Thursday, February 8, 2007

Juan Uribe Needs Your Frequent-Flyer Miles

The Chicago White Sox starting shortstop may be a little late to Spring training this year. Following Chicago's failure to reach the playoffs last year, Juan spent the baseball postseason shooting up locals of his native Dominican Republic.
In October 2006, Uribe was alleged to have been involved in a shooting in the Dominican Republic. Despite claims from a district attorney that there was no firm evidence that Uribe was involved in the incident, a judge decided to press forward with the case.

Although a defense motion to bar him from leaving the country was rejected, it was ruled on January 5, 2007 that Uribe must appear before a court on the 15th and the 30th of every month until the case is resolved. Uribe, who has denied any involvement in the case, has suggested that he may not play baseball until the legal proceedings are concluded.
Chicago White Sox shortstop Juan Uribe will be in a Dominican court Feb. 21, the same day his teammates will arrive in Arizona for spring training.

"I am innocent and I don't care if I have to face to the ultimate consequences," Uribe told recently.

Uribe, 27, batted .235 with 21 home runs and 71 RBIs last season. He will be in his fourth season as the White Sox's starting shortstop.

We all heard the original report of Uribe's altercation with a Dominican farmer, but his bi-weekly flight schedule may be punishment enough. Having to listen to those flight-attendant's incessant safety demonstrations (in two different languages no less) could force Uribe into another shootout.

Maybe Chicago will need Josh Fields to play thirdbase and shortstop should Crede's balky-back problems accompany an extended Uribe absence. Just my personal snipe on yet another example of money defeating justice.

ESPN Insider and former GM assistant, Keith Law, recently presented the first annual Scouts Inc. list of the top-25 MLB prospects. Here's a look at the criteria as well as the top-10 potentials:
• Both ability (tools) and performance count. The closer the prospect is to the majors, the more important his performance becomes.

• Players must still have rookie eligibility to qualify.

1. Alex Gordon, 3B, Royals

2. Delmon Young, RF, Devil Rays

3. Chris Young, CF, Diamondbacks

4. Philip Hughes, RHP, Yankees
Hughes vs. Homer Bailey is a toss-up. Hughes is more polished, with outstanding control, and he ends up higher because he has more probability than Bailey, who has the ceiling.

5. Homer Bailey, RHP, Reds

6. Fernando Martinez, CF, Mets

7. Adam Miller, RHP, Cleveland

8. Brandon Wood, SS, Angels

9. Andrew McCutchen, CF, Pirates

10. Jose Tabata, CF/RF, Yankees
A teenager in a full-season league who showed nascent power, excellent hand-eye coordination and good pitch selection. Ranks below Martinez because he probably won't be a center fielder long term and because Martinez reached high-A and performed well.

Many Yankee fans are troubled when prospect-lists project Homer Bailey above Phil-er-up Hughes (though not the case here). As long as the Yankees gain an ace-like starter in the process, I could care less what Bailey becomes. As Law states, Hughes shows more pitchability and all-around talent - as well as better control thus far. Most importantly, these lists are just lists.

However, Keith Law's opinion has become a respected one - as if his four years behind (Toronto GM) J.P. Ricciardi does not suffice. Furthermore, the continuous mentions of Hughes & Tabata amongst the leagues top-ten prospects become hard to ignore and definitely whet the appetites of bomber fans.

Newest rhyming nickname for Alex Rodriguez: A-Fraud

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