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Some Loose Change

We find out more about Chuck Lamar's new job description
    Free agency starts Saturday and all of us here at D'Rays Bay (well at least Jake, Patrick, and myself) have decided to forecast five players who are free agents that we personally feel should be looked at. My five, with analysis are as follows.

First up is Vincente Padilla, pitching with Texas, in a hitter's ballpark he posted decent numbers with a 15-10 record, 4.50 ERA, 156 strikeouts, 70 walks, and a 1.38 WHIP. He's probably got the best stuff of any of the `second tier' free agent pitchers out there. He just turned 29 and has a career ERA of 4.06, if we don't land Mulder and are forced to a second tier starter, then for me it comes down to either Vinny or...
Gil Meche, the ex Mariner, he went 11-8 with a 4.48 ERA, 156 strikeouts, and 84 walks, posting a 1.43 WHIP. Very comparable to Vincente, but he of course didn't do it in a hitter's park. Seems to be poised for a breakout at age 28, from Lafayette (please don't call him the Ragin' Cajun, we don't play to those stereotypes since it would get us, like Borat, banned from Russia.)
Craig Wilson former Yankee and Pirate who was really undersold for Shawn Freaking Chacon at the trade deadline. He can play 1b/LF/RF and catch if need be, can hit left handed pitching (note : hit in this case means a .43 increase over right handers for a clip of .278) he also holds the MLB record for pinch hit homeruns in a season (7, 2001.)
David Riske and or Justin Speier, I honestly couldn't make up my mind, I like both but only want one. Speier is the elder at 33, but posted a sub 3 ERA, Riske is 30, and posted a 3.89 ERA. I suppose if I had to choose one, I've had my feel of desire and would take Speier, but if I had to choose again I would find Riske more thrifty.
Next topic is that of the ridiculous trade rumor in the USA Today paper, which suggests we should do a Carl Crawford for Horacio Ramirez and Kyle Davies trade. He then goes on to say C.C. would be a good leadoff hitter and practically that the Rays need to just acquire 300 arms and hope five work out. First off, let me preface what I'm about to say with the following statement. I am not opposed to trading C.C., at the right costs that is, Ho-Ram and Davies are not the right price.
    Okay so let's break this down, first off Carl Crawford is not a leadoff hitter, he shouldn't be at least. His power is developing to the point where we could be looking at a 20-25 (and possibly more depending on what the lowered walls do to his numbers) homerun hitter, he doesn't draw a lot of walks and strikes out too much.
    Next I expect this to be writing by some floozy sportswriter in Atlanta who has wet dreams about Carl in a Braves uni, but not USA Today. I mean seriously, these guys get paid to write about baseball, I at this point do not, but if they continuously put out pig slop like this I will point it out, that includes the Tampa media (I'm looking at you Joe Henderson.)
    Finally on this subject, this whole `load up with arms, hope a few work out' well isn't that what we're doing all ready? Ho-Ram and Davies are not better than what we have in my opinion, and let's be honest, if Ervin Santana and lord knows what else the Angels offered isn't enough do you really think a 27 year old and a guy who posted a 5 ERA in the NL are going to be enough?
    Another trade rumor going around is the Mets Aaron Heilman and the idea that the Rays would have to give up a top prospect to get Heilman. I don't believe this for one second. At most I'd think maybe Edwin Jackson and Jae Seo for Heilman, Minaya loves his Seo and Edwin Jackson is out of options so the Rays need to see enough in the Dominican Republic winter leagues (which in my estimation he's shown so far) and in in spring training to place him on the 25 man roster, or else lose him to waivers. Seo was just `eh' with the Rays, he has his ups and downs like any other average pitcher. Going with the whole `Meche and Padilla' free agency targets if we sign one of those, or rather if we don't and Tim `Walk it Out' Corcoran and Jae Seo are in the rotation next year over J.P. Howell, Jason Hammels, and Jeff Niemann this will upset me greatly.
    As some of you know I'm a fan of all three of those youngsters and most prominently J.P. Howell, I absolutely loved the trade that brought him here. I said my solemn farewell to Feet and said hello to J.P. who delivered late in the season, especially in that 8 inning shutout of the Yankees.
    That's all for this time, again feel free to leave any comments or email me if you have any questions (I will answer in a future column.)


Which of those five FA's would you prefer?

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