Results tagged ‘ Manny Ramirez ’

Fixing what ails them…

 

Turning the page…

After getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles, it was a relief to see the team head to Minneapolis for a four-game set against the Minnesota Twins.  I didn’t expect the Yankees to sweep the Twins, but I had hoped for at least 2 or 3 wins in the Twin City.  Fortunately, the Yankees did better, taking all four games from the Twins.

Most believe the Yankees have held it together with smoke and mirrors this season, but I am hardly one to disagree.  The Yanks have gotten good production from guys who other teams were glad to vacate.  Today’s hero was Vernon Wells, and clearly the Toronto Blue Jays and Los Angeles Angels were glad to move him on when they did.

Lyle Overbay is a good guy but he’s not exactly going to suddenly emerge with his best season ever.  I think those days are far behind him.  With no return of Mark Teixeira this year, the Yankees need to find a stronger first base solution.  Unfortunately, I think there are too many holes to fill and I’d certainly hate to see the Yankees give up quality prospects in trades that will probably still result in no October success for the Yankees.  As always, I am hopeful the team proves me wrong, but clearly, the odds are against them.

Boo-yeah!  Great accomplishments…

Congratulations to Joe Girardi, CC Sabathia and Max Scherzer.  For Girardi, he won his 600th game earlier this week.  Not bad for a guy who lasted only one season as the manager for the then Florida Marlins.  CC achieved success through his 200th win, and Max Scherzer, an opponent’s “ace” gets kudos for starting the season 13-0.  When a staff is led by the great Justin Verlander, you certainly do not expect anyone to challenge his tag as the staff ace.  But with Verlander’s struggles this year and Scherzer’s legendary start, Verlander is no better than #2 on the Detroit Tigers’ staff this year.  As for CC, it just doesn’t seem that long ago he was a promising rookie pitching for the Cleveland Indians.  Hard to believe that he’s already at 200 wins.  Still, it’s a great accomplishment and I hope that we’ll soon be seeing CC win his 250th game in pinstripes.

Chasing the rumors…

When you hear of possible deadline trades, I have to admit that it’s sad to hear Chase Utley’s name mentioned.  He’s been a great Phillie although a bit injury-plagued in recent years.  Still, I identify the guy with the Phillies and it would be good to see him play in the City of Brotherly Love for the remainder of his career.  Michael Young is another name mentioned and given that he made his name in Arlington, Texas, I’d rather see him moved if the Phillies do anything.

I am fairly certain the Yankees will move Joba Chamberlain by the deadline.  It would also not surprise me to see Phil Hughes go considering that Michael Pineda should finally be able to make his Yankees pitching debut soon.

The Yankees need to do what it takes to re-sign Robinson Cano…

Ugh, I really dislike the possible return of Alex Rodriguez.  Maybe there’s still something in the bat, but I am not a fan and I’d prefer to see Alex as the starting third baseman for some team in Siberia.  With Yankee GM Brian Cashman’s recent outburst against A-Rod and Yankee President Randy Levine’s back-pedaling, I am clearly on Team Cashman regarding A-Rod.

I am also convinced that this is the final season in pinstripes for free agent-to be Curtis Granderson.  His final season has been a disappointment given his extended stays on the DL.  Same goes for Andy Pettitte.  I think if the team finishes third or lower in the AL East, Andy will no longer have the fire to compete.  It’s the thrill of playing October baseball that drives Andy at this point so an unsuccessful season will probably prove to him that it’s time.

Say, Mo, isn’t that your spot in Monument Park?…

Speaking of impending departures, I loved the gift the Minnesota Twins gave to Mariano Rivera.  The Chair of Broken Dreams.  A rocking chair constructed of broken bats.  How great was that?  Mariano is a living legend, and I am so thankful that I got to watch him pitch for the duration of his Yankees career.  This is a guy who could still be a very effective closer in 2014 despite his age, so clearly, he’s going out on top regardless of what the team does.

Ask me how much I wish that I still lived in Minneapolis so that I could have experienced the past four games?…

Better them than us…

I thought it was a bad decision for the Texas Rangers to sign Manny Ramirez.  Yes, I’ve always admired Man-Ram’s ability to hit, but it’s the baggage that goes with the guy that is too much.  I guess he is usually on his best behavior during his first year so maybe the Rangers are on to something.  But this should be a very short-term relationship.  If I were Nolan Ryan, I would not want Manny as part of my strategy for 2014.

Jamie Foxx for President…

I saw White House Down today and thought it was very good.  Quite predictable, but still, as an action flick, it had all of the right ingredients.  Felt a little like Die Hard in the White House but hey, there have been a lot worse movies!

I hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July!  Enjoy the fireworks!

–Scott

 

Wanted: Big Production, Little Paycheck…

 

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…

Go, boston?…

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!

 

–Scott

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!…


Understandably, the signing was met with mixed reaction by Yankees fans, but personally, I liked the move to sign Andruw Jones as the team’s fourth outfielder.



98486113, Sports Illustrated/Getty Images /Sports Illustrated
Brad Mangin/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Marcus Thames came up with a few clutch hits last season but it was fearful to watch him play the outfield.  With Jones, the Yankees have someone that can spell all three outfield positions and can be counted on to provide adequate defense.  With the bat, when hitting in his spots, he can still perform as evidenced by his 19 home runs with the Chicago White Sox last season.  

I realize that Andruw is a shell of the superstar that he used to be despite being only 33, however, he is still young enough to turn it around for a few seasons if he can make a commitment to conditioning and the other factors that make older players like Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter successful.  I know, he’ll never hit 51 home runs again or even 30 or 40, but so long as he can hit a few clutch shots, I’ll be satisfied.  The Yankees are only paying him $2 million for one year…a far cry from the $18 million per season the Los Angeles Dodgers were paying him only a couple of seasons ago.  

The sad part of the season is that it meant the Yankees would not be pursuing Johnny Damon.  Jones had the advantage of being the better defensive player (at this stage of their respective careers) and that ensured him of the Yankees primary focus.  Damon, meanwhile, has signed with the Tampa Bay Rays where he’ll see greater playing time than he would have with the Yankees.  Aside from all the love and positive statements that Johnny will be professing about Tampa and the Rays, I wish him all the best.  


Johnny Damon Tigers Alex Rodriguez Derek Jeter Yankees
John Dunn/Newsday/MCT

Speaking of the Rays, they also signed Manny Ramirez as their DH.  I was a bit surprised by that move considering that the Rays have been so selective about bringing on quality, team-first guys.  Perhaps they feel that Damon will be able to keep Manny in check.  Or perhaps it really was just a move to help drive up attendance.  Either way, it is going to be hard to take the Rays as seriously as I have in the past.  It could be a long season in Florida or maybe the joke’s on us.  Time will tell…

Chicago White Sox DH Manny Ramirez talks with former Boston Red Sox teammate David Ortiz Saturday at Fenway Park.
Townson/AP

Back to the Yankees, they’ve made all the necessary moves…except the final one or two pieces…namely the #4 and #5 spots in the starting rotation.  When I heard that the Detroit Tigers had designated pitcher Armando Galarraga for assignment after signing free agent pitcher Brad Penny, I was a bit skeptical and leery of Armando.  However, after additional thought, he might be someone the Yankees should pursue.  So long as they don’t have to relinquish any top shelf talent, the gamble would be worth the risk.  He might blossom under the tutelage of pitching coach Larry Rothschild.  He is the type of pitcher that I’ve wanted the Yankees to acquire.  Someone who hasn’t quite fulfilled his promise or potential but who is still young enough to have that breakout season.  Maybe Armando is that guy…


Umpire Jim Joyce, pitcher Armando Galarraga, wire
Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press/MCT

If the Rafael Soriano signing was Hal Steinbrenner’s idea, hats off to him.  It was a bold move and I have been concerned that Hal, as an educated bean counter, would not make those seemingly crazy moves to improve the team.  I should qualify that by saying that I do not want to see another Ed Whitson or Steve Kemp signing, but you want an owner who sometimes sets aside rationale and conservative thought to go with a gut instinct.  When I first heard that the Yankees had signed Soriano, my immediate thought was that Hank Steinbrenner was behind the move.  Perhaps it was and he sold his brother on the idea, but if it was Hal’s idea, that’s even better.  As a fan, I do not view GM Brian Cashman any less than I did before.  Ownership always has the right to have the final say and of course it’s their money.  Brian does what is right for the organization.  The Steinbrenner family is responsible for ensuring a marketable and performing asset for the YES Network and their Yankee Stadium season ticket holders.  




–Scott

A BIG Part of the Rotation…


Nineteen and counting…


 



After a season of overusing words like stellar and
incredible when trying to describe CC Sabathia, he continued with more of the
same in one of his best pitching performances of the year in defeating the
Oakland A’s 5-0 this afternoon in the Bronx. 
The win moved CC’s record to 19-5, and put him in outstanding position
to win 20 games in his second year with the Yanks.

 

Over the years, the Yankees have had some great
free agent signings and some not so great. 
CC has clearly put himself in the Top 5 best signings in just under two
years in New York.  Then there’s A.J.
Burnett.  Oh well, nobody’s perfect…except
maybe CC!  ;)



CC Sabathia ties career high with win No. 19 as ace throws one-hit ball over eight innings as Yankees sweep Oakland A's at the Stadium, 5-0.

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

CC’s game today was a one-hit shutout.  Fortunately, the hit occurred early in the
game on a legitimate hit (single in the second inning).  It would have been much worse had the hit
happened late in the game.  September 1st
call-up, Jonathan Albaladejo pitched the 9th to secure the win and
shutout for CC. 

 

The game also featured two home runs by the
recently rejuvenated Curtis Granderson. 
He has definitely found his sea legs in New York, and is starting to
play like the player the Yanks thought they were getting when they acquired him
from the Tigers.  I am sure that New York
City is starting to look much better through Grandy’s eyes now that his bat is
starting to catch up with his reputation. 

 

With the win, the Yanks moved to 1 ½ games up on
the Tampa Bay Rays, who had the day off. 
They remained 8 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox, who defeated Buck
Showalter and Baltimore Orioles 6-4.  I
would never count the Red Sox out, but on September 2nd, I certainly
feel much better about an 8 game lead than I would if it were only 2 or 3 games
(okay, that’s a statement of the obvious…sorry).  This has been a tough year for the Sox, and I
would never seek to found glory in their injuries.  The latest word has Dustin Pedroia seeking
season-ending foot surgery in an attempt to avoid any setbacks that would cause
him to miss time in 2011.  Pedey is a
gamer so I am sure that whatever decision he makes will be in the best
interests of both he and the Red Sox organization.



David Ortiz (left) and Dustin Pedroia (right) celebrated Pedroia's first inning homer.

Jim Davis/Boston Globe

 

Off-topic
stuff…

 

It’s hard to believe the NFL season is upon us once
again.  My team, the Minnesota Vikings,
will once again be quarterbacked by 20-year vet Brett Favre.  I have my doubts if Favre will be able to
last the entire season so hopefully Tavaris Jackson has grown during his time
as a backup to Favre.  The team may not
have needed T-Jack in 2009, but he’ll see plenty of the pigskin in 2010. 

 

My hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, now have the
reigning Stanley Cup goalie in the fold. 
Antti Niemi won salary arbitration against the Chicago Blackhawks and as
a result forced himself out of Chicago’s budget.  They subsequently severed ties with Niemi and
signed former Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco. 
The Sharks signed Niemi on a one-year, $2 million deal.  He’ll join another free-agent signee and
fellow countryman Antero Niittymaki plus Thomas Greiss in net.  Former goalie Evgeni Nabakov, who the team
cut ties with earlier in the off-season, signed to play in Russia.  Will this be the year the Sharks finally make
the Stanley Cup?  Well, I certainly hope
so.

 

Roger Clemens deserves jail time…

 

Aroldis Chapman is the real deal.  The Cincinnati Reds are having a terrific
season and they’ve just added an ace arm to the bullpen for the stretch
run.  There must have been collective
groans in St. Louis when the Reds called Chapman up from the minors.  Here’s hoping that he has a much better run
than fellow rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg who is now on the shelf for 12-18
months due to Tommy John surgery.  I
still wonder why the Yankees never entered into the bidding for Chapman.  I hope they don’t make the same mistake
when/if Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish comes available.

 

I was really surprised to see Andy Roddick make
such an early exit from the US Open in Flushing Meadow, NY (second round).  I’ve been to the US Open a number of times,
and Roddick has always been a fixture in the later rounds.  This year, he’ll be watching from the stands
like the rest of us.

 

Manny Ramirez looks pathetic in a White Sox
uniform.  It wasn’t that long ago that I
admired Manny the Hitter, but I have to admit that I’ve been turned off by his
ugly departures from both Boston and Los Angeles.  Chicago may be excited for now, but it is
inevitable that they’ll be glad to see Manny leave town.

 

Is it really September?…

 

–Scott

How Are You, Mr. Torre?…

Joe Torre and Derek Jeter together again…

 

 

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, right, gets a hug from Dodgers Manager Joe Torre prior to Friday's interleague game.

Gina Ferazzi/LA Times

 

 

 

Share the love!  Seriously, it was bittersweet to see Joe Torre wearing enemy colors while standing next to the likes of Joe Girardi, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.  Much has been written in recent days about the rift that exists between Torre and the Yankees hierarchy.  One article speculated that if the Yankees wanted to have a special honor for Torre, he would most likely turn it down.  Former Yankees pitcher and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre thought that Torre would eventually be more forgiving than the Yankee brass.  Joe’s rift is how his relationship with the Yankees ended (lowball, token contract offer that represented a steep pay cut).  There is no way that the Yankees could have expected Torre to take the contract offer so it was obviously a ploy designed to show Torre the door while trying to show the Yankees Universe that they tried.  The Yankees problem is relative to Torre’s book and how he unveiled many thoughts that should have been left behind closed doors. 

 

Regardless of how it ended and despite how much I have always respected Joe Torre, it was time for a change.  The Yankees had not won a World Series since 2000 (losing in both 2001 and 2003) while the dreaded Boston Red Sox were winning two (2004, which included the ALCS meltdown by the Yankees; and 2007).  Torre is “old-school”, and it was time for a more current manager.  Joe Girardi was the right guy at the right time.  As a player, he was clearly a leader.  When I think of the death of Darryl Kile, I will always think of how Joe Girardi stepped up as the voice of the team.  He is always prepared and he clearly wants to win.  He is young enough to hold the position for many years, and I think he has shown improvement as a manager every year.  Joe Torre has moved on, the Yankees have moved on, and so have the fans.  It’s time for the media to let go…

 

 

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre (r.) and New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi talk before the series opener at Dodger Stadium Friday night. The Yankees won, 2-1.

Terrill/AP

 

 

I was reading today that the reason the Yankees are in Los Angeles to play the Dodgers as opposed to Yankee Stadium was based on a decision by FOX television.  They wanted Manny Ramirez to return to Boston for a reunion against the Red Sox.  I think it was a missed opportunity for FOX.  Manny was not gracious to the Boston fans or media, and he didn’t really do anything in the series that was swept by the Red Sox.  On the other hand, it would have been tremendous to see Joe Torre set foot on the grounds of the new Yankee Stadium given that he’s never managed there before. 

 

The first game of the Dodgers-Yankees series went to the visitors behind CC Sabathia who is beginning to pitch like “Second Half CC” when he becomes so utterly dominant.  It was ironic that the game-winning home run was hit by Alex Rodriguez, who has yet to speak to Joe Torre. 

 

 

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Dunn/Getty Images

 

 

CC went 8 innings in the 2-1 victory, giving up 4 hits and striking out 7.  Mariano Rivera, an old friend of Torre’s, closed out the game with three strike outs. 

 

There were lots of photos with Torre and the core Yankees, but none with Don Mattingly that I found.  It would have been interesting to see Donnie Baseball in the reunion photos too.  He will most likely be the next Dodgers manager, and based on recent reports, it could happen as soon as next year.  It’s hard to see one of my favorite all-time Yankees becoming so engrained with another organization, but he does deserve the opportunity to manage and it wasn’t going to happen with the Yankees.  Given that managers are hired to be fired, it’s probably best that Donnie manages elsewhere.  That proved to be a better route for Lou Piniella.  If Derek Jeter decides to stay in baseball after his playing days, I am sure that the day will come when he dons something other than Yankee pinstripes.  So long as there isn’t on “B” on the cap, I’m cool with it. 

 

 

Joe Torre Don Mattingly L.A. Dodgers

Gene J. Puskar/AP

 

Friday night was a good night as not only did the Yankees win but the Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox both lost.  The Red Sox are in San Francisco (where I will be on Sunday), and lost to the Giants, 5-4.  They also lost one of their warriors in Dustin Pedroia who fouled a pitch off his left foot.  X-rays were negative but the foot is still sore and further tests are scheduled for today.  I may not be a Red Sox fan, but I am a fan of Pedey’s so hopefully he’ll be back on the field soon.  The Rays, meanwhile, were no-hit for the second time this season.  This time at the hands of former Ray and current Arizona Diamondback Edwin Jackson.  Frankly, I am not sure that I agree with the managerial decision to keep Jackson in the game despite the no-hitter.  He walked 8 batters, and he threw 149 pitches.  That sounds like something that Billy Martin would have done to the Oakland A’s pitching staff back in the 80’s when the pitchers later developed arm troubles.  No good can come from it.  The no-hitter is nice but at what cost? 

 

Speaking of Sunday’s game between the Giants and Red Sox (which of course includes a wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants), the pitching match-up could not better.  Jon Lester, one of my personal favorite pitchers and clearly one of the AL’s best, against Tim Lincecum, arguably one of the best pitchers in all of baseball.  I’ll be pulling for Lincecum and the Giants, but it should be a classic pitching duel.  I am looking forward to it!   

 

By the way, the last wager didn’t go so well for Julia…

 

 

Courtesy of an unhappy Celtics fan

 

–Scott

A Trip Down the Canyon of Heroes…

 

I wish we could do this more often…

 

Josh Haner/The New York Times

 

Those were the words of Yogi Berra as he travelled down the Canyon of Heroes yesterday during the Yankees Parade in New York City.

 

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AP

 

I am right there with ya, Yogi!  Let’s do it again next year!

 

Yankees parade 1

Andrew Mills/The Star Ledger

 

Yankee Fans Celebrate Their 2009 World Series Champions

Jennifer Brown/The Star Ledger

 

Friday was the day for Yankees fans all over the World.  Of course, most of us couldn’t make the trip to the City, but about two million fans lined the streets as the floats bearing the Yankee players made their way down Manhattan.

 

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Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post 

 

When the season started, who would have thought this would have been possible?  A-Rod was on the DL after undergoing hip surgery, so the starting third  baseman was Cody Ransom.  The bullpen was imploding regularly, led by Jose Veras.  Mark Teixeira forgot his bat in Tampa.  And there were regular calls for the head of manager Joe Girardi.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that little 0-8 start against the guys from Beantown.  Nevertheless, Alex Rodriguez returned in May and the team, figuratively and literally, never looked back.  When Boston was winning their championships, they displayed a ‘don’t quit’ mentality, and that was never more evident for the Yankees than this season.

 

The third baseman's huge hit ties the game up at 3 and the game heads into the 12th.

Antonelli/NY Daily News 

 

The off-season acquisitions were tremendous.  I know, the jokes about the Yankees’ financial advantage have reverberated throughout the country.  I think Conan O’Brien’s line was “It’s amazing what hard work, determination and a half billion bucks will do for you!”.  While I agree that they have the revenue to keep the team competitive year in and year out, if you don’t spend the money on the right players, you will not win.  Every year is a challenge to put together the right mix of team chemistry.  Sometimes it is less about ability than it is cohesiveness.   GM Brian Cashman certainly deserves much credit for putting together the 2009 Yankees.  I am not sure that this could have happened a few years ago when there was a clear power struggle between the Yankees front office in New York and the group in Tampa, led by Mark Newman.

 

CC Sabathia (l.) celebrates with fans (and Mark Teixeira, r.) along Canyon of Heroes.

Kathy Willens/AP 

 

During the season, I felt the Yankees needed to make a move for a frontline starter and it was difficult to watch Cliff Lee go to Philadelphia and Scott Kazmir to the Angels.  But in the end, Cash was right to stand pat.  We didn’t give up any major talent, and now super prospect Austin Jackson stands ready in the wings to take command of center field.  A trade for a quality starting pitcher could have potentially cost the Yankees Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, A-Jax, or one of the other high level prospects that can contribute to Yankee success in 2010 or 2011.  So, thanks to Cash for executing a brilliant plan and sticking to it.  His perseverance guaranteed the trip down the Canyon of Heroes, and hopefully ensures that this will not be the last one for owner George Steinbrenner. 

 

George Steinbrenner with daughter Jessica at the Yankees' home opener.

Sipkin/NY Daily News 

 

A few memories from yesterday’s parade…

 

Hideki Matsui at parade 11-06-09

Jennifer Brown/The Star Ledger

 

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Reuters

 

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Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

 

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Kevin P. Coughlin

 

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Getty Images

 

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Victoria Will/New York Post

 

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Paul Martinka

Congratulations to the 2009 World Champions…

 

New York Yankees!

 

Mariano Rivera and the New York Yankees celebrate winning their 27th World Series championship, beating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games.

 

Sipkin/NY Daily News

 

In other notes, the Angels acted very quickly in re-signing former Yankee Bobby Abreu to a two-year $19 million deal.  It is a good move on their part.  He helped to energize an Angels line up that came within one team of making it to the World Series.

 

bobby-abreu.jpg 

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

 

The Red Sox were also very quick to make a move as they acquired young, under-achieving outfielder Jeremy Hermida from the Florida Marlins.  What, are the Marlins the minor league farm club for the Red Sox?  This is starting to feel like what the Kansas City A’s were to the Yankees back in the 50’s.  Nevertheless, Hermida is a former first round pick and is only 25.  The Red Sox gave up a couple of minor league pitching prospects but not any of their upper shelf talent.  This was a very good low-risk, high-reward move by Theo Epstein.

 

Lynne Sladky/AP

 

The Yankees primary concerns heading into the off-season will be the statuses of Hideki Matsui, Johnny Damon, and Andy Pettitte.  Of the three, the only one I expect to return is Andy Pettitte.  I think Pettitte will take his usual time to decide if he’ll return but then he’ll sign a one-year deal somewhere around or after Christmas.  Matsui, the World Series MVP, and Damon are less certain.  Time and again, Matsui delivered the key hit to rescue the Yanks.  However, he is a liability in the field and the Yanks have too many DH-types.  I like Damon’s attitude and versality, however, I’d like to see someone with a stronger arm in left field.  You’ll never see Damon gun someone down at the plate, unless the runner is Drew Carey…

 

 

I think both Xavier Nady and Chien-Ming Wang are gone, although I do have reluctance in seeing both leave.

 

Kim Klement/US Presswire

 

 

In Los Angeles, it looks like Manny Ramirez will be back for another year with Joe Torre and the Dodgers.  Manny exercised his $20 million player option on Friday.  I think Manny has a lot to prove during the coming year.  I cannot say that I followed the team closely during the season, but it seemed to me that the Dodgers were a stronger unit while Manny was serving his 50-game suspension.  It will be interesting to see which Manny shows up in the spring.

 

 

The fourth-ranked University of Iowa Hawkeyes look to extend their streak against Northwestern.  I have been a Hawkeyes fan for as long as I can remember…I guess it’s a product of growing up in an Iowa farming community.   The stakes are very high for the 9-0 Hawks at this point in the season.  They lead the Big Ten, however, the Ohio State Buckeyes loom in the horizon.  The Buckeyes play the Penn State Nittany Lions in a very pivotal game this weekend, and then the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes will meet for the final regular season game.  I’ll be pulling for Penn State, but hopefully the Hawks can continue their ride in the driver’s seat.  Of course, they have been cursed by the cover of Sports Illustrated so I am a little uneasy…

 

 

Hey Julia, I was reading the Boston Globe and read something about the Boston Celtics getting “sunburned”.  I hope they’re okay!  LOL!  So much for the streak!  J

 

Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, foreground, reacts to a foul called on him as Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley (3) looks on during the second half.

Associated Press

Derailed in Anaheim…

 

Unfortunately, I saw it coming…

 

 

I knew that the Yankees tie with the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night was going to be short-lived.  For whatever reason, the Yankees cannot beat the Los Angeles Angels, and last night’s game was further evidence.

 

Rose Palmisano/Orange County Register 

 

Joba Chamberlain had 5-1 lead in the fifth inning when the wheels came off.  The crushing blow was a three-run home run by Kendry Morales that tied the game.

 

Rose Palmisano/The Orange County Register 

 

The Angels proceeded to score five more runs in the 6th and 7th innings (against Mark Melancon and Brian Bruney) to pull away.   The Angels won the game, 10-6.

 

Mark J. Terrill/AP

 

Earlier in the evening, the Boston Red Sox had defeated the Kansas City Royals, 1-0, so the first place tie quickly evaporated into a one game deficit (I know, Julia is lovin’ every minute of it!).

 

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (second from right) and his Red Sox teammates celebrate the victory.

Barry Chin/Boston Globe 

Alex Rodriguez did hit his 568th home run to pull within one of Rafael Palmeiro for 10th place on the All-Time HR List.  But his error in the fifth did not help anybody…well, except for the Angels…

 

 

 

Joe Girardi keeps talking about Joba’s inexperience and youth as reasons for his struggles, but it is really up to Joba to decide if he wants to be a frontline starter.  The excuses from Girardi are getting kind of old…

“I don’t expect him to be perfect, I don’t. He’s probably got about 30 starts under his belt in the big leagues. That’s not a ton of starts”, Girardi said after the game.  “You can’t just focus on this kid. We had other chances to win this game and we didn’t do it.”

 

Avery/Reuters

 

The Yankees continue their series against the Angels.  I wish I could say that I am confident, but unfortunately, I am not.  Andy Pettitte pitches today, and of course, he has been consistently inconsistent this season.  There was a time when Andy could be counted on to follow a loss with a win, but those times have long since passed.  I am definitely a ‘glass is half empty’ kind of guy today… 

 

 

 

Congratulations to…

Jonathan Sanchez of the San Francisco Giants, for throwing the first no-hitter of the 2009 season against the San Diego Padres.  An error by Juan Uribe cost Sanchez a perfect game, but he was absolutely outstanding in the 8-0 victory.  He had 11 strikeouts as a replacement starter for Randy Johnson who was earlier placed on the DL.   Sanchez has been mentioned as possible trade bait, so the no-hitter will certainly enhance the Giants’ ability to get quality in return.  Nick Johnson anyone?

 

Jonathan Sanchez is mobbed by his teammates after strikin... (Liz Hafalia / The Chronicle)

Liz Halafia/San Francisco Chronicle

 

Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (JSOnline)

 

With a home run in last night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Manny tied Mickey Mantle for 15th place on the All-Time HR List with 536 home runs.  It is sad to see the Mick soon fall out of the Top 15, and eventually the Top 20…

 

 

Angel Berroa, who was released by the Yankees last week, for signing a minor league deal with the New York Mets.  Good luck with that…

 

 

Alex Rodriguez, who moments ago homered in today’s game against the Angels for his 569th home run, tying Rafael Palmeiro for 10th Place.  The Yankees have a very early 2-0 lead.  Next stop, Harmon Killebrew at 573 home runs…

 

 

 

Mission: Behind Enemy Lines…

I am headed into enemy territory…

Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe

I am on a mission to see how the Red Sox fans prepare to celebrate Opening Day at Fenway Park.  I’ll just put on a disguise and maybe I’ll fit right in as I talk with the locals…

Okay, maybe I should tone it down just a little…

nymag.com

I know, I’ll just go incognito…

I am looking forward to seeing the sights of Boston as I take my morning jog…

 

I am sure that the people of Boston are warm and friendly to visiting Yankees fans…

 

Would they take it as a compliment if I said, “Oh, that’s Fenway Park?  It’s almost as nice as Yankee Stadium!”?

Would they mind if I said that Manny Ramirez was my favorite Red Sox player?

 

 

Would it be okay if I wore my Bucky Dent t-shirt?

 

Hmmm, how many World Championships do the Red Sox have compared to the Yankees?

Oh, by the way, how did the Patriots fare with that perfect season?

 

There’s been a few references to “Sox-tober” but isn’t that when the Red Sox players are scheduled to begin their early vacation?  Just wondering… 

Seriously, I am looking forward to the journey to Boston.  It’s a place that I’ve always wanted to visit.  I promise not to brag about the Yankees while I am there…well, not too much

FIRST WORKOUT AT YANKEE STADIUM

The Yankees held their first workout at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.  The players were in awe of the new digs, and it promises to be a thrilling weekend in the Bronx as the Yankees play the Chicago Cubs in a two-game exhibition series.

Thursday’s experience left players and fans alike in complete awe of the new Stadium.

Tim Scheld/WFAN

Peter Abraham’s LoHud Yankees Blog has some great details regarding the first day of the new Yankee Stadium.  Also, check out the Daily News.

BEARS GET CUTLER

I know that is not a football blog, but I’m mad.  I am mad that the Vikings made no apparent attempt to acquire Jay Cutler and I’m mad that Cutler was traded to the division rival Chicago Bears.  I agree that the Bears paid a very high price for Cutler (QB Kyle Orton, two first round picks and a third round pick).

Lecka/Getty 

I cannot say that I would have wanted the Vikings to give up that much, but they didn’t even try to get into the game and that bothered me.  I don’t want the team to make a foolish trade.  When they acquired Herschel Walker, they were a player or two shy of being a Super Bowl contender (like they are now).  But the trade backfired and the bounty propelled the Dallas Cowboys to a few Super Bowl Championships.  So, I understand the need to be conservative.

 

However, the Vikings have done nothing this off-season, in my opinion, to strengthen the team.  It has been more about try to keep the status quo.  Unfortunately, that won’t translate into a championship.  I am rapidly becoming an anti-fan of Head Coach Brad Childress.  I am not ready to throw him into the Les Steckel category, but he’s perilously close.  I miss Mike Tice today more than I ever have…

Rick Stewart/Getty Images

FINALLY

I’m happy again…I’m headed to Boston…

Enjoy your weekend!

P. S.  I still don’t like this guy…

Just Another Day in Baseball…

A Bad Day at Black Rock

 

Nick Swisher is definitely the man who gets no respect. 

 

 

Well, perhaps some of it might be self-deserved…

 

First, I pull open the box score for the Yankees’ 7-4 loss to  the Detroit Tigers, and Swisher’s 0-for-3 line reflected 6 men left on base and a current spring batting average of .111. 

 

Then, I was reading Mark Feinsand’s Blogging the Bombers on the New York Daily News website.  In his blog, Mark credited Swisher with the “line of the day”.  

 

When Swisher entered the clubhouse after the game, there was a Mexican-themed spread.  Swisher yelled out to one of the attendants:  “Give me some of those burritos – I need to feed the village of people I left on base!”

 

Finally, I read Jon Heyman’s Daily Scoop on Si.com and found another Swish reference.  The article, about White Sox GM Ken Williams, mentioned Swisher’s .219 batting average last year with the White Sox.  According to an unnamed White Sox source, “We would have traded Swisher for a bag of balls.”  

 

 

Reuters Pictures

 

It definitely was not a good day for the “Work Hard-Play Hard” man…

 

Well, at least he got a RBI on a sac fly!  The day wasn’t a complete loss!   ;)

 

Papelbon said what?

 

I was surprised to read the comments Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon had to say about Manny Ramirez.

 

 

There is no question that Manny quit on his Boston teammates, and his exit was arguably one of the worst ever.  However, there is still a code among ballplayers.  So, for Papelbon to go public with his thoughts, shows how deep the pain was with the team.

 

Among Papelbon’s quotes:

 

  • “It just takes one guy to bring an entire team down, and that’s exactly what was happening.”
  • “…It’s like cancer.  That’s what he was.  Cancer.  He had to go…”
  • “He was on a different train!”
  • “So Manny was tough for us…”
  • “…And for him not be on the same page as the rest of the team was a killer, man!”
  • “It takes 25 guys on a team to win, not 24, and that was blatantly obvious.”

 

Papelbon’s comments appear in the April issue of Esquire magazine.

 

At this point, there is no good that can come out of Papelbon’s comments.  Everyone knows that Manny had to go.  I realize that Papelbon is simply an outspoken guy (didn’t he make comments at last year’s All-Star Game that he should close over Mariano Rivera in the House That Ruth Built?).  

 

As an observer from afar, I think Manny was the toughest on Manager Terry Francona (a guy who deserves much better).  Yet, Francona has taken the high road and not publicly trashed Manny when he has every reason and right to do so.  That’s certainly a quality that I respect about Francona. 

 

I don’t disagree with Papelbon’s comments; I just think he should have kept them to himself…

 

Will Julia Rant or Acquiesce?

 

Tomorrow (Friday) is Round One of my wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.  

 

The Yankees face the Boston Red Sox at City of Palms Park at 7:05 pm ET.  

 

If I read one of Julia’s posts correctly, announcer Jerry Remy, who has been ill, is expected back for the game.  David Ortiz and Jason Bay are also back from the WBC thanks to their teams’ respective losses.  Ortiz will DH and Bay will play left field according to Manager Terry Francona.

 

 

The bet – if the Yankees win, Julia will have to write a positive post about a Yankees player.  I gave her the latitude of players past or present.  For me, I’ve said that if Boston wins, I will write a positive post about a Red Sox player for each run determined by the margin of victory.  For example, if the Red Sox win 7-4, the margin of victory is 3 runs so I’d have to write three consecutive positive posts about different Red Sox players.

 

Needless to say, I am really hoping that I don’t have to do any Red Sox research.  Well, on the bright side, I do know about Pete Runnels…thanks to Julia’s latest blog!

 

 

May the best team, um Yankees, win!  

The Man-Ram Negotiations…

Longest Records

Gunsmoke holds the record for the longest running TV Series.  It aired on CBS for 20 years, from 1955 to 1975…

The Simpsons, which debuted in 1990, is the longest running animated series.  It was recently renewed for at least two more seasons which will make it the longest running TV Series…

The longest running TV Show is Meet The Press, which went on the air November 6, 1947…

The longest running marathon is the Boston Marathon, which has been run for 112 years…

AP

The longest running Broadway Show is The Phantom of the Opera, which opened January 26, 1988…

The longest recorded duration for balancing on one foot is 76 hours and 40 minutes.  This was accomplished by Arulanantham Suresh Joachim at Vihara Maha Devi Park Open Air Stadium in Sri Lanka from May 22, 1997 to May 25, 1997…

On a related note, Manny Ramirez has finally re-signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers…

 

The deal is at $45 million for two years.  Manny will get $25 million for the 2009 season and has until November to decide whether to void the second season, which calls for $20 million.  There is some deferred money involved despite Scott Boras’ reluctance to accept same.  The deal also includes a full no-trade provision.

This ordeal might have been just as excrutiating as long season’s debacle with the Packers and Brett Favre.

But at least it’s done, and Manny can take his bat and dreadlocks to Arizona.  But considering that Derek Lowe is in Atlanta, Brad Penny is in Boston and Clayton Kershaw is not quite ready to reach for his potential, Manny should have the month of October off to contemplate his future…

 

A-Rod, Repeat After Me, “No Comment”…

According to MLB.com, Alex Rodriguez was reaping praise about the New York Mets’ very talented shortstop Jose Reyes, and he made a comment that he wished Reyes was on the Yankees.  Of course, the comment slams not just one but two players…shortstop Derek Jeter and leadoff hitter Johnny Damon.

After weeks of listening to Alex say the wrong things, maybe he should consider saying nothing…

Where is Agent Smith when you need him?  ;)

Then again, you can’t always believe what Alex says…

 

Coke, It’s The Real Thing…

After watching Phil Coke pitch this spring, I am very impressed.  His fastball is only 92 to 94 MPH, however, it looks faster…deceptively faster. 

It definitely makes me appreciate that he was not included in the Pirates trade that brought Xavier Nady to the Yankees. 

I am looking forward to watching Coke out of the bullpen for the entire season this year.  I am with the majority that believes the Yankee bullpen will be very solid this year (with or without Joba Chamberlain serving in a setup role). 

I suspect that Joe Girardi will be reaching for a Coke quite often this season…

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