Bruce is Loose (cont.)
Phillies GM Pat Gillick, who'll belong in the Hall of Fame after he retires, if not for two World Series championships in Toronto or a 116-win season in Seattle, then surely for managing to win in Baltimore despite Peter Angelos, sounded certain that he's nearing retiring.
"This will be my last season,'' Gillick told me the other night.
Asked if he was absolutely sure he meant it, Gillick answered, "I think so.''
Well, that answers that.
Five-tool shortstop Tim Beckham, the No. 1 pick in the draft, may be a B.J. Upton clone. And that isn't a bad thing. Beckham also showed real humility when he said, "It's an honor and a blessing to be with the Tampa Bay Rays.'' Of course, he has to sign first before he's a Ray.
It was ironic that former MLB big Frank Coonelly's new team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, took a sure slot-busting player, Vanderbilt hitting prodigy Pedro Alvarez, after Coonelly made it his mission to stick to slots and keep bonuses down. Coonelly's nemesis Scott Boras, adviser to Alvarez, has told folks he believes Alvarez is in the same category as Mark Teixeira, who got an eye-popping $10.58 million out of Georgia Tech in 2001. It is believed that Coonelly will leave the negotiating to new GM Neal Huntington, who gets his biggest test yet.
When the Royals took power-hitting Eric Hosmer out of American Heritage High (Plantation, Fla.) with the No. 3 pick, that followed former recent selections Luke Hochevar (No. 1 in 2006) and Mike Moustakas (No. 2 in 2007), which shows the Royals' improvement. At this rate, they'll pick last in 27 more years.
University of Georgia closer Josh Fields' gamble paid off. A year after being the Braves' No. 2 pick and turning down their $450,000 offer, he was the 20th overall pick by Seattle, a team that can't really afford not to sign their first rounder.
Gillick's Phillies just might have picked the best athlete when they got Anthony Hewitt, a Brooklyn product playing at Salisbury (Conn.) School, with the No. 24 selection. Hewitt has a rare combo of power and speed. The hometown Mets briefly considered Hewitt two spots earlier.
The Mets' first pick, first baseman Ike Davis, is the son of former Yankees reliever Ron Davis. The Mets remain the mega-market team to stick to the slot players -- although their draft picking may prove to be better this year with club exec Sandy Johnson, the legendary scout who helped build a talented Rangers team and later Arizona's 2001 world championship team, heavily involved in their higher picks.
No surprise the Yankees jumped on Gerrit Cole, the 97-mph-throwing California high school righthanded pitcher. And it should be no surprise when they overwhelm him and he picks them over UCLA.
The Red Sox picked a great athlete, Casey Kelly, who is often cited as the son of former Yankees infielder Pat Kelly (and was once here). But as it turns out, it's the Pat Kelly who is currently the manager of the Reds' Gulf Coast League team.
Around the Majors
Good to see Mariners manager John McLaren blow a fuse after his team fell to 21-39. My only question would be why it didn't come a month earlier.
USA Today reported that Mariners management pulled the food, beer and towels from the clubhouse to punish the players' lax attitude. Good move. I just hope they didn't have to dry off using their uniforms.
The media was let in right after that last loss, too, without the usual 10-minute cooling off period, apparently so they'd give a more emotional and honest appraisal of yet another defeat. I love it when talking to the press is considered punishment. (And by the way, this is one team that may not need a cooling off period.)
There are rumblings Jim Bowden, GM of the Nats, could be in trouble.
Kevin Millar should be a midseason acquisition for some contender. The Mets are a possibility. And, depending on Ortiz's condition, maybe he could he even return to Boston.
With Ortiz out and unlikely to participate in the Called Shot All-Star exhibition (the Yankees are surely relieved), MLB should turn to Ryan Howard, who's the closest thing baseball has to Babe Ruth.
Josh Hamilton, a changed man, already has volunteered to be in the Home Run derby.
After being in the Phillies clubhouse after they lost to Volquez Wednesday night, I am pretty sure no one likes to lose less than them. This may prove to be a good quality.