I Still Have A Chance!

Ok, so my childhood dream of playing for the Yankees didn’t work out, but this news from Peter Abraham makes me think I still have a shot.  For instance, when I compare myself to Billy Crystal I find that:

We are both too old for rookie ball.

We were both born in New York.

We both love the Yankees. 

We are off to a good start here, right?

But then again, Billy Crystal is a movie star and I am not (yet).  

Ok, points to Billy, but I still have an ace up my sleeve….

I have never appeared in a movie wearing a Mets hat.   

So, I think this should be a done deal.  Billy and I are practically the same and while he has the fame, I have the non-Mets hat thing on my side.  Makes sense, doesn’t it? (a guy can dream, right?) 


One Week In

Well, the Yankees have played "real" games for a week now and you can start to see a couple of things developing in camp.

First, Joe Girardi has wiped the slate clean with Kyle Farnsworth.  This has caused a lot of hand-wringing in the press, but what is the downside to this move?  Sure, none of us believe Farnsworth will amount to anything, but Girardi wouldn’t be doing his job unless he tried something new with the guy.  Joe Torre was a guy who had his favorites and he played them, Kyle was not one of them and while it isn’t an excuse for his stuggles, it probably didn’t help.   Why not see if you can get something out of the guy with a new regime in charge? 

Next, the battle for the last couple of spots in the bullpen is getting very interesting.  Girardi has gone on the record as saying he wants a long reliever in the bullpen and with the need to keep the innings down for the kids, that makes sense.  So far, Jeff Karstens has taken the lead in securing that role with very good pitching in week one.  I woudl guess he is competing with Rasner and Igawa and I think he will beat them out.  You can’t question his toughness (remember hte broken leg) but his strikeout rates in the bigs have been lousy.  He is still only 25 and could be a decent arm in the pen, but the strikeouts bear watching.

Despite his good start, I am not sure if Billy Traber will make the team.  Traber is certainly good against lefties (career .613OPS against them) but he gets killed by righties (.894).  That is about as one-dimensional as you can get and the Yankees take away flexibility if they go that route.  Even with a long reliever, you want guys who can pitch innings in the bullpen and Traber won’t cut it in that department.

Lastly, you can expect the final spots on the roster to come down to the final days of camp.  Ensberg, Woodward, Lane and Green will battle it out for the bench with Ohlendorf, Veras, Albie, Bruney and Britton fighting it out for the bullpen spots.  One name that I didn’t mention is Brett Gardner.  If he keeps up his hitting, he will force his way into that conversation, even if the Yankees don’t need to take another outfielder. 



A Real Downer


Thanks to Greg for passing along a sad tale about Dwight Gooden.  If you didn’t get to see Gooden in 1985, you missed one of the most amazing seasons ever by a pitcher.  I am glad to hear the the oft-maligned Gary Sheffield has tried to help his Uncle and has set some money aside for him, but it sounds like Dwight doesn’t want to be helped.  I hope somehow, someway Gooden escapes the clutches of drugs and shows up at Shea Stadium this year to celebrate its final season. 

The Best News Of The Spring

Bobby Murcer got great news today.  Like I said before, Bobby is one of the gentlemen of the game and I hope we have him around for a long, long time. 

Dear Jonathan

Boston.com had this Jonathan Papelbon quote today:

"That situation, man, it’s a tough situation for me right now because basically I’m at a point to where I feel like the position I’m in, there’s a certain standard that needs to be put in place here," Papelbon said. "I feel like with me being at the top of my position I feel like that standard needs to be set and I’m the one to set that standard. And I don’t think that the Red Sox are really necessarily seeing eye-to-eye with me on that subject right now. Hopefully we can get somewhere.

"We’re chugging away at this thing and we want to get it done, believe me, and we can move on. At the same time, I feel a certain obligation to not only to myself and my family to make the money that I deserve, but for the game of baseball. Mariano Rivera has been doing it for the past 10 years. With me coming up behind him, I feel a certain obligation to do the same."

I guess all I can say is that he "deserves" whatever the Red Sox think he is worth and if that means he gets renewed and not signed to a long-term deal, well then, deal with it.  The Red Sox are operating within the confines of the CBA and have the right to do what they want with this deal.

Part of the game is proving you can last and if you can, you’ll get your payday.  Prior to that?  Take your apparent sub-standard pay of $400k and keep pitching.  As a fan of the Red Sox, please do not tell me what your responsibilities are to your family and please don’t tell me why you are worth substantially more money than than the $400k you were paid in 2007.  You aren’t going to find many people that sympathize with you on this one aside from your teammates, maybe.

Jonathan, you play baseball and make a ton of money.  If you can keep it up, you will make a ton more.  Save the sob story and please, please do not compare yourself to Mariano Rivera.  He’s been closing games at a high level for 11 years.  Let’s talk in a few years and see where you are.

Having gotten that off my chest, I remain a big Papelbon fan.  I have to assume some of this is posturing, but all I ask is that he not expect me to become indignant along with him.

I love the financial part of the game, I just hate it when players air their claims of poverty to the media.  It doesn’t sit well with me.

5th Spot and More

Just regurgitating some news:

Bartolo looked good in a bullpen session yesterday.  I don’t know about you, but I would feel much better letting him lock down the 5th spot in the rotation rather than let a one or more of Kyle Snyder, Julian Tavarez or a AAA option handle things.  Of course that means Clay Buchholz is not an option.  I think it might be best to start him in AAA having thought about it.  People are likely to have high expectations for Buchholz so starting in a lesser pressure situation might be best.  Of course, if the other options mentioned above don’t pan out, Buchholz is the next best option.

Jonathan Papelbon and the Red Sox are talking about a long-term deal.  Certainly it would be nice to lock him up for a while, but at the same time, they can’t let his current year overly influence further years pay.  In other words, don’t give him too much now so that he can lay claim to larger amounts later.

The Red Sox are at approximately $129mm in payroll.  That covers 28 players expected to make up the 25-man roster and 3 others that could start the season on the DL or extended spring training or the minors.  That means the Red Sox have saved up some room to A.)  Extend players starting this year (i.e. potential front load) or bring on additional talent prior to the 2 trade deadlines.

Last year the Red Sox had an official payroll of $143,026,214.

There is some great back and forth between the Red Sox and Yankees ownership groups the past few days.  Despite not thinking much of Hank Steinbrenner’s previous comments, I think he showed a sense of humor and class in discussing his relationship with John Henry.  I think if both sides keep this friendly, great.  If it turns in another direction though, I do wonder what that might mean for opposing fans in either Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park.

Don’t Let The Door Hit You….

According to Peter Abraham, the Yankees have made their first cuts of spring (already??) and Eric Duncan is one of the four.  (Eduardo Nunez, Austin Romine and Jesus Montero were the others) 

Ok, so the Yankees cut two catchers who are years away, a shortstop who is 20 and hasn’t passed A-ball yet and their former first-round pick Duncan on March 2nd?  If the fact that Duncan was left off the 40-man and exposed to the Rule 5 draft wasn’t enough to convince you that the Yankees think he has no future, this should.  Then again, I have to imagine that Duncan did something in camp that warranted this move.  Maybe he hit on Girardi’s wife?  Seriously, up until 2007 this guy was probably one of the top prospects in the system and now he gets farmed out after two games?  Someone please shed some light on this one because this destroys any remaining trade value Duncan might have had.  

(BTW- Duncan went 1-1 in his lone AB and he is 23 as compared to most of the other NRI’s in Yankees’ camp.  Seriously, what did he do?) 

Have you Heard This One?

I was driving home from work the other day and I heard one of the baseball guys on ESPN Radio’s 850AM.  It was one of their local (Boston) shows and the radio personality (I didn’t catch his name, but it isn’t important) said that the Red Sox sent Clay Buchholz to Athletes Performance Institute in Tempe as punishment?  This guy said that because he didn’t condition properly in 2007, they sent him to Tempe, AZ to learn him some conditioning skills.

All the reports I’ve read suggest he was disappointed when the Red Sox ended his season in September over fears of hurting his arm.  The sent him to Tempe to help him get better, but not for punishment’s sake.

Sorry for the lack of details (like who and when), but I thought it a controversial take on the matter.

Anyway, who’s ready for a 6:05 am game?  It’s just 23 days away until opening day for Boston.  As you know, they start things off in Japan with two 6:05am starts against Oakland, then fly back to LA to face the Dodgers for 3 more spring training games with starts times of 10:40, 10:10 and 4:10pm.  Then they continue with the regular season on April 1st and 2nd with two more games against the A’s with start times of 10:05 and 10:05pm.  Great, for those with kids and/or jobs, don’t count on watching a real Red Sox game until April 4th when they visit the Blue Jays for a 7:15 start, that’s game 5 of the regular season.

This schedule could really cause problems.  I hope they leave the guys not expected to start in Oakland so as not to screw with their internal clocks.

Anyway, slow news day with the Red Sox.  Spring training games this early really don’t offer much.  If a guy goes 4-4 with 4 HRs or a pitcher gets shelled, is is just an early spring training game.  I did read somewhere that Freddy Garcia was seen in camp.  Apparently the Red Sox were doing some testing to see if he was worth a contract offer.  Garcia had major shoulder surgery in 2007 and likely won’t be ready until mid-season.


I am just thankful that apparently I will always have part of a website to write for.  (scroll to the bottom)

Seriously, what ventures could Hankenstein be thinking about? Now, it’s no surprise that they aren’t blood rivals, remember that John Henry was a minority owner of the Yankees before he assumed control of the Marlins and then the Red Sox.  But, a Henry-Steinbrenner partnership would be interesting to say the least.

But, that’s not the real news of the day.  Check out this boxscore from Tampa.   The big news today was Giambi getting a HR off of Cole Hamels (lefty) as part of a big day.  Today’s game was on YES and while I didn’t watch it in total, I have to say Jason looked as fit as I have seen him.  Way too early to draw conclusions, but Duncan and Giambi have been the offensive stars of the first two (real) games. 


Here’s One I Never Heard Before

Within this article about Robinson Cano is a snippet that the Yankees offered Jorge Posada and Mike Lowell in 1997 to the Expos for Pedro Martinez.  Tyler Kepner is an excellent reporter, so I have no doubt that he is right, but it really surprised me to learn that. 

It made me wonder what would have happened if Montreal took that deal.  (And, if there are any Expos’ fans left they obviously wish they had a mulligan on that one.)  The Yankees would have opened 1998 an amazing rotation, but lacking some punch at catcher.  Furthermore, you would have to assume that the March 1998 signing of El Duque would not have happened. 

With no apparent succesor for Girardi at catcher, would the Yankees have jumped at the chance to acquire Mike Piazza that May when he was traded twice in eight days?  

Obviously, it is fun to speculate, but the biggest question is would the Yankees have won three-consecutive World Series with Pedro instead of Posada?

What do you think?