What a great day Monday was for baseball lovers, as on Valentine's Day, those magical words, almost as sustaining as "I love you," came upon our horizon. This time, however, those words were in the form of "pitchers and catchers report."
First, the Yankees signed Andruw Jones, who has had a strange path since his heyday in Atlanta, starting with the $14 million debacle in Los Angeles, worth three homers, in 2008. Jones got it back together enough in 2009 to go .214-17-43 with the Rangers, then came close to the same last year with the White Sox, presenting .230-19-48 numbers.
I have a feeling the Yankees will use the now 34-year old outfielder as a platoon righty, as per Perry Van Hook, "Andruw...can still crush most LHP (or RHP who can't throw hard breaking balls for strikes or that break out of the strike zone)."
Then, those tricky Giants inked Brian Lawrence, he of Padres fame, to a minor league deal. Following his promising (5-5, 3.45) debut, Lawrence tantalized with a 12-12, 3.69 mark over 210.2 innings, however the ground-baller's WHIP jumped up to 1.343. In 2003 it was 10-15, 4.19 over 210 more frames, and since Lawrence's ratio dropped back down to 1.24.
However, the following year, Lawrence's numbers yo-yo'd again, as he went 15-14, 4.12, but the WHIP jumped back up to 1.38, followed by a similar 2004, and then a fall into the abyss of the minors.
Over the next five years--barring a brief showing with the Mets in 2007, Lawrence toiled in the systems of the Mets, Rockies, Braves, Marlins, Padres, and now San Francisco, with varying degrees of success.
The Giants, as we know, have tremendous pitching, but I can see Lawrence making the squad as a mop up arm, and doing OK in that role in the pitcher friendly ATT venue.
Not that I would gamble a pick on Lawrence. But, I would keep an eye on him. Stranger things have happened, and every year has at least one feel good story.