Results tagged ‘ Manny Ramirez ’

What, Me Worry?…

Posada’s Shoulder

I have to admit that my biggest fear about the upcoming season is the health of an aging 37 year-old catcher’s surgically-repaired right shoulder. 

Jorge Posada sat out Saturday’s 7-3 exhibition loss to the Minnesota Twins due to shoulder soreness.  He downplayed the severity of the soreness after the game.  “I am not concerned at all.”  Posada said.  “I did something I wasn’t supposed to do and it’s sore.”

 

Courtesy Mad Magazine

Jorge is a competitive guy.  Once the regular season gets underway, he could either be tentative out of concerns for “over-doing” it or he could get caught up the heat of the moment and literally throw his shoulder out.  With Jorge’s competitiveness, I would suspect the latter to be a very real possibility. 

There is no Plan B.  Jose Molina is a good back-up but he has proven that he is not a starting catcher.  He cannot be depended upon over the long haul, nor is Kevin Cash a long-term solution.  There is hope in the farm system with Austin Romine and Jesus Montero, but neither guy is ready for major league action right now.  The Yankees need to develop a sound contingency plan for ‘what if’. 

There are other uncertain positions on the team, such as center field and right field.  But in those situations, the Yankees have choices.  If the first choice doesn’t work out, they can still fall back to the other option and should be okay.  But with catching, they have a front line starter with average, capable back up support.  Take away the front line catcher, and there’s not much left.

I am hopeful that Brian Cashman is actively working to identify a solution.  There’s is too much riding on this season to depend upon Posada’s health at this stage of his career.  Theo Epstein is in a relative similar situation in Boston as Jason Varitek’s skills are declining with age.  It will be interesting to see whether Cash or Theo is more successful at addressing their team’s needs by the the end of spring training…

Ron Gardenhire’s Comments

I saw the comments by Ron Gardenhire yesterday where he felt that the Yankees weren’t done yet.  It was an apparent, but unsaid, reference to the Los Angeles Dodgers’ inability to re-sign Manny Ramirez. 

I honestly do not believe that the Yankees will enter the mix for Manny regardless of what happens with the Dodgers.  I would really believe the Giants would sign Manny before the Yankees would.  Contrary to public opinion, even the Yankees have a budget and they’ve been affected by the poor economy like every other team. 

I think it is more imperative for the Yankees to figure out solutions for other current weaknesses on the team before they enter the fray for Manny Ramirez. 

Would I love to see Manny in the Bronx?  Absolutely.  But looking at the whole picture, it does not make sense and there are still too many shortcomings in other areas that need to be addressed.

Jim Bowden Resigns…

Jim Bowden has finally stepped down as the GM for the Washington Nationals, and it is about time.  Regardless of whether he is innocent or guilty regarding the federal government’s investigation into skimming signing bonuses, he had become too much of a distraction for the Nationals.

Haraz Ghanbari/AP

When I first heard that Jose Rijo had taken a leave of absence (later fired) regarding the bonus given to the “prospect” with the falsified age, I wondered why the GM was not being held accountable.  It seemed as though Rijo was being made the scapegoat, and that responsibility rested higher within the organization. 

It wasn’t that long ago Bowden was mentioned as a possible successor for Brian Cashman (before he subsequently re-signed with the Yanks).  Now, Bowden is most likely done depending upon how the investigation turns out…

It’s a sad situation for an organization that deserves better.

Re-tooling the Vikings…

Okay, I was a little disappointed to see the Vikings miss out on QB Matt Cassel, but I do still believe that Sage Rosenfels was an upgrade over Gus Frerotte.  Had Cassel been dealt to the Vikings, he would have been the clear starter.  Rosenfels, on the other hand, will enter camp in competition with Tavaris Jackson.  I have not heard much about John David Booty, so I don’t know how his development is coming along or if he projects to anything more than a career as a backup. 

Somehow, Vikings backup QB’s have a tendency to go elsewhere and find new life (i.e., Rich Gannon).  Tyler Thigpen, who started for the Chiefs last year, is another example, although he’s been relegated to backup status with the Chiefs’ acquisition of Cassel. 

Nevertheless, I am hopeful that the Vikings cash savings with Rosenfels (instead of pursuing someone like Cassel) allows them to re-sign C Matt Birk. 

On Saturday, owner Zygi Wilf flew a private jet to Seattle to pick up WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh who had been visiting with the Seattle Seahawks on Friday.  Although I don’t know how to say or pronounce T.J.’s name, he would be a great addition for the Vikings, and a perfect complement to WR Bernard Berrian.  T.J. would potentally give the Vikings their first 90-catch WR since Randy Moss.

Prior to the free agency period, T.J. had mentioned the Vikings as a possibility.  “If I can play with Adrian Peterson, can you imagine what I would do getting 1-on-1 coverage with Adrian Peterson?”, he said.  “I am going to win 98.6% of the time with 1-on-1 coverage with him in the backfield.”

T.J. has apparently indicated that he’ll decide by tonight whether to stay in Cincinnati or sign elsewhere.  Here’s hoping that he is wearing Purple and Gold in the not-so-distant future…

 

Yanks-BoSox, Let The War Begin…

Game On!

Julia of Julia’s Rants has challenged me to a duel!

The New York Yankees play the Boston Red Sox for a three game series at Fenway Park in Boston beginning Friday, April 24, 2009.  If the Yankees take the series, Julia has to change her website banner to show the Yankees logo.  Conversely, if the BoSox take the series, I will have to sport the dreaded Red Sox emblem on this site. 

But, let the record show that Julia has the unfair advantage of home field!  But it is her birthday weekend, so I suppose some concessions must be made…

I am wondering what Julia’s site will look like…

 

 

Julia’s Rants

My feelings about the Boston Red Sox New York Yankees, baseball, sports and life in general. 

Sweet!  :)

 

 

This bet actually reminds me of an ongoing bet that I have had with a friend in Tampa named Kelly.  Kelly has been a devout Devil Rays, excuse me, Rays fan for many years. 

She was a season ticket holder for Rays games when getting a root canal was preferable to going to Tropicana Field.  She likes to get her season tickets in the upper balcony, and there were often times that you would need binoculars just to see the person sitting next to you. 

 

For several years, the bet has been about bragging rights. 

For each series played during the season, the winner has bragging rights until the next series is played. Whichever team takes the season series has bragging rights throughout the off-season, and the other person is powerless to retaliate. 

When the bet was first made, I had the advantage of the high and mighty Yankees against the lowly, pathetic then Devil Rays.  Of course, tables were turned on me last season, and I had to reluctantly take what I had been giving for so many years.  Fortunately for me, the Yankees went out and spent $423.5 million in the off-season, so hopefully, I’ll be able to return to my “perch” again this year! 

Actually, Kelly let me know that I had a thing or two to learn about “bragging” as she showed me how it is really done! 

It’s going to be a very exciting summer in the American League East…

 

Manny Is Officially From Another Planet

Manny Ramirez has turned down the Dodgers for the fourth time.  I thought the latest offer was very generous given the current state of the economy.  Plus, it isn’t exactly like there are teams beating down the door to sign Manny. 

A quick scan of the Los Angeles Times’ Business section shows the following headlines:

  • GM posts $9.6-billion quarterly loss
  • Source:  U.S. on verge of deal to boost its stake in Citigroup
  • Student loan companies’ shares plunge on Obama proposal
  • U.S. banks post collective $26.2-billion quarterly loss
  • Weak healthcare stocks drag market lower
  • The sun sets on the Rocky Mountain News
  • 667K new jobless claims; continuing claims top 5M
  • AIG could be broken up
  • Economy still going south

I feel that Manny is proving to be very selfish, and we are seeing the true player that exposed himself in Boston.  It is a very unfortunate situation, and the Los Angeles Dodgers deserve better.

On a side note, that is sad news about the closure of the Rocky Mountain News, which became Denver’s first newspaper on April 23, 1859.

 

Other Tidbits for a Friday…

Admittedly I do not follow the PGA very closely, but who is Tim Clark and how did he beat Tiger Woods?…

The Minnesota Vikings should be announcing later today that they have acquired QB Sage Rosenfels from the Houston Texans.  I am not sure how I feel about the acquisition.  Granted, I do not think that Tavaris Jackson is the answer, and Gus Frerotte is getting too old.  I really like Matt Cassel, but when the New England Patriots placed the franchise tag on him, it removed him as a possibility as the cost to acquire him would be so great.  Picking up someone like Jeff Garcia or even Michael Vick is equally unappealing.  There just doesn’t seem to be any viable answers out there, so perhaps Rosenfels is the best option available.  The cost to acquire Rosenfels is reasonable (fourth round draft pick, and contract extension of three years for $9 million).  Like Arizona Cardinals QB Kurt Warner, Rosenfels hails from Iowa.  He was born in Maquoketa, IA, and played college football at Iowa State.  Given that I also grew up in a small Iowa town, I can relate to Sage and Kurt (well, except for the part about the million dollar contracts…and okay, the superior physical conditioning…and, I know, the heighth of the players…).  Hopefully, Sage can have some of the success that Kurt has experienced.  His stock was very high after the 2007 season, but the bloom lost much of its luster this past season when he went 2-3 filling in for injured QB Matt Schaub. 

The Phoenix Suns, minus star Amare Stoudemire, have now suffered blowout losses to the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers within the past week.  The Suns were also without Steve Nash in the loss to the Lakers, but this has been a very disappointing season.  The Suns, if they make the play-offs, look like they’ll suffer another first round exit…

On the bright side, the San Jose Sharks beat the Ottawa Senators last night, 2-1.  The Sharks were powered by two power-play goals by Milan Michalek and Patrick Marleau, which were scored 1:18 apart in the second period.  The Sharks, 42-9-9, lead the Western Conference by 5 points over the Detroit Red Wings.

Have a great weekend everybody!

 

 

 

But I Didn’t Inhale…

Dumbest Play of the Week

I should have learned by now…

Alex Rodriguez does something wrong, we condemn him for his actions, but then are ready to accept him again very quickly for what he means to the team (in terms of baseball performance).  Yesterday, for example, I found it very positive that the boos slowly turned to cheers in the Yankees’ game against the Toronto Blue Jays.  It was refreshing to see Alex hit the tie-breaking home run. 

All is good in the world…

 

And then Alex drives away from Dunedin Stadium with his cousin, Yuri Sucart… 

 

 

How stupid is that?  I guess Victor Conte and Greg Anderson were unavailable to ride with Alex…

The One Man Show

Watching the ESPN highlights of the Yankees game against the Blue Jays, I couldn’t help but notice that Alex was apparently the only Yankee who played the game.  The box score had other names, but the highlight reel seemed to show that the game was played by one guy.  I guess he fielded all positions and pitched.  He changed the names of his alter egos to protect the “guilty”…

Lost among the A-Rod Show was that Brett Gardner hit a home run,  That’s something we may not see again in 2009.  Here was a golden opportunity to show something that happens once in a lifetime, and ESPN chose to show about 25 different angles of A-Rod hitting his fourth inning home run.

Barton Silverman/The New York Times

 

Manny, it’s only money…

I think the Dodgers latest offer (2 years for $45 million) is very generous.  The latest offer differs from the original $45 million offer in November in that $25 million would be paid the first year with $20 million player-option for the second year.  It gives Manny some time to see if the market improves next fall and puts more distance between him and his ugly departure from Boston.  C’mon Manny, when is too much money not enough?  It’s not like the Giants are knocking on the door with $100 million…

 

 

Prediction for Julia…

Friday, April 24, 2009:  Yankees 7, Red Sox 4

Saturday, April 25, 2009:  Yankees 12, Red Sox 1

Sunday, April 26, 2009:  Yankees 9, Red Sox 3

Ah, life is enjoyable as Yankee fan…

Seriously, spring training and exhibition games are a great time of year.  It doesn’t matter if the Yankees lose and the Red Sox win…uh, on second thought, what am I saying?  Yes it does!  Go Yankees! 

By the way, if the Red Sox beat a college team but lose to a major league club, does that make their record 1/2-1 1/2?  ;)

I know, that’s mean.  I guess I have this old-recycled photo coming for making anti-Red Sox comments…

 

 

 

The Yankees Win!…

The Undefeated New York Yankees!

Okay, it’s just the first exhibition game of the season.  It is also a time when pitchers are still way ahead of the hitters.  But it is great to see the Yankees start the year on the right foot.  In the grand scheme of things, it means absolutely nothing but given the adversity of the past month, anything positive is a good thing.

The Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 in Dunedin, FL.  The highlight of the game was a tie-breaking two-run homer by Alex Rodriguez in the fourth inning.  Although the game started with the much anticipated chorus of boos, A-Rod had begun to receive applause by his third plate appearance.  Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come.  Well, maybe anywhere except Fenway Park…

Alex Rodriguez is scheduled to play in four of the Yankees' first five exhibition games before joining the Dominican Republic team on Monday for the World Baseball Classic. Chris O'Meara/The Associated Press

Chris O’Meara/AP

Brett Tomko started and pitched two innings of scoreless, one-hit ball.  Jose Veras, the winner, pitched the third inning, giving up one run, with two strikeouts.  Brett Gardner, locked in a center field battle with Melky Cabrera, also homered.

The Pitching Rotation

It appears that Joe Girardi has set his pitching rotation as CC Sabathia, Chien-Ming Wang, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and Joba Chamberlain, respectively.  That order makes the most sense.  The change of pace with Wang between Sabathia and Burnett is a good idea, and I like Burnett followed by Pettitte.  Girardi expects about 30 starts from Joba Chamberlain (barring injury, of course). 

 

Number Change

I sure am glad that Melky Cabrera changed his number from 28 to 53.  I kept wondering what the heck was Bob Watson doing in the outfield.  Isn’t he too old to play ball?  ;)  Meanwhile, Brett Tomko, who was wearing Bobby Abreu’s old number, switched to 28.

 

Former Yankee first baseman…and Number 28… 

Manny and the Dodgers

It sounds like activity is starting to pick up between the Dodgers and agent Scott Boras.  Hopefully, this means that Manny will be back in blue by the end of the week.  This has been a long, drawn out story that needs to end…

Say what you will about Manny, and while I agree that his behavior in Boston toward the end was about as bad as it gets, he remains one of the most feared hitters in baseball.  As an opponent, I always hated it when Manny came up in a clutch situation because he, unlike A-Rod, consistently delivered. 

Los Angeles Dodgers' Manny Ramirez warms up during batting practice at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles August 1, 2008. Ramirez was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three-team trade July 31, 2008. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

Reuters Pictures

Salary Cap Implications

I am not a proponent of a salary cap.  The Yankees have an advantage of being in a major market, but they contribute more to Major League Baseball than any other team through luxury taxes and revenue sharing.  The team with the highest payroll is not guaranteed a spot in the World Series, and the Yankees haven’t won since 2000.  Watching the NFL, it is painful to see the careers of Derrick Brooks and Marvin Harrison abruptly come to an end with their original teams because of salary.  Both have factored very heavily in the recent successes of their respective teams, and have made their mark in their teams’ record books.  Earlier, the Jaguars cut loose Fred Taylor, and the Jets will soon release Laveranues Coles.  Granted, there comes a point where performance doesn’t justify pay, and teams are smart to sever ties.  But the NFL’s Salary Cap adds pressure to make these decisions sooner rather than later.  As a Vikings fan, I am glad that Randall McDaniel made the Hall of Fame.  But I will forever have the painful memory of watching him play his final years in a Buccaneers uniform.  I realize that football and baseball are businesses, but we, as fans, deserve to cheer our heroes to the end so long as they are still performing at a top level.  At times, football can feel like fantasy sports in a non-keeper league.  You have to re-select your team every year…

 

Has Manny Read the Wall Street Journal Lately?…

MAN-RAM

Wow, I have to ask…when is twenty-five million dollars not enough?  I know that Manny Ramirez lives in a different world than the rest of us, but does he not recognize the state of the economy and how it has impacted even Major League Baseball?  Manny, no one is calling your agent, and multiple big market teams are saying that they are not in the game.  You know the market is tight when Brian Cashman says, “We’re tapped”.  The San Francisco Giants are routinely mentioned, but at the end of the day, they are not going to exceed any offers made by the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Manny is simply not going to get the long-term offer that he desires.  At this point, he should swallow his pride and accept the generous offer made by the Dodgers. 

Courtesy: Los Angeles Times

Besides, Manny needs to get back to the clubhouse so that he can be the central figure in Joe Torre’s next book…

WANG AND POSADA

According to the Associated Press, Chien-Ming Wang threw 27 pitches in first mound session on Tuesday.  Wang indicated there were no concerns and everything felt fine.  Wang missed the last 3 1/2 months of the season last year after hurting his foot running the bases during interleague play.  I am looking forward to a return to those 19 win seasons…

Jorge Posada is making progress and fully expects to be ready for Opening Day.  Posada, by the way, threw in his support for Joe Torre and claims that he did not violate the sanctity of the clubhouse.  Kind of what you would expect Posada, Derek Jeter, Tino Martinez or any of Joe’s other “favorite” guys to say…

New York Yankees manager Joe Torre (L) separates batter Jorge Posada from first base umpire Bob Davidson (R) after Posada was ejected from the game during the ninth inning of their American League baseball game against the Detroit Tigers in Detroit, Michigan  August 24, 2007. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

Courtesy:  Reuters Pictures

 

HERE COMES THE FAVRE MEDIA BLITZ

Now that the Super Bowl is over, how long before the tabloids are swirling with the ‘will he?’ or ‘won’t he?’ retirement talk about Brett Favre.  Jets Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is already on record saying that he wants Favre to return.  And, of course, there is an article in a Minnesota newspaper that the Jets are approximately $13 million over the salary cap (which is about the amount of Favre’s salary).  The trade between the Packers and the Jets had a “poison pill” in the agreement to keep the Jets from trading Favre to the Minnesota Vikings.  But, apparently, all bets are off if the Jets were to simply release Favre.

As for the Vikings, my preference would be for them to pursue a trade with the New England Patriots to acquire Matt Cassel.  Of course, the cost would be high, and Minnesota would have to open talks by offering at least Chester Taylor and a first-round pick according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.  Another option cited was a trade for Cleveland’s Derek Anderson and potential signing of a free agent QB like Rex Grossman or Jeff Garcia. 

MLB NETWORK

A great hire by the MLB Network in landing Bob Costas.  That might be the key free agent signing of the off-season!  I know that there are many differing opinions of Costas, but I like the format and opportunity that will be available to him at MLB Network.  I am looking forward to watching his work over the course of the summer…

9 days until Yankees pitchers and catchers report to Tampa…

Dreams of Manny in the Bronx…

MANNY IN THE BRONX?

 

While the Los Angeles Times continues to report that no one is blinking in the Dodgers negotiations with Manny Ramirez and his agent, Scott Boras, the rumors (generated by the fans, not the organization) continue to persist about the possibility of Manny playing in the Bronx. 

 

Granted, Hal Steinbrenner may have the opinion that Manny will never know the inside of the home locker room at the new Yankee Stadium, and there would be a united guffaw from the Red Sox nation, but the move to the Bronx would actually make some sense.

 

Don Mattingly has made some very positive public statements about Manny.  Of course, he only saw the “Best of…” version, and didn’t get to see the unhappy Manny version that played in excess during his later years in Boston.  But there are arguments that Manny would actually be able to maintain better privacy in New York than he could in the fishbowl known as Boston.  I think that’s a fair argument.  As Manny’s price continues to drop, there is a point that it would make financial and baseball sense for the Yankees to enter the Manny sweepstakes.  Maybe that’s why they have laid so low, without formally announcing they are not interested. 

 

There will be holes in the Yankees batting order.  The defensive combo of Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner, combined with uncertainty at the catching position, leave potential weaknesses in the order.  The catching position is uncertain, obviously, because of the continued health concerns with Jorge Posada (and Jose Molina will never be confused with Mike Piazza when it comes to hitting or Bengie Molina for that matter).  While I like both Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher, I think both are complimentary players and not people that you’d build your starting outfield with.  Given the uncertainty of center field and the advancing age of Johnny Damon in left, it makes perfect sense to solidify right with Manny.  He’d be very comfortable in front of the hometown Bronx crowd, and how scary is a batting order that starts with Damon-Jeter-Teixeira-Ramirez-ARod.  That would make up for the defensive shortcomings, and would allow you to forego Andy Pettitte or Ben Sheets in the 5th spot of the rotation and go with Phil Hughes.  Of course, it would also mean that both Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher would probably be dealt, although I’d like to keep Swisher due to his versatility. 

 

For the fans, Manny’s presence in the lineup would be huge.  For the Yankees, Manny’s appeal for the YES Network and the turnstiles at the new Yankee Stadium would be larger.  It makes too much sense, which is why it will probably never happen…

 

SIGNS OF MATURITY AT SECOND BASE

 

I always enjoy reading Kat O’Brien’s blog on Newsday (On the Yankees Beat), and she has provided an answer to a question that has been nagging me.  Where is Robinson Cano mentally and physically?  At 26 years of age, has he finally realized that baseball is more than just raw talent?  Okay, there were a few questions in there.  According to Kat, Cano is now 208 lbs (down from 213 at the end of last season, a season that he most likely “, at a greater weight).  A career .303 hitter, Cano hit .271 last season after a very slow start (.151 BA in April). 

 

Based on Robby’s comments, he does seem to be focused this year.  “I’ve just been working on my new stance,” Cano said, “just getting ready mentally and physically…I know that I have to start in April, not in May or June”.

 

Great insight by Kat, and great news for the Yankees!

 

18 DAYS TO TAMPA (PITCHERS AND CATCHERS)

 

With 18 days to go until pitchers and catchers report to Tampa for spring training, all has been quiet on the Yankees front.  Granted, nothing may happen between now and then, but the Hot Stove League still has a few weeks of life left before it winds down. 

 

Almost certain to be a hot topic at camp is Joe Torre’s new book, “The Yankee Years”.  According to the New York Post, Joe has taken shots at Alex Rodriguez (“A-Fraud”), Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner’s.  I am sure that Joe’s comments are very ‘matter-of-fact’, and don’t have any added venom, but clearly, he was a very unhappy guy at the end of his Yankee tenure and very disappointed at how those final days played out.  Nevertheless, I am fearful for what the book may mean to Torre.  There could be an organizational backlash that could delay Joe’s entry to Monument Park when his managerial career is over.  Joe shouldn’t be punished for calling it like he saw it, and hopefully Hal Steinbrenner and the rest of the organization will take the book in stride.  But I am sure that it will be a hot topic for the next few weeks.

 

With the recent passing of Billy Werber, I have to admit that I did not realize that Tommy Henrich was still alive.  Henrich is the last surviving member of the 1938 World Champion Yankees, although he didn’t experience his greatest individual success until the 1940′s.  He was dubbed “Old Reliable” by Yankee broadcaster Mel Allen, in reference to his knack for getting a key hit when it was needed.  Henrich is 96 years old, and will long be remembered for his World Series exploits.  His notable achievements include:

 

·         5-time AL All-Star (1942, 1947, 1948, 1949 & 1950)

·         AL Runs Scored Leader (1948)

·         2-time AL Triples Leader (1947 & 1948)

·         20-Home Run Seasons: 4 (1938, 1941, 1948 & 1949)

·         30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1941)

·         100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1948)

·         100 Runs Scored Seasons: 4 (1938, 1941, 1947 & 1948)

·         Won six World Series with the New York Yankees (1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1947 & 1949; he did not play in the 1937 and 1939 World Series)

 

While dreaming of a Damon-Cabrera/Gardner-Ramirez outfield, I can’t help but think how great it would have been to see the outfield of Henrich, Charlie Keller, and Joe DiMaggio…

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