A couple of links worthy of your perusal as first pitch marches unyielding closer to reality: (a) Chris Quick of Bay City Ball was kind enough to answer some questions about the Giants for us (and my own slightly incoherent answers to his questions can be found over here), (b) Jerry Crasnick and T.R. Sullivan have penned two of the better pieces I've seen in relation to Cliff Lee and Jon Daniels (viewable here and here, respectively), and (c) Jeff Sullivan offers probably the most important pre-World Series article you'll ever read:
- Right-hander Mark Lowe has replaced left-handed specialist Clay Rapada on the Rangers' World Series roster; the other 24 rosters -- including Jorge Cantu's -- remain intact (Anthony Andro, Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
[Where there's smoke, there's fire, I guess. It was sort of difficult to rationalize keeping Rapada around, particularly since he failed to accomplish the one task that he was expressly included on the ALCS roster to do (that is, serve as a Robinson Cano killer, which didn't really go so well, as he yielded a walk and a hit to the Yankees star in two plate appearances. Lowe's services will hopefully only be needed in a mid- to late-inning capacity if the Rangers are well ahead; something tells me he's not going to be the first, second, or third choice when a high-leverage situation arises. Cantu's inclusion is mildly annoying from the standpoint that he shouldn't -- and maybe won't -- start a single game in this series, but hey, he's here, and I wonder how much that tells us about how much the Rangers really do care about Chris Davis and the notion of a reinforced late-inning defense. The answer: Obviously not enough to scrap Cantu.]
- The Mets will hire 62-year-old Sandy Alderson as their new general manager, though no official announcement will be forthcoming until at least Friday (or during an off day between World Series games); Rangers general manager Jon Daniels reportedly "communicated through back channels" that he hoped the Mets would defer their hiring decision until after the conclusion of the World Series, but to no avail (Andy Martino, New York Daily News)
[And that's that. Daniels, barring an improbable and exceedingly unfortunate series of events, will remain in his current capacity next season. As far as Daniels' purported back-channel request, and the Twittersphere conflict concerning whether he was or wasn't legitimately interested in the Mets' vacancy, I think there's a good probability that this was a leverage move, and that any attempt to secure an interview with New York was driven more by an interest to inflate his asking price and better position himself going into his upcoming contract talks with the Rangers than an honest and willing desire to defect. That's not necessarily correct, but it does bring the two sides in the Daniels did-he-want-the-gig-or-not argument into congruence.]
- When queried as to whether the hostile Yankee Stadium treatment endured by his wife would in any way influence his decision on where he will sign this winter, Cliff Lee responded, "No," and attributed it to "fans being fans"; meanwhile, Lee's agent, Derek Braunecker, responded to the story thusly: "The story is not an issue to us. [Kristen Lee's] experience in New York is certainly a non-issue. She enjoys New York as much as anyone enjoys New York." (Andrew Marchand, ESPNNewYork.com)
[I've heard second-hand from people who attended Game 4 -- including Jason Parks and Jason Cole -- that the situation was very ugly in the crowd, and this serves as meaningful confirmation of that. The thing about it is that Cliff Lee will be looking to maximize two variables (the value of his next contract and the probability of winning championships), and nothing contained within this story has convinced me otherwise; that said, I would be intentionally obtuse if I didn't acknowledge that stuff like proximity to home -- which Kristen Lee also cited as an attractive feature of the Rangers -- and level of comfort and such also plays into the decision.
Ultimately, Craig Calcaterra said it best: "At the end of the day, we have no idea what's going to happen until it happens. In this case, however, a lot of folks on both sides of the issue seem to think they know better." Pretty much, yeah.]