Henry Fires Back. John Henry ripped into Nomar's agent Arn Tellem, calling his recent comments "the height of hypocrisy." We now know that when the Red Sox offered Garciaparra a 4-year, $60 million deal in spring training, Garciaparra asked for $68 million. After the season, having reassessed the market, Boston offered 4 years at $48 million. Henry said Tellem "has given us every clear indication that there's no common ground." Gordon Edes says Henry's comments suggest it's "inevitable that Garciaparra is out and A-Rod is in as the Red Sox shortstop, probably in a matter of days." ... Howard Bryant of the Herald reveals that in spring training, Henry and Garciaparra spoke about Nomar's various grievances, but Henry was "dismayed by the inflexible tenor of the conversation; the issues were intractable, if not impossible to repair. Garciaparra hated the lack of space in the Sox clubhouse. He was frustrated with the lack of privacy in the city, and he couldn't deal with an unreasonable media. He even disliked the fact that the weather was different from what he grew up with. Henry came away with the belief that he simply could not reach Garciaparra ..."
Meanwhile, the Orioles are also curious about Nomar. ... Keith Foulke is close to a contract decision. ... Is Schilling's contract completely legal? ... Pedro talks to Michael Silverman. ... Andy Pettitte is close to an agreement with the Astros, Sheffield's asking for more loot and George is looking at Kenny Lofton in what Joel Sherman calls a "Bad Apple Binge."
Mission Accomplished, Part 58: "As the guerrilla war against Iraqi insurgents intensifies, American soldiers have begun wrapping entire villages in barbed wire." ... The Pentagon says 1/3 of Iraq's new army (trained by the US) have quit. ... Iraq's Health Ministry has ordered that civilians killed during the war not be counted. ... And The New Yorker reports that the US has authorized a major escalation of special forces in Iraq, to "neutralize" Baathist insurgents. "This is basically an assassination program," said a former senior US intelligence official. "It is bonkers, insane."