The Commish Online www.thecommishonline.com
BLOG ARCHIVE: 01/01/08 - 01/31/08
According to ESPN.com, it is looking more likely that the Mets will be the recipient of the Johan Santana sweepstakes. For all of the potential details, check out this ESPN story by Buster Olney.
I know you rarely have a need to venture outside the realm of The Commish Online, but in this humdrum offseason of steroids and lackluster free agent signings, BaseballGraphs.com is not a bad place to stick your toe in the water. It's the kind of site you end up viewing for much longer than intended, but I recommend killing a January night with it as you wait for pitchers and catchers to report.
In a deal that amounts to not much more than changes of scenery, Troy Glaus is expected to be dealt from Toronto to St. Louis in exchange for Scott Rolen. Both third baseman have had a long history of injury problems, but in Rolen's case, he also was dealing with some personal issues with Tony LaRussa. I'm not sure how the Blue Jays benefit from this proposed deal (the per year contracts are similar at $11 - $12 million per year) because Rolen will be under contract for three years while Glaus will have a two-year deal in place after exercising his option, meaning Toronto will be dealing with a cranky 35-year old third baseman making $11 million three years from now.
Neither player is an ideal fit for a ballclub thanks to the injuries, but at this stage, I would rather take the 31-year old Glaus and his two-year deal than Rolen (32 years old) and his three-year deal.
Putting some perspective on the whole steroids issue is Goose Gossage, currently in the news himself thanks to a July date he now has with the Hall of Fame. Gossage claims that if steroids were more readily available in his day, he probably would have used them as well if it meant a longer career with a higher salary. In other words, this generation of players should hardly be excused for their misgivings, but their character is not much different than generations past. Moral, ethical people avoid the temptations, while those with questionable ethics will do/use whatever is available to get ahead. In the past it might have just been overdoses of caffeine, then amphetamines, now steroids, and a few years from now it will likely be something more effective and harder to trace than steroids. Players will always try to get an edge, and it is up to baseball to police it as best it can and it is up to the fan to recognize the difference between real production and "assisted" production.
Goose Gossage finally earned enough votes for enshrinement into Cooperstown, receiving 85.8 percent of the votes, making him the only player in the '08 class to muster more than the necessary 75%. Jim Rice and Andre Dawson narrowly missed (Rice gets my vote and I think Dawson squeaks in but I will have to revisit), Mark McGwire seems forgotten with 23.6% of the votes, and my personal favorites growing up, Harold Baines and Dale Murphy, received 5.2% and 13.8% respectively, effectively meaning they will never reach the Hall of Fame but will have the honor of showing up on the ballot again next year. For the entire ballot, check out the AP story here.
It's never clear what Chicago White Sox GM Kenny Williams has planned, sometimes making trades, acquisitions, or re-signings that give off an air of "win now, worry about later... later" (Thome, Dye, etc.), while other times seemingly sacrificing the current team for some future potential (trading Garland, Brandon McCarthy, Freddy Garcia, etc. knowing there is very little pitching help behind Vazquez and Buehrle).
Today, Williams stopped trying to hoard a bunch of minor leaguers who may never become MLB stars and actually traded a few for current MLB outfielder Nick Swisher. Swisher is not exactly Mickey Mantle, but he is a switch-hitting outfielder in his prime who should deliver some power and run production with a solid OBP. In exchange, Oakland, Swisher's former team, received three of Chicago's better minor leaguers including pitcher Gio Gonzalez.
It's never easy to unload minor league potential, but when you can get MLB REALIZED potential in return, it's hard to pass up. With no quality replacement in sight, signing Swisher looks to be a solid move by Williams, if for no other reason than necessity.