Power shoppping (cont.)
Posted: Monday June 18, 2007 11:31AM; Updated: Monday June 18, 2007 12:01PM
If the Angels have the best minor-league talent, the Dodgers possess the best prospects already at the big-league level. Matt Kemp is seen as a "future star" and a "Dave Winfield clone" by two competing execs. First baseman James Loney (who's currently playing out of position and suffered a knee injury on Sunday crashing into the outfield wall) has been squeezed out by Nomar Garciaparra's two-year contract, though certainly not by Garciaparra's one home run in 247 at-bats. When I was in L.A. last week and saw Garciaparra giving batting tips to Posh Spice, I was tempted to yell, "Shouldn't she be the one giving you the tips?" but thought better of it.
Dodgers management's first idea was to fire hitting coach Eddie Murray, making it twice that Murray has been canned in-season and raising the thought that maybe it isn't only sportswriters whom he couldn't communicate with. However, that's not the whole solution. GM Ned Colletti has known that he needed power since the winter. Wonders one skeptical competitor, "Are [Jeff] Kent, Garciaparra and [Luis] Gonzalez going to be the trio to get the Dodgers to the playoffs?"
The guess here is that the Dodgers won't have to find out if those three aging veterans will have to carry the home-run load. "Colletti seems to prefer veterans," one competitor notes. Colletti's trading netted Greg Maddux and others last year, and he has plenty to offer, including infielder Tony Abreu, pitcher Chad Billingsley, minor-league pitchers Clayton Kershaw and Jon Meloan and minor-league shortstop Chin-Lung Hu.
Around the Majors
If the White Sox do start a sale, they'll seek Lastings Milledge in a package from the Mets for Mark Buehrle. While the Mets like Buehrle, it's hard to see them giving up either Mike Pelfrey or even Phil Humber along with Milledge for the lefty, who's very likely a rent-a-player (everyone sees him landing in St. Louis as a free agent).
A couple weeks ago Carlos Zambrano declared to friends, "I'm back." And now that appears to be so. But he should stay out of fights. As a free agent he'll easily beat the $85 million deal he was close to signing before the Tribune Co. sold in early April, as long as he's healthy. But in the meantime he can't be covered to that tune by insurance, which is way too expensive for individuals.
If anyone deserves a seven-year contract it's A's GM Billy Beane (who technically had two years added to his five-year deal). The A's have survived 12 players going on the DL and are primed for their usual second-half run.
Mariners GM Bill Bavasi and manager Mike Hargrove appear to be off the hot seat. Their team isn't half bad.
The Astros always believed that Dan Wheeler had the heart (if not the arm) to close. And maybe that was it on display the other day when he took a swing at starter Chris Sampson, who was consoling Wheeler after the reliever blew Sampson's lead. That'll teach Sampson to show any sympathy.
Oliver Perez is developing into a big-game pitcher. After coming up big last October he's 3-0 vs. the Braves (compared to the rest of the Mets, who are 0-6) and has beaten the Yankees twice.
Congrats to Brandon Watson, who broke a 95-year-old International League record on Sunday by hitting in his 43rd straight game. Jack Lelivelt, whose record Watson broke, couldn't be reached for comment.
Mike Mussina is the most finicky of pitchers. His personal catcher has become Wil Nieves, who has his first five hits since 2002 but is still a .146 career hitter.
The Yankees are still going to need a first baseman. One name to consider is Carlos Pena, who didn't do a thing for the Yankees' Triple-A team last year but is tearing it up for Tampa Bay (16 home runs, 42 RBIs, .317). Although Tampa loves Pena, who's contractually tied to them through next year.
Another great move by the D-Rays was picking up Akinori Iwamura (.424 on-base percentage) for a $4.5 million posting fee.
I think Jason Giambi owes it to MLB to tell baseball's powers what he knows (or at least the part that doesn't rat out friends or prove that he has taken steroids since 2004). And I know Bud Selig picked George Mitchell partly because he's a respected former senator whose investigation would keep Washington at bay. But it does seem a tad odd that Mitchell, who's investigating Giambi, is an officer of the Red Sox.