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11.03.2003

Malo Mysteries Update

Last week I posted my top-10 under-the-radar free agent mysteries. One was immediately solved when the White Sox picked up Esteban Loiaza's $4 million option for next year. Nothing else has yet been resolved, but there are some intriguing updates:

Mystery #5 -- The Shooter: After baffling me with an incoherent ramble about the Manny Ramirez waiver situation, Peter Gammons hints that Rod Beck is not only coveted by the Padres but also the Rockies. No, Shooter, don't do it! Don't take your love to Mile High Town, where your curveball will be as flat and soft as an Otis Spunkmeyer oatmeal cookie.

Mystery #6 -- Whither Jose Cruz?: Exchanging some e-mail with Steve Shelby, he of the daily Giants news roundup, made me think more upon Sir Junior the Lesser. If, say, somehow Brian Sabean got hold of a magic crystal ball, and in said ball he saw a picture of Sir Lesser the Junior in mid-2004, a Reformed Batsman who, in the offseason dedicated himself to fewer Ks, more line drives, and a .400 OBP, then Sabean should sign him on the cheap, bat him second behind Li'l Ray Ray, put him back in RF with a protective coating to deflect the garlic fries raining down upon his noggin from the arcade, and be prepared to say, "Isn't that nice, Jose? They're shouting 'Cruuuuuuuuuuuuz!' every time you step to the plate."

Where Sabean will find such a magic crystal ball, I do not know. But it would help him save some cash, as the humiliated Cruz will be thankful for a second chance at a mere $1 million a year. The savings can then go toward the procurement of a slugging first-baseman.

Here's a thought: Mike Piazza. He's got two more years at $15 M per. He can't be THAT bad a first baseman.... can he? Don't you think the Mets would be happy to unload that contract for a Boof hoagie, or a Correia melt, with a side helping of Feliz?

Mystery #10 -- The Cat Comes Back: The Giants Web site, fine source of objective journalism, reported last week that El Gato Grande says he's ready to play another year. This is just a few days after the same reporter told us that "there a good chance of Snow in S.F. next year" without any mention that there's a good chance Snow's agent has instructed him not to rule out any options publicly so that he doesn't get squeezed on the open market.

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