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March 20, 2024 53 mins

In this episode of 'The Book of Joe Podcast', Joe Maddon and Tom Verducci begin with Blake Snell signing with the Giants.  Tom has been impressed by San Fran's offseason acquisitions.  Tom comments on Sports Illustrating continuing to publish and his exclusive interview with Shohei Ohtani.  Will there be a lofty goal for Ohtani at the plate this season?  Plus, has starting pitching gone the way of Rock n Roll? 

Look forward to the 2024 Season Preview coming next week!

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Speaker 1 (00:04):
The Book of Joe Podcast is a production of iHeartRadio.

Speaker 2 (00:14):
Hey there, welcome back.

Speaker 1 (00:15):
It's the latest episode of the Book of Joe Podcast
with me, Tom Berducci and of course Joe Madden and Joe.

Speaker 2 (00:22):
It's weird that here we.

Speaker 1 (00:24):
Are in late March and we're talking about free agents,
but Blake Snell has finally signed. How about that, Blake
Snell going to the Giants. Give me your first reaction
when you heard about the news that Blake Snell is
going to be a Giant.

Speaker 3 (00:39):
Good spot for him. I mean, if I'm a pitcher,
I want to play there. I'm a free agent pitcher.
If they like me enough and they want to pay
me enough, I'd like to pitch there. I'd like to
pitch in San Francisco. It's a rub a much better
pictures park than a hitters park, obviously, So that made
all the sense in the world to me. And like,
even you know, defensively, they should be in a pretty
good spot this year. Yeah, I like it. I think

you know, we've talked about being a West Coast guy.
The weather are you know, similar some ways to Seattle.
I thought it made sense. So I think that you know,
from the Giant perspective quietly having a good offseason. So
I thought I thought it was a good sign for
the Giants.

Speaker 1 (01:16):
Yeah, you talked about the off season for the Giants. Wow,
you know, think about this. They get Jorge Hilaire, Matt Chapman,
and Blake Snell all on I think below market deals
because they waited because markets just didn't develop for those guys.
I'm really surprised by the way, Joe, that Blake Snell
is signing a two year deal for sixty two million dollars.

And by the way, he gets fifteen million dollars this
year and as seventeen million dollars signing bonus in January
of twenty twenty six, so they've actually reduced the present
value of that contract. He can opt out after the
first year if he comes back, it's for about thirty million.
I mean, listen, clubs love to have these deals, Joe,
of short term deals, especially for pitchers. And think about

Blake Snell. This guy at thirty one in his platform season,
heading into free agency, wins his second Cy Young Award,
pitched great for the Padres, and this guy has to
sign a reduced contract. I mean, he doesn't have enough
value out there. I mean last year you had Carlos
Rodin with the Yankees get six years and one hundred

and sixty two million dollars. Blake Snell is much more
durable and a better track record, a better pitcher than
Carlos Rodin the market never developed for Blake Snell. I
am shocked. The Giants got themselves a bargain. And now
Blake Snell, if he pitches two years in San Francisco,
you know next time he's a free agent. He's thirty
three years old. And this was peak value Blake Snell,

and he didn't get peak value on the market.

Speaker 2 (02:46):
I get it.

Speaker 1 (02:47):
The market looked at him and said, this guy doesn't
throw enough strikes. He's an outlier. Folks, he led the
league in era and walks try to do that. That's
hard to do, right, I think it happened once before
in history. He erases his mistakes with a with breaking
stuff that is out of this world. And Joe, I know,

as you a manager, you're watching your guy throw BALI
he put people on with walks. He's a different cat
because you just punch out the next guy. He pitches
around walks. I know you're not supposed to do that.
But just look at his track record.

Speaker 3 (03:21):
I lived with Maddie Moore, that's Matti Mo. Matty Mo
was like that with the rays. Oppressively good stuff, great stuff,
very difficult to hit. But he did walk a lot
of folks. But it was walks and stricoss. There was
no hits. People get on base. They had a really
hard time squaring them up and driving runs in putting
the ball out of the ballpark. It was very difficult
against Maddy Moore. So there's a lot of similarities between

these two guys as they pitch and their command or
lack of it. And look what happened to Matty Mo.
Matti Mo right now. Wow, he's totally turned this whole
thing around. And I guess part of what I want
to insinuate there is the fact that as Blake Snow
gets older, you might see an uptick in command. Overall.
I think that's all potentially part of the equation. But

after having said all that, I do believe and I
don't know Matt Blake Snell at all. I don't know him,
but I do believe personality played into this somewhat. I
think he scares people off somewhat, And I think Rodin's
contract last year and how that worked out similarly, that
kind of a personality, just not sure. It's not the

kind of guy. I think that some groups wanted to
bet all that money on. So there's a lot of
underlying components of this. I think that nobody will ever
admit to regarding why they did not want to sign him,
or eventually why he did get signed, or how he
got signed. But all these things, our factors are in
play again these organizations. The way it works today, everybody's

after the same guy, and then thus everybody's going to
be not after the same guy. And I think there's
a lot of that interaction going on that kind of
kind of like scared teams off of him, just based
on how he is, what he talks, how he speaks,
how he I saw some of the videos of him
working with kids, and I thought it was great. I mean,
it looked like he was really into it. But again,

I just don't know that everybody quite understands him. I
think bow Mail does, and that's a good call for them.
I think Bobby might be able to extract the most
out of Snow going into the season and Furthermore, he's
got to feel like he has something to prove. I mean,
even though he's got a nice contract that's a lot
of money, but it's it's not the rinks robbery that

he wanted to eventually get. So there's a lot of
chicken left on the bone for next year and years
to come. So there's a lot of things working here,
a lot of dynamics working here that I think only
so much has talked about it, reported upon, But I
think it's pretty complex.

Speaker 1 (05:48):
Yeah, listen, if personality, character, make up, whatever you want
to call it as part of the equation, I think
the industry is misreading this guy. He's got a stuff,
There's no question about it. I talked about his breaking stuff. Overall,
batter's hit ninety three against his breaking stuff. He gave
up only twenty two hits all year on his slider

and curveball with two strikes he throws his breaking ball,
hitters hit sixty six. And how about a guy on
second base, rounders in scoring position, and he's got two
strikes on you, and he throws a breaking ball. The
batting average against Blake Snell last year was oh, nineteen,
that's not one ninety that's nineteen. This guy has been

an ACE for a long time. I know people looked
at his track record they think he's a five inning guy. Listen,
he averaged more innings per start than Dylan Cees. Guess
who was number one in average pitches per start in
the major.

Speaker 2 (06:46):
Leagues last year. Blake Snell.

Speaker 1 (06:49):
Guess who threw the most one hundred pitch games in
major leagues last year?

Speaker 2 (06:53):
Blake Snell.

Speaker 1 (06:54):
Guess who was fifth in quality starts last year. Blake Snell.
He's not a five inning guy.

Speaker 2 (07:02):
I get it.

Speaker 1 (07:02):
He's the industry has changed where guys aren't asked to
pitch the seventh.

Speaker 2 (07:06):
Day of the ninth innings. I get that.

Speaker 1 (07:08):
And he's because he's a strikeout guy. He's gonna run
up pitch counts. But the fact is, and this is
what a manager told me, Joe, when you're preparing to
face Blake Snell, you know, as a manager, you're working
your lineup a series or two in advance. You're trying
to find out where you can give a guy a
day off when you need to put your a team
out there. Blake Snell, this manager told me, is a dude.

You have to prepare for you really have to adjust
your lineup knowing you're facing Blake Snell, Jordan Montgomery who's
still not signed. Not that kind of a guy. He's
a Dwardo Rodriguez. He's a good pitcher. He's not a
difference maker. He's not a swing and miss guy. One
more thing on Blake Snell since twenty seventeen, basically his
first full year.

Speaker 2 (07:49):
I'll look back at the lowest era.

Speaker 1 (07:51):
How many pitchers have started one hundred and fifty games,
so you need to be durable, and the lowest era
among that group, so seven seasons, here's what you have.
Lowest era past seven years. Clayton Kursch, Justin Verlander, Max Schurzer,
Garrett Cole, Blake Snell. That's elite. The Giants got themselves
an elite starter on a two year deal. And please

stop saying that he's a five inning guy. Puts one
hundred and eighty innings last year.

Speaker 2 (08:20):
He's not.

Speaker 3 (08:21):
I listen, I've seen him from the dugout, the other dugout.
It's really it's nasty. It's very good. Saw. I'm with
the Rays down here. I think it was with the
Cubbies yet and believe me, it's oppressive. It is. It
is that good. And when you talk about that kind
of break the ball again, I mean as a manager,
somebody sitting in a dugout or even somebody sitting upstairs,

the walks really drive you absolutely insane, put your defense
to sleep. And then like you're talking about the the
fact that he's not going to go more deeply into
the games. Now, that's that has been part of his
past from a distance a little bit too kind of
like I mean, I've already talked about Maddie Moore, I
could even say Scott Casmer. I mean, these are the
kind of guys with the kind of stuff that that

there are. They are going to walk sometimes, they are
going to miss the zone. They're going to get like
really way outside the zone sometimes, but people don't square
them up. And I didn't realize to what level or
extent his breaking ball was that elite. I mean, I've
seen it. Like I said, it's it's ridiculous. It's it's
that good. It is that good as fastball and his delivery.
I think there's an uncomfortable component to hitting against him.

All this stuff causes a hitter to want to get
ready sooner, get it going sooner all this stuff which
then plays into making the ball breaking ball even better
than that. So he does, He's got a lot of
great stuff. I'm just saying, I don't know. This is
my opinion from a distance. I just think people I
don't know if they were scared off by that, if
they're just trying to, you know what Scottie Boris is,

trying to teach them a lesson somewich is ridiculous. But
there's there's some things underlying things going on there that
nobody really wants to fess up to. That I think
scared a lot of teams off, like the Yankees. I mean,
I think roundn't I see there? Could they were? They
were probably concerned about getting another one of those. I
think that was part of the conversation. I would bet.

Speaker 2 (10:06):

Speaker 1 (10:06):
Well, the Yankees did make him supposedly an offer they
did get in it. It was actually below Redon money,
with probably in the twenty five to twenty seven million
dollars a year range, and he was not going to
take that. I mean, his market is above Carlos Redon.
And I don't know if Blake Snell truly wanted New
York anyway. I was told that he really wanted Seattle,
that's where he's from. Seattle, like Texas, just has not

had money to spend throughout this winter because a lot
of uncertainty about their RSN situation. So Seattle was really
never a player. He wound up on the West coast.
Maybe that was a preference. But New York did kick
the tires, did make something of an opening offer. It
did not go anywhere, and that's when they pivoted to
Marcus Stroman, and they were not getting back into the
game at that point because after the Stroman signing and

a couple other things the Yankees did, they're well over
the last payroll threshold luxury tax threshold, so signing Blake
Snell there'd be one hundred and ten percent tax levy.
Blake Snell would have become a sixty million dollars a
year pitcher for the Yankees. So that wasn't gonna happen
at that point. But they did kick the tires. I
don't think they felt maybe Blake Snell didn't feel it

was a great fit. And again I think at that
point in the winter early the contract offer wasn't what
he was looking for. And again kudos to the San
Francisco Giants. Because they hung in there. They got themselves
a really good pitcher. And how about this now, Joe,
If you're the Giants, You've got Logan Webb who finished
second to Blake Snell in the Cy Young Race last year.

Logan Webb, Blake Snell. You've got Alex Cobb coming back
a lot earlier than people think, probably by May. You've
got Kyle Howard Harrison, really good young left handed pitcher.
I like this guy a lot. I think he's gonna
have a breakout season. And you've got Robbie Ray coming
back in the second half of the season. Remember they
picked him up from Seattle. He's recovering from surgery. That
is a dynamic rotation and the Giants got something going here.

And if these guys, and I do think they'll get
healthy at some point in the season. And having those
reinforcement in the second half of the season, I think
the Giants became a handful.

Speaker 2 (12:07):
I think they're a contender now for a playoff spot.

Speaker 3 (12:09):
So they definitely have weapons on the mound to mitigate
possibly the Dodgers too. And that was a big that's
a big part of their potential success this year. No question.
So when they line up, you go into town and
that's their starting three or four. This is our starting
three or four. They got to feel decent about that,
and that's really what you need to be able to
do to beat that group down south there. So that's

that box has been checked. And I'll say this, I
do believe everything here and everything we're talking about right
and everything I've read, I'm curious. I think still has
a chance to have a tremendous season based just on motivation.
Motivation for how this all came down this year. I'm
just thinking, person, I definitely would have a chip on
my shoulder about this. Go about it in a way

that your focus has got to be extraordinary. It's there's
a lot of good stuff. And again I Bob Melvin
being there with him, having had that familiarity from last year.
I think it's gonna matter. I think all that matters,
and in pitching in that ballpark.

Speaker 2 (13:06):
Yeah, all good points. I'm with you.

Speaker 1 (13:07):
I think Blake's got to be disappointed because, like I said,
he wins the cy Young in his platform season, it
just doesn't have a market develop And I do think
he turned a corner last year. It was around May
last year with San Diego, when he stopped worrying about
the walks. You know, people have tried to turn Blake
Snell into a strike thrower. He's just not that kind
of a pitcher, comes right over the top, you know.

He just guys don't swing in his breaking stuff and
they do chase it with two strikes. I'll give him that,
but he's going to always have high pitch counts because
hitters can't be aggressive. He's not sentering the ball up
in the middle of his own he's not attacking with
and that breaking ball is tough.

Speaker 2 (13:46):
To get called a strike as well.

Speaker 1 (13:48):
So I think he reached a point where he said,
you know what, walks, I'm not going to stress about them.

Speaker 2 (13:55):
What I'm going to do is get the next guy out.

Speaker 1 (13:57):
And I think that that's when he went off and
for San Diego had an incredible run. And I think
if your giants, Joe, I think you look at that,
you say that's who he is.

Speaker 3 (14:06):

Speaker 1 (14:06):
You know, he reached a point where he's accepted the walks.
You still don't love him, you're not trying to walk people,
but they don't rattle him, they don't bother him, and
I think the Giants, and you've made a good point
about Bob Melbourn. I don't think they're going to change
this guy or try to change this guy and try
to turn him into a strike thrower. Just let him
be and make sure that you know he's got the
confidence to get that next guy out after the walks.

Speaker 3 (14:26):
A little bit more, one more comp here when you're
talking about that, because I do believe in that stuff,
the fact that by saying, you know, listen, go ahead,
a paradoxical intent good and walk as many people as
you want to. Go ahead, go ahead and walk folks.
And I think because of that concept alone, he's going
to walk less. I did that with Scottie Casimier years ago,
and gosh, I'm just drawing all these comparisons, but yeah,

I guys like that. When you tell him not too
or try not to whatever, it can turn into exactly
the opposite. And John Lester, you made me think about
this with the stolen bases. I remember finally taking him
out in the backfield there at Sloan was me, him,
Anthony Rizzo and Contreras and the pitching coach, and I said, okay,

you know, regarding this throwing over the first spase done,
we don't need to do that. Let's just forget about
that completely. Let's do what you can do well, and
which would be And I said, quite simply, you could
hold the ball, you can step off, you can quick step,
or you could pitch out. Those are your options. Throwing
the first base is no longer an option to consideration.

So if we just focus on those things and understand
with Wilson beyond the plate backpicking at first base, with
Anthony doing is we had Anthony do the maddingly thing,
get off the bag, come back, et cetera. And when
you do that, when you're able to do that with
John and John could put all. My point was to
get your focus to home plate only, period. That's it.
Don't you do. Not worry about throwing the first base.

That's our concern. And I really think that helped clear
them up a little bit at the end and gave
it some kind of definition we all want. We all
have like these difficult moments in our life most of
the time, we just need some definition to be able
to move forward. And so I think there's some parallels there.

Speaker 2 (16:04):
Oh, I love that concept.

Speaker 1 (16:05):
Joe just kind of reducing the mental strain and let
a guy be an athlete and allowing that freedom to
let athleticism take over certainly worked out for John Lester.
He actually he actually was tougher to run on than
most pitchers. He's better than average at holding runners. It's counterintuitive,
but I think the system you came up with helped

him get to that point.

Speaker 3 (16:26):
Well, is David Ross and Wilson. I mean, you have
to really you have to have like for that to
work for me. Johnny, first of all, is a great athlete.
Johnny Lester is a tremendous athlete, so he knows what
he's doing out there. But you have to have catchers
that are not afraid to throw. And the backpick had
to be huge, because if a runner was caught in
between whether to go or not, got out in no

man's land, the ball's coming down in first space. And
even to the point, like I said, the pitchot or
even in elevated away fastball that we could work with
as a catcher and throw the ball where you want to.
So all those that little nuance, all of that played
into that one day he did pick off Tommy Fann
God to place with nuts. He just invobbed on over
there and family was in no man's land. But when

she became convicted in the plan and knew exactly what
he wanted to do, which I it sounds to me
like Snell is. At that point you become more successful.

Speaker 2 (17:17):
We're going to take a quick break, Joe, and we
come back.

Speaker 1 (17:19):
I want to talk about another major signing this week,
and it's especially important to me.

Speaker 2 (17:25):
We'll talk about that next cool well, Joe.

Speaker 1 (17:38):
I don't know if you saw in the news, but
now there is a new operator of Sports Illustrated.

Speaker 2 (17:44):
That will continue to publish the magazine.

Speaker 1 (17:46):
After lots of rumors and angst over the last few
months about whether SI would even exist, Minute Media now
has the licensing rights to publish the magazine, which is
obviously great news for anybody in the business, anybody who's
been a fan of SI, which this year is is
hitting the seventieth anniversary, and it's my thirty first year

with Sports Illustrated. There's not too many still around when
I started the magazine, but it's great news.

Speaker 2 (18:14):
And it's time for our.

Speaker 1 (18:16):
Baseball Preview issue, which is out this week and has
none other than Shohei Otani on the cover. Of course,
right I was able to sit down and do the
exclusive interview with shoey Otani And this is what SI
does and what's done for years, is it's going to
give you the stories you.

Speaker 2 (18:35):
Can't find anywhere else.

Speaker 1 (18:37):
And that cover of SI is still one of the
most coveted pieces of real estate in the sports industry.
I can tell you I was on the cover once,
the only writer featured on the cover of the magazine.
It's when I spent spring training with the Toronto Blue
Jays and wrote about my experience playing and to this day,

and that was gosh. That was back in two thousand
and five. I think people send me covers to sign.
It's just amazing that there's this culture out there that
honors the tradition and what the cover means to the magazine.
So such a cool thing to know that the magazine
and of course the website, but especially the print magazine
will continue. Joe, You've got to have some SI in

your background growing up as a kid.

Speaker 2 (19:20):
A Joe Namath cover.

Speaker 1 (19:21):
I don't know what it might be, but everybody has
sort of favorites that stand out.

Speaker 3 (19:25):
Brother, I got it every week, you know, and my
high school baseball coach used to always talk about, now
it's time for baseball to come back to the front
of the sporting news. When it got to the spring,
you know, specifically, was it was Richie Allen on the cut.
That was Sports Illustrated magazine. When he's there flipping the
juggling the baseball, smoking a cigarette walking into dugout in Chicago, right,

that was Dick Allen doing. That was in that Sports Illustrated. Yeah,
I mean that's when I was such a big Dick
Allen fan. My god, I I thought he was the best,
one of the best hitters I've ever witnessed. And I
got to meet him personally one time and had a
great conversation with him. So all of that, Yes, the
thing I used to love again, And of course this
is dating myself and people might, you know, whatever, But

I love the idea that the information wasn't as ubiquitous
as it is now. I had to like work to
go get that Sports Illustrated or have it sent to
me in the mail and had to wait on it
or the magazine itself when that would come out. And
there's there's little like the kids, the people in the
back and the last page or something, those that the
up and comers always wanted to read. Who those people were?

Everything about Sports Illustrated was magical, it really was, And
so the cover would be Dick Allen for me. Also
the Dope Book. You remember, I used to like put
together these books of stats and information. I think it
was called the Dope Book, if I'm not mistaken, regarding
baseball stats on an annual basis. And I also would
get the NBA Guide from them, and I would look

through all the different arenas, how much did its seat,
where was it located? I still we'll have to make
a visit to the cal Palace, just because that's where
the word used to play back in the day with
Nate Thurmot and Jeff Maullin and Rick Berry, etc. All
this stuff. Yeah, like you're talking about it, and I'm
just like getting infiltrated with all these different worm fuzzies.
I had about that magazine in the newspaper spectacular man.

And again, I know you're never going back, and I
know the speed of information is what it is, but
there was something cool about having to wait several days
to get the next copy and then sitting down and
absolutely devouring it.

Speaker 1 (21:38):
Yeah, listen, I get the whole speed of information right.
Everybody wants it now, if not sooner, and they want
it quickly.

Speaker 2 (21:45):
I get it.

Speaker 1 (21:45):
I mean, I always say, the worst acronym that's been
invented in a world of acronyms is tld R too
long didn't read. People just don't have the diligence, the discipline,
if you will, or even the curiosity to sit down
with something that would take even five or ten minutes
to read.

Speaker 2 (22:06):
Not talking about Moby Dick, I mean.

Speaker 1 (22:08):
We're talking about people just sitting down and actually enjoying
something and losing themselves in a story. In the craft
of writing, I still think that happens. I acknowledge it
doesn't happen nearly as much as it did, but there's
still a place for that. And that's what I love
about Sports Illustrated. I'm telling you, you can read a story
that was in Sports Illustrated ten, fifteen, thirty, seventy years ago,

and you know what, it still resonates. It's like classical music.
Did people stop listening to Mozart or Vivaldi? No, hundreds
of a year later they still are. But are people
going to be reading tweets? Ten years from now, ten
seconds from now. No, we live in an entirely disposable society,
and there still has to be a place for things
that last, that have some resonance to them and not

just of the moment. And I get it. That's what's
driving our culture. There's nothing wrong with it. But there
still has to be a place for reflection and sitting
down with something that actually has some substance to it.
It's nourishment, it's mental nourishment. Do you want potato chips
and soda every day? No, Sometimes you need your vegetables
and your fruit as well.

Speaker 3 (23:14):
On the money, I mean, Scotti, Harrison. I had that
same conversation in the manager's office. I don't know if
it was in Cincinnati, whatever, Almost exactly what you just
talked about, and the subject matter was me because I
was so disappointed. I'm so disappointed in myself in the
mid seventies, when I'm in the minor leagues riding buses
in quad cities or from quad cities to wherever that's Stavenport, Iowa,

or Salinas, or even as a manager in Midland, Texas
or Ido Falls whatever. Long bus rides, man, I mean
long time on the bus, I would devour books. I
probably read a book, a novel, one at least one
every two weeks at the most. At the most, every
night they come back from a game. I'd lie in

bed and I read myself to sleep every night. Bus trips,
every trip with like this horrible lighting. Probably why my
eyes aren't that good anymore. But I did that all
the time, and I could not wait to get back
at night to read. I don't do that anymore. I've tried.

I've tried, and just being honest, I've tried to do
that for everything you're talking about. The speed. Didn't want
to take the time to read that. I just I
speed read everything. I jumped from sentence to sentence per paragraph.
I don't just sit there and devour. Once in a
while and something really captures my interest, that will slow
it down and suck it all up. And I'm good
at that. But brother, I would pick a book every

week or two weeks and kill it. From Mitchner to
Conroy h to Richard north Patterson to Greg Isles to
Leon Juris, I would devour these people. And I'm grateful
at least I had that moment, because I do believe
I know it's probably made me somewhat more interesting, but

it definitely has somehow cause my mind to grow and
permits me to look at things, analyze them differently, or
just a wider scope of understanding, because I definitely believe
I've been able to study both sides of situations. So
if I had one wish, just one for me, it'd
be that I would become the voracious reader that I
once had been, and I was able to slow things down.

That would be my wish.

Speaker 1 (25:25):
Well, you're not alone, Joe, I mean, listen to the studies
have shown that our brains literally are being rewired to
work more quickly and to devour information quickly. It's been
retrained by the constant attention to screens and the constant
you know, flipping over and just skimming things, as you mentioned.

So it does take discipline, and it's sort of like
you know, you know, whether it's your nutrition or your
fitness or something, it's something you have to pay attention
to because if you leave yourself to your own devices,
with your brain getting rewired, you're not going to have
that time to elasticity. The plasticity of your brain and
thoughts and ideas and become, you know, basically a person

who can think clearer and wider, so without getting too
far down the rabbit hole. As I started this, Yeah,
I want to bring it back to show Hey Otani
because everything comes back to him, right, Joe, He's now
beginning when he comes back from Soul Korea, we'll begin
a throwing program.

Speaker 2 (26:27):
He's going to be in the Dodger rotation next year.
You know what the arm is like? Who knows.

Speaker 1 (26:31):
We'll wait and see. But for this year, he's a
dh Only we're talking about a guy who last year
won the home run title essentially without playing the last
month of the season. I think show has become a
much better hitter, a much more dangerous hitter. He's covered
up some holes he had on the fastball up and in. Joe,
would not surprise me if show Hey hits close to,

if not more than, sixty home runs this year. I
know that's a huge number, and you know, I hate
putting a huge numbers on people, but I've learned with
show Hey, you don't put a ceiling on.

Speaker 2 (27:03):
What he can do.

Speaker 1 (27:05):
And I think in that lineup, not having to pitch
that every fifth or sixth day, going out there in
the strain and just the even the mental prep taking
that out of the equation, just go hit each night
as a DH man, I think he's going to have
an enormous season for the Dodgers, And yeah, probably I
think he's going to hit a career high, probably at

least fifty home runs.

Speaker 3 (27:27):
No, I can't argue that we talked about this one
other time, and I think that I had mentioned the
fact that he's not pitching and just focusing on one thing.
It sounds simply like it's going to be better. But
the distraction of having to pitch also work in his favor.
I don't know if it had. He will make the adjustment. Eventually,

he will make the adjustment. The thing you're talking about
for me that I've noticed he is so willing now
to go to the opposite field with two strikes and
he'll take that little blooper to left to get there
to drive in the run. I'm seeing that right now.
Just really just a bright, bright major league baseball player.
And the big thing for me is protection in the
batting God. He's not going to be able to circumvent

that do all that unless they do not permit the
other team's circument, the lineup in him and picture of
those that they want, so they seem like they have
a the depth necessary. I'm just curious where they start
him in the lineup. I think they're talking three right now.
I don't know if that's right or not. I'd have
to look at that more closely, because that's not for me.

I would not necessarily do that just looking at it
from a distance. Having Freeman behind him I think would
be optimal. But we'll see again. I haven't studied them enough,
but I just know that whoever's sitting behind him has
to be formidable enough to make sure that they do
go after him. And I know, you know, analytically a
lot of people don't believe in that stuff, but I'm
telling you, man in the other dugout.

Speaker 2 (28:51):
It's huge.

Speaker 3 (28:52):
And if you want to do the give him the
Bryce Harper treatment in a really big series, it's possible,
just depending on how toasty he actually is. But I
think his propensity now or his ability you're willing to
go to the opposite field when it's necessary, is huge.
He hits the high fastball, but you like you talked
about the elevated in fastball, but the protection I'm just

curious about that. I got to watch that.

Speaker 2 (29:14):

Speaker 1 (29:14):
Dave Roberts is thinking like you, because he's going to
go mookie starting out in the one hole Show Hey
at two, Freddie Freeman at three, and Will Smith at four.

Speaker 2 (29:24):
I love that as well.

Speaker 1 (29:25):
You need protection for Show Hey, and Freddie Freeman is
such a good hitter with a great hitter with runners
on base. You know, let the traffic build for Freddie Freeman.
And actually Will Smith is an unbelievable good hitter with
runners in scoring position, much better with brothers in scoring
position than overall.

Speaker 3 (29:44):
I love him, so.

Speaker 2 (29:45):
I love the setup of the lineup. Show Hey will
take his walks.

Speaker 1 (29:49):
And if you're thinking because of the three batter rule,
you're making it easy for a lefty to come in
and face Show Hey and Freddie back to back.

Speaker 2 (29:56):
Forget it. I mean Freddie hits lefties.

Speaker 1 (29:59):
He almost He's told me the past he loves when
they bring in lefties to face him because if Horse
is sitting to keep his front side in longer, he
actually becomes a better hitter against lefties. So you're not
really playing into the hands of the other manager by
having those two lefties back to back.

Speaker 2 (30:13):
And I do agree. I'm with you, Joe.

Speaker 1 (30:16):
I like the idea of Freddy behind show Hey as
protection and he's going to hit with a ton of
guys on base.

Speaker 3 (30:22):
One other thought I had had I didn't know a
couple of years ago is problematic. Mooki was having trouble
with lefties a couple of years ago. That was a
big deal when they were uh. I think it was
the twenty twenty World Series right when you know the
lefty and Snell and all that other good stuff. So
I don't know where he's at with that right now.
See if he went and left right left, it was
like even show Mooki and Freeman, then you're then you're

feeding Mooki possibly, And I don't know if that's important
or not. That's that's my point. I'm not around them
enough to know that. So if there's like a lefty
that or lefties out of a bullpen that at Betts Kills,
it might be wise to set up a show in
the first because you don't care. He's gonna He's gonna
be the same dude regardless of where you put him.
So that would be the only thing that would be
left for me to really study whether or not to

put bets in the two hole. And furthermore, I mean,
was he gonna get more fastballs with show he going
to do on the basis just all it provides presents
a lot of opportunities for movement. And I don't even
know how willing or wanting they're going to be in
that position also to want to do those kind of things,
But that'd be the only thing left for me. Do
you like Mooki in the second to feed him if

he's actually really getting on lefties today these days?

Speaker 1 (31:28):
Well, I know you had some injuries when you were
with the Angels, but when you had Trout and shoe Hey,
what was the thinking there right there?

Speaker 3 (31:36):
I really wanted Mikey to protect show Hey as opposed
to the other way around. I didn't think that anybody
else could. And my whole thing too with hitting show
Hey leadoff when I was there, was that I wanted
the whole lineup to protect him. It depends on how
deep you are by putting show You number one. I
really thought he had an entire lineup protecting him, which
was necessary there. Mikey and know needs to stay well

and he was hurt a lot during that time. Too,
but if Trotty stays well, I wanted him to protect show.
And furthermore, when Mike wasn't available, I wanted the whole
lineup to protect him. And that's why I liked the
number one. I don't know how much of an de
turn it actually was, but that was part of my
thought process.

Speaker 1 (32:15):
The Dodgers, Joe, they're just as you mentioned, They're deep.
Just behind you Will Smith, You've got Max Muncie and
Josh Autman. I mean, the list goes on and on.
I do have to ask you, though, about Mooky Betts
and the commitment the Dodgers have made to him as
their shortstop. Yeah, listen, Gavin Lux must have been that
bad at shortstop for the Dodgers to make this move.

I have a ton of respect for Moky. I love
the fact that he wants to do this. He's a
great athlete who loves a challenge in his heart. He's
always been a shortstop position he had growing up. But
I thought it was interesting that Miguel Rojas had an
interesting observation about learning to play shortstop. He said, it
really is a position that requires a lot of communication,

a lot of thinking pre pitch to be in the
right spot. So give me your thoughts on making this
switch halfway through spring training and having Mooky play shortstop
and Gavin Lux going over to second base.

Speaker 3 (33:09):
I was, I mean, I've never seen him do it.
I've been you know, I thought about it. I would
have to see him actually come after a ground ball
and see what it looks like. I'd have to watch
his feet and how he threw the ball the first base,
just from a mechanical perspective. But yeah, Rojas is right
with it comes to the communicative component of this, just
holding runners, being in the right spot on cutoffs and

relays which he's played second base, He'll be fine with
all of that. But I'm just curious. It's it's not easy.
Billy Russell, Mickey Stanley right did it for the Tigers
in the World Series in sixty seven. Russell was a
big part of that. I think both of them came
in from center field to do that, to be their shortstops,
different different ere I get that. I don't remember specifically.

I know Russell played there for a while. Stanley, I
don't know how often he did play. But so there's
been based on need and is it. I've seen Lux
I'll say this, I lux, to me was a kind
of an inconsistent on the dirt for me fielding a
ground at ball and then throwing it too. I think
there's a lot of stuff there to be worked on,
and so from that perspective, I get it. So it

almost sounds like they like the bat set up of
all this. They probably they know that mookis going to
make some mistakes, I would imagine, but that they can cover.
But it's a hard place to make mistakes man, that
position right there, anything up the middle catcher through short
second in center field. I've always wanted something stirring there
because it is a difference maker. So yeah, I'm curious

to see what it looks like. I would love to
be on the field with them, watching them take ground
balls off of fungo to be able to make up
my mind. I remember when Gene Mak wanted to put
them on white there and I'm hitting him fungos and
I'm watching this, going Gene to myself because I would
never say it out loud, this ain't gonna work. So
they know what they're doing out there, But I'm just curious.
I need to see it in order to really draw

a conclusion.

Speaker 1 (34:59):
Yeah, I'd also be a little bit concerned about the
wear and tear on Mookie bits asking him to play
shortstop every day. Again, great athlete, but Joe, you know
it's it's there's a lot you ask out of a
shortstop in the course of a six month season, a
lot different than playing the outfield.

Speaker 3 (35:15):
They probably look at even like Traig Turner. I mean,
these great athletes. These are great athletes. And no doubt
that if he to me, if Bets is capable, Mookie
is capable of mechanically fielding a ground ball well, can
play through it, moves his feet well, accurately throws the ball,
There's no doubt in my mind he will figure out
the rest of this stuff, all the communicative stuff, all

of that I believe will be rather easy compared to
this other part of it. I do. The guy's just
a high level athlete. He does everything to the to
the f degree well. So if in fact, physically he
could handle presenting his hands at fielding a groundball, stepping properly,
and throwing the ball accurately, chest tied at the first
baseman often or almost one hundred percent of the time,

he'll do it. He'll I mean he'll play the position.

Speaker 1 (36:01):
Well, yeah, I'm agree with you, Joe, and I've seen
him and he's for years he's taking ground balls at shortstop.
Like I said, it's it's one of those positions like
point garden basketball quarterback in football. Once you start out
at that position, it's always in your heart. And he
always thought of himself as a shortstop taking ground balls.
You see the footwork, the throwing ability, it's all there.

But I do think he's going to need time to know,
you know, where to be relays, just as some of
the just the normal kind of things you take for
granted playing shortstop in the big leagues. As the game
speeds up at that level, he'll get there, There's no
question about it. It'll be some growing pains early on,
but I think physically I'm not too worried about him.
If I'm the Dodgers, I don't think it's a big concern.

They will figure it out. He will figure it out.

Speaker 3 (36:45):
I agree.

Speaker 1 (36:46):
We're to take quick break here, Joe, and we got
to get back to one of our favorite topics here,
rock and roll, and I want to make a comparison
between rock and roll and get back to where we started,
which is Blake Snell starting pitching. What's happened to rock
and roll is the same thing that's happened to starting pitching.
We'll discuss that right after this, all right, Joe, I

was reading the other day at story I think it
was in the New York Times about the Black Crows.
They're back. They've been gone for a while. I don't
know if you remember the Black Crows. I do, early nineties.
They cranked out some seriously good rock and roll music,
and they look like they were going to be the
next big thing in rock and roll. And there's two

things that will kill a great rock and roll band
more than anything else. That is success and drugs. And
that's what happened to the Black Crows.

Speaker 3 (37:49):

Speaker 2 (37:50):
I don't know if they're going to come back to
the same level or not.

Speaker 1 (37:52):
But it got me thinking, Joe, that I don't know
that there has been a great rock and roll band
since U two. I mean we are going back a
long way, you know, in the seventies and eighties. I
mean they were everywhere. When I'm talking about a great
rock and roll band, I'm not talking about a band
that puts out one album at chart Topper and they disappear.

I'm talking about sustainability, cranking out great music, album after
album after album that stands the test of time.

Speaker 2 (38:25):
And you know, you can give me.

Speaker 1 (38:26):
The Black Crows, you give me the Black Keys, you
can give me Muse, you can give me Kings of Leon.

Speaker 2 (38:30):
There's a lot Lincoln Park.

Speaker 1 (38:32):
There's a lot of great bands out there, but I'm
talking about the best of the best. And it's to
me like sort of like starting pitching. It ain't what
it used to be in terms of sustainability. And I'd
like to know, Joe, if you think like me, We've
gone almost a generation without a truly great rock and
roll band. And again I'm not saying there's not been

great ones, but I'm talking about iconic bands that have
the kind of playlist that goes on for days and days.

Speaker 3 (39:01):
I told you about that documentary watch Greece Laurel Canyon. Yes,
and you talk about this one little enclave, this one
little area and the hills outside of a Hollywood area
in la and it was inundated with brilliant minds, musicians, songwriters,
all with their unique sound. Every one of them was unique.

I watched this the other night and I was absolutely
inspired by the conversations that I heard. Part of it
is and I believe this, there's a take this. I'm
not talking about suffering in a sense that you know,
there's you're being put down to the point where your
fear for your life, but suffer in a sense that

you try, you try, you try. No, that's not good enough, though,
that's not good enough. Though that's good enough, that we
don't like you. You'll never be good at this, and you
still stay with it. I mean this group and that group,
and I kind of grew up in this in this era.
It didn't come easy, and we didn't have to have
immediate success. Didn't have to. It wasn't just uh, you know,

instant coffee you poured in the kup and Eric, you
have coffee, you have to brew it. We had to
brew it back then. And I don't know that anybody
brews anymore. I don't know if anybody suffers enough and
goes through enough defeat and stays with it, because it
has to be almost simultaneous instant success. For the way
things are made today and the sound every the sound

is so similar. When somebody comes up with a unique sound,
it's almost like it is so unique. But back then
we could hear the first couple notes of a variety
of different songs. You know immediately who the artist was immediately,
you know whether it was the Stones or the Beatles,
or it was you know, even like the Almond Brothers
favorite of mine, Santana Springsteen. I mean, you always knew

immediately who this was. And all these people, they it
didn't come quickly, it didn't come easily. They were told no, no,
you can't do this, You're not that good. The record labels, no,
we don't want you, You're you're not good enough, and
they had to keep fighting through these moments. To me,
I just don't know that that happens garage bands. I
used to walk around Hazelton as a kid and there'd

be different bands throughout the city practicing all summer long venues,
the Battle of the Band's venues. Rock bands you go
to live performances in different clubs every night they were there.
I had the honor at one point of going to
the Bitter End years ago in the Village area of

New York City, where they had a different band like
every forty five minutes or an hour for three hundred
and sixty five days years for I don't know how
many years that's what you need to do. And I
don't think that kids people that are attempting to become
successful and were willing to put in that kind of
time or putting in that kind of failure. That's my impression.
Watching Laurel Canyon the other night really restoked me because

I know what I did to get where I was,
where I'm at and why the fire still burns for
me was really I was reminded of that by watching
this so long answer. But I just don't know that
the groups that are coming up are willing to put
in the time and the amount of failure to be successful.

Speaker 1 (42:14):
Well, let me flip that on you, Joe, because of
again getting back to starting pitchers, they're only responding to
the cues that the industry is giving them. If the
industry is telling you, as a starting pitcher, listen, you're
going to pitch fewer innings than ever and you're going
to pitch with more rest than ever before.

Speaker 2 (42:33):
What's he supposed to do? I want to take the
ball in the ninth inning.

Speaker 1 (42:36):
No, you're being rewarded for a system set up that
is asking less out of you, and I think the
music industry is very similar in that a lot is
based on algorithms and what sells, and you know, to
get a chart topping hit, you basically follow an algorithm,
and it's actually more engineered. The sound, the music is
more engineered than it is musicianship. And that's why when

I brought up this story about the Black Crows coming back,
one thing that really caught my attention, Joe is apparently
when they cut this album that they're releasing and they're
going out on tour, they actually sat in a studio
and made the music and recorded the music live. I mean,
think about that. The word recording is something that captures

an event, a recording of an event. It's not something
that's layered, you know, individually, one on top of another
and somebody's got their laptop out and they put together
and here's a song. Where is the musicianship. So the
fact that the Black Crows are sitting there and they're
actually making literally a recording, think about that word and
what it means. Recording. We used to take it for granted.

Now it's like, wow, that's unusual. They're actually making recording.
So that's sort of musicianship. That's what I want to hear.

Speaker 2 (43:51):
I don't want to.

Speaker 1 (43:52):
Hear something that's so manufactured it's crystal clear and you
don't even know if it's music or not. I love
the fact that they apparently that they laying down tracks
the way that your Laurel Canyon buddies did.

Speaker 3 (44:03):
Yeah, I mean just pretty much, you know, slice the
wrist open and just bleed it out there. I mean,
that's what these guys have done, and I could identify
with that so clearly. I'm just trying to because you
did such a nice job there of tying it into
what that's going on with the pictures, and you're right,
it's what the industry has laid out there for you.
Baseball wise, you don't want you to. We only want

you to go two times through and want you to
go three times through. We're not gonna let you pitch
more deeply in the minor leagues as a starting pitcher.
So this is how it's going to be, and so
kids are being raised to believe that and do that.
And musical wise, like you said, the sound is so similar,
it's just being replicated all around. And I guess I

read somewhere not long ago, where there's just a few
big structure people groups that are really supplying all the
music and the sound for all these different artists out there,
and they just you know, pretty much give them their music.
The one thing that I've alway he's always loved that

really impressed me was the group that obviously wrote and
wrote the music and then wrote the lyrics of the music. God,
I mean, I was always that's always been the most
impressive thing to me. You take one of my absolute
favorites of all time, Linda Ronsett obviously didn't write music,
but she owned She put her own stamp, or she

provided ownership to everything that she sang in her own
unique style. So all of this stuff, it does bother me.
I guess you could tell that it does bother me.
I think it is important that Pitchers learned to pitch
more than two times through the banding order. And I
think it's really important for groups to develop their own
sound and to suffer a little bit and not just

have these cookie cutter moments, to really have have failure.
Failure is so important to success, and failure is so
important to be grateful for that success.

Speaker 1 (45:58):
Yeah, and to fail sometimes means to be different. You're
true to yourself, but be different from the crowd. And
I had a good conversation with Alex Korra the other
day in Florida, and listen, he starting pitching. He's seen
the game change like the rest of us has, and
it caught up to the Red Sox last year. And
he talked about trying to change the dynamic. And you know,

with Craig Breslow's the GM Andrew Billy as the pitching coach,
they're working on a new system there with the Red Sox,
and their plans sound really good. Alex talked about how
one time through a rotation five starting pitchers. Right now,
the industry is only asking twenty five innings out of
those five games from those starting pitchers, and Alex wants
to get about thirty one time around. Doesn't sound like

a lot, but he said, believe me, we felt it
last year. When you start to feel the effects in
August and September of going to your bullpen guys in
the fourth and fifth inning, night after night after night,
that just getting them stretched out a little bit more
will have a profound effect on the length of this.

Speaker 2 (47:04):
And I hope he's right.

Speaker 1 (47:06):
I hope you know, what they're doing in Boston at
least has people thinking that there's a different way to
do that you don't have to rush to get guys
out of games. And again he's not talking about abusing
guys one hundred and fifty pitches, but just having a
mindset that, yeah, you can pitch into the sixth inning.
So I'm kind of rooting for the Red Sox to
at least establish that that that's another option again be different.

Speaker 3 (47:28):
Well, that these are all contrived, I mean the methods
that have been put in place are all contrived. What
you're describing right there is what had happened in the past.
Like again I've talked about that which the analytical group
right now is the conservative group, and the group that
the group of renne gains are the guys that had
been more considered old school in the past. Where you're
just described right there is exactly how we had done

things for years, and it was taken away. It was
taken away because it was described as though the third
time through the batting what was a pariah for starting
pitchers and you don't want to have that done. And
further where you're worried about injuries and what happens. They
all get injured anyway, and we've talked about that last week.
It's more of a velocity based thing, or attempted velocity

than it is actually a breakdown of the arm and mechanics.
So yes, it makes a difference in August and September.
From the perspective that those are innings that you've covered,
you'd have to ask other guys to cover those innings
all the time because it might look pretty early on.
But by the end of the year, man, you got
a bunch of exhausted dudes out there. So I'm all

about that. Yes, you again, you're not pushing them to
the point where you're gonna, I shouldn't say, lose the game.
We're gonna push Everybody talks about getting hurt. I'm not
going to push them to the point where I'm going
to jeopardize the game and we're gonna lose the game
because I'm just trying to stretch somebody out. I'm not
worried about injuries so much. Hundred and ten pitches there's
not too many for a guy that's been throwing a

baseball for I don't know, five years in the Big leagues.
Four years in the big leagues or at least three
or four three years in the minor leagues. Not too many,
that's ridiculous. I don't believe that. So if they get
back to this point, you're gonna get more out of
each one of your pitching staff. You're gonna get more
innings out of your starters have to a or figure
out less innings out of your bullpen. I absolutely believe

you will then have rested guys or more rested pictures
as it comes to the important part of the year.
And the other thing is we used to do this
with the race. If you're going with a five man
rotation post all Star break, I like the idea of
popping a six guy in there for a couple starts
to really give your regular group a rest at that point.
And I think by that time of the year they'd

be more amenable to it and not argue so much.
At the beginning of the year. These starters don't want
to have that extra day rust. They don't like the
six I'm gonna say I do. I've talked about I
do like six, But okay, if you have a solid five,
good here comes the All Star break. Let them know
on an advanced post that we're gonna go We're gonna
fit a six guy in, and I'll tell you mentioned
his name earlier in this show. Alex cop Cobbra was

the perfect six guy as he broke into the big
leagues post All Star Break. We threw Alex in that
rotation down here and it was wonderful how it all
worked out. So there's ways to be creative. But everybody
access though it's new, it's just being invented now. It's
just going back to tried and true and permitting themselves

to explore this. But it's nothing new. You talk to
any old school pitching coach, it's worth his weight in anything.
It's been this way and we've gotten away from.

Speaker 1 (50:23):
It well, Joe, Opening Day at least Stateside is right
around the corner, and next week we are going to
give our twenty twenty four MLB season preview. Looking forward
to that once obviously, the Dodgers and Padres wrap up
their two game Soul series over in South Korea. In
the meantime, Joe, it's your job to always close out

the game for us, So I'm handing you to the ball.
What do you got for us?

Speaker 3 (50:49):
Yeah, I mean I was. I was thinking about this
today and I was thinking about Snell. That was part
of my motivation. And this is something I've always felt
like in the game as a manager. I don't know
one hundred percent how this applies, but there's some kind
of connection or somewhere. You'll probably figure it out. But
the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do, right,

And I used to always think in the game, nobody
ever talked about the decisions I made to not do something.
It's only obvious and you speak about or dissect decisions
that are made, but nobody ever knows about the things
that were not done because I chose not to do them,
were a group chooses not to do them. So the
essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. So

what happened with all of this strategy with Snell and
what the Yankees chose not to do? As an example,
I would choose not to bring a certain picture in
a game, or I would choose right not to bring
a relief picture in, or choose to leave this starter in.
But I chose to not bring this reliever and maybe
only because I thought it might be a bunt situation,

and the guy that was in the game already was
a better defender if the ball was actually bunted, as
opposed to the guy coming in was awful. So the
decision to not do something is a really powerful decision
that really does get discussed.

Speaker 2 (52:10):
Wait a second, did you just quote Joe Madden?

Speaker 3 (52:13):
Did I? I guess I did?

Speaker 2 (52:16):
Is that is.

Speaker 1 (52:16):
That usually you know you're going Ben Franklin, you're going
Mark Twain.

Speaker 2 (52:22):
Is there a source to this quote?

Speaker 3 (52:23):
Yes, I'm sorry, a professor Michael Porter, who I'm not
one hundred percent Okay, sure, but but.

Speaker 1 (52:29):
But when I read I thought you were going on
Ricky Henderson, go on third person.

Speaker 3 (52:33):
Could have I should have. But when I read that,
I thought, dang, that's exactly how I felt about, you know,
making non decisions at games. It's they're really powerful to
decide to not do something.

Speaker 1 (52:46):
Yeah, that reminds me of my favorite rule of managing
rule number one. Never do anything that makes the other
team happy. That's right, And that was I just when
I think of that, I think of Mookie Betts literally
smiling in the on deck circle when he saw Cash
go out to get Blake Snell in twenty twenty World

Series Game six.

Speaker 2 (53:08):
Don't do anything that makes the other team happy.

Speaker 3 (53:10):
Tom Berducci, right there.

Speaker 2 (53:11):
I like that.

Speaker 3 (53:12):
That's perfect. That's perfect.

Speaker 2 (53:13):
Yeah, I did quote myself. See you next time, Joe.

Speaker 3 (53:16):
All right, brother.

Speaker 1 (53:24):
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