With the end of the World Series comes new found hope for every team. Prior year records are wiped out, and each team starts with a clean slate and hopes to be able to build their team into the next Marlins.
And as every day goes by, more and more players file for free agency. Some are less spectacular then others (Steve Sparks), but there are some also some very big names. Kevin Millwood turns 29 in December, and appears to be well past his shoulder problems. Not a bad guy to anchor your pitching staff around.
But one name sticks out. Former Cy Young winner Pat Hentgen, while well past his prime, has been rumored to be a Tigers target this year. The Detroit area native looks to be coming back home. Hentgen didn’t pitch great in 2003, the closest he’s come to pitching a full season since 2000. He gave up a number of homeruns (25) in 160 2/3 innings, but he posted a modest 4.09 ERA with a .247 batting average against. Hentgen is hardly a star, but he would be the best pitcher the Tigers have, and would take some of the heat off of Maroth, Bonderman, and Cornejo. He would also provide some good veteran leadership that was missing from the starting rotation last year.
And wouldn’t this be a blockbuster? Alfonso Soriano for Carlos Beltran. I don’t have ESPN Insider to read the story, but this would be huge. Beltran in my view is one of the best players out there. Five tool, and coming off one of his best seasons as far as patience at the plate (72/81 BB/K ratio, vs. a career ratio of only 279/540). Beltran is on the verge of becoming the next superstar, and appears to have all of things Soriano doesn’t. Of course with the acquisition of Beltran, you wonder what the Yankees would do with Bernie Williams.
So baseball lives on. Just as interesting as ever. Just now it’s GMs wheeling and dealing, versus the players actually showing their stuff on the field.