In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe spoke with Indians manager Terry Francona, who is very grateful to have a fresh start. Francona would love to make things competitive with the Tigers in his first season in Cleveland, but he's not getting ahead of himself. “There are good teams in our division,” said Francona. “We know how good Detroit is, but you know we can’t approach the season like that. We know we’re playing Toronto first and we have to take care of things with them and then move on to the next series." Here's more from Cafardo..
- Carlos Zambrano is an intriguing free agent, but his reputation as a bad clubhouse guy coupled with his downward-trending performance has kept teams away. “You’ve got to be up for what he brings,” said an NL GM. “Not saying the guy hasn’t been good in his career because he has, but when things go bad, he has a rap sheet that shows how he reacts, and that’s hard to overcome.” The 31-year-old boasts a career 3.66 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9.
- Brian Wilson could be an option for the Tigers once he’s ready, but one National League GM says that he's going to stick to his plan of not letting anyone see him throw until he's 100%, “I think everyone is anxious to see when that time comes, because if he gets it back to what he used to be, he’s going to help someone immediately down the stretch of a pennant race,” said the GM. Cafardo won't rule out a return to the Giants for Wilson either.
- The serious spleen injury suffered by free agent right-hander Carl Pavano has put baseball in the distant future and could even spell the end of his career. Pavano lost a significant amount of blood and faces a long recovery after he fell at his Vermont home while shoveling snow.
- People in baseball have long been wondering when the Cubs will trade Alfonso Soriano, but Cafardo notes that the veteran seems especially happy with the club and has played with intensity through spring training. Soriano is set to earn $18MM in each of the next two seasons.