Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Rookies Take Over?

Batter Up August 26th, 2007
September 1st is a key date on the baseball calendar. The best players in the game take center stage as the pennant race heads into its final climactic month. It’s also the deadline for adding players to the roster in order to make them eligible for postseason play.
In year’s past, you could count on a number of transactions during the last week of August as the contenders jockeyed to add veterans for the final pennant push.
The old Yankee teams of the 1950’s routinely added seasoned players in August such as pitchers Ewell Blackwell and Johnny Sain, slugger Johnny Mize, and pinch hitters Dale Long, Enos Slaughter, and Harry Bright.
In the 70’s, former A’s owner Charlie Finley secured Rico Carty, Matty Alou, Dal Maxvill, and Cesar Tovar during late August transactions. The Orioles grabbed pinch hitter Tommy Davis while the Tigers added big Frank Howard in late summer moves in 1972.
My how times have changed. Today the contenders are looking at minor league players as the Angels did with reliever Frankie Rodriguez in ’02, to ignite their clubs instead of adding tested veterans who have been through the pressure of September baseball.
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Vets such as Jeff Conine (Mets), Eric Gagne (Red Sox), David Wells and Shea Hillenbrand (Dodgers), and Craig Monroe (Cubs) have changed teams recently.
The Tigers, struggling to stay close in the AL Central, recently brought up pitcher Jair Jurrjens and 20-year outfielder Cameron Maybin, immediately throwing both into the fray. Last week the vaunted Yankees turned the eighth inning over to AAA call-up 21 year-old Joba Chamberlin. The Red Sox couldn’t wait to promote youngsters Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz to the rotation in August.
The Mariners seeking to light a fire on the club (it worked Raul Ibanez found his power stroke), promoted phenom Adam Jones on August 3rd from Tacoma in the PCL. Still in the hunt in the NL Central, the Cards looking for a spark added former pitcher turned outfielder Rick Ankiel from their Memphis club.
Instead of looking for veteran help for their rotation, the Rockies promoted untested rookies lefty Franklin Morales and righty Ubaldo Jimenez as their fourth and fifth starters. Arizona looking for a bat inserted 19-year old Justin Upton into right field.
With injuries to Casey Kotchman and Chone Figgins this week, the Angels chose minor leaguer Kendry Morales instead of adding a veteran bat for their bench.
It’s mind boggling that the A’s can’t move DH Mike Piazza and outfielder Shannon Stewart, two veterans who definitely could help a contender over the next 30 games.
I’ve seen September baseball. My feeling is I’ll take a key veteran over a rookie any day.
Reports from Phoenix where pitcher Rich Harden is rehabbing, again show that the injured right-hander is throwing well from 200 feet. The problems arise when he tries to pitch from 60 feet 6 inches. Maybe Harden should consider becoming an outfielder.
A veteran major league coach lists the best outfield arms in the NL as the Braves Jeff Francoeur, the Reds Josh Hamilton, the Cards Ankiel, and the Phillies Shane Victorino.
There are very few top pitchers in this year’s upcoming free agent class and that’s why A’s pitchers Esteban Loaiza or Joe Blanton could fetch much in return in the right winter deal. Here are some of the free agent pitchers who are potentially available: Livan Hernandez, Steve Trachsel, Greg Maddux, Matt Clement, Curt Schilling, Tim Wakefield, Josh Fogg, Jason Jennings, Kenny Rogers, Jeff Weaver, Odalis Perez, Bartolo Colon, Carlos Silva, Tom Glavine, Andy Pettitte and once again Roger Clemens.
I’d take the A’s duo over all of them.


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