Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Daily Dish Batter Up November 6th, 2004

Each year the story of baseball plays out like a captivating book. We don’t know how the story will turn out, but every day we read another chapter, then try to predict the next twist in the plot.

Such is the life of a baseball columnist.

Some forecasts are right on the money, others not so close.

Here’s a few of my favorite analyses from “Batter Up” 2004:

2/21: “A Rod is a loser folks.” It took the NY fans about two months before realizing that A Rod won’t produce when it counts. Joe Torre even batted A Rod second in the order, in a desperate attempt to awaken his bat. A Rod’s pathetic swipe at Bronson Arroyo while running to first base in game six of the ALCS brought the boo birds out in full force.

Click below for more!3/6: “No lead will be safe with Armando Benitez closing games for the Marlins.” Benitez regained his form and saved 47 games for Florida, tops in the league tying the Cards Jason Isringhausen. Now Benitez is the top reliever on the free agent market.

3/13: “Tony La Russa is counting on sore armed Woody Williams, Chris Carpenter, Jeff Suppan, Jason Marquis and Matt Morris as his starting pitchers. Good luck.” La Russa knew what he was doing, the pitchers came through leading the Cards to 105 wins before giving it up in the world series.

3/13: “Florida’s starters are the talk of the Grapefruit League, don’t write the Marlins off just yet.” The Marlins didn’t count on the worst hurricane season in the state’s history. The weather caused postponements leading to multiple doubleheaders and other scheduling nightmares in September. The Fish never recovered.

3/20: “The Angels are trying to move either Jarrod Washburn, Aaron Sele, or Ramon Ortiz.” Turns out the Angels needed all three pitchers to win the West because Bartolo Colon and Kelvim Escobar fell well below preseason expectations. Angels will say good bye to Ortiz and Sele this winter.

3/27: Rich Harden lacks command of any pitch other than his fastball. Put him in the bull pen.” Harden turned out to be the most pleasant surprise in Oakland this season. He is a legit top three starter in any team’s rotation and will be a 17-20 game winner next year. Forget putting him in the ‘pen.

3/27: “Bobby Crosby is a natural leader and a legit rookie of the year candidate.” Crosby will be named AL rookie of the year on Monday unless the voters suffer brain lock. Don’t worry about Crosby’s late season fade (.239 final batting average), this young man is a winner.

4/3: “A’s will beat the Red Sox for the wild card.” Since I predicted the Yanks would win the AL East, this meant the Sox would miss the playoffs. Wrong! Boston’s team jelled behind my MVP choice David Ortiz, closer Keith Foulke, and Curt Schilling. Pedro secured his spot in Red Sox history with a 16 win season. “The Curse of the Bambino” fell to this year’s world champions.

4/3: “Arizona will win the NL West. Richie Sexson will hit 50 homers.’ Just a bit outside. The Diamondbacks fired their manager in mid season, lost 111 games as Sexson missed the bulk of the season with a bum shoulder. Sexson is now ready to play and is still the premier righthanded slugger in the NL. Seattle and LA are interested. I’d sign him.

5/1: “Has the league caught up with Ichiro? His second half fades are a problem.” I’ll answer that one now. Absolutely not.

Ichiro will cement his Hall of Fame credentials with one more season like his last. Seeing him get 50 hits per month and then end up with 262 safeties was simply amazing.

5/8: After a particularly poor Red Sox series I wrote this one, “Sorry New England, you can chalk up another one (pennant) for the Evil Empire.” The Red Sox came from behind to beat the Yanks in the most thrilling LCS ever, won the world series and actually made us feel badly for the Yankees (just kidding).

5/15: “If the Giants fall out of the race, the opposition will pitch to Bonds, then he’ll have a shot at his 700th homer this year.” The Giants stayed in the race all year. Remove one bad inning from their last weekend, they catch and pass the Dodgers. Bonds walked 232 times, and STILL hit 45 homers, giving him 703 for his career. Another unbelievable season for the best slugger to ever hit a baseball.

Baseball thrives on opinions, predictions and comparisons. They are good for the game. I enjoyed the chance to share mine with you.

I can’t wait for spring training.

See you then.


1 Anonymous { 11.06.04 at 5:09 pm }

Gee, I guess I don’t have to feel shy about opining since I’m not a sportswriter and have no inside information 😉

Seriously, there are so many intangibles and uncontrollable vagaries of fate, that predicting what will happen during a season is almost like being a weather forecaster…

Nonetheless, I am continually amazed by the rumors that A’s fans will believe about trading away their starting pitchers, spending big money on aging free agents, etc. The A’s will not fritter away their rich (and still reasonably priced this year) starting rotation. I doubt anyone will offer anything that would really make it worth their while to trade any of the Big Three. And why would the A’s overpay for a veteran catcher when by 2006 they are likely to have at least one of their exciting prospects ready?

I am concerned about hitting in the clutch, the cleanup spot, and right field. I don’t think Swisher is ready for full time everyday major leage outfield and lineup duty. And the bullpen needs help (the new prospects may not be ready in 2005). But I like the A’s starting pitching and infield defense, and the outfield if Kotsay doesn’t leave (please stay!) question: will Hudson sign if the A’s don’t pick up another big bat?

2 marty { 11.07.04 at 11:03 am }

Very good comments.

Tim Hudson will stay if the A’s put money on the table. Clear and simple, his agent knows the game and will see where the A’s want to go in the negotiations. Seeing Mulder and Zito struggle last year might swing things in Hudson’s favor since he is the most reliable of the three. His propensity to break down is disturbing as well as his avoidance to throw a split finger pitch last season. He is Pedro like in that he wants the ball in the big game and will deliver. i’d sign him before the other tow. it’s a gamble but he’s married and a more mature man. if I was investing my millions in the future I’d put it on Hudson.

I agree there is no upside breaking up the big three at this time. With frontline pitching so scarce in the big leagues and their salaries manageable why weaken the strongest part of the team. Now with that in mind the A’s need to secure a real righthanded bat for the lineup. Eric Chavez is not Sheffield, Vlad, Manny, Ortiz, Beltran, or any of the top sluggers in the game. He should hit fourth or fifth with a legit bat in the three spot. That’s where I’d be looking if I was Oakland. I would seriously trade any minor leaguers in the organization to get that done. The bull pen is critical to any team’s sucess. Dotel might be the answer for next year, he had immense trouble getting lefites out, but if you just limited him to a max of one inning each time out I think he might be strong enough to get the lefties. He was overworked in his first full season as a closer. Next year he might be OK if handled better. This means a veteran is needed in the eighth inning. Chad Bradford seemed to come apart and the manager didn’t have the same confidence he had in him in 2003. Rincon can get a lefty out, but he always makes me nervous falling behind in the count. I’d concentrate on an eighth inning man and leave Dotel where he is because I don’t see a real ninth inning alternative out there.

The Cubs will move Sammy Sosa no doubt about it. Same situation that A Rod got into last year with Texas. He must and will go. Dodgers could trade Shawn Green for Sosa I’m not sure the Mets are still dumb enough to take both Sosa and an over the hill Mike Piazza to spring training. Piazza should become a DH right now and not go back behind the plate next season as he seems to want to do for NY.

Arizona will make some sort of financial settlement with Wally Backman who gave up pursuit of the Mets job once Arizona showed real interest in giving him the manager’s job in Arizona. His background was more than common knowledge in the industry and Arizona dropped the ball and has hurt Backman’s career and chances of being hired by another team. Not excusing his past but he didn’t put himself in this position, Arizona did by firing him after orally agreeing to the contract which should be binding.

Yankees will certainly go after Eric Milton. They need a lefty starter and he is the best available and they will over pay to get him. They didn’t pick up Jon Leiber’s option thus giving Leiber leverage to be wooed by Boston and Texas. If the Yanks do sign him to a 2 year deal as they seem to want to do, they will pay through the nose to do it. Should have picked up his one year deal and gone from there.

Derek Lowe is on the Yankee radar screen which means no matter where he ends up he is going to be a very rich man.

Angels are trying to market themselves as the Los Angeles Angels. Let’s see what the city of Anaheim has to say about it since they have a contract requiring them to be called the Anaheim Angels.

I still say Jermaine Dye is worth a look by the Giants. If he doesn’t get a real contract offer by a team that has a chance to succeed in the next year or two, if I was Dye I’d see if the A’s would take him back for a one year 4 million dollar contract and hit fourth. Now that would be one probelm solved by Oakland. He’s worth the gamble.

Anyone signing Troy Percival has to worry about his loss of velocity and his new reliance on off speed pitches. This is trouble waiting to happen.

Forget about Jorge Posada being traded, he is owed so much money in the next few years that only the yankees can afford him and he’s already there.

Nomar to the Yankees? Why not? At the least he is creating a market for himself by sucking the Yankees into the picture. Angels still seem to be the team to beat for his services.

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