Saturday, February 27, 2010

2010 Stories To Watch. Part II

  • There's a potential for endless and tiresome sequels here:

This isn't a new thing coming up with storylines for the upcoming season. Many other would-be experts do it. The difference is mine are, y'know, interesting.

The importance of the Adrian Gonzalez decision:

There's no way to know whether Jed Hoyer will be able to handle the job as an organizational boss as he rebuilds the Padres. There have been many instances where a glossy resume has meant absolutely nothing when a GM dives into his job (see Moore, Dayton; and DePodesta, Paul). It's rare though that an organization that needs to be rebuilt has an affordable, hometown star that they're guaranteed to trade sooner rather than later.

Such is the case with the Padres and Adrian Gonzalez.

Hoyer has done very little this off-season aside from trading Kevin Kouzmanoff in a salary dump; and signing Yorvit Torrealba and Jon Garland. While the signings are somewhat positive to teach the young players the importance of throwing strikes and how to comport themselves as big leaguers, the key to Hoyer's entire tenure will be what he gets for Gonzalez.

Winter talks with the Red Sox supposedly went nowhere and they're going to come calling again. Hoyer, having worked for the Red Sox since 2002, knows the organization from top-to-bottom and presumably knows what he wants for Gonzalez. Once the season is in full-swing, other teams will come after Gonzalez including the Marlins, Mets, Angels, White Sox, Rays and Dodgers. Gonzalez is owed slightly over $10 million and is a free agent after 2011. They could get at least three blue chip prospects plus two or three usable parts.

Gonzalez wants to get paid and as one of the top ten (maybe top five) hitters in baseball and a Gold Glove first baseman who's in his prime (he's going to be 28 in May), he's going to get his money from someone. The Padres and Hoyer cannot screw this deal up.

On some level, it's a positive. At least we'll know based on the amount of talent Hoyer gets back where he stands as he makes his way on his own. He'd just better get it right.

The Rays:

If the Rays get off to a bad start, they're going to have to: A) come to a rapid decision with Carl Crawford; and B) decide whether or not they'd be better off with Bobby Valentine running the club on the field.

They'd be absolutely stupid not to trade Crawford if things don't jump off well at the season's opening. Crawford is a free agent at the end of the year; like Gonzalez, he wants his money and has no intention (nor a reason) to give the Rays a hometown discount; and he'll have as many suitors as the Gonzalez will. The Rays made a bold move in trading Scott Kazmir and they may have to make a similar decision with Crawford.

Regarding manager Joe Maddon, I'm biased because I don't like the way he manages (the absent-minded professor bit has been wearing thin for years); and there's not a more perfect spot in baseball for Valentine than Tampa. Would the youngish Rays front office be able to deal with Valentine? Valentine was ready to undertake the Indians and Nationals rebuilding projects and the Rays could be scotch-taped together for a quick run into contention. Plus he'd create a needed buzz.

Ordinarily, I'd say forget it, but after the way they dealt Kazmir, I believe the Rays would have the guts to make both moves.

Brandon Morrow:

The change-of-scenery will do wonders for Morrow's mental stability. In Toronto he won't have to hear endlessly about how the Mariners drafted him ahead of Tim Lincecum; nor will he be jerked around between the bullpen and the starting rotation. Morrow has great stuff and potential to be a big winner as a starter. (He should be a starter.)

The Blue Jays have to work him back slowly; rebuild his mechanics and confidence. With the way they're going to be non-contenders, if Morrow is pitching well, they should stick him in the rotation and leave him there.

The staus quo Marlins:

Maybe it's me, but I always thought that the way the Marlins dispatched established veterans for top prospects every winter created an energy and excitement that's absent with the status quo. Because the Players Association and baseball itself intervened in the way the Marlins do business, rather than trade Dan Uggla and possibly Josh Johnson, they kept Uggla and signed Johnson to an extension.

They're still incorporating youngsters into their lineup with Gaby Sanchez, Cameron Maybin and possibly even Matt Dominguez and Mike Stanton; but I'm wondering if they're going to lose something as they bring back the base of the team.

  • Cardinals sign Felipe Lopez:

Had Felipe Lopez not fired Scott Boras, he'd still be traipsing around baseball with Boras (assuming Boras even knows who Lopez is) with the "book of accomplishments and future production" that Boras uses to try and squeeze every penny from the interested clubs.

The Cardinals were in a tough spot. according to this ESPN Story the deal if for 1-year and $2 million, which for Lopez is more than fair; probably on the low side if anything. Because they were looking at going with minor leaguer David Freese, they needed to upgrade in case Freese fell on his face. Before signing Lopez, they would've been forced to play Julio Lugo there in case of a Freese meltdown.

If I had to guess, I'd say Lopez is the opening day third baseman and it makes the Cardinals better to know what they're going to get from the position.

  • Viewer Mail 2.27.2009:

Gabriel (Capo) writes RE Manny Ramirez:

Ah, I missed Manny. I love him.

I think we all love Manny. Seriously, where would we be if he read from the "baseball player book of quotations" and said absolutely nothing? At least he's interesting----as long as he's not causing trouble for the team you root for as a member or an opponent.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE Derek Jeter:

Jeter's building a huge house in Tampa. He's not going anywhere and that's that! Cashman isn't negotiating with Mo either (or Girardi), so it's not as if this is all unique to Derek.

We know he's not going anywhere. Jeter knows he's not going anywhere. The Yankees know he's not going anywhere.

With the negotiation practices, I do believe that there are exceptions in every case. As indispensable as Rivera is, he's also 40-years-old; and Jeter is as special a case as there could possibly be. To be an automaton with him is out of line on the part of the Yankees. He should be treated differently than the other players because he is different.


She-Fan said...

Are you Bobby Valentine's agent/publicist? If so, you're doing a great job.

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