Greetings from Pittsburgh, where I’ll be writing columns about the Jets this weekend. For those of you who may live in this area year-round: Wow. It’s really, really cold here. Kudos to all of you for not freezing on a daily basis.
Anyway, there have been some – what’s a nice way to say it? – interesting moves over the past few days, no? From an AL East standpoint, two things jump out at me:
1. If you’re a Yankees fan, you should probably start worrying more about the Blue Jays. Not because they’re going to be making much noise this year, necessarily, but because GM Alex Anthopoulous is the real deal. Anyone who can get Vernon Wells’s contract traded is a borderline miracle-worker in my book.
2. The Rays seem like they’re conducting their offseason in a time machine. Look, could they strike gold with Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez? Sure. They could. As a value play I like Manny at $2 million more than Damon at $5 million-plus but in both cases there’s a reasonable chance that the Rays end up with two big names who don’t produce much (or, in Manny’s case, simply stop showing up to play). I understand it’s a hard time in Tampa right now and nobody goes to the games, but I’m not so sure that these two guys – once you get past the initial name value – will do much to help stabilize the franchise.
It’s also worth noting that, if you’re upset about how little the Yankees have done this offseason it could be worse – you could be an Angels fan. I’m sure GM Tony Reagins has some kind of reasonable explanation for wanting to take Vernon Wells from Toronto (I mean, he does hit for power sometimes) but that contract is just indefensible. Put it this way: The Angels will end up spending slightly more on Wells than they were planning to spend on Carl Crawford. I’m not a scout or anything, but that doesn’t seem like it makes a whole lot of sense.
* Those are AP shots of 2004-version Manny and Johnny.