A couple of very interesting things showed up in the news today, and both have a significant impact on my out look of the teams involved:
1. Steve Nash and the Jason Richardson trade. On paper, Richardson makes the Suns better. There’s an interesting angle I had forgotten about until I read it, though – Raja Bell and Steve Nash were best friends and were practically inseparable. According to Nash, the first he heard of the possibility of a trade was when he woke up from his pre-game nap, checked his texts, and saw the news. Bell was already at the airport.
I find it very odd that the team would do this without discussing it with Nash first. He’s the center of this team, and he already isn’t happy because of the change in style of play this year. This isn’t a good way to make him happier. I went back and watched the highlights of the game last night. Phoenix lost, and Nash was visibly upset throughout the game. He’s a pro and he’ll get over it eventually, but this is yet another move by this team that shows that they don’t really seem committed to keeping their core in place and happy over the long term. It leaves me less optimistic about this trade than I was upon first hearing about it.
2. Cito Gaston is a good guy and a heck of a coach, but he did something this week that I have never, ever seen before. The baseball season doesn’t get underway for four months, but Gaston is already setting expectations for his Blue Jays. Or rather, he is lowering them significantly. He told a group of reporters at the winter meetings yesterday that his team won’t be good until 2010. He said that they should be good for severalyears at that point, but he essentially wrote next year off. He was given a few chances to take a step back from what he had said or tone it down, but he didn’t. He’s right – the rotation lost A.J. Burnett, Shawn Marcum is out for the year, and Dustin McGowan will miss a couple of months, so pitching will be rough. That’s doesn’t make it any less strange, though. This kind of honesty is so unexpected and unfamiliar that I have no idea how to deal with it. It will be interesting to watch how fans respond now, and as his prediction proves right this year.