What’s the plan?…
Well, it’s January 2015. The Yankees roster is slowly evolving. The latest addition/return was the surprise re-signing of Stephen Drew which certainly makes sense. While I still prefer to see Rob Refsnyder win the second base job outright, Drew certainly provides great insurance at both second base and shortstop. It’s no sure thing that Didi Gregorius will be successful and I’d prefer not to see Brendan Ryan as the only other choice, even if he is a slick fielder.
I am still concerned about the starting rotation. Reading CC Sabathia say the knee is fine is hardly a ringing endorsement that he’ll be the CC of old. I think best case he is a strong #3 in the rotation if he is able to come back healthy. His days as the team’s ace are over…in my opinion. The hope of the rotation lies with Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. Obviously, there are health concerns with both pitchers. Even though Ivan Nova will return later in the year, I do not expect him to be back up to par until 2016. Nathan Eovaldi is the project. The Yankees apparently think they can turn him around and perhaps they can. It would be good to get him to the point that he is as reliable and consistent as Hiroki Kuroda was.
While I get why the Yankees will not pay $200 million for Max Scherzer, I wish they would make a play for James Shields. With a rotation containing so much uncertainty, the Yankees really need a dependable starter without question marks.
I have heard some rumblings that the Yankees now have the prospects to make a trade for Cole Hamels, but I am not sure that’s one I would pursue. I like prospects such as Aaron Judge and Luis Severino and want to see them succeed in pinstripes. It was tough when I was a kid and the Yankees were always trading youth for veterans. Doug Drabek, Jay Buhner, Fred McGriff, Al Leiter, J.T. Snow, Brad Ausmus. I know the list is much longer than this, but it was tough watching guys like that succeed elsewhere.
I don’t think that Cole Hamels would be the missing ingredient to suddenly make the Yankees the World Series favorites. So, if he is not the difference maker, then the Yankees shouldn’t raid the cupboards to bring him aboard. I’d rather see Hamels go to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The fear of course is that he’ll be calling Fenway Park home next season.
At this point, I still do not see the 2015 Yankees making the play-offs. I think the Baltimore Orioles will still be the team to beat. They suffered off-season losses, yes, but they’ll also be getting back Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters. The Toronto Blue Jays look to be the most improved team and they’ve been a team of potential for a few years. Boston will be stronger, and it’s best to never underestimate the Tampa Bay Rays even if Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman are no longer calling the shots.
There’s still time for GM Brian Cashman to make the moves to propel the Yankees into contention but so much is riding on better seasons from Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Mark Teixeira. Of the group, McCann is the only one I feel is capable for turning it around. Beltran and Teixeira are in their decline years, and that slippery slope is steeper for some guys.
Hear the voice of the Bard!…
There’s a nice piece in Nick Cafardo’s column today (Sunday Baseball Notes in The Boston Globe) about the comeback of Daniel Bard. It would be good to see Bard successfully return to his position of bullpen relevance after years of struggle. Perhaps that’s a buy low signing the Yankees should pursue. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. There was a time when Bard was a Yankees draft pick although he never signed. Even if he goes back to Boston or another team, I truly hope that Bard is successful.
Short walk to the Hall…
Congratulations to the Hall of Fame inductees: John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, and Pedro Martinez. I think all of the selections were justified. It was sad that it was the final ballot appearance for Don Mattingly, but it was a given that he was not going to make it. Maybe he can take the Joe Torre route…great managerial success to go with a strong playing career…to gain access to the Hall.
25 years is long enough…
Put me in the group of people who want to see Pete Rose allowed to enter the Hall of Fame. He remains one of the best players I’ve been privileged to see play in my lifetime. This is not an endorsement of Pete the man and I feel what he did was wrong, however, Pete the player was one of the best players of all-time.
I am glad that this is the last full month without any baseball activity. Looking forward to the opening of spring training camps next month.
Playing better while waiting for an old friend…
With news that Andy Pettitte will be starting on Sunday against the Seattle Mariners, it’s good to see the Yankees starting to play with more consistency. It’s no coincidence that the Yankees better play of late comes during a month when Robinson Cano’s bat has started to heat up. He is essential to the team’s success given an inability to consistently depend upon Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.
CC Sabathia was in prime form against David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays as the Yanks took the final game of the series this week, and 2 of 3 from the Rays after getting swept in the season opening series in St. Petersburg. I realize that David Robertson was not available to pitch on Friday night after his previous workload, but Rafael Soriano’s performance in saving the game does help illustrate the Yankees might be better served by having Soriano close and returning Robertson to his highly successful setup role.
I am not ready to condemn Robertson for the failed save that gave the Rays their only win of the series, but Soriano simply has much more experience closing games. Robertson is great in the 7th and 8th innings, and perhaps he’ll be a future All-Star closer. But for now, I’d rather go with experience at the end of the game and ensure that the 7th and 8th innings are covered. It’s tough because I think very highly of Robertson, but his ability to weave in and out of trouble plays better in the earlier innings than it does the 9th. Soriano is being paid like a closer, and it would be easier to fill his setup role than it is Robertson’s.
When I first heard Friday’s pitching match-up was Seattle’s King Felix against Hiroki Kuroda, I wasn’t sure what to think. Felix Hernandez is among the best pitchers in baseball and Kuroda has been inconsistent since his arrival in the AL. But it turned out to be one of Kuroda’s better performances as the Yankees defeated the Mariners, 6-2. The game did see a home run from former Yankees prospect Jesus Montero. I hope this is not a sign of things to come. It was never fun watching Jay Buhner taunt the Yankees after they traded him to Seattle, and I was glad when Buhner finally retired. But now, with Montero in Seattle, it is Buhner revisited as I am sure he’ll become the latest Yankee killer.
I was relieved to see the Yankees option Eduardo Nunez to minor leagues after his continued errors. I am not sure what he can do to improve his fielding but I’d rather see him work on it in the minors rather than at Yankee Stadium. Nunez’s exit meant the return of Eric Chavez from the DL, which is good for Alex Rodriguez.
I am anxious to see what Andy Pettitte is able to do on Sunday. Based on his late start in the minors, he didn’t appear ready. But then again, with a professional like Pettitte, you can’t really judge his performance in a minor league game. Andy knows when he is ready and he would not have accepted the advancement back to the Bronx if he didn’t feel that he was ready for major league hitters. I was listening to John Smoltz on ESPN Radio today and he said that it would probably take 3-5 starts for Pettitte to get back up to speed. I am sure that Joe Girardi will have David Phelps on call during Pettitte’s starts in case he needs long relief, but I am hopeful that Andy can keep his team in games while he works his way back. At any rate, best of luck to Andy on Sunday!
Billy Beane’s working the bargain bin once again…
What’s Brandon Inge good for? All he does is hit grand slams! Seriously, it is good to see Inge start off his Oakland A’s career in grand fashion. I haven’t followed the Detroit Tigers closely this season but admittedly I was very surprised when Inge received his release from the Tigers. He had been such a mainstay in Detroit over the years, and was always there to fill a need. From afar, he seemed to be the consummate professional. After he was cut by the Tigers, I didn’t expect him to be unemployed for long and of course the A’s signed him shortly thereafter.
When I first heard this morning that Inge had hit a grand slam, I thought they were referring to the one a few days ago. But he had hit his second slam in three days on Friday. If getting hits had been a problem in Detroit this year, Inge doesn’t seem to have the same affliction in the Bay Area.
Hopefully, this is a start of good things for Inge in Oakland….
Role model for not how to act…
I have never been a fan of Josh Beckett. I may be a Yankees fan, but there are players on the Red Sox roster that I respect. Beckett just isn’t one of them. Beckett played a key role in the September swoon that cost the Red Sox a play-off spot last season and he showed no remorse for his actions. So, it should come as no surprise that Beckett was dismissive of the public’s negative perception of his decision to play golf after missing a start due to a lat muscle. Regardless of whether he was physically able to play golf is not the issue, it is the negative perception that it created in the minds of the Red Sox Nation as well as the rest of the country.
I agree with the backlash against Beckett. His comments after getting pummeled by the Cleveland Indians last night came across as very smug. His comment that he only gets 18 days off a year was ridiculous. If baseball isn’t important to him, then he should return his $17 million annual salary to the Red Sox. I just don’t understand why he couldn’t say something like he was physically feeling well enough to play golf and the golf swing had no impact on the muscle soreness that he had been experiencing, and he was sorry for putting himself ahead of the team. I know that’s just not Beckett’s personality, but these types of incidents are creating a wedge between Beckett and the RSN. I’ve heard some say that the next time Beckett racks up 13 strikeouts or throws a shutout, all will be forgiven. Perhaps there’s some truth to it, but I don’t see Beckett ever fully repairing the damage he’s done.
I am surprised that Bobby Valentine is not saying much, but then again, he probably learned his lesson after he made negative remarks about Kevin Youkilis. Or maybe Bobby doesn’t want to completely alienate his pitcher, given how critical he had been of Beckett when he was part of the media.
Beckett deserves much credit for the success the Boston Red Sox have enjoyed in recent years, but he is doing his best to put a sour note on his legacy.
After being sacked on third down, Vikes toss a Hail Mary…
Congratulations to the Minnesota Vikings and the city of Minneapolis, as well as Vikings fans everywhere, for the passage of the $975 stadium deal through the Minnesota House and Senate. This has been an incredible roller coaster ride for years. Just a couple of weeks ago, it looked as though all might be lost. Then , NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell came to Minnesota, and helped to reignite talks. The bill still has to be signed off by the governor, but that’s a foregone conclusion as he’s been in support of a new stadium. I am glad to see that the Vikings will be staying in Minnesota and won’t be a flight risk to Los Angeles.
The showdown resumes…
The Yankees begin a three game series with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Friday night. After losing the first 8 games of the season series to the Red Sox, the Yankees rebounded during the last four game set to sweep the series from the Red Sox. So, here we are on August 20th, and the Yankees hold a 6 ½ game lead over the Red Sox. At the All-Star Break, I said that the Yankees just needed to win four more games than the Red Sox. They have done that and then some, but the key is to hold the lead. This weekend’s series can go a long ways toward deciding the eventual 2009 AL East Champion.
For the latest series, I have once again made a wager bet with Julia of Julia’s Rants. I so enjoyed finally emerging victorious during the last series, and I have to admit that Julia impressed me with her “payment” for the loss. She wrote a fantastic Top 11 about positive Yankee statements, and her photos with the Yankees flag attached to her SUV were exactly as required under the terms and conditions of our bet. For the latest series, we have decided to retain the Top 11 post (once again the credit goes to Jimmy Curran for the idea) but for the second part, we have opted to spending a day wearing the opposing team’s ballcap. I do recognize that Julia is at a disadvantage since it would be more painful to wear a Yankees cap in Boston than it would be wearing a Red Sox cap in the San Francisco Bay Area. So, I will toss in an extra. If the Yankees lose the series, I will wear the pink Red Sox hat for a day following a day of wearing the traditional Red Sox cap. Not that I intend to lose, but I recognize that Julia needs a handicap. So, Julia, my friend, game on!
The latest road trip, so far, has been successful for the Yanks. They took 3 of 4 from the Mariners in Seattle, and 2 of 3 from the A’s in Oakland. I attended the second game in Oakland, and had a few observations. I knew that CC Sabathia was a big guy, but seeing him close-up as he warmed up prior to the game, I’d have to say that the dude is absolutely huge.
After seeing a few games at AT&T Park in San Francisco, it was somewhat of a disappointment to go to Oakland Coliseum. My wife and I took BART up to the stadium, and my first thought was that the “drive up” appeal of the stadium was sorely lacking compared to AT&T Park. As you approach the stadium, you quickly realize that you are in Raiders territory. I hate to knock a stadium, but after a year that has seen my attendance at AT&T Park, the new Yankees Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I’d have to say that Oakland Coliseum is a major letdown. I am optimistic that the A’s relocate to San Jose, so we’ll see. They definitely need a new home. Back to the game, I was disappointed when CC gave up a home run to catcher Kurt Suzuki after throwing a brushback pitch. But the disappointment was short lived as the scoreboard announced that my section and row had won a free pizza from Roundtable Pizza as a result of the home run. Hey, c’mon, it’s pizza! The game remained tight until the sixth inning when the Yanks finally broke through with 5 runs, and eventually won 7-2. The crowd was very pro-Yankees as the chants of “Let’s Go Yankees!” drowned out the cries of “Let’s Go Oakland!”.
There were many Derek Jeter jerseys in attendance. I like DJ and I know that he’s headed for Cooperstown, but I’ve never fully understood the attraction that DJ has on fans. Personally, I prefer watching the home run guys, like Mark Teixeira. It’s not that I wouldn’t want Jeter on my team (I do), but I don’t see the power he has over women. I heard one older woman Red Sox fan (not Julia, she’s not old!) once say, “I hate Derek Jeter, but he’s so cute”. I don’t get it.
My wife took this photo with her cell phone and posted it on Facebook. It was amazing how many people thought this was an actual photo from the stadium. It does look kind of real though…
So, with Boston’s win over Toronto tonight, the Yankees arrive at Fenway Park with a 6 ½ game lead. Regardless of what happens, they’ll leave Boston in first place. But will the Red Sox be close enough that Julia can return to her “obnoxious” ways (j/k), or will the Yankees put further distance between them and the boys from Beantown. This is ‘to be determined’ but I can assure you that I do not intend to wear a pink hat!
The San Diego Padres have apparently accepted cash from the Yankees for pitcher Chad Gaudin in lieu of the player to be named later. Considering that the cost was only $100K, I suppose that meant GM Brian Cashman just had to reach into petty cash to settle the account. Rumor has it that the Accounting Department doesn’t know how to write any checks with 6 figures or less. LOL!
So, the St. Louis Cardinals are counting on John Smoltz to help them stave off the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central? Yikes! Good luck with that. Then again, the Yankees are going with the two-headed monster of Mitre/Gaudin so I guess I have no room to talk…
Yes, it’s off topic but how can I resist making comment about new Vikings QB Brett Favre. As you may (or may not) know, I am a die-hard Vikings fan. I have been one all my life, and it has been a roller coaster ride. I resigned as a Vikings fan when they made Bob Lee the starting QB following Sir Francis Tarkenton’s retirement. But I came back around with Tommy Kramer.
The Dallas Cowboys were always my second favorite team, so I followed them in those in-between years. But fast forward to present day, the QB position has always been very important to me. I had been a big fan of Dante Culpepper’s and it was disappointing when his Vikings career ended because of the knee injury and a difference in philosophy with coach Brad Childress. It has been frustrating to see ex-Vikings go elsewhere and thrive, like Rich Gannon previously in Oakland, Shaun Hill in San Francisco or even Tyler Thigpen who started a few games for the Chiefs last season. I was never a fan of Tavaris Jackson, and I was somewhat skeptical of Sage Rosenfels. The only connection I have with Rosenfels is that we are both native Iowans, like Kurt Warner. I like John David Booty, but I do wonder if he’ll ever achieve professional success. So, I am begrudgingly warming up to the idea that Brett Favre is now the Vikings starting QB.
Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune
The 2009 Vikings have the most talent of any Vikings team that I’ve seen since at least 1998. All the pieces to the puzzle are in place for a great year…except QB, until now. Perhaps Favre comes out and repeats his performance with the New York Jets last year (great start, but fizzle down the end), but conversely, there is a chance that he could replicate his final season with the Green Bay Packers. So, based on that, I do feel that I have to give him a chance. If anything, it has to be a great learning experience for Jackson, Rosenfels and Booty to be around Favre. Granted, one of those guys will probably be holding a clipboard for a different team when the regular season starts, but there is value in Favre’s presence among the other QB’s. Maybe Favre should have considered ‘Just For Men’ but then again, if memory serves correctly, Kenny Stabler had grey hair in defeating the Vikings in the 1977 Super Bowl. Not one of my fondest memories…
Nevertheless, I’ll give #4 a chance. I am not ready to mail in my fan membership. But, hey, my expectations are only ‘Super Bowl or Bust’…
Hey Julia, we’re coming for you! Get ready for that Yankees cap! J
It was a masterpiece by A.J. Burnett…
Frank Franklin II/AP
Unfortunately, it was an equal masterpiece by Boston’s Josh Beckett, as the Yankees and Red Sox ended regulation play deadlocked at 0-0.
A.J. went 7 2/3 innings and gave up only one hit. He had 6 strikeouts, but also had 6 walks. I guess he was watching Joba Chamberlain too closely last night. Nevertheless, he did what he was paid to do. He put his team in position to win, so there’s not more that you can ask.
Beckett went 7 innings, and gave up 4 hits and 2 walks, with 7 strikeouts.
But it became a game where neither team seemed to want to win. Both teams left double-digit runners on base (Red Sox 10, Yankees 12). As the game advanced into extra innings, neither team seriously threatened. The Yankees would get a few runners, but then they’d be left stranded.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, had some difficulty getting base runners but when they did, they failed to advance them like the Yankees.
The game seemed to drag on for hours (5 hours, 33 minutes to be exact). My favorite comment of the night was by Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog:
UPDATE, 12:06 p.m.: This just in: Bill Clinton flying to the Bronx to negotiate the release of 48,262 people held hostage by this game.
Finally, in the bottom of the 15th inning, Derek Jeter singled to start the inning. After Johnny Damon popped out on the foul side of first base and Mark Teixeira struck out, Alex Rodriguez came to the plate. Much as been talked about A-Rod’s homerless streak, but with one swing of the bat, the streak, like the Yankees losing streak to the Sox a day earlier, became a distant memory. A two-run homer to left gave the Yankees a walk-off win. Yes, Julia, I was right about the walk-off…I just had the wrong inning!
So, the Yankees have guaranteed that they will not lose this series. So, it is now a question whether the Red Sox can win the final two games of the series to invoke the tie-breakers. The Sox are certainly a capable team, but right now, this minute, I’d say ‘Advantage Scott!’.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Here are the revised totals of the series so far:
RUNNING TOTALS (8/06 – 8/09) FOR TIE-BREAKER:
Red Sox 6
Red Sox 2
Red Sox 0
The Yankees, at 66-42, now lead the American League East by 4 ½ games over the Red Sox and 6 games over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Life is good for a Yankees fan…
Boston.com (Yankees fan Steve Macary)
A Very Busy Day…
It was a blood bath today in Major League Baseball. A friend indicated that it felt like the Trading Deadline, but I’d have to say that I was quite surprised by the moves that were made. Granted, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that John Smoltz’s time in the Red Sox starting rotation was nearing its end. However, I did not expect that he’d be DFA’d. I really thought that he would move into a long relief role, or perhaps help set up Jonathan Papelbon. If this is truly it for Smoltz, I am saddened that his final appearance was a loss to the Yankees. Well, the Yankees victory was nice, don’t get me wrong, but for Smoltz the man, he deserved better. I always thought that he’d be the one to know when to exit the game. Maybe he gets another chance, but then again, maybe not. Either way, he is a class guy and I am honored that I had the privilege to watch him play.
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images
Boston also DFA’d pitcher Billy Traber, a former Yankee or Oriole, who relieved Smoltz in yesterday’s game and, in Julia‘s words, took a bullet for the team to save the bullpen. Of course, his thanks was a one-way ticket out of a Red Sox uniform.
Another cut that caught me by surprise was the release of Jason Giambi by the Oakland A’s. I had bought tickets for the Yankees visit to Oakland to play the A’s later this month, and I had been hopeful that Giambi would be off the DL and in the game. But unfortunately, it was not meant to be. Oakland released Giambi from the DL, due primarily to his .193 batting average. I didn’t expect the A’s to pick up Giambi’s option this fall, but I never expected he’d be cut before the season was over. He’s not a fit for the current Yankees roster, so coming back to New York will not be in the cards. But hopefully, he’ll catch on somewhere so that he can go out his way.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The American Idle, a/k/a Carl Pavano, was traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Minnesota Twins. I guess it was an admission by the Twins that they aren’t really interested in making the play-offs since they just acquired a guy who thrives in losing environments. From Cleveland’s perspective, the deal makes sense since it opens a slot in the rotation for Justin Masterson who was recently acquired from Boston in the Victor Martinez trade.
The Toronto Blue Jays attempted to push RF Alex Rios through waivers, but he was claimed by another team. They now have to decide whether they’ll trade Rios to the other team if they can work out a trade or perhaps they just hang on to him. It’s unlikely that they’d simply let Rios go to the other team for nothing.
Pitcher Vicente Padilla was also DFA’d by the Texas Rangers. Ah, I feel so bad for the headhunter. Um, not really…
On the bright side, the Yankees didn’t acquire another pitcher with a losing record and a plus 5.00 ERA to go with Chad Gaudin and Russ Ortiz so the day wasn’t a total loss…
He Didn’t Mean To Do It…
Mark Melancon insists that he did not intentionally hit Boston’s Dustin Pedroia in Thursday’s game. Personally, I liked Manager Joe Girardi’s explanation. “Some pitchers are much more capable of throwing the ball exactly where they want to on a consistent basis. Those guys are called Hall of Famers.”
I do believe that it was unintentional. Melancon is trying hard to earn a roster spot, and it would be foolish for him to risk his opportunity by purposely allowing a Boston base runner in a critical game regardless of the circumstances.
Hey Julia, don’t look now but here comes Carsten Charles Sabathia… J
Nick Laham/Getty Images
A great day for a birthday…
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Today is my birthday, and it couldn’t have had a happier ending than a Yankees win combined with a Red Sox loss. All week, a certain blogger from Boston kept telling me that I couldn’t have a Red Sox loss for my birthday since she would be in attendance at Fenway Park. Hey Julia, how did that work out for ya? 😉
This is my first blog in a week so I don’t really plan to delve into breakdowns of the games that have been played since my last blog. I recently took a job with a new company that allowed me to return home to Silicon Valley, California. I had been in Wilmington, Delaware for the past year. For the past week, I packed my belongings and drove across the country (3,000 miles in 3 ½ days). Since the focus of the week was the move, I did not take my laptop with me and as a result, I have been silent on this blog for a week.
In seven days while I’ve been gone, the Yankees lost only one game. The Oakland A’s snapped the Yankees’ winning streak on Saturday, when Alfred Aceves failed to bail out Andy Pettitte. It was the end of the Yankees eight game winning streak, as well as an eight game streak against the A’s dating back to 2008 (they had taken the first four games of the series this year).
Mitsu Yasukawa/The Star Ledger
Beating up the Tigers, Twins, and A’s has allowed the Yankees to extend their lead in the AL East to 2 ½ games over the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees do have a challenging schedule for the remainder of the season, and it won’t get any easier with a 9-game road trip that begins in St. Petersburg, Florida against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday. The Rays are currently in third place, 6 ½ games back.
Jason Behnken/Tampa Bay Tribune
I have been pleasantly surprised about the Yankees’ success so far in the second half of the season. Admittedly, I was down after the Yankees had been swept by the Los Angeles Angels to close out the first half. Prior to that series, the Yankees had tied Boston for the AL East lead. While the Yanks were getting swept, Boston was doing their own sweeping so the first half closed with a three game Boston lead. But as quickly as the Yanks went from a first place tie to three games back, they surged back to overtake Boston with only one loss since the All-Star Game. I suspect that the lead will change hands a few more times before this is all said and done, but it is nice to see the Yankees reach 60 wins faster than any other AL team at this point in the season.
Christopher Pasatieri/US Presswire
The news regarding Chien-Ming Wang has not been good. He will meet with Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday. Wang had a second MRI last week, according to Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog, and it revealed a possible rotator cuff tear. If it is not a scar from Wang’s prior surgery in 2000, and has rotator cuff surgery, he will be lost for most, if not all, of next season.
I do not think that Sergio Mitre is the answer in the rotation, and apparently neither do the Yankees. According to Jenifer Logosch at MLB.com, the Yankees had scouts in attendance to watch Ian Snell pitch. Snell struggled for the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this season, going 2-8 in 15 starts, with 5.36 ERA. He was demoted to AAA Indianapolis and has pitched lights out. In four starts for Indy, Snell has pitched 26 1/3 innings with a 0.34 ERA and 34 strikeouts. Snell apparently has no interest in rejoining the Pirates, and feels that he was made a scapegoat for their early season problems. I am not sure if Snell is the answer or if his AAA success can equate to Major League success after past difficulties, but, for the right price, he is probably worth trying. I’d rather go there before taking a chance with Kei Igawa. I read that the Seattle Mariners wanted both Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner for Jarrod Washburn, so there’s no way that deal is happening unless the Mariners drop their asking price. The Yankees won’t be contenders for either Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee, so they’ll continue to rummage through the bargain bins over the next couple of days as they continue to seek possible replacements for Chien-Ming Wang in the rotation.
Speaking of Brett Gardner, he landed on the DL after suffering a fractured thumb in the first inning of Saturday’s game. Of course, in that game, he had a run-scoring triple and played excellent defensively AFTER the thumb injury. He is a huge loss for the team, but hopefully he’ll be out no more than three weeks or so. I hope that Melky Cabrera maintains a high level of play during Gardner’s absence, and doesn’t lose any motivation or ambition without Gardner competing with him every day. Hopefully, Gardner’s recovery will be as speedy as he is on the base paths…
Frank Franklin II/AP
Boston has a chance to make up ground on the Yankees during the upcoming 9-game road trip, but I have to admit that I am very shocked that John Smoltz is 1-4 with a 7.04 ERA. I liked Boston’s pick up of Adam LaRoche (well, not as a Yankees fan, but looking at the trade objectively and knowing what it means for the Red Sox). Of course, with Theo Epstein, you know that the next few days will be very interesting as Boston continues to seek upgrades.
Jim Davis/Boston Globe
I am sure that most people have become familiar with Batting Stance Guy but I wasn’t. I saw him on David Letterman this week and he was hilarious (his impression of Kevin Youkilis is priceless). You can check him out at www.battingstanceguy.com. His posts can also be found on YouTube. Here is his impression of the 2009 Yankees:
As much as I will miss the close proximity to Yankee Stadium, I am looking forward to my first visit to AT&T Park this year when I attend next Sunday’s match-up between the San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies. After a year in Phillies country, I am excited about the opportunity to watch Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, J-Ro, and the other Phillies without being surrounded by those “calm and quiet” Philadelphia fans! Seriously, there aren’t many things better than watching baseball near the Bay…
Have a great week!
Carl Pavano said what?
“When you’re down, you expect your organization to pick you up, not kick you when you’re down. I’ve had to pick myself up quite a few times the last four years.”
If Carl had to pick himself up quite a few times, who’s fault was it that he was down to begin with? Was it the Yankees fault that the guy had no heart and was susceptible to constant injuries? What a jerk! Did this guy really win 18 games for the Marlins a few years back? Good luck in Cleveland…
The new Yankee Stadium is definitely coming together:
Man, I am going to hate John Smoltz’s rational, sane, professional interview responses now more than ever! Seriously, I am worried about the good job that Theo is doing toward building the 2009 Red Sox. He has rebounded very nicely since the Teixeira saga. I saw that they have their eye on Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero. Assuming that Jesus Montero stays at catcher (there’s been talk of him moving to first base for physical reasons, but I think that won’t happen now that Teixeira is locked in at first), the Yankees and Red Sox could have catchers with the same last name once Jesus makes it to the bigs in the not-so-distant future.
Mark Kotsay and Rocco Baldelli as your back up outfielders…that’s just sick! And I mean that with the highest respect from a bitter rival. Meanwhile, the Yankees are talking about trading Xavier Nady to put .220 hitter Nick Swisher in right, and they still haven’t figured out center field. Johnny Damon is the only certainty in the Yankee outfield…
I read a blog today that the Yankees should try to sign Arizona’s RP Juan Cruz for the bullpen and I completely agree. They’d only have to surrender a 4th round pick since picks 1-3 are headed to the Angels, Brewers and Blue Jays for the earlier FA signings. The guy has huge upside, and is only 30 years old. He is #19 on ESPN’s Keith Law’s list of top free agents:
POSITION: Relief pitcher
Cruz has an electric arm, but struggles with command and control have held him back in the past and limited his value to Arizona in 2008, although he showed some improvement after missing time with an oblique strain in July.
Cruz throws a 94-97 mph four-seamer with late life, and it plays up because his arm is so quick, meaning that the ball gets in on hitters quickly. He pairs it with a sharp slider, very hard and 80-84 against right-handed batters but a little slower when he’s trying to use it against left-handed hitters. It’s power stuff that misses bats, which plays in any park in either league, and he has a good chance to develop into a closer for a team looking to create one rather than give big money to K-Rod.
I changed the name of this blog from Fiddler on the Roof to I’m Not A Headline Guy to give it a little more originality. But, of course, it is not original at all. My idol is Lou Gehrig, and the name of the blog is a tribute to him. It is a quote that Lou once made. Lou, I didn’t live in your era, but you were a headline guy, and a class act…
Goodnight all! For the record, baseball fans rock! 🙂
As much as I hate to give credit to the Red Sox, I thought the signings of SP John Smoltz and OF Rocco Baldelli were excellent moves. Clearly, the Red Sox can now stack up a rotation that meets or exceeds anybody. There’s risk with both players, but the price offsets much of the risk. These were good moves by Theo, and of course, Smoltzie gives the Red Sox the ability to seriously entertain moving Clay Buchholz for better pieces to the puzzle.
Red Sox or not, it is going to be tough to see John Smoltz in anything other than a Braves uniform…
Meanwhile, the Yankees are actively trying to move either Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher. By all accounts, it will be the former. Either way, I am not convinced that you want Swisher as your starting right fielder. I’d rather have him as the fourth outfielder, who can back up Mark Teixeira if necessary. It’s tough having question marks in both right and center. Johnny Damon is the only certainty in the outfield. Anyone got an extra $20 mil or so lying around that we can use to bring Manny to the Bronx?
Rob Neyer makes a good argument on his ESPN blog for why the Yankees should just hang on to both Nady and Swisher. He’s right…
I like the way the Andy Pettitte camp floated the possibility that Andy would be open to returning to the Astros. Of course, the Astros GM subsequently stated that Andy would not fit their budget. I still think Andy will eventually re-sign with the Yankees, but this prolonged negotiation, with so much posturing by both sides, is getting old.
I thought the photo of Jason Giambi putting his head on Billy Beane’s shoulder during yesterday’s press conference was priceless. Clearly, the old “G” is back. Well, in every way except the MVP caliber production that the A’s were accustomed to in 1999 or 2000. Still, Giambi is going to have a much more positive impact on the A’s clubhouse than he ever did or could have with the Yankees clubhouse.
I saw that Kris Benson pitched for the Dodgers. I have always liked Benson, and I am hopeful that a team takes a chance on him and that he has the opportunity to capture some of the promise he held when he was younger. I have a Benson signed baseball from his days with the Pirates, and I have always hoped that he would achieve success in the major leagues. But injuries have derailed his career. Nevertheless, here’s to you, Kent. Hopefully, the Dodgers saw enough that you can make it to Joe Torre’s lineup card…
Hey Brett Favre…it’s called retirement; try it, you might like it…
How cool would it be for Joe Flacco to defeat the mighty Titans?…
Whatever happened to former Yankee second baseman Brian Doyle?…
I don’t know the answer to this question, but have the top pitcher and hitter to be traded at the trading deadline ever been subsequently signed as free agents by the same team in the subsequent offseason prior to this year?
Well, the battle today was won by the Red Sox, but the war ensues…