Friday May 22nd, 2009

1. Let me get this straight: The Padres, knowing that Jake Peavy told them months ago that he preferred to stay in the National League if he were traded, arranged a trade to send him to an American League team with a worse record and possibly a worse offense than the Padres themselves. What's Plan B? A deal with the St. Louis Browns?

Seriously, Peavy gave up free agency to sign an extension with the Padres and now he's expected to just march off to a 17-23 team because San Diego found itself a trade partner? The Padres aren't winning a pennant this year or any time soon, not with the farm system they have in place. In fact, one GM argues that San Diego should restock its system by trading Peavy (to an attractive NL team this time, thank you) and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who might pull in an even bigger bounty than Peavy given his cheap contract and the predictability of top position players. Think of it as a better version of the Orioles trading Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada.

But no, the White Sox were in no position to convince Peavy to leave his home and his preferred league. The White Sox have the worst offense in the AL, and are too slow and old. When Scott Podsednik is in center field they have five guys in the lineup between 32 and 38. They actually began the year with Jose Contreras, 37, and Bartolo Colon, 36, taking up 40 percent of the rotation. They have no home runs out of the second base and center-field positions. Their 1-2 hitters have a combined OBP of .277. They have scored two or fewer runs in 16-of-40 games. So what exactly would be the attraction for Peavy?

So far the Padres have whiffed on trading Peavy to the Braves, Cubs and White Sox -- and they are not done trying.

2. Did you see where Mets center-fielder Carlos Beltran said he makes basestealing decisions with the help of the stopwatch of first base coach Luis Alicea? The coach times how long it takes the pitcher to get the ball to the plate, then delivers the information to Beltran, who calculates whether he should run or not based on the time. I'm not picking on the Mets and Beltran here; most teams do it. But there is a major league rule that prohibits electronic devices of any sort in the dugout. Why on earth is a timing device permitted on the actual playing field? Whatever happened to the art of reading pitchers? Come on, commissioner Bud Selig: Ban the stopwatches. The craft of basestealing should not be enhanced by electronic devices.

3. Like the White Sox, Houston made the big mistake of counting on way too many old guys. But left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, a late bloomer at 30, has been one bright spot in a predictably poor season for the Astros. Rodriguez (5-2, 1.83), who uses the highest percentage of curveballs in baseball, has given up one home run in eight starts and retired the leadoff batter in 46 of his 59 innings. Hard to believe, but only one left-hander has ever won 18 games for the Astros: Mike Hampton, who won 22 in 1999.

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