Saturday, January 31, 2009

13 Days, 13 Players: CC Sabathia

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

There is no doubt that the biggest free agent on the market in both quality and quantity, was one Chad Candy Sabathia. The Yankees ended up signing him after they arm wrestled themselves, and apparently having the wealthier arm win. Sabathia gives the Yankees perhaps what they've always wanted: a power left-handed pitcher. They tried with Randy Johnson, but after discovering for themselves his sociopathic tendencies and his inability to pitch effectively in the AL East at his age, they had to deem their experiment a failure. Sabathia split last season between Cleveland and Milwaukee going 6-8 with a 3.83 ERA with Cleveland, and then 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA for Milwaukee. By all accounts, he got off to a rough start in Cleveland. In his first 4 games he gave up 27 runs, good for a 13.50 ERA. He quickly pulled it together just in time to be traded to Milwaukee, whom he lead to the post season. Sabathia's post season numbers were not pretty however lasting just 3.2 innings and giving up 5 runs. Perhaps the 253 innings finally caught up with him? Maybe, but Sabathia's post season performances have been less than good. Perhaps this will be the year he reverses that?

My Fearless Prediction:

Sabathia will win 18 games, but throw far less innings than last season. His ERA will sit in the mid 3's. Post season? I think he'll struggle the first start but then pull it together thereafter.

Little Known Sabathia Fact:

He pitches lefty but is actually right handed. When he turns 40 he plans to reveal to the world that he's actually right handed, and then start throwing with that arm. He will effectively extend his career another 10 years as a power righty, when at the age of 50 he'll reveal that it was all a joke, and then pitch with his unused and extremely well rested left arm for another 10 years.

Friday, January 30, 2009

14 Days, 14 Players: Cody Ransom

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

Cody Ransom is a curious case. There had been talks earlier in the off season that the Yankees could look to trade either Swisher or Nady for a true utility infielder. This means that either they were not sold on Ransom, or they forgot that they had him. It would seem strange that they would want to replace Ransom since he provided what Betemit didn't. A decent glove, and pop off the bench. Though Ransom mustered just 48 at bats last season, he hit .302 with 4 homeruns, and a .400 OBP. 2 of his homeruns came in one game against the Red Sox. What more can you hope for from a utility infielder? Well, while Ransom could play the corner infield spots well, he struggled a bit at short and second. He wasn't completely incompetent, but definitely left more to be desired. Further more, this last season was Ransom's best at the major league level. A veteran of the minor leagues, Ransom has seen limited play at the major league level going as far back as 2001 with the Giants. In 2007 he played for the Astro's before the Yankees got him for 2008. At the age of 32, Ransom is not a prospect looking to break into the game. However, at this stage in his career, he likely wants to secure a regular role.

My Fearless Prediction:

If the Yankees do not trade for a utility infielder, then Ransom will have a chance to stay on the roster. Though he came up as a shortstop, he's not particularly good at that position, but his bat will continue to give us that off the bench pop we hoped for from Betemit, and will likely makeup for his defensive issues. Its hard to guage what a player will do in limited play, but it wouldn't be out of the question to get about 100 at bats with a .250 average and 7 homeruns with a handful of doubles to boot.

Little Known Ransom Fact:

Cody Ransom is also a Molina brother, but because he doesn't catch he was casted out of the family.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pujols Wants Manny in St. Louis

According to this article, Albert Pujols passed on Manny's phone number to manager Tony La Russa, and would like him to sign with St. Louis. Pujols admits that the money may not be there, but he speaks with Manny every three days, and thinks that Manny should take a discount. Could you imagine the 3 & 4 combination of Pujols and Manny? The National League would have to concede and the Cardinals should just be deemed NL Champions. Now I know that there's the whole "It looks good on paper" argument, but this is perhaps the only duo that this argument doesn't work with. It will look good on paper, and on the field. It'll probably never happen, but its fun to think about...Well, perhaps not for the NL Central, but its fun for us in the AL East to think about.

15 Days, 15 Players: Jose Molina

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

Jose Molina is as good a backup catcher as they come. Over the last few years, the Yankees have had trouble finding a servicable replacement for John Flaherty. From Kelly Stinnet, to Sal Fasano, to Wil Nieves the Yankees simply could not feel confident in giving Posada a day off. In came Molina. Molina was traded to the Yankees from the Angels in 2007, and went on to hit .318 in New York. He was rewarded with a 2-year $4 million contract. What you want most out of your back up catcher is good defense, and to not be an automatic out. Last season wasn't the best year at the plate, but behind it, Molina proved valuable. Although he hit just .216, he did hit 17 doubles in just 268 at bats. He also happened to hit the last homerun ever in the history of Yankee stadium. One of three that he hit all season.

My Fearless Prediction:

Its easy to say that Molina will hit in the low .200's because that's mostly where he sits, but we forget that this is a walk year for him as well. I expect quality defense with an average near .250 and some occasional pop. His walk year will merit a new contract.

Little Known Molina Fact:

We all know that Molina is from the Molina clan that produces catchers that win championships. Bengie and Jose both won a championship with the Angels, and Yadier won one with the Cardinals. What you may not know is that their 4th brother, the Japanese catcher Ichiro Molina, also won a championship with the Yomiuri Giants.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

16 Days, 16 Players: Xavier Nady

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

I'm pretty much convinced that Nady will be traded, but as long as he's on the roster, he definitely has a secured spot on the team. Nady hit .305 last season with 25 homeruns, and 97 RBI's. It was a break out season of sorts for Nady who reached career highs in batting average, homeruns, doubles, and RBI's. Of course, he also had more playing time last year than in any other year. His high strikeout low walk rate was a bit of a concern, but last season, he brought the pop, and that's all we could hope for out of a mid season trade. Next season is his walk year, and given that players like to play hard in their walk year, Nady could have an amazing season next.

My Fearless Prediction:

Nady will bat over .300, and push towards 30 homeruns and 100 RBI's next season, but for another team. Swisher will be kept because of his affordability and years under contract. Nady will probably have a better season than Swisher next year, but will cost too much in free agency. Besides, the Yankees can alway choose to bring back Nady as a free agent in 2010 if they're really impressed with him.

Little Known Nady Fact:

When playing for the Pirates, Nady missed a potion of the 2007 season with a severe case of scurvy. As a result, MLB ordered the Pirates to stock citrus fruits in the clubhouse.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What Honorable Columnists We Have

Check out this article on Apparently the comments concerning A-Rod in Torre's book are not from Torre but based on interviews with other players. Just goes to show that most of these columnists probably didn't even read the book before they started trying to accuse Torre of disloyalty and blah blah blah.

17 Days, 17 Players: Andy Pettitte

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

We were going to continue reviewing our outfield, but with the recent Pettitte signing I think its just as good to cover him. Pettitte recently signing a $5.5 million deal with incentives that can bring it up to $12 million. These incentives are not difficult to reach, if he stays healthy. The incentives are as follows:

150 Innings Pitched: $500,000
160 Innings Pitched: $500,000
170 Innings Pitched: $500,000
180 Innings Pitched: $750,000
190 Innings Pitched: $750,000
200 Innings Pitched: $750,000
120 Days on the Active 25-man Roster: $100,000
130 Days on the Active 25-man Roster: $200,000
140 Days on the Active 25-man Roster: $250,000
150 Days on the Active 25-man Roster: $250,000
160 Days on the Active 25-man Roster: $400,000
170 Days on the Active 25-man Roster: $400,000
180 Days on the Active 25-man Roster: $400,000

If he were to stay healthy all season, it would be reasonable to expect that he would hit all these incentives. So how will Pettitte do? There is no doubt that Pettitte betters this team immensly, and that the Yankees are in a far greater position with him on the team, then with him off it. Last season was not a good one for Pettitte. He struggled throughout the season and ended with a 4.54 ERA and a 14-14 record. His second half was abysmal. It was largely understood that his faulty season was a result of a hurt shoulder, thus the wisdom in giving an incentive laden contract. Despite his troubles, Pettitte did throw 204 innings last season, and 204 innings of a bad Pettitte are still better than 204 innings of most of the pitchers we would use to replace him with.

My Fearless Prediction:

Its hard to foresee Pettitte being injury free next season. I think that he'll pitch far better than he did this past season, something to the tune of a 3.86 ERA and at least 14 wins. I do think he will miss time with an injury, but don't think it will be more than a few starts. He'll be absolutely stellar in the post season.

Little Known Pettitte Fact:

The show Walker Texas Ranger is loosely based on the life of Andy Pettitte.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Brian Cashman Gets a Call

The events of the last few days have necessitated, once again, a call to our good friend, frequent reader, and blood donor, Brian Cashman via satellite video phone. The following is a transcript of our conversation.

BC: Hello?

RJG: Bronny Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaash! Interesting few days, huh?

BC: Yes, we've been working hard on the Pettitte negotiations.

RJG: Yeah that's great, I don't care about that. Why did you betray Joe Torre man? I thought he was your boy.

BC: We signed him for $5.5 million plus incentives. I think it will work out well for the team.

RJG: Hmm. Uh-huh. That's mildly interesting. According to Torre, when you guys met to discuss his contract you didn't stand up for him. What's up with that?

BC: I think if he stays healthy he's going to add a lot of depth to our rotation.

RJG: Yeah, I read the AP article too. Come on Bronny. Be straight with us. Why didn't you stand up for Joe?

BC: Alright. Look, I couldn't help him in those negotiations. He was demanding all sorts of crazy $#!%. First he asks for a plane piloted by a camel. Then he wanted Steinbrenner's horses to spar with him before every home game. Then it got weird. He demanded a ninja costume that matched mine - I was wearing one since I was negotiating. He demanded he be allowed to wear it in the dugout. Then he asked that we train a gang of kung-fu pandas as his personal body guard. What was I supposed to say? Yes Mr. Levine, we should agree to these conditions plus tack on a few more years? Come on, I had no choice.

RJG: That sounds hard to believe.

BC: Don't do that man. You're making me look stupid, panda jerk!

RJG: Whoa. I dish out the panda jerks. Not you Bronny! Not you!

BC: Okay, I'm sorry. But there was nothing I could do. Between management having soured on the idea of retaining Joe and Torre's crazy demands, there was nothing I could say, I just kind of slumped there in my ninja suit, not really sure what to do, avoiding eye contact at all costs. It was the most awkward meeting I've ever been in.

RJG: So how about that Pettitte signing?


There you have it folks. Bronny Cash wears his ninja costume when negotiating on behalf of Joe Torre, sort of.

18 Days, 18 Players: Melky Cabrera

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

Melky Cabrera was largely given up on last season after batting .242 and being sapped of all power beyond dribbling singles. The result was an August demotion to Triple A, necessitated by the fact that he hit .115 in 26 August at bats, mustering a mere 3 hits, all of which were in one game, and all of which were singles. It seemed odd that Melky's season would come to that given that he hit .299 in April with 5 homeruns, and a .370 OBP. He hit just one homerun in each month after except for August where he hit none. If he had kept up his homerun pace, he would have had 30 by the end of the season. That's to give you an idea of how terrible his season turned. However, after his demotion, he was a September call up and despite receiving little recognition, he batted .462 in limited play. All his hits were singles.

Melky was on the trading block, and it seemed at some points almost certain that Melky would be traded for Mike Cameron. However, he began performing in the winter leagues, and given that Cashman did not want to add Cameron's $10 million to the budget, Melky's future seemed a little more secure. It is largely expected that Melky and Gardner will be competing for the starting center field spot.

My Fearless Prediction:

Melky will platoon in center with Gardner and eventually win the starting role. He will hit .280 with a little more pop, but will eventually be relegated to 4th outfield duties when Austin Jackson comes a-knocking.

Little Known Melky Fact:

Melky Cabrera claims that an evil enchantress stole his playing abilities last season. The evil enchantress was of course Madonna.

Pettite is Back

The Yankees announced that they have come to terms on a one year deal with Andy Pettitte. The deal is worth $5.5M with a potential $6.5M additional dollars with incentives. Considering the Yankees initially guaranteed $10M, this looks like a loss for Pettitte.

Not so fast. Pettitte earns $1M for the first time he walks from the dugout to the mound in the new Yankee Stadium. He earns $500,000 for every game he pitches with a sore shoulder. It seems like he'll probably earn all 12. I'm guessing the $5.5M base was just a payroll move and that most of those incentives will be easily reached by Mr. Pettitte.

Joe Torre Shocker

By now you've all heard about the controversy surrounding Joe Torre's new book, "Why the Yankees Suck and Alex Rodriguez Too." The reaction in the New York press has been swift and hypocritical. Apparently columnists, most of whom I doubt have even read the book since they all mention the same two widely reported passages, are the only ones allowed to piss all over A-Rod despite his MVP seasons and discuss his troubles in the clutch. Consider the following two NYPost columns: Column 1; Column 2.

Please spare me the feigned indignity NY Press. Most of you would report that your own children were using PEDs and dating Madonna if it served your careers, so I don't want to hear about how Torre has no class. Remember when you guys sat outside his house during his off-season negotiations in 2007, you know, the ones that led to the end of the Joe Torre era? Yeah, please lecture Joe Torre about class.

We here at RJG are disappointed in Mr. Torre, however. Not because he had the sheer balls to write what are probably honest things, that we've all thought or said ourselves over the last few years, about a team that acted like Joe Torre was the worst manager in baseball because he hadn't won three World Series in a row in a few years. (How could he do this to us? I'm surprised he doesn't walk around punching Steinbrenner's horses in the face after the way we disparaged his legacy. We didn't even invite him to the last game at Yankee Stadium. No invite. And he's the one disrespecting his legacy here? #@$*% you New York media).

What upsets us is that Joe Torre has released a book with Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, only a few months before he was set to release a book co-written by RJG. This move by Torre will certainly affect our bottom line, but we love Joe because he respects Jeter's gangster, and that's all that matters. Just so you don't think we're making this up, here's a preview of the new book:

"My name is Joe Torre. I was the Yankee manager until they $#!% all over me. I don't hold any grudges though. One time I came into my office, and Steinbrenner's horse, The Current Yankee Manager is No Good, was sitting in my chair. I don't play that $#!% so I punched it in the face. Kei Igawa saw me and couldn't stop laughing, then he said something in Japanese. A few weeks later the feds started calling."

"My name is Joe Torre. I did spots for Bigelow green tea while in New York. One time, in 2007, I walked into the clubhouse and A-Rod was standing next to a life-size cardboard cut-out of Derek Jeter. That's not unusual in our clubhouse, a lot of guys have cut-outs of Jeter. Look, I have one right here. But A-Rod was wearing a wedding dress and holding a bouquet, and he had dressed the cut-out in a tuxedo. I knew then I wasn't returning as Yankees manager, so I started making unreasonable contract demands. I called Cash and was like, 'Yo, I want a private jet pilated by a camel if I'm going to manage again. And Steinbrenner's horses have to spar with me before every game.' Cashman never relayed my contract wishes to the Steinbrenner's. To this day, it hurts."

"My name is Joe Torre. I like Manny Ramirez, don't I A-Rod? One time, someone pointed out that 'rod' and 'fraud' rhyme, even though they don't end in the same three letters, violating the single most important rule in English rhyming. I assumed they were talking about A-Rod, but looking back on it, I'm not sure that mother#%$^@&* knew how to read. I think he was just having fun with learning."

There you have it folks, more tidbits from Joe Torre will be forthcoming in our new book, "Why Misperceptions Derailed My Last Book Tour," by Joe Torre and RJG. We thought it was a weird title at first, but Joe insisted, I guess he knew something we didn't, like how he was going to screw us by releasing this other book first. Damn you Torre! Damn you!

A call to Brian Cashman will be forthcoming.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

19 Days, 19 Players: Nick Swisher

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

The addition of Nick Swisher to the lineup was supposed to bring the Yankees a cheap first base option as they were going to pass on Mark Teixeira. Then they signed Mark Teixeira. With first base blocked, Swisher and Nady appear to be in a log jam in right field, though one may be traded. Swisher had a rough season last year hitting .219 with 21 homeruns and 69 RBI's, but the Yankees believe that he can rebound. A career .244 hitter, Swisher is known for his high walk and high strikeout totals, and switch hitting power. Much of his difficulties from last season probably stem from a number of causes, not the least of which is being traded to a new team. Swisher was traded to the White Sox last off season, and was slated as their centerfielder and leadoff hitter despite the fact that he was majorly a firstbase/corner outfielder, and a middle of the order guy with the Athletics. To say that the Whitesox mismanaged Swisher is an understatement. Swisher was batting leadoff despite the fact that speed was not one of his tools (career high in stolen bases is 3). Though he is not particularly fast, he does draws walks, which is probably why the White Sox batted him lead off, but that would be like batting Giambi lead off because of his high walk totals, and I don't think we'll be seeing that any time soon. Swisher has the build and hitting ability of a middle of the order guy.

My Fearless Prediction:

Swisher will bat close to .250 with 30 homeruns, and an OBP close to .370. I do believe that Nady will be traded, and Swisher will handle right field for next season.

Little Known Swisher Fact:

Nick Swisher considered becoming an opera singer, and had a dream to sing at Yankee stadium, but lost his dream when he lost the starting singing job to arch nemesis Ronan Tynan. Swisher decided that if he couldn't sing at Yankee stadium, he would play at Yankee stadium, and took up baseball.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

20 Days, 20 Players: Johnny Damon

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

While Johnny Damon has declined as a baseball player by every conceivable measure, he is still one of the most important members of the Yankees clubhouse, not to mention our best lead off hitter. A strong supporter of American soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, Johnny Damon is much more than just our best lead-off hitter, he's also a husband, a philanthropist, and most likely to wear a golden thong now that Giambi is gone. Besides getting on base, Damon is known for walking around the clubhouse naked, and shaking things up in an otherwise corporate environment. Most recently, Damon has served as one of the Yankees best ambassadors, reaching out to both CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, suckering them both into playing here. Damon is in the last year of his contract, and he's hoping the Yankees will pick him up for another couple years after this season. His performance over the course of the season may determine much of whether he is back in 2010, but the Yankees definitely benefit from his presence. The problem is, the Yankees have really stocked up at DH in the last couple of years, and currently carry three, while lesser teams just have one, maybe two.

My Fearless Prediction:

Damon will continue to be a more than serviceable lead-off hitter and will continue to be our best option in left. The Yankees will not offer him arbitration but expect them to offer a new contract for two years.

Little Known Damon Fact:

Johnny Damon once traveled to the Himalayas, in order to find himself. He only found street gangs, however, forcing him to use his wits and superior street fighting abilities to battle his way back home. Once back in Florida, he took a nap.

Pettitte Just Take the Money!

At this point I'm just not sure what Pettitte wants. Its being reported that the Yankees and Pettitte are still in negotiations. He is basically still refusing the Yankees offer only now its been valued at $10.5 million, a slight increase over the original $10 million offer. Now, you or I would kill to have a $500,000 pay increase, since that would be an increase of 1500% of what you and I would make for a year. However, in baseball money its a slap in the face, and in Yankee money, its like peeing on someones head. So now, Pettitte still won't take the deal, because he still doesn't think he should take a $5.5 million pay cut. This would make more sense if he had some offers on the table. His people said he had a $13 million per year, 3-year contract from some team, but if he truly had it, I'm not sure why he hasn't signed. I'm sure this team would have settled for 1 year at $13 million. So it does appear that Pettitte's agents were bluffing, but Pettitte still doesn't want to sign. Here's my solution: don't sign him. Let him go unemployed next season, or sign with another team for less money. I know the Yankees would be better with him, but he's being difficult at this point. Now if Pettitte would settle for $11 million, I think the Yankees should bite, but by the sounds of it, Pettitte wants something much closer to, if not the full amount of, the $16 million he made last season. Pettitte should take the money, or just stop this whole charade. If he has a better offer, he should just take it. Otherwise, $10.5 million is a lot of money, and Yankee fans are not on your side.

Friday, January 23, 2009

21 Days, 21 Players: Jorge Posada

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

In 2007, when Alex Rodriguez was having one of his several MVP seasons, another player was having an outstanding renaissance of their own. This player is of course Jorge Posada. In his walk year, Posada hit .338 with a .426 OBP, 20 homeruns and 90 RBI's. That he hit .338 is impressive by itself, but even more so when you consider that he was a 36 year old catcher at the time, an age when catchers typically decline. There were high expectations for Posada coming into 2008 coming off of his career highs, and a newly signed 4 year $52.4 million contract that would keep him catching in pinstripes through the age of 40. But things quickly turned for the worse, when he came down with a dead arm in spring training. Not much attention was given to it, but it would appear that this was the beginning of what would later amount to multiple tears on the throwing side of his body. Posada lasted 168 at bats, and by the end of this stretch could not catch and was used mainly as a DH. He finally agreed to go in for surgery to repair his shoulder back in July, ending his season, and beginning his time table to return in spring '09.

Posada has been working out this winter and by his own account is 75% there. He's likely to have his swing back before his throw, but there's no doubt both will be effected. The question will be how long it takes for Posada to get up to strength, and then the question becomes how long he can hold it. He's never had a surgery, and has never been on the DL. Its difficult to determine how he will recover from injury, but Posada is tough, and we'll likely see him playing whether he's 100% or not.

My Fearless Prediction:

The Yankees will lean on Molina and Kevin Cash to give Posada a break from catching. I expect by mid-season, Posada will DH every few days to help his arm out. His hitting should return to his career averages, but I suspect he may have a slow start and may have a loss of power especially in April and May. With that, I would say a .275 average with 15 homeruns, and a .380 OBP would be what I predict for him. However, I leave myself open to be amazed.

Little Known Posada Fact:

Posada once lost his glove in the clubhouse, and caught Mike Mussina for 4 innings bare handed only to notice that Jeter was wearing it at short as a prank. They had a good laugh about it, and respected each others gangster.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Respect Jeter's Gangster Supports a Salary Cap

What did you say!? You heard me, I support a salary cap for baseball. Hold on, before you go into ultra shock, and send scathing emails my way, allow me to follow through with my thought. I support a baseball salary cap for the first year player draft. I was recently reading up on the faceoff blog about the issue of a salary cap in baseball, which has come to a head because the Yankees swept the free agent market this off season. This always brings heat from small market teams who wish there was a way to afford people like Teixeira, without having to pay hundreds of millions. Personally, I think the idea of a salary cap at the major league level is absurd. There's many ways to build a team, and free agency is just one of them. The only legitimate response I heard about this was from Josh Thomson who gave this example:

"Take Rick Porcello, the hard-chucking righty from northern Jersey. He had top-five or top-10 talent heading into the 2007 draft yet fears about the money he would demand (yes, folks, Scott Boras was involved) scared the poorer teams away. They simply couldn’t afford to draft an 18-year-old that had never played a college game, much less a pro game. So Detroit got him 27th overall because it could pay him what was then the largest contract ever given to a draft pick. Oh, that’s all. So now Porcello is considered one of, if not the, best pitching prospects in baseball. Everyone knew he had that ability, but many couldn’t afford to pay for it."

It's true that many teams pass on players in the draft, because they'll be too pricey, and that's where I see a problem. So, let's put a salary cap on the draft. It can work one of two ways, either teams can only spend x amount during the first year player draft, or players drafted in the first year player draft can make a maximum of x amount of dollars. I like the former idea better, because it brings all the teams to the same level, and frankly that level should be fairly low. I don't know why Andrew Brackman is making $4 million and has a roster spot, when he hasn't thrown a single pitch at a meaningful level of baseball. Personally, I think that roster spots shouldn't be allowed as part of the first year player draft contracts. That should be abolished. This would level the playing field even more. It also would probably help a lot of small market teams in that their drafted players would likely take multi-year contracts instead of going through arbitration every season when they reach pro-ball. Reasonable, yet well paying contracts like the ones Tampa Bay gives. So there's the Respect Jeter's Gangster salary cap idea. A good idea or a great idea? Only time will tell.

22 Days, 22 Players: Alex Rodriguez

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

Alex Rodriguez is a strange player. The fans largely are unsure whether to hate him or love him. He's probably the best hitter we've seen in a while, a one of a kind player, who is nearly always a lock for 30+ homeruns and 100 RBI's. That he hasn't performed well in the post season has been held against him, but a torrid 2007 season seemed to get the fans behind him. Well, at least until 2008. Last season was an odd season for A-Rod. Not anything like his 2006 season, which was considered a failure despite a .290 average, 35 homeruns and 121. Perception is everything with fans, as A-Rod hit .302 last season with 35 homeruns and 103 RBI's, and the fans were not nearly as relentless as they were in 2006. Perhaps his MVP 2007 season played into this, or perhaps since the entire team was awful, he seemed to get more slack. Either way, the fans didn't really start booing him until he set a personal record for grounding into double plays in August, and then followed it with a lackluster September.

My Fearless Prediction:

So far with the Yankees, A-Rod has sandwiched so-so seasons with MVP seasons, which means that he's due for an MVP season next year. My guess is he bats .310 with 62 homeruns, breaking the true homerun record in the process, and gets suspended for 5 games when he gets pegged by Daisuke Matsuzaka and finaly snapping, he spin kicks Varitek and then puts Daisuke in a choke hold until he passes out. Daisuke comes to 10 minutes later and as he stands up, Melky punches Mike Lowell in the back of the head for no reason. A-Rod and Melky serve their suspensions together, but the production loss is made up by Derek Jeter, who suddenly decides to break out his homerun swing, knocking out 12 homeruns in the 5 days the two guys are suspended.

Little Known A-Rod Fact:

Alex Rodriguez was genetically manufactured by Dominican scientists with DNA of former great players after which he was bitten by a radio active lumberjack, which gave him his powerful swing, but then was also bitten by a radio active Bill Buckner giving him his achilles heal of choking under pressure. In 2007 he was bitten by a radio active Reggie Jackson, only to be bitten by Bill Buckner again in 2008. He was also bitten by Roger Clemens, but the Rocket wasn't radio active at the time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

23 Days, 23 Players: Derek Jeter

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

Anyone who followed the Yankees closely last season was probably concerned at one point or another over the future of Derek Jeter. His range at short appears to be decreasing while his slugging percentage took a heavy hit last season as he mustered a mere 11 homeruns, 25 doubles and 3 triples. This means that 39 of his 176 hits were for extra bases. He had hit 39 doubles in each of the two previous seasons so the decrease is understandably worrisome. However, people tend to forget that Jeter had been hit on the hand back on May 20th by then Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera. 93 mph off the hand I hear can be very painful, especially on the top of the hand where he appears to be hit. If you want to see it, here's the article with video. He struggled for the rest of that month, but picked it up in June and even seemed to be unaffected for the next two months as he stroked 16 doubles between June and July while batting .300 and .280 respectively. The true mystery is where the gap stroke went in August and September. No one really noticed that his doubles power was gone because he batted .345 and .342 in August and September, but he hit just 1 double in August, and another one in September. Maybe the use of the injured hand down the stretch created a worse injury, or maybe he slowed his bat down altogether to try and crank out more base hits, whatever the case, he hit just 2 doubles over the last two months, while hitting over .340. It is a curious case.

My Fearless Prediction:

I suspect that the doubles will be back. Expect him to bat over .300 with 40 doubles next season, completely reversing his decline. Everyone will revere his gangster, and stave off talks of his move from short for at least another year.

Little Known Jeter Fact:

After we reported that Jeter found the cause of his season long slump, Jeter went on to bat .350. He had hit .280 up to that point.

Here Are Your Answers

I recently read an article in the NY Post condeming the Yankees for this financing mess. Levine has been very vocal against Assemblyman Richard Brodsky making references to Brosky as trying to hurt the people of New York, and calling his actions "disgraceful". In response to these comments, the author sarcastically writes: "How dare anyone question a $370 million shortfall in the original estimate of public financing for the Yankees! Hey, there's some taxpayer in every dollar of CC Sabathia's $161 million!"

So let me get this right. You mean to tell me that a construction project went over budget? Nonesense I say! Is it really that big of a surprise that a project as massive as the new Yankee Stadium would go over budget, when building a 1-story ranch regularly goes over budget? Heck, people miss their projected budgets just trying to paint their house. There is no doubt that the Yankees got a great deal with this stadium and the financing, but when you can tell me where all that government money for the banks went, then you can take an issue with the Yankee stadium. At least the new Yankee stadium looks to be profitable and will continue to provide jobs for people. How many jobs have been lost at the banks, and how many billions have been poured into them? Even still, they continue to falter, and now theirs talks of basically nationalizing Citibank and Bank of America. Hundreds of billions of tax payer money has been poured into these banks, and you're taking an issue with the Yankees using federal money to build a stadium? One that has been a key economic resource to an otherwise impoverished area? Take the Yankees out of the Bronx and see how much better the local economy does. The new stadium may not provide thousands of new jobs, but the presence of the stadium alone brings in untold amounts of revenue to the local businesses. If you want to take an issue with something, take an issue with the billions given to revive banks that dug their own graves, and billions more to car companies whom also dug their own graves. You're going to have to do a lot more to get me to care about money given to build Yankee stadium.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

24 Days, 24 Players: Robinson Cano

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

Robinson Cano had a less than amazing season last year. While his final numbers, a .271 average, 14 homeruns, and 72 RBI's are about what you would expect from a second baseman, they are not typical of what Cano has produced. In 2006, Cano hit 41 doubles, while competing for a batting title by hitting .342. In 2007, despite a terrible start that had everyone criticizing his free swinging ways, Cano finished with a .306 average, 19 homeruns, another 41 doubles and 97 RBI's. Everyone expected Cano to only improve upon these numbers, and viewed 2008 as his potential breakout season. This was the year he would hit 30 homeruns, bat .320, and finally take a few walks. However, the reality was far from the case. We saw Cano struggle to get going all season long, pretty much up until the last 10 games of the season where it appeared he finally warmed up. It was too little too late, and a very forgettable season came to an end for both the Yankees and Cano. Everyone questioned Cano's work ethic, especially after he was benched one game for not hustling after a grounder hit his way. Since the close of the season, many Yankee fan GM's have been clamoring for Cano to be traded. It would appear that clearer minds have prevailed in the front office on this matter. Cano has batted .297, .342, and .306 in the three seasons prior to 2008, but when he suddenly hits .271 everyone believes that he has shown his true colors, and want him off the team. However, you never trade a player at his lowest value. If we wanted to trade him, the .342 season would have been the one to do it. The question will undoubtedly be, which Cano will show up in 2009?

My Fearless Prediction

Robinson Cano will bat over .300, while hitting 25+ homeruns and appear more patient at the plate. This is not to say he'll draw a ton of walks, but rather that he'll likely take more pitches. A properly motivated Cano can be a devastating force in the lineup, and I think that last seasons lingering perceptions will be plenty of motivation to get Cano playing hard. I don't think he wants to hear for the remaining 3 years that the Yankees shouldn't have given him a contract, and that he's become lazy as a result of the money. He also doesn't want the Yankees to use that against him when his next free agency period arrives.

Little Known Robinson Cano Fact:

Cano is actually right handed, but swings lefty because he did not feel himself worthy of standing on the same side of the plate as Derek Jeter.

WBC Announces Preliminary Rosters

I don't know too many people who are as excited about the World Baseball Classic as I am, but the rosters were announced yesterday, and the teams are taking shape. I personally like looking over my home teams roster and seeing people I never knew were my countryman. This year, it was Pirates pitcher Ian Snell. Like the last WBC, the Puerto Rican team has good offense with not so good pitching. The island produces a disproportionate ratio of pitchers to catcher. Even without Posada, we have all two of the Molina brothers plus Cubs catcher Geovany Soto who hit .285 with 23 homeruns, 35 doubles, and 86 RBI's last season. From your catcher, that's pretty solid. The pitching is going to be our weak point. We have good relief, but starters are lacking. I'm excited about an outfield that boasts Carlos Beltran and Alex Rios, and an infield that has Carlos Delgado, Mike Aviles, Mike Lowell, and Felipe Lopez. Of course, pitching dictates a game, and I just don't have much faith in Javier Vazquez, Joel Pineiro, Jonathan Sanchez and Ian Snell fronting the rotation. However, in these short series, anyone can win, so if the pitchers can throw some respectable games, the offense can carry them and the relief can shut down the later innings.

How do other teams look? As usual the US and Dominican teams are stacked. What if I said you had JP Howell, Scott Kazmir, Justin Verlander and Jake Peavy for starters and had to decide whether BJ Ryan, Joe Nathan, or JJ Putz would close? The rest of the team has some interesting decisions to make, like whether you use Grady Sizemore or Vernon Wells in center, or who between Evan Longoria and David Wright will play 3rd, or who between Jimmy Rollins and Derek Jeter should play short. This is basically like the All-Star game, only you're choosing the best from both leagues.

The Dominican team has similar difficult decisions to make with Hanley Ramirez or Jose Reyes at short, as well as Albert Pujols and Carlos Pena at first (we all know Pujols wins, but when Carlos Pena is on your bench, you know your team is stacked). Similarly, they have A-Rod and Aramis Ramirez at 3rd. That means they will have to bench some very good power hitters. Vlad Guerrero and Alfonso Soriano will patrol the corner outfield spots with Wily Taveras, and Melky Cabrera competing for center. The pitching isn't as good as it was 4 years ago when players were 4 years younger and 4 years less injured, but it still has a respectable core of Francisco Liriano, the stellar Edinson Volquez, the less than stellar Daniel Cabrera, and Fausto Carmona. Both Jose Veras and Damaso Marte will be available in relief.

I didn't look at many other teams, but Canada has Justin Morneau, Jason Bay, Joey Votto, and Russel Martin among other major league hitters. That's a respectable heart of the lineup with Bay and Morneau as good a 3/4 combination as you can get. They also have Rich Harden pitching for them, which makes for a strong ace.

Our very own Francisco Cervelli will be playing for the Italian team with Matt Garza and Alfredo Aceves playing for team Mexico.

Whether you like the WBC or not, it does have the added benefit of giving us competitive games to watch in early March. It provides a baseball fix to hold you over until the beginning of April, and that alone is worth the classic. But I also like the idea of worldwide recognition for the game. I'm hoping that in 20 years, you'll see more countries represented, and that the countries already represented will be much more competitive. Who knows, maybe in a few years you have India, Vietnam, Argentina, and England playing, giving much more visibility to the sport, and more of a world feel to it.

The Real Reason the Cameron Trade Fell Apart

A while back, it was rumored that the Yankees were prepared to trade Melky Cabrera for Mike Cameron. Included in the deal was Kei Igawa, over whom the Brewers were salivating, as they finally saw their chance to strike back at the Yankees for taking CC from them. But then the deal fell apart. The Yankees blamed the Brewers. The Brewers blamed the Yankees. My wife blamed me, but I was like, "I didn't know she was your sister."

But recently, the real reason the Brewers passed up on Scranton ace Kei Igawa was that he was being investigated by the Justice Dept. for horse punching. Horse punching is a sport as old as time, but is illegal under the Federal Horse Protection Act, or FHPA. According to the rules, you go up to a horse and punch it, getting one point for a body shot, and ten points if you punch it . . . in the face!

According to one federal investigator, who agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity since he has gone undercover as a horse, Kei Igawa has been funding an illegal horse punching ring in one of his VA mansions. Horses that underperformed are punched and then slaughtered.

Kei Igawa, who will likely be brought up on charges in the near future, declined to be interviewed for this story. Once it became clear to Brewers officials that the Justice Dept was close to filing charges against Mr. Igawa in federal court, backed off from the deal. Brewers GM had this to say, "I really don't care about horse punching. I drive a car, so as far as I'm concerned, punch away. But I can't have my ace facing federal charges that carry a maximum penalty of a $5000 fine. Inevitably he'll ask us to front the money, and we can't afford it. The Yankees ruined baseball."

A Sad Tale From Circuit City

So I walked into the Circuit City on 79th and Broadway the other day, to spot none other than one, CC Sabathia. Circuity City is going out of business, so they slashed prices by a whopping ten percent on all TVs. Apparently, the economy was only holding people back by $100 or so, because that place was packed with people walking out with TVs. In my head I'm thinking, wait three weeks and you'll get a better price. No, 90% is what I want to pay.

Anyway, I was kind of surprised to see CC there. At first I'm like, "this guy just signed a contract for $160M. Why is he among these vultures at a 'going out of business' sale." Then I realized that he's got to make that $160M last for seven years, and so I couldn't really be mad at him for trying to get the best price. At least he didn't pull a Ron Artest, who got a job at a Circuit City, after being drafted into the NBA, for the employee discount.

CC was talking to an employee, and when I walked by I could hear him haggling.

CC: I'll give you ten dollars and a porcupine for that TV.

Employee: [just staring at him]

Me: Where the #@$%&! did CC get a porcupine?

Sure enough, he was holding a porcupine in one hand, and a ten dollar bill in the other. The employee, who on closer inspection turned out to be Ron Artest, just shook his head, embarrassed for the new Yankee ace. It was a sad, sad day at Circuity City.

Monday, January 19, 2009

25 Days, 25 Players: Marky T

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 25 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.

Mark Teixeira joins the Yankees as the only offensive addition in this off season, but he brings more than just a good bat. Teixeira is a former gold glover, who solidifies the infield offense replacing what has been an unsure hand at first in Jason Giambi. Last season, Teixeira split time between the Braves and the Angels and hit .308 with 33 homeruns and 121 RBI's. 26 of those homeruns were hit left handed though admittedly he had more left handed at bats to begin with. His time with the Angels saw him hit an exceptional .358. Teixeira has a .290 career batting average, and a .378 career OBP.

My Fearless Prediction

I think we'll be seeing a little more pop from Teixeira from the left side since the dimensions of Yankee stadium are quite favorable. I would say that he will push towards 40 homeruns next season, while playing solid first base, batting just under .300 and sleeping over with A-Rod and Jeter every weekend they're playing a home game.

Little Known Teixeira Fact

Teixeira once saved a drowning horse by lifting it over his shoulders and carrying it out of the rapid currents to safety.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

They Seriously Can't Do That

So I went to to see if anything was new when I saw an article titled "Bonds OK'd for New York Ballparks", and for a second I thought "Oh crap, we signed Barry Bonds! The season is lost!", but then I clicked on the article and it was about how the Yankees had been granted the tax-exempt bonds they were seeking to finish the stadium. So, now I say, don't do that. It was cruel and unnecessarily mean, not unlike Cashman's means of demoting players.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cashman Strikes Again

A number of months ago we released a report regarding Cashman's insensitive way of handling demotions. Several Yankee players stepped foward and told their side of the story, and we had hoped that more players would find the courage to break their silence about the abuse. No other players stepped forward until now.

"After I cleared waivers, and realized that I'd be staying with the Yankees next season, I decided I had to report this." Explained Shelley Duncan who had been sent down to Triple A after breaking spring training with the big league club.

Shelley Duncan, much like the others we reported on, feels that Cashman was rather insulting and unnecessarily demeaning in the way he handled his demotion. Duncan still remembers the day Yankees Manager Joe Girardi called him into his office in graphic detail.

"Joe [Girardi] called me into his office after the game. I walked in hoping that they would keep me on the club just a little longer to prove myself. I came in and Cashman was sitting at Girardi's desk, so I quickly tried to start persuading him to let me stay. But right when I started talking I heard this overpowering drum pounding. It sounded like that "Lip Gloss is Popping" song. Cashman locked eyes with me and stood up from his chair slowly as the beat continued. Then, revealing a microphone he was keeping behind his back, he started rapping the words to the song, only he had made up his own lyrics. I don't remember much of it, but the chorus was like: "Your big bat ain't poppin', your big bat ain't cool. I put you on the roster, and now I look like a fool. Your big bat ain't cool, your big bat ain't poppin'. The bus leaves in 5 minutes, in Scranton it be stoppin'." I was shocked. I tried to argue my side, but Cashman wasn't even listening to me. He just kept dancing and wagging his finger at me. Then he kept singing "Yooouuuuuur biiiiiiiiiig baaaaaaaat, ain't poppin'. Ain't poppin'. Ain't poppin'. Ain't poppin'." I tried to get up to leave to catch the bus, but he cut me off, and stood in front of me shaking his head and wagging his finger at me until the beat finally ended. I almost missed the bus."

Despite Duncan's humiliation, Cashman did not stop there. As Duncan explained:

"I had been down in Scranton a couple weeks when I received a package from the big league club. I thought maybe it was a card or something from the guys wishing me luck, but when I opened it up it was a CD. I put it in and heard that same beat start playing. Apparently he was recording the entire time he was doing it. I could even hear myself trying to argue with him in the background. He included an instrumental and an accapela version on the CD, and I'm pretty sure he had it digitally mastered for optimal sound quality. It really seemed excessive."

We agreed.

As of the press release, Cashman has not returned phone calls regarding this situation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Take on Pettitte

The more I think about the Pettitte conundrum, the more I feel like the Yankees need to make this deal happen. Take a trip with me through the logic zone. The Yankees just signed three big free agents to $161 million, $82.5 million, and $180 million deals. As a result they've added a solid bat, and two front of the rotation pitchers. It should be noted that the Yankees outbid the competition for these deals, and in the case of Sabathia, outbid themselves to steal him away from, well, themselves. Now the Yankees have a good offense, with some of the best front end starters in the league. So why would we ever need Andy Pettitte, especially if it means paying more than the $10 million he's worth? Well, I have no doubt that we can fill the 5th starter role from within by one or several candidates. And when we get to the postseason the 5th starter doesn't matter anyway, because teams drop to a 4 man rotation. Sabathia, Wang, Burnett, and Joba would be an amazing 4 man rotation. However, there is no way Joba makes it to the post season as a starter. His inning limit is pretty low, and will probably need to be pushed into the bullpen come August. Now, I believe in Philip Hughes, but Hughes will be coming back from an injury plagued season, where he was largely ineffective. I did not forget his last start of the season which was a gem, but to say he's ready to jump into a 4-man post season rotation, especially considering that Hughes also has an inning limit, is quite the stretch. So who should the Yankees 4th starter be? Alfredo Aceves? Jason Johnson? Sydney Ponson?

Now let's consider what we know about Pettitte. A known gamer whose been as good as ever in the post season. Torre used him as his stopper, and for good reason. Let's also consider the fact that Sabathia has a 7.92 ERA in 5 post season starts, Wang's last two post season starts against the Indians ended with a final line of 5.2 innings, 16 earned runs, and 3 homeruns (he had given up 9 all season), and Burnett has not thrown a single pitch in the post season. Pettitte, out of all these pitchers, is the one you want in your rotation come playoff time, and you definitely want him over Aceves, or Hughes. That's not a knock against Aceves and Hughes, who are both extremely talented and I am excited to see pitch in the future, but for 2009 Pettitte is the best option.

The beauty of a Pettitte deal is that its 1 year. In 2010 you have a mature Hughes with a inning limit closer to what a starter should have, likely taking his spot. I can see Pettitte's side of the argument. A team that just outbid itself by $20 million to land a pitcher whose only known offer was already $40 million lower than their previous offer, can't turn around and start talking about not having any money to spend. Even after they told Pettitte that there was no more money to offer him, they turned around and signed Teixeira to a $180 million deal. If I'm Pettitte, I'm thinking that this team is trying to cheat me.

I've already written about the Yankees side of the deal in a previous post, and I acknowledge that the Yankees already overpaid Pettitte over the last 2 years, and that the $10 million deal is a fair deal, but the Yankees don't make fair deals. When they want a player they make it happen. Consider this scenario:

Say you work at a company and have been getting paid $100,000 a year for the last two years, a good $20,000 above what other people with similar skill sets are making. Then you're ready to negotiate a new contract, but your work kind of slipped off in the last year, and your product wasn't as good as it once was. You expect a decrease in pay, but you want to stay with the company to see their new office building open up across the street. Now the company comes and offers you $62,000. They tell you to think about it, but that they're going to be hiring some new personnel so you should try to come to a decision soon. Next thing you hear is that the company just hired someone at an annual salary of $144,000, but you don't much mind because you know that person is worth it. However, you later find that the $144,000 a year was $54,000 more than that persons previous offer and that your company had added $3,000 per year to their first offer to sweeten the pot a bit. The company quickly thereafter brings in another employee for a more reasonable sum, but still slightly more than what you made even when you were being overpaid. So you're looking at the $62,000 offer, and may feel a little slighted at this point. You meet with your boss and ask if he would consider raising his offer. Your boss tells you no, because they just spent all this money hiring these two new guys, and they have no money left to spend. So you think long and hard about his offer wondering if you should take it, when suddenly you hear of a new employee they just brought in. This one is making $140,000 per year. You go back to your boss and say that you thought they had no money. He responds, "Well, we don't now. What do you think of that offer?." How are you going to respond? Are you going to take the $62,000? Even if you love the company you work at you're going to feel slighted, and you know that you would never be okay with this if this was your life. What if this happened to your spouse? Your mother? Your father? Brother? Would you tell them to just take the deal?

Do I think Pettitte should take the $10 million? Yes I do, but I can see why he rejected it. I think both the Yankees and Pettitte are being stubborn in this case, and both need to budge. As it stands though, it doesn't look like a deal will get made.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Randy Levine Issued Subpoena

For those who don't know, there has been some turmoil over the Yankees use of tax money to build the stadium, and Yankees President Randy Levine has been issued a subpoena for certain finance documents. The man leading the charge is assemblyman Richard Brodsky. As a loyal reader of the blog, we would like to give Brodsky the following information: no one is going to side with you. The fans by and large don't care that the Yankees used tax money to build a steakhouse in their new stadium, if they did indeed do so. When the government can explain to us where the $700 billion given to resurrect banks that had dug their own graves, then they can take an issue with the Yankees using some money to build concession stands. Brodsky, you're going to lose votes over this, and as someone who just voted to give a $105 million bailout to the New York Racing Association, you really should not be taking issue with this.

Further more, Brodsky may have forgotten how much revenue the Yankees generates for the city. Remove the Yankees from New York, and believe that you'll see the effects immediately. From hotels, to restaurants, bars, parking garage's, and all those stores selling Yankees merchandise near the stadium, they will all take a huge blow. Don't die on this hill.

What's the Deal? Respect Wang's Gangster

With the signings of Sabathia and Burnett, our homegrown ace Chien Ming Wang has been moved down to the three spot in our rotation. Now the obvious reaction is to say that our rotation is stacked, but a less obvious reaction is to wonder why Wang was pushed down to the three spot. Now I can understand if he had been placed as a number 2. Sabathia is a Cy Young pitcher who carried the Brewers to the playoffs last season. You can argue win totals, but Sabathia has had a less potent offense than Wang. Now, placing Burnett in front of Wang is down right wrong. I don't know why the Yankees see fit to downplay Wang's achievements. First in the arbitration case last year, and now with this slide in the rotation. He's a two time 19 game winner who when healthy eats up innings, and gets people out. The only thing I can think of is that he is not a strikeout pitcher like Sabathia and Burnett, but in this enlightened era of baseball statistics, why does this even matter? Whether someone strikes out, pops out, or grounds out, they're still out. The argument is often that a ground ball can find holes, where a strikeout is a plain out, but ground balls can get you double plays, and that's what Wang is a master of. I like Burnett, don't get me wrong, but Wang is a winner, and the fact that people are so hesitant to give him the ace status is flat out ridiculous. Wang is so gangster, he doesn't even need strikeouts to win games. That's what should go on his plaque if he goes to the hall of fame.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Not Much to Talk About Part Deux

Since our previous phone conversation didn't go so well, it was time to call everyone's favorite GM via satellite video phone and make sure things were still cool. The following is a minute by minute account of the proceedings.

BC: Hello?

RJG: Hey, what's up Bronny?

BC: Not much, how are you.

RJG: Not bad. Hey listen, sorry about last time, I have this condition that makes me call Brian Cashman via satellite video phone and makes me berate him for the lack of topics to blog on. I'm on meds now so it's cool.

BC: Glad you got that taken care of.

RJG: So Bronny, the Mets just lost out on Derek Lowe to the Braves and are having to turn their attention to Ollie Perez. Since Andy hates being paid more than he's worth, but not way more than he's worth, shouldn't you be thinking about swooping in and swiping Ollie P from the Mets. Omar would $#!% himself.

BC: We really aren't looking to sign another big ticket free agent. I think we're maxed out.

RJG: Well that's perfect since Ollie is hardly a big ticket free agent. He's barely a regular ticket free agent. Just give him unlimited access to the concession stand refrigerators and you've got another young lefty starter.

BC: We're not interested in Perez. We've spent enough money this off-season. We're done destroying baseball with our free spending ways.

RJG: Wow. That was oddly introspective. Are you sedated right now?

BC: No. Wait a minute, does Nyquil sedate you?

RJG: It makes you drowsy, it's intended for nighttime relief . . .

BC: What about Benadryl?

RJG: Well, generally speaking yes, but . . .

BC: What about both together? Plus beer. I'm fighting a nasty cold man.

RJG: I'm uncomfortable now. Let's change the subject. Actually, let's not. Did you really say the Yankees are destroying baseball?

BC: Yes, but I was just channeling my inner small market GM.

RJG: Can you channel your regular large market GM?

BC: Speaking.

RJG: And what do you think about the idea the Yankees are destroying baseball.

BC: I think Winston Churchill put it best when he said, "the rest of baseball can lick my [censored]"

RJG: Winston Churchill never said that.

BC: Are you sure?

RJG: Yeah, I'm pretty sure.

BC: Well somebody said it.

RJG: Moving on, what are you wearing right now?


There you have it folks. Bronny Cash and RJG are still cool, but Bronny remains oddly uncomfortable discussing what he's wearing at any given moment. It's strange considering we can see what he's wearing on satellite video phone, but that's just the way he is. Always mysterious.

Not Much to Talk About

As its been slim pickings for a while now on the baseball news front, we decided it was time to give our good friend Brian Cashman another call via satellite video phone. We submit the following transcript for your approval:

[Phone ringing]

BC: Hello?

RJG: What's up Bronny? How's it hangin'?

BC: It's going well I suppose.

RJG: Sooooooooooooooo, there's not much going on right now it seems. . .

BC: Yeah, yeah. It's kind of slow.

RJG: How are the kids?

BC: Kids are good, everything's good.

RJG: So . . . you signed Mark Teixeira . . . weeks ago . . .

BC: Yep, yep. Did you see the press conference?

RJG: I listened to it online. It was good, he seems happy to be a Yankee.

BC: We feel he's a good fit.

RJG: Working on any trades or anything?

BC: We always have our feelers out there, but nothing's going on. It's kind of slow.

RJG: Yeah. I guess that's what happens when you sign all the free agents that matter before Christmas. Thanks a lot jerk. You know what Bronny, you're a panda jerk, and that's the worst kind of jerk. I call you up, there's absolutely nothing to talk about. You're making me look stupid. This transcript is going to be on the internet! The internet, Bronny! And all you can tell me is your kids are good? I #&%*@! hate you Bronny, I hate you!

BC: That was uncalled for.

RJG: Yeah, I'm sorry. I didn't mean that. It's just that I've gotta post something on the blog, and there's nothing to write about, it's kind of stressful. Anyway, I don't hate you Bronny, sometimes I just get mad from riding the subway here in the city. You know what that's like.

BC: No, I don't. I have a limo driver.

RJG: Why don't you kiss my @$$!


RJG: I should probably call back and apologize . . .

Free Agent Sweep

I have an idea. The Yankees should sign all available free agents worthy of note, and then hold onto them until the season starts and other teams get desperate for players. We then trade them, for their best prospects. Then after we've stocked our system full of other teams prized possessions, we invade Queens, overthrow Shea Stadium, set up a puppet regime led by Willie Randolph and call it New York Yankees East. That's where our super team of prospects will play. The Mets will be forced to play in New Jersey where they belong. Just imagine what returns we would see for Orlando Cabrera, Derek Lowe, Ben Sheets, Manny Ramirez, Bobby Abreu, and Adam Dunn. Especially when teams star players get injured and need to be replaced right away.

It never ceases to amaze me how slow the winter months can be. 25 days before spring training begins we will start our roster review, but we're not even within 25 days of spring training yet. And even when spring training starts, we have to wait a couple weeks before they start playing games, and when they start playing games we need to wait a couple more weeks before they start the season.

But we at the Respect Jeter's Gangster blog are committed to keeping you entertained in the cold winter months. So here's a question for you all to consider. Besides Derek Jeter, who is your favorite Yankee and why?

For me, it would have to be Lou Gehrig. Power hitting first baseman, naturally gifted, strong, persistant, and humble. His numbers are amazing and he didn't even get to finish his career. I sometimes wonder what his career numbers would have looked like if he didn't have ALS. Some interesting stats about Gehrig, he was a career .340 hitter, batted over .370 three times, had 184 RBI's in one season, walked over 100 times in eleven different seasons, and despite being known for his homeruns, he also legged out 163 triples in his career including a season where he hit 20 of them, and hit 40 or more doubles in a season seven times. That's pretty gangster.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Henderson and Rice Inducted to Hall

I don't think anyone is too surprised here, but Rickey Henderson and Jimmy Rice were both inducted to the hall of fame. Personally, I wonder who on our team is Hall of Fame worthy. Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Alex Rodriguez are all locks in my opinion. My question is will someone like Jorge Posada, be considered hall worthy at the end of his career. In fairness, it will be hard to judge this until we see how he comes back from the surgery, but I wonder how the lack of gold gloves, or other prominent accolades will play out against him. Especially when he played in an era with such slugging catchers as Pudge Rodriguez and Mike Piazza. The other knock against him is that his first few seasons were as a platoon with Girardi, which limited his production. He has 1,379 hits, 221 homeruns, 883 RBI's, a .277 career average and a .380 career OBP. The last three catchers inducted into the hall of fame were Gary Carter (2003), Carlton Fisk (2000), and Johnny Bench (1989). Those three catchers had over 2000 hits, over 350 homeruns, roughly 1300 RBI's, batting averages that ranged from .262 - .269, and an OBP ranging from .335 - .342. Fisk also stole 128 bases, which is pretty incredible for a catcher. Posada would have to play at least 4 more seasons healthily and productively to even come close to those numbers. His average and OBP is better than the hall players I've mentioned, but both of those stats tend to take a huge hit in the later part of catchers careers. Only time well tell whether Posada will be deemed hall worthy, but for now, I just hope he comes back swinging like he is.

Let This Be a Lesson to You

For the past few weeks, almost nothing baseball related has been reported in the NY dailies. All the focus has been on the Giants, and if the Yankees hadn't mustered the sheer gall to throw a press conference to introduce Mark Teixeira, we'd still be reading about how Pettitte doesn't want to take a pay cut. Now the Giants are out of the playoffs and Philadelphia is preparing to crown a second world champion in a matter of months. You see what happens when you ignore the Yankees in print? Now there are no New York teams in the playoffs, and Philly, a city hardly worthy of the number of letters in its name, is going to be the world champion in football and baseball. Thanks a lot Daily News, Post, Times. Let this be a lesson to you: Never, NEVER, ignore the Yankees.

Absolutely Nothing Going On

I checked my usual sources today to see if there was anything relevant to write about, and it appears that there is absolutely nothing going on in baseball. The biggest news I found was that the Marlins are not interested in Pedro. This isn't even news. Its like a breaking news story about how the Marlins can't afford Manny, or that the Royals never really had a shot at Sabathia, or that Melky Cabrera is batting well in a winter league created for 18 year olds getting sharp for their Single A debuts. Oh wait, this just in, Rickey Henderson deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. You mean to tell me that a man who stole 1406 bases , has over 3,000 hits and is revered as the greatest leadoff hitter in all of history deserves to be in the hall of fame? Get out of here!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

With Redding Signing, Mets Surpass Yankees as Powerhouse Team

Yankee fans should be disappointed to learn that the Mets have surpassed them as the New York powerhouse team. The Mets appear poised to add star pitcher, and former Yankee ace Tim Redding to their rotation. This addition overshadows the Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira deals as well as the Manny and Pettitte signings if they ever get made. Reddings $2.25 million contract was roughly $2.25 million more than the Yankees bid for him, and shows the commitment the Mets had in signing him as they outbid other clubs by an infinite percentage. The loss will be readily felt by the Yankees as Redding slides in front of Santana to front the Mets rotation. The Yankees would literally need to clone Sandy Koufax and pump him full of PED's to match this deal. How the Mets snatched Redding right from under Cashman's nose is beyond us. We can only hope it never happens again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Yankees Sign Riff Raff

The Yankees signed a few players to minor league deals in the last week, and included in this number is pitcher Jason Johnson, outfielder John Rodriguez, and shortstop Angel Berroa. For those of us who have never heard of these players, rest assured that you are not alone. As always, Respect Jeters Gangster has your back.

Angel Berroa: A product of the Kansas City farm system, Angel Berroa was set for greatness after he won 2003 Rookie of the Year award batting .287 with 17 homeruns and 73 RBI's. He beat out our very own Hideki Matsui for the award. Since then he's been on a downward slide and eventually lost the shortstop role to Tony Pena Jr., son of our beloved first base coach. Last year he played for the Dodgers, but barely made a dent with his anemic .230 average. The best way to describe Berroa is an energetic player with a Vlad Guerrero strike zone but an Adam Dunn strikeout rate, and David Eckstein type power. The Yankees hope he can give depth to the middle infield in the event that Jeter or Cano and Cody Ransom are unavailable. Berroa has played some second base, and played one out at third, but is by and large a short stop, and not a good one (.966 career fielding percentage).

Jason Johnson: A right handed veteran Johnson made his debut with the Pirates in 1997, and since then has played for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Orioles, Tigers, Red Sox, Reds, Indians, Dodgers and the Seibu Lions of Japan. His most active year was 2006 where he played for three different teams including the Red Sox, where Carl Crawford had a three steal game against him, including swiping home. What makes the steal more impressive is that Johnson is right handed and thus faces third base. Johnson has a ton of big league experience, but not a ton of big league success. He did lead the 2005 Tigers in quality starts, but has had a losing record in every season except for 2 in Baltimore where he went 8-7 and 10-10. His career record is 56-100. However, he could help to spot start every now and again, and perhaps fill a hole in the rotation for a couple turns through.

John Rodriguez: A left handed outfielder who played with the Cardinals, Rodriguez is originally a product of the New York Yankees farm system. He has a championship ring with the 2006 Cardinals, but his only world series at bat ended in a strikeout. In fact he has zero hits in the post season, though admittedly its a small sample size. He did help his team in the NLCS by drawing 2 walks, driving in a run, and scoring a run all in one game. He spent the majority of the 2007 season on the DL, and opened spring training of 2008 with the Rays, but did not make the team. He's currently playing in the Puerto Rican winter league, but not particularly well. He has a .298 average with a .378 OBP in 332 at bats for his career.

So there you have it. Now you can repeat this information to your friends so you look really cool, and then all the girls will flock to you.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Should Pettitte Just Take the Paycut?

Peter Abraham recently put up a post about Pettitte and why a deal has not been made. The basic premise is that Pettitte believes he's worth more than $10 million, and despite saying that money is not an issue and that he wants to stay a Yankee, money is a major issue and the only reason he is currently not a Yankee. I've been saying for a while that $10 million was what Mussina made last season, and that it should be adequate for someone who pitched as poorly and inconsistantly as Pettitte did. He finished the season with a 14-14 record and a 4.54 ERA. I was off slightly as Mussina made $11 million last season, with another $1 million as a signing bonus. If you work it out, his total contract was worth $11.5 million per year over the two year length of his contract. Some people may point out that Mussina made $11.5 million, but he had a terrible 2007 season, going 11-10 with a 5.15 ERA. However, the $11.5 million contract did not come after the 2007 season, it came after the 2006 season when he had a 15-7 record with a 3.51 ERA and 172 strikeouts. After that season he signed the 2 year $23 million contract. Later that off-season, the Yankees made a more than generous offer to Andy Pettitte. The deal was a 1 year $16 million contract with a player option for another $16 million. For those unfamiliar with contract language a player option basically means that the player can choose to play the extra year for a predetermined salary. So basically, he had a guaranteed 2 year contract worth $32 million, way above the market value. Now compare that to the 2 year $23 million Mussina agreed to. Pettitte had just finished a 14-13 season with a 4.20 ERA and 178 strikeouts pitching in the National League. Compare that to Mussina who had better numbers and pitched in the AL East. Mussina probably could have gotten more from the Yankees, but he wanted to be a Yankee and did not see money as a huge issue. Mussina re-signed with the Yankees in October because he knew he wanted to be a Yankee, and never shopped his services around to other teams. Keep in mind also that Mussina had made $17 million the season before, and was taking a $5.5 million pay cut, very close to the $6 million pay cut in the Pettitte deal, with the one major difference being that Mussina took the paycut after pitching WELL.

Now, I understand that its every players right to demand more money. Its free market capitolism at its best. However, Pettitte clearly does not want to be a Yankee or pitch in the new stadium as he had earlier stated. If that were really the case, he would have signed already. What he does want is money. This may seem harsh to say, but let's be honest. The Yankees aren't trying to cheat him. They've offered a fair contract in this market. I could see if Pettitte was just holding out, but he outright rejected the Yankees offer. Where he once said that money was not an issue and he wanted to be a Yankee, his actions are saying the opposite.

What is the fair market value? Well after Sabathia and Burnett, any good pitcher has been offered $13 million per season. Lowe and Dempster were offered this much. Those two pitchers had good seasons last year (Lowe went 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA and Dempster went 17-6 with a 2.96 ERA) and both helped get their teams to the playoffs. Pitchers who pitched poorly last season either have no offers on the table, or signed really cheaply like Daniel Cabrera and his $2.9 million deal. Pettitte is somewhere in between. He's a good pitcher who had a bad season due to shoulder problems and general inconsistancy. What's the market on a player like that? $10 million sounds about everyone except Pettitte.

Red Sox Sign Smotlz and Baldelli

It has been reported that the Red Sox are on the verge of signing John Smoltz and Rocco Baldelli. This is clear retaliation for the Yankees signing Burnett and Teixeira. The Red Sox already retaliated against the Sabathia signing by signing Brad Penny. Smoltz is coming off of major surgery and will be 41. Baldelli was apart of that Rays team that made it to the playoffs. Baldelli, who has a mitochondrial disorder, can only play as a backup, but has some pop and can play good defense. How does this effect the AL East? We can't be certain, but I did enjoy a day off yesterday because of the ice storm that blanketed the Northeast.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cash Says Money Faucet is Turned Off

With over $80 million coming off the payroll this season, the Yankees decided to go on a spending spree of epic proportion. We all know the names, Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira, all of whom are elite players in their late 20's ready to compete. Decidedly absent is Andy Pettitte who will likely go else where or retire, which is a shame since he's been a monster in the post season. Though the Yankees say that the money faucet is off, and that they're done spending, if market conditions dictate, they could find themselves adding another bat. Manny and Boras are still looking for a $25 million per year deal over 4-5 years. The Dodgers and Giants are not interested in that kind of deal and may lose interest completely in this market. If the Dodgers or Giants would like to add another productive bat, Abreu and Dunn are still available. If the Dodgers and Giants add those players, then Manny will find himself a month from spring training without any suitors. At that point would he take a 1 year deal and try free agency the next season? I think a desperate player would be willing to try that. Otherwise, I think he'll go to the Dodgers on the cheap, but trust that if the Dodgers sign Abreu or Dunn, Manny will be screwed. I guess its a kind of poetic justice seeing as he quit on his team and comes across as the most selfish player behind Barry Bonds. Now, shockingly, teams aren't all that interested. If he with the Yankees on a one year deal, expect him to be a model citizen.

In other baseball related topics, the Yankees have DFA'd Shelley Duncan. I liked the man, but they never really gave him a chance. Kind of like Andy Phillip. Hopefully Duncan can pick up somewhere and forearm smash his way to success. The Yankees also added Jason Johnson to a minor league deal. This guy played a little while with the Red Sox in 2006, and the only memory I have of him is Carl Crawford stealing home with him on the mound.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Respect Jeter's Gangster Year in Review

Our Year in Review will remain at the top of the page through the first week of the new year. Scroll below for new posts and all that gangster goodness your soul craves.

It was last January that we started this blog and since then we've seen it grown from a site where no one would visit or comment on anything we ever did, to what it is now. Its been an amazing year, one worthy of review. If you are visiting for the first time, this will catch you up to what we've basically been doing for the last year. If you are a regular reader or poster on the blog, we want to thank you for checking us out all this time. We hope to see you throughout 2009!

2008 Respect Jeter's Gangster Blog Review

Early Accomplishments:

Invented a new stat.
Wrote a three part epic story about Jeter's gangster (1, 2, 3).
Prophecied the Rays Emergence as Contenders.

Deron Peter's Columns:

Deron Rages
Deron Vents

Carl Pavano's Online Diaries:

Carl Pavano Online Diary Entry 1
Carl Pavano Online Diary Entry 2
Carl Pavano Online Diary Entry 3

Stellar Commentary:

What's a blog without someone with no knowledge of baseball commenting on baseball? Here are some of our scathing criticisms and commentaries on baseball.

Worst Shortstop in Baseball?

Worst Shortstop in Baseball pt. 2?
MLB Drug Problem Out of Hand
Julio Lugo's Biography
Greatest Sentence Ever

Groundbreaking Interviews:

Throughout the year we had the honor of interviewing several beat writers and book authors about the Yankees. Check out some of the interviews we did over the year:

New York Times Best Selling Author Richard Bradley
Trenton Thunder Beat Writer Mike Ashmore
Journal News Beat Writer Peter Abraham
Daily News Beat Writer Mark Fiensand
Former Yankees PR Director Marty Appel
Journal News Columnist Sam Borden

Our Award Winning* Investigative Team:

Want to kill some time at work? Read through some of our award winning* stories from the 2008 season.

Iwamura Okay After Attempt On His Life
Yankee Clubhouse Restless After Rays Brawl
Home Opener Delayed?
Joba's Fist Pump Destroying Baseball
Yankees Make Mariners Cry After Sweep
Goverment Leak Attests to Jeter's Gangster
Slow Start Explained
Yankees Hire Motivational Speaker
Mechanical Flaw Root of Cano's Slump
Jeter Finds Root of Season Long Slump
Varitek's Off Season Training Regimen
Baseball Players Feeling Economic Woes
Cashman Handles Demotions Coldly
Hank to Run for Commissioner
Hank 's Plan to Rebuild 2009 Yankees
A-Rod's True Hollywood Story
Transcript of Jeter's and Sabathia's Phone Conversation
George Steinbrenner's Risky Investment Pays Off

*No awards were actually awarded.

Creative Accomplishments:

This was fun!

Penned an epic halloween poem.

Bronny Cash Phone Conversations:

See all transcripts of our phone conversations with Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Start from the bottom and work your way up!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Words of Wisdom from the 2008 Yankees

As we begin the new year, it is appropriate to consider the words of those who would share their wisdom with us, in order that we may have as great a year as possible. To that end, our intrepid investigative journalists have conducted interviews with all the members of the 2008 Yankees in order to get their advice for you, the fans. Here is the first installment in this special series, we begin with former Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi:

"Remember that you can have fun without alcohol. But it's lame fun, like doing puzzles and $#!%."

Truly, words to live by.

Romero to Get 50 Game Suspension

When I first heard this I assumed the Phillies reliever tested positive for steroids, and having been caught red handed he was issued the suspension. Apparently, the issue is not so clear. Romero says that he bought a supplemant from GNC, had a nutritionist check it, and since it had no warning labels was said to be fine. The Players Association had told players that the supplement was okay to use. He then tested positive for it twice, and disciplinary action was passed down. He appealed to an arbitration board, who issued a ruling against him. Since then, the players union issued a statement to players saying:

"We have previously told you there is no reason to believe a supplement bought at a U.S. based retail store could cause you to test positive under our Drug Program. That is no longer true. We have recently learned of three substances which can be bought over the counter at stores in the United States that will cause you to test positive. These three supplements were purchased at a GNC and Vitamin Shoppe in the U.S."

At the arbitration hearing, the MLB officials put forth a bottle of the supplement with a warning label on it saying that it may be banned by some athletic agencies. Romero provided the bottle he had, which had no such warning.

All in all, this really sucks for Romero. It seems like he really tried to do the right thing, and now has to miss nearly a third of the season. This doesn't seem like a Clemens style denial. Romero knows he took it, but the bottle had no warning, his nutritionist saw no problems with it, the players association said this kind of supplement was okay, and it was bought in a store not owned by Brian McNamee. I know baseball is oversensitive to the issue of performance enhancers now, but this is kind of ridiculous. First they spend years ignoring steroids as an issue in baseball, profiting from it even, and now they're coming down hard on players who take over the counter supplements.

UPDATE: I should punch Fox Sports' horse in the face. Their report makes Romero sound so guilty. Instead of using all the quotes from Romero, or at least the ones where he defends himself, they used all the ones where he says things like "I'm not guilty" or "I still cannot see where I did something wrong". They don't at any point talk about there not being a label on the substance, the players association telling him it was okay to use, his nutritionist saying it was okay. Way to go Fox Sports. If you didn't give us enough reason to hate you by not letting us watch our out-of-market teams on Saturday, or by forcing us to watch Saturday baseball on mute because of your commentators, you've also given us your purely one-sided opinions. Thank you for all your contributions to baseball.

Pettitte Rejects Yankee Offer

It looks like Pettitte has rejected the Yankees 1 year $10 million offer that has been sitting on the table for some time now. According to the report, he still wants to pitch for the Yankees, but the money just isn't right. The Yankees could use Pettitte however, and given his post season performances, it may be very wise to sign him. Would he take a 1 year $12 million contract? Probably not, but at least the Yankees tried in that scenario. The report speculates that Pettitte may be wondering why the Yankees are trying to scale back his deal while spending a combined $243.4 million on Sabathia and Burnett. The Yankees are likely wondering why a pitcher who struggled mightily last season, and was largely ineffective would be shocked to be offered a paycut. The report also speculates that Pettitte could consider retirement, but its just speculation.

I know that Pettitte wants to hold out for more money, and that its his right to do so as a free agent, but at some point this needs to be worked out. The New York Times quotes Pettitte from last season as saying:

“Obviously anyone else would say, ‘I’ll go wherever I want to,’ because people want to try to get the most money, but, I mean, I’m not going anywhere, you know what I’m saying? The Yankees know me enough, it’s not like I’m going to hold out. I guess if I had spent all my money or whatever, it might be different. But it’s not about that, really, anymore.”

What changed?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cause of Dormant Yankee Offense Found

One of the biggest questions left for the 2009 Yankees is how well the offense will perform. Despite the addition of Teixeira, some concerns remain about a team that scored just 768 runs all last season. Yet General Manager Brian Cashman remains confident that the offense will bounce back. The reason for his confidence? Cashman claims that the underperforming offense was the result of a series of distracting incidents that occurred in the Yankee clubhouse.

"I'm not really sure how they got in." Stated a baffled Brian Cashman as he recounted the event. "I was in my office prior to the game, when I get a call from Joe [Girardi] saying there was a situation in the clubhouse. As soon as I step in the room I see three large men in ski masks holding guns. I said 'What's going on here? What do you want?' They respond 'We don't want you to score any runs this season.' I laughed at them and said, 'Shoot me, 'cause we're scoring runs.' But they told me that if we score runs they would kill a puppy. We weren't sure what they were talking about until they pulled a puppy out of a box they had brought with them. They held a gun to its head, and it wasn't even two weeks old. They were like, 'So, what's it going to be?' And how was I going to answer? If we go score 12 runs, then we have puppy blood on our hands and hearts. I can't live with that."

"I remember the situation well." Recalled Robinson Cano. "Melky and I were walking in when Girardi called us over and told us there was a situation. We walked into the clubhouse and there were these men with ski masks holding a puppy." Cano paused, revisiting the terror. "They had a gun, and a golden retriever, it was so young it could barely open its eyes. They told us not to score runs, or the puppy would get it. It was so heartless. It took me all season to recover, and Melky never did. He would have nightmares. He would have them all the way down to Scranton."

"It was not an isolated event." Assured Yankee manager Joe Girardi. "The first time it happened, we came in after the game and the bandits were gone. To be honest I kind of forgot about it. Then I came in the next morning with a fresh cup of coffee, turned the corner of the clubhouse and there they were holding a puppy and a gun. This time a black lab. I was like, 'Seriously guys?' They said 'Yes. No runs today or the lab gets it.' I went out into the dugout and tried to call the police, but it kept dialing to the bullpen. After the third time Mike Harkey was like 'Stop calling me.'"

But what about the offensive surge witnessed in July?

"In July we started playing well mainly because they were getting sloppy." Stated Outfielder Johnny Damon. "They would show up with a Chihuahua and be like 'The puppies going to get it.' But we were like 'That's not a puppy.' And then we'd score 14 runs. One time I'm pretty sure they brought a rat with a collar on it. We threw a stick to see if it would fetch it, but instead it gave Betemit rabies. Another time they brought a hamster. By August they had pulled their act together."

Could this situation occur in 2009?

"After last season I made sure to install locks in the new stadium. I suspect these locks will deter these kinds of incidents." Explained Brian Cashman.

The hopes of the 2009 season certainly depend on it.