Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

A's, Giants and Decisions in March

This week the final rosters of major league teams will be settled. I always like to watch the box scores the last week of spring training because now you really get to see what is on the mind of the various general managers.

The Giants have to decide what to do with Livan Hernandez and Robb Nen.

The A’s need to maker another statement about Miguel Tejada, eat some crow for the PR gaffe last week, and let the fans know that the club is open to being creative with the MVP shortstop.

Let me explain.The A’s have the nucleus of their pitching staff tied up for the next few years. Eric Chavez comes up after the 2004 season for free agency.

Miguel Tejada should stay in Oakland for many personal reasons which I pointed out around June of last season. The A’s understand Miguel, the manager knows he is a high maintenance person who would be lost being “the guy” in another city.

I talk to a lot of big leaguers during the season. They all have one thing in common, they want to win now. Sure they want the money, but the pendulum is swinging back to the side of contracts in the 10-12 million dollar range for the stars.

The A’s could appeal to Miguel and offer him his market value for two years. No shame there. Keeping Miguel would virtually ensure the team of having a great player as their number three hitter and shortstop for the run at the world series in 2004 and 2005. After 2005 the pitchers will be free agents and undoubtedly will be playing somewhere else, but until then the A’s should do everything in their power to win the world series for the next few seasons with this team intact.

You need to spend money to make money. By investing in Tejada and even Chavez for bigger, shorter contracts the A’s would make enough money back from post season success, which I guarantee is coming, to make the deals worthwhile.

Tejada wants to stay in Oakland, his outlook is different than Jason Giambi’s, the A’s should recognize this now and say so to the fans.

Admit they were too hasty in writing Miguel off completely. Put the ball in Miguel’s court.

Tejada can be signed, the A’s just have to open their eyes to a creative deal. Tejada is begging to be talked to, for goodness sakes he is the MVP in the prime of his career, talk to him now.

The Giants need to let Livan Hernandez go to the highest bidder, no matter what the offer. Kurt Ainsworth is ready for a chance to pitch in a major league rotation. Ryan Jensen is a capable starter who deserves another look. With three more AAA starters very close to the big leagues, the Giants better establish Ainsworth and Jensen this season or else they will be breaking in four or five rookie pitchers next year. The Giants have real bargaining chips with these young players, it will be interesting to see how Brian Sabean handles the logjam.

No matter what, Livan is a precision pitcher who lost his fastball, he may help another team, there is always that risk, but his time in SF is over.

Robb Nen has done the magic act coming back from injuries to be a dominant closer. The Giants may not be so lucky this time. Nen is older, his velocity dropped off noticeably last fall, I just wonder how strong he will be this season. Felix Rodriguez cannot be traded under any circumstance until Nen pitches in big league regular season games.

The Giants need some help in the bull pen and Hernandez may bring a live arm to help the set up guys.

The Cubs are struggling with Bobby Hill and Hee Sep Choi, two untested rookies at second and first base. Neither one is ready for the big time. I expect Dusty Baker to use Eric Karros and Mark Grudzilenick (tough to spell) instaed of the two rookies. The Cubs have some power arms and will surprise in the NL Central. Hitting wise, they are in trouble. Moises Alou and Sammy Sosa are the only two proven hitters they have who can still play. Maybe a trade for Shea Hillenbrand isn’t a bad idea, then they could put Mark Bellhorn at second.

In any case, Dusty needs a closer (maybe Cruz) and will play veterans before turning this team over to Bobby Hill and Choi.

What do you think the Yankees are going to do with David Wells? Somehow I have the feeling he isn’t long for NY, even though he is one of George’s favorites. They have enough pitching to move him, I guess their concern is the health of Andy Pettitte over the season, the age of Clemens, the enigma Jose Contreras, and the late season drop off of Mike Mussina.

I have always said you can’t have enough pitching so maybe the Yankees will wait to see how the rotation holds up over the first thirty games or so before sorting out the staff. It sure seems like Sterling Hitch***** is on the move. With Texas desperate for starters, there is interest in Arlington for the Yankee rejects.

Funny, but Jeff Weaver may be the most well rounded starter they have right now in NY.

Saw David Cone pitch for the Mets the other day on television. For Art Howe’s sake I hope he doesn’t have to pitch him in a regular season game. Cone topped out at about 83 MPH and that can only work for a short time. He pitched against Tampa Bay, which is as close to AAA as possible, so it didn’t impress me. The Mets would be better off with Livan Hernandez in their rotation than Cone by a long shot.

Not bad for a Sunday morning. This should be a good week to watch the rosters.


1 bleacherdave { 03.23.03 at 3:56 pm }

Great point about needing to spend money to make money. The A’s announced they wouldn’t re-sign Miggi the day of the sponsor and affilliate soiree, what was the mood among the A’s sponsors and media affilliates? The A’s can not only make money from post-season attendance, but with the TV contract up for renewal, I think they leave money on the table by letting recognizable stars go. That also has to effect corporate sponsorship dollars.

Who’s it gonna make the club – Piatt or Byrnes, or both?

Final note on the contracts, I believe there is a club option on Mulder for 2006.

2 marty { 03.23.03 at 4:05 pm }

I think Byrnes is on the team even though he has never shown he can hit the off speed stuff. Singleton’s hamstring and general durability may be unsettled right now, since there is no other centerfielder on the horizon (not counting Long or Dye) I think Byrnes is more valuable than Piatt. They love Grabowski and would like to see him on the team. Piatt can play third or the outfield, they are trying to see if Grabowski can fill that roll before deciding this week on who stays.

Thanks for the comments Dave…

3 Anonymous { 03.23.03 at 7:27 pm }

I agree with your take on Piatt and Byrnes, Marty. Niether have shown or proven too much offensively this spring. Piatt has done practically nothing and Byrnes, while having a better spring, is showing his usual inconsistency at the plate. Byrnes, however, is much better defensively and will be able to play centerfield. I’m not going to be surprised to see Piatt go to waivers.

4 Dave { 03.24.03 at 7:06 pm }

The good news about Billy Beane is that the minor league system isn’t in such bad shape. With the likes of Harden, Wood, and Rheinecker, the big three might possibly be expendable one by one. Also, with the positions that lack in the system, Beane can fill holes.

The short-term isn’t going to produce any .300/30/100 players overnight, however. (Though Eric Hinske came awfully close, unfortunately for Toronto.) If Tejada won’t be ashamed for receiving an offer for $10 million / 1 year extension, maybe Schott should just go for it. The team will basically remain in place until 2004. But Tejada wants to settle, and it seems all but apparent that Oakland won’t be the place to do it.

Thought the Giants were foolish to exercise that large option on Nen. That’s nearly $18 million over 2 years, and Nen can’t be in the best of shape after having offseason surgery. Maybe they should eat some of Nen’s contract, allow someone to take him along with Livan Hernandez, and let Felix Rodriguez become the closer. Or at least let someone who’s blown over like Joe Nathan get a chance. Always liked him, for some odd reason or another.

NYY’s pitching staff is funny, as they could break or bust. Hopefully for Boston’s sake, it’s the latter. Someone is going to break out with a Mussina-like line. 15+ wins with a 4.5+ ERA. That’s what happens when the money spent on your offense gets more than some teams overall in baseball.

What’s Cone’s possibility of becoming a Greg Maddux type of player? The guy may not have velocity, but control means just as much if not more.

5 bleacherdave { 03.24.03 at 11:46 pm }

Why in the world would Tejada sign a contract with a total value of $10M? It makes no sense to settle for $10M when ~$50M+? is out there. I certainly wouldn’t – would you?

6 Dave { 03.25.03 at 1:11 am }

Wouldn’t hurt. If Tejada wants a last chance to win in Oakland, he’ll stay. If Tejada wants to start over somewhere else, let him.

We’ll see if Schott’s PR stunt makes Tejada think at night enough to make him want to stay a little bit longer.

7 marty { 03.25.03 at 1:43 am }

10 million per year for each of the next two years isn’t the end of the world for anyone in baseball, it still gives him significant money for the rest of his life plus a chance at winning three pennants with his current teammates. These A’s players are young enough where they will get two more big contracts in their careers, delaying the big big payday two years may not be such a bad alternative. Isn’t it worth exploring?


8 Anonymous { 03.25.03 at 12:19 pm }

I had to laugh when the owners said–with a straight face–that they didn’t want to insult Tejada with a low ball offer. So no offer is less of an insult?

I think this team could win 2 or 3 World Series championships in the next 3 years. I believe Tejada when he says he wants to stay. This is the only place he has ever known in baseball. He is a shy uneducated guy who is living out a dream. I know that his dream includes winning. If he waits to be a free agent, he could end up on a losing team for the next 8 to 10 years.

Make the guy a 3 year $30 million offer. I will bet that he would take it, everyone would be happy, and the team can concentrate on getting that ring.

Schott–wake up to what you have. Give Tejada a chance to say YES and play for the team he loves. And this may give other players the idea that money isn’t everything in this game. The fans will respond and the ballpark will be filled.

Tejada deserves an offer NOW!!

9 bleacherdave { 03.26.03 at 2:06 pm }

It’s definitely worth exploring from the A’s perspective, they should definitely give Tejada an opportunity to say “No.” By refusing to even make an offer, the A’s appear to have another, hidden, agenda at work.

$20M ain’t the end of the world, but it ain’t $50M, either. Could you leave $30M on the table? I don’t know that I could. The specter of injury is a constant threat.

How old is Miggi – really? He had a storybook season last year, with so many clutch hits; 3 walk-off hits in September alone. I doubt that’s repeatable. I think his level is somewhere below last season’s performance. I think he’ll continue to improve his career stats, but I doubt he has another 130 RBI season.

Don’t get me wrong, Miggi’s a stud, and I love to watch him play – especially that acrobatic defense. But, I think if he’s wise, he’ll make hay while the sun shines. I doubt his agent would disagree.

10 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:14 pm }

11 Anonymous { 09.22.07 at 1:51 pm }

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