The new Hall ballot is out, and there’s one player Yanks and Sox fans should be able to agree on: Wade Boggs, whose bronzed plaque is well earned. Let’s hope he goes in with a blank cap, as the original immortals did. Also up for enshrinement: Ryne Sandberg, Bruce Sutter, the Goose, Jim Rice, Andre Dawson, and Donnie Baseball–all worthy candidates.
Tuesday, November 30th, 2004
Pedro in Queens? Could there be any news more heartening to Yankee fans? The Sox stripped of their co-ace and Pedro imploding daily for the NY Tabs? Has there ever been a player better suited to become a Met? All for a mere $38 mil. Can I send a donation?
Monday, November 29th, 2004
Friday, November 26th, 2004
The promoters needn’t set aside any cocktail weenies for Barry Halper, a minority owner of the Yankees who has donated a trove of memorabilia to the baseball Hall of Fame. "I’ve spent for some crazy stuff," says Halper, who once owned Ty Cobb’s dentures. "But an A-Rod ‘experience’? How about he hits a few balls through the infield in the postseason? That’s the kind of A-Rod experience I’d like."
This, supposedly from Sports Illustrated, via SoSH, documents an event where fans can pay $8-10K to sit down for a chat with A-Rod or Barry Bonds, begging the question, what do people have to pay for other kinds of "experiences":
- $14.95 a month to Typepad for a chance to co-run a silly baseball blog.
- $85.00 (on average) for a chance to sit in Fenway Park at quickly rising fan-unfriendly prices.
- $1K for a chance to toss Nelson de la Rosa.
- $6K for a chance to toss Don Zimmer.
- $50K for a chance to have Manny Ramirez on your team (oops, that was last year)
- $13M+ for a chance to see if Pedro punches in.
- $15M for a chance to see what Kevin Brown punches next.
- $130M+ for a chance at repeating.
- $200M+ for a chance to redeem an historic choke.
Thursday, November 25th, 2004
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004
Here we go. MSNBC, that goldmine of sports rumors, reports that the Yankees are about to offer Pedro 4 years and $50M bucks. If that’s true, then I don’t see how the Sox match that offer, in any universe. And let’s be clear – this isn’t throwing Pedro under an oncoming bus. It’s Pedro jumping on the bus himself.
Again, if the Sox could get, hypothetically, a rising Pavano and an in-his-prime Hudson for a combined $15M + prospects, why would they pay 80%+ of that to just one Petey, and for four years at that?
It ought to be an interesting two or three weeks, just like last Turkey Day.
Monday, November 22nd, 2004
No, this is not some bizarro diagram of quark theory or an illustration of particle electroreactions gone haywire. Simply put, it’s the direction in which oncoming Yankees fans’ eyes immediately shoot when they see my Sox World Champs hat as I walk down the street in Manhattan. Moses would have struggled to do better.
Sunday, November 21st, 2004
SF gave us his Sox free agent outlook, so we do the same here for the Yanks. Like the Sox, who have so many free agents, the Yanks have some serious issues this winter, and their biggest problems stem from the three huge contracts they have for players who are clearly in performance decline: Kevin Brown, Jason Giambi, Bernie Williams. How can these players be shuffled? How much of their salaries can the Yankees eat? Central questions that we can’t really answer. But here are some thoughts.
-Resign Cairo. A solid player. An alternative: would Cabrera be willing to move to 2nd base? That might add some pressure to the Sox. Some kind of deal to bring back Soriano? Pass.
-Sign Steve Kline. They need lefty bullpen help. A no brainer.
-Sign Olerud. A nice cog in the wheel, and more reliable than the beloved Tino. Can Giambi be moved or written off? If so, Delgado would certainly look nice in pinstripes.
-Sign Lieber. A solid inning eater.
-Pass on Pedro. That money would be better spent on some combination of younger players without the kooky history, probably Pavano and Milton. Moose, Pavano, Lieber, Milton, Vazquez would be a nice solid staff, assuming there’s some way to deal Brown. Adding the Unit to this mix (for Vaz? plus cash and who knows what) as part of some three way deal? Now you’re talking. Better still: is there some way to liberate Hudson from Oakland? Duque signs as the 6th wheel. We also see Wells, perennial Yankee favorite, looming. Who knows.
-Sign Beltran. That leaves one extremely expensive Giambi/Williams DH platoon, and a lot of bruised egos. Yikes!
Prognostication: not YF’s strong suit.
Saturday, November 20th, 2004
From today’s Globe:
"I’ve been in the majors for 10 years, and for me the best pitcher I’ve seen is Pedro Martinez," Alex Rodriguez said in a television interview in the Dominican Republic, according to the Associated Press. "He is a genius with the ball, has incredible discipline and knowledge of baseball. I love him and respect him a lot."
Love and respect from the Yankees? If Martinez feels at all disrespected by the offers he received from the Sox, he can hardly object to the choir of pinstripers serenading him.
"To play with Pedro is one of the dreams I still have to accomplish," Rodriguez said, "but we’ll see."
Who knew A-Rod was so enamored with Pedro, that it is one of his "dreams" to play with the guy? Somehow this comes off as so insincere, a blatant piece of kiss-assery. If Pedro signs with the Sox, who’s next? I can already hear Slappy uttering something like "it’s always been one of my lifelong dreams to play alongside Jose Lima…"
Friday, November 19th, 2004
It probably would make some sense for me to go on the record as to what I think the Sox should do about their potentially calamitous free agent situation. However, the situation is so complex, and there are so many contingencies to contemplate that it would be a trap. BUT, I will do so, in the interest of full, semi-intelligent disclosure.
First, a couple of disclaimers:
A) The Sox should not offer any player, no matter who it is, a contract that is of a length or amount that hinders their ability to move that player at any time. That is, no no-trade clauses unless the salary and length of contract is commensurate with giving such a clause.
B) The Sox should sign players because they address a need, not because they are trying solely to prevent a rival from addressing their needs.
The Sox should do all they can to sign Varitek. Heart and soul and all that – it’s true. Watching tons of games over the last few years via the magic of cable it’s clear this guy is most valuable, a true leader, and a superb handler of the staff and all-around smart guy. It seems like 4 years at close to the annual rate he’s asking is a smart offer. 5/55 with a no-trade? Sorry, that’s an albatross.
The Sox should do what they can to sign Pedro, but 3 years/42M guaranteed? Very tough call, even if that’s what the Yankees offer. I imagine 42M over 3 years can be more smartly spent, whether it’s giving up Youkilis and prospects to prize Tim Hudson from the A’s and then devoting that money to Hudson, or grabbing some combination of Pavano and others, I could go either way. Anything approaching a 4 year deal should be rejected, and fast.
Lowe: +7M/year for 3 years? Again, tough call, but it seems like Lowe is going to be a 200 inning, 13-16 win, 10-13 loss kind of guy for the duration. He’s a nice guy to have as a #3, but having also watched him pitch over the last three years he looks to be an above-average hurler, someone who can be trusted for innings, but not necessarily trusted for consistency. His ALCS and WS efforts were amazing, but that’s not how you decide if you should spend $25M+. The Boras factor makes this an unlikely signing, and if he’s too expensive, then we say a big thank you, Derek, we owe you a lot, but good luck.
Cabrera: this is a really tough call for me. I came to really appreciate Cabrera’s talents over the last 1/3 of the season. The guy can flat-out field, he’s energetic, he’s a solid if not intimidating hitter, and he seems like a true gamer. However, if Hanley Ramirez is as good as people say, then it’s tough to look at signing Cabrera to the 4 year deal he probably deserves. In this case, I very much consider seeing what I can get in a deal for Ramirez, and if it brings me great value I consider moving him and keeping Cabrera. On the other hand, if the deals aren’t there for Ramirez, and if he really is a potential stud, then I let Cabrera go and find a one year stopgap until he’s ready. With Varitek there’s no confusion – either you pay him or you don’t, it all comes down to financial planning and team need, there’s nobody really impressive below him at this point With the OC decision, though, Theo’s got his hands full – he has to speculate about his best prospect, and at the same time find a suitable backup if Cabrera can’t be signed.
So there you have it, a relatively unsentimental look at the Sox’ FA situation. I sincerely hope the Sox find a way to keep at least 2 of these 4 guys around, for continuty as well as sheer watchability. Again, they are in a very tough spot, one which they would have been in regardless of the postseason result, but one which is now magnified by the new trophy in residence at Fenway Park.
At least someone in New York gets it.
"Pedro’s one of the elite pitchers in baseball," Torre said before he spoke at Southern Methodist University, according to the Associated Press. "As a manager, you want all the toys on the shelf, there’s no question."
Torre said the Yankees need to beef up their starting rotation, which he described as "the thinnest" in his nine years as manager.
From today’s Times:
Cashman was not at Tuesday’s meeting and did not know about it until that morning. But he said he knew that Martínez’s agent, Fernando Cuza, had requested it and that he was not upset at being left out.
"We communicate a lot between Tampa and New York, but that was something that slipped through the cracks," Cashman said. "That happens. I don’t necessarily have to meet Pedro anyway. I’ve met Pedro a number of times at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium."
If negotiations turn serious, Cashman said he would be involved then, with input from Steinbrenner and the Yankees’ president, Randy Levine.
Someone needs to bring Mr. Steinbrenner his coffee, I guess.
Thursday, November 18th, 2004
Owing to what I think is a wholly inaccurate representation of RSN in a comment in an earlier thread, I thought I would link to this article by Jackie MacMullan, in today’s Boston Globe. It’s a fine piece, discussing the perils of free agency post-championship, something which is of major importance to us Red Sox fans. The Sox, with a roster in flux, have some hard decisions to make. The fans, on the other hand, have emotional decisions to make, and MacMullan looks at the current situation with a great deal of sensitivity.