-P- The PBC blog is abuzz about this article, which reports that the Red Sox's ownership wants a salary cap for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement. P-G beat writer Dejan Kovacevic was the paper's hockey writer for several years prior to switching to baseball, watched as hockey owners gradually embraced the cap, and he believes the real obstacle to having one is not the players' union, but rather is that the owners don't agree that there should be one. If more owners get on board, there could be a major labor showdown in 2012.
Obviously, the salary cap has not been the Pirates' primary problem over the last decade or so. They've been run terribly, and they've watched as small-payroll team after small-payroll team has passed them by. Also, they've played in a division that has only featured one real high-roller in the Cubs, who haven't always been run well themselves.
The Pirates are now setting themselves up to be good for the first time in around 2012, though. While the Dave Littlefield Pirates surely would have failed with or without a salary cap, the Coonelly/Huntington Pirates could be poised to make serious noise if a cap is instituted just as a core of young players matures. Of course, I'm sure any cap would be instituted in steps, but it'll be interesting to see if the Bucs can use it to their advantage if it begins in 2012.
-P- Andy LaRoche had a back spasm and sat out of workout today. Let's hope this doesn't become a pattern.
-P- Jeff Francis will probably miss the 2009 season, dealing a blow to a Rockies team who don't have nearly enough strength to absorb one. He's having shoulder surgery because of the same problems that helped cause his poor 2008 season. I feel bad for him; he could've been a very special pitcher if not for the shoulder trouble and the fact that he's a Rockie, but he's going to be at least 29 when he returns, and he'll be lucky to eke out a career as an innings eater.
-P- The Brewers, even without C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets, are starting to get expensive.
-P- Ouch, ouch, ouch. The Nationals got burned badly by Esmailyn Gonzalez, who was their highest-profile Latin American signing in a very long and was supposed to be the proof that they were willing to pony up for top talent in the region. It turns out his name is actually Carlos Alvarez Daniel Lugo, and he's four years older than he told the team. There's $1.4 million down the drain.