I know, I know, it’s Martin Luther King day which is a holiday, and I’ve already been castigated at the Baseball Guys’ Twitter Page for being so stupid as to work on the holiday. Still, I couldn’t help myself, I just had to get a few thoughts on the page before taking the afternoon off prior to attending the San Jose Sharks game with the Calgary Flames tonight.
* Eric Byrnes wants to return to the Bay Area in 2010. Injuries have ruined his play the past two years, and he is owed $11 million in 2010. However, whoever picks him up at this point is only on the hook for the veteran minimum as the D’backs will have to foot the bill for the rest. Byrnes grew up in the Bay Area and was a Giants fan as a kid, so this would be a great story. The Giants could certainly use a solid depth outfielder with energy, and if healthy, Byrnes is just that type of guy. Will the cheap ass Giants pay the major league minimum for the guy? Hard to cry poor when the cost is that low.
* Johnny Damon continues to float in the sea of free agency with no land in sight. Apparently no one wants a guy who can hit .280 with 20 homers and 90 runs scored. Oh yeah, his agent is Scott Boras so the fact that he is asking for $197 million might have something to do with the fact that he has been cast adrift.
* Kevin Kouzmanoff will play third base most of the time this season for his new club – the Athletics. The club is looking at Eric Chavez, if healthy, to fill a utility role playing third, first, possibly some outfield, and even some shortstop. I’m not kidding, shortstop. It was his position growing up, but an aging player with a bad back – does it make sense to move him over there at this point? To read more about the Chavez situation click on Susan Slusser’s piece.
* The Nationals are a mess. Make a decision will you! They still aren’t certain what they are going to do with Cristian Guzman and Ian Desmond. Most assumed that Guzman would move to second with the younger and more athletic Desmond taking over at short. However, the Nats continue to be tied to Orlando Hudson which would almost certainly leave Guzman at short and Desmond at Triple-A to start the year.
Even more of a concern to me is that the club seems uncertain with what they are going to do in the ninth inning. Despite signing Matt Capps, there are still words coming out of Washington that even though he will get the first shot at the closers role that he is far from a lock to hold down the role. “I’d probably start with Capps and go from there,” manager Jim Riggleman said. “There are times you’re facing a ball club such as the Phillies, where they’ve got a strong left-handed lineup, that it might be Sean Burnett or Eddie Guardado, and then maybe you give it to Capps or Brian Bruney or whoever’s freshest.” Seriously Mr. Riggleman? If you go with Burnett or Guardado for any length of time your tenure as the manager in Washington will be short. Stick Capps in the ninth, use Bruney in the 8th, and save Burnett/Guardado for matchup work in the seventh and eighth. That’s a recipe for success.
* Jim Thome still can’t find a home. Odd how no AL team wants a DH who will hit 25 homers with a .365 OBP.
By Ray Flowers