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The O-Zone: Westbrook, Lind and No. 42
Posted by Joe Oberkrieser at 4/13/2007 10:37:00 PM
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Todayís theme is Ö well, nothing. Random observations and such on this April Saturday:

* When I first read about the contract the Indians gave Jake Westbrook -- three years, $33 million -- I didnít like it. Iím not a big Westbrook guy. His 4.64 K/9 and 109/55 K/BB last year make me shudder. Pitchers with such poor strikeout rates always scare me, no matter how many ground balls they induce.

But the more I think about the contract, the more I like it. Three years at $11 million per isnít that much these days. Heck, Gil Meche got five years at $11 million a season, and heís been far more inconsistent than Westbrook over his career. Vicente Padilla also signed a three-year, $33 million deal during the offseason, despite a poor track record healthwise.

I guess itís all relative. $33 million seems a bit much for Westbrook, but it isnít when you compare it to what everyone else is making.

* I actually took a chance on Carl Pavano in a couple of my leagues. Hey, he was cheap, and I figured if he could stay healthy, heíd win plenty of games with the vaunted Yankees lineup behind him.

Now heís battling tightness in his forearm, and todayís start was pushed back to Tuesday.

Something tells me this isnít going to end well. But Iím not going to complain, because Iím getting what I deserve.

* Adam Lind got The Call yesterday, as Toronto promoted him after putting Reed Johnson (back) on the DL. By all means, pick up Lind -- I just did in an AL-only league -- but keep your expectations in check for now. Heís not a fantasy savior Ö at least not yet.

The reason for my semi-pessimism is his batting eye. Last year at Double-A, Lind had a 87/25 K/BB in 348 at-bats. Contact was an issue, and he didnít boast the walk rate you want to see a young power hitter possess. He could struggle in the bigs if he canít improve here.

I know some will point to Lindís batting eye at Triple-A last year (18/23 K/BB) as a sign he improved, but I donít think thatís the case. Lind saw just 109 at-bats at that level last year; he did his damage and left before pitchers got to face him a second or third time. On the other hand, Lind received 348 at-bats at Double-A. His skills at that level are far more meaningful.

* Maybe C.C. Sabathia and Torii Hunter are right about the Jackie Robinson commemoration and celebration being watered down. But even if theyíre correct, Iím disappointed in them. Our focus now should be on Jackie Robinson. Thatís it. We should be celebrating the man and all he accomplished. We should be hearing stories of his great courage. We should be showing our gratitude to a brave man who made the baseball world -- and the whole world -- a better place.

The Sabathia/Hunter story takes away from that. Itís too bad. I wish they had spoken after the festivities -- thatís the time to discuss such things. By talking about them beforehand, all theyíve done is deflect attention from the great No. 42.

And thatís sad.


How does it water it down? The more exposure we can have of the issue to baseball fans, especially young ones who aren't aware of it, the better it is for baseball. Join in the discussion at
Posted by bscwik at 4/14/2007 9:26:00 AM
I say go for it on Lind, full steam ahead. He might only be a platooner when Johnson gets back but what the heck, he's a FAAB or a late draft pick (like I had). His K/BB is important (and scary) but only a piece of the puzzle. No one's counting on him to be a savior right now, but his upside is pretty big. Full steam ahead! His Ty Cobb-like .367 batting average (in 60 at-bats) for the Blue Jays in 2006 shouldn't totally be discounted as it shouldn't be expected now. Lind is the perfect early type free agent that can make a difference for fantasy teams. The Westbrook deal is questionable IMO because the team has young talent on the way (Adam Miller) and it didn't need to be done now. I'm no Indians expert, though, and Shapiro seems to know what he's doing.
Posted by jtopper at 4/14/2007 12:27:00 PM
The Indians may have Miller and later Chuck Lofgren on the way, but they also have Paul Byrd on the way out and they've yet to extend Sabathia (FA after '08).
Posted by vtadave at 4/16/2007 1:37:00 PM

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