Hungover at Howard's

Corned beef hash and over easy eggs, 2 cups of strong black coffee, and the Chron sporting green: that was all before me at Howard's Cafe this morning, er, well, more like noon-ish. Despite the martini, the spiced rum cider, the parsnip bong and the two or three glasses of wine last night, I was feeling pretty good. Maybe it was the 9 hours of sleep, or the two aspirin I took with foresight just before bedtime .

I was ready for the morning's news about the first day of winter meetings. Feeling good, as I've mentioned.

Then, buried in John Shea's coverage, were a few paragraphs about how close the Giants are to signing Darren Oliver to a $2 M contract. I've seen this rumor before, but its absence the past couple days had given me hope.

My fingers are crossed: this is, in fact, a ploy by Brian Sabean to drive up Oliver's perceived value so that the Diamondbacks, Yankees and Dodgers get into a bidding war over his services; the Dodgers, realizing that Jeff Weaver is allergic to smog, sign Oliver to a 3 yr, $10 M contract to replace Weaver in his Dodger Stadium starts. This move then takes the Dodgers out of the running for Vlad, and with fewer options, he is forced to sign with the Giants for 5 years/$40 M, his own customized leather recliner with built-in Spanish-English translation software, and the eternal patriarchal benevolence of Felipe Alou. Remember, folks, Brian Sabean is not an idiot.

A couple other thoughts:

* The Braves just gave up Jason Marquis, Adam Wainwright and Ray King to the Cards for JD Drew and Eli Marrero. Interesting trade, more about potential than anything else. Drew might have a breakout year, and he might stay off the DL. Jason Marquis might become a dependable power starter. Wainwright is a highly touted prospect. If if if. Might might might. Considering how much Drew's name was bandied about in rumors, I'm a little surprised the Cards didn't get a more established pitcher for him and for Marrero, who seems to have a lot of skills but not the numbers to match. (He also lost a lot of time to cancer recently, so I'll cut the guy a lot of slack. His 2002 numbers were pretty good.) Advantage: Braves.

* Dodgers get Juan Encarnacion for PTBNL. Encarnacion is like Drew. Everyone's waiting for the big bang that may never come. Like Derrek Lee, he could be 40 HRs/30 SBs waiting to happen, with only the right situation and some maturity to trigger it.


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