New arms race


Issue: "California's wall of fire," Nov. 8, 2003

There may be more than one way to skin a cat, but there's just one way to win a World Series, it seems: pitching. Apparently, the Florida Marlins had more of it in their young arms than did the New York Yankees, who trusted in savvy veterans. The off-season will mark the beginning of a Major League Baseball arms race.

Out is Roger Clemens, who is expected to retire after five seasons with the Yankees and 20 years in the big leagues. The next generation of power pitchers largely emerged during this year's National League Championship Series when Mark Prior, arguably the best young pitcher in baseball, was upstaged by Josh Beckett, who helped his Marlins to a World Series win. Both young right-handers are 23 years old and both pitch on a staff full of young and lively arms. But Florida will have to ante up to keep its staff together. Three starters-Mark Redman, Brad Penny, and A.J. Burnett-are arbitration eligible this off-season. And for any team willing to bet the bank on baseball's free agency period, a pennant-winning starter kit is available in right-handers Kevin Millwood and Bartolo Colon. But only if the price is right.

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