Nobody's perfect (cont.)
Posted: Wednesday March 5, 2008 10:40PM; Updated: Thursday March 6, 2008 5:02PM
Need: Backup for first base, right field.
Optimally, the Mets would like to find a right-handed hitter who can play both first base and right field, where the newcomer could platoon with lefty-swinging import Ryan Church, who's now out with a concussion after an outfield collision. The need is such that Mets COO Jeff Wilpon jokingly asked Darryl Strawberry, a new Mets employee who appears to be in fantastic shape, "Any chance you could bat right-handed?''
Among actual active players, a return for Xavier Nady is a probably a reach considering he's a starter in Pittsburgh, which leaves Thames or possibly Baltimore's Kevin Millar as more realistic options. Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who wants to keep Thames, recently praised his first-base play. Still, Thames is the name that makes the most sense.
Potential need: Starting pitcher.
The Yankees would be better off keeping Joba Chamberlain in the pen, which would keep their fantastic late-game combo intact. But to do that, they'll need not only youngsters Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy to come through, but also Mussina to remain viable. Or they'll need to look into the free-agent market, which is a lot better then one might suspect at this point. They could sign Kyle Lohse, who's still available. Or if they don't mind waiting, they could try for Freddy Garcia, a past ace who's hoping to be back from shoulder trouble by midsummer.
Around the Majors
The White Sox apparently haven't been enamored by what the Giants have to offer for third baseman Joe Crede. A Giants person conceded, "We badly need bats,'' but they aren't to the point where they'll give up any of their better pitchers to get them. One possibility could be hard-throwing reliever Jonathan Sanchez, though it appears now that Crede may not be traded until closer to this summer's deadline.
The White Sox have higher hopes for Jose Contreras this year. They think part of Contreras' problem last season, when he was 10-17 with a 5.57 ERA, was psychological. Contreras was served with divorce papers on Opening Day.
The Rangers see Jarrod Saltalamacchia as a catcher. "That's where his value is,'' GM Jon Daniels said. "We don't want to waste him at first base.'' If Saltalamacchia doesn't make the team as a catcher, there's a possibility he could go to Triple A for seasoning. Saltalmacchia is a rare player who's never played at Triple A.
Miguel Cabrera's agents Fernando Cuza and Diego Bentz were due in Lakeland to discuss a possible multi-year deal with the Tigers this week.
Mike Hampton looked "OK, not great'' in his first start, according to a scout. "He wasn't throwing that hard, but it's possible he was pacing himself, as established guys do early in spring.''
The Tigers were annoyed the Mets brought only Church among their regulars to Lakeland, and the Mets' excuse that most of their players were hurting did seem dubious. But the Mets have to lead the spring in injuries, with 13 so far, including five second basemen who are now on the shelf (Luis Castillo, Jose Valentin, Ruben Gotay, Damion Easley and Marlon Anderson). Now that has to be a record.
2 of 2