Results tagged ‘ Matt Cassel ’

Trying to be optmistic, but failing miserably…

 

The Boston Massacre or the Bronx Massacre?…

Since the games are being held in the Bronx, I suppose the Boston Red Sox kill of any Yankee play-off aspirations should be called the Bronx Massacre.  Unfortunately, the high hopes coming off the sweep of the Chicago White Sox were dashed as the Sox are definitely now on the other foot.

Thursday’s game was disappointing as the Yankees launched a valiant rally only to lose a game they were within one strike of winning.  The defeat came with none other than the legendary Mariano Rivera on the mound.  Friday night, it was the Yankees who built the large early lead, but the Red Sox stormed back and thrashed the Yankees.  Although Boone Logan gave up the key grand slam, I blame Phil Hughes for changing the momentum of the game.  Today’s game (Saturday) is still underway but the team is getting royally throttled at the moment (12-3 in the 5th inning).  The Yankee pitching staff has not shown the ability to get Red Sox hitters out during this series so I have no reason to expect the team to rally from the latest hole (either today’s game or the season).  If they lose today’s game as expected, they’ll be 11 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East standings.  The races for the Wild Card spots are still within reach but the Yankees aren’t playing like a team that wants to win.  They still have one more series against the Red Sox (in Boston) and if they can’t beat the Sox in the Bronx, they certainly are not going to win in Beantown.

This has been a very weird season as a Yankees fan.  The team did nothing to improve upon last year’s squad and simply filled key roles with bargain basement replacements.  Alfonso Soriano is the only quality acquisition, but he is an aging player with a large salary.  It’s not exactly like it was a brilliant acquisition for GM Brian Cashman.  The Chicago Cubs were glad to part with Soriano even if they are still picking up a large part of his compensation.  I’ve been reading many articles that talk about the great managing job Joe Girardi has done this season, but no one is saying the same about Cashman.  The unknown variable is that we do not know the restraints he is under from Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner.  If you are under standing orders that you cannot increase salary, it’s not exactly like you are going to go out and land a Giancarlo Stanton or Cliff Lee.  But it’s odd watching the Pittsburgh Pirates being more aggressive in the addition of reinforcements (i.e., Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd and John Buck) than the Yankees.  A few key “stronger” players here or there could have meant the difference in the current Wild Card standings and the Yankees wouldn’t be on the outside looking in.

The only guarantee is that there will be changes in the off-season.  At this point, I have to believe that the departure of Cashman is a possibility.  I do not expect Joe Girardi to be going anywhere but this team will look radically different, particularly if the Yankees do not re-sign impending free agent Robinson Cano.  I am not sure what to expect with the 2014 Yankees.  I don’t know if optimism will be part of the equation and if we will be looking at another “patched-together” squad of expensive, deteriorating older players and cheap free agent acquisitions of players released from their current clubs.  The Yankees need to get younger but is this going to take a season or two, or years.  The decisions being made by Hal Steinbrenner will impact the Yankees for years to come.  Time will tell if he is making very astute and winning decisions to set up future success, or if he is ensuring that this time period will be the 1980’s re-visited.

If somehow the Yankees manage to salvage the 2013 season and grabbed a Wild Card spot, I seriously doubt they’d be able to do anything with it.  Hopefully, the Steinbrenner family is able to do something to return optimism to the Bronx in the not-so-distant future.

Pondering the Quarterback situation…

As a long-suffering Minnesota Vikings fan, the hope is that this is the year QB Christian Ponder “figures it out”.  He is a talented and intelligent guy, and there’s no reason for him not to become the answer for the Vikings if he chooses to be.  How many guys would like to have Adrian Peterson in the backfield, Greg Jennings out wide, and Kyle Rudolph at tight end?  Ponder has the weapons and he has the physical tools to succeed.  It is all up to him.  If the Vikings have to make the move to replace Ponder with backup Matt Cassel, then the team is sunk.

Last year was a pleasant surprise but it will be more challenging this year with the more difficult schedule.  I do wish that Adrian Peterson would let go of the dream to reach 2,500 rushing yards in a season.  I would not want to see him at such risk for injury nor would I want an individual goal to become superior to the team’s goals.

The Vikings start the season against the Detroit Lions, a team that knows a thing or two about having huge offensive weapons.  The young Vikings secondary will have to show that they are ready for the big time as it doesn’t get any easier in the coming weeks.  It’s too bad that, so far, the team hasn’t been able to get former starter Antoine Winfield to come out of retirement.  Josh Robinson is fast, but we’ll see if he can keep up with Megatron…

Hockey’s around the corner…

Soon, the San Jose Sharks will join the Minnesota Vikings as “distractions” for me during this disappointing MLB campaign.  I am looking forward to a full season of NHL Hockey rather than last year’s strike-shortened version.  I am still having a tough time thinking of the HP Pavilion or “Shark Tank” as the SAP Center.    While it is called S-A-P and not the word “sap”, how long before the latter becomes the norm if the team fails to succeed?

Where are you, Optimism?  I miss you…  ;)

–Scott

 

Bargain Basement Shopping at its finest…

 

Is that Hal saying “I told you so”?…

Surprised.

That’s the one word which comes to mind when I think of the Yankees’ team play so far in the still very young 2013 season.

Sure, the Yanks have lost a few games they should have won but a week into May and the Yanks stand at 18-12.  They are just a game and a half behind AL East Leader Boston entering tonight’s play.  Maybe the bigger surprise is that the pitching-rich Tampa Bay Rays at 14-16 and “everbody’s pre-season favorite”, the Toronto Blue Jays, are 11-21.  I fully expect changes in the AL East standings as the season progresses but given the hand the Yankees were dealt, they’ve fared much better than expected.

I should be happy that Alex Rodriguez has started his rehab in Tampa, which has included some light hitting.  But of all the injured players, A-Rod is the one that I am not looking forward to returning.  I was hopeful that Kevin Youkilis would have a ‘comeback player of the year’ type of season but it was not meant to be as Youk found his usual spot on the DL.  His injury prompted the Yankees to acquire Colorado Rockies third baseman Chris Nelson to back up former Rockie Jayson Nix.  I honestly cannot say which player I’d prefer at third as neither excites me but I’d still rather see them play than A-Rod.

I assume Curtis Granderson will be the first of the injured to return.  I don’t think anyone expects him to slide back into centerfield but his presence will create challenges for Manager Joe Girardi to find at-bats for Vernon Wells, Brett Gardner, and Ichiro Suzuki.  There’s no way that Travis Hafner is giving up DH with his play.  I feel bad for Brennan Boesch as I like having him on the team.

Mark Teixeira should be back in the not-so-distant futre.  Lyle Overbay is certainly not the player Tex is but Overbay has given the Yanks some early clutch hits that Tex, a notorious slow starter, never could have.

With Derek Jeter out until after the All-Star Break, and Eduardo Nunez proving to be no more capable than a spare, the Yanks do need to bring in a veteran shortstop to plug the hole until DJ is ready to return.

Since it is apparent that Austin Romine is only in New York to “watch”, I’ll be glad when Francisco Cervelli is able to come back and take starts aways from the offensively-challenged Chris Stewart.

I am worried about CC Sabathia’s drop in velocity, like everyone else, and Andy Pettitte’s recent struggles.  There are no great starters waiting the wings.  But in the pen, I was pleased with the 3-up, 3-down debut inning by Preston Claiborne.  In his first major league appearance, he pitched two shutout innings in Sunday’s loss to the Oakland A’s.  He certainly did his part to ensure the Yanks were in the position to win the game in the bottom of the 9th.  It was not to be, but through no fault of Preston’s.

How do you teach Greatness?…

I remember when I first heard that Mariano Rivera would be 43 at the end of his current deal.  I was worried that he’d be unable to sustain his level of superiority.  But, man, was I ever so wrong!  Rivera has long been my favorite active Yankee but time catches up with all…or does it?  Mo continues to astound at his age and has proven that if he wanted to continue to play beyond this season, millions (dollars and fans) would be waiting for him.  A true legend in our lifetime…

A very good day in April…

I was very skeptical when former Miami Dolphins GM Rick Spielman took over as the GM for the Minnesota Vikings, but draft after draft, he has proven to be very astute.  Going into the 2013 NFL Draft, I had hoped for a play-making wide receiver in the first round.  When the Vikings first selection came up at #23, they had no choice but to take DT Sharrif Floyd.  Floyd had been a top 5 pick in many mock drafts and it was a position of need.  At #25, I was hoping for either the play-making wide receiver or a hard-hitting middle linebacker.  The Vikings went with Xavier Rhodes, a cornerback, and it was hard to argue the selection given his height and talent to play with the division’s big receivers.  I felt that the Vikes had missed the opportunity to get a legitimate #2 receiver to go with free agent signee Greg Jennings, but then it was announced that the Vikings had thrown a plethora of picks at the New England Patriots to get the #28 spot which they finally used to grab the play-making wide receiver (Cordarrelle Patterson).  In my years in Dallas, I always remember former head coach of the Cowboys, Jimmy Johnson, talk about “playmakers”.  In the 2013 Draft, Rick Spielman nailed three in the first round.

I’ve always liked Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, but I knew his days were numbered when the Vikings burned a pick on a punter.  The NFL can be a cold, hard business and it is always evitable that someone will lose their job to a younger, cheaper talent.  I cannot find fault in the Vikings decision to part ways with Kluwe but I thank him for his time in Minnesota.  He is a good punter and he won’t be unemployed for long.  Now, if new punter Jeff Locke can have a rookie season like kicker Blair Walsh did last year…

With Matt Cassel now on the roster as the backup QB, the pressure will be squarely on Christian Ponder’s shoulders.  Even if Cassel’s time in KC was less than stellar, I am sure the coaching staff won’t hesitate to pull Ponder if he continues to regress.  I liked the Vikings free agent signing of former Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg.  His senior season was a disappointment, but he was a big-time talent during his junior year.  I am hopeful that he can excel in his opportunities in front of Head Coach Leslie Frazier and his staff.

My heart goes out to Boston…

I have posted on this blog since prior to the Boston Marathon so I am late to the party to add my comments.  However, my heart goes out to all those who were impacted directly or indirectly by the tragic deeds of heartless terrorists.  I will never understand what drove Tamerlan Tsarnaev to his horrific actions or why he chose to ruin his brother’s life in convincing him to participate.  Running in the Boston Marathon has long been a personal goal and it will not dissuade me achieving that goal one day.  I have many friends in Boston and the heart of the city is incredibly tough and resilient.  You don’t have to love the Red Sox to love Boston.  Boston, in my opinion, is the premier city in America.  They will persevere and they’ll never let anyone take their city.  Boston Strong, to the end…

–Scott

 

Who’s the shortstop on the other team? He looks familiar…

DEREK JETER, THE VILLAIN…

It will be very strange when Derek Jeter comes to Steinbrenner Field on March 3rd as the starting shortstop for the WBC Team USA to face the mighty Yankees.  I found DJ’s comment to be very humorous:  “Hopefully, I won’t see any pitches inside”. 

Hopefully, this will not be an experience (DJ as a visiting player) that will be soon repeated! 

WHEW, GLAD WE DIDN’T SIGN SHEETS…

I heard the news that Ben Sheets will have elbow surgery and his agent is anticipating a July or August return (which, most likely, means that he is lost for the year).  Granted, any team that potentially could have signed him would have had a full physical evaluation before signing the dotted line.  But still, there was a lot of ink wasted with words that the Yankees should consider and sign Sheets instead of waiting for Andy Pettitte.

Still, it makes sense for a team, such as Texas, to take a flyer on Sheets after June when no compensation to the Milwaukee Brewers would be necessary due to Sheet’s status as a Type A free agent. 

GOOD LUCK TO CHASE WRIGHT…

I definitely had mixed feelings seeing pitcher Chase Wright go, but hopefully, he’ll get the opportunity in Milwaukee that he didn’t have with the Yankees.  All things considered, I think the Yankees did fairly well in acquiring C/OF Eric Fryer.  I don’t know how Fryer projects as a major leaguer, but his minor league numbers last year looked good.  He hit .335, with 10 homers and 63 RBI’s in 104 games for Class A West Virginia.  He led the South Atlantic League in batting average and on base percentage (.407) and was third in slugging percentage (.506).  I will be anxious to find out more about Fryer and to see how he performs in 2009.

Nevertheless, best of luck to Chase Wright, and I hope he gets the opportunity to return to Fenway Park one day to settle his score with the Red Sox (2007’s four consecutive home runs allowed).

AP Photo

 

MATT CASSEL, INSTANT MILLIONAIRE…

Matt Cassel has definitely hit the lottery jackpot.  In this economy, how many people can go from $520,000 to $14.65 million in one year?  I am going to go out on a limb and say that’s probably the greatest pay increase ever given to a guy who never started a game in college. 

Counting Tom Brady’s cap charge of $14.62 million for 2009, the New England Patriots will have 25% of their $123 million 2009 salary cap tied up in two quarterbacks. 

Considering that Brady’s actual 2009 salary will only be $5 million with bonus of $3 million for making the roster, I wonder how Tom will feel about being paid less than his backup.  Forget about those past Super Bowls, Tom!  This league is all about ‘what have you done for me lately?’.  Too funny.  It will be interesting to see how this plays out…

Julia of Julia’s Rants will vehemently disagree, but I remain hopeful that Cassel finds his way to Minnesota in the form of a sign and trade.  C’mon, if I can’t have Manny Ramirez on the Yankees, I at least deserve to have Matt Cassel at QB for the Vikings!

Source:  The Boston Globe

 

7 days until Pitchers and Catchers report to Tampa…

 

 

 

 

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…

Number 16 Back in Oakland…

In a way, it was a little bittersweet watching the Jason Giambi press conference.  Much has been written about Jason’s failure to live up to expectations for his 7 year, $120 million contract with the Yankees.  Granted, the steroids period was tough, but I remember how excited I was when the Yankees signed Giambi.  His first couple of years were strong (not quite near his highs with Oakland but still respectable), the down years during the steroid issue, but I think Jason ended his career with the Yankees on a high note.  As much as I would have liked to have seen the Yankees resign Giambi, that was never going to happen with the plethora of DH types on the roster, most notably Hideki Matsui but potentially Jorge Posada too depending upon his recovery.  So, given that Jason idolized Mickey Mantle, it was appropriate that he left after 7 years.

I was glad to see Eric Mangini get another chance in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns.  I am not a Jets fan, but I place more blame on Brett Favre for the Jets season-ending slide that cost them the play-offs. 

I get the sense that despite the rhetoric about Andy Pettitte rejecting the Yankees $10 million offer, they are working behind the scenes to put a deal together…

I saw an article today that the Vikings are interested in Matt Cassel.  I had wondered about that myself earlier, but figured that if the Patriots franchise Cassel, it would cost too much to acquire him (assuming that Tom Brady is healthy and the Pats feel secure in letting Cassel go).  As evidenced by the Philadelphia game, Tavaris Jackson is not the answer, and I think Cassel would be a great fit.  Time will tell…

Peter Gammons mentioned a “testiness” that existed between A-Rod and Mark Teixeira in Texas.  I had wondered what their relationship was like, but there doesn’t seem to be much written about their prior relationship.  Of course, it made me wonder…does A-Rod have a relationship with anyone besides Madonna?  Mark definitely has his work cut out for him with those errant throws coming in from A-Rod, DJ, and Cano…

It’s hard to get excited about a Phillies opening day lineup that will have Marcus Giles at 2B (Chase Utley’s absence will definitely be felt)…

I love the Yankees’ united “Why?  Because we can” approach to responding to the critics…

I agree with Peter Gammons take on why Mark Teixeira went with the Yankees.  It came down to his wife’s shopping preferences.  I can’t say that I’ve shopped in Boston, but c’mon, there’s nothing like Manhattan.  Then again, $180 million will only go so far in New York City…

The advantage to the Yankees not putting names on the back of jerseys?  I can wear my Jason Giambi jersey with pride, and everyone will think that I am supporting the latest and greatest Yankee first baseman!  Sweet!  :)

Cheers!

 

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