Meet the downtrodden Mets (cont.)
Posted: Thursday June 14, 2007 12:06PM; Updated: Thursday June 14, 2007 1:17PM
Time for Giambi to stop stalling
Jason Giambi has no good excuse not to testify. According to Major League Baseball sources Giambi is only being asked to discuss his own steroid usage and the steroid "landscape," as he knew it, not unreasonable requests since Giambi made his tacit admission of taking "that stuff" to USA Today and asserted that all of MLB needs to apologize. He isn't being asked to rat out his teammates and isn't expected to admit to any personal steroid usage since the steroid policy was in place or his $120 million deal was signed.
Considering all Giambi's done and said so far, rather than "lawyering up" and trying to avoid appearing or helping, he should do what the commissioner asks by next Wednesday's deadline.
Giambi's call in that USA Today article for a sport-wide apology was the height of hypocrisy, a weak attempt to spread the blame. He won his $120 million contract after using "that stuff." That's him, not anyone else. Now he doesn't seem to want to cooperate. Maybe he still thinks baseball is the one that owes the apology. For what? For paying him $120 million?
Between Giambi's famed quote to USA Today and whatever else he admitted in his first meeting at the commissioner's office, sources indicate that Bud Selig believes he has sufficient grounds to suspend Giambi. While Giambi didn't admit to taking steroids since baseball's policy and penalties were put in place in 2004, and there was nothing in the collective bargaining agreement until then, Selig may believe he can use the commissioner's "best interests of the game" clause, the same power that past commissioners used to suspend Steve Howe and Doc Gooden.
However, both those players had failed tests and warnings, and in Howe's case, his seventh offense was an arrest. Giambi had none of those problems. While the word is that Selig would suspend Giambi if he doesn't agree to meet with baseball investigator George Mitchell by next Tuesday, the union would certainly fight such a suspension, and I doubt that Selig could make the ban stick.
But rather than hide behind the union, his lawyers and technicality, Giambi should do the right thing: help baseball by testifying.
Verlander joins Jim Palmer
Justin Verlander was a great draft pick in 2004 by then-Tigers scouting director Greg Smith. The Padres wasted the first overall pick that year by following owner John Moores' order to take the local shortstop Matt Bush, who was affordable to sign but couldn't hit and is now being converted to a pitcher.
The Mets were ready to pounce on Verlander if he dropped to them at No. 3. But most other teams preferred another pitcher, Jeff Niemann, who went fourth to Tampa Bay. When the Tigers took Verlander, the Mets didn't seem too disappointed to get Phil Humber.
While Humber has made it up for a cup of coffee following major arm surgery and Niemann has been held back by injuries, Verlander is establishing himself as one the game's best, the latest reminder coming via his no-hitter over the Brewers this week. Verlander thus became the second pitcher in 95 years to throw a no-hitter and start a Game 1 of the World Series before turning 25.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Verlander also became the first to no-hit a team the game after that very team collected 22 hits, as Milwaukee did. No surprise there.
Around the Majors
The fast-fading White Sox now look like they could become the most interesting seller, between free-agents- to-be Mark Buehrle and Jermaine Dye and whoever else aggressive GM Ken Williams is willing to move.
At this point, with no evidence that either Carlos Zambrano ("no way they're trading him now," one competing exec said) or Dontrelle Willis will be available, Buehrle, this year's other no-hit man, could be the best available pitcher.
Turns out Eric Gagne has submitted a list of 12 teams that he can be traded to, and it is believed that just about all of them are teams that are out of the race, have no money or don't need him, so he'll have the control when Texas does decide to deal him. Three logical suitors -- the Tigers, Indians and Phillies -- are believed not to be on the list of teams to which Texas can deal him. .
Some think the Tigers were just taking a flyer by using their 27th pick on the top high school pitcher Rick Porcello, who supposedly wants $6 million to sign and has the option of a University of North Carolina scholarship. However, Porcello has most been compared to Josh Beckett in terms of talent and readiness, and Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski and scouting director David Chadd were the same pair who drafted and signed Beckett, the key player in Florida's surprise 2003 World Series victory. I say they'll get their man.
Maybe I'm crazy, but I liked Kuo's big-league bat flip. How often is Kuo going to hit a bomb like that? And what's more, how often is his bomb going to be the third homer on three straight pitches?
David Ortiz will win the AL All-Star vote at first base even though he's a DH. The funny thing is, Boston's real first baseman, Kevin Youkilis, is the one who's most deserving. Presumably he'll win the players' vote for a backup role.
Barry Bonds is still running fourth in the outfield vote, and while some in baseball may daydream about excluding him, it's likely he'll win the players' vote, too. If he doesn't, it's hard to believe he wouldn't be added with one of the picks of NL Manager Tony La Russa/MLB. Bonds should be there, especially with the game in San Francisco. If baseball omits him, that would seem to be a petty, pathetic punishment for past "stuff."