Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Two Non-World Series Stories

While the baseball world waits for tonight's Game 6 between the Yankees and the Phillies, other teams are not standing around doing nothing. The Rays made a trade with the Pirates and a Blue Jay had a surgery that will hopefully help him start earning his pay.

The Tampa Bay Rays seem to be run by a bunch of smart people. Their two glaring weaknesses this past season were behind the plate and the relievers that threw to those catchers. The Bay Rays started fixing the relief problem by trading expendable Akinori Iwamura to the Pirates for Jesse Chavez.

Iwamura became expendable with the emergence of Ben Zobrist. The Bay Rays also have the added bonus of saving nearly $8 million in salary. Iwamura should help the Pirates as he is a smart player and a good fielder with a decent penchant for getting on base. His .354 OBP will do nicely for a Pirates team that hasn't always been great in that department.

Meanwhile, the Bay Rays pick up a cheap puzzle piece for their bullpen in Chavez who pitched in over 70 games for the Pirates last year and other than having more homers allowed than you would like, pitched admirably with a 4.01 ERA with 15 holds. Chavez is only 25 and his success despite being a 43rd round draft pick seems to show a fighter.

Fans up in Toronto might have some hope that struggling slugger, Vernon Wells, might have had a solid medical reason for his evaporation of skills in 2009. Wells underwent surgery on his wrist to repair some cartilage. Wells, who became a target for his large contract and small results became the boondoggle of former GM Ricciardi. Blue Jays' fans might now have hope that a bad wrist might have been Wells' downfall and can hope the repairs will fix the problem.

Let's face it, a batter with a bum wrist is in a heap of trouble since the wrists are instrumental in swinging the bat. One only has to remember the struggles of Nomar Garciaparra who suffered with wrist problems that sapped him of his former extraordinary abilities. A healthy Vernon Wells would be like picking up a new player for the Blue Jays and Blue Jays' fans can only hope he returns to the type of player that he has showed in the past.

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