The Week That Was in Baseball: December 7-13, 2009
Scott Boras Puts on the Kid Gloves A Review of the Week's Signings and Trades
Barry Bonds Finally Faces Reality
Have You Voted for Your Best of the 00's?

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A Complimentary Slap in the Face
Scott Boras is so insensitive to the moment. He lost Alex Rodriguez as a client when he shamefully used Game Four of the 2007 World Series to announce that A-Rod was opting out of his contract with the New York Yankees. And this past week, he “congratulated” former St. Louis and Kansas City manager Whitey Herzog for his entry into the Hall of Fame by slamming him for comments made about free agent Matt Holliday. Herzog, in a chat with the media following the announcement that he made the Hall, said that the Cardinals could win the NL Central title with or without Holliday, whose late-season appearance in St. Louis helped lock up the divisional title this past year. “You can’t commit suicide in baseball,” said the White Rat. “Sign one contract that’s bad, you’re going to suffer.”

Boras retorted immediately, poking Herzog’s statements by countering that “Modern GMs, particularly (Yankee GM Brian) Cashman, with a new ring on his finger, characterize signings like Mark Teixeira—who akin to Holliday achieved near-MVP status and taken a team to the World Series—as ‘suicide.’” Boras, going two-sided with his mouth, then added, “Again we congratulate Whitey on his admittance into the Hall of Fame.”

Is Big Mac Ready For the Attack?
Cooperstown and Holliday weren’t the only things on Herzog’s public mind on the day of his Hall of Fame announcement. He also sounded off that current Cardinal batting coach Mark McGwire may not be current for long, saying that the disgraced former slugger might reconsider the position given the media scrutiny he’s bound to face—especially on the road. “If he (doesn’t open up with the press), it’s not going to be the fans and (the media) in St. Louis as much as it’s going to be going to Cincinnati, going to Pittsburgh, going to Philadelphia, going to New York.” McGwire has still yet to make a public appearance or statement since being hired on at St. Louis.

Don't Tell Me My Business
Herzog wasn’t the only target of the outspoken Boras this past week. At baseball’s winter meetings in Indianapolis, San Francisco general manager Brian Sabean got tweaked the wrong way when Boras commented to reporters that GMs were saying one thing publicly (we can’t spend on free agents) and thinking another privately (we can spend). Sabean, who along with the Giants got taken to the cleaners by Boras after agreeing to a behemoth contract for pitcher Barry Zito in 2007, very much said what was on his mind when responding to Boras: “Well, you know, I kever knew that we needed any more offense. I’m shocked to hear I’m the last to know. Scott’s a very smart man. He has enough money to buy a club. Maybe that’s the route he should go.” Boras is currently trying to push one of his clients, free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre, on Sabean and the Giants.

You Can Finally Trash the BALCO Toolbox
You won’t have
Barry Bonds to kick around anymore. Officially, anyway. The disgraced home run king has not personally come out to say he’s retired, but his agent, Jeff Borris, pretty much confirmed that his playing days are over in a talk with the San Francisco Chronicle—ironically, the same newspaper that broke the story on Bonds’ steroid use through BALCO in 2003. Between his age (46 in 2010), his bad knees and his active status as a defendant in the BALCO probe, Borris said that any chance of Bonds coming back was “nearly impossible.” (Borris failed to add that his clubhouse presence as one angry 800-pound elephant also worked against his possible return.) In ending his comments, Borris stated, “It’s an unfortunate ending to a storied career.” We couldn’t help but do a double take at the word “storied”; all you do is switch the ‘o’ with the ‘e’ and you almost have the word, “steroid,” which is at first what we thought we read.

Proving There's a There There
That’s three theres, in fact. The City of Oakland, desperate to keep the A’s for the long term while team owner
Lou Wolff has all but set his sights on San Jose, announced this past week that it’s eyeing three waterfront sites within its boundaries as a possible new home for the A’s. The team, meanwhile, is mum, other than to say that a committee set up by MLB exploring new ballpark options for the A’s will release its opinion in January.

As the Bucs Go, So Go the Bucks
Here’s one positive to being a fan of a team that never wins: You don’t get your ticket prices raised. For the eighth straight year, the Pittsburgh Pirates will not be hiking up the cost of season tickets. We’ll be curious as to whether those prices would go up if and when the Bucs finally do finish above .500 for the first time since well before the end of the last century (1992, to be exact).

We Ought to Tell You: Our All-Decade Nominations
With the end of the Oughts (read: 2000s) in sight, This Great Game has revealed its nominees for the best and worst of the decade that was. Categories include best and worst team, hitter and pitcher; the most memorable moments, on and off the field; the best one-year wonder, and more. A PDF ballot is available for download and can be sent back to TGG by December 21 for us to tally; the winners will be announced in the December 28 edition of the Weekly Comebacker.

The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
Click here to look at the TGG Comebacker archive going back to the start of the 2007 season.

This Week in Player Relocations
Baseball’s winter meetings in Indianapolis produced the expected splurge of free agent signings and trades, although the three biggest fish in the free agent pond—Outfielders Matt Holliday, Jason Bay and pitcher John Lackey—finished the week without a new team. Here’s an overview of this week’s primary transactions:

Curtis Granderson traded to New York; Edwin Jackson traded to Arizona for Max Scherzer. The Yankees, who gave up a common player (reliever Phil Coke) and prospects in this three-team deal, only got better as they come away with the best short-term end of the deal with the magnetic Granderson taking over in center field and, likely, at the leadoff spot; his presence is bound to spark an already rich Yankee lineup. The Diamondbacks get a sound starting pitcher in Jackson, who has vastly improved since struggling a few years back in Tampa Bay. The Tigers sacrificed talent (Granderson) and solidity (Jackson) for reduced payroll and a possible future ace in Scherzer, who’s slowly (though not surely) getting there.

Pedro Feliz signs with Houston. Feliz brings much promise to Minute Maid Park; his defense is sharp and his bat may produce more punch with the short left field porch. Of course, we had this feeling when he signed on with Philadelphia, but he ended up a disappointment.

Bobby Crosby signs with Pittsburgh. The Pirates had to act big and sign somebody, so this is the best they could do. Crosby is a former Rookie of the Year who has devolved rather than evolved since. Heading to Pittsburgh just begs to continue his downward path.

Rafael Soriano traded to Tampa Bay. Soriano surprised the Atlanta Braves, who signed experienced closers Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito, by excepting arbitration rather than declare himself a free agent. For the Rays, Soriano represents the latest best hope for a team struggling to find long-term security at the closer spot.

Randy Wolf signs with Milwaukee. The Brewers are crossing their fingers that Wolf’s sterling turn as a starter for Los Angeles this past season is a steady sign of things to come, following on the heels of four straight underachieving, injury-plagued campaigns.

Brad Penny signs with St. Louis. This could be as significant a signing for the Cardinals as a possible re-upping with Matt Holliday—if Penny pitches as well as he did to end the 2009 season in San Francisco. With Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter already stars, an on-target Penny could give the Cardinals one of baseball’s best rotations—if not its best, period.

Rich Harden signs with Texas; Kevin Millwood traded to Baltimore. The Rangers are taking a major chance in dealing away an innings-eating ace for a former closer (Chris Ray) badly struggling to find his way back; filling in Millwood’s shoes with Harden will be difficult given the ex-Cub’s constant presence on the disabled list. Meanwhile, this is all a good thing for the Orioles, who can use someone, anyone to pitch.

Chone Figgins signs with Seattle. Figgins’ relocation northward from Anaheim could spice up the AL West race in 2010. With Ichiro Suzuki, the Mariners now have two solid sparks at the top of the order; now if they could only find some people to bring them home.

Ivan Rodriguez signs with Washington. On the surface, this is nothing more than a cosmetic maneuver for the lowly Nationals given Rodriguez’s recent depreciation, but he could bring valuable sage to a young rotation that sometime in 2010 may include the big Number One, Stephen Strasburg.

J.J. Putz signs with Chicago White Sox. Putz’s year didn’t go so well in New York—but then again, little went well for the Mets in 2009. A second fresh start in as many years for a guy looking to rediscover the unbelievable fire he possessed at Seattle from 2006-07.

Dreaming of Being Mrs. Belvadere
Just to prove that there are some truly deranged people in this world, a woman accused of stalking Bob Uecker—let us repeat that: Someone is stalking Bob Uecker—has been given another court order to stay away from the Milwaukee Brewer announcer. The woman, from nearby Chicago, argued this latest rap has violated her constitutional right to travel. Is there such a thing as Stalkers Anonymous? (We looked it up. There actually is.)

Now Playing at TGG
Uploaded this week is Ed Attnasio’s They Were There chat featuring with former major league reliever Bob Locker, who reveals his experiences with the one-year Seattle Pilots and the great Oakland A’s teams of the early 1970s.

Also Now Playing at TGG
TGG's year-end review of the regular season is now live, breaking down the best, worst, most surprising and most disappointing performances from each major league team.

We Ought to Tell You: Our All-Decade Nominations

With the end of the Oughts (read: 2000s) in sight, This Great Game has revealed its nominees for the best and worst of the decade that was. Categories include best and worst team, hitter and pitcher; the most memorable moments, on and off the field; the best one-year wonder, and more. Take a good look at the nominees and then get your chance to vote on the winners! TGG will tally the final vote and announce the winners at the end of the year. (Voting ends on December 21, so get your PDFs in now!)