Friday, November 11, 2005

Thursday's Morning Paper

Just a couple of quick things found in today's papers that pertain to either the Phillies, old Phillies GM candidates getting some love, or (gasp) an actual player acquisition around the majors.
The Phillies are dangling Bobby Abreu, but the Yankees don't want to give up Robinson Cano or Chien-Ming Wang for him.

I'm not sure which New York City paper has a least knowledgeable sports staff - Newsday, The Daily News, or The Post. All three papers are never ever right when it comes to baseball information. I'm sure the Phillies would love the overrated Cano seeing as they have nobody on their roster who can play a decent second base.

Chien-Ming Wang had a pretty nice year for a rookie (as did Cano, but his was just not as impressive as the national/New York media would have you believe) and I appreciate a pitcher with such a low walk rate (only 32 in 116.2 innings). I just am far from sold on a picther with such an abysmal K/9 rate (3.64). If Chien-Ming Wang put up the same numbers anywhere else (save perhaps Boston, maybe even Chicago - Cubs of course) then nobody would know who he is nationally. Prospects are always the next big thing in New York. Both are solid players coming off of solid years and have long futures as major leaguers, but neither should even be mentioned in a package for Bobby Abreu.

If the Yankees offered a package of say, Philip Hughes, Eric Duncan, and Jeff Marquez or Tyler Clippard, I'd have to listen. I'm a big believer in Hughes. I had the opportunity to see him pitch this year (SAL Charleston SC) and he was very, very impressive. The numbers back it up. If Hughes and Duncan, a young 3B whom scouts have mixed opinions on, were offered along with either of the other two pitchers, then I'd listen. Until then, don't make up stories about the Yankees not willing to give up Cano or Wang for Abreu. It's just nonsense.
Officials from the Toronto Blue Jays and Phillies met. The Jays are looking for a corner outfielder, and they like Abreu. Anything there? "No match," a person with knowledge of the talks said. Abreu, who is signed through 2007 with a club option for 2008, is owed at least $31 million, and that's too rich for the Jays, who have money to spend but are pursuing premium free agents Burnett and B.J. Ryan.

Toronto doesn't really have much to offer the Phillies in any potential deal. I'd gladly take Roy Halladay, but I don't think the Jays would ever entertain the thought. Finding a match amongst players doesn't seem to be the problem; the real issue appears to be Abreu's massive deal. Fair enough.

The article makes it clear that any deal between the teams involving Abreu is more than likely dead, but just for the sake of argument let's look at what might have been. A package including a couple guys out of this mixed bag might be somewhat attractive: catchers Guillermo Quiroz or Curtis Thigpen, OF Alexis Rios, IF Aaron Hill, and any one of the collection of young arms Toronto has accumulated - Brandon League, David Purcey, Dustin McGowan, and Francisco Rosario. Thigpen is the young catcher, Hill is the young third baseman, Rios might be an answer in center or an option in right, and any one of those young arms could pan out (I like McGowan a ton, League would be my second choice).
Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden, Atlanta Braves assistant GM for baseball operations Dayton Moore and Minnesota Twins assistant GM Wayne Krivsky yesterday interviewed with Red Sox owners Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino about the vacancy created by last week’s departure of Theo Epstein.
Two strong candidates – Chris Antonetti, assistant GM of the Cleveland Indians and Tony LaCava, director of player personnel for the Toronto Blue Jays – declined invitations to interview for the general manager’s job with the Red Sox.

Dayton Moore got an interview - his first of the offseason. Antonetti, taking my advice I'm sure, decided to wait on pursuing a GM job. Krivsky was also on the short list of potential candidates way back when. It's like a Phillies potential GM reunion up there.

Right-hander Victor Santos, discarded by Milwaukee after a disappointing season, appears ready to sign a minor-league contract with the Royals.

Santos, 29, was 4-13 last season with a 4.57 ERA in 29 games. He is 17-33 with a 4.99 ERA in a five-year career with the Brewers, Rangers, Rockies and Tigers.

“He’ll come in and compete for a starting job,” Baird said. “It’s a very limited free-agent market for pitchers, and this adds depth.”

I've liked the moves the Royals have made so far. Royals GM Allaird Baird put it very well by mentioning the need for depth when it comes to pitching. Everybody knows this fact of course, but the Royals have taken the most action on it so far. They've added Joel Peralta from the Angels, Bobby Madritsch from the Mariners, and Victor Santos from the Brewers.

Peralta should be an above average reliever for the Royals this year, Madritsch is coming off an injury but could help out somewhere down the line, and Santos has had just barely enough success to make a minor league deal seem like a good low risk move. Small market teams should see this model of acquiring as much pitching depth as humanly possible and copy it. Pitching is all about attrition - it is a game of numbers. If only one of these three guys pays off, the Royals will be very happy about that one guy.


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