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I was going to post my thoughts on the Yankees' reckless pursuit of a Cuban pitcher and a Japanese slugger while they still have immovable contracts like Mondesi, White and Hitchcock, but then an e-mail arrived from Travis Nelson, whose Boy of Summer blog is quite enjoyable. I especially like his plan of playing Rondell in "left center field."

Batter's Box also got a nice plug there, so I want to inform everyone on my "staff" that they can take two weeks off, at triple their salaries. Thanks, Travis. I'll update the links to include you.

Though some find him less palatable than Richard Griffin, here's some thoughts from Mike Lupica on George Steinbrenner's obsession with "winning" auctions, tax consequences be damned. Poor Brian Cashman will have to dump players nobody wants into a market that isn't buying anyway. Awwww.
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_Jordan - Thursday, December 19 2002 @ 05:10 PM EST (#100812) #
That Yankee lineup is hilarious. And thanks for the plug, Travis!

Some juries are apparently still out on Matsui. You'd be hard-pressed to find many baseball observers who think he'll crack 50 HRs in the American League, or even much more than 40. And it's not like he fills any particular need the team has, except for George's need to impulse-buy when he thinks things are slipping away from him. As for the outfield glut, one of the scariest rumours I've heard lately is Mondesi and White to the Tigers for Damion Easley. Scary because it's absolutely insane on a baseball or logical level, yet could actually work for both teams. I'll be very glad when the salary shockwaves have finished reverberating through the game.

To confirm Kent's note above, I'll be mostly out of commission from Friday through Christmas and the New Year, doing the visiting-family thang. Happy and safe holidays to my fellow authors and all the good people who read and/or post here. Looking forward to a busy, interactive and fun 2003!
Craig B - Thursday, December 19 2002 @ 10:27 PM EST (#100813) #
I think Matsui is a terrific player, but if he hits 50 home runs I'll eat my golf hat... you wouldn't expect a player who hit 50 in AAA to hit 50 in the majors either. But he doesn't need to. Given his numbers in Japan, though, I don't think that he can do worse than twenty-five.

25 home runs. Surely that's reasonable, right? And if he can hit .280 while doing it, and draw seventy walks, and show some doubles power, he'd be a 370/490 hitter who can play some centerfield and be good in right or left. That's a very good player, and probably worth $6 million a year from a playing standpoint alone (forget about what he'll actually bring in... Arn Tellem is a moron for lowballing his client like this).

But the way I see it, that is the minimum that Matsui will do if he is healthy. I think he's a bit better than that, more like Bobby Abreu without the speed but with the ability to hit lefties. If you knew how much I like Abreu, you'd know how high praise that is for me.
_Craig B - the r - Thursday, December 19 2002 @ 10:37 PM EST (#100814) #
Jordan, I didn't comment on the Mondesi/White for Easley rumour... that is very interesting and would at least give the Tigers two more major league hitters who can also play defense, which would mean they had four such players instead of two. They could then get rid of Higginson, and still have 50% more real hitters they had before. (I'm counting Pena as the other guy... Rob Fick can't play much defense from what I saw of him.)

A White/Lombard/Mondesi outfield would be a vast improvement over what they had going into 2001. But unless they are giving out pennants for winning 70 games this year, the Tigers should think about trying some younger players out instead. Rob Fick was one of the worst defensive outfielders I saw last year, but he wasn't one of the worst I've ever seen.

The Tigers don't need medicore corner outfielders, so much as they need to flip those guys for some prospects who can hit and play defense at the same time.
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