Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter Meetings

I hate the term "hot stove league" for many reasons, none more relevant than ESPN's incessant use of the term.

The winter meetings are ongoing on Las Vegas. The Yankees have signed CC Sabathia and seem close to a deal with AJ Burnett, while the Mets took Frankie and former Seattle closer JJ Putz to their new bullpen in Citi Field. As expected, the action has picked up with CC off the market.

Mark Teixeira has received some rather large offers from the Nationals and Orioles, stupidly high offers which are going to screw up what might have been a reasonable winter. Baseball needs a pay scale...the country is in a recession and the Yankees are paying Sabathia an average of $110,000 for every inning he pitches. It's dimwitted, and stupid owners are endorsing these ridiculous salaries. You'd think the players union would take exception to certain players making so much more than others who provide similar performance, but unions haven't been about protecting the average worker/player for half a century now.

I think Teixeira is now debating a couple factors:

1.) Is it worth playing for a crappy team for more money?
2.) Is it worth playing for a crappy team which is more geographically desirable?
3.) Is it worth playing for a good team for less money?

I honestly don't think Mark Teixeira gives a shit about the quality of the team he's on. Players who care more about winning than dollars don't sign Scott Boras as their agent. I think Tex will take the largest contract, period, be it from the Red Sox or the Nationals. Texas fans called him "Captain Douchebag" for a reason, and I think it will become immediately obvious that Mark cares more about making big money than winning championships. And frankly, that's fine with me. I just wish he wouldn't lie about his intentions.

The Mets will have an improved bullpen, but I still don't understand the Putz signing. Putz has had two good season among several mediocre ones, and a truly bad, injury-shortened season last year. Why they decided he was a good investment at this point is beyond me, but hey, it's the Mets. Francisco will enjoy his time in Queens, right up until the point he blows a save against the Phillies and gets skewered by pissed Long Islanders. On the bright side, he'll be facing NL hitters. Good luck, Frankie.

The Angels are likely looking at Manny Ramirez and Adam Dunn as options right now. I wouldn't be opposed to giving Manny a large 2-year contract (2/$60M) with a heavily qualified third year option, probably based on performance metrics. I don't have a problem with Manny's bat or even his fielding (which, admittedly, sucks), but I do have a problem with his late-season shutdown shenanigans with Boston. I think Scioscia/Hunter will keep him in line, but I don't want him on a roster for three years if he's going to turn into post-2007 Red Sox Manny when he feels like napping instead of playing.

Adam Dunn is a nice option. Everybody's afraid of strikeouts, but his OBP still would've led the 2008 Angels sans-Teixeira. He hits for a lot of power and walks, two things nobody not named Mark Teixeira has done in an Angels uniform since Tim Salmon retired. He's a bad fielder also and would fit well into the DH or 1B slots, depending on how adept Kendry Morales has gotten at playing the outfield.

Either way, I'm disappointed-but not surprised-at this winter so far. Every year the Angels promise a difference-maker, an impact bat to protect the near-retirement Vlad Guerrero, and every year, money is instead wasted on mediocre (Hunter) to poor (Gary Matthews) hitters.

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