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Talking Baseball

Your weekday baseball fix. Some days.



Posted by Mike on Tuesday, January 20, 2004

It seems the media is unwilling to let the A-rod deal die without at least giving it some sort of fabricated ending. Espn.com reports that a high-ranking baseball official told Dan Patrick that the talks would be resuming this weekend.

I would like to focus on Dan Patrick’s credibility at this point more than I really want to discuss the trade itself. This is the Dan Patrick who insisted on putting Kevin Millar in a very awkward situation in an interview before Christmas by forcing him to admit on television that he would rather have A-rod on the team than Nomar Garciapara. Obviously A-rod is the better player but the point is that Dan Patrick shouldn’t be making it a goal to destroy team unity by driving stakes between players on national television when the likelihood that they will remain teammates the following season is still a great probability. I wish I had a transcript of the interview because it was clear that Millar did everything he could to blow the question aside without doing any damage but the pressure of the situation eventually made him crack (Dan had to ask multiple times in multiple ways). Millar admitted that he would rather have A-rod on the team, which most anyone would, I just don’t think Nomar and Mia ended up sending Millar a Christmas card.

Even though he did ultimately answer Dan Patrick’s question he understood the situation the Red Sox were in perfectly. Three major points, after the 2004 season the Red Sox are likely going to let Nomar go and find a replacement shortstop because of his ridiculous salary demands and declining performance, Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke had just be acquired at a sizeable cost, and the Red Sox owners would like nothing more than to send Manny Ramirez packing. As a result the Red Sox were looking to cut some payroll, replace Nomar, and trade Manny. With the renegotiated contract the Sox agreed to with A-rod and the potential deal with the White Sox for Magglio Ordonez pending, two of those three goals would have been achieved had the deal not been struck down by the players association.

Dan Patrick, troublemaker that he is, could not accept this perspective. Instead he had to use Kevin Millar as a tool to try to force the hand of the Red Sox toward completing the deal with the Rangers. The media wanted this deal almost more than did the Red Sox, Rangers, Bud Selig, or even the fans. Dan Patrick wanted this deal so much that he was willing to use his position as a means of manipulation.

Now, I didn’t mean to start writing this entire post as a means of conveying my dislike and distrust of Dan Patrick. I did intend to discredit him for the purpose of showing that the likelihood of the A-rod talks resuming is very slim. Everyone from the Red Sox and Rangers as well as Scott Boras was surprised to hear any talk of the deal at this point with a clear insistence across the board that the deal is officially dead. Had there been any real news about the deal then I would have to believe these insiders would tell someone in the media who is more reliable than Dan Patrick. Peter Gammons, while not as great as he used to be (I cut him some slack because he’s starting to get very old, you must realize he was in his reporting prime in the 1970s), should know something about it if there were any truth to the rumors and he has yet to mention it anywhere that I’ve seen. Let’s not forget, it was an unauthorized post of an A-rod Red Sox game jersey for sale that preceded any of the talk of the deal still being a possibility.


Now for a few things unrelated to A-rod…
The Red Sox gave Scott Williamson a one year contract for an undisclosed amount. I’m sure it was for a reasonable sum because Theo has done nothing so far to prove that he is fiscally irresponsible. So, the bigger issue is the strength of the Red Sox bullpen at the start of this year as opposed to at the start of last year. Obviously the most major change is the addition of Keith Foulke, a legitimate relief ace but even behind him the pen appears to be dramatically stronger:

2003
Timlin
Lyon
Embree
Fox
Howry

2004
Foulke
Williamson
Timlin
Embree
Arroyo

Just a random fact, Keith Foulke’s 21 Win Shares last year were better than all but three Red Sox players; Manny Ramirez (28), Nomar Garciapara (25), and Bill Mueller (23).


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