south·paw (southpô) n. Slang A left-handed person, especially a left-handed baseball pitcher.
Saturday, January 11, 2003
Sorry for the delay
Friday, December 20, 2002
Goodbye old(?) friend
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 missing link?
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
Let the debate begin . . . it's reader mail!
...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
Peter Gammons' favorite minor leaguer
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
Things are starting to clear up
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
Is it just me?
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.
If I'd just checked there first...MAIL TIME!
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
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
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
[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)
[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?
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.
Then again, if Kent takes arbitration it'll look even better (except for the payroll). 1:53 PM
Maybe they can
Another link, and Kent news to boot!
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
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
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?
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 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
What does that pay, I'm unemployed!
"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?
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
Fantasy tips from The Sports Guy
I'd agree with "less essential"
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)
We like Gammons when he's talking trades
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"
"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
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
Giants sign 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:
It's looking better every day. 3:09 AM
D-day for Kent/Giants
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
Red Sox tap into "depth" of farm system
"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
Ordonez to Tampa?