Results tagged ‘ Sharks ’
The right to be pessimistic…
Anybody who has read my blog knows that I have been very pessimistic about the 2013 Yankees. I didn’t feel right about the team coming out of training camp as the Yankees did nothing to upgrade the talent on the team and then when the season started, it became a comedy watching all of the regulars, well, for the most part, end with significant time on the disabled list.
A slight bit of optimism started to slip into my thinking last week when the Yankees started inching closer to the second wild card slot. But that was quickly dashed by the weekend sweep at the hands of the AL East leading Boston Red Sox. The Yankees weren’t just defeated in the series, they felt like a minor league team against giants. It “felt” as though it was impossible for the Yankees to take charge of a game and even when they did hold a lead, it seemed very fragile and in retrospect, it was.
I was reading Joel Sherman’s recent column about the bleak prospect for 2014 and I have to agree. CC Sabathia has shown nothing to lead one to believe that he’ll restore his status as the team’s ace. It is very possible that we are watching the final pinstripe days for Hiroki Kuroda who has been the team’s best pitcher. Ivan Nova, after a brief successful run, has shown he is nothing more than a roller-coaster. Phil Hughes is auditioning for his job elsewhere next season and not doing a very good job. I do not see any scenario that brings Andy Pettitte back for another season. I am sure that this one has been a grind and at his age, that’s enough to pack his bags and head back home to the Lone Star State for the final time. He’ll be a spring training regular as an instructor, I am sure, but as for Yankee Stadium starts, the end is near. I honestly have no clue what season’s rotation will look like other than CC anchoring the bottom end.
As much as I want to see the return of Robinson Cano, I don’t want the Yankees to break the bank. It’s that type of mentality that led them to their current predicament. But I recognize when Hal and Hank Steinbrenner make comments that there’s a limit to what they’ll spend (even if it is the right thing to do), it will psychologically send a message to Cano that maybe they don’t want him as bad as the crosstown Mets or the ‘spend-foolishly’ Los Angeles Angels. The outfield is a disaster with the cast of characters that can call themselves the “Forty-Something” Club. Granted, Brett Gardner isn’t 40, but he’s also proven that he is DL-prone. That’s not an affliction that gets better with age. We’ll most likely see the return of Vernon Wells for no other reason than he won’t cost the Yankees anything toward the salary cap. Derek Jeter is a Hall of Famer, but as a 40-year-old shortstop playing on a bad ankle, he’s not a guy that you want to see on the field for 140 or 150 games. Mark Teixeira is on the express train to insignificance. Chris Stewart has done a decent job as the replacement for Russell Martin, but he’s a backup on almost any other club.
A look at the Yankees’ farm system does not show anyone that is ready to be handed a first class ticket to the Bronx. This is definitely an organization in a state of flux, and I am not convinced that it is one that GM Brian Cashman can survive. I think the Yankees will bring back Joe Girardi (there’s not really anyone else that stands out as a surefire upgrade) and someone has to pay the price for Hal Steinbrenner’s frugalness. Cashman’s mantra was building the farm system, but as it stands today, it is a system filled with overhyped prospects with the best talent years from maturing.
How do the Yankees overhaul their aging, overpaid and underperforming roster? Boston’s GM Ben Cherington gets great credit for his salary purge last year that led to his team being on the fast track to the World Series. Unfortunately, I do not see any other team willing to accept the Yankees’ excess baggage. Are we facing a 1980’s drought? I hope not, but then again, I am not seeing anything that would instill confidence. I hope the team’s off-season meetings are about how to improve the team and not to avoid exceeding the 2014 salary cap. Another 2013-like year, and this is going to be a very difficult hole to dig out of. I would not expect the Yankees to compete again until after the contracts of Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, and the other older vets are distant memories.
Meanwhile, my favorite NFL team, the Minnesota Vikings, is 0-2. 2013 is not playing out to be a very good sports year for me. I need help. Hey, San Jose Sharks, can you do something to lift my spirits?…
The end is near for the Yankees but sadly that also means….
The end of the legendary career of my personal favorite Yankee, Mariano Rivera. He’s been my favorite since he was zooming fastballs in the 8th inning prior to the entrance of closer John Wetteland. Mo has been the epitome of the ideal baseball player. When I think of all the Yankee greats, there is some sadness that I never got to see them play, like the Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig. But in Mariano Rivera, I saw a pitcher that my grandchildren will be talking about. I’ve been very proud of his career and accomplishments and even in those moments of failure, there was never sadness because you knew that Mo gave it his all. It’s been a pleasure to be a fan during his reign and his career will always be one that I’ll be so thankful and happy for. I thought his words in the Fenway Park dugout were sincere, simple and so-Mo. He is and has been the best…
The Boston Massacre or the Bronx Massacre?…
Since the games are being held in the Bronx, I suppose the Boston Red Sox kill of any Yankee play-off aspirations should be called the Bronx Massacre. Unfortunately, the high hopes coming off the sweep of the Chicago White Sox were dashed as the Sox are definitely now on the other foot.
Thursday’s game was disappointing as the Yankees launched a valiant rally only to lose a game they were within one strike of winning. The defeat came with none other than the legendary Mariano Rivera on the mound. Friday night, it was the Yankees who built the large early lead, but the Red Sox stormed back and thrashed the Yankees. Although Boone Logan gave up the key grand slam, I blame Phil Hughes for changing the momentum of the game. Today’s game (Saturday) is still underway but the team is getting royally throttled at the moment (12-3 in the 5th inning). The Yankee pitching staff has not shown the ability to get Red Sox hitters out during this series so I have no reason to expect the team to rally from the latest hole (either today’s game or the season). If they lose today’s game as expected, they’ll be 11 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East standings. The races for the Wild Card spots are still within reach but the Yankees aren’t playing like a team that wants to win. They still have one more series against the Red Sox (in Boston) and if they can’t beat the Sox in the Bronx, they certainly are not going to win in Beantown.
This has been a very weird season as a Yankees fan. The team did nothing to improve upon last year’s squad and simply filled key roles with bargain basement replacements. Alfonso Soriano is the only quality acquisition, but he is an aging player with a large salary. It’s not exactly like it was a brilliant acquisition for GM Brian Cashman. The Chicago Cubs were glad to part with Soriano even if they are still picking up a large part of his compensation. I’ve been reading many articles that talk about the great managing job Joe Girardi has done this season, but no one is saying the same about Cashman. The unknown variable is that we do not know the restraints he is under from Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner. If you are under standing orders that you cannot increase salary, it’s not exactly like you are going to go out and land a Giancarlo Stanton or Cliff Lee. But it’s odd watching the Pittsburgh Pirates being more aggressive in the addition of reinforcements (i.e., Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd and John Buck) than the Yankees. A few key “stronger” players here or there could have meant the difference in the current Wild Card standings and the Yankees wouldn’t be on the outside looking in.
The only guarantee is that there will be changes in the off-season. At this point, I have to believe that the departure of Cashman is a possibility. I do not expect Joe Girardi to be going anywhere but this team will look radically different, particularly if the Yankees do not re-sign impending free agent Robinson Cano. I am not sure what to expect with the 2014 Yankees. I don’t know if optimism will be part of the equation and if we will be looking at another “patched-together” squad of expensive, deteriorating older players and cheap free agent acquisitions of players released from their current clubs. The Yankees need to get younger but is this going to take a season or two, or years. The decisions being made by Hal Steinbrenner will impact the Yankees for years to come. Time will tell if he is making very astute and winning decisions to set up future success, or if he is ensuring that this time period will be the 1980’s re-visited.
If somehow the Yankees manage to salvage the 2013 season and grabbed a Wild Card spot, I seriously doubt they’d be able to do anything with it. Hopefully, the Steinbrenner family is able to do something to return optimism to the Bronx in the not-so-distant future.
Pondering the Quarterback situation…
As a long-suffering Minnesota Vikings fan, the hope is that this is the year QB Christian Ponder “figures it out”. He is a talented and intelligent guy, and there’s no reason for him not to become the answer for the Vikings if he chooses to be. How many guys would like to have Adrian Peterson in the backfield, Greg Jennings out wide, and Kyle Rudolph at tight end? Ponder has the weapons and he has the physical tools to succeed. It is all up to him. If the Vikings have to make the move to replace Ponder with backup Matt Cassel, then the team is sunk.
Last year was a pleasant surprise but it will be more challenging this year with the more difficult schedule. I do wish that Adrian Peterson would let go of the dream to reach 2,500 rushing yards in a season. I would not want to see him at such risk for injury nor would I want an individual goal to become superior to the team’s goals.
The Vikings start the season against the Detroit Lions, a team that knows a thing or two about having huge offensive weapons. The young Vikings secondary will have to show that they are ready for the big time as it doesn’t get any easier in the coming weeks. It’s too bad that, so far, the team hasn’t been able to get former starter Antoine Winfield to come out of retirement. Josh Robinson is fast, but we’ll see if he can keep up with Megatron…
Hockey’s around the corner…
Soon, the San Jose Sharks will join the Minnesota Vikings as “distractions” for me during this disappointing MLB campaign. I am looking forward to a full season of NHL Hockey rather than last year’s strike-shortened version. I am still having a tough time thinking of the HP Pavilion or “Shark Tank” as the SAP Center. While it is called S-A-P and not the word “sap”, how long before the latter becomes the norm if the team fails to succeed?
Where are you, Optimism? I miss you…
The only non-dramatic series of the 2012 post-season…
Sadly, the 2012 season is over for the New York Yankees. But admittedly, I did not feel the team had the horses to win the World Series this year. I know, any team can get hot and take the championship (i.e., 2011 St Louis Cardinals), but the team’s hot and cold hitting pattern bothered me. As the saying goes, “good pitching beats good hitting” so the Yankees’ hitting problems are magnified in the play-offs as they continually face #1 or #2 type starters. If Robinson Cano had gotten hot, maybe it would have been different but no one rose to the challenge in the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.
The ALCS loss by sweep was painful. For me, it probably ranks with the 1976 World Series when they were swept by the Cincinnati Reds. If memory serves, they won the World Series the following two years so I guess there is hope for next year! Well, maybe not. But all things considered, I’d rather be embarrassed on the ALCS stage than the World Series. That’s probably awful to say because who wouldn’t want their team in the World Series and I am no different. But I wouldn’t want to see the Yankees looking as pathetic in the World Series as they did in the ALCS if that makes any sense.
The 2013 season – optimism or pessimism?…
On the heels of Derek Jeter’s successful ankle surgery that will have him out for 4-5 months, there are reports that CC Sabathia will be consulting with Dr. James Andrews for his ailing left elbow. Apparently, the ligament is intact so there’s hope that either rest or minor surgery to shave the bone spur in his left elbow will be the cure. This definitely bears close watching over the course of the next few months. If CC is unavailable to pitch in 2013, the Yankees would be lacking a legitimate #1 starter. I have not heard how Michael Pineda has been doing, but he’ll be expected to help fill the void in the rotation regardless of what happens to CC, assuming that he is healthy. This was a difficult year for young Yankees pitching prospects, with injuries to Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos, the latter of whom will be lost for 2013 due to Tommy John surgery.
The Yankees really need to do what it takes to ensure that Hiroki Kuroda returns for one more year, and hopefully, Andy Pettitte will decide to go for one more tour around the American League. With the Houston Astros moving to the American League in 2013, Andy would be assured of playing a few league games at home. It would be a great farewell tour with Andy pitching in Houston while standing on the mound with the interlocking N-Y on his hat.
Another year in, and I still don’t know what the Yankees have with Phil Hughes. At times, he is so promising, but others, such a disappointment. I am not sure that he can be trusted to be anything more than a #5 starter with his inconsistency. The Yankees have tough decisions to make on both Hughes and reliever Joba Chamberlain, two pitchers who have seemingly been intertwined since they arrived in New York.
I am concerned about Alex Rodriguez and the huge adverse impact of his contract on the team. The production no longer matches the pay, and of course, the pay prevents those dollars from being spent more wisely. The Yankees will have to settle for “less” in other areas, which will further handicap the team’s productivity. If the Yankees can find a way to move A-Rod, regardless of the cost, I would be in favor of it. I’ve never been a big A-Rod fan, and I would prefer to see his association with the Yankees eliminated.
I want the Yankees to re-sign Robinson Cano, but if the cost is a 10-year, behemoth mega-million contract, I am not so sure the team should go down that road. I am tired of these long-term deals where the player only performs to the level of the contract for the first few years. Cano’s silent bat in the play-offs also was a red flag for me. It’s disappointing because Cano has been one of my favorite players, but the future of an organization should not be tied to one or two players. The St Louis Cardinals are an organization that always seems to make the right decisions for the good of the team, and it has worked out well for them. They are a win away from the World Series despite letting one of the best hitters in baseball walk away last winter.
I do not want to be disrespectful of Derek Jeter and I recognize that he had a great 2012 season, but the fact remains that he’ll be a 39-year-old shortstop coming off ankle surgery heading into next season.
When the Yankees signed Mark Teixeira, it looked like a great signing…much better than the previous first base commitment to Jason Giambi. But after a great 2009 season, Teixeira has not been the feared hitter that I thought he would be. He has been great defensively, but never delivers the key, clutch hit. Those ice cold starts to begin seasons are getting longer and longer.
I do believe the Yankees need to re-sign catcher Russell Martin. I’d also like to see them either invest in a stronger back-up catcher or commit to Francisco Cervelli over Chris Stewart.
I had great respect for Eric Chavez when he was the starting third baseman for the Oakland A’s early in his career, and I’ve thought he was a great role player for the Yankees over the last couple of seasons. But now is the time for the Yankees to move on and find a strong, reliable third base option to spot A-Rod (or replace him if they can somehow find a way to move A-Rod to Miami or Phoenix).
In the outfield, I am hopeful the healthy return of Brett Gardner will be a positive. I have mixed feelings about re-signing Ichiro Suzuki. I thought he rebounded to have a very productive end of the season, but the Yankees are too full of guys nearing or at 40 years of age. A healthy Gardner can replace what the Yankees have in Ichiro…well maybe not the hitting ability, but all other components of his game. I like Curtis Granderson and even though he underperformed in the play-offs, I would still like to see his return. I’ve been a big fan of Nick Swisher, and have appreciated how his personality lightens the Yankees clubhouse. But right field is an area in need of improvement. If the Yankees can get Swisher to re-sign for a reasonable amount of dollars and years, maybe it makes sense to bring him back. But if his expectation is 5-7 years at dollars approaching $100 million, then the team should let him walk.
I am not in favor of bringing either Andruw Jones or Raul Ibanez back. Ibanez had some tremendous hits in the play-off series against the Baltimore Orioles, but the Yankees need to strengthen their bench with younger players who have greater upside.
I am glad to see the Yankees commit to both GM Brian Cashman and Manager Joe Girardi for the 2013 season. I think both, if given the resources and support, can bring the team back to championship level. At this point, the Yankees seem to be in an inferior position to the last place Boston Red Sox in terms of roster flexibility. The Sox ability to unload dead contracts on the Los Angeles Dodgers late in the season was huge. Now that the Sox have their guy as manager (John Farrell), there’s no doubt that we’ll see an improved Red Sox team next season. If the AL East was highly competitive in 2012, it will be even more so in 2013. The difference between first and last place could be which team makes the best decisions this off-season. The margin for error will be less than it has ever been.
I hate to be so doom and gloom, but the Yankees have much work ahead of them. Despite baseball’s highest payroll, they have a team comprised of older ballplayers that are experiencing the inevitable declines in production. The dollars committed to unproductive players like A-Rod and Teixeira are an albatross for a team that wants to reduce its payroll by 2014 to avoid excessive financial penalties. The Yankees do have the talent in the front office and certainly the resources to persevere so how they navigate the next few months will determine if the Yankees are a team of promise and destiny at the start of the 2013 or just another aging ball club that has seen its better years.
A fan of whatever team plays the Tigers…
Despite being an American League fan, it will be hard for me to cheer for the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. With the Cardinals holding a 3-2 advantage against the San Francisco Giants heading into tonight’s NLCS Game 6, my preference is for the Giants to somehow find a way to overcome. But if they are unsuccessful and the Cards advance to face the Tigers, I will pull for St Louis. Residing in the Bay Area, the Giants are a “hometown” favorite for me; while the Cardinals are a “sentimental” favorite (my first major league baseball game as a kid was in St Louis). Plus, as a fan of the Minnesota Vikings and San Jose Sharks, it would be tough for me to pull for any city that boasts the Lions or the Red Wings.
At this point, I am ready for the Hot Stove League to begin…
After some thought, I’ve come around…
Now that I’ve had time to digest the Friday night whirlwind that brought pitchers Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda to the Bronx, my initial disappointment was evaporated. Don’t get me wrong, I love the power potential of Jesus Montero, and I know full well that he’ll be as devastating against the Yankees as Jay Buhner was if not more. But I recognize that from a position of need, a top of the rotation starter is better than a player without a position.
Ever since I first heard Jesus Montero’s name, it always included a statement that he’d eventually have to find a new position because he would outgrow catcher. The obvious moves would be to either first base or left field, but last time I checked, both of those positions were occupied by long-term tenants. Putting an offensive juggernaut at DH is great for offense but it does nothing to help with the defensive aspects of catching or learning a new position. With Russell Martin in the fold for the foreseeable future, there was no way that Montero would gain the starting position at catcher. Martin’s ability to handle the pitching staff is simply too important to the team even if his bat is nothing remotely close to Montero.
With Montero, I was always worried about the other young Yankee catchers. Of course, there’s Francisco Cervelli on the active roster. If Montero were to take the backup catching job, where would that leave Cervelli? Most likely playing for the Twins, backing up oft-injured Joe Mauer or someone like that. I like the defensive reports that I’ve heard about both Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez, but if their path was clogged by Martin and Montero, where did that leave them? Sanchez needs more time in the minors, but Romine is nearing major league ready status. With an injury or two, I fully expect him to get his chance to make an impression at Yankee Stadium in 2012. The trade of Montero ensures that Romine will get his major league opportunity with the Yankees so that’s a good thing. He doesn’t have Montero’s bat (who does?) but good defense is essential for championships.
Maybe just tell us who the Yankees haven’t talked to…
As for the DH slot, it seems like the Yankees have expressed interest in about everyone. There have been reports they’ve spoken to the agents for Carlos Pena, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui. There are pros and cons with all three players, but whoever the Yankees bring on board will have to share time at DH with Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones, and Derek Jeter so I’d be okay with any of the three. I’ve always liked the clutch bats of Damon and Matsui, and the swing for the fences power of Pena is nice even if the average is hovering slightly above the Mendoza line. With all the reports that the Yankees only have a $1 million or two to spend on a DH, I half expect a report that they’ve talked to Reggie Jackson! Okay, that might be a stretch, but I’d consider letting ‘all or nothing’ slugger Jorge Vazquez. He does deserve a shot. If not, the Yanks should cut him loose and let him pursue a team that will.
If Jorge Posada had embraced the DH role last year, he’d be on his way back to the Bronx for an encore performance…
Upon second thought…
As for the pitching staff, my initial prediction about the rotation order was flawed. I recognize that Micheal Pineda is the clear #2 in the rotation. I’ve seen Ivan Nova slotted at #4, but I’d still keep him at #3 at least until he gives reason to drop him in the order. I think Kuroda is a great addition, but he has to adjust to the American League in the most difficult division, while moving from a pitcher’s ballpark to a park that is less forgiving. So, I’d give Nova time for pinstripes served and put him ahead of Kuroda. After the former Dodger, it’s anybody’s guess who will win out…Phil Hughes, my personal favorite; Freddy Garcia, probably the better choice among the pitchers in terms of consistency; and A.J. Burnett, the candidate for most likely to depart the Bronx if the Yanks can find a willing trade partner that wants Burnett…and a boatload of cash to pay that ridiculous salary. What happens if either Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances pitches “lights out” in training camp? This is going to be an interesting battle.
He’s really a cousin of Alcides and Kelvim Escobar?…
Back to Friday night’s trade, I was a bit dismayed when I saw that pitcher Hector Noesi had been included in the trade. I kept hearing that his ceiling was the back end of the rotation but there was something that I liked about the pitcher. At first, I didn’t know anything about the “other” Mariner included in the deal, Jose Campos. But since the initial report of the trade, I’ve come to realize that he has great potential. At 19, he’s 6’4” and throws in the mid 90’s. He’ll more than make up for Noesi and fits a better timeline in terms of being major league ready given the high level pitching prospects already in the organization (Banuelos and Betances, for example). The Curtis Granderson trade has been labeled as a ‘win-win-win’ for all concerned. Hopefully, this M’s-Yankees trade will meet a similar fate.
What would I expect Bobby V to say?…
Contrary to what Bobby Valentine may think, the Yankees are a better team today than they were last Thursday. But, I recognize the Boston Red Sox are not done yet. They signed former Dodger pitcher Vicente Padilla today (a guy I loathe personally) and there’s rumors they could go after Roy Oswalt if they can move payroll. I still think Boston could be a player for Cubs starter Matt Garza given Theo Epstein’s knowledge of the Red Sox minor league prospects. Whether Ben Cherington or rather Larry Lucchino would trade with Epstein is another matter. Still, I think there are changes to be made on both the Yankees and Red Sox between now and training camp. Last year, I saw a Red Sox friend predict 118 or 119 wins for Boston. Teams look great on paper, but as they say, the ‘proof is in the pudding’!
Moneyball II, starring Jorge Garcia…
It’s hard to think of the Oakland A’s signing former Yankees starter Bartolo Colon as a low-cost, high reward “Moneyball” kind of move. At 39, I don’t think there’s really any upside to Colon at this point and in my opinion, he’s not capable of sustaining a full season of starts. I’d rather have Gio Gonzalez or Trevor Cahill in the rotation, but I guess since those are no longer options, they have to look at the scrap heap that served the Yankees so well last season.
Yes, I know the way to San Jose!…
Speaking of Oakland, I do hope they are successful in their desire to move to San Jose. As a former San Jose resident, I think it’s very exciting for the city and its metro area to be on the verge of landing both the A’s and the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, to go with the NHL’s Sharks. I saw that A’s owner bought the famed Hotel Sainte Claire in downtown San Jose. He already owns one hotel in San Jose so I guess you can’t read too much into it, but he’s definitely positioning himself for the growth and excitement that San Jose could see in the coming years. I’d be happy with a Stanley Cup Championship this year, but that’s a little off-topic…
I really don’t forsee another 99 losses when you place character first…
I was a little surprised to see the Minnesota Twins sign former Detroit Tigers flamethrower Joel Zumaya. He suffered his devastating arm injury at Target Field in 2010. So, in terms of Karma, you’d think that he’d avoid Target Field like the plague. But I read comments in this morning’s paper about how he was touched by the reception he received from the Twins fans as he left the field that fateful day. Stories like that certainly make me feel honored to be a Minneapolis resident, but I was still surprised by Zumaya’s decision. I wish him the best as he begins the Comeback Trail. Hopefully he can get back to the level he was before. For the Twins, with Joe Nathan in Texas and Matt Capps scheduled to close games, they need Zumaya as the pitcher he once was and hopefully will be again.
When it’s tough being the son of Donnie Baseball, come home to the Bronx!…
Before I go, I want to say that I am really hopeful that the Yankees organization proves to be a blessing for former Dodgers prospect Preston Mattingly. I’ve always heard what a great athlete he is/was when he was younger. I don’t know what happened through his time in the Dodgers and Indians organizations and I realize that he is getting a bit long in tooth for a prospect, but I really hope that he can find some level of success with the Yankees. It would be very cool to see Mattingly make a debut at Yankee Stadium at some point in the future. Who knows if it is in the cards, but being a late bloomer is not outside of the realm of possibility when it comes to someone with his bloodline.
It’s hard to believe that we are just a month away from training camp. I’m excited and looking forward to a great season.
Right player, wrong uniform…
The acquisition of reliever Mark Melancon by the Boston Red Sox reminded me of how much I dislike seeing former Yankees in Boston gear. At one time, Melancon was mentioned as the possible successor to future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera. He did not fulfill his promise with the Yankees and was subsequently traded to the Houston Astros in the deal that brought present St Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman to New York. Melancon was forced into a closing role in Houston due to injuries, but he doesn’t project to be a closer for the Red Sox. Time will tell if he can become Boston’s version of David Robertson.
With Alfredo Aceves already on the Boston pitching staff, that makes two Yankees on the roster with no Sox players on the Yankees roster. Granted, it doesn’t hurt quite like it did when David Wells and David Cone pulled on the Sox cap after success in the Bronx, but still, I’d rather see ex-Yankees experience success away from the AL East. There are 28 other teams that these players could have gone to.
From the Sox perspective, I am not sure that Melancon justified the cost. I know that Jed Lowrie wasn’t the answer at short, but there was always something that I respected in the player, even as a member of an opponent. I don’t know about the other player the Sox sent to Houston (pitcher Kyle Weiland), but it would appear to be a fairly high cost for a setup guy. I just don’t see Melancon as Jonathan Papelbon’s replacement.
Maybe this trade turns out wonderfully for the Sox, maybe it doesn’t. I guess baseball is a game of chances and as the saying goes ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. But I wish the Sox would quit loading up on Yankees (and Rays). At least they replaced Lowrie with a former Twin and Cardinal (Nick Punto).
Never underestimate the power of the woman behind the man…
I am still in disbelief that Albert Pujols is no longer in St Louis, but after previously reading comments by Dodgers manager Don Mattingly that he felt Albert was frustrated with the Cardinals about the negotiations and the subsequent comments by his wife about how the Cardinals didn’t give Albert the proper respect, I can better understand why he would leave the organization that had meant so much to him for 11 years. At this point, his present and future are associated with the Los Angeles Angels and he will be the face of the organization. I doubt Angels fans are missing Mark Teixeira too much these days.
Turning nothing into something…
I am still amazed that former Yankees reliever Jose Veras brought the Pittsburgh Pirates the Milwaukee Brewers former third baseman Casey McGahee. McGahee has his issues, but Veras was a disaster for the Yanks. I know that he pitched effectively before his gradual descent in pinstripes but I cringed every time he entered a game during his final season in the Bronx.
C’mon, the weather really isn’t that bad…
I was listening to MLB Radio the other night when they mentioned that the Minnesota Twins had signed former Oakland A’s (and Marlins) outfielder Josh Willingham. One of the guys, I don’t remember which one, then proceeded to bash Minnesota for its weather. Granted, I am a new arrival to Minnesota and I did not experience the 87 inches of snow last winter, but I have yet to complain about Minnesota weather. Actually, I have enjoyed the change of seasons after life in California where there are only two seasons (warm and not so warm). I wore my winter coat one week last year and that’s when I went back East to New York. I’ve been wearing that coat since early November this year and I love it. I am disappointed that they are now saying that we won’t have a White Christmas in Minneapolis.
Back to Willingham, I am sad that it means the end of the Twins career for Michael Cuddyer. It’s too bad that the Yankees don’t have a role for a guy like that. Mr. Versatility. It doesn’t sound like the Phillies or the Red Sox are options for him at this point, but I was fearful to see him on either of those rosters. He may not be THE guy, but he is the type of guy that helps win championships.
Nevertheless, welcome to Minneapolis, Mr. Willingham!
50 years brings total futility; this must be what it feels like to be a Cubs fan…
My first year living in Minnesota has been a disaster as far as being a fan of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. 1983 was a miserable year with horrific coach Les Steckel and the franchise’s worst record in its history. This year, the record of futility may be eclipsed by the current squad. I feel bad for coach Leslie Frazier. I like him, but there is no patience when it comes to the NFL. I read an article about how the Vikings would have been better off if they had just stayed with Mike Tice after the Wilf’s bought the team. As it stands, I’d prefer to see Frazier get at least another year, but if he is cut loose, I would not be opposed to someone like Brian Billick. I was frustrated with him when he was the Vikings offensive coordinator, but he was a good coach in Baltimore. I doubt the Vikings would be competitors for someone like Bill Cowher. I could definitely see Cowher going to the Miami Dolphins if he decides to return to coaching, especially if Carl Peterson takes over the leadership of the team. Cowher was an assistant for Kansas City, Peterson’s former team, prior to coaching the Steelers.
I am adamant, and maybe not so much…
As for my other teams, I remain a devout San Jose Sharks fan and will be there when the Sharks come to St Paul, Minnesota to face the Minnesota Wild. But I had to make a decision in the NBA. I’ve been a Los Angeles Lakers fan the last few years, but I am tired of a team that is expected to win and often does (well, except for when it pertains to baseball!). Amare Stoudemire has been my favorite player since his days in Phoenix and despite his injury history. Carmelo Anthony was another favorite. So, with those two headlining the New York Knicks, I really don’t have any choice but to become a Knickerbockers fan. With the NBA, I have not maintained a constant loyalty to one team. It’s moved as I’ve moved. I started life as a Philadelphia 76ers fan in the days of Dr. J. (Julius Erving). In my early 20’s, I moved to Dallas and become a Mavericks fan. Later, I moved to Phoenix and became a Suns fan. About 6 years ago, I moved to California and became a Lakers fan (sorry, I just couldn’t embrace the Golden State Warriors or the Sacramento Kings as a Northern CA resident). Now, I am in Minnesota, but for whatever reason, I just can’t embrace the Minnesota Timberwolves. So, it’s time to move my basketball allegiance to the Big Apple. I am not really a fan of the New Jersey and soon to be Brooklyn Nets, so the stars were perfectly aligned for me to become a Knicks fan. So, let it be…
By the way, where did 2011 go?…
Thus endeth the season…
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Antonelli/NY Daily News
The Yankees were outplayed and outpitched by an
inferior Texas Rangers squad and it was very disappointing to watch. The truth is these Yankees have looked very
subpar since August. Their ALDS victory
over the Minnesota Twins was most likely a fluke given their dominance of the
Twins in recent years. The Yankee bats
were silent during the ALCS with the most visible being Alex Rodriguez. But I really think, as many do, the primary
problem was the lack of consistent and quality pitching.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
CC Sabathia had a few starts where he looked like
an ace, but he had more starts that looked very average. Unlike last year, there wasn’t a sense of
invincibility when CC took the mound…at least not like when Cliff Lee takes the
hill for the Rangers or Tim Lincecum for the San Francisco Giants or Roy
Halladay for the Philadelphia Phillies.
A.J. Burnett was an absolute disaster this
year. I am not sure what happened. He pitched so great for the Yankees in 2009
and for the Toronto Blue Jays the year before.
But this year, he was clearly gasoline on the fire. He needs to re-dedicate himself to his craft
this off-season to see if he can dig deep to re-find his talent.
I thought Andy Pettitte did a very good job this
year, but there was obviously much down time with the injury that put him on
the DL. At his age, there is no doubt
that we’ve seen the best of Andy. If
Andy doesn’t decide to retire in the off-season and returns to the Yankees next
year, I’d prefer they make him the #4 or #5 starter and accept whatever you can
get from him.
Phil Hughes is a primary key for future
success. He is another guy that needs to
find a way to take his talent to the next level. He has the stuff so he needs to find a way to
become the pitcher he is capable of becoming.
An 18-game winner, it’s been said that he was probably a 12-13 game
winner on any other team. That’s
probably true. As the pitcher who took
the loss that sent the Yankees home for the season, I hope that he is able to
harness the frustration into a desire to come back stronger than ever next
The trade for Javier Vazquez was clearly a
mistake. As much as I wanted Javy to
succeed in the Bronx, I was fearful when I first heard the Yankees had
re-acquired him. Those fears turned out
to be justified. A free agent, there is
no way the Yankees will attempt to bring him back.
I am not quite sure what the future holds, but the
Yankees need to find a way to improve the pitching staff. The obvious target is Rangers ace Cliff Lee,
a free agent at the end of the season.
However, the Rangers will be making a very hard run at him after the
World Series and of course he will have a sentimental attachment to being part
of a World Series club. So, I’d have to
believe, at this point, that the Rangers have the advantage over the Yankees in
Antonelli/NY Daily News
Another potential target is Kansas City Royals
starter Zach Greinke, who the Royals intend to move. Any way you slice it, GM Brian Cashman has his
work cut out for him this off-season if he intends to bring the Yankees back to
a championship-caliber club. Age is not
the Yankees friend and they cannot win again if they remain status quo.
As for the World Series, I still think the
Philadelphia Phillies are the favorite.
I realize they are down 3 games to 2 to the San Francisco Giants, a
situation the Yankees failed to overcome.
But the difference is the Phillies pitching staff and the fact that the
remaining games are in Philly. Don’t get
me wrong, I’d love to see the San Francisco Giants close out the series and
advance. I live in the Bay Area and many
of my friends are Giants fans. I am also
a fan of Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti and would like to see him working
with the Giants pitching staff in the World Series. So, I’ll be cheering for the Giants but I am
fully aware the NLCS is far from over.
Lea Suzuki/The Chronicle
Congratulations to the Texas Rangers for reaching
their first World Series. I lived in
Dallas for 14 years and it was clearly a town dominated by the Cowboys. The Rangers were never successful during my
years there and the fans didn’t have the passion for the team that I saw
watching the ALCS this year. So, it is
clear that the baseball fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex are starving
for a winner and now they have their chance.
I never became fond of the Rangers while living there, perhaps because I
always went to the games when the Yankees were in town so I was constantly
rooting against them. However, my son is
a Rangers fan so he’s excited. When he
was about 2 or 3 years old, we were in a restaurant near the ballpark in
Arlington, Texas after a Rangers game.
Nolan Ryan was pitching for the Rangers at the time, and he happened to
be in the same restaurant with his family.
There weren’t too many people in the restaurant and my son was wearing a
Rangers cap we had bought at the game. My
son walked over to Nolan and asked for his autograph. Nolan took my son’s hat and signed his name
on the bill. He still has that hat today
and it has been a prized possession. It
solidified the Rangers as my son’s team of choice despite my numerous attempts
to make him a Yankees fan.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
Well, now that baseball is over for me, I’ll have
to look to my other teams for hope.
However, the prospects do not look good at this point. The Minnesota Vikings are struggling at 2-3
and have to play the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots in the next two
weeks. Brett Favre has not been healthy
and is starting to look like a 41-year-old quarterback, not to mention the
recent text messages that have been a distraction. As for the San Jose Sharks, the season is
early but they just won their first game in the United States after a few
consecutive losses following the opening game victory in Stockholm. I think they’ll be there at the end but the
competition in the West is tough this year.
I always have the Los Angeles Lakers but they’ll have their share of
challenges this year too.
So, when do the baseball winter meetings start?…
Nineteen and counting…
After a season of overusing words like stellar and
incredible when trying to describe CC Sabathia, he continued with more of the
same in one of his best pitching performances of the year in defeating the
Oakland A’s 5-0 this afternoon in the Bronx.
The win moved CC’s record to 19-5, and put him in outstanding position
to win 20 games in his second year with the Yanks.
Over the years, the Yankees have had some great
free agent signings and some not so great.
CC has clearly put himself in the Top 5 best signings in just under two
years in New York. Then there’s A.J.
Burnett. Oh well, nobody’s perfect…except
Sipkin/NY Daily News
CC’s game today was a one-hit shutout. Fortunately, the hit occurred early in the
game on a legitimate hit (single in the second inning). It would have been much worse had the hit
happened late in the game. September 1st
call-up, Jonathan Albaladejo pitched the 9th to secure the win and
shutout for CC.
The game also featured two home runs by the
recently rejuvenated Curtis Granderson.
He has definitely found his sea legs in New York, and is starting to
play like the player the Yanks thought they were getting when they acquired him
from the Tigers. I am sure that New York
City is starting to look much better through Grandy’s eyes now that his bat is
starting to catch up with his reputation.
With the win, the Yanks moved to 1 ½ games up on
the Tampa Bay Rays, who had the day off.
They remained 8 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox, who defeated Buck
Showalter and Baltimore Orioles 6-4. I
would never count the Red Sox out, but on September 2nd, I certainly
feel much better about an 8 game lead than I would if it were only 2 or 3 games
(okay, that’s a statement of the obvious…sorry). This has been a tough year for the Sox, and I
would never seek to found glory in their injuries. The latest word has Dustin Pedroia seeking
season-ending foot surgery in an attempt to avoid any setbacks that would cause
him to miss time in 2011. Pedey is a
gamer so I am sure that whatever decision he makes will be in the best
interests of both he and the Red Sox organization.
Jim Davis/Boston Globe
It’s hard to believe the NFL season is upon us once
again. My team, the Minnesota Vikings,
will once again be quarterbacked by 20-year vet Brett Favre. I have my doubts if Favre will be able to
last the entire season so hopefully Tavaris Jackson has grown during his time
as a backup to Favre. The team may not
have needed T-Jack in 2009, but he’ll see plenty of the pigskin in 2010.
My hockey team, the San Jose Sharks, now have the
reigning Stanley Cup goalie in the fold.
Antti Niemi won salary arbitration against the Chicago Blackhawks and as
a result forced himself out of Chicago’s budget. They subsequently severed ties with Niemi and
signed former Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco.
The Sharks signed Niemi on a one-year, $2 million deal. He’ll join another free-agent signee and
fellow countryman Antero Niittymaki plus Thomas Greiss in net. Former goalie Evgeni Nabakov, who the team
cut ties with earlier in the off-season, signed to play in Russia. Will this be the year the Sharks finally make
the Stanley Cup? Well, I certainly hope
Roger Clemens deserves jail time…
Aroldis Chapman is the real deal. The Cincinnati Reds are having a terrific
season and they’ve just added an ace arm to the bullpen for the stretch
run. There must have been collective
groans in St. Louis when the Reds called Chapman up from the minors. Here’s hoping that he has a much better run
than fellow rookie pitcher Stephen Strasburg who is now on the shelf for 12-18
months due to Tommy John surgery. I
still wonder why the Yankees never entered into the bidding for Chapman. I hope they don’t make the same mistake
when/if Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish comes available.
I was really surprised to see Andy Roddick make
such an early exit from the US Open in Flushing Meadow, NY (second round). I’ve been to the US Open a number of times,
and Roddick has always been a fixture in the later rounds. This year, he’ll be watching from the stands
like the rest of us.
Manny Ramirez looks pathetic in a White Sox
uniform. It wasn’t that long ago that I
admired Manny the Hitter, but I have to admit that I’ve been turned off by his
ugly departures from both Boston and Los Angeles. Chicago may be excited for now, but it is
inevitable that they’ll be glad to see Manny leave town.
Is it really September?…
The Tampa Bay Rays and the Boston Red Sox are winning, and the Yankees, um, not so much…
The proverbial “bump in the road” has occurred which derailed the great start to the season. Of course, the Yankees are just a winning streak away from corrective action. However, the recent days have not been fun.
Jeff Zelevansky/NY Post
After defeating the New York Mets on Friday night behind the brilliant, but injury-shortened, effort of Javier Vazquez, the Yankees and Phil Hughes lost on Saturday night, 5-3. Hughes has mirrored the team play…great start followed by recent lackluster performances.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Tonight, the Yankees trail the Mets 6-0 in the top of the 7th inning. There is still lots of time for the Yankees to rally. But this team is definitely missing the “spark” right now. I am not sure who’ll provide that spark, but perhaps the impending return of centerfielder Curtis Granderson will help. While I enjoy the energy and excitement that Francisco Cervelli provides, a starting lineup that includes Cervelli, Juan Miranda, and Randy Winn/Marcus Thames/Kevin Russo definitely does not stir memories of Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Melky Cabrera.
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Starting pitching, once a strength, is now suspect. There was a time when the only slug in the rotation was Vazquez, and now he’s the only shining star. CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes have all left pitching lines that they just as soon forget. How quickly things have changed. I recognize that this mini-slump is temporary, but so far, the Rays have not showed they are susceptible to these types of slowdowns. Therefore, it is imperative for the Yankees to break out of this slump soon. Otherwise, they’ll soon find themselves looking at the backs of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox.
Boston Globe Staff
As much as I hate to do it, I have to give a tip of the cap to the Boston Red Sox. Not only did they beat the Philadelphia Phillies today with Tim Wakefield, they beat Roy Halladay. It was an impressive win by Julia‘s guys…
Well, the Fat Lady did sing today. The Chicago Blackhawks swept the San Jose Sharks in the NHL Western Conference Finals. Another disappointing finish for Joe Thornton and Company. Good luck to the Blackhawks as they move on to the Stanley Cup Finals to face either the Montreal Canadiens or the Philadelphia Flyers. I am left to wonder what could have been. But then again, that’s a frequent feeling when you are a fan of the Sharks and the Minnesota Vikings… L
It was a dream…
Yes, that’s it! Wednesday and Thursday did not happen. The Tampa Bay Rays didn’t come into the Bronx and spank for the Yankees for two days. They didn’t race to their 30th win of the season and show a superior starting rotation , did they?
Antonelli/NY Daily News
Maybe if I go back to bed, when I get up it will be Wednesday morning, the Yankees can re-do those two forgettable days. Seriously, the Rays didn’t just beat the Yanks, they stomped them. The final scores are deceiving (10-6 and 8-6) only because the Yankees made it close in the final inning of each game.
The games told me that the Rays need to do something about their bullpen, but otherwise, they are a complete team. Given the injury trouble the Yanks have encountered, it’s tough to compete with the Rays when you are playing at about 80% strength. That’s not an excuse though because the Yankees starting pitching was just, well, bad.
Kevin R. Wexler/The Record
Hopefully, the Yankees can re-group and play more competitive baseball the next time they face the Rays. This has been a tough stretch but it was bound to happen with the adversity the team has faced (injuries, playing every day, added pressure on schedule caused by rainout in Detroit and subsequent double-header, etc.).
In both games, the Yankees did try to launch 9th inning rallies, scoring 4 runs in the first game and 2 runs in the 2nd. It was not quite enough, but at least the team showed fight until the end.
Tonight, the Yankees were in Flushing Meadow to face the New York Mets at CitiField. After facing the Rays and Red Sox, it is probably a welcome relief to see the Mets who have struggled this year.
It was a great night for Javier Vazquez until a hand injury ended his night. With, by far, his best performance of the season (6 innings of one hit, no run ball and 6 strikeouts), Javy picked up his third win of the season. He was at home in a National League ballpark. The argument is that he is a better NL pitcher than AL, and on this night, he proved it. Hopefully, the hand injury is not serious, and this start catapults Vazquez back to respectability with Yankees fans. I know that he can pitch so much better than what he has regardless of the stadium location, so if he can right himself mentally, he’ll be okay and will provide the lift the rotation needs.
Kevin P. Coughlin/McClatchy
In addition to Javy, the star of the game was a name not many people know, Kevin Russo. The infielder was recently called up from the minors, and his double in the 7th inning scored Nick Swisher and Francisco Cervelli.
I was a bit concerned when Joe Girardi called on Joba Chamberlain in the bottom of the 7th, but he did his job. Joba, who I blamed for the losses to the Twins on Sunday and Red Sox on Tuesday, was very effective. He went 1 2/3 innings and had three timely strike outs. Now, Mariano Rivera is a different story. He continues to struggle. The shut-out was lost when Jason Bay and Ike Davis hit back-to-back doubles. But he settled down to get David Wright on a ground out to end the game. The Yankees won, 2-1.
The night was further enhanced by Boston and Tampa losses. The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Red Sox, 5-1, while the Houston Astros defeated the Rays, 2-1.
Steven M. Falk/Philly.com
Speaking of the Red Sox, the Yankees have signed minor league utility player Jeff Natale who was drafted by the Red Sox in 2005. The 27-year-old heads for Scranton/Wilkes Barre. It was also interesting to see three former Yankee relievers in the transactions column within the past day. Chad Gaudin was released by the Oakland A’s, who also outrighted Edwar Ramirez to AAA Sacramento, while the Washington Nationals placed Brian Bruney on waivers (which he has cleared). From World Series ring to what have you done for me lately…hopefully, the guys will re-surface in the bigs in the not-so-distant future.
Michael Stobe/US Presswire
It’s almost over for my San Jose Sharks. They lost tonight in overtime to fall down 3 games to none to the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL Western Conference Finals. I think I hear the fat lady warming up her vocal cords… L
Nhat V. Meyer/Mercury News
So, Brett Favre has told the Southern Mississippi baseball team that he’ll return to the Minnesota Vikings if they make the College World Series. Also, it was reported today that Brett had surgery on his left ankle and could be ready to play by training camp. I’ve suspected all along that he’ll be back. The team has been too nonchalant and these latest reports are signs that Brett intends to play. It still remains to be seen, but it is looking like we’ll see an encore performance by #4 in purple and gold. I am sure Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfels are thrilled…
Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune
Hey Javy, nice job! J
Simmons/NY Daily News
The agony of defeat…
It’s amazing how you can go from a very high “high” to a very low “low” in 24 hours. A night after a walk-off home run by Marcus Thames, he was a goat in last night’s 7-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox. His drop of Marco Scutaro’s fly ball in the 9th inning was a crucial blow that set the stage for Jeremy Hermida’s two-run double that gave Boston the runs it would need to win.
Tim Farrell/The Star Ledger
There were several goats in this loss. Thames didn’t shoulder the blame alone. You really have to start with the awful performance by Joba Chamberlain. On Sunday, he allowed the floodgates to open for the Twins and the momentum crushed Mariano Rivera. In many ways, it happened again last night. Chamberlain didn’t allow the runs in the 9th (Rivera did), however, the Red Sox had clearly taken the momentum of the game with the 4 run 8th inning to tie the score. I could tell after a couple of batters that Joba didn’t have it last night, but manager Joe Girardi stuck with Chamberlain to erase the 5-1 advantage.
Keivom/NY Daily News
The Yankees had their chance for late inning heroics but this time Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon closed the door. The Yanks were able to pick up a run on a Robinson Cano double in the bottom of the 9th. However, with the game-tying and game-winning runs on 2nd and 3rd, Juan Miranda grounded out and Randy Winn struck out to end the game.
The Yankees (25-14) fell another game behind the Tampa Bay Rays with the loss. The Rays, who are in town for a two-game series before the start of the weekend’s matchup against the Mets, beat the Cleveland Indians, 6-2 and are now 28-11. Unless Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera can return the bullpen to a strength, the series against the Rays will be very difficult to win. It’s too bad that a very strong performance by CC Sabathia was wasted last night, The Yanks could have used it against the Rays. Let’s hope that A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte are up to the task.
Antonelli/NY Daily News
On the bright side, I did somehow manage to win the latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. After the Sox had taken the 7-5 lead, we were tied with total runs (16 runs for both teams). But Cano’s 9th inning RBI gave the Yankees a total of 17 runs, so I won on that basis despite the split of the two-game series. So, stay tuned for a post by Julia which will detail the Yankees’ first World Series championship. She has assured me that she will use as few words as possible! Of course, I say when is Julia ever at a loss for words!
It was not a particularly good night for me as the San Jose Sharks lost to the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-2, to fall behind 2 games to none in the NHL Western Conference Finals.
At least Lee Dewyze gave a masterful performance on the American Idol stage so the night wasn’t a total loss. His rendition of Hallelujah clearly set him apart from his competition (Crystal Bowersox and Casey James), and as Randy Jackson says, he’s in it to win it. Unless American Idol is nothing more than a popularity contest, Casey James should be heading back to Texas tonight for an AI final pitting Bowersox against Dewyze. It should be a great one!