Dale Zanine-US PRESSWIRE
Lots of news coming out about the upcoming World Baseball Classic. Rafael Soriano finds a home, while Bob Melvin and J.J. Putz are staying put. Some Blue Jays have learned about the great sport of curling.
I'm back to about 90-95% from my illness over the weekend. I still get tired easily, but otherwise I feel fine. Thanks to those who wished me a speedy recovery.
I'm trying to get news from every team in the bullets from time to time, which explains my quest for "Royals News" in the last post. But the nature of the beast dictates that the big market teams will have the most news because they've got the most and the best reporters on their beat. I know I haven't posted any White Sox news either, but I figure most of you will hear that pretty quickly anyway.
Now, on to the links.
- Those who claim that Scott Boras has lost his touch have to be eating their words after Rafael Soriano signed with the Nationals for two years and $28 million. On the other hand, Michael Bourn is still homeless.
- Lots of news on who is and who isn't playing in the World Baseball Classic, as the preliminary rosters will be announced on Thursday, with Team USA being announced on Hot Stove at on the MLB Network at 9 am Central. An MLB Network Special at 3 pm Central will look at all the other teams.
- A quick look at who is and who isn't playing. Andy Pettitte and Mark Teixeira are playing for Team USA. So is Luke Gregerson, while his Padres teammates Chris Denorfia is playing alongside Anthony Rizzo for Team Italy and Edinson Volquez will take the mound for the Dominican Republic. Troy Tulowitzki wants to play for Team USA, but he's unlikely to be cleared to play as the WBC would have to insure his $140 million contract. Jose Altuve is likely to play for Team Venezuela and Fernando Rodney is likely to play for Team Dominican Republic. Matt Harrison will not play for Team USA.
- Team Canada announced their roster and it doesn't look too bad. It will look a lot better if Joey Votto is cleared to play, as expected, and Ryan Dempster agrees to play. He's still undecided. (Insert your own punch line here.)
- The WBC has lowered the pitch count for the tournament from last time. Essentially, they knocked five pitches off the number a pitcher could throw.
- Many of you have made it clear you don't like the WBC. That's fine. You don't have to like it. But it's going to happen whether you like it or not so you might as well try to enjoy it. It's baseball in March.
- Terry Francona has a book coming out, and apparently he's got some unflattering things to say about Red Sox ownership. He thinks they neither love nor understand baseball.
- Athletics manager Bob Melvin got a two-year extension.
- So did Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz.
- Four Blue Jays went curling in Saskatoon. Curlers are cooler than you. They just are.
- Tom Verducci really hates the new scheduling with the two 15 team leagues. He's right, of course, and the answer to that is to expand to 32 teams. Of course, the only real options for expansion at the moment are to stick a third team in the New York and Los Angeles markets. And those aren't real options for reasons I shouldn't have to explain to you.
- Lynn Henning of the Detroit News says the Tigers prefer to move Rick Porcello quickly.
- Maury Brown thinks Rob Manfred is likely to replace Bud Selig when he finally decides to go. Of course, he admits the owners' first choice would be to stuff Bud, prop him up and have him rule through seance.
- The Reds have dramatically upped their payroll for 2013.
- Dave Cameron of FanGraphs thinks that Michael Bourn's defensive value is likely to decrease sharply as he ages. Caveat emptor.
- Thanks to the Marlins, the Dolphins pleas for public money for stadium renovations are falling on deaf ears. First good thing Loria's ever done.
- Craig Calcaterra thinks Jim Rice is a hypocrite for criticizing today's players for being short on fundamentals as a result of today's long-term contracts. Just to refresh your memory, Rice was a bad left fielder who hit into a ton of double-plays. Oh, and he once signed a seven-year contract, which was the longest and richest in baseball history at the time.
- Finally, sad news. Enzo Hernandez, who played shortstop for the Padres for most of the 1970s, was found dead in his native Venezuela, apparently by his own hand.
It's hard to believe it's been twenty years since Hawkeyes basketball star Chris Street was killed in a car accident. I was a graduate student at Iowa at the time and I remember it well. The Hawkeyes will honor him on Saturday.
And tomorrow will have better weather than today, Buster.