Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lots of Yankees & Rays news in Boston

  • Nice memories of Rocco Baldelli
  • Riff on Bartolo Colon
  • Suspicion that Andy is looking for a Clemens-type season (4 months + post)
  • Rays in discussions with Manny Delcarmen
  • And over on the right, a video discussing what Manny & Damon bring to the Rays (they seemed more excited about the latter then the former).

Rays sign Casey Kotchman to Minor League

Now this is interesting, because he can play first, he used to be able to hit pretty well (on my fantasy team before he went to Boston), and keeps Zobrist for better uses of his great arm. Liking this, Andrew, liking it a lot. Jane's hubby said, "Well, he's no Carlos Pena." True, but for a couple of years now, Carlos Pena was no Carlos Pena!   Joe Maddon seemed to be going far too easy on him; I would have sent him to the Kevin Long School of Long Ball early on. But what a glove on that guy!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ch- ch- ch- changes...

  1. 1B Carlos Pena    =>  Cubs
  2. SS Jason Bartlett=> Padres
  3. LF Carl Crawford=> Red Sox
  4. P Dan Wheeler => Red Sox
  5. P Randy Choate => Marlins
  6. C Dioner Navarro => Dodgers
  7. P Joaquin Benoit => Tigers
  8. OF Brad Hawpe => Padres
  9. P Matt Garza => Cubs
Still left to leave...
  • DH Rocco Baldelli => retired to Rays mgt
  • RHP Grant Balfour => Oakland
  • OF Gabe Kapler => Dodgers minors
  • RHP Chad Qualls => Padres
  • RHP Rafael Soriano => Yankees
Maybe some will stay.
Update 2/4: Here's the latest HotStove tally

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Very strong possibility” that Andy Pettitte pitches in 2011

Yes, but sooner or later. Will he pull a Clemens?   Skipping the first 3 months? or waiting for legal air to clear.  I think the stuff about family is a smoke-screen; dads work and don't see their kids often enough. End of story. He gets October through February off, like teachers.  Plenty of time. Not buying it.  Body falling apart... that I can see.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cash & burn

Yankees GM sees Jeter moving to outfield to finish his career.  Whoa there, Nelly!  Just a couple of days after the Soriano over-rule? Just a couple of months after the Jeter cliff-hanger and dirty-linen-in-public debacle?  Not sure that stating the obvious out loud  is benefitting Cashman's last stand. Jeet's positions now and then have already been discussed at length in Blog World; couldn't he have said,
"Derek Jeter is the face of the franchise and the contract we just signed with him shows the confidence we have in him as a baseball player for the next four years. No moves are planned or anticipated. He plays more than shortstop on the Yankee's infield. Next question."
Maybe he's cruisin' for a bruisin'. Or he misses George. Or feared him. Or wants to move on.  Odd, he's always been more circumspect. Something's up.

Besides, I wouldn't put Jeter in the outfield -- don't know if his arm's good enough. And if he's slow on the infield, he'll be useless in left or center. I'm putting him at first base. You?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bring it! Damon & Manny are Rays!

With Damon's bonuses tied to attendance! Woo-hoo!   This might be so cool! So we are apparently saying that

 1 Damon + 1 Manny + 1 Desmond Jennings = 1 Carl Crawford

Yeah, that works for me.

Psychologically, I think both of them will want to show up their former teams, especially Boston and Rays pitching and defense can help them do it. The phony turf will be hard on Damon's feet & knees, but his goofy scrappiness fits right in. Manny allegedly has an incredible batting work ethic, which could help the guys. Of course, with Pena's .190 average out of town, we can get back to hitting, instead of just sobbing.

So if Jaso or Upton lead off, then Damon bats 2nd, Evan 3rd and Manny 4th (if he's bringing it), there's still Zorilla, Brignac, Joyce, Johnson. Not too shabby. This team is not bad. They will do some damage on the way to 90 wins.

Now, if we only had a closer...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

David Price named 2010 Warren Spahn Award winner.

Another terrific honor for the ace still on board. Nice, Price!

I'll trade you one Fernado Perez for

apparently one Dirk Hayhurst. Thanks, Renegade, for posting about him; he was under my radar, but looks like he'll fit right in.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Life in Baseball

Yes, it's true, I have 2 loves. I'm hard-wired to love the Yankees; spent toddler time in the Bronx with grandparents, walking distance from the stadium, listening to radio games with Grandpa. My dad was NY Giants all the way; when they left, he left MLB. When I grew up, there were two major boyfriends who were major Yankee fans. One bought me my first cap, the other got me Ron Guidry's autograph. I wrote Mrs. Munson a sympathy note and I carry a Reggie Jackson pog in my wallet (because I can).

Now I'm in Ft. Lauderdale, where the Yankees and then the Orioles used to have Spring Training. Six bucks a seat, twelve to sit right behind home plate. Heaven. Now gone, both gone.

However, all Rays games (& Marlins -- eww!) games are telecast all over Florida. Yes, every game, which is how you get to know and love your players. Yankee games are not, except when ESPN deigns to cover them, or when they play the Rays, Marlins, Cubs or WhiteSox. Since 2009, Yankee games have been broadcast on local AM sports radio, so I've learned to love John & Suzan (at least on uncloudy nights).

But I've really gotten to know and love the Rays, pretty nearly the antithesis of the Yankees: unknown players, poorly paid, play in an indoor stadium in front of few fans. When Lou Pinella was managing the Devil Rays, I still felt connected to the Yankees (he was not a great manager there; I think working with young kids wasn't for him). Yankees moved to Legends Field in Tampa, so the connection stayed. We'd go to Tampa for Rays & Yanks spring training games, and when the Yankees came down to play the Rays.

We thought we were rooting for the Yankees, but a shift occurred when the Rays ownership turned over: they were now run by young, Jewish, former New York investment bankers (pre-crash), who secured players like they were picking their favorite lesser-known fantasy picks. They dropped the "devil" from the name, got a make-over for everything, stole Joe Maddon from Mike Scoccia and even signed Don Zimmer after Pedro played him.

So I get a little psycho when the Rays and Yankees play, but I also get double plus pleasure when Rays kill the Red Sox, as they have done many times in Fenway Park in the past couple of years. Killed Matsuzaka, killed Lester, killed Papelbone, even the side-armer Wakefield. It's a beautiful thing.

That's why it's so alarming that Carl went to Boston. I really wanted him to be an Angel. On the other hand, it's always been obvious that the action's in the AL East... it's where you want to be!

Sometimes I watch a Rays game with captions on & sound off so I can hear the Yankee game call. Yes. Nuts. True.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Where are we now?

Everybody line up after Carl...

Player          Pos Age    Type        New Team    Years    Money
Rocco Baldelli  DH  29 Free Agent         --         --
Grant Balfour   RP  32 Type-A Signed     Oakland     2      $8.1M
Joaquin Benoit  RP  33 Type-B Signed     Detroit     3     $16.1M
Jorge Cantu     1B  28 Free Agent         --         --      ???
Randy Choate    RP  35 Type-B Signed     Marlins     2      $2.5M
Carl Crawford   LF  29 Type-A Signed     Boston      7    $142M
Brad Hawpe      DH  31 Type-B Signed     San Diego   1       --
Gabe Kapler     RF  35 Signed            Dodgers     1       Minor
Carlos Pena     1B  32 Type-B Signed     Cubs        1     $10M
Chad Qualls     RP  32 Type-B Free Ag     --         --
Rafael Soriano  RP  30 Type-A Signed     Yankees     3     $35M
Dan Wheeler     RP  32 Type-A Signed     Boston      1      $3M
Lance Cormier   RP  30 Non-Tendered       --         --
J.P. Howell     RP  27 Signed            Tampa Bay   1      $1M
Dioner Navarro   C  26 Signed            Dodgers     1      $1M

Gabe Kapler to Dodgers Minor League?

A chorus of "Another one bites the dust", anyone?  But at least he'll look great at the beach! Oh, yeah, he probably did in Tampa too!

Update: Deed is done. Bye, bye, cutie pie!

Yankees close to deal with Andruw Jones

I don't care how many years, this is still a bad idea.  
Oh, yeah? Why don't you tell us what you really think?
Okay. This.

Angels and Rays in on Johnny Damon

I do hope this happens for the Rays.
He lives in Florida. He plays left field. He gets hits. He steals bases. He is a great clutch player. He is a goof-ball. He is a leader. He could be just what Rays need to heal the emptiness where the gone Rays were. 

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Five teams interested in Manny Ramirez

Hmm, this rumor's coming around again, probably placed by Boras himself.  Has anything changed since last musing on this? Well, looking at the Rays depth chart (as of 1/15/11), they've got only Matt Joyce as DH, while he's also a potential fill-in at all three outfield positions. I like Matt Joyce. He made some key plays & hits in two championship races, but his stats and a lifetime .243 BA don't sound like DH material to me.

Manny, on the other hand, is a lifetime .313 batter, (.586 slugging) with .298 last year in 30 games with the Dodgers (Torre hated him) & White Sox. Nine AL Silver Slugger awards and one World Series MVP. Salary for 2010 was $18.6M, which seems steep for Stu, but the Rays are a great-looking team on paper and they need a big bat. End of story.

Still, Boras apparently is shopping three of them... Manny, Johnny Damon, and Andruw Jones. I wouldn't take Jones... his slide was too precipitous, perhaps steroid related and he's almost always been a National Leaguer, so DH'ing is iffy for him. Some guys, I think, don't feel like they're really playing the game unless they get to take the field. Manny knows he's a great hitter, a Casey-at-the-bat kind of guy, and will take the kudos where he can, as long as there are some. Damon... well, this is probably all still true.

Interesting that Manny & Damon were both left fielders.... almost to underscore the loss of Carl and his instant irreplacability. I'm feeling sad all over again.

How about this? Damon goes to Tampa, Manny goes to Baltimore, keeping them both in the AL East where they belong, and Andruw goes to the Dodgers, home of the useless.

Now, what about a closer? Rays get Joba? Turn him into a killer closer? Gee, I hope not.

Athletics & Grant Balfour in 2-year deal

PRORumors is pretty sure this is going down. Bye, Balfie, will miss your heated Aussie intensity & goofy grin.  And in return:
The right-handed pitcher is a Type-A free agent, so the Tampa Bay Rays will receive Oakland's second-round pick (first-round is protected) in addition to a supplemental pick.  With these picks, the Rays will have 11 of the top 75 picks in the 2011 MLB draft.
And that's how it's done.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Yankees Sign Rafael Soriano

Well, I've been waiting for the Yanks to grab Rafael Soriano, so he can be the fill-in and/or replacemant Mariano. I sure hope the Rays took some batting practice against him so maybe they can hit him... I know he bamboozled the Red Sox, and that's always  a good thing. And all we got was a freakin' Farnsworth. Inconsistent weirdo. Oh, and a first round draft pick. Not bad, I guess if you're re-building your young pennant-winners, but jeez! Why do they all have to go to the A.L. East?? Answer:  Because that's where the money and the glory is. Bye, Rafael... you are one intense dude!

Update:  Apparently this was not a no-brainer for the NYY. Owners had to get involved. Wowsers!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Garza to Cubs; Rays lose, Rays win

Well, this Garza chatter started back in December, so I guess they've been hammering it out for a while.

Sad to see you go, Garza, you've been a treat, your no-hitter was a delight, you got 'Los where you're going and the NL Central, even with St. Louis in it, is no AL East.  Although this Yankees-sad-to-see-you-go story is pretty snarky.

Too bad Perez is going with you... I've been waiting for him to come back for a while now, but I guess they had to give up some goodies to get some goodies.  I think this trade is slightly better for the Rays (and Peter Gammons agrees), fills some holes and they love having great young guys in the pipeline.  Looks like they get:
  • Brandon Guyer, OF who batted .344 with AA Tennessee last season (.986 OPS), Cubs' minor league player of the year;
  • Robinson Chirinos, a catcher with power & strong defensive skills, batted .326 with a .999 OPS, threw out 32% of stealers;
  • Hak-Ju Lee, shortstop, once ranked as the Cubs' #4 prospect; and
  • Sam Fuld, 29-year-old OF, who's been inconsistently successful. Interesting collection.

Pettitte undecided; Clemens effect?

She-Fan Jane doesn't think this theory is correct, but it makes emotional sense to me, an outsider having ideas. This July could be quite a distraction for Andy if Roger's trial starts on schedule.

Yankees considering Andruw Jones?

How bad an idea is this? Let me count the ways. Old, out-of-shape, a Brave at heart, bad numbers circling the drain, National Leaguer, non-New Yorker. Some say get him if he's cheap, but I think "cheap" is also a mental mind-fck that helps you unconsciously to play "cheaply". I used to love watching Jones play with the Braves, especially when I was living in Atlanta, he was amazing, could do no wrong. Then came the last year of his contract, your try-out year, your audition-for-your-next-team year, and Andruw, really for the first time, choked, lost it, tanked bigtime. It was painful to follow: I'd always had him on a fantasy team, so I felt the decline in points and losses, if not in $$. Ouch!  So... the baseball shrink says, "Don't go with over-the-hill head-cases; too much downside risk."

As for Damon... going back to players you've already broken up with can also trigger head-trips on top of physical decline. Players, teams, & fanbase know they're sloppy seconds and act accordingly. More like a booty call with your ex.  Pride, Damon -- sniff the Rays.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rays interest in Manny could be rumor

Well, well, well, Manny Ramirez and the Rays. How would that be? Strange.
  • He's old. 
  • He bats well. 
  • He's non-standard. 
  • He's get to play a lot against Boston.
  • He'd try Maddon's patience (I imagine).
  • Left-fielder at the Trop? Carl may be filling his shoes in Boston, but methinks the reverse does not obtain.
  • Never happen. Too many dollars. Whew!