Disappointing Brewers weighing changes and more (cont.)
Cooper would have had to have been super
Astros management had a very high opinion of the team, much higher than anyone else. And that ultimately spelled the end for manager Cecil Cooper.
Cooper was one game over .500 in his nearly two-year tenure for the Astros, which seems about right since they have appeared -- at least to outsiders -- to be a fairly mediocre team. Cooper ultimately didn't appear all that popular with Astros management or players, so it's probably just as well they get a new man who will undoubtedly also be expected to deliver a lot more than is humanly possible.
Upon firing Cooper, Astros GM Ed Wade said he would "review every facet" of the organization. But apparently no one's reviewing Wade, whose streak as a non-playoff GM is now into its second decade.
Cooper himself predicted the Astros would win 90 games, which seemed preposterous during a spring training in which the Astros were easily the worst team in baseball. But Cooper probably understood by then that his bosses overrated the team, and he had no choice but to play along.
Realistically, this was probably a .500 team from start to finish. So Cooper did no better or worse than should have been expected. Yet in the end, even his well-known rapport with commissioner Bud Selig didn't help him in Houston, and he's gone.
Milton being Milton not worthy of Hendry's ban
It's hard to blame Cubs GM Jim Hendry too much for suspending Milton Bradley for the rest of the year in the wake of Bradley's latest griping, told to the Arlington Heights, Ill. Daily Herald. Hendry has to be at wit's end with Bradley's kooky and melancholy approach. However, Bradley should still be allowed free speech, even if it's idiotic free speech.
There's irony in Bradley saying there's too much "negativity" surrounding the Cubs, as negativity has surrounded Bradley throughout his career. This season he's had blowups with manager Lou Piniella and hitting coach Von Joshua, he ripped Cubs fans and caused his greatest supporter (Hendry) to resort to draconian punishment. Cubs beat writers also sounded on twitter like they were celebrating the suspension.
However, it's doubtful the Cubs can enforce this suspension. Bradley's diatribe was merely Milton being Milton and did not rise to the level of a season suspension. It was nothing more than the rantings of a depressed, troubled man.
Hendry must be second-guessing himself for the gamble that's become the winter's worst signing. And that's understandable. But there's no cause for a suspension lasting through the end of the season.
Around the majors
One GM said before the latest incident that the Cubs would have to pay about half the $21 million left on Milton Bradley's contract to trade him. But another guessed they'd have to pay "practically all" of it. Now, the second guess seems much more likely. The other option would be to trade Bradley for another player with an exorbitant contract, such as Oliver Perez. The Mets will be seeking an outfielder this winter, anyway. New York may not be the best place for Bradley, but as one tweeter pointed out to me, New York has some excellent mental health facilities.
Adam Dunn, who's homered exactly 40 times in the four previous season, has 37 and is on pace for exactly 39.96 homers this year. Amazing.
The second-most consistent player has to be Bobby Abreu, who puts up the same numbers every year. The only thing that changes from year to year is his salary.
Orlando Hudson has been a bargain for the Dodgers at $3.38 million guaranteed, but he is hurting again. Good job by the Dodgers to add Ronnie Belliard to the mix.
The Twins' moving to within two games of the Tigers after Saturday probably clinched the AL MVP for Joe Mauer. Mark Teixeira has the second-best case for MVP. Oddly enough, neither man was a factor at all early. Teixeira was awful in April, while Mauer didn't play at all that month. A-Rod didn't enter the season 'til mid-May and he should receive significant top-10 or even top-five support. The team transformed once he returned (and Teixeira got a lot better, too.)
Zack Greinke should have the Cy Young wrapped up now after his 5-1 victory over Boston Tuesday. The notion that he doesn't have enough wins is silly. Nobody honestly thinks that.
Good for the Royals that they are spending much more money now, as evidenced by their signing of first-rounder Aaron Crow. They also make a nice spoiler, as they play it out 'til the end (unlike some teams).
The A's are another also-ran still playing hard.
Jason Giambi (11 RBIs in 15 at-bats) has been an excellent pickup for the Rockies.
Rangers prospect Justin Smoak and Pirates prospect Pedro Alvarez have been by far the most impressive players at the Baseball World Cup over in Europe, according to people with the U.S. team. The Rangers may be fortunate Toronto didn't trade Halladay to them for Smoak and others.
Rangers vaunted hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo may be coveted as a free agent. He's already believed to be baseball's best-paid hitting coach at about $600,000 per. Considering owner Tom Hicks's financial difficulties, it's uncertain whether they can bring him back. The Rangers have to run everything they do past Major League Baseball since MLB met Texas' payroll earlier. Several entities are bidding to buy the team, and the Dallas Morning News reported the interested groups have been told the team will likely be sold for somewhere in the range of $450 million to $525 million. The paper also reported that former superagent Dennis Gilbert, now a Chicago White Sox exec, is heading one of the groups.
Derek Jeter became the seventh player to have logged 200-hit years before age 25 and after 34. According to YES Network, those who did it previously were Nap Lajoie, Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Paul Waner, Pete Rose and Tony Gwynn.
Congrats to the Yankees for being the first to enter the playoff derby with the win over the Angels on Tuesday night. They haven't hid the fact they'd choose the AL playoff series with two off days, which shows you how much (or how little, actually) they want Joba Chamberlain starting a game in the first round.
A belated congrats to worthy Branch Rickey winner Torii Hunter.
He's no twit. But find my twits here: http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman.
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