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A weblog of baseball news and analysis

Monday, January 31, 2005
Sosa trade waiting approval.
CHICAGO (AP) -- Sammy Sosa was once as popular a fixture at Wrigley Field as the ivy-covered brick walls and the ancient scoreboard hanging over the center field bleachers.

Fans flocked to the neighborhood ball park to watch one of his majestic home runs, while other congregated in the streets to try and retrieve one of them.

Now he's on his way out of Chicago. A trade to the Baltimore Orioles for Jerry Hairston and two prospects is expected to reach Commissioner Bud Selig's desk Monday for approval.

All Sammy, All The Time. "Until this deal -- or deals, as I shall explain -- is finalized, I'm going to obsess a little about the Sammy-to-Baltimore trade... this is bigger than the Nomar trade, in many ways it can be argued that this is the biggest name involved in a Cubs trade since they dealt away Ron Santo and Billy Williams in the mid-1970's." (and another thing!)

OF Situation not looking so good. "Well I am all for getting rid of Sammy Sosa, but only if it means bringing in a better or equal product. It is not looking like that will happen." (Baseball Diamond News)

.... How the mighty have fallen.
I am perplexed by the reports coming out that Sammy Sosa is being traded to the Orioles. If these reports are to be believed, the seventh-most prolific home run hiter in baseball history is being traded for Jerry Hairston and a bag of baseballs, and the Cubs are paying most of his salary for next season.

I mean, are you telling me the Giants couldn't figure out a way to give the Cubs one or two of our prospects and, say, Edgardo Alfonzo, and come out ahead in the deal. If I'm a GM and I read these reports, I would immediately call up the Cubs and offer something better than what the Orioles are. I don't get it. Sure, Sosa's had a pretty bad couple of seasons, but he still hit 35 home runs in 120 games last season. Wouldn't you think the guy deserves a chance to rebound?
(Only Baseball Matters)

Sammy S-O’s-Eh? Mike compares Sosa to the other all-time Cub greats. (Mike's Baseball Rants)

SABR meeting report, part 1 (Kevin Uhlich). "He talked about the rich history of the President throwing out the first pitch, even though, as is fitting to his role, he also sees it as an operational nightmare. He hopes it goes back to being an annual tradition, and is how MLB kicks off the season every year, even if, due to the RFK renovations, they couldn't play the team's first game in Washington." (Nationals Pastime)

SABR meeting report, part 2 (Paul White). "Depth plagues our entire organization. [White] said it was clear that when Omar Minaya was GM, he gutted the farm system, because those were the only valuable bargaining chips that he had, in order to remain competitive. Before Minaya, the Expos were becoming more and more statistically oriented (i.e., a Moneyball team). When MLB put Omar in charge, he reversed that course, because he's a gut instinct / 5 tools guy, who wants absolutely no part of any spreadsheets being placed in front of him. He also was willing to take big risks and come up a big loser on someone, preferring, for example, someone he felt had a chance to be a #1, even if he also had a big chance to become a bust, over someone he knew would be a #3, but probably would never be much more." (Nationals Pastime)

State of the Twins: Catchers. (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Humble Pie and Modesty Cake.
In some ways, writing Dodger Thoughts is like whipping up a meal for the entire mess tent. And on some days, despite my efforts at gourmet preparation, I’m Igor ladling creamed corn.

One particular meal seems to go wrong for Chef Jon more than any other. Most of my efforts at serving Frank and Jamie McCourt come out flat - overcooked here, underdone there.

On no other issue relating to the Dodgers have I felt more out of sync with my readers. Pepper the McCourts, and patrons tell me to ease off. Serve the McCourts with sugar, and my guests want to spit out the sweetness.
(Dodger Thoughts)

Monday QOTD: The Yount and the Rest-list. "Quick Hit QOTD: Who are the best players in the history of the game as teenagers? Note, this is more about how good they were when they were teens, not the 18-year-old who hits .240 with two steals in 150 AB and turns out to be Ty Cobb." (Batter's Box Baseball Blog)

Friday, January 28, 2005
Cry Me A River Build A Bridge And Get Over It.
If you read the mainstream media, you’d get the impression that the players and their agents do little more than behave like pigs trying to find truffles, sniffing around looking for top dollar regardless of where it leads them and being willing to lie, connive, misrepresent, extort and manipulate their way to riches caring little of who is hurt along the way. You'd guess that if Jesus Christ were to join mankind again, Scott Boras would make bloody sure that he'd get more than a lousy 30 pieces of silver for him. Oh the poor owners -- shackled to a system where they’re forced to pay tens, and even hundreds of millions of dollars to greedy players who just want more, more, more.


I might be able to shed a tear for the poor blighters if I could grate a large onion and stick the pulp up my nose and rub it into my eyes -- but even that’s a stretch.
(The Hardball Times)

"Look at me...I can be...Centerfield." "I am hitting the ground running on this Spring Training story: Will the Sox pony up the cash to sign Johnny Damon? I doubt it. $40 million for four years will probably do it and the Sox will likely not bite. But I am not sure that is the right decision, even though regular readers know my anti-long-term deal stance." (El Guapo's Ghost Rambles on about the Red Sox)

Prospectus Triple Play: Anaheim Angels, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers "As the Mets have been the most prominent team mentioned as having interest in Sammy Sosa, it seems they could be on the verge of ruining the Cubs offseason. Carlos Beltran signing with the Mets not only caused the Cubs to miss out on the best bat on the market, but they also may have lost their best opportunity to rid themselves of Sosa. Beltran strengthens the Mets outfield to the point where Sosa's bat is no longer necessary." (Baseball Prospectus)

QOTD: FYI, MYOR & TGIF, OK? "Question of the Day: Who's your all-time favorite player, and why? Most surprising, creative -- but honest (e.g. don't go with Jim Abbott to win the "good guy" vote. We're all Simon Cowell-types here at Batter's Box) -- answer wins a Scooby snack." (Batter's Box Baseball Blog)

I'll Tell You About the Damn Yankees. "...I'm sick of this $200 million team before they've even played a game. Let me count the ways..." (Futility Infielder)

Thursday, January 27, 2005
Larry Mahnken of the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog lost his home and most of his possessions in a fire earlier this week. Donations to help Larry can be made via his PayPal account (click the link on his homepage).

Marlins sign Delgado. "A deep position just got deeper, as Delgado joins Jim Thome, Albert Pujols, Derrek Lee, Jeff Bagwell, and Todd Helton in the NL first base club. Some good players are going to miss out on some all-star berths over the next few seasons." (The Transaction Guy)

Have a ball: Mientkiewicz sent to Mets, ball headed to Boston.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Doug Mientkiewicz is bringing his good glove to the New York Mets. The ball is going to Boston, at least for a year.

The Mets acquired the former Gold Glove first baseman from the Red Sox on Wednesday for minor league first baseman Ian Bladergroen.

The 30-year-old Mientkiewicz won the 2001 AL Gold Glove with Minnesota and caught the final out of Boston's World Series sweep of St. Louis last October, the first Series title for the Red Sox since 1918. He kept the ball, which the Red Sox want back.

Mientkiewicz said Boston asked to have it for one year, he intends to comply and the sides expect to reach an agreement within days. He caught the ball when it was thrown to him by pitcher Keith Foulke in St. Louis on Oct. 27.

It's raining prospects! "In addition to all the top rated prospects the Mets jettisoned last year for mediocre major league pitchers, they now trade their fourth-rated prospect (according to the Daily News AND for a slick fielding, no hitting first baseman, Doug Mientkiewicz, from the Red Sox. Ian Bladergroen hit .342 with 13 HR and 74 RBI in A ball. In ADDITION to being hoodwinked by the Red Sox, the Mets sent an undisclosed amount of cash to the Sox!!! So they are taking on a useless first baseman AND PAYING THE SOX TO DO SO. Holy guacamole!" (The Greatest Game)

Billy Beane Back in AN Part II.
Blez: This may be a loaded question, but has George Steinbrenner gone completely mad? $200 million dollars? When you look at the Red Sox and the Yankees, they seem to be the only two teams that can play on that level in the American League. They're in a different stratosphere because of their inflated budgets. Is there a problem in baseball with that?

BB: It seems like I have that question or some derivative of that question every year. First of all, you can never criticize because they've been a very successful franchise and they're spending what they have available to them. Good for them. At some point, situations like that create opportunities for clubs like ours. It might sound crazy, but they, teams like us are still playing with 25 men on the roster. Sometimes they need to move very good players off their roster and it creates very good opportunities for us. This isn't a high profile situation, but because of that, we were able to get a great pitcher who was very effective for us last season, Chris Hammond, and he cost us 15 cents on the dollar. An opportunity was created because of the situation in New York. I don't view it as frustrating as many fans do, I view it as something that will create an opportunity somewhere along the line if you look for it. Instead of looking at it as an excuse and complaining about it, I look for the opportunities it creates for us.
(Athletics Nation)

Billy Beane Back in AN Part III. (Athletics Nation)

Prospectus Triple Play: Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants. "While Beltre has had one BIG season, in the three years prior to 2004 he had struggled to keep his OBP above .300 (the new Mendoza Line) and his SLG was stuck in the low .400s. Drew, on the other hand, has posted OBPs above .400 three times in the past five years. The knock on him is durability; prior to last season, he had never played more than 135 games. But if he's healthy (no small if, admittedly), Drew figures to be more productive for less money." (Baseball Prospectus)

The Other Four. A look at what the Yankees have done to address their 2B, CF, 1B and DH needs. (Clifford's Big Red Blog)

Friday, January 21, 2005
Rocket top: Clemens gets record $18 million. (

A's trying to swap Byrnes for N.Y.'s Cameron.
A team source confirmed Wednesday that the A's have made a formal trade offer that would send Byrnes to the New York Mets for outfielder Mike Cameron. Rumors involving the two clubs have bubbled since late last week, and a Mets team source told the New York Daily News that A's reliever Chad Bradford also would be involved in the trade, though the A's source wouldn't confirm that Bradford is part of the deal.

Byrnes for Cameron? "I guess I just don't get it. Byrnes is younger then Cameron. And he had 19 Win Shares last year, compared to Cameron's 18. True, Cameron is a better fielder and he had a slightly off year last year. And played in a pitcher's park. But this just seems like a weird trade for Billy Beane to be making." (The Greatest Game)

Talk about bad timing.. Bill Simmons on a Red Sox fan who missed the World Series because he was in a coma. (

Sad Mascotism. "Youppi will not be joining the Nationals in Washington. Which means that we need a new mascot. Perhaps Esteban Loaiza?" (BallWonk)

If only he knew how little I'm sorry. "It looks like Dean Palmer is attempting a comeback. Wow. I know the Tigers need a third baseman after giving up on Eric Munson, but wow." (Baseball Told the Right Way)

Trouble Up the Middle (Again). "From the moment the Twins signed Juan Castro earlier this offseason, I've been scratching my head wondering why they had to pay a utility infielder who is a career .226/.269/.331 hitter so much money for so long...All of which is why I felt nauseous when I saw the Cleveland Indians sign a utility infielder of their own last week, inking Alex Cora to a two-year deal worth $2.7 million. For just $700,000 more than they gave Castro, spread over two seasons, the Twins could have had a player who can potentially be an asset both offensively and defensively. Imagine that." (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Friday QOTD: Hartung, Hurdle and ... ? "Question of the Day: Who was the most overhyped Jays rookie ever? And building on that, who were the most overhyped rookies, regardless of team, of all time? (Rule clarification: Reds and Tigers hyped by Sparky Anderson are not eligible for consideration. Sorry, Chris Pittaro.)" (Batter's Box Baseball Blog)

Marlins drop the M-bomb. "Veiled threats to move the team weren't getting the baksheesh flowing, so Florida Marlins president David Samson escalated matters today, sending a letter to state house speaker Allan Bense that if the state doesn't cough up $60 million in sales-tax revenues over 30 years (present value: $30 million), then the team will leave South Florida." (Field of Schemes News)

Phat Albert. Aaron Gleeman compares Albert Pujols to other players who put up great numbers through age 24. (The Hardball Times)

Prospectus Triple Play: Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres. "The only major job fight this spring looks to be at first base between Doug Mientkiewicz and Kevin Millar...Based on the numbers, the Sox would be wise to move Mientkiewicz for a song. The Sox can use Mientkiewicz's $3.75 million to fill a need in July and hope that whatever B-level prospect from him they acquire comes in handy then as well." (Baseball Prospectus)

Off the Wall: Too many question marks in the M's rotation. Derek Zumsteg: "In a multi-part series, I'm going to write about how the 2005 Mariners are shaping up, what still might happen before pitchers and catchers report, and the big questions that face the Mariners as they try to return to competing for division titles. In this, the first of the series, I'm going to start with the rotation." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Off the Wall: M's bullpen should be better, with Hargrove's help. "Put simply, the crux of bullpen deployment is about using your best pitchers in situations where they're most needed. There's evidence to indicate that new manager Mike Hargrove usually does just this." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Off the Wall: A Look at the choices and challenges Mike Hargrove faces. "In the outfield, Ichiro! is Ichiro! You can't expect that he's going to have a season like last year's, if only because no one's had a season like it for 84 years. On the other hand, he's Ichiro! If he announced tomorrow that he'd decided to hit 70 home runs next year, would you bet against him? He's Ichiro. I put nothing past him. And defensively -- he's Ichiro!" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Off the Wall: What do we really know about Mike Hargrove? "You almost have to say he’s a good manager. In charge of one of the most impressive youth movements I’ve ever seen, Hargrove led [the Indians] to five consecutive first-place finishes but never won a World Series ring. Even if you want to say that his teams had amazing talent, some credit has to go to him. It’s hard to keep a team winning consistently like that." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Thursday, January 20, 2005
Future History: The Unique Arbitration Case of Roger Clemens. "First, based on what he has accomplished in 21 seasons at the Major League level, Clemens probably deserves to become the highest paid pitcher in the history of the game...There is, however, the other side of the equation. Should Clemens get paid based on what he will probably do next season? If so, the numbers look a bit different." (Talking Baseball)

Thursdsay Pinch-Hit QOTD: Rocket or Pickpocket? "Question of the Day: Will Clemens' legacy, when his career is finally over, be that of one of the best pitchers ever in the game -- period -- or that of a great pitcher who, as we see far too often in professional sports, got greedy?" (Batter's Box Baseball Blog)

Billy Beane: Back in AN Part I. An interview with the Athletics GM.
Blez: Obviously with bringing Kendall and Ginter and Juan Cruz and Calero, it seems like you've improved two aspects of the team (offense and bullpen) to the detriment of another aspect (starting pitching). Is that what you were aiming for?

BB: No question. One of the questions I've heard, and I almost found it comical, was, "Why did you get Jason Kendall?" That question makes no sense at all. Jason Kendall was an exchange of Mark Redman and Arthur Rhodes for Kendall. No disrespect to those two guys, but I'm going to make that deal every time. The fact that he is going to be here for three years means that he can be a part of whatever is going on here and he's an All Star catcher. That's what the deal came down to. You were going to have one or the other. Jason Kendall or the other two guys. We chose to take Kendall over the other two guys, call us crazy. The other thing is that, had we not made that deal, our catcher would've been a rookie with no experience because of the cost. As far as the makeup of the team, we're going to spend what we have. Given the fact that we had three young pitchers coming into the rotation, we were going to try and protect them as much as possible in every way shape and form. Listen, I'm not stupid, I learn something every year. I've seen the value of a great bullpen. One thing about acquiring bullpen guys is that you can work from the end of the game back as opposed to the starters working from the front and going towards the ninth. So the cost of working from the ninth down is a little cheaper and with our young pitchers, it will give us an opportunity to win. And if you notice the relievers we've brought in, they're more than one inning-type of relievers.
(Athletics Nation)

Let's Do It Again. "If Mark Bellhorn was a movie, he'd be Repo Man. If he was a band, he'd be Wilco. If he was a TV show, he'd be Nip/Tuck. If he was one of your family members, he'd be Hector, second cousin twice-removed, who 'knows a guy' in Vegas and can get you a f--king awesome deal on a room...In other words, he's the official cult hero of the 2004 Red Sox." (Surviving Grady)

Trends and Neighbors."It's impossible not to read Larry Eichel's piece in today's Inquirer, on how the revenue generated by Lincoln Financial Field has helped the Eagles sustain their remarkably enduring status as one of the NFL's elite teams, and not think of the other team playing in a new South Philly stadium." (Shallow Center)

Pardon Their Dust. "Journey through time, space and concrete for a dirt’s-eye view of the 2004-05 renovation of Dodger Stadium, courtesy of these 20 photos by Dodger historian Mark Langill." (Dodger Thoughts)

Private benjamins. "Washington, D.C.'s private stadium financing plans are in, with eight companies submitting proposals to get involved in building the $500-million-plus Nationals stadium - far fewer than expected, possibly because some folks were scared off by the nonrefundable $10,000 fee...None of these proposals, you'll notice, involves private funding, just private financing: In every case, D.C. would just be selling off a public asset (land, parking revenues, depreciation rights) in exchange for some quick cash." (Field of Schemes News)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
$22 Meeeelion Dollars. "Roger Clemens agent, Dr. Evil, turned in his arbitration figure today of $22 million U.S. dollars. $22,000,000.00!...The odd thing is that Clemens figure is pretty justifiable, given the market, his accomplishments (and due to a quirk in the arb rules, he can argue his career values), and his current talent level." (

It's good to want things. "I find myself thinking a lot about Clemens' legacy these days. Sure, he's a shoo-in first-round HOF pick. But Clemens seems increasingly likely to end his career on a bum note. He traded the flashbulbs and ovations of his 2003 season for a shot at bringing a World Series to Houston -- the fact that the team fell jus short of that doesn't really tarnish the moment. But now, it's entirely likely that his career ends here, with this crazy, last-minute cash grab." (throws like a girl)

Gagne agrees to $19 million, two-year deal with Dodgers. (Yahoo!)

"Ketch up" Part One (AL). A quick look at the transactions of the last ten days. (The Transaction Guy)

"Ketch up" Part Two (NL). "The Mets end up with Beltran on top of Pedro, and are still in the running for Delgado and might trade for Sosa. If nothing else, this team has forced itself back into the consciousness of the NYC print media. They’ve set themselves up for quite a thrashing when they end up in third place, though." (The Transaction Guy)

What will Jason Do? "To me, one of the critical factors in the Yankee offense this season will be how Giambi performs. This is probably as unpredictable as anything in baseball going into 2005. However, a productive Giambi would prevent outmakers like Ruben Sierra from getting too much playing time. So what are the factors that we have to look at with Giambi?" (Replacement Level Yankees Weblog)

Wednesday QOTD/MYOR: Kingman? Jeter? Mike Ivie?
Question of the Day: Your life depends on this game (again?) and you trail by one with two down in the bottom of the ninth. You have runners -- Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock, actually -- on second and third and you can pick one hitter, from any team, any era, to stride to the plate to take his whacks against a masterful Dennis Eckersley. A walk does you no good, as the only other hitter available to you is Bob Buhl. Who do you tell to grab a bat?
(Batter's Box Baseball Blog)

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Desperate Househusbands: The 2005 NL West. "Yes, with all the elective surgery it performed, Arizona should look better this season - in a Nicolette Sheridan kind of way. (I’m not a fan of that show, but could you find a desperate housewife for each team in the division? San Diego as hot but misstep-prone Eva Longoria? The Dodgers as Teri Hatcher - the ditzy lead? But Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross as the Rockies or the Giants? Nah - doesn’t work.) Anyway, for a good many games, the Diamondbacks will have a nice 3-4-5 in Killer Gees Gonzalez, Glaus and Green. Tracy is a promising young player who will get his shot. Vazquez and Webb are due for rebounds - heck, just about everyone on the team is. But the team has too many day players and not enough actors of substance." (Dodger Thoughts)

Years after exit, Miller still has his say. The former Players Association director talks about steroids.
"If you tell me steroids help you hit major league pitching more often and farther, I see no evidence whatsoever. None," Miller said. "I think if you tell me that using steroids and bulking up like that will help the performance of a football linebacker, maybe. If you tell me it will help a professional wrestler, maybe. If you tell me it will help a beer hall bouncer, maybe. If you tell me it will help somebody become the governor of California, maybe.

"But hitting major league pitching more often and farther is a far cry. You have to have more evidence than we do. I'm not going to say I know. I don't know. I'm going to say neither does anyone in this room nor anyone else know. There never has been any kind of decent testing of the same player. For example, with and without steroids, over a stretch of time so you can judge his performance. None. And until we get some evidence of a concrete nature instead of someone's opinion, that's my view."
(Boston Globe)

Grieveous Career. "Scanning the list of available free agents today I noticed the name of Ben Grieve. Ben has been a puzzle to me since 1999. He had a great 1998, posting 22 win shares at age 22, his first full season in the majors. He leveled off at the 16-17 win share level for a few seasons, and has been in decline since." (Baseball Musings)

Prospectus Triple Play: Florida Marlins, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates. "Looking at the overall picture, it's pretty hard to justify Lo Duca as a $6MM/year catcher. He's a win or more worse than any of the players who were in that financial neighborhood last year--Lopez, Jason Varitek, Rodriguez, Lieberthal--and he's not much younger than any of them, either."

The Rise and Fall of Dale Murphy and the Abstracts. (Rich's Weekend Baseball BEAT)

Friday, January 14, 2005
Marlins and Lo Duca agree to $18 million, three-year deal. (Yahoo!)

Extending Santana. "It is obvious that Santana is still holding a bit of a grudge. The danger is that the Twins have upset Santana to the point that he doesn't have an open mind in negotiations or, more likely, has a chip on his shoulder when it comes to things like signing up to stay with the team in the future. He could choose to play hardball during the negotiations, which by itself could get ugly and contemptuous. Beyond that, Santana may decide to just turn down whatever offers the team makes (the first of which -- three years and $19.5 million -- borders on laughable) and see what happens in 2005." (Aaron's Baseball Blog)

Remaking the Diamondbacks. "From the assortment of moves they've made so far this offeason, it is clear that the Diamondbacks have taken a very similar approach to the one the Tigers had following their awful season. Just like Detroit, rather that rebuild the team around young players in the hopes of competing in the future, Arizona has signed and traded for a number of established veterans in the hopes of accelerating the whole process of remaking the team. Despite trading the team's best player in Randy Johnson, there is little doubt that the Diamondbacks will be a better team in 2005. Whether or not they will make the leap back into contention or simply end up with the same sort of improved-but-disappointing season the Tigers had in 2004 is the big question." (The Hardball Times)

Prospectus Triple Play: Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Philadelphia Phillies. "As opposed to the busy White Sox, the Phillies have had a very quiet offseason, making a few small adjustments to a roster that looked to be the favorite to win the NL East the last two seasons. The major move of the winter so far has been the signing of Jon Lieber, the new poster boy for Tommy John surgery success, to a three-year, $21MM contract. Lieber will replace the departed Kevin Millwood in the rotation. If his 2004 is any indication, he’ll likely be better than Millwood to boot." (Baseball Prospectus)

The Whole Was Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts. John Brattain on Eddie Lopat, Allie Reynolds and Vic Raschi, who led the Yankees to five straight championships from 1949-53. (The Hardball Times)

How I Learned To Pitch. Mariners coach Bryan Price teaches Eric Liu how to throw a change-up. (Slate)

There is still hope... Mark wants the Phillies to go after Javier Vazquez and/or Mike Cameron. (Fire Bowa)

A Letter to Loaiza. "Dear Esteban, Are you really considering a move to Washington? You shouldn't. You would hate it here." (BallWonk)

Thursday, January 13, 2005
Shea is a Jay. "It's official: the Toronto Blue Jays have acquired Shea Hillenbrand from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Adam Peterson. Hillenbrand presumably becomes the Blue Jays' full-time DH, spelling Eric Hinske at 1B now and again. And except for a few million dollars that may or may not be spent in the next several weeks, that's your 2004-05 Blue Jays' off-season." (Batter's Box)

QOTD: Hall of Names All-Scrabble Team. "It's been all over Da Box recently ... Mientkiewicz, Grudzielanek, Catalanotto, Menechino, now Schoeneweis, which by my count has been spelled nine hundred and four different ways on this site since yesterday. It's time to see if we can't mix it up a bit, draw the right tiles and spell it out ... a full roster for the Batter's Box All-Scrabble team." (Batter's Box)

Here's a conversation I'd love to hear. Omar Minaya talks to Mike Cameron. (The Eddie Kranepool Society)

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Updated Free Agency Rankings. The best (Adrian Beltre) and worst (Derek Lowe) contracts of this offseason. (U.S.S. Mariner)

The Dodger Offseason: An Outsider’s Positive Review. Analysis by Mitchel Lichtman. "[Shawn Green] is barely an above average player anymore at either first or in the OF. He is only worth 3-4 mil per year. Didn’t the Dodgers save 6 or 8 mil by trading him and subsidizing his contract? That was a great move by Depo; he completely suckered the D-Backs. And they got a good prospect in Navarro to boot! Catching prospects who can hit are like gold, by the way." (Dodger Thoughts)

Rivals in Exile: Everybody Was Wrong. Ben Jacobs and Larry Mahnken on the Yankees' non-signing of Carlos Beltran. (The Hardball Times)

Prospectus Triple Play: Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers. "So, the Astros have lost the player who helped power them to the postseason last year. But even as the Astros suffer from the disappointment of Beltran's departure, and begin the search to replace his production, could it be that they'll be better off in the long term having him walk?" (Baseball Prospectus)

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Why Mets Overpaid For Beltran. Tim Marchman: "Statistics are imperfect, but it would be fairly accurate to say that Beltran is statistically worth about five or six wins above league-average right now. That puts him solidly among the 10 or 15 best players in baseball, in a class below Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Albert Pujols, but equal to the likes of Vladimir Guerrero, Miguel Tejada and Manny Ramirez." (New York Sun)

Marchman's Multiphasic Met MRI & Measuring Money. "But all additional contextualization aside, Marchman's metrics were easily the best analysis written on the signing. And by using Nate Silver's price-per-win quote and also the phrase I bolded in the quote above, Marchman gave us another point to chew on, which is: ¿What IS Overpaid, and Why Are 2005's Signings 'Lofty'?" (Management by Baseball)

The Next Bobby Bo? "Bonilla gets a bad rap for his failures as a Met. The problem is he was actually quite productive during his time in New York." (SaberMets)

Johnson dealt to Yankees in 30-team trade. "The 41-year-old known as the 'Big Unit' said the trade finally gives him a chance to pitch for a contender, an opportunity Johnson has only been afforded in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. He has only won one World Series MVP award." (

The 1952 American League. "The 1952 American League season is one of those many episodes that have long been far adrift on the vast Sea of the Little-Remembered...But the '52 A.L. might not belong out there. For such an obscure league, an awful lot of interesting things were happening..." (The Hardball Times)

Monday, January 10, 2005
Beltran to sign with Mets. Seven years, $119 million. (Boston Globe)

Almost. "Omar Minaya, you are about to have almost regained my every confidence. And as soon as the doctors declare young Carlos fit for compensation and all the inks have properly dried, I will remove the subjunctive case from that phrase once and for all. With Beltran at the heart of the Mets order, competitiveness is sure to follow. Or is it?" (Flushing Local)

Lowe appears headed to Dodgers. Four years, $36 million. (Yahoo!)

Green, D'Backs agree on three-year, $32 million contract.
Green's agreement to waive his no-trade clause would pave the way for a trade that would send him and $10 million from the Dodgers to the Diamondbacks for four minor league players, including catching prospect Dioner Navarro and pitcher William Juarez.

Green had been due $16 million for next season, the final year of his contract, but agreed to restructure it with the Diamondbacks.

Maybe the Twins Don't Have the Central Locked Up. The latest signing of A.J. Pierzynski was a great move by Kenny Williams (try to find those words used together in a Google search). Pierzynski was signed for one year at 2.25 million, not too bad for a catcher with a career OPS of .773. Considering that Jason Varitek is making 10 million annually for a career .798 OPS and is 3 and a half years older than AJ, this looks even better." (Will Carroll Presents...)

Prospectus Triple Play: Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals. "As we've mentioned before, there is a great deal of pride regarding these Prospectus Triple Plays. Those of us who write them come to strongly identify with the triumvirate we are assigned. In this house, we make no bones about it: we are rooting hard for a Cleveland/Washington or Seattle/Washington World Series...Just when our hopes start to rise that maybe we'll be sitting in the BP luxury box at RFK Stadium watching the Mariners and Nationals duke it out in late October, Seattle goes and signs Pokey Reese to be their starting shortstop." (Baseball Prospectus)

In his own corner at third.
"In historical terms, he's an odd lot," [Bill] James wrote. "There's really nobody who is very much like him. Richie Ashburn had some similar offensive skills [and a lot of other center fielders could be described as being in the Richie Ashburn mold], but Ashburn was fast, and his skills really depended on his speed. When he lost his speed, he couldn't play any more. Nellie Fox was a little like [Boggs or Ashburn], but Fox was very small and very weak, for a baseball player, whereas Boggs was really very strong and could drive the ball on occasion, although that wasn't his stock in trade; his stock in trade was working the count and flipping the ball into left field.

"Among the great third basemen, Mike Schmidt is in a general sense parallel to Eddie Mathews and a lot of other guys -- a much better third baseman than Mathews and a righthanded hitter, but a similar approach at the plate: wait for a pitch you can hit a long way, live with the strikeouts. George Brett is in a general way parallel to Stan Musial or Carl Yastrzemski or Al Oliver . . . not EXACTLY the same, of course. No two players are ever exactly the same, and certainly no two GREAT players are all that nearly the same, but most players are in some sort of tradition. Even Ted Williams, in a sense, is in the tradition [as a hitter] of Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds, lefthanders with tremendous power and also tremendous discipline. Boggs is not really in any tradition of a great player -- yet he was one. He's kind of a one of a kind, at least to me."
(Boston Globe)

National Attention: The Expos' 35-Year Journey to Washington D.C. (Part 2). (The Hardball Times)

Friday, January 07, 2005
Yankees, Johnson agree to extension.
NEW YORK (AP) -- All that stands between Randy Johnson and the New York Yankees are a bunch of medical tests.

The Big Unit and the Yankees reached a preliminary agreement Thursday on a $32 million, two-year contract extension, leaving only a physical as the final step needed to finish the drawn-out process of finalizing the trade Arizona and the Yankees agreed to Dec. 30.

Diamondbacks, Green fail to reach deal.
PHOENIX (AP) -- The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Shawn Green failed to reach an agreement on a contract extension by the deadline, and the tentative trade appeared to have fallen through.

A 48-hour window for the Diamondbacks to negotiate with Green expired Thursday, and Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta declared the trade in its present form "dead."

Mets, Astros down to wire.
Six years or seven? That was the debate Mets executives were having yesterday as they continued their efforts to bring Carlos Beltran to Shea, and it's believed they have extended a seven-year offer for around $112 million to the top free agent.

The Mets' toughest competition remains Houston, though the Astros said they made their final offer for Beltran yesterday - reportedly for seven years and $105 million - and will now wait to see if he chooses to remain with them. Because Texas has no state income tax, Houston's final offer could put them in the same ballpark as the Mets.
(New York Daily News)

A Series of Ridiculously Stupid Events. "They are apparently not going to make an offer to Carlos Beltran, because his asking price is too high...This is where the Yankees draw the line? After several foolish moves that improve the team not a lick, and one blockbuster move that improves them a bit (but probably not as much as everyone expects, and perhaps not at all), they decide that signing Beltran, who embodies an improvement of more than five games right now, and is an investment in the future of the franchise as well, is too much?" (The Hardball Times)

Millar or Minky. "While I am not a big chemistry guy, better to have people happy than not and more to the point, better to fetch value for a talented individual than have his abilities waste away in your dugout. So I’d like to take a look at Kevin Millar and Doug Mientkiewicz, determine which would be better to keep and which to trade. I am not going to entertain the possibility of landing Delgado, tantalizing though it may be." (The House that Dewey Built)

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