Tito On The Hot Seat? ... Not Quite Yet. Terry Francona is the new manager of the Red Sox. From the little bits of info in the papers, I liked Joe Maddon more than Francona (and wish Larry Dierker had been called). However, Theo's track record to date earns him a HUGE benefit of the doubt from me on this move. I will have an open mind. ... DLew On Roids gives three suggestions: "Keep the team loose like it was last year. Don't bat the leading hitter in the AL 8th. Yank your starter when he's out of gas. You do these three things and I'll see you at the big party in Kenmore Square next October." Amen. ... Dirt Dog says Sauerbeck is headed to the Cubs.
The AL East War continues as the Yankees have traded Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera and Randy Choate to Montreal for RHP Javier Vazquez. Vazquez, 27, had a tidy 3.24 ERA last year, while averaging 110 pitches per start; opponents hit .229/.276/.380 against him. I'm not too broken up over this move right now, since it still leaves Jeff Weaver and Jon Lieber in the New York rotation. I'm thrilled the Yankees no longer have Johnson, a good fielding first baseman who, if he stays healthy, will soon be one of the best hitters in baseball (.422 OBP last year). Of course, to pick up anyone decent in a trade, the Yankees had to deal one of their good young players, because their farm system is bone dry; losing Johnson can be tied to the debacle of trading Claussen for Boone last summer. Giambi will likely play 1B most of the year and an infield of Boone-Jeter-Soriano-Giambi is well below average defensively. Good thing for Vazquez, he has become more of a flyball pitcher in the last two seasons. ... New York has also signed relievers Paul Quantrill and Tom Gordon and is close to inking Gary Sheffield.