November 9, 2009

Lackey not lacking for suitors

I know it’s only talk, but I’m not liking what I’m hearing in the Hot Stove round ups taking place around the internet and within the media as a whole. I have read a few too many instances of pundits and the like predicting that John Lackey will end up in New York wearing pinstripes. According to SI’s John Heyman he is definitely on their radar.

It was one thing to have rent-a-player and current mercenary Mark Teixeira go from the Angels to the Yankees, it’s a completely different animal to think that Lackey could be following in his footsteps. The mere thought of such an event is enough to make me crazier than Al Hrabosky. If Lackey follows the money (and he’s entitled to do exactly that), I will be more than a little disappointed and I will enjoy baseball a little less in 2010.

The odd thing about the Angels Hot Stove season so far is that they haven’t come out publicly about what they might do. Last year we heard over and over again that their number one priority was Mark Teixeira. Maybe they learned a lesson from that? That being said, Tony Reagins has been quoted on Sirius XM radio as saying that there was a "likeliness" that Lackey would return. That kind of statement gives me a little bit of hope, but I’m not ready to relax just yet.

One thing is clear, the Angels aren’t going to sign Lackey during their exclusive window. Perhaps they’ll go the route that White Sox and Paul Konerko went a few years back and have Lackey go out and get the best offer and bring it back to the Angels to match. Seems like the Angels have been used plenty of times to drive up the price for free agents in the past. Maybe it’s their turn to use the same tactic with the rest of major league baseball. I would rather it didn’t come to that, but it’s not like I have any choice in the matter.

This got me to thinking; is a player’s loyalty to a team in baseball gone? Cheryl and I went to the Orange County Youth Sports Foundation’s (OCYF)Sportsman of the Year dinner in 2006 which honored Tim Salmon. One of the things I will never forget about that night was how Salmon’s brother – Mike told us about Tim’s first contract opportunity after putting in his initial service time. Tim instructed his agent to “take the first offer.” I’m sure he got a reaction or two from his agent, but I’m betting he doesn’t regret that decision one single bit. I now think about that every time the hot Stove Season rolls around and I can’t help but wonder if that kind of attitude is dead now.

I don’t know what makes me more nervous, the uncertainty of the Hot Stove season or Brian Fuentes coming in to close a game. At least there are plenty of other players and scenarios to think about.

Which brings me to Chone Figgins. I see Figgins as the key cog in the Angels entire off season plans for their non-pitching needs. If Figgins resigns, I believe the Angels would be done (for the most part) with that part of their plans. It would most likely mean that Figgins would be going to the outfield and Brandon Wood would be playing third base. I can see Figgins moving to RF, with Bobby Abreu getting the majority of the DH duties and an occasional start in the outfield. If Figgins doesn’t resign, I believe the Angels will land Jason Bay or possibly (although less likely in my opinion) Matt Holliday. So the question begs – who would you rather have Figgins, Bay or Holliday? I don’t see a scenario where they have two of the three because I strongly believe Wood is going to get his shot. I don’t believe any of the talk that has the Angels trading Wood. If he was going to be gone, he’d already be somewhere else. Wood is the kind of player who can become the face of a franchise. His ceiling is that high. He’s only 25 – even though it seems like we’ve been hearing about him for as long as he is old.

Now for some other predictions... I guess I’m feeling my oats since Tim Dierkes of predicted Vlad Guerrero will sign with the White Sox, just like I did in my Let’s get cooking in Anaheim post, where I also predicted the Angels signing Bobby Abreu to an extension. What's that saying about a blind squirrel?

First up: Rich Harden. Rich Harden will turn 28 later this month. When I realized how young Harden was, I was actually kind of surprised. Here’s a guy who made his major league debut (albeit with the hated A’s) in 2003. Despite his injuries over the years, he looks like a player with tremendous up side. The Red Sox have taken on a few of these kinds of guys (see John Smoltz and Brad Penny); however, I think he’ll be headed to the Mets. In a word the Mets starting pitching is simply awful. When your team ends the year with your #2 guy being the likes of either Nelson Figueroa or Mike Pelfrey, Harden becomes the kind of risk, you need to take.

Randy Wolf has been a nice innings eater for the Dodgers, but with all that’s going on in divorce court these days, one has to wonder if the Dodgers will be players in the free agent market. Even if they are, it’s doubtful they’ll be able to afford the likes of Wolf. There is that remote possibility that he’ll give them a home town discount, but I have a feeling he’ll be another piece of the Mets pitching puzzle in 2010. Wolf is going to get a nice pay day after a solid season where he posted a 3.23 ERA. He’s the kind of guy (a lefty) the Mets need to throw against a left handed hitting dominant Philadelphia Phillies team.

If you’re wondering who might DH for the Yankees next year (assuming they don’t resign Hideki Matsui), you might consider Jim Thome. Let’s do the math. Thome is a big left handed bat and the ball flies out of Yankee Stadium to right field. It’s a match made in… well, some place. Thome is a big post season performer and would most likely shine in the Yankee spot light.

Jermaine Dye finally gets to go home. Born in Oakland and a graduate of Will C. Wood High School in Vacaville, Dye will become Billy Bean’s latest attempt to find an aging veteran with a little something left in the tank. He struck gold with Frank Thomas in 2006 and has been looking for that kind of magic ever since. It didn’t work out so well for Mike Piazza in 2007 or Jason Giambi in 2009, but that won’t stop Beane from trying again.

Joe Crede has two strikes against him. First of all, he’s had chronic back problems and secondly, his agent is Scott Boras. That means he’s not going back to Minnesota in 2010. Instead the Twins will look at a guy who could come at a reasonable price, as he is coming off some injury problems of his own. I’m talking Troy Glaus, who is one year removed from a 27 homerun season. The Twins will be breaking in a new outdoor stadium and Glaus could regain his power stroke playing there. At 32 years of age, he’s not ancient and just might have solid season in 2010. He also could be the kind of post-season performer the Twins need.

BallHype: hype it up!

No comments:

Post a Comment