A look at some arbitration-eligible players who might be non-tendered, along with other news and notes from around the major leagues.
Most of the upcoming free-agent pool is already known. It's just a matter of those players with six or more years of major league service time whose contracts expire at the end of the season officially becoming free agents five days after the World Series ends.
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The offense needs an overhaul, but the organization really needs to rebuild.
Jack Zduriencik understands how fickle baseball can be after spending a lifetime in the game. He was reminded of that this season as he went from being hailed as a genius in his first season as the Mariners' general manager in 2009 to being rumored that his job was in jeopardy in 2010.
Jim Leyland enjoys the weight of high expectations, but will the sluggers in his lineup live up to their lofty billing?
A gaunt, 63-year-old chain smoker, Jim Leyland looks like a man who has been under pressure all his life. However, the manager of the Tigers lives for pressure. He relishes it so much that he came back to managing after a six-season exile in which the former Pirates, Marlins, and Rockies manager had a cushy special assignment scouting job with the Cardinals that never required him to leave his Pittsburgh home.
Thus, Leyland isn't the least bit bothered that his Tigers are the consensus pick to win the American League Central division, two years after an improbable run to the World Series, and one season after missing the playoffs. "In this job, you're under pressure every single day, that's just a fact," Leyland said. "If people want to put the pressure on us to win, then that's fine with me. That's a good kind of pressure to have. I'd rather have that pressure than the pressure of going into a season hoping you don't lose 100 games. I'm happy there are expectations on us, and I know our players are, too."
NL Central rivals...err...acquaintances collide as the Pirates take on the Cubs in the Prospectus Game of the Week.
Of course there was more at stake Sunday than two teams fighting to see who finishes a distant second behind the Cardinals. The Pirates were taking the worst offense in the league into the game; averaging just three runs a contest, their futility offered the allure of plastic surgery gone horribly wrong (coming up next...on Fox!). Their lineup features more 100-somethings than a Matlock convention.
Randy Johnson wants more attention, Lloyd McClendon wants less, and Lee Mazzilli wants something really, really strange.
"Because I'm pitching for a team that's lost 100 games, I think the year that I've had is being overshadowed...Wins are out of my control, but the other people that are in line for the Cy Young, I'd like to see what their record would be here. Take their ERA and their opponents' batting average and put them here."
--Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks starter, on his chances of winning the NL Cy Young Award (Arizona Republic)
Reaction from yesterday's Pirates/Rockies set-to, and two of the greatest left fielders the game has ever known talk about nearing the end, in the latest The Week in Quotes.
"It's just nice to see emotion on the ballclub.... It's the first time we've been on the field [in a melee] in two years. It doesn't bother me at all. Good, old-fashioned hardball in the heat of summer."
--Clint Hurdle, Rockies manager, on his team's on-field altercation with the Pirates on Sunday (Rocky Mountain News)
It was another day at the Indy Motor Speedway today, where I give hourly updates on nothing. Nothing happens, really. The same cars go out and do laps (very fast), then come in. The excitement is, maybe, a crash, but there was only one of those. Thankfully, no injuries and barely any damage to the million-dollar car. But the funny anecdote is that I was sitting with one of the drivers and he turns to me and says "you're the baseball guy on the radio, right?" I said, yes. He paused and said "If I got a couple million dollars together, could I get to play for a team?" It took me a second to realize he wasn't kidding. "No, (name), it's not like racing. You'd have to go through the minors and all that." He shook his head. "That sucks. Doesn't seem fair." I wasn't sure if he was joking, but later, his cell phone rang. The ring tone? "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." On to the injuries...
I just knew turning UTK in early would make me miss something. About two hours after I turned it in (he says at 1 am the next night), the news began leaking that the Angels finally had a diagnosis on Garret Anderson. Inflammatory arthritis of the neck and shoulders is treatable, but the normal therapy of anti-inflammatories seems to be something he would likely have already been on. The "gold standard" of Celebrex or Vioxx, two Cox-2 inhibitors, is getting to be the aspirin of the professional athlete. Anderson should respond relatively quickly to therapy on this, but reports indicate that the Angels don't expect him back until the All-Star break. There's some interesting research being done on arthritis and DHEA, but it's still a poorly understood condition. There are also some amazingly bad "therapies," but we'll leave faux cures like prolotherapy for another day.