Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Johan Santana Goes to Shea

USA Today is reporting, as are Mike and the Mad Dog, that Johan Santana has been traded to the New York Mets in exchange for outfield prospect Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey. Huh?

Yes, Bill Smith pulled the trigger on this deal but wouldn't take Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, and a middle tier prospect of some kind. He should lose his job if the Mets guys don't pan out to be well above league average performers. If you pass up on the offers the Yankees and Red Sox had on the table and let them eventually disintegrate, and then subtle for a package of players that don't pan out to be anything more than league average at best and below league average at worst, you should be fired.

You have a few chances to make your mark as a GM. Cashman's record is spotty with the Pavanos of the world to his name, but he has also done remarkable things with the minor league system and so on. Theo has his share of clunkers too, but he has 2 World Series titles in his tenure and some bold moves that have panned out fairly well. Neither GM has been in the position to deal a 1st ballot Hall of Famer, which is where the lower payroll GMs make their mark. Smith had a marquee moment as a new player on the scene and he blew it big time. He may have blown it to the tune of Scott Kazmir is the Mets guys end up as a pile of junk. His hands were tied, so he gets a little wiggle room, but when you realize that the Twins could have had Phil Hughes had they been less pig-headed, there's a place for Smith alongside Steve Phillips.

I hope the Mets finalize the deal. Santana fits there like a glove and he stays out of our hair. The Mets need this kind of moment to erase the collapse of 2007. Good luck Omar. Don't let down the Shea faithful.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hakuho Champion

This may seem strange to many of you, but sumo is one of the finest sports on the planet. If you've never watched, it might look like a bunch of fat guys smashing against each other for 5-10 seconds before one of them takes an unfortunate fall. You'd wonder how this behemoth was going to right himself like a turtle who's rolled onto the back of his shell. Spending the better part of the last 4 years of my life in Japan, I've become a fan(atic) and really appreciate the subtlety of the technique and the raw power of these athletes. They look fat, but the muscle mass beneath the flab would put an offensive lineman to shame. The very fact that these guys can master balance at their size is mind-blowing.

Anyway, the Hatsubasho (New Year's Tournament) has just come to an amazing conclusion. Each tournie is 15 days. The rikishi (wrestlers) face one another according to rankings at the start, and the daily matchups are adjusted according to record as the proceedings go on. There are currently two Yokozuna (Grand Champions), both of whom are Mongolians. On one side there is Asashoryu, who is something like the Mike Tyson of sumo. He doesn't play by the rules in his civilian life and some have accused him of buying wins in the ring. Whatever his transgressions, he is a freight train who puts the fear of God into his opponents. He is a force of nature. On the other hand, there is my favorite rikishi of all time, Hakuho. His father was a Grand Champion in Mongolia and he has risen to the top at a very young age thanks to a commitment to excellence and a variety of techniques. He has strength and balance, but he is the complete package, a chess player in the ring. He is Ali.

These two guys ended up tied on the final day of the tournament and the buzz in the arena was palpable. I present to you via the magic of YouTube the final match. Only in the offseason......Hakuho is on the left and Asashoryu is on the right....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Yogi "Can"berra

Browsing my favorite blogs, I stumbled across the news that the Yankees have signed two Australian teenagers in recent days. Ever the curious follower of the prospect follies, I did a little digging and came up with a couple of articles and photos for you.

Nathan Aron - IF/OF (16) 6'1", 185

Aron is from Dingley, Victoria and has played for the U14 and U16 clubs in his region. He plays for the same team (Cheltenham) as Australian hero Travis Blackley, who has spent limited time in the Majors with both Seattle and San Francisco. Aron projects as a decent power hitter based largely on size. The only picture I could dig up on the young man is from 2004, when he was 13 years old. He is at the far left and looks rather unimpressive. A current photo would help out a lot.

Kyle Perkins - C (16)

Perkins signed a 7-year deal with the Yankees after being scouted in an U-18 event. The Australians have seen a lot of potential in Perkins and tabbed him eventually for the national team. Interesting to see if he ever pans out and plays in the WBC or at the Olympics. I don't expect much in terms of MLB service (for either of these guys), but the organization is committed to finding talent everywhere and using all its resources to go global. This was equally true of the signing of the two Chinese kids, although I would tend to believe the chances of the two Aussies making the Show have to be exponentially better. I don't have the height and weight details on Perkins, but this photo is current.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Tom Cruise Knows More About Advanced Metrics than You

At least he appears to know a lot more than me. All this shit about SP and PTSP, and KSW, and LRH.....he must be onto some new shit. PECOTA and WARP....poooo....blllrrbbbb

Seriously, get this lunatic some help please. Watch this whole thing and translate it into English. I beg of you.

I'm Back and So is Cano

It's been a long time. Thanks for your patience. My trip to Japan went awry when I fell ill with a horrible, evil virus that can only be attributed to the Red Sox. I'm back in NYC, hard at work, and ready to head down the stretch until pitchers and catchers report in 20 days!

I'll get to Yu Darvish and the Yankees in good time, but the news that Robinson Cano is back in the fold (according to the NY Post) is a smart, smart move. It's hard to believe that the young man was only making $400k+ last season, but that's all now moot. 4-years at a total of $30 million averages out to a little more than $7 million per, by my math. Chase Utley just got 7-years at $85 million, which averages out to $12 million per. Brian Roberts is on a contract that pays him $7 million per. Jeff Kent averages about $10 million per on his current deal.

This is good business for the Yankees. By buying out his arbitration years, the Yankees are being fair with a player that stands to be the best or second best 2Bman in the sport for the foreseeable future. That means he can work with them on his FA years with a reasonable attitude. What he stands to become is worth the investment. If he ends up as the top 2Bman (at least in the AL) over the next 4 seasons, they have a bargain. I still stand on my prediction of a year ago that Cano could eventually hit as well as Don Mattingly, minus a little of the home run power.

For the record, and I'll harp on this a lot before the season starts, my perfect Yankee batting order for the upcoming season would look like this:


Cano deserves to hit in the 3-hole at this point, and Abreu (like it or not) should be at the top of the order with a .400 OBP and the ability to steal 20-25 bases. Damon is a shadow of his former self and would do better with less at bats. With more at bats, I expect Cano to do the 100-100 thing with 50 doubles and 20-25 homers. Let's make it happen Joe G.

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Hello COH fans and newcomers. You might be checking in during your normal browsing routine, or maybe this is your first time by the Canyon. Either way, welcome.

This will be short as I`m holed up in an internet cafe in rural Akita, Japan right now as a blizzard rages outside. I`ll be here another week and have little access to post. Here`s what`s in store over the next couple of weeks here at COH (in addition to any breaking Yankees news):

* The Yankees and Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish
* My thoughts on Spring Training
* Jason Giambi v.2008
* Yankee Memories: Joe Girardi

and more. Stay Tuned. Thanks for dropping by. Make COH a favorite.