Archive for January 18th, 2007

Thursday Quickies

Giants thinking of walking away from Bonds deal. It would be the smart move, so suffice it to say Bonds will be in a Giants uniform for 2007.

Braves swap LaRoche for Pirates Gonzalez. Normally, I’d dedicate a full post to this. However, this rumor has been mentioned nearly every day since the Winter Meetings, so everything that can be said has been. The big deal: the Pirates’ inclusion of shortstop prospect Brent Lillibridge. Note to Dave Littlefield: Jack Wilson is not a good player. You just traded away an upgrade. Your team is going to finish last in the NL Central.

Padres make offer to David Wells. His options: sunny San Diego or Toronto. Beaches and babes, or heavy income tax and cheese fries? Facing Juan Pierre to start a game, or facing Johnny Damon? Gee…

Mariners sign closer J.J. Putz to three-year deal. Heh, Putz. Like, “shopping BJ’s wholesale,” this will never get old.

Chris Capuano to earn $3.25 million. This makes Wayne Krivsky seem that much dumber.

Mark Prior asks for raise after making nine starts in 2006. Only in baseball can a guy make more money the year after performing 36 percent worse than an average player at his position.


MLB: Let them take speed

We’re a week removed from the “Barry took amphetamies” hoopla, but don’t let that mislead you. Because it was Bonds who tested positive, you can expect an amphetamies-related article weekly in your local papers,, and

This week’s installment comes from Apparently, the owners don’t plan to up the penalties for amphetamine use. John Moores, majority owner of the Padres, even says that he needs more information on amphetamines before he renders a decision:

“If they’re doing it, I don’t know when they’re getting it or how they’re taking it,” he said. “And I don’t know if it affects their performance. I have absolutely no notion about that so I don’t know if it’s even a problem. I don’t have enough information to know if it’s dead-on right. I’d like to see some data.”

Allow me to be of service, Mr. Moores. I recreationally use the amphetamine Adderall. It’s fun and leaves me feeling like the smartest person on the planet. I can hold hours of conversations on topics for which I normally do not care. Most of all, I love playing sports.

Let me tell you, Adderall certainly enhances performance. It’s much easier to concentrate and block out external forces. It makes you think and react quicker. It may not allow you to throw 5 m.p.h. faster or hit the ball 20 feet further; it’s more of a mind stimulant.

I’ve always said that if I was a Major League pitcher, I’d find a doctor who would diagnose me with ADD (a la Derek Lowe), and smoke pot before and during a game. They may not make me throw 100 m.p.h., but I’d sure be painting those corners.

The cycle of Gary Sheffield

This is Gary Sheffield’s time to shine: new teammates, new fans. They all know his story, but they’re all willing to forget that for now. After all, he is Gary freakin’ Sheffield, one of the most feared hitters in Major League Baseball.

Surprise, surprise: he’s claiming that he’ll be a team leader for the Tigers. Most times, it would be refreshing to hear such enthusiasm from a player. But when it comes from Sheff, you know there’s a catch.

Fans of the Dodgers, Padres, Yankees, Braves and Marlins (sorry, Brewers fans, I can’t remember him being an enormous prick in Milwaukee) know what’s going to happen. And may the Baseball Gods pray for the city of Detroit if they don’t mirror their 2006 season.

Washington: Sosa not a lock for the team, but I want to bat him fifth

To me, Sammy Sosa–in his current form–is a lot like Kevin Federline. He’s a constant pest, yet you know that if everyone just ignores him, he’ll go away. Unfortunately, some people just can’t stay away. Nationwide, for example, decided it wise to use Federline in a commercial during the Super Bowl, which will extend his stay in Hollywood at least another month. Likewise, Jon Daniels thought it an astute move to sign Sammy Sosa to a minor league, incentive laden deal, which will extend his stay in Major League Baseball at least through March.

He’s not a lock to make the team, though, at least according to manager Ron Washington, via Dallas Morning News writer Richard Durrett:

Rangers manager Ron Washington and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo caution that Sammy Sosa won’t be awarded a roster spot simply based on a resume that includes 588 career home runs.

That’s a good outlook, since 574 of those home runs were hit before 2005; it’s now 2007. In fact, you relate the Sosa charade to Jon Daniels playing craps all night: it’s a relatively modest investment with a slim chance of actually paying off. And according to Baseball Prospectus, Sammy doesn’t project so well. NOTE: I am not saying PECOTA is the great predictor; I’m just saying that he doesn’t project well.

Too bad Washington has a case of diarrhea of the mouth:

Washington said Wednesday if Sosa can prove that he’s close to recapturing his form of a few years ago after sitting out a full season, Sosa might bat as high as fifth. Washington said he would like to see the heart of his order include Michael Young batting third, Mark Teixeira fourth, Sosa protecting Teixeira in the fifth spot and Hank Blalock sixth.

Yeah, he’s not a lock, but I’d really like him to bat fifth. That’s, uh, a mighty jump there, Ron. I wonder if he understands that the No. 5 batter on the team is probably the best or the second best power hitter on the team. So, while Sammy’s not a lock for the team, he might be the second best power hitter on the team?

Keep dreamin’, Ronny.

$4.2 million for Kyle Lohse — and that’s not the worst part

Aaron Harang

I’ve been lukewarm on Reds GM Wayne Krivsky. His trade of Felipe Lopez and Austin Kearns for the injured Gary Majewski and a couple of minor league arms (though Bill Bray may work out) was dubious at best, though judging from the course of the season, it didn’t hurt much.

One move that seemed harmless at the time, but may cost the team in the long run, was trading a nobody prospect for a DFA’d Kyle Lohse. This year, the Reds will pay Lohse $4.2 million for his (shitty) services this year. Yes, $4.2 million for a pitcher who has struggled to post league average numbers over his career.

The worst part, however, is yet to come:

The Reds signed Kyle Lohse to a one-year, $4.2 million deal on Tuesday, and exchanged arbitration figures with Aaron Harang. Harang and his agents asked for $5.5 million and the Reds offered $4.25.

Excuse me? The Reds are offering Aaron Harang $50,000 more than Lohse is making? Gee, Wayne, why don’t you save yourself the arbitration hearing and just give him the $5.5 million he’s requesting?

Harang has pitched well over 200 innings for the past two years, posting ERA+ figures of 116 and 128, respectively. He also demonstrated a sharp rise in strikeout rate and K/BB ratio. Simply put, Harang has demonstrated he’s a front of the rotation starter. Kyle Lohse has demonstrated that he’s a fringe starter, and will likely be relegated to full-time bullpen duty by the end of 2007. Yet, the Reds are going to try to convince a judge that Harang is worth a mere $50,000 more than Lohse.

Of course, this debacle can’t end without getting worse:

Krivsky said the team would “explore” signing Harang to a long-term deal. On Tuesday, Harang said he hadn’t heard any offers from the Reds for a long-term deal, but he’d certainly be open to staying in Cincinnati.

“In any situation a player’s going to be interested if a team is interested in locking a player up,” Harang said Tuesday from his California home. “If they want to discuss it, we definitely want to.”

Have you seen the market for starters? Is Krivsky aware that Gil Meche got $55 million? Is he also aware that Harang is a lot fuckin’ better than Meche?

Look, Harang’s agent has submitted a figure of $5.5 million for Harang’s 2007 contract, and he’ll surely win. Why not at least offer the dude $25 million over three years? That would avoid arbitration next year and buy out his first year of free agency, all at the reasonable price of $8.33 million per year. I’m not saying Harang would accept, but for a starter like him, you at least have to make the effort.

January 2007
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