Tagged: David Dellucci

The Sunday Scuttlebutt: Goodbye and Farewell

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Baseball’s amateur draft, slated to begin a week from Tuesday, would carry
far more luster if Major League Baseball would change its antiquated rules
preventing teams from trading draft choices. All of the other sports allow
draft choices to be traded, except for baseball, which continues to operate
under the fear that agents like Scott Boras would demand trades for clients
drafted by undesirable teams. (What teams don’t seem willing to admit is that Boras already tries to redirect players by refusing to sign contracts
with their drafting teams, thus enabling those players to re-enter the draft
the following year.) By allowing teams to trade draft picks both during and
after the selection process, MLB would accomplish two objectives. First, the
occurrence of draft-day trades would jazz up the festivities on June 9,
bringing more publicity to an event that is currently only followed by draft
diehards. (Imagine the stir that would be caused if the Nationals traded their
No. 1 pick, essentially the rights to uberprospect right-hander Stephen Strasburg,
to a team like the Phillies for three or four prospects.) Second, with so many
contending teams reluctant to deal their near-ready major league prospects for
short-term fixes, they would instead be able to substitute draft choices in
dealing for veteran players who can provide immediate help in the pennant race.
We would therefore see far more trades between now and the July 31st
deadline, spicing up what has become a lackluster trading season in recent
years…

 

Even with a healthy Brett Myers, the Phillies needed to add
another starter to make a successful run at their second-straight National
League East title. With Myers likely out for the season because of looming
labrum surgery on his hip, the need has only intensified. Heck, the Phillies
may have to add two starters to a core of starters that features ace Cole
Hamels, Joe “Bulldog” Blanton, and the sphinx-like Jamie Moyer, who just won
his 250th game. That threesome simply is not good enough to win the
East, especially with the Mets looming…

 

The hype attached to this week’s recall of super prospect
Matt Wieters by the Orioles is like nothing I’ve seen since the Rangers brought
David Clyde to the major leagues immediately after he was drafted out of high
school in 1974. In a way, I feel bad for Wieters, who has been praised to the
point that we expect him to become Carlton Fisk, Joe Mauer, and Ted Simmons all
rolled into one. Wieters will probably develop into a very fine player, perhaps
a great one, but it is quickly becoming impossible to scale the Mt. Everest
of expectations that has been created by so many talent evaluators and
prospects gurus. Let the young man breathe a little bit…

 

Not long ago, David Dellucci was a productive platoon player
capable of hitting for power, drawing walks, and fielding any of the three
outfield positions. On Friday, the Indians designated Dellucci for assignment,
a prelude to what will probably be his unconditional release. Based upon the
laments of Indians fans who have watched him stagger through the last season
and a half, Dellucci’s career looks to be cooked. He can’t hit, run, or field
at a competent level anymore, not even well enough to play regularly for an
Indians team crying for help in the outfield corners…

 

You know the first-place Yankees are doing well when Mike
Lupica makes only two references to them in his Sunday “Shooting From The Lip”
series of one-liners. If the Yankees were still struggling, as they did for the
first month of the season, every other segment of Lupica’s “column” would
feature some kind of potshot against the organization. The pattern has become
oh-so predictable from the guy who has been paid to hate the Yankees for over
30 years…

 

In a season filled with injury, disappointment, and general
underperformance, the A’s have found a bright spot in the play of veteran
second baseman Adam Kennedy. Acquired from the Rays as a replacement for the
perennially injured Mark Ellis, Kennedy is hitting .400 with five stolen bases
since being anointed the interim pivotman for Oakland. The Rays must be kicking themselves
for dumping Kennedy in a cash deal, especially after they lost Akinori Iwamura
to injury for the balance of the season. Tampa’s
unsettled second base situation is one of just several problem areas, in
addition to the season-long slump of Pat Burrell and the injury- ravaged
bullpen, where journeyman sidewinder Randy Choate is now receiving chances to
close games…

 

 

***

 

These words will mark my final musings for MLBlogs. After an
eventful and fruitful four-year run as the author of this blog, I’ve decided to
pack up the laptop and move to another venue. I want to thank at least some of
the people who have helped me along the way, such as Mark Newman, who has
provided guidance and assistance since my first article appeared here in May of
2005. Jacob Wilson has also helped by providing technical assistance, a
necessity for someone who is as computer ignorant as me. Additionally, I must
mention the contributions of those who have posted comments, along with the
loyalty of the readers, a small but dedicated group who have motivated and
supported my efforts. I hope you have all enjoyed the writing here, a product
of hard work and an undying love for our great game.

 

I will continue to write for Alex Belth’s Bronx Banter, but
beginning this week, I will be writing a weekly article for The Hardball Times,
an outstanding web site featuring original in-depth comment. I will also be
contributing periodically to the site’s new blog, THT Live. So beginning this
Friday, you can find my writing at www.thehardballtimes.com.
I hope that at least some of our readers and posters will follow us over there
while continuing to support some of the good people here at MLB, like Bronx
Banter, Julia’s Rants, The Newberg Report, and Curt Smith’s Voices of the Game.

 

So it is time to bid goodbye and farewell, but hopefully
only until the next adventure begins in a new location. See you at The Hardball
Times.

 

Sincerely,

 

Bruce Markusen

“Cooperstown Confidential”

Cooperstown,
NY

 

 

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Opening Day Extravaganza

It’s Opening Day, simply one of the best days of the calendar year, and a time when baseball news is flowing in every direction. So let’s get to it…

The final weekend before the regular season produced a trade–and hardly an insignificant one at that. The Rangers traded David Dellucci, though it wasn’t to the Angels, as had been rumored. Instead, the Rangers sent the underrated outfielder-DH to the Phillies for a package headed up by Robinson Tejeda, who figures to join the back end of Texas’ rotation sometime in 2005. (Tejeda is an intriguing talent, but is that the best that the Rangers could do in trading Dellucci when his value seemed to be at its highest?) I love Dellucci’s game–he reached career highs in home runs (29) and walks (76) last season, can play all three outfield spots, and is a hard-nosed grinder whom Philly fans will appreciate–but it’s hard to see where he fits in Philadelphia’s outfield. With three excellent starters and Shane Victorino available to back them up, Dellucci could become a glorified pinch-hitter–unless the Phillies are planning to unload Bobby Abreu later this season… The Phillies’ sudden glut of outfielders may put them in better position to make a deal for a third baseman. Three teams might be suitable trading partners for the Phils: the Angels (Dallas McPherson), the Indians (Aaron Boone), and the Blue Jays (Shea Hillenbrand), all of whom could use an outfielder with some punch…

One of the feel-good stories of the Yankees’ camp was the sudden emergence of career minor leaguer Wil Nieves, who surprisingly made the team’s Opening Day roster. With Jorge Posada missing time due to a broken nose, Nieves seized the opportunity to play more and impressed Yankee officials with his defensive skills behind the plate. Originally, the Yankees had planned to sneak Nieves through waivers and send him to Triple-A Columbus, but they realized the Mariners would have claimed Nieves with the idea of making him their backup to Kenji Jojima. Not wanting to lose Nieves on waivers, the Yankees decided to keep him as their No. 3 catcher… The “feel-bad story” of the Yankee camp may have been the continued regression of $40 million man Carl Pavano. Pavano’s latest injury borders on the ridiculous; he has a bruised “backside,” which the Yankees say will keep him out definitely. Why do I get the feeling that Pavano has little interest in pitching in New York?…

Although it escaped the attention of most of the mainstream and internet media, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America recently announced the names of 200 players and 60 managers/executives who have made it to the preliminary round of next year’s Hall of Fame Veterans Committee election. (Perhaps the media has decided to ignore the story because of the two most recent Veterans elections, which have produced a total of zero Hall of Famers.) The two lists, which were put together by the Hall’s Historical Overview Committee, contain some intriguing choices. Among the 60 managers/executives are President George W. Bush, a selection that is sure to rile some of the political types that frequent Baseball Primer. (Bush was selected for his tenure as principal owner of the Texas Rangers.) The most surprising name on the managerial list is that of Don Zimmer, who has skippered the Rangers, Cubs, Red Sox, and Padres during a 55-year career in baseball, but whose work as a manager has never been associated with that of a Hall of Famer. And then there’s the players’ list, which features the likes of two-time felon Denny McLain, whose continued inclusion by the overview committee has rankled more than one Hall of Fame official…

I don’t recommend good baseball web sites as often as I should, so hopefully this will mark the start of a new trend. One site in particular has caught my attention in recent weeks. It’s “Steve’s Baseball Photography Pages,” which can be found at the URL www.geocities.com/dewing19. The site, which is run by a gentleman named Steve Dewing, features rarely seen, and in many cases, never-before-published photographs from the 1950s, sixties, and seventies. For those who enjoy baseball from that era and tire of seeing the same black-and-white photos over and over, Dewing’s site comes as a refreshing change. Constantly updated with newly found images, the site includes some new West Coast material–photos of Willie McCovey with the Padres, Bobby Murcer with the Giants, and Reggie Jackson with the A’s. For those who like action photos, there are some wonderful shots of Johnny Bench and Pete Rose with the Reds circa 1970. There’s an intriguing photograph of Hank Aaron (as a Brewer) chatting with Willie Davis (as a Ranger); making you wonder what they were talking about. In addition, Dewing features some rarely seen Rangers shots from the seventies, including photos of Texas-sized failures like Rico Carty and Alex Johnson. He also has posted several photographs for Rangers players he’s trying to identify, which may generate interest among fans of the franchise during the Ted Williams, Whitey Herzog, and Billy Martin years. So if you’re looking to spend some time at the internet on a new site, visit Steve’s Baseball Pages, send him an e-mail at dewing19@usfamily.net, and soak in some old-fashioned baseball photography…

To celebrate Opening Day–and to promote my latest book venture–we’ll be introducing a trivia contest on Mondays during the regular season. The book, The Team That Changed Baseball, is scheduled for release in May and examines the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates, who overcame long odds to win the World Series against the seemingly invincible Baltimore Orioles. Each week, we’ll feature a trivia question about the ’71 Pirates. The first person to post the correct answer (and provide his or her e-mail address) will receive a 1972 Topps Pirates baseball card.

Without further delay, here’s the first trivia question of the new season:

Which member of the ’71 Pirates became a minor league coach with the Houston Astros and helped Jeff Bagwell make the transition from third base to first base?