Why is this not surprising?
Wednesday, October 31st, 2007
Right now it looks bleak here in Yankeeland. What with the best player in baseball leaving; Joe Torre and Don Mattingly in LA; and Mo, Jorge and Andy all possibly departing; it seems unlikely Cashman will turn around this sinking ship. And then you think of miracles and unlikely events. Two seconds left, 60 yards to go. What does it take? It takes creativy. It takes little things like laterals and finding parts of your roster that you can improve. It takes a trade that leads to another trade. Does Cashman have what it takes? Is he the Trinity University of general managers?
I posted this mainly because it’s one of the craziest football plays I’ve ever seen. Thanks to my friend for emailing it.
Brian Cashman is going to have an interesting off-season. In all likelihood, barring a last second George Steinbrenner intervention, A-Rod is gone. Wilson Betemit, at the moment, is the Yanks’ option at third. He’s an interesting player, who has some upside and was once a very big prospect. So, maybe the Yanks go with him next season and try to make up for A-Rod’s loss by improving other positions. But there have been early reports or suggestions or rumors or random musings (I guess I don’t know what to call them) that the Yanks are looking at Adrian Beltre as a possible replacement. When I have brought this up to fellow Yanks fans, I get this response: Pass. Isn’t he the contract year poster boy who is grossly overpaid now? Doesn’t he have a .330 OBP? (I’m making up this response. I don’t have any friends.)
I have to say I don’t know much about Beltre. My general impressions have been that he’s not so good. But I have been wrong in the past. So I did some research. And one of the best things about this thing we call blogs is that you can find out from some pretty smart and informed people about players and teams you don’t ordinarily pay much attention to.
One of the best, if not the best, Mariners blogs going is U.S.S. Mariner. So I figured they would have something insightful to say about Beltre. And lo and behold, I was surprised at what they wrote in September of this year:
Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling filed for free agency yesterday, after telling a radio audience that "there’s a very realistic chance I won’t ever play" for the team again.
Joe Girardi’s (unofficial) 2008 coaching staff (according to Peter Abraham over over at LoHud) has been released.
Pitching Coach: Dave Eiland
Hitting Coach: Kevin Long
Bench Coach: Rob Thomson
Third base Coach: Bobby Meacham
First base Coach/Catchers Coach: Tony Pena
Bullpen Coach: Mike Harkey
Tuesday, October 30th, 2007
Theo needs to consider a new manager in the offseason. Tito’s handling of the pen tonight was beyond awful. Again. Not having Paps warming with Gagne imploding? MDC for ONE out? Incompetent. In the last week he’s singlehandedly created a pennant race.
-Posted by: SF | Tuesday, September 18, 2007 at 09:51 PM
…This team, as I have been saying for WEEKS, even when they had a ten game lead, is troubled, big time. It’s finally somehwat redeeming that someone else might be seeing what I saw long ago…
-Posted by: SF | Sunday, August 12, 2007 at 07:29 PM
There’s more in the archives, but I couldn’t subject myself to the search. On the other hand, I did stick by JD Drew for the entire year, and also picked the Sox to go to the World Series way back in March. Game threads turn even the most empirical fans into raving lunatics, I guess. Lesson learned.
There’s a lot to discuss in Yankeeland these days. A great deal of turnover and change, with more to come. Like many Yankee fans, I was sorry to see Joe Torre go, and especially in such sloppy fashion. Now the team seems to have bungled contract negotiations with his replacement, Joe Girardi, but this might just have been unavoidable, and a deal will surely be completed. Girardi was a gamer as a player, he had the respect of his teammates, and had his moments of genuine Pinstripe glory. Most of us are familiar with the resume. It’s said that he understands baseball’s New Math but has not thrown out the lessons of the Old School. That makes him, in theory, an ideal skipper. I worry a bit about his NL pedigree; I hope the Yankees, now having lost their biggest bat, aren’t transformed into some kind of more-patient Angels. But we shall see. Girardi has yet to sign on the dotted line, and once he does he’ll have to remake the Yankee coaching staff (look for Dave Eiland as the new pitching coach). Given the circumstances, I suspect he will be given considerable leeway on the field as he eases into his job—obviously, he and Cashman have a healthy rapport. Even the tabs might cut him some slack. A manager is only as good as his players, and we really don’t know what the Yankee roster is going to look like right now. As for Joe Torre, I’m surprised at the rumors he’ll be moving all the way across country to take over the Dodgers, but it’s not the first time a Brooklyn-bred baseball operation has headed out to Los Angeles. Don Mattingly’s son is in the Dodger system; perhaps he will become the heir apparent there, and maybe, in the end, it will be a better situation for him. More on Mattingly later.
The Boston Red Sox are in what one assumes is an enviable position. Unlike after 2004, when an aging, veteran team was largely broken up within two years thanks to free agency, the Red Sox have few major free agents and won largely because of their young players, who are all locked up long-term.
That’s exciting for the upcoming years, but there’s still some work that needs to be done in the offseason. Rest assured, the other AL contenders won’t stay pat — the Tigers have already brought Edgar Renteria back to the
better junior division.
Here are the Red Sox’ free agents this offseason, according to the Associated Press:
I think our YF brethren are a bit shell-shocked by the events of the past 24 to 48 hours. A lot of news has come through, so allow me to consolidate into one handy post:
I think that about covers it.
Monday, October 29th, 2007
There has been a great deal of anger over the announcement by Scott Boras last night that his client, Alex Rodriguez, would be opting out of his contract with the Yankees and exercising his right to become a free agent. Peter Gammons ripped into the pair on the air last night, his frustration with the distraction caused by the announcement verbalized in an attack on Rodriguez himself. My guess is many Sox fans (and baseball fans in general) felt it was an affront to the game, and they might be right, to an extent. But personally I just kind of laughed at the announcement. The great thing is that, in truth, A-Rod ISN’T bigger than the World Series. He never will be. Nobody will be. That’s been proven by both the focus on the Sox today and the sheer minutes of coverage they received on the sports networks, in national newspapers, across the internet, etc. A-Rod was a footnote last night. ESPN.com had the A-Rod story as a simple sidebar, almost like a NASCAR Busch series event. And it is, truly, a pretty big story. So in the end, even as a Sox fan, I wasn’t really offended. It was a revelatory move, in a lot of ways (just look at how many Yankee fans have shifted their views, justifiably), and for that maybe we should thank Boras and Rodriguez. Nobody has to feel obliged to defend him, other than as a ballplayer. Maybe that will liberate him, in some ways.
We should be heartened by today’s news, it shows that the World Series always wins out as the story. Last night and today tradition held, no matter how hard Boras and A-Rod tried to subvert that tradition. Just another October failure for A-Rod, I suppose.
Congratulations, and thank you.
Thank you, first, to Theo Epstein, architect of two World Series titles in five years, and to the ownership group that gave him the money to do it. After years of the Red Sox crying poor, we should never forget the luxury we have of employing a competent general manager with the resources to put the team he wants on the field. Without question, he has put the best team there, twice.
Thank you to Terry Francona, the only manager in the 103-year history of the World Series to win his first eight games
eight straight games. He was masterful in manipulating the lineup and bullpen, keeping the Red Sox on top, particularly as the Rockies came back in Games 3 and 4. The Sox trailed for only three of the final 63 innings they played against the Indians and Rockies, in large part because of Francona.
Thank you to Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, the team’s regular season MVPs and the MVPs of the ALCS and World Series. They came to Boston in the same trade, they both have had to answer questions about whether they could succeed in Boston. They can; they did.
Thank you to the youngsters — Jonathan Papelbon, Jon Lester, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury. Add young veterans like Beckett, Kevin Youkilis, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and we could be seeing the first of several World Series under this core group.
It’s been a year to remember, for sure. From Mother’s Day to Clay Buchholz’s September masterpiece. From an outstanding April and May to a troubling June through to a fretful August and September. All wrongs are righted in the afterglow of a championship. Boston Red Sox, for the first time ever, you are division champions and world champions in the same season.
Today rightfully belongs to the Red Sox, deserved champions of MLB, but business is business, so we report two bombshells for the Yankees: SI reports that Alex Rodriguez has opted out of his contract, and that Joe Girardi will likely be named as the new Yankee manager in the immediate future. Okay Bomber fans. The Sox are celebrating, so we can talk amongst ourselves.
Just a few random memories of the season at this climactic, joyous moment. The Mother’s Day Miracle. Buck’s no-hitter. The late-season six-run meltdown against the Yankees. Josh in the playoffs. Paps Riverdancing. There are many, many more. That’s for the next few days.
It seems fitting that this season ends with a victory for Jon Lester and a World Series ring for JD Drew as well. For Lester, who triumphed over a far more trying opponent this past year, this has to have been a monumentally exhilirating experience capped with a moment of immeasurable joy. And for Drew, who battled public sentiment but also the stresses of caring for a sick child, this has to be redeeming.
To those two we offer our heartfelt congratulations, and to the entire team we also say congrats and thank you. What a year you have given us.
Sunday, October 28th, 2007
Here we are.
The odds tonight are with the Boston Red Sox. Of the 22 other teams to take a 3-0 World Series lead, only three did not pull off the sweep. They took it in five.
The baseball gods seem to have set this night up. On the mound for the Red Sox is Jon Lester, who if he wasn’t tired of answering questions about his battle with lymphoma before surely is now, and even more surely will be if he’s the winning pitcher of the clinching game of the World Series.
After 86 years of futility, the Red Sox are set to reward their longsuffering followers twice in four years. Enjoy the culmination, whenever it comes.
If it comes tonight, here is your spot for comment.