• Pettitte Speaks About 2008

    Posted by on October 31st, 2007 · Comments (16)

    From mlb.com

    Andy Pettitte has already come to one important decision this offseason. The left-hander will either pitch for the Yankees in 2008, or he will not pitch at all.

    The 35-year-old Pettitte told a television station on Tuesday at his Houston-area golf tournament that he is in no rush to trigger his $16 million player option for next season, with a decision required by 10 days after the close of the World Series.

    But Pettitte confirmed that he does not intend to turn down the option to pitch for another team.

    “The New York Yankees committed an awful lot of money to me and put it in my hands, gave me a player option and trusted me with that option,” Pettitte told KRIV-TV. “It probably wouldn’t be real honorable for me not to do anything other than if I shut it down, shut it down or go back and play for the New York Yankees.”

    O.K., that’s all great. But, from the same report, we have this:

    Pettitte said that the Yankees lined up three strong candidates in Girardi, Don Mattingly and Tony Pena, all of whom would have made good choices.

    “The three guys they interviewed, it would have been great for any of them,” Pettitte said. “They are all great men. I don’t think they could have went wrong with anybody they picked.

    “I played with Joe. He’s caught me plenty. He’s a great baseball man. He’s going to do a good job for them.”

    He’s going to do a good job for them.

    Andy, did you say “them“? (And, not “us”?)

    I’m starting to get a little nervous that Pettitte is leaning towards retirement.

    Yankees Top Farm Clubs

    Posted by on October 31st, 2007 · Comments (4)

    Here’s a list that I find interesting – it’s the Yankees “top” farm clubs, through the years:

    Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (2007 – present)
    Columbus Clippers (1979 – 2006)
    Tacoma Yankees (1978)
    Syracuse Chiefs (1967 – 1977)
    Toledo Mud Hens (1965 – 1966)
    Richmond Virginians (1956 – 1964)
    Denver Bears (1955 – 1958)
    Kansas City Blues (1937 – 1954)
    San Francisco Seals (1951)
    Newark Bears (1931 – 1949)
    Oakland Oaks (1935 – 1936)
    Jersey City Skeeters (1930)
    Chambersburg Young Yanks (1929) – Class “D” Ball
    Jersey City Colts (1922)

    As you can see, the concept of a “farm system” didn’t really take root with the Yankees until the 1930’s. And, yes, there were some years, especially long ago, where the Yankees had two “top” minor league teams at the same time.

    I totally forgot about the Tacoma Yankees. (Shame on me.)

    You Can’t Spell Cashman Without “C, A, S, H”

    Posted by on October 31st, 2007 · Comments (22)

    From Ian O’Connor today –

    The sorcery and magic are long gone. On Cashman’s watch, the bloody Red Sox have built a dynasty. Torre and Alex Rodriguez have opted out. The Yankees are no longer the business model for wannabe teams.

    Cashman’s scorecard reads like your average Phil Mickelson round: birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey, birdie, bogey. For every good move Cashman has made, a bad one has followed.

    Good Cash: He traded for Scott Brosius. Signed El Duque Hernandez for peanuts. Blocked Randy Johnson from Cleveland. Did his knee-buckling deal for Roger Clemens. Dealt for David Justice. Signed Mike Mussina and Hideki Matsui. Landed A-Rod. Kept Robinson Cano and Chien-Ming Wang. Didn’t land Eric Gagne. Protected Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.

    Bad Cash: Dealt future Red Sox World Series MVP Mike Lowell for Mark Johnson, Ed Yarnall and Todd Noel. Claimed Jose Canseco on waivers. Gave $120 million to Jason Giambi. Ignored George Steinbrenner’s desire to sign future Red Sox ALCS MVP David Ortiz. Hired Jeff Weaver. Landed Kevin Brown and Javier Vazquez instead of future Red Sox two-time champ Curt Schilling. Made setup-man mistakes on the likes of Steve Karsay and Kyle Farnsworth. Brought in Johnson too late in the game. Plucked Carl Pavano from the Marlins instead of future Red Sox ALCS MVP Josh Beckett.

    No, it’s not a terrible track record. And nobody will ever argue with the hours Cashman pours into his job.

    But the Yankees have never handed out medals for trying. In the context of budget and payroll, Cashman might have a bigger advantage over his peers than any general manager in the history of American team sports.

    He hasn’t done enough with that advantage. For all the multimillion-dollar errors he’s allowed to absorb, errors that never could be committed by rival executives, Cashman has failed to live up to his own mission statement.

    O’Connor updates a list that I started a year ago. Related, just last week, I heard Mad Dog Russo (on WFAN Radio, 660 AM, in NYC) make this statement on Brian Cashman: “He’s wasted more money on pitching than any other G.M. in the history of the game.”

    That one stayed with me – because, I think he may be correct. What do you think? Would you agree with Russo’s statement, or not?

    Yanks 2008 Coaches Have Some New Faces

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    From the Times

    Tony Peña, the other candidate interviewed last week, will remain with the Yankees as the first-base coach, and the hitting coach Kevin Long is close to signing a three-year, $1 million deal.

    Three newcomers are expected to join the staff: Dave Eiland as the pitching coach, Mike Harkey as the bullpen coach, and Bobby Meacham as the third-base coach.

    Rob Thomson, a special assignment coach, will inherit Mattingly’s job as the bench coach. The Yankees had offered to let Mattingly stay in that position, but he turned down the job.

    Peña and Long seemed to do good work. I’m glad they’re staying. Plus, Peña might help lure Posada to come back – if he needs any luring.

    Yesterday, I wrote that Bobby Meacham was a candidate to join the team. No shocker there. And, I wrote about Mike Harkey earlier today. Dave Eiland getting the nod is clearly tied to the relationship that he has with the young Yankees pitchers – and the job he’s done with them, to date.

    Rob Thomson as bench coach is a stunner. It’s not that Thomson doesn’t have a fine resume. It’s not that he doesn’t know the team. Heck, he’s been in the organization for 18 years and has done well in a number of different roles. And, Torre praised him during his “good-bye” press conference. I guess, maybe, Girardi formed a bond with Thomson when they worked together during 2005? Or, maybe the team was afraid to lose him to Torre in L.A. and insisted that he be given a big role on the New York coaching staff? In any event, it will be a much higher-profile position than what Thomson’s had in the past. It’s a nice reward for him after doing a lot of dirty work, behind the scenes, for years.

    Torre’s Ugly Rebound Gig

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (7)

    Today, around 5:30 pm ET, I was listening to WFAN (660 AM in NYC), while Mike Francesa and Mad Dog Russo ridiculed Brian Cashman for having extremely long and rambling answers to questions from the media – during the Yankees’ conference call regarding their announcement that they hired Joe Girardi. While Mike & Mad Dog had a somewhat valid point, I thought it was excessive the way they kept beating the point to death. But, on the whole, from what I heard, from the call, it seemed like the Yankees and the media did a decent job of manning their sides and doing it in a professional manner.

    Later this evening, I was watching ESPN News when they broke into the Los Angeles Dodgers’ conference call regarding their announcement that Grady Little had “resigned.” This call was a train wreck. The media on the call went after Dodgers’ G.M. Ned Colletti like hungry pit bulls. And, Colletti seemed as comfortable as an embezzler being interviewed on “60 Minutes.” Plus, I’ve seen dung fights in the monkey cage at the zoo that were better organized than this call. At one point, someone on the call had WFAN on in the background, and you clearly heard Steve Somers lamenting about the Mets – while people on the call kept asking for someone to “please turn off the radio.”

    Needless to say, it was easy to notice a contrast between these two conference calls.

    Now, I see that (according to George King) Joe Torre has agreed in principle to a three-year contract worth $14.5 million to manage the Dodgers (and that Don Mattingly and Larry Bowa may join him there).

    When you think about how the Dodgers handled the whole Grady Little situation, in general, and then factor in how poorly they handled something as simple as a conference call with the media, it seems like the nightmare stories that you hear about the way (Dodgers owner) Frank McCourt handles team affairs there may just be near 100% true.

    Good luck in L.A., Joe. I think you’re going to need it.

    A-Rod & Boras Move To Egypt…

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    …and get a sweet little mother-daughter place on the banks of “D’Nile”…

    From Joel Sherman

    Alex Rodriguez is a free agent now after opting out of his contract and the Yankees have reasserted they will not negotiate further with the slugger. Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera likely will file for free agency, and the Yankees will negotiate with them.

    “Intellectually, Alex is tying to understand the difference between his free agency and that of Mariano and Posada,” Boras said by phone yesterday. “Alex Rodriguez has never said he does not want to be a Yankee. Filing for free agency doesn’t mean that. Because Rivera and Posada are free agents doesn’t mean they don’t want to be Yankees.”

    To me, the difference is clear. Posada and Rivera are free agents because the Yankees allowed their contracts to expire – without making a huge effort, if any at all, to extend them before the contracts expired. And, the Yankees having to deal with their free agency, today, is the product of Yankees actions and/or inactions.

    A-Rod is a free agent because he opted out of his contract – not because the Yankees allowed it to expire – and he ignored the Yankees efforts to try and extent the deal.

    On one side, the Yankees set Posada and Rivera into free agency. And, on the other side, A-Rod has rammed his way into free agency, brushing the Yankees aside in the process.

    So, yes, Mr. Boras, A-Rod is a free agent – like Posada and Rivera. But, it’s the method in which he arrived there that’s the difference. And, that method has annoyed the Yankees. If Alex can’t understand that, “intellectually,” then perhaps he has frosted his hair one too many times and the chemicals have now eaten away part of his brain?

    Tampa Is Motown Today

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    From the Daily News

    A deal to bring Mariano Rivera back to the Bronx may be in the works, as the All-Star closer and his agent are meeting with the Yankees Tuesday at Legends Field.

    Fernando Cuza, who represents Rivera, showed up at the Yankees’ spring ballpark around 11:45 a.m., accompanied by two of his associates. Ten minutes later, Rivera arrived by himself in a black Mercedes.

    When asked if he was meeting with the Yankees, Rivera said, “Yeah. We have to see something.” Rivera declined further comment, telling reporters he would elaborate on his way out of the ballpark.

    Rivera was one of five Yankees to file for free agency on Monday, the first day players were allowed to do so. The Yankees are expected to offer Rivera a three-year deal worth approximately $40 million.

    Team president Randy Levine arrived at Legends Field at 10 a.m., while general manager Brian Cashman pulled up to the ballpark shortly before 11 a.m.

    Three years at forty million should be enough to get this done. Let’s hope that it happens quickly – and Posada too – as that might get Pettitte interested in coming back for another year.

    Schilling Takes A Shot At Yankees

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    From ESPN.com

    Schilling said it did not bother him that Rodriguez’s announcement came during Boston’s coronation. But he seemed to relish the opportunity to take a shot at the Red Sox rivals’ disappointing season.

    “It wasn’t unexpected,” Schilling said. “Between them and the Yankees making sure we were updated every 15 minutes about when they were actually going to name their manager, I didn’t give a crap. Bottom line was they’re playing golf and making organizational decisions and we’re still playing games.”

    To the victor belong the spoils, I suppose. Stay classy Red Light.

    Jon Lieber

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (10)

    We know that Joe Girardi and Jon Lieber are friends.

    Lieber is a Free Agent this off-season.

    I would not be shocked to see Lieber sign a one-year deal, with a team option for a second year, with the Yankees now (that Girardi is running the team).

    Yes, Lieber will be 38-years old next year. But, since he’s come back from Tommy John Surgery, over the last four years, he’s been (about) a league-average performer on the mound.

    At the worst, he could be insurance for Joba Chamberlain and Mike Mussina in the rotation (as one is a rookie and the other is an older player) – and he could be used as a long-man in the pen (which is something that Girardi has said that he likes to see on a team).

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying this is a “must” move for the Yankees…it’s far from that. I’m just saying that it would not shock me to see it happen.

    “The Industrial Engineer That Could” Is In The House

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    From Jon Heyman

    Joe Girardi, rebuffing last-minute attempts by the Dodgers to become their manager, has agreed to succeed Joe Torre as Yankees manager.

    People inside the Yankees organization are re-energized by the appointment of Girardi after suffering a difficult blow when Alex Rodriguez opted out of his $252 million Yankees contract.

    An announcement regarding Girardi’s hiring could come today.

    Girardi’s first act as manager should be to phone Pettitte, Rivera and Posada and give them all the same message: “I can’t talk dollars and years with you, as you know – that’s up to the front office and your agent. But, I just wanted to reach out to you, personally, myself, man-to-man, and say that we’re going to have something a little bit different here – but, it’s going to be very special. And, for me, it would be an honor and a privilege, to me, personally, to have you be part of this – as it would make it even more special. I just wanted to let you know how I feel about what’s happening here – and how I feel about you.”

    It could go a long way – and, at the worst, it won’t hurt.

    A-Rod’s Time In The Bronx

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (12)

    Jim Baumbach has an excellent feature up today – detailing Alex Rodriguez’ time with the Yankees. It includes an “A-Rod meter” that tracks the “highs and lows of Alex Rodriguez’s four years in pinstripes (scale: 10 the highest, 1 the lowest)”:

    July 24, 2004
    Brawls with Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek at Fenway Park.
    Rating: 4

    Oct. 19, 2004
    Slaps the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove and is ruled out for interference during Game 6 of the ALCS.
    Rating: 3

    April 27, 2005
    Hits three homers in first three at-bats against Angels at Yankee Stadium.
    Rating: 8

    Nov. 14, 2005
    Narrowly edges Boston’s David Ortiz to win the American League MVP.
    Rating: 9

    Sept. 19, 2006
    Is spoken of negatively by other Yankees in a damning Sports Illustrated story.
    Rating: 2

    Oct. 7, 2006
    Dropped to eighth in the lineup for ALDS Game 4 in Detroit.
    Rating: 1.5

    May 30, 2007
    Breaks unwritten code by distracting Toronto’s Howie Clark from catching a pop-up by yelling “Ha!”
    Rating: 4

    Aug. 4, 2007
    Crushes pitch into Yankee Stadium’s leftfield stands for his 500th career home run.
    Rating: 8.5

    Sept. 27, 2007
    Proudly states in champagne-soaked clubhouse, “New York is a special place. I love New York.”
    Rating: 10

    Oct. 28, 2007
    Opts out of his contract in announcement by agent Scott Boras during World Series Game 4.
    Rating: 1

    I would have included the illegal poker club thing, the WBC flip-flopping thing, the stripper thing, and the “Jeter” announcement before Spring Training this year, in the “meter” as well. But, still, it’s an interesting list.

    Mike Harkey

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    According to Buster Olney, on ESPN Radio yesterday, Joe Girardi would like Mike Harkey to be on his coaching staff in New York.

    For those who don’t know, Harkey was the 4th overall pick of the 1987 amateur draft – sort of a Mark Prior of his time in that he always seemed to have problems staying sound enough to pitch. Girardi caught him, on the Cubs, from 1990 to 1992. For six years, Harkey was a minor league pitching coach in the San Diego Padres chain – and then joined Girardi, in Flordia, during 2006, as a Bullpen Coach.

    Harkey is already being asked about working with Girardi – see this from the Daily News today:

    “He’s the best manager I’ve ever seen, running a game, running a clubhouse and communicating with his team,” Harkey said. “He makes it real easy to go out and do the job. He sets a good example, because he works his butt off. … He’s very confident in what he does and he shows that confidence in his players and his coaches.

    “He’ll expect the Yankees to win the World Series every year and I think that’s part of the reason they picked Joe. He was telling his team with 19 rookies that was their goal, now he’ll be taking on a team that may have a $200 million payroll. He won’t accept anything less.”

    I suspect that Mike Harkey is a name that we better get used to hearing about in Yankeeland. Maybe he’s just a modern day Art Fowler? Then again, maybe he can add something to the picture in New York? Time will tell.

    When Girardi Gets To Work

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    Today, I find myself thinking about some things that I read about Joe Girardi when he first took over the Florida Marlins.

    From the AP on February 22, 2006:

    New Marlins manager Joe Girardi isn’t wasting any time.

    Girardi drilled Florida’s pitchers and catchers for more than three hours in 85-degree weather Monday, then said he was pleased with the results from their first spring training workout.

    “I was proud of how they worked,” he said. “That’s as hard a day as I’ve been in in spring training. They were moving all the time — that was part of the schedule.

    “I believe in work. Work is how you get better.”

    From the Palm Beach Post, also on February 22, 2006:

    With temperatures in the 80s on Tuesday, Marlins pitchers lined up for one of the most grueling drills of spring training: “running poles,” a series of 14 sprints across the outfield grass from foul pole to foul pole.

    That’s when left-hander Scott Olsen looked over at manager Joe Girardi and said with a sneer, “Why don’t you run with us?”

    In the clubhouse a few minutes later, Olsen wrapped a cold towel around his head and marveled at how Girardi, 41, outpaced many players.

    “He ran, like, 12 poles and he wasn’t even fazed,” Olsen, 22, said. “He might have run more than 14. I ran my 14 and got out.”

    I’m really starting to get excited about having Girardi run this team. How many days until Spring Training starts?

    Me, Abreu, & Mitchell: Paranoia, Or, The Destroyer?

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    Bobby Abreu is usually good for 60-70 extra base hits per season – just check the numbers. But, from 2001 to 2004, he hit more homers, among those extra base hits, than before and after that time.

    To be honest, there’s a part of me that worries about this spike on Bobby’s bubble-gum card, just a little bit – and the upcoming Mitchell Report.

    Maybe it’s nothing. But, it could be something that the Yankees, perhaps, should factor in when thinking about his option for 2008. If they suspect this could turn into something ugly for Abreu next season, maybe they should start thinking about whether or not they want to deal with it?

    Yankee GM Blog & Inspired Numbers

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (0)

    There’s two relatively new Yankees blogs on the scene: Yankee GM Blog and Inspired Numbers.

    If you stop by, tell them that WasWatching.com sent ya!

    Boras Accepts Blame For Timing Of A-Rod Announcement

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    From Neil Best

    Most fans first heard the news at 11:05, when Fox’s Ken Rosenthal reported that Boras “confirmed that Alex Rodriguez has decided to opt out of his contract.”

    This was in the top of the eighth inning of the last game of the World Series, and understandably led Joe Buck and Tim McCarver to discuss it. Major League Baseball was stunned.

    MLB president Bob DuPuy responded with this statement yesterday:

    “We’re very disappointed Scott Boras would try to upstage our premier baseball event of the season with his announcement. There was no reason to make an announcement [Sunday] night other than to try to put his selfish interests and that of one individual player above the overall good of the game.”

    ESPN’s Peter Gammons was one of the first media commentators to jump in, saying the timing showed “total disrespect” to the game and was a “sad commentary” on Rodriguez.

    Boras acknowledged on Michael Kay’s show on ESPN 1050 yesterday that it would have been better to wait a day to discuss the matter publicly, which he said was his original plan.

    Boras issued a statement of apology last night, saying, “The unfortunate result was not my intent but is solely my fault. I could have handled this situation better, and for that I am truly sorry.”

    This reminds me of an old Paul Reubens’ performance from a Cheech & Chong movie:

    “I’m sorry I took the money…I’m sorry I took the money…I’m so sorry I took the money….”


    “I’m NOT sorry I took the money!!!!”

    Go West Old Joe – And Young Don?

    Posted by on October 30th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    I first heard the confirmation this morning when I turned on SportsCenter and saw that Peter Abraham had broken the story.

    Funny, but, on Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio this morning, they played a clip from Torre, on Letterman last night, saying there was nothing to the story about him going to L.A. – although that interview was done about 5 hours before Peter’s story. So, maybe something changed?

    Scott Proctor better start warming up – he’s going to be busy next season.

    I wonder if Torre knows something about L.A. – like maybe that they’re going to sign A-Rod. Wouldn’t that be something? Just stay away from Pettitte and Rivera, Mr. Torre, OK?

    I can’t wait to see how Torre does with a team other than the Yankees. This could be very interesting – either way it goes for Joe with the Dodgers.

    Kay’s Source: Why A-Rod Pulled The Trigger

    Posted by on October 29th, 2007 · Comments (15)

    Just heard Michael Kay on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio (1050 AM in NYC) say that, according to a very close friend of Alex Rodriguez, A-Rod is nervous about the direction of the Yankees, and, A-Rod doesn’t want to be the guy who is blamed when the Yankees don’t win, but, still, A-Rod’s first choice in terms of where he wants to play is the Yankees.

    Talk about an equation that doesn’t balance, huh?

    Kay added that the source also said that A-Rod didn’t want to hear the Yankees offer on an extension because he feels that he’s earned the right to find out his worth on the open market – and didn’t want an extension that would cancel his chance to go to market.

    Sing it with me ya’ll…

    A mark, a yen, a buck, or a pound,
    A buck or a pound,
    A buck or a pound.
    Is all that makes A-Rod shop ’round,
    That clinking clanking sound!
    Can make Alex shop ’round.

    Is A-Rod The First?

    Posted by on October 29th, 2007 · Comments (2)

    I know that “Free Agency” in baseball, as we know it today, has “only” been around for 32 years. Still, thinking about it today, I believe that Alex Rodriguez is the first “mega-star” in his “prime” to walk away from the Yankees, clean, as a Free Agent. Can anyone think of another?

    Reggie Jackson was 35 when he left – and on the back-end of his career. Is Mike Torrez considered a “mega-star”? How about Oscar Gamble? No one really comes to mind. Goose Gossage may be the closest one. But, he’s not in the A-Rod class, in my opinion.

    Having someone like A-Rod, at his current age and production level, just walking away from the Yankees just does not happen very often – or, maybe even never before, no?

    OTB: Girardi’s Treatment Of Pitchers

    Posted by on October 29th, 2007 · Comments (6)

    Outside The Beltway takes a look at Joe Girardi’s treatment of pitchers. I suspect this will not be the first and last study of this kind that we’ll see in the next few weeks.

    Yanks Make Offer To Girardi, Mattingly May Be Gone

    Posted by on October 29th, 2007 · Comments (9)

    From ESPN.com

    The Yankees officially offered their managerial job to Joe Girardi on Monday morning and he is expected to accept it, a source has told 1050 ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand.

    “The Yankees have offered Joe the opportunity to become their next manager. Discussions are ongoing.” Steve Mandell, Girardi’s agent, said. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Don Mattingly and Tony Pena that they will not be getting the job.

    Girardi was in Denver for the World Series. A source said he is expected to fly to New York for the announcement, which is likely to come Tuesday. Girardi’s contract is expected to be in the three-year, $6 million range.

    Mattingly will not accept a position on the Yankees coaching staff, Marchand and ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney are reporting.

    Here’s where it gets interesting: Gary Tuck was Girardi’s bench coach in Florida. Now, Tuck is the bullpen coach for the Red Sox. If Mattingly leaves, and Girardi wants Tuck to be the bench coach in New York, it could be a tactical plus for the Yankees – in that Tuck would have some insight on the Red Sox personnel.

    Don’t be shocked by a return of Bobby Meacham either – as he was with Joe in Florida as well. Meacham has logged a long time in the game as a coach. He could be a good addition to the staff too – if Larry Bowa does leave the team.

    2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox

    Posted by on October 29th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    First, belated congrats to Red Sox Nation today for their second ring in the last four years. That’s impressive – and, it was well earned this season, holding off the Yankees’ late charge, beating the Angels, coming back against the Indians, pounding the Rockies in four, etc.

    I heard that Red Sox radio announcer Joe Castiglione ended the game last night with “The Red Sox become the first team in the twenty-first century to win two world championships. Can you believe it?!”

    Now, Yankees fans, cannot get on Joe too much for this one – after all, have you ever heard John Sterling on the radio? Still, many are asking the question these days – including Time Magazine – are the Red Sox now the Yankees? Here’s what the Boston brass is saying (according to Time):

    Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino famously called the Yankees “the Evil Empire” for spending cash to win World Series after World Series. But with a $143 million payroll, two Series trophies on his mantle and the promise of more to come, Lucchino is no Luke Skywalker.

    Yankee comparisons, not surprisingly, make the Boston brass uneasy. “We don’t quite have the resources they do,” says Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein. The Yankees payroll hit $195 million this year, still comfortably ahead of Boston’s figure. “I don’t buy into it,” he says. Lucchino, standing in Boston’s champagne-splattered clubhouse, fended off all Yankee talk. “We aren’t the old Yankees, new Yankees, anybody’s Yankees,” he says. “We ain’t trying to be no Yankees.”

    It’s too bad, that, even in victory, for the Red Sox, it always comes back to the Yankees, somehow. In any event, again, congrats to Sox – they had a great plan and executed it.

    You have to tip your cap to that.

    Ducat’s Anatomy

    Posted by on October 29th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    Time Out New York has a nice feature today on where your Yankees ticket money goes…note that 28% of it goes to teams other than the Yankees.

    Considering how the Yankees draw, and the price of their tickets, that’s a lot of dough going out the window.

    Hank Stein Reacts To A-Rod’s Opt Out

    Posted by on October 29th, 2007 · Comments (9)


    From the Daily News:

    “It’s clear he didn’t want to be a Yankee,” Hank Steinbrenner told the Daily News last night. “He doesn’t understand the privilege of being a Yankee on a team where the owners are willing to pay $200 million to put a winning product on the field.

    “I don’t want anybody on my team that doesn’t want to be a Yankee.”

    The Yankees have said time and time again that they will not pursue Rodriguez as a free agent because of the money they would now no longer receive from the Rangers. Last night, Steinbrenner made it clear that his team had no intention of changing its tune on that stance.

    “We’re not going to back down,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s goodbye.”

    Boras cited the uncertainty over the status of pending free agents such as Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte as A-Rod’s biggest concern. As it turns out, all Rodriguez had to do was return a phone call if he wanted that information.

    Steinbrenner said last night that both he and his brother, Hal, personally placed phone calls to Rodriguez expressing their desire to keep him in pinstripes, but neither call was returned by the third baseman.

    “I’ll tell you this: the commitment from my family is ’78 through ’96,” Steinbrenner said of the team’s direction. “We will never go 18 years without a championship again. That’s our commitment.”

    From the New York Times:

    “It’s a shame,” Hank Steinbrenner, who is now running the Yankees, said late Sunday night. “But we are all in agreement: myself, my dad, my brother, all the baseball people. If you don’t want to be a Yankee and paid what you’re being paid, we don’t want you, that’s the bottom line. You’d be hard-pressed to argue that point. If you don’t understand the magnitude of being a Yankee and understand what that means, and being the highest-paid player in baseball, I think it’s pretty obvious.”

    “If we’re going to make you rich and we’re going to give you the privilege of being a Yankee,” he said, “you’ve got to show us you want to be here.”

    “It’s a shame, because he’s an all-right guy,” Steinbrenner said. “I hope he doesn’t have outside influences that are causing him to make a mistake.”

    Steinbrenner said Rodriguez had never responded to his telephone messages, but Rodriguez had been made aware of the offer the Yankees intended to make.

    “They’ve been told the starting point of a negotiation, which would have been more than he’s getting paid now, and we also called him personally and left messages trying to get him to come to Tampa to meet with us.”

    “Does he want to go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee,” Steinbrenner said, “or a Toledo Mud Hen?”

    That last quote will go down as a classic.

    In his Yankees career, Alex Rodriguez averaged 43 HR and 128 RBI per season. I think the Yankees realized that production had value and they wanted to try and retain that value without getting into a bidding war over it. But, A-Rod and Boras have other plans.

    I believe that Alex’s spurning of the Yankees offer to talk, combined with the calculated timing of his announcement to opt out, have cemented the Yankees stance on not being willing to talk contract with A-Rod, post-opt-out.

    Yes, folks, the Alex Rodriguez Era in Yankees history is now over. It was two MVP years in four seasons mixed in with drama, here and there, and some noteworthy personal post-season failures – although it’s very debatable if the latter had any impact on the team’s recent October misfortunes (as A-Rod didn’t pitch for the Yankees).

    It will be interesting to see if the Yankees players have the same reaction, now, as the Texas Rangers players had when Alex left that team (to join New York).

    A-Rod Opts Out Of Yankees Contract

    Posted by on October 28th, 2007 · Comments (28)

    Looks like Jon Heyman is breaking the story –

    Alex Rodriguez notified the Yankees on Sunday that he’s opting out of his record $252 million contract, SI.com has learned.

    Rodriguez’s decision means he will become a free agent and be able to negotiate with all clubs. Rodriguez’s bombshell move will shake up the entire winter for the Yankees — who had hoped to retain him with a big extension — as well as other big-market clubs that will now pursue him.

    Rodriguez’s agent Scott Boras said he sent word of the opt-out in writing Sunday and left phone and text messages for Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. The Yankees have said that once A-Rod opts out, they wil not pursue him, since they will lose the benefit of the Texas Rangers’ $30-million subsidy.

    “Alex made the decision today,” Boras said. “I thought we should notify the club.”

    The Yankees were preparing an extension to his current contract for either five or six years, believed to be for close to $30 million annually. However, team officials said Boras has politely declined to meet with them in recent days, and they never presented the offer.

    Peter Abraham’s reaction to this news just about nails it:

    Given that Rodriguez made his decision without first negotiating with the Yankees, it appears he never had any intention of staying in New York.

    That just mirrors what I suggested yesterday.

    Needless to say, it’s going to be an interesting day in Yankeeland come Monday morning. If Cashman and Hank Stein are going to stick to their claims, this means that Alex Rodriguez’ Yankees career is over.

    This is starting to remind me of when Roger Clemens “un-retired” after the 2003 World Series and then Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays fans told Yankees fans “See, we told you about the guy.”

    I suspect, now, when it comes to A-Rod, that some of us Yankees fans can expect to hear “See, we told you about the guy” from Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers fans pretty soon too.

    Heyman: It’s Girardi

    Posted by on October 28th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    From Jon Heyman

    The Yankees appear to be focusing on Joe Girardi to replace legendary Joe Torre as manager. Barring an unforeseen development, Girardi could receive the offer Monday.

    Indications are strong that Girardi is the first choice of general manager Brian Cashman, who has been weighing a difficult call for days. Negotiations are expected to go quickly, with the Yankees expected to give Girardi a three-year contract for about $6 million to take one of the most high-profile jobs in sports. An announcement could come as early as Tuesday.

    If this turns out to be one of those “Dewey Defeats Truman” things, I think I may scream until my throat hurts.

    Lucchino: We’re Not The Yankees

    Posted by on October 28th, 2007 · Comments (9)

    From the Washington Times back on October 17th:

    With the New York Yankees out of the postseason, the Boston Red Sox have become the Goliath of this American League Championship Series.

    It is not a position Red Sox owner Larry Lucchino is comfortable with.

    He doesn’t like being lumped with the Yankees under any circumstances, even though sometimes it seems like the Yankees and the Red Sox are in one division and the 28 other major league teams are in another when it comes to finances.

    “Walk a mile in our shoes and see how different we think we are from the Yankees,” Lucchino said. “They have the benefit of the largest market in the Western world. We have to compete with them, but they are tens of millions of dollars higher than us. It is inappropriate to lump us with them. It is the Yankees out there and 29 other teams in the next category. We want to be the little engine that could.”

    I have to remember this quote if A-Rod opts out and the Red Sox throw Alex bags full of money to sign him.

    Daily News: Looks Like It’s Girardi

    Posted by on October 28th, 2007 · Comments (4)

    From the Daily News:

    The Yankees apparently have reached a decision on a new manager, which they are prepared to announce Sunday or Monday, and there were increasing signs Saturday night pointing to Joe Girardi.

    While nobody in the Yankee high command was prepared to speculate on Cashman’s favorite, sources familiar with the GM’s thinking pointed out that Girardi had all the characteristics – an analytical approach, organizational skills that come from having already managed (the Florida Marlins) and a proven ability to handle a pitching staff – Cashman is thought to be looking for.

    In addition, one source told the Daily News last night that “in no way would politics enter into Brian’s decision” – an indication the Yankees are not concerned about a potential public-relations hit if the popular Mattingly did not get the job.

    If true, I’m thrilled to see that Brian Cashman is using his head on this one.

    Mets Need A-Rod?

    Posted by on October 28th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    From Bill Price of the News

    Sometime in the next week or so, a friend of a friend of a friend of Fred Wilpon should whisper in Scott Boras’ ear that the Mets are ready to do whatever it takes to bring Alex Rodriguez to Queens.

    Tampering? Probably. But desperate times call for desperate measures. And the Mets are desperate.

    They are coming off the worst collapse in regular-season history, their TV network is running out of games from 1986 to rebroadcast and their hold on being “the other team” in New York is stronger than ever.

    Their can’t-miss pitching prospects are missing, their better-than-Jeter shortstop is now the third-best shortstop in the East, and aside from David Wright, Carlos Beltran and Jose (walk, don’t run) Reyes, the rest of their roster resembles a Senior League lineup.

    What’s worse is that three weeks after the regular season ended, they are already an afterthought. As a matter of fact, the only time the word Mets has appeared in this paper since their September debacle was in a Kaz Matsui story.

    It is (if you pardon the pun) amazing that no one is talking about the Mets these days in the New York media. Just four weeks ago, the Mets pulled off one of the most historic choke jobs ever. And, thanks to the Yankees, Torre, A-Rod, etc., it’s like it never happened.

    Some may think the Mets would be happy with this – but, any press is good press, no? And, yes, this would all change if the Mets got Alex – then they would be the story in town, 24/7, in my opinion.

    2007 World Series Game 3

    Posted by on October 28th, 2007 · Comments (1)

    Hey, look for a bright side in all of this – if the Red Sox win tonight, and sweep the Series, it moves “A-Rod Decision Day” up to November 6th (from November 10th). When it comes to knowing or not knowing, the sooner the better, right?

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