Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

Look For Trades Not Free Agents

Batter Up Sept 9th, 2007
Over the past decade the off-season trend has been for teams to sign free agents in hopes of building a championship club.
Not so this winter. Trades will be back in the headlines. The change in philosophy is due to a weaker than normal group of impact players being available in the free agent market.
This year the top free agents, outfielders Ichiro Suzuki and Jermaine Dye, plus pitchers Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano have already resigned with their current teams.
Who are the remaining players who will become headliners this December by virtue of their contracts expiring or teams not picking up their options?
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The biggest names are Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, Francisco Cordero, Paul Lo Duca, Bobby Abreu, Mike Cameron, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Aaron Rowand, Milton Bradley, Jose Guillen, Barry Bonds, Mike Lowell, and Mike Sweeney.
If A Rod opts out of his contract in New York, he goes to the head of the class. Otherwise there is no quick fix in the group.
The A’s will be in the market for an impact hitter. DH Jack Cust is a wonderful story, but he needs protection in the order. Eric Chavez’s health is in serious question. Nick Swisher is still trying to learn how to hit breaking pitches. Mike Piazza will not return in ’08.
Can the A’s find significant help in the free agent market or will they have to trade Joe Blanton, Rich Harden or prospect Daric Barton to regain championship players?
Lowell and Sweeney can both help the A’s. Sweeney could be signed to an incentive laden low risk contract, If Sweeney swings the bat like he did when healthy, he becomes the new “Frank Thomas-Shannon Stewart”. Lowell gives the A’s a solid right-handed bat plus being a third baseman, he is insurance in case Chavez isn’t 100%. Lowell also can DH or play first base giving the A’s the option of moving Swisher to the outfield.
The Giants should jump into the A Rod sweepstakes with both feet. Short of A Rod coming to SF, the club should seriously look at either Andruw Jones or Torii Hunter to play center field. The Giants have excellent starting pitchers, signing a top-flight center fielder is a good baseball decision.
Former Senate majority leader George Mitchell the person in charge of baseball’s drug-performance enhancing investigation wants 45 players to come in and talk with him. He is offended that the players have refused. Mitchell’s theory is simple: if you have nothing to hide why not come in and discuss what you know.
Shocking that Mitchell doesn’t realize he is a prosecutor in this investigation with real penalties at stake. You would think after all his years in the Senate that the former lawmaker would understand the meaning of the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution i.e. the right against self-incrimination, the cornerstone of our judicial system.

With three weeks left in the season the closest races will be decided by how well a team plays within its division.
Within the NL West here’s how the teams stack up against each other (games over .500) Padres +8, Dodgers +1, Colorado +1, and Arizona 0.
In the AL Boston is +14 in the East while the Yankees are –1. In the Central the Indians are +18 while the Tigers are –1. The Angels are +9 while the Mariners are 0. Those three division races are over.
In the NL Central the Cards are alive at +10 within the division while the Brewers +3 and Cubs +2 are still having trouble playing consistent baseball against the Central.
Let’s see if the teams playing the best baseball within their divisions this year continue to play baseball in October.


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