Dream Series matchups, latest on Billy Wagner and notes (cont.)
Around the majors
Lou Piniella isn't about to be fired for the current Cubs mess, one Cubs person said. That makes sense. The team doesn't want to eat the $4 million Piniella is to be paid in 2010. But Piniella not thrilled to be dealing with Milton Bradley or Carlos Zambrano, and can't be thrilled how quickly many Cubs fans seemed to have turned on him. As Derrek Lee told the Chicago Tribune, it's not as bad as it was with Dusty Baker yet, but it's heading that way. Piniella is saying he intends to return. But he has a history of knowing how to get out of contracts. He did it in Seattle, and did it again in Tampa. In Seattle, he got himself traded to Tampa for Randy Winn. In Tampa, he happily agreed to a $2.2 million buyout to leave there.
Tony La Russa's contract is up after this season, and this one should be interesting. While his relationship with the new front office isn't as warm as it was with ex-GM Walt Jocketty, he is said to love the Cardinals' tradition. And while he was annoyed at the trade of trusted pitching coach Dave Duncan's son Chris, he also should love the help the front office has given him in the form of Matt Holliday (a special request of his), Mark DeRosa, Julio Lugo and John Smoltz (another La Russa favorite). I'd guess he'll be back, but he'd be underpaid even if they raised him from $4 million to $5 million.
Smoltz was the Cardinals' latest great pickup. With his Cardinals debut, he may have shown he's ready to be himself now. That (8.33 ERA) didn't look like him in Boston.
The Rockies look like the strongest NL wild card contestant. But losing Aaron Cook for 15 days hurts, especially since the possible replacements are Josh Fogg (who was 2-7 with an 8.23 ERA last year) and Adam Eaton (who is 5-13 with a 6.10 ERA over the last two years).
The Diamondbacks are going to have to hire popular Luis Gonzalez for a ribbon cutting job.
It's time for A.J. Burnett and Jorge Posada to get on the same page, as Posada acknowledged. It's been more than four months now.
It's become obvious that Jose Molina is CC Sabathia's personal catcher, though no one's admitted it yet. Sabathia, by the way, hit 98 on the gun Sunday night. He gets better as he goes, it seems. While he's supposedly not having a great year, he leads the AL in wins with 15.
Gary Sheffield and Omar Minaya publicly agreed that Sheffield wasn't meeting with Minaya to ask for an extension. No, no, of course, it was to discuss global warming. Yeah, sure.
The Mets' ceremony to commemorate the Miracle 1969 team was extremely nice.
We can't be sure how the Ricketts family will do with the Cubs. But one thing's sure, it's got to be better than Sam Zell. The Cubs front office was hamstrung this summer by their ownership situation. Zell isn't responsible for the previous 100 years of failure, but this one is on him.
Nice unassisted triple play by Eric Bruntlett to end the Phillies-Mets game. I'd love to get excited about this, but even Bruntlett conceded that two misplays (one was called an error, one a hit) led to the two Mets base runners in the first place. Perhaps I should be impressed. Perhaps it was all one big setup by Bruntlett.
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