Swing And A Miss

Jim Rice was "misquoted"?  That’s what we are supposed to believe? 

I wish Rice has just stepped up to the microphone and said something like "I hate the Yankees.  Always have always will, after all I am a Red Sox.  So yeah, I took a shot at Jeter.  I played in the 70’s and 80’s when we weren’t best friends with each other.  The sight of Jeter and Pedroia talking amicably on the field makes me sick."

I would have respected something along those lines.  I would have respected if he has simply said "I apologize to Derek for mentioning him in that quote."  This approach is pretty lame. 

Did I Miss Something?

Yesterday was a day I knew I wasn’t going to see much baseball ahead of time.  With a bunch of things going on, I couldn’t carve out that window between 4pm and 7pm to watch the game.  In fact, I wasn’t even able to listen to the game.  So, my first and only encounter with Saturday’s game was when I turned on the TV at one point and saw it was 12-0.  Off went the TV and I quickly returned to my labours. 

All I can say is let’s hope AJ Burnett doesn’t have to pitch in Fenway in the playoffs.  Not sure what his problem is, but he doesn’t seem as comfortable there as he was in other uniforms.  Tonight will be an interesting game with both teams pitching their aces and a national TV game.  

Back late today.   

Billy Wagner

Forgot to mention this, but Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Red Sox have claimed Billy Wagner. For the same reasons Peter wrote about a day or so ago, the Red Sox would be wise to acquire Wagner.

The money in this case is not astronomical and he could potentially provide an adrenaline lift to the team. Even if he no longer throws 100 mph, he would be a decent risk in my book.

The teams have until 1pm Tuesday to hammer out a deal.

Mission Accomplished?

I kid, I kid, there are still two games to play.  But, in reality the Yankees did what they needed to on Friday with a win.  Now it’s a question of will they take the chance they have to really bury Boston these next two days?

Some notes from the game (some which I twittered so apologies if you have seen them)

Pettitte needed to do more, but the Yankees got lucky.

Bruney to Marte was a scary swap, but Marte really did show something there.

It is time to get rid of Mitre.  Especially when you consider that with Damon out early and Pena back in the minors, the Yankees had very little on the bench tonight.  13 pitchers is pointless and they have Gaudin, get rid of Mitre.

The Yankees have another favorable pitching matchup tomorrow, we will see what they do with it. 

Lastly, I think Jim Rice better take a mulligan on these comments.   It is grossly unfair to lump Jeter into a trio of A-Rod and Manny.  I would love to hear his reasoning. 

Brad Penny

I think Friday night’s game puts an exclamation point on just how bad Brad Penny has been for Boston this year. First off, does he really only have 2 pitches? A fast, yet wild, fastball and a hard curve he never uses on a consistent basis.

Is that really all he has? I don’t think I’ve seen anything else. Sure, his fastball is so wild that it is “unpredictable” as to just where it will go, but that isn’t a good thing unless your wildness is limited to the strikezone.

I really hope we have seen the last of Penny. With Tim Wakefield throwing a 5.2 inning, 2 hit, 1 walk, 1 earned run, 4 strikeout game tonight in Pawtucket tonight, the Red Sox really need to designate or trade Penny (I know, who would want him in a trade). Of course Penny isn’t the only one to blame in Friday night’s game, but he got things off to a terrible start. He put the Red Sox in an 8-1 hole which was just about enough to put the game out of reach.

Penny now has a 5.61 ERA. That’s the kind of ERA teams let a former superstar put up if he is just back from an injury or somehow is a sympathetic figure. Penny is neither of those and needs to go away.

Here We Go Again

After a day of rest the Yankees get ready to resume their rivalry with the Red Sox in Boston.  And, the teams are exactly in the same places they were 10 games ago with the Red Sox 6-1/2 games behind the Yankees.  That 6-1/2 games gives the Yankees a very simple goal for the weekend: don’t get swept. It really just boils down to that because even if they lose two-of-three they leave Boston ahead by 5-1/2 games.

But, the Yankees will certainly try and do more than that.  For what it’s worth, I think the Yankees have the matchup advantage in the first two games with Pettitte facing Penny and Burnett facing Tazawa.  Boston starts Beckett on Sunday, but the Yankees have C.C. so that should be a great game.  

The Red Sox will be primed to return the favor from two weekends ago and they really need to sweep to get back into the AL East race.  It should be a fun weekend and expect a lot of blogging and tweeting.  

Players I Don’t Miss

Let’s face it, you are not going to "love" every guy who wears your teams uniform.  Some of them are hard to root for and while you enjoy the success of the team, you would prefer other people made more of a contribution.

The reason I mention this is I just saw this story.   I am not sure who I liked less Sheffield or Randy Johnson, but both of them bothered me to no end.  I love the fact that Sheffield is getting paid $14 million this season by Detroit and he never even recorded an AB for them.  Now he thinks the Mets owe him a new contract. 

I am so glad he is the Mets’ problem right now.   

Claim Him

Jayson Stark at ESPN is reporting that the Mets have put Billy Wagner on waivers.  Wagner is earning $10.5 million this year and would receive a buyout from a claiming team of $1 million.  So, claiming him means a financial commitment of around 1/4 of his current salary ($2.75 million) and the buyout ($1 million) or around $3.75 million.

That’s a big number, but you get a lefty who earned over 100 saves from 2006-2008 and has 12 K’s in 8 minor league innings this year.  The Yankees have the highest revenues in the game and this is a guy they should use those on.  Wagner is hitting 93 on the gun again and he knows how to close.  Sure, you could risk letting him pass through waivers, but why not claim him?  It’s only money and it would improve the Yankees chances at a pennant this season.   

Gunpowder

When gunpowder was first used as a weapon, people were awed by its power.  But, attackers and defenders soon learned the downside to gunpowder.  It could blow up your opponent, but it could also blow you up.  Many a battle turned when one side had its gunpowder magazine blow up and change the fortunes of war.

I think of gunpowder when I look at David Robertson.  He is an incredible weapon out of the pen.  This season he has stuck out 13.2 hitters per nine innings and allowed only 27 hits in 35 innings.  Those are absolutely dominant numbers.  But, he has also walked 5.3 hitters per nine innings and as anyone who watched last night knows, he can lose the strikezone completely.

So, what could be an absolutely dominant setup guy is essentially a weapon you have to be very, very careful with.  You can’t trust Robertson when the game is tight because he might give you a strikeout or he might walk someone.  I don’t know how the Yankees fix that, or even if they can.  All I know is unless they do Robertson remains nothing more than an interesting pitcher to watch in a mopup role.   

A Fascinating Decision

Probably the toughest call the Yankees will have to make this offseaosn is what to do about Johnny Damon.  This article talks about his desire to stay in New York and the apparent willingness of the Yankees to let him stay. 

Austin Jackson is hitting .300 in the minors, but when you translate his stats to the bigs his line would be .265/.331/.391 that would be slightly below the average AL centerfielder who clocks in at .263/.329/.408.  The problem is, if you put Jackson in center, you then move Melky .266/.327/.420 or Gardner .275/.354/.400 to left where the average AL leftfielder is hitting .267/.339/.436.  That would essentially mean you have two positions with average or below-average production.  

And that is where Damon’s .281/.361/.517 line looks appealing.  However, there are two problems with bringing Damon back.  First, Damon’s numbers are vastly increased by the new stadium.  On the road he is hitting only .262/.330/.443, or pretty much average for a AL leftfielder.  Second, Damon’s defense has taken a step back this year, now it is slighly below league average and considering his age, it will probably continue to decline.

So, do the Yankees bring back a player who is going to cost you runs in left and also would clog up the DH spot?  It really depends on the alternatives and what his demands are.  If he is willing to do a short deal (two years max) at less money than he earns now, I think you bring him back.  It also wouldn’t be the worst idea to just offer him arbitration and if he accepts (a strong possibility because he would get a raise) you bring him back for one more year.  It’s still too early to answer this question, but it is going to be a big one once November rolls around.