WTNYAugust 26, 2003
Notes Day: Missing a Week
By Bryan Smith

A week away from my computer taught me one thing: a lot happens in August. Today I have a list of notes, everything from transaction analysis to minor league news...

Transaction Analysis
Most of the moves that have happened in August were good teams acquiring future free agents. I'll go quickly through these moves, as they don't have much 2004 and beyond bearing.

Mike Dejean to Cards for 2 Players to be Named
Rumor has it that Milwaukee will chosse between Josh Pearce, Mike Crudale, Jason Ryan, and Chance Capel. The first three are all in AAA, with Crudale being the most successful reliever. Capel is in high-A, and has bad numbers and is old. If these reports are true, expect the Brewers to acquire Crudale and Jason Ryan, sporting a 2.89ERA at AAA.

The Cardinals got the reliever they needed, and will probably keep him next season. The team will lose bad arms like Jeff Fassero and Cal Eldred, but keeping an extra closer around is a good idea.

Sterling Hitchcock to Cards for Justin Pope and Ben Julianel
Good move for the Yankees. By trading Raul Mondesi, Robin Ventura, and Hitchcock, the Yankees have added some good arms. Pope was an ex-prospect who was struggling, and Julianel is a reliever that has some insane low-A numbers (78K in 51.2IP).

Hitchcock's next few months will dictate the rest of his career. Either he could have a great stretch run, and get signed like Woody Williams did after he landed in St. Louis. Or he could go down the Jamey Wright route: pitch bad for the Cards and spend a year in AAA. It's all up to him.

Cubs get Womack and Simon
Who the Cubs gave up isn't important. The team got these two players who like to hack and won't add too much. Womack will play a nice middle relief reserve role, giving the club another decent runner off the bench (see Glanville). Simon is the interesting acquisition, as he is arbitration-eligible next season. A non-tender is most likely, but you can bet Dusty will be lobbying to trade Hee Seop.

Pirates get Bobby Hill
The extra from the Aramis and Lofton trade. Hill is a great acquisition, although he presents a logjam in the middle infield. The team traded for Freddy Sanchez, has Jack Wilson, and Jose Castillo is waiting in the wings. The possibility of Hill at second, Castillo at short, and Sanchez playing third is most likely. This would give the team a serious lack of power, but a solid team BA.

Eric Young to the Giants
This is the route the Cubs should have gone. Young is a good player, and his ability to play center really helps his value. The team is having health problems in the middle, and Young is another warm body. He won't be kept around next season, but now he is in the spotlight.

Nice acquisition by the Brewers in Greg Burso. He is a solid prospect, and is flying through the minors fast. Milwaukee will probably be out of the cellar next season, and be making a serious run at things by 2005.

Free Agent News

- Outfield is the most loaded position going into the offseason, with Gary Sheffield and Vladimir Guerrero topping the list. Rumor has it that the Yankees are more interested in Sheffield, and that Guerrero doesn't want to play in New York. The Orioles have made Vlad their number one priority, and his other serious suitors should be Atlanta and Los Angeles. I think the Dodgers will get Guerrero, and the Orioles will turn their attention to Mike Cameron.
- Another good outfielder possibly not on the move is Jose Guillen. This season's most improved player is enjoying playing by the bay, and has announced he wants a three-year deal to stay in Oakland. Depending on cost, expect Billy Beane to sign him.

- Despite the fact that the Blue Jyas are going to wait to sign an extension with Kelvim Escobar, expect it to happen. He is the best pitcher the Blue Jays have behind Halladay, and they can't allow him to escape to the weak market.
- One team in need of pitching in the offseason is the Red Sox. I think they'll make Bartolo Colon their number one priority, unless Javier Vazquez is easily attainable. I doubt that though, and expect Colon to be in Beantown.
- The White Sox will pursue their chubby ace, but won't be crying if Colon leaves them. Ken Williams has long-standing enfatuations with Sidney Ponson and Cory Lidle, and may use the Colon exit to satisfy those. Signing Ponson and Lidle would be a nice way to fill out a rotation currently featuring Loaiza, Buerhle, and Garland.
- Danys Baez is a huge question mark for the Indians. They will be paying Bob Wickman $5 million in 2004, and can't afford to pay Baez the same amount. Danys hasn't quite lived up to his potential, and is probably headed to the free agent market. And anyone notice that David Riske, and not Baez, is getting the saves in Cleveland?
- Expect the Expos to acquire Brandon Villafuerte from the Padres in the next few days...

Minor League notes

- 17-year old pitcher Felix Hernandez pitched in low-A yesterday. He did pretty well in his midwest league debut, after dominating the Northwest League. The Mariners could be looking at Hernandez in a couple of years, and the kid is flying through prospect charts. I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure he's the youngest player in Professional baseball.
- The Angels top four prospects: Ervin Santana, Jeff Mathis, Bobby Jenks, and Dallas McPherson is the best foursome in baseball. The World Champs will be adding all these great players, and Casey Kotchman, in the next few seasons. Wow.
- Starting tomarrow, the sidebar will be charting the progress of Oakland's 2002 draftees. After reading how 'great' their draft was in Moneyball, I was suprised to look at how bad some of them are doing. Joe Blanton is the only one really standing out, and that was just a bad Ken Williams mistake.

Be back tomarrow, enjoy reading...