Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 21, 2002
BASEBALL: Walker, Arizona Diamondback

From Arizona's perspective, you have to love the Larry Walker deal, even in spite of Walker's age (36), durability (he's had 500 at bats in a season just once in the past decade), big (3-year, $38.5 million) contract and the Coors effect on his stats. Walker hit .312/.530/.387 on the road last season, and .292/.505/.395 from 1999 to 2001; adjusting for his advancing age, that seems like a very fair estimate of what the Diamondbacks can expect from him, and as long as Schilling and Johnson are healthy and at the top of their game, the D-Backs are in a situation where it's entirely reasonable to win now and to heck with the future. Even so, by dealing Matt Williams and letting Steve Finley walk, they are getting out from under some of the big-money veterans who are on the downhill slope (Jay Bell ought to be next).

I can sympathize with Williams' worries about leaving Arizona and his kids, but he's only got a year left on his contract, and it's a fair enough request to ask a man to spend a summer away from his children for $10 million. Were I him, I'd take the money and retire after the 2003 season.

For Colorado, the deal makes sense only as a move to escape the long-term contracts they'd signed with Walker together with Mike Hampton (off to Atlanta) and Denny Neagle (probably soon to depart as well) and head back to the drawing board. The best player in the deal may be Durazo, considering his age compared to Walker's, although Durazo can't seem to stay healthy and is a natural 1B, where the Rox are set for the next decade. If they're smart, they'll turn around and send Durazo to an AL team that can DH him (Oakland?) and bring back some help in another area.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:49 AM | Baseball 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
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