Log Jam

Log Jam, as most of you know, is a delicious New England treat.  It is created by taking a roughly 35-foot pine and a 45-foot birch and mashing them together until you get jam…Log Jam.  It is very tasty on toast.

You can also make Log Jam by having an overpaid, under-skilled shortstop named Julio Lugo and trying to fit him on a major league 25-man roster with a more talented, younger  and much cheaper shortstop named Jed Lowrie.

When the Red Sox resume baseball activities Friday, they will quickly have to figure out what to do with Julio Lugo.  There has been much talk about this topic and the idea of a salary dump trade or an outright release of Lugo has been discussed.

No matter, Lugo is going to be gone.  We can discuss the good and bad of Lugo in depth, but he is not going to be part of this team.  The fact that journeyman Nick Green has been starting over a healthy Lugo is proof enough.

Right now, the Red Sox are just trying to find a taker.  Boston.com says they are just about willing to assume all of Lugo’s salary ($13mm over the rest of 2008 and 2009) for even a marginal/breathing prospect.

I’m not sure why any team would trade anything for Lugo as he is certain to be released and then be available at virtually no cost (assuming no line to talk to Lugo’s agents).

Imagine that, by the way, getting fired from your job and still getting $13mm.  That kind of money has the potential to be a multi-generational impact on a family.  Let’s say you net $6mm of that deal accounting for your agent, the US Government, the State of Massachusetts and union dues, that could be invested conservatively and earn, what, 4-6% over a mid-long term period of time (difficult in these low-rate times I know, but mid-long term).

That is serious interest that could fund many, many things and as long as no knuckleheads get control over finances, wow, a life changing event.  Then consider Lugo signed a $36mm deal and the net being much higher…just insane cash.  Now, if a knucklehead does get involved, yikes, get ready for business as usual for a family…and many lawsuits.

Back to the Red Sox, Lugo is going to be gone and the Red Sox are going to be better for it.  I’m not convinced Lowrie is 100%, but if he is, expect a hitter who can hit for medium power (15-20 Hr) and make a pitcher work at the same time.  In addition, he is no defensive liability.

Also, look for Clay Buchholz for a spot start Friday night.  I’ve heard this might be a "showcase" start for the Blue Jays so the Red Sox can trade for Roy Halladay, but I think this is more a showcase to see if he can help the Red Sox in 2009, thus allowing them to trade a starter for more offense.

Anyway, enjoy your New England Log Jam, so tasty.

Have I Told You Lately…

…that I love you?

Joe Madden, you could not have been a better All-Star game manager Tuesday night.  As a Red Sox fan, I cannot think of a better outcome.  Let me tell you why:

 – Josh Beckett and Tim Wakefield didn’t pitch.

 – Jonathan Papelbon threw only 10 pitches.

 – Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay combined to go 2-3 and Dustin Pedroia stayed home.

The All-Star break is always a bunch of fun and it is good for baseball, but for a fan rooting for a team in contention, there is always the worry of overuse or injury.  The Red Sox leave St. Louis in good shape.

Interesting to hear the players talk about meeting the President.  George Bush owned a baseball team, but Barack Obama seems to be far more the sports fan than any other President I can remember.  Not a political stance by any means, just an observation.  He trotted out with a White Sox jacket on, in St. Louis, and he seems to enjoy talking about sports in general.

You Really Want This Guy?

Ok, so big game and a 2-0 lead and Halladay can’t protect it?  This guy wouldn’t last two minutes in the Northeast!

(I kid, I kid)   

Interesting Take

Thought I would share this piece I found in the Toronto papers about the potential trade of Ray Halliday.

I would imagine Toronto would ask the Yankees for Hughes, Jackson, Montero and someone else in exchange for Halladay and that is way too high a price in my mind.  

But, you never know how these talks will progress.  Considering the state of the economy, teams that normally would bid on Halladay may be scared off.  The Blue Jays’ stance of not allowing teams to "open the window" with Halladay, may also hurt negotiations.  

Who knows what will happen, but I both Yankees and Red Sox fans should expect to be overwhelmed with Halladay stories between now and August 1st.   

Comments

Just wanted to respond via a post to an email I got about comments and why we require registration to leave one.

First off, we love comments, make as many as you like.  What we don’t love are spammers.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t need any drugs from a Mexican pharmacy and my wife would probably be upset if I ordered one of those Russian brides.  Those are just some of the offers we get many, many times on a daily basis here at YankeesRedsox.com.  We have had days with over 100 of these types (and much worse types) of comments and to prevent them from actually being posted, we require registration.

You can do that by creating a Type Key ID and Password and post under those or just put your comment up and we will approve it manually (usually a few hours later)  Maybe one day the internet will be free of these annoyances and maybe one day the Cubs will win the World Series.  You just never know.

Tuesday Trivia (All-Star Edition)

Ok, so a few questions today to get you ready for tonight’s game.

1- When was the last time the National League won the All-Star Game?

2- Who was the first Yankee to be named All-Star MVP?

3- Who was the last Red Sox to be named All-Star MVP?

BTW- check out Joel Sherman’s ideas on how to make the HR contest better.   Some are clever and I am all for aluminum bats if they put nets around the stands and use a pitching machine.  Otherwise it is just too dangerous. 

At The Break

I find context to be vastly underused by most reporters (and bloggers) in New York.  We spend way too much time reacting to the day-to-day triumphs and tribulations that we don’t look enough at the big picture, so let me put my spin on where the Yankees stand.

In 2008 they were 50-45 at the break having lost three-of-four to Toronto and Pittsburgh.  That team had Rasner and Ponson in the rotation and Molina as an everyday catcher.  Melky Cabrera was in center every day and hitting .247/.306/.350.  

In 2009 the Yankees are 51-37 just having been swept by the Angels.  Yes, there are some problems in the rotation right now, but other than that, what worries you compared to other teams?  Are Hughes and Rivera a great combination at the back of the bullpen?  Does the lineup have enough juice?   I would say yes to both questions and when you boil it down, isn’t it true that the Yankees simply don’t beat the Angels just lke the Twins don’t beat the Yankees? 

I am not trying to make light of the Yankees’ issues, but I also feel very differently about this team than the 2008 edition.  In 2008 I was questioning if the Yankees should buy or sell at the trade deadline.  There is no question about that in my mind now, the Yankees are in this to win. 

So, what do they need to do?  I think the biggest thing is finding another starter.  I am not buying Wang will be back soon and even if he does come back, will he pitch any better?  Throw in the fact that Joba is having major growing pains and Pettitte suddenly looks washed up (take away his first four starts and his season is really bad) and you need a starter.  Now, I am not suggesting they mortgage the future for one.  I don’t think they need to empty the farm for Roy Halladay.  I think they need a guy who can give them innings and therefore rest the pen.  Personally, I think that guy could be Aceves, but the Yankees seem set on bringing Mitre to the Bronx. I think Mitre will get eaten alive by the AL East.

So, if the Yankees insist on going that route, I hope Cashman is working the phones on a trade that costs little more than money.  For instance, would Arizona be willing to part with Doug Davis if the Yankees ate his remaining salary?  Davis isn’t going to light the world on fire, but he could probably give the Yankees 6-7 innings a start and an ERA around 4.50.  Davis is in the last year of a deal that will pay him $8.75 million so if the Yankees took on that contract I can’t imagine they would have to give up much of a prospect.  And while it is only the NL, he does have a 3.41 ERA this season. 

What Does Brett Tomko Have On Brian Cashman?

How do you explain the Yankees’ decision to send Albie to the minors and keep Tomko?  Now both players have ERA’s around 5.  But, since Albie was recalled he has pitched four scoreless with four K’s.  Tomko is 36, Albie is 26.  One of them might still have some potential.  The other one doesn’t and is on the decline phase of his career.

Chalk me up as clueless on this one.  I guess the Yankees just love Brett Tomko.   

 

A Boston Halladay?

As you should know by this point, Toronto is listening to offers for their ace Roy Halladay.  Without question, he’d look great in a Red Sox uniform, but is that the right move?

First, it is important to know he has a full no-trade clause and has one year left beyond 2009 on his contract, so an acquiring team would have him for about a season and a half.

The Red Sox, or any team, would have to come up with 2 top prospects and maybe a 3rd or a current major leaguer.  At least one of those prospects would have to be a pitcher.  The idea being Toronto would want to replace their ace with at least someone who could develope into an ace.  So Clay Buchholz, Lars Anderson and maybe Manny Delcarmen would be a starting offer.  The Red Sox certainly have the prospects, but do they need Halladay that badly?

Again, of course they need him, any team would, but all we’ve heard in 2009 is the glut of starters on the Red Sox.  With Beckett, Lester, Wakefield, Penny and Smoltz (and Matsuzaka ready to return in a month and Buchholz willing and able at Pawtucket), the Red Sox might be best off using their trading chips for help in their line-up.  Mike Lowell is not a guarantee and if he does not come back 100%, there is no back-up plan that is acceptable.  I’m sorry, but Kevin Youkilis at 3rd and Mark Kotsay at 1st won’t cut it.  Kotsay hits like a, well, a back-up.

I’d make an offer for Halladay offering some lesser talent and let Toronto say "no thank you" and then evaluate Lowell and company for the next 2 weeks and then focus on the biggest need.  If at that time it’s starting pitching that’s in need, and Halladay is still available, then upgrade the offer.  But I wouldn’t rush into a Halladay when there might be bigger worries elsewhere.

Also, the Red Sox have reportedly signed Cuban defector Jose Iglasias (not Julio’s son I’d be willing to bet) to an $8 million deal.  He is supposedly a smooth defensive shortstop, but his bat is questionable.  That’s a ton of money on a good glove (I hope these words haunt me).

Why Not?

I mentioned it the other night, but why wouldn’t the Yankees send Aceves to the minors today?  If they did send him, they would not be able to recall him until 10 days from the assignment. 

But, Aceves is not going to be able to help the Yankees until after the All-Star Break.  That means he will be out until at least July 17th, eight days from tonight no matter what you do with him.  If you send him down, he could return July 20th, or after missing three games he would have been eligible to play in.

When you add in the fact that the Yankees need a starter for July 21st and Aceves is the best candidate, what is the downside here?  Send Aceves to the minors and let him pitch there this week to build up his arm.  Get another pitcher for the bullpen in case you need him this weekend.   Pitch Aceves on the 21st with a bigger ptich count than he had today (65).  Seriously, why wouldn’t you do this?  Please chime in because I can’t figure this out. 

UPDATE: The Yankees are making a move according to the papers this morning, Mark Melancon is on the way up.  The only question is who is getting sent down.