New Year's resolutions for 50 of the biggest names in baseball
Commissioner Bud Selig should resolve not to expand the use of instant replay
Adrian Gonzalez would be wise not to change his swing at all to fit Fenway Park
Why Zack Greinke did not want to become a Washington Nationals pitcher
Here are 50 New Year's resolutions I'd like to see.
1. Bud Selig. I will not to push for expanded replay, certainly not beyond the foul lines, because of baseball's beauties is that it is played at its own pace, which while sometimes slower than some would like, doesn't need to be slowed further by technology.
2. Jim Joyce. I will continue to honor my profession with maximum effort and professionalism. Though if ever again history is on the line, if I'm unsure I might consider erring on the side of history.
3. Armando Galarraga. I will not change a thing.
4. Miguel Cabrera. I will continue to stay on the path of sobriety that allowed me to have my best year yet in 2010.
5. Albert Pujols. I will try my best to stay in St. Louis, even if it means taking a few dollars less. I will consider that the Yankees and Red Sox already have first baseman, that St. Louis fans are maybe the best in the game and consider my place in history as an alltime great who has a chance to stay in one great place.
6. Bill DeWitt. I will remember that I paid what was in effect $60 million for one of baseball's greatest franchises (after spending $150 million for the team and selling the adjacent parking structure for $90 million) and do everything I can to make Pujols a Cardinal forever. If it means paying a few million extra a year or going a year longer than I wanted, that's OK. I also have been fortunate to have saved at least $50 million by benefit of Pujols' bargain $100-million, seven-year deal, and I understand he's the most valuable player in the game. I will repeat to myself that $30 million a year for eight years isn't unreasonable at all, not with Alex Rodriguez likely to make $30.5 million a year over his 10-year term and Ryan Howard $25 million a year over his five.
7. Brian Cashman. I will continue with our efforts to build our farm system ("the Yankees have one of the best around,'' says one competing GM) but next time I have a chance to acquire a true difference maker, I will not let an Ivan Nova or an Eduardo Nuņez stand in the way. I will also try my best to make nice with Derek Jeter.
8. Derek Jeter. Hard as it might be to avoid carrying hard feelings into the season, I will put them aside for the good of the team and continue to carry myself with dignity and class.
9. Alex Rodriguez. I will continue to avoid putting my foot in my mouth, and continue to avoid hanging with my cousin (at least not at the ballpark).
10. Ozzie Guillen. I will tell my opinionated son Oney to stop tweeting negative things about my boss Kenny Williams or personal things about former White Sox players. (Oney Guillen's twitter account is the biggest thing that divided Guillen and Williams in 2010, according to people in the know). I let him know one loudmouth per family is quite enough, and folks are more interested in hearing from big-league managers than exiled former "video coordinators.''
11. Frank McCourt. I will agree to sell the team (while he's saying publicly that he won't because of his kids, insiders believe he eventually will) for the best interests of major-league baseball.
12. Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay. We will continue to understand that money isn't everything, and frankly, enough is enough.
13. Lee, Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. While we know no rotation will ever again have four 20-game winners, two 20s and two 17s wouldn't be a bad haul, at all.
14. Ruben Amaro. I will find a way to acquire a righthanded bat to balance my lineup and not let it stand in the way of what could be a special season.
15. Arte Moreno. I will not publicly discuss another team's free agent calls, especially since word is out that many Angels people wanted to give Carl Crawford a deal in the range of $142 million for seven years, if that's what it took. And I will curtail my public comments about doing whatever it takes to bring another championship to (sort of) Los Angeles if I have limits.
16. Chuck Greenberg. I will not rip Yankees fans again and will not call press conferences to pronounce my confidence at signing stars when I really have no idea what's in that star's mind. I will also make good on my public promise to lock up Jon Daniels, one of the best young general managers in the game, so he won't leave via free agency.
17. Bert Blyleven. I will consider myself fortunate when I am voted into the Hall of Fame, and understand that while I had a great career, I am not Tom Seaver or Steve Carlton but rather Don Sutton and Phil Niekro, near-great pitchers who were borderline candidates who gained enshrinement. I will also thank the small coterie of Internet zealots who kept calling attention to the value of strikeouts, shutouts, complete games, longevity and durability and helped me rise from 14 percent of the votes in my second year of eligibility to more than 75 percent and act gracefully upon hearing the expected good news.
18. Roberto Alomar. While tempted to lash out about the first-ballot oversight last year, I will take the high road and accept my fate as a second-ballot Hall of Famer.
19. Dave Parker. I resolve to get my own Internet campaign going, as I have to be the most underappreciated player of my generation. I know I was a better all-around player than Jim Rice and others that are in the Hall but if my new campaign doesn't take hold, I won't let it consume me.
20. Pudge Rodriguez. I will continue to work so I can play long enough to see the Nationals win and become the first catcher with 3,000 hits.
21. Jacoby Ellsbury. I will always get a second opinion before rushing back to play.
22. Josh Beckett, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis. We resolve to stay healthy enough to have our usual seasons in what could be a special year for the Red Sox.
23. Adrian Gonzalez. I will not alter my swing to fit Fenway Park, except maybe to slap a few balls of the Green Monster.
24. Prince Fielder. I will get in the best shape of my life to try to help the Brewers win in my last year in Milwaukee. (Word is, he is working toward that end.)
25. Chase Utley. I will admit it if I'm not 100 percent, or anywhere close.
26. Stephen Strasburg. I will not rush my comeback from Tommy John surgery and realize that 23 is still a young age.
27. Don Mattingly. I will work just as hard at managing as I always did at playing.
28. Edwin Rodriguez. I will make the most of my one-year opportunity and try to prove to them that they don't need to bring in Ozzie to open the Marlins new ballpark next year.
29. Carlos Beltran. I will hope my knee holds up and I can put together a great first half so I don't have to spend more time than that playing for the Mets.
30. Jose Reyes. I will make the most of my walk year.
31. Jason Bay. I will do my best to prove I am worthy of my $66-million free agent contract.
32. Grady Sizemore. I will try to reclaim my place as one of baseball's best young stars.
33. Travis Hafner. I will try to be at least half the player I used to be.
34. Tony La Russa. I will try to make nice with Colby Rasmus.
35. Dave Duncan. I won't change a thing.
36. Zack Greinke. I will give 100 percent every time out now that I am part of a team trying to win this year. And I will refrain from saying anything bad about the Royals because ultimately they did right by me.
37. Dayton Moore. I won't rush the best young farm system in baseball that includes future stars Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Cristian Colon and several good arms.
38. Adam Dunn. I will try to contain my glee to be playing home games at U.S. Cellular Field. And I will not let it upset me that I am mostly a DH now.
39. Mark Buehrle. I will continue to make great plays, pitch great games and put together great seasons, even if most folks don't notice.
40. Matt Kemp. I will try to maintain focus for nine innings, and that includes in the outfield and on the basepaths.
41. Clayton Kershaw. I will ignore the Sandy Koufax comparisons, and just pitch my game, which isn't bad at all.
42. Justin Upton. I will get back on the path to superstardom.
43. Evan Longoria. I will keep doing what I'm doing.
44. David Price. Ditto. (And I won't let all the bullpen defections affect my game.)
45. Josh Hamilton. I will continue to stay sober and not waste my immense talent.
46. Robinson Cano. I will keep the same focus I had in 2010.
47. Felix Hernandez. Just like last year, I won't let my won-loss record affect my pitching because 13-12 pitchers can still win the Cy Young award.
48. Jack Zduriencik. I will consider trading King Felix but only if I get back five great pieces.
49. Tim Lincecum. I won't let two Cy Youngs and one World Series championship in three full seasons go to my head.
50. Buster Posey. I won't talk to people who utter the phrase "sophomore jinx'' because it's not happening to me.
The Rangers and Adrian Beltre are in talks, but it doesn't appear that anything has been settled yet, despite a report out of the Dominican Republic Sunday that there was a $96-million, six-year deal in place. The Angels and A's are believed to remain interested, but Texas may be leading at the moment.
The Rangers would have to move Michael Young to first base, DH or another team if they landed Beltre. They have worked to trade Young, and while the Rockies showed strong interest, Young's $16-million annual salary would have to be mitigated in some way with any acquiring team.
Word is that the Nationals told Zack Greinke they were prepared to give him a lucrative extension of he agreed to become a National. But Greinke, who was so anxious to win now that he is said to have been even contemplating walking out of Royals camp if it came to that, told Washington it wasn't about the money. Greinke didn't believe the Nats were much more ready to win now than the Royals. He is said to be thrilled to be going to the Brewers, who vastly improved their pitching with Shaun Marcum and Greinke.
By the end, Greinke told the Royals how badly he wanted out, and they were smart to comply. Kansas City did OK to get what they could. Lorenzo Cain is a budding Mike Cameron type, according to one scout, while Alcides Escobar has potential. The pitchers the Royals received, Jake Odorizzi and Jeremy Jeffress are talented but may not wind up as starters, however, according to scouts.
Carl Pavano may have helped himself by waiting. While the Nationals really weren't very involved earlier, they may need to overpay Pavano now. The Twins also want Pavano to return to Minnesota, where he has thrived the past two years. His turnaround is said to be so stark that he is seen as a leader inside the Twins clubhouse. He is also easily the best pitcher remaining on the free-agent market who has no injury question (though there are still a few other decent ones, like Bruce Chen, Freddy Garcia, Brad Penny, Chris Young, Jeff Francis and Kevin Millwood). In addition to the Twins and Nationals, there are thought to be at least one or two other teams looking at Pavano.
The Yankees are expecting an answer from Andy Pettitte very soon, perhaps even Monday or Tuesday, as to whether their longtime lefty will retire or return for a 17th season. Teammate Mark Teixeira said last week he believed Pettitte was still leaning toward retiring. However, one other friend of Pettitte's said his family is on board for a return and wouldn't be surprised to see Pettitte come back for another year.
The Yankees are looking for outfield depth and might consider Andruw Jones as well ex-Yankee Johnny Damon.
Octavio Dotel's $3.5-million Blue Jays deal will be announced soon after he completes the physical.
The Red Sox are likely out on Brian Fuentes after adding Hideki Okajima. But Fuentes still has 10 teams with varying degrees of interest, including the Yankees and Rays.
The Rockies are still trying hard to lock up budding superstar Carlos Gonzalez.