Sunday, January 24, 2010


The signing of Shane Victorino to a three-year deal gladdened this fan's heart. Victorino is one of those appealing players who brings flare and excitement to the game.

The signing of Joe Blanton to a three-year deal may not have gotten the heart pumping nearly as rapidly but it, too, was a good deal for the Phils. At various points last summer, prior to the arrival of Cliff Lee, Blanton was the Phils' most reliable pitcher. Reliability is what this signing is all about.

Speaking of Lee, the more I contemplate what might have been, Halladay, Hamels, Lee, Blanton and a fifth starter, the more I wonder why Ruben Amara traded the lefty. The Phils remain a team built to win now and Lee's presence in the rotation, giving them great experience and a nice balance of righties and lefties, would have made them a very tough team to beat. Of course the biggest question mark remains the closer and perhaps Amaro is counting on Phillipe Aumont down the road. The problem with that scenario is that Aumont appears to want to start not come out of the pen.

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The HOF snub of the best overall DH in the history of that misbegotten role, Edgar Martinez, highlights again the need for MLB to decide once and for all whether both leagues or neither should embrace the position. Everyone knows the biggest obstacle to getting rid of the DH is the players' union. And everyone knows the NL isn't going to adopt it. MLB has to make the DH a major point in the next collective bargaining agreement.

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Gary Matthews senior is going to see much more of Gary Matthews junior this season thanks to the trade of the latter by the Angels to the Mets. Why did New York acquire the mediocre outfielder in the first place? Probably because management still believes, without much foundation, that a change of scenery that includes the Big Apple, is always good for improved performance. As I wrote, "without much foundation"!

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The Dodgers' signing of Vicente Padilla underscores two conflicting points: there isn't enough quality pitching in baseball to fill most spots in any starting rotation and there are still plenty of people who believe Padilla will one day fulfill his promise. As far as Shane Victorino is concerned, the Dodgers already had sufficient head hunters on their roster.

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Give Ferguson Jenkins a lot of credit for saying what a lot of players felt but few said publicly about the enhanced performance of Mark McGwire and others, namely, that pitchers felt cheated.

Now we need beat writers from the steroid era to come out and say they, too, contributed to the deception by refusing to write about a problem they knew existed. Don't hold your breath.


Adam said...

Actually, Tom, you have the Aumont thing backwards. Aumont has said he prefers life as a reliever (Beerleaguer--link at the bottom) while Amaro n gang are the ones who decided to move him back to starter, as he was when he was drafted. The FO thinks he can be an effective starter and essentially fill the hole left from trading Drabek.

Tom Goodman said...

Thanks for the correction. I mis-remembered the details there.