Don’t worry; I’m still here. What I’ve been doing the last couple weeks won’t be initially noticeable to you, yet it should provide a much better surfing experience.

I’m in the process of including in EVERY players’ profile their 2003 stats. I’d like to eventually provide their complete career statistics, but last year’s stats will provide a nice baseline as to you when you peruse that player’s profile. Is he a top prospect, or is he just a minor-league coach-in-waiting? Their stats will help you make your own decision. Eventually, I’d like to provide some comments as well, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Also, for prospects listed on either Baseball America’s or On Deck Baseball’s organizational prospect lists, I’ll include each ranking. For those unfamiliar with either, Baseball America is generally more favorable to baseball players with the traditional tool set (speed, throwing arm, power, average, and defense). On Deck Baseball uses a statistical analysis to make up their rankings. So between the two, you should get a good idea as to what kind of player he is; and if the player is high on both lists, he’s probably got a great future ahead of him.

Some upcoming events:

In late February, I’ll post my second annual (that sounds weird, doesn’t it?) Spring Training Preview. I’ll comment on each player on the 40-man roster, plus NRIs as well as prospects that have a chance to make the big club in Winter Haven. Last year’s preview can be viewed here. I even mention a little-known outfielder as having a chance to make the team as a fifth outfielder 😉

As the season progresses, I’ll continue my ongoing series on the Top 100 Indians of all time. As Opening Day Approaches, I’ll transfer the countdown to the Tribe History site, as otherwise it would be pretty confusing. I’ll let you know when that happens.

The Alex Rodriguez Trade

As most of you know by now, reigning AL MVP Alex Rodriguez is very close to being traded to the New York Yankees. In exchange, the Texas Rangers receive 2B Alphonso Soriano, a PTBNL, and a lot of financial felxibility. This is a far better deal for the Rangers than they would have received from the Red Sox (basically a salary swap of Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez), and they receive a fairly inexpensive (for now) offensive star in Soriano.

For the Yankees, Rodriguez is a step up (though by not as much as you might think) from Soriano, and it makes their lineup on paper absolutely devastating. What does not make sense for the Yankees is the fact that, as part of the deal, they are asking Rodriguez to move to third base. Rodriguez is arguably the best defensive shortstop in baseball now, and Jeter…well, he’s one of the worst. Despite the defensive plays you’ve seen Jeter make in the playoffs, the statistics show that his defensive ability at shortstop is well below average. Historically speaking, this may prevent Alex Rodriguez from rightly claiming his title as the best shortstop in baseball history because an inferior player was already entrenched at the position. This is not a knock on Jeter’s offensive game; he’s still a fantastic offensive player. But moving Rodriguez to short is an absolute horrible use of your defensive resources.

The Economic Consequences

As any move by the Yankees ultimately does, the trade will reopen the ongoing dialogue on the disparity between the haves and have-nots. Invariably this problem is invariably placed on Yankees owner George Steinbrenner’s shoulders. What most people fail to realize is that Steinbrenner is operating entirely within the rules of baseball. The system is flawed, not certain “greedy” owners. Does baseball need a hard salary cap? I don’t think so; the real culprit is the disparity between media contracts. A true media revenue sharing would alleviate the vast majority of revenue differences between small and large markets. Of course, this may be impossible with the hodgepodge of media contracts in all the various baseball markets, not to mention the various difficulties in determining how much some franchises actually make. But I think that this should be the ultimate goal, not a reactionary hard salary cap.

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