Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Best Player in the Game Today?

Batter up August 5th, 2007
Baseball is a talking sport. Debates about players can quickly lead to heated arguments.
For instance, if you were starting a team today who would be the first player chosen for your mythical team based upon 2007 performance.
Some scouts, general managers, broadcasters, and managers discussed this question the other day. Their answers, filled with emotion and conviction, ranged all over the field.
Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer got the most support. Mauer plays a key position on the diamond, hits for power plus average, and is a team leader.

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Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki got a ringing endorsement. Ichiro creates runs. When you add his runs scored to his runs driven in minus his homers, the number is not far from the known offensive stars in today’s game. Ichiro plays center field as well as anyone roaming the outfield today.
If you want a number three hitter then Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, Vladimir Guerrero and Alex Rodriguez are the clear choices.
Dodger catcher Russell Martin was prominently mentioned as a rising star.
The only pitcher mentioned as a first choice was lefty Johan Santana. Says something about pitching in the majors this season.
My pick is the Mets shortstop Jose Reyes. This young man is the most dynamic player in the NL. He creates havoc on the bases, has tremendous speed, has extra base power, and plays an important defensive position. Reyes looks like a young Rickey Henderson playing the game.
Toughest job for the A’s front office will be evaluating the roster for 2008. Who knows what to expect next year from Eric Chavez, Bobby Crosby, Dan Johnson, Nick Swisher, Jack Cust, Travis Buck, Kurt Suzuki, Huston Street, Justin Duchscherer, Santiago Casilla, Joe Blanton, Kiko Calero, Esteban Loaiza, and Mark Kotsay based on this season’s performance.
The Rangers made excellent trades at the deadline upgrading their farm system. If Texas has the patience Ron Washington will teach these young players how to be winning major leaguers. Lefty starter Kason Gabbard obtained from Boston for Eric Gagne is a ground ball pitcher; a plus in homer happy Arlington.
Why did Pittsburgh trade for Giant pitcher Matt Morris? Not only does Morris have a hefty contract, he hasn’t pitched well for two months to boot. In the past, the Pirates have had absolutely no luck luring free agent pitchers to Pittsburgh. The only way to get one was to trade for one. Morris will also be expected to tutor the Pirates young rotation. It’s a gamble, but one the Pirates had to take to get an experienced starting pitcher.
Even if manager Ned Yost was wrong in criticizing a player for sloppy play during the game Thursday, there was no excuse for players Tony Graffanino and Johnny Estrada to confront Yost in the dugout. Different game in ‘07: if those two players confronted Billy Martin or Leo Durocher during the game, they would be looking for a dentist today.
Is Seattle really sticking with starting pitchers Jeff Weaver and Horacio Ramirez over the next two months. I would have offered two good prospects to Texas for either veteran starter Vicente Padilla (currently rehabbing) or Kevin Millwood.
The AL Wild Card race is wide open.
The Tigers are reeling. Detroit’s starting pitching has been abysmal. Gary Sheffield is out with a bum shoulder. The Tigers are counting on the return of relievers Fernando Rodney and Joel Zumaya. Before these two were hurt neither was pitching very well. Who knows what they will have when they get back.
Even with Jake Westbrook’s resurgence, Cleveland’s overall pitching is still worrisome.
Both the Yankees and the Mariners are now positioned to knock out the second team in the Central for the wild card spot.


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