Yankees won't bid on A-Rod (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday March 21, 2007 10:45AM; Updated: Wednesday March 21, 2007 1:50PM
Any relief in sight?
Several teams are looking for relief help, among them the Red Sox, Marlins and Phillies, whose bullpen may prevent them from reaching what Jimmy Rollins sees as their first-place destiny. And it isn't going to be easy to find relievers. As one GM put it, "No one's pitching looks great. A lot of guys are getting the ... kicked out of them."
That in mind, it's going to be disappointing to hear that Padres reliever Scott Linebrink, who seems permanently on the block, is probably staying put in San Diego. And even Armando Benitez may remain in San Francisco, as well.
The Red Sox have been scouting Derrick Turnbow, Chad Cordero, Brad Lidge and Linebrink in a huge sellers' market for pitching. Boston and San Diego make a lot of trades, but it seems like the longer the Padres hold Linebrink, the more his value rises. And that's despite some so-so spring outings and whispers about past back pain.
The moral of this story is that maybe the Orioles were the smart ones by stockpiling relief pitchers. Chad Bradford for $10.5 million over three years looks like the steal of the winter right now.
The relief market is such that the ever erratic Jorge Julio is looking pretty attractive right now. Oh yes, the Diamondbacks' Julio is one we expect will be dealt.
Mets' recent play gives him the Willies
Willie Randolph didn't inherit George Steinbrenner's fixation on spring training records. Far from it. But that doesn't mean he is thrilled with how his Mets have played during their 6-14-1 start to spring.
Randolph addressed his troops on Tuesday, suggesting they "kick it up a notch" with 13 games to go before the games start to count.
Randolph also told his team he'd like to see better fundamentals, or a greater emphasis on "attacking the details," as he put it. The speech came after the Mets' day off, and the team responded with a 6-1 victory behind young Mike Pelfrey, who solidified the No. 5 starting spot with the victory.
Around the camps
John Smoltz may be heading into his last year with the Braves. One person close to Smoltz said the pitcher is disenchanted and won't sign a team-friendly contract again. "He's done that twice already," the friend says.
The Devil Rays are listening to teams interested in second baseman Jorge Cantu, who hit 28 home runs and had 117 RBIs in 2005, but halved that to 14 and 62 last year.
Among young pitching phenoms, one AL exec reports that while Tampa Bay's Scott Kazmir looks great, Cole Hamels does not.
That same exec said, "Going in, I thought the Phillies would be a threat to the Mets. But after seeing their bullpen, I don't think so anymore."
Several teams have inquired about Rockies shortstop Clint Barmes, who hasn't been the same since injuring himself while returning from deer hunting. Most teams that have inquired envision Barmes as a "super sub" type. If anyone sees him as a starter, he'll probably have a new home.
Marlins hitters continue to struggle. One NL exec said he'd advise against ever pitching to Miguel Cabrera. "In that lineup, he's a man among boys," says the exec.
One AL exec thinks Mark Hendrickson could be a steal for someone. "The Dodgers are loaded, and they obviously don't need him," the exec says.
The Mariners are calling closer J.J. Putz's elbow strain "mild." Still the same, I wonder whether they'd like to have Rafael Soriano back.
While the Mets haven't announced it, John Maine, Oliver Perez and Pelfrey will fill the final three spots in their rotation. That means Chan Ho Park may be on the way out.
Any released pitchers' first call should be to Washington. The Nationals first four starters were a combined 2-5 in 2006 (John Patterson was most productive at 1-2, followed by Shawn Hill at 1-3; Jason Simontacchi hasn't pitched in the majors since 2004 and Matt Chico has yet to pitch in the majors), according to Joel Sherman's New York Post blog. Plus, the five guys competing for the No. 5 spot were a combined 0-4.
Obviously, someone in Washington has a low budget.