Sunday, January 20, 2008

Two Old Foreigners

I think the laundry hamper is what did it for me.

In two not entirely unsurprising moves, the White Sox and Cubs both continued their offseason plans. The Sox reportedly signed Octavio Dotel (pictured above) to a two-year, $11 million contract to continue improving the 'pen. Not exactly what I would call a reasonable deal, as Dotel is well past his prime (34 years old) and hasn't been particularly impressive as of late (4.11 ERA, 11 saves). Still, anything is better than last year's "failure by commission."

If this signing is accurate, I figure Dotel will work in as the right-handed setup man next to Linebrink and Thornton, giving us a pretty solid back end before Jenks. That leaves Wasserman, Massett, Logan and MacDougal (if he's still here) to fight for the middle relief/long relief roles. Anything is better than seeing Dewon Day up here again.

As for the Cubbies, they made an interesting move in THEIR plans by signing...

Mr. Zero himself, Shingo Takatsu. Interestingly, the Cubs offered him a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training, solidifying their plans to recreate the 2005 White Sox WS Champion Bullpen in the minors (along with Neil Cotts). What this diabolical plan can accomplish, I have no idea. I can't really imagine Shingo making the team, and this probably has more to do with Fukudome than anything.

Shingo is 39, last pitched in the majors in '05, pitched in Japan for two years, and still throws the most entertaining pitch in baseball -- a 49 mph "frisbee" pitch that ususally has a commercial break before hitting the plate. Either way, it's going to be interesting to see if Shingo still has what it takes -- he posted a 6.17 ERA last year in Japan while fighting injury, but isn't that far removed from greatness (posted a 2.74 ERA the year before).

One thing's for sure -- Cliff Politte and Dustin Hermanson had better watch out, because the Cubs are coming for ya.

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