• How Good Is Jason Giambi?

    Posted by on May 25th, 2008 · Comments (14)

    Earlier this morning, WasWatching.com reader “AndrewYF” left this comment to an entry posted yesterday (on this blog):

    [Jason] Giambi is currently the best-hitting Yankee, and the second-best hitting first baseman in the AL (and fourth in baseball). There’s really no denying those facts.

    Well, first, it looks like “AndrewYF” has fogotten about Hideki Matsui (in terms of who is “the best-hitting Yankee” as of this moment). See these current Yankees stats via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia:

    Batter		RCAA	OWP	OPS	PA
    Hideki Matsui	10	.656	.873	190
    Jason Giambi	8	.651	.900	159
    Alex Rodriguez	5	.622	.881	119
    Johnny Damon	3	.546	.783	197
    Bobby Abreu	2	.529	.814	200
    Wilson Betemit	0	.545	.758	27
    Chris Stewart	-1	.000	.000	3
    Chad Moeller	-1	.452	.675	51
    Jorge Posada	-1	.440	.810	66
    Derek Jeter	-3	.446	.727	186
    Alberto Gonzalez	-4	.173	.545	48
    Shelley Duncan	-4	.235	.564	55
    Melky Cabrera	-5	.407	.712	181
    Morgan Ensberg	-8	.125	.506	80
    Robinson Cano	-10	.300	.640	190
    Jose Molina	-11	.111	.520	98

    Still, it’s pretty close there between the Big G and Godzilla.

    How about Jason Giambi compared to all other first baseman in baseball? Here’s the top ten as of this morning:

    Batter		RCAA	OWP	OPS	PA
    Lance Berkman	45	.877	1.241	216
    Albert Pujols	30	.827	1.069	223
    Kevin Youkilis	15	.707	.936	213
    Justin Morneau	12	.701	.878	205
    Jason Giambi	8	.651	.900	159
    Casey Kotchman	8	.635	.863	187
    Adrian Gonzalez	7	.603	.865	218
    Derrek Lee	6	.571	.902	226
    Lyle Overbay	5	.603	.818	194
    Sean Casey	5	.714	.888	69
    Nick Johnson	5	.605	.846	147

    Again, “AndrewYF” is not 100% correct when he claims Giambi is the “second-best hitting first baseman in the AL” – since Kevin Youkilis and Justin Morneau have better numbers. But, Giambi is knocking on the door, just behind, the top two.

    So, whaddaya say Yankees fans? Based on Giambi’s greatness, so far, should the Yankees run out and pick-up the 2009 option on his contract for $22 million? Should Yankees fans be stuffing the All-Star game ballot boxes to ensure that Giambi represents the team at this year’s All-Star game? The numbers suggest that Jason Giambi is great. So, just how much love should “G” be getting in Yankeeland right now?

    Madden: Yanks Losing Draft Wars With Sox

    Posted by on May 24th, 2008 · Comments (18)

    From Bill Madden today:

    The problem is, [the Yankees Brian] Cashman has been handicapped by the incompetence of the Tampa-based scouting department. If you want to know why the Red Sox are suddenly the team talking dynasty, you need to look no further than the amateur drafts since 2002, where their superior scouts have cleaned the Yankees’ clocks.

    In 2002, the Yankees lost their first two draft picks as compensation for signing Jason Giambi and Steve Karsay and consequently didn’t draft until 71st when they took Brandon Weeden, a high school pitcher from Santa Fe, N.M., to whom they gave a $565,000 bonus before releasing him a couple of years later. The Red Sox took Lester at No. 57 that year.

    In 2004, the Yankees had four picks in the first 50 and took Hughes at No. 23, a high school catcher named Jon Poterson at 37, and pitchers Jeffrey Marquez and Brett Smith at 41 and 42.

    Poterson, who turned out to be a hopeless hitter, got a $965,000 bonus and was released two years later. Marquez, who was one of the young pitchers Minnesota had targeted along with Hughes in the Santana talks last winter, is struggling mightily (6.16 ERA) at Triple-A while Smith showed little promise in three years in A-ball and is on the disabled list at Double-A Trenton.

    Meanwhile, the Red Sox, who lost their first two picks in ’04 for their signing of closer Keith Foulke, took Dustin Pedroia out of Arizona State with the 65th pick.

    But if anything, it was the 2005 draft, in which the Red Sox had four picks in the first 50, all of them after the Yankees’ first pick, that really tipped the scales in the rivalry. In short, it was an absolute disaster for the Yankees, who took Oklahoma City high school shortstop C.J. Henry at No. 17. The Red Sox followed by taking Jacoby Ellsbury at 23, St. John’s closer Craig Hansen at 26, Buchholz at 42 and Stanford shortstop Jed Lowrie at 45.

    From December 1995 through July 2004, Lin Garrett was the Yankees director of scouting. It’s been Damon Oppenheimer since Garrett.

    I’ve already gone on record as to how Lin Garrett clogged up, if not destroyed, the Yankees talent pipeline that was manned pretty well by personnel such as Brian Sabean and Bill Livesey (the Scouting Directors before Garrett).

    Brian Cashman’s greatest gift to the Yankees may have been getting Garrett out of town. Why it took the Yankees so long to figure this out…well, it’s anyone’s guess.

    May 24th vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on May 24th, 2008 · Comments (11)

    I think they’re going to have to rename the baseball team from Seattle. Instead of calling them the “Mariners,” they should be called the “Panaceas” – because they truly are a great remedy for all ills and/or difficulties.

    Or, are the Yankees just playing this good?

    Will the real New York Yankees please stand up!

    Heck, will the real Mike Mussina please stand up? Is it the Moose who started the season not so hot, or the one who went on a roll recently for five games, or is it the one who has pitched “blah” in his last two games?

    And, how about Jason Giambi? Back on April 19th, I said it was time to let him go. But, since May 6th, he’s been en fuego.

    At this point, I would have to offer that Giambi is not as bad as he appeared in April and he is not as good as he appears (so far) in May. Let’s check on him on June 30th – as that will probably be the true level that we can expect from him, over the rest of the season, assuming that he does not end up on the disabled list.

    In the meantime, another win for New York tomorrow would be sweet – as it would enable the Yankees to reach .500 for the first time since May 10th. As long as they get to play the Panaceas again, I like their chances.

    If You’re In Yankeeland Today…

    Posted by on May 24th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    …get outside and get yourself some Vitamin D!

    I just got back from a quick run to the gym and it’s beautiful outside.

    I won’t be blogging again until later this evening. So, you have no excuse to stay inside! [He says, meaning it in a pleasant manner.]

    Hey, by the way, if you’re going to the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center (located on the campus of Montclair State University in Little Falls, New Jersey) on May 29th to see Bobby Murcer, please drop me a line. I might try and go…and it would be nice to say hello to some of you in person.

    Enjoy the day…see you later.

    Hank Hearts Joba

    Posted by on May 24th, 2008 · Comments (2)

    From Kat O’Brien

    [Hank] Steinbrenner said by phone: “I want to make this very clear, for anybody who hasn’t been paying attention – a top reliever, a great reliever, whether a setup man or a closer, does you absolutely no good if you can’t get to him. He’s doing you no good if you don’t have the lead.”

    “Obviously, I think he can be an ace starter,” Steinbrenner said. “That’s why he was drafted. That’s what they thought of him when he was drafted. He can also obviously be an ace closer, but we’ve got [Mariano] Rivera for that, and he’s having one of his best years.”

    The other concern is how to fill Chamberlain’s setup spot. Asked Steinbrenner: “Can we fill that other role? People seem to think so. We have some other capable arms. Not like Joba, obviously. There’s been no more dominant pitcher in baseball, really, except Rivera.”

    There’s been no more dominant pitcher in baseball, really, except Rivera.

    Betcha Joba wishes he had that quote from Hank before the Yankees renewed his contract for this season – at the big league minimum of $390,000.

    Posada Return Two Weeks Away?

    Posted by on May 24th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Via Kat O’Brien

    Jorge Posada is nearing a rehab assignment. Posada (right rotator cuff tendinitis) threw from 120 feet Friday, the longest distance he has attempted since being put on the DL April 27, and will head to Tampa once this homestand ends Sunday. He might begin at DH or by catching in extended spring training without throwing to the bases.

    “We’ve talked about the possibility of his catching games and swinging the bat but not throwing,” Brian Cashman said.

    Joe Girardi said, “It speeds up the process of maybe getting his legs in shape.”

    “Sometime in the first two weeks of June would be something we’d be hopeful for,” Cashman said. “Is that realistic? I don’t know yet.”

    The bummer here is that the Yankees play inter-league games from June 13th through June 29th – and nine of those games are on the road. So, if the Yankees had hoped (as I have heard) to catch Posada twice a week (when he returns) and have him D.H. the rest of the time, those N.L. road games will be a thorn in New York’s side.

    We may not get Posada’s bat back into the line-up, on a full-time basis, until July.

    May 23rd vs. The Mariners

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2008 · Comments (1)

    I had tickets for this game. But, I did the fiscally responsible thing and sold them to my friend, Phil.

    Nonetheless, the Yankee Gods decided to punish me for selling the seats – and I guess they thought it would be amusing to do it via the big inning. So, you can thank me for the score this evening.

    Phil is a big Yankees fan. But, his in-laws are Mariners fans. So, he’s always on the look-out for Yanks-M’s games as they’re a hot ticket in his family. I think he was going to this game with his father-in-law. (But, I’m not positive.)

    You know, it’s the eve of Memorial Day weekend and the Yankees are under .500 and in last place in the A.L. East. And, the Mets…well…it’s open season on the Mets players, manager, and G.M. these days. I was driving about this afternoon, and – between Mike & The Mad Dog (on WFAN) and Michael Kay (on ESPN Radio in NYC) – it was nothing but Mets-Mets-Mets and their woes on the sports-talk radio beat. Between the two New York big league teams, it’s not been a great start to this baseball season in the Big Apple.

    Still, it’s a day at the beach (here) compared to what it must be to like for Mariners fans.

    Seattle was supposed to be, at the worst, at least decent this season. Many (because of their pitching) even picked them to have a strong season. However, the Mariners stink. Using the expression “a sinking ship” may sound too corny – but, it really fits in this case.

    I hope the Yankees don’t let the M’s off the canvas this weekend. New York should take advantage of this opportunity – and get to .500 by Sunday evening.

    Rival House Of Horror For Those Other Guys

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Yesterday, I got an e-mail from a reader, and Yankees fan, who was basically looking to find out how bad the Mets record was when they visited the Braves – because he wanted to give his Mets fans friends the business.

    I was pretty surprised at the answer.


    Yanks: Papi? ASG Contest? NIMBY!

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Jack Curry reports that the Yankees are upset over the fact that David Ortiz has been selected to be the main man in the “Call Your Shot promotion” at this year’s All-Star Game (to be held at Yankee Stadium).

    The New York brass would be smart to drop this one. There’s no way they’re going to look good having a hissy fit over this promotion. It’s just chum for the Yankees-bashers, if you ask me.

    Was Hank Behind The Joba Call?

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Adam Schein and Chris Carlin, yesterday on SNY’s Loud Mouths, discuss the question. Here’s the video:

    I went back and checked to see what was reported last month.

    Hank said:

    “I want him as a starter and so does everyone else, including him, and that is what we are working toward and we need him there now.”

    To which Cashman replied:

    “Joba’s staying in the bullpen right now. That’s where we’re at. [Putting him in the rotation is] not something that’s going to happen here early on, and [Hank] knows that. We’ve talked about it. I don’t know what set him off.”

    And, then Hank came back with:

    “It’s all of our intention to try to get him back into the rotation by the end of the year. I’ve addressed it many times, as did Joe (Girardi) and (GM Brian) Cashman. I’m just saying it would be nice to have him there right now. He’s going to be great anywhere we have him but, my preference is as a starter and that’s everybody else’s preference, too.”

    But, then Hank tacked this on too:

    “For someone to suggest that I’m dumb enough to demand that happen [with Chamberlain] now … that really [ticks] me off.”

    So, Hank said Joba was needed in the rotation now. Cashman said it’s not going to happen early. Then Hank shared the team plan was to have him there by the end of the year and that he wasn’t demanding for Joba to start now.

    Well, Adam Schein has a point. It doesn’t sound like moving Joba now was always the team’s plan, does it?

    Kevin Kernan was on SNY’s WheelHouse yesterday and had some more to add on the Hank/Joba topic:

    Where Joba Provides The Most Value

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2008 · Comments (10)

    I decided to take a look at, recently, who adds more value to a winning team – a lights-out, stellar, set-up man in the bullpen or a starting pitcher having a solid, albeit not off-the-charts great, season.

    Why go with a stand-out set-up man and not a starting pitcher who’s also great? Call it the “Joba Factor” – as this is about Joba Chamberlain and we pretty much know that he can be a great 8th inning pitcher but we cannot assume, yet, that he’ll be a “Cy Young” type starter. (But, since I’m hoping that he’ll be, at the least, a well above average starter, I’m going with that.)

    I looked back at the American League, from 2004 through 2007, and picked – from winning teams – four great set-up seasons and four above-average starting seasons. And, then, I looked at how many Win Shares (WS) each season was worth. Here’s the results:

    Starting P	YEAR	RSAA	GS	WS
    Kelvim Escobar	2004	15	33	15
    Freddy Garcia	2005	15	33	18
    Barry Zito	2006	14	34	18
    Chien-Ming Wang	2007	21	30	16
    Set-Up Man	YEAR	RSAA	G	WS
    Tom Gordon	2004	22	80	15
    Cliff Politte	2005	19	68	12
    Joel Zumaya	2006	24	62	12
    Rafael Betancourt	2007	29	68	15

    As you can see, in the A.L., recently, a stellar set-up man on a winning team is usually good for 12-15 Win Shares. And, at the same time, in the A.L., an above-average (but not awesome) starting pitcher on a winning team is usually good for 15-18 Win Shares.

    Based on this, I would offer that the claim of “A stud in the pen setting up your closer is more valuable than a solid starting pitcher” doesn’t hold much water. Actually, it’s a push.

    Of course, if you’re talking about an “ace starting pitcher” then it really swings the other way. For example: In 2004 Curt Schilling had 22 Win Shares for Boston. In 2005, Mark Buehrle had 23 Win Shares for Chicago. In 2006, Johan Santana had 25 Wins Shares for Minnesota. And, in 2007, Josh Beckett had 19 Win Shares for Boston.

    So, it’s safe to project that an “ace” in the rotation, on a winning team, is worth around 19 to 25 Win Shares in a season. And, that’s better than the 12 to 15 that you get from a stellar set-up man (also on a winning team).

    Based on all this, it does suggest that the best place for the Yankees to use a talent like Joba Chamberlain is in the starting rotation. At the worst, it’s six of one, haf-dozen of the other. At the best, it’s a better position for Joba to add more value.

    Kennedy, The Morning After

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2008 · Comments (23)

    Last night was not the best start in Ian Kennedy’s young big league career – as his best was on September 13 of last season – but, it was pretty darn close to being his best. It’s a tough call between last night’s game and his start of September 1, 2007 as to which would be the second best start of his career, to date.

    Sure, Kennedy walked 4 batters last night. But, he’s probably going to be the type of pitcher to walk at least 2 guys every time he starts a game.

    But, there’s something going on with Ian this season. Yesterday, Alex Belth pointed it out when he wrote:

    “Ian Kennedy smirks and smiles a lot for a kid whose been pitching like a bum so far.”

    I was happy to see Alex say that – because I noticed it as well (and thought maybe it was just me.) It’s so different from what I saw of Kennedy last season.

    It’s as if Kennedy has some sort of sense of entitlement about him, at times. (I say “at times” because he’s also appeared to whine like a baby on the mound, once in a while, when it seems like things are not going his way.) It’s not an air of entitlement in a James Spader as “Steff” in Pretty in Pink kind of way. (That would be Mike Mussina.) And, it’s not an air of arrogance in a Richard Tyson as “Buddy Revell” in Three O’Clock High kind of way. (That would be Roger Clemens.) But, there’s a chip on Ian’s shoulder, for sure, this season.

    And, I don’t like it. Then again, if he keeps pitching like he did last night, I’ll probably just have to learn to deal with it.

    May 22nd vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2008 · Comments (11)

    Nice show by Joe Girardi, huh? We probably haven’t seen something like that from the Yankees manager in the last 12 and a half years.

    And, I think it helped tonight. Motivational people always talk about breaking the patterns of undesired behavior. And, that’s what Joe did in the ninth. Tie game, one-up, Matsui does his job leading off…then A-Rod goes down on strikes and ditto Giambi (with some help from the ump). I truly believe, if Girardi does nothng there…then we see more bad things. Even if Abreu still got the walk without Joe’s act coming before it, Cano, who was having a bad night at the plate, would probably continue to ride the overall negative vibe that was present.

    But, Joe does his thing…clears the air, resets the mood, gets the crowd going, ices the O’s pitcher a bit…and, presto! A beautiful win.

    I’ll talk about Ian Kennedy tomorrow – he’s part of the story here too. But, for now, this one’s for General Joe.

    Think Pettitte ’95 When Considering Joba ’08

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2008 · Comments (4)

    Marc Malusis and Jonas Schwartz, on SNY’s Geico SportsNite, debate the Yankees call to migrate Joba Chamberlain to the starting rotation.

    Schwartz may be forgetting about when the Yankees did this before…in 1995. And, it worked.

    Andy Pettitte was a starter in the minors. At the start of the 1995 big league season, Pettitte worked out of the Yankees pen for their first 16 games. Then, in the Yankees 26th game of that season, Andy was inserted into the starting rotation. Pettitte was 23-years old that season – just a year older than Joba Chamberlain is now.

    It worked out pretty good for Pettitte and the Yankees. No reason why it can’t happen again now.

    When The Old Math Meets Today’s Stats

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Via the Chicago Tribune

    [Lou] Piniella plans to give Fukudome a game off in Pittsburgh this weekend, moving Mark DeRosa to right and giving Ronny Cedeno a start at second. As the weather heats up, look for Piniella to use his bench more often, even if it means sitting some of his regulars for a game or two.

    “I remember one manager told me I looked tired, and I agreed with him,” Piniella said. “Seventeen days later, I got back in the lineup.”

    Oscar Gamble was the one who took Piniella’s place with the Yankees, and Dick Howser was the manager.

    “No one can play 162 games anymore,” Piniella said. “And if they do, you’re not going to get a very productive 162. So take a little breather, get a little rest, give someone on the bench a chance to play and, I promise, I won’t sit anybody 17 days.”

    I decided to play Rob Neyer on this one and looked it up. Howser only managed the Yankees in 1980. Piniella never sat for more than five games in a row in that season. Oh, well…

    Helping Out

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2008 · Comments Off on Helping Out

    Some recent e-mails to me regarding making donations towards this site has brought cause for this post.

    As some may remember, in the past, I did accept some donations via PayPal. A while back ago, something happened with the PayPal donations “button” on this site – and it no longer worked. I never bothered looking into fixing it because I didn’t think it was appropriate to ask for donations, now, given that I’m part of a blog network, etc.

    However, as mentioned, in the last few days, I have received some e-mails from folks wanting to make donations. (And, of course, thanks to all of you who have asked about this – it is extremely kind of you and very touching.)

    Unrelated, someone else recently e-mailed me asking for an autographed copy of my book. And, now, thinking about the two different requests has given me an idea.


    S.I.’s “King of Swing” Dissed By YES Gaffe

    Posted by on May 22nd, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Yankee Stadium Insider has the story and the video. Way back when, Paul Katcher had the audio from Earl Weaver that slipped out over the air this evening. (It’s NSFW or the kiddies. But, it’s an absolute classic if you’ve never heard it before…)

    Terry Crowley, after the game, about YES said: “They’re the artists, I’m the canvas. They paint the picture the way they want to.” (Yeah, I’m kidding about that last part.)

    May 2008 Survey Question #2

    Posted by on May 21st, 2008 · Comments (9)

    Please consider taking the following poll:


    Thanks in advance. And, please feel free to add comments on your opinion in the comments section below.

    May 21st vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on May 21st, 2008 · Comments (3)

    How much you wanna bet that those yellow stairs are painted black tomorrow?

    It was the Rodriguez and Rasner show tonight. A-Rod was robbed on that second big fly. But, as the guys in the YES booth said…it was too hard to make that call with the naked eye at real time speed. (Man, if I’m Mitch Seone, I’m going to get myself run on that call. If you’re going to be a BP pitcher fill-in first base coach, you might as well get yourself on SportsCenter jawing with an ump. Yes, I’m kidding – sorta/kinda.)

    Hey now…if Rasner keeps this up…it’s going to be interesting at the end of June when Joba is ready to join the rotation. Wang, Pettitte, Chamberlain, Mussina and Rasner leaves no room for Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy – assuming there are no injuries. Phil and Ian might want to consider being roomies down in Scranton this summer. (Sure, one of them could stick in New York as a long-man; but, I doubt the Yankees would do that.)

    Lastly, here’s a question that no one is probably thinking about coming out of this game (now that the Joba news has everyone’s attention): Chad Moeller went 2 for 5 tonight and had a third hit lost to a great play in the field. He’s now batting .262 on the season. Is it an automatic that he goes down when Posada returns? Jose Molina has an OPS of .522 – and it was .530 last year when the Yankees picked him up from the Angels.

    “The Process Has Started”

    Posted by on May 21st, 2008 · Comments (16)

    …meaning the process of converting Joba Chamberlain to being a starting pitcher…so says Joe Girardi, to Kim Jones, on YES, during the post-game on the field interview (when asked about Joba going two innings today).


    Who Would Have Thought It?

    Posted by on May 21st, 2008 · Comments (5)

    In his last 11 games, covering 42 PA, Jason Giambi has the following BA/OBP/SLG line:


    Basically, since the Yankees off-day of May 5th, he’s been a force.

    I’m guessing that he had a really good Cinco de Mayo.

    For The Love Of Glove

    Posted by on May 21st, 2008 · Comments (7)

    Reading Stefan Fatsis’ “My Glove: A Biography” got me thinking about my own collection of leather.  I own seven baseball gloves – including both a first baseman’s and catcher’s mitt.  Of the five “standard” gloves that I own, three of them will always standout to me.

    My very first glove:


    Model: Wilson A 2620 – “Paul Blair” signature
    Estimated Date of Purchase:  1974
    Marking on outside thumb:  “Nylon Stitched”
    Marking on inside pinky: “Craft Built”
    Markings inside pocket: “Grip-Tite Pocket” and “Snap Action”

    Comments:  Yes, I defaced this one with paint, etc.  I’m not sure what I was really thinking at the time.  Then again, I was only 11-years old back then as well. 

    The first glove bought with my own money:


    Model: Wilson A 2111 – “Chris Speier” signature
    Estimated Date of Purchase:  1976
    Marking on outside thumb:  “Nylon Stitched”
    Marking on inside pinky: “Designed for the PROFESSIONAL”
    Markings inside pocket: “Grip-Tite Pocket,” “Pro-Model” and “Snap Action”

    Comments:  I remember begging my mom to drive me down to Fred Muche’s on Castleton Avenue (in Staten Island) to get this one.  The glove, at that time, cost an insane amount of money – and I knew “mom” would allow me to spend it (since it was money I earned) whereas “dad” would have given me “that look.”  I had no idea who “Chris Speier” was at the time.  I used this one for a decade after I got it – and used it a lot.

    The glove I want to have buried with me:


    Model: Rawlings HFG 12 – “Reggie Jackson” signature
    Estimated Date of Purchase:  1985
    Marking on outside thumb:  “Edge-U-cated Heel”
    Marking on inside pinky: “The Finest In The Field!”
    Markings inside pocket: “Deep Well Pocket” and “FASTBACK Model”

    Comments:  Broken in so perfectly that it doesn’t even seem like I’m wearing a glove when I have it on my hand.  Broken in so perfectly that I would rather offend someone than allow them to use it (and perhaps ruin its perfection).  Broken in so perfect that I would use it, with total trust,  to catch a newborn baby in it.  Do I have to continue?  I think you get it.  For me, it’s perfection.  Now that I no longer play ball, and that I have other gloves to use if needed, I’m thinking about having this one put in a glass case.

    When people talk about love for a glove…I totally get where they’re coming from.

    Was I Wrong About Joe Girardi?

    Posted by on May 21st, 2008 · Comments (19)

    When Joe Torre elected to decline the Yankees offer to manage their team this season, I jumped right out there to back the concept of Joe Girardi taking over for Torre. As I wrote back then:

    …with Joe Girardi you get the tactical-edge seeking of Billy Martin, the ensured preparedness of Buck Showalter, and, the politically correct demeanor of Joe Torre – all rolled into one. There’s really not much more that you can ask a manager to have, in my opinion, in terms of skills and talent.

    This opinion was based on many things that I had read and heard about Girardi – as a player, in New York and elsewhere; and, as a manager for the Florida Marlins (where he was elected N.L. Manager of the Year in 2006). The notion was also based on listening to Joe broadcast games on YES and FOX.

    …the tactical-edge seeking of Billy Martin…
    …the ensured preparedness of Buck Showalter…
    …the politically correct demeanor of Joe Torre…

    In the Yankees first 45 games this season, have we seen any of these three qualities from Joe Girardi? Was I wrong about his ability to bring these things to the table this season?

    To be candid, I have yet to see anything that suggests Girardi has his team prepared to play or has been working some tactical-edge type stuff in games. And, the politically correct demeanor? Well, Joe has already had his run-ins with the media – although, reportedly, he’s mended some fences in that area.

    Therefore, if someone wants to claim I was wrong about Girardi, I have nothing to prove otherwise – at this junction.

    Now, so far, this season, I have seen the following from Joe Girardi: He cares. He hates to lose. And, he’s willing to be a leader in the sense that he wants the buck to stop with him. Those are all very good qualities for a manager to have…but, is it enough for this team?

    I’m not sure. And, that’s quite a difference from the way I felt last September.

    Truth be told, I’m starting to get this “Bucky Dent” type feeling about Girardi. Back in 1989, when the Yankees hired Dent to manage the team there were some questions about his ability to take his minor league managing success and translate it to dealing with veteran players in New York. And, in the end, between 1989 and 1990, the Yankees went 36-53 under Bucky – and Dent was fired on June 6, 1990.

    Could it be that Joe Girardi – while being someone who wants to win and who has shown that he can win on a smaller stage – is not ready to successfully run this Yankees team with all its extremely high-paid and veteran players? Based on what we’re seeing so far this season, that could be the case.

    What do you think?

    Peaches And Herb

    Posted by on May 21st, 2008 · Comments (3)

    What happens now, with Mike Piazza calling it a career, if the BBWA chooses to make him a first ballot choice for Cooperstown – while at the same time, turning a blind eye to McNamee stuff and electing Roger Clemens to the Hall on the same ballot?

    ESPN would have a field day with that one.

    Yankee Stadium: Baseball’s Cathedral DVD

    Posted by on May 21st, 2008 · Comments (4)

    This one is due out on July 1st.

    From what I can tell, this is what will be on it:

    1 Lou Gehrig Speech
    2 Mickey Mantle’s 1964 World Series Game 3 Walk-Off HR
    3 Chris Chambliss’ 1976 ALCS Game 5 Walk-Off HR
    4 Yankees Return After Thurman Munson’s Funeral
    5 George Brett And The Pine Tar Game
    6 Highlights From Jim Abbott’s No Hitter
    7 Don Mattingly’s HR In The 1995 ALDS Game 2
    8 Highlights From 1999 World Series Game 4
    9 Derek Jeter’s 2001 ALDS Dive
    10 Hideki Matsui’s First Major League Grand Slam
    11 Aaron Boone’s 2003 ALCS Game 7 HR
    12 Tour Of Yankee Stadium From “Cathedrals Of The Game”

    Now, I realize that there’s a lot of things that happened at the Stadium, say, before 1976 that they just don’t have a lot of footage to pull from…but…

    Highlights from the 1999 World Series over highlights from the 2001 World Series?

    (And, that’s just the first thing that jumps into my head.)

    I’m hoping that the above 12 are just the “extras” on the DVD and that there will be lots more stuff on it. Reportedly, the “DVD takes a look back at the House that Ruth Built from its opening day in 1923, to opening day 2008, the stadium’s final season in operation.”

    I’ll probably get this one just for the “tour” feature. As I learn more about this one, I will share it here.

    May 20th vs. The Orioles

    Posted by on May 20th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    The kids wanted to watch Dora the Explorer at seven tonight – they usually do. It follows Max & Ruby – which follows dinner. So, that’s what was on our T.V. this evening when the game started.

    For a second, a few minutes past seven, the kids left the room and I clicked over to YES – to check on the game.

    It’s the top of the 1st. Mike Mussina on the hill. Brian Roberts is on first. Melvin Mora grounds out to third with Roberts moving to second on the play. No score in the game. All looks fine.

    The kids return – and we’re back to Dora.

    My son goes to bed first – at the usual time, around 7:30 – and it’s my wife’s turn to tuck him in and read him a story. I’m hanging with my daughter – as she wants to watch Go, Diego! Go!

    Around 7:50, my wife enters the room – and now it’s my daughter’s turn for tuck-in and a story. So, as the girls leave me, I click back to YES.

    Now, it’s the top of the second inning. Ross Ohlendorf is pitching to Kevin Millar and it’s 7-0 in favor of Baltimore. “What the [bleep]?” I think to myself.

    I turn the T.V. off and go to the kitchen to get a snack. My wife joins me and we hurry back to the T.V. to watch the competition finale for American Idol. During one of the first commerical breaks, I flip back over to YES.

    It’s the bottom of the third and the score is now 9-zip in favor of the O’s. They’re showing a replay of Derek Jeter getting hit, hard, on the hand with a pitch. Oh, it’s going to be one of those nights…

    After some more Idol, I go back to the game for a peek.

    It’s now 10-0, Baltimore, and La Troy Hawkins in pitching to Brian Roberts leading off the fifth inning.

    At the end of American Idol, I check the game again.

    It’s just the top of the sixth. Edwar Ramirez is now pitching for New York. (I found out in the post-game why Hawkins was removed from the game.) It’s still 10-0, but, the O’s have two on with two outs in the frame.

    My and wife I decide to watch an old episode of Star Trek on DVD at this point. Forty-three minutes later, I tune back to YES (to stay).

    It’s now the top of the ninth and Mariano Rivera is pitching in the game. Singleton, Kay and Flaherty are talking about how Mo needs the work. The score is 12-2 now…with the Yankees on the short end.

    In the post-game, I hear about the ugly first inning, Jeter being day-to-day, the brush-backs from Hawkins, and…Yea! A-Rod hit a homer. Yeeeeaaaaaa! They show, in the post-game, the replay of Alex beaming in the dugout after homering when his team was down 10-0 in the sixth.

    Me? All I can think about…watching those “plays” by Jeter, Damon and Abreu in the field…is something that I wrote about yesterday…and, seeing that seven-run first inning by Baltimore on the line-score, reminds me of something else I wrote that same day.

    Sometimes, I just hate it when I’m right.

    Keri: To Win, Yanks Need Trade, Breaks & Pen To Step Up

    Posted by on May 20th, 2008 · Comments (21)

    Jonah Keri, on the Yankees, via ESPN.com Page 2

    With the offense weakened, that puts pressure on the pitching staff to win games, and I don’t see enough there for that to happen. Phil Hughes looks like he’s not ready, Ian Kennedy never had that much upside to begin with and you can’t feel 100 percent safe about Andy Pettitte’s elbow or Mike Mussina’s performance holding up. Moving Joba Chamberlain to the rotation would solve a lot, but the Yankees are being way too conservative on that front, and that’s going to cost them games between now and the time it finally happens.

    As is, a lot has to fall into place for the Yankees to make the playoffs. If it takes well more than 90 wins to get the wild card this year, I don’t know if they can do it. As is, they’ll need to make at least one significant trade and catch a big break elsewhere — the rest of the bullpen stepping up big if/when Joba becomes a starter, Hughes, Kennedy or Darrell Rasner panning out this season, or some other helpful event — for the team to succeed.

    One significant trade?

    You mean like the Santana deal? Oh, never mind…

    Farm Report – Batters

    Posted by on May 20th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    How are the Yankees position prospects doing down in the minors so far this season?


    Hank: Yes To Bats, No To Stats

    Posted by on May 20th, 2008 · Comments (10)

    Via Kevin Kernan

    The Yankees are dead last in the AL East and the Subway Series was a disaster, but Hank Steinbrenner said yesterday it would be a mistake to count out Joe Girardi’s club, especially with Alex Rodriguez due to come back to the lineup tonight against the Orioles.

    “A huge mistake, abso-freakin’-lutely,” Steinbrenner colorfully told The Post.

    “I think we’re just about ready to go on a tear. We’re too good a team. And getting A-Rod back is big. The hitters are going to start hitting soon.

    “This is a mirage,” he said of the hitting woes. “This team hasn’t forgotten how to hit. They’re going to start hitting at some point.”

    Boss Jr. also said the Yankees want to get back to more hands-on scouting, like they do in the amateur market, and get away from relying too much on computers.

    “Statistics are important to a degree,” he said, “but we have to get away from relying too much on that computer stuff, that’s gotten out of hand. We’ve got to get back to doing a little bit more of the old-fashioned scouting like the Yankees and Dodgers did.”

    Well, even if Hank doesn’t want to see the stats, I’ll share the current ones here – via the CBE:

    Player		PA	RCAA	OWP	RC/G	SEC
    Bobby Abreu	180	0	.499	4.7	.268
    Johnny Damon	179	3	.554	5.3	.353
    Robinson Cano	168	-12	.209	2.3	.172
    Derek Jeter	167	2	.549	5.2	.167
    Hideki Matsui	167	7	.650	6.6	.277
    Melky Cabrera	162	-1	.478	4.5	.276
    Jason Giambi	143	4	.588	5.7	.500
    Alex Rodriguez	99	3	.614	6.0	.286
    Jose Molina	87	-7	.158	1.9	.134
    Morgan Ensberg	76	-5	.229	2.4	.129
    Jorge Posada	66	0	.482	4.5	.222
    Alberto Gonzalez	44	-3	.235	2.5	.158
    Shelley Duncan	41	-2	.280	2.8	.194
    Chad Moeller	41	0	.513	4.8	.243
    Wilson Betemit	27	1	.589	5.7	.192
    Chris Stewart	3	-1	.000	0.0	.000

    Well, if anything, there’s a lot of room for improvement in there – for sure.

    Hank: Joe & I Making The Best Of Our Cards

    Posted by on May 20th, 2008 · Comments (6)

    Via Tyler Kepner

    Hank Steinbrenner, who is co-chairman of the Yankees with his brother, Hal, praised Manager Joe Girardi in a wide-ranging telephone interview on Monday. But with the last-place Yankees sputtering along at 20-24, the architect of the team, General Manager Brian Cashman, received only measured support.

    Speaking of Girardi, Steinbrenner said: “I think he’s doing fine. It’s pretty simple — he’s playing the hand that he was dealt, just like I am. He’s doing the best job he can. I have complete confidence in Joe.”

    The way the season plays out from here could determine Cashman’s future.

    “If Brian wants to be the G.M. next year, there’s a chance he will be,” Steinbrenner said. “If he doesn’t want to, he won’t be. At this point, do I still want him to be the G.M.? Yeah, I do.”

    [Hank] made several references on Monday to the next off-season, stressing that he was determined to make any moves necessary.

    “My job is to win, and I’m going to do everything I can to win,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s not like I just came in off the farm, like some people claim. I’ve been around the game for 35 years, but this is my first year, along with my brother, in running the team, and I have to play with the cards I was dealt, just like Joe does.

    “Whether those cards work or not will determine what happens in the off-season, and I’m going to do whatever I have to do to win,” he continued. “There’s been a lot of mistakes the last five to seven years that I had nothing to do with and Joe had nothing to do with — and quite a few things Brian had nothing to do with.”

    That last part is interesting. “Quite a few” implies that there are, still, some things that Hank views as being Cashman’s fault. I’m growing more and more convinced that, if the Yankees don’t make the post-season this year, Cashman will not be back in 2009.

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