Spring is in the air. What better way than to take a look at the happenings around Spring Training? Pitchers and catchers reported earlier this week and position players are soon to follow. Follow me, as I take a look around at the early story lines as camp gets going.
- After failing to reach a contract by his self imposed deadline of noon on Wednesday, Albert Pujols has arrived at camp “better than ever” and he “wants to be a Cardinal forever” according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (on Twitter). In the event that Pujols reaches free agency thankfully, Pujols says he will not announce his decision on a TV special like NBA superstar LeBron James did, according to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan (Twitter).
- The Toronto Blue Jays and RF/3B Jose Bautista are close to agreeing to a five-year contract extension worth close to $65 million, a source told ESPNdeportes.com. Bautista, 30, requested a salary of $10.5 million for 2011, while the club offered $7.6 million. Bautista has a .244 career batting average with five teams in his seven-year MLB career but is coming off a dream season in which he led the majors with 54 homers and was selected to his first All-Star team.
- The Texas Rangers fully expect displaced veteren infielder Michael Young to report to Spring Training in the coming days. Young, who was the Rangers’ starting third baseman before Adrian Beltre was signed in early January, seemed like he would adapt to the new role as designated hitter and super utility infielder, backing up at first, second, third and short. Young last spoke publicly on February 7 and said: “I want to be traded because I’ve been misled and manipulated, and I’m sick of it.” Other teams that have been involved in trade chatter include the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Florida Marlins. However, possessing a $16 million contract this year makes trade talk difficult.
- In St. Lucie County, Fla., Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera was arrested on charges of DUI and resisting arrest without violence. The officer on scene observed Cabrera take a drink out of a bottle of James Buchanan Scotch and when he spoke, his eyes were bloodshot and watery and his speech was accented and heavily slurred. This isn’t Cabrera’s first run in with alcohol. At the end of the 2009 season, Cabrera ended up in a Michigan jail after his wife called police because the two were arguing and he was inebriated. Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com says Cabrerra’s DUI leaves doubt around him.
I know the Joba Chamberlain starter-vs-reliever debate has gotten old, but I also know plenty of people still have questions about the decision, and both Brian Cashman and Chamberlain talked about it today.
- Chad Jennings of the Journal News and the LoHud Yankees Blog has gotten a few quotes together and I thought I’d share them. The debate is old and tiresome but its interesting to hear perspectives from both sides.
Brian Cashman: On vcelocity changes since the shoulder injury: “He used to throw 95-plus from pitch one as a starter. He doesn’t do that now. But he can do that out of the bullpen. And that also happens with the evolution of players regardless. Some guys come out of the minor leagues throwing gas, and eventually in their mid 20s start to settle in, and their stuff backs off over time. It could be that too.”
Joba Chamberlain: Is there frustration in being assigned this role? “No. I’m still fighting for a job on this team. Like I said, I don’t care what it is. If they feel like I’m a better fit to help us win in the bullpen, I’m not going to sit here and argue and stomp my feet like a little kid and pout about it. I’ve got the opportunity to win a job and help us have one of the best bullpens in baseball. I’ve got to take that and not worry about what the other stuff is.”