Archive for October, 2010
Report: Girardi’s deal done • 10.28.10
Mark Feinsand is reporting that Joe Girardi’s deal is a done, a $9-million contract that will keep Girardi in New York for another three years.
This has pretty much been the speculation for the past few days, that Girardi would get another three-year deal worth $9- or $10-million. Feinsand says it could announced later today.
Funny how things look different from beneath a different hat.
In New York, the Rangers’ run to the World Series has sparked second guessing of July’s near-trade for Cliff Lee. In Atlanta, it’s led to second guessing of the 2007 trade of Mark Teixeira.
“Whenever there are guys who were in your organization, you always wonder, ‘What if?’” Braves GM Frank Wren told the AJC. “But you have those same ‘what-if?’ thoughts before you make any trade.”
While the Yankees are thinking ‘what might have been’ about a player who was never actually in their organization, the Braves are thinking ‘what might have been’ about players who actually were in Atlanta organization. Back in 2007, the Braves traded five players for Teixera. Two of them were Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus and closer Neftali Feliz.
Both were in the lower levels at the time. The big name of the trade was actually catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who’s been a bit player in the big leagues and is now with the Red Sox.
As a Brave, Teixeira spent all of one day in first place.
Associated Press photo
The importance of change • 10.28.10
Despite the inconvenience of my cable provider, I managed to watch almost all of last night’s World Series game. I met my good friend Sweeny Murti and watched the San Francisco Giants do the impossible: Beat Cliff Lee in October. Granted, the Rangers defense was a mess, but that Giants offense was a legitimate force.
One thing that stood out:
The heart of the Giants order — 3, 4 and 5 — was not with the team on opening day. Buster Posey was called up from Triple-A on May 29. That same day Pat Burrell was signed after his DFA from Tampa. Cody Ross was claimed off waivers from Florida on August 23. The team’s No. 2 hitter, Freddy Sanchez, opened the year on the disabled list and wasn’t activated until May.
This team evolved. A lot.
All told, the Giants had three position players in last night’s lineup who were also in their Opening Day lineup. One of those, Juan Uribe, was playing a different position on Opening Day. Another, Edgar Renteria, went from the No. 2 hitter in April to the No. 8 hitter in October.
The Yankees did some of that this season. When Nick Johnson landed on the Nick Johnson List, the Yankees found top-of-the-order hitters in Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner. When Andy Pettitte went down in the second half, Ivan Nova was a solid replacement. The deadline additions of Kerry Wood and Lance Berkman became significant parts of the roster through the postseason.
There’s a lot to be said for building a roster in the winter — and that’s obviously the focus right now — but there’s also a lot to be said for being able to adjust when some of those winter plans inevitably go wrong. That’s the one thing that most struck me about last night’s game.
Associated Press photo
The one who got away • 10.27.10
First pitch of the World Series is just minutes away, and it’s the team that landed Cliff Lee that’s representing the American League.
On the morning of July 9, the Yankees seemed on their way to being that team. They had a deal in place, acquiring Lee for a package of prospects headlined by Jesus Montero. It was more or less a press release away from being done. The Yankees were — oddly enough — in Seattle at the time, and I just remember a long day of phone calls and text messages, and constantly refreshing the Twitter account of any writer who seemed plugged into the Mariners front office.
No need to rehash the whole thing here, but the short story is this: The Mariners were spooked by David Adams’ faulty ankle. They asked to change the package, and Brian Cashman said no. Adams had been on the disabled list for weeks, and it’s hard to imagine the injury came as a surprise. We’ll never know of course, but it’s easy to imagine the whole thing being a ploy by the Mariners.
Suddenly, the Rangers were in the mix, and Lee was on his way to Texas for a package built around Justin Smoak.
“I would do the same thing again,” Cashman said.
“I went home Thursday night, thinking we had a deal with the Yankees,” Armstrong told the Seattle Times. “Pending an exchange of the physical information of the players involved. The next morning, when we got into the details of the physicals of the players involved, one of the players that was coming to us from the Yankees was disabled, and based upon the best medical information that our team medical director, Edward Khalfayan, had, he recommended that we not proceed.
“Jack (Zduriencik) and his people then spent some time with the Yankees trying to come up with an alternative player, or players, to replace that player. Or even players to be named later. If we could come up with that. In the meantime, other clubs became involved. The White Sox, Minnesota and Texas to name a few.”
Given the end results, it’s easy to second guess and wonder if Cashman should have agreed to the changes – apparently adding either Ivan Nova or Eduardo Nunez to the deal – but from an outside perspective, the whole thing seems odd. From the Mariners perspective, they were really shocked that Adams had a bad ankle? From the Yankees perspective, Nova or Nunez was a deal breaker?
It just doesn’t add up, and that’s coming from a guy who really likes both Nova and Nunez. Truth is, these deals generally have more to do with the biggest names involved, and if the Mariners preferred Smoak over Montero, then Lee was always going to end up in Texas.
Was it a turning point for the Yankees season? It very well could have been, but it also could have been Cashman being taken for a ride and refusing to participate.
“When you put yourself in a position to make decisions like that, you make them and you live with them,” Cashman said.
Associated Press photo of Lee
World Series Game 1 notes and lineups • 10.27.10
My guess is you were more excited about this day when it was happening a year ago.
No Yankees in this year’s Series, but tonight is a premier pitching matchup for all baseball fans. That is, of course, assuming you can actually watch the World Series.
“It’s going to be kind of hard unless FOX and Cablevision (reach an agreement),” Joe Girardi said. “I did put on Game 6 (of the NLCS) on my computer. I will watch parts of it, I’m sure. It’s kind of hard to be a baseball guy and not watch it. There are times that the games start and you put the kids to bed. But I’ll watch it.”
Girardi and I are in the same boat. I’ll either find a local establishment where I can watch the game, or I’ll follow along online. Either way, it’s Game 1 of the World Series. Yankees or no Yankees, it’s worth seeing.
• For those of you who can watch: Pregame coverage on FOX begins at 7:30 p.m. First pitch is scheduled for 7:57.
• The ceremonial first pitch will be a collective effort from Orlando Cepeda, Monte Irvin, Juan Marichal, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry.
• Major League Baseball just passed along the lineups for both teams.
Elvis Andrus SS
Michael Young 3B
Josh Hamilton CF
Vlad Guerrero RF
Nelson Crus LF
Ian Kinsler 2B
Bengie Molina C
Mitch Moreland 1B
Cliff Lee LHP
Andres Torres CF
Freddy Sanchez 2B
Buster Posey C
Pat Burrell LF
Cody Ross RF
Aubrey Huff 1B
Juan Uribe 3B
Edgar Rentaria SS
Tim Lincecum RHP
That’s a cool Associated Press picture of Cody Ross
As expected, the Yankees have declined the option to extend the contracts of Kerry Wood, Lance Berkman and Nick Johnson through next season. All three will become free agents.
Two days ago, Brian Cashman said to expect these moves, and given the money involved, there was never any reason to believe the Yankees would pick up any of the three options.
The Yankees did exercise the option in Andrew Brackman’s contract. That’s more of a paper move than anything, even more obvious than turning down the three veterans. When Brackman signed a Major League contract in 2007, it was a four-year deal with club options for 2011, 2012 and 2013. Barring something shocking, all three of those options will be picked up.
The Yankees have announced the date and the expected recovery time for CC Sabathia’s knee surgery.
Sabathia has a small meniscus tear in his right knee. He will undergo arthroscopic surgery on Friday. It will be performed by Dr. Christopher Ahmad at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
Sabathia will begin therapy immediately after the surgery, and within three to six weeks, he is expected to begin his regular routine in preparation for spring training.
Assuming no complications, the surgery should do very little to change Sabathia’s offseason routine. Most pitchers don’t begin throwing until after Christmas anyway.
The day that’s tough to swallow • 10.27.10
The World Series begins tonight, and the Yankees aren’t in it.
“We didn’t accomplish our goal, first and foremost,” Joe Girardi said on Monday. “My job is to lead us to that goal, a 28th championship, and it wasn’t done. However you want to describe it, we didn’t accomplish what we set out to do. And that’s hard. It’s still disappointing as I sit here today. You think about how hard it is to get to the playoffs and all the work you put in, and the feeling you have from one year to the next. One is extreme joy, and one is tough to swallow.”
I’ve been working on some end-of-the-season stuff, and it occurs to me that I forgot to post the full audio of Girardi’s year-in-review press conference, so here it is. It’s as good a way as any to start this day on the blog.
Report: Sabathia to undergo knee surgery • 10.27.10
If you’re a Yankees fan, today was already shaping up to be a not particularly pleasant one, as I wrote for my column in the paper. But then comes news in this morning’s New York Post that CC Sabathia has been diagnosed with a minor meniscus tear in his right knee and is expected to undergo surgery in the near future.
This seems to be a case of the headline being worse than the actual story; this kind of surgery is relatively minor and the Yankees, according to the report, expect Sabathia to recover quickly and be ready for spring training without issue. Still, it’s a) worrisome because any surgery is still a somewhat big deal; and b) perhaps some type of explanation for why Sabathia was less-than-impressive for much of the postseason.
It’s also worth noting that the concerns the Yankees (and everyone else) have always had with Sabathia are his workload and his body type – two things that are both pretty big. However small a procedure, there’s no denying that Sabathia will now be putting the stress of a 300-pound body on a surgically-repaired knee for a ton of innings, a combination that certainly isn’t ideal.
World Series umpires, plus a few links • 10.26.10
The Yankees are finished playing, but I know Sam would be very disappointed if I didn’t post the umpires assigned to the World Series. Here’s that announcement plus a few links and notes.
John Hirschbeck will serve as the crew chief for the 106th World Series and will be behind the plate for Game One of the 2010 Fall Classic, it was announced today.
Hirschbeck, a Major League Umpire for more than 27 years, will lead a crew that will include regular season crew chiefs Gary Darling and Jeff Kellogg and veterans Mike Winters, Bill Miller and Sam Holbrook.
This will mark the third career World Series for Hirschbeck (previous: 1995 and 2006), his first as the Fall Classic crew chief and his 15th postseason assignment overall. This will mark the fourth career Fall Classic for Kellogg; the third for Winters; the second for Darling; and the first for Holbrook and Miller.
• As Sam and I discussed during today’s chat, only two names jump out at me as obvious and legitimate candidates for the Yankees pitching coach opening: Scott Aldred in Triple-A (who has followed the same path that brought Eiland to New York three years ago) and Rick Kranitz in Baltimore (who coached under Joe Girardi in Florida). At least one Baltimore writer has written about the possibility of Kranitz moving to New York.
• Further opening the door for Kranitz: Ken Rosenthal reports that Mark Connor is a leading candidate to be the Orioles pitching coach.
• Sports Illustrated is reporting that the Yankees have signed a kid out of the Dominican Republic. Baseball America is reporting the same thing. He’s a 16-year-old outfielder named Wilmer Romero, and BA described him as athletic and raw, which is pretty much what you’d expect from a 16-year-old outfielder. Good addition, but a long, long way from New York.
• Speaking of Baseball America: Here’s their take on the players the Yankees gave up for Kerry Wood. The magazine wrote that neither Matt Cusick nor Andrew Shive is considered “impact talent.