Monday, October 31, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Slotting, I'm All For It

According to this article cited on the Lohud blog the last major issue in the MLB labor negotiations is about slotting in the first year players draft. Slotting is basically a system where there is a fixed signing bonus attributed to each round of the draft so that all players drafted in that round would receive the same bonus. A couple years ago I wrote about this topic, and still feel the same way: I'm all for it. Yes, small market teams receive money from MLB because of revenue sharing, and they can use this money to sign players. But the truth is, these small market teams aren't going to compete in the free agent market. As a result, they need to rely heavily on the draft. Some will suggest that small market teams can also go the trade route to build their teams, but this won't work unless they have quality prospects to trade. Again, it all goes back to the draft. So what happens when players like Stephen Strasburg, Rick Porcello, or even Andrew Brackman become available in the draft? They make multi-million dollar contracts without even having played a single game in the major leagues. And since some small market teams know that top prospects are going to demand a lot of money, they'll often times skip them in the draft for a lesser talent knowing that they won't be able to afford them. As a result, the teams that need the draft the most, don't benefit from their higher draft pick. And don't get me wrong, guys like Strasburg and Porcello or legitimate big league talents. But they should not receive veteran free agent money before proving they can play at the big league level. Because there is no salary cap, those guys will see big contracts in their future, but they should have to earn them with their production in the majors, not their production in college ball. In this way, slotting would make the draft do what it should do: give the best pick of prospects to the crappiest teams.

The one concession MLB should make if they haven't already is make an MLB scholarship fund available to players drafted out of high school and junior college. The idea is that for players drafted lower in the draft, their signing bonuses are typically not life changing. If they devote 4-5 years of their lives to playing minor league ball (where the salaries are not life changing either), and they never make it to the majors, it would be good for them to have the option to go back to school with a paid scholarship from MLB. I just think of it from the players perspective. You sign lower in the draft as a high school player, you play a number of years in the minor leagues, get injured or released for whatever reason, your big league dreams are no longer available to you, and now what options do you have? You've committed the opening years of your adult life to a career that is now unavailable to you. An MLB scholarship would be a nice way to take care of players in this position.

What do you all think? Are you for slotting? Against it?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

La Russa Had Phone Problems

For those of us out there wondering how La Russa could ever have lost a game, the reason became clear during his press conference when he revealed that the phone that connects the bullpen to the dugout had poor volume. La Russa was calling for ace closer Motte, but only got Rzepczynski warming up. Later, La Russa called for Motte again, but the bullpen heard Lynn who was apparently supposed to be unavailable for the game. Though La Russa blamed poor phone volume, the truth was that it was actually just a miscommunication.

"I thought we had worked out a new communication system." Explained bullpen coach Lilliquist. "So that no one could steal signs. Which in hindsight doesn't make any sense since everyone can see who's warming up in the bullpen, and there aren't really any signs to steal."

What was the communication system?

"Basically the way it works is that what you say you want, you don't actually want, and what you don't say you want, you need to infer somehow that its what you actually want. Its called the 'Talking to Your Girlfriend' communication system. Its really confusing, and I'm really bad at it. Its why I sent in Lynn, and why I'm sleeping at a friends house tonight." Said Lilliquist.

So there you have it. Poor communication can even harm your world series hopes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Holland Dominates

If any of you watched yesterday's World Series game you probably noticed the fine pitching performance by Rangers pitcher Derek Holland. He went 8.1 innings, striking out 7 while shutting out the Cardinals to even the series at 2-2. And he's left handed! It made me think of how patience with the young talent can go a long way. Back in 2009, Holland had a 8-13 record with a 6.12 ERA for the Rangers. A couple years later, he's locking down a pivotal game in the world series. Dellin Betances made 2 appearances for the Yankees this year pitching 2.2 innings, walking 6 and allowing 2 runs. Not a particularly inspiring debut, but its such a small sample that not much can be drawn from it. The point is, it's not looking like we're going to sign our way to a respectable rotation. We need to grow our own talent, and a guy like Holland shows what the payout could be. The Rangers entire world series rotation not to mention their closer are homegrown talents.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Now I Have to Watch

I haven't really been paying attention to the World Series beyond checking the scores. Partly I'm still too hurt by the Yankees early exit. I'm also utterly unnerved by the Yankees inability, so far, to retain Brian Cashman or sign Prince Fielder. But after last night, I have to watch. Albert Pujols hit three home runs, with 40 RBI, and advanced stem cell research well beyond its current bounds between innings. He even cloned a dinosaur. No player since Babe Ruth has cloned a dinosaur during a World Series game, though one player was mauled by one. So now I have to watch. Pujols better repeat yesterday's performance. Or else . . .

Friday, October 21, 2011

Yankees Continue Service to Humanity

As pointed out on the Lohud blog, the man who allegedly captured Gaddafi did so while rocking the interlocking N and Y. When the Yankees were instituted back in the beginning of the 20th century, their mission statement read "To win championships, and depose dictators." The Yankees continue this proud tradition by providing hats for revolutionaries in Libya.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Christmas Wish-List

Since our October is over, we might as well turn our thoughts to what we want this coming Christmas. I realize not all of us may celebrate Christmas, but we can all agree that receiving free stuff for no reason other than happening to be around on a particular day is a pretty good deal. Just ask any major investment firm still in business. So here's what I want this Christmas:

1. For CC Sabathia to not exercise his opt-out clause.

Hopefully Sabathia remembers all the good times we had. All the times we cheered for him when he was on the mound. The 2009 World Series. All the times the NYPD thoughtfully stopped and frisked his relatives on their way to the Stadium. You know, all the good stuff. Then, hopefully, Sabathia chooses not to opt-out, staying with the Yankees and not costing them anymore money (since clearly they don't have it).

2. For Rafael Soriano to exercise his opt-out clause.

Hopefully Soriano remembers how he used to be a closer. Successful. Now he's a seventh inning guy. Plus he keeps getting stopped and frisked on the way to the Stadium. It's not worth the hassle. Opt out.

3. Another Granderson-style trade, only this time for a pitcher.

Remember when we traded for Granderson and everyone was like, "AJax is the future of baseball," and then AJax just went on to strike out a lot while Granderson became an MVP candidate? We need another trade like that, only this time for a pitcher. A lefty pitcher, with heat, and breaking stuff, and off-speed stuff, who pitches inside against Boston, and who hits for both power and average. That's what I want.

4. For Joba Chamberlain to develop 'Rookie of the Year' super-pitching post surgery.

Remember that movie? Where the kid falls and then can throw a fastball past Major League hitters, or something like that? We need Chamberlain to come back like that. No more of this "He's ahead of schedule" stuff. Every rehabbing athlete ever has been described as ahead of schedule only to come back to the field way after the schedule said he would, if at all. I don't want "ahead of schedule". That is practically proxy for "his career is over". I want "Rookie of the Year".

5. For Girardi to lose it.

When Girardi was hired as manager we were promised a fiery guy who would constantly be thrown out of ballgames. Instead we got an ubernerd who makes decisions based on graphs he generated using logistical regression analyses and keeps in a Trapper Keeper. I want Girardi to wake up one morning only to realize his binder is gone and someone has carelessly poured coffee all over his Macbook Air. Unable to recover his graphs or his binder, Girardi loses all touch with reality. He starts arguing balls and strikes. He starts arguing whether balls hit straight at middle-infielders were foul. He files an official challenge to every game, win or lose. That's the manager I was promised, that is the manager I expect.

That's my list. What's yours?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Its Rangers and Cardinals

It was a litte strange following the Rangers/Tigers ALCS especially the Rangers victory in game 6. I couldn't help but think that that should have been the Yankees losing to the Rangers in game 6. But alas, we'll have to let that go. I still hold that we had an ALDS champion caliber team, but with cold bats, and an untimely performance digression by Sabathia here we are watching the Tigers, and not the Yankees, lose to the Rangers. But now as the Rangers and Cardinals get ready to face off in the world series we'll just have to immerse ourselves into football until the hot stove season begins.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Phil Hughes

We've been asked where we see Phil Hughes in the Yankees future rotation plans. Hughes has had an interesting career so far with the Yankees. Touted as the next Cy Young, he turned out to be mostly young, inexperienced, and injured. He's lost significant velocity on his fastball and has only really had one successful half-season (last year). Hughes has seemingly regressed, but it may be too early to count him out. He had a large increase in workload in 2010 and that may have contributed to his performance this past season. If he can get his arm strength back, he should be a legitimate rotation presence. If not, he should still be a strong bullpen candidate as his performance in the ALDS showed. Perhaps the biggest thing for Hughes is developing more of his secondary pitches, assuming he can redevelop his primary pitches. He should probably start there first as we do not need another Edwar Ramirez. Also, he should fire his personal pitching coach, Edwar Ramirez.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Free Agent Starters

It is no secret that the Yankees need to address their rotation problems this off season. Though many of us fans would like to see our prospects get a chance to win a spot, the fact of the matter is, this is New York, and the big name always wins out. Although, this years free agent market is light in the pitching department there have been some names that keep coming up: C.J. Wilson, Hiroki Kuroda, Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson and Yu Darvish. The only one I would really consider out of this group is C.J. Wilson. Wilson's a left hander with post season experience, and has had quite a bit of success since they turned him into a starter 2 seasons ago. At 31, we may end up overpaying for his declining years, but we should get a few productive years and hopefully the Killer B's will be locking down the front end of our rotation in his twilight. The question will be how much would we want to commit to someone like Wilson. Considering the contract we gave to Soriano, I can see us easily overpaying. Kuroda, Buerhle, and Jackson are interesting options, but none of them really stand out. Yu Darvish is another highly touted Japanese player who probably won't live up to the hype, and I blame Ichiro. Ichiro gave us the expectation that every Japanese player had superhero powers. Matsui furthered this notion. Since then all the big names coming from Japan have been decent at best. Mostly they've not been good at all. Igawa, Matsuzaka, Fukudome, Iwamura, Tazawa haven't really been the game changers they were hoped to be.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

At Least We're Not Boston

Remember when there were all these questions about whether there was tension between Theo Epstein and Terry Francona and Epstein always denied it? Turns out he was telling the truth. They were both looking to jump off this particular sinking ship as soon as possible. It's not just that the ship was sinking, it was kind of also on fire. Nuclear fire. They didn't even know that was possible. Epstein is now on his way to Chicago while Boston clubbies are telling Globe reporters that Francona was addicted to pain killers. He was, after all, taking pain killers, so he must have been addicted to them. The theory goes like this: Terry Francona's nickname was Tito. Tito is the name of Michael Jackson's brother. Michael Jackson was addicted to pain killers. Terry Francona is addicted to pain killers. It's only logic.

The Yankees now look to a postseason of throwing more money at CC Sabathia and addressing further rotation personnel issues. The Sox now look for a new GM, a new manager, and a way to get players to sit in the dugout during games. It's not like they're paid millions of dollars to sit and watch a game that we pay hundreds of dollars we don't have, but Visa and MasterCard do, to watch. Damn.

The Off Season is Upon Us

Yes, I'm well aware that the playoffs are still in process, but for all effective purposes the off season has arrived. How Yankee fans deal with an off season after the Yankees have failed to win a championship goes a little something like this:

1. Start finger pointing and yelling. Find one scapegoat to amass all your hatred against (A-Rod was a past favorite, AJ is a new favorite).

2. Begin making wild trade proposals (IE. AJ Burnett and Pedro Feliciano for Cliff Lee, cash considerations, and a player to be named later).

3. Demand in some sort of online forum that Cashman sign (insert name of biggest free agent here) and that he should be fired if he fails to do so.

4. Repeat steps 1 - 3.

Before we at the RJG begin this process however, we want to celebrate the release of certain contractual obligations that had been a hindrance to the Yankees. First up, Kei Igawa. This years $4 million payment marked the last we would make to our favorite triple A pitcher, and marks the end of a $56 million investment that never paid out. Second, Damaso Marte. He did well for us in helping us win a world series, but his overall value has been diminished as he's seemingly taken up permanent residence on the designated list. That's another $4 million freed up from the payroll. Third, A-Rod made $32 million this season, next season that price will drop to $30 million for a saving of $2 million dollars. Now some may think that a .276 average with 16 homeruns and 62 RBI's is not worth $32 million or even $30 million, but that doesn't take into A-Rod's intangible qualities. Like who else would we hate if A-Rod wasn't on the team? Who else could we boo? $32 million assured us of at least one player we could boo and feel guiltless about. Booing the $900,000 Bartolo Colon? That's just wrong. Booing the $32 million A-Rod? Priceless. Lastly, we will be losing Posada's $13.1 million contract. That is the biggest contract coming off the books, but it comes with much sadness. Posada did not produce this year, and we were forced to come to terms with his humanity. Posada will likely not be back next year, but it doesn't diminish what he's done for this organization, and the many great memories we've had with him in the Bronx. He was a vital part of the dynasty, and helped continue the tradition of Yankee catchers who were also strong clubhouse leaders.

All in all, I am ready for the off season. The Yankees have holes throughout their rotation they need to fill, and CC's impending opt out could be an interesting story over the next couple months.

Friday, October 7, 2011

What Now?

With the Yankees season over, many are wondering what the Yankees will do now. Most of them will go to a house much much larger than yours, so stop worrying about it. Soon we'll find out whether Sabathia will opt out, or whether the Yanks will throw money around like they're making it rain. First, unfortunately, we have to wait for the remaining teams to finish their seasons. How selfish of them is that? Ever heard of a New York minute? We don't have time for this $#!% right now! What else do the Yankees need to worry about this off-season?


[The following comment, from blog regular Rich Mahogany, was too good to leave in the comments section, so I've moved it here]

A lot depends on whether Cashman comes back. If he does, I fully expect more miraculous scrap heap signings, perhaps even finding a pitcher who was previously living under a heap of scraps.

If he doesn't, his replacement will be a yes-man for Levine and the Steinbrenners. That person will re-sign CC for 10 years and $220 million, and will also give CJ Wilson $160 million and Yu Darvish $150 million. Add in the contracts to Pujols, Prince Fielder and David Ortiz (for depth) and we will see baseball's first $1 billion payroll. Yankee Stadium will change its name to Goldman Sachs & Co. and FTI Consulting Present the New York Yankees Old Fashioned Ballpark and the average seat price will be the same as Phil Hughes' salary.

So I hope he comes back.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Yankees Offense Stays Home, Now the Rest of the Team Can Join Them

The Good

Endless speculation about whether the Yanks sign either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder to be their full-time DH can now begin.

The Bad

Ivan Nova left the game after two innings with forearm tightness. I can't confirm this, but it sort of feels like he may have given up on the team after finding himself in a really tough spot. I'm not prepared to go there entirely just yet, but it feels that way.

The Ugly

An inability to score runs with the bases loaded is pretty ugly. The Yankees had plenty of opportunities tonight but simply didn't get it done. We can only blame ourselves.

I Can't Believe We're Paying For This

Cano hit another home run. Great.

Robinson Cano 2hr = $10
Curtis Granderson 1hr = $3
Nick Swisher 1hr = $3
Total = $16

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Burnett Saves Season, Granderson Reveals His Super Hero Nature

The Good

The season fell to the efforts of AJ Burnett who has been dismal this season, but who was remarkably effective last night. 5.2 innings of 1 run ball was the final line, and despite some scary moments, the Tigers were not able to capitalize on their base runners. Then there was Granderson, who may have revealed that he is the mysterious New York crime fighting vigilante known as Gurtis Cranderson. Apparently, like most super hero crime fighters, Granderson can fly, which came in handy with a late game grab of a quickly sinking would-be double. Oh, and the Yankees scored 10 runs while AJ and the bullpen, including RJG blog favorite Rafael Soriano, kept the Tigers to 1 run.

The Bad

Montero finally came in to play and he had a couple hits. This immediately made me think, what would have came of the much needed game 3 if Montero was allowed to play? No matter, we're on to game 5.

The Ugly

The Yankees are now set to face off in an epic game 5. Burnett's outing was a huge boost, and having homefield advantage is a plus, but it still comes down to this final game. On thursday, we may really be watching Nova transform into the Super Nova we've always dreamed of.

10 Runs and No Homers!?

Another benefit of a game 5 is that maybe the Yankees will make up for their lack of homeruns in a power boosted display of rage! 10 runs, and not a single jack. The babies need you.

Robinson Cano 1hr = $5
Curtis Granderson 1hr = $3
Nick Swisher 1hr = $3
Total = $11

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oh No

The Good

The Yankees scored 4 runs including 2 off a Brett Gardner double that almost, sort of, kind of gave us some momentum. Unfortunately, the momentum was stopped short.

The Bad

The momentum was stopped short by Soriano, who follows the same script every time he gives up a run. It goes something to the effect of "It was a good pitch. I got beat on a good pitch." And the thing is, I think he's telling the truth. It turns out, Soriano can't pitch like Mariano. Its a simple mistake to make though seeing as the names kind of rhyme, and the Yankee front office likes to have fun with words.

The Ugly

We lost the game. We're now facing elimination as we turn our hopes over to AJ Burnett. Burnett may surprise us. He surprised us last year when he seemingly forgot how to pitch, so surprising people is in his blood.

Homeruns Would Have Been Nice

No homeruns yesterday, which certainly didn't help our efforts and definitely didn't help the children.

Robinson Cano 1hr = $5
Curtis Granderson 1hr = $3
Nick Swisher 1hr = $3
Total = $11

Monday, October 3, 2011

Yankees Drop Game 2

The Good

Mere mortals faced off in a game of giants! There were homeruns by Swisher and Granderson, effective relief pitching by Cory Wade and Boone Logan, and when all was said and done, the rain did not bring the game to an early conclusion.

The Bad

Freddy Garcia gave what we could have hoped to get. 5.1 innings 4 runs, 3 earned. The question is, will this cut it in the ALCS or World Series? I can't imagine it will.

The Ugly

Boone Logan balked! We asked him what happened and this is what he said: "In the middle of my delivery I heard someone behind me yell 'The LORD has returned!' and I was like 'Oh no, the apocaypse!? Here now!? In the middle of my delivery!?!? I must stop and investigate this matter further. Turns out, the LORD didn't come back, it was just Miguel Cabrera messing with me. But its a good thing. I would have been screwed."

The Money and the Babies

When the Yankees turn in a good season and make it to the post season, charity should not cease to be benefited. To this end, the Respect Jeters Gangster blog has decided to continue its charitable donations to the Children's Health Fund homerun club throughout the postseason. Now during the regular season, we gave $2 for every homerun hit. But since everyone knows homeruns in the postseason are more valuable the only right thing to do is to up our amount to $3 for every postseason homerun. Further more, to honor the newly anointed homerun club captain, Robinson Cano, the RJG will be giving $5 for every homerun Cano hits in the postseason. So that looks a little something like this:

Robinson Cano 1hr = $5
Curtis Granderson 1hr = $3
Nick Swisher 1hr = $3
Total = $11

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Yankees Take ALDS Opener After 24 Hour Rain Delay

The Good

Ivan Nova pitched incredibly in relief of CC Sabathia, giving the Yankees 6.1 innings and allowing only two runs (granted, he didn't really allow them, Ayala did). Cano had 6 RBI, tying a franchise record for RBIs in a single postseason game. Four of those RBI came on a grand slam in the sixth.

The Bad

Nova came apart in the ninth after being hit in the @$$ with what would've otherwise been a ground ball for the second out of the inning. We asked Nova whether the ball that hit him played a role in his struggles during the ninth. "No," Nova responded. "But when Girardi came out, it was weird. He didn't ask me whether I was hurt. He asked me if I knew Kung Fu. I told him 'no' and he went back to the dugout. But then Geno was like, "What if you know Kung Fu and you don't even know it? I mean, what if you're a secret agent and, like, your memory got erased but you really know Kung Fu and one day you'll be attacked and it'll all come out from instinct and muscle memory? What about that? Did I just blow your mind?" And you know what? He did blow my mind. After that I couldn't pitch.

The Ugly

Luis Ayala. Why? Because Rob B said so. Also because he came in and couldn't lock down two outs, forcing Girardi to use Mo, who needed all of three pitches to close out the game. In fact, I'm not even sure Mo's eyes were open while he pitched. Neither were Ayala's, but Mo can do that, Ayala can't.


Cano hit a monster shot into space. Not outer space, but third dimensionality, where the game took place.

Robinson Cano 1 hr

The Rain Screwed Us. Or Did It?

The rain washed out Sabathia's first playoff appearance, already off to a promising start (#sarcasm). It also washed out any chance that we'll see Verlander more than once this series, which is good. That's all I have to say about that.