Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Knowing when to fold 'em and other thoughts

The components of a trade speak volumes as to what scouts think of a ballplayer's worth.

For example - a key component to the trade that brought Pedro Martinez to the Red Sox was Carl Pavano. While Pavano has largely struggled in his major league career, the scouts and major league brass saw enough potential to think he could be the ace of a staff.

Jon Lester was one of the demands by the Twins in the aborted Santana trade. Peter King at SI may have summed it up best in his Monday Morning QB column when he wrote...

Minnesota wanted, if you believe the reports, either Jon Lester or Jacoby Ellsbury, along with minor-leaguers Justin Masterson, a pitcher, and Jed Lowrie, an infielder.

Lester threw a no-hitter last week. Over his past five starts, he's thrown 34.1 innings and allowed 18 hits and six earned runs. Over his past five starts, Santana has pitched 32.1 innings and allowed 37 hits and 13 earned runs. I haven't even mentioned Masterson -- who, in two emergency-duty starts after being called up from Double-A, is 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA -- or Lowrie, who beat Minnesota with a homer May 10 before being sent back to the minors.

If Santana is the mark against which Lester has to be measured this season, so far it looks like the Sox got the best of this in not trading Lester.

But I digress.

Every now and then a trade happens that should send a message to the player or players involved.

This one speaks volumes, and most of what it says is, "hang up your spikes."

According to an AP report 26-year old minor league pitcher John Odom was traded last week for ten bats. The estimated retail price of said bats - $65.50 each when purchased in bulk. In essence, the pitcher who is 9-8 in three seasons with a 3.99 career ERA in AAA (primarily short season), was traded for $655.00 worth of equipment.

Once a draft pick of the San Francisco Giants, Odom was released at the end of 2007 and his contract was not picked up by any clubs with major league affiliates. Instead, he has been playing for independent league teams since.

It's one thing to be a key component in a trade, or to be a throw in for a major leaguer - but Odom was part of a trade between two independent league teams and was traded for equipment. Hope he has a college degree.

In spite of the trade, and the fact that his career has taken him further away from the majors, Odom has remained optimistic - "I don't really care," he said Friday. "It'll make a better story if I make it to the big leagues."

That's nice, but let's face it...you're not making it to the majors.

Say Hey?

Willie Randolph survived this weekend, but let's face a basic fact - if you're going to be accusing the press of racism in the way you're being covered - you better not have a piss-poor record since the previous June 1 with some of the highest priced talent in the majors.

As of Sunday, Randolph's Mets had gone 77-81 since June 1 of last year. It's now 77-83.

He was manager of one of the worst regular season collapses in the history of the game.

His clubhouse is a mess.

Yeah, it's not like the press can't just resort to the facts of his tenure as the Mets manager as an indictment. They need to resort to racism.

For the thick ones among you, that was sarcasm.

If things keep rolling like this, the Mets have to fire Randolph.

Fond Farewell

Earlier this week actor/director/producer Sydney Pollack died from stomach cancer.

Pollack was involved in directing and acting in a number of top notch films, but I mention him here only because he was involved in the production of the recently released Leatherheads and the excellent chess film Searching for Bobby Fischer.

If you're not familiar with Pollack's work, rent a film of his this weekend in honor of his memory. He was excellent as Dustin Hoffman's agent in Tootsie (which he also directed), or if you like something a little more serious, I highly recommend Three Days of the Condor, or Absence of Malice.

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