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…
As it stands today, and I realize that it is still early
January, the Boston Red Sox are clearly the class of the AL. The Yankees inability to snag a frontline
pitcher will haunt the team, and the missed opportunities to upgrade in other
areas will cost the team valuable victories in the highly competitive AL East.
Jim Davis/Boston Globe
At the moment, Ivan Nova represents the #4 starter behind
CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett.
I’d argue that Burnett should be considered no more than a #4 if he can’t
turn it around. Meanwhile, other teams
are getting stronger. The latest AL team
to improve was the Texas Rangers with the addition of former Boston third
baseman Adrian Beltre. I know that the
Rangers, like the Yankees, still need more starting pitching, but they’ve
clearly improved the offensive and defensive makeup of the team.
It appears that the Chicago Cubs have acquired pitcher
Matt Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays. At
face value, it would appear the move weakens the Rays for the short term,
particularly in light of the previous losses (namely Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano,
and Carlos Pena). However, the Rays have
a rich farm system and of course they needed a spot in the rotation for high
end prospect Jeremy Hellickson. Everyone
seems to be writing off the Rays, but I fully expect them to be in the thick of
the race. Somehow, they are the New
England Patriots of baseball…they may suffer huge personnel loss but there’s
always someone ready to step up their play as a replacement.
Jim Davis/Boston Globe
The rest of the division has gotten better, while the
Yankees have simply gotten older.
Last year, when the Rays trotted out Joaquin Benoit and
Rafael Soriano, it was game over. As it
stands, the Yankees set up crew consists of David Robertson and Joba
Chamberlain…a combo that was not consistent last year and forced the deadline
trade for Kerry Wood who solidified the position. I would have really liked to have seen the
Yanks pursue Soriano for the set up role, especially after his agent expressed
his willingness to set up for Mariano Rivera.
I was disappointed when GM Brian Cashman came out today to say there was
no chance of a Soriano signing since it would cost a first round pick. I get it.
The farm system is important and it has taken years for the Yankees to
rebuild the system after the cupboards were left bare. But still, it is hard not to think about how
effective a bullpen duo of Soriano-Rivera would be. It would probably be the best one-two punch
since the days of Rivera-Wetteland in the mid 90’s.
It definitely sounds as though Andy Pettitte won’t be
making the trip to Florida next month. I
want Andy to come back but I am okay if he decides to stay home. If he came and his heart wasn’t in it, he
just wouldn’t be the same pitcher we’ve come to rely upon. I wanted Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre to
come back this year and he did after much coaxing by his teammates, but the
results were horrific. Andy either has
to be “all in” or he should go ahead and hang up the glove. I would hate to see Andy leave with a Javier
Vazquez type of season.
The Yankees have made minor moves this off-season that I’ve
liked. The latest is the pick-up of
former Chicago Cubs reliever Brian Schlitter.
While he was not effective in his brief time with the major league club
last season, I have to believe this signing had much input from former Cubs,
and now Yankees, pitching coach Larry Rothschild. If Larry felt the Yanks should move on
Schlitter, then I feel he showed Larry enough to prove that he could be a
valuable and effective arm in the pen.
There’s still time for the Yankees to make the necessary
moves to improve the roster and certainly if an “all in” Andy Pettitte signs up
for a final season, the team will look much better than it does today.
If they maintain the status quo, I can’t help but wonder
how intense the pressure will be on manager Joe Girardi. Can he survive a season where he finishes
third (or worse) in the division? I am
not so sure. His best friend is his new
three year contract. Managing General
Partner Hal Steinbrenner is a numbers guy, and unlike his father, might not be
so willing to “eat” a contract. As much
as I would dislike the move, I can’t help but think that the Yankees failure to
land a quality frontline starter has enhanced the chances that we will see
Bobby Valentine in the Yankees dugout.
Ugh, I hope it doesn’t come to that…
Sadly, today brought the loss of another former Yankee
(Ryne Duren). Duren was a reliever for
the Yanks in the late 50’s and early 60’s, and was known for his coke bottle
glasses and 100 mph fastball. I liked
Yogi Berra’s quote about Duren: “Ryne could throw the heck out of the ball. He threw
fear in some hitters. I remember he had several pair of glasses but it didn’t
seem like he saw good in any of them.” Duren
passed away in Florida on Thursday at the age of 81.
Diamond Images/Getty Images
Congratulations to Jim Harbaugh, the new head coach of
the San Francisco 49ers. My favorite
Harbaugh moment still has to be in 1992 when the Chicago Bears were leading the
Minnesota Vikings 20-0 in the fourth quarter and the Vikings came back to win,
21-20. I can still remember the
frustrated Harbaugh wondering what hit him.
Nevertheless, I do wish him much success as he attempts to revitalize
the 49ers. It should be fun next season
when the Niners play the Baltimore Ravens, coached by Harbaugh’s brother
Well, I guess I’ll go back to waiting for the Yankees to
make a move…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…