Sunday, November 25, 2007

You can shine like silver all you want

So Scott Linebrink's signing is sending shock waves through the industry. Right. Give me a break. Giving him 4/$19M is pretty stupid, but where's the outrage over the enormous pile of cash handed out to Coco Cordero at about the same time? Or the Angels' overcall bid for Torii Hunter after another overcall bid for Gary Matthews Jr last year? Where's the outrage of Boras and A-Rod cheating on the performance-clause ban, which is far more dangerous and earth-shattering?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Fish, he got a hook in his throat

Scott Linebrink reportedly negotiating with the White Sox for four years and nineteen million dollars...

Linebrink is not a leak-type reliever, he's a burst-type reliever. What I mean by that is his usual game is a scoreless inning, but once in a while, oh my God. In 71 appearances last year, he posted scoreless innings or more in 52 of them, and one or fewer runs in 62 of them. A four spot, three threes, and five twos inflated his ERA. He tends to do this from time to time. He does finish what he starts and he doesn't bleed runs. That's what you get with a setup man.

Chicago fans aren't really tolerant of the burst-type reliever, so this should end well. Yeah.

Let's toast the hero with blood in his eyes

So Torii hunter is an Angel, for five years and ninety million dollars.

Wow. Of course, congratulations to Hunter, who now will be able to serve his dogs their food on antique china if he feels like it.

And congratulations to Kenny Williams, who was saved from himself. A close bidding war might have created a situation where the White Sox, who don't need an aging centerfielder to add to their aging first baseman and DH, could have gone to seventy million for Hunter. By blowing away the field (what used to be called "pulling a Tom Hicks") the Angels managed to, in one swoop, make their fifty million dollar centerfielder from last off-season (with a no-trade clause) redundant, and possibly raise the going rate for centerfielders by four million a year for no good reason.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

To know how it feels when the universe reels...

Item: The White Sox traded John Garland to the Angels for Orlando Cabrera and, apparently, $1.5 million. Both Garland and Cabrera will be eligible for free agency after 2008. Garland is owed $12 million next year, and Cabrera, $9 million.

After careful consiration, I come down in favor.

First, the White Sox aren't really going to contend in 2008, or 2009 for that matter, unless Miracles Occur. So one question really is, are you more comfortable hoping for miracles with Gio, Egbert, Broadway, and Danks, or with Sweeney, Anderson, Owens, and Richar? I know what I think. The ONLY real assets the White Sox have in the minors worth talking about (at least above A ball, that is) are a handful of starting pitchers. They have few position player prospects ready that I trust. They simply have to trade pitching for position players because otherwise they'll be PLAYING pitchers at positions.

Second, there is the matter of public perception. The White Sox can get away with hoping for Gio et al because, at least two to three times a week, they will still put a veteran major league pitcher on the mound, and more if Contreras can bounce back. But the everyday lineup is there EVERY DAY, and putting Andy Gonzalez and Richar and Owens and Cintron on the field is just brutal. Those guys shouldn't be in the majors, let alone occupying a significant chunk of your roster. In these days of four-man benches, these guys will play a lot. So you, the fan, can't even pick and choose which games to watch because they are *all* bad. The White Sox can't afford to risk that financially.

Third, there is the "message" with the free agent CFs the White Sox are allegedly courting. (I'll believe it when I see a signing.) "We're going to put a veteran defense behind young pitching" is a selling point. "We're going with D-list position player prospects but keeping JG for an extra year" isn't. Everybody in baseball knows Garland is gone after 2008. Whether OC won't be re-signed is open to doubt.

Finally, Cabrera is 33 but otherwise he is the kind of player I think you should be glad to see Kenny picking up. He's a defensive plus. He's smart. He stays healthy. Yeah, he's 33, but he's not Omar Vizquel, and he's tied down for one and only one year, and the problem with old players isn't the next year, it's the next four. Even if he turns into a giant crater, the pain will be over in 10 months anyway.

Garland will be missed, sure. But the relief of not being blinded by the uglier alternatives is probably worth it.

By the way, John... thanks for 2005.