Jeff Kent Calls It a Career

There’s a lot of things you could say about Jeff Kent:  bad teammate, nice stache, a better Pippen than a Jordan, and a lock for the Hall of Fame.  The Los Angeles Dodgers’ second baseman is walking away from baseball at the age of 40 and after 17 seasons.

If you take a close look at Kent’s batting statistics at baseball-reference.com, you’ll notice how similar his career numbers are to those of some pretty big names.  The only other 2B (although there are 5 guys who spent time at Catcher) with totals reasonably close to Kent’s is Ryne Sandberg, and he has already gone to Cooperstown.

Kent holds the all-time record for home runs by a second baseman with 351, Sandberg finished with 277.  Kent’s career .290 average isn’t exactly eye-popping, but it’s very respectable.  He was the winner of the 2000 National League MVP award with the San Francisco Giants, and was an All-Star 5-times.

Unlike Jim Rice (whose case for the Hall is questionable at best), Jeff Kent will likely have the support of the media.  Kent was probably never accused of being well-liked in the clubhouse, but he might get the call to the hall before someone whose shadow he never liked standing in: Barry Bonds.


Red Sox Add Saito, More Arm and Shoulder Trouble

Word from Ken is that the Boston Red Sox have agreed with former Dodgers closer Takashi Saito on a one-year deal.  Saito missed a significant amount of time last season due to elbow/ligament troubles (always a great sign for pitchers).

Add Saito’s damaged elbow (he passed his physical) to the the reconstructed shoulder of John Smoltz and the strained shoulder of Brad Penny, and the Sox have quite a trio of low-risk, high-reward type pitchers.  You could argue the same case for fatigued outfielder Rocco Baldelli as well.

Call it treading carefully in tough financial times, but if these recent signings pay-off then the Red Sox are going to have a very deep pitching staff.

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LSD and the No-Hitter

Drugs have become commonplace in baseball’s modern era.  Many great feats in the past twenty years have been tarnished by allegations and accusations of the use of performance enhancing drugs.

We could run down a list all-day of some of the once great names who saw their careers derailed at the expense of steroids, HGH, amphetamines, booze, rock, blow, jazz-cigarettes, and the list could go on.

There is one story that stands out above them all, and it may be one of the least well-known.  On June 12th, 1970 Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres.  It wasn’t until years later that Ellis admitted that he had pitched the game while under the influence of LSD!

I’m not so sure you could call LSD (that’s acid to the acquainted) a performance enhancer, whether it is or is not, Ellis’ achievement is nothing short of outstanding.

Read more on Ellis’ trippy no-hitter here.

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Brewers Sign Hoffman, Red Sox Agree With Smoltz

A couple of veteran pitchers will wear different jerseys for the first time in a long time next season.  The Milwaukee Brewers have signed all-time career saves leader Trevor Hoffman to be their closer.  And in an interesting development, John Smoltz is leaving Atlanta to join the Boston Red Sox.

Hoffman threw 35 innings with the Florida Marlins in 1993 before spending the rest of his career with the San Diego Padres.  The Padres initially opened up talks to re-sign Hoffman, before withdrawing their offer.  The Brewers had signed Eric Gagne to be their closer last season, he struggled with the role before losing it permanently to the now retired Solomon Torres.

Eric Karabell thinks Hoffman is past his prime, and I tend to agree.  There could be more closer controversy in Milwaukee next season.  According to several reports, Hoffman will make $6 million in 2009.

The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn runs down both Smoltz’s deal with the Red Sox and as well an announcement on the signing of hometown boy Rocco Baldelli.  Both deals are for one-year.  The Smoltz deal guarantees him $5 million plus a shit-load of incentives.  Baldelli will make $500,000 and could reach as high as $7.5 million if he meets a few bonus stipulations.

Smoltz spent his entire career with the Atlanta Braves.  Smoltz is the first pitcher to win a Cy Young Award as a starting pitcher, and then later win the Rolaids Relief Man Award as a closer.  He is coming off of serious shoulder surgery, and Baldelli has spent most of his career on the disabled list.

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Giambi Signs With Oakland

Remember when Jason Giambi was a greasy dirt-bag and all jacked-up on steroids?  Yeah, those were the days when it was worthwhile to cheer for him, save for the steroids of course (we didn’t know at the time).  The 37 year-old former Yankee has agreed to a one-year deal to return to the Oakland Athletics.

According to Mike Puma (incredible name) of the New York Post (terrible paper), the deal is worth $4.5 million, and Oakland holds an option for 2010 worth $5 million.  Giambi joins Matt Holliday in the middle of an A’s lineup that is suddenly featuring a lot more power.  Giambi was the American League MVP with Oakland in 2000.


MLB: Bradley, Pavano, and Giambi News

It’s hard to find good footage of Milton Bradley losing his temper.  I swear I’ve seen clips of him throwing bats on the field a dozen times.  I did manage to find this clip from the worst sports-talk show of all-time though.  Is that co-host conscious of that fact that he’s wearing a fucking do-rag on his head?

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/YfbTYyZEij8" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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Bradley is a Cub now, to the sweet tune of a three-year and $30 million deal.  Not bad for an eight year veteran with only ONE 420 at-bat season to his credit.

Other Free Agency Tidbits:

The Cleveland Indians have come to terms with pitcher Carl Pavano according to Jerry Crasnick.  No terms of the deal were released, but I bet it’s a far-cry from the four-year, $39 million contract he signed with New York in December 2004.  Still, this could turn out to be one of the better bargains of the off-season.

ESPN’s Buster Olney has word that the Oakland A’s are on the verge of signing Jason Giambi.

That just about rules out every player on my Blue Jays wish-list.  Fuck.

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Sources: Rays and Burrell Close In On A Deal

According to Ken Rosenthal (I admit, he’s rarely wrong about these things) the Tampa Bay Rays are nearing completion on a deal with free-agent leftfielder, Pat Burrell.  Burrell hit .250 with 33 homers and 86 RBIs last season with the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.

Burrell brings a solid mix of run producing power and his knack for getting on base to an already potent Rays lineup.  Burrell will likely rotate between the outfield and DH.  Over at the freshly revamped ESPN.com there is word that the Rays will no longer be pursuing Jason Giambi.  Sounds about right.

The Banner is back! After weeks of investigation and interrogation, my banner featuring Ty Cobb’s glove and a used game-ball from Cy Young have been returned.  Keep those drunk bloggers out of my administration!

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MLB: Latest on Andruw Jones, Derek Lowe, Zaun

Ever since the New York Yankees went and snatched up all the good free agents we’ve had a serious lull in the action.  It’s good, I’ve had more time to try and track down the drunkard who deleted the site banner (I think it’s someone close to me).

The Los Angeles Dodgers have restructured Andruw Jones‘ massive contract to make him more “attractive”.  I suppose a discounted price tag would be slightly more attractive considering he hit .158 with three homers, 33 hits and 76 strikeouts in 209 at-bats last season.  Jones, a fixture on the Atlanta Braves playoff teams for years, was left off the Dodgers’ post-season roster.

Jones’ agent, Scott Boras expects his client to become a free agent by January 15th.  Another of Boras’ clients, Derek Lowe, is reportedly being heavily pursued by the Atlanta Braves.  And in the wishes of David O’Brien, Jones too will make his return to the Braves.  I hate Scott Boras, I can’t remember if I’ve expressed that before.

Gregg Zaun Reps Himself?

Poor Gregg Zaun, I always liked him in Toronto.  I called for his removal as the everyday catcher, and I felt bad for him when he really lost the job.  From reading this story in the Boston Globe it looks like Gregg is trying find some room for himself on the Red Sox roster, look at this:

“I’d love it. My agent has had ongoing talks with Boston and I would love to see that happen. I feel one of the things I have going in my favor is being in Toronto for so long I have a deep knowledge of the AL East. I would also love the challenge of playing in Boston, where every day you go to the ballpark it’s a meaningful game and you’re fighting for something. That atmosphere, I’m telling you, there’s nothing like it, and to be a part of that would be unbelievable. I played for Tito [Terry Francona] back in the Arizona Fall League… Tito has been watching me a long time.”

Sorry Gregg, your bubble may burst.


The Shitty Blue Jays

This off-season looks like it will bode well for the irreverent geniuses at drunkjaysfans.com.  The Jays, who are attached to a tight financial leash, made the least significant moves of the last two weeks’ free agency binge.

General Manager J.P. Ricciardi signed left handed starter Mike Maroth and catcher Michael Barrett.  He also signed a couple other shit-bags in Randy Ruiz and Raul Chavez.  Maroth, who last pitched for the Tigers, has missed considerable stretches of time since 2004 due to injuries and the fact that he’s shitty.  Barrett is best known for punching A.J. Pierzynski in the kisser and fighting former teammate Carlos Zambrano in the dugout.

This stinks to all high shittyness; double the dump since the loss of A.J. Burnout.  I live in Toronto; now driving to Pittsburgh to watch the Pirates is more than just a stadium upgrade.

I hope to have a banner on this site again, soon.


Giants, Red Sox, and Reds Add Important Pieces

While one team is off spending in the hundreds of millions in an effort to buy a World Series, a couple other known big spenders and a small market club are busy signing valuable members at a discount to sure up their own rosters.

The San Francisco Giants signed Randy Johnson, adding a third Cy Young recipient to their rotation. The Big Unit rounds out an already deep rotation including Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Barry Zito.  Johnson enters next season only 5 wins shy of 300.

Brad Penny is heading to Boston for a reported one-year deal worth $5 million plus incentives.  Penny battled a bum shoulder last season and struggled with a 6.27 ERA.  The Red Sox also added catcher Josh Bard on the weekend; Bard played in 7 games with the Sox in 2006 before being shipped back to San Diego because he couldn’t handle Tim Wakefield’s knuckle-ball.

The Cincinnatti Reds continue to tinker with their lineup, and have signed center-fielder Willy Taveras to a two-year deal.  Taveras fills the Reds’ gaping hole at the top of the lineup; he can struggle to get on base, but usually steals a bag or two when he does get on.  The signing of Taveras ensures that Jay Bruce will remain in right-field next season.