Extreme Makeovers

How do you stitch together a winner in baseball's new economy? A nip here, a tuck there -- or maybe a total facelift.

Updated: March 23, 2003, 8:38 AM ET
By By Peter Gammons
Pick your metaphor. For me, it's plastic surgery. The Giants nearly win the World Series, then sub out their second baseman, third baseman, two starting outfielders, a few pitchers and one world-famous bat boy. The Braves, coming off 11 straight division titles, let Tom Glavine and Kevin Millwood go to division rivals, then bring in three arms to replace them. The Phillies, desperate for a facelift before they move into their new park, commit $112M to Millwood, Jim Thome and David Bell.

The trend is only slightly less dramatic in the American League. The White Sox get Bartolo Colón and Billy Koch for a run at the Twins. The A's get Erubiel Durazo and Keith Foulke for a run at the Angels and Yankees. And the Yankees, reconstructing after two 95-plus win, non-Series seasons, raid Japan for outfielder Hideki Matsui, maneuver to keep Boston from getting Colón and enter camp with seven starting pitchers, including Cuban ace José Contreras.

These aren't just makeovers. These are extreme makeovers.