Teixiera headed for a big payday (cont.)
In the Tex mix
1. Yankees. No shot they bring back Giambi and his .150 batting average for $26 million next year. The $5-million buyout will be the best money they've ever spent. The Yankees are believed to be interested in Teixeira and also interested in keeping him away from the team that plays eight miles to the south, in Queens. Odds: 3-2.
2. Mets. Mets owner Jeff Wilpon is said to have been a Teixeira admirer for years, and Delgado's only chance to stay with the Mets (his option is for a more reasonable $12 million and the buyout is for $4 million) would be to beat last year's numbers, and that appears to be a long shot now. The tough fans at Shea already appear to have spoken with their boos for Delgado. Odds: 4-1.
3. Orioles. Baltimore owner Peter Angelos covets Teixeira. Angelos loves the fact that Teixeira has spoken positively about playing for his hometown team, and Teixeira seems to be a genuine Baltimore booster. However, 10 straight losing season can't be a plus for the O's. 8-1
4. Mariners. Sexson's homecoming certainly hasn't worked as hoped, and it's time to move on. Mariners GM Bill Bavasi has an excellent working relationship with Boras. Odds: 10-1.
5. Braves. He does, after all, love it there. Odds: 15-1.
6. Red Sox. There's some thought they could agree to trade Manny Ramirez, move the versatile Kevin Youkilis to leftfield and import Teixeira. Boston execs do like the idea of getting younger. However, Ramirez is such a hero now in Boston that it might be tough to move him out of town. 20-1.
7. Giants. They could certainly use the help, and are willing to do what they can to win, and that includes working with Boras. It's still tough to see Teixeira going further west than Texas to lose more. 20-1.
8. Field. The Dodgers and Angels showed interest last summer, but it would seem unlikely they'd abandon James Loney or Casey Kotchman at these prices. 25-1.
Around the Majors
It makes sense for Ken Griffey Jr. to be traded back to the Mariners. Both Griffey and Mariners president Chuck Armstrong sounded extremely open to that possibility in interviews for a story in USA Today. What's more, while new Reds GM Walt Jocketty says it's too early to comment about his plans, it's obvious the Griffey era hasn't work out as hoped in Cincinnati.
The Padres are concerned about Jim Edmonds (one home run, six RBIs, .172 batting average) to the point where they may have to consider alternatives. Not that the trade market is overloaded with possibilities. So far it appears just to be the old names, Coco Crisp and Jay Payton. The pitching-strong Pads will need to improve their offense some way, somehow.
White Sox management is known for its loyalty, and it's hard to know how much impact a hitting coach has anyway. But Greg Walker's hitters are struggling again, with only nine runs in six straight defeats that dropped the Sox out of first before their 7-1 victory Tuesday night.
Though Nick Swisher (.196) is struggling with the bat, the team is thrilled with the energy he brings to the clubhouse.
Swisher, not exactly a speedy center fielder, wasn't quite able to catch up to the Joe Mauer double into the left-center field gap that broke up Gavin Floyd's no-hit bid with one in the ninth.
By the way, has anyone noticed that the Twins are in first place?
All the teams that traded big players away this winter are actually doing better than expected so far. The Twins (Johan Santana) are 16-15, the A's (Danny Haren) 21-14, the Marlins (Cabrera) 18-14 and the Orioles (Erik Bedard) 16-17.
Gary Sheffield's insistence on playing the field, and not DHing -- "I need to be a baseball player. I'm not a baseball player sitting there,'' he said -- was pretty amusing after watching Sheffield loafing after a double his first game in left field.
Free agent pitcher Freddy Garcia, who's rehabbing after shoulder surgery, is said to be progressing nicely and will try throwing off a mound May 15.
Jorge Posada is supposed to be back in six weeks after suffering shoulder pain four separate doctors told him wouldn't require surgery. The Yankees hope he can catch, but if he has to play first base, Giambi could eventually become a candidate for release.
Diamondbacks rookie Max Scherzer, who was hit hard in his starting debut by the Phillies and beaten by Jamie Moyer, who is 22 years his senior, still looks like a potential star. But some scouts still envision Scherzer, who was picked in the draft one spot after Giants star Tim Lincecum, as a reliever. He relies heavily on a dynamic high-90s fastball (though also has a change and slider).
Daisuke Matsuzaka, who survived eight walks to beat the Tigers, is said to be mixing in his breaking pitches better this year.
If Billy Wagner didn't think Oliver Perez toughed it out the last time, he has to give him credit for pitching after being belted with a line drive off Jeff Kent's bat. Perez's real problem has nothing to do with a lack of toughness (he's the guy who came up big in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS), it's more about a failure to follow a game plan and a penchant for trying to throw even harder when he gets in trouble.
This week is the one-year anniversary of Roger Clemens' surprise return to the Bronx, at a pro-rated $28 million. My how times have changed. Before the legalities are all settled, all that money he made last year may be in the unworthy hands of his misguided yet expensive lawyer Rusty Hardin.