The Hot Stove League is certainly winding down, as the names like Beltran and Beltre have been signed, leaving the likes of Glanville and Damian Rolls, both of whom, by the way, were signed by the Yankees.  The last big name on the table is Magglio Ordonez, who may be close to inking a deal with the Tigers.

Carlos Delgado signed with the Florida Marlins today for approximately $52 million over 4 years.  Much to my surprise, Delgado, 32, has only been an All-Star twice despite some stellar seasons.  30+ home runs and 100+ RBIs is practically a given, so while they had to spend the money, the Marlins will likely get a decent return from their investment.

Three things I learned while watching the Illinois - Iowa basketball game last night on ESPN:

1. Brent Musburger gives Dick Vitale a run for his money as "most annoying college basketball broadcaster."

2. It must be in Brent's contract to mention ESPN's new series "Tilt" no less than 3 times per minute down the stretch (for those of us who couldn't read the constant "Tilt" logo appearing under the score on the screen).

3. I like poker but have no desire to watch "Tilt."  I'm guessing I'm not alone.

As a fan of the Atlanta Braves, I noticed they signed Brian Jordan once again and, while I'm a fan of his hardnosed play, I'm thinking "they have to do better than that!"

Paul LoDuca avoided arbitration and signed a three-year deal with the Marlins, giving Florida a potent battery (with starters Leiter, Willis, Burnett, and Beckett) for the next few years.  The pitching corps, with LoDuca as the receiver, should keep Florida in the division hunt if Atlanta ever stumbles.

Too much for Cabrera?
While Orlando Cabrera has put together a few solid seasons (not spectacular, just solid), he currently stands as a 30-year old shortstop who has never hit 20 home runs or knocked in 100 runs.  Cabrera runs a little, but is still short of the century mark in CAREER steals, and the bases get a little farther each year on the wrong side of 30.  Despite the slightly above average stats, Anaheim threw $32 million (over 4 years) at Cabrera and, wisely, he caught the pitch.

Meanwhile, Cristian Guzman signed with the Washington Nationals for 4 years at $16.8 million, just over HALF of what Cabrera will be making.  It's hard to argue against Cabrera as the better player, but TCO reader Chris Van Til pointed out that Orlando is no where near twice the player of Guzman.  In fact, their 2004 stats are quite similar:

Cabrera - .264 BA, .689 OPS, 10 HR, 74 R, 62 RBI, 16 SB
Guzman - .274 BA, .693 OPS, 8 HR, 84 R, 46 RBI, 10 SB

... and the career stats bare a resemblance as well:

Cabrera - .268 BA, .725 OPS
Guzman - .266 BA, .685 OPS

Take into account Cabrera's Gold Glove in 2001 (although he made an astounding 29 errors the next year), and it's safe to assume that a team would rather have Cabrera from a talent standpoint.  From a value perspective, however, the Nationals got a much better deal, obtaining a shortstop with credentials similar to Cabrera (and over 3 years younger) for almost half the price. 

The New York Mets are the proud owners of Carlos Beltran for the next seven years.  Is the $119 million price tag too high?  Only time will tell, but apparently the Mets can afford it because they are still looking at Delgado and Sammy Sosa.

In a shocking, yet necessary move, the Chicago White Sox signed catcher A.J. Pierzynski to a one year deal.  The shocking part comes in that Pierzynski was one of, if not the most, hated players in what is still a heated rivalry between the Twins and White Sox.  There are still several holdovers from a couple years ago (Konerko, Thomas, etc.), so the clubhouse chemistry will be an interesting thing to watch, especially considering Pierzynski has had trouble getting along with his teammates even during winning times.

The votes have been tallied, and it looks like Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg are the only two new members in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Boggs was a shoe in, but Sandberg squeezed in by the skin of his teeth.  Is Ryno deserving of the Hall?  Read the latest Hot Corner for that answer and a rebuttal to the worst article in the history of newspaper, courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times.

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BLOG ARCHIVE:  01/04/05 - 01/28/05