Results tagged ‘ Mark McGwire ’

The Hot Stove League Pre-Season is underway…

 

Yes, Brian, I want to believe…

“I am excited about the opportunities we have.”

I wish that I could say that was my quote, but unfortunately, I am not feeling as optimistic as GM Brian Cashman who spoke those words.

With the imminent departure of Nick Swisher, Rafael Soriano, and Hiroki Kuroda, combined with another year of age on Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, the future is not looking so rosy at the moment.  For a team that needs to upgrade its rotation, losing Kuroda would clearly be a setback.  I remain hopeful that the team will re-sign him to a one year deal since he appears willing to accept a short-term contract and all signs indicated he enjoyed his time in New York.  I really do not expect the Yankees to re-sign either Swisher or Soriano.  It’s unfortunate as I’ve appreciated the positive impact that Swisher’s personality had on the Yankees’ “corporate” clubhouse culture.  As Soriano, the excessively fat contract for a set up guy paid dividends when Mariano Rivera was lost for the season and he superbly stepped in to give the Yankees a top closer as a brief trial with David Robertson.

If the Yankees could sign Joaquim Soria to a set up role, I do think it would help neutralize the loss of Soriano.  There is also the possibility that reliever David Aardsma could move into the role, along with Robertson, if he successfully makes it back from his injury.

Replacing Swisher’s bat will be the tougher challenge.  No offense against Torii Hunter, but signing him to be the new right fielder does not make me excited.  I do like the talk of moving Brett Gardner to center and Curtis Granderson to left.  Hopefully, the Yankees can bring Ichiro Suzuki back for another year.  I am not sure what the best answer is for right.  The best options are only available through trade.

I read this morning that the Boston Red Sox had signed Atlanta Braves’ backup catcher David Ross, whom the Yankees liked.  I am surprised Atlanta let him get away given the health of starter Brian McCann, but it’s disappointing to see the Red Sox snatch away a player that could have helped the Yankees.

With a team that is trying so hard to reduce payroll by 2014 and one that devotes so much salary space to decreasingly productive guys like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, I just don’t see Brian Cashman being successful playing “Moneyball”.  When you consider how many dollars the Yanks have committed to A-Rod and his drain on the roster, it would appear to me that the team has less dollars to play with than any of their big city rivals if the end game is to avoid luxury tax and penalties in 2014.

Don’t get me wrong, I have been so appreciative of players like Jeter, Rivera and Andy Pettitte.  But the fact remains that they will be another year older in 2013 and at some point, they will begin to break down.  There doesn’t seem to be any high level prospects ready to step into their shoes.  I wish there was a way the team could move A-Rod and his albatross contract but that’s unlikely to happen.

I remain hopeful that Brian Cashman is able to make a move this winter to improve the team.  If the team stays status quo or struggles to replace those they will lose, I do not see the Yankees finishing any higher than third in the AL East next season.  But, of course, if Hal Steinbrenner lets Cash make the moves necessary to position the team for 2013, then they’ll be in the thick of the pack at the top of the division.

Tino, Tino, Tino!…

I am happy to see Tino Martinez become hitting coach for the Miami Marlins.  It is bittersweet to see him leave the Yankees organization, but much easier to see him go to his home state as opposed to being the hitting coach for the Boston Red Sox.  The latter was a real possibility as the Sox had gotten permission to talk to Martinez, but fortunately, he opted to go help Mike Redmond turn around the Marlins.  The Los Angeles Dodgers have been my favorite NL team in recent years due to manager Don Mattingly.  I enjoy seeing my favorites do well, even if they can’t do it in the Yankees organization.  Another example would be San Francisco Giants’ pitching coach Dave Righetti, fresh off his second World Series championship in three years.  Tino is certainly in the same class with those guys, and will always be someone that I will root for.  That’s why watching him go to Boston would have been so difficult.

Coach Giambino…

Speaking of hitting coaches, I am hopeful that manager “wannabe” Jason Giambi decides to take the hitting coach position with the Colorado Rockies.  Maybe he is not ready to hang up his bat just yet, but I think he would be a very positive addition to Walt Weiss’s staff and it would put him on the path of eventually reaching his goal to be a manager.  While I was surprised to see the Rockies go with Weiss as manager over Matt Williams, I recognize that Weiss knows the Rockies organization and they know him.  If he surrounds himself with the right coaching staff, I think Weiss can be highly successful in Colorado.

The Dodgers quest to overtake the Giants…

Regressing back to the Dodgers but staying on the theme of hitting coaches, I was mildly surprised by Mark McGwire’s decision to move from the Cardinals to the Dodgers.  I know that McGwire is a Southern CA guy, but still, the Cardinals were his organization.  Maybe that’s why it is best to move to another organization so that your legacy as a player is the primary association.  Granted, McGwire does not have the untarnished reputation like Mattingly had in New York, but hopefully it works out for Big Mac.  Performance-enhancing drugs or not, the guy knows how to hit.

It’s funny, particularly given my long history of being a Yankees fan, but I am a little put off by the free spending ways of the new Dodgers ownership group.  While I believe that you have to spend to put a quality team on the field, spending frivolously seems excessive.  For the Yankees, I only need to use A-Rod as the example.  Over $30 million in one season devoted to a player whose skills are rapidly eroding.  $30 million would go a long way toward bringing in multiple quality…and productive…players.  The Dodgers should no qualms about picking up the contracts of Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford when it remains to be seen if they can rise to the current level of their contracts.  It looks like high stakes poker to me with much potential for disaster.

In a couple of weeks, the Hot Stove League should start heating up and it will be interesting to see what form this off-season takes.  I am cautiously optimistic, but understand that it’s very possible the Yanks go into next season hoping some young guys from the farm system are ready to take it to the next level.  I guess I now know what it’s like to be a fan of the Minnesota Twins or Kansas City Royals…

–Scott

 

Reset the Record Book!…

Roger Maris, 61 Home Runs*

 

 


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AP

 

For years, the asterisk was a negative mark against Roger Maris.  It signified that his record was accomplished in a 162-game schedule whereas Babe Ruth’s 60 home runs occurred when the regular season consisted of only 154 games.  There is no question that the asterisk was unfair to Maris and baseball in general.

 

 


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However, with the admission by Mark McGwire that he juiced during the record breaking year when he hit 70 home runs, it stands to reason that the asterisk should again be placed by Maris’s record…only this time it should be construed as a positive.  When you look at the guys who have hit more than 61 home runs, all are confessed, proven or highly suspected steroid users (McGwire, Sammy Sosa and current single season HR leader Barry Bonds).  Roger’s mark should stand alone as THE record…accomplished by a player who set the record with natural ability.  Ruth did not have to withstand the incredible pressure that Maris faced in 1961, and of course, Ruth didn’t have to contend with “juicers” breaking his record.  Once and for all, Roger Maris deserves the recognition of being that champion he is. 

 

 

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I hope that I do not see McGwire, Bonds, or Sosa in the Hall of Fame in my lifetime.  I refuse to be hypocritical, so I will say that the same should apply to Alex Rodriguez.  There are obviously reasons that guys like Ty Cobb, records aside, should not be in the Hall of Fame, but those decisions cannot be undone.  The Hall of Fame can prohibit the entry of any proven or confessed steroid abusers, and I feel very strongly that they should.  I would probably be more willing to consider Pete Rose (well, maybe not while he is still living), but if the Hall can take action against Rose, why can’t the same prohibitions apply to the cheaters of the game? 

 

 

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I feel the game owes a huge debt of gratitude to the players who stood “clean” in an era of deceit.  Whether it is Derek Jeter, Dwight Evans, Cal Ripken, or Chase Utley, they played the game the right way and deserve special recognition for staying true to the integrity of the game.  Hats off to the good guys…

 

 

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Time for some non-baseball talk (sorry, there just isn’t much happening in the Yankees Universe)…

 

 

Yankees_Country.jpg yankees country image by Ivan1818-roc-

 

I was surprised to see Pete Carroll jump at the opportunity with the Seattle Seahawks.  Pete has an unsuccessful record as a NFL head coach, and his style of leadership seemed to be best suited for the college level.  USC is certainly one of the plum college coaching jobs, and the departures of top college coaches to the NFL has generally been met with less than desired results.  Granted, I wouldn’t want the job of babysitting the college kids and making sure that they do not do anything to violate NCAA rules, but the USC job seemed like it would be Carroll’s for as long as he wanted it.  I was surprised when John McKay left USC back in the 70’s, and I am equally surprised about Carroll.  Hopefully, he’ll be able to “recruit” the right players to Seattle.

 

 

 

John W. McDonough/SI

 

Speaking of USC, I was even more shocked that the school was able to land Lane Kiffin as their next coach.  This morning, the breaking news on ESPN was that the school had offered the job to Jacksonville Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio.  That actually made sense to me since Del Rio doesn’t have that many years left unless he starts to win.  But by the end of the day, Del Rio had announced that he was staying in Jacksonville, and USC had a new coach in Kiffin, who is bringing his father, Monte, along as defensive coordinator.  The school also successfully brought UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow back too.  The loser in this whole ordeal (sorry Rick Neuheisel!) is the University of Tennessee.  They gave a great opportunity to Kiffen when he was dumped by Al Davis and the Oakland Raiders.  He rewarded them with some questionable coaching practices, confrontation with SEC coaches, and a less-than-stellar 7-6 mark.  For $800,000 (payable over 36 months), Kiffin can simply walk away.  Incredible.  Hopefully, Tennessee will rebound with a solid coaching hire, but they didn’t deserve this treatment from Kiffin.  I think I will be a UCLA fan next season (how sick is that?)…

 

 

Nick Ut/AP

 

Given that the San Francisco Giants have signed Aubrey Huff which would potentially keep Pablo Sandoval at third, and Mark DeRosa in left field, the Atlanta Braves appear to be the only viable option outside of the Yankees for free agent Johnny Damon.  Personally, I think the Braves will opt for a less expensive option, so it really means that the Yankees and Damon need to sit down and determine a fair salary that works for both sides.  This is not rocket science.  But of course, the negative factor is agent Scott Boras.  I vote for the removal of Scott Boras from the Scott Club!  ;)  Johnny, pick up the phone and call Brian or Hal.  You can get this deal done…

 

 

John Munson/Newark Star-Ledger

 

 

How many more days until the Yankees beat the Red Sox?  That’s right, I just need to check Julia’s website

 

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