Waiting for the Baseball Winter Meetings to start seems
like an eternity. The meetings are next
week, but this week has been relatively slow aside from today’s free agent
signing of Adam Dunn by the Chicago White Sox (nice pickup, by the way). When I woke up, I was met with the headline
of ‘Yankees Re-Sign Sergio Mitre’.
Unfortunately, that did little to excite me…
I am not a “Meat Tray” fan, but for some reason, manager Joe
Girardi has been in his corner since his days as manager of the Florida
Marlins. Conversely, the Yankees
non-tendered Dustin Moseley today which I thought was a mistake. Moseley proved to be very capable as a spot
starter and bullpen arm. I realize that
if the Yankees sign Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte returns (which everyone
expects), then Ivan Nova becomes the “#6” starter. Also, re-signing Mitre had an impact. But, still, it was a mistake to let go of
Andrew Burton/Getty Images
The Yankees decision to non-tender pitcher Alfredo Aceves
surprised me somewhat. However, when I
heard that he had re-injured himself this off-season in a freak accident (bike
accident), I realized that it would probably be best for him to start over
somewhere else. The Yankees did tender
the guys that really mattered (Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, and Phil Hughes).
The Yankees quietly signed relief pitcher Buddy Carlyle
who is returning from Japan. Carlyle
underachieved during his previous major league stint, most recently with the
Atlanta Braves in 2009. Nevertheless,
you can never have enough fodder for the bullpen during spring training. As the Tampa Bay Rays showed last year, you
never know what you might find (stellar setup artist Joaquin Benoit).
I was pleased to see the Derek Jeter negotiations take a
positive turn this week. Jeter and his
agent Casey Close were smart to engage the Yankees in Tampa. There has been no negative comments made by
either side this week and it appears the Yankees are willing to increase their
offer while the Jeter side is willing to reduce their demands. Everybody knows this marriage will continue
so there was no sense airing the dirty laundry in the difficult
negotiations. Hopefully, they’ll come
to an agreement sooner rather than later so that we can move on to more
important things…like signing Cliff Lee!
Speaking of Jeter, it’s funny how much attention this has
gotten. Troy Tulowitzki, arguably one of the greatest shortstops in the game
today, signs a huge long-term extension and it gets marginal print. DJ, a soon-to-be 37-year old, past his prime,
shortstop garners national attention.
The photos of Jeter in other uniforms were particularly humorous. I’m sure that Julia loved Red Sock Jeter…
The Beckett Blog
While I saw that Zack Greinke might be willing to waive
his no-trade clause for the Yankees, I’d have to say that I still prefer Cliff
Lee. I know that Cliff will soon be 32
and Greinke is about 6 years younger, but the difference is that I know Cliff
can handle New York. Plus, he would only
cost money whereas Greinke would cost quality prospects plus money in the
long-term. I want to see Jesus Montero
as the Yankees starting catcher in 2011 so I am hopeful that the Yankees aren’t
faced with a scenario where they “need” to acquire Greinke.
Can I wake up to the headline ‘Yankees Re-Sign Rivera’
P.S. I have to show this video clip. The veteran on the left, Fang Wong, is my wife’s uncle and he is one of the greatest people I’ve met in my life. His strong sense of humor doesn’t show through but I can assure you he is one of the funniest and most intelligent guys I’ve met. Plus, he is a die-hard Yankees fan…
Say what you will, it was a win…
Tom Szczerbowski/US Presswire
A night after losing 3-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays in a game that probably could have been won if a clutch hitter like Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, Hideki Matsui or Jerry Hairston, Jr. were on the roster, the Yankees returned to their winning ways with a 11-5 victory over the Jays. It was another solid fill-in performance by Dustin Moseley. He was only responsible for 2 of the runs, as the remainder were charged against Chad Gaudin. Moseley has definitely stepped up in a big way during the absence of Andy Pettitte. After fretting what life would be like with Sergio Mitre after Andy went on the DL, manager Joe Girardi quickly reversed course and went with Moseley, a decision that has proven to be very fruitful. Moseley is not the front-end starter you want in the play-offs, but for a team trying to battle its way to the AL East Championship, he has been exactly what the doctor ordered.
After losing to the Jays last night, the Yankees found themselves in a first place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays who defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Mention has to go to Rays closer Rafael Soriano who threw a 9-pitch 9th inning that resulted in 3 strikeouts. It was quite an impressive feat. Why did the Atlanta Braves let Soriano get away again?…
Johnny Damon has apparently invoked his no-trade clause to stay in Detroit after being claimed on waivers by the Boston Red Sox. All things considered, I am glad that Johnny opted to leave his Yankees legacy intact. Damon was clearly one of the primary players responsible for the fall of the Curse of the Bambino as the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, however, he was later able to cut the cords with the Red Sox after failed contract negotiations (or lack thereof) to sign with the Yankees where he ultimately won another championship. Had he returned to Boston, he would have tarnished his Yankees legacy and turned the Yankees Universe against him. David Cone was one of my favorite Yankees, but I don’t know if I can ever forgive him for going to Boston. I would have hated to see Johnny return to Boston. When I broached the possibility to my Red Sox friends, I received responses like “ugh!”, “ick!”, and “no!”. While Jason Varitek and David Ortiz may have welcomed Johnny back, I am not sure that he would have been embraced by the RSN. Perhaps he would have, but did the Red Sox claim Damon because they truly wanted him or did they do it to block the Rays? As an aging player, I could have understood the player’s desire to play meaningful September games. However, for Johnny, there was so much at stake personally. He was a good Yankee, and hopefully, he’ll let that legacy stand on its own merits. No reason to ruin it by going back to Beantown. If the Yankees had just waited out Damon’s demands and brought him back to the Bronx, none of this would have been necessary. Who knows where he’ll play in 2011, but for now, I remain proud of Damon for standing by his principles and commitment.
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
In an off-topic comment, I was dismayed to hear that Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice will miss at least half of the season following hip surgery. Given that the injury was suffered during the NFC Championship Game against the New Orleans Saints, I am not quite sure why Rice waited until now to have surgery. He was the first true threat since the Vikings traded Randy Moss, so Brett Favre is definitely facing a challenge in what should be his final season. This morning, there were reports the Vikings were close to signing former Packers wide receiver Javon Walker who clashed with Favre at times during their days in Green Bay. With Percy Harvin’s on-going bouts with migraines, the best receiver at this point is probably Bernard Berrian which does not bode well for the Vikings and Favre.
Sports can be so brutal at times…
8th inning relief…
I was so relieved (no pun intended) when the
Yankees went with David Robertson and Boone Logan in the 8th inning
as a bridge between Javier Vazquez and Mariano Rivera in New York’s 3-2 win
over the Cleveland Indians. Both Robertson
and Logan did their respective jobs with no drama (unlike recent escapades with
This game was about redemption. Javier Vazquez continued to show that he has
moved well past his early season struggles and has perhaps shaken, for the now,
the tag that he is purely a NL pitcher.
Of course, he hasn’t pitched a big game yet, but he continues to pitch
very solidly while the other starters have taken their turns with issues. Hopefully, this is the Javy that we’ll see
now through October.
Theodorakis/NY Daily News
As recent as this weekend, Curtis Granderson was
viewed as a failure in New York.
Everyone has waited for Curtis the Tiger to show up, and finally, in the
last couple of games, he has. On Sunday,
in the Yankees’ 12-6 romp over the Kansas City Royals, Grandy had two home
runs. Tonight against the Indians, and
unlike Alex Rodriguez, he hit another one.
With the homer, Grandy finally broke into double digits with his 10th
of the season. It is a far cry from the
guy who was predicted to hit 40 home runs in New York but still, it is great to
finally see Granderson as an offensive force in the lineup. As with Vazquez, Grandy is a key to the
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Nick Swisher hit another home run. I regret ever having preferred Xavier Nady
over Swish in right. Swisher has been
terrific this season and with his 18th home run of the season
tonight, he is just a mere two homers beyond team leader Mark Teixeira. Hey Swish, maybe you could give hitting
lessons to A-Rod! 😉
I will also put both Robertson and Logan into the
redemption category. Logan has seen his
share of the Bronx-Scranton/Wilkes Barre Shuttle, while Robertson has struggled
at times to match the success of last season.
Tonight, they were perfect in the 8th when anything less
could have been disastrous given the one run margin.
It was nice that on a night when the big guys
(Jeter, Teixeira, A-Rod, and Cano) went a combined 0-for-14 with 3 strikeouts,
the Yankees could still emerge with the victory. Some
great pitching, a few key hits, and Mariano Rivera are the perfect formula for
Apparently, the Yankees made a big, but
unsuccessful, push for Royals closer Joakim Soria. Soria would have made a great bridge to
Mariano Rivera, but it doesn’t appear that the two teams match up
trade-wise. The Yankees were rumored to
be the frontrunners for Cliff Lee and Dan Haren, yet they lost out on both
pitchers. I was more disappointed about
Lee, who I am still hopeful the Yankees will pursue in the off-season.
The Canadian Press
I had mixed feelings about Haren, and I felt that
his salary would have been problematic in the Yanks’ chances to pursue Lee
during free agency. So, all things
considered, I am glad to see him go to the Los Angeles Angels. I don’t think the Angels will catch the Texas
Rangers so it will be an uphill battle for the Angels to make the
play-offs. Of the remaining pitchers on
the market, I’d probably rather go after someone like Ted Lilly than Roy
Oswalt. Lilly is a good pitcher and
knows how to pitch in New York.
This week should be interesting with all the trade
speculation and actual trade results as we move toward the end of the
week. Of course, this is probably another
case of ‘all bark, no bite’ as the speculation will exceed the actual
results. With so many teams unwilling to
add to payroll, there should still be decent trading activity in August as
players clear waivers. Still, I am
anxious to see what player will get the tag of being the first post-George Steinbrenner
In a note of good news, manager Joe Girardi has
announced that Dustin Moseley will start Thursday’s game in place of Sergio
Mitre. I am anxious to see what Moseley
can do in his first start for the Bronx Bombers. Anything has to be an upgrade over Meat Tray…
Mike Stobe/Getty Images
I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion,
but I’d like to say that Bill “The Spaceman” Lee is a jerk. According to the USA Today Sports Weekly, Lee
told WMUR-TV (New Hampshire) “As far as Steinbrenner’s passing…good”. He went on to say, “If hell freezes over, he’ll
be skating”. Hey Lee, how did you enjoy
that World Series Championship? Oh yeah,
you never won one!
IP 4.1, H 7, R 7, ER 5, BB 1, SO 1, HR 1…
Okay, that’s a lousy pitching line any way you slice it. I recognize that Sergio Mitre, fresh off the DL, was rusty, and you can’t expect perfection. But I was not a Mitre fan before and I am not one now. I think there are better pitching options on the roster as fill-in’s for injured Andy Pettitte. I would rather see Dustin Moseley get a shot to start before taking another chance on Mitre. Moseley, by the way, pitching yesterday too, and his line was much more appealing:
IP 4.2, H 1, R 0, ER 0, BB 1, SO 1, HR 0
As for trading for an option like Dan Haren of the Arizona Diamondbacks, I am reluctant at best. I really want to see the Yankees pursue Cliff Lee in the off-season, and I am fearful that adding a pitcher like Haren and his salary would be a detriment. We saw last off-season when the Yankees held the line and allowed Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui walk rather than increase payroll above $200 million. I do think that Andy Pettitte will give hard consideration to retirement after the season. There is uncertainty with Javier Vazquez who will be a free agent, and there are still questions about Phil Hughes who has been mired in a slump for the past month (not to mention a innings limitation).
This is a tough call. The Yankees do need to maximize their own resources for starting talent, but in my opinion, it doesn’t start with Mitre. If Moseley is not the answer, then reach into the farm system and give Ivan Nova or Zach McAllister a shot.
The awful performance by Mitre put the Yankees into a hole that they were unable to recover from in losing to the Kansas City Royals, 7-4. It did hurt in the 4th inning when Robinson Cano hit into a double play on a great play by Royals shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. The DP left the bases empty with two outs after the Yankees had scored a run at the start of the inning with Mark Teixeira’s lead-off home run. Facing a 6-1 deficit, Jorge Posada followed Cano with a solo home run. Had Betancourt not made such a great play on Cano, the Yankees would have had two men on base when Posada came to the plate. Had he homered in that situation, the score could have been 6-4 instead of 6-2 which would have given the game a completely different complexion.
Still, the Yankees had a shot in the bottom of the 9th inning with Mark Teixeira at the plate with two men on. He had hit two home runs earlier in the game, so this was a terrific opportunity for three home runs. But he grounded out to end the game.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
No home runs for Alex Rodriguez, who remains at 599.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Today, the Yankees will see if Phil Hughes can turn it around. He’ll face Sean O’Sullivan, who beat Hughes and the Yanks 10-2 last Tuesday while wearing a Angels uniform.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Both Nick Swisher (Achilles heel) and Brett Gardner (acid reflux) will be back in the starting line up today so that’s a positive sign.
This is a great day for a Yankees win!
John Munson/The Star Ledger