Tagged: Peter Gammons

Turkey Leftovers Are History, Bring On Some Baseball Action!…

Waiting for Otani…

Given every other writer (or blogger in my case) has written that this has been the slowest off-season in recent memory, I will do my obligatory part to say that it’s been so slow.  November 29th and the best we can say is that former Boston Red Sox starter Doug Fister has signed a free agent contract with the Texas Rangers. The Red Sox picked Fister up off the scrap heap last summer and he gave them some decent starts down the stretch when they had holes popping up in other parts of the starting rotation. Good for him that he parlayed it into some sense of short-term job security in Texas.

I expected the Thanksgiving weekend to be quiet and it was. No Yankees news other than the preparation by all teams for the much anticipated posting of Japanese superstar Shohei Otani which should occur shortly after Friday when the MLB Owners ratify the new posting agreement. The Yankees are obvious favorites but of course some teams have been very vocal about their intent to pursue the two-way star.  The loudest has been the Seattle Mariners. We know that this move is not about money so the fact the Yankees can offer the second highest amount of green does not necessarily mean anything. I’ve felt all along that this move, for now, is about the endorsement dollars. I read one writer say Otani could make up to $20 million per year in endorsement deals between the United States and Japan. I realize that Otani played in a smaller market in Japan for a “ham company” but I feel that if he wants to be the best, there is none other than the New York Yankees for him. He’d have the opportunity to play in the greatest city (highest potential for endorsement deals) and he’d join a young team on the verge of something truly special.  His age would fit nicely with the other Baby Bombers to ensure an extended competitive run for the duration of his stay. He’d have a pitcher on the Yankees pitching staff that could help serve as a mentor (Masahiro Tanaka) and he’d have access to one of Japan’s greatest baseball players with Hideki Matsui (who knew a thing or two about incredible clutch hitting), currently special assistant to GM Brian Cashman.

I think it is an easy decision for Otani but of course, at this point, it is anybody’s guess where he ends up. In the end, I do hope it is Team Yankees while recognizing there are risks with a player attempting to both pitch and hit on a regular basis. Otani is a special talent and there may never be an opportunity to get a player of his caliber for only $3.5 million under team control for multiple years. No question that fits into Hal Steinbrenner’s 2018 budget.

Next Up, Carlos Beltran…

Carlos Beltran will become the sixth man interviewed for the Yankees managerial opening today. I like Carlos and I value his ability to communicate with players and the media, but I struggle with the idea of the player-to-manager path with no coaching experience. I wouldn’t mind seeing Beltran as part of the Yankees coaching staff but I’d really prefer someone who at least has coaching experience as its new manager. I saw a bunch of tweets yesterday that compared Beltran to Joe Torre as a player who successfully made the transition. But no one was mentioning that Torre’s record with his first team, the New York Mets, was a .405 winning percentage (286-420). He didn’t experience post-season success until he managed his fourth team, the Yankees. Beltran may prove to be an excellent manager one day but for a team that is positioned for success now, I’d rather not have a guy learning on the job.

Credit:  MLB.com

Yankees fan yesterday, Yankee today…

Credit to Peter Gammons for this piece that I found interesting. Newly acquired RHP Michael King (who joined the Yankees in the trade that sent LHP Caleb Smith and 1B Garrett Cooper to the Miami Marlins) was a second team All-State performer for Bishop Hendricksen High School in Warwick, Rhode Island in 2012. That summer he played in the Annual Summer Rivalry Classic held for Northeastern high school kids at Yankee Stadium. Among the free offerings that day was bubble gum that King was very fond of, stuffing perhaps 6 or 7 sticks of gum into his mouth at one point. Asked what he did with that big wad of gum, King indicated that he stuck it under the bench. According to Gammons, King, a childhood Yankees fan, said, “I figured I’d get it back when I get back there to the bullpen as a Yankee.” I love that story and the optimism. I look forward to the dream being fulfilled.

The Bronx, Home of MLB’s Best Executive…

Congratulations to Brian Cashman for being named as Baseball America’s 2017 Major League Executive of the Year! It was a much deserved honor for the great GM. It probably doesn’t hurt the contract negotiations for his new deal either. Hal Steinbrenner issued a statement that read, “Brian plays a crucial role in our success, and I’ve known for quite some time how fortunate we are to have him leading our Baseball Operations Department. He cares deeply about this franchise and our fans, and he skillfully navigates the many challenges that come with holding the position he does in the media capital of the world.” Not bad for a kid who grew up as a Dodgers fan. He is ensuring that his name will be forever marked in Yankees history as one of the great pillars of success. Next stop, World Series!

Credit:  Stan Grossfield, Boston Globe Staff

Like everyone else, I am ready for some real off-season baseball action. But I am sure that once the calendar page turns to December, we’d better hold on. It should be a fun ride!

Go Yankees!

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Number 16 Back in Oakland…

In a way, it was a little bittersweet watching the Jason Giambi press conference.  Much has been written about Jason’s failure to live up to expectations for his 7 year, $120 million contract with the Yankees.  Granted, the steroids period was tough, but I remember how excited I was when the Yankees signed Giambi.  His first couple of years were strong (not quite near his highs with Oakland but still respectable), the down years during the steroid issue, but I think Jason ended his career with the Yankees on a high note.  As much as I would have liked to have seen the Yankees resign Giambi, that was never going to happen with the plethora of DH types on the roster, most notably Hideki Matsui but potentially Jorge Posada too depending upon his recovery.  So, given that Jason idolized Mickey Mantle, it was appropriate that he left after 7 years.

I was glad to see Eric Mangini get another chance in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns.  I am not a Jets fan, but I place more blame on Brett Favre for the Jets season-ending slide that cost them the play-offs. 

I get the sense that despite the rhetoric about Andy Pettitte rejecting the Yankees $10 million offer, they are working behind the scenes to put a deal together…

I saw an article today that the Vikings are interested in Matt Cassel.  I had wondered about that myself earlier, but figured that if the Patriots franchise Cassel, it would cost too much to acquire him (assuming that Tom Brady is healthy and the Pats feel secure in letting Cassel go).  As evidenced by the Philadelphia game, Tavaris Jackson is not the answer, and I think Cassel would be a great fit.  Time will tell…

Peter Gammons mentioned a “testiness” that existed between A-Rod and Mark Teixeira in Texas.  I had wondered what their relationship was like, but there doesn’t seem to be much written about their prior relationship.  Of course, it made me wonder…does A-Rod have a relationship with anyone besides Madonna?  Mark definitely has his work cut out for him with those errant throws coming in from A-Rod, DJ, and Cano…

It’s hard to get excited about a Phillies opening day lineup that will have Marcus Giles at 2B (Chase Utley’s absence will definitely be felt)…

I love the Yankees’ united “Why?  Because we can” approach to responding to the critics…

I agree with Peter Gammons take on why Mark Teixeira went with the Yankees.  It came down to his wife’s shopping preferences.  I can’t say that I’ve shopped in Boston, but c’mon, there’s nothing like Manhattan.  Then again, $180 million will only go so far in New York City…

The advantage to the Yankees not putting names on the back of jerseys?  I can wear my Jason Giambi jersey with pride, and everyone will think that I am supporting the latest and greatest Yankee first baseman!  Sweet!  🙂

Cheers!