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Tom Verducci's View
Tom Verducci
July 24, 2006
A ROOKIE GOES FOR BROKE
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July 24, 2006

Tom Verducci's View

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A ROOKIE GOES FOR BROKE

First-year general manager Wayne Krivsky of the Reds made a risky move last week when he traded two 26-year-old regulars, outfielder Austin Kearns and shortstop Felipe Lopez, to get decent but unspectacular setup relievers Gary Majewski (left) and Bill Bray from the Nationals. (The eight-player deal also brought shortstop Royce Clayton, infielder Brendan Harris and pitching prospect Daryl Thompson to Cincinnati and sent reliever Ryan Wagner to Washington.) The deal was so one-sided that one American League G.M. said, "I would have been embarrassed to propose it." Krivsky knew the Reds wouldn't make the postseason with the NL's worst bullpen (5.20 ERA through Sunday). Trouble is, he still might not get there after overpaying to fix it--not only have the Reds lost offense, but their new relief pitchers won't make much of a difference.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

The day before the All-Star Game, Major League Baseball asked Yankees righthander Mike Mussina (right) to replace White Sox starter Jose Contreras on the AL staff because Contreras had pitched on Sunday and would not be available for the Tuesday game. Mussina declined, having already traveled to his Montoursville, Pa., home (though it was about a four-hour drive from Pittsburgh, the site of the game). He did offer a reasonable suggestion for future All-Star scheduling: play the game on Wednesday, which would allow all selected pitchers to be available. Such timing also would move the Futures Game to Monday--avoiding a head-to-head battle with the Sunday-night major league game for TV viewers--shift the Home Run Derby to Tuesday and give all teams a four-day break. (Sixteen of the 30 teams had four days off this year; the others had three.)

THE RUNDOWN

?If the Mariners stumble in the next two weeks, look for righthander Gil Meche (9-4, 3.87 ERA) to become a plum on the trade market.

?With its 3--2 win in the All-Star Game, the AL earned home field advantage in the World Series. Said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, "No doubt it's an advantage. And for us, home field is huge because it means we have [DH] Jim Thome in the lineup for four games instead of three."

?Heard any complaints about B.J. Ryan's contract lately? At week's end Ryan (left), the Blue Jays' lefthanded closer, had permitted only three extra-base hits (two doubles and a home run), none to lefthanders.

?Beginning on May 9 the Yankees were scheduled to play 67 straight games and 81 of 84 in the Eastern time zone before traveling to Texas on July 24.

Extra Mustard
by Baseball Prospectus

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