Thursday, February 28, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
You all know my thoughts on the stadium. I don't like the move but I can deal with it and understand but I really think they should leave the old one standing as a museum or something like that. Maybe only leave the lower layer standing if you can't maintain the entire stadium?
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Just thought I`d mention that Bob Sheppard was givena 2 year extension. A nice gesture, I really hope we can hear him at the new stadium.
Also, today is the 100th anneversary of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" creation. My favorite version is probably the one by Japanese punk rock band (I know, I`m insane) "Nicotine"
Friday, February 22, 2008
Yankees- Bobby Abreu- Abreu started off the year very very slowly. He hit only about .260 in the first half and was earning a lot of criticism for his fear of the walls on defense. Not coincedentally, when Abreu started hitting the Yankees started hitting. This slow start was widely attributed to him being out of shape in the Spring Training. Also, if you remember he had an injury in Spring Training last year. All in all, by the end of the year he ended up with a respectable line of .283/.369/.445. Good enough for him to get his one year option picked up by the Yankees. His defense is starting to become a flaw as well. Abreu is supposedly in great shape this year and A-Rod predicted a big year from him. I`m a little skeptical but you never know. He`s a solid stop-gap until Jackson or Tabata are ready but he`s likely to be gone after this year.
Red Sox- J.D. Drew- Drew was another one of the big signings last year by Theo Epstein. I didn't like it (well, as a Yankees fan I liked it a lot ;)) at the time because of his injury history. However, Drew has a ton of potential, when he is healthy he is a good player. Last year he was healthy but was still a dissapointment. His defense seemed to take a dip (though this may be a fluke). His power also fell. He had a big role in the playoffs though and still has time to make this deal worthwhile.
Conclusion- Yankees- Strangely enough, I give Abreu the advantage mostly based on his power advantage. Drew has a very slight advantage in OBP but Abreu actually has more power. They are identical for their careers but Abreu was much better in 2007 and slightly better in 2006. Abreu has also been doing this for a long career of consistency. Drew is still an injury risk.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Yankees- Alex Rodriguez- A-Rod started off last season insanely well. He had two huge walk-off homers in April and singlehandedly kept the team from falling to far. By the end of the season he was the obvious pick for the AL MVP and had cemented his spot as the best player in baseball again. He was criticized for his playoff performance less so than before. However, on the day the Red Sox won the World Series A-Rod opted out of his contract. Hank said they wouldn't go after him either. For a while we had to deal with the thought of A-Rod playing shortstop for the Red Sox while we had Wilson Betemit at third. Instead though, Alex came back to the Yankees and asked to return to negotiations. After a day or two we started hearing they had a 10 year, 275 million dollar deal ready (maximum 300 million with incentives) and were just working out details. While many Yankees fans groaned most seem to have accepted him and decided having one of the top ten players in baseball history playing third base might not be such a bad thing after all. While I doubt he`ll repeat his amazing 2007 season (.355 EQA from a guy that should be playing shortstop is just insane) he should still be the best third baseman in baseball.
Red Sox- Mike Lowell- Lowell was supposed to be a salary dump from the Marlins to the Red Sox in the Josh Beckett deal. Instead, he was the answer for the Red Sox at third base. He was always a great defender. However, after an awful 2005 he took off at the plate. Last year he improved again. He ended 2007 as the World Series MVP and Boston fans were chanting "Bring back Lowell" during the World Series in anticipation of his free agency. They eventually did resign him but not before the Yankees considered him for first base (possibly just to push up the price). He eventually got a three year extension for 38 million.
Conclusion- Yankees- Lowell is a very good player for Boston but their's just no comparison between A-Rod and Lowell. A-Rod's got a chance for the all-time HR record, a chance at being one of the top 10 players of all-time, a chance at being the greatest third baseman ever, and already is a lock for the Hall of Fame. In an off year in 2006 when A-Rod was booed he was still better than Lowell's very best season. Again, most teams would love to have Lowell on their team but A-Rod's in a class of his own.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Yankees- Derek Jeter- Jeter will spend his first year without Joe Torre as his manager since getting called up. It will be interesting to see how this affects him but my guess is that it won't and I think most fans agree with me. Jeter is a player I admittedly think is very overrated on defense and with his supposed intangibles and clutch ability. As a result I (and other fans who agree with me on this) tend to overstate our opinion to "compensate" for these fans that believe Jeter is god. The truth is that, although his clutch ability, gold glove defense, and "intangibles" are all either exxagerated or myths, Jeter is one of the best hitting shortstops in history. Barring injury or sudden retirement he`s going to be the first Yankee to get 3,000 hits. He has been an integral part of the championship run. I believe its past time to move him to a new posistion. Second base, first base, and the corner outfield spots should all be possibilities. Jeter is still one of the best shortstops in baaseball even with this critical flaw.
Red Sox- Julio Lugo- So far this looks like a failed signing. Last year the Red Sox him to a four year thirty-six million dollar deal (9 million/year). When they first made the signing I didn't think it made much sense and after last year it looks like I was right. He had an OBP beneath .300 last year which is abysmal. He does have some speed. He had 33 SB out of 39 attempts which is pretty good. On the other hand though, it really doesn't make to much of a difference. His defense is really no better than average to. Now Boston's on the hook for 3 more years of him. He needs to turn things around to make his contract worthwhile.
Conclusion- Yankees- I don't think anyone is going to argue with me on this one. While Jeter is overrated and a liability on defense his offense is just to good for Lugo to even be comparable to him.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
50 runs is rougly 5 wins just from defense. I was shocked when I read this but if it is how much is Jeter really costing the Yankees on defense. How much of a difference would Alberto Gonzalez make if he could just be average at the plate? Now, Jeter`s bat wouldn't dissapear either. He could move to first base where he would be a huge improvement over whatever we have there. It wouldn't surprise me if Jeter could play a good first base either.
Jeter will probably have to be moved eventually in the next few years. He`s getting older and was never very good to begin with on defense. Girardi noticed his poor range up the middle in a YES broadcast. It won't be this year but maybe next year we might have Jeter at a different position.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Yankees- Robinson Cano- Cano came up in 2005 to replace the pathetic Tony Womack and his success was key to convincing the Yankees to rebuild the farm system. Since coming up he has become one of the best second baseman in the game. He got a 4 year extension this year, an extremely rare move for the Yankees to make with a young player with a few more years of arbitration left. Cano's biggest problem is his plate discipline. He`s constantly swinging at balls out of the strike-zone. If he can solve this problem then theirs no limit to what he can be. His defense also made leaps and bounds last year. Baseball Prospectus has him saving 26 runs more than the average 2nd baseman (This would translate to about 3 wins) but anyone who watched the games last year could have seen that. Although at times he seemed to lose focus and make stupid mistake as has happened in the past he displayed great range all year. All in all he`s a great young player and the Yankees were smart to lock him up.
Red Sox- Dustin Pedroia- Pedroia got his first chance in the ML's in 2006 and bombed in the 20 or so games he played. Last year, he came up early in the season to play second. Although he intially did not do well and earned a lot of bad puns about him being worse than Cano from Yankees fans. He turned his season around though and posted a BA/OBP/SLG% of .317/.380/.442. He`s a year younger than Cano as well. Pedroia is going to be a great player and the Red Sox won't be having any problems at second base for a while. His defense is also solid and above average.
Conclusion- Yankees- This is the closest one yet and its a very tough call. Pedroia had the better offensive numbers last year but Cano has the better defense and is a little more proven. In the end I just decided that Cano is likely to improve while Pedroia might fall off a little. Maybe its just my bias but I`m leaning towards Cano.
Yankees- Wilson Betemit/Shelley Duncan/Jason Giambi/Jason Lane/Morgan Ensberg/Juan Miranda- This is a wide open field for the Yankees. The past offseason the Yankees decided to get a monopoly on potential first baseman with big righty/lefty splits. First of all, lets eliminate Jason Lane who probably has little to no chance of making the team. Now, the Yankees will likely go with a plattoon. Shelley Duncan or Morgan Ensbergy will be the one on the right-handed half and the left-handed half would be either Betemit or Miranda. Lets be honest about Shelley for a minute. Even though every time Shelley Duncan blinks a new day begins he takes huge cuts and their are some holes in his swing. What he did last year was probably just a fluke. Although he might do well intially he`s probably not going to succeed for a full season. On the other hand, if Ensberg can regain some of what he was a few years ago he could be huge for the Yankees. Juan Miranda was a beast against lefties in his first season of baseball in America. I like him a lot but he might have to spend some more time in the minors. Betemit was traded for Scott Proctor last year at the deadline and at that point I liked the deal. Whoever emerges in Spring Training will get the job and its all guessing right now. If nobody does though, Giambi could get the job and they`ll just deal with his bad defense. Their are reports he showed up to camp in great shape which is a good sign. Again, we`ll just have to wait and see.
Red Sox- Kevin Youkilis- The first base situation for the Red Sox is a lot more clear than the Yankees. Youkillis is the kind of player you would love to have on your team but hate when he`s on the other team. He has great plate discipline and will work up the opposing pitcher's pitch count. He`s unbelievably frustrating because he will never swing at a bad pitch. This gave him a .390 OBP. He`s also a very good fielder though it doesn't mean much at first base. He`s cheap to.
Conclusion- Red Sox- Youkillis is a very good player and the Yankees can only hope they have production anywhere near what he will do. The only way they will match Youkillis is if Giambi plays first and he returns to his old self in a contract year.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Yankees- Jorge Posada/Jose Molina- Posada is an interesting case. At a time when most catchers hit a steep decline he had an MVP type season. Not only that but the year before was also arguably his second best season. This earned him a 4 year deal this off-season at 13 million a year. For an ordinary catcher a sharp decline would be expected to come but Posada has spent less time behind the plate then most. As has been noted before he started his career as a second baseman and for a while split time with Joe Girardi. For next year he certainly won't repeat his 2007 but 2006 would probably be reasonable. He doesn't have the strongest arm and all in all isn`t a great catcher. I consider Posada to be the best catcher in baseball right now and retaining him was a must although we might be regretting it in 2012. Jose Molina was traded for mid-season last year and was an excellent backup. His top knotch defense was expected but nobody could have dreamed of him hitting as well as he did. He likely won't repeat this but earned an extension and will still be a very good backup.
Red Sox- Jason Varitek/Doug Mirabelli- Varitek is the Red Sox captain and will always be beloved in Boston for his grand slam in Game 7 of the 2004 World Series. However, their can be no doubt he is in decline. He`s still a good defensive catcher but won't be winning any gold gloves. His offense has also taken a dip. His BA/OBP/SLG% was .255/.367/.421 compared to a career line of .267/.350/.447. Although his OBP increased his more important SLG% has fallen. He`s still a good catcher and a key member of the team but he`s not what he used to. Doug Mirabelli is essentially on the team for Tim Wakefield. When they traded Josh Bard and Cla Meredith for Mirabelli I thought it was a mistake and I still do. His line of .202/.278/.360 was just plain pitiful (although he always does well when I watch). He`s essentially there as the personal catcher for their 4th or 5th starter which is a bad idea.
Conclusion- Yankees- Jorge Posada/Doug Mirabelli- Although Varitek is a good player and team leader he is brought down slightly by having Doug Mirabelli playing every 5 days and I consider Posada to be the best catcher in baseball. Jose Molina also gives Posada a little bump.
Hope, you enjoyed this. I tried to be impartial but if you have any problems please post in the comments. :)
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I missed the actual hearing but obviously nothing new happened. Clemens denied and McNamee said he did steroids. Clemens' wife has admitted but says Roger never did them. Very likely of course. I don't want to rush to judgement but it looks like Roger did cheat and like Bonds it put him from being a first ballot Hall of Famer and top 10 player/pitcher of all-time into a whole other category as arguably the best ever. If he did do steroids you have to put him the same category as Bonds and he still has an argument for the Hall. However, they also are the poster boys for this era as much as Canseco if not more.
In some ways the revelations about Bonds and possibly Clemens make the accomplishments of Ruth, Cobb, Wagner, Mays, Johnson, Maddux, and others even more remarkable. Even with drugs Bonds and Clemens could still only barely match them.
Monday, February 11, 2008
- Who will emerge as the first Baseman?
The Yanks brought in a lot of different candidates to see who can fill what will be the biggest hole in their lineup. Last year Josh Phelps had a monster spring with Andy Phillips missing most of it. Despite all expectations before spring Phelps got the job. Look for something similar this year. The Yanks brought in a lot of different candidates this year. Shelley Duncan, Morgan Ensberg, Wilson Betemit, Juan Miranda, and Jason Lane are all competing for the first base job. Pretty much all of these have pretty slanted righty/lefty splits so a plattoon is a strong possibility. I think Juan Miranda is the best of these and will be plattooned with Shelley Duncan. You have to wonder how long Shelley can survive with that swing of his he`s going to strike out a lot. I think he`ll start off well but by mid-season they`ll have to replace him. They also might just decide to go with Giambi at first and sacrifice the first base defense.
- What will Joba do?
Early indicators are that he`ll start the season in the bullpen to limit his innings and I agree with this idea. However, the long-term plan, even for this year, is for him to start. He`s also going to be preparing as a starter so maybe he`ll get a chance to show the majority of Yankees fans what he can do as a starter. I still believe he is best off as a starter long term and for now the Yankees agree with me. Sure, he could be the succesor for Mariano but he could also be their own Justin Verlander. Obviously, these are the two absolute best case scenarios but the point is a starter is more valuable than a reliever. Joba isn't the successor to Rivera or the 8th inning bridge to Rivera.
- Who will be the 8th inning bridge to Mariano?
The enternal question of Yankees fans. You`ve all heard it. We miss Tom Gordon more than we though we would, we haven't had a reliable setup man since the late '90's, etc. No doubt, they`re going to have trouble getting the bal to Rivera. For part of the season at least they should have Joba but as I said before he won't be there the whole season. Joe Girardi essentially needs to play the hot hand which is a difficult and risky job. Latroy Hawkins and Kyle Farnsworth willprobably be the chief competitors for this spot though anybody could really take the job. Brian Bruney could be a sleeper for this if he can get his control together he could be a devestatating force. Maybe the new coaching staff can do something for him. Jonathan Albaladejo also was a quiet pick-up that could do very well.
- How will the rest of the bullpen shape up?
Assuming that they will go with 12 pitchers and a 7 man bullpen I only see Rivera, Farnsworth (as frustrating as he is he`s still better than anything else they have), and Hawkins as having guarenteed spots to start the season. Although, Farnsworth and Hawkins could lose their jobs mid-season. Also, Joba will probably start the season in the bullpen. That leaves 3 more spots. Sean Henn is really their only option for a lefty specialist and he`s not exactly a very good one. If he has a good spring though he might get the job since they probably would like to have one. Chris Britton was acquired last year for Jaret Wright and many Yankees fans campaigned for him to be called up. Although he struggled during the brief time he was up he wasn't given much of a chance. Same deal with Edwar Ramirez. He was very erratic with moments where he showed his awesome change up. His big problem was his control which was excellent in the minors which is strange and since he was used so strangely (he once went over a week without pitching) that may be excusable. Jonathan Albaladejo was traded for this season for Tyler Clippard. He was unhittable in Washington but didn't go the whole season. Brian Bruney has a Farnsworth-esque fastball but unfortunately his control is also comparable to Farnsworth. Maybe the new coaching staff can straighten that out. Ross Ohlendorg was acquired for Randy Johnson along with Alberto Gonzalez and Steven Jackson last winter. He was converted from starter to reliever and now has a mid 90's sinker ball which dominated AAA. Veras and Karstens seem to have been "Torre guys" and I doubt they`ll make the team.
- How will Mike Mussinca do?
Remeber last spring when Mussina called out Pavano? He was proven right but the irony is that Mussina had an awful 2007. However, he could be a key to the Yankees in 2008. His periphereals were better than his ERA indicating part of his failure was due to luck. He also supposedly took on a more rigorous workout regime this winter which could help him get a few more miles on his fastball and that much needed seperation between his changeup and his fastball. Early on it`ll be tough to tell but towards the end of March if the Moose is throwing 87, 88 mph then that`s a sign he`s back and could be a valuable innings that they need to make sure they don't push the Big Three to hard. If he`s throwing 83, 84, 85 he very well might be finished although I`d give him another month or two.
Well, their`s your 5 things to watch in Spring Training. If you have anything I forgot just mention it in the comment section. :)
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Now Santana to the Mets looks pretty good for the Yankees. Even more so than before. I really can't stand Schilling as I`ve said before and while I`m not quite happy he`s hurt I don't exactly feel sorry for him. Still, they`re going to have a good rotation. All this does is push Bucholz into the starting rotation.
Monday, February 4, 2008
- Phil Hughes is switching is number to 34. Its not quite official but he wants to and he has Sean Henn's agreement (he used to have 34).
- Shelley is ready to go and has fully recovered from his blood clot. Thank god for that.
- The Yankees have shown interest in Kevin Mench. They really are going to have some competition for bench/first base spots in Spring Training.
Eli has gone from a mediocore quarterback to beating Tom Brady in the Superbowl. Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs were an incredible tangem. Their pass rush was unbelievable all year. Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and all the rest were amazing.
They beat the Buccaneers and finally got back at Jeff Garcia, they took down the hated Cowboys, they went into Lambeau and took maybe the best quarterback off all time, and finally beat another contender for the greatest quarterback ever in the Superbowl.
From "The Catch" to seeing Brady on the ground time after time to the game winning TD pass to Burress it was just an amzing game.