Dream World Series matchups, latest on Billy Wagner and notes
Nothing would be sweeter than Joe Torre vs. the Yankees in the World Series
The Yankees want Johnny Damon back, and it seems like he'll take a pay cut
Selig wants a real slotting system for the draft; more notes around the majors
It's time now to start dreaming about the best possible World Series matchups. Here are my favorites for this year.
The best matchups:
1. Yankees vs. Dodgers: Joe Torre vs. his old team. From Torre's best-selling book The Yankee Years, it's obvious there are plenty of hard feelings. While Torre called Brian Cashman to explain his criticisms of Cashman, the explanation didn't go over too well. It's pretty much unanimous now: All his former Yankees bosses are happy to have Joe Girardi. Alex Rodriguez (aka "A-Fraud," according to Torre's book) didn't fare too well in the tome, either. Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte and Jorge Posada have much warmer feelings, however.
2. Red Sox vs. Dodgers: Manny goes home. Red Sox Nation would really get up for this.
3. Dodgers vs. Angels: Freeway Series would be very warm and convenient for all involved (OK, I admit it, this is my favorite one). Torre vs. ex-Dodgers hero Mike Scioscia would make for a nice subplot, too.
4. Cardinals vs. Angels: Would love to see Tony La Russa and Scioscia match wits.
5. Red Sox vs. Phillies: Would be nice to see Pedro back in Boston. Not sure if he'd get a start, though.
6. Yankees vs. Phillies: Expect lots of home runs with baseball's two best offenses and two most offensive ballparks in an I-95 series.
7. Rays vs. Marlins: Would love to see baseball's two smallest payrolls make it in a year where the big markets are mostly ruling. A long shot at this point (but give both franchises major credit for hanging in there.)
8. Giants vs. Yankees: Giants go back to New York for their second try at a winning a title in New York since moving west (1962 was the first).
9. Cardinals vs. White Sox: It's not like the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry, but these two cities have something good going. President Obama would have a keen rooting interest with his favorite team going against a team from one of the few states that went for John McCain. Obama could throw out the first ball at Busch again.
10. Phillies vs. Angels: Power and speed. Scioscia goes home to Pennsylvania.
11. Yankees vs. Cardinals: Traditional rivalry would be appreciated by longtime baseball fans. Albert Pujols might also enjoy new Yankee Stadium.
12. Braves vs. Red Sox: Old-timer's delight. It's been awhile since the Braves left Boston, but a few folks still remember.
13. Tigers vs. Marlins: Miguel Cabrera, Jim Leyland and most of the Tigers' staff are ex-Marlins (Dave Dombrowski, Al Avila, John Westhoff, etc.). Cabrera won a title in Florida in 2003, Leyland, Dombrowski and the others in '97.
14. Yankees vs. Marlins: Girardi against the team that fired him after a season in which he was named NL Manager of the Year. Sure it's not the same as Torre going back to New York. But it's something. Repeat of 2003 would pit baseball's biggest payroll vs. its smallest.
15. White Sox vs. Dodgers: Great for nostalgia fans. This is the 50th anniversary of Dodgers' first title in L.A., which was won against the Go Go Sox.
16. Red Sox vs. Cardinals: A rematch of 1967 and '04. They can try to repeat '67 and do better than '04.
17. Giants vs. Angels: Giants try for revenge for 2002 heartbreak. Would be fourth all-California series.
18. Tigers vs. Cardinals: A rematch of 1968 and 2006. They get to try to repeat '68 and do over '06.
A couple World Series we don't particularly want to see:
1. Red Sox vs. Rockies: No need to repeat the '07 Series.
2. Braves vs. Yankees: The '96 Series was a decent one, but '99 was a complete bust.
Yankees want Damon back
The Yankees intend to try to bring back Johnny Damon, probably for about $6-8 million a year (that'll be the first offer, anyway), and might be willing to give him a second year. Damon's been saying in the papers all year that he wants to be back, which is quite a departure from the usual free-agent script and could mean he's that rare player amenable to a below-market contract. Yankees management loves Damon personally, too, and that doesn't hurt.
With Hideki Matsui also a free agent (not to mention Xavier Nady), the Yankees could use Damon, who's having a fine offensive season, especially for power (.286, 22 HRs, 68 RBIs and 87 runs). Yankees people also love Matsui (four home runs this weekend at Fenway) but his knees are in bad shape and the current thinking is that they'll need more DH at-bats in coming years for Jorge Posada and other aging stars. Damon, though, remains passable in the outfield.
Damon's making $13 million now, but the Yankees appear to view this case in much the same way they looked at Andy Pettitte, who took a pay cut to $5 million guaranteed to return last winter. Damon shopped himself last time when he felt he wasn't getting the respect he deserved from the Red Sox. But this appears to be a different case.
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