|MVPs at the break|
James Renwick: I'm back, with a new opponent, and this time I'm out for blood, welcome to the show the sacrificial lamb that is David Merchant.
David Merchant: Nice to know this is going to be a friendly conversation. What's first?
JR: Bob Brenley's out, good move?
DM: Of course it is, Brenly was beginning to alienate players, and he absolutely was abusing a young pitching staff. He needed to go, probably sooner than he did.
JR: I'm not saying Brenly was a great manager, but what is the point of firing him now. Al Pedrique is a great guy, but he's not going to be the manager of this team in 2005.
DM: That's not the point, this season is lost, and Pedrique is a guy most of these players are familiar with, and more importantly he is familiar with them. He's already made decisive moves, making Robbie Alomar the starting second basemen, Cintron the starting short stop. He's here to teach, because his team is essentially a minor league squad, and that's what he'll do that Brenly wouldn't.
JR: What exactly is he teaching Robbie Alomar? Scott Hairston was looking like a future star, now he's riding the pine to play behind a guy in the twilight of his career.
DM: Robbie is auditioning, the D'Backs are going to move him, the more he plays the more he's worth.
JR: Unless he plays poorly.
DM: But he's not playing poorly, he's playing like a guy who can help a contender.
JR: The real problem with this firing is Robin Yount. Yount and Mark Grace were the leading candidates for the manager's job next year, and Yount, out of 'respect' for his friendship with Brenly, resigned, apparently after he was offered the interim job. If you assume that now Yount will not come back, you've just blown off your most qualified, and popular, choice for manager of the team next year.
DM: Yount's been around the game for 30 years, he knows why Brenly was fired, he knows that the job is his if he wants it. In the off season they'll offer the job to him again, and whether he takes it or not will have absolutely nothing to do with this move, and everything to do with whether the Brewers job is available.
JR: You are an idiot, and we need to move on. The latest rumor has the Diamondbacks and Padres apparently very very close to a deal for Steve Finley. At least one report has Joe Garagiola Jr. quoted as saying that it is possible Randy could be traded, and has him saying it on a NEW YORK RADIO STATION. Will they get moved, and should they be moved.
DM: Yes, they both should be moved. But Finley should not go to the Padres. The Diamondbacks have the opportunity to win this division next year, its weak, and they are better than their record. Finley has two years left, and if you put him on the other young hungry team in the West, he is almost guaranteed to break the D'Backs hearts next year.
JR: The Diamondbacks can not be thinking about who might or might not be good next year. They have to concentrate on whether they will be good or not next year. Catcher Humberto Quintero is reported to be the key player coming back to Arizona, and he looks like he could be another Victor Martinez. If the Padres are offering the D'Backs the best deal for Finley, take it.
DM: The Diamondbacks have been out East scouting Yankee a AAA catcher named Navarro, so if Johnson is going to New York for that catcher, why would you send Finley to a team in the same division for another catcher?
JR: Because Randy is not going to the Yankees.
DM: Good to know you've got the pulse of Colangelo and Steinbrenner.
JR: I know Jerry hates George, and I know it would be a PR disaster to send Randy to New York.
DM: It's going to be a PR disaster to send Randy anywhere--
JR: But more of one to send him to New York.
DM: The Yankees are probably the only team willing to give up the prospects, and take on the salary, that the D'Backs would need to part with Johnson.
JR: That is absolutely not true.
DM: Who else?
JR: The Phillies, Angels and Red Sox would all pony up for Johnson, and the Angels actually have better prospects for the D'Backs than the Yankees do. But here is my suggestion, start talking real seriously with Boston.
DM: This is your stupid Nomar argument isn't it?
JR: Of course it is. The Red Sox will lose Nomar at the end of this season, and he's not producing right now for them. They want to move him, send Nomar and Lowe for Randy and Alomar. Pokey Reese or Mark Bellhorn moves to short, Alomar becomes their everyday second baseman, Randy and Curt are reunited, and suddenly the struggling Red Sox are back in the hunt to win the World Series.
DM: That's a great deal...for BOSTON. Nomar is a free agent next year, and Lowe looks like he was a one year wonder, how is that a good deal for the D'Backs.
JR: Lowe gets out of the spotlight in Boston and he'll improve. He's got great stuff, everybody knows that, and he'll be back. On the Nomar side you clear up a ton of cap room, and Nomar has said he wants to play on the West Coast to be close to his bride Mia Hamm. Arizona is close enough, and Nomar is young enough, and at the same time experienced enough, to become the veteran infield leader, like Matt Williams was in their World Series year, that mentors this young infield. So now you sign Nomar and Sexson, have Hairston at second and Chad Tracy at third, you let Finley go to San Diego to get Quintero, and your infield is set for five years or more. Plus, I think Nomar is still hurting, and here he can sit for the rest of the season if he wants, and give Matt Olsen some ABs to develop.
DM: I want to come over sometime and hang out in the fantasy world you hang out in. Randy and Curt hate each other, Nomar is a whiner, and Lowe is washed up. Other than that this deal makes perfect sense.
JR: Does it suck to always be wrong?
DM: Not as much as it must suck to have your hair.
JR: Let's move on. The season's basically half over, who's the AL MVP, who's the NL MVP and who's the Diamondbacks MVP?
DM: You can't even keep a straight face as you say that.
JR: Of course I can, Guerrero has an incredible lineup around him. His numbers are great, but he's got Jose Guillen, Darrin Erstad, Tim Salmon, Raul Mondesi, and Garrett Anderson around him. Pudge has nobody, he's made the pitching staff better and is crushing the ball. Every time I look at the bottom line on ESPN Pudge is 2-4 with three RBI. Detroit is going to have the biggest turnaround in the history of baseball, and Pudge is the reason.
DM: You're right, except of course for the fact that you're wrong. Four of the five guys you named 'around' Guerrero have spent significant time on the disabled list. Guerrero has been the rock in the middle of that order, plays a stellar right field, and plays hard every day. Also, let's not forget that the Angels are going to win the west, and Detroit will be lucky to finish 3rd in the AL Central, a division almost as bad as the NL West. In the NL Scott Rolen is leading the league in RBI with 80 before the break. He's hitting behind Albert Pujols and making teams pay if they pitch around Albert, and he's the best defensive 3rd baseman maybe in history, certainly since Mike Schmidt. Not only does he produce runs, he saves them down at third.
JR: But I'll use the same argument I did with Guerrero, Rolen is hitting behind Pujols, with Jim Edmons and Edgar Renteria in the same lineup. The Cardinals are stocked, and the Giants have NOBODY. Nothing. Bonds is going to walk 300 times this year, that means even if he never hit a home run, his on base percentage would be .500, but he is hitting home runs. More than 20 so far. When you scout the Giants you spend more time on Bonds than the rest of the team combined.
DM: I'm not impressed, and any validity the previous two arguments had is completely erased when you call Hillenbrand the MVP of the D'Backs.
JR: I admit, it's a little bit of a stretch, but go with me here. Hillenbrand was marked to be traded, he was benched, the D'Backs gave away the whole infield for his replacement. Sexson goes down and Hillenbrand is hitting .300, scoring and driving in runs, and still gets no respect because everybody is focused on whether or not the Diamondbacks can resign Sexson. Still he steps up and produces, showing all these kids what it means to play hard, every day, regardless of your personal situation. For a young team like the D'Backs, that's invaluable, and thus most valuable.
DM: It's too bad this is going to be in print, because the readers out there won't quite understand how long I've been laughing, how hard I've been laughing, and how much of an effect it is having on your ego. Randy Johnson. Perfect game, nearly one-third the team's wins, 4000 strikeouts, and if you needed another reason, and you don't, but if you did, here it is. If Randy waives his no trade clause and brings a bunch of players to Arizona, thus helping the team win in the future, he becomes even more valuable.
JR: That's it, we're signing off because I feel badly beating you like a rented mule, and my conscience won't allow me to continue.
DM: Thanks for having me on James, and hopefully next time your brain will actually show up with your body.