Results tagged ‘ brad brach ’

Interview with Brad Brach

Former Tincaps RHP Brad Brach says he’s pumped to come back to Parkview Field as a member of the Tucson Padres.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

Another former TinCap was traded by the Padres. Again. Two days ago it was RHP Erik Davis to the Nationals. Yesterday it was 1B Allan Dykstra to the Mets for RHP Eddie Kunz.

Dykstra, if you remember, was a first-round pick in 2008 and played for the TinCaps in 2009. I thought he was a very nice guy with big-time pop, but also has a degenerative hip condition (meaning, not going to get better) which may or may not have had an effect on him. A phrase I heard at least one scout throw around was “slider-speed bat.” And that’s a tough thing to overcome if true. I’m not sure where he would’ve been assigned this year with 1Bs Matt Clark, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Blanks and Nate Freiman also in the pipeline for the Padres.

Kunz was a supplemental first-rounder in 2007. I saw him pitch in the Eastern League in 2008 and he was nasty. Kunz made his big-league debut later that year, but he hasn’t posted a sub-5.00 ERA since then. I haven’t seen any scouting reports lately to explain it, but guys usually don’t go from dominant at Double-A to struggling the next year without an injury or something weird happening.

Random thoughts:

  • Here’s another “what’s it like to work at a ballpark?” example: Before lunch today, I’ve seen our head groundskeeper knock over a full cup of Mountain Dew while using sweeping arm motions at a staff meeting; watched a demonstration of a paper cutter slicing through a phone book (in front of a crowd of about 10 employees, spellbound as if we’d just witnessed atomic fission); and participated in the minor-league phase of our fantasy baseball draft. ‘Tis the season.
  • Yesterday I ran some tests of our new radio equipment from the ballpark, then went to the radio station to check out how it sounded. It’s crystal clear. You won’t even believe it when all dozen of you turn on your radios. And the streaming feed is fixed – no more volume fluctuations between game audio and commercials. Now if we could find a radio guy whose voice isn’t jacked up, we’ll be in business. Big thanks to Mogan David, the engineer at Federated Media for his consulting work with a complete doofus.
  • Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos was placed on the DL yesterday and the Padres finalized their 25-man Opening Day roster. Six players from the active roster played here: RHP Ernesto Frieri, LHP Cory Luebke, C Nick Hundley, OFs Will Venable and Cedric Hunter and 3B Chase Headley. Mike Baxter, Kyle Blanks and Mat Latos are Fort Wayne alums on the DL.
  • The Padres won’t be sneaking up on people this year. I fear we underestimated the sneakiness last year, and perhaps the team isn’t quite as sneaky this year with the questions about the pitching staff.
  • RHP Aaron Harang got knocked around by the Brewers yesterday in the Padres’ Spring Training finale. INF Dean Anna, RHP Brad Brach, Jaff and Cody Decker are the recent TinCaps who made the box score.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy had a good simulated game yesterday, but is bummed he’s not making the trip north yet.
  • Same feeling for Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg, who is staying behind to rehab from Tommy John surgery.
  • Phillies 2B Chase Utley hopes to be back before the All-Star Break. Uh-oh.
  • Intriguing stuff from Baseball America about prospects, when to bring them up to the big leagues, changing the culture of a team, etc.
  • The Mariners have a reliever who is the classic huge-prospect-caught-for-drugs-twice-retired-bartended-backpacked-around-the-country-returned-to-baseball-jumped-to-the-big-leagues story. We’ve heard it a million times. He pitched in the MWL, for Clinton last year.
  • The Jays put Jose Bautista in right field and Edwin Encarnacion at third. In other words, as Buster Olney says, former MWLer Brett Lawrie won’t be in the minors long if Encarnacion doesn’t figure it out.
  • Former megaprospect Alex Gordon is back, and he’s hitting third for the Royals.
  • Baseball now has a 7-day DL specifically for concussions. Which is nice for the minor dings. Who will be the first team to put a phantom “concussion sufferer” on the DL to free up a roster spot?
  • Changes to Wrigley Field? Blasphemy!
  • One fan would rather eat his tickets than eat lunch with his team’s owner.
  • The Giants will decide where to assign 1B Brandon Belt today.
  • A catcher-pitcher argument followed by a dizzy spell followed by vomiting. And “Jungle” Jack Hannahan starting at third base. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Cleveland Indians!
  • “There is no heat in Cleveland in March! And we like it that way!” – Cavaliers TV play-by-play man Fred McLeod. I don’t care if Miami was tanking the game for playoff seeding or not, that win makes Cleveland’s 2011. Now if the Browns get A.J. Green in the NFL draft, we won’t know what to do with ourselves.
  • Oh, that’s weird: another story about corruption in college football. Read this book and tell me the bowl system makes sense. I dare you.
  • Since everybody else is doing it, predictions for playoff teams: Red Sox-White Sox-Rangers-Yankees, Phillies-Reds-Giants-Braves. I really wanted to pick the A’s and Rockies, but couldn’t pull the trigger. In October we’ll all look back on this and laugh.
  • This is the best idea I’ve heard all day.

Musical guest… Young MC!

Take care!

DW

Spring Training story time

It seems like there’s something of a split when it comes to the value of Spring Training. Do the stats matter? Do wins and losses matter? Well, take this Spring Training story into account when you think about it.

This weekend I talked to a well-placed source about minor-league Spring Training games. There was a minor-league game in Florida. Team A, the visitors, had a big lead the whole game, but their pitchers were using a lot of pitches and not lasting very long. Team B was coming back in the bottom of the ninth, two outs and bases loaded. Team A Manager calls time and tells the umpire his pitcher has reached his pitch limit and he’s the last guy who needed to get his work in that day. The umpire tells Team B Manager that the game is over because Team A is out of pitchers.

Then something happened that is completely unheard of in Spring Training baseball:

Team B Manager flips out. Completely loses it.

Says Team A is chicken, doesn’t want to lose the game. He’s furious and isn’t going anywhere.

Team A Manager calls his farm director. Tells him this other manager is a whack-job. This is a Spring Training game, right? Who cares?

So Team A Farm Director calls Team B Farm Director, who is at the complex where the game is being played. Would you please remind your manager that this isn’t the World Series?

Team B Farm Director walks over to the field, tells his manager to relax and that the game is, in fact, over.

The moral of the story is this: Stats mean virtually nothing. If you’re on the bubble of getting released or not making the big-league team, it’s more about how you look. How’s your bat speed? Do you have command of the strike zone? Are you throwing harder than 82 mph on your fastball?

And wins and losses mean nothing.

And so ends today’s Spring Training story time.

Random thoughts:

  • Just heard former TinCaps RHP Anthony Bass is starting today’s big league game.
  • TinCaps manager Shawn Wooten gets some pub in a New York Times blog about disciples of Mike Scioscia. Padres manager Bud Black, Rays manager Joe Maddon and Brewers manager Ron Roenicke were on Scioscia’s staff when the Angels won the World Series. And Wooten played on that team.
  • Usually needles are discouraged around baseball, but Stitch N’ Pitch is an exception.
  • LHP Clayton Richard struggled against the Angels yesterday. Fort Wayne alums OFs Will Venable, Blake Tekotte and Daniel Robertson and INFs Andy Parrino and James Darnell got playing time.
  • On Saturday, former TinCaps RHP Brad Brach was in the middle as the Padres and Dodgers “got spirited” with some beanballs. Mat Latos stopped in the middle of an autograph session and jogged to the field, just in case the jaw-jackers started to get a little more heated.
  • Latos was supposed to start that game, but he skipped it with shoulder soreness and now might be headed to the DL.
  • SS Everth Cabrera is going to make San Diego’s Opening Day roster. When the Padres released Kevin Frandsen on Friday, this looked likely. Also, OF Cameron Maybin is expected to return to the lineup today after a bout with quad stiffness.
  • Former TinCaps RHP Dexter Carter was released by the Padres. I’ve heard he’s already been picked up by the White Sox, the organization that drafted him.
  • The San Diego U-T‘s Padres preview asks if the Padres can catch lightning in a bottle again.
  • The U-T also has profiles of the 2011 Padres.
  • Tony Gwynn is cancer-free.
  • Here’s the 819th prospect ranking list of the year, this one by FanGraphs.
  • The Royals’ loaded farm system is like a really good garage band: They might hit it big as Royals, they might end up with other successful teams, they might flame out completely. You just never know. Just ask the Diamondbacks, circa 2005. They had OF Carlos Gonzalez, SS Stephen Drew, LHP Brett Anderson, OF Justin Upton, etc.
  • Mariners RHP Michael Pineda… He’s good.
  • Mariners LHP Erik Bedard is still alive, and he’s having a good spring.
  • Remember when the Cardinals were toast because they lost Adam Wainwright? Well, since then, Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum have had injuries for the Brewers, half the Reds rotation (Johnny Cueto, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey) has health problems and Carlos Silva, who was kind of good for the Cubs last year, is gone. And that’s just the NL Central… The Phillies are just as depleted with Chase Utley out, Brad Lidge hurt and Jayson Werth gone to Washington.
  • The Red Sox got slammed by injuries last year, but they’re investing big in injury prevention.
  • Well what happened was, Buck Showalter was all like, “Derek Jeter’s a baby and Theo Epstein’s overrated,” and now Terry Francona’s getting all like, “Yo, why you hatin’?”
  • The Indians’ payroll is down for the third straight year.
  • The Cubs hired their new PA announcer after holding a giant PR campaign/dog-and-pony-show/employee search.
  • Did you know there have been 90 space shuttle missions since the Pirates’ last winning season? NINETY!
  • Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman’s translator was the trainer at Triple-A Louisville, but now the trainer got the call to the big leagues. Also in that notebook, Hal McCoy makes an exquisite point: When you’re flying, why is it that the people who play by the rules and check luggage at the airport counter are charged a decent chunk of money, but the people who act completely shocked when their their gigantic bags don’t fit into the overhead bins get to pay nothing? The luggage ends up in the same place, under the plane.
  • Apparently the Canseco brothers are kind of like those wrestlers who dressed exactly the same, right down to their masks, then when one of them got wailed on, they’d both go under the ring. When they came out, nobody knew who the legal man was, so the fresh guy would get back in the ring. You know what I’m talking about, right?
  • Buster Olney told the story of his dogs. When the TinCaps go to Lake County in mid-May, I’m going to hang out with my dogs so much they’re going to get sick of me.
  • America’s Next Great Restaurant” is a decent idea for a show, but it’s almost like they ran out of good contestants. I can’t believe some of the ideas ever made it to the show. A restaurant totally based on meatballs? A fast-casual grilled cheese sandwich restaurant? These must be the William Hungs of the restaurant reality show business.
  • I’m also proud to announce that I made my first omelet yesterday. And it was delicious. My breakfast arsenal is expanding pretty quickly.
  • I picked up a cold and my voice is almost completely gone. This is the radio guy’s equivalent to a pitcher having shoulder soreness two weeks before Opening Day: Better now than during the season.
  • Even though my post from Friday got deleted with the changes to MLBlogs, I do like the new format. It’s MUCH easier to use on my end and I don’t think you have to be registered to comment anymore. So comment away!

Musical guest… Milli Vanilli!

Take care!

DW

A mishmash of dorks

Some folks might wonder what it’s like to work in the luxurious front office compound of Parkview Field, sharing the same space as celebrities like the Bad Apple Dancers. Well, I’ll tell you two anecdotes from yesterday and let you come up with your own description.

1. At our weekly staff meeting, I brought a pack of 1991 WCW trading cards to show off the kind of bonus swag you get when you buy t-shirts from a good Columbus-based business called Homage. At least three people saw Chris Watson checking the cards out from across the room before the meeting started. Once the meeting ended, I thought I was going to be stampeded in the hallway by people demanding to see the cards. Pro wrestling trading cards. From 1991. It was like I was the first person on my block to buy a Game Boy and everyone was coming over “just to look at it,” inevitably playing Tetris for three hours.

2. Yesterday afternoon I went down to the main office and Brent Harring said he had a present for me. Already owning WCW trading cards, I thought I had it all, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Brent reached into a bag and handed me… a loaf of bread. But not just any loaf of bread. It was Aunt Millie’s thick-sliced brown sugar/cinnamon swirl. Brent, a bread connoisseur, knows I am an aspiring culinary expert and thought I should try it next time I make French Freedom toast. In fact, the bread label says “Great for French Freedom toast” right on it. I’ll have a full report next week to confirm or deny that claim, but for now, the moral of the story is this: A TinCaps co-worker bought me bread as a gift. And I’m pretty excited about it.

Random thoughts:

  • Fort Wayne alum OF Will Venable homered and the Padres beat the Rockies yesterday in a Spring Training game. Former TinCaps pitchers Matt Lollis, Colt Hynes and Brad Brach pitched an inning each. Lollis was the only one of the three to allow a run and it was unearned. And former TinCaps C Jason Hagerty singled in his only at-bat against a guy who had been at Triple-A the last two years.
  • It was a San Diego love-fest when Padres RHP (and San Diego native) Aaron Harang started that game and his catcher was also from San Diego.
  • Former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes now works for the Padres as a senior VP of baseball operations.
  • Fort Wayne alum C A.J. Pierzynski got a speeding ticket… while in uniform, driving to a Spring Training game. Funniest part: his teammates wanted to take up a collection to pay to see him get tazed.
  • Baseball America has the list of how much money each team spent on international signings in 2010. The Padres are 10th at $2.75 million.
  • That $2.75 million could buy you 343,750 of these hot dogs: A one-pound dog with your choice of 40 toppings. Or you could just buy one and spend the rest on a good heart surgeon.
  • That hot dog is being called “The Eighth Wonder of the World.” That’s utterly ridiculous; everybody knows Andre the Giant will forever hold that title.
  • At least one writer won’t be writing ignorant things about umpires anymore. If there were two baseball-related things I could tell every fan, it would be (1) how the minor league-major league affiliation works and (2) how difficult umpiring is, especially in the minors.
  • A hard-throwing Mariners prospect (and former MWLer) looked good.
  • Former MWLer Neftali Feliz is going to start a game today. He was the Rangers’ closer last year but was a starter in the minors.
  • The Cubs are fighting each other in the dugout during a Spring Training game and Carlos Zambrano isn’t involved? Ladies and gentlemen, your Chicago Cubs!
  • Yesterday I linked to a Peter Gammons story about one of the secretly most important people in baseball who passed away recently. Jayson Stark wrote something about him, too.
  • Gammons rounds up the AL East. Interesting points: Manny Ramirez is in good shape, Yankees LHP prospect Manny Banuelos is good and Red Sox LHP Andrew Miller is looking like he might be figuring things out.
  • Philles OF prospect Domonic Brown is all kinds of messed up at the plate.
  • Alex Rodriguez and now Mark Teixeira have fired Scott Boras lately. Robinson Cano hired him. Somehow I think Boras will still be able to afford mac and cheese for dinner tonight.
  • At this point, I think it would be best to only alert the media when Joel Zumaya is healthy. Because it seems like he’s hurt a lot more than he’s healthy.
  • One of the Braves’ young pitchers threw gas.
  • Some run the bases more aggressively, even if it doesn’t mean stealing more bases.
  • Now here are some March Madness seeding travesties we can really get into… In a video-game bracket, NBA Street is an eight-seed while Tecmo Super NBA Basketball is a seven-seed in the same region? Ridiculous.

Musical guest… Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears!

Take care!

DW

Book review: BA Prospect Handbook

It’s probably not a good idea to review a book without reading it cover-to-cover, but I’m so jacked up about the Baseball America Prospect Handbook being here that I’m about to lose control and I think I like it. If you’re new to keeping track of minor-leaguers, checking out the handbook is the best way to get up to speed and stay there throughout the season. It has scouting reports on each organization’s best 30 prospects, ranks the top 50 prospects in the game, the top organizations, breaks down each team’s draft from the previous years, etc. No single prospect guide is perfect, but this one is probably the best there is.

So far, here are some things that have stood out:

  • The biggest addition for 2011 is including the scouting grades for each team’s No. 1 prospect. Scouts rate players on a 20-80 scale on a variety of tools and the book includes those for the first time. Example: the Padres’ top prospect (RHP Casey Kelly) received a 60 rating for all three of his pitches and 65s for his command/control and delivery. I like it because it allows readers to compare top prospects organization-to-organization. If you want to know how the Astros’ top prospect compares to the Royals’ top prospect, you can do that. You know, if you’re into being depressed.
  • The Indians “may have had baseball’s best draft” in 2010. Thank goodness.
  • Seems like the biggest issue for the Padres’ younger prospects has been staying healthy. OF Donovan Tate’s problems have been well-documented, RHP Keyvius Sampson had a tear in his labrum which led to changed mechanics which led to elbow trouble. Both were allegedly healthy as they left the fall instructional league.
  • Jeudy Valdez looked good in the few games he played at shortstop last year; according to the book, that’s where the Padres see him long-term.
  • RHP Brad Brach finally made the Padres’ top 30… barely. He’s ranked 30th. Apparently people don’t believe in his off-speed stuff or his ability to continue dominating at the higher levels. The numbers so far are insane: 140 career appearances, 9-6, 1.90 ERA, 78-for-83 in save chances, 189 K in 151.2 IP, .196 average against. Is that good?
  • Top 30 players listed as potential TinCaps in 2011: Tate, OFs Everett Williams and Rymer Liriano (again), Sampson, RHP Zach Cates and maybe RHP Adys Portillo. All very young/inexperienced. Of course, everything could change during spring training.
  • Mets RHP Jenrry Mejia didn’t play baseball until he was 15, and he only started because he saw how much money Dominican prospects could make. He had been making $8 a day shining shoes until he got $16,500 to sign with the Mets.

Random thoughts:

  • Former TinCaps swept the Padres’ minor-league awards for 2010. Geoff from Ducksnorts was at the awards dinner and reports that Jeudy Valdez made “the shortest acceptance speech ever” after winning the Baserunner of the Year award. Without hearing any more, my guess is he said, “Thank you,” and walked away. He’s a quiet guy when he’s speaking Spanish, let alone English.
  • Padres GM Jed Hoyer says the roster is more balanced in 2011 than it was last year. He’s concerned about the bullpen, but I think most GMs are. It’s the toughest area to predict from year to year.
  • Uni Watch hammers the Padres’ logo/uniform decisions. I think the unis look decent.
  • A Midwest League alum is spending his off-season making artificial limbs for amputees. In his debut with Bowling Green (at Parkview Field), he went 4-for-5, hit two homers and doubled.
  • The Indians aren’t looking to trade Grady Sizemore. Good thing, because it doesn’t make sense to trade one of your few trade-worthy players when his value is at its lowest point ever.
  • A book examines home-field advantage and why it exists. The main reason might surprise you.
  • Here’s analysis of which teams are the best at winning arbitration cases. The Rays are undefeated (5-0). Also, I’m a little surprised there have only been about 13 cases per year.
  • The Rays are installing new turf at their dome. It doesn’t seem like anybody actually knows how it’s different from the old stuff (aside from being “the most advanced” and able to “remain upright longer” which sounds it’s taken straight from a Jimmy Johnson commercial), which seems like lame reporting.
  • The Marlins are getting hosed out of a home series by U2. One of the downfalls of not owning their own park. Also, they’re changing their name to Miami Marlins next year? Who knew? Now they just need to change the mascot to Gators, move to the American League and lose to the Cubs in the 2015 World Series and the “Back to the Future II” writers will look like geniuses.
  • The prospect handbook’s arrival pushes back my reading of Ghost Wars, which is about Afghanistan, the CIA, terrorism, etc., from a historical perspective. So far, it’s been excellent.
  • Aaron Rodgers is officially my favorite quarterback in the NFL. First the championship belt celebration when he scores touchdowns, now this.
  • I recently went shopping for clothes, trying to use some of the gift cards I got for Christmas. Maybe I’m only noticing this because I go shopping for clothes about twice a year, but when you’re in any store (with few exceptions such as the sporting goods store), women are clearly dominant, regardless of what part of the store you’re in. I was trying to look at some shirts and about three women came rolling in (to the men’s section, mind you), getting all up in my personal space, pulling hangers off the racks, showing their control over the clearance rack. It was like one of those nature shows where lions protect their territory from a marauding band of slightly-hesitant hyenas. It was like they could sense I had no idea what I was doing. Utterly intimidated, I still escaped with three shirts.

Musical guest…Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood!

Have a great wee
kend!

DW

Watching the watchers

ESPN’s Keith Law published his Top 100 prospects list today… The Padres on the list are:

19. RHP Casey Kelly
38. 1B Anthony Rizzo
46. OF Jaff Decker (TinCaps ’09)
64. RHP Simon Castro (TinCaps ’09)

Along with all the player-specific prospect rankings that have been trickling out this week, several outlets are ranking how the 30 MLB organizations stack up against each other. The Padres haven’t gotten a lot of love lately. Their year-by-year rankings according to Baseball America are…

2008: 12th
2009: 29th
2010: 20th
2011: 9th

In fairness, Keith Law has the Padres ranked 16th, but it seems like they’re going in the right direction. The question is, what do these rankings really mean? Tough to say, especially since the rankings are based on subjective evaluations, but it’s the best system we have.

Prospect ranking tends to be a top-heavy venture and for good reason. The goal isn’t to develop a bunch of big-league utility players who can win Midwest League titles; it’s producing good everyday major leaguers, whether that’s in the form of trading prospects for proven MLB players or letting the prospects graduate to the big leagues. Let’s take a look at which organizations have been ranked highly recently and the bigger-name players they’ve produced.

2008
1. Rays (Longoria, Price, Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellickson)
2. Red Sox (Buchholz, Ellsbury, two pitchers traded for Victor Martinez)
3. Reds (Bruce, Bailey, Votto, Cueto, Stubbs)
4. Rangers (Andrus, Feliz)
5. Yankees (J. Chamberlain, A. Jackson, J. Tabata, I. Kennedy, J. Montero, B. Gardner)

2009
1. Rangers (Feliz, D. Holland, Andrus, two players traded for Cliff Lee)
2. Marlins (Maybin, Stanton, L. Morrison, Gaby Sanchez, Chris Coghlan)
3. A’s (Brett Anderson, Cahill, Gio Gonzalez)
4. Rays (Price, Wade Davis, Hellickson, Jeff Niemann)
5. Giants (Bumgarner, Posey, Sergio Romo)

2010
1. Rays (Hellickson, Wade Davis)
2. Rangers (Feliz, two Cliff Lee trade pieces)
3. Indians (Carlos Santana)
4. Giants (Posey, Bumgarner)
5. Phillies (Domonic Brown, three Roy Halladay trade pieces)

Notice who’s in there most often: Rays, Rangers, Giants. All playoff teams last year. The Reds and Phillies made the most of their farm systems in different ways (Reds used their own players; Phillies used theirs to trade for Roy Halladay).

Again, the takeaway from this exercise is this: The true measure of a club’s minor-league system isn’t how many games the Fort Wayne TinCaps or Lake Elsinore Storm win (although, obviously, teams with good players do tend to win). It’s how many individual players would be regulars on a playoff-type MLB team. Any good organizational rankings should try to reflect that.

Random thoughts:

  • The Padres handed out their organizational awards yesterday… Former TinCaps were all over it. C Jason Hagerty (’10) was the Offensive Player of the Year, C Luis Martinez (’07-08) was Defensive Player of the Year, RHP Brad Brach (’09) was Pitcher of the Year and INF Jeudy Valdez (’09-10) was named Baserunner of the Year. Former Fort Wayne manager Gary Jones (’03) was named minor-league Coach of the Year. Maybe this is what it’ll take for Brach to get some headlines. You’d think going 78-for-83 with a 1.90 ERA, more strikeouts than innings pitched and an opponent batting average under .200 for his career would do it, but what do I know?
  • Jorge Cantu’s signing with the Padres is a done deal. By the numbers, Cantu looks like a league-average hitter who has versatility and he’s coming cheap as a backup. Another solid move by the Padres.
  • Padres GM Jed Hoyer did a radio interview in San Diego and discussed a cornucopia of baseball-related subjects.
  • Will Venable models the Padres’ new road jerseys, now with no sand color!
  • The Reds locked up another homegrown player in RHP Johnny Cueto and their GM reiterated the importance of player development.
  • Folks in Dodgertown aren’t too pleased with the production of their minor-league system since the big crop of 2006. Help should be on the way, as long as they don’t make any more Casey Blake-for-Carlos Santana kind of deals. We’ve seen SS Dee Gordon, OF Jerry Sands, LHP Aaron Miller and RHP Ethan Martin in the MWL over the last few years.
  • Big Fat Bartolo Colon signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees. I get that it’s a tiny investment on their part, but doesn’t this make their hesitation on Carl Pavano look really bad? They have one guy in their rotation who I’d feel completely comfortable with (Sabathia), then a bunch of question marks in Phil Hughes (inexperienced), A.J. Burnett (head case) and whoever else they’re running out there… Ivan Nova? Sergio Mitre? Bartolo Colon? Apparently they’re still looking at Justin Duchscherer and Jeremy Bonderman, but those don’t sound much better. If I were a Yankee fan, I’d be freaking out and praying Andy Pettitte stops Brett Favre-ing them.
  • Derek Jeter has been spotted in the batting cage. And there was much rejoicing.
  • The Blue Jays have been the talk of January so far as they rebuild. I’m pretty sure their GM has Jedi mind powers, because that’s the only way anyone can explain how he found somebody to take Vernon Wells’s contract in a trade.
  • Peter Gammons says the Rays have had a nice off-season as they move on from losing several key pieces.
  • MLB players get a smaller percentage of their teams’ revenue than players of any other major sport. Which could change with the collective bargaining agreement expiring after this season.
  • Baseball America has the pre-season college Top 25 rankings. From what I’ve been told by experts on the subject, this year’s draft class has the typical high-school talent, but it’s the college talent that makes it deeper than most drafts. Also, how about Oregon? They just restarted their baseball program a few years ago and they’re already in the Top 15. Also, Cal at No. 17 is interesting… the school could cut the baseball program following the season due to budget concerns. St. John’s and UConn are the only two teams on the list from what I’d consider “northern” schools.
  • Most of the SportScience piec
    es have been decent, but this one is hilariously bad. And I love bears. Not the Chicago Bears, though.
  • I saw this commercial in passing last night, but wasn’t really watching it. I can’t decide if it’s funny or creepy.

Musical guest, as a tribute to the Fort Wayne winter weather… Dave Matthews Band!

Take care!

DW

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