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Friday, February 17, 2006

Pickoff Moves

A bunch of stuff from the Energizer bunny of columns --

Mark Kreidler: Giants, Dodgers Morph Into Each Other

Mark Kreidler of the Sacramento Bee wonders how comes it that the Dodgers and Giants now look so much alike:
It's sort of like becoming your parents, only with equipment. It'll look like a huge intramural scrimmage out there this season, a bunch of old guys running around chasing each other until somebody falls and breaks a hip. The last roster standing (or at least sitting upright while breathing hard) wins the National League West.

They are two sides of the mirror. You talk about rooting for the laundry, this is it. These teams are so alike it's scary.

The Seinfeldian "rooting for laundry" line has never been truer. At some point, though, I have to wonder if anyone's done a season analysis for the Giants where Bonds ends up playing in 50-60 games; PECOTA likes him for 519 plate appearances, 112 walks, and 39 homers, but oh, those knees....

Sports Illustrated Vets The NL West

John Donovan at Sports Illustrated likes the Giants for the division, but concedes that much rests on Bonds' shoulders; if his bat falters, or if he misses a significant amount of time, it's anybody's race. You bet.

Weaver Vs. Weaver?

Not so much. They're glad to be on the same playing field:
"It's one of the only times that we're ever going to get to play together," the 23-year-old Jered said Thursday -- a day after Jeff joined him as a member of the Angels.

"We've never even been on the same field or played together at any time in our lives," Jered added. "It's exciting for me to have my first spring training with my brother at my side."

...

"I had a few talks with my brother and made sure I wasn't stepping on his toes," Jeff said. "People think it's an easy decision to just come and play with your brother, but I know he's worked hard to get up to the big leagues and find himself a spot.

"Obviously, it was another selling point for me. It would be unreal, kind of surreal, to be on the same field with him. To compete with him at the highest level would be a dream. It would be awesome."

MLB.com and the Times have parallel stories about this.

The Axe With Bavasi's Name On It

U.S.S. Mariner says that Bill Bavasi isn't fired -- yet -- but if it does come, it'll be midseason and more likely the next offseason. It's understandable, but the boys over there are still in la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you mode about Beltre's inability to lay off that low outside slider, thinking he's actually a good player when in fact he's nothing but a one-year-wonder, maybe the biggest at third base ever. Contracts like those will get you shown the door, uh huh.

Bengie Molina: No Hard Feelings

Retracting his earlier, grumpy comments, Bengie Molina now says he has no hard feelings for the Angels, which is as it should be, considering the team handled his exit gracefully.

About That Other Giant

While everyone stresses over Barry Bonds' performance, the disposition of Giants front-line starter Jason Schmidt has gone strangely unremarked upon. San Francisco has exercised a $10.5 million option on their baby-faced ace; whether it's money well-spent is another story.

Angels TV Deal Almost Done

The Times reports the Angels' new TV deal is all done save for the crossed t's and dotted i's. Arte thought about starting a cable network, but abandoned plans to do that after speaking with FSN folks:
"Our belief was that they're in the TV business and we're in the baseball business," Moreno said. "I didn't want to be in a situation where seven or eight years down the line we didn't have a deal that was good for the organization all the way through."
And by the way, Rev, here's Arte on the silly Manny Ramirez trade rumors:
"We're not ready to gut the organization to bring in one superstar," Moreno said. "We're just not going to do it."
Heh. Manny's. Still. In. Boston. And that's where he'll stay.

Hitting 40+ Homers Will Do That

In that same article: Brandon Wood ended up with a locker between Erstad and Vlad in spring training.
Equipment manager Ken Higdon said after organizing the clubhouse the way he usually does, in clusters by position and seniority, the locker between Guerrero and Erstad was the only one left for Wood. Not that Manager Mike Scioscia minded.

"I guess he's up with the big boys," Scioscia said. "I kind of like it."

Gagné, Stay

Eric Gagné would like to stay with the Dodgers, but that's what all the Boras clients say.
"If it's up to me, of course it won't be (my last season)," Gagne said Thursday. "From my side, it is that simple.

"I want to stay here. I'll be open about it. It's no secret."

...

"It's not about my agent. It's about me and what I want," Gagne said. "Scott knows me. We have a great relationship. He respects me. He has his job to do, and he does it."

...

"The option is not really an option," Gagne said. "I'm either going to be here long term, or I'm going to be somewhere else long term.

"It's all about respect. I said that two years ago (when Gagne chafed over an arbitration loss), and it's still about respect."

Oh, God. When Boras clients start speaking about respect, you know money's about to change hands somewhere.

Ross Newhan On Nomar

Ross Newhan, sportswriter emeritus for the Times, comes back to do a personal sketch of Nomar Garciaparra, new Dodgers first baseman, and his wife Mia Hamm.
And with that, it's time to go walk the dogs. Busy day for news, eh?

Comments:
Great article on Nomar and Mia. Boy the Times had some great columnists with Murray and Newhan -- I feel blessed to have read them. Here's to hoping another good columnist comes along some day for them.

I'll also be rooting for Nomar this year in a big way. I would be thrilled if he recaptured his stroke and played for the dodgers for another 5 years.
 
Personally, I'm hoping they fire Plaschke and hire Jon for that gig, but I wish for too much.
 
06/07 Offseason: Frankie for Manny opens a spot for Gagne on the Boras-friendly Angels.
 

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