Thursday, January 6, 2005
TWINS EXTEND GARDY'S CONTRACT
WOLVES WOES CONTINUE
FREE AGENT FREE-FOR-ALL
(Have I mentioned yet that you should take my Demographic Survey, please? If you haven't e-mailed me so far, please take a second and do so. Thanks!)
Today, I am going to do some guessing. So, please, take it for what it is worth. There are still a couple of high profile free agents on the market, but there are also a few other players that I think, put in the right spot, could help a team out to some degree. When some of them sign, you may not even read about it, but to their teams, they could be beneficial. I made a list of the free agents that I would I can see having some value. Let's take a look (in alphabetical order):
Roberto Alomar - It's hard for me to say this because from 1988 through 2000, Alomar was one of my favorite players in baseball and a sure-fire Hall of Famer. But really, he has been pretty poor since then. It looks as though the St. Louis Cardinals will be signing him for 2005. At first glance, I wonder why a team as talented as the Cardinals would possibly have any interest in someone with the diminished skills of Alomar. But in recent years, St. Louis seems to be a place where veterans come to win ball games and are very happy to stay longer. Woody Williams, Jim Edmonds, Mark McGwire and several other players did well there. The Cardinals have a lot of talent already, and maybe Alomar will be used well and can be at least a little productive. If he comes close to being as productive as Tony Womack was last season, Cardinals fans will be happy!
Rich Aurilia - My first thought for Aurilia would be to sign with the Milwaukee Brewers. No, he hasn't been very good since his one productive season. But, it is Miller Park. Maybe he could reclaim some of the power he showed in the past. I can't imagine he would cost too much and, if nothing else, he would be good insurance in the event that JJ Hardy needs some more time in AAA after his injury last year. I was reading the Reds Daily Blog yesterday and it was pointed out that the Reds likely SS Anderson Machado tore his knee playing in Venezuela. I do think that Cincinnati would be another good option for Aurilia.
Carlos Beltran - OK, so his agent Scott Boras wants 7 or 8 years at about $119 million. Does everyone realize that Beltran might be the most overrated free agent in recent history. He's a great player, power and speed, but he is making a lot of extra money just because of what he did this fall. The Astros have apparently offered six years and about $96 million. The Yankees have again said that they will not be signing him, which is probably like when they made it clear that they didn't really want Randy Johnson. Right! The Cubs have made him an offer now, even though they haven't traded Sammy Sosa, yet. Corey Patterson would likely move to LF. But, I think that Beltran will end up in a Mets uniform. Omar Minaya is spending a lot of money and going after big names this offseason. I think he will likely overpay for Beltran, much like he did for Pedro Martinez. There is an interesting Darren Rovell column on ESPN.com that explains the tax implications of Carlos Beltran signing with either New York team to both him and the team.
Jeromy Burnitz - Burnitz had a deal with the Diamondbacks set, pending a trade of Shawn Green to Arizona. Now that it appears that Green will become a Diamondback after the Johnson trade, Burnitz probably needs to look elsewhere. I think a logical place for him is Atlanta. They need a left fielder and a right fielder. Burnitz strikes out a lot and doesn't hit for average, but he can hit some home runs. Doesn't seem like a typical Braves signing, but I am starting to wonder who will play the OF for them. With Jeff Franceor looming in the near future, and maybe Andy Marte moving to the outfield, it may have to be a one year deal. Another option may be the Tigers since they weren't able to get JD Drew.
Miguel Cairo - Cairo can hit as he showed with the Yankees a year ago. I can see him signing with the Detroit Tigers.
Roger Clemens - He's either retiring or playing for the Astros. I wonder how much Beltran's decision will actually affect his choice. I would think that if Beltran signs, Clemens will be back. That said, he won a Cy Young this year, I think he comes back either way.
Alex Cora - Cora was non-tendered by the Dodgers after they signed Jeff Kent. I can see the sweet fielding 2B signing with the Devil Rays. If the Rangers are able to get some pitching for Alfonso Soriano, I can see Cora signing there. But I think that he will end up with the Chicago White Sox, where his brother Joey is the 3B coach.
Carlos Delgado - I truly believe that this comes down to a two team race. I think that the Dodgers could use him. Hee Seop Choi is their first baseman, but he hasn't been what I'm sure they had hoped. I think that the Mets will land Delgado too as Omar Minaya is going hard after big names with Hispanic descent. Delgado is a big name. He can flat-out hit. The Mets need a 1B as the whole Mike Piazza/Jason Phillips experiment just didn't work last year.
Kevin Millwood - It is pretty much a given that he will sign with Cleveland for about $7 millions. He is a good pitcher, probably about average, but $7 million seems to be the going rate for that type of pitcher. He is a good #3 type of pitcher who will likely be the Indians #2 behind CC Sabathia.
Eric Munson - Munson's name has been brought up by the Twins media as a possible 3B for the team this year. I like the idea of bringing in Munson who does have some power and is coming off a bad season meaning he should be cheap. The problem is that the team has already signed Luis Rivas and Juan Castro and Matthew LeCroy, so I don't know that a roster spot is even available. I see him signing in Colorado and launching home runs all over the place.
Jeff Nelson - He hasn't been good for a couple of years now, but maybe a reunion with Lou Pinella will help him, and the Rays can always use bullpen help.
Hideo Nomo - Who needs pitching? Everyone, right? Nomo is a guy who was injured last year and struggled. But in 2002 and 2003 he won 16 games a season and had ERAs of 3.39 and 3.09. So, there would be some risk with him, but Nomo is a guy who could help a team that plays in a big park. I actually think he could be good for the Tigers. But, I think that he could be a guy that the Baltimore Orioles will pay too much to.
Magglio Ordonez - Another big time Latin ball player, Ordonez has frequently been mentioned as going to the Mets. I can still see that happening depending on Beltran's situation. If he doesn't go there, he may just head across town and replace Sammy Sosa as the Cubs RF.
Odalis Perez - I think he might be the free agent starting pitcher remaining that is worth the most. He is vastly underrated. Why? Wins and Losses mean a lot to people, and last year, Perez was just 7-6 for the Dodgers despite a 3.25 ERA. I had said that he would be signed by the Phillies or Tigers, but it seems as though he will be staying a Dodger.
Aaron Sele - He crushes the Twins no matter where he is, so I'd almost like to see the Twins sign him so they don't have to try to hit against him. Sele may be done, although I can also see the Royals giving him a shot.
Alex Gonzalez - The D-Rays certainly are not doing good things to their prized prospect BJ Upton, at least not defensively. It didn't take them long to determine he could not play short. That's why I predicted that they would sign a veteran SS who is solid with the glove, and Alex Gonzalez is certainly that. And, although he doesn't hit for average, he can hit for a little power. I wish I had posted this a day or two earlier because Gonzalez is about to sign with the Rays now.
Juan Gonzalez - I honestly just don't even understand why this guy continues to get signed by teams. In the last three years, he has played a total of 185 games, including just 33 last year. He refused to go to the Royals in 2003, and then the Royals signed him in 2004 and he did nothing for them. Someone desperate for an outfielder with a good training staff would be necessary. I can see the Braves taking a flyer on him, but I hope not. Maybe he could be happy in Cleveland again. If I'm a team, I certainly don't want him.
Mark Grudzielanek - I see him going to Tampa Bay or to the White Sox.
Brian Jordan - And incredible team leader from everything we hear. His only problem throughout his career has been injuries. But because he's a good guy, if I'm the Braves, I would want to bring him back!
Barry Larkin - Again, if the Rangers can trade Alfonso Soriano for some pitching, Michael Young could move back to 2B. I would then sign Larkin to a one year contract, allowing Ian Kinsler one more minor league season to develop. Personally, I would prefer that Larkin retire because he should never wear a uniform other than that of the Cincinnati Reds.
Esteban Loaiza - What does Esteban Loaiza have in common with Chumbawumba? one hit wonders! Loaiza had his one good season, and then returned to pitching like, well, Esteban Loaiza. But the one good season may get him a decent contract, and I think a trip back to Texas, to pitch for the Rangers again.
Derek Lowe - I see him going to one of three teams, the Phillies, the Tigers or the Dodgers. Because of the dimensions of Chavez Ravine, I would think he would and should pitch in Los Angeles. A sinker ball pitcher in a big park makes a lot of sense. That said, 3B will be manned by Jose Valentin and 2B will be Jeff Kent's. Not good! But Cesar Izturis is at SS, so maybe he makes up for it.
AJ Pierzynski - The Former Twin was dropped by the Giants in order to give 35 year old Mike Matheny a 3 year deal. It sounds as though the White Sox offered him a year and $2 million. AJ is looking for $3 million. I can see him getting it from the Dodgers and he and Dionner Navarro splitting time.
So there you have it, a quick look at some of the remaining free agents. The Twins likely won't play at all in any of them. The only players they could sign yet would be the leftovers who are willing to sign for very cheap as spring training approaches. Again, what you've read above are strictly my thoughts and my opinions, but it makes for fun discussion. What do you think? E-mail me.
TWINS EXTEND GARDY'S CONTRACT
The Twins announced yesterday that they extended manager Ron Gardenhire's contract by two years, so he will be the team's manager through the 2007 season. I think this is a good move. Now it doesn't have to be discusses during the season. Players will know he is and will be around.
Frequently I may disagree with Gardy on personnel, or lineup decisions or in-game strategies. But Gardy brings a lot to the team. He is a product of Tom Kelly, clearly, yet he also has made the team his own. Gardy is intense and is not afraid to get kicked out of a game to back his players. He is very loyal to his players, the guys who have been around with him, to a fault in some cases. He does seem to understand a little bit that the young guys can contribute. And he has the support of his players. It seems like all that are left would back him in any situation. He has the clubhouse as a place that is comfortable and where players want to be.
Those are a lot of things that are not measurable, but are very important to a team. Other things that are important include winning, and Ron Gardenhire has done that. Sure, Terry Ryan deserves a lot of credit for that too, but Gardy is the guy writing lineups and making game decisions. Gardy has led the Twins to three straight division titles and he has won more than 56% of his games, a great percentage.
So, this announcement comes as no surprise, and it was certainly the right thing for the team to do. Any thoughts? E-mail me.
WOLVES WOES CONTINUE
The Minnesota Timberwolves may have hit an all-time low last night with their 18 point loss to the expansion Charlotte Bobcats. It was the team's fourth straight loss. The Wolves did a great job of making Keith Bogans, Jason Hart, Marvin Ely and Kareem Rush look like good players. Here is what I wrote about the Bobcats before the season:
The Charlotte Bobcats will not be good. They essentially are comprised of a bunch of players that the other NBA teams didn't want. It will be a number of years before this team can compete. Bernie Bickerstaff is their coach. His son, former Gopher JB, is an assistant coach. Steve Smith is the team's biggest name. Emeka Okafor is probably their best player. Jahidi White is a big man! The guy I am most excited to see get a chance is Gerald Wallace who has been on the Kings bench the past three years. He should appear on highlight reels frequently.
Well, Emeka Okafor is their best player. He is 3rd in the NBA (behind KG and Tim Duncan) in double-doubles. He's playing far better than I would have expected. And last night, Gerald Wallace was the man! He led the Bobcats with 21 points and 12 rebounds.
Kevin Garnett had another good game scoring 23 points and grabbing 20 rebounds to go with his five assists. Cassell and Szczerbiak played well again. But like the night before, that was about it. Eddie Griffin is really struggling. Troy Hudson had 5 turnovers in 15 minutes and I think four of them were unforced turnovers. Olowokandi is soft and just doesn't get it. This team has a lot of talent, but right now they are going through a really bad time.
Kevin McHale said that he will not make a trade just to make a trade and shake things up. A trade would only be done if he felt it made the team better. There are a lot of rumors out there about the Wolves trading players. Apparently the Grizzlies want the Kandi Man. The Wolves need to explore that. I have heard Cassell, Sprewell and Kandi for Bonzi Wells, Jason Williams and a couple of other guys. Of course, I still am a proponent of Cassell and Sprewell for Jason Kidd!
What do you think they need to do? E-mail me.
I am not going to get into this topic too much because I am sure it would create plenty of controversy. But last night I got an e-mail from the American Family Association with a story titled "PENNSYLVANIA CHRISTIANS FACE 47 YEARS IN PRISON FOR READING THE BIBLE IN PUBLIC". That title caught my attention. Well, the big story is that there was a gay pride event and some Christians went there and read the Bible aloud, quoting Biblical verses that call homosexuality a sin. Those four Christians were arrested and now face prison time. I see two issues with this situation. Isn't it weird that people can do almost anything in a public place, but if it involves God or the Bible or anything like that, they suddenly lose their First Amendment rights to free speech? The other thing that I have to mention is a sentence in the e-mail that reads, "Rather than arrest the homosexual activists and allow the Christians to exercise their First Amendment rights, the Philadelphia police arrested and jailed the Christians!" I like how the Christian e-mail calls the homosexuals 'activists', yet the Christians were just exercising their rights. Yeah... like they weren't acting at all like 'activists'. It's always interesting hearing how each side of a situation reports the story. It's all about perspective! Apparently there is a video about this whole situation that you can order!
Did you happen to watch the halftime show of the College Football National Championship game on Tuesday night? I, of course, didn't, but I heard on the radio the response to Ashlee Simpson's performance. When her song finished, the 72,000 fans at the Orange Bowl erupted in a chorus of boos. It made me laugh every time I heard it!
Heidi Klum and Seal are engaged. Was I the only one who did a double-take when I read about that? Heidi Klum has been on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Seal is an incredible musical talent whose "Kiss From a Rose" is one of the best songs ever. But, he is not an attractive man. Just another thing that gives me hope!!! Thank you Heidi Klum!
The Yankees are going to extend Randy Johnson's contract for two more years and $32 million. He may be worth $16 million at age 41, but he is not getting any younger. Then again, Nolan Ryan lasted even longer, so maybe The Big Unit is one of those special players who lasts longer than he should.
And that's it for today! I hope you've enjoyed. E-mail me any thoughts you may have. Thanks and have a great day! Oh, and don't forget to fill out the survey below.
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