I gotta say that as much fun as it is to scramble off to Phoenix for some spring games and some drafting, as my poor old body ages, I have to take it a little slower.
Saturday I got up at 4 a.m. California time and got off to the airport where Diane dropped me for my flight. As soon as the flight landed, off to my rental car and Peoria, where I watched the Athletics and the Mariners do some early spring battle.
There were some good things I saw too, starting with Jemile Weeks hitting a single, stealing a base, and later whacking a home run. As did big Seattle slugger Carlos Peguero. Jarrod Parker tossed two fine innings, giving up a baserunner on an error, but striking out four tossing 25 pitches, 16 for strikes.
But, I was really interested in watching two players: Ichiro Suzuki and Chone Figgins. That is because one of the best sources of player value is the solid guy who underperforms one year is often a value the following season (are you listening Aubrey Huff and Adam Dunn non-believers?).
Figgins managed a couple of at-bats and weakly grounded out once, and whiffed the second time. All things being equal, Figgins just did not look like he was competing at the same level as the other guys on the field.
Similarly, Ichiro, of whom it pains me to write this, just looked out of place. Parker whiffed him once during an at-bat where I don't remember the great Seattle right fielder looking so badly fooled.
Now, I realize we just have a couple of spring games completed, and it is early. Not everyone has their timing, and well, pitchers have the advantage over the first few months of the season anyway. But, I would be very cautious picking up either of these players for the 2012 season. Figgins for a couple of bucks in a deep league, and a reserve flier in a mixed format is a good path, while Ichiro is probably ok as a #3 outfielder. But, not much more by my reckoning.
Note that after the game I booked straight to the AL LABR draft and ensuing activities. Meaning I have just been shagged all day Sunday, where I am taking a day off before toddling off to the NL LABR draft tonight.
More to come on that, for sure.