The early skinny is that James Shields has made a huge impression on his new Kansas City Royals teammates and overseers, from his tenacious competitiveness to his expertise at spiking teammates’ golf bags with random exploding golf balls on a team outing. This must mean the Royals are sighing with very heavy relief—because, according to Fox’s Ken Rosenthal, the Royals almost lost out on Shields . . . to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who had a package prepared that would have sent some prospects to the Tampa Bay Rays, Shields to the Snakes, and Wade Davis to the Texas Rangers.
When the Los Angeles Dodgers announced Sandy Koufax would return to the team officially, as an advisor to chairman Mark Walter and a spring instructor, it seemed as though the move would be as much a spiritual move as anything else. But when Koufax arrived at the Dodgers’ camp Sunday, forget spiritual.
It’s been several days since he said it, and I’m still trying to determine whether or not Melky Cabrera was kidding around. Forget that the San Francisco Giants decided he would have one. Cabrera said he deserved one for giving “everything to that organisation.”
The question before the house is what if anything did Cabrera do for the World Series ring he’s going to get, essentially, for being persona non grata as the Giants ground, clawed, pushed, shoved, parried, thrusted, and rose from the dead (more than once) to win it.
Spring is here. No, silly, not according to the calendar, according to baseball. The camps are about to open in earnest. (The pitchers and catchers are there already.) And, the storylines, impregnated by the winter’s doings and undoings, are pregnant with possibilities and prospects. Herewith a few as I see them:
As the latest contretemps involving Alex Rodriguez continues winding (or unwinding, as the case may well be) toward somewhere, Hal Steinbrenner, perhaps inadvertently, allowed to slip a hint that maybe, just maybe, the Yankees are learning in in-house cultural terms to deal with baseball’s, and any sport’s, least repealable law.
The Empire Emeritus and its managing general partner may pledge to cooperate with baseball government’s probe into Boschgate (“But other than that, there’s not much to say”), and they may be pondering ways to divest themselves of Rodriguez’s presence and its baggage, actual or alleged. But they may also be learning the hard way the lesson Steinbrenner’s larger-than-life father didn’t always seem have known.