A reluctant 'yes' (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday August 7, 2007 11:47AM; Updated: Tuesday August 7, 2007 2:57PM
Alex is Great
Alex Rodriguez's chance to catch Bonds would appear to be excellent after A-Rod became the youngest to reach the 500 home run mark. In fact, if A-Rod homers at the same pace Bonds did from A-Rod's current age to Bonds' age, A-Rod would get to 935 homers since Bonds had just 320 at this same stage. (Of course, Bonds' superhuman totals in his late 30s reflect some outside help.)
Perhaps A-Rod's chances to repeat Bonds' late-career production are slim, but there's no reason to think he will fall off as his former Mariners teammate Ken Griffey Jr. did, either. Some are citing Griffey as a cautionary tale to suggest bad luck may intervene, but the difference is that Griffey invited some of his injuries by failing to do any extra work on his body while Rodriguez does whatever he can to enhance his chances to succeed.
Sonny day in the Bronx
Good for "Sonny" Kowalczyk, the ball-catching fan, to reject the Yankees' offers of balls, bats and mitts for the ball. A-Rod is right that it's Sonny's ball, and if A-Rod wants it, and I suspect he does (he's an avid collector), he should pay Sonny one day's pay (his pay, not Sonny's, as Sonny is a student), which is about $154,000. A-Rod is famous for negotiating good deals, but Sonny, a graduate student at Rutgers, deserves a fair deal. That would seem to be a reasonable estimate of the ball's value, particularly if A-Rod goes on to set the all-time record. Besides, A-Rod can afford it.
Around the Majors
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman isn't ready to start bragging about the team's comeback, from nowhere to within a half game of a playoff position (that's where they are now, believe it or not). Recognizing the Yankees are in the midst of 29 straight games against also-rans, Cashman correctly and fairly said the true test will come now, as they begin to play some of "the big boys."
Cashman also said he sees no downside to the return of Jason Giambi. "Are you kidding me?" the GM responded to my question. "When healthy, he's one of the better hitters in baseball." Last year, the Yankees actually regressed when Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui were forced into the lineup after they returned from injuries, but Cashman said he thinks the mistake was that they weren't 100 percent when they returned. Still, the Yankees would be wise not to remove Melky Cabrera or Andy Phillips from the everyday lineup, and the guess here is they won't.
Some players who were mentioned at the deadline will still clear waivers, making them eligible for trades. They include Jose Contreras, Mike Piazza, Jack Wilson and Kyle Farnsworth.
Piazza will go somewhere, and although he doesn't have a no-trade clause, word is the A's have promised not to trade him where he absolutely doesn't want to go.
Good idea by the Orioles to try to lock up ace Erik Bedard long-term, just as their refusal to trade him for Mark Teixeira was also the right call. Bedard is 12-4 with a 3.09 ERA and leads the American League with 192 strikeouts (39 more than second place Scott Kazmir).
Milwaukee manager Ned Yost seemed to be stealing a page out of Lou Piniella's playbook when he lost it in the dugout, yelling at a couple of his players during last Thursday's 12-4 defeat to the Mets. The Brewers won their next two games before losing two straight. Piniella's early-season tirade seemed to spur on the Cubs, and it will be interesting to monitor whether Yost's histrionics work equally as well.
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