Thursday, February 22, 2007

Spring Training Notes

Antonio Alfonseca is throwing Spring Training. Good for him. Speak to me in April and May let alone June, July and August.

Big mouth Curt Schilling, on the other hand, is already in mid-season form. He issued his ultimatum and the Red Sox essentially called his bluff. Go ahead, Curt, they told him, opt for free agency because we aren't giving someone your age let alone with your personality a contract extension before things even get underway. Memo to Pat Gillick: pay attention here, Pat. The guy is a certifiable pain in the rear.

Derek Jeter and A-Rod aren't best buds anymore, at least according to the latter. Fine. As Jeter himself put it, let's just play baseball and not worry about the other crap.

Barry Bonds has arrived in camp a different man from last year's version. About this time a year ago Bonds was playing the victim. Not this time around. Instead, he is his old defiant self. If he remains healthy, look for Bonds to pass Henry Aaron by mid-season. Who said jerks don't finish first?

Proposal pictures? That's a new one on me. Pat Burrell hired someone to take pictures of him proposing to his fiancee and the photographer posted them on her blog. This from a guy who has been nearly invisible his entire career, who hardly communicates with the press, and has virtually no discernible relationship with the fans. What a moment to go public, eh? (Hat tip to Enrico over at 700 level for breaking this "news".)

Ichiro can become a free agent after this season. If he appears determined to file, will the Mariners trade him by the July deadline? I hope not if only to see what kind of price a genuine talent would command on the open market. If Carlos Lee can be handed $100 million, what is Ichiro worth? Of course, we all know things don't work like that. Lee hits home runs and drives them in. Ichiro scores runs and prevents them. Lee is such a pitiful fielder he should have signed with a team where he wouldn't even have to bring a glove to the park with him every day. Come to think of it, he was already with one before he moved from Arlington to Houston. There just ain't no comparables in baseball. Still, I'd bet a lot of teams would like to see Ichiro atop their lineups.

Which managers are on the hot seat already? My leading candidate is Charlie Manuel. If the Phils stumble out of the gate again this April, Pat Gillick is not going to waste any time. Who would replace Charlie? No one currently wearing a Phillies uniform.


RickSchuBlues said...

I wonder if Manuel is really on the hot seat as much as we all imagine. I think there's no question he'd be replaced after the season if the Phils finish third, but I think it'd take a monumental collapse - something like a 12-27 or 32-50 start - for Manuel to be axed in-season. The bottom line appears to be that Manuel's presence has an integral effect on the team's chemistry and overall psyche. As long as this team wins, Manuel will be the manager.

Perhaps Burrell wants to prove to the world that he is no longer the 'Midnight Mayor'. But yeah, that's almost as distasteful as proposing in a 45,000 seat sports arena...

With all we've seen of Gillick's propensity to reacquaint himself with players he had on other teams, is it not unreasonable to suspect that there might be a chance he could make a run at Suzuki? There are few players I'd rather watch on an everyday basis. I already am harboring distant dreams of either him or Torii Hunter in the Phillies' outfield in 2008.

Tom Goodman said...

RSB: You read my mind again. I was thinking the same thing about Gillick and Ichiro. I'd love to see him play every day, too.

As for Burrell, I thought the same thing.

As for Manuel, the reason I think he is on a very short leash is that the Phils have built up a lot of good will in a town more starved for a winner than ever and Gillick cannot allow them to lose that edge. With Utley and Howard the most popular athletes in Phila and the Phils a solid or better team depending on the bullpen, another poor April is just not acceptable.

J. Weitzel said...

What? You don't think Antonio Alfonseca striking out Pat Burrell in Feb. 22 "competitive workouts" is big news?

Hey. When you're resorting to baseball cards, Phillies marketing and Bubba Nelson for your news, you take what you can get!