The High Price of Patience

I regrettably agree with John Harper’s theme in his article today about the Yanks and their reliance on the young arms this season. According to Harper and his conversations with scouts around baseball who have seen the Yanks this Spring, it seems likely that the Yanks will miss the post-season this year and the decision to not trade for Johan will be often second-guessed. I can’t say I disagree, however painful it might be in the short term.

I try to maintain a long term view for the Yanks. They are not, unlike the smaller market teams, tied to a narrow window before their best players “graduate”. Those smaller market studs tend to graduate to teams like the Yanks. If the Yanks have to take a post-season pause this year to set themselves up for another 5-7 year stretch of prosperity, so be it.

Each of the six [scouts] polled made a point of saying they were impressed by the way the young trio performed in spring training, yet four of the six said they believe the Yankees indeed will miss the playoffs in 2008, citing the inevitable growing pains as well as questions about the rest of the pitching staff.

I love their future,” was the way one scout put it. “But if you think those young guys aren’t going to take their lumps at times this season against American League lineups, you’re dreaming.

Again, it will be a bitter pill to swallow if the Yanks are home in October, the first time in 13 years, but it happens. The RedSox missed the playoffs between titles recently and they are better off for it, it seems, having a deep farm system along with the financial wherewithall to make any move they seemingly wish. And I don’t think the RSN panicked. We shouldn’t either. I’ve often joked “In Cashman We Trust” and while Hank’s itchy trigger finger does concern me, I know Cashman has our long term health in mind when he makes, or doesn’t make a deal.

Hey, I applaud Cashman for wanting to do it this way,” one executive said. “I think those young guys will make it pay off in the long run, but I think they’ll take a step back this year. There’s always a price to pay for showing patience.

It’s a price the Yankees rarely are willing to pay. As such it’s the reason the Santana question will hover all season.

The fun thing about the Yanks this year is that they are NOT the team to beat. They are not solely a bunch of older mercenary types. They are again homegrown guys who we can grow with and root for. And if those kids can continue to develop, maybe we’ll be surprised. And for me, that’s the element that’s been missing for so many years. It seems as if making the playoffs brought a sense of relief rather than joy. I’m looking forward to that joy rather than relief. A playoff invite and progression would certainly bring back that joy.

Of course, bowing out in the first round would flat-out suck. Continue reading The High Price of Patience

Behind the Scenes of Yankee Stadium

Due to time constraints (dinner plans, sorry), here is an AMAZING link to a story by Tyler Kepner of the NY Times about the hidden gems of Yankee Stadium. Whether you are a fan of the Yanks or not, it’s hard not to be captivated by the history captured in the Stadium.

I’ll have my own pictures in September once I get my tour, but this will have to do for now.

Audio/Video Tour (a MUST watch!) Continue reading Behind the Scenes of Yankee Stadium

Additional details on revised MLB drug policy

While the news of a possible change in the MLB drug policy came out a few days back, little was said and it wasn’t a done deal. As of today, it’s still not (yet) a done deal but at least we have some additional color on what the changes will be. Of course, anytime these two sides try to tango, it gets ugly, so who knows if anything will be agreed to.

As of a few days ago, the commissioner’s office and the union were close to a deal in which none of the active players linked to banned substances in the report would be disciplined. The union would accept increased year-round drug testing and other measures…
That lawyer also said the union had agreed to increased year-round testing to supplement the minimum of two tests – one during spring training and one during the regular season – now required of each player.

Under the current program, there are only about 60 out-of-season tests conducted, a glaring hole in the sport’s testing regimen, antidoping experts have said. <

It seems that the issue about independent testing remains a sticking point, sort of: both sides don’t want it. This was a direct recommendation by the Mitchell Report so it remains something that might rear its head again down the road. Stay tuned.

Selected related posts:

Continue reading Additional details on revised MLB drug policy

Matsui married (secretly); Jeter next?

Evidently there was a bet in the Yankee clubhouse and now Jeter’s on the clock!

In what was apparently a surprise to nearly everyone, Hideki Matsui ‘snuck’ back to NYC to secretly get married to an unnamed, unidentified Japanese woman. Matsui said only that she is “a 25-year-old civilian and had been formerly working in a reputable position at a highly respected company.” They met in Japan after the 2006 off-season.
It was a cute story, but then it took a hilarious turn. Peter Abraham of the Journal News asked if Derek Jeter would be the next to get married.

We’ve got a bet going,” Matsui replied. “If he doesn’t get married within a year, I win the bet. Basically the bet was, whoever gets married first wins. Jeter said he himself doesn’t have a girlfriend, so he’s getting a one-year handicap.”

Back in the clubhouse, we found Jeter and told him the news about Matsui. Jeter, who loves to say that he’s never surprised by anything, was genuinely shocked. Turns out Matsui had played him for a fool.

Continue reading Matsui married (secretly); Jeter next?

Buster on the Yanks

Buster Olney, the ESPN baseball-do-it-all, had a dive into the Yanks offense today (Insider access required, sorry). I could copy/paste it all, but that’s probably a no-no, so here are some of the most interesting things…

Ah, nothing says “showing up/getting in great shape” like a contract year:

This spring, Abreu and Jason Giambi have come into camp looking like linebackers, as each prepares for possible free agency in the fall; Abreu has been lifting weights at night, after working out in the mornings and playing in the afternoons, and has a .538 on-base percentage this spring. “The best I’ve ever seen him,” said a longtime scout. “He looks more invested.”

Buster played Q&A with Posada, who had these things to say:

  • on Damon: “He’s a guy that we need to have going, and he understands that. He’s our sparkplug. If he has a year he’s capable of having, he’ll be the one who will make us win. He’s more comfortable, being in left field, and he’s going to DH a little bit. We just have to keep him healthy.
  • on Jeter: “…I think [he’ll have an MVP-type year] because of the way he worked in the offseason, the way he took care of his body and worked on trying to get jumps and [did] speed drills.”
  • on Cano: “He can be a batting title champion every year. He’s going to hit .300 every year. He’s learning to hit for power now, and he’s only 25 years old. Last year, it took him a little while to get going, but he’s learning.”
  • on Matsui: “He played last year hurt, the whole year. Now that he is healthy, having that knee fixed, he’s going to be different.”
  • on Giambi: “He looks really healthy, and worked really hard during the offseason. He got in great shape.”

Now, if Posada’s right…AND their pitching develops/holds up… this team can be really good. But, if Ma and Pa (Mother Nature and Father Time) play hardball with this group, it could get ugly with Hank spouting off every 12 minutes. Let’s hope not to hear from Hank much this year; that’d be a great sign. Continue reading Buster on the Yanks

New changes to the MLB drug policy, take 3

Seems that the MLBPA and MLB are about to complete their third amendment to their collectively bargained drug policy. I’m sure Marvin Miller just hurled his clicker at his TV.

Both sides have been talking for months since former Sen. George Mitchell released his report on Dec. 13 analyzing the use of those drugs in MLB.

Mitchell made a bevy of recommendations to strengthen the current program, about a half-dozen of which couldn’t be adopted unless the changes were collectively bargained.

Mitchell said that the current penalties — 50 games for the first positive test, 100 for the second and a lifetime ban for the third, with the right to apply for reinstatement after two years — were adequate. But he advised that the program should be independently administrated, be more transparent, that year-round testing should be increased, and that new and the best practices are able to be implemented without having to re-open the program on each occasion.

The program currently has an independent physician in partial charge of its administration, but he shares that role with a lawyer from MLB and another from the union. Since Mitchell issued his report, Commissioner Bud Selig has said publicly that he’s in favor of strengthening the power of the independent administrator without giving him total power and that is expected to be one element of the enhanced program.

MLB’s drug program is already VERY tough, but until there’s blood testing or urine-based HGH tests, there will be loopholes to exploit.

Related posts:

Continue reading New changes to the MLB drug policy, take 3

The tease of talent

Kelvim Escobar has always been a VERY talented pitcher. You’d read/hear from all the pundits and experts about his “stuff”, except each plaudit carried a caveat: “if healthy”. And now we hear he might have a torn shoulder. Possibly a career ender. Such a shame but goes to explain why the durable aces are so sought after and well-compensated: there aren’t many of them.

Pitcher Kelvim Escobar, an 18-game winner for the Angels last season, revealed Wednesday that he has a tear in his shoulder, an injury that could require season-ending surgery and, possibly, end the veteran right-hander’s career.”I’m concerned, I don’t know what’s going to happen … I don’t even know if I’ll be able to pitch again,” said Escobar, 32, who is in the second year of a three-year, $28.5-million contract.

Escobar has bounced from starter to reliever, once saving 38 games for the BlueJays in 2002. He started 33 games in 2004, his first year in Anaheim, winning 11 with a 3.93 ERA. He then missed much of 2005. In 2006-07, he started 30 games each year, winning 18 games last year with a 3.40 ERA. He seemingly put it all together the last two years but the future ain’t looking so bright for him.

If he goes under the knife and is devoted/motivated to get thru the nasty rehab, he is young enough (32 years old now) to make a successful return to the game. Except in reading his comments, maybe he doesn’t want to go thru all that:

“I’m still young, but retirement has gotten into my head. It’s hard doing the rehab. You get frustrated. You want to get out there and play. And I know I’ve done everything I can to stay healthy. I work pretty hard, take care of my body. What else can I do?”

Continue reading The tease of talent