Now that the Rays have signed Pat Burrell maybe my pipe dream of Rocco Baldelli launching home runs off the Batter's Eye Pavilion in center field becomes a bit less improbable.
It's amazing how Cincinnati sports fans act like jealous ex-boyfriends about the dealings of their local favorite teams. All through the offseason Burrell was lambasted as a "weaker Adam Dunn" who would be sure to strike out 130 times, play barely adequate defense and incur the wrath of fans from the get-go. Now that Pat the Bat is a Ray, people seem to think it is Walt Jocketty's fault. Way to sit on your ass, Walt! You ruined Christmas!
If there is one thing that Cincinnati sports fans can be counted on to do, it's rip the decision makers no matter how things shake out. There was quite an uproar from local barbed-wire and tribal tattoo enthusiasts when Josh Hamilton got sent to Texas for some tiny young pitcher. It doesn't matter that Edinson Volquez is going to be as good of a starting pitcher as you can find on this planet for the next six to twelve years.
I remember when the Mets signed Bobby Bonilla for $29 million, making him the richest man in all the Major League. My dad seemed to think this was a terrible move immediately, while I assumed Bobby Bo wouldn't gain 40 pounds and create more havoc for members of the press than he did opposing pitchers. Then I realized he was right, I was wrong, and the Mets sucked.
It is quite odd that just because Jerry Hairston Jr. and Baldelli have the same agent that they are being pursued in similar fashion. One's a 32-year-old with a lifetime batting average of .260, the other a phenom talent who just needs to stay on the field. It must seem like Baldelli is couch surfing at my apartment, and my heartfelt desire for the Reds to sign him is motivated by him eating all my snackin and using all the clean towels. I wish it was that simple.
I also hope that the Reds don't get Jermaine Dye. I can't put a finger on it, but I think the asking price will be a little high, and there are no assurances that he will continue mashing the ball the way he has. I really like Arthur Rhodes, hate the fans who kick David Weathers around for no apparent reason and hope the Reds sign Rocco so I don't have to bore both of my readers with a biweekly "I Told You So" update throughout the season.
Lastly, I can't believe Corey Patterson signed with the Nationals. I swear it's like that team puts ads in the classified section reading: "BA UNDER .200? NO PROBLEM! WORK FROM HOME!" Those Nationals beat writers are going to have a tougher time explaining why Patterson gets any burn at all in '09 now that we've already used the "He's sleeping with Dusty's (insert name here)" line.
If the Reds sign Hairston Jr, or even if they don't, Baldelli will go somewhere, play great, and I will never shut up about it.