Jeterian Conclave begins at sunrise

And the vigil begins tomorrow:

GM Brian Cashman will meet with New York Yankees co-owners Hal and Hank Steinbrenner on Monday in Tampa as the Yankees try to figure out how to win World Series No. 28 next season.

The meetings are expected to take two days, but could go longer. Later in the week, in New York, Cashman will also gather with his scouts to determine the best course of action in terms of which players the Yankees should keep and which they should go after.

This did have me chuckling to myself:

Cashman said he doesn’t put any monetary value on milestones. Jeter is likely going to become the first Yankee with 3,000 hits.

Yet, ARod’s contract is so grossly laden with milestone bonuses, it only makes Hank’s fingerprints on the ARod deal that much more indelible. Per Cot’s Contracts:

$30M marketing agreement based on home run milestones ($6M each for reaching 660, 714, 755 and tying and breaking major league HR record)

I mean, what could possibly go wrong? Continue reading Jeterian Conclave begins at sunrise

Perspectives on Baseball

Baseball, to the informed observer, appears to be a straightforward game. Pitcher throws the ball, batter hits the ball, and fielders move toward the ball while batter runs around the bases. There are, of course, a myriad of things that can happen between them, and important to this post, there are a number of ways of seeing, experiencing, and deriving meaning from that play. This post isn’t going to be about small ball or waiting around for the three-run homer. It’s about describing the various reasons we watch/play baseball and, most importantly, the meaning of baseball to everyone involved in the process. At the end we may even learn something from this exercise.

It’s Just a Game

This is probably the most common perception of baseball, but I’m not sure we really understand what that means. When most of us think of baseball, we head back to the fields of our youths, and the inexplicable joy we got from playing baseball. We won. We lost. We learned about teamwork and sportsmanship. Baseball was just a game. This philosophy gives the game a childlike sense of simplicity, and it’s the purest and most innocent of the philosophies. At the end of the day, this philosophy allows us to go home and sleep easy. No judgments are passed, and we accept the outcome, no matter what it is or how it came to be, because it just doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that enjoyment is derived from the experience, which happens because it is a game.

As such, baseball is not equivalent to the MLB. Major League Baseball is a constructed form of baseball, and while it promotes the fact that it has the best players in the world, it only has the best players in the world under certain conditions. Because the MLB is powerful and holds substantial economic sway in the baseball world, the changes it makes are also usually made in the lower levels because an ultimate goal of those lower levels is to send players to the MLB (again, because of the economic benefits). Baseball, however, can be found elsewhere. As a game, someone may decide that Little League, European, Cuban, or Japanese (these are only examples and not the totality of types) baseball is the best or purest form of baseball. They are allowed to believe that. We all have different ideas on how the game should be played, and that may not always be the MLB or American baseball. This recently cost the MLB a good fan because he didn’t like the direction the MLB was headed, and my response to him was that he was not mad at baseball. He was mad at the MLB, and he should find a form of baseball closer to his beliefs on what baseball is.

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Dave and Joe, on an Eiland?

Forgive the horrific pun in the title, sometimes a guy can’t help himself.  There are a lot of whispers swirling around as to why exactly Dave Eiland ended up losing his job as Yankee pitching coach.  Some argue that the performance of the Yankee pitching staff this season, particularly Javy Vazquez and AJ Burnett, is reason enough for Eiland to not be rehired.  Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York describes a breakdown in the relationship between Girardi and Eiland that occurred after Eiland’s leave of absence in June.  From Marchand’s post: …a person with knowledge of the relationship between Eiland Continue reading Dave and Joe, on an Eiland?

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a Yankees’ season ticket holder?

Recently I promised myself that I would do all I could to become a Yankees’ season ticket holder as soon as I could sustain the commitment financially. I made the plunge for the first time this past offseason. The experience was fantastic. I look forward to renewing my ticket this year. This is a brief summary of my experience, for any Yankeeist reader considering making a similar plunge. The Yankees actually called me during the 2009 playoffs to ask if I was interested in purchasing a ticket license, the official name of a season ticket. Earlier that year I’d purchased Continue reading Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a Yankees’ season ticket holder?

Looking for a Lefty-FA edition

Brian Cashman said yesterday that the team has two main priorities this off season, a starter and a lefty for the bullpen. Neither comes as any surprise, the Yanks have pined for Cliff Lee for years and on the heels of the news of Damaso Marte’s scheduled shoulder surgery there was going to be an opening in the bullpen. Chad Jennings of LoHud has the details: “If I can find a left-handed reliever who can join Boone Logan, I think that will make our choices out of the pen better for our manager,” the GM said. “It’s easy to talk Continue reading Looking for a Lefty-FA edition

Letting Go Of Wood

Cliff Corcoran of the excellent Pinstriped Bible checks in on Kerry Wood: Kerry Wood posted a 1.344 WXRL and 0.69 ERA with the Yankees, but he also walked 18 men in 26 innings. He was lucky. Opponents hit .236 on balls in play against Wood after he came over from Cleveland, and just 3.1 percent of his fly balls left the ballpark, down from a career rate of 8.6 percent. Meanwhile, he gave up fly balls and line drives more often than he had previously in his career. Wood’s high strikeout rates allow him to get away with more walks Continue reading Letting Go Of Wood

How Bad Was the 2009-10 Offseason?

Before we get into the offseason stuff full bore, probably about the time the World Series ends, let’s take a second to look at what the Yankees did last year.

For the most part, a lot of Yankees fans regard the 2009-10 offseason as a failure, more or less, full of acquisitions that didn’t pan out to well and bad decisions by general manager Brian Cashman. Cashman himself even fessed up to not having a very good winter in his end-of-the-year press conference last week. Far be it from me to argue with the man himself, but I think Cashman may have been understating the degree to which last offseason’s moves didn’t work just to avoid picking a battle over something minor. All in all, I think the Yankees did about as good of a job as they could have.

There’s 2 important factors to keep in mind when evaluating any transaction; value and alternatives. Both are pretty straight-forward aren’t they. Is they player you’re acquiring worth what you’re giving up for them, and are there any alternatives who are either better than what you are getting or are simply a better value at the cost? Any objective measurement of a move has to filter principally through these two prisms. So with that in mind, let’s look at some of the moves Cashman made last year and grade them.

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No Need For An Upgrade Like Cliff Lee

[image title=”Indians starting pitcher Lee looks up before pitching in sixth inning of their MLB American League baseball game against the Yankees in New York” size=”full” id=”22679″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ]So far, I’ve given my argument against signing Cliff Lee, and laid out some alternatives (most of which don’t look pretty good), and stated my belief that the Yankees should stand pat and fill the position internally. Assuming Andy Pettitte re-signs, the team will go into 2011 with the same top-four as they did last year. How much of a problem is this? The 2o10 Yankees won 95 games, giving them Continue reading No Need For An Upgrade Like Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee is always a good idea

EJ Fagan of TYU wrote a post yesterday encouraging the Yankees to not sign Cliff Lee. The main premise of the article is that the Yankees are already walking dangerous grounds in terms of aging core players. EJ writes: “The team needs to aim younger than Cliff Lee. They need a guy in the Hughes/Cano/Gardner age group, not someone in advanced age. Or they need to sign someone to a shorter, cheaper contract. Who is that guy? I’m not too sure. He may not exist. But he should be in his mid to late 20s, or be a very short Continue reading Cliff Lee is always a good idea