Sunday, August 08, 2004

SPORTS: Wouldn't it be neat if ...

This is not going to happen. But wouldn't it be neat if Carlos Delgado let it slip to a writer buddy (there are many) that he'd like to sign a contract extension to stay in Toronto for $8 million a year for the next three years?

That would shove a dagger perilously close to JP Ricciardi's heart. It might be the reason Ricciardi's been so frantic to create a situation to get Delgado to waive his no-trade provision. Ricciardi wants no part of Delgado next season, at any price. He feels Delgado is a relic of an earlier era and contributes far less than we deluded fans thinks he does. He can't offer him arbitration for fear Delgado would say yes. So, he's in danger of letting Delgado walk for nothing at season's end.

But does Delgado want to go? Certainly, he keeps saying not. There isn't an American city that Delgado would find as hospitable as Toronto, given his anti-American positioning on many things relating to Puerto Rico. It might actually be that Delgado loves Toronto and has no interest in using it as a stepping stone for something nearer and dearer to his hometown. That's a statement Ricciardi would be hard-pressed to make with a straight face.

Without a single first baseman of any prospect status in the minors, Ricciardi dealt Josh Phelps this weekend for Eric Crozier. Phelps was leading the club in RBIs, playing less than half the time. Crozier wasn't listed amongst Cleveland's top prospects. But he IS a first baseman AND he's close to ready for the bigs. Ergo, he's the heir apparent. That most analysts think he's a Four-A guy, somebody who's good, maybe too good, for Triple-A, but nothing more than a spare at the Major League level, seems not to phase the Blue Jay GM. This smacks of an Anybody But Delgado strategy at first.

Given all of that, we KNOW Delgado won't throw a bit of excitement into the dreary days ahead by making a public play for a reasonable contract offer. But wouldn't it be neat if ...

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