John has done it again! How much will the Indians miss GM John
Hart when he steps down after this season? Hart sent crybaby set man
Steve Karsay and damaged goods sidewinder RP Steve Reed to Atlanta
for closer John Rocker and a minor leaguer. And his arrival has
caused current Tribe closer Bob Wickman to state that he "will
look to join another team after this season."
Indian John Rocker
the surface, it appears that the Tribe didn't need this deal or the
clubhouse distractions. However, the long term is why this deal
was done and why I think Trader John still has something else up his
sleeve. Karsay ($2.7 million salary in 2001), Wickman ($2.6 mil) and
Reed ($1.6 mil) are all free agents after this season. Karsay, upset
by his continued use as a set up man instead of a starter, already
said he would NOT sign with the Tribe. Reed has been less than
stellar - an 8-5 record and 4.56 ERA with no saves - since coming
from the Giants where he had a 1.48 ERA. Also, left-handed hitters
are 9-for-17 (.529) against Reed with three homers (ouch!). Rocker,
on the other hand, is signed through the end of the 2004 season and
will make $1.9 million in 2001. Add to that Rocker's numbers
against the post season archrival Yankees: 0.00 ERA in 9 appearances
with 8 strikeouts in 8 innings. Fan Spin: Rocker and Karsay
will continue to have premium Fan numbers, but Wickman's value has
just plummeted since his saves total will decrease.
Hart&ldots;he continues to make lemonade from the lemons.
to be outdone - though the rumor was that they were - the Yankees
swung a deal for set up man Jay Witasick from the Padres for minor
league prospect D'Angelo Jimenez. Witasick, who went 5-2 with a 1.86
ERA in 31 games for the Padres, was needed to spell some relief for
the rest of the Yankee bullpen. The Yankee bullpen has
consisted of a two-man show, starring set up man Mike Stanton (1.87
ERA in 38 games) and closer Mariano Rivera (2.52 ERA, 23 saves in 34
games). The rest of the pen has been non-existent, especially Ramiro
"I-just-signed-a-fat-spring-training-deal" Mendoza (5.23
ERA). Jimenez was a supposed future All-Star shortstop for the Yanks
- even rumored to be a possible replacement for Alfonso Soriano at 2B
if Soriano continued to struggle. As always, there's more than meets
the eyes (especially in any trade with the Yanks) - Jimenez suffered
a broken neck in an off-season car accident after the 1999 season.
Fan Spin: Witasick is worth a roster spot due to his low ERA and WHIP
(1.19) but wait until he settles in with the Yanks before starting him.
a .252 BA. After being released by the Angels in spring
training, Canseco joined twin brother Ozzie (pictured with Jose) on
the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League. He batted .284
(38-134) with 7 home runs, 27 RBIs, 40 walks and 10 stolen bases in
41 games. Fan Spin: Again, he's 37 but he can put up some numbers.
He was MLB's first 40-40 man (40 HRs and 40 stolen bases).
(foreground) and Ozzie Canseco
was only a matter of time before someone took a chance on DH Jose Canseco.
The Chicago White Sox took the plunge last week, signing the
soon-to-be 37-year-old Canseco to help fill the void left by the Big
Skirt (DH Frank Thomas). In 2000, Canseco split time with the
Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, combining for 15 HR, 49 RBI
Room is written by Michael Skordeles
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