Thursday Night Open Thread

Yankees announce Spring Training invitees
The All A-Rod Chat

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRJyrXjhTE0]

The Yankees are reportedly very close to signing Travis Hafner to be their new left-handed hitting DH, so I plugged “Travis Hafner highlights” into Google and that video came up. The one thing I’ve always enjoyed about Pronk is that between his size — listed at 6-foot-3 and 240 lbs., but yeah right — and batting stance, he is one scary looking dude at the plate. I don’t know if there is any actual on-field value in that (scare the pitcher into making a mistake?), but it couldn’t hurt.

Anyway, here is your open thread for the evening. All three hockey locals are in action, so talk about those three games or anything else here. Enjoy.

Special Thursday Night Chat Reminder!: Ben is holding an all-A-Rod chat at 8pm ET tonight, so stop on buy if you’re not already sick to death of that story.

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Yankees announce Spring Training invitees
The All A-Rod Chat
  • Bob Buttons

    What I enjoy about him is how he’s a 42nd rounder and did pretty well in the big leagues.

    From what I know Piazza is probably the most successful late-rounder (beyond 20), both in WAR and in terms of rounds (62nd)

    • Austin Aunelowitzky

      What was Mattingly’s round?

      • Pat D

        19th. B-Ref, dudue.

        • Pat D

          OK, I can’t spell “dude” right, so just forget what I say.

          But it was the 19th round.

          • RetroRob

            …but naturally better than Piazza.

            • Bob Buttons

              I specified late round as after 20th either way, but for good measure

              Piazza 56.1 bWAR 143 OPS+
              Mattingly 39.8 bWAR, 127 OPS+

              Piazza is just a much better slugger.

              • Austin Aunelowitzky

                Mattingly’s peak years were far better, and his defense…but the Piazza power from the C position is Best Ever.

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

                  Disagree. Mattingly’s best year was .352/.394/.573 in 1986. Piazza hit .331/.394/.572 as a Dodger.

                  • RetroRob

                    I was shooting for a poor joke with the word “naturally” as in all-natural, not to mention he was sometimes compared to Roy Hobbs at his peak from the Natural.

                    • Bob Buttons

                      Yeah.. Haven’t been watching baseball long enough (or often enough) to know that connection with Mattingly. More of a recap reading guy since I’m not from the NY area.

                  • Austin Aunelowitzky

                    Would it look differently if you took Mattingly’s 5 peak years and compared to Piazza’s 5 peak years?

                  • Austin Aunelowitzky

                    oh wait, “as a Dodger”, got it. By the way, Mattingly was pre-roids era…

                    • Bob Buttons

                      I think Mike is implying that Dodger Stadium isn’t as friendly to RHB as Yankee Stadium to LHB.
                      Besides, OPS+ still shows Piazza as superior. It’s not like Piazza never played with other sterioid users in the league.

                      Also, as a measure, Mattingly’s 5 best years (84-88) had 28 WAR, 150 OPS+

                      Piazza’s 5 best years (93-97), including two strike shortened seasons, 29.8 WAR and 164 OPS+

            • Austin Aunelowitzky

              naturally

          • Austin Aunelowitzky

            I thought you spelled doodoo wrong…

            • Strat

              Due-Dew

  • DJ

    If he stays healthy, he was the best LH DH option available.

  • Anthony

    ESPN reporting that Arod “has no plans at all to retire”.

    • RetroRob

      Why would he? He loves playing baseball. The only way he’s leaving the Yankees if they pay him a ton of money, and then he goes and plays for another team. Considering the state of the 3B market, he will have lots of takers.

      • Blake

        That’s why if he can get healthy I bet they try to just trade him….they’ll have to eat a lot of money but trading him is preferable to just buying him out if possible…..you actually might can save a little money that way.

        • RetroRob

          Emotions are running high now. It’s like A-Rod is the most horrible human being in the world. No. He’s just another athlete that took PEDs, and even though I’m pretty sure the most recent story is true, I will still give him the benefit of the doubt until he has his day in court, so to speak.

          It was darn near impossible to trade him before because of the money. The hip surgery takes it to basically zero. He’d have to come back and show he has something still, and then the Yankees would have to eat a ton of money. Just don’t see it happening.

          • Blake

            I agree with all of that….it’s just kinda hard for me to picture him playing for the Yanks again with all that’s happened now….especially if they actually go through with trying to void his contract.

            There were two reasons he was untradeable before…..one was the money and the other was the no trade….if the gulf between Alex and the Yanks has grown big enough then both parties may change their stances on those issues and decide a divorce is best for both sides……

            • RetroRob

              I understand. I’d add that it’s easy for fans to want him to go away, but A-Rod loves playing, so he’s not leaving baseball with this as his final act. Meanwhile, the Yankees owe him $114M, so Hal might just go into convulsions while cursing Hank if they just were to buy A-Rod out.

              This is the hot story of the moment and there is no baseball to distract the media from it. It’s red meat in the cage, blood in the water.

              Eventually the season will start, A-Rod will be off working out and rehabbing, and doubt may eventually be cast on the story. Come July, the Yankees offense might be sputtering, their exposure to LH’d pitchers highlighted, Youkilis off on the DL, and Yankee fans will be wondering, “when the hell is A-Rod coming back?” He’ll never be loved, but he will once again be wanted.

      • WhittakerWalt

        Because dalelama and Eddard told him to, of course.

  • RetroRob

    Who is this Ben you speak of?

  • Austin Aunelowitzky

    Today is Jackie Robinson’s birthday.

    • RetroRob

      …and Nolan Ryan’s.

      …and Ernie Banks’.

      Three HOFers on one day. Probably a record. No MLB player of note, or even vaguely good, was born on my birthday.

      • Pat D

        I’ve got some interesting ones. Austin Jackson, Brett Anderson, Kent Mercker, Paul Blair, Tim Naehring, as well as former Yankees Cecilio Guante, Erick Almonte and Colin Curtis.

        • RetroRob

          I see you have future HOFer Austin Jackson on your list.

          • Pat D

            I’d like to think he was lucky enough to be born on my birthday. I was born first.

        • Get Phelps Up

          Bartolo Colon is by far the most notable player born on my birthday.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Reggie Fucking Jackson, baby.

          • DC

            Mo on mine!

      • Bob Buttons

        I think Joe Posnanski did something similar except he did it by year.

        • Austin Aunelowitzky

          More aligned to Chinese astrology…

      • Get Phelps Up

        3 hall of famers were also born on Christmas.

        • Get Phelps Up

          Rickey, Pud Galvin and Nellie Fox.

          • Jesus

            Cough.

      • Bob Buttons

        http://www.baseball-reference......hives/9954

        Look to comment #15, supposedly the record is 5, with three of them being players (including our own Earle Combs)

        • RetroRob

          I only count players, so we’re still at three for the record. : -)

          I miss the blog that used to be on B-R.

          So here are HOFers by birth month. Pondering why April at the top and why June at the bottom. It’s more perplexing since all of the ones with the lowest birth rate are clustered around each other at the bottom, with the exception of April (and even May), at the top.

          26 — April
          24 — December
          24 — October
          22 — May
          21 — September
          21 — August
          19 — November
          19 — July
          18 — March
          15 — January
          15 — February
          11 — June

          • CS Yankee

            Harvest moon kids didn’t play ball?

            • Gonzo

              Sounds like a job for Malcolm Gladwell!

      • Cool Lester Smooth (Formerly YanksFanInBeantown)

        I’ve got Jeff Kent.

      • Evan3457

        Tony Lazzeri is my best, Stan Hack is probably 2nd.

        Larry Sheets is the only major leagues born on the same day as me.

  • MannyGeee

    From the look at those stands in Cleveland, Pronk REALLY won’t feel at home in the Bronx until October, AmiRite!?!?!?!

  • CS Yankee

    Pronk pulls it past the pole and plates the pirst postseason pwinning phrun!

    • Herby

      Okay, for that one we cut off your pinkies.

      • Herby

        maybe all 3 of them.

    • Havok9120

      Yikes.

      • Herby

        What can I say. I’m a harsh critic. Sterling is lucky I’m not around.

  • Cool Lester Smooth (Formerly YanksFanInBeantown)

    I used to be a shark, Lemon. But you unsharkulated me.

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Mark Teixeira – Ghostbuster (formally Drew)

    I could be wrong here but wasn’t Tyler Austin a 3B a season or two ago, wouldn’t it be wise to switch him back and see if he sticks?

    • Bob Buttons

      Not worth the risk messing up his composure (?) when he’s doing so well.

    • Austin Aunelowitzky

      He was drafted as a C if IIRC. Didn’t project at C or 3B so he’s in the OF now. Could also have a future at 1B, from what the scouting reports say.

      • Cool Lester Smooth (Formerly YanksFanInBeantown)

        Sickels likes him as a corner OF

  • dennyneagleshooker

    Does Pronk wear a Yankees or an Indians hat into the hall of fame?!

  • Brooklyn Ed

    Since Hafner is on the verge of being signed, I wonder if Boone Logan will give up #48 for him?

    • Herby

      If he even makes it out of sprint training without parts of his body falling off.

    • Bob Buttons

      A steak or two might do the job.
      Or maybe some other forms of monetary compensation.

  • Jonathan

    I had a friend that I played HS baseball with that ended up going to Cowley County Community College (Hafner went there) from 2003-2005 and apparently he came back and took batting practice with a metal bat and was hitting the ball 200-300 feet out of the ballpark routinely and shattered a bat. He also was estimated at around 285 lbs. I had no problem believing any of those stories. Keep in mind at a JUCO there aren’t stands in the OF so the ball travels much farther than all these bullshit HR distances we see on TV that are how far the ball traveled in the air and not how far it would have gone if there was nothing in the way.

  • Herby

    More good reasons to turn off the sounds during Yankee games, Michael Kay, and having to listen to, “Pronk”.

  • Havok9120

    Those stands…..yikes.

    Like the opening games in Major League.

  • WhittakerWalt

    I asked this before, but still have no answer:
    What will Sterling’s HR call be for Hafner?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I fear the answer.

      • Herby

        Yankee earplugs, Robinson…it’s the only answer.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          “HAF-ner GOES FULL BLAST!”
          “OH TRAVIS TERRIFIC!”

          It could be that bad. Really.

          • Herby

            How about games done with just field mikes and crowd noise.

      • Barry

        Another bonk from the pronk..

        • Herby

          Only if it’s over 22

          • Barry

            ha ha ha… Do you drive a cargo van?

    • cheddar

      I fear some variation on Pronk’s Bomber.

      • Herby

        I think that’s reserved for the restroom.

  • https://twitter.com/Paddock9652 Stratman9652

    I already love his swing. Nothing beats those big back swing violent swings.

  • formerBleacherCreature

    Been a life-long Yankees fan. Spent my high school and college years in the right field bleachers at old Yankee Stadium. I can honestly say Brian Cashman is so incompetent I will not go to a game in 2013 out of protest of this offseason. Travis Hafner? $2 million? The man hasn’t played a full season since 2007! Raul Ibanez was waiting for their call and signed for $2.75 mil. The front office couldn’t find common ground? There’s being frugal and I get the whole salary cap garbage but this is insanity paired with being lazy.
    It is a crime to have let such important pieces walk out the door over less than a million dollars when you are the NEW YORK YANKEES! The Yankees front office is a joke, not because they don’t want to sign Josh Hamilton, but because they’ve signed NO ONE to play CATCHER AND DH! A.J. Pierzynski 1 year deal – where are the Yankees? Michael Young traded and 10 of $16 mil paid by Texas – where are the Yankees? Mike Morse traded (Cashman says we need a righty OF bat) – where are the Yankees?
    There’s a difference between spending wisely and being stupid. I hate to say it but the Yankees are now just stupid.

    • Manny’s BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte’s Fibula)

      Had you posted this at 10 am instead of 10 pm, this would have started hours of arguing and dozens of comments.

      • Havok9120

        It still might.

        And, if not, there’s always tomorrow. And the next 2 weeks. And Spring Training. And the Dog Days.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        10 PM for comments is like January for movie releases?

        • Havok9120

          Until forensic makes his pass.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Never trust the guy on the overnight shift.

            • forensic

              *lurking*

    • Herby

      Haffner is basically a no risk signing…if he sucks you cut him. Could he provide the power they need, certainly. I’d still rather see ibanez, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. If he stays healthy and even stays on the team you’ll probably see similar numbers.
      The only one you’re hurting by not going to games is yourself, I don’t think Brian is going to lose any sleep over it, or let go during his next repelling session. Pierzynski would’ve been a lousy signing, probably wouldn’t recreate what he did previously. Morse, not much of an OF but could’ve been useful, but not someone I’ll lose sleep or players over. Young’s best days are behind him and I don’t think you’d find a useful spot for him as a p/t player at that salary.

    • Havok9120

      Yikes.

      I’ll take what the Yankees have done over what you would have done in this post.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      1. Travis Hafner is a full six years younger than Raul Ibanez. I’d absolutely rather take the chance he could produce at a limited role than role the dice a second year on Raul.

      2. You want AJ. They didn’t.

      3. You want Michael Young. They didn’t.

      I understand feeling underwhelmed. I really do. What I don’t understand is when people decide they want x player and y player and, when the Yankees don’t share that assessment, it’s the Yankees who are wrong.

      I hope you’re in the bleachers anyway this year. We can finally access the rest of the stadium.

      • Barry

        Ew Michael Young.

    • Bob Buttons

      For starters, Cashman doesn’t give a rat’s ass whether you go to games or not. You as an individual protesting is not gonna make Cashman (or anyone matters) raise an eyebrow).

      Ibanez might not be able to repeat his performance, and it is nice that all our memories of him are fond memories of his heroics. I mean, a bad season in the pinstripes can ruin that easily.

      Pierzynski is supposedly an asshole in the baseball world. Also, it is very unlikely that he repeats his performance. See how Jorge was never able to repeat his performance in 2007. Pierzynski is a fraction of a player that Jorge was. For all we know, Pierzynski might get outhit (and maybe even out-field) by Cervelli.

      Michael Young is not an outfielder or a DH. He is a horrible fielder, and he plays much better in his hitting haven of a home. Also, Youkilis, if healthy, will easily outproduce a healthy Young.

      Michael Morse, did you even see what Oakland gave up? A.J. Cole was supposedly the centerpiece of the Gio Gonzalez deal in the eyes of some. There are two more players to be named later. Seattle gave up an above average hitter who can play some catcher. To some, that might be a steep price for an OF who’s due to be FA next season.

      There’s a difference between what we know and what the Yankees front office knows. I don’t want to sound so harsh at 12AM EST but your lack of faith makes me laugh. A lot of Yankees fans are upset at the off-season, a lot of them panicking, and you’re one of the extremists. Don’t get this wrong, I might have one of the more positive outlooks on the off-season amongst the RAB community, but I would like to see more acquisitions too. However, since I don’t have access to the info that the Yankees front office do have, I’d like to believe in our front office. After all, a front office doesn’t turn from average (at worse) to utterly stupid in the span of one season.

      However, I do applaud you for being a Yankees fan, past and present. There are even more extreme non-believers out there who simply stopped being a Yankees fan over the past year or so (possibly including Cliff Corcoran?)

    • forensic

      If only you had spent your high school and college years in class instead of the bleachers. Then maybe you’d be blessing us with your GM’ing prowess instead of having to deal with Cashman…

      • forensic

        Sorry, I don’t usually comment like that, but I blame the peer pressure from the guys above… :-)

        • Robinson Tilapia

          It’s also downright late/early for you to be commenting.

          • forensic

            Heh, I don’t know if I should be, but I’m starting to take to this ‘cult’ following of my late-night appearances.

            I don’t even work all-night anymore, but my time change adds to it and makes it seem like it. Also, as you (may) know, there’s also the toddler factor who won’t sleep through every night yet and I’m taking many of the night shifts since I’m just getting home anyway.

  • Reason

    Cash Man continues to do his best work focusing on players others reject. If this was fantasy baseball, he’s the guy in the fantasy draft who bargains hunts at the end and wins the league. Bookmark this post. The Yankees will win the AL East again.

    • Herby

      Bold prediction…so what do you give up if they don’t?

      • Havok9120

        All his credibility will be gone and he’ll never work in this town again.

        I’ll see to that.

        • Herby

          Awww…I was hoping more like he’d have to go to a game dressed as Pronk’s Princess.

    • Bob Buttons

      Finally, someone with a more positive outlook than me. Bravo, sir or ma’am.