A-Rod Deal Is Stone-Diddley-Dead.
It appears that Tom Hicks's latest deadline of 5:00 pm this afternoon was for real. According to some reports, late in the day Texas offered Rodriguez for Ramirez straight-up -- contract for contract -- but Boston didn't bite. John Henry didn't want to assume A-Rod's contract any more than Hicks wanted to keep it. It seems that once the Players Association nixed any type of sizeable reduction of Rodriguez's upcoming salaries, the Red Sox were going to walk. And since the deal kept getting worse for Boston as time went on (Williamson, prospect Jon Lester and maybe Kim being added to the deal), it was good to let the clock run out. ... Peter Gammons reported that "Rodriguez appealed to Hicks to drop his demand of $13 million from the Red Sox. Rodriguez was willing to give up $27 million -- $13 million in givebacks to the Red Sox and $14 million in Massachusetts state income taxes -- to get to Boston and what's shaping up to be a winning team there." [Yeah, the Red Sox are slowly crawling towards respectability; they're almost there, maybe a few more years. ... Jesus]
Boston signed Pokey Reese for 2004 at a cool million. Theo said he was going for defensive over offense at 2B and he's being true to his word: Pokey contributes zilch with the stick. His seasonal OPS+: 50, 70, 89, 73, 62, 76, 41 (for a career mark of 70). By comparison, Todd Walker's OPS+ last year was 95. On the plus side, Reese has some speed (but a .310 career OBP), he won gold gloves in 1999 and 2000, and his Range Factors are consistently above league average. ... Speaking of Walker, he signed a 1-year deal with the Cubs.
You Can't Make This Stuff Up: "[Darryl] Strawberry, a member of the Without Walls International Church in Tampa, ministered to [Michael] Jackson during a trip to the singer's Neverland Ranch this weekend, said Randy White, the church's head pastor."