All I want are a few home runs…
Lately, more has been written about the potential of the Yankees signing someone like Raul Ibanez to fill the void at DH. Given all available options, he is probably as good as any, plus he most likely would understand his role if he was offered and accepted a contract with the Yanks. He’s still got some pop in his bat, and he could occasionally take the field when/if needed. I am not overly enthused about a former Phillie being on the team, but Ibanez is a former teammate of A-Rod’s from their Seattle days together.
It would be preferable to see a former Yank, i.e., Hideki Matsui or Johnny Damon, if for no other reason than what they’ve already accomplished in pinstripes. I recognize that Ibanez might be the better fit in 2012, even if he is pushing 40.
In his days with the Montreal Expos, Vladimir Guerrero was one of my favorite players but at this point, I don’t really see him as an option.
He looks great…in a different uniform…
Whatever the Yankees do, I hope they are successful in moving A.J. Burnett. This one is tough, because I was so in favor of his signing when he first came to the Yankees. I always admired his arm when he played for the Florida Marlins and later with the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s largely been a disappointment since the successful 2009 voyage. There have been flashes of brilliance, but more times than not, his performances have ended on a disappointing note. Some guys are better served in less pressurized environment, and Burnett would probably excel in a place like San Diego. If Burnett doesn’t make the starting rotation, I think he would be a distraction to the team in the bullpen. Therefore, best case scenario would be to move Burnett. Of course, that means he will be accompanied by lots of cash to pay his freight, but sometimes its addition by subtraction. Sadly for Burnett, that time is now.
“Manny being Manny”…
As for the rotation, my preference is to give Phil Hughes the opportunity to either grab hold of his place on the team or perhaps prove that it is time for him to seek employment elsewhere. If the latter situation occurs, Dellin Betances should be ready to step in to fill the void (or Freddy Garcia, if he is kept on the roster). Manny Banuelos will probably make noise this year, but he’ll probably not surface on the major league level until late this year. Now, if Banuelos comes to Tampa this spring with a ‘refuse to lose’ mentality and takes the job (much like Michael Pineda did last year with the Seattle Mariners), so be it. Banuelos is the eventual star of the rotation, with Pineda.
Striving to be regular contributors to the daily Transactions column…
I was surprised to see the Boston Red Sox trade starting shortstop Marco Scutaro to the Colorado Rockies. It’s being said that the move was made to free payroll to sign a free agent pitcher like Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson. Personally, I think it was a move to set up another move, in addition to rebuilding the rotation. I would be surprised if the Red Sox broke camp with the tandem of Mike Aviles and Nick Punto as their starting shortstop. I keep hearing that a trade for the Marlins’ Hanley Ramirez is out of the question, but somehow I could still see that happening. Whatever happens, I do expect the Sox to break camp with a quality shortstop, in other words, someone not named Aviles or Punto…
The Prince of Bel Air?…
It’s too bad that the Los Angeles Dodgers are still an organization in a state of flux until new ownership can take over. It would make so much sense for the Dodgers to go after free agent first baseman Prince Fielder, and it would be a move that would help begin the healing process for the Dodger fan base, who have suffered under the reign of Frank McCourt. A lineup that includes Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Fielder would certainly steal some thunder from the Albert Pujols-led Angels.
There’s still a lot of drama to unfold before pitchers and catchers report next month. The Yankees and Mariners should finally be in position to announce the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda trade early this week. Hopefully, that will open the gridlock at DH and set the stage for other moves that will hopefully produce the 28th World Championship in franchise history. Whatever happens, I am ready for some baseball…
So, was the injury to Eric Chavez unfortunate or
inevitable? Sadly, it’s a little of both…
Kim Klement/US Presswire
I enjoyed watching Chavez
rebound his career with the Yankees, but I was always concerned that he was
just a play away from the DL. That time
finally reared its ugly head when Chavez fractured his foot. Hopefully, best case scenario proves out…Chavez
wears the protective boot for two weeks and is ready to begin rehabilitation
play soon over. On the bright side, the
injury is unrelated to past injuries so this should not be a recurring theme
I was surprised that the
Yankees brought up Ramiro Pena
instead of Jorge Vazquez. I had really thought that Vazquez would get
the first call if/when Chavez went down.
I realize that he isn’t on the 40-man roster, there was talk of the
Yankees making a move with minor league infielder Kevin Russo. The Yanks did
DFA Russo today, but they signed Cleveland Indians cast-off Jess Todd, a reliever, to take his
place on the 40-man roster. I don’t know
much about Todd but he has gotten off to a poor start with the AAA Columbus
Clippers. He does have strikeout
potential so I am sure that his youth (he is only 25) and pedigree (a former
second round draft pick for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007) were factors that
led to the Yanks decision to take a bite.
Unfortunately, the move
keeps Vazquez at AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
All he has done this year is hit (9 homers, 27 RBI’s, .300 BA). I am sure that he’s wondering what it takes
to crack the bigs. At age 29, he’s not
getting any younger.
After losing the four game
series to the Detroit Tigers, the Yankees look to rebound tonight in Arlington,
Texas against the Rangers. I’ve been
concerned about the Yankees reliance on the home run and lack of timely
hits. So far, the pitching had been
compensating for the hitting deficiencies but it’s impossible to ask the
pitchers to continually walk a line with no margin for error.
Congratulations to the Los
Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier as he
extended his hitting streak to 30 games tonight against the New York Mets. Ethier is now just one game from tying the
franchise mark which was set by Willie
Davis in 1969. I like Ethier’s
approach which was typified by his pre-game comment that he is “not losing a
wink of sleep about it”. Ethier has been
one of my favorite Dodgers on a team managed by perhaps my all-time favorite
living ballplayer so it’s a great situation all the way around. I continue to cheer for Ethier with each hit.
I am a fan of the Los
Angeles Lakers but I don’t like their current situation…down 2 games to zero
and in Dallas tonight to play Game 3.
Plus, Ron Artest has been
suspended for one game so that’s one less bullet in the gun. The Lakers will be hard pressed to win in
Dallas. It looks like destiny is removing
the barriers for Team LeBron. I know,
Chicago and Dallas are formidable opponents, but I really thought that either
the Lakers or the Boston Celtics would be able to stop the Miami Heat. So far, the Celtics have done nothing against
the Heat and the Lakers have put themselves in a life support situation.
My friend Julia, of Julia’s Rants, attended a charity event
this week that featured the release of two new wines…Clay Buchholz ChardonClay and Jon
Lester CabernAce. Clay’s 2009
Chardonnay benefits Jimmy’s Fund, while Jon’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon benefits
the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Count me in as I’ve bought both wines.
More info can be found at charitywines.com.
Usually, April has not been
kind to the Yankees. So to finish the
month with a winning record and in first place is clearly an accomplishment. After the Yankees were ripped in the
off-season for their failure to sign Cliff Lee while the Boston Red Sox were
signing Carl Crawford and trading for Adrian Gonzalez, the expectations were
greater in Beantown. As a result, there is a bit of satisfaction in the respective teams’ starts. Perhaps it was a good
thing as the Yankees finally shook the April curse and controlled the month of
April instead of letting the month control them.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Boston, meanwhile, has
gotten off to a sluggish start, with a 13-15 mark entering play tonight. I’d be a fool to think the Sox will continue
to underperform. I have no doubt that
they will start clicking on all cylinders at some point, and I can only hope
the Yanks have built a sufficient cushion to withstand any Sox charge.
Roster to roster (today), I’d still give the edge of the Sox over the
course of the full 162 game schedule.
I think the keys for the
Yankees to hold off the inevitable Sox charge will rest primarily with
pitching. I’ve been pleased by what the
Yanks have gotten from Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, and Bartolo Colon, but I still
do not think that all three have the sustainability for the duration of the
The health of Phil Hughes
will be a key determinant. The recent
tests have been positive, but the fact remains that the Yankees are no closer
to getting Hughes on the mound than they were before. What if he isn’t able to come back this
year? What’s Plan B? The Yankees already needed a #3 starter or
better when Hughes was in the rotation. For
now, the Yanks have to hope that Nova, Garcia and Colon continue to perform
Count me as one of those who
believe that it is time to drop Derek Jeter down in the order. His days as a lead-off hitter are over, and
it’s time to get Brett Gardner at the top of the order. I realize that Gardner isn’t hitting, but I think
that leading off would revitalize his bat and of course his speed on the bases
with the guns coming to bat would be huge.
The Yanks could definitely
use timely hitting, but I fully expect the bats to come around. I saw the highlights of last night’s game
showing Hideki Matsui hitting a game-winning home run for the Oakland A’s, and
thought to myself, yeah, we could use that…
With the 2011 NFL Draft
behind us, I am still pondering the Minnesota Vikings first round selection of
QB Christian Ponder. There’s no doubt
that I would have loved to have DT Nick Fairley who went to the Detroit Lions
with the next pick. However, the Vikings
had to emerge from this draft with a franchise QB. Andy Dalton may turn out to be a great
quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals and Colin Kaepernick may do wonderful
things in the Golden Gate City, but all things considered, I am glad that
Ponder is in Minnesota. There’s no doubt
that I would have preferred Jake Locker but the Tennessee Titans made that an
impossibility. I had mixed feelings
about Blaine Gabbert, so short of Cam Newton and Jake Locker, I am satisfied
I’d be surprised if the
Vikings go to the training camp (assuming the lockout is lifted) with Ponder,
Joe Webb, and Rhett Bomar as the only QB’s.
I fully expect them to pursue a veteran.
I don’t think that Kevin Kolb would be worth the price since Ponder
should be ready to take over the position within a couple of years. So, I guess it depends how cheaply the
Vikings can get someone like Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb, or Vince
Young. It definitely makes me wish that
Sage Rosenfels was still on the roster.
When the lockout is finally
resolved, I definitely hope the Vikings find a way to retain WR Sidney
Rice. I don’t want to lose free agent DE
Ray Edwards, but I think that Rice would be much harder to replace.
I was glad to see the Tampa
Bay Rays activate 3B Evan Longoria for tonight’s game. I may not be a Rays fan, but Longoria is
arguably the best third baseman in the league.
Win or lose, I’d rather see Longoria in the Rays lineup than not.
Congratulations to the Los
Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier who has hit safely in 28 games entering play
tonight. I am sure that this is a trip
down memory lane for manager Don Mattingly, who once had a consecutive home run
streak going. I am sure that Donnie
Baseball has shared his insight into how to handle the pressure from the press
in these situations. Ethier’s a great
guy and I’d definitely like to see him continue this streak.
The San Jose Sharks are up
2-0 in their series with the Detroit Red Wings, but who in the world can
possibly be comfortable with playing Game 3 in Joe Louis Arena?…
The Los Angeles Lakers lost
Game 1 to the Dallas Mavericks? Really? What are they trying to do? Give a happy ending to the LeBron James
They got it right…
The homer pick was to go with CC Sabathia for the 2009 AL Cy Young Award. However, it was clear that Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals is THE right choice. He had an incredible season. Imagine what he could have done playing for Boston or New York. The win-loss record wasn’t spectacular (16-8), however, the 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts were. It was a dominating season and Greinke was the class of the American League.
Of course, “dessert” for Greinke is his upcoming nuptials this weekend to former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Emily Kuchar. Okay, Zack lives in a world that I will never know…
Congrats, Zack, on a tremendous season!
I am not so sure that I like the Yankees very slow and non-reactionary approach to the early off-season. I know that GM Brian Cashman is trying to see how many dollars in his wallet, however, the team is costing themselves money by not proactively seeking to retain certain free agents like Johnny Damon.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
The Yankees would be wise to start talking about an extension with Derek Jeter now rather than wait until the expiration of his current contract. By waiting, it will most likely cost the team more than if they’d put forth the deal to secure Jeter’s pinstripe-only career.
Barton Silverman/The New York Times
I was really shocked to hear that the only coach signed for next season is hitting instructor Kevin Long. Even manager Joe Girardi is a lame duck with a contract set to expire after next season. Maybe it’s just me, but it would be kind of nice to have a first or third base coach.
Maybe the Yankees have a grand master plan that will work to perfection. They’ll walk off with top free agents John Lackey and Matt Holliday signed to very reasonable deals. But then again, maybe they won’t and they’ll be scrambling to retain the likes of Sergio Mitre, who’s option they declined earlier today.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Admittedly, I am a bigger fan of Theo Epstein’s quick-strike approach. I’d rather make the moves with swiftness and confidence. Act before your opponent has time to react. Take a chance on the sleepers. I dislike going into September of a pennant chase with Sergio Mitre as your fifth starter. I know that you can’t have an All-Star at every position, however, there are a number of low budget moves the Yanks can make to strengthen the team for its defense of the World Series championship. If he’s ready, I would like to see Austin Jackson in center, but that does mean the team needs proven production from the corners. I liked Boston’s pickup of Jeremy Hermida and I think the Yankee scouts should be doing their homework on the next breakout players. Last off-season, I would have loved to have acquired the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier. Now, after the successful season he had in 2009, he’d be impossible to acquire. But he could have been had pre-2009. I know, I keep waiting for the next Paul O’Neill, however, those type of deals can be made.
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
With the rumors of whether or not 2010 will be the final season for Dodgers manager Joe Torre, I do feel bad that he has to endure the divorce battle between Frank and Jamie McCourt. There has been talk of contract negotiations between Torre and the team so hopefully the divorce situation won’t adversely impact Torre. Ultimately, I am a fan of Don Mattingly as the next Dodgers manager, however, it should, respectively, be on Joe Torre’s terms.
If the Yankees do non-tender Chien-Ming Wang, I do hope that they move quickly to sign him to an incentive-laden deal. I still think that Wang can be the pitcher he was in 2006 and 2007. I was frustrated last season, however, he clearly was not healthy.
I’ll be headed to Arizona in a few weeks to finally see Brett Favre play as the Minnesota Vikings take on the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, AZ. I haven’t seen the Vikings play (in person) for about 20 years. The last time was against the Dallas Cowboys in Irving, Texas. The Vikings won a shoot-out in overtime, 44-38. A quick Google search tells me that it was 22 years ago on Thanksgiving Day. Hopefully, December 6th in the Sonoran Desert will be equally exciting and with the same result!
The previous week will start with a Kelly Clarkson concert (oh yeah!) and will also include a Broadway play in New York City, so here’s hoping for a GREAT week for ME! J
It’s great to have an Ace, even if it came with a steep price tag…
Behind the stellar pitching of CC Sabathia and a few Angels miscues, the Yanks took Game 1 of the American League Championship Series from Los Angeles.
CC went 8 innings to eliminate any bridges between himself and Mariano Rivera. He only allowed 4 hits in the 4-1 victory, and struck out 7. Mo picked up the save. These types of performances will certainly allow Sabathia to shed the stigma of his past play-off failures, and re-invent himself as a big game pitcher.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Going into the series, I felt one of the keys was to get Johnny Damon going. He had been ice cold during the Twins series. Despite the cold NY temperatures last night, Johnny was warmed up with two hits. He also scored two runs. His play is instrumental to the Yanks’ chances of returning to the World Series.
I am headed to New York (on business, not pleasure, unfortunately), so I have to keep this post short. I guess I had better take a coat…
When I saw that the Los Angeles Dodgers had beaten the Philadelphia Phillies on a walk by Andre Ethier, it brought to mind the formula that Joe Torre had used against Phillies starter Pedro Martinez so many times when he was in Boston (right, Julia?). Let Pedro pitch his game, keep it close, wait for his exit, then strike. That formula worked to perfection last night as the Dodgers scored two runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to win, 2-1.
Jae C. Hong/AP
The NLCS is now tied at 2, and headed for Philly. I am thinking that I might spend Sunday night on South Street in Philly. I wonder if the place might be rockin’? 😉
The Yankees made a minor move this week when they signed a free agent first baseman. They picked up Trent Lockwood of the independent Amarillo Dillas. I don’t know much about the guy or if he is considered a prospect or not, but he did hit 14 home runs and is known for his defense. Hey, what a Dilla!