Thursday, January 31, 2008

End of day odds & ends

Some very minor news and notes around the baseball world. Just quick-linking for your perusal.

Lotsa stuff on Top Prospects out today, too.

Nutty Buddy: Don't try this at home

I guess today is Video Thursday.... More real baseball stuff coming soon.

Oh yeah, I'm serious: don't dare try this at home!

Mount St. Berman ERUPTS

Good times when the camera keeps a'rollin'.

The lighter side of Chris Berman (The Sports Hernia)
Chris Berman is somewhat perturbed with the help (Deadspin)
Ladies and gentleman I give you Christopher James Berman (Awful Announcing)

Can the Mets actually not close the deal?

According to "sources", the Mets and Santana/agent remain far apart on contract terms, both in dollars and years. OK, we all knew any first offer by the Mets would be rejected. That's S.O.P. But, could they actually fail to get Johan to say "I do"? I mean, is that even in the realm of possiblity? Imagine the fallout?

Santana's agents, Peter and Ed Greenberg, are believed to be looking for a six-year extension in the range of $150 million -- a figure that would include an upfront payment that would boost Santana's 2008 salary ($13.25 million) to beyond $20 million.
Buster Olney blogged yesterday about the incredible leverage Johan wields in this case. The Mets knew this. Will the unthinkable happen?

Could this resemble another landscape/history changing deal that also failed to reach the finishline? Could the Yanks swoop in if the Mets deal fails, offering the deal that they'd want to do, and steal Johan, just as they did with ARod in early 2004? Could you imagine?
I highly doubt the Mets fail to sign Johan, so it's nothing more than a fun exercise in "what if's". But, WHAT IF!?!?

Royals were thisclose to landing Johan?

Great writer, Joe Posnanski, hooked me with a great headline, joking that the Royals finished a close 2nd to the Mets in the Johan Sweepstakes. But, what compelled me to drop a posting here was this paragraph below. Enjoy, Twins fans.

The first person who texted me — the one who actually told me about the deal — is a friend of mine who is a scout. He HATED this deal for the Twins. “What in the hell are they doing?” he wrote, though he can’t really spell, at least on a phone, so it came out more like “Wat in the hel r they doooing?” His big problem is that he’s seen Gomez, the centerpiece of the deal, and doesn’t like him at all. Gomez is a 22-year-old outfielder a whole lot of speed and a body that projects powers. That part sounds good. But my friend thinks he had no plate discipline, swings and misses a lot and, like a lot of those toolsy guys, won’t ever hit enough — reminds me a lot of an old Royals prospect who was, coincidentally, also a Gomez, Alexis Gomez. Had lots of tools. And he might be a carpenter now.

Great stuff. Joe Pos goes on to add other scout's thoughts and some are more positive, but the "he might be a carpenter now" was priceless.

Hank praises Mets; shoots death glare at Cashman

Looks like good ole Hank was somewhat concilatory yesterday, taking calls, as usual, and delivering quotes. I swear, the NY beat writers must be giddy about having Hank in charge and so incredibly accessible. Whenever they need a quote, just dial up Hank and -presto- instant column!

Asked yesterday if he was tempted to top the Met offer, Steinbrenner, the senior vice president, said in a brief telephone interview, "I don't want to comment now. We'll see what happens."

He added, "There was nothing to get involved in. The trade's done. That's it. Any other opinion I've had, I've already stated."

Asked for his view of the deal the Mets made, sending four prospects to Minnesota for Santana, a two-time Cy Young Award winner, Steinbrenner said, "I think the Twins did what they needed to do and I think the Mets made a good deal."

How painful must that last comment have been for Hank to mutter. I can hear his teeth grinding from here. I can't help but wonder if he gives Cashman and lil'bro Hal ice-stares of death when passing in the hallway. I truly wonder if Hank believes Cash & Hal and has bought into this new philosophy or if he's given in on this and will blow a gasket during the first 3 game losing streak.

Great moments in beat writer history

Here in NY, we're used to self-important writers in our face all the time (Lupica anyone?). But when we see THIS from a Pittsburgh writer, absolutely trashing Pirates fans, well, we just have to acknowledge the hate.

It was the 18th annual PirateFest. It's a courageous act, celebrating baseball in Pittsburgh, considering the Pirates suffer from one of the lousiest fan bases in all professional sports.

There, I said it. And, no, I'm not about to backpedal or apologize for characterizing most of the team's followers as whiny, loudmouthed louts who are too insecure to appreciate what being a fan is really about.

Not sure what writer Mike Seate was trying to do, but sure seems like good times in Bucco-land!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Santana yo-yo

Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record had this to say today, and it really got me thinking, which is always dangerous. The guys at Pride of the Yankees didn't help, either! I'll keep it brief, I promise, after last night's manifesto...

This was late Monday night, about 12 hours before the Mets would pounce upon their most dramatic trade in recent history. Twins' general manager Bill Smith, in a panic to move Johan Santana, called the Yankees and admitted surrender: Phil Hughes was no longer a prerequisite, he said. Instead, the Twins asked for Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera and a top prospect. Would the Yankees still be interested, Smith wondered?
Obviously, the Yanks passed. Dollars aside, I am not sure that was the right decision after all. I've yo-yo'd on this for a while. I'm happy that we kept the kids, but there's a seed of doubt after reading that paragraph above. That would be a deal to take, not to pass on.

What would the team look like today, had the Yanks agreed to these terms? Well, we'd have to sign a 4th OF, preferably one with speed/youth, like Corey Patterson. He'd be a part time starter in CF, moving to LF or RF at times to spell Abreu and Matsui or Damon (in CF). Would be inexpensive, relatively speaking. Fourth OF's like Patterson are always attainable.

And while giving up IPK and (possibly) Jeff Marquez would take a chunk out of the upper tier of the farm system, the Yanks would still have a very solid core with guys like Horne, McCutchen, Jackson, Tabata, Brackman, Betances, etc., still left. That's a pretty solid group. Plus, best of all, the Yanks would still have Hughes and Joba.

A rotation of Johan, Wang, Pettitte, Hughes, Moose/Joba would be pretty darn impressive.

I just wonder if we swung the needle too far to conservatism, if, of course, Klapisch's accounts of the Monday night offer were indeed true. Give me a few hours and I'll probably come back and call myself an idiot. Or you can do it for me.


UPDATE #1: An hour doesn't go by before we're getting more info and changing our minds based upon the new info! Thanks to Greg at Sliding Into Home for pointing this one out, refuting Klapisch's late-Monday scenario. The Daily News has this tidbit, and if true, would render the previous yo-yo moot.
According to sources familiar with the entire negotiations, after the Red Sox removed Lester, the Twins called the Yankees back and proposed a scenario in which Hughes would not have to be part of the deal. Instead, they asked for Chien-Ming Wang and Ian Kennedy. The Yankees flatly rejected that, leaving the Mets as the Twins' only alternative.
If this were indeed the "last and final" proposal, good for Cashman & Co. to hold the line.

UPDATE #2: Pete Abraham from the LoHud blog was kind enough to post the Yanks Baseball America rankings of their top 30 prospects. Big thanks to Pete since many of these names have been discussed and it's good to benchmark them relative to their peers! Only the Top 15 are shown below:
1. Joba Chamberlain, RHP
2. Austin Jackson, OF
3. Jose Tabata, OF
4. Ian Kennedy, RHP
5. Alan Horne, RHP
6. Jesus Montero, C
7. Jeff Marquez, RHP
8. Brett Gardner, OF
9. Ross Ohlendorf, RHP
10. Andrew Brackman, RHP
11. Mark Melancon, RHP
12. Humberto Sanchez, RHP
13. Dellin Betances, RHP
14. Dan McCutchen, RHP
15. Kevin Whelan, RHP
(only 4 of the top 15 are not pitchers! Is that good or bad? I guess I'd rather have more pitching than less...)

CSI: MLB Umpires

Seems that the good folks at MLB Security are quite passionate about their jobs and not sticking to the written scripts they have reportedly been provided. Or so the World Umpires Union claims.

Lamell McMorris, a spokesman for the World Umpires Association, told that baseball investigators have gone into neighborhood homes in recent weeks and asked a series of provocative and potentially defamatory questions about umpires.

According to the WUA, neighbors of Greg Gibson and Sam Holbrook -- MLB umpires who live in Northern Kentucky -- were asked if the two men are members of the Ku Klux Klan.

The KKK? Geez. Oh, by the way, this is not the first time the ump's union has raised objections into the "interrogation methods" of MLB.

At least we can give Bud Selig some credit for getting out in front of any potential umpiring conflicts of interest, particularly in light of the Tim Donaghy mess in the NBA. Doesn't give his henchmen the right to ask those sorts of questions, I think, but good that the umps are held to a higher standard.

Ruh-roh Roger

Unfortunately, we take a brief break from the excitement of the MLB hot stove and trades and the coming of the season to step back into the dark, hazy smog that is the PED side of the game. Bummer. Will make it quick, folks.


Looks like Roger Clemens' very own mini-me, Andy Pettitte, is going to corroborate Brian McNamee's assertions. That can't be very good for Clemens.

And yes, there's a big part of me that feels for Andy. He admitted to HgH use. He comes across as non-pretentious and a family man. And I have no doubt that he was led to the HgH by Roger. What a shame. Also, I don't see everything in black and white; shades of gray, too.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Grand Theft Mets

Wow. Just wow. Not that Johan got dealt. Not that Johan got dealt to the Mets. That Johan got dealt for a package of prospects that, according to ESPN, "a package which some talent evaluators believe could be the fourth-best offer that Minnesota received during this process". Talk about missing your chance, Bill Smith.

Where to begin in evaluating this? Hard to say. I'll take a stab at a team-by-team thumbnail, assuming, of course, that the Mets and Johan can agree on the richest pitching contract ever.

Twins: It's too easy to just hang Bill Smith out to dry. I mean, he was given the GM title and the next day his first job is to trade the best SP out there? Talk about being thrown into the deep end, huh? Here's what happened in early December, when this really heated up:

In early December, the Yankees had offered a package built around pitcher Phil Hughes and center fielder Melky Cabrera, and the Red Sox talked about two separate deals, one built around left-hander Jon Lester and the other around center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, with pitcher Justin Masterson and infielder Jed Lowrie prominently involved.

But the Yankees yanked their Hughes proposal off the table in early December, and Boston's interest waned, as well. Over time, the Red Sox pared back their proposals. Baseball operations personnel for both the Yankees and Red Sox were extremely wary of the double-barreled cost of acquiring Santana, despite his incredible record -- first, shipping out a boatload of prospects to get Santana, and then giving him a record-setting contract.

Rule #1 of Negotiation: never take the first offer. Now, I am guessing Mr. Smith viewed this "auction" as most of us would have in any auction: The bids start strong and improve over time as teams get either 1) nervous, 2) desperate, 3) excited, 4) some combo of all. Look at eBay; bids start low and as the deadline approaches, bids rise. I can see Mr. Smith saying to his colleagues: "Look, we've gotten some great offers. Once Boston or the Yanks really gets riled up, they will make us the offer we want."

Then a funny thing happened: Reality set in. The Yanks are already so far over the Luxury Tax threshold, they'd have to add 40% to the estimated $150M that it would take to sign Johan. Quick math says that Johan would actually cost the Yanks OVER $200M. Ouch. I'm guessing Theo & Co. thought "Well, we can't expand Fenway that much more than we have already and we really, really like our kids." Both teams got "buyer's remorse" without buying anything. Funny how a time-out can help one see clearly!

There were rumors of the Dodgers being a possible player. And, of course, the Mets. Not too many other teams who can pick up the tab for Johan. Thin market got a whole lot thinner, fast.

The Twins wanted Jose Reyes from the Mets; no go. They wanted Fernando Martinez, their #1 ranked prospect, in addition to the group they actually got (Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey); no go. So, when push came to shove, and Johan's been professional and quiet this whole time, Johan got sent to Queens for four good, not great prospects. Had Mr. Smith taken the first offers he got, he would have been better off. This is not a debatable point. Like I said at the top, I can't really fault him. He was in an impossible situation and I think the cost of not doing any deal was going up daily, meaning the longer he waits from here, the weaker the bids would get.

[UPDATE: Here's an excellent posting from Aaron Gleeman from the Twins POV. They have to be an angry bunch today.]

The Mets: A quick disclaimer: I don't root against the Mets, unless they are facing my team. I tell my kids that they only have to root against one team, my team's arch rival, and the Mets are not that team. I am happy when the Mets do well because I'm a NY'er and it's good for the area and makes things fun all around.

My thoughts: good for Omar. He promised an ace and he delivered, however costly it might be. Costly in losing four of his top ten prospects. Costly in the amounts he will have to pay for Johan's services. Not as costly as doing nothing. They had no ace prospect knocking on the doorstep. Some good guys but no aces.

Great for the Mets, as a team. Their late season collapse has been well-documented so no need to rehash it, but adding Johan to a team with so much offensive talent would make them the favorite in the NL, in my opinion. Sure, the Phillies are as exciting as any, but adding Johan to the NL has to be worth a whole heck of a lot. Not sure what the win share number is for Johan or how it'd extrapolate to the NL, but it's gotta add 5 wins to the Mets this year. I'll update once I can grab the win shares info. [UPDATE: Click here for The Hardball Times and win share info.]

What concerns me: A 6-7 year contract for a pitcher, any pitcher. Remember Kevin Brown's landmark deal? Great for a few early years and a disaster at the end. Injuries, age, etc. all made that a deal to regret. Mike Hampton anyone? Half of MLB is paying a piece of that train-wreck given how many times he's been dealt. We mock Pavano but who's 'stolen' more money due to not paying than Hampton? History is not on the Mets side, but again, Omar HAD to take on this risk. They needed to do this deal. [UPDATE: Here is a list of the current longest/largest MLB contracts. Of the top 15 contracts (in total contract value), three are starting pitchers (Brown, Zito, Hampton). Not a good sign that two signed for 7 years and the other for 8. Add in the remorse about the Giambi, Griffey, Helton contracts ($ and length) and just remember: Buyer beware.]

Keith Law, ESPN's prospect guru, weighed in (Insider access required; detailed review of the prospects at that link, too.) had this to add:

The Mets get Johan Santana without giving up Fernando Martinez, their best prospect, or Mike Pelfrey, their best young pitcher. They also immediately make themselves the favorites to win their division and have a good argument that they're the best team in the National League.

SI's John Heyman added this about the four players sent by the Mets:

Gomez is viewed as a potential star who is unproven as a hitter. Guerra is another who could be a star but he projects to pitch at Double-A next year. Mulvey and Humber could reach the majors this year but are seen as middle-of-the-rotation types.

Quick bonus Mets thought: Who would have thought that Pedro and Johan would be on the same team at any point in their careers? Two of the best pitchers over the last 20 years. Awesome, even if Pedro's not the same pitcher anymore.

RedSox: It's hard not to be impressed with what Theo & Co. have done with this team. All venom and hyperbole aside, they have been a model of farm system development coupled with deep pockets and front office smarts. They developed their own like Papelbon. They traded some super talents (Hanley Ramirez, anyone) for equally super, albeit pricier, talent in Curt Schilling, Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. They have picked up a former Twin cast-off who only became Mr. Clutch Big Papi. They signed kept Manny (the previous regime actually signed him). They have developed a culture of TEAM. They have fun. And they win.

I think, as do most probably, they wanted Johan only if they could get him on the cheap. I don't really think they wanted to deal Buchholz or Lester or even Ellsbury. I am sure they feared the Yanks getting him, rightfully so. But, I am quite sure that Theo & Co. are happy tonite.

The guys at MLBTradeRumors had this to say about the Sox offer:

Boston's top offer was better as well. The Twins could've filled center field, shortstop, and closer needs immediately with Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and Justin Masterson.

Yankees: As I mentioned earlier, adding Johan would have stressed out a payroll that most wouldn't imagine being stressed. Evidently, their IS a ceiling after all. Even with the new Stadium coming in 2009, the combined cost of their top talent and $200M in real dollars made it a deal impossible to make. I think we all know Hank wanted to do it anyways but it seems that cooler heads (read: Cashman and Hal) prevailed. I am very happy that things played out this way for the Yanks. Like their Boston peers, I am guessing Cashman, Hal & Co. are relieved to see Johan not heading to their bitter rival and giddy about him hitting the NL.

MLBTradeRumors had this to say:

If Smith had taken the Yankees' best offer, he'd have an MLB-ready pitcher who was very recently regarded as the game's best pitching prospect (Phil Hughes). He'd also have a solid regular center fielder in Melky Cabrera. And the Twins would've gotten a couple of upside players on top of that.

I am sure both Boston and NY feared Johan's 2nd half slide last year and the prospects of putting him in the AL East cauldron. Mets were better positioned to take that risk.

I've mentioned here several times (check the previous posts to the left) that I'm excited to see a new crop of kids emerge. No, they all won't be all-stars or HOF'ers, but if they are merely good to very good, that's great. This current Yankee team is aging and in need of a boost, precisely the boost these kids gave the team last summer.

I'm thrilled that Johan is heading to the NL. I am just as thrilled with the prospect of Bedard heading to the AL West.


In summary, I think this is a win for the Mets, clearly. I think the Twins did OK given extraordinarily difficult circumstances. I sincerely believe both the Yanks and Sox were not really offering everyone that was mentioned in the rumor mills. I think it was more of a ploy, a "prevent defense", if you will. I know the Yanks and RedSox are content with going ahead with what they already have, as well as readying the coffers for Sabathia next off-season.

Best of all, this "will they or won't they" is finally over.


ADDENDUM #1: For a very well done analysis, from the Yankees POV, of the overall costs to trade for Johan can be found here, in this article by Vince Gennaro. Some of the best tidbits:

On the cost side, we can expect the tab for Santana to be in the neighborhood of $25 million a year for six years. Since the Yankees are over the luxury tax threshold and A-Rod's contract virtually eliminates any chance that they will go below it in the near future, the Yankees will be on the hook for another $10 million per year in luxury taxes, raising Santana's cost to about $35 million per year. The net result is that Santana would be a value-added signing for the Yankees, even at his steep price – generating about $225 million in revenues and asset appreciation and costing about $200 million, yielding a rate of return of 24 percent on their investment, probably enough to compensate the Yankees for the injury risk associated with any free agent pitcher.

Hughes will be paid a modest (less than $500,000) annual salary over the next two years until he reaches arbitration eligibility. By looking at comparable players and adjusting for inflation, we can estimate that he should earn about $30 million in the next six years. Alternatively, his team would need to pay about $84 million in free-agent wages to buy the same wins. So Hughes' asset value is more than $50 million – the amount of payroll savings he will generate for the team that owns his contract versus buying his performance in the free-agent market. By including Melky Cabrera in the trade, another $10 million in asset value is added, and another pitching prospect further bumps up the total cost of the deal.

And the most interesting comment:

What would need to happen to make this a good trade for the Yankees? If Santana signs with the Yankees at $5 million to $7 million per year below the price he would have gotten in an open bidding war as a free agent next winter, or if Hughes becomes only a fifth starter or bullpen reliever, the deal could make sense for the Yankees.

Santana decision due any minute. Or not.

UPDATE #2: Looks like the 4 prospects sent by the Mets were their 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 7th best prospects, according to Baseball America. Seems like Bill Smith overplayed his hand a bit, doesn't it? From Ellsbury/Buchholz or Hughes as a headliner, he's got Gomez. Quite a miss.

UPDATE #1 (courtesy of

Johan Santana Traded To Mets

UPDATE, 1-29-08 at 3:15pm: Bob Nightengale of USA Today says an agreement to trade Santana to the Mets has been reached. They'll send Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey to the Twins. The Mets still have to work out a six or seven year extension for Santana, according to Nightengale. If this baby reaches its true conclusion we'll sit down and analyze.

UPDATE, 1-29-08 at 2:55pm: More from Olney. His sources say the Mets have the best offer, the Red Sox also made offers, and the Yanks are out. Santana apparently asked the Twins to make a decision, wrap this thing up. Wrap it up! Olney is not sure whether F-Mart is part of the Mets' offer.


According to ESPN's Buster Olney, the Twins have asked for "final offers" for Johan Santana. Supposedly a decision could come today. Or not. Just like everything else surrounding this gigantic rumor.

Have the Yanks withdrawn Hughes? Have the Sox done the same with Lester and/or Ellsbury? Have the Mets given their two best blue-chip prospects in a moment of desperation? Has Hank opted to overrule his brother and Cashman? Has Theo caved to fears of seeing Johan in pinstripes for 6 more years (thinking shades of Pedro way back when he joined the Sox)?

From the Sox side:

The Red Sox have talked in the past about deals built around either pitcher Jon Lester or center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Two sources involved in the discussions say the Red Sox have indicated they won't trade Lester, and another highly placed source says Lester remains on the table. A fourth says the Red Sox are willing to deal Lester only in a package with little window dressing -- in other words, Lester and Coco Crisp and little else.

And, from the Yanks side:

The Yankees appear to be not presently engaged whatsoever in the Santana talks.

Joel Sherman, from the NY Post, has this a two-team race involving the Mets and Sox.

Teams involved in the Johan Santana sweepstakes confirm the Twins have intensified their efforts in the past 48 hours to generate the best offers from the main suitors - and indications are, this has come down to the New York Mets and the Red Sox for arguably the majors' best starter.

The New York Yankees have been kept apprised by Minnesota officials of where matters stand but continue to indicate they are following the wishes of Hal Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman to protect their prospects and shun this deal.

Maybe it's just me, but I won't believe the Yanks are truly out of it until Santana's wearing another uniform than the Twins. I think Hank's just gunslinger enough to try to make it happen, in some way. I still think GM Bill Smith might hang onto Santana thru the July trade deadline since the furor about this trade has seemingly cooled dramatically.

For the latest, check out these guys:

Updates to come as soon as I hear/read more.

Monday, January 28, 2008

And you're more INSUFFERABLE, too!

We've seen the lowest of the low, the dumbest of the dumb, the biggest abortion of the use of "facts" in quite some time. Frankly, I am just stunned that this was even published somewhere other than a dumb blog like this. And Boston fans wonder why they are viewed as INSUFFERABLE. Wonder no more:

New England Patriots fans are smarter, classier and healthier and own pricier homes than the riff-raff who root for the New York Giants - and now we’ve got the research to back it up.
Likewise, 72 percent of Pats fans live in homes worth north of $200,000, compared to 63 percent of Giants yahoos, the Nielsen data show.

That’s just for starters.

Pats fans consistently show better taste than their Gotham counterparts, according to Nielsen.

We drink Amstel Light, not Bud Light. Giants fans slug back lots of whiskey.

We are likely to read connoisseur magazines like Wine Spectator. Gotham fans like to pig out on junk food like pretzels, chips and nuts. They’re also less likely to favor organic food than other New Yorkers.

Giants tailgaters are conspicuous consumers who party off the backs of Land Rovers and showy BMW SUVs. Pats fans are more likely to tailgate off the back of an understated Lexus or a sturdy Volvo SUV.

When Pats revelers aren’t watching football, they’re hitting the slopes skiing or going for a sail. They’re also more likely to belong to country clubs.

Congrats, Pats fans. You now officially SUCK. I don't even know where to begin. This sounds like a Hamptons-like fight between neighboring millionaires. Oh, like a Lexus/Volvo is more understated than a BMW/Land Rover. Puh-lease. Nice use of "facts". Like Giants fans "pig out on pretzels" more than Bostoners. I want to be a NY Giant riff-raff with a Land Rover; someone fetch me one.

Thanks to Jessica Heslam for furthering the dumbing of America and increasing the venom that comes to the East Coast. Feel free to email your thoughts DIRECTLY to her:


UPDATE #1: The Sports Hernia takes this bucket of excrement a good few steps further, as I hoped they would, since they are so very good at that. I recommend a visit, too.


For more pro-Boston drivel, hype, hyperbole, nausea:
Yay, more pro-Boston drivel from Simmons

Roger turns in his book report

UPDATE #1: Shysterball's taken a stab at Clemens' book report. Rather than rehash his well-done work (which I don't have time for, anyways!), I'll just suggest you saunter to his little blog of glory to read the full shebang.


Just a quick one here this morning (dang work, sorry). Just sent to the printer so I haven't even read it yet. But here's the link. Feel free to add your comments below.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

For the love of all things holy: SHUT UP!

Here's my conundrum: I was born and raised a Yankee fan. It's my hometown team, the team that my Dad rooted for as a kid. The team that my kids root for. No different had I been born in Kansas City; we woulda been Royals fans (damn you, Larry Gura!). However, being a Yankee fan, to me, doesn't mean I have to like or agree with everything they do.

Back when George was suspended (early 90's), the Yanks got back to basics and built a vibrant farm system which bore fruit resembling Jeter, Posada, Mo, Soriano, Bernie, etc. That core helped the Yanks become the dominant team of the 90's, even when George returned from suspension. Suddenly, after the team lost in 2001, George returned to being, well, The Boss. Overspending on free agents, aging players, mercenaries. Cost: stripping the farm system bare. As a result, still good teams that make the playoffs every year, but not very much a "likable" team and surely not a championship caliber team. Surly guys like Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson, guys will fancy resumes but well past their peaks made the team unlikable. Still rooted for the team because that what loyal fans do; we root for the laundry even if the bodies inside them make us squirm.

Fast forward a bit and since George hasn't been himself due to age and/or illness the last few years, Cashman & Co. have rebuilt the farm system into a Top 10 ranked system, with guys like Cano and Wang the first to emerge, along with younger guys like Hughes and Joba and IPK also starting to shine.

This off-season, we have all witnessed the emergence of The Boss II, also known as Hank, or Hankenstein. I've made many comments about him and most of them have been critical for his handling of the media and his inability to just say "no comment".

With all that as a certified pre-ramble, I present some of Boss Junior's latest comments from the past 48 hours or so. I'll hold back from searching any further.

Here's a doozy, not-so-quietly getting ready to toss Cashman under the bus if the team falters at all this coming season:

"I will be patient with the young pitchers and players. There's no question about that because I know how these players develop," he said. "But as far as missing the playoffs - if we miss the playoffs by the end of this year, I don't know how patient I'll be. But it won't be against the players. It won't be a matter of that. It will be a matter of maybe certain people in the organization could have done something else."

Here's another, showing precisely what I mean about Hank's inability to just take a pass or "no comment":
"Don't make any mistake about it," the Yanks' senior VP told an Associated Press reporter in Tampa, "our teams in the late '90s beat everybody, and we beat everybody because we were that much better than everybody. And they had just as many players doing stuff - all the teams. I guarantee you, go through every team in baseball and they all have the same basic percentage of players doing stuff. They just weren't as good as us.

"You think the Red Sox didn't have players doing stuff back then? Give me a break. They just weren't as good as us, and neither was anybody else."

Hank, the RedSox have kicked our tails the last 3 years, starting with the debacle in 2004. How have they done it? Youth, the homegrown kind, along with selected trades and FA signings. They are a model worth emulating, not mocking. Get over it. We have the ability to remain a top team for YEARS without skinning the farm system for Johan. If Johan wants to be here and we can't get him in a trade (where the terms are in our favor, ie no Hughes), then he'll come as a FA. If not, we'll continue to survive and thrive. Give the kids a chance. They give the Damons and Matsuis and Abreus and Giambis and ARods a boost when they needed it in August last year. Just give them a chance to see what they can do. And don't panic, we'll be OK. Always will be.

What more can I say, other than: Hank, we, the fans BEG you to please SHUT UP. Seriously. Have some faith in those around you. They are smart people with the best interests of the organization at heart. Let them guide you.

That's all. Have a good Sunday everyone...


MONDAY UPDATE #1: Shysterball had a discussion about Cashman's trashing of Bernie Williams and Torre that's worth reading. He mentions a Yankee fan friend of his who is OK with Hank being Hank, but thinks Cashman's bashing of Bernie is worse. I respectfully disagree, but have a read for yourself. Thanks to Craig for the link.

UPDATE #2: The guys at The Pride of The Yankees wanted nothing to do with this muck and mire. Can't blame them, actually. They're already stretching and getting for PFP (pitcher fielding practice). Still, worth a daily visit their way, even if not a Yankee fan. Good baseball stuff there, without fail.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

New pictures of The New Yankee Stadium (TNYS)

Greg from Sliding Into Home has been the leading source of new pictures of the construction of TNYS. The impacts of this new cathedral to capitalism will be felt across all of baseball. Fewer seats but a ton of luxe suites which will be not dissimilar to installing free cash machines in Hank's office.

I'm already on record being against the layout of the upper deck, as it seems it will be more bowl-like than stacked like it currently is configured. Too much like Shea than Yankee Stadium. The current configuration keeps the fans closer (and louder) to the field. I fear that the new layout will keep the upper deck fans too far from the action. We'll see, I guess.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Feel good Friday posting

Nothing to do with sports, steroids, scandal. Just a good 5 minutes to ease your brain as we head towards the weekend.... let this take you back to Daniel-San and the Kobra Kai. If you don't understand the reference or the amazing video below, Dad, I will call you and explain!

Like a good tornado, this picks up speed as it goes along.

Anonymity, schmanonymity

Remember when MLB drug testing results were under lock and key, and the players were promised anonymity? How quaint. Not so much any more.

A bit of background: Way back in 2004 when BALCO and other labs were being investigated, federal investigators had search warrants for 11 players. The feds seized computers from these labs and, lo and behold, they contained more players' testing results than the 11 they were seeking. (Anyone shocked here? Didn't think so.)

Feds argued that they can keep all the information since "the 11 names it wanted were irrevocably mixed with the other names on computer hard drives". How convenient.

The MLBPA (player's union) obviously and justifiably fought this, citing player's rights to unlawful search and seizure. Not sure, but I think that's a violation of the 2nd Amendment. Any lawyer-types want to confirm?

The MLBPA won, initially. Then was overturned in December 2006 by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals . Announced last night that they had affirmed their ruling, thereby allowing the feds to keep all the names and data found on the confiscated computers.

So, is there ANY surprise about the reluctance of the Union and all MLB ballplayers to "cooperate" with the Mitchell Investigation or any other PED-related investigation? There is no anonymity. The feds cannot guarantee it and surely MLB can't, either.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Employee of the Month

Yep, this is a sports blog, but sometimes there are other things worth mentioning, especially when it's of historic size or value.

One futures trader cost French bank Societe Generale $7.14B. That's Billion with a big old capital B! That's pretty damn impressive, no matter how illegal. It's on thing to commit fraud, it's wholly another to crank it up to the tune of multiple billions before getting nabbed.

The man admitted to the fraud, the bank said, and was being dismissed.
gee, ya think?

Until last year, the trader had been betting that markets would fall, but then changed his position at the start of this year to bet they would rise.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have our Employee of the Month.

Following up: Place of birth vs. Testing Positive

Butch, from From The Cheap Seats, posed a question in the comments section in an earlier posting of mine about the concentration of players who tested positive for PED use since 2005. He was curious to see if the %'s of those testing positive matched the % of geographic origin.

I promised a follow-up when I could track down the info, and the good folks at were kind enough to show me how to find the data I needed.

The table below lines up the information provided by ESPN (Players, by country, who have tested positive for PEDs, since 2005) with the birth information provided by B-R (Players birthplace, since 2005). I added in the % Variance column, which compares the % by birthplace to the % PEDs. A negative number indicates the % of PED use (or guilt) exceeds the relative composition by birthplace. For example, players born in the Dominican Republic accounted for 11.4% of all MLB players in 2005-06, however they accounted for 23.6% of the guilty PED tests. I also Indexed the % Variance to also show how Latin America's been disproportionately accounting for guilty PED tests. A score of 100 means their PED test % equals their place of birth %. A score below 100 means lesser percentage of players from that country have tested positive than are in MLB during this time. A score above 100 indicates a higher degree of testing positive than the country accounts for in MLB composition.

Butch, thanks for asking the question. I hope this answered it. I also hope others found it at least interesting to see what's going on. Clearly, more education and attention needs to head to Latin America.

What's a little extortion amongst friends?

I mean, who hasn't tried to shake down a friend, a colleague, a former co-worker?

Jose's at it again.

Scott Boras, Ordonez's agent, filed a complaint with the FBI after Canseco spoke with a Boras employee and said Ordonez would be "clear" if the outfielder invested in the movie project, the newspaper said.
Shyster's on this, too.

Great moments in HOF voting

On the heels of Goose getting elected and the requisite hue-and-cry about Jim Rice not, I present this (belatedly, sorry), from This Day in Baseball History for January 23rd, courtesy of (emphasis mine):

1979 - Outfielder Willie Mays, considered one of the greatest players of his generation, is elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Mays garners 409 out of 432 votes and becomes the 14th man to gain election in his first year on the ballot. Mays will officially enter the HoF on August 5, along with Veterans Committee selections Warren Giles and Hack Wilson.

That Willie Mays could only muster 95% of the votes, or 23 voters thought otherwise, is a ridiculous joke. Goes to show, even back then, in the good old days that the BBWAA were so incredibly full of themselves, so self-important, so self-appointed guardians of the game. Know who else got 95%? Carl Yazstremski. That seems about right, doesn't it? (banging skull on corner of desk)

A further look at B-R's HOF vote tallies illustrate some other surprising, shocking (insert your adverb here) results. Rather than list them all, I have taken some of the biggest names in MLB's history and here are their HOF voting results. Tell me, what on Earth were these voters thinking?

Name Votes Pct. Ballots

Willie Mays 409 95%
Babe Ruth 215 95% Initial HOF Class
Honus Wagner 215 95% Initial HOF Class
Bob Feller 150 94%
Jim Palmer 411 93%
Roberto Clemente 393 93%
Stan Musial 317 93%
Ted Williams 282 93%
Brooks Robinson 344 92%
Christy Mathewson 205 91% Initial HOF Class
Joe DiMaggio 223 89%
Mickey Mantle 322 88%
Sandy Koufax 344 87%
Yogi Berra 339 86%
Nap Lajoie 168 84% 2nd HOF Class
Walter Johnson 189 84% Initial HOF Class
Warren Spahn 315 83%
Joe Morgan 363 82%
Roy Campanella 270 79%
Jimmie Foxx 179 79%
Jackie Robinson 124 78%
Cy Young 153 76% 2nd HOF Class
Seriously, Big Train got "only" 84%? Mickey Mantle and Joltin' Joe could only muster 88% and 89%, respectively?!? Cy FREAKIN' Young, in the 2nd HOF class ever, got only 76%? Talk about a writer bias, huh? Speaking of bias, how does Jackie Robinson only get 78%? And someday, when I am long gone from this world, maybe I'll get a chance to meet some of these writers and ask which 5% thought Babe Ruth wasn't HOF worthy, in the INITIAL HOF CLASS EVER!

The rant is over, please resume your normal activities.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Traditionalists are rioting in the streets!

Warning: Contains high levels of sarcasm.

Hide the kids! Hide the women! Avert your eyes! Remember this? More to come!

MLB and infrastructure provider EMC have announced that they have teamed up to sponsor the Red Sox - A's game in Tokyo March 23-25. What does this mean? It means traditionalists will freak out by seeing EMC logos and sleeve patches, along with one touting the event "Japan 2008".

EMC, already a corporate partner and the official information infrastructure solutions provider of the defending World Series champion Red Sox, will commemorate the event with specially designed sleeve patches featuring the EMC and "Japan 2008" logos to be worn by manager Terry Francona and all Boston players. This will be the first corporate logo on a Red Sox uniform. EMC is also expected to participate via stadium signage and other events surrounding the games.

Yet, the traditionalists conveniently forget what stadiums used to look like, back in the good old days. Like this:

Whatever. It's for a few games in Japan so let's not freak out too much.

Busting on Buster

Yes, I am a Buster Olney fan. He posted on his blog today, which is among my daily must reads no matter what else is going on, a snippet on every team and the questions facing them. What I have presented below are some of the more curious, obvious, silly, etc., ones that I thought he should have done more with. My comments follow each. This is not meant to be a rip on Buster, mind you, just a rebuttal.

Rather than post 2-3 points on each team, why not profile a team or two a day and get that in-depth goodness that we know Buster is good for? OK, maybe he was told to do it this way, maybe he just opted for the USA Today approach (an "economy of words").

Atlanta Braves: Can John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Mike Hampton take the ball for 85-90 starts? Can Rafael Soriano stay healthy?
Are you kidding me? If Smoltz and Glavine each make 33 starts, you mean to tell me anyone would expect, in their right mind, that Hampton returns from 2 years recovering from injuries to make 20+ starts? Call Vegas; I will take the under.

Baltimore Orioles: We know the Orioles are rebuilding. If Erik Bedard is going to be traded, which seems inevitable, then who, besides Nick Markakis, can be serve as a root in that effort?

If Peter Angelos just let his "baseball people" do their "baseball things", this once-proud franchise would be in a better position that it is now, which is likely one of looking UP at the Rays, which was unthinkable just a few years back.

Boston Red Sox: Will J.D. Drew bounce back from a subpar first year with the Red Sox? He fared well in the last two rounds of the 2007 postseason. Maybe he has made the transition, or maybe not.
Call Vegas on this one, too. Drew was huge on the post-season, but his dour personality and on-field attitudes will rub the RSN faithful bigtime. The Sox look loaded, no matter what.

Chicago Cubs: With contract in hand as the 2008 season starts, will Carlos Zambrano be Big Z, or less than that? Is Kosuke Fukudome going to be as good as everybody thinks he's going to be?
100 years and counting? And what will Fukudome's nickname be? K-Fuk? Fuku-do-me? Welcome to the Fuku-Dome.

Chicago White Sox: How good are John Danks and Gavin Floyd? The White Sox will sink without solid seasons from one or both. Will the money invested in Scott Linebrink and Octavio Dotel pay off, or make no difference in the way that the Orioles' bullpen spending made no difference for Baltimore last year?
Kenny Williams sure thinks his team has a shot to return to 2005 glory, doesn't he? Me, not so sure. Doesn't seem like they have the rotation, especially after dealing Garland.

Colorado Rockies: Does Ubaldo Jimenez possess staying power? Does Ian Stewart have enough athleticism to make the adjustment to second base? Jimenez has added 15 pounds of muscle this offseason, writes Patrick Saunders.
15 pounds of muscle? Remember when that used to be an innocent and quaint sign of "hard work" and now we have to wonder how he did just that? Remind me of him come draft time in my fantasy league.

Cleveland Indians: Will Travis Hafner hit like Pronk, or will he put too much pressure on himself and struggle, even with a contract in hand? Will C.C. Sabathia's impending free agency and on-going negotiations have any effect on him? Who will step up to be the right-handed hitter that the Indians need?
Clearly, not enough has been made about Sabathia's free agency prospects. If I am NY or Boston, I am letting Johan go and hope both or one of them hit the FA markets. This guy is a horse and will be paid a smidge below Johan but will be at least as good going forward for the next 5-7 years.

Detroit Tigers: Will the Tigers' rotation hold up? Can Dontrelle Willis make the transition to the AL? Is Detroit's middle relief deep enough?

What a lineup. They will be able to keep the rotation afloat, so long as Maroth doesn't return. Will be interesting to see Dontrelle in the AL. Wonder how often he pinch hits.

Florida Marlins: Can the stable of injured young starters bounce back? Might Hanley Ramirez be regarded as the league's best player by season's end?
Hanley Ramirez, the next MVP from a last place team? Wow, is he good. Too bad no one will see him live.

Houston Astros: Do the Astros have enough starting pitching behind Roy Oswalt? Will Miguel Tejada, generally known as a sensitive guy prone to outside forces, be able to successfully play through an FBI investigation and give Houston suitable shortstop defense?
What a mess. Yet, Drayton has no buyer's remorse. Yeah, right.

Kansas City Royals: Will Zack Greinke build off his strong finish? Can Alex Gordon produce, after not producing much last year?
Honestly and secretly, I am rooting for the Royals, despite their ownership. If for no other reason than this.

Los Angeles Angels: Will Scot Shields bounce back and again give the Angels a dominant bullpen? Will Ervin Santana gain consistency, as he has in winter ball? Will Erick Aybar or Maicer Izturis win the shortstop job?
Will AL West team anyone challenge this team? Does the SS position battle even matter? A's are down, Texas is just OK. Seattle, especially if they get Bedard, is a threat.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Is Andy LaRoche good enough to hold down third? Can Jason Schmidt give the Dodgers anything? Will Matt Kemp become the power hitter the Dodgers so desperately need?
If Torre is a good judge of talent, Kemp will play full time. If he's hamstrung by that silly Pierre contract, then that's a shame. Interesting how Mattingly bailed out before the season started.

Milwaukee Brewers: Will Chris Capuano pitch like the All-Star he has been in the past, or like the pitcher who went winless for almost five months last season? Will Ben Sheets break down? Will Eric Gagne bounce back from his Boston experience?

I enjoyed the resurgence of the Brewers. Home-grown, fairly likeable, even with Prince's constant negativity towards his dad. We get it, you don't like him. Move along. "Will Sheets break down?" Vegas, Jason here, again. I will take that bet. Sign me up.

Minnesota Twins: Assuming that the Twins swap Johan Santana before the start of the season, can their young pitchers step up to fill the gaps created by the departures of the left-hander, Carlos Silva and Matt Garza? Will Delmon Young become a more patient hitter and give himself a chance to a superstar?

I'm really interested in seeing this drama unfold. One, I'd like to see the Twins keep Johan to pair with a recovering Liriano. Those two could be dominant. And if Johan is dealt, it's going to be a case study in dealing a stud pitcher. Will Bill Smith get good value this late or will he just take whatever's out there? Or will he roll the dice, go for it this year and if out of it, deal Johan at the deadline. Talk about compelling...

New York Mets: Who will take the ball at the front end of the Mets' rotation, and is that good enough to overcome the Phillies, Braves and the mental ghosts of last September?
Oh man. My Mets fans are still in the dumps about last year. And they have no pitching. Relying on Pedro for 33 starts is more than a risk.

New York Yankees: Will the New York rotation have enough depth? The Yankees hope that three youngsters, among Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy, are consistent enough to hold down two spots, but does Mike Mussina have another solid 30-start season? Will Andy Pettitte be distracted in his preparation, by the Clemens situation?

I'm worried about Pettitte's distraction. Unless, of course, he tells Congress that Clemens knew what he was doing and he can enter the year with a clear head. I'd lobby for a 6 man rotation to keep the kids' IP under control and Moose fresher than last year. I'm also hoping we keep Hughes and the others; it'd be nice to have a group of home-grown kids to root for again. It's been a while.

Oakland Athletics: Will Rich Harden and Bobby Crosby stay healthy? How long will Billy Beane wait before dealing Huston Street?
If Harden appears in more than 20 games, I will be stunned and he will have a chance at the AL CY. Crosby, overrated when healthy, rarely healthy. Yes, he signed a ball for me at Yankee Stadium when he was a rook, so I still root for him. But still, take the under.

Philadelphia Phillies: Will Brad Lidge be dominant Brad Lidge, or will he give the Philly fans reason to boo him? Can the Phillies hit enough to overcome the lack of depth in the rotation?
Talk about a fun team to watch: The Flyin' Hawaiian, Utley, Rollins, Howard, etc.

St. Louis Cardinals: Their projected rotation is Adam Wainwright, Braden Looper, Joel Pineiro, Anthony Reyes and Matt Clement -- is that enough? How quickly will the talent of super prospect Colby Rasmus manifest itself? How good is Rick Ankiel, really?
Enough for what? Last place? Yes. Hanley and Pujols can wonder what it'd be like to have a solid surrounding cast this year.

San Diego Padres: How many games will Jim Edmonds play, and how much will he hit? How soon will Brian Giles be back in the lineup? Will Kevin Kouzmanoff continue to progress as a big league hitter?
They have such a good rotation and Trevor's still Trevor despite October. Wonder if they have enough to topple Arizona.

San Francisco Giants: Is the rotation good enough to carry what will be a sluggish offense? Will Tim Lincecum hold up and develop a better off-speed pitch? How different will the Giants' clubhouse -- and offense -- be without Barry Bonds?
Lincecum and Cain: too bad they won't be dealt for two teams' farm systems to totally rebuild this mess from the ground up. Such a great ballpark, too bad it will be empty.

Seattle Mariners: We saw how good Felix Hernandez can be early last season, with his remarkable outing in Boston. Can he do that over a long season? Will Richie Sexson hit, and if he doesn't, will it matter? Will the Mariners finally complete their trade for Bedard?
If they get Bedard to pair with Felix, they could threaten the Angels of Some Place in CA.

Tampa Bay Rays: Will Matt Garza's game advance to the next level? Because if it does, the Rays will suddenly have a solid quorum in their rotation, to go along with an offense that will thrive if B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena hit as they did last year.
This team, if they had any baseball sense and discipline, they would threated the Jays for 3rd place and bury the Orioles in last. We'll see. Tell ya what, though: They have a fun team to watch, just not at home in that airplane hangar.

Toronto Blue Jays: Can the Jays' pitchers stay healthy, and if so, what could they be capable of? If A.J. Burnett makes 30 starts, might this rotation rank among the best in the majors? Will Vernon Wells bounce back from his shoulder surgery, and hit the way he did in 2006? How quickly can B.J. Ryan, coming back from elbow surgery, be a factor in Toronto's bullpen?
How about 3rd place in the AL East? It's reserved for you.

Washington Nationals: How will their new ballpark play, and how will it affect the current group of players? Who, besides Ryan Zimmerman, will anchor their rebuilding effort? With 600 plate appearances, how many homers will Wily Mo Pena hit?
Will they beat estimates again, or revert to the historically awful team most expected in 2007?

If you couldn't tell, I can't wait for the season!

Dana Jacobson update: Suspended

UPDATE #3: Visual proof (no pun intended, I promise) of Jacobson swilling right from the bottle! Also, seems that there will be a protest at ESPN HQ.

Looks like Ms. Belivdere, aka Dana Jacobson, has been sent to the pine for a week to dry out and rue her poor choices in words and actions at the Mike and Mike roast last week.

At the roast, Jacobson made a rambling speech that included vulgar references about Notre Dame. Jacobson is a Michigan graduate, and she and Golic, a former Irish defensive lineman, often have exchanged barbs about the rivalry between the schools. One eyewitness labeled it an "embarrassing display," and a newspaper account said the crowd booed Jacobson.

While it's fun to mock the drunken ramblings of the talking heads on TV... nevermind, it's just fun. I'll spare ya the high-road thoughts.

Previous postings on this subject:
That wild Dana Jacobson
Mike & Mike video surfaces


UPDATE: It's all fun and games when mocking drunk ramblings of a sports figure, until it's made public how dumb, ill-advised, morally bankrupt those ramblings really were.

Jacobson's comments at the Roast have been further exposed, setting religious peace back a few decades. Nice work, Dana. No matter what you think, no matter how much alcohol you have consumed, there is no excuse for dropping the F-bomb like this:

Jacobson, reportedly intoxicated, was speaking at a celebrity roast in Atlantic City, N.J., when she unleashed a profane tirade, saying, "F--- Notre Dame," "F--- Touchdown Jesus" and finally "F--- Jesus."
Now, I think Jacobson is Jewish (as am I) and that sort of diatribe is unacceptable. I don't want to get even further off-topic, but that's reprehensible. Had someone said that against Jews, or Muslims, or another race, she's be fired immediately and probably blackballed from the industry for a good long time.

Upon further review, seems a week off was a light sentence.

Update #2: Shaq's onto me ("celebrity roast" links here). Uh oh! Probably a phony blog but we'll welcome the Diesel to these parts anytime.

Bitter truths and tough perceptions

Was skimming ESPN's baseball section this morning before my day gets devoured by deadlines and such. Now, it's become fashionable to bash ESPN at every turn (see Deadspin, as well as the post above this one as hypocrisy lives here, too!) and sometimes it's justified. I happen to be in the camp that believes their baseball coverage, while understandably tilted Eastward, is pretty darned good. [And people, if you can't get over that "understandably" in the previous sentence, it's time to.]

Guys like Rob Neyer and Keith Law provide solid, objective analyses, while reporters like Peter Gammons and Buster Olney cover the happenings. Crasnick and Stark cover the rest, including quirky stuff. Overall, I like their content. Doesn't mean I agree with 100% of it, but it's broad AND deep, which is a good thing.

All that as pre-ramble, I came across Neyer's blog (Insider access required, sorry) today and it was about Jorge Posada's unreal year last year at age 35. Of note in the short blog was the point that:

Posada entered last season with a .270 batting average and batted .338. Today I'll offer one truly easy prediction: Posada won't reach even .300 this season.

How could I disagree? But to me, the elephant in the corner is the fact that a catcher had a career year at age 35, clearly well past the productive career arc of nearly all catchers who have ever played, period. With all the hubbub surrounding the Yanks and PEDs, how can we not cast a crooked eye at this spike? Neyer's blog is not about this sort of speculation but I sure can.

The article that Neyer references also mentions this:

...his .389 BABIP which was roughly .040 points above his expected BABIP. [BABIP = Batting Average on Balls In Play]

Luck clearly was on Jorge's side but reliance on luck is a dangerous thing.

It's funny, in other cities around MLB, teams try to lock up their home grown (and even not so home grown) talent with "home town discounts". Works well in nice areas like San Diego, for sure. But in NY, the Yanks have to offer their home grown studs "home town bonuses" to stay. They recently overpaid Mo, Posada, Pettitte via extra years, extra $ or both. Yes, I just realized the Yanks let Bernie Williams walk (into retirement) but they haven't done that often. While Boston is content, not happy but content, to let their guys go if they aren't on the same page contract-wise (see Johnny Damon, Pedro Martinez, etc.), the Yanks have this strange sort of fear that if they let our favorites go, they will anger the Karma Gods or the fans too much. I know the Yanks can absorb overpaying and mistakes better than everyone else, but it's a faulty strategy. At some point, the Yanks will have to just bite the bullet and let the studs of the 90's walk off into retirement and move on. The fans will too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Today in baseball history

Between the stock market disintegrating today, Super Bowl stuff and very little actual baseball stuff to discuss, I came across this tidbit on Baseball-Reference's TIBH section:

1997 - All-Star first baseman Don Mattingly officially announces his retirement at a media conference in Yankee Stadium.

And then this:

2003 - Former Minnesota Twins backup David Ortiz is signed by the Boston Red Sox, where he will start a successful and productive career over the years for coming.

As if the market being down 300+ points wasn't depressing enough...

I'm flooded with work today so I will try to find some time to break away and post something else later today. Pitchers and catchers report in HOW LONG? (Feb. 14th, for those keeping track)

Thanks for dropping by.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Prepare for more Boston vs. NY hyperbole!

Despite buddy Shyster's YAWN about the NY/Boston angle for the Superbowl, we have two full weeks of breathless hyperbole about the game.

Maybe you've heard, there's some not-so-good-blood between the two fanbases.

Guessing the rest of the non-East Coast Biased viewing public will be further sick of us pretty quickly.

I'm really interested to see where the general populace will fall, in terms of rooting interest:

  • anti-NY (obnoxious fans)
  • anti-Boston (insufferable fans)
  • anti-both (both are obnoxious)
  • anti-Belichick (evil)
  • anti-Manning (over-played and sick of Peyton's commecials and shots of Dad Archie sweating in the owner's box)
  • anti-undefeated (this means YOU, Dolphins fans)
  • anti-dynasty (well, just because)
  • anti-Brady (the Jeter of NFL)
  • anti-Strahan (American Dental Association)

Plenty more to exploit here but since today's a day off, I gotta run and have some non-work fun. Stay tuned for more!

On the road again!


I woke up this morning still saying "I can't believe the Giants pulled that one out." Still can't. Had a great time watching the game, especially since it's a holiday today and there's no school, and my 7 year old got to stay up watching the game to the finish. Putting him to bed afterwards, I told him he'd remember that game for a while. To which, he replies: "I'll tell my kids about it!" Pretty funny for a 7 year old.

Onto Arizona we go!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Interesting viewpoint by Kaat

Courtesy of Buster Olney's consistently excellent blog, there's an interesting rebuttal by YES broadcaster and 25 year MLB vet Jim Kaat. Certainly worth a read, if you ask me. Below is a snippet:

I cringe when I hear or see a former player speak out about erasing records set during this era. Here is my own example of a 'performance-enhancing method.' Pitching outdoors in Minnesota, a pitcher needed something to help him grip the ball without having it slip out of his hand. Games were played in temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s, and the ball was slick like a frozen snowball. I used pine tar and later a solution my pitching coach, Johnny Sain, concocted by boiling resin and adding a little turpentine and a few other ingredients. It was against the rules. No foreign substance is to be applied to the ball. No punishment was ever noted. Veteran umpire Jim Honochick, known later for his role in the Miller Lite commercials with Boog Powell, approached me on the mound from his position at second base one day and said, 'Lefty, you're putting a foreign substance on the ball. That's illegal.' I quickly replied, 'Jim, that's not a foreign substance. It's made in North Carolina.' He chuckled and went back to his position.

Quaint or cheating? Tacit approval or fear by the umps? Good old days or same old, same old? Beneficiaries of a lack of high-def multi-angle camera work and instant replay? If you aren't cheating then you aren't trying? You tell me...

Have a good Sunday. Let's go Giants!!!

More bad news for Clemens?

Looks like there's some more possible evidence coming out against Clemens. Can't be good.

Jim Murray, who is employed by Clemens' agents, met with the pitcher's former trainer Brian McNamee in 2004, near Clemens' New York apartment, according to McNamee's attorney Earl Ward.

Ward said that at the time, McNamee was concerned that some steroids may be lingering in Clemens' system that could result in a positive test in Major League Baseball's first round of steroid testing.

"He did speak to Murray about his suspicions, his concerns that Major League Baseball had implemented testing and that Roger could have a problem," Ward told the New York Times after speaking with his client Friday night.

McNamee said Murray took detailed notes about the meeting.

Hope Roger is channelling Houdini or else he's in for a beat-down Feb. 13th.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Mike & Mike video surfaces

Here is Jeff Ross' opening spiel: VIDEO

Thanks to Awful Announcing for posting.

They are clean because J.Donovan says so's esteemed John Donovan posted an article naming what he believes the be the all-clean team (of the Steroids Era, however you define it). All-clean? Just one man's hunch, I guess. After all, how would he know? Shouldn't our cynical side take over and suggest a renaming to "All Not Yet Accused Team" rather than the All-Clean Team.

Maybe these guys are truly beyond reproach and have kept clean their entire careers. Believe me, I would LOVE for every one of these guys to be spotless. It's better for the game if they really have been.

I've picked a few of his selections of his along with his rationale on each that I find the most, um, interesting.

Alex Rodriguez-- I don't think Jose Canseco, despite the upcoming book, has anything on A-Rod. You can throw darts at his scary-perfect public persona and his sometimes goofy actions on the field, but come on, already. A-Rod is doing things that no one has ever done before.
So, for all the crap Canseco's been alleging about ARod is false, but nearly everything else he has claimed in the first book has been true? Call me a bitter baseball fan, but I would not rush to put ARod on my "clean" list just yet. I hope against hope that he's as sparkling clean as the driven snow, but if he's not...(thoughts drift)

Albert Pujols -- He's taken some shots. About his age (he's supposedly older than what he lets on). About steroids (his name is often bandied about). But the allegations never stick. He's also had at least 32 HRs and 100 RBIs a year every year since his debut in '01. A solid citizen, too.
Again, another with repeated mentions as a user. I'm a BIG Pujols fan, even as a Yankee fan. I bought my son a Pujols jersey back in '03, long before he was big enough to wear it. His first 7 seasons have been historic in terms of productivity. Calling him a solid citizen, though, doesn't make the whispers go away. You can be a solid citizen and still take PEDs. I think most everyone would agree that Pettitte is viewed as a solid citizen, a God-fearing man of faith...who also took HGH. I think the two are separate and divisible.

Manny Ramirez -- Make fun of Manny all you want. Rip him for being me-first. Ridicule the way he plays left field. But put him up against the best hitters of this generation, or a lot of others -- averaging 41 homers and 133 RBIs every 162 games -- and you'd want him on your team.
What in the above "defense" of Manny would lead you to know he's clean? Just because he's goofy or aloof, or whatever? The one thing Manny is not is dumb. He's a super smart hitter. Who's also to say he's not smart enough to take something that wouldn't get him caught? Again, I have become overly cynical and I want to agree with Donovan here, but how can one say with any degree of certainty that any of these guys are lillywhite pure?

Frank Thomas -- The Big Hurt may look the part of a juiced-up slugger, but he has a steroid-free reputation, and he's the only active player to voluntarily talk to George Mitchell for his steroids report. The two-time MVP is headed to the Hall as one of the game's most dangerous DHs.
Agreed. Period. Good for Big Frank to step up and take a stand. Call me a big fan now.

Vladimir Guerrero -- The Hall of Fame debate about "feared" hitters will be raised again when Guerrero's name comes up. Yet, at 31, that's still a long ways off. Vlad has a lot of chances to add to a career that, barring further injury, should carry him well past 500 homers and into the Hall.

I love Vlad. I love how he can hit anything from his shoetops to his forehead. I love how he doesn't wear batting gloves. I love how he keeps quiet and plays. I love his arm. I hate how he walks like an old man and his back scares the bejesus outta me but that's another issue. But given the disproportional rate of the accused and proven guilty come from South/Central America and the Caribbean, how can we be sure The Impaler hasn't used anything to battle his injuries to get back on the field? After all, the D.R. is #2 in players who have tested positive. That has to speak to something, doesn't it?

Check out this table from

Where they're from
Since the start of the 2005 season, 157 professional players have been suspended by Major League Baseball for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Of that number, 104 players, or 66 percent, are still affiliated with their Major League franchise. Here is a breakdown by birthplace of the suspended players:
United States: 72 [46 percent]
Dominican Republic: 37 [24 percent]
Venezuela: 35 [22 percent]
Cuba: 3 [2 percent]
Japan: 3 [2 percent]
Mexico: 2 [1 percent]
Australia: 1 [.64 percent]
Canada: 1 [.64 percent]
Colombia: 1 [.64 percent]
Panama: 1 [.64 percent]
Puerto Rico: 1 [.64 percent]

Back to Donovan's list...

Greg Maddux -- For all the talk of Clemens, Maddux enters this season only eight wins shy of passing Clemens on the all-time win list (Maddux currently has 347), thus becoming the most successful pitcher of the past 40 years. One look at him and his stuff removes all doubt about using anything unnatural.

So, if you look professorial, you must be clean? So if you're pitching into your 40's and aren't throwing 95+ mph, you have gotten by on smarts and guile alone? If we have learned ONE thing during this dirty laundry airing time, it's that pitchers have been using PEDs at a virtual equal rate as hitters and size alone is not the giveaway. Seems that HGH, which aids in recovery more than mass-building steroids, was favored by pitchers.

Check out this table from that same article:

Pitchers make up the largest percentage of the 157 players who have been suspended over the past two seasons.

Pitchers: 87 [55 percent]
Infielders: 32 [20 percent]
Outfielders: 20 [13 percent]
Catchers: 18 [12 percent]

Again, back to Donovan's list.
Pedro Martinez -- Injuries have cost Martinez the chance at some more wins, but when he's healthy and on -- as he should be this year -- Martinez is without peer. His lifetime 1.03 WHIP is the best among active players and third best of all-time. A first-ballot electee, no doubt.

Now, Pedro is slight of build, but has suffered a number of injuries. But for me, the biggest red flag comes from this article, in which Pedro defends "controversial fitness guru and massage therapist Angel 'Nao' Presinal". Who's he, you ask. Read:

Presinal, 54, popped up on Major League Baseball's radar in October 2001 after he and former two-time American League MVP Juan Gonzalez, then his primary client, were linked to an unmarked bag, reportedly containing steroids and hypodermic needles, that was seized by Canadian authorities at the Toronto airport. Questioned by Canadian Border Service agents, Gonzalez said the bag belonged to Presinal. Presinal has said the bag and everything in it belonged to Gonzalez, then a Cleveland Indians outfielder.

And Presinal had THIS to say, and doesn't it make you the least bit skeptical?

"Pedro is working again [with me]," Presinal gushes. "Pedro will be brand-new, the Pedro of maybe '97. It is my challenge, to build Pedro the old Pedro way. The old Pedro form. Everybody is waiting for Pedro. Everybody will have the new, like the old Pedro. "Pedro will again have the power in the fastball."

Donovan's list is much greater than I listed and my main takeaway is this: I hope he's 100% correct as these are guys we all root for, guys we want our kids to look up to (on the field), guys we hope will own some of the most prestigious records in the game when they are done.

Baseball NEEDS these guys to be clean. I pray they are.