”You Could Look It Up” is a weekly look at the game’s present through the funhouse mirror of the past. Today we begin an experiment in unguided writing, an experiment in blue sky time travel without a thesis. From now until shortly after the non-waiver trading deadline, YCLIU will examine the key mid-season trades for each franchise (mid-season being generously described as June 15 to the end of the regular season) and evaluate each deal to see what a mid-season addition is really worth–and if possible, to discern patterns and discover which deals really help and which are of little or even negative value.
After we break down each trade, we’ll come to a “snap judgment,” a hasty conclusion. At the end of the series, we’ll see if those judgments add up to any helpful conclusions. In each installment we’ll highlight a team or two, alternating American and National League clubs. The first two installments will highlight the opponents of the 1992 World Series, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves.
Lots of e-mailers asked about reports that Jason Giambi was tested for cancer last week. Giambi’s been poked, prodded, and had every test known to man conducted over the last few weeks, including ones for cancer. As yet, there is still no solid diagnosis, post-parasitic. Since giardia is easily cleared up, and the body recovers quickly, the symptoms intransigence is puzzling. At some point, we may have to ask whether Giambi is dealing with a condition or merely has lost the skills necessary to play baseball at this level.
Bone marrow edema isn’t a diagnosis heard every day. In baseball, it’s now a singular event, afflicting Magglio Ordonez, who just returned from knee surgery. Also called “transient osteoporosis,” the edema is not just a short-term problem for the Sox’ outfielder, it’s also bad in the long-term; BME is a predictor of serious arthritis, gait imbalances, and increased risk for fractures near the affected bones. It’s not good for the White Sox, for Ordonez, or Ordonez’s agent, but it’s not life-threatening, as some have feared. It could be managed in a way that could allow Ordonez back on the field, but as there is nothing with which to compare this, I have no way of putting a timeline on it.
From a performance-analysis standpoint, the Snakes have been an easy target
because of their affection for older players. It’s not at all surprising that
a team with a roster as old as the Diamondbacks has collapsed; old age has
been a big factor in the 2004 disappointment of their AL counterparts, the Mariners.
The problem is that the team’s older players are its best players. Johnson,
40, might win his sixth Cy Young Award this year. Steve
Finley, 39, leads the team in games, home runs and slugging and is
the most-sought-after position player in the trade market. Luis
Gonzalez, whose left elbow is mostly theoretical at this point, is
hitting .261/.377/.501, although he’s about a week away from shutting himself
down for the season so he can undergo Tommy John surgery.
Alex Rodriguez gets a taste of the Boston/New York rivalry first hand. Sparky Lyle feels under-appreciated by Hall of Fame voters. Goose Gossage doesn’t think he’s getting any respect. Two Rangers teammates disagree on the subject of QuesTec. Lloyd McClendon doesn’t understand why Jack Wilson is so tired. And Shane Spencer talks about going on the DL for something stupid. All this and many more quips in your Monday edition of The Week In Quotes.