Thursday, August 27, 2015

People are starting to notice.

"Alex Rodriguez says he may be slumping but he is not out of gas."

Feeling pretty good, considering the lack of PEDs.


"The Yankees slugger was 0-for-4 in Wednesday's 6-2 loss to Houston at the Stadium and is now 7-for-64 (.109) with 19 strikeouts in his last 17 games. His average has dropped from .281 to .255 but he believes he and the Bombers flagging offense are going to rebound and fans should 'buy low' with expectations of a boom."

Imagine if he'd started the season 7-for-64.


'I'm just off. I'm like the stock market, very volatile right now,' Rodriguez told the Daily News. 'But I am bullish on the Yankees and I'm bullish on me.'"

Nice try, but that's not what volatile means. Volatile means up and down. You're just down.

I'm not confident, but good luck to you ... and Ellsbury with his hip ... and Teixeira with his leg. I hope you all bounce back and your team wins the World Series.

When you give interviews, please remember that you are dumb and try to stick to baseball.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

"Prefabricated," he says.

Another sports writer gives us a peek behind the scenes of his job. It's exciting stuff, if you're into self-indulgent solipsism:

"Jorge Posada has never been an easy guy to get your arms around.

He was nowhere as photogenic and accessible as Derek Jeter, never as folksy as Andy Pettitte, nor as wise as Mariano Rivera. He wasn't needy like the younger Alex Rodriguez or a lovable space cadet like Bernie Williams."

That's quite an oversimplification of complex human beings. Good work.


"The real Jorge Posada, however, doesn't fit easily into any of the prefabricated niches we try to conveniently shoehorn our athletic heroes into."

And when I say "we," I mean "me."

My entire life's work is a lazy, pointless sham.


"None of this makes Posada a bad guy; quite the contrary. It makes him a human being, a refreshing departure from the cookie-cutter, corporate robots our professional athletes have become in the never-ending effort to maximize marketing revenue and protect their 'brands.'"


It's still a brand. It's an anti-brand, which is a brand. Posada is a man's man, a pull-no-punches guy who sells whiskey you can count on.


"Posada never seemed to care about those things, which is probably why he never cashed in on his Yankees association to anywhere near the extent Jeter and Rivera, both relentlessly protective of their images, have and continue to do so."

Maybe he refuses to promote product because he's disinterested. Maybe the marketers avoid him because of his enormous ears.

 
"But for me, Posada's real legacy was made as much in the clubhouse as on the field.

Unlike a lot of his teammates, who seemed programmed to be as bland and non-controversial -- and as a result, uninteresting -- as possible, you never had to guess how Posada felt about something. There was no reading between the lines, no having to crawl inside his head or his heart."

The Jorge Posada career retrospective is about Wallace Matthews.

As for the relative difficulty of crawling inside his head, well it should not be too difficult because ... I'm sorry. Enough about his gigantic ears. It really is beneath me. I apologize.


"And while we can endlessly debate whether Posada deserves a plaque in Monument Park (Why not? It’s just a tourist attraction, not Arlington National Cemetery), whether he should have his number retired (honestly, I don't care about such things), or whether ultimately he belongs in Cooperstown, there's one thing we must all agree on: Jorge Posada was no phony."

Yeah, who cares about stupid stuff like Monument Park or Yankee retired numbers?

Let me explain the important stuff ... like when he threw a teammate's cell phone in the locker room. I am a Baseball Insider.

 
"He was one of the last of a dying breed, the real thing who never hid his warts behind a mask of corporate blandness.

For that alone, he should be remembered as singular among his Yankees teammates."

Really?

For that alone he should be remembered as singular among his Yankees teammates?

I'll tell you what. Corporate Blandness is fine with me if you win ... and Posada's veraciousness would have meant nothing at all if he couldn't play.

The Yankees' biggest problem is getting ring measurements for their Championship fingers.

"Obviously, Job 1 is to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012 and preferably do that as AL East champs."

Obviously.


"In what is Hope Week for the Yankees, their greatest wish is that all six stay healthy and productive, and Joe Girardi has a difficult choice of how to turn six into four for a Division Series. Where does he sign up for that 'problem'?"

The playoff rotation is Tanaka, Pineda, Eovaldi, and Nova.

Maybe Tanaka goes #3 to ensure that he pitches on the road. The splits don't support this hypothesis, but I'd try to avoid the short porch.



"Tanaka would be the lone lock for a playoff rotation, and perhaps Pineda, too, if he can stay healthy and rediscover his best form. After that, well, the fact-finding is still ongoing."

I just told you: Tanaka, Pineda, Eovaldi, and Nova.

It Pineda is injured, then no. That goes for all pitchers on all teams. No one can be in the playoff starting rotation if they're on the DL.


"Sabathia would have been easy to dismiss not long ago. But his fastball has ticked up in his last three starts (3.38 ERA) and an improving cutter has given him a pitch to work inside to righties and open up the outside corner. Also, Girardi is going to look for every reason to get his most experienced starter into the postseason cauldron."

No chance. To the bullpen, a la Cone in 2000.


"His most inexperienced starter, Severino, is the wild card. The perception is that high-end stuff wins in October. And Severino’s stuff (through three starts) has wowed teammates and opponents."

Three starts.

Brings back memories of Joba and the Midges.

 
"And then there is Nova, who has done fine in his 10 starts since returning from Tommy John surgery. He has been essentially a cookie cutter of good, not great, but also nothing terrible.

On Thursday, he battled himself as much as the Indians — unable to tame either his sinker or curve. He walked two and both scored. He allowed a pair of two-out RBI singles and three runs in all."

"Battled himself." He should learn to live in the moment.

"Good, not great," is good enough for the Top Four. Of the Yankees' playoff rotation. If the Yankees make the playoffs ... and if their starting rotation stays healthy.

So it's Tanaka, Pineda, Eovaldi, and Nova.

This was a fun exercise.











Friday, August 21, 2015

Only time will tell if we stand the test of time.

Man writes words, says nothing:

"It is well-documented that Cashman did not make a deal last month because of his unwillingness to part with Bird, Severino, outfielder Aaron Judge or shortstop Jorge Mateo.

In the weeks since, a ridiculous narrative has emerged that the Yankees were right to keep these kids."


It's an opinion.


"Excuse us? Have they clinched the division?"


Yes.


"Won a playoff round?"


Yes.


"Proven that their rotation’s recent improvement has negated the season-long need for depth, and an ace?"


Yes. They won the World Series. They swept the National League team and set a record by allowing a grand total of zero runs.


"Here’s a little factoid to put the Bird homers into context, beyond the excitement they created on Wednesday: Both Jesus Montero and Shelley Duncan enjoyed a two-homer game during their first week as a Yankee. That’s not to compare Bird to those players, or even to doubt his potential. But a reminder is in order that the young man has proven nothing."

A better way to not compare Bird to those players is to not compare Bird to those players.

Besides, no need for factoids. The Lou Gehrig/Wally Pipp references are made in jest.

He "looks good" at the plate and "looks composed," and so did Andy Phillips and David Adams and 10,000 other schmucks.


"But if Cashman had turned Severino into, say, Price, he would have a acquired a pitcher with pennant-race and World Series experience — a known quantity, during a potentially special season."


I think the best plan is to beat Price last Friday (stage 1 accomplished) and then, if you really want him, acquire him in the off season (stage 2).

Also, your cynicism can similarly be applied to Toronto: Has Toronto clinched the division? Has Toronto won a playoff round? Excuse us?


"These are the New York Yankees; their identity, what we admire about them most, is that they live comfortably in the present moment."


I've been a fan of the New York Yankees for a long time. As long as I can remember, really.

Never once have I admired their ability to ... errrr ... how did you phrase that? ... "live comfortably in the present moment."

Which sounds awesome. Very self-actualized. Maybe they should stop living in the present moment. The present moment is striking out a lot and losing to the Indians.


"A dominant October run by Severino would permanently negate this argument, and validate the Yanks’ decision. But until that happens, it is silly to say that the Yankees were wise last month. Perhaps they were. And perhaps they squandered a championship."

No.

A dominant October run by Severnino would not permanently negate the argument.

I know you're in a rush, but we'll have to wait several years to see how everything works out. Then, and only then, can we attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of Cashman's strategic choices in 2015.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Hello, remember me?

I have not hit a HR since July 27th.

I have 2 RBIs in August.

I was 2-for-22 in the six big games vs. Toronto.

But Yankee fans don't boo me anymore. It's like they don't even pay attention when I play like a washed-up choke artist :-(

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sure, why not?

Somebody has to win the World Series and any team that makes the playoffs has a shot.

What is exciting about the Mets is that their future is seemingly bright, even if (worst case) Wright is shot, Murphy bolts, and Cespedes is a rental.

I'll even be gracious enough to put all playoff teams on even ground. One out of ten (can you believe ten teams make the playoffs?) chance to win the World Series. Yes, they still have to make the playoffs and there's a long way to go.

But here's the problem:

1) Pounding the Rockies on Getaway Day in August is simply not an indicator of what may occur against a good team in October.

2) Who is the Mets' closer?

3) If Politi is going to pump up the Mets' chances, then he can't bring up "experience" when he handicaps the playoffs.

It's quite possible that experience and bullpens don't really matter. If the Mets are going to win the title, then they'd better hope experience and bullpens don't matter. They'd also better hope their starting staff aren't emptying their tanks in August.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

And another thing ...

Four out of five teams in the "AL Least" are .500 or above.

I don't sense any pressure.

Simple reason: No one expected the Yankees to be good this year.

Nice catch, Crybaby.

I know the tough catches are the ones that hit the mitt.

What did you do with the money? The money that your parents gave you to take fielding lessons?

Once a Gold Glover, not always a Gold Glover.

Stick with the longterm plan.

"The Yankees’ weekend sweep at the hands of scalding-hot Toronto has provided us with a clear referendum on July philosophies. The Blue Jays went for it during the non-waivers trade period, giving up several young assets in return for Troy Tulowitzki (from Colorado) and David Price (from Detroit), and they are riding an eight-game winning streak. The Yankees protected their top minor-league assets, adding only Seattle’s Dustin Ackley (who almost immediately got hurt), and their American League East lead over the Jays has dwindled to a game and a half, three games in the loss column.

The Jays, boasting a monster lineup and a stabilized pitching staff, own a real chance to upend the Yankees altogether. Would such an outcome validate Toronto and discredit the Yankees? Nope. Not yet, anyway.

...

The Yankees, trying once again to move away from the model in which they commit to so many lucrative, long-term pacts, and mindful that Alex Rodriguez (signed through 2017) and Mark Teixeira (signed through next year) might not recreate their magical 2015 renaissances, want other, more economical options. Hence the decision to hold on to their young players, even assuming the risk that it increased the likelihood of a third straight empty October."

... and he didn't even mention the wisdom of avoiding Cano.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Don't tempt me.

I acknowledge that 77 RBIs is 77 RBIs. I couldn't imagine disliking a Yankee with 77 RBIs this much:

"Later in the game, Mark Teixeira had a run-in with a fan. With Chris Colabello up to lead off the ninth inning, Teixeira raced after a high foul ball. As he stretched far into the seats, the ball landed just out of reach of his glove. An overanxious fan made a hard play for the ball, reaching and bumping Teixeira's shoulder. The 35-year-old responded with anger, making slight contact with the fan and yelling at him.

Texieria said he was OK.

'He just ran into me. He probably just really wanted that baseball,' Teixeira said.
Mostly kidding, Teixeira added, 'We need to tell the fans you can insult, but you cannot assault. We know you're upset. We lost three in a row. We're sorry. Just keep it to insults, not assaults.'"

Insult you? I'd never be able to insult you, Mr. Foul Territory. You just seem like a cool dude who gets lots of clutch hits and would be a good guy to have a post game beer with. Loads of laughs.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

First of all, if the Yankees want David Price, they should sign him in the off season.

Secondly, David Price isn't going to help the Yankees if their gutless swing-for-the-fence overpaid bozos continue to score zero runs:

"One can only imagine the churning feeling in Brian Cashman’s stomach as he watched David Price methodically mowing his way through the Yankee lineup Saturday, allowing barely a threat and making a statement about what his presence in a Toronto Blue Jays uniform is going to mean over the last two months of season."

I know Price is good. I'm not saying he isn't good.

I think it's also important to point out that the only qualification to mow through the Yankee lineup this week was to be an animated mound of human flesh and toss a baseball towards home plate ... and I'm not sure about the animated part.


"Before Cashman could say, “I’m in,” Dombrowski had traded Price to the Blue Jays for their top pitching prospect, Daniel Norris, and two other minor leaguer pitchers, in the wee hours of July 29. With the Jays having made their blockbuster deal with the Rockies for Troy Tulowitzki the day before, the American League East, where first place has been the Yankees’ exclusive domain since July 3, experienced a seismic tremor."

"Since July 3rd" isn't very long.

The Yankees started the season 1-4 and I thought they'd never see .500 again.

The Yankees were in third place on June 30th.

The Yankees are a mediocre team who had a great July. I'm not really sure why that happens sometimes, but it happens sometimes.


"According to Gibbons, he got a call from his boss, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos, around midnight on the 30th, telling him the deal for Price could be made, and when he woke up the next morning he had a second marquee player for the stretch run. 'I only know Alex was on (Dombrowski) constantly, asking him what he was going to do, and that Dombrowski promised him he’d call him as soon as he decided.'

The fact that Cashman had so many other well-regarded 'chips' beyond his top three — second baseman Robert Refsnyder, catcher Gary Sanchez, pitchers Bryan Mitchell, Branden Pinder and maybe even Ivan Nova, who matched zeroes with Price through the first five innings before giving up the grand slam to Smoak in the sixth — leads one to believe that Dombrowski had his sights set on Norris and that Anthopoulos made sure not to let him waver."

So many well-regarded chips beyond his top three?

Gosh, I hope that's true, because that bodes well for the future.


No need to ruin that future on the off chance they make the playoffs and win the World Series with a mediocre team.

Monday, August 03, 2015

Finally!

A baseball writer who takes the controversial view that Babe Ruth was good and Alex Rodriguez's stats are tainted due to steroid use.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Five-game leads are good.

"Seven … Six … Five … ?

The best major league team in July is suddenly in a funk that has eaten into the Yankees’ AL East lead, which was seven games this past Wednesday."


The Yankees are in a funk?

They lost one in a row. They are 5-4 on their current road trip, which included a 21-5 win, a 13-6 win, and the best win of the season.


"Saturday night’s 8-2 loss to the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field coupled with the Orioles’ victory sliced the Yankees’ advantage over the second-place Birds to five games and was the Yankees third in four games."


They lost three out of four. Not much of a slide.


"The most alarming sign during the mini-slide is the shape of the Yankees’ rotation. Michael Pineda is on the DL and nobody knows when he surfaces. CC Sabathia provided hope with two strong outings but his last two haven’t been good. Masahiro Tanaka’s last start was pedestrian and resulted in a loss. Ivan Nova, Sunday’s starter, left his last gig with fatigue in the right arm, which is coming back from Tommy John surgery."

I am not convinced the Yankees will make the playoffs. I'm still not even convinced the Yankees will finish the season over .500. I think the starting rotation will perform better in the final couple of months, though I could be wrong, of course.

Just as relevant when analyzing the Yankees' chances of making the playoffs? The starting rotations of the Orioles and Blue Jays.

David Price is good ... he isn't that good. All he'd have to do is put on a Yankees uniform and George A. King III would find 100 reasons to be alarmed.


"The Yankees made up for a pedestrian rotation by hitting home runs in the first four months and having a powerful back end of the bullpen. They passed on adding a front-line starter at Friday’s trade deadline.

Seven … Six … Five.

When leads begin to slip away, it’s up to a starter to halt it. Do the Yankees have that starter?"


Or they can win with a strong bullpen and hitting a lot of home runs.

Am I missing something?

Did MLB change the rules of baseball overnight?

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Bob Raissman vs. Bob Raissman

Bob Raissman on August 1st, wherein a grown man uses the phrase "mega buzz":

"While the presence of A-Rod would not guarantee added ratings points, it would bring mega buzz to the event. Also, Fox has a tradition of adding a current player or current manager to work as an analyst in the booth, or on its pre- and post-game shows, during the World Series.

With Rodriguez, Fox would be getting a controversial superstar transcends the game, a player who is known by the casual fan, albeit for many wrong reasons. And there’s the rub."


Bob Raissman on July 10th:

"Through July 7, Yankees TV ratings on YES were averaging a 2.55 rating, down a hefty 15% from the same point in the 2014 season, according to The Nielsen Co. And average total viewership on YES’ Yankees cablecasts is 237,000, down 17% from the same point in 2014.

So, if A-Rod can’t put the Yankees ahead in the ratings department on YES, where the majority of peepers have forgot about his PED past and mostly have forgiven him (as long as he continues being productive) for past 'sins,' there is no shot — absolutely none — that extraneous eyeballs from sea to shining sea are going to go out of their way to tune into Fox’s All-Star telecast to see A-Rod. Why waste time watching a guy they still despise?"

Friday, July 31, 2015

4-8, 6.97 ERA.

Traded for Didi Gregorius.

The Yankees have one problem, and he sure is "big" ... get it?

Two bunt singles in the middle of Rangers rallies last night. I don't think CC even feigned an attempt to, you know, field a baseball in a professional baseball game.

The job title is "pitcher," not "fielder."

"Then again, it may just be the Yankees — after taking a pass on Cole Hamels and getting out-flanked by the Blue Jays on Price — who decide to address their sudden rotation crisis by further bolstering their bullpen with a third closer in design to shorten the games even more for their suspect starters. The Yanks began the day expecting the Dodgers and Cubs to be their primary competition for Price, only to be as shocked, as everyone else was, when the Blue Jays, who shocked everyone this week with their acquisition of Troy Tulowitzki, swooped in and landed the Tigers’ ace lefty for a trio of young lefthanders headed up by Toronto’s top pitching prospect, Daniel Norris. You have to wonder if the Pineda blow, coinciding with Price going to the Blue Jays, evoked some pangs of regret among the Yankee high command about passing on Hamels — especially after the Phillies, who are set to get back five high-end prospects from Texas for their coveted lefty, also threw $9.5 million into the deal to help offset some of the nearly $60 million owed Hamels through 2018."

Girardi is manager of the year and Cashman is GM of the year. So far.

The Yankees are in first place because they patiently stuck with crummy players: ARod, Teixeira, DiDi, Drew, Headley, Beltran, CC, McCann ...

Drew's time is pretty much up, but he has some value as a pinch hitter or defensive replacement.

CC has been given enough rope and it's time for him to switch places with Warren. A six-man rotation when Pineda comes back (with Warren instead of CC) sounds fine to me. I don't see anyone on the Yankees performing consistently following 100-pitch games.

Against all odds, the Yankees are getting productive seasons from (most of) their washed up veterans. At the same time, against all odds, they've rebuilt their farm system to some extent. At the same time, against all odds, their shaky new additions are paying off.

So you're going to de-rail this train because you want to rent Cole Hamels?


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Please use odd metaphors to explain how the LA Dodgers are more successful than the NY Yankees.

"All those years when the New York Yankees were outspending everyone by $20 million and $30 million and more, this is what they should’ve done."

This ought to be good.


"The Los Angeles Dodgers are a monetary behemoth, beneficiaries of an $8 billion TV contract, and under president Andrew Friedman and GM Farhan Zaidi, they’re parlaying that financial advantage into a competitive one, too."

This is true.

The Yankees have never been as successful as the Dodgers.


"The Yankees sashayed into free-agent meetings like fat cats, paying big dollars for big names and big splashes. They were old money acting like new money."

I read that a few times and I'm still not sure what the Yankees did at free agent meetings. They sashayed like fat cats with new money, I suppose.

By the way ... I hope you're not talking about deadline deals. I'd hate to explain again that the Yankee don't really make big splashes in July, though they're always credited (or accused) of doing so.


"The Dodgers positioned themselves in diametric opposition, fundamentally against larding their roster with aging players, using their cash as judiciously as the filthy rich can, exploring every creative nook and cranny possible."

Carl.

Crawford.


"Gone is Olivera, a 30-year-old coveted by the Braves, who couldn’t compete with the Dodgers’ six-year, $62.5 million offer he signed in May. The Dodgers will pay all $28 million of his signing bonus, and with most of his 2015 salary paid, Atlanta essentially gets him for five years at around $32 million. Considering the Dodgers are taking on some but not all of Arroyo’s remaining $7.5 million – he has a $4.5 million buyout for next season’s deal – Atlanta is paying down Olivera’s cost even more."

So the Dodgers are paying a 30-year-old $28 million to play for the Braves.

I totally see your point about nooks and crannies and sashaying fat cats.


"By absorbing about $15 million from the Marlins – the struggling Morse is owed $8 million next season – Los Angeles paid more than $40 million in contracts for which it has no use. This is where money is best spent, because swallowing others’ problematic contracts or fronting money for valuable players allows the Dodgers to ask for premium talent in return, and in Wood and Peraza, it got just that."


Paying $40 million for useless contracts? Genius.

Why play the shell game? Why not just pay a lot of money for good players? Properly identify the good players and pay them accordingly.

Instead, the Dodgers are paying a lot of money for bad players as long as they also get good players on the cheap. I don't see how that's brilliant in any way.


"This isn’t the first time Friedman and Zaidi pulled off such a deal. They’re also paying the salaries of Matt Kemp, Dan Haren and Dee Gordon – all traded in the offseason – this year. In the Kemp deal, the Dodgers received All-Star catcher Yasmani Grandal. From the Marlins, they got utilityman Enrique Hernandez, catcher/second baseman Austin Barnes and pitcher Andrew Heaney, whom they flipped for Howie Kendrick."

If you have deep pockets, you can waste money. I don't know why the Dodgers' preferred method of wasting money is preferable to the Yankees' preferred method (and why did everyone just look at A.J. Burnett when I said that?).


"The strategy is brilliant, a way to circumvent the artificial spending limits placed almost everywhere on young talent. Got a terrible signing? Just package it with something valuable, and the Dodgers are happy to use their money to buy talent."

Brilliant!

It's like when I was 11 years old and trading baseball cards.


"And that’s what this is: The Dodgers are purchasing talent from others, using their financial advantage to stay flexible instead of boxing themselves into untradeable corners like the Yankees did for so many years. The rules were different then, not nearly as restrictive, but New York has shown no inclination to operate in a similar fashion to the Dodgers."


The Yankees are in first place ... and they have won 5 titles since 1996 ... and they made the playoffs 18 out of the last 21 years (estimate).

Also, the Yankees are worth $3 billion or so.

So why are the Yankees clamoring to operate in a similar fashion to the Dodgers?