I took a nice long break from baseball and to be honest, I didn't miss much. I've kept up with the other baseball blogs and sites out there in my absence and people have resorted to writing about some pretty off-the-wall stuff in the absence of real news. HardballTalk is going through the worst uniforms of all time, Gleeman is onto another Top 40 List (which I enjoy, but he only does it during the off-season), and FanGraphs is writing articles about Eric Hinske and Jose Lopez. So here's my take on some of the more interesting happenings over the past two weeks.
I want to start off with Derek Jeter. It seems to me that up until the couple of days, the Yankees' organization have handled the situation poorly. There's been too much talking to the media and the whole, "go and try to find a better deal" thing was a bit ridiculous. That said, I feel like $45M over 3 years is WAY more than Jeter is worth, even despite his status as a Yankee Legend. For a team with seemingly unlimited payroll, I know it doesn't make that much of a difference to them what they pay Jeter, but if I'm Jeter, I'm grateful that I'm getting that much and I'm saying, "yes sir, thank you sir." It's not that simple, I understand that, but I can't help but feel off-put by the situation; it seems like yet another example of a greedy athlete. I don't understand the argument that the Yankees "need" to keep Jeter, it seems to me like that would go against their desire to have the best team possible,...not that Jeter hurts them much, but still, I don't get that argument.
The White Sox are scaring me. First they pick up Adam Dunn which was predictable considering the hard-on Kenny Williams has had for him dating back to the trading deadline last year. But then they re-sign Pierzynski and let Jenks go and now they're talking about re-signing Konerko as well. First of all, Dunn adds some serious left-handed power and about as consistent a bat as you can find out there. If they bring back Pauly, you will see Konerko at first and Dunn in the DH spot with the occasional flip-flop here and there to give Konerko some rest. Dunn will be a excellent fit for them at the plate and U.S. Cellular is a hitters park which Dunn will thrive on. Then you think about their potential rotation with Danks, Floyd, Jackson, Peavy, and Buehrle at their disposal. The back-end of their bullpen will probably be Chris Sale setting up Matt Thornton which is quite fearsome. You put all of that together and you are looking at a pretty solid team top to bottom with power, some speed, good pitching and solid bullpen. Anyway you look at, the White Sox look to be contenders next year, no doubt about it.
I was pretty sad to hear about the passing of Ron Santo. My wife is a HUGE Cubs fan and it hit her particularly hard. Santo was as much a Cubs Legend as Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins or any of the other Cubs Legends was and despite a wide variety of physical ailments, Santo kept with the Cubs and was still doing games for WGN even this past season. The thing I'll always remember about Ron Santo is when listening to Cubs games on the radio, you felt like he was a fan sitting right next to you in the stands. He was always right there was a "YEAH!!!" when something good happened and with a "GALL-LEE!" when something didn't go the Cubs way. Ron Santo was as loved as Harry Carey and I expect the Cubs organization will do something very nice to celebrate his life in the near future. Maybe now he'll finally get a well-deserved nod into the Hall of Fame.
The Cliff Lee speculation has gotten wildly out of control. Now it comes out today that Nolan Ryan thinks it will take awhile. Does anybody really know? Let's just wait and see, enough of the speculation already.
The Twins made a curious move by winning the negotiation bid on Tsuyoshi Nishioka. It's a mistake in my mind, but I guess if doesn't work out it won't cost them anything. It makes me think that their budget is not as tight as many have made it seem. I like that they offered arbitration to JJ Hardy and I really hope things don't work out with Nishioka and we have Hardy as the starting SS come next season. I also hope the Twins don't bring back Jim Thome, though I think I may be alone in that opinion. I hope the Twins make a little bigger splash than simply fighting to bring back the old band, but my hopes are not that high.