The Prodigal Fopp 

After a year and a half wandering through the sodden woods of the Pacific Northwest, straining to hear the call of the marbeled murrelet, his once-powerful right arm slowly regaining strength after.....the accident....the prodigal son has returned.

An insignificant contract, a minor-league assignment, a few kind words, o! such little fanfare for the once-golden boy, Jesse Foppert. Released by the Mariners after a dismal spring showing, Bay Area native Foppert will report to Fresno to see if he can regain the mojo that brought him to the majors as a 23-year-old.

He was part of the law firm of Foppert, Williams and Ainsworth LLC that rose quickly through the minors and was expected to form the core of the Giant starting rotation through most of this decade. Instead, the trio, like another famous pitching trio -- the Mets' phenoms Wilson, Isringhausen and Pulsipher -- succumbed early on to injury, ineffectiveness, and overblown expectations.

Of those Mets, you should recognize at least one name. Jason Isringhausen retooled his career as a premium closer. Paul Wilson has bounced around as a mediocre starter for years, with a run of six straight years in the bigs with Tampa Bay and Cincinnati. Bill Pulsipher has pitched in a total of 106 major league games over a 14-year career. He was most recently spotted in the uniform of the Long Island Ducks.

The former Giants' prospects will be lucky if, in ten years, they can look back on the same amount of "success" as the Mets ex-wunderkinds. Cruel, this game.

Let's wish the best for Foppert, who joins another ex-Giant and Bay Area native, Tyler Walker, trying to return from Tommy John surgery with his hometown team. The best not just for him; if he can work his way back into shape, the Giants could certainly use his arm in the bullpen. (Same goes for Walker, who won't be ready until mid-season at the earliest.)

A side note: Say what you want about Randy Winn, but that trade was one of the few check-marks on Sabean's side of the ledger in recent years. The Giants got Winn and gave up Foppert and Torrealba, who despite many observers' beliefs (including mine), has never proven adequate as a starting catcher.

Speaking of trades, you know which team matches up the best with the Giants as potential trade partners? It ain't the Dodgers. More on this over the weekend, or next week.


P.M. UPDATE: SI.com has an interview with Curt Schilling, who recently launched his own blog, 38 Pitches. It's a fascinating discussion with a player who's hyperaware of his relationship with the rest of the world. Here's a gem of an exchange:

SI.com: Do you think that Internet-based baseball analysts and writers should be available for BBWAA awards and Hall of Fame voting?

Schilling: Oh, it'll come full-circle at some point. Why wouldn't it? They already have a much larger impact than the Murray Chass' of the world would like to believe. I mean, you've got guys who are putting out what I know to be legitimately valuable statistical information and its relevance to a game in a win or a loss at Baseball Prospectus. Then you have guys that I'm not too fond of, like Murray Chass, who says, "What is VORP and who cares?" It was a stupid article. The only thing it did was show his ignorance to me in modern day baseball. Because those numbers do matter, those numbers do have value. Do they have value to me in getting a player out? No. But I would tell you that there are a lot of front offices that use those numbers for a lot of important decision making.


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