December 12, 2003


HOT HOT HOT (STOVE): Time for the real excitement to begin- the baseball winter meetings start tonight in New Orleans, and much player movement is expected. Things got off to an early start yesterday, with pitcher Andy Pettitte- a mainstay in the Yankees' rotation for as long as they've been good- jumping to his hometown team, the Houston Astros. The New York tabloids and talk show callers are aghast that George Steinbrenner didn't try harder to keep the lefthander, but by the end of the day the Yankees had reached a tentative deal with the Dodgers to bring in pitcher Kevin Brown, who was signed to the sport's first-ever $100 million contract prior to the 1999 season, but never pitched in a playoff game for the Dodgers.
I'm not sure this works out so well for any of the three teams. The Dodgers, baseball's worst offensive team last year, should have insisted on much more than just a couple of prospects and Jeff Weaver for Brown, especially considering how desperate New York was to replace Pettitte by the end of the news cycle. The Yankees, failing to plug Curt Schilling into the righthander-who's-pushing-40-and-makes-big-bucks rotation slot vacated by Roger Clemens, instead settled for the overpaid, oft-injured, temperamental Brown, who may or may not still have anything left in the tank. And it's hard to think of a big-splash acquisition the Astros have ever made that hasn't blown up their face- aside from Randy Johnson's two-month stint in '98, Pettitte is the highest-profile pitcher acquired by the Astros since Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams in 1994. And then there's the remarkable stat that Pettitte has more career postseason victories by himself than the team has in their 40-year history
The A-Rod-Ramirez deal may very well be dead, but leave it to the Red Sox to come up with something else to make the SOSH people happy. And don't be surprised if A-Rod actually does come to Fenway- the deal just makes too much sense for anyone not to happen.
And hopefully the Twins can get something done too. More later…

Posted by Stephen Silver at December 12, 2003 12:58 PM
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