In this morning’s Daily News Paul Hagen writes:
Some scouts said [Garcia’s] velocity was down dramatically at times last season and that his fastball barely touched 90 even on his good days. Arbuckle disagreed.
"We don't have a lot of concern about that," he said. "His velocity isn't what it used to be when he started out in Seattle. Back then he used to top out at 95. But he's a pitcher now, not a thrower. He's a little different animal."
Garcia is only 31 but all those 200+ innings per season mount up quickly. I still like the deal but I am far from convinced the big right-hander is the savior we’ve all been waiting for. The Phillies’ clearly agree as they continue their quest for bullpen help and another right-handed bat. And well they should.
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Barry Bonds has found a job. More to the point, he’s kept his old one. The Giants have re-signed the aging Steroids Man to a one-year $16 million deal. I have to assume his guest appearance at the Winter Meetings moved the Giants off the dime. They must have been worried he'd go somewhere else, break the home run record and then announce he was going into the Hall of Fame wearing, say, a Minnesota Twins cap. The Giants could have saved themselves some money if they’d checked first with Cooperstown. Apparently, they get the last say on whose cap a player wears going into the Hall.
In today’s baseball economy $16 million, even for an aging, bulging superstar must be seen as a bargain. Bonds will put lots of fannies in the seats as he chases Hank Aaron’s record, but if and when he breaks the mark, the drop-off will be precipitous for the Giants, who don’t figure to be contenders in the NL West. Then, they will be left holding the bag with a rapidly fading sour puss making everyone in the clubhouse uncomfortable. That’s the price of “success”.
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Speaking of aging though not necessarily fading superstars, what’s with this annual will-he-or-won’t-he bit with Roger Clemens? Now his hedging has infected his protégé, Andy Pettitte, who apparently has unretired before he even retired. Is this such a pitching-starved era that some players are given the first three months of the season off to prepare and then granted special privileges for their few months of active service?
Speaking of “pitching-starved” eras, is ours any more starved than earlier eras or has the nature of pitching if not the overall game changed? Is this also a “hitting-starved” era? I await the reply of some of my sabremetrically-oriented blogging brethren.