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Deadline day coup (cont.)

Posted: Friday September 1, 2006 12:02PM; Updated: Friday September 1, 2006 3:03PM
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• Looks like Astros owner Drayton McLane learned his lesson regarding his refusal to give Carlos Beltran a no-trade clause, the decision that may have cost him the 2006 NL MVP. Besides the $73 million over five years, Roy Oswalt got a no-trade provision from Houston.

• It's odd that the Cubs are spinning it that Dusty Baker isn't really getting fired when they don't offer him a contract extension. Funny, to me, if you have a certain job one year, then the team doesn't keep you the next, that's a firing.

• I guess Jim Bowden's fire sale wasn't quite complete. He traded versatile utilityman man Marlon Anderson to the Dodgers at the deadline. Anderson joins high-priced Livan Hernandez and Mike Stanton as players Bowden dealt. Meanwhile, he held onto free-agents-to-be Alfonso Soriano, Ramon Ortiz and Tony Armas Jr., meaning the Nats got nothing of significance for these players.

• There's been some talk in current collective bargaining talks about dropping draft-pick compensation for losing free agents, which means the Nats might get even less for Soriano and the two pitchers. However, if draft-pick compensation were dropped, ownership would press for a giveback, such as price slotting for amateur draft choices along the lines of what the NBA does (but with lower figures). Management's claim is that the current system favors big-market teams because the best amateurs often convince small-market teams to pass.

That's something power agents like Scott Boras and the Hendricks brothers would strenuously argue against, because it would mean amateurs wouldn't be paid anything close to their market value in some cases.

• One scout recently said that no minor league team has more talent than the Rockies' Double A club at Tulsa. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, a dynamic offensive player, was just promoted to the big club. But the most talented player is third baseman Ian Stewart, whose only drawback is that he'll probably have to move to a corner outfield spot since Garrett Atkins is doing a superb job there for the Rockies already.

• There's been a lot of speculation about George Steinbrenner's health since his short (fewer than 30 words), halting speech at the new Yankee Stadium groundbreaking ceremony. His struggles walking and talking that day have folks speculating that he suffered a stroke or strokes. But people close to him say his problems are 1) he has a bad knee (he has declined recommended surgery because he fears being put out), and 2) he was sitting directly in the sun on a day the temperature hit the mid-90s.

One good sign: According to one friend, Steinbrenner characteristically aired out the person in charge of the seating arrangement, which had him in the sun. Who said he's lost his fastball?

• While the Yankees have found no evidence yet to suggest Carl Pavano did anything that would warrant voiding his $39.95 million contract, they continue to investigate the circumstance surrounding his Aug. 15 car accident in West Palm Beach, Fla., in which he apparently hydroplaned his Porsche into a tractor trailer and supposedly hurt his ribs and shoulder. While they have not lost hope they can find something worse than bad driving, a more likely scenario has them conducting a disciplinary interview and fining Pavano for failing to disclose the injuries.

Now isn't that irony? The pitcher who's revealed more injuries than anyone else the last two years will be fined for withholding injury info in this case.

Meanwhile, Pavano is reviled within the Yankees clubhouse, where players have come up with several derogatory nicknames, some off-color, suggesting he's less than manly.

• One minor league scout called Delmon Young "the best hitter I've seen in four years" and said he "reminds me of Vladimir Guerrero" upon Young's ascension. Well, Young's now started 8 for 11, making us wonder what took the Devil Rays so long to promote him. Couldn't have anything to do with his service time and delaying his arbitration status, could it? Nah.

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