Least Surprising News of the Off-Season

Sorry ’bout yesterday. Sometimes that happens. On the bright side, it did inspire some of you to write. I guess that whole Spam thing did come off as kind of a cry for help, didn’t it? Anyway, I’m okay.

The Padres re-upped Trevor Hoffman. After pulling in $9M for 2003, Hoffman is guaranteed $2.5M for 2004. Incentives could push that up to $3M and kick in a player option for as much as $6M in 2005. It goes without saying that this is a great move for the Pads. Not only do they keep the heart and soul of the club, but they also free up some money to go out and sign an impact player or two.

If the Pads can somehow bring back Rod Beck as a setup man, they may well have the craftiest one-two combo in all of baseball. Of course, Beck is approaching 300 saves and, as he proved this season, still has what it takes to close games. He also won the Players Choice NL Comeback Player of the Year Award, which can’t make him any less expensive.

Also the new Padre uniforms will be unveiled today. I think you’ll like them.

Speaking of Free Agents

Over at Primer, the 3rd Annual Free Agent Prediction Contest is taking place. Some interesting players predicted to come to San Diego.

The Obvious

  • David Wells, lhp. Natch. He’s old, he’s from the area. What better way to finish a career than with the hometown club.
  • Greg Maddux, rhp. Only because everyone’s been talking about him since before the 2003 season. He isn’t the dominator he once was but still is better than most and would be a positive influence on the young pitchers.
  • Benito Santiago, c. Started his career here, probably won’t be real expensive. He turns 39 in March. Whoever signs him will need a backup who can catch 50-60 games.

The Possible

  • Tim Worrell, rhp. You don’t hear his name mentioned a lot in these parts, but he did start his career here. Those 38 saves last year push his price tag up. Very solid.
  • Kevin Millwood, rhp. Another who doesn’t get a lot of play here. Had one great year (1999), one good year (2002), and a whole lot of average years with tons of innings. There is value in that, and if he’s paid for what he is rather than for those two glimpses of something better, he could be a good acquisition.

The Doubtful

  • Javy Lopez, c. Makes sense from a needs standpoint, but Lopez is coming off a monster year and probably doesn’t have a lot of mileage left behind the plate. He’ll command too much money and sign elsewhere.
  • Rod Beck, rhp. They gave him a second chance, but with Hoffman back in the fold, Beck will need to go elsewhere for his 300th save.
  • Yobal Dueñas, 2b. One of the latest Cuban defectors. Middle infield isn’t a huge position of need for the Pads, and if they do decide to make a play for one, my guess is it will be Miguel Tejada or Kaz Matsui. But I don’t think they’re coming here, either.
  • Miguel Tejada, ss. Star talent will be overpaid because of two three-letter acronyms: RBI and MVP.
  • Gary Sheffield, of. Outfield isn’t a position of need, but Sheffield is a guy you make an exception for if the opportunity presents itself. Had a great tour of duty here in the early-’90s, but I’d be surprised if he returns.
  • Ivan Rodriguez, c. He’s younger and he didn’t have a monster season, but essentially the Lopez comment applies here.
  • Kaz Matsui, ss. Rapid progress of Khalil Greene has made this less of a priority. Matsui is a more likely possibility than Tejada, IMHO.

The Bizarre

  • Jeromy Burnitz, of. Unless Kevin Towers decides to move Mark Kotsay for catching help and shift Brian Giles to center, I don’t see the Pads looking at outfielders.
  • Jose Cruz Jr., of. Younger and more athletic than Burnitz. Still don’t see it happening.
  • Robin Ventura, 3b. No threat to Sean Burroughs or Phil Nevin on the corners. More expensive than Dave Hansen, Brian Buchanan, Todd Sears, or any of a plethora of other bench options. No way.
  • Brian Jordan, of. So he can’t knock Gary Bennett out of action? To shore up the Chargers’ secondary? I don’t get this one at all.
  • Raul Ibanez, of. Caught at least part of a game for the Mariners in 1999. Not a bad hitter, but not a guy the Padres need. Pass.
  • Juan Gonzalez, of. Hilarious. I’ll shave my head if he signs with the Padres.

Me? I think at least one of Wells or Maddux ends up in San Diego. Santiago looks like a contingency plan at this point, with Towers hoping to land a Ramon Hernandez or A.J. Pierzynski type. Perhaps some bullpen help, but the exact names are anyone’s guess.

Sean Burroughs

We talk about him all the time, I know, but B-R has just added 2003 stats, which means a whole slew of new guys have similar players listed. Here’s one for Burroughs that I’m a little chagrined I hadn’t considered, Ryne Sandberg:

           AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI
Burroughs 517  62 148 27  6  7  58
Sandberg  635 103 172 33  5  7  54

          SB CS BB SO  BA   OBP  SLG OPS+
Burroughs  7  2 44 75 .286 .352 .402 105
Sandberg  32 12 36 90 .271 .312 .372  89

Age 22 season for each. Interesting, no?

Other Stuff

Well, I got kinda carried away there, so the mailbag will have to wait. Meantime, I leave you with this:

  • Ravel’s Bolero (NPR). There is a theory that the repetitive melody of Bolero is symptomatic of Alzheimer’s disease or some other mental deterioration. If that is the case, almost everyone writing popular music today must be quite ill. Or maybe they’re just making me ill.

Tagged as: , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.