Kevin Towers Loses All-Star in Drunken Game of "Mouse Trap"
by Mike Carminati
In a farcical tale of drunken debauchery and plastic mouse game pieces, the San Diego Padres shipped former All-star second baseman Mark Loretta to the Red Sox for career backup catcher Doug Mirabelli for no apparent reason.
It seems that old buds Padres GM Kevin Towers and Red Sox Sith Lord Larry Lucchino spent a night watching "I Love the 80s 3-D", playing board games, and imbibing Peach Schnapps in Towers' basement.
Said a recuperating Towers the next morning amid hiccups and the pops of little cartoon bubbles:
"I did what?!? No wait We were trading their cards, weren't we? Wait, and then Evil Ethat's what I call Larrysaid, 'Let's get crazy and make it a real deal just for roll of the dice.' I mean, it was like a one-in-six chance that he would roll that sixhe needed a six to get 'Turn The Crank'and I was like, 'Yo Dude, I am sooo wasted.' The [bleep]-ing guy got it. He really didn't have to do scream, 'In your face,' and why did he call me 'Theo'? Anyway, I guess I have to give him who was that guy again? And I got Paul Mirabella, the pitcher? No? Who? Oh, that crappy catcher?!? Dang!"
Of course this is not true, but makes a whole lot more sense than reality.
Loretta had an off year in 2005 but was coming off two monsters seasons. In 2004, he was arguably the best second baseman in the game. Also, he spent the first half of the 2005 season on the DL with a torn ligament in his left thumb. He made $2.75M in 2005 and had a $3.25M 2006 option automatically kick in after 293 plate appearances. He then becomes a free agent.
So was it because his contract is up next year? Was it because $3M is too much to pay even though the Padres re-signed 38-year-old, now so-so closer Trevor Hoffman to a $23.5, two-year deal and had saved by re-signing their best player (Brian Giles) just $30M over three years? Was it because his shoes were too tight? Oops, that's the Grinch.
The Padres are apparently concerned that they won't be able to re-sign catcher Ramon Hernandez. So Mirabelli might split time with Miguel Olivo. Besides they just signed the estimable Geoff Blum and have Bobby Hill and Eric Young on the bench (though Blum was supposed to spell free agent Joe Randa at thirdheck, he can play both positions).
Would you rather have Loretta and Olivo or Hill and Mirabelli? I'd rather have the lion eat the bear as the old adage goes.
Meanwhile, the welfare state that is the Boston Red Sox goes on unabated. One has to wonder now that former Bud Selig compadre Sandy Alderson is running the Padres. Bud has a soft spothis headfor the Sox. Be it plundering a Japanese for itinerate first basemen (Millar), trying to make players accept less money (the aborted A-Rod deal), extending trade deadlines (Schilling), or laundering players via his own personal baseball team/slush fund (Floyd), nothing is out of the question when it comes to his pal John Henry. Heck, he jury-rigged the process so that Henry could lowball a charity in order to get the Sox in the first place. So why not call in a favor with his old bud, Sandy?
Then again, the Towers-Lucchino deal smells of incestuous cronyism, too. Who wouldn't like to help out his boss when he is trying to prove that his former GM (Theo Epstein, in case you forgot) had nothing to do with the team's success? It's trés Scooter Libby.
OK, you're not into conspiracy theories? Maybe drunken debauchery is preferable to gross negligence in allowing oneself to be fleeced by one's former mentor. I'll go back to my original story.