Happy New Year to everyone from The Commish Online! Keep checking back to TCO in 2005. There will be more Hot Corners, frequent updates, spirited opinions (as always), possibly even a Bunker & Dewey article, and a few guest columnists along the way. The first week of January will feature a new Hot Corner in which The Commish answers some e-mail. Does the Commish feel that Ryne Sandberg is worthy of the Hall of Fame? Tune in next week to find out!
Pending acceptance from Commissioner Bug Selig, it looks like the Yankees are finally going to acquire the Big Unit, but at the cost of Javier Vazquez, a couple prospects, and about $9 million, according to The Sports Network. This deal appears much better for Arizona than past offers because they still get a quality pitcher in return (and over a decade younger, no less) along with prospects they can develop or trade. All those millions should also help ease the loss of Johnson.
Hopefully everyone had a good holiday season. One recommendation I am making as a gift to yourself for surviving the holiday season is the 2005 Bill James Handbook, available from Baseball Info Solutions. It is packed with statistical information for every player who saw the field in 2004. If you've ever wondered who threw the highest percentage of sliders in 2004, this book is for you!
Happy Holidays to all TCO readers! Less exciting, nondescript Holidays to all nonreaders!
Spending the holidays with the family is sure to invoke some interesting tales, so keep checking Foul Territory for a holiday update in the coming weeks.
It may only be temporary, but as of now, Randy Johnson will be celebrating Christmas with a Diamondbacks hat on. The Yankees hat will have to stay on the shelf for a few more days. If the Yankees want the Big Unit so badly, maybe they should pony up the necessary prospects and other trade bait instead of trying to entice a third party to do it for them. Luckily for baseball, the Dodgers realized they were only asked to play because they had the ball. Backing down before a deal was final, the Dodgers have forced New York and Arizona to find another team to complete the puzzle.
In a trade sending Jay Payton and Ramon Vazquez to Boston, outfielder Dave Roberts returns to his childhood home of San Diego and will be the Padres' centerfielder in 2005.
Trying to make the rotation its strength once again, the Braves traded Juan Cruz, Charles Thomas, and prospect Dan Meyer to Oakland for pitcher Tim Hudson, the winningest pitcher in the AL since 2000. As always, Atlanta still needs another bat in the lineup to truly contend for a title, but with Smoltz and Hudson starting, Kolb closing, Andruw Jones patrolling center field and a solid offensive infield, the Braves should be right there again come October. One more signing for an above average outfielder just might put them over the top.
Adrian Beltre is now a Mariner (5 year deal, approx. $64 million) and Scott Boras just got richer.
While the Cubs are trying their hardest to ship Sosa, other deals are actually getting done. Pedro is officially a New Yorker, Renteria lands in Boston, and the largest free agency acquisition this offseason may be rejected - D.C.'s acquisition of the Expos has hit a sudden roadblock due to issues concerning public vs. private financing of a new ballpark.
If you haven't looked at ESPN.com lately, it's time to catch up again with the Free Agent Tracker. Pedro is headed to the Mets, Carlos Lee is out of Chicago, Podsednik is in (via trade, not free agency), Sexson will be sipping Starbucks in Seattle, and much more! On the pigskin side of sports, don't think for a minute that Chiefs' running back Priest Holmes doesn't understand his fanbase. Shortly after announcing that he would miss the rest of the year due to injury, Holmes issued an apology on his website to all fantasy owners that owned him.
Other notable signings from the GM winter meetings: Jeff Kent goes "Hollywood," landing a deal with the Dodgers, and Steve Finley will be a 40-year old trying to figure out the American League for the first time since a stint in 1990, donning an Angels cap in 2005.
The action is hot and heavy in Chicago this week, as the Cubs have re-signed infielders Nomar Garciaparra and Todd Walker, while the White Sox completed acquisitions for Hermanson and outfielder Jermaine Dye.
Elsewhere, Troy Glaus signed a 3-year deal with Arizona (yes, Arizona).
Well look at that - as soon as I question the White Sox's ability to land a major free agent, they go out and sign Dustin Hermanson to a 2 year deal. That's Hermanson, the sometimes starter, sometimes reliever, always goatee wearing pitcher who will earn over $5 million for a couple years of mediocrity on the south side of Chicago. Don't prebuy your playoff tickets just yet, White Sox fans.
While most players are willing to drop everything to play in the "friendly confines" of Wrigley Field, the professional baseball team a few miles south can't scare up a free agent even with a dangling blank check. Randy Johnson snubbed the White Sox, and Chicago doesn't seem to have the edge in landing any other notable free agents. With a gimpy Ordonez heading out to greener pastures, the White Sox will have to make some sort of bold move to keep pace with the Twins, a race they are already started from behind.
Campaigning for the Hall of Fame is unofficially under way, and the Jim Rices and Ron Santos will have to work extra hard with the promoting to earn a spot in the Hall. Gil Hodges was close last time (as a possible inductee under the newly formed Veterans Committee), and Tony Oliva and Ron Santo have an outside chance of earning their plaque this year.
Among the newly retired, Wade Boggs, Darryl Strawberry, and Willie McGee will see their names on a ballot for the first time, while Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Jim Rice, and others are hoping to gain some votes over previous years.
From e-mailer Brian Kessler:
With the "oh so" surprising news of Jason Giambi’s use of illegal steroids, Bud Selig and the players union have yet another opportunity to end steroid use in baseball. I don’t understand why this problem has not been addressed or stopped. I believe it has tainted the game. All of these super inflated records should go. These players are not even men anymore; they are machines that could not ever be matched by a natural human.
How do I one day explain to my kids when they ask me “Who hit the most homeruns ever in one season Dad”? And I have to tell them “Barry Bonds, but….”