- Wednesday, November 16, 2011 9:08 AM
- Written By: Andrew Simon
In Internet time, last year’s headlines might as well be living in a cave, dressed in animal skins and carrying a spear. Time moves quickly, and the recent past is buried under the crushing weight of fresh news.
Out of curiosity, I hopped into my time machine and set out on a dangerous voyage to find those ancient, long-forgotten headlines. My target time: the days surrounding Nov. 16, 2010. My target location: NBC Sports’ HardballTalk, my go-to site for quick takes on the latest news and rumors around Major League Baseball. What follows is the strange bounty of that exploration.
Headline: Royals not willing to “dump” former top prospect Alex Gordon
Result: Kansas City kept Gordon and made him their starting left fielder.
How’d that work out? The Royals, get this, made the right call (cue the marching band and release the balloons!). Gordon broke out, hitting .303/.376/.502 and was worth 5.9 WAR. File this under “sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make.”
Headline: Cardinals expected to aggressively pursue Juan Uribe
Result: Uribe signed a three-year, $21 million deal with the Dodgers instead, and the Cardinals traded for Ryan Theriot and signed Nick Punto to bolster their infield.
How’d that work out? Compared with Uribe, Theriot and Punto were Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker. Still, Theriot was pretty bad, and Punto was hurt a lot. At one point, St. Louis’ infield was so thin, Albert Pujols actually played third base, but the team eventually got Punto and David Freese back and traded for Rafael Furcal, and the rest was recent history.
Headline: Athletics interested in Lance Berkman as designated hitter
Result: Berkman signed with the Cardinals instead, and the A’s went with Hideki Matsui.
How’d that work out? Berkman defied critics both by being less than a complete disaster in the outfield and by hitting like the old Puma at the plate (.301/.412/.547) on his way to a ring. With Matsui leading the “charge,” Oakland designated “hitters” “hit” .245/.313/.390. Wrong lottery ticket, Billy!
Headline: Shin-Soo Choo is trying to slug his way out of the army
Result: Choo did in fact lead South Korea to a gold medal at the Asian Games, freeing him of his two-year commitment to his country’s armed forces.
How’d that work out? Choo lived happily ever after! Well, actually, this was basically the last good thing that happened to Choo all season. He played only 85 games between multiple DL stints, hit an extremely disappointing .259/.344/.390 and was nabbed for an embarrassing DUI.
Headline: Brad Penny is going to be in the best shape of his life.
Result: “Best shape of his life,” one of the more amusing off-season cliches every year, is sort of subjective, so you can judge for yourself. Here is Brad Penny on April 28, 2011. Sexy!
How’d that work out? Great shape or not, Penny posted probably the worst full season of his career, giving up 11.0 hits per nine innings with a 1.19 K/BB ratio and a 5.02 FIP for the Tigers. Maybe watching TV and eating Doritos is the way to go this offseason.
Headline: The Cardinals will try to lock up Pujols before Christmas
Result: St. Louis signed its franchise player to a relatively team-friendly contract in early December. What’s that? (Puts fingers in ears). Lalalala can’t hear you, lalalala can’t hear you!
How’d that work out? Great!
Headline: Adam Dunn wants at least three years and $40 million
Result: He got it! A couple of weeks later, Dunn signed a four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox.
How’d that work out? Rather than throwing out a bunch of stats, I will simply lead you to this visual representation.
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