Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Randomization: 08/01/06

Some get it, some don't. I'll give Jim Bowden, GM of the Washington Nationals, credit for one thing.

He didn't settle. He set his price for Alfonso Soriano, and even though the Nationals are out of any realistic playoff running and probably not going to be able to re-sign Soriano when he goes free agent this offseason, Bowden didn't waver on his price. He wasn't going to trade Soriano unless he got the return into his farm system that he felt he needed to get.

You might think Bowden is an idiot for not moving Soriano, and to an extent, I agree. He (Soriano) isn't going to lift this terrible team into the playoff race, and there isn't more than a 10 to 15 percent chance that he's going to re-sign with the Nationals this fall/winter. So why didn't Bowden move Soriano and get what he could get in return?

Because he's not Dave Littlefield.

Littlefield, the GM of the Pirates, is apparently more interested in making Pittsburgh into the worst organization in baseball than he is in actually winning baseball games.

Littlefield dealt promising pitcher Oliver Perez to the Mets for Xavier Nady. That's okay, really, because Perez wasn't ever going to fulfill his potential until someone grabbed him by the ear and told him to pitch the right way. Perez's mechanics are so messed up that he's no longer able to throw with any consistenly good velocity. In all honesty, that's a pretty good deal for Pittsburgh, because Nady likely represents more return than they should have gotten for Perez (even with veteran reliever Roberto Hernandez thrown in). That said, Nady is a utility player, and the Pirates have already had plenty of utility players that they've tried to turn into everyday players. So even though this trade isn't TERRIBLE, they still dealt a 24-year-old left-handed pitcher for a utility player. It has the potential to turn out very poorly for Littlefield.

However, it's the other deals that Pittsburgh made that should have Pirate fans completely infuriated. Frankly, all of baseball should be infuriated.

Littlefield sent first baseman Sean Casey to Detroit for a minor-league relief pitcher. Casey is overvalued, yes, because he doesn't have much power. But to only get a junk relief pitcher for Casey is inexcusable. Detroit won't miss the guy, Brian Rogers, that they gave up. With all the young pitching the Tigers have, Rogers might have represented a blip on the proverbial radar screen.

Bucs Dugout is livid. Should be, too.

1B/OF Craig Wilson
SP Kip Wells
1B Sean Casey
Minor league SP Oliver Perez
RP Roberto Hernandez

RP Shawn Chacon
Minor league RP Jesse Chavez
Minor league RP Brian Rogers
1B/OF Xavier Nady


(Bucs Dugout is mad about the Perez trade. I see that side, but it's not even the second-worst trade that Littlefield pulled yesterday.)

So what's the plan in Pittsburgh? Because the result appears to be leaning toward "Last place for the forseeable future".

(Philly GM Pat Gillick gets a bit of a pass here, because he doesn't have a history of doing deals such as "Abreu and Lidle for random minor-league crap". He felt he had to get out of Abreu's contract, and he decided it was worth a minimal return to do that.)

Twins don't make a deal. I'm not sure I fully agree with those who believe the Twins should have pulled the trigger. I think they have a chance to win this year, but I'm not convinced that it was worth dealing both top pitching prospects (Matt Garza and Kevin Slowey), as was required by Washington to make the deal, according to pre-deadline rumors.

The Twins have at least one major hole in the rotation for 2007, as Brad Radke is expected to retire. You could argue that they have two or three, given the struggles of fourth starter Carlos Silva and fifth starter Scott Baker. Giving up both Garza and Slowey would be a bad move, given the Twins' inability unwillingness to spend extra money on the payroll.

Soriano could help them, but the Twins are hitting the ball pretty well right now, and it probably isn't worth mortgaging the future of the starting rotation to get an extra bat at this point. Like Bowden, who deserves credit for sticking to the price he set, Twins GM Terry Ryan deserves credit for not giving in to the asking price, which he felt was too steep.

Landis the cheater. And there goes the image of Floyd Landis. C-ya.

The New York Times reported Monday that the test on Landis during the Tour de France showed levels of "synthetic" testosterone in his system.

In other words, the elevated levels of testosterone on Landis' system wasn't "natural", as he ridiculously claimed.

Now, we await the test of Landis' second sample, a sample which will either clear Landis or convict him. That's expected on Saturday.

I really don't want to pass judgment, but I'd feel a lot better about not passing judgment if Landis had never spoken. Instead of admitting his guilt, he uttered the familiar lines about not knowingly taking anything banned, and he added a new twist by saying that his body's level of testosterone is naturally high.

His doctor was quoted in the Times as saying, among other things, that the samples may have been contaminated, and that he believes the test could have been inaccurate.

If the second result comes back, Landis is screwed, and here's hoping he doesn't continue to deny doing something he knows he's not supposed to do.

"I did it, and they caught me" could go a long way in today's world. If only someone would actually say it without any prodding.

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