Time to head North for the Bronx!…
As the Texas Rangers open the American League for business tonight against new AL tenant, the Houston Astros, everybody knows that baseball doesn’t really start until the Yankees play the Red Sox! But the wait wont’ be long as the Yankees open Yankee Stadium tomorrow against their long-time AL East rival, the Boston Red Sox. Granted, this is probably going to be a down year for both the Yanks and Sox, but still, it is an exciting rival and one that I look forward to every year.
This time of year, there’s always painful cuts so this year’s unfortunate parting of the ways is with lefty specialist Clay Rapada. Rapada had been a great find last season as one of those scrap heap signings that worked. He did his job and he did it well. There’s no doubt that the Yankees will be able to move Rapada to another team that will appreciate his talents. The Yankees certainly appreciated what he could do, but in the end, it was a game of numbers, options, and flexibility. For every player that did make the 2013 Yankees, you can certainly rationalize why each should be a part of the team.
But with Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Phil Hughes, and Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list, there will be other notable moves as the Yankees clear space for the ones who return to health this season. But for now, this the 2013 Yankees:
Mariano Rivera (for the final time…sniff…sniff…)
I was a little surprised that Vernon Wells took number 12 to open the season. While he had stated that he’d get a lower number after taking #56 upon his arrival, 12 seems to be an odd choice. But then again, with so many retired numbers (and numbers on hold), there aren’t too many options. Conversely, Lyle Overbay took Hideki Matsui’s old number, #55, which seems better suited for an outfielder.
Everyone has to start somewhere…
Congratulations to Boston rookie Jackie Bradley, Jr. for making the Red Sox opening day roster and his starting assignment in left field tomorrow in the Bronx. What a great way to kick off one’s career! Of course, I am hoping that his career firsts (home run, RBI, etc.) occur during Boston’s second series of the season, but it’s exciting to see young, talented players embark on what could be a great career.
While others prepare to exit, with a brief delay or two…
I saw that Jason Bay has made the Seattle Mariners as their fifth outfielder behind former Yank Raul Ibanez. I am glad for him. It’s hard not to feel bad for a guy who clearly made the wrong decision to go to the Mets when he left Boston a few years back. Nothing against the Mets, but it was the wrong park for Bay. It’s doubtful he’ll ever be anything close to what he was in Boston, but hopefully he can put together a few solid years in the Great Northwest before calling it a career.
He wore the pinstripes proudly…
I saw that Bullet Bob Turley died over the weekend. It was very sad to hear the news of his passing from liver cancer. He won 21 games in 1958, and lifted the Yankees in a come from behind World Series championship over the Milwaukee Braves. Another great Yankee passes but forever remains intertwined into the fabric of Yankee Stadium.
To all the great MLBloggers & Readers…
I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! I hope that 2010 is our best year yet…one and all! It’s hard to believe that 2009 has come and gone, and it was quite a year. However, I am anxious and excited for the possibilities of 2010. Who knows if the Yankees will repeat or if the Phillies will recapture the crown thanks to Doc Halliday or if the Mariners move into the upper echelon with the brilliant moves to acquire Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins or if the dreaded Red Sox ride John Lackey and company to another championship. Regardless of what happens, it will be a very fun and exciting year for all of us. Who knows, maybe next year is this year…
Not much sports news to talk about but I’ll try…
I think that Jason Bay’s decision to join the Mets was foolish on his part. He had a great thing in Boston, and the park was very conducive to his offensive style. It’s unlikely that he’ll hit 36 home runs playing half of his games at CitiField. Given his weaknesses defensively and the poor second half that he experienced in Boston, the high expectations in Queens will be very difficult to meet. Bay could very easily become the player the fans love to hate. In an era where most of us are simply thankful for a paycheck, Jason will rue the day that he disregarded the very generous offer extended by the Red Sox. From the Red Sox’ perspective, I don’t blame them for moving on. The idea of moving Jacoby Ellsbury to left is intriguing given his offensive prowess (so long as he doesn’t move to San Diego in a potential trade for Adrian Gonzalez). Not that I want the best-case scenario to work out for the Red Sox, but it may have happened when they decided to move on without Bay. Meanwhile, it probably won’t be long before GM Omar Minaya is fighting for his job because of moves like Bay and other albatross contracts he has hung on the Mets.
I was not closely following the situation with Texas Tech University and head coach Mike Leach, but at first, I thought that Craig James was just using his position as an ESPN college analyst to blow a situation with his son out of proportion. However, after getting a better understanding of the facts, there is nothing that would justify locking a kid in a shed. Regardless of the reasons and aside from the fact that Leach had been very disrespectful to the university prior to the incident, I felt his firing today was justified. The sad part is that it is the university which will pay the highest price. Leach will land on his feet with another school because he has proven that he can win. The Red Raiders, meanwhile, will have to re-establish credibility with potential recruits and find a new coach who can continue the positive advancements made by Leach. Any way you slice it, it’s a bad situation and a black mark on Big 12 football…
I am a very disenchanted Vikings fan right now. I have been a fan of the team all my life. After enjoying several near misses with Fran Tarkenton at the helm, the team has suffered years of championship deprivation. 1998 looked like THE year, however, the season ended in disappointment with the loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the play-offs (a game that the Vikings could have won with better play-calling). I almost gave up as a Vikings fan after Fran Tarkenton retired and the Vikings named Bob Lee the starting QB. I know other fans who quit after 1998. I have to admit that I am nearing the fork in the road once again. I have never been a fan of head coach Brad Childress and now the team is in a funk that I am not so sure they can recover from. Sure, 8 Vikings made the Pro Bowl. However, it means absolutely nothing if the Vikings lose the first play-off game. Several weeks ago, they were assured of a first round bye and had momentum on their side. Now, it’s possible that they could lose the first round bye to the Dallas Cowboys. There are many experts that say the two best teams in the NFC right now are the Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. It would be hard for me to argue against it.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
I recognized football before baseball when I was a kid, so for the first couple of seasons, I was a bigger Vikings fan than I was a Yankees fan. Of course, that turned rather quickly and I was a baseball fan first by 1975 even though the Yankees had endured many losing seasons under the ownership of CBS. George Steinbrenner was still a young and inexperienced owner, but I liked the guys on the team. Catfish Hunter was my idol and Thurman Munson quickly became my favorite Yankee. Nevertheless, I continued to follow the Vikings but it has never been the same since former owner Max Winter departed the organization. I like and respect owner Zygi Wilf, however, I think he is making a mistake by staying the course with Brad Childress. The 2009 team has so much potential, however, it won’t be realized because of Childress. Put a good coach like Bill Cowher in charge of the team and the Vikings would be challenging the Saints for the best record in the NFC.
The Vikings can turn things around on Sunday with a solid win against Wilf’s former favorite team, the New York Giants. However, I am not so optimistic about the team’s chances. Somehow, I see another lackluster performance with several key Adrian Peterson fumbles. I hope that I am wrong…
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Well, this does it for me in 2009. I am glad to be among such great MLBloggers and I look forward to a fantastic new year for each and every one of us!
The return of Larry Bowa’s nephew…
Although they never wore the pinstripes at the same time, former coach Larry Bowa’s nephew, Nick Johnson, is coming home. Traded to Montreal in 2003 for pitcher Javier Vazquez, Nick has signed a one-year deal for $5.5 million, with a mutual option for 2011, to return to the Bronx.
During Nick’s “exile”, winning baseball was not necessarily a common theme among his teams with the Montreal Expos, Washington Nationals, and Florida Marlins. Nick is eager to return to a team with a “win at all costs” attitude. Nick could have signed with the San Francisco Giants as their first baseman, however, his first love remained the Yankees. So, once the Yankees expressed interest, no other team really had a chance with Johnson.
Hector Gabino/Miami Herald
Nick slots in nicely at the top of the batting order behind leadoff hitter Derek Jeter. Nick has a knack (no pun intended) for getting on base. His career on-base percentage is .402.
Welcome home, Nick! We’re glad you’re back!
Given that the Yankees have now reacquired the two primary players in the December 2003 deal that sent Nick to Montreal and brought Javier Vazquez to the Yankees (the first time), they should consider calling the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays about the availability of outfielder Juan Rivera and reliever Randy Choate, respectively.
Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire
Although those are positions of need, I do not really want to see the return of either Rivera or Choate, but the Yankees do need to get creative about filling the hole in left field. It bothers me that the team hasn’t figured out a way to unload pitcher Kei Igawa, particularly when his salary could go a long way toward bringing in a solid left fielder. The Yankees say they’ll go with Brett Gardner and Jamie Hoffmann. While I don’t feel you need an All-Star in left, I don’t think that Gardner and Hoffman, individually or collectively, are the answer. I have genuine concerns about Nick Swisher’s encore performance and the Yankees do not need simultaneous struggles at both outfield corners. I’d rather pay for a sound and dependable solution for left and then be prepared for Plan B in right.
Best case scenario is the return of Johnny Damon. It could still happen but Damon’s price tag will have to come down. The other solid option (Mark DeRosa) appears to be dissipating as DeRosa is apparently favoring an agreement with the San Francisco Giants. Hey, as a Bay Area guy, I can’t find fault with someone who wants to call the area home. San Francisco’s a great town with a terrific ballpark.
Reed Johnson’s name has been mentioned but I am less than enthused. Johnson missed 49 games in 2009 for the Chicago Cubs after fouling a pitch off his left foot which caused a fracture. A career .282 hitter, Reed only batted .255 in 65 games last season with 4 home runs and 22 RBI’s.
His scouting report¹ says that “Hustle is his strongest suit. Makes consistent contact and hits well with runners in scoring position – especially against lefties. Is a good outfielder.” The report goes on to say “he struggles against finesse pitchers and righties. A quality platoon or 4th outfielder.” It sounds like he would be more capable as a back-up for Curtis Granderson in center than a starter in left.
¹Source: Sportsnet.ca Ontario
Lobbying for the Cubs to re-sign Johnson in September, pitcher (and former Yankee) Ted Lilly was seen wearing a t-shirt that read “With Reed, we will succeed”. Maybe for Lilly and the Cubs, but not for the World Champions. Pass…
So now Jason Bay and his agent are calling the Boston Red Sox? Maybe Jason has started to send Theo fruit baskets like Julia did every day last season! Ha! I bet the Red Sox offer of 4 years and $60 million is looking very appealing these days. But of course, after Boston’s signing of John Lackey and Mike Cameron, the money offered to Bay is probably no longer available. Bay has a 4 year, $65 million offer from the New York Mets. However, $5 million extra over 4 years is not worth the mess known as the Mets. Bay’s best option is to remain in Boston but it is questionable whether the Red Sox have room in the 2010 budget at this point. Bay, at this point in time, appears to have overestimated his worth in the current free agent market. Financial constraint being shown by both the Yankees and the Red Sox…what is the world coming to? 😉
Finally, I’d like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May this be a season of joy for you and your family, and here’s hoping that 2010 fulfills your every dream! Well, except for a World Series championship…I reserve that one for Yankees fans! J
Let the trading and signings begin!…
The Yankees embarked on their 2010 off-season journey by dealing reliever Brian Bruney to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named (most likely the Nats’ first round pick in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft). Bruney has been a vital cog in the Yankees bullpen for the past few years, although there have been a few interruptions caused by injury. I am not sure what I think about this one. I have to believe that Brian Cashman has a motive for making the move. It’s been said that Cash feels that Bruney’s role can be replaced by lower cost options, however, I liked the thought of having Bruney as a safety net for the bridge to Mariano Rivera should Phil Hughes make a successful transition to the starting rotation next season. Or perhaps Cash has more grandiose plans that would keep Hughes as the Yanks’ primary setup man. Regardless, Bruney will be missed, and I wish him the best of luck in the Nation’s Capitol.
Michael Strobel/US Presswire
Okay, you could say that Bruney is not the first player to depart given the number of players who are free agents. However, none have signed with other clubs yet so Bruney is the first major departure from the 2009 Champions.
It was also announced that pitcher Andy Pettitte has decided to return in 2010. Unlike last season, Andy was very quick to make the decision to return. Of course, the team and Pettitte now have to agree on compensation so this could still be dragged out over the course of the next few weeks. I am glad to see Andy’s return as that would be preferable over a gamble that someone like Randy Wolf could have a successful transition to the Bronx. When he’s done, Andy will stand tall among the franchise’s best left-handed pitchers. He may not reach the club’s win record for a southpaw, but he’ll be in the neighborhood. If only he hadn’t left for the Houston Astros for three years…
So, the Los Angeles Angels are kicking the tires of Boston Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay. If they allow Vladimir Guerrero to depart, it would make sense that the Angels pursue someone of Bay’s caliber. If that happens, I’d have to believe that the Red Sox will become the odds-on favorite to land Matt Holliday as Bay’s replacement.
I just completed a very busy week, and it’s great to be home. Last Sunday, I attended a Kelly Clarkson concert in San Jose.
I departed the next day for business meetings in New Jersey. After the meetings, a number of my co-workers and I traveled to New York to see Rock of Ages on Broadway. It was a terrific show, and the star, former American Idol finalist Constanine Maroulis, was phenomenal.
From New York, I headed to Phoenix where I spent the weekend. I went to Sunday night’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The game was a disaster, as the Vikings fell to the Cardinals, 30-17. However, the stadium was impressive. Hopefully, Favre and Company will rebound for a strong finish to the season. Everyone’s allowed a clunker or two, right?
Rob Schumacher/Arizona Republic
Arriving back in San Jose, all the nearby mountains were snow-capped, which is a very rare sight in Silicon Valley. It was a beautiful sight, and it was so good to be home!
The oldest Yankee legend has passed away…
Tommy Henrich, 96, a Yankees outfielder in the 30’s and 40’s, died yesterday in Dayton, Ohio. Henrich was part of a tremendous outfield trio in the late 40’s that included Charlie Keller and Joe DiMaggio.
In Game 1 of the 1949 World Series, Henrich hit the first game-winning home run in Series history in a 1-0 victory over Don Newcombe and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Henrich, like many of the players from his era, missed three years due to military service during World War II.
Henrich, a five time All-Star, played 11 seasons and hit 183 home runs. His career batting average was .282. He retired following the 1950 season. During his career, Henrich was part of seven World Series Championships.
He was nicknamed “Old Reliable” by the great Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen due to his knack for coming up with clutch hits in big games. On a sad note, Henrich was the final surviving teammate of the legendary Lou Gehrig and the last member of the 1938 World Champions.
An autographed picture of Henrich has long been one of my prized possessions. In Yankees history, he ranks as one of my personal favorites. I never got to meet Henrich, but he will be missed.
The Yankees did not offer arbitration to any of their free agents. So, Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui are free to sign with any team without compensation to the Yanks. I understand the reasons (they couldn’t take the chance that any of the players accept arbitration), but it does feel that the bonds to the players have lessened considerably. I still think that Andy Pettitte will come back on a one year deal, but I am getting pessimistic that Damon will return. It was a given that Matsui most likely will not be back.
With the talk of Boston’s interest in Matt Holliday, it will be interesting to see if that sparks any Yankee interest in Jason Bay. If both Damon and Matsui leave, the Yankees will lose a tremendous amount of production that needs to be replaced.
Antonelli/New York Daily News
Derek Jeter was named Sport Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. Surprisingly, he is the first Yankee to win the award in its 56 year history. It was a great year for the Yankee captain, and of course, just another noted achievement, in what is becoming a long list of achievements, for the future plaque that will be placed in Monument Park when DJ retires. Congratulations to Derek for the well-deserved honor and recognition!
The New York Jets brought in Yankees manager Joe Girardi to teach QB Mark Sanchez how to slide? Seriously?…
New York Post
How can we enjoy the Championship off-season when the Red Sox are just so darn busy?…
The champagne on the Yankee Stadium clubhouse floor hadn’t dried when it was announced that the Red Sox had acquired promising outfielder Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins. Hermida, 25, has underachieved in Miami but something tells me that he is about to blossom in Beantown.
As expected, the Red Sox exercised the option for Victor Martinez, the 2010 starting catcher and they re-signed the ageless Tim Wakefield for two years. The team did not pick up the option of former starting catcher Jason Varitek, however, I fully expect him to exercise his player option for a return in 2010 to back up Martinez. I agree with Julia that Tek is a manager in waiting so I see next year as a transition year to coaching. It would not surprise me at all to see him on Terry Francona’s staff in 2011.
Bob Breidenbach/The Providence Journal
As much as I would like to see Jason Bay sign with the Yankees, I fully expect him to return to Boston. I think the Yankees need a solid addition for the outfield, but I do not expect them to pursue either Bay or Matt Holliday. I’d like to see them pursue someone like Jeremy Hermida…oops, too late! Nevertheless, I am sure that there are other deals that could be made under the radar for a potential horse.
There have been rumors that Boston will acquire San Diego Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. That’s a deal, if it happens, which would not surprise me and would significantly strengthen the Sox.
Brad Mangin/Sport Illustrated
That, in turn, could force the Yanks to be major players for Angels starter John Lackey. Imagine Lackey as the #2 starter behind CC Sabathia, sliding A.J. Burnett to third. That would be a top trio in baseball, and one that would virtually guarantee a return to the post-season next year.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
I hope this off-season does not turn into another Brett Favre-like ordeal with pitcher Andy Pettitte. If Andy wants to come back for at least one more year, and I think he does, the Yanks should move quickly to wrap him up on a one year deal. The Red Sox showed Tim Wakefield much respect by how quickly they tore up his contract and signed him to a new two-year deal. The Yankees need to give Andy the same respect.
Jae C. Hong/AP
I saw that the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that Joe Torre’s staff would return intact for 2010. It will be Torre’s final year on his current contract, although I read he is in negotiations for a new contract. During his final years, I remember always hearing how his wife wanted him to retire and spend time with their daughter. Here we are years later and the daughter is getting older. Yet, Torre continues to manage. Maybe he just can’t get managing out of his blood. I hope it is something more like that than possible revenge against the Yankee brass or the desire to prove that he can win without the support of the Steinbrenner’s money. I don’t want to take away from Don Mattingly but if he wants to be a future manager, is hitting coach the right spot? I have always heard that Bench Coach or Third Base are better positions for future managers. I still think that Donnie Baseball will replace Torre as Dodgers manager, however, it looks like it may be a few more years.
Pedro Feliz may have hit a home run in Game 4 of the World Series, however, it didn’t take the Philadelphia Phillies long to say goodbye to their third baseman. Thanks for all you do Pedro, but don’t let the door hit you on the way out!
Why is my worst fear that the Yankees will be staring at Roy Halladay on the mound when April 5, 2010 rolls around? I hope not, but of course, I am sure that a certain Red Sox blog will be gleefully delighted…
A rare off day…
The Yankees have an extra day of rest before they embark on the second half of the season. Hopefully, it will give them the necessary distance from last weekend’s debacle in Anaheim. Of course, it doesn’t get any easier as the Detroit Tigers invade Yankee Stadium. But with a little pitching, a little hitting, a little fielding, and a whole lot of hustle, I’ll take my chances…
The Yankees deal with 16-year-old Dominican shortstop Damian Arredondo was voided by the league when they found out that he wasn’t 16 and his name is not Damian Arredondo. Sure, the league saved the Yankees over $800,000, but I would have thought that the Yankees would have done a little due diligence before signing the alleged “prospect”…
I am surprised, but Derek Jeter is building a monster mansion on Davis Islands in Florida (not far from downtown Tampa). The square footage per the county is 30,875. The home has 7 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms. According to the Tampa Bay Tribune, the average Best Buy store has 39,700 square feet (to put it in perspective). The home is on Bahama Circle, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2010. I want to be Derek Jeter when I grew up! 😉
Richard Mullins/Tampa Bay Tribune
According to the Associated Press, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner spent three hours at his office in the Tampa spring training complex. He reportedly said that he is doing well. Hopefully, he is putting the finishing touches on that deal for Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay…
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Apparently, Brett Favre has set a deadline of July 30th to decide if he’ll play for the Minnesota Vikings this fall. The date is when the Vikings open camp. The Star Tribune has created The Brett Favre Page to track the developments between now and Favre’s imposed deadline. At this point, I have to believe that we’ll see #4 in purple when the team reports to Mankato. I guess that means Erin is going to become a Bears fan… ;(
Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press
Let the second half begin!…