• Hanks Likes Manny & Sabathia

    Posted by on October 31st, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Via the AP

    Hank Steinbrenner said the Yankees will explore all options during the offseason, including the possibility of making an offer to free-agent slugger Manny Ramirez.

    “There’s nothing we are not looking at,” Steinbrenner said today at the Yankees’ spring training complex. “And personally, I like Manny. He’s one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game. He’s a free spirit for sure, but he knows how to win. We like some of the other guys, too. We just don’t know yet.”

    Ramirez was traded from Boston to the Dodgers on July 31, and Los Angeles is expected to attempt to re-sign the high-priced outfielder.

    “I want to see who is the highest bidder,” Ramirez said when the Dodgers lost the NL championship series. “Gas is up and so am I.”

    The Yankees’ priority is pitching, and CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett figure to be the top starters on the market.

    “Every team in baseball wants Sabathia,” Steinbrenner said. “That’s the bottom line. It’s not a real secret. Pitching is in the forefront for everybody, not just us. That’s why starting pitching is at a premium.”

    Hank’s throwing around more love than a 1981 version of Danny Elfman…

    The Ian Kennedy – Willy Taveras Rumor

    Posted by on October 31st, 2008 · Comments (10)

    I saw this over at Bronx Banter (who saw it at the Bleacher Report…who probably saw it in the Denver Post)…

    Willy Taveras?

    Wow. I knew that Ian Kennedy’s stock was down. But, this far down?

    Willy Taveras?

    Man, I just don’t get this one, at all.

    If it’s true, it will be the second coming of Tony Womack in Yankeeland…albeit a younger version than the first one.

    2009 Player Analysis/Forecasts

    Posted by on October 31st, 2008 · Comments (1)

    Just a heads up on something starting tomorrow here…

    Each day, seven days a week, for the next 4 or 5 weeks, I will be posting some “laconic” commentary/analysis/forecasting on a player off the Yankees 2008 roster – one player per day.

    And, of course, you’ll have a chance to comment on what’s said…

    We’ll start tomorrow with Mike Mussina.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 10/31/08

    Posted by on October 31st, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    Happy Halloween ’08

    Posted by on October 31st, 2008 · Comments (1)


    Boo!

    Jeter, Mo, ‘Sado, & Andy To Be Plate-Bearers?

    Posted by on October 30th, 2008 · Comments (8)

    Via Pete Caldera -

    Yankee Stadium could host one final ceremony after all.

    Plans are in the works to have Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte transfer home plate from the current ballpark into the new Yankee Stadium – perhaps on Nov. 8, according to a person familiar with the concept.

    The four veteran Yankees are scheduled to be in New York on Nov. 7, for the sixth annual dinner to benefit Joe Torre’s ‘Safe at Home Foundation,’ established to prevent the cycle of domestic violence.

    Does A-Rod get to move anything too? At times like these, in a way, it doesn’t even seem like he’s on the team. How many other teams would leave their highest paid star, and future Hall of Famer, out of something like this?

    In any event, I’m happy for the four who get to do this – it’s a nice touch.

    Time For A Perma-Wheel Play In Yanks Infield?

    Posted by on October 30th, 2008 · Comments (9)

    Not sure if you’ve noticed this or not, but, in the Fielding Bible 2008 Plus/Minus Leaders and Trailers, Robinson Cano was the worst fielding 2B in baseball last season. And, Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu were the next to worst fielding 1B and RF, respectively, in the game as well. And, for what it’s worth, Derek Jeter (what a shock!) was among the worst in the bigs, with the leather, at SS (last year).

    On the bright-side, Giambi and Abreu should be gone from Yankeeland next year. And, hopefully, their replacements will be better defensive players. However, as of now, the Yankees keystone combo in 2009 still appears to be Cano and Jeter.

    Has a team ever won a championship with two terrible defenders up the middle of the infield?

    Makes me wonder: Does it make sense to move A-Rod to first base (in 2009) – selling it that he can be like his idol, Keith Hernandez – where he should be a Gold Glover; and, then, moving either Cano or Jeter to 3B and picking up a replacement middle-infielder who can provide world-class defense?

    Or, is that just thinking that’s too radical for the Yankees to ever consider?

    October 2008 Survey Question #6

    Posted by on October 30th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:38}

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

    Manny The Yankee?

    Posted by on October 30th, 2008 · Comments (31)

    Via George King -

    Manny Ramirez doesn’t fit the Yankees desire to get younger and more athletic, but several industry sources believe the Yankees will make a serious push for the free agent to play right field next year.

    Though GM Brian Cashman says the top offseason priority is starting pitching, he did not rule out interest in the 36-year-old Ramirez.

    “We are looking at starting pitching,” Cashman said when asked about the team’s interest in Ramirez. “We will see how the free agent and trade markets are.”

    In the past, I’ve shared that Ramirez is the best right-handed batter that I’ve ever seen…and I still feel that way.

    But, I dunno…

    This just screams of the “Need pitching, can’t find pitching, add more hitting” Cashman Modus Operandi that we’ve seen in the Bronx for the last five years.

    Also, it would be nice to see the Yankees get away from the “Twenty-five players, twenty-five multi-million dollar corporations” state that they’ve been in lately.

    What do you think? Should the Yankees make a run at picking up Manny Ramirez?

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 10/30/08

    Posted by on October 30th, 2008 · Comments (13)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    Curtis Le Roy Blefary

    Posted by on October 29th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Curt Blefary was born in Brooklyn, New York. He grew up in Mahwah, New Jersey.

    Blefary and Al Severinsen are the only major leaguers to come out of the Wagner College (Staten Island) athletics program.

    The Yankees paid $18,000 to sign Blefary in 1962. In addition to the bonus, the Yankees agreed to pay his tuition and expenses at Wagner during the off-seasons. However, he was acquired by the Baltimore Orioles via waivers after turning pro with the Yankees.

    In 1965, Blefary hit .260 with 22 home runs and 70 RBI – winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award (with the Orioles). On December 4, 1969, the Yankees traded Joe Pepitone to acquire Blefary (who was then with the Houston Astros).

    On June 13, 1970, Blefary had a good game for the Yankees.

    In 2001, Curt Blefary passed away, at the age of 57, due to chronic pancreatitis (which was probably brought on by many years of alcohol abuse).

    Betcha most Yankees fans under the age of thirty don’t know a thing about Curtis Le Roy Blefary. He’s an interesting Yankees-related story. It’s a shame that the last two generations of Yankees fans are probably clueless as to his tale.

    In Case You’re Scoring At Home…

    Posted by on October 29th, 2008 · Comments (9)

    …Kei Igawa still has three years left on his Yankees contract.

    You know, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Triple-A franchise has only been around since 1989 (when the Maine Guides moved to Pennsylvania). Iggy’s got a great shot at becoming the all-time leader in games started for that franchise.

    And, yes, I’m kidding.

    There’s no way he stays in the rotation there for the next three years…or, is there?

    2008 World Series – In The Books!

    Posted by on October 29th, 2008 · Comments (3)

    Man, when Ben Zobrist made contact in the 9th, for a second, I was thinking “Tie game!”

    Not to be…

    This Fall Classic reminded me of 2000 – when the Yanks took the Mets in five.

    Yes, this series, like that one, was a 4 to 1 take-down. But, the wins, for the most part, were close.

    Congrats to the Phillies and their fans. They beat a very good team. And, they’ve earned their rings.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 10/29/08

    Posted by on October 29th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    Cashman Rings In On Joba’s DUI Charge

    Posted by on October 28th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    Via Ed Price -

    Yankees GM Brian Cashman made an appearance at Foley’s NY Pub in Manhattan Tuesday to promote the release of the game and gave his first public comments on Joba Chamberlain’s arrest earlier this month.

    Asked if he is confident that it was a one-time error by Chamberlain, Cashman said he wasn’t.

    “He knows that we care a great deal about him,” the GM said. “He knows that he’s got all the support from us that we can provide, because we do care about him. At the same time, I can’t tell you I’m confident about anything that goes on in other peoples’ personal lives.”

    Chamberlain, the popular, 23-year-old right-hander whom the Yankees have pegged as a rotation fixture, is scheduled for a Dec. 17 court appearance in Lincoln, Neb. He was cited Oct. 18 on suspicion of driving under the influence, speeding and having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle.

    “He made a mistake,” Cashman said. “He apologized for it. Thank God no one was hurt. It’s a very serious issue. I hope that’s the end of it.”

    I agree with Cashman’s take on this – 100%.

    Tonight’s Musical Mood

    Posted by on October 28th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Cranking the volume is recommended on this one…

    As Brad Hamilton Said To Jeff Spicoli

    Posted by on October 28th, 2008 · Comments (15)

    In response to some comments left on the blog today (by readers), I wanted to share something – with the hope that it helps some people understand a little more about this blog.

    The comments left earlier today centered around things like “Why can’t you write something positive and leave it at that?” and “You’re going to insult your readers with things like this” and so on…

    To address this, it’s helpful to look at what a “blog” is – and, according to the dictionary, it’s:

    …a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.

    Dead, solid, perfect.

    That’s what this blog is for me. It’s my analysis/findings and feelings/beliefs as a Yankees fan. That’s what it’s always been – and that’s what it still is today. This is why I have never added other authors to WasWatching.com – because I wanted it to be clear that there’s one voice here – expressing opinions, etc. – and it’s me.

    Why do I do it? Well, about a year ago, I had to go into this – pretty much for the same reasons as I am now.

    I do it for “me.” As I wrote about this last time:

    [This blog is] an outlet for me – a chance to “put down on paper” some of the Yankees-thoughts that I have each day. (Yes, I tend to think about the Yankees at least once a day. That’s what happens to us zealots.) Basically, that was it – in terms of my intent. Blogging was a release for me. A chance to document what I was thinking at a point in time, etc.

    I don’t write what I write here because I think it will make the reader happy. I would never portray my views to fit in line with those belonging to a certain crowd of Yankees fans with the hope of impressing them or making them feel good. What I write here are my true thoughts, etc.

    And, if someone doesn’t like what I’m writing, or how I write it, or the pattern and/or frequency of my commentary, etc., then I suggest that they take a pass on it – rather than bellyache for something that’s not there.

    Hey, if it’s not there, then it’s not what I’m finding, feeling, thinking, expressing, etc. – and, that’s that.

    Again, a blog is “a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.” This is my blog. There are many like it but this one is mine…yadda yadda.

    Learn it. Know it. Live it.

    And, now, let’s get on with the show.

    Heyman: Sabathia & Holliday Bronx Bound?

    Posted by on October 28th, 2008 · Comments (18)

    Jon Heyman shares that many feel the Yankees are the favorite to get CC Sabathia and that Matt Holliday is on the Yankees radar. (Hat tip to BBTF.)

    Reading this makes me wonder – could there be a contingency between the two? Would the Yankees have to get Sabathia in order to free up someone like Phil Hughes to be part of a package for Holliday? Related, would Austin Jackson have to also be part of the deal for Holliday? Further, if the Yankees pick up Holliday, would they try to long-term him? And, if they do, how would that look – meaning giving up Hughes and Jackson and then having to fork over money to Holliday – one year after the Johan Santana thing where Brian Cashman said that he didn’t want to give up prospect assets AND money to acquire a big name player?

    So many questions…

    Then again, what’s what speculation is all about, no?

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 10/28/08

    Posted by on October 28th, 2008 · Comments (11)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    P.S. – if you want to discuss Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, as a special treat, here – that’s O.K., today, too.

    Yo, Bro!

    Posted by on October 27th, 2008 · Comments (25)

    Jeff Pearlman catches up with Scott Brosius at ESPN Page 2.

    Here’s a snip:

    Though Brosius certainly enjoyed his 11-year major league career, he was always — in the best possible sense — a man who shunned the spotlight; he politely ducked excessive praise and was quick to point out the merits of teammates. In a city that had five different newspapers covering the Yankees, Brosius read about his team exactly zero times. “That’s probably how I survived,” he says, laughing. “When I arrived [in a trade for Kenny Rogers], I made a commitment to myself that I would never check out the Yankees’ coverage in the newspapers — and I didn’t. In four years there, I never read a Yankee article. That was liberating. I held no grudges against writers, and I never obsessed over how I was perceived. I wanted to be anonymous.”

    Yeah, but, what about that day when Brosius got caught in those illegal poker games? Or, what about the day where he called a press conference to say that he no longer had sleep-overs at Jeter’s house? Or, what about when Scott got caught with the she-male stripper in Toronto? Or, what about the whole Madonna thing?

    Oh…wait a minute…that’s another Yankees third-baseman that I must be thinking of…

    Never mind.

    A Little ’70′s Triple-Play

    Posted by on October 27th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Break out those bell bottoms and platform shoes!

    (more…)

    Leitch: Stimulus in Pinstripes

    Posted by on October 27th, 2008 · Comments (13)

    Have you read Will Leitch’s “Stimulus in Pinstripes” yet? (Hat tip to Brothers Judd.)

    Warning: The Royal Order of the Cashman Kool-Aid Brigade may find it upsetting.

    October 2008 Survey Question #5

    Posted by on October 27th, 2008 · Comments (9)

    Please consider taking the following poll:

    {democracy:37}

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

    Ex-Yank Vizcaino Picked Up For DUI

    Posted by on October 27th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    FOX Sports has the story. (Hat tip to BBTF.)

    I guess all those Phiten necklaces attracted Buford T. Justice’s radar gun or something…

    Bronx Banter Joins SNY.tv Blog Network

    Posted by on October 27th, 2008 · Comments (14)

    Bronx Banter is the newest member of the SNY.tv Blog Network.

    Those who know Bronx Banter know that Alex, Cliff, and the gang do a great job there – so, this is great news for the SNY.tv Network. Please join me in welcoming Bronx Banter to the network.

    It’s clear, with this addition, that SNY.tv is continuing to make themselves the “Online Home of All Things NY Sports.”

    If you haven’t been to Bronx Banter in a while, stop by today – and dig the new look to their site.

    WasWatching.com Water Cooler Talk 10/27/08

    Posted by on October 27th, 2008 · Comments (7)

    Feel free to use this post as a place for you to comment on anything Yankees-related (or within reach of tagging the bag of being Yankees-related on a decent slide) today. It could be a casual conversation offering, or, something you saw in the news, or something very detailed that you want to share that’s within the territory of Yankeeland.

    Or, comment on something that someone else has posted here in the comments…

    Have fun. Play nice. And, remember, keep it Yankees-focused.

    P.S. – if you want to discuss Game 4 of the 2008 World Series, as a special treat, here – that’s O.K., today, too.

    The Big Bus

    Posted by on October 26th, 2008 · Comments (1)

    You eat one lousy foot and they call you a cannibal – what a world!

    So, I’m getting a little bored watching the World Series this evening and I start clicking around. And, I’m hitting every channel out there – including the Veria channel. And, what do I see?

    They’re showing “The Big Bus.”

    Back when that movie first came out, I was 13-years old. I’ll always remember it because all the kids in the neighborhood went to see it together.

    At the time, I had only lived in that neighborhood for about six months. So, I was somewhat of a newbie to that gang and the things they did as a group – including going to the movies. I’m not 100% certain, but, I would bet that there were probably about seven of us who went that day. My next-door neighbor, Lucille, who was 29-years old at the time, drove us there – in her beat-up Volvo. There were probably two in the front with her, four of us jammed into the back seat, and my friend Roger took the trip riding in the trunk.

    True story. The car was so beat up that it was missing the radio antenna. So, that meant there was a hole in the rear fender where the antenna should have been – and this provided an air-hole to the trunk.

    We went to see it at the Rae Theater – which was about 8 miles away from our area – requiring about 3 miles worth or ride on the highway (with Roger bouncing around in the trunk).

    Ah, the ’70′s…

    You would never see someone pull a stunt like that today.

    “The Big Bus” was pretty cornball – especially when you look back at it now. Ever see it?

    BA Looks At Yanks International Haul This Year

    Posted by on October 26th, 2008 · Comments (0)

    Ben Badler, at Baseball America, recently took a look at the Yankees international signings this season.

    Here’s what he had to say…

    (more…)

    Scott Olsen

    Posted by on October 26th, 2008 · Comments (5)

    The Miami Herald reports that the Marlins are looking to deal Scott Olsen.

    Should the Yankees be interested?

    Hmmm…Olsen is left-handed – and that’s always nice in Yankee Stadium. He’s young – as he’ll just be 25-years old next season. He’s somewhat durable – as he’s been good for 31+ starts three years in a row now.

    Statistically, he’s…um…interesting. Clearly, he’s helped by that big ballpark in Miami. His career ERA at home is 4.07 (in 325.3 IP) compared to his career ERA of 5.35 (in 254 IP) on the road. However, in 10 “inter-league” starts (facing the A.L.) his ERA is 2.89 (in 62.3 IP).

    Yet, you cannot discount that Olsen is a 55-gallon drum of headache at times…having fought with opponents, teammates, his manager, and the police (in the past). No one knows this as well as Joe Girardi (who was his manager in 2006).

    Still, if you could get a Scott Olsen for…say…a package of Ian Kennedy, Kei Igawa, Jose Veras, Michael Dunn and a decent chunk of cash (to cover Igawa’s salary) …maybe it’s worth the roll of the dice?

    Sherman: Hughes Makes Cashman Look Horrendous?

    Posted by on October 26th, 2008 · Comments (8)

    Via Joel Sherman

    Last off season the Yankees refused to include Phil Hughes in a package for Johan Santana. Hughes made that decision look horrendous during the season, and isn’t stopping now.

    It is not just that two of his four starts in the Arizona Fall League have been poor, including Friday night’s Rising Stars showcase game. But scouts who have watched him in the AFL say Hughes’ delivery, command and array of stuff have not been impressive.

    He started the Rising Stars game and permitted four runs (one earned) in three innings, allowing two homers and walking two. One scout who has seen multiple starts in the AFL by Hughes offered this report from the Rising Stars game:

    “His velocity was fine. He threw some at 93-94 (mph), but mostly he was in the low 90s, but the problem was that they were straight. He gave up two bombs and even the outs were mostly hard hit. He couldn’t command his fastball to the corners at all. Only about half his curves were good and only about one in four were in the strike zone. He is working to add that changeup (to use against lefties), threw three and all were up and out of the zone.

    “I think the problem is that his elbow is too low so he is not commanding because he is not throwing downhill. His command stinks because his motion stinks. For example, his curve has good rotation and break, but I think because of that delivery it breaks early and so hitters pick it up.”

    There were many reasons that Yankees GM Brian Cashman advised against making a Santana deal last season, notably having to give up prospects and award Santana a record contract. But central to his thinking was that he did not want to surrender Hughes, whom he has envisioned being a cost-effective, homegrown, top-of-the-rotation stalwart.

    But Hughes has not been able to stay consistently healthy, and this season when he did pitch it was not particularly well: 0-4, 6.62 ERA in the majors; 1-0, 5.90 ERA in six Triple-A starts; and now the AFL issues.

    …he threw some at 93-94 (mph), but mostly he was in the low 90s, but the problem was that they were straight. He gave up two bombs and even the outs were mostly hard hit. He couldn’t command his fastball to the corners at all. Only about half his curves were good and only about one in four were in the strike zone…

    Sounds just like the Phil Hughes that we saw in the Bronx this summer.

    If the kid doesn’t perfect that third pitch – albeit a cutter, slider, or change – he’s going to remain being meat. With just two pitches, and him not being able to throw the curve (his second pitch) for strikes consistently, batters can sit on the fastball. And, when that “heater” is 91 MPH and straight as an arrow, big league hitters can crush it.

    Sure, he’s still young. But, how long do you wait?

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