Philly's in search of starting pitching (cont.)
Torre's doing too good a job to leave his job
Iconic manager Joe Torre is usually right. But when it comes to his own possible retirement, his record isn't as perfect. He's been ruminating aloud about retirement for years. So with him leaving open the possibility he may retire after his contract expires following the 2010 season, I assume that just means the negotiations are close to beginning.
Torre's not going to want to give up a great seven-month job (eight with October) with reasonable hours and high pay, and there's no reason he should. I think he's gotten even better since getting to L.A. The job he and a very strong coaching staff (including Don Mattingly, Larry Bowa and Rick Honeycutt) are doing there this year with Hiroki Kuroda on the disabled list and Manny Ramirez on the banned list is truly remarkable. They're winning games at an incredible rate without many home runs (they lead the NL in runs despite hitting fewer home runs than everyone but the Mets, Pirates and Giants), and with the likes of Eric Stults, Jeff Weaver and Eric Milton pitching in.
Around the majors
Aggressive White Sox GM Ken Williams isn't going to let Peavy's rejection discourage him and would still like to add a frontline starting pitcher, as he sees the AL Central as wide open (so do I). There's been speculation that they might also be interested in infield help, but top prospect Gordon Beckham, just promoted to Triple A, provides a viable option there.
The Jays actually made a bigger push this winter for Rafael Furcal than was portrayed. As it turns out, Marco Scutaro (.305) is playing superbly. And ex-shortstop Aaron Hill (.333 average, 12 HRs, 37 RBIs) is having a spectacular year at second, as well.
Good to see the excitement created by the callup of catching phenom Matt Wieters in Baltimore, where they drew 108,000 fans this weekend to see him (and the other Orioles, as well). So it was a real windfall for Baltimore to keep him down this long. That decision not only delayed his arbitration and free-agent years but built the anticipation.
David Price looks more than ready.
Mark Teixeira's 13 home runs and 34 RBIs in May were the most by a Yankee in the month of May since Mickey Mantle had 15 and 36 in 1956 en route to the triple crown, notes cbssports.com's Danny Knobler. The moniker "Mr. May" is taken, however.
The Newark Bears have quite a collection of ex-big leaguers, with Jacque Jones joining Shawn Chacon and Keith Foulke. Foulke's the interesting one, since he gave up millions in a guaranteed contract with Cleveland a few years back only to spend his summer in Newark now.
K-Rod (14-for-14 in saves) looks like a bargain for the Mets at $35 million. The Angels, one of baseball's best organizations, curiously made no effort this winter to sign him and instead offered a total of $300 million to Teixeira ($160 million) and CC Sabathia ($140 million). "It's a business," K-Rod said, adding that he never questioned the call.
Congrats to incomparable Mets public relations man Jay Horwitz, who celebrates his 30th anniversary on the job today. He has taken a grand total of four days off in those 30 years, two when his mother died a couple decades ago and two when he had the chicken pox. There's a nice story on Horwitz by Filip Bondy in today's New York Daily News.
Gutsy performance by John Maine sticking it out through six scoreless innings with a stomach virus. With the Mets having so many ailing and sick players, one journalist asked Jerry Manuel whether they might start wearing medical masks. The answer: no.
Honest Jerry Manuel conceded there will be "growing pains" while they wait for Fernando Martinez to mature. In his first week, F-Mart failed to run out a pop-up (resulting in an embarrassing 2-3) and shied away from the wall twice. Manuel attributed the wall phobia to not understanding he needs to run to a spot rather than "coast." Shouldn't that be obvious?
Meanwhile, the Angels' bullpen has been nothing short of awful. While closer Brian Fuentes has been OK (0-2, 13 saves, 5.30 ERA), one NL scout says, "He doesn't have closer stuff."
Some contending teams who might need bullpen help: Angels, Rangers, Cubs, Yankees, Indians.
The Yankees have tied the MLB record by making no errors in 17 straight games. Pressure's on now.
Teams whose attendance is way up in this bad economic time include Tampa Bay, Philly, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Texas. The first three had big years last year, K.C. has virtually a new park and Texas is turning the corner to contention.
It's a shame in some ways that Tom Hicks is seeing real progress with his team at just the time he's considering a sale of it. I give Hicks credit for trying hard to win throughout his tenure, even though there were obvious free-agent missteps early.
Very encouraging for the Tigers to see Joel Zumaya pump up and hit 100 mph the other day.
Recent Twitter endorsements from Peter King (SI_PeterKing) and well-known baseball aficionado Alyssa Milano (Alyssa_Milano) have bumped up my Twitter totals, and another prize will be sent randomly for someone between now and 5,000. Nick Swisher (baseball's Twitter king), here I come.
MLB Truth & Rumors