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Article:Baseball Notebook: Hot Stove League News

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Mark Prior Signs To Play For Padres

Mark Prior has signed to play for the San Diego Padres in 2008 for $1 million. Compared to what teams have been paying pitchers like Mike Hampton and Carl Pavano for not pitching, it is not that big of a risk for the Padres.

If Prior does pitch well, it could give the Padres the strongest starting rotation in baseball with Jake Peavy, Greg Maddux, Chris Young and Prior in the first four slots in the rotation. However, Prior may not pitch for a while, but if he does pitch well, it will be worth a lot more than a $1 million if he can help pitch them into the 2008 NL playoffs.

Prior last pitched for the Chicago Cubs in 2006 and had a 1-6 record with a 7.21 ERA. He still is a strikeout pitcher striking out 38 in 43 innings but walked 28 in those 43 innings.

So Taguchi Signed by Phillies

It is very difficult to get excited about some signings and this is one of them. Taguchi is 37 years old, but still can play all three outfield positions. In six years with the St. Louis Cardinals, Taguchi hit only 19 home runs and drove in 154 runs while hitting .283. Taguchi does have some speed having been caught stealing only 9 times in his last 38 attempts.

With a starting outfield of Shane Victorino, Geoff Jenkins, and Pat Burrell, Taguchi won't get much playing time and will mostly be used as a pinch hitter. If he gets more than 150 at bats in 2008, I will be very surprised. Taguchi will be the No.5 outfielder with Jayson Werth ahead of him in the depth chart and Werth gives the Philadelphia Phillies more run production having driven in 49 runs in only 255 at bats last season plus his .404 on base percentage was second on the Phillies behind Chase Utley at .410.

Lawyer for Roger Clemens To Conduct Own Investigation

Rusty Hardin, the lawyer for Roger Clemens is going to conduct his own investigation of the charges made by the Mitchell Report. He is contending that the Mitchell investigators didn't talk to other sources who may have rebutted the testimony of former Clemens trainer Brian McNamee.

It seems to me that Clemens is going to extraordinary lengths to clear his name, including an appearance on 60 Minutes in which he will be interviewed by 89 year old Mike Wallace. I remember Wallace being on television when I was in elementary school which I finished in 1958 so Wallace is as experienced at interviewing as anyone alive today.

On the other hand, I can't believe that McNamee would lie to the Mitchell investigators unless he has an ulterior motive such as getting back at Clemens for firing him as his trainer. Maybe after the 60 Minutes interview, we will be able to see more clearly what the facts are or it could only raise more questions that will need to be answered.

I do commend Clemens for consenting to the interview with Wallace because Wallace is known for asking hardball questions and one of his first shows on television was called Hot Seat in which he grilled guests and Clemens may regret asking for Wallace to do the interview once Wallace asks him a question that will put Clemens on the hot seat. This may be the best chance Clemens has to clear his name with the baseball fans of America. It would be even better if Brian McNamee was on the show so we could pick up how the two interact when being asked the tough questions. Someone is lying....we just don't know who it is yet.

Tim Raines Played 23 Years: Still Not Close to 3000 Hits

If ever a player seemed to be a lock for 3000 hits, it was Tim Raines, who wound up with 2605 hits mostly because of having so few at bats in his last seasons as a major league player. In the last ten years of his career he only batted more than 500 times once. In his last six seasons he never batted more than 321 times and he missed the 2000 season entirely.

Dave Parker had 2712 hits in 19 seasons. Andre Dawson had 2774 hits in 21 seasons. Jim Rice had about 300 hits less than Dawson and Parker. Dawson should be admitted this season but still wouldn't be surprised to see Jim Rice elected in 2008. Mark "I Don't Want to Talk About the Past" McGwire has almost no hope of ever being elected to the Hall of Fame at least for the next several years. His testimony in Washington let everyone know he had something to hide or he would have been more forthcoming with the truth.

In my book, Andre Dawson deserves to be in the Hall of Fame before Rice or Parker since he is the only one of the three to hit more than 400 home runs, with his total of 438 home runs.


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