A Little Gush for Luis
Third Base has a bit of a bugaboo for this organization lately. Take away both Corey Koskie debacles, the Tubby Batista signing, and you still have a bunch of draft picks that aren't quite where the Twins want them to be. I wondered about that, and I managed to find this post from February where Taylor talks a bit about who the Twins might have in their future at the position. (BTW, is Taylor's blog on our list? Is his RSS feed on MNGameDay.com? Needs to be.) But isn't there a guy they just drafted that should be on that list? Am I confused?
Anyhoo, Taylor lists Luis Rodriguez as #11 or #432 or something like that, which is fine. I've always thought Rodriguez a little underrated, but results are results, and I'm fine with his place. But you absolutely have to LOVE the play he made on Ichiro's second at-bat of the game. A diving grab, a throw from both cheeks that beats the fastest home-to-first runner in the game. If Punto made that play, we'd all be gushing. Luis, you get a little gushing tonight.
Jeff Weaver started the game for the Mariners, and he deserves a whole article. Remember, this guy was the Tigers Opening Day starter as a 24-year-old back in 2001 (losing to Brad Radke 3-2). He was traded to the Yankees for Jeremy Bonderman and a bunch of guys. Then he was traded from the Yankees for Kevin Brown.
Last year he was released mid-season when the Angels called up his own brother, signed with the Cardinals, but went on a tear in the playoffs to earn a World Series ring. However, he couldn't come to an agreement with the Cards in the offseason and signed with the Mariners for $8+ million.
Remember, Weaver had been released just six months earlier but received an $8M contract. What's more, he signed that one-year deal five days later than Ramon Oritz signed with the Twins for about $5 million less money. Comparable pitchers, signed in the market at a similar time, one of which clearly has better stuff than the other based on tonight's game - and Weaver got more than twice as much money.
And I think I know the answer to that obvious little riddle - it's Scott Boras. Weaver's agent is Boras, and I'll be damned if his client's don't make WAY more than comparable players. It seems to happen every damn time, even to the Twins. Remember when Twins fans were up in arms about the arbitration ruling that Kyle Lohse won? Wanna guess who his agent was?
It made me wonder who which agents represented the most grossly overpaid players this year. I knew that the agent for that 7-year, $126 million contract that Barry Zito got was Scott Boras. But how about the ridiculous deal that Gil Meche got? Turns out his agent is Casey Close, who I had never heard of before.
But that's also not good news for Twins fans. Because while none of the Twins big names have Boras as their agent, one has Close. That player is Michael Cuddyer. Just something to keep in mind.
But the best agent in the world wasn't saving Weaver tonight. Can anyone yank balls to left field like Hunter when he's on fire? Just an amazint at-bat.
- Weaver works the outside edge of the plate and the umpire give him a huge strike zone out there for the first two pitches.
- On the third pitch, Kenji Johjima is setting up six inches off the plate and even then Hunter needs to swing and just manages to foul one off.
- For the fourth pitch Johjima gets up, walks 1/4 of the way down the first base line, and then gets into his crouch again. Amazingly, Hunter doesn't swing. Even more amazingly, it's called a ball.
- And for the fifth pitch Johjima set up off the outside of the plate and low. And Dave says "Weaver had better not miss his spot". He does. The pitch is six inches higher and about three inches over. It's still on the outside of the plate, but it's over the plate and there was never a doubt where it would land.
That's it for tonight. I hope you all had as much fun watching the game as I did. And if you're not watching tonight's game, I'm not sure I can call you my friend. Bring on the King!
* Amore Victoria on Lake and Irving. If I lived within four blocks of that place, I would be there approximately four nights a week. If I lived six blocks, I would be there at least that often in the summer. I'm just saying.
Oh, and I would be eating that pistachio gorgonzola cream pasta thing right up until the time I had that first coronary. Hmmm, make that the second coronary.