The Southpaw south·paw (southpô)
A left-handed person, especially a left-handed baseball pitcher.
Tuesday, November 26, 2002
I couldn't have said it better myself
In this mlb.com article, Giants Assistant GM Ned Colletti says, "We've got a lot of holes on the team."
The article talks about the David Bell signing, and how it has opened the door for free agents in San Francisco. Among those mentioned, Edgardo Alfonso and Ray Durham's respective agents have contacted the Giants to regarding their interest. With the Giants waiting for the free agent picture to clear up, perhaps enough players will seek out San Francisco, instead of the other way around.
Jeff Kent, Robin Ventura, Raul Mondesi, Rondell White, and anyone in the Colorado OF were also all mentioned as possibilities via trade or free agency.
It looks like the Larry Walker-Matt Williams deal is off. I definitely wouldn't think this is true if the problem was Williams waiving his no-trade clause, as has been reported. The reason I think that this may be the real deal is that the D-backs couldn't come to financial terms with Walker regarding deferring money from his contract (he's already deferring about HALF of his $12+ million for next season).
I could see Williams changing his mind and playing a season in Denver, but I don't think that Walker will decide to defer more money before Erubiel Durazo gets delt somewhere else by the D-backs. Bad news for Oakland (who reportedly would have getten Durazo in a 3-team deal if he made it to Colorado), good news for the Giants.
If you found this site through Google, then I'm fairly confident that you did not search for "southpaw" or "the southpaw" as this site is the three-hundred-twelfth (that's 312) listing for both. Your odds increase exponentially if you remove the space in "thesouthpaw" as this site is the eleventh (11) and final listing there (it suggests you search for "the southpaw", but as you can see that's actually worse).
But my money's on the first person to find me through Google . . . with the search criteria of "southpaw means"(?) which rates me very high at fifteen (15)! Thanks Google!
Then again, if you found me through Google then you were probably looking for something else. I hope you enjoy your visit anyway.
And for those of you who came here through another site, let me know what you think by e-mailing me here. Thanks to John over at Only Baseball Matters for the frequent references . . . I'll remember you when I make it you get big.
Can you tell it's the offseason, and I just started a baseball blog?
Matt Walbeck, who filed for free agency on Nov. 11, accepted a minor-league contract and will return to the Detroit organization. Walbeck, 33, hit .235 with three RBIs in 27 games for the Tigers. He hit .213 with a homer and six RBIs at Triple-A Toledo. Walbeck, who has spent parts of nine seasons in the Majors with Minnesota, San Diego, Philadelphia, Anaheim, Detroit and the Chicago Cubs, was acquired last March from the Padres along with infielder Damian Jackson for Javier Cardona and Rich Gomez. Walbeck will get a shot to make the Tigers' Opening Day roster during Spring Training.
I had the great pleasure of being coached by Matt Walbeck (then playing C for the Twins) and Andy Fox (then Util IF for the Yankees, now playing SS for the Florida Marlins) during the baseball strike in 1994. Having some free time in their hometown of Sacramento, they came by and were our "honorary coaches" during the strike. That was the only silver lining to the strike of 94, and I hope that other high schoolers my age had similar encounters with "local ballplayers" during the strike. Stories like this don't get mentioned enough. It really isn't all about money.
Good luck to Matt Walbeck and all his fans. I'm one of them.
I'd also like to take this opportunity to mention Derek Lee (who shot one off the scoreboard at my high school), Nick Johnson (who hit 2 HRs off of me and gave up a HR to my best friend Tom Haynes) and Geoff Jenkins (whom my high school named a batting cage after), also from the Sacramento area.
There's a story over at MLB.com about David Bell's visit to Philadelphia which includes this little tidbit:
"[T]he Phillies are the clear leaders in the Bell sweepstakes and the two sides are reportedly closing in on a deal."
The story goes on to say that the Giants are still in the running but that Philly has been the most aggressive team, and the only city that he has visited.
I'm not too worried about him only visiting Philadelphia, because it wouldn't even be a story if he visited San Francisco because nobody would think anything of it. What worries me is that Philly is being so aggressive.
Bell says that he would like to make his decision "quickly".
You're a Quick One!
I'd like to link Dan Lewis for beating me to the inevitable "Great Trade KC" joke regarding today's announcement that the Royals have waived Niefi Perez. They're a bit behind though, I waived him on my Fantasy Team last year.
I can only imagine what it must be like for Florida Marlins fans right now. It finally looked like Atlanta's unstoppable pitching staff would take a hit this year and possibly lose both Glavine and Maddux to Free Agency. Oh how short-lived those fantasies were.
In an absurdly "cost driven" three-way trade, Mike Hampton is the Braves' newest starting pitcher. With him on board, they can pursue one of their two free agent Cy Young winners and still have probably the best starting rotation in the NL East. But wait, there's more.
Not only did Atlanta get Mike Hampton, they will only be paying him $2 million in 2003, $2 million in 2004, and $1.5 million in 2005. Huh? Here's how Atlanta got him (you can see Tim Kurkjian's trade breakdown here):
Florida wanted to drop some payroll, and Colorado wanted to drop some dead Hampton weight. Florida sends Charles Johnson and Preston Wilson (along with their $52 contracts) to Colorado, who sends Hampton in return. Florida then sends Hampton immediately (do not pass Tropicana, do not collect...oops, spoke too soon) to Atlanta for Tim Spooneybarger, while paying $30 million of Hampton's contract for Atlanta.
Read that last part again: "while paying $30 million of Hampton's contract for Atlanta."
Specifically, Florida is paying Mike Hampton $9 million in 2003, $10 million in 2004, and $11 million in 2005. To pitch for a division rival.
Where were the Giants in this situation? Couldn't they have taken on $5.5 million over 3 years for the chance that Mike Hampton would make a comeback? In Pac Bell (Pitcher's) Park? Don't you think that Florida would rather send Hampton to a NON-"Division Rival"? Could that Giants have matched Tim Spooneybarger and his 1 win and 1 save in 51 appearances? Florida called the deal a "slam-dunk" after Spooneybarger was included. I think a "slam-dunk" would have been Atlanta taking on ALL of Hampton's salary . . . or Hampton going out of the NL East, but to each their own.
And is it just me or did the Marlins seem to get hosed in this deal? Colorado took on some (very) hefty contracts, but Johnson and Wilson should bash in the mountains (look what Bichette and Castillo did there), and they might have picked up their new starting 2B in Pablo Ozuna. Atlanta got the pitcher they wanted two years ago at Dollar Tree prices (the only downside other then his not bouncing back is the $13.5, $14.5, and $15 million they'll pay him in the final three years of his contract), and the flexibility to bring back Glavine or Maddux. Florida ended up with Tim Spooneybarger, Juan Pierre (who couldn't hit home runs in Colorado), and $30 million of Atlanta's payroll for the next three years. At least they should be able to retain their great young pitching staff . . . unless they continue the fire-sale. What a shame that would be. Look what solid young pitching has done for Oakland.
Colorado is now looking to get rid of Larry Walker (probably to the Diamondbacks), and Denny Neagle. If they'd take on salary like Florida did, why wouldn't a team take a chance on Neagle?
Meanwhile, back in the bay, still no news of Giants-related rumors. Let the speculation continue.
More feedback on the Giants Free Agent prospects, specifically regarding the possibility of the Giants making a deal for Vlad the Impaler. New reader Jon Maples checks in with this to say:
I think Chris is wrong, the Giants have tons to give the Expos...if Sabean is willing to give up on either (RHP Kurt) Ainsworth, (RHP Boof) Bosner or (RHP Jerome) Williams, or a combination of the above, sure, the Giants can have Guerrero for a season. It's really mortgaging the future as Bosner is considered maybe the best prospect in the minors.
Not to mention the 2002 Number One Pacific Coast League Prospect: RHP Jesse Foppert.
And realistically, they don't have that much cash to spend. If they took on the $9.5 million you have to pay Vlad, they'd end up filling the centerfield, second base and possibly third base positions with also-rans and injury reclamation projects.
This much may be true. Money is definitely an issue, but if the Giants could find a taker for Snow's $6.85 million (no, that is not a typo) this season, then that would free up almost $13 million dollars of payroll (when combined with Kent's $6 million from last season) for the Giants to play with. Take Guerrero's $9.5 out of that and the Giants STILL have $3.5 million available which could just go to Bell (he only made $1.75 million last season). This gives the Giants a legitimate slugger in Vlad and keeps Bell on board as well (while simultaneously removing the Snow factor). Not a bad deal.
Another option might be to trade with Florida, who--once again--are on a cost cutting jihad, to acquire Mike Lowell. The price wouldn't be nearly as steep and he's a peaking player. If they could bag Lowell in a trade for a couple mid-level prospects, sign Bell and install him at second, you've got a solid infield, then you can pursue a Durham/Finley outfielder (more likely, Finley because he'll cost less). That still leaves a hole in the lineup and in right.
Florida has definitely been cutting payroll, but Lowell's only on the books for $3.7 million this season. The catch is that this is the last year of his contract, so they may want to get something back for him if they don't plan on paying him next year. This could also be a problem for the Giants, as they aren't looking to open the gates either. Remember that a lot of the Giants' pitching staff comes off the books after 2003.
Jason Schmidt is locked down, and Livan Hernandez and Russ Ortiz have Team Options for 2004, but Felix Rodriguez has Mutual Options for 04 & 05, and Kirk Rueter will be a Free Agent after this season. To pick up both Guerrero and Lowell who will also be Free Agents could be disastrous for the G-men if they can't raise their payroll.
If the Giants don't make a run at Guerrero, which realistically they probably won't, then going after Lowell may be a good backup plan. Honestly I think that the Giants re-sign Bell and Mueller to round out the infield, and probably sign Steve Finley to fill out the outfield with Bonds and possibly a re-signed Kenny Lofton. Not a scary lineup, but formidable at least.
I think Durham stays with Oakland, Godzilla signs with New York (the AL version), and the Giants don't make any shocking trades, although I'd love to be wrong. What do YOU think?
Your feedback is not just welcomed, it's encouraged. Please join the debate by clicking here.
Monday, November 18, 2002
I referenced this column by Peter Gammons in my last post, but I had some more comments to make about it. Specifically this statement:
"If Colorado gets Erubiel Durazo in the Larry Walker deal, they will have one of the hottest commodities. The Rockies have talked about trying Durazo in right field, but there a number of teams that want him badly. One three-way deal would send Orlando Hudson to Colorado, Durazo to Oakland and a couple of the Athletics' young pitchers to Toronto, and the Rockies have had interest in a deal with the Red Sox that would include Shea Hillenbrand."
What I find most interesting, is that if the Walker-Durazo trade takes place, then the Diamondbacks *might* not be as interested in compensating Steve Finley, who Gammons mentions as one of the two players (along with Ray Durham) that the Giants are going after.
This trade could be a VERY good thing for bay area baseball. First of all, the above mentioned possibility for Steve Finley going to the Giants. Secondly, the possibility of the second trade going through sending Durazo to the A's. The A's have pitching, and everyone knows it. What they need is another bat. Durazo could be that bat OR could fetch them that bat through yet ANOTHER trade. It seems funny to think that Durazo is one of the "hottest commodities" and yet could be traded 3 times before Spring Training. "Welcome to Salary Cap, er . . . a, Luxury Tax Baseball", as those critics would say.
Something else that rubs me funny about these rumors are the Oakland Pitching Prospects to Toronto angle. They just sent Toronto Corey Lidle, and now they'd send them some more pitching prospects? Toronto may end up benefiting from Beane's moves as much as the A's, since they deal so well together.
Chris Hartjes of @ The Ballpark sends in the VERY FIRST reader response e-mail. Fittingly, it is for my first post over at OBM. Chris writes:
"I found your idea that the Giants could end up with Vlad The Impaler to be incredibly funny. C'mon, be realistic. What could the Giants possibly give Los Expos in exchange for Vlad? Given the new economic realities, doing something like trading a bunch of good young starters for Vlad will hurt SF more than help it."
I agree that the idea sounds a bit funny, and I would even go so far as to say that it sounds like something that you might hear on a Sports Talk AM Radio station. When I first heard this idea, I thought that it was a bit off. Then I started thinking about it and it didn't seem so odd. The Giants could send Livan and some prospects along with a possible throw-in or two (Snow? We're probably not that lucky) to pry him away in a multi-player deal. The catch would DEFINITELY be the prospects, AND whether or not Montreal makes any other deals. This leads me to the Peter Gammons column that I read this morning (SEGUE ALERT).
Peter Gammons reports that the New York Yankees may be looking to send Nick Johnson to Montreal if Bartolo Colon or Javier Vazquez becomes available. If Montreal sends out one of their top two starters, and brings back a young bat like Johnson, then perhaps they would look to acquire some prospects as long as they are accompanied by a replacement starter to fill out their rotation.
Guerrero will make $9.5 Million in 2003, after which he will be a free agent. With Montreal's history of losing All-Star players to Free Agency (as noted in OBM's Felipe Alou post here), they may want to make sure that they get something in return for their franchise player. Guerrero would be back with his first coach (Alou) and the Giants would have their Bonds Insurance paid for at LEAST one year, while the Expos would fill their hole at SP and stocked up on some missing prospects.
Holding on to Guerrero would be the next piece of that puzzle for the G-Men, although I would hope that if they got Guerrero they would start talking EXTENSION as soon as possible. This is STILL not even close to being a sure thing, but I just don't think it's as funny as it may seem at first glance. If Mike Hampton can get a HUGE contract in Pitcher's Purgatory (Colorado), and then get shipped to Atlanta to fill out one of the best rotations in the last decade, then anything's possible.
Keep those e-mails comming! Click here if you don't know the address.
My FIRST Post?
You can see my first official post over at ONLY BASEBALL MATTERS. As I was writing that guest column, I decided to create this little blog to post all the other less interesting things that I have to say. I'll probably be doing a lot more work with John (OBM) in the future, as he's been a great person to work and talk shop with as well. Besides, if I've got something good to say, I might as well say it to a larger audience, and I don't plan on having that sort of fan base here anytime soon. So look for more guest columns at OBM, and check here for other ramblings that may or may not be as interesting.
I'll try to make sure that I mention when something I write is posted or referenced on other sites, unless I miss them or forget.
I copied these lists from mlb.com because I noticed something with the announcement of the AL Gold Glovers that was REINFORCED with the NL announcement today. On the AL side, 7 of the 9 winners were from THREE teams. On the NL side, 8 of the 9 were from 3 teams. In both leagues, one of these three teams DIDN'T make the playoffs. That means that of the six teams that DOMINATED the Gold Glove awards this year, only 2/3 of them even made the playoffs (and only 1/3 made it past the first round). This really makes me wonder if players get more credit then they deserve for playing with other Gold Glove winning teammates, or if top players simply make those around them better. Another argument could be that only a few teams are simply focusing on defense (this seems less likely due to the fact that the Rockies didn't get Helton or Walker for their gloves as much as they did for their bats, and the Rangers signed Rodriguez and Rogers primarily for their bat and arm, respectively). But what about the teams that DID make the playoffs? More of their players ARE known more for their gloves then their bats (Vina, Renteria, Jones, Molina, Hunter . . . these are people who are known primarily for their gloves).
This also made me wonder how often a World Series team is void of a single Gold Glover and surprisingly enough to me, the answer is pretty often. I only looked at the Gold Glove winners from the last two decades (1980-1999).
World Series WINNERS without a Gold Glover:
1989 A's (no Gold Glover in the World Series)
World Series LOSERS without a Gold Glover:
1991 Braves (Maddux was a Cub)
1989 Giants (no Gold Glover in the World Series)
1986 Red Sox
11 teams in 20 years, or 10 of 19 series with at least one team void of a Gold Glover (the 1994 series was canceled and 1989 didn't have a single Gold Glove winner involved).
It seems like a very interesting argument, and I'd like to see your opinions on the subject. E-mail me.
david aardsma, rhp roger whitaker, rhp jeffery jennings, c nathan schierholtz, 3b brian buscher, 3b brooks mcniven, rhp mike wagner, lf william sadler, rhp patrick misch, lhp timothy hutting, ss kellen ludwig, rhp jesse schmidt, of
jeffery peterson, rhp ryan sadowski, rhp nick conte, c sean martin, rhp j thurmond, rhp michael mooney, of marcus sanders, ss patrick dobson, of jonathan coutlangus, cf raul rodriguez, c
sean watson, rhp nathan fogle, rhp michael kunes, lhp brian wilson, rhp nolan mulligan, rhp douglas coon, lhp omar aguilar, rhp roberto gonzalez, cf daniel desouza, cf derek barrow, 3b
eduardo baeza, rhp oscar gonzalez, cf travis nesmith, lhp cody mcallister, rhp tyson brummett, rhp timothy alvarez, lhp shannon wirth, rhp jordan hafer, 1b michael price, c dylan gonzalez, rhp
michael johnston, lhp luis martinez, c mike bell, c john odom, rhp james braden, rhp brandon federici, lhp thomas correa, ss matthew berezay, of douglas fister, rhp james popp, rhp