News and Notes from Around the League

Keith - 12/26/04 - The Giants finalized their deal with Moises Alou for 2 years and $13.25 million. This completes the San Francisco scheme of signing ancient players to expensive multi-year contracts. By the end of April, 50% of the Giants' starting eight position players will be aged 38 or older, and all of them will be at least 30 years old. "Dustan Mohr," who at age 28 had no part in the Giants' future plans, signed with Colorado. There, he should be able to post a nice slugging percentage next to his .394 OBP of last season, and may be the next player to drink from the Fountain of Coors.

Keith - 12/23/04 - Although the 2004 season intimated that Pedro Martinez might be starting to decline, he is unquestionably the best Major League pitcher over the past eight seasons, and already one of the best pitchers of all-time. When Pedro signed with the Mets, many doubts were cast upon the Red Sox' chances to repeat as World Champions in 2005. But the timely departure of Derek Lowe has combined with the shrewd signings of Matt Clement and Wade Miller to give Boston the best rotation in the American League.

Keith - 12/12/04 - In 1990, longtime Cardinal Willie McGee won the NL Batting Crown despite being traded to the
Oakland A's that August.  Fourteen years later, Tampa's Victor Zambrano has accomplished a feat both more
impressive and more dubious: He's managed to tie for the AL lead in walks allowed despite being traded to the Mets in
July!  The staff of unanimously and correctly predicted that Victor would pace the AL in walks
allowed...see how the rest of our 2004 predictions fared.

Keith - 12/10/04 - The Indians try to re-live the infamous Brian Giles/Ricardo Rincon deal of 1998 by trading surplus
outfielder Matt Lawton a couple of hours east to Pittsburgh for southpaw setup man Arthur Rhodes. No such luck, though, since this is a much more even trade than the Giles debacle.

Keith - 11/26/04 - Kendall traded to Oakland Pittsburgh finally managed to rid themselves of Jason Kendall's salary over Thanksgiving weekend.  Jason's .387 career OBP is fifth all-time among catchers (sixth, if you count Frank
Chance) and he immediately becomes Oakland's best leadoff hitter since Rickey Henderson's heyday. Meanwhile, Mark Redman and Arthur Rhodes join Pittsburgh's Oliver Perez, Dave Williams, and Mike Gonzalez to form the NL's
most formidable left-handed pitching staff, pending a trade of the Big Unit. Read Asher's thoughts on the trade.

Asher - 11/22/04 - The Expos Sign Two
The Washington/Montreal/Puerto Rico Expos/Senators/Greys/Nationals snatched up Cristian Guzman and Vinny Castilla on Tuesday. While Guzman appears passed his prime already at the age of 27, and Castilla has proven that he can only succeed as a Colorado Rockie, this is a solid showing for a team which has been handcuffed in the off-season the last three years. The Expos won't be helped, however, by Vinny
Castilla's double play rate, however. Interestingly, it was his fourth straight season with exactly 22 double plays

Scott - 11/17/04 - Scott Defends Gil McDougald

Scott - 11/16/04 - If there is anything that the BaseballEvolution staff can agree on, it is the greatness of Pedro Martinez. It in
generally agreed that Pedro Martinez's 2000 season is one of the all time great pitching seasons ever. But Scott has
noticed something to indicate that Pedro may be coming to the end of the line , something the Yankees might want to
take note of if they are thinking about signing the future Hall of Famer.

Asher - 11/16/04 - In part because he was tired of playing in front of no one, and perhaps in part because he was
tired of being over shadowed by Barry Bonds, Vlad Guerrero switched teams and leagues this season, and it paid off
as he was rewarded with his first MVP award. Unable for years to best seven time winner Bonds in the NL, Vlad easily
beat out Gary Sheffield, Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz for the AL Award.

Asher - 11/14/04 - Johann Santana has exactly one season as a full time starter under his belt, and that season was
a dandy. Santana won the 2004 AL Cy Young Award today, and if comparisons to Pedro Martinez have any merit, this will not be his last. Santana's only real competition was Curt Schilling, and even Schilling's stellar season for the World Champion Red Sox could not stop Santana from taking the award unanimously. And Santana's unanimous award
further guarantees that he will not make Scott's list of Pitchers That Make You Go Hmmm...

Asher - 11/13/04 - Roger Clemens, who won his unprecedented seventh Cy Young Award yesterday, has won a Cy
Young for all four teams he has played on. He won the award twice in two  years in Toronto, also winning the pitching
triple in crown both years, and if he retires this off-season, he'll have taken the award in his only season as an Astro.
He also joins Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, and Gaylord Perry as the only pitchers to win the award in both leagues.

Scott's- 11/3/04 - Scott's response to Top Ten Rookie of the Year Busts - Mark "The Bird" Fidrych's career was partly
curtailed because, during his second season, he injured himself by horsing around whilst shagging fly balls in the
outfield prior to a game. His stuff and confidence both took a hit.

And his stuff was mainly confidence. He didn't do much that fancy. He just kept the ball low.

Keith - 11/3/04 - Burnitz and Clayton actually got thank-you cards from Rockies managment for their fine seasons. The notes went on to talk about Colorado's commitment to a youth movement. Point being, Burnitz will not re-sign with them.

From "Daily Fun Facts," an early Baseball Evolution Feature

Daily Fun Fact - November 1, 2004 - Barry Bonds led the National League in OPS for the fourth straight year, becoming the first player to do that since, well, himself, from 1990-1993. The only other players to accomplish that feat even once in Major League history are Dan Brouthers, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby, and Ted Williams.

For those Bonds vs. Ruth fans out there, Ruth did it six years in a row, twice. Of course, there are only three times as many players for Bonds to beat out as there were for Ruth to beat out.

Daily Fun Fact - October 30, 2004 - Part Two: In 2004, the Yankees and Rangers paid ARod a combined $22 million to play baseball. Hank Blalock, Mark Teixeira, Michael Young, Kenny Rogers, and Francisco Cordero made a combined $8.125 million.

Daily Fun Fact - October 29, 2004 - Part One: Alex Rodriguez has switched teams twice, first going from the Mariners to the Rangers in 2001, and then from the Rangers to the Yankees in 2004. In the season after ARod's departure, his former teams' win-loss record has improved by a total of 43 wins, and his new teams' win-loss record has improved by a combined total of 2 wins.

Daily Fun Fact - October 28, 2004 - For the second time in his career, Edgar Renteria was the final batter of the World Series. Last night, he hit a bouncer back to pitcher Keith Foulke for the final out of the Red Sox' sweep of the Cardinals. In 1997, his base hit drove in Craig Counsell to score the winning run in Game 7 of the Marlins' World Series victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Daily Fun Fact - October 27, 2004 - A.J. Pierzynski, who spent most of his time batting fifth behind Barry Bonds for the Giants this season, hit into a remarkable 27 double plays to lead the National League. But what makes Pierzynski the daily fun fact for today, the 27th, is that he also managed to strike out an unfathomable 27 times in 471 at-bats. He is the first player since Tony Gwynn (17) in 1996 to have the same number of strikeouts as double plays.

Daily Fun Fact - October 26, 2004 - Reggie Sanders, who has played for seven teams in seven seasons, is currently playing in his third World Series in four years. He sure can pick 'em.

Asher - 10/10/2004 - reveals some interesting season-end statistics, including some disparate salary-to-performance
ratios for Carlos Zambrano and Darren Dreifort.

Scott - 9/19/2004 - In January, 1923, a flu attack aggravated George Sisler's sinuses so severely that he was left
with a permanent case of double vision. He sat out the entire 1923 season, trained himself to hit the two balls crossing
the plate, and managed to hit better than .300 in six of his last seven seasons.

Keith - 6/19/04 - My 2004 All-Star Ballot:


C: Ivan Rodriguez------Mike Piazza
1B:Frank Thomas------Sean Casey
2B:Juan Uribe-----------Jeff Kent
SS:Carlos Guillen------Jack Wilson
3B:Melvin Mora---------Scott Rolen
LF:Manny Ramierez----Barry Bonds
CF:Lew Ford------------Lance Berkman
RF:Vlad Guerrero------Bobby Abreu

I had to write in Uribe and Ford.

Asher - 5/5/2004 - "The Mets played Saturday's game at San Diego under protest after Padres reliever Akinori Otsuka threw one pitch in the eighth inning. The Mets said that Otsuka balks with each pitch."

So, "playing under protest."

That's actually a thing.

You learn something new everyday.

Keith - 5/2/04 - In Jason Stark's latest article,  he claims Matt Stairs' experiences with the poor-start A's of 2001 will
help the poor-start Royals of 2004...  His presence on the 2001 Cubs was apparently a figment of my imagination.

- 5/1/2004 -
Asher - Okay, it is May 1, 2004, and I am officially calling it. The San Francisco Giants are misusing Barry
Bonds. He just got intentionally walked for the second time today, with one out and no one on.

If pitchers are going to resolutely take the bat of his hands, then he should be batting in spots which score runs, not
spots which drive in runs. No pitchers are going to give him the opportunity to drive in runs. It would be one thing if he
were only gonna get walked in situations where guys were on base, but now he is getting walked with no one on. Which
means other teams are willing to put him on base rather than pitch to him everytime. In my mind, they is no reason
whatsoever that he should be hitting anywhere other than the number two spot, if not leadoff. If he is going to
automatically end up on first, then he should have the teams best hitters trying to drive him in. He is definitely a waste
of time at cleanup, and would likely be a waste of time in the three spot. He should be hitting second if not first.

- 5/1/2004 -
Asher - I would like to point out that in the off-season when everybody was falling all over themselves
about Miguel Cabrera, I was saying, "Yeah, he was hot on the National Stage for three weeks; let's see how he does
when the season begins to grind on him. Let's see how he handles the old mid-May slump; let's see if he can "stay hot"
for a whole season, or even half of a season."

He's gotten off to a great start, much to my chagrin, but somewhat symbolically, today is May 1st, and Miguel Cabrera
just went 0-4 with three strikeouts. Stay tuned

- 4/28/2004 -
Keith analysed this dialogue, and confronted Dusty with his findings.

- 4/26/2004 - Check out this pre-game
dialogue between Dusty Baker and Grady Little caught on tape by the FBI.

-4/16/04 -
Keith - Jorge Posada and Enrique Wilson both got caught while attempting to steal 3rd base in the 8th
inning of a game in which they were up 3-1.

- 4/15/2004 -
Asher - Apparently, Grudzie is hurt for a couple of weeks, so the job is Walker's. Ramon E. Martinez is
still on the bench, though, so all bets are not off. Walker led off today's game with a single and scored on Aramis' third
homer in two games. Which of course means Walker may not get off the bench once Grudzie returns.

- 4/14/2004 -
Asher -Todd Walker just led off the game with a double to deep left. I smell a substitution coming.

- 4/12/2004
Asher -See if you can spot the baseball oddity in the following box score:

Final                1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9  R  H  E  
Pittsburgh        0 5 0 1 1 0 1 2 3 13 17 4  
Chicago Cubs  0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  2   3  1

W: Benson (1-0) L: Maddux (0-2) S: Meadows (1)
HR: Pit- None ChC- None

That's right - Meadows got a save in a 13-2 game.  

- 4/8/2004 -
Asher -The effect of Grady Little on the Cubs was BEAUTIFULLY evident in todays game.

Todd Walker gets the start against the righty Jose Acevedo. He bats leadoff.

In the fourth inning, Matt Clement is having a rough go of it, though not a disaster. He's given up four runs in four
innings. In the top of the fifth, Derrek Lee ends up on third with two out in a 4-1 game and the pitcher's spot due up.
Getting the run would be great, but with two outs and the top of the order due up, its not crucial at this moment. But
Dusty (Grady?) lifts Clemente for a pinch hitter after FOUR innings of work. The pinch hitter, Todd Hollandsworth
promptly pops out to end the inning. In the bottom of the inning, the Reds work the bases full and then Kent Mercker

At this point I should mention that the one run the Cubs have to this point was scored when Todd Walker hit a double
and two batters later Sosa brought him in. The rest of the lineup is stinking.

So, the top of the seventh rolls around, and Derrek Lee once again gets on base (HBP). Alex "Strikeout" Gonzalez lives
up to his billing, and the catcher pops up, which brings us to the pitcher spot again. Obviously, this time you pinch hit.
So, in comes Grudzielanek to pinch hit for the pitcher against the Reds' righty pitcher, and he gets a hit sending Lee to
second. The Reds sub in a lefty reliever as Walker's spot comes up, and Dusty (Grady) promptly puts in a pinch hitter
for Todd Walker. Now, having already USED our top pinch hitter, Todd Hollandsworth to bat for Clemente in the fifth,
Dusty must bring in Ramon "offensive liability" Martinez to hit for Walker, the only guy doing anything today, so that he
can play the matchup game, and he promptly STRIKES OUT SWINGING. Its going to be a long year.

Isn't it great, though, that we get to watch the Cubs, the Grady Little-Todd Walker drama, and Derrek Lee all on the
same team this year?!

- 3/25/04 -
Keith - How important is protection in the lineup?  Marquis Grissom had 264 PA last year batting in front of
Barry Bonds.  He had a .703 OPS out of that #3 slot.

He had 343 PA everywhere else, compiling an .859 OPS.

- 3/20/2004 - from ESPN: Barry Bonds explained why he asked manager Felipe Alou  to bat him fourth. "I can't be up
there in the early part of that lineup running around the bases. I'll end up in a coffin," Bonds told the San Francisco
Chronicle. "If the first two guys get on, (the other team) has to make a decision with that No. 3 hitter.
If one guy gets on and the No. 3 guy gets on, if they want to walk me at least it puts the bases loaded and
gives us opportunities to score some runs. If they don't want to walk me, the score's going to be 3-0.
That's the bottom line."

Keith - The humble, hustling, media darling we all know and love....

- 2/28/2004 - BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) -- Raul Mondesi is guaranteed $1.75 million under his contract with the
Pittsburgh Pirates.

The outfielder, who signed Monday, will get $1.15 million this year. Pittsburgh holds an $8 million option for 2005 with a
$600,000 buyout.

The 33-year-old Mondesi passed a physical Monday, and Pittsburgh finalized the deal.

He hit .272 with 24 homers, 71 RBIs and 22 steals in 143 games with the New York Yankees and Arizona last year.


- 2/20/04 -
Keith - Maddux does make the Cubs a better team this year... but they'd better make damn sure that they
make the playoffs this year between this signing and the Hee Seop loss.

- 2/8/04 - Quote from

Speaking at the 46th St. Louis Baseball Writers'
dinner, GM Walt Jocketty said, "I get a little
irritated at times reading and hearing in the
offseason about all the moves these other teams have
made -- the hoopla in Chicago and Houston. But let me
tell you something. When you break down our club, we
have five of the best players, not only in the
National League but in all of baseball."

Jocketty said he was referring to 1B Albert Pujols, CF
Jim Edmonds, 3B Scott Rolen, SS Edgar Renteria and C
Mike Matheny.

Keith -Mike Matheny!

-2/7/2004 -
Keith - The '32 Yankees have the record for most HoFers on one team with 9:



1) HoF started right when most of these players retired
2) Hitters era inflated stats, pitchers still got wins
3) Yankees are (almost) always overrated

Ben Chapman is one of my all-time favorite Yankees
because he was so underrated... see also Joe Collins.

Is George Sisler the only player on the Browns to ever
be overrated?

-1/29/04 -
Keith - he Red Sox have added Terry Shumpert and Tony Womack to their smorgasboard of second

- 1/14/2004 -
Asher -Here's a funny, "Sign of the times" stat for you: Vlad Guerrero, one of the truly premiere young
stars in baseball, just signed a contract for $14 million, far and away the most a player will be signed for these days,
while Richard Hidalgo, who is maybe one of the top thirty outfielders in baseball, will be making $12 million next year
and has an option for $15 million the year after that. Oh those late 1990's contracts.

- Asher - 1/14/2004 - Runner up for absurdly bad idea of the week: Astros sign Roger Clemens. Prediction: Pettitte
and Clemens combine for 20 victories next season. More on that later.

News and Notes from 2003