About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

On the Money 1/9/2013

As a wrap up of sorts to our Hall of Fame coverage for this year , Stacey and I chatted with Craig Calcaterra about today’s announcement of the voting results, and what they’ll mean for future ballots and future voting patterns amongst the BBWAA voters. Craig spends about as much time writing about the Hall and the voting process as just about anyone, so his thoughts on this are definitely worth a listen. After that we switched gears entirely back to the offseason, with updates on the latest rumors and pressing issues surrounding the Yankees with Mark Feinsand of the Daily News. Enjoy!

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Continue reading On the Money 1/9/2013

BBWAA elects no one to the Hall of Fame

If Jack Morris had ever pitched this kind of shutout he would have been elected to the Hall of Fame years ago. Faced with arguably the deepest ballot in the modern era of voting, a ballot that included a player with 3,000 hits, the greatest hitting catcher of all-time, and the most decorated pitcher and position player in the history of the BBWAA awards voting, the voters reached the result most of us had expected them to beginning last week, and elected no one to the hallowed Hall in Cooperstown.

More important than the simple results, however, are the vote tallies each candidate pulled down, and frankly these are really depressing for the future of the Hall. At the low end of the ballot, Kenny Lofton (and Bernie Williams) failed to get votes from 5% of voters, meaning that he is officially off of the writers’ ballots, an absolute travesty. At the other end of the spectrum, Craig Biggio came the closest to being elected with 68% of the vote, suggesting that he fell victim to the silliest of all arbitrary voting standards, voters who won’t vote for certain guys in the first year, and will likely be enshrined in 2014. Mike Piazza got 57.8% of the vote, and Jeff Bagwell got 59.6% of the vote, so assuming the increasingly cluttered ballot doesn’t totally screw up the count, both of those guys should wind up getting elected. The only other candidates to earn over 50% of the vote were Jack Morris at 67.7%, and Tim Raines at 52.2%.

The biggest test cases, of course, were going to be those of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, and the Hall can’t be happy about what they saw there. No one expected them to reach the 75% mark needed for election, but neither even reached the 40% plateau. If that’s a true reflection of the depths of steroid hysteria in the voting pool, the next few years of Hall of Fame elections are going to be a total mess unless the Hall itself finally steps up to take some control over the situation. Continue reading BBWAA elects no one to the Hall of Fame

Jason Giambi wants to keep playing

There are some dreams I will never give up until they are honestly and truly dead and buried, and my hope of one day seeing Jason Giambi don Yankee pinstripes is one of those dreams. Giambi was seriously considered for the vacant managerial position in Colorado this offseason, but he lost out to Walt Weiss, and now Troy Renck reports that Giambi wants to play another season, and is willing to take a Minor League contract to make it happen. The Yankees have an opening for a left-handed DH, and though he didn’t really produce last year, Giambi hit .273/.354/.636. I don’t know if he has anything left in the tank at this point, but no one is going to seriously regret giving him an invite to camp to check him out, and I can spend a little bit more time dreaming of the Giambino attacking the Yankee Stadium bleachers once again.
Continue reading Jason Giambi wants to keep playing

On the Money preview

I know we’ve settled on a Monday/Thursday schedule for our podcasts, but since the Hall of Fame results are being announced today we’re bumping the show up a day in order to properly react in a timely manner. In addition to inevitably hearing me break my resolution not to get angry about the results of the balloting, the great Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk will join Stacey and I to discuss the new class of Hall of Fame inductees, assuming at least someone from this loaded ballot can get themselves elected.

It won’t be all about the Hall however, as the passing of the holiday season has the late-winter rumor mill heating up at last. The Yankees still have a few roster spots to fill out and have been connected to at least a few available players, so we’ll discuss all of that with New York Daily News beat writer Mark Feinsand. The show begins at 8:00, and you can listen live here. Continue reading On the Money preview

My (hypothetical) Hall of Fame ballot

I guess I’ve put my contractual obligation to pretend I have a Hall of Fame vote and tell you who would make up my ballot about as long as I can, huh? Honestly, I don’t even have very much energy for arguing this topic anymore, so instead of deep examinations of each candidate, I’m just going to share some quick thoughts about the players who, in my opinion, are worthy of enshrinement. Besides, since none of these guys are going to make it anyway, we’ll have at least another year to scream at each other about their merits.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading My (hypothetical) Hall of Fame ballot

Heyman: Soriano never approached Yankees

Some reports over the last week have had it that Scott Boras recently approached the Yankees about re-signing Rafael Soriano to a one year deal, as their interim closer has found the free agent market rather lacking after declining a qualifying offer from the Bombers. The Yankees supposedly turned him down flat, preferring to earn a compensation pick and additional draft pool money to adding Soriano to an already well stocked bullpen, but Jon Heyman now says none of that ever happened, and that Soriano wants to be a closer this coming season:

The usual caveats about Soriano being a Boras client obviously apply here, but there you have it.

Elsewhere, ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand says that the Yankees haven’t actually shut the door on a Soriano return entirely, and that there is (at least theoretically) a point at which Soriano could bring his demands low enough that the Yankees would be willing to welcome him back. That seems like it should be a given, at least in nominal terms, so without any real detail I’m inclined to believe that we aren’t actually going to get anywhere close to that point. Continue reading Heyman: Soriano never approached Yankees

Yankees surprised by A-Rod’s blabbing doc

We got an unusually detailed account of an ongoing injury situation when Dr. Bryan Kelly, who will be performing surgery on Alex Rodriguez‘s injured hip a week from today, spoke to Joel Sherman of the New York Post and expounded upon the nature of the injury and A-Rod’s chances at a successful rehabilitation. Authorization for that story did not come from the Yankees, however, according to a report from Christian Red in the Daily News. “Kelly was clearly lured in by Alex, who told (Kelly) to talk,” claimed the source for the story. That language is a bit odd, but the rest of the article doesn’t really carry any serious implication that the Yankees are upset about Kelly’s comments like they were when Mariano Rivera‘s rehab doctor prematurely speculated about Mo being able to return for the postseason over the summer.

The Daily News report also attempts to push back at Kelly’s claims that the injury had nothing to do with past steroid use by Alex. “I don’t understand how Dr. Kelly can be absolute that steroids didn’t cause the injury,” Dr. Lewis Maharam, past President of the American College of Sports Medicine, told the Daily News. “I think without seeing (Rodriguez), it’s likely, given his admission of steroid use, that steroid/HGH use caused the hip lesions due to the increased strength they produced in surrounding muscle tissues that naturally increase the torque on the hip joint.”

In a conference call with reporters, however, Kelly claimed that A-Rod suffers from a condition called femoroacetabular impingement, which occurs during the formation of the joint during childhood. Basically, Rodriguez has a somewhat misshapen bone in his hip that’s causing added wear on the joint, something totally unrelated to steroid usage. “This has nothing to do with performance-enhancing drugs,” Kelly declared. “Steroids don’t change the shape of your bones.” Continue reading Yankees surprised by A-Rod’s blabbing doc

Nats shopping Morse after re-signing LaRoche

After weeks of piddling around on the free agent market, Adam LaRoche finally accepted the fact that no one wanted to meet his asking price after he turned down a qualifying offer and re-signed with the Washington Nationals. Between that and trading for Denard Span, that leaves Michael Morse on the outside of their starting lineup and available in potential trades. Mark Zuckerman of Comcast Sports tweets that Morse is “very much” available, and that the Nationals would seek a left-handed reliever and/or starting pitching depth in return.

Morse honestly isn’t much of an outfielder, but as a power-hitting righty who has hit southpaws to the tune of a career line of .303/.357/.503, he carries a big enough stick to be a perfect fit for the Yankees right now. Picking him up for a package built around Boone Logan or Clay Rapada would be something of a dream, but starting pitching depth isn’t necessarily something the Yankees have to offer right now, and you can rest assured that they will not be the only team interested in acquiring Morse’s services.
Continue reading Nats shopping Morse after re-signing LaRoche

Hairston likely to make decision soon, Yankees “pessimistic”

Though they’ve acquired both Matt Diaz and Russ Canzler in recent weeks, the Yankees’ search for a right-handed hitting outfielder marches on. The top spot on their wish list remains former Met Scott Hairston, and via ESPN New York, it appears that a decision on where he will be signing could be coming from Hairston this week. According to Wallace Matthews, Hairston’s agent, Casey Close, said the outfielder is likely to make a decision in a “matter of days.”

Hairston is pretty much a straight platoon hitter with a career .825 OPS against lefties, but he does bring a bit of versatility in the outfield to the table, anyway. He had a career year for the Mets in 2012 and attempted to parlay that into a multi-year contract this winter, but given how long he’s lingered on the market I assume he hasn’t found anyone willing to make that sort of commitment to him, and may well find himself taking the best one year offer he can get. The Yankees and Mets have been the teams most often rumored to have serious interest in Hairston, but today Matthews’ colleague Andrew Marchand reports that the Yankees do not expect to sign him. The issue? A lack of plate appearances, apparently. Marchand relays that. with the Yankees, Hairston would be a “fourth outfielder,” but that seems a little bit odd given how doggedly the Yankees have supposedly been pursuing a right-handed hitting outfielder over the past few weeks. Presumably they’re looking for someone who can get regular playing time both in the outfield and as a DH against southpaws, something akin to the role Andruw Jones has played in the previous two seasons. If they’re merely looking for a backup outfielder, being concerned about what side they hit from is fairly bizarre, and they probably would have been best off just keeping Chris Dickerson.

Marchand also reports that, if the Yankees don’t sign Hairston, the team’s fourth outfielder will be determined by a Spring Training competition between Diaz and Canzler. Continue reading Hairston likely to make decision soon, Yankees “pessimistic”