Saturday, November 29, 2008

Building Blocks to the Future

I was thinking about how many former Yankee prospects the Yankees have traded over the years, and was wondering how many of them have made it to the big leagues. I decided to compile a list. This list is not complete, and if you can think of any others feel free to add them in the comments section.

Players of Consequence:

Wily Mo Pena
Ted Lilly
Nick Johnson
Juan Rivera
Dioner Navarro
Ramon Ramirez
Alfonso Soriano

Pena has some raw power, but has never been able to hone it. He now plays for the Nationals. Ted Lilly has had some success with the Cubs, but his time in the American League East was decidedly less succesful. Nick Johnson was a fan favorite, but has been unable to stay healthy, and is in danger of losing his spot at first base with the Nationals. Juan Rivera seemed like he was progressing well with the Angels after he batted .310 with 23 homeruns and 85 RBI in 448 at bats in 2006, but has been unable to stay healthy thereafter. Dioner Navarro was the supposed heir to the throne of Posada until traded to the Diamondbacks in the Randy Johnson deal. He made a name for himself with the Rays this year, but this year was also his first decent season. He went .295 with 7 homeruns and 54 RBI's this season, but before this season he was largely seen as a below average offensive player. Replacing Posada? There is no way. Ramon Ramirez is pretty good. He's the one the Royals just traded to the Red Sox for Coco Crisp. In 3 big league seasons he has a 3.62 ERA, but this stretch included his 2007 campaign where he was injured for the majority of the season and posted an 8.31 ERA. Soriano is Soriano, but he was apart of the A-Rod deal, and A-Rod has won 2 MVP's since coming here. Further more, Soriano has suffered the same post-season lapses as A-Rod, only with much more fan appreciation.

Who? Players we traded that we never knew we had:

David Lee
Scott Wiggins
Jason Arnold
John-Ford Griffin
Brandon Claussen
Charlie Manning
Jason Anderson
Anderson Garcia
Ryan Biconda
Randy Choate
Brad Halsey
Eduardo Sierra
Justin Berg

Will They? Players We Traded in Recent Times:

Jeff Karstens
Ross Ohlendorf
Jose Tabata
Daniel McCutchen
Alberto Gonzalez
Jeff Marquez
Eduardo Nunez
Tyler Clippard
Jeff Kennard

The verdict is still out on these players. Its too early to tell whether they will amount to anything, or be another player on a transaction list that never made it.

I'm sure there's many others we've traded along the way, but these were the ones that I could pick out after a quick look at transactions. Either way its good to know we haven't given up the next Hanley Ramirez or anything.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mets Trade Johan Santana

Many blogs will wish you a happy thanksgiving and then refuse to update for the next 24 hours. But we're not jerks like that. Our inside sources are reporting that the Mets have worked out a deal in principle to trade Johan Santana to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for coveted free agent pitcher CC Sabbathia. Apparently the Mets have been too busy blowing September leads that they didn't notice CC is no longer on the Indians and that he is a free agent. This trade, therefore, will be quite a coup for the Indians, who stand to lose nothing except their reputation for integrity and honesty. Many Bothans died to get us this information.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Word Around the Majors

A couple days ago a report emerged that the Pittsburgh Pirates had signed two pitchers from India to minor league contracts. In a corresponding move, the Cleveland Indians have signed two pirates to minor league contracts. "We can't let them one up us." Explained General manager Mark Shapiro, "They [Pittsburgh] crossed a line, and we've crossed it back. I believe fully in Captain Mayhem and Comodore Bounty. They've been rowing boats all their lives. You should see the shoulder muscles they have."

All continues to be quiet on the Sabathia front since a decision is not expected until after Thanksgiving. Speaking of quiet fronts, the Yankees continue to remain mum on a deal for Pettitte. As a result, Pettitte started talking to Joe Torre about the Dodgers. The Yankees know what Pettitte is capable of, and I'm not talking from a pitching perspective, I'm talking from a "leaving the Yankees and signing with another team when he doesn't feel wanted" perspective. Personally, I think its a smart move for Pettitte if only to get the Yankees attention, and who wouldn't want to play for Torre besides middle relievers?

Lastly, it looks like the Red Sox are close to signing Japanese pitcher Junichi Tazawa violating an unwritten rule between Japanese and American baseball that they won't pursue each others prospects. Although the Red Sox were not the only team interested, it should be noted that the New York Yankees have honored the unspoken rule. So it would appear that the Red Sox are becoming the "evil empire" they once hated and criticized, but in reality admired and looked up to. Peter Abraham argues that in doing this, nothing stops Japanese teams from sending scouts to High Schools and Universities across the states to try and sign our would-be prospects. Think about it, Japanese baseball is a step below American baseball, which means that prospects are more likely to make it over there. With that being the case, Japanese teams can probably offer higher signing bonuses knowing that some of the better prospects will be on their professional rosters within a couple years. Just their presence would drive up the signing costs of prospects. Like always, the Red Sox are ruining baseball for everyone.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Respect Jeter's Gangster Team's Up With Big Fly Sports

As the economy has taken a turn for the worst the Respect Jeter's Gangster blog has certainly felt the effects. Where most of the economic stimulus plan hopes to create jobs in the green energy and public works sector, it gives little stimulus to the blogging industry. As a result, the RJG blog has teamed up with Big Fly Sports. Big Fly Sports sells a lot of Yankee items, and I mean a lot. I don't think I even finished going through all their pages of Yankee stuff. If you're thinking of buying sports related gifts, give them a look. By going through their page and using the promotional code listed below, you will get free shipping on all items. I'm told that all these sales can help me keep my car for at least one more month, so please do not hesitate to dust off those credit cards and put them to work.

Here's our official Big Fly Sports release:

Only a month until the holidays and you know what that means: spending beyond our reasonable limits! To aid in this, I have a special exclusively for my readers! (BigFlySports) is giving me a special promotional code that will provide free shipping from now until Christmas. They specialize in MLB Merchandise and their Yankees Shop is loaded with great gift ideas. To get the discount, simply enter the promotional code NYYANKS5 and the free shipping will be applied! You gotta love it. The Yankees Comforter Set looks to be great bang for your buck along with some of the Yankees baby products. Take a look and if you find something you like, don't forget to enter NYYANKS5 for your free shipping!

Since I know Brian Cashman, Hank Steinbrenner, Derek Jeter, Bud Selig, and other prominent members of MLB frequent this blog, I expect you all to spend tons of money here and help stimulate the economy of this blog and of Big Fly Sports. You too A-Rod. I know we criticize you to no end, but we do it because we know you have $30 million a year to comfort you. And what better comfort than buying Yankee items to decorate your home(s) with? If you spend $1,000.00 I promise I'll write a sentimental piece that sheds a good light on your hitting with RISP issues. That Yankee comforter set would likely impress Madonna to no end. She probably won't even care that you stopped going to those Kaballah classes. Happy Holidays!

Another Dog in the Race

The Post is reporting that the Angels are preparing to make an offer to CC Sabbathia in the range of the Johan Santana deal, though not quite the $140M reportedly offered by the Yankees. No question the Yankees would raise their offer if need be, but one risks that CC says $137M is more than enough if I can play in Cali. The Angels have decided to make this offer because they have reached an impasse with Marky Tex, as they don't want to offer him more than 7 years (Boston doesn't want to offer more than 8, he's looking for 10). Will the Yanks lose CC to the Southern California Angels of Los Angeles Anaheim North Dakota? Only time will tell.

Myth Busters: Johnny Damon

I've been getting the sense from a lot of Yankee fans that they have lost confidence in left fielder Johnny Damon. His defense in particular has drawn the most criticism. So is Johnny Damon a bad outfielder? A bad player? The RJG Myth Busters went to investigate these claims.

There is no doubt that Johnny Damon has lost a step. He lost the centerfield job to Melky Cabrera after a series of injuries limited his playing time in the outfield. In 2007, Joe Torre used him more as a DH and limited his outfield time to 651 innings, nearly half of what he used to play in Boston. 2008 saw Johnny Damon playing most his games in left field, and has left many with the impression that he just doesn't have it. Though he's never had an arm, his legs have carried him this far since he can cover more ground than most players. So was Johnny Damon a bad defensive player?

The question has two approaches. You can look at the stats, which don't tell the whole picture, and you can go on what you saw. The stats gave Damon a .992 fielding percentage having made 2 errors all season. That sounds pretty good. However, I do remember him misplaying balls hit to him that were not considered errors. I also remember him being a pretty good left fielder with a much better range than our twice operated on Matsui. So, my take? I think he was a good left fielder who misplayed a couple balls, and Yankee fans, known for their irrational criticism and their underlying hatred of Johnny Damon since he came from the Red Sox, just couldn't let that go.

This says nothing of Damon as a hitter. In a largely failed season, Damon emerged with the highest average on the team. In fact, he gave the Yankees a .303 average, 17 homeruns, 71 RBI's and 29 stolen bases (so much for him losing his legs) from the leadoff spot. I would take those numbers any day. His .375 OBP is also impressive considering his job as lead off is to, you know, get on base.

So is Damon a bad player? No, he isn't. Sorry Yankee fans, but this myth has just been busted.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Its Quiet, A Little Too Quiet

Its very quiet right now, and though its probably because Thanksgiving is coming up and free agents don't want to make any major decisions approaching this family holiday, it still makes for an eerily quiet atmosphere. The calm before the storm? Maybe, but let's review where the big free agents stand:

CC Sabathia - After getting a blow out offer from the Yankees, Sabathia has done nothing. It is said that Sabathia wants to be on the west coast closer to home, so my belief is that Sabathia and his agent are waiting for the Angels or the Dodgers to fall through on Teixeira or Manny respectively, and then turn to Sabathia to make their big free agent splash. If this is the case, Sabathia and the Yankees are going to be waiting a while. Both Teixeira and Manny are represented by a Mr. Scott Boras who is known for drawing out the free agent negotiation process in order to get as much money as possible. Further more, although many teams have expressed interest in Teixeira, none have extended a formal offer. Manny had an offer on the table, but did not take it, and it was withdrawn. So with no offers currently sitting on the table for either of those guys, were not going to see either of them signed any time soon. If Sabathia keeps waiting, the Yankees may have to remove their offer, and he can go play for the Brewers for $40 million less.

Mark Teixeira - Although he has not been given any offers, many teams are believed to be interested. He says that he would like to play for Baltimore or Washington, which would likely put the two financial juggernauts in a bidding war that can end in Teixeira getting the millions of dollars dreamed of by arbitration eligible players the league over. The Angels are likely his best suitor, but they sure are taking their time.

Manny Ramirez - By the sound of things Ramirez had a sweet deal on the table from the Dodgers equaling out to $45 million over 2 years, and a $15 million option year. Ramirez and Boras want more guaranteed years and beleive he can get them. The question is from where? The Dodgers have offered the best deal, and it is unlikely to be topped. Unless of course the Yankees decide they need more pop, which they do.

AJ Burnett - He wants 5 years and the Yankees don't want to give it to him. Having the Yankees interest is key for any free agent since it assures you can negotiate at a high level. Without some of these bigger teams in the mix, a free agents price plummets. The Blue Jays are interested, but likely cannot afford his contract. They may, however, be willing to give him the years for less pay per year. I wouldn't be surprised if some team gave him 5 years, but it most definetely should not be the Yankees.

Derek Lowe - If the Yankees officially remove themselves from the Apple Jacks race, than Derek Lowe becomes a huge priority. Boston is expressing some interest though I suspect he won't want to go there after his last departure. However that doesn't mean he won't take the leverage that comes with having Boston interested in him.

Now that we know where they stand, let's hope they all get their signings done before Christmas so the speculation can end.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bad News for Burnett

According to this article the Yankees are unwilling to tack on a fifth year to any offer made to Apple Jacks Burnett. When asked for comment, Carl Pavano said, "I just don't see why they wouldn't give this guy a fifth year. If they'd given me a fifth year I might have actually pitched for the Yankees. Four years just isn't enough time to get ready."

The Post is reporting that if the Yankees fail to sign two of the three free agent pitchers they're seeking that they might get involved in the bidding for Mark Teixeira and Manny Ramirez. This makes sense, since the Yankees primary weakness is their lack of players who can only DH and play first. Without at least five or six options at those positions you just can't expect to field a winner.

In other news, Ian Kennedy still sucks.

Growing Tired of CC

I've got to admit, I'm kind of growing tired, not to mention wary of one Mr. CC Sabbathia. First we hear how he doesn't want this to be a drawn out process and how there will be no tours, just offers and a decision. Then he gets a $140M offer, with no other suitors in sight, and he's yet to make a decision. Maybe it's his agent's fault, but I'm starting to worry that this guy has drama queen written all over him. Think about it, it's kind of like when your girlfriend says don't make a big deal about my birthday, then you don't, then she never speaks to you again. If you don't want it to be a long, drawn out process, then make a decision already. Even if you simply don't want to pitch in New York, just say, thanks but no thanks, and then look for a smaller deal elsewhere. If my impression is correct, that CC is the type of guy who needs attention, is high maintenance, says one thing and means another, then New York is not going to suit him anyway. We cannibalize players like that in this town. Why do you think A-Rod is such a head case here? I've heard mostly good things about CC so I'd like to think I'm wrong, but if I'm not, I'm going to go ahead and say I called it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thought I'd Pass This One Along

This story is worth checking out.

Time for a Detour

Both my brother and I attended the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and to this day, 7 advanced degrees later, I continue to follow the Minutemen. We have a new coach this season, a former player for the Minutemen in the mid 90s and a John Calipari disciple. Recently the Minutemen had their arses handed to them by Memphis, and the main thing you noticed watching these two teams play was how much larger the Memphis players were. As such I'm excited about next year's recruiting class. We've got a couple of big men coming (6'8" and 6'9") and that's going to make a big difference when we play contenders. It may be a few years before UMass is a contender, maybe longer, but it's exciting to have someone coaching who was a former player and committed to the program. We'll see what happens.

Moose Deserves a Trip to the Hall of Fame

There are several arguments one can put forward for why Mike Mussina deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, but where voters will get caught up will be in his lack of a Cy Young, lack of 300 wins, and lack of a World Series ring. Though those are great achievements, they also aren't necessarily a good measure of a pitcher. Would the writers look upon Sandy Koufax's 165 wins and write him off as not being Hall of Fame worthy? Or was Juan Marichal any less Hall of Fame worthy despite never winning 300 games or a World Series or a Cy Young? And then there's the case of Tommy John who kept pitching to try and reach 300 wins, and the voters held that against him. The achievements are nice, but shouldn't be the only measure by which a player is judged for the Hall of Fame, and historically speaking, they haven't been. So then what is the case for Moose? I will break it down in three sections: the Johnny Damon argument, the numbers argument, and the miscellaneous argument.

The Johnny Damon Argument

Earlier in the year, Johnny Damon made the argument that Mussina should be considered for the Hall since he made his career in the American League East and during the steroid era. Why are these factors important? Well, in the time that he pitched in the AL East, the AL East was easily the most dominant league in the majors. While he was with the Orioles, he had to pitch against the Yankees who were going on their amazing championship run. When he came to the Yankees, the Red Sox went on a championship run. Since his career started in 1991 in Baltimore the AL East played in the World Series 11 times, and were World Series Champions 8 of those times. More than any other division by far. This was the league Mike Mussina made his career in. Now lets think of some other likely Hall of Famers from this era. There's Tom Glavine, who reached 300 wins in 2007, and has pitched consistently well in the NL East. If you don't remember the NL East of the 90's, let me refresh your memory. In 1995, when Glavine and the Braves won the World Series, they were the only team in the NL East to be over .500. Two teams tied for second place and finished 21 games back of Atlanta. The next season, when the Braves made it back to the World Series, the NL East saw one other team, the Expos, finish above .500 but still 8 games back of the Braves. In 1997, things got a little more competitive, but the Braves won 101 games, and still finished 8 games ahead of the second place Marlins. Then in 1998, the season Glavine pitched his 4th 20-win season, the Braves won 106 games and finished 18 games ahead of the second place Mets. This is in no way to disparage Glavine's accomplishments or the amazing run of the 90's Braves, but rather I'm proving a point of comparison. Glavine reached 300 wins pitching the majority of his career for a powerhouse team in a weak division. Would Glavine's numbers look as impressive if he pitched in the AL East? I seriously doubt it. Remember, when the Yankees were on their championship run, Mussina was with the Orioles. Mussina came to the Yankees after they won their last championship in 2000. Since then, the Red Sox have emerged as a power in the AL East, and this last season so have the Rays.

You can use this same argument about Pedro Martinez who pitched the prime of his career in the AL East, but was a veteran of 5 years by the time he came there, and left the AL East at the start of his decline. Mike Mussina has spent his ENTIRE career in the AL East.

Or how about Randy Johnson? One of the most dominating pitchers of our era who is a likely shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. He made his career in the AL West, before the Angels were a relevant team. In 1995, when the Mariners (his team) advanced to the World Series, they had finished in first place in their division despite having a 79-66 record. Randy Johnson spent a considerable part of his career with the Diamondbacks, but no one in their right mind would dare say that the NL West of 1999-2004 was a tougher division than the AL East. Its no surprise that when Randy Johnson came to the AL East his ERA increased by more than one run his first season, and ballooned to 5.00 his second and final season with the Yankees.

Yet Johnson and Glavine are nearly guaranteed Hall of Famers while Moose is in question. Moose was pitching against the Yankee lineups of the 90's and the Red Sox lineups of the 2000's, and most would agree that those have been the most potent lineups in the Majors.

The other part to this argument is that he pitched during the prominent steroids era. Where players were getting bigger and hitting more homeruns, Moose was learning to use less velocity and smarts to keep these freak hitters off balance. It is yet to be determines how the steroid era will effect voting for the Hall of Fame, but at the very least it should be considered.

The Numbers Argument

Despite never having won a Cy Young, a World Series, or 300 games, Mussina has pitched exceptionally well. Consider these pitchers whom Mike Mussina has surpassed on the wins list: Jim Palmer, Red Ruffing, Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, Waite Hoyt, Whitey Ford, Bob Lemon, Lefty Gomez, Sandy Koufax, and Dizzy Dean. Might I add that these are all Hall of Famers. Mussina's career ERA is a respectable 3.68, but considering that the league average throughout this time was 4.51 can help you appreciate it a little more. His .638 winning percentage puts him in a tie with Jim Palmer for 11th place amongst all Hall of Fame pitchers. His 2813 strikeouts also puts him in 11th place of all Hall of Fame pitchers and his 3.58 strikeout to walk ratio, a good measure for control pitchers, puts him second on the Hall of Fame pitchers list. When you compare Mussina to other Hall of Famers you come to realize that his numbers are Hall of Fame worthy.

Miscellaneous Arguments

Lastly, I put forward a few miscellaneous points that hopefully help further my argument. First, Mussina finally reached 20 wins for the first time in his career this last season, removing one argument used against him. He did this while pitching. Not throwing. Pitching. His velocity has never been lower yet he moved his 85 mph fastball around the plate and won because of it. Does anyone doubt that if Mussina came back for three more seasons that he wouldn't reach 300 wins? But the fact that he's choosing to retire now shows that he's not going to play these number games. Hall of Fame voters have often held against players that they kept playing past their prime to reach their personal goals (Jim Rice and Tommy John for example). Will these same voters now hold against Moose that he retired early as to not pursue a personal goal?

The Cy Young is a great award for a pitcher, but the lack of a Cy Young is not a good argument for why you would not give a player a Hall of Fame vote. Considering that Roger Clemens won 4 AL Cy Young's while Mussina was pitching should tell you that perhaps other factors should be considered in place of this prestigious award. Cy Young awards go to players who have an exceptional season. Consider this, Pat Hentgen won the Cy Young in 1996. Who? That's exactly my point. The Cy Young measures your performance in one season, it does not measure your consistency as a pitcher over time. Unfortunately there is no award for that. Until this last season, Moose never won 20 games though he won 17 or more 7 times. Excluding his rookie year, Moose has never had a sub-.500 season, and has won at least 11 games in a season in every full season he's ever pitched.

These arguments are a strong case for Mike Mussina to be in the Hall of Fame, and now I can only hope that the Hall of Fame voters of 2014 agree. Despite what may happen then, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching Mussina pitch for the Yankees these last few years, and believe he was one of the most consistent forces on this team. His 20 wins were the one bright spot in an otherwise forgetful season. I wish Mike Mussina the best in his retirement, and will keep my fingers crossed for 2014.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Moose Retires

While many of us saw this coming, it still comes as a complete and utter surprise to me that Mike Mussina has decided to retire. In all seriousness, Moose had a great career and was one of the few bright spots in the Yankees' 2008 season. Much of the discussion on WFAN today focused on whether he should make the Hall. Personally, I am most persuaded by Johnny Damon's argument that because Moose accomplished all that he did while pitching in the AL East his entire career that he ought to be in the Hall. I don't think you can say, well, he didn't win 300 or have enough strike-outs, that's nonsense. He was a great pitcher in the most consistently competitive division in baseball during his playing career. That's more than enough for my vote. We here at RJG wish Moose the best and extend an open invitation to guest blog about all things Montoursville, or relating to why none of our heralded prospects can actually pitch.

Red Sox Trade Crisp to Fill Ramirez Void

It was reported yesterday that the Red Sox traded Coco Crisp to the Royals for reliever Ramon Ramirez, a right handed setup guy who posted a 2.64 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 71.2 innings. Its a good trade on both sides, as it makes both teams a little more competitive. The Red Sox have a solid 8th inning guy, and the Royals have a solid outfielder. Peter Abraham had mentioned that the Royals now have a glut of outfielders. This includes such players as Joey Gathrite the former Devil Ray, Mark Teahan a third baseman converted to the outfield, David Dejesus the Royals current lead off guy, and Jose Guillen who is sadly their best offensive player. The Yankees could use a centerfielder, but it would be unlikely for the Royals to trade Dejesus. With that said, there are rumors circulating that the Yankees could be interested in Mike Cameron as stated in this article brought to our attention by Raven, a loyal reader and commenter on the RJG blog. Cameron could be a good pick for the Yankees since he would be an upgrade offensively over Gardner and Melky, and is still fast enough to swipe a few bags. He hit 25 homeruns last season, but he's a career .250 hitter who strikes out a whole lot and that on National League pitching. I think its a good pick for the back of our lineup, but I still believe we need another big bat.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Myth of the Bronx Bombers

In 2008 the Yankees faltered on many levels, from offense, to defense, to pitching, pitching, and pitching. As a result, the beginning of the hot stove season has been focused on pitching, pitching, pitching. With offers made to Sabathia and Burnett with Lowe and Pettitte next in line, its obvious that the majority of the $80+ million coming off the books this season will be spent on pitching. Although I agree with the focus on pitching (though I'm not sold on Burnett), this focus draws all attention away from what was an anemic offense last season.

The Yankees scored 789 runs, their fewest since 1995 when Buck Showalter was the manager. The Yankees lost 10 games last season where their opponents scored 3 or fewer runs. Hitting in the clutch was non-existant, and the Yankees rarely had big late game rallies. If the Yankees were losing after the 5th, they were probably going to lose the game.

My concern is that by signing all these pitchers, do we really expect the offense to start performing? The mentality seems to be that with so many Yankees slumping last season, there's a whole lot of Yankees set to have rebounds next year. This may be the case but lets be real, this team is going to be one year older, Matsui is coming off another knee surgery, Posada is coming off a shoulder surgery, Giambi and Abreu are gone. Where exactly is this offense going to come from? Damon and Nady are playing for contracts so they will likely do well, and A-Rod, Swisher and Cano can be expected to do better, but none of that is a given, and if any of those players are injured than where does that leave us? The Yankees need another bat, preferably a big one.

This leads me to Manny Ramirez. The former Red Sox left fielder whose character and personality are listed among his faults. Among his virtues are a power bat that hit .396 with 17 homeruns and 53 RBI's in just 187 at bats for LA. He will be 37 next season, but for a hitter like Manny, is this really an issue? Now his deficincies will lead many Yankee fans to say that he's not a true Yankee and should never disgrace the Yankee uniform. My response is that neither was Reggie Jackson, yet when he hit 3 homeruns in a single game to put the Yankees ahead in the post season, all those feelings about Reggie dissapeared. For two maybe three years of Manny Ramirez, I honestly think its worth it. The Yankees can pay the money now, and then have his hefty contract off the books in a few years. Do we really pass up on a bat like this in the hopes that half our lineup will reverse the trend they followed last season? Our chances of winning in 2009 are greatly increased with Manny in the lineup.

Some may say we needed Teixeira, but that's behind us now. Swisher will be our first baseman, and as much as I like Teixeira, his contract would be just as immovable as Manny's only 5 years longer.

The Bronx Bombers could suffer another power outage next season if they do not bring in a big bat. I know Manny is a risk in both personality and character, but if they make sure to write a hair cut into his contract the Yankees will be fine. Girardi wanted to manage the Yankees, he can now figure out how to manage a guy like Manny. Torre somehow did, as did Francona for several years. Time for Mr. Girardi to step up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sabbathia Watch II

I hate the speed of baseball. First, GMs apparently need over two weeks after the World Series ends just to figure out which free agents they'd like to retain and make offers. That window finally closes and the Yankees make an offer to CC Sabbathia and now we have to wait for Sabbathia's agent to "shop" the offer around. Does it really take that long to find out no one else is going to offer you $140M. There's only 30 teams in the league. 2 have made offers which leaves 28. How long does it take to leave 28 messages? 30 minutes? Not that Sabbathia's agent is checking with all 28 remaining teams. Is he really gonna call up Baltimore, TB, KC, Florida, Washingon, Houston, Cinnci and any number of other teams that are either not interested or have no money? No, you call the Dodgers, Angels, Mets, probably Boston and the Cubs (they have the money so might as well call even though they're not likely to make an offer). So now we're down to a good 10 minutes of phone calls. The GMs should need no more than one or two days to call back and say either we're not interested, or we're interested to the tune of $X. In conclusion, there's no reason my social life should be paralyzed right now because Sabbathia's agent (whose name I will not bother to learn or look up) needs all sorts of time to find out if five other teams are willing to make him an offer. This is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Almost as ridiculous as the reported Yankees' offer to Apple Jacks Burnett. What the hell kind of name is Apple Jacks anyway? Not to mention, what the hell?

Burnett Offer in the Works

According to this New York Post article the Yankees are preparing an offer for Burnett that could amount to 5 years and $80 million. If this is the case, the Yankees have officially lost their minds. This contract would be one year and $40 million more than what was offered to Carl Pavano, and with just as high an injury risk. Burnett has been a mess for Toronto. He lasted 135 innings his first season for them, 165 in his second season, and last season went 221 innings for them. Now I know that Burnett isn't a rookie but you have to wonder with someone as brittle as Burnett if jumping their workload by 60 innings will have an adverse effect on future health, and you especially need to wonder this if you're planning on giving him $80 million over 5 years. The Yankees might-could also offer Derek Lowe a contract even after pursuing Burnett. This article speaks highly of Derek Lowe as a near lock to give 200 innings a season even at age 36.

It also appears that there is a disconnect between Pettitte's agent and the Yankees, which might be the reason he hasn't been signed. Pettitte's agent does not believe that his client should take a pay cut from his previous seasons $16 million. I guess $16 million is the going rate for a 14-14 record with a 4.54 ERA in his mind. Take the pay cut Pettitte. I know it may seem insurmountable living off of $10 - $12 million a year, but something tells me you will be okay.

Lastly, in world news, it looks like Somali pirates hijacked an oil tanker holding 2 million barrels of oil. It is a very impressive feat to be sure. The cargo, which is valued in current prices at $100 million is still less than what CC Sabathia has been offered to pitch for the Yankees. This means that if Sabathia wants to, he can buy 2 million barrels of oil and still have $40 million left to build a bunker to hold his 2 million barrels.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sabbathia Watch

I haven't slept in three days. I press the refresh button on Pete Abe's blog every three minutes to see if the news has broken that Sabbathia has signed with the Yankees. WFAN is on all day, even when they're broadcasting hockey. I send practice text messages to my brother stating that the Yanks have signed Sabbathia for six years and $145 million. Hopefully, the madness will be over tomorrow. Until then, I won't be very productive.

The Respect Jeter's Gangster Mailbag

We are proud to present our first ever hot stove mailbag. Our inbox gets filled with questions throughout the off season that requires our superior intellect and deep seeded baseball connections to answer. The following are just a few of the hundreds of emails we receive. If we didn't get to yours please do not take it personally.

Who do you think the Yankees should sign after Sabathia? Lowe, Sheets, Burnett, Teixeira or Manny?
-Greg from Colorado

Cashman has expressed the desire to pursue two pitchers this off season and if Sabathia signs he is likely to pursue one of the first three options you mentioned. Sheets I do not think will be offered a deal, but Lowe and Burnett both seem to be on Cashman's radar. The honest truth is that Burnett is fragile, and we are likely stepping into another Pavano. I know some people don't want to believe this, but search deep into your heart of hearts and ask if you really believe Burnett will stay healthy over the course of a 4 year contract, which he is likely to get. Lowe is the best option. That is unless of course Mussina decides he wants to pitch.

Why haven't the Yankees signed Andy Pettitte? Its enraging me to the point that I may do something I don't want to do.
-Thomas from Connecticut

The Yankees have a well documented tradition with Pettitte that begins with them acting like they don't know he's a free agent, and then acting surprised when he signs with another team. But don't worry, this won't happen this time. Pettitte's 1 year salary will likely be determined by how much is given to Sabathia and free agent pitcher X also known as Derek Lowe.

Why did the Yankees trade Rasner to Japan? Isn't this like sending someone to Siberia?
-Jennifer from New York

Its exactly like sending someone to Siberia only they get to play baseball, get treated like stars, and likely get paid more money than they would here in the states. Rasner's 5 something ERA was not going to get him much above the league minimum. In Japan, he's guaranteed $1.2 million with a chance at $3.5 million.

I don't like the Swisher deal.
-Wilson B. from the Dominican Republic.

No one asked you.

Why do you guys always take shots at Carl Pavano? He did his best, and he's been injured. I feel like you guys are just in love Mussina and it blinds you to the love you should have for injured, recovering pitchers like Pavano.
-Parl Cavano from Tampa Bay.

Parl, to be clear, we don't hate Pavano, but you are right when you say that we love Mussina. Mussina's a gamer, and if he would come back, I'd give him whatever contract he wants. I'd prefer Mussina to Lowe or Burnett.

Should the Yankees pursue Manny or not? Is he not the embodiment of everything that opposes the Yankees?
-Jess from New York.

It is my belief that Manny for 2 years would be a great idea for the Yankees. Some may say that he's a selfish whining malcontent who disgraces baseball, but wouldn't you be too if you played for Boston? Oh snap!

Thanks for all the great questions!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

I'm Not Sure How to Feel About This

It looks like Andy Pettitte is a starter of last resort for the Yanks. One would think they could have easily signed him to a one year deal by now if they were interested, but every indication is that they haven't even begun talking with him yet. Considering that Hank has stated publicly that the Yanks intend to make offers to three other free agent starters it seems Pettitte is not a high priority for the Yanks and that they feel like they can do without him next year.

My issue is that a one year deal to Pettitte makes more sense for the Yankees long term development plans. If you have Sabbathia for the next six years, Lowe for the next three or four, and Burnett for the next three or four, where do Hughes and Kennedy and any other pitching prospect fit in? There's only a spot if someone gets hurt. Why then didn't we trade these kids for Santana. With Wang and Joba already locked in, signing three more starters means Hughes will not be starting for us any time soon. Maybe he needs three more years to develop, but it would seem they've abandoned the idea of either Hughes and Kennedy pitching in the Major Leagues effectively and as front line starters. Does signing three free agent starters mean we've given up on these kids? Have we given up on Pettite? If so, are either of these moves particularly smart?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Let Me Think About It

The Yankees have reportedly made an offer in the area of 6 years and $more than you can count to CC Sabbathia. He's currently mulling it over, trying to balance his desire to live on the west coast and hit with his desire to purchase an island in the Mediterranean. If he accepts the Yankees offer, he will lose the chance to hit every fifth day. On the other hand he will be much richer than anyone reading this blog, except for you Alex, you're still the richest. The weather in New York ranges from good to bad over the course of a baseball season. On the other hand, accepting the offer will make Johan Santana cry. I understand CC's agent, Mr. Oh $#!% I'm about to get paid, has to shop the offer around, but I'd be surprised if there is a serious counter. Even if there is, the Yankees will top it, they got it like that. CC has already agreed to sign with the Yankees during a telephone exchange with none other than Mr. Gangster himself, Derek Jeter (this was reported first at RJG, transcript of conversation below), so it's just a matter of time. Further, his boy, White Betemit, is now on the team, which sweetens the pot. Even further, his arch rival, Dominican Swisher, is now on the White Sox, whose southside dreams he will get to crush by pitching in the American League. Further, TribeGirl would love to see him pitching for her second favorite team, since her first favorite team traded him away for a sack of potatoes or something. I give it until Monday, Tuesday at the latest, the same day the Yankees will also be announcing the signing of Derek Lowe and calling Burnett's agent to say "psyche." It's going to be a good Tuesday.

The Fundamentals of our Economy are Sound....for CC Sabathia

The Yankees have made their move on one Charles Constantine Sabathia* as they have offered a contract of 6 years and $140 million. This is slightly larger than the contract the Mets offered Santana last year. First offers tend to not get accepted, so I would expect those 140 millions to be met with a few more millions to make it a lot more millions than I'll ever see. I don't see another team ponying up the money, because not too many other teams with money are that desperate. The Cubs, Red Sox, Angels, Dodgers don't need pitching that badly, and the Angels and Dodgers are already working on big money contracts for free agents of their own while the Cubs are working on possibly signing the Big Unit and are still in the Peavy sweepstakes. However, the Dodgers have reportedly withdrawn their offer to Manny though they are still negotiating with him. The deal was for 2 years at $45 million with an option year for $15 million. The Red Sox are oddly quiet though they tend to be that way when plotting their communist agenda. Theo Epstein has reportedly been in meetings with mother Russia, which has been taking away from his trying to sign Varitek to a deal. In other news, Pettitte is still a free agent.

*May not be real name.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Time for Another Phone Call

Seeing as there has been a lot of discussion about the merits of the Swisher deal. I knew it was time for us to have another satellite video phone conversation with good friend of the blog, Brian Cashman. Here is the transcript:

BC: Hello?

RJG: Bronny Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaash! How's it hanging brudda?

BC: $#!%@&%#

RJG: Mos def, mos def. So what's the deal with this Swisher trade? On the one hand Freddy Trig really likes it, but Robbie Fingers isn't so sure.

BC: Whose Robbie Fingers?

RJG: Oh Bronny. I've taken to referring to myself in the third person, I think it gives me that certain edge over other bloggers. And it makes the ladies go crazy.

BC: That actually helps you pick up chicks?

RJG: No, it just pisses them off. But let's get back to the real issues. It seems like you traded Dominican Swisher for White Betemit. Neither of them can really hit and presumably they're just there for defense. So clearly, you must still be thinking about signing Texeira to play first, right?

BC: All options are on the table but going forward Swisher will be our first baseman. We believe he is more than last year's stats, can get on base, and is a defensive upgrade over Betemit. Right now our focus is pitching, I'd prefer to fill position spots through trades.

RJG: Fred?

BC: What?

RJG: Never mind. So Bronny, seeing as me and you are good friends, long time friends, even best friends, why don't you hook me up with a job in the Yanks' front office?

BC: What are you possibly qualified to do in the Yankees' front office?

RJG: It's not all about you Bronny.

[Eerie satellite video phone silence]

There you have it folks. It seems Fred was right in his analysis of the Swisher trade. Everyone who disagreed with him hates puppies. Simple as that.

The Nick Swisher Deal: Brilliant or Bust?

Yesterday it was announced that the Yankees completed a trade with the White Sox that sent Wilson Betemit, Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez to Chicago in return for Nick Swisher and Kanekoa Texeira. To analyze this deal we need to look at both value and impact of the deal.

The trade easily favors the Yankees in that Betemit was a one dimensional player whose one dimension he wasn't really that good at. Marquez and Nunez were both prospects with promise, but they were never considered blue chips and we all know that prospects typically don't pan out. Texeira finished this last season in double A as a closer posting a 1.33 ERA and recording 21 saves. According to the press release Texeira had the organizations best slider. But alas, the same prospect rule applies to Texeira that applies to Marquez and Nunez, most prospects don't pan out. Not saying that none of them will, just stating that its difficult to gauge their value.

I don't think any Yankee fan would disagree that moving Betemit for Swisher was a great deal, but what do we have in Swisher? Many will look to Swisher's year with Chicago and write him off, especially if it means we don't go for Mark Teixeira (more on that later). But to value Swisher based on his worse season would be the same as writing off Cano because he had a faulty 2008 season. Swisher finished this season with a .219 average, 24 homeruns, 69 RBI's, and an OBP of .332. If you were to average his previous two seasons you would get a .260 batting average, 29 homeruns, 87 RBI's and a .377 OBP. Those are not bad numbers for a first baseman. Further more, last season was Swisher's 4th full big league season, the same as Cano. He is still young and I would be surprised if he's reached the height of his talent.

Now the question arises of whether getting Swisher takes us out of the Teixeira run. Unless the Yankees are planning on trading someone it would appear that the Yankees have filled their first base need and would not have to go after Teixeira. Teixeira is obviously the superior choice. He has a career average of .290 with a career OBP of .378. He hits 30+ homeruns a season and regularly drives in 100+ runs. But that kind of talent comes with a price tag, and when you're a Boras client, that price tag tends to be exagerated. Would Teixeira for 8 years and $140-$160 million and a no-trade clause be out of the question? Further more, tieing up Teixeira for 8 years also ties up first base for 8 years, which is the natural relocation destination of slow moving catchers with shoulder problems. Teixeira won't want to share time there, and at $17-$20 million a season, the Yankees won't want him to share time there. Swisher on the other hand is signed through 2011 with a 2012 club option. His salaries over that time are as follows: 2009 - $5.3 million, 2010 - $6.75 million, 2011 - $9 million and a $10.25 million club option for 2012. That is extremely reasonable, and very easy to move if a trade presents itself. If we sign Teixeira, we would not be able to trade him not just because of the no-trade clause that is likely to be written into the contract, but also because we would have to eat a large portion of his contract if we did move him. Right now we have too many players we cannot move. By and large, they're players we wouldn't want to move, but if it ever came to that point, their contracts, their no-trade clauses, and their ages will probably disallow any moves to happen that will bring back anything of comparable value.

My conclusion? Teixeira is a superior first baseman and hitter, but as Fred Trigger put it in the comments section, Nick Swisher is the poor man's Teixeira. So why are the Yankees going this route? Because Swisher is a much better value than Teixeira. You get less production from Swisher, but for $10 million less, when can go for a few less jacks. It allows the Yankees to be more flexible and at a much lower cost. Plus, by all counts, Swisher seems to be a good teammate that would mesh well in the Yankee clubhouse. Need some convincing? Check out this video on the Coast-to-Coast Baseball blog. That alone sells Swisher to me.

Lastly, this does bring more prominence to one option the Yankees could use to fulfill the big bat deficit. By passing on Teixeira the Yankees could afford to bring Manny Ramirez in for 2 years. The Yankees could match and go beyond the Dodger's reported offer, and include a club option with a decent opt out. Yes, that kind of money gives the Yankees an immovable player, but for 2 years, who cares? I know Manny is controversial, but a bigger bat you can't find, and he has it out for the Red Sox, which is a good thing for us. I know the Yankees want two pitchers, but loosing Abreu and Giambi necessitates another bat in the lineup, and quite frankly, Manny's is the best on the market.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yankees Acquire First Baseman

The Yankees completed a trade with the White Sox today, receiving Nick Swisher and Texeira (not that one, some pitcher), while the Sox received Betemit and a couple prospects I've never heard of, but whose mom's think they are really cool. Swisher can't hit but he can play first, and this may mean that the Yanks are out of the Texeira market. If that is the case Texeira is an Angel by tomorrow morning. If not, then he's a Yankee by tomorrow afternoon.

Sabbathia is probably trying to figure out how he's going to fit his new contract with the Yankees into his bank account. Tomorrow the bidding begins. Tomorrow night the Yanks will announce the signing of Sabbathia. That's just how it works people.

So who likes the Swisher trade?

Yankees Sign Marte, Other Lefty Still Waiting

The Yankees signed lefty reliever Damaso Marte to a 3 year $12 million deal yesterday. Although Marte struggled for the most part with the Yankees, he showed moments where he was absolutely brilliant, and a lot of his struggles can be traced back to a multi-inning pitching performance where he got his pitch count pretty high. What the Yankees have failed to do however is resign another lefty pitcher named Andy Pettitte. The exclusive negotiation window ends Friday, and if Pettitte isn't signed by then he can then start taking offers from other teams. Although he wants to play for the Yankees, accepting offers from other teams just allows for more leverage on his part. The Yankees would be smart to sign him to a one year $10-$11 million deal before we end up having to dish out $16 million again. I'm wondering if the Yankees are making the same mistake of 2003 when they dragged their feet to do something with Pettitte and then acted all shocked when he signed with the Astro's. Will history repeat itself? Probably not, but it wouldn't surprise me if it did.

There's also the matter of that other lefty. I think the Yankees just plan on flying Sabathia down to the Amazon, walking him into a gold mine, and telling him to start filling wheelbarrows while a mining manager takes notes. Once Sabathia has enough to build his own Fort Knox, he'll sign with the Yankees.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This Just In: Pete Abe Easily Impressed

Now let me begin by saying that I love Pete Abe. He's one of my best friends. Actually, I don't know him but his is the first place I check for Baseball news when Bronny Cash refuses to answer my video satellite phone calls.

But Pete Abe linked to this article over on Yahoo, describing it as a "funny take."

Here's the thing, this article isn't even remotely funny. Not at all. My brother's transcript, which I might add we had to fight four ninja's to get, was way funnier. We got no mention. But this piece of crap (from a comedic standpoint) gets a link in what is probably the most read Yankee blog linked on other Yankee blogs. WTF? If you describe something as funny, it should actually be funny. This article was not funny, not even moderately funny. I didn't even chuckle lightly. In conclusion, this article was not funny.

I just heard on the FAN that the Yanks haven't even contacted Pettitte yet. Is it just a matter of time before Houston scoops him up? I suspect yes. Why, you ask? Because I do, I don't need evidence, and that's how I roll.

Breaking News: Hal Expects Yankees to Sign Free Agents

Hal Steinbrenner spoke with the media recently about the Yankees plans for this winter revealing that they planned to sign free agents. This adds to the growing speculation that the Yankees will in fact be looking to sign free agents. Hal's statements put him in sharp agreement with Brian Cashman who revealed a couple weeks back that the Yankees were looking to sign free agents. It also puts him in agreement with Hank Steinbrenner who also stated that the Yankees would look at free agents. We are still waiting to hear from principal owner George Steinbrenner on the matter, but insiders suspect that he agrees that the Yankees will look at free agents. Although the Yankees cannot yet look at free agents, the growing impression is that the Yankees are likely to look at free agents. Breaking news indeed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Winter Move That Makes Sense

The only way to build a roster that is both competitive and cost effective is to look at alternative ways to acquiring talent. Free agents can be costly, trades can gain you just as much as they take away, and developing prospects can be as unpredictable as dog racing, so where there is no sure shot way of getting what you want why not take a new route? The only move that makes sense for the Yankees at this point is to clone former players. Yes, I know cloning is illegal, but no one needs to know. The way it works is we get the DNA of past Yankee greats, and we clone them. We then put a fake mustache on them so no one can tell the difference. Just imagine how potent our lineup would be if we had the young iron man, Lou Gehrig playing first, and the switch hitting Mickey Mantle in centerfield. Step aside Xavier Nady, you're platooning with Babe Ruth. Rotation problems? Not with Whitey Ford, the chairman of the board on the mound. I know, it sounds crazy, but how unrealistic is it?

Okay its pretty unrealistic, but I didn't want to go a whole day without posting anything and that was the first thing that came to mind. I hope everyone had a great Veteran's Day. The off season sucks, but hopefully there will be news tomorrow. Cheers!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Assorted Yankee Items

When you go to and the leading story is titled "Yankees Likely to be Players in Free Agent Market", you know that there is not much news to report. It is then upon the bloggers and journalists of the world to dig deep to find their stories. Here are a few news items that may have slipped under the radar.

Many newspapers have reported that Derek Jeter called CC Sabathia. What these newspapers failed to do is get a transcript of that conversation:

CC: Hello.

DJ: Hi CC?

CC: Speaking.

DJ: Its Derek Jeter.

CC: Oh, Jeter! What's going on man?

DJ: Not much man, just living the dream. So, sign with the Yankees.

CC: Okay.

DJ: I'll talk to you later.

CC: See you later, teammate.

End Phone Call

Other prominent news items is that next season we will have the second ever World Baseball Classic. If the last baseball classic taught us anything its that one, Baseball is an international sport*, anyone can win in a short series, and that the United States sucks. How did the United States not make it to the final round of the classic? Or for that matter, the Dominican team? My home team of Puerto Rico didn't go too far, but they lacked pitching, and they did give Cuba a severe beating the first time out. Alas, the baseball classic was concluded with Japan beating Cuba in the final round, propelling such starts as Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kosuke Fukudome into the limelight. The Koreans also did pretty well.

*International defined loosely.

In other WBC news, apparently the Venezuelen team members have been silently planning a boycott of the classic, because of lack of player input allowed and problems that arose in the last classic. Those upset by these issues include such Venezuelan talents as Johan Santana, Carlos Zambrano, Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Guillen, and Magglio Ordonez. Among the problems were not being able to get enough tickets for all the family members that came to watch the games, and getting stiffed on per diem, which resulted in them having dinner one night at a fast food burger joint. This group of players, which made a paltry $36 million in 2006, could not have been reasonably expected to pay $20.00 a ticket for their own family members to watch the games, and sadly could not afford anything more than $6.00 for a burger and fries, with a soda on the side at the conclusion of the game. The WBC should be ashamed of themselves for treating these players as animals. They may be millionaires, but they're people too. I for one am disgusted. Making them pay for their own family members tickets, millionaires eating fastfood like you and me, how dare you WBC!

Lastly, if you didn't see it over at the Pete Abe blog, there is an online auction going on to raise money for the Domestic Violence Project, run by Trenton Thunder clubhouse manager Tom Kackley. The Domestic Violence Project provides services for victims of domestic violence. Kackley started the Domestic Violence Project after his wife's sister was murdered by her husband in an act of domestic violence. Peter Abraham speaks highly of Tom Kackley, and I personally participated in last years auction that raised $5000. Its a great cause, and the auction has some cool things including autographed items by A-Jax (Get them now before he becomes a star!), Brett Gardner, JB Cox, Tino Martinez, Shelley Duncan, Jeff Karstens, Joba Chamberlain, and Reggie Jackson. For any Red Sox fans out there, there's also a Jim Rice autographed picture in the auction. If I remember correctly, more items were added as the auction went on last year, and although I don't know if that will be the case this year it may be worth checking back every so often. Last year he auctioned off some authentic Yankee clothing, and I managed to get some Yankees Adidas shorts and a Yankees warm up track suit. It cost me a fortune, but for charity its worth it. At least that's how I justified it.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Deron Peter Reviews . . . Your Mom! Oh Snap!

Deron was a shortstop in the Yankees minor league system back in 1995 when a PED scandal ended his career. He brings an insider’s perspective to our blog.

Now that the season is over it's time for me to write my review. Of course, writing about this season would be pointless since it was over before we even reached August, so I'm writing my review of Old Yankee Stadium instead. Here goes...

The first thing you noticed when you walked into Yankee Stadium, besides the surprisingly lax security guards who seemed to be there primarily to yell "go Yanks," and otherwise for decoration, is just how filthy the place was. I assume they clean it before the season, I'm just not sure what season that was. Maybe the 1992 campaign.

If you're like me, you may have decided to head to the bathroom so you don't miss any of the action later. If this is the case, then you realize how unfortunate it is to require oxygen to live, as nothing would have made me happier than to be able to hold my breath the entire time I was in the Yankee Stadium restrooms. Besides looking as though a couple of the cosmopolitan fans of the Yanks got into a $#!% fight in there, it smelled like that too.

In fairness, we haven't reached our seats yet, and one expects sub par public anything in NYC. You have a different experience depending on where you sit. If you're in the bleachers you're surrounded by drunks from the moment you sit down, as they've been pregaming. If you sit anywhere else you're not surrounded by drunks until at least the third inning, on account of the $9.50 Miller Lite. If you have a bad back, don't sit in the bleachers, because now it's worse. If you like seeing plays in the corners of the outfield, don't sit in the tier seats, because the view of the corner outfield is cut off.

Oh, and if you don't like watching grown men (and I'm talking guys in their 40s here) act like teenagers, just don't go. I know it's hilarious when someone changes the words of "YMCA" to "Why are you gay?", usually directed at an opposing team's fans (whether or not we're playing that team), but sometimes you just want to watch the grounds crew humiliate themselves in peace.

Of course, the real treat of visiting Yankee Stadium is the game on the field. If you went this year, you got to see great athletes play baseball at the highest level, and the Yankees were there too. But let me tell you, if you like popped-up bunts and the inability to score after the fifth inning you got your money's worth. You're also probably a member of the 2008 New York Yankees. They did that a lot. Congratulations Yankee players. You finally got to watch all three rounds of the playoffs from home as opposed to only the last two rounds.

Then on the way out you probably got redirected for no reason by a member of the NYPD to some random exit. Now disoriented, you might go ask an officer for directions, at which point you were probably arrested.

All in visitng the house that Ruth built is a lot like visiting a beloved relative . . . in prison. It's awkward, most everyone around you is intoxicated and frightening, and you just want to get the hell out. Enjoy the new stadium folks, I'm sure you'll have it feeling like the old one in no time.

Mike Mussina Wins the Cy Young

Okay, he didn't, but he did win a gold glove which is just as good only decidedly less impressive. I don't know who won the other gold gloves in the AL, but here is a list I made up:

1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Not Robinson Cano
SS: Derek Jeter
3B: Wilson Betemit
C: Joe Mauer
LF: Carl Crawford
CF: Justin Upton
RF: Rocko Baldelli

So congratulations to all these honorary "Respect Jeter's Gangster" gold glove winners. If any of them actually won a gold glove it makes this honor that much more special. I did hear that Maddux won his 18th gold glove. I think he should melt them into one giant gold glove that also doubles as a throne so when he retires he can sit in his gold glove throne on his lawn and yell obsenities at passer by's.

Okay, so I didn't have much to report today, but working on a blog in the biggest baseball market in the world demands daily posts lest the fans grow bored and start reading about the Mets. We can't afford to fall behind the competition. Expect these kind of reports not just from blogs across the Yankee blogosphere, but also from major newspapers as they need to fill their daily report quota whether there's news to report or not.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pena Gets Benched

So Pena is the new bench coach for the New York Yankees. As was reported first here at RJG, Girardi had alienated some of his veterans by not utilizing Pena more in the decision making. Is this move an attempt to appease some of the vets in the clubhouse? I would suspect it is. Now he has to bring back candy, in fact, he can't just allow candy in the clubhouse, he has to purchase it before games and bring it in himself. The Yankees ran more and ate healthier and got hurt just as much. It's not the food and conditioning Joe, let them be ball players and disregard the shape of their bodies.

Baseball Is Stupid

Can someone please explain to me why major league teams need such a long window for exclusive negotiation rights with their potential free agents? Are the GMs to busy watching the World Series to realize they should come up with an offer. Does it really take more than a few hours to decide whether you want to try and retain a player and make an offer. The exclusive negotiating rights window should last no more than 5 days, after that any team should be able to make any offer. At most the exclusive negotiating rights window should extend through the end of the GM meetings, that's it. The World Series ends and we have to wait way too long before the hot stove can begin. That's stupid. It's particularly stupid for baseball since it keeps them out of the news.

In other news, if you have a PS3 or XBOX 360 and are considering the new Bond game b/c you are nostalgic for GoldenEye, don't bother. No split screen multiplayer for either system (there is for the Wii though). Only online multiplayer options. It seems that video games are now only for no-real-life gamers with no actual friends to invite over to play games with. If Sony is wondering why the most advanced gaming system ever made has never taken off and has consistently been crushed by Nintendo, they may consider the lack of non-sports multiplayer games. The Wii's success has been built on multiplayer, having your friends over for a good time. The conspicuous absence of that on the PS3 cuts out a large percentage of the market, casual gamers like me. I don't care about beating a game, new games take way too long to beat. I care about beating my friends (or being beat by them) in a social, fun, multiplayer session. Online gaming cannot replace this. Maybe if the game code writers had any friends they'd understand this. If not for it being the best blu-ray player on the market, there is really no reason to own a PS3. I'm quickly regretting my purchase of one. Should've foregone the high definition movies and bought the Wii. Sorry for the rant about PS3, but I'm pissed right now.

The Lesser Known Option for Mike Mussina

Over at the Confessions of a She-Fan blog, Jane discussed the two options that Mike Mussina has, whether a return to the Bronx or to stay in Montoursville and retire. But what many don't know is that Mussina has a lesser known third option that could appeal to him. This option consists of Mussina growing a mustache, and showing up to a Yankee tryout camp in a poncho under the assumed name of Miguel Mussina. He then signs a minor league contract and pitches his way from Single A Tampa to the Majors where he then helps lead the Yankees to their next World Series championship. Miguel wins the Rookie of the Year award, and the World Series MVP. This plan has some faults, namely that he would take a severe pay cut, none of his wins would bring him closer to 300, and he would have to go through the rookie hazing that the Yankees do each year, but besides that its flawless.

I really hope Moose comes back, but I respect his decision either way. Not too many players know when to quit, and very few would go out on top, but what better way to end a career? Its better to go out with a season like this than to go out 10-13 with a 5.23 ERA.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Tragedy of Jim Leyritz

I just read this article in the New York Times about former Yankee catcher Jim Leyritz. It basically describes the trouble he's had since the accident he was in last year that killed a mother of two, and how his court date is coming soon. For those unfamiliar with the situation, about a year ago Leyritz ran a red light and slammed into a vehicle at 3:15am tossing the driver out of the car. Leyritz was driving under the influence. His lawyers claim that the other driver is to blame because she too was under the influence, and was not wearing her seatbelt, which was more than likely the reason she died in the accident. To say he is not at fault is a ridiculous claim to make since Leyritz ran a red light while driving under the influence, but I understand that the tragedy of the situation is that had the woman been wearing her seatbelt its possible that it would have just been a bad accident with no loss of life. Obviously, if Leyritz had not decided to drive under the influence, there also would not have been any loss of life. Now the woman's two children are left without a mother, and Leyritz's three kids could be left without a father for up to 15 years if he is found guilty of man slaughter. Another layer to this is that Leyritz is apparently broke. According to the article, Leyritz ran through the $10.7 million he earned throughout his baseball career, and combined with what appears to have been an ugly divorce, he is out of money. He had been making a living from appearances, and making speeches, but those gigs have dried up because of his recent troubles. Now he collects money from the Baseball Assistance Team charity that helps "former players through hard times." All in all, its a sad story in that all of this could have been avoided.

Big News In the World.......of Baseball

There have been some allusions to Pavano returning for another season in pinstripes. My guess is that any interest in Pavano by Cashman can be directly attributed to alcohol. Further on the pitching front, Andy Pettitte said he wants to come back. This is good because I think Andy will be having a bounce back kind of year. It also secures our rotation a little bit. In other news, it appears Cashman wants an actual first baseman. What a novel concept. This could revolutionize the game of baseball, and at the forefront of this trend is the New York Yankees.

In other news, the United States has voted in their first African-American president. Whatever you may think of Barack Obama, whether you agree with his ideas or not, whether your Democrat or Republican, you can agree that this is an historic event in this country and shows the incredible progress that this country has made. I wish him the best.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cashman Wants Two Pitchers. No More, No Less.

In this post from Peter Abraham Cashman is quoted as saying that the Yankees want two pitchers. They won't be "one and done" on that front. He also said that Wang and Joba are the only pitchers he currently has going into next season, a clear shot at Alfredo Aceves who is probably in tears right now. Don't worry Aceves, by my math, if Wang and Joba are the only pitchers we have, and Cashman signs 2 more pitchers that still leaves one opening on the rotation that you can compete against Pavano and Ponson for. Unless of course, Cashman decides to go for a 4 man rotation seeing the obvious benefit of Sabathia getting an extra 7 or 8 starts a season.

Eric Milton and Victor Zambrano are now free agents again. They both spent the year rehabbing on the Yankees' dime and will now likely go elsewhere. Those have to be the worse free agent signings ever. Well, close anyway:

It kind of reminds me of when we signed Octavio Dotel only to see him rehab all season, pitch terribly in the brief time he did pitch, and then sign a ridiculous contract with the Royals. We need to stop letting players rehab on our dime. I know we have the money, but c'mon. These one year deals for players coming off of major surgery are just not necessary.

Ian Kennedy is going to play winter ball, which is good. Here's hoping he recovers the magic he showed last September in his brief 3 start call up. He was unhittable then. Now? Very hittable. On that front, Hughes made a good start last night in the Arizona Fall League. He went 5 innings and did not allow a run. He's been a curious case, combining horrible starts with good ones to keep an odd balance. Consistency will be the key for him.

Lastly, the Yankees signed Sergio Mitre to a minor league deal thus neglecting the advice I offered two paragraphs ago against signing players rehabbing from major injuries. Mitre who is recovering from Tommy John, should be back in the mix by mid-summer unless there are any set backs, which there always is with Tommy John. Cashman did learn from his previous mistakes and included a club option for 2010, which means that Mitre can rehab on our dime for two seasons instead of one.

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm Calling it Now, Manny Will be in Pinstripes

I'm not saying I like it, or even that its a good move, but there is a strong possibility that Manny Ramirez will be in pinstripes next season. If I had my guess this is how the roster would look:

1b: Mark Teixeira
2b: Robinson Cano
SS: Derek Jeter
3b: Alex Rodriguez
C: Jorge Posada/Jose Molina
LF: Manny Ramirez/Hideki Matsui
CF: Johnny Damon
RF: Xavier Nady
DH: Hideki Matsui/Hideki Matsui/Jorge Posada

SP: Chien Ming Wang
SP: CC Sabathia
SP: Andy Pettitte
SP: Alfredo Aceves
SP: Joba Chamberlain

Here's my thinking as to why the Yankees will go this route. Steinbrenner is impulsive. He's a Steinbrenner. On top of being impulsive, he shut down his impulses last season when he allowed Cashman to talk him out of Santana. Now he's not going to allow that to happen. Steinbrenner has seen Manny's ability to hit in the clutch and nothing, not his age, not his attitude, not the money, or years is going to stand in his way of getting Manny's bat into the lineup. It will be good for the short term Yankees, but not the long term, and I suspect it will be an unpopular decision.

As for signing Sabathia and Teixeira, the reason I think they'll bite is that number one, we need pitching and Sabathia is the best candidate out there. We need a first baseman and Teixeira is the best candidate out there. Have the Yankees been known for settling for second best?

Now this approach will dive us back into being unflexable, expensive, and full of free agent mercenaries, but on the flip side it won't cost us any of our current prospects, and allows us to develop the talent we now have. The only problem is that by signing these free agents, we lose draft picks, but let's be honest, I don't think Steinbrenner is convinced in the youth movement, and there's a lot of Yankee fans who are not either. Cashman can finish his experiment with his current prospect crop, but rebounding from this season will take more than some top draft picks in 2009. We need some major league talent now, the best of which is available via free agency.

If the Yankees don't bite on these free agents, then Cashman has been able to restrain Steinbrenner, but after last season I don't think it will be that easy.

Will A-Rod Get Traded Before his Contract Expires?

In light of there being no real news in Yankeedom, I decided to bring up the question of whether A-Rod will actually finish his 10 year contract with the Yankees or not. There was an article that came out last season saying that A-Rod would not finish his contract with the Yankees since the fans never really supported him. Getting booed all the time would get old really fast, and when he's not hitting 50 homeruns, the fans will do just that.

Last season, Hank Steinbrenner made an ultimatum saying that if A-Rod opted out of his contract the Yankees would not negotiate with him. They wanted to negotiate an extension with A-Rod that would keep the subsidy they were receiving from the Rangers for taking his previous ridiculous contract. Then A-Rod opted out, and the Yankees said they wouldn't negotiate with him. A-Rod then went back to the Yankees to negotiate a new contract behind Boras' back. The crazy thing about it all is that the Yankees gave him a contract that with incentives would be worth more than $300 million over the next 10 years. Never mind that he cost them the Texas subsidy or that they said they would not negotiate with him, they still gave him a bigger contract than what they probably would have offered had he not opted out. Why bring this up? Because now A-Rod is getting booed again. He's fallen out of the good graces of New York fans. Now, A-Rod has an immovable contract, and may see his happiness in New York come to an end. If that happens and he wants out, the only way a team will take him is if New York subsidizes his contract and history repeats itself. I Suppose if we did pick up part of his contract and traded him we could land some good talent. Probably a major league ready third baseman, a starting pitcher, a set up guy, and a couple prospects.

Either way, the question is do you think A-Rod will finish this contract in New York? Will the fans learn to accept him? Will he be able to deal with the fans if they don't accept him?