MLB’s top management is not to be trusted, and needs to be overhauled.
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
Traded CF-L Kenny Lofton to the Giants for RHP Felix Diaz and LHP Ryan Meaux. [7/28]
Kenny Williams’ strategy with Kenny Lofton wasn’t unsound, at least the initial part of it. Sign a veteran down on his luck for a low price and a one-year contract. If you contend with him, that’s great, you have the financial flexibility to help yourself down the stretch. If you don’t, he’s cheap and therefore interesting to other contenders. If he doesn’t hit, then you didn’t spend all that much money.
The Texas Rangers selected Travis Hafner of Cowley County Community College (Arkansas City, Kansas) as a draft-and-follow in the 31st round of the June 1996 draft, and got his signature on a contract just before the 1997 deadline. Now 25 years old, the 6’3″, 240-pound Hafner has developed into one of the most feared hitters in the minor leagues. As of this writing, he is hitting .339/.460/.541 with the Oklahoma RedHawks and leads the Pacific Coast League in on-base percentage and major-league EqA (.302). He took time to speak with us before a recent game against the Tacoma Rainiers.
It’s 11:49 p.m. EDT, and I’m sitting here staring slack-jawed at a 13-inch television set. In St. Louis, the remnants of what was a crowd of 47,000 people are going nuts, and the Cardinals are jumping around as if they’ve won the World Series. Edgar Renteria has just hit a three-run home run to cap a six-run ninth inning, giving the Cards a 10-9 victory.
MONKEYS EQUALS WINNING
“You have to respect the monkey, that’s for sure. Every time he peeks his little head out, something happens for them. You got to respect him or kidnap him, one or the other.”
–Desi Relaford, Mariners infielder, on playing at Edison Field
Activated RHP Troy Percival from the DL; optioned RHP Lou Pote to Salt Lake. [7/26]
With Troy Percival back, the Angels are in the happy state of having too many relievers doing well at once, with the additional good fortune that several of them have options. Lou Pote loses out not because he’s pitched badly, but because the current hot hands in the pen are Brendan Donnelly, Scot Shields and Ben Weber, and Al Levine just got back from the DL himself. The last slot in the pen is taken by lone lefty Scott Schoeneweis, at least until Dennis Cook comes back off of the DL. Unless Schoeneweis is made somebody else’s fourth starter, he has to stick around. Cook had been doing well as the pen’s left-hander, and Schoeneweis has not, which creates some impetus to make a deal.
Activated 1B/OF-L Chris Richard from the DL; optioned OF-R Luis Matos to Rochester. [7/24]
Cancelled Richard’s recall/reactivation; announced they would recall 2B-B Brian Roberts from Rochester on Friday. [7/25]
Skip the decisiveness, we’re back in business as Akbar’s House of Waffletastic Indecision.
Chris Richard managed to reinjure himself in his last game in Rochester, so Brian Roberts got a reprieve for blowing his previous opportunity to be recalled by not having his passport handy. That brings us back to the same point we were at before Roberts got sent down, which is that the Orioles will flim-flam their way through their second-base situation, wallowing through a non-choice between Roberts and Jerry Hairston Jr. It could be worse, because it has been–they could keep finding ways to get Luis Lopez into the lineup. Assuming that finishing close to .500 or keeping third place are actual (versus worthwhile) goals, this doesn’t really help realize either of them.
Is there any general manager who has done less with more than Kenny Williams has done in the last 20 months? He inherited a division winner with a low payroll, a core of good young players and a farm system bursting at the seams with talent. Under his watch, the team has shed talent like my wife’s cat Ashley sheds hair, while adding payroll and bad players like an Angelos on speed.
The ESPN.com version of the wire story has the headline “White Sox send Durham to Athletics for prospect, cash.” Um, no. Jon Adkins is 24, and had a career minor-league ERA of 4.13 coming into this season, during which he’s been lit up in Sacramento, with an ERA that would fit neatly above the median for the Texas Rangers and peripheral numbers that do not hold much promise. Maybe Adkins will be the one guy in a thousand who breaks the mold and turns into a legitimate quality major leaguer. It’s not likely, but you have to root for the guy.
Last week in this space, I talked about how baseball teams should knock it off with the Obey-o-Tron and build their fan base with the kind of cheer clubs you see in soccer. Here’s the cool part: it’s already happening. I got e-mail from readers all week long.
July 15-21, 2002
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