In December 2001 the Rangers gave free-agent righthander Chan Ho Park a contract befitting an ace—five years, $65 million—even though Park had never been one, had tended to shrink from that kind of responsibility and, outside of pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium, had had marginal success. At week's end it was clear that after 28 starts for Texas—14 of which had lasted fewer than six innings—Park is no ace. He may not even be a starter for long. After three starts this year he was 1-2 with a 9.28 ERA. (New manager Buck Showalter decided early in spring training to go with Ismael Valdes on Opening Day because of Park's fragile makeup.) Says one scout, "They ought to send him [to the minors]. He's throwing 88, 89 mph, way down from where he used to be. So now he's afraid to throw his fastball. He's become a breaking-ball pitcher."
Outfielder Wily Mo Pe�a is a 21-year-old power hitter who whiffed once every three at bats with Double A Chattanooga last year and isn't ready for the big leagues. So why is he rotting on the Reds' bench as their sixth outfielder? He's out of options, thanks to the major league contract he signed with the Yankees in 1999. Another club might claim Pena if Cincinnati tries to pass him through waivers to the minors, and he's too good to risk losing. So Pe�a, hitless in five at bats through Sunday, is caught in purgatory. G.M. Jim Bowden likens Pe�a to Sammy Sosa. Former manager Jack McKeon made the same comparison about Mike Cameron when he was traded to Seattle.
WHAT'S GOING ON?
Pitching lines for Cy Young winners Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux and Pedro Martinez last week:
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
The three things Yankees first baseman- DH Jason Giambi takes on every road trip.
1. Protein powder
2. Portable DVD player
3. Grooming clippers, "because the boss [ George Steinbrenner] is always getting on me about too much facial hair."