Today we have Zack Greinke scaring the bejeebus out of Los Angeles County, the Yankees expanding their infielder search to the nearly dead, and the Friars opting for the wait-then-trade approach. Also, the Yankees added another right-handed hitting outfielder, David Ortiz's return is looking iffy, and Johan Santana is unhappy for some reason.
Finally, a brief discussion on cover songs.
The Big Three
1. I'm not even a Dodgers fan and my heart stopped a little bit when I heard that Zack Greinke was flying to LA to have his elbow tested. I think it was more of an "Oh my God I can't believe the Angels wanted to sign him!" type of overreaction, but there was definite heart stoppage nonetheless. A bum elbow is just about the worst news that any pitcher can get, and I'm sure Ned Colletti and his rag-tag gang of millionaires will do a collective facepalm if it turns out to be serious (early indications are that it's just some swelling). Yes, the Dodgers have a plethora of back-up options if Greinke does go down, but that doesn't really soften the blow of doling out $20+ million for a seat-filler. There's no knowing what was going through Greinke's mind on his way to California, but one imagines there was a bit of frustration and worry about not being able to take the hill come April. Let's hope he'll be alright.
2. Oh boy, this is getting kind of ridiculous. I'll give Brian Cashman some points for creativity, but it's hard not to look at his latest foray into finding a new corner infielder a move of incredible desperation. The newly lame Yankees GM has reached out to three recent retirees -- Chipper Jones, Scott Rolen, and Derrek Lee -- about joining the Bombers for at least the first part of the season. While any one of the three is probably a better option than what's available on the open market, the likelihood that they'll suit back up for essentially a few months of playing time seems highly unlikely. Rolen is probably the best bet to give the Bronx a try, but it seems that he's pretty set on getting more than $4 million for his services, which is a lot for half a season from a part-time third baseman, even one on the Yankees.
3. Well, so much for the Padres trading away Chase Headley before Opening Day. The Friars seem to be taking the Alfonso Soriano approach when it comes to their star third baseman: the club is going to wait until they've fallen out of contention this season before deciding whether or not to shop Headley on the trade market. The approach seems to make more sense for San Diego -- who boasts a young, powerful club that just can't seem to stay healthy -- than it does for Chicago, who still seem to be a long way from competing in the NL Central. If the Yankees can somehow pull a rabbit out of their hat and get rid of A-Rod, then I can see Headley going to New York at the deadline. If not, then it's really anyone's ballgame.
In Other News...
1. Just a few hours after being released by the Indians, Ben Francisco found a new home. The Yankees swooped in and signed the outfielder to a minor-league deal, giving the Bombers yet another fringy guy to compete for playing time in left field while Curtis Granderson recovers.
2. David Ortiz probably won't make it into Boston's Opening Day line-up after all. The slugger's Achilles tendon is still giving him fits, so the Red Sox are surveying their options for an early-season substitute. Bobby Abreu and Jim Thome (yes!) have come up, but expect Boston to go with an in-house option.
3. Johan Santana is apparently "bitter" at Mets' officials for pointing out the obvious -- that he wasn't in pitching shape -- when he arrived at camp last month. Seeing as Santana is going to start the season on the DL, I don't understand what he has to be angry about. They were right.
Cover songs are a weird thing.
I've always been a bit fascinated by groups like Alien Ant Farm and The Ataris whose sole claim to fame is covering someone else's big hit. It's not as though their versions were reinventing the wheel, it's just that they were different and happened to get some play time.
It must be an incredibly weird and depressing feeling as a musician to have fans who are only there to hear you play someone else's song. (That's not to speak of cover bands, who are in a realm all their own.)
Anywho... we seem to be in a strange period now where everyone with a YouTube account makes a cover of the latest hit song (e.g.: Gotye's Somebody That I Used to Know), which leads to almost immediate over-saturation and, unfortunately, turns the original into a weird sort of cliche.
I bring all this up to say that as a result of the constant bombardment of covers, it's become really nice (for me, at least) to happen upon an old, well-produced cover that's slipped through the cracks. For instance, did you know that Aretha Franklin made a cover of "The Weight?" Check it out: