Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Sunday Morning Muse

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.

Click below for more!The A’s and the Giants both won their divisions handily last season. The A’s were the better team by far in the West even though the final margin over Seattle was three games, it could have been seven or eight, but for the end of the season series in Seattle.

The Angels and Texas were far back.

Here’s the point, did the opposition improve enough to make either the Giants or the A’s underdogs in the division?

The Giants won 100 games easily burying the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks. Arizona has added Steve Sparks, Shane Reynolds, Richie Sexson, Brent Mayne, and Jesse Orosco (yes that Jesse Orosco) to its team while losing Curt Schilling and a host of backups.

The Dodgers lost Kevin Brown and picked up Jeff Weaver while resigning Robin Ventura, Tom Martin, and Wilson Alvarez.

The above is the main reason why the Giants haven’t panicked and gone out and signed a big hitter or big pitcher yet.

I still think thay would like to see if Greg Maddux will fall into their price range. Any rumors about Vlad are certainly false and misleading unless the team execs are the biggest double talkers in baseball history.

The Mariners added Raul Ibanez in the outfield replacing Mike Cameron, Eddie Guardado instead of Arthur Rhodes, and Scott Spiezio as third baseman supplanting Jeff Cirillo.

The A’s and the Mariners are a good match in the West, both solid teams with excellent pitching. Seattle hasn’t pulled away with its moves, and certainly is in a similar position to last year with its core group a year older, which in some cases is good (Rafael Soriano) and others scary (Olerud, Edgar, and Moyer for example).

The Angels seem to have the biggest upside in 2004. They play the game correctly, have a great bullpen, fine manager, and have added two pitchers that go to the post in Kelvim Escobar and Bartolo Colon. If they add Robert Fick, Rafael Palmiero, or Eric Karros, they should be able to replace Scott Spiezio’s numbers. With a rotation of Jarrod Washburn, John Lackey, Ramon Ortiz, Escobar, and Colon (Scott Shields too), they can play with the A’s and the Mariners. Having Jose Guillen won’t hurt either.

Injuries destroyed the Angels last season and will hover over this team in 2004, but they seem poised to close the gap between Oakland and Seattle and are a definite threat to close the gap in 2004.

The NL East is really the most intriguing division in baseball.

Are the Braves done? Losing Gary Sheffield, Javy Lopez, and Greg Maddux takes a good chunk away from the mystique of the Braves. Check the top 15 qualifiers for the NL ERA title in 2003 and you won’t find one Atlanta Brave in the list.

The Phillies added Tim Worrell, Billy Wagner, Kevin Millwood and Roberto Hernandez to a solid returning group.

The Marlins are keeping the nucleus together. Funny, but if I was Pudge, I’d consider going back to Miami on May first. His market isn’t what he thought, and he can win another championship in Miami.

Where oh Where will Vlad end up? If the Dodger deal goes down in a couple of weeks maybe they open up and sign him? Otherwise is their any team that will kick in for the next biggest star in the game other than the Baltimore Orioles?

The Expos always make things interesting and with Frank Robinson managing the team you know they will not lack for effort.

The Mets have added Mike Cameron and Kaz Matsui and are not done adding to the pitching staff.

The East will be wide open next season.

What free agents are still out there that can help somebody?

John Burkett, Rick Reed, Darren Oliver, and Kenny Rogers could help the back end of someone’s rotation.

Rich Aurilia can still play and will have a decent season in 2004.

Jose Lima showed he can pitch six solid innings.

Travis Lee is a great glove and can hit .270 with occasional power.

Juan Gonzalez, headcase and all, can help a tired offense, most likely in the American League.

Mark Sweeney can come off the bench and be a productive addition to a contender.

Ugueth Urbina and Ron Villone should get a good look. Hard to understand the reluctance in signing Urbina who takes the ball when asked and was in the World Series last season with the winning Marlins.

Mike Dejean and Julian Tavarez are legit pitchers who should be signed quickly, especially Tavarez who impressed me last season with the movemant on his slider.

Cliff Politte deserves another chance, he can set up and throws 95 which is a huge plus.

I’d bring in Kris Benson too, if healthy he can bring it and is worth the investment.

So, the A’s and Giants did what they had to do and no more, to keep ahead of the opposition.

The Astros, Cubs, and Cards are competing on a high level this winter, the Cubs are building a strong 25 man roster, a sure sign of good things to come.

So, as the year comes to a close, don’t forget to look at the final standings in 2003 to see how much ground your favorite team has to make up.

It explains much about your teams chances next season and the moves or lack of moves this winter that your team did or did not make.


1 Anonymous { 12.28.03 at 7:09 pm }

Marty, With all the A’s moves, I’m wondering how they expect to score runs this year. They don’t have a number 3 hitter at all. Eric Chavez? Gimme a break. He hasn’t shown he can produce in pressure situations. I honestly think he’s underrated and would be a solid trade commodity this year… his contract year. Even if the A’s are in the playoff hunt. His playoff numbers are sickening. He’d bring a boat load in return, and those who think he’s resignable should think again. Beane’s “re-signing” focus includes three words: Hudson, Mulder, and Zito. Anyway, if Chavez hits 3, who hits 4? Dye? Again, please give me a break. Overall, Keilty helps. I like Kotsay…he helps. But they aren’t impact players. Who drives in the runs? Who replaces Tejada’s RBIs? Beane has said he’s done making moves and we’re looking at the team he’ll take into spring training. I don’t know about you but this is a scary sight to me:
What do you think?

2 marty { 12.28.03 at 7:39 pm }

Your lineup pretty much looks like the opening day order. BB said he wanted nine Hatteberg’s in his ideal lineup (see “Money Ball”), well, he is coming pretty close. I agree, the number three and four spots will be crucial, look for Kotsay to possibly hit third if he gets off to a good start.

3 Anonymous { 12.28.03 at 7:55 pm }

Chavez will be fine and I think we’ll finally see Dye have a good year if he isn’t traded first. There are a lot of unknowns which makes the new season exciting. The A’s always seem to get a player who has had a previous poor year who then turns it around so the A’s can lose him the next year. I’m looking forward to this year-I’m just sorry the A’s didn’t hold on to Jose Guillen. Susan

4 Anonymous { 12.30.03 at 2:34 am }

Hey Marty,
Great thoughts as usual. Yea, it’s moments like the collapse of the A-Rod deal that cogently reveal the negative side of the sport. The billionares are full of themselves and they’re vehemently anti-union too. Like it was the Union’s fault the deal didn’t happen? Please.
I haven’t read Money Ball yet. I don’t think I want to considering how high Beane is on Hatteberg. Man, I can put up Hatteberg like numbers. All I have to do is take the first strike, work the count, and put the ball lazily in play every now and then. Beane, pay me 2.5 mil!
Ned brings up some great and disturbing points. I’m concerned. The A’s lineup wouldn’t look that bad, though, with a decent player at first. I’d take Lee’s glove and .270 avg over Hatteberg any day. That aside, I think Kotsay and Kielty are going to give good at-bats this year.
Marty, any chance the A’s will try and acquire Looper or Politte? I know the A’s are near their budget limit. But a good righthanded setup pitcher would be big. Politte might be the more reasonable option. He might be under team’s radar screens.

5 marty { 12.30.03 at 9:56 am }

Mike, Looper probably is going to get a decent salary from someone, most likely the Mets who need a closer or Texas who can use all sorts of pitching. Politte is an affordable alternative and is worth the risk, a much higher upside than Jeremy Fikac had and they gave him a good chance. Politte played with Toronto last season, which is good and bad. If JP tells Billy too many negative things about him, than BB won’t go near him, on the other hand if BB thinks he can pull one over on JP and make something of a player JP released, then the A’s might give him a shot. I would take the latter road and bring him in, he can pitch in middle relief and blow the ball past people and has control too.

6 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

7 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:51 pm }

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