Category Archives: New York Yankees

YANKESS TO RELEASE A-ROD

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According to a ESPN Report, Hal Steinbrenner, the principal owner of the New York Yankees, met privately with Alex Rodriguez before last nights loss to the Giants to discuss his possible release.

Team sources called the meeting “positive”. If released, the Yankees would be responsible for the remaining $28 million due to Rodriguez whose contract expires at the end of the 2017 season. 

The move (if made) would allow Rodriguez to sign with another team in an attempt to reach the vaunted goal of 700 home runs (he needs four more) and perhaps a run at Babe Ruth’s 714 if he plays next year.

The Yankees and A-Rod have played the string out through good times – his contribution to a World Championship in 2009 – and bad times with countless lawsuits and back page media fodder stemming from the steroid accusations. 

His release would wipe the slate clean for the Yankees and signal to their fans that they are (finally) ready to move forward in developing a new and younger face to the team.

Yankees Spring Baseball

. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

And if they are really serious, Texieria, Sabathia, McCann, and Beltran should follow a similar path or be traded to make way for farm talent like Aaron Judge (above), Gary Sanchez (below), and Greg Bird who will return from an injury next season.image

Remember, we are talking about a team which at last count is worth $3.4 billion. But first, we’ll have to wait and see if they pull the plug on Rodriguez……..

 

THE CY YOUNG AND MVP AWARDS – REVISITED

Five weeks ago, I took a stab at who might win the Cy Young (left) images (8)and MVP (below) awards in each league. Yesterday, the top three finalists were announced in each category (somebody had a good idea). The field looks remarkably images (7)similar to the players I predicted would be in contention, except for the inclusion of Sonny Gray who emerged as a candidate for the AL Cy Young. 

While my reasoning behind the selections I made remains constant, my selections now are a bit different, mainly because the Post Season is now over. In the same way I put stock in a player’s TEAM making the playoffs, I now think that player’s performance in the Post Season counts equally as much. So, let’s get to the picks….. Continue reading

MONEY FOR NOTHING – TITLES FOR FREE

For those who follow baseball, an intriguing question images (6)continues to be…….what role does money play in the game today….and does $$$ automatically equate to winning, and especially winning World Championships?

Off the top of your head, you might say – look at the success MLBtrophyTampa Bay has had in recent years in a devalued market and shrinking revenue, and that is true. But overall, what is the true value of money spent? I thought I’d take a look at this from a pure mathematical standpoint. Here are the results of this study…… Continue reading

PACKAGE HIM UP AND SEND HIM ON HIS WAY

All you really need to know about Matt Harvey is not the fact that he pitched eight credible inningsimages-32 for the Mets in the final game of the 2015 World Series (as the ace of any staff is expected to do)……..it’s the fact that he missed a mandatory TEAM workout the day before the Playoffs began. And the fact that neither the Mets organization or Harvey himself have publicly addressed the issue gives you a glimpse into the”play” on both sides.

Look, full disclosure here……..I’ve had a problem with Matt The Brat since he announced to the masses that he was the second coming of Derek Jeterimages-35 and his singular goal in life is to have as many girls as Jeter (whatever that’s supposed to mean). To make it worse, the New York media fell right into step snapping photos of him with a girl on each arm for Page Six for weeks on end. Continue reading

WHEN $15.8 MILLION IS ONLY CHUMP CHANGE

A record twenty potential free agents received qualifying offers from their respective teams this year. Each of them now have a week or so to accept the offer or enter the market as a free agent. The value of their offer is set by Major League Baseball at $15.8 million – not exactly chump change. In all a total of 34 players have received a similar offer since the rule was established and 34 players have rejected the offer.

For a handful of players on this year’s list, the offer is actually insulting. A  Zach Greinke (left), for instance, 635824158337272552-USATSI-8863004is due to be the Max Scherzer of this year’s market and he would be foolish to accept that kind of money. But for others, they should be thinking really hard about accepting the offer because aside from their own egos and all the b.s. their agents feed them, they should take the money and thank the Lord for his generosity. Continue reading

WINNER TAKES ALL? – I DON’T THINK SO

I often think that “winning  it all” is overrated in professional sportsimages-1 today. Like many of you perhaps, I am aware of the Vince Lombardi and Leo Durocher’s of the sports world, but really – is Winning (with a capital W)  all that necessary? 

When, for example, we gather our kids together to start Little League baseball…..what do we say to them?  We (hopefully) say – “Go out there and have a good time and just try your best”. Simple. We cheer their victories and console their losses by often pointing out what they did right during the game.

Why does this all of a sudden get lost when things turn to professional sports? Do we say – Hey, they’re getting paid all this money and they’d better win! No, that is missing the point. These players are being paid to entertain us in the same way that Paul McCartney or Taylor Swift is paid for delivering a concert for our enjoyment.

Would you say, for example, that the Pittsburgh Pirates images-3were not “winners” this past season – when they finished with the second highest win total in the Majors? How about the Cubs……are they Losers too? images-2Not to mention the poor Mets who ran headlong into a perfectly synced team in the Royals. And the list goes on……the Yankees exceeded all expectations. The Rangers, the Astros…….what can be said of them? Did their season mean nothing?

I kind of get it in football because they have such a short season and virtually every game played is do or die. But even there, it’s entertainment pure and simple. Well maybe not so pure given the propensity for NFL  players to be arrested for everything from murder to wife beating……but still if the Jets could beat the Patriots just once…..that alone should give every Jet fan a thrill and a moment to enjoy – in the same way every Met fan should tip their hat to “their” team and say “Thank you, job well done”.

DON MATTINGLY – SOMETIMES, NICE GUYS DO FINISH LAST

It was Leo “The Lip” Durocher (below) who coined the17iti2omk97d0jpg phrase “nice guys finish last”. While it’s hard to imagine him as a role model for anyone in the game of baseball today, Don Mattingly (below) 635811032741246297-USATSI-8863478definitely fills the definition of a nice guy. And in a way, he has finished last as the Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Whether he resigned or was forced out is really a moot point. What matters is that he might be one of those people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But in order to fully understand what happened in LA, we need to take a look back at his time with the New York Yankees. Don Mattingly1371570128000-C03G2FOCUS23-21P6-X-38-LINES-1306181143_4_3 was a workmanlike “carry your lunch pail” first baseman. He was quiet, often mysterious. He never (as they say) put himself out there. He was also a self made major league hitter who assembled numbers that arguably make him a outside candidate for the Hall of Fame. Much like Derek Jeter, he led by example and not with words.

Therefore, the question then becomes – was he ever truly managerial material? Fans and media in New York wanted desperately for him to take Joe Torre’s place at the end of “the run” by the Yankees. But the Yankees went in a different direction and hired Joe Girardi. Left unsaid were the reasons why Mattingly did not get the job. However, everyone knew the reasons why – the job was ill suited for his talents.

Add to that the dysfunctional ownership situation in LA 1371690499000-06-19-2013-Don-Mattingly-1306192110_4_3during the beginning of his tenure there plus the influx of dysfunctional players to deal with (read Puig)……and then the final blow of the new owners choice to collect and fill their “book of stamps” resulting in a $300 million payroll……..and well……you get the picture.

There is (or should be) a place in baseball for someone like Don Mattingly. He would be welcomed back in New York by Brian Cashman in a heartbeat. Joe Girardi’s ego could accommodate him as a bench coach and he could also have an impact as a role model for younger players like Greg Bird and Didi Gregorious. In sum, Don Mattingly needs to come home…….

CENTER STAGE TODAY – THE CUBS AND WRIGLEY FIELD

With no disrespect to the New York Mets and what promises to be an electric Citi Field,  the centerj of the baseball universe today has to be Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs. Opened in 1914, this venue (along with Fenway Park and the old Yankee Stadium) stands as a Mecca for baseball fans – including myself in 2009 – across America. Even today, after the “lights came on” few years ago, a Friday afternoon game at Wrigley is reason to leave work early and bask in the bleachers Sun on Addison Street.

For Cubs fans, today is also a day to bask in the setting sun of a 96 game winning season (the third best in baseball) and to welcome home a team that carries with them a hope and a prayer that this just might be the season when all doubts spanning numerous decades are cast aside – and a long awaited Championship comes to the Southside of Chicago.

Excitement and drama of this kind draws itself from a long history that dates back to 1876 when the Cubs became an original franchise of the National League. Interestingly, they were known in those days as the Chicago White Stockings (not to be confused with the White Sox), not taking the name of the Cubs until 1902. And yes, the last World Series won by the Cubs was in 1945 – a drought long enough to span the years of the team’s oldest fans.

But today, all that changes or it at least moves to the back of everyone’s mind as Jake Arietta takes the ball  to face the St. Louis Cardinals, a team much different from the Cubs. For while the Cubs field a team stacked with very young home grown talent, the Cardinals present a team of veterans who have a storied history behind them with the second most Championships (only the Yankees have more) to face the hottest pitcher in baseball today. 

It doesn’t get better than this. The steel beams erected more than a century ago will be rocking and shaking at Wrigley today. You couldn’t tell a better baseball story than the the one being played out in Chicago this afternoon.

 

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GIRARDI’S EPITAPH MISSES THE MARK

New York Yankees manager Joe Girard’s press conference yesterday included a look forward to 2016 as well as a glance backward at ” what happened”. Most telling were his largely defensive comments explaining how he tried to give his aging lineup enough rest so they could limp to the finish line. Left unsaid, probably because he’s a true professional, is the question he must have been asking himself all season……..”Why do I even have to deal with this?”

The New York Yankees are old. Even Brett Gardner (left) who is considered “young” by team standards will be 33 next August. Along with Jacob Ellsbury, (below) he appeared to lose his legs down the stretch and both weighed heavily in the Yankee’s decline and inability to catch the Blue Jays. More telling, Ellsbury was sat by Girardi against Houston in favor of Chris Young. He may regret that decision now but it is indicative of the decisions Girardi had to cope with all year.

Even more baffling was Girardi’s insistence that the Yankees are good to go for next year. Again, he is not the type to put any of his players in harm’s way. But he could have deferred the question to Brian Cashman who will be weighing in soon and it is likely that he will have a entirely different take on next year’s roster. More importantly, ownership is likely to take notice of the continuing decline of TV ratings on YES. Even fans like myself found my way to SNY and the youthful and energetic Mets more often than not.  We’ve seen this cast before and watching Alex Rodriguez go 1-4 with three strikeouts and a home run is getting downright boring. And I sense that a good portion of the fan base agrees.

Some tough decisions need to be made quickly. CC Sabathia is one of them. As difficult as it would be (in light of his personal problems now), he needs to be cut loose and his salary eaten. Same with Teixeria who is a injury waiting to happen all year, every year. The kids the Yankees have need to be in the forefront of the lineup and in full view of the fans and media. Greg Bird, Luis Severino, Michael (above) Pineda (if he can stay healthy and grow up – pine tar?) and Rob Refsnyder are budding stars. Don’t let them wait for a spot to clear in the lineup when a aging “regular” goes down with injury. And for God sakes, do not sign David Price or any other veteran over the age of 26. 

In truth, the Yankees are no longer fun to watch. That needs to change………and while I’m thinking about it…….maybe a change at the helm needs to be made too.images-8 $$$ is always the big factor though and a year of Girardi’s contract would need to be eaten. We know what George would have done regardless of the cost. His son Hal moves to center stage now………it’s been six long years since the Yankees posted a Championship in 2009. The Boss would never have stood for that…..no way….no how.

 

WHY I CAN’T GET INTO THE DAVID ORTIZ THING

First, a disclaimer. I am a fan of the New York Yankees and therefore have been a part of the long standing rivalry with the Boston Red Sox. It’s been a fun and good natured exchange for the most part.  My brother resides in Red Sox Nation and as a Yankee fan himself he continues to enjoy the teasing that goes on with his neighbors and friends. This is not about that.

What it is about is David Ortiz ortiz-red-soxthe man and not the ballplayer. We all know he has the stats to back up his bravado – at least in the power department. And he probably will be given serious consideration for the HOF. But having said that, he falls far short in every other “immeasurable” category.

I judge umpires to be a fair representative of a man’s character on the field. They make (remarkably few) mistakes. But for most players, they accept a bad call in the same way they accept a line drive hit right at someone. Not David Ortiz. His whining about everything put him on the downside of every umpire. And mind you, we’re not talking about Ted Williams here with 20/10 vision. We’re talking about a giant of a man who would be challenged to see his toes in the batter’s box if he were standing up straight.

I have another question though. When….if ever have you ever seen a quote from one of his teammates that praised him for being a good “clubhouse guy”. Go on all you Red Sox Nation fans……..do the research. Tell me that he was the “go to guy” in the clubhouse when something or someone needed to be addressed. Tell me when it was not only all about David Ortiz and tell me that you can’t wait until he retires……and that the team as a whole won’t be better for it. Tell me.