Monday, November 30, 2009

Tiger, We Have A Right to Know

Dear Tiger,

Last week you crashed into a fire hydrant and tree after your wife went after you with your own golf clubs. At least that's what I've decided happened. Please just admit it. I have a right to know. What gives me that right, you ask? Let me list the ways.

One time, I was watching Golf on television, and you missed your putt. So let's recap, I was watching Golf (you already owe me) and you missed your putt.

Another time, you won a major championship that I didn't even know was being played, or existed, and I read about it in the paper. Well, I saw the headline anyway, and to be honest, it may have just been an article about Tigers, but either way you owe me.

I've also seen Buick ads on any number of websites that bore your image. I even thought about buying a Buick once, so I have earned the right to know every detail of your personal life, as well as to speculate online about it, and to expect you to respond to my irresponsible speculations.

So let's recap. I've seen you on TV, I've read about you in the papers, and I've seen you in advertisements. How do you not owe me the most personal details of your life? Asshole.

The Daily News Attempts to Start Bidding War for Halladay

Last week, the Daily News reported that the Red Sox were itching to get a deal done with Roy Halladay before the start of the Winter Meetings next Monday. Then, they reported that Halladay would accept a trade to the Yankees. Now, the Daily News is reporting that, while John Henry really wants to trade for Halladay, Theo Epstein is not in any way interested in doing so. Hard to see how the Red Sox are furiously working to get a trade done when their GM is still fighting their boss about it. That said, it seems like the Daily News is trying to single-handedly get the Yankees involved in the Halladay hunt, starting a bidding war between them and Boston, and finally giving them some actual news to write about. It's genius. Evil genius. But genius.

Jeter Named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year

Sports Illustrated has honored Jeter with their Sportsman of the Year award, making Jeter the first Yankee player to be given the award since its inception in 1954. Though I'm not surprised that Jeter was chosen for this award, I was a little surprised that no other Yankee had been. Since 1954, such Yankee greats as Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Elston Howard, Allie Reynolds, Ron Guidry, Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson, Bobby Murcer, Willie Randolph, Goose Gossage, Don Mattingly, Bernie Williams, etc. played. Is there a bias against the Yankees? With 27 world championships, it really doesn't matter.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Prophetic Vision?

Last night I had a dream. There was a breaking report on a sports themed television show (think Sportscenter, though I no longer watch ESPN). Halladay had been traded to the Yankees for the cost of only two players. One was a pitcher, and the other a minor league position player. The broadcasters did not tell me who those position players were, as they left that cliffhanger for when they returned from commercial break. That, of course, was the extent of the dream. I can only assume it was a prophetic vision, so prepare yourselves for Roy Halladay in the near future, at a surprisingly lower cost than we'd expected.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hope You're Shopping

Not because I care that much about shopping, but Baseball news is real slow right now. So slow I was forced to write about a golfer.

For those interested, here is the Canadian report on Halladay's willingness to come to the Yanks.

Did Tiger Woods Get Husband Beaten?

There are a lot of stories going around concerning Tiger Woods's recent car accident and trip to the hospital. Tiger left his house a little after 2 a.m. the morning after Thanksgiving, and had barely gotten out of the driveway when he killed a fire hydrant and then tried to mow down a neighbor's tree in his Escalade (You know Buick is pissed right now). Initial reports indicated that Tiger's wife, whose last name cannot be pronounced and should probably be represented by a symbol, a la The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, used a golf club to smash the rear windshield of his Escalade in order to free him from the vehicle.

When police arrived Woods was sprawled out on the lawn, going in and out of consciousness. The crash was at a relatively low speed, as the airbags didn't even deploy. Other indications that he wasn't going that fast are that he didn't even get past his neighbor's tree, so he couldn't have been going very fast even if he wanted to if that was all the distance he'd managed to travel.

Now it's being reported that his wife was pissed about a series of reports detailing an affair Tiger Woods was having with some woman no one's ever heard of (which, if you're Tiger Woods and going to have an affair, a woman no one's ever heard of sounds about right).

There was once a time when women married to public figures who had affairs used to stand by like idiots supportively while their husbands pretended to be sorry (think Hillary, that New Jersey governor guy whose name I can't be bothered to google, and Elliot Spitzer).

Of course, that all ended when Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina admitted his affair. Jenny Sanford was not at her husband's press conference, then she threw him out of his own house (damn, that's gangster. She lives by herself in the governor's mansion and she's not even the governor).

But it seems Mrs. Woods has taken it to another level. You don't start slipping out of consciousness from a 15 mph car accident, you slip out of consciousness when you're pissed off Swedish wife goes upside your head with a golf club (be glad Woods wasn't a world famous hunter). Not only did Woods get chased out his own house, he may have gotten his ass beat on his own front lawn. And people say the feminist movement is dead.

Big, Big, News. Well . . . Not Really

The Daily News is reporting that Canada's Slam Sports website is reporting that Halladay has informed the Jays that he would waive his no-trade clause if moved to the Yankees. This would seem to be big news, except that it's not. Of course Halladay would accept a trade to New York. Halladay wants to play for a contender and the Yankees fit the bill. So, while this isn't bad news, it hardly means all that much. Good slow news day story though.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Miscellaneous Items is reporting that Sammy Sosa is being sued for $203,000 in the Dominican Republic. The suit alleges that Sosa borrowed some skin cream and never returned it. "I bought that face cream in Asia," explained the claimant, Carim Abu Nabaa, "he never returned it, then he took all these pictures while wearing it and got all the attention. I think he stole my green contact lenses too, but I can't prove it yet."

In addition to this story, has some photo galleries of a young Derek Jeter and an old, but younger than he is now, George Steinbrenner. Frankly, I wish I'd never seen this photo (no wonder Derek doesn't want to hang out with A-Rod anymore, I wouldn't want to be reminded of that either). And I find this photo interesting, because the way the Boss is looking at that bird, suggests he wants to do this to it.

Question: Cano for King Felix?

I'm not saying that this is a likely scenario, and there has been no talks of any such deal, but if Seattle approached the Yankees and wanted to trade King Felix for Robinson Cano, straight up, would you do it? Or what if the pitcher in question is Roy Halladay? Would you pull the trigger on that deal? The free agent market is pretty good for second baseman, or shortstops who can be converted to second base, and that list includes such candidates as Orlando Hudson, Felipe Lopez, or Placido Polanco. Maybe even a guy like Marco Scutaro for a year wouldn't be bad, or Mark Derosa who I think would be a great fit could fill in. The point is, there are plenty of second base options even if we don't fully recover Cano's bat. That being said, if it lands us an elite pitcher, would you pull the trigger?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Something to Consider

Let's say the Red Sox land Roy Halladay. Yankees fans are in a panic, even though that hardly guarantees anything for the Red Sox. Cashman puts on his ninja suit, turns off his bootleg copy of 'Ninja Assassins' and calls up Detroit GM Bill Moyer (okay, I don't know who Detroit's GM is). A few hours later he's landed Edwin Jackson for Brian Bruney. Our top three are now CC, AJ, and Jackson (who is 26 years old). How does that sound?

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I kept reading Thanksgiving themed articles today, only to realize, 'Oh sh*t! Today is Thanksgiving!' You'll have to forgive me for forgetting, as it's not a holiday here in the UK, so it's just Thursday for me. That said, happy Thanksgiving to all our readers. I know a number of you are students and that you probably just got through a round of midterms, so congrats on getting through that and enjoy a well-deserved break.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

White Sox Give Up on Season, Look to 2011

The White Sox, acknowledging that they cannot be competitive with Detroit and Minnesota in the coming year, have thrown in the towel. With the report that the Chicago White Sox have signed Andruw Jones to a one year deal, Kenny Williams has signaled that the White Sox have no intention of even trying in 2010.

"Look, sometimes you just have to be honest with yourself," explained Williams. "We're looking long-term. The short-term? Not so much."

Andruw Jones was once a sure fire hall of famer, but has never been able to perform outside of Atlanta or inside of drug testing, often showing up to training camp looking more like a contestant on 'The Biggest Loser' than a ballplayer. By signing him prior to the 2010 campaign, Chicago sends a clear message to their fans.

"Forget about next year," is how Williams boiled down that message. "It's only a one year deal, so we have high hopes for 2011. In the meantime, we just need some bodies to take up space. Enter Mr. Jones."

Damon Makes a Good Point

Both the Post and the Daily News had articles on Johnny Damon today, as he was at the Empire State Building doing something that had to do with racing which I'm sure none of you care about. Both articles pretty much have the same quotes, but there is one worth paying attention to. That is Damon's mentioning of the fact that while a Yankee he helped recruit free agents to New York such as CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett.

Damon has not only been a positive presence in the clubhouse, but he's also reached out to a number of Yankee targets during his time here, helping to lure them in. Not to say that Damon is the sole reason any of those players came to New York, but I think it has to be taken into consideration as far as bringing him back is concerned (assuming the price is reasonable).

Are The Yankees Taking It Too Slow?

The Yankees don't yet know what their budget looks like for next year. According to an article in the Post, Brian Cashman will not know what payroll looks like until next week.

The Yankees just won a world championship and could be forgiven for taking it a little easy in its aftermath, especially since the team doesn't have many glaring holes, unless you consider the rotation if Pettitte decides to go out a champion.

Other teams, including the rival Boston Red Sox, have probably been done with their organizational meetings for some time, seeing as their seasons ended much sooner than the Yankees'.

The Daily News is reporting that the Red Sox are making a full-court press to land Roy Halladay in a blockbuster trade that they hope to complete before the Winter Meetings (beginning Dec. 7th). So while the Yankees are trying to figure out their budget and taking Thanksgiving off, the Red Sox will be busy trying to make a trade for Halladay and sign him to an extension.

Halladay is the only player the Red Sox could acquire that has the potential to alter their position in the division. A front three of Halladay, Beckett, and Lester would be pretty imposing, even with Beckett's inconsistency. The Yanks need to stop dithering around and get involved in the open market. I understand if they're not that interested in negotiating with free agents right now as there is not much out there better than the three guys the Yanks will potentially try to bring back. That said, if Halladay requires an extension to accept a trade, you can't wait until next week to know what you're budget is when the Sox are looking to complete a trade by next week.

The Yanks do have one advantage over the Sox: AJ Burnett. Burnett and Halladay became good friends while in Toronto, and if Burnett helps recruit Halladay, Halladay could use his full no-trade powers to force a trade to the Yankees (unlikely, but not impossible). A starting three of CC, Halladay, and AJ would likely spell a new Yankees dynasty (so long as they stay healthy) and you simply cannot let Halladay go to Boston because you didn't know what your budget is yet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No Game Plan Yet

It was recently reported on the Lohud Yankees blog that the off season has yet to be mapped out for the Yankees. As Cashman is quoted as saying "I’ve had my pro scouting meetings, now I’m talking to ownership about budgets. Obviously we’re working through every level on that. We haven’t game planned yet." We caught up with Cashman to ask him some questions about the lack of a game plan, and this is what he had to say.

"Its not that we haven't tried to come up with a game plan, its that we've been distracted by all the news. How are we supposed to map out the course of the off season when we know it's coming?" Stated Cashman.

When asked what he was referring to, Cashman responded.

"Haven't you been watching the news? Its coming, and it will change everything. Forget the Yankees for now, forget 2010, this is a game changer and the end of everything as we know it."

What was Cashman referring to? What was this game changer he kept referencing?

"Its here." Said Cashman. "The Droid."

"What, like the cell phone?" We asked.

"No, not a cell phone. Its a Droid. And what the Droid can do, no other cell phone can do."

"So you haven't planned the course of the Yankees, because you were waiting for a new phone?"

"Are you listening to me?! Its a Droid! Do you understand what this means!? This is judgement day! Terminators and iRobots dancing on our graves! That creepy Honda robot enslaving humanity. You know that robot lawn mower? Its going to lawn mow your face! The Droid is their leader! The Droid is Skynet! I'm John Connor! Will you join me?!"

Cashman pulled a Derek Jeter model baseball bat he had concealed in his jacket.

"Come with me if you want to live."

We thought Cashman had lost it, but he sounded pretty convincing. So our apologies to the Verizon store in lower Manhatten. We were present while Brian Cashman wrecked your Droid store display.

Is it officially slow news season yet?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mauer the Likely Winner, but Once Murdered a Moose

Joe Mauer is the likely MVP this season. Its hard to argue against his .365 average with 28 homeruns and 96 RBI's, but his numbers are just apart of the story. Mauer's performance this season led the Twins right into the playoffs, and that makes him pretty valuable. However, recent reports have revealed that the likely MVP once murdered a moose. In cold blood.

"Sometimes, a moose will get on your property and for the sake of your family and children, you have to kill them, but that's not how it was with Mauer." Described one eye witness on condition of anonymity. "Mauer went into the wild, found a moose, and killed it. It had no chance to defend itself. I'm no animal lover, but even that bothered me."

How did he kill the moose?

"On the way there, Mauer found a rattlesnake, he caught it alive, and when he found the moose, he strangled it with the snake. I kid you not. There he was strangling a moose with a rattlesnake yelling 'I'm the MVP moose! Not you! Me!'. I've never been so traumatized."

Asked why Mauer killed the moose, the eye witness explained.

"Mauer sometimes gets a taste for blood. He quells it by killing animals, but sometimes its just not enough. Sometimes he has to kill humans. That's when it gets really bad, and no one can stop him."

Who knew?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blast From the Past is reporting that the White Sox are close to a deal with none other than Omar Vizquel. Once considered the best defensive shortstop in baseball, and half of the best double-play combination in baseball at the time while he was with Cleveland with second baseman Roberto Alomar, the veteran shortstop is now close to signing with a new team. The signing, however, has caught some people by surprise.

"He's still alive?" asked a surprise Jamie Moyer. "I think I was watching him play when I was a kid. How the hell is he still playing?"

"What position will he play?" asked Jimmy Rollins. When told shortstop, he responded, "No, seriously." Told we were serious, Rollins had only one response, "Whatever, I just know we're the better team."

Cal Ripken, for one, was happy for Vizquel. "I remember when I first came into the league, he really helped me with some of the veteran advice he would give me. I wish him all the best."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Kicking Roy Halladay's Tires

Recently, there has been a lot of talk of 'kicking the tires' on Roy Halladay. Roy Halladay, for one, is tired of it.

"The other day I was filling up my tank at the gas station, and some punk kid comes up to my car, kicks the Pirellis, then runs off yelling, 'I kicked the tires on you Halladay!'" explained Halladay.

Halladay understands that teams may be interested in him, but he does not approve of tire kicking. "I just want to be able to leave my car in the driveway without having to worry about my twenty-twos."

The tire kicking has even escalated. "The other day, I was just standing there, then some kid kicks me in the love handle and yells, 'I kicked the tire on you, b**ch!' I couldn't believe it. This has gotten completely out of hand."

Roy is afraid to drive anywhere, sending his wife on most of his errands. "My life has been turned completely upside down. Why won't Toronto just trade me already?"


Scott Boras Reveals Report on Damon DNA

Scott Boras has made it clear that he intends to land Johnny Damon a multi-year deal for more than what he made in his last contract. Boras points to Johnny Damon's DNA as reason for why he will hold up and be productive over a multi-year contract. Today, as the free agent market has opened up, Boras has revealed a report conducted by scientists at MIT regarding Johnny Damon's DNA.

"Its amazing stuff." Explained Boras. "I put together a team of scientists from MIT to draw blood, muscle, hair, and skin samples from Johnny Damon. What they found was incredible. Not human even. Super human in fact."

What was Boras referring to?

"Within Johnny Damon's genetic makeup we found trace amounts of shark, hawk, lion, tank, ninja, horse, wine and raptor DNA as well. He is built tough, and won't decline one bit. He'll probably even get better. It actually explains a lot. Like his durability and prestine condition. This kind of DNA in a ball player is worth at least $20 million a season for the next 10 seasons. Maybe even $30 million if you consider the effects all those DNA's mixed together can give you."

What did Boras mean?

"Think about it, wine gets better with age. If you have wine DNA, you'll only improve as you get older. Now think of that combined with everything else: eyes of a hawk, jaws of a shark, stealth of a ninja, speed of a raptor, majesty of a horse, build of a tank, and strength of a lion? What else do you need from a baseball player? Right there you have at least 40 homeruns, 100 stolen bases, gold glove defense, and 200 hits a season. Can you find a player on the market right now with those kinds of numbers?"

Unsure of how to proceed with the interview, Boras intervened.

"Look you have the Angels putting together The Team. A compilation of super humans capable of defeating regular humans whenever they please. Do you remember when Scioscia asked if Sabathia could strike out Superman? What do you think? The Yankees will need super humans to battle super humans, and you know what? Johnny Damon can hit a Superman fastball any day of the week."

So there you have it, Boras is looking for a 10 year $300 million contract for Johnny Damon.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Kicking the Tires on Roy Halladay

Without a doubt, a lot of the attention this off season is going to revolve around Roy Halladay. He's available, he's an elite pitcher, and many teams will be interested in him. The Yankees have a pretty good farm system, with many appealing players they can trade for him, but this may not be enough. Many teams have prospects they can trade, and if it comes down to who can trade the most and the best prospects, the price could easily become too large. Could you imagine getting into a bidding war where we end up trading Joba, Hughes, Jackson and Montero? But the Yankees have something other teams do not. 27 world championships you say? Yes, but not what I was thinking. The Yankees have money. Bundles of it. Even the bat boy sleeps on a pillow stuffed with $100 bills, and Cashman washes his Bentley with $50's. Money is there. How does money get us Halladay? Well, hear me out...

The Blue Jays gave one of the worst contracts in their history to a player they thought would be a perennial power threat. They then back loaded this contract making it nearly impossible to trade the man. I of course am talking about centerfielder Vernon Wells. I can already hear your scoffs and gnashings of teeth, but hear me out. Wells is signed through 2014 where he will play at the age of 35. He's had a bit of a power outage over the last couple years, and injuries have really affected his play. That being said, in 2008 in 108 games he hit .300 with 20 homeruns and 78 RBI's. That's while missing more than a third of the season. 2009 he experienced a dip, playing 158 games and batting .260 with 15 homeruns and 66 RBI's. What was the issue? Well, back in March 0f 2009 it was reported that Wells missed a spring training game with a sore left wrist. He had fractured the wrist in 2008. Just a week ago, Wells had surgery to repair cartilage damage in his left wrist. I think its reasonable to assume that that had something to do with his drop in production last season.

The Blue Jays are stuck with this contract, and as a team that does not have immense financial resources, this sort of contract can handcuff them. Think Miguel Tejada and the Baltimore Orioles. What's his contract you ask? In 2010 he makes $12.5 million, but that goes up to $23 million in 2011, and then $21 million from 2012 - 2014. Yeah that's why you don't backload contracts. But, if the Yankees were willing to take this contract off their hands, the price in prospects for Halladay would reduce immensely. Now, I'm not saying the Yankees should take the entire salary. Toronto needs to pay some of that contract. Maybe $5 or $6 million a season comes from Toronto for us to take this contract off their hands. The trade off is great for Toronto, they pay $25-$30 million to have $98.5 million taken off their hands. We would still have to give something up for Halladay, but maybe instead of a package led by Joba, Hughes, and Montero, we can get by with a package of Joba OR Hughes plus a couple prospects not named Jesus Montero or Austin Jackson.

Would Vernon Wells be a good fit in center field for us? If the wrist was the main thing holding back his offense, I could see him giving us a .280 average with 20 homeruns easy next year, and lets not forget that the man has 3 gold gloves to his name. He's struggled over the last few years, but I think he can still be a productive player. Would he at least be more productive than Melky? If yes, then we've upgraded our outfield, and landed Roy Halladay for a nominal cost in prospects, though a large increase in payroll. Do you guys think it would be worth it?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

$350 Million Doesn't Get What it Used to

After Scioscia's mad rant yesterday, I started thinking about what a $350 million would get you in this free agent market. As I thought it through, I realized that if you were going to build a team this year on free agents, and had all the money in the world to do so, you would get one crappy team. Here's my starting lineup and rotation:

SP: John Lackey
SP: Randy Wolf
SP: Joel Pineiro
SP: Jon Garland
SP: Doug Davis
1B: Nick Johnson
2B: Placido Polanco
SS: Orlando Cabrera
3B: Troy Glaus
C: Benji Molina
DH: Hideki Matsui
LF: Jason Bay
CF: Jermaine Dye
RF: Matt Holliday

Okay, so maybe its not crappy, but certainly not great. Mediocre at best. Decent offense, not so great pitching. I'm just saying, this market sucks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mike Scioscia Loses His Mind

The LoHud Blog (formerly the Pete Abe Blog) is reporting that Mike Scioscia was quoted as saying "I don’t care if the Yankees go out and spend $350 million next year, we’re going to beat them because we have the team." We here at RJG thought that was curious, since the Angels weren't able to beat the slightly over $200 million Yankees and never even threatened to control the series, so we didn't see how they had 'the team' to beat a $350 million edition. We decided to follow up.

"I'm not talking about the Angels," Scioscia barked. "I'm talking about The Team. We've assembled a cadre of super-humans capable of toasting the Yankees, no matter how much they spend. Bwahaha!"

Scioscia continued his mad rant. "We have Superman, Batman, Spiderman, all the movie superheroes. Ninjas, trained fighting kangaroos, Alps crossing elephants. How will the Yankees compete with that?"

Told that the Yankees generally played baseball in Major League parks and not in that deranged fantasy world he calls his 'happy place,' Scioscia became angry. "Can Sabathia strike out Superman?!"

Scioscia held up a picture of Superman he had apparently drawn himself. It didn't really look like Superman, but he had written 'Superman' under it with an arrow pointing towards his scribbling. At the top of the page were printed, in large block letters, the word 'Topps.' Was this Superman's baseball card we asked? "Yes. It's official, from Upper Deck. Just look at the back!"

Under 'Lifetime Stats' was written, "Never struck out by CC Sabathia. Capable of beating the Yankees any day any how." It was written in Crayon, Crayola it is widely believed.

"How can the Yankees compete with that?"

At this point, we all wanted the media-interview time to end. We looked helplessly at Jason Zillo, but he had no control over Scioscia and was just there to pick up some below industry-standard grade paper. Mercifully, somebody in the press corp yelled, "Look over there!" and pointed in an ambiguous direction. Scioscia didn't budge, we all ran away anyway.

Domestic Violence Project Auction

Every year around this time, the clubhouse manager of the Trenton Thunder puts on an auction to benefit the Domestic Violence Project. This is the third year that he has put this on and every year he has had some amazing Yankees memorabilia available for auction. If you're thinking about Christmas gifts, or any holiday gift for that matter, this is a great place to start. Its a win-win: you get cool Yankees stuff, and your money goes to a great cause.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Francisco Cervelli Not Named Rookie of The Year; Disappointed

The American League Rookie of the Year Award has been announced, and the winner was some guy not named Francisco Cervelli.

"I don't know what more I could do," explained Cervelli. "I caught some games in May for the World Champions. I sat on a bench for 3 months of play-off baseball. What more could you ask for?"

Cervelli makes a strong case. When the winner was announced as Oakland's Andrew Bailey, most fans reacted with a "Who?" or an "" Andrew Bailey could not be reached for comment, largely because nobody had his number.

"I called everyone I know in Oakland, nobody had his number," explained Chief Fact Checker for RJG, Selena Roberts. "His number is unlisted. Probably A-Rod erased it from everyone's phone and inserted his information instead so people would forget about the Rookie of the Year and call him instead."

For now, Cervelli will have to live with the disappointment of being passed over for Rookie of the Year.

Preaching Patience

Joba was a frustrating player to see this year. It seemed like at times he refused to throw strikes, and couldn't give us a quality start to save his season. This came after what was a pretty good year as both a starter and releiver in 2008. He went from a 2.60 ERA with 12 starts and a number of relief appearances in 2008 to a 4.75 ERA throughout 31 starts in 2009. Does he just not have it? Should he be sent back to the bullpen where he's experienced success in the past?

Let's consider player B for a moment. Player B, posted a 2.67 ERA through 12 starts in his first season pitching in the majors. The next year he frustrated fans, by having 31 starts with a 4.52 ERA. In other words, very similar numbers to Joba. This season, player B is in the Cy Young conversation with a 2.49 ERA, and 19 wins in 34 starts. This player is Felix Hernandez.

Now I'm not saying that Joba is the next Felix Hernandez, but what I am saying is that some really good prospects had their bad seasons. It took Felix Hernandez two seasons after that rough year to settle in as a pitcher and put up the numbers he did this year. Imagine if they had traded him back then? Joba's may still be too young to give up on.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Here's the Thing

Obviously, Curtis Granderson is a big name out there in imaginary trade land. Many Yankee fans feel that we need to seriously upgrade our outfield. I call this the 'Eli Manning Phenomenon.' This is where fans inexplicably decide their team can't possibly succeed with a player or group of players with which their team has not only succeeded but also won championships.

Damon and Swisher are, at best, average outfielders with below average arms. Melky Cabrera is a competent center fielder with an above average arm; while Gardner, though really fast, couldn't throw out a crippled dog (believe me, I've seen him try).

The truth is, however, it doesn't matter. All of them can read the path of the ball competently. With the exception of Melky on a few occasions, all of them are aware of their limitations and don't go diving for balls they have no chance of getting to, thereby turning singles into doubles or worse. They cut off balls, and hit the cut off guys, and play a smart, though not always an athletic outfield. That, truly, is all you need.

Swisher, the one with the below average arm, made two heads up plays to pick runners off during the play-offs because they strayed too far from the bag on pop-flys. He did not gun anyone down, he just threw to where he was supposed to and it was enough.

Last year, we lost exactly zero games because of our "subpar" outfield. We won quite a few games because our outfielders, particularly Cabrera, came up with timely hits.

The Yankees don't need an upgrade in their outfield, at least not any upgrade not named Austin Jackson. Granderson is a good player and a good ESPN guest analyst, but he does not make the Yankees exceptionally better. More athletic? Yes. More likely to repeat? No. Less likely to repeat? Probably not, though his strike outs are cause for concern, especially if he's replacing someone like Damon, who won game four of the World Series by having a patient at-bat and then stealing two bases (again, though Damon is not as fast as he once was, as long as he plays smart baseball, which he generally does, he's fast enough).

Is Granderson worth trading away Austin Jackson? Maybe if Damon won't accept a reasonable contract (and we know Bay and Holliday won't be accepting reasonable contracts, nor will they be worth their contracts, especially considering Carl Crawford will be available next year). But even then, it's a high cost.

Mark Feinsand thinks the Yankees should skip Granderson and focus on trying to trade for Roy Halladay (hey, even without an extension, is there any concern we wouldn't be able to keep him after 2010?). What do you guys think?

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Other Guys

If you haven't seen it, the Post is running some pictures from a new movie starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg. The pictures are of Derek Jeter who plays a down-on-his-luck version of himself. They're pretty funny.

Well You Two Were Productive

The silver slugger awards were handed out last night, and two Yankees were given the honor: Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira. These were the same two Yankees who were awarded gold gloves. Upon receiving his silver slugger, Jeter once again had it melted and the proceeds given to orphans. Teixeira initially complained that the bat was too heavy to use in game but then settled that he could use it for practice swings when he's on deck before an at bat. Other silver slugger recipients explained how they would use their awards. Ichiro decided that he would have all his awards melted and molded into a giant statue in his image, which he would then control by remote to try and take over Seattle. Longoria decided that he would use his silver slugger to bring peace to war ravaged countries. When asked how he intended to do that, he said he would beat people to death with his silver slugger until there was peace. Two Blue Jays also were awarded silver sluggers, Aaron Hill and Adam Lind. They were ecstatic until someone reminded them they played for the Blue Jays. They looked so somber that we felt bad for ever suggesting it. We later encouraged them by reminding them that Roy Halladay was still a Blue Jay...for now.

Its Friday, I'm tired.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Granderson Possibility

Joel Sherman of the Post has been writing about the availability of Curtis Granderson and his being a perfect fit for the Yankees. I can't speak to Granderson as a player since I can't honestly say I pay too much attention to anyone on the Tigers, but I do like his work as an analyst for ESPN during the postseason. Even if he was a bust on the field, I'm sure he'd entertain the other players on the bench with his in-game analysis.

The point is, because Detroit is having a fire sale, a phrase taken from the days when down on their luck business owners would set fire to their store and try to sell as much as they could before it was all consumed in a hellish inferno, the Yankees might be able to get Granderson without giving up way too much (cf. Halladay trade). This would put them in a position of strength in negotiating with Damon and Matsui, in the view of Sherman. Granted, it would cost us Austin Jackson. Would it be worth it to get a 29 year old outfielder with lefty power?

Considering 2010

The Yankees have won their 27th world championship, and that sweet taste of victory is one we will need repeated year after year. So now, what do the Yankees need to repeat in 2010? Here are some things to consider.

-Right now Cashman is stating that both Joba and Hughes will be going into spring training as starters. I would be shocked however, if they were both still starters by the time spring training is over. Assuming Pettitte returns for another year, the Yankees would be best served adding another starter, but the question is who? This is one of the weakest free agent crops in a while, and the pitching market is particularly famished. There are only two type A pitchers in the list and those are John Lackey and Randy Wolf. John Lackey would be a strong addition, but may be a little too costly. He had a good post season, shutting out the Red Sox for 7.1 innings in the ALDS, and putting up a 3.65 ERA against us in two starts. Would he be worth AJ Burnett type money? I don't know. A trade for a guy like Kazmir would be my vote, but what would we want to give up for him? You can't get something for nothing, unless of course Cashman pulls another Betemit for Swisher type trade. Kei Igawa for Kazmir?

-We have a vacancy in left field, and many want to bring back Damon for a couple seasons. This allows the Yankees to keep a strong bat in the lineup while developing Austin Jackson for a potential future call up. However, this idea becomes a little difficult if Damon wants more than the 2 years that should realistically be given to him. If Damon does not come back, expect the Yankees to pursue one of Jason Bay or Matt Holiday.

-We had a strong bullpen throughout the year, and the recent trend of having our minor leaguers compete for bullpen slots seems to be working. Paying a few million for a free agent releiver just isn't cost effective, considering that releif pitchers can be very inconsistant. But is there any releiver out there you may consider? Billy Wagner? Octavio Dotel? Darren Oliver? Oliver shut us down for 5 appearances in the postseason, but we broke out against him in game 5. There are some strong releivers to consider.

-Hideki Matsui. He hit .274 with 28 homeruns and 90 RBI's this year, and was the world series MVP. Do you bring him back for another season? The tricky part with Matsui is that his knees are a serious problem. Matsui played 93 games in 2008, because of his knee issues, and I can only assume those problems won't get better with age. A healthy Matsui can do some damage, but we may not find a healthy Matsui next season. Either way, the Yankees should consider bringing him back. If he goes down for the season, we lose a DH. Guys like Damon and Posada will need some time at DH as it is.

-I liked Hinske's production off the bench. We should sign him for another season. If we don't, we should keep Shelley Duncan on the bench. Occasional pop is good to have off the bench.

What else do you think the Yankees should consider for 2010?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

RJG Catches Up with Jimmy Rollins

Prior to the World Series it was widely reported that Jimmy Rollins predicted a Phillies World Series championship in five games, maybe six if they felt charitable, on the Jay Leno Show. The report was hard to confirm because no one watches that show. RJG recently caught up with Jimmy Rollins to discuss the ultimate result of the World Series.

"I really do think we were the better team," explained Rollins. "You see, sometimes the best team doesn't win. Sometimes it's the team with the best record in baseball, or the team that scored the most runs during the season, or the team with the most home runs that wins. It's not always the best team, which was us, the Phillies."

Told that his statement didn't make any sense, Rollins continued his explanation. "You see, the best team sometimes loses. And on paper, we were the best team. We print our roster on quality matte finish photo paper. It's glossy. Check out this roster printed out by Jason Zillo, the Yankees PR Director, it's on below industry standard grade paper. So on paper, we're a better team, but we didn't win."

After it was suggested to him that the phrase 'better team on paper' was a reference to the team's collective statistics, and not the paper itself, Rollins quickly rebuffed our assertion. "That's a lie and you know it. We're the better team. Remember when we won game one and then won game 5, everyone agreed the momentum was in our favor, because we were the best team, on paper and on the field. In Philly, we use Kentucky Blue Grass from Kentucky, but in New York, they use something else, and that was an unfair advantage. We'll have another chance next year, and that time their inferior grass seed won't be able to save them."

We wanted to point out that the Yankees took two of three games in Philly, but decided it was better to just nod and walk away slowly.

Nothing Happened in Baseball Today

If you have been perusing your favorite sports themed websites and local papers for Baseball news, don't bother. Nothing happened in Baseball today.

"Nothing happened today," explained Yankees GM Brian Cashman. "In fact, nothing happened yesterday or the day before. To be honest, the GM meetings are just an excuse to hang out in a hotel for three days. You should see how many towels and shampoo bottles are in my luggage. It's crazy."

Even players had a slow day. "I watched Oprah," said recent World Champion and Gold Glove winner Mark Teixeira. "It was a rerun, but I was bored so I watched it anyway. I checked the mail a few times. That's pretty much it."

A lot of players you've never heard of have filed for free agency in the last couple days, but you know that already since that is literally the only Baseball story in the papers that is actual news, only it's not really news.

"We lost our sixth outfielder to free agency," explained one Reds fan. "I don't remember his name, but when I saw his picture on Sportscenter I'm pretty sure I'd seen him on the bench before, but I thought he was a ballboy."

The next couple days, and possibly weeks, promise more of the same. Nothing will happen, and most sports writers will go to old standby articles that they just change the date on every few months and resubmit to their editors.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Golden Gloves Awarded to Two Yankees

Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira have both been awarded Gold Gloves for their stellar defense during the 2009 campaign, one which ended with a World Series championship, and more importantly, a photo-op with Mayor Bloomberg (which is, of course, the most often cited reason players give for wanting to become Yankees).

Upon receiving the award, Jeter immediately had the glove melted down, sold, and donated the money to Charity. Teixeira has not said what he'll do with his, but has refused to play with it on. "It's too heavy, and it doesn't really bend," complained Teixeira. "What the hell's the point of this?"

Robinson Cano, who has often been commended by his manager and teammates for playing spectacular, gold-glove caliber defense, was not awarded a Gold Glove. The fact that Cano has never even tried, is simply miraculously talented, but didn't even start playing baseball until the Yankees called him up in 2005, hurt him in the final voting.

Odds and Ends

In no particular order, here is a list of thoughts and observations going into the hot stove season, and wrapping up what has been a tremendous year for the Yankees.

-If you watched any of the playoffs, you may have noticed that the Yankees used 3 pitchers to win number 27. It was a smart move considering the alternative, but it also brings up the issue of our rotation. Joba was simply not good this year, and we really can't go into next season with Chad Gaudin, Sergio Mitre, and Alfredo Aceves battling for the 5th starter spot. If Pettitte decides to retire, we're literally looking at a rotation of Sabathia and Burnett. Joba should be given every chance to start, and we'll see if he improves. The Yankees would be wise to bring in another starter however, and if I have a vote, it'd be to wrestle Scott Kazmir away from the Angels.

-We had several role players on the team this year, all of whom did their part to help us get to and win the World Series. Among these players are Brett Gardner, Freddy Guzman, Eric Hinske, Jose Molina, Ramiro Pena, and Francisco Cervelli. Gardner, Pena and Cervelli are sticking around, but I doubt the Yankees will be signing Molina, and even if Guzman is resigned, he probably won't be spending that much time on the big league roster. That being said, I really hope Hinske is back next season. He is the bat off the bench we hoped Wilson Betemit would be, and with the ability to play the corner outfield and corner infield spots, albeit at an average level, he proves to be a serviceable bench player worth keeping around. Plus, Hinkse is a winner. He won with the Red Sox in 2007, made it to the World Series with the Rays last season, and has won with us this year. That's someone worth keeping around.

-Damon and Hinske have now won championships with both the Red Sox and Yankees. That's pretty crazy.

-Winning this world series brought up one sad point for me, and that was that we were winning it without Mike Mussina. He's like this generations Don Mattingly, only not homegrown or nearly as popular. Even still, it would have been nice to see him in that celebration after game 6 and the parade on Friday, not to mention in our rotation during the post season.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Hot Stove Issues to Consider

It's Thanksgiving 2010. The Yankees have just won the World Series due to a series of scheduling changes designed to increase ratings. The ticker tape parade is tomorrow. Brian Cashman has two things to do on his to-do list: 1. Call Carl Crawford and ask him if he would like to win the World Series in 2011; 2. Call Roy Halladay and ask if he would like to win the World Series in 2011.

But before we get there, decisions have to be made about this year's free agent crop. There are reports that the Yankees will take a hard look at John Lackey. Lackey is a good pitcher who can be brilliant when you need him to be. Think El Duque when he was doing his thing. He is not, however, likely to be worth the possible $100M+ that it will take to sign him. Should the Yankees wrap that much payroll up in a player like Lackey when Crawford and Halladay are a year away from free agency?

I think the big question is, who is this year's Nick Swisher? Who is the player that the Yankees should be looking at, who is not an obvious candidate for difference maker, but would be exactly that?

Mulling Over Our Free Agents

Now that the season has ended with the 27th title for the Yankees, the question now turns towards 2010 and title number 28. That will inevitably lead to a discussion of our free agents. These are some of the significant players coming off the books:

Johnny Damon LF - $13 million
Hideki Matsui DH - $13 million
Xavier Nady RF - $6.55 million
Andy Pettitte SP - $5.5 million (guaranteed)
Chien Ming Wang SP - $5 million
Jose Molina C - $2 million

Out of this list, I suspect that Xavier Nady will not be returning. The rest are a little trickier:

Jose Molina - He did his duty, and as a backup, you couldn't ask for much better. He hit the last homerun at the old Yankee stadium, and he won a championship in the new one. Since John Flaherty, we had a string of back up catchers that just didn't do the trick, including Kelly Stinnett, Sal Fasano, and Wil Nieves. So why wouldn't the Yankees bring him back? Well, the young Francisco Cervelli stepped up and proved that he could catch at the big league level. Along with a .298 batting average, which was all a bonus, he proved that he could call a game at this level, and be more than servicable as a backup. I think Molina will be gone next season.

Chien Ming Wang - The most winningest pitcher throughout the 2006-2007 season has had a very rough last couple years. Hobbled by a foot injury in 2008, Wang never quite showed that he had regained his signature sinker this year. Then it came out that he needed shoulder surgery and would likely need to miss all of the 2010 season. What complicates things is that there is no guarantee that he'll be able to come back and pitch the way he used to. If the Yankees resigned him, it would just be to rehab him for the year, and then reevaluate for 2011 based on the results. I think the Yankees should not resign him under arbitration, let him become a free agent, and then sign him at the league minimum if they can. $400,000 to rehab should be a good bet for Wang.

Andy Pettitte - We'll have to assume that he wants to return for another season, but if he does, the Yankees would be crazy not to sign him. We're not talking about another $5.5 million deal with incentives. The Yankees should just offer him what he made this year with the incentives. I believe he made $11 million with his incentives, and that should be a good guaranteed contract for next season. However, the free agent market for pitchers is horrendous this year, so expect that price to inflate.

Johnny Damon - The man did his duty out of the number 2 spot this year batting .282 with 24 homeruns and 82 RBI's. He's visibly lost a step or two over the past 4 years, but he's still an elite hitter, and a good left fielder. There will a few outfielders in the free agent market including boppers Jason Bay and Matt Holliday, but for my money, Johnny Damon is still the best option. A two year deal with a third year club option and a buyout would be fair. Holliday and Bay would give us more offensive production, but would easily require more years to sign.

Hideki Matsui - A left handed power bat like Matsui's is hard to come by, and what he did in the world series was beyond phenomenal. The Yankees do need to consider the effects of having so many aging players on the roster while having a permanent DH as well. All in all, I think our older players can manage for another season, and having Matsui's bat in the lineup or off the bench for another year ought to be a tremendous help. That being said, I would not sign him for more than a year. At this stage, his knees are a ticking time bomb, and though he brings a good bat, he can't play the field or run the bases. I'm not sure what the market will look like for boppers, but the Yankees should try to make every effort to make a competitive offer for one year. If he's getting a multi-year deal from somewhere else, the Yankees should let him go.

What do you guys think?

Friday, November 6, 2009

You Thought You'd Get Away With It Didn't You

From time to time, no matter how hard they try, established sports writers will author something dumb. It happens. But when it does, and you write for Fox Sports or ESPN, we at the RJG like to call you out. We've done it to Ken Rosenthal several times, and I always email him a copy of the post for his enjoyment. Today, however, Ken gets a rest. Instead, we would like to turn our attention to Bob Klapisch who wrote this gem of a piece after the Yankees lost game 5. The best quote of the article?

"But you couldn't shake the feeling that something about this Series had changed at Citizens Bank Park on Monday, and Pettitte, working on three days' rest, will be under duress."

Good call Bob. Why you thought that winning two out of three games in Philadelphia was anything short of a huge victory and benefit for the Yankees is beyond me. I scoffed when I read it, but I thought that now, as the Yankees celebrate their parade in New York City, would be a good time to bring it up. Cheers Bob!

Andy Pettitte's Game 6 Start a Real Grind

Andy Pettitte has won 18 postseason games in his career, a feat widely attributed to the quality of teams he's played on and his general kick assery. His most recent postseason win however, was hardly guaranteed, as Andy did not feel he had his best stuff.

"It was a real grind," explained Pettitte. "I had nothing. Literally nothing. Posada would put the sign down, and in my head I'm going, 'Really, what makes you think I can throw that?'"

"Early on I was calling for the fastball and cutter a lot, but I could see Andy was struggling," said Posada. "But Andy's a champion, he wasn't fazed. He got through it."

Andy realized early on that he would be working without his best stuff. The key, he explained, was making adjustments.

"I wasn't hitting my spots. I was having trouble with my secondary pitches, throwing them for strikes. So I had to adjust. I just started making up pitches on the fly. I threw a cut fastball, curve combination. I called it 'the Haymaker,' because I imagine that's what making hay is like. I also threw one I called 'the Eliminator.' It was basically a fastball right at someone. Figured I would hit them before they hit me."

Told that he didn't have any hit batters in the game, Andy replied, "I told you I was having trouble with location."

Dealing with Pettitte's ineffectiveness also required some creativity on the part of his battery mate, Jorge Posada. "I stopped calling the game in about the second inning. The Phillies steal the signs anyway, so I would just wait for someone to get on base, give them the finger, and then set up and wait for Andy to throw the ball."

The tactic worked, distracting the baserunners and limiting their base stealing attempts. However, the unorthodox game calling strategy did result in a World Series record high 5 tattles by the Phillies, who complained often to the umpires about Posada's new method of pitch suggestion.

Whether Andy comes back is something he has yet to decide. Retirement has loomed large for Andy for the last few seasons, and a truncated season might be an option to consider, keeping him fresher later into October. For now, he is just enjoying the moment.

"We set out to do this in Spring Training and we did it. I'm just glad the Haymaker and Eliminator worked so well."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's All About Cash

With the Yankees 27th World Championship under their belt, we thought it time to call good friend of the blog and Yankees GM, Brian Cashman via satellite video phone. The following is a transcript of our conversation:

BC: Mr. Cashman speaking.

RJG: Really?

BC: Oh, look who it is. If it isn't Mr. "It's not all about you, Bronny"! We're World Series champs [expletive]! Whoooo!

RJG: Congratulations man. We're all very thrilled.

BC: Whoooo!

RJG: Did you go to sleep last night?

BC: What are you talking about?

RJG: Last night, did you go to sleep at all?

BC: What day is it?

RJG: It's Thursday.

BC: Oh. What time?

RJG: It's about 11 in the mornin' in New York.

BC: Oh. Well, then no. I didn't sleep. In fact, I haven't left the clubhouse. They shut the lights off some time ago so I wasn't really sure what time it was.

RJG: Why are you still there then?

BC: I was busy conducting business.

RJG: Wow. Already planning what to do about Damon and Matsui, huh? I'm impressed, I mean . . .

BC: No. Why the hell would I be doing that? I was conducting other more important and pressing business.

RJG: What were you doing?

BC: First I called Omar Minaya, and told him he's done a great job with the Mets. Then I asked him how come the Phillies are such an easy opponent, laughed, and hung up.

RJG: That seems unne . . .

BC: Then I called up Theo Epstein, and told him what a great job he's done with the Sox. Then I told him his parents must be really proud that he missed the playoffs. Then he was all like, "I'm an orphan, I never knew my parents." And I was like, "I know!" Then I laughed and hung up, but not before I heard him whimper.

RJG: I don't think Theo Epstein's an orph . . .

BC: Then I called Joe Torre and was like, "Hey, remember that book you wrote about how I betrayed you? What's that? I'm sorry. I can't hear you over my 27th World Series trophy. You're fired [expletive]." Then I hung up, but I laughed first and waited for the whimper.

RJG: Torre whimpered?

BC: No, he actually congratulated me and bid me good night. Class guy. Frankly, he kind of ruined it for me.

RJG: Yeah, I could see how that mi . . .

BC: Then I called up Cynthia Rodriguez and said, "Congratulations! You're husband is a World Series champion! Oh wait, you divorced for an undisclosed settlement. Wear that on the back of your shirt when you come to Yankee Stadium!"

RJG: What the [expletive] is wrong with you? Why would you say that to her?

BC: Yeah, it was great. A-Rod's pissed though. Did you know they still communicate?

RJG: They have children together.

BC: News to me. So why don't you say it, huh? Say it.

RJG: Say what?

BC: You know. "It's not all about you, Bronny."

RJG: Well, that seems inappropri . . .


RJG: Yeah, I kno . . .

BC: Oh [expletive]! I think security's coming.

RJG: What?

BC: Gotta go. It's all about me.


There you have it folks. The Yankees are not thinking about the hot stove just yet.

The Champs Are Here!

The Good

So this is what we learned: if you give Hideki Matsui a few nights off, he will reward you with a career game. How else do you explain his 3-4 night where he drove in 6 of the 7 Yankee runs, and finished a triple shy of the cycle?

Pettitte wasn't great, not even all that good, but he was passable, and Pedro simply wasn't. Chamberlain did decent in relief, and Marte really impressed with his two strikeouts of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Mariano did what he does best: make a 9 inning game a little shorter.

The Bad

There is no bad, we won the world series!

The Ugly

Your face!

World Series MVP Game 6

For this game, the obvious first choice is Hideki Matsui. What didn't he do today? He was every bit the godzilla we heard rumors about years ago in Japan. Its possible Matsui was radioactively altered before yesterdays game.

A second place vote goes to Derek Jeter who went 3-5 and scored 2 of the Yankees 7 runs. He finished this post season with a .407 batting average.

Mariano Rivera has to get a vote somewhere in here, and so I give him my third place. He shut down the Phillies over 1.2 innings to bring to a close what has been an amazing season for this team.

With our patented RJG scoring system, a first place vote gets a player 3 pts, a second place vote will get 2 pts and a 3rd place vote gets 1 pt. Here is the World Series MVP breakdown:

A-Rod = 7 pts
Johnny Damon = 5pts
Hideki Matsui = 5pts
Derek Jeter = 4pts
CC Sabathia = 3pts
AJ Burnett = 3pts
Nick Swisher = 2pts
Jorge Posada = 2pts
Mariano Rivera = 2pt
Andy Pettitte = 1pt
Dave Robertson = 1pt

So according to our breakdown, A-Rod should have won it, and yes A-Rod was a different player this year than in others, but its hard to disagree with making Matsui the MVP. He was afterall, our offense in the clinching game.

Respect Jeter's Gangster is for the Children

The RJG will continue to donate to Johnny Damon's homerun club throughout the post season. We believe that our $1.00 donations build just enough good will to push the Yankees into their next World Series title. We expect a ring Bronny Cash.

Matsui hit a beastly 2-run shot. The last donation the Yankees will make to children's health this season.

Post Season Homeruns:

Derek Jeter 3hr = $3.00
Hideki Matsui 4hr = $4.00
Alex Rodriguez 6hr = $6.00
Mark Teixeira 2hr = $2.00
Jorge Posada 2hr = $2.00
Johnny Damon 2hr = $2.00
Nick Swisher 1hr = $1.00
Total = $20.00

Regular Season Total = $244.00

RJG Donation Total = $264.00

If you are interested in Johnny Damon's Homerun Club or the Children's Health Fund you can find links to both at the top right hand corner of our page. Live it. Love it. RJG.


The Yankees are once again the champions of Major League Baseball. Andy, Jete, Jorge, and Mo were all on the field when the final out was recorded. This time it wasn't Tino Martinez catching the final out from the second baseman, but Mark Teixeira. Nonetheless there was something familiar about this feeling.

One thing that was a little less familiar was the absence of the the Boss, George Steinbrenner, who watched the team from Tampa. His kids were there though, all of them. And they got to enjoy something he had passed on to them.

Few of us have a baseball team handed to us by a parent, but all of us received baseball from someone. And as the Steinbrenner kids would have to celebrate without their dad last night, a lot of us are celebrating another great baseball moment without one of the people who helped bring us this game, who introduced us to this team, who taught us about being fans. Unfortunately, many of us are separated from one of those individuals by more than distance.

For my brother and I, that person is our grandfather (Abuelo), who passed down his love for the Yankees to us through our mother. And while he isn't around for us to call and congratulate on another successful post-season, he is a great reminder of why baseball is our pastime.

Baseball is about the legacies our teams create and that we, as fans, pass on. So on the morning after our team has once again added to that legacy, I hope we'll take a moment to think about the people who passed this game on to us so that we could stay up past midnight some November and enjoy another celebration by the pitcher's mound. Give them a call if you still can, congratulate them. Just sober up first, seriously.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Pettitte Prepares for Big Game

Pettitte has had just 3 days to prepare for a start in which the Yankees could clinch their first World Series championship since 2000. It is speculated that Pettitte won't be as sharp returning after so few days of rest, but I'm not buying it. It is widely accepted in the clubhouse that Pettitte pitches his best games on three days rest. Its just that no one ever gets to see it, because he's typically just throwing a side session.

"I remember the first time I saw Pettitte throwing on three days rest." Explained Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira. "He was hitting triple digits on the radar gun. He broke out pitches I had never seen or experienced before, and he had a glowing aura around him, and everywhere he walked a theme song that sounded like the old superman theme song followed. It was out of this world!"

"No the rumors are true." Said Yankees Closer Mariano Rivera. "I've been in the bullpen everytime he's thrown his side sessions on three days rest. I remember this one time he threw a knuckleball at 90 miles an hour! It almost killed a fan in the stands!"

Mid-season addition Chad Gaudin thought it was all hype until he witnessed his first Pettitte side session.

"Pettitte was all like 'I try to take it easy on my side sessions since its only been three days.' But then he picked up the ball, and I saw the bullpen catcher run to storage and grab a kevlar vest and helmet then he took off his glove and strapped a mattress to his hand. I thought it was a joke, but then the superman theme song started playing, and I couldn't tell where it was coming from, and a light shone on Andy, and I was like 'Where's that coming from?' and then Andy threw a cutter, and our catcher jumped out of the way, and the cutter mowed down a row of concession workers, and I was like 'Oh (expletive deleted)!'

So why haven't the Yankees used Andy on three days rest before?

"We need to look out for his health." Said Howard Rubenstein speaking on behalf of himself. "I run this (expletive deleted)!"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Here's Something I Don't Get

When the Angels won game 5 of the ALCS, bringing the series to 3-2 Yankees, there were a number of statements in the media suggesting the momentum was now on the Angels' side. With the Phillies winning game 5 of the World Series, putting themselves just one game behind the Yankees, I've started to hear this again.

Am I missing something? You're still down, you still need to win two in a row against a team that is really good at home, and just one day before you had won one game in the series and were (and still are) facing elimination. Going from 3-1 to 3-2 does not give you more momentum than the leading team. Sorry Phils, not yet. We saw what all that momentum did for the Angels in the ALCS. No guarantee that the same will happen this round, but the idea that the momentum has somehow shifted to the team still facing elimination (especially after a game where the opposing team scored 6 runs and you only won because of a complete melt-down by the opposing starter) is laughable.

Open Letter to AJ Burnett

Dear AJ,

I can call you AJ right? Cool. So I read some of your post-game comments this morning, and I've gotta say, calm down. You didn't let the city down, though the city appreciates your identifying with it in such a way. After all, at least some of the city residents still root for the Mets. You remember them don't you AJ? No? No big deal.

My point is you can't beat yourself up too bad. Sure, it's not the best end to your season that you could have imagined, but you saved game two and helped this team win three straight games against a tough Phillies team. Pettitte is what is known as a stopper, and he'll probably do just that on Wednesday. Besides, it's only fitting that this thing end in the Bronx anyway, and you wouldn't want to deprive the city of that would you?

Now let me just add this: wtf? Two innings? Seriously? Did you get wasted before your pitching effort? I'm betting the strike zone thinks so.

That being said, don't worry about it. It's not your fault. Well, it's sort of your fault . . . Mainly, it's mainly your fault, but we'll get past it.

Burnett Used All Pitching Talent in Game 2

The Good

The positive is that the Yankees still scored 6 runs, A-Rod being responsible for 3 of them, and him along with Damon combined for a 5-8 night.

Another positive from the game is that Robertson and Aceves each pitched 2 scoreless innings, and Hughes put up 1.1 scoreless frames. Coke got lit up, but other than him the bullpen combined for 5.1 scoreless innings against the Phillies. Hopefully, Hughes can carry this into his next appearance.

The Bad

Phil Coke was terrible last night in relief as he recorded two outs and gave up two homeruns. Not a ratio he should be proud of.

The Ugly

I was particularly angry at Jeter for his 9th inning double play when we had the perfect rally opportunity brewing. A sac fly, a hit, even a strikeout would have been preferable, but instead Jeter killed our rally with a double play. I can't be too mad at him though. Afterall, this game had less to do with the offense, which scored 6 runs, and all to do with pitching, which allowed 8. Burnett was awful. He lasted 2 innings and you can't really call what he did in that time pitching. It was more like lobbing and praying for the best. It didn't work out. He allowed 6 runs. 6! In 2 innings! He really didn't give us a chance.

The good thing is that we're going back to the Bronx, the bad is that we missed an opportunity to win the world series, and have let the Phillies back up for air. If it goes to game 7 it will be trouble. The Yankees need to go all out on Wednesday, and Pettitte is the perfect man for the job.

World Series MVP Game 5

My first vote goes to sir Alex Rodriguez, who 2-4 with 3 RBI's, half the total Yankee score.

A second place vote goes to Johnny Damon. Remember when he was slumping bad early in the post season? He went 3-4 last night, driving in a run, and scoring 2. He's up to .381 for the post season now.

Third place vote goes to David Robertson. Yes Aceves pitched two scoreless innings like Robertson did, but Robertson came in right after Burnett who had allowed 6 runs, and he tamed the Phillies offense. Cutting down a team's momentum is tough, and Robertson did that.

With our patented RJG scoring system, a first place vote gets a player 3 pts, a second place vote will get 2 pts and a 3rd place vote gets 1 pt. Here is the World Series MVP breakdown:

A-Rod = 7 pts
Johnny Damon = 5pts
CC Sabathia = 3pts
AJ Burnett = 3pts
Nick Swisher = 2pts
Hideki Matsui = 2pts
Derek Jeter = 2pts
Jorge Posada = 2pts
Andy Pettitte = 1pt
Mariano Rivera = 1pt
Dave Robertson = 1pt

Respect Jeter's Gangster is for the Children

The RJG will continue to donate to Johnny Damon's homerun club throughout the post season. We believe that our $1.00 donations build just enough good will to push the Yankees into their next World Series title. We expect a ring Bronny Cash.

No homeruns last night again. Do the Yankees hate children? They better make up for it Wednesday.

Post Season Homeruns:

Derek Jeter 3hr = $3.00
Hideki Matsui 3hr = $3.00
Alex Rodriguez 6hr = $6.00
Mark Teixeira 2hr = $2.00
Jorge Posada 2hr = $2.00
Johnny Damon 2hr = $2.00
Nick Swisher 1hr = $1.00
Total = $19.00

Regular Season Total = $244.00

RJG Donation Total = $263.00

If you are interested in Johnny Damon's Homerun Club or the Children's Health Fund you can find links to both at the top right hand corner of our page. Live it. Love it. RJG.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yankees Turn Two

The Good

Two games equals two Yankees victories this weekend, as the bullpen held its own on Saturday, and the starting pitching holding its own last night. The offense came particularly alive over the weekend with big games A-rod and Swisher on Saturday and big games out of Damon, Jeter, and A-Rod on Sunday.

Sabathia pitched a solid 7 innings of 3 run ball on 3 days rest last night. You kind of with our bullpen wasn't so bad, but Marte held his own over the weekend, and it really allows us to appreciate Mariano Rivera who closed out both of these games.

The Bad

The bullpen's been inconsistant at best, but they at least did better this weekend, so I can't be too mad.

The Ugly

A-Rod getting plunked 3 times over the weekend. Here's hoping Burnett finds an opportunity to plunk Chase Utley in the numbers.

World Series MVP Game 3

For Saturday, a big MVP vote goes to Alex Rodriguez whose homerun in the 4th inning sparked the Yankees offense, which had been stuck in a malaise of late.

Second vote goes to Nick Swisher who broke out of his funk for a 2-4 night in which he homered, and drove in 1 while scoring twice.

Third vote goes to Andy Pettitte, not so much for his pitching performance of 6 innings and 4 runs, but more for his RBI single.

World Series MVP Game 4

My first vote goes to Johnny Damon, whose 3-5 night made sure the offense would stay alive after a breakout game on Saturday. His biggest moment had to be a 2 out single in the 9th, after which he stole both 2nd and 3rd with a lumbering Pedro Feliz chasing him, and then scored with an A-Rod double.

I'm split on my second vote, because Jeter did a great job being a leadoff man all day, but A-Rod had the big hit and the go ahead run, and Posada put the game out of reach for the Phillies, though with Mariano coming in for the 9th any lead may have been out of reach. I still give it to Posada, just because he drove in 3 runs, and at the end of the game, that was the difference.

Jeter was great yesterday, but A-Rod's go ahead double was probably the final nail in the coffin of the Phillies yesterday. My vote goes to him.

With our patented RJG scoring system, a first place vote gets a player 3 pts, a second place vote will get 2 pts and a 3rd place vote gets 1 pt. Here is the World Series MVP breakdown:

A-Rod = 4 pts
CC Sabathia = 3pts
AJ Burnett = 3pts
Johnny Damon = 3pts
Nick Swisher = 2pts
Hideki Matsui = 2pts
Derek Jeter = 2pts
Jorge Posada = 2pts
Andy Pettitte = 1pt
Mariano Rivera = 1pt

Respect Jeter's Gangster is for the Children

The RJG will continue to donate to Johnny Damon's homerun club throughout the post season. We believe that our $1.00 donations build just enough good will to push the Yankees into their next World Series title. We expect a ring Bronny Cash.

Yankees hit two homeruns last night, Matsui and Teixeira being the bash brothers from different mothers, and continents, and cultures.

Post Season Homeruns:

Derek Jeter 3hr = $3.00
Hideki Matsui 3hr = $3.00
Alex Rodriguez 6hr = $6.00
Mark Teixeira 2hr = $2.00
Jorge Posada 2hr = $2.00
Johnny Damon 2hr = $2.00
Nick Swisher 1hr = $1.00
Total = $19.00

Regular Season Total = $244.00

RJG Donation Total = $263.00

If you are interested in Johnny Damon's Homerun Club or the Children's Health Fund you can find links to both at the top right hand corner of our page. Live it. Love it. RJG.

Who Is the MVP?

My thinking through four games was that if the Yankees win, A-Rod is the MVP based on what he's done in the last two games and throughout the postseason. But I had completely forgotten about Mo, who really is easy to take for Granted. Mo has shutdown the opposing offense in three straight games, with the first being a two inning performance. A-Rod didn't hit in game two, but Mo pitched. With that being said, who would you peg as the MVP if we win?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

How Is That an Advantage?

Prior to the start of the World Series, much was made of the supposed advantage the Phils had over the Yankees since Manuel was an experienced World Series manager and this was Girardi's first fall classic.

It's an advantage that up to now hasn't materialized, with the Yankees owning a 2-1 lead over the Phillies. The thing is, it's not as though the game is any different in late October/early November than it is the rest of the year. Were there supposed to be special World Series rules that Manuel has mastered but would catch Girardi totally off-guard?

Joe Buck: And Manuel has taken the ball from Cole Hamels and, yep, he's signaling with his right hand, that means they're bringing in the giraffe."

Tim McCarver: That's right Joe. It seems Girardi's a little flummoxed over there in the Yankees dugout. You see, in the World Series you are allowed to have one farm animal on the active roster. A little known rule that the more experienced post-season manager, Manuel, has taken advantage of.

Joe Buck: You're right Tim. Girardi clearly is unsure of how to respond to this brilliant move by Manuel.

Spare me. Having managed in one World Series has not given Manuel any sort of advantage over Girardi. You know what has given one of these managers a real advantage? Having a better pitching staff. That's why we're leading 2-1 right now.

Random Thoughts After Another Yankees Win

Brian Cashman took our last conversation to heart, removing his ninja costume and giving Post columnist Joel Sherman a quote (it's on the 2d page) after last night's victory. Speaking about Andy Pettitte recovering after the second inning, Cash is quoted as saying, "Veteran type guys can block stuff out and self-correct. They can take a punch in the first round and stick around for a long time."

Every time I see Matt Stairs step in the batter's box, I wonder when they changed the rules to allow members of the coaching staff to hit.

Apparently it's okay to like A-Rod again. I thought that had been okay for some time now, but this column does have some nice stuff about A-Rod's work with kids in the city (and no, he doesn't employ them in a clothing factory).

If the Yanks win tonight, they'll really be in the driver's seat. Ever since game 1, I wondered whether the Phils would pitch Lee on short rest for game 4. Everyone knows Sabathia's track record of pitching on short rest, but I'd never heard of Cliff Lee doing it. As it turns out, he never has, and he never will. At least not through tonight, as the Phils have handed us a pitching advantage by deciding to go with Joe Blanton. Hopefully it works as well as Manuel's decision to have Pedro pitch game 2.

Oh, and by the way, welcome back Yankees' offense. We've missed you.