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Firing up the Hot Stove
Posted: Monday December 07, 1998 11:26 AM
Is your head spinning from baseball's offseason madness? In a conversation with CNN/SI, Sports Illustrated baseball writer Tom Verducci offers insight on the latest moves, and tells you what might happen next.
Issue: Toronto ace pitcher/Cy Young-winner-for-life Roger Clemens wants to be traded. Where's he headed?
Verducci says: Four teams have a real good shot at Clemens. In order: Houston, the Yankees, Texas and Cleveland. All four of those teams have the capability of satisfying Toronto's demand: three major-league players who can help them now.
Issue: Which team will win Kevin Brown's services?
Verducci says: It's among the Dodgers, the Cardinals and the Padres. Maybe the Rockies are in there. They're on record saying they won't give him six years, but I think Brown will end up with a six-year contract. Randy Johnson got four years, plus an option, and I think the market for Brown is at least five years, plus an option.
If he signs with the Cardinals, that makes them a pennant contender. The only thing missing off that team was a front-of-the-rotation pitcher and I like the moves that they've made so far.
Issue: Who got the best of the Dodgers-Mets-Orioles deal?
Verducci says: That could actually blow up for every team involved, because there are so many risks.
Issue: Which teams have been the offseason winners and losers?
Issue: With Vaughn in Anaheim, Jim Edmonds is on the block. Where is he likely to be traded?
Verducci says: Arizona is a really good fit. The Diamondbacks need an outfielder and they have some pitching to trade. They'd prefer to trade Brian Anderson or Omar Daal, but if the Angels wanted Andy Benes, I'd make that move if I was the Diamondbacks, because Benes can be a free agent after next season and I think Edmonds is one of the top five or six centerfielders in the game. They need his bat and his energy -- more than they need Andy Benes right now.
Issue: How did Robin Ventura come to choose the Mets over other offers?
Verducci says: Ventura made it clear that he signed with the Mets because they were a better team that the Orioles; that they offered him a better chance to win. Here's a guy willing to change leagues to go to a team with a better chance of winning. I think that's an indication of where the Orioles are at right now.
Issue: Why did Rafael Palmeiro spurn a higher offer from the Orioles to return to Texas?
Verducci says: He had personal reasons for leaving. The Orioles couldn't keep him despite offering more money. Palmeiro didn't like the way he was treated there; on the other hand, there are people in Baltimore who will tell you that he wasn't exactly a great influence in the clubhouse and they aren't all that broken up about him leaving.
Issue: The owners called an emergency meeting in Chicago to discuss the recent spending spree. What should their agenda be?
Verducci says: The No. 1 dialogue in baseball right now is the disparity between the "haves" and the "have-nots." The owners have to figure out not just what's happened in the past two weeks, but how to get a harness on the problem, because it's only getting worse and worse.
Revenue sharing is in place, but that's only a first step. There's not nearly enough money changing hands. What the owners have to do is, they have to find some way to get into the pockets of the Yankees and the Indians and the Orioles and the Braves and spread that money around. Historically, that's been very hard to do, but somehow they've got to share more of that money.
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