Saturday, February 05, 2005

Shell-Shock from the Hot Stove League

It really shouldn't surprise any of us that Magglio Ordonez is about to be the next name off the market, signed to an interestingly long contract not unlike others have received this off-season.

I'm beginning to truly wonder if there's any correlation between the stratospheric contracts heating up the Hot Stove so incredibly that it's really the subterfuge behind this insanely warm winter weather (and, hence, the depressingly horrid ski season).

Part of me wishes that the M's would not have partaken in one of these deals. A huge part of me, really. However, having just met Richie Sexson, and seen the effects of his presence on Boonie during the Q & A session at FanFest, I'm beginning to really see how he's going to really help Seattle. I've also delved shallowly into the deep pool of statistics to scrape together some statistical reasons why signing Sexson might have been better than signing Delgado. I've promised a more detailed on this for awhile, but I'm not quite ready to expose my infantile sabermetric skills just yet. I will get to it soon, though.

Outside of Beltre and possibly Beltran, I think all of us armchair GMs are about as shell-shocked by the sheer number of albatross contracts doled so freely out this Hot Stove League offseason as we were from the 99 losses the 2004 M's delivered to the fans. Especially tickling my uvula* are two basic trends:

1) Longer term $6-9 million per contracts to pitchers more along the lines of the Ryan Franklins of the world.
2) Long term and larger contracts to guys coming off of serious injuries.

Topping the list under scenario #1 has to be Derek Lowe. Sure, he's a 2004 postseason hero, and has had some success in the win/loss column in the past (not to mention the saves column). I'm still a bit amazed as to why Moneyball assistant-guru DePodesta would value his stats so highly to pay him $36 million. I mean, I might be convinced that Lowe could be a good value, but for four years? For $36 million? Absolutely not. I could see POSSIBLY 3 years $18 million, but for as much as DePo really is a Moneyball founding father, I'm a bit stumped by this one.

Coming in a close second has to be Jaret Wright's contract with the Yankees. I'll admit I haven't followed him all that deeply, but from what I've read, his arm should fall off sometime in 2005. Moving away from his sensei in Atlanta will be like Linus having to cope in society without his trusty blanket. Speaking of them Yankees, I find it quite odd that in his first article at his new digs, Trent omits them from his "worst offseason" list, even from the honorable mention. Adding two years onto RJ's contract? Declining Lieber's option? Jaret Wright? NOT getting Beltran? RJ will help, provided he's relatively healthy, but that's becoming less and less likely the more north of 40 he flies...

Though he really can't be classified as a "mediocre" pitcher by any means, I see the contract Pedro pulled out of Minaya's pockets as really a combination of #1 and #2. Moving across the street from his "daddy" will actually be a nice change of pace for Pedro. I mean, he'll have to bat, and face the same dangers that fellow league-switcher and head-hunter Roger Clemens did in 2004. At the same time, though, he'll have to face 8 hitters in the lineup most of the time instead of 9. So once every three innings or so, he'll get a nice break. Which will be good, considering that there's likely an office pool out there with the date of his arm falling off as the target. It'll be interesting to see who spends the most time visiting NY doctors (nevermind who calls "Taxi!" first)-- Pedro or Jaret Wright.

But the news today out of Detroit really caps the high injury-risk albatrosses given out like free boarding passes for the Titanic. I bet Nomar is kicking himself ever so delicately for jumping on the short line in Chicago so quickly. I expected to see Glaus, Maggs, Sexson and Percival to be given contracts not unlike Nomar's. I did not at all expect all of those guys to be given lifetime memberships to club med...

And to the faithful 45 1/2 of you who return to The Morsels on a daily basis, I hope you are getting what you come here for. Thanks for stopping by! It makes me feel cooler than the morning KJR guys who have their "Faithful 39 1/2" that we actually have 6 more faithful followers. Okay, so they probably have more than 39 1/2 people listening to them, but still, it's something that caught my attention today. I'm sure that there are a large number of you looking moreso for Munchausen's Morsels than mine. They'll come soon enough. I can only imagine what he's going through having to balance family, school and work. Each of those things individually can be tough to manage in and of themselves. Multiply them together and it's like, well, trying to manage a bullpen that's got Bobby Ayala, Steve Trout, and Tom Niedenfeuer. He's wisely saving up for the season. He'll be back soon enough!

*For those of you who still don't know what that little thing that hangs back in your throat is called -- that's what it's called. How I loathe the memories of 8 a.m. German Pronunciation class and spending at least 15 minutes each day practicing uvular trills "Hhrrrahtun" "Hhhrraytun"...


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