Sunday, November 30, 2014
That's all. Sign him, for Godsakes.
For starters, we don't lose a too draft pick, as we would with Max Scherzer or James Shields. It's only money, which we have too much of anyway.
Secondly, Boston has been smugly telling its fan base for the last four months that it would get Lester back, and keep the players it received in the trade. That's the Boston tradition: Have it both ways. (They don't buy pennants like the Yankees do; they just are willing to spend money.) This would show they don't get everything.
Thirdly, we'd have one of the best starters in baseball, and he'd have a special reason to haunt the Redsocks: They traded his butt.
Finally, we need pitching, preferably a lefty, because the incredibly shrinking CC Sabathia isn't going to cut it.
It's simple, folks. Sign Jon Lester.
Watch those smiles disappear. SIGN JON LESTER.
A few weeks ago, Curt Schilling - famed Yankee nemesis, Tea Party quote-goon and Rhode Island taxpayer parasite - turned his mighty Twitter intellect on evolution... you know, that secret global conspiracy through which liberals undermine Yahweh's will - aka: voter fraud crackdowns and the XL Pipeline.
Apparently, Schilling went off his meds for a day and - through the intellectual gravity of tweeting - attacked Charles Darwin's ridiculous and silly theory that dinosaurs were extinct long before man arrived. Good grief, anybody who ever watched The Flintstones knows better.
Saturday, November 29, 2014
The most expensive dirt comes from the original Yankee Stadium and is sold by Beam Clay, who has been providing dirt for the “House that Ruth Built” since 1952. The dirt was used during the last game that the Yankees played in Yankee Stadium on September 21, 2008, when they beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-3. After the dirt was collected it was then pressed into coins under the supervision of Steiner Sports Marketing to ensure that all dirt was authentic. The coins were placed into frames, along with a picture of old Yankee Stadium, and are currently being sold for $89.99. If that’s too pricey for you, Beam Clay is also selling dirt that was never used at Yankee Stadium for $75.00.
This is like deciding between a Quarter Pounder or a Big Mac. Either will fill your belly for the time being, but over the long haul make you sick.
Don't get me wrong. No bones to pick with Chase. He took one in the jaw against Tampa and never complained. But his career has been on a four-year decline, with one brief interlude: His stint with the Yankees - when he proved to be - low bar alert: - an improvement over Yangervis Solarte. We're supposed to get drunk about keeping him in pinstripes? I don't know which is worse - no news or bad news.
Same with Chris Capuano. I guess he's going to Japan, along with Zelous Wheeler. OK, fine. Cross another one off the list, or maybe not.
The Redsocks have broken their bank, the Blue Jays are making their move, Baltimore is the returning power, and Tampa is still Evan Longora and a wave of young arms. The Yankees may or may not have Chase Headley. Nothing is happening. But it could be worse.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Something's up. It's today's BIG news story. Actually, it's today's only news story.
Everyone... is... shopping!
Have you heard about this? Everyone... everywhere... shopping. It's incredible. It's unbelievable. Right now, you should be shopping. I should be shopping. So... dammit... stop reading! I've got to stop writing. MUST... GET OUT AND SHOP. Everybody... everywhere... SHOP, DAMMIT, SHOP!
Thus, when they get traded, the Yankiverse's Gammonites and Blogging Bloggers of Blog collectively say, "Wow, Cashman did it again! We gave up nothing!"
Last year, that's what the sayers of sooth said about Peter O'Brien, who was challenging for the home run lead throughout all of Minor League baseball. "No position," the ghosts whispered. "Hole in his swing." This fall, O'Brien was one of the five best hitters in the Arizona League. We traded him for the earnest and valuable Martin Prado - along with his $22 million two-year contract, which effectively eliminated the Yankees from bidding on the Cuban "Brett Gardner with Power," Rusney Castillo - who the Redsocks are penciling in at CF. Oh, well. We'll see.
Same thing happened earlier last summer when the Empire dealt Raphael De Paula and Yangervis Solarte to San Diego for three months of Chase Headley. No problems with giving Solarte a second chance elsewhere. But in the weeks before the deal, De Paula fell from being a coveted Futures Game alumnus to a middling, fringy future bullpen maybe. (Actually, he might be just that; San Diego could lose him in the upcoming Rule 5 draft.) No loss. Oh, well. We'll see. But Headley is gone, and all we have to show for it is the AL East Bronze Medal.
So... keep your eyes open, Yankiverse. The first sign of a system-emptying trade for Tulo will be the undercutting of the young players who are destined to go. This won't affect Colorado's view of them. It will only matter to the town criers. Who will be groomed for Colorado, or Texas, or somewhere? Does Rob Refsnyder use the wrong lobster fork? Too bad about Aaron Judge and his case of ringworm. Oh, well. We'll see.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
1. Until Roger Maris is in the Hall... no Barry Bonds, no Mark McGwire, no Sammy Sosa... no sluggers whatsoever. (From now on, HR stands for Human Resources.) This is your ironclad rule of life, the first thing you tell strangers on the street. Without Roger, there is no Cooperstown. When people mention "The Hall," you assume they are talking about Mel Hall.
2. Don't waste a vote on the Big Unit. He's a lock. Besides, in his career, he did far more to hurt the Yankees than help us.
3. Don't bother with Sheffield. We never won with him - though he did take a punch for us from that Boston fan at Fenway - and he's going to fall short.
4. No need to discuss Pedro and Schilling, right? On the day Ron Guidry goes in, we'll think about Pedro.
5. Ditch Roger Clemens as a protest against steroids. Thus, in years to come, he shall function as our excuse to deny other accused cheats - most notably, Big Papi.
6. Allan Biggio and Craig Trammell? Seriously, who cares? We need to find hardcore Astros and Tigers fans willing to swap a vote for their heroes in exchange for supporting Don Mattingly. Even so, Donnie may come up short until he manages a World Series champion, a la Joe Torre. Therefore... we have one surgical strike this year.
6. Out of 10 votes, leave nine blank. One name goes on the ballot: Mike Mussina.
"Hey, you know what? You're a fucking moron."
"That argument makes sense... if you're a fucking cretin."
"Thank you. I always wondered how the world looks to a 40 IQ head full of oatmeal."
"Pass the cranberry sauce, you vile, piddling, brainless shithead."
"Hey, I got an idea. Why don't you stick your fucking jizzy, Jerry Sandusky-breathed mouth onto the bunghole of this bird, and whisper into it all your bizarre and idiotic personal views, because nobody else wants to hear them, you ridiculous, one-track, slappy-headed dick."
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
So... recapping for those at home.
Arizona gets Tomas, age 24, for six years at $68 million.
Boston gets Castillo, age 26, for seven years at $72 million.
The Yankees get Carlos Beltran, age 37, for three years, at $45 million.
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Are we having fun?
Dear Madam or Sir:
Sorry if I appear confused. I'm just not sure to whom I speak.
This Thanksgiving, are you Harold Z. "Hal" Steinbrenner, alias...
From what we hear - aka, Joel Sherman - we are entering another "Yankee Austerity Off-Season." The team will avoid long-term deals with evil Max Scherzer or tainted Jon Lester. We will even ditch 4-year commitments to Chase Headley or David Robertson. Prudence, people! Mr. Austerity wants us to hitch up our belts, pull away from the pizza buffet and cut our costs!
Or... is this your "time of the month?" (Wink-wink)
Forgive me, but since your father died, you have not exactly been a cornerstone of consistency. You have:
a) Declared Austerity, demanding that the payroll be cut to $187 million, with an absolute moratorium on two-year deals.
b) Same month, signed Ichiro to a two-year deal.
c) Ditched the Austerity plan altogether, claiming $187 million was merely "a goal."
d) Announced a new Secret Austerity plan, refusing a long-term deal with Robbie Cano.
d) Same month, ditched the new Secret Austerity plan, signing long deals with McCann, Ellsbury, Beltran et al.
e) Purged all distant memory of the new Secret Austerity plan, with salary dump deals for Headley, Prado, McCarthy, et al.
f) Announced this winter's new Double-Secret Austerity plan, avoiding long-term deals...
Unless you change your mind, heh heh. O, you crazy cad, you wild tumbleweed of desire! What gets into you?
(Wait a minute... TIME OUT. I just realized something: The Yankees are owned by a psycho spoiled rich kid, sitting in the 19th hole with a Scotch and a six-page menu, and he can't decide whether to order the hamburger or the surf 'n turf.)
So... today, we're frugal, right? But come July, when we're 6 out and tanking, you'll approve a pile of sub-prime salary dumps - bringing in a new crate of old slobs, designed to grease the engine and keep the team afloat through September 15? Then... next winter - you'll announce the new Triple-Secret Austerity Plan! No long-term deals! Time to cut Yankee costs!
(Holy crap... I just realized something: We're dealing with a psycho spoiled rich kid who has a drug addiction, and he's always planning to quit, but he never throws away his stash.... and he's stoned out of his gourd... )
So... recapping now: Consistent policies? Who needs 'em?
Which is it? Austerity... or Sailor Moon?
This Thanksgiving... which Hal is carving the turkey... the one we will be lashed to in 2015?
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
(Redsock connections in red, not counting Bagwell)
It was a pregame show for the Ferguson riots, with kickoff scheduled for 9 p.m. Eastern - 8:00 o'clock Central - and enough top news celebrities for an awards show. I've never seen a riot so professionally hyped in advance. This practically had a Super Bowl media week leading up to it.
And at 9:05 p.m., following the opening theme and introductions, the camera crews were perfectly stationed to be in range of tear gas canisters and thrown rocks - to equally represent the ugly stereotypes of both sides. They had helicopters and graphics, fires and explosions, plucky blondes and smoke. It was great TV. If Sylvester Stallone had popped up to jack looters to the wall, it couldn't have been more exciting.
Well, we finally made it to the world that George Orwell envisioned - perpetual wars, everywhere.
Last night, as I watched, an old song played in my head. It cuts to the soul of this blog...
Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you...
Little known fact: As a teen, I was bitten by a genetically altered clone of Matt Nokes, which gave me powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal man. My secret super power? On occasion, I can somehow channel the entire disassembled zeitgeist of the Yankiverse, and present it into one crisp, cohesive, primal bleat. Today is one of those moments.
I am about to close my eyes and let my Nokes-enhanced superfingers autonomously dance upon the keyboard, speaking for the Yankee multitudes whose tongues this morning are too grief-stricken and gin-swollen to move. Here goes:
Yep. That's it. Fukkit. That's what she's a-thinkin.' Trust in the Force, sir. And the Force today is saying... Fukkit.
This morning, the Redsock Nation is congratulating itself, pleasuring itself, imagining itself at Curt Schilling's airport security pat-down, and putting in vacation requests for next October's ring ceremony at Fenway. They're so smart, so full of righteousness. After all, they suffered all those years, when Uncle Harry died without winning a World Series. Now, they can stuff themselves at the MLB cruise ship buffet, while the world admires their frat boy butts for never gaining weight.
Yep, this week, Boston won the 2015 World Series. So... fukkit.
Listen: Those idiots just signed Hanley Ramirez for five years. Trust me, he will replace Manny Ramirez on so many levels that, to understand things, you'd need the Monty Python troop to make a movie. And then there is the fabulous Kung Fu Panda, who certainly looks like a young version of David Ortiz, so he's sure to grow into an older one, am I right? Hey - maybe it will work, as long as the MLB drug task force only investigates Yankees.
Yep. They won. It's over. They now have six outfielders and can trade for somebody, anybody - King Felix and Clayton Kershaw, most likely - and throw in Mike Napoli, because they have no place for his clanking glove either. Let's just stand back and let the world admire this fantastic conglomeration of horse meat.
So... why am I thinking of Carl Crawford?
Sir... breathe. Just breathe.
The next two weeks could make or break the Yankees' 2015 season. This is no time to run out and trade for anybody named Elvis - or Tulo - or, for that matter, anybody known by one name. We have a guy known by one name. The one name is A-Rod. Do we want another? If so, I'd go for Liberace before I'd take Tulo, at the price Colorado will demand - especially in the aftermath of a Boston chess move.
It's a long long drop from Hanley and Pando to the dark pit known as Chase Headley. It's like the difference between Max Scherzer and Brandon McCarthy. And it's possible that, for now, the Yankees are merely playing for the 2015 Wild Card Away Field One Game Birth. It's possible that, for now, the Yankees must realistically be looking to 2016. But I don't think such things. This is no time to go nuts over a back page on a throw-away paper. The last time we went crazy over a Boston signing, we brought Kei Igawa to New York City - and doubled their long term celebrations.
Let them party.
We got them where we want them. Fukkit.
Monday, November 24, 2014
We signed Jonathan Galvez.
Last night's death rattle in the Meadowlands could be a sign of what's to come next summer in the Bronx
Cheers. This was not a hallucination. The place cheered for Jerry Jones, which is like rooting for herpes.
And in my home luxury box, so did I.
Dear God, I confess... lock me up in chains... but I wanted Dallas to win.
This is what happens when you've become so dispirited - so sour on a team's management - that all you want is for certain people to disappear. This must be what it's like to be one of those 75-year-old Obama haters in Arizona. I used to love Tom Coughlin. Now, I cannot stand to see him fling his hands into the air like an electrified Chuckie doll. I loved Eli Manning. Now, I yearn to see Ryan Nassib. Ryan Fricking Nassib! DEAR GOD, I HATE MYSELF. And last night, I rooted against the Giants, because the worst that can happen would be for them to win five meaningless games down the stretch, finish at 8-8, and extend this dead management for another three to five years.
Which brings me to the Yankees.
I have not descended into that Code Red Zone of Venom about the Yankee front office - not yet. I am still gullible enough to gush over Zelous Wheeler, when he homers in his second at bat, and start pondering his plaque in Monument Park. But last night, the seeds of another mediocre Yankee season were being sown.
As the Gints were whiffing against Tony Romo, Boston was entering a five-year deal with Hanley Ramirez. This would be good news for Yankee fans - Hanley is a creaky SS with holly-jolly hamstrings - if it signified an end to the Redsocks free agent build-up. In fact, it likely represents the beginning.
Right now, Ramirez is more likely to play 3B or the OF. And the looming question is whether his signing means Boston has punted on Pablo Sandoval, or they plan to stack slugger bookends at 1B and 3B - building the most potent lineup of 2015. Either way, they can trade for pitching - keep in mind, they're flush with prospects - and they may still be in the hunt for Jon Lester.
Do we expect to counter that with a bounce-back year from Carlos Beltran?
But Yankee fans know The Big Fear: That Boston's build-up prompts Hal Steinbrenner to do something incredibly stupid, such as make a doomsday trade for Troy Tulowitski. We could wrap our future around an aging shortstop from the fortified air of Colorado, a star of 2013, with a crumbling set of hips. Throughout the 1980s, Hal's father made such moves repeatedly. Is the son doomed to repeat his father's past?
Last night, we saw the apocalypse: The people of New York cheered for the Cowboys.
Next September, could we be hearing that same kind of death rattle in the Bronx?
Sunday, November 23, 2014
The most earnest of the non-Shaugnessys - Nick Carfado - gazes wide-eyed into the jaws of Hell, comes to terms with his apocalyptic mortality, and writes that the Yankees:
a) May be gun-shy. or b) May be ready to pull the trigger.
It's hard to say. What will the Yankees do? That's the question, all right. And it's a fine question... it's THE question. Nobody knows the answer. But at least we now know the question. Because if you don't know the question, how can you know the answer? Soon, we will know all. Progress!
Saturday, November 22, 2014
From Jeter's powerful "Respect" ad - which sold Gatorade - to this heartwarming, 30-second ditty, the Yankees in 2014 became a touchstone for any corporation in need of a public relations face-lift.
This one came out in July. I almost forgot about it, until it popped up on Reddit yesterday.
|Buffalo, dealing with snow.|
As of Friday noon, Buffalo leads this season's race with 17.2 inches - only 10.3 inches ahead of Rochester and 12.4 over Syracuse.
Considering the week's apocalyptic blizzard, this is pathetic.
If I lived in Buffalo, I would be fuming over these numbers, which are measured by the National Weather Service at the city's airport. Frankly, Buffalo should be leading by 40 inches. A 10-inch lead? That is nothing. I speet on a 10-inch lead. Pttuui.
Let me put this into Yankee terms:
This is like having loaded the bases with no outs in each of the first two innings, but having only scored one run, with Alfredo Aceves on the mound, at Fenway Park, on a windy day, when the game is on national TV, and Preston Claiborne has just started warming in the pen. There is simply no way the lead will hold.
Syracuse is the 1927 Yankees of the Golden Snowball. Sure... Buffalo may have the early headlines, but our snow machine hasn't even warmed up.
Nice try, Buffalo. But soon it will be our turn at bat.
The weirdness of life in Syracuse:
If somebody soon ponies up $150,000, the city will get Lady and Tony.
One of these days - perhaps even before Thanksgiving - the butterfly will flap, toppling a line of dominoes that will end with the Yankees doing something crazy, like trading the entire city of Scranton for Troy Tulowitzki.
It could be the signing of Max Scherzer, which would unleash the scrambling hordes for the two remaining Sisters of Fate, James Shields and Jon Lester.
Or it could be Boston signing Pablo Sandoval - a move said to be "90 percent" likely - which would goose the market for Chase Headley into a frenzy.
Several options, though, would be unaffected by these moves. I'm talking about the international market - pitchers from Japan, and position players from Cuba. (Why are so few defining position players from Asia, and/or pitchers from Cuba? Any ideas?) These deals hinge entirely on money, which is the Yankees greatest field of expertise. In fact, it seems to me that the Yankees have only one remaining advantage in baseball anymore, and it's in the international market.
There is enough talent out there - and none comes at the expense of our first-round draft pick - to fill nearly every hole on the Yankee roster, except for shortstop. There is an interesting Korean star, but he might be way overpriced and a stretch.
So when the dominoes fall, we should not panic if the Yankees do not quickly leap into the vortex. On the contrary, if we run out and sign another All-Star from 2008, or somebody that costs us our top draft pick, it might be a sign that Hal is done for the year with the international market.
That would unleash a butterfly in the Bronx, which could end up with Vladimir Putin getting shingles. It's a strange world.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Is it relevant that on the day Brian Cashman slept on the streets of NYC to draw attention to the plight of homeless teens, he signed a 16-year-old Columbian to a $500,000 contract?
I honestly don't know. But sometimes, those are the questions that life delivers.
(Either way, kudos to Cash for the effort.)
If you're lucky enough to live in Upstate New York, nothing more delights you than the annual race for the Golden Snowball. It's like the Stanley Cup, the World Wrestling Federation Championship Belt and the Oscar for Best Special Effects - all rolled into one.
Five Utopian cities - Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton and Albany (Sorry, Utica, mwa-hahaha...) - scramble to see which will tally the most winter snow.
As of Thursday, here are the standings.
As you can see, Buffalo has claimed an early lead. (Note: These totals reflect the National Weather Service official measurements, taken at each city's airport. Buffalonians commonly whine that their numbers are under-reported, but the fact is, most of that "five-feet of snow" you heard about this week fell outside the city, in towns like "Cheektowaga" and "Gowanda," with names full of sexual innuendos.) But Syracuse remains the New York Yankees of snow. We in "the Salt City" have won the Golden Snowball 10 out of the last 11 years. (Rochester took it 2011-12.)
Frankly, nothing more delights the Syracuse city fathers - as they seek lure to town a new dioxin plant or prison for the criminally insane - than our well deserved national reputation for whiteout blizzards.
Which brings me to a looming scandal.
This year, Buffalo has cheated. It has jumped the starter's pistol. It's not even December 1, yet they have established a foot-long lead. A foot-long lead.
This is wrong.
Baseball doesn't count spring training victories toward the pennant race. This recent storm - the one they're ludicrously calling "Knife" - is the equivalent of Jim Boeheim's Syracuse basketball team beating Adrian College last week. The score was 84 to 35. But it was an exhibition game. It doesn't count toward the Final Four.
When December arrives, and the games matter, you better believe that we Syracusans will lace up our cleats, get out there and start shoveling ourselves into heart attacks. Until then, this whole thing is a sham.
If cities start winter earlier every year, it'll soon become like Presidential campaigns - which never even end. It's time to hold the line, Golden Snowball. I don't care how grumpy those Buffalonians are. If exhibition scores counted, Zolio Almonte would be the star Yankee outfielder. Opening day is still a week away. Call back the racers, and let's start over. There's yardage to record.
Someone left the cake out in the rain: The Yankees may regret leaving Kyle Roller unprotected in the upcoming Rule 5 draft
I understand the decision. Roller is 26. Also, he plays a position where the Yankee drain is clogged: Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, two immovable statues stand in his path. But Roller last year hit 28 HRs and batted .300, jumping from Trenton to Scranton. He's ripe for the pickings. I can't help but feel that another one is about to fly out the window.
Oh well, you can't keep everybody, and - believe it or not - I don't presume to know more than the Yankee scouts. I speak as a fan, not an insider. But wearing the ball cap of the fan, I say simply: WTF?
The Yankee brain trust is currently saying that, a) They expect nothing next year from A-Rod (which, actually, is smart p.r.) and that, b) they expect a bounce-back season from Teixeira. They say most wrist injuries take at least a year to heal, and that Tex clearly was bothered throughout 2014. Thus, next spring, he'll be ready.
When I hear that, a question emerges: WTF? If they knew Tex was likely to tank in 2014, why didn't they secure a backup 1B? At one point, they played Carlos Beltran, who hadn't stood at the position since high school. Nor did Brian McCann have experience. And when it became abundantly clear that Tex was not hitting - he finished the season at .216 with 22 HRs - they never gave Kyle Roller so much as a cup of coffee.
In the second half of 2014, Teixeira hit .179 with 5 HRs. How much worse could Kyle Roller have done? The only reason the Yankees stayed with Teixeira - as far as I can see - is they were paying him too much money not to play him. He was the baseball equivalent of JP Morgan - incompetent, but too big to fail. So he anchored the batting order, and pulled the team underwater.
Meanwhile, down at Scranton, Kyle Roller - an actual first baseman - was tearing it up.
We all know the deal: Sticking with old names - Brian Roberts instead of Jose Pirella, Chris Young instead of Zolio Almonte, etc. - is standard Yankee policy.
It is also the policy of cowards.
OK - so next year we'll have Tex back, plus A-Rod - and if they get hurt, there's McCann, who plays 1B like a catcher. After that, well, they can try Beltran, or sign some modern day version of Matt Nokes.
I get the feeling that Kyle Roller is about to roll out the door. Just another guy who wracked up numbers and never got a chance. That's the Yankee way, eh?
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Over seven seasons in the Yankee scrub lands, Venditte rose to Scranton, but never received so much as a courtesy cup of coffee. The Yankee "baseball people" - experts of the radar gun - detected flaws in his pitches, so he never got a call.
Fine. OK. No problem.
Surely, we accept that the Yankee "baseball people" knew what they were doing, by denying their fans so much as a glimpse of the lone switch-pitcher of his or any generation.
Thanks to the Yankee "baseball people," if we ever see Pat Venditte pitch, he will wear an A's uniform.
Just know this: If Venditte turns into a Major League star, there will be trouble.
That's all I'm going to say.
Randy said - quoting now - "Thank God."
Of course, Yankee fans know the reality of Stanton's 13-year, $350 million contract: Before it's done, he will be dumped on us, like a truckload of yellow Buffalo snow. They all do. Kevin Brown. Roger Clemens. The Big Unit... They hear the pledge of Lady Liberty: "Give me your tired, your old, your sore elbows and your designated hitters, yearning to retire..." I'm betting Giancarlo arrives in NYC by 2020, not half-way through his trek through the tit and coke dunes of Miami... alias "South Gomorrah."
President Randy was thanking God because the Yankees are no longer keeper of baseball's most rancid contract - the one that tethers Hal Steinbrenner to Alex Rodriguez - which, if you think about it, is proof that Karma is one sick bastard. From now on, whenever a Gammonite feels compelled to self-righteously spew about the insane amounts of money foisted on athletes - as opposed to bards - their user-keys will be programmed to say "Giancarlo" instead of "A-Rod."
Of course, Alex will remain baseball's Bond villain, the human magnet for indignation about steroids. As soon as he leaves, the game can pronounce itself clean again. And you better believe the new commissioner - He Who Is Not Bud - will avoid the PED issue like a fresh pile of puke from a passenger on Air Africa.
But here's the rub, folks. Baseball's bottom line is exploding. For 40 years, the game has blamed the steady rise of player salaries on the Yankees. Now, with parity looming via luxury taxes, team payrolls are not falling. They're shooting out of the stratosphere.
This week, Russell Martin received Brian McCann money, (after McCann last year scored Yadier Molina money.) Billy Butler is getting Carlos Beltran money, (which was practically Carl Crawford money.) David Robertson wants Mariano money, which means Max Scherzer and Jon Lester - dear God! - they might get Robbie Cano money.
And nowhere in these ridiculous bidding wars will you find President Randy Levine.
Nope. He's hoping Chris Capuano will settle for Phil Hughes money.
So... (insert sigh here)... what should we - as Yankee fans - think?
Remember: These owners are billionaires - not millionaires. They sit atop taxpayer-funded shitpiles, they are lawyered-up, and every player is insured, so if he pops a gonad or beats his girlfriend, the suits cut their losses. If we don't like where baseball is going, they are the people who are taking us there. The Gammonites will scream and moan about the players, because that is what Gammonites do.
Yesterday, President Randy thanked God that A-Rod is no longer baseball's fattest golden calf.
Frankly, I think he was looking in the wrong direction.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
The enemy of my enemy is my drinking buddy: It's time to root, root, root for the Cubs and Giants; or Boston will be back in the driver's seat
The Fratboy Nation has made muy gigundo offers to Pablo Sandoval and Jon Lester, their top free agent pinups. Last summer, they ditched the deadwood for just this moment. Moreover, they have a bubbling geyser of young prospects, as opposed to the Yankees' farm system, baseball's version of the XL Pipeline. If they add Lester and Sandoval, it's easy to imagine them whooshing past the Yankees in 2015. In fact, it's easy to imagine Prince Hal Steinbrenner doing something batty - Troy Tulowitzki comes to mind - which could relegate us to permanent Third World status for the rest of this decade.
Two people stand in the way of the Redsocks' plans:
1. Theo Epstein, the former Redsockian consigliere, who is trying to resurrect the Cubs with manager Joe Madden and a roster replica of the 2008 Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Theo needs Lester in the way that the Bill Cosby needs six months of solitude. If he outbids Boston - of if Lester still feels the taser sting of being jettisoned last summer - it would force the Redsocks into chasing Max Scherzer or James Shields. Both pitchers are solid, but Scherzer will require a Giancarlo Stanton price tag, and Shields is 32 (Lester and Scherzer are 30.) That two-year gap is a mofo when when you're looking at a five-year commitment. Go you Theo. Hail Hydra!
2. Brian Sabean, the former Yankee wonk, who built the Giants with other former Yankee wonks. (If only the Yankees were wonked by their former Yankee wonks.) Sandoval has three rings in San Francisco, and - at age 28 - he could fill his hand by staying put. Will he feel loyalty to the town and team? Let's hope so. Because it's not hard to see him flicking pop-ups off the Green Monster and having the peak seasons of his career, much like David Ortiz, who came to Boston at age 27. If the Redsocks whiff on the Panda, their fallback at 3B becomes Chase Headley - ha! - and, at the least, we can bid up Headley's price and make Boston pay way too much. Think of it this way: Their next fallback is in Zelous Wheeler territory.
So watch the skies. If Boston nails both Lester and Sandoval, Team Hal Hydra will declare Code Red, and all the Yankees really have to trade is their future. Of course, even if Boston goes oh-for-two, they still have plenty of wiggle room. It wouldn't be the first time their plans went blooey - and they ended up on top. Remember the winter of 2003 and a fellow named Alex? Hail Hydra, or - better yet - Hail Hubris!
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
It's coming, I tell you: Troy Tulowitzki will be the Steinbrenner family's Second Coming of Rickey Henderson
Since the dawn of time, this has been prophesied.
It was always fated to happen... like Ebola, Taylor Swift and pumpkin beer.
Right now, a trade for Tulo is mere blogger blather. Then again, so is the notion that Hal Steinbrenner would simply chase Chase Headley and Chris Capuano, and recreate the magical 2014 Yankees, without Jeter's farewell tour. If Hal is - as I believe - the reincarnated spirit of his dad, then he must relive Old George's mistakes, perhaps at an accelerated rate. Thus, before things improve, we shall endureth a long, Stygian darkness.
I tell you, Rickey is coming...
Old George loved Rickey Henderson - that is, until he spent five years with him. In 1985, the Yankees emptied their system - Tim Birtsas, Jay Howell, Stan Javier, Eric Plunk and Jose Rijo (the jewel) - for Rickey.
In his NYC period, Henderson hit 78 HRs and stole 326 bases. But the team sucked, and George pitched him back to Oakland for three factory misprints, including Plunk and Luis "Hands Off the Babysitter" Polonia. Five years of crapola... Ron Kittle... Claudell Washington... Wayne Tolleson... But at least we owned the back pages.
Now, the Colorado Doobies are sniffing for suitors, pretending they'd never trade such a beloved icon as Tulo, even though he's 30, with a bad hip and is owed a ton of the state's best Rocky Mountain High. Tulo has always loved NY, and Hal seems enamored of him. If we empty the system - a Bird, a Judge, a Severino and maybe four Dante Bichette Jr.s - we can get it done.
The five-year dark period, I mean.
That's what we would be getting done.
Clearly, Hal is his dad's acorn. From Gooden to Clemens to the Big Unit to A-Rod, Old George always got whatever player he coveted lately. Hal is closer to the front office lug nuts, as evidenced by their seeming lifetime job security. But self-indulgence remains as much a Steinbrenner trait as the family's billions. Trading for Tulo would generate applause from the media courtiers, who really don't care if the Yankees win. They just want the circus back in town.
Obviously, I am a paranoid delusional. I am the homeless guy on the street, waving the sign.
But I tell you, it's coming...
Mark these words: The Snatch Catch will return.
Monday, November 17, 2014
It could be updated: "Those who can't... write. Those who can't write... write children's books."
Not saying CC can't write. But George Saunders can sleep tonight.
Anyway, it's a very nice book by a very nice man. It beats Tiki Barber's line of children's books. Or George Foreman's. Or Madonna's. Or Rush Limbaugh's. It beats a lot of them.
When Santa takes a night off, the real big man - CC - comes to his rescue.
OK, we get it. But Ted Williams? Is that because his head is already at the North Pole? Anyway, Catfish and Bobby Murcer make dolls - any book that has Catfish and Bobby is OK with me - and (Spoiler alert here) CC delivers the goods.
If you're into brainwashing your children into becoming Yankee fans, this might work. Keep in mind, though, I tried, and they now all loathe the team. Life is funny.
Of course, Martin should never have been let go by the Yankees, much like Blue Jays stalwart Melky Cabrera, whom we traded for Javier Vazquez, (the second time, after he'd given up the grand slam than exorcised the Bambino.)
No word on whether the Blue Jays will re-sign Melky. But don't hold your breath about the Yankees chasing him. Melky must have used the wrong fork in NY, because they were always looking to deal him.
These are the days of miracle and wonder.
What does Jeet thinketh?
On Dec. 10, Derek Jeter will speak at
I know what you're thinking: Bid deal. We know what he'll say. He'll thank the fans, talk the pitch, mention tomorrow's game, and stress that winning - not personal achievements - is what is important. Then he'll wave goodnight. He'll go 60 seconds, maybe 90 - max.
No. This will be Jeet talking for - who knows? 20 minutes? 40 minutes? Maybe he'll turn out to be Fidel Castro and rumble for three hours. This is a speech. This is a paid speaking engagement. This is where you warm them up with a Don Zimmer anecdote, do a little "Mister Torre," sprinkle in some Yogi wisdom, build to a crescendo - George's death bed maybe? - jerk open the tear ducts and leave the crowd wallowing, weeping, wailing for more. This isn't a side-wink to a doting Suzyn Waldman. This is a podium. This demands a call to arms: peace in the Middle East, or end cancer in our lifetimes. This is the start of Jeet's second career. He's either going to talk for living, or he'll have to tend bar.
Forty minutes of Jeet. It sounds like one of those New Age soundtracks, the patter of an oncoming rainstorm. For 20 years, the guy was a monk in a monastery. Now, he's ending his silence? What if he turns out to be evil - denies the Holocaust and calls for beheadings? What then, Hamilton? What will Jeet sayeth?
Three weeks until the night of a thousand answers. This is like landing a robot on that comet and drilling into the subsurface for worm viruses.
In three weeks, we will know...
What does Jeet thinketh?
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Whenever the Evil Empire is on the verge of flinging itself - and the Yankee fan base - over the ledge, and signing, say, a Carlos Beltran to a three-year deal, we're likely to read a column from Madden saying, What the Yankees need is someone like Carlos Beltran, who could probably be had for a three-year deal! In other words, read him and weep.
Today's column is a sign - first in a while - that the Yankees actually have a plan: Grow the bullpen, and the rest will follow.
Thus, at last we are told the Yankees are not planning the madness of signing Chase Headley or Brandon McCarthy to long deals. Because by year three, each will likely be another slowly draining toilet. As for the infield?
[T]here are people in Cashman’s high command who feel it would not be such a bad thing to turn second base into a spring training competition between Robert Refsnyder and Jose Pirela. Meanwhile, with or without Headley, Cashman knows he’s going to need a backup first baseman but that could be anyone, from free agent Mike Carp to unsung, non-roster system guy Kyle Roller, who hit 26 homers between Double-A and Triple-A this past season.
I didn't believe the Yankees knew there was a Kyle Roller. Who knows? They might even use their farm system. But beware...
If the Red Sox are able to lure Jon Lester back to Fenway and sign Sandoval, well, that changes the whole dynamic of the division, not to mention Cashman’s vision of squeezing out a division title with another patchwork team in transition in anticipation of the long-awaited arrival of some legitimate position player prospects — right fielder Aaron Judge and first baseman Greg Bird — in 2016.
In other words, BEVARE! If the Redsocks strike, the Yankee future could go up in smoke. So long, Refsnyder, Judge and Bird... hello, Tulo?
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Rodriguez came clean to the feds in exchange for limited immunity — he can’t be prosecuted for what he said. For lawyer Joe Tacopina, who’d accompanied A-Rod to his interview, that constituted a win. “He didn’t get indicted,” said Tacopina, “he’s not like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens,” both of whom stood trial for lying about their use of banned substances. With his client granted immunity, Tacopina said Rodriguez was in the clear. “It’s over. Game. Set. Match,” he said.
AJ Burnett re-signs with Pittsburgh, another reminder of Hal Steinbrenner's original sin: Russell Martin
Yep. Seems crazy, doesn't it?
Of course, we know what happened. Hal Steinbrenner decided to impose a $186 million payroll cap. Thus, no two-year deals. (Then he broke his rule and signed Ichiro.) Brian Cashman went to the Winter Meetings and said - famously - "Beggars can't be choosers." Next summer, the Yankees played everybody but Matt Nokes at catcher. And last winter, they lashed themselves for five years to the great white whale known as Brian McCann. And here we are: McCann hit 23 home runs and batted .232. last season.
But believe it or not, I'm thinking about AJ Burnett today. The Pirates just re-signed him, even though he crapped the bed last season: 8-18 with a 4.59 ERA. That, of course, fueled Burnett's boisterous Yankee critics, who still claim - ludicrously - that it was smart to dump him in 2011... a move that foreshadowed Hal's brief fling with austerity.
In 2012, Burnett was one of the NL's best pitchers. (In return, the Yankees received two Single A meatballs.) He followed it in 2013 with a better ERA - 3.30 - over 191 innings. And last year, for all his issues, he still threw 213 innings - well more than any Yankee pitcher.
For the last three years, the Yankees have bled starters. Yet they gave Burnett away, and - amazingly - never seemed to face criticism for doing so.
Well, yesterday, Pittsburgh did something the Yankees refused to do:
They forgave AJ Burnett for having a bad season. They re-signed him.
Oh, well, we chopped a year off the McCann prison sentence. And Martin is a free agent. He should get a decent deal. Did you know he hit .290 last year?
Friday, November 14, 2014
Well, he tried. He traded Francisco Cervelli. By my count, that added at least 20 clicks - the entire Pittsburgh Pirates' fan base - to this week's IIH traffic.
And yesterday, Cashman told Mark Feinsand - he of the old Daily News Fifth - that Cash is honkin' proud of his gritty work week.
"This felt busier than past meetings I’ve participated in,” Cashman said. “I feel we’ve got a few things already done. We got Chris Young just before we got out here. We got a valuable addition to our bullpen, we think. And we have some irons in the fire that we’ll continue to stoke.”
Irons in the fire... chickens in the pot... ducks on the pond... that's a fine kettle of fish, it truly be!
Feinsand also quotes "one baseball executive" who says the Yankees might "lie in the weeds" before "jumping into the fray." Back in the old newsroom, anonymous quotes often were known to emanate from the same guy who is quoted, when he simply goes off the record. Feinsand wouldn't be doing anything illegal. Cashman is "one baseball executive," and Feinsand doesn't claim it's a rival exec. It's a little slight of hand, but if you get an alpha source like Cashman on the line, and he says, "Don't quote me here, but..." you want to get the biggest bang for your call back - well, it's been known to happen. Readers think you feverishly worked the phones. And you don't burn the source. Everybody wins! And the Internet doesn't get broken.
So - not accusing Feinsand of anything - but this is what "one baseball exec" says about the Yankees front office. And it's the most interesting line in the story.
“It will probably depend on how their ticket sales are doing,” the exec said. “Don’t be surprised if their plan changes a month from now. It’s happened before.”
So there you have it, everybody.
If you're hoping for Hal Steinbrenner to open his wallet, don't buy tickets.
If you run out today to get good seats next May, be prepared to watch Chris Young in right field and Martin Prado playing both second and third base, simultaneously.
Heed the words of "one baseball executive:" If we are to have any hope of the Yankees signing a Cuban, or a Korean, or anybody who batted above .220 last year, DO NOT RUSH OUT AND BUY TICKETS.
Right now, I don't see Yankee fans camping out to see Chase Headley, or yet another chapter of Mark Teixeira's decline. If the Yankees want ducks on the pond, they need to sign somebody, or trade for somebody, and God help us if Cashman blows that deal.
He's right. It was a good week. The Yankees didn't do anything abominable.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
After Jeter, Frankie Cervelli was the longest Yankee, in terms of seniority. And this is not a knock on his trade to Pittsburgh: We all knew he needed to be somewhere else, and I'm sure Brian Cashman called every team in baseball and received for Cervelli the most that anybody was willing to give.
Still... Frankie gave us some great memories.
March 2008. In an exhibition game, a rat-faced Tampa Rays thug named Elliot Johnson bodyslams him at home plate, breaking Frankie's wrist. Joe Torre is effing pissed. Rays manager Joe Maddon mealy-mouths about playing the game hard. (I'll never forgive him.) And when the Yankees next play Tampa, Shelley Duncan - forever a hero on this blog - initiates a bench-clearing brawl with this grand slide into second. Take that, Tampons.
May 2009: Posada and Molina are hurt, and the Yankees are struggling. Frankie gets called up, gets a big hit and catches a complete game shutout by CC Sabathia. The Yankees get hot. It's a fulcrum point in their championship season.
March 2010: In another exhibition game, Frankie gets beaned and suffers a concussion. It's a serious one, and he suffers dizzy spells. When he comes back, they give him a massive helmet, which earns him the nickname Gazoo, after a Flintstones character.
March 2012: Hours before the team is to fly to NYC, the Yankees trade for catcher Chris Stewart. Frankie, who was certain to make the team, is sent to Scranton - which doesn't even have a home park. He spends an excruciating season on the bus, traveling across Upstate New York. Disillusioned, he goes into a deep slump. Only after meeting with his parents does he rededicate himself to the game.
Congrats to everyone involved in the emancipation of Zolio Almonte and Francisco Cervelli, the Yankees longtime human paperweights.
It won't be the same, without the Empire continually having them to ignore, in favor of signing other team's castoffs.
I'm not sure who can fill the role of career rented mule, but I'm sure someone will step forward. Slade Heathcott looks like a candidate, a lifetime Scrantonian in the making.
First, let me be among the first to wish you a happy 45th birthday (That's Dec. 3, everybody!) and warn you to bundle up in Tampa this weekend, because the polar vortex won't be kind to geezers in socks and sandals. Ha ha!
Which brings me to - ahem - the team...
Yesterday, four of your hired helpers scouted a 19-year-old Cuban middle infielder named Yoan Moncada. I'm sure they took stool samples and measured his beautistics. The claim is that Moncada is one of the great IF prospects in the game, which means he will cost a ton of money to sign.
Whoops. I hope I didn't lose you by mentioning money. The thing is - sir - the Yankees have a lot of money, more than almost everybody. I know hearing such things must make you angry - after all, it's your money, not mine - but when you tell people that the Yankees need to tighten their belts and cut costs - well - they laugh. Everybody. Even your employees. Behind your back, they slap their knees. Nobody buys it. They guffaw.
Sorry, but somebody needs to say this:
Nobody buys the idea of the Yankees pleading poverty.
When you say such things, they say, "If he prefers money to winning, let him sell the damn team to somebody else."
I am not making this up. That is what they say.
As the bidding war begins for Yoan Moncada, the Yankees face another auction of sorts. From what we hear, you are desperately trying to coax Chase Headley, Brandon McCarthy, and Chris Capuano into returning.
Sir, I have nothing against Chase Headley, Brandon McCarthy and Chris Capuano... well, actually, that's a lie... I do have one problem with them. They are all over 30. And if they return, they will join an old, graying team that wasn't good enough last year... and which will be one year older... and - damn - I dunno if I can take it. Next year, if we have to watch the same Yankee team offer the same shameful Yankee excuses - well, I won't want to be telling you the things that will be said behind your back.
Please, consider this: Take all that money you'll save from Derek Jeter retiring, from David Robertson maybe moving, from Hiroki Kuroda leaving, and from the nickel bottle deposits on the in-house commissary, and - instead of putting it toward Chase Headley, Brandon McCarthy and Chris Capuano... sign somebody under 25! Shell out, and invest in the long term. Not the next nine months. The next nine years.
The Yankees need long term replacements for Derek Jeter and Robbie Cano. Yoan Moncada might be the guy. I dunno. But everybody knows this: It will not be Stephen Drew or Martin Prado. They are already too old.
Invest your money in players who will peak in the late stages of their contracts, rather than guys guaranteed to be deadwood at the end. Do that, and your fan base will feel hope, rather than despair.
Because right now, if you're thinking New York City wants to watch the same Yankee team from last year - well - here's some news:
If you don't turn this around soon, there won't be enough money in the world to salvage the Steinbrenner name, when the long-term history of the Yankees is written.
Either build a dynastic Yankee power... which is what the Yankees are supposed to be - or you will spend the rest of your life hearing people snicker - and always thinking... "Hey, what's so funny?"