- Johan Santana ... will he be traded to (1) the Yankees or (2) the Mets?
- Mark Prior ... Does he have anything left? Is it worth taking a shot on him?
- Mike Hampton is hurt again. Can the Braves count on him? Some say the Braves are now the team to beat in the NL East. Thoughts?
- What did Torii Hunter’s deal do for guys like Aaron Rowand and Andruw Jones? Does the Hunter contract price the Phillies out of the Rowand market?
- Is there any team you think has done well this off-season--so far or not so good?
Well, I cannot see the Twins simply taking the draft picks for Santana--not when they can get some ready major league level talent in return. Both clubs have some nice young talent and need starting pitching. Both will be opening new ballparks soon and having Santana as the jewel of their rotation would be a coup. The trouble is, to land a talent like Santana requires the worst method of player acquisition. When you try to sign a free agent--it costs money. If you wish to make a trade--it costs players. When you’re trying to land a superstar on the verge of free agency from a ‘small revenue team’, first, you have to cough up the young talent they crave; then you have to ante up on an extension so you don’t lose him the following year.
Since Santana will be looking at $20 million per, the Yankees become the favourite. The question is, will they be willing to relinquish the talent the Twins are eyeing: Joba Chamberlain, Philip Hughes and Ian Kennedy? NY Sun writer Tim Marchman feels that they are expendable due to the uncertain nature of pitching prospects. However, is it reasonable to give up 2-3 cost-effective starting pitchers to pay $20 million a year plus the 40% luxury tax for somebody--however talented--that could blow out his rotator cuff at any given time?
Ditto the Mets; I’m sure the Twins would accept guys like Lasting Milledge, Philip Humber, John Maine etc. but is it wise to pay the awful cost for acquiring a player in this manner?
I’m guessing the Yankees will likely win the Santana derby. They usually seem to win these things it seems.
As to Prior--why not? It’s not going to cost much to sign him most likely because of the unknown quantity of his surgically repaired arm. Throw a few million his way; if he gets close to his old form--you've gotten a steal. If he doesn’t, it’s a pretty small ‘sunk cost.’ I’m surprised at the level of angst this question is generating in some circles.
As to the greatest booster of the post-Columbine Colorado educational system (Mike Hampton), well whoopdee-dingle-doo. I can’t help but wonder if an arm wrestling match between him and Carl Pavano might result in a double-header at the nearest funeral parlour. His career is dead, buried, saponified, fossilized and soon to be in a museum exhibit dealing with the aforementioned sunk costs.
The Braves the class of the AL East? They’ve got three good starters in Tim Hudson, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz (although Glavine and Smoltz could fall of a cliff at any moment and will the 300-game winner have anything left in September?). I don’t see much of a bullpen. Chipper Jones is a year older. Nobody knows who will play CF and they dealt away a pretty solid Edgar Renteria. The Mets and Phillies are still around and nobody knows whether Miguel Cabrera will move or not or where he may end up and who the Marlins might get in a trade. The Marlins’ GM (Larry Beinfest) is a genius and he might be able to get some pitching for the slugger.
Waaaay too early to tell. They’re not the best team in the NL East right now but there’s a lot of off-season to go yet.
As to Hunter/Jones/Rowand … Hunter got what I figured the market would give him--no shock there. I would expect both Rowand and Jones to get a bit less. The Phillies can easily afford Rowand. I think Scott Boras might be looking for a shocker contract for Andruw Jones simply to salve his off-season wounds. I’m guessing Boras will wait for Rowand to sign since that would leave him with the best CF option still on the market. Remember Magglio Ordonez? He was still on the market in February 2005 and suddenly BOOM--five years/$75 million from the Tigers. Expect a similar type scenario unfolding for Jones.
Has any team really had an incredible hot stove league? Not yet, Alex Rodriguez, Mike Lowell and Curt Schilling all stayed put. I have no idea what the Milwaukee Brewers are doing. They lost their closer Francisco Cordero to the Reds. They dealt their catcher Johnny Estrada for Guillermo Mota and signed Jason Kendall. Mind you, Kendall will be easier on the clubhouse’s ears. They lost Scott Linebrink to the White Sox (four years??).
Uh … yeah.
The Angels will have pretty good OF defense with the addition of Hunter but don’t expect pitchers to give Vlad Guerrero pitches to hit just because Hunter is behind him. The addition of Jon Garland will help; I guess they’re not doing too badly thus far. The Phillies are doing alright. They retained J.C. Romero’s ground ball talents and the trade for Brad Lidge also gives them a No. 2 starter by getting Brett Myers back into the rotation. Getting RHP Ryan Madson and RHP Scott Mathieson back will help as well (activated from the 60-day DL).
I’d like to post a link to Jonathan Hale’s Hardball Times column on A zone of their own. Jon writes both for the Jays Nest and The Mockingbird (where yours truly has found himself in Jon’s crosshairs a couple of times). No biggie however, he’s a fellow Jays fans and a handy guy to bounce thoughts off. He’s more sabermetric in his approach whereas I’m more middle-of-the-road. Regardless, its always top-notch feedback and his work is always very thoughtful and well presented. I hope it’s not his only contribution to THT. He may be the only baseball fan who despises April home openers … he can’t stand all that bunting. --Hi Jon! ;-)
To see more of Jon’s work just follow the links on the left side of the page.
I’ve got both Tim Raines HOF columns in the system (both MSN and THT) and Tom Tango continues his hard work on the flagship site for Tim Raines fans. Check his latest additions.