Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Ahead of the midnight non-tender deadline, the Phillies announced a one year, $900,000 contract with INF Kevin Frandsen. The 31 year old has spent the last two seasons with the team, after signing a minor league deal in 2011.
Splitting time between the bench and starting at third for the phillies, Frandsen had an un-godly good 2012 season, in which he batted .338/.383/.451 (a .362 wOBA) in 55 games.
The typical BAbip asterisk applied, and although a significant amount of regression was predicted, he was smacked hard with the BAbip stick in the other direction in 2013 (.245; 30 points lower than his career average).
This (in part) may have led to a greater than expected drop-off this past season, and Frandsen posted a .234/.296/.341 line (.286 wOBA) in 119 games.
While Frandsen is projected to progress more towards career averages in 2014, he was widely regarded as one of the more likely non-tender candidates of the 5 arbitration-eligible players on the roster.
With sites like MLB Trade Rumors projecting a salary around $1.3 million for Frandsen in arbitration, it looked like his cost was going to outpace what the Phillies could do with that money on either the free agent or trade markets (in addition to a current lack of left-handed bats on the bench, an issue Frandsen doesn’t help address).
However, the Phillies un-inspiringly saw differently and agreed a slightly more modest deal with Frandsen early, instead of either non-tendering him or entering arbitration.
It is, however, as the man himself points out, the cost of keeping the league leader in pinch-hits:
Now, there is some merit in leading the league in that category, but it’s also a factor that he had the 3rd most pinch hit at-bats in the majors, resulting in a .250 BA (14 H/56 AB) in pinch-hit situations.
You’ll also notice a certain… animosity? Towards Bill Baer, noted contributor at the great CrashburnAlley.com, amongst other things.
Get some popcorn for this one, and I apologize ahead of time now for the gossip-y nature of the whole thing.
After agreeing to his contract, Frandsen tweeted a respectful, positive statement expressing his excitement at staying in Philly:
And then twitter became twitter, and the only response he received was someone who believed this was in any way constructive:
Classy. Frandsen actually responded, labeling the guy a “tool” (slightly classless, slightly not smart), and then proceeded to let out some held back resentment towards CSN’s Jim Salisbury and another great Phillies blog, The Good Phight.
The colorful (and awesome, I’m going to co-opt that one) #Dmyass hashtag is in reference to an article reviewing his season found on the previously mentioned Crashburn Alley, with all five reviewing contributors concluding with some level of a “D” grade for his efforts.
He, unfortunately, mixed up the Phillies blog he was directing his resentment towards, which a ton of people then decided to make easy jokes about (which I’m sure helped the situation). That is about where things end up now.
Listen, were I a player, I would absolutely hate the blogs too. Writers too often consider players more as commodities rather than people.
We speculate based purely on presumed future on-the-field production for all parties involved – ignoring that these are people with families and teammates who are their colleagues and (hopefully) friends.
In addition, who the hell are these fans to write (mostly) without any real experience actually playing the game? It’s easy to see how professional players wouldn’t like it, especially when a blog (this one included) boils down a year of hard work, toil, and injury into a 400 word evaluation, passing judgement from the outside.
That being said, I’m never going to lobby for blogs or fans in general to stop this kind of speculation, evaluation, and exploration of the game they’re passionate about.
In order to have a passionate fanbase (or a fanbase that fills stands, increases TV ratings, or buys Kevin Frandsen shirseys), they have to take it outside of the stadium and spread it to other people and create more fans. They have to want to discuss and understand the game better, and debate it.
A part of that debate is always going to be dissecting lineups and rosters and throwing around stats and generalizations about players on your team. All “Philadelphia fan” archetypes aside, resenting the accompanying snark (which is admittedly present in the “Report Card” article Frandsen took issue with) is totally understandable, but directing anger at the debate process is misguided.
The fact is, Kevin Frandsen didn’t have a terrific year in 2013 on the baseball field. I bet he’d even be the first to say he knows he can perform better, and he’ll do it in 2014.
The issue here is two-fold, and both sides are wrong (I’m really making everyone happy today). First, some people lacking respect on social media, and thinking they’re clever for publicly calling out a celebrity in a mean or unnecessary way.
Criticism is an essential tool in online discussion, but make certain it’s constructive, backed with substance, and in the right forum (which includes a blog, and twitter in the right setting).
Calling out a celebrity to provoke a reaction for attention (as you will see happens if you search through any celebrity’s mentions) is just immature.
And second, no one wants to hear that their work deserves something tantamount to a “D” grade. If Frandsen resents it, and wants to use it as motivation to prove people wrong, more power to him. If the evaluation is baseless and devoid of substance, defend yourself.
However, not to sound self-serving, but to deem it “irrelevant” merely because of the delivery isn’t valid, especially if it is a substantive argument. It comes with the line of work, and I’m sure Frandsen himself argued over baseball players when he was a kid; it promotes a passion for the game.
I meant for this to be a news story and a recap of the little twitter spat. Oops.
Basically, think when you write and keep up with the intelligent discussion – there’s plenty of it. And don’t be these guys: