The California Angels, or whatever their name is, has been the most active team so far this early hot stove season. They acquired Jon Garland for Orlando Cabrera, then they signed Torii Hunter to play centerfield for them.
The Angels have Brandon Wood almost ready to play short for them for what they hope is years to come, so parting with "O" was something they felt they could do to acquire a starting pitcher. Garland has had his moments but is a third starter at best. The Hunter signing was a bit of a shock since they spent money last year on Gary Matthews but he missed a lot of time last year including the post season and with MLB offices having a "talk" with him about steroid allegations maybe it makes a lot of sense. One of those guys has to play left field, Garrett Anderson is getting up there in years, Juan Rivera can’t stay healthy. And giving Vlad days off to be the DH is a good idea so there is enough playing time for everyone.
How does a guy like Orlando Cabrera keep being moved? The White Sox will be his fourth team in four years (Expos-Red Sox-Angels-White Sox). He is winner, seems like a likable intense guy who comes to play everyday. Always odd man out? Red Sox fans still think he should be playing short for them. Add Johnny Estrada to the list of guys who change teams a lot, the Mets have him now, whats that 4 teams in four years as well? I have always had questions about guys who jump from team to team, if they are so good why is this?
So the Twins now have a void in center field. Who is going to play there? Jason Tyner, Kubel? Or is there a trade in the works that would involve Johan Santana? I don’t’ think they will go after Andruw Jones, they could have spent the same money on Hunter. Maybe Aaron Rowand? another Gold Glover who is used to playing in the division. Won’t cost quite as much. I think they will go the trade route. If they are going to anti up some cash it should be for Santana but remember they have Morneau to pay for and remember Francisco Liriano? So trading Santana would make sense but where? The Yanks would love to get him, they could offer Melky Cabrera and one of their young pitching prospects outside of Joba. If that happens count on the Yanks making a move for either Jones or Rowand. Hey, they mine as well spend half a billion dollars this off season. As a Red Sox fan how about this deal, three teamer. Sox get Santana, Twins get Crisp, Craig Hansen and Joe Crede from the ChiSox. The White Sox get Jason Kubel and Jon Lester! The Twins want position players in return, they would have a center fielder in Crisp and they would get the third baseman they need in Crede. White Sox would get a starting pitcher and some much needed outfield help. They would only be giving up a third baseman they don’t need. The they could sign back Rowand to play center field. It’s fun playing GM.
Baseball never has an off season anymore. Oh the players do but back in the day some players had to hold a job in the winter,those days are gone forever.
Of course Mr Bonds is in another type of "hot water". I don’t understand why it took a Grand Jury four years to come to the conclusion he lied about taking steroids when everyone, outside of most Giant fans, knew he did something. It almost seems that someone, or some group is trying to take down baseball. Supposedly Mr Mitchell is going to release more names who tested positive for some kind of enhancing drug and they had to make mention that eleven of the Free Agents this year are on the list.Maybe thats why A-Rod came crawling, begging, whatever you want to call it, to the Yanks. Maybe he wanted to make a deal before the "list" came out?
The debate will go on forever. Does performance enhancing drug help players play better?, hit better? The physical tools are already there but it can certainly help the mindset. How many home runs did Barry Bonds add to his total because he took something? How many did Mark McGuire add? O.K. those 5-10 balls hit to the warning track a year may have went out. Argue all you want about that number, but all the other bombs would have gone 40 feet over the fence instead of 20 they were still bombs. I am sick of it, I am sick of typing about it.
So who is the favorite to win the World Series next year? We really can’t make a call yet cause teams are still getting rosters together. The Yanks are the early favorite in Vegas, that of course is based on reputation. Right now they have no chance of winning it all. They needed to sign A-Rod but who is going to pitch for them? Right now it is Chin Ming (Bob Stanley) Wang, Mike Mussina and twenty somethings. Good back of the bullpen even if Mariano leaves, much better if he stays. And let’s face it , with all teams middle relief and set up men are year to year, you never know what your going to get. The Yanks are trying to lure Johan Santana away from the Twins but that would mean giving up some young arms. They do need that horse, that stopper but here’s hoping they stick with a chance at the future. You’ll make the playoffs cause your line up will pound on most teams third, fourth and fifth starters but the playoffs are a different story. The winter meetings may shed a little more light on the 08′ season.
For now keep an eye on baseball something is always happening, excluding the bad stuff.