I've yet to see confirmation that Linebrink is officially a member of the White Sox, so there seems to be time to throw Black Wednesday's signing back into the return bin.
Buster Olney, in one of those pesky insider articles, polled a number of executives from around the league on the signing. Here are the choice quotes.
"Our industry has gone insane again," said one GM
Sounds exactly like what we heard from Williams at this time last year.
"Crazy dollars," said an NL executive. "And a No. 1 draft pick?"
Thankfully, no. The '07 Sox were so bad, it will only cost them a 2nd rounder. But when they sign Rowand, they'll find themselves with one pick in the first 125, after having just 2 in the top 100 each of the last two seasons. To put that in perspective, the Brewers will now have 5 of the top 75 draft picks in the '08 draft thanks to the Linebrink and Cordero signings.
"I think Linebrink is declining and the difference in ballparks will really hurt him. I do know that [GM Kenny Williams] has always loved him, so it's not like he just threw money at the best available guy. Still, I think it's a really bad signing. ... Can't see it working out."
Where have we heard this before?
"Signing relievers to multi-year deals is a considerable risk, given the volatility of relief performance for all but the truly elite guys. Despite a hyper-competitive free agent market with few quality options, extending four years and nearly $20 million to a middle guy is not something that [his team] would have considered. I would guess the White Sox get two solid years of performance and two years of mediocre to poor performance out of Linebrink."
I'd call that optimistic.
"I'd rather give the ball to one of my young guys in the minors. There's probably as much chance that he would succeed as there is that Linebrink is going to pitch well, and it costs you almost nothing."
Whoever said this will probably pick up Fernando Hernandez in the Rule 5 draft and watch him become an integral member of his pen for a $50K claiming fee plus a league minimum salary.