…my GM gave to me,
five golden rings Octavio Dotel. We can keep him for one year also, though he’s more expensive than yesterday’s gift, and is considerably more fragile. And he stays in the closet for a few months before we get to play with him. Can’t wait to see what comes tomorrow!
Thursday, December 29th, 2005
…my GM gave to me,
Wednesday, December 28th, 2005
It’s been a busy week. Christmas. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. Transit strike. Johnny Damon. With all that going on, our Extreme Makeover thread has been, understandably, lost in the shuffle. But we return to it here. To recap: we plan on a little renovation to YFSF for the 2006 season, and because we consider this site as much yours as ours, Dear Readers, we’d love to know what you’d like to see here—what would make your experience on the site more enjoyable. A scoreboard? News ticker? Stats? Standings? A Jeter Meter? More pictures of Mrs. Damon? Let us know, in comments to this post or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, if your idea is too hot for public consumption. We’re here to serve.
YF & SF
Tuesday, December 27th, 2005
It would serve some of our readers well to hop over to this excellent thread at SoSH to see a small sample of RSN’s reaction to this offseason. While the big names in the print and television media blast away at both the fleeing free agents and the front office that decided they were too expensive, many of the team’s fans are actually quite reasonable, taking a longer view of things. That’s not quite what our bombastic press (or a good number of our YF posters at this site) want to believe is the truth. At my family holiday get-together back home in the suburbs of Boston I was able to conduct a ridiculously unscientific poll. Here are the results of my own study – names have been muddled to protect the innocent.
- Uncle Stinky (my father’s Brother in Law): Offseason? Disastrous. Lucchino? Public Enemy #1. Damon? Greedy but entitled. Turkey gave him gas? Most definitely.
- Uncle B—– (my father’s brother): Relative apathy, with tinges of pessimism. (See what a championship can do to one’s attitude?!)
- my Brother in Law E—- (a Cardinals fan): "The Redbirds signed Sidney Ponson! The Redbirds signed Sidney Ponson!" (Nothing like someone singing the praises of a fat Aruban cop-puncher to make me feel better about how the Sox treated this year’s free agent class)
- Cousin M—- (a New Yorker) – "the Knicks really suck".
- Mrs. SF – "I go where Johnny goes" (Hot stove surprise for Mrs SF? Papers to be served in early 2006)
- SF-Dad: It’s December. Too early to tell. Doesn’t matter who signed Damon, too much $$$. Can’t make decisions based on Yankees actions. (He’s his son’s father, we’re proud to admit)
- SF-Mom – It’s December. They’re blowing it already. (see what a championship can do to one’s attitude?!)
- Soxbaby Isaac – "Dort dor dor". Roughly translated: "Theo’s working in the shadows".
There you have it. A mass of differing opinions, all valid. Especially the one about the Knicks.
Maybe he found coal in his X-Mass stocking. Whatever the reason, Murray Chass has used his column today to proclaim that the marquee Yankee centerfield postition isn’t so special (its greatness is a “myth,” a “trite and overblown notion”), that there have only been 3 great players at that position (Combs, DiMaggio, Mantle), that Bernie Williams doesn’t qualify (nevermind that his stats stand up pretty well in comparison to Combs’), and that Damon isn’t likely to join the list either. Also, Bobby Murcer was a disappointment. Happy Holidays!
Saturday, December 24th, 2005
WWJD? WWJDD? It’s a safe bet neither would call the Yankee owner a “dunderhead” on Christmas Eve, but it hasn’t stopped the Globe from doing just that in a holiday
bitchslap editorial. But it’s not just the Boss who gets it. According to the paper, RSN needs to “unlearn all their superstitions about grace and doom, which local pessimists assign respectively to New York and Boston despite the Great Inversion of October 2004.” What else? Jonathan Papelbon is “destined…as the next Roger Clemens.” Hope springs eternal.
With that we wish one and all, SFs and YFs, a most merry Christmas and happy Hanukkah.
Larry Lucchino has made a point of advertising the fact that the Red Sox are now heavily pursuing Kevin Millwood, the reigning AL ERA king formerly of the Cleveland Indians. This is a move I find highly dubious, without a cascade of other moves in the pipeline. It’s not that Millwood wouldn’t be a decent addition to the Red Sox; he’s been a pretty consistent performer for the duration of his career, and it sure looks like the last remaining way to success in the AL is to stack a rotation and bullpen, considering that modest offense that resides on paper in the Bronx, with lite versions in both Boston and Toronto. But Millwood is represented by Scott Boras. Scott Boras just got Jarrod Washburn a $35M+ contract for four years. So what does Millwood, a better pitcher by almost every measure, get? $40M? $45M? Dare I say $50M? I would assume a signing like this would enable Matt Clement to put his house on the market or Bronson Arroyo to get another sticker on his guitar case (while at the same time reducing both their trade values). If the Sox bite, then it means one of two things. First, it could be that the disinterest they apparently showed Damon was to focus on pitching. Or, it could simply mean that they are reacting (or, overreacting?), that they’ve chosen Millwood nwo that Damon has moved on. So, a 31 year old starter over a 32 year old centerfielder. A (pretty much) career National Leaguer over a career ALer. An unknown over a known. And a run-of-the-mill North Carolinian over a highly marketable Kansan. Without a corresponding trade of either Arroyo or Clement for decent value (meaning a CF, a SS, or a very very good prospect), and at Scott Boras prices, I’d pass.
A little history, from the YFSF Archives. No finger pointing, no editorializing, just some comments pulled from some recent threads. I tried my best to pull relevant comments, and objectively, I didn’t spare myself. Upon searching, it was clear that my cohort YF was conspicuously absent from any debate about a possible Damon acquisition, which some could call intelligent positioning. I, however, might be more cynical, and call it something else.
All sides represented. In the interest of history. See it all after the jump.
Friday, December 23rd, 2005
Boston– (AP) The Red Sox have called a press conference this afternoon at which they are to announce a bold new plan to reshape their squad for 2006. Sources indicate the team has signed the free agents Kelly Leak and Tanner Boyle to play centerfield and shortstop, respectively. “They’re used to coming in second to the Yankees, so they should fit right in here,” said one Red Sox player, on condition of anonymity. Additional moves are expected, including a package that would send slugging leftfielder Manny Ramirez to the Cubs for 1993 NL Rookie of the Year Henry Rowengartner, now 25 and just coming into his prime.
DRAFT – DECEMBER 17TH 2005 (FOR EYES ONLY)
In light of the long-term financial commitment I made to you this offseason, I wanted to let you know that after review with the team’s counsel (the firm of Saymol, Saymol, and Thensome), I am giving you some additional authorities and resources with regards to the management of the team. Some might think I have relaxed my grip on the team foolishly, but I think you’ll be pleased – I consider this team yours as well. Your new powers and resources are as follows:
- ability to conduct warrantless wiretapping of AL East rival front offices
- x-ray vision. (Just kidding, there’s no such thing!)
- limited edition Derek Jeter Pez dispenser
- team to pay for monthly cell phone service, up to 600 minutes. Beyond that, it’s yours.
- Lucchino’s private email address
- $50M to spend on Johnny Damon. $52M if Boras plays tough.
If there’s anything else that you might need, please call Shirley and set up a meeting.
Thursday, December 22nd, 2005
The Yanks signed a centerfielder today: Bernie Williams. (Johnny’s deal is still pending). Bernie returns for one more go-around and $1.5 million. This signing will keep the fans happy (including this one), though many a sabermetrician is less than pleased to see old 51 eating up a roster spot. Anoither take: the Yankees keep their hero, and steal Boston’s too. Call it an early Christmas. And the trains are going back on line to boot. Hurrah.
Cashman still isn’t talking, and the NY press has now focussed its attention on the crucial hair issue (props to the Times for pulling those Oscar Gamble pics), but after 36 hours we feel a little more comfortable discussing the new Yankee outfielder in a rational way. Our official take: Kudos to the Yankees; we’re going to enjoy watching Johnny Paycheck for some time, barring the unforeseen.
The Yankee blogosphere is pretty much unanimous in support of this move, giving it the Sabermetric seal of approval with only minor quibbles. In comes a terrific offensive player at his position, and the analysis seems to be that his regression, even in the field, will not be devastating, and that even in the final years of the deal he’s going to be a solid contributor on both offense and defense. In the immediate future, it pays huge dividends, and correspondingly hurts Boston. The Yanks only give up a draft pick (but still have a first round choice, and a higher one at that), and the deal seems to fit into their economic structure. Cashman gets double-bonus points for his “Bubba is our man” bluff, for putting together a winning package, and making the ninja-like acquisition. If there’s any sense of frustration, it’s with the assumption that Damon will lead off, when it seems clear he should hit in the 2 slot. But whatever. Page Six must be thrilled; we, too, like a player who likes New York, and chooses to make the most of what this city has to offer—it’s good for our collective morale and mystique—and we expect Johnny to be that type of player. Anyway we sure like this quote, which sounds old school in just the right way: “Now I’m part of the Yankees and that great lineup, and we’re going to be tough to beat.” The tougher the better.
Wednesday, December 21st, 2005
On a day when the Yanks made one whopping acquisition, it’s fitting to take a moment to remember the man who was baseball’s greatest collector (not to mention a Yankee minority owner): Barry Halper. Cards, uniforms, equipment, ephemera—if it was somehow connected to baseball, Halper collected it, no matter how odd. Mantle was his idol, and he was relentless in chasing down memorabilia from the Mick. (Mantle quipped, after having his liver removed, that Halper had probably purchased it.) In 1999 Halper auctioned his collection through Sotheby’s; it brought some $21 million in receipts. Today, that material is probably worth considerably more, thought there is no hope of bringing it all together again. (For the record, the Hall got first crack at whatever it wanted.) Many of the prize items at the auctions we periodically report on in our “Price of History” column come with a Halper provenance. The wonderfully illustrated catalog, from that sale is one of our favorite references, and is well worth the low price for which it can easily be found.
OK, just for some reference, so we can discuss the "hometown discount" theory that players should take slightly less from their current team to stick around for plainly sentimental reasons, let’s finetune the evidence and do this for just the clients of Scott Boras. I will start it off based on some rudimentary Google research – I have made a note if any of them accepted contracts from the team for which they last played that were less than were offered by new teams during their free agency.
- A-Rod: No hometown discount
- Jason Varitek: No hometown discount
- Jarrod Washburn: No hometown discount
- JD Drew: No hometown discount
- Carlos Beltran: No hometown discount
- Chan Ho Park: No hometown discout
- Kevin Brown: No hometown discount
- Johnny Damon: No hometown discount
The only guy I can think of off the top of my head who took (an extremely minor) discount was Bernie Williams, but Bernie was being offered something like 10% more by the Sox than the Yankees (not a significant percentage like the 30% that constitutes the Damon Yanks/Sox differential). Also, feel free to contribute to the list of players under Boras’ umbrella who will be due large contracts at some point, below. At least we can warn the fans of those teams not to get too attached.
- Mark Texeira