Editor’s note: Please welcome the latest from Doug Bird.
We’re all sitting here waiting, still, on Prince Fielder to sign. At this point I’m well past caring who he signs with, just sign so we can get on with our usually inaccurate pre season predictions. Of course I’d like to think that once signed, my predictions will fall into line. Yeah, that will happen. Fielder could have a huge impact on the pennant races depending of course on where he eventually signs. That goes without saying. So with that in mind, I thought I would throw out some random thoughts/happenings/news and other stuff for this week’s column.
One of my favorite players retired this week, Orlando Cabrera. I remember him mostly from the occasionally glorious and usually frustrating days of my beloved Montreal Expos. He went on to play for the Boston RedSox with whom he earned a World Series ring, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Chicago White Sox, Oakland A’s, Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians and finally the San Francisco Giants. Apparently he had been offered a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves this offseason but chose instead to retire at age 37. A classy guy indeed.
Another of my favorite players has not received a contract offer as of yet and it seems as though he may have to follow in his former teammate’s footsteps. Vlad Guerrero at 36 hasn’t been able to play in the field these past few seasons due to knees which were ruined on the turf in Montreal. He was electrifying in the field with a cannon arm which gave base runners pause even though often times the ball could be going anywhere but its intended destination. Offensively, it seemed that the only pitch he couldn’t hit was a waist high down the middle fastball.
Congrats to Barry Larkin for being voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I have my own criteria for the Hall but I certainly don’t begrudge this selection. Larkin was one of the best of his generation and a very classy guy. He joins fellow ex-Reds Johnny Bench, Tony Perez and Joe Morgan. What a foursome that would have been.
Yu Darvish had better be all he can be for Texas. I must admit ignorance other than what I have read in the somewhat vague scouting reports. Japanese players for the most part have a difficult time adjusting to the Major Leagues and having any sustained success. The language and cultural differences would be a distraction for any of us. And with the baseball world united in acclaiming him to be already one of the top pitchers in the majors, the added pressure must be numbing. I wish him luck.
The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Phillies seem to be getting a bit long in the tooth. Don’t be deceived though. Those old guys are still very dangerous and still smarting from last year’s lack of a World Series title. Those guys still know how to win. I’m going to miss Jorge Posada and try and revel any opportunity I get to see Derek Jeter. Jason Varitek has likely seen his last days in Boston and Carl Crawford needs to adjust of life in the pressure cooker. Watching Roy Halladay pitch reminds me of the great Greg Maddux. The surgical precision with which he goes about his job is always a marvel to watch. I’m always surprised when he gives up anything. I’m glad Jimmy Rollins stayed in Philadelphia. It just makes my Jimmy Rollins baseball card still relevant.
The Boston RedSox have been awfully quiet this offseason while the New York Yankees finally made a big splash. Rumors have it that the Yankees are trying to get rid of A.J. Burnett. Not so surprisingly, there are no takers. Maybe the Chicago Cubs could trade him for Alfonso Soriano? Soriano could DH and not hit and Burnett could finally get his ERA up past 6.00. Then the Cubs could trade him to Boston for GM Epstein. Just saying.
I can’t get used to the new name for the Marlins. I still like their old uniforms. Of course no one liked their old stadium and they now get to play in a ballpark instead of a football cavern. I can’t get used to Jeffrey Loria spending money but I’m confident that once the Miami Marlins win the World Series, he’ll follow in the footsteps of his predecessor and sell anyone with talent to the highest bidder.
Oh yeah-we’re still stuck with Bud Selig. In 2014, every team will make the playoffs. Can’t wait.