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Arizona, already mortgaged to the brink of bankruptcy, is "stuck" with Matt Williams, a once-great player who has every right to put what's left of his career in perspective with his disingegrating personal life.

Colorado is "stuck" with one of the greatest right-fielders of all time, but they have many other problems to address (like Denny Neagle) and may have lost their best chance to dump Larry Walker and his enormous contract. If that doesn't happen, the Rockies have a very unhappy camper, now that Larry's feelings are hurt.

He's made statements already about feeling unwanted in Denver, and he resents the implicit suggestion that his lack of "leadership" is to blame for the Rockies' woes. Most of us have another culprit in mind: the bozo in the front office.

Just what does Dan O'Dowd do next? Who knows? The most predictable thing about the Colorado GM is that none of his moves will make sense. It's not just the most obvious displays of foolishness (the Hampton and Neagle contracts;) even his attempts to dig out from the messes he creates (CJ and Preston Wilson?) are mind-boggling. His choices seem to be, take whatever horrible contract(s) minimize his financial pickle, trading Walker for say, Jeromy Burnitz and Rey Ordonez -- a truly awful deal for Rockies fans -- or begin the season with his MVP (no disrespect to Mr. Helton) angry and pouting.

In a long, rambling and quite enjoyable phone conversation with Jordan yesterday (we're e-friends who hadn't actually spoken before) I suggested Walker "isn't the brightest bulb in the chandelier," alluding to his reputation as the Canadian version of a "good ol' boy." I mean no offence, and he's not a head of state or anything, so I hope that's not a controversial remark. His success on the field, which I think has been under-appreciated by the mainstream media on both sides of the border, and by his employers, hasn't changed the hockey goalie who liked to hoist a few Kokanees after a game.

It's no secret that Walker used to sleep off his previous night's activities on the trainer's table while less gifted Expos took BP, and only in his mid-30's did he attempt to reduce his partying and get a bit more serious about his conditioning. How many productive years this will cost at the end of his incredible career remains to be seen, and will be hard to distinguish from the physical toll of his almost reckless style on the diamond. My point is, Larry's Larry. He isn't a philosopher or an intellectual, he's an uncomplicated man who happens to be a superb baseball player, and now that the attempt to move him has failed, I doubt the fences will ever be mended with his current boss.

I admire Walker as one of the greatest OF I've ever seen, and a hitting genius, so I want him to flourish somewhere for a few more years, and join Fergie Jenkins in the Hall of Fame. He doesn't deserve O'Dowd, and vice versa. I wish I could spin a plausible scenario that made him a Blue Jay, but I cant. If the perfect-fit D-backs are out, where does he end up? Not many teams can afford to take on $50 million. If Jeff Kent leaves, Larry might interest SF, but my money's on Brian Cashman to sweet-talk O'Dowd into something that corrects his biggest mistake -- Mondesi -- plus White and/or El Duque and a couple of stalled prospects, a payroll-balancing deal that puts Walker in pinstripes, the Yankees back in the driver's seat, and Colorado futher down the toilet. As always, I look forward to the opinions of others.
Whither Walker? | 8 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
_Sean Whittaker - Saturday, November 23 2002 @ 04:23 PM EST (#102065) #
I'm as big a Larry Walker fan as there is (being born and raised in Vancouver, with a stop in Toronto to get the MLB baseball bug as a young child in the mid-80s, so I'd probably implode in a puff of anguished loathing if he ended up in pinstripes. I was a very unhappy camper when the strike put the kibosh on one of the most enjoyable teams I've ever followed, the '94 Expos, which ultimately led to Walker departing for Colorado. Seeing him make his last stop as a Yankee would be even more disheartening. With regards to his HoF chances...I imagine if he plays out his last three years of his contract the Hall will be in his future.
_Kent - Saturday, November 23 2002 @ 05:45 PM EST (#102066) #
I think Walker now feels approximately the same way about the Rockies as Sean does about the Yanks. O'Dowd has painted himself into a corner and will jump at the first offer he finds acceptable, which will be much less than full value for a Gold Glove batting champion with power. For your sake, Sean, I hope my prediction's wrong. That imploding can leave a nasty mark. And with HoF voting in the hands of people who consider Tejada more valuable than A-Rod, don't expect logic or common sense.

Odd coincidence: if any player suffered more from the '94 strike than Walker and the rest of the Expos, it was Matt Williams, who might have jumped into the Maris family's box if there had been a full season.
_Jordan - Sunday, November 24 2002 @ 11:04 PM EST (#102067) #
I wish I could spin a plausible scenario that made him a Blue Jay, but I can't.


1. Toronto sends Delgado (plus full salary) to Philadelphia, Orlando Hudson & Jayson Werth to Colorado.
2. Philly sends Jeremy Giambi and Brandon Duckworth to Toronto
3. Colorado sends Larry Walker (plus half salary) to Toronto, Jose Jimenez to Philly.

- The Rockies clear half of Walker's salary and an overpaid closer, and receive stud prospects at second base and right field.
- The Phillies (having hypothetically failed to land Jim Thome) get the slugging anchor to their lineup and more bullpen help that Ed Wade loves so much.
- The Jays clear a ton of salary and get a top-notch right fielder, an OPS-demon DH and a young stud starter. Their lineup looks like this:

LF Stewart
3B Hinske
RF Walker
1B Phelps
DH Giambi
CF Wells
SS Woodward
2B Lopez
C Cash

SP Halladay
SP Duckworth
SP Lidle
SP Hendrickson
SP Miller

They could flip Jose Cruz for more pitching, and in a year or two Gabe Gross arrives to replace Walker and Russ Adams arrives to bump Lopez. In two or three years, the young stud pitchers arrive. Dynasty in the making.

I know, Carlos isn't going anywhere, and Larry's still steamed at Canada for voting Jacques Villeneuve co-athlete of the year that one time and wouldn't waive the no-trade. But it's still fun to think about.
Craig B - Monday, November 25 2002 @ 09:38 AM EST (#102068) #
The Rockies clear half of Walker's salary and an overpaid closer, and receive stud prospects at second base and right field.

Good as far as it goes, but the Dan O'Dowd wouldn't recognize a stud prospect if he were studded into the middle of his forehead. Colorado would usually rather have middle-aged mediocrities (see Zeile, Todd; Williams, Matt; even Weiss, Walt) or really fast guys. Other GMs are starting to realize that O'Dowd changes his long-term strategic plan 4,551 times every month, and are waiting to strike while the iron is hot, to grab value from the Rox in exchange for the flavour of the week.

If you're not KC or Florida, Dan O'Dowd is basically a source of cheap talent.

You certainly could get Walker if you wanted him. If I were trading with Colorado, though, the numer one guy I would try to rescue is Ben Petrick, who is being systematically destroyed as a player by those morons. Petrick would have tremendous value as a complement to Huckaby or Wilson now and to Kevin Cash down the line. Petrick's career 960 OPS in AAA is park-inflated from being in Colorado Springs, but it's still excellent for a catcher. He hit 321/406/600 there last year. Even if you take all the inflation out of it, that was still a .272 MLEqA, and that's right in line with his career development line. Petrick has as good a shot as anyone of being the next Darren Daulton, and that's pretty good.
Craig B - Monday, November 25 2002 @ 09:44 AM EST (#102069) #
Translation into normal English : ".272 MLEqA in AAA" means that given Petrick's batting stats in AAA, with park effects removed, you would normally expect that player to post a .272 EqA in the major leagues (i.e. a major-league hitter with a .272 EqA would likely have had exactly the same production if he were in AAA instead of the majors). EqA is a single stat that takes all the elements of a player's offensive production and compresses it into a single stat that scales like batting average.

.260 is always the league average for all hitters. Good hitters have an EqA of .300 (Miguel Tejada had exactly a .300 EqA last year) while a poor hitter might be at .220. Neifi Perez had a .199. The average for all catchers is usually around .245 or so.
_Jan Jansen - Monday, November 25 2002 @ 12:42 PM EST (#102070) #

Agreed 100% on Petrick's bat. But can he catch? The universal answer appears to be "no." And for an outfielder, the bat's nothing too special.
_Kent - Monday, November 25 2002 @ 02:03 PM EST (#102071) #
I am really impressed with your imagination, Jordan. The hypothesis depends on Thome staying put, but also on Carlos and his agent coming to the realization that they're never getting another deal like the current one, from anybody, and agreeing to a trade before what might be an embarrassing search for FA gold. But it's creative!

Little G getting busted at the border is another potential problem, but the bottom line might be the "hot potato" theory: do the Jays want to be holding Walker if and when his still-considerable talent diminishes? (It's why I traded Randy Johnson a year ago for a package including Lance Berkman in a keeper fantasy league.)

Craig, great assessment of the impulsive O'Dowd. Petrick, whose confidence has been badly damaged if not destroyed (see Lopez, Felipe -- it's not exclusively a Roxx phenomenon) is similar to Josh Phelps. I agree on his upside, but there are places he fits better than Toronto. Having him, Phelps and Werth, plus the light-hitting glove men Huckaby and Cash, would "help" Toronto's catching like another 1B/DH would "help" the Tigers.
_Flynn - Friday, November 29 2002 @ 10:29 PM EST (#102072) #
"Larry's still steamed at Canada for voting Jacques Villeneuve co-athlete of the year that one time "

Is he STILL mad at that?


Larry had a great year in '97, but so did Villeneuve, who is one of the few Canadian world champions at anything.

I think Larry's just pissed because he barely knows who Villeneuve even is. :-)
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