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

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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