Happy New Year to all Baseball Fans!…
January 1, 2014. Time to replace the calendars. With the arrival of the New Year, it brings optimism for baseball fans everywhere as they anticipate whether or not their team has done enough to ensure October success. Boston fans dream of a back-to-back championship, while others hope they can be the ones to de-throne the defending champs. In January, anything is possible, although arguably some teams have a much better chance than others.
As a Yankees fan, it has been a bittersweet off-season. The team finally made some bold moves after a couple of years of inactivity in signing Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran, but the loss of Robinson Cano will hurt. The team still has not done enough to improve the starting rotation nor has it repaired the losses in the pen.
I thought the Washington Nationals did a good job in bringing in Doug Fister for its starting rotation. He was a solid performer for the Detroit Tigers and he should help provide back-end stability for the frontline starters.
The Boston Red Sox did well in re-signing Mike Napoli. He is a great role performer and he seems to thrive in the Fenway environment, however, I am not sure that A.J. Pierzynski makes up for the loss of Jarrod Saltalamacchia. I think they’ll be okay losing Jacoby Ellsbury if Jackie Bradley, Jr is able to take the next step up in his promising career. While it remains questionable whether Stephen Drew will be back or will be playing in Citi Field, any team would love to have Xander Bogaerts standing ready to take over the shortstop position. Regardless of what happens, I think the Red Sox will be a force in 2014 and won’t relinquish their crown easily.
The Minnesota Twins showed an unusual side in signing free agent pitchers Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, and bringing back Mike Pelfrey. They missed out on A.J. Pierzynski, but the signing of Kurt Suzuki will allow them to bring their young catcher, Josmil Pinto, along slowly in the major leagues as they replace Joe Mauer who has moved to first.
Among others, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Oakland A’s, and the San Francisco Giants (in bringing Tim Hudson back to the Bay Area) have had productive off-seasons.
There are countless other major moves that have been made and other teams that have significantly enhanced their chances for winning, but the point is that January is a time of optimism. Spring Training looms on the horizon as this is the last full month before pitchers and catchers begin to report. Players, if they took time off for the holidays, are aggressively starting or continuing their off-season workout regimens. This is the time that will set in motion the attitudes and the chemistry that makes up each team. Baseball is not about having the most physically gifted team, it’s about the team that can do the most to maximize the synergy of the team and create a culture that is unwilling to accept losing.
It should be a fun season. It’s too early to form an opinion of the teams that stand the best chance as there are still some roster-changing moves that will be made before spring training breaks, but in the AL, you know that the Red Sox, Rays, Tigers, Rangers, A’s, and Angels will have a say in who wins and who loses.
I hope it’s a very happy and enjoyable New Year for everyone! Time to make new friends, create fantastic new opportunities, experiences, and memories. Time to get excited about the arrival of the upcoming Major League Baseball season. May the 2014 season bring you great satisfaction and enjoyment!
The Masahiro Tanaka Sweepstakes…
It’s been written that the New York Yankees are the favorites to sign prized Japanese free agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, but it’s really anybody’s guess where he will sign. Personally, I could see the Los Angeles Dodgers blowing away the competition, and they would certainly provide a main stage for Tanaka to perform. No offense to the Minnesota Twins, but I couldn’t really see a player with Tanaka’s potential playing in a small market. I would love to see Tanaka sign with the Yankees and I think Hiroki Kuroda would be the perfect mentor to help Tanaka’s transition to the United States. But the Dodgers have a strong history with Japanese players. The Texas Rangers may be players and you certainly cannot underestimate the Seattle Mariners or the Los Angeles Angels. The Tanaka decision will be made within the next three weeks as it has to be completed by January 24th, so it should be interesting to watch Tanaka’s tour and to see how much teams are willing to pay for his potential. Guys like Clayton Kershaw, with free agency looming in the not-so-distant future, have to love this, and it will help enhance the monetary packages it will take to sign or retain them with proven superior performance in the MLB.
If the Yankees lose out on Tanaka, I am not sure what a good Plan B will be. I’ve heard Ubaldo Jimenez’ name mentioned, but it’s not a guarantee that 2013 was a return to the promise he once held or if it was just an aberration and he’ll continue his prior downward slide. Bronson Arroyo, Ervin Santana. None of these names excite me. I am more hopeful that guys like Michael Pineda and Manny Banuelos can come into training camp and make statements for why they should be the guys.
Roster moves await…
With the 40-man roster filled, and the signings of second baseman Brian Roberts or reliever Matt Thornton to be made official, it’s clear the Yankees will need to open roster space. Given the excess at catcher with the signing of Brian McCann, it’s fairly clear that either Austin Romine or J.R. Murphy could be moved. I think we’ll see the departure of Vernon Wells despite his salary friendly status thanks to the Angels. Even something free is not worth keeping if it has no value. As speculated, I could still see a trade of Ichiro Suzuki to a team like the San Francisco Giants. I have no problem with Zoilo Almonte taking the fifth outfielder role, particularly in light of his strong winter play.
I don’t think the Yankees have done enough yet, but I also do not think they are finished. I am confident that by the time training camp opens, the Yankees will have the collection of players capable of restoring the team’s 90+ win ability. Time will tell if they’ve caught up with their prime AL East competitors but at least with the Yankees, you know it won’t be for the lack of trying.
The words of Randy Levine…
Admittedly, I do not know much about Yankees president Randy Levine, but I am not impressed with the man. I wasn’t before the text messages between Levine and Alex Rodriguez were released and I am even less so now. Some of his comments come off as very unprofessional. I remember how vilified Red Sox president Larry Lucchino was by Yankees fans when he made his ‘Evil Empire’ remark and how hated he is, but I really do not see Levine as any better and very likely, much worse. At least Lucchino has overseen three world championships since 2004. The Yankees’ 2009 World Championship was more Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman, among others.
Perhaps Levine is a great leader and effective in his role within the Yankees organization, but it is not apparent from the outside looking in. I can only shake my head when I see his text message comments. Aside from any of his words or how I may feel about the man, I strikes me as very odd that the president of the team would go direct to a player, bypassing the manager and the GM. Maybe it would help if more stories about Levine’s positives were written, but then again, they wouldn’t be interesting and wouldn’t sell papers. So, maybe we’ll never know the good the man potentially does. But as it stands, he just seems like a buffoon to me.
I hope the holiday season has been a very happy time for you and your families. Enjoy the New Year, and may good health, success, happiness, and prosperity be yours!
For Whom the Beltrans…
Well, it’s finally official. The Yankee fan is finally a Yankee. With today’s introductory press conference, the Yankees have continued to rebuild the team’s offense following the departure of Robby Cano and his bat. Carlos Beltran talked about how he has long looked up to the Yankees organization. The backhanded swipes at the Mets certainly didn’t hurt boosting his stock in the Bronx, particularly after those comments made by Curtis Granderson during his Mets press conference earlier in the off-season (even if the Grandy Man was just being lighthearted).
It’s always nice to see guys who genuinely want to be in the Bronx. Brian McCann certainly conveyed that message and Carlos Beltran did the same today. I think Jacoby Ellsbury is just as excited but his situation was a bit different and he is coming off a World Series championship.
Listening to Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi talk, it clearly sounds as if the Yankees outfield will be consisted of Brett Gardner, Ellsbury, and Beltran. Three centerfielders, with two playing out of position. I know, there are a multitude of reasons for why it makes sense to keep Gardner, but he is really the only major league trading chip and the Yankees still need rotation help. They have not shown any desire to pursue the likes of Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, or others that can be had for a simple cash outlay. Johan Santana’s name has been bandied about, and I would see no harm as long as the Yankees clearly invest in a Plan B to go with it. My primary hope is that Michael Pineda can finally show us the potential he had in Seattle. But that’s for the #5 spot. The Yankees should roll the dice with the young organization pitchers, including Pineda, for the last position in the rotation but not both #4 and #5. For #4, the Yankees need a proven performer. Santana is a huge health risk, but if healthy…I know, that’s a big IF…he would significantly solidify the rotation and help mask any further regressions by CC Sabathia or Hiroki Kuroda.
It’s unfortunate the Yankees have to keep an eye on the Alex Rodriguez situation to determine what their next moves will be. I just hope they aren’t caught looking while waiting to find out if A-Rod and his behemoth contract will be an obligation for 2014 or not.
But regardless of what happens for the remainder of the off-season, it goes without question that Carlos Beltran was a good signing. The reports have surfaced that free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo turned down a 7-year, $140 million deal from the Yankees before they turned to Beltran. I would prefer to go with the 3-year Beltran deal as opposed to locking into 7 years with Choo considering the Yankees are already on an extended hook with Ellsbury. At some point, the young talent in the lower levels of the farm system have to make their way to the surface. I have high hopes for Aaron Judge, and I really hope that Slade Heathcott can bring his game to the next level within the next couple of years.
Much has been written about Beltran replacing the lost production in St Louis when Albert Pujols signed his $240 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and is now being asked to do the same with Cano opting for money over a win-first mentality. However, there is a big difference. The Cardinals have Allen Craig and Matt Adams as two very capable first baseman. The Yankees are not so lucky at Cano’s former position. There are no immediate farm system solutions. With Beltran now scheduled to start in Ichiro Suzuki’s position, it is a foregone conclusion that either Ichiro or Vernon Wells will soon be an ex-Yankee. Pitcher Brett Marshall may have paid the price for Beltran’s spot, but I expect Ichiro or Wells to go when the Yankees create roster space for their latest additions. The Yankees will have to include cash if they move Ichiro so that makes Wells the more likely one to go given that the Angels are still paying the majority of his salary.
I keep getting sidetracked when the main topic is Beltran but he opens up much discussion in other areas. I am glad that he’s a Yankee and I truly hope the Yankees can make the additional moves that will be necessary to return one of baseball’s great play-off performers to October. Pitching, pitching, pitching…
Meanwhile, at Second Base…
Kelly Johnson, Eduardo Nunez, Corban Joseph…
None of the names are exciting and it’s more likely that Johnson, with a platoon-mate in Nunez, will be asked to cover third if A-Rod is suspended for a lengthy period as expected. Joseph is not ready so the Yankees signed long-time Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts. Roberts was once one of the best 2B’s in the game, but injuries have robbed him of playing time the last four years. I do not expect him to be a major force at the position this year assuming that he makes the team. It is a curious move for a beloved Oriole to join a hated AL rival. I know that Mike Mussina did it but he was still in his prime. I know, there’s Jacoby Ellsbury too, but again, that player, despite his past injuries, still has prime years ahead. Roberts has seen his better days. At that point, I’d probably go out of division or out of league even if it sacrificed a few dollars to maintain my legacy with the original team.
Roberts will always be a great Oriole. There’s nothing that he can do to take away his quality years. Hopefully, the Baltimore fans will recognize that it was time for Roberts and the O’s to part ways, particularly given their acquisition of second baseman Jemile Weeks. Mike Mussina had quality years with both the O’s and the Yankees. Roberts will be like Luis Tiant. The best years were with the home team, and the last year or two were with the Yankees.
At this point, it does appear the Yankees will be heading to spring training with Roberts, Nunez and Johnson covering second. However, things will change when the A-Rod drama is finally put to rest. I was surprised the Yankees didn’t try harder for Omar Infante. It’s not often the Kansas City Royals beat the Yankees in free agency.
As for third…
It’s a given that A-Rod will be lost for a certain amount of time. It’s just a question for how long. I would like to see a trade for the San Diego Padres third baseman, Chase Headley, something that has been mentioned on and off for the last few years. We know that it won’t be a return of last year’s third base wannabe, Kevin Youkilis (thwarted by injuries to the surprise of no one). Youk in stating a preference to being closer to his West Coast home, decided to take his family on a one year vacation touring Japan. I am not quite sure how the DL works in the Japanese League but I guess we’ll find out. I loved Wallace Matthews’ quote that Youk will probably be injured on the plane trip to Japan.
Another third base possibility, and former Yank, Casey McGehee, signed with the Miami Marlins. So, like second base, pickings are getting very slim at the infield positions. I fully expect the Yankees to lose one of their promising young catchers in any trade.
I was disappointed to see Boone Logan go. Good for him in signing the three year contract with the Colorado Rockies. Denver is a wonderful city and I do not begrudge anyone who wants to be a part of that community. But still, he was a solid option in the pen for the Yanks and will be missed. To replace him, the Yankees signed former Sox (both White and Red) reliever Matt Thornton. A great lefty, no doubt, but one that is 37. All things considered, I would have preferred a few more years of Logan. I’d like to see a younger guy like Nik Turley take it to the next level but I am fearful that Turley will be a roster casualty with the additional moves the Yankees have yet and still need to make.
I am not sure how I feel about David Robertson as closer. When Mariano Rivera was hurt in Kansas City early in the 2012 season, Robertson failed in his brief appearance as closer. If memory serves correctly, he was injured and it opened the door for Rafael Soriano to grab the job and run with it. If the Yankees opt to go with Robertson, they need another Plan B like Soriano in place. Yes, I know, there are only so many spots on a 25-man roster for Plan B…
On the bright side, catcher and center field are locked up… 😉
I don’t expect much in the way of Yankees news next week so Operation Improvement will have to be resumed in January. Meanwhile, Happy Holidays to All! Enjoy!
The dawn of a new day…
This is tough for me. I started my blogging on MLBlogs and consistently ranked in the Top 20 during my two year association with the site (for fan blogs). I’ve decided it is time to go to a stand-alone site, and just enjoy doing what I like to do…talk about the Yankees and whatever other sports topic that might cross my mind. This is not about trying to seduce other bloggers to visit your site to boost the popularity numbers. Hopefully, there will be key words or tags that lead people to my new site (http://scofid23.blogspot.com/).
I have truly enjoyed the blogging community regardless of what service you subscribe to. People who like to write are a very passionate crew, and there is definitely a strong camaraderie that exists among the “family”. Maybe nobody ever reads this blog, but is that really the point? Everyone has an opinion. I am no different than anyone else. I like to write, and this is my release.
Well, this is a sports-related blog so let’s get it going…
A huge week ahead…
This is a very crucial week for the Yankees as the trading deadline approaches. Of course, I always feel like there needs to be a caveat attached to the July trading deadline as teams still have to the end of August to make trades albeit subject to the waivers process. Yeah, like Evan Longoria is going to clear waivers. Granted, there’s no way the Rays would be foolish enough to trade Longoria but you get the picture.
I still think if the Yankees make a move for a frontline pitcher, it will be a potential trade that we’ve heard nothing about. There is no way that Ubaldo Jimenez is going to find his way to the Bronx. I really don’t think the Colorado Rockies are motivated to make the move, plus I don’t think the Yankees would be willing to part with the talent that would be necessary to swing the deal. At this point, I am not expected a frontline pitcher although I realize that is probably the only hope for the Yankees chances to compete for their 28th World Championship. They have a good team, but not good enough to advance past the Boston Red Sox or the Texas Rangers in a short series.
You could say that this week will determine the fate of GM Brian Cashman, who’s contract expires at the end of the season. He is in a tough spot as no team is going to hand him an ace, and if he fails to advance in October, there will be a press conference to announce him as some other team’s new GM in the off-season.
I am glad to hear that 3B Eric Chavez is about to come off the DL. With Alex Rodriguez still a few weeks away, it will be nice to have Chavez in the lineup…even on a part time basis with Eduardo Nunez. I like Brandon Laird but his day will come. For now, it’s time for him to go back down to Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
Down, set, 244, 244, hut, hut…
I am glad the NFL has finally settled their differences with the Players Association. Granted, there was no way that either side was going to pass up huge pay days, but it sucks for us fans that they put us through the lockout for the past few months. As a Vikings fan, it is the end of July and I don’t know if WR Sidney Rice will be wearing purple or catching TD passes from some other team’s QB this fall. The most experienced QB on the roster is a one year veteran (Joe Webb) who was originally drafted as a WR after playing QB in college. I am a Christian Ponder fan but I don’t want Ponder to start until he is ready. I would definitely prefer a stopgap at QB until Ponder is ready to take over, so I am okay with a signing of Matt Hasselbeck or a trade for Donovan McNabb. But, as Brett Favre rumors re-surface, I really don’t want to see #4 back on the sidelines for a third season.
I am excited about this football season. I’ve been a Vikings fan all my life, but I’ve never attended a home game. I’ve seen the Vikings play on the road over the years, but I wasn’t raised in Minnesota and hadn’t lived in the state until last week. Work brought me to Minneapolis, so I am now within walking distance of the Metrodome. Rest assured that I’ll be attending my first Vikings home game this fall. Skol Vikings!
Have a great week, everyone!
I don’t have a beret to throw in the air…
I am finally living in an American League city once again. Today is my first day as a resident of the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Somehow, recent years have found me in National League cities, which is tough as an American League fan. Nevertheless, I persevered and now reside in a city that houses good baseball tradition. In fact, from my living room window, I can see the lights of Target Field. Sweet! Of course, I will never be able to admit that I am a Yankees fan in public given the bad blood between the Yankees and Twins. I’d probably have better luck wearing a Sox cap…
I am looking forward to learning about my new city, and I am excited about the opportunity and potential the area provides. Yes, I’ll have to get used to winters again, but after living in areas where winter meant a 20 or 30 degree dip in average temps, I am looking forward to true changes of seasons. Growing up in the Midwest, I never complained about snowfall and it was always one of my favorite enjoyments. The only issue I have with winter is ice. Outside of that, I can deal with the cold temps and the white, frosty surroundings.
Oddly, as a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan, this will be the first time that I’ve been surrounded by Vikings fans. Admittedly, that’s going to be very strange. Growing up in southeast Iowa, Vikings fans were mixed among fans of the Bears, Packers, Chiefs, and the then St. Louis football Cardinals with the Bears as perhaps the predominate favorite. I’ve seen the Vikings play in person over the years, but they’ve always been road games. I never made it to the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington nor have I been to the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis. That’s obviously going to change, but admittedly, it will be strange seeing everyone around me wearing purple and gold.
I am glad to be in Minnesota, and I am looking forward to a very long stay. And, no, I am not suddenly going to become a fan of Carl Pavano…
Fundamentals, is it really that hard?…
I was very disappointed to see the Yankees lose a close game to the Tampa Bay Rays last night due to errors. When you are playing one of your key rivals, anything less than your best is unacceptable. The Yankees had a chance to bury the Rays and couldn’t do it. While the Boston Red Sox are running away with the AL East, the Yankees need to make sure that they put distance between themselves and the other wild card challengers like the Rays. Losing a game because you are outplayed is one thing, but to lose a game because of your own incompetence is wrong. The Rays had encountered a tough stretch of games with the 16 inning loss to the Red Sox, followed by the baseloaded walk loss to the Yankees. Another loss last night could have started driving a stake in the heart of the Rays. But the Yankees allowed the Rays to resume their Wild Card drive, and last year those types of games allowed the Rays to best the Yanks in the East.
The Rays clearly have the superior pitching rotation, but the Yankees are the offensive club…even with Alex Rodriguez on the DL. With the series tied after two games with two to play, the Yankees have to ensure that they leave St. Petersburg with no less than a split.
The price of an ace…
The trade rumors involving the Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez are great, but I am hesitant given the high cost that would be involved. I get that Jimenez is young (27) and has a very affordable contract for the next few years, but giving up Manny Banuelos and Jesus Montero (and others) seems like such a high price to pay. I like Jimenez and his road splits away from Coors Field are ridiculous, but I simply cannot condone giving away the farm to bring him to the Bronx. That’s tough because who really knows if Banuelos and Montero will be genuine stars. The cool demeanor of Banuelos seems like a perfect play in Yankee Stadium, and I do really believe that he is destined for greatness. I also recognize that if CC Sabathia opts out of his contract and signs elsewhere this off-season, the Yankees will be lacking an ace. Nevertheless, I do not think the Yankees should make the Jimenez trade unless the price is right. Given the completion for the pitcher, I just don’t think that will happen. The best deal for the Yankees would be one that no one is talking about. Once the talk goes public, there is too much potential for other teams, like the Red Sox, to muck things up for no other reason than to drive up the price it would cost the Yankees.
When the Red Sox acquired Josh Beckett from the Florida Marlins, there was not much speculation ahead of the trade. The Yankees need that same stealth like approach to their next major acquisition.
And the young respond…
I am glad to see some of the guys from the Yankees farm system get their opportunity. Guys like Brandon Laird, who was called up when Ramiro Pena went on the DL, and pitcher Steve Garrison. I’ve really wanted to see what Laird could do in a platoon situation with Eduardo Nunez at third so now is his chance.
Yes, I thank my lucky stars every night for David Robertson…
Charles Wenzelberg/NY Daily News
I was listening to MLB Radio this week and I heard a Red Sox fan give kudos to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. I was glad to hear those types of comments because I hold a similar high respect for certain Red Sox players like Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester. It seems so un-Yankee like to respect a Sox player, but Pedey and Lester play the game the way it is supposed to be played. There’s no way that I could ever root against those guys. If I was a team owner, they would be among the first players that I would want to acquire for my team.
You have to go back to the 1920’s? Really?
The Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates in first place? I can’t believe how much media attention that has gotten. I do not expect either team to be a factor come October, but it’s nice to see their fans having reason to cheer this late in the season. I enjoyed the early 1990’s when the Pirates were a factor in the play-offs every year. After years of trading stars for prospects, it is nice to see the team thriving on those prospects. But much of the credit has to go to first year manager Clint Hurdle. Similarly, the Tribe’s success has to be attributed to Manny Acta. Both men know how to get the most out of their guys. It is very refreshing to see. Nevertheless, I still do not see anything that’s going to derail a Boston Red Sox-Philadelphia Phillies World Series.
Yes, I am finally home…
“…You can have a town, why don’t you take it. You’re gonna make it after all.” I finally get what Mary Tyler Moore was saying after all these years…
Forget about 3 out of 4…
The Yankees may have won the weekend series against the Cleveland Indians, 3 games to 1, but they should have swept the series. What happened on Saturday? Four games and all I want to know is what happened to Joba Chamberlain?
With a 10-4 lead in the fifth inning, the Yankees should have been able to skate to the victory. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. CC Sabathia was less than sharp, so he does hold some responsibility for the Tribe’s momentum that ultimately led to the erasure of the six run lead against Sabathia and the New York bullpen.
But it’s getting torturous to watch Joba come into the game at times.
The last two games, although close early on, were both heavily tilted toward the Yankees by the end of the games. There was a sense that the Yankees would score the necessary runs in both games, which they won 7-3 and 11-2 on Sunday and Monday. However, there was a common denominator in both games. Neither featured an appearance by Joba Chamberlain. At this point, we don’t know if he has a short memory or if this two week stretch is a sign of things to come. Hopefully, he’ll right the ship and catch up with his teammates who appear to have moved past the struggles of late.
Speaking of today’s win, hats off to Andy Pettitte. It was a terrific outing by the left hander and in winning his 7th game of the season, he tied the Chairman of the Board, Whitey Ford, for 60th place on the all-time wins list at 236. Of course, you have to wonder what could have been in terms of those three years in Houston. When Andy left via free agency, I was surprised at the time given where he was on the Yankees career list for wins by a lefty. So, instead of tying Ford for the most wins in franchise history, he is 37 wins behind at 199 Yankees victories. This has been a fantastic year for Pettitte (7-1, 2.48 ERA), however, I feel this may be his last given how much more he has been talking about his family this year. Regardless of what happens, Andy is doing it his way…
It is a startling statistic when Mark Teixeira is intentionally walked. The grand slam by Alex Rodriguez in the seventh inning broke open what had been a tight pitching duel between Pettitte and Indians rookie Mitch Talbot. When Teixeira is given a free pass, A-Rod is 5-for-5 with 3 home runs and 18 RBI’s. So, please AL Managers, please continue to walk Mark Teixeira at your leisure! J
Derek Jeter was hit by a Talbot pitch in the second inning and left the game after hitting a single in the 7th inning when the hamstring tightened. Hopefully, DJ will be fine after a night’s rest.
A special shout out to two brilliant pitching performances over the weekend. Roy Halladay went a long way toward making Philly fans forget his recent rocky performances and Cliff Lee along the way in throwing a perfect game on Saturday night. It was the 20th perfect game in Major League history and the second game this season (Dallas Braden of the Oakland A’s threw the other perfect game this season). Also, Ubaldo Jimenez (10-1) of the Colorado Rockies became the majors’ first 10 game winner with a 4-0 victory over Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants.
The Tampa Bay Rays lost to the Toronto Blue Jays today so the Yankees are just 2.5 games out of first place. But of course, the Jays and the Boston Red Sox are nipping at their heels. The Jays are just a game behind the Yankees, and the Red Sox are just 2.5 games back. So, the AL East lead could be taken by any one of the four teams depending upon who gets hot. Let’s hope it gets hot for the Yankees…very hot!
The WBC is quite interesting after all…
I have to admit that I am starting to get caught up with the World Baseball Classic. At first, I dismissed it as a ploy by the Commissioner and viewed it as something that would prevent certain players from getting quality spring training time with their respective teams. Granted, a Derek Jeter doesn’t have to worry that someone’s going to steal his job while he is away, but how about someone like Carlos Marmol? Carlos should be the Cubs’ closer this year since Kerry Wood signed with Cleveland in the off-season. However, the Cubs did acquire the Florida Marlins closer Kevin Gregg in the off-season. I have not been following the Cubs that closely, so I don’t know if Marmol has already been given the closer’s role by Manager Lou Piniella or if he is in competition with Gregg. But regardless, time away from Cubs camp can’t be beneficial.
On the same token, Kevin Cash is fighting for a Yankees roster spot as the third catcher. Meanwhile, Francisco Cervelli has been with the WBC’s Team Italy. Granted, Italy has been eliminated and Cervelli is on his way to Tampa to join up with the Yanks. But still, the time away most likely was more beneficial for Cash than it was Cervelli.
Sorry, I digressed…
I am very surprised to see the Netherlands’ victory over the Dominican Republic. On the bright side, it means that Robinson Cano and Damaso Marte will be on their way back to camp. But I still have to believe that the DR was the better team. Well, I guess on “any given Tuesday”, everyone has a chance. That’s why the play the games, right?
Two things did stand out to me about the Netherlands-DR game.
First, Ubaldo Jimenez is a freak. Ten strikeouts in four innings. Two hits, no runs, no walks, and 43 of 65 pitches were for strikes. It’s a tremendous line score, and is obviously a tournament record. I’ve known that Jimenez was good, I just didn’t realize that he was this good. The Rockies are very fortunate to have him.
Secondly, Pedro Martinez pitched very well and certainly deserves another opportunity. The Mets are on record saying they have no interest in re-signing Pedro, but you’d think someone would take the chance. I mean, c’mon, if you have the chance to go with Carl “The American Idle” Pavano or Pedro Martinez (albeit the antique version), you tell me you’re going to go with the guy most likely to hit the DL first? I’d think a team that is capable of contending, like the Indians, would take a chance on Pedro as their fifth starter. In the Netherlands-DR game, Pedro pitched very well (three innings, no hits, no runs, no walks, and two strikeouts).
The WBC games have been very entertaining, and I am looking forward to the second round. Plus, Jimmy Curran has my interest piqued about Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish…
Steroids, the topic that won’t go away
Alex Rodriguez should be thankful for the torn labrum. The injury and the subsequent surgery have caused people to focus on things other than his admitted steroids use. So, the surgery definitely has had some positive impact despite the negative of keeping A-Rod out of action for 6-9 weeks.
Meanwhile, the negative reports for Roger Clemens keep coming in. Now, Brian McNamee is saying that he injected Clemens with drugs in the Jacuzzi at Yankee Stadium. At this point, I fully believe that McNamee is telling the truth. From my perspective, what Clemens has done is far worse than anything A-Rod did.
Okay, maybe that’s not Clemens, but it could be! 😉
I used to feel that Clemens would be a shoo-in for first ballot Hall of Fame. Now, I don’t believe he should ever get in (not even posthumously).
Aside from Barry Bonds, Yankees who have taken steroids seem to get triple the press magnification than players from other teams. I realize that New York City is THE major market, but I’d have to believe that steroids found their way into other locker rooms and no team was immune.
Examples should be made of the so-called liars like Clemens and Bonds. I will always have more respect for those who step forward and admit their indiscretions and crimes than I will for those who continue to deny their guilt.
CC Sabathia didn’t last long today as he gave up 5 runs on 6 hits, and didn’t make it out of the second inning in the Yankees 7-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers. One of the hits was a home run by former Yankee Gary Sheffield. Ouch!
Meanwhile, Joba Chamberlain pitched much more effectively than he did his previous outing in Tuesday night’s 7-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds. He allowed one run on three hits, striking out three and walking none, in two innings of work.
Sounds like GM Brian Cashman is content to start the season with Cody Ransom as the starting third baseman. “I’m not optimistic about doing anything,” Cashman said. “I’m not going to be proactive in trying to do something. If something presents itself that makes sense, which is not realistic, then maybe it will be somebody different. I think our answer is here in camp.” Of course, you never know if that is talk to downplay any sense of desperation on the Yankees’ part or if Cashman is truly intending to stand pat. My guess is that there isn’t anything that makes sense and it’s not worth parting with a blue-chip prospect at this point. Now, if Ransom gets off to a very slow start…
Alex Rodriguez left a voice mail message for Manager Joe Girardi on Tuesday night that said, “I’m doing well.” I am hopeful that it means the recovery will be closer to six weeks than nine weeks!
It’s not Yankees news, but for everything negative about Manny Ramirez, there is no question that he is in a league of his own when it comes to hitting. I noticed these comments by Donnie Baseball, the Dodgers hitting coach. “By 8 [a.m.], he’s in the cage. He’ll only take 30 to 35 balls, but he’s almost perfect with them. He does it slow. He doesn’t rush. He’s not firing ball after ball. He takes his time with each swing. It’s like each swing is a whole at-bat. He thinks about what he wants to do and then he thinks about what he just did. Every swing he takes with a purpose. And he doesn’t talk much when he’s hitting. But if he doesn’t like one, he’ll ask what you think he did.” I don’t condone how Manny treated the Boston fans or the organization, or how he quit on his teammates, but I respect his ability to hit. That was the only reason that I wanted the Yankees to sign him.
The Sharks Win, The Sharks Win, TTTHHEEE SHHHAARRRKKKS WIN!
Okay, they blew a three-goal lead but the San Jose Sharks finally won last night, beating the Minnesota Wild, 5-4, in overtime. Wins have been hard to come by for the Sharks in recent weeks, so I’ll take any victory that I can.
“We won finally and that’s a real good thing,” said Sharks coach Todd McLellan. “But I’m disappointed in the way we carry ourselves. I’d like to see some guys step up and swing the bat. I want to see guys take the challenge on a little bit more.”
It was the Sharks first victory in five games.
I am hopeful that the victory will reignite some momentum for the Sharks as they continue the drive for the post-season.