Cashman bears brunt of criticism (cont.)
End of an era in San Francisco
Peter Magowan, who's expected to announce Friday that he's retiring as the Giants' managing general partner, should be recalled as the man who saved baseball in San Francisco. He also built a great park (one of the best in the game) with private funding and presided over the best run that historic franchise has had since moving west.
But Magowan's partners with the Giants grew antsy in recent years as expenses rose and the team's fortunes declined so precipitously. Some folks will speculate Magowan's mention in the Mitchell Report as an aider and abetter of Barry Bonds played a role in his decision to step down, but the reality is that his partners are simply disappointed with the club's performance on the field and at that gate lately.
The Bonds signing prior to the 1993 season for $43.75 million was a great one at the time, and while Bonds made the franchise a lot of money, in retrospect Magowan probably would have been better off cutting the cord sooner. By signing more old players to surround Bonds when their drafts produced almost nothing in recent years, the Giants grew ancient and unwatchable in a hurry.
Magowan wrote a memorable letter to season-ticket holders that was almost apologetic when he decided to bring back Bonds for the 2007 season. Bonds performed well in 2007, broke Hank Aaron's all-time record and probably earned his $19.2 million pay through added gate receipts and publicity. But by then, the era of good feeling was long gone in San Francisco.
Around the majors ...
People who have spoken to higher-ups with the Reds and Mariners say no deal appears imminent involving Ken Griffey. In the meantime, Griffey's pursuit of home run No. 600 isn't generating the excitement you'd expect in Cincy. With three homers to go, the crowds are still sparse.
The best trade anyone's made this year was by Jim Edmonds, who traded the last-place Padres for the first-place Cubs. Though, it's going to be hard to watch the longtime Redbird play as a Cub. Edmonds' acquisition is a low-risk proposition for the Cubs, but it does say something about their lack of faith in Felix Pie's ability to hit at the major-league level.
Not everyone in Chicago is thrilled. As Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports, Carlos Zambrano is not a fan of Edmonds. Asked about the Cubs' acquisition, Zambrano replied, "No comment.'' As Sullivan recalled, Zambrano was ejected July 19, 2004, for throwing at Edmonds after Edmonds watched a home run off Zambrano fly onto Sheffield Avenue.
Do you want to talk about an MVP? How about Rafael Furcal, who was leading the Dodgers on their tear before hurting his back. With Furcal out, the Dodgers have proceeded to lose five straight games.
The Indians look like they might be able to dominate the AL Cy Young award the way the Phillies have started to dominate the NL MVP award. Cliff Lee is an early favorite in the AL to try to make it two straight Indians winning the Cy Young, while Chase Utley could make it three straight Phils for MVP.
The new trend of signing stars sooner will serve the teams well in 90 percent of the cases. Ryan Braun's $45 million extension will turn out to be a bargain for Milwaukee.
Management people are still high-fiving over the Marlins' imminent six-year, $70 million contract for superstar shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
As one GM reminded me yesterday, I made a major omission from my list of top 20 free-agent signings of all time. Randy Johnson signed a four-year deal with the Diamondbacks and won four Cy Young awards. That is my bad to forget that.
Nick Johnson is the Pete Reiser of his time. And what that means is that he is hurt as often as he is not.
Bad sign for Andruw Jones: a long story was written on mlb.com celebrating a walk he had recently.
Willie Randolph is starting to hear it from Mets fans, and in a big way. The Mets are a game over .500, yet it seems like they're dead and buried the way the fans are reacting.