Who says chemistry is overrated?

Just witness the love that created a wonderful year of memories for the Mariners and their fans:

Things got so bad in the Seattle Mariners clubhouse during this discouraging season that one player reportedly threatened to “knock out” outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, the team’s highest profile player.

A “clubhouse insider” quoted in Thursday’s edition of The Seattle Times said, “I just can’t believe the number of guys who really dislike him. It got to a point early on when I thought they were going to get together and go after him.”

The story went on to say that coaches and then-manager John McLaren, who was fired June 19, intervened when one player was overheard talking about wanting to “knock him out.” A meeting was called to clear the air.

Paging Dr. Frasier Crane!

Continue reading Who says chemistry is overrated?

Disclaimer needed

Let me set this straight: The whiny ramblings of Hank Steinbrenner do not, in any way, represent the thoughts and feelings of all Yankee fans. In fact, most Yanks fans I know and have spoken to about Hank find him to be a pathetic caricature of his father.

“The biggest problem is the divisional setup in major league baseball. I didn’t like it in the 1970s, and I hate it now,” Steinbrenner wrote. “Baseball went to a multidivision setup to create more races, rivalries and excitement. But it isn’t fair. You see it this season, with plenty of people in the media pointing out that Joe Torre and the Dodgers are going to the playoffs while we’re not.

“This is by no means a knock on Torre – let me make that clear-but look at the division they’re in. If L.A. were in the AL East, it wouldn’t be in the playoff discussion. The AL East is never weak.”

Wait, what was Hank doing in the ’70’s, besides probably partying with his Dad’s allowance? He wasn’t part of the team in any material way. So shut up, please. Seriously, shut up, stop making this inane proclaimations and directives and let your baseball people work on fixing the team without your interference.

Also, normally I discount anything by Jim Caple as the whining counterpoint to anything Hank/George says/does, but he and the other guys had some good fun poking Hank. And honestly, Hank deserves it. Continue reading Disclaimer needed

You won't have Pavano to kick around any more

(sorry for the late start today; the deluge in NY made the commute painfully slow)

Mercifully, typically, quietly…the Pavano Era ended last night. Just a quiet thud. The game had little meaning for the Yanks other than trying to keep Roy Halladay from winning his 20th of the season and his 5th against the Yanks.
Pavano faced seven batters in a three-run fourth inning before Wells chased him with a two-run single to left. Joe Inglett had the other Toronto RBI against Pavano, who — in all likelihood — completed his Yankees career allowing eight hits over 3 2/3 innings.

So that’s it. The American Idle Era is over. Nine wins, eight losses over four years and a hair under $40M.

And here’s my early prediction: Pavano wins 17 next year for a team in the NL West and many Yanks fans will cry out “where was this the last four years?!?!”

Continue reading You won't have Pavano to kick around any more

Lego Yankee Stadium

Loyal reader Osmodious was kind enough to send this my way:

Lego artist Sean Kenney … and a Manhattan grade schooler spent three years building a 60″ x 66″ x 14″ replica (1:150 scale) using 45,700 bricks. As you can see, the result of their efforts so far is impressive.

I’m not sure if the picture to the right is actually part of the Stadium, but it was in the comments section and it’s funny as hell.

Continue reading Lego Yankee Stadium

Yanks pining for Burnett

After last night’s 11K effort by AJ Burnett (1 ER, 8 IP), the Yanks are clearly eyeing him in a big way. And not just the front office:

Yankees players want Burnett with them next year so much that when he was struck on the leg by a Robinson Cano smash in the third, a player in the dugout turned to trainer Gene Monahan and said, “Go check him out.”

He might be the Yanks first choice once Sabathia decides that he doesn’t need the extra $45M. Just in case you were curious to hear GAKIII’s thoughts on the (possibly) available pitchers:
Sabathia is going to demand Johan Santana money (six years; $137.5 million), Burnett is leaving $24 million on the table for two years when he opts out and hopes to make $15 million a year. Sheets’ medical history makes him the third on the list, but he has dynamite stuff and will get paid well. Right-hander Derek Lowe is the best of the second-tier free agents and the former Red Sox is AL East-tested.

Continue reading Yanks pining for Burnett

Will he or won't he?

We spend so much time trying to read between the lines of executive-speak (or athlete-speak). Sometimes it’s obvious, othertimes less so. So I spent some time trying to decipher Cashman’s comments about whether he will return or not.

Cashman knows the Steinbrenner family wants him back. He has not yet made up his mind, but said he would decide well before Oct. 31, the date his contract expires. In 2005, Cashman waited until the final few days to decide.

That’s not going to happen again,” Cashman said in a telephone interview. “That wouldn’t be fair to the Yankees.
We’ve had no negotiations,” Cashman said. “We’ll talk internally here, and obviously there will be a resolution to that probably sooner than later. That’s really the extent I can say at this point.”

Call me crazy, but I think there’s going to be a quick “no thanks” and Cashman will walk*. I hope it doesn’t happen as I still think Cashman’s the right guy for the job (though we need some better scouts to help with player evaluation and more effort on development!). That advisory group that Hank alluded to must make Cashman’s skin crawl.

But I think Cashman’s leaving*. I hope I’m wrong.

* Here’s my out: If Hal has a bigger role within the organization that it outwardly appears, Cashman will stay. In fact, if Cashman stays, I will assume this to be true. That’s the only way I can see it happening.

Continue reading Will he or won't he?

ARod: Will he finish his career in NY?

After what’s been a disappointing and frustrating season for ARod, on and off the field, could there actually be a scenario where ARod finishes his 10 year contract? If you like and believe Ian O’Connor, then there absolutely is a chance he is in Los Angeles within a few years. (Remember, O’Connor predicted ARod-to-the-Yanks long before it happened)

Alex Rodriguez will be a member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by the start of the 2011 season.

OK, maybe not the Angels, and maybe not 2011. But the point is, he won’t be a Yankee for the duration of his 10-year, $275 million contract, not even close.

A-Rod has nine years to go on a deal that could clear $300 million if he breaks the career home-run record, a milestone he’ll need about five healthy seasons to own. At the time the Steinbrenners forgave Rodriguez for his embarrassing cop-out of an opt-out in the middle of the World Series, they were quite interested in finally getting the Babe’s old record back in pinstripes.

But the Yankees missed the playoffs this year for the first time since 1993, and Sunday night sure sounded like the beginning of A-Rod’s end in the Bronx. During Yankee Stadium’s closing ceremony, a moment for players past and present to be celebrated like never before, Rodriguez was the one Yank to draw some boos from the crowd.

No, it wasn’t a full-throttle boo; the cheers slightly beat out the jeers. Only on this night, a night reserved for those who contributed to the 26 World Series titles, Rodriguez was cast as an outsider. If A-Rod has more talent in his non-throwing pinky finger than Scott Brosius has in his entire body, Brosius – a three-time champion – was still the third baseman showered with unmitigated love.

Pretty interesting stuff. That’s a higher profile writer going out on a limb and that’s not all that common. I totally dig it.
Although, I can’t see how it happens. Will the Angels be able to digest his contract? How much freight would the Yanks have to pay? Will the Yanks even want to send him to another AL team?

Continue reading ARod: Will he finish his career in NY?

The cupboard's bare

Taking a quick break during lunch and I came across this, by Buster Olney, who had a great seat watching the change in the Yanks philosophy this decade:

From the fall of 2001 through 2005, the Yankees sacrificed nine high draft picks to sign free agents Jason Giambi, Steve Karsay, Rondell White, Tom Gordon, Paul Quantrill, Jaret Wright, Carl Pavano, Kyle Farnsworth and Johnny Damon. In addition, the Yankees’ consistent high finishes in the standings — propped up by the free-agent signings — naturally hurt their draft position.

The bottom line is that there is a lot of value, in the big picture, to have a down year now and then,” said a rival GM, “because that’s the only way you’re going to have a real shot at the elite talent in the draft. You can’t say that out loud to your fans, but that’s the truth. You might have someone fall through the cracks to you every once in awhile, but the best draft talent is, generally speaking, going to be at the top of the draft.

The Yankees have changed their draft philosophy in recent seasons, selecting the best player on their board, rather than trying to address a specific position, like catcher. They still lack depth among their position-player prospects, but they have done well in landing highly regarded pitching talent, like Joba Chamberlain.

I wonder if the next CBA will address the losing of draft picks for signing others free agents.

(Would love to do more today folks, but I gotta jump back into this rip-roaring session.)
Continue reading The cupboard's bare