the indians signed steve karsay and danny graves to minor-league deals yesterday, which suggests they're getting ready to move one of the relievers in their overstocked bullpen. i noted in an earlier post that the tribe has shopped around david riske, who is a free agent after 2006 and likely will get $2m-plus at the arbitration table. as good as riske has been (career opp avg of .227, k/9 of 9.0), he's only the #4 right-hander in cleveland's bullpen, behind wickman betancourt and cabrera; essentially a long-reliever. he's too good to non-tender, but the tribe might dump him cheap in a trade to shed the contract -- especially if they spend a lotta money to reel kevin millwood back into the fold, as it now looks like they might do. worth keeping an eye on that situation.
more bullpen blather: it's considered all but certain that tampa bay will nontender joe borowski, who in an arbitration hearing would probably get raised from last season's $2.5m salary. if nontendered he'll have to settle for less; 18 months removed from a rotator cuff injury and saddled with the "journeyman" tag, he may be looking at a one-year, incentive-fueled deal. . . . . it's impossible for me to be objective about this. from the time i was a kid, the cardinal announcers in my head have described borowsky's exploits in the most animated tones ("the pitch to borowsky -- SWING and a long one!" . . . "borowsky from the stretch -- to the plate -- SWING and a miss! HE struck him out. . . ."). so now here's joe borowski, who -- never mind the dude can't spell the name, is not jewish, is much uglier than me, etc etc -- is absolutely my kinsman and the vessel for all my dreams of diamond glory. he was truly outstanding for two seasons, 2002-03 -- yeah i know for the cubs, but i was happy for him/me/us anyway. the rotator thing accounts for his terrible stats in '04 and the first half of '05, but he had a strong 2d half last year after getting signed by tampa bay -- 35 innings, 3.82 era, 1.00 whip, .208 avg / .598 ops. if he can get back to just 3/4 of his peak, he's a hell of a middle reliever. the cards do have a weakness for veteran reclamation projects who come cheap and are good in the clubhouse. . . . . like i said, i cannot be objective about this player. don't really know if he can pitch anymore, and don't really care -- i just want to see him in a card'l uni with his name stitched between the shoulders.
some other business:
- roto authority's projection for mark mulder in 2006: 13 wins, 4.21 era, 1.37 whip. i don't at all disagree with that forecast, but until we know how the new ballpark plays all those projections are even more dicey than usual.
- the fine giants blog Only Baseball Matters is not surprised that the cardinals' new stadium is coinciding with a seemingly stagnant payroll. "Giants fans will tell you that the increase in a teams' revenue stream generated from a new ballpark does not translate to payroll increases," OBM writes. "In fact, regardless of what the team says, I'd tell Cardinals fans to expect the team to spend less money (relative to expectations) over the next five to ten seasons, not more. . . . In my opinion, Cardinals fans can expect the same line of BS Giants fans have been hearing [since Pac Bell was built]. New ballparks make enormous amounts of money. When people, any people, suddenly find themselves with spectacular amounts of cash, they find it hard to let go of it, regardless of circumstance."
- in the second of bellyitcher's stl-organizational-themed online scrabble games, featuring swing of the quad cities, iron throne broke out for 195 points and romped to an easy victory over redbirdbrain and the rest of the field. if you can't wait for belly's next game to start (palm beach is up next, eh?), head on over to the humbug journal and check out the scrabble score generator. here's a link to the cardinal players' scores. wouldn't you have thought that "isringhausen" nets you better than 16 points? hell, "cruz" scores nearly as high (15 points) despite being 8 letters shorter. carpenter is another longish name with a shortish score (11 points). marquis' "q" gets jason up to 18 points, leading all pitchers. the highest-scoring players on the 40-man are all likely to start the season at memphis: michel hernandez (22 points), skip schumaker (20), and adam wainwright (20).
and if they're serious about dealing this guy for an arm, do you think either jeff suppan or jason marquis would interest them? both make a tad more than bronson but are otherwise very similar to him . . . .
The Mariners don't have a replacement for Reed. In trading him, not only would they lose one of their top organizational resources, but they'd lose a good flycatcher in center field, which is an absolute necessity for flyball pitchers like Washburn and Arroyo. Willie Bloomquist won't cut it, and neither will some free agent hack like Preston Wilson.
If they're willing to deal him straight up for Arroyo, I'm sure they'd be willing to consider Jason Marquis. At this point, though, it looks like it's Arroyo or bust, for some reason of which I'm currently unaware.