Results tagged ‘ St. Louis ’
After more than a year of speculation and news about the Albert Pujols contract negotiations, he shocks the world and accepts Arte Moreno’s $250 million to go to Anaheim. I guess you can blame the Yankees for this one. Don’t they always get the blame? If the Yanks hadn’t gone on a spending binge several years to secure the services of then-Angels first baseman Mark Texeira, the Los Angeles Angels would not have been in the market for a top shelf first baseman. Albert, of course, is more than top shelf, he is THE top shelf. Still, I was surprised by the move. The Angels have Mark Trumbo returning, a player they control, and a healthy Kendrys Morales. I am sure that there are other areas of the team that could have used upgrades.
The Angels did follow up immediately with the signing of top free agent pitcher C.J. Wilson. I had a feeling that Wilson would be headed to the West Coast despite the Miami Marlins pursuit of the former Texas Ranger. He leaves the top of the rotation for perhaps the #3 or #4 slot with the Angels. The Philadelphia Phillies have been recognized for the best rotation, but the Angels cannot be too far behind with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and now Wilson leading the rotation. I don’t know who the #5 starter is for the Angels off the top of my head, but does it really matter? You could probably go grab Mark Langston out of retirement and throw him in the rotation…it wouldn’t matter.
This has to be a reactionary move by owner Arte Moreno. The Los Angeles Dodgers are primed to re-capture the LA market once a reputable, financially-sound owner or ownership group takes control of the team. After being considered the class of the AL West for years, the Angels have become an understudy for the Texas Rangers. Today’s moves clearly re-establish the Angels as the class of the AL West, and perhaps of the American League.
I do feel bad for the St Louis Cardinals and their fans. As an iconic player, the fans deserved to see Albert play his entire career in St Louis. Stan “The Man” Musial is beloved to this day, and Albert is the first Cardinals player that could have rivaled Musial after his playing days are over. Now, Albert will never be automatically thought of as a Cardinal. He’ll carve out a legacy as an Angel, and will give us reasons to remember him in Anaheim. A very disappointing day for the Cardinals. No offense to Lance Berkman, but that’s a big drop-off from Albert.
The Miami Marlins had looked like the crown prince of the Winter Meetings with their acquisitions of Heath Bell, Jose Reyes, and Mark Buehrle, but they were torched on the last day by the Angels. It’s been a good off-season for the Angels, who earlier picked up a new backstop in Chris Iannetta.
Meanwhile, I can hear crickets at Yankee Stadium…
A little bit of nothing…
The Yankees did win the posting for Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima, but based on the reports I’ve read, the Yankees will have difficulty signing him. The leading speculation is that he’ll return to Japan for another season and then sign with the Boston Red Sox next winter. That would really stink if the Yankees lost a prospect to their bitter rival. But from Nakajima’s perspective, Boston could offer him a starting role at shortstop (something the Yankees could not do) and their manager has tremendous experience with Japanese players. The posting I want the Yankees to win is for pitcher Yu Darvish, but reports indicate the Yankees interest is lukewarm. Of course, that could always be a ploy to help keep posting bids down, but the lukewarm comments certainly proved to be accurate for the Yankees interest in C.J. Wilson and Mark Buehrle.
I remain hopeful that the Yankees have started the groundwork for a successful acquisition of a pitcher like Gio Gonzalez, John Danks, or Kyle Drabek. Brian Cashman may feel that he doesn’t need to do anything with a 97-win team, but I heard a GM on MLB Radio say that if you’re standing pat, you are getting worse. I agree that you need to consistently seek upgrades and for the most part, the Yankees stood pat last season. Catcher Russell Martin was huge, but at the time of the signing, it was very low key. Same with the signings of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. It’s been a very long time since Yankees fans have had a reason to feel great excitement and joy for a player acquisition like the Angels experienced today. Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are getting older and certainly not better…
I know, we’re Yankees fans, we want it all…
Go New York!…
Now that the NBA is back, I am at the crossroads. I’ve been a Los Angeles Lakers fan in recent years, primarily because of my appreciation for Kobe Bryant as a player. But as funny as this sounds as a Yankees fan, I am tired of backing a team that is always expected to win and often does. I want a team that has suffered so that when the team does win, there is greater satisfaction. As a result, I am switching my allegiance to a team that has my favorite player, Amare Stoudemire as well as my second favorite player, Carmelo Anthony…the New York Knicks.
First year in Minnesota, worst year in the history of the franchise…
Despite my relocation to Minnesota, I remain committed in my support of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. And despite their 2-10 record, I am still a Vikings fan. On the bright side as a Vikings fan, I won’t have to wait long to find out who the Vikings select in the NFL Draft in April 2012. At this point in the season, you’re pulling for losses, hoping the team can overtake the Indianapolis Colts for the worst record. But of course, that’s a moot issue if the Colts can’t win a game. This is probably one of the first years ever that I’ve accepted and embraced that the Green Bay Packers will win the Super Bowl. It’s easier to say that when your team was left for dead long ago.
I need one of my teams to step forward and win a championship. It’s been a drought since 2009, and I need something to cheer about!
Bobby Valentine’s hire…
I am still surprised that the Boston Red Sox ownership and management team did not have a clear plan of succession when they failed to back former manager Terry Francona at the end of the season. Sure, Francona left on his terms but the lack of support had as much to do with the decision as anything. So, if ownership felt that they wanted a change, they should have had a short list of potential replacements in mind. Theo Epstein moved more quickly in Chicago when they named Sox candidate Dale Sveum as their manager. The Sox search just felt “messy” to an outsider like me.
Still, they probably did as well as they could with the hiring of Bobby Valentine. There is no question that he is a superior tactician. He is very passionate, which is an attribute that I have always admired. I cannot say that I’ve been a Bobby V fan in my life. I lived in Dallas during his years as the manager of the Texas Rangers. But I respect his knowledge, skills and high desire to win. At different points during the last few years, there have been times he has been mentioned as a possible Yankees manager. You don’t have to like the guy personally if he can get the job done. I think one of my friends referred to Bobby as “swarmy” and it’s a good description. Nevertheless, I am sure that Bobby will prove himself worthy of the Red Sox Nation and they’ll love him. Meanwhile, we’ll just continue our loathing of him which fits since he is now with a bitter rival.
I would like to see if Bobby can have a positive impact on pitcher Jon Lester. Lester has been one of my favorite players, despite his uniform. He is an ace, and capable of carrying the high expectations that go with it. 2011 was a regression year for Lester so hopefully he’ll get back on track in 2012 and clearly establish himself as the leader of the Red Sox rotation.
…and Terry Francona’s ire…
In recent years, I admittedly lessened my dislike for the Boston Red Sox and it was primarily because of my respect for manager Terry Francona. In my mind, Joe Torre had been the model of a superior manager, and the Francona mold was in the same class. I do not know the inner workings of the Red Sox organization, but I am still surprised that they didn’t support Francona based on comments Tito has made during interviews. I was even more surprised to hear that he had to defend himself against questions about painkillers during his interview with the St. Louis Cardinals. Here is a manager that won two World Series for an organization that had not won since 1918, or when Babe Ruth was still on the roster. It’s incredible to think of how many Red Sox managers failed where Tito succeeded. I think teams missed the boat in not aggressively pursuing Tito this off-season. Hopefully, teams won’t make the same mistake next year.
All quiet on the Western front…
The days leading up to the Baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas seem so incredibly quiet compared to life under the Boss. While I recognize that part of it is posturing by the Yankees to avoid overpaying for players, there is the realization that this is a different ownership group even if it is still “in the family”. The Yankees did not really make any notable moves last season outside of signing catcher Russell Martin and bringing in pitchers Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. To fail to upgrade the team this year is a mistake in my opinion. Last year’s roster was easily defeated by the Detroit Tigers in the play-offs. While I realize that anything can happen in a short series, I didn’t have the sense or “feel” that the Yankees were going to prevail. It almost seemed as though it was inevitable the Yankees would lose. That’s a bad feeling. The team needs bench or role players that can come through like Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui used to, and they need help at the top of the starting rotation behind CC Sabathia.
I hopeful that the team can re-sign Eric Chavez, Andrew Jones and Luis Ayala. Chavez is a perfect fit behind Alex Rodriguez, assuming that he can stay healthy, and Jones was a great fourth outfielder if he is content with resuming that type of role for the upcoming season. Ayala seems to be garnering much attention with at least six teams interested.
I like the one rumor that I heard about the Yankees possibly being interested in Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Kyle Drabek. He would definitely be a pitcher that I’d target if I were the GM. As a fan, the trade of Doug Drabek hurt at the time and it hurt even more when Drabek went on to achieve great success with the Pittsburgh Pirates. While acquiring Kyle Drabek has nothing to do with his father as he has great potential on his own right, it would be nice to have the son of Doug Drabek in the organization. Interestingly, the Yankees had obtained Doug Drabek in a trade with the Chicago White Sox for shortstop Roy Smalley. If they had held onto him that trade would have been remembered as one of the Yankees better trades. As it was, the Yankees traded him to the Pirates for Rick Rhoden, who was serviceable but not great.
Of the free agent pitchers, I am still most interested in Mark Buehrle. I think he’d fit perfectly into the middle of the Yankees rotation. I like C.J. Wilson but I can understand the team’s apprehension given the dollars that have been mentioned to sign him. If Yu Darvish is posted later this off-season, I really would like to see the Yankees be aggressive in pursuing him. I am convinced that he’ll have greater major league success than Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka. The negative is obviously the cost of the posting fee that it will take to get the job done. The Red Sox paid over $51 million for the rights to negotiate with Dice-K, and apparently, it will take a similar if not higher number to land Darvish.
If the Yankees were to include outfielder Nick Swisher in a trade for a starting pitcher, they’d need to find a replacement. As a fan, I am always on the lookout for the next Paul O’Neill type of trade to fill the void…acquiring a talented young outfielder with much promise who has yet fulfilled those expectations. It’s a high risk move, but as in the case of O’Neill, high reward. Curtis Granderson has thrived in a Yankees uniform despite the sluggish start, and it’s better to catch a player before he hits the upward arc of his career in terms of cost. If the Yankees tried to acquire Granderson from the Tigers today, there’s no way that they could get it done with Ian Kennedy, Austin Jackson and Phil Coke (and that’s with Kennedy being mentioned in the NL Cy Young race this year).
Brace yourself, here comes Roller-Coaster Week!…
The upcoming week is always my favorite week of the off-season. The Hot Stove League is at its pinnacle. Even if the Yankees do not do anything, it is still a thrilling ride. It’s fun to talk and think about all the potential possibilities, even as far-reaching as some may sound. My primary wish is for the Cardinals to get their long-anticipated deal with Albert Pujols done so that we can move on to other storylines. There’s no way that he is going to Chicago or Miami, and at the end of the day, he is and always will be a Cardinal.
My preferred landing spot for Yankees catcher Jorge Posada, if he decides to continue playing, is the Miami Marlins. I do not want to see him go to the Mets, Red Sox, or any other AL East rival including the Tampa Bay Rays.
Good move, Bad move…
The Los Angeles Dodgers are my favorite National League team, although I do not have the passion for the team or the sense of loyalty that I hold for the Yankees. My affection for them began when Joe Torre was named manager (previously I had considered the San Francisco Giants as my NL team) and it has continued with one of my all-time favorite players as the current Dodgers manager, Don Mattingly. I am dismayed with the ownership situation and do not have any respect for Frank McCourt, but I am optimistic that the sale of the team will restore the luster of the storied franchise.
While it was good for the Dodgers to lock up outfielder Matt Kemp long-term, I do question the move to sign free agent pitcher Chris Capuano. The cost was too great ($10 million for two years) for a journeyman pitcher who is average to average-minus with no upside. If this move prevents free agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda from returning, then it’s an even greater mistake. I don’t know how much it will cost to sign Kuroda and I realize that he is 37, but he’s still a better pitcher than Capuano.
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out…
I was not excited when the Minnesota Vikings trade a 6th round draft pick to the Washington Redskins for QB Donovan McNabb before the season started, but I did realize the team needed a veteran presence. McNabb was a failure for the Vikings, and I was glad to see the team finally cut bait with his release this past week. I am not convinced he can thrive in any environment, contrary to what head coach Leslie Frazier may say. I think the Vikings simply found out what the Philadelphia Eagles knew and what the Redskins found out last season. He’s done. I was pleasantly surprised to see QB Sage Rosenfels return as the third string QB after his release from the Miami Dolphins. It’s not that I expect Rosenfels to take any regular season snaps this time around, but he’s a good insurance policy and allows the Vikings to continue to use second string QB Joe Webb in a variety of roles.
It’s tough when your favorite football team is playing so bad that you actually hope for losses to ensure a high draft pick. The Vikings are only two games behind the Indianapolis Colts in the sweepstakes for Stanford QB Andrew Luck. I am a fan of Vikings QB Christian Ponder, but even I would gladly take Luck over Ponder. So, with the Denver Broncos playing the Vikings today, all I can say is ‘Go Tim Tebow!’ as a way to bring good “Luck”!…
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…
The 2nd winningest team in baseball history…
Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals for their World Series championship over the Texas Rangers. It was a thrilling World Series, especially the three home run game by Albert Pujols and the edge-of-your-seat Game 6 that saw the Cards eliminate two 2 run deficits with two outs and two strikes in the 9th and 10th innings. The Cardinals now have 11 World Series Championships, only 16 more needed to catch the Yankees…
2005 Astros and 2010 Yankees were nice, but…
A year after experiencing play-off failure with the Yankees, Lance Berkman achieved his first championship and played a significant role for the team. I wish the Yankees could have seen the Berkman that played in 2011, rather than the 2010 version, but it wasn’t meant to be. Berkman made the right choice in selecting the Cardinals over the Rangers in the off-season.
I kept wondering how Arthur Rhodes felt after spending the majority of the 2011 season with the Rangers before being released in August, only to sign with the Cardinals and help them to the championship over his former team. Sweet vindication…
I liked the Cowboys, Mavericks and Stars…
I lived in Dallas for 14 years, however, I could never embrace the Rangers. I am not quite sure why. I don’t care for the Arizona Diamondbacks after living in Phoenix, but I can attribute that to how rudely fans treated me during the 2001 World Series. I am not a rude, “in your face”, obnoxious type of fan, but that’s how I was treated simply for wearing a Yankees cap. Still, I am not sure why the Rangers bother me, but I just am not a fan. I would prefer to see any of the AL West teams succeed over the Rangers. So, I did take some satisfaction that the Rangers were SO CLOSE, but ultimately SO FAR AWAY in their quest for the organization’s first championship. Of course, they’ll be a contender again next year so I recognize that their time may still come.
A signing that makes sense…
It was good to hear that the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman have apparently agreed on a new three year deal that will be announced on Monday. Wrapping up Cashman before the expiration of his contract was essential for the Yankees to have a successful off-season. Next up is re-signing CC Sabathia before he exercises his opt-out by midnight on Monday. I really do not want to see CC hit the open market because it will take away the Yankees focus in finding other pieces to the puzzle.
Plus another signing that would make great sense…
As for free agents, I do hope the Yankees pursue C.J. Wilson. I recognize that he lost Game 7 of the World Series, however, he is a talented pitcher and I think that he’d excel under pitching coach Larry Rothschild. A top three rotation of Sabathia-Wilson-Nova would be very competitive. It’s too bad that Phil Hughes took such a step back this year, and that A.J. Burnett continues to under-achieve. But I really do not want to go another year relying on the aging arms of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. The Yankees have to improve the rotation, and I do not believe that Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos are quite ready for the challenge yet.
Admittedly, a sense of relief…
Congratulations to Jerry DiPoto for being named the new GM of the Los Angeles Angels, but I still think it’s an injustice that Kim Ng doesn’t get stronger consideration. She is as well qualified (if not more) than her male counterparts, and she’ll make a terrific GM one day. If I owned a team, she’d certainly be on my short list of people to hire. As for DiPoto, it had seemed like he was destined for the Baltimore Orioles just a few weeks ago. I don’t think they’re top candidates, but I’d hate to lose either Billy Eppler or Damon Oppenheimer to an AL East rival. So, hopefully, the O’s will either go with an internal candidate or select someone without ties to the Yankees. I do hope that Eppler and Oppenheimer get recognized for their great contributions, but I’d prefer to see it happen outside of the division (well, except for the Rangers).
Have we seen the end of the term ‘Lovable Losers’ in Chicago?…
I have to admit that I am anxious to see how Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer put their stamp on the Chicago Cubs. I hope it doesn’t involve signing free agent slugger Albert Pujols, whom I really hope finishes his career in St. Louis. But someone like Prince Fielder might make great sense for the Cubs. I am sure that they’d love to find a way to get out from under Alfonso Soriano’s contract. While I can’t say that I am thrilled about Alex Rodriguez and view the weight of his contract as an albatross, the Yankees made the right decision in parting with the free swinging Soriano and of course it eventually opened a spot for the Yankees true MVP, Robinson Cano. I expect Epstein to be aggressive and it will be interesting to watch the 2012 Cubs take shape. I just don’t see how manager Mike Quade survives, but I could be wrong. I believe that Ryne Sandberg would be the best field general for the Epstein regime.
My favorite NL team continues to be the Los Angeles Dodgers, primarily because of manager Don Mattingly, but I’ll definitely be pulling for the Cubs as well. I would like to see them win a championship in my lifetime, well, so long as the opposing team is not the Yankees.
Bright Lights, Great City…
When the Minnesota Twins played their final home game at the end of the regular season, I knew that I was going to miss the magical lights of Target Field from my downtown Minneapolis home. I don’t know why, but the lights were on at the stadium a few days ago and it is amazing how much they enhance the already beautiful Minneapolis skyline. I am looking so forward to the lights next April. However, I recognize that there is still about 50 to 80 inches of snow that stand between me and those lights. Let the Hot Stove League begin…
What’s on TV?…
With the Yankees at home for the year and an AL team that I don’t care for still playing, I have to admit that I have not been watching the World Series this year. Of course, that cost me the chance to watch history last night as Albert Pujols showed why he is a living legend with three home runs, ala Reggie Jackson. Somehow that huge contract that he’ll get in the off-season just got a little bigger. I am not saying that the Yankees should try to sign Albert (I’m satisfied with Mark Teixeira at first and feel that the money is better served for weaker areas like starting pitching), but the Yankees do need someone like that who is capable to singlehandedly taking over a game. I have no doubt that Robby Cano is that type of player, but with the deteriorating skills of Alex Rodriguez, it puts so much pressure on the rest of the lineup to pick up the slack.
Back to Albert, I do hope that he continues his drive and helps deliver another world championship to the city of St. Louis. As much as I would like Albert on my team, I really hope that the Cardinals do what it takes to keep him in the organization for the duration of his career. To this day, Stan “The Man” Musial is still a huge part of the Cardinals and their history, and Albert would have that same impact for years to come. If he departed and played a few years for, say, the Chicago Cubs, it would definitely taint his Cardinals legacy.
If there are no concerns, why am I concerned?…
I keep hearing that there are no concerns about getting a new contract in place for GM Brian Cashman, but as each day passes and we draw closer to the end of the month, I do grow a bit more concerned. Given how difficult the Derek Jeter negotiations were last year, what if the team tries to short pennies on Cash? What is Plan B if Cashman opts to leave? With Damon Oppenheimer and Billy Eppler talking to other teams, the best in-house talent could be gone. I doubt if both of those guys leave and from the sounds of it, neither one is the leading candidate for the Angels GM job. Still, a team could turn to one of them. I’d really prefer to go to Oppenheimer or Eppler should Cashman leave in order to maintain the continuity within the organization. That’s very similar to what the Red Sox will be doing by promoting Ben Cherington to GM to replace Theo Epstein.
Can he replicate the success of Larry Lucchino?…
I do wish Theo Epstein and soon-to-be GM Jed Hoyer the best of luck in Chicago as they try to end the World Series drought for the Cubs. I know that the road is much more difficult than it was when Epstein became the Red Sox GM, but I’ve certainly learned to never under-estimate Theo. He has made his share of poor decisions (such as signing John Lackey), but that only means that he is not afraid of making difficult decisions. Some will pan out, some will not. I am sure that there are a few moves that Brian Cashman would like to undo. But I’d rather see a GM make the bold moves and potentially uncover great talent and chemistry for the betterment of the team. Given that Theo will be bringing a few of his guys to Chicago, I wonder when manager Mike Quade gets the ax. It would be interesting to see if Theo and Jed would go for a top managerial candidate with Red Sox connections like DeMarlo Hale or go to a Cubs legend like Ryne Sandberg. I think either move would be sound should they decide to part ways with Quade.
It’s only money…
Put me in the category of those who would like to see the Yankees pursue Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. I know that the past success of Japanese pitchers has been mixed, but I really feel that Darvish is a special talent. He would like great in the middle of the rotation. I am also anxious to see what pitcher Hector Noesi can do in winter ball. As much as I thought Freddy Garcia did everything asked of him, I’d really rather see the Yankees develop a younger arm in the rotation. Just like last year, A.J. Burnett will come to camp as a question mark. Plus, there’s the potential that CC Sabathia opts out and takes an offer from another city despite how well he has adapted to New York. I have come to not rely upon Phil Hughes, so that means the only certain reliable starter at the moment is Ivan Nova. I would aggressively go after Rangers starter C.J. Wilson regardless of whether CC stays or goes. I wish the Yankees could find a way to unload Burnett, but it’s probably not going to happen. The Red Sox will probably have better luck getting rid of John Lackey.
You have the right to remain silent…
As a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan, I’ve faced my share of disappointment over the years. I have never had to deal with losing Super Bowls like I did as a kid, but that’s only because the team has never been back. I think character is a quality component to building team chemistry and unity, and the Vikings have had more than their fair share of poor off the field decisions. Now we have the latest news that starting cornerback Chris Cook is in jail for the weekend on domestic assault charges. This is very disappointing news.
The Vikings certainly have their hands full this weekend as they will be facing the undefeated Green Bay Packers with a rookie QB (Christian Ponder) making his first NFL start. It looks to me as if the deck has been stacked against Ponder, but hopefully, he’ll show why he was a surprise, but great, early selection in the first round of the last NFL Draft.
Waiting for the Hot Stove League to start…
I think the longest point in the off-season for a Yankees fan is from the day the team exits the play-offs until the conclusion of the World Series. The shorter that gap, the better. Unfortunately, it was not to be this year with the team’s departure after the opening series loss to the Detroit Tigers.
The saddest part of 2011 is that the Yankees could have beaten the Tigers, and I think they would have been very competitive with the new AL League champion Texas Rangers. Texas pulled the perfect play-off card in getting the unexpected wild card Tampa Bay Rays who had been left for dead by everybody except themselves. In the ALCS, they avoided the Yankees, or the top clubs that didn’t make the play-offs, the Red Sox and the Los Angeles Angels. I have long been in favor of expanding the divisional series from 5 to 7 games, and this year is just another reason why. The Yankees, with the best league record, were unable to start against the weakest team in the play-offs, the Rays, because they are from the same division. So, that pitted the Yankees against the stronger Tigers in a shortened series. I am not saying that the Yankees would have won it had the series been in the 7-game format, but at least it would yield a more truthful result.
I am a former Dallas resident but not a Rangers fan…
I am not a fan of the Texas Rangers so it’s hard to feel any satisfaction in their team reaching the World Series for the second year in a row. However, my son is a Rangers fan and he’s certainly excited about the team’s success. We lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area when my son was small, and after a Rangers game, we had gone to a nearby restaurant for dinner. There weren’t too many people in the restaurant at the time, and my son must have been about 2 or 3. On the other side of the restaurant, then Rangers pitcher Nolan Ryan was having dinner with his family. We told our son who was at the table, and a friend walked him over to the table to introduce my son to Nolan. My son was wearing a Rangers cap, so Nolan took it off and signed the bill of the cap. My son is now almost 22 years old, and he still has that signed cap with him. He remains a Rangers fan to this day, despite his dad’s loyalty to the Yankees.
The team with the second greatest World Series success…
While I think the World Series will be competitive this year, I still think the National League will emerge victorious again. I don’t really see the Milwaukee Brewers getting past the St. Louis Cardinals, so it should be the Cardinals in the World Series against the Rangers. It’s too bad the Cardinals don’t have Adam Wainwright in their rotation, but the team is certainly on a mission. I think the Cardinals will end the NLCS with a Game 6 win tonight in Milwaukee.
Strike quickly with full force and focus…
I am anxious for the World Series to conclude so that we can move on to the Hot Stove League. I really hope the Yankees can re-sign GM Brian Cashman to a new deal before the end of the month and before the start of the free agency period. This off-season is about timing and the Yankees need to move very quickly to secure Cashman and hopefully re-negotiate with CC Sabathia so that they can turn to free agency and the trade market with full and heavy focus. My wish list for the off-season is an improved starting rotation, strength on the bench, and perhaps a heavy hitter to offset the declining production from Alex Rodriguez in the batting order.
But I thought beer and hot dogs were part of baseball…
I am not quite sure what to make of the situation in Boston. I think former manager Terry Francona has taken too much blame, and I was a little surprised to see GM Theo Epstein leave his hometown and his favorite team to take over as GM of the Chicago Cubs. Granted, he’ll have greater authority in Chicago, and it would be tremendous to be the GM responsible for the first World Series victory for the Cubs after their historic drought. But it leaves Boston without a manager or a general manager. Obviously, when the Red Sox move Ben Cherington to GM, they’ll maintain the continuity and Ben will do a fine job. However, the Sox will definitely have a new look in 2012. It will be interesting to see what moves they make with the roster in the off-season if they intend to place greater priority in character. Jon Lester has been one of my favorite pitchers, so I am hopeful that he is surrounded by better influences going forward.
Missing the view…
Living in downtown Minneapolis, I have to admit that I miss seeing the lights of Target Field at night. It created a great view from my place, and there’s definitely a void now that the ballpark lights have been shut off until next spring. So, as a newcomer to Minnesota, the obvious question to me as how many inches of snow will I have to deal with before those lights come on again? ;)
The Yankees are playing an elimination game, so of course, I need something to take my mind off the game! ;)
Maybe we’ll see the new White Sox manager run toward the Texas Rangers owner’s box in a fit of rage…
I was surprised to hear the announcement that former Yankees third baseman Robin Ventura had been named the manager of the Chicago White Sox. I think Robin’s a great guy and he should be a good manager, but he’s definitely the anti-Ozzie Guillen. I thought that Jerry Reinsdorf and company would go for a more experienced manager. Personally, Terry Francona would be at the top of my list but I am sure that Reinsdorf had good reasons for taking a chance with Robin.
I have not done any research to see what Ventura has been up to in recent years but hopefully he’s prepared for the rigors of managing in a big city with high expectations. If the Chicago Cubs somehow managed to land GM Theo Epstein and/or Terry Francona, it would put pressure on Ventura to produce quickly in the Battle of the Windy City.
Now you see them, now you don’t…
I was equally surprised to see the quick exit from the play-offs by the Tampa Bay Rays. After they successfully caught the Boston Red Sox in September and captured the Wild Card, I did think they were a team of destiny. They certainly have the starting pitching to contend, but it was not meant to be. Red Sox fans were so hoping for the ouster of the Yankees and Rays on the same night. Fortunately, they were disappointed. I really hope the Yankees get the chance to play the Texas Rangers in the ALCS to, hopefully, avenge the play-off loss last year. Texas has an incredible offensive machine, but they are not unbeatable.
Weren’t the Cardinals left for dead just a month or so ago?…
It is interesting that all division series, except Rangers-Rays, have gone the full 5 games. I don’t expect the St. Louis Cardinals to beat the Philadelphia Phillies, but they’ve certainly shown they can play on the same field. The Phillies remain the team I think will win the World Series, but I’d be foolish to underestimate the heart of the Cardinals. The Arizona Diamondbacks were able to dig out of a 0-2 hole against the Brewers, but I don’t really expect them to beat the Brewers in Milwaukee on Friday night. I think the NLCS will feature the Phillies and the Brewers, with the Phils advancing to the World Series.
The Vikings are dead…
Football has definitely not been fun this year as my team, the Minnesota Vikings, have lost all four games to open the season. Every game has been close, but the Vikings simply do not know either how to win or how to close out games. Is that the coach or the players? I really want to see Head Coach Leslie Frazier succeed, but I am not a big fan of QB Donovan McNabb (he will never again approach the success he enjoyed in Philly). Also, I was not a fan of Mike Singletary when he was coach of the San Francisco 49ers and now he has Leslie’s ear as his chief confidant and close friend. Perhaps Frazier would be better off without Singletary and with Christian Ponder as the starting QB…
Thanks for my iPod…
The Yankees and Detroit Tigers are getting ready to play Game 5 so I’d better cut this short. But before I go, I’d like to say my condolences to the family of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. His passing this week was difficult news to hear. Somehow it seems as though we’ve lost a great friend and the world will never be quite the same. He is missed by so many and rightfully so. When he stepped down as the CEO of Apple in late August, I didn’t realize that he was so close to the end. Nevertheless, he lived his life his way and on his own terms. He left a legacy for all of us to learn from. If we could accomplish 2% of what he did, we’d be wildly successful…
Whew, a series win!…
The Yankees were able to pull out a series win over
the Chicago White Sox, thanks to the great pitching of rookie Ivan Nova. Nova, who won his first major league game,
went 5 2/3 innings, giving up only one run and give hits. He walked one and struck out 7 White Sox
batters, and got help from the bullpen as the Yankees defeated the White Sox
2-1 on Sunday.
The series started with a loss on Friday night, as
Chicago drubbed the Yanks, 9-4. It was
another pathetic performance by A.J. Burnett, who is making the remaining years
on his contract look very painful for the Yanks at this point. It’s a difficult situation because the
Yankees do need him to win in October, so it is imperative for A.J. to put
August behind him and return to pitching like he did late last year.
In Saturday’s game, CC Sabathia didn’t have his
best stuff but didn’t need it as the Yanks put their bats on display in the
12-9 win. They had a big lead and had to
hold on late, but it still went in the win column.
The series MVP was clearly Marcus Thames, who
homered three times in the series including two on Saturday and once on
Sunday. He struck out in his only
appearance on Friday night, but clearly made up for it as he figured heavily
into both Yankee wins. At a time when
Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Lance Berkman are on the sidelines, you need
for others to step up and Thames certainly answered the call.
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT
Other heroes of the past three days include Nova for his great pitching on
Sunday, Mariano Rivera for just being himself in picking up two saves, and Eduardo Nunez who had 4 RBI’s on Saturday.
I wasn’t pleased to hear that Major League Baseball
is investigating Ivan Nova and pitcher Wilkin De La Rosa for allegedly
injecting each other B-12 shots at Double AA Trenton last season. Hopefully, the investigation will prove no
wrongdoing on Nova’s part and the substance was purely B-12, which is not a
It will be interesting to see what changes in the
rotation manager Joe Girardi makes upon the impending return of Andy
Pettitte. Javier Vazquez and A.J.
Burnett are clearly the more accomplished and experienced starters, however,
they have been unable to match the recent consistency of Dustin Moseley and
Ivan Nova. I remain hopeful that Vazquez and Burnett will
return to the success they achieved earlier in the season, but for now, it is
good to know that others are there to help the team during times of
Mark Teixeira has missed some playing time the past
few days with a bruised hand, but hopefully, he’ll be back when the Yankees
return to the Bronx on Monday night to face the Oakland A’s. With A-Rod (and Lance Berkman) still
sidelined, the Yankees definitely need Teixeira’s bat in the lineup. As the calendar prepares to change to
September, it’s time for the team to get on a roll and Tex is obviously a key
Congratulations to Albert Pujols for his 400th
home run last night. He is definitely
moving into the land of Legends, and we’ll look back one day and be very
appreciative that we were able to see him play.
As much as the media would love to see Albert play in New York, I feel
that it is only right for the St. Louis Cardinals to find a way to ink their
superstar to a long-term deal. I
remember attending my first major league game as a kid at the old Busch Stadium
and running into former Cardinal great Stan Musial. Musial means so much to the Cardinals
organization, and of course, Pujols is in the same category. It would be wrong to see him wear anything
other than a Cardinals uniform.
Scott Rovak/US Presswire
I can’t believe that I am actually pulling for the
Tampa Bay Rays to win tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox (which would
keep the Yankees in a first place tie with the Rays). But then again, there is simply no way to
pull for the Red Sox…