Wells, that was not quite the answer I was looking for…
I have never been a big fan of Los Angeles Angels outfielder Vernon Wells, and was one of many who quietly laughed when the Angels took his financial albatross of a contract off the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays. But I guess it is apparently better to have the last laugh and that would not be me. The move allowed the Blue Jays to re-group to the point that they now have arguably the best team in the American League East. And, as health would have it (or lack there of), the Yankees find they have the need to take what’s left of Wells off the Angels hand so that they can pay those hefty contracts belonging to Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. Granted, the Angels will be paying most of the freight to bring Wells to the Bronx (assuming the deal goes through as expected), but he has been the Crown Prince of Disappointment for so many years. Yes, he’s had a good spring, but so have a lot of guys who didn’t amount to a hill of beans in the big leagues.
At first I heard that the Yankees would be paying less than $10 million on the Wells contract which has $42 million more to go until it expires following the 2014. But the latest word has the Yankees paying up to $13 million which means it will probably be more like $15 million or more when the deal is finally announced.
With the opening day absences of Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira, the Yankees need proven production in the lineup. Robinson Cano is only one man. There’s question marks at every turn, but the likelihood of Curtis Granderson’s return is far better than Mark Teixeira (who some say could miss the season). This means I would have preferred to see the Yankees allocate resources toward an alternative first baseman. The prospect of outfielder Juan Rivera playing first on a full or part-time basis is just not very satisfying for me.
But speaking of first base, the only talk I hear is the potential acquisition of first baseman Lyle Overbay from the Boston Red Sox. Overbay can opt out of his deal this week and that would put him at the forefront of Yankees’ attention.
None of these acquisitions will give anyone illusions of a championship.
At some point, the Yankees are going to have to just blow it up and start over…
This is the time of hard cuts. I saw today that the Cleveland Indians cut Daisuke Matsuzaka. Okay, I don’t consider that a hard cut, but there will be notable names mentioned in the coming days. It is hard to believe that the Yankees will be powering up Yankee Stadium just one short week from tomorrow. As for the Yankees, I remain hopeful that both Ben Francisco and Brennan Boesch will travel north with the club despite the apparent acquisition of Vernon Wells. While I’ve been pulling for Boesch, I have to say that Francisco has played well enough to start at least as part of a platoon. I seriously doubt that Travis Hafner and Kevin Youkilis will make it through the season injury-free so at some point, Wells will probably start to take the majority of the at-bats at DH.
I guess there should be plenty of drama this week as MLB teams shape up their opening day rosters.
It’s just a number…
As a Minnesota Vikings fan, I am still trying to wrap my head around Greg Jennings playing for the Vikings. After Darren Sharper, Ryan Longwell, and Brett Favre, I should be used to this. Jennings may not have the athleticism of departed slot receiver Percy Harvin, but if healthy, he is a weapon. It’s interesting that he selected #15. I can’t say that I can remember another Viking who wore the number although I am sure a few have. Of course, #15 for me is always going to be Thurman Munson but that’s a different sport. Greg Childs currently holds Jennings’ Packer number, #85. After missing his first season due to injury, I can’t say that his grasp on #85 is very strong. Perhaps Jennings is just biding his time until he can retrieve #85. Childs’ childhood friend and lifelong teammate, Jarius Wright, is clearly the favorite to fill Harvin’s role.
Part of me wants the Vikings to sign former Chicago Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, but of course, the sensible part of me only wants guys that can be part of the future as the door is starting to open for the Vikings again as a play-off contender. I would like to see the Vikings to find a way to bring Antoine Winfield back to purple and gold. I have faith in the younger guys and GM Rick Spielman has shown that he knows a thing or two about the NFL Draft so I am sure the secondary will be addressed next month. I am anxious to see what Josh Robinson is capable of, but it would be nice to have Winfield to help the transition.
I like the job that Leslie Frazier has done with the Vikings and I am hopeful that it will lead to a long-term contract.
Next month is a big sports month. Opening day in Major League Baseball and the NFL Draft. It should be a very fun time. And for my friends in the East and Midwest, it should mean a little less snow…
As the Fonz said, I am ‘wrrrro…, I am wwwrrroo..’…
I was a pessimist in spring training…a non-believer. I didn’t think the Yankees could compete with the Boston Red Sox with their current roster after the off-season spurning by pitcher Cliff Lee. At the time, the Yankees were trying to piece together a rotation that was void of both Lee and Andy Pettitte, who opted to retire.
At the trading deadline, the Yankees were silent while the Red Sox were busy acquiring infielder Mike Aviles from the Kansas City Royals and pitcher Erik Bedard from the Seattle Mariners.
Yet, on the morning of August 16th, the Yankees found themselves in a first place tie with the Boston Red Sox. Not bad for a team that has been rated as inferior to the Red Sox by so many, including me. It is no secret that the Red Sox have owned the Yankees in their head-to-head match-up’s but of course that doesn’t mean a thing in October. Still, if the Yankees had been able to at least play .500 ball against the Sox, they’d have a fairly comfortable lead in the division. That’s probably where Lee and Pettitte would have made a difference, but who knows, perhaps they could have been even worse.
Despite the team’s success, I still do not like the prospects for October against the Red Sox and the Texas Rangers. Like the Red Sox, the Rangers were able to add some quality arms to the bullpen when they picked up Mike Adams from the San Diego Padres and Koji Uehara from the Baltimore Orioles. I do not like moves for the sake of simply making a move so perhaps the Yankees did the best thing by standing pat. But the team still has too many shortcomings that can be exposed in a short series. Part of me pulls for a Bronx return by Hideki Matsui who has cleared waivers for the Oakland A’s. Matsui has shown there is still ‘clutch’ in his bat and used in the right spots, he could be a valuable weapon. The team is counting very heavily on the return of Alex Rodriguez, but they need a contingency plan. The DH spot has been weak, for the most part, with Jorge Posada and Eric Chavez. Granted, Posada had a recent 6 RBI game that that’s clearly an aberration at this point of his career. I haven’t seen too many timely hits off his bat this season.
GM Brian Cashman is making the usual comments that he does not envision any trading activity this month, but of course, you never really know what is up his sleeve. So much of it has to do with posturing and trying to make the opposition believe that you aren’t desperate.
What have you done for me lately…
As for Posada, I am ready to cut ties. He has been a long and faithful Yankee, and certainly a very passionate one. However, I do not see a role on the 2012 Yankees for him. At this point, he has become a liability, and if he wishes to extend his career, I am okay with it being in another uniform. Hopefully, he doesn’t decide to go someplace like Boston, but I’d hope that he would make a respectful decision for the Yankees fans. All things considered, I wish that he’d simply hang up the catcher’s mitt at the end of the season and call it a career but I don’t think that’s going to happen. If I have to pick between Posada and Jesus Montero on the roster next year, Montero wins hands down. Sorry, Jorge, but I am looking forward to your participation on Old Timer’s Day.
A quiet major milestone even if it was a booming blast…
Congratulations to Jim Thome for slugging his 600th home run against the Detroit Tigers last night. It was an interesting stat that he was the first player to hit both his 599th and 600th home runs in the same game, and no one had ever hit his 600th in the next at-bat after 599. Babe Ruth was the closest, needing two at-bat’s. Thome’s march to 600 was one of the quietest milestone marches that I’ve experienced, and I even call Minneapolis home these days. I’ve never thought of him as a superstar, but he has consistently been a home run producer for many years. In my mind, he was never top shelf talent but he was always in the next tier and his career has spanned longer than many top shelf players. Does that qualify for entry to the Hall of Fame? It will be an interesting debate. He is certainly not a first ballot shoo-in, but he’ll probably find his way eventually.
Time to see my guys…
The Yankees will be coming to the Twin Cities this week, so I’ll be at one of the games this weekend. During my short time in Minneapolis, I have come to appreciate Target Field. I am a fan of many of the newer ballparks, and I like some better than others. But Target Field has a good feel to it, and I like its downtown location. I intend to wear my Yankees cap, which might not be the best idea when walking downtown, but I am sure that I won’t be alone…
Waiting for the opportunity…
As a lifelong fan of the Minnesota Vikings, it was tough a few years ago when I had to adjust to the sight of longtime enemy Brett Favre in purple. I actually did enjoy his first year, although the second one was a disappointment. But it is probably harder for me to accept the sight of Donovan McNabb in purple. Okay, I wasn’t one of those guys who booed when the Philadelphia Eagles selected McNabb in the draft over RB Ricky Williams, but I was never overly impressed with McNabb in his Philly days. I even lived in the area during his final years with the Eagles, and perhaps my impression of McNabb is tainted by the bitterness that Eagles fans held toward him. Yes, he won, but he never won the games that truly counted. It’s a team sport so you can’t hang total blame on him, but he is just not someone that I’ve ever been able to embrace as one of the game’s best QB’s. Maybe he will change my opinion of him. I definitely think that he has something to prove after his disastrous year in Washington, and I won’t be surprised if he rises to the challenge.
I am a fan of QB Christian Ponder. There’s no doubt that I wanted the team to draft Jake Locker, but it was not meant to be so Ponder is certainly the next best thing. Intellectually speaking, I think Ponder is at the head of the class and I look forward to seeing how he grasps the Vikings playbook. But, there’s no way that I think he is ready to start this year, particularly with the lockout shortened off-season. I think that Aaron Rodgers benefited greatly by sitting on the bench for those first few years, and the same holds true with Ponder. McNabb gives the Vikings the flexibility to allow Ponder to grow into the position…unless McNabb shows that Washington wasn’t a fluke. I am sure that we’ll see #7 line up behind center at some point in the regular season, but until then, I’ll be content with McNabb. Well, until he proves otherwise…
There were two Vikings that I really hated to see leave as free agents. WR Sidney Rice was one of my favorites, and he is now in Seattle with former Vikings QB Tavaris Jackson. I am not sure that Michael Jenkins or Bernard Berrian can be anything close to what Rice was, but I will say that WR Percy Harvin has been one of my favorite Vikings, if not the favorite. Now that his migraines appear to be behind him, I am looking forward to seeing if he can take it to the next level. The guy clearly has the talent and the heart to succeed. The other loss was LB Ben Leber who signed with the St. Louis Rams. But with Leber’s loss, it does create an opportunity for Erin Henderson to step into his shoes. I really like what I’ve seen from Erin, and it is a great story if he starts next to his brother, middle linebacker E.J. Henderson. But regardless of what the final roster looks like, I feel very confident in the decisions being made by head coach Leslie Frazier. I don’t want to diss former head coach Brad Childress, but this is the most confident that I’ve felt about a Vikings head coach in a very long time. I can never recall a time where I was content with the heads of both the Yankees and the Vikings but I am very comfortable with both Joe Girardi and Frazier. Now, let’s see if it equates to a few championships…
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!
It was a great win by Freddy
Garcia on Saturday (six innings, two hits and no runs) in the Yankees’ 5-2
victory over the Texas Rangers. The
superlatives about Garcia poured in after the game including one comment that
compared Garcia to David Cone in terms of the latter pitcher’s ability to find
ways to win when he didn’t have his best stuff.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
I do not doubt Garcia’s
ability. I can recall many times over
the years when Garcia completely shut down the Yankees. It didn’t matter if he had been struggling at
the time or was fighting some ailment.
He always seemed to shine in the most difficult moments. My concern with Garcia is his ability to
sustain the effectiveness he showed yesterday.
There’s no doubt, in my mind, that we’ll see Kevin Millwood and/or
Carlos Silva in the rotation at some point.
I am not trying to be
pessimistic, but rather just a realist.
With Phil Hughes on the DL, it is not an automatic that he’ll regain his
velocity by simply receiving rest and treatment. A.J. Burnett showed that he is still
vulnerable after giving up two home runs in one inning against the Baltimore
Orioles last week after pitching so well in the prior six innings. We’ll have the opportunity to see what
Bartolo Colon can do, but my concern about him is not with his arm. His weight and ability to stay healthy are
the key issues.
It was disappointing to hear
that reliever Pedro Feliciano will need season-ending surgery. Given that lefty Damaso Marte is also on the
shelf, the Yankees will need to find another lefty to complement Boone
Logan. Unfortunately, the rest of the
league knows that and they’ll be looking for a King’s ransom in any potential
At this point in the season,
it’s nice to see the Yankees in first place with an 8-5 mark, while the Boston
Red Sox sit in last place at 3-10.
However, with just under 150 games still remaining, I would be very
foolish to think that the current standings will stay unchanged. The Red Sox will figure it out and they’ll be
an offensive force through the summer. I
am concerned that the key reason the Yankees have been winning is their home
run production (24 homers in 13 games).
Hopefully, they’ll begin to find other ways to win as the season
It bothers me that the
Boston Red Sox will avoid a luxury tax penalty by delaying the announcement of
Adrian Gonzalez‘s extension until this week.
Perhaps they did the same thing with Clay Buchholz, but the Gonzalez
signing was a foregone conclusion. It
was obvious that the Sox had reached an agreement with Gonzalez before the
start of the season. It was clear they
simply circumvented the system to avoid paying the additional tax.
To go a bit off topic, I am
excited about the upcoming NFL Draft despite the current lockout. I remain hopeful that the owners and players
will reach an agreement before the loss of any games. With the draft, I really hope the Minnesota
Vikings can find a quarterback. However,
their draft position at #12 is not ideal for their search for a franchise QB. The top tier QB’s, like Blaine Gabbert and
Cam Newton, will be gone and it will be too early to take somebody like Jake
Locker. It will be interesting to see
what the Vikings can do. The Vikings
chief rival, the Green Bay Packers, seem to have a knack for finding QB’s. They coaxed one great season out of Don
Majkowski. They traded for Brett Favre after
they missed out on the opportunity to draft Troy Aikman. They drafted Aaron Rodgers despite having
Favre and a few other highly touted former college QB’s on the roster. Hopefully, the Vikings can replicate the
Packers blue print to find their next great QB…
I was disappointed to see no resolution for the Albert Pujols contract
negotiations with the St. Louis Cardinals.
With the passing of Albert’s deadline, we’ll have to tolerate an entire
season of discussion regarding Albert’s future before the contract negotiations
resume after the season. I may be a
die-hard Yankees fan, but I have no desire to see Albert play his career
anywhere except St. Louis.
Scott Rovak/Getty Images
I really thought that the Cardinals organization would have put forth a
highly competitive offer prior to the deadline.
It really makes me wonder why the Cardinals would invest $8 million in
former Yankee Lance Berkman who has clearly seen his better days rather than
look for a less expensive option with similar production to invest the Berkman
dollars toward the re-signing of Pujols.
I realize that $8 million for one year is insignificant in terms of what
it would take to sign Pujols over 10 years but there are ways the organization
could subsidize the contract without sacrificing the team’s play-off
If Albert does become a free agent after the season, I agree with those
that say the Chicago Cubs would make a very strong play for the future Hall of
Famer. Nothing against the Cubs, but I’d
hate to see that happen. It’s not unlike
Brett Favre and his decision to play for the Minnesota Vikings after a Hall of
Fame career with the Green Bay Packers.
Granted, they were separated by Favre’s one year in New York with the
Jets but his decision to play for the Vikings did adversely impact the way he
is viewed by the Packers fans. Perhaps
Favre will be able to salvage a relationship with the Packers fans but he’ll
never hold the stature of former Packer QB Bart Starr or current Green Bay QB
Aaron Rodgers now that he has won a Super Bowl in Green Bay. Albert deserves an untarnished legacy and he
should be remembered the way that Stan Musial is when his playing days are
over. Hopefully, the Cardinals
organization will use the days and months between now and the end of the season
to sharpen their pencil…
I wish reliever Neal Cotts the best of luck in his attempt to come back
from injuries. The Yankees released him
today after reviewing the results of his physical. I had hoped Cotts would experience a re-birth
under his former pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, but it was not meant to
be. Hopefully, this does not mean the
end of Cotts career but wherever he goes and whatever he does, I wish him the
I had hoped that reliever Brian Schlitter would clear waivers and return
to Yankees camp but he was selected by the Yankees latest nemesis, the
Philadelphia Phillies. Losing Schlitter
wasn’t so bad since he probably would not have found a spot in the bullpen, but
losing him to the Phillies was bittersweet.
It used to be that my second favorite is any team that beats the Boston
Red Sox. My new second favorite team is
now any team that beats the Phillies. In
a Phillies-Red Sox World Series, I would pull for Boston and that’s something
that I thought I’d never do…
Personally, I want a Yankees-Dodgers World Series! A Bay Area resident, I am withdrawing my NL support for the Giants and aligning myself with the Don Mattingly-led Dodgers. There is no way that I could root against my baseball idol from younger days…unless he is playing against the Yankees, of course. Granted, I am not crazy about the whole Frank McCourt divorce situation and the Dodgers don’t have the Giants pitching staff but I have faith in Donnie Baseball…
Well, it’s time to pay off one of my two debts owed to Julia of Julia’s Rants for several wager losses. I should have been more responsive to my obligation but business travel and work have been very challenging lately.
The two losses were the final regular season series loss by the New York Yankees to the Boston Red Sox and the Halloween dismissal of the Minnesota Vikings by the New England Patriots. It goes without saying which teams Julia was pulling for. Sadly for me, the results were in her favor.
For the loss by the Yankees, I owe Julia a couple of signs on my blog. I promise that I’ll have them up by Thanksgiving. With the loss by the Vikings, I have to write a blog about Julia’s favorite football team. I know this is very off-topic for a baseball blog but keep in mind this is for Julia…
THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
When I was a kid, I remember reading about the old American Football League (AFL) and its original members. The Boston Patriots were one of those teams. In fact, when they were awarded their franchise in 1959, they were the eighth and final team.
Mike Holovak is the guy who stands out to me as the head coach of the Patriots in the 1960’s, however, it was long-time Buffalo Bills head coach Lou Saban who was the team’s first head coach.
My first real meaningful recollection of the Patriots was after they moved to Foxboro and became the New England Patriots. By that time, the head coach was Chuck Fairbanks. The year that stands out for me is 1974. The Patriots started season 5-0 behind QB Jim Plunkett, RB Sam “Bam” Cunningham, and WR Randy Vataha. They would only win two more games that season to finish 7-7, but one of the wins came at the expense of my Vikings.
Dick Raphael/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
I know, Julia‘s favorite was actually this guy (Steve Grogan)…
Before the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, the Patriots did play in one championship game, the 1963 AFL Championship. They lost 51-10 to the San Diego Chargers, and would not advance to post-season play again until 1976. They won their first AFC East division championship in 1978, but like in 1976, they were eliminated in the first round of the play-offs.
My next significant memory of the Patriots happened in 1985. The Patriots made it all the way to the Super Bowl, but it coincided with the great Super Bowl Shuffle by the legendary Walter Payton and the Chicago Bears as the Patriots lost 46-10.
Sorry Julia, but it’s hard to pass by Walter Payton’s name without giving him some sort of tribute. He was one of the greatest players to set foot on the gridiron…
As the organization moved into the 1990’s, their long history of futility began to change. In 1993, Bill Parcells was named the head coach and the following year, the team was acquired by owner Robert Kraft. Parcells would get the Pats to the Super Bowl in 1996 but they’d lose to Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, 35-21. Hmmm, no wonder Julia dislikes #4!…
Brian Bahr/Allsport/Getty Images
After Parcells left, Pete Carroll was brought in for a few seasons. Despite making the play-offs two of his three seasons, the results were unimpressive and he was discharged. Still, a decade of some success had transformed the organization into one with a winning tradition despite the absence of Super Bowl success.
The arrival of the 21st Century also brought championship success for the Patriots as they won the Super Bowl in three of four years (2001, 2003, and 2004). If memory serves correctly, the new century also had a positive impact for another Boston area team that shall go nameless! 😉 With head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady, the Patriots emerged as the team to beat in the 2000’s.
The Patriots did miss out on football immortality in 2007 when the team went undefeated during the regular season but lost to what I felt was an inferior New York Giants team in the Super Bowl. How many teams can say that a 18-1 record was a failure? None, except the New England Patriots. I am sure that there were a few former Miami Dolphins celebrating that day…
The Patriots remain a championship quality organization and they have been able to successfully replace aging stars and over-priced free agents through the years. They are currently tied for the division lead in the AFC East with a 6-2 mark and seem well positioned for much success in the second half of the season. With Tom Brady at the controls, it is a certainty that they’ll have a say in who represents the AFC in the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011.
P.S. They won’t miss Randy Moss but I think I will… L*
*Brought to you by the Fire Brad Childress Immediately Committee.