Creeping Inexorably Toward A Worthwhile Sub-Heading.
Monday, December 15, 2003
I'm not sure how I missed this, or when this talk started, but it appears the Cubs are afterJeromy Bernitz to fill the fourth outfield spot. You'd think he could find a starting job somewhere, but maybe his last two seasons have taken the bloom off the rose just enough to scare teams away. Granted, he does come with some hefty risk. He's going to be 35, and he's really only had one good half-season over the last two years.
It was a pretty nice half season though, posting a .274/.344/.581 line in 234 AB's with the Mets, before reverting back to his previous season's form with a .204/.252/.391 line over 230 AB's with the Dodgers. But even that first half really comes down to about 100 good at bats in the beginning of the year, so that's not as promising as it looks. His home/road splits for 2003 make things seem a little better (.216/.281/.401 vs. .262/.316/.570), but you're still looking at an old ballplayer who strikes out a lot, and seems to have lost some of his knack for taking a walk (he hasn't been better than his career OBP mark of .350 since the 2000 season). His power upside is what separates him from the rest of the candidates, and if he gets signed, that's what's likely to put him over the top. He's also capable of playing at least passably anywhere in the outfield, and he still has a cannon for an arm. He's certainly one of the few guys available who would be a legitimate power threat off the bench, and from the left side, to boot. If he's cheap enough, and is willing to sign for only one year, he may well be worth the risk.
In other outfield news, Jose Cruz Jr. is off the table, as the D-Rays signed him for 2 years at $3M per. Can't say I'm surprised, although I would have thought that a contending team in need of a relatively inexpensive yet productive swith-hitting corner outfielder (paging Mr. Jocketty!) might have gotten something done with him rather than forcing him to the purgatory of Tampa. Oh well, there's no accounting for taste.
Also, the Mariners have won the Scott Spiezio sweepstakes, beating the Cubs to the punch with a 3 year, $9M deal. Add in today's trade of Greg Colbrunn for Q-McC, and you've got a team that's beginning to look like it's engaging in an active attempt to fail. If any of you can figure out what the hell is going on in Seattle this year, be sure to let the poor fellas over at the U.S.S. Mariner know. They sure seem like they need a hug right now.