Results tagged ‘ Joe Girardi ’
Locked and not loaded?…
Worst case scenario seems to be playing out with news that Michael Pineda’s shoulder is cause for concern. Everybody has wondered who would be the odd man out of the rotation, given the strong spring performances by Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes. There’s been talk of moving either of those two or Ivan Nova to the bullpen, but all things considered, that’s not an ideal spot for any of the three. I was hopeful that Yankees could find some trade value in Garcia to move him and make room for the others, given that Andy Pettitte looms on the not-so-distant future. Yesterday, there were indications that Michael Pineda needed to have a strong performance to nail down his much anticipated spot in the rotation. I didn’t watch the game, but I checked the box score in later innings with the score tied 7-7 only to see that Pineda had given up 6 runs in the first two innings. Not exactly a strong performance. Then, this morning, there were reports about Pineda’s shoulder. He’ll be going for a MRI, but this could get worse, much worse.
Hopefully, the problems with the shoulder are minor and Pineda can recuperate with some rest.
Even though the Yankees ultimately won the exhibition match-up with the Phillies, it was a very costly game with the possible injury to Pineda, as well as reliever Cesar Cabral (elbow). Both injuries make Joe Girardi’s decisions for the starting rotation and second lefty in the pen much easier. At this point, it would appear that the rotation will be CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, and Freddy Garcia. There could be some shuffling of the last three, dependent upon who’s ready when based on how they’re currently lined up with their respective pitching schedules. If Cabral is out, it opens the door for Clay Rapada to take the second lefty role behind top lefty Boone Logan.
I prefer striking out the opposing team…
I didn’t fully understand the move with Russell Branyan. He was released from his minor league deal, and then re-signed to a new minor league deal at a savings of $100,000 to the Yankees. The money would seem inconsequential, so I wonder if there had been an opt-out clause or something else in the contract that would have been triggered causing the need for the re-negotiation. It’s not exactly like I’m expecting much from Branyan at this point of his career. It’s hard to get expected about high strikeout guys like Branyan, but of course, the Yankees added to the fodder with the signing of Jack Cust. I do not see either as a viable alternative to what the Yankees already have.
Is bashing the Yankees the only way to be beloved in New England…
Enough about the recent tie between the Yankees and Red Sox recently. I don’t blame Joe Girardi for his decision not to play extra innings in their game with the Red Sox, resulting in a tie. After the game, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine ripped the Yankees, saying that it cost a minor league pitcher, Clayton Mortensen, his opportunity to impress in an effort to make the team. Subsequently, Mortensen has been making disparaging remarks about Girardi and the Yankees. Seriously? The guy’s career is going to be determined by one inning of pitching in a meaningless exhibition game? Yeah, it was the Yankees, but guys don’t make major league rosters just because they play the Yankees well. I think the other teams in the league have something to say about it. If Valentine felt that Mortensen had a legitimate shot to make the roster, then he would create the opportunity in the spring schedule to showcase Mortensen. His only opportunity to impress the Red Sox wasn’t that meaningless game with the Yankees. For so much ink to be devoted to the unhappiness of Valentine and Mortensen is absolutely ridiculous.
There’s room in the Bronx for Maxwell…
I am hopeful the Yankees find room on the roster for outfielder Justin Maxwell. Hopefully, with fourth outfielder Andruw Jones slated to share some DU time with Raul Ibanez, there will be the need to carry a fifth outfielder. I like Maxwell’s athleticism in the outfield, and he is a good role player.
Have Bat, Will Travel…
Speaking of Ibanez, he is finally starting to hit, but I still can’t get his slow start with the Phillies last year out of mind. I know that he had decent numbers by the end of the year, but I don’t like streaky players and at 40, Ibanez is not going to improve with age. It’s too bad that Jorge Posada was not able to more fully embrace the DH role. If he had, he probably would not have been put in the position of having to retire in the off-season. But that’s water under the bridge, so I hope the Yankees find a suitable and consistent bat at DH as early in the season as possible. If Ibanez surprises me, and is the guy, so be it. Just be prepared to bring the bat every day, that’s all I ask.
Good luck to Joba Chamberlain on his recovery. I do hope that he is able to achieve his goal of pitching this season. Who knows if he’ll ever be the pitcher we thought he would be, but we surely won’t know if he’s not pitching…
Well, the new baseball season is upon us. Best of luck to everyone and their respective teams. At this moment, we all have the chance for October glory. Well, not really, but the standing don’t know any differently. May the best team win!
We took a mulligan on the first 21 rounds…
It amazes me when I look down this list of names…
Carl Everett, OF
Robert Eenhoorn, SS
Tate Seefried, 1B
Kirt Ojala, LHP
Richard Lantrip, INF
Sam Militello, RHP
Jalal Leach, OF
Tim Rumer, LHP
Matthew Terrell, OF
Darren Hodges, RHP
Richard Hines, RHP
Ron Frazier, RHP
Jeff Motuzas, C
Bo Siberz, RHP
Michael Smith, RHP
Ricky Ledee, OF
Bryan Faw, RHP
Bob Deller, OF
Brent Gilbert, RHP
Kevin Jordan, 2B
Keith Seiler, LHP
These are the players that the Yankees selected prior to Andy Pettitte in the 1990 MLB June Amateur Draft. Of course, Carl Everett’s name stands out but he achieved major league success elsewhere. I always had high hopes for Ricky Ledee, but he didn’t live up to the hype. I also liked Sam Militello, but if memory serves correctly, his career was ultimately derailed by injuries. But still, none of these players came close to matching Pettitte’s career. It is startling how many pitchers the Yankess took in front of Andy, including three left-handed pitchers. It’s also amazing to think that when this group was drafted, my now 22 year old son was only 6 months old.
I realize that Andy is nearly 40 years old, but all things considered, physically, he looks much younger. Took away the strands of gray in his hair and he’d still look 30. I am not trying to say that he is going to throw like a 30 year old, but I don’t feel the drop-off from 2010 is going to be as severe as some suspect. I remember when pitchers like David Cone and Roger Clemens were getting older. They were great pitchers but it felt like they were getting old. Somehow, Andy doesn’t project that same feeling. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine may have his doubts about Andy’s comeback but I’d rather have Andy at the back end of the rotation than what Valentine will be putting out there. If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. As the saying goes, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.
Fragile: Handle with care…
I am not quite sure what to think about the news of Joba Chamberlain’s latest injury. Apparently, he suffered an ankle injury playing with his son that required surgery today. Expected to be back by June, this will obviously delay his return. It seems like the Yankees gave up too early on former pitcher Alfredo Aceves after he suffered two successive injuries that kept him off the field. I don’t know the exact details but the release of Aceves surprised me at the time and of course he found success in Boston. I hope the Yankees do not prematurely lose confidence in Chamberlain. I am not comparing Chamberlain’s situation to Aceves other than to emphasize that I hope the organization takes a tolerant and patient approach to see if Chamberlain can still become the pitcher we thought he would be.
Not only are you out, you’re outta here!…
Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi keep preaching patience with DH Raul Ibanez, but when it comes to that topic, my patience has worn incredibly thin. His lack of hits is troubling under any situation. Given the lineup also has a notoriously slow starting slugger at first base (Mark Teixeira), the Yankees can ill-afford multiple ice bats in April. The Yankees have the talent to acquire a younger, more productive hitter, and that’s definitely a road that I’d be exploring if I was the Yankees general manager. Of course, Brian Cashman is a better general manager that I’d ever be even in my own mind so I am sure this will play out exactly as Cash anticipates. Or at least I hope…
Peyton drinking the Orange Crush? At least he stayed with the horses…
Peyton Manning, the Denver Bronco. I am a bit surprised by his choice. Of course, it ended Tebow-mania in the Mile High City as the Broncos shipped #15 to the New York Jets. The Jets trade also surprised me given they already have Mark Sanchez. I had expected Tebow to go to Florida although I do recognize that the Jacksonville Jaguars are grooming Blaine Gabbert. It will be interesting to see how the Sanchez-Tebow situation plays out in New York. Maybe they can co-exist, but all things considered, this would be yet another surprise for me.
I thought it was a class gesture for former Broncos QB Frank Tripucka to relinquish his retired number 18 for Peyton to wear. Obviously, when Peyton retires, Tripucka will have to share the retired status with Manning. I’d like to see more retired players make those types of moves for certain players.
Think Ron Yary…
I am really worried the Minnesota Vikings are going to use the #3 pick on CB Mo Claiborne rather than stellar OT Matt Kalil. I know that Claiborne is a potential top 5 pick and the Vikings have a lousy secondary, but I just don’t see how you can pass up a franchise tackle who can protect Christian Ponder for years to come.
And then there was light…
Although we’ve been having summer like weather in Minnesota, it’s still hard to believe that the lights of Target Field will soon be illuminating downtown Minneapolis. As a downtown resident, I love the lights of the park which have been dark since last October. It will be fun to see them return in the near future. I only hope the Twins aren’t greeted with a heap of snow (which could happen in this part of the country). I am planning to attend my first 2012 game at Target Field in late April when the Boston Red Sox come to town. For three nights, I will be a Twins fan!
His accounting degree was the first tip-off…
So, it’s true that the fiscal conservative in Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner is coming to the forefront. It’s clear that the Yankees have shown considerable restraint in their financial decisions in recent years and none more evident than this off-season when the Yankees watched and let others pay exorbitant dollars for free agent talent. It was widely rumored that the Yankees have their eye on 2014 and the desire to get their payroll under the $189 million threshold for luxury tax purposes. But now that Hal Steinbrenner is on record for the stated goal, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few years.
While there are other guaranteed contracts, the most notable in 2014 will be Alex Rodriguez. If he continues his deterioration as a star player, that $25 million in 2014 is going to look like a huge albatross. I haven’t tallied the guaranteed dollars, but it’s clear that the next few years will see similar off-seasons like the one we just experienced. No significant free agent signings, bargain basement ‘right before training camp’ deals like the one given to Raul Ibanez, and trades for young (and cheap) talent. It will also mean the Yankees won’t overpay to retain talent, which probably shows the door to Nick Swisher.
Meanwhile, teams like the Los Angeles Angels and the Texas Rangers are profiting from regional TV deals (not to mention previous dollars they received through revenue sharing at the Yankees’ expense). So, it will be other teams splurging on big talent, and the Yankees as a passive by-stander. There is some logic in the team’s decision but I am concerned that it will bring an end to the winning run the Yankees have been on since the early 1990’s. As a Yankees fan, the 1980’s were very difficult. Yes, we were spoiled by George Steinbrenner’s win at all costs mentality, but 90 to 100 loss teams wearing the grand tradition of the pinstripes seems sacrilegious to me. I am sure that the YES Network is not excited at that prospect either. But if the stars, like A-Rod and Derek Jeter, continue to wither while eating up valuable salary dollars, the team is going to develop a Pittsburgh Pirates feel to it. Very limited dollars to fill the holes.
In many respects, it is unfair that the salary threshold is equal among teams given the higher cost of living in New York, combined with the increased pressure that goes with playing on the biggest stage. Once the ownership situation with the Los Angeles Dodgers is settled, there will be a slugfest in LA as the Dodgers spend to rebuild their legacy and prominence in the City of Angels. Meanwhile, in New York, the Mets and Yankees will be scooping up the leftovers from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals.
Okay, I might be a bit pessimistic but there will be a number of very difficult decisions to be made between now and 2014 as the Yankees attempt to reach their goal. If the Yankees win the 2014 World Series, then credit Hal Steinbrenner for being one of the greatest owners in Yankees history. If not, how long will it take to recover?…
Open mouth, insert foot…
You know, I don’t really care what Bobby Valentine is saying in Red Sox camp. I know that if he were the Yankees manager, he’d be making disparaging remarks about the Sox. It just goes with the territory when it comes to Bobby V. Whatever helps him get motivated. Speaking of Red Sox managers, it was really weird seeing the ESPN clips of Terry Francona in Yankees camp, hugging Yankees and talking with Joe Girardi and his coaches. Unlike Valentine, I have a great deal of respect for Terry Francona. Regardless, the Bobby V ingredient should make the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry very spicy this year. It kind of sets the stage for Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays to steal the show…
I’m sure that A-Rod wasn’t saddened by the news…
Since I am on the topic of the Red Sox, I should say congratulations to Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who announced his retirement today. He was a hated players at times, but like Jorge Posada, his intensity was off the charts. He is the kind of guy you hate on another team but you’d love to have him on your team. I think his baseball career is only getting started as I see future success as a manager for him. I could even see him being an eventual replacement for Bobby Valentine. Regardless of what he decides to do, we haven’t heard the last of Tek.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em…again…
Back to the Yankees, I am glad to see the return of third baseman Eric Chavez. It took a long time…right up to the start of training camp…but it got done. I liked Chavez in his years as an Oakland A, and while he isn’t the player he once was, he is a great role player and teammate. He is also a very sorely needed third baseman given the fragility of the guy in front of him. Yes, Chavez is an injury risk but if he can stay healthy, he’ll be an invaluable part of the 2012 Yankees.
The Seattle Mariners pipeline worked last time (Tino Martinez)…
I liked the Yankees signing of former Seattle Mariners closer David Aardsma. I don’t think he’ll be in the running for Mariano Rivera’s replacement when THAT day comes, but it was a low risk, high reward signing. Having 7th and 8th inning options in late summer of David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, Joba Chamberlain, and Aardsma is a manager’s dream.
Best wishes for a fast return…
Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for former Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett. In a batting incident the other day, a failed bunt attempt led to a broken right orbital bone in his face. I was frustrated with Burnett as a Yankees pitcher, but I’ll never dispute that he is a great guy and a terrific teammate. I am hoping that the move to Pittsburgh allows Burnett to flourish and hope the latest injury is not a precursor of things to come.
Don’t trip on the snow rounding first…
It is hard to think of baseball when it is snowing. Snow has been a rare commodity in Minnesota this year, but we received slightly more than a dusting this week. Living by Target Field, it’s strange to see the stadium and the surrounding snow while thinking that Joe Mauer and company are practicing to get ready to make the trip home to Minneapolis. I have already bought my tickets for when the Red Sox and Yankees come to town, however, the Yankees don’t arrive in Minneapolis until late September. I hope that AL East will be decided in the Yankees favor by that time…
Names I’ve known all of my adult life, and in some cases, when I was just a Daydream Believer…
Whitney Houston, Gary Carter and now Davy Jones? This has not been a fun couple of weeks…
Joe says it so it must be true!…
So now even manager Joe Girardi is expressing interest in a left-handed bat! Joe’s joined the club of us overly intelligent, know-more-than-Brian Cashman fans! LOL! Just kidding. But it is interesting to see a key Yankee figure express the need for additional help. With free agents Raul Ibanez (wow, I almost typed Mondesi!), Hideki Matsui, and Johnny Damon lurking on the sidelines, GM Brian Cashman recently indicated the Yankees would pursue help via trade.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Obviously, the Yankees need to unload a pitcher. With three starters vying for the #5 spot in the rotation (Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett, and Phil Hughes), it’s clear that this is going to end badly for one or two pitchers. All things considered, I think you have to put Phil Hughes in the rotation. The Yankees HAVE to prove that 2010 was not a fluke (or not). Plus, Hiroki Kuroda, at 37, is not destined to be a long-term Yankee. Sure, the Yanks could go hard after Cole Hamels or Matt Cain as a replacement following the 2012 season but I still subscribe to the ‘dance with the one who brung ya’ theory. Well, at least until he proves us wrong. I know, the leash is overly long, but Hughes is still young, and he can still be a force in the rotation. He’d certainly be cheaper than either Hamels or Cain in the foreseeable future.
So, where does that leave Burnett and Garcia? I think Garcia is the best option to plant in the bullpen as the long man and #6 starter in the event of injury in the rotation…at least until Dellin Betances and/or Manny Banuelos are ready later in the year. This means shipping Burnett and lots of money to another team is probably best case scenario. Trading Hughes would be foolish since the return, following his poor 2011 season, would be under market value. Plus, Hughes has more long-term value to the team than Burnett. There’s no way the Yankees re-sign Burnett at the expiration of his contract. He’ll see the same door as Jason Giambi with a slight push from behind.
But, and that’s a big but, what does Burnett bring in trade? He is not going to bring a young slugger, that’s for sure. More than likely, it would only be someone else’s albatross, ala Alfonso Soriano. I still think one of the available free agents is the best option for the left-handed bat, but I am sure whatever move Cashman makes will be the best one for the organization.
Wanted: Someone who’s butt can withstand splinters…
As for the additional infield bench support to accompany Eduardo Nunez, I still would really like to see the return of Eric Chavez even though Bill Hall’s name has been mentioned more frequently as of late.
“Buck, we really need to be the focus of the tabloids”…
I have to admit that I am surprised to see the teams mentioned as possibilities for Manny Ramirez. No, I don’t want Man-Ram calling 161st and River home, but the teams mentioned…Oakland A’s, Baltimore Orioles, and Toronto Blue Jays…seem like odd fits for a guy that has to spend 50 games on the suspended list. With the emphasis on youth in Oakland and Baltimore, I’d question whether having Manny on the team is worth it in terms of the negative impact he can have. Younger players are far more impressionable, and no team, even the Blue Jays, need a distraction. Maybe Manny can still swing it. I acknowledge that he was once the most feared hitter in the AL, but I don’t think he’ll ever be close to the hitter he once was. Age sucks, but it happens to us all…
A funny thing happened to the Phillies on their way to the World Series…
Edwin Jackson to the Washington Nationals on a one-year deal was a good move for the Nats. Outside of the New York Mets, the NL East is a scary division. Yeah, the Philadelphia Phillies have the Big 3 (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels), but there are too many other question marks to make them the clear favorite. I don’t think the Miami Marlins will win the division but they’ll make noise. The Braves, the Nats. That’s a tough division. Then, there’s the Mets…
With a New York-Boston Super Bowl upon us, it’s weird that I, as a Yankees fan, find myself on the Boston side of the battle. That seems so wrong on so many levels. But it is what it is…go Patriots!
The Pride of the Red Sox…
I am sure that there are Yankee fans rejoicing tonight at the news the Boston Red Sox and manager Terry “Tito” Francona have mutually decided to part way. There is no rejoicing on this Blog. I have a great deal of respect for Tito and he was/is arguably one of the best managers in baseball.
When Joe Girardi was named manager of the Yankees, I was a bit disappointed. Of course, I’ve been a huge fan of Don Mattingly since he came up through the Yankees farm system and he was my favorite choice for manager despite his lack of managerial experience. I liked Girardi the player, but he was never one that I was able to fully embrace. I was concerned about the red flags that he exhibited during his year of managing the Florida Marlins and didn’t think that he’d be able to make the transition to the ‘Bright Lights, Big City’. I was envious of the Red Sox and their manager because he was the standard that I wanted Girardi to achieve. To Joe’s defense, he has but he is still not quite on the same level as Tito.
When the Red Sox first hired Tito, I simply viewed him as a Philadelphia Phillies reject. To me, he hadn’t proven himself as a manager and it was hard for me to take him seriously (kind of reminds me what I felt when the Yankees named Joe Torre as their manager). For years, the Red Sox had brought in guys that I just viewed as the manager of THAT team. None were able to capture my respect and admiration, and that includes Don Zimmer who I didn’t develop respect for until years later as a Yankees coach. But Tito was different. In 2003, the Red Sox lost a heartbreaker in the ALCS, thanks to Aaron Boone’s home run. Yet, the following year, the Sox were back. Even though his team fell down 3 games to none, they stayed calm and persevered toward the AL Championship, and the first World Series Championship since 1918. He was responsible for the end of the phrase “Curse of the Bambino”. He followed up with another World Series Championship in 2007, making him the most successful manager in the modern history of the Red Sox.
When I look at the 2011 Red Sox, it is a team that should have prevailed. They had a superior pitching staff, and the additions of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford made it a much better team than the 2010 version. But the injuries, most notably, starting with starting pitcher Clay Buchholz and later Kevin Youkilis, were devastating. That’s really beyond the control of the manager. He has to play with the hand he has been dealt. The Red Sox recognized the flaws in the starting rotation, yet the best they could do was former Seattle pitcher Erik Bedard. Nothing against Bedard, but it has been years since he was considered a stopper due to injuries. So, if there is any blame, it has to reside with GM Theo Epstein for failing to make the right move. While Epstein made the unsuccessful Bedard deal, the Detroit Tigers made a deal with the same Mariners team to bring them a starting pitcher (Doug Fister) that is as responsible as any for the Tigers’ late season success. Epstein was clearly outdone by Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, and had he made the right move, the Red Sox would be playing Game 1 of the AL play-offs tonight and Tito would still be manager.
If I am Jerry Reinsdorf, I am already on the phone calling Tito’s agent. He is the perfect choice to follow the highly volatile Ozzie Guillen for the Chicago White Sox. Chicago has a sound and supportive ownership group and the team is willing to make the necessary moves for success. I think it would be a great fit, although it would probably be better as a Yankees fan to see Tito in the National League. Another option would be the Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s not that I want to see Don Mattingly fired, but I think any change in ownership will also result in a change at the managerial level. Regardless of where Tito goes, some team is going to benefit greatly. If he doesn’t take a managerial job and becomes an ESPN analyst, we still win because we’ll get a first-hand view of his wisdom and insight.
Tito, you were a worthy opponent and a great champion. I wish you nothing but the absolute best in whatever the future holds for you. We look forward to your next adventure!
As the Fonz said, I am ‘wrrrro…, I am wwwrrroo..’…
I was a pessimist in spring training…a non-believer. I didn’t think the Yankees could compete with the Boston Red Sox with their current roster after the off-season spurning by pitcher Cliff Lee. At the time, the Yankees were trying to piece together a rotation that was void of both Lee and Andy Pettitte, who opted to retire.
At the trading deadline, the Yankees were silent while the Red Sox were busy acquiring infielder Mike Aviles from the Kansas City Royals and pitcher Erik Bedard from the Seattle Mariners.
Yet, on the morning of August 16th, the Yankees found themselves in a first place tie with the Boston Red Sox. Not bad for a team that has been rated as inferior to the Red Sox by so many, including me. It is no secret that the Red Sox have owned the Yankees in their head-to-head match-up’s but of course that doesn’t mean a thing in October. Still, if the Yankees had been able to at least play .500 ball against the Sox, they’d have a fairly comfortable lead in the division. That’s probably where Lee and Pettitte would have made a difference, but who knows, perhaps they could have been even worse.
Despite the team’s success, I still do not like the prospects for October against the Red Sox and the Texas Rangers. Like the Red Sox, the Rangers were able to add some quality arms to the bullpen when they picked up Mike Adams from the San Diego Padres and Koji Uehara from the Baltimore Orioles. I do not like moves for the sake of simply making a move so perhaps the Yankees did the best thing by standing pat. But the team still has too many shortcomings that can be exposed in a short series. Part of me pulls for a Bronx return by Hideki Matsui who has cleared waivers for the Oakland A’s. Matsui has shown there is still ‘clutch’ in his bat and used in the right spots, he could be a valuable weapon. The team is counting very heavily on the return of Alex Rodriguez, but they need a contingency plan. The DH spot has been weak, for the most part, with Jorge Posada and Eric Chavez. Granted, Posada had a recent 6 RBI game that that’s clearly an aberration at this point of his career. I haven’t seen too many timely hits off his bat this season.
GM Brian Cashman is making the usual comments that he does not envision any trading activity this month, but of course, you never really know what is up his sleeve. So much of it has to do with posturing and trying to make the opposition believe that you aren’t desperate.
What have you done for me lately…
As for Posada, I am ready to cut ties. He has been a long and faithful Yankee, and certainly a very passionate one. However, I do not see a role on the 2012 Yankees for him. At this point, he has become a liability, and if he wishes to extend his career, I am okay with it being in another uniform. Hopefully, he doesn’t decide to go someplace like Boston, but I’d hope that he would make a respectful decision for the Yankees fans. All things considered, I wish that he’d simply hang up the catcher’s mitt at the end of the season and call it a career but I don’t think that’s going to happen. If I have to pick between Posada and Jesus Montero on the roster next year, Montero wins hands down. Sorry, Jorge, but I am looking forward to your participation on Old Timer’s Day.
A quiet major milestone even if it was a booming blast…
Congratulations to Jim Thome for slugging his 600th home run against the Detroit Tigers last night. It was an interesting stat that he was the first player to hit both his 599th and 600th home runs in the same game, and no one had ever hit his 600th in the next at-bat after 599. Babe Ruth was the closest, needing two at-bat’s. Thome’s march to 600 was one of the quietest milestone marches that I’ve experienced, and I even call Minneapolis home these days. I’ve never thought of him as a superstar, but he has consistently been a home run producer for many years. In my mind, he was never top shelf talent but he was always in the next tier and his career has spanned longer than many top shelf players. Does that qualify for entry to the Hall of Fame? It will be an interesting debate. He is certainly not a first ballot shoo-in, but he’ll probably find his way eventually.
Time to see my guys…
The Yankees will be coming to the Twin Cities this week, so I’ll be at one of the games this weekend. During my short time in Minneapolis, I have come to appreciate Target Field. I am a fan of many of the newer ballparks, and I like some better than others. But Target Field has a good feel to it, and I like its downtown location. I intend to wear my Yankees cap, which might not be the best idea when walking downtown, but I am sure that I won’t be alone…
Waiting for the opportunity…
As a lifelong fan of the Minnesota Vikings, it was tough a few years ago when I had to adjust to the sight of longtime enemy Brett Favre in purple. I actually did enjoy his first year, although the second one was a disappointment. But it is probably harder for me to accept the sight of Donovan McNabb in purple. Okay, I wasn’t one of those guys who booed when the Philadelphia Eagles selected McNabb in the draft over RB Ricky Williams, but I was never overly impressed with McNabb in his Philly days. I even lived in the area during his final years with the Eagles, and perhaps my impression of McNabb is tainted by the bitterness that Eagles fans held toward him. Yes, he won, but he never won the games that truly counted. It’s a team sport so you can’t hang total blame on him, but he is just not someone that I’ve ever been able to embrace as one of the game’s best QB’s. Maybe he will change my opinion of him. I definitely think that he has something to prove after his disastrous year in Washington, and I won’t be surprised if he rises to the challenge.
I am a fan of QB Christian Ponder. There’s no doubt that I wanted the team to draft Jake Locker, but it was not meant to be so Ponder is certainly the next best thing. Intellectually speaking, I think Ponder is at the head of the class and I look forward to seeing how he grasps the Vikings playbook. But, there’s no way that I think he is ready to start this year, particularly with the lockout shortened off-season. I think that Aaron Rodgers benefited greatly by sitting on the bench for those first few years, and the same holds true with Ponder. McNabb gives the Vikings the flexibility to allow Ponder to grow into the position…unless McNabb shows that Washington wasn’t a fluke. I am sure that we’ll see #7 line up behind center at some point in the regular season, but until then, I’ll be content with McNabb. Well, until he proves otherwise…
There were two Vikings that I really hated to see leave as free agents. WR Sidney Rice was one of my favorites, and he is now in Seattle with former Vikings QB Tavaris Jackson. I am not sure that Michael Jenkins or Bernard Berrian can be anything close to what Rice was, but I will say that WR Percy Harvin has been one of my favorite Vikings, if not the favorite. Now that his migraines appear to be behind him, I am looking forward to seeing if he can take it to the next level. The guy clearly has the talent and the heart to succeed. The other loss was LB Ben Leber who signed with the St. Louis Rams. But with Leber’s loss, it does create an opportunity for Erin Henderson to step into his shoes. I really like what I’ve seen from Erin, and it is a great story if he starts next to his brother, middle linebacker E.J. Henderson. But regardless of what the final roster looks like, I feel very confident in the decisions being made by head coach Leslie Frazier. I don’t want to diss former head coach Brad Childress, but this is the most confident that I’ve felt about a Vikings head coach in a very long time. I can never recall a time where I was content with the heads of both the Yankees and the Vikings but I am very comfortable with both Joe Girardi and Frazier. Now, let’s see if it equates to a few championships…
Jorge Posada’s Meltdown…
MLBlogs decides to convert to Word Press over THE weekend that Jorge Posada decides to meltdown! Sheesh! After weeks of not much to write about, the most enticing piece of Yankees news comes at a time when we were unable to talk about it. Okay, I do applaud MLBlogs for upgrading our site, so we’ll forgive this one indiscretion.
Andrew Theodorakis/The New York Daily News
During Saturday night’s game when it was announced during the game that Jorge Posada, who had asked out of the lineup, would be addressing the media after the game, I was convinced that he was going to announce his retirement. Obviously I don’t know Jorge very well, because retirement is the furthest thing in his mind. Nevertheless, his latest action has ensured that 2011 will be his final season in pinstripes…regardless of whether intends to continue playing or not.
Please do not get me wrong. I’ve always appreciated Jorge’s intensity and passion, and how much he hates to lose. He has been a great Yankee for many years, and he certainly deserves to be in the same room with Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, and Thurman Munson. But I thought his reaction to batting 9th in the order Saturday night (asking out of the game) was completely inappropriate and it shows what is wrong with the 2011 Yankees. The Yankees are currently in a free fall, having lost 6 in a row after getting swept in Yankee Stadium by the Boston Red Sox and losing Monday night’s game to the Tampa Bay Rays.
It’s disappointing because the Yankees finally played April strong after years of slow starts. Of course, it is now all for naught as they’ve had an atrocious May. The signs were evident as the Yankees were winning by the home run in April and that’s not a sustainable winning strategy. I think the problems can be tied to three players…Posada, Derek and Nick Swisher. At some point, the Yankees have to break the Core and go younger. I really don’t think this team can afford both Posada and Jeter in the lineup unless one or the other starts to hit. Given the choice of the two, I’d prefer to see Derek Jeter stay. I don’t think the Yankees will release Posada, but he’s clearly a liability at this point.
Can we get to the Trading Deadline already?…
If Swisher doesn’t start hitting, the Yankees will be looking for an outfielder in addition to a left-handed starting pitcher at the trading deadline. I only hope that the team doesn’t fall too far out by then. The Rays are starting to separate themselves from the Yankees, and it won’t be long before they are passed by the Red Sox.
I don’t know what the best plan is, but clearly, GM Brian Cashman has his job cut out for him. With principal owner Hal Steinbrenner’s comment that the Yankees shouldn’t get swept at home even if they are playing the 1927 Yankees, his tolerance level is going to be very low. This will be a very critical year if Cashman and manager Joe Girardi intend to keep their jobs.
I am the gift that keeps on giving to my friend Julia…
Having lost the weekend series against the Red Sox to my friend Julia (of Julia’s Rants), there will be a bottle of Rodrigue Molyneaux’s Cabiovese (75% Sangiovese and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon) on its way to the East Coast. Enjoy the wine, Julia. Yes, I am getting tired of losing these wagers but I am convinced ‘what goes around, comes around’. In other words, my turn will come.
Wow, did you see that?…
I participated in the 100th Bay to Breakers 12K Run in San Francisco on Sunday. Being San Francisco, you’re assured of seeing about everything and Sunday was true to form. This was my 4th time participating in the event, and it wasn’t my best time but I still had a great time figuratively speaking. I didn’t wear a costume and, unlike quite a few people, I kept my clothes on but I can say that ‘people watching’ was at its finest.
Anna Vignet/The San Francisco Chronicle
This has not been a good
year for Yankees pitchers (or potential pitchers). First, prime free agent target Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia
Phillies. Then, Andy Pettitte decided it was time to stay home in Deer Park, Texas
to spend time with his family. And now, Phil Hughes is on the DL and it doesn’t
sound like he’ll be coming off any time soon.
Fortunately, the Yankees
have gotten very solid pitching from Ivan
Nova, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon (much better than almost
anyone had expected). But from the ‘glass
is half empty’ approach, can they keep it up?
Most likely, there will be a few hiccups along the way. Considering the Yankees have to decide by
Sunday whether to call up Kevin Millwood
or release, my guess is that they’ll bring him up as the long man in the pen
and send Buddy Carlyle back to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Millwood would be
the first to start should Nova, Garcia or Colon suffer any setbacks. At this point, I don’t think the Yankees can
afford to let Millwood slip away.
As I write this post, I am
watching the 2011 NFL Draft. I am
waiting to see who the Minnesota Vikings select with the #12 pick. As it stands right now, the Buffalo Bills
just selected Marcell Dareus, DT
from Alabama with the #3 pick. I want
the Vikings to pick a QB of the future, so I am okay if they reach with their
pick or trade down to get their man. My
personal favorite for selection is QB Jake
Locker from the University of Washington.
We’ll see how the choice goes down later in this post. If the Vikings don’t get Locker, I’d like to
see them find a way to get Christian
Ponder or Andy Dalton. As a fan of the University of Iowa, I’d love
to see Ricky Stanzi get a shot but I
recognize his talent and potential is below the other name QB’s.
For as great as the Yankees
bullpen is supposed to be, it’s disturbing to see the breakdowns of Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera. It would
seem that pitching the 9th is more difficult than pitching the 8th,
but Soriano is making the 8th look the hardest. Mo recently went through a stretch of two
blown saves although he did right the ship against the Chicago White Sox on
Wednesday night. Hopefully, the guys in
the pen grow accustomed to their roles and manager Joe Girardi is able to resist the temptation to bring Mo in for
anything other than the 9th.
Although Mo leads the AL in saves with 8, it’s strange to see former
Yankees gasoline artist Kyle Farnsworth,
now Tampa Bay Rays closer, in the top 5.
Why do I cringe when I see Eric Chavez playing first base? I know that he can handle the position, but
after watching him with the Oakland A’s the last few years, it’s hard not to
think that the next play could be the one that puts Chavez on the DL…
We are through the first 5
picks of the NFL Draft and Blaine
Gabbert is still on the board. Why
is that important? Because as long as
Gabbert is on the board, Jake Locker
is only the 2nd best QB still available. Here’s to still hoping for Jake Locker in purple, but I can’t see
Gabbert getting by the San Francisco 49ers at #7.
It was strange to see the
Yankees score their first two runs of tonight’s game against the Chicago White
Sox without recording a hit against Sox starter Edwin Jackson (courtesy of four walks in the inning). With CC
Sabathia on the mound, I feel fairly confident that the Yankees will be
able to exit the four game series with a split.
Well, so long as Soriano and Rivera don’t implode in their respective
Surprise, the 49ers didn’t
go for Gabbert so perhaps it helps improve the chances for Locker in the Land
of 10,000 Lakes…
Ugh, the Tennessee Titans
just took Locker!
Wow, I don’t know what I
want the Vikings to do now. There’s no
way that Gabbert will still be available if the Vikings don’t try to move
up. It would be way too early to go
after Ponder so it would appear that the Vikes pick will most likely be a
defensive selection. Bummer for me…
This is how I felt many
years ago when the Titans took Steve
McNair when I was hoping that he’d fall to the Vikings. Drats, those Titans!
Meanwhile, on the Yankees
front, they seem to be having a good night as it is now 5-0 in the bottom of
the 5th inning. The sole
Yankees home run was by Brett Gardner
so maybe his bat is starting to come around.
It’s not that I’d expect Gardy to hit homers since that isn’t his forte,
but still, it’s nice to see him in the offensive mix.
The Yankees game is up to
7-0, and the only players without either a run scored or a RBI are Eric Chavez (two walks) and Jorge Posada. Speaking of Posada, I am not certain how long
the Yankees give Posada to start hitting.
His batting average stands at .134.
If I were the Yankees GM, it would be hard to resist the urge to recall Jorge Vazquez and insert him as a
part-time DH. Of course, I’d have
absolutely no idea who to send down to the farm so that’s why Brian Cashman has the job and I don’t.
Well, give Posada a RBI on a
walk. 8-0 Yanks in a 6-run 5th
(so far). So I guess that makes Chavez
the only one who hasn’t produced a run in this game.
It looks like the
Jacksonville Jaguars will take Blaine
Gabbert with their trade up with the Washington Redskins. So much for the QB for the future for
Minnesota… Does this mean that the Vikings QB will be
someone like Carson Palmer, Vince Young, or Donovan McNabb? Very
disappointing when you play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew
My guess is that the Vikings
will make a play for Ponder or Dalton later in the draft. Man, I really wish that QB Joe Webb wouldn’t have engineered that
upset of the Philadelphia Eagles last year.
With the 12th
pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings take…QB Christian Ponder, Florida State.
Wow, as much as I wanted a QB and I thought that Ponder was the next
best option, #12 is probably a bit early.
But still, with the likes of Joe
Webb and Rhett Bomar as the only
QB options in Minnesota, I do like the upside of Ponder at the position. I just never expected Ponder to go that
early, especially with defensive greats like Nick Fairley and Da’quan
Bowers just sitting there for the taking.
Oh well, Go Seminoles!
Meanwhile, it is still 8-0
in New York in the bottom of the 6th. Oops, 9-0. Nice…
Take this job and shove it…
Hopefully, negotiations between Derek Jeter and the New
York Yankees don’t take that turn. I am
a little amazed that the difficulties of the negotiation have become so
public. Hal Steinbrenner, unlike his
brother or his late father, is a quiet, private individual and it is tough to
get a read on his thoughts, generally speaking.
However, he set the stage with the Jeter negotiations stating upfront
that they could get messy.
I do feel that the Yankees have made a very fair offer to
Jeter (3 years at $45 million). $15
million per year for an aging shortstop coming off his worst season is very
generous. I realize what DJ means to the
Yankees organization. He is perhaps the
first true homegrown legend since Mickey Mantle. No disrespect to Don Mattingly, my personal
all-time favorite living Yankee, but Jeter has come to represent everything
that is good about the Yankees and baseball.
He’s won five World Series and he has basically been the “face” of the
franchise for over a decade. He has
never been associated with steroids and any scandals and he has produced year
in and year out. There was a time when
the top three shortstops in the game were DJ, Alex Rodriguez and Nomar
Garciaparra. Alex is no longer a
shortstop and Nomar is out of baseball, yet DJ is still producing. Granted, DJ is the reason that Alex is no
longer at short but his image has certainly be tarnished in recent years. It is my belief that the Yankees offer is
above market and recognizes DJ’s contributions and marketability to the
The latest comment by GM Brian Cashman that DJ should
test the market was outraged some but personally I have no problem with
it. I do not feel that any team is going
to be willing to pay DJ $15 million per year at this stage of his career. There is speculation that some team (the
Giants?) could sweep in with a one year, $18 million deal, but I really don’t
see that happening.
The sooner that the Yankees and DJ can come to the
inevitable agreement, the better both parties will be. My first reaction to hearing the negative
public comments was what impact would they have on the Cliff Lee
negotiations. But then again, if Cliff
gets 6 years from the Yankees, he’s probably done at the end so he likely won’t
face a re-negotiation with the team if he signs with them. Still, the Yankees need to accelerate the
speed of the negotiations and get this resolved.
Of course, they need to pay equal attention (if not more)
to closer Mariano Rivera. When I heard
that he wanted 2 years at $18 million per year, my reaction was ‘take it and pay him!’. Mo IS the reason the Yankees have enjoyed so
much post-season success over the past 15 years.
The latest rumors have Andy Pettitte leaning toward
returning in 2011. Seriously, that’s
what I have expected. I think he’ll
return for one more year and then hang up the glove for good. Players want to go out on their terms and I
feel that Andy needs stronger closure than the injury shortened 2010
season. His three years in Houston
robbed him of the legacy of being the greatest lefthander in Yankee history,
but he is still in the same room. A
rotation headed by CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee and ended with Andy Pettitte would
definitely make the Yanks one of the early favorites heading into 2011.
I saw that the Yankees had signed reliever Neal Cotts. I was pleasantly surprised to see the
acquisition. Although he was most
recently with the Chicago Cubs, it wasn’t that long ago that he was a key part
of the Chicago White Sox championship bullpen.
He underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2009 and should be ready for
spring training. He will only be 31 when
the season starts and he is certainly a great left-handed option with Boone
Logan. I really hope that he is able to
make a successful return from surgery and breaks camp with the Yanks. He is one of the players I admired as an
opposing player so it is certainly great to see him in pinstripes.
It was strange to see Willie Randolph named as the new
bench coach for the Baltimore Orioles.
Granted, we saw him leave the Yankees to join the Mets as their
manager. But now he is with an AL East
rival and that seems weirder than being with the cross-town Mets. I am not a Buck Showalter fan so I don’t have
the same feeling about Buck managing in the division but Willie has always been
one of the good guys. I also saw that
former Yankees pitching coach Mark Connor, who frequently drew the ire of
George Steinbrenner, is the new Orioles pitching coach. I wish Willie the best of luck and hope that
it propels him to another managing opportunity.
Simmons/NY Daily News
Finally, I am glad that Joe Girardi is the Yankees
manager. However, last season, I had
openly pulled for Don Mattingly if Girardi left to take the Chicago Cubs
job. It never came close to becoming a
reality since the Cubs decided to stay with interim manager Mike Quade and the
Los Angeles Dodgers named Donnie Baseball as their manager replacing Joe
Torre. I think it was the Cubs snub of
Ryne Sandberg that made me realize it was probably best for Mattingly to manage
elsewhere. If he is unsuccessful and
ultimately fired, it would have adversely impacted his relationship with the
Yankees. I think about Lou Piniella, who
enjoyed his greatest managing success elsewhere, and Yogi Berra, who went years
not speaking to the Yankees before he finally reconciled with George
Steinbrenner. Donnie will always be a
Yankee but it is best for him to manage in Los Angeles. As for Girardi, there really is nobody that I’d
rather see in the position. As for
Sandberg, it is very sad that his relationship with the Cubs has been hurt but
long-term he is better off managing elsewhere.
He’ll be able to return to Chicago with no hard feelings at some future
point in time.
Simmons/NY Daily News
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! J