A few links for your Sunday morning.
Ronald Monestime takes a look at Andy Pettite and says that he deserves to be considered this generations Mr. October as much as Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera do. I love Pettitte and what he has done for the Yankees all of these years, but he’s the same pitcher in the regular season as he is in the playoffs. Jeter is the same player in the regular season as he is in the playoffs. If you’re going to label someone Mr. October simply for stepping it up in the playoffs, it has to be Rivera. As great as he has been in the regular season, his postseason numbers are even further off the charts.
Speaking of Rivera, heres a pretty cool piece in which Kerry Wood compares Rivera to Greg Maddux. It’s probably not a comparison made often as one is a starter, one a closer, but it makes sense and it’s pretty cool to hear it from someone with Wood’s perspective. Rivera and a PED accusation free Maddux could end up going down as the greatest starter and closer of their generation (and obviously in Mo’s case G.O.A.T.). It’s just too bad we never got to see Rivera close out a game for Maddux, despite the Boss’ best efforts. Speaking of which, here’s a link to when the Yankees struck out with Maddux (and Bonds) and signed Jimmy Key. The last line is classic Steinbrenner, and would soon ring true.
Sam Borden took a look at A-Rod and how he heads into October without the pressure he’s had in the past after his heroics last season. The best part for me is that Borden made sure to point out that A-Rod had plenty of good playoff moments with the Mariners and wasn’t really the choker we had all been led to believe. Many of the glowing A-Rod articles after last season neglected to mention this, and I’m glad Borden pointed it out.
Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune briefly talks about his history with George Steinbrenner and how it feels different in the postseason without him around. The further away we get from his death I think the more we’ll appreciate that the 2009 team was able to win the World Series in his last full year alive.
Running out the clock on the work day, aren’t you? Here’s some links to help pass the time…
Yankees Sign Breland Brown
Via Baseball America’s minor league transactions, the Yankees have signed outfielder Breland Brown to a minor league deal. Based on what I can find, the 25-year-old hasn’t played in affiliated ball and has just been bouncing around between independent leagues for the last few years. It’s just a minor league depth move, but if nothing else, Brown has a pretty active Twitter account. He’s even got some pics of his contract posted there.
Blast From The Past: Lance Berkman
In honor of his big game yesterday, Baseball America posted a scouting report of Lance Berkman from 1999, when he was the Astros top prospect. Most people don’t realize how dominant of a player he was at Rice, when he hit .431 with a 1.032 slugging percentage during his draft year, scoring 109 runs with 41 homers and 134 runs batted in in a whopping 68 games. Amazing, he was only the second Rice player taken that year before first overall pick Matt Anderson. Anyway, my favorite part of the retro scouting report was when they talked about Puma’s big league debut depending on the status of … wait for it … Derek Bell. Too funny.
Cliff Lee Wants CC Sabathia Money
This one is completely unsurprising, but MLBTR passes along a report indicating that Lee will seek something like the $161M the Yankees gave Sabathia two years ago. There’s no doubt that Lee is every bit as good, if not better than CC was when he hit free agency, but his track record isn’t nearly as long and he’s also two years older. Shooting for Sabathia money is just good business on their part, but I expect him to sign for something well below that.
Here’s some Sunday morning links as we wait to see where the Yankees end up in the AL East and continue to recover from last nights Burnett vs. Dice-K “duel” (this was written Saturday night, if it’s truly a duel I’ll be shocked).
Joe LaPointe suggests increasing the number of playoff teams to an NHL’esque 16. It’s preposterous to think that more than half the teams in baseball belong in the playoffs, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see the number increase from 4 teams in each league at some point. I was hesitant about the Wild Card, and while I think it has been a success (other than 2004 and 2007), it would be an extremely slippery slope for MLB to expand further. They are already having issues getting the bottom feeding team to spend money that is literally given to them, if the odds of making the playoffs doubled, teams could point to their spot in the playoffs as “success”.
Jon Paul Morosi argues that the Yankees are better off winning the Wild Card and makes a pretty compelling case. I’m not one to root to face one team or another unless there is a specific advantage/disadvantage, but in a vacuum I’d rather face the Twins than the Rangers. The flip side I’d rather have the Yankees have home field, but at the end of the day, I don’t really prefer one team to the other, though homefield in a potential ALCS would be huge. Either way they are in for a battle and can beat either team, or lose to either team.
Billy Crystal was honored on Friday for directing “61*” and an exhibit for the movie opened. The exhibit will be on display until the end of 2011. The article is more generous about the movie than I am (it was okay, not great), but a good quick read and certainly would be worth checking out the exhibit if you’re at the Hall of Fame in the next year.
A couple of links about parity and competitiveness in MLB. Chris Stankovich points out that several small market teams are competing this year, and more importantly points out that several teams convince their fans that they simply cannot compete. If I were fan of the Royals, I wouldn’t be pissed about the Yankees, I’d instead be pissed that they can’t model their system like the smaller market teams who can have success. In that same vein, Jon at WFNY (and Indians blog) goes into the breakdown of how impact players on several teams were acquired. It’s promising (in a way) to see that more impact Sox players have been signed through free agency than Yankees players. Get to the Indians part and it has to be pretty disappointing to see how they have drafted. It’s beyond awful.
Here are some links while we have to wait all day for the Moseley vs. Dice-K pitchers duel (good luck to ESPN selling this game).
Here’s a good read on maple bats and the potential fix to the very real problem of them breaking. Within the piece there are several other links to good articles. Barry Bonds being one of the first players to use maple bats might end up having a bigger impact on the game than Bonds being one of the thousands to have used PED’s.
An update on Mark Mulder and the cautionary tale of pitching . Mulder’s career is a great reason why the Yankees are cautious to lock up their young arbitration eligible pitchers early and will likely continue to do so with Hughes going forward. Through the age of 27 Mulder already had 97 wins and seemed to be well on his way to a great, Pettitte like career. He won just 6 more the rest of his career and is now trying his hand at golf, still just 33 years old.
I think instant replay in baseball is just a matter of when, but not if at this point. Still, the more it’s talked about, and the more awful calls that cost teams games, the quicker it will be here. Bob Costas was recently on the Dan Patrick show and ripped Bud Selig over the lack of replay in baseball. Here is a quick rundown of what he had to say, and here is full audio of the segment. I certainly will celebrate the day there is a good replay plan in place in MLB.
Jon Heyman took a look at some of the question marks plaguing all of the playoff contenders. People that focus solely on the Yankees can certainly point out their flaws, but there’s certainly no perfect team out there. Heyman also notes that the Yankees aren’t likely to go all out for Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth. While this makes sense to anyone who’s paid attention this year, many in the MSM still are fitting Crawford for pinstripes in the offseason. I just don’t see it myself.
Here’s some Sunday morning links while we wait for Yankees-Orioles followed by Pats-Jets (my pick: Pats 27, Jets 13).
In light of the recent news that Joe Torre is stepping down as Dodgers manager, Chad Finn at the Boston Globe takes a look back at the 1998 Yankees. Finn takes shots at the Yankees from time to time but it’s all in good fun and he’s one of the Boston writers who I can actually read when it comes to baseball. He gets a shot in at Joe Morgan and calls Tim Raines a Hall of Famer, so he’s good in my book.
Within a piece at AOL Fanhouse Andrew Johnson has an interesting take on the Jeter situation comparing him to the Dave Matthews Band. Once you read it, it does make some sense. The best line of the whole piece however, is this “I’m a sportswriter, not an ethicist.” If only more people that write or talk about sports for a living understood that.
Carl Crawford was upset for the criticism he took after getting thrown out at third base to end Tuesday nights game. Personally I’m not buying that the Yankees will be all in on Crawford in the offseason, but if he got upset by this and he ends up in pinstripes, he’ll have quite an adjustment to the New York media. It’s also interesting that the writer notes Crawford seemed pretty stung by the criticism coming from the Yankees.
Ken Burns is back in the baseball business as his new documentary “The Tenth Inning” is set to air on PBS on September 28th and 29th. “The Tenth Inning” is a sequel to Burns’ 1994 “Baseball”, and will cover new things that have happened in baseball since the last film. For many of the readers here the past 15 years or so covers a lot of the time we’ve been avidly following the game, so it is sure to be a very interesting watch.
Some Saturday morning links for your pleasure:
Here’s an update on former Yankee Matt Nokes. It’s pretty cool that he has stayed in the game and is so devoted to the art of hitting. Usually you hear about guys like Ted Williams and Tony Gwynn being students of the game, but Nokes seems to fit right in.
Bonus link to Nokes’ website with video of him catching a Roger Clemens fastball in the ribs and throwing it back to the mound.
A post at mlb.com takes a look at Andrew Brackman and the success he has had this year. There are lots of quotes from the Brackmonster himself and the piece notes that he is close with Austin Romine and how well they work together. We may see that battery in the Bronx in a few years.
A story about Roger Clemens and steroids that doesn’t immediately call him Former Yankee Roger Clemens. I’m sure it will never become public, but I wonder if Bud Selig will have anything to say to the Blue Jays if they knew all along that Clemens was juicing (if he was). I doubt the Blue Jays could have disclosed anything since it is personal medical records, but I wonder if there is/was any plan in place for what a major league team is supposed to do if they find proof that a player is using steroids. Clearly everyone looked the other way in the past, but if it becomes public that the team knew and did nothing to stop it, Selig will be none too thrilled.
While the Yankees had a banner year down on the farm, the rival Red Sox took a step back. While they appear to have had a solid draft to build some depth, many of the crown jewels of their system either didn’t take steps forward or took steps back in 2010. Just remember this the next time organizational rankings come out, just because someone says Team A is better than Team B, it doesn’t mean that can’t change.
A few points of interest while Mike chats the afternoon away.
Small ball? Pschaw
We’re used to seeing The Star Ledger’s Marc Carig in his traditional beat writer role. He certainly entertains us on Twitter, but for the most part he’s out there gathering and reporting facts. Lately he’s had a chance to express his views, and today he brings the knowledge with his column on small ball and the Yankees. People might yearn for the little things, but that’s just not the way the Yanks are built.
Maybe the idea of the game as a battle of attrition — working at-bats, drawing walks, popping home runs — isn’t your ideal brand of baseball. That’s fine. But the reality is that the Yankees have chosen to fashion themselves in this mold. They have assembled specific parts to build a machine that’s designed to 1.) Get players on base 2.) Knock in those players with extra base hits, whether they’re doubles in the gaps or home runs in the seats.
The machine works.
It’s easily the best article I’ve read all day.
All Jeter, all the time
No matter how much we don’t want to hear about it, the Jeter contract situation will make headlines from now through the resolution. If we’re going to have to suffer this, we might as well make the best of it. And what better place to start than Dave Cameron’s Contract Crowdsourcing series? Jeter’s up today, so make sure to go enter your numbers.
Last week Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus had a long, thoughtful take on the situation and offered up a follow up today. BP voters think Jeter will get a three-year deal worth around $15-$17 million a season. Today ESPN’s Mark Simon adds to the conversation by putting Jeter’s 2010 into perspective.
After this, I expect everyone will be sick and tired of the Jeter situation, if they weren’t already. Good. Now let’s talk about actual baseball while they’re still playing.
This morning Alex Belth perfectly described New York City on Labor Day. The news is similar. It’s slow, peaceful, noncontroversial.
It’s official: Andy Pettitte will make a rehab start Wendesday. Mark Feinsand lets us know earlier that a short bullpen session would determine the rehab schedule. It sounds like everything went well. Girardi mentioned two rehab starts, presumably Wednesday and Monday, which would put him in line to return a week from Saturday. But there is always the chance he makes only one start and rejoins the team early next week.
Also, as expected, Colin Curtis has joined the team. That will help while Austin Kearns battles a sore index finger and Nick Swisher plays on a creaky knee. Chances are he won’t see much playing time; he’s just an insurance policy.
Finally, watch out for balls hit to the outfield today. The Yanks have Swisher, who isn’t running at full speed, in right and Marcus Thames in left. Brett Gardner will have to cover a ton of ground in center today.
Some Sunday morning links for your reading pleasure:
Here’s a good article about B.J. Upton and his reputation as a slacker. As Upton’s salary increases in arbitration and the Rays transition away from the Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena, at some point it’s a given Upton will be on the market. He has never quite become the superstar many predicted, he’s still a good player who will be just 26 next season. While I am happy with the outfield as is, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees see what they could get for Gardner in the offseason as they can sell high both on his performance and contract. If they believe he’s 100% legit maybe not, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Upton in pinstripes if a position in the OF opens up.
Wilson Betemit will forever be known to Yankee fans as the guy who got us Nick Swisher, but he has put together a solid season for himself. Once a big time prospect with the Braves (top 100 by Baseball America 4 years in a row, peaking at #8), Betemit has bounced around quite a bit but is still just 28. For some reason I was always a fan of Betemit and was thrilled when the Yankees got him. On the field he didn’t work out but clearly helped in trade. I hope he’s finally settled in and will go on to have a solid career.
A few weeks back John Sickels took a look at how his preseason Top 20 Yankee prospects have fared in 2010. He didn’t update his list, but just made some notes on how his list has fared. Needless to say, it’s a pretty promising read, especially considering some of the guys that weren’t in his Top 20 and how they have fared this year.
The latest Jim Callis chat (which I always miss since they are no longer at ESPN) has some good Yankee nuggets as well as some overall good questions and answers. I love the way he quickly dismisses the guy who wants to compare Freddie Freeman to Jesus Montero.
A few morning links for your pleasure:
Growing up in New England there aren’t many baseball phenoms I get to follow. While I now pay extra attention to Jeff Locke (wow does that Nate McLouth trade look bad), I hadn’t heard much about Jeff Allison in a while. Allison was a big story in New England in 2003 when drafted but it was downhill soon thereafter. Allison unfortunately went down the Josh Hamilton path and had serious problems with substance abuse. Here’s a recent story on Allison, and it’s good to see that he has been sober for almost 4 years now. He may never make it to the majors, but he’s come a long way since nearly dying twice of overdoses. If the baseball story never pans out hopefully the human being side will.
There have been approximately 22,000 articles written this week on Johnny Damon potentially returning to the Red Sox, and then Johnny Damon refusing to return to the Red Sox. Some people (idiots) ripped him and called him a coward, while others looked a little deeper. Lee Jenkins had the best take that I read on it, and while Damon didn’t leave New York under the best of circumstances, there was never the animosity that was prevalent when he left Boston. For a guy who has played for 5 teams (so far) in his career, at the end of it I think he’ll consider himself a Yankee.
We all know Stephen Strasburg is heading for surgery and baseball fans everywhere are saddened by it. He simply is a talent that fans could rally around because he is truly a special to watch. Here former phenom Mark Prior addressed the latest news on Strasburg from someone who has clearly been there. Interesting note in the article is that Prior was recently clocked at 92 MPH. Prior, once a Yankee draft pick is still trying to come back and while I would never rely on him, I’d love to see the Yankees take a flyer on him. He is, after all, still just 29 years old.
While I’m not a big Rick Reilly fan he did a good job of telling the story of Jane Lang and her dog Clipper’s recent visit to Yankee stadium. Not much to add to this but to drive home the fact that Hope Week has quickly become one of the best things about the Yankees season. Some of the stories really make you reflect on how good you have things, and this is no different.