L.A. vs. N.Y. for top free agents (cont.)
Braves are early leaders for Peavy
Padres ace Jake Peavy is seen as accepting a trade to at least any of his top five choices -- the Braves, Cubs, Cardinals, Dodgers or Astros -- and perhaps a few others, though his no-trade provision allows him to reject any deal. Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod, who told SI.com that his client is "reeling'' from the Padres' sudden interest in trading him (and possibly also from their new plan to rebuild), said his client would prefer the National League and has turned down one American League team already.
While Axelrod declined to say which team Peavy rejected, one person familiar with the situation said he believed that Peavy has told the Padres he would veto a few AL teams, including the Rangers. After years at pitcher-friendly Petco Park, it's understandable Peavy would not want to try out that bandbox in Texas. The Yankees also have shown interest, and Axelrod indicated that Peavy has mixed feelings about them, suggesting he hasn't closed that door completely.
But Peavy has a full no-trade provision over the next two years and Axelrod said that the 27-year-old righty prefers to stay in the NL because he has already won a Cy Young in that league, and also because he considers himself a pretty decent hitter (.265 this year). Wherever he goes, Axelrod indicated that Peavy will request that the no-trade clause is extended through the remainder of the contract.
Peavy was signed to a $53 million extension only 10 months ago, and closed on his home in San Diego a month ago. So there may be financial considerations to any potential uprooting as well.
The Braves are said by one person familiar with the talks to be the early favorite. The New York Post and San Diego Union-Tribune have suggested that Braves pitching prospect Tommy Hanson, outfield prospect Jordan Schafer and one of two infielders (Yunel Escobar or Kelly Johnson) could make for a deal.
It is quite possible that a package like that would satisfy the Padres, but it's believed that the Braves are balking at the current asking price. And Braves GM Frank Wren told the AP that his team would refrain from surrendering all its top prospects. In any case the early focus does appear to be on Atlanta, a team that Peavy, an Alabama native, would presumably accept.
Gonzo is gone forever from Arizona
As is his way, Luis Gonzalez called two radio stations in Phoenix to campaign for an outfield job with the Diamondbacks. He has yet to call the Diamondbacks, but realistically the uneasy relationship he had with a few of Arizona's core young players -- including Chris Young and Stephen Drew -- when he was last there in 2006 wouldn't allow that team to even consider him. Word is, Gonzalez wasn't exactly warm in welcoming them to the team.
Gonzalez is still extremely popular with D-backs fans, who recall his game-winning hit in the 2001 World Series and many other feats (including hitting 57 home runs out of nowhere). But his carefully constructed image isn't enough to outweigh the negatives.
It's surprising to me that he wants to go back to Arizona, anyway. One time, while confronting me over unflattering things I'd written about him, he kept telling me he suspected Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick must have put me up to it (he was wrong about that, by the way). "Kendrick, right?'' he kept saying, as if to suggest that only one person isn't fooled by his transparent act.
Martin wearing out welcome in L.A.?
The Dodgers were disappointed by the regression of catcher Russell Martin, who in the words of one Dodgers-connected person was "just another catcher'' this year. Only a year ago Martin was an excellent two-way player who won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger and appeared on the verge of superstardom. The New York Post reported that the Dodgers might even consider trading him.
Martin, Matt Kemp and to a lesser degree Andre Ethier still need to do some growing up, people familiar with the Dodgers say -- though the overall performance of the talented trio improved once Ramirez joined the team. James Loney, the fourth young Dodger stud, is said by team officials not to have been infested by the same maturity malady that has affected the others.
Around the Series and the majors
Brewers GM Doug Melvin's revelation to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that he may be done interviewing managerial candidates after meeting with Bob Brenly, Ken Macha and Willie Randolph may suggest he already has a winner (at least in his mind). Brenly and Macha are believed to be the most likely choices.
The Brewers suffered a big loss when scouting director Jack Zduriencik was hired by the Mariners to be their GM. Nobody has drafted better than Zduriencik over the last few years.
Randolph has been busy interviewing for coaching jobs, and recently met with the Rockies for a spot, according to the New York Daily News.
Both Cashman and manager Joe Girardi would like to hire Larry Bowa to be their third base coach. It's believed that Bowa would like to come back East, assuming the Dodgers let him out of the final year of his contract.
The Cubs seem like a logical landing spot for Bobby Abreu.
The A's got a great coach in Mike Gallego, who will be a manager someday.
Nobody's done a better job in years than the Rays management team of Stu Sternberg, Matt Silverman, Andrew Friedman and Gerry Hunsicker.
David Price is a major weapon even if he isn't 47-for-47 in saves like Brad Lidge.
Charlie Manuel should have used Matt Stairs as a pinch-hitter in Game 2 during one of the Phillies' many rallies. Or perhaps Manuel forgot what Stairs did to the Dodgers.
MLB doesn't appear to be close to coming up with the goods on Nationals GM Jim Bowden. And while that news may disappoint a lot of people around baseball, at some point we'll have to assume there were no goods to be gotten. That's the way the justice system works: innocent until proven guilty.
Many have long believed that President George W. Bush, the former Rangers managing partner, would have interest in becoming baseball commissioner once he's out of office (and once Bud Selig steps down; Selig's contract is up after 2012, but he looks strong to go well past that). However, some baseball people suggest now that Bush should think of another alternative. MLB has continued to thrive though the country's economic disaster. But Bush's performance in office has been noticed by his former colleagues in baseball.
Phillies GM Pat Gillick is most likely to be replaced by assistant GM Ruben Amaro, a bilingual Stanford graduate who played in the majors with the Phillies. Their well-respected scouting guru, Mike Arbuckle, is also worthy of a GM job, having picked Howard, Rollins, Utley and most of the nucleus of their World Series team, and that makes it a tricky call.
Pretty funny that Curt Schilling ripped Manny Ramirez on his blowhard blog for not trying hard when Manny was with the Red Sox, considering that Schilling himself took $8 million from Boston, then came up lame before throwing even one pitch. You might think a fellow who cashed that kind of coin for doing nothing might try to stay in the background. But no, not the franchise Schill himself.
Luis Castillo is not beloved by Mets manager Jerry Manuel, going back to their Marlins days together. But it's still going to be hard for the Mets to trade Castillo and the $18 million remaining on his contract. Orlando Hudson is a nice idea for the Mets, but tying up $16 million at second base ($6 mil for Castillo and a potential $10 mil for Hudson) seems like a bad idea.
Jose Canseco said in an interview on A&E that he now regrets writing the names of people who supposedly did steroids in his best-selling book Juiced because he didn't know it was going "hurt so many people.'' So in other words, we're supposed to be believe that he didn't know publicly naming names of cheaters would hurt the folks he named? If that's true, why did he allegedly try to get people to pay him to stay out of the book? (The New York Times reported that Canseco once sought $5 million from Magglio Ordonez for some supposed movie deal before proposing to throw him into a book.) In any case, Canseco must feel better about his second book. He couldn't possibly have hurt anyone with that book since nobody read it.