Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yankees Hot Stove Recap

Another episode of "Yankee Hot Stove" was on the YES network tonight. If you have YES and haven't checked the show out, I suggest you do. It's good stuff. Brian Cashman was on the show today and was fielding questions from Joel Sherman and Tom Verducci. The main thing I took away from the discussion is that Brian Cashman is more than happy to go into battle with the current Yankee roster. He acknowledged that they could upgrade in areas, but mentioned that he has internal candidates to fill every opening, with the exception of a utility infielder, and he isn't concerned about trying to trade for or sign anyone, but will if it makes sense. Now I'm sure he's not going to openly talk about players he's pursuing, but I kind of believe him when he talks about not needing anyone. I think his main objective is cutting down on the payroll and the way to do that is to go with the young talent and not land the expensive free agent. He mentioned that the Yankees incur an extra $.40 on the dollar for every payroll dollar they spend because of the luxury tax. So a guy with a $10 million dollar salary, really costs the Yankees $14 million when all is said and done. I can understand why he wants to cut costs.
If the Yankees head into 2007 with their current roster, they are going to be relying a lot on the offense to win games. I think the lineup is better this year than it was last year, and last year's was arguably the best lineup in history. I think Abreu is a huge upgrade over Sheffield. Giambi won't be as run down if he is the full-time DH. And Alex can't possibly continue to "slump," can he? Assuming everyone stays healthy and performs to their potential, 1000 runs isn't out of the question. The real question is can the pitching staff keep opposing runners from scoring? I think so, but I'm skeptical, and rightfully so. But if you've got a potent offense, you can afford to have a shoddy rotation.
The winter meetings start next week and I'm not expecting a lot from Cashman. I've heard the Melky/Humberto for Dontrelle Willis rumor, and while I'm all for it, I know it's highly unlikely. I'm a betting man and if I had to bet on the 2007 roster, I'd bet you're going to see Andy Phillips at 1B. I don't think we'll be seeing Shea Hillenbrand or anyone else in Pinstripes. I'm pretty sure the rotation is going to consist of Wang, Mussina, Johnson, Pavano, and Igawa, with Hughes, Sanchez, Karstens, Clippard and Rasner filling in if needed, or in the event of an injury. Personally, I hope the Yankees still make a pitch to Andy Pettitte. But again, I'm not sure Cashman is interested in spending the money. He feels he already has a winner. Me, I'm not so sure.
Peace, love and Pinstripes.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Case Of The PDA

Derek Jeter apparently isn't afraid to show some affection in public. First an art show and now this. If I were dating Jessica Biel, I'd probably do the same.
The curious part of the story is that they were hanging out in Vegas with A-Rod and Giambi. And they say Alex and Derek aren't friends off the field? Perhaps everything is on the mend. Giambi was the one who was "confronted" Alex according to that SI article. Must be water under the bridge. It's good to hear these guys hang out socially in the offseason. Let's just hope it carries over to the field come 2007.
Slow news day. Brian Cashman was on "The Show" on XM this afternoon. I missed it. If anyone caught it, let me know if they discussed anything interesting.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Kei To The Rotation?

As I mentioned a few days ago, the Yankees were interested in Japanese LHP Kei Igawa. According to this article, the Yankees have won the rights to negotiate with the Japanese pitcher. The reported winning bid was $25 million, about half the bid the Red Sox placed to negotiate with Daiskue Matsuzaka. If true, this likely fills up the Yankees starting rotation. Wang, Mussina, Johnson, Pavano, and Igawa. Not what I was hoping for, but I'll take it. Hopefully, Cashman has a trick or two up his sleeve and finds a way to dump Pavano at the winter meetings. I think we'd all be happy if that happened.
From all accounts, Igawa is a pretty solid pitcher. Not quite Matsuzaka caliber, but pretty good nonetheless. This pretty much closes the book on Barry Zito and Andy Pettitte. I can understand why the Yankees made this move. Igawa's cost will likely be much cheaper than that of Zito or Pettitte. Cashman couldn't hold his breath either waiting for Pettitte to decide whether or not he's going to pitch in 2007. It's also likely that Pettitte, and Clemens for that matter, would feel like giving Houston another run, seeing that they are definitely trying to upgrade that ballclub. But again, let's hope Cashman has something on the burner and can still somehow make it happen. The consensus is to dump Pavano. He's by far the weakest link, but Cashman sounds committed to him, or at least to his salary.
I don't think this rotation is going to be playoff caliber, but I've seen stranger things happen. There are plenty of viable options on the farm if anyone gets hurt or falters. I think we're in good shape. We just need a first baseman.
I wonder what moves would have been made if the Tampa faction was calling the shots and not Cashman?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Bye Bye Bernie?

I heard a rumor today when I was listening to "Baseball This Morning" on XM Radio. If memory serves me correct, Orestes Destrade mentioned it. Orestes was the one that broke the rumor that the Red Sox had a bid higher than $50 million for Daisuke Matsuzaka, so I tend to think he knows what he's talking about when it comes to Japanese dealings. He did after all spend some time over there and I'm sure has many contacts.
He mentioned that the Yomiuri Giants were interested in signing Bernie Williams to a 2-year deal. While I don't want to see this happen, the move probably would make a lot of sense to Bernie. He obviously wants to play everyday and he's not going to get the chance in NY. He had a solid year last year and can probably still bring it. If I'm Bernie, I'd want to play everyday and I'd only want to play in Pinstripes if I stayed in MLB. He's been a career Yankee. I can't imagine he'd want to play anywhere else. Perhaps Japan makes the most sense.
I hope to see Bernie back in 2007. I think he can still bring a lot to the table. I wrote a piece called "Bring Back Bernie" back in late October. If you want to read the post on why I wanted to see him back, feel free to click on the link.
If anything, I really hope that the Yankee uniform is the only one Bernie dons as a Major Leaguer. I really hope if he decides not to retire and come back as a Yankee, he considers Japan before he signs anywhere else. It wouldn't seem right to see him wear another uniform.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

We Want A Pitcher Not A Belly Itcher (Or A Guy Named Carl Pavano)

I was catching up on some reading today and came across a piece from the NY Post. From what it sounds like, we can expect to see everyone's favorite bust, Carl Pavano, back in Pinstripes and on the bump next year. Happy happy joy joy. Enter sarcasm here.
"I have [$16 million] in Johnson for next year so he is part of the five," Cashman said of the 43-year-old lefty who had back surgery in October. "I have $20 million over the next two years in Pavano, so he is part of the five."
If true, the Yankee rotation shapes up to be Wang, Mussina, Johnson, and Pavano with one open spot. Not what I would call threatening and it's far from what I would consider to be a postseason rotation. I can only assume that from Cashman's statement that the Yankees can't have Pavano's contract voided. He failed to disclose an auto accident and his injuries from the accident. Pavano trustworthy? Not so much. $20 million is a lot of money and I can understand why you can't just sever all ties. I think I can speak for 99% of Yankee fans when we say "trade Pavano." Cut your losses. He's not worth the headaches.
The Yankees are in need of a strong starter to fill that open spot. From what's on their radar, it's nothing I'm terribly excited about. The article mentions Gil Meche and Ted Lilly. I'm doing cartwheels. Enter more sarcasm here. Don't get me wrong, they're solid pitchers, but they won't get us to the promised land. The article calls the Yankees interest in these two, "lukewarm." It doesn't sound as if the Yankees are terribly excited either. The article also states "that the Yankees insist they aren't going to be players for Barry Zito." Personally, I think Zito is the best free agent the Yankees could get. But there is something that scares me about bringing him in, and that's the disappointments that mark Mulder and Tim Hudson have been since they've left Oakland. Oakland has a lot of foul territory and if you connect the dots, you can make the conclusion that these pitchers have been aided by the extra outs they racked up from what would be a foul ball anywhere else. I don't know how to quantify that. It's a theory, and it's one a buy into. Jeff Suppan is still available, though his name hasn't been mentioned in some while. I'm fine with that.
According to the article there is also a rumor that the Yankees may post a bid on Japanese lefty Kei Agawa. I don't know much about him, but from what I've read and seen from his stats, he may not be a bad option. I don't think the Yankees will break the bank if they do in fact post a bid, so I wouldn't be surprised if he lands somewhere else, likely Seattle from what I hear.
Right now I don't think the Yankees should promote from within. At least not right out the gate. They have the talent, but I don't think they are yet the caliber of pitcher that will solve the Yankees problems. I've previously discussed my thought on moving Scott Proctor to the rotation. Again, bad idea. So where would that leave the Yankees?
I'm starting to warm up to the idea of trying to bring back Andy Pettitte. He's been there, he's done that, and he's done it in a Yankee uniform. We know he can succeed on the big stage. And you never know, bring in Andy and you might be able to bring in Roger also. If you have the ability to bring in Roger Clemens, you do it. Getting Andy Pettitte to wear your uniform is a step in the right direction. It might be a little harder for the Yankees to sway Pettitte away from the Astros seeing that they just signed Carlos Lee and Woody Williams. The 'Stros are committed to winning. It would be pretty easy for Andy to stay in Houston if he chooses not to retire. I'm not sure if Pettitte wants to come back to New York. I remember when my friend and I were driving back from Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS (ugh bad night) we were listening to sports talk radio, probably WFAN, and a caller called in and brought up Andy Pettitte. He brought up some rumor that Andy left NY because of an ultimatum he was given by his wife. He was allegedly cheating on her, she found out, and said either we're out of here or I'm out of here with all your money. If true, that's incentive to leave and it's incentive not to come back. But for all I know, it's urban legend. If anybody knows the story, feel free to share.
It looks like the Yankees could have some pitching woes in 2007. I'm sure Cashman has a plan. He knows Steinbrenner wants a winner and quite frankly, what we have now isn't a winner. Come on Brian. Give us an early Christmas present, would ya?
Hope you all had a great holiday.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Top 10

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I'd put up a list of the top 10 baseball-related things I'm thankful for this offseason. Feel free to post your own.
10) Gary Sheffield and Jaret Wright were traded
9) MLB on XM Radio
8) The Yankees resigned Mike Mussina
7) The Hot Stove, there's no better offseason in sports
6) Brian Cashman is the Yankee GM
5) This blog and everyone who reads it
4) I'm not a Red Sox fan
3) With each passing day, we're 1 day closer to pitchers and catchers reporting
2) MVP or not, Derek Jeter plays for the Yankees
and the #1 baseball-related thing thing I'm thankful for this offseason is,
1) I want to thank the good Lord for making me a Yankee fan
.....and I'm especially thankful for my wife. She lets me blog instead of watching "The View" and "The Gilmore Girls." Though those Gilmores do have some witty banter. Thanks babe.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Jeter = MCP

You knew this was coming:
"While I know that voting for these awards is primarily based on differing opinions and statistical debates, it's also part of what makes baseball such a great sport. Having said that, I'm flattered and honored to have been considered for the American League Most Valuable Player Award. I want to congratulate Justin Morneau on this well-deserved honor. He is a special player, and I suspect this won't be the last time you will hear his name mentioned when awards are being passed out. You've heard me say it a thousand times, but winning the World Series for the New York Yankees continues to be my main focus. There is no individual award that can compare with a championship trophy, and I look forward to working towards that challenge again in 2007." - Derek Jeter
Jeter may have lost out on the MVP, but I think it's safe to say he'd unanimously be named Most Classy Player. Even the baseball writers couldn't botch that call.


I'm calling shenanigans on some of these so-called "baseball writers." Newsday has listed here how each individual voted for the AL MVP. For those that don't know how the voting goes, it looks like 2 writers from each AL team's area gets a vote. There are certainly some eyebrow raisers. I'd love to hear the justification that some of them have for how they voted, because quite frankly, some of them just don't make much sense to me, so I'm calling shenanigans.
For starters, some one tell me how Joe Mauer gets left off 5 ballots? He won the batting title and was instrumental in the Twins run to the Central. Shenanigans on these 5:

  1. Joe Cowley - Chicago Sun Times (Chicago)
  2. Sheldon Ocker - Akron Beacon Journal (Cleveland)
  3. John Hickey - Seattle Post Intelligencer (Seattle)
  4. Allan Ryan - Toronto Star (Toronto)
  5. Joe Roderick - Contra Costa Times (Oakland)

I find it interesting that Larry Millson of the Toronto Globe and Mail and Allan Ryan of the Toronto Star, both cast first place votes for Morneau and second place votes for Jeter. For those that don't know, Morneau is Canadian. Perhaps these two were swayed by a little national pride? Reverse their votes and Jeter is your winner. Something smells fishy? Shenanigans.
Johan Santana was named on 21 ballots and finished 7th overall. My question to those that voted for Santana is how can you not cast a vote for Chien-Ming Wang? Both had identical records at 19-6. Johan blew Wang away in many statistical categories, but each won 19 games and each lost 6. If you want to put a value on each guy, it was 19 wins and 6 losses. No two ways about it, equal value. It doesn't matter how you got there, just that you did. And both got their 19 times. Yet Wang had 1 vote cast for him; A 9th place vote cast by Eduardo Encina of the St. Petersburg Times (Tampa Bay). At least he got it right. The rest of you: shenanigans! And a special shenanigans to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (Texas). He cast his number one ballot for Santana. They each were equally valuable to their teams. The numbers don't lie. you can't justify one over the other.
I want to know what Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times (Chicago) is smoking. He's the writer that cast a 6th place vote for Jeter. In my opinion his cast ballot is the worst of the bunch. Dye gets your second place vote? Excuse me while I cough and say the word "hometown vote" at the same time. Johan gets his 3rd place vote. See my Wang argument above. Ortiz in 5th? Even I wouldn't have scored him that low. A-Rod? How does A-Rod even rate in the top 10? And finally, everybody's favorite catcher, AJ Pierzynski. Could luck trying to sell that argument. There is no argument that you can make that justifies casting a 6th place vote for Jeter. Shenanigans Mr. Crowley. Shenanigans.
There were some other puzzling votes cast:

  1. Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record (New York) cast a 7th place for Ortiz and a 9th place vote for Mariano Rivera. Rivera shouldn't have ranked and Ortiz was definitely not the 7th best player in the league. Shenanigans.
  2. Dave Heuschkel of the Hartford Courant (Boston) cast a 5th place vote for Johnny Damon. Sounds like a little leftover love from 2004? Shenanigans.
  3. Allan Ryan of the Toronto Star (Toronto), Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun Times (Chicago) and John Hickey Seattle Post Intelligencer (Seattle) all cast votes for A-Rod. Hickey cast a 5th place vote for Alex. I love A-Rod, but he didn't deserve to be on the list. Shenanigans.
  4. John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press (Detroit) cast 7 of his 10 votes for players on AL Central teams. The three non-Central players were Jeter, Ortiz, and Frank Thomas. Now if you leave Jeter and Ortiz off your list, it's further proof that you're an idiot. His ballot included 4 Twins (Nathan, Santana, Mauer, and Morneau) and also featured Kenny Rogers. The Gambler? You've got to be kidding. To his credit, he cast his first place vote for Jeter. Shenanigans.

I would really love to know the justification some of these voters had for casting votes the way they did as there are a lot of puzzling things. It makes me question the integrity of the vote and its outcome. Casting a hometown vote for a guy does no justice to anyone. As I asked yesterday, what criteria do these baseball writers have to meet to be able to cast these votes? I feel many demonstrate that they just don't get it. Again, I point to last year's HOF vote. Walt Weiss? Gregg Jefferies? I rest my case.
But as Derek Jeter said, "While I know that voting for these awards is primarily based on differing opinions and statistical debates, it's also part of what makes baseball such a great sport." I'll second that. A lot of people don't even consider Morneau to be the MVP of his team, yet he had 15 first place votes. The majority of voters saw Jeter as one of the 2 best players in the league, but someone saw him as the 6th best. It's amazing how people see things so differently. Regardless, it's fun to talk about and debate. It's part of what makes baseball such a great sport.
Peace, love and baseball.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Moose Hunting (Repost)

Since the deal is finally official, pending Moose passes a physical, I thought I'd repost what I wrote last week. I'm very excited Moose is officially back.
Mike Mussina will be back in Pinstripes! This moves makes a lot of sense. Prior to the signing, the only guarantees in the Yankees rotation were Chien-Ming Wang and Randy Johnson. By bringing Mussina back, the Yanks now have just 2 "open" slots to fill. With the Jaret Wright trade and with Boston getting the rights to Matsuzaka, this was a no-brainer. Moose is still one of the better pitchers out there, and he was available. He was able to change speeds pretty effectively last year and there's no reason to think he can't duplicate that success in 2007.
It was no secret Moose wanted to come back to NY. It was no secret that he wasn't worth $18 million. I'm glad the 2 parties settled on an agreeable price. I'm hoping the Yankees take their Matsuzaka bid and plunk it down on some top-quality SPs. $30 million or so goes along way.
Barry Zito anyone?

Jeter Gets Jipped

The results of the AL MVP have settled in, and while I don't agree with the outcome, I've made my peace with it. Morneau is deserving of the honor, but Jeter was more deserving. In the post I made right after the winner was announced, I made the comment that Morneau was probably the most valuable player to his team. After seeing the results of the vote, I'm rethinking that position.
But first, how does anyone justify casting a 6th place vote for Jeter? I'm not even sure I agree with someone casting a 4th place vote for Jeter, but come on, a 6th place vote? That's absurd. I'd love to hear the justification on that one. How does this person even get a vote? I said the same thing about the guy that cast a vote for Walt Weiss on his HOF ballot. There needs to be some kind of criteria that these baseball writers need to meet in order to cast these ballots because some of them aren't demonstrating a solid understanding of the game. I'm talking about you Furman Bisher! Don't think I forgot about you. I'm also not sure I buy into the point system that correlates to each vote. The value of a first place vote is 14 points. A second place vote earns 9 points. That's a pretty big discrepancy. Jeter had more total first and second place votes than Morneau, 26 to 23. More writers felt Jeter was a better player. But I can do the math. Even if you make first place worth 10 points, Jeter still comes up 2 points short. I'm just criticizing the system and some of its voters. It definitely doesn't sound like an objective vote. Can you say Yankee-hater? 6th place???
Morneau ended up with a great season, but he wasn't nearly as consistent as Jeter. Jeter did it all year long. Morneau turned it on in early June. What value was Morneau adding when the Twins were struggling? Not much as the Twins were pretty far back in the Central. I won't dispute that Morneau was "arguably" the league's best player from June 8th through the end of the season. That accounts for less than two-thirds of the season! The award isn't for the MVP of the final few months. It's for the MVP of the entire season. To me, Jeter was consistent all year long. Some even feel that Morneau wasn't even the most valuable player on his team. The run the Twins made had as much to do with Mauer, Liriano, and Santana, as it did with Justin Morneau. It didn't help Jeter's cause that the Twins had such a great finish while the Yankees won the East going away. We can credit Boston's poor play for that one.
As Yankeefan1 pointed out in his comments on my last post, Morneau had 2 teammates finish in the top 7, Johan Santana and Joe Mauer. That means 3 Twins finished in the top 7. Let's not forget about Francisco Liriano either? If he stayed healthy, you might have seen 4 Twins in the top 10. The second highest Yankee was Alex Rodriguez, who finished 13th. Yes that's right. A-Rod? You can argue that the Twins would have fared equally as well if Morneau didn't perform as he did. You can probably argue the same points about the Yankees lineup being so potent. But Jeter was the catalyst and kept the team together when the Yankees lost 3 of their key players (Sheffield, Cano, Matsui) for a significant period of time in 2006. It's a great lineup up-and-down, but if you removed Jeter from the Yankee lineup, I don't care what you say, they don't do as well.
In the end, I'm sure Morneau got a little extra love for being a power guy. Hitting HRs is sexy. Stealing bases, moving runners around, and being a complete player apparently isn't. Just ask David Ortiz, he'll tell ya. There's an ill-conceived notion out there that it's all about the longball. Silly rabbits.
I don't want to take anything away from the great year that Morneau and the Twins had. Morneau did have an MVP-caliber season. Jeter just had a better one.


There is no tie. Morneau is your MVP. The Yankee fan in me is bummed, but the baseball fan in me knows Morneau is deserving of the award. I still think Jeter should have won, but Morneau was definitely more valuable to his team than any other player in the league. More to come. Back to work.
Congrats JM.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Ready To Rumble

Where's Michael Buffer when you need him? The MVP races have the feel of a heavyweight fight, don't you think? A couple of juggernauts just spent 12 rounds going toe-to-toe, and now we're relying on the judge's scorecards to determine the winner. And you know the fight was so close that the decision has no choice but to be controversial. Howard vs. Pujols on the undercard. Jeter vs. Ortiz (or perhaps Morneau or Dye) in the main event. As Michael Buffer would say: "For the thousands in attendance and the millions watching around the world. Ladies and gentleman. Let's get readyyyyyyyyyyyy to rumbllllllllllllllle."
The Pujols/Howard fight is over and I personally thought Pujols put up the better fight. The judges however gave Howard the victory with a split decision. I think you can argue either way one's worthiness over the other. Both had monster years. Both hit for average, both had power, and both knocked in a lot of runs. Pujols hit for a higher average, had a higher OBP and a higher OPS. Howard was better in the power department, but one could make a case that Pujols, had he not played in 16 less games mainly in part to being injured, could have put up equal if not better power numbers than Howard. The stat that sticks out most to me is the number of strikeouts Pujols had compared to Howard. 50 to 181. That differential is insane. Pujols was 1 HR shy of having the same number of HRs as he did strikeouts. That's amazing. The Cards won the World Series. The Phillies missed out on the playoffs. The Cardinals weren't exactly dominant in the regular season and played in a weaker division, but leading your team to the playoffs should count for something, especially when the race is so close. I think in the end it came down to who was flashier. As they say, chicks dig the longball. Apparently, so do baseball writers. As a Yankee fan, I hope that doesn't ring true tomorrow.
We're about 19 hours or so from hearing who won the AL MVP. The Yankee Captain, Derek Jeter is moving up in weight class to take on Big Papi. On second thought make that several weight classes. To be fair, there are others worth consideration, but it wouldn't be the greatest rivalry in sports if we didn't make it Jeter vs. Ortiz: Rivalry Revisited. If you've ever read my blog before, you know I'm pulling for Jeter. That shouldn't surprise anyone. I've written many times before as to why. For those of you new to the blog or want a refresher, click here, here, here, and/or here. I won't bother getting into it again. From what I'm hearing, most people "in the know" agree with me. Those people being writers, analysts, radio and TV hosts. Most people are backing Jeter. As I blogged yesterday, most of the public agree. Which brings me to my this.
I was left an interesting comment from a Red Sox fan on my post yesterday. Perhaps interesting isn't the right word. More like puzzling?
"Ortiz has better numbers than Jeter. This doesn't prove that Red Sox fans can't see anything except through 'red-colored glasses'...this proves that Jerter's reputation is what people seem to vote on, not his actual stats."
Not so fast. As Luckyleftie, frequent reader of this blog, pointed out, Ortiz has better power numbers. Consider this: Who's average was higher? Who's OBP was higher? Who scored more runs? Who had more doubles? Who had more stolen bases? Who struck out less? Who knocked in more runs if you factor into account the number of runners they had to knock in? Who won a Gold Glove for their defense? Who's team finished in first? Who sees my point? The only thing Ortiz has on Jeter when you look at numbers is HRs and SLG, which go hand-in-hand. Do you care to rethink that statement? Furthermore, they try to make the point that people only seem to vote for Jeter because of his reputation. I'd love to rehash what I wrote but I'll just cut-and-paste the highlights from my comments:
"What does that say about Papi's reputation? He is after all "the most clutch hitter" in the game, right? It's commonly known, yes? Assuming Ortiz again finishes the runner-up, that would be 2 years running. His performance is enough to have garnered a reputation worthy that of Jeter's. Or maybe it's that Jeter's reputation carries throughout the country whereas Ortiz's reputation is limited to the New England states. Jeter's reputation goes hand-in-hand with his stats and his style of play. Apparently it's not Sox fans that are wrong, but it's the entire country that's apparently mistaken. Your assertion proves my point. As I and many others have discussed before, the game isn't all about power. Maybe in New England/RSN it is. The rest of the country is inclined to disagree. There's no way Ortiz is the MVP over Jeter. The entire country with the exception of New England/RSN apparently agree."
Pretty solid rebuttal I must say. I've yet to hear one solid argument for Ortiz being the MVP over Jeter, except from Red Sox fans, and I'd hardly call their arguments solid as evidenced above. I don't think I'm going to. And I'm supposed to believe it has nothing to do with wearing "red-colored glasses." Okay, he said in a sarcastic tone. Even I can take off the "pinstriped" glasses. When Jeter won the Gold Glove, I had a post making a case against that victory. I even went as far as saying Sox SS Alex Gonzalez would have got my vote. But a Sox fan rightfully admitting that Jeter had a better year than Ortiz? Good luck finding one.
At 2pm tomorrow, I'm predicting that the baseball writers will get this vote right. And by right I mean they won't vote for Ortiz. But alas, they're baseball writers. They've gotten it wrong before.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Proctor Is In

The Yankee brass are tossing around the idea of turning Scott Proctor into a SP in 2007. I'm not sold on this line of thinking as I've never been a huge Proctor fan.
From Newsday: "We'll probably have him proceed and prepare as a starter, because you can always go the other way, slide him down and reduce his workload. But it's hard to go the other way," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said yesterday as the general managers' meetings concluded. "But that's for another day."
The starting rotation has a lot of questions and I can understand that the Yankees want to prepare Proctor for this role if other avenues turn out to be dead ends. But let's not commit to this idea just yet. Like I mentioned, I'm not a Proctor guy. He's too inconsistent, which is sad because he was one of the Yankees' better relievers in 2006. But if you watched most of the games, you know what I'm talking about. You didn't know if Proctor was going to come in and get the big out or if he was going to give up a game changing HR. I can't remember the exact stat they flashed about Proctor during the broadcast of a Yankee game on YES, but it was something along the lines of he had given up 7 or so HRs after the 7th inning. I don't remember it exactly and I don't remember if they said anything about him leading the majors in that category. If anybody knows, lend it to this conversation. At times he was solid and dependable. At times you weren't really sure what you were going to get.
Proctor in my opinion is better suited for the relief role. He was a horse last year, appearing in a league-high 83 games and throwing in 100-plus innings. That's a lot to replace, especially when the bullpen is shaky as it is. I understand part of Cashman's job is trying to cut the payroll. The Yankees have being losing money the last few years, in large part to the $200+ million they pay in salaries. This might be a reason why they'd want to promote from within. The Yankees have in-house options I'd rather see them take such as Karstens and Rasner, or even Hughes and Sanchez if they feel they're ready. Taking Proctor out of the pen is going to make the bridge to Mariano a lot harder to cross. I really hope the Yankees aren't planning on making Tanyon Sturtze that guy. I don't trust him and would be happy if he got shipped out somewhere.
Proctor in all likelihood would end up being like Jaret Wright. Inconsistent and you'll be lucky if you get more than 5 innings. The Yankees had Jaret Wright, and not many of us liked him. Do we really need another Jaret Wright? It doesn't make much sense to move another Wright-like pitcher into that role. It's purely a cost savings move and I don't think it puts the Yankees in a better position to win.
I'd like to see this turn out to be nothing more than a contingency plan. If all else fails, turn to this option. If Proctor does get the call, I hope I'm wrong and he's lights out. Cashman knows what he's doing and his recent moves have me excited, but this move is better left as a plan B or C.
Peace, love and Pinstripes. Go Wolverines.

And The AL MVP Goes To...

Sorry Big Papi, you lose. At least according to those that voted over at ESPN has a poll up on their MLB page questioning who should be the AL MVP. Here are the 5 choices and the % of the vote they received after 200,000 votes were cast:

  1. Derek Jeter 39%
  2. Joe Mauer 12%
  3. Justin Morneau 16%
  4. David Ortiz 24%
  5. Johan Santana 9%

It's to no surprise that the American public sees Jeter as the MVP. But here is where the results get interesting. They also have the results broken down by state. David Ortiz is the top vote-getter in 4 states: Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. For those of you not up on your geography, those 4 states make up what is commonly known as New England. It looks like everyone in the upper northeast cast their votes amongst party lines. I can't say I'm shocked. This just furthers my point that most Red Sox fans can never look at things with an open mind. If you've ever visited a Sox blog or talked to a Sox fan, you know what I'm talking about. Not all of them are this way now. But the vast majority of Sox fans/bloggers think that they and the Red Sox are the high and mighty, and they can do and say no wrong. They fail to look at anything within MLB through any other set of eyes other than those that wear "red-colored glasses." The results of this poll is just another thing that supports that belief. I'm sure a lot of people will retort that Yankee fans are the same way, and I agree, most of us are. Myself at times included. But I like to think I can take off the "pinstriped glasses." I've read a lot of Yankee blogs that demonstrate that they can also. Sox blogs, not so much.
Now Ortiz wasn't the only one to win the states in his "home area." Justin Morneau was far and away winning in Minnesota. He was also leading in the Dakotas, and in Iowa, all of which border Minnesota. Jeter winning in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. No surprises there. Another thing that didn't surprise me, but may surprise some, is that Derek Jeter was the leading vote-getter in every other state. Based on that, I think it's safe to assume that the majority of baseball fans see Jeter as the MVP, not just we Yankee fans. I'm interested to hear Sox fans explain that one, as they appear to be the ones that disagree. Well to be fair, so do Twins fans.
But in the end it's not the public that decides. It's the Baseball Writers that have the ultimate say. We'll find out in a few short days as the winner will be announced on Tuesday. Something tells me Jeter will be adding another piece of hardware to his collection. As if Jessica Biel isn't enough.

Friday, November 17, 2006

One Man's Vision

Chien-Ming Wang deserved to win the AL Cy Young. The fact that he finished second to Johan Santana in the AL Cy Young vote is a travesty! An outrage! Just kidding. Santana was far and away the best pitcher in all of baseball last year. If you look up the word domination in the dictionary, you'll see a picture of Santana. But still, you have to give props to Chien-Ming for the year he had. If you told me at the beginning of the year he'd win 19 games, I'd have laughed. I'll admit it. In 2005 I was a Chien-Ming doubter. When I was in Toronto in 2005, I had the chance to get his autograph, but I figured he wouldn't materialize into much, so I passed on the chance, though I did get it in April of 2006. Thankfully for the Yankees and their fans, one man recognized the potential in Wang, and that was Yankee GM Brian Cashman.
I just called up my friend Marty. he's coming over with his souped up Delorean. We're going to crank up the flux capacitor to 1.21 jigawatts and go back in time to July of 2005, circa the trading deadline. Come along won't you? 2005 was a pretty tough season. A season which would see us tied with Boston at the end of the regular season. It was arguably the toughest season Joe Torre had as skipper of the Yankees. Normally when a contender is heading into the stretch, they try to bring in a big bat or a hired gun to help put them over the top (i.e Bobby Abreu). When August 1 2005 rolled around the Yankees could have used a little something-something for the stretch run. And Brian Cashman, thankfully, did nothing. Why? Because everyone wanted Chien-Ming Wang and Robinson Cano. Cashman had the foresight to recognize the talent he had in these two gems. Cano would eventually be the runner-up for the AL Rookie of the Year, and in his second year, he'd finish 3rd for the AL batting title. Wang wins 19 games and finishes 2nd in the AL Cy Young vote in his second year. Can you say thank you? I can. Thanks Cash! Thanks for not trading away the Yankees young talent like Cano, Wang, Hughes, Clippard, Melky, and Tabata. Thanks for not trading away the farm, but rather rebuilding it with quality prospects like Sanchez, Britton, Whelan and Claggett. Thanks for being patient and putting a winning team on the field year in and year out. I suppose I should thank King George for having deep pockets, for without his money, Cashman's job would be a lot tougher. Thanks George.
Cashman is a genius. If you think he's not, tell me why. I'd be interested to know.

Why I Hate Derek Jeter

Two words: Jessica Biel. I've got to get me that cologne.
Way to go Jete, you lucky dog.
ps- that's the only reason why I hate him

Roll Of The Daisuke

I've been bagging blogging a lot on the Red Sox lately, and this post won't be much different. I just got done watching "Yankees Hot Stove" on YES. For those that don't know, it's an hour-long show dedicated to discussing the hot stove, as it applies to the Yankees and the rest of baseball. One of the main topics of this show was Daisuke Matsuzaka and the $51.11 million dollar posting fee the Red Sox doled out for the rights to negotiate with him. Several times this week I've mentioned that it seems like a lot of money, and it is. I've wondered whether or not it makes sense from a business standpoint. This is what I wrote a few days ago:
Plunking down $100 million to sign Matsuzaka may make the Sox money in the long run. Unless the Sox cut payroll or increase the costs of tickets and such, getting a positive return on their "investment" might be hard to do. From a business standpoint, I wonder what their plan is? Fenway sells out every game, so it's not like there is extra ticket or concession revenue to be had. Are they relying on the Japanese market to buy Sox gear? Seems like a tall order.
I had an interesting exchange today over on a Red Sox blog. They were trying to justify the posting fee as a great business investment and a good marketing move. I disagreed. Here were the start of my comments:
As for making money, where are these dollars coming from? The Yankees and Mariners made money primarily b/c they had tickets to sell. Sox games will sell out regardless. The Sox are gaining no additional revenue unless of course they increase ticket and concession costs, which is fine, IF they win. Then noone will care as much. The Yankees and Mariners had seats to sell. Hence the increased attendance figures for NYY since Matsui signed....... As for merchandising, you're not going to make close to $50 million when you figure in revenue sharing with 29 other teams, so you'll have to sell a buttload of merch to even make a dent in the $51 million. As for TV deals, there will be some cash there, both in broadcast and in advertising. A full time player like Ichiro and Matsui, is more valuable from an advertising standpoint as you get 162 games. The Sox are looking at 35 tops. Does revenue sharing apply to broadcast/advertising also? It's not as lucrative as you think, as the majority of the $ is to be had with ticket sales, of which there won't be any added income.
Pretty good take, wouldn't you say? Here was the response:
You make many presumptions with nothing to back them up......And to answer your question, there is no "revenue sharing" in MLB. There is a luxury tax that's based on a team's annual payroll. Revenue has nothing to do with it. That's why teams pursue additional revenue streams like luxury boxes, advertising, or a team-owned television channel like NESN or YES. It's all gravy
"No revenue sharing?" he says with a bewildered look on his face. Really now. The funny thing here is that this blogger was referred to as "one of the most savvy people when it comes to baseball." Maybe it was an oversight or confusion on their part, but still. My wife knows there is revenue sharing in baseball (no offense dear). So me, being the most savvy baseball fan I know, dropped in some language form the Collective Bargaining Agreement to make my point. I then went on to add that advertising revenue will be far less when you bank on a pitcher, than you do a hitter. Makes sense, right? A pitcher will get maximum 35 starts. A hitter can play in 162 games. More games played equals more opportunity to advertise. I was met with this response:
What will that revenue be? Please give dollar figures (or yen, if you prefer) and cite your sources. In other words, please explain on what you base your presumption that advertising (or merchandising, or broadcast rights) revenue will or will not exceed the money the Red Sox have spent for negotiating rights over the life of Matsuzaka's contract.
I won't bore you with my full response, but the short of it is I broke out some math and illustrated about how much merch the Sox would need to sell to make $51 million. I'm not a math genius and I'd need a degree in Advanced Calculus to be able to calculate an exact figure when you account for revenue sharing, but I made my point. My whole outlook on this deal was based on my logic and the assumption of how this whole deal will go. I had no source and I had no dollar figure at the time, but I do now and I love it when I'm right.
As I mentioned above, the big discussion on "Yankees Hot Stove" was about Matsuzaka. The panel consisted of SI senior baseball writers Tom Verducci and Jon Heyman, and NY Time senior baseball writer Jack Curry. For starters, neither of these gentleman believe this was a smart business move and none believed the Sox would get their money back. Then Mr. Curry dropped a figure that made me smile. He dropped a figure on how much revenue the signing of Hideki Matsui has brought the Yankees each year. That figure is $5-6 million dollars. That's some decent cheddar but at that rate, It would take the Red Sox 10-plus years to recoup their $51.11 million dollar investment. Mr. Curry further stated that Matsuzaka is only going to pitch in 30 or so games, where Matsui will play in 162, so the revenue would even be less than that. Another point I made thank you very much. I love it when people agree with me.
So I'll stand by what I've said many times over. This deal is a head-scratcher. If in fact the figures about the revenue Matsui generates are accurate, I see no way the Sox will gain a positive return on their "investment," especially if Boras negotiates Matsuzaka's contract for 3 years. Who knows? Maybe the Sox FO has the same outlook and their high bid was merely a tactic used to **** block the rest of the league from acquiring Matsuzaka? We'll find out just under four weeks. Assuming they do reach an agreement, I still see no way for the Sox to make money on this deal, without totally abandoning spending, which doesn't appear to be in the cards.
I've got an idea. Let's increase some ticket prices!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Baseball's Biggest Bargain

According to "The Rumor Mill" the Red Sox are closing in on a deal to sign free agent RF J.D. Drew. It's being speculated that Drew's price tag is 4 years, $56 million. According to my handy-dandy calculator, that's about $14 million per year. Right now this is all speculation. But it's fun to pretend, so let's say that this deal goes through and assume that the Red Sox sign Drew for $14 million per year. Do you realize that Drew would be making more annually than David Ortiz, the so-called face of the Boston Red Sox? What's wrong with that picture? Oh yeah, Scott Boras. Silly me.
If J.D. Drew signs with Boston and ends up earning more per year than Ortiz, than that would make Ortiz the biggest bargain in baseball. There is no way you can justify that Drew deserves more money that Ortiz. If you look at their 2006 numbers, Drew had a pretty solid campaign, hitting .283, with 20 bombs, 100 RBI, and an OPS of .891. Ortiz had a monster year, hitting .287 with 54 bombs, 137 RBI and an OPS of 1.049. No brainer as to who's worth more.
Despite being born 2 days apart, Ortiz made his MLB debut a year before Drew. Drew hasn't exactly been the picture of health in his career. He's averaged about 107 games played per season over his 9 year career. Ortiz over his 10 year career, has averaged about 104 games played per season, but he didn't really get any significant PT until he signed with Boston in 2003 when he had the first of many pretty big seasons. Over their careers, they have pretty similar numbers. Drew has a slightly higher average and OBP, but Ortiz has much better power numbers. We don't even need to look at recent seasons. Many people think Ortiz should have won the MVP last year, and many think he should win this year. Drew isn't even on the radar when you talk about MVP candidates. If Drew is worth $14 million a year, than the Sox are stealing Ortiz at the $12.5 they are going to pay him. I wonder how that makes Ortiz feel? But alas, it's all speculation, but it's fun to talk about this kind of stuff.
Scott Boras is a genius if he pulls this off. There is no way you can justify Drew's worth at $14 mill when you compare his value to Papi's. That's crazy. Regardless of Ortiz's salary, I think the Sox, or any team really, would be nuts to pay that much money for J.D. Drew. He's not worth that kind of cheddar. But the Sox seem to have deeper pockets all of the sudden. $51.22 mill to sign Matsuzaka. Another $12 million to pay him. Drew possibly at $14 mill. They've abandoned the you're getting $10 million per year MO that they gave to Varitek and Renteria, and tried to give to Damon. I wonder if losing Damon to NY has caused the Red Sox to rethink the way they do things. Some might say that in light of recent events.
The Yankee fan in me doesn't want to see Drew in Boston. A 3-4-5 of Ortiz, Manny, and Drew is a lethal combo. One I wouldn't want to face as an opposing pitcher. But to think the Sox might pay Drew more than they are Ortiz, well, that's just nuckin' futs.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Second Coming Of Irabu

If you take everything into account, Daisuke Matsuzaka is about to become MLB's most valuable player in terms of dollars, and that's beyond ridiculous. As far as I'm concerned there is only player who is worth that kind of money, and that is none other than Steve Nebraska. The cool kids will get that. Here's what we know:

  1. The Boston Red Sox had a winning bid of $51.11 million
  2. Scott Boras is Daisuke's agent

The key bullet above is number two. If Scott Boras is involved, you're paying top dollar. And you're likely paying more than the player is worth. It's being speculated that Matsuzaka is going to end up with a yearly salary of roughly $8-12 million per year. For argument's sake, let's call it $10 million, and personally I think that's low. There is also speculation that Boras is going to angle for a 3 year deal so Daisuke can be a free agent before he's 30. The Sox I'm sure will want a 5-year deal, so they can understandably make more of their $51 million dollar investment. Boras will want 3, the Sox will want 5, so for argument's sake, we'll call it 4 years.
Now I know the posting fee doesn't count toward the salary, but for all intents and purposes, it kind of does, sort of. If Daisuke spends 4 years in Boston, that's roughly another $12.75 million per year if you take into account the posting fee spread out over 4 years. For those that are mathematically challenged, the Red Sox are going to pay roughly $22 plus million per year for Matsuzaka's services, or roughly $91 million in total. And that will likely come in closer to the $100 million mark. Matsuzaka? A guy who has never thrown one pitch in MLB? Someone tell me how this makes sense? 2 words: Hideki Irabu
And if you're wondering, I'd say the same thing if the Yankees were the winners of the Matsuzaka sweepstakes, especially if they bid $50 million for a guy that's going to play once every 5 days. I wanted him in the Bronx, but at that price tag, no thank you. That kind of money is much better spent on quantity AND quality. Think about what you could get for $100 million over 4 years.

Hey Big Spender

If it weren't for this whole Daisuke Matsuzaka business, there wouldn't be much to blog about. God, I love baseball's offseason. Hands down the greatest offseason in professional sports. You gotta love it.
I was surfing the web tonight, much like I do every night, and I came across a great piece by Michael Rosenberg, over at He, like many of we Yankee fans have been doing over the last few days, is drawing comparisons between the Yankees and the Red Sox. The title of the piece is "Sox fans can no longer whine about 'Evil Empire.' Sox fans, like it or not, your organization is just like ours.
To steal a line from his piece: "No more complaining about the Yankees' payroll, Red Sox fans. Your team is the second-fattest cat on the block." I'm curious if Red Sox fans feel as if part of their identity has been stolen, as Yankee payroll comments have been part of the Sox fans' repertoire for what seems like forever. You guys can't fall back on the "payroll argument" anymore. No more quips about the Yankees trying to "buy championships." Assuming the Red Sox fail to win the World Series in 2007, or miss the playoffs like they did this year, you can't even fall back on the "you have the highest payroll and didn't win it all" argument. What are you guys going to do? And you can try to justify this all you want, but it's not flying with anybody except with members of the RSN. I've seen, read, and heard comments such as "well, it doesn't count against the payroll." And "it's an investment." Hey, keep telling yourselves that. Whatever helps you sleep at night. The Sox dropped $50 million to negotiate with a guy, and going off the assumption the two sides reach an agreement, there's another $40-50 million. It may not all count toward the team payroll, but the Red Sox just dropped $100 million to sign and pay one guy for his services. Potato, potatoe. Or better yet, Red Sox, Yankees.
I can understand why then Red Sox want to be like the Yankees. Who doesn't want to win 26 World Titles? Who doesn't want to have one of the most recognizable logos in the world? Who doesn't want to break both home and away attendance records? Who wants to wait 86 years to win a World Series? Who doesn't want to win? To try and do this, the Red Sox took a peek at the Yankee playbook, but what they found is really no secret. It's a simple business practice. You have to spend money to make money. Plunking down $100 million to sign Matsuzaka may make the Sox money in the long run. Unless the Sox cut payroll or increase the costs of tickets and such, getting a positive return on their "investment" might be hard to do. From a business standpoint, I wonder what their plan is? Fenway sells out every game, so it's not like there is extra ticket or concession revenue to be had. Are they relying on the Japanese market to buy Sox gear? Seems like a tall order. Time will tell I guess. Now will spending money help them win? Any Yankee fan should be able to answer that one.
As I said the other day, the Sox are now no different in how they try to operate. The Yankees just do it better. Always have. Always will. Long live the Empire.
It's past my bedtime.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Let The Games Begin

Shh. Everyone be quiet. Do you hear that? Is that what I think it is? Holy frick on a stick, it is! I can hear the "Emperor's Theme" from Star Wars coming from the direction of Boston. It's nice to spend money and try to buy a contender, isn't it? I'd do the same if I was the GM of a 3rd place team.
Wow. The Daisuke Matsuzaka press conference couldn't have been more boring. To paraphrase: "Yeah, umm, the Seibu Lions have accepted the offer from the Boston Red Sox. We're, umm, not going to comment on anything. Umm, thanks for coming." Yeah, ti went something like that.
Now perhaps it was all of the leaked information that trickled out throughout the last week that made it so pointless, but it was totally void of suspense. It would have been cool to have not known prior to today. But what can you do? The real fun is just starting. The Sox have 30 days to strike an agreement with Matsuzaka and Scott Boras or he goes back to Seibu. Was the $51.11 million a serious offer, or just a move to block everyone else from getting him? Either way, the Sox are showing that they are all business. And that business is spending money. And the Yankees are the only ones that do that? Yeah right.
Here's an interesting piece from Jeff Passan at Yahoo. It's a good and interesting read. Needless to say, this should be a pretty interesting offseason. Warm up the stoves.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Yankee Wannabees

It's no secret to the smart baseball fan that the Boston Red Sox are ripping pages from the Yankee playbook. We all know this. It shouldn't come as a surprise. I was surfing the web today and came across a good column from SI's John Donovan. The title of the article is "Evil Empire Jr." and it draws comparisons to how the so-called "anti-Yankees" are operating much in the same fashion as their hated counterparts. Give it a read. It's well put together.
Right now the only difference between the Red Sox and the Yankees, besides the obvious domination of the Yankees over Boston throughout history, is their payroll. The Sox are no different in how they try to operate. The Yankees just do it better. Always have. Always will.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Wright On Out

Jaret Wright is shufflin' off to Baltimore. The Yankees traded him to Baltimore in exchange for young RP Chris Britton, who will likely be a key component of the future Yankee bullpen. I don't know much about Britton or how much of an impact he'll have in 2007, but at 24 years old, we could see him in Pinstripes for several years.
This is another brilliant move by Brian Cashman. It was widely expected that that the Yankees were going to buyout Wright's contract for $4 million as opposed to exercising his option and paying him $7 million. By trading them, the Yankees now get something in return for the $4 million. Wright's gone, so is the $4 mill and we've got a solid young RP for our troubles. Nice move Cash! This all but guarantees the return of Mike Mussina.
So long Jaret. I'll miss your ability to not pitch more than 5 innings. Thanks for the memories, or better yet, lack of them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Sheff Is Out

Sheffield is out! He's off to Detroit Rock City for 3 minor league pitchers, the biggest being flamethrower Humberto Sanchez. I've seen Humberto pitch. I saw him last year start a game for the Tigers AA affiliate Erie Sea Wolves. He's pretty nasty. If I recall he struck out 10-13 and only gave up 2 hits. He'll be a great addition to a young rotation of Wang and Philip Hughes. He's a great pickup.
See ya later Gary!! Na-na-na-na. Na-na-na-na. Hey hey hey. Goodbye.

More On The Sheff Deal

was reading a post over at BoSox Banter. To sum it up, Jeff was surprised that the Yankees got 3 prospects instead of any major league ready talent. Personally I don't think they really needed to acquire any major league talent with this deal. It was a smart move to stock up the farm system with talent that can step into the shoes of Randy Johnson, Mike Mussina, and Mariano Rivera in the next few years. The Yankees have a great core of young pitchers that is likely going to be the nucleus of the Yankee pitching staff in the future. Add the 3 newbies to a list that includes Tyler Clippard, Phillip Hughes and Chien-Ming Wang, and what you have is a young, solid staff that is going to be around for many years.
The Yankees weren't going to get a solid starter from any MLB club in exchange for Sheffield. Best case we would have gotten another Jaret Wright type. Why trade a first baseman to get a first baseman? Now assuming that Mussina comes back, you're looking at Johnson, Wang and Mussina as the anchors of the rotation. Who knows how Pavano and Jaret Wright fit into the Yankee plans? And then there are free agent pitchers. The Yanks now have a little more cash to spend. Sheffield's 13 million is gone. Let Wright go and you free up about $4 million. $17 million could get you 2 solid pitchers, both of which would be better than what you'd get in a trade for Sheffield. The Yankees weren't going to get a quality pitcher better than what they currently have or what they could get, plain and simple.
Jeff responded to a comment I left and mentioned maybe they could have got a MLB ready reliever. The bullpen does need help, but I wouldn't call it a top priority as they have a lot of arms they can work with. And if you were to get an MLB ready pitcher, starter or reliever, the quality of the prospects would drop. I know there is never a guarantee that a prospect will pan out. You can say the same about a lot of MLB ready talent. Take a look at Wright and Pavano. This deal brought the Yankees quality and quantity and the future of the Yankees pitching staff looks very, very bright. Cashman made the right move by landing 3 quality pitching prospects.
Excuse me while I do my happy dance. If anyone watched Yo! MTV Raps back in the day, think Ed Lover.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Grand Theft Auto: Tampa Bay Beatdown

Gary Sheffield beats up a hooker and shoots a rocket launcher at Legends Field?? See it happen in Rockstar Games' latest installment in their Grand Theft Auto series, Grand Theft Auto: Tampa Bay Beatdown. Play the game as Gary Sheffield, and work your way through intricate missions, trying to fight your way through the mean streets of Tampa Bay, taking down local kingpin George Steinbrenner's lackeys and middlemen, in an attempt to have a "sitdown" with the Boss.
Now that would be an awesome video game. Just imagine if that were real. For those of you that are familiar with GTA, I'm sure you can picture it in your mind.
Gary Sheffield says he's trying to meet with the being Boss but is being "blocked by Steinbrenner's middle men." Umm, hello? Earth to Gary: the Yankees don't want you around. The writing is on the wall. Can't you take a hint? Can it be any clearer?
Here's some quotes from Gary:
"My situation, honestly, the truth about it, I never was comfortable. I was always feeling a little insecure about where I fit here and where I belonged, or do they want me here? And I had to play on those terms, and I was being a man about it and going out and trying to do my job under the conditions."
On trying to meet with Steinbrenner: "If it wasn't for his health, I'd have made that conversation happen, but my situation ain't worth that to me. You've got middle men blocking him. ... They get in the way and their personal feelings get in the way."
And my personal favorites: "I've produced ever since I got here. If it wasn't for me the first year, in 2004, we wouldn't have made the playoffs. I went out and put up big numbers against Boston for us to win that division. ... It wasn't some mystery man. It was myself." and "Everybody knows when I go to another team, I'm coming back looking for you. That's just the way it is. The Dodgers, that happened. The Marlins, it happened. When you let me go, I've got a chip on my shoulder, and I'm coming with it. That's how I play the game."
Excuse me for a few moments while I recover from a bust gut. Somebody tell me how Gary fits his giant head through a door? Talk about ego. We all should remember the comments he made 2 years ago about Jeter and A-Rod. For those that forgot:
"I know who the leader is on the team, I ain’t going to say who it is, but I know who it is. I know who the team feeds off. I know who the opposing team comes in knowing they have to defend to stop the Yankees. I know this. The people don’t know. Why? The media don’t want them to know. They want to promote two players in a positive light, and everyone else is garbage. Jeter is our captain. He’s not the leader. He’s the captain."
Why Gary Sheffield is a baseball player and not a stand up comic, I'll never know. He could win "Last Comic Standing" without even trying. I really hope the Yankees stick it up Gary's you know what, and without using any vaseline when they do it. Ice Cube style for the gangstas out there. I hope they send him to Kansas City or Pittsburgh. Or better yet, keep him on the Yankees and let him ride the bench all year. Don't even give him an AB. Gary is obviously a clubhouse cancer and he needs to be ousted with the quickness. I really hope Cashman makes this happen soon so we can be done with him. They should have let him walk and go to Boston and let him stink up that clubhouse.
Here's a quote from me: "Hey Gary. Go (expletive deleted) yourself. Dooshbag."

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Free Gary: The Remix

Aww, poor Gary. Gary Sheffield is still a Yankee. As expected, the Yankees exercised his option, which means the Yankees hold Sheffield's future in their hands as they're preventing him from entering the free agent market. Hopefully, his stay is only temporary.
As I mentioned last week in a post titled "Free Gary," I'm not a proponent of keeping Gary Sheffield in Pinstripes for the 2007 campaign. There are a lot better things to spend $13 million on, like starting pitching. But as has been the Yankee way for quite some time now, money isn't an issue. I can understand why Brian Cashman made this move. The Yankees can now control what happens to Gary Sheffield. It was thought that the Boston Red Sox were one of the teams most interested in signing Sheffield if he were a free agent. That can't happen now. The Yankees hold his future in their hands. They can trade him if the right deal comes along. Or if talks happen to break down, the Yankees can always keep him and find a place for him in the lineup, whether it's as a DH or as the first baseman. It's not like having Gary Sheffield's bat in the lineup is a bad thing. But I for one hope Gary has another place to call home come the start of next season.
The Yankees don't need Gary Sheffield. There is no way you put Sheffield in RF over Bobby Abreu. Giambi may not be the greatest fielding first baseman, but he's got a Gold Glove compared to Sheffield. As soon as I saw Gary try to make a basket catch on a throw from second, I knew he could never make it at that position. For those that remember that play, he dropped the ball. I would much rather see the Yankees make a run with Giambi at first over Sheffield. Gary doesn't exactly strike me as a clubhouse favorite either. He reminds me a lot of Reggie Jackson in the way that Reggie thought he was the straw that stirred the drink. Let him go stink up another team's clubhouse.
The question isn't, will the Yankees trade him? There's no two ways about it. He's gone. The real question is, what will they get for him? The Yankees biggest need is starting pitching. I don't think a team is going to be willing to part with the type of pitcher the Yankees need in exchange for Sheffield. Unless you're a contender at the trading deadline with a surplus of starting pitching, you don't trade a young gun for an expensive aging veteran with a 1-year contract. It just doesn't happen. They're also not in the market for offense. There is one open spot in the lineup. If they really need the bat, they'd keep Sheff. The Yankees are likely going to get some kind of package deal. A few prospects to help strengthen the farm system? Relievers to shore up the bullpen? Role players to better the bench. All of the above? Whatever it is, I can't picture it being a lot. Time will tell. Cashman's a smart guy. He'll no doubt make the smart move. The smart move is dumping Sheffield.
I said it before. I'll say it again. Free Gary!

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Mo Fo Mo

Get you head out of the gutter. I'm not calling Mariano Rivera a mo fo. I like the sound of "Mo Fo Mo" better than "More For Mo." Perhaps none of you took it that way, but as soon as I typed the title, that's where my mind went. Anyway....
Mariano wants to renegotiate his contract this offseason:
"I want to talk to them about another contract; maybe two more years," Rivera said. "Hopefully we can do it soon, maybe before the season."
Memo to Cashman: give the man whatever he wants. If Mo ever pitches in another uniform, we'll have problems. Rivera is arguably the game's greatest closer ever. He's a sure fire Hall Of Famer, and he'll probably be elected on the first ballot. He's making it perfectly clear he wants to end his career the way it started, as a Yankee. I think I can speak for all Yankee fans when I say we want to see that happen. Mariano has said before that he wants to pitch in the new ballpark. It would only be fitting to have the greatest closer in Yankee history close down the original "House That Ruth Built" and then close his career in what can arguably be called "The House That Mo Helped A Great Deal To Build." Mo, Jorge, Jeter, and Bernie all have had a great deal to do with the Yankees success over the past 10 years. Even though Steinbrenner has the money to buy the world, I like to look at it as without them, this new stadium wouldn't be possible.
The article I linked above also has quotes from Mo on A-Rod:
"This guy, he's a great player. We're a better team with him; I hear people say we should trade him and I don't agree," Rivera said. "I don't think we lost because of Alex. We lost, period. The fans, everybody, they should be with him."
What a great quote. Short, sweet, and to the point. I'm not surprised that Mo has shared his thoughts on Alex. The two look to be good friends. When I was up in Toronto trying to get autographs at the Yankee hotel, I would see Alex, Mo and their wives go out to dinner together. They obviously have a rapport and it's good to see Mo speak out on Alex. I'm picking up what Mo is putting down. If you really think that the Yankees haven't won the World Series because of Alex Rodriguez, well, to quote Dickie Roberts, former child star, you're nucking futs. Losing is a team effort. The Yankees are suppose to be a machine. If one part falters, there are enough parts of the machine to keep it moving forward. You can't point the finger at one person. If anything, you can argue that without Alex, the Yankees wouldn't even have made it as far as they did. They tied the Red Sox for the AL East in 2005. Take A-Rod out of the lineup and that probably doesn't happen. He was the freakin' MVP that year. He's quite possibly the best player the game will ever see. Alex needs a break and it needs to start with the fans.
Memo to all: keep him in Pinstripes.

Friday, November 3, 2006

I've Lost My Pinstriped Glasses

Derek Jeter didn't deserve the Gold Glove. There I said it. it doesn't feel good to say, but deep down, I know it to be true. I've been going back and forth trying to convince myself that Derek Jeter was the most deserving recipient of the AL Gold Glove at his position. I've looked at many stats, trying to twist them in his favor, and I just can't statistically validate his winning in my head. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad he won. What Yankee fan wouldn't be? But if I take off my "pinstriped" glasses and take a look at things objectively, I know the award should have been given to someone else when you look at the stats. I think anyone that can look at things objectively would agree.
Now I'm not saying that Jeter isn't good with the glove. I'm all about his defense. But to call him the league's best is a stretch. Let's statistically compare Jeter to Rangers SS Michael Young. If you take out the players that didn't qualify, Michael Young led the AL shortstops in fielding percentage. He bested Jeter by .006, .981 to Jeter's .975. Young had 137 more total chances than Derek did, and he committed 1 less error. Young took part in 113 double plays to Jeter's 81, though Young did play in 64 more defensive innings. Young had 111 more assists than Derek. Young's "zone rating" was .026 higher than Jeter's. .836 to .810. For those not familiar with zone rating, it was a measurement created by STATS, Inc. to show the percentage of balls fielded by a player in his typical defensive zone. According to their measurement, Young had better range. Young also had a higher "range factor." 4.86 to Jeter's 4.14. Range factor is calculated by taking the # of putouts + assists and dividing it by the number of innings played. As you can see, Young statistically bests Jeter in the major defensive categories.
Let's compare Jeter to White Sox SS Juan Uribe. Uribe played in 162 fewer defensive innings than Jeter. Despite logging a lot less playing time, Uribe only had 6 less total chances. In 6 less total chances, he had 3 more putouts and 8 fewer assists than Derek. Jeter committed 1 more error than Uribe, which led to a slightly lower fielding percentage, .975 to Uribe's .977. Comparing zone factors, Uribe 4.70 to Jeter's 4.18. Taking a look at their zone ratings, Uribe beats Jeter .868 to .810. Uribe is another SS that is statistically superior to Derek.
There were only 9 SS that qualified on the defensive leaderboard according to ESPN. Jeter ranked 9th in range factor. He was 7th in zone rating. He was 4th in fielding percentage. In looking at these stats, I was hoping to validate Jeter as the top defensive shortstop, but it blew up in my face when I was doing statistical comparisons. So why did Derek win?
The keyword in all of this is "statistic." The Gold Gloves aren't awarded on any kind of statistical merit. The Gold Glove Award is awarded by Managers and coaches, which can't cast votes for their own players. Now perhaps they take a gander at the stats, but I doubt it. I can't speak for these guys, but if I put myself in their shoes, I'm voting on reputation and what I see day in and day out. How many times do we see Jeter on a highlight reel making an over-the-shoulder catch in shallow LF? Quite often. How often do we see Jeter backhanding a ball in the hole,doing a jump-turn throw in mid-air that's a perfect strike to first for the out? Quite often. We've seen Jeter dive into the stands for foul balls. We've all seen the play where he gets Jeremy Giambi out at the plate in the ALDS. Jeter has the reputation for being in the play and for making it. No other shortstop immediately comes to mind when I try and think of guys that exhibit that style of play. Let's face it folks. Other Managers and coaches respect Jeter's defense. So much so, that they awarded him with his 3rd straight Gold Glove.
And therein lies my dilemma. I can't statistically validate Jeter winning the award. But if the the league's Managers and coaches feel he's most deserving, who am I to argue with the people that know the game best? But I'm a math/numbers guy and my problem is I think defense is better determined in looking at the numbers than by going off reputation and by what I see on the highlight reel.
If you really look at it, you know i'm right. If you disagree, please try to convince me otherwise. I'm all for changing my mind on this. Jeter in my opinion is a good defensive shortstop, better than average. But he's not the best defensive shortstop. As painful it is for me to admit, that honor goes to Alex Gonzalez. I can't believe I just said that. I think I'm going to be sick.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Flashing The Leather

Derek Jeter keeps racking up the accolades. It's been announced that he has received a Gold Glove Award for his defense in 2006. This is his 3rd. The great thing is that despite setting the fewest number of errors in all of MLB, the Boston Red Sox have no Gold Glove winners. I'm not sure I agree with that, but it's funny and pretty sweet nonetheless.
Congrats to the Captain!

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Not What The Dcotor Ordered

The Yankees are reportedly interested in free agent pitcher Jeff Suppan. If anybody thinks this is a good idea, please sell me on it because I'm failing to see how this is a good thing. He may be only 32 years old, but he's not exactly a spring chicken as he's pitched in the bigs since 1995. That's a lot of miles on the arm of a pitcher who isn't very good to begin with.
Suppan has made 301 career starts. He has a career record of 106-101 with an ERA of 4.60. He's done well since 2003 when he made the jump from the AL to the NL. If he were to sign with the Yankees, he'd be jumping back to the AL and his numbers would no doubt suffer. See Josh Beckett.
The Yankees need starting pitching. In my opinion it's their biggest need. I don't think Suppan will fare well if he starts 32 games in the AL. He will hurt more than he will help. If I were Cashman, I'd pass and explore other options. This of course all depends on what Cash's game plan is. Will he let Moose walk? Who within the organization will he move to the rotation to take the open spots. Right now Wang and Randy Johnson are the only givens. Cashman has options in Jeff Karstens, Philip Hughes, and God forbid, Jaret Wright. Assuming they bring back Mussina and let Wright walk, they'll potentially need two starters. If they don't feel Karstens and/or Hughes are major league ready, then, and only then, would I consider Suppan for one of the open spots. But I'd first look to the big name talent. A rotation that is anchored by Wang and Randy Johnson isn't going to cut it. They need another top notch proven starter. Preferably a young one.
Baseball has the most exciting offseason of any sport, hands down. Long live the hot stove.

Don-nie. Don-nie. Don-nie.

It's official. Donnie Baseball is the new Yankee bench coach, thus becoming the likely successor to Torre's throne. I like it. But the more I think about it, I like Girardi too. I'll take either one. I think Girardi is the smarter choice, but as I stated before, Mattingly is my favorite Yankee, so it's win-win.
Kevin Long, the hitting coach from Columbus, is the new Yankee hitting coach.