Happy Opening Day/Easter weekend, everyone.
I hope you're planning to celebrate accordingly. Double the holiday, double the celebration, right?
(Scores will be here in two days!)
Let's get to the news:
The Big Three
1. Well, I guess the Mets don't have to worry about Johan Santana vesting that option 2014 anymore. The left-hander has reportedly re-torn his rotator cuff and could be headed for another surgery, which would pretty much put a wrap on his baseball career. While it's too soon really to speculate about his retirement, it's not too soon to say that his tumultuous tenure with the Mets is at an end. Considering all the club went through with him, it was really thoughtful of them to ensure Johan a $25.5 million severance package. It's sad that a great pitcher like Santana has been so beset by injuries, and I lay the blame 100 percent on the (un-torn) shoulders of the Mets. From the minute New York inked him to his $130+ million deal, they should have hired a personal trainer to be Santana's shadow for the next six seasons. The idea that any team can invest that kind of money in a player and not monitor his every move is absolutely baffling to me. You're paying a guy $25 million a year to perform at an elite level for you and you're just going to let him go home and do his own thing for four months? What the hell is that? In no other business venture would that ever happen. The cost of hiring someone to be his personal trainer for a third of year is negligible compared to the cost of paying Santana $25 million to diddly-squat. If you go that route and his shoulder's still a mess, then fine. You've done everything you can. But if he shows up out of shape and you didn't do anything about it, then it's all on you.
2. I have no idea what's been going on in the Yankees front offices the last few weeks, but with the moves they've been making, someone might want to make sure they haven't been taken hostage or something. New York made another head-scratcher move yesterday, releasing Juan Rivera from his minor-league deal. The head-scratchiness of the cut isn't so much about Rivera being all that good -- he's way past his prime -- it's that, for all intents and purposes, the Bombers now have just one first baseman: Lyle Overbay. The same Lyle Overbay who's slugged under .400 the last two seasons and couldn't hit right-handed pitching to save humanity. And it's not like they can platoon him at first base with Travis Hafner. Besides the obvious fact that Hafner is also left-handed, even a game or two in the field puts him at serious risk of pulling a Nick Johnson. OK, I guess Youkilis could play first, but then who do you put at third? Jayson Nix? Ohmygod Jayson Nix is going to be their Opening Day third baseman... Seriously, has anyone actually seen Brian Cashman in the last few weeks?
3. The Rockies are soooo wishing that they had extended their other catcher (Chris Iannetta) last offseason. Instead, Colorado went with Ramon Hernandez and have paid for it dearly. The Rockies still owe the veteran backstop $3.2 million this season, but they decided to designate him for assignment anyway yesterday because he's been pretty of late and hasn't shown any signs of improvement. There's no way anyone claims him on waivers, and there's no way he accepts a minor-league deal with that salary, but the Rockies might still be able to find a trade partner for the catcher. The fact that Hernandez hit .217/.247/.353 in Coors Field last year probably doesn't help their cause.
In Other News...
1. The Rockies did the inevitable yesterday, signing Aaron "Pitch-to-Contact King" Cook to a minor-league deal. It's really unlikely that Cook will make his way back into Colorado's rotation -- sketchy as it may be -- but his ground-ball pedigree may push him into a spot start here and there.
2. The Marlins netted veteran catcher and professional walk-avoider Miguel Olivo yesterday just hours after he was released by the Reds. The battle for backup catcher when Jeff Mathis comes off the DL should be... interesting.
3. The Halos have been tied to tall right-hander Chris Young, who very recently became a free agent. Young makes a lot of sense for the Angels, who are pretty thin on rotation depth and have the outfield defense needed for an extreme fly-ball guy to be successful.