Get serious!

I wouldn’t mind someone offering me $60 million over three years only have my peeps tell that person to “get serious”. Or, in the real world according to Scott Boras to the Dodgers:

But Scott Boras, who represents Ramirez, made it clear that the Dodgers would need to sweeten their deal when he said, “On behalf of Manny Ramirez, we will, for the first time, begin accepting serious financial offers on Friday.”

If any team goes four guaranteed years at an average of $22.5 million (or more) per year, prepare for the inevitable “Operation Shutdown“, to borrow from Derek Bell.

(h/t to MLBTradeRumors.com) Continue reading Get serious!

DePodesta on Hoffman (and Giles)

First of all, congrats to Paul DePodesta on being promoted to EVP. Pretty nice title if you ask me, and seemingly the heir apparent to sitting GM Kevin Towers. Yeah, I’m happy for him.

Onto his frank discussion about Hoffman:

This is an intensely personal situation for Trevor, the Padres, and the fans. I haven’t been here that long, but even I have a connection – my oldest son’s favorite player is Trevor Hoffman. Trevor is the all-time saves leader, an organizational icon, and a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. This isn’t easy.
……
{Facts and stuff}
……
Again I’ll say that I don’t think the above facts are all that important. The reason is that there is simply no graceful way to handle this situation. Trevor has meant too much to this franchise for any kind of separation to be seamless. No matter how the situation is handled, if Trevor pitches elsewhere in 2009, it will be deemed to have been handled poorly. We know that.

Talk about a tough spot to be in. DePo does a nice job in laying out what he sees as the facts in this situation. I italicized “he sees” as this is only his side of the story; maybe Hoffman and his agent have a different view on the events and facts.

I think that a well below market value offer for a legend is insulting –just ask Joe Torre– and should not be used as a negotiation kick-off point. Rather than lobbing an offer you know won’t be accepted, just come out and tell everyone you are rebuilding and as much as you’d like to have Hoffman return, it doesn’t make sense for the organization at this time, (“we’re going a different direction“). Sure the fans can hate it, but at least that’s the truth talking. We, the fans, have to accept that sometimes the business of baseball gets in the way of the fandom in baseball. I’ve mentioned this many times before in recognizing the way the RedSox have dealt with these situations the best recently as they have let their own legends walk away (Pedro, Damon, maybe Varitek this year, etc.) for the good of the current and future team*. Players know this is a business and if you discussed the move as a “business decision”, these hurt feelings could be muted or avoided altogether.

*I can see this coming to the Yanks when Jeter’s contract is up in 2010, which, ain’t that far away. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

As for the Giles stuff, that’s less relevant to me as I don’t find too much fault in the move and DePo’s explanations are fine by me and very well crafted. To summarize his three reasons:

Reason #1: We’re always trying to win.
Reason #2: Brian is precisely the type of player we want our younger guys to emulate.
Reason #3: This is the raw business end of the deal.

I don’t have a problem with this at all. Do you? Continue reading DePodesta on Hoffman (and Giles)

Economy 1, Yanks 0

Score another one for the Economy.

“There’s no getting away from the fact that the world is different than it was, so traffic slows,” chief operating officer Lonn Trost said Tuesday. “So you don’t have 10 people banging on the door. You may only have two people.”

It appears that the best/priciest luxury boxes have indeed sold, though seven suites priced in the neighborhood of $600K remain unsold. This number of unsold suites has not changed since August.

Ruh-roh.

[Trost] said in August that 3,500 of the 4,300 premium seats had been sold, including the $500-$2,500 per-game tickets near home plate in the first nine rows of 25 sections ringing home plate.
……
“We can see that the economy is affecting the traffic that is coming around,”
he said. “Listen, nobody can avoid it. We recognize it. You wake up in the morning and you see it. So we’re trying to work with our fan base and understand what their needs are.”

And for those of you waiting to buy a piece of the “old” Yankee Stadium, don’t hold your breath. There are attorneys involved, namely high priced buggers from the Yanks side, it will take some time.

The ballpark’s owner, New York City, still hasn’t reached an agreement with the team on selling off memorabilia from the stadium.

“We’re negotiating,” Trost said. “They have views and we have views. And they have attorneys and we have attorneys. We’ll get it done.”

Continue reading Economy 1, Yanks 0

Tidbits du jour

The remarkably underrated LoHud beat writer/blogger Pete Abraham has some goodness coming from directly from his chat with Hal Steinbrenner, covering a wide range of topics in a short amount of space:

On the start of the free agent period
:

Hal said the organization will be ready for the start of free agency on Friday. He would not reveal any details about payroll. “We’re going to do what we’ve always done and that’s field a team that can compete for the championship,” he said. “I asked him about getting personally involved with free agents and he said that he planned to, after stressing that Brian Cashman’s job is to negotiate the deal. But Steinbrenner expressed an interest in getting to know the key agents. Steinbrenner that as far as incorporating young players from the farm system goes, “the goal is balance.”

On Hal’s position within the organization:

You sort of get the impression with Hal that he would rather he someplace else. He clearly doesn’t enjoy the media give-and-take or being the public face of ownership. But he understands his duty to his father and he’s doing his best to carry it out. He met with Cashman yesterday and will again today. Hal is clearly the guy shouldering the responsibilities.

On TNYS’ status:

Lonn Trost said that the Stadium is 12.5 days ahead of schedule and is now now built beyond the point of bad weather being a factor. … The Metro North Station is expected to be done by the third homestand. … The Yankees have seven suites they haven’t sold yet, which is a result of the slumping economy.

On the bounty of Cisco gear:

The 1,100 flat screen, HD monitor around the Stadium can be individually programmed with real-time stats, traffic information, weather, etc. The entire Stadium will have high-speed wireless. The long-range plan is that once we’re all toting around smart phones, you can use that to access concessions stands, merchandise, get highlights, stats, chat, etc.
…..
The Cisco people stressed that the Yankees are way ahead of the curve with this stuff. No stadium in North America will be more advanced in terms of delivering video to fans. It’ll start in the suites and spread to the seats in time. There is $17 million worth of wiring and other hardware in the Stadium.

Continue reading Tidbits du jour

Pos likes bread. Good bread. Really good bread.

What this has to do with baseball or sports in general, I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that I was somehow completely mesmerized by the typical meanderings that only come with a Joe Pos-hosted blog that I felt compelled to push you his way. If you’ve ever been uncomfortable in a meeting or party, you know from where Joe’s speaking.

Just read it.

And remember, “Get yourself a private planeContinue reading Pos likes bread. Good bread. Really good bread.

Score one for analysis

Rather than blindly picking the guy with the most wins (Webb, 22), the voters actually looked at the underlying numbers and made the right choice: Lincecum was the NL Cy Young winner.

Awesome.

Neyer dug in before the vote was announced and was content with either Santana or Lincecum getting the hardware.

You might prefer Santana because he faced tougher competition and because he pitched that massive three-hitter near the end of the season. You might prefer Lincecum because he carried a great burden of the run prevention with all those strikeouts. Either way, I wouldn’t say you’re wrong. But I would say you’re wrong if you vote for Webb, because he simply wasn’t as good as the other two.

Continue reading Score one for analysis

When the absence of a positive is a negative

Quite the little conundrum MLB’s testing policy is in, eh? Yesterday was that HGH Summit that we were waiting for.

Three hours into a conference held Monday by Major League Baseball on human growth hormone, the real question of the day emerged when officials from the commissioner’s office and the players union wondered aloud about how effective the current blood test for human growth hormone was if no one had tested positive.
……
Osquel Barroso, the senior manager of science for the World Anti-Doping Agency, was one such expert invited to the conference. WADA, which oversees the testing of Olympic athletes, has tested 8,500 athletes for human growth hormone since 2000 and has never had a test come back positive.

What I’ve been pushing for, as have others including Olney & Gammons, is the storing of blood until a reliable HgH test is available. The costs, while much greater than urine testing, should be totally absorbed by the $6B in revenues raked in by MLB. It’s a small price to pay for integrity and a show of foresight.

Under baseball’s drug-testing program, only a player’s urine is collected. Taking blood from players is a more complicated and expensive procedure, and the commissioner’s office and the players union have said they do not want to take such a step unless there is a reliable test.

So if sporting organizations (amateur, pro, Olympic) are waiting until there’s a reliable urine test for HGH, keep waiting:

“We have to wait a few years, we are not there in our world,” said Don Catlin, the head of Anti-Doping Research, a nonprofit organization that is researching a urine test for H.G.H. “We are trying to find a needle in a haystack.”

Then there is this juicy tidbit from the WADA president, back in January 2008:

[World Anti-Doping Agency’s new president John] Fahey challenged baseball’s policy on human growth hormone. Baseball has pledged to adopt any validated urine test but does not test blood. Baseball said there is no commercially available validated test for HGH.

Equally reprehensible is their blatant disregard for the truth,” Fahey said. “Contrary to what they have told Congress this week, there is a reliable test for HGH; the storing of blood is practical, in fact has been effectively in practice for some time in World Anti-Doping Code-compliant testing.

The WADA statement said commercial kits for HGH blood testing are in development and that it offered to host a meeting between MLB and WADA experts. WADA also said baseball should store blood and serum, which might contain HGH that is more stable, for future testing.

Just store the blood already, MLB. If nothing else, it provides a MAJOR deterrent for those contemplating using HGH. Continue reading When the absence of a positive is a negative

For whom the (Hells) bell tolls

So it looks like the wonderful, incredible, high leg kick/pointed toe Trevor Hoffman Era in San Diego is coming to an end. But this isn’t his retirement. This is a team dialing back their spending as they retool. Spending what would seem to be more than 10% of their payroll on a pitcher (yes, a closer) who will only pitch in 70 or so innings seems folly.

Curious in all this San Diego chatter is the fact that they will seek to re-sign Hoffman for (in the neighborhood of) $8M next year. I know they want to be loyal and whatnot, but if they are dumping Peavy, why don’t they tell Hoffman that they can’t afford him as a luxury closer and let him go anywhere he wishes, including retirement?

Seems like a strange expense to incur at a time when rebuilding and slashing salary appears to be Priority #1.

And if you go read that posting, I traded some emails with Tim at MLBTradeRumors.com and his reply is below:

I think they do the last thing you said. That gets them a draft pick or else a one-year deal with their fan-favorite closer. If he leaves for that multiyear deal he talked about, maybe the Padres can say they tried. I agree that the Hoffman/Peavy things are at odds with each other though.

Now, it doesn’t even look like they are trying to appease the long-time fans. They are simply signalling that “the time to rebuild is really upon us”.

I’m sad about it. I really am. I am a big Trevor Hoffman fan. Like so many of our favorite players who are forced to finish their careers away from the only team they’ve known, Hoffman will don the uniform of someone else if he wants to pitch again.
Hey Trev, care to earn $6M as Mo’s set-up guy?

Continue reading For whom the (Hells) bell tolls

BA's Top 10 Yanks Prospects

Baseball America’s Top 10 Yanks prospects are ranked, in all their glowing splendor, hype and platitudes.

  1. Austin Jackson, of
  2. Jesus Montero, c
  3. Andrew Brackman, rhp
  4. Austin Romine, c
  5. Dellin Betances, rhp
  6. Zach McAllister, rhp
  7. Alfredo Aceves, rhp
  8. Phil Coke, lhp
  9. Mark Melancon, rhp
  10. Bradley Suttle, 3b

Immediate thoughts, without reading the whole article:

  • Two catchers? That’s bodes well.
  • There are some tall dudes with Brackman (6’10”), Betances (6’8″)
  • Six pitchers. We can only hope.

If you’re tool-sy, here’s their list of “Best Tools”:


BEST TOOLS

  • Best Hitter for Average Bradley Suttle
  • Best Power Hitter Jesus Montero
  • Best Strike-Zone Discipline Chris Malec
  • Fastest Baserunner Brett Gardner
  • Best Athlete Austin Jackson
  • Best Fastball Andrew Brackman
  • Best Curveball Christian Garcia
  • Best Slider Anthony Claggett
  • Best Changeup Alfredo Aceves
  • Best Control Zach McAllister
  • Best Defensive Catcher Francisco Cervelli
  • Best Defensive Infielder Ramiro Pena
  • Best Infield Arm Marcos Vechionacci
  • Best Defensive Outfielder Austin Jackson
  • Best Outfield Arm Seth Fortenberry

thanks to Pete Toms for the heads up!

Continue reading BA's Top 10 Yanks Prospects