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wulfy
07-29-2002, 12:13 PM
Sorry if this has been posted already, but it seems Skippy doesn't think much of Kenny's deal for Ray-Ray either:

Posted on Fri, Jul. 26, 2002

Infielder now central in A's plot
SWITCH TO OUTFIELD COULD AID PLAYOFF PUSH
By Skip Bayless
Mercury News

Down goes Chicago White Sox General Manager Ken Williams. He won't know what hit him for a while. He just got Beaned.

A's G.M. Billy Beane just traded a minor league pitcher with little or no A's future for a two-time All-Star whose future could have the depth and breadth of center field. For some pitcher named Jon Adkins, the A's received Ray Durham, a game-changing athlete whose baseball growth has been stunted playing second base.

The A's plan to ease Durham into center field, where White Sox Manager Jerry Manuel always thought he belonged.

Even as the White Sox were winning their division in 2000 with All-Star Durham at second, Manuel said: ``Ray-Ray is such a great athlete with such acceleration and speed that he'll ultimately be better off in center. You can see it the way he goes after popups in shallow center or right. No second baseman catches balls on the dead run over his head better than Ray Durham.''

Manuel suggested to Durham he try center before the 2001 season, but Durham balked.

Still, Manuel considered Durham the White Sox's offensive MVP in 2000 and 2001. Manuel said: ``We have a lot of great hitters. Frank Thomas. Magglio Ordoņez. Paul Konerko. Carlos Lee. But we're not the same when Ray's not in the lineup. He's the igniter.''

The inside word was that the A's have been ``one bat short against good pitchers.'' So you figured Beane was seeking one big bat. Instead, he pulled a potent little one out of his hat.

Durham is the rally-starting leadoff hitter the A's haven't had -- a switch hitter as capable of bunting for a hit as leading off a game with a home run. He hit a career-high 20 homers last season. He's currently batting .299 with an on-base percentage (.390) higher than any A's hitter. Beane believes divisions are won and lost because of on-base percentage and ERA.

So why would the White Sox even agree to pay $500,000 of the $2.37 million owed to Durham the rest of the season? He'll be a free agent at season's end and Williams didn't want to lose him without getting something in return. Williams has taken a media beating for trading pitchers Kip Wells and Josh Fogg. Williams is so desperate to replenish his pitching pipeline that he sees something in Adkins that Beane does not.

My money is on Beane.

The White Sox also have tired of watching the right-handed Durham play second base as if he's wearing a left-handed glove. Durham never looked quite comfortable at second, never displayed much slick feel for turning the double play, never could fall back on the instincts and sure hands that have lifted A's rookie second baseman Mark Ellis into the lineup.

Durham is more athlete than infielder. He was an All-America defensive back as a high school football player in Charlotte, N.C. He's only 5-foot-8, but a tightly muscled 180 pounds give him surprising power and a sprinter's explosion. He doesn't have the savvy to lead the league in steals -- his career high is 36 -- but Beane believes stolen bases are overrated. What Durham can do on the bases is distract and disrupt.

But playing second, his mind isn't always as quick as his hands and feet. As the White Sox fell hopelessly behind Minnesota, Durham's concentration and spirits bottomed out.

Williams is under orders to cut his payroll by going with younger, cheaper players at second and in center. Durham has made noise about wanting another four years at up to $35 million. But what he must realize is that he'll be worth that kind of money only if he can prove he can play center.

My money says he can -- and I saw Durham play many times in the four years I worked for the Chicago Tribune.

At 30, Durham is ripe for a rebirth. A change of scenery -- and position -- could turn him into a steal for Beane and another nightmare for Williams. But for now, the A's are soft-pedaling the idea of asking Durham to move to center. They don't want to throw him a welcome-aboard curve by saying, ``We're in the thick of a pennant race and we're moving you to a position you've never played. Good luck!''

No doubt Durham could chase down balls in center field better than Terrence Long, who often has looked no more comfortable in center than Durham has at second. But the biggest unknown would be whether Durham could learn to lengthen and heighten his throwing motion after all those years of sidearm flips.

He seems to have a pretty good arm for a second baseman and probably could learn to throw at least as well as Long. The ideal way to learn to play center would be during five weeks of spring training. But Durham won't be allowed that luxury.

A's ownership and management believe this team can win more than its division.

So Durham will ease in as a leadoff D.H., while catching flyballs and throwing from the outfield before games. If Durham can handle center, Long can ease back into his preferred position, left. If Durham likes center, Beane can get a jump on trying to re-sign him.

If not, he's a bargain of a rental. Beane strikes again.

guillen4life13
07-29-2002, 12:23 PM
where is skip now?

Jerry_Manuel
07-29-2002, 12:25 PM
Originally posted by guillen4life13
where is skip now?

He writes for the Mercury News.

What an idiot. Ray Durham is not a game changer. Bayless is a boob.

wulfy
07-29-2002, 12:27 PM
Originally posted by Jerry_Manuel

What an idiot. Ray Durham is not a game changer. Bayless is a boob.

If you've ever seen him field a ball to his right, then you know he's a game changer .... for the opposition.

Jerry_Manuel
07-29-2002, 12:29 PM
Originally posted by wulfy
If you've ever seen him field a ball to his right, then you know he's a game changer .... for the opposition.

Exactly. Durham isn't going to lift the A's to another level.

Paulwny
07-29-2002, 12:29 PM
From the article:But playing second, his mind isn't always as quick as his hands and feet.

Nice way to say that Ray isn't the brightest light bulb.

NUCatsFan
07-29-2002, 12:30 PM
Originally posted by guillen4life13
where is skip now?

He's out here in the Bay Area. SJ Mercury News picked him up off the waiver wire after being dumped by the Trib. If you liked his articles, you'll love the one he had today (I caught the headline and couldn't help but read it...sorry). He tries to claim that Lance Armstrong winning the Tour wasn't very impressive. And that he's not truely a great athlete. Then again, he also claims that he's run a few marathons (10, by his count) and that gives him some sort of expertise to judge a great athlete from just a good one. Then again, he also says that Ichiro is a better athlete than Lance. According to Clueless: "But as an athlete, he [Lance] obviously doesn't belong in the same sentence with Jordan and Ali, or Ruth and Mays, or Montana and Elway, or Bonds and Ichiro."

In the immortal words of others, "WHOYACRAPPIN?"

duke of dorwood
07-29-2002, 12:30 PM
AND-when does he bunt? AND does not hit much right handed.

Jerry_Manuel
07-29-2002, 12:31 PM
Originally posted by NUCatsFan
He tries to claim that Lance Armstrong winning the Tour wasn't very impressive. And that he's not truely a great athlete.

Mariotti was on the Armstrong bandwagon today.