Theo Fingers Kim For Two-Year Deal. The Red Sox are close to signing Byung Hyun Kim (the "Korean nuclear submarine"!) to a two-year contract worth about $10 million. This is very good news. Kim may be best known for blowing 2 games in the 2001 World Series (thanks in large part to the unadulterated idiocy of Bob Brenley), but he is both young (he turns 25 next week) and talented (8-5 with 16 saves and a 3.18 ERA last year). Gump jerked Kim around last year, but it looks like he'll be the 5th starter in 2004, which is what he wants. Burkett/Fossum to Schilling/Kim is a major upgrade.
The first group of pitchers and catchers (Devil Rays) arrive in Florida on February 14. The Red Sox will report before February 19. ... Musings looks at Pokey. ... The sister of the TCM says he is not a rat. The story also says she posts on a Yankee Chat Site as "N2Rocket." Psst: it's this one. ... ESPN is asking various hot stove questions before the 2004 season? Big K at East Coast Agony is annoyed at Feb. 5's question -- "When will there be an openly gay major-leaguer?" Not that I expect ESPN's response will offer any real enlightment, but it's definitely something worth discussing. We know gay politicans, writers, musicians and actors, but no active male athletes (in any of the 4 major American sports, anyway). I'm not sure if this is a valid comparison, but the first big league player who acknowledges he is gay will travel a road not trod since Jackie Robinson. It will likely be someone who has been out since high school/college and will not be someone already in the majors making the announcement.
Howard Bryant: "Last week, a member of the Associated Press mistakenly sent out a master phone list of the most prominent members of the sports world over the Internet ... Tim Hudson, the star pitcher for the Oakland A's, has already changed his phone number after receiving an estimated 1,000 phone calls. ... [Willie Randolph]: "A guy called me and said, 'Willie? Hi, this is Trot Nixon. I want to play for the Yankees. Can you help me out?'" ... Patrick Reusse of the Minneapolis Star Tribune is outraged. He writes that after Game 4 of the 2003 World Series, 9-year-old Kacy Clemens said to the media: "Thank you for watching over my dad for the last 40 years ... I mean, 20 years. We'll take it from here." Reusse: "It's one thing for baseball fans to be lied to by Pete Rose, even as he is making an alleged confession of past wrongs. It's deplorable to be lied to by a 9-year-old kid. As a voting member of the Baseball Writers Association of America, I'm no longer certain of being able to support Clemens when he becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame." I think he's joking.