Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Batter Up for March 6th

Eric Chavez who usually heats up in the second half of the season may get off to a fast start in 2004 and it won’t have anything to do with his off season conditioning.

Click “Read More” to read the rest of the story.Once again the AL West is lacking in lefthanded starting pitching, that is every team other than the A’s.

The A’s have 19 games against the West to open the season. Expect only these lefties Kenny Rogers, Jamie Moyer, and Jarrod Washburn to see Oakland at least once, but that’s it folks. Chavez should at least get good hacks against the remaining righthanders.

Seattle relied on great defense to build its teams over the past few years. Check out this years model. Scott Spiezio at third, Randy Winn in center, Rich Aurilia at short, and Raul Ibanez in left. Spiezio and Aurilia have very little range, Winn is a decent left fielder, but he’s no Mike Cameron in center, and Ibanez won’t win any gold gloves in left.

The Mariners better hit the ball more consistently than last year because this defense won’t bail out many pitching mistakes.

If Kansas City gets any starting pitching at all they will be threat in the AL Central. With Angel Berroa, Carlos Beltran, Mike Sweeney, Juan Gonzalez, and Joe Randa in the order along with Aaron Guiel, Benito Santiago, Dee Harvey, and underrated Tony Graffinino, this bunch will score some runs.

For me Mike Sweeney, coming off last year’s back injury is the key. When healthy Sweeney is one of the best clutch hitters in the game and a possible MVP.

Reliever Justin Lehr is opening some eyes in the A’s camp. Oakland can use a righthanded reliever out of the pen who can break some bats, If Lehr can settle down and pitch the way he is capable, he may be the one.

If Scott Erickson hopes to comeback with the Mets this season his velocity better return pretty soon or he might not make it out of spring training. Erickson has good movement on his sinker, but an 84 mph fastball is not going to make it in the big leagues.

The Marlins lost Pudge Rodriguez, Derek Lee, Mark Redman, Ugueth Urbina, and Juan Encarnacion this winter, but the biggest gaffe is bringing in Armando Benitez as the closer. No lead will be safe with Benitez on the mound.

The Mets are thrilled with new shortstop Kaz Matsui. Once the Japanese shortstop gets the hang of charging the ball, he will be fine. Matsui played on artificial turf in Japan, thus could wait on the ball. Not here in the US where the fake stuff is a thing of the past.

As if the Red Sox haven’t seen enough of Aaron Boone, I wouldn’t put it past the Yankees to resign Boone in August and bring him back to play second base for the stretch run. Enrique Wilson and Miguel Cairo are fine bench players, but there is no way either will be the starting second baseman for NY when September rolls around.

Remember former Stanford star and ex Athletic, Dave McCarty? The industrious McCarty is trying to hook on with the Red Sox this spring as a reliever/DH. Good luck, I expect the next chapter in the likeable McCarty’s career will include managing. He seems to fit in quite well wherever he goes, even for the few months he generally sticks around.

I love Ray Durham and what he brings to the top of the lineup, but those Giants fans who are raving about the DP combo of Durahm, and Nefi Perez are in for a shock. Durham’s offense got him the big bucks, not his defense as the Bay Area will soon realize.


1 Anonymous { 03.07.04 at 2:31 pm }

Hey Marty,
So, your thoughts on the contract situation with Chavez? Is it over money or something nonfinancial like a no trade clause? If the A’s don’t sign Chavez, then Schott can expect a considerable exodus from the fans.
About Lehr, what does he throw? Good velocity? You said “break some bats”, so I assume yes. Unless Harville has a tremendous spring and shows some more control, he will be released or put on waivers. Lehr could be the answer.

2 Anonymous { 03.07.04 at 7:15 pm }

I wonder if the A’s are not stalling in the Chavez negotiations because they want to anounce it right before the season opens. If they do it now, it is old news by April. Just a thought. I am optimistic that it will get done, but if it will be the biggest contract the A’s have ever done, then why not get some good publicity out of it?

3 marty { 03.07.04 at 7:21 pm }

The A’s have got to realize that Chavez will have a markey in LA, San Diego, and Chicago. He is in the prime of his career and they don’y have a number three hitter in the organization to replace him, so, I think they will get it done unless Chavez wants 12-13 million per year, if that becomes the case he will leave.
Lehr’s velocity spiked last season and he had a good winter ball season so if he can keep it together and not overthrow he has a chance.

Talk about hardthrowers the Dodgers have about ten young pitchers who throw above 95.


4 Anonymous { 03.08.04 at 6:47 pm }

Marty, just returned from Phoenix where Dave Stewart was in the crowd and talking to many about the contract with Chavez. He said it was not going to happen and it wasn’t just the money. My question is why would he be working the crowd with that and what else would it be?

5 Anonymous { 03.08.04 at 7:13 pm }

If that is what Dave Stewart was saying, then what happened to confidentiality?–I would bet there is an agreement with the A’s right now during the negotiations. What is really going on? What besides money could be an issue unless it is just Stewart wanting to make a splash with his first client. Hope not as I have always thought the world of Stewart and thought he loved the A’s. I continue to be naive–and ever hopeful.

6 marty { 03.09.04 at 6:57 am }

Stew is a very candid man and might be frustrated that he can’t get the A’s to what he believes is the fairmarket value. I have no clue on what the other stuff is other than Chavez seeing the handwriting on the wall and not wanting to be disappointed at the last minute, so he is pulling back now. If the A’s are close they should take the risk with Chavez because of his age and tremendous upside.

7 Anonymous { 03.09.04 at 12:41 pm }

Good for Stew. I’m glad he is driving a hard bargain. Let him tell fans what he thinks. Fan support is on his side, not Schott’s.
I thought Schott would do something sensible for once and sign Chavez. If Schott doesn’t attempt to sign this guy, there will be many fans, including myself, that think the race card is in effect. Why would they they offer Giambi that kind of money but not Tejada or Chavez? Yes, Giambi is a better hitter than both of them. But the point remains.
-Mike E.

8 sarabaseball { 03.09.04 at 1:49 pm }

I also just got back from Phoenix. Stew just told the crowd that the delay wasn’t about money; that the A’s and Stew/Chavez were very close. He said it a number of times because so many people were asking him what the holdout was. He didn’t really say much more so I don’t think he was talking out of turn. He was clearly frustrated. And I had the feeling it was possibly a “no-trade” clause again. But not from anything he said.
He was incredibly gracious and friendly with fans. He must have signed 400 autographs during the Sat. game and talked “ball” with anyone who asked a decent question. He is still a gentleman, folks.

9 ed { 03.11.04 at 1:45 pm }

Marty; Durham is a better fielder than the A’s gave him credit for. Playing second for the Giants, in a season shortened by injury to 110 games, he made only five errors and covered a hell of a lot more ground than his shortstop, Aurillia. How many errors did the A’s make at second last year? Perez, who made five errors playing 129 games at short and second, will help Durham turn the double play far more than Aurillia did. Pitching, not Durham, is the Giants problem.

10 marty { 03.12.04 at 12:16 am }

Mark Ellis is far superior to Durham as a second baseman. Durham’s major problem is turning the DP, especially when he must take the throw from third, it’s not a pretty picture. I agree Giants pitching is a work in progress, I also don’t hear good things about Pierzinski down here in Arizona. Maybe we’d better be cautious about his receiving skills too.

11 Anonymous { 03.15.04 at 10:50 pm }

Sounds like Chavez signing will take place on Wednesday or Thursday. Looks like Hudson is in line for opening day start if rotation holds. Ellis made two spectacular plays in the field today. Mike Woodard is a possibility for fifth starter later in the year if Harden or Duchscherer need help. Harville looked sharp today, many off speed pitches for strikes. Dye two hits but behind in the count all day.

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