Pre-Flight Baseball Musings

March 27, 2010, 2:35 am
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March 26, 2010

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While waiting out the inevitable flight delay -- it's one of my curses, along with always being next in line behind the person at the grocery store who creates some sort of extraordinary delay -- on my way home from Arizona, a few quick thoughts about recent doings in the desert at Giants and A's camps ...

-- We all like to think good things happen to good people, and it actually happened Friday in the form of the Giants sending Kevin Frandsen to the Red Sox.

Frandsen is good people, and a good player, too.

Things obviously didn't work out with the Giants, for a variety of reasons, but he's only 27 and has a lot of baseball ahead of him. There's no guarantee he'll make the Red Sox roster for Opening Day -- Mike Lowell got hurt Friday, helping Frandsen's chances of landing a utility role -- but regardless, this was absolutely a case of a player needing the proverbial change of scenery.

A San Jose native, Frandsen will be missed by the fans who always pulled for the local boy to make good, but he's going to get a real shot in Boston, and his blue-collar style of play will play beautifully among the hardcores at Fenway Park.

-- If the reports are accurate, contract extensions for Brian Wilson and Jeremy Affeldt are tremendous news for Giants fans.

Both would have been arbitration-eligible again after the season, and locking them up now avoids the potential for something messy going down. Lesson learned, courtesy Mr. Lincecum.

The extensions also keep intact, for at least the present and near future, one of the best setup-closer combos in the game. Not many teams have the type of reliability Affeldt and Wilson represent, providing a huge sense of security when a late lead needs tending.

And, hey, is there a more entertainingfunnyridiculous pair of late relievers in the game? Not bloody likely. These guys are nuts. There's value in that, too.

--And finally, what to make of Ben Sheets? The man on whom the A's took a 10 million gamble got hit HARD by a collection of Giants farmhands Thursday, the latest in a spring-long series of beatdowns.

True, Sheets has never lit up the Cactus League during his star-crossed career. True, he appears healthy after missing all of last season, and given that he's always been dominant when healthy (during the regular season), that's certainly encouraging.

But no matter how much a player or manager or executive says March numbers don't really matter, Sheets' numbers are too ugly to dismiss as totally meaningless.

Time is running out down in the desert, and Sheets is being counted on to take the ball on Opening Day and lead Oakland's return to respectability. He needs to have a decent outing before the bell officially rings, if only to calm the nerves of a loyal fan base growing increasingly impatient while waiting for a team about which it can once again be excited and proud.

... That's all for now. Flight's about to take off, and they just made an announcement: "Price check on organic bean sprouts, please."

-- Mychael Urban

What's on your mind? Email Mychael and let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.