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Thread: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

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    Kmac5 KoryMac5's Avatar
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    Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    Small moves could turn out to be steals
    Under-the-radar acquisitions have potential to make an impact
    By Tom Singer / MLB.com

    Major League teams devote every offseason -- especially true for the past 30 years of the mobile free-agent era -- to making sure that they get all the pieces just right for another demanding campaign. Holes are filled and all contingencies accounted for through trades and signings, the very tinder that goes into the furnace of the Hot Stove.
    Fans debate the headline moves, but those small-type transactions invariably influence the course of the summer months. For every Barry Zito, there's a Ramon Ortiz, who last year snuck into the nation's capital to lead the Nationals with 11 wins. For every Johnny Damon, there's a Jose Valentin, who entered Flushing, Queens, through a back door and became a keystone to the Mets' National League East division title.

    This plot never changes, and every Spring Training camp now includes players who may have been afterthoughts, but have the potential to rush to the forefront. They are the under-the-radar acquisitions who can turn into over-the-top steals.

    With one "Slammin'" exception, we aren't even talking about the non-roster overpopulation in camps, only now being thinned out a little by initial spring cuts. Homeless veterans who have grabbed at their last straws -- from Richard Hidalgo with the Astros to Jim Parque with the Mariners -- are still flying so low, they need to be tracked by sonar, not radar.

    Who are the top candidates to emerge from the shadows into the spotlight? Consider the following list a prediction, in the order of impact potential.

    1. Josh Hamilton, Reds
    Intrigue and puzzlement, but mostly shrugs, answered his trade to the Reds from the Cubs, who selected him from the Tampa Bay organization during the December Rule 5 Draft. After all, beyond the drugs trail and injuries (eight surgeries since 1999) and tattoos (26 at last count), the one-time wonder boy had played a total of 98 Minor League games since 2000.

    If anyone had to turn his life around, it was this 6-foot-4, 210-pound long-ago No. 1 draft pick. Only a couple of weeks of Spring Training have strongly testified to what Hamilton has been saying for three months -- that he's done that 180.

    Hitting close to .500 in early Grapefruit League action, Hamilton has remarkably displayed no attrition of the skills that turned him into the nation's top draft choice in 1999. Seven years after he appeared in the 2000 Futures Game, the future may have finally arrived for Hamilton.

    "I'm very, very happy for him. I know how hard he's worked," said Cincinnati manager Jerry Narron, a fellow North Carolinian, who will deserve all the credit for being a catalyst in the Reds-Hamilton union. "I know how hard he's worked. He's a big man and a tremendous athlete."




    2. Brian Bannister, Royals
    A right-hander who just turned 26, Bannister spent most of the 2006 season out of the sight of Mets fans, and he was also out of their minds by the time of his December deal to Kansas City. The son of former longtime Major League left-hander Floyd Bannister will soon be pitching himself into a lot of people's consciousness.

    Bannister lit it up last April, with a 2.35 ERA in five starts in the Mets' rotation, and the rub is that nothing has happened to the arm that was putting up those numbers. As is apparently the case with so many pitchers, Bannister got hurt impersonating a position player -- he blew out his right hamstring while legging out a triple in a late April game against the Giants.

    Bannister barely resurfaced last season, but regained his bearings, and he supplemented his repertoire with a two-seam fastball in the Mexican Winter League.

    "He walks around like a big leaguer," Royals manager Buddy Bell said early in camp. "There's a presence about him, and I'm anxious to see him pitch in games that matter, which for him, is in Spring Training."

    Nothing's been the matter thus far: Two outings, five innings, three hits and zero earned runs.

    3. Mark Redman, Braves
    You can't glide in any lower on the radar than hitting camp at 4 in the morning, then going three sharp innings nine hours later. That's the latest twist to Redman's mysterious trip from 11-game winner to holdout free agent.

    Redman was essentially that until an injury to left-hander Mike Hampton created a perfect opportunity for him with the Braves. Redman's mind games ended, and he could finally go to work with possibly more motivation than anyone else anywhere.

    "It stinks going into March 9 not knowing where you'll be, so that made me very motivated. But you learn from the experience," said Redman, who, in a hot market for pitchers, had been stunned to not get any solid offers after putting up a winning record (11-10) with the 100-loss Royals. "You can't change the perception scouting departments of different teams have of you -- except out on that mound."

    Atlanta now gives him that chance. Redman may spend the season wowing the Braves as he did on that first day.

    "This spring, I felt more ready for one of my better years than ever," said Redman, his confidence bolstered by a cut fastball he began throwing with great success last Aug. 16, "but had no team to go to."

    4. Sammy Sosa, Rangers
    Who is that guy in the Texas locker room? The guy seen thus far at the plate, we know. Attacking fastballs, opposite-fielding offspeed stuff, the hop and the skyward point ... the M.O. is unchanged.

    But the warm smile greeting visitors to the nondescript corner locker, rivulets of work-induced sweat before others have had their morning beverage? Yes, it's the new, improved, hopefully-the-same Sosa, who promises to be huge again both in the batter's box and at the box office.

    Right now, manager Ron Washington's biggest problem may be having a set outfield rotation, and perceiving Sosa as the regular DH. The 38-year-old is in terrific condition and appears to be more into the game when playing right between at-bats.

    And what does the man himself think of the Rangers getting all this upside for a $500,000 guarantee?

    "They are the ones who gave me an opportunity and stepped up to the plate," said Sosa, who was out of the game in 2006, "and they are the ones that look like geniuses now."

    5. Horacio Ramirez, Mariners
    In 2005, Ramirez went 11-9 in Atlanta while Zito was 14-13 in Oakland. A few months ago, while Zito was cashing in big, Ramirez was being shuttled to Seattle for a middle reliever, Rafael Soriano.

    Other than the difference in service time, which made Zito eligible for free agency, durability diverged the two left-handers' career paths. While Zito made 34-plus starts in each of his seasons in the A's rotation, shoulder, hamstring and finger injuries limited Ramirez to a total of 23 in the seasons preceding and following 2005.

    A healthy and hungry Ramirez, still only 27, will be quite a find for manager Mike Hargrove's rotation. He has the stuff to keep the best American League lineups off-balance.

    Ramirez approaches the season with modest goals.

    "There are just two things I want to accomplish this season: just staying healthy and going deep in ballgames," Ramirez said. "Those are the things I can control."

    The early results have begun to raise expectations. Ramirez threw three hitless innings on Tuesday against the Rangers, after a similarly sharp "B" game outing.

    Other beeps:

    6. Shannon Stewart, Athletics

    7. Kirk Saarloos, Reds

    8. Darin Erstad, White Sox

    9. Kip Wells, Cardinals

    10. John Thomson, Blue Jays


    Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com.

    Good job Wayne time to give credit where credit is due.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    How about seeing if Hamilton can actually perform in the bigs before giving credit to Wayne?
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    Regardless of how Hamilton pans out in the big leagues, credit is still due to Krivsky. These are the type of low risk, high reward moves that are necessary to be competitive in a market like Cincinnati. Wayne has never given the 4th spot to Hamilton, he surrounded him with other decent outfield options (Crosby, Conine) in the unfortunate case that Hamilton doesn't succeed. I give Wayne credit for having his eye on Josh and pouncing on him when he became available.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    Quote Originally Posted by Reds Freak View Post
    Regardless of how Hamilton pans out in the big leagues, credit is still due to Krivsky. These are the type of low risk, high reward moves that are necessary to be competitive in a market like Cincinnati. Wayne has never given the 4th spot to Hamilton, he surrounded him with other decent outfield options (Crosby, Conine) in the unfortunate case that Hamilton doesn't succeed. I give Wayne credit for having his eye on Josh and pouncing on him when he became available.
    Buying lottery tickets is low risk, high reward, too. You only deserve credit if you win.

    Of course, I like Krivsky's low risk moves a lot more than his high-risk disasters.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Kmac5 KoryMac5's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    How about seeing if Hamilton can actually perform in the bigs before giving credit to Wayne?
    We can hammer Krivs for the bad transactions but we can't give him credit for the small no risk ones that could pay off. The point of the thread isn't whether Hamilton will perform or not the point is to give a much maligned GM props for taking a chance on him. A chance that seems to be panning out so far.

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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    How about seeing if Hamilton can actually perform in the bigs before giving credit to Wayne?
    The credit should be due for having the stones to get him in the first place. If it doesn't work it cost us very little, if it works out it gains us alot.

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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    Buying lottery tickets is low risk, high reward, too. You only deserve credit if you win.

    Of course, I like Krivsky's low risk moves a lot more than his high-risk disasters.
    Ok i guess two can play at this game. Wayne is a god, look at all of the unbelievable moves he has made since he has been here. Phillips, Ross, Arroyo, Hamilton, Saarloos. He traded away a shortstop that couldn't field his position and picked up one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. He traded away a rightfielder with a bad attitude(see comments about cinci fans) that didn't try to get better and failed to live up to hispotential due to injuries, laziness, and weight problems. Neither one of these guys were on the list of people to be resigned at the end of the season, so no matter how much you dislike the relievers we got for them they are better than nothing. In my opinion a healthy Maj, and Bray make this bullpen a heck of alot better. So say what you will, but I see a gm that is putting together a team that has a very good chance to compete not only now but also down the road as well.

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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    Sorry this is Redszone no sun shines here

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    Member hebroncougar's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    While I hope Hamilton ends up #1 on this list..........there is a long, looooooooooooooooooong, way to go before anyone can assess if he is a success.

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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    Quote Originally Posted by KoryMac5 View Post
    Small moves could turn out to be steals
    Under-the-radar acquisitions have potential to make an impact
    By Tom Singer / MLB.com

    Major League teams devote every offseason -- especially true for the past 30 years of the mobile free-agent era -- to making sure that they get all the pieces just right for another demanding campaign. Holes are filled and all contingencies accounted for through trades and signings, the very tinder that goes into the furnace of the Hot Stove.
    Fans debate the headline moves, but those small-type transactions invariably influence the course of the summer months. For every Barry Zito, there's a Ramon Ortiz, who last year snuck into the nation's capital to lead the Nationals with 11 wins. For every Johnny Damon, there's a Jose Valentin, who entered Flushing, Queens, through a back door and became a keystone to the Mets' National League East division title.

    This plot never changes, and every Spring Training camp now includes players who may have been afterthoughts, but have the potential to rush to the forefront. They are the under-the-radar acquisitions who can turn into over-the-top steals.

    With one "Slammin'" exception, we aren't even talking about the non-roster overpopulation in camps, only now being thinned out a little by initial spring cuts. Homeless veterans who have grabbed at their last straws -- from Richard Hidalgo with the Astros to Jim Parque with the Mariners -- are still flying so low, they need to be tracked by sonar, not radar.

    Who are the top candidates to emerge from the shadows into the spotlight? Consider the following list a prediction, in the order of impact potential.

    1. Josh Hamilton, Reds
    Intrigue and puzzlement, but mostly shrugs, answered his trade to the Reds from the Cubs, who selected him from the Tampa Bay organization during the December Rule 5 Draft. After all, beyond the drugs trail and injuries (eight surgeries since 1999) and tattoos (26 at last count), the one-time wonder boy had played a total of 98 Minor League games since 2000.

    If anyone had to turn his life around, it was this 6-foot-4, 210-pound long-ago No. 1 draft pick. Only a couple of weeks of Spring Training have strongly testified to what Hamilton has been saying for three months -- that he's done that 180.

    Hitting close to .500 in early Grapefruit League action, Hamilton has remarkably displayed no attrition of the skills that turned him into the nation's top draft choice in 1999. Seven years after he appeared in the 2000 Futures Game, the future may have finally arrived for Hamilton.

    "I'm very, very happy for him. I know how hard he's worked," said Cincinnati manager Jerry Narron, a fellow North Carolinian, who will deserve all the credit for being a catalyst in the Reds-Hamilton union. "I know how hard he's worked. He's a big man and a tremendous athlete."




    2. Brian Bannister, Royals
    A right-hander who just turned 26, Bannister spent most of the 2006 season out of the sight of Mets fans, and he was also out of their minds by the time of his December deal to Kansas City. The son of former longtime Major League left-hander Floyd Bannister will soon be pitching himself into a lot of people's consciousness.

    Bannister lit it up last April, with a 2.35 ERA in five starts in the Mets' rotation, and the rub is that nothing has happened to the arm that was putting up those numbers. As is apparently the case with so many pitchers, Bannister got hurt impersonating a position player -- he blew out his right hamstring while legging out a triple in a late April game against the Giants.

    Bannister barely resurfaced last season, but regained his bearings, and he supplemented his repertoire with a two-seam fastball in the Mexican Winter League.

    "He walks around like a big leaguer," Royals manager Buddy Bell said early in camp. "There's a presence about him, and I'm anxious to see him pitch in games that matter, which for him, is in Spring Training."

    Nothing's been the matter thus far: Two outings, five innings, three hits and zero earned runs.

    3. Mark Redman, Braves
    You can't glide in any lower on the radar than hitting camp at 4 in the morning, then going three sharp innings nine hours later. That's the latest twist to Redman's mysterious trip from 11-game winner to holdout free agent.

    Redman was essentially that until an injury to left-hander Mike Hampton created a perfect opportunity for him with the Braves. Redman's mind games ended, and he could finally go to work with possibly more motivation than anyone else anywhere.

    "It stinks going into March 9 not knowing where you'll be, so that made me very motivated. But you learn from the experience," said Redman, who, in a hot market for pitchers, had been stunned to not get any solid offers after putting up a winning record (11-10) with the 100-loss Royals. "You can't change the perception scouting departments of different teams have of you -- except out on that mound."

    Atlanta now gives him that chance. Redman may spend the season wowing the Braves as he did on that first day.

    "This spring, I felt more ready for one of my better years than ever," said Redman, his confidence bolstered by a cut fastball he began throwing with great success last Aug. 16, "but had no team to go to."

    4. Sammy Sosa, Rangers
    Who is that guy in the Texas locker room? The guy seen thus far at the plate, we know. Attacking fastballs, opposite-fielding offspeed stuff, the hop and the skyward point ... the M.O. is unchanged.

    But the warm smile greeting visitors to the nondescript corner locker, rivulets of work-induced sweat before others have had their morning beverage? Yes, it's the new, improved, hopefully-the-same Sosa, who promises to be huge again both in the batter's box and at the box office.

    Right now, manager Ron Washington's biggest problem may be having a set outfield rotation, and perceiving Sosa as the regular DH. The 38-year-old is in terrific condition and appears to be more into the game when playing right between at-bats.

    And what does the man himself think of the Rangers getting all this upside for a $500,000 guarantee?

    "They are the ones who gave me an opportunity and stepped up to the plate," said Sosa, who was out of the game in 2006, "and they are the ones that look like geniuses now."

    5. Horacio Ramirez, Mariners
    In 2005, Ramirez went 11-9 in Atlanta while Zito was 14-13 in Oakland. A few months ago, while Zito was cashing in big, Ramirez was being shuttled to Seattle for a middle reliever, Rafael Soriano.

    Other than the difference in service time, which made Zito eligible for free agency, durability diverged the two left-handers' career paths. While Zito made 34-plus starts in each of his seasons in the A's rotation, shoulder, hamstring and finger injuries limited Ramirez to a total of 23 in the seasons preceding and following 2005.

    A healthy and hungry Ramirez, still only 27, will be quite a find for manager Mike Hargrove's rotation. He has the stuff to keep the best American League lineups off-balance.

    Ramirez approaches the season with modest goals.

    "There are just two things I want to accomplish this season: just staying healthy and going deep in ballgames," Ramirez said. "Those are the things I can control."

    The early results have begun to raise expectations. Ramirez threw three hitless innings on Tuesday against the Rangers, after a similarly sharp "B" game outing.

    Other beeps:

    6. Shannon Stewart, Athletics

    7. Kirk Saarloos, Reds

    8. Darin Erstad, White Sox

    9. Kip Wells, Cardinals

    10. John Thomson, Blue Jays


    Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com.

    Good job Wayne time to give credit where credit is due.


    Wowsers Batman! Quick, use the tripe spray on the batbelt!!!!!!!!!

    My favorite conclusion, other than service time and few injuries, Ramirez is a $120M pitcher......
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    Quote Originally Posted by 5DOLLAR-BLEACHERBUM View Post
    Ok i guess two can play at this game. Wayne is a god, look at all of the unbelievable moves he has made since he has been here. Phillips, Ross, Arroyo, Hamilton, Saarloos. He traded away a shortstop that couldn't field his position and picked up one of the best defensive shortstops in the game. He traded away a rightfielder with a bad attitude(see comments about cinci fans) that didn't try to get better and failed to live up to hispotential due to injuries, laziness, and weight problems. Neither one of these guys were on the list of people to be resigned at the end of the season, so no matter how much you dislike the relievers we got for them they are better than nothing. In my opinion a healthy Maj, and Bray make this bullpen a heck of alot better. So say what you will, but I see a gm that is putting together a team that has a very good chance to compete not only now but also down the road as well.
    That fantasy world you're living in sounds like a wonderful place.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful

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    Kmac5 KoryMac5's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    That fantasy world you're living in sounds like a wonderful place.
    Don't confuse fantasy with faith.

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    You're soaking in it! MartyFan's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool View Post
    How about seeing if Hamilton can actually perform in the bigs before giving credit to Wayne?
    He actually didn't give credit to Wayne...he wrote

    "I'm very, very happy for him. I know how hard he's worked," said Cincinnati manager Jerry Narron, a fellow North Carolinian, who will deserve all the credit for being a catalyst in the Reds-Hamilton union. "I know how hard he's worked. He's a big man and a tremendous athlete."
    Which is not true based on several interviews that Krivsky, Narron and Hamilton have given...in fact, didn't Jerry say he felt bad for not reaching out to Hamilton?

    So, while he should have given credit to Special K he mistakenly heaped the praise for this move on Jerry Narron.

    Now, I will now give all the credit and back slapping to Special K.
    Last edited by MartyFan; 03-13-2007 at 06:43 AM.
    "Sometimes, it's not the sexiest moves that put you over the top," Krivsky said. "It's a series of transactions that help you get there."

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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    I give Krivsky credit for the Hamilton pick up right now. Who knows how it will ultimately work out, but it was a brilliant way to pick up a top talent.

    Wayne's track record has been excellent, except for the Majewski injury situation.

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    Churlish Johnny Footstool's Avatar
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    Re: Hamilton and Saarloos in top ten of small transaction steals

    Quote Originally Posted by MartyFan View Post
    He actually didn't give credit to Wayne...he wrote



    Which is not true based on several interviews that Krivsky, Narron and Hamilton have given...in fact, didn't Jerry say he felt bad for not reaching out to Hamilton?

    So, while he should have given credit to Special K he mistakenly heaped the praise for this move on Jerry Narron.

    Now, I will now give all the credit and back slapping to Special K.
    My first post wasn't related to the article. I was addressing the last sentence in the original post of this thread:
    Good job Wayne time to give credit where credit is due.
    And I still don't see how Wayne deserves credit for a move that hasn't proven to be positive yet. If Hamilton actually pans out and becomes a productive major leaguer, then Wayne deserves all the credit in the world. Otherwise, this is all just wishful thinking.
    Last edited by Johnny Footstool; 03-13-2007 at 10:52 AM.
    "I prefer books and movies where the conflict isn't of the extreme cannibal apocalypse variety I guess." Redsfaithful


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