Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm Glad That's Phinally Phinished

Phinally, the World Series is phinished. Congrats to the Phillies! In honor of the Philles, all "f" sounds in this post will be spelled with a "ph." As I've stated several times, if it's not the Yankees winning, it really doesn't matter to me who does. I don't really care who wins, even the Red Sox. I prepherred to see the Phillies win over the Rays solely because of the ever-growing Rays phan base. It'll be interesting to see how many of them show up to support them next year. I'm thinking that the attendance levels won't be much higher than they were this season, and that's sad. Prove me wrong Rays phans. Prove me wrong.

So now that the Series is over, the real phun can phinally begin. Players will phile for phree agency and then it's on. The Yankees got a lot of work to do and here's my quick wish-list:

1)Bring back Mooooooooooooooooooose
2)Sign CC
3)Sign Tex
4)Don't sign AJ
5)Don't sign Sheets
6)Don't sign Lowe

I think a rotation of CC, Moose, Wang, Joba and Hughes will do just fine. If they pheel the need to sign a 2nd starter, I'd prepher Burnett. Sheets is a Carl Pavano waiting to happen. I hope they're not even entertaining the thought. We'll phind out soon enough.

Stoke up the Hot Stove!


Monday, October 27, 2008

A Look Back At 2008: Alex Rodriguez

It's been a while since I've posted a "look back" on 2008. Been busy and with the lack of Yankee news I haven't been motivated to do it. I also need to find a way to shorten the posts up as in my opinion they get a little lengthy. Having said that, here's my 2008 look back on Alex Rodriguez.

Statistically speaking, A-Rod had another rock solid year. He hit 302, went yard 35 times, knocked in 103 and scored 104 runs. Most guys would kill to have seasons like that. and it's hard to say that a guy that performed that well had a bad year. But that's just what I'm going to do. Calling Alex's year a "bad year" may be a little much, but he definitely underperformed and fell short on expectations. For starters, he was pretty far from clutch, hitting only 271 with RISP. His OPS with RISP was 274 points below what it was in 2007 and 73 points below his total from 2006. Plain and simple, Alex didn't come through when it was needed most. Considering his salary, his position in the lineup, and the general baseball awesomeness that is A-Rod, it was definitely well below expectations. A couple of clutch hits here and there and maybe the Yankees would have kept their streak of postseason baseball alive.

Another huge problem with A-Rod this year was the # of double plays he grounded in to. In th month of August alone, he hit into 11. Considering his season total was 16, that's pretty bad. the Yanks win-loss record in August was 13-15. A lot of that in my opinion had to do with A-Rod's struggles. Again, had he played up to his normal standard, the Yanks very well could have played October baseball.

One bright spot for Alex in 2008 was that he had tied for the best fielding percentage (.970) in the AL at his position. He improved slightly on his 2007 fielding percentage (.965) and greatly improved on his dead-last in the AL 2006 fielding percentage (.937). Could a 2008 Gold Glove be in Alex's future? I'm going to guess it will be Mike Lowell but we'll see.

Taking everything into account, J-Boogie's final 2008 grade for Alex is a C. He had a solid year at the plate but didn't really help the greater good when I look at the big picture and put his season into context. He's capable of more, a lot more.

If you want to check out any of the previous 2008 look backs, click on this link "2008 Look Back." It'll take you to my previous look back posts. Next up: Bobby Abreu

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Friday, October 24, 2008

Joba News

Sorry for being absent over the last few days. Work has been hectic. The wife has been taking over the home PC for her school work. I tired to blog yesterday and of course the system was down. I came across this little piece o' Joba news a few days ago and I'm not sure if anyone saw it. It was on the Truth and Rumors section at I think the article was originally featured in the New York Daily News.

On the night of Joba's arrest for driving under the influence, he was heckled at a Lincoln, NE nudie bar. Apparently while Joba was taking in the "local flavor," somebody yelled out "If you played for the Red Sox you wouldn't be sitting here." Now I have to give it up to the heckler because that's pretty funny. Joba didn't think so. According to the article, Joba gave the heckler some lip service and a "shoving match" ensued between the heckler and one of Joba's buddies. I'm sorry but drunk or not, Joba needs to develop some thicker skin. I hope he doesn't expect to go through life without getting heckled when he's away from the ballpark. How can he, as a member of the Yankees, expect not to get a few digs thrown at him every now and then? I'd have to think Jeter and A-Rod get lip a lot. Maybe Jeter should have a little chat with Joba. If you ask me, this is another knock against Joba being thought of as "mature." Joba has a lot of growing up to do.

Sounds like somebody had a bad night.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, October 20, 2008

Joba Update

According to an article on, Joba is due in court on 12/17 for his arrest for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. The article mentions that Joba's BAC was 0.134, above Nebraska's legal limit of 0.08. Yikes.

Joba apologized to the Yankees and we fans for his "error in judgement." Sorry Joba, but apologies aren't going to cut it. He's going to have to do a little more than that. Whether he wants to be a role model to kids or not, he is. He needs to do a little more than issue a public apology. Hopefully he does it without being forced to by the courts. If anyone watches "The Office" I'm totally picturing the exchange between Jim and Ryan when Ryan mentioned doing his community service. I hope when/if Joba does anything it's because he wants to and not because he has to. Be proactive, not reactive. I also hope that this doesn't get thrown out of court for any reason. He needs to learn a lesson here.

Driving under the influence ain't cool.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

And The Rays Are Your AL Champions

I'm sitting watching the Rays celebrate their 1st ever American League pennant. I have to give it up to them. They did the improbable and proved that they belong in the World Series. They almost choked it away but they nutted up in game 7 and did what the Indians and Yankees failed to do in their last attempt at reaching the World Series. Congrats. It's well deserved.

This should put to bed any talk about the Red Sox being a dynasty. There was a lot of chatter from Sox fans all season how they were on the verge of being called a dynasty. I'm glad they blew it because now I don't have to get into a war of words with Sox fans over how even had they won they were far from a dynasty. You can't be a dynasty when you finish in 3rd and miss the playoffs in your "dynasty run." Their 3rd place finish in 2005 basically reset the Sox dynasty watch. I tried explaining that point before the year started. If you're a Yankee fan that ever tried to sell a Sox fan on an anti-Sox sentiment, you know you don't get very far. Thanks to the Red Sox for settling that argument for me. You had a good year. But not good enough.

Lastly, I think I'm going to be sick. I'm getting thoroughly disgusted watching all of the Rays "fans" celebrate this victory. I can guaran-damn-tee you that the majority of that crowd didn't even know the Rays existed at the end of September. The Rays played kick-ass baseball all year and they barely showed. And when they did, it was typically to root for the visiting team. I know there are a lot of transplants down there, but you mean to tell me they couldn't pull together more than 15,000 supporters on a given night? Ridiculous. Part of me wanted to see them lose tonight just so I could see how many people showed up at the Trop next April. I wouldn't be surprised if they end up winning it all and still don't break 15,000 a game next year. I'm curious when I'm going to see my first piece of Rays gear up here in Western New York. What do you think? 2 days? 2 weeks maybe? It's coming. I can feel it. This is going to be the mother of all bandwagons. It's disgusting.

Congrats to the Rays but go Phillies! I hope they kick some Rays ass.


Tisk Tisk Tisk

I woke this morning and had a text alert from the YES Network. I wasn't sure what it would pertain to as there isn't much news going on in the Yankees Universe. I opened the message and it read "Joba Chamberlain arrested for driving under the influence in Nebraska early Saturday morning." My first thought was "are you kidding me?" I went downstairs and immediately posed this question to my wife, "Guess who got arrested for DWI?" I didn't think she'd have an answer because it was such an odd question, but she immediately blurted out "Don," the name of one of my friends. After chuckling for a second or two, I told her who it was and she couldn't believe it. I then wiggled on over to the PC to see what details I could find. I figured if anybody had the scoop it was Pete Abraham. Here are the details as written in his blog:

Deborah Collins, a spokeswoman for the Nebraska State Patrol, said that the 23-year-old Chamberlain was pulled over after being observed speeding in a 2006 BMW 750i shortly after 1 a.m. on U.S. 77.

Chamberlain was arrested after an odor of alcohol was detected and an open container of alcohol was observed on the front passenger seat. Chamberlain was taken to the Cornhusker Place Detox and booked on charges of driving under the influence, having an open container of alcohol and speeding.

I have one question for Joba: "What the hell were you thinking?" Man what a stupid thing to do. For starters, he could have killed someone. Second, he could have gotten himself in an accident and potentially ended his career. Third, being a public figure there is no chance that he won't be subject to public scrutiny as a person. The heckles should be very interesting.

There haven't been many details released. I'm curious how intoxicated he was. Not that a low BAC would change my mind on anything, I'm just curious if the breaking news is being overblown. And I'm really hoping we don't hear that he was uttering statements like, "don't you know who I am," in an attempt to get out of spending time in the clink.

People have often commented that Joba is an extremely mature person. You can basically throw that notion right out the window because this act of stupidity pretty much erases that. I don't think he, or anyone that drives under the influence for that matter, should be given preferential treatment. It was an incredibly irresponsible thing to do and he needs to learn from this. Getting off lightly doesn't send the right message. I really hope the Yankees don't sweep this under any kind of rug. If I were Brian Cashman or any high ranking Yankee official, I'd really make Joba do a heck of a lot of community service or whatever they come up with. Hopefully, Joba mans up and takes this head on, learns from his mistake, and uses his popularity to help curb this problem. Hopefully some good comes out of this. And again, it's good that nobody got hurt.

Next time, take a cab.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, October 16, 2008

RIP Tom Tresh

Just got a text alert that former Yankee Tom Tresh has passed away. He was 71. Tom spent his entire 9 year career with the New York Yankees. He won the 1962 AL Rookie of the Year Award and was a member of the 1962 World Series champions.

Godspeed Mr. Tresh.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Sorry for the long delay between posts. We had a little reorg at work and I picked up about 10 new peeps to supervise. It makes for a little more work and a little less blogging. At the night the wife has been monopolizing the PC doing work for a class she's teaching so my evening access ain't what it used to be. I can pop off the occasional short post but most of the time when I start out writing something I envision it taking about 5-10 minutes. 30 minutes later and voila. I've been trying to get back to writing my 2008 player look backs but the time crunch has thrown a kink into that.

Thankfully there hasn't been much going on in the Yankee universe. The real fun begins when the World Series wraps up and the hot stove starts roaring. The playoffs are pretty intriguing. I can't believe the boot stomping the Rays have been laying on the Sox. Suddenly the Sox pitching staff isn't so good.You can't count them out though. They've been down before. Last year the Tribe had them down 3-1 and couldn't seal the deal. I wouldn't rejoice just yet Rays "fans." Stranger things have happened. I'm inclined to think the Sox don't have much of a chance. They just look downright awful. The Rays are beating them up and down and I'll admit it and I'm sure you'll all agree, they're an exciting team to watch. I hope they finish the Sox off in game 5 and then proceed to get pummelled by the NL winner. I just can't pull for the Rays to win it all because of the monster that is the Rays bandwagon. It could very well be the largest bandwagon ever.

We should all be afraid. Very, very afraid.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Au Revoir Mr. Bobby

Just got a text alert update from the YES Network. The Yankees fired 3rd base coach Bobby Meachem and special pitching instructor Rich Monteleone. I'm glad Meachem was gone because he was absolutely brutal as a 3rd base coach. I can't even remember the number of runners he got thrown out at the plate. And most of the time they weren't even close plays. Usually they were out by a good 10 feet. OK, maybe I'm exaggerating but most of the time it wasn't even close. See ya later Bobby. Don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya.

As for Rich Monteleone's canning? I'm impartial. I'm not really sure what a "special pitching instructor" does or what value they add. I know Rich sits behind the plate and charts pitches. Not sure how anyone can screw that up. But whatever.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Remembering Yankee Stadium

There have been a lot of things that have been released this year celebrating the history of Yankee Stadium. I have found the mother of them all. It's a book by renowned baseball author Harvey Frommer. It's titled "Remembering Yankee Stadium: An Oral and Narrative History Of The House That Ruth Built." As I said, this is the mother of all "look backs." I already have the official retrospective that was released earlier this year and it doesn't hold a candle to this book. I could tell that as soon as I cracked open the binder for the first time. Before you even get to the title page, you're treated to some beautiful photos that encapsulate the history of the Stadium. And they're truly beautiful photos. They're beauty is aided by the book being more wide than it is tall. It allows for stunning 2-page panoramic shots that you don't see in books that are of the normal size/shape. And these photos aren't just contained to the opening pages. They're sprinkled in all throughout the book. Like the Stadium itself, you just can't beat how it was put together.

Each of the book's chapters represent a different decade of the Stadium's life. The book could get by on Mr. Frommer's writing alone. He beautifully details the history of the grand 'ol ballpark and I found myself reading every word rather than skimming through paragraphs or flipping ahead to a subject I find more interesting. Yeah, I'm one of those readers. But I haven't been with this book. But there is more to the book that the writings of the author. The book really comes alive with the countless first person narratives that are intertwined with the writings of the author. If I counted correctly, there were 92 different people whose memories are recounted in the book. They range from some Yankee legends (like Bobby Murcer, Whitey Ford and Phil Rizzuto), to Hall Of Famers (like Rollie Fingers, Brooks Robinson, and Paul Molitor), to politicians (like Rudy Giuliani, Mario Cuomo, and Michael Dukakis, to your every day run-of-the-mill Yankee fans. Like the photos, they're perfectly placed and it's just another reason why the book is a classic.

But wait, there's more. The best part is saved for last. The last section of the book is called "Stadiumology." It tells you little facts about the Yankees and the Stadium. The crown jewel of the section is when it breaks things down "by the numbers." It has little facts that go with numbers. Take the number 24 for example. In 1927, 24 of Lou Gehrig's 47 HRs were hit in Yankee Stadium. The number 413 represents the smallest ever attendance for a home game. I could go on but you catch my drift. This little section is the cherry on top of this awesome sundae.

If you're a die hard Yankee fan like me, you should seriously consider picking up a copy of this book. The pictures alone are worth the price of admission. The book invokes a lot of memories. It made me feel like I was walking back into the Stadium for the very first time. I could smell the grass. I could see the giant interlocking NY painted behind home plate. I could hear the sounds. I could smell the food. I could see baseball being played at Yankee Stadium. It's the crown jewel of all Yankee Stadium retrospectives. If there were a Monument Park for books, this would be featured amongst the legends.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Playoff Thoughts

I was talking to my father in-law Dave earlier about the opening game of the ALCS. He asked me if I was rooting against a Dice-K no hitter. I think when I told him "no, not really," that it kind of surprised him since he knows how big of a Yankee fan I am. He asked me if I was pulling for the Sox to win, and I told him that I didn't really care who won. What it bolis down to is that there are only 2 teams out there. There's the Yankees and there's "not the Yankees." And if it's "not the Yankees" winning the World Series, then it's all the same to me.

Now don't get me wrong. If you ask me to pick a team that prefer not to win, it's the Red Sox. But if they happen to, it doesn't bother me because like every other team out there, they're "not the Yankees." But I'm having a really hard time rooting for the Rays because of their quote/unquote fans. I wonder how many of them are attending a Rays game for the first time? Here's a team that was lucky to bring in 15000 people for a game. If the Yankees or Red Sox were in town, maybe they'd get 25000, and most of those people were rooting against the Rays. And now that the playoffs are in full swing, boom! The place is jam packed full of Rays "fans." I found myself getting annoyed last night whenever the cameras panned to shots of the crowd. I don't know why it bothers me so much. but that's just how I feel. If you're going to support a team and root for them, do it all year, not just for the last two to 12 games! And if there's any team that deserved the support of their fans all year it was the Rays. They kicked some major ass and deserve more love that what they were given. What really sucks is that the true Rays fans out there are going to get lumped in with all of the bandwagon riders. I wonder how much Rays gear we'll see out there if they happen to win it all. Ahh, it's annoying.

What it all boils down to is that I'm pulling for the Dodgers, because of the Yankee connection with Torre, Mattingly, and Bowa. If they can't pull it out, then I'd like to see the Phillies win. Even though I'm rooting against the Rays "fans" I'd still rather see them win over the Red Sox, but if they do, I hope they get swept in the World Series. In the end though, if it's "not the Yankees" winning it all, it's all the same to me.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Another Robbie Cano Rumor

I was getting ready to turn in for the evening. I decided before calling it a day to give Pete Abraham's blog one last look. To my surprise there's a new post up that mentions a Yankees/Mets trade rumor. I never put much stock in trade rumors as they always seem to end up being nothing more than idle chatter. Nonetheless, that doesn't mean they're not fun to talk about. This one I found particular interesting. The rumor has the Yankees getting Carlos Beltran in exchnage for Robinson Cano, Ian Kennedy, Bruney or Veras, a prospect, and cash. Hmm. Off the bat I'm not sure how I feel about this deal. I can live without Bruney or Veras. I can live without Ian Kennedy. I can live without a prospect who will probably never don the Pinstripes anyway. And it's not money. The real question is, can I live without Robinson Cano? I'm not sure I can.

A lot have people have soured on Robbie after one down year. I'm not one of them. Consider this if you will, and thanks to Ben at River Ave Blues for putting this together:

For all of his perceived struggles in 2008, Cano’s numbers break down nicely, in a way. On May 3, Cano bottomed out at .150/.213/.230. Over the rest of this season, his numbers were nearly in line with his 2007 level. From May 4 until the end of the year, Cano came to bat 512 times and hit .300/.327/.452 with 12 home runs, 32 doubles, three triples and 65 RBI.

If you want to read more on Cano's 2008, Ben did a great job breaking it down. I personally think it's way too early to give up on Robbie. His #s over those last 512 ABs are pretty much in line with his career numbers, which aren't anything to scoff at. Cano has a lot of upside and discounting his value based on his 2008 would be extremely short-sighted. Cano is going to help the Yankees win many titles. Beltran would help them win one or two over a short period of time.

That being said, I do like Beltran. I think they made a big mistake in not signing him years ago. He would be perfect for the Yankees. I don't think though that either side would be on board with this deal and I be surprised if it ever became anything more than a rumor. If there were ever to be serious discussions about a deal like this, I'm not sure what I'd do if I were Brian Cashman. The Yanks are going to need some OFs in 2010 and Carlos Beltran would be a nice one to have. But great second basemen don't come along that often. I think I'd be inclined to keeping Cano. His name is going to get tossed around a lot this offseason. As mentioned in a lot of various outlets, a lot of people in MLB are diminishing Cano's value and I think it's pretty stupid to do that. I really hope that Cashman and the crew don't give up on him just yet. It doesn't sound like they are from what I've read. We'll find out over the course of the next few months. Ah, the hot stove. I love it.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Look Back At 2008: Derek Jeter

It's October and for the first time in 13 years the Yankees won't be playing baseball this month. It was a disappointing season to say the least. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be taking a look back at the individuals that took part in the 2008 Yankees campaign, offering up some opinions and assigning each person a grade. I hope to do at least one person a day so make sure to check back. And please feel free to add your own thoughts and comments.

Today's look back at 2008 is Derek Jeter.

It was a down year for the Yankee Captain. He put up respectable numbers but it wasn't one of his best offensive campaigns. He ended up hitting 300 on the nose, about 16 points below his career average. His numbers declined across the board for the 2nd straight year. His average dipped from 344 in 2006, to 322 in '07, to 300 in '08. His OBP dropped from 417 ('06) to 388 ('07) to 363 ('08). His SLG dropped from 483 ('06) to 452 ('07) to 408 ('08). Not his best year, but like I said, respectable. You can actually make a case that he had the best year statistically of all AL shortstops. His 300 average was 16 points ahead of the second highest avg for AL shortstops. His OBP was 22 points higher. He ranked 2nd in SLG, 65 points behind the Indians' Jhonny Peralta. Again, like I said, a respectable year. Just not quite what we're used to from DJ. A lot of people were bitching and moaning about Jeter's selection as a starter for the AL All-star team. For my money, the fans got it right.

The highlight of Derek's season had to be passing Lou Gehrig for the most career hits in Yankee Stadium. With the Stadium closing down, it's a record that will never be broken. He entered the final 10 game homestand needing 9 hits to tie Gehrig's record and he knocked those hits out in 3 games. DJ was the man in the final few weeks of the season. He got the average up to 306 before getting plunked on the hand, which was a reason for the dip to 300.

The one negative that I have to knock Jeter for this season is with how he handled his role as Captain. The Yankees floundered for much of the season and I don't recall hearing anything about Jeter laying into the guys to get them to step it up. There are quite a few guys that you could tell were phoning it in. As Captain, I'd like to think that Jeter was trying to ignite a spark under the team, but again, didn't hear about it. Derek Jeter has done nothing but win since he became a Yankee and this is the 1st time in his career that he's sitting at home for the entire month of October. I'd like to think he would have done a little more as captain to try to ensure the team was giving it their all day in and day out. I know that's technically Girardi's job, but with the transition from Torre to Girardi, I think DJ needed to step up a little more and take the lead or at least help Girardi out. But again, maybe he did, or tried to anyway.

Taking everything into account, J-Boogie's 2008 final grade for Derek Jeter is a B. I was going to make it a B- but he signed an autograph for me in Toronto so I bumped him up. Feel free to post your own grades or comments.

If you want to check out any of the previous 2008 look backs, click on this link "2008 Look Back." It'll take you to my previous look back posts. Next up: Alex Rodriguez

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, October 6, 2008

A Look Back At 2008: Robinson Cano

It's October and for the first time in 13 years the Yankees won't be playing baseball this month. It was a disappointing season to say the least. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be taking a look back at the individuals that took part in the 2008 Yankees campaign, offering up some opinions and assigning each person a grade. I hope to do at least one person a day so make sure to check back. And please feel free to add your own thoughts and comments.

Today's look back at 2008 is Robinson Cano.

Talk about a letdown. I was expecting so much more from Robinson Cano last season. After a hot spring start, I thought this might be the year where Cano got away from another slow start. As well all know that didn't happen. In fact, it was the worst start to his short career. It took Robbie 40 games to crack the 200 mark. 40 games! That's a-quarter of the season. I wouldn't expect that from a career 300 hitter. He improved as the year went on, hitting .287 in June, .327 in July, .290 in August, and .287 in September. He finished with an average of .271, more than 30 percentage points below his career average. Coming into 2008, Cano was thought of to be one the better offensive second sackers in the league. Many compared him to HOFer Rod Carew. The Yanks thought so high of Robbie that they signed him to a multi-year deal last off-season. Now he can't escape being thrown into trade rumors. My how his stock has fallen. Second base is typically a weaker position offensively. Cano was statistically one of the best 2Bs in the league in '06 and '07. In 2008 he was one of the worst. In 2007, Robbie had 61 multi-hit games and the Yankees won 44 of them (.721). In 2008, Robbie had 45 multi-hit games and the Yankees won 34 of them (.756). If Robbie's numbers were on par with last year's when he hit .306, the Yankees would likely still be playing ball right now.

I think one of the biggest problems facing Cano is his lack of drive. It was widely known that Larry Bowa had to stay on top of Cano to keep him from being lazy. While most of Cano's laziness falls directly on his own shoulders, some of the blame fals on the shoulders of Joe Girardi. Girardi knew before the season started that Robbie needed a little extra attention. He didn't really give him any until there were 13 or so games left in the season. Basically when the season was pretty much over and done with. Girardi should have known that Cano needed that little extra push and he failed him by waiting so long to bench him. But again most of the blame is on Cano. He's a major league baseball player, not a 10 year old. He should be able to get himself up for the job every day.

It was definitely a down year for Cano. He definitely didn't live up to expectations. I thought by year's end we'd see Cano finish with an average close to 300. That never materialized. Cano's performance was another in a long line of disappointing 2008s. I really hope the Yankees haven't given up on Robbie because I think he's capable of greatness. I wouldn't think Girardi would wait so long next time to kick him in the rump. It is after all Girardi's job to get the best from his team and he definitely didn't do that with Robbie last year. J-Boogie's 2008 final grade for Robbie Cano is a D. Feel free to post your own grades or comments.

If you want to check out any of the previous 2008 look backs, click on this link "2008 Look Back." It'll take you to my previous look back posts. Next up: Derek Jeter

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Under The Weather

Ugh. I'm currently battling a cold. And the cold right now is kicking my rump. I spent most of yesterday in bed and since our local CBS affiliate is in the middle of a contract dispute with Time Warner Cable, there wasn't any good football to watch. So what did I do? I decided it was a good time to pop in one of the Essential Games Of Yankee Stadium DVDs and relive some old time Yankee magic. I went with game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. It's definitely one of my most favorite Yankee games of all time. I remember watching it at my girlfriend's (now wife) parent's house. I remember how pumped I was watching Boone win it. I don't think I slept that night. It was a classic for sure. It's awesome being able to watch it whenever I want. After I spun that I watched a lot of the bonus features which were equally as exciting. There were some from games I wish were included in the DVD set but what can you do? Jeter's dive is perhaps one of my favorites. I'm glad that MLB Productions is cranking out these old games on DVD. I've got my fingers crossed that someday they come out with an "on demand" service of sorts. That'd be right up my alley.

I'm not sure if I'll have time to put together my 2008 Look Back on Robinson Cano today. The head is swimming from the cold medicine and putting together a string of coherent thoughts is getting difficult. We'll see how I feel after lunch.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Friday, October 3, 2008

A Look Back At 2008: Jason Gaimbi

It's October and for the first time in 13 years the Yankees won't be playing baseball this month. It was a disappointing season to say the least. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be taking a look back at the individuals that took part in the 2008 Yankees campaign, offering up some opinions and assigning each person a grade. I hope to do at least one person a day so make sure to check back. And please feel free to add your own thoughts and comments.

Today's look back at 2008 is Jason Giambi.

Several times throughout last season I heard people, mainly the YES crew, remark that Jason Giambi was having a good year. Sure he had his moments but for the most part, Giambi's season, much like all of his previous seasons in Pinstripes, didn't meet my expectations. Giambi was the man in Oakland. In New York, not so much. He had a great year his 1st year in Pinstripes, hitting .314 with 41 bombs and 122 RBI. Since then his average has never topped .271. His lowest average in 6 full years in Oakland was .291. His career numbers, which are benefited by the great years he had in Oakland are .286 with an .408 OBP and a SLG % of .942. Giambi's 2008 #s were all below his career average.

Giambi finished the year hitting .247 (13 points below his career avg in NY) with an OBP of .373 and a SLG % of .502. I don't remember if teams put the shift, or the "martini glass defense" as Michael Kay stupidly calls it, on Giambi in Oakland. His #s have definitely taken a hit because of the shift. My favorite Giambi moment of the year was when he singled through the shift against Baltimore and the YES cameras caught him flipping off someone on the O's defense, my guess being Brian Roberts or the RF. Giambi was able to 32 HR and knocked in 96 RBI. Not bad but I'd expect better considering the guys that hit in front of him and the fact that the stadium is built for LH power hitters. Giambi only hit .213 (32-150) with an OPS of .692 when runners were in scoring position. In his last "full" season, which was 2006, with RISP the Big G hit .271 (36-133) with an OPS of 1.147. Giambi's numbers with RISP were definitely lacking and his performance was one of the many that resulted in the Yankees scoring 179 fewer runs than they did in 2007. Had the Yankees scored those runs, I likely wouldn't be writing these look backs yet.

In the field, Giambi as expected was atrocious. His fielding percentage was .990 which ranks him 10th out of 11 for all qualifying AL first basemen. The lowest in the league was .988. Giambi's glove/arm has never been his strong suit. Any time he has to make a throw is an adventure. It seemed like every time he had to make a throw to 2nd he botched it, looking awkward in the process. It would have been nice to DH him more but Giambi for some reason performs better at the plate when he plays the field. The Yanks also really had no room for him to DH with having an extra OF most of the year.

Giambi's contract is up if the Yanks don't exercise the team option on him. If they pick him up his 2009 salary would be about $22 million. The Yankees can buy it out for $5 million. I like the Big G and all. He's one of the nicest guys in the game. But the Yanks are better off buying him out for $5 million and using what's left over to pick up someone else. You can get a lot for $17 million. I'm not sure what's available but one would think you could find a guy to put up those same numbers, if not better, for $17 million or less. I'd roll that $ into a contract for Mark Teixeira myself. It's ultimately Cash's call. Hope he makes the right one and cuts Giambi loose.

Jason's overall season was pretty much par for the course. I've always expected him to do better than he does and he always comes in about the same. His numbers with RISP definitely hurt the team. J-Boogie's 2008 final grade for Jason Giambi is a C-. Feel free to post your own grades or comments.

If you want to check out any of the previous 2008 look backs, click on this link "2008 Look Back." It'll take you to my previous look back posts. Next up: Robbie Cano

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Look Back At 2008: Jose Molina

It's October and for the first time in 13 years the Yankees won't be playing baseball this month. It was a disappointing season to say the least. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be taking a look back at the individuals that took part in the 2008 Yankees campaign, offering up some opinions and assigning each person a grade. I hope to do at least one person a day so make sure to check back. And please feel free to add your own thoughts and comments.

Today's look back at 2008 is Jose Molina.

Jose Mo will forever be known as the last person to hit a home run in Yankee Stadium. Wow. I don't think anyone would have predicted that considering he isn't exactly Babe Ruth at the plate. But Jose is not on the Yankees because of what he brings to the table offensively. It's what he does behind the plate that makes him so valuable.

For a while at the beginning of the season it looked like Jose was going to be an offensive machine. Through his first 10 games he was hitting .364 with 7 double and an OPS of .939. If my memory serves me correctly, at that time he was tied for the league lead in doubles. But then he quickly realized that he was Jose Molina and his numbers quickly dropped off. Jose finished the season with a .216 average, hitting 17 doubles and 3 HRs, knocking in 18 RBI. His numbers were a little below his career average but were in the ballpark. Jose is a career .237 hitter. For all intents and purposes, he performed as expected at the plate. Again, he's not Babe Ruth. He's Jose Molina. You don't expect the world from him at the plate.

Defensively, you have to love what Jose brings to the Yankees. Jose's ERA as a catcher was 3.69. There were 4 catchers in MLB that caught more innings than Jose who had better ERAs, 3 of which were by .06 percentage points or less. The Yankees team ERA was 4.28, more than half a percentage point higher than Molina's. I know a lot of it has to do with the guy on the mound executing his pitch, but it's the catcher that calls the what and where. You've got to give Jose some credit. Mike Mussina has said many times he loves the way Molina calls a game. I believe he's gone as far as saying he was one of the best catchers he's ever thrown to. Considering Moose is on his way to the HOF, that's saying a lot. Is it a coincidence that Moose won 20 games for the first time in his career with Molina as his catcher? I think not. Molina definitely had something to do with Moose's success.

Molina's greatest asset though is his arm. Molina gunned down 44% of the runners who attempted to steal. He allowed 42 steals in 75 attempts. That was the highest in all of MLB for catchers who had more than 25 stolen bases attempted on them. The Yankees don't exactly have the best pitchers on the mound when it comes to holding on runners. Having a guy like Molina behind the plate neutralizes that threat. And when you've got teams with speed in your division like the Rays and Red Sox, you need all the help you can get keeping those runners from taking extra bases and getting into scoring position. Stealing on Posada has pretty much become a given, or as close to is as can be. Posada allowed 34 swipes in 41 attempts, catching 17.1% of runners. Yankee catchers not named Jose Molina caught 24.46% of runners. As a team the Yankees caught 32.7% of runners. I hate to think what that statistic would be if Jose wasn't the backup catcher . I wish I could easily calculate how many runs he saved and how many extra wins his arm got us. He came up big defensively for the Yanks in '08.

As I mentioned above, Jose isn't on the team for what he does at the plate. He pretty much performed as expected. Defensively, that's a different story. He definitely exceeded my expectations and filled in for Jorge Posada better than I could have ever expected. J-Boogie's 2008 final grade for Jose Molina is a B+. Feel free to post your own grades or comments.

If you want to check out any of the previous 2008 look backs, click on this link "2008 Look Back." It'll take you to my previous look back posts. Next up: The Giambino, Jason Giambi

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Leave The GMing To Cashman

As I was looking up stuff for my 2008 look back on Jorge Posada, this headline on catches my eye: Rumor: Yanks need to bring in Holliday, ship out Cano, Hughes. The actual article can also be found here.

Now when I first read the headline, my fantastical brain processed it that there was a rumored deal in place. Then I read the article and find it's just a writer, Bill Madden from the NY Daily News, wildly speculating as to what the Yankees should do, not what they are doing. He's basically proposing that the Yankees deal Cano and Hughes for Holliday, and then try to sign Orlando Hudson. The "proposed deal" in my opinion is absolutely ridiculous.

The last thing I think the Yankees need to do is deal either Hughes or Cano. Hughes is 22 years old and is widely thought of to be one of baseball's best pitching prospects. His 2008 campaign was affected by a cracked rib and poor eye sight. Hughes pretty much kicked ass in September. In his final 2 starts, he went 12 innings, allowing 3 runs on 9 hits, walking only 2 and striking out 10. Prior to those 2 starts, Hughes was allowing 5.3 walks per 9 innings. I know 2 starts and 12 innings is not a huge sample size, but he seemed to have no control issues in his final 2 starts as he only walked 2. I think it's way to early in Phil's career to give up on him. Pitching is a hot commodity and I see no reason why they should trade a potential stud for offense, especially when they already have a plethora of OFs anyway, namely Damon, Nady, Matsui, and possibly Abreu.

And giving up on Cano after one down year is even more ridiculous. A lot of Cano's shortcomings in 2008 can be attributed to Joe Girardi not managing him properly. Cano is a career 300 hitter and is a future batting champion. He's been widely compared to HOFer Rod Carew. Not a bad guy to be compared to. And he'll be 26 next year. The Yankees would be wise to hold onto Cano. Orlando Hudson is going to turn 31 soon. The Yankees need to stay young.

I love how writers, and occasionally we fans, concoct these crazy deals that they think we'll help the club. Sometimes we're dead on. Sometimes, like here, they're way off. there are so many reason why the Yankees shouldn't even pursue a deal like this. One of the problems that has plagued the Yankees in recent years is that they continue to bring in high priced vets and forgo developing their in house talent. One of the things that made the late 90's Yankees so successful was they had the right mix of young homegrown players and talented role-playing veterans. They need to get away from bringing in all-star after all-star as it's not a formula for success, as we've seen in recent years. This deal is the exact opposite of what they need to do. I like Matt Holliday and all, but not at the expense of Hughes and Cano.

I started writing this at 10:30 this morning. It's now quarter to 5 and I can't remember for the life of me what my point in all this was. I think what I'm trying to say is that it would be stupid for the Yankees to give up on their young talent. We've seen what trading for, and signing, high priced talent gets us, and that's no titles since 2000. It's time to get back to basics and develop what we have within. Cashman would be smart to hold onto what we've got and look to make that the core of what's to come.

I think that was the gist of it. It's been a long day.


A Look Back At 2008: Jorge Posada

It's October and for the first time in 13 years the Yankees won't be playing baseball this month. It was a disappointing season to say the least. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be taking a look back at the individuals that took part in the 2008 Yankees campaign, offering up some opinions and assigning each person a grade. I hope to do at least one person a day so make sure to check back. And please feel free to add your own thoughts and comments.

Today's look back at 2008 is Jorge Posada.

Jorge missed about 2/3 of the year with a bum right shoulder. The Yankees definitely felt the impact of not having Jorge in the lineup on a daily basis. It's very difficult to replace a catcher who hits as well as Jorge. In 2007, Jorgie had an outstanding year, hitting .338 and driving in 90 runs. You can't replace that. The loss of Jorge's production was one of the biggest reasons why the Yankees scored 179 runs less this year than they did in 2007.

Jorge appeared in 51 games, hitting .268 and driving in only 22 runs. His numbers were well below his numbers from 2007 and were also lower than his career averages. It's hard to say how much his shoulder problems had to do with his subpar performance. One thing the bum shoulder did affect was his ability to throw out base-stealers. Jorge allowed 34 stolen bases in 41 attempts, meaning he threw out runners only 17.1% of the time, which would have been the lowest caught stealing percentage in the league for all catchers that qualified. His CS % dropped from 37.3% in 2006 to 23.9% in 2007, to 17.1% in 2008. Jorge's arm has been a growing concern in recent years and with the Rays and Red Sox fielding lineups with lots of speed, the Yankees really need to take a look at other options for catcher.

Overall it was a pretty disappointing year for Posada. As I mentioned above, it's hard to measure the impact that his shoulder trouble had on his performance. Had he been healthy all year, I wouldn't have expected the digression in his numbers that we saw. I can only assume that his injury had a lot to do with his subpar performance.

Taking everything into account, I can only really give Jorge a grade of incomplete. It's hard to say what he would have done had he been healthy. Feel free to let me know what you think or how you would have graded Jorge's 2008 season.

If you want to check out my last 2008 look back, it was on Joe Girardi. Next up: Jose Molina

Peace, love and Pinstripes,