Starting the countdown to FanFest and spring training with a look around the AL East.
Color me surprised by Tampa
After years of watching the Tampa Bay Rays build an impressive franchise by signing and developing young talent as well as anyone, it was interesting to see their latest additions.
Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez on the Rays? What is the AL East coming to? Maybe Andy Pettitte will sign with them too.
Rays fans are going to notice a drastic difference in their left field defense and frankly, I would not want Ramirez anywhere near any of my young players.
Is Cash no longer the man in New York?
You have to appreciate his honesty, but it was surprising to me when Yankees GM Brian Cashman admitted basically that he was against giving Rafael Soriano a three-year, $35 million dollar contract.
Cashman got overruled by Hank and Hal Steinbrenner and team president Randy Levine, who reportedly negotiated that deal with Scott Boras.
While Soriano had a remarkable year in 2010, most in baseball seem to feel Boras took the Yankees to the cleaners on this one, which even includes opt-out clauses for Soriano after years one and two.
The bigger question seems to be will this cause a rift between Cashman and ownership and could it even lead to his leaving the Yankee GM post he has held since 1998. ESPN's Buster Olney said he didn't think there is any rift there and that a "lot of GMs have to deal with this."
As Orioles fans, many of us admittedly look for anything that could rock the Yankees boat and this could create shaky waters moving forward.
Some O's fans have even begun to speculate that if Cashman leaves New York, he could show up as Andy MacPhail's successor here. Cashman is not from here, but did graduate from Catholic University in 1989 and has some ties to the area.
Still, that is quite a leap to speculate he could end up with the Orioles.
And, by the way, I contend it is hard to know if Cashman is a quality GM or not. He is certainly high profile but would he be effective when he doesn't have the biggest checkbook in the room? How can you grade him truly when he has always had the most greenbacks?
Finally, if Soriano goes on to have another great year, will the Yankees' brass get empowered by that and start making more of the decisions, further eroding Cashman's power?
Trouble in the Bronx? An O's fan can only hope.
Tampa's draft haul
Did you see all the draft picks that Tampa Bay will have in June?
Counting the first round and the supplemental round after that, the Rays will make 10 picks before the second round and 12 through round two.
That is a massive haul that someone figured out would have taken nine million in bonuses to sign just those players last year using the slot numbers for those individual picks.
While Tampa does not have a pick until the 24th overall selection, which they got for losing Carl Crawford, they also will select 31st and 32nd in round one. Three times they will have back-to-back picks during those 12 selections.
For an organization that has been stellar in scouting and player development, this could set up the Rays for long-term success despite the players it lost this winter.
The fans seem like they'd be glad to add Vlad
Vladimir Guerrero to the Orioles? If it were put to a fan vote, yes do it, would probably win in a landslide. That is if this and other websites are an indicator of fan sentiment.
Here is what I don't completely get. Vlad is coming off a really good year, even if his bat did trail off in the second half. But no one seems to want him right now.
Maybe his agent needs to call Hank and Hal Steinbrenner.