Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Meet The New Geezer, Same As The Old Geezer

Upon first hearing of the Tim Worrell signing, I just basically dismissed it as another instance of Brian Sabean going back to the old veteran well for the umpteenth time. Upon further investigation, though, this might actually be a nice little pickup.

Um, I take it that this isn't a still from Game 6.

A few lasting images of Tim Worrell in a Giants uniform overshadow his overall effectiveness with the team from 2001-2003. The first, of course, being his meltdown in Game 6. As we all don't want to remember (but I'm masochistically bringing it up anyway), Worrell came on in the 8th inning of that fateful game and squandered a 5-3 lead. Also, I'm quite convinced we have him to thank for the media's man-crush on Darin Erstad after Worrell surrendered an Erstad home run to ignite that 8th inning rally. So not only was Worrell a key player in the most brutal loss in Giants history, but he also fueled hours upon hours of mindless gushing over Erstad's red-assishness.

The second bad memory being his inability to hold a 3-2 lead in the pivotal NLDS Game 3 against the Marlins in 2003. It didn't help that Jose Cruz Jr. muffed the first out of the inning, but watching I-Rod slap an 0-2 pitch for a game winning single was one of the worst things I've ever experienced as a Giants fan. Of course, that was one-upped the next day by the image of J.T. Snow chomping dirt around home plate as I-Rod yelled triumphantly and hugged a pre-insane Ozzie Guillen.

Why? Why do I do this to myself?!?

The Todd's Brother signing gives the Giants some depth in the bullpen. "OK," you say, "they already had decent depth with Accardo, Munter, Hawkins, Walker, Tashner, and Benitez, so why the hell did they go out and grab this guy instead of upgrading at another, more crucial position, like first base? What does giving an old reliever $4 million for two years do to improve the team? And what is it with Sabean and his strange veteran fetish? This is a major league baseball team, not Space Cowboys. And what in holy hell is The War At Home still doing on the air?"

Well, Michael Rapaport still sucks, but I can name a couple positives concerning the Worrell deal. One, it now gives the Giants a chance to trade LaTroy Hawkins. I'm not all that crazy about that guy soaking up 4.35 million next year, so if the Giants could trade him to a team looking for a reliever/closer, they could free up payroll and hopefully get something decent in return, like some young guys who can hit. Hawkins has closer experience (albeit none too successful) and after watching the market for relievers smash through the ceiling this winter (B.J. Ryan, meet $47 million), there's bound to be some takers for him.

Second, Worrell is a quality relief arm, and his contract is basically beans compared to some of the other relief pitchers being overpaid this offseason. Worrell was ghastly with the Phillies to start the season, but then put up a 2.27 ERA after being traded to Arizona. Keep in mind that the BOB is one of the premier hitter's parks and you get an idea of how good he was.

Third, I'd much rather pay Tim Worrell $4 million for a couple years than shell out $11 million for Scott Eyre over three years. Over the past four years, Worrell has been more valuable than Eyre, but Eyre just had the fortune of putting up a terrific season in a contract year. Eyre has had that one great year that he's not likely to repeat, while Worrell, except for that one hiccup with the Phils last year, has been consistently good for a while now. Even if the Giants make no other moves with the bullpen, at the very least Worrell helps fill the void left by Eyre, and I would wager that this signing will be beneficial for the coming season.

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