Sunday, December 25, 2005

Don't Let the Door Hit You

Radio sports talk host Kevin Wheeler set new standards for entertainment, style, content and civility. What did he get from his employers at Christmas bonus time? They beat him like a red-headed stepson. Now that he has been shown the door at Sporting News Radio, let's hope he'll be noticed by XM Radio's MLB morning show and replace Larry Bowa, who leaves to become the new third base coach for the Yankees. Hopefully, someone will notice the 5-foot-7 sports prognosticator before spring so he won't have to accept work as a garden gnome.


Astute Las Vegas players always watch for the biorhythmic oscillating effect of the big win followed by the big letdown. If the pattern holds true Paul Konerko's productivity will take a step back next year. Conversely, Corey Patterson's productivity should rebound with a change of venue. Patterson, a No. 3 overall pick and only 25 years old was spoiled by the Cubs who tried to transform him from a solid speedy gap hitter with occasional power into a ground ball hitting lead off man. Then they wondered why his game fell apart. Let Corey be Corey.

Light on the Subject

He may weigh 140 pounds soaking wet, and have a name like a Saigon pimp, but look for Juan Pierre's productivity to go through the roof in 2006. He'll be playing a bunch of day games for the Cubs next year, and his lifetime daytime batting average is .350.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Waste Not Want Not

When Corey Koskie left the Twins for Toronto last year, he left behind in the clubhouse his cane, crutches, wheelchair, traction aparatus and iron lung. The Twins, rather than let that equipment go to waste, have now signed Rondell White. Don't you make the same mistake.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

New Yankees centerfielder Johnny Damon has been known to claim that he wears his beard and hair long because of a nasty skin condition. More power to Yankees owner George Steinbrenner for imposing a sartorial and grooming standard requiring Damon to get a haircut and a shave. But when the hair comes off, what if he looks like Vincent Price in "Return to the House of Wax?"

A Giant Step

Brett Tomko's 81-73 lifetime record has left much to be desired. Though he has a fastball that tops 95 mph, it is flat and straight and major league hitters can catch up to it. As he approaches his tenth season, is he ready to take his game to another level? New Dodger GM Ned Colletti is in a position to know, having watched Tomko in San Francisco when Colletti served as the Giant's assistant GM. If Colletti thinks Tomko is worth a two-year contract at more than $4 million per, perhaps it's advisable to keep Tomko in sight as a late round pick.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Strong Up the Middle

Greg Fieg of San Antonio, Texas, who won $3000 last year as grand champion of the Long Island, N.Y. -based OBL fantasy league, credits his success to his team's strength at shortstop, second base and middle designated hitter. Eschewing power hitting outfielders and corners when he drafted, Fieg at various times had Derek Jeter, Pedro Feliz, Chase Utley, Bobby Crosby and Billy Hall in his middle infield. He acquired Utley early in the season in a trade with his brother, Lt. Col. Edward L. Fieg (USAF) now in Baghdad, in exchange for underperforming third baseman Vinny Castilla.

Heading for Home

Such a shame that Larry Bowa so late in his career will likely face Tommy John surgery after next year. The Yankees' new third base coach's arm will be ready to fall off now that Johnny Damon has agreed to come to New York. As he did for Boston, Damon most assuredly will score more than 100 runs a season and Bowa's left arm will be waving like a windmill as Damon turns the hot corner and heads for home. Damon brings to six the number of players in the Bombers' lineup who may be expected to score at least 100 runs a year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Reap the Wild Wind

Yes, Adam Eaton was once highly prized but remember, afterall, that his numbers were produced in the National League West, where there are three of the most pitcher friendly parks in baseball. Also, his debilitating injury and subsequent catastrophic second half last year leaves him something of a question mark. Chris Young, however, put up his 12 wins and 4.25 ERA despite pitching in second worst pitchers' park in baseball. If Eaton wins 15 games in Texas and Young wins 12 games in San Diego, was the trade really worth it? And as for Adrian Gonzalez, the only question about him is why the Rangers didn't use him more at DH when they had the chance. And as for Termel Sledge, the only question about him is why Washington let him get away in the first place.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Bye-Bye Barry

Why does Oakland consider Barry Zito so expendable? Consider this: when Zito, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder were all still together they were asked who is the best pitcher on the team. They responded unanimously that it would be Rich Harden. With Harden as the new ace, the staff would still be formidable with Dan Haren, Joe Blanton, Joe Kennedy and Kirk Saarloos in the rotation and Huston Street closing. Add Esteban Loaiza to the embarassment of riches.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Big Splash

The Royals were hoping to make a big splash in the hot stove league and they did but not for signing free agents: they dropped big Ken Harvey from the roster. As for additions, the Royals could have created more of a stir by passing gas in church than signing Doug Mientkiewicz, Scott Elarton, Paul Bako, Mark Redman, and Elmer Dessens. Look for a another season of Triple A ball in Kansas City.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Holy Three

Iron out just a few more details and the New York Yankees will have the three greatest shortstops of the last ten years: Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Nomar Garciaparra. So let it be done.

Come to Boston

What's this about Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer leaving the door open a crack for Theo Epstein. The only crack they left open is three degrees south of the small of their backs. Just because John Henry had them all do a live reenactment of the love scene from the motion picture Deliverance, they shouldn't mistake Theo's cordiality for bosom friendship. If he was such a good buddy, he would have appeared at their press conference last week. Theo is not coming back.

In the Pink

Eric Gagne's rehab is reported to be way ahead of schedule. He'll be 100% by opening day.


The Giants will need to find an outfielder to make 50 or more starts while Barry Bonds is resting next year.

In the Red

Reds manager Jerry Narron plans to split utility time between Tony Womack and Ryan Freel, even though Freel's OPS during his two full years of major league play exceed any OPS total posted by Womack in his 12-year career.

MLB Rumors Staff

MLB Rumors is a collaborative effort by baseball enthusiasts, some of whom have experience working in baseball journalism, either past or present. This blog has been online since December, 2005. To submit tips, write mlbrumors - at - yahoo - dot - com.

  • Greg Fieg: A longtime news and sports journalist, Greg Fieg grew up within shouting distance of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Fieg is the founder of MLB Rumors.

  • Baseball Medic: "Baseball Medic" is the pen name of a highly regarded doctor, a graduate of Duke University Medical School and longtime practicing surgeon. Baseball Medic writes about medical issues and interprets baseball injury reports based on publicly available information about those injuries.

  • The Flogger: "The Flogger" is the pen name of a lifelong Cincinnati Reds fan, longtime blogger, and onetime sports newspaper journalist.

  • Bronx Bomber: "Bronx Bomber" is the blog alias of a major New York Yankees fan who is a contributing writer.

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