Doc or Josh…
Joel Auerbach/US Presswire
To repeat as World Champions, the Yankees clearly have to upgrade the middle of their pitching staff. No offense to Andy Pettitte, but going into the play-offs with a three man rotation is not the recipe for continued success…especially if Bud Selig is successful in shortening the off-days during play-off series. At this point in his career, Andy is better served by bringing up the rear of the rotation. So, if the Yankees decide to pursue a frontline starter to go with CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, should they go after Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays or Josh Johnson of the Florida Marlins?
Pitcher to pitcher, it’s easy to say that the choice should be Roy Halladay. He is arguably the best pitcher in the American League, and he knows how to win in Boston, New York, Baltimore, Tampa and Toronto. He is not intimidated by the Los Angeles Angels, and at 32, he is primed for a few more years of dominance.
But if it were my decision, I’d have to go with Josh Johnson. I know that he doesn’t have Doc’s resume, and there is the age old argument that National League pitchers struggle in the American League. However, it goes beyond just Johnson’s age (he will be 26 next season). After undergoing Tommy John surgery in mid-2008, he is 22-6 since his return and according to FanGraphs, he ranked third in average fastball velocity this past season with 95.1 mph (behind Ubaldo Jimenez and Justin Verlander). He enjoyed a very fine 2009 season, going 15-5, with 3.23 ERA. He struck out 191 batters in 2009 innings. He will continue to get better, and will soon be an elite ace if he’s not already there.
Probably the bigger reason I’d pursue Johnson is that either pitcher is going to require a hefty bounty in return. There is no doubt that the Yankees will lose the likes of Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain, and other high level talent to make a trade. Realistically, if we are going to lose those guys, I’d rather see them pitching in the National League instead of right here in the AL East. The counter-argument is that some team is going to pay the Blue Jays a very high price, so they’ll walk away with a much stronger team either way. But still, I am not prepared to see Joba Chamberlain pitching for the Jays. The AL East should be very competitive next year. Aside from the Yankees and Red Sox, you know that the Tampa Bay Rays will be a force to be reckoned with. The fine young talent in Baltimore is finally starting to gel and should result in a much improved Orioles squad. So, if the Jays are smart about the pieces they receive in a Halladay trade, there will be no pushovers in the division.
Greg Fiume/Getty Images
The Yankees have A.J. Burnett locked up for four more years so I am not concerned about him. However, CC Sabathia still has the right to opt out of his contract after two more years so I think it would be wise for the Yankees to go with the younger option so that they can build a cornerstone for future years. I don’t think CC will opt out, however, as long as it exists as a possibility, it has to be considered. Much can happen in two years.
So, I say go with Josh Johnson and send the premium Yankee talent to the National League…even if that means Doc Halladay calling Fenway Park “home”. Yankees manager Joe Girardi is familiar with Johnson from his year as the Marlins manager in 2007, so it would aid Johnson’s transition to the Bronx.
There is a question of whether the Marlins organization will be willing to part with Johnson, but it should be interesting to see what develops in the coming weeks…
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
But tonight, I choose to see Kelly Clarkson… 🙂
Ready, set, go!…
It’s the start of free agency, and teams now have the right to negotiate with available free agents as teams’ exclusive rights period ended Thursday night. Of course, there were no significant signings on Friday, but activity should pick up in the coming weeks.
The big three for the Yankees are obviously Andy Pettitte, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui. Regardless of what other moves the Yanks have in mind for their rotation, I feel very strongly they should bring back Andy assuming that he wants to come back for another season. Had he not gone to Houston for three years, Andy would potentially be in position to challenge Whitey Ford for the Yankees record for most career wins (The Chairman of the Board holds the record with 236 wins, while Andy stands at 229 career wins with the Yankees and Astros). Andy may never reach Ford’s Yankees record, however he still has the chance to reach the 200 win milestone wearing pinstripes, needing just 8 more wins. I think Andy is very proud of his Yankees legacy, and I do expect to see him back in the Bronx next season.
I would like to see the team re-sign Johnny Damon. The only thing about Damon that concerns me is his arm-strength in left field. Otherwise, he is still playing the game like a young man despite his age (36). He simply makes things happen and his double-steal in the World Series was classic but typical Damon-like. The Yankees would be wise to allow Damon to return next year on a two year deal.
As much as I like Hideki Matsui and how great his timely hits have been, I see this as the end of his career in the Bronx. Since he’s limited to DH, he simply wouldn’t get enough at-bats in the coming seasons with the need to increase the DH rotation to include older players like Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez (to allow them more rest from playing the field).
I am sad to see Xavier Nady go, but it doesn’t sound like there’s any interest on the Yankees’ part to bring him back. Some team is going to get a high quality guy and if healthy, a productive player. Of course, that means he’ll probably be signing with Boston any day now… 😦
The rumor mill regarding Roy Halladay is gaining steam once again. A free agent after next season, it is very likely that the Toronto Blue Jays will move Doc this off-season rather than wait until the trading deadline. The list of teams not interested in Doc is probably shorter than the list of team who are. The Blue Jays will be able to get a King’s ransom for Halladay and it should set them up for a bright future. Of course, the Yankees and Red Sox are always rumored to be in the mix, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Doc go to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Assuming that Frank McCourt isn’t too distracted or financially drained by his divorce proceedings with wife Jamie, the Dodgers need a frontline ace to compete against the Philadelphia Phillies for supremacy in the National League. The Dodgers have a window of opportunity so they should certainly make every attempt to secure the final pieces of the puzzle in what could be Joe Torre’s last hurrah.
Wow, with 15 wins, Tim Lincecum captured the NL Cy Young Award for the second consecutive year? I am not trying to take anything away from Lincecum (15-7, 2.48 ERA), but I was surprised. I know and understand that win total is the one statistic that a pitcher has the least amount of control over, however, I thought that Adam Wainright of the St. Louis Cardinals was the deserving choice (he led the NL with 19 wins). His ERA was slightly higher than Lincecum’s at 2.63, but it was still very good. You could also argue that Chris Carpenter should have won, as he had a remarkable season (17-4, 2.24 ERA despite missing time with a pulled muscle in his side). Wainright, 19-8, captured the most first place votes, but finished third behind Lincecum and Carpenter. I can’t help but think that if Wainright had pitched for the Mets or the Dodgers, he would have won the award. Even the local Bay Area press was surprised by Lincecum’s win. I was listening to San Francisco sports talk radio on Friday, and all they could talk about was how long Lincecum’s hair was going to be by Opening Day next season. Lincecum lead the league in strikeouts with 261, and was second in ERA and third in innings pitched. If you ask Lincecum which stat is most important, it’s WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched). Timmy finished fourth with a WHIP of 1.047 (behind Dan Haren, Carpenter, and Javier Vazquez). I am not saying that Lincecum was a bad choice…it was simply unexpected, in my mind.
I am going to see a show by comedian Lisa Lampanelli tonight. I don’t know anything about her except that she is the so-called “Queen of Mean”. I found this review of Lisa’s show by Larry the Cable Guy: “Front row tickets to Lisa’s show are $100, and obstructed view tickets are $150”. I’ve heard she is very raunchy so I might want to get those obstructed view tickets! 😉
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…
It was one of those nights…
I knew the Yanks were in trouble with Doc Halladay scheduled to be on the mound Friday night. Doc hadn’t pitched well during preceding weeks, but you knew that it was only a matter of time before you’d see vintage Halladay. Given the Yanks’ struggles with him over the years, you also knew that there was a better than average chance that it would be against the Yankees. Alas, it was…
Darren Calabrese, AP/The Canadian Press
I was appreciative of Jorge Posada’s walk in the 5th to end the perfect game for Halladay and Ramiro Pena’s 6th inning double to break up the no-hitter, although it was the only hit of the night for the AL East Leaders.
Darren Calabrese, AP/The Canadian Press
At this point, I am not sure what to think of Joba Chamberlain. I know that Joba Rules 2.0 are in effect, but Joba just hasn’t looked good. Last night’s line was another disappointment…3 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), 2 walks, 2 K’s, and he hit Vernon Wells with a pitch. No wonder he was striking the “Defeated Sabathia” pose on the mound…
Darren Calabrese, AP/The Canadian Press
I have not been optimistic about this series with the Toronto Blue Jays. I knew going in that the four game set would be a challenge. Winning the first game, despite the pitching of Chad Gaudin, was a plus. But with Sergio Mitre scheduled for Sunday, and Joba’s recent struggles, the only optimistic start is today with Andy Pettitte. However, as great as Andy has pitched in recent weeks, I keep waiting for the bubble to burst. So, I guess I am a ‘glass is half empty’ kind of guy today…
On the bright side, the Boston Red Sox lost to the Chicago White Sox, 12-2, so the Yankees retained their 7 ½ game lead. However, the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Kansas City Royals, 2-1, to cut the overall lead for best league record to 6 games.
It is amazing that the Yankees have 7 players with 20 home runs and at least 70’s RBI’s. As great of a season Derek Jeter is having, he is not one of them but he can join the club by the end of reason as he currently has 17 home runs and 61 RBI’s. DJ did not play last night and remains 9 hits from breaking Lou Gehrig’s club record for career hits (2,721). Hopefully, the off night for Jeter will help him break out of his recent slump (3 for his last 17 at-bat’s). Good luck to Derek as he continues to the drive for the hits record…
Darren Calabrese, AP/The Canadian Press
Mariano Rivera, still recovering from his groin injury, hopes to pitch Sunday.
Led by Shelley Duncan, the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees captured their fourth consecutive International League North Division title last night. Duncan hit the decisive home run in the 8th inning off former Yankee Sean Henn as the Yankees defeated the Rochester Red Wings, 7-3. I am all in favor of the Yankees beating anything with “Red” in their name! J Of course, the IL play-offs, which begin September 9th, will be missing the Pawtucket Red Sox who are 21 games behind the Yankees at 58-81. Hoping that losing feeling will catch on with their big league club too! Sorry Julia, but one can hope!
Maybe the Minnesota Vikings shouldn’t trade Tavaris Jackson after all. His stats weren’t great but he played error-free ball in the Vikings’ 35-31 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. But he had the team ahead of the Cowboys until the other two QB’s, Sage Rosenfels and John David Booty, made costly mistakes to prevent the team from finishing the preseason with a perfect mark. Brett Favre didn’t play, and was on the sidelines in a hat and t-shirt. I saw an interview with him, and my only thought was how old he looked…
Maybe Julia knows better than I, but the New England Patriots must be betting that they’ll get a solid backup QB in the next couple of days. Or they must feel that Brian Hoyer is the next coming of, well, Matt Cassel. After releasing Kevin O’Connell last week, the Pats cut Andrew Walter yesterday. There has to be a master plan because guys from Boston are smart…right Julia? Seriously, it would be foolish to think that the Pats didn’t have a plan in place or several possibilities in mind. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have made the cuts they did. But until their final moves play out, it does look curious…
What’s up with all the offensive coordinators losing their jobs before the first regular season snap is taken? Chan Gailey, Turk Schonert, and Jeff Jagodzinski have all been given pink slips in the past couple of weeks. I wonder how many times Jagodzinski has wished that he had kept his mouth shut and stayed at Boston College. Oh well, don’t feel bad for him, he just pocketed a $1 million for a few weeks work…
Hey Mark Kotsay, congrats on the big game last night! The Texas Rangers, now only 2 games behind your former teammates, appreciate it! J
Nam Y. Huh/AP
Did Jonathan Papelbon really get fined $5,000 for working too slow? Whoa, I know a few too many people who should get that fine!
Finally, thanks for my friend Julia for her grace and professionalism in accepting the penalty for the recent loss in our last Yankees-Red Sox wager. Her blog with the photos and Top 11 post of all things good about the Yankees was first class. An excellent job! I look forward to her next defeat!
Courtesy Julia’s Rants
This has been a long road trip…
Today was the start of a two-game series in Toronto against the Blue Jays. On paper, it looked like the struggles from Chicago would continue north of the border. Roy Halladay was the scheduled starter for the first game, and the Yankees counter with Sergio Mitre on Wednesday night. So, it looked to be advantage Jays in both games. Fortunately, Andy Pettitte continued to pitch very effectively as the Yankees downed the Jays 5-3 in the first game. Halladay went the distance, but he gave up 10 hits and 5 runs (4 earned) as he absorbed just his 5th loss of the season (11-5). No offense to Andy, but I didn’t expect him to go toe-to-toe to Doc. Taking the ‘glass is half empty’ approach, I would have expected Andy to tire in the later innings. He did, however, he only gave up 4 hits and 1 run in 6 2/3 innings. He had 6 strikeouts, and 4 walks as he picked up his 9th win of the season (9-6).
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
The A-Rod homerless streak continued, but the Yankees hit three home runs in the last two innings against Halladay (Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira in the 8th inning, and Hideki Matsui in the 9th). Mariano Rivera, despite giving up a double that scored two runs in the 8th, earned his 31st save. According to Peter Abraham of the LoHud Yankees Blog, it was Rivera’s 100th save in 103 chances. I continue to be amazed every time Rivera touches the ball. I used to wonder what it would have been like to see Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle play, but now I realize that the fans of the 30’s and 40’s probably would have loved to have seen Rivera (and Derek Jeter) play.
Chris Young, The Canadian Press/AP
Tomorrow will tough with Mitre on the mound, but for a night, the Yanks can enjoy what has been a tough road trip. Fortunately, the opposing guy is named Rumpelstiltskin or something like that so hopefully the Yanks have a chance! J
They are currently 4-4, and have a chance to emerge with a winning record if they can defeat the Jays for a second time.
Steve Russell/Toronto Star
Then, the road leads back to the Bronx as the Yankees begin a four game set against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. Okay, I realize that the Yankees are 0-8 against Boston this season, but it is time for a reversal of fortune. Once again, I have accepted a wager from Julia of Julia’s Rants. She doesn’t realize that I am a sandbagger. The Yankees will be back with a vengeance, and I feel good about the team’s prospects in the upcoming series. For one, Sergio Mitre won’t be pitching! LOL!
Here is the terms of the latest wager. The loser must:
1. Attach a Red Sox (Scott) or a Yankees (Julia) flag to his/her car, and take photos of the car in at least three prominent locations near our respective homes. They should be easily recognizable by anyone (to ensure that they are locations which handle high traffic for the applicable flag viewing).
2. Write a Top 11 List with eleven positive statements about the winning team. This was Jimmy‘s suggestion, which I admit was a very good one.
3. I will take it one more. If the Yankees get swept, I will wear a Red Sox t-shirt and a pink Boston cap with the car photos. The t-shirt would be for the player who has the biggest series against the Yankees (to be determined by Julia). But of course, I am not going to lose so this really isn’t an option.
Since it is a four game set, there is the possibility that the team will split. Therefore, we have set two tie-breakers. The first tie-breaker is the most total runs scored. The second tie-breaker is the team with the most home runs for the series.
May the best Yankees fan win! J
Actually, it should be Yankees Universe, but who’s counting…
Okay, perhaps I wasn’t really ready to see the original Yankee Stadium fall. I was a bit startled when I saw some photos today. During my last trip to New York, I walked around the old stadium for old times sake. It didn’t quite feel the same since it was closed, however, it was the place where my idol Lou Gehrig once played and it was magical to think that the field once saw the likes of Babe Ruth, Gehrig, Miller Huggins, Joe DiMaggio, Casey Stengel, Allie Reynolds, Urban Shocker (I have always loved that name!), Thurman Munson, Billy Martin, Roger Maris and many others. Those footsteps can never be re-traced in the new Stadium.
Courtesy George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)
Farewell to an old friend…
In other baseball news, the Cleveland Indians released former Yankees pitcher Jose Veras. I am not surprised but hopefully he’ll get another chance to catch on with another big league club.
The Red Sox lost to the Tampa Bay Rays tonight, 4-2 in 13 innings. Ah, I’m so sad. Um, not really! J Make that lead in the AL East 1 ½ games! Life is good. Game on, Julia!
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!…
It may be brief, but the view from the top is magnificent…
After tonight’s games, the Yankees may or may not be in first place, but at least they started the day that way. Of course, the last time I was excited about this was at the start of the last series with the Boston Red Sox. That didn’t end so well for me, and a pink hat and a Red Sox shirt later; the Yanks were back chasing the Sox in the standings.
Once again, thanks to a series sweep of the Minnesota Twins, combined with a Red Sox loss last night, the Yankees were once again tied atop the AL East Standings with Boston (despite the 0-8 mark against same).
The Yankees open a weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim tonight. Of all the teams I want to face right now, the Angels aren’t one of them. For whatever reason, the Yankees have historically not done very well against the Angels. I don’t know the exact stats off the top of my head, but it seems that the team loses more than it wins against those pesky Halos. I’d like to say that this dates back to the 2002 play-offs, but it has been much longer than that. I remember teams with Bobby Grich, Rod Carew, and Reggie Jackson giving the Yankees fits.
You can’t say that the Angels’ mastery over the Yankees is because the team doesn’t match up very well against the Angels. If you compare the starters of Game 4 of the 2002 American League Division Series in Anaheim on October 5, 2002, only Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada remain with their original team (you could consider Juan Rivera but he has switched sides). The Yankees lost that night, 9-5, effectively ending the Yankees’ most recent World Series run. But despite the roster turnover, the Angels’ domination continues.
I wish I understood the reason, but the Yankees did to figure out the Angels if they want a chance to return to the World Series.
I know, they also need to figure out Baltimore and Boston. But one thing’s for sure, they know Minnesota!
For the record, the Red Sox won tonight, so pending the Yankees game against the Angels (which starts shortly), the Sox are up by a ½ game. Why is it that Boston gets the Royals while the Yankees get the Angels? It’s so not fair! 😉
I thought the New York Mets’ acquisition of Jeff Francoeur from the Atlanta Braves for Ryan Church was a solid move. I realize that Francoeur has struggled the last couple of years, but I still think that the “light bulb” will eventually come on and he’ll be every bit the productive player that he showed in Atlanta when he first came up.
I still think that there’s no way that either the Red Sox or the Yankees will trade for Roy Halladay. Both teams have done such a great job protecting their young talent in recent years, and it would “break the bank” to bring Doc to Boston or New York. They’ve mentioned the Philadelphia Phillies as the front-runner and I agree with that, or perhaps the St. Louis Cardinals. I’d like to see the San Francisco Giants become a player but I don’t think they have what it takes to make a deal. A starting rotation led by Tim Lincecum and Halladay would be incredible, and would definitely be a major roadblock in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ attempt to crush the NL West.
Luc Leclerc/US Presswire
I am definitely in agreement that the question is ‘when’ Brett Favre joins the Minnesota Vikings, not ‘if’. He has apparently placed a $30,000 deposit on a condo in Edina, Minnesota. I am sure that he didn’t do it just so he could go ice fishing this winter. The Vikings’ single-game tickets go on sale July 20th, so an announcement could be forthcoming prior to that date. I don’t think it is the right move and I think that Vikings coach Brad Childress will be forced to play Favre the entire season regardless of how he performs. There would be a huge stigma attached to the coach who “sat” Brett Favre. It’s really shaping up to be a ‘lose-lose’ scenario…
Well, it’s time to go check in to see how Mr. Chamberlain is doing…