Category Archives: trade deadline

98 WINS AND PRESTO….THEY’RE GONE!

If MLB is going to insist on playing a prolonged schedule of 162 games, they should at least do everything they can to insure that every game played “counts”.  1371As things sit now, you could have a good argument in saying that the REAL season 150px-Houston-Astros-Logo.svgdoesn’t begin until August 1st when the trading deadline has passed and teams have tweaked their roster to the point they believe they need to be at to make “a run” to the finish and steal a Playoff  spot in spite of how they have performed until then (hello Rangers and Blue Jays).

The Pittsburgh Pirates won 98 games during the regular season, and yet they have vanished from the Playoffsimages-3 following a one game playoff against the Cubs and Jake Arietta images-2who pitched the game of his life with a “Namath like” guarantee beforehand.  I’m not taking sides here because if the Pirates had won, the Cubs  would have gone home with the third best record in the Majors with 97 wins.

The point is this…….only two of the three teams with the best  record over the course of the season are still in the hunt. The teams in the National League Central are being punished for being really good because they are the powerhouse Division right now. But, that can change as it has over the past few years when the American League East was stacked with the same kind of talented teams.

I’m not a mathematician and I don’t get paid to do this, but surely the suits at MLB can figure this out so we have a better chance of seeing the best of the best in the Playoffs and (ultimately) the World Series. 

In the meantime, the Yankees images-14who won 87 games over the course of the season and would have qualified  (with more wins than – for example – the Rangers) for a “Playoff” spot under different circumstances as well as the aforementioned Pirates who have packed their bags and are  heading home. 

MLB images-31 and specifically Rob Manfred (right) has tweaked the Playoffs before, most recently with the addition of two Wild Card teams who play a one game shootout at High Noon. Very dramatic ( a real show in prime time for television $$$),  but does it really do the game justice………or….. (and they’ll never admit this) is the April through July “season” merely an extension of the Spring Training season. It’s a valid question and it needs to be answered.

Continue reading

CC SABATHIA – MANNING UP

Every once in a while we get a jolt that reminds us that the men who play the boys game we love so dearly are just that……men…..who like us all have frailties. We may tend to look at (and want to believe in)  the caricature we see on the playing field day in and day out as though they were some kind of a wind up toy you send out there until the batteries fade or die out completely. That mirage often coincides with the image of baseball as America’s Pastime and pastoral ambiance. It works well until it doesn’t……..

You might recall, for instance, the piece I wrote about Wilmer Flores who was captured on camera New York Yankeesweeping when he thought he was being traded to another team, when in fact all he was doing is expressing his humanity. It is in this same vein that I believe we should look at the events of the past few days pertaining to CC Sabathia.

CC Sabathia is a man who carried the Yankee’s pitching staff on his back from the Championship season of 2009 through last year when a knee injury and resulting surgery virtually left him for dead with many scribes (including myself) wondering if he would ever pitch for the Yankees again. In truth, he probably struggled with his  need to to learn how to pitch again without his 95mph fastball as much as the illness that was challenging him. These are the stories we will never know……the why and the how……and have no right to know (Shame on the story in the N.Y. Post today). 

All we need to know is that CC is taking care of business for his family and loved ones. Are we shocked and disappointed about the timing of his move forward to rehab with the Playoffs looming? Of course we are, but you can be sure that everyone in that Clubhouse supports his decision to a man because they are the “robots” who go out there to perform for us……….and they get it because they know what it’s like to be on stage in “The Show”.  Good luck CC and we look forward to seeing you on the mound next year……….healing and healthy.

“I COULDN’T GIVE UP THOSE KIDS………”

In the early days of July and before the trading frenzy began, I posted a column titled The Yankees Should Stand Pat. It argued that there was no reason to part with the young and promising talent in the farm system………for the sake of buying temporary talent (think David Price) or by adding a marquee name or two just to appease the fan base.

We all know how it played out. The Yankees did just that while Toronto’ s GM (left)  images-39“loaded up” adding Price as a rental and the oft  injured Troy Tulowiski. We also know (now) that a 7.5 game lead by the Yankees is now extinguished and the Blue Jays hold a tenuous lead in the East.

But just yesterday, Hal Steinbrenner – the principal owner of the Yankees images-25– offered a resounding defense of the Yankees decision to play for and with the future declaring “I didn’t want to give those kids up”.  Yankee fans along with baseball fans know that statement is BIG. And almost simultaneously, a report comes out rating the Yankees  #10 in all of baseball’s farm systems.

Recent call up Greg Bird goes 0 for 5 in his debut. Think that’ll continue?images-36……….not so says Luis Severino (left) (another sparkling farm system call up)……….Severino simply says he’s “The best”. Soon to follow will be Aaron Judge, a power hitter made for Yankee Stadium, Gary Sanchez – a major league ready hitter and catcher who may have to wait for Brian McCann to decompose at a early age due to a physically demanding position as well as a log  jam at DH that is further blurred by the arrival of Bird.

And so, for once the Yankees can truly be called a team of the future. Make no mistake about it though……..they will always have a marquee player or two- or three. They are the Yankees and they do play in New York. And when the time is right, you’ll see them actively engaged in the free agent and trade markets. So don’t be surprised if you see the likes of Bryce Harper, Matt Harvey, Mike Trout playing for this storied franchise in the future.

As for this year, (well) let’s just see how it plays out. I’ve said before…..the Yankees have a team with chemistry and proven experienced (though aging) talent while the Blue Jays have a buzz saw lineup. And down the stretch they come…….

The Yankees Should Pass And Stay Pat – No Moves Required

About this time during every baseball season the airwaves become filled with the anticipation of a brand new season – the one that occurs after the upcoming All Star Game break. Teams begin dreaming of a new lineup replete with the one big bat or starting pitcher that is going to make all the difference in the world – and erase the failures of the first half and jettison the team to see the playoffs and beyond.

All fine and dandy except for one thing………it rarely happens that way. Eighty-five percent of the time the teams sitting in first place now are the same teams that are there in October. There are exceptions of course and one needs only to go back to last year’s horrific collapse of the Milwaukee Brewers………..but generally whatever moves are made in the next couple of weeks are built on dreams and the hope of catching lightning in a bottle.

The New York Yankees images-1are a good solid team and they currently occupy first place in the American League East. They have a good manager in Joe Giraard (right) who handles a bullpen as well as anybody at the same time he neutralizes and protects his players ( A-Rod is just one example).

Their starting pitching Michael-Pineda-1may be fragile with Tanaka, Pineda (right), and Nova coming off arm surgeries. But whose pitching isn’t fragile these days? The pitching is fine. Leave it alone. They’ve gotten the team to where it is…..why mess with it and sell off your farm system for………let’s say 31 year old Cole Hamels who may or may not be able to adjust to American League lineups.

Ditto for the bats. Mark Teixeria imageshas been a one man wrecking crew leading the league in RBI. Behind and in front of him lie Alex Rodriguez and rebounding Brian McCann who are both having outstanding and clutch driven years. Could they add a bat for Stephen Drew? Sure they could but understand Drew’s presence is felt in the clubhouse and in the field every day…….again….Leave it alone.

The point is that the team in the Bronx is good enough. If they only play .500 baseball for the remainder of the season, they’ll finish with 87 wins………..which again should be “good enough” in the AL East. Forget the great teams nonsense (the Yankees have been there too)………..just be good enough to get into the crap-shoot playoffs.

images

 And it’s not like we’re talking about their counterparts in Flushing where the struggling Mets can’t get by with what they have and indeed are (or should be) in “panic mode”. There’s a old worn out saying that happens to be true…..”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.