Unrestricted View

"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Friday, December 30, 2005

Rose Bowl Just Got More Interesting

With the Oklahoma win over Oregon, I'm thinking the Rose Bowl matchup got a bit juicier. The alleged #2 powerhouse of the Pac-10, the Oregon Ducks, got beat by the unranked Oklahoma Sooner team buried within the middle of a weak Big-12 conference. Well, it was thought to be weak, but may have jumped up a notch or two with the Holiday Bowl win.

I know, Oklahoma was stronger than they seemed Oregon had a good second half and anything can happen on any given day and blah blah blah, but the arguments about Texas not playing anyone and USC playing all this stellar Pac-10 competition just got a bit of tarnish on it.

To say the least.

Still, most state that the Trojans are going to take it to the Longhorns. That may happen, but all I'm saying is I'm glad I have the night off so I can check out the game myself, because I think it's going to be a classic. We'll know Wednesday night.

Kobe Bryant's getting two games for his version of the Forearm Shiver smacked down on Brad Miller of the Memphis Grizzlies. The NBA called it "unnecessary and excessive contact". Ya think? Kobe said that "any player that was going to come down the lane at that particular time, I was going to let them know that they just can't walk through here". Whatever. He was just pissed that he got jacked earlier in the game. Then again, I'm not Kobe's biggest supporter. Perhaps Matt will chime in on how great it was to see the skinny man take it to someone who wasn't looking. Soon enough, Kobe's going to be driving the lane on the road and someone is going to remember this moment. Hey, I can dream, can't I?

Tejada's still pissed off. Yeah, well ya play for the Orioles. Get over it. Next.

Did you hear about the T-ball coach who tried to pay off a kid on his squad to hurt another kid enough so he couldn't play in a game? Yeah, I'm not making this up. He paid a kid $25 to take down a mentally retarted and autistic kid he had on his squad but had to play at least an inning or an at-bat due to T-ball and Little League regualtions. The 27 year old coach reportedly had the young 9 year old boy peg the other 9 year old with baseballs in the head and groin to disable him. What an evil, low-life assh_le. I say we need to bring back stoning for this f_ck. Put him in a pit and let us throw some stones at his head and groin. Seriously. And he won't take a plea bargain which means he's going to say it wasn't him and it's just kids playing around. Wow. I'm going out back to get a box of rocks.

Alright. I hate to end on that note, but that's how it is today. Gotta check out South Carolina taking it to the hapless Mizzou Tigers. It's going to get ugly.

Don't forget to check out LSU v. Miami tonight. Like you would.


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Monday, December 26, 2005

Does Jacque Jones Make the Cubs Better?

(this post is duplicated from my 12/26 post at A Cub Fan Rants)

Jacque Jones was the best option available for Hendry/MacPhail, Inc. to pursue, it turns out. I stated yesterday that I didn't like the pickup of Jacque Jones. However, after further investigation, I think it was the best alternative for the Chicago Cubs within this Free Agent market.

And at $16 mil over three years, the cost is not too high. Jeromy Burnitz patrolled right field at Wrigley Field last year, and he cost the club $5 mil. His option for 2006 was $7 mil, however. The Ivory Tower simply felt that was too high for the production JB showed in '05 (.258/.322/.435, 24HR, 87 RBI, 109 K, 5 SB). For about $2 mil less, they now have the younger (30 vs. 36) Jacque Jones who posted a .249/.319/.438, 23 HR, 73 RBI, 120 K, 13 SB in 2005.

JJ also has performed better in the field than JB over his career as well (although in LF, not RF). His career FP is .986, vs. JB's .977. JJ's career RF is 2.48. Not bad at all. JB's too old to have a career Range Factor number, but I estimate it at about a 2.20. Burnitz was a fan favorite, but from what I've heard from Twins fans and reported accounts Jacque seems to be a well liked guy as well.

And, since it was a (relatively speaking) inexpensive pickup of the Free Agent wire, they don't lose any prospects or players via trade. Add that to the saving of the $2 mil (diff. between JB and JJ in '06 salary) and this deal starts looking a little better all the time.

So, how come I'm not very excited about this? Well, it's Jacque's OBP of .315/.319 over '04/'05. His career mark is .327. Doesn't shout superstar. Or even star. Derrek Lee led the Cubs last year with a .418 OBP. Matt Murton had a .386. Aramis Ramirez .358. Todd Walker .355. Michael Barrett and Jerry Hairston, Jr. were both over .333 as well. Do the Cubs need another OBP killer in rightfield?

Oh, and last season he hit a paltry .201/.247/.370 vs. lefties. Ouch. Seriously. That hurts.

What am I saying, then? I hope JJ learns to take some pitches and get on base more often. I hope the improved (?) defense overall in the Cubs outfield helps keep the ERA down for the (once) formidable Cubs pitching staff. Jacque is young enough to still be able to turn it around. In 2002 he went .300/.341/.511 with 27 HR, 37 2B and 85 RBI. I'd take that anytime. I hope Jacque finds it comfy out in RF in the Friendly Confines. I hope he gets the stick on the southpaws, cause it doesn't look like the Cubs are planning on platooning him (switch-hitting Jerry Hairston and lefty Corey Patterson are both weak against lefties as well).

Will this work out for our beloved Cubbies? Does Murton/Pierre/Jones make them better than Hollandsworth/Patterson/Burnitz? I'd say, yes indeed. If Kerry Wood can find his way back to the mound with some presence, then things might just be looking good by the time the ivy starts to green.

Cross your fingers.

And toes.


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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Dodgers Realize They Reside In Los Angeles

Hey! Someone running the Dodgers has finally realized they live in Los Angeles. And, no, I'm not talking about Paul DePodesta's random throwing of large sums around in any direction (sorry PD, maybe next time be a little more reasonable), but how about Ned Colletti coming in and not only spending cash, but getting some big producers in the process. Rafael Furcal at short. Bill Mueller at third. Nomar Garciaparra at first (take that Steinbrenner!). Now Kenny Lofton in center (moving J.D. Drew to RF and Jose Cruz, Jr. to LF). Unreal. With Jeff Kent at 2B, this infield has quickly become one of the best in the league. Kenny covering center field at Chavez Ravine will certainly help out the pitcher's ERA as well. And they'll need it. With Eric Gagne back this season, it'll be a lot better for them in the ninth, for sure, but they'll need some starters to earn their jack this year in order to succeed.

Let's look at last season's numbers for the Dodger staff:
  1. Derek Lowe, RHP, (12-15, 3.61 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 146/55 K/BB)
  2. Brad Penny, RHP, (7-9, 3.90 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 122/41 K/BB)
  3. Jeff Weaver*, RHP, (14-11, 4.22 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 157/43 K/BB)
  4. Odalis Perez, LHP, (7-8, 4.56 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 74/28 K/BB)
  5. D.J. Houlton**, RHP, (6-9, 5.16 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 90/52 K/BB)
*Jeff Weaver is a Free-Agent. He made $9.25 mil in 2005.
**Was Houlton's rookie season.

So, with a rookie at the five-slot and with Weaver, who had the staff's best 2005 performance, off to find some payola, the pitching staff of the Dodgers is in need of some attention. To say the least. With the kind of action they've shown so far, I'm sure they've got a few arms on their radar. Baseball is once again serious business in Dodgertown.

Now let's see if their gamble pays off.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More Baseball Moves

The Stove remains hot in Baseball, with several big moves made over the last day or two. It's nice to see a lot of teams making moves. A lot of silly money has already been thrown around, but some sensible moves are being made all the time as well.

Like the Chicago White Sox picking up another pitcher in Javier Vazquez from the Arizona Diamondbacks. It cost the South Siders #5 starter Orlando Hernandez, reliever Luis Vizcaino and hot prospect OF Chris Young. Great deal for the ChiSox and a salary dump by the D-Backs (plus a roll of the dice in Young). It does add quite a bit to the White Sox payroll, with Vazquez due $11.5 mil in 2006 and $12.5 mil in 2007, but it makes them immediate contenders to repeat as World Champions. Adding Vazquez to the Four Horseman of Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Jose Contreras and Freddy Garcia is Unreal. With the addition of Thome to help add some runs, the White Sox look to be playoff bound once again. They're going to be good (better get a CF, though). But it's a long season. The Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins will have something to say about that. That being said, it looks like GM Kenny Williams and the boys at The Cell aren't playing around.

The Oakland A's made what, on the surface, looks like an odd deal. They picked up OF Milton Bradley (and IF Antonio Perez) from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Andre Ethier (touted as the A's best prospect in the OF). Hey Ned (Colletti, the Dodgers new GM), welcome to the game! Oakland GM Billy Beane was reportedly frustrated at the lack of communication with Colletti during the Winter Meetings in Dallas last week and had turned his focus from acquiring Bradley to perhaps adding DH "Big" Frank Thomas. But, Colletti obviously came around, and the deal was done. Why would the A's want a potential hothead in Milton Bradley? I asked myself the same question, but figured the stats would tell the story (Beane knows what he's doing, after all). And, low and behold, here they are: MB registered a .290/.350/.484 last season (in only 283 AB). His lifetime OBP is also .350, putting him high on the Moneyball list of production (along with his last two seasons SLG of .501 and .484). The big question is going to be "Can Ken Macha keep Bradley properly focused?". Basically, will Bradley stay out of trouble? Spin the Wheel, baby, and let's find out.

Well, Matt Morris is off the available list, going to the San Francisco Giants, who signed the 31 year old RHP to a contract of $27 mil over three years. Cheaper than A.J. Burnett, and I'd take Morris over A.J. any day. I don't like the Giants, but hey, I do like Felipe Alou. Best of luck to y'all out there. Hey, isn't Morris a little on the young side for the SF Geezers?

The Dodgers aren't done either, though. They added Free Agent 3B Bill Mueller to the fold today. It's reportedly a two year deal. He won a AL Batting Title in 2003 for the Boston Red Sox. Yes, that's when new Dodger Manager Grady Little was at the helm of the Beantowners. Nice glove and great stick to go with the new SS (Rafael Furcal). Looks like there might be a few more wins in Chavez Ravine this year. I'd rather see them take the NL West than the Giants. But that's probably just because I don't like Barry Bonds.

Alright, that's about all for now. Will the Chicago Bears take the Atlanta Falcons out Sunday night? I hope so. Hope the Steelers remain hot as well (ya know, to take out the Love Boat).


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Monday, December 12, 2005

Stan Van Gundy Steps Down, Pat Riley Steps In

Stan Van Gundy resigned from coaching the Miami Heat today. Evidently, the pressure without Shaq is too much. And the pressure to keep all those ball hogs together with one ball. And the Evil Eye boring a hole into the back of his head may have been slightly uncomfortable.

OK. Pat Riley is not Evil. But the media loved to make it seem like he had SVG on double secret probation since the mid point of last season. I guess that probatory period is up. When Pat Riley said, a month ago, that he would take a more active role in team operations, I guess he wasn't kidding. Oh, and the "official" reason that SVG stepped down was for "family reasons".

And Pat said, he really did, that he felt he was the best man for the job. Since he made the signings and picks, he went on to state, that he had the best idea of what to do with the players on the court as well. I guess we'll find out soon enough. What place will the Heat end up in with Riley at the helm? I'm sure the return of Shaq will help out a lot.

I like Riley, I must admit. I didn't like the way he had SVG set up to fail, however. But, with the way the playoffs ended up last year, and with the way the team is performing to this point of the season, I suppose Riley has the right to do as he pleases, and if SVG wants to step down for "family reasons", the so be it. Coach Riley, I wish you the best in your endeavors. You'll need it to take the Pistons out of the East.

Just in and out like a cobra strike today.


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Friday, December 09, 2005

Winter Meetings are Hot in Dallas

Even though Dallas has been below freezing the last couple of days, Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings brought the heat to D-Town. Lot's of moves were made, some were not, some surprising arbitration "nays" and Boston even signed a GM. Well, two of them. Sort of. Anyway, let's get to the Meat:

  • The Boston Red Sox sent Edgar Renteria and $11 mil to the Atlanta Braves for young third baseman Andy Marte. The Braves came to Dallas in need of a shortstop and came out with a star with both the bat and glove in Renteria. He's a career .288/.345/.399 guy who's still in his prime at 30 years old. Strange that the Red Sox, who signed Renteria to a four year $40 mil contract last year, dealt Edgar after only on season. There's lots of speculation about the move, most prominent of which is that they're going to go after the Baltimore Orioles' Miguel Tejada.
  • The Cincinatti Reds received Tony Womack from the New York Yankees for IF Kevin Howard and OF Ben Himes. They also traded away first baseman Sean Casey (a Pittsburgh native) for LHP Dave Williams of the Pittsburgh Pirates. This trade freed them from Casey's $8.5 mil 2006 salary, which, they say, they'll use to get more pitching. In addition, they offered arbitration to IF Rich Aurilia. Decent minor moves, but they're still a second tier team.
  • Free Agent A.J. Burnett signed with the Toronto Blue Jays for five years and $55 mil this past Tuesday. Not bad for a guy who's W-L record is below .500. His career ERA is 3.73 and his career WHIP is 1.28. OK, the walks/hits per IP isn't bad, but what is Barry Zito going to be worth if A.J. is worth $11 mil per?
  • But, in an even bigger move (although a lot less expensive) was trading for 29 year old phenom 1B Lyle Overbay. They gave the Milwaukee Brewers RHP Dave Bush, OF Gabe Gross and a PTBNL (probably LHP Zach Jackson, the Blue Jays #1 Draft Pick in 2004). Lyle's career BA is .285 and his OBP is .373. He's just coming into his power, hitting 16 and 19 HR's his last two years with 81 and 78 RBI's respectively. What a huge signing. Add these two to the signing of closer B.J. Ryan and the Blue Jays have done well. Too bad they're chasing the Yanks and Red Sox, but J.P. Ricciardi (Toronto's GM) may have came out of Dallas holding the most cards. Too bad it cost him over $100 mil to get three players. And it comes with great risk as well, since they add up to 42 career saves, 49 career wins and 39 career homeruns.
  • Alfonso Soriano was sent to the Washington Nationals for OF Brad Wilkerson, OF Terrmel Sledge and RHP Armando Galarraga. The Texas Rangers also resigned reliever John Wasdin and picked up three players in the Rule 5 draft (OF Jayce Tingler, OF Alexi Ogando and LHP Estelin Soto). In addition, they traded IF Esteban German to the Kansas City Royals for LHP Fabio Castro. The Soriano deal was (obviously) the biggie, and not only does it help their outfield (which Alfonso still refuses to play) but they got some pitching out of the deal as well (which they desperately need). The removal of Soriano from the Texas clubhouse might be the best gain of them all. I'll have to drive on up to the Ballpark to find out sometime next season.
  • I tend to stay light on the Chicago Cubs on this page, since my first blog, A Cub Fan Rants is dedicated to the North Siders, but I can't talk about the 2005 Winter Meetings without a mention of what the boys in the Ivory Tower were able to do. Picking up CF Juan Pierre was huge. Sure, they lost three live, young arms in Sergio Mitre, Ricky Nolasco and Reynel Pinto. One, if not all, of these guys is going to have a big impact for the Florida Marlins sometime in the near future. Not sure if that will still be in Florida, but that's another story. But the Cubs took a great step forward in aquiring a true leadoff hitter, who averages 53.5 steals and 194 hits per season over his career. His career OBP is .355. Not only all of that, but it surely means Corey Patterson is gone from the 25-man roster, which makes this Cub Fan quite happy (which you regular readers are quite aware of). Also, the Cubs added two Free-Agent relievers to their bullpen in 33 year old LHP Scott Eyre and 32 year old RHP Bob Howry. Howry is hot, coming off a 2005 season in which he posted a 7-4 record with a 2.47 ERA and a stunning 0.89 WHIP. He also had a 89% GO/AO, and only allowed four HR in 73.0 IP. Eyre is soft over his career (4.52 ERA, 1.53 WHIP and .264 BAA) but last year he posted a 2.63 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and a .200 BAA over 68.1 IP, allowing 26 BB and dishing out 65 K's. Who's the real Eyre? We'll find out in 2006. And there will be some new bleacher seats to fill as well (which they, undoubtedly, will be). Go Cubs!
  • I suppose Matt would be irked if I didn't mention the Twins adding Luis Castillo at 2B and offering arbitration to Jacque Jones, but I think he already did. Oh, he told y'all about Castillo, but hadn't commented on JJ as of yet. There ya have it. Oh, and J.C. Romero is finally sent packing. They received Minor League IF Alexi Casilla from the LAA Angels. Will Casilla make an impact? Maybe. More importantly, the rocky run of Romero is over in Minnesota. Matt, I still think the Twins have a lot of work to do if they want to score runs. But that's just one man's opinion. And perhaps Kevin's too...
  • Speaking of the Chicago White Sox, they signed up Paul Konerko (5yr, $60 mil) of course, and added DH Jim Thome. What else needs to be said? They lost Aaron Rowand in CF and should address that. I'm sure they want to add a little more pop to the linup too, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Oh, they did trade away LHP reliever Damaso Marte for utility-IF Rob Mackowiak of the Pirates. OK, I remember his walk-off grand slam against the Cubs (off of ol' Jo Bo) and his two-run shot in the ninth of the nightcap of the double header (off of LaTroy Hawkins), but Marte seemed like a good young arm. Maybe they just got him because he's a Cub-Killer. Hey, at least the Cubs got rid of both Borowski and Hawkins.
  • Am I missing anything? Most likely. I suppose I should mention Rafael Furcal going to the Los Angeles Dodgers for three years and $39 mil. That made him the second highest paid shortstop in all of baseball (behind Derek Jeter). OK, Furcal is good, but is he the second best SS in the league? Wow. Maybe I'm bitter 'cause I'm looking at Neifi Perez and Ronny Cedeno at short in Wrigley.
  • The Cleveland Indians added veteran RHP starter Paul Byrd and the 36 year old Bob Wickman, who saved 45 games last year. They also offered arbitration to Kevin Millwood and Scott Elarton. Decent moves, I suppose.
  • Speaking of Arbitration, the biggest news on that front is that the Houston Astros did not offer arbitration to the Iron Man, Rocket Roger Clemens. Oy. They are saying that the relationship between GM Tim Purpura and Manager Phil Garner and Clemens that he'll stick around town and sign after May 1st (the next time the Astros and Clemens can talk turkey) and have a wonderful time with a short season, coming in late and arming them for a playoff run. Will it really happen? Who knows. They signed Orlando Palmeiro in the OF, and declined arbitration to utility-IF Jose Vizcaino. They have an offer on the table to C Brad Ausmus as well. Basically, they have some work to do, like signing a third or fourth starter to come in behind superstar Roy Oswalt and vet LHP Andy Pettitte. Still shopping in Houston, for sure.
Alright. That's all I've got for now.


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Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Perfect Touchdown Celebration

I searched for a ChadJohnson.com and could not find one. I'm posting this hoping it gets around on the web and Chad somehow gets wind of it. I have found the perfect touchdown dance for Chad. I can't imagine him doing anything better than the Pee-Wee Herman dance. If anyone knows how to get this suggestion in Chad's direction, please do so. Nothing would make me happier.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

Twins Trade For Castillo

It should be fun trying to name the Marlin's starting lineup next spring. First, Beckett and Mike Lowell were sent to Beantown. Then, Delgado was shipped to the Big Apple. Now, Luis Castillo is on his way to the Twin Cities in exchange for minor league pitchers Travis Bowyer and Scott Tyler. If the Marlins don't re-sign Alex Gonzalez they will have a brand new starting infield. Juan Encarnacion won't be back and it's still possible, if not likely, that Paul Lo Duca and Juan Pierre will still be traded.

As a Twins fan, I'm very excited about this deal. Castillo brings good defense, speed, and a high OBP to a postion that has been a glaring weakness for the Twins ever since the Luis Rodriguez experiment began 4 years ago. At age 30 he comes at a fair price, $5 million in 2006 with a club option at $5.75 for 2007.

Bowyer spent most of the year in AAA, but he did pitch 8 games for the Twins last year. His stuff looks good as seen by his 96 strikeouts in only 74 innings at Rochester. He'll likely get the opportunity to compete or the Marlins closer role this year. It's tough to let a pitcher with his promise go, but considering the Twins pitching depth and what they got in return, it's hardly damning.

Here's what Minor League Ball's John Sickles had to say about Bowyer and Tyler in his review of the Twins farm system:

17) Travis Bowyer, RHP
Relief sleeper, saved 23 with 2.78 ERA and 96/40 K/BB in 74 innings at Rochester. Very strong K/IP reflects plus stuff. Still needs to refine his control a bit, but another good option as a middle reliever and possible future closer.
18) Scott Tyler, RHP
Another live arm, would be considered a top prospect in some systems. 3.95 ERA with 109/48 K/BB in 118 innings for Fort Myers. Needs to improve the consistency of his breaking ball, and may be better-suited for relief down the road.

I expect both these guys to have fine careers, but what team wouldn't trade it's 17th and 18th rated prospects or a proven veteran like Castillo? It's nic to see Terry Ryan actually use this depth to acquire players that fill more pressing needs.

Ryan may not be done yet. The Twins are said to be "seriously considering" signing Frank Thomas. He would bring the Twins their 1st true power hitter since Kent Hrbek. The only question is whether the aptly named "Big Hurt" can stay off the DL. Thomas only appeared in 34 games last year and 74 games in 2004. If he could stay healthy, the Twins could finally have a lineup that wouldn't drive the pitching staff nuts.

1-Shannon Stewart
2-Luis Castillo
3-Joe Mauer
4-Frank Thomas
5-Torii Hunter
6-Justin Morneau
7-Lew Ford
8-Mike Cuddyer
9-Jason Bartlett

It's not exactly Murders Row, but even a league average hitting team would be enough to make the Twins contenders. Of course, that lineup hinges signing Thomas and him staying healthy which is 2 fairly large "ifs". It's not out of the realm of possibility. Replacing Thomas with Piazza, who the Twins have expressed mild interest in, would still be a major upgrade to the offense. Once the White Sox traded for Thome and re-signed Konerko, it was looking more and more like the Twins would be playing for 2nd in the AL Central. Now with Castillo on board and the possibility of a big time DH, the Twins will could have the fire power to compete with the Sox next year. For everyone not living in Boston or New York, the AL Central could be the most intersting division in 2006. Maybe the most competetive too. Something we haven't seen in quite some time.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Big Day In Baseball

Three big things have recently happened within the MLB World. No, it's not the resignation of Bud Selig. It's the announcement of three big Free Agent signings. Brian Giles and Paul Konerko are both staying put, and Kyle Farnsworth is taking his Dr. Tightpants show to Broadway.

Brian Giles, after seemingly going to nearly every club in the Bigs, has decided to stay home after all. He was initially offered $25.5 mil over three years by the San Diego Padres, but, after that offer, he decided to test the waters. He wanted to find out what kind of interest was out there. I guess none that added up to the Padres final offer, which he accepted, of $30 mil over three years. Sure it's about the money, but I'd say it's fairly obvious he favors life in Southern California. Personally, I can't blame him. The weather has got to be better than Toronto, New York or Cleveland, and I certainly didn't want to see him end up in St. Louis (being a Cub Fan and all). The Padres are players now, and may make another run into the postseason. They need to add another arm and probably another bat to ensure October baseball.

Then, we have Paul Konerko. He didn't woo any other team. He didn't play the field. He patiently waited for an offer that suited him from the Chicago White Sox and it came quickly in the form of a five year, $60 mil deal. Guess money won't be a problem anymore (yeah, like it was before, but I digress). The White Sox have impressed me in that they are going for it again. They aren't resting on their laurels. They aren't having a Florida Fire Sale. They're happy they won one World Series and look to be seriously going for another one. Adding Jim Thome is a big move, although it cost them the defensively-savvy Aaron Rowand in CF. However, even though Konerko and Rowand are good friends, Paul stated that the signing of the lefty Thome's big bat was "the greatest recruiting move the White Sox could make to bring me back". He went on to say that "when I saw that [trade], Kenny proved to me that [even though] we won last year, he was playing this thing like we haven't won a thing." Nice. The guy just wants to win ballgames, and wanted to be assured that the South Siders were thinking perennial playoffs and not, "gee, that was fun, wasn't it?".

Then, we come to Kyle Farnsworth. I, for one, and I believe Matt as well, were quite surprised that Farnsy did so well with the Atlanta Braves ballclub. Perhaps it was Leo Mazzone. Now they're both gone. Unlike Konerko and Giles, Farnsworth has reportedly decided that he's on to bigger things (should be official sometime today). As big as they get, in fact, because he's packing for a move to the Bronx. Yep, you heard right. The guy who used to literally shit his pants in Wrigley has seemingly completely changed around, first establishing himself as a closer in Hotlanta while posting a 1.98 ERA, a stunning 0.80 WHIP and a perfect 10 for 10 in saves for the Braves (in the regular season). Now, he's going under the bright lights for the New York Yankees. Can he handle the pressure of the New York press? A year ago, I'd have said no freakin' way. But now, I think he just might be able to pull this thing off. He'll be a 100mph setup man for the best closer in the game (some guy named Mariano Rivera). I just can't believe the transition he's made, both on the field and in the uniform he's about to be wearing. Unreal.

Well, there you have it. Big time moves in Baseball, undoubtedly. Will these moves start a domino effect upon the other free agents? We'll have to wait and see. I just hope the Cubs have their sights set on a top tier outfielder. Not feeling good about the Matt Murton (who I like), Felix Pie (who knows) and Corey Patterson (please, for all that is good, NO!!!). I'm looking forward to more news from the Hot Stove ASAP. What about Manny? Rafael Furcal? Johnny Damon? Kevin Millwood? Stay tuned to Unrestricted View and you'll find out soon enough.


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