C. Trent has some juicy info up on his blog. Well, maybe not juicy exactly, but some of the most concrete language about the direction this team is taking for 2009. To wit:
Anyway, here's the quick stuff I have from Bob, Walt and Dusty.
All three mentioned that the team is now at its budget for payroll, so don't expect any big singings.
I asked Jocketty that with the price tag coming down, would there be any interest in bringing back Adam Dunn: "I don't think so," Jocketty said.
Jocketty said Dr. Tim Kremcheck will examine Alex Gonzalez in Miami this weekend, but reports are good. Castellini didn't sound as hopeful in regards to Gonzalez.
Dusty Baker said there could be a platoon in left with Gomes, Dickerson and Hopper/Hairston. He also said Willy Taveras is his centerfielder and leadoff batter.
Adam Dunn was never a serious consideration, but this is pretty much telling us that he is not in anybody's plans for the future. Fine, we all knew that. But apparently no one else is in our plans for the future either. Instead of going out and getting a big right-handed bat for left field, we got four left fielders whose bats range from abysmal to league average if all goes right. But hey, at least three of them are right-handed.
Gonzalez may or may not be serviceable. We'll know more after his checkup this weekend, but at least the baseball mind (Jocketty) is the more optimistic about his prognosis. If Sea Bass can't go, making what was a questionable contract at the time look absolutely horrible, then Keppinger is his likely replacement. Keppinger and Encarnacion might very well be the worst left side of an infield in the majors, defensively. Keppinger will likely be backed up Hairston, and Danny Richar, Adam Rosales, and perhaps Chris Valaika might get a chance to impress during spring training. Get well soon, Gonzalez!
And, of course, Willy Taveras will be leading off (because he is playing center field). I guess we can remember that he did put up a .367 OBP two years ago, but that was only in 97 games, and is such an outlier from his other years that I don't think we can reasonably expect him to come near that again. He's no Corey Patterson, but at least Corey Patterson hit a home run every now and again.
So, sorry to crap all over your Thursday. What say you? Is the season lost? Is there a reason for hope that I'm missing? Does Jocketty not fully grasp what a "#1 priority" actually means?
Again, hat tip to The Lot D.