It's time now to start dreaming about the best possible World Series matchups. Here are my favorites for this year.
The best matchups:
A couple World Series we don't particularly want to see:
The Yankees intend to try to bring back
Damon's making $13 million now, but the Yankees appear to view this case in much the same way they looked at
Minaya and manager
While Fred Wilpon isn't batting 1.000 on his votes of confidence (he fired
If Minaya does make it back as GM, one big reason will likely be the $3.5 million that remains on his three-year contract (one of the very best deals Omar made as Mets GM was his own). In any case, assistant GM
Whatever happens, "full autonomy" is probably out the window at this point.
The way it happened, Wagner threw a lights-out inning, and Boston claimed him, at least assuring that the Mets had someone to take his contract if they want. That's no small thing, as $2.7 million remains on Wagner's deal through this season. Not sure whether it was better to pitch him or not, but the belief that the Mets would like to save the money has led folks to think they're anxious to find a deal here by the Tuesday afternoon deadline.
One competing GM said Wagner's "no giveaway," and called him "a difference-maker," suggesting that the Mets should seek a decent prospect for Wagner even though it's only for a month of his services. That GM noted that Wagner has an $8 million option for next year, which could enhance his value slightly since that isn't a bad price if he has shutdown-closer stuff. While the Mets have no plans to employ Wagner next year, that doesn't mean the option isn't worthwhile for some team. Still, with his hefty '09 salary and limited usage since returning from Tommy John surgery, it's hard to imagine Boston paying too steep price for Wagner.
Wagner has a full no-trade clause, which could complicate things. Wagner made clear in an interview Sunday he wants to close, at least in 2010. He knows he's very unlikely to close games for Boston in 2009, not with
While it makes more sense for Wagner to be on the Red Sox than the Mets, Wagner still said he doesn't expect to go. Why not? "Inside intuition," he said.
Closers don't like to give up their jobs. Or even have a threat of such change.
Papelbon issued some quotes suggesting he wasn't necessarily so anxious for Wagner to join the team. Which was reminiscent of how Papelbon felt about
"What has he done? Has he pitched this year?" Papelbon said to WEEI.com. "Is he ready to pitch or is he not? You know what I mean? I think our bullpen is good where we're at right now. Don't get me wrong. But I guess you could always make it better."
Wagner, incidentally, didn't sound too impressed by Papelbon's remarks. When he was read the Papelbon quotes by a reporter, Wagner said, "I don't have anything to say about somebody like that ... When he walks in my shoes, I'll say something. Let him be 38, and have Tommy John surgery and come back."
Presumably, Papelbon would remain the closer if Wagner is acquired. But these closers can be fairly territorial about their jobs, no doubt about that.
In the wake of
It's those other 35 percent of players that worry the commish.
Selig wants the slot numbers to be more than recommendations, and his office is somewhat heartened to see a bit of grumbling over Strasburg's deal from veteran players. However, union people say there's been nothing more than a grumble here or there and that there's certainly no movement afoot to overturn the current system.
Union officials may make the case to major leaguers that a cap for amateur bonuses could be the first step on a slippery slope toward caps for big-league payrolls. Though one MLB source called this a "cockamamie" argument, it still may prove compelling for players who fear their own salaries could be capped. MLB powers seem determined do something about these bonuses, so at the very least this looks like a subject to be hashed out at the bargaining table two years from now.
While Strasburg's amateur deal is a record by 50 percent over
• Smoltz was the Cardinals' latest great pickup. With his Cardinals debut, he may have shown he's ready to be himself now. That (8.33 ERA) didn't look like him in Boston.
• The Rockies look like the strongest NL wild card contestant. But losing
• The Diamondbacks are going to have to hire popular
• It's time for
• It's become obvious that
• The Mets' ceremony to commemorate the Miracle 1969 team was extremely nice.
• We can't be sure how the
• Nice unassisted triple play by
• The tweet goes on. Find me tweeting at: