Siberian Baseball

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It's like musical chairs... quick, find a seat!

Three big signings / deals struck today and here's the funny thing - in my mind I hear these names and can't place ages right away. I just think old.

Cliff Floyd is a Chicago Cub and JD Drew is (finally) signed in Boston. As I was searching for more information, I saw that Darin Erstad is the newest member of the Chicago White Sox.

Maybe I don't think Erstad is old per se, but it just seems like he's been playing a while. The other two? No doubt in my mind that they're gearing up for the Julio Franco Senior Circuit.

The reality? Floyd is 34, Drew is 31 and Erstad is 32. The lesson here campers is that I'm getting old and players who rack up a few injuries are forever seen as older than they are. The whole thing is quite troubling to me today.

The breakdowns:
Cliff Floyd

Floyd is reportedly a favorite of Jim Hendry's and a local product from the south suburbs, which worked out so well with bringing Todd Hundley to town, no? He's a young 34 and coming off surgery to remove a bone spur, but aside from that, he'll be fine.

Big ups to the Chicago Tribune for putting someone who has actually seen a ballgame on the coverage here to point out the potential logjam in the outfield should everyone start the season and remain healthy.

The whole thing plays out like a game of multi-million dollar Tetris - assuming Jacques Jones sticks around - with Floyd and Matt Murton working left field, newly acquired Alfonso Soriano in center and Jones in right.

This is not the worst idea the Cubs could have had with question marks regarding durability, performance and experience floating just in front of the ivy.

For the record, Floyd is a career. 279 hitter who hit .244 last year (OBP of .359 and .324, respectively) and has a given name of Cornelius. All I'm really hoping for is the inevitable Jeremy Piven cameo in the broadcast booth where he gets to bellow, "Floyd!" at the top of his lungs as the Cubs giggle and pat themselves on the back on Opening Day, only to self-destruct in July.

Good times in the future, good times.

Key phrase from the Trib's assessment?

With the Mets in 2005, Floyd hit .273 with 34 homers and 98 RBIs in 150 games. But that kind of year has been a rarity for Floyd, whose many injuries have made him unreliable.

Kinda like saying, "It's a great car as long as you don't need to brake a lot."

Floyd's signing actually reminds me a lot of Jones joining the club last year - a recognizable name who had a big year or two but gives the club no major upgrade at the position. Unless Floyd is there to allow the Cubs to shop an unhappy Jones, this signing doesn't make much sense, despite the added depth in the outfield.

Darin Erstad

The White Sox locked in the speedy Erstad, which, of course, is the man's legal name in any kind of written communication. White Sox fans, remember that as you're e-mailing your buddies and uncles at county to discuss the signing this week.

If you read the Trib's breakdown of this deal, however, you'll not learn a whole lot about Erstad, but you will discover a reporter with a big crush on J.T. Snow. It's a big waste of your time.

Head over to the Worldwide Leader for a pretty good breakdown and note that:

A two-time All-Star with the Los Angeles Angels, Erstad had arthroscopic surgery for a bone spur in his right ankle on Oct. 5 after batting .221 with no home runs and five RBIs in a career-low 40 games last season. He is the only player to win the Gold Glove as an infielder (2004, at first base) and outfielder (2000 and 2002).

All in all, I think is a good signing for the White Sox to help shore up the outfield and pick up a good player on the cheap. It's a minimal risk (1 year, $1 million) with a solid potential payoff.

Also, he seems to be true to the recent Chicago mold of players under Ken Williams and Ozzie Guillen, so that should be another plus for the South Siders.

If I'm a Sox fan, I'm pretty happy today - on paper it looks like a solid pick up.

JD Drew

Finally, the deal is hammered out to put Drew in a Red Sox uniform and get Scott Boras out of their hair.

Much has been written and second guessed about this signing, but personally, I'm not too happy to see Trot Nixon leave Boston. This is only compounded by the man coming in to take his place with Drew.

Dirt Dogs led off the first round of the signing process by telling Red Sox Nation to be nice, people have questioned Drew's hustle, heart and ailing shoulder and the deal that's been struck looks like a bad agreement for a used car.

The Boston Globe reports:

If Drew goes on the disabled list for anything related to this finding in the third year of the deal, the Sox can void the final two years of the contract. If he is disabled in the fourth year, the Sox can void the final year of the deal.

So, even if he stinks up the joint, alienates the fan base and has an arm like a wet towel, he's locked in for the deal? Great.

I'll try and remain positive and see how this plays out, but I just don't see this ending well for Red Sox Nation or Drew. Manny Ramirez is a head case who checks in and out more often than your typical travelling salesman, but he's stayed somewhat healthy and puts up big enough numbers to cloud out all the negativity.

It's like the hype before Johnny Damon took over in center for the Yankees last year, but with none of the positives working for him. Still, like Damon, if Drew gets off to a slow start, he's dog meat at Fenway. There's just too much that can go wrong in that situation.

Need proof? Go ask Edgar Renteria.

(Photos from: / / /

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