The folly of iconic managers

For one thing, let’s not pretend LaRussa is anything other than a first class jerk. Rasmus would hardly be the first player LaRussa has feuded with, and the list isn’t completely made up of hot headed young rabble-rousers either. His most notable recent feud was probably the one he had with Scott Rolen, a respected veteran, multiple gold glove winner, and a guy who’s generally gotten good reviews for his “clubhouse presence” in Toronto and Cincinnati since leaving St. Louis. No, the only common denominator in these situations is LaRussa himself.

On the other hand, LaRussa is a notorious backroom politician, and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he had deliberately soured Cardinals’ fans on Rasmus in order to force the Cardinals to trade him for more pitching. I assume it doesn’t need to be said that Rasmus is spot on in his summation of LaRussa’s managerial style.

The only strange thing in all of this is that the Cardinals continue to let LaRussa win these fights and run talented players out of town.… Click here to read the rest

Kuroda vs. Jimenez

The trade deadline is ever approaching and the rumors are swirling harder and harder. We heard yesterday that the Yankees are intensifying their pursuit of Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda and, of course, they’re still in on Rockies’ right hander Ubaldo Jimenez. So, I think this is a good time for us to have a nice discussion.

Given the current and future needs of the Yankees, would you rather trade for Jimenez or Kuroda?

The case for Kuroda:

1. The price will be considerably less.
2. He’ll be a free agent, so there’s no long term commitment. He could also net a compensation pick.
3. He fits a need as a durable and effective starter.

The case against Kuroda

1. The whole NL-to-AL thing. Meh.
2. He’s old.
3. He may not approve a trade.

The case for Jimenez

1. He’s a top-flite talent.
2. He’s cheap for at least 2012 and 2013.
3. He’s also a durable, effective starter.… Click here to read the rest

Will Montero force the Yankees’ hand?

Lots of digital ink has been spilled discussing the Yankees’ handling of Jesus Montero over the past few weeks, with many reasonable people coming to different conclusions about when the 21 year-old catcher should be promoted to the bigs.  A number of people (myself included) were unsatisfied with Montero’s offensive line at AAA (OPS’ing in the .750 range with an increased strikeout rate and a decreased walk rate), and reports about his boredom gave reason to be concerned about his maturity.  I personally was hesitant to reward his slacking off with a promotion.  Plus there did not seem to be much progress in his defense, and catching full-time might be necessary to help him improve.

On the other side, many people were concerned about the putrid offensive production from Jorge Posada at the DH spot, along with Francisco Cervelli at the backup catcher position (not to mention Russell Martin as the starter), and saw a spot for Montero as a part-time DH and backup catcher.  … Click here to read the rest

Game 102: Mariners 9, Yankees 2

The Yankees finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth.  Russell Martin singled to start and moved to third on a grounder by Eduardo Nunez.  Brett Gardner worked a walk and Martin scored on a sac fly by Derek Jeter.

Hughes lasted six innings, and the Yankees bullpen blew up in the seventh.  Ichiro lead off with a double to center and Brendan Ryan singled to short.  A throwing error by Robinson Cano allowed Ichiro to score and Ackley to reach first safely.  Justin Smoak worked a walk and Mike Carp cleared the bases with a triple.  Franklin Gutierrez capped off the inning with a RBI double and the Mariners surged ahead 7-1.

Curtis Granderson led off the eighth with a double to right.  He moved to third on a groundout by Teixeira and scored when Cano grounded out  to short.  Unfortunately, the Mariners added a couple more runs in the top of the ninth and the Yankees took a 9-2 loss.… Click here to read the rest

The Farm Report 7/27/11 – Two homers for Culver

Apologies for the lack of rounding up on the farm stuff last night; things came up. Montero homered. As for today:

Triple-A Scranton beat Buffalo 3-2
Buffalo tied the game in the bottom of the fifth, and it took a Jordan Parraz homer in the top of the ninth to put Scranton ahead. Kevin Whelan had an interesting save where he threw two wild pitches and allowed the tying run to reach third, but he closed the game out. Greg Golson also homered, and Luis Nunez and Austin Krum doubled. Lance Pendleton had a pretty good start, giving up two runs in six innings, while striking out three and walking one. George Kontos threw two scoreless innings in relief.

Double-A Trenton beat Akron, 5-1
Trenton scored in the fourth and fifth, then added three in the sixth to secure the win. Manny Banuelos had a strong outing, going 6.1 innings of five-hit, one-run ball, with three walks and five strikeouts. Brad Halsey finished the game with 2.2 scoreless relief innings.… Click here to read the rest

At least respect our intelligence

But then there’s instant replay. Baseball, of course, doesn’t utilize instant replay, or at least not as much as it should, anyway, and as a result umpires and the game are consistently and repeatedly embarrassed by high profile blown calls. The big problem is that everyone else does have instant replay. I’ve seen last night’s blown call in Atlanta over a dozen times now, in slow motion, on a big screen, in high definition. Little old me, from my couch. The technology is just a fact of life to just about everyone in the world at this point, everyone except the people who matter, that is. And the reason baseball doesn’t have more replay is because Bud Selig doesn’t want it, plain and simple.

And you know what? That’s okay on some level. People disagree about things, and I guess it’s not the worst thing in the world if you think baseball shouldn’t expand the use of replay. But at least come up with a good explanation for your position, not this drivel Selig sent Joe Torre out to spew today:

“Having been the beneficiary of calls like this and having been on the other end in my experience as a player and as a manager, I have felt that this has always been a part of our game. Click here to read the rest

TYA and MasterCard Yankee Ticket Giveaway! Win FREE Yankee tickets to see the Bombers play the Orioles this weekend!

TYA is incredibly pleased to have the opportunity to give away a very limited number of FREE Yankee tickets to two Yankee games this weekend against the Orioles! The lucky winners will have the opportunity to sit in the MasterCard Batter’s Eye Section in center field, recently immortalized in MasterCard’s excellent new Priceless New York ad campaign in which a Yankee fan walks all around New York giving Yankee tickets away to fellow fans. Did we mention they are FREE?

Here’s the deal. All you have to do is leave a comment in the comments section of this post letting us know which game you’re interested in attending along with an e-mail address we can contact you at. We’ll pick the winners at random. If you end up being a winner, we’ll e-mail you and you’ll need to provide an address so that the tickets can be messengered directly to your doorstep.

The free tickets are available for the following games:

  • The first game of the Saturday, July 30, doubleheader against the Baltimore Orioles at 1pm.
Click here to read the rest

Felix Felixes Yanks; snaps 17-game losing streak

2015 cannot come soon enough. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

Sometimes I hate being right. With the best pitcher in the American League (non-CC Sabathia division) going against a struggling Phil Hughes still trying to find his way, not to mention the fact that Seattle — bad as they are — was beyond overdue for a win, this game had all the makings of a Yankee loss, and of course that’s exactly what happened, as Felix Hernandez pitched the Mariners to a 9-2 victory, snapping the team’s franchise-record 17-game losing streak.

Hernandez went seven strong innings, striking out five though also walking a surprising four, but the Yankees of course couldn’t capitalize as Felix ultimately only gave up one run.

It’s really rather incredible. Though it’s obviously not news, throwing Felix Hernandez against the New York Yankees has become the surest thing in all of baseball. Dating back to the beginning of 2010, Felix has thrown 40 innings of six-run ball (1.35 ERA) against the Yankees, including 24 innings of one-run ball (0.38 ERA!) at Yankee Stadium.… Click here to read the rest

A Look at Notable Trades the Yankees Didn’t Make During the Cashman Era

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog).

Some of Brian Cashman's best decisions have involved trades he didn't make.

The trade deadline has resulted in some of the most lopsided deals in history, but that doesn’t mean evey swap made under the gun has to have a winner and loser.  Each year, there are just as many deadline deals that are prudent as ones that are impetuous, but what about the trades that don’t get made? Sometimes, by not pulling an itchy trigger, a general manager can make his team a deadline winner even without making a single transaction.

During his Yankee tenure, Brian Cashman has not been very active during the trade deadline. In fact, when he has made a major in-season deal, it has often come earlier in the year when the pressure of the deadline was off in the distance. What Cashman has been very good at, however, is avoiding impetuous deals that would have a negative impact on the future more than help in the present.… Click here to read the rest