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Things That Make You Go "Hmmmm"

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We learn today that the Cubs may be trying to trade Scott Williamson.

Good heavens, WHY? If he's healthy -- and all indications are that he is -- you can't have too many good relief pitchers. Obviously, Williamson would like to be a closer again, as he was for the Reds in 2003. He notes that the Cubs' bullpen is a numbers game:

But where would he fit in with setup men Bob Howry and Scott Eyre brought in to support closer Ryan Dempster?

He has asked himself that.

"Yeah, which is kind of useless for me and useless for this team," Williamson said. "They got two really good pitchers as free agents. You can't send down Michael Wuertz; he's pitched too good the last couple years. [Todd] Wellemeyer is out of options, and he's a young guy you probably want to hold onto."

"Young guy"? Wellemeyer's two years younger than Williamson; he'll be 28 in August. Wuertz is also 28. I happen to like Wuertz and so does Bruce Miles, but why isn't there room for both Wuertz and Williamson?

I suppose scouts will be watching Williamson, and maybe he could bring something useful to the major league roster. But trading him for prospects would be a really, really bad thing to do.

And our favorite site concurs:

Williamson does fit the win now mentality, and he's probably the one Cubs reliever with the potential to dominate. I would keep him around as closer insurance and not worry about having too many setup men. At $2MM something like his 2002 season would be spectacular (2.92 ERA in 74 innings). I can't see how the Cubs would get a more useful player in return unless perhaps it was to bolster their bench.

Many of you think Jacque Jones is getting far too much money, and I'd agree with you. But if you think that's true, have a look at the deal Randy Winn just signed --nearly $8 million per year for the next three years. Sure, Winn is good, but he's not THAT good. I doubt he'll come close to the performance he put up for the Giants after he was dealt last summer, and by the time the deal's over he'll be 34.

Or how about this contract signed yesterday by the Pirates' Jack Wilson? Nearly $7 million a year for Neifi-like production (.257/.299/.363 last year)? The Pirates must be out of their minds.

The WBC is starting this weekend. In addition to the slaughter rule ...

The umpire-in-chief will award a regulation game in Rounds 1 or 2 of the tournament to the Team that:

Is ahead by 10 or more runs when the opposing team has batted in at least seven innings;

Is ahead by 15 or more runs when the opposing team has batted in at least five innings.

Note: A game can be terminated in the middle of an inning if the team reaches the necessary number while at bat. The game will end immediately after that run is scored, unless it is because of a home run, in which case all runs score(similar to games won in a team's last turn at bat).

... they'll also end after fourteen innings, tied or not.

Talk about glorified exhibition games. I'm really starting to lose interest. This must be part of the Bud Selig Tie Game Policy.

Did you know that Mark Prior has a blog? Or HAD a blog -- it was up yesterday, but if you click on that link now, it says "This user has either cancelled their membership, or their acccount has been deleted."

That link was a fake, put up by someone who knows that you can pretty much write anything you want at MySpace. Paul Sullivan of the Tribune tracked Prior down and asked him about this:

Sully: "Do you have a blog?"

Prior: "What's a blog?"

Sully: "A Web site where you post items."

Prior: "No, I don't have a Web site."

Sully: "Did you know there was a blog with your name on it?"

Prior: "Is it that My Space thing?"

Sully: "Yeah, that's it."

Prior: "I heard about that. No, it's not mine."

"A Web site where you post items." Well, it's a bit more than that. At least I'd like to think so. Incidentally, although Prior's blog was phony, Mark Reed, brother of the Mariners' Jeremy Reed, and a 2005 3rd-round Cub draft pick (he will likely be at Peoria this year), DOES have a MySpace blog.

The snub of Buck O'Neil by the special committee that put seventeen deceased people associated with the Negro Leagues into the Hall of Fame the other day, while ignoring the two living people on the ballot, O'Neil and Minnie Minoso, has created quite a firestorm of protest.

Here's a well-reasoned commentary by Bill James as to why O'Neil deserves enshrinement:

There is a nationwide program, RBI, for Reviving Baseball in the Inner City. The Kansas City program is stronger than it is almost anywhere else, for a simple reason: Buck O'Neil. Buck is a true leader, a powerful leader. When he gets involved, everything happens. Other people flock to him; other people want to be there, to get involved, to help out. Why is the door even open to more Negro league selections to the Hall of Fame? Buck O'Neil. You and me, we tried to convince the Hall of Fame to do anything, we'd be butting our heads against the wall, but somebody asked Buck to get involved, and. . .well, nobody can resist Buck O'Neil.

There's also a pro-O'Neil blog, with this telling comment:

Sometimes I think the goal of major league baseball and the hall of fame is just to alienate every fan possible. I still haven't heard a valid argument for Buck not making it and the panty-waist committee won't validate their decisions.

And, you can sign this online petition on Buck's behalf. Barry Rozner, in making the case for Minoso, reminds us that both might get another shot in 2007.

O'Neil is going to turn 95 this year. Let's hope he's still around in 2007.