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…
The end of the “Core”?…
The deterioration of two-thirds of the remaining “Core” is very disheartening. Both Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada have shown that it is time to pass the baton. With both, I am not sure how you can gracefully move on but as long as both are in the lineup, the Yankees are in an inferior position to both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox.
Sadly, the day is going to come when Mariano Rivera just doesn’t have it anymore. Fortunately, he is not showing any signs of letting up and thankfully so since his closer-in-waiting, Rafael Soriano, is having a tough time staying healthy.
With players like Jeter or Posada, you’d like to think that they’d come to the realization that they are an albatross to the organization and would willingly step aside. But egos and money are not forgiving. At some point, the decisions will need to be made for the players. I think that DJ has a longer leash than Posada, who infuriated the organization with his behavior this past weekend. I’ve read that Posada has until about the All-Star Break to start hitting before the team explores other options. My sense is that this is not going to end well. As for DJ, I am sure that he’s secure the remainder of the year, but I really wonder what the future holds. Perhaps if the team is able to improve the offensive production in other areas, they can be more accommodating with Jeter’s reduced output. If this experience has proven anything to me, it is a renewed respect for GM’s like Theo Epstein who are not afraid to the cut the cords to star players sooner rather than later. Baseball is purely all about ‘what have you done for me lately’, and the Yankees do not owe Jeter, a future Hall of Famer and the last recipient of the #2 jersey at Yankee Stadium, anything. This is about wins and losses, and the Yankees should field the best shortstop in the organization, regardless of who that individual is.
A sad day for Twins baseball and all of MLB…
I was very sorry to see the passing of Minnesota Twins great Harmon Killebrew. Earlier in the week, I saw the comments that Harmon was no longer seeking medical treatment for his cancer but I never realized that we were just days away from his passing. Growing up in Iowa, I used to listen to Minnesota Twins games on a regular basis. Killebrew had retired by the time I was listening, but I clearly knew who he was and his stature in major league baseball. Frankly, I am surprised that I was never a Twins fan. Rod Carew was the star of the team in those days, and they routinely fielded quality teams as they do today. I guess they didn’t have that magical player on their active roster to endear me to the team. Instead, I latched onto Oakland A’s star pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter as my favorite player and of course when he left to sign with the Yankees on 12/31/74, my fate as a Yankees fan was sealed. Nevertheless, I am appreciative for what Killebrew meant to the Twins organization. He will be missed…
No more LeBron, please…
How sweet would it be if the Chicago Bulls ousted the Miami Heat from the NBA Play-offs?…
The closet door may be open, but the key to victory remains unchanged…
For the record, I have no issue with Phoenix Suns President Rick Welts coming out of the closet to announce that he is gay. His sexual preference has nothing to do with his ability to lead and develop a championship organization.
Collaboration at its finest…
I was glad to hear that Minnesota Vikings QB Christian Ponder is seeking out the Vikings wide receivers for workouts and has plans to work with my favorite Viking, Percy Harvin. I was also glad to see Sidney Rice reach out to Ponder to express his willingness to participate. I don’t want the Vikings to lose Rice, but until the lockout is settled, it’s anybody’s guess what happens with Rice. He is clearly the greatest WR the Vikings have had since Randy Moss (the Dante Culpepper version, not last year’s). The NFL needs to put closure on the lockout and aggressively pursue resolution with the Player’s Association.
A toast to Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz…
I received my shipment of Jon Lester’s CabernAce and Clay Buchholz’s ChardonClay today. You can buy the wine at www.charitywines.com. For Clay’s wine, your contribution benefits Jimmy’s Fund, while Jon’s wine supports the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy fine wine while supporting two great causes!
Have a great night, everyone! J
You talkin’ to me?…
After dropping two games to the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees averted a sweep by clobbering the O’s 13-3 on Sunday. As usual, the stopper was CC Sabathia. It wasn’t a great performance but it was enough to help CC pick up his 17th victory of the season (against 7 losses). CC went 7 innings and gave up 5 hits and 3 runs. He walked 4 and struck out only 1 batter. Still, CC showed why he is the ace of the staff…
The game saw the ejections of Alex Rodriguez and Joe Girardi. A-Rod took a called third strike to end the fourth inning with the bases loaded. He felt that the pitch was outside. He continued jawing with the umpire, Marty Foster, about the call, particularly after watching a video replay following the top of the 5th which confirmed his belief that the pitch was outside. Foster finally had enough and tossed A-Rod and then Manager Joe Girardi, who argued very animatedly the umpire.
There is bad blood between the Yankees and Foster, who also made a bad call on Derek Jeter in July.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Chris Faytock/The Star Ledger
Eric Hinske took over for A-Rod at third after the ejection, but fortunately, it worked out in the end. Thanks to an 8-run 8th, which included a three-run homer by Matsui, the Yankees put this one away and assured a return to the win column.
Nonetheless, they will still lose a ½ game to the Boston Red Sox, who swept the Tampa Bay Rays today. The Yankees now lead Boston by 7 games. How sad is it that the Rays have now lost 11 straight games? The magic of 2008 is definitely gone.
The Yankees’ lead over the Los Angeles Angels for best record in the league stands at 5 games.
Mark J. Terrill/AP
This is an interesting week schedule-wise. The Yankees will play one game against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday. This is a make-up of the May 3rd rainout at Yankee Stadium. I remember that day well considering that I was in attendance at Yankee Stadium. I won’t be able to take advantage of my ticket tomorrow since I’ve since relocated from the East Coast to California, but I’ll definitely be there in spirit. The last time the Yankees faced the Angels, they were swept (final series before the All-Star Break). This is just one game, but the Yankees have a chance to make a statement against the Angels. Joba Chamberlain (8-5) faces Jered Weaver (15-5).
Taylor Public Relations
Then, the Yankees close out the home stand with two games against the Toronto Blue Jays. They travel across the country on Thursday to open a three-game weekend series in Seattle against the Mariners.
Congratulations to Brett Favre for his first victory with the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings defeated the Cleveland Browns and Favre’s former coach, Eric Mangini, 34-20, on Sunday.
His stats weren’t great (14-for-21, 110 yards, 1 TD), but when you have Adrian Peterson in your backfield running for 180 yards and 3 TD’s, there’s not much you need to do.
I was excited that Favre’s lone passing TD was to Percy Harvin. I am excited about what Harvin means to the Vikings offense, and hopefully, this is the start of something special…