February: How they rank

Previous ranking in parentheses:

1. San Francisco (1): Here’s gratitude for you: Manager Bruce Bochy says playoff hero Cody Ross may hit eighth. Still higher than Aaron Rowand.

2. N.Y. Yankees (2): Andy Pettitte coming to New York to sign autographs on Feb. 15. Too bad GM Brian Cashman can’t get Pettitte’s autograph on a contract.

3. Boston (3): Red Sox manager Terry Francona says he plans to DH David Ortiz vs. lefties (against whom he hit .222 and slugged .324 last year) this year, that “for David to be successful, you can’t just sit him.” Yo, Terry. For Ortiz to be successful vs. lefties, he’d have to be 10 years younger. 

4. Philadelphia (4):  Opportunity knocks. Andy Pettitte retires, Phillies dangle Joe Blanton.

 5. Atlanta (5): Braves sign veteran Rodrigo Lopez to a minor-league contract, assuring inexperienced Mike Minor a spot in the rotation. 

6. Texas (6):  Rangers sign starting pitcher David Bush to a minor-league contract, which only seems natural since George W. Bush (no relation) once owned the team.

7. Tampa Bay (15): Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon reprise 2004 Red Sox in Tampa Bay. Somewhere, Pedro Martinez’s ears perk up.

8. Minnesota (7): Twins to retire Bert Blyleven’s No. 28 this summer. If he’s a Hall of Famer, and he goes in this July, why did it take almost 20 years to retire his number?

9. Cincinnati (8): Reds avoid arbitration by signing Edinson Volquez; not sure what kind of case Volquez would have presented, given that he’s only pitched 112.1 innings over the last two seasons.

10. Milwaukee (9): Brewers sign weak-hitting outfielder Mark Kotsay, spoil what had been a good offseason.

11. St. Louis (10): Cardinals invite Jim Edmonds to spring training, even though GM John Mozeliak says they’re taking Edmonds’ word he’s physically ready. Edmonds surely thinks he’s in good shape, but he’s 40 — good shape compared to what?

12. Detroit (13): GM Dave Dombrowski said Tigers would consider signing Jeremy Bonderman if Bonderman drops demand for a major-league contract. Seems only fair, given that the Tigers just paid him $25 million in 2009-10 for 181 innings with an ERA of more than 5.50.

13. Colorado (12): Remember all those good words Rockies had for Jose Lopez after signing him as a free agent? Forget ’em. Now they’re trying to trade him for the suddenly-available Michael Young.

14. Chicago White Sox (11): Jermaine Dye said he’s likely to retire. There’s news. He was still active? 

15. Toronto (14): Hope Mike Napoli enjoyed his four days with the Jays. Came for Vernon Wells, left for Frank Francisco.

16. Oakland (16): Eric Chavez leaves A’s after 13 years, signs with Yankees. Chavez hit 230 home runs for A’s but just 18 in 571 at-bats in last four injury-riddled seasons, for which he was paid $45 million.

17. Chicago Cubs (17): Cubs sign Villanova outfielder/wide receiver Matt Szczur, pay him $1.4 million, no doubt since last wide receiver/baseball player they threw millions at (Jeff Samardzjia) worked out so well.

18. San Diego (18): Padres new first-base coach is Dave Roberts, less than a year removed from a bout with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Think good thoughts for the man who stole the most important base in Red Sox history.

19. L.A. Angels (19): Angels discussed deal for Carlos Beltran, opted for Vernon Wells; if they were going to overpay an outfielder, they wanted to do so for one not on the DL.

20. Florida (20): Marlins forced to move series vs. Mariners to Seattle because of a U2 concert. Should have played after the concert — crowd of stragglers would have been their biggest of season.

21. L.A. Dodgers (21): Dodgers will wear throwback jerseys from Brooklyn for six games this year. That’s fitting since fans frequently refer to them these days as ”dem Bums.”

22. Houston (22): Astros forced to cancel March 31 exhibition game because it falls on Opening Day. If only they had that option for the regular season.

23. N.Y. Mets (23): SI.com’s Jon Heyman says Mets will cut drain-on-payroll Oliver Perez if he has a bad spring training. After ERAs of 6.82 and 6.80, what are the chances of that? 

24. Washington (24):  Nats minor league catcher Adrian Nieto suspended 50 games after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug. Didn’t help much — he only hit .195 and slugged .253 last year.

25. Kansas City (25): GM Dayton Moore signs Pedro Feliz on the cheap, then says he’ll have “an opportunity to compete.” Yo, Dayton. The man hit .218 last year and has a .698 career OPS. “Competing” is not what he does.

26. Baltimore (26): Orioles placed pitcher Alfredo Simon, charged with murder, on restricted list. We’re presuming being denied bail makes one “restricted.”

27. Arizona (27): D’backs say they’re not likely to use a humidor at home games this year. If you’re going to win 70 games, better for the gate if you lose 10-8 than 4-2.

28. Cleveland (28):  Indians interested in Kevin Millwood, who was 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA last year. Sounds like a perfect fit. 

29. Pittsburgh (30): Only thing rarer than a Cheesehead in Pittsburgh this weekend is talk of the Pirates.

30. Seattle (29): Mariners invited mediocre outfielders Gabe Gross, Jody Gerut and Ryan Langerhans to spring training. It’s hard for 61-win teams to get worse, but Mariners managed.

Suggested Link

Should Yankees trade for Zito?

Kindly old Burt Shotton: Jackie Robinson’s first manager

They said it

  • “The Mets’ best defense in Madoff suit: We signed Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo to $60m deals — and WE were supposed to sniff out Ponzi scheme?” — Buster Olney on Twitter
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