Few things beat a day game at Dodger Stadium narrated by Vin Scully.
He was right. Though my beloved Expos lost to the Dodgers that day, I
immediately fell in love with Dodger Stadium. Having been to the home
ballparks of 29 of MLB's 30 teams--I'll get you some day, Minnesota Twins!--it's
hard to describe exactly what makes a park too old to be a sparkling
palace and too young to be a historic treasure such a special place. Maybe
it's the palm trees up on the hill behind the ballpark. Maybe it's the
view of the mountains you can only get on that rare crystal-clear Los
Angeles afternoon. But sitting at Dodger Stadium, with neither a giant
Coke bottle nor a 37-foot wall to look at, it just feels like baseball.
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In preparing the annual top prospect list for Baseball Prospectus 2004, BP authors participated in the annual extended roundtable discussion of baseball's top prospects. The ranking and review process balanced translated statistics, scouting reports, and injury reports with the strong personal opinions of BP's finest…all with the goal of putting together the "best damn prospect list the world has ever seen." In Part I today we'll listen in on the discussion of the top prospects among pitchers, catchers, first basemen and second basemen. Parts II through IV will run Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. We'll also unveil the final list Tuesday, with the Top 50 prospects (we've expanded from prior years' Top 40) revealed. Rany Jazayerli will be along to discuss the Top 50 list and the process that went into compiling it in Tuesday night's Chat.
Following up on yesterday's article, here is the definitive list of every transaction made at last weekend's Mock Winter Meetings in Chicago. The list of moves includes a blockbuster trade for Mark Teixeira, cheap contracts for Trot Nixon and Juan Gonzalez, and a surprise new home for Vladimir Guerrero.
Bill Stoneman and Mike Scioscia get rewarded for 2002. The Indians and Rangers swap pitching prospect for hitting prospect. The Yankees grab Armando Benitez in a non-Sierran move. The Jays get a steal in Stewart-for-Kielty. These and other tidbits, plus a full array of Kahrlisms, in this edition of Transaction Analysis.
Brad Fullmer's down in Anaheim, setting back the defending champs just that much more; the Indians are beginning their youth-movement; Mike Sweeney is taking some time off in Kansas City just when the Royals need him most; Brandon Claussen finally makes it back after the long road through surgery; and BP favorite Kevin Young gets shown the door in Pittsburgh. All this and much more news from around the league in your Wednesday edition of Transaction Analysis.
The Red Sox have 682 first basemen, the Reds revamp half their bullpen a week before Opening Day, the Rockies' three non-Helton infield spots could be the best collective bargain in baseball, and the Pirates choose one set of jounreymen over another for the back end of the pitching staff.
Between the persistence of Pete Rose, the ongoing turf war between Tribune Co. and the Wrigleyville neighborhood, and the deteriorating mental health of John Schuerholz, the most oft-reported story of this winter has been the apparent deflation in the market for free agents.
Between the persistence of Pete Rose, the ongoing turf war between Tribune Co. and the Wrigleyville neighborhood, and the deteriorating mental health of John Schuerholz, the most oft-reported story of this winter has been the apparent deflation in the market for free agents. Certainly, there are enough anecdotal examples to make a good case for the sky-is-falling crowd: Jeff Kent was signed rather cheaply, Frank Castillo took a pay cut of almost $4 million just for being his mediocre self, and the abundance of non-tenders suggest that teams expect that they can pay less for comparable talent by turning to the free-agent market than by accepting the terms of an arbitration settlement. Of course, there are counter-examples too; Jim Thome and Tom Glavine were signed to plenty generous contracts, St. Louis paid a premium to retain Woody Williams, and the Cubs seem to have pro-rated Antonio Alfonseca's contract over all 12 of his fingers.
What is in order is a systematic analysis of the free agent class of this winter as well as last, which takes into account not only the contracts the these players were signed to, but also how much value they are likely to provide to their new employers.