We'll start out the weekly observations with an e-mail question from reader Brooks:

I have an O's related trade question. In an overall stats league (weighted towards steals, homers, and RBIs) an owner is offering me Brian Roberts and Ken Griffey Jr. for Andruw Jones. Right now this seems like a good trade, even with Roberts' and Jones' respective early season starts.  Still, can Griffey last?  Jones hit 41 homers last year and Roberts is your preseason No. 2 second baseman.  My current second basemen are Orlando Hudson and Tadahito Iguchi.


Thanks for the question Brooks. Let's start with the second basemen involved. I had Roberts ranked No. 2 in the preseason because of his ability to steal bases. He had 36 SBs last season, which led all American League second basemen. That gives him the edge over Hudson and Iguchi. However, in the other major categories, all three second basemen are comparable. Hudson is off to a scorching start (.394) and will probably end up hitting around .280-.300. I expect Roberts' average to be in the same range even though he's off to a semi-slow start at the plate, batting .192. Meanwhile, Iguchi probably has better power potential than the other two players, but he's also a pretty good bet to hit around .280.

In the outfield, Jones is a significantly better option than Griffey. The Braves center fielder has hit at least 35 homers in four of the past five seasons, including totals of 41 in '06 and 51 in '05. But the biggest factor that gives Jones the edge over Griffey? He's never missed more than 10 games. On the other hand, Griffey has missed at least 50 games in five of the last six years. You just can't rely on him.

The conclusion? A combination of either Iguchi or Hudson with Jones is better than a combination of Griffey and Roberts. Jones is an absolute stud. Few players in the league can match his power production. If you're going to unload him, you have to get more than Roberts and Griffey.

And now the weekly observations:

  • Take notice of Ted Lilly's fast start. The veteran lefty is 1-0 with a 2.77 ERA and 14 strikeouts after two starts with the Cubs. He won 15 games last season with the Blue Jays.

  • If his early performance is any indication, this is the year Daniel Cabrera will finally get it. The O's big right-hander has pitched through the seventh inning in back-to-back starts and has 14 strikeouts, but more importantly, just four walks.

  • I got this one from's Sports Guy. Check out Royals outfielder Joey Gathright jumping over a car. You heard that right. Is this what big-time athletes do for fun? While you and I go to the movies, hit up a local watering hole or get something to eat, they are jumping over cars. I want to be Gathright's friend.

  • Barry Zito's numbers so far in two starts with the Giants -- 0-2, 8.18 ERA, 6 K, 5 BB. For those keeping track, that's $63 million per loss.

  • Alex Rodriguez is off to an outrageous start -- five homers, 13 RBIs through six games.

  • Mike Piazza is enjoying the DH role in Oakland, batting .375 through six games.

  • Anyone else getting bored with 24? I practically dosed off during the first 45 minutes this week, but the ending reminded me why I liked the show. Jack Bauer makes onions cry. And while we're on the topic of TV. Entourage premiere -- thumbs up. Sopranos premiere -- thumbs down.

  • And the winner for first closer to lose his job one week into the season goes to...Brad Lidge! Didn't see this one coming, huh? Lidge blew his first save opportunity of the season against the Pirates, giving up a home run to Xavier Nady. In his next outing, Lidge allowed five runs -- two earned -- against the Cardinals. Manager Phil Garner's explanation for the move: "I'm going to pitch him earlier in the game, sixth inning area, sixth-seventh inning area 'cause I want to pitch him more often, give him more consistent work." Riiight. You want him to pitch more often? That's a comforting thought for Astros fans.

  • I know Chris Berman has passed the point of no return with his nicknames, but Albert "Winnie the" Pujols? That's gotta go. Someone get ESPN on the phone.

  • And finally, don't sleep on Ian Snell. The Pirates' 25 year old has yet to earn his first win, but he's had two solid starts. Snell struck out 11 Astros in his first start and allowed one run over seven innings in his second outing against the Cardinals.

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