Tom Verducci's View

August 24, 2003

SECOND THOUGHTS

The Padres' effort to acquire leftfielder Brian Giles from
Pittsburgh after claiming him on waivers is dead. That's largely
because, after the Pirates insisted that their catcher, Jason
Kendall, be part of the deal, they balked when San Diego wanted
them to cover more than half of the $42 million owed Kendall over
the next four years. The trade also fell apart because the Padres
had reservations about giving up Oliver Perez, a 22-year-old
lefthander who was striking out 10.1 batters per nine innings at
week's end. (San Diego also would have given up outfielder Xavier
Nady and righthander Kevin Jarvis.)

Though Perez (4-6) yielded five runs in four innings of a 10-0
loss to the Marlins last Friday, his stock has risen since his
fastball jumped from 89 mph last year to 96 mph this season. The
Padres sent Perez to Triple A Portland in May to get him to throw
from a more regular arm slot. "His velocity is up, and he's had a
more consistent slider," Padres G.M. Kevin Towers says, "but the
[high] strikeout games are a bad sign. People get caught up in
Olliemania, and he'll press for strikeouts. We'd rather see him
be more efficient with his pitches."

San Diego and Pittsburgh could revisit the Giles deal this
winter, but the Padres, who will move into a new ballpark next
season, are now more likely to target a big free agent, such as
Athletics shortstop Miguel Tejada, rather than surrender talent.

SECOND-HALF WONDER

Eric Chavez is at it again. The A's third baseman has followed
his .257 first half with a .319 start to his second half through
Sunday, continuing his career pattern. He's a lifetime .256
hitter before the break and .300 after.

"He's still only 25 years old," Oakland general manager Billy
Beane says. "It's a function of his youth. The scary thing is,
What happens when he hits like this all year, not just in the
second half? He's going to put up ridiculous numbers."

HANDLE WITH CARE

On Aug. 12 the Rangers called up their next great pitching hope
from Triple A Oklahoma--righthander Jose Dominguez, 21, who was
undefeated in 27 appearances, including 20 starts, in the minors
this season. However, after a clerical error was discovered,
Texas announced that his first name was actually Juan and he was
23. By the end of his first night in the majors he was also no
longer undefeated, losing to Detroit 7-4. Now the Rangers are
wrestling with what to do with Dominguez, who in his second start
on Sunday night gave up four runs in four innings to the White
Sox before being lifted, for the rest of the season. He's already
thrown a total of 140 1/3 innings this year--73 1/3 more than
last season--and Texas wants to shut him down or give him limited
relief duty as a precaution against overuse.

"We did it in Arizona with Brian Anderson and Omar Daal when they
were young," says Rangers manager Buck Showalter, the
Diamondbacks' skipper from 1998 through 2000. "When a young
pitcher goes beyond a 30-inning increase, you're asking for
trouble."

SHORT HOPS

The Marlins opted not to trade for the Padres' Rondell White or
any other leftfielder at the trading deadline because of the hot
stick of rookie Miguel Cabrera. Since July 31, however, Cabrera
had whiffed 21 times in 55 at bats through Sunday while hitting
.256.... The Mariners' hard-throwing righthander Rafael Soriano
is the next Guillermo Mota, a converted infielder who is
developing into a dominant setup man. Soriano, who only started
pitching in 1999, has emerged as a key member of Seattle's
bullpen. Since July 10 Soriano had allowed only one run in
24 2/3 innings with one walk and 33 strikeouts. The Dodgers'
Mota owned a scoreless streak of 16 2/3 innings at week's
end.... How impressive is Albert Pujols's hitting streak, which
stood at 30 games at week's end? Since 1900, 13 major league
franchises have never had a player with a streak that long.

COLOR PHOTO: LENNY IGNELZI/AP (PEREZ) Perez COLOR PHOTO: CHUCK SOLOMON (CHAVEZ) Chavez COLOR PHOTO: LM OTERO/AP (DOMINGUEZ) Dominguez

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)