A few things are obvious: The Mets and the Yankees improved, the A's and the Blue Jays declined, and Barry Bonds got frozen out. Yet not everything that happened during the first two months of baseball's off-season was so clear-cut. Who flourished, and who floundered?
Greater Dallas- Fort Worth psychotherapists Not long ago the Rangers' clubhouse was a haven for community-minded citizens ( Pudge Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, Rick Helling). Suddenly the million-dollar question is, Who'll snap first: Carl (I Eat Managers for Lunch) Everett or John (Gun Rack) Rocker? Will Vince McMahon be there to televise?
Frank Thomas With David Wells gone, no one in the young White Sox clubhouse will have the guts to challenge the Big Hurt when he misses 20 games with a bruised pinky and then takes a three-hour pregame nap before begging off playing first base for a night at DH.
Middle-aged marvels Julio Franco, 40, remains the Braves' starting first baseman. Mike Morgan, 42, re-signed with Arizona. Jesse Orosco, 44, will be a key lefty out of the Dodgers' pen. Maybe Cal Ripken Jr. wasn't so tough after all.
Marty Cordova Two years ago Twins manager Tom Kelly considered Cordova a weak-kneed, washed-up nobody. After a lousy 2000 season with Toronto (.245 in 62 games) the Blue Jays cut him. After a solid 2001 season with Cleveland (.301, 20 HRs), he signed a three-year, $9.1 million deal with the Orioles. Redemption is sweet.
Kauffman Stadium's seats If a baseball that's thrown from second base slams into hard plastic and nobody sees it, does it make an E? That's the philosophical debate in moribund Kansas City, where Royals manager Tony Muser might play crazy-armed Chuck Knoblauch at second.
Tino Martinez He was dropped by baseball's best team, and if he thought stepping in for Don Mattingly in New York was hard, now he's following Big Mac in St. Louis.
Chipper Jones Once upon a time, Jones seemed destined to go down as one of the game's celebrated third basemen. Now he's a clumsy leftfielder and his legacy will change—just to make room for Vinny Castilla.