Results tagged ‘ Matt Holliday ’

Godzilla, The End…

 

It has been a very powerful week…

 


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Meanwhile, back in the Bronx…

 


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The Yankees bid farewell to World Series MVP Hideki Matsui today when he signed with the Los Angeles Angels (one year, $6 million).  Clearly, if Matsui’s knees had held up, the ending would not have come like this.  The Yankees will miss his clutch bat.  Time and again, I can recall games where every bat was ice cold, but Godzilla still delivered the key hit to win the game.  He was always in the right place at the right time against the dreaded Boston Red Sox.  The Yankees haven’t fared well with Japanese players when it comes to pitchers (see Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa), however, they struck gold with a position player.  Matsui arrived with much fanfare and was billed as Japan’s best player when he came to the United States.  Expectations were high, and I’d say that he delivered.  He was a class act and he will be missed.  I am not excited that he went to a bitter rival, however, he does deserve the opportunity to show that he can be a major contributor.  I wish him the best of luck in Southern California.

New Angels player Hideki Matsui shows off his new jersey for the cameras in front of Angels Stadium Wednesday.

Paul Rodriguez/The Orange County Register

 

Of course, this does prove that old Yankee outfielders don’t die, they just sign with the Angels…

 

 

It was a busy day for my friend Julia.  Her Red Sox announced the free agent signings of pitcher John Lackey and outfielder Mike Cameron today, and showed that GM Theo Epstein is truly a “man with a plan”.  I agree with Boston’s decision to cut ties with Jason Bay and move forward with Mike Cameron.  After all the reports about Bay, I’d have to say that I’d be very hesitant to sign him to a long-term deal.  I am glad that the Yankees are staying out of the negotiations for Bay at this point.  Let him go to the Mets.  As for Lackey, I wanted the Yanks to sign him to fill the #3 spot in the rotation.  Andy Pettitte did a great job last year, but I really think that he is no more than a #4 at this stage of his career.  Boston does have a very impressive rotation (Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Lackey, Tim Wakefield, Dice-K, and/or Clay Buchholz).  I really do not expect Buchholz to be on the Opening Roster since I feel the Sox will be successful in securing Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres for first base (sliding Kevin Youkilis to third) at a cost which will include Buchholz.  So, congratulations to Julia for a very successful week.  However, I will caution her that it is a long way from April 4th!  Much can happen between now and then…

 

 

From my perspective, I’d take a chance on a low-risk, high reward pitcher to fill the #3 in the Yankees rotation.  I like the rumors for either Ben Sheets or Justin Duchsherer.  I’d probably prefer Sheets because he has the stronger pedigree and an established relationship with CC Sabathia.  It’s always tough to transition from the National League to the American League, but a support system like CC would help.  However, I wouldn’t be disappointed if the team pursued Duchsherer.  Julia may brag about her rotation, however, I’d be okay going to battle with Sabathia, Burnett, Sheets/Duchsherer, Pettitte, and Hughes.  For the record, I have switched my position on Joba Chamberlain, and I now think his return to the bullpen would be the best fit for his talent and we knew all along that Phil Hughes is a starting pitcher regardless of his bullpen success.

 

William Perlman/The Star Ledger

 

So, this brings us to left field.  The latest reports have Johnny Damon expecting a $13 million per year payday.  Frankly, I am losing interest in retain Damon for 2010.  Mark DeRosa has been mentioned as a possibility, and I am okay with him as Damon’s replacement.  I do have concerns about Nick Swisher repeating his 2009 success, or Curtis Granderson learning to hit lefties, so the Yanks would probably be seeking a corner outfield upgrade at the July trading deadline.  However, in the interim, I would like the team for the first half of the season with Sheets or Duchsherer in the rotation and DeRosa in left.  I would certainly like the Yankees to become players for Matt Holliday but I just don’t think it will happen.

 

Jeff Roberson/AP

 

I do wish the Yankees would give the perception (right now) of being a proactive organization doing everything possible to ensure a repeat championship in 2010 rather than one mired in financial constraints.  Who knows if the reports of payroll cutting are real or just negotiating ploys, but the team needs to strike before all of the premium players are gone.  I’d also re-engage Florida to see if Josh Johnson could be had at the right price…

 

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I don’t want to dissect the Roy Halladay trade to the Phillies, but I am surprised that the Philles gave up both Cliff Lee and Kyle Drabek to secure Doc’s services.  Granted, Roy Halladay is arguably the best pitcher in baseball but how could he outperform the brilliant performance given by Cliff Lee in a Phillies uniform?  I know that Lee will be demanding outrageous monies at the end of his contract next year, and the Phillies felt that they needed to re-tool after relinquishing great talent like Drabek for Doc.  But wow, what a rotation it would have been featuring Halladay, Lee, and Cole Hamels.  Plus, J.A. Happ is still in the rotation.  I’d rate this trade better for the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays than the Phillies.  I might even say the Oakland A’s emerged stronger with their acquisition of Michael Taylor for a player caught in a glut of corner infielder/DH types (Brett Wallace).  As a Yankees fan, I am glad to see Halladay exit the AL East.  However, it won’t be long before we hate to face Kyle Drabek…

 

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Meanwhile, back at Yankee headquarters…

 


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First Departure from 2009 Championship Team…

Let the trading and signings begin!…

 

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The Yankees embarked on their 2010 off-season journey by dealing reliever Brian Bruney to the Washington Nationals for a player to be named (most likely the Nats’ first round pick in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft).  Bruney has been a vital cog in the Yankees bullpen for the past few years, although there have been a few interruptions caused by injury.  I am not sure what I think about this one.  I have to believe that Brian Cashman has a motive for making the move.  It’s been said that Cash feels that Bruney’s role can be replaced by lower cost options, however, I liked the thought of having Bruney as a safety net for the bridge to Mariano Rivera should Phil Hughes make a successful transition to the starting rotation next season.  Or perhaps Cash has more grandiose plans that would keep Hughes as the Yanks’ primary setup man.  Regardless, Bruney will be missed, and I wish him the best of luck in the Nation’s Capitol.

 

Michael Strobel/US Presswire

Okay, you could say that Bruney is not the first player to depart given the number of players who are free agents.  However, none have signed with other clubs yet so Bruney is the first major departure from the 2009 Champions.

 

It was also announced that pitcher Andy Pettitte has decided to return in 2010.  Unlike last season, Andy was very quick to make the decision to return.  Of course, the team and Pettitte now have to agree on compensation so this could still be dragged out over the course of the next few weeks.  I am glad to see Andy’s return as that would be preferable over a gamble that someone like Randy Wolf could have a successful transition to the Bronx.  When he’s done, Andy will stand tall among the franchise’s best left-handed pitchers.  He may not reach the club’s win record for a southpaw, but he’ll be in the neighborhood.  If only he hadn’t left for the Houston Astros for three years…

 

 

So, the Los Angeles Angels are kicking the tires of Boston Red Sox outfielder Jason Bay.  If they allow Vladimir Guerrero to depart, it would make sense that the Angels pursue someone of Bay’s caliber.  If that happens, I’d have to believe that the Red Sox will become the odds-on favorite to land Matt Holliday as Bay’s replacement.

 

 

I just completed a very busy week, and it’s great to be home.  Last Sunday, I attended a Kelly Clarkson concert in San Jose.

 

 

 

I departed the next day for business meetings in New Jersey.  After the meetings, a number of my co-workers and I traveled to New York to see Rock of Ages on Broadway.  It was a terrific show, and the star, former American Idol finalist Constanine Maroulis, was phenomenal.

 

Rock of Ages' Constantine Maroulis on Groupies and Performing for Drinking Audiences

Getty Images 

 

From New York, I headed to Phoenix where I spent the weekend.  I went to Sunday night’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.  The game was a disaster, as the Vikings fell to the Cardinals, 30-17.  However, the stadium was impressive.  Hopefully, Favre and Company will rebound for a strong finish to the season.  Everyone’s allowed a clunker or two, right?

 

Minnesota Vikings (4) Brett Favre and Arizona Cardinals (13) Kurt Warner after the Cardinals defeated the Vikings. The Cardinals won 30-17.

Rob Schumacher/Arizona Republic

 

Arriving back in San Jose, all the nearby mountains were snow-capped, which is a very rare sight in Silicon Valley.  It was a beautiful sight, and it was so good to be home!

 


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No Royal Pains…

 

They got it right…

 

 

 

 

The homer pick was to go with CC Sabathia for the 2009 AL Cy Young Award.  However, it was clear that Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals is THE right choice.  He had an incredible season.  Imagine what he could have done playing for Boston or New York.  The win-loss record wasn’t spectacular (16-8), however, the 2.16 ERA and 242 strikeouts were.  It was a dominating season and Greinke was the class of the American League. 

 

 

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Of course, “dessert” for Greinke is his upcoming nuptials this weekend to former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Emily Kuchar.  Okay, Zack lives in a world that I will never know…

 

 

 

Congrats, Zack, on a tremendous season! 

 

 

 

I am not so sure that I like the Yankees very slow and non-reactionary approach to the early off-season.  I know that GM Brian Cashman is trying to see how many dollars in his wallet, however, the team is costing themselves money by not proactively seeking to retain certain free agents like Johnny Damon. 

 

IMAGES HAVE BEEN DIGITALLY DESATURATED) Johnny Damon #18 of the New York Yankees poses during Photo Day on February 19, 2009 at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Johnny Damon

Nick Laham/Getty Images 

 

The Yankees would be wise to start talking about an extension with Derek Jeter now rather than wait until the expiration of his current contract.  By waiting, it will most likely cost the team more than if they’d put forth the deal to secure Jeter’s pinstripe-only career.

 

 

 

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I was really shocked to hear that the only coach signed for next season is hitting instructor Kevin Long.  Even manager Joe Girardi is a lame duck with a contract set to expire after next season.  Maybe it’s just me, but it would be kind of nice to have a first or third base coach.

 

 

 

 

Maybe the Yankees have a grand master plan that will work to perfection.  They’ll walk off with top free agents John Lackey and Matt Holliday signed to very reasonable deals.  But then again, maybe they won’t and they’ll be scrambling to retain the likes of Sergio Mitre, who’s option they declined earlier today.

 

 

William Perlman/The Star Ledger 

 

Admittedly, I am a bigger fan of Theo Epstein’s quick-strike approach.  I’d rather make the moves with swiftness and confidence.  Act before your opponent has time to react.  Take a chance on the sleepers.  I dislike going into September of a pennant chase with Sergio Mitre as your fifth starter.  I know that you can’t have an All-Star at every position, however, there are a number of low budget moves the Yanks can make to strengthen the team for its defense of the World Series championship.  If he’s ready, I would like to see Austin Jackson in center, but that does mean the team needs proven production from the corners.  I liked Boston’s pickup of Jeremy Hermida and I think the Yankee scouts should be doing their homework on the next breakout players.  Last off-season, I would have loved to have acquired the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier.  Now, after the successful season he had in 2009, he’d be impossible to acquire.  But he could have been had pre-2009.  I know, I keep waiting for the next Paul O’Neill, however, those type of deals can be made.

 

 

Andre Ethier #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dugout during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on June 30, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images 

 

With the rumors of whether or not 2010 will be the final season for Dodgers manager Joe Torre, I do feel bad that he has to endure the divorce battle between Frank and Jamie McCourt.  There has been talk of contract negotiations between Torre and the team so hopefully the divorce situation won’t adversely impact Torre.  Ultimately, I am a fan of Don Mattingly as the next Dodgers manager, however, it should, respectively, be on Joe Torre’s terms.

 

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If the Yankees do non-tender Chien-Ming Wang, I do hope that they move quickly to sign him to an incentive-laden deal.  I still think that Wang can be the pitcher he was in 2006 and 2007.  I was frustrated last season, however, he clearly was not healthy.

 

 

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I’ll be headed to Arizona in a few weeks to finally see Brett Favre play as the Minnesota Vikings take on the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, AZ.  I haven’t seen the Vikings play (in person) for about 20 years.  The last time was against the Dallas Cowboys in Irving, Texas.  The Vikings won a shoot-out in overtime, 44-38.  A quick Google search tells me that it was 22 years ago on Thanksgiving Day.  Hopefully, December 6th in the Sonoran Desert will be equally exciting and with the same result!

 

 

 

 

The previous week will start with a Kelly Clarkson concert (oh yeah!) and will also include a Broadway play in New York City, so here’s hoping for a GREAT week for ME!  J

 

 


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