates as a promotional wing of the team. They’re there to sell the product. But like any propaganda wing, there’s a lot of subtext you can read if, like me, you’re nutty and read a lot of history during your impressionable years. And there’s been a lot of strangeness going on lately if you’ve been paying attention (and if you haven’t, you’re in good company).
Besides the increasingly weird contortions Blowers goes through to justify lineup choices (gotta go with the guys who ground it out, unless they won a game with Bloomquist in the lineup, then you go with the guys who are winning)(by the way, one of the weirdest in-game comments was the assertion that other players asked for Bloomquist to be kept in the lineup, which would support the view that Lopez isn’t particularly popular, much less appreciated, even within the team, considering that Guillen was willing to step up and trash Jones on behalf of Ibanez/Vidro when they were stinking up the joint)… okay, that was too long of a parenthetical, so I’ll start over.
They’ve been repeatedly pounding in broadcasts that Jones could/would/should start next year. They’ve gone so far as to say it’s his time, he deserves it, he absolutely should be starting… that’s really strong language to use, and moreover, I can’t remember another time that we’ve seen the PR arm pushing playing time for a player, even next year. They just don’t agitate for that kind of thing. This is especially weird since there is no place for that person right now or in the future, unless some move is made. Now of course they’re not saying that someone else has to go — there’s no way that happens. But there’s no other way for it to work out.
And if the organizational view is that Jones is a trading chip to be used to acquire pitching, there’s no reason they’d be pumping up Jones as the future of the outfield and saying the team’s got to find a place for him. They’d be shutting up about him entirely, most likely.
I thought about this a lot last night, and here’s what I’m thinking: either explicitly or just from general chatter, the crew knows the team’s determined to move Sexson next year. They’ve had the chance before, could even have let Detroit pick him up on waivers (oh man, does that look like a wasted chance in retrospect, but that’s not the topic at hand). Then they’ll figure something out, most likely playing Ibanez/Vidro at first, with the other at DH, and
The other possibility, and it doesn’t seem as likely but still… they’re going to dump Lopez and play Vidro out there, DH Ibanez, and put Jones in left. They’re clearly steamed at Lopez, to the point they were trying to replace him at the deadline with Loretta, but Vidro’s time in the field, while not a disaster, certainly proved his lateral range is just destroyed. That’s not as huge a liability at first, but at second, wow.
(or, alternately, if Ichiro wants… actually, I don’t want to open that yet)
I can’t figure out another explanation for the propaganda – and essentially, the promise of playing time – if the sentiment isn’t that a move’s going to be made. They’re not selling fans on a player they know is going to be gone, and they’re certainly not selling “his time has come” without the team at least letting it go: I’m sure if they disproved, or didn’t want that storyline sold, someone would have a chat with the producers or the talent, and that’d be the last we heard about it.
Sexson or Lopez, then?