Superstar Ken Griffey has become a hamstring injury waiting to happen, but he's still one of the most talented players in the history of baseball and he's coming off an impressive spring.
The Reds tried to deal him to San Diego during the winter, but the trade fell through when Padres slugger Phil Nevin refused to go to Cincinnati. Now, Reds officials say they no longer have any interest in dealing Junior, who is the centerpiece of the team that is moving into a new ballpark.
Don't be surprised if Griffey trade talk resurfaces when the Reds begin to sink in the NL Central this summer.
Dusty Baker led the San Francisco Giants to the World Series last year. Art Howe took the Athletics to the postseason for the third straight time. Lou Piniella presided over the emergence of the Seattle Mariners as one of baseball's strongest franchises. So, why do these guys all have new jobs? Largely by mutual consent. Baker felt unappreciated in San Francisco. Howe and A's management had grown apart. Piniella wanted to go home to the Tampa, Fla., area.
They may all live to regret their relocation. Howe, now with the Mets, appears to be the only one of the three with a chance to have any immediate success, and it's going to be an uncomfortable place to be if he doesn't. Baker, now with the Chicago Cubs, and Piniella figure to endure some trying times before either returns to the postseason.
Meanwhile, first-time managers Ken Macha (A's) and Bob Melvin (Mariners) have landed in clover, while fellow first-timers Alan Trammell (Detroit Tigers) and Ned Yost (Milwaukee Brewers) must have done something really bad in another life.
The Anaheim Angels may be the defending world champions, but that hasn't kept the Walt Disney Co. from continuing to try to sell the franchise. The Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be one of the best teams in the NL, and they, too, are believed to be available to the highest bidder.
What's going on? The Southern California market used to be the most fertile attendance area in baseball, with the Dodgers and Angels combining to draw nearly 6 million fans a year in the 1980s.
Neither team is going anywhere, but the ambivalence of Disney and Fox Sports -- two companies that got into baseball to take advantage of seemingly natural broadcast synergies -- appears to be a bad sign for the industry.
A lineup of lists
Real managerial first names
1. Mike Hargrove: Dudley
2. Ned Yost: Edgar
3. Buck Showalter: William
4. Dusty Baker: Johnny B.
5. Grady Little: William
Rookies to watch
1. Hideki Matsui (Yankees
2. Jose Contreras (Yankees)
3. Francisco Rodriguez (Angels)
4. Michael Cuddyer (Twins)
5. Mark Teixeira (Rangers)
6. Hee Seop Choi (Cubs)
7. Ty Wigginton (Mets)
Strangest names on 40-man rosters
1. J.J. Putz (Mariners)
2. Coco Crisp (Indians)
3. Terrmel Sledge (Expos)
4. Jimmy Gobble (Royals)
5. Jung Bong (Braves)
Rich Garces All-Waistline Team
1. C.C. Sabathia, Indians
2. Mo Vaughn, Mets
3. Sidney Ponson, Orioles
4. David Wells, Yankees
5. Bartolo Colon, White Sox
I'm a superstar, get me out of here
1. Alex Rodriguez, Rangers
2. Vladimir Guerrero, Expos
3. Ken Griffey, Reds
4. Brian Giles, Pirates
5. Mike Sweeney, Royals
Top candidates to appear together on Dr. Phil
1. George Steinbrenner and David Wells
2. Guillermo Mota and Mike Piazza
3. Bud Selig and Donald Fehr
4. Dusty Baker and Peter Magowan
5. Steinbrenner and Derek Jeter
Things you'll see at the Reds' new ballpark before Pete Rose
1. Ken Griffey's next hamstring injury
2. Off-track betting
3. Schottzie IV
4. "Shoeless Joe" Bobblehead Night
5. Big Red Autotote Machine