These are nervous days for Lou Gorman. He's the general manager of the Boston Red Sox, and this winter, he made a couple of deals. In making them, he did what a lot of baseball people are afraid to do -- he gambled.
He traded away a 28-year-old left-handed pitcher (Bob Ojeda), a 24-year-old infielder (John Mitchell) and a 25-year-old infielder (Jackie Gutierrez).
In return, he got some prospects, and three pitchers with big league experience. Here's the scorecard on Gorman's winter:
The Mets are so pleased with Mitchell that he might be the No. 2 prospect in their system. Ojeda will join Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez and a fifth starter to give the Mets perhaps the best rotation in baseball.
Gutierrez has not been dazzling, but he has recovered enough from a troubled winter to earn a spot on the Baltimore Orioles.
But the new Boston pitchers have all blown up, and the deals have blown up in the Red Sox' faces.
Calvin Schiraldi, whom they hoped would be a starter or swingman, has pitched his way onto the Pawtucket roster. Reliever Wes Gardner hasn't thrown a pitch faster than 85 mph and might have a shoulder problem.
Sammy Stewart, acquired from the Orioles, showed up fat and out of shape, and after allowing 23 base runners in 5 1/3 innings, pulled a hamstring. He's eligible for free agency after this season, but not only do the Red Sox not want to extend his $575,000 contract, they don't want him in 1986.
The Red Sox did get two other prospects, outfielders John Christensen and LaSchelle Tarver. Christensen is hitting only .238 this spring, but will make the club as a right-handed designated hitter. Tarver was the first player Boston cut. "You want them to do well to make the deal look better," Gorman said.
The Toronto Blue Jays are worried that neither Bill Caudill (shoulder) nor Gary Lavelle (elbow) will be able to pitch this season, and have moved Jim Acker back to the bullpen on a staff that is badly scrambled. Acker will join Tom Henke, Dennis Lamp and rookie Don Gordon, and while they might be fine, it's not the dream staff General Manager Pat Gillick was hoping for.
Pick a day, and pick the Detroit Tigers' latest problem. First, reliever Willie Hernandez is complaining about a weakness in his shoulder, although doctors can't find one.
Then there's shortstop Alan Trammell, who has such a bad right shoulder that he's being forced to re-learn his position. The Tigers want him to charge more balls instead of laying back, which might cut down on the number of long throws he'll have to make.
Obviously discouraged, Trammell said, "I'm hoping the shoulder will get better. If not, I'll have to play through it. It could be a long year. Maybe I'm not up to being the shortstop I was a few years ago, but this will have to do."
Are the St. Louis Cardinals getting paranoid about the New York Mets? When the Mets' spring-training clubhouse manager gave the Cardinals' clubhouse man a Mets T-shirt this spring, he wrote "1986 National League Champs" on it with a felt-tip marker.
Some of the Cardinals saw it, and decided to hang it in their clubhouse. "They talk as though they've already won the division," Cardinals pitcher John Tudor said. "You get up a little more for a team like that."
The California Angels are falling apart piece by piece. First, it was reliever Gary Lucas (sciatic nerve problem), then Kirk McCaskill (shoulder stiffness). The most worrisome injury is John Candelaria's. He has pain in his elbow, and it's feared he has a bone spur, which would sideline him for months.
The good news is that rookie Wally Joyner is hitting better than .400 and has won the first base job. Rick Burleson, who hasn't played a full season since 1981, will be the Angels' regular second baseman. Bobby Grich will become an extra infielder at third, second and first.
Quote of the week: "I don't care if Joel Davis gets lit up today, he's our No. 3 starter" -- White Sox Manager Tony LaRussa. That was Thursday before a White Sox-Red Sox game, and Davis did get lit up, allowing 11 earned runs in four innings.
Cardinals Manager Whitey Herzog watched the Kansas-Michigan State basketball game, and seeing the controversy over the clock not starting at the end, sent Michigan State Coach Jud Heathcote this telegram: "Congratulations on a great season. Strange things can happen in Kansas City."
The San Francisco Giants sent Atlee Hammaker back to the Bay Area for a sixth round of tests. He gained back 15 of the 20 pounds he lost this winter, but has no energy and no movement on the ball . . . Cubs Manager Jim Frey is holding off moving outfielder Keith Moreland to third base, saying that when that move is made it will be permanent. Ron Cey will stay at third a while longer, although he was hitting .097 heading into the weekend . . . The Seattle Mariners sent pitcher Billy Swift to the minors and gave a starting job to Milt Wilcox, who then allowed 20 hits in nine innings. They have recalled Swift.