Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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While my two compatriots were in Southern California this weekend, one because he lives there and the other because he was gallivanting, hobnobbing, and apparently spreading a voice-stealing virus along the Pacific coastline, here I lurked under the cold oppression of a no-longer-impending Chicago winter, waiting for some sign of life from The City That Walt Built.
And waiting.....and waiting.....and waiting.....
Nothing came; not on the news, not on the highlight shows, and not on that evil tool of obsessive doom, the internet (where, I've just been told, I'm writing about baseball right now! Perhaps I'd best retract the "evil" statement lest I anger it. The Internet: she's a feisty mistress!). At least the folks who took the trip got to immerse themselves in some atmosphere while they awaited something to quench their thirst for action. But me? I was left sitting on my couch, refreshing Rotoworld.com at five minute intervals. Or was that three minutes....no matter.
In case some of you weren't happy with the deal that was struck between the Cubs' and Nomar Garciaparra, the mushroom induced hysteria that has been the negotiations for Edgar Renteria's services should bring a belated smile to your face.
St. Louis had a heavily backloaded 4 year, $32M deal on the table, but Boston leaped into the fray with a reported offer of 4 years for $40M, leaving the Cardinals scrambling for an answer, likely in the form of more cash or an option for a fifth year. Neither choice is the right one for St. Louis. If the Sox offer is as reported, the Cards need to tip their hat, say, "nice game boys," and move on.
In fact, the Cardinals themselves served up a great example of what can be gained by simply walking away; a fine lesson for their Renteria debacle. They offered Mike Matheny a 2 year deal for $4M, and when he asked for more, they simply whistled and strolled. Then along came the Giants to blow the lid off the thing, signing the 34 year-old catcher to a three year deal, with an option for 2008(!), that with signing bonuses and buyouts will net Matheny $10.5M. San Francisco needs to win now, because when Bonds has retired and some of these deals start to sour, there's an excellent chance that they'll be the worst team in the National League.
The 2004 Major League Baseball Winter Meeting Godot Award winner is.......Carlos Beltran! Come on down, Carlos, get your trophy!.....Carlos?.....Carlos?.....Don't worry folks, I'm sure he's here somewhere....huh?.....what's that?.....what's that you say?.....you say Carlos told you to tell me he won't come this evening but surely tomorrow? Well, I suppose we have little choice. Ordinarily, I'd say "Let's go!" but we can't. Why not? We're waiting for Carlos.
It's old news by now, but the Cubs were outbid for the latest subject of their focus to fill the vacant closer role, Danny Kolb, as the Braves made an offer that reached a level the Cubs were unwilling to match. This leaves the team where they've seemed likely to be all offseason; hoping that someone steps forward to take the job in the spring.
There are worse places to be. Granted, no one going to camp for the Cubs is an ideal candidate for the job, but then, neither were any of the other contemplated options. I'm likely in the minority here, but there are so few truly dominant relief pitchers out there that I see little point in shelling out huge amounts of money or talent for a guy who isn't one of them. I'll take my chances with what we've got, thanks. If it doesn't work out, that's what the trading deadline's for.
I've decided to ignore any further rumors of a Sammy Sosa trade. It's reached the point where the next thing I hear is more ridiculous than the last (Sosa to the Devil Rays for Aubrey Huff, Delmon Young, and cash!), and that's never the sign of a forward moving process. If something happens, wake me, but my days of following, puppy-like, every morsel of prattle dropped from the lips of GMs and blather-mongers are over.
For at least a week.
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