Team Question Mark…
It’s March 22nd and I am still waiting for that deal that instills confidence for the 2013 New York Yankees, but so far, it’s been like an unsuccessful Vegas weekend. I want to throw out the surgery recovery for Alex Rodriguez because I remain happy that he is not in the lineup regardless of the cost. Addition by subtraction. Sorry, I am just not a fan of the narcissistic one. Even with the injury risk, I prefer to see Kevin Youkilis man third base for the Yanks. But throwing that aside, the Yankees have lost Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira to injury. While both are expected to be back in May, there have been numerous professional reports that Teixeira could be lost for the year. The Yankees lost their backup first baseman when right fielder Nick Swisher signed with the Cleveland Indians.
The catching battle is between two perennial backup catchers. I fully expect Francisco Cervelli to win the job, but I do not have full faith and confidence in his ability as a starter. I am sure that Chris Stewart will see plenty of time behind the plate this year. I had quietly hoped that Austin Romine would surprise in training camp and claim the job, but now that he’s back in the minors, his arrival won’t come until later in the year and perhaps even next year. Meanwhile, I am hoping that top catching prospect Gary Sanchez can start to accelerate his development to hasten his arrival in the Bronx.
Despite Derek Jeter’s optimistic outlook, it’s unlikely that he’ll be ready on Opening Day so the Yanks will most likely open against the Boston Red Sox with Eduardo Nunez at short.
I am assuming that Ichiro Suzuki will be shifted to left to temporarily replace Granderson, so right field will most likely be a committee led by recent signee Brennan Boesch. I am hopeful the team also finds room for Ben Francisco, but neither bat will rival the production the Yanks received from Swisher.
Brett Gardner is coming off an injury-lost season so it’s not 100% that he’ll be the Gardy of old. So, the only “sure thing” in the Yankees lineup right now is second baseman Robinson Cano. Given his recent health history, I would certainly not label DH Travis Hafner as a sure thing. If the Yankees lost Cano, this season would be lost. As it stands, I still expect a late March trade to bring in a capable first baseman. Gaby Sanchez of the Pittsburgh Pirates is the name that comes to mind. There’s no way that it will be a frontline first bagger, not under the regime of Hal the accountant.
The Yankees are the oldest team in baseball and rarely has the oldest team succeeded. This will be a tough year. Yes, the Yankees will compete for a play-off spot but I do not see them repeating as AL East Champions. I know that Red Sox fans have been salivating all off-season (along with Rays and Jays fans).
At least I learned what a lisfranc injury is…
While I was pleased to hear the Yankees have re-signed former ace starter Chien-Ming Wang, he’s a bigger question mark than any of the current players on the team. The foot injury suffered against the Houston Astros years ago led to Wang’s subsequent departure for the Washington Nationals, and he really only enjoyed one reasonably healthy season while away. I seriously doubt that he’ll ever be the 19 game winner that he was a few years ago. He does give the Yankees some insurance to trade someone like David Phelps or Ivan Nova for a quality bat.
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen…
I have been a Yankees fan for a number of years but this is clearly one of the most fragile times that I’ve experienced in recent memory. The Yankees are only an injury or two away from disaster. Sure, some players could step up and have career years but the range of potential success to non-success have never been wider. The pressure on Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman will be as high as it has ever been. It’s unfortunate that they are the front mean for Team Hal. I am not quite sure why the Yankees suddenly feel that they can be the AL version of the St Louis Cardinals. My favorite teams, in order, are the Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The pressure on Girardi and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly are higher than any other manager in baseball. Not that I am against a scenario that could ultimately bring Donnie Baseball to the Bronx as manager, but still, both men deserve better than the hands they have been dealt.
A foot apart…
Yes, I admit it. I was genuinely concerned. Yesterday, news broke that David Robertson had hurt his foot in a mishap at his home. The Yankees sounded very concerned and of course they ordered a MRI and were making comments about the severity of the injury. The immediate thought was the Lisfranc injury suffered by former Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang. While Wang is pitching again, it took years and he is still not the same guy who won 19 games in successive seasons a few years back.
Today, it was announced that Robertson had a deep bone bruise after missing a step on the stairs at his home. The foot is a boot and he’s on crutches until Sunday, but it now sounds as though Robertson will be back sooner than initially thought. So, the best case scenario played out, but it’s another example of how conservative the Yankees are when it comes to injuries. That’s a good thing, I suppose, from the perspective of the players’ health, but it does cause a little angst among the fan base. The thought that we’d have to go to the guy who is being paid over $30 million for 3 years to set up (Rafael Soriano) to actually be the set up guy is terrifying!
I know, we’re spoiled but when you live in the midst of a ‘World Series or bust’ environment, it goes with the territory.
Heading into spring training, my concerns for injury resided with players like Alex Rodriguez, Eric Chavez and Joba Chamberlain. Robertson has been so clutch and reliable that you just don’t expect HIM to get hurt…and particularly not in such a freak accident. But of course, pitchers are fragile creatures. You don’t have to look much further than the Mets’ Johan Santana. Even Pittsburgh’s A.J. Burnett is down after suffering an at-bat injury in a bunt attempt. The Yankees have been very lucky that CC Sabathia has stayed healthy given the other injuries they’ve dealt with. Why can’t every pitcher be gifted with the elasticity of David Wells’ arm…
AL East or bust…
Hearing reports of the Baltimore Orioles’ hot and cold interest in Johnny Damon truly shows that Johnny has an interest in playing for every team in the AL East. I suppose that his agent has been calling the Toronto Blue Jays even if there haven’t been any sightings. Damon probably should have accepted that trade from the Detroit Tigers to the Boston Red Sox at the trading deadline a couple of years ago. I hate to see him bouncing from team to team. That’s probably a good indication that it’s time to go home. He can still hit, but there’s too many younger, cheaper options.
Have bat, will travel…
The Yankees’ desire to get salaries below the $190 million threshold by 2014, I have to wonder if we are seeing the final two years of Derek Jeter’s Yankee career. With so much invested in Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia, the Yankees will no longer have the luxury of a huge investment in an aging shortstop. It’s also disheartening to think that the day will come when the Yankees have to make the decision to keep Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano. If they manage to find a way to keep both, then there’s not much left for other key positions. Who would have ever thought that $190 million would be such a small amount of money…
Teams like the Minnesota Twins probably laugh at the Yankees being placed into a situation where they have to re-tool with less expensive options and make hard decisions on popular players given that’s been their business model for years.
I know, doom and gloom…it will work out. The Yankees will do what they need to do. I can’t see them allowing the team to become a modern version of the CBS ownership era of the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Can Minneapolis keep the Vikings where they belong?…
After years, it feels like there finally may be movement in the plans for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. The proposal has been finalized and now needs city and state approval. The new stadium would be located next to the Metrodome, and the team would only be displaced for one season before moving into the new digs. I believe the target date is in 2016. This has been a very long road, and hopefully, the city and state will approve the plans so that the construction can begin and Minnesota can be assured of keeping the Vikings. The Los Angeles Vikings never really had a good flow to it anyway…
Whether it’s in the standings or not, losing still stinks…
If spring training games mean nothing, why do I feel excitement when the Yankees win and angst when they lose…
“I consider this position I am playing in as a bench role”…
These were the words of Yankees GM Brian Cashman on January 6th regarding the current Yankees outfield. Cashman is apparently looking for a right-handed bat to complement Brett Gardner in left. Let’s see if these words still hold true on, say, February 23rd. I guess we’ll check back at that time to see if Cashman held true to his words.
An intriguing option in a platoon situation is free agent outfielder Rocco Baldelli. Rocco has had medical issues the past few years and suffers from channelopathy, but in a limited role, he might be a viable option. He appeared in only 62 games last season for the Boston Red Sox, batting .253 with 7 home runs and 23 RBI’s. I don’t know what the future holds for Rocco, but if he can overcome his medical condition, he might thrive in a part-time position. I am sure the price tag would be enticing to a GM looking to keep the payroll under $200 million…
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
I am warming up to the idea of Reed Johnson as a possibility for a potential platoon, but as each passing day goes by and Johnny Damon remains a free agent, I am hopeful that his price tag falls far enough that he fits into Cashman’s budget. If the Yankees could get Damon to come back for one year, it would be an ideal situation and Johnny could test the free agent waters next fall.
It’s tough when you pull up a New York paper, and the leading Yankees story is the signing of pitcher Sergio Mitre to a one-year, $850,000 deal. Okay, I accept that the possibility that Mitre will be significantly improved since he’ll be further from his elbow ligament replacement surgery (July 2008). But to spotlight him in the New York tabloids is a bit much. I do not see Mitre as more than a bit player in 2010. Maybe he’ll prove to be the second coming of Aaron Small but who knows…
Sipkin/New York Daily News
Peter Abraham says that Chien-Ming Wang is ready to move on from the Yankees. I am still a bit perplexed why the Yankees didn’t try to give Wang one more chance. Maybe there’s a possibility that he could still return, but I would hate to see him experience a rebirth in Boston (not that they need another starter with that rotation). Actually, if it were me, I’d go to Seattle. The Mariners are definitely poised to make a run in what should be Ken Griffey, Jr.’s final year. The Mariners have made some great acquisitions this off-season. Sure, they lost Adrian Beltre, but they’ve acquired Cliff Lee, Casey Kotchman, and Chone Figgins. But like with Damon, I do hope that Wang finds his way back to the Bronx.
Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger
I was sorry to see David Cone leave the YES Network. There was always something very re-assuring about Coney as a player and as a broadcaster. I can’t say that I was pleased when he decided to go to Boston to pitch, but he is a class guy. Whatever the future holds for Coney, I hope that it’s what he wants to do.
Congratulations to pitcher Joba Chamberlain for being a winner of the Thurman Munson Award (which acknowledges excellence in competition and philanthropic work in the community). The award will be given on February 2nd. This is definitely a preferable off-season event over a DUI. I am glad to see Joba’s growth and maturity in a very positive direction.
Sports Illustrated, courtesy of Microsoft
My weekend football predictions:
Cincinnati Bengals 21, New York Jets 17
New England Patriots 31, Baltimore Ravens 20 (Okay, this is for my friend Julia!)
Arizona Cardinals 27, Green Bay Packers 17
Dallas Cowboys 33, Philadelphia Eagles 31
The only problem with my predictions is that it would bring the Dallas Cowboys to Minnesota to face the Vikings. This, of course, is the match-up that has haunted me for many years. On December 28, 1975, I was watching the Cowboys and Vikings in the NFC Divisional Play-offs. It appeared that the Vikings had the game in hand until Roger Staubach threw the unbelievable Hail Mary pass caught by Drew Pearson as Nate Wright fell to the ground. I remember exactly where I was, where I was standing, and my reaction. Fortunately, I’ve had the Yankees all these years to give me some “relief” from the disappointment…
When can we start talking about baseball?…
Let’s Go Yankees! 🙂
New Year, same problems in left…
Okay, I didn’t really want to start the new year with any mention of left field, but unfortunately, there hasn’t been much more to talk about. 2010 begins where 2009 left off…the Yankees are still in search of the right combination for left field. Perhaps the answer is already on the roster in the form of Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann, or maybe the Yanks should move Curtis Granderson to left and install Gardner back in center. Ultimately, I don’t think either of those options will be viable ones when training camp opens in Tampa. But they do underscore the lack of urgency on the Yankees’ part.
I am a big proponent of finding a low-cost option with high upside. When Paul O’Neill was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds, he wasn’t a “big” name and he only cost the Yankees the long-forgotten Roberto Kelly. At the time, I was miffed that the Yanks would give up on Kelly, but history clearly showed that it was one of the most astute moves in Yankee history.
I read a blog that speculated David DeJesus of the Kansas City Royals would be a good fit. I do not disagree. Today, Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues suggested Travis Buck of the Oakland A’s. Regardless of the latter’s health history, I am okay with either player. Ideally, there’s no question that I’d prefer Johnny Damon first and foremost. But I just don’t think it will happen for whatever reason. So, short of Damon, I like the idea of inserting a player with potential. It is a given that the Yankees will aggressively pursue Plan B if Plan A doesn’t work out. I don’t think the Mets would give him up at this point, but I have liked Jeff Francoeur. I still think that he’ll turn it around and live up to his early career promise. The Indians signed free agent and former Yankee Shelley Duncan today. In retrospect, it is too bad that the Yankees never gave him a chance.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
At the end of the day, I think that GM Brian Cashman won’t leave the Yanks short-changed in left. I have faith in the man with the plan…
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Allegedly, 15 teams have expressed interest in pitcher Chien-Ming Wang (with the Yankees included). I hope that the team can find a way to bring Wang back home. If Wang is right, how awesome would the Yanks bullpen be with both Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes?
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
So, the Boston Red Sox finally solved their third base woes with the signing of free agent Adrian Beltre. I do not dispute that he is masterful with the glove, but anybody who has owned him in fantasy baseball knows that he is brutal offensively. He is clearly not the slugger he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers a few years ago. So, if you ask me if I am disappointed the Red Sox signed Beltre? No, if it means that the team can no longer pursue San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (financially speaking). Gonzalez is a difference-maker; Beltre is not. The sad part of the Beltre signing is that it will relegate Casey Kotchman to the bench or at the most, DH. At DH, he has potential, but of course, it means the end of David Ortiz. Also, this almost certainly ensures that Mike Lowell will be dealt. The latest rumor has him going to the Mets for Luis Castillo, which is kind of funny considering that the Mets haven’t been able to unload Castillo on anybody. So, the Beltre signing is “nice”, but it doesn’t improve the Sox in the long run, in my opinion.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Did the Vikings’ total domination of the New York Giants and capture of the NFC second seed restore my faith in the Minnesota Vikings? Not really. The New York Giants gave up last week, so they pretty much rolled over for the Vikings on Sunday. It is hard for me to believe that the Vikings are truly a team capable of laying a 44-7 whuppin’ on a play-off foe. It’s funny that the Vikings were rooting for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday considering that the Cowboys have long been my “second” favorite team dating back to the Roger Staubach days. I admit that I was a bit miffed with the Cowboys beat the Vikings on the Hail Mary pass, but I did enjoy the Cowboys’ success under Jimmy Johnson and Troy Aikman in the 90’s. Of course, I did live in Dallas at the time, so it was a bit more enjoyable. Nevertheless, I still remain on the Purple side, so I’ll await the outcome of the NFC wild card games to see if the Vikings can legitimately move the closest to the Super Bowl that they’ve been since 1998. I am not a great fan of the current Dallas Cowboys so I don’t know who I’ll root for should my Vikings stub their toe. Perhaps I’ll root for Julia’s New England Patriots, but admittedly, they’ll have a tough road sans Wes Welker.
I am not surprised that the Washington Redskins sacked head coach Jim Zorn. I know they are wining and dining Mike Shanahan, and that would probably be a very good move for them. I think Shanahan is a better fit than Steve Spurrier ever was. He knows owner Daniel Snyder so I think the two could co-exist so long as Shanahan can produce. Yeah, I wish the Vikings could be in play for a good coach…
I hope everyone had a great holiday season, and a very happy New Year! Just think, baseball training camps open next month. I can’t wait. I am anxious to resume my battles with a certain friend in Boston…
It has been a very busy week for the almighty¹ Yankees…
¹Word ‘almighty’ is for the exclusive benefit of my friend Julia! 😉
The blockbuster trade of the Winter Meetings saw the arrival of Curtis Granderson as the newest centerfielder for the New York Yankees.
The price tag was very high and the Yankees lost a great opportunity to market “Ajax” but who knows if Austin Jackson will ever be the player that Grandy is today. Maybe he’ll be better but it probably won’t happen for several years. The Yankees have a window of opportunity right now and the heart of the team is not getting any younger. It is critical for the Yanks to infuse young, quality talent into the lineup now, not later. Grandy will be 29 on Opening Day and he can be expected to hold his position through the retirement of Derek Jeter and beyond.
I am looking forward to watching Grandy in the Bronx. One of my personal favorites in the ‘Wow’ factor (off the field exploits aside) was Darryl Strawberry. I am hopeful that Grandy will bring that level of excitement and energy to the team and that he’ll quickly become a fan favorite.
The former Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder was selected first in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft by the Washington Nationals and was immediately dealt to the Yankees as compensation for the trade that sent reliever Brian Bruney to the Nats.
Hoffmann, a former hockey player, will compete for the 25th spot on the Yankees roster. Since Hoffmann will have to be offered back to the Dodgers if he fails to stick on the Yankees major league roster, I fully expect the Yankees to move either Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner if Hoffmann shows anything during spring training. You can make an argument for why the Yanks should keep either Cabrera or Gardner but Cabrera clearly has the highest trade value.
Hoffmann, 25, made his major league debut with the Dodgers on May 22nd. Two days later, he got his first major league hit, a two-run bomb off Matt Palmer and the Angels in Anaheim. Hopefully, it is a great sign of things to come…
Okay, it’s not really an arrival. However, it is a big deal that Andy and the team agreed on a one year deal so quickly after Andy announced his decision to play at least another year. We didn’t need another Brett Favre-like situation this off-season. Welcome back, Andy!
This could be called the ‘You’ll get your ring when we come to a city near you’ category…
Brian Bruney, to the Washington Nationals for the first pick in the Rule 5 Draft (Jamie Hoffmann).
Austin Jackson and Phil Coke to the Detroit Tigers, and Ian Kennedy to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Detroit’s Curtis Granderson.
Johnny Damon, unsigned. Talks with the Yanks have continued but the team is unwilling to go beyond two years. At this stage of his career, Damon has to get all he can get since this may be his last major league contract. I want Damon back, however, I am supportive of the team’s position.
Hideki Matsui, unsigned. Almost certain not to return unless the Yankees fail to sign Damon, Godzilla would be a good fit in the Bay Area if the Oakland A’s could unload Jack Cust.
Jose Molina, unsigned. I am ready for Francisco Cervelli to back up Jorge Posada, with Jesus Montero possibly in the mix. The Yankees do need to reduce their payroll and this is an area that they can still get value at a cheaper price.
Xavier Nady, unsigned. Personally, I would try to bring the X-Man back to the Bronx. But I recognize that he is not in the team’s plans, and it is virtually certain that he’ll sign elsewhere (perhaps with the Braves).
Jerry Hairston, Jr. A good complimentary player but his role can be easily replaced by Ramiro Pena.
The Yankees are not expected to tender a contract to pitcher Chien-Ming Wang so he’ll become a free agent later today (midnight ET). It’s unfortunate that it has come to this with the former 19-game winner. He was perhaps the Yankees most valuable starting pitcher until that fateful day running the bases in Houston several years ago. I suspect that he’ll be a strong candidate for Comeback Player of the Year so some team is going to get lucky by taking a chance on Wang. Hopefully, the Yankees will find a way to bring him back but for now, he’ll be up for grabs…
Former Yankee, and the Opening Day starting third baseman, Cody Ransom has been invited to camp with the Philadelphia Phillies as a non-roster player.
* * *
As a California resident, this joke by Conan O’Brien bears repeating since it is oh, so true!
‘Los Angeles was hit by a massive storm that caused power outages and freeway closures. Meteorologists predict that the storm will head east next week where it will be known as rain.’
…or something like that! Nevertheless, it is an accurate description of life in California!
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
I wish we could do this more often…
Josh Haner/The New York Times
Those were the words of Yogi Berra as he travelled down the Canyon of Heroes yesterday during the Yankees Parade in New York City.
I am right there with ya, Yogi! Let’s do it again next year!
Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger
Jennifer Brown/The Star Ledger
Friday was the day for Yankees fans all over the World. Of course, most of us couldn’t make the trip to the City, but about two million fans lined the streets as the floats bearing the Yankee players made their way down Manhattan.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
When the season started, who would have thought this would have been possible? A-Rod was on the DL after undergoing hip surgery, so the starting third baseman was Cody Ransom. The bullpen was imploding regularly, led by Jose Veras. Mark Teixeira forgot his bat in Tampa. And there were regular calls for the head of manager Joe Girardi. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that little 0-8 start against the guys from Beantown. Nevertheless, Alex Rodriguez returned in May and the team, figuratively and literally, never looked back. When Boston was winning their championships, they displayed a ‘don’t quit’ mentality, and that was never more evident for the Yankees than this season.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
The off-season acquisitions were tremendous. I know, the jokes about the Yankees’ financial advantage have reverberated throughout the country. I think Conan O’Brien’s line was “It’s amazing what hard work, determination and a half billion bucks will do for you!”. While I agree that they have the revenue to keep the team competitive year in and year out, if you don’t spend the money on the right players, you will not win. Every year is a challenge to put together the right mix of team chemistry. Sometimes it is less about ability than it is cohesiveness. GM Brian Cashman certainly deserves much credit for putting together the 2009 Yankees. I am not sure that this could have happened a few years ago when there was a clear power struggle between the Yankees front office in New York and the group in Tampa, led by Mark Newman.
During the season, I felt the Yankees needed to make a move for a frontline starter and it was difficult to watch Cliff Lee go to Philadelphia and Scott Kazmir to the Angels. But in the end, Cash was right to stand pat. We didn’t give up any major talent, and now super prospect Austin Jackson stands ready in the wings to take command of center field. A trade for a quality starting pitcher could have potentially cost the Yankees Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, A-Jax, or one of the other high level prospects that can contribute to Yankee success in 2010 or 2011. So, thanks to Cash for executing a brilliant plan and sticking to it. His perseverance guaranteed the trip down the Canyon of Heroes, and hopefully ensures that this will not be the last one for owner George Steinbrenner.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
A few memories from yesterday’s parade…
Jennifer Brown/The Star Ledger
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
Kevin P. Coughlin
Victoria Will/New York Post
Congratulations to the 2009 World Champions…
New York Yankees!
Sipkin/NY Daily News
In other notes, the Angels acted very quickly in re-signing former Yankee Bobby Abreu to a two-year $19 million deal. It is a good move on their part. He helped to energize an Angels line up that came within one team of making it to the World Series.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
The Red Sox were also very quick to make a move as they acquired young, under-achieving outfielder Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins. What, are the Marlins the minor league farm club for the Red Sox? This is starting to feel like what the Kansas City A’s were to the Yankees back in the 50’s. Nevertheless, Hermida is a former first round pick and is only 25. The Red Sox gave up a couple of minor league pitching prospects but not any of their upper shelf talent. This was a very good low-risk, high-reward move by Theo Epstein.
The Yankees primary concerns heading into the off-season will be the statuses of Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Andy Pettitte. Of the three, the only one I expect to return is Andy Pettitte. I think Pettitte will take his usual time to decide if he’ll return but then he’ll sign a one-year deal somewhere around or after Christmas. Matsui, the World Series MVP, and Damon are less certain. Time and again, Matsui delivered the key hit to rescue the Yanks. However, he is a liability in the field and the Yanks have too many DH-types. I like Damon’s attitude and versality, however, I’d like to see someone with a stronger arm in left field. You’ll never see Damon gun someone down at the plate, unless the runner is Drew Carey…
I think both Xavier Nady and Chien-Ming Wang are gone, although I do have reluctance in seeing both leave.
Kim Klement/US Presswire
In Los Angeles, it looks like Manny Ramirez will be back for another year with Joe Torre and the Dodgers. Manny exercised his $20 million player option on Friday. I think Manny has a lot to prove during the coming year. I cannot say that I followed the team closely during the season, but it seemed to me that the Dodgers were a stronger unit while Manny was serving his 50-game suspension. It will be interesting to see which Manny shows up in the spring.
The fourth-ranked University of Iowa Hawkeyes look to extend their streak against Northwestern. I have been a Hawkeyes fan for as long as I can remember…I guess it’s a product of growing up in an Iowa farming community. The stakes are very high for the 9-0 Hawks at this point in the season. They lead the Big Ten, however, the Ohio State Buckeyes loom in the horizon. The Buckeyes play the Penn State Nittany Lions in a very pivotal game this weekend, and then the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes will meet for the final regular season game. I’ll be pulling for Penn State, but hopefully the Hawks can continue their ride in the driver’s seat. Of course, they have been cursed by the cover of Sports Illustrated so I am a little uneasy…
Hey Julia, I was reading the Boston Globe and read something about the Boston Celtics getting “sunburned”. I hope they’re okay! LOL! So much for the streak! J