Posts from — December 2003
Marty; good to have you back. Glenn Dickey wrote a few weeks ago that “Giants have dealt themselves into corner”. Some of his observations are well taken; others are open to dispute. Open to no dispute is his reference to the Giants pitching problems and their, impossible to justify, giving up of Ortiz, a 22 game winner and Ainsworth for the dubious privilege of having the services of Moss and Ponson for a few months. Sabean, and particularly management which thought it was a good idea to give up Ortiz in order to save a few bucks, have much to answer for.
The Giants won 100 games last year and left the rest of the division far back in the pack. If they can come up with at least one respectable starter, if their closer situation doesn’t become a disaster zone, they should do as well as they did last year. However, Dickey says that the team now faces a “serious power shortage”.
In support of that contention, he points to the loss of Cruz, Aurillia and Santiago. These three don’t bring to mind Mays, McCovey and Cepeda. One finds great difficulty in locating the power these three abysmal hitters provided. Cruz was an absolute disaster for the better part of the year, Aurillia had his career year in 2001 and hasn’t been a productive hitter since then, and Santiago is way over the hill, as both a catcher and a hitter.
Not only has Aurillia deteriorated as a hitter but his fielding has always left much to be desired. Teams considering him today are talking about playing him at third and one even mentioned playing him at second. When informed of these attitudes Aurillia was quoted as saying,” Am I really that bad?” The answer is “yes”.
It is true that the team could use a right fielder who can hit meaningfully behind Bonds. However, the team last year started with an outfield which had as their 4th and 5th player Bernard and Rivera. One outdid the other in futility. For much of the time they played with the three starting outfielders and Feliz, an infielder, their fourth fielder, and, it should be kept in mind, the third player in the outfield was Cruz, who couldn’t buy a hit for most of the year.
They have added Pierzinski, a move Dickey rightfully describes as “great”. In addition, Alfonzo should play as well as he did the last half of the year, including post season. He was feeling his way the first half of the season. Their outfield is much stronger with the addition of Hammonds, Tucker and Mohr. It is a better team than last year’s if the pitching comes around and we are still to hear from Sabean on that score. Not the least of the improvement will come from the defense, notwithstanding the loss of Cruz as a fielder.
The shortstop position will be fielded far better than it was with Aurillia. Snow has been retained, a wise move. He can hit well in the 2nd slot and still fields better than almost any other player at first.
Arizona and LA have been weakened. The division is the Giants to lose and it is unlikely that they will.
December 30, 2003 No Comments
Now that the dust has settled in Texas and the Rangers are slowly moving forward putting their 2004 team together one has to wonder what happened to the proposed A Rod for Manny etc. trade that was going to shake the baseball world.
Most curious in the whole scenario was the report that on Tuesday the last deadline imposed by Rangers owner Tom Hicks, he dropped his demand for the Sox to kick in any money on the Ramirez contract, but the Sox backed off the trade even with that concession.
It makes me think that the egos of Hicks, Larry Lucchino and others are the biggest factor in this transaction. Someone is always trying to get the upper hand the other, even at the price of killing the deal. The money is absolutley inconsequential to these people, they don’t think like you and I about money, they have loads of it, they just want to brag at the next owners meeting how they hoodwinked their fellow billionaire out of some chump change (see the Eddie Murphy movie “Changing Places” for a good example of how these folks think about money).
Anyway, until I see the Rangers spend some real dough on Sidney Ponson or some other pitchers or the Dodgers trade Odalis Perez to some team other than the White Sox or Rich Aurilia signs with someone other than Texas, I still believe the big boys will come to their senses and make this deal happen.
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December 28, 2003 No Comments
The A’s won the West last season in convincing fashion only to suffer another heartbreaking loss in the playoffs.
Fans have to remember that the 2003 A’s played great baseball from August through September winning games with outstanding starting pitching, great infield defense, a sturdy three man bullpen, and some timely hitting.
So, after the moves this weekend has anything changed appreciably that would make one doubt that the A’s can win the West again?
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December 22, 2003 No Comments
It’s good to be back.
First, I want to thank Alma Chao for upgrading the software and getting us back on line before the holidays. There is still more to do and I appreciate his efforts.
Will A Rod be a Red Sock before January first?
Maybe, but you can bet he will be Boston’s opening day shortstop in 2004.
Is the deal dead as Larry Lucchino, Boston Prez, says it is. Not exactly.
In “The Priness Bride” Billy Crystal tells Mandy Patankin when asked if Billy can revive Mandy’s apparently dead compatriot, “Your friend is dead, but not completely dead”, and then he goes through elaborate procedures to bring him back to life.
So it is with this deal.
Tom Hicks cannot afford to bring A Rod back under any circumstances not the least of which his manager doesn’t want the bad apple A Rod around messing with his young team’s mind.
Boston has driven Nomar crazy with all the trade talk and he really is sadly through in Boston.
Nomar isn’t Boston’s kind of guy anymore: Too sullen with big advertisers and swings at too many first pitches to satisfy the OB% conscious Sox.
The trade has many other teams waiting before tomorow night’s contract tender deadline.
It’s all about money and you know that won’t stop these guys from pulling the trigger, it’s just a matter of when.
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December 19, 2003 No Comments
Several days ago, Monte Poole reported in the Oakland Tribune “general manager Billy Beane is all but conceding the loss of Keith Foulke”. Now it is reported that the A’s have offered Foulke a $20-24 million deal over four years, which is a giant step towards retaining the A’s closer. Past reports indicated that the A’s had no interest in offering Foulke a deal beyond three years. Beane usually never offers players (non-arbitration eligible, that is) deals for four or more years, but it seems like he may feel differently about Foulke. It’s pretty clear why. Foulke’s 2.08 ERA was the lowest for any A’s closer since soon-to-be hall of famer Dennis Eckersley had a 1.91 ERA in 1992. Does Beane believe that Foulke is the best closer out there, whether on the free agent market or available by trade?
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December 7, 2003 No Comments
More players should be making their choices as this weeknd comes to a close Sunday night. The arbitration offering deadline for one’s own free agents looms at 9:00 PM Pacific Sunday.
For example, if the A’s don’t offer Miguel Tejada the chance to come back for one season through an arbitrated salary by the deadline, then they won’t be able to negotiate with him until May 1st.
If they did arbitrate and sign him with the idea of then trading him, they couldn’t make a deal for him until June 15th, when half his salary would already have been paid.
The biggest news of the weekend will be the signing of Kaz Matsui with the Mets. The newest Japanese import will play shortstop for the Mets and bat leadoff. Hot Met rookie Jose Reyes has agreed to move to second base for NY. With Mike Piazza and Cliff Floyd batting third and fourth, the Mets will have some excitement at the top of their order.
I expect the Mets to trade Roger Cedeno quickly and pick up Terrence Long from San Diego to play right field. Long played well for Art Howe in Oakland and is a decent corner fielder. He will be an upgrade from Cedeno and might hit .265 with 18 homers for NY, not all that bad.
So, how does the Matsui signing effect the market?
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December 6, 2003 No Comments
This year’s flurry of activity, with teams filling open spots in their lineups irrespective of the cost and others dumping high priced productive players because of budgetary concerns, once again raises serious questions concerning baseball’s present structure. By way of example, looking at the Yankee/Red Sox operation and comparing it to the Brewers problems may be enlightening, although nothing said here is going to come as a great surprise to any devoted follower of the game. [Read more →]
December 5, 2003 No Comments
October no longer marks the end of the baseball season. The intervening months, November to April, when play begins, are devoted to filling those positions which ownership feels need strengthening. Weaknesses are perceived and the hunt, designed to overcome such weaknesses, begins. It begins however, for the most part, for those teams which have the financial ability to attract free agents without concern respecting budget. The prime example is the Evil Empire, also known as the Yankees, although there are a few other teams in a similar position. [Read more →]
December 3, 2003 No Comments