About @Jason_IIATMS

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

Abbamondi to the Padres; also, your resume sucks

Just getting around to this as it’s off our track, but since I pull for the Padres as my NL “home” team… On the face, it’s just a good hire by the Padres, getting another young, smart dude to help the organization. Now, there are many of us/you who either secretly or openly covet a GM’s job and think you could do Cashman’s job with your eyes closed. Well, have a gander at Abbamondi’s resume and see if you have what it takes to beat this guy to the next open GM spot:

Abbamondi came to the Cardinals from Major League Baseball’s labor relations department, serving there as a senior director of labor economics. While there he helped craft the current Collective Bargaining Agreement and devise baseball’s revenue-sharing policies. He came to the Cardinals highly regarded for his proficiency with baseball policy, contracts and arbitration. Abbamondi headed the Cardinals’ arbitration cases, and had roles in negotiating many of the contracts that arbitration-eligible players received before their hearings.

Abbamondi, 39, was also involved in budgeting, overseeing the medical staff and roster management for the Cardinals.

Before pursuing a career in baseball, Abbamondi served nine years in the U.S. Navy as a flight officer. He flew 40 combat missions over Iraq and was a two-time recipient of the Navy Air Medal.

This ain’t your oft-maligned, stat-geek, computer-totin’, never-seen-a-game-in-person guy.  Don’t hate him because he’s 39.  Hate him because he kicks serious ass.

Now get yours back to work, slacker. Vacation, schmacation. Continue reading Abbamondi to the Padres; also, your resume sucks

Cleveland rocks!

Huge huzzah for the folks in the Cleveland Indians front office for coming up with a new way to make a few bucks and have some fun with their stadium during the cold, dark winter:

As part of what the team calls Snow Days, the site’s centerpieces are a 10-lane tubing hill named the batterhorn that stretches from the middle of the bleachers into right field, and a quarter-mile ice skating track called the frozen mile — the first of its kind in the United States, the Indians say — that zips past the warning track, second base, the bullpens and underneath the bleachers.

“People can go somewhere and tube, they can go somewhere and ice skate, but they can’t do it in a setting like this, with the entertainment that our scoreboard group’s provided, the Christmas lights on the field; it’s just a completely unique entertainment option,” said Mark Shapiro, the team’s president and a person more accustomed to talking about pitchers and catchers.

Sure, the Pinstripe Bowl is a week away, but how incredibly awesome would this be in NY? I’d take my kids to the stadium to go tubing as often as possible. Unless they charged me $50 to do so, of course. Even fun has its price.

More pics here

Continue reading Cleveland rocks!

Damon redux?

The chatter is out there, but I put very little stock in Johnny Damon returning to the Yankees as a part-time player (DH/OF):

Four sources said that Damon and the Yankees were talking about a role in which Damon, 37, would get occasional at-bats as a designated hitter and fill in at leftfield, allowing starting leftfielder Brett Gardner to either rest or shift to fill in for centerfielder Curtis Granderson or rightfielder Nick Swisher.

Damon would prefer a job with more guaranteed playing time, two of the sources said, so a deal is not close and far from guaranteed. But there have been multiple conversations between the two sides, and at the moment, neither Damon nor the Yankees appear thrilled with their other options.

Personally, I can’t see a way that Damon subjugates himself to become a part-time player and I can’t see a way that the Yanks get him enough playing time to keep him placated. I am sure he wants to return to the Yankees and attack the left field porch again. I like Johnny Damon and would enjoy seeing him return as a fourth outfielder, but I don’t see this coming to fruition.

And, for the record, the NY Daily News’ sources indicate a reunion is “unlikely“.

[For a much deeper review of Damon and the possible return to NY, I recommend Joe Pawl’s take at RAB.]

Continue reading Damon redux?

CC expecting to be in the best shape of his life

With the annual rite of ballplayers reporting their off-season workout progress now upon us, we have news about CC that we can be relieved about:

Sabathia has lost 15 pounds from his 6-foot-7 frame through a tough offseason training program of cardiovascular workouts and weight training. His knee recovered in just less than a month after the procedure, so he is well into his full exercise program and playing light catch.

He hopes to lose an additional 15 pounds before the season starts.

I’m turning 30 this year, getting a little older,” he said, chuckling. “Hopefully it will take some pressure off my knee and extend my career.”

This would be great news for the Yanks and CC. I told ya, nothing to worry about.

* The picture above is the one I took at the first day of Spring Training in 2009. I was concerned.

Continue reading CC expecting to be in the best shape of his life

In which I agree with Randy Levine

I’ve never been Randy Levine’s biggest fan, however I agree completely with his thoughts here, minus the creepy sounding first sentence:

“I go to sleep every night hoping that Andy Pettitte makes his decision to come back and pitch another year,” Yankees team president Randy Levine said on 1050 ESPN New York on Wednesday. “That is his decision. He has not made a decision to retire. He has not made a decision to come back.

“He is with his family. Hopefully, over the holidays he will come to peace with whatever his decision is and knowing Andy, he will give it a lot of thought. He has a big heart. There is no bigger Yankee than him. Let’s just hope he wakes up one day in the next couple of weeks and says, ‘I want to pitch for the New York Yankees.’

I hope he returns, too. I’m a big Pettitte fan and would love to see a victory lap.

Also from Levine, which I agree with:

“Cliff Lee is one of the best pitchers there is in Major League Baseball,” Levine said. “He made a decision for himself and his family that he wanted to be in Philadelphia, and that is what free agency is all about and we respect it.”

What’s next, me regularly agreeing with Lupica (I’ve done that already) or Shaughnessy? Continue reading In which I agree with Randy Levine

Pettitte still leaning

Any more leaning and he’d be working for MSNBC. Says Wallace Matthews:

On Tuesday, Yankees GM Brian Cashman used the words “leaning towards retirement” in regards to Andy Pettitte. This is not not news. Pettitte said exactly the same thing in the clubhouse in Arlington following the Yankees elimination from the ALCS on October 22, and Cashman has said variations of the same thing repeatedly since the end of the season. […]

Neither Pettitte nor his agents, the Hendricks Bros., have been available for comment since the end of the season, and as far as we know, Cashman’s contact with the 38-year-old lefthander has been limited as well. We don’t even know if they’re gotten to the point of discussing money, although Cashman told me, “I have the money to sign him if he wants to come back.” As if that was a worry.

My full thoughts on Andy Pettitte and his annual retirement-or-not dance can be found here.

Continue reading Pettitte still leaning

Facepalming a HOF vote

I know trying to parse Boston.com’s Dan Shaughnessey is much like parsing The Daily News’ Mike Lupica: A fool’s errand. Yet, I am the fool who continues to be amazed by BigRed’s antagonistic and foolish approach. Let’s get into it, shall we?

We won’t know who’s in until January, but this year’s ballot has some new challenges because the Steroid Boys are stepping forward in large numbers.

I just love how he capitalizes “Steroid Boys”. Where were you, Dan, when this whole “Steroid Era”* was in full bloom? Where were your exposés and hard questions at the players you were covering on a daily basis? The insinuation here is that Dan is more than able to distance himself from the distaste of those who used PEDs by putting them in a verbal corral. Sorry Dan, it doesn’t work that way. Your own silence, as an insider, leaves you at least partially complicit in the wrongs of the “Steroid Era”.

* Sidenote: I’ve struggled with how to properly evaluate the stars of the late 1980’s thru today as it relates to PED use. Yes, it was illegal and wrong and all those chest-pounding things, but since there is no accurate and practical way to establish guilt or innocence for everyone, we have to evaluate this era as its own. As such, I think every player from the last 25 years should be elected if their resumé dictates. We cannot summarily ‘haircut’ homerun or strikeout totals or outright dismiss portions of players’ careers. It will be up to us, the fans, to view their achievements through our own lenses and explain them in whichever way we feel best.

(click “view full post” to read more)
Continue reading Facepalming a HOF vote

Yanks’ Lux Tax bill comes due

…and it’s the lowest since 2003! (note the artificial excitement)

New York was hit with an $18 million luxury tax Tuesday by Major League Baseball. The tax was New York’s lowest since 2003 and down from $25.7 million last year, when the Yankees won the World Series. […]

Since the current tax began in 2003, the Yankees have run up a bill of $192.2 million. The only other teams to pay are Boston ($15.34 million), Detroit ($1.3 million) and the Los Angeles Angels ($927,000).

In short, the Yanks have plenty of money to burn and nowhere, right now, to spend it. Some will go to Andy Pettitte if he decides to return. And the rest will be used during the season on any salary dump-deals, if there’s anything to be had. Continue reading Yanks’ Lux Tax bill comes due

Catching up with Matt Sosnick

It’s been a banner off-season for the Sosnick-Cobbe Sports representation firm. With two big extensions for some emerging stars in Jay Bruce and Ricky Nolasco and the (possible) extensions for Freddy Sanchez and Josh Willingham.  Agent Matt Sosnick was kind enough to take a few questions from me via email.

IIATMS: Jay Bruce is clearly one of MLB’s rising young stars. What’s your thoughts on him locking up a multi-year deal now when he could very easily earn a great deal more through the arbitration process and into free agency? Who leads this process, you or the player?

  • Matt SosnickWhen a player has ability that merits a multi-year deal, we sit down with him to discuss the pros and cons. The nature of these deals is that the player almost always leaves some money on the table in exchange for the security of a guarantee. Jay is a pretty conservative guy, so in his case he was able to get a guaranteed deal for more than he could ever spend, while still being young enough (30) when the deal expires to obtain one or two more big contracts. Ultimately it is the player’s decision. Our role is to inform him of what he would make if he went year-to-year, what the risks are, and how much we can get him on a multi-year so that he can make an educated decision.

IIATMS: You and your firm have been proponents of these pre-free agency extenstions. Do you recommend this course for all of your players?

  • MS: Our general philosophy is that if a player can get an early multi-year contract that guarantees him enough money to be set for life, he needs to at least consider it. Baseball careers can be cut short in the blink of an eye, and most players understand that. It’s not so much a matter of what we recommend as a matter of presenting the player with his various options and letting him make an informed decision.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Catching up with Matt Sosnick