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

Saturday, January 11, 2003  

Sorry for the delay

After an unannounced absence, The Southpaw will be returing to its almost-daily posting schedule very soon.

I appologise to anyone who's checked the site with no new posts, and especially with no explaination.

Thank you for visiting, lots of posts coming soon.

3:11 PM

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
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