Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Good News and the Bad News

Let's start with the bad news:

A-Rod is still on the team and will probably rehab his hip and will probably be an inconsistent player in the middle of our line-up by August.

Now the good news:

The Yanks are on the verge of signing Travis Hafner. Who? That's right! Travis #$*&ing Hafner! 'Too good to be true,' you say? 'The commissioner's office will never allow it,' you gasp? 'Could the heavens be so bountiful?' you exclaim, letting yourself hope, if only momentarily? Well believe it. Travis Hafner will soon be a Yankee. Now all your friends in Cleveland will finally have cause for jealous hatred. What's that? You have Nick Swisher? Is Nick Swisher Travis #$*&ing Hafner? Didn't think so. Suck it Cleveland. We win. We finally win.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More on the PED's

For those who have not seen it, there is an article available on the Miami New Times that outlines alleged PED use by a number of major league players including A-Rod.  Yesterday, I posted some initial thoughts on the matter, but I learned some new information that is relevant to the situation.  According to this article, MLB can in fact suspend a player without a failed drug test so long as they can get documentary evidence (a sword affidavit, or a prescription from a doctor for a banned substance).  A-Rod has issued a statement denying all claims, and has hired a lawyer to help him uphold his innocence.  The evidence is still pretty weak.  It consists of hand-written sales notes by PED-pusher Anthony Bosch, and some excel spreadsheets with records of sales transactions that include a nickname for the person he sold to, and their real names.  A-Rod's nickname was Cacique.  As someone who works frequently with excel, I wonder why he bothered to add a column of their nicknames if he had their real names listed as well, but I'll have to chalk that up to the list of things I don't understand about the PED world.

The Yankees may look into voiding A-Rod's contract, but it looks unlikely that they would be able to accomplish that.  My brother thought we should just DFA him, but we still owe a ton of cash.  We'll just have to wait and see what comes of MLB's investigation and what the Yankees do with it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Well That Didn't Take Long

It would appear that our favorite third baseman since Aaron Boone, a sir Alex Rodriguez, has once again been linked to PED use.  This recent report records A-Rod purchasing PED's as recent as last year, and MLB has stated that they will be actively investigating this recent revelation.  Now most of the evidence appears to be notes made in a personal notebook, that says things like: "A-Rod buying $4000 worth of PED's from me today.  Remember to bring home cat food."  This isn't the kind of hard evidence that wins cases.  I mean, I write tons of stuff in notebooks, it doesn't mean any of it is true.  According to my elementary school era math notes, 3 + 3 = picture of dragon eating a person.  Unfortunately, my theory of mathematics was proven false by evidence that 3 + 3 really equals 6.  My math career was stopped dead in its tracks.  So we'll see just how far this evidence goes.  It does bring up the question of why anyone who has already been caught using PED's would be so stupid to try them again.  Eventually, you should just settle for your millions of dollars, and accept that you just can't play baseball anymore. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Free Agents Next Season

In this off-season, the Yankees had several players hit free agency.  Pettitte, Martin, Kuroda, Ichiro, Swisher, Rivera and Soriano made the list of players in walk years, and the Yankees were aggressive about bringing back Pettitte, Kuroda, and Ichiro while letting the others go.  The Yankees then went on to sign Kevin Youkilis to a one year deal to see if they can benefit from a bounce back out of him.  This was the Yankees approach to fill the gaps for 2013 while not committing to any long term deals as they aim to be under the $189 million threshold for 2014.  The problem with this is that it sets up a situation for 2014 where some of our biggest impact players are in walk years.  Consider this, our rotation currently boasts of CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova.  Out of that group, Pettitte, Kuroda, and Hughes are all free agents after next season, with two of them likely to at least consider retirement or playing elsewhere.  The bullpen that we've worked hard to build in previous years has Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, and Boone Logan hitting free agency at the end of next season too.  Our offense has Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Kevin Youkilis coming off contracts next season.  So let's tally this up, next season, we'll have openings for 3 starting pitchers, 2 relievers, a closer, a centerfielder, a 2nd baseman, and a third baseman.  Now of course, we have A-Rod returning mid season who can hopefully take back 3rd base, and Michael Pineda should be making a return as well.  However, Pineda won't likely fill in one of those 3 starting vacancies since he may very well replace Nova in the rotation. 

All those players hitting free agency represent just over $91 million coming off the books, some of which they'll need to pocket in order to get under that $189 million threshold.  Assuming they leave themselves $80 million to offer contracts with, do we really see the Yankees finding a centerfielder, 3 starters, a 2nd baseman, a closer and 2 relievers as well as addressing any other needs that may arise?  Of course, relievers can be replaced cheaply, but we have 6 premium positions to replace, where bargain hunting may not be the best idea.  Will they let Cano walk?  If not, they can expect to give him a sizable raise over the $15 million he's making this season, and that limits what they can do for the other positions.  They could do what the Red Sox did this season, and sign a number of declining veterans to fill in the holes where they can, or they can hope to get their free agents back at reasonable prices.  The truth is, if you're under inspired by the 2013 Yankees, get yourself ready for the 2014 Yankees.

Monday, January 21, 2013

RJG Responds to the Manti Te'o Scandal

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o has recently found himself in the midst of controversy related to his frequent invocation of a girlfriend who, it turned out, didn't exist. In fact, it seems Te'o may have been fooled by certain unscrupulous characters who led him on in this internet-based relationship.

But let's think about this. If you're reading this, you're visiting a blog that makes things up about the Yankees and calls that 'news coverage'. This means you long ago ran out of real news coverage to read. Clearly you have nothing better to do. So, and please correct me if I'm far off, I'm guessing you not only have any number of fake/imaginary girlfriends, but you've probably spent a fair amount of time pretending to be some woman you're not on the internet.

So let's not judge the young man too harshly. He does, after all, sustain concussions for a living.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

RJG Responds to the Lance Armstrong Scandal

It's been a long time since I wrote. There have been tempting moments, like when the Yankees made numerous obvious and uninteresting "moves", or when the NRA suggested our kid would be better off if only our schools were staffed with the Expendables, but this one I couldn't pass up.

Lance Armstrong has admitted to doping, and not the cool kind that homeless people do, but the bad kind that athletes do. But is it really so bad? Basically, Armstrong took a number of substances and underwent a number of medical procedures that gave him superhuman abilities. So basically, we're mad at Lance Armstrong for doing what every comic book ever assured him was possible, to gain super powers with minimum effort and/or a few fortunate accidents.

Can we really blame Armstrong for wanting super strength? Go back to when you were 10, did you want super strength? Now fast forward back to now, do you have super strength? Alright, so don't be jealous just because Armstrong got super strength and used it to beat a bunch of Europeans in a bike race on their own turf.

"But he lied about it." I know. But when Peter Parker gets super powers and puts on a spider suit we don't call him a liar, do we? When Clark Kent takes off his glasses, completely reconfiguring his appearance and sexual desirability, we don't accuse him of mendacity. We say, "Thank you, Superman. Thank you for keeping the world safe for democracy."

We cannot say with certainty what role Lance Armstrong's doping played in the continued preservation of democratic institutions, but with the exception of the House of Representatives they're still all there. So thank you, Lance Armstrong. Thank you for keeping the world, save the House of Representatives, safe for Democracy.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

World Baseball Classic Rosters Announced Today

Today, the World Baseball Classic rosters get announced with the US Roster already being released.  I for one have really enjoyed this as a world tournament, and this year we have new comers Spain and Brazil who will be participating (they've knocked out South Africa and Panama who participated in the last classic).  The US and Dominican teams have traditionally been stacked, but neither of these teams have won the tournament.  Thus far we've seen Japan, Cuba, and South Korea make it to the final rounds of the tournament with Japan winning it in both years that the classic has been played.  The US and Dominican Republic have each landed in 4th place in the past. 

Whether you enjoy the tournament or not, it at least gives us competitive games to watch in March when we would otherwise be reading about 2 inning simulated starts against minor league players.

In other baseball news, Napoli finally signed with the Red Sox only now its a one year deal worth $5 million with incentives that can bring it up to $13 million.  Originally he had agreed to terms on a 3 year $39 million contract pending a physical.  He apparently failed the physical with concerns about his hip and the two sides had to go back to the negotiating table. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Soriano Goes to Nationals

Rafael Soriano has been signed to close for the Washington Nationals.  Soriano signed for 2 years and $28 million, or $14 million per season.  $14 million was exactly what the Yankees were planning on paying him next season before he opted out, but Soriano was smart.  His opt out paid him $1.5 million from the Yankees, and then his two year contract gets him the $14 million he would have earned in 2013 and extends it into 2014.  His $14 million makes him the highest paid closer in baseball right now, and second all time behind Mariano Rivera's $15 million a year deal.  Would anyone have picked Soriano to be the second highest paid closer in the history of baseball two years ago?  I wish him the best but good riddance.  What a waste of money that signing has been.  Even with what he did for the team last year, he was never worth the contract the Yankees paid him.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Hall of Fame Vote in Review

Here we are.  Right in the middle of January.  A month before catchers and pitchers report at spring training.  Or in other words, a month before anything moderately exciting may happen for the Yankees.  However, a few interesting things have occured in the last week.  The hall of fame voters voted no one into the hall.  With a ballot that looked more like the Mitchell Report, the BBWAA had to make some hard decisions.  The numbers these players put up were easily the best of that generation, and many of those numbers surpassed the greats of the game.  However, those achievements came under the shadow of steroid use and performance enhancers.  Though many of these players were never caught using PED's, and some have even been acquited in court (Bonds and Clemens) the speculation of their use has pretty much made the decision for most people.  In order to prove someone as a steroid use in court, the courts would need video evidence of the player being injected with a performance enhancer, while verbally acknowledging that he's using the performance enhancer, with at least 3 witnesses who have medical degrees standing by and acknowledging that performance enhancers are being injected into the player, while the player signs a piece of paper stating that he's using performance enhancers, with a notary standing by to notarize the document, and then the player leaving behind his tainted urine and blood samples.  Short of this, they cannot prove with certaintly that a player is using anything.  However, the public opinion needs far less evidence to be convinced that someone was using PED's.  What the courts call "circumstantial evidence" the public calls proof.  And for this reason, Clemens and Bonds will always be guilty.

A number of hall of fame players applauded the BBWAA's members vote to keep suspected PED users out of the hall.  Some people think these players will eventually make it in, but that the BBWAA was making a statement by not voting them in on the first ballot.  In my opinion, I think it would be foolish to keep them out this year, only to vote them in next year.  If the baseball world wants to make a statement about the steroid era, it should continue to keep these players out.  Until we get to a place where we can reasonably trust MLB's testing policy, and their ability to catch and punish users, I think we need to remain suspicious.  MLB has had an uptick in catching PED users of late (Melky Cabrera), but they also seem to have holes in their ability to keep players held responsible (Ryan Braun had his suspension overturned based on a technicality). 

All in all, I look forward to the day when I can look at a hall of fame ballot and reasonably expect that its not full of artificially enhanced statistics and achievements. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

RJG New Years Resolutions

With the new year already more than a week old the RJG has decided to settle down and write out a list of our new years resolutions for 2013.  Here they are:

1.  Continue our hard hitting coverage of Derek Jeter's gangster.
2.  Win a Pulitzer prize.
3.  To support the Yankees, even when they start playing their age.
4.  Meet Derek Jeter in person.
5.  To not get kidnapped.
6.  Attempt to like Kevin Youkillis.
7.  Watch Expendables 3 in theaters with Derek Jeter.
8.  To not get sued.
9.  To not wear a bow tie, no matter how trendy it gets.
10.  To watch the World Baseball Classic even after Puerto Rico gets knocked out.

So there you have it!  It will be an ambitious year for the RJG.  We hope you're New Years resolutions are this awesome.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Expendables 2

With the baseball world going quiet and the Yankees making one uninteresting minor league deal after another, its time to focus our attention on the excitement of rental movies.  And to that end, I want to put everyone onto the glory that is Expendables 2.  Now, a few things need to be stated up front.  First, if you're going into the Expendables 2 looking for in-depth character development, great dialogue, and an intricate plot, then you are missing the entire point of the movie.  Expendables 2 much like the first one is an ode to 80's and early 90's action films: simple plots, bad guys you hate, good guys you love, and plenty of over-the-top action. To be sure, the fight sequences are not as developed as they were in the first Expendables, but this movie is really entertaining.  The only regret I have is not watching it in the theaters.  Seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Chuck Norris, and Sylvester Stallone fighting against Jean Claude Van Damme and his small army is nothing short of brilliant.  Speaking of Van Damme, he was a very believable villain (his characters name is Vilain!), and played the roll of the bad guy you have to hate perfectly.  Expendables 2 is an enjoyable film.  It's an old school action movie that doesn't take itself too seriously.  They frequently make references to their roles in their former action movies and even include a Chuck Norris joke.  If you grew up in the 80's watching action movies, you'll likely love this movie.  The only thing I'm more excited about is Expendables 3 which is rumored to have Jackie Chan, Nicholas Cage, and Steven Seagall, and I'm hoping will bring back Mickey Rourke in a more relevant role (he was missing from this film).  I'm also hoping Jet Li will have a more prominent role in the third film.  He's had the best lines in these two movies, and in the sequel, he disappears from the movie after the opening action sequence.  After watching it last night, I've decided I'm buying it!  That should kill some time as I wait for this winter to pick up, or end and I can be interested by baseball news again.