THE BRAVE ONE
Well, the big blockbuster of baseball's non-waiver trading season finally happened today. Mark Teixeira is going to Atlanta. I had said in an earlier column that this was probably the best place for him to end up in terms of prior history (he's a local legend from his days at Georgia Tech), team need (the Braves started 78-year-old Julio Franco at first base the other night) and winning tradition. Don't buy all that hype about the Braves not looking to re-sign him after next season. If they lose either Andruw Jones in free agency this offseason or Chipper Jones decides to retire, they will have a $20 mil per season offer in his hand right away.
Given the circumstances, the Rangers got a pretty good haul for Tex. Saltalamacchia is a young hitter who can play catcher or first base. In fact, it may be better to get him behind the plate and allow either Jason Botts or Brad Wilkerson to assume first base duties for the remainder of the season. It would also allow the Rangers to trade Gerald Laird (along with Joaquin Benoit?) to the Cubs, who may be willing to send us center field prospect Felix Pie or pitching prospect Mark Pawalek.
I've heard some local radio stations criticize getting Elvis Andrus in the deal. After all, he's a shortstop and that's the one thing Texas doesn't need right now. But remember, Andrus is only 19 and in Class A. By the time he is 23-24, Michael Young's contract will be up. If Young is still producing at a high level, Andrus can be moved to second base or the outfield. I didn't so much like the pitching prospects we got. I was under the impression we were getting Matt Harrison but an apparent injury derailed that one, and I'll admit I know virtually nothing about Neftali Perez or who the other prospect will be, though I doubt it will be Chuck James or Joey Devine.
The only thing I don't like about this deal is that Texas has virtually no power threats in a hitter's park. Can you look at that lineup and find me one name that other teams are truly scared of, from a power perspective?
I think we can all finally congratulate Jon Daniels on a deal well done. It's been a long time coming.
An unexpected treat may be happening as we speak. Apparently, the Minnesota Timberwolves have agreed to trade Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics for Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Theo Ratliff, Sebastian Telfair and Ryan Gomes. There may be another piece or two yet to be worked out in that deal, but so far that is how it looks, with Ratliff's being the expiring contract. It's a lot for Boston to give up for a player who may or may not be past his prime. But it is certainly the kind of ballsy move that has won teams championships in the past. And let us not forget that Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are all in that 29-32 range, which isn't exactly ancient. These guys still have a lot of good basketball in them and will serve as fine mentors for the other young Celtics players, such as Kendrick Perkins, Rajon Rondo, Tony Allen, Allan Ray, Leon Powe, Glen Davis and Gabe Pruitt. It will also take pressure off of Michael Olowokandi to be a scorer and will allow him to focus on rebounding and playing defense. It is clear Danny Ainge is shooting for a title this year. With this trade, and if the young guys step up, he might get it.
OTHER NEWS AND REACTIONS
1. The Mets kept good pace with the Braves by getting Luis Castillo from Minnesota, though I though Ruben Gotay was doing a heck of a job trying to fill second base.
2. I think the Rangers need to trade for/sign Morgan Ensberg like yesterday. I know his production is down and he's an injury risk, but even then he's still an upgrade over Ramon Vazquez and Travis Metcalf at the hot corner in Arlington.
3. When it's all said and done, I would like to see the grand total that all the major media expense accounts are being drained of as hundreds of bug-eyed journalists follow Barry Bonds like lemmings. In fact, I'll take a shot at it right now. Let's see...for 1 guy, 1 day...hotel, $75. Meals, $35. Ticket to the game, $50. Watching Dontrelle Willis shutting down Barry, priceless. Now that's roughly $150-200 per person, per day. There's 300 media at every game and it's been five days so far, plus airfare at $400 every 3 days. Calculating...roughly $540,000 so far. In other words, more money than the 756 ball will be worth.
4. I think the junior middleweight division received a major boost on Saturday when Vernon Forrest defeated Carlos Baldomir for the 154-pound title that Floyd Mayweather vacated after beating Oscar De La Hoya in May. Forrest looked very sharp and landed some punches that would have rearranged the faces of most other fighters in winning a lopsided decision. Word is he's rooting for Ricardo Mayorga against Fernando Vargas so he can get a third shot at Mayorga, who beat him twice while Forrest had an injured shoulder.
5. Wherever you are, please take a moment of silence to remember one of the great coaches of all time, Mr. Bill Walsh.
6. An interesting note on Jarrod Saltalamacchia. His wife, who is about to give birth to their second child, is 37 years old (he's 22) and was a teacher at the same high school Salty went to in West Palm Beach, Florida. No word on whether the relationship began while he was still in school, though both of them claim it was the year after he graduated. But either way, he just became the idol of millions of young male students around the country. American Pie should make another cheap spinoff along these lines: American Pie Presents: Teacher Bang. It'll be a smash.
1. I really thought that at first it was all about a grieving family, but now I realize that Fred Goldman is only after money. That's right, the father of one of the victims that O.J. Simpson was acquitted of murdering now wants the rights to Simpson's aborted book about how he would have hypothetically killed Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman. But Fred Goldman doesn't just want the rights so he can collect his $38 million. He wants the rights and the other money. And a lamebrained judge gave it to him (Actually 90 percent. The other 10 goes to pay O.J.'s creditors, including ding ding ding, Fred Goldman). Now, I could understand him getting the rights and having the financial windfall go toward the judgment, but he's getting the rights basically for free, because Simpson would still owe him $38 million.
I'll just say it right here. Fred Goldman is a greedy slimespouter who is only concerned with how much money and publicity he can wrangle out of this case. He can cry all he wants to about how this is for Ron, and what happened to Ron and Nicole is horrible, but if this was really about Ron he would have taken a gun and shot Simpson years ago. As a father, I would have, and I don't know many juries who wouldn't be sympathetic to him if he did.
2. If Chief Justice John Roberts is somehow incapacitated by his latest seizure (and we wish him all the best in his recovery), at least we won't see Harriet Miers or Alberto Gonzales nominated to take his place.
3. I didn't think it would take long for one of Michael Vick's co-defendants to flip on him. Someone call housekeeping and get his cell ready.
4. I read an article today that the illegal U.S. offshore prison at Guantanamo Bay has taken to interrogating its prisoners with what they call "the milk of human kindness" in an attempt to procure intelligence. Whatever happened to threats of impalement? I don't care how deeply committed these religious fanatics are. A pointed fence post in the dooty chute and they'll tell you where Bin Laden, Omar, Hoffa, Elvis and Tupac are.