I have to admit that I am embarrassed almost every time Hank
Steinbrenner opens his mouth. The latest
comments that seemingly were aimed at Derek Jeter although Hank denied it were
very inappropriate. 2010 was a
disappointing year with the way it ended, but it’s done. There is nothing more that can be learned or
derived from the loss to the Texas Rangers.
At this point, it doesn’t matter what happened leading up to that
series. There are a variety of reasons
for why the Yankees lost, but in the end, they were outplayed by a better
Hank justified his ‘mansions’ comment by indicating he was simply using
it as a euphemism. Personally, I think
Hal Steinbrenner is a euphemism for Hank but that’s another matter.
Back in the days of George Steinbrenner and particularly during the
losing years of the late 1980′s, the Boss used to infuriate fans with his
remarks. He seemed as though he was
always giving fodder to the press. As
mad as everyone used to get, I always found an honest truth in George’s
words. I could never condemn him even
when his popularity at Yankee Stadium was non-existent. However, I have trouble finding the honest
truth in Hank’s words. He comes across
as just an arrogant blow-hard. No
wonder that the family felt that the role of managing general partner was
better suited for the younger Hal.
To Hank’s defense, I do always believe that ownership has the right to
say whatever they’d like. It’s their
money and their team. But when it has
the potential to create a distraction for the team, then I get concerned. That’s probably where I am right now with
Hank’s words. There is no question that
the Boston Red Sox have the best team on paper.
Hank doesn’t need to add to the adversity; he needs to help reduce or
eliminate the talent gap between the two teams.
From the sounds of it, Freddy Garcia is leading the pack for a spot in
the rotation. I’ve been concerned about Garcia’s
history of poor springs as I’ve felt he had the most to offer in terms of the
competition for the two rotation spots.
He won 12 games with the Chicago White Sox last year and if he can
duplicate the season again this year, I think the Yankees would be very
pleased. No offense to Bartolo Colon,
but I really don’t want to see the team break camp with him in the rotation or
the final roster for that matter. I was
always very pleased to hear that prospect Andrew Brackman has been turning
heads. He is a top flight talent that
slid in the 2007 draft to the Yankees because of his injury history. He may not be ready for the major leagues
straight out of spring training but odds are that he’ll experience his Yankees
debut at some point this season.
Finally, I was saddened to hear that the St. Louis Cardinals have lost
ace Adam Wainwright for the season due to an elbow injury that will require
Tommy John surgery. I’ve always had a
soft spot for the Cardinals since I saw my first major league baseball game at
the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis when I was a kid. They are a classy organization with quality
fans. Losing Wainwright severely
downgrades the Cards’ chances this season and that’s unfortunate. Hopefully, there is someone in the
organization that is ready to step up their game to help provide a solid bridge
until Wainwright can return in 2012.
I am ready for some baseball…
I was disappointed to see no resolution for the Albert Pujols contract
negotiations with the St. Louis Cardinals.
With the passing of Albert’s deadline, we’ll have to tolerate an entire
season of discussion regarding Albert’s future before the contract negotiations
resume after the season. I may be a
die-hard Yankees fan, but I have no desire to see Albert play his career
anywhere except St. Louis.
Scott Rovak/Getty Images
I really thought that the Cardinals organization would have put forth a
highly competitive offer prior to the deadline.
It really makes me wonder why the Cardinals would invest $8 million in
former Yankee Lance Berkman who has clearly seen his better days rather than
look for a less expensive option with similar production to invest the Berkman
dollars toward the re-signing of Pujols.
I realize that $8 million for one year is insignificant in terms of what
it would take to sign Pujols over 10 years but there are ways the organization
could subsidize the contract without sacrificing the team’s play-off
If Albert does become a free agent after the season, I agree with those
that say the Chicago Cubs would make a very strong play for the future Hall of
Famer. Nothing against the Cubs, but I’d
hate to see that happen. It’s not unlike
Brett Favre and his decision to play for the Minnesota Vikings after a Hall of
Fame career with the Green Bay Packers.
Granted, they were separated by Favre’s one year in New York with the
Jets but his decision to play for the Vikings did adversely impact the way he
is viewed by the Packers fans. Perhaps
Favre will be able to salvage a relationship with the Packers fans but he’ll
never hold the stature of former Packer QB Bart Starr or current Green Bay QB
Aaron Rodgers now that he has won a Super Bowl in Green Bay. Albert deserves an untarnished legacy and he
should be remembered the way that Stan Musial is when his playing days are
over. Hopefully, the Cardinals
organization will use the days and months between now and the end of the season
to sharpen their pencil…
I wish reliever Neal Cotts the best of luck in his attempt to come back
from injuries. The Yankees released him
today after reviewing the results of his physical. I had hoped Cotts would experience a re-birth
under his former pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, but it was not meant to
be. Hopefully, this does not mean the
end of Cotts career but wherever he goes and whatever he does, I wish him the
I had hoped that reliever Brian Schlitter would clear waivers and return
to Yankees camp but he was selected by the Yankees latest nemesis, the
Philadelphia Phillies. Losing Schlitter
wasn’t so bad since he probably would not have found a spot in the bullpen, but
losing him to the Phillies was bittersweet.
It used to be that my second favorite is any team that beats the Boston
Red Sox. My new second favorite team is
now any team that beats the Phillies. In
a Phillies-Red Sox World Series, I would pull for Boston and that’s something
that I thought I’d never do…
Personally, I want a Yankees-Dodgers World Series! A Bay Area resident, I am withdrawing my NL support for the Giants and aligning myself with the Don Mattingly-led Dodgers. There is no way that I could root against my baseball idol from younger days…unless he is playing against the Yankees, of course. Granted, I am not crazy about the whole Frank McCourt divorce situation and the Dodgers don’t have the Giants pitching staff but I have faith in Donnie Baseball…
It’s been a combination of both a long and a short winter and now “spring” is officially upon us as Yankees pitchers and catchers report to Tampa on Monday…
All hail the Sultan of $$$$$$$$$$$$…
Unfortunately, the Yankees are going to be seeing super agent Scott
Boras more than they’d like given his newest clients are Robinson Cano and Nick
Swisher. I have to admit that I was
dismayed to see the two Yankees sign on with Boras because it will mean the
potential for contentious negotiations in the not-so-distant future. It also felt like the chances the players
stay in the Bronx behind their current deals lessened substantially when I
heard the news.
From the players’ standpoint, Boras makes complete sense. He has shown an uncanny knack for getting the
most for his clients (sometimes in seemingly impossible situations). While I may not like Boras personally, he is
clearly on a different level than most agents.
I can only hope that it does not eventually lead to Cano’s departure.
I have to admit that it looks strange to see former Oakland A’s third
baseman Eric Chavez in Yankees gear.
Chavez was always an Athletic that I held high regard for, but as with
former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, injuries have taken their toll on a
once outstanding career. I am really
pulling Chavez and I hope that he earns a bench role for the Yankees (even at
the expense of Ramiro Pena). I’d like to
see Chavez backing up the corner positions, with Eduardo Nunez covering the
middle infield positions.
Of the other players in camp on minor league deals, I’d say that I am
most supportive of former Chicago White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia. If the Yankees don’t trade for a starting
pitcher or sign someone like Kevin Millwood, I’d like to see Garcia earn a spot
in the rotation ahead of Sergio Mitre and the other cast of characters. While I recognize that the other spot will
most likely go to Ivan Nova, I am very intrigued by Hector Noesi and I am
looking forward to seeing what he can do in camp. Of the younger guys, I most excited about lefty
Manny Banuelos but he is still a few years away from the majors.
It was tough to see Alfredo Aceves sign with the Boston Red Sox. I know the Yankees were interested in
bringing Aceves back, but Boston’s willingness to extend a major league
contract was the difference maker.
It’s hard to believe that pitchers and catchers report on Monday but I’m
ready for the new season. I still think
that the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies have the best teams on
paper but there’s still a lot that can happen between now and October. And, oh yeah, they still have to play the
A day after Andy Pettitte’s retirement announcement, it is sad to think
that he’ll no longer be part of the team.
As much as I would have liked him back, I didn’t want him to return if
there was any doubt in his mind so all things considered, the retirement was
probably the best thing for both Andy and the team. If he had any doubts in his mind entering the
season, he most likely would not have performed at the level we’ve been
accustomed to over the years.
I will miss the personal attributes that went with being Andy
Pettitte. He was universally respected
and from afar it was apparent that he was a man of high integrity and very
respectful of others. I had admiration
for the way he was non-judgmental and would form his own opinions and beliefs
regardless of how others felt. I
recognize that Andy admitted steroid use, but it is a testament to the man that
he did come clean with full honesty and disclosure. Never for a minute have I believed Andy
misled or was less than honest with the fans.
He is a class act and will be hard to replace on the team without even
getting into what he meant to the team as a player and pitcher.
While I am hopeful that Andy stays in baseball in some capacity, it
really sounded like he was closing the door on life in baseball after his playing
days. I think he’d make a terrific
pitching coach if he ever wanted to get back into the game once his children
are older. He has so much to offer
younger players, and particularly those who are not as naturally gifted as
someone like Stephen Strasberg or Tim Lincecum.
I can still remember when Don Mattingly wore #46 before taking #23, but
I hope that Donnie Baseball was the last player to wear the number before or
after Andy. Andy deserves his place in
Monument Park and I look forward to the day of his induction.
When you hear the pitching options available to the Yankees, it is
rather disappointing. I am not looking
forward to the back end of the rotation being filled by Sergio Mitre, Bartolo
Colon, Freddy Garcia, and/or Ivan Nova.
While I wouldn’t mind either Garcia or Nova in the #5 spot, I am hopeful
that the #4 starter is not on the roster right now. Ideally, I’d like a #3 starter in front of
A.J. Burnett, but again, the options just don’t look that appealing. Even the San Francisco Chronicle was speculating
if the Yankees would look at taking Barry Zito and his mammoth contract off
their hands. Please, I hope not. I still think that the best case scenario, if
they could convince Cleveland to trade him, is to acquire Fausto Carmona. I really think that Carmona could flourish
under CC Sabatia’s wing. Okay, best case
scenario is actually Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, but I don’t see any way to
convince the Mariners to trade him. So,
Carmona represents the best realistic option.
The Yankees training camp is going to be filled with former major league
stars. The latest to sign a minor league
deal is former Oakland A’s slugger Eric Chavez.
I’ve always liked Chavez as a player but injuries have definitely taken
their toll in recent years. It would be
great to see him excel at a reserve role behind Alex Rodriguez and Mark
Teixeira, however, I am not expecting a lot.
Hopefully, Eric will surprise me.
The Yankees are also bringing in former Los Angeles Dodgers infielder
Ronnie Belliard. It will be interesting
to see if these players motivate Eduardo Nunez and/or Ramiro Pena to take their
game to the next level.
Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
With all the attention that the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and
Tampa Bay Rays have gotten this off-season, the Toronto Blue Jays are
definitely flying under the radar with a team that is fully capable of
challenging in the division. The AL East
is going to be a beast this year, and of course, it makes you wonder if
everyone will be beat each other up so badly that the Wild Card will come from
another division. Boston does look like
the favorite, but it wouldn’t take too many injuries to bring them back to the
pack. This should be a long, grueling
race for October…
The crowd begins to gather…