• Backing Up Jorge In ’07

    Posted by on October 23rd, 2006 · Comments (8)

    Wil Nieves and Sal Fasano are gone. Ben Davis too. The only Yankees catcher on their current 40-man roster is Jorge Posada. So, who will be the back-up catcher for the Yankees in 2007?

    Joe Oliver to Chris Turner to Todd Greene to Alberto Castillo to Chris Widger to John Flaherty to Wil Nieves to Kelly Stinnett to Sal Fasano. It’s been some string, huh?

    What’s so hard about finding a decent back-up catcher?

    Today’s Recommended Yankees Reading

    Posted by on October 23rd, 2006 · Comments (12)

    All Eyes On A-Rod.

    Is there a Yankees’ tie to Rogers’ streak?

    Limited-edition EasyCards featuring Wang fetch huge sums at charity bid.

    The Rumor Mill: Taking a Breath.

    Enjoy.

    Why The Yankees Should Let Mussina Walk

    Posted by on October 22nd, 2006 · Comments (26)

    I thought this would be as good a time as any to weigh-in, officially, with my thoughts towards Mike Mussina (as a Yankee) in 2007 and beyond. This way, next season, if the Yankees retain Mussina and he tanks, I will have something to point back to and say “Told you so!” Conversely, if Mussina the Yankee is good in 2007, the WasWatching.com faithful can point to this entry and tell me how wrong I was on Moose.

    Let’s start with age. At the close of the 2007 post-season, Mussina will be days away from his 39th birthday. Since you know that Mussina will not sign a one-year deal for 2007, bringing him back to the Yankees ensures that the days of the “40-year old pitcher” will be alive and continuing into the last season of Old-New Yankee Stadium.

    Plus, the only American League starting pitchers, age 38 or older, in the last 30 (or so) seasons do to well have been hard throwers like Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemens or extreme-junkers like Jamie Moyer or Charlie Hough. Mussina, as a Yankee, in 2007 will be lucky to be a 15-game winner. In all probability, Mussina wins 12-13 games in 2007. Is that worth having to carry an old-timer the next season? Rasner or Kartsens could probably win 12 games next year with the Yankees in Mussina’s place.

    Secondly, age aside, look at Mussina’s trend in New York. In the first three years of his contract, he was fine. But, the last three seasons paint a different picture.

    In 2004, Mike Mussina was a below-average pitcher. In 2005, Mussina was just barely a league-average pitcher. Last year, 2006, Mussina improved – coincidentally enough in the “option year” of his contract. Will Mussina be that inspired in 2007? More than likely, he reverts to being an average-pitcher again next season, once his contract is secured.

    Also, let’s talk about reliability. It’s reasonable to expect someone in the front-three of your rotation to make 33 starts in a season. Here are Mussina’s start totals the last few years:

    2003: 31
    2004: 27
    2005: 30
    2006: 32

    Notice again that last year. Mussina, lately, was always good to miss 3-6 starts a year – until this past season, his option year. How many starts to you think Mussina will make in 2007? Based on recent performance, you’re looking in the ballpark of maybe 30. That means he misses a half-month of pitching over the course of the season.

    I know that some people out there think “Wait, this is the new Mussina – he’s got that new change-up – that’s the reason why he was great in 2006 – and why he will be very useful next season as well!”

    Check the stats. The “new” Mussina had an ERA of 3.24 before the All-Star break and an ERA of 3.96 in the second-half. Batters hit him for .225 before the break and .268 after the break. So, much for the “new” Mussina, huh? Towards the second half of the season, once he had his stats padded-enough for the year, he once again was a pedestrian hurler.

    The above are cold-hard-stats. It doesn’t even include the issue that the Yankees last won a ring before Mussina got here and have not won a ring since he’s been here. Still, because it would be a hard case to prove that moving Moose might be good for karma, I’ll stick to the facts.

    Mike Mussina – old, unreliable, and pedestrian. And, since pedestrians have the right of way, the Yankees should let him walk now.

    Jeff Suppan For 2007?

    Posted by on October 21st, 2006 · Comments (15)

    From the Chicago Tribune -

    Jeff Suppan has a nice contract coming his way, and it seems more likely than ever he’s going to get it after his most valuable player performance in the National League Championship Series.

    No veteran player has done more for less the last three seasons than the nondescript, rock-solid Suppan. He gave the St. Louis Cardinals 18 victories for $1 million in 2004, including a triumph over Roger Clemens in Game 7 of the NLCS; 16 victories for $4 million in `05, and 13 victories (and counting) for $4 million in `06.

    That’s a mere $191,489 per victory; contrast that to $545,455 per for Greg Maddux over the same time frame.

    The point isn’t that Maddux has been overpaid, but how big a bargain Suppan has been for the Cardinals. Not surprisingly, a different set of agents (Scott Leventhal and Damon Lapa) will negotiate Suppan’s next deal. He fired the ones who got him the agreement with St. Louis after he split 2003 between Pittsburgh and Boston.

    Entering the postseason, the Cardinals were hopeful, perhaps even optimistic, about being able to re-sign Suppan and Jeff Weaver after the season. Getting one of them to return could be essential because otherwise they are looking at only youngsters such as Adam Wainwright and Anthony Reyes as the only known commodities behind Chris Carpenter.

    The last 8 seasons in a row, Suppan has been good for 30+ starts a year – and over 6 IP per start. He’s durable – and will only be 32-years old next season.

    Suppan is not, and never will be, an ace. But, he’s actually a solid # 3 starter. If the Yankees can pick up a stud SP this winter, to go with Wang, I would not be upset if New York let Mussina and Wright go, and then signed Suppan (to be 3rd in the rotation) – with Johnson to be the 4th man in the rotation (and Jeff Karstens and/or Darrell Rasner in the 5th slot).

    I know that the A.L. will be harder for Suppan than the N.L. – but, we know that Suppan will not melt in the post-season.

    The key, actually, will be the price-tag. I’m O.K. with a three-year deal for $25 million (or so). But, anything higher than that figure probably warrants a pass.

    Bloggers: Yanks Should & Will Keep A-Rod

    Posted by on October 21st, 2006 · Comments (14)

    Yesterday, I sent out a quick-and-dirty poll to several Yankees Bloggers which contained the following two questions:

    Question 1:

    Should – regardless of whether or not they will – the Yankees trade Alex Rodriguez?

    Question 2:

    Will – regardless of whether or not they should – the Yankees trade Alex Rodriguez?

    The authors of fifteen different Yankees blogs responded – and here are the results:

    Arodpoll.jpg

    Note: I did not vote in this poll – so, these results do not include my opinion.

    For the record, two bloggers responded “yes” to both questions and nine bloggers responded “no” to both questions. The remaining four bloggers had mixed answers.

    Here are a few comments on the topic that some of the bloggers elected to share:

    YF from Yanksfan vs Soxfan -

    Assuming there’s a reasonable deal on the table that includes pitching, I would expect him to move. All the negativity is bad for business, the Yankees have needs, and he’s a valuable commodity. I wouldn’t expect him to go cheaply, however. I wouldn’t expect the team to accept cents on the dollar for so much production.

    Sam Borden from NY Yankees Blog -

    There is no doubt that Rodriguez is one of the most talented players of this generation – if not in baseball history – but there is also no doubt that the idea of playing in New York has festered in his head. I don’t see that changing. If he can be turned into young pitching, it’s a deal that has to be made.

    Patrick from YanksBlog.com -

    I have a hard time finding a good, viable reason to trade him. When people talk about New York fans being unreasonable, this is a textbook example. Offense (.313 AVG/.495 OBA in ’06 with RISP and 2 outs), defense (one questionable year does not erase a proven, gold glove caliber history), personality (unnamed sources in media reports are not going to make me deal him) – none of it cuts it with a player of this class. Essentially, he’s had 2 bad postseason series’ in a row. I’m as October crazy as the next guy, but so what? The postseason is a sample size season that decides the entire season. Great players can have a rough 7 games in an otherwise great season. He’s not writing letters here, he’s playing baseball.

    Joe from The Sporting Brews -

    I think it goes without saying, though I will anyway, that it (a trade) must be for equal value. That means a No. 2 starter and further serviceable Major League talent. But, (a trade will not happen since) I can’t foresee them acquiring equal value in a trade.

    Jim Baumbach from On The Yankees Beat -

    I think the Yankees will most definitely listen to the offers they will receive, and there will be plenty of calls. And perhaps they will investigate some options that could be attractive to them. But ultimately I think it will not benefit them to trade Rodriguez, not at what they will get back in return. And they will go for one more year to see if he can become a bigtime postseason player, finally.

    Mr. Faded Glory from High and Tight -

    You don’t trade a once in a generation type player, one year removed from an MVP, who in a down year hits .290 with 35 HR because Steve Phillips and Mike Lupica deicde to focus on ridiculously small sample sizes and rile up ignorant fans. No. Hell no. Especially not for what’s being bandied about as being available.

    So, there you have it. According to the majority of Yankees bloggers in this poll, Alex Rodriguez should and will be a member of the New York Yankees in 2007.

    Thanks to all my fellow bloggers for taking part in this poll!

    Enter Next Sandman?

    Posted by on October 20th, 2006 · Comments (17)

    Watching the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright throw in the 2006 NLCS made me think of something Yankees-related.

    Mariano Rivera will be 38-years old by the end of next season. Would it make sense for the Yankees to use Philip Hughes in their bullpen next season, as a set-up man, with the hope that eventually he will replace Rivera as the next closer in the Bronx?

    Hughes, while he’s been a starter to date, has the stuff to close – like Wainwright. Plus, doesn’t he help the team more if he’s a part of 45-55 wins (as a reliever) than if he’s a part of 15-25 wins (as a starter)?

    Of course, there’s a couple of issues here. First, the Yankees need starters now and in the seasons to follow and Hughes would fill that need. Secondly, there’s always the strong chance that Joe Torre would ruin Hughes’ arm if he was used as a relief pitcher – by using him too often.

    Still, this could be a way for Hughes to break in with the Yankees next year – by just coming into a game and pumping gas for an inning while dropping an occasion hook here and there. If handled properly, working out of the pen would be the way to ensure that Hughes’ arm his not abused (given his age) – assuming that Torre could be controlled.

    Hughes could set-up for Mo in 2007 and 2008 and then be the new Yankees closer in 2009 (when Rivera should be ready to step down). Put it this way – who else is onboard now to replace Mariano when the time comes? J. Brent Cox? I’m not sure that Cox has the command of a Hughes – at least yet.

    Young starter converted to reliever Hughes can be to Rivera what young starter converted to reliever Rivera was to former Yanks closer John Wetteland. If this worked then, why can’t it work again?

    Contreras Huge Asset To Yanks

    Posted by on October 20th, 2006 · Comments (1)

    No, not that Contreras……

    From the current edition of Baseball America (RR) -

    Brian Cashman didn’t hesitate. Before the question was completed the Yankees’ general manager blurted out, “Nardi Contreras.”

    For the first time in what seems like eons the Yankee system provided pitching depth, arms that were healthy and pitched effectively. Cashman credits Contreras, 55, who is in his second year as the minor league pitching coordinator and his 36th in professional baseball, a career that includes stints as a big league pitching coach with the Mariners, White Sox and Yankees.

    “Nardi has done a great job,” Cashman said. “Combine his experience and great desire to help each pitcher get better with the fact that he has great people skills and you have a great teacher.”

    Maybe most important is that their pitchers stayed healthy.

    “We made adjustments with our program and Nardi stays on top of each pitcher, he is constantly talking to each (minor league) teams’ pitching coaches,” Cashman said.

    Considering the pitching prospects that the Yankees are mounting in the minors, it’s a good thing to have a smart guy overseeing the whole operation.

    Do I Smell A Book Coming?

    Posted by on October 20th, 2006 · Comments (2)

    From Newsday -

    Rick Cerrone, easily the longest-tenured Yankees public relations director ever employed by George Steinbrenner, Thursday was told his expiring contract will not be renewed.

    Steinbrenner used to go through p.r. directors as often as managers, using 12 in his first 22 years. But Cerrone, hired in 1996, lasted 11 seasons, to his surprise.

    “I had a wonderful 11 years, which was a lot longer than I ever could have expected it to be,” he said by phone. “I am leaving without any complaints.”

    Before Cerrone, the longest Yankees p.r. directors under Steinbrenner were Jeff Idelson and Harvey Greene, each of whom lasted less than four seasons. “I lapped the field at eight years,” Cerrone said.

    The news, delivered by chief operating officer Lonn Trost Thursday, did not surprise Cerrone, whose request to discuss an extension during the season was rebuffed. Jason Zillo, Cerrone’s assistant, is the top in-house candidate for the job.

    Cerrone, if he did a book, could be the perfect man to tell every Yankees “inside” story that’s happened in the Torre Era. I would want to read it.

    18 Months Later

    Posted by on October 20th, 2006 · Comments (22)

    One and a half years ago today, the first entry to WasWatching.com was made.

    On the very first full day of WasWatching.com, the site received 1,324 hits. Just the other day, the site had 25,262 hits in a day.

    I’m taking that growth as a sign that people are interested in what’s being said here. But, today, I’m also trying something unique to get a handle on what people think about WasWatching.com – I’m lifting the registration requirement (for a day) on making comments.

    Therefore, if there’s something that you want to say about this blog – or even if you just want to say “hello” (which would be great!) – all you need to do is type it and click it (today). Thanks in advance for your help with the request – and for your interest in this blog.

    Yadier-Bing!

    Posted by on October 19th, 2006 · Comments (21)

    I’m pretty happy for Yadier Molina tonight. I liked the kid ever since he got in Manny Ramirez’ face during the 2004 World Series. You have to love tough-nosed backstops.

    No dancing for Agador tonight huh? And, does the 2006 NLCS now mean that we can call the Mets’ David Wright “Mr. Noctober“?

    OK, as much as it pains me to say this, you have to give the Mets some props at this moment – they did not go down without a fight in this post-season (which is probably a lot more than you can say about the 2006 Yankees). Plus, Los Mets did it with people like John Maine and Oliver Perez.

    Mets fans probably hurt right now as bad as a baseball fan can hurt – but, while the 2006 Mets will not win a ring, they had a decent shot at making the World Series and went down swinging.

    Well, not really “swinging”…Beltran (to quote Ernie Harwell) “stood there like the house by the side of the road and watched it go by” on the last out with the bases loaded tonight…but, overall, the Mets team pushed it as hard as they probably could this October.

    Speaking of Beltran on the last out…just imagine if this LCS and Game 7 had happened to the Yankees, and it was A-Rod caught looking for the final out with the bases juiced. Somehow, I don’t think Carlos Beltran will get the same reaction from the media, etc., that Alex Rodriguez would have received had that been him in that spot.

    Costas: Yanks Should Trade A-Rod

    Posted by on October 19th, 2006 · Comments (22)

    From the Post, albeit a Page Six item:

    October 19, 2006 — BOB Costas agrees, A-Rod should go. At a breakfast this week at ’21′ – addressing a group that included Mario Cuomo, U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica Brenda Johnson, Steven Swid and Bill O’Shaughnessey – the NBC sportscaster said the Yankees should trade the third baseman “if they could get some young pitchers back . . . There is enough of a pattern to identify ‘issues’ with the guy. He may be one of the greatest six or seven ballplayers of all time. But clearly something is going on in his head. He’s pressing . . . He’s a very fragile guy.”

    As Captain Spaulding once said to Horatio Jamison:

    Put it in a box. Put it in a box and mark it, uh…”fragilly”……Mark it fragilly. F-R-A-G… Look it up, Jamison, it’s in the dictionary. Look under “fragile.” Look under the table if you don’t find it there…..

    Thoughts On A-Rod To The White Sox

    Posted by on October 19th, 2006 · Comments (25)

    I was just looking at the remainder of Alex Rodriguez’ contract – with thoughts towards who else besides the Yankees can afford it. Here’s the remaining payout due A-Rod:

    2007: $27 million – $7 million paid by Texas
    2008: $27 million – $8 million paid by Texas
    2009: $27 million – $7 million paid by Texas
    2010: $27 million – $6 million paid by Texas

    But, after the 2008 or 2009 season, A-Rod can void the remainder on his contract unless his salary is increased to the higher of “$32 million” or “$1 million more than any other position player.”

    I would be shocked if any baseball player earned more than $27 million a year during the seasons of 2007-2009. Therefore, whoever owns Rodriguez better be prepared to raise his salary to $32 million a year after the 2008 season.

    Would a team call his bluff after 2008? Could they? By this, I mean, what if his team told him “We’re not giving you the $5 million raise – so, void your contract, if you want to go for that option”? Would this be possible? It doesn’t sound like the raise after 2008 is an automatic thing. More so, it sounds like it’s a way for Alex to get out of the deal if his team refuses to give him a raise.

    Of course, the team could refuse the raise and A-Rod could ignore his option to void the deal as well.

    In any event, it appears that the Yankees owe Alex at least $80 million over the next 4 years. The list of other teams that can afford a contract like that, outside of the Yankees, are the following:

    Boston Red Sox
    Los Angeles Angels
    Chicago White Sox
    New York Mets
    Los Angeles Dodgers
    Chicago Cubs
    Houston Astros
    Atlanta Braves
    San Francisco Giants
    St. Louis Cardinals
    Philadelphia Phillies
    Seattle Mariners
    Detroit Tigers
    Baltimore Orioles
    Toronto Blue Jays
    San Diego Padres

    You know that the Yankees will not trade A-Rod to the Red Sox or Mets. So, take them out of this mix. And, it would be a reach for the Astros, Braves and Padres to squeeze in Alex’s contract. Take them off the list here as well. Also, the Yankees would probably prefer to keep Rodriguez out of the A.L. East, so, that removes the Jays and Orioles. This leaves:

    Los Angeles Angels
    Chicago White Sox
    Los Angeles Dodgers
    Chicago Cubs
    San Francisco Giants
    St. Louis Cardinals
    Philadelphia Phillies
    Seattle Mariners
    Detroit Tigers

    Therefore, if the Yankees do trade A-Rod, soon, it will probably be to one of the nine teams listed above here. Since it’s reported that Alex would like to play somewhere that would lend towards day-trips to Miami, I would guess that makes the following teams to be the favorites – in terms of maybe landing him:

    Chicago White Sox
    Chicago Cubs
    St. Louis Cardinals
    Philadelphia Phillies
    Detroit Tigers

    Of these five teams, the White Sox stand out the most to me. Outside of Ozzie Guillen being their manager, they seems to be the perfect trading partner in a possible A-Rod deal. Their G.M. likes Alex and has dealt with Brian Cashman before – in another spot where the Yankees were trying to move a high-paid person out of New York.

    Perhaps Joe Crede and Brandon McCarthy from Chicago for A-Rod? Or, maybe Joe Crede and Josh Fields for A-Rod (and then the Yankees deal either Crede or Fields for pitching)?

    Crede is really just an average hitter – but, he can pick-it. Still, Crede is in chronic pain due to two herniated discs in his lower back. Therefore, I would prefer to see the Yankees get Brandon McCarthy and Josh Fields from the White Sox – in a trade for Alex Rodriguez. Let the White Sox figure out what to do with Crede from there.

    Snow Bomber Update

    Posted by on October 19th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    From the Star Ledger -

    No. 1 draft pick Ian Kennedy has a 1.04 ERA through three appearances (one start) in the Hawaiian Winter League, having struck out 14 in 8 2/3 innings. Joba Chamberlain, the Yankees’ second pick, is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA, 15 strikeouts and two walks in 10 innings over three relief appearances. Former No. 1 pick Eric Duncan, from Seton Hall Prep, was off to a 6-for-27 (.222) start in the Arizona Fall League. Outfielder Brett Gardner was 11-for-24 (.458) through seven games, with a .641 on-base percentage.

    Mark my words: Gardner will be playing in the Bronx, at some point, in 2007. I could even see this line-up happening:

    LF Brett Gardner
    SS Derek Jeter
    CF Johnny Damon
    1B Jason Giambi
    RF Bobby Abreu
    DH Hideki Matsui
    C Jorge Posada
    3B Somebody
    2B Robinson Cano

    I just wish there was a way to work Melky Cabrera in there as well.

    WWRSND?

    Posted by on October 18th, 2006 · Comments (15)

    Many fans of the Boston Red Sox have always liked to make a certain statement about the Yankees Derek Jeter.

    Watching some of the 2006 NLCS, I have to wonder what the members of Red Sox Nation would say about the Mets’ Jose Reyes – if they had to watch Reyes do that little “happy dance” that he does each time something good happens for the Mets – 19 times a season?

    When I see Jose Reyes start to break into his “Ricky Martin meets Danny Terrio” Rumba-Routine, one word always comes to mind – and it’s “Agador.” Of course, I should qualify this observation with the disclaimer of “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”

    Proctor, Proctor, Give Me The News…..

    Posted by on October 18th, 2006 · Comments (9)

    From MLB.com:

    Scott Proctor visited a doctor in Tampa this week, concerned about a possible bone chip in his right elbow.

    His fears were quelled Wednesday, as an MRI exam, X-rays and a CT scan revealed no damage to his arm.

    “It’s a relief,” Proctor said in a telephone interview.

    Proctor, 29, was examined by Dr. Andrew Miller, one of the Yankees’ Tampa-based physicians, on Monday. According to Proctor, the tests showed an old injury near his elbow, but he was told that as long as it doesn’t bother him, it was nothing to worry about.

    During the final month of the season, Proctor heard an occasional “clicking sound” in his elbow, leading him to believe there might be a bone chip. He spoke on Wednesday with team physician Dr. Stuart Hershon, who informed him that there was no bone chip and that no surgery would be necessary.

    The test results will be sent for a second opinion to Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedist who typically handles all such matters for Yankees players.

    Proctor plans to seek a second opinion in Miami for his own peace of mind, but is confident that his arm is sound.

    “I feel good,” Proctor said. “This was the best news I could have heard.”

    “…he was told that as long as it doesn’t bother him, it was nothing to worry about”

    That would make me want a second opinion too.

    Cavalcade Of Un-Stars

    Posted by on October 18th, 2006 · Comments (14)

    A: Tim Redding, Darrell May, Kris Wilson, Sidney Ponson, Scott Erickson, Donovan Osborne, Wayne Franklin, Al Leiter, C.J. Nitkowski, Alan Embree, Gabe White, and Felix Heredia.

    Q: Who were some of the pitchers to log innings for the Yankees over the last three years?

    Why is it that the Yankees never seem to find a Chris Carpenter type guy off the scrap heap?

    The Bizarro Jerome

    Posted by on October 18th, 2006 · Comments (6)

    John Rolfe at S.I. shares a fan’s thoughts on Big Stein, the Yanks, and their fans:

    One particularly bracing missive arrived the other day from Lisa Keenan of South Portland, Maine. Herewith, the Reader’s Digest condensed version:

    “I can’t speak to Yankee fans of the 20s, 50s and 60s, but I CAN tell you that the ones of the new millennium are about the most insufferable bunch on the planet, and THAT’S what drives the rest of us to distraction. It has nothing to do with Yankee tradition or history at this point, and everything to do with money and George Steinbrenner.

    “Yankee fans say that the rest of the league hates him only because of his ‘passion’ to win, which is completely false. We hate him because he’s a pathetic, arrogant fool, with no eye for talent or feel for chemistry, whose sole talent lies in being able to sign a check. He’s the Mr. Potter (It’s A Wonderful Life) of baseball. Like a poor little rich boy, he has acquired all these most expensive things (in his case, ballplayers) without thought as to how they will fit in or complement what he’s already got, and still something is missing.

    “So he just goes out and buys something else (probably Barry Zito). It’s also sad to say that most of the players he buys are the type motivated only by the money (see: Johnny Damon), not the tradition and certainly not by winning. The money spent may buy talent, but not heart and soul (see: A-Rod, although I tend to think his heart and soul was simply beaten out of him). Face it, John. At this point, Yankee Stadium has become a Field of Bad Dreams for underachieving losers.”

    I’m guessing that Ms. Keenan must have had a bad “meet-up” with a Yankees fan or something?

    Yanks Pay Tribute To Lidle

    Posted by on October 17th, 2006 · Comments (13)

    Via ESPN.com -

    New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle was remembered as “a loving husband and an awesome father” at a Tuesday memorial attended by family, friends and teammates of the avid yet inexperienced pilot who was killed on an aerial tour of New York City.

    Those at the 45-minute outdoor service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Lidle’s hometown included Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and a contingent of Yankees: All-Star Derek Jeter, former high school teammate Jason Giambi, Jaret Wright, manager Joe Torre and general manager Brian Cashman. Also there were Oakland pitcher Barry Zito, Philadelphia teammates Pat Burrell and Chase Utley and former Yankees pitcher Aaron Small.

    Small, the former Yankees pitcher, had been friends with Cory and Kevin Lidle since age 9.

    “If there was a baseball game being played, me and Cory and Kevin were in it,” he said, his voice breaking. “Cory was more than a friend. He was like a little brother to me.”

    Considering that most of the Yankees players should have been expecting to be playing in the ALCS right about now, I am surprised not to see more of members from the team, who reside in the U.S., there today. O.K., guys like Andy Phillips don’t make several million a year and cannot afford an unplanned trip to the West Coast like this one. But, for the “American” Yankees who make more than $10 million a year, would it have hurt them to make this trip? Sure, Lidle was only with New York for two months. But, if you worked with someone, for only two months, and they were killed in a crash of some sort, unexpected, at a very young age, and it would cost you little to attend the service, you would probably go there, no?

    What were Posada, Sheffield, A-Rod, Damon, Johnson and Mussina doing today where they could not attend? Don’t say they had business planned for the day or were on a planned vacation – because, again, no one on the Yankees should have planned anything until after the scheduled end of the World Series, right?

    Let’s B-Real On A-Rod Deal

    Posted by on October 17th, 2006 · Comments (15)

    When the Yankees acquired Alex Rodriguez (and money) from the Texas Rangers back in February 2004, New York lost Alfonso Soriano and minor leaguer Joaquin Arias in the trade.

    At the time, Arias was a prospect – but not a blue-chipper. Soriano, then 28-years-old, was an All-Star type player albeit with some holes in his game.

    Therefore, if the Yankees were to now trade A-Rod, I suggest that it would only be reasonable to expect something like the package of Soriano & Arias in return – and, actually, maybe something a little less considering that the Yankees will not be off-setting Rodriguez’ pay (like the Rangers did when they threw money into the 2004 trade).

    Yes, I’m saying – should the Yankees trade Alex Rodriguez this winter – that Yankees fans should be happy if New York gets two players in return: One player at or near All-Star status who can help the team at the major league level in 2007 and one minor league Grade-B prospect.

    If the Yankees can get this package, and find a team willing to take on A-Rod’s contract, as well as the new team being a franchise that Alex would accept, then it’s O.K. to pull the trigger.

    Making trades is all about having leverage. The Yankees do not have huge leverage in shopping A-Rod. There are only a few teams that can afford him and only a sub-set of those teams which Alex would accept in a trade. If the Yankees can strike a deal with one of those few teams in that “sub-set” and they can get that major-league ready player to help next season and a prospect as well, I can live with that deal.

    To expect anything more than that would be ignoring the facts that are in play with this situation.

    Mark Mulder

    Posted by on October 17th, 2006 · Comments (17)

    From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch last month -

    Mulder, who is a free agent this winter, had a partial tear in his rotator cuff repaired Tuesday in New York. Once inside his shoulder, the New York Mets’ physician and Cardinals’ team physician made the decision to stitch together the torn tendon instead of smoothing over the frayed pieces. That process will lengthen his rehab and delay the date he can begin throwing for the next season.

    It will, the doctors said, make the shoulder healthier.

    “It should be as good as new,” Mulder said.

    This is based on zero information or rumor – it’s all gut feel – but, I cannot shake the feeling that Mark Mulder is going to be next year’s “Octavio Dotel” for the Yankees. I can see Cashman giving Mulder several million as a base for 2007, with incentives on IP totals for this year – and then some sort of option for 2008.

    Between Johnson’s back, Mulder’s wing, and Pavano’s (fill in the blank), the Yankees could have a full house next year in terms of glitzy starting pitching names on the Disabled List to start the year.

    A-Rod To The Cubs?

    Posted by on October 17th, 2006 · Comments (10)

    There are reports out now that suggest the Cubs have an interest in trading for Alex Rodriguez.

    If this happens, I hope the Yankees insist that LHP Donnie Veal is included as part of any Cubs package.

    I think the A-Rod to the Cubs deal can happen – since Chicago inked Piniella. In fact, if I was told this was the reason why the Cubs passed on Girardi, I would not be shocked.

    A-Rod = Lone-Wolf

    Posted by on October 16th, 2006 · Comments (11)

    From TMZ.com -

    Just days after Alex Rodriguez lost friend and teammate Corey Lidle to a tragic plane crash in NYC, the Yankees slugger had a frightening airplane experience of his own.

    As reported by CBS 2 news in Los Angeles, the 31-year-old walked away uninjured after his private Gulfstream jet overran a runway at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, Calif. and was brought to a halt by an arresting system on Friday.

    While the event might have scared most people into a hermit-like state for the remainder of the weekend, not A-Rod. The $250 million man hit the Hollywood scene almost immediately after exiting the plane. First stop was the exclusive and expensive Ivy restaurant in Beverly Hills, where it looked Alex enjoyed a peaceful meal by himself before his personal driver escorted him into an awaiting vehicle.

    Rejuvenated and relaxed, Rodriguez hit popular nightclub Area the following evening. Even though he was flanked by several beautiful women throughout the night, the happily married dad left the club all by his lonesome.

    Sounds lonely to me – no “E,” Turtle or Drama to share a meal with or to join him at the clubs?

    By the way, any chance that Alex was in SoCal scouting out, if you pardon the pun, a new landing spot for him to play at next season?

    Yanks Are Baseball’s Cash Cow

    Posted by on October 16th, 2006 · Comments (3)

    George Will recently cited the Yankees attendance this season -

    And this year, when the Yankees were drawing 4,200,518 fans to Yankee Stadium, they also played in front of 3,080,290 million on the road.

    This means that one of every ten tickets sold to a major league baseball game this season was for a game involving the Yankees.

    Yeah, the Yankees are bad for baseball…sure.

    Torre & A-Rod Don’t Mix – The Sequel

    Posted by on October 15th, 2006 · Comments (28)

    If you didn’t believe it when Jon Heyman said it three days ago, Peter Abraham says it again today:

    It may take a few weeks, a few months or even into next season, but at some point Rodriguez will be out of pinstripes. His mood swings and contrived emotions have become too much for Joe Torre and the core players to take. His entrance into a room routinely causes eyes to roll.

    When Torre batted Rodriguez eighth — eighth! — in Game 4 of the division series, it was a direct message: agree to a trade when we call you.

    When Torre was a player, his nickname was “The Godfather.”

    Sounds like Joe is going to give A-Rod an offer that he can’t refuse.

    A comment made here by a reader the other day on the Heyman feature brought cause for me to look up an old Ken Rosenthal piece on Alex from April 2005 entitled “Lightning Rod: Rodriguez has talent for ticking off peers.” In that feature, Rosenthal wrote:

    The Rangers do not view Rodriguez fondly. Third baseman Hank Blalock imitated Rodriguez’s glove slap in mocking fashion in an early spring training baserunning drill. First baseman Mark Teixeira, without naming Rodriguez directly, joined the chorus condemning him for his comments about his 6 a.m. workouts, telling a Dallas-Fort Worth reporter, “Everybody works hard in this game.”

    Rangers players nicknamed Rodriguez “The Cooler” last season, a wry observation on how he cools off every team he joins. Even shortstop Michael Young, perhaps the Rangers player with whom Rodriguez was closest, admits the team chemistry improved dramatically after Rodriguez was gone.

    “The pieces just didn’t fit. I don’t know why,” Young says. “Once we kind of got the new wave in here, it played to our strengths — being a super-aggressive team, going out every night trying to win a ballgame.”

    If (when?) A-Rod is traded from New York, it will be interesting to see the reactions reported from the Yankees players, etc.

    It almost makes me wish that Mussina and Sheffield will still be on the team – because I’m sure they will have something to say on it.

    Now That The Tigers Have Won The Pennant…

    Posted by on October 14th, 2006 · Comments (5)

    …Yankees fans should root for them to win the World Series.

    Since 2001, leading into this post-season, every team that went on to win the World Series was the team that knocked the Yankees out of the post-season – except for the 2005 Angels.

    Think about it.

    2001 – Arizona beats the Yankees – they win the ring.
    2002 – Angels beat New York in the ALDS – they win the ring.
    2003 – Florida beats the Yankees – they win the ring.
    2004 – You know, the whole Boston thing.
    2005 – The Angels break the chain.
    2006 – The Tigers re-establish the link?

    While nothing makes up for the lack of a ring over the last 6 years, it would be nice to say: Since the last Yankees ring, five out of six times, the team that beat the Yankees ended up being the best team in baseball.

    So…Let’s go Tigers!

    Stick Men Thrown Into The Volcano

    Posted by on October 14th, 2006 · Comments (5)

    From Jon Heyman -

    Joe Torre’s job was spared, but the Yankees have fired their two long-time advance scouts, Wade Taylor and Chuck Cottier. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman confirmed the firings but said the decision was unrelated to the team’s disappointing postseason.

    “It had nothing to do with losing to Detroit, ” Cashman said.

    To replace Taylor, a former Yankees pitcher, and Cottier, Cashman said they’d hire two pro scouts, who will do the advance work plus other special assignments. The Yankees plan to hire scouts in different regions to cover the whole league and will also use more video work to scout opponents.

    “We’re still going to advance and have people in the stands,” Cashman said. “We’re just not renewing the two people we had.”

    These two were Stick Michael’s guys. Cash can say that this has nothing to do with the ALDS results…but I don’t believe it. File these terminations along with the claims by some players that the Tigers were better prepared for the series.

    I have to wonder if the Yankees focused more on the Twins, in terms of scouting for the ALDS, and then got caught with their pants down when the Tigers ended up as the Wild Card team at the last minute?

    Then again, seeing the results of the ALCS to date, maybe the A’s focused too much on the Twins and Yankees and not enough on the Tigers too?

    A-Rod’s Runway Mishap

    Posted by on October 13th, 2006 · Comments (0)

    From the AP -

    A private jet, carrying Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and six others, overran a runway at Bob Hope Airport on Friday and was brought to a halt by an arresting system. “I spoke to Alex. He’s fine,” agent Scott Boras said.

    None of the seven people aboard were injured, federal officials said.

    The Gulfstream G-II carried five passengers and two crew members, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a statement from Washington, D.C. It departed from Las Vegas earlier in the day.

    I’m very happy to read here that no one was hurt.

    Do I Hear Twenty-Six?

    Posted by on October 13th, 2006 · Comments (7)

    The last record for most hits in a day for WasWatching.com was 24,083 – which happened on August 28, 2006.

    Today, I just noticed that we had 25,262 hits (here) on October 11th. (Yes, I don’t check the counts everyday.)

    This is now the new record.

    Thanks to all for making this happen – and for your interest in WasWatching.com.

    Moose Loose?

    Posted by on October 13th, 2006 · Comments (12)

    From Jon Heyman today -

    The Yankees have decided not to exercise the $17 million option on Mike Mussina. If they can’t work out an equitable alternative deal — say, for two years — they’ll have to pay him the $1.5 million buyout.

    I expect the Red Sox, Mets, and Indians to all try and offer Mussina a two year deal as well. And, since Moose’s agent is Arn Tellem (who Big Stein once said was “no good”), I expect Camp Mussina to field as many offers as possible.

    For all we know, the Nationals and Orioles might make a run at Mussina as well.

    I would bet that Moose wants to stay in the AL, close to Montoursville (PA), and play for a team that can help him reach 280 career wins.

    Prediction: Mussina will be playing his home games in Fenway Park next year.

    Donnie Next Would Be A Mistake

    Posted by on October 13th, 2006 · Comments (21)

    This comment by Michael Kay at the Post’s Blog got my attention today:

    From everything that I have heard the Yankees are absolutely blown away by how great Don Mattingly has been as the hitting coach, his work ethic and his level of preparedness. I think when Joe Torre leaves, the next manager will be Don Mattingly.

    This would be a mistake. When Donnie Mattingly looks into the mirror and asks “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the current most beloved ex-Yankee of them all?” the mirror says back to him: “Duh, it’s you – by a landslide.”

    Don’t believe me? Listen to the crowds at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day, Old-Timer’s Day, and the post-season when his name is announced during personnel introductions. If you asked Yankees fans born between the years 1975 and 1989 who was their favorite Yankees player, I would bet that 90% of them say “Don Mattingly.”

    And, when someone is loved that much by the fans, you should never hire them as a manager – because every manager is hired to be fired – and, someday, if he’s hired for the job, Don Mattingly would have to be fired. When that happens, the fans will go nuts against Yankees management.

    If the Yankees thought the feedback that they got from the fans in 1978 over Billy Martin being fired was bad, they haven’t seen anything yet if they hire Donnie and then fire him. The Orioles have never hired Cal Ripken Jr. as manager – even though he is super qualified for the position – for this same reason. You don’t put your “gods” in a position where you then have to strike against them. It’s pretty much common sense.

    This is why I would never hire Mattingly to manage the Yankees – even though he probably has the skills for the job.

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