(photo by Matt Baab)
I think we all know how this feels. Especially Chuck LaMar.
(photo by Matt Baab)
I think we all know how this feels. Especially Chuck LaMar.
Utility IF Geoff Blum (above), who performed admirably during Khalil Greene’s absence earlier this year, is on the way to the White Sox having been traded by the Padres in exchange for LHP Ryan Meaux.
The Los Angeles Times quoted sources saying Chicago Cubs manager Dusty Baker wants to take over the Dodgers if Jim Tracy doesn’t return in 2006. The Times quoted a source saying, “[Baker] would love the Dodgers to come calling and then hope the Cubs would let him go.”
“I don’t know where these things come from,” Baker (above) said Sunday about the report. “I’ve got a year and some change on my contract [with the Cubs]. I’ve never not honored a contract in my entire life. I don’t renegotiate contracts. I’ve never done that. Only one time have I ever signed before the end of the season, only one time. This is the first time since I was a player that I’ve had a contract over two years, and most of the times that was at my choice.
“I didn’t sign here for four years thinking about going somewhere else,” Baker said. “I signed here for four years because I thought it might take that long, No. 1, and, No. 2, because I wanted to make sure we saw this thing through. LA, that’s kind of out there. Sources, there’s always a source saying something. It seems like I’m in more rumors than somebody in Hollywood.”
1) Braves get P Kyle Farnsworth from Detroit for Zach Miner and Roman Colon. Look for Fernando Rodney to be Detroit’s closer down the stretch, as the Tigers have wisely begun looking towards 2006.
2) LHP Ron Villone (2-3, 2.45 ERA) is moving from Seattle to Florida in exchange for right-handers Yorman Bazardo and Mike Flannery
3) The Cubs acquire OF Matt Lawton (.273, 10 HR’s, 44 RBI) from the Pirates ; Pittsburgh will receive OF Jody Gerut (.260, 1 HR , 12 RBI).
”I didn’t know until we hit in the bottom of the inning and there’s no Manny,” Wells said. ”The guy’s messing with my cake. I want to try to get a ring, man. If he’s not out there, that creates a problem. And I don’t know the situation. Whatever it is, he better have a great excuse because we need Manny Ramirez in the lineup. I don’t care what’s going on. This team needs him.
”If he’s going to come out and say he needs another day off, that’s not going to sit well with a lot of guys. There’s no question. . . . It’s selfish for him not to step up. Listen, we’ve got a couple guys hurt. We need you in there. His impact in that is tremendous. The [opposing] pitchers are going, ‘Oh boy. What do we throw this guy?’ He’s hitting everything. For Manny not to step up, I think that was selfish on his part.”
Indeed, if only Manny were capable of “stepping up” the way Boomer did in Game 5 of the 2003 World Series.
A teary-eyed Buddy Groom was so upset about being designated for assignment yesterday that he wanted to send a message to relievers who might consider joining the Yankees.
“Don’t come here thinking you might get a chance at a lot of opportunities,” he said, “because unless you’re one of Joe’s boys, you’re not going to get a shot.”
Although Joe Torre agreed that the lefthanded reliever wasn’t used regularly during his three-month stint here, Torre took offense at Groom’s assertion that he plays favorites. “If I started pitching or playing guys because I liked them, or didn’t play them because I didn’t like them, I’m doing a disservice to the rest of the team,” Torre said.
“If I’ve ever done that,” he added, “I’m not aware of it.”
“They just said they got Embree and that’s it,” Groom said. “It wasn’t anything like I hadn’t done the job or whatever. Maybe it was my age? I don’t know.”
Buddy Groom (above) is 40 years young.
When Ryne Sandberg and Wade Boggs give their induction speeches today, future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson will not be watching. He’s got a game.
The 46-year-old outfielder will not be playing where he thinks he belongs ” in the major leagues ” but in an independent league game in Yuma, Ariz., for the San Diego Surf Dawgs.
Henderson believes he still has what it takes to play in the big leagues, but no one has shown interest since he finished the 2003 season with the Dodgers.
“I would love to play anywhere,” the all-time steals leader said. “I think my skills are there. To me, it’s just the chance. Why can’t I have a chance? I see [the current] players and what [teams] need, and you’re saying I don’t have none of that? That shocks me. Then I’m not a Hall of Famer. I should have never played the game.”
Henderson (above) believes it’s his status as a surefire Hall of Famer that is holding him back. The former Yankee and Met thinks someone in baseball does not want to delay his induction. Players are eligible to be inducted five years after their final major league game, meaning Henderson could be inducted in 2008.
“I don’t know why, unless I’ve done too much in the game,” Henderson said, when asked why he believes he is not on the big leagues’ radar. “Most people say you’re a Hall of Famer and they’ve got a certain date that they want me to go to the Hall of Fame. They feel that if I continue playing it would screw up when I go into the Hall of Fame. I don’t think that’s fair to me.”
Along with providing an autopsy for the Mets’ failed (for now) pursuit of Manny Ramirez, Newsday’s Jon Heyman serves up the following with less than 3 hours to go before the trading deadline :
The Yankees are scanning the weak pitching market and considering Ron Villone, Eddie Guardado (who has a shoulder tear), Scott Sauerbeck, Kevin Millwood, Bobby Howry, Jason Johnson, Scott Eyre, Rick White and Mark Redman. One person said even Jeff Weaver’s name came
The Yankees called Cincinnati about Ken Griffey Jr., but the Reds called back to say, “No thanks.” Which stunned everyone, given that the Reds finally had their chance to get out of most of the $47 million remaining on Griffey’s contract.
Regarding the Reds’ intractability, one NL exec said: “They’ve made Kent Mercker damn near untouchable. Kent Mercker!”
The Phillies sought only a No. 1 starting pitcher, a reliever and two top prospects for Billy Wagner. No mention of a first-born son, though.
2B Kaz Matsui went 1 for 2 with a single in 3 innings of action last night for Gary Carter’s Gulf Coast League rookie Mets.
Though a return to the East/West format would’ve excited, well, no one, what does it say about Major League Soccer’s place in the overall scheme of things that a friendly between the league’s stars and a club that finished 13th in last season’s Premiership standings was thought to be a marquee match?
Presumably, Major League Baseball are taking notes and will prepare to send the Kansas City Royals on a barnstorming tour of Japan shortly before the 2006 season.
Lovers of overpriced satellite TV pay channels can look foward to the following friendlies this morning and afternoon :
12: 30pm EST Arsenal v. Porto, Amsterdam Arena (Gol TV)
2:30pm EST AC Milan v. Chelsea, Giants Stadium (Gol TV)
4:00 pm EST Ajax v. Boca Juniors, Amsterdam Arena (tape delay, Gol TV)
Setanta’s US satellite channel will carry the 2nd leg of Liverpool’s 2nd qualifying round Champions League match against Kaunas this Tuesday at 2:30pm EST.
Almost immediately after acquiring OF Larry Bigbie from the Orioles last night, Colorado thought they had an agreement to flip Bigbie to Boston in exchange for C Kelly Shoppach (above, 21 HR’s, 67 RBI’s in 2005 for Pawtucket).
Problem is, the Red Sox supposedly reneged on the agreement, and now the Rockies are making noises about putting Theo Epstein on their Do-Not-Call List. And can ya blame them? Manny Who? How can the chance to posses Larry Bigbie not be priority No.1 at Fenway this weekend?
In a somewhat related note, Boston have picked up OF Jose Cruz Jr., a player whose 2003 Gold Glove means about as much as a Golden Globe Award (ie. nothing) from Arizona.
I think it is fair to say that the Mets could use some help in the middle of the order. Not that I’m thinking about anyone in particular this evening.
Houston’s Andy Pettitte (above, 8 IP, 3 hits, 2 walks, 6 K’s, 0 ER) was brilliant Saturday night, keeping Mets hitters off-balance all game, no one looking worse than the overmatched Cliff Floyd, pinch hitting with Chris Woodward on 2nd in the 8th.
Tom Glavine, a frequent whipping boy around these parts, was nearly as good (7 IP, 5 hits, 1 ER, no walks), his sole costly mistake coming while allowing a 400 foot solo HR to the Astros’ Jason Lane.
The flipside to having 3 of the NL’s highest paid players (Piazza, Beltran, Pedro) on the NY roster would be Jose Offerman’s appearance as starting first baseman. While John Olerud was hitting a grand slam for Boston tonight, there’s a sinking feeling that Wil Cordero could be donning a Mets uniform any day now.
Meanwhile, Terry Francona has given Manny the rest of the weekend off, “for the good of the team”, which is fairly curious way to phrase things considering that Ramirez’ earlier insistance on time off was the catalyst for these trade talks. On one hand, the Red Sox are demanding greater value for one of the game’s most dangerous players, then they demonstrate how indispensible he is by keeping him out of the lineup.
The Mets remain interested in Danys Baez, the Rays’ closer, but will have to hustle to put together another deal by today’s deadline. They also will be hard-pressed to duplicating the power injection Ramirez would have provided to their lineup. Other available acquisitions could include Pittsburgh closer Jose Mesa and first baseman Daryle Ward. The Rangers appeared near a deal that would ship Soriano to the Twins for a package including Kyle Lohse. Mets insiders had called his acquisition a “super longshot” in recent days anyway.
The initial driving force behind the spirited discussions had been Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, who had been incensed by Ramirez’s recent behavior, from refusing to play last week after Trot Nixon suffered an oblique strain because he needed a day off despite the shortage of outfielders, to his latest annual trade request. Lucchino’s willingness to part with Ramirez, the AL’s home run and RBI leader entering the weekend, who was booed at Fenway Park on Friday night during each plate appearance, had created a division within the Sox hierarchy. GM Theo Epstein and other front-office personnel were against trading Ramirez, realizing that would be the start of a need to retool the entire team.
The Yankees have one less outfielder to pursue. Seattle is sending OF Randy Winn to San Francisco in exchange for C Yorvit Torrealba and pitcher Jesse Foppert. Foppert’s been rehabbing a neck injury at Fresno ; he’s not pitched for the parent club since June 24.
Wil Cordero did actually bat 4th for the Nationals a few weeks ago.
I can only assume that Cordero gives a great backrub or makes an awesome cup of coffee — his continued employment in organized baseball is one of the great modern mysteries.
Yankee officials have denied the teen is in their custody, nor is he scheduled to start Sunday’s game against the Angels.
(the members of S.O.D. consider revoking their sponsorship of the local Little League side).
The Methuen West Junior League team had jumped to a 3-1 lead in the third inning Tuesday night when its assistant coach gave a simple command to his pitcher, ”Tira lo bien!”
But that prompted an umpiring call, which unhinged the teenagers on the field, enveloping these boys of summer in a very adult controversy about ethnicity and discrimination.
Hearing this cry in Spanish to deliver a good pick-off throw to second base, the umpire halted the game and ruled: English only on the diamond. The unprecedented ruling was quickly condemned by national Little League officials, who yesterday instructed state officials to ban the umpire for the rest of the 2005 tournament.
Little League International spokesman Lance Van Auken, whose organization also runs Junior League, said yesterday there is no rule forbidding Spanish or any other language on the field, and said it was believed to be the first time an umpire tried to ban a language from being spoken.
He said the umpire was concerned that Spanish gave the Methuen team an unfair advantage, allowing the coaches to freely give orders without the other team understanding, though it’s usual to give signs so the opposing team doesn’t know the play.
”He simply overstepped his authority,” Van Auken said. ”Mistakes happen a lot in baseball. We recognize that umpires are humans, just like all of us, and make mistakes like we all do.”
Little League officials would not name the umpire or the district administrator who upheld the English-only call after Mosher protested from the dugout, demanding to see the prohibition in the rulebook.
The umpire and district administrator could not find anything, Mosher said, but the administrator told him he had to uphold the call in order to back the umpire. The umpire said that anyone caught speaking Spanish would be thrown out of the game. At that point Mosher relented, not wanting to hurt his team’s chances.
In an unrelated story, MSG and Fox Sports NY officials continue to employ Fran Healy despite the announcer’s struggles with the English language.
The proposed three-way deal that would have sent Manny Ramirez to the New York Mets before tomorrow™s 4 p.m. trading deadline may have hit an insurmountable snag today when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the third team in the deal, demanded that top Red Sox prospect Hanley Ramirez be included in the trade, according to major league sources.
For the Red Sox, that was a deal breaker, and unless the Devil Rays have a change of heart, it would appear that the deal is dead.
Under the terms of the proposed deal, the Red Sox would have received outfielder Mike Cameron, pitcher Aaron Heilman, and outfield prospect Lastings Milledge from the Mets, and infielder/outfielder Aubrey Huff from the Devil Rays. But according to major league sources, the Devil Rays, who on Friday were prepared to accept a package of prospects that included Double-A pitcher Anibal Sanchez from the Red Sox, today insisted on Hanley Ramirez, and the Red Sox turned it down. Manny Ramirez and Devil Rays closer Danys Baez would have gone to the Mets in the deal.
It™s possible that the Red Sox and Devil Rays could resume talks about a straight two-way deal for Huff, who would give the Red Sox a lefthanded bat to replace the injured Trot Nixon. But Huff is due in excess of $6.75 million next season, which could make him too expensive for Boston™s taste at this time.
Interesting to note that the under-utilized Heilman might’ve been a key component in this trade. And it would be just the Mets kind of luck if Milledge were hit by a bus Monday afternoon. Unless there’s something else in the works that involves Braden Looper and a one-way plane ticket, I have a hard time imagining Tampa Bay and New York working out a seperate deal for Baez.
In Mr. Smith, who is 37 and continues to write a twice-weekly column (sometimes on his BlackBerry from an ESPN studio) for The Philadelphia Inquirer, ESPN believes it has a franchise. “Stephen A. is ringing a bell,” said Mark Shapiro, an executive vice president of ESPN. “People like him and dislike him, but they still watch him. These days, it’s hard to find a talent who strikes a chord that way. Polarization is a commodity.” He added: “We’re in the hit-making business. And Stephen A. is a game-changer.”
A writer for The Allentown Morning Call argued that Mr. Smith’s report about the prospective departure of Larry Brown as coach of the Detroit Pistons deserved “a grade of C because he said nothing while acting like he knew everything.” Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has called him an entertainer, not a journalist. And two New York Post columnists, Peter Vecsey, a former NBC and TNT basketball analyst, and Phil Mushnick, have assailed him several times. Mr. Vecsey, who regularly flays Mr. Smith’s stories, called him a “multi-media fraud.”
Some of the complaints about Mr. Smith have to do with race. Mr. Mushnick said in a phone interview that Mr. Smith “speaks in two voices” to appeal to ESPN’s different but overlapping audiences: one that is straightforward and another than appeals specifically to “urban street blacks or white street wannabes.”
Mr. Smith does not deny that race figures prominently in his persona, or that growing up among rappers subtly influenced his idiosyncratic vocal cadences. But unlike Stuart Scott, another well-known black ESPN announcer, Mr. Smith rarely uses hip-hop terminology.
perhaps the most riveting part of almost any studio session with Mr. Smith is watching him not speak. He clearly suffers from the pain of anticipation. He sits in his custom-made suit, trying not to fidget as Mr. Saunders hands the verbal ball to Mr. Legler or Mr. Anthony. Mr. Smith stares through each speaker, a ticked-off, silent, impatient predator seeking his moment. Rage – or is it fervent hope? – seems to paint his stern face. When his time comes, his expression alters. He is relieved but energized, spitting out his words at high decibels.
“I’m struggling,” Mr. Smith agreed. “I’m struggling with the reality that I feel differently, that I have a minimal amount of time to express what I want to say. Somebody is saying something I don’t agree with and I have 45 seconds. I’m like, ‘Damn it, can I fit it all in?’ “
Anticipation is a funny thing. if you ever watch Skip Bayless paired with Smith on “Cold Pizza”, you’ll often see the former shaking his head in disapproval before the latter has opened his mouth.
Though I’ll resist the temptation to castigate Smith’s forthcoming “Quite Frankly” debut before having seen it, ESPN’s commercials for said program do little to bolster Stephen A.’s credentials as anything other than a basketball guy. Tom Brady is “all the Patriots need? “
Whatever might be holding up the Mets’ acquisition of Manny Ramirez, the New York Daily News’ John Harper says no price is too high.
There isn’t any debate from a baseball standpoint, even if they have to give up Braden Looper in addition to Mike Cameron and Lastings Milledge in this proposed three-way deal with the Red Sox and Devil Rays. The inclusion of reliever Danys Baez from the Devil Rays makes it pretty much of an even swap with Looper.
As of late last night, however, the Mets had rejected the Red Sox’s offer because owner Fred Wilpon refused to pick up the entire $64 million remaining on Ramirez’s contract.
Nevertheless, if the chance is there to revive the deal by tomorrow’s 4 p.m. deadline, the onus is on the Mets to find a way to make it work, especially if money is the only sticking point. The Mets have too much invested in the win-now possibilities of this team to let the money scare them off. They can’t pretend to be building for the future, no matter how young David Wright and Jose Reyes may be, when Pedro Martinez is at the top of his game right now … and perhaps for not much longer.
Besides, Mike Piazza’s $15-million-a-year comes off the payroll after this season, Wilpon has his own TV network as of next season, and finally he has a new stadium in the works.
So money can’t be the deal-breaker here, not with the Mets drawing crowds to Shea again, and the possibilities of full houses nightly in August and September should they add Ramirez and make a real run at the playoffs.
There isn’t any doubt that GM Omar Minaya, who wanted to acquire Ramirez last winter, was pushing to make the deal, and people close to the situation say Pedro was pushing Mets executives as well.
At the same time, someone close to Minaya said the Mets’ GM was savvy enough to understand that even if he doesn’t get Ramirez, the word of such a potential deal might just prompt Rangers’ GM John Hart to lower his demands for Alfonso Soriano.
“Either way he gets his guy,” the person said of Minaya.
However this shakes out, it must be very comforting for Tampa fans (all 5000 of them) to know that the Mets are committed to their team’s player development each summer.
The NBA’s free agent crop — restricted and otherwise — is begining to thin out. On Thursday, the Nets signed PG Jeff McInnis to a two year, $7 million deal. Yesterday, Suns PG Joe Johnson (above) reportedly asked Phoenix not to match the Hawks’ offer sheet, hoping to claim a greater share of the limelight in Atlanta (which comparitively, shouldn’t be so hard).
Antoine Walker is said to be in talks with Miami, and over in Portland, where they put the “fun” in “dysfunctional”, one of Mo Cheeks’ former assistants is neither being paid nor allowed to leave.
Spurred by his request to be dealt and, to a lesser extent, by increasing frustration in the clubhouse with his antics, the Red Sox stepped up their efforts yesterday to deal Manny Ramirez, talking trade with at least five major league teams.
Ramirez further alienated himself from teammates and members of the organization when he rebuffed the team’s attempt to put him in the lineup Wednesday at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field after the Sox found themselves short a position player.
Ramirez’s insistence that he be given a day off Wednesday as promised, sources indicate, infuriated some teammates and resulted in an angry confrontation between Curt Schilling and Ramirez.
Schilling got into a heated argument with Ramirez and David Ortiz had to step in and separate them.
One executive involved in the talks estimated that the trade has a “20 percent” chance of happening.
The Mets, according to a National League official, were insistent that they wouldn’t trade outfield prospect Lastings Milledge, and that could prove to be a significant obstacle heading into Sunday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trading deadline. The Mets didn’t want to pay the entire $64 million remaining on Ramirez’s contract through 2008. The Devil Rays are notoriously difficult, demanding trading partners.
The Mets began Friday holding separate conversations with the Red Sox and Devil Rays (who want pitching prospect Yusmeiro Petit for Baez), but those merged into a single negotiation by day’s end. Mets minor-league pitcher Gabby Hernandez is included in the bargaining.
(Manny considers waiving his 10/5 right of refusal if he can use Jeff Wilpon’s executive commode)
If we’re to believe a number of published and broadcast reports, the Mets, Red Sox and Devil Rays spent much of Friday negotiating a 3-way blockbuster that would’ve brought Manny Ramirez and Danys Baez to Flushing, a quartet of prospects Uncle Louie’s Holiday Camp, and outfielders Aubrey Huff and Mike Cameron to Fenway.
The executive said he believed there was a chance that the trade would go through but was not optimistic. A second executive, who requested anonymity because the trade did not involve his team, said Mets General Manager Omar Minaya believed the Red Sox asked for too much from the Mets, creating a snag.
The parties planned to negotiate again Saturday to try to resuscitate the deal.
The Mets are most concerned about Ramirez’s contract – he is owed more than $64 million through 2008 – and they will probably not agree to a trade unless the Red Sox agree to cover a large portion of his salary. Boston has some incentive to move Ramirez because he has requested a trade and the Red Sox have long been trying to shed his contract to have greater financial flexibility. In the past two years, they have put him on waivers and tried to trade him several times.
Presumably, Boston’s Anibel Sanchez and New York’s Yusmeiro Petit are two of the players that Tampa covets.
Outside of the financial considerations, it is hard to imagine that Huff and Cameron provide enough offense to satisfy Boston’s needs, givne that splitting up Ramirez and David Ortiz will have a major impact on the sort of pitches Big Papi sees.
After tonight’s 5-2 loss to the unconscious Houston Astros, the Mets find themselves with a record of 52-51, the same mark they’d set by the close of play the Friday evening before last season’s trading deadline. Not that I’m suggesting the Mets should exercise caution when trading young talent for a spacey slugger who is indifferent about fielding (if not playing altogether). Nothing should inspire Carlos Beltran more than becoming the 2nd Highest Paid member of the team.
Not to be outdone, the Orioles and Rockies swapped Larry Bigbie and Eric Byrnes. In all seriousness, Baltimore’s window of opportunity has already been closed on Peter Angelos’ neck. After losing to Chicago this evening, the free-falling O’s are trailing Boston by 6 games.
In one of the more spectacular salary dumps to not feature the word “Aurilla”, Texas have obtained Phil Nevin from San Diego in exchange for Chan Ho Park. Given that the Rangers now have first basemen in Mark Teixeira and Nevin, the odds of prospect Adrian Gonzalez being moved between now and Sunday evening have improved.
A fractured foot has ended Frank Thomas’ 2005 campaign, frustrating for both the longtime White Sox fixture as well as for a Chicago offense that could use the extra dimension of power Thomas brought to the table.
Minnesota’s Torii Hunter tore a tendon in his left ankle when his cleats snagged the CF wall padding while trying to haul in a David Ortiz double in the first inning against Boston last night. ESPN’s Harold Reynolds is reporting that Hunter will miss 4-6 weeks. Already faced with the challenge of finding another bat, Terry Ryan can now look forward to a stretch run without one of the game’s premier defenders.