© St. Petersburg Times, published July 7, 2002
WORST OFFSEASON SIGNINGS AL: The Red Sox thought Tony Clark would be an upgrade at first base, but he's making $5-million this season and is batting .219 and had more strikeouts than RBIs (33-23).
Maybe now everybody knows how terribly overrated Chan Ho Park is. The Rangers signed the starting pitcher to a five-year, $65-million deal over the offseason. He was 3-4 with a 8.12 ERA through 10 games pitched.
WORST OFFSEASON SIGNINGS NL: Former Rays starter Albie Lopez signed with the Braves for $4-million. The pitcher is 1-4 with a 5.01 ERA and went on the disabled list after allowing seven runs on eight hits over four innings in a spot start June 24.
The Reds once thought of infielder Pokey Reese as untradable. The Pirates must be wondering why. He is being paid $6.5-million over two years and, slowed by injuries, batted .121 in May.
BEST ACQUISITION AL: Though Boston's Johnny Damon was voted onto the All-Star team as the 30th man and Jason Giambi is putting up solid numbers in Yankees pinstripes, the White Sox look smart for signing outfielder Kenny Lofton during the offseason for $1.25-million.
He has been steady in the field, was decent at the plate early and is a threat again on the bases. In other words, everything the Indians thought he wasn't.
BEST ACQUISITION NL: When the Dodgers traded Gary Sheffield to Atlanta for outfielder Brian Jordan and pitcher Odalis Perez, Jordan got most of the publicity.
Perez, however, is an NL All-Star after going 9-4 with a 2.56 ERA in his first 17 starts.
MOST DESERVED CRITICISM: You wondered how all the offseason acquisitions made by Texas general manager John Hart and Mets general manager Steve Phillips would turn out.
The addition of Chan Ho Park, Juan Gonzalez, Carl Everett and John Rocker by Hart and Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, Jeremy Burnitz by Phillips certainly look ludicrous.
The Rangers, whose $105-million payroll is the third highest in baseball, are last in the AL West. The Mets, with their $94-million payroll, are well behind Atlanta in the NL East.
LEFT MANY SCRATCHING THEIR HEADS: How did owners feel about the Indians trading should-be All-Star Bartolo Colon to the league-owned and endangered Expos for Lee Stevens and a handful of top prospects?
The owners, after all, are the ones financing the lame duck Expos' surprising season.
HIGHLIGHTS: Boston pitcher Derek Lowe's no-hitter against the Rays on April 27 is the first at Fenway Park since 1965. ... Sports Illustrated exposes the steroid issue in major-league baseball. ... The nearly contracted Twins are in first place. ... After 14 seasons in the minor leagues, Houston calls up catcher Alan Zinter on June 18. His first hit is a two-run homer on Monday. ... On May 2, Seattle outfielder Mike Cameron becomes the 13th major-league player to hit four homers in a game. On May 23, Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green becomes the 14th. ... Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo hits in 35 consecutive games. ... With a double on June 16, Diamondbacks first baseman Mark Grace becomes the third active player with 500 career.
LOWLIGHTS: Nothing has given baseball a black eye more this season than the ongoing threat of another work stoppage. The players union meets Monday in Chicago and might set a strike date.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Red Sox legend Ted Williams (Friday); Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile (June 22); Cardinals Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck (June 18); Padres outfielder Mike Darr (Feb. 15).
ON THE BLOCK?: Tigers outfielder Bobby Higginson and pitcher Brian Moehler; Phillies third baseman Scott Rolen, outfielder Doug Glanville and pitcher Robert Person; Cardinals starter Bud Smith; Royals pitchers Paul Byrd and Jeff Suppan; Blue Jays pitchers Kelvim Escobar, Esteban Loiaza and Chris Carpenter; Rangers pitcher Ismael Valdez; Mets pitcher Al Leiter; Rays outfielders Randy Winn and Ben Grieve, first baseman Steve Cox and pitcher Paul Wilson; Marlins outfielder Cliff Floyd.
NL AWARDS: Giants outfielder Barry Bonds (MVP), the Braves' Tom Glavine (Cy Young), Dodgers pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii (rookie of the year), the Expos' Frank Robinson (manager of the year)
AL AWARDS: Yankees second baseman Alfonso Soriano (MVP), the Red Sox's Derek Lowe (Cy Young), Blue Jays third baseman Eric Hinske (rookie of the year), the Angels' Mike Scoscia (manager of the year).