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Thursday, December 8, 2005
Page 2 Quickie: December 7, 2005

The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Do the Red Sox hate Theo? Because they're dismantling much of what he put together last winter.

Monday, rumors circulated that Matt Clement was on the block.

Now they're apparently eager to dump Edgar Renteria, with the Braves getting him and the D-Rays sending Julio Lugo to Boston to complete the three-way.

Plus, in an apparent wholesale middle-infield change, they're targeting the Padres' Mark Loretta, whose only hurdle with fans will be to not make a playoff-crippling error.

And if David Wells wants back to Cali, it might have to be NorCal, not SoCal: One hot rumor has him dealt to the A's for P Justin Duchscherer (2.21 ERA, 85 Ks in 86 IP).

Meanwhile, everyone is still waiting for Boston to make a deal with Johnny Damon. If the Sox don't offer him arbitration by today, they can't re-sign him until May 1.

Why be scared off by his demands for a 5-plus year deal? Even if his skills decline, if he is good for two years, it's not fatal because their wallet is so fat.

And if all that wasn't enough, there's still the Manny thing.

The front-running rumor is a three-way with the Angels and D-Backs that would send Troy Glaus to Boston and turn SoCal into "Manny-heim."

Even if Glaus is the best hitter the Sox could get in return for Manny, trading Manny to an AL playoff rival is crazy. The Angels will be contenders for years; do the Sox really want to hurdle a Vlad-Manny combo to get through the postseason? That deal has ominous foreshadowing written all over it.

But otherwise, credit Boston's GM-by-committee for staying aggressive and trying to renovate the team after last year's disappointing ending.

Marlins Fire Sale
Juan Pierre to Cubs? Chicago is likely going to get its much-needed CF.

Fans really need to stop ripping the Marlins. They won two World Series in the last decade; they can do what they want.

Quick: How many teams in the ESPN Era have won more than one World Series? Only five: Yankees, Dodgers, Twins, Blue Jays and Marlins. The Fish are doing something right.

I'd rather have two titles mixed with eight years of stinking than one title and nine other years of making the playoffs only to fall short -- or, even worse, no titles at all, no matter how successful the team might be in the summer.

If I was a Marlins fan and you could guarantee me that my Vegas Marlins (ouch, they're going to need a new name) would win another World Series in 2010, but stink every year until then, I'd take it.

More Hot Stove
Cincy "Mayor" shipped home: Reds trade popular 1B Sean Casey to his hometown Pirates. Who knew the Bucs were so flush with lefties they could jettison quality pitcher Dave Williams?

Good move for both teams: The Bucs get a 1B and a fan-friendly face for the perennially up-and-coming franchise; the Reds can open their log-jam in the OF by moving a player like Adam Dunn to 1B.

Dodgers hire Little: Does anyone know whether Derek Lowe or Brad Penny are on strict pitch counts? Because someone might want to tell Grady.

Royals eyeing Benson? If Kris thinks Anna is going to like a move from NYC to KC, he's going to spend a lot of nights on the couch.

Heat at Spurs
Before the season, tonight's Heat-Spurs game (9, ESPN) looked like a Finals preview. But while the Spurs have shot out to the best record in the West, the Shaq-less Heat are barely treading water over .500.

Even with the new-n'-improved Pistons dominating the East, Heat fans should remember that Shaq doesn't need to play ... yet. All they have to do is merely make the playoffs with a healthy Shaq to be a contender.

Between the mediocre Southeast Division and the utterly lousy Atlantic (8-10 gets you 1st place!), there's no pressure to rush Shaq back.

College Hoops Wrap
That "Who Have You Beaten?" Test in yesterday's Quickie looked prescient as untested and overinflated No. 6 Boston College lost 77-70 to two-loss Maui alum Michigan State in the Jimmy V Classic in NYC.

Bucknell bandwagon: I'm not willing to admit Bucknell was overhyped; let's chalk up the 19-point loss to Quickie No. 1-ranked Villanova as a bigger statement about how great 'Nova is.

Two tales of rebuilding:
Florida (8-0) 87, Providence 77: Starting four sophs and a junior and proving it's better off without NBA-wannabes Walsh and Roberson.

St. Joe's 70, Kansas (3-4) 67: Loss in NYC highlights struggles to integrate four frosh with three sophs and only two seniors.

Parity watch: Not much warms the cockles on a cold winter night than seeing second-tier state schools upset their big-name rivals.

Indiana State knocked off Indiana (for the 3rd time in 4 tries!), and circle Northern Iowa's win over Iowa when you're looking for first-round bracket upsets in March.

Pro Bowl Update
Not unsurprisingly, seven Colts lead their respective positions with a week to go in Pro Bowl balloting.

So what's the over/under on the number of those stars (and other key players) who see significant PT if the Colts clinch playoff HFA this weekend?

I'm all for the Colts taking a shot at the once-in-a-generation shot at 19-0 immortality; I don't buy that it's a risky proposition for Tony Dungy:

No matter how it happens, if the Colts don't win the title, their season is a failure and Dungy will be labeled a choker.