Dec 31, 2007

Look for my piece at Lohud

on Friday, January 18. I've been assigned that day to write an original piece and to pimp my blog. Now to choose a topic...

Dec 29, 2007

I was against playing the starters all 60 minutes

in tonight's Giants-Pats matchup and what happens? We lose three starters: Kawika Mitchell, Sam Madison and Shaun O'Hara. That really improves our chances next week in Tampa.

As for the match, oh boy, there's a lot to say. I'm proud of the Giants - despite a number of injuries, poor calls and stupid play calling, they came within three points (38-35) of beating the Pats.
two huge borderline penalties went against the Giants: Corey Webster's 'illegal contact' on 3rd and long in the first (in which a sack of Tom Brady was negated), and the pass interference call on Gerris Wilkinson in the end zone. Webster did nothing you don't see on every play in the NFL; the same with Wilkinson who was penalized only because his head was turned the wrong way. As is with the Pats MO, both drives were kept alive by penalties which eventually ended in touchdowns. I don't like to make excuses but I have no doubt that if not for those calls, the Giants win the match. The refs also missed a Patriot trying to poke Brandon Jacobs in the eye! - on what is normally a 15-yard 'unsportsmanlike conduct' penalty (and possible ejection), no call was made.
I was against playing the starters more than one half but Tom Coughlin played them all 60 minutes (although he would've been killed if he had played the backups in the second half, especially entering with a lead). Three starters went down and it's TBA if they'll be available in the playoffs. Are the Giants not the most injured team every single year?
Eli, Eli, Eli - a killer interception in the fourth when the Giants were still down just three. The Jints can win a Superbowl with Eli, he just won't carry them there.
Ahmad Bradshaw was sorely missed. His explosiveness could have been the difference - not just by his addition would the team be better, but the subtraction of Reuben Droughns would help too: that guy has no business in the NFL anymore.
The Pats have a tremendous offense but a rather lacking defense. They're vulnerable in the playoffs and compared to how the Colts have played the last five or so weeks, I wouldn't want to play them if I was Bill Belichick.
Overall, I was proud of the G-Men and actually feel confident going into the playoffs. It was evident watching tonight's match that the Giants have the ability to beat any team in football - it's really just a question of injuries and Eli.

Catching up

Been busy with holiday stuff for a while and since nothing really's been happening anywhere in baseball, there hasn't been much to write about - but here's what I've missed:

- Baseball America, the prospect bible, published its Top 10 Yankee prospect list. Joba, Ajax and Tabata topped the list while Kennedy somehow fell to fourth. Six through 10 is a strange melange of players that seem to fit two completely different methods of evaluating prospects.

- Jimmy Leyritz, one of my favorite Yankees growing up, was arrested for DUI after he hit a car running a red light - a woman driving the other car was killed. A tragic story for sure, and while lessening Jim's stature in my mind, ultimately not that surprising - the dude always seemed like a hard-drinking, reckless kind of guy (just as if the same happened to David Wells - would anyone be that surprised? Unfortunately, no.).

- The Yanks and Sawx only seem to remain 'in talks' for Santana merely to drive up the price for the other. If the Yanks ever said they were completely pulling out, the Sawx would gain a ton of leverage and could conceivably lower their offer and still acquire Santana.

- Robbie Cano was pulled from Dominican Winter Baseball at the request of the Yanks front office, apparently due to a calf strain. But some conspiracy theorists believe it could be in preparation for a trade... very doubtful.

- I'll be posting a piece on Lohud sometime in January so look for it.

Dec 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

and a belated Happy Hanukkah!

- Apparently the Yankee Trio will be competing for two spots, after Wang, Pettitte and Moose. What they're going to do with the loser I don't know, but it might be more beneficial to have them start in Scranton (where they can build up arm strength and hone their arsenal) rather than relieve in New York. Overall I don't like this idea because it guarantees a start for Moose every time through the rotation. Not to sound pretentious, but my idea from the other day is better - it keeps the Trio in the ML rotation (where the experience will far outweigh that of relieving or starting in Scranton), but limits their innings (for health reasons) and Moose's innings (for quality reasons).

The Giants went AWOL in the first quarter

but outscored Buffalo 38-7 after that. This was Ahmad Bradshaw's breakout game (his 88-yard TD run was the longest in the NFL this year!) - he finally got a chance to show his immense talent when Brandon Jacobs sprained his ankle. If it was a coaching decision I would have asked, 'What took so long?', but it wasn't so I can't even give them credit for it. This will hopefully vault the Giants into a tandem RB system where Bradshaw shares carries with Jacobs.
Sportsline sums up my thoughts well in a non-typical article based on tonight's game. Best part:

There is no way to sugar-coat this one: Manning stunk, though he was handicapped by the elements.

Nevertheless, it's hard to escape the facts, and the facts are these: In his last five starts Manning completed 45 percent of his passes, with five touchdowns and eight interceptions. OK, so he's 3-2, but let's be honest here: The Giants won Sunday in spite of him.

They won because Jacobs and Bradshaw combined for 296 yards rushing. They won because linebacker Kawika Mitchell and cornerback Corey Webster returned second-half interceptions for touchdowns. They won because their defense allowed 118 yards on Buffalo's last 14 possessions after surrendering 126 on the Bills' first two.

They did not win because of Manning.

Dec 22, 2007

Joba back to starting?

Seems so, according to Kat O'Brien. What I think the Yanks will (and should) do is use a 5.5-man rotation using Joba and Hughes sparingly to limit their innings. Moose would be used too on their 'off' rotations while the 'off' man would be used in one or two relief appearances. Assuming Hughes and Joba have limitations of about 150 innings and Kennedy 190, let's look at the first month of the season -

March 31 - Wang
April 1 - Off day
4/2 - Pettitte
4/3 - Hughes
4/4 - Joba
4/5 - Kennedy
4/6 - Wang
4/7 - Pettitte
4/8 - Hughes
4/9 - Moose
4/10 - Kennedy
4/11 - Wang
4/12 - Pettitte
4/13 - Joba
4/14 - Moose
4/15 - Kennedy
4/16 - Wang
4/17 - Pettitte
4/18 - Hughes
4/19 - Moose
4/20 - Kennedy
Off day
4/22 - Wang
4/23 - Pettitte
4/24 - Hughes
4/25 - Joba
4/26 - Kennedy
4/27 - Wang
4/28 - Pettitte
4/29 - Moose
4/30 - Joba
5/1 - Kennedy

So through one month, Wang, Pettitte have made six starts, Kennedy five, and Moose, Hughes and Joba have made four apiece. If we assume six innings per start, this type of rotation puts Wang and Pettitte at 216 innings apiece, Kennedy at 180, and Moose, Joba and Hughes at 144 apiece. Works out beautifully.*

*Disclaimer: in no way does this account for injuries.

(Again, thanks to the ever timely RAB.)

Santana unlikely

- Good news according to Kat O'Brien - the Yanks are not likely to deal for Johan Santana.

- Reportedly, Joba will begin 2008 in the bullpen. Two words for that idea: huge mistake! I have to believe Cash is too smart to do this - after all, Olney's source is completely unidentified. (Saw link on RAB.)

- The Viz signed with Colorado. Hello supplemental draft pick (which turned into Joba in 2006).

Dec 20, 2007

Great news

Mark Newman, Senior VP of Baseball Operations, said that Mark Melancon and JB Cox will be ready to pitch by opening day and likely start in Tampa (to avoid cold weather and shake off the rust against weaker hitters). Sanchez's return will be delayed a bit longer. He also said any Triple-A starter will be looked at as potential ML relievers.

If not for the Steinbrenners, fans (and the media) would realize how intelligent the Yankee organization really is.

- More great news from the entertainment world: Peter Jackson will produce two films based on The Hobbit. No word on whether he'll direct too. They wont hit theaters until 2010 at the earliest.

Dec 19, 2007

No surprise, the Yanks raise ticket prices

First off, the Yanks are scheduled to close the season out on the road. This will be the last year at the Stadium. Does anyone in MLB have a brain?

Now on to my feelings on higher prices:

Attendance and expenses rise every year so it's hard to blame MLB clubs for raising prices. That said, it’s really unfortunate, but each year I’ve been going to less and less games - the hassle of getting there (either by car or subway (and especially now living in Philly)) with 50,000 other people, paying $5 for a dog, $8 for a beer (although I generally bring my own food, even sneaking in alcohol), sitting through the endless and intrusive music/commercials/canned ‘make-some-noise’ PA coercions (the sports equivalent of talk-show 'Applause' signs - and I can't tell you how many times those have killed real, organic fan chants), possibly sitting through rain delays (I have a knack for those) or weather ranging from boiling hot to freezing cold, to then the hassle of getting out of there with the same 50,000 people. Oh, and dropping anywhere from $10 to $150 per ticket. Perhaps I come off like an asshole but I far more enjoy sitting home on my comfy couch with a cold beer/soda, getting dinner delivered, and watching the game in HD on my DVR (where I fastforward through all the commercials) and saving that money. You see the game better on TV anyway and get the benefit of replays.

I’m sure though they’ll get 4 million+ fans yet again, but at some point the prices will get too high and sports stadiums will be filled entirely with luxury boxes while average fans like you and me watch from home. As you can tell from the paragraph above, I'm not crying about it, but it will suck to watch games on TV with no fans - strange to think about.

Non-sport related: the 15 richest fictional characters.

Dec 17, 2007

The most pathetic game I ever saw

Even when Eli did happen to make a good throw it was dropped. Another NFL game where it wasn't the best team that won but merely the less worse team. The Redskins certainly didn't play great, but it was definitely not as pathetic as the Jints. The worst 9-5 team ever? I don't know but probably the worst I've ever seen.

Oh, right - Jeremy Shockey's out for the year too...

Dec 16, 2007

Good discussion on Alan Horne

happening over at John Sickels' website. He also just posted his Top 20 Yankee Prospect List.

Also, the new poll is up. What's your take?

Poll closed

According to you, Arod was the most important player for the Yankees to re-sign (48%). Hard to argue with that - the reigning (thrice awarded) MVP, 'best player in baseball' and eventual home run king.

Pettitte came in second (21%) - the rotation needed a lefty and a certified 200+ innings. The only other available pitchers to fit that role are Johan Santana and Erik Bedard, both of which would require a boatload of young talent to acquire.

Rivera and Posada rounded out the poll - my vote went to Rivera because the bullpen is our weakest area right now (although Cash has done a decent job patching it), and without him we would not have a reliable closer (Farnsworth is the closest thing!). It would probably require overpaying for Francisco Cordero (in terms of money) or Huston Street (in terms of prospects) or moving Joba into the closer role which would have long term adverse consequences: he wouldn't continue improving his curve and changeup and his innings would drop to about 70 (both making a transition back to starter that much more difficult), we would lose a quality starter (perhaps forcing Moose into the rotation or an expensive trade for Santana), and last but not least would be a waste of Joba's immense talent. That being said, three years, $45 million for Mo is way too much but it had to be done for the short and long term success of the team.

Posada isn't someone to sneeze at either. A catcher who hits like he does is extremely valuable. And who would take over if he re-signed elsewhere? Jose Molina (64 OPS+) or Paul Lo Duca (99 OPS+) - both over 30 as the everyday catcher? Frankie Cervelli from Tampa (.274/.375/.388 career in the minors)? P.J. Pilittere from Trenton (with an even worse .266/.322/.360 career minor league line)? Posada has a 124 OPS+ in the majors. Huge difference.

Really, all of these guys were important to re-sign so choosing one over the other is nitpicking. But Arod is the youngest with the highest (and most likely to reach) upside. Thanks for voting and look for a new poll later today.

Pettitte admits to HGH

He used it 'for two days' in 2002 to speed recovery from an elbow injury.

I'm still disappointed in Andy but can understand wanting to heal as fast as possible. It's not on the same level as Bonds, Sosa, Clemens (allegedly) and McGwire, but it ain't exemplary either.

The real question is whether Andy would have done so if it weren't for Roger...
(hmmm, sounds like a poll).

Dec 15, 2007

More Phil

It was really a crime that Hughes missed three months of the 2007 season. Not only did it rob him of three months of developing and adjusting to ML hitters, but it will likely prevent him from pitching 200 innings until 2010 at the earliest. He pitched 111 innings this year - going by the 'rule of 30', he'll pitch about 140 in 2008, 170 in 2009 and finally 200 in 2010. Of course, this is all subject to injuries and how efficient Hughes pitches, e.g. if he hits 140 in 2008 with relative ease (in terms of pitches/inning) he could be extended past it.

Watching some of his minor and major league starts tonight, it was apparent that Hughes made it tough for players to hit him. In other words, when hitters did make contact it seemed like very weak contact. Was this statistically true?

- Hughes ranked 5th in the AL in BABIP (batting average on balls in play) in 2007 (for starters who pitched at least 70 innings). His babip was .271, better than Johan Santana, and better than any other Yankee starter.

- He ranked 13th in the AL in OPS+ at 83. Again, better than any other Yankee starter - just ahead of Wang and just behind Johan Santana.

- He also excelled in BAA (batting average against), ranking 7th in the AL (.235), ahead of Vazquez and Beckett and behind Verlander and Santana.

Pitchers and catchers report in exactly two months! Can you tell I miss baseball?

Dec 13, 2007

Mitchell Report

- The two main sources for Senator Mitchell's report were a Mets clubhouse attendant and a Yankees trainer. They were both threatened with jail time. No wonder the list has a lot of former and current New York players. If the sources worked in LA or Chicago or Boston, I'm sure many of those city's players would be named.

- George Mitchell is a director for the Boston Red Sawx (and has been since 2002). Not one current Sawx player is named. Coincidence? Imagine naming your co-workers/employees 'cheaters', then walking in Monday morning: "Hey fellas, how was your weekend?" I know I couldn't do that. Why couldn't Bud Selig find an investigator for such a major case that didn't have a clear conflict of interest?

- I'm disappointed that Andy Pettitte was named. Clemens and Giambi were expected, but not Andy. The report states he took HGH (human growth hormone) in 2002 to speed up his elbow rehab. Not as bad as Clemens' use of it, but still disappointing.

- Since one of the main sources was a Yankee trainer, it probably means that those not named are clean - I think that's a fair assumption. Good news for Derek, Jorge, Arod, Cone, O'Neill, Mo, etc.

- George Mitchell did not have any real power in this investigation. The player's union did not want any players talking to him and he didn't have any subpoena power. That's why he had to go through other 'sources' like the former Mets and Yankees employees.

- All together, it should be taken with a large grain of salt. Some players were linked merely by hearsay, and some by former employees threatened with jail time - a lot of circumstantial evidence like checks and phone records. I doubt this would stand up in court. Elsewise, just because a player wasn't named doesn't mean they didn't juice (ahem, Boston). Outside of the Yanks and Mets (whose employees provided the two main sources), most every player is still a suspect. For all the money and time spent on this investigation, Rafael Palmeiro and Mark McGwire weren't named. What does that tell you about it's definitiveness? It's a shame if those not named are somehow seen as 'beacons of integrity' or some shit.

- ESPN showed a montage of Roger Clemens during their Mitchell Report special. It included only shots with the Yanks - what happened to his time with Boston, Toronto and Houston?

- Since most Yankee steroid use didn't begin until 2001, Mark Feinsand says it doesn't tarnish the Dynasty years.

- Oh, and the Yanks and Arod finalized his 10-year deal. He'll make a base of $275 million and as much as $305 million with home run based incentives.

Update 7:19 pm
For what it's worth, David Justice (named as a user in the report) strongly denied using any illegal substances (on the YES Network's Yankee Hot Stove program).

Dec 11, 2007

Santana deal still alive

And our Fearless Leader's resolve takes another hit (if that's possible). Apparently Phil Hughes is still part of the deal. *sigh*

- Carl Pavano is being a prick - even more so than usual.

Dec 9, 2007

LaTroy Hawkins?

Is he the best Cashman can do? Apparently, as the Yanks are close to signing him to a one-year, $3.75 million deal. The cons are that Hawkins is nothing special - literally, he has a career 101 ERA+, 1.47 whip and just 5.9 k/9. To top it off, he has high ERAs against every AL East team.

The pros include a groundball inducer (8th in MLB in '07) and a short-term deal. Also, his career ERA+ is a bit misleading - it's skewed by some horrible early years; since his age 27 season, he's had just one below average ERA+.

Update 9:35
It's official.

Dec 8, 2007

A few things

- the Yanks made an offer to Baltimore for southpaw Erik Bedard, who's coming off a career year: 182 ip, 3.16 era, 1.09 whip, 221 Ks. No mention is made of what the offer is, but after all the hullabaloo (first time I've ever used that word) of nearly trading Phil Hughes, he's unlikely part of this deal (for a lesser pitcher than Santana). Since Bedard has never surpassed 200 innings, they should be very careful pursuing him, especially since Baltimore is a division rival and any players they get in return can hurt us 19 times a year. If I had to guess, the offer is something akin to Kennedy, Melky and a mid-level prospect like Jeff Marquez.

- two Latin players were signed recently and the initial scouting reports on them are very promising. From's Minor League forum:

"1B, Raymond Nunez - (Just turned) 17-year old first baseman, bats and throws right-handed. 6-foot-2, 210 pounds. Apparently he's a big kid, reportedly has more power than Kelvin De Leon and a smidge less than Montero - somewhere around 75 power on the 20-80 scout's scale from what I'm told.

Reportedly he's a great defensive first baseman and has a really good eye at the plate. He apparently played in a handful of Dominican Instructs games (after I left obviously) and hit a home run, four doubles, and never struck out. The Yankees signed him for "six figures". I couldn't get an exact figure.

RHP, Harold Garce - 22 years old, from the Dominican Republic, 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds. I know, 22, right? Get this though, apparently he was hitting 98-99 MPH during his tryout!!!

He was a low dollar sign but he's quite projectable. He's never been coached, he's very crude mechanically, but he shows a pretty good curveball already, and he was sitting 95 MPH in the couple of Dominican Instructs games he pitched towards the end.

Imagine how good he could be once Nardi gets a hold of him."

Dec 7, 2007

The 2008 Pen

The biggest problem now facing the 2008 Yankees is the state of the bullpen. They'll likely have 6 starter-types:
(probably in that order)

That's basically set. However, when one looks at the pen, it's much less clear. We know it'll start with Mo and Farnsworth. Assuming 13 total pitchers, that leaves 5 spots open. Here are the immediate candidates:

A lot of guys with good stuff but little production. IF Edwar commands his fastball, he could be a dominant reliever. IF Ohlendorf commands all his stuff, he could be a very good reliever. Same thing with Veras, Bruney, Henn and Beam. Britton is what he is, a solid at best reliever. Outside of Edwar, they're all fastball/slider pitchers (not that that's atypical of relievers). The guys I see having the most potential impact are Edwar, Ohlendorf and Albaladejo (herein referred to as Alby). I really liked what I saw of Ohlendorf in limited action this year, and even Edwar looked dominant at times. Ohlie can hit 98 mph on the gun and has a live, sharp slider. The reason I believe in Edwar is his sick K rate (11.1 k/9 in the minors) - he just has to get ahead of hitters to use his changeup, and that means improving his fastball command. Having watched several of Alby's outings (on, I'm actually the most confident in him (out of this group) having a solid, consistent year. The rest of these guys have shaky control but Alby is by far the best in this area (1.73 bb/9 in 500+ minor league innings) and even a decent K rate (7.4 k/9) - he pitched great in limited time with Washington this year (14.1 ip, 7 h, 2 bb, 12 k). His size, stuff and control should make him a very effective reliever. His ceiling as I see it is a good 8th inning guy.

Here are the potential 2008 relief candidates:

The most promise lies with this quintet. Sanchez, Whelan and Melancon have closer-type stuff. However, Sanchez, Melancon and Cox are coming off serious injuries and may not make an impact at all in the Bronx in 2008. It depends on how much their stuff and control come back. If not for their injuries, they might've seen time with the big club this year. Melancon, 22, has a slightly higher ceiling than Sanchez but is further away - he last pitched for short-season Staten Island in 2006 while Sanchez, 24, pitched for Triple-A Toledo in '06. After rehab stints, these pitchers (excluding Melancon) will be pitching in Scranton by mid-season and therefore have the possibility to make the short drive to the Bronx anytime after the break. Melancon has the furthest to go (having pitched just 7 minor league innings) but has already completed some rehab work in the D.R. He'll likely start in High-A Tampa with the Yanks looking to promote him quickly. If we're lucky, he'll have a Joba-esque rise and be in the pen by August. You shouldn't expect it though.

Whelan also has a tremendous ceiling but has been plagued by control problems. He has sick power numbers: 4.75 hits/9, .34 HR/9, 11.6 k/9, but his bb/9 is very high at 5.14. If that comes down to a respectable level (below 3), he also could be a dominant reliever. Cox and Patterson have the lowest ceilings but could still be solid ML relievers. Cox was the closer for U-Texas and has put up good minor league stats in two seasons. Patterson is old, 28, but has also put up good stats despite being a 1 1/2 pitch pitcher (fastball and little else). But because he's 6'7" and has an extreme overhand delivery, the fastball looks like it's coming out of the sky (despite low 90s speed). He's the fringiest of this group - will he be able to get by with a great fastball without much else? Doubtful, but maybe he improves one of his secondary pitches. If he even had an average breaking ball, he could be another solid reliever.

And here are the 2008 conversion candidates - as in these guys will enter 2008 as minor league starters but based on need could see time in the Bronx pen:

This is basically Scranton's 2008 opening day rotation. As there are 8 names listed, several will be either converted to full time relievers, traded or used as tandem pitchers (meaning they'll enter in the 5th or 6th innings of games and close them out - basically a long reliever with a set schedule). Horne has easily the highest ceiling of this group - he won the Eastern League's Pitcher of the Year in '07 and has been described by at least one expert as 'Joba-lite'. In terms of stuff, Marquez and White are about even with Igawa behind them (hey, he does have good stuff but can't locate it for his life), followed by the rest as a mish-mosh of AAAA talent. Wright and Igawa actually have the best chance to be the first among this group to crack the majors - they're southpaws who already have ML experience (despite sucking).

Trade/Free Agent options include:
Ron Mahay
Damaso Marte
Luis Vizcaino

Marte is far and away the best of the bunch, but being under contract with Pittsburgh, he will have to be traded for. He dominates lefties (.571 ops) and has more strikeouts than innings - he also has the lowest whip and best ERA+ of this trio. Mahay and Vizcaino are free agents, but since the Viz will net an extra draft pick for us, let him sign elsewhere and go after Mahay. He's old (36), but would be slightly more helpful than the Viz. How much in terms of players would it cost for Marte? How about a boatload of AAAA pitchers, e.g. DeSalvo, Rasner, Karstens, Wright? Pittsburgh could always use cheap starters, and that's what they are - they might even succeed (a little) in the NL.

So there you have it. All the options. The five available pen spots will mostly be decided by Spring Training performances, but seeing as injuries and general suckiness will ensue, the pen will be much different in the second half. The following are my predictions (excluding non-current Yankees) for first and second half bullpens (not my personal choices):
Early in the year -

That is ugly. It would look a lot better with Marte in the mix. Edwar and Ohlie will spend some time in Scranton fine-tuning. When the front office feels they're more ready, they'll be the first to get call-ups with Rasner and Henn likely going down (Bruney too if he can't throw strikes). The second half pen looks far better:

Much better. Of course, if Marte or Mahay are acquired, they would replace one of those bottom five guys.

(I swear I wrote the gist of this piece before reading RLYW's article.)

Dec 6, 2007

Lincecum for a 'good bat' part II

Tim Lincecum is on the block, and the Giants are thinking about trading him to Toronto for Alex Rios. If San Fran's willing to do that, let's one up them. Since the Yanks are talking about trading Hideki Matsui to the Giants*, would Matsui, Ajax, Horne and Agon be enough to net Lincecum? Even though we'd be giving up a lot (starting LF/DH, best CF prospect, high ceiling power pitcher and slick fielding shortstop), I'd make that trade in a second. Despite Lincecum's small stature (5'10", 155 lbs.), funky delivery and large workload, at worst he would be a great set-up man (ala 2007 Joba). He even wears Matsui's number (55) so it would be an easy uniform swap.

*3:45 p.m., from Jayson Stark
A source says the Giants did call the Yankees about Hideki Matsui. They're offering their starting pitchers (Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain or Noah Lowry) for bats, but they are just exploring to see if there is a match. Matsui has a full no-trade clause, and it isn't known whether he would waive it to go to San Francisco or anywhere else.
But Pete Abe says that Matsui would waive his no-trade clause if the Yankees asked.

Dec 5, 2007

Yanks are out

Of the Santana and Haren deals. "At this point, Steinbrenner is pretty happy with his team." So am I (outside of the bullpen, which I'll discuss tomorrow).

Dec 4, 2007

Santana to the Sawx?

via BPro, for Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, Ryan Kalish and 'a centerfielder.' Unless the CFer is Ellsbury, this is a steal for Boston. Sucks.

Hopefully Anaheim swoops in and steals him.

Not related to the Yanks but this is major baseball news - apparently the Tigers and Marlins are nearing a blockbuster eight player deal including Miguel Cabrera and D-Train going to Detroit and Cam Maybin and Andrew Miller (and others) to Florida. (I wouldn't mind that move at all. Cabrera's a great hitter but Dontrelle in the AL could suck - Miller and Maybin are stars in the making.)

Done. Wow! Happened so fast. This is how most trades go down - not the insanity of the Yanks and Sawx going for the same guy.

Deal off, for now

- Santana could fall into Boston's lap.

- The Yanks may now go after Dan Haren. Shoot me please.

- But I wouldn't be totally averse to trading for Miggy Cabrera to play 1b. What about Kennedy, Melky, Horne and Ajax/Tabata? Knowing how much Florida wants though, that would never happen.

- Had time to watch some of Albaladejo (heard it pronounced both Alba-la-dayo and Alba-la-day-ho). Thoughts posted soon...
--> Has a nice, easily repeatable delivery similar to San Diego's Chris Young. A fastball with very good movement and command, 89-93. Two breaking balls: a hard slider that he commands well, 78-83, a sharp curve with slightly inferior command, 72-76, and an average (at best) changeup (84 mph). Overall, I like him a lot - great control, good command, very good size and decent stuff equals a solid middle/late reliever. Actually, he's similar to Chris Britton in size and repertoire but better.

Dec 3, 2007

Pettitte returns on a big day

Andy Pettitte will return to the 2008 Yankees! Way to go Andy - we really needed you more in 2008 than any other year. Now we're not in dire need of a southpaw starter - did you hear that, Hank? Pull the Hughes offer. Put in the original offer of Kennedy, Melky and a good minor-leaguer.

Pettitte must have been well aware of the Johan Santana discussions, knowing the Yanks had serious questions about their rotation and the need for a lefty.

10:25 and still no word on the Santana deal.

The Yanks and Twins are meeting tonight.

Considering all the wrong predictions I've made, it just feels like the trade is going to happen. >:(

Still no deal. The Twins again asked for Hughes, Melky
and Kennedy. The Yanks are threatening to pull out but it could just be posturing...

A Sawx official said the Yanks were 'very close' to landing Santana...

The Yanks traded Ty Clippard to the Nats for 25-year-old reliever Jon Albaladejo. Good trade for the Nats as Clip could immediately contend for a rotation spot. Albaladejo has a great minor league k/bb and bb rate (his groundball rate is also good). He dominated in 14 major league innings in September. There's definitely more upside for the Nats here, but Clip was never going to have a spot in the Bronx rotation.

They're still talking, and while the Twins have backed off Kennedy, they now want Horne AND Ajax in addition to Hughes and Melky. No f'in way, but I don't like that they're still talking. What happened to the deadline?

One last link - no progress on anything. Hopefully Minnesota realizes it's in their best interest to keep their top pitcher.

Quite a deadline from our fearless leader Hank Steinbrenner: "We'll sleep on it."

A few quick things

- Boston may include Clay Buchholz in their offer for Johan Santana. If their offer was Buchholz, Jed Lowrie and Coco Crisp, I would do it if I was Minnesota. It's better than Hughes, Melky and a 'B' prospect. Hughes is the best of those six, but Buchholz ain't far behind, Lowrie is a solid infield prospect, and Crisp hits the same as Melky (currently) does (but costs a lot more).

- Little Stein is giving the Twins until Tuesday to take their offer for Santana or it'll be withdrawn. Of course, Yankee ultimatums this off-season haven't exactly gone as planned...

- BPro does not think Minnesota will accept the deal. Even if it does fall through, I expect it to be re-ignited later in the off-season.

- A recap of the Yanks off-season (so far).

- The Giants pulled out a win somehow today while I was at the Devils game - my wife and in-laws are huge fans. When I watch the replay (Tuesday night) I'll comment on it.

Thanks to RAB for some of the links.

Dec 2, 2007

No f'in way

This might be a dealbreaker. The Twins are insisting on Ian Kennedy as the third player in the Santana deal - so it would be Hughes, Melky and Kennedy. Hank Steinbrenner might be stupid, but he ain't this fucking stupid. I'm hoping this kills the deal...

Dear Mr. Cashman

I'll try to be brief.
Please don't succumb to the media pressure to trade Phil Hughes to land Johan Santana. Contrary to the opinions you might be reading in the newspapers, the Yanks do NOT NEED Santana. It would be nice, but not worth giving up a potential #1 ace-type guy for.

I'm sure you know all the reasons: Santana's decline over the last few years (and during 2007's latter half), Hughes' resurgence in September and October when he became the Yanks best pitcher, not to mention all the cost controlled years of Hughes that would be thrown away vs. having to sign Santana to a long, lucrative extension. Also, Dave Eiland was just promoted to pitching coach - if not to help out the youngsters, why even do it?

Myself and a large majority of Yankee fans I'm in touch with feel the same way. Kennedy, Melky, Ajax, sure. Replace Kennedy with Hughes? No way. Kennedy should be a solid #3/4 pitcher in the Bigs but doesn't project much higher. Hughes projects to be that frontline, ace starter that every team covets. Again, he's on his way up (he was a league average pitcher as a 21-year-old - the youngest in all MLB in '07) while Santana is on his way down.

If Boston gets Santana, so be it. They'll probably have to give up a boatload of talent to do it, and while their 2008 rotation would be very strong, I prefer to hold onto the guy who will be strong for the next 10-15 years instead of the next 5 (while costing $100 million less). Why is Clay Buchholz deemed 'untouchable' yet Hughes, who projects better (better fb, better size, younger, better minor league stats) is not?

One last thing, on a personal note, it's far more fun for us fans to root for homegrown Yankees than for the latest 'veteran star' that was acquired via trade or free agency. Anyway, I hope you feel the same way and won't pull the trigger on the proposed deal with Hughes in it.

Thank you for your time,
Travis G.