I haven't had much enthusiasm lately for things baseball, mostly because the Dodgers new GM doesn't seem to be able to get any of his desired choices for manager to return his phone calls (and Neddy ain't exactly no ball o'fire in his own right). Orel took one look at the new situation, said "No, thanks," and went back to Texas. Bud Black said pretty much the same. (Although to be fair, Black walked away after Lasorda made some undiplomatic comments about Black's total lack of experience in the press. Way to undercut your new GM there, Tommy, even if you do happen to be correct.) Now the only people under consideration appear to be has beens (Grady Little and Jim Frelling Fregosi) and never weres. Jon Weisman posted a nice recap of the morass over at Dodger Thoughts. Given what's happened, DePo's firing makes even less sense.
Meanwhile some other GMs are making deals, none moreso than Omar Minaya of the Mets. For years Minaya was GM of the Expos, a team with no owner and no money, who kept the team afloat by by trading his players just as they became eligible to make scads of money for talented, yet inexpensive, prospects. He alright at it. The Expos became the Nats, and did pretty well this year with a team that was assembled mostly by Minaya. Meanwhile, Omar moved over to the Mets, who with a new TV network about to launch, have money being dropped at Shea in dumptruck loads. His financial situation changed in the same way that a poor kid's does when he suddenly becomes a first round pick in the NBA, and he's using it to stock up on baseball bling. Last year it was Carlos Beltran and Pedro Martinez. So far this winter he's picked up Carlos Delgado and Billy Wagner. He's reportedly in the hunt for Bengie Molina, too, and he traded a very unhappy Mike Cameron (whose feelings were bruised when Beltran took over centerfield) to the Padres for Xavier Nady. That's a whole lotta bling.
This all leaves Mets already as the pre-season favorite in the NL East, especially since Florida has decided to hold another fire sale. They do this every so often. Spend a bunch of money, assemble a good team, win a World Series, and then dismantle the whole thing when the bills start to come due. The current owner of the Marlins is Jeff Loria, who used to own the Expos. He ran them into the ground, then persuaded MLB to trade him the Marlins for the Expos even up when then Marlins owner John Henry decided he'd rather own a team in Boston, and now he's running his new team into the ground. Loria wants a new stadium (I don't blame him), but of course, he wants someone else to pay for it, so he's talking about moving. Wherever he goes, he still won't have any money. I don't have any money, either. That means I could buy a team, right? Right?
The Padres have been pretty active, too, and most of their deals have pleased this Dodger fan quite a bit. Nady for Cameron sends a good young player to the Mets for a guy who, though talented, is injury prone and strikes out a LOT. They picked up Vinny Castilla, who was once a great hitter at Coors Field, but who is now a lot older and going to the most extreme pitcher's park in the majors. They did just re-sign Brian Giles, so GM Kevin Towers hasn't completely taken leave of his senses. Pity.
The Red Sox are going to court to try to steal the ball Doug Mientkiewicz caught (and kept) for the last out of the 2004 World Series from him. They made a deal with Mientkiewicz last winter that allowed them to display the ball for a year. Now they've decided that they don't want to give the ball back, and are claiming that since Mientkiewicz was their employee, the ball really belongs to them. Never mind that no other team has ever taken a ball away from either a player or a fan before, nor that they are welching on the deal they made with Mientkiewicz. Pillocks.