There is some good stuff in that bargain bin

In a few days it will be February.

And later in that month, pitchers and catchers will have reported to Arizona and Florida.

Then the off season will be over and Spring Training will have begun… and the 2010 baseball year will be on its way.

And yet still not everyone has found a home yet.

Obviously Johnny Damon is still the biggest name out there… and I am sure the $14 million they turned down from the World Champion Yankees looks pretty good right about now.

This is the second annual “Scott Boras Takes A Former 2004 Red Sox Outfielder Into Free Agency And Doesn’t Get The Offers He Was Expecting” tour after last year’s Manny Ramirez non offer spree.

(Why the Giants didn’t sign him like I told them too will remain a mystery to me.)

Usually right around now, it is a series of veteran relievers and back up catchers who are looking for a gig… and inevitably a few veterans like Ray Durham last year will wind up without work.

But something occurred to me. If I had a really crappy team… like a team that was going nowhere in a hurry… I could get a whole new infield for cheap right now.

I could have Russell Branyan at first…

Orlando Hudson at second…

Orlando Cabrera at shortstop…

Melvin Mora at third base…

Not to mention reserves like Felipe Lopez

And Adam Kennedy

And maybe if it is an AL Team, have a DH Platoon with Jermaine Dye

And Carlos Delgado

I’m not saying this infield and depth would win a division… but it has got to be a better infield than some teams are fielding.

And this close to spring training, I bet you can sign all eight for a few million each.

These 8 players for $22 million… or less than what Vernon Wells is scheduled to make in 2011!

Come on Pittsburgh fans. Tell me you wouldn’t rather have THIS infield than the one that will be taking the field in a few months!

Hey Mets! You should sign these guys to fill in for the inevitable injuries that will plague the team.

Maybe Boros can sign these guys himself and take them with Johnny Damon and start barnstorming!

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The Mets are now intersted in John Smoltz? Why not?

Seriously! Why not?

They’ve added dysfunction with the squabble with Carlos Beltran.

They’ve added questionable health with Kelvim Escobar and Jason Bay.

They’ve added Gary Matthews Jr, a player the Angels wanted to get rid of so badly that they paid $21 million to do it.

And remember this is all added to a 92 loss team in the biggest glaring media market… a team that Bengie Molina, Joel Pineiro, Jon Garland and Ben Sheets all said no to.

So why not sign John Smoltz?
The team has been too old and too injured needs a 43 year pitcher who has been hurt or effective the last few years.

Yes he’s a Hall of Famer. So is Whitey Ford!

Maybe the Mets should pick him up too!

Seriously, would someone tell me why the Mets shouldn’t be dismantled now?

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The A’s signing Ben Sheets makes even LESS sense to me today!

OK, let’s say you are the Oakland A’s… you don’t often sign players to salaries higher than the milk shake guy at In and Out Burger… and the few times you do, the results aren’t pretty. (How’s that Eric Chavez signing looking?)

But for whatever reason you find $10 million to spend on the 2010 roster. (Perhaps you found a suit that had a $10 million bill in the breast pocket.

They need pitching depth and two pitchers are still hanging around, unsigned, in late January.

One just turned 30, has thrown 190 innings or more each of the last 8 seasons. Consistently gets double digit wins. Consistently starts 30+ games. And has experience in several pennant races including playing a big part in a World Series run where he threw a complete game playoff win. Last year he logged in 204 innings, made 33 starts and pitched well down the stretch drive for a playoff team.

The other one is a year older, has more health issues than Amy Winehouse and pitched in as many games as her last year… which would be zero. He hasn’t logged in 200 innings nor made 30 starts for the past 5 seasons. He has no post season experience and has played only two seasons for teams with a winning record. His talent is undeniable but so is his inability to stay on the roster. He is a “Placed on the 60 Day Disabled List” entry waiting to happen.

Which one of those two would you spend the money on? ESPECIALLY seeing that you can’t afford to have much payroll in the trainers room or on rehab assignment in Kane County.

Naturally the A’s picked the slightly older, more injury prone Ben Sheets to sign for $10 million… allowing the slightly younger, more durable, playoff tested Jon Garland to sign with San Diego.

And guess what? Garland signed for $4.7 million LESS. The Padres are all but guaranteed lots of innings, lots of starts and a stable veteran while the A’s will be paying for Ben Sheets to sit in the whirlpool.

How does this make ANY sense?

It’s not like the Padres are going to be a contender. They had the same record as the A’s did last year (75-87) and San Diego will probably be dumping high salary players at the deadline once again.

So why couldn’t the A’s offer… oh I don’t know… $6 million for Garland and have an extra $4 million to throw around.

The Yankees claim to be only offering $2 million to Damon. Offer him $3 million and suddenly everyone will be saying “Hey! The A’s out bid the Yankees! That’s good for baseball!”

And maybe kick the remaining $1 million into a scouting department… clearly the current scouting department who thought Garland was a risk but Sheets was the direction to go needs a payroll boost.

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