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…
Silence is Golden…
Courtesy: Erik van den Ham
Okay, it has been incredibly quiet around the Yankees Universe since they acquired pitcher Javier Vazquez late last year. But all things considered, I think that GM Brian Cashman has the team exactly where he wants them. There is much discussion about left field, but really, a platoon of Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann is not necessarily a bad thing. Or perhaps Colin Curtis makes major strides in training camp. Regardless, the Yankees are in good shape regardless of what happens in left. In fact, it was just last April when the Yankees broke camp with Gardner as their starting center fielder. They now have a centerfielder who can match Johnny Damon’s lost production, so why not take a chance on Gardner in left? If he could improve his on-base percentage, he would be a terror on the base paths.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
Growing up, it always seemed as though owner George Steinbrenner would purposely leak stories about the Yankees to the tabloids just to keep the team in the news. It has been a new world order since Hal Steinbrenner took over the team, but that doesn’t mean the younger Steinbrenner is any less motivated to win than his father. He just wants to avoid those foolish long-term contracts that can haunt a team for years. If greater efficiency ensures the sustainability of the team’s success in recent years, I am all for it. The late 80’s were not a fun time to be a Yankees fan.
I am not saying that I wouldn’t be excited if the Yankees and Johnny Damon somehow came to an agreement for 2010, but at this point, I am not counting on it. I am prepared for the team to move forward with its current cast of players. I know that if a need develops, they’ll pursue a solution that makes sense for the team.
But I respect Hal Steinbrenner, and I am pleased that he is in charge of the Yankees. He has shown support for his manager and general manager, and he is willing to open the purse strings when it makes sense for the team. I remember sitting in the stands at Yankee Stadium during the 1980’s when fans used to yell negative comments about George Steinbrenner. Somehow, I don’t think that will happen with Hal. He is not going to run a frivolous organization, but it will be efficient, streamlined, and a winner. Works for me…
On Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings advanced to the NFC Championship with a 34-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The Vikings will face the Saints in New Orleans next weekend.
Favre finally prevailed against the Cowboys after compiling a 0-3 record against them in the play-offs while a member of the Green Bay Packers.
For me, it was vindication, in part, for the disappointing loss in the Hail Mary game of December 1975.
The Vikings have a tough match-up against the Saints, particularly considering that it is an away game. The Vikings have been invincible at home, but on the road, they’ve met mixed results. In facing the Saints, they’ll see a familiar player in former Viking safety Darren Sharper. Sharper and Favre were teammates in Green Bay, but now Sharper stands in Favre’s way for a trip to the Super Bowl.
After the game against the Cowboys, a friend sent me the following “prayer”. I don’t know who wrote it but it is excellent:
Our Favre-ther who art in Mississippi, hallowed be thy name. Thy bowl will come, it will win, in Miami as it is in the Dome. Give us this Sunday, our weekly win. Give us touchdown passes, but do not let others pass against us. Lead us not into frustration but deliver us to the Super Bowl. For thyne is the MVP, the best of the NFC, and the glory of the Purple People Eaters now and forever…
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Good luck to the guys in purple, but seriously, I am ready for some baseball…
P.S. Contrary to what Julia may think, ‘Yankees Suck’ did not win Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat through a write-in campaign! 😉