The Pulse: Go West, Old Man?
Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and chatting with experts in The Show. We collect the daily highlights and put them in The Pulse.
|Nomar Garciaparra didn't show much as a Cub.|
If this was 1997 and we talking about an inaugural World Baseball Classic, there might be A-Rod-sized debates over which country Piazza and Garciaparra should suit up for. Instead, few have noticed that Garciaparra will play for Mexico, Piazza will play for Italy in the March tournament and Thomas wasn't even an afterthought for the American team. And along those lines, relatively little has been made of the fact that all three players are set to play for new MLB teams in 2006.
Have three of this generation's greatest players really become aging afterthoughts, heading out to pasture in California? SportsNation holds out the most hope for Garciaparra, thinking he's far more likely to have something left than Piazza, Thomas, Bret Boone or Bernie Williams.
Which player do you think has the most left? (35,741 votes)
67.3% Nomar Garciaparra, Dodgers
9.3% Bernie Williams, Yankees
9.0% Frank Thomas, A's
7.3% Mike Piazza, Padres
6.8% Bret Boone, Mets
Will Mike Piazza be able to catch at least 90 games this season? (7,335 votes)
Which team will win the NL West? (32,084 votes)
46.4% Los Angeles Dodgers
28.6% San Diego Padres
18.5% San Francisco Giants
3.8% Arizona Diamondbacks
2.4% Colorado Rockies
How many home runs will Frank Thomas hit in 2006? (6,863 votes)
7.5% 40 or more
Which team will win the AL West? (74,570 votes)
51.2% Los Angeles Angels
28.6% Oakland Athletics
13.3% Texas Rangers
6.7% Seattle Mariners
Jerry Crasnick: I'm like everyone else -- I thought Piazza would really benefit from a switch to the AL. Given his age and defensive issues, I find it hard to believe he'll catch more than 70-80 games. And that park certainly isn't going to help his production. But he didn't break the bank, and the Padres catching situation certainly looks better now than it did with Doug Mirabelli and David Ross.
Randy (Houston): Can you give me your take on the Bagwell-Astros situation? I think Baggy may actually be able to throw some this year, and the Astros seem to be burning this bridge.
Jerry Crasnick: I made a bunch of calls to baseball people about this yesterday, and it's really hard to cast the entire blame on one side or the other. If I'm the Astros, I don't want to spend $17 million on a guy who can't throw the ball across the infield. But Bagwell is the consummate pro, and he's not doing this for the money. He gets paid either way, whether it's from Houston or the insurance company. He just doesn't want to retire without giving it an earnest shot. The whole thing is really unfortunate.
Brett (Minto, N.D.): Do you see the A's winning the AL West? How much help will the Big Hurt provide to a lineup that needs more power?
Rob Neyer: Yes, I do. Though I'm not convinced that Thomas will make a big contribution to the effort. I think the Thomas signing was a good one, because the A's aren't risking much. But between his injury problems and his relatively poor numbers away from home in recent years, I just don't see him making a real difference.
Jim (Newark, N.J.): Does Piazza hit 20 HRs and drive in 80 with the Pads? If so, does that make his signing a good one?
Rob Neyer: I wouldn't bet on those numbers, Jim. Not while playing half his games in the Grand Canyon. I would say 15 and 60 is a more reasonable projection.
Rob Neyer: Hadn't heard that one. But I think he should buy Cuba. Better players.
Rob was just kidding, but what do you think of Cuba's WBC chances?
Can't wait for Alex Gonzalez's .316 OBP for the Red Sox! Great!
Who knew Mike Piazza was still playing baseball?
I can't think of a worse place for Piazza to sign than San Diego. No rest as a DH and no chance to hit more than a dozen HR's playing in that ballpark.
Rob (New York)
The Cubs sign already-injured Wade Miller, and Dusty Baker gets blamed for pitch counts.
The Orioles trade Jorge Julio for Anna Benson? Can you imagine what they'd get for Miguel Tejada? Kirsten Dunst? Halle Berry? Both? And prospects?
Tom (Parkville, Md.)
Why aren't guys like Mark Shapiro, who put together contending teams on a $40-million payroll, getting any love? Theo Epstein and Brian Cashman get so much press, for what? Having twice the bankroll of anyone else to buy up the best veterans? Any fantasy baseball player could put together a team like the Yankees or Sox if they had $200 million to spend.
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