Ken Rosenthal, the Sporting News's less arbitrary answer to Peter Gammons, is back with another article reviewing the majors in the depths of baseball-free January. A few points of interest and one very intriguing Blue Jays-related observation.
* Raul Mondesi could actually be a good investment for Pittsburgh, especially for only a million bucks. I can see him being motivated by playing Roberto Clemente's old position and having something to prove back in his favourite league. Certainly, Brian Giles could only benefit by having a more impressive name than Craig Wilson batting behind him. The only downside from a Toronto perspective is that the Yankees wouldn't be hurt by having Raul either drag down the offence or complain about not starting. Well, you can't have everything, I suppose. :-)
* Everything we need to know about Robert Fick's defence can be summed up by this line: "His late-inning defensive replacement will be Julio Franco."
* The 2004 Blue Jays will be able to field 3/4 of their infield and their entire outfield for $11 million. The 2004 Rangers will be paying that same amount to three set-up guys. This neatly illustrates why money per se doesn't buy championships -- it's how you spend the money you have. Paying that kind of cash to three guys whose performance could be approached if not equalled by three minor-league free agents reveals a fundamental inability to find talent and judge value. JP Ricciardi, who can do both, is so far ahead of John Hart that it's not funny. Okay, it is.
* Here's the intriguing Jays comment:
Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava is emerging as one of the game's hottest GM prospects. LaCava rejected front-office overtures from the Red Sox and Orioles this winter to continue working under his longtime friend, Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi.
Kent was the first to alert us to LaCava's presence and impact on the Jays' front office, but it seems as if other organizations are starting to pay attention too. I'm glad that like his boss, he wants to stay in Toronto for the time being and finish the job at hand. If anyone comes across a profile of LaCava, please e-mail the URL to me; I'd be quite interested in learning more about this guy.