No complacency for Phillies and Rays, plus notes around camp (cont.)
Around the camps
The Tigers look pretty iffy, but Justin Verlander has been light's out two starts in a row.
One scout on Cardinals new second baseman Skip Schumaker. "Not too good there."
As for third baseman David Freese, who's slated to replace Troy Glaus (who's out 'til June), he "may run into some balls" at bat, said a scout. But on defense, the balls may run into him.
I still say the Cardinals will surprise a few folks. So might the Royals.
While others knock the WBC, Rollins endorses it. "There's nothing I don't like about it," he said. Two of the things he likes best are 1) no alarms, and 2) better ballparks than spring parks.
No matter what anyone thinks, the WBC isn't going anywhere, anyway. The ratings were "phenomenal" in Japan, according to one MLB official. TV was up 14 percent, attendance up eight percent.
The Giants like Xavier Nady and wouldn't mind bringing the University of California product home at some point.
The Mets are saying outfield prospect Nick Evans is only up for a little while after originally saying he wasn't going to be on the team. But if they do send him down, that's a waste of a lot of power.
The Mets have talked to a few teams about middle relief and outfield help just in case there's anything better out there.
When I talked to him recently, Carlos Beltran loved the idea of bringing back Pedro Martinez.
Hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo's endorsement sealed Andruw Jones' spot on the Rangers. And Nolan Ryan's didn't hurt, either.
Gary Matthews Jr. was a backup player most of his career, but now that the Angels are paying him crazy money ($33 million for three years), he thinks he should start. I have an idea if he doesn't like being a backup: Tear up the contract and become a free agent. I liked Matthews a lot better before he ordered the HGH he claimed not to have taken.
The Yankees love their starting pitching. And why not? Everyone but Joba Chamberlain looked great this spring. "It's all about pitching," Derek Jeter said. "Tampa Bay didn't win almost 100 games last year because they scored 1,000 runs. It's pitching."
Very convenient, isn't it, that the attention-getting A-Rod's going to Tampa right after the Yankees leave Tampa?
Plenty of good seats left at the new Yankee Stadium, that is if you happen to have several hundred bucks lying around (who does now?). Funny, as a kid back in the '70s I used to get in for $1.50.
Tom Hicks' buddy and neighbor George Bush will throw out the first pitch at the Rangers' opener, and it will be interesting to see how many there recall him as the fellow who got their stadium built or the guy who wasn't quite as successful in recent years.
It's been reported that three teams are showing interest in Sheffield. In addition to the Phillies, apparently one of them is the Reds. It's funny to see that the majority of teams looking at him are in the National League, even though he looks like a DH to most. Perhaps it's because those teams haven't been watching him as closely the past few years.
Speaking of Gary Sheffield's job prospects, one baseball official said, "It just depends how many people are going to want a 40-year-old pain-in-the-ass aging slugger with bad shoulders."
MLB Truth & Rumors