Sunday, May 4, 2008

Sunday papers

We begin with premature speculation that Brian Cashman could available to the fill the impending GM opening for the NL East leading Phils. Meanwhile, if the Mets don't get it together they could have be looking for a new manager. New York's offense has been disappointing (21st in the majors in runs) but things could now be looking up as Carlos Delgado finds his groove. Elsewhere in the East, the Marlins are hanging in the race (1/2 game back) despite rotation woes. With the Braves under .500, we reflect on Chipper Jones legacy in Atlanta. The Nats' Ryan Zimmerman is out of the lineup today, likely ending a 205 game streak. The holder of the longest active streak might surprise you.

The NL Central leading Cards are anticipating the return of Mulder. The second place Cubs are reconfiguring their pitching staff. Likewise, the 16-14 Brewers and shuffling the roster with Turnbow being sent to the minors and Gallardo likely out for a while with a torn ACL. But much more importantly, there is a movement afoot in Appleton, Wisconsin, that could change the course of Brewers history.

Turning to the duller half of of the NL Central, it turns out lying about age not uncommon for Dominican players. Who knew? Here's the story of the Astros' Wandy Rodriguez. The most interesting tidbit in this Pirates notebook is news that Sean Gibson, great-grandson of Pittsburgh baseball legend Josh Gibson, threw out the first pitch at yesterday’s game. The Pirates are the most boring team in baseball. And it’s not even close. Name five players on their roster, I dare you. No, Don Slaught isn't catching for them anymore. Is Lloyd Mclendon still their manager? Fired three years ago, you say? Remember that time he picked up the base and stormed off with it. Hilarious! Yeah, I think that was the last Pirates highlight I saw.

In Cincinnati Dusty Baker draws praise for his cagey use of the bullpen and criticism for the way he sets the batting lineup. Oh, and Bronson Arroyo should bat eighth when he starts because he, “has bat speed and a sense of adventure.” Incidentally, the Arroyo-Peña trade talks began when Theo stumbled across a Craigslist posting in the "barter" section that read, "Looking for starting pitcher with bat speed and a sense of adventure. Can offer an outfielder with bat speed and a sense of unfulfilled potential."

Arizona has been phenomenal, but the rest of the NL West, not so much. In a development that seems at least a year too late, Barry Zito's deal comes under scrutiny. The Dodgers ponder an equally curious signing, the dreadful Rockies will be without Tulowitzki till the All Start break, and the slightly less dreadful Padres can blame their woes on poor drafting.

In the AL East Jays' GM J.P. Riccardi seems to be growing desperate. Perhaps he's wishing he hadn't been so hasty in releasing the Big Hurt. With Markakis struggling in Baltimore the lineup gets a slight tweak. In New York the on about whether Joba should be inserted into the rotation. But the urgency would be lessened if Mussina can maintain his recent form. The Rays ponder who to select with the first overall pick in this year's draft.

The AL Central is a division in search of answers on offense. Minor personnel tinkering in Cleveland, lineup tinkering in Detroit and proposed coaching staff tinkering in Chicago. Raise your hand if you think Shin-Soo Choo and Ben Francisco can save the Indians? Didn’t think so. The tigers offense is sputtering and “the more you listen to Leyland, the more it becomes clear he believes one reason for the Tigers' offensive inconsistency is their lack of speed.” That doesn't sound promising. In Minnesota Carlos Gomez wants to return to the Twins lineup after being hit in the head and Ron Gardenhire will miss Ron Gardenhire bobblehead day due to attend the funeral for his brother, Mike Gardenhire. And in K.C. the pitching staff is so frustrated with the bats they have turned to self-mutilation.

Through the first month the AL West is a division of expectations exceeded (A's), expectations unmet (M's), and the ever steady Angels. We consider the reasons A’s may be for real and submit that Mariners' manager John McLaren is in over his head. After a tough 2007, Ervin Santana has returned to form for an Angels team playing well despite being without their top two starters. And in Texas, the lone bright spot in what is to be a very long season, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was named AL Player of the Month.

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