Late-night reading: Levine messes with Texas

Garcia, Yanks agree to minor league deal
The importance of organizational players

If you’re done arguing about the relative merits of Freddy Garcia on a minor league deal and guaranteed money for Justin Duchscherer, take a read through this gem from Jon Heyman. Shortly after Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg took credit for keeping Cliff Lee away from the Yanks, New York’s own club president Randy Levine fired back. “Chuck’s delusional. He’s been in the game for a few minutes and yet he thinks he knows what everyone’s thinking,” Levine said. “I think he should let Cliff Lee speak for himself. He could really impress us when he keeps the Rangers off of welfare and keeps them from receiving revenue sharing the next three years.”

As Heyman notes, Levine is picking up on the fact that the Rangers, playing in the large Dallas/Fort Worth market, collected revenue sharing checks in each of the past three years. While I know some sports talk radio voices have been critical of Levine for engaging with Greenberg, I love these ownership spats. Levine is sticking up for his club and showing that the Yankee brass still isn’t thrilled with Greenberg’s attempts to cast the Yanks as his spunky club’s villain. Let Levine and Greenberg battle it out off the field. On the field, I think the Rangers needed Cliff Lee even more than the Yanks did, and they were left empty-handed on the mound this winter.

Garcia, Yanks agree to minor league deal
The importance of organizational players
  • MikeD

    Greenberg’s comments were simply spin control, trying to shift the spotlight away from his team’s loss of Lee.

    The Rangers put a lot into Lee, first by trading their best young prospect position player in Smoak, and then flying to meet him numerous times, bringing along their billionaire owner, and then nearly breaking the bank for him, only to have Lee turn his back on the team that for which he played and had a personal relationships with the players. Lee was supposed to be the Rangers’ coming-out party, to declare they were major players. They got left at the altar, and Greenbery is somehow trying to spin this into a bad thing for the Yankees.

    Lee rejected the Yankees money. He rejected the Rangers money, the Rangers ownership, and the Rangers players.

    • NZ Samuel

      “Lee rejected the Yankees money. He rejected the Rangers money, the Rangers ownership, and the Rangers players.”


      • CS Yankee

        plus that…he rejected the antlers & claws.

        • king of fruitless hypotheticals

          yeah, but who (not under contract)DIDN’T reject the antlers and claws?

  • Tom Zig

    I know a lot of people dislike Levine but he really cracks me up sometimes. He is great as his job when his job is protecting the club.

  • mbonzo

    Greenberg is trying to develop a rivalry for his fans. Perhaps thats his plan to bring the team out out of fiscal hell, but he’s just coming off as a dufus. If I was a Rangers fan, the idea that he brings up Cliff Lee in a discussion mockingly, meanwhile has Colby Lewis and Tommy Hunter leading the rotation would make me an Astros fan. I hope the Athletics show the Rangers what its like to actually fight for a division spot. I honestly think the Rangers would have been a 4th or 5th place team in the AL East, especially without Cliff Lee.

    • NZ Samuel

      4th or 5th place in the AL East is a bit of a stretch don’t you think? Considering they beat the top two AL East teams in the playoffs…

      • Ty

        4th certainly last year wouldn’t of been a stretch at all and 5th isn’t that far off either without Lee. As for beating the top 2 teams in the AL East that’s an entirely different question…mostly answered by small sample size.

        • Pete C.

          When you said small sample size, did you mean two short series’.

          • Ty

            Any series is a small sample size when your comparing regular season record to playoff success as we were.

      • mbonzo

        The best teams make the playoffs, but the hottest teams win the playoffs. The Rangers were the hottest team, posting a .400+ BABIP in the ALCS.

        The Rangers only finished 1 game ahead of the Red Sox and 5 games ahead of the Blue Jays last year. Considering they got to play a lot of the Mariners, Athletics, and Angels last year, I think it would be fair to say they would have lost at least 5 more games in the AL East. The Rangers would have finished between the Blue Jays and Orioles in my opinion.

        • NZ Samuel

          The Rangers had some pretty good pitching last year, even with the league’s worst offense, the Mariners contributing to their wins collumn. Their starters from last year would have at the very least matched the offerings from New York and Boston last year (prob not the Rays) over 162 games. Plus a stacked power lineup.

          Besides, it’s just bizarre to claim that the team that made the WS would have done worse than the Blue Jays last year. Toronto were a spanner in the works for the AL East teams last year, but they weren’t THAT good.

          • Ty

            Making it to the WS and them making the playoffs from the Al East are two different questions in my opinion. One is the product of a small sample size (granted you must still be a good team and play well) while the other requires more long term success throughout the season. I don’t understand why it would be bizarre because of that fact they were 5 games apart over 162 games and one played in a division with 96-95-89 win teams amongst them and the other played in a division with nobody over .500.

            • Ted Nelson


          • Ted Nelson

            You’re completely ignoring how they actually did last season. They won 90 games. They would not have made the playoffs in the AL East, because they would have finished 3rd with that record. Therefore, they wouldn’t have been in the playoffs let alone the WS. The Yankees won 95 games, the Rangers won 90.

            And then on top of them finishing 3rd even with their schedule being stacked with patsies, their schedule would have been tougher in the AL East.

            Toronto won 85 games in the AL East. Rangers won 90 games in the AL West. There’s no way to prove anything conclusively, but it’s certainly possible the Rangers would have finished 4th in the AL East last season. Especially since they might have never traded for 1/2 a season of Lee if they were effectively out of the playoff hunt.

          • MikeD

            If the Blue Jays were in the AL West, and the Rangers were in the AL East, the Jays would have won the West, while the Rangers would have finished at least ten games behind the Yankees. In this scenario, the Blue Jays could very well have beaten the Yankees to go on to the World Series, just as the Rangers did.

            The Rangers were a good team that got hot at the right time. That’s all.

        • Hawk49

          I agree- Texas was 19-25 vs the AL East. It is not at all unlikely that they would have lost at least 5 more games playing in the East.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Colby Lewis is very good. Tommy Hunter? Not so much. But in fairness, he isn’t “leading the rotation.” Lewis and CJ Wilson are.

      • mbonzo

        Good call. I totally meant to say CJ Wilson and when I typed it out I put CJ Hunter and had a brain fart.

        Wilson and Lewis have a very short history of success starting. Imagine if they headlined the Yankees rotation? Brian Cashman would be fired if all could come up with was Freddy Garcia and company to add to that rotation. I wouldn’t go anywhere near calling Colby Lewis very good. Last year was his first where his FIP was under 5.00. As for Wilson, he has potential but would you really want a guy who has only one solid season as a starting pitcher to be your ace?

        • FIPster Doofus

          I agree with you that their track records are short, and also that neither is what one would call an ace. Based on last season, though, both Wilson and Lewis are quite good. But it’d be terrific if both came plummeting back to Earth, thus screwing the Rangers in the process.

          • Mister Delaware

            Just imagine how pissed off Greenberg will be when Wilson signs with NY 10 or 11 months from now.

        • bexarama

          There’s evidence that last year wasn’t some fluke for Lewis, though. All his peripherals were very good. That’d be more reassuring for me than seeing, like, Dice-K’s 2008 and expecting him to repeat that. Maybe he really learned how to pitch while in Japan. Or maybe it was a fluke and he falls apart, who knows.

          But I agree – there are a lot of question marks in that Texas rotation.

          • Pat D

            Even with the good peripherals, I’m skeptical of Lewis repeating his success.

            Mainly because he’s Colby Freaking Lewis.

            Obviously that’s not at all rational, but I’m not in a rational mood.

            • Ted Nelson

              I think it is somewhat rational. One data point does not establish a trend. It’s not like Colby Lewis always had good peripherals and just finally broke out and established himself. He couldn’t stick in the majors before last season. Certainly it’s possible that he broke out and we will get the same going forward. One season doesn’t prove that, though.

  • bonestock94

    Wow, that was awesome.

  • Pete C.

    I think Randy Levine responded perfectly. Greenberg ran his mouth without thinking about how he’d get slapped around by the truth.

  • Brett

    While the Rangers did need Lee more than the Yankees, it seems a bit shortsighted of the Yankees.

    At the end of 2009, they had Sabathia as the ace, Burnett as a 2nd or 3rd starter, Pettite who was still unsure if he should pitch another year (did end up pitching), they started Hughes who was untested, seemingly knew from recent events that Joba would never be a starter and got Vazquez for one year.
    They had chances to pick up a starter during the season and didn’t.

    Vazquez wasn’t great during the first half of 2010 so they probably wouldn’t resign him the following year, they knew Pettite might not go another year, and Joba wouldn’t be a starting pitcher… where was the contingency plan back in 2009 in case they didn’t get Lee? It was no sure thing he would sign, and 2 of the 2010 starting pitchers were huge question marks on whether they would continue in pinstripes for 2011. So far both aren’t in pinstripes.

    Im not pessimistic, I believe the Yankees will be back in the playoffs, and in the hunt for a world series… but it just doesnt seem that they thought far enough ahead knowing Pettite may retire (not that he has) and they knew Joba wouldn’t be a starting pitcher.

    • CS Yankee

      Your being too critical…Javy was real solid in ’09, to have him as a #4 and Hughes as the #5 was the best starting rotation plan since at least 1998 (maybe evn better). We all know it didn’t work out but kuddos to Cash for reacting to correct the one weakness in the ’09 postseason in a fairly big way in getting Javy.

      This offseason he has been meh, he should of visited Lee since he was so high on him in the media. After ’08, we went hard after CC, paid a premium for AJ & “ninja” Teix from the Sox.

      I’m good with not getting Lee long term, but in hindsight he shouldn’t be surprised that Lee didn’t sign with the Yankees because he left things to Lee’s agent, treated his aging star in a bad public way, and could of lost Mo if it wasn’t for him being Mo.

      The last two offseason’s were great in my view, although 2010 didn’t quite pan out. This offseason looks like a “C”, but they still area top 5 team (not something 2008 could claim).

      • CS Yankee

        err, “are a” not area.

      • Ted Nelson

        So for an offseason to be a success you have to sign at least 3 players to 9 figure deals or what?

        How do you know that visiting Lee would have helped? If he wanted to be “visited” don’t you think Lee would not have scheduled a hunting trip during his free agency? Showing up if he made it clear that he didn’t want to see you could do more harm than good.
        And what evidence do you have that paying Jeter 50-100% above his market value hurt the Yankees in Lee’s view? If anything their willingness of overpay should help.

        Not sure why you cite going hard and paying premiums as a counter example to their pursuit of Lee… They went hard after him and offered more money than any other team. He still didn’t sign.

        And after they lost Lee, which may be entirely not their fault, what more did you want. Perhaps Soriano gets hurt and is a bad signing long-term, but hard to say not signing him would have been a big positive. Otherwise getting a former All-Star C still in his theoretical prime years, a 4th OF who can mash lefties and play all 3 OF spots passably, and improving their pen with a 2nd closer and good LOOGY… What more besides a starting P can you really ask for?

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      …but it just doesnt seem that they thought far enough ahead…

      Are you saying that you as a casual fan has put more thought into it than the entire Yankees front office? Because that’s what it sounds like you’re saying.

    • Ted Nelson

      “it seems a bit shortsighted of the Yankees.”

      When I think of shortsighted, I think more of trading your 20 year old top prospect whose already in AAA, a consensus top 5-10 prospect in baseball, what many consider the best hitter in the minors… plus another prospect for a half season rental. If Lee walks anyway you might have lost 15 years of a middle of the order bat for 1/2 a season. That’s textbook shortsighted to me.

      “but it just doesnt seem that they thought far enough ahead”

      Maybe you’re referring to Haren and other options, but how would trading for Lee have helped? He was still a free agent after the season. There’s no way to say he would have re-signed.

  • Poopy Pants

    Two spoiled brats arguing. It’s good that those two idiots can keep a fair perspective on life while there are such problems happening in the world. It’s getting more and more embarrassing to be a sports/baseball/Yankees fan.

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      “It’s good that those two idiots can keep a fair perspective on life while there are such problems happening in the world.”

      I know, I can’t believe they compared their problems to the decades of conflict on the Myanmar/Thailand border and the ongoing turmoil in Egypt.

      Oh wait…

      • jsbrendog (returns)


    • BigDavey88

      This MIGHT be an overreaction.

    • bexarama

      It’s getting more and more embarrassing to be a sports/baseball/Yankees fan.

      So stop being a sports/Yankees fan and leave. No one’ll miss you.


    Chuck Greenberg is a PUTZ!
    Go get em Randy!!

  • Jerome S.


    Next step: Beat the shit out of them in a baseball game. They asked for it.

  • Juke Early

    Unlike the Mass. Greeneyed Monsters aka hypocrites of New England who cloned themselves into a NYY copy and like most copies faded out, the Texas team won’t be in another World Series for a very very very long time. They should put some of their $, if they ever get any toward some plastic surgery for Nolan Ryan.