Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Robothal Will Out-Robo Your Sorry Ass

(Sorry...no idea what that headline means.)

Ken Rosenthal generally seems unafflicted by East-coast sports bias; accordingly, his latest round of off-season reviews contains a healthy dose of NL West-ness.

Highlights from "Winners and losers for baseball's off-season":


Dodgers: It's difficult to heap too much praise on a team that awarded free-agent center fielder Juan Pierre $44 million for five years. But GM Ned Colletti maintained flexibility by going short-term with his other free agents — right-hander Jason Schmidt, left-hander Randy Wolf, left fielder Luis Gonzalez and first baseman Nomar Garciaparra. The signings of Schmidt and Wolf give Colletti enough depth to trade a starting pitcher, ideally right-hander Brad Penny.

Honorable mention

Diamondbacks: Acquired two left-handed starters, Johnson and Doug Davis, without sacrificing elite prospects. G.M. Josh Byrnes also netted four draft picks by completely shunning the free-agent market while losing left fielder Luis Gonzalez, right-hander Miguel Batista and utility infielder Craig Counsell.

Dishonorable mention

Giants: Center fielder Dave Roberts gives them more speed, left-hander Barry Zito a durable ace. Still, the Giants' position players remain, for the most part, a collection of old-timers, the latest being free-agent infielder Rich Aurilia, 35; outfielder Ryan Klesko, 35; and catcher Bengie Molina, 32. Their biggest loss: Trainer Stan Conte, who left for the Dodgers.

A Stan Conte mention. Wasn't expecting that.

Highlights from "Best, worst moves from off-season":

Best moves, non-Gary Sheffield division:

2. The Dodgers' signing of free-agent left-hander Randy Wolf to a one-year, $8 million contract with a club option for 2008.

Wolf, 30, could be this year's version of Nomar Garciaparra, a native southern Californian who took less money to come home and revive his career. He showed arm strength after returning from elbow-ligament transplant surgery last July 31. His command should follow.

3. The Rockies' acquisitions of center fielder Willy Taveras and right-handers Jason Hirsh and Taylor Buchholz from the Astros for right-handers Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio.

The package the Rockies obtained for Jennings, a potential free agent, was the same that the White Sox nearly took for right-hander Jon Garland, who is signed for two more years and thus would command a higher price. Taveras should provide strong defense and a decent leadoff presence. Hirsh could develop into a No. 3 starter, Buchholz a late-inning reliever.

And just for kicks....

Worst moves, non-Gil Meche division:

2. The Red Sox's signing of free-agent right fielder J.D. Drew to a five-year, $70 million contract.

Only the Red Sox seem to think it is a good idea to bring the passive Drew to obsessive-compulsive Boston. Drew could thrive as a complementary piece, but the shoulder issue that delayed the completion of his contract was a disturbing omen.

Does this mean the Red Sox will suffer from passive-aggressive obsessive-compulsiveness? Stay tuned!