We have a few perennially valuable hacksters this year, as Darin Erstad, Tony Womack, Cristian Guzman, and Eric Milton form the first group of four players to make the All-Star team and be listed on 300 or more entries. There were four shockers this year, fewer than usual, as Jason Kendall, Mike Lowell, Eric Byrnes and Corey Patterson were listed on a total of 6 entries and accumulated the highest ESPN at catcher, third base, left field and center field. After you sort through the four proven hackers and the four surprises, we have World Series rookie and small ball aficionado Willy Taveras, followed by this year's MVP, Jose Lima. Props go out to the 89 entrants who pegged Lima's campaign at the beginning of the year.
Our correspondent on the island reviews the top performances and big trades in the Dominican this year.
At the midway point, the standings showed the Eagles ahead of defending champions Licey, with Estrellas, Giants, Escogido and Azucareros following in that order. Since then, all the teams have been streaking, shaking up the order. The Cibao Giants have won six consecutive games, and passed Licey for second place. The Escogido Lions, once again in the middle of a bad season, won three games in a row, the first one a very rare comeback win against the Eagles at their home, Cibao Stadium, also known as The Death Valley. The Lions then beat the Aguilas at home 8-0, and won their third in a row by blowing out their eternal rivals, the Licey Tigers, 21-2, scoring a league-record 18 runs in one inning. The three-game winning streak put the Lions just one game behind the Estrellas--losers of three consecutive games--for fourth place, but then the Elephants (as the Estrellas are also known) humiliated the Lions the following night 16 to 1, bombing Jose Capellan and three other relievers.
Licey had their own little streak, winning three consecutive games before losing the next three, including the massacre at the hands of Escogido on Sunday and a heartbreaking loss to the Aguilas the next night, when the Tigers hosted their championship-ring ceremony. The Azucareros, falling dangerously in the depths of the basement, have lost four out of six, and are three games back of the fourth-place Estrellas. The team from La Romana is playing horribly on the road (2-13) and their failures cost manager Luis Silverio his job. Former major-league infielder Teddy Martinez replaced Silverio as the Azucareros skipper.
Getting the Dodgers to the postseason this year was the easy part. Dayn Perry looks at the challenges ahead for L.A. GM Paul DePodesta.
If Paul DePodesta's executive mettle hasn't already been sufficiently tested, it's about to be. His Dodgers are coming off their first division title since 1995 and their first post-season win since 1988. But despite the success of the Dodgers in DePodesta's first season at the switch, this winter is going to be brutal and vital for him.
The Cubs take a big step toward making the playoffs. The Red Sox make a deal for the wrong reasons. The Expos and Devil Rays land nifty prospects for expendable veterans. The Giants fail to help themselves much. These and many more trade deadline happenings in a special weekend edition of Transaction Analysis.
The Braves strike NRI gold with Russell Branyan. The Astros do what they need to do to compete in the NL Central. Everything you ever wanted to read about Eric Karros. The Padres address their chasm in center. These and other news, notes, and Kahrlisms in today's Transaction Analysis.
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.
A lost season for the Angels has folks in Anaheim scratching their heads. John Smoltz's injury buries Bobby Thigpen's name for another year. The Royals' run evokes memories of George Brett and company. Sandy Alomar...you can probably guess what Chris will write about Sandy Alomar. Witticisms, Kahrlisms and roster schmisms in this edition of Transaction Analysis.
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.
The White Sox begin the summer trading season with a bang; the Reds make a great acquisition in D'Angelo Jimenez; Josh Beckett is unleashed from the DL in Florida; and the Royals take a flyer on a man named Gookie (remember him?). All this and much more news from around the league in your Wednesday edition of Transaction Analysis.