The dawn of a new day…
This is tough for me. I started my blogging on MLBlogs and consistently ranked in the Top 20 during my two year association with the site (for fan blogs). I’ve decided it is time to go to a stand-alone site, and just enjoy doing what I like to do…talk about the Yankees and whatever other sports topic that might cross my mind. This is not about trying to seduce other bloggers to visit your site to boost the popularity numbers. Hopefully, there will be key words or tags that lead people to my new site (http://scofid23.blogspot.com/).
I have truly enjoyed the blogging community regardless of what service you subscribe to. People who like to write are a very passionate crew, and there is definitely a strong camaraderie that exists among the “family”. Maybe nobody ever reads this blog, but is that really the point? Everyone has an opinion. I am no different than anyone else. I like to write, and this is my release.
Well, this is a sports-related blog so let’s get it going…
A huge week ahead…
This is a very crucial week for the Yankees as the trading deadline approaches. Of course, I always feel like there needs to be a caveat attached to the July trading deadline as teams still have to the end of August to make trades albeit subject to the waivers process. Yeah, like Evan Longoria is going to clear waivers. Granted, there’s no way the Rays would be foolish enough to trade Longoria but you get the picture.
I still think if the Yankees make a move for a frontline pitcher, it will be a potential trade that we’ve heard nothing about. There is no way that Ubaldo Jimenez is going to find his way to the Bronx. I really don’t think the Colorado Rockies are motivated to make the move, plus I don’t think the Yankees would be willing to part with the talent that would be necessary to swing the deal. At this point, I am not expected a frontline pitcher although I realize that is probably the only hope for the Yankees chances to compete for their 28th World Championship. They have a good team, but not good enough to advance past the Boston Red Sox or the Texas Rangers in a short series.
You could say that this week will determine the fate of GM Brian Cashman, who’s contract expires at the end of the season. He is in a tough spot as no team is going to hand him an ace, and if he fails to advance in October, there will be a press conference to announce him as some other team’s new GM in the off-season.
I am glad to hear that 3B Eric Chavez is about to come off the DL. With Alex Rodriguez still a few weeks away, it will be nice to have Chavez in the lineup…even on a part time basis with Eduardo Nunez. I like Brandon Laird but his day will come. For now, it’s time for him to go back down to Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
Down, set, 244, 244, hut, hut…
I am glad the NFL has finally settled their differences with the Players Association. Granted, there was no way that either side was going to pass up huge pay days, but it sucks for us fans that they put us through the lockout for the past few months. As a Vikings fan, it is the end of July and I don’t know if WR Sidney Rice will be wearing purple or catching TD passes from some other team’s QB this fall. The most experienced QB on the roster is a one year veteran (Joe Webb) who was originally drafted as a WR after playing QB in college. I am a Christian Ponder fan but I don’t want Ponder to start until he is ready. I would definitely prefer a stopgap at QB until Ponder is ready to take over, so I am okay with a signing of Matt Hasselbeck or a trade for Donovan McNabb. But, as Brett Favre rumors re-surface, I really don’t want to see #4 back on the sidelines for a third season.
I am excited about this football season. I’ve been a Vikings fan all my life, but I’ve never attended a home game. I’ve seen the Vikings play on the road over the years, but I wasn’t raised in Minnesota and hadn’t lived in the state until last week. Work brought me to Minneapolis, so I am now within walking distance of the Metrodome. Rest assured that I’ll be attending my first Vikings home game this fall. Skol Vikings!
Have a great week, everyone!
Pitching, pitching, pitching…
The Yankees were very fortunate in the first half to get the mileage they did out of Bartolo Colon (even with his stay on the DL) and Freddy Garcia. But two games into the second half, their performances have been very dismal as the Yanks have been crushed by the Toronto Blue Jays on successive days.
I think that both Colon and Garcia are capable to having respectable finishes to the season but all things considered, I’d rather go in a different direction. I am sure that there is a good reason for why 8-game winner Ivan Nova is pitching for Scranton/Wilkes Barre. I’d never claim to the talent evaluator that Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild are, but it would make more sense to me to let the younger pitcher grow and develop in the major league rotation.
Yankee scouts are out in full force scouring other major league ballparks. I am sure that Brian Cashman has a short list of guys that he’d like to acquire even if he’d never publicly admit it. I fully recognize that the trading deadline is not going to result in Felix Hernandez wearing pinstripes, but I am sure that there are a few arms out there capable of being major upgrades over Colon and Garcia.
The losses by Colon and Garcia aren’t just their faults. This is a team game and the other guys simply did not pick up the veteran pitchers when they got hit hard. For whatever reason, the Blue Jays seem to have the Yankees number or at least they have for the last few years. If the Yankees intend to win the division, they need to figure out how to beat Toronto and Boston since they haven’t really shown they are capable of beating either team.
I was surprised to see Derek Jeter crucified for not attending the All-Star Game in Phoenix. While I think that he should have made an appearance at the game, I can understand and appreciate his reasons for not playing. He had just finished a stint on the DL and he is vital to his team’s chances in the second half. The ASG break was a good opportunity for DJ to ensure that he got good rest before resuming the rigors of every day play. It’s not just Derek, I think any of the players who were voted as starters but withdrew for whatever reason should have made the trip to Phoenix to at least acknowledge the fans.
Still, nobody received criticism for pulling out of the game like DJ did. I know, that’s just life with the New York Yankees.
Give the young guy a shot…
I’d like to see the Yankees bring up Brandon Laird to give him a taste of third base at the major league level while Alex Rodriguez is on the DL. It would be interesting to see what he could do in a platoon situation with Eduardo Nunez. I would rather go that route than pursue an aging and high priced vet like Aramis Ramirez or someone like that. Laird’s batting average leaves a little to be desired (.266) but he is driving in runs (47 RBI’s).
One if by land, two if by sea…
I was watching the Minnesota Twins play the Kansas City Royals on TV last night and I have to say that I am impressed with Minnesota’s Ben Revere. The speedster lined a shot to right, and after he rounded second base, he started to fall and went into a somersault. Yet, with his speed, he was still able to arrive at third ahead of the ball. It was one of the most interesting triples that I’ve seen.
Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune
The night didn’t fare very well for the Twins as their closer, Matt Capps, gave up a two-run homer to Eric Hosmer in the top of the 9th in the 2-1 loss to the Royals. Hosmer, by the way, is another young player that I am very impressed with. As for Matt Capps, I wonder how much longer until Joe Nathan takes back his old job. I know it all depends upon Nathan’s health, but Capps has been brutal.
Oh yeah, this is a pinstripe blog…
Back to the Yankees, they definitely need to find a way to salvage the series in Toronto today and tomorrow. They have a tough four-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg next week and they need to build some momentum going into the series. There isn’t anyone better to have on the mound today than the great CC Sabathia. Hopefully he’ll get his 14th win today…
Have a great weekend!
There always seems to be a lull in baseball activity
following the conclusion of the World Series until the start of the baseball
winter meetings in early December. There
are generally a few free agent signings but generally not the top shelf talent
that is available. So, yesterday was a
fairly active day for the Yankees, all things considered.
The biggest news was the surprise announcement of the new
pitching coach. After continually
hearing the names of Mike Harkey, Scott Aldred, Gil Patterson and even Rick Petterson,
the Yankees named Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild to the
post. Rothschild’s name had not surfaced
in media reports and I was very pleased to see the hiring of a coach with his
experience and credentials. Rothschild
was the first manager for the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and has been with
the Cubs since 2002.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that A.J.
Burnett will be number one on Rothschild’s priority list. He has to figure out a way to restore Burnett’s
confidence and get him back to pitching like he did for the 2008 Toronto Blue
Jays and the 2009 Yankees. Joba
Chamberlain will also be on the priority list.
I have seen so many reports that Joba would be better served by a change
in scenery but I still think he can achieve success in New York. The continued progression of Phil Hughes is
another key for the 2011 season.
I think the Yankees would have been fine with someone
like Gil Patterson or Rick Petterson, but they are definitely better with
Rothschild. Good move by GM Brian
Cashman and Manager Joe Girardi. I
thought it was funny when I read Rothschild’s comments about the unique
interview experience but I am glad that Cashman made the applicants prove they
were up for the challenge.
There were a few roster moves as the Yankees released
bullpen pitcher Jonathan Albaladejo so that he could sign with a Japanese
club. He had a great AAA season this
year, but he didn’t really get much of an opportunity at the big league
level. I wish him the best with the
Yomiuri Giants and hope that it propels him to another big league opportunity
down the road.
The Yankees also acquired Atlanta Braves minor league
outfielder Cody Johnson for cash considerations. A former top draft pick (24th
selection in the first round in 2006), Johnson has power but also has a
tendency to strike out…a lot. It looks
like the Braves have given up on him, but he is still young enough (22) for the
Yankees to try and correct the deficiencies in his game. This looks like one of those low cost, high
reward moves that Boston GM Theo Epstein is so good about.
Mark Almond/The Birmingham News
In the other roster moves made yesterday, the Yankees
placed three Rule 5 draft eligible prospects on the 40-man roster to protect
them. Included were top prospects (Dellin
Betances, perhaps the best pitching prospect in the organization, and third
baseman Brandon Laird). In a breakout
season, Laird, brother of Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird, had 25 home runs
and 102 RBI’s between AA and AAA this year.
The third prospect placed on the 40-man roster was reliever Ryan Pope.
There were also reports that the Yankees were making an
offer of three years at $45 million for Derek Jeter. I doubt DJ accepts the offer but I think it
is a very fair one. Signing elsewhere,
there is no way he would get more than $10 million per season, so overpaying by
$5 mil per year on a contract that will take DJ to nearly 40 years of age is
generous and cognizant of DJ’s contributions and value to the
organization. I keep hearing that he’ll
have to consider a position switch at some point, but where would you put him? I’d hate to lose an outfield position to a
player with declining skills. Would he
be better than Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson or Nick Swisher? That’s a tough question. Perhaps if you had a Justin Upton or Carl
Crawford in the outfield to go with Granderson, you could fill the other corner
outfield spot with Jeter.
In another transaction this week, the Yankees made their
first trade with former Yankees consultant and new Arizona Diamondbacks GM
Kevin Towers. They shipped first baseman
Juan Miranda, who was out of options, to the D-Backs for pitcher Scott
Allen. I saw one report that called him “Scottie”. I really hope that he doesn’t go by that
name. It sounds like a little black dog
to me, or at the very least, the chief engineer on the Starship
No movement on the Cliff Lee front, but I don’t think
anyone expects him to sign until the baseball winter meetings or later. Next week will probably be very quiet from a
baseball perspective, but hopefully, the Hot Stove League will start cranking
up by the first of December. I am very anxious
to see who makes the trip to Tampa for spring training in February. It would be nice to see a Yankees limo
waiting at the Tampa airport for an incoming flight from Little Rock, Arkansas…