Friday, March 24, 2006

The end of the arroyo.

What an interesting week for the Red Sockings.

First, two-time MVP Juan Gone Gonzalez signed a minor league contract to shore up the lack of outfield depth. He's a kind of no-risk, high-reward signing, as his last two seasons have been something beneath sad and pathetic. Unhealthy since 2001, he found no takers for his services in 2004 until the lowly Royals came calling, which lasted all of 138 plate appearances. Last year, his season lasted literally three pitches, as he re-aggravated his strained hamstring grounding out.

Also, Hee Seop Choi was snagged off the waiver wire after he was discarded by the new and dumber Dodger regime. This was especially irresponsible on L.A.'s part because really, does anyone expect Hamon to play all 162 games at first? How much Choi will play is anybody's guess, especially with Jack Thomas Snow sharing first base duties with The Greek God of Walks. But he's the best kind of player that you can get for free and even if his tenure in Boston ends up like Roberto Petagine's, it's better to have him and not need him than to need him and not have him.

But the big splash they made was trading Bronson Arroyo (plus cash) straight up for Wily Mo Pena. I don't want to say I already predicted this, but he did go against his agent's advice but signing too cheaply and thus making him that much more appealing to crappy teams with no real hope for contending. Needing a platoon mate for Trot Nixon's crappy performance against left-handed pitching and realizing that the likes of Juan Gone, Dustan Mohr, Adam Stern and Fleet Willie Harris will only help so much, Prince Theo went out and scored 24 year-old lefty-murderer Pena, whose power is about as raw and unrefined as it comes. Still, as young and cheap as he is, he could make a very apt replacement for Trot once he lives via free-agency after this season. The Fenway Faithful are likely to mourn the loss of a fan favorite and bitch about the front office but it's easy to forget that Theo is largely responsible for Bronson having a major-league career at all. If he hadn't been astute enough to pluck him from the waiver wire in 2003 (when none of the other 29 wanted him), Bronson would've been exiled to journeyman purgatory or worse yet, out of baseball completely. Now he's a pseudo-rock star multi-millionaire and with the rotation seven deep (eight, if you count Jon Lester), he was the most expendable of the 40. Personally, I think being traded out of Boston is punishment for putting out that cringingly embarrassing grunge cover album. I mean, c'mon, Bronson, really. The Verve Pipe?

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