Let’s talk about something other than Alex Rodriguez for at least a little bit. Here are a few notes and links that have nothing to do with the Yankees third baseman.
• Building on a previous report from the Daily News, Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees are focusing on Brandon McCarthy, Jason Hammel and other mid-rotation starters to add some pitching depth. Heyman echoes the belief that the Yankees have no plans of pursuing any of the market’s top three starting pitchers. Heyman also notes that Chris Capuano is a possibility for a return. I actually think that’s a decent idea. Not a bad option as a bullpen lefty with the potential to start if necessary. Pitched well in a fifth starter role this year.
• ESPN’s Dan Szymborski writes that Dave Robertson is one of several players who should seriously consider accepting a qualifying offer this winter. The reasoning follows a familiar sentiment: teams value closers, but they’re rarely willing to pay huge amounts of money to sign them. A contract comparable to $15.3 million, plus a lost draft pick? Might not be many teams willing to do that. Szymborski notes that Jonathan Papelbon went unclaimed this season and that Koji Uehara recently signed for $9 million per year. Szymborski picks out five others who should at least consider accepting the qualifying offer.
• In the wake of Alfonso Soriano’s retirement, David Schoenfield takes a look at the way Soriano’s career should be remembered. “It has been one of the more fascinating careers of the past 15 years as he has been a player with enormous strengths and obvious flaws,” Schoenfield writes, eventually concluding that: “The guy had a good career. He was that rare power-speed combo and, for a few years there, one of the most exciting players in the game. When’s the next time we’re going to see a 40/40 player?”
• Ken Rosenthal reports that the Rockies are willing to listen to trade offers for either Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Gonzalez. Can’t dismiss that sort of information — two really good players, one of whom is perhaps the best shortstop in the game — but it’s also hard to make too much of it. The Rockies aren’t exactly in a have-to-trade-them situation, and the asking price would surely be astronomical despite the health concerns with each player.
• The Rays announced their eight managerial candidates, and Raul Ibanez is one of them. Ibanez is also seen a potential candidate to be the Yankees hitting coach. Says a lot about him that he just played this year and is already being considered for jobs like this.
• Speaking at yesterday’s Lou Gehrig Sports Awards Benefit, Don Mattingly had some advice for whoever becomes the Yankees next starting shortstop: “I don’t think you can try to live up to (Derek Jeter),” Mattingly said. “I think you just have to be yourself. I think the fans will appreciate that. If you’re a guy that plays the game right and gets after it, I think the fans will accept him over time.” Mattingly was on the other side of the situation watching Tino Martinez taking over for Mattingly himself in 1996.
• Another Jeter connection: The latest offering from The Players’ Tribune is actually a really nice and quick read from Brendan Shanahan, who wrote a letter to his younger self providing draft day advice. It’s a good piece. Not a baseball piece, but a good piece. On a personal note, I will forever think of Shanahan as a member of the St. Louis Blues. That’s just the way that goes.
• And now one that has absolutely nothing to do with baseball, but I’ve become obsessed with this version of Ben Howard’s End of the Affair performed on Later… with Jools Holand. Just a brilliant combination of all the things Howard does so well. Opens as a creative bit of singer/songwriter and explodes into an anguished man screaming into his guitar. Need a palate cleanser after all of this A-Rod business? This will do the job.
Associated Press photo
Tino Martinez added to Hall of Fame ballot • 11.29.10
Former Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez is among the first-timers on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, but he’ll certainly not be the focus.
Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar are back after near-misses last year. Edgar Martinez will once again be a measuring stick for designated hitters getting into Cooperstown. Among the first timers, Jeff Bagwell and Larry Walker might have the best chances for election (Bagwell especially).
And steroids will, of course, come front and center with Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro and the lingering issue of Mark McGwire.
This year’s list isn’t especially heavy with Yankees. Don Mattingly is still on the ballot, with a very outspoken corner of the baseball world pleading for his induction. Tino Martinez was a good part of great teams, but probably not a Hall of Famer. Kevin Brown, Al Leiter and Tim Raines spent the bulk of their careers playing elsewhere.
I’m a long way from having a vote, which is good because I have a hard time making up my mind about some of these guys. I’ve gone back and forth about Blyleven, McGwire, Lee Smith, Edgar Martinez and Alan Trammell. Larken, Bagwell and Alomar jump out as players I would definitely vote for, and I’m starting to come around on Raines.
Of course, by the time the election results are announced, I will have probably changed my mind 20 times.
The complete ballot, via the AP: Roberto Alomar, Carlos Baerga, Jeff Bagwell, Harold Baines, Bert Blyleven, Bret Boone, Kevin Brown, John Franco, Juan Gonzalez, Marquis Grissom, Lenny Harris, Bobby Higginson, Charles Johnson, Barry Larkin, Al Leiter, Edgar Martinez, Tino Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Raul Mondesi, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, John Olerud, Rafael Palmeiro, Dave Parker, Tim Raines, Kirk Rueter, Benito Santiago, Lee Smith, B.J. Surhoff, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker.
A different sort of look • 06.24.10
Until 1996, Joe Torre had much stronger connections to the Braves, Cardinals and Mets than to the Yankees. He had played for three different teams and managed three different teams before he finally wore the pinstripes.
Don Mattingly is a different story.
“Donnie looks a little bit more weird to me than Joe,” Jorge Posada said. “Joe, I have seen him in different unis before he got to New York, but Donny looks strange in that blue.”
There will be a lot of sentiment toward Torre this weekend, but it’s doubtful Mattingly will be completely lost in the shuffle.
“Donnie can do whatever he wants in baseball,” Alex Rodriguez said. “Coach. Manage. General manager. Front office. He’s just got a perfect demeanor. Full of information. He was one of my role models growing up. He played the way that every young child should want to play the game. I wish him well. I think he’s in line to get a great managing job.”