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Thursday, December 08, 2005

 

Miles from Nowhere

By now, you know that the Cards got Aaron Miles and Larry Bigbie for Ray King. The biggest looser in this deal is King, his .446 SLG against in 2005 will look awfully ugly at Coors Field. Bigbie figures to be a platoon outfielder who, hopefully, will never face a southpaw in his tour of duty with the Redbirds. Aaron Miles. Aaron Miles. I have to confess something here. Last spring, I drafted Aaron Miles in one of my fantasy leagues because there were so few second basemen I didn’t want to waste an early round pick on Jeff Kent or Soriano when I could be drafting sure-things Miggy Cabrera or Mark Teixeira. I thought, “Hell, he’s good for a few steady points each week at Coors Field.” In the early part of the season, I was right. He proved to be a more than adequate second baseman, the weakest link on an otherwise killer team, until he got injured, and I picked up Mark Ellis. (In the end, it was Carpenter’s terrible September that cost me the championship, how ironic.) In spite of my fantasy strategy, I don’t endorse the idea of Miles starting at second base on the team that has carried way too many of my hopes and dreams for almost thirty years. Hopefully, Miles’ role projects as nothing more than a steady replacement that gives the Cards a decent glove and a warm body to bat eighth when whatever El Cheapo relic we get to start at that position is injured. Hobbyists versus Realists Allover the American West, wealthy robber barons from all kinds of industries – from Ralph Lauren to Michael Eisner – sweep up massive chucks of land and call them ranches. For most, these are nothing more than expensive hobbies. Other folks of this ilk buy a baseball team. The team is a nice addition to a portfolio. Like the ranch, it’s a nice place to bring your friends AND make you a little money at the same time. Unfortunately, this mindset hogties (to keep the Western analogies going) the team’s general management, giving them the leeway to bring in 3.5 million fans and the money that goes along with it, but not enough to spend the money to make a championship team, that might potentially bring in even more money. It’s just a hobby, not a serious enough business to be risking “real” money. I am not advocating that the Cards take a Steinbrenner approach, doling out cash wherever they can, but occasionally investing a little bit more for the right player that would put your team over the edge hardly means plunking down $100 million for you starting rotation. Hell, even Billy Beene spends a little extra cash in the right situation to make his team a little more competitive. Okay, maybe Loaiza isn’t that guy but you get the point.)
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