The Crossover Column: A bit of Baseball …

… A lot of something else …

  • Their most outrageous gambit yet.

Neal Huntington gets ’em. Ray Searage fixes ’em.

They signed a pitcher with a broken arm (okay, it was the right arm and he is a lefty, but still …) and have gotten 35 wins out of Francisco Liriano. They brought back A.J. Burnett after he led the world in losses and turned him into a first-time All-Star. They dealt for a reliever with 6.20 ERA and turned him into a 51-save closer.

Now they’ve gone so unconventional, the GM should launch his own fast-food franchise and call it Neal out of the Box.

They’ve essentially swapped Neil Walker and Charlie Morton, who was 9-9 with a 1.38 WHIP, for Jonathan Niese, who was  9-10 with a 1.40 WHIP. Ryan Vogelsong is this year’s boomerang Buccos righty, trying to pull a Burnett. The 40-man teems with projects.

Jim Benedict had always gotten a lot of the credit for past pitching makeovers. But he is now the Marlins’ vice president for pitching development, so we’ll find out if Searage is the real Dr. Frankenstein. …

  • I think record labels should distribute free turntables to stimulate sales of their LPs — the early cell phone model, when all the profits were in usage (35 cents a minute?!). Have you seen the price of vinyl? …
  • Gotta assume Bill Mazeroski doesn’t share the problem most of us have with writing a new year on our checks; the one-and-only finished his career with 2,016 hits. …
  • Market analysts are always pointing out that vinyl is “enjoying” a revival. No one is enjoying it as much as the labels pressing those $25 discs. …
  • I suddenly get the feeling Justin and Melvin Upton Jr. are becoming the Hank and Tommie Aaron of their generation. …
  • Yeah, I’m getting back into vinyl. It’s still a more emotional way of listening to music. I especially get emotional when I rummage through a record shop and see LPs
    I threw away at the dawn of the digital age selling for $25 a pop. …
  • Get ready for a barrage of preseason “expert” predictions. But don’t build your fantasy team around any of it. From the bulletin board, here’s one guy’s pre-2015 take on the Royals:

“I want to see whether the Royals can make an adequate defense of their pennant or whether they’re as bad as they look on paper …”

  • Given: LPs have become the baseball cards of yesteryear. You trashed boxes full of both way back then … and wish you could have them back now.


  1. Cozmo in Orlando

    Ha! Love the old vinyl comments, I have an attic full. I always knew you were an old freak!
    Difficult to lose David Bowie and Glenn Frey this week.
    Great to see the Buccos setting up an awesome bullpen.
    Which brings us to catchers. Sorry to lose Tony Sanchez, but happy to see the winning Chris Stewart ink a two year deal.
    And although I really like Elias Diaz, and they are touting him as the 2017 starting catcher, how about ‘Cisco’ Cervelli?! Are they serious, or posturing as he becomes a free agent after 2016?!
    Francisco has indicated he would like to stay in the ‘Burgh, and has become an infrastructural part of this team!
    Heck, he had a better year than Russel Martin, for about $81 million less!
    We don’t pay our catchers beans. I’m for ponying up for Cervelli, given another good year. He is a big part of the soul of our team.

    • mlblogstomsinger1

      I think they have an open mind on That’s Amore’s future in Pittsburgh. If Diaz hits any developmental bumps and they sour on his long-range potential [which, essentially, is what happened with Sanchez] I can see Cervelli getting his multi-year deal next winter.

  2. Cozmo in Orlando

    CONGRATULATIONS to Jeff Bannister for winning the BWAA AL Manager of the Year award in snowy NYC! I am positive Clint is thrilled.
    Tom- were you able to make it there?!

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