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Monthly Archives: July 2011

If the Yankees acquire a pitcher, who is out of the rotation?

Unless you’ve been living under a pinstriped rock, you know that the Yankees have been searching the trade market for elite starting pitching since… well, since before the trade deadline last year. Now that the 2011 season trade deadline is almost upon us, the rumor mill is spinning again with names like Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies and Ricky Nolasco of the Florida Marlins. But if the Yankees did acquire someone, who would they banish to the bullpen? Or, could that starter be part of the trade?

CC Sabathia is not worth discussing in either bullpen or trade scenarios. Besides being one of the best pitchers in baseball, he’s the team ace and the Yankees can’t go anywhere without him. If you’re looking at his opt out clause and thinking that makes him tradable, you’re very wrong.

A.J. Burnett might be frustrating to watch, but the guy takes the ball every five days and soaks up some innings. Burnett seems to have regained some form after last year’s debacle and now finds ways to wiggle out of jams instead of imploding. Plus, like Sabathia, he makes a ton of money, and most teams are not looking to add salary at this point in the year, nor would the Yankees be will to pay Burnett $16.5 million dollars to just sit in the bullpen.

Bartolo Colon has to be the most surprising story of the year, and Yankee fans know that he has been straight up dominant fairly often in 2011. Whether or not he can keep that for the rest of the season is a huge question, but the Yankees may as well keep rolling the dice and seeing how the fall.

Freddy Garcia is another guy who continues to shock the baseball world, but at least he pitched last year – making him just slightly less remarkable than Colon. I wouldn’t want to have Garcia on the mound with the season on the line against a powerhouse like the Red Sox’s offense, but Garcia can get it done.

Finally, we come to Phil Hughes, the organizational favorite. For me, the choice is obvious – if someone will take Hughes in a trade for a high end starter, you do it and you don’t think twice. If you still have Hughes and you get a high end starter, you send Hughes to the bullpen and you congratulate yourself for bolstering your pen while getting Hughes out of your rotation. I know the guy won a bizillion games last year, but let’s face it – he’s never really been dominant, and he can’t get through two consecutive seasons without missing major time. I don’t know what happened, but he’s a mess this year – since coming back from the DL, he cutter and change up are practically worthless (not that they weren’t before he went on the DL; I mean in comparison to 2010) and although his curve ball has improved, it doesn’t look like the same pitch that earned him the nick-name “Little Rocket.” Remember that? When people were comparing him to Roger Clemons? Those days are long gong and I don’t see a lot of promise going forward, but I could be wrong. Who knows, maybe it was the big bump up in workload from 2009 to 2010 that is impacting is 2011 ability? I don’t know and I don’t care, but if the Yankees can get Ubaldo Jimenez for a not totally unreasonable deal, they should do it and either include Hughes in the trade or just send him to the pen.

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New line up or bad pitching?

Last night, the bombers put a hurting on the athletics but good… but what brought it all to come to pass?  Was it the New line up?  Oakland’s awful pitching?  Or simply the end of a slump?  Lets look at the particulars.
Finally! Brett gardener leading off!  Maybe Joe Girardi came to his senses, maybe Derek Jeter finally started acting like a captain and asked of the top spot to make room for Gardener… Who knows.  After all, Gardener is on a major tear of late and has been hitting well since the calendar flipped to May.
Cahill was awful last night, digging the As into a hole they could never different their way out of.  Was it that simple?  maybe some good (yet slumping) hitters ran into a pitcher on a bad Night.
Whatever. A win is a win and during this home stand, the Yankees need to put up serious quantities of Ws.

Somebody save us from Eduardo Nubez’s horrible fielding

I’m sure Eduardo Nunez is a nice guy…  but is he an infielder?  That is the question which preoccupies me.

Now we’ve all seen him make errors (see the Toronto series and other games he’s played in), but now that he’s taken his show to Tampa, he’s added this new dimension to his game that he refers to as letting the ball roll into 3rd base over and over again.  At least three times in four games.  This is frustrating because HE KEPT MAKING THE SAME MISTAKES OVER AND OVER AGAIN, NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT THEY WERE PLAYING IN TAMPA ON ARTIFICIAL TURF, WHICH MEANS THAT THE BALL IS ROLLING TOO FAST TO CHANGE DIRECTION AND ROLL INTO FOUL TERRITORY.  AND AFTER THE FIRST TWO TIMES, HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY EXPECT A DIFFERENT OUTCOME THE THIRD TIME? HOW???

JUST BARE HAND THAT FUCKER AND THROW IT TO.FIRST – I’D RATHER SETTLE FOR NUNEZ’S HORRIBLE THROWING  THAN NOTHING AT ALL.

The coming homestand

After today’s match up of CC Sabathia vs Big Game James Shields, the Yankees head home for ten games – and I want 8 victories.
Minimum.
If you take a look at the Yankees schedule for the coming home stand, I think its clear that the Bombers need to put up a ton of Ws  during this 10 game stretch.

3 games vs Oakland Athletics:
They are 43-55 on the year. They stink.

3 games vs Seatle Mariners:
They are 43-54 on the year. They have some pitching, bit they still stink.

4 games vs Baltimore Orioles:
Their record is 39-56. They are the only AL team that hasn’t notched their 40th victory yet.

The Yankees need to put a beating on these sub .500 clubs and take control of the AL East for the stretch run!

Yankees walk to victory

I have to admit that after Burnett’s shakey start, I assumed the Yankees were going to lose that game.  Good thing I’m not on the team!

Aftet AJ Burnett’s 2010 campaign, its easy to get pessemestic about a bad start. Although he never put the fire out, at least he kept the house from burning down completely.

I know it wasn’t the sexiest of wins, but if you can wait.out a rookie for a walk (or in this case, several walks), you do it, take your W, and be thankful for it.

Sometimes, a few good at bats are all you need.

Oh and can we start the official “Brett Gardner for leadoff man” campaign?  This guy needs more at bats, not less!

Note: sorry this took a while to get posted ; working on a new posting system!

Home Run Derby, All Star Game

Over the last 15 or so seasons, I’ve done by best to give the All Star Break festivities as much attention as I could. I did not make the slightest effort to acquire tickets when the game was here at Yankee Stadium and probably won’t when it comes to Citi Field in a year or two, but still, I watched a fair amount of coverage on TV.

NOTE: If you found a way to watch workout day coverage, Bud Selig should kiss you full on the lips – tongue/no tongue, you’re choice.

I should mention that in the recent past, I have not felt any excitement leading up to the All Star festivities and watched them out of some strange sense of obligation. I think I hit a low point last year while I watched the Home Run Derby while replacing tiles on the basement floor.

This year, I decided, "The hell with it. I’ll watch movies on these nights. I’ll play with the dogs. I’ll cook dinner. I’ll change the oil in my car. I’ll get a head start on my 2011 tax returns. I’ll go to the dentist! But I am not, NOT, NOT going to bother with the All Star festivities.

So I skipped the derby and watched the first inning of the game. Hey, I can’t go baseball cold turkey, just like that – I’m hooked, I needed my fix!

The Home Run Derby
Anyway, Robinson Cano, as I’m sure you’ve already heard, won the home run derby. This immediately brought to mind articles I’ve read about the Home Run Derby effect. The home run derby effect (which I have heard championed by one Dr Alex Rodriguez a reason for not participating in said contest) states that if you participate in the home run derby, it’ll ruin your swing for the rest of the year, the primary example (and only that I remember) being Bobby Abreu. This article explains that because analysis that says the home run derby ruins a hitter’s swings is invalid because the experiment lacked a control group. Uhm… yeah, I guess so! That’s a little over my head; but this all started because of Abreu. Check it:

The idea grew in part from Bobby Abreu‘s performance in 2005, when he hit 18 home runs before the break, then 41 home runs in the actual Derby, but wasn’t the same player afterward. From July 14-to-October 2 of that year, Abreu belted only six big flies.

However, a lot of people don’t believe that argument. This article explains that many winners of the derby have seen an INCREASE IN POWER.

In fact, since 2000, the only year during which Derby participants experienced an increase in power after the contest was 2001, when the likes of Sammy Sosa, Jason Giambi, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez were competing.

I wonder why.


Six of the past 10 Derby winners have seen their rates improve in the second half. For example, Prince Fielder went from hitting long balls once every 14 at-bats before the All-Star break last year to once every 11.8 afterwards.

Anyway, let’s hope that Cano sees an increase in power down the stretch and doesn’t fall off the map like Abreu did.

All Star Game – Who didn’t show up:
I feel as though almost all of the talk I’ve heard leading up to the All Star game was regarding who was going to be there. After all, who wouldn’t want to go to Arizona in July? Finally, after much gyrations and snubbing, CC Sabathia was selected to the All Star team. I have no idea what took so long, but I also don’t care. Anyway, he couldn’t pitch as he just pitched on Sunday, and I believe he didn’t go to the game. (Tampa Bay’s David Price was in the exact same situation and I believe he also did not attend. Haven’t heard a word about that from anyone… shocking.) As we all know, Alex Rodriguez had knee surgery and didn’t go to the game – obviously, he wouldn’t be available to play in it. Mariano Rivera did not play and I believe he also didn’t attend – I believe his arm is still sore. Derek Jeter bowed out, citing mental fatigue from his 3000 hits chase and that his calf is still not 100% – people seemed to have the biggest problem with Jeter’s absence. Apparently, MLB (or FOX) planned a video montage of his career and wanted to honor him, so even if he wasn’t going to play, they still wanted him to show up and wave his hat to the crowd – I guess he wasn’t into that idea. I’ve also heard a lot of people/sports media saying that as Jeter was voted into the game by the fans, so he had an obligation to go. I head Boomer & Carton (which is like a really pathetic version of Mike and the Mad Dog – which is way better with just Mike, by the way) saying that if George Steinbrenner was still alive, Jeter would have went and played in the game; uhm, presume much, guys? How on earth could you speculate what someone would do if they were still alive? And which George Steinbrenner do you mean: the one who spoke his mind loudly and often, or the one that was content to spend time with his family in Tampa and let other people run the team? Maybe they meant to say, "If this was 1997, Steinbrenner would have made Jeter play in the game." (Anyway, that show sucks.) The point is, the thought is that if you’re a player and your selected to the All Star team, you have an obligation to play, or, at the very least, go to the game. I don’t agree with this idea at all. The All Star game is a farce, and the idea that it determines home field advantage for the World Series is ludicrous. As long as the best pitcher doesn’t start the game and stay in for as long as possible, it’s not a real game. As soon as you make substitutions just to give everyone who showed playing time, it’s not a real game. And any time you interrupt a game (even in between innings) to give Roger Clemens a set of commemorative candle sticks, its not a real game! Hence, at this point, it’s probably best if they just shut the whole thing down all together – have the home run derby, and that’s it – although I don’t think even that is necessary. If the players need 3 days off in a row in July, I’m fine with that – they work every weekend for 6 months straight. I know that’s why they get paid the big bucks (amongst other reasons), but it still sucks, and a little break in the middle is a nice respite for the fans, too – even if you watch the festivities. But for me, I don’t want a single Yankee going to the All Star game, because if anyone gets hurt in that travesty (anyone see that sliding catch Jose Bautista made near the right field wall?), I will lose my mind! Can you imagine what Phillies fans would say if Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay got hurt during this game? They would curve the All Star Game until they were blue in the face, and they’d be right.

Anyway, the NL won – two years in a row after a long drought! There goes home field advantage. I bet the AL team would have scored more than 1 run if Jeter was there – don’t you?

TODAY’S MARKETING MAIL FROM THE YANKEES: Rent with Mini U Storage and get 2 tickets to a Yankees game.
You can’t make this stuff up. This is cross marketing at its finest. Kudos to everybody on this gem. Yankee fans everywhere could be heard to remark, "Damn it, if only I had something to put in storage – then I could get free Yankee tickets!"

Jeter's 3000th Hit

Is this the 3000th time you’ve read or heard something about Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit? Probably more like the 3 millionth, but I feel that I would be remiss if I didn’t comment at all after all of the other Jeter posts I’ve written about excessive media coverage, more coverage and the merchandising that goes along with his 3000th hit.

Jeter’s 3000th hit is a big deal, I can’t deny that – there are less than 30 players who have gotten to 3000 hits in all of baseball history, so 3000 hits is certainly the mark of someone with talent, longevity and good overall health. Its just annoying because until he got close, the press spent the previous year and half tearing Jeter down for his batting average hovering between 250 and 275, but now all of the sudden, he’s a golden god again. Now it was fair to say that Jeter wasn’t performing up to expectations, his contract or the role of the team captain or the lead off hitter, but some of the coverage we’ve seen has been more than extreme. Sometimes I think I’m tired of Jeter all together, but then I realize that its not the man that annoys me so much, just the way he’s portrayed, or, more to the point, the volume at which he is crammed down my throat!

The hypocrisy knows no bounds; before, everyone liked to write the aforementioned ‘Jeter can’t hit anymore’ articles (which weren’t totally unfair, but were certainly driven into the ground), but now everyone likes to write articles about how incredible it is given the legacy of other great Yankees players, no other Yankee has ever gotten to 3000 hits. Yet, if you stop and think about it, its not that incredible at all. Think about who the other great Yankee players were and what kind of players they were – mostly power hitters who walked a lot. Babe Ruth obviously came over from the Red Sox, so that scratches him off the list immediately. Lou Gehrig became ill and had to retire; otherwise, i’m fairly certain he’d hold most of the overall offensive records, because he was that good. Joe DiMaggio lost a few seasons to WW2; Mickey Mantle was always dealing with some injury or another (not to mention his lifestyle), and Yogi Berra was a catcher, and as good as he was, never had 200 hits in a season – not to mention the fact that none of these guys played in a 162 game season, so its fairly hard to compare. And then there are the zillions of other factors that separate different generations: ball composition, bat composition, the advent of the night game, coast to coast travel, free agency, personal trainers, and so on.

Jeter is great – he’s a first ballot hall of famer, and I don’t mean to take anything away from his accomplishments or his overall career. I think he’s great. But it sure would be great if we could put it in perspective – he got his 3000th hit, he’s relieved that the pressure is off (to paraphrase his quote a little) – lets all move on. I don’t care that the guy gave the ball back! Who cares? Why is this story so important to everyone? He gave it back; great. If he kept it, and then went on to keep it forever or sell it, well, that’s great, too. Maybe he’s got a mortgage, student loans, or just hates his job… who cares what he did with the ball? Jeter and everything around him gets so blown out of proportion that frankly, I don’t know how the guy doesn’t lose his mind.

33 Dogs Named Jeter

 

33 dogs named jeter

"I got it!"

If you frequent the New York Times as often as I do (almost daily), it’s still easy to miss articles because their publication is so massive, and is even more so online, so it’s understandable if you missed this gem: Some Pet Owners Judge Jeter Name Best in Show

Before we get to the article, let me say this: Jorge Castillo has OUTDONE HIMSELF. This is sports journalism at it’s finest. Seriously. Pulitzer – no, F that – Nobel! Castillo deserves the Nobel Prize for this article!

Here are some notable quotes:

New York City, you see, is home to 33 dogs actively registered under the name Jeter. Across the Hudson, at the Valley Animal Hospital in Clifton, N.J., there are seven clients who go by the name Jeter, and on a single mail route in nearby Montclair, there are at least two Jeters — both reported to be friendly. In Jersey City, a Labrador is named Jeter; in Stamford, Conn., the city’s lone Jeter is a beagle.

Oh, those two Jeter dogs are friendly – that the lord! What if they were vicious, insane killer dogs who bark and when they bark, bees come out of their mouths? So, this begs the question: is Jeter one of the more popular names for dogs in our area?

In New York, Jeter does not come close to cracking the city’s 10 most popular dog names. That list consists of traditional dog names like Max, which 942 dogs answer to in the five boroughs. The only top name that could possibly be associated with an athlete is Rocky, which is the third-most popular name in the city, with 644 dogs licensed.

Guess not. But, let’s remember: Mr. Castillo said “Some Pet Owners Judge Jeter Name Best in Show,” not all. But do people name their kids after Jeter? Turns out, they do.

Check it:

But pets are not the only Jeters around. According to the Social Security Administration, 47 baby boys nationwide were named Jeter in 2010, up from 39 in 2009. In 1998, five newborns were given the name.

Yet, Jeter as a baby name does not compare to another Yankees legend. In 1957, Mickey Mantle won the second of his back-to-back American league Most Valuable Player Awards and led the Yankees to the World Series title. That same, year 944 babies were named Mickey.

I was totally going to ask if Jeter was the most popular name for Yankee fans to name their kids, but nope, doesn’t look like it’s close. But, uhm, you know… nice factoid, I guess.

More Quotes:

Jack Beibel, 16, of Montclair said he named his dog Jeter because the shortstop was his favorite player. His cockapoo has taken to it.

“If we yell, ‘Yankees,’ he starts barking,’ ” Beibel said. “And if we yell, ‘Red Sox,’ he kneels down.”

When reached for comment, my German Shepard mix remarked, “I find this all very undignified.”

Additional Quotes:

Jeter, by this canine measure, is more popular than his teammates, according to statistics provided by the New York City Department of Health. There is, for instance, one licensed dog named A-Rod. There are eight licensed dogs named Tex in the city, although it is far from clear whether they are all named in honor of Mark Teixeira.

Take that, A-Rod! You may have MVP awards, a World Series ring, millions of dollars, fame,Cameron Diaz (you can keep her, actually), but hey, almost nobody is naming their dog after you. Almost nobody. Anyway, I asked my Golden Retriever for her thoughts on Jeter and she replied, “I go to my right better than he does.” I can’t argue with that – she’s the most gifted athlete since… well, since A-Rod. I think she could certainly field the ball at all infield and outfield positions, but I’m not sure how she’d do at making throws, especially to the plate from right field…

This is a real article. I did not make this up – I can’t stress that enough, because this seems like the sort of joke I’d make. (NOTE: see ‘Derek Jeter has a distinct old man smell.’) I can’t imagine what the New York Times wa thinking. I know the 3000 hit chase is nearing its close (as the article notes), so up until then, is it going to be general press policy to get these weird peripheral Jeter stories out there until he gets it done? Did everyone stop what they were doing and write their stories praising his career already so they wouldn’t have to rush when it happened, only to find that he got hurt and they had all the time they could need and now have nothing else to write about? I just don’t understand who comes up with this concept, writes the article and publishes it – via the New York Times. The Times! This is the sort of BS filler I expect from The Post. I love dogs, and to an extent, I’m a big fan of Derek Jeter; but lets get a hold of ourselves.

LINK DUMP:
If you haven’t already, check out NoMaas.org’s interview with Mark Newman concerning the Yankees farm system – it’s interesting stuff. If you are not familiar with NoMaas, please be advised BEFORE you click the link that I am not responsible for any content on their site or affiliated with them in any way. I don’t have a problem with their site, but they make this blog look like courtesy class – especially the comments. (Just FYI)

Somebody wake up Joe Girardi!

AJ Burnett is not necessarily the best pitcher to ever grace a mound with his presence. Sure, you’ll hear tales of his filthy stuff, and it’s true, to an extent: Burnett has some good pitches in his arsenal, including a hard fastball and a snapping curve ball. In yesterday’s fourth of July game, he struggled but overcame in the 1st inning but overall, pitched 6 solid innings. Sure, at the end of the 6th, he looked a little tired, but I couldn’t begrudge Joe Girardi for sending him out there for the 7th, especially after how much the bullpen worked in the Mets series. But at some point, you have to go to your bullpen.

AJ Burnett is not the sort of guy who saves your bullpen; he’s just not. Sure, he’ll go 8 innings every once and a while, but it’s just not who he is. So after that Shelly Duncan at bat, during which Burnett was clearly tired and didn’t have anything left and couldn’t snap off a curve ball to save his life, Girardi left him in there. He didn’t go to his bullpen, he didn’t send Larry Rothschild or even Russell Martin out there to give him a breather.

After the Duncan single, I thought it was obvious that it was time for a call to the bullpen to get somebody up before the ball got back to the infield, followed by a lengthy mound visit. Then, the next batter should have been given the unintentional intentional walk. By then, your bullpen guy ought to be ready to go, and you make the change. It’s that simple.

Instead, BOOM – home run, and the Yankees go on to loose a game they should have found a way to win. Nice job, Girardi!

YANKEESNEWS VIA TEXT:
Today’s text reads: “HBO & MLB Productions to produce a 1 hour special chronicling Jeter’s 3K chase.”
My guess is that working titles include, “Boring as Hell: Jeter’s 3000 Chase” or “Jeter Documentary: The Best Editing You’ll Ever See,” because this must be one boring film. How much drama could the end possibly have in store? Jeter did not have a good offensive year last year (.270 average, 179 hits), nor has he this year (.256 average, 68 hits), and he’s been hurt for the last several weeks with 6 hits to go. Maybe I’ll get more excited about this as we get to the end, but right now, I’m not interested in Jeter’s personal achievements – but I’m happy to have his glove back, because Edwardo Nunez can not field.

YANKEES VIA EMAIL:
subject – MLB best Six Yankees are headed to the All-Star Game

In case you didn’t already hear, the Yankees heading to the All Star game are

Can we PLEASE climb out of Jeter’s ass? A-Rod has been to the All Star Game a few times, why can’t we count how many times he’s been? And really, Jeter is one of the six best Yankees on the team? Really? Derek Jeter is having a better year and/or is more valuable to the team that Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia or Brett Gardner? Or how about David Robinson, for that matter? I feel like I spend a lot of time writing negative things about Jeter in this space, but I don’t hate the guy – I just don’t think he’s the golden god everyone else makes him out to be – at least he’s not anymore.

Whatever, I don’t care about the all star game and I wish no Yankees were going, because if anyone gets so much as a cramp from appearing in the farce, I’m going to be PISSED!

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