Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Mike Gill Show: Whinin' and pitchin'...

Yup, it is that time of the week again. Time to get ready for my weekly segment on ESPN 1450’s Mike Gill Show. Today we toss around the following...
  • Seems like everyone is talking about the Mets and Phillies. Are the Braves a real contender in the NL East?
  • Eric Bedard--why are the Orioles trying to get rid of him and are they getting enough?
  • The Twins have been dumping veterans left and right--is Joe Nathan next?
  • Rumours of Dave Wells coming back, is he worth a shot?
  • Something you’re looking forward to this spring.
Seems like everyone is talking about the Mets and Phillies. Are the Braves a real contender in the NL East?


I guess on general principle I will say yes. John Schuerholz is one of the best of the biz at what he does and we’ve gotta respect that. A lot has to go right since they downgraded at CF, SS, and John Smoltz is a year older. Having said that, let’s get crazy for a moment. Suppose Mike Hampton is healthy and effective (waits for laughter to die down)--that gives them a starting four of Smoltz, Tim Hudson, Tom Glavine and Hampton. That’s a nice rotation--in theory.

Further, suppose Rafael Soriano can close on a consistent basis--that takes care of the end of the bullpen. They have some nice young arms to sprinkle around the rest of the relief corps and maybe one of them can fill the No. 5 starters’ role.

With a break or six, there is possibly a solid pitching staff.

As to the offense, they have the always solid Chipper Jones. Ca Brian McCann, 2B Kelly Johnson, LF Matt Diaz will likely continue to improve. RF Jeff Francoeur--who is still just 24--is starting to work the strike zone a little better and has lots of room to grow. Mark Kotsay had some decent results with the Florida Marlins and San Diego Padres and may find the NL more to his liking.

I would put them as a potential dark horse. They do have some nice young talent ripening and maybe they might pull off a surprise. As I wrote earlier--never count out a John Schuerholz production.

Eric Bedard--why are the Orioles trying to get rid of him and are they getting enough?

A few reasons: one, he’ll be gone as a free agent (or die of old age) before the Orioles will be contending again so it makes sense to flip him for some talent that will be in Baltimore should that time come. Two, he has more value to the Orioles as a trading commodity for that reason plus he’s young, left-handed, has a live arm with terrific control and is two years away from free agency. There isn’t a team out there that wouldn’t want a piece of that. The Orioles are like the Toronto Maple Leafs--they don’t need a bit of retooling, they need to be completely blown up and start right from scratch.

An unstated reason might be that the Orioles have questions about the health of that magic left arm and would prefer a package of young talent rather than a guy undergoing ligament transplant surgery or some such thing. Don’t forget, the Orioles trainers/medical personnel are historically inept.

Are the Orioles getting enough? Who knows? I thought the Twins didn’t get enough for Johan Santana and nobody is entirely sure what the package for Bedard ultimately will be. Right now, it’s all guesswork. Remember all the rumoured players in the Santana sweepstakes? I don’t think anybody thought Santana could be had for that level of compensation. It’s too early to tell since we don’t know the exact price on Eric Bedard’s head.

The Twins have been dumping veterans left and right--is Joe Nathan next?

I think the Twins will hang on to him for the time being. Minnesota may surprise this year (especially if Francisco Liriano is back up to speed) and they don’t want to look like they’re in full rebuilding mode while trying to sell tickets. Assuming his usual performance, he’ll have far more value as a chit at the trade deadline(s) when clubs are desperately looking to shore up their pitching. He doesn’t have a no-trade clause so the Twins can get a nice little bidding war going in the days leading up to the deadline.

There’s no rush to deal him at the moment. They’re better off waiting until a contending team loses its closer or are having problems getting the ball to the stopper. He’ll be a very hot commodity at the July 31/August 31 deadlines if the Twins are out of the playoff hunt.

Rumours of David Wells coming back, is he worth a shot?

If he’s not blocking somebody and is willing to work cheap, I don’t see why not. He might do well as a situational lefty or a guy who relieves for one turn of the batting order. Boomer enjoys an amazing BB/9 of 1.88 in over 3400 IP and still has the nice curveball. I think he is done as a starter but might be worth a look-see out of the 'pen.

Something you’re looking forward to this spring.

Actually, here is something that doesn’t deal with the Phillies or Blue Jays. We mentioned this guy earlier--remember the year Twins lefty Francisco Liriano became injured? The man was the buzz of baseball. Electric arm, terrific command and poise--and he blew his arm out requiring Tommy John surgery. I can’t wait to see him on the mound again; if he’s anywhere near his old form he’ll step right into the void created by Johan Santana’s departure. Don’t forget--he’s still just 24 years old. I’m seriously stoked about seeing this kid again.


We’ve had some bad weather in these parts. I fell on the ice and dreamt I was at David Samson’s family reunion. I wanted to get home and they sent me on my way. I came across Otis Nixon (I think it was he, it might have been a scarecrow) and seeing my more-incoherent-than-usual state volunteered to do the sign off for the decent chaps at Drunk Jays Fans.

Take ‘er away … errrrr Otis:

(To the tune of If I Only Had a Brain)

"He could blog away the hours
Just watchin’ the snowplowers
Suckin' as a bard
And his thoughts would be screwin'
While folks wonder what he's doin'
When he gives his best regards

He'll opine any news bit
Give David-Samson some [bleep]
For bein' such a pain
With the posts he'd be writin'
His blog it would be bitin'
Cuz he gives his best regards

Oh, he would analyze
How the Jays finish first
Think the Red Sox and Yanks will be much worse
Get some feedback, the bubble’s burst

This blog is far worse than nothin'
His thinking’ is all bluffin'
He really needs a brain
This blog would be much better
If someone else typed the letters
And got rid of best regards."

Well, I woke up in time to do the following...

Best Regards


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