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And just like that, another weekend is over. Two days is just not enough sometimes. At least we've got baseball to maintain our sanity.
Today we have the lowdown on the Rangers still being in the mix for Kyle Lohse, a manager pining for his Papa (Grande), and some dirt on Trout's agent fishing for more money. Also, the Rockies put some money into a new ground-ball machine, Matt Garza is hurt again (surprising no one), and the WBC is off and running.
Finally, a brief discussion of the movie industry's junk drawer, also known as January and February.
If baseball be the food of love, play on:
The Big Three
1. In case you forgot with all the baseballing going on, Kyle Lohse is still homeless. There may be good news and a new home on the horizon for the right-hander, however, as an actual rumor involving a team having interest in him (!) has surfaced. I know, I'm in shock too. Despite having about as many starters as the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Texas Rangers are apparently still toying with the idea of adding Lohse to their rotation. Granted, some of Texas' guys are injured, but that's still a pretty damn full pitching staff with Lohse aboard. Typically I'd call shenanigans on a rumor like this -- especially with all the ones to the contrary over the last few months -- but Martin Perez and Kyle McClellan's injuries, along with Justin Grimm's early struggles, may push Arlington boys to the negotiating table with Scott Boras. One (read: me) wonders if that'll happen before or after Nolan Ryan is out the door.
2. Jim Leyland has seen young flame-thrower Bruce Rondon throw all of 2⅔ innings and he's apparently already calling "uncle"... or, I guess, "papa" in this case. Over the weekend the septuagenarian manager expressed a desire to bring Jose Valverde back to Detroit as a closer safety net, but indicated that money remains the main obstacle. Valverde definitely isn't a terrible closer by any means, but his precipitous drop in K rate over the last few years -- from 12.6 K/9 in '06 to 6.3 K/9 in '12 -- is surely an omen of worse things to come. Why seemingly everyone in the Detroit press is having such misgivings about Rondon after the smallest of sample sizes is beyond me. The dude can be erratic at times, yes, but he brings some serious heat and is still just a babe. The idea that not only is Rondon "not ready" to close but that overpaying for Valverde is the answer is ludicrous. I really thought we were beyond this whole "closer mentality" thing.
3. The Los Angeles Angels renewed Mike Trout's contract over the weekend at $510k, which sent his agent -- Craig Landis -- into conniptions for some reason. Yes, Trout is coming off one of the best seasons in baseball history -- an MVP-worthy year, in my summation -- but he's still just going into his second year in the big leagues, so the team can essentially pay him whatever the hell they want. Most teams pay their first-thru-third year players based solely on service time, which is exactly what the Angels did with Trout. The same thing happened with Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez when they put up monster rookie numbers, so why would Trout be any different? Even Evan Longoria, who was locked up on a long-term deal after just one day in the bigs, only made $550k in his sophomore season despite all the guaranteed years ahead of him. I imagine Trout has a massive pay day from the Halos in his near future, so Landis is unlikely to continue his temper tantrum for long. Plus, for the love of Jeebus, it's half a million dollars.
In Other News...
1. Well, Bobby Cassevah sure didn't stay a free agent long. The master of worm-burners signed a minor-league deal with the Colorado Rockies over the weekend, and would seem to be a lock for a bullpen spot in Denver. The right-hander owns a career
2. So much for Matt Garza getting off to a nice, healthy start in his final year before hitting free agency. The Cubs right-hander has been shut down until at least May, putting his tradability (there's no way that's a real word) in serious jeopardy.
3. In case you missed it, the World Baseball Classic kicked off over the weekend. We've been keeping track of everything WBC-related right here, including a primer on the tourney, exciting players to watch, a rundown of the venues, and daily schedules and scores.
At last, we have emerged from the dark days of January and February.
For reasons unknown to me, the first two months and change of the year is always the time when movie studios decide to toss movies into theaters that they know are crap, have been sitting in distribution limbo for months/years, and have minimal money to support them in terms of marketing.
Sometimes, a solid movie that the studio had no idea how to market will sneak in among the junk -- e.g. last month's Warm Bodies or Soderbergh's Side Effects -- but for the most part the start of the year is a crapshoot for filmgoers. For instance, never ever ever (ever) see the Colin Firth movie Gambit. Worst $10 I've spent on a movie in years. Ugh.
Of the 10 highest-grossing movies over the weekend, just one is Certified Fresh, according to Rotten Tomatoes, and that movie -- Silver Linings Playbook -- came out in November. The other nine movies aren't even close to bringing in positive reviews, averaging out to a score of just 29%.
Jack the Giant Slayer*, 21 and Over, and The Last Exorcism Part II (LOL) are the latest culprits in early-season schlock, but thankfully they may be the last for a while. Oz: the Great and Powerful hits theaters next weekend along with a slew of well-reviewed indie flicks, saving us from a wealth of otherwise terrible options.
All of which brings me to the question of the day:
What movie are you most looking forward to before the summer blockbusters hit theaters?
I'm kind of intrigued by the Steve Carrell/Jim Carrey magician movie coming out next week, but am pretty resigned to it being terrible. Beyond that one, I'm looking forward to the Tina Fey/Paul Rudd one -- Admission -- and Ryan Gosling/Bradley Cooper's The Place Beyond the Pines for my rare drama fix.
Oh, and of course there's the Jackie Robinson biopic, 42:
*What the hell happened to Bryan Singer? Is it too soon to label him our generation's Rob Reiner? (i.e. A great start followed by a whole lot of "meh")