Two idle thoughts while waiting to see if the Abreu-for-Ramirez trade rumor is anything more than smoke and speculation...
- If I had Java programming skilz, I think by now I'd be ready to create my Bobby Abreu Trade Mad Libs app. Over the last two months, Abreu has been rumored to be dealt to teams from Toronto to Los Angeles (with in-between stops including Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, St. Louis and Houston), for players ranging in quality from Brandon Backe to Miguel Tejada, Jay Gibbons to Mark Prior. Maybe it's easier psychologically to do this with a guy who doesn't live in the area during the off-season; either way, I'm actually starting to worry that if he isn't dealt, Abreu will come back to the team under a cloud. Worse, of course, would be if they traded him just for the sake of making a deal, but I don't see a veteran GM like Gillick going that way.
- Then again, a recent review of my own track record as a baseball prognosticator suggests that my opinion is worth no more than what you're paying for it. TGP in some sense sprang from the head of Philliesphans.com, a marvelous community site where all of us who post content here first virtually met, and where we still hang out. I joined that site in December 2002, in the heady week of the Jim Thome signing, and evidently I wanted to make a strong first impression. Just within my first couple weeks on that board, I offered the following insights:
- on possible deals with the Expos: "...if we got just (Javier) Vasquez for Utley, Estrada and Madson we would be very fortunate. Ditto just (Jose) Vidro for Polanco, Utley and a pitching prospect."
- on rounding out the 2003 rotation: "Eric Milton of the Twins possibly could be had... has great stuff and is arbitration-eligible. I'd see if Roa and Madson would pique Terry Ryan's interest, and would consider an offer like Duckworth and Utley if Ryan threw in a reliever."
- (On the Mets' decision to cut ties with Edgardo Alfonzo): Alfonzo was the one player on their team who, considering age and track record, could be expected to play much better over the next two years than the last two... the guy brings a .300-plus average, 15-25 homers and a great glove. I wanted the Phils to get him rather than Bell.
- and the worst of them all: "I believe (Anderson) Machado will eventually be a better offensive player than Utley... I'd deal Utley now at the peak of his perceived value, before the world realizes that at best he'll be another Todd Walker."
So basically I was convinced that Chase Utley wouldn't amount to much; was ready to deal Ryan Madson for pretty much any starter on the market; and saw Edgardo Alfonzo as a rising superstar. Kind of makes me wonder whom I've got all wrong at the moment--though bad calls of the type I made on Utley, who's probably the best player from his draft year and without whom the Phils might have scuffled to reach .500 last year, are easy enough to swallow.