Sunday, January 11, 2004

Boonie Likes the Offseason 

Ignoring some of the Bob Finnigan commentary in his latest article, you find that Bret Boone sounds happy about the offseason moves. The following quotes come from this article.

"Overall, I am excited to see what we've done this winter. Every one of the major guys we've added knows how to win, has proven he can help a team win. That is no small factor."

"This is our year to go for it, and the front office knew that and acted accordingly."

"In realistic terms it was a shame to have Cameron leave, but it's understandable given Mike's problems with Safeco Field. He was going to go and that was that. We're going to miss him as a great teammate and a great center fielder who was also a dangerous hitter. We'll miss Mike in the field. This is not to take anything away from Randy Winn, and we'll be fine with him out there. But Cam was among the top three center fielders in the game."

"Let's be frank, our overall defense is not going to be the same, it'll be a little weaker," Boone said. "We set records last year and we'll be without Cameron and even a guy like Cirillo, who even with his trouble hitting could play great with the glove. It won't be the same at third, but I think Scott can handle it."

"Our infield will be the same on the right, with me and (first baseman John Olerud), but we'll have some questions on the left side. Both Rich and Scott should be fine, steady, but Rich may not have the range Carlos had."

"I really like the Spiezio move. Scott was flying under the radar and our guys picked him up, a winner, a clutch hitter, a guy who gives you a tough at-bat in tough situations.

"Rich (Aurilia) is a lot the same, a guy who knows how to play, who comes to play every inning of every day. He was in our clubhouse the other day and we talked and he's going to be fine.

"But as much as I like our moves with position guys, I love getting Eddie (Guardado). He doesn't get the headlines like Mariano Rivera or Eric Gagne, but this is one tough dude.

"In fact, without a doubt we've added greatly to the toughness of our team. All these guys are proven winners, who've done things to help their teams succeed on a regular basis, who've been to the postseason and even the World Series. And after missing the past two years, that's what we're going for this year."

Boone is obviously concerned about the downgrade of defense, but not overly so. But he obvioiusly thinks that the offense and the toughness of the team are both improved. And though the statheads downplay it, anyone who has ever played the game (or held a job for that matter) know that there is something to clubhouse chemistry and team toughness. It IS hard to measure, but it is NOT hard to identify. While I have my doubts on the Ibanez for Cameron swap, I have no doubt that we are better with Spiezio and Aurilia over Cirillo (or a rookie) and Guillen.

Note that the article does NOT talk about our bench which is admittedly pretty frightening. But my thought is that if the bench does not contribute, THEN it will be time to add folks that other sites want to be our starters, like Chris Snelling, Justin Leone, and Give the veterans like McCracken and Jarvis a chance in April and May when we are off to another hot start. Let them do a little good, bring up their value, and then deal them for prospects or cash.

Ah shoot, hard to blog with 3 kids on a weekend. I'll finish these thoughts later...

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