A's redefine rebuilding, latest on A-Rod and notes around camps (cont.)
4. Pedro Martinez looks worthy of a new job, as well. He's apparently talking up a Dodgers reunion, an idea that was trumpeted in this space several weeks ago (and ridiculed by several e-mailers -- you know who you are). It makes more sense than ever, as the Dodgers are worried about their pitching.
6. Carlos Lee, well, he looks as big as all of Texas now.
7. As for Chipper Jones, it's a good thing there's still four weeks to go before the season starts.
8. I always thought Venezuela manager Luis Sojo would manage in the big leagues one day.
9. My one WBC bet: Whichever team loses, Team USA or the Dominican Republic, A-Rod will be blamed. Or if either wins, he will be ridiculed for the team winning without him.
Around the camps
The Giants want to see more out of $60-million man Aaron Rowand. Said one Giants person, "He needs to kick it into gear."
The Giants' release of good guy Dave Roberts hurt some teammates, especially Randy Winn, who said, "On a personal level, that hurt. There's not another guy like him."
The Giants took a lot of heat from competitors for giving Edgar Renteria $18.5 million over two years when the consensus was that Renteria's on the downside. A Giants person explained the deal by saying Renteria's agent (Barry Meister) was asking for three or four years. As for Renteria, he said., "I wanted to play in The National League. It was a perfect deal for both sides."
Orlando Cabrera, meanwhile, seemingly a better player now, got $4 million for one year from the cross-Bay A's. He called the market "weird," but doesn't seem bitter.
New Dodgers second baseman Orlando Hudson sat out a game with a sore wrist, the same wrist that kept him out last year. Hudson suggested the wrist is what kept him to his $3.38 million contract (plus incentives) but said he believes he's much better now and will be fine.
Outfielder Xavier Paul, who can hit, run and throw ("a cannon" said one Dodgers person) but is only average defensively, is making a big impression on Dodgers manager Joe Torre.
Indians catching prospect Carlos Santana is wowing them in Arizona. "He's one of the better catch-and-throw guys in the game," one GM said. "He's going to be one of the top five catchers in the game."
Hanley Ramirez looks like he might be ready for a big year. He certainly is a lot bigger. Reports out of the Marlins clubhouse indicate that he's gained 25 pounds, from 199 to 224.
Young Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has looked much improved, according to folks out in Arizona, and is penciled in to start 110 games.
Rangers backup outfielder Frank Catalanotto is available in trade, and probably better suited to the National League. He's an excellent pinch hitter, but won't have much use in that role with that stacked Rangers lineup.
Andruw Jones is starting to show signs that he's getting his hitting timing back, but the perennial Gold Glover hasn't looked as comfortable in center field. ("That could just be because it's his first spring in Arizona," one scout suggested.) Jones has told Rangers people that he might be flexible on the March 20 decision day for him. As of today, he isn't making the team, though.
Negotiations toward a big deal for Rangers star Josh Hamilton are just getting going now.
Angels ace John Lackey is in extension talks with the team, though club insiders say talks are "preliminary." The Los Angeles Times has estimated his likely take at $75-80 million for five years.
Very young Brewers outfield prospect Lorenzo Cain also looks terrific. He may be a year or two away, however.
A's third-base coach Mike Gallego, being kidded over being a managerial candidate, responded, "Maybe a manager of McDonald's ... Ronald might be up in the stands scouting today."
Bobby Crosby might want out now. But that $6 million salary makes him untradeable.
Nationals executive Mike Rizzo might not have the title of GM, but others are saying he appears to be serving in that role (though needs to run everything past club president Stan Kasten, who's finally freed from Jim Bowden). Others believe this is probably something of an audition for Rizzo.
Doug Davis, who heroically came back after thyroid cancer last year, is dealing with something less serious now: a triceps flare-up
Congrats to deserving Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, who's getting a $30 million, five-year contract extension a couple years after being diagnosed with lymphoma. It's great news for the Sox, and for Lester, a quiet and great kid.
MLB Truth & Rumors