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Thursday, January 22, 2009
In the last post I called Matt Wieters "the best prospect in baseball." Know how I know that?
Because Keith Law's Top 100 is up, and Wieters is listed number one.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have 99 more to read. As do you.
Orioles fans, meet the man who, for a while at least, will be blocking your dreams from coming true:
Gregg Zaun returned to the team that drafted him in 1989, finalizing a $2 million, one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.
With his guaranteed money this year and his buyout for 2010, that means that, no matter what, the Orioles have to pay Zaun $2 million. Between that obligation and what is likely a strong desire to keep Wieters from achieving super two status, you can probably expect to see Zaun starting through the All-Star break or later.
Is that as satisfying as seeing the best prospect in baseball? Nah, but hey, Zaun is Rick Dempsey's nephew, and that has to count for something in Charm City, right?
I don't highlight a reader comment every day, but "Comment of the past 10-12 days or so" doesn't fit in the title bar. Anyway, here's The Common Man's response to that knucklehead in the Daily News who wrote "But I say Kent cannot be looked at as a second baseman”:
He also can’t be looked at as a baseball player, motorcycle enthusiast, mustache-aficionado, carbon-based life-form, human being, or any of the other things that Kent undeniably is. Instead, let’s look at him as what he is not: a leftfielder, a left-handed hitter, an Arabian prince, a dishwasher, an idea. And clearly based on how he stacks up to what he is not, he’s not qualified to be in the Hall of Fame. For Jeff Kent is a piss-poor dishwasher and a mediocre idea at best.
TCM's comparisons make just as much sense as the knucklehead's.
Aaron Gleeman and Rotoworld are looking for scribes:
Rotoworld is looking for writers to join the staff as paid, part-time contributors for the upcoming baseball season. Previous writing experience is an absolute must, as is significant knowledge of and passion for both baseball and fantasy baseball.
If interested, click through to the article for Aaron's email address.
And I know you're wondering, so I'll just say it: I am not applying. Aaron and I haven't been on speaking terms since I told him that I have a buddy who knows Jenna Fischer and that, no, I wouldn't try to get her number for him.
Jason at IIATMS continues his Commish for a Day series, and this time he asks the opinion of a real piece of work.
Thanks to Michael S. Schmidt, I continue to enjoy not having to read Kirk Radomski's new book. The latest revelation:
Officials for Major League Baseball said Wednesday that in the early stages of its steroids-testing program it did not summon players to its offices to tell them they had failed drug tests.
I am more than prepared to believe that Radomski is flat out wrong, but in my experience, after the superfluous "quite frankly," the insertion of "categorically" before a denial is the second biggest warning sign that a lie is coming. But even if Manfred is telling the truth, I'd have more confidence in his categorical denial if it wasn't phrased like this:
“By no means were we involved in that process; any suggestion that we were involved is untrue,” he said.
That's rather specific. Why not deny that players were warned of positive tests during the trial period at all? "We weren't involved in that process?" Were your agents, employees, successors, assigns, mail room lackeys, secretaries, wives, pimps, fixers, or information dissemination designees? As Schmidt -- and George Mitchell his own self -- notes, at least some players were warned of positive tests back in 2004. Mitchell blames the union -- and that makes sense given that the union had access to the trial-run test results -- but there's no escaping the fact that, in this one instance, the union and the league had a common interest in minimizing baseball's steroid problem.
I'm still not buying Radomski's book, but it's worth noting that Radomski's veracity and integrity were good enough for Major League Baseball when the Mitchell Report was being compiled. Because of that, I don't know that Rob Manfred flat out calling Radomski a liar on this point is enough. I want to know whether and to what extent players who tested positive in 2003 were warned about it and by whom before testing got teeth in 2004, and in light of this allegation, I think baseball has an obligation to make some showing in this regard.
The first thing I usually do in the morning is round up the days' articles in my "Today at THT" post. When I woke up this morning, however, the posts weren't there yet. My first assumption: someone had infiltrated Orchid Station and turned that big crank Gleeman installed years ago, and now we find ourselves stranded in a time before the site's publishing platform had been invented. Hey, I'm an Occam's Razor guy, and that seemed to work.
As I was pondering this, a big flash of light overcame me, knocking me to the ground. When I arose a few moments ago, the posts were there, and now I bring them to you. Read quickly, however, for we don't know how long they'll last!
Question: are we just pretending that the polar bears and the black smoke monster and all of that stuff never happened now? I'm cool with that if that's the case, but I would like some confirmation.
White Sox fans and owners of the 1983 Fleer set will be interested to know that Ron Kittle is alive and blogging. Only one post up in the last month -- that being from yesterday, where he tells us that he's in Belgium, consulting with Belgian (Belgi? Belgi?) baseball coaches. Not sure exactly what he's teaching them, but he seems to be having fun:
They were a good bunch of guys, and my Friend Pete and I did a little sight seeing also, despite the frigid weather, they say it was the coldest ever, and who am I to say different..they speak Dutch, French and Flemish? And I don't care what anyone says, hearing someone speak French to you is pretty cool, so friendly, heck they might have been making fun of me!!!! but it sounded cool anyway.
How do you say ".306 career OBP" in French?
OK, that was unnecessarily mean. I apologize. It's just that when I was 10 years old I traded a Wade Boggs rookie for a Kittle rookie because, well, because I was an idiot, that's why. I shouldn't take it out on Ron. I should take it out on Brian Young of Flint, Michigan, in whose basement the trade went down.
(thanks to ShysterBall International Correspondent Ron Rollins for the heads up)
ESPN has published Keith Law's annual organizational rankings, and on the top of the list is the Texas Rangers. Keith says that the Rangers have done it every which way, including the draft, the international free agent market and, of course, via trades:
And the Rangers have worked the trade market to add prospects, cashing in Mark Teixeira for a huge package that included Feliz and Elvis Andrus, flipping Kenny Lofton for Max Ramirez and more recently dealing Gerald Laird for Melo and Guillermo Moscoso.
It was this point that made me cringe a bit as a Braves fan, because I fear that my team has given up too much in misguided trades recently. Keith! Tell me it will be OK!
4. Atlanta Braves: Still one of the best and deepest systems in the game despite the trades for Mark Teixeira and Javier Vazquez. Scouting director Roy Clark and his staff are among the game's best, with a knack for finding talent beyond the first round while they remain quietly productive on the international front.
Ah . . . that's better.
Keith's top prospects list -- the must-read of the offseason -- will start going live today.
I was never a big Jeff Kent fan, but even I can see that the man is clearly qualified for the Hall of Fame. That said, I suppose there are reasonable, if ultimately unpersuasive arguments against Kent's candidacy. The New York Daily News' Bill Price, however, doesn't make one of those:
But I say Kent cannot be looked at as a second baseman, especially in this day and age where middle infielders all over baseball are putting up numbers usually posted by outfielders and third baseman. We have to start judging players - other than catchers - as all part of the same pool. Is Nomar Garciaparra a Hall of Famer because he put up big numbers at shortstop?
I guess if defensive position doesn't matter, we can expect a wonderful "Derek Jeter isn't worthy of the Hall of Fame" column from Price sometime in the next few years, right? And what of Mariano Rivera? How can we elect a man won't have even 80 wins by the time his career is over!
(link via BTF, where Price is taking a beating and a half)