Pitchers and catchers have reported. Position players have begun to as well. I now hear birds chirping in the morning. And there's only a 100 percent chance that an asteroid will destroy life on Earth. Oh and in 12 hours I will be getting ready for work. Again. Oh cruel world!
Wait -- what? Oh, right. Baseball. Sports. The blog. Yes. My apologies. Here's a roundup of some MLB news, complete with my pithy commentary. Do enjoy.
In a story straight out of the Beverly Hillbillies, journeyman pitcher Matt White is sitting on a $2.4 billion gold mine (well, mica schist actually). Life is absurd, but somehow this story gives me hope. Everyone, start digging in your yards now.
Barry Zito's been messing with his delivery and pitching coach Dave Righetti threw a fit. Now Zito might be going back to his old delivery. None of this really matters. Pitchers always try out different throwing motions and tinker with pitches during camp. This is only a story because los Gigantes have invested $126 mill. in the King of All Hippies (this is a term of endearment, I assure you). In other news, Brett Tomko is also trying a new throwing motion. No really, he is. I read it today on Dodgers.com. Oh, you don't care? These stories mean nothing? OK, that's right. Forgive me, I forgot. Moving on..
A Dodgers.com beat reporter speculates that Chad Billingsley might end up in the bullpen because he's been more efficient out of there (he lasted 5 1/3 innings per start last season). This would be a huge mistake. Billingsley showed that he could handle himself as a starter, and his supposed lack of efficiency as a starter is even more reason why, at such a young age, he should be allowed to continue starting and work out these issues on the mound, not sulking in the bullpen. And how many major league pitchers go more than 6 innings a start anyway? Sure, a fair number do, but many don't. And the rampant lack of durability among starters is the reason why "innings eater" has become a great compliment and why Jeff Weaver can get $8+ mill. from the Mariners.
Then again, Billingsley may not have to go to the pen if a) the Dodgers figure out what they're doing, and b) they trade Brad Penny. Cleveland, Washington, Minnesota, Baltimore, Toronto, and a host of other teams need starting pitching. The best major league-level hitters available may be Adam Dunn (just give him to us -- I don't care if he swings a tree trunk and bats .225), Rocco Baldelli, and Alex Rios, but either one would instantly make the Dodgers better. Of course, Colletti will probably find any way possible to give up way too much -- trust me, my cynicism is warranted -- but I'll take whatever offense we can get.
Alfonso Soriano and Felix Pie are boys now. This sort of story makes me happy. I'd also like audiotape of their conversations. Bush, can you start wire-tapping these guys for me?
Carlos Zambrano -- excuse me, 'Big Z' .. or Mr. Big Z -- demanded money from the Cubs or he'd walk, then retracted. This is the same guy who curses and screams into his glove every time he walks off the mound, so his truculence comes as no surprise. Maybe Big Z softened his demand because he realized what we all already knew: you're either going to be filthy, disgustingly rich or absurdly, GDP-of-an-island-nation-rich, so back off buddy. The nine-figure deal is coming. And when you're throwing up meatballs for the Rangers next year and then on the DL because you've been emailing your bro too much (yes, he did hurt himself this way once), you can call up Miguel Tejada, Chan Ho Park, and A Rod and say, "But what did we do wrong? Oh, let's just go burn some hundred dollar bills."
A Rod says his relationship with Jeter has cooled, which is no surprise. I'm not as much of an A Rod hater as some, but I think he'll opt out of his deal no matter what happens this year, and he'll be better off for it.
Two Yankees posts in a row. Please forgive me. But I think the more (only?) interesting Yankees story is Mike Mussina calling out Carl Pavano, saying that he has to earn the team's respect and accusing him of exaggerating his injuries, which he likely has. Then yesterday, Mussina backpedaled slightly and he and Carl made nice. That's fine, but I found Mussina's initial comments refreshing. It sounded like something from a hockey player, Steve Yzerman calling out some lagging second stringer. There was a toughness coming from Mussina that's rare among the Yanks, who in their pinstripes too often seem like burned-out investment bankers, rather than ballplayers. Even if healthy, I don't think Pavano puts up anything better than a 4.75 ERA. He was never very good to begin with, a low strikeout guy who had one all-star caliber season in a spacious park, and now he's been hurt, brutalized in the media and by his teammates, and pitching in the AL (automatic +1 to the ERA) for the most watched team in the sport. Need more proof? Peep this comment from Pavano, which just makes him seem clueless:
"Obviously, I've got to go out there and pitch. Other than that, I don't think there's really much left to do," Pavano said. "I know a lot of these guys obviously are frustrated. I think it's more of a compliment. They're frustrated because they know I can help them, and I haven't been able to do that."Yes, Carl, your teammates have been utterly despondent over the past two years, knowing that getting humiliated in the playoffs by their arch-rivals and watching them win a World Series could have been averted if only your Golden Arm were healthy. Once again, this man must remember that these are the major leagues, and even Steinbrenner doesn't like paying a guy $17 mill. to sit on the DL for two years.
That's all for now. Fantasy baseball is up and running on Yahoo! sports. The Founding Four -- Goran, Sheriff, Kaiserman, and I -- are in a Yahoo! keeper league with some other fellas. The draft is a month away. I'm already preparing. We'll keep you apprised of league developments as time goes on -- no worries there. Look for a fantasy beisbol post.. soon?