Talk baseball all season long with SI.com's Jacob Luft in Baseball Chatter, a journal for hot topic debates, Sabermetric ramblings and reader-driven discussions.
12/28/2006 06:33:00 PM
The Barry & Barry Zito
Barry Zito won't be enough to vault the Giants into the pennant race next season.
The Giants' signing of Barry Zito to the richest contract for a pitcher in history makes sense in some ways, but it won't be enough to lift them into contender status for next season. Maybe that would be the case if the Giants were in the NL Central, but in the loaded NL West they still look like they are headed for fourth place.
On the bright side, San Francisco now has somebody it can put on the media guide cover after Barry Bonds leaves. The Giants also get a younger replacement for the departed Jason Schmidt, who left for the Dodgers earlier this winter. In fact, their numbers are pretty similar when you adjust their 2006 stats to a neutralized run environment. In other words, taking out ballpark factors and league differences. (Thank you baseball-reference.com!):
With or without Zito, the Giants have a lineup full of players who could have voted for Ronald Reagan ... twice. And the same bullpen that ranked 15th in the NL in ERA doesn't look to be in any better shape.
The biggest problem of all for San Francisco is the competition in the NL West. The Diamondbacks have a strong, young corps of everyday players and a trio of workhorses (Brandon Webb, Livan Hernandez and Doug Davis) at the front of the rotation. Arizona is my early pick to finish in first place. The Padres and Dodgers both made the playoffs last year and made major changes, mostly for the better, this offseason.
As far as winter acquisitions who will have the most bearing on the pennant races next season, the Zito signing isn't one of them. At least not for 2007. (Zito is young enough at 28 that they can build around him and Matt Cain for 2008.)
Here's my top five impact moves of the Hot Stove season:
Eric Gagne, Closer, Rangers
It's tough to build a contender while playing your home games in an extreme hitter's park. History shows that the best way to go about it is to assemble a lineup full of mashers and have a hammer at the end of the bullpen. If Gagne can come back healthy, he will pair up with Akinori Otsuka to give the Rangers' an eighth- and ninth-inning duo that will win them a lot of games.
Alfonso Soriano, OF, Cubs
The Cubs were the worst team in the National League last season, but it only took 83 victories for the Cardinals to win the NL Central and it might not take much more than that in 2007. Adding Soriano to Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez gives Chicago a legitimate lineup, and the signing of Ted Lilly should help stabilize the rotation. The Cardinals are going with the kids in the rotation and the Astros lost Andy Pettitte for sure and probably Roger Clemens too. The division is so ripe for the taking that the Brewers may even be contenders now.
Mike Piazza, DH, Athletics
Even with Zito gone, the A's will have enough pitching to get their customary 90 wins. But Piazza has to be a reasonable facsimile of Frank Thomas for the offense to be anywhere near respectable.
Marcus Giles, 2B, Padres
Forget that he was non-tendered by the cash-strapped Braves. Giles is a solid all-around player who will give San Diego offense from a defensive position. Picking him up means the Padres' gamble of trading Josh Barfield to the Indians for third base prospect Kevin Kouzmanoff paid off.
Vernon Wells, OF, Blue Jays
He's not a new acquisition, but I'm going to list his long-term extension (7 years, $126 million) here because of the message it shows to the Blue Jays players and fans that they are serious about winning. Otherwise, the Blue Jays would have had the distraction of a possible Wells trade to deal with all season during his walk year. This isn't a stathead thing to say, but I believe that will be worth at least a couple of wins in what will be a tight AL wild-card race.
Zito is getting more than I would have paid him thats for sure. But moving to the National League, I wouldn't be surprised to be one of the 10 best picthers in the NL for the next 5 years. That is worth something!
Looking at your list of impact signings, I have to wonder why you left Matszaka off.
I am very happy that the Red Sox dumped their $100 million into Matsuzaka, who I think will outperform Zito (league adjusted of course) over the life of the contract and whose contract constraints on the Red Sox in luxury tax terms are half more than half of Zito's.
Not having Matsuzaka on this list is just irresponsible. His presence in the rotation could tip the balance of power in the AL East. Without him, you can say the Sox and Yanks have somewhat similar rotations, and the Yanks have the better team because of their lineup. With him, you have to say the Sox rotation is vastly superb.
What about the Tribe? I dont think any team has fixed a hole better: Roberto Hernandez, JJ Putz, Joe Browski, and Keith Foulk. Add in Jason Davis, Rafael Bentacourt and Fausto Carmona and the bullpen will easily win 15-20 more games than they did last year.
Roberto Hernandez? Joe Borowski? Proven to a degree somewhat in the National League but far from stellar. J.J. Putz, sue as hell aint gonna help the Indians while he is still pitching in Seattle. Kieth Foulke? He might help if he is even close to healthy? Did you watch him the last two years serving up gopher balls like Fenway Franks? Those young guys you mentioned have about as much confindence left in them as Barry Bonds has a chance to prove he is innocent of steroid use.
Let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet with Dice-K. The dude has yet to throw a pitch in the majors. There are a LOT of people in Beantown nervous that he'll end up like Irabu did with the Yanks. Remember when he was the can't miss superstar from the Far East?
Just so I understand - In your column dated 12/05/06, you listed the Soriano deal as 1 of 5 you didn't like. Today, you say the Soriano deal is one of the 5 deals that will have a high impact. What a windsock.
I'm pretty sure that the Matsuzaka signing is going to have a bigger impact than Eric Gagne - adding a washed up and unproven closer to a team that already had a closer? Come on. And just how is Ted Lily with his barely .500 record going to stabilize anything? A 59-58 career record just goes to show he makes no difference - he loses just as many games as he wins. He'd be lucky to even get noticed.
I'm surprised that Zito committed so strongly to not competing for a World Series title in his forseeable career. I know the money was ridiculous, but does he realize his odds to win are better on probably 20 other teams?
Stating that the Matsuzaka signing tips the scales between the Yankees and Sox rotations is absurd. I fully understand the stuff this kid has, but until I see a Japanese pitcher (or any Japanese player for that matter) perform in Major League Baseball, I will be skeptical. For every Ichiro and Matsui, there will be two Irabu's and... the other Matsui.
The NL west is loaded? Yes its loaded, if you mean that its loaded with teams that can't contend in October. Of all of the teams that will make it into the playoff picture the Giants and the Dodgers are the only contenders. The Padres are restructuring and will probably play .500 baseball at best. Arizona and Colorado are still garbage in spite of whatever offseason signings have and will come thru. A little advice to you...Quit your day job.
If you're going to include Vernon Wells, even though he wasn't a new acquistion, you'd be just plain dumb for not including the better signings of Aramis Ramirez, Chris Carpenter, and Roy Oswalt. Ramirez has posted an OPS of .900+ for 3 straight years while averaging 35 HRs and 105 RBI. Carpenter finished third in Cy Young voting a year after winning the award. The only reason Oswalt, whose numbers are similar to Carpenter, hasn't gotten more attention for a Cy Young is because he pitches on the same team as Clemens. And all three of these players re-signed for far less than Vernon Wells.
And what planet do teams spend $127 million for "PR"...please. I am a lifetime Jints fan, and even though we spent more than I would've liked for him, it was a necesaary signing for the Giants, espeically beyond 2007 & Bonds...
"Just so I understand - In your column dated 12/05/06, you listed the Soriano deal as 1 of 5 you didn't like. Today, you say the Soriano deal is one of the 5 deals that will have a high impact. What a windsock."
-I don't like the deal either, but you'd have to be a fool to think that it won't have a high impact on the Cubs.
For Zito and the Giants; What a joke. You have to wonder if Mr. Sabean has lost his mind. Zito is a fantastic pitcher, but a well rounded team, he is not.
Not to jump on the bandwagon here, but the previous posters are correct - will Marcus Giles, solid roleplayer though he may be, affect the league in 2007 with the same impact as Matsuzaka? If so, there will be plenty of unhappy fans in Boston. Giles is a nice acquisition, not the kind of player who can make the difference between a contender and an also-ran.
Furthermore, the A's may win 90 games - Billy Beane always seems to find a way, and their rotation remains strong even after the Zito defection. But if you're expecting Piazza to revert to the form he displayed early in his career with the Dodgers and, for a time, the Mets - which is pretty much the only way he'll match Thomas' MVP-type campaign in '06 - dream on. He's a catcher on the wrong side of 30, with neither the leg strength nor bat speed to do what Thomas, oft-injured but long liberated from the physical stress of playing the field, did. If he's going to decide the fate of the 2007 A's, then we might as well coronate the Angels today.
tribe's bullpen signings are good, though...all experienced guys who have closed at some point (except for fultz). hernandez and foulke will be a lot more confident in the 6th and 7th rather than the 9th...the tribe isn't planning on having them close.
of course, foulke hasn't signed yet, so maybe we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves....although it looks likely.
Matsuzaka should have been on your list. The addition of Dice-K give BoSox a premium rotation. I don't see how Ted Lily will improve the Cubs a bit on the ptiching side. He's a 4-5th spot pitcher and he doesn't worth 10 per. The Cubs decide to shop around and they buy everything they could on the market. Not the best strategy, at all, to build a contender...
The Zito signing irks me a little. As recently as yesterday morning I read an article in which Zito was quoted as saying he wanted to take his time to find the best fit with a club who wanted to win for years to come. He even compared his abilities to put a team on his back and win to Sandy Koufax.
Then, he signs with the Giants for ,get this .... the longest and largest contract offer out there by far. I don't begrudge him the money at all and I think he is a good pitcher. But, he should put the rhetoric about wanting to win for years to come away when he says no to the Mets, Yankees and the others. Each of those two could win more games next year than the Giants may in the next two years.
I wish him all the best, but he should leave the talking to his agent or just speak the truth. I also agree with the earlier comment that the Giants overpaid for him. Seven years is a long time for a pitcher.
As a Braves fan, I watched Marcus Giles for a couple years now and while he used to be a good player he has broken down and was not the same player last year. Somehow I think the crackdown on performance enhancing drugs has something to do with it. Also, Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder have been less than then stellar since their moves to the NL, so let's see Zito prove himself first before we go anointing him the Giants savior.
I dont think that crack at the NL Central was justified. I am not saying that the Giants wouldnt have a better shot. I think Zito would get rocked very frequently. There are no pitchers parks in the central as opposed to the west which is full of them. He is a fly ball pitcher, and he would not have fun pitching anywhere in the NL Central.
Come on now ... the Brewers have a solid 5-man rotation, a good 1-2-3 back end of the bullpen with Cordero, Turnbow and Matt Wise and a youthful solid lineup featuring youngsters Weeks and Fielder. If the injury bug stays away ...
To be fair, you can not like the Soriano deal (because the Cubs vastly overpaid on a too-long contract for a guy who while having power and speed can't take a walk), and still think it will have an impact.
And now they're going to have to pay Carlos Zambrano or risk losing the only pitcher who's been consistently excellent for them. You have to think that with the Zito contract his price probably starts at $20 million a year or more as he's younger and better.
One of the "Anonymous" right above me is right, the Zito deal is a joke. Yes, I am a disappointed Mets fan that would have loved to see him at Shea. But I can't argue with Omar's thinking - the stats simply show going past 5 years for a pitcher is a risk. And unlike the guys in the Bronx, he didn't simply want to be reckless. My real disappointment, though, was actually believing Zito when he said he wanted to go to a team that would contend for years. The Giants are ancient, have a terrible bullpen, and a weak farm system. I'm expecting that in 3 or 4 seasons from now, Zito will want out and the Giants will be looking to dump that contract.
classic redsox fans. always looking for approval. i guess that is what happens when you are always number 2 throughout your history. the marlins have one more world series title than the redsox in the past 80 odd years. two words for d-mat: hideki irabu. it will be glorious to watch the feeding frenzy should he turn out to be A bomb rather than THE bomb. glorious. boston is such a small place, the fans cannot but help harping on THEIR SAWX and REDSAWXNATION. take it from someone whose team has spent an awful lot of loot and not won a WS title. money will not buy a championship. letting damon go was a mistake. then giving dmat no. 18? vindictive. i guess golden boy theo is auditioning for the gm job w/ kc or tampa or pittsburgh (w/ lucky larry lucchino's help of course). anyone can strike lightning once.
Finally the Cubs have started spending money, however, throwing money and long-term contracts at lesser talent and older players is not the answer to landing the first championship in a century. I am preparing myself for a huge letdown when the overpriced pitching staff continues to produce losing seasons and mid 5 ERA's
Wow, Sabean went from rebuilding his team with quick fix veterans, to overpaying for a 3rd starter! The big argument this offseason is that contracts will look much better years to come. Paying Zito 18 million a year will never look good! You really have to give agent Scott Boras credit here. Zito firmly stated that he wanted to stay on the west coast before any negotions began. What Boras did was to get Omar Minaya and Jon Daniels worked up so that a west coast team would indeed pay Zito his 18 million. Boras never even had to get Brian Cashman in on the negotions. (A givin now that reports come to light that the Yankees NEVER made an offer). Once again hats off to Scott Boras, he got Zito in the NL(he should win 15 games), staying on the west coast, and the richest contract for a pitcher in history.
I agree that the Zito signing is a bit ridiculous. To give a pitcher, who plays a fourth of the games, the same money that an everyday player gets is a little strange. Especially since he hasn't come close to the Cy Young year he had, and he is going to a worse team. I would be shocked if he wins 15 games. Pay me one million and I'll go out and lose 10 games for you.
But at least they are building their rotation for the future with Zito Lowrey and Cain....Good Pitchers are the hardest commodity in baseball to aquire...compare the Giants staff to the Mets know and see who's is better.
There are alwalys more position players available via free agency or trade. When you have a chance to land a Barry ZIto....especially when you play in the NL....you have to do it.
The reason D-Mat isn't on the list is that no one (Red Sox fan or not) knows what he will do. I'm sure he won't go 7-15 or anything horrible, but I also wouldn't bank on a 18-20+ win season either. As for Soriano, the cubs need to do like the Sox (both Red and White) and finally break their own lil curse, and adding talent such as his is a great step in the right direction. And lastly, Zito, moving to the NL will do nothing but help his numbers. He won't wint a World Series (and for that matter may no see post season play for years) but he will be a 20 win guy year after year and thats why they are forking the doe over for him... PS with or without d-mat the sox still wont win the AL east, GO BOMBERS!
I wouldn't be so quick to assume Otsuka will be a "hammer" at the end of the bullpen. After a year in the NL, teams got used to him and roughed him up. Most people assume it is an assumption, but why? Shingo Takatsu was the same way. When you consider his funky delivery, it makes sense. His strikeout rate was down, his walk rate went up, and he had a 1.34 WHIP in the second half.
As a White Sox fan, after the Zito signing I'm afraid of what Mark Buehrle will be worth when he's a free agent next year I think. I hope Kenny Williams' hedge fund of a rotation he's putting together works out.
Thats all I hear out of everyone regarding the Giants. They aren't a terrible team. They have been a mediocre team with a old-school senile manager. I think getting Boche will automatically make this team better and now their starting pitching looks pretty good. They may not have the best power hitters, but in AT&T isn't good for power hitters anyway. What they have added is solid ballplayers with speed and OBP, which is a must at AT&T (check out their OBP last year, terrible). Plus their lowerminors are pretty good, its just the upper minors that are depleted from trading away all the talent trying to go for it all. In three years a lot of good young players will be making the bigs.
To the fatso who picked the D-Backs to win the NL West all I have to say is HAHAHAHAHAHA! Has this guy ever even watched the NL West? The Dodgers are definitely the favorites to win it, but their players have many injury concerns (Nomar, Kent, Penny, Schmidt, etc).
The Giles signing will help the Padres. Giles is a great defender at 2B and if the Padres keep him out of the leadoff spot, he'll hit much better than last season. He's a gap hitter, loves the doubles, and that should pay off in the large confines of Petco Park. He must remain healthy though, and that has always been a tough thing for Marcus to do. With the Padres pitching staff and lineup as is, I think they are the favorite to win the West. But I do not think Marcus Giles is going to be a bigger impact player than D-Mat. I'm not even a Boston fan, but D-Mat will have a far greater impact on his team, good or bad, than Marcus Giles will.
I love the Zito signing. Why? F- the Mets. They have 2 regulars under 30. 3 regulars under 35. The first base platoon is a combined 81 years old. The top of the rotation is over 40. They are looking more and more like the Giants of the East. Though they will play better than the Giants. But they are just about as old as the Giants. Basically, F- the Mets. They suck. They are a one year wonder which coasted into a play off spot based off the weak performance of their division whom they played against the most. Next season, the Phillies will be better, the Braves will be better, and assuming the Marlins don't take a collective sophomore slump, they'll be just as good or better than last year. The Mets though will only be older and uglier.
I think the most glaringly stupid comment has to be from the "Anonymous" that stated that Eric Gagne is "washed up and unproven". Please- plenty of pitchers come back from rotator cuff injuries. That is, unless you believe 288 game winner Tommy John to have been some "washed up" loser too. And unproven? Why of course! Holding the Major League consecutive save record while winning a Cy Young award in between approximately 2 1/2 years of 9th inning perfection doesn't prove ANYTHING.
I'm a 17 year old aspiring journalist, and when I start writing for SI, I can't wait to chew out idiotic statements like that.
The Red Sox offseason sounds just like last year. They trade for Beckett and eveyone thinks they will go the World Series.How well did Schilling /Beckett work out last year? Not even a postseason. To me I think The Sox's GM is losing his touch. He does not know how to win anymore. The Sox's can not wait for young pitchers to grow up with the type of media they have.
Prediction: Matszaka goes 13-13 and the Sox's say goodbye to Schilling(retires) and Beckett wants a trade.
1. Not one player on the Giants could have voted for Reagan twice, even Bonds
2. Only Bonds could have voted for Reagan
3. Only 3 players on the 40 man could have voted for George HW Bush (Worrell, Bonds, Matheny) and two of them won't be on the 25 man roster.
My point is the Giants aren't as old as everyone is playing them out to be. Maybe last year when their outfield was Bonds, Finley and Alou, but now their position players are mostly in their low to mid 30s. Not young but not yet over the hill. Their pitching staff is really young, especially the bullpen, so I could see a lot of improvements their. They needed to get faster, better plate discipline and a manager who knows how to use a bullpen, and I think they got that. They will not finish fourth in the nL West (most likely that goes to your #1 team D-Backs). Young teams are fun to speculate on, but for every Twins or Marlins, there are multiple Rockies and Royals.
Zito just proved that he is a flake. i'm sure he was relieved that he would not have to go to NY so he could play for a team where the fans will call him a hero if they win but do not care if they lose.
The one quote from the person who commented that the Giants are building a pitching staff for the future while the Mets aren't isn't taking into consideration that the Mets are avoiding the trade of their young prospects - Pelfrey, Humber, Perez and Maine - so they're actually doing the same thing as the Giants.
The Giants have no bullpen, the oldest infield around, the slowest outfield, and unfortunately, Zito doesn't have a Mulder and a Hudson to help him time travel back to his Cy Young year. At his best, Zito is a small bandaid for what the Giants need.
Sabean is again taking big risks that the aging big name vets still have a little pop left in their bats. The last old guy signing that paid off for Sabean was Grissom, but he still keeps going back to the well for a miracle. Did Klesco even play last season? I would have been less surprised if they pulled the big cat out of retirement. Why not grab Snow and Mueller and have a 2002 infield reunion?
Instead of rebuilding for the future, the Giants keep settling for the competitive, mediocre approach. They know the fans will come to see Barry break the record as the team coasts to a fourth place finish in the worst division in baseball.
The three impact players are the two Japanese pitchers for the Yankees and Red Sox plus J.D.Drew. Should they become injured or not play well, it could hurt the Yankees for years to come but kill the Red Sox.
The Padres are rebuilding?? Whoever posted that is an obvious American League fan, and doesn't watch of lick of the (real baseball) National league. The Padres have won back-to-back division titles and have improved this off-season. Albeit, the Dodgers have had a good off-season ,as well... But the Padres HAVE to be the favorite. .500 baseball? Stop smokin' and stat watching (baseball). crackhead!
I am a diehard San Diego Padres fan, but how the heck does adding Marcus Giles change anything? He is a solid player, and (in my opinion) a great aquisition, but changing the division race? I really just don't see that happening.
The Barry Zito deal was dumb. Period. Yes, he's young, and yes he will benefit from playing in a pitcher friendly park in a pitcher friendly division, but he has not been that great of a pitcher. Not since he won the Cy Young in 2002. Paying $18 million a year for a guy who should be a number 3 starter is ludicrous. Giving him seven years is almost as insane too.
The thing i dont understand about this whole deal is why you had to pick on the central in this particular scenario. I understand that the NL central was pretty bad this year, but Zito is a fly ball pitcher and he would be playing in a division where all the parks are either hitters parks or nuetral. The west is all pitchers parks except for colorado.
I don't argue with leaving Matsuzaka off. No one knows how he will pitch in the toughest division in baseball. Even the Boston press, prior to the signing, said he had dominated "a second-rate league." He may be great -- or he may like the world-beating NL pitchers who come to the AL and are mediocre at best.
I dont think Zito is going to be great. I think he will do pretty well, but i think he would do alot worse in the NL central. I am not saying the central is great or anyhting, even though they did have the WS champion Cardinals WOOO!!!!. sorry, the reason i think that way is because the Central is filled with both hitters parks and neutral parks. it doesnt have any pitchers parks like the AL and NL west do. With him being a flyball pitcher and the Central being full of sluggers, i really think he would stink it up. But thats just one mans opinion. Oh by the way, this blog was supposed to be about Barry Zito not the Japanese guy.
You are kidding, right? Matsuzaka is going to help a bunch of quitters like the Red Sox. After their sound beating at the hands of the Yankees during a five game sweep, the Sox quit their way to the end of the season. The over-rated, underachieving staff was lead by...give me a minute. Know why other teams do not want Manny? Quitter, crybaby and the hope of a run at the playoffs in 2007? Dream on Boston fans. When the going gets tough, Boston quits and boo hoo's their way to the end of the season. Enough about someone whose only pitch in a major league ball park bounced up to the plate so badly it hit the owner.
I think praising the Piazza signing is even worse than the Zito signing. To think that Piazza is going to have a "Frank Thomas" year is nuts! Even when Thomas was hurt, he still put up decent numbers. Piazza looks like he needs a walker to even get to the plate, DH or not. What about deals/ no deals like the Freddy Garcia trade or not trading Manny. I think the Garcia trade will end up like the Arroyo trade last year. Great for the team that got him, bad for the team that let him go.
The Soriano deal is probably one of the better deals of the $100 million dollar men. He should hit 40 homers just in Wrigley. He steals 30+ bases too. I know he srtikes out alot, but how many home run hitters don't? Not to many. The Lee deal kills me. I wish I could be overweight and not really accomplish much, and still make that coin in athletics.
Just wondering why all these bloggers are saying that the D-Mat signing was the most significant, and much more significant than Zito's. Unless you have attended a few games in Japan, no one in the U.S. that isn't a scout has seen him pitch. Everyone is basing his ability off reputation and performance in Japan. Baseball execs have dumped millions on similar players before with little or no results (anybody even remember Hideo Nomo? how about Hideki Irabu?)
Luft, you aren't paying attention. I think your biggest error was clearly leaving off Dice-K, but only a close second was in including the Gagne signing. Big deal, so Texas now has 1 great closer (Otsuka) and 1 washed up ambulance case. And the anonymous Yankees fan who decided to jump all over the Boston postings...dude, grow up. You aren't doing yourself or your team any favors by perpetuating the behavior that makes every other fan in the world a Yankee hater. And no, don't fool yourself by claiming jealousy, because who could be jealous of a Yankees fan who states so baldly that a team cannot buy a championship. As if this hasn't been the Yankee approach for the past 15 years... Now, perhaps the true best move of the offseason was by Terry Ryan of the Twins. When Radke retired and freed up $12 million in an incredibly tight payroll, what did Ryan do? Run out and sign a big name? No, he's using that money to sign Mauer, Morneau and Cuddyer to long term contracts. Talk about an impact move.
as for matsucka!!! just because Boston wound up with him, doesn't mean that Boston is the team to beat. Give me a break!!! He is just 1 pitcher that goes every 5 days, and he will be in alot of trouble going against the very strong Yankee lineup!!!!
What is all the talk about Matsuzaka tipping the balance of power in the AL East? The Red Sox have had the best starting rotation in the East (on paper) for the past three years now and they still have finished behind the Yanks. His impact will be that his constant media attention will deflect attention from an aging Curt Schilling, a mediocre Josh Becket and a Closer turned starter in Papelbon who will realize that pitching 7 or 8 innings at his intensity will damage more things than his ego.
I saw D-Mat pitch in the US against major league hitters. His team won the WBC. It was a blast to go to the games as well. Caught a lot of the Japanese games. When D-Mat pitched, he was on. 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA. He'll do alright.
From a Jays fan's perspective, Vernon Wells' signing was a must, but until JP Riccardi manages to get 1-2 inning eating starters and a quality setup guy, V-dub's impact is only to maintain the status quo which doesn't get them into the playoffs. The D-Backs trade for Doug Davis was brilliant and makes them contenders with the Padres who are still missing the power hitter that can make a difference, but both are still behind the Dodgers who'll take the West. Going back to the AL East, I bet Clemens signs with Boston or New York and be the difference maker that keeps the Jays out for sure.
Soriano looks like a steal when you consider what Drew and Lee got. Anyone who can hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases can make a huge impact. As for Lilly, I believe he will be a 15 to 17 game winner. He comes from a hitters league to a league where it is a little easier to pitch in. 10M is a lot, but that is the price for his caliber this year. Suppan 4/44M, Meche 5/55M, Schmidt 3/47M, Zito 7/126M. Lilly 4/40M looks pretty good.
I'm a life long Cubs fan and I can't believe how much Zito got from the Giants and what the Cubs paid to get a flyball .500 pitcher in Lily and a guy in Suppan who can't outpitch anyone on the team that we are trying to beat!! I just can't imagine how much big Z is going to command!!! The Cubs better sign him now or else all these signings they made this year is a waste of money!!!!!
Obviously the best signing of the winter was the Cubs giving three years, $21 million to a guy coming off a 16-loss, 6 ERA season.
Seriously though, one of the most intriguing things to look for this coming year will be how many rookies and journeymen making the minimum or just above it are going to end up out-performing all the mediocre players who cashed in big this offseason. Some GMs never learn.
To quote another poster, HATE HATE HATE is all I get for the D-backs. Read the article, he's right about the D-backs. Maybe not first, but a contender. These young kids are for real. All you other teams are drooling over those one or two hotshot prospects, but we've got 5 of them + Tracy, Eric Byrnes, Orlando Hudson, with three workhorses, Mr. Cy, and some great pitching prospects. Not to mention Randy Johnson.
Barry Zito for $126 million. 7 years. Who are the mega-brains who dream up these deals? Sorry to be a sourpuss, but all I hope in '07 is that Bonds either terminally injures his baseball body, or decides to "do the right thing", admit he uses steroids, does some jail time for tax evasion and retires in obscurity. GO Dodgers, Red Sox, Angels and Phillies!
Padres will win the West. With Young, Peavy, Hansely and Maddux, they have the best rotation. A strong rotation as well. The Dodgers have a bunch of head case DL pitchers. Schmidt is probably the most over-rated pitcher this offseason. The guy took 10 years before he had a single season ERA under 4. He's had a handful of good season, several years ago. And on top of that, he's just one qwirk away from the DL. In the end, the Dodgers have less of a pitching staff than they had last season and an even less effective offense. Absolutely zero power. Not a single power threat in the entire line up. And then Pierre in Center. HA! They're a 3rd or 4th place team at best. Padres, D-Backs, Dodgers/Giants, Rockies. Who knows, Rockies might be better than the old Bridegrooms. What a joke of a team.
No matter how hard the D-Backs work, they will never end the year above the Giants. Sure, the Ginats are old, but they have been for the past couple of years, and have still managed to be in the hunt until the ast couple weeks. The dodgers will be the team to beat, but the pads will keep pluggin away just above .500. the D-backs and rockies will have promise, but will fall apart. the Giants will keep overacheiving. Zito is definetly not a #3 pitcher like some people claim. He is the clear ace of most teams in baseball. Then lowry and cain. each week, one of them manages a masterpeice. morris wil s*ck, and hensessy will be ok... Durham will hit 30 if he stays healthy. feliz will hit 30. barry will hit 25. omar will hit .295, so will D.R. and the molina signing will turrn out to be stupid, because Eliezer Alfonzo can put up the same numbers cheaper. aurillia is weak, and so is klesko. Sweeny should be the starter at first with omar at short, ray at 2nd pedro at third. outfield: Barry in Left, DR in center, and Winn in right. Klesko will back up barry, or aurillia will take third when barry sits out and pedro takes left. look for jonathan sanchez to be lights out in the bullpen, with armando being terrible. the accardo trade was terrible, because he was the most promising young gun in the bullpen.
If Zito is worth $126 million, can you imagine what my team's guy: Johan Santana would be worth? He'll be a free agent unless they re-sign him in 2 years...he could be the first $150 million dollar pitcher.