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Thursday Morning Link Dump

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The Pirates have picked up the slack, signing Jaret Wright to a minor league deal. Trading for Jaret Wright was one of those things the Orioles always did, a big reason we're terrible to this day. If you'd told me a year ago that Wright would have missed basically all of 2007, then waited until almost February 2008 to sign a minor league deal with Pittsburgh, I'd have said, "Yeah, that makes sense."

A Roch reader over at the Sun said of Wright, "This story of Jaret reminds me of Bret Saberhagen who was literally pitching with a metal hook and rubberband for a shoulder for the past couple of years he was in the majors. He would still go five innings almost every night and was still better than most pitchers in the league."

This ignores that Bret Saberhagen was good.

Says Roch, "If the Orioles can't acquire a shortstop in one of the blockbusters, they still could pursue a veteran as insurance in case Luis Hernandez isn't ready. It's fine to go through a rebuilding process, but team president Andy MacPhail doesn't want to expose his young players. He doesn't want Hernandez batting .050 in May and still getting four at-bats a night and losing more confidence with every swing. The idea isn't to humiliate a prospect."

It is a very rational line of thinking, and signing someone like Tony Graffanino to take some ABs this season, or trading for a guy like Jack Wilson, a glove to back up the pitchers, would be fine. It'd be totally understandable. But the entire thing loses credit when Luis Hernandez is regarded as "a prospect."

MLB Fleece Factor has a new Great Moments in Fleece History up, featuring Albert Belle and the Baltimore Orioles. I'm usually quick to defend Belle, as I note that he did produce, and you can't do much about a body breaking down. He was a guy that played every day prior to that happening. But you can't say it was a good deal. It was a good idea. It is never a bad idea to sign a guy as good as Albert Belle. But it didn't turn out well. Can't argue that.

Nolan Ryan doesn't want to talk about steroids. Did You Know? Steroids only came into existence when people started hitting lots of home runs. Nolan Ryan, a fastball pitcher, pitching at a fairly high level until he was 46 years old is not at all suspicious if you think about it now, and I know this because Nolan Ryan has down-home charm and is a no-BS type of guy, and also he punched the shit out of Robin Ventura. So Nolan Ryan is OK. If you really, really think that none of the 70s-80s stars were on somethin', you're a sucker. This didn't start with Barry Bonds, and it didn't start with Jose Canseco.

Speaking of Canseco, the Bash Brother sought money for a shitty movie to keep Magglio Ordonez's name out of his next book, which is called "Vindicated." Canseco is one of those guys I wish would just go the hell away. He deserves some credit for being the guy that broke this all wide open, but that's about it. He's such a slimeball that it's hard to even give him credit for that. Said Ordonez, "He's probably desperate for money."

Troy Tulowitzki was given a six-year, $31 million deal by the Rockies. I like Tulo a lot as he reminds me of Cal, but a six-year deal at this point seems a little much to me. Give him three years, maybe four, but six years is quite a while. A lot of guys have had a good year or two before they became liabilities.

Yankees 2007 payroll: $218.3 million for a 94-68 team, another new record. The rest of the top ten: Red Sox ($155.4 million, 96-66), Dodgers ($125.6 million, 82-80), Mets ($120.9 million, 88-74), Cubs ($115.9 million, 85-77), Mariners ($114.4 million, 88-74), Angels ($111 million, 94-68), Phillies ($101.8 million, 89-73), Giants ($101.5 million, 71-91) and White Sox ($100.2 million, 72-90).