From Jayson Stark's latest column on shortstops (unfortunately, written early enough as to not completely appreciate the surge of Rafael Furcal (though his three consecutive four-hit games are given passing mention)), buried deep below is a quick bullet of appreciation for Dodger Brad Penny, who is off to an excellent start this year:
Remember last winter, when Brad Penny's name was all over the trade-rumor circuit? Well, the Dodgers fielded offers but never came close to dealing Penny. And it's a good thing. He has ripped off eight straight quality starts, has given up one run or none in six of them and leads the league in ERA (1.39). "He told us he didn't want to go anyplace else," said GM Ned Colletti. "He wanted the opportunity to stay. And you know what? It's tough to get rid of guys who can win 15 to 20 games, and pitch 200 innings." Actually, Penny has won more than 10 games just twice in seven seasons, has topped 14 once and hasn't worked 200 innings since 2001. But if it all fits together this year, he can't beat the timing. He's a free agent this winter.
Hopefully at the end of 2007, Penny will still be saying he "doesn't want to go anyplace else." After all, we all know how Neddie feels about keeping one's word about this matter.