Monday, December 1, 2008

Quiet Year in Jewish Free Agency

So as many of you know, the biggest prizes in this year's free agency sweepstakes aren't Jewish. (No, despite his size, CC Sabathia didn't have a Jewish mother urging him to eat.) But there are two major league Jewish free agents to watch with the Winter Meetings around the corner.

The first is Brad Ausmus, the veteran catcher, who has indicated that he doesn't want to return for a 17th season if he isn't on the west coast. That works for the San Diego Padres, who, according to the USA Today, are interested in Ausmus as a backup to Nick Hundley.

Ausmus hasn't been a prolific offensive player, in the sense that Sarah Palin hasn't been a whiz on foreign geography or turkey-killing optics. His OPS+ numbers since 2001: 57, 74, 55, 63, 80, 54, 68, 60. Even his raw totals aren't greatly inflated by Houston's home park: just .218/.303/.296 in 2008. But in San Diego? I shudder to think what those numbers would look like in 2009. Still, Ausmus is a terrific interview, and his grandfather was a rabbi. Let's hope he catches on.

The other Jewish free agent is Gabe Kapler, who had a fantastic season with Milwaukee before a September injury (listed by various outlets as a shoulder or upper back issue) ended his season. He finished with a season line of .301/.340/.498, and assuming he is healthy, can greatly help a team (Hello? New York Mets? This is the righty outfielder with power you need to spell Ryan Church).

Let's hope for a return to good health for Kapler, who showed skeptics he was right to end his one-year retirement.

Among the minor league Jewish free agents to watch, there's the star-crossed Adam Greenberg, who needs a break. Greenberg, remember, had just one major league plate appearance, got hit in the head, and never even made it to first base. He's like Moonlight Graham crossed with Jerry the Cat. He deserves another MLB plate appearance, ideally with Greg Maddux pitching.

1 comment:

rksbaseballbookshelf said...

Can't believe the Brewers wouldn't want Kapler back.