2004-04-25T09:00:18.610-05:00Heyman today wrote that the rift between Colangelo and Steinbrenner is over: "Jerry Colangelo and George Steinbrenner quietly made up when they ran into each other at a restaurant recently. 'Whatever issues they had over David Wells are completely resolved,' Arizona GM Joe Garagiola Jr. said. That's good to know. Because the Big Unit will be the answer come July."
2004-04-24T09:42:09.390-05:00Sherman suggested that the Yanks ultimately would use Contreras as a pawn to get the Big Unit. It is true that Jose has a 2.38 lifetime ERA against teams other than the Red Sawx, and that we managed to get Brown for Weaver and prospects who were said to have limitations in their games. But the failure of Contreras to nail down the number four spot in the rotation -- we weren't asking him to be an ace here -- could lead the Yanks to sacrifice some top talent. Arizona still has an axe to grind with Steinbrenner and supposedly asked for Nick Johnson and Soriano when Schilling was discussed this winter. Will they really deal the Unit for the Bronze Titan and a bag of balls? Or will Jose's failures cost us someone like Dioner Navarro, who, after a good spring, is hitting .194 with a .265 OBP, .226 SLG and 1 RBI?
2004-04-22T18:06:14.890-05:00None of the four prospects that the Yanks traded for Denny Neagle in 2000 -- Drew Henson, Ed Yarnall, Jackson Melian and Brian Reith -- has made much of a mark on a major-league roster. Neagle delivered seven wins, a 5.81 ERA and a train whistle without equal. We didn't lose much of anything ...
2004-04-22T15:44:55.123-05:00Javier pitched great last night, holding the White Sox to one run over eight innings despite not having his best fastball, according to Jorge Posada. His curve looked like it was working well though, and hitters looked fooled on more than a couple occasions. Posada, meanwhile, continued to support the Yankees with his seventh home run. This guy just seems to be getting better with age. It also looks like Sheffield is starting to come around. You can really see what people mean about his quick wrists. He pulled a low outside pitch into left field for a soft line drive single. By the way, that's a pitch that Soriano missed about 1,000 times in the playoffs last year. Today's Chicago Tribune reports that Sheffield almost retired after last season and that winning another World Series is the only thing keeping him going. He says that he is burned out and has to "find that fire for 162 games". Hopefully having him hanging around guys like Jeter, Posada, and Brown will renew the spark. But it's not exactly what you want to hear from your big free agent acquisition.
2004-04-21T08:30:07.653-05:00Following up on my last post ... Last night in Chicago, the Yankees showed why they are on the verge of completely busting out. They continued to work the opposing pitchers hard, drawing seven walks (against six strikeouts). The Yanks now have drawn 66 walks and have a 1.0 K/BB ratio on the season.
2004-04-21T08:15:45.890-05:00The Red Sox are not playing good baseball. Luckily for them, the Yankees barely played better than Bad News Bears baseball over the weekend. From atrocious hitting with RISP, to lackadaisical baserunning (see Jeter in a rare moment of slacking failing to make it to second on Sunday) to laughable fielding, it was an all around joke. What really bothered me the most, though, was the way all our pitchers threw to a bottom third of the order that looked more suited to Detroit than Boston. Names like Kapler, Bellhorn, Reese, and Crespo don't strike fear into anybody's hearts. So why then were the NY pitchers throwing to them with such care? Over the first three games, the 7-9 spots in Boston's order were walked 5 times. These are the guys that should be allowed to swing away. Kapler's career average of .270 leads the bunch, and he hasn't played regularly since 2000. The rest are below .250 lifetime. If you throw a fastball down the middle, chances are the worst that can happen is no worse than walking them.
2004-04-17T18:05:00.093-05:00Through 10 games, the Yanks led the major leagues in walks, and were the only team in the majors to have more walks than strikeouts (by a longshot -- the next closest K/BB ratio to the Yanks' 0.96 was Arizona's 1.26).
2004-04-15T07:51:27.123-05:00Not a whole lot going on right now except taxes. The season hardly feels like its begun, and for many of the Yankees, it seems it hasn't. Anemic averages and sleepwalking performances can be attributed mostly (we hope) to the strange Japan start, following lag, and rain and off days. And the Red Sox also appear to have fallen victim to the irregular pace of the season thus far. This weekend should obviously change all that with all the subtlty of a Drudge headline. I have to think that Francona's decision to skip over Pedro this weekend, even after Tuesday's rainout is due at least in part to his diminished velocity this year and an effort to keep Pedro out of the fire until he's more himself. At his best, Pedro has been confounded more often than not in trying to beat NY. After Game 7, you have to wonder about his psyche, a la BH Kim. On another note, I'm happy to see Javier pitch the first game. Let's see what he's made of right off the bat, hopefully give Boston another guy to worry about. We've only seen him once, but I've got a good feeling about him. Yes, I'm knocking on wood now.
2004-04-07T11:29:10.640-05:00Mussina became the first Yankee pitcher to ever drop consecutive decisions to Tampa Bay. Moose at times seems to lack confidence in his pitches and tries to get too fancy. This was the case last night, as his attempts at nailing that perfect pitch on the corner led to many unfavorable counts. The bullpen didn't fare much better, especially Quantrill, and it was just a tough game to watch. I am looking forward to watching Brown and the rest of the rotation pitch to hopefully remove the bad taste left from Mussina's first two outings. On a more positive note, the Yankees continued to work counts and had 8 walks and a HBP, only two of which led to runs. Generally I think we can expect more runs from so many free passes. Let's just hope that Moose settles down and Quantrill pitches like he did last year.
2004-03-31T09:22:14.623-05:00The Yanks certainly made the Tampa starters work during the two-game set in Japan. Victor Zambrano needed 117 pitches (61 balls) to make it through six innings on Tuesday. Today, Jeremi Gonzalez threw 98 pitches (60 balls) before leaving in the fifth; when you add in the next three relievers (Damian Moss needed 28 pitches to get two outs, Jorge Sosa 28 to get three, and Trever Miller 18 to get one), the Rays threw an incredible 172 pitches in 6 2/3 innings.
2004-03-30T11:13:48.060-05:00Well that was a spectacular start to the season. I got up early to watch some of the game, but of course Directv's MLB Extra Innings package didn't include the first game of the season. Just as well I suppose. Somebody is going to need to remind me of why, exactly, we chose to retain the services of Felix Heredia during the offseason. Isn't this the same guy who, in last year's postseason, seemed hellbent on losing every game he entered? While today's game was looking pretty bad by the time Mussina exited, Heredia couldn't have performed worse if he was blindfolded. The guy's got decent stuff. I just don't think he can do it in NY. Having said all that I hope he makes me eat these words, but I'm not betting on it.
2004-03-18T14:30:33.513-05:00Joe Sheehan revisits here the oft-argued concept of "clutch hitting" http://premium.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=2656 in his March 10 Baseball Prospectus column. He writes:
2004-03-05T16:43:19.420-05:00Chuck Knoblauch, Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez had the following strikeout/walk ratios during their respective Yankee careers:
2004-03-04T15:28:41.996-05:00With the exodus of Karim Garcia, Alfonso Soriano and Aaron Boone, we have lost the three worst hitters in our lineup at working pitchers, at least as measured in terms of strikeouts per walks. In 2003, Garcia struck out 3.7 times for every walk, Soriano whiffed 3.4 times for every free pass, and Boone's ratio stood (or sat, as in "Sit down!") at 2.3. Their performances in the postseason, of course, were ghastly, as Soriano's ratio swelled to an unforgivable 8.3 and Boone's to an otherworldly, but at least for a moment forgivable, 15.0.
2004-03-04T13:53:02.606-05:00Contreras and Lieber both threw without pain, which gets us throught the first mini-crisis of the year for this rotation--http://yesnetwork.com/team/index.cfm?cont_id=233522&page_type=wide. Note that Cashman mentions minor leaguers DePaula and Graman as alternatives should a starter go down but not Donovan Osborne. I'm guessing he has not impressed thus far..
2004-03-04T12:09:33.610-05:00So Bernie may be back for the Japanese opener http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/story/170142p-148536c.html. Even if he's not given the green light then, it seems safe to assume he'll be ready for the home opener. This is good news. With all the commotion this off season, he has been a forgotten piece of the puzzle. I, for one, think Bernie's production this year might yet be a large factor especially in light of what will likely be the beginning of the post-juice era for Sheff and Giambi. No I'm not saying they are guilty until proven innocent, as Ron Rapoport discusses here http://www.suntimes.com/output/rapoport/cst-spt-rap041.html, I'm just saying the facts in evidence right now don't look good.
2004-03-03T13:30:49.420-05:00March 2 (Bloomberg) -- The rivalry between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox is moving Major League’s Baseball’s season debut on Fox up by five weeks, and in weeknight prime time at that. The News Corp. network said it would telecast the first game of the season between the American League rivals from Boston’s Fenway Park on Friday, April 16, the first time Most Valuable Player Alex Rodriguez will play for the Yankees against the team that tried to acquire him last year. Fox last altered its baseball schedule in 1998, when it added a weeknight prime-time game to show Mark McGwire break Roger Maris’s record of 61 home runs in a season.
2004-03-03T10:30:22.326-05:00BTW, Blogger is not currently offering an upgrade from the free blog page, so for now I have to keep this generic format. As soon as it's available again, I will be upgrading to a spiffy new look. I'm told by Blogger that I'll be "pleased" with the new options they will be making available.
2004-03-03T10:17:32.483-05:00I admire those players speaking out against steroids (Turk Wendell, Denny Neagle, etc) and think those who are sticking their head in the sand look foolish. It's the latter type of player, the majority, who has tied the union's hands and prevented it from policing itself. Steroids ought to have been a priority for the union; they pose a threat to legitimate (read: clean) players and place pressure on more players to start juicing just to keep up. Instead an atmosphere of "don't ask don't tell" was fostered, and now we're here. To players like Cliff Floyd who (directed to Wendell) say that nobody knows what Bonds has done and that "Until you know it for sure, leave it alone", I say: this is the attitude that got us here. Look, I'm all for innocent until proven guilty, but Bonds, along with Giambi, Sheffield, etc. appeared before a grand jury to testify about steroids and BALCO. Bonds's trainer has been charged with distributing steroids. And as Andy Van Slyke said, "People do not gain 35 pounds of muscle in their late 30s without a little bit of help." Isn't it safe to start asking some questions, Cliff? Bonds's head went from normal to the size of huge bowling ball. How exactly did that happen? Look at Mcgwire's frame as a rookie compared with his body upon retirement. And he is reportedly much smaller now, "shrunken" I think is how one reporter put it.
2004-03-02T15:13:01.233-05:00Stark has one of the funnier articles he's written in a while here http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2004/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=1748433 about how there are actually other teams in the East other than the Yankees and Red Sox. One thing he throws out there is that the Yankees and Red Sox have a combined payroll of "one-third of a billion dollars". People say stuff like that just so they can work the word "billion" or "million" or whatever into the conversation. When is the last time you checked your pockets when somebody asked you if you had some cash on you and answered "one third of a hundred dollars". The correct answer, by the way, should be never. Other than that, Stark raises a valid point, namely, the Jays and O's are a lot better, and the D Ray's are just plain better. On the cheap, Riccardi added Hentgen, Lilly, and Batista to significantly solidify a rotation that is supported by one of baseball's most potent offenses that is young and figures to be even better this year. The O's added instant credibility with Javy Lopez, Tejada, and Rafael Palmeiro (overrated at this point--once he got those HR milestones in his head, he abandoned balanced hitting). These veterans were scooped up in a down market this year and will add to a core of young players including the legitimate Jay Gibbons and fleet-footed Jerry Hairston and Brian Roberts (both second basemen--one could possibly be traded). Their rotation is anchored by Sidney Ponson. Granted, it's a little shaky from there, but the rotation is young and you have to figure will improve somewhat--toss in the leadership of Javy Lopez having caught some of the game's best in Atlanta, and you are looking at an improved O's team. The Devil Rays managed 6 wins against the Sox and 5 against the Yankees last year. 13 of their losses to NY and Boston were by 1 or 2 runs, and most were 1 run losses. My point is that Tampa hangs tough against the Yankees and Red Sox, and if their young nucleus of solid outfielders/dh (Aubrey Huff) can continue to improve and steal a couple of those close games this year, the AL East just might beat itself up and allow the AL wild card to come from outside the division, despite all the talk of the Yankees and Red Sox.
2004-03-02T13:47:12.293-05:00Ok, so we have yet to play a spring training game and we are currently without 60% of our rotation with Mussina away because of his father in-law's death, Lieber still nursing the groin injury, and Conteras with his stiff back http://yesnetwork.com/team/index.cfm?cont_id=233013&page_type=wide. Man we love those pitchers with back problems, huh? Barring a deal for another pitcher, or the signing of a free agent (the most likely being El Duque, but the front office's reaction to him has been luke warm, at best. That may have changed given Lieber's tentative recovery and Conteras's condition.) we are looking at a rotation this minute of Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, Jorge De Paula, and Donovan Osborne. Of course Mussina will be back, so you can pencil him in as the ace, but the back end is pretty suspect. De Paula looked good in his start last year, and Torre seems to be impressed. Osborne says he's feeling great with no arm problems in the past few years. Hopefully these guys will be positive contributors this year, as you know there will be health issues in this rotation, but you really don't want to be talking about them this early in the year.
2004-03-02T11:40:38.530-05:00I guess it would be a good idea to introduce myself and my fellow authors. My name is Ben Erichsen and I am a 28 year old, slightly fanatic follower of the Yankees. I am from Boston--was born and raised there. Natick, MA to be precise. During the 80's it was a little rough, but look who's laughing now. I went to school in upstate NY, at a small school named Hamilton College, moved to Miami Beach for five years during which time I learned to daytrade. I moved to Wilmington, NC one year ago and have been here since, trading from home. My only qualifications for commenting on the Yankees are an inordinate amount of time spent following them and a few English classes attended sporadically throughout college . I'll let my father, David, and friend Jason introduce themselves when they feel like getting around to it.
2004-03-02T10:45:04.043-05:00It looks like the cat is finally out of the bag http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=1748786 with Bonds, Giambi, and Sheffield looking increasingly guilty of steroid use. In my mind, there wasn't ever much doubt about Bonds at all. Giambi coming to camp so much thinner this year certainly raised eyebrows as well. Benito Santiago was also named in this article. As I had him on my fantasy team last year, I watched a few of his AB's when I happened to catch them. I remember thinking that his arms looked a lot more jacked than the last time I had really looked at him. Small wonder. But I think I speak for all NY fans everywhere when I say that Velarde's mention in this article is crushing. I guess we should have known those power numbers were too good to be true.
2004-03-01T18:04:55.153-05:00SoSH stands for Sons of Sam Horn--a Red Sox fan site (www.sonsofsamhorn.com) basically comprised of a group of message boards with a variety of threads touching on any number of topics affecting Red Sox Nation. I check this site frequently after I've exhausted other Yankee resources on the net. I do this for a few reasons. 1) It gives me some perspective on what "the enemy" has to say about the Bombers--always interesting. Since the Yanks figure prominently on the RSN radar, there are a variety of threads dedicated to various NYY happenings, or, at SoSH, "MFY" happenings. Use your imagination on the "MF" part. The last few weeks have seen a quite a bit of activity, naturally. 2) There are at least a couple RSN celebs who post, which I think is pretty cool. One is none other than Curt Schilling, who posts as Gehrig38--combination of his son's name (wonder how that sits in RSN) and his uni number. The fact that he is willing to "mingle" with the fans, patiently answering questions and expounding on his feelings toward Questec, among other things, is definitely a sign of how the web can be used to make ballplayers more accessible to their fans, while still doing it at their own leisure, on their own terms, and with safety. I hope more players follow suit. The other is TSG, The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, ESPN and Jimmy Kimmel funnyman and shameless Boston fan. The guy is really funny. If you don't know of his ESPN.com page 2 http://msn.espn.go.com/page2/index.html column, than I have no idea how you stumbled across this page first. 3) The final reason is that Sox fans may just be the second most knowledgeable in the game, so getting their take is interesting. Which brings me to my point here: as a result of Bernie's appendectomy, a thread was started on SoSH. To their credit, most Sox fans wished him well (none wished him dead either). However, the general take is that it didn't matter much since Bernie's offense has been in steady decline, and the SoSH founder actually said his offensive output was about equal to Lofton's. Because I like to do things backwards, let's dissect that last comment first. The last year that Lofton did anything remotely on par with Bernie William's performance was 1997--he hit .333 with a .409 OBP and stole 27 bases (but was caught 20 times so I think you can toss out the SB benefit). Of course there was no power--only 5 HR's. Even last year, Bernie played hurt a bit, missed a lot of time, came back too fast, and still posted higher slugging and on base %'s than Lofton. Unless Bernie is unable to recover from his injury, a presumption I certainly wouldn't bet on having had the same injury before and suffering from it as we speak in the other knee (it's not that serious a procedure--you just can't play with it til you get it fixed), there is no basis in reality for a Lofton-Bernie comparison. The other thought--that Bernie is a player in decline, is also not supported by the facts. Barring last year's injury marred stats (and remember Williams had started the year hotter than any other in his career before the injury) he has 7 straight years of an OPS above .900. In 2002 he hit .333. His power numbers dropped off a bit that year from the previous few, but I'll take a switch-hitting CF with a .900+ OPS any day. Bottom line, as long as we see a typical Bernie season (and I think we will given how determined he's purportedly been working to keep his CF job[...]
2004-03-01T13:41:48.716-05:00For those that aren't aware of it and are in need of Yankee updates more frequent than the daily dose of articles from ESPN's insider roundup of the nation's finest papers, the Yes Network's Chris Corbellini has a blog which is akin to a running diary from Tampa detailing his various experiences during Spring Training. Some interesting stuff from a cafeteria run-in with the newly (and likely temporarily) jovial Boss to an account of Warren Sapp's visit to Legends field. Check him out at www.yesnetwork.com.