News item: Linebacker Ray Lewis came to terms with the Ravens last week on a three-year contract believed to be worth $22 million. The team also signed veteran center Matt Birk to a three-year deal to replace departed free agent Jason Brown.
My take: Whether Lewis was worth $22 million on the free-agent market is irrelevant. He's worth it to the Ravens, especially in the first season of the post-Rex Ryan era.
News item: New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez is reportedly still debating whether to have hip surgery or try to play through the injury this season, but he had no choice but to pass on the World Baseball Classic.
My take: Hate to be so negative, but if it's anything more than a very small labrum tear in that hip, you can stop projecting when he might pass Barry Bonds for the all-time home run lead.
News item: The Orioles continue to stockpile pitching, signing veteran starter Adam Eaton after he was released by the Philadelphia Phillies with $8.5 million in 2009 salary remaining on his contract.
My take: Technically, that would make him the second-highest-paid player on the team behind Melvin Mora if he makes the major league rotation, but the Orioles are on the hook for only $400,000.
News item: Former Orioles pitcher Daniel Cabrera pitched a rocky two innings against his old teammates Friday, giving up four hits, two walks and four stolen bases.
My take: Washington Nationals manager Manny Acta said before the game that the coaching staff is working on lengthening his stride to make him more effective. Judging by his inability to hold runners Friday, if they lengthen his stride much more, a walk will be as good as a home run.
News item: Manny Ramirez finally came to terms with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a two-year, $45 million contract with an opt-out clause if he wants to become a free agent again next winter.
My take: Because the basic terms of the deal have been in place for months, I've got to believe this is another case of Manny being Manny and finding a way to report to spring training two weeks late.
News item: Darryl Strawberry said Wednesday that if steroids had been widely available during the early years of his playing career, he would have used them.
My take: Got to give Straw credit for his honesty, but I'm pretty sure we already knew that, because he used just about everything else that was widely available at that time.
News item: Longtime Ravens kicker Matt Stover said on a local radio show Thursday that the team has decided to move in another direction and will not offer him a contract for 2009. General manager Ozzie Newsome, however, said Friday that it is not out of the question that Stover will be back next season.
My take: Obviously, Stover doesn't know how things work around here. All he needs to do is start speaking glowingly about the possibility of playing for the Cowboys and everything will work out.
News item: Magna Entertainment filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Thursday to restructure the company's huge debt.
My take: Nobody knows quite how this will affect horse racing in Maryland yet, but in combination with the denial of Magna's slots application, I'm pretty sure the whole alcohol on the Preakness infield issue is going to be moot soon.
News item: Baseball commissioner Bud Selig again defended his record on performance-enhancing drugs Friday during a visit to the new spring training home of the Dodgers and Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch in Phoenix.
My take: Selig doth protest too much. Can't we just stipulate that Major League Baseball, the players union and the media all dropped the ball on steroids?
Bonus take: OK, now that we've got that settled, let's all get on with our lives.
Listen to Peter Schmuck from spring training on WBAL (1090 AM) every weeknight at 6.