The Southpaw
south·paw (southpô) n. Slang A left-handed person, especially a left-handed baseball pitcher.

Friday, December 20, 2002  

Goodbye old(?) friend

Mark Kreidler of the Sacramento Bee has a column at reminiscing about Pac Bell Park.

Pac Bell was actually one of the few corporate-logoed stadia that didn't sound absolutely silly when spoken aloud. It kind of rolled off the tongue: Pac Bell Park. It didn't hurt that the place was received as a gem of a ballpark, and it was graced with an almost embarrassing wealth of instant baseball memories: Barry Bonds collecting home runs No. 71, 72 and 73; Bonds achieving the 600-homer career milestone; the Giants reaching just the third World Series in their West Coast history.

Now the Giants will just have to go to their fouth West Coast World Series in SBC Park (or whatever).

For me, the news that SBC was changing the Pacific Bell name was the worst news of the off season.

It was bad enough when we went through this with Candlestick.

11:43 AM

What are they thinking?

The Phillies finally got their pitcher, and the Braves seem to be imploding.

The Braves shipped out Kevin Millwood to the Phillies for (backup) catcher Johnny Estrada.

HUH? Read that last line again.

It's bad enough to ship out Millwood instead of someone else (anyone else actually), but to send him to s DIVISION RIVAL, and get a BACKUP catcher for him is absurd.

To recap, the always pitching strong Braves have traded Kevin Millwood & Damian Moss for Russ Ortiz & Johnny Estrada. If that doesn't seem strage, put those names together and think of it as a single deal.

Now you're getting it, aren't you?

11:34 AM

The missing link?

It seems as though the Denny Neagle deal to NYM just won't die.

The latest word is that the Mets are waiting to see if they can sign Cliff Floyd, which would then trigger a chain-reaction with the Rockies.

This deal might be about more than two teams getting rid of contracts they no longer want. Fox Sports Net reported that the Mets hope this deal can help clear the way to spend on free-agent outfielder Cliff Floyd, who on Thursday turned down arbitration from the Boston Red Sox.

If the Rockies do trade Neagle, then they would have done what most thought was impossible: trade both of their "untradable" contracts.

We'll see what happens.

2:22 AM

What a steal

What do you do when you lose your 3B, and cannot sign one in the Majors? Trade for a Joe Randa? Nope. Not if you're the New York Mets. reports that the Mets have come to terms with Japanese 3B Norihiro Nakamura, and will announce it on Friday (later today).

The deal is reportedly worth $7 million over two years, with an option for a third year for $6 million. If the third year is exercised, then the Mets just got their replacement 3B for just over $4.33 million per season for the next three years. And if they do NOT exercise that third-year option (no word on whether it is a TEAM, PLAYER, or MUTUAL option), then they got him for two years at a low low rate of $3.5 million per (about $2 million less then the Giants gave Alfonzo).

And the Giants are giving Marvin Bernard $4 million next season (not to mention J.T. Snow's $6.85 million). Ouch.

How 'bout Bernard & Snow ($10.85 million combined in 2003) for Nakamura & Bernitz (roughly $14-15 million combined in 2003), straight-up? (At least Bernitz could come off the bench and HIT something . . . or play him at 1B). The Giants would DEFINITELY need to move Livan, so why not add him to the mix and get some prospects back?

BwaHahahahahahahahahaha. Sorry, I couldn't keep a straight face any longer.

2:13 AM

Let the debate begin . . . it's reader mail!

Bill Lane writes in about Ray Durham, and he thinks that there is NO WAY that Durham plays CF for the Giants in 2003. Aaron Gleeman agrees (link may not work, scroll down to Thursday, December 12, 2002 and look for the 4:03 pm post), saying that Durham would not even make a decent CF, and that he should stay at 2B.

I think Bill might be right, but for different reasons then he states. Here's his letter, and my response.

...every quote from the mouth of Ray Durham i have read over the last six months says the following (roughly): "i'm a second baseman and i will play the outfield in an emergency only. repeat: i am a second baseman." and yet, throughout the internet sites and threads, Mr Durham is placed in centerfield to fulfill, probably, Giant fan fantasies. well, I'm a Giant (and A's) fan and I have to keep remembering what the guy himself is saying. it probably matters, doesn't it? A's fans were fantasizing Durham wd play center to get Long out of that position (and maybe off the team!!) but Beane knew better.

First of all, you are half-right about the Ray Durham quotes. Throughout the 2002 season he was continuously quoted about not playing in the OF, but this offseason he has stated (numerous times) that it was because he wouldn't switch positions mid-season. He said that a big question coming into this offseason (from pretty much any team that spoke with him) was if he was willing to play the OF. He was quoted multiple times this winter saying that he was willing to play whereever his team needed him (that was before and after he signed with the Giants), as long as he could make his transfer in Spring Training, when the games didn't count.

NOTE: I've linked the stories and quotes in previous posts, but unfortunately my archives are shot and I cannot link any of the old posts right now. If this problem is fixed I'll add links to back up my argument. Sorry for the lack of info to back up my rebuttal.

Bill continues to back up his side of the Durham argument here:

i think Sabean knows too [that Durham will not play OF], and Kent would have been the first baseman had he stayed. and remember the Bill James progression of fielding difficulty: centerfield is number 2, third base is number 3, second base is number 4. hard to move up, easy to move down (i.e. first base is number 7)...

Sabean was also quoted as saying that Durham told him that CF was just as much an option as 2B (again, I cannot link the posts to the quotes) and that it was one of the factors in the Giants making a move for him so early.

As for the Bill James progression of fielding difficulty, I am not very familiar with it but am very interested in James' work (most of which I have read about second-hand, but plan to change that soon). I agree that it is always simpler to switch to an easier position then to move to a more difficult one, but it's not unheard of. In fact, the Astros are talking about moving Craig Biggio to CF (after signing ex-Giant 2B Jeff Kent), just as the Giants have hinted that Durham may play there as well.

conclusion: Grissom is really, as of now, the centerfielder, like it or not. Alfonzo is at third. you or i will be in right.

I agree with the conclusion for the most part, I just do not agree as much with the arguments that led to the conclusion.

I think that Ray Durham will be playing 2B in 2003 for a few simple reasons: (1) there aren't very many 3Bs out there, so that puts Alfonzo there almost by default; (2) there are a lot more OFs available then 2Bs, so if the Giants pick up another player he will probably be an OF (most likely starting over Bill or myself in RF); and (3) if the Giants don't need to move Durham, then the odds would be in favor of letting him play his "natural" position.

The counter-argument to this would be 3B Pedro Feliz. The Giants have stated on more then one occasion that they feel he's earned the right to have his chance at 3B, which would move Alfonzo back to 2B and send Durham to CF (shifting Grissom back to RF). In fact, this could be the Giants' plans if they cannot pick up another OF, or if they instead choose to upgrade at 1B.

Thanks for the e-mail Bill, keep them coming! And if anyone else out there wants to chime in, feel free.

1:45 AM

Thursday, December 19, 2002  


Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, I-Rod, may play in Japan if he doesn't get an offer he likes from a Major League team this winter.

My first thought was that it was a horriblely hollow threat, but then I thought about the lack of Pudge rumors and speculation, along with the salary difference that Japanese 3B Norihiro Nakamura is being offered ($6 million for two years by the Mets, $30 million for a multi-year deal from many Japanese clubs) it didn't seem so crazy.

The linguring problem is still that Nakamura is VERY INTERESTED in joining the Mets, and playing in the best baseball league in the world.

Players leave their home countries for the money, but I still feel that most real baseball players want to play in the MLB. To showcase your talent against the best in the world is what all athletes dream of. Which batting title do you think is Ichiro's favorite? It may be the first one, OR it could be his first one in the MLB.

I'm sure that there are a lot of teams that would take a chance on Pudge if he would sign a incentive-laden contract, but he's looking for the large guaranteed dollars. With Rodriguez's ability, shouldn't he have the confidense to sign a low-guarante/high-incentive contract with a team that will let him return to his former glory? Or should he just follow the money, even if it leads him right out of "The Show".

A move to the other side by Pudge would be a simple matter of dollar signs . . . and not a love of the game.

7:15 PM

Peter Gammons' favorite minor leaguer

The Cincinnati Reds signed Toe Nash to a minor league deal (the story also has the first picture of him that I have ever seen). He was in the Devil Rays' farm system until he was convicted of having sex with a 15-year old girl and spent 9 months in jail in Louisiana.

Nash, who never attended high school and by all accounts received little parental guidance and grew up in extreme poverty, confessed to having consensual sex with the girl, according to published reports. The Devil Rays released Nash in late September, one day after he was released from jail. He will remain on probation for five years.

Being that he's only 20, I hope that he can move on and get the chance to make something of his life, be it professional baseball or whatever else. That kind of conviction (the state of being found or proved guilty, not a fixed or strong belief) can be hard to shake . . . especially so young.

5:56 PM

The rest...

Sean McAdam has an article at that lists the "Second-Tier" guys available on the free agent market. And while there isn't much of interest for the Giants, there are three ex-Giants (almost 1/3 of his list) still looking for work that he felt were worth mentioning (Sanders, Lofton and Mueller).

I still think that the Giants are seriously looking to upgrade at least one more bat (two if they can off-load Snow).

5:36 PM

Things are starting to clear up

In an expected announcement, the Yankees have signed Hideki Matsui to a three-year, $21 million deal. Bring on the "Godzilla attacks NY" headlines. This is as surprising as the coming announcement that Jose Contreras has signed with the Red Sox (and in case you missed it, that was sarcasm . . . officially Contreras hasn't signed with anyone, but he's been linked to Boston like Matsui was linked to NYY).

Also somewhat expected, Greg Maddux has accepted arbitration to stay with the Braves, keep them a contender for at least one more year, and possibly pocket the largest salary for any pitcher in history.

The Scott Boras threat of arbitration was used in the Barry Bonds free agency with the Giants, but it actually seems like a good move this time. The Giants were always willing to deal with Bonds, and even make him a long-term deal. The Braves, on the other hand, seem to beshy in offering him "Tom Glavine" dollars . . . which I think is crazy.

Maddux was 16-6 last season, winning at least 15 games for the 15th straight year to tie the record set by Cy Young. Maddux had a 2.62 ERA, second-best in the NL behind Arizona's Randy Johnson, and he won his 13th straight Gold Glove Award.

Please don't flame me about Maddux and Boras holding firm on a five-year deal, because I know that is a huge stretch, but I don't even think that they've offered Maddux a comperable deal to what was being thrown around for Glavine by three teams. Why no one has jumped on Maddux is the biggest mystery of the off-season for me.

Actually, flame me if you want . . . I love reader e-mail.

5:25 PM

Please be gentle

I'm working on fixing my table for the post below. If it looks bad, I appologize.

I am working on it.

UPDATE: Of course I was doing it the hard way. It's fixed now.

Now it seems as though my Archives have vanished again, and the links themselves are way off-centered. It's always something

1:34 PM

Is it just me?

Rob Neyer writes that the Braves need Greg Maddux to compete this season.

It's simple. The Braves need Greg Maddux or a reasonable facsimile thereof. Because with the lineup they've got right now, one great starter (Millwood) and three or four decent ones just isn't going to be enough. So if Maddux doesn't come back, John Smoltz has to dust off his first-inning cleats and get ready to pitch 200 innings.

Bringing Smoltz out of the pen after already losing a bunch of guys is bad news. Plus, if Maddux stays then they become a real threat again, and could use their extra pitching (yes, I said extra) to fill a positional hole. Here's Neyer's take.

On the other hand, if Maddux accepts the Braves' offer of arbitration and returns, the rotation looks great and Schuerholz has six starters (not including Smoltz), one of whom he could presumably convert into the first or second baseman they so desperately need.

Here's what the Atlanta rotation looks like without Maddux.


Millwood 17- 8 3.25 213 176 63
Ortiz 14-10 3.61 214.1 137 94
Byrd 17-11 3.90 228.1 129 38
Hampton 7-15 6.15 178.2 74 91
Marquis 8- 9 5.04 114.1 84 49
Totals 63-53 4.25 948.2 600 335

That looks like a good Fantasy League rotation, but will it compete in the NL West?

1:08 PM

If I'd just checked there first...MAIL TIME!

Not only did Travis Nelson (A.K.A. Boy of Summer) link me, but he sent me an e-mail to let me know, and even had some helpful tips on the Archive Problem!

This means that he's either been reading or was interested enough to look back. Either way, THANKS!

I'm listing his tips for my reference as well as for anyone else who might run into this problem.

1) Go to your Settings page. 2) Set Archive Frequency to No Archive. (Don't worry, your stuff is still safe, deep in the recesses of the Pyra servers.) 3) Save changes. 4) Publish 5) Go back to Settings, set Archives for weekly or monthly. 6) Save, publish. 7) Go to Archive Settings and Republish all. I had problems like this too, and it didn't work quite right initially, but eventually things got themselves straightened out. Hope it helps.

I hope so too Travis, and thanks again for the mail. I can never get enough reader e-mail.

UPDATE: Travis' Archive Tips worked! The links are back! Hooray!

However, I switched it to archive my posts monthly (in stead of weekly) so I may need to do some clean-up on older entries. I needed to make this change now before the changes become far too great. Being unemployed, I should have some time to kill fairly soon.

If you see any errors, please e-mail me to let me know (and no, this isn't a trick to get more e-mail).

Or is it?

12:23 AM

Thanks guys

John Perricone linked this post, on his site Only Baseball Matters, and my hits doubled today.

I hope that says more about his readers then mine.

I've also been linked by Travis Nelson, the Boy of Summer. Look for my new link to his site on the right. Here's what he had to say about The Southpaw:

Matthew Durham's got a good blog, another one that generally doesn't waste words, but who covers a lot of news with brief commentary.

I am glad to know that my news coverage is appreciated. The two sites that I've loosely modeled The Southpaw after are Only Baseball Matters, which has excellent commentary, and the Baseball News Blog, which hasn't been updated in quite a while.

Oddly enough on that note, I've noticed that I get linked much more often when I write opinion pieces or when I speculate on things that may or may not ever happen.

Duly noted.

12:07 AM

Wednesday, December 18, 2002  

Best GM in the (NL) West

John Schlegel has a piece on Brian Sabean, which lists all of the major transactions that he's made this winter.

When the 2002 World Series ended, three major contributors to the Giants' success over the last several years -- manager Dusty Baker, Kent and Sabean -- were without contracts for 2003. With Baker gone to Chicago and now Kent on his way to Houston, Sabean's the only one left.

The Giants definitely kept the most important piece of the puzzle.

He also mentions something that I wrote about earlier:

Over the years, Bonds and Kent became baseball's most dangerous duo.....there was no better 1-2 offensive punch on a consistent basis over the last six years -- none better. These two men combined for more homers and RBIs in a six-year stretch than any duo in the history of the Giants franchise -- better than the Hall of Fame duo of Willie Mays and Willie McCovey in 1961-66.

This is why I like the internet. I didn't even have to research that . . . someone did it for me.

Considering it was Sabean who brought Kent to San Francisco in what was then a controversial debut move, this is a definite turning point in the GM's tenure with the Giants.

Very true. John Perricone over at Only Baseball Matters listed a projected starting lineup for the Giants in 2003 if they made no changes (which I used in my guest column on his site). Here's what that lineup looked like:

CF Tyuoshi Shinjo
2B Ramon Martinez
SS Rich Aurilia
LF Barry Bonds
C Benito Santiago
1B JT Snow
3B Pedro Feliz
RF Tony Torcato

Now with all of the moves that Sabean has made so far, here's the lineup that we're looking at for 2003:

CF Ray Durham
SS Rich Aurilia
LF Barry Bonds
2B Edgardo Alfonzo
C Benito Santiago
RF Marquis Grissom
1B J.T. Snow
3B Pedro Feliz

Alternative lineups have been mentioned, with Durham at 2B, Alfonzo at 3B, Grissom in CF, etc. but this seems to be the most popular setup currently (and by most popular of course I mean what I think).

Regardless, Sabean has entered his toughest off-season since he made his Jeff Kent trade, and he's doing just as good a job this time as last.

"It's a work in progress, but I'm amazed at how much we've gotten done," Sabean said after the deal with Atlanta on Tuesday. "I told all the guys last night that were in the suite that we should be proud that we've gotten more done at an earlier date [than expected]. I think that's important for the guys in the clubhouse to know we're committed to get back to the World Series, and I think it's important for the fan base."

It is important to the fan base, but this time he's made moves that are more recognizable to many fans then his last big-time move (they traded Matt Williams for Jeff WHO?).

Keep up the good work guys.

11:50 PM

Not so surprising reports that the Yankees are close to signing Japanese transplant Hideki Matsui to a three-year deal worth around $21 million. The article also mentions that the Yankees are looking into Cliff Floyd and Cuban defector Jose Contreras.

Contreras has been at the top of the Red Sox's list all winter, and now that the MLB has declared him a Free Agent, teams can begin negotiating with him.

[Contreras] first came to the United States, which made him subject to the amateur draft. Cubans who defect have tried to become residents of countries outside the United States and Canada, which allows them to be free agents.

I still can't believe this. I think that THIS is bad for baseball. This is how the big budget teams bring in the best talent from other countries. The Yankees got Orlando Hernandez and Alfonso Soriano, the Mariners got Ichiro Suzuki and Shigetoshi Hasegawa, and the Dodgers got Hideo Nomo and Kazahiro Ishii . . . all from Free Agency (just to name a few).

I'm not saying that the draft is perfect, I mean Minnesota passed on Mark Prior because they didn't think they could sign him, and J.D. Drew refused to play for Philidelphia when they drafted him (as a side note, the Giants drafted Drew out of high school in the 20th round of the 1994 draft, but he told them that he wanted to get bigger and stronger first), so it wouldn't solve everything, but to just let foriegn players walk in to the highest bidder seems ludicrous. The same rules should apply to everyone.

In other foriegn player news, the Mets are looking to sign Japanese 3B Norihiro Nakamura to a rediculously low contract (compared to what the Japanese teams are offering).

Nakamura, 29, is believed to have received a two-year, $6 million offer from the Mets. While that pales when compared to the $30 million offers he is weighing from several Japanese League teams, it appears as if the third baseman is struggling with his decision.

Is it THAT much of a privelege to play in NY? If they can get him to sign for that little, it would be a steal.

11:25 PM

To put things into perspective (I was right)

It's strange to think that less then a week ago, Jeff Kent was actually expected to put on a Giants uni in 2003. His last second change of heart led the Giants to steal Edgardo Alfonzo out from under the Boston Red Sox, and the Astros to sign Kent to a $18.2 million, two-year contract.

You may remember that I have mentioned that Kent would likely not get much more money then he would have from the Giants (which averaged out to $8 million per). Well, $18.2 million in two years looks a lot like $9.1 million per season, so Kent got a whopping $1.1 million more dollars per season, and $2.2 million more over the next two years . . . in theory.

The deal that Kent signed with the Astros breaks down like this:

[Kent] gets a $3 million signing bonus, payable $1 million each on March 1, July 1 next year, and March 1, 2004. [He] gets a $6 million salary for 2003, of which $2 million is deferred to March 1, 2005, and $3 million to July 1, 2005. He gets an $8.5 million salary for 2004, of which $2 million is deferred to March 1, 2006, and $3.5 million to July 1, 2006.

He also has a $9 million team option for 2005 (with a $700,000 buyout), meaning that the total dollar amount Kent is getting is either $18.2 million over two years, or $26.5 million over three-years (at roughly $8.83 million per). Obviously if he plays well and gets his option year, then he'll end up with a decent deal, pocketing $3 million more then he would have gotten to stay in SF. The big question is whether or not he'll keep his numbers up sans Superman.

The Astros do have a great lineup, and Kent is projected to hit behind the Killer B's (Biggio, Berkman, & Bagwell), so his RBI chances shouldn't drop too much, but a lot of what Kent got in 'Frisco was due to the Bonds-factor. It seems funny that Kent would walk away from a guaranteed three-year deal for not even $1 million less per season then he ended up getting in a best-case scenario from another squad when the Giants are the team that Kent has blown-up with, and his duo with Bonds has been one of the best in baseball (I hope he sent Barry a "Thank You" note for his MVP).

Good luck Kent . . . I hope this doesn't bite you in the ass. At least Giambi got a huge payday for leaving the only team he excelled for. But then again, this could very easily be a hometown discount . . . and I'm all for those.

Either way, we at The Southpaw with Kent the best of luck (as long as the Astros finish behind the Giants).

10:58 PM

Tuesday, December 17, 2002  

Randa still a possibility?

With Paul Byrd signing with the Braves, and Jeff Kent likely out the door, could the Giants still pull off a deal for Royals 3B Joe Randa?

This article from the Royals homepage from explains the team's final efforts to sign Paul Byrd, and also mentions the Joe Randa situation.

The Royals departed the meetings in Nashville, Tenn. without having made a trade. There were discussions about third baseman Joe Randa, but Randa -- who makes $4.5 million with the Royals -- would get $5.5 million if dealt. With most teams reluctant to add significant payroll, the Randa discussions didn't trigger a deal.

I couldn't find anything regarding what they were offering Byrd, but Randa is definitely available from the sound of it.

Another article mentions that with the Byrd signing, the Royals may need to persue Jeff Suppan more heavily.

The Royals had hoped Byrd would re-sign and be the anchor of their 2003 staff. But the club may now have to re-focus on right-hander Jeff Suppan, who is arbitration eligible after making about $3.8 million last year.

Here's what I'm thinking. The Giants are still looking to off-load a few players (Livan, Snow, Bernard, etc.), and could still use a 3B (play Alfonzo at 2B with Durham in CF). I think that there's a decent chance that if the Giants offer to take Randa's $4.5 million ($5.5 million for the Giants) off of Royals GM Allard Baird's hands, and gives them a SP to replace Byrd/Suppan for $3 million (read: Livan Hernandez), that they may just take it (remember, they ARE the Royals, and they need pitching bad).

If the Giants can dump Livan's salary (they've got the young guys to plug into the rotation) and get Randa for roughly $2.5 million ($5.5 minus $3.0), that would be the icing on Sabean's off-season cake. The 2003 Giants would then look like this.

CF Durham
SS Aurilia
LF Superman
2B Alfonzo
3B Randa
C Santiago
RF Grissom
1B Snow

VERY nice.

Then again, if Kent takes arbitration it'll look even better (except for the payroll).

1:53 PM

Maybe they can

Can a team lose its top two starters and half of its bullpen and still be a contender?

The question has been asked quite frequently this winter of the Atlanta Braves, who went into the off-season with Cy Young winners Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine both testing the Free Agent waters. Glavine has since signed with the Mets, and Maddux may take his shot at arbitration, but could still end up with another team.

In response to this, the Braves have been very active (and quite creative) in reloading their starting pitchers.

They traded for Mike Hampton, and even got the Rockies and Marlins to pay for a majority of his contract. They also traded for Russ Ortiz, sending out a young pitcher (Damian Moss) for an established veteran. Then they went out and signed Paul Byrd to a 2-year, $10 million contract.

So if Glavine and Maddux leave the Braves, how will they compete? Here's a look at their current rotation, sans Maddux.

Mike Hampton
Kevin Millwood
Russ Ortiz
Paul Byrd
Jason Marquis

That's a pretty decent rotation, and that's after losing two future HOF guys. Hampton is a gamble, but most pitchers have career resurgence after leaving Colorado, and they're not paying him that much anyway. Ortiz may be a tad over-rated, but he's still a quality pitcher that will fit in VERY nicely as a middle-of-the-rotation guy. Byrd is solid, Millwood is coming back to 2000 form, and Marquis is a great 24-year-old.

Now take out Marquis and plug in Maddux if he stays . . . and the Braves could be better then last year.

1:27 PM

Another link, and Kent news to boot!

I have one of the six coveted links on Jon Maple's site, Brushback (link is a permalink to the Kent reference below).

As usual, I have returned the favor and added Jon to the right. Once again, it is a quality site that I might not have found if I hadn't found it through the refer tracking.

The only thing that I disagree with Jon on his Kent breakdown is this:

If Kent accepts arbitration he might be looking at an $8+ million payday from the Giants.

Kent's deal was for three years and $24 million, and had the chance to grow to four years and $32 million. Either way it ended up, Kent would have received $8 million per season for either three or four years . . . and he turned it down.

If Kent goes to arbitration, expect his number to be closer to the $10-11 million he was looking for going into the off-season.

11:35 AM

New Link!

I found a link from Glyndwr (The blog of Gwyn Price - Just another sports-mad, overly-geeky welshman in Canada) . . . so I've returned the favor!

His site is actually really interesting, and he touches on a LOT of different subjects.

He too is tired of the Pete Rose situation.

11:16 AM

The "Russ Ortiz Trade" Post

Here's's article, and here's a link to Only Baseball Matters. As always, John can be counted on to break down the deal, and why it's good for the Giants.

As I noted earlier, Moss earned under $250,000 dollars last season, so Sabean can offer him a two years at a million per and still come out way ahead [Ortiz is due to get $4.4 million next year]. Kurt Ainsworth has got to be able to win 12 games in 30 starts, no? Jeez, Ortiz only managed 14, and it took a six start in a row, end of season winning streak to get him there. Ortiz won just 5 of fifteen starts at home this season, pitching in the best pitchers park in baseball. His strikeout per nine innings pitched rate has declined, and it was always pretty low to begin with. Last season, Ortiz managed just 137 strikeouts in 214 innings pitched, just over 5.7 per 9IP. That's not too bad, but it isn't exactly burning them up either. Kirk Rueter, known for his ability to get guys out without striking out many hitters, has averaged 4.2 K per 9IP over his career.

A good read as always. I'm glad that the Pete Rose situation is starting to die down, because John is very passionate about that, and I'd much rather read his take on the Giants. Keep up the great work John!

11:05 AM

What's Next?

Jason Stark breaks down what didn't happen at the Winter Meetings, and what unfinished business we can look forward to.

Several baseball people said Monday they heard the Reds and Expos had talked about a stunning trade that could have sent Adam Dunn and the just-acquired Felipe Lopez to Montreal for either Colon or Vazquez. But another source said Minaya had asked about Dunn and was turned down.

Really, this seems a little ridiculous to me. Morgaging the future of the franchise for what could be a short-term solution is crazy. I can't imagine this would even be an option unless the Reds had a long-term extension in place before the deal was made.

It seems that the Reds received the offer that they tried to make with the ChiSox. Everything goes full circle.

...when the Giants told Kent he had one more day to say yes or no to a three-year, $24-million offer that had a chance to grow to four years, $32 million -- indications were that he would relent and come back for less money than he had in mind.

FOUR YEARS for $32 million? That's $8 million per, regardless of how you disperse it. I don't think he sees this kind of money in his upcoming contract, unless he goes the unexpected route of arbitration.

I guess he really is expecting $10-11 million. WOW.

10:58 AM

Would Clemens follow Stanton?

The Yankees are still trying to land a deal for Bartolo Colon, and have said that they'd cut off talks with Roger Clemens.

If Clemens does not re-sign with the Yankees, he would probably talk to the Red Sox, New York Mets and Texas Rangers.

Clemens got a $10 million buyout this season, so why not flip the bird to the Yankees and sign with the Mets for 2-3 years, getting almost nothing in the first year (since he's already received $10 million for doig nothing)?

Maybe it's just me, but Clemens seems to have put the Yankees completely in the driver's seat, stating that he'd wait on everyone else until he heard from NYY. If I were him I'd take the money from the buyout and find a team that really wanted me, and not play second fiddle to a player that isn't even on the team he's trying to sign with. To me this sounds like, "I'll take you to the prom, IF I can't get the Homecoming Queen to go with me." Clemens could stay in NY with the Mets, playwith Glavine and be the "savior" all over again if the Mets make a run at the Championship. What more does he want?

10:19 AM

The BoSox have money

The Boston Red Sox are apparently interested in Jeff Kent. I wonder if he'll get a deal for much more then the Giants offered. I'd have to think that with the lack of offers already on the table that Kent would have taken the money and ran with Superman . . . but he seems to think that he's getting more then Bret Boone ($8 million per season from 2002-2004, with a team option for $9 million in 2005).

While I think that Kent is a much better hitter then Boone, I also think that the dollars just aren't out there for him, and that he'd better get a multi-year deal if he's not batting before or behind Bonds.

I expect to see a dropoff on his numbers in the next few years, as do many GMs from the look of things.

UPDATE: Now the headline of the article is "Astros in 'serious negotiations' with Kent"

The Astros already have a solid second baseman in Craig Biggio. If signed, speculation has Kent moving to third base or taking over at second, with Biggio moving to the outfield.

Interesting. My money would be on Kent playing 3B for the 'Stros is they sign him.

10:11 AM

Monday, December 16, 2002  

Speaking of PTBNL

The A's-Chi Sox deal has been completed, with the Chi Sox receiving P Neal Cotts and OF Daylan Holt from Oakland.

2:34 PM

PTBNL breakdown

John Sickels explains the prospects that were included in the deals that we've been hearing about lately.

It's a good read.

2:32 PM

What does that pay, I'm unemployed! reports that the minimum age for bat boys (or girls) will be 14 or 16 (to be ruled on by Bud Selig). This is obviously in connection with the World Series, and the near stomping of Darren Baker, then-Giants Manager Dusty Baker's 3-year-old son.

Dusty Baker had this to say, all but cementing the idea for everyone else:

"I hope one mistake doesn't spoil it for a lot of kids," he said. "I don't want it to go down in history as the Darren Baker Rule.' "

I think it already has.

2:27 PM

How much less did the Yankees offer?

Mike Stanton signed a 3-year, $9 million deal to play for the "other" NY team, the Mets. The deal breaks down to $2, $3, & $4 million over the three years, meaning that in the first two years, he'll make $300,000 more to play for NYM then NYY (the Yankees offered a 2-year, $4.7 million contract, but reportedly gave him 15 minutes to sign . . . ouch).

Here's an interesting tipbit:

Stanton and Glavine have a history of success -- they are the only two players to play in every postseason since 1991. That's important for the Mets, who finished in last place this year.

There may be NO players who've been to every postseason since 1991 after 2003.

Then again, they could help propell the Mets from Worst-to-First.

On a family note, the Stanton's will continue to live in their New Jersey home, something I'm sure came into play when he chose to stay in the NY area. It's always good to hear that the "personal" aspect can be worked into the "business" one.

2:22 PM

It would solve their salary problems

A three-way deal that would land Denny Neagle on the Mets is on hold, thanks to the Rangers. Here's the breakdown.

The Mets relieve themselves of three huge deals (Jeromy Burnitz to Colorodo, Pedro Astacio and Roger Cedeno to Texas), and bring in Denny Neagle.

The Rockies finally rid themselves of Neagle's horrid deal, and get Burnitz from NYM and Todd Van Poppel from Texas.

And finally, the Rangers would send out Van Poppel and bring in the huge contracts of Astacio and Cedeno, basically being a salary dumpster in the deal. Astacio would definitely be an upgrade to their staff, and I guess Cedeno could play CF over Hollandsworth, but they'd be taking on a ton of cash.

I can see why they're hesitating.

2:15 PM

Fantasy tips from The Sports Guy

I'd like to say that I learned something from The Sports Guy's Fantasy Trade Tips, but it's all old news to me.

I just can't get enough of fantasy sports (especially roto, I don't know why people play any other way).


2:07 PM

Archive problem

As you can see I can post again (see below), but now there is a problem with the archives. I have reported this to Pyra Labs, but being a peon "free user", they may take a while to get to my problem, if they look at it at all.

If you have experienced a problem like this, please e-mail me.


4:03 AM

I'd agree with "less essential"

Mike Bouman has an article up at that reports on the Alfonzo signing, and the possibilities of Kent returning to NL side of the Bay Area.

The Giants have managed, in two tidy moves [Durham and Alffonzo], to make Jeff Kent look less essential and more expendable.

Well said, although I don't know that a 100-RBI guy is ever really expendable.

3:51 AM

Jason Stark breaks it all down (almost)

Jason Stark has his Winter Meetings breakdown, so you can catch up on everything that's been going on (OR you can read my previous entries).

The Giants are surprising missing from his report, however.

3:42 AM

We like Gammons when he's talking trades

My favorite Gammons articles are the ones in which he does nothing but report trade rumors.

The Red Sox thought they had Alfonzo signed before the Giants stole him away. Boston had an offer for two years and an option that appeared to be a deal until the Giants stepped in with the four years. Alfonzo would have played third for Boston, with Hillenbrand moved for a reliever.

Good job Sabean. Let's just hope he stays healthy.

3:34 AM

Beane ends "three-year odyssey"

Jason Stark reports on the details that went into the Durazo four-way constructed by A's GM Billy Beane. My favorite quote was from The Mastermind himself:

"I actually had one general manager say to me, 'You've got to put me on your list for one of those four-way deals you're always doing,'" Beane said. "I said, 'OK, you're on the list. I'll get back to you.'"

Just one more cog in the Beane-Machine.

3:27 AM

Kent walks reports that Jeff Kent has declined the Giants final offer reportedly due to the greekbacks (or lack thereof) involved.

And here's the details of the Alfonzo deal:

Alfonzo received a $4 million signing bonus and annual salaries of $3 million, $5.5 million, $6.5 million and $7 million.

Also, one scout had this to say about Edgardo:

If you can convince me his back and his body are what they're supposed to be, then it's a hell of a deal. Other than that, I love him. He's got great makeup and great baseball instincts, and he's a very consistent person. The biggest issue is his health.

Sounds like the kind of player that the Giants go for.

As for Kent, he can now move on to the other "multi-year deals" that his agent keeps saying are on the table from other teams. Publicly, no other teams are admitting that there are any multi-year offers out for Kent.

Kent's last chance to put on a Giants uniform in 2003 will come by this Thursday, when he will get his last chance to accept arbitration.

The offer Kent rejected Sunday afternoon -- believed to be three years, for somewhere between $20-24 million -- is "not on the table" anymore, Colletti said. What is on the table is an offer by the Giants to allow Kent to accept arbitration. But he is expected to decline.

If Kent accepts arbitration, it will basically go against everything that he and his agent have been saying all winter (that he wants a multi-year deal ONLY). It seems as though Kent's days batting with Superman are over.

It also appears that the Alfonzo deal would not have gone through had he accepted, so there was probably never a chance of them both being Giants (unless Kent accepts arbitration of course).

3:20 AM

Lots of trades/lots of problems

The Winter meetings have finally produced some news. Check out some of the reports below.

I was ready to post all of these by 6:30 pm PST on Sunday (12/15/02), but apparently there were some "Blogger" issues.

Sorry for the delay.

3:10 AM

Giants sign Alfonzo! reports that the Giants have agreed to a four-year, $26 million contract with Edgardo Alfonzo.

The signing wasn't immediately announced by the Giants, but the agreement was confirmed by two people familiar with the negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

If Kent agrees to the three-year deal offered to him, the Giants 2003 line-up could look a lot like this:

CF Durham
SS Aurilia
LF Superman
2B Kent
3B Alfonzo
C Santiago
RF Grissom
1B Snow

It's looking better every day.

3:09 AM

D-day for Kent/Giants

Jason Stark reports that Jeff Kent has until the end of the day today to accept the 3-year offer that the Giants have put on the table.

He also reports that Jeff Kent will likely take it.

The Giants are said to have told Kent that he has until today to decide whether to accept their final offer -- believed to be a three-year deal for significantly less than the $10 million to $12 million per year he'd been looking for. And, with no other tangible offers to weigh, Kent appears to be ready to say yes, even though the contract is heavily backloaded and is believed to pay him only around $4 million in the first year.

If the Giants do sign Kent, then Russ Ortiz or Livan Hernandez would almost have to be delt, for payroll reasons. It will more likely be the former, rather then the latter, and Stark lists "Blue Jays, A's, Phillies, White Sox and Cardinals" as the teams that the G-men have spoken with.

Stark discredits both the A's and Blue Jays because of the fact that they were looking to make Ortiz part of their Durazo-deal, but with that deal done both teams would be less likely to send Ortiz to division-rival Arizona (although it might also limit their interest as well if that was the reason they were interested in the first place).

In any case, we'll know tomorrow if the Kent will be in a Giants uniform in 2003, or if the Giants have a deal(s) on hold in case he does or doesn't sign . . . which may be why they've given him a deadline that is before the end of the Winter Meetings.

Even if the Giants get Kent signed, they would continue to look for one more bat to hit behind Bonds in the fifth or sixth hole. If they don't get Kent signed, it's believed they would immediately launch a serious effort to reel in Edgardo Alfonzo.

More as it develops.

3:09 AM

Expos play hardball with Yanks

Yankees GM Brian Cashman is reportedly thinking over an offer from the Montreal Expos for SP Bartolo Colon or Javier Vazquez.

Both Cashman and Montreal Expos GM Omar Minaya are keeping quiet on what the offer is, but the price is reportedly 1B Nick Johnson, OF Juan Rivera, SP Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, and a prospect. The catch, from what I understand, is that the Expos also want NYY to pay for Hernandez's salary.

On Sportscenter last night, Peter Gammons said that if the Expos would budge on El Duque's salary that the Yankees would pull the trigger, but that they wouldn't do it if they had to pay the total salary.

The report states that the Yankees are "not in a situation where [they] have to do somehting", but with The Boss at the helm, you have to think that there's some pretty big pressure there.

3:09 AM

Red Sox tap into "depth" of farm system

The BoSox aquired Jeremy Giambi from the Phillies for minor league pitcher Josh Hancock. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein likes Giambi's plate discipline, and thinks that then sent out a good prospect in Hancock:

"We like Josh, the Phillies got a good one," said Epstein. "We feel the depth of our minor league system is pitching. It was hard to pass up this opportunity to get a bat like Giambi's. We felt this was a fair deal from both sides."

I thought the depth of the Red Sox farm system was the "lack of depth" . . . that was a surprise to me.

3:09 AM

Durazo an Athletic

The most hyped non-Expo on the trading block (and Billy Beane's latest obsession), Erubiel Durazo, has been traded to the A's in a four-team deal.

This appears to be the same deal that was reported earlier with the D-backs getting SP Elmer Dessens and cash from the Reds, the Reds getting SS Felipe Lopez from Toronto and a PTBNL from Oakland, and Toronto getting one or two (the reports are unclear) PTBNL from Oakland, reportedly SP Jason Arnold (who was aquired by Oakland in the Ted Lilly deal with the Yankees) and OF John-Ford Griffin.'s report is here

It also seems as though all three teams (Oakland, Toronto, & Cincinnati) will be sending $333,333 to Arizona (basically $1 million).

To look at this team-by-team, here's the breakdown:

Oakland trades two/three prospects (SP Jason Arnold, OF John-Ford Griffin, and possibly one more PTBNL) for 1B/DH Erubiel Durazo. A good trade for the A's, as they trade prospects that they don't neccesarily need for a big bat they they do need to bolster their lineup.

Arizona finally trades their oft-mentioned prospect (Durazo) for some pitching to upgrade their rotation (Dessens). Instead of waiting too long and not trading Durazo, they appear to have traded him just for the sake of trading him. I don't think this really helped the D-backs too much, which is good news for Giants fans.

Cincinnati sent out Dessens for SS of the future (read: Barry Larkin's replacement) Felipe Lopez and a PTBNL from Oakland's rich farm system. Not a bad deal from their perspective. They needed a SS more then a 1B, and got another prospect to go along with it. Not a blockbuster, but good.

Toronto sent out Lopez and (probably) got another pitching prospect from the rich Oakland farm system that J.P. Ricciardi is so familiar with. Ricciardi loves dealing with his former boss (Beane).

All in all, I think this is just another example of Beane getting his man, and doing it without really losing anything that he needed.

3:08 AM

Ordonez to Tampa? has announced that later tonight the Mets will announce that they have traded Rey Ordonez to the Tampa Bay for two PTBNL (players to be names later).

Jason Stark reports that one of the players to be named is expected to be former A's prospect Ben Grieve.

3:08 AM

Quarterback U?

Carson Palmer has won the Heisman trophy, giving Tailback U its first QB Heisman winner. And as mentioned in Ivan Maisel's piece on, Palmer's jersey will also be retired, as all of USC's Heisman winners jerseys are.

Surprising to most, Palmer received more votes (1,328) then both of Miami's finalists combined (1,303). In what was expected to be the closest Heisman race in history, Palmer won five of the six regions, losing only to Brad Banks in Banks' home region - the Midwest.

Palmer also ended a 21-year East Coast bias, bringing the Heisman to the West Coast for the first time since 1981 (won by fellow Trojan alum Marcus Allen). Palmer gives USC five Heisman winners, trailing only Ohio State (6) and rival Notre Dame (7).

Next up for Palmer and the Trojans is the Rose Orange Bowl, where they will play the Co-Big 10 champion Iowa Hawkeyes, led by Heisman runner-up Brad Banks in what could be the best bowl game of the year.

Fight On SC!

3:08 AM

Saturday, December 14, 2002  

What's this, reader mail?!?!?

Reader Jon Maples checks in to talk about the Giants pitching staff, and trade rumors regarding Russ Ortiz and Livan Hernandez.

He definitely doesn't like Livan's trade value.

nobody in their right mind wants livan. for a couple reasons: 1- soft tossing right handers don't get that much interest. 2- he's pigheaded as hell and is almost uncoachable. of course, somebody might take him, but i don't know who. especially with his contract.

I'd have to disagree with you on the contract aspect, because Livan's only making $3.5 million next year, and has a Team Option in 2004 for $6 million (possibly without a buyout? I couldn't find any buyout info), so that's not bad at all. Ortiz is making $4.4 in 2003, with a Team Option for $5.7 million in 2004 (or a $0.3 million buyout). This definitely makes Russ more attractive in 2004, but when Livan makes $9.5 over the next two years and Ortiz makes $10.1 over the next two, I don't see how Livan's contract is all that bad. I'd even go so far as to say that Ortiz's contract is a little on the low side, making Livan's just about right. As for his ability and attitude, I'm sure that a lot of teams would gamble on him in the middle (or back) of their rotation. When he's hot he is very hot. Just watch out for the annual season opening slump.

On the other had, Jon does like the the value that Ortiz has on the market.

ortiz has a ton of value. based on his world series game six performance, the entire baseball world knows that his stuff is electric, but let's remember: he is way erratic. if there ever was a time to get maximum value for him, it is now. my guess is that sabean thinks he can dump at least one or two high salaried pitcher, and get almost the same value out of the foppert/ainsworth/williams kiddie corps.

I agree. I think that the Giants are working on a Plan A/Plan B situation, in which they either trade some veterans and their salaries, or trade the prospects and their potential. If they trade the veterans, then they can take on more salary (a must if Kent is staying). If they trade the prospects, then they can probably pick up a good bat and basically try to ride an improved 2002 roster to the World Series again. If the value of Ortiz is high enough I wouldn't be opposed to trading him, but the rumors coming out that the Giants would ship him for Jose Cruz Jr. or J.D. Drew seem a bit rediculous from the Giants' perspective. Cruz was labeled as Junion Jr. when he played in Seattle, and hasn't done a lot (other then strike out) since then.

And don't forget that J.D. Drew is the same player who refused to play for the Phillies and chose to wait until the next year when he got drafted by the Cards. Add in the injury problems, and is this really an improvement? To make a deal like this for Livan makes more sense, as it becomes more of a unrealized potential/flashes of brilliance trade for both teams. Unless Drew returned to his pre-injury status, then the Giants would be giving up more then they'd be getting back.

Depending on who the A's are willing to send, the Durazo to Oakland-Ortiz to Arizona deal might be something to look at, but then you're sending your division rival a 3rd arm to throw against you. That's not always a good plan (even the Expos have stated that their not sending SPs to the NL East unless there's nothing else available, basically sending four interested teams to the back of the line).

Next Jon gives a warning/tribute to Jerome Williams. Linking these two articles to back up his comments.

one word or warning with jerome williams. he was pretty good in AAA last year, but the take on him was that he coasted at some points. i think he took the criticism to heart and really tried to air it out in the arizona fall league. the results were eyepopping. in five games he had a 2.05 era, giving up only 10 hits in 22 innings. opponents only hit .135 against him and he recorded 25 strikeouts. he quickly developed a sore shoulder and had to be shut down for the season.

I think that Jerome has a very high upside, and I think that he'll get his chance to shine in the next two seasons. It would be great if 2/3 of the guys Jon mentioned became big time players on the Giants staff, because 2/3 is a good number of prospects to make it. Realistically, not all prospects live up to their hype, so I'd be thrilled to have at least two young guns joining the Giants staff for the future.

And finally, Jon touches on the Jeff Kent situation, agreeing with The Southpaw.

i think you're right about kent. colorado is out and apparently, so are the dodgers. the cubs need to improve their bullpen before their offense. it doesn't look like anyone else will come close to the money that the giants can offer for him. i think he's coming back. reports that the Cubs have spoken with Kent's agent, and are interested in him playing 3B. John Perricone over at OBM has reported that the Giants will know if Kent is on the 2003 Roster by this Thursday.

Thanks for the letter Jon, keep them coming.

If you want to chime in on the debate, or start a new one, e-mail me.

I'm off to see if my boy Carson Palmer won the Heisman. More to report later. Fight On!

5:11 PM

Moving Tejeda?

Jason Stark has the line on rumors coming out of Nashiville, and the hot name is Erubiel Durazo. There are a lot of three-ways rumored to be in the works.

The first I heard from Peter Gammons on Sportscenter and thought was crazy, but Stark has now reported it as well.

[One] Durazo rumor was a potential monster deal in which Arizona would make a run at Miguel Tejada, offering Durazo and Byung-Hyun Kim. While the A's aren't looking to trade Tejada, an official of one club said the A's are willing to be "proactive," much as they were a year before Jason Giambi's free agency, because they know there's a realistic chance they can't re-sign Tejada. So they might at least listen to the right deal. They then could move Mark Ellis from second base to shortstop, his original position, and sign Edgardo Alfonzo to play second.

The Giants have surfaced in one in which the D-backs would get Russ Ortiz, the A's would get Durazo, and the Giants would get "something" from the A's. Hey, if they're looking at sending out Tejada, shouldn't the Giants look into that? I know they've already got Aurilia, but that could replae Kent's bat if he walks, and I'm SURE that they could get something for Aurilia with the shortage of quality SS out there.

And the third deal he mentioned didn't quite make sense, as part of the deal is missing:

Another three-teamer could involve the Reds and Blue Jays. In that scenario, Oakland would get Durazo, Arizona would wind up with Reds pitcher Elmer Dessens. And Toronto would get Oakland prospects Jason Arnold and John Ford-Griffin.

Ok, so who do the Reds get? Is this a trade that Oakland or Toronto makes in order to get the three-teamer going, or is it in fact a four-teamer? A rare missing tidbit from Mr. Stark.

Another piece of interesting news is that it looks like Nick Johnson might be getting shopped out of NYY. Here's hoping he gets somewhere that he can play 1B full-time.

The Southpaw is very much behind local players from the Sacramento, CA area.

4:18 PM

Friday, December 13, 2002  

More news

Billy Beane says that he doesn't think anything will happen at the Winter meetings, but you can bet

another article, Cubs GM Jim Hendry chimes in:

We'd be negligent to not have interest in [Omar Daal, Ugueth Urbina and Edgardo Alfonzo]

The Cubbies have contacted the agent for all three free agents, and the meeting was called "a first step".

In other news, Joe Frisaro reports that the Marlins will be active at the Winter Meetings. He mentions the Expos and suggests that they may be a prime player in trade negotiations because they all used to work in the Expos system, but then closes his article with this:

Free agent lefty bats Orlando Palmeiro and Todd Hollandsworth could be in the team's price range.

So how would they be a player for Colon, Guerrero, or Vidro (all mentioned in the article) if Palmeiro and Hollandsworth are in their "price range". Sometimes trade rumors get to be a BIT ridiculous.

And finally, I'll mention the Ken Griffey Jr. situation.

The Reds had reportedly offered Griffey to the White Sox in exchange for Magglio Ordonez last month. A Reds source reports that the White Sox "deliberated for nearly a week before backing off", but White Sox GM Ken Williams said that report was "not accurate" responding:

Was I contacted by the Reds? Yes. Did I take a week to think about it? No. How long did I think about it? About five seconds.

Ouch. I know he was just trying to let Maggs know how important he was to the ChiSox organization, but think about this from Griffey's view. First he is voted by the fans on Cincy to be the player benched when he returns from his injury, then he's offered to the Padres for Phil Nevil (who nixes the deal), and then hears a quote saying that it took less then 5 seconds to turn down a trade for him. I hope he DOES get traded, and I hope that he goes back to his old form and hits the lights out. Some team could land a BIG-TIME player (who admittedly makes $12.5 million per season) for relatively nothing in trade. Honestly, that wouldn't a terrible free agent pickup, so if might be worth a shot for someone. reports that Griffey is ready to leave the Reds, stating that he doesn't want to play anywhere that he isn't wanted.

"If they feel like they want to trade me, or just don't want me anymore, go ahead," Griffey told Sports Weekly. "There's nothing I can do if they trade me. They can do what they want. If they want to trade me, trade me."

He also made a comment about the teams that he would be willing to play for, and that if he was sent to a team that he did NOT want to play for that he would simply demand a trade at the end of the season.

"... they should at least let me decide where I want to go," Griffey told Sports Weekly. "If they trade me someplace I don't want to be, I'll just demand a trade at the end of the year. They haven't asked me, but if I was a GM, they might want to say, 'What teams do you want to go to?'"

Sports Weekly reported Friday that Griffey's top choice could be the Yankees, followed by the Diamondbacks and Braves. Big surprises there. He also reportedly wants to make sure that the team he plays for has Spring Training in Florida, due to the fact that his family lives in Orlando (you may remember that this is also the reason he wanted to be traded away from Seattle, so that he could be closer to his family).

In a very strange world, he could play for Lou Pinella again with the D-Rays! His family situation would be set, and he could play out his days like A-Rod in Texas . . . racking up huge numbers and putting butts in the seats.

1:07 PM

News and notes

A few articles to report. First is an article that pretty much states the obvious, the Giants need a second bat behind Superman. The ideas suggested are not new, but still good to hear: re-sign Kent, trade for a big bat (Guerrero's name once again tops the list, with Brian Giles and Jose Cruz Jr. also mentioned). No names were new to the list of players that the Giants have to ship out, but it was refreshing to see Livan and Snow both listed together. If Snow is sent out, and even if Kent plays some 1B, there could be a cheap insurance policy (no pun intended) mentioned below.

Then there's two articles by John Schlegel. The first lists his picks for the ten risky free agents on the market. No big surprises, as it is pretty much filled with old or recently injured players.

The other is his list of the best free agent bargains, ignoring the fact that Reggie Sanders tops the list. If the Giants retain Kent, John Mabry could be a good fit to fill some holes and come of the bench . . . and his salary's about right for the G-men as well. Here's what John says:

Mabry's a perfect fit for a contender that needs someone to give their regulars at first or in the outfield a breather, and he packs some punch in his left-handed swing. He made $500,000 last year, and the A's got that much value and more from him after acquiring him from Philadelphia.

With the lack of OF depth, and the lack of Snow's bat, Mabry may just be a good guy to have on the roster . . . as long as he wasn't looking for a big raise.

12:43 PM

Thursday, December 12, 2002  

The Southpaw thinks the odds are much better

Brian Sabean is referenced as saying that he believes there is a 50-50 chance of Jeff Kent returning to the Giants next season, the AP reports. Thankfully, Sabean isn't going to sit on his hands and wait for Kent's decision. Here's his quote:

We're prepared to go forward as needed, and Jeff realizes that. If something jumps on our plate, we will pull the trigger. Everyone knows how we do business, including him. We're proactive.

That's good to know, especially when Los Expos may be giving players away at the Winter Meetings this weekend.

And then, of course, is the fallout of Kent staying with the G-men...

If Kent does stay put, the Giants would be forced to adjust their payroll. And Sabean is confident in San Francisco's ability to make the necessary moves.

"There are a lot of ways to balance the books and plenty of time to do it,'' said Sabean.

Pitchers could be the first to be dealt since the Giants have many of them.

I know Russ has been the hot ticket in rumors, but can we start with Livan instead?

10:39 PM

Repeat of last year?

Will Jeff Kent stay a Giant by default? From the lack of interest by other teams, it's looking more and more like Kent may be suiting up to play in SBC Pac Bell Park next season.

Tim Kurkjian says that Jeff Kent needs to play 2B a few more years if he wants to make it into the Hall of Fame. How about winning a Championship?

Last time I checked, that was the most important thing to do in any sport . . . but I suppose they have been getting more and more indiviudualistic over the years.

Granted, this isn't anything that KENT has said, but I still found it interesting that Kurkjian's analysis had more to do with Kent's HOF chances then his chance of signing long-term on a perrenial contender.

He also had this to say about Kent's free agent options:

The Dodgers (Joe Thurston) and Cubs (Bobby Hill) are planning to play rookies at second base in 2003. The Giants recently signed free agent second baseman Ray Durham for three years. The Phillies have a couple of options at second, and signed Jim Thome for six years to play first base. The Rockies don't have interest. So, where is the big market for Jeff Kent?

This may play directly into the Giants' hands. With the odds against the Giants picking up a significant bat through trade, retaining Kent could solidify their lineup for at least the coming season, or more if they sign him long-term.

With Kent's bat, the Giants could look for either a defensive 3B, a roll player in RF, or an upgrade at 1B. In short, they look to make significant improvements on what they've already got. If Kent walks, then the Giants desperately need to replace his bat in the lineup.

10:27 PM

Aaron Gleeman has finally gotten around to talking about the Ray Durham signing by the Giants. And aside from the timing, it's a great read:

I am not sure if I am just giving too much credit to center fielders for how hard it is to be a good one or not, but I just can't assume that Durham would be even a decent center fielder.
So, if I were running the Giants and I had both Kent and Durham, I would play Kent at 3B and Durham at 2B.
That way, you are basically just replacing David Bell with Ray Durham, which is absolutely, without a doubt an upgrade and a pretty big one at that.
I am not sure how Kent would handle 3B, but I would rather take a chance with him there than I would with Durham in center field.

Agreed. Besides, if they upgrade at 1B that means that Snow might get shipped out, and that only helps the G-men in the salary department.

Isn't there a team out there that wants to get into a three-way trade with the Giants and the Reds in which they send the Reds some prospects, get Snow from the Giants, and land Casey in SF?

I didn't think so.

Aaron also lists his projected lineup with Kent returning.

A SF lineup with Durham and Kent in it would be pretty damn good. I envision something like this:
1) Durham - 2B
2) Aurilia - SS
3) Superman - LF
4) Kent - 3B
5) Santiago - C
6) Snow - 1B
7) Grissom - CF
8) ??? - RF

I'd say it looks familiar.

4:03 PM

Filling the holes

Phil Rogers has an article at that talks about some of the need positions on 11 teams, and the options available. Here's what he had to say about the Giants:

Right field, San Francisco: Creative GM Brian Sabean has already moved aggressively by signing free agents Ray Durham and Marquis Grissom while offering Jeff Kent arbitration. But he's got at least one more major move to make.

If Kent is re-signed, Durham may be moved to center field, which would push Grissom to right field, either in a platoon or as the primary guy. But it is probably more likely that Sabean will trade at least one of his right-handed starters -- Russ Ortiz or Livan Hernandez -- for a center fielder or right fielder. Pittsburgh's Brian Giles, naturally, was on top of Sabean's list. But Seattle's Mike Cameron and Philadelphia's Jeremy Giambi are more likely fits.

Obviously, Guerrero would be at the top of anyone's list for a RF, but Giles would probably be my number 2. I worry about Jeremy Giambi, but I think that Mike Cameron would be a nice fit realistically.

3:40 PM

More trade tidbits

Jason Stark reports on his most likely to be traded list.My favorite line:

But of all the Expos who could get traded, [Guerrero] would have to rank behind the other 24 big-leaguers, pretty much the entire farm system, Frank Robinson, Youppi! and the franchise's entire inventory of smoked-meat sandwiches.

Appearantly Youppi! is available. The Phillies have already inquired to see if they could get him for the Phanatic striaght-up (he IS a Hall of Famer after all). Here's some more trade possibilities (shameless mascot link).

On Stark's plate as possiblities for the Giants are: Joe Randa, Jose Cruz (Junior) Jr., & J.D. Drew.

To no surprise (but a lot of disappointment), Russ Ortiz was mentioned in both the Cruz & Drew deals.

Unfortunately Brian Giles is on his "Rumors that probably won't pan out" list, to the dismay of the rumors that the Giants may be talking to the Pirates about him. But on the plus-side of things, Livan Hernandez is on his list of 10 pitchers that are available (Snow didn't make the 10 (plus 4) list of hitters available, but that may be because he doesn't qualify). It IS nice to see the Giants mentioned in more off-season reports as well, if for no other reason to remind fans such as myself that they actually ARE working on defending their NL title in 2003.

In other Southpaw-related posts, Stark has both Brett Tomko & Marcus Giles listed, giving Jonathan Mayo's #4 trade some more credibility. I still think that it's a trade that could possibly be GREAT for both teams involved. And that's all you can ask for in a trade . . . really.

3:37 AM

I shouldn't say, "I told you so", but...

Sean McAdam has an article at that talks about the possibility of Vlad the Impaler being traded, and mentions a few teams that appear to have a legitimate chance to land him.

One of the five teams mentioned: The San Francisco Giants.

Ironically enough, the same players (Kurt Ainsworth & Jerome Williams) are mentioned in a reader e-mail in response to the first column I wrote when I first started this site.

I also had some negative feedback at the idea of the Giants aquiring Vlad . . . but I'll take negative feedback over NO feedback any day. HINT HINT

What really worries/excites me is the potential of the Giants trading for Guerrero and then Kent taking the arbitration route to stay with the Giants for a one-year run at the championship. Think about it, if you're Jeff Kent and you can get a one-year deal worth a WHOLE lot of money, would you take a chance playing on a team with THIS potential line-up?

2B Durham
SS Aurilia
LF Bonds
RF Guerrero
3B Kent
C Santiago
CF Grissom
1B Snow

DAMN that's a scary Starting 8. The funniest thing is that the bottom of the order may have as many RBI attempts as the middle, and the top of the order may not be far behind! This is a lineup that mashes and is FULL of speed.

But again, Kent and Guerrero (as well as Aurilia, Santiago, Livan, & Rueter) would be eligable for Free Agency after 2003 (with the plus side of Ortiz having a team option for 2004, and the dead weight contracts of Marvin Bernard and JT Snow coming off the books), so it may be a one-year run . . . but what a run it would be.

3:13 AM

One article to ponder

Jonathan Mayo has Five Trades to Ponder over at I'm a little late with this (as it's dated 12/6), but I thought I'd comment on it anyway.

Trade #1: Erubiel Durazo for Erik Hiljus and Adam Piatt

Before Beane dealt Billy Koch, a trade that would have sent Koch for Durazo and Byung-Hyun Kim was rumored. But it's less likely Beane would turn around and trade Keith Foulke now. The Diamondbacks would get Hiljus, a back-of-the-rotation starter, and Piatt, a right fielder, all for bargain prices.

I definitely agree that Foulke isn't going anywhere, and I can see Piatt being used in a deal for a better bat. The X-Factors here would be (A) would the A's send out Hiljus after already shipping out Lidle? and (B) would the D-backs pull the trigger on this? Durazo is a big-ticket name for a lot of teams, so I think that they'll probably hold out too long and end up not trading him. I think he's stuck on the Arizona bench for at least one more season. He lost his best chance when Matty Williams made a family-over-business decision to stay (can't fault the guy for making that kind of decision, a la Phil Nevin).

Trade #2: Jorge Posada and Raul Mondesi for Hank Blalock and Francisco Cordero
File this under the "fantasy" trade category...

Nuff said. He makes some interesting points, but isn't Texas trying to get out of the Luxury Tax threshold as much as NYY? It just doesn't make as much sense from their end, unless they're really desperate to replace Pudge with a high-profile backstop.

Trade #3: Russ Ortiz for J.D. Drew
This one is a little simpler to explain. The Cardinals need starting pitching help, but they don't want to break the bank. So a trade is the way to go. Ditto for the Giants and their need for some outfielders.

Waiting for J.D. Drew to fulfill his potential has become a frustrating sport in St. Louis, mostly because of his injuries. But even though he'll be limited somewhat in the first half coming off surgery (how about a platoon with Reggie Sanders?), he's a young, talented hitter. The Cardinals have more than enough offensive firepower without him and could deal him for a workhorse like.

The money would be about a wash. Ortiz is due $4.4 million in 2003. Drew is arbitration eligible, but after making $3.1 million last year, a jump to an Ortiz level sounds about right. Both sides would get exactly what they need without shelling out extra cash.

First of all, Reggie Sanders is gone (the Giants did not offer him salary arbitration) so he'd need to start if the Giants traded for him. Also, why would the Giants trade a front-line starting pitcher for a platoon OF? There are some upsides for the Giants, but I think that they'd be MUCH better off passing on this one and going for someone better if they're planning on trading Russ Ortiz. If you're talking about Livan for Drew, then I'd be listening.

Trade #4: Brett Tomko for Marcus Giles
At first glance, it might not seem like it would make sense for the Padres to deal Tomko, who was their most consistent starter in 2002.

In general I agree, but the Pads have got some great young pitching talent in their organization that could mold into a quality staff, so why not pick up a cheap ($210,000 in 2002) Giles and avoid the arbitration bump that Tomko's getting this season?

Trade #5: John Halama for Jack Cust
Assuming they get Jamie Moyer to come back, John Halama once again becomes an extra part. The Rockies, after dealing Mike Hampton and hopefully moving Denny Neagle, will be looking for a more cost-efficient lefty to plug into the rotation.

He also mentions the over-abundance of Colorado OFs, and the defensive "DH potential" that Cust has shown.

All in all, it was an intersting read, and I hope to get some more trade rumors from the Winter Meetings to fill my Rumor Fix.

More to come, as I find it.

2:37 AM

Fairwell Tour for Pac Bell Park?

With the buyout of Pacifical Bell by SBC (Southwestern Bell Corp.), what is widely regarded as the best baseball stadium in the world may be getting a namechange . . . just not this year. reports that SBC and the Giants have scheduled a meeting to discuss the name-change, which will not likely happen before the 2003 season, meaning that Pac Bell Park will get a fairwell tour before falling under the San Francisco Baseball Stadium Curse (Candlestick became 3Com and is now "The Stadium at Candlestick Point").

With any luck, they'll simply ammend the name with something like SBC Pacific Bell Park, but it may be a much more significant change. If the Giants didn't invest so much of their own money in the stadium, I'd be all for a refund on the remaing money from the $53 million (25-year) naming rights deal (signed in 1996). I mean, if they can afford to pay J.T. Snow $6.85 million next year, couldn't they afford $2.12 million per year (about $36 million total) to own their own stadium name?

Sometimes these naming deals seem a bit rediculous, but I understand that it's part of the business. I'll also be the first to admit that I do not understand all of the details in regards to the building of Pacific Bell Park, and how much of a part of Pac Bell's support had to do with the naming rights. Maybe John over at OBM could shed some more light on this.

Feel free to e-mail me if you know more, otherwise I'll look to John for more details.

2:11 AM

Wednesday, December 11, 2002  

Rule 5 Draft Explained

There is a great article over at that explains the Rule 5 Draft. I have always had an odd understanding with the Rule 5 Draft, but this has answered a few lingering questions.

Basically, teams that have room on their 40-man rosters can "draft" an unprotected player from another team for a fee ($50,000 at the ML level, and less for minor league levels). The catch is that the player drafted has to be on the 25-man active roster for the ENTIRE SEASON, or else the original team has the chance to bring that player back for half of the fee paid to draft him.

The most interesting part of the article, is the list of teams that already had a FULL 40-MAN ROSTER. These teams will not have a chance to select a player in the ML phase of this year's Rule 5 draft:

Arizona Diamondbacks
Chicago Cubs
Florida Marlins
Minnesota Twins
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates
Seattle Mariners
Tampa Bay Devil Rays

The Rule 5 Draft will take place at the Winter Meetings this Monday in Nashville.

10:19 AM

Tuesday, December 10, 2002  

(Not so) Useless Info . . . continued

Jason Stark's newest Useless Info column also has some good Junior Griffey info.

For all you Griffey haters out there, how do you like these apples:

For all his troubles, you might be surprised to learn that since Junior Griffey became a Red, he has outhomered all of these people: J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron, Trot Nixon, Reggie Sanders, Juan Gonzalez, Torii Hunter, Brian Jordan and John Olerud. (Griffey has hit 70 these last three years.)

Probably not as much as you'll like these:

On the other hand, Griffey has fewer homers than 58 different players -- including all of these guys: Carlos Lee, Pudge Rodriguez, Robin Ventura, Derrek Lee, Preston Wilson, Jose Valentin, Tony Batista and his don't-trade-me-there partner, Phil Nevin.

Health is a big issue, but when he plays (even when he plays hurt) he is still a great player. If he'll ever retain his "greatest active baseball player" title is completely unknown (not only will he have to get healthy and back to his old form, he'll also have to dethrone Bonds and former protege A-Rod), but if he can stay on the field, he can definitely help his team (Reds or otherwise).

The only problem is that if he doesn't stay healthy, he's really not worth the $12.5 million he gets annually (on an interesting site-note, due to salary deferrments that Griffey agreed to in order to help out the team, the Cincinnati Reds organization will be paying him until 2024). And remember, he signed for much less then he could have at the time. Somehow, I don't think that's the kind of "Hometown Discount" Cincy was looking for.

Let's ALL hope that Griffey comes back strong . . . it's only good for the sport of baseball.

And with any luck he'll be playing somewhere else; I think that a fresh start would do him a lot of good.

11:53 AM

(Not so) Useless Info

Jason Stark has his newest Useless Info column out, in which he explains all the streaks that are coming to an end with Glavine leaving the Atlanta Braves.

Over these last 10 years, Maddux and Glavine rank first and third respectively in wins, first (Glavine) and second (Maddux) in games started, first (Maddux) and second (Glavine) in innings pitched, third (Maddux) and fourth (Glavine) in winning percentage and second (Maddux) and seventh (Glavine) in shutouts.

While reading over this, the one thing that I couldn't stop thinking was, "Why aren't teams throwing themselves at Greg Maddux?" I know it's been mentioned before, but Glavine was treated like he was Jason Giambi, while Maddux got the Barry Bonds treatment. This may very well work out in the Braves' favor (much as Bonds situation benefited the Giants), but I have to wonder why someone who is the same age (one month older in fact) who has had less wins (and less innings) in more starts is the toast of at least three major league towns, while Maddux may end up taking arbitration and becoming the single-season highest payed pitcher in history. This doesn't even mention the fact that Maddux has twice as many shutouts as Glavine.

It's a joke to me that this guy can't get a contract somewhere.

11:40 AM

For the few of you that don't already read OBM

John over at Only Baseball Matters has posted a great column about how Pac Bell hurts lefties, especially J.T. Snow. I've been lobbying for a Snow trade with Kent playing first for some time, and this is definitely evidence for the prosecution.

He also explains that Bonds isn't affected as much because he is good enough to overcome it.

11:09 AM

Monday, December 09, 2002  

A "Hall of Fame" column (pun intended)

Aaron Gleeman has posted a (very) detailed column about the 2003 Hall of Fame candidates. Check it out.

I'm pulling for Ryne Sandberg. I was born and raised a Giants fan, but having access to pretty much every Cubs game through WGN allowed me to see a lot of him. Growing up, he was my favorite non-Giant along with Tony Gwynn (both of which have a better shot at the HOF then my favorite Giant growing up - Will Clark). I still can't believe that the Phillies didn't think about moving Ryno (ANYWHERE) from 3B before shipping him out. Hell, Ray Durham may play in the OF and he's been in the bigs for years playing 2B . . . why not ask a prospect to switch positions?

And on a personal note, my friend Matt Honeycutt is Rick Honeycutt's nephew, so I'm sure he's pulling for "Uncle Rick".

1:01 PM

Slow again today

Not a lot of interesting news right now, but check out the two articles that John over at OBM linked to regarding the next step in the Giants' off-season plans.

12:49 PM

Saturday, December 07, 2002  

But good google positioning

Someone has found this site through google with the search words "Bad Vlad Giants rumors".

Guess who's number 1 on that search list? Yup, the San Jose Sharks website . . . with a dead link.

I'm number 2 (wait, that doesn't sound so good).

10:14 PM

The plot thickens

Tom Singer over at has an article that lists the Free Agents that were offered arbitration, and has an interesting comment regarding Jeff Kent and the Giants.

...Sabean may be toying with the idea of persuading Kent to take over at third base, which had been his primary position with the 1992 Blue Jays and the 1996 Mets.

This is interesting because the Cubs have been rumored for a while now to want Kent to fill their hole at 3B (to give Bobby Hill his shot at 2B). If Kent stays with the Giants (via arbitration or a new contract) and moves to 3B, Durham could play 2B and the Giants could still persue a new bat for the OF (and an upgrade at 1B, if that's not asking too much).

Here's what that perspective lineup would look like:

2B Durham
SS Aurilia
3B Kent *interchangable
LF Bonds *interchangable
C Santiago
CF Grissom
1B Snow (or upgraded 1B?)
RF Bernard (or platoon or upgraded OF)

The upgraded RF could hit in the 5-hole, in front of Santiago, depending on the bat brought in (although with Kent back, Vlad wouldn't be likely).

Very interesting indeed.

9:56 PM

More details

This article that I reference earlier has some more interesting finds in it.

It has been rumored that Ray Durham wanted to play 2B (and NOT the OF), and was looking to sign somewhere in which he would be given that opportunity. It turns out that it's not only untrue, but that he's actually VERY OPEN to playing in the OF if that's where his team (now the Giants) needs him.

''I am open to the outfield,'' Durham said. ''That was one of the big questions coming into my free agent year: Will he be willing to go play center field? And my answer was yes. Wherever the team needs me, that's where I'll go. Wherever they need me.''

Just more proof that the door may still be open for Jeff Kent.

Another intersting tid-bit is that Steve Finley will not be a Giant. Apparently he turned down a $13 million offer from the Giants earlier this week and took a two-year $11.25 million deal to stay with the Diamondbacks. I have to wonder if he would have taken that $13 million if they had offered it to him when the Larry Walker deal was pending. Oh well, his loss.

And check this out...Marquis Grissom says that he's excited to be starting again, "in the prime of his career".

''In my 14th season, I'm kind of happy to become an everyday starter once again,'' Grissom said. ''I think I'm in the prime of my career, and healthy. My main interest in going to any team was to get out there and play every day. I think I've got a lot left. I'm nowhere near a fourth outfielder on nobody's team.''

Aside from the confusion almost-triple-negative, this is a scary thought. Does this mean that he signed under the impression that he would be starting next season? If Kent stays, and Durham moves to the OF, that means that there would be virtually NO way of significantly upgrading the Giants' OF. The only real position that would be available would be 3B, and there aren't a lot of options out there short of Edguardo Alfonso and Joe Randa.

If Kent walks then it becomes clearer, Durham moves to 2B and an OF position opens up. But then they still have to replace Kent's bat, instead of just adding to it.

We'll have to keep an eye on this situation.

9:33 PM
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