Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Keri Unkovers Kollusion Kontroversy?

Jonah Keri's third Cactus League interview is up, this one with Oakland A's Assistant GM David Forst. Like the previous two, it is extremely well done. Unlike the first two, this one is sprinkled with controversy:
Keri: Barry Bonds! Left field is probably the A’s weakest position right now, depending on which way you decide to go at the start of the season. He’s in the Bay Area already, the A’s are a team that prides itself on performance analysis, and Bonds still projects to be a productive hitter. Is there just an industry-wide philosophy that says, “Wink, wink, we’re not going to do this

Forst: You expect me to answer this on the record? [laughs]

Keri: On the record, off the record, whatever you want to do.

Forst: On the record, this team has committed to young players.

Keri: Such as Emil Brown.

Love that last shot (Emil Brown is 33 years old). Also love that this interview came out on the same day Don Fehr announced that the Players' Association is going to look into whether teams have colluded against signing Bonds.

Even if teams have colluded (which I kind of doubt despite Forst's curious comments) I'm guessing no one can prove it. For starters, there are plausible reasons why teams might not want Bonds on their team even if the man can still hit, and those reasons serve as plausible individual cover for anyone trying to freeze out Bonds pursuant to a central directive.

More to the point, a good number of the men in charge of baseball today are veterans of Collusions I, II, and III back in the 80s. While some optimistic lad may conclude that such experience has chastened them, I think it also means that, if they were going to collude today, they'd simply be better at it.

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