The Book of Mike

"This is no junior college. This is the notorious University of Miami.” -- Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis, after getting knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Canes.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Koch traded for virtually nothing; Joy on the South Side

The White Sox traded “reliever” Billy Koch to the Marlins after last night’s game. Ridding Koch from the roster definitely took much of the sting out of last night’s loss, which came in eleven innings and gave the Marlins the series win. It will be interesting to see now if Koch is able to enjoy a renaissance with the Marlins like Urbina and Benitez have before him. If he does, other teams will probably start paying for the water used in the Marlins clubhouse or whatever the magic formula is.

Sox Perspective
On the surface this might not seem like a great trade for the White Sox because they only received a prospect in return. Wilson Valdez is a prospect, although no one is going to confuse him with the Miguel Tejada, or even Tejada’s Oakland replacement, Bobby Crosby. Still, the Sox shed themselves of Koch, which is a victory in itself. Apparently they’ll have to pay a portion of his salary, but it’s far less than they would have had to pay him to keep him on the roster (where he likely would have done nothing other than lose games).

Marlins Perspective
The Marlins need bullpen help in a bad way. To acquire some potential help, they gave up a minor leaguer who wasn’t even amongst their top 10 prospects (at least according to Baseball America). They also had the Sox pick up a portion of Koch’s salary. Florida is definitely hoping they get the pre-2003 version of Koch – you know, the Blue Jays/A’s version. If the Marlins do, they’ll have their best bullpen pickup in recent memory (and that’s quite a statement considering the reclamation projects they’ve had since last summer with Urbina, Chad Fox, and Armando Benitez).

It’s doubtful that Koch will return to his old dominating form, but a change of scenery could definitely help. This could be a trade that’s a win-win for both clubs.

Other Trades
For those of you who care about other teams, Richard Hidalgo was dealt from the Astros to the Mets yesterday for David Weathers. Neither player is really any good, but it involves New York and the Mets so just typing these few words on my page here is sure to generate a few extra clicks today.

That is a bat in Gonzalez's hands
By the way, has anyone noticed that Alex Gonzalez has raised his average above .250, courtesy of a .370 batting average to date in the month of June? While this is certainly impressive, and does much to dis-credit my knocking of Gonzalez earlier in the year, one has to wonder if it will keep up. Gonzalez continues to play his regular sparkling defense in the field and his power numbers have been unbelievable (4 home runs and a .696 slugging percentage this month), but his onbase percentage remains closely tied to his batting average (.370 BA this month with a .388 OBP - courtesy of two walks). Hopefully for the Marlins, Gonzalez can keep up his offensive surge, particularly since the Fish aren't getting any offense from their catchers.

Highlight of the Week
Although it came against my beloved White Sox, it was fun to see Dontrelle Willis pinch-hit in the fifth inning of last night's game. It was Willis's third pinch-hit at bat of the season and he promptly rapped a triple to center field. Much to the consternation of Marlins coaches, Willis then proceeded to dance off of third base and even dove back to the bag head-first when the Sox tried to pick him off. Willis definitely added his trademark spark to the game last night (even though he was stranded on third and ultimately had no impact on the game's outcome). It would be fun to see Willis hit for himself (or be the DH) when the Marlins visit American League parks again during interleague play.

Have a great weekend! GO CANES!


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