NADY, BABY

     The title says it all.  This guy has made Minaya look like a genius.  Now, it would be very easy to sit back and say that I knew that he would be great and the next big star and yada yada yada, but that’s not what I do (except when I’m right, which is often…ok, leaving my ego aside…now.)  But Omar was very clever in pulling off this deal.  I mean, Mike Cameron?  On the DL, on the other side of 30, and unhappy with his position (in New York).  Now look at Nady, still in his late 20s, good power, without a position.  All he needed was a chance for an everyday job, and Minaya provided that.  He has quickly become a fan favorite (especially of yours truly), and may be an unexpected season surprise for the Metropolitans.  So hats off to him, and here’s hoping he keeps it up (he hit one as I wrote this entry).  2-1 in the 2nd, so this may be a high scoring game, but so far, so good.  Nady, baby (as I will say for whenever he hits a homer or drives in a run, in the false hope that it may catch on…well, you never know, I mean, I still remember when every Mets win was followed by "Who Let The Dogs Out"…hey, whatever happened to that song?)  Anyway,

Delao, out.

Jackie Robinson Stadium

     Hello all.  It’s been quite a while since I last posted, I apologize for that.  I’m writing tonight not to speak about the Mets (although you have to admit they have been Amazin’ so far, despite a 2-1 loss tonight.)  I am writing because of an idea I first heard about last week, that has won me over.

     For those of you outside of New York who may not be aware, the Mets are making plans to build a new stadium by 2009.  The plan has already been approved by the state, and has a lease to hold the Mets in New York until 2049.  Preliminary design plans are to have the park be very reminiscent of Ebbets Field.  There will be less seats (actually, about 10,000 seats will be lost, give or take), but the park will be state-of-the-art, and similar to newer parks such as Camden Yards.  What caught my attention, though, was a proposal for a new name for the stadium, which as of now is known as New Shea Stadium, until a permanent name is approved.  The name, first proposed by editors at the New York Post, have asked for the stadium to be named: Jackie Robinson Stadium.

     In an era where corporations have placed their moniker on every object from here to the moon, I have been horrified at some of the developments that have come around.  The latest one: AT&T Park, in San Francisco.  How can you even utter that to friends and family?  "Come on son, we’re going to the ballpark!"  "OOO Daddy, what’s it called??"  "AT&T Park, my boy."  "…I think I’ll pass."  AT&T Park?!?!  What has the world come to?  It’s bad enough that walking through New York feels like one gigantic awful commercial, must I now be subjected to the same horror to go to a ballgame?  "Come on Jim, let’s head on down to Microsoft Stadium, I hear they’re giving away promotional bumper stickers with their name plastered all over!" 

     This brings me to Jackie Robinson Stadium.  This needs to be jumped on immediately.  Jackie Robinson was more than a player.  He was a symbol for great things in life.  What can you say about a man that helped a country confront something as powerful as racism?  Before Brown vs. Board of Topeka, Jackie Robinson helped to begin breaking the color barrier.  He actually was not the first black man to play in the major leagues; that honor went to an 1800s player named Moses Fleetwood Walker.  Robinson, however, is perhaps one of, if not the most easily recognized figures in baseball history.  Strictly from a baseball standpoint, Robinson was incredible.  In a mere 10 seasons, Robinson held a career average of .311.  He had 137 home runs and 734 RBIs.  In his rookie season, he hit .297 and led the National League in stolen bases, winning the first ever Rookie of the Year award.  He also has 19 steals of home plate, a record no one has touched since before World War II.  In his short ten years, though, Robinson defined a generation.  The fact that I, a person of a mere 19 years, can speak of Robinson in such admirable terms, speaks volumes about his impact.  Players of his generation noted that no one played with as much ferocity and determination as Robinson.  Also notable was his incredible loyalty.  In 1957, after being traded to the rival Giants, Robinson decided to retire.  Not much chance of that happening in this generation, when the almighty dollar holds precedence over loyalty and your team (look no farther then the Bronx, where Johnny Damon traded in his beard and long locks for pinstripes and an ‘N Sync look.)  Robinson represented so much; Strength, determination, loyalty, heart, respect, and the belief that one man can make a difference.  In the fight for civil rights, Robinson stands as a symbol for what men can accomplish. 

     It is with all this in mind that I believe the Mets must name their new ballpark Jackie Robinson Stadium.  As the team created to replace the Dodgers, the Mets hold the legend of the Brooklyn Dodgers with them, notably Robinson.  The Mets were the first team in baseball to honor Jackie Robinson day, a trend that now occurs throughout the Major Leagues.  Robinson’s memory lives on even today, almost 60 years after he changed the country by playing a game.  The least we can do to honor the memory of Robinson is to make a monument to him in the form of the Mets’ new stadium, a tribute to a man that was truly above the game.

De Lao.

Back Again

     Hello all.  It has been quite a while since I have blogged, and some things have happened since my last post.  For some unusual reason, I was unable to log into my MLBlogs account, and therefore unable to write until tonight.  As for my other blog, unfortunately MetsDaily was unable to continue running.  If anyone checked out the site (and my articles), I appreciate your support.  Anyway, I am going to try and get back into the flow of writing, so let’s go with two stories: one that should be the bigger story of the day, and the one that descended over.

     First, the one that should have been the big story yesterday: the World Baseball Classic.  I will admit immediately, I was not a supporter of the WBC.  I felt that it was too much of a distraction for the players, and that there were too many obstacles in the way of making the tournament work.  Yesterday, however, I could not help but notice that game 1, Venezuela versus the Dominican Republic, was on.  Feeling the bite of curiosity (and craving some form of baseball), I decided to check it out.  The game won me over.  It was a joy to watch the players dueling it out in this game.  I even found myself rooting for Venezuela to make a comeback against the D.R.  It was a rush to see a meaningful game in March.  Filled with baseball joy, I decided to tune in to ESPN2 and watch my team, the US, battle Mexico.  An avid fan of fĂștbol, I know all about our rivalry with Mexico, and I was hoping to see some of that intensity in the game.  Sadly, I was disappointed.  A 2-0 game, with no fireworks at all, a complete snoozer. 

     The WBC has potential to be a fantastic tournament.  A World Cup style tournament showing off the best players in the world, with pride and a true World Championship on the line.  Unfortunately, the team filled with most of the big stars, the USA, was the team that did not showcase anything other than their new jerseys.  They looked just as many had predicted, playing through a Spring Training game.  There is something to be learned from the D.R. and Venezuela, and that is pride.  Both those teams played their hearts out, arguing over calls, getting pumped up, making big plays (how great it was to watch Pujols make that sliding play into first…that will become his equivalent of the Jeter flip-and-throw from the hole) and looking to win.  The US came as though they were forced to be there.  And it is true that, in a way, they were.  But it is time to overlook that.  The World Baseball Classic is here, and with Selig at the helm, it is here to stay.  So why does the US continue to play as though the world championship is automatically?  Tonight, the US found itself victim to an energized Team Canada, losing 8-6.  That score is only respectable because of a Jason Varitek grand slam in the 5th.  Maybe they are filled with stars, but Team USA has played like anything but so far.  If any team should be holding an 8-0 score, it’s USA.  This is only the first round, and it is only Canada scoring 8 runs.  What will happen if the US moves on and has to face Venezuela’s fantastic pitching?  Or WORSE, a true Murderer’s row that features in the 3-4-5 spots Tejada, Pujols and Ortiz?  Latin players are beginning to take over baseball, and there is a reason.  They play with their hearts.  They hold a great deal of pride in the players they produce, and hold love for their country.  They know what the World Baseball Classic means.  The US team better learn soon, or they may not make it out of Round 1.

       This is long, I know, so I will wrap up with the story that consumed all newspaper back pages today, "Game of Shadows."  It is the final chapter in a long and sordid saga named Barry Bonds.  I remember when I first became interested in baseball: 1998.  With two men chasing what everyone called one of the greatest records in baseball, how could you resist?  I fell into the McGwire-Sosa chase of Roger Maris, like everyone else.  My love of baseball was based on it.  As time has passed, though, I have grown older, and wiser.  I have learned about the darker side of the game, and I have seen how duped we all were.  It all really hit home that one day.  The words still linger in my mind when I think of the big stars that have now retired: "I am not here to talk about the past."  "I want to make this clear: I did not use steroids.  Ever.  Period.  ::Shakes finger::"  What was that, hmm, Winstrol what?  Yes, so much for oaths in front of Congress.  Now, the final strike.  I have never liked Barry Bonds.  For a man that has been on top of the baseball world, he always struck me with his arrogance and air of greatness.  False greatness, it now seems.  The worst part?  He was already a legend.  At the rate he was going, he would have still made it into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.  Now?  If he does get in, it may be the last time I hold baseball in high regard.  And I’m not alone.  Legions of baseball fans have declared that they never want to see Barry in Cooperstown unless he pays the 15 bucks to walk in with a ticket.  Now, this book may be the final obstacle.  If it is true, then Barry took a wicked mutation cocktail of steroids that would have made Steve Urkel capable of lifting a Mack truck.  From the end of the 1998 season to 2004.  How convenient, what great timing.  Maybe it is baseball’s fault that steroids became so rampant among players, but it is now time to clean it up.  What better dose of reality could there be than taking the most feared hitter in baseball and leaving him out in the cold?  It’s harsh, but it’s necessary.  Barry broke every rule and tradition in baseball, and flaunted his abuse of the fans’ feelings.  Well, now is the time to pay.  Boot him out of the game, permanently.  Let him be a warning to future players of what could happen when the wrong choice is made: at least his career would have some meaning.  And that’s all I have to say about him.  Til next time, dear readers

De Lao, out.

A Salute to Mike

     Hey all.  I’ve got a topic on my mind, so I’m going to skip my usual introductions and get right to it.

          Contrary to the opinion of most of my friends, I have not always been a baseball fan.  In fact, I was not much of a baseball fan until the late 90’s.  My father had always tried to get me into baseball- told stories about Nails and Mookie and Keith Hernandez and that little squibber that somehow squeaked right through Bill Buckner’s legs.  He took me to games, and I always had a fun time, but I never really cared too much about the game.  All I knew was that the Yankees were the bad guys and the Mets were the good guys.  Other than that, I didn’t know anything, nor did I try to learn more…until Mike came along.

          My old school friends were into baseball, and they were all Yankees fans.  All day long they would go on about Jeter and Knoblauch and Posada, and how the Yankees were the greatest and how no one could ever beat them.  I barely knew anything about the game, but I already knew that I hated the Yankees.  All day long, every single day, Yankees, Yankees, Yankees, yada yada yada.  I hardly ever heard anything about the Mets, or any other team.  Then, one day, I heard guys talking about the other team.  Big news, they said.  A new guy had joined the Mets, and he was supposed to be really good.  Had a weird name, I remember thinking.  Sounded like pizza.  Little did I know how this player would change my life.

         Mike Piazza may have the best swing I have ever been witness to.  It’s so crisp and clean.  I remember getting chills every time I watched him play.  That big swing, the quick freeze-frame pose as he whacked that poor baseball, the crack of the bat as it connected, and the roar in Flushing as everyone watched another Mikey home run.  I swear, sometimes I think the roar of the crowd (myself included) was louder than any plane that happened to be flying over Shea at the same moment.  I would always flip out whenever he came to the plate.  I finally understood what baseball was about. 

          2000.  I learned just in time.  Say what you want about the Mets- they may be lazy at times.  They may fall short of that grand prize at the end.  Take all of those points…and throw them out.  When they play, it never matters.  All you know is that if they win, it’s going to be very entertaining.  The Mets always found the most interesting ways to win.  Benny Agbayani’s 13th-inning shot against the Giants in Game 3 of the 2000 NLDS.  The Mets dominating the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2000 NLCS.  How about Robin Ventura’s one and only grand slam single in the 1999 NLCS against the Braves?  The Mets always made games fun to watch.  You just couldn’t help but root for them.  They’re the middle children of New York.  With the Yanks, all the attention is on the Yankees.  Prim, proper, and cold, the Yankees define baseball as a corporation.  There’s no feeling, no passion.  For a team that claims to be all about history, the Yankees sure play like they have amnesia.  The only thing one their mind is winning.  The Mets are the underdogs.  Scrappy, gritty, and fun. they play the game.  They play the game the way it’s meant to be played.  Maybe they fall short of winning the Series, but in the end, you felt great watching them. 

          Mike made that happen every season.  Every at-bat, I would wait for Mikey to make something happen.  He was the Mets, plain and simple.  When you were asked to name the first Met that came to your mind, and the answer was usually Mike Piazza.  Don’t get me wrong, Mike wasn’t the only Met anyone cared about.  Everyone on that 2000 team was amazing.  Al Leiter, Robin Ventura, Benny, Mikey, Fonzie, Zeile, Joey Mac (Super Joe!), Rey, Jay, Derek Bell, Rick, ****, even Armando…even though he caused heart palpitations every time he toed the rubber.  They were all amazing, but Mikey was Amazin’.  He defined an era, and is the one that won me over for baseball.  Now that he has gone back to the West Coast, I’ve looked back on what Mike Piazza meant to me, and it’s staggering.  The first player I ever considered to be my favorite, Mike made me love baseball, and made me a Mets’ fan now and forever.  For that, I am always thankful.  Maybe it’s not much, but this is my small way of saying thank you Mike, for all the memories.  Good luck to you in San Diego, and when you get to Cooperstown, here’s to the Mets’ cap you’ll sport.  Till next time,

De Lao, out.         

Bucs in 06

Greetings, dear readers.  Hope that all is good with you.  A new year is officially in gear, and it’s getting tough to write on a very frequent basis, but I’ll give it the old college try.  Just writing about two brief things today.  First: the rotation of the Mets is not weaker.  Kris Benson was an average starter, and odds are he will not fare any better in the AL East, where hitters may as well be swinging axes at pitchers.  The usual trend: pitchers that go from the NL to the AL watch their numbers fly up.  Just look at Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright- even before their injuries, they were not performing at the level the Yankees anticipated.  And at 31, Benson is not exactly a spring chicken.  Fading into the later part of his career, it’s unlikely (although possible) that Benson will stay on par with his record, if not begin to decline.  As for the Mets, Heilman has proven himself as an efficient pitcher.  He has a nasty change, and when it’s on batters will have a lot of trouble hitting it.  He was almost untouchable in the second half of 2005, and yet was wasting away in the bullpen.  Now he will get the chance to prove himself as a starter, and expect him to perform as well- or better- than Kris Benson.  And besides…at least Mets’ fans won’t have to wonder when Carlos Delgado will assault Benson because of his wife.

     Second, a shameless plug.  My writing at MetsDaily continues, and for those interested, I have put up my preview of the 2006 Pittsburgh Pirates.  Here is the link: 2006 National League Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates, and if anyone has comments (or criticisms), leave any comments you want here at the blog.  Till next time.

De Lao, out.

That Little Itch

     Hello, dear readers.  Well, finally, a little something happening on the market.  Today, the Mets traded Jae Seo and Tim Humalack (hope I spelled that right) to the L.A. Dodgers for relievers Duaner Sanchez and Steve Schmoll.  This deal was fairly surprising, considering the amount of media hype on a four-team deal for Danys Baez and you-know-who (I refuse to name the left fielder, he’s aggravated me enough this season.)  Well, at least we can put that rumor to rest.  And we can put the Danys Baez talk to rest, as well (So much for my prediction…I’m going to keep count from now on, but if I had to guess my predictions have the same track record as Pete Rose’s attempts to get into the Hall of Fame after being banned for life.)  Why did the deal fall through?  Simple: No one likes the D-Rays.  No one.  Not even Tampa fans.  Well, that’s getting carried away.  But GM’s certainly don’t like the D-Rays management.  They always seem to get caught up in some stupid angle in a deal.  Take this one, for example.  The Mets had a package ready for Baez that was centered around Jae Seo.  It was a fair deal, odds are.  Even the D-Rays acknowledged that a deal could be made.
     But then, there it is…that little itch (as Edward Burns said in "Confidence"…he may be a bad actor, but he had it right with that line.)  The Devil Rays decide that the deal isn’t good enough.  They want Aaron Heilman.  They need Aaron Heilman.  They will not make the deal unless Aaron Heilman is included.  They have been trying to snare Heilman away for quite a while, and it seemed as though they finally realized that they would not be able to get him.  They seemed to come to their senses, and were talking about building a package for Seo.  But no, there’s that itch.  So what happens?  The deal dies.  The Mets do the right thing and move to a more sensible trade.  They get rid of Seo, who was valuable, but not as valuable as Heilman, and pick up exactly what they need: A set-up man, and a young promising one, at that.  Instead of getting a 32-year-old closer who was not willing to convert to set-up, they get a 25-year-old, who has been improving since debuting in 2002 with Pittsburgh.  Last season, he held an ERA of 3.73 in 82 innings pitched.  He finished the season in the closer’s role.  As a set-up man in 2004, his ERA was 3.38, a fine ERA for an 8th inning man.  He holds batters to an average of .248, and has some nasty pitches (which I will not reveal, since that would just be wrong.)  A fine pickup for the Mets, and it gives them a rather decent, if not formidable, bullpen (for the National League, anyway.)
     The real deal, though, was made today, as well.  It’s one that probably won’t get very much attention, but it is a fantastic deal.  Today, the Mets signed Bret Boone to a minor league deal, along with an invitation to Spring Training.  A risk, no doubt, but…consider it a calculated risk.  Sometimes, players need a second chance.  Boone was once an All-Star caliber player (literally: All Star second baseman, 1998, 2001, 2003.)  He is also Gold Glove caliber (again, literally: 1998, 2002-2004.)  His production has fallen dramatically in the past two seasons, and no one knows if he can have another season like he used to.  There’s something about him, though, as Omar Minaya said today.  He is a gutsy, good ballplayer, and he may be a welcome addition to the team.  He is sure to give Kaz Matsui a run for his money, though.  Maybe that’s what Kaz needs- a little poke in his backside to motivate him.  Since his poor play wasn’t motivation enough, nor the many, many, many…many boos that rained at Shea, maybe job risk will get him to improve play.  In the meantime, I will root for Bret to make a miracle comeback.  It would go along perfectly with the Amazins’ brand of play.  Here’s dreaming.  That’s all for now, dear readers.  Til’ next time.
De Lao, out.

1 month, 14 days, 1 hour, 40 minutes

     Hello everyone, and Happy New Year to all.  I hope you are all having a good holiday, and I wish all of you the best for the upcoming year.  For those of you who have wondered where I have been, I have no explanation.  I have been writing for MetsDaily.com, which is a wonderful site that all fans should check out (SHAMELESS PLUG!)  Aside from that, I just have not had the time to blog.  For those of you wondering about the lame, un-creative name that has now been attached to my blog, that does have an explanation: Edward Rosenthal.  Turns out, it’s not exactly legal to use J. Peterman in the title, and seeing that this is just a small fan forum, I would be very happy to avoid any legal action.  My apologies to Mr. Peterman and his catalog, and I assure all, the use was inadvertent.  K, there’s my little spiel, time to get back to blogging.
    Actually, I am not quite sure what to blog on.  I wonder how many of you have that same feeling of anticipation that I do.  All the major free agents have signed, big trades have happened, and the remaining players are slowly settling into their new locations and futures.  It’s quiet now.  All that’s left to do is wait.  Oh sure, there still is you-know-who.  Indeed, the Daily News is spreading rumors about a possible 4-way trade that would have Manny Ramirez AND Danys Baez arriving in Flushing.  Personally, I think it’s more likely that Tom Cruise would campaign for the Republican party in the next presidential election.  If anything, the trades will be done one-on-one.  Look for these trades (if any at all happen) to go down: Miguel Tejada to the Red Sox for Matt Clement and Manny Ramirez; Danys Baez to the Mets for a package headed by Jae Seo.  Watch out for this, though: The Chicago Cubs are making a play for Miguel Tejada.  They looked into what it would take to gain him, and Orioles GM John Hendry replied with two words: Mark Prior.  Naturally, the Cubs balked, but discussions are growing.  Do not be surprised (if talks stale with the Sox or if Tejada grows even more disenchanted with the O’s) if the Cubs manage to snare Miggy and even prospect Erik Bedard.  The Cubs can win the World Series.  Now, hold your horses.  Don’t think I’m jumping on any bandwagon or dismissing my Mets already.  I’m just saying- the way they’re built, with all their pitching, and decent hitting…they could pull it off.  Unless that curse is for real.
     Danys Baez will wind up with the Mets, mark my words.  One way or another, Baez will be the set-up man.  The only question is, how much will the Mets pay for him?  Wow…I can actually see this one coming back to smack in the face when the season begins.
    I wonder: Are there any Pirates fans out there?  If there are any Pirates fans reading this, I have a general question for all of you, which you can answer by leaving a comment: How do you feel the Pirates will do this year?  I like the moves they made, and I actually believe that they are going to be a surprise team in 2006.  Problem is, I’m in New York and I don’t have a great bead on fans opinions.  I’d love to hear some takes on how the Pirates will do next year.
    Well, that’s all I can come up with for now.  Til next time, dear readers.
De Lao, out.

Breaking News!! Damon to Yankees

     Et tu, Brute?  Oh….a dagger in the heart of Red Sox fans everywhere.  Johnny Damon, heart and soul of the Boston Red Sox, and the leadoff hitter/sparkplug of the Boston offense, has jumped ship.  The turncoat has signed a 4-year, $52 million deal with the rival New York Yankees.  He fills the one glaring hole in the Yankees’ lineup at center field, and provides a leadoff hitter to bat in front of Derek Jeter.  The Yankees lineup is now projected to be: Damon, Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Gary Sheffield, Hideki Matsui, Jason Giambi, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano and either Bubba Crosby or Kenny Stinnett as DH.  I made a prediction that whoever landed Damon would win the AL East, and now I must hold to that prediction, for I believe it to be true.  With Damon, the Yankees get that much better.  Sprinkle a little Octavio Dotel, and the Yankees look primed to win for an 11th straight season.  Meanwhile, the Sox have been stabbed right through the heart.  Word is they are looking into landing Jeremy Reed from the Seattle Mariners as a replacement, but no one can replace what Damon offered.  The Evil Empire strikes again…and you thought they weren’t going to make any moves.  Til’ next time, dear readers.

De Lao, out.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

     Hello all, hope you’re having  great holiday season.  Wish I could say the same, but I spent today getting bustled about in Barnes and Noble and Virgin Megastore in downtown NYC, just to hand over 101 dollars in exchange for three items.  100 dollars.  3 items.  Grr, stupid commercialism.  Anyway, all is not bad.   Bob Klapisch of ESPN wonders if the Mets are now the best team in New York, and who can argue?  Yankees: re-signed Hideki Matsui; signed Kyle Farnsworth; uhh…  Mets: signed Pedro Martinez; signed Carlos Beltran; traded for Carlos Delgado; signed Billy Wagner; traded for Paul Lo Duca; signed Julio Franco; signed Jose Valentin.  The only thing they did not do was trade for Manny, and quite frankly, they don’t need him.  They should be focusing more on pitching, which is where they’re looking at.  They’re looking at Julian Tavarez, and are considering trading Aaron Heilman for Danys Baez.  When the Mets are ready to trade away one of their best pitchers or pitching prospects…why are the D-Rays always at the other end of the equation?  I still have recurring nightmares of Scott Kazmir laughing at us in Tampa Bay.  Anyway, for those of you wondering where I’ve been…it hasn’t been here.  Two reasons: 1) MLBlogs didn’t let me access my page, for who knows what reason; and 2) I have begun to write for a Mets site called MetsDaily.com  We provide great insights on the team, as well as have up to the minute news and info for any deals done.  I highly recommend it for Mets fans out there.  The address is www.metsdaily.com.  Hope to see you there.  Until next time.
De Lao, out

Deals, Deals, Deals: Including a catcher- Lo Duca a Met

     Deals all around as the hot stove is still going crazy.  First, a breaking news item.  The New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Mets have solved their catching dilemma, acquiring Paul Lo Duca from the Florida Marlins, in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Gaby Hernandez, and a player to be named later.  Lo Duca finished this past season with a .283 average, 6 home runs, and 85 RBIs.  Not quite a power threat, Lo Duca is still a solid player who usually puts up good numbers.  The move is interesting, considering that there were two other prime catchers on the free agent market, in Bengie Molina and Ramon Hernandez.  Perhaps a deal could have been reached with either one (both of whom are younger-Lo Duca is 33), and Hernandez could have been saved for another deal.  As for the Marlins, the departure of stars continues.  Lo Duca now joins Carlos Delgado, Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell as a former Marlin.  He is also the second to be dealt to the Mets, along with Delgado.  What happens next?  The Marlins have a deal close to ready that would send center fielder Juan Pierre to the New York Yankees.  The Marlins want Robinson Cano, though, so this deal is not ready as is.  Count on Pierre to be the next to go, though.
    Elsewhere…the Cleveland Indians signed Paul Byrd to a 2-year, 14.25 million dollar deal.  Byrd did a great job with the Anaheim Angels last season, and looks to bolster the Indians rotation even further.  Wow, can’t wait to see Cleveland/Chicago next season…Another division rival gets dealt with a blow.  Rafael Furcal has shunned the Atlanta Braves and signed a 3-year, 39.5 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Braves will now need to hunt for a new shortstop and leadoff man…til next time, dear readers.

De Lao, out.