• Derek Jeter’s Press Conference Today

    Posted by on February 24th, 2010 · Comments (24)

    Via Ed Price today -

    Derek Jeter — as always — said all the right things Wednesday in his first press conference of the year. The overriding topic was his contractual status, since he is unsigned past this season, and the Yankees have no intention of working on an extension until after the season.

    “I’ve never gone into a season focused on the next season. … I’ve said that from day one, this is the only organization I ever wanted to play for, and that’s still true today. … This is where I want to be, and I never envisioned myself playing anywhere else, and hopefully I don’t have to. … I’ve never been a free agent. I’ve never wanted to be a free agent. … I won’t address it again until the end of the season. … I want to play as long as I can. … That’s their stance, and I’m fine with it. … I’m going to play shortstop as long as I can. … I’m going to play as long as I’m having fun. My desire is to stay here. … [Money] is not what I play for.”

    …This is where I want to be, and I never envisioned myself playing anywhere else, and hopefully I don’t have to…

    Geez, that last part scares me a little. How about you?

    Oh, Yeah? Well, My Core Four Is Better Than Your Core Four!

    Posted by on February 24th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Lincoln Mitchell, over at The Faster Times, takes a look at “The Core Four in Historical Context.”

    There’s no mention of Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky in there. And, they should have been included, since they played together from 1942 through 1951.

    Still, it’s a well done and interesting read.

    Swisher Could’ve Been A Yank In ’08?

    Posted by on February 24th, 2010 · Comments (11)

    In an otherwise dreary piece in today’s New York Times about Nick Swisher’s hairstyle — it is spring training after all, and the media has nothing better to write about — I saw this little nugget from Brian Cashman tucked away in the 14th paragraph:

    “We tried to get him for 2008 but the price was too high.” After Swisher hit .219 and reportedly turned off the White Sox front office, Cashman went after him again.

    The Yanks tried to get Swisher for 2008?  Does that mean they tried to acquire him for Opening Day or during the playoff push?  In either case, I found that bit of information very interesting.  It prompted the following monologue in my head:

    • What would the Yanks have done with Damon (LF) or Abreu (RF) if they targeted Swisher before the season started?
    • Perhaps they wanted him for first base and would’ve made Giambi the primary DH, knowing that Matsui’s knees wouldn’t hold up for the ’08 season?
    • Did the Yanks try to get Swisher first, found they couldn’t get him from Oakland, and then settled for Nady in the deal with Pittsburgh thereafter?

    Everything happens for a reason and it’s probably for the best that Cashman didn’t land Swisher the first time around.  The price dropped (precipitously, I’d imagine) and, as we know, it all worked out in the end.

    Cashman: Granderson’s Our Center Fielder

    Posted by on February 24th, 2010 · Comments (7)

    Yesterday on the MLB Home Plate channel on SIRIUS XM Radio, hosts Jody McDonald and Jim Bowden spoke with Yankees GM Brian Cashman about the club’s new outfielder, Curtis Granderson. [Thanks to Andrew FitzPatrick for this information.]

    Host/Jody McDonald: “With the acquisition of Curtis Granderson and Johnny Damon leaving you now have three guys for two spots – [Brett] Gardner and [Randy] Winn and Curtis Granderson – manning left field and center field. Are you going to try to make a decision as to what’s the best position for Curtis Granderson and leave him there? Is Curtis going to be asked to go back and forth between center and left? How’s it going to shake out as to where Curtis Granderson plays defensively this year?”

    Brian Cashman: “He’s our center fielder. We traded for him to be our center fielder. I think that what’s taken place is when you’re asked questions like ‘Is there a possibility of Gardner playing center?’ I’m like, well, if we feel Gardner makes us our best team with Gardner at center because we’re blessed to have two above average center fielders patrolling Yankee Stadium’s outfield out of the three man alignment. So we have [Nick] Swisher in right, Granderson in center and Gardner, assuming he holds it down and wins it, will be in left. But Granderson’s our center fielder. He’s an above average center fielder and that’s why we acquired him. But to be quite honest if somebody asked, ‘Hey, but is it possible Brett Gardner might be a better center fielder?’ Our defensive metrics on Brett Gardner made him one of the elite center fielders in the game. I’m not saying he’s the top but he’s close to it. So in fairness we acknowledge that but does that mean it’s the right thing to do to move Curtis Granderson over to left? I’m not saying that but I’m also open minded to say, alright, we’ve got a new player. We’re gonna see how our team fits and we’ll make decisions accordingly as we see things playing out. But Granderson’s our center fielder.”

    I swear, sometimes, when Cashman talks…I hear Casey Stengel testifying in a 1958 Anti-Trust and Monopoly Subcommittee Hearing…

    Jack Curry Joins YES Network

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2010 · Comments (2)

    Via the YES Network site –

    Jack Curry, who covered the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball at The New York Times for nearly 20 years as its Yankees beat writer and most recently as its national baseball writer, has joined the YES Network as a Yankees studio analyst, program contributor, and a columnist on the Emmy Award-winning YESNetwork.com.

    Curry joined The New York Times in 1987 and became the Yankees’ beat writer in 1991. He was the newspaper’s national baseball writer from 1998 until he departed late last year. While at The Times, Curry authored more than 4,500 articles, covering 18 World Series, 11 All-Star Games, 10 MLB Winter Meetings and 2 World Baseball Classics. The New Jersey native also was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service Reporting at The Times in 1999 for co-writing a series on the demise of New York high school sports, and won multiple Publisher Awards at The Times, monthly awards that recognize the best journalism at the paper. Curry has also been the chairman of the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

    Watch out Michael Kay.

    Seriously, Curry is an excellent hire by the Yankees. And, it’s nice to see a good guy catch a break – especially after a recent bad one. (Nope, I’m not talking about the Times buy-out. In April last year, Curry was in Philadelphia to cover the opening game of the season between the Phillies and Braves. While there, he was hit by a SUV outside of Citizens Bank Ballpark. The impact was enough to lift him off the ground and do some serious damage to his ribs.)

    Bobby Murcer Memorial Highlight Film

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Thanks to my buddy, Chris the Super Yankees fan, for the tip on this one.

    Interesting timing…as just this weekend I was at my local mall, in B&N, and I noticed the hardcover of “Yankee for Life ” on the sale table for $5.95. Seeing that, I thought “Man, that just doesn’t seem right…with his passing not that long ago…his book doesn’t deserve to be in the bargain bin so soon.” In any event, seeing this video…well…even if it’s a year old, it’s a much better way to remember Bobby. (The Ray Romano and Jim Bouton clips were classic.)

    Bobby Murcer Memorial Highlight Film from Andrew Patterson on Vimeo.

    Baseball America’s Top-100 List

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2010 · Comments (15)

    One of my favorite things about late February, besides the onset of spring training, is the annual top-100 list of prospects according to Baseball America.  Although I happen to like Keith Law* and think he’s a pretty astute scout and analyst, BA’s list is the list of record in baseball circles.

    Our highlights:
    Yankees: Jesus Montero #4;  Austin Romine #86
    Ex-Yankees: Arodys Vizcaino (Braves) #69; Austin Jackson (Tigers) #76

    Rival lowlights:
    Red Sox: Ryan Westmoreland #21; Casey Kelly #24; Josh Reddick #75; Lars Anderson #87
    Rays: Desmond Jennings#6; Jeremy Hellickson #18; Wade Davis #34; Matt Moore #35; Reid Brignac #54; Tim Beckham #67; Alex Colome #68
    Blue Jays: Kyle Drabek #25; Brett Wallace #27; Travis d’Arnaud #81
    Orioles: Brian Matusz #5; Josh Bell #37; Zach Britton #63; Jake Arrieta #99
    Mets: Jenry Mejia #56; Ike Davis #62; Fernando Martinez #77; Wilmer Flores #88

    My only thoughts here are:

    • I’m just a wee bit skeptical of how much love the Rays and Red Sox got here.  Like with anything else, these are subjective rankings, even if they do represent a more established point of view than, say, Sickels or Law. 
    • Our four divisional rivals plus our intra-city rival make up 22% of the list.  Not that I think it’s a huge deal — they’re prospects, after all — but it would be nice if a few more Yanks showed up here at this time next year.
    • One caveat to the above is that Toronto traded for all three of their top-100 guys.  Really demonstrates how much the Anthopoulos era was able to accomplish in its first few months relative to the Ricciardi era.

    This link will take you to the full list of 100 names for 2010.

    *K-Law’s list is premium content and can only be viewed with an ESPN Insider account.

    Bill James Compares Starting Pitchers Across History

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2010 · Comments (8)

    Just got this via a press release from the good folks at Acta Sports -

    In the just-released Bill James Gold Mine 2010, the noted baseball analyst introduces his new method for evaluating starting pitchers’ lifetime records. By using Season Scores, a system that measures every pitcher against their peers, he creates a top-10 starting pitcher list for every baseball season. These top-10 lists are then adjusted based on the number of teams in the league at that time and what he calls “historic season bonus points.”

    According to James, this methodology “enables us to say, with a fair degree of confidence, what a Hall of Fame career is in terms of having the necessary number of seasons as one of the best pitchers in the league.” In fact, he says, “What makes this methodology interesting is that the gray area goes from black to white very, very quickly. The line is: 43 points. At 43, you’re in; below 43 you’re not in.”

    James goes on to offer analysis of more than 40 pitchers, from Vida Blue to David Wells. You can read the article in its entirety here. Check it out – it’s a fun read.

    Where Does The Clock Start On Yankees History?

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Sean Forman asks this question today.

    If you have an opinion, please follow the link and share your thoughts with him. It’s an interesting question – and I can see a few sides of it, at first blush. Personally, I need to noodle this one a bit…

    HGH Test On Baseball’s Doorstep?

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2010 · Comments (14)

    Via the Daily News -

    The argument by Major League Baseball that no reliable test for human growth hormone exists took a major hit Monday.

    Both the United Kingdom Anti-Doping agency (UKAD) and the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) trumpeted the positive HGH test of British professional rugby player Terry Newton as “proof positive” that the drug can be detected in blood tests. Newton, who was tested in November, did not contest the result and yesterday was banned from the sport for two years by UKAD. Newton’s rugby club, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, also canceled his contract. Newton is believed to be the first case of a professional athlete testing positive for HGH using a blood sample.

    Baseball has banned growth hormone since 2005, but there is still no HGH testing. Travis Tygart, USADA’s chief executive, Monday blasted baseball’s argument that an effective HGH test is unavailable.

    “All of us who have helped develop a test wouldn’t put it in place if it wasn’t forensically sound and reliable.” Tygart told the Daily News. “Particularly in (Newton’s) case, it’s proof positive the test works.”

    Of course, the trick here is getting the players and the MLBPA to allow blood tests – something they’ve viewed, to date, as a privacy issue. But, as a fan, I would love to see baseball start testing for HGH. How about you?

    Cashman Helps Family Centers’ Children’s Programs

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Very nice of the Yankees G.M. to help those in need. Via ConnecticutPlus.com News -

    A few days before the New York Yankees opened Spring Training camp in Florida, General Manager Brian Cashman made a stop in Greenwich on Friday, Feb. 12 for a fundraising breakfast to benefit Family Centers’ children’s programs.

    Before a small group of the agency’s supporters, Cashman traced the path from his days as a wide-eyed intern to running baseball’s most decorated franchise. He also discussed the winning strategies that made the Yankees a globally-recognized brand, and how the team overcame injuries and adversity to capture its 27th World Series Championship.

    Family Centers is a private, nonprofit organization offering education and human services to children, adults and families in Fairfield County. More than 1000 professionals and trained volunteers work together to provide a wide range of responsive, innovative programs. A United Way and Community Fund of Darien partner agency, Family Centers is a member of the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies and the Alliance for Children and Families and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The agency is licensed by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health. Visit www.familycenters.org for additional information.

    D-Day For MIA Yanks

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2010 · Comments (3)

    All players are expected in the Yankees Spring Training Camp today.

    I’ve always found it interesting how some players other than pitchers and catchers report to camp early and others wait until they’re forced to report. For instance, this year, Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ramiro Pena reported to Tampa very early. Nick Swisher and Randy Winn have checked in too. But, I haven’t heard much about Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano or Alex Rodriguez being in Tampa yet.

    Betcha all eyes, and ears, will be focused on A-Rod when he shows today. Hey, that’s just the way it is…

    Heyman: Yanks Love Crawford

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2010 · Comments (45)

    Via Jon Heyman today –

    One reason the Yankees were reluctant to go for a two-year deal for Johnny Damon might have had little to do with Damon and been a greater reflection of what they think of Carl Crawford. The Yankees love him. Crawford is almost sure to be too rich for the low-revenue Rays, and the Yankees jump to the head of the class for interested teams. Remember, too, that the Yankees passed on Matt Holliday. It all seems to set up nicely for Crawford.

    Below is a picture of Crawford’s agent after reading this report from Heyman:

    Two things about Carl Crawford: One, he’s very “street.” Think Mickey Rivers meets Rickey Henderson – not that there’s anything wrong with that. Two, I dunno why…but…I just have this feeling that he’s one of those players who will be out of the game by the time he’s 35 years old. Granted, that’s not until 2017. And, I could be totally wrong on this…and he’ll be a Tim Raines type who plays into his late 30′s.

    I’m just saying…if it were me, I’d be careful about giving him a very long term deal once he hits the free agent market. I’d be very concerned about going more than 5 years on an offer. But, that’s just me…

    Update: Please read my Clearing Up Crawford Comments related to this entry by clicking here.

    The Numbers On Chan Ho Park

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2010 · Comments (12)

    Some of the more optimistic fan feedback on the Yankees signing of Chan Ho Park that I’ve seen so far contains the claims that he’s a much better pitcher out of the bullpen (compared to being a starting pitcher) and he’s tough on right-handed batters.

    So, is he? Let’s check some recent numbers on him. First, as a RP -

    Year   G  PA  AB  SO/BB   BA   OBP   SLG 
    2005   1  12   8  0.50  .250  .364  .250 
    2006   3  23  22  6.00  .364  .391  .682 
    2008  49 309 274  1.75  .274  .348  .427 
    2009  38 206 186  3.25  .231  .296  .280 
    

    And, next, how he does vs. RH Batters -

    Year   G   PA   AB  SO/BB   BA  OBP  SLG 
    2004  16  214  190  3.00  .284 .352 .484 
    2005  30  336  287  1.49  .279 .366 .373 
    2006  24  276  248  3.36  .278 .328 .431 
    2007   1   12   10  1.50  .300 .417 .600 
    2008  53  232  215  3.54  .237 .287 .377 
    2009  44  185  161  2.17  .248 .326 .354 
    

    Here, yes, the numbers show that Park was good as a RP in 2009 – and tough on RH-batters. But, in 2008, he was just so-so as a RP albeit while handling RH-batters. And, that’s it – we only really have a two-year recent view of Park pitching out of the pen. Not a very large sample size there, at all.

    But, we do have more data on Park facing right-handed batters. And, as you can see, from 2004 through 2006, they handled him pretty well – batting about .280 off him during that span.

    Granted, what we’re probably seeing with Park, against righties, is what happens to some pitchers when they move to the pen. In a situation where they can gas it up, only facing a batter once in the game, and only having to throw one inning or less, they’ve more effective than when they attempted starting a game.

    This all said – perhaps Chan Ho Park can be a useful pitcher for the Yankees in 2010, if they use him out of the pen and only allow him to face right-handed batters? Personally, I’d feel more sure about this if we had four or more consecutive years of data on Park to look at – as a relief pitcher and facing RH-batters. In any event, the Yankees must feel like they’ve seen enough to roll the dice on giving Park a contract. Hey, on the bright-side, at least they didn’t spend $46 million on him, right?

    Yankees Sign Chan Ho Park

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2010 · Comments (35)

    Via mlb.com

    Right-hander Chan Ho Park, who pitched for the National League champion Phillies in 2009, announced early Monday that he has reached a one-year agreement with the World Series champion Yankees, according to Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

    Park, 36, a native of Korea, made the announcement at Park 61, a fitness center he opened in Seoul after last season, when he went 3-3 with a 4.43 ERA in 45 games, including seven starts, for the Phillies.

    The press conference occurred after 1 a.m. ET. The Yankees have not made a formal announcement. The contract is reported to be for $1.2 million, with incentives that could net an extra $300,000, provided Park passes a physical.

    MLB Network analyst Jon Heyman had reported that the Cubs, Rays and Yankees were possible destinations for Park.

    Park is expected to pitch out of the Yankees’ bullpen.

    Park will be 37-years old this season and has been a below league average pitcher in 7 of the last 8 seasons. How and why the Yankees found room for this signing within their “budget” is beyond me. Really, I’m speechless on this one. The only thing I can guess is…that they couldn’t talk Rich Monteleone into coming out of retirement and this was their next best move?

    What People Are Saying About WasWatching.com

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2010 · Comments (4)

    Three days ago, we started a WasWatching.com Reader Survey – much like the one we did two years ago.

    Thanks to all who have responded to date! And, if you haven’t taken the survey yet, please consider taking it. The survey will be up and open for a few more days, at the least.

    The data received back so far from the survey is very informative, interesting, helpful and appreciated! While I expect to share some findings once the survey is closed, in the interim, I thought some of you may be interested in the first 25 “answers” to the survey question “What do you like best and least about WasWatching.com?

    (more…)

    Andy Pickette

    Posted by on February 21st, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Andy Pettitte is so much fun.

    Carlos Delgado Hip Harbinger For A-Rod’s Future?

    Posted by on February 21st, 2010 · Comments (6)

    The last two years have been rough on Carlos Delgado’s right hip. Note this timeline summary:

    March 2008:

    When Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado complained of hip discomfort, the nervous club — a strained right hip flexor kept him out for 16 days last September — hurriedly sent him to New York for an examination. The Mets are calling the diagnosis an impingement of the right hip, which is similar to a strain.

    May 2009:

    New York Mets slugger Carlos Delgado needs surgery on his right hip, and there’s no immediate word on when he might return to the lineup. The NL East leaders announced Monday that Delgado has a bone spur and a torn labrum in his hip. He will have surgery Tuesday. Delgado was put on the 15-day disabled list Saturday. The first baseman is hitting .298 with four home runs and 23 RBIs in 26 games. Delgado had been ailing for more than a week before going on the DL, and had not played since May 10.

    February 2010:

    Free agent first baseman Carlos Delgado will reportedly miss the next four months after undergoing hip surgery. According to the New York Post, which cites Delgado’s agent, David Sloane, Delgado underwent the procedure Wednesday on the same hip that bothered him last season. He eventually underwent surgery in May and missed the remainder of the season. Delgado, who will turn 38 years old in June, spent the last four seasons with the New York Mets. He was limited to just 26 games in 2009 and batted .298 with four homers and 23 RBI.

    When I read all this, I begin to wonder if the Yankees got lucky with how well Alex Rodriguez has done since his March 2009 hip surgery today to repair his torn labrum. Then again, Delgado had a strong 2008 after his hip started bothering him and it wasn’t until last season that it really started breaking down on him.

    How many more years does A-Rod have on his contract…it’s eight more years, right? What are the odds that his hip holds up for another 8 years?

    Think the Yankees ask themselves this same question from time to time?

    Pride And Perseverance: The Story Of The Negro Leagues

    Posted by on February 21st, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Three days ago, I shared some thoughts about the Negro Leagues and baseball’s integration efforts. Related, today, by chance, on the MLB Network, I caught “Pride and Perseverance: The Story of the Negro Leagues.”

    If you haven’t seen this one, and have a chance to see a re-broadcast of it, you should check it out.

    I would buy this one on DVD – to keep – as it’s that good. Another nice job by the MLB Network…on this one.

    Just For Kicks

    Posted by on February 21st, 2010 · Comments (9)

    Consider the following two statistical performances over the same time period by two different former Yankee outfielders:

    Player A
    187 G
    703 AB
    802 PA
    179 H
    36 2B
    3 3B
    15 HR
    75 RBI
    88 BB
    4 HBP
    .255/.338/.378/.716

    Player B
    201 G
    701 AB
    796 PA
    192 H
    33 2B
    8 3B
    11 HR
    73 RBI
    64 BB
    6 HBP
    .274/.329/.391/.720

    As an experiment of sorts, in your head right now choose which player you would pick if you were forced to do so (I realize ideally you wouldn’t want either of these outputs from your offense). Got it? Click more to find out who the players are.
    (more…)

    Don’t Tell Jeter This Is How The Yankees Used To Roll…

    Posted by on February 21st, 2010 · Comments (9)

    Let’s flash back to March of 1990, via the New York Times -

    [George] Steinbrenner, meanwhile, spent the day signing autographs, greeting players and dodging questions regarding the situation involving Howard Spira.

    But he did say that he would take steps to meet with Don Mattingly and his agent, Jim Krivacs, about a new contract this spring. Mattingly is in the final season of a three-year, $6.7 million contract.

    Mattingly has said that if a deal is not signed by the end of camp, he will not discuss one until after the season concludes.

    ”I’m not going to let it sit,” Steinbrenner said. ”We’ll do our best to get together down here.”

    So, what happened next? Sixteen days later, Mattingly got his contract – a great deal, indeed. See this, also via the Times -

    Today, one day after becoming the richest player in baseball, nothing else has changed about Mattingly. He dressed and then worked out with the rest of his Yankee teammates when rain postponed their season opener against the Cleveland Indians. The game was not rescheduled and it will not affect the Yankee pitching plans. Tim Leary is scheduled to start Wednesday night, with Dave LaPoint pitching the home opener against the Texas Rangers on Thursday.

    Mattingly is glad that the deal, which will earn him $19.3 million over five years beginning in 1991, is finally done. And now he wants to end the talk about it.

    ”I’m not going to look at the papers for a few days,” he said this afternoon, ”because I don’t want to read about it. I’d rather let my playing do all the talking.”

    Say what you want about Big Stein, but, back in the day, he was like Bacardi and Cola – he got the job done.

    Animal Crackers

    Posted by on February 21st, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Eighty years later and this is still hilarious…

    Living The Yankees Hylan

    Posted by on February 21st, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Honk if you’re happy.

    Boss: No Horses, Little Boss: No Comments At All

    Posted by on February 21st, 2010 · Comments (3)

    Via George King -

    George Steinbrenner didn’t have a lot to say upon entering George M. Steinbrenner Field yesterday to watch his grandson Robert Molloy play first base for Tampa Prep against Berkeley Prep. Nevertheless, it was more than his son, Hal, had to offer.

    The Boss arrived at George M. Steinbrenner Field yesterday shortly after 3 p.m. and went to his suite above the first-base line. He was accompanied by an aide and daughter, Jessica, who is Molloy’s mother.

    “I feel good,” The Boss said as he exited the elevator wearing his trademark sunglasses, and a Yankees windbreaker.

    Asked by The Post if he had any horse tips, The Boss sharply said, “No horses.”

    Manager Joe Girardi also was there.”It was neat watching The Boss’ grandson play while sitting with The Boss,” Girardi said.As for Hal, he visited Girardi yesterday morning in the manager’s office but didn’t make himself available to the media afterward.

    When Hal Steinbrenner landed in Girardi’s office yesterday morning the media gathered outside waiting to hear his thoughts on the lame-duck status of three very big names in the Yankees’ universe [Girardi, Jeter and Rivera].

    But Hal Steinbrenner used a remote exit into a hallway, one that forced him to go from the clubhouse to the field and up a hallway, and skirted the media without saying a word.

    Hal might be a clone of his father, on the outside, but, inside he’s sooooo different from Big Stein.

    There’s always been a part of me that that thinks, once their father passes, the Steinbrenner kids are going to sell the team and cash out.

    Hank Steinbrenner will soon be 53-years old. He and his sister Jessica, who is 46, are more into Kinsman Farm and the family’s horse operation. Jessica’s husband, Felix Lopez, ten years her senior, is the Tobias Fünke of the family and basically has to go where he’s told. The real players here are Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal and Hal Steinbrenner. She’s 50 and he’s 41.

    If Hal’s not really that into it, and basically doing this as a last attempt to impress his old man before he dies, I could see the others, all now in their 50′s or married to someone who’s in their late 50′s, twisting his arm into selling. And, then, Yankeeland, as we know it, will never be the same…

    Johnny Damon & Tigers Agree To Deal

    Posted by on February 20th, 2010 · Comments (18)

    Via the Detroit Free Press

    The Tigers have agreed on a one-year contract worth $8 million with free agent Johnny Damon, the Free Press learned tonight from a person familiar with the negotiations.

    The contract also includes a no-trade clause. Thus the Tigers, if they fall out of this year’s playoff race, can’t send Damon to a club he doesn’t wish to go to.

    Damon, 36, must pass a physical for the deal to become official. It’s not expected the Tigers will announce the signing after Damon passes the physical.

    Well, supposedly, the Yankees offered Damon a two-year deal for $14 million and then later a one-year deal for $6 million with about half of that money deferred at no interest. So, in the end, Damon did get a higher salary with the Tigers – albeit just on a one year-deal. And, the state taxes in Michigan are around 4.35% compared to the near 9% that Johnny would pay in New York. So, what do you think, in the end, did Johnny Damon make the right move?

    Cashman: Orioles Coming On Fast

    Posted by on February 20th, 2010 · Comments (6)

    Yankees G.M. Brian Cashman’s take on the Baltimore Orioles, via MASNSports.com with a h/t to BBTF

    “[Orioles team president Andy MacPhail] is doing exactly what Andy does best. He is as sharp as they come. Patience is the biggest key. He made such an astute trade with Seattle and now he has a collection of talent. Getting Adam Jones to play with Markakis was remarkable. Now he has one of the bright young outfields.

    “Now he’s filling in, taking advantage of the free agent market to protect his young talent and wait for them to pop.

    “I remember a few years back when Tampa Bay was perennially losing. Everyone in the industry was following them and saw all their young talent brewing and slowly getting refined. You don’t know, because prospects are suspects until they declare themselves at the Major League level.

    “Andy is doing the same thing. Everybody kind of sees the collection of talent. Players with big tools and high ceiling. When you are athletic and have those kinds of tools, when it all comes together, it comes fast.

    “The Orioles are a team that has closed the gap, without a doubt. And Andy is showing the patience. I think their fan base will be very, very pleased. All the sudden, before they know it, they’ll have that foundation in place. They just haven’t seen it pop yet at the Major League level.

    “They are doing the right things because they have a baseball guy running it. Their owner Peter Angelos hired a tremendous baseball talent in Andy MacPhail. He’s worth his weight in gold.

    “The Oriole way is coming back real quick. I went to high school and college in the DC area, so I know how important the Orioles are to that area. It’s a sleeping giant that will emerge again, I promise you.”

    The O’s can hit, for sure. If they ever get any pitching…and they do have some prospects in that department…watch out. The A.L. East may just have a fourth beast in the running.

    Yanks Want Hughes To Develop Change As Third Pitch

    Posted by on February 20th, 2010 · Comments (1)

    Via Ben Shpigel -

    The Yankees are urging [Phil] Hughes to work on his changeup, which will be a focal point of the spring. He said he threw 12 on Friday, most of which he was pleased with, and will integrate them into his regular repertory when games start.

    “When you’re developing a pitch, you have to pick your time to use it,” [Joe] Girardi said. “This is the time to work on it a lot and see if we can continue to improve it. You want to put a thought into a hitter’s head. You’re just not going to see two pitches. You’re going to see three or four from me and you don’t know what I’m going to throw at any time. If he can do that, it makes him better.”

    Well, so much for the cutter that the Yankees have been trying to teach Hughes since the end of 2008…looks like the change is now the great hope of getting Hughes’ arsenal to the point where he can be more than a bullpen guy.

    If I were Hughes, I would take advantage of it being Spring Training, and pick Edwar Ramírez’ brain on how to throw a change-up. Actually, the change would be a nice weapon to help Phil deal with his biggest issue: facing lefty batters. Note his career splits, to date, when the batter is right-handed or left-handed:

    I Split PA H BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG BAbip
      vs RHB as RH 430 85 25 98 3.92 .216 .266 .330 .260
      vs LHB as RH 384 90 47 79 1.68 .274 .368 .450 .329
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 2/20/2010.

    .

    Swishalicious New & Improved?

    Posted by on February 20th, 2010 · Comments (0)

    Via Pete Caldera -

    This was Nick Swisher’s first winter as a world champion, which meant cramming as much stuff as possible into a short off-season — a perfect test for his over-caffeinated personality.

    So, Swisher took up boxing and lost 12 pounds. He landed a guest shot on a popular television sitcom. And he spent two weeks with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long in Arizona, completely overhauling his batting stance from both sides of the plate.

    “You guys will see it and say, ‘Man who is this guy?’ ” Swisher said of the change. “It gives me about a month-and-a-half under my belt [entering the exhibition games].”

    Actually, the changes began in the midst of Swisher’s difficult October at the plate. “We were going to start in the off-season, but the way the postseason was going — the consistency wasn’t quite there,” Long said.

    Swisher hit just .128 (6-for-47) in postseason, with two RBI, after hitting .249, with 29 home runs and 82 RBI during his first regular season as a Yankee.

    “I read some stuff on the Internet about the postseason and how I struggled and this and that,” Swisher said. “But who cares? We won. I learned a lot from it, and hopefully a lot of that stuff is going to translate into a successful year this year.”

    It’s exciting to hear that Swisher has trimmed down some…although Spring Training weight loss stories are often exaggerated – especially when the report is less than 20 pounds. And, if the batting stance change helps him, that’s great too. I’m not a raving fan of Swisher. And, I’ve heard that he’s viewed, somewhat, as a slippery poser by his teammates behind closed doors. But, I feel that the Yankees are going to need production from their right fielder this season. And, at this point, right field in Yankeeland is Swisher or bust…

    Yankees Finally Get A Scout For Canada

    Posted by on February 20th, 2010 · Comments (4)

    Via Bob Elliott

    The New York Yankees have not had a scout in Canada since 2005. They are the only major league team without a Canadian in the majors or the minors.

    When told of that fact scouting director Damon Oppenheimer replied: “That’s why we hired Denis Boucher.”

    Boucher, of Lachine, Que., was in Tampa this week to pick up a new laptop, radar gun and learn about the Yanks’ system of scouting.

    While Yankees-haters point to a $200-million US team payroll when New York captured the 2009 World Series, the Yanks themselves point to the 11 home growns on their roster: Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson and Phil Coke.

    A lefty with the Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians and Montreal Expos, Boucher previously scouted for Washington and the Expos.

    For some reason, I want to say that someone, in one of the rotisserie leagues that I used to play in, had Denis Boucher on their roster back in the early ’90′s…

    Well, it’s too late for Votto, but, maybe, finally getting a scout in Canada might help the Yankees spot and draft some talent from north of the border? Granted, there’s not a ton of talent there, but, you never know…

    Last Chance Workout?

    Posted by on February 20th, 2010 · Comments (2)

    El Niño de Grasaestá muerto.

    Attaboy, just STFU and do it.

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