Best read using a Ray Walston voice in your head….
“George Steinbrenner is well and raising hell today (Tuesday, Oct, 31).”
According to George King in the Post – the Yankees are interested in Jeff Suppan:
The Yankees continue to hear from teams asking about Gary Sheffield, but it doesn’t appear they expect to get a starting pitcher in exchange for the slugger if they pick up his option with the intent of trading him.
That’s why they are open to seeing what soon-to-be free agent right-hander Jeff Suppan, who played a big part in the Cardinals’ improbable journey to a World Series title, is looking for.
“His name is on their list of pitching possibilities,” a member of another organization told The Post yesterday.
From Newsday -
The Yankees’ auction of Gary Sheffield has progressed to the point that general manager Brian Cashman has a potential deal in place if he wishes to pull the trigger, an official from another American League team told Newsday yesterday.
But Cashman is not quite ready to make a trade. A person familiar with the team’s plans said “there is no urgency” to the process. The Yankees seem inclined to wait at least a little longer with the hope that the market for Sheffield improves.
The Cubs and Phillies are believed to be among the most aggressive teams in pursuit of Sheffield, who is an attractive, more affordable alternative to free-agent sluggers Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Lee. Those players will land long-term, multimillion-dollar deals, but all Sheffield costs is $13 million for one season, with at least $4.5 million deferred.
The Yankees have until Sunday night to officially pick up Sheffield’s option, and they are expected to do so shortly after agreeing to a trade, which now seems inevitable.
The Yankees are open to all types of packages, an AL team official said. Cashman, who was unavailable for comment yesterday, is willing to accept a package of prospects, bullpen help or a starting pitcher, the official said.
How about Sheffield for Brett Myers or Mark Prior? You know – the typical headache-for-a-headache deal?
FirstInning.com has all the numbers on Philip Hughes.
According to their “Similar Players” findings, this is what they have for Hughes:
Similarity Score – Player – Year
32 Dontrelle Willis 2003
22 Aquilino Lopez 2001
19 Jonathan Broxton 2005
18 Zach Duke 2004
16 Jesus Silva 2002
13 Edwin Jackson 2003
12 Yusmeiro Petit 2005
12 Ryan Wagner 2003
11 Brad Penny 1999
7 Anibal Sanchez 2005
D-Train is a fun comp. But, Aquilino Lopez? Yikes.
I think most current Yankees fans expect to see uniform numbers 51, 42, 2, and 6 be retired for New York someday. And, a large subset of those fans would probably be O.K. with seeing # 21 retired as well. (Yeah, I know baseball retired # 42 already – but, I’m talking about in honor of Mo Rivera.)
But, what about # 20?
When he’s done in New York, there will probably be a strong case to be made that Jorge Posada was the 3rd greatest offensive catcher in Yankees history – behind Berra and Dickey and just ahead of Munson and Howard.
Berra, Dickey, Munson and Howard all have their numbers retired by the Yankees – albeit that Munson and Howard were special cases.
Does it not make sense that # 20 should be retired someday as well?
From the Contra Costa Times -
Alfred Manuel (Billy) Martin was born May 16, 1928, in Berkeley to Alfred and Joan Martin. He was raised by his mother after his parents separated. She, being of Italian ancestry, called him “bello,” which is “beautiful” in Italian, and that’s how he got the nickname “Billy.”
Billy started his major league career as the second baseman for the Yankees. He went on to be the MVP in the 1953 World Series and was an All-Star in 1956. Billy played and partied hard, and the partying got him traded in 1957 to the Kansas City Athletics. Despite their deep friendship, Billy and Casey didn’t speak for years after that trade. Billy always felt that Casey did nothing to stop the trade.
He returned to the Yankees in 1975. He took the Yankees to the World Series in 1976 and 1977 and won the World Series in 1977. Billy resigned briefly in 1978 after feuding with outfielder Reggie Jackson and team owner George Steinbrenner. He returned to the Yankees in 1979 and was fired for fighting with a salesman.
Billy went on to manage the Oakland Athletics and won the Western Division split-title in 1981 after he perfected a play called “Billyball.” The A’s went on to sweep the Royals and then lost to the Yankees. He was fired from the Athletics in 1982, and returned to the Yankees in 1983, 1985 and 1988, but for never more than one full season, due to his temperament.
On August 10, 1986, the Yankees retired his uniform number — 1. They also dedicated a plaque in his honor at Yankee Stadium. The plaque says, “There has never been a greater competitor than Billy.”
His untimely death on Dec. 25, 1989, in a car crash shocked all. His grave is located close to Babe Ruth, with the epitaph being something he said: “I may not have been the greatest Yankee to put on the uniform, but I was the proudest.”
They said Martin was the only man who could actually hear someone give him the finger.
He was a funny guy – there’s a story about him and Mantle, when they were young, running from rangers after they were caught poaching on a farmer’s land (featured in one of Mantle’s books) that’s priceless.
In summary, the usual drill was for the rangers to just run the guys off the land and give them a scare. However, on that day, Martin didn’t feel like running too long and told Mantle “Screw it, I’m going to shoot it out” and then Billy turned and aimed his rifle at the rangers. If I recall correctly, in the book, Mantle said that the rangers looked like they saw a ghost when this happened at hit the dirt in an instant.
I still would have not retired his number though…that was a gift from Stein.
From Newsday -
Cano, who turned 24 Sunday, had praise for Kevin Long, the Yankees’ Triple-A hitting coach, who will be introduced as Don Mattingly’s replacement next week. Mattingly, who returned to the Yankees in 2004 as hitting coach, will replace Lee Mazzilli as Joe Torre’s bench coach.
“He’s one of the best guys,” Cano said of Long. “In Triple-A, I remember I was struggling a little. I went down to the cage and worked with him, and after that, I started doing good. The next season, I hit .333.”
Cano added: “He motivates you. He works hard. He always arrives early and he doesn’t just concentrate on one or two players. He works with everyone.”
This is nice to hear…but, there’s a difference between getting Triple-A players to listen to you and getting major league All-Stars to listen to you.
I recall, years and years ago, reading something – somewhere – that talked to getting the attention of major league players. The study said there are two types of managers/coaches who can usually get a big league player’s attention.
The first type is the former player who had success. This is guys like Torre, Mattingly, Piniella, Guidry, etc. The theory goes that players synch up with the fact that they played the game at the highest level and had success – so, they know what they’re talking about when they speak.
The second type is the person who just scares you. Whether it’s a tough guy like Billy Martin or a hulking presence like Dallas Green, it’s the intimidation factor that gets the players to pay attention.
Of course, a guy like Charlie Lau or Leo Mazzone flies in the face of this entire theory. I hope that Kevin Long does as well.
…David Eckstein is now only two rings behind you.
And, just when did Jeff Weaver become the ectomorphic version of Curt Schilling?
Any chance the Yankees could get him to come out of his “retirement” and be their new batting coach?
Wouldn’t he be a good fit for this team and coaching staff?
In the end, the Yankees traded Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, Randy Choate, Brad Halsey, and Dioner Navarro in order to acquire Randy Johnson. In addition to the five players lost, the Yankees sent $9 million to the Diamondbacks in the trade for the Big Unit. Further, the Yankees gave Johnson a $32 million, two-year, contract extension through 2007 when they got him.
In a way, one could say that Randy Johnson cost the Yankees Nick Johnson, Juan Rivera, Randy Choate, Brad Halsey, Dioner Navarro and $41 million.
Here’s the question: Based on what Randy Johnson has done for the Yankees in the last two years, and what we can expect from Johnson in 2007, was it worth it?
I can’t see how anyone would say “yes” to that question.
Should Brian Cashman get some heat for this deal, in retrospect?
I could see how someone would want to say “yes” to that question.
Don Mattingly will replace Lee Mazzilli as Yankees bench coach, people with knowledge of the situation told Newsday Thursday.
The promotion brings Mattingly one important step closer to the manager’s seat and solidifies him as the favorite to be Joe Torre’s successor. Torre’s contract expires after next season.
Mazzilli’s run as Yankees bench coach ends after only one season. He was the Yankees’ first-base coach from 2000-03 before spending a season and a half as the Baltimore Orioles’ manager.
General manager Brian Cashman, who spent a second consecutive day in meetings with his professional scouts at Yankee Stadium, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
I would not have made this move.
Then again, maybe Mattingly sees this as a way to get to Cooperstown someday – via the combo of the almost good enough career and having a few rings as a manager too? Maybe that’s worth the risk of dealing with getting fired someday down the line and dealing with what that brings?
If the Cardinals win the World Series this year, people will talk about how they have one of the lowest regular season win totals for a team that won a ring – and, that will lead some to mention the 2000 Yankees (who won a ring while only winning 87 games in the regular season).
But, when it comes to the 2000 Yankees, how much was that win total a reflection on the overall team? Six years ago, I addressed this question.
Therefore, I hope, should talk of the 2000 Yankees come up after this World Series, people remember the fact that David Cone was the reason why that team only won 87 games in 2000. Well, Cone and Torre – because Joe kept running him out there.
If you have a second, you might want to check out All Things Bubba.
Just don’t break the news that Bubba is now a free-agent.
Bubba Crosby had a nice Yankees career – in a Roger Repoz kind of way.
Darren Viola, if you’re out there, any chance that one of your boys will take up the “Bubba” handle someday?
From the Sun Times -
[Doak] Ewing, of Naperville [Milwaukee] and president of the Naperville-based Rare Sports Films Inc., offered [Don] Larsen the chance to view the only existing TV broadcast of the [perfect] game [that Larsen threw in the '56 Series], beginning at the top of the second with one out.
The footage, a kinescope broadcast filmed for the U.S. Armed Forces and intended to be destroyed a week after viewing, hadn’t been seen in 50 years.
Ewing, 58, calls the footage a “freak” find he purchased through an Oregon film collector, who had bought the reels at a flea market in 1990.
Now, on the 50th anniversary of the milestone, Ewing has a mission. He hopes to make the footage available for private and public screenings for a yet undetermined fee.
However, his dream is to broadcast the game on network or cable TV.
OK, jokes aside, it’s amazing that no other film of this game exists. No one, 50 years ago, thought to keep of copy of the footage? Wow.
I was just reading the AP Report on Jeter’s return from his European vacation and Derek’s comments on A-Rod and Torre. Is it just me, or, does Jeter use the expression “bottom line” a lot? Check it out the next time you read about, or see, him interviewed.
Funny, I can’t picture D.J. hanging out on West Fourth Street.
New York Yankees slugger Gary Sheffield, informed Wednesday that the Yankees will pick up his $13 million option in 2007, was angry by the decision, hoping instead the Yankees would let him go.
“”This will not work, this will not work at all,” Sheffield told USA TODAY. “I don’t want to play first base a year for them. I will not do that.”
Sheffield, who heard that the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Angels were interested him, said he was hoping to test the free-agent market and receive another three-year contract.
“I don’t know what they’re [Yankees] going to do,” Sheffield said. “Maybe they picked it up just to trade me. If they do that, if I just to a team for one year, there’s going to be a problem.
“A big problem.
“I will not do this.”
How many days until Pitchers & Catchers report?
On the drive home this evening, I heard Scott Boras being interviewed on the Michael Kay Radio Show (on 1050 AM, ESPN Radio, in NYC). Boras was speaking to A-Rod’s desire to stay in New York and the talents of Daisuke Matsuzaka.
In talking about Matsuzaka, Boras said that Daisuke (pronounced DICE-kay) throws 94 MPH.
OK, maybe he tops out at ninety-four (according to the reports that I’ve read from sources other than his agent). So, I can live with this claim. It’s sort of like the “bench press” lie – you know, like saying “I can bench press 275 pounds” – even though you’ve only been able to do it once, and for one rep, on a good day, with a spotter helping you at the end.
In any event, Boras continued on about Matsuzaka – claiming that Daisuke had a devastating breaking pitch called “the gyroball.”
I guess that Boras must have missed Jeff Passan’s interview with Matsuzaka from a few months back where Matsuzaka (himself) said that he does not feature a “gyroball” – although he’s tried to throw it in the past and may have accidentally thrown one in a game somewhere.
Is it just me or is there a difference between saying someone throws “X” as a ‘devastating pitch’ and saying ‘maybe I threw it once by accident’?
Boras is doing what Boras does best when it comes to selling Matsuzaka here – he’s taking an ounce of information and making it into an ocean of smoke-screen. This is just another reason why teams should proceed with caution when it comes to paying a fortune for Matsuzaka.
Or, teams can just listen to what Boras is saying on this pitcher, and, maybe, when the deal for Matsuzaka is done, Boras can then start to sell “Otis the Frog Boy” and “Jeanie the Half-Girl” as the next great free-agent keystone combo?
I was just reading SG’s fine write-up on Daisuke Matsuzaka
over at the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog and it made me think of Hideki Matsui’s troubles when he first joined the Yankees. For those who don’t remember, via ESPN.com, here was the issue:
…Matsui arrived in the big leagues without any weapons to combat the cut-fastball and sinking two-seamer — two pitches that are virtually non-existent in Japan.
Even the traditional four-seam fastball posed a threat to Matsui, since Japanese pitches don’t throw nearly as hard as major leaguers.
“That’s what worried me at first, because the pitching here is better,” Matsui said through an interpreter the other day. “There was quite a bit of adjustment for me. I was worried if I would be good enough to play here. The sinker and the cutter were much different than what I was used to.”
Now, the reports say that Matsuzaka throws around 140-150 KPH. In the States, that’s a range of 87-93 MPH. So, it’s safe to say, on average, Matsuzaka is just touching 90 MPH on his fastball. Reports also say that Matsuzaka, in addition to his fastball, throws a slider, forkball, changeup, and two-seam sinking fastball.
Since Matsui said that you don’t see sinkers and cutters in Japan, I would bet that has helped Matsuzaka – because he reportedly does feature these pitches.
But, in the big leagues here, batters are used to seeing pitchers who feature the forkball/sinker/cut-fastball tool belt. And, unless it’s a sinker like Wang’s or a cut-fastball like Rivera’s, hitters are not going to be over-powered by these style pitchers.
So, unless Matsuzaka has Wang/Rivera type movement on his breaking pitches, he’s not going to fool many hitters here with a 90-MPH heater and pitches with a slight wrinkle to them.
In fact, this could be some of the reason behind SG’s projection result of 37 HRs allowed in 186 IP for Matsuzaka on U.S. soil.
I would have to believe that a pitcher who allows 35+ HRs in less than 200 IP in the majors would be looking at an ERA near five for the season – unless he walks few and whiffs a lot of batters.
Again, the question here is – Does Matsuzaka have the package of pitches that will make major league hitters whiff, and often?
Once White Sox scout was recently quoted as saying, on Matsuzaka -
“He is not coming with great movement, or deception on his changeup, or anything of that nature. He is just a good, solid pitcher.”
No great movement, huh?
Anyone who signs Matsuzaka is probably looking at a $60 million total package between the posting fee and his contract. That’s a lot of coin for someone who could end up pitching like Jose Lima in this country. It’s too much risk for my nerves. I think the Yankees should pass on Matsuzaka, now, thinking it all over.
From Sam Borden of the News -
Speculation about the possibility of Alex Rodriguez getting traded will surely linger until he actually takes the field at the Stadium on Opening Day, but the embattled third baseman’s agent said yesterday that he has received assurances from GM Brian Cashman that there will be no A-Rod auction this winter.
Scott Boras, who negotiated Rodriguez’s 10-year, $252 million contract, said he recently got a phone call from Cashman in which the GM was adamant that Rodriguez isn’t going anywhere.
“Brian Cashman and I had a discussion and he made it clear that he has no intention of trading Alex,” Boras told the Daily News, “and I told him that Alex Rodriguez has a no-trade clause.”
Boras then added, “There will be no movement of Alex Rodriguez this offseason.”
When reading this, I think back to what Steve Kelley wrote last month:
After the 2000 season, when he was a free agent and the baseball world was opening up to him like the dawning of a new era, the Mariners offered Alex Rodriguez their kingdom.
Ken Griffey Jr. was gone to Cincinnati. Randy Johnson had been traded to Houston and eventually was on his way to Arizona.
The Mariners were going to belong to A-Rod.
The team’s CEO, Howard Lincoln, put together golf dates for Rodriguez with the movers and shakers of the Northwest. He wooed A-Rod like a desperate college basketball coach.
And, publicly at least, the love was requited.
Toward the end of his last season in Seattle, Rodriguez was telling everyone how much he loved Seattle. He was saying he wanted to stay. He said he thought he could be part of a pennant contender for years to come.
He said he wanted to be like his hero, Cal Ripken Jr., and spend his entire career with one team.
In truth, Rodriguez didn’t know what he wanted when he was in Seattle. Sure, he wanted to play for a winner. He wanted to be recognized as one of the best players in the game. And he wanted to be loved.
But he told everybody exactly what he thought they wanted to hear. And his Seattle teammates watched and rolled their eyes.
Maybe Rodriguez was on his way to being the next big thing, but he never would be the next real thing.
His personality was as fake as a beauty contestant’s. He always was the most disingenuous man in the room. And nobody spots a fake quicker than a teammate.
And, I think back to something Scott Boras said back in December of 2003:
Said Scott Boras, who represents Rodriguez: “Tom Hicks has indicated he will not consider a trade [involving Rodriguez] in the immediate future. I take that to mean Alex will be back with the Rangers next season.
So, when digesting all this, I suggest that you expect nothing, but, be prepared for anything. To quote Cardinal Andújar: “There is one word in baseball that says it all, and that one word is ‘you-never-know’.”
From The News -
The biggest buzz among the few general managers attending the World Series is the silent auction the Yankees have apparently already begun for Gary Sheffield. It turns out that Yankee GM Brian Cashman had always intended to pick up Sheffield’s $13 million option for next year – but not for the purposes of keeping him. Once the Yankees acquired Bobby Abreu from the Phillies at last July’s trading deadline, it was clear Sheffield no longer fit in their plans, but by picking up his option, they can now get something for him. And it could be a nice return as at least a half-dozen teams – the Angels, Orioles, Cubs, Giants, Astros and Rangers – are in the market for a power-hitting corner outfielder, and that doesn’t include the Red Sox and Mets. The Yankees can now prevent Sheffield going to such rivals, not a possibility had they let him flee.
Initiating countdown to Sheffield’s tirade…….10, 9, 8, 7…..
I wonder how Yankees fans will feel if the club starts charging a “season-ticket license fee” for each seat in the new Stadium?
For those who don’t know, this type of fee is a “cover charge” (for lack of a better term) that you, as a season ticket holder, will have to pay for “the right” to purchase season tickets.
Such a fee could be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars – on top of the cost of the tickets.
I hope the Yankees don’t go for this – but it would not shock me to see it happen.
From the Times -
In the negotiations that culminated in a new labor agreement that was announced yesterday, the union had the best interests of George Steinbrenner’s checkbook in mind. Whereas the other clubs are out to get the Yankees’ money and inhibit them from spending what is left, the union tried to help the Yankees.
The union proposed that the rate schedule for the tax on payrolls above designated thresholds start over in the new five-year agreement that was announced yesterday at Busch Stadium before Game 3 of the Word Series.
As a club that has exceeded the threshold and paid the tax each of the four years of the existing agreement, the Yankees pay at a rate of 40 percent. Last year they paid $34 million; this year they will pay just under $26 million.
The union wanted the Yankees to be able to go back next year to a rate of 22.5 percent, which they have not paid since 2003, the first year of the expiring agreement.
Oh yes. As hard as the union tried to scale back the Yankees’ tax rate for 2007 and subsequent seasons, the clubs’ negotiators wouldn’t go for it. But Steinbrenner should at least send Donald Fehr, the union chief, a thank-you note acknowledging the union effort. Who else does anything nice these days for poor old George?
More importantly, will the new CBA still allow teams to deduct new-stadium building costs from the revenue-sharing payments they make? If they took that away now, Big Stein should call a lawyer.
In the Joe Torre Era, the Yankees have had four seasons where they had a great 1-2 punch at the start of their line-up:
1999: Knoblauch & Jeter (113 RCAA)
2002: Soriano & Jeter (57 RCAA)
2003: Soriano & Jeter (56 RCAA)
2006: Damon & Jeter (78 RCAA)
Clearly, the Knoblauch & Jeter team of 1999 was the best of the bunch.
It’s a shame that Knoblauch’s career ended the way that it did…and it would be very interesting to someday hear the true story behind all his issues. Was it HGH related? Was it the stress of his father’s condition? Both? Something else?
Com’on Chuck – write a book for us. I would read it.
Adam Cohen inserts some Yankee lore into the big question today. It’s worth checking out.
From the Pirates official site -
Lee’s contract with the Yomiuri Giants expired after the 2006 season, and there has been widespread speculation that Lee would like to sign with a Major League team. The Yankees reportedly have agreed to begin negotiations with Lee this offseason.
This ties back into what was reported last July.
If the Yankees do sign this player, it means Giambi is the full-time DH and it also means less playing time for Melky Cabrera. And, it probably means that Bernie Williams is done in New York.
Unless…would the Yankees look to trade Abreu, and cash, to some team for a starting pitcher? There are many teams that would love Abreu’s bat – but not at $15.5 million for 2007 with a $2 million buyout for 2008. Sure, the Yankees could throw in $7 million to make this attractive for someone. But, Abreu still has that no-trade clause.
Still…Venezuela ties Abreu and Ozzie Guillen together. Would the White Sox take Abreu (and cash), and move him to LF for 2007, in exchange for someone like Freddy Garcia? Would that interest the Yankees?
This whole thing is probably just bad news for Melky in 2007.
From Newsday -
Putting together the Yankees’ 2007 coaching staff is on general manager Brian Cashman’s agenda for this week, and there is an expectation within the organization that there will be some change.
Each coach has an expiring contract. Hitting coach Don Mattingly, third-base coach Larry Bowa and first-base coach Tony Peña all appear to be secure, but bench coach Lee Mazzilli appears less so.
Mazzilli and manager Joe Torre are close, but with Torre barely escaping his own dismissal, he likely does not have as much clout in determining his own coaching staff as he did a year ago. Cashman did not return messages yesterday.
Joe Girardi’s availability could be a factor. Girardi, Torre’s bench coach in 2005, is up for the job of Nationals manager. But the lure of getting in line to be considered one of Torre’s potential successors could prove to be too attractive. Steve Mandell, Girardi’s agent, refused to comment.
Peña also is a candidate for the Nationals’ job.
Meanwhile, pitching coach Ron Guidry wants to return for a second year and bullpen coach Joe Kerrigan has the backing of Cashman, who initially hired him as a video scout during the 2005 season.
I know people who know people and those people have told me in the past that Mazzilli has a bit of a Sonny LoSpecchio side to his personality. Nothing evil, mind you. It’s just that, they say, he has that “I’ll tell you what you’re going to do” air about him at times that rubs some people the wrong way.
If true, I could see where the Yankees might want to let Lee talk a walk.
It would be great if they could convince Girardi to take Mazzilli’s spot – and park him there in case Torre needs to be replaced. But, that would leave no one on the staff to coach the outfielders. Where’s Jose Cardenal when you need him?
From the Seattle P-I -
In many circles, that talk includes Daisuke Matsuzaka. The teams that are believed to be preparing posting bids to pay the Seibu Lions for the rights to the services of the right-handed starting pitcher are the Mariners, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Dodgers, Cubs and Mets. And the Angels and Orioles might take a flier at the 26-year-old right-hander who was 17-5 with a 2.13 ERA in Japan this season.
But where is it that Matsuzaka himself would like to land? Baseball sources say that if he could choose, he’d come to Seattle to play. The reasons are twofold — center fielder Ichiro Suzuki and catcher Kenji Johjima.
Matsuzaka, associates say, has long wanted to play with Ichiro, something that both men experienced in the World Baseball Classic last spring. Team Japan won the tournament with Matsuzaka winning the Most Valuable Player award and Ichiro serving as mentor to the younger men on the team.
And Matsuzaka and Johjima spent time as teammates at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Then again, as Cindy Lauper sings, money changes everything. Or, would Matsuzaka pull an Irabu and refuse to sign with the team that acquires him? And, what does A-Rod think of this whole thing? (Just kidding on the last part.)