Winter means more to me than show and ice and cold. In fact, I like snow and ice and cold and would rather run in that weather, than in the humid dog days of August.

What winter means to me is an absence of Phillies reading material. Except for an occasional trade or signing, the sports pages are now left to the 'other' sports' teams.

Not here.

Here, you can read baseball right up until the first signs of spring training, and blame Al Gore because the season starts earlier every year. Here will get you ready for the the first pitch of the regular season against the Washington Nationals at the park on March 31. What did I say about global warming? March 31? That's 121 days from now varying a little according to when you read this.

But hold on partner, good things are coming to you.

I have faith that Phils General Manager Pat Gillick will make the proper adjustments to put the ball club right back in the hunt come March 31. This is Gillicks final season. He said he will retire. I'm certain he would rather go out with a bang rather than a whimper.

The Minnesota Twins lost their center fielder Tori Hunter to the Los Angeles Angels, signing him for five years at $90 million. It might give us an idea about how Aaron Rowand will do. By the way, Rowand is no longer on the Phillies roster so I have to use FanGraphs for his numbers. Go ahead and check them out and then figure for yourself what Rowand will get on the market.

Headed by the Red Sox, the big sharks are also after Twins pitcher Johan Santana (right), who is in the final year of his contract and could be traded. The Twins made an offer to Santana for a four year extension for $80 million. Santana will make $13.25 million in ' 08. If he accepts he will become the first pitcher to get $20 million a year. If he doesn't he'll be in a different uni next year. Lets hope it's not a Mets uni.

The Twins maintain a low payroll and have been criticized for not using the money they get from revenue sharing. In the past five years the Twins received an average of $20 million a year in revenue sharing but their payroll has not increased accordingly. The average increase in payroll over those years is $16 million.

To replace Hunter, the Twins made a 6-player trade to acquire center fielder Delmon Young from Tampa Bay. Whereas Hunter would have cost the Twins $12 million, Young will cost them $700,000.

The great baseball philosopher Roy Rogers and his side-kick Clint Black have some encouraging words for Pat Gillick.




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