Fact: Willy Taveras. Taylor Bucholz and Jason Hirsh are headed to Colorado in exchange for Jason Jennings and Miguel Asencio. I really like the Jennings pickup from Houston's end, and I also really like the willingness to get rid of Taveras, who as recently as 2004 was supposed to be their long-term fix in center field. The fact that he's a poor man's Juan Pierre at the plate (though a better outfielder) has always prevented me from warming to Taveras. He hits with the authority of, say, Drea De Matteo. Jennings, on the other hand, could be the real deal. I like to think he IS the real deal after a very good season this year, his first good one since winning the ROY award in 2002, but the netherworld that is Coors Field can be psychologically damaging for a pitcher. Let's see how he adjusts to life in the real world.
Rumor: There's still a lot of talk about Vernon Wells being dealt before the season gets underway. If I were the Jays, I'd keep him and take the compensation when he walks, like the A's did with Tejada and Giambi. Toronto has a real chance to win the division in 2007. Why take a step back when you're maybe ready to take a big one forward? I get that you can get some real value out of Vernon Wells, but if it were me, I keep the dude and let it play out. If things aren't going so hot, THEN you trade him to a team that's even MORE desperate to have him DURING the season.
Fact: The following campers need to pick up their bags from the clubhouse and catch the early bus. Marcus Giles, Chris Reitsma, Victor Zambrano, Alexis Gomez, Eduardo Sierra, Aaron Guiel, Joel Pineiro, Jerome Williams, Scott Dohmann, Brandon Duckworth, Damon Hollins, Jose Reyes, Adam Harben, Brandon Claussen, Miguel Perez, Jayson Werth, Toby Hall, Chin-Hui Tsao, Jon Knott, Jorge Sosa, Rick Ankiel, Mike Wood.
Rick Ankiel -- very interesting. LEO, FIX HIM. Aw, who am I kidding? Rick Ankiel is going to get his real estate license, probably. I hope he does well for himself.
Aw, fuckshit, who am I kidding? I would bet with 95% certainty that Leo rushed over to his antiquated rotary telephone to get Mr. Mike or Mr. Jim on the horn to insist upon Jorge Sosa. "I had literally months of success coaching this phenom!"
We non-tendered three guys, too, but I'll get to that in its own post.
Fact: Eric Gagne is a Ranger.
?: Matsuzaka (Boras) and the Red Sox are still way apart. Deadline is midnight Thursday night/Friday morning.