Reverend's Rants
$$$     Many, many greenbacks....     $$$
If the shoe fits.....put it on.
Jason Giambi signs for a boatload of money with the Yankees. Rondell White and Steve Karsay sign for a pantload each also with the Yankees. Jason Isringhausen signs for a decent amount with the Cardinals and Vinny Castilla and John Smoltz re-sign with the Braves, Smoltz for a ghastly amount. However, the three of the four best free agents out there have barely gotten a sniff.
Anybody remember Barry Bonds? Remember how he hit 73 home runs at the age of 37? How about Chan Ho Park? He keeps winning ball games in the California desert despite having no run support and the worst defense in the National League behind him? And of course, Juan Gonzalez who drove in a measly 140 runs last year. His agent even went so far as to take out an insurance policy on his back. Why in the world wouldn't anybody sign this guy?
Yes all three have issues that have to be addressed. Bonds? He’s old. Park? Can he pitch outside of Dodger Stadium? Gonzales? If he’s not happy will he hit at all? All reasonable concerns but let’s look at the people who have signed so far.
Jason Giambi: Below average defensive firstbaseman going to a team prone to throwing many balls in the dirt going from a wild, relaxed clubhouse to a rigid, no facial hair, business community.

Rondell White: The worst knees since Mike Palmateer (Great Toronto Mapleleafs Goalie had over 20 knee operations. I would have said Andre Dawson but Michael Kay used it on Fox Sports last night). If the Yankees get 100 games out of him this year they’ll be lucky. And who’s going to play the other 62? Clay Bellinger?

Steve Karsay: Nothing really bad to say about him but I smell Jay Witasick in Ron Davis clothing.

Jason Isringhausen: A couple of decent years don’t change the fact that this guy’s a head case. Now he’s going back home to be near his family. This, as you know, always works out for the better. Just ask Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis.

John Smoltz: Why do the Braves and everyone else think that pitching 75 games an inning or two at a time will be better for Smoltz’s elbow than pitching 33 games on four days rest? Of all these rantings and ravings I probably will be wrong about this one but I can’t see Smoltz closing all year. He’ll be back in the rotation by August or back on the shelf.

Vinny Castilla: Great in Colorado, terrible in Tampa, and not bad in Houston. He will be horrendus in Atlanta. I foresee a big April and early May followed by three months of crap. Bobby Cox will be begging Marcus Giles to take ground balls at third.

Roger Cedeno: Pretty good signing for the Mets but I don’t like when players return to their former teams after being away for such a short time. Isn’t there a reason the Mets were willing to deal him to Houston? Was it his 100 strikeouts? Well, as I said, I don’t like it when teams get back players they so recently shipped out but this one might be different. The guy hit .313 and stole 66 bases with a .393 on base percentage in ’99. The Mets never should have let him go, not even for Mike Hampton. Funny, but doesn’t it seem painfully obvious now that the Mets should have traded Payton instead when they had the chance? Ah well…

So, what’s the point of all of this? The following teams have been spending the money: Yankees, Mets, Cardinals, and Braves. Four of the wealthiest owners in the game but not the only ones with money and not the only ones with needs to address. But perennially they are the only ones willing to spend their money. This year, however, it seems no one else is even thinking of trying to enter the fray. Do I smell collusion? Leave it to Steinbrenner, Wilpon, Turner and Busch to stick it to their compettitors and further the notion that Baseball can’t continue if the rich get richer and the poor continue to wallow in self-pity. Did the owners discuss how to spend their money this offseason? Did Steinbrenner and company say, “screw that” and pony up the dough anyway? Is Steinbrenner simply following the plan where the rest of the world can keep complaing that the teams with money are the only ones who can compete? Or am I just talking out of my ass? I don’t know. Karl Ravitch on ESPN said last night that an agent told him that this was the toughest free agent market he’s seen in his 17 years in the business. Kinda raises an eyebrow doesn’t it? Wasn’t it just last year that Alex Rodriguez signed for $252 million?
Gimme a C !!!
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