Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Quick Hits: McNair's in, Soriano's on the way out, and Grimsley should be running for cover

The less you wear, the more you need McNair.

After much speculation -- and a couple court dates to force Tennessee's hand -- the Ravens finally acquired Steve McNair last week. I would have posted about it sooner but management locked me out of my blogging facility for fear I'd injure myself.

The Ravens apparently think they've found their top tier quarterback, as McNair is a three-time Pro Bowler who co-won an MVP Award just three seasons ago, but excuse me if I'm not jumping for joy at the news. Remember Elvis Grbac? Yeah. I've stopped being optimistic about "savior" quarterbacks for the Ravens.

The one thing that surprised me about McNair when looking at his stats, though, is that for as much as you hear about him being injured, he's played at least 14 games every year except one since the 2000 season.

When he plays, he should at the very least be a vast improvement over the tandem of Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright, who found themselves side-by-side for 29th and 30th in the league in passer rating last year.

Meanwhile, Boller just asks that Brian Billick not declare the starting job McNair's immediately. Ha!

Nats have pick of Soriano suitors.

With more than a month and a half before the MLB trade deadline, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Alfonso Soriano won't be wearing a curly W come August.

In an ESPN.com article, reporter Enrique Rojas says Soriano doesn't see himself sticking around in D.C.

"I'll be a free agent by the end of the year," he told Rojas. "The Nationals will receive good trade offers, and I will have the opportunity to look at the best deal for me."

That doesn't sound like a guy who's getting ready to put a down payment on a house in Potomac.

But all that begs the question: Why even trade for him in the first place?

Why trade for Soriano if you aren't going to pay to keep him? Sure, they'll get a better package of prospects for him than they would for Wilky, but that's meaningless because they wouldn't have had to dump Wilkerson at the deadline!

Wilkerson's making less than 40 percent of what Soriano is taking in this season, and Wilkerson wouldn't have been impossible to re-sign. You can't tell me that a bunch of high-risk minor leaguers are better than a proven Major Leaguer who's good for an .800+ OPS when he's healthy and who should be coming into his prime. It makes no sense.

Why hasn't incoming president Stan Kasten fired Jim Bowden yet?

Fine, I guess we can wait for Kasten to officially become president. Oh, and for the new ownership group to get their first priority out of the way: hot dogs. Nice to see they've got a grasp on the pressing issues.

If Major League Baseball was like The Sopranos, Jason Grimsley would be whacked.

Instead, the journeyman reliever has been suspended for 50 games by MLB and released from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

When federal authorities nailed Grimsley receiving a shipment of Human Growth Hormone, he started ratting people out. After admitting that he used steroids and switched to HGH when MLB started urine testing, Grimsley listed other guys who he knew were doping, including former teammates.

So let the speculation begin. Grimsley played for the Phillies from 1989 to '91, the Indians from '93 to '95, the Angels in '96, the Yankees in '99 and 2000 (no way ... I'm simply shocked ... those guys never get caught up in steroid scandals), the Royals from '01 to '04, the Orioles from '04 to '05, and the Diamondbacks in '06.

That's a lot of teammates, but luckily for every team except the O's and D'Backs, it'll be hard to pin the older players to anything since MLB and congress didn't start paying attention to all this stuff until the last couple years.

So O's fans, are you prepared for another bombshell like last season? I, for one, am living in fear.

I liked Palmeiro and thought there was NO WAY he was on 'roids, but now I feel like it could be anyone. Which of my favorite players will it be this time? The suspense is going to torture me.

Everything else has come out -- "secret" grand jury testimony has been everywhere -- so why wouldn't this? It's not "if" it's going to be leaked, it's "when."

I'll put my money on names coming out before the All-Star break, but they've got to wait for the Orioles to start playing well again. Anything less wouldn't be the proper soul-crushing that O's fans have come to expect.

I think if we get this kind of bomb dropped on us mid-season for the second year in a row, it may be time for me to start shopping for Nats gear. I hear there could be good clearance prices on Alfonso Soriano shirts and jerseys in a couple months...

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