Results tagged ‘ Rafael Soriano ’
A foot apart…
Yes, I admit it. I was genuinely concerned. Yesterday, news broke that David Robertson had hurt his foot in a mishap at his home. The Yankees sounded very concerned and of course they ordered a MRI and were making comments about the severity of the injury. The immediate thought was the Lisfranc injury suffered by former Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang. While Wang is pitching again, it took years and he is still not the same guy who won 19 games in successive seasons a few years back.
Today, it was announced that Robertson had a deep bone bruise after missing a step on the stairs at his home. The foot is a boot and he’s on crutches until Sunday, but it now sounds as though Robertson will be back sooner than initially thought. So, the best case scenario played out, but it’s another example of how conservative the Yankees are when it comes to injuries. That’s a good thing, I suppose, from the perspective of the players’ health, but it does cause a little angst among the fan base. The thought that we’d have to go to the guy who is being paid over $30 million for 3 years to set up (Rafael Soriano) to actually be the set up guy is terrifying!
I know, we’re spoiled but when you live in the midst of a ‘World Series or bust’ environment, it goes with the territory.
Heading into spring training, my concerns for injury resided with players like Alex Rodriguez, Eric Chavez and Joba Chamberlain. Robertson has been so clutch and reliable that you just don’t expect HIM to get hurt…and particularly not in such a freak accident. But of course, pitchers are fragile creatures. You don’t have to look much further than the Mets’ Johan Santana. Even Pittsburgh’s A.J. Burnett is down after suffering an at-bat injury in a bunt attempt. The Yankees have been very lucky that CC Sabathia has stayed healthy given the other injuries they’ve dealt with. Why can’t every pitcher be gifted with the elasticity of David Wells’ arm…
AL East or bust…
Hearing reports of the Baltimore Orioles’ hot and cold interest in Johnny Damon truly shows that Johnny has an interest in playing for every team in the AL East. I suppose that his agent has been calling the Toronto Blue Jays even if there haven’t been any sightings. Damon probably should have accepted that trade from the Detroit Tigers to the Boston Red Sox at the trading deadline a couple of years ago. I hate to see him bouncing from team to team. That’s probably a good indication that it’s time to go home. He can still hit, but there’s too many younger, cheaper options.
Have bat, will travel…
The Yankees’ desire to get salaries below the $190 million threshold by 2014, I have to wonder if we are seeing the final two years of Derek Jeter’s Yankee career. With so much invested in Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia, the Yankees will no longer have the luxury of a huge investment in an aging shortstop. It’s also disheartening to think that the day will come when the Yankees have to make the decision to keep Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano. If they manage to find a way to keep both, then there’s not much left for other key positions. Who would have ever thought that $190 million would be such a small amount of money…
Teams like the Minnesota Twins probably laugh at the Yankees being placed into a situation where they have to re-tool with less expensive options and make hard decisions on popular players given that’s been their business model for years.
I know, doom and gloom…it will work out. The Yankees will do what they need to do. I can’t see them allowing the team to become a modern version of the CBS ownership era of the late 60’s and early 70’s.
Can Minneapolis keep the Vikings where they belong?…
After years, it feels like there finally may be movement in the plans for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. The proposal has been finalized and now needs city and state approval. The new stadium would be located next to the Metrodome, and the team would only be displaced for one season before moving into the new digs. I believe the target date is in 2016. This has been a very long road, and hopefully, the city and state will approve the plans so that the construction can begin and Minnesota can be assured of keeping the Vikings. The Los Angeles Vikings never really had a good flow to it anyway…
Whether it’s in the standings or not, losing still stinks…
If spring training games mean nothing, why do I feel excitement when the Yankees win and angst when they lose…
His accounting degree was the first tip-off…
So, it’s true that the fiscal conservative in Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner is coming to the forefront. It’s clear that the Yankees have shown considerable restraint in their financial decisions in recent years and none more evident than this off-season when the Yankees watched and let others pay exorbitant dollars for free agent talent. It was widely rumored that the Yankees have their eye on 2014 and the desire to get their payroll under the $189 million threshold for luxury tax purposes. But now that Hal Steinbrenner is on record for the stated goal, it will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few years.
While there are other guaranteed contracts, the most notable in 2014 will be Alex Rodriguez. If he continues his deterioration as a star player, that $25 million in 2014 is going to look like a huge albatross. I haven’t tallied the guaranteed dollars, but it’s clear that the next few years will see similar off-seasons like the one we just experienced. No significant free agent signings, bargain basement ‘right before training camp’ deals like the one given to Raul Ibanez, and trades for young (and cheap) talent. It will also mean the Yankees won’t overpay to retain talent, which probably shows the door to Nick Swisher.
Meanwhile, teams like the Los Angeles Angels and the Texas Rangers are profiting from regional TV deals (not to mention previous dollars they received through revenue sharing at the Yankees’ expense). So, it will be other teams splurging on big talent, and the Yankees as a passive by-stander. There is some logic in the team’s decision but I am concerned that it will bring an end to the winning run the Yankees have been on since the early 1990’s. As a Yankees fan, the 1980’s were very difficult. Yes, we were spoiled by George Steinbrenner’s win at all costs mentality, but 90 to 100 loss teams wearing the grand tradition of the pinstripes seems sacrilegious to me. I am sure that the YES Network is not excited at that prospect either. But if the stars, like A-Rod and Derek Jeter, continue to wither while eating up valuable salary dollars, the team is going to develop a Pittsburgh Pirates feel to it. Very limited dollars to fill the holes.
In many respects, it is unfair that the salary threshold is equal among teams given the higher cost of living in New York, combined with the increased pressure that goes with playing on the biggest stage. Once the ownership situation with the Los Angeles Dodgers is settled, there will be a slugfest in LA as the Dodgers spend to rebuild their legacy and prominence in the City of Angels. Meanwhile, in New York, the Mets and Yankees will be scooping up the leftovers from the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals.
Okay, I might be a bit pessimistic but there will be a number of very difficult decisions to be made between now and 2014 as the Yankees attempt to reach their goal. If the Yankees win the 2014 World Series, then credit Hal Steinbrenner for being one of the greatest owners in Yankees history. If not, how long will it take to recover?…
Open mouth, insert foot…
You know, I don’t really care what Bobby Valentine is saying in Red Sox camp. I know that if he were the Yankees manager, he’d be making disparaging remarks about the Sox. It just goes with the territory when it comes to Bobby V. Whatever helps him get motivated. Speaking of Red Sox managers, it was really weird seeing the ESPN clips of Terry Francona in Yankees camp, hugging Yankees and talking with Joe Girardi and his coaches. Unlike Valentine, I have a great deal of respect for Terry Francona. Regardless, the Bobby V ingredient should make the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry very spicy this year. It kind of sets the stage for Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays to steal the show…
I’m sure that A-Rod wasn’t saddened by the news…
Since I am on the topic of the Red Sox, I should say congratulations to Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, who announced his retirement today. He was a hated players at times, but like Jorge Posada, his intensity was off the charts. He is the kind of guy you hate on another team but you’d love to have him on your team. I think his baseball career is only getting started as I see future success as a manager for him. I could even see him being an eventual replacement for Bobby Valentine. Regardless of what he decides to do, we haven’t heard the last of Tek.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em…again…
Back to the Yankees, I am glad to see the return of third baseman Eric Chavez. It took a long time…right up to the start of training camp…but it got done. I liked Chavez in his years as an Oakland A, and while he isn’t the player he once was, he is a great role player and teammate. He is also a very sorely needed third baseman given the fragility of the guy in front of him. Yes, Chavez is an injury risk but if he can stay healthy, he’ll be an invaluable part of the 2012 Yankees.
The Seattle Mariners pipeline worked last time (Tino Martinez)…
I liked the Yankees signing of former Seattle Mariners closer David Aardsma. I don’t think he’ll be in the running for Mariano Rivera’s replacement when THAT day comes, but it was a low risk, high reward signing. Having 7th and 8th inning options in late summer of David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, Joba Chamberlain, and Aardsma is a manager’s dream.
Best wishes for a fast return…
Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for former Yankees pitcher A.J. Burnett. In a batting incident the other day, a failed bunt attempt led to a broken right orbital bone in his face. I was frustrated with Burnett as a Yankees pitcher, but I’ll never dispute that he is a great guy and a terrific teammate. I am hoping that the move to Pittsburgh allows Burnett to flourish and hope the latest injury is not a precursor of things to come.
Don’t trip on the snow rounding first…
It is hard to think of baseball when it is snowing. Snow has been a rare commodity in Minnesota this year, but we received slightly more than a dusting this week. Living by Target Field, it’s strange to see the stadium and the surrounding snow while thinking that Joe Mauer and company are practicing to get ready to make the trip home to Minneapolis. I have already bought my tickets for when the Red Sox and Yankees come to town, however, the Yankees don’t arrive in Minneapolis until late September. I hope that AL East will be decided in the Yankees favor by that time…
Names I’ve known all of my adult life, and in some cases, when I was just a Daydream Believer…
Whitney Houston, Gary Carter and now Davy Jones? This has not been a fun couple of weeks…
I said ‘NO’, oh, by the way, here’s a $30 million contract for you…
There is still not much to write about in the Yankees Universe. There’s a report that Managing GM Hal Steinbrenner has talked with super agent Scott Boras about pitcher Edwin Jackson, but other than that, not much to talk about. Given that Steinbrenner orchestrated the signing of reliever Rafael Soriano last season (much to the disagreement of GM Brian Cashman), it would be interesting to hear what Cash has to say about Jackson. Universally, any team would be happy to sign Jackson on a short term, but a longer term deal is perceived as problematic. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The Yankees need a solid #2 or #3 pitcher in addition to the current roster, but it is not worth the price of paying Jesus Montero and/or Manuel Baneulos.
Personally, I would not be opposed to Jackson in the rotation as I feel that pitching coach Larry Rothschild would be a very strong influence on the pitcher. He certainly has the potential of being better than anything in the rotation outside of CC Sabathia.
It’s a given that the Yankees need to do something. I think standing pat is the wrong approach. It would most likely ensure a second or third place finish behind the Boston Red Sox and/or Tampa Bay Rays. They need to improve the rotation. There are too many question marks attached to Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter will be another year older. The Yankees need a pitcher other than Sabathia that is completely capable of shutting down the opposition. Jackson can be that guy. I don’t like the idea of “saving your bullets” for another off-season in terms of projected free agents. In 2013, A-Rod and Jeter will be another year older and further from their prime. Why couldn’t have George Steinbrenner instilled this win at all costs mentality in his sons? Okay, fiscal responsibility is a good idea, but the Yankees need to ensure that they can withstand improved Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays squads.
I like the Yankees’ signing of former Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Preston Mattingly. Granted, Donnie Baseball is one of my all-time heroes. But I’d like to see what the Yankee coaches and instructors can do with the former first round pick. He certainly has the pedigree to succeed. But time will tell if he can be Ken Griffey, Jr… or Pete Rose, Jr. His current path leans toward the latter, but he is only 24 years old. This goes into the category of ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. For Preston’s sake, I hope that he succeeds in the organization that his father starred.
It was only $35.5 million…
I really feel bad for former Philadelphia Phillies closer Ryan Madson. Once rumored to be close to a 4-year, $44 million contract with the Phillies, he signs with the Cincinnati Reds for a one year contract at $8.5 million. He’ll close for a fraction of the money that the Yankees pay 7th inning guy Rafael Soriano. The hope, obviously, is that liquidity will return to the closer market during the next off-season so that Madson can capture a lucrative long-term deal. I don’t know what went wrong with his negotiations with the Phillies and what led to their acquisition of former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, but he’ll long wonder what could have been.
We’ll give you over $50 million, but we’d really prefer to keep his salary at a couple mil…
For as much as the Texas Rangers bid for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, I will be very surprised if they fail to come to contract terms with Darvish returning to Japan. But at this point in the negotiations, you have to wonder if that’s not the likely outcome. It would be interesting to see Darvish on the open market after next season. I wonder if that would change the Yankees interest level…
It’s hard to believe that pitchers and catchers will be reporting to camp next month. I’ve been in Minnesota all winter long hoping for snow…and being sadly disappointed. At least the opening of baseball camps gives me something to be excited. I am looking forward to the debut of the 2012 Yankees! Bring it on!…
After a season of ‘will he’ or ‘won’t he’ opt-out, CC Sabathia accepted the Yankees offer and I couldn’t be more pleased. I am a bit concerned that CC’s weight will eventually prove to be a problem if he doesn’t get control of it, but clearly he is the Yankees best pitcher and the best hope for the next few years.
Since avoiding the opt-out only cost the Yankees $30 million (potentially $50 million if he is still at the top of his game at the end of the contract), it was clearly a bargain since they would have paid more to retain him had he hit the open market or perhaps they risked losing him altogether. I know that CC’s decision to stay was not solely on his love for the city and organization, but I am glad that he’s a permanent Yankee with no opt-out looming on the horizon.
I was driving home from work on Monday evening when I heard the news of the signing on MLB Radio. I had feared the worst so the news of his announcement on his website that he was staying was such an incredible relief. I have felt that the key to a successful off-season is getting both Sabathia and GM Brian Cashman locked up before the start of the free agency period. Mission accomplished. I am not sure there’s much on the free agent market that can help the Yanks, but hopefully, the team will be able to make a trade or two to improve the quality of the rotation.
As good as Cash…
Speaking of Cashman, his re-signing was essential for organizational continuity. I am not sure how long it takes a new GM to get acclimated to the job, but it would seem making your way in the Yankees Universe would take longer than usual. I am sure that the Yanks would have looked in-house for candidates (such as Billy Eppler or Damon Oppenheimer) but the man for the job continues to be Cashman. I am sure that he’s thought of what life would be with in a less stressful environment, but nobody is as suited for the Bronx as Cash is. I thought it was an interesting stat that he’s been the Yankees general manager longer than anyone since Ed Barrow (1920-45).
The start of a new era…
After standing pat for the most part with last year’s roster, it will be interesting to see what the Yankees do this year. I don’t expect them to go hog wild but they definitely need to get CC some help and they need a few clutch bats off the bench. At some point, the Yankees will have to say goodbye to Jorge Posada who few people expect to be on the 2012 roster. It is time for Jesus Montero to take up residence at Yankee Stadium and sadly that means there is no room for Jorge. He will go down as a great Yankee, and he’ll be heavily cheered at future Old Timer’s Days. My preference is for him to retire as a Yankee rather than to try and hang on for another year or so with another team.
Despite the Yankees decision to pick up his option, the odds of Nick Swisher still have to be mixed at best. If the Yankees can pick up a better player for right, I am sure that they’d do it. Swish’s personality would be missed but if he could be used, in part, to bring a frontline pitcher to New York, I’d be in favor of it.
Rafael Soriano decided against exercising his opt-out? Big surprise… L
You win some, you lose some…
I was disappointed to see the failure of Project Andrew Brackman. When Brackman was drafted, it was clear the Yankees had been able to get him at the spot they drafted because Brackman needed Tommy John surgery. I had really hoped that the pick would pay off and that Brackman would eventually be the top pitcher his potential screamed. Sadly, it was never meant to be…at least in New York…as the Yankees declined his option, making the 25-year-old a free agent.
There are other teams besides the Yankees?…
I was shocked when I heard that the St. Louis Cardinals might have interest in Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon as a replacement for Tony LaRussa. There’s no doubt that he’d be a great fit, but I just cannot see Tampa allowing Maddon to leave. He has been great for the city and the team…much to my chagrin and to the dismay of my friends in Boston. But I wouldn’t lose any sleep if Maddon does manage to get out of Tampa to take the Cardinals job.
I would really hate to see the Boston Red Sox get Michael Cuddyer…
Sad but realistic…
Well, the Yankees lost a series that they could have and should have won. I can’t say that I am as disappointed as I’ve been in past years during play-off failures as I recognized the team had its fatal weaknesses that would be exposed the deeper it got in the play-offs. Clearly, starting pitching has been a problem. CC Sabathia has been great, but he hasn’t been Justin Verlander- or Roy Halladay-great. He is still the ace and legitimately so, but the weaknesses in the rotation behind him put more pressure on CC to be perfect. That’s a tough for anyone. Even if the Yankees had gotten past the Detroit Tigers, I am not so sure that they would have fared well against the Texas Rangers.
When the season began, I felt that on paper the Boston Red Sox had a superior team. My picks for the World Series were the Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies. I was wrong on both counts, but I felt that the Yankees weak rotation would put too much pressure on the hitters. When the big bats go cold, there just haven’t been the consistent key hits off the bench. There have been a few here and there, but nothing like the critical and timely hits that Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui used to deliver. I was concerned that this would be the final fatal blow for the Yankees chances in 2011, and that’s exactly what happened.
At the trading deadline, I had hoped the team would at least make an attempt to acquire a clutch hitter if they weren’t able to find any pitching depth. They stood pat and did nothing. I agree that it was the right decision if the moves would have cost talent like Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances or Jesus Montero, but other teams found ways to spend a little to acquire a lot like the Tigers with their pickup of pitcher Doug Fister.
The priority move – sign Cash…
Although the 2011 season was a “failure” as per owner Hal Steinbrenner, I clearly hope the team decides to bring back GM Brian Cashman. No one understands the Yankees or the city of New York better than Cash, and he’s still the right man for the job. With so much to do in the off-season, the Yankees need to move quickly to sign Cash. With CC likely to opt out of his contract, the Yankees will need to be equally as quick to renegotiate a replacement contract so that they can turn to ways to improve the team as opposed to sustaining the current depth of talent. I would hate to see the Yankees lose other opportunities because they are too focused with the Cashman and Sabathia negotiations. Last off-season, it appeared that the team was only capable of dealing with one issue at a time. When they were chasing Cliff Lee, it seemed as though that’s all they did. They let other matters sit, including the topic of Andy Pettitte, until Lee surprised everyone and returned to Philadelphia. I am not quite sure why the organization is incapable of multi-tasking, but they do need to ‘divide and conquer’ if they intend to be the dominant force in 2012.
Looking forward to Jorge Posada Day…
Jorge Posada played very well in September and October, and he’s been a fantastic Yankee, but the time has come for him to go. I hope that he decides to put the bat down and simply walks away. I’d really hate to see him try to play again in 2012, which most likely would be with a different team. His legacy is secured in Yankees history, and he’ll always be treated as royalty by the organization. He was the greatest catcher since Thurman Munson, and he’ll certainly be remembered in the same room with Munson, Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, and Elston Howard.
The “Opt-Out” I wish would happen…
How great would it be if Rafael Soriano opted out of his contract? Sadly, that’s not going to happen and the Yankees are stuck with the guy who is trying to be the next Jose Veras rather than the next Mariano Rivera…
Bay Area Losses…
Northern California has certainly suffered great losses this week with the passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and now legendary Raiders owner Al Davis. Davis is one of the guys that you just thought would live forever. I am not a Raiders fan, but he revolutionized the game and was one of its most colorful characters. I admired his strength and resolve, and it’s unfortunate that his final Raider seasons were filled with losses. The game certainly won’t be the same without Davis…
The 2011 AL East Division Champions…
Most importantly, congratulations to the New York Yankees for their AL East Division Championship. They should have been AL East Champions last season but stumbled in the final days of the season to allow them to be eclipsed by the Tampa Bay Rays. So, fortunately, the Yankees have returned to their rightful throne! Well, at least for September. Come October, nothing less than a World Series Championship is acceptable!
So, I was only half right…
Admittedly, I am surprised the way this season has played out. At the beginning of the season, I had picked the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies as the World Series participants. The Phillies still look like the odds-on favorite at this point given their stellar starting pitching, but the Red Sox have faded oh so quickly. I remember listening to Sox fans who were predicting at least 114 wins or more for their revamped Red Sox, and while I openly scoffed at the notion, there was a part of me that was concerned that the Red Sox did have the necessary personnel to pull off a magical season. The chances for the magical season faded quickly when pitcher Clay Buchholz was lost for the season, but the Red Sox had charged back after a sluggish start and were in the thick of things at the end of August. Up to that point, the Red Sox had played the Yankees very aggressively with a significant advantage in the season series. They showed they had the offense to destroy virtually any pitcher on any given night, and there is no doubt that Adrian Gonzalez is perfectly suited for Fenway Park. But sadly for the Sox, the calendar turned to September and the deteriorated pitching staff started to show the stress and strain of the long season. Still, I didn’t expect the free fall that has currently left the Sox tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the Wild Card slot, while the Yankees have wrapped up the division championship and best record in the AL. I never dreamed that the Yankees would be in position to walk to the finish line.
Pitching, pitching, pitching…
My lack of faith in the Yankees at the beginning of the season was due primarily to the pitching staff. I was concerned about A.J. Burnett and his ability to bounce back from a disastrous season (and rightfully so). I did not think the Yankees could replace Andy Pettitte with two scrapheap pitchers in Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. Plus, the Yankees were placing much emphasis on Phil Hughes who, despite his 18-win season, had not proven that he was a reliable and dependable starter. Rounding out the rotation was a rookie pitcher (Ivan Nova), who had not even been mentioned in the same breath with Yankees prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. With CC Sabathia followed by a cast of characters, I did not see how the Yankees could compete with the Red Sox and felt that the Wild Card was the team’s best hope. Now, I am very delighted that I was wrong. While Burnett and Hughes have been disappointments, Ivan Nova has been huge and is now the second best pitcher in the rotation. Garcia and Colon have been terrific even if Colon seems to be wearing down at this point in the season. Garcia is definitely a play-off caliber starting pitcher. If the Yanks go with a four man rotation, then the 4th man should be Burnett. But he’ll have a very short leash with Colon and Hughes potentially in the bullpen.
Don’t play Poker with Brian Cashman…
If I had been the GM, I am sure that I would have made some impulsive and regrettable move at the trading deadline. GM Brian Cashman, on the other hand, stood pat and played with the hand he was dealt. In retrospect, he looks like a hero (which includes his anti-Rafael Soriano stance in the spring). I hope the Yankees do whatever it takes to ensure Cash’s return to the Bronx. I am sure that there would be significantly less stress in Chicago with the Cubs or some other major league team, but nobody understands New York better than Cash. I definitely think the Steinbrenners need Cashman more than he needs them. Hopefully, they’ll recognize it and make sure that Cashman is re-signed.
Passing of the Guard…
If the Yankees have learned anything in September (aside from the importance of quality starting pitching in watching the Sox freefall), it’s that Jesus Montero is ready for The Show. This does not bode well for Jorge Posada who is most likely playing his final year in Yankee pinstripes. If he continues his career season, it will be tough to see him play in different team colors. My only request would be for him not to go to Boston or Tampa. It’s always tough to see players cross those lines, and if it were me, I’d retain the respect for the Yankees and walk away from the AL East.
He surprised me yet again…
Count me as one of the skeptics in Ozzie Guillen’s decision to orchestrate his departure from the Chicago White Sox so that he could join the Florida Marlins. While I realize that Guillen will sell tickets in Miami, I don’t see it as a good fit with ownership. I am still not quite sure how someone could have issues with Joe Girardi, but fortunately, Miami did and he’s the highly successful manager of the Yankees. But Joe is far less out-spoken than Guillen, so if Joe’s comments got him into trouble, what’s going to happen with Guillen who always openly and freely speaks whatever is on his mind. I had always heard that White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf loved Ozzie like a son, so there’s no way the relationship in Miami will be anything comparable. His on the field performance had better outweigh the baggage that comes with Ozzie as your manager. He may regret taking the money and running…
Two game sabbatical from ‘Red Sox Suck!’…
With the Red Sox and Rays tied for the Wild Card tonight, I’ll have to go with the Red Sox as my preferred team to advance. I don’t think the Sox will be the easier opponent in the play-offs but that doesn’t concern me. I’ve always believed that you have to ‘beat the best to be the best’. This comes down to respect and I simply respect the Red Sox more…
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…
The Ace of Scranton/Wilkes Barre…
I kept hoping that the Yankees would be able to find a way to keep Ivan Nova in the rotation, but inevitably, the team made the only decision it could by sending him down to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. I agree that it is in Nova’s best interests to keep him on rotation, and not stunt his development by moving him to the pen.
I find it highly unlikely that either Bartolo Colon and/or Freddy Garcia will make it through the remainder of the season without any health issues. So, almost assuredly, Nova will be back and he’ll prove why he is a long-term option for the starting rotation.
Larry knows best…
Nothing against former pitching coach Dave Eiland, but his replacement, Larry Rothschild, has certainly shown why he was a great hire in the off-season. The Yankees struck gold with both Colon and Garcia when they were hopeful that they’d be able to get something out of at least one of the pitchers. I thought the Colon signing was a joke, and didn’t really begin to take the former Cy Young Award winner seriously until after the regular season began.
Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday
Rothschild has also overseen the return of A.J. Burnett as a viable force in the rotation, which, after last season, was no small task.
In the bullpen, the Yankees have overcome the loss of set up man Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain with the superb play of David Robertson. Robertson has shown that he is not only a great bridge to Mariano Rivera, but is perhaps a very viable alternative as Mo’s eventual replacement. GM Brian Cashman was right to be against the Soriano signing, and now the Yanks will have Soriano for two more years since there’s no way that he’ll opt out of his lucrative contract. It will be interesting to see how the Yankees handle this situation when Soriano returns.
As great as Larry Rothschild is, there are still going to be those moments when all goes wrong like today’s loss to the New York Mets. Mariano Rivera blew a save opportunity in the 9th, and the Yanks subsequently lost in 10 innings. But the nice thing about the Yankees bullpen is that they have a very short memory, and I’m sure that they’ll be back in stellar form tomorrow.
Congratulations, you’re an All-Star! As your reward, here is a ticket to the face of the Sun…
Congratulations to the players that will represent the Yankees during next week’s All-Star Game in Phoenix. Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson will be in the starting lineup, while Mariano Rivera and Russell Martin were also added to the squad. Count me as one of those who hope that a spot opens for David Robertson. The All-Star Yankees will need to get used to the heat as it has been blistering hot in the Valley of the Sun. Yesterday, the official high was 117 degrees in Chandler, AZ, however, I saw temperature readings over 120 degrees. It may be a dry heat, but it’s just plain hot. Fortunately, Chase Field will be covered and the indoor temps should be very mild.
Nearing the end of the first half…
I am quite please with the way the Yankees have played the first half of the season. I still feel that the Boston Red Sox have the superior team on paper, but the Yankees have held their own and currently lead the Sox by 1 ½ games. I don’t think the Yanks can stay ahead of the Sox without any changes to the roster, but the team has definitely gotten more out of less.
Have a very happy, safe and enjoyable 4th of July, everyone!
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…
So far, the Yankees have started like last season…winning their series as they’ve taken the first two from the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins. As the saying goes, ‘Two outta three ain’t bad!’. Keep it all season and it would equate to a divisional championship.
Simmons/NY Daily News
I was a bit surprised about Rafael Soriano‘s implosion that cost the Yankees the second game in the series with the Twins. His career high three walks in an inning proved fatal as the Twins rallied in a game CC Sabathia should have won. But the bigger problem was avoiding the media after the game. Being in New York is about being a stand up guy through thick and thin. Frustration is understandable, but unfortunately, there is more to baseball than just a game. I think Soriano will learn from the situation and of course being around Mariano Rivera is sure to have its positive impact. There’s not too many people that understand New York better than Mo and Derek Jeter.
I was really sorry to hear that Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka broke his leg on a hard slide at second base by Nick Swisher. I thought it was very classy of Swisher to visit Niskioka after the game to express his apology. Swish likes to have fun but he’s certainly not a dirty player and it would be unfair to pin that tag on him because of the incident. I thought Nishioka has done an admirable job in his MLB debut season and wish him the very best for a full and speedy recovery.
For all the problems that A.J. Burnett has endured in New York, I am amazed about the stat that he is undefeated in April. Of course, with today’s win, the streak continues. I want to say that Burnett is pitching so much better than last year and I don’t have the fear I used to have when he took the mound. But still, I guess I had better wait until May before forming any opinions. Whatever it is, I hope that A.J. can keep it going.
Who would have thought the biggest pitching concern in the rotation would be Phil Hughes?…
Freddy Garcia did miss out on his start because of a rain postponement when Joe Girardi skipped his turn in the rotation for the next game. So the Yankees still don’t know what they have at the back end of the rotation. If Hughes implodes again, I’ll definitely be concerned since it will put a fair amount of pressure on Ivan Nova.
I am very surprised that both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays are a combined 0-12. Despite the slow start, I still recognize that the Boston Red Sox have a very powerful and formidable team. With 156 games to go, I am sure the Red Sox will have a higher winning percentage than most teams over the same period of games and will be leading the way into October. Actually, I am not too excited about the Yankees facing their most bitter rival at a time when they’ve been backed into a corner. A win or two against the Yankees can definitely kick start the Red Sox Machine and give them the momentum to charge forward. I don’t think the series will be a sweep in either direction but it is going be a hard-fought battle, and the winner will have their share of bumps and bruises.
Of course, with the Yankees playing the Red Sox, it is time for yet another wager with my good friend, Julia, of Julia’s Rants. For the latest bet, the loser will write a critical analysis of what ails his/her team. The loser will also have to write about why the other team is better. Pride and ego will definitely have to be checked at the door for this one. The opening game of the series on Friday pits two huge question marks against each other…Phil Hughes versus John Lackey. The game will most likely set the tone for the rest of the series. May the best team win…which, of course, are the Yankees!
It should be a great weekend for baseball!