WTNYJanuary 24, 2004
Food for Thought
By Bryan Smith

Rare weekend post, as there are a few topics I want to hit on, and a few I'd like to revisit. The first is about my article yesterday, in which I wrote about the throwing sessions of Orlando Hernandez and Maels Rodriguez. Will Carroll wrote on his blog yesterday that Rodriguez failed to top 90mph, maxing out at 87 with his fastball. El Duque, throwing at 85%, never hit above 78. This will hurt their 2004 salaries, and Maels is going to need to have a very impressive second outing to attract a signing. The Red Sox said that Maels was low to mid-90s earlier in the week, but could that have been to start driving up what the Yankees have to pay?

Since we're on the topic of bullpen sessions, Yankee Steve Karsay had an impressive workout on Friday, throwing 30 fastballs from the bullpen mound. The team isn't sure if Karsay will be ready for Opening Day, but it looks like the Yanks will have their #4 RH out of the bullpen back at full strength early on in the season.

I've ripped Dan O'Dowd often at this blog, so I couldn't hesitate from smiling when hearing that the team had signed LHP Shawn Estes to a minor league contract on Friday. This is O'Dowd trying to recreate the Darren Oliver addition from a year ago, but it just won't work. Estes does a decent job of keeping the ball on the ground, but if he was terrible in Wrigley, what is going to happen in Coors? Yikes.

Bob Melvin was talking about reshuffling the Mariner lineup this year, possibly moving Ichiro Suzuki to the #3 hole. Peter White of Mariner Musings and David Cameron at the U.S.S. Mariner have done a good job analyzing this move, saying that Ichiro is better fitted for hitting with runners on base. Cameron presents a mock lineup with arguments for each spot, something I hope to do for every Major League team here in the coming weeks. I can't say I agree with putting John Olerud in the fourth hole, but it will be bad enough when Bob Melvin makes Raul Ibanez his fifth hitter.

Finally, I never touched on the Glendon Rusch signing this week, so I thought this would be a good time to sound off my thoughts. Before this season, I couldn't have imagined a situation where a 1-12 pitcher would be sought after, but Glendon Rusch actually had some options. Mike Maddux worked wonders on Rusch, who had a 3.23ERA in the second half, with most of his appearances in relief. Maybe Rusch is built for middle/long relief, but I'm a believer that he can return to usefulness after years of inadequacy. I actually prefer this signing to Kenny Rogers, although the Gambler is a lot more likely to waste rotation space.

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