2 Days, 8 Hours and 51 Minutes Till Spring Training
The long winter since the last pitch of the 2009 World Series is almost over as only 2 days, 8 hours and 51 minutes remain before the pitchers and catchers report to Arizona and Florida this week.
Johnny Damon is the biggest name player still unsigned with only 15 days remaining until the mandatory reporting date for all players on March 2.
The White Sox would probably like to sign Damon just to keep him from playing for the rival Tigers while both teams would like to see him sign with the Braves or any other NL team. It would be a total surprise to see Damon sign with the Braves since they don’t seem serious about paying Damon the kind of money he is requesting.
Felipe Lopez Drops Boras
Felipe Lopez apparently has had enough of the foolishness of Scott Boras and has changed agents last week. It is easy to understand his impatience with Boras who was unable to find a team to sign Lopez despite Lopez hitting .320 after joining the Brewers and posting an on base percentage of .407.
Now Lopez is only one of three middle infielders still unsigned for the 2010 baseball season. That reminds me that Mark Teixeira wanted a deal done last offseason before Christmas and Boras complied with that request.
Another Boras client Manny Ramirez didn’t sign till late last offseason and then proceeded to be suspended for 50 days for using steroids.
Even with the 50 days of rest Ramirez saw his numbers take a hit after the All Star break:
Before Break…. .355
After Break…… .255
On Base Percentage
Before Break…. .487
After Break…… .379
Before Break…. .669
After Break…… .459
On Base Plus Slugging
Before Break…. 1.156
After Break…… .838
Ramirez was one of the most overpaid players in baseball in 2009 “earning” $25 million despite his slugging percentage dropping over 200 points from his 2008 season. This year will be an interesting one to watch since supposedly Ramirez won’t have the benefits of having steroids in his system and it will be interesting to see his post steroids production over a full season.
Latest list of best remaining agents:
1B – Hank Blalock, Russell Branyan, Carlos Delgado
2B – Felipe Lopez
3B – Joe Crede, Nomar Garciaparra
LF – Johnny Damon, Gary Sheffield, Garret Anderson
RF – Jermaine Dye, Jonny Gomes
DH – Gary Sheffield, Hank Blalock
Starting Pitchers – Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, Chien-Ming Wang, Jarrod Washburn
Summary: The biggest surprise among the available starting pitchers is that Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz have not signed with less than three days remaining before spring training starts. At their age both players need extra time to prepare for a long season.
Both players should compete for the Hall of Fame and may be starting their countdown sooner rather than later if not signed in the next two weeks.
Another surprise is that Johnny Damon and Jermaine Dye have not signed yet but in Dye’s case it may be that he has become a one dimensional player that is likely to be an exclusive DH with any team that signs him.
Ozzie’s Team Again
Ozzie Guillen has seen the White Sox change from a team of sluggers to a more athletic team for 2010. Paul Konerko with 28 homers and Carlos Quentin with 21 are the only returning White Sox players who hait more than 20 homers in 2009. Konerko is the only returning player who drove in more than 71 runs with 88 runs batted in.
Ozzie now has the kind of lineup that may not have a lot of power but still has the hitting and the speed to score a lot of runs in 2010. The pitching looks solid especially if Freddy Garcia can pitch well out of the fifth spot in the rotation.