Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Hot Stove League Gearing Up

One thing that separates baseball from the other sports is the amount of interest that is generated once the season comes to a close.

In many ways, the baseball offseason is more interesting on a day to day basis than either the NHL, NFL or NBA are in their full seasons.

With that in mind some things that may be percolating.

The Yankees may not be as panicked about redoing their club as we have been led to believe.

Click below for more on that and other thoughts!
If the Yankees were so inclined they could trade Alfonso Soriano today for Kansas City center fielder Carlos Beltran. What is stopping them since Beltran is an MVP in waiting?

For one, the Yankees are not completely convinced that the late season demise of Soriano is something that will carry over to the regular season in 2004. One thing is for sure, Soriano will not be playing second base for NY next season. If he stays on the team, he will be moved to the outfield.

Two, if they trade for Beltran today, then they welcome agent Scott Boras into the picture for the 2005 season and beyond. No doubt, Boras drives a hard bargain and if NY trades Soriano for Beltran it won’t be for the purpose of keeping Beltran for one year. So, the Yanks will have to deal with a 100 million dollar demand by Boras after the 2004 season.

Who will be the NY second baseman?

Jose Vidro could be available for Nick Johnson, a player the Yankees still believe will be a very big hitter in the AL. Many liken Johnson to John Olerud (little power, big average, good glove), but expendable because Jason Giambi will be playing more first base as Bernie Williams eases into the DH role.

Fernado Vina could help some clubs at second base. The rap on Vina is he is brittle and every injury that he incurs ends up putting him on the DL for extended periods of time. The Mets may be interested in Vina.

The Yankees are looking at Javier Vasquez from Montreal. He comes with a caveat. Frank Robinson worked him so hard (130 plus pitches too often) that he went weeks when he would loose his stuff in the sixth inning.

Boston would be foolish not to resign Mike Timlin who had a tremendous postseason.

The Phillies made a key acquisition picking up Billy Wagner from Houston. The Phillie bullpen was a mess from Jose Mesa to Mike Williams last season, now with Wagner the ball will come in at 100 MPH and he should get 40 plus saves for this bunch.

Houston will move Octavio Dotel into the closers role and have Brad Lidge set him up. It may work out for Houston, but then again closing is different from setting up, so it remains to be seen whether Dotel has the closers mentality to make it work. He certainly has the 98 MPH fastball to get the outs.

Crossing Philadelphia off Keith Foulke’s list helps the A’s in their hope to resign their closer. With the Phillies out of the picture, the Red Sox and Mets may be the teams who will pony up the 30 million for four years for Foulke.

If I’m the A’s I match it. The closer for the A’s will get 50 save chances in 2004. They better have someone who knows how to seal the deal and bringing in Paul Quantrill from LA or Mike Williams won’t get it done over the course of the long season.

How’s the Miguel Tejada watch going? The A’s will make him an offer, probably 30 million over four years. The Angels, Orioles, Cubs, and perhaps the Mariners will come close to doubling that offer. Let’s say those clubs only go to 40 million for four years, then the A’s may be in the picture.

One has the feeling that Ted Lilly may be traded for a good hitter. The A’s don’t go to arbitration and Lilly is arbitration eligible, so he may be traded if the team can’t fill their offensive needs in the market.

Maybe Pat Hentgen will finally join the team as a free agent after the A’s missed out on him during August last season, a move I still think they should have made.

If Tejada ever stayed what to do with Bobby Crosby? Make him the centerfielder. Heir apparent to the center field position is Nick Swisher who walks an acceptable amount, but doesn’t hit with any authority, so it may not be abad idea to try Crosby in center if it ever came to that.

Will the A’s sign Jose Guillen after the outfielder bravely played through a broken hand in September? Unlikely, unless the team thinks it can move Terrence Long and his remaing two year contract.

Will Billy Beane be heading to LA if that team changes hands? Let’s see it change hands first before making this call. Frank McCourt couldn’t put together 189 million to buy the Angels, now he is supposed to come up with 400 million for the Dodgers. I don’t care if he wants to develop Chavez Ravine for homes and businesses and then build a new downtown stadium in LA, it seems like he is big hat, no cattle when it comes to money on hand.

Anyway, it appears that Paul DePodesta, the A’s assistant GM isn’t going anywhere, nice insurance policy in case BB gets the desire to move on soon.

What’s the market for a Gold Glove winning rightfielder in the NL whose error in the playoffs contributed mightily to his team’s early October exit? Jose Cruz, Jr will answer that question next month.

Seems like Bartolo Colon has Texas, Boston, or NY on his itinerary for next season.

With Billy Wagner’s salary gone, Andy Pettitte can take his aching elbow to Houston if they will kick in 30 million or so for three years.

The Orioles need two big hitters. Vlad Guerrero has the bat speed to be one guy they could use, but his bad back has everyone worried. Gary Sheffield may be another, but I have a feeling he will end up with his buddy Barry Bonds in the Giants outfield next season.

Arizona defintely wants Richie Sexson and they have the young pitching available to make it happen.

Arizona also wants to move Curt Schilling to the Yankees, but NY is not sure if he is the answer after last season’s injuries.

The Red Sox will interview everyone who can read a computer printout for their manager’s job, then settle on Glen Hoffman, their first interviewee.

Some impression Eddie Murray must have made during his mangerial interview almost one month ago. The Orioles are still trying to find the right guy for their job.

Baseball news every day, there is nothing better when trying to make it through the dark days of winter, then speculating on all the possible changes which will take place over the next six weeks.

Stay tuned.


1 Anonymous { 11.06.03 at 5:08 pm }

Just a tremendous article. I used to go or the A’s web site for insight. Now its right here. Marty Lurie: one of the more knowledgeable men in baseball. What do we make of Eric Byrnes. He can be great and he can be real bad. We saw both this year. I think he’s trade material. And I think the A’s see it that way too. I thought the Mets taking Terrence Long was part of the Peterson deal. So the A’s just let arguabley the best pitching coach in MLB walk and received nothing in return? Not even a salary dump? That’s rediculous. Difficult, but they have to find a way to move Dye’s salary before this year and use it to A)sign Tejada, or B) trade for/sign another big bat. Dye can be dominant, but you can’t risk another sub .200 average and 12 RBIs for your $11 mil. Especially if you’re the A’s. Eric Chavez absolutely is not able to carry this offense alone. I really don’t think he’s a leader. Infact, he’ll need more than just one big bat to help him, as we saw this year. Crosby and Ellis up the middle scares me. That won’t cut it. Foulke was tremendous, but the focus this offseason has to be offense. Closers can be found relatively easily (see Borowski). Beane will, if he’s not still being exiled from the circle of GMs for Moneyball, surprise us with an awesome trade as he did out of the blue for Damon, Dye, Appier, Velarde, Guillen, etc. But it may take two to get the job done. Don’t count on any signings of impact. The money’s just not there for the A’s.
I look forward to your insight as an avid A’s fan Marty. Keep it coming. Your buddy, Ned Kletz

2 Anonymous { 11.06.03 at 5:28 pm }

Hi Marty,

I’m with you. Love hot stove talk.

So am I just dreaming when I conjure up combinations of AAA guys to package with Dye to dump his contract?

I’ve thought with their obvious need for pitching, the Cards might be a taker for Dye if we added J. Duke, Esteban German, and/or Reinecker (Or even Lilly).

My guess is that the dumping of Dye’s contract is the only way the A’s will feel they can sign even two of our FAs.
I know Long wants out and the A’s would like to accomidate him but even if he goes I don’t think that frees up enough dough.

I think it is critical to sign Foulke at a minimum.

What say you, oh wise one.

Reno Bill

3 Anonymous { 11.06.03 at 6:17 pm }

Great article. So much to think about and so many possibilities. We would all like to give Billy advice. Hope he reads at least your insights, Marty.

I for one think that Tejada is most important to sign. Not an extension for Chavez. That is not the answer. He is not a leader and cannot carry this team. While Folke was wonderful for the team, I would rather spend the big dollars on some bats. I also worry about Foulke’s back and the fact that his 2002 year was inconsistent. One great season for a closer doesn’t make him worth big bucks.

And, I hope that Billy remembers that Lilly was his insurance last year. Without him coming through after Mulder went down, the A’s would probably not have made the playoffs. I don’t see Harden as ready to take over that kind of situation should it happen again. With the big 3 and Lilly next year, if they all stay healthy and have great years, you could be looking at 90 wins right there.

Like the idea of moving Crosby to center. The kid is a great athlete and hits for power so he should be able to do it.

Schilling as a Yankee? That will be interesting. I thought he wanted to return to the Phillies.

Keep us posted. any news on Papa’s replacement?

4 marty { 11.06.03 at 6:40 pm }

I appreciate all the comments. Ted Robinson seems to be the leader right now in the “Replace Greg Papa” sweepstakes. Ted’s contract with the Mets has expired, so I am told, apparently he is available. Stay tuned on that one.

Jermaine Dye is heading into a contract season so he might snap back and be productive. I don’t think it is possible to trade him until someone sees him run and throw in spring training. I think he has potential value in the trade market. Many teams don’t like to wait until spring to make trades, so it is possible someone may bite on Dye if the A’s market him aggresively in December.

I think it is critical to have a solid closer. Imagine seven strong innings from the big three and a good eighth inning, then seeing someone like Ugueth Urbina come in to save the game. After a few blown saves, Macha would be out of his mind. I like Foulke because he seems to finish batters off after getting up in the count, and he works often. I would keep him in one inning save situations because I think he wore down late in the year when Macha tried to use him like Mariano Rivera (one and a third or more).

There will be plenty of hitting out there in the non tender market (players with three years or more and arbitration eligible). How about Lilly, Dye, and even Ellis for Soriano and/ or Nick Johnson? It’s worth exploring with NY.

Someone will realize the value of Tejada and outbid the A’s. It seems if the A’s really wanted Miguel they would be making him a $40 to 50 million dollar offer right now before the bidding starts on Monday. They seem to want to head the bidding off on Foulke that way if the rumors are accurate, maybe we will have some news on him shortly.

Everyone has good suggestions. This off season will take better shape after December 20th, the last day to tender contracts to players, that’s the way the A’s got Hatteberg a couple of years ago from Colorado.

5 Anonymous { 11.06.03 at 8:40 pm }

I would hate to give up on Dye. I’d like to keep him for one more season and see what happens. The most important thing for the A’s to do is to resign Foulke. Also Lilly is a left handed pitcher with promise in a strong rotation so I think keeping him is important. So I guess if you keep all those guys then who do have left that is worth anything to trade. I’m tired of the poor post seasons of Chavez and Tejada. When will they finally grow up? Susan

6 Anonymous { 11.07.03 at 11:32 am }

Susan, let me remind you and others that Chavez had a very good postseason last year. He hit over .300 against the Twins. I’m not trying to make excuses for him. His inconsistency is frustrating and he needs to be able to make better adjustments when struggling. Maybe shorten his swing at times? Just wanted to remind people about his postseason last year.
Lets hope something good happens this offseason for the A’s. I’m preparing myself for when Tejada leaves. The A’s have showed him no respect at all. Make him a stinking offer already, you bums! If he doesn’t take it, then fine. Good for him that he leaves for more money. At least show him some respect. And an infield of Ellis, Crosby, Chavez and Hatteberg sounds offensively absolutely pathetic.

7 marty { 11.07.03 at 12:32 pm }

Now that Lee Mazzilli is in place in Baltimore, watch them go after two big bats, Miguel, Vlad, or Pudge for openers. Terry Francona is the leader according to informed Boston sources for the Red Sox job. Francona had extensive schooling in computer managing last season with the A’s last year and knows how to talk the talk with the Boston stat oriented front office leadership, in “the manager is just another person world” of the A’s, Blue Jays, and now Red Sox, Francona fills the bill nicely. Wins are important, but more important is following the organization blueprint of “how to win a big league game with computer spread sheets” that is employed in these three cities.

8 Anonymous { 11.07.03 at 2:08 pm }

Totally agree with you about Tejada. The A’s are not doing anything to show all their players that they care about them. Always waiting for what someone else will do. Make him an offer. If it is decent, I bet he takes it. I don’t think he wants to play in NY or LA where the press and expectations are so much greater. Miggy will not make it in NY. He has been honest about loving Oakland so why can’t Schott go for it. There is no other bat out there that will give the A’s so much for their money. His heart is worth plenty on a team like the A’s.

9 Ed { 11.14.03 at 11:13 am }

Marty: Good to hear from you. Now, about the Giants prospects. The key to the possibility of an interesting next year is the ability to land a hitter to bat fourth, behind Bonds, and go from there. Sheffield is a clear choice. They don’t have enough money to compete for Guerrero. Sheffield and Bonds would undoubtedly enjoy playing together, with Sheffield giving his buddy the opportunity to swing at more pitches than he has lately been enjoying. The Giants are probably giving up on Aurilia and Snow. The need the money to afford someone like Sheffield and fill their need for starting pitching. With Sheffield in the outfield together with Grissom and Hammonds alongside Bonds their outfield is set. The unknown factor is Feliz. They still would need a fifth place hitter. Feliz is the only obvious candidate. Santiago is gone and he can’t fulfill that role in any event. If Feliz can play the first base position adequately and hit with some power the team can carry the fine fielding shortstop presently on the roster. Torealba will handle the catching spot. There has been some speculation that they might be in the market for Sexson by way of a trade. However, that will not happen for the very good reason that they don’t have anyone desireable to offer in a trade. They need all the young pitching they have, and more. After solidifying the lineup with Sheffield, assuming they can accomplish that, they are going to have to come up with some impressive pitching. At the moment they have Schmidt and very little else. Williams is at the moment fighting with Ruetter for the number two spot. They need two more starters. Maybe they should be the team which goes to a four man rotation,( at the risk of being called facetious.) Anyway, the above is a great deal of speculation but, as you point out, this is what makes the offseason interesting– particularly when you have Sabean calling the shots, with his history of putting a new ball club together every year.

10 marty { 11.14.03 at 5:21 pm }

I’m thrilled for the Giants that they were able to snag AJ Pierzinski from the Twins today for Joe Nathan. Pierzinski is a legit hitter, a tough guy, and will be great with the Bay Area media plus the A’s can’t stand him after his taunting comments during the ALDS in 2002. I still think Sidney Ponson will be a bargain for some team at a reduced price which is about where his salary is at this point, the Giants shouldn’t overlook him (Anaheim surely won’t). Joe Nathan will help the Twins in the rotation or the eighth inning in place of LaTroy Hawkins.

11 Ed { 11.14.03 at 5:55 pm }

I didn’t think the Giants were in a position to give up a pitcher with as much potential as Nathan. This may mean that they will make a serious move on Ponson. Clearly, Nathan has impressed more than a few people, the Twins among them. Sabean isn’t wasting much time. He still has a few positions to fill, as well as his starting pitching. Your opinion of Pierzinski is encouraging. A “legit hitter, a tough guy” sounds better than Cruz.

12 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

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