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Monday, November 08, 2004
Maddux wins 14th Gold Glove; three Cardinals honored. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Jeter, Wells win first Gold Gloves. (San Francisco Chronicle)

"Gold cannot be pure, and people cannot be perfect." "Well, before every gets up in arms, let me just say two things. First, yes, Jeter is not the most inspired choice. I would have gone with Tejada or Crosby. However, he isn’t a terrible choice. Jeter was about an average shortstop this year, maybe a little bit better. He would win the most improved category if they had it." (Mike's Baseball Rants)

Braves Journal looks at the future:

Where Do We Go From Here? 2004 (Part I: Free Agents).
Where Do We Go From Here? 2004 (Part II: Arbitration).
Where Do We Go From Here? 2004 (Part III: The Outfield).
Where Do We Go From Here? 2004 (Part IV: Starting Pitchers).
Where Do We Go From Here? 2004 (Part V: The Bench).
Where Do We Go From Here? 2004 (Part VI: Relief Pitchers)

The Meat Market: Catchers. "This year's crop of free agent catchers is not a particularly strong one, especially compared to last year, when Ivan Rodriguez and Javy Lopez both hit the open market. The best of the bunch this time is Jason Varitek, who has been one of baseball's best backstops for years now and is coming off a season in which he hit .296/.390/.482 for the Red Sox. The switch-hitting Varitek batted in the bottom half of Boston's lineup for much of the past few years, but that was mostly due to their offensive depth. On most teams, he would be a legit #3-5 hitter, an all-around offensive threat who hits for solid batting averages with plenty of power, draws walks, and hits well from both sides of the plate." (The Hardball Times)

The Meat Market: First Basemen. "Last offseason was an awful year for free agent first basemen. At 39 years old, Rafael Palmeiro was the biggest name and most desirable player in the bunch, and at the time I generously described the rest of the group as "relatively deep in mediocrity." This year is a totally different story, as there are not only several big names available, there are a few relatively attractive mid-level guys on the market as well." (The Hardball Times)

The Meat Market: Second Basemen. "He doesn't have the name recognition and a place reserved in Cooperstown like Roberto Alomar or huge power numbers and an MVP award like Jeff Kent, but the best available free agent second baseman this offseason is Placido Polanco. Polanco has long been one of the elite defensive infielders in baseball and he's added some impressive hitting to his resume since being traded to the Phillies for Scott Rolen in the middle of the 2002 season." (The Hardball Times)

The Meat Market: Shortstops. "A five-time All-Star and possible future Hall of Famer, Garciaparra is definitely the biggest available name. However, a lot of his stardom and reputation was cemented years ago, and he has since established a much lower (though still very good) level of performance. Whether it is the cause of Garciaparra's dropoff or not, the change can be traced back to the 2001 season, when he missed 141 games with a wrist injury. Before then, he was a .333/.382/.573 career hitter and in the two seasons directly preceding the injury, he hit .365/.426/.601. Those are incredible, jaw-dropping offensive numbers for a shortstop, but unfortunately he hasn't been able to approach them since." (The Hardball Times)

The Meat Market: Third Basemen. "The list of this offseason's free agent third basemen doesn't run nearly as deep as the shortstop crop, but there is a lot of star power available at the hot corner Tennis. While centerfielder Carlos Beltran gets most of the headlines leading into free agency, the most desirable free agent might just be third baseman Adrian Beltre, particularly if Beltran's amazing October upped his price tag as much as some suspect (the fact that his agent, Scott Boras, says he wants a 10-year contract might play a factor too)." (The Hardball Times)



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