[MLB] Riding the Pine

“Right now, I just finished up talking to Kenny [Williams, White Sox GM], and there’s nothing there. Kenny’s pretty aggressive, and he will evaluate my team better than I do. But I talked to him and said, ‘If you’re going to bring somebody here, if you’re going to make any trade, make sure you make it for the right guy, on and off the field.’ If not, I’ll lose with our people.”
–White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen (Chicago Sun-Times).

A few notes:

– With Rafael Palmeiro’s suspension, steroid talk is back in full force. The quick rundown of the events: Palmeiro tested positive for a real steroid 2 ½ months ago and the suspension secretly postponed so he could get hit number 3000 (full details are here and here. While the actual steroid was not supposed to be released, someone leaked it to the media and has made Palmeiro look like an idiot. Many professionals have said the steroid he told couldn’t have been accidentally taken. This is from a professional baseball player (he asked to have his name withheld):

“I have received information from a quality source that says Major League Baseball has tested many of the products available in GNC or any other nutritional store that an athlete might use and all of them would pass a steroid test.

Obviously if they would have tested the “precursors” before they became illegal, those would have failed the test. But, I’m talking about the Proteins, Ripped fuel (fat burners) and stuff like that.

Apparently, Winstrol (stanozolol), was found in Palmeiro’s urine when he took the test. There isn’t anything in GNC that will cause one to test positive for this, mild-hard anabolic steroid.

On a personal note, I’ve been taking supplements from GNC and other companies along with a company called Advocare for about 6 yrs now, and I still do and I have NEVER failed a drug test.”

Baseball is also looking bad, since they wanted the 3000th hit to be untainted, but someone also leaked that he failed the test so long ago. They have also asked teams to stop handing out supplements to their players. My opinion on him is he still deserves to be in the hall, but with everything he has done prior to this season (even if he was on steroids, they weren’t illegal in baseball before this season). I would strike out his stats from this year and give him a clear slate, as long as he passes regular drug tests. He could come back next year (which I don’t see happening) and retry for his 3000th hit. It’s said that the Orioles won’t release him, but they have cancelled the 3000th hit celebration (at his request).

– Why when everything starts to run a little more smoothly for the Yankees this year, something else comes up? Gary Sheffield has decided to open his big mouth, yet again:

“I know who the leader is on the team. I ain’t going to say who it is, but I know who it is. I know who the team feeds off. I know who the opposing team comes in knowing they have to defend to stop the Yankees.”

All right Gary, we know you are a superstar and that you don’t like being over-shadowed, but quit whining. It gets old. Jeter is the media face of that team and A-Rod is the best player, which leaves you as neither. Get used to it.

– One of the most confusing things in baseball is the waiver system. With the non-Waiver trade deadline past us, we will all be hearing about Waiver Trades. Many players will be placed on waiver to either see if they will clear or to see if there is interest in that player. Other teams cannot claim these players. In fact, most players won’t even know they were placed on waivers.

The Rumors
A lot less this week…The Mets are hoping Manny Ramirez and/or Alfonso Soriano are still available…Mark Bellhorn is still being shopped around by Boston…Dmitri Young, whose $8 million option is about to be vested (based off stats), will be place on waivers to see if there is interest in him…The Yankees are already planning to throw a large sum of money at Derrek Lee when he becomes a free agent after the 2006 season…The Rangers are looking at moving Kevin Mench, since contract extension talks have broken off…The White Sox are interested in Ken Griffey Jr, but they are not on his list of teams he would accept a trade to…The Cubs are happy with Ryan Dempster as closer and will try to re-sign him in the off season.

Manager Hot Seats: With Lee Mazzilli out of the way, the next name to come up is Dusty Baker; the Cubs won’t fire him (since he has a year on his contract), but they will let other interested teams talk to him…The leading candidate for the Orioles position is Jim Leyland…Reports out of Detroit say that if the team doesn’t finish at .500 or better, there will be a new manager.

The Week that Was (Trade Edition):
The Good
Athletics – The deal to get Jay Payton was one of the better moves for this team. Payton has played well since he was traded, and is an overall better player than Byrnes. Adding Jay Witasick and Joe Kennedy to the bullpen has also been solid. Witasick is in the middle of his best season and give the A’s a solid lefty since they traded Chad Bradford (in the Payton deal). Kennedy had good numbers last season, and should pitch much better now that he is out of Colorado.

Mariners – The Mariners pulled some pretty good deals at the deadline. They stole 2 good pitching prospects from the Marlins for Ron Villone (one was the top arm in the Marlins system). Then they moved the disappointing Randy Winn to the Giants for Jesse Foppert (a once promising pitcher who went down to Tommy John surgery) and Yorvit Torrealba (think Mike Matheny with a better bat). Foppert was actually the best pitching prospect in baseball in 2002. Finally they moved the disappointing Miguel Olivio to the Padres for catcher Miguel Ojeda and reliever Nathanel Mateo. While neither are spectacular, Ojeda will be a solid back-up catcher while Mateo will become a decent bullpen arm.

The Bad
Devil Rays – They could have move Aubrey Huff, Danys Baez, and Jorge Cantu for 4 good prospects, but held firm at 5 (2 from the Mets, 3 from the Red Sox). That one prospect killed the deal and left them right were they were to begin with. They also had a deal to move Julio Lugo to Washington, but that deal also fell apart. Had they been able to just accept what they would have gotten, they would have a few pitching prospects, another strong outfield prospect, and been able to call up BJ Upton.

Padres – After looking fairly good by dumping Darrell May and Tim Redding for Paul Quantrill (who had more good seasons that May and Redding combined), they went and made a few questionable moves. Acquiring Joe Randa was alright, other than they gave up 2 good pitching prospects for a few months of a player having his career year a few years too late. Then getting 2 catchers, neither that great, for a catcher at the same level and more prospects. The final move was questionable; while your team is struggling to hit, you trade a player that has proven he can hit (but was struggling along with the team) for an overpaid pitcher (which, truthfully wasn’t a weak spot).

The Ugly
Rockies – They were able to make some good moves, but the ugly one was the one that didn’t happen. They were going to send recently acquired Larry Bigbie to Boston for catching prospect Kelly Shoppach and another prospect. The deal was basically done when Boston backed out; it was so done in fact that they designated reliever Aquilino Lopez for assignment to make room for Shoppach on their roster. The Phillies claimed Lopez on waivers when he was designated. The Rockies are fuming right now over the whole situation.

The Rookies
Jeff Francoeur has been a monster since his call up; in 77 at bats, he is hitting .403 with 8 homers and 21 RBIs…Gustavo Chacin should be the AL Rookie of the Year; he is still pitching strong after his great start…Brad Eldred is starting to get comfortable in the big leagues; the only obstacle is moving Darryl Ward…Zach Duke, in his first full month in the majors, was the NL’s best pitcher; for the month he was 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA and 3:1 K to BB ratio…Felix Hernandez had a good debut; he went 5 innings, giving up 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks with 4 strikeouts…Casey Kotchman followed up his first big league home run with 2 more, one a grand slam, 2 days later; Kotchman has struggled to hit last year in the majors, and this year in the minors, but is still highly regarded.

The Injuries
Keith Foulke is supposed to start throwing bullpen sessions this week…Carl Pavano’s season could be lost to shoulder problems; his next rehab start has been scrapped…Jaret Wright and Chien-Ming Wang should make rehab starts in the next couple of weeks…The Cubs have said that they will shut down Kerry Woods if they are not in the playoff race by September…Armando Benitez should be activated next week…Jose Guillen is battling shoulder and wrist problems; he may not play this week…Roy Halladay and Ted Lilly are expected to start in the next week…Torii Hunter is saying he will be back before the end of the season, although the Twins aren’t so optimistic…Oliver Perez will start his rehab assignment this week.

Links
RotoChamps can take care of all your fantasy needs.
Slayer compares Palmeiro and Hockey.
Dr Jay also has some thoughts on Palmeiro and steroids.
Nick predicts the NL while also filling us in on the NFL.
Oli talks Soccer.
Patrick has his normal goodness, but also ventures into IP Radio.
The Forums

That’s it for this week. I will go back to the original format (with stats and probable pitchers) next week. E-mail or post questions, trade scenarios, and comments. Thanks.

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