Monday, January 17, 2005
A Pair Of Prospects Stories
Don't forget, the list of Cuban defectors is littered with forgotten names, beginning with the first, former St. Louis Cardinals SP Rene Arocha. Other much-hyped Cuban imports who've turned out to be disappointments include P Rolando Arrojo (40-42 lifetime, with a 4.55 ERA), Chicago Cubs SS Rey Ordonez (career .246 BA, although superb defensively), 3B Andy Morales (never called up) and Chicago White Sox SP Jose Contreras (a Yankees-inflated 20-11, with a 4.85 ERA). And considering the struggles of the New York Mets' free-swinging Japanese import SS Kazuo Matsui (97 Ks in 460 ABs last year), one has to wonder why no one has praised Morales' patience at the plate.Second, this piece in Baseball America by Bill Shaikin, sometime of the Times. The release of Jenks came down, finally, to the club's estimate that Jenks wasn't going to put it together physically, emotionally, or statistically after he re-injured his arm and got involved in yet another altercation last season (something I hadn't read). An unfortunate end to his stint as an Angel.
In the end, though, Morales may have some advantages over those flops. He seemingly doesn't have the family worries, a la Contreras. He'll join an Anaheim clubhouse full of Latin players, in a city where the population is 47 percent Hispanic. Perhaps OF Vladimir Guerrero, a noted shy guy who also struggles with English, will ease Morales' transition.