Ken Davidoff's baseball insider

Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.

Sunday reading: Alex Rodriguez, Darryl Strawberry, Manny Ramirez, Ivan Nova, A.J. Burnett, Oliver Perez and Brian Wilson

I'm no longer in Florida, but before I left, I interviewed Alex Rodriguez, who told me, "I honestly feel that this is the prime of my carer."

In the column, I cited how well Hank Aaron and Barry Bonds performed when they turned 36, as A-Rod will this year. If A-Rod, with seven years left on his contract, continues a gradual fade as he has the last couple of years, he's still going to become the all-time home run champion. But if he enjoys a spike like Aaron and Bonds? He's going to blow them out of the water.

The reason I think a spike is possible is because of Rodriguez's improved condition, how good he has played this spring and yes, because he seems to be in a better mental state.

A-Rod hasn't changed his personality to an extreme, in my mind. Chatting with him isn't altogether different than it was a few years back. It's been more a case of moderation. Of self-awareness.

--For my Sunday Insider, I spoke with Darryl Strawberry about the fact that he no longer is on the Mets' payroll. It's too bad, as it means fewer appearances around the team, but when I told Strawberry I wanted to rip the Mets for being cheap, he laughed and said, "No, no, everything's good. Don't do that."

The Insider also features items on Manny Ramirez and Ivan Nova.

--Speaking of Mets ownership, it'll score a few more points when Oliver Perez is released, which could easily occur today. If you think about it, the Wilpons (and Saul Katz) set the bar so low last year - keeping Perez on the roster, when it was apparent that Jerry Manuel rightfully had zero use for him - that now, relatively speaking, they look reasonable and thoughtful.

Except, you know, with all of the other stuff going on...

--The time is nigh for filling out the Yankees' starting rotation, Brian Cashman said. Just the other day, we discussed this, and I made my best guess that Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia would get the nod. I'm starting to second-guess that best guess.

I chatted up some people in Tampa on Friday, and as Anthony Rieber reported here, Yankees officials are flabbergasted (in a good way) by how Bartolo Colon looks.

"He's throwing the ___ out of the ball," one official said. "Velocity and command."

Garcia, meanwhile, has regressed in his last two starts.

One solution might be to release Sergio Mitre, which would allow both Colon and Garcia to make the team. However, we know that Joe Girardi has been a big Mitre advocate.

It's an interesting storyline - to me, at least - because of who Colon is and what he has done in his career. I was e-mailing with a scout from another club yesterday, and when I told him about Colon's remarkable pitching, the scout wrote back, "How soon will he be on the DL?"

Hence the dilemma.

--A.J. Burnett will start the second game of the Yankees' season.

--Also in Tampa, Rieber interviewed Harlan Chamberlain, Joba's father, and the elder Chamberlain professed that his son has matured.

--Chris Capuano pitched well for the Mets.

--Bad news for the Giants, as closer Brian Wilson might miss the start of the season with a strained ribcage. 

--Bad news for the Reds, as Johnny Cueto left a start early for the second straight outing.

--Finally, here are the Comment Winter Olympics standings - first for the 2010-11 season and then all-time. Thanks to NaOH for the technical assistance:

 

2010-11 Winter Comment Olympics

Commenter Gold Silver Bronze Point Total
Bob Tufts 1 4 2 13
Islander505 1 2 2 9
Sandy 1 1 4 9
Richie G. 1 2 1 8
WhyNot 1 1 2 7
JE 1 1 – – – 5
RichInNJ – – – 2 – – – 4
Howard 1 – – – – – – 3
IReadIComment 1 – – – – – – 3
Jim 1 – – – – – – 3
Steve From South Amboy 1 – – – – – – 3
Dennis 1 – – – – – – 3
Poppy 1 – – – – – – 3
Graves9 – – – – – – 1 1
Anthony123 – – – – – – 1 1

All-Time Winter Comment Olympics

Commenter Gold Silver Bronze Point Total
Bob Tufts 5 12 4 43
Islander505 4 7 6 32
Richie G. 4 6 6 30
Jim 3 5 1 20
JE 3 2 3 16
WhyNot 3 1 4 15
Sandy 2 1 5 13
RichInNJ 2 3 – – – 12
NaOH 2 1 1 9
Poppy 3 – – – – – – 9
Graves9 1 2 1 8
Dennis 2 – – – 1 7
James K. 1 1 2 7
Howard 1 1 1 6
Andy 1 1 – – – 5
BaileyWalk 1 – – – 1 4
Jim Clark 1 – – – 1 4
Ed Ott 1 – – – – – – 3
IReadIComment 1 – – – – – – 3
Steve From South Amboy 1 – – – – – – 3
Tim N. 1 – – – – – – 3
Dave – – – 1 – – – 2
Anthony123 – – – – – – 1 1
D – – – – – – 1 1
Gerry – – – – – – 1 1
Mike S – – – – – – 1 1
Zan The Man – – – – – – 1 1

--I'm gonna lay low here for the next week - no blog entries, as there is much work to be done for Newsday's baseball season preview. I'll see you again on Monday, March 28. Have a great week.

Tags: Alex Rodriguez , Darryl Strawberry , Manny Ramirez , Ivan Nova , Oliver Perez , A.J. Burnett , Bartolo Colon , Freddy Garcia , Brian Wilson , Chris Capuano , Johnny Cueto

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