Teammates: Ramirez fed up
By Peter Gammons
Special to ESPN.com
DIAMOND NOTES: Sept. 5
Back in May, when then-Red Sox manager Jimy Williams and Carl Everett got into a shouting match in a clubhouse meeting in Oakland, Manny Ramirez put on his headphones and chose to tune out the wild exchange. Now Manny's teammates say he repeatedly tells them that all the discord, front-office interference and dysfunctional atmosphere so bother him that he wishes he never signed with Boston in the first place.
|Teammates say Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez regrets his decision to come to Boston.|
Jim Mecir can be a huge factor if Oakland is going to go deep into the playoffs. Monday, in his rehab start, he appeared to be over the knee problems that had left his stuff inconsistent this season. He was hitting 91 mph on the gun with his old screwball. Remember, lefties batted only .204 off him last year, when he won 10 games and was anointed by Tampa GM Chuck LaMar as the "best eighth-inning pitcher in the American League."
Don't underestimate how encouraged the Yankees were by Orlando Hernandez's strong start in Boston on Saturday. Sure, the Yankees have the great Big Three in Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte. But when teams get by the first round of the postseason and into a seven-game series, El Duque may well be the best Game 4 starter of the AL playoff teams.
eBay can be a reflection on society, and a scan this week found that while Moises Alou may be having a superstar season, his signed game bat is bringing only $34.99 -- as opposed to a Toe Nash Appalachian League rookie card, which is bringing $145. And that while Mark Mulder is making a serious run at the Cy Young Award in his first full major-league season, his highest-priced item on eBay is a card for $47. The price of a Danny Almonte signed baseball? $355. As H.L. Mencken once said, you'll never go broke underestimating the American public.
Sept. 2When Giants officials heard Barry Bonds say that the Giants would get first crack at him and that he wants to remain in San Francisco, they weren't sure if that was A-Rod politicking, or if he means it. "If it's not simply the highest bid and top dollar," said one Giants official, "there's a deal to be done."
One of the most interesting offseason negotiations will be with Matt Morris, who is on his way to a 20-win season at the age of 27. Morris lost almost two years because of Tommy John surgery, but he will be a free agent at the end of the 2002 season, which will make for a tough negotiation for the Cardinals.
The Padres have listened to a lot of bitter stories about Tony La Russa from Ray Lankford, as bitter as those from Brian Jordan and Ron Gant when they left town.
There are few explanations for what happened to Tim Salmon, who averaged .291/25 HRs/95 RBI the last eight seasons and was .218/13/35 going into the weekend. Friends say that he got so hung up hitting breaking balls over the years, he became a slider-speed hitter and cannot hit a fastball right now. Some feel his lack of athleticism has caught up to him. When someone suggested that everyone has a down year, Salmon said, "no one's had one like mine." That kind of honesty makes one believe that if he is healthy, he will work himself back.
The Yankee staff raves about the development of Alfonso Soriano. "He's had a lot to learn, and he does so, month after month after month," Torre said. "He's smart, he listens and he wants to be great." Said Don Zimmer: "Look at what we asked him to do -- go from shortstop to left field, then all of a sudden move to second. So it's been a learning experience. He'll get more patient at the plate, but he's made tremendous improvement defensively. He could end up with 20 homers and 40 steals and one of these days -- and it won't be long -- he's going to steal 60 bases and hit 30 homers. This guy is fearless. Some players are reluctant to steal down a run or with the game on the line, not Soriano. He's fearless like Shawon Dunston. Guts of a burglar."
Kevin Malone sat in on an L.A. talk show and ripped Steve Phillips and the Mets for not making a serious effort to trade for Gary Sheffield in spring training. "They offered a couple of broken bats and some batting practice baseballs," Malone said. "They never made a fair offer." Thinking out loud: where would the Dodgers be if Malone had traded Sheffield?
A lot of things have begun falling back in place in Colorado. Juan Uribe and Jose Ortiz show potential in the middle infield. Shawn Chacon, Jason Jennings and John Thomson have outstanding arms, while Scott Elarton appears to be coming back healthy and giving them alternatives in terms of pitching depth. But it doesn't appear as if Buddy Bell is going to survive.
There is good managerial news. It appears that Davey Lopes will survive in Milwaukee, but there will be some changes on his coaching staff. Lopes reportedly would love to have Dave Stewart as his pitching coach, but Stew has to measure whether or not that sort of move would hurt his chances to get a general manager's job, something he's worked hard to get.
The commissioner's office has a rule that a team can only be involved in one transaction a year in which $400,000 or more switches hands. A second such deal requires special review and permission.
The Mariners may have an intriguing choice at the end of the year with all their free agents: Bret Boone or Aaron Sele? "There's no question that Sele has pitched better than anyone gives him credit for pitching, but that power/defense combination at a middle infield position is tough to find. And the M's have Ryan Anderson and Gil Meche coming off injuries, and Ryan Franklin could be a solid starter," one AL East general manager said.
The Phillies asked Pat Burrell to play winter ball, another soap opera episode. Next chapter is the Randy Wolf return. Wolf has been in Larry Bowa's doghouse, but Bowa's suspicion that Wolf was an unnamed source of a quote out of Scranton simply was not true, if anyone on the club cares.
If I were running a building club, I'd take a serious look at Buffalo's Eric Wedge as my next manager.
Teams scouting organizations say that once again that the Blue Jays are stockpiling another generation of talent, with Felipe Lopez, Vernon Wells and Cesar Izturis already on their way. Third baseman Orlando Hudson ("potential Gold Glover," said one scout) has hit .325 with a developing .856 OPS in his short stay in Syracuse. They've brought up two very impressive young pitchers, Brandon Lyon and Bobby File, and last year's fifth pick -- right-hander Mike Smith out of the University of Richmond -- already is in Double-A and 6-1 with a 2.09 ERA and a 67/24 strikeout/walk ratio in 86 innings. This year's no. 1 pick, Auburn OF Gabe Gross, shot through the system to Double-A and hit three homers in his first eight games, while former Yankee No. 1 pick Tyrell Godwin is healthy, energized and hitting .384 with a 1.034 OPS in the New York-Penn League.
Older brother Nomar did a lot of the work to get Michael Garciaparra's contract done with the Mariners. This winter, Nomar plans to have Michael live with him in Arizona and do his superhuman workout regime.
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