Peter Gammons who, lest we forget, was working the news and rumors beat when Rosenthal and Heyman were watching “Superfriends” in their mammas’ rumpus rooms, has a number of nuggets this early afternoon:
— The Yankees are content to enter spring training with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes ready to work as starting pitchers, slotting in David Robertson and Damaso Marte as Mariano Rivera’s primary setup men. Whether this is (a) the actual strategy; or (b) leverage for a future John Lackey negotiation (“starters? why would we need starters?”) is unclear, but it’s the right choice in my mind. Give those two every conceivable chance to start and don’t pull the plug unless and until they unequivocally fail in the role.
— Contrary to all of the Granderson-Jackson-Cabrera speculation, Tigers’ owner Mike Ilitch simply won’t allow a fire sale. This matches up with my handicapping of the situation last week. It’s easy to react emotionally in the early part of the offseason, but a clear-eyed assessment of the Tigers’ place in the universe right now suggests that they can and will strongly contend for the next few years, and that’s something they should focus on.
— People are questioning Aroldis Chapman’s integrity and character for leaving the agents who “got him out of Cuba.” Um, maybe. But it’s worth remembering that Chapman’s defection was not exactly some harrowing journey at sea. He walked to the lobby of his European hotel and got in a car. There’s always two sides to every story. Do we know what Chapman’s agents promised him on the market? Do we know whether they’ve been honest with him? Do we know if there is some personal animus between the parties? Players leave agents all the time. Sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad. If I was interested in Chapman, I’d simply ask the guy what the deal was and go from there.
— Billy Beane is a Killers fan. I’m too old to know if that makes Beane old or not, or cool or not. The last album I bought was a Stax/Volt soul compilation, so I’m a little bit out of the loop with these things.