Results tagged ‘ Phil Hughes ’
To act or not to act…
When is the beast (i.e., the YES Network) going to start screaming, “Feed Me!”…
Okay, okay, I know…the Yankees are a strong team with or without reinforcements. Maybe it is just the residual effect of having to depend upon Alex Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett.
Not unexpectedly, the Yankees failed to reach agreement with Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima. Early speculation had Nakajima returning to Japan for one more year since the Yankees wouldn’t afford him the opportunity to start. The Boston Red Sox seem like the natural fit given their need for someone with Nakajima’s talent and it doesn’t hurt that the manager can speak a little Japanese.
Just as they were not players for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, I don’t really expect the Yankees to pursue Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. If the Yankees didn’t have any promising prospects it would be one thing, but the organization really likes outfield prospect Mason Williams. It goes without saying that you can’t sustain a championship squad with $100 million players at every position. Primarily, it is cost prohibitive, but secondly, the players quickly become less productive than their compensation (i.e., A-Rod) and you’re unable to do anything about it. Good, cheap young talent is the way to sustain a championship squad. That’s why Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos should both get opportunities to pitch in Yankee Stadium at some point this season. If either could prove that he is major league ready, it would significantly strengthen the perceived weak starting rotation.
There are plenty of ‘what ifs’ with the Yankees this year, but IF Phil Hughes can show he is indeed the 18-win game winner we saw several years ago and not the notorious injury risk and IF A.J. Burnett could convert last season’s first half success into full season success, the rotation would be in great shape for supplementation by Betances and/or Banuelos.
Like many, I am anxious to see what Jesus Montero can do on a daily basis with his bat. I am grateful the Yankees didn’t move him. I know we’re not out of the woods yet, but if Montero starts hitting like we know he can, he’ll quickly become a fixed commodity in the Bronx.
My primary wish at this point is the return of backup third baseman Eric Chavez. Yes, I would be in favor of a trade for Matt Garza or Matt Cain, or the free agent signing of Edwin Jackson on a short term deal, but I really think that a solid, proven replacement option for A-Rod is essential. When A-Rod goes on the inevitable DL stint during the season, I don’t want to see his replacement with a guy that is fighting to stay above the Mendoza line. I want a guy that is capable of changing the game, and that’s Chavez. He might not be able to do it every day anymore, but he’s still a superior performer if used properly. So, Brian Cashman, please talk to your owner and get this deal done.
Money for nothing and the chicks for free…
I have to admit that I am impressed with what Cubs president Theo Epstein has done so far. To unload the pariah known as Carlos Zambrano and get a young, quality starting pitcher in Chris Volstad was genius. I know that Andrew Cashner was a heralded pitching prospect, but I really like the move to pick up former Red Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo from the San Diego Padres for first base. I used to think that Alfonso Soriano was untradeable, but now, if you told me that Theo had traded him for a quality return, I would believe you wholeheartedly. I kind of feel bad for Cubs GM Jed Hoyer. Regardless of what he does, Theo will always get credit. San Diego GM Josh Byrnes is probably saying ‘Thanks, Dude’ every night.
What do you want to be when you grow up?…
I was a bit surprised to see Joe Torre step down from his job with Major League Baseball. I am sure that the attraction of being a major league owner was very appealing, but it’s hardly a sure bet. But I guess that Joe’s made his money, and he decided to gamble for the job he wanted, knowing that worst case, he is set for the rest of his life. One thing’s for sure, if Joe’s ownership group is successful in buying the Dodgers, my longtime idol, Don Mattingly, is secure as Dodgers manager. So, all I can say is ‘Good luck, Joe!’.
When did Arte Moreno become smarter than a fifth grader?…
I’ve been surprised to hear that the contract Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels is so backloaded. To pay the best player in baseball $12 million to play in 2012 is clearly the best return on investment that I’ve seen in a very long time. Sure, in 8 years, the Angels will be paying $30 million for a past-his-prime first baseman, but by that time, he’ll have legendary records within his grasp, and will help fill seats, which of course, will pay his excess salary. GM Jerry DiPoto is too new to give him credit, but this was a genius move by the Angels and it shows that the Cardinals were never going to pay that kind of money.
What a surprise…
It’s funny that I used the word ‘surprised’ in the last two paragraphs. That’s not the case with the Yankees where the crickets still reign supreme…
I know, the Yankees signed former Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima but I don’t really see him making the team if Cesar Cabral impresses in camp. Crickets, just crickets…
With the Boss, we OWNED November…
Life under Hal Steinbrenner is certainly different than it was under the Boss. In the old days, the Yankees would already be dominating the news in November. At the very least, their name would be attached as a strong possibility for every elite free agent. These days, the Miami Marlins, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and even the Houston Astros have garnered more press time.
As for the obvious options, I do think the Yankees would be foolish to join the chase for free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson. I like Wilson as a starter, but he’s not worth the cost. I still prefer Mark Buehrle because it wouldn’t take as much money and even if he’s not flashy, Buehrle gives you innings and is very consistent. After life on the A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes Roller Coasters, I’d gladly accept some consistency in the middle of the rotation. As for trade targets, I’d love to get Matt Cain but I don’t think the San Francisco Giants will trade him.
Now that Eric Chavez has indicated he wants to play in 2012, I hope the Yankees can find a way to bring him back for a second year in pinstripes. It’s interesting that the team has acknowledged they may have been better off playing Chavez at third in the play-offs instead of the less-than-100% Alex Rodriguez. A healthy A-Rod is critical for next season and someone like Chavez, assuming he can also stay healthy, is the perfect backup because he can be a very effective starter in spots. At some point, A-Rod will probably see more time at DH than third, but that’s not going to happen next year. Chavez is a good bridge to the point the Yanks need a new full-time third baseman.
Sleep deprived Houstonians…
I think the announced move of the Houston Astros to the American League in 2013 makes sense. I understand the negatives….they’ll lose the Central Time Zone rivalries with the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs and will play more games on the West Coast…but I think they’ll develop good rivalries with the AL CST teams. As for the time zone differences, they still have it better than the three hour time zone differences the AL East teams face on their West Coast trips. I realize that those are not in-division games, but all things considered, having balanced leagues for scheduling purposes is important. Plus, it didn’t seem fair that the AL West had only four teams while the other divisions had five. I never fully understood why Milwaukee was moved from the AL to NL and I did think they probably should have been the team to move back to the AL, but clearly the MLB team owners used the sale of the Astros as leverage to force the move.
New meaning to ‘one and done’…
Of the other changes, I am not sure what I think about the addition of a second wild card team, and moving to a one game wild card play-off. I didn’t like the current system that did not differentiate between winning the division or getting into the play-offs as the Wild Card (except for home field advantage). But a one game play-off? That doesn’t really seem fair either. I know that the argument is to win the division and not put yourself in the wild card, but it doesn’t seem fair that one wild card team could finish 5 or 6 games ahead of the second team, but then lose out by virtue of a single off night. I know, ‘don’t put yourself in that position’ but still… Nevertheless, I am sure that this change will motivate teams to continue striving for the division championship and not mail it in once the wild card is secured.
I thought they put their pants on just like I do…
I think the right choices were made for the AL and NL Cy Young Awards…Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw, respectively. How scary is it that Kershaw’s only 23? Donnie Baseball has to be very happy with the top of his rotation. I am looking forward to the announcement of the MVP Awards, and I am in the category of those who believe that pitchers should not be considered for the award. Obviously, I am pulling for Curtis Granderson in the AL, but even if a Yankee wasn’t up for consideration, I’d feel the same way about no pitchers for the award. The Cy Young is a pitcher’s MVP award.
Trading Beer for Wind…
I was surprised to see Dale Sveum get the managing job with the Chicago Cubs. It’s not that I don’t think he’ll make a good manager, but rather I thought he’d be a good fit for the Boston Red Sox. I had been hoping that Terry Francona would get the Cubs job, and when he withdrew his name, I thought that Mike Maddux would be the next call. I know that name withdrawals are usually prompted by behind-the-scenes conversations (Francona probably realizing that he wouldn’t get the job), but I think it’s a travesty that Tito won’t be managing in the big leagues in 2012…unless that was truly his choice. If I owned a major league team, Tito would be at the top of my short list for managers. He may have been the manager of my team’s most bitter rival but I have a great deal of respect for him. It would have been great to see him manage the Cubs to a World Series Championship after ending Boston’s drought.
Joe Mauer, come back!…
I am still missing the lights of Target Field from my condo. I can see the lighted field name sign, but there is just something about those stadium lights that give a magical feeling to the skyline of downtown Minneapolis. I am looking forward to April when Jamey Carroll and the Minnesota Twins turn on the lights. As for how the Twins do, they can lose 99 games again…
What’s on TV?…
With the Yankees at home for the year and an AL team that I don’t care for still playing, I have to admit that I have not been watching the World Series this year. Of course, that cost me the chance to watch history last night as Albert Pujols showed why he is a living legend with three home runs, ala Reggie Jackson. Somehow that huge contract that he’ll get in the off-season just got a little bigger. I am not saying that the Yankees should try to sign Albert (I’m satisfied with Mark Teixeira at first and feel that the money is better served for weaker areas like starting pitching), but the Yankees do need someone like that who is capable to singlehandedly taking over a game. I have no doubt that Robby Cano is that type of player, but with the deteriorating skills of Alex Rodriguez, it puts so much pressure on the rest of the lineup to pick up the slack.
Back to Albert, I do hope that he continues his drive and helps deliver another world championship to the city of St. Louis. As much as I would like Albert on my team, I really hope that the Cardinals do what it takes to keep him in the organization for the duration of his career. To this day, Stan “The Man” Musial is still a huge part of the Cardinals and their history, and Albert would have that same impact for years to come. If he departed and played a few years for, say, the Chicago Cubs, it would definitely taint his Cardinals legacy.
If there are no concerns, why am I concerned?…
I keep hearing that there are no concerns about getting a new contract in place for GM Brian Cashman, but as each day passes and we draw closer to the end of the month, I do grow a bit more concerned. Given how difficult the Derek Jeter negotiations were last year, what if the team tries to short pennies on Cash? What is Plan B if Cashman opts to leave? With Damon Oppenheimer and Billy Eppler talking to other teams, the best in-house talent could be gone. I doubt if both of those guys leave and from the sounds of it, neither one is the leading candidate for the Angels GM job. Still, a team could turn to one of them. I’d really prefer to go to Oppenheimer or Eppler should Cashman leave in order to maintain the continuity within the organization. That’s very similar to what the Red Sox will be doing by promoting Ben Cherington to GM to replace Theo Epstein.
Can he replicate the success of Larry Lucchino?…
I do wish Theo Epstein and soon-to-be GM Jed Hoyer the best of luck in Chicago as they try to end the World Series drought for the Cubs. I know that the road is much more difficult than it was when Epstein became the Red Sox GM, but I’ve certainly learned to never under-estimate Theo. He has made his share of poor decisions (such as signing John Lackey), but that only means that he is not afraid of making difficult decisions. Some will pan out, some will not. I am sure that there are a few moves that Brian Cashman would like to undo. But I’d rather see a GM make the bold moves and potentially uncover great talent and chemistry for the betterment of the team. Given that Theo will be bringing a few of his guys to Chicago, I wonder when manager Mike Quade gets the ax. It would be interesting to see if Theo and Jed would go for a top managerial candidate with Red Sox connections like DeMarlo Hale or go to a Cubs legend like Ryne Sandberg. I think either move would be sound should they decide to part ways with Quade.
It’s only money…
Put me in the category of those who would like to see the Yankees pursue Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. I know that the past success of Japanese pitchers has been mixed, but I really feel that Darvish is a special talent. He would like great in the middle of the rotation. I am also anxious to see what pitcher Hector Noesi can do in winter ball. As much as I thought Freddy Garcia did everything asked of him, I’d really rather see the Yankees develop a younger arm in the rotation. Just like last year, A.J. Burnett will come to camp as a question mark. Plus, there’s the potential that CC Sabathia opts out and takes an offer from another city despite how well he has adapted to New York. I have come to not rely upon Phil Hughes, so that means the only certain reliable starter at the moment is Ivan Nova. I would aggressively go after Rangers starter C.J. Wilson regardless of whether CC stays or goes. I wish the Yankees could find a way to unload Burnett, but it’s probably not going to happen. The Red Sox will probably have better luck getting rid of John Lackey.
You have the right to remain silent…
As a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan, I’ve faced my share of disappointment over the years. I have never had to deal with losing Super Bowls like I did as a kid, but that’s only because the team has never been back. I think character is a quality component to building team chemistry and unity, and the Vikings have had more than their fair share of poor off the field decisions. Now we have the latest news that starting cornerback Chris Cook is in jail for the weekend on domestic assault charges. This is very disappointing news.
The Vikings certainly have their hands full this weekend as they will be facing the undefeated Green Bay Packers with a rookie QB (Christian Ponder) making his first NFL start. It looks to me as if the deck has been stacked against Ponder, but hopefully, he’ll show why he was a surprise, but great, early selection in the first round of the last NFL Draft.
I am an Iowa Hawkeyes fan, I am used to build up then disappointment…
It’s ironic that the Yankees currently hold the lead in the American League East since it has seemed as though the Boston Red Sox and their fans have had more reason to gloat this year. Every time I get excited about the Yankees, they do something to temper the excitement. Headed in September, the team was playing at an incredibly high level, with solid pitching from the entire rotation including A.J. Burnett (well, one start). During the first two games of a four game set with the Baltimore Orioles and the manager I love to hate, Buck Showalter, the Yankees looked like they could hang with the Philadelphia Phillies in a 7-game play-off series.
But alas, all good things must end, and the Yankees promptly lost two consecutive extra-inning affairs with the O’s. Fortunately, the Red Sox were struggling with the Toronto Blue Jays, losing 2 of 3, so the Yanks didn’t lose any ground (they currently lead the Sox by 2 ½ games).
For the record, I don’t take any joy in the health issues surrounding Josh Beckett and Kevin Youkilis. I’d rather beat a Red Sox team at full strength than one depleted by critical injuries.
Many Yankees fans are probably already counting on the AL East Flag, but like last year, I know how easy it can slip away and of course a 2 ½ game lead is nothing on September 9th. The Sox have plenty of time to make up the difference and they are certainly a team capable of getting on a roll. That’s why I consider those two O’s losses as lost opportunities. It doesn’t get any easier for the Yanks as they are now in Anaheim to face the Los Angeles Angels. Tonight, they are pitted against Jered Weaver who is arguably the best pitcher in the American League not named Justin Verlander. Plus, the Yankees generally do not fare well on those West Coast swings. So, the Red Sox certainly have a golden opportunity to re-take the AL East.
While I am one that feels this should be the last year in the Bronx for Jorge Posada (almost a virtual certainty given how well Jesus Montero has performed), I do hope that he gets his moment in Yankee Stadium like Paul O’Neill did when the fans started chanting his name. Posada can leave knowing that his name will rank up there with Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Elston Howard, and Thurman Munson. It will be odd seeing Posada in a different uniform if he chooses to play next year, and I definitely hope that he is not one of those who travel north to Boston. I’d rather see him play for the Tampa Bay Rays. Best case scenario would be the National League, but I doubt he’d switch leagues at this late juncture in his career. Of course, his catching days are behind him so a team with a DH is where he is best suited. I am sure that he’ll be more prepared for DH next season.
I am ready for the Scott Proctor reunion to end…
So, how can we convince some team to offer Rafael Soriano a ridiculous amount of money to walk away from his contract with the Yankees after the season? Sadly, I think he’ll be a Yankee for all three years…
Tell me again why we kept Phil Hughes and traded 19-game winner Ian Kennedy? Okay, I can’t fault the Yankees on this one as I was ready for Kennedy to leave and he probably would not have achieved the same level of success in the pressure cooker known as New York…
Funny how Derek Jeter drop-kicked Minka Kelly on the eve of her becoming a national sex symbol with the new Charlie’s Angels TV series. When you are DJ and you can have any girl in the world, why settle for one? I am sure that he has no shortage of friends, and he can certainly buy a few if he needs them…
When I saw the photo of Cameron Diaz “pregnant” (costuming for a movie), my first thought, thinking it was real, was definitely about Alex Rodriguez and additional future child support payments. But fortunately, A-Rod has been able to afford “protection” and he doesn’t have to worry about any unexpected A-Rod, Jr’s in the world…
Are you ready for some football?…
Getting a little off-topic, it was disappointing to see that Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning had to undergo a second surgery on his neck that will keep him out of action for 2-3 months, if not all season. Some are saying that he should just retire rather than risk further injury, and I’d certainly agree that he doesn’t have any more to prove. He’ll definitely go down in history as one of the great ones. Kerry Collins has a good knack for being in the right place at the right time…
Two years ago, as a Vikings fan, I had to learn to root for a former hated quarterback (Brett Favre). Now, as a former resident of the Philly area who witnessed the fan apathy toward Donovan McNabb, I have to pull for him as the QB of my team. I am a fan of Christian Ponder, and I suspect that he’ll get his opportunity to take a few snaps at some point in the season. Actually, I hope McNabb proves me wrong and leads the Vikings to the promised land. But I see this as just another attempt to capture glory from a faded star…
I keep hearing how great it is that LB Erin Henderson has landed a starting role with the Vikings (alongside his brother, E.J.) as an undrafted free agent. But in the year of his draft, I was somewhat surprised that he did go undrafted. It was evident that he was a quality player at Maryland, and I would have thought some team would have taken a shot in the later rounds. Just as I liked Erin that year, I like RB Caleb King this year. He didn’t make the final cut when the team pared its roster to 53 players, but he was retained on the practice squad. Hopefully, a position on the roster will materialize before some other team realizes the diamond in the rough…
If I am Mike Shanahan, and my choices for starting QB are Rex Grossman and John Beck, I am retiring to see what NBC Sports has to offer…
As a resident of Minnesota and the city of Minneapolis, I am really hopeful that the city will find a way to step forward to retain the Vikings. Presently, the proposal is for a new stadium in Arden Hills, and I know the ownership group is highly in favor of the area. I’d really like to see the Vikings stay in Minneapolis with the Twins and the Timberwolves. The options are either the existing Metrodome/Mall of America Field area or the Farmer’s Market. I’d prefer the latter. But all things considered, I would accept Arden Hills over Los Angeles. Whatever it takes, I hope Minnesota does the right thing to retain the Vikings. It would be horrific for the Land of 10,000 Lakes to lose a second professional team to the city of Los Angeles…
I saw that Buddy Ryan was delaying surgery (he has been diagnosed with cancer…again) so that he could witness the Week 1 match-up between Rex Ryan and the New York Jets and Rob Ryan and the Dallas Cowboys. I am hopeful that he’ll see a Jets victory, but then again, the Cowboys have always been my second favorite team so I won’t be disappointed if Tony Romo and company pull out the victory. Buddy apparently has a history of beating cancer so hopefully this is just another one of those dominating Ryan situations…
I know that I kept jumping back to the Vikings (hey, I am a Vikings fan!), but I have to say that I really like what I’ve seen from new head coach Leslie Frazier. I have not always been a big fan of the team’s coach. When you grow up with Bud Grant as the man, it’s hard to see others in the role. The worst, of course, was Les Steckel, but there have been varying degrees over the years. I did like Mike Tice but recognize that he was limited from a coaching perspective. Leslie Frazier is the first coach since Grant that I’ve been able to fully embrace. I hated to see the Vikings lose former defensive coach Mike Tomlin when he was named coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I felt the Vikings were facing the same situation with Frazier (just like they had with Tomlin and Tony Dungy in previous years). Fortunately, the Vikings canned Brad Childress (sorry Brad!) and promoted Frazier to the top job. I was slow to accept Joe Girardi as the Yankees manager (I was a Don Mattingly supporter), but today, there’s not really anyone that I’d rather see as manager of the Yankees. I feel the same way about Leslie Frazier.
We are now in the midst of perhaps one of the best sports months of the year. It is the pennant race in baseball, and the opening of the NFL Season. Granted, my focus is on baseball, but it will still be fun to watch some football this Sunday. Down, set, 247, 247, hutt, hutt…
Have Gun (partially loaded), Will Travel…
Headed to Boston with minus a few bullets…
With the injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter, the Yankees are certainly in a precarious situation as they head for Boston after wrapping up the O’s series in Baltimore tonight. A-Rod was sent to New York have a MRI on his thumb, and he’ll re-join his teammates at Fenway Park. The results were negative, however, it doesn’t sound like he’ll play in the Sox series so the focus will definitely be on Eric Chavez and Eduardo Nunez.
Jeter fouled a pitch off his right kneecap in the first game of Sunday’s double header, so he should be back on the field when the team arrives in Beantown.
The Red Sox have their own challenges, with Kevin Youkilis on the DL. But even without Youk, the Red Sox boast three legitimate AL MVP Candidates in Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Adrian Gonzalez. If the Yankees are to stop Boston’s run of success against them, the guys from the bench will need to be the difference makers. Plus, some good pitching always helps. I haven’t seen the starting rotation for the series yet, although I know that CC Sabathia is starting on Tuesday. I suppose that means the other starters will be A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes, neither of whom instill great confidence, particularly when the opposing match-up’s will be Josh Beckett and Jon Lester (John Lackey faces the Yanks on Tuesday night so that’s probably the only matchup that favors the Yanks in the series).
Where are those darned reinforcements? Signed, General Custer…
The August trading deadline has been very quiet, and of course, I am not expecting any moves by the Yankees. I still wish the team would move to get a clutch bat for the bench (someone like Hideki Matsui or Johnny Damon) but all indications are the Yankees will stand pat like they did at the July trading deadline.
Love means never having to say you’re Sori…
So, David Robertson is arbitration eligible at the end of the season? The Yanks would be wise to lock him up to a deal before arbitration hearings. He always seems to be in the most precarious situations yet, time and again, he comes through in big spots. The way he struck out three batters in the 8th inning on Sunday night with the bases loaded was vintage D-Rob. His 8th inning success definitely has me wondering what the Yanks will do with Rafael Soriano for the next couple of years…
He makes the world taste good…
I remember a few years ago when there were predictions that Curtis Granderson could hit 40 home runs playing at Yankee Stadium. I thought those were aggressive remarks, but here he is on the verge of hitting that plateau. Every one points to the adjustment he made with input from batting coach Kevin Long last August, but it’s clear he has become a complete hitter since that time. It is ironic that one of the trading pieces, pitcher Ian Kennedy of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is leading the NL in wins. Kind of makes one wish that the Yankees had traded Phil Hughes instead of Kennedy. Still, the trade has worked out for all three teams involved (Arizona, Detroit, and the Yankees). What? Curtis Granderson just struck out in the game against the Orioles with Brett Gardner in scoring position? The bum! Just kidding…
They’re just games…
This is a big week for the Yankees with the Boston series so they’ll definitely be challenged. It doesn’t get any easier after Boston because the Toronto Blue Jays will be coming to the Bronx for a weekend series, and the Jays have definitely played the Yanks tough this year. Do we really have to pin our hopes on A.J. Burnett? Really?… L
Have a safe and enjoyable week!
Another Boston Series, Another Series Loss…
The latest Yankees-Red Sox series showed that the Yankees are still inferior to the Sox…unfortunately. The Yankees could have made a statement and reversed the trend of series failures against Boston by taking 2 of 3 from the Boys of Beantown. Instead, Mariano Rivera and Phil Hughes let victory slip away and yet another series defeat to the Sox who re-captured sole possession of first place.
I can’t say the Yankees’ inactivity at the trading deadline was the wrong thing to do. I don’t believe in making moves just for the sake of making a move, and it wouldn’t have been prudent to give up talent like Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, or Jesus Montero for a half-season rental. I admire the job the Philadelphia Phillies did in filling the void in their offensive lineup by acquiring Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros. The Texas Rangers did an excellent job repairing their bullpen with Mike Adams and Koji Uehara. Boston was relatively inactive, acquiring only Erik Bedard and Mike Aviles, but all those teams had an eye for October. I would have liked for the Yankees to make an improvement in an area of weakness, but the reality is that type of deal did not present itself to Brian Cashman. So, congrats to him for standing pat. Better to not make a move, than to make a move he’d regret.
Still, I am not sure the Yankees have the team to overpower the Sox in the AL Play-offs. A stronger Rangers club will also be tough to beat. In the NL, the Philadelphia Phillies will be hard to stop. My early season World Series prediction was Boston versus Philadelphia (whoa, really stepping out on a limb with that one!) and it continues to stand. Texas could get hot, but I really don’t see anyone beating Boston or Philly.
When the Yankees lost to the Red Sox on Sunday night, I didn’t blame Mariano Rivera or Phil Hughes. Robinson Cano had the opportunity to drive in a few runs earlier in the game and failed to come through in the clutch. CC Sabatha, Saturday’s starter, so dominant against the rest of the league, looked like the young Cleveland Indian pitcher who couldn’t beat the Boston Red Sox . Still can’t.
When a bat goes dry…
But the biggest disappointment might be the fall of Jorge Posada. His deterioration in his ability to catch seemed to be synchronized with his inability to hit major league pitching. When they say that the DH helps extend playing careers, they weren’t talking about Posada. There’s absolutely no way that he is on the roster in 2012. He may be a great Yankee and he’ll be fondly remembered among the likes of Paul O’Neill, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, and others, but if he wants to extend his baseball career, it won’t be as a member of the New York Yankees. It sucks watching great catchers get old. Well, actually I take that back, I would have loved to watch Thurman Munson get old, but after so many years of clutch hits, it is sad to see that Posada’s bat has left him.
My only concern with Eric Chavez stepping into the DH role when Alex Rodriguez returns is the obvious health related concerns. I am not sure if there is a quality bat on the market who has passed waivers but the Yankees would probably benefit if they could bring in some new blood with pop in the bat, particularly if the price is the right. If that reasonably priced vet is Adam Dunn, then the best deal is the truly the best deal never made…
Usually, April has not been
kind to the Yankees. So to finish the
month with a winning record and in first place is clearly an accomplishment. After the Yankees were ripped in the
off-season for their failure to sign Cliff Lee while the Boston Red Sox were
signing Carl Crawford and trading for Adrian Gonzalez, the expectations were
greater in Beantown. As a result, there is a bit of satisfaction in the respective teams’ starts. Perhaps it was a good
thing as the Yankees finally shook the April curse and controlled the month of
April instead of letting the month control them.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Boston, meanwhile, has
gotten off to a sluggish start, with a 13-15 mark entering play tonight. I’d be a fool to think the Sox will continue
to underperform. I have no doubt that
they will start clicking on all cylinders at some point, and I can only hope
the Yanks have built a sufficient cushion to withstand any Sox charge.
Roster to roster (today), I’d still give the edge of the Sox over the
course of the full 162 game schedule.
I think the keys for the
Yankees to hold off the inevitable Sox charge will rest primarily with
pitching. I’ve been pleased by what the
Yanks have gotten from Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia, and Bartolo Colon, but I still
do not think that all three have the sustainability for the duration of the
The health of Phil Hughes
will be a key determinant. The recent
tests have been positive, but the fact remains that the Yankees are no closer
to getting Hughes on the mound than they were before. What if he isn’t able to come back this
year? What’s Plan B? The Yankees already needed a #3 starter or
better when Hughes was in the rotation. For
now, the Yanks have to hope that Nova, Garcia and Colon continue to perform
Count me as one of those who
believe that it is time to drop Derek Jeter down in the order. His days as a lead-off hitter are over, and
it’s time to get Brett Gardner at the top of the order. I realize that Gardner isn’t hitting, but I think
that leading off would revitalize his bat and of course his speed on the bases
with the guns coming to bat would be huge.
The Yanks could definitely
use timely hitting, but I fully expect the bats to come around. I saw the highlights of last night’s game
showing Hideki Matsui hitting a game-winning home run for the Oakland A’s, and
thought to myself, yeah, we could use that…
With the 2011 NFL Draft
behind us, I am still pondering the Minnesota Vikings first round selection of
QB Christian Ponder. There’s no doubt
that I would have loved to have DT Nick Fairley who went to the Detroit Lions
with the next pick. However, the Vikings
had to emerge from this draft with a franchise QB. Andy Dalton may turn out to be a great
quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals and Colin Kaepernick may do wonderful
things in the Golden Gate City, but all things considered, I am glad that
Ponder is in Minnesota. There’s no doubt
that I would have preferred Jake Locker but the Tennessee Titans made that an
impossibility. I had mixed feelings
about Blaine Gabbert, so short of Cam Newton and Jake Locker, I am satisfied
I’d be surprised if the
Vikings go to the training camp (assuming the lockout is lifted) with Ponder,
Joe Webb, and Rhett Bomar as the only QB’s.
I fully expect them to pursue a veteran.
I don’t think that Kevin Kolb would be worth the price since Ponder
should be ready to take over the position within a couple of years. So, I guess it depends how cheaply the
Vikings can get someone like Carson Palmer, Donovan McNabb, or Vince
Young. It definitely makes me wish that
Sage Rosenfels was still on the roster.
When the lockout is finally
resolved, I definitely hope the Vikings find a way to retain WR Sidney
Rice. I don’t want to lose free agent DE
Ray Edwards, but I think that Rice would be much harder to replace.
I was glad to see the Tampa
Bay Rays activate 3B Evan Longoria for tonight’s game. I may not be a Rays fan, but Longoria is
arguably the best third baseman in the league.
Win or lose, I’d rather see Longoria in the Rays lineup than not.
Congratulations to the Los
Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier who has hit safely in 28 games entering play
tonight. I am sure that this is a trip
down memory lane for manager Don Mattingly, who once had a consecutive home run
streak going. I am sure that Donnie
Baseball has shared his insight into how to handle the pressure from the press
in these situations. Ethier’s a great
guy and I’d definitely like to see him continue this streak.
The San Jose Sharks are up
2-0 in their series with the Detroit Red Wings, but who in the world can
possibly be comfortable with playing Game 3 in Joe Louis Arena?…
The Los Angeles Lakers lost
Game 1 to the Dallas Mavericks? Really? What are they trying to do? Give a happy ending to the LeBron James
This has not been a good
year for Yankees pitchers (or potential pitchers). First, prime free agent target Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia
Phillies. Then, Andy Pettitte decided it was time to stay home in Deer Park, Texas
to spend time with his family. And now, Phil Hughes is on the DL and it doesn’t
sound like he’ll be coming off any time soon.
Fortunately, the Yankees
have gotten very solid pitching from Ivan
Nova, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon (much better than almost
anyone had expected). But from the ‘glass
is half empty’ approach, can they keep it up?
Most likely, there will be a few hiccups along the way. Considering the Yankees have to decide by
Sunday whether to call up Kevin Millwood
or release, my guess is that they’ll bring him up as the long man in the pen
and send Buddy Carlyle back to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Millwood would be
the first to start should Nova, Garcia or Colon suffer any setbacks. At this point, I don’t think the Yankees can
afford to let Millwood slip away.
As I write this post, I am
watching the 2011 NFL Draft. I am
waiting to see who the Minnesota Vikings select with the #12 pick. As it stands right now, the Buffalo Bills
just selected Marcell Dareus, DT
from Alabama with the #3 pick. I want
the Vikings to pick a QB of the future, so I am okay if they reach with their
pick or trade down to get their man. My
personal favorite for selection is QB Jake
Locker from the University of Washington.
We’ll see how the choice goes down later in this post. If the Vikings don’t get Locker, I’d like to
see them find a way to get Christian
Ponder or Andy Dalton. As a fan of the University of Iowa, I’d love
to see Ricky Stanzi get a shot but I
recognize his talent and potential is below the other name QB’s.
For as great as the Yankees
bullpen is supposed to be, it’s disturbing to see the breakdowns of Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera. It would
seem that pitching the 9th is more difficult than pitching the 8th,
but Soriano is making the 8th look the hardest. Mo recently went through a stretch of two
blown saves although he did right the ship against the Chicago White Sox on
Wednesday night. Hopefully, the guys in
the pen grow accustomed to their roles and manager Joe Girardi is able to resist the temptation to bring Mo in for
anything other than the 9th.
Although Mo leads the AL in saves with 8, it’s strange to see former
Yankees gasoline artist Kyle Farnsworth,
now Tampa Bay Rays closer, in the top 5.
Why do I cringe when I see Eric Chavez playing first base? I know that he can handle the position, but
after watching him with the Oakland A’s the last few years, it’s hard not to
think that the next play could be the one that puts Chavez on the DL…
We are through the first 5
picks of the NFL Draft and Blaine
Gabbert is still on the board. Why
is that important? Because as long as
Gabbert is on the board, Jake Locker
is only the 2nd best QB still available. Here’s to still hoping for Jake Locker in purple, but I can’t see
Gabbert getting by the San Francisco 49ers at #7.
It was strange to see the
Yankees score their first two runs of tonight’s game against the Chicago White
Sox without recording a hit against Sox starter Edwin Jackson (courtesy of four walks in the inning). With CC
Sabathia on the mound, I feel fairly confident that the Yankees will be
able to exit the four game series with a split.
Well, so long as Soriano and Rivera don’t implode in their respective
Surprise, the 49ers didn’t
go for Gabbert so perhaps it helps improve the chances for Locker in the Land
of 10,000 Lakes…
Ugh, the Tennessee Titans
just took Locker!
Wow, I don’t know what I
want the Vikings to do now. There’s no
way that Gabbert will still be available if the Vikings don’t try to move
up. It would be way too early to go
after Ponder so it would appear that the Vikes pick will most likely be a
defensive selection. Bummer for me…
This is how I felt many
years ago when the Titans took Steve
McNair when I was hoping that he’d fall to the Vikings. Drats, those Titans!
Meanwhile, on the Yankees
front, they seem to be having a good night as it is now 5-0 in the bottom of
the 5th inning. The sole
Yankees home run was by Brett Gardner
so maybe his bat is starting to come around.
It’s not that I’d expect Gardy to hit homers since that isn’t his forte,
but still, it’s nice to see him in the offensive mix.
The Yankees game is up to
7-0, and the only players without either a run scored or a RBI are Eric Chavez (two walks) and Jorge Posada. Speaking of Posada, I am not certain how long
the Yankees give Posada to start hitting.
His batting average stands at .134.
If I were the Yankees GM, it would be hard to resist the urge to recall Jorge Vazquez and insert him as a
part-time DH. Of course, I’d have
absolutely no idea who to send down to the farm so that’s why Brian Cashman has the job and I don’t.
Well, give Posada a RBI on a
walk. 8-0 Yanks in a 6-run 5th
(so far). So I guess that makes Chavez
the only one who hasn’t produced a run in this game.
It looks like the
Jacksonville Jaguars will take Blaine
Gabbert with their trade up with the Washington Redskins. So much for the QB for the future for
Minnesota… Does this mean that the Vikings QB will be
someone like Carson Palmer, Vince Young, or Donovan McNabb? Very
disappointing when you play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew
My guess is that the Vikings
will make a play for Ponder or Dalton later in the draft. Man, I really wish that QB Joe Webb wouldn’t have engineered that
upset of the Philadelphia Eagles last year.
With the 12th
pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings take…QB Christian Ponder, Florida State.
Wow, as much as I wanted a QB and I thought that Ponder was the next
best option, #12 is probably a bit early.
But still, with the likes of Joe
Webb and Rhett Bomar as the only
QB options in Minnesota, I do like the upside of Ponder at the position. I just never expected Ponder to go that
early, especially with defensive greats like Nick Fairley and Da’quan
Bowers just sitting there for the taking.
Oh well, Go Seminoles!
Meanwhile, it is still 8-0
in New York in the bottom of the 6th. Oops, 9-0. Nice…
It was a great win by Freddy
Garcia on Saturday (six innings, two hits and no runs) in the Yankees’ 5-2
victory over the Texas Rangers. The
superlatives about Garcia poured in after the game including one comment that
compared Garcia to David Cone in terms of the latter pitcher’s ability to find
ways to win when he didn’t have his best stuff.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
I do not doubt Garcia’s
ability. I can recall many times over
the years when Garcia completely shut down the Yankees. It didn’t matter if he had been struggling at
the time or was fighting some ailment.
He always seemed to shine in the most difficult moments. My concern with Garcia is his ability to
sustain the effectiveness he showed yesterday.
There’s no doubt, in my mind, that we’ll see Kevin Millwood and/or
Carlos Silva in the rotation at some point.
I am not trying to be
pessimistic, but rather just a realist.
With Phil Hughes on the DL, it is not an automatic that he’ll regain his
velocity by simply receiving rest and treatment. A.J. Burnett showed that he is still
vulnerable after giving up two home runs in one inning against the Baltimore
Orioles last week after pitching so well in the prior six innings. We’ll have the opportunity to see what
Bartolo Colon can do, but my concern about him is not with his arm. His weight and ability to stay healthy are
the key issues.
It was disappointing to hear
that reliever Pedro Feliciano will need season-ending surgery. Given that lefty Damaso Marte is also on the
shelf, the Yankees will need to find another lefty to complement Boone
Logan. Unfortunately, the rest of the
league knows that and they’ll be looking for a King’s ransom in any potential
At this point in the season,
it’s nice to see the Yankees in first place with an 8-5 mark, while the Boston
Red Sox sit in last place at 3-10.
However, with just under 150 games still remaining, I would be very
foolish to think that the current standings will stay unchanged. The Red Sox will figure it out and they’ll be
an offensive force through the summer. I
am concerned that the key reason the Yankees have been winning is their home
run production (24 homers in 13 games).
Hopefully, they’ll begin to find other ways to win as the season
It bothers me that the
Boston Red Sox will avoid a luxury tax penalty by delaying the announcement of
Adrian Gonzalez‘s extension until this week.
Perhaps they did the same thing with Clay Buchholz, but the Gonzalez
signing was a foregone conclusion. It
was obvious that the Sox had reached an agreement with Gonzalez before the
start of the season. It was clear they
simply circumvented the system to avoid paying the additional tax.
To go a bit off topic, I am
excited about the upcoming NFL Draft despite the current lockout. I remain hopeful that the owners and players
will reach an agreement before the loss of any games. With the draft, I really hope the Minnesota
Vikings can find a quarterback. However,
their draft position at #12 is not ideal for their search for a franchise QB. The top tier QB’s, like Blaine Gabbert and
Cam Newton, will be gone and it will be too early to take somebody like Jake
Locker. It will be interesting to see
what the Vikings can do. The Vikings
chief rival, the Green Bay Packers, seem to have a knack for finding QB’s. They coaxed one great season out of Don
Majkowski. They traded for Brett Favre after
they missed out on the opportunity to draft Troy Aikman. They drafted Aaron Rodgers despite having
Favre and a few other highly touted former college QB’s on the roster. Hopefully, the Vikings can replicate the
Packers blue print to find their next great QB…
The first win of the season
goes to my friend Julia, of Julia’s Rants.
Despite an 0-6 start to the season, the Boston Red Sox were able to
capture their first two wins of the season in this past weekend’s series
against the New York Yankees.
With the loss, I have to
write about what’s right with the Red Sox and what’s wrong with the Yankees. So, here it goes…
Why the Boston Red Sox will win…
Pitching, pitching, pitching. Say what you
will about Dice-K, but the Red Sox have, arguably, the best starting rotation
in the American League. Jon Lester has
been one of my favorite pitchers and will be a Cy Young candidate when the
season is over. Despite some early
season struggles, I definitely feel that Clay Buchholz is one of the up and
coming stars and will be solid over the course of the long season. I know that the third starter, John Lackey,
has also struggled, but I feel very strongly that he’ll find his niche in
Boston and will consistently put the Sox in a position to win. Josh Beckett, if he continues to pitch like
he did on Sunday, is back. The Yankees
have a rookie in the 4th spot…the Sox have a former ace and one who
is capable of pitching like the elite pitcher he once was.
You can say that the Yankees
have the better bullpen, but if Jonathan Papelbon falters, the Sox have several
fallback options in former Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks and future
closer Daniel Bard. They have reliable
arms in the pen, and have a proven long man in a guy the Yankees are well
familiar with (Alfredo Aceves). The gap
between the Sox and Yankee pens won’t be as big as experts may believe,
especially since the Sox will be able to be more selective in relief with a
superior rotation that is able to go much deeper into games.
Adrian Gonzalez. Count me as one of those who
believe that Gonzalez will be a monster at Fenway Park. He counteracts anything the Yankees have with
Mark Teixeira plus he has the intangibles.
A few years back, I was constantly looking up to see the highlights of
David Ortiz with another walk-off home run.
I fully expect Gonzalez to be that guy for the Sox, and he is going to
win games with both his bat and his glove.
Disruption. Once Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury get
going (it’s a question of when, not if), the Sox are going to be very
disruptive for opposing pitchers.
Singlehandedly, they have the ability to change the complexion and
momentum of games.
The forgotten hitter. For all the
headlines the newest additions have gotten and the return of players who were
injured last year (like Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia), it is easy to forget that
this lineup still features third baseman Kevin Youkilis. Youk is one of the best clutch hitters in
baseball, and teams will be so focused on stopping Crawford and Gonzalez that
they’ll lose sight of Youk…and will pay a high price for it.
The dead will rise. It is easy
for people to write off David Ortiz and Jason Varitek given their respective
ages, however, they are both consummate professionals who can still perform at
a high level. Like the Toby Keith song
goes, ‘I may not be a good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was’. There’s no doubt that these two will figure
prominently in Sox wins over the summer.
The bench. If there is anything I’ve learned about the
Sox, it is to never underestimate the power of Theo. Time and again, names come out of nowhere to
lead the Sox to victory. They had a
chance to catch the Yankees last September despite fielding a roster of
unknowns. Even on Tuesday night’s game,
the first run of the game came courtesy of a home run by Darnell McDonald. It wasn’t that long ago the Yankees wanted
Mike Cameron as their centerfielder, and here he is backing up the Sox
regulars. I don’t care if the player’s name
is Dork Fumblefingers. If he puts on a
Sox uniform, he is most likely going to hit game winning home runs and make
highlight reel catches in the outfield.
Terry Francona. When the Sox lose, Francona
detractors seem to come out of the woodwork, but he is, in my opinion, the best
manager in baseball. The only place with
greater expectations than New York might just be Boston, yet Terry is always a
show of class and his decision making skills show a deft understanding of now
and the future (i.e., the season). He
garners the most of his roster, and I have no doubt that he’ll right the ship
despite the slow start to the 2011 season.
With the Sox standing at 2-8 entering play tonight, people are quick to
say how poorly comparable teams have finished.
I will argue that when the season is done, the Sox will be the model of
the franchise that was able to successfully overcome such a poor start. In future years, when a team goes on a losing
streak to start the season, the media will be saying ‘but the 2011 Red Sox were
able to overcome…’.
Theo Epstein, Larry Lucchino, and John Henry. These
gentlemen took a franchise that was “cursed” from the 1923 trade that sent Babe
Ruth to the Yankees, and eradicated the word “curse” from the Red Sox
vocabulary. I also have not heard any
mention of Bucky Friggin’ Dent in several years. These guys have successfully brought two
world championships to Boston, and there is no doubt that they’ll have a third
one in the not-so-distant future (much to my chagrin).
The RSN. The fan base for the Sox is the most
passionate and fervent of any that I’ve experienced. I am not saying that Yankees fans aren’t
passionate, but Sox fans are like no other.
They stuck by their team when championships were only something their
grandparents or great-grandparents had ever experienced. Yankees fans get spoiled by championships in
almost every decade. The Sox fans have a
greater understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a true
champion. I am not one of them, but I
Why the Yankees won’t win…
Pitching, pitching, pitching. As great as
CC Sabathia is, he is still not a sure thing.
He has his moments where he struggles.
I know, like all pitchers, but there is something special when a pitcher
like Roy Halladay takes the mound. Win
or lose, you expect the team to win. I
expect the Yankees to win when CC is on the mound, but it is not with the
confidence that I’d have if Halladay were a Yankee. After CC, there is nothing but question
marks. A.J. Burnett has pitched well to
start the season, but he always starts good.
It is how he finishes. If he
reverts to 2010 A.J., the Yankees are toast.
Phil Hughes and the decreased velocity are a concern. He finished poorly last season, and he has
yet to pitch lights out this year. At
this point, I am really not sure what Hughes lies ahead. After Hughes is a rookie, Ivan Nova, who has
pitched well, but how will he perform the second time around when opposing
lineups get used to him? Can he make the
necessary adjustments? As it stood, the
ceiling for Nova was much lower than it is for guys like Brian Matusz or Jeremy
Hellickson (or even Michael Pineda). Is
he in the rotation because he has the potential to be great or is it because
none of the other prospects are ready. I
remain fearful that it’s the latter. I’ve
heard that Nova’s future is in the pen, and that doesn’t bode well for the
rotation. In the fifth spot, who
knows. Freddy Garcia has yet to pitch
due to rain delays. Bartolo Colon is
waiting in the wings if Garcia stumbles, as are Kevin Millwood and Carlos
Silva. None of the options instill
The bullpen looks great on
paper, but already this season, there have been failures by Rafael Soriano and
Joba Chamberlain. Pedro Feliciano is on
the DL and I heard that he had a setback today.
Luis Ayala is headed for the DL so the Yankees are already looking to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre for replacements.
One of these years, Mariano Rivera is actually going to show his
age. Will this be the year?
Aging lineup. Mark Teixeira is already
31? Seriously, we are already in the
midst of another April chill for Tex. He
started strong this year (thanks to Opening Day in March), but he went 0-fer
against the Sox. He was as much responsible
for me writing this post as anyone.
Derek Jeter has continued to show his age and is providing evidence that
his down season in 2010 may be a sign of things to come. Jorge Posada feels like a fish out of water
at DH. He’s done at catcher so where’s
his long-term potential with this team?
Alex Rodriguez looked great during spring training, but he is getting
older. Question marks continue to dog
Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner. The
Yankees are a great offensive club, but their hitters just don’t put fear in
you. If they don’t hit, they can be beat
as Josh Beckett proved on Sunday night.
In October, you’re facing the best pitchers in baseball. If the Yankees can’t hit the best, they can’t
be the best.
The bench. Don’t get me wrong…I love Eric Chavez and I
am glad that he’s a Yankee. But I am
concerned that injuries may force the Yankees to play Chavez more than they
should, exposing him to potential injury.
What if Derek Jeter is done? Is
Nunez ready to take over at short? I really
don’t expect this to be the year that Jeter goes south, but you have to
recognize that it could happen. It
eventually happens to all superstars.
Hank Steinbrenner. Eventually,
Hank is going to make an impulsive move that he’ll regret. I am sure that he has a Jay Buhner like trade
that he’ll force causing the Yankees to relinquish a prime prospect for an
aging past-his-prime veteran in an effort to shake things up.
The off-season. As difficult as last season was,
there is the potential that this off-season will be even more difficult. CC Sabathia can opt out of his contract, as
can Rafael Soriano. If the Yankees lose
Sabathia, they won’t be able to recover.
As the season progresses, the Sabathia opt-out is going to get more and
more ink. Hopefully, it doesn’t become a
Who knows that the 2011
season holds in store for the Yankees and the Red Sox, but I can assure you,
that both teams will be in the thick of things come September. I will never be fooled by Boston’s slow start. This is a very dangerous team and one that
can never be underestimated.
Clearly, I want the Yankees
to win, and I am hopeful they will, but Boston, even at 2-9, is still the best
team in the American League from top to bottom.
That may change by the trading deadline, but as it stands today, the Sox
are still a team capable of 100 wins.
Julia, I’m out…