Joe Torre and Derek Jeter together again…
Gina Ferazzi/LA Times
Share the love! Seriously, it was bittersweet to see Joe Torre wearing enemy colors while standing next to the likes of Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. Much has been written in recent days about the rift that exists between Torre and the Yankees hierarchy. One article speculated that if the Yankees wanted to have a special honor for Torre, he would most likely turn it down. Former Yankees pitcher and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre thought that Torre would eventually be more forgiving than the Yankee brass. Joe’s rift is how his relationship with the Yankees ended (lowball, token contract offer that represented a steep pay cut). There is no way that the Yankees could have expected Torre to take the contract offer so it was obviously a ploy designed to show Torre the door while trying to show the Yankees Universe that they tried. The Yankees problem is relative to Torre’s book and how he unveiled many thoughts that should have been left behind closed doors.
Regardless of how it ended and despite how much I have always respected Joe Torre, it was time for a change. The Yankees had not won a World Series since 2000 (losing in both 2001 and 2003) while the dreaded Boston Red Sox were winning two (2004, which included the ALCS meltdown by the Yankees; and 2007). Torre is “old-school”, and it was time for a more current manager. Joe Girardi was the right guy at the right time. As a player, he was clearly a leader. When I think of the death of Darryl Kile, I will always think of how Joe Girardi stepped up as the voice of the team. He is always prepared and he clearly wants to win. He is young enough to hold the position for many years, and I think he has shown improvement as a manager every year. Joe Torre has moved on, the Yankees have moved on, and so have the fans. It’s time for the media to let go…
I was reading today that the reason the Yankees are in Los Angeles to play the Dodgers as opposed to Yankee Stadium was based on a decision by FOX television. They wanted Manny Ramirez to return to Boston for a reunion against the Red Sox. I think it was a missed opportunity for FOX. Manny was not gracious to the Boston fans or media, and he didn’t really do anything in the series that was swept by the Red Sox. On the other hand, it would have been tremendous to see Joe Torre set foot on the grounds of the new Yankee Stadium given that he’s never managed there before.
The first game of the Dodgers-Yankees series went to the visitors behind CC Sabathia who is beginning to pitch like “Second Half CC” when he becomes so utterly dominant. It was ironic that the game-winning home run was hit by Alex Rodriguez, who has yet to speak to Joe Torre.
CC went 8 innings in the 2-1 victory, giving up 4 hits and striking out 7. Mariano Rivera, an old friend of Torre’s, closed out the game with three strike outs.
There were lots of photos with Torre and the core Yankees, but none with Don Mattingly that I found. It would have been interesting to see Donnie Baseball in the reunion photos too. He will most likely be the next Dodgers manager, and based on recent reports, it could happen as soon as next year. It’s hard to see one of my favorite all-time Yankees becoming so engrained with another organization, but he does deserve the opportunity to manage and it wasn’t going to happen with the Yankees. Given that managers are hired to be fired, it’s probably best that Donnie manages elsewhere. That proved to be a better route for Lou Piniella. If Derek Jeter decides to stay in baseball after his playing days, I am sure that the day will come when he dons something other than Yankee pinstripes. So long as there isn’t on “B” on the cap, I’m cool with it.
Gene J. Puskar/AP
Friday night was a good night as not only did the Yankees win but the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox both lost. The Red Sox are in San Francisco (where I will be on Sunday), and lost to the Giants, 5-4. They also lost one of their warriors in Dustin Pedroia who fouled a pitch off his left foot. X-rays were negative but the foot is still sore and further tests are scheduled for today. I may not be a Red Sox fan, but I am a fan of Pedey’s so hopefully he’ll be back on the field soon. The Rays, meanwhile, were no-hit for the second time this season. This time at the hands of former Ray and current Arizona Diamondback Edwin Jackson. Frankly, I am not sure that I agree with the managerial decision to keep Jackson in the game despite the no-hitter. He walked 8 batters, and he threw 149 pitches. That sounds like something that Billy Martin would have done to the Oakland A’s pitching staff back in the 80’s when the pitchers later developed arm troubles. No good can come from it. The no-hitter is nice but at what cost?
Speaking of Sunday’s game between the Giants and Red Sox (which of course includes a wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants), the pitching match-up could not better. Jon Lester, one of my personal favorite pitchers and clearly one of the AL’s best, against Tim Lincecum, arguably one of the best pitchers in all of baseball. I’ll be pulling for Lincecum and the Giants, but it should be a classic pitching duel. I am looking forward to it!
By the way, the last wager didn’t go so well for Julia…
Courtesy of an unhappy Celtics fan!
Despite record snowfalls on the East Coast, spring training is right around the corner…
Yankee pitchers and catchers report next week, and the battle will begin for the fifth spot in the rotation. Of course, everyone is quick to indicate that Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin, and Sergio Mitre have a shot, but this is really about a competition between Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. Personally, I am putting my faith in Phil Hughes. I’d prefer to see Joba take over Hughes’ old spot as setup man for Mariano Rivera (positioning himself to be Mo’s successor when the eventual day comes). I am really anxious to see what Hughes can do in the rotation now that he has achieved success at the big league level.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
It will be interesting to see if Curtis Granderson stays in center, or if they ultimately decide to move him to left and return Brett Gardner to center. There should be good outfield competition among Jamie Hoffmann, Marcus Thames, and Randy Winn. Minor leaguer Colin Curtis and off-season pickup Greg Golson (from Texas) will also be on hand to compete. I am hopeful that Hoffmann, a good defensive player, finds a way to make the team. If not, the Yankees will have to offer him back to the Los Angeles Dodgers since he was a Rule 5 pickup.
Miles Chrisinger/Icon SMI
At catcher, Francisco Cervelli should break camp as backup to Jorge Posada. With each passing season, the backup catching position becomes more vital as Posada ages. I am anxious to see what Jesus Montero brings to camp. He’s not ready for the Bronx yet but he is getting close and will obviously be Posada’s eventual successor if they don’t move him to first base because of his physical size.
John M. Setzler, Jr.
It appears that Johnny Damon will sign next week, most likely with the Detroit Tigers based on the latest rumors. I do find it odd that the Tigers would pay Damon more than they would have owed Curtis Granderson yet Grandy was moved for financial reasons. It’s also disappointing that the Tigers will end up getting Damon for less than what the Yanks had been willing to pay at the start of the off-season. Agent Scott Boras forced the Yankees’ hand in signing DH Nick Johnson and outfielder Randy Winn, leaving no room for Damon. If Boras had shown a willingness to negotiate early on, perhaps Johnny would be returning to the Bronx for another go-around. But for as much as I will miss Damon’s ability on the bases and his offensive power, I won’t miss his throws from left field (which seemed to move in slow motion). I wish him the very best wherever he lands…Detroit, Chicago or Atlanta.
All things considered, it should be a fairly quiet camp compared to the past few years. I am not expecting any drug use admissions or sex scandals, but of course, you never know. I am just glad that it’s time for the guys to pick up the gloves, balls and bats and head back out for another summer of fun.
Josh Haner/The New York Times
By the way, congrats to Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum, who avoided arbitration by signing a two-year deal worth $23 million with San Francisco. With a pay increase from $650,000 to $8 million plus $2 million signing bonus in 2010, he can now afford to buy in Nob Hill…
Also, so long to the Big Hurt. Frank Thomas has decided to hang up his cleats and take his 521 home runs home. Of course, he’s been out of the game for a year, but now it’s official. No Brett Favre comebacks in Frank’s future…
Finally, I’d like to send my prayers to the family of Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, a luger for the former Soviet republic of Georgia, who died today during a trial run at the Olympics in Vancouver, British Columba. I cannot say that I am well familiar with Luge but it seems like there could have been better safety precautions. The Olympic Games start on a disappointing note, but I hope the other athletes from Georgia rise to the occasion and give performances their fallen teammate would have been proud of…
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! 😉
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…
He’s got to go…
My patience for Chien-Ming Wang to find himself effectively ended today. The Indians defeated the Yankees 22-4 in what should stand as the worst beating at the new Stadium for quite some time (or let’s hope so).
I don’t want to see Wang pitch in New York again if this is what we have to look forward to. I realize that he can’t be sent down (out of options and would have to have at least five years of service to agree to go down which he does not have). He should be sent to the Yankees facility in Tampa for an extended spring training (if that’s possible) to work on re-establishing himself as a major league pitcher because right now he’s not one.
Wang’s ERA now stands at 34.50…
In Pete Abraham’s LoHud Blog this morning, he said that if Wang threw three complete game shutouts, his ERA would still be over 4. No telling how many complete game shutouts it would take now.
Over the past few years, the Yankees have thrown up a few of these clunkers but this is on the heels of the Tampa debacle last Monday. Of course, the common denominator is Wang.
The Indians scored 14 runs in the second inning. Wang’s pitching line reads 11/3 innings, 8 hits and 8 runs. Anthony Claggett, called up from AAA Scranton earlier today (Juan Miranda was sent down), gave up 9 hits and 8 runs in 1 2/3 innings. Claggett now lays claim to the worst ERA on the staff at 43.20. Looking at the ERA’s of all the NY pitchers that appeared in the game is frightening. Edwar Ramirez, who gave up 4 runs in 2 innings, stands at 8.44. Jose Veras, who gave up 1 run in 3 innings, is at 8.53, and Damaso Marte, 1 run in 1 inning, is at 21.00.
I know that the Yankees have been hit hard by injuries, but I’d have to believe that Joe Girardi’s seat just got a little hotter.
Clearly, New York needs to get Wang away from the magnifying glass so that he can work on correcting himself and getting back to the pitcher we saw early last season before the foot injury in Houston.
I am ready for Phil Hughes to make his 2009 debut at the new Stadium. Phil is 2-0 in two games (11 2/3 innings) with a 2.31 ERA for AAA Scranton.
I am sure that Julia is enjoying her day…
There are a few pitchers on other teams that I like to follow. Some of my favorites are Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir, Clayton Kershaw, and Ubaldo Jimenez to name a few. Another one is Tim Lincecum. Unfortunately, Lincecum received a no-decision today despite 13 strikeouts and no runs in 8 innings (he gave up 5 hits). The Giants lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks on a 9th inning two-run double by Chris Young. Speaking of the D-Backs and Giants, Sunday’s pitching match-up is Max Scherzer against Randy Johnson. It should be interesting to see how the Unit performs against his former team…
Phillies fans said goodbye to legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas today at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. It was a beautiful day (warm with lots of sun), so it is a fitting farewell for a man who will never be forgotten…
Posted by ESPN
Well, as I so often say early this baseball season, tomorrow is a new day! Have a great night!
A-Rod Surgery – The Day After…
By all accounts, the surgery performed on Alex Rodriguez’s hip for the torn labrum by Dr. Marc J. Philippon was successful. Alex should be able to resume playing in 6-9 weeks.
Many people have questioned whether the Yanks really need to seek a replacement since A-Rod can conceivably be back in action after 23 games. I say yes, because I feel an upgrade is necessary for the long haul…not just the first 23 games of the season. Cody Ransom is labeled as a good defender, but he can’t hit for average although he does have some power.
I think the Yankees need someone who can fill in, provide good defense, and hit well enough to keep pitchers honest. Alex will need more rest than in years past, and more rest for Derek Jeter is probably not a bad idea as he begins the downside of his career physically-speaking.
Someone did ask A’s manager Bob Geren if Bobby Crosby was being showcased at third base for the Yankees and he chuckled and replied “no”. Bobby wants to play, and he probably sees third as his best option given the health of 3B Eric Chavez in recent years.
So, maybe the best deal is no deal, but I sure wish I had more faith and confidence in either Cody Ransom or Angel Berroa…
Starting in Centerfield…
Granted, Brett Gardner hasn’t won the job yet, but he continues to impress in camp. On Monday, he hit this third homer of the season (which leads the team).
He continues to make things happen, and I’d be surprised to see Melky Cabrera to take the job from Gardner. It’s definitely exciting to have his presence in the lineup.
Michael Kay mentioned on a recent telecast that the Yankees haven’t had a weapon like this on the base paths since Homer Bush. I agree…
Italy ousts Canada
Italy defeated Canada 6-2 on Monday to eliminate the Canadians from WBC play. Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli was 0-for-3 with a walk for the Italians.
I caught Mike Piazza’s comments about Cervelli this morning (no pun intended). “He’s so talented back there, you can’t say enough,” Piazza said. “He worked hard back there. His enthusiasm, you could tell.”
“His enthusiasm from the start of the game was just sky-high. He hustled. He’s got an amazing arm.” Piazza went on to say. “I’m jealous – in a good way – because I see player with a great future ahead of him. He’s going to get better with the bat. He’s going to get a little quicker.”
He’s not the prospect that Jesus Montero is, but he’s a few years older (23) and closer to major league action. I am anxious to see competition between Cervelli and Kevin Cash (and even Jose Molina) when he returns to Yankees camp after the conclusion of the WBC.
Just as I am concerned about back up support at third, I have the same concerns at catcher given Jorge Posada’s age and his return from injury last season. At this point of his career, Jorge is not going to improve and will only continue to deteriorate. It remains to be seen if he can continue to perform at the level he’s been accustomed to, but the odds are against it. Jorge needs a solid backup who can spell him on occasion. Perhaps it is Jose Molina, but I do feel that when you look at the players with greatest odds for getting hurt, Jorge is at or near the top. Therefore, if Cervelli can continue to take his play to a higher level, he’ll have a say in the Yanks’ backup catching plans.
Odds and Ends
Mike Mussina was a visitor to Yankees camp today, and true to form, doesn’t regret the decision to retire. He also turned down Manager Joe Girardi’s offer to wear a uniform for the day.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Moose was a class act, and he’ll be missed. He was, at times, misunderstood, but I always thought he was honest and straightforward.
I saw Jake Peavy’s quote earlier in the week, and I am definitely glad that the Red Sox never became his destination. “Boston was a place that I told the Padres I would certainly be interested in playing,” Peavy said Monday at the Team USA workout. “I don’t know if there were any talks. I gave the Padres a list and Boston was on that list. Boston was a place I told the Padres I would be interested in playing at. Set that straight for sure.” Yikes! To borrow the old adage, sometimes the best deal is the deal never made! J
With the plethora of evidence building up against him, when is Roger Clemens going to come clean and admit steroids use? For a guy I used to consider a hero, I am so disappointed…
I liked Randy Johnson’s description of Tim Lincecum as the fourth Jonas brother…
Okay, I find the headline of “U.S. teammate Dustin Pedroia thinks World of Derek Jeter” to be very disturbing! There’s way too much love going around. “They go at it constantly,” Chipper Jones said of Jeter and Pedroia. “It’s fun when Yankees and Red Sox go at each other, because you know they’re going to hate each other in a month.” Whew! I needed that perspective. Thanks Chipper! I was starting to get this visual image of Yankees and Red Sox players hugging each other and trading high 5’s before games…