Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I had a steak once that was non-tendered ...

  • The Cubs re-signed Kerry Wood to a one-year contract for $4.2 million. Rumor has it that Wood turned down multi-year offers from other teams to take the Cubs' offer. I see this as a good move for Chicago. Upon this announcement, the word was that the Cubs would move erstwhile closer Ryan Dempster back into the rotation and make Wood their closer. I'd lean more toward Carlos Marmol as closer, but then the Cubs could do what they did last year and have Marmol pitch a lot of high-leverage innings in the 7th and 8th and leave Wood the plum job of closer. That way, even if Wood does get injured, it won't affect Marmol's ability to handle the tough stuff.
    The Cubs also won the bidding for Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. Fukudome's contract is for 4 years and $48 mil. -- about Hideki Matsui money. That seems pretty reasonable to me in today's market -- according to Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA system, Fukudome should manage to hit about 300/400/500 with the Cubs. Essentially, he's Bobby Abreu. The most important thing is that high OBP; Fukudome takes a lot of pitches and works the count for walks, which makes him especially valuable to the Cubs, who don't have anybody else (except maybe Derrek Lee) who does that. I agree that with the Fukudome signing, the Cubs now look like the favorites in the NL Central.
  • Blockbuster trade #1: the Twins sent Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Eduardo Morlan to the Rays for Delmon Young, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie. It's not often that two big prospects get swapped for each other; especially when one (Garza) is a pitcher and another (Young) is a hitter.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mr. Rickey

Another day goes by, as the sports media pokes major holes in the Mitchell Report (oddly enough, Sports Illustrated and other mainstream sites seem much more willing to let the Mitchell Report fly as is).
For this blog, though, I am here to talk about the past. The distant past. In particular, a certain Hall-of-Fame executive named Branch Rickey.
I have the greatest admiration for Branch Rickey both for what he accomplished on the field and off. He built up dynasties wherever he went (except Pittsburgh, but nobody's perfect), proved an innovator in new baseball knowledge, technology, and methodology, and most importantly, was the man on the inside to bring down baseball's color barrier.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


If you live in the Western Hemisphere, you're probably aware that the Mitchell Report came out today. ESPN devoted some 6 hours of coverage to the press conferences of George Mitchell, Bud Selig, and Don Fehr today, interspersed with hotheaded murmurmings of a whole flock of talking heads.
I'm going to save my final assessment of the Mitchell Report until I've had a chance to read the thing (420 pages, but handily available in PDF format). But, inspired by Howard Bryant's thought-provoking column, I'm going to respond to the report's release not with more statements of fact, or alleged fact -- we've had our fill of that today -- but with questions.