Results tagged ‘ New England ’

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

Why waste the paper for the signing?…

 

No Hablo Red Sox…

I know that it was a “no-risk, why-not-take-shot minor league with a major league camp invitation” signing but something just struck me wrong with the addition of former Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen.  Over the past few years, I have admittedly built up some respect for the good Red Sox players.  I’d count Red Sox ace Jon Lester as one of my favorite pitchers, and I appreciate players like Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury.  I think Adrian Gonzalez is one of the premier sluggers in baseball and all things considered, the Red Sox got the better end of the deal when they lost out on Mark Teixeira to the Yanks and had to “settle” for Gonzalez in a trade with the San Diego Padres.  There are those Sox players that I dislike but know they are ‘gamers’ like Josh Beckett, but conversely, there are those guys that I just thought were bad baseball players.  I’d put Delcarmen in the latter category.

Delcarmen is the bullpen answer to A.J. Burnett.  In other words, the guy most likely to implode.  The Red Sox proved they held a similar opinion when they dumped Delcarmen on the Colorado Rockies in 2010.  Delcarmen failed to stick in the Mile High City, and bounced in the minor leagues last season with the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners, accumulating a less than inspiring 5.59 ERA.  Odds are that he’ll never see the light of day at Yankee Stadium, but I think my tolerance quota for ex-Red Sox players in Yankees camp has been exceeded with Hideki Okajima, Delcarmen, and the possible signing of former Sox infielder Bill Hall.  I guess the Yankees brass wants to counteract the strong performance that Alfredo Aceves gave the Sox last year after being cut by the Yankees with a rejuvenated former Sox player in pinstripes.  If this was the objective (I know it wasn’t), then the Yankees should have signed DH David Ortiz before he accepted arbitration with the Sox.

Good luck to Delcarmen, but I still hope that he finds success elsewhere.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Hendry…

I was surprised to hear that the Yankees had signed former Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry as a special assignment scout.  For one, the Yankees have a stable of up-and-comers in Billy Eppler and Damon Oppenheimer.  Eppler almost landed the GM job with the Los Angeles Angels before Jerry DiPoto was hired so he’s certainly a sought-after commodity.  I saw today that the Yankees added the title of Senior Vice President to Assistant GM Jean Afterman, while naming Eppler as an assistant GM.  I know that Afterman doesn’t have the authority of Brian Cashman but it’s weird that they are both SVP’s.  All things considered, Cash should be in line for a promotion to Executive Vice President since he is clearly above the other SVP’s.

Admittedly, I am leery about bringing in strong GM types like Hendry.  Sure, he has a wealth of knowledge, but this position allows him to learn the inner-workings of the Yankees organization.  I am sure that Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers used his brief time with the Yankees to identify pitcher Ian Kennedy as a trade target.  I realize that Kennedy brought Curtis Granderson to New York, but had the Yankees been able to include a different pitcher with qualifications below Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos in the trade, how good would Kennedy have looked at the back end of the rotation instead of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon?

Snow:  To be or not to be…

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is February and the month that players report to training camp.  My first winter in Minnesota has been so incredibly mild.  I think there have only been two days of challenging driving conditions but even on those days, I still managed to travel without too many obstacles.  Of course, we could be engulfed in a blizzard while Robinson Cano is punching one over the Steinbrenner Field wall, but I am definitely excited for the return of the primary major sport.  No offense to the New England Patriots or the New York Giants, but pro football ranks second to America’s favorite pastime (in my opinion).  I’ll be more excited to see CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda standing side-by-side in camp than watching QB Tom Brady tell me via TV that he’s headed for Disney World.

Let it snow in Minnesota and let those Michael Pineda fastballs start popping Russell Martin’s mitt.  Life is good.  Now, about that DH position for the Yankees…

–Scott

 

I Know What It Must Feel Like To Be An Angels Fan…


As it stands today, and I realize that it is still early
January, the Boston Red Sox are clearly the class of the AL.  The Yankees inability to snag a frontline
pitcher will haunt the team, and the missed opportunities to upgrade in other
areas will cost the team valuable victories in the highly competitive AL East.


The 2004 Red Sox team celebrates after winning the World Series in St. Louis Wednesday night.

Jim Davis/Boston Globe


At the moment, Ivan Nova represents the #4 starter behind
CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett. 
I’d argue that Burnett should be considered no more than a #4 if he can’t
turn it around.  Meanwhile, other teams
are getting stronger.  The latest AL team
to improve was the Texas Rangers with the addition of former Boston third
baseman Adrian Beltre.  I know that the
Rangers, like the Yankees, still need more starting pitching, but they’ve
clearly improved the offensive and defensive makeup of the team. 

It appears that the Chicago Cubs have acquired pitcher
Matt Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays.  At
face value, it would appear the move weakens the Rays for the short term,
particularly in light of the previous losses (namely Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano,
and Carlos Pena).  However, the Rays have
a rich farm system and of course they needed a spot in the rotation for high
end prospect Jeremy Hellickson.  Everyone
seems to be writing off the Rays, but I fully expect them to be in the thick of
the race.  Somehow, they are the New
England Patriots of baseball…they may suffer huge personnel loss but there’s
always someone ready to step up their play as a replacement. 


Tom Brady (left) and wide reciever Deion Branch differ on how far New England is from the goal line.

Jim Davis/Boston Globe


The rest of the division has gotten better, while the
Yankees have simply gotten older. 


Last year, when the Rays trotted out Joaquin Benoit and
Rafael Soriano, it was game over.  As it
stands, the Yankees set up crew consists of David Robertson and Joba
Chamberlain…a combo that was not consistent last year and forced the deadline
trade for Kerry Wood who solidified the position.  I would have really liked to have seen the
Yanks pursue Soriano for the set up role, especially after his agent expressed
his willingness to set up for Mariano Rivera. 
I was disappointed when GM Brian Cashman came out today to say there was
no chance of a Soriano signing since it would cost a first round pick.  I get it. 
The farm system is important and it has taken years for the Yankees to
rebuild the system after the cupboards were left bare.  But still, it is hard not to think about how
effective a bullpen duo of Soriano-Rivera would be.  It would probably be the best one-two punch
since the days of Rivera-Wetteland in the mid 90′s. 


Tampa Bay Rays closer Rafael Soriano racts after picking up the save in the Rays 5-3 win over the Seattle Mariners during a baseball game Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

AP

It definitely sounds as though Andy Pettitte won’t be
making the trip to Florida next month.  I
want Andy to come back but I am okay if he decides to stay home.  If he came and his heart wasn’t in it, he
just wouldn’t be the same pitcher we’ve come to rely upon.  I wanted Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre to
come back this year and he did after much coaxing by his teammates, but the
results were horrific.  Andy either has
to be “all in” or he should go ahead and hang up the glove.  I would hate to see Andy leave with a Javier
Vazquez type of season. 

The Yankees have made minor moves this off-season that I’ve
liked.  The latest is the pick-up of
former Chicago Cubs reliever Brian Schlitter. 
While he was not effective in his brief time with the major league club
last season, I have to believe this signing had much input from former Cubs,
and now Yankees, pitching coach Larry Rothschild.  If Larry felt the Yanks should move on
Schlitter, then I feel he showed Larry enough to prove that he could be a
valuable and effective arm in the pen. 



There’s still time for the Yankees to make the necessary
moves to improve the roster and certainly if an “all in” Andy Pettitte signs up
for a final season, the team will look much better than it does today.  


Underachieve.JPG


If they maintain the status quo, I can’t help but wonder
how intense the pressure will be on manager Joe Girardi.  Can he survive a season where he finishes
third (or worse) in the division?  I am
not so sure.  His best friend is his new
three year contract.  Managing General
Partner Hal Steinbrenner is a numbers guy, and unlike his father, might not be
so willing to “eat” a contract.  As much
as I would dislike the move, I can’t help but think that the Yankees failure to
land a quality frontline starter has enhanced the chances that we will see
Bobby Valentine in the Yankees dugout. 
Ugh, I hope it doesn’t come to that…


bobby-valentine-new-york-mets-espn-929.jpg

AP


Sadly, today brought the loss of another former Yankee
(Ryne Duren).  Duren was a reliever for
the Yanks in the late 50′s and early 60′s, and was known for his coke bottle
glasses and 100 mph fastball.  I liked
Yogi Berra’s quote about Duren:  “Ryne could throw the heck out of the ball. He threw
fear in some hitters. I remember he had several pair of glasses but it didn’t
seem like he saw good in any of them
.”  Duren
passed away in Florida on Thursday at the age of 81. 


Ryne Sandberg was named after ex-pitcher Ryne Duren whose real name is Rinold.

Diamond Images/Getty Images


Congratulations to Jim Harbaugh, the new head coach of
the San Francisco 49ers.  My favorite
Harbaugh moment still has to be in 1992 when the Chicago Bears were leading the
Minnesota Vikings 20-0 in the fourth quarter and the Vikings came back to win,
21-20.  I can still remember the
frustrated Harbaugh wondering what hit him. 
Nevertheless, I do wish him much success as he attempts to revitalize
the 49ers.  It should be fun next season
when the Niners play the Baltimore Ravens, coached by Harbaugh’s brother
John. 



Well, I guess I’ll go back to waiting for the Yankees to
make a move…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

 

–Scott

 

 

Weekend in New England…

 

Well, it’s time to pay off one of my two debts owed to Julia of Julia’s Rants for several wager losses.  I should have been more responsive to my obligation but business travel and work have been very challenging lately.

 

The two losses were the final regular season series loss by the New York Yankees to the Boston Red Sox and the Halloween dismissal of the Minnesota Vikings by the New England Patriots.  It goes without saying which teams Julia was pulling for.  Sadly for me, the results were in her favor. 

 

For the loss by the Yankees, I owe Julia a couple of signs on my blog.  I promise that I’ll have them up by Thanksgiving.  With the loss by the Vikings, I have to write a blog about Julia’s favorite football team.  I know this is very off-topic for a baseball blog but keep in mind this is for Julia

 

THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

 

 

 

 

 

When I was a kid, I remember reading about the old American Football League (AFL) and its original members.  The Boston Patriots were one of those teams.  In fact, when they were awarded their franchise in 1959, they were the eighth and final team. 

 

 

 

Mike Holovak is the guy who stands out to me as the head coach of the Patriots in the 1960′s, however, it was long-time Buffalo Bills head coach Lou Saban who was the team’s first head coach. 

 

My first real meaningful recollection of the Patriots was after they moved to Foxboro and became the New England Patriots.  By that time, the head coach was Chuck Fairbanks.  The year that stands out for me is 1974.  The Patriots started season 5-0 behind QB Jim Plunkett, RB Sam “Bam” Cunningham, and WR Randy Vataha.  They would only win two more games that season to finish 7-7, but one of the wins came at the expense of my Vikings. 

 

 

81394434, Sports Illustrated/Getty Images /Sports Illustrated

Dick Raphael/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

 

 

I know, Julia‘s favorite was actually this guy (Steve Grogan)…

 

 

Before the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, the Patriots did play in one championship game, the 1963 AFL Championship.  They lost 51-10 to the San Diego Chargers, and would not advance to post-season play again until 1976.  They won their first AFC East division championship in 1978, but like in 1976, they were eliminated in the first round of the play-offs.

 

My next significant memory of the Patriots happened in 1985.  The Patriots made it all the way to the Super Bowl, but it coincided with the great Super Bowl Shuffle by the legendary Walter Payton and the Chicago Bears as the Patriots lost 46-10.

 

 

 

 

Sorry Julia, but it’s hard to pass by Walter Payton’s name without giving him some sort of tribute.  He was one of the greatest players to set foot on the gridiron…

 

As the organization moved into the 1990′s, their long history of futility began to change.  In 1993, Bill Parcells was named the head coach and the following year, the team was acquired by owner Robert Kraft.  Parcells would get the Pats to the Super Bowl in 1996 but they’d lose to Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, 35-21.  Hmmm, no wonder Julia dislikes #4!…

 

Brian Bahr/Allsport/Getty Images

 

 

After Parcells left, Pete Carroll was brought in for a few seasons.  Despite making the play-offs two of his three seasons, the results were unimpressive and he was discharged.  Still, a decade of some success had transformed the organization into one with a winning tradition despite the absence of Super Bowl success.

 

The arrival of the 21st Century also brought championship success for the Patriots as they won the Super Bowl in three of four years (2001, 2003, and 2004).  If memory serves correctly, the new century also had a positive impact for another Boston area team that shall go nameless!  ;)  With head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady, the Patriots emerged as the team to beat in the 2000′s. 

 

 

 

 

The Patriots did miss out on football immortality in 2007 when the team went undefeated during the regular season but lost to what I felt was an inferior New York Giants team in the Super Bowl.  How many teams can say that a 18-1 record was a failure?  None, except the New England Patriots.  I am sure that there were a few former Miami Dolphins celebrating that day…

 

 

The Patriots remain a championship quality organization and they have been able to successfully replace aging stars and over-priced free agents through the years.  They are currently tied for the division lead in the AFC East with a 6-2 mark and seem well positioned for much success in the second half of the season.  With Tom Brady at the controls, it is a certainty that they’ll have a say in who represents the AFC in the Super Bowl at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas on February 6, 2011. 

 

 

Tom Brady

 

P.S.  They won’t miss Randy Moss but I think I will…  L*

 

*Brought to you by the Fire Brad Childress Immediately Committee.

 

 

Yes, Ozzie, It Was ‘Very Nice’…

 

A “very nice” weekend…

Weekend.JPG

 

Asked about the weekend in New York City following the three game sweep by the Yankees, Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen would only say that Yankee Stadium is a very nice ballpark and that they had stayed in a very nice hotel.  Very nice, if I say so myself!  ;)

 

Kathy Willens/AP

 

I doubt it was too much fun to be on the White Sox’ plane as they flew to Minneapolis following Sunday’s game.  The trip to Boston and New York was not a fun experience for the White Sox, who were once considered play-off contenders.

 

Ozzie Guillen argues a close play at second base with umpire Mark Wegner, who called Derek Jeter safe at second on a fielder's choice in the first inning. 

Paul J. Bereswill/AP

 

Mathematically, the White Sox are still in it as they are only 6 games behind the Detroit Tigers.  However, the past week, with only 1 win in 7 games against Boston and New York, showed that they are pretenders at this point. 

 

Yankees 8, White Sox 3

Kathy Willens/AP 

 

It was good to see the Yankees complete the three-game sweep, particularly considering the disappointment o f the prior series they lost to the Texas Rangers.  As it stands, the Yankees need every victory because the Boston Red Sox just keep on winning.  The Yankees’ lead in the AL East remains at 6 games.  Unlike Chicago, Boston does have the ability to win the division so the Yankees need to keep winning to stay ahead.

 

Winslow Townson/AP 

 

Yesterday’s one-hit shutout in the Yankees’ 10-0 victory over the Chicago White Sox was very satisfying.  Sergio Mitre was pitching a great game, his finest in pinstripes, but he suffered a forearm contusion off a liner hit by A.J. Pierzynski in the 7th inning and departed the game.  Chad Gaudin closed out the one-hit masterpiece.  My biggest fear is that Mitre’s gem came at the last opportunity for the Yankees to secure a reliable #5 starter for September.  If Mitre’s performance causes the Yankees to end their quest for an upgrade and he reverts to his usual mediocre ways, it will be a frustrating September.

 

Paul J. Bereswill/AP 

 

I think it is important for the Yankees to play for home field advantage in the play-offs, and that’s why I am so concerned about the #5 spot in the rotation.  I agree that by the time the play-offs start, the #5 starter becomes a long man out of the pen.  But given the Yankees’ struggles against the Los Angeles Angels, they need every advantage they can get between now and when they’ll have to face their nemesis with the chips on the line.  I was surprised that the Tampa Bay Rays traded Scott Kazmir, but it was tough to see him go to the Angels.  The Yankees have not done well against Kazmir and he solidifies the Angels’ rotation.  The Yankees were able to reverse their fortunes against the Red Sox; I only hope they’ll be able to do the same with the Angels when the time comes.

 

Shazam.JPG

 

Sunday, “Joba Rules 2.0″ were in effect so it was an abbreviated start for Joba Chamberlain who only went 3 innings (2 runs on 4 hits).  Alfredo Aceves, in the role perfectly suited for him, relieved Chamberlain and picked up his 9th win of the season.  The game had been tight until the 7th inning when the Yankees scored 5 runs (primarily on the strength of Mark Teixeira’s three-run homer, his 32nd of the season).  Teixeira, in picking up his 101st RBI of the season, now has hit 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s for the sixth consecutive season.

 

Kathy Willens/AP 

 

The game also saw Johnny Damon hit the 200th home run at the new Yankee Stadium since it opened in April.

 

Johnny Damon is congratulated by Derek Jeter after hitting a two-run homer in the third inning off of starter Freddy Garcia.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images 

The Yankees now head to Baltimore.  The Orioles have generally played very well against the Yankees, so it should be a challenging series.  Meanwhile, their chief rival heads to Tampa for a three-game series against the Rays.  Normally, I’d like the Rays’ chances in the match-up, but I have to believe that for a team still in contention, the trade of Scott Kazmir had t be somewhat demoralizing.  Therefore, the Red Sox are probably getting to Tampa at just the right time…not to mention that they’ve been on fire since they played the Yankees earlier this month.  The beginning of September should be interesting in the AL East…well, at least for the Yankees and Red Sox…

 

 

Standings as of 8/30/09:

TEAM

W

L

%

GB

Yankees

82

48

.631

Red Sox

76

54

.585

6.0

Rays

70

59

.543

11.5

Blue Jays

58

70

.453

23.0

Orioles

54

77

.412

28.5

 

I saw that Kansas City Chiefs QB Matt Cassell was hurt this weekend.  I know the Chiefs are awaiting tests to determine the extent of the injury, but hopefully, the news will be good and he’ll return soon.  Even though he didn’t end up with the Vikings, I had been looking forward to see if Cassell could continue his success in Kansas City.

 

It was a painful sack for Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel on the third play from scrimmage in Saturday's game against the Seattle  Seahawks at Arrowhead Stadium. Cassel left the game because of a leg injury and did not return to the sideline.

The Kansas City Star 

 

I was very surprised that the New England Patriots have chosen to cut backup QB Kevin O’Connell.  Granted, I am not too close to the scene so I don’t know all the details, but I hope the Pats have a plan for a safety net behind Tom Brady.  I am sure they’ll be scouring the waiver wire and calling other teams looking for possible replacements.  The Pats do need more than Andrew Walter or Brian Hoyer should Brady go down for any extended period of time.  Maybe the Pats should have opted for Michael Vick…

 

Kevin O'Connell #5 of the New England Patriots shouts instructions against the Baltimore Ravens during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium on August 7, 2008 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Getty Images North America

 

I am anxious to see what Brett Favre is able to do when he plays the first half against the Houston Texans in tomorrow night’s exhibition game.  Last week, he was outplayed by Tavaris Jackson as he only went 1-for-4 for 4 yards.   I am sure that the word “schism” will be heard more than once on the telecast Monday night. 

 

 

Tuesday night, I will be going to my first Nickelback concert.  They’re my favorite band, and I am excited to finally see them in person.  Over the years, I’ve used different lyrics as a mantra, and these are some of my favorite lines from the song, If Today Was Your Last Day…

So do whatever it takes

‘Cause you can’t rewind a moment in this life

Let nothing stand in your way

‘Cause the hands of time are never on your side

 

 

Hopefully, Tuesday night will find the Yankees 7 ½ games up on the Red Sox!  J

–Scott

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