Enjoy the game.
Here’s one slice of it:
There really weren’t that many “big men” in the outfield, back in the day, were there?
How about pre-1973? See below:
Purnal Goldy. Great name.
The dude will be 39-years old this season, and, in his last 8 starts of 2013, he went 0-6 with an ERA of 6.56 (in 46.2 IP). Worse, his opponents’ BA/OBP/SLG slash line over these starts was .316/.364/.551 (against 215 batters).
Eight starts is one-quarter of a season, for those scoring at home.
Oh, and, by the way, the guy has been pitching in this country for six years and has won more than 11 games in a season only twice.
I mean…heck…even Greg Maddux was cooked by the time he was thirty-nine.
Anyone expecting Kuroda to give the Yankees a solid season in 2014 is not exactly smoking the objective pipe.
Via Barry Bloom –
With the start of Spring Training just a couple of weeks away, the Yankees are not finished with the open market, although the big spending for this year may be over, said one of the team’s top executives.
“I think for major free agents, we’re done,” club president Randy Levine told MLB.com during Wednesday night’s outdoor NHL game at Yankee Stadium, a 2-1 Rangers win over the Islanders. “But we’re always trying to improve the team. That always happens.”
It has been an offseason of big spending for the Yanks on major free agents: $486 million worth.
The biggest-ticket items were a seven-year, $153 million deal with outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury and a seven-year, $155 million contract with Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. In addition, the Tanaka transaction cost a $20 million posting fee paid to his former club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles.
The Yankees also signed catcher Brian McCann (five years, $85 million), outfielder Carlos Beltran (three years, $45 million), as well as reliever Matt Thornton and infielders Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts for a total of $12 million in an attempt to remake a team that missed the playoffs for only the second time since the current three-division format was implemented in 1995.
The Yanks also re-signed right-hander Hiroki Kuroda for one year at $16 million.
“I think we’re going to be very competitive,” Levine said. “We’ve got a lot of exciting new pieces. Obviously, Tanaka is going to help our pitching staff. We’re excited. But between Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury, those are three outstanding players, real character people. Hopefully [Mark Teixeira] gets back, and most importantly, hopefully we don’t have the bad luck of injuries we had last year.
“The fact that we were able to overcome that and stay close was really amazing. I just wish for good health this year.”
Oh, Randy…luck is the residue of design, silly boy.
Then again, so was Andrew Brackman, Andy Brown and Brian Buchanan…
Via the Washington Post -
In the offseason, Miami-area native Gio Gonzalez trains at the University of Miami. And it was there one day that Gonzalez somehow went from having no one to catch his offseason bullpen sessions to having a major league veteran, five-time all-star and four-time World Series champion crouching behind the plate for him.
Jorge Posada and Gonzalez work out at the same gym at the school. The two met, and Gonzalez, 28, mentioned that he didn’t have anyone to catch his upcoming bullpens. The two share the same agency, ACES, but Gonzalez later jokingly insisted that he wasn’t trying to drop a hint to the retired Posada, who played 17 years for the Yankees. But Posada, 42, who lives in Miami, instantly volunteered.
“He goes, ‘When are you throwing your next bullpen?’” Gonzalez said at NatsFest on Saturday. “I thought he was ready to say, ‘I’d love to go see it.’ He was like, ‘Nah, I’d love to catch it.’ I stepped back and was like, ‘Nah, is this for real? You messing with me? I would love for this to happen.’ He says, ‘More than happy to.’”
Posada showed up for the first bullpen session without a mask or catcher’s equipment, just a glove. “This guy!” Gonzalez thought to himself. Gonzalez was so worried he would hit his catcher that he stuck mostly to fastballs and made sure he kept the pitches high, just in case he unfurled one low at the unprotected Posada. By their third bullpen session together, Posada told Gonzalez to throw everything, even his curveball. Gonzalez has been ecstatic about the experience.
“He’s a great mentor,” said Gonzalez, who is entering his third season with the Nationals. “I always dreamt about pitching to Jorge Posada. It’s not that often you get a guy that’s that happy to catch a bullpen for you, especially with four titles. He’s an inspiration, an idol.”
Before, during and after the sessions, Gonzalez and Posada talk. Gonzalez admits he is star struck, wide-eyed and open-eared around Posada, gleaning tips on everything from pitching mechanics to mental approaches.
“You just sit there and listen,” Gonzalez said. “How many times you gonna have a four-title guy giving you information? … He keeps it nice and loose. He’s a Latin ballplayer, too, so we communicate in English, Spanish. He’s just one of the guys you idolize so much that you don’t wanna say something to shatter that friendship. I think that’s he just unbelievable. You let him do all the talking.”
It may take another five years or so, but, it would not shock me to see Posada managing in the majors some day.
Via the WSJ –
Teixeira’s doctors have told him that it will take a year for the wrist to feel fully normal, and that the tightness will likely remain throughout. It should improve, however, with every therapy session he completes and every swing he takes.
“I’m expecting until June, and maybe even through this entire season, it’ll be a little tight,” Teixeira said.
Brilliant move. Lay the groundwork now for an excuse in case you stink during the first three months of the season. And, if you happen to play well, it’s a miracle! Hallelujah!
Via John Manuel -
…but in the draft era, [Frank] Thomas is just the 10th college alumnus to earn a spot in Cooperstown.
Just ten since 1965? I find that amazing. Does that say something about the benefits of going pro out of High School?
The more I read on this guy, the more I hear the same thing: Low 90′s fastball, very good command, nasty splitter.
And, the more I think about him, I’m starting to wonder if he’s going to be another
Hideki Hideo Nomo and/or Daisuke Matsuzaka? By this, I mean, he’ll be good for a couple of years and then the league will catch up to him and he’ll be in trouble from that point forward.
If true, clearly, he’s not worth the money and years the Yankees are paying him.
Of course, the difference here is the control. Nomo and Dice-K had all sorts of issues (no pun intended) with walks – both here and in Japan. Tankana, albeit in Japan, had Greg Maddux type control. And, that means that Tankana may be more like Hiroki Kuroda here in the States.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with Hiroki Kuroda. Teams can always use a starter who will give you 200 innings and 13 wins. However, is that worth $22 million a year? Again, I don’t think so…
I just heard about this. Very cool. At first, I thought it was a joke.
Via ESPN –
In the nearly 17 months since then-Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy was struck in the head by a line drive and suffered life-threatening brain injuries, Major League Baseball says it has received and tested numerous prototypes from different vendors for padded caps to provide some head protection against high-speed shots off the bat.
On Tuesday morning, MLB informed its 30 teams that it has approved such a product for the first time, after consultation with the players’ association, according to Dan Halem, MLB executive vice president for labor relations.
“We’re excited to have a product that meets our safety criteria,” Halem told “Outside the Lines,” adding that baseball will continue its efforts to come up with more options. “MLB is committed to working with manufacturers to develop products that offer maximum protection to our players, and we’re not stopping at all.”
Halem and MLB senior counsel for labor relations Patrick Houlihan said the threshold for approval was that the cap had to provide protection, at 83 miles per hour, below the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) standard severity index of 1,200. Severity indexes higher than 1,200 are considered high-risk for skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries. An MLB-commissioned study determined that 83 mph is the average speed of a line drive when it reaches the area of the pitching mound.
The newly approved caps, manufactured by 4Licensing Corporation subsidiary isoBlox, will be made available to pitchers for spring training next month. Their use is optional.
The company says the caps are a little more than a half-inch thicker in the front and an inch thicker on the sides — near the temples — than standard caps, and afford protection for frontal impact locations against line drives of up to 90 mph and for side impact locations at up to 85 mph. The soft padding, isoBlox says, is made of “plastic injection molded polymers combined with a foam substrate” and is designed to diffuse energy upon impact through a combination of dispersion and absorption techniques.
Well,if you can’t make the hitters less stronger, this is the next best thing, I suppose…
Go ahead – show yourself and explain why you think they will win more than 85 games this season.
Via Buster Olney –
Simply put, what Derek Jeter will try to do in 2014 — be a regular shortstop for a playoff team in the summer in which he will turn 40 years old — is unprecedented. No one has ever done it before.
The closest was Luis Aparicio, the Hall of Fame shortstop. He turned 39 in April 1973 and that year, he played 132 games for the Boston Red Sox, hitting .271 with 18 extra-base hits in 561 plate appearances. The Red Sox went 89-73, but the next season, Mario Guerrero was their shortstop and Aparicio was cut, which gives you some insight into how he played.
“Luis was at the end of the line, as much offense as defense,” says Peter Gammons, who covered the Red Sox then for the Boston Globe. “The next spring Darrell Johnson was the manager and he released Aparicio and Orlando Cepeda the same day in spring training.”
Jeter’s ankle trouble limited him to just 17 games and 73 plate appearances last season. The fact that Jeter posted a .542 OPS is really irrelevant, because it was such a small sample size, and Jeter was never fully healed and able to do the sort of conditioning and preparation he usually does, after spending a lot of last offseason in a walking boot.
The fact is that nobody really knows, as of now, what Jeter could be next summer — not the doctors who have worked with him, not Manager Joe Girardi, not Jeter. And the future Hall of Famer and the Yankees should go into this year with eyes wide open to all possibilities.
There should be regular conversations between Jeter and the staff about how he’s playing, about what’s working and what’s not working, because the Yankees have too much at stake this year, after failing to make the playoffs last season and spending almost half a billion dollars to upgrade the roster, to simply commit the whole season to a player surrounded by so many question marks at such a key position.
I still have this feeling that, not too deep into Spring Training, the Yankees are going to have to go to Jeter and say “You can’t play short any more. We want you to start taking grounders at third.”
Good luck, Seattle.
Via the L.A. Times –
Regional sports networks continue to be the hottest ticket in media.
21st Century Fox said Friday that it was taking a majority stake in the New York Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, known as the YES Network, a little more than a year after Fox first invested in the popular regional sports channel.
Fox said it would increase its stake to 80%, up from the 49% interest it bought in December 2012.
Fox declined to say how much it was paying for its increased interest. It paid $584 million for the 49% stake in 2012.
At that time, the entertainment company headed by Rupert Murdoch also paid $250 million to help cover some programming costs. That put Fox’s initial investment in the channel at $834 million, according to regulatory documents.
Fox had long planned to own a majority stake in the channel, but it increased its holdings more rapidly than initially envisioned. The value of sports channels has accelerated in recent years.
When Fox first invested in the YES Network, some analysts valued the channel at more than $3 billion.
Yankee Global Enterprises is to hold the remaining 20% stake.
Does this mean that Yankees broadcasts will soon be fun of promos for FOX shows?
I thought the Yankees were the only team to do OTD?
And, I sort of miss all the empty blue seats too. But, those may be coming soon to the new Stadium.
Here are their total career stats in the US, to-date for the ones still pitching:
So, how will Masahiro Tanaka do in the U.S. over the life of his contract, now that he is pitching here? If he has an ERA+ over 100, he’ll be one of the few to do it.
Via Paul White -
Masahiro Tanaka is headed to the New York Yankees, who are once again spending money with the determination of years past.
Fox Sports is reporting that the prize of this winter’s free-agent class has agreed to terms on a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees, the latest move in a winter of wild spending for the club.
Between outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, catcher Brian McCann and now Tanaka, the Yankees have expended $438 million in an effort to return to dominance.
That doesn’t include the $20 million posting fee the Yankees must pay to the Rakuten Golden Eagles, Tanaka’s team in Japan.
And though Tanaka has never thrown a pitch in the major leagues, the Yankees did not hesitate to offer him the fifth-largest contract ever for a pitcher.
Their agreement with Tanaka also comes less than two weeks after they had $25 million of 2014 payroll freed with 162 games of slugger Alex Rodriguez’s suspension upheld by an arbitrator.
Is this Cashman/Afterman? Or, is this like the Soriano deal where it was Levine and others? The next few days could be interesting as the story unfolds.
Via Yahoo Sports –
While Major League Baseball Players Association player representatives overwhelmingly agreed that Alex Rodriguez should be kicked out of the union during a 90-minute conference call the day he sued the MLBPA, union leaders said they could not legally pursue his expulsion, three sources on the call told Yahoo Sports.
On a conference call of perhaps 40 players and board members held Jan. 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., outraged union members repeatedly requested that Rodriguez be expelled, sources said. Following a roll call of players present on the line, according to one participant and another familiar with the call, the first player to speak asked bluntly: Can we kick him out of the union?
Advised by union leadership that was not possible, more players nonetheless expressed the same opinion. Not a single member defended Rodriguez, one player said, in a forum where there are frequent disagreements.
“That’s what everyone was thinking,” the player said. “We wanted to get on this call and not let him back. [To say,] ‘This is our game and we don’t want you in it.’”
While many players allowed for Rodriguez to fight his suspension as he saw fit, they were incensed he would turn on his “brothers,” as one player termed the membership.
“It’s beyond disappointment,” said a player involved in union leadership who was on the conference call. “What brought it beyond disappointment was the fact he’s suing the union. Guys understand people make bad decisions, they lie when they’re embarrassed or trying to avoid punishment. Those are human qualities. Guys understand. But what made guys incensed is he would bring a suit against the union.”
Whether he’ll do so in a Yankees uniform, or otherwise, remains a question present on the minds of players who have trouble imagining him acclimating back into a clubhouse following the lawsuit. Should he return, players told Yahoo Sports, repercussions could manifest on the field.
“When he gets up to bat, you can hit him and hit him hard,” one player on the conference call told Yahoo Sports. “That’s what I’d do. He sued us. Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz screwed up. You know what? They owned up to it. They took their medicine.
“[Rodriguez] needs to be scared of coming back and facing people he sued. If he can’t fear the wrath of getting kicked out or not being included, he’s going to be forced out.”
The last instance of the union blacklisting players was during the 1995 player strike, when several dozen replacement players – scabs, in the eyes of the union – subsequently were denied licensing money and union voting privileges for the remainder of their careers.
He’s some misunderstood…not!
So says Bill Madden -
And then there’s A-Rod (“It was disgusting. . . . the fact that the man from Milwaukee that put this suspension on me without one bit of evidence, something I didn’t do.”), who now proclaims to be looking at his year-long suspension as a “favor” from MLB, affording him a welcome vacation from the 20-year “grind” of mental and physical preparation that included an extensive regimen of testosterone and HGH injections. At a promotional appearance last week for a gym he supports in Mexico, A-Rod said he was looking forward to returning in 2015 and hoped “to play very well and finish my career in New York.” Just like he knew he had cheated, knew baseball, in fact, had the evidence against him, A-Rod knows playing baseball again for the Yankees — or anyone else — is pure fantasy on his part. His skills have eroded, and his body in the last couple of years was betraying him with the drugs. What does he expect to be after a year without them?
And make no mistake, MLB is not done with him yet. While he’s mentally and physically resting, he can expect frequent visits from the MLB drug-sample collectors. And, just in case he still hasn’t read the Joint Drug Agreement provisions, if he should fail a drug test, that’ll be grounds for permanent expulsion from the game. When Selig last summer threatened to take matters into his own hands and suspend A-Rod for life for conduct detrimental to baseball, he believed he had sufficient evidence to do so. But his advisers talked him out of it for fear it would rile up the Players’ Association and upset the delicate spirit of cooperation between MLB and the union on the drug issue. But that was before A-Rod decided to sue the union, too. What kind of support do you think he can expect from the union now on any grievance issue?
And speaking of that, MLB and the Yankees are looking into a reported advertisement for that gym in Mexico in which A-Rod is said to be wearing a Yankee cap. If so, he neglected to get permission from either the Yankees or MLB Licensing and will be subject to a substantial fine.
Meanwhile, Hal Steinbrenner called A-Rod “a great player” and “obviously an asset” last week when asked about his disgraced, fallen star’s future with the Yankees. These are the kind of disingenuous things you have to say in the face of more potential litigation from A-Rod and his handlers at even a hint the Yankees might be looking for a way out of his contract. Ultimately, there will be a buyout because A-Rod knows he won’t be able to play, especially without his regimen.
I wonder how often they will test A-Rod now? Then again, the tests don’t do a great job at catching these guys.
Fifty. Way too young.
I hope the Yankees write his family a nice check.
Via David Waldstein -
The Yankees settled all of their arbitration-eligible cases on Friday as their payroll crept closer to the $189 million threshold for luxury-tax purposes. If the Yankees were to sign the coveted Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka before the Jan. 24 deadline, they would almost certainly surge past the mark.
The Yankees agreed to terms with Brett Gardner for $5.6 million, Ivan Nova for $3.3 million, David Robertson for $5.215 million and Shawn Kelly for $1.8 million on Friday, and Francisco Cervelli for $700,000 on Thursday.
With the Yankees not having to pay the suspended Alex Rodriguez, their payroll is hovering around $170 million. But they still have administrative costs and non-arbitration players to factor in, and that will take the total over $180 million. The final calculation is made at the end of the season.
Tanaka could easily command a contract over $100 million, with an annual average salary above $18 million, making it almost impossible for the Yankees to sign him and keep the payroll under $189 million. Hal Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, told reporters at the recent owners meetings in Arizona that the Yankees needed to sign an additional pitcher. He has also repeatedly said that the goal of staying under $189 million will not be achieved at the expense of fielding a championship team.
I know that the Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, White Sox and Cubs all have offers into Tanaka – with nearly all clubs putting together offers worth more than $100 million over six years.
But, I betcha that the Yankees brass is all secretly hoping that he goes to another team – so that they can then say to their fans “Hey, we tried.” And, then, they can stick to their goal of having a payroll under $189.
And, let’s face it, if you’re going to go over $189 million, then you might as well blast right past it. To miss the number by a million or two is just plain stupid.
Between the Cubs pushing hard and his wife’s desire to be on the west coast, do the Yankees really have any shot to get this guy?
Also, don’t be fool by the rhetoric of Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine, et al. They can (and do!) say all they want about the Yankees wanting to be a championship team. But, on the inside, all they care about is being under $189 million this year. And, they’re more than willing to have the team stink in 2014, if that what it takes.