Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.
Sunday reading: Bud Selig, Joe Torre, Rafael Soriano and Ozzie Guillen
Nah. The original plan called for me to start off with 14 days in spring training, and I'm sticking to that. If all goes well, I'll be home tomorrow morning. But we decided to head West upon Friday night's news of the Mets' loan from Major League Baseball, and knowing that Bud Selig would be making himself publicly available yesterday for the first time since we fully realized the depth of the Wilpons' woes.
So Selig addressed the matter, as much as he could without incriminating himself, and I suppose that the more time you spend around someone, the more you learn to interpret not only what he says, but what he doesn't say. And in this instance, Selig spoke of his "affection" and "respect" for Fred Wilpon - he owed him that, given what a loyal friend and ally Wilpon has been over the years - but when it came to discussion of Wilpon's future, the best Selig could do was offer an aphorism about how he hoped he'd be dealing with different problems a year from now.
That's unlikely in this case, and Selig knows it. He ain't deaf, dumb or blind..
--The Mets' front office and players are trying to ignore the latest news, understandably.
--Anthony Rieber delves more into the Mets' loan and what it means.
--Want to buy a piece of the Mets? Jim Baumbach spoke with someone who has the same idea.
--The Mets' ticket sales are not going well, The New York Times reported. Hey, I thought the Mets said sales were going great! Must've been an honest misunderstanding. Thanks to Adam Rubin's blog for tipping me off to this story, and thanks to Twitter for tipping me off to Rubin's blog. And thanks to Lee Semel for tipping me off to Twitter.
--Selig was far happier to discuss Joe Torre, the reason for the news conference. After learning that Torre will make $2 million to work as MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, I started to understand more why this job would appeal so much to him. It's nevertheless interesting, just because Torre's star is so powerful.
(Yes, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson has worked in MLB's offices for many years, but Robinson can't stop traffic. I was on a flight with Robinson last November, and as we spoke at baggage claim, I don't think anyone else even recognized him. Robinson will return to being a senior adviser for Selig.)
We'll see how it plays out. Torre will very likely hire someone to be the "discipline person," as Torre's former Yankees general manager Bob Watson was for the past several years. That way, Torre won't have to personally address every two-game suspension or what have you. His role will be larger than that.
--Michael Weiner, speaking at Yankees camp, expressed optimism that a new collective bargaining agreement could be worked out in time for the 2012 season. So did Selig, in Arizona. As Weiner said, there's no fundamental issues of disagreement. Draft slotting will be an issue, as will the precise formulas for revenue-sharing and the luxury tax - the owners as a whole have to agree on what they want, regarding the latter two - but all can be hammered out with mathematical compromises.
Plus, there's a good amount of respect between the two sides.
--This new facility for the Diamondbacks and Rockies, by the way, is absolutely beautiful. Fan friendly, great design, and outstanding modern facilities for the two teams. If George Steinbrenner saw this, may he rest in peace, he would be quite jealous. The complex named after him is great, but it can't compare to Salt River at Talking Stick; they had the Torre news conference here so that Selig could attend the grand opening.
--For my Sunday Insider, I spoke with Joe Maddon about Rafael Soriano, who pitched brilliantly for the Rays last year yet also enhanced his reputation as a bad teammate. I'm not surprised that Maddon spun the notion positively; what incentive does he have to motivate Soriano, and besides, the guy did pitch great.
Perhaps this won't be an issue. It's pretty hard to misbehave in the bullpen, after all, when you've got Mariano Rivera standing there. I'm looking forward to seeing Soriano on a regular basis, just because of that performance/reputation dichotomy.
The Insider also features items on the Rays' bullpen, what's left of the free-agent pitching market and Freddy Garcia.
--Ozzie Guillen went nuclear on his former closer Bobby Jenks, who has been taking shots at Guillen and his family from Red Sox camp. Yes, Guillen gets pretty colorful, but Jenks probably needs to look in the mirror, as well. In any case, you can bet a few bucks that both Guillen and Jenks will receive warnings from Selig's office to cut out the trash talk.
--Have a great day.
--UPDATE, 1:56 p.m. Mountain Time: Rest in peace, Duke Snider, a legend and an icon. I wish I had the privilege of meeting with Mr. Snider.
I'm here at the Angels-Dodgers game - working on a Don Mattingly piece - and just this morning, I was chatting with Tommy Lasorda abbout mortality. Tommy, 83, says he has another 17 years ago. Given my location, I'll be wrting the Snider obituary.