At about noon yesterday, I was wondering how I would possibly give my customary Orioles introduction to my Free Kicks.  I mean, the Orioles were (are?) in free fall, the young pitching looks terrible, and there wasn’t any big news to report.  And then Buck Showalter became the new manager of the Orioles… and one of their marquee players, Miguel Tejada, was traded.  Hey, I am just going by the numbers, the O’s threshold for a marquee player is pretty low.  I like the Showalter hiring a lot, as I said in yesterday’s column.  As for the Tejada trade, it is sad to see a guy with such a passion for this team be cut loose, but I guess that’s the business side of it.  I am no minor league expert, but the numbers on Pelzer are pretty good, and he has a decent shot at contributing down the road.  So with decent Orioles news for the first time in weeks, let’s take a moment to line up for the kick…


Just Play Already, Albert

I haven’t spent much time on FK so far this summer talking about Albert Haynesworth because I honestly thought it was like any other offseason problem- a bitter playing making a stink about having to change positions and throwing a big tantrum.  The tantrum would blow over after he realized he had money on the table and everyone would play nice for a season.  Well, it looks like Mr. Haynesworth is doing his darnest to prove me wrong.  His most recent escapade, walking through his conditioning test, is another slap in the face of great coach Mike Shanahan, who deserves a lot better than what he is getting out of his highest paid player. On many levels I agree with Haynesworth- the Redskins do not have the personnel for a 3-4 defense.  He is not naturally suited for a nose tackle position.  However, I cannot agree with taking this into battle and demanding a trade over it.  If it is sack numbers he is concerned about, then deal with it next offseason after seeing how this season goes.  At this point there is no way that the Redskins are going to deal him- one because they will not get fair value (and every day that Albert pulls this petulant garbage his value goes down) and two because that isn’t how Mike Shanahan and GM Bruce Allen do business.  Suck it up and play hard, Albert.  But who didn’t see this coming when Dan Snyder signed him to that ridiculous contract last year?

Oswalt Traded to Phils with a Side of Crow

The main story when the Phillies started looking for starting pitching help was how they could have had both Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay in the same rotation, but instead wailed about possibly losing Lee after the year and being unable to recoup prospects from the Halladay trade.  At the time I didn’t necessarily like it, but I understood it and I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing.  The only thing that gets to me is how the Phillies got such a terrible return for Cliff Lee.  When you compare it to the package the Mariners got from Texas for Lee compared to the prospects that the Phils received from the Mariners and those they gave to the Astros, you can see how even the smartest GMs can overthink themselves.  The Phils now have a significantly worse farm system than they had before the Halladay deal (trading prospects to Toronto and Houston and getting a rather ineffectual crew from Seattle) and a marginally worse pitching staff than when they had J.A. Happ in addition to Lee and Halladay.  In order for the Phils to justify the slight upgrade from Lee to Halladay and not keep them both, they had to win big in what they got for Lee.  They didn’t.  And while Roy Oswalt will help the Phils get back in contention, the organization will have years to analyze the series of trades that turned over their farm system.

Bryan Colangelo Joins Ranks of Embarrassing NBA Management

Look, Chris Bosh may have gacked it up at the end of last season.  He may have played lackadaisically while his team struggled to get that last seed in the NBA playoffs.  He may have completely quit on his team, his city, and his organization.  I am still on his side on this one.  Bryan Colangelo was just as childish as Dan Gilbert when he ranted about Bosh’s lack of effort, despite the fact that this was the same Colangelo who was trying to resign Bosh after the season.  Colangelo committed the business equivalent of “Well, I didn’t want to go out with you anyway.” which as any rejected romantic party would know is just pathetic.  If only Colangelo had published his comments in Comic Sans font on the team website, then he might have sunk to the level of Dan Gilbert.  Nevertheless, this sort of behavior from NBA owners and management makes Mark Cuban look like the most well-behaved front-office man in the league.  They say the NBA is full of thugs, but the players might just be taking a look at the spineless management they have to work with.

Colangelo was charged with building a winning team.  He failed in that regard, and whether he had overestimated Bosh’s talents in the process then that is his problem.  To passive-aggressively assert that Bosh is a bad player or that he is incapable of being a franchise guy might be true in some ways but it doesn’t excuse unprofessional behavior.  Colangelo should keep his mouth shut and reputation intact- his tenure with the Raptors has already done enough damage.