Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Teams: Please Stop Signing Players You Don't Need

There used to be a time in baseball when teams would assess their talent and then use the free agent/trade market to fill in their holes. For instance, if you had a bad catcher, you would see what catchers are available or on the trading block, and then doggedly pursue them. You wouldn't however see an available left fielder, sign him, and then tell him "by the way you're playing catcher."

But it appears that teams have headed off in that wacky direction this off-season. I watched as the Yankeees tried to sign every possible free agent and to maneuver someone from the infield to centerfield. Alas, they were forced in the end to sign a centerfielder to man that position.

The Dodgers signed Rafael Furcal and Nomar Garciaparra even though they didn't have spots for them. Somehow, they will make it work.

And the Nationals traded for Alfonso Soriano hoping he would switch to left field. Little did they know he doesn't want to and would prefer to play 2nd base or be traded. If they were so committed to letting Jose Vidro man that spot, why did they trade for Soriano in the first place?

But this really hit a new low recently. I watched as the Toronto Blue Jays started three third basemen last year: Corey Koskie at his position, Sean Hillenbrand at first base, and Eric Hinske at DH. They really made it work too even though they're all in my mind the same player. But with this less than ideal situation already, you wouldn't believe the team would go out and get 1b Lyle Overbay and 3b Troy Glaus this off-season now, would you?

And so they did. Now they will either have to find new positions for two of their four 3bmen--have to assume Overbay is starting at first now--or else they will sit. Tell you what, though. That may be the deepest position any team has, including the White Sox pitching staff.



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