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A farewell to sloth...

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Well, this is my last day of true leisure, as I head back into gainful employment once more tomorrow. Promises to be a bit of a period of adjustment, as I'll need to work out how to use my free time, rather than being able to do whatever I want, whenever I want. So don't be surprised if updates here are kinda sporadic over the next couple of weeks. If it's anything like starting my last job, I'll probably be spending a lot of the time sleeping! Though that was after 4 1/2 years off the time-clock, rather than 3 months, so hopefully the impact will be somewhat less.

Still awaiting word on the Matsuzaka auction, and which "lucky" team gets the rights to negotiate with him. I use quotes advisedly, since I am currently inclining to the belief that he is a season-ending injury waiting to happen, with his usage in Japan being brutal. In the words of Mike Plugh, "Matsuzaka's rotator cuff and right elbow are being worked into shoe leather by the Torquemadan pitching coaches of Japanese Pro Yakyu". He may prove to be as resilient here as he clearly has been in Japan, but do you really want to gamble anything up to $100 million on that? Not, I suspect, in Arizona, where we are already paying the Huge Manatee to eat donuts for the next two years.

As flyingdutchman noted in his diary, we've got Kirk Gibson as our bench coach. That's...well, I may be in the minority going by the poll, but I find it almost impossible to get any enthusiasm up - or down - for that at all. As someone who reckons that even managers affect no more than a handful of games per season, the natural corollary is that the bench coach will change the outcome of, what, one? Two? Said Melvin, "He has a lot of fire, and you'll always know where Gibby stands. I think he's really going to be good with all the young players we have."

We'll see, but I do think someone possessing a bit of sternness could be helpful with our young roster next season. Of course, it's nice to have a baseball icon, who will always be remembered for hobbling off the bench to smack a pinch-hit homer off Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series. That was placed at #6 in the Sporting News list of Baseball's Greatest Moments, but it's kinda hard to see that being much help or significance. Frankly, if we've got players who need inspiration to crawl to home plate like Gibson almost did, then I think we've got some other issues that need to be addressed.

Rumblings of a trade with Philadelphia: we send them Johnny Estrada and a minor-leaguer; they send us Pat Burrell and cash. There doesn't seem much solid support for this at the moment, it being basically one guy saying he heard it on Phillie talk-radio. But it does make some kind of sense, in that it addresses the LF weakness in Arizona (Burrell's 2006 OPS = .890, compared to Eric Byrnes = .795 - and that, in a more hitter-friendly park), and also dumps Estrada, which we all know is coming. How I feel about that, depends how much cash the Phillies are willing to eat on the trade, and also which minor-leaguer is going the other way: Burrell is signed for the next two seasons, and is scheduled to earn $13m and $14m over 2007 and 2008. However, I'm thinking, pending more info, this is still probably just speculation, not least because he has a full no-trade clause.

Top Prospect Alert has published their list of the Top 10 Arizona farm players. Upton is #1, but interesting to see Chris Young passed at #2 by Carlos Gonzalez. Also, good to see a pitcher, Micah Owings placing as high as number four, above Montero and Callaspo. Not quite so sure about slots 8-10; I think it's the first time those names will have been seen in our top prospects list, but I'm also not immediately sure what the criteria are for this listing. Is it performance? Ceiling? Some kind of mix between the two? That's part of the joy of lists like you'll find out when I produce mine, a little later in the year!

And, regrettably, time has caught up with me, since I want to get an early-ish night before the bright, new dawn of a better tomorrow. Or at least, salaried employment. ;-) Might still have a chance to get something done tomorrow night, since I need to catch-up on the AFL games, but we'll see how that goes...