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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Take a piece of Piazza

Mike Piazza's retirement should trigger a string of big-name players ending their baseball careers this season. It should, but I don't think it will.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, David Wells and Kenny Lofton are all free agents. Bonds and Clemens are arguably the best hitter and pitcher, respectively, of all-time if you ignore the likelihood of steroid usage by both.
And Wells is known for his bulldog toughness while Lofton's name is synonymous with base-stealing. So why haven't these guys been signed? Because they're old.
True that Bonds and Clemens would bring more baggage than their age but regardless of off-the-field issues, all five of the aforementioned players aren't valuable enough to be everyday players. Bonds would be an effective pinch-hitter, Lofton a pinch runner or defensive replacement, and Clemens and Wells would be a tough relief match-up, but why would anyone pay them upwards of an eight-figure contract to do something that a kid in triple-A will do for six figures?
Piazza did the right thing by going out on top, even if his numbers did fall off in his final two seasons with San Diego in Oakland. But it's May 21 not many teams are desperate enough to waste the cash it would take to sign a washed up All-Star in his 40s.

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