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With Manny Ramirez and Orlando Cabrera officially signed, I take a look at what’s availible in the Unsigned Players Dept.
Top Remaining Free Agents
1. Ben Sheets
2. Ivan Rodriguez
3. Ray Durham
4. Jim Edmonds
5. Paul Byrd
6. Mark Grudzielanek
7. Joe Beimel
8. Pedro Martinez
9. Will Ohman
10. Kenny Rogers
11. Moises Alou
12. Frank Thomas
13. Emil Brown
14. Chad Cordero
15. Curt Schilling
16. Richie Sexson
17. Rudy Seanez
18. Luis Gonzalez
19. Keith Foulke
20. Sidney Ponson
21. Mark Mulder
22. Julian Tavarez
23. Damion Easily
24. Dave Roberts
25. Ben Brousard
Ben Sheets gets the top spot only because of his dominant 2008 season and I don’t think anyone else on this list deserves it. A torn flexor in his elbow will keep him out of action until at least July. If he signs on with a team before the June draft then the Brewers will receive a compensation pick so don’t expect any offers until then…Ivan Rodriguez will use the World Baseball Classic to showcase all he has left. The Mets, Astros and possibly Marlins have shown interest…There are reports that Moises Alou and Kenny Rogers may have unofficially retired…Paul Byrd will take at least early 2008 off to spend time with his family, but could get back into action by the All-Star break…Look for Mark Grudzielanek to get a look at third base in the Bronx should A-Rod need surgery…Pedro Martinez‘ velocity and stamina are both way down and he’s had trouble finding work for this season. The Cardinals may bring him on and try him in the closer’s role…Former All-Stars Chad Cordero and Curt Schilling are off injuries costing them both the 2008 seasons but are still trying to find work.
Alex Rodriguez has a torn labrum and a cyst on his right hip. It may require surgery and would effectively knock him out of the World Baseball Classic and the Yankees line-up until May or possibly as late as the All-Star break. The ladder would cost New York 88 games without its premier slugger. With things as close as they are in the AL East, they’d take a step back behind the Rays and Red Sox.
Jayson Stark speculated on Sportscenter earlier that they could take a look at Bobby Crosby or Mark Teahan. If the injury worsens over the season then players like Adrian Beltre or Garrett Atkins could get some looks as well, but nothing is close.
You could have a worse back-up than Cody Ransom, but that’s exactly what he is, a backup. He’s a 33-year old utility player with all of 183 at-bats (.251/.348/.432) in the majors since 2001 while also spending time with the Giants and Astros.
A report was just released that he will have his hip drained and that he is going to try to play through it and rejoin the team. He is still out of the WBC. Hopefully for him and the Yankees he can get back right away and continue to prove that he can produce while playing clean to try to clean up his image before it is forever tarnished, though it may be too late.
Your boy’s getting big now, my Manny post was up on the front page.
How many of you actually woke up at 4:30 EST to watch the World Baseball Classic opener like me? Well I’m a little nuts and don’t sleep but in case you missed it, Japan opened up with a 4-0 win over China. They were led by Yu Darvish pitching four shutout innings before being removed because of a 70-pitch limit for first round games as six Japanese pitchers tossed a shutout. Shuichi Murata had the big bang with a two-run blast in the third inning. Ichiro Suzuki was 0-5 at the plate though he did have a nice running grab up against the wall. Despite a quiet day offensively, Japan overall looked pretty good as they try to defend their title
As for China I am not impressed at all. One in every six people on this Earth, 1.3 billion, live in China. Yet despite being successful in athletics, baseball has never quite caught on and they have never produced an MLB player. They don’t hit for much power and their ace tops out at 83. I’ve faced kids that throw harder and I play at a Division 3 high school in Massachusetts. The only thing that seemed moderately impressive was their speed down the baseline but that won’t be winning any ballgames. I expect them to be two and done.
Dodgers offer in November 2008: 2 years, 45 million
Dodgers offer in March 2009: 2 years, 45 million
So why did the deal take so long to get done? Manny did nothing over the past few months other than illustrate a greedy, selfish picture of himself to fans and the media. Actually that representation was made years ago and rather just retraced from an image of him in a Boston uniform, but all in all it was an unnecessary PR hit that could’ve been avoided had he just taken the deal in the first place. Now the Manny-Boras party comes out looking like T.O.-Rosenhaus did in Philadelphia.
L.A. is a perfect fit for Manny and Manny is a perfect fit for L.A. The fans will still love him there, at least until he makes them think otherwise. Slot him in the clean-up spot right between Andre Ethier and James Loney and what you have is an argument for best line-up in the National League and surely the most complete top to bottom.
While it may have taken a while to get done, what’s important is that he is back. Fans, front office and Manny himself need to let bygones be bygones. Manny is happy and stepping to the plate once every nine batters and that’s all that matters. The Dodgers are now the favorites in the NL West.
After taking a few weeks off to write my research paper, I’m back with a look at the World Baseball Classic. Lets get into it:
1. United States- Surprisingly their team doesn’t have the most stars in the tournament, but depth and an improved mindset is what should lead Team USA to its first WBC title.
2. Dominican Republic- You know your offense is good when it’s the best in the tournament while missing Albert Pujols, Alfonso Soriano, Miguel Tejada and Vladimer Guerrero.
3. Venezuela- Felix Hernandez will take the ace role from injured pitcher Johan Santana. Miguel Cabrera, Bobby Abreu, and Magglio Ordonez anchor the offense.
4. Japan- The defending champs will be back with a target on their shoulders. Player you’ve never heard of to watch out for: starting pitcher Yu Darvish. Also note that their pitchers are in mid-season form, a huge advantage.
5. Cuba- Electrifying shortstop Yulieski Gourriel and the Cuban national team aim to avenge their 10-6 loss in the championship.
6. Korea- Shin-Soo Choo is the lone major leaguer on a team that advanced to the semifinals in 2006.
7. Mexico- A team with plenty of major league experience that knocked Team USA out of the last Classic.
8. Puerto Rico- Carlos Beltran leads a team of aging stars that would have been title contenders a decade ago.
9. Canada- Eric Bedard was their only legitimate pitcher. They just won’t have enough arms despite an offense with Justin Morneau, Russell Martin and Jason Bay.
10. Panama- Carlos Lee and Manny Corpas outline a roster built with 15 minor leaguers.
11. Italy- Mike Piazza steps down from catcher to hitting coach.
12. Netherlands- Even Andruw Jones can’t help this team… then again he can barely help his regular teams.
13. Chinese Taipei- Chein-Ming Wang opted not to play, but there still is some unknown talent hidden on the Taiwan roster.
14. Australia- Little to be excited about for the team down under.
15. China- One Billion people and 100 olympic medals but baseball has still yet to catch on.
16. South Africa- Have never produced a MLB player.
- Chinese Taipei
- South Africa
- United States
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
- United States
- Dominican Republic
- Puerto Rico
- United States over Japan
- Venezuela over Cuba
- United States over Venezuela
Bronze Medal Game
- Japan Over Cuba
Alex Rodriguez learned from the mistakes of Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, and Roger Clemens and came clean right away.
He could have followed suit and denied it right into his social grave. He could have let the media rip his heart out and diminish his sense of pride to the point where he barely left his house like Mark McGwire has become. He could have. But that isn’t exactly an ideal option for someone entering the prime of their career while in the second year of a record setting ten-year 275 million dollar contract.
Andy Pettitte and Gary Sheffield went through this before him and he saw what being truthful can do. He has now kept the hearts of his loyal fans and saved himself from being tabloided more than Paris Hilton, though he probably already is anyway.
All in all the good news is we hopefully will not have to listen to nearly as much of this because of his honesty. I think that even more former players should do the same and come clean before they exposed because chances are they will be and it will look a lot better if they do this on their own now before they become scapegoats for an entire generation.