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East meets West

I was lurking on Google yesterday, and Eric Simon of Amazin' Avenue popped up on my screen, asking if I knew much about Connor Robertson, whom we traded to his team for Scott Schoeneweis. The conversation subsequently...drifted, shall we say, covering such topics as Manny Ramirez and the length of Carlos Baerga's legs. In the latest in my ongoing series of "Cheap alternatives to actual articles, to get us through the off-season," here's a transcript of our chat. Thanks to Eric for writing half of this piece his co-operation.

Eric: What can you tell me about Connor Robertson?
Jim: Came to us in the Dan Haren trade. Had half a dozen games in the majors, but spent most of the year in Tucson as a reliever. Nothing particularly special, I'd say.
Eric: His minor league numbers are very strong. Strikeouts, walks, homeruns are all impressive.
Jim: He's now 27, so quite old for his level, I'd say. Might have a bullpen role though.
Eric: Schoeneweis is far from terrible, though he should really be restricted to left-handed batters.
Jim: Yeah, that was what I saw on his splits - why did he ever face righties for you guys?
Eric: You'll have to ask Willie Randolph/Jerry Manuel. Evidently they can't hear us complaining.
Jim: Well, we're used to complaining about Bob Melvin's bullpen use too so we'll see if he mis-uses Schoeneweis!
Eric: Show does a good job keeping the ball on the ground, too, which should help him in Arizona.
Jim: That's good to hear. I presume from your end, it was partly a salary dump?
Eric: That's my guess. If Robertson were anything special I doubt you'd have gotten him from Beane in the first place.
Jim: LOL. True that.

Jim: Looks like almost your whole bullpen is being re-created.
Eric: I know! If you include Wagner, that's four guys who pitched in 2008 who won't be there in 2009. Prominent guys, too.
Jim: Still, F-Rod should prove pretty reliable, with Putz behind him. That gives you a bunch of options.
Eric: If healthy, Rodriguez/Putz is pretty drool-worthy.
Jim: That should lock down any leads in the 8th and 9th. Still an area of concern for us this year, but I can't see us making any moves.
Eric: Cruz declined arbitration?
Jim: Yeah, so looks like we'll lose both him and Lyon. Cruz was very good over the past couple of years too.
Eric: It looks like it.
Jim: Jon Rauch is not quite the same, shall we say.
Eric: But he's the tallest pitcher in baseball history! Surely that counts for something.
Jim: If we need anything taken down from a high shelf, we'll bear it in mind... He is perhaps also the most tattooed too.

Jim: I've been surprised how quickly the off-season is going, but think it's usually the bit after Christmas that drags.
Eric: Oh, yeah. Once all of the big free agents are gone it's bupkis until pitchers and catchers report.
Jim: Articles on "my favorite TV shows" beckon... :-)
Eric: Hah. The Diamondbacks are tough because you don't have a long franchise history to draw from. The "Top 50 DBacks of All Time" gets really thin really fast.
Jim: Yeah: #47 - Junior Spivey?
Eric: Is that where he is, or are you just speculating? I would've guessed he'd be even higher.
Jim: LOL. Just a guess. I think I did a top 25 once and he wasn't there.
Eric: #38 - Carlos Baerga.
Jim: Still holds the single season BA franchise record, according to, I'll have you know!
Eric: The Mets traded Jeff Kent for Baerga. That one worked out.
Jim: I always loved watching him run. It was like a Shetland pony. [Er, Baerga, not Kent!]
Eric: I think he had one leg that was longer than the other. Or mabe that's just a rumor I started.
Jim: That could be helpful in running the bases. As long as it was the correct leg. Otherwise, you'd veer off towards the dugout...
Eric: Or into the outfield.
Jim: Might explain some of our gaffes this year. I think we need to measure all our players' legs, just to be safe.

Jim: D'you think you're going to get Hudson?
Eric: I doubt it. They'd probably have to move Castillo first.
Jim: Ah, true - I just saw a fanpost speculating on your site about that, when I was looking for Schoeneweis stuff.
Eric: Hudson has been linked to the Mets for a few years now. He was supposedly looking for 4/$40, which I don't think is going to happen.
Jim: Not in this economic climate. It's going to be interesting to see how that all affects deals this winter.
Eric: The Yankees don't seem to be blinking.
Jim: Yes, but they're the MF Yankees. :-) It's what they do... No-one seems to want to give Manny what he thinks he's worth.
Eric: They did clear out a lot of salary this offseason. If enough teams move on he could be a bargain for someone. 2/$45 is a lot of money but not a lot of years. I think he wants 3-4.
Jim: He was muttering about retiring, but I think that's bluster. He wants to be adored somewhere.
Eric: I'd say he was full of shit but he might be crazy enough to do it. I'd still say it's low-probability.
Jim: It's a bit like no-one biting on Bonds last year, albeit very different circumstances, obviously.
Eric: Definitely different circumstances.
Jim: But there's big ?'s about what Manny brings to a clubhouse.
Eric: For sure. Manny might actually be a bigger douche.
Jim: Happy, everything is fine; but if he isn't happy...
Eric: Bonds never seemingly tanked on purpose or held his team hostage.
Jim: True. There was little doubt about his effort. Just where the effort came from...
Eric: But Bonds has the whole grand jury deal hanging over his head, plus he has assumed the burden of an entire generation's abuse of PEDs.
Jim: Yeah. He obviously is far from the only one, but he's the poster boy and is going to pay. Though, let's face it, lying under oath is probably never a good idea...
Eric: No. To me, that's his biggest transgression. Legally, as well
Jim: Particularly legally...