Jennifer writes: Why is it that only Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Chuck Knoblach were called before Congress? If they are calling Andy for using HGH twice, why wasn’t Brian Roberts called for using ‘roids only once? It looks like a witch hunt against Roger to me. They know Andy told the truth and are looking for get him to testify against Roger and coroborate McNamee statements. This is unfair in my eyes. If you are calling players named in the report, than they also should call the Roberts, Gagnes and Donelleys in the report. They aren’t compelled to testify, right? But if they decline it will only make them look guilty in some peoples eyes. And doesn’t Congress have more important things going on than to call people in a clearly not complete report?
Answer: Not much I can argue with there, Jennifer. Calling just the Yankees seems like a total publicity stunt. The Congressmen get to wax poetic about baseball and grill the great Clemens on CNN, ESPN and everywhere in between. Chuck Knoblauch? Really? His words will add to the public discourse? If nothing else, we’ll see what the Rocket says under oath.
Larry writes: How do the Marlins get away with having a payroll that is possibly less than the revenue sharing check they get? From everything I have seen of this owner (Jeffrey Loria) whether in Montreal or Miami, he is always crying about his situation but does little to build a team worthy of attending. I do think it disgraceful that MLB allows him to get away with it. What is your take on it?
Answer: It is disgraceful, Larry. But the Marlins did win the Series in 2003 and were competitive in ’04, ’05 and much of ’06. They’ve spent their money better than a lot of teams.
David writes: Given the youth and potential innings limitations of the projected Yankees pitching staff, what are the odds that Girardi will employ a non-traditional rotation of any sort? I’ve seen discussion of a six man rotation, modified six man rotation or tag-team starters Where do you think the team is right now with respect to Kennedy vs. Mussina as the fifth starter (assuming a traditional five man rotation)? Do you think it will be spring training – or a winter deal – that will most heavily impact their decision?
Answer: There will be no six-man rotation, Joe Girardi has already said that. Why limit the starts of Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte? Clearly there will have to be some flexibility for the younger guys, but that will likely be a fluid process throughout the season. It’s usually impossible to plan ahead more than a week or two. I think if Moose pitches well in the spring, he’ll get a job. He is getting $11 million, after all.
Dominic writes: Any news on the condition of Bob Sheppard? I remember he didn’t announce at the end of the 2007 season. Is he a go for 2008?
Answer: I e-mailed media relations director Jason Zillo and he replied thusly: “Mr. Sheppard is feeling much better and is scheduled to resume his position behind the mic for Opening Day.” So that is good news.
T.J. writes: I am actually a friend of the family of Darrell Rasner and when I saw that he had been released by the Yanks, I was upset. When I heard he had been signed to a minor-league deal and invited to spring training, I was excited. I also read that he was released because Carl Pavano would not take a minor league deal. Why didnâ€™t Pavano do that, does he really think he is worth it to stay on the 40-man roster? Also do you think that Rasner will make the roster and be in the bullpen? I think he can help the Yankees if he can stay healthy.
Answer: Darrell is a good guy and hopefully he can say healthy. That’s really the first step for so many guys. If so, he has a chance to make the team in the bullpen. In a stunning upset, Pavano went the selfish route and kept his 40-man roster spot when the Yankees asked him to take a minor-league deal. He wanted more service time to collect his pension. Because, you know, $40 million lasts only so long. The Yankees need him in the organization to be able to collect insurance on his (useless) contract.
David writes: Yankee fans from my generation remember Bobby Meacham as a young, unimpressive, light-hitting shortstop with an erratic arm. To be honest, I had thought he had fallen into baseball oblivion, but now here he is as the Yankees third base coach. Could you briefly fill us in on what he’s been up to, what his credentials are, and how he compares with other coaches?
Answer: Meacham has worked as MLB coach Marlins (2006 under Girardi) and Padres (2007). He was a minor-league coach and manager from 1992-2005 with the Pirates, Rockies, Royals and Angels. He obviously has a lot of experience as a coach. I can’t tell you how he compares to other coaches because I haven’t had an opportunity to watch him work. But Girardi trusts him and wanted him on the staff.
Brendon writes: I heard a rumor that Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish was on the Yankees radar for 2009. I heard he is good and his contract could excede Matsuzaka and that his posting fee will be high. Who is this guy and are the Yankees serious on spending more than 50 million to talk to him?
Answer: Yes, Virginia, there is a Yu Darvish. He’s a skinny (6-5, 185) right-hander with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. He’s Iranian-Japanese (which means he’s a bit of a maniac, but polite about it). But he’s 21 and has only two seasons in the Japanese league. That means the Fighters have seven more seasons before he’ll become a free agent. Why would they post him now? Darvish was 15-5, 1.82 last season. He is reportedly engaged to Japanese hottie Saeko Dokyu.
Chrissa writes: For whatever reason, the Yankees do not want Doug Mientkiewicz. What if Shelley Duncan can’t play first base? (Love his enthusiasm but never heard of a Major Leaguer without an actual position). What is Plan B? Giambi should be Plan X or Y.
Answer: Wilson Betemit … Juan Miranda … Johnny Damon. … Jorge Posada once in a while. I get the idea that the Yankees plan to throw assorted folks out their until they can make a play for Mark Teixeira next year.
Thanks for all the good questions.