the dregs of the off-season

as the free agent market moves on from its matt hollidays to its joel pineiros (pineiroes?) and beyond, the remaining players on the market begin to look like emigres from the island of misfit toys. this one . . . well, he last posted a decent ERA in 2006. that one . . . he's been injured since mid-2007 and we're not sure he can still play second base. hmm.

i actually like the recent moves of departing cardinals, both for the players and the acquiring clubs.

i am not optimistic on ankiel, but there's clearly room for me to be wrong on this one. especially if last year's miserable offensive production was the consequence of an incident involving the centerfield wall that i had, until i started writing this piece, successfully suppressed from my mind. that memory can go right back where it came from after i finish.

if you start with the proposition that the royals outfield beyond dejesus pretty much sucked, ankiel has a very decent chance of being better than the guy he's replacing (jose guillen). $3M isn't a silly price for a guy who's likely a 1 WAR player in RF. could the royals have gotten a mildly better player for the same money, or a comparable player for less money? maybe. but this deal, if it's even bad, ranks very low on the dayton moore list of folly.

KC seems like a good destination for rick. low stress, low expectations, minimal media coverage. while he's now in the AL, he's in a weak division. there's not much chance that someone else is going to cut into his playing time. he's not likely to make the postseason, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, given his postseason track record. pittsburgh would have been a somewhat better landing spot, since the clubhouse seems a little more conducive to mental health and the management seems to not be completely incompetent. but this is a good choice for rick.

boras gets his points for getting him a million or two more than i expected, but does anybody understand the "rick is looking for a 3-year deal" comments boras kept making, even after the new year? i thought that was somehow going to make sense in retrospect once the deal was struck, but the comments seem as loony now as then.

joel's deal looks very fair. two years, rather than the originally sought three, is a nice outcome. an $8m AAV seems very reasonable. LAA of  A (nee of CA) get a pitcher likely to be decent, if not overwhelming as he was this year, with a good upside on top.

for joel, he gets a chance to be a regular in the rotation of what has recently been the best team in the AL west. he doesn't have to pitch over his head to be acceptable. he's not the ace or the #2. if he pitches like a league average starter, he should be fine. if he does better than that, he can bask in the glow of exceeded expectations.

it's worth noting for a pitcher whose calling card is the generated groundball that the Angels had decent defense behind their pitchers last year: 10th in the majors for overall UZR in 2009. now, a chunk of that was chone figgins, but the other guys in the infield (aybar, kendrick, etc.) were plus defenders; i would expect wood to be a plus defender at third. maybe joel hasn't found the best defense in the majors, but the Angels are a MUCH better landing spot than the dysfunctional mets. the dodgers would have probably been a slightly better fit, since i think the hitters in the NL West could have been a lot more appealing to pineiro. on the other hand, pitching in strong pitcher's parks like oakland and seattle (granted, petco is on the dodgers' regular rotation) and avoiding mile high stadium is a good deal. 

still hanging on: braden looper and todd wellemeyer.

* * *

is it possible that jay leno could even now make david letterman look classy by comparison? and that jeff zucker from nbc can make omar minaya look competent?

* * *

if you want to know why ron villone should apologize to mark mcgwire, click 

this link.

i am growing increasingly impressed with craig calcaterra's commentary. he also recently penned this gem of a paragraph:

 

 

 the Germans should probably come up with a word that perfectly captures the concept of "I went to bed at 11 last night knowing that I was going to write a piece about Carlton Fisk's insane quotes, and then woke up at 5:30 AM only to find out that Joe Posnanski did a much better job of it."  It happens a lot actually (though not always with Carlton Fisk quotes). Posnanski is like the 6'5" kid in the junior high basketball league. The parents should really get together and ban him, because it's totally not fair that we have to compete against that.


* * * 

folks, we're almost there. a little more than three weeks till pitchers and catchers report. right now, though, i got nothing for you. 

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