There is an old proverb “Wise GM not lose talent within division”. Thus I’m not quite sure exactly what to make of the Nats acquisition of Paul Lo Duca from division rival Mets. What does it say about a club when they upgrade the team by scavenging another team’s refuse? There is a reason the Mets went to a lot of trouble to replace Lo Duca.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Lo Duca fan from way back. And I think he’s a valuable addition to the Nats, providing veteran leadership and mentoring for the young Nats. This won’t make the Nats competitive, but it is a positive development for the Nats. I’m thrilled to have Lo Duca with the Nats. No, my comment is a reflection on the difference between being a predator in the hunt for a division title and a bottom feeder trying to climb out of the cellar.
Ironically, the one looking up is the one who came out on top. Lo Duca became available because the Mets traded for the Nats backstop. Effectively the Nats have swapped catcher Brian Schneider and outfielder Ryan Church for catcher Paul Lo Duca and outfielder Lastings Milledge. I would make that trade any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
— Michael Norton
How good can this kid really be? Does anyone remember Kaz Mania? Or is quality pitching really in that short of supply?
Baseball people still see a good competition between the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox and Rangers, with the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and one or two others still hoping for the chance to sign the best pitcher to come out of Japan yet. How good is he? Last season he went 17-5 with a 2.15 ERA, 200 strikeouts and 136 hits allowed in 186 innings, and some say that actually represented some slippage. Bidding could approach $20-30 as a "posting" fee for the right to win negotiating exclusivity with the star young right-hander, and with only a year to go before full-fledged free agency agent Scott Boras shows no inclination to settle below what he sees as fair value for a 26-year-old No. 1 pitcher. Including the posting price, which goes to Seibu, Matsuzaka could wind up a $100 million man.
— Michael Norton
Welcome to the 2007 Baseball Season! We are all undefeated. We are all equal. Finish two games above .500, and it is possible you, too, can be celebrating like it is 1982 this time next year. Every fan has every reason to hope, every reason to believe.
Seven different champions in seven consecutive years. Major League Baseball, to its credit, has managed to achieve parity without, as is the case in the NFL, mediocrity. There are some great teams out there, dominant ones, even. But there isn’t a team out there that can truthfully say they haven’t got a snowball’s chance in Hades of hoisting that crown next year.
Fire up the Hot Stove!
— Michael Norton
As the Hot Stove season heats up, here is a thought: the Angels should acquire, by whatever hook or crook, A.J. Pierzynski of the White Sox. How many bizarre plays was Pierzynski involved in, anyway? Even if the Angels can’t get that mojo working for them, at least it wouldn’t be working against them.
On a serious note, Hail to the Sox! That weird play with Pierzynski in game two may have swung the momentum, but there is no doubt whatsoever the Pale Hose earned the pennant, and that Chicago deserves a World Series. Cheers to all in the Windy City. My son and co-author here on SBY, Chris, is a lifelong White Sox fan. When he was just a tyke he was treasuring the cards and cheering the exploits of Frank Thomas, Carlton Fisk, Harold Baines, Ron Kittle, Robin Ventura, and, yes, Ozzie Guillen. Now they finally make the Series the year he and I start blogging together about baseball. It has really been a special year of baseball for us. I’m changing the banner of the blog (for now) to the White Sox. — amn
While the child in me wants to believe no ballplayer wants anything but a championship, the adult realizes ultimately this is the players’ careers. With that in mind, contract negotiations are just a few weeks away. It would be only human nature for some players to look at the playoffs as an opportunity to increase their stock, as Beltran did last year. That can change the nature of the game, and a series. Some players perform better with additional pressure. It makes them focus. Others perform worse, crumbling under the weight of their own expectations. Tough to say who will do what, but that’s one of the fascinations of the playoffs. Read John Donovan’s Inside the Hot Stove with this in mind.