Saturday, August 25, 2007

Red Sox 2, Mariners 1, Yankees 0

I just woke up at 3:00am to see the final innings of the Detroit opener. Sean Henn vomited up the game and we are now dropping slowly out of the race. Seattle is still catchable with a tough schedule and 3 games at the Stadium, but the Yankees are finding ways to lose again and we are in a troubling and precarious position right now. We lost the opener to the Angels after a grueling marathon and now we've duplicated that feat against the Tigers. Talk about demoralizing for fans and players alike.

I'm not sure what's going to make me feel optimistic when I wake up later. I'll figure it out, but the team is certainly making it hard. Clemens may finally have run out of whatever it was that was propelling him into his 50's as an ace. I think it was radioactive NL Central rocks or something.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Argument for A-Rod

The Angels series proved to be quite a let down for the Yankees. One of these years we're going to abuse the boys from Anaheim the way we have the Rangers and Indians over the last decade. It will be sweet revenge to turn the tables on them after the grief they've caused us lately. The victory last night was a very good way to salvage the series as the key members of the playoff race collectively dropped their games, allowing us to redeem one of our stumbles out West.

Joba Chamberlain has quickly become my favorite Yankee and I'm amazed to see the control he has of 97, 98, 99, 100 mph stuff and an 85 mph slider that bites hitters off at the knees. For a 21-year old kid he has poise and command beyond his age and it's very encouraging to see that he is seated next to the Rocket in the clubhouse. If his stuff is legit and he has his mechanics under control, I feel as though he may be the better of the two young aces currently on the big league roster. With the kind of power he has, his future just might translate to more long term success than Hughes, although it's too soon to know anything for sure. I'll enjoy watching though.

This post is about Alex Rodriguez. You could post about A-Rod everyday if you really wanted to. I try to stay away from it because A-Rod can turn into a circus of giant tabloid proportions if you overdo it. In this case, I want to make the case for signing him long term. Here goes:

Cashman has warned A-Rod and Boras that the Yankees will be out of the sweepstakes if he decides to opt out. I have to support that philosophy 110%. There's a point where the most powerful sports franchise in the world (not named Real Madrid) should set the terms of its own negotiations. The Yankees have too many resources to be played by the likes of Boras. Anyone can be replaced. The A's have repeatedly proved that. I don't think, however, that either party wants to part company. A-Rod could go down in the pantheon of greats as a Yankee, which holds a certain prestige level that is accompanied by cold hard cash, if that happens to be on his mind. The Yankees like to have the best player on the planet on their team, especially if he is in the conversation for the greatest player of all time when it's said and done. The Bonds' home run record might be reachable if A-Rod stays healthy and productive and he would look good breaking that mark in pinstripes.

The opt out is the only real obstacle to having Rodriguez in our uniform for the rest of his career and I believe that the situation will be dealt with (if it hasn't been already) behind closed doors. A-Rod doesn't opt out and the Yankees, as a billion dollar plus franchise, splash outlandish money on him to stay. $30 a season for 8 years is stupid, but in this case I'd make an exception. The extra $3 million in 2008, 2009, and 2010 will bump his annual up to $30 million. Those years would see the Rangers continue to pay between $6-8 million, and A-Rod would then get a straight $30 million a year from the Bombers for 2011-2015. He will be ridiculously overpaid by the end of the deal, but I think this is an exception worth making. Outside of Albert Pujols there is no better player in the prime of his career. Miguel Cabrera may be another marquee guy that the Yankees could pursue that would get the team more value, but the thing is you aren't sure that he will be available to you. A-Rod is in house and he is having a historic season. He already holds the Yankee record for most home runs by a right handed hitter, when he set the mark with 48 in his 2005 MVP season. The third baseman is destined to shatter that this season as he already has 42 with 6 weeks to play. Rodriguez may end the year with homers in the mid-50's, which would look positively unreal when compared to the greats that have worn the Yankees' uniform over the last 100 years.

Not since Mantle hit 54 in 1961 have the Yankees seen anything like this. Maris' 61 is historical, but Mantle's iconic status makes that number so memorable. A-Rod is an icon and his on the field accomplishments in our uniform vaults him among the greatest players to ever suit up in any city. The Yankee aura adds to that legend and he seems like the kind of player that should carry our banner into the Hall of Fame. The money is less of an issue when you consider the bargains that we have on our hands these days. Wang, Hughes, Joba, and Kennedy could be the staples of our rotation for many many years to come. That at a minor league pricetag. Add in Betances and Brackman and you have to like the financial situation. Add in Cano, Melky, Tabata, and anyone else that might emerge in the next few years and you have the recipe for a low payroll, high value roster. There's money to overpay on Posada, Mo, A-Rod and other aging vets that we hope to hang onto. The big money that we overpay is offset by great value in the minors and in young MLB talent. Eventually, the retirement of those Yankee legends will make way for bigger contracts for the current crop of young studs, and the replacement we develop will keep us in the black. It's a great system that almost seems unfair for a billion dollar franchise.

You may or may not like to give Alex that kind of money, whatever your opinion of the man and the player, but I'm voting yes to the expense. If he can repeat this year's performance a few more times before it's all said and done, and if he can remain consistent enough to approach Bonds, we will all be happy about it in the end, whatever the price. Of course, he will be judged by the Yankees ability to win a Series or two before it's all said and done. Whether that's fair to him or not, I can't say, but I believe and I'll continue to be a fan until there's reason not to be. That would take an opt out, or some move to the Red Sox. Otherwise, high paycheck or not, he's my guy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Not going well

It's the end of 4 now and Phil Hughes has been bad. 79 pitches is almost 20 per inning. He has been wasting a ton of pitches and has had questionable control throughout. It's tempting to think of him as an ace already with all the hype, but he's a young rookie with virtually no experience above AA. He'll contribute, and occasionally dominate, but starts like this are sure to rear their ugly heads from time to time.

One thing that I always question is why managers sit their best players against opposing aces. I know that Bedard is a tough lefty, so you think about giving a day off to some of the weary left handed hitters, but the Yankees' lefties are All Stars for a reason. They can hit lefties too. I don't ever think it's a good formula to start Betemit, Phillips, Duncan, and Molina on the same day. It's not fair to Phil Hughes and this late in the season with as much as there is at stake.....questionable.

Come on fellas....come back!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

R.I.P. Scooter

Holy cow! What's a world without Scooter going to be like? Condolences to his family. A Yankee legend and a classy man in all respects has passed. You will be missed as a friend in all our homes. See you on the other side Phil. I hope you're up there either playing short for Heaven's Yankees or calling the game.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fantastic Four

It's Clobberin' Time!!!!!!!

Friday, August 10, 2007


From the newswire:
"The Padres claimed Igawa off waivers on Friday and have two business days to work out a trade with the Yankees, according to"

Cash Money has a chance to correct a mistake here. Get it done. San Diego GM Kevin Towers is a good buddy of Cashman. Take anything you can get Cash. Just get it done. The Pads have the 29th ranked farm system out of 30 according to the 2007 pre-season list at Baseball America. Dig into the system to grab a young player of some kind. Nothing great. Just a warm body.

My Favorite Game Ever

I have to say, I've had the pleasure of watching great Yankee games since the late 1970's when I was a little boy. There are a few games that stand out to me over those years and while I don't really think I can pin down one single favorite, there is a pantheon of games that I swear by as my all time classics. If I ran a YES Network, I'd go with a certain few "Yankee Classics" in my personal rotation.

This game now joins that pantheon. Hughes throws a lot of pitches against a tough, patient lineup and comes out with 6 innings of outstanding work. Joba Chamberlain, in his 2nd ever MLB appearance, strikes out 4 of the 6 Indians he faces on the way to the best 2 innings relief appearance the Yankees have had in years by anyone not named Mariano. How does one put this in perspective?

Hughes is 20. Chamberlain was at A ball to start this season. Brian Cashman and Damon Oppenheimer should crack a few bottles of champagne tonight. Imagine a repeat of this in the post-season. It will happen.

See you tomorrow. Go Yanks!!!

UPDATE: M's Lose. Sox Lose. Yanks tied for Wild Card and only 5 games back in the AL East. As Sinistar says, "Run Cowards!!!"

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Just a Hiccup

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


The debut of Joba Chamberlain was not without its difficulties. 2 innings of work was nice, but 33 pitches was uncharacteristically inefficient, especially considering the 2 walks. Understanding that this was his MLB debut though, I'll take two scoreless and a 9.00 K-rate any day of the week. This is going to be a lot of fun.

Clemens getting ejected was silly. Toronto are sorry-ass whiners. I agree that A-Rod's little deek move in May was unnecessary for a player of his caliber, it's hardly worth all the pent up hostility that has had Blue Jays pitchers hunting for him with baseballs. I like that Clemens hit Rios. We should get the lead and do it again tomorrow. Mind you, we can't afford to have any suspensions at this point, when things have turned around, but there is room for justice. Pick your spots and push back a little.

Melky Cabrera is a superman. How is he doing this? The real question is, how long can he keep it up? Is he capable of translating any portion of the .357/.398/.571 batting line that he's put up since the All Star break? We didn't get a large enough sample size of Melky in the minors to know what he's capable of becoming. There isn't any real precedent to help us. I hope he can produce a .300/.370/.450 line in center field with great defense. That would be a beautiful bargain for the Yankees going forward.

Fun stuff ladies and gents. See you tomorrow. Go Yanks!!

Yankee Doodle Dandy

So A-Rod gets his 500th home run and the Yankees are now within a half game of the Wild Card. Phil Hughes is back and Joba Chamberlain is apparently on his way to the Show. Cano and Cabrera are raking and adding an element of youthful exuberance to the club that we haven't seen in some time. Mariano is Mariano.

Of course, it's also worth noting that Clemens has been bad, Pettitte is on a downward trend, Mussina has a lot of work to do to salvage a lost season, and Igawa is back at AAA stinking it up. Farnsworth is still with the club although Myers is gone. Giambi is back, but one has to wonder how he will fit into a club that is on a roll. Will he hit .111 for a few weeks and drag us down in any important situations?

The good and the bad of the Bombers at least looks a bit more like the good and the bad of a contending ballclub again. For a very long time the good and the bad of the 2007 Yankees looked a lot like the roller coaster ride that a bad ballclub endures on its way to Fall vacation. The light at the end of the tunnel is there. If the club plays anywhere near the current clip the rest of the way, we will absolutely run away from the pack in the Wild Card and make things very uncomfortable in Boston.

The rest of the way, I'm looking forward to the contributions of our young guys most. It's a pleasure to see this again in 2007 after watching it in 2006. Now, we've forgotten the proposed trade of Melky Cabrera for Mike Gonzalez, who is now out for the year after arm problems. Some of the best trades are the ones never made, to quote an overused cliche. For all the criticism that Cashman has to weather, and in many cases rightly so, he also needs to get a pat on the back for being smart enough to hang onto our young guys. His commitment to building the organization at all levels is his saving grace as a GM. He's done it brilliantly, and we should see it all pay off in 2-3 years when we see our minor leagues fuel our roster in the Bronx.

The later part of this month sees a number of very tough series, so it's best that we continue to take care of business now to build our case for the playoffs. If we can shave 2 more games off the Sox lead before we meet them for a 3 game stand at the end of this month, we could make some real noise.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

An Open Letter to Our Young Arms

Dear Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy,

I just got back to the United States after 3 1/2 years living in Japan. I'll be back in the Bronx soon to do graduate work and I hope you'll be joining me there as well. This season has been at times a less then enjoyable roller coaster for fans of the New York Yankees and more than one blogger has come close to writing off the team for dead. There's a lot of work to be done before we can pencil our names into the playoffs, but there is also more room for optimism on August 2nd than there has been all year long. We are 2 games in back of Cleveland for the Wild Card and the hottest team in baseball exiting the All Star Break. That's where the three of you come in.

The trade deadline passed with very minimal activity for the Yankees. We didn't add a single pitcher at a time of year when most contending ball clubs are looking to shore up the rotation or bolster the pen for the stretch run. Thanks to some very smart drafting and development, the organization is in a position to bring two or three of you fellas into the race. The Red Sox added Eric Gagne and look very strong to close out ballgames. There aren't many teams in recent memory that have been able to boast a threesome like Okajima, Gagne, and Papelbon. The thing is, we don't have to worry about the Red Sox if we can get that Wild Card and go into the playoffs as the hottest club in the sport. In order to make that dream a reality you will be our trade deadline keys.

Mr. Hughes, you will be back for good this weekend. Just stay within yourself and put us in the game. You don't have to do too much. Just remember that your talent rivals any of the young arms in the sport and we've already seen many of those guys contribute over the last 2-3 years. It's your turn. Stay close to Roger Clemens and stretch that hamstring. Your mission is to fine tune yourself to the point where you can be a major force in the playoffs when we give you the ball.

Mr. Chamberlain, it looks like you will be up with the big boys in Toronto. You'll be contributing out of the pen, but fear not. You will be a frontline starter as soon as next year. Your father is worried about your health this season. Working out of the pen is not what you are designed to do. I say, "Don't fret." You're a bull and you aren't alone out there. This isn't a call up to save the pen or come to the rescue. This is a strengthening and dominating strategic move that is designed to shut the door rather than hold the fort. Just do what you do. Throw hard. Throw strikes. Keep it strong and steady and show why you belong. You could get some big innings in a historic stretch run.

Mr. Kennedy, your time may or may not come. Rest assured that 2008 will see you in the mix. This year you need to be ready at any moment to come to the Bigs and pitch a big game. With Hughes and Chamberlain in the Bronx, it's up to you to be the emergency guy. If one of our guys misses a turn, it could be you that gets a game in the hunt for the playoffs. Karstens is capable, but I'd rather have you in a September game against a contender than JK. Be ready. You might win a game or two that turns our season. We believe in you.

Here we are guys. On the verge of a very happy Summer stretch where we could go from double digit deficits in the division and wild card to a playoff berth and maybe a championship. You are our late summer bonanza. Do your best and stick close to the veterans. They know how to do this. See you in the Bronx.