When last the Yankees missed the playoffs, Ace of Base issued their smash debut album, Danny Tartabull was the highest paid Yankee and Rudy Giuliani was six weeks away from winning the Mayorship of New York City. The year was 1993, and I was ten. Now, as columnists prepare to write their requiems for the Yankees playoff streak, John Rolfe at CNNSI.com took a look back at the year that was when last the Yankees made the playoffs. While we can’t count the Bombers out yet, Rolfe’s piece certainly highlights the questionable pop culture choices we all made during the early 1990s. (Hat tip to NJ.com.) · (10) ·
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How’s this for a little Saturday morning reading? According to Ken Rosenthal, Jason Giambi is playing himself toward a free agent bidding war. With Giambi’s putting up excellent on-base and power numbers this year, Rosenthal sees the Indians, Mariners, Blue Jays and A’s as potential suitors for Giambi.
There is, of course, a catch – a five-million-dollar catch. The Yanks hold a $22 million option on Giambi’s contract but have to pay him a $5 million buyout if they don’t exercise that option. If Giambi’s services are truly in demand, the Yanks will have to decide if they want to pay Giambi five million to play for a potential competitor. Right now, it’s tough to say if Rosenthal is just speculating on Giambi’s future or if he has a sense of what the Indians and others are thinking.
I don’t believe the Yanks will be tempted to exercise their option, and Rosenthal agrees. But the Yanks are going to face a tough decision on Jason no matter how this season plays out. He’s old; he’s not in the best of health. But he can still launch the ball, and his batting eye remains among the game’s best. What to do, what to do.
This afternoon, when the Yankees play the Royals in an afternoon affair at the Stadium, the Yankees will be in a distant third place in both the AL East and the Wild Card. They’re 10.5 games behind Tampa Bay, closer to last place than to first. Boston finds itself with a seven-game lead over the Yanks as well.
So from here on out, we’re just going to sit back and enjoy baseball for it is: our favorite sport played during the dog days of summer. It’s time to remember what’s great about the game and why we all love watching and spending so much time thinking, writing and talking baseball.
In the end, the Yankees may yet make the playoffs. Perhaps this team can overcome the odds and make an improbably late-season run toward October. Perhaps they can send off Yankee Stadium with a run for the ages. But if even if they don’t — even if, by New York standards, the Yanks fail this year — we’ll still be there, watching the game, loving (or hating) the players and remember why baseball is our National Pastime.
The Yanks face Zack Greinke and the Royals today at 1:05 p.m. Enjoy it.
A. Rodriguez 3B
I. Rodriguez C
At the stroke of midnight last night teams forfeited their rights to negotiate with unsigned picks, which is a fancy way of saying the kid is going to/back to college. A lot of young men received a life changing amount of money in exchange for agreeing to play a game for a living, and I envy every single on of them.
As expected the Yankees didn’t sign their top pick, SoCal high schooler Gerrit Cole, who instead choose to attend to UCLA. Apparently it wasn’t so much the money that was a problem, rather Cole and his family just really wanted him to go to college. So be it, it’s his right to choose. The Yanks also didn’t come to terms with their second round pick, RHP Scott Bittle out of Ole Miss. He had some shoulder issues, but refused to cut a deal. I hate too see kids turn down ridiculously large amounts of money like this, for their sake it hope it works out for them.
Sandwich rounder and ex-Stanford ace Jeremy Bleich agreed to a $700,000 signing bonus, which is actually below slot by about $160,000. He did miss time with the elbow strain this spring, but he came back to pitch well in the NCAA postseason. That said, he is a Boras client, and those guys never sign for below slot. That’s a good indication that the elbow might still be an issue.
On to the good news. The Yanks cut a deal with 27th round pick Garrison Lassiter yesterday, forking over $675,000 to sign the talented prep shortstop. Lassiter might have the highest ceiling of any player the Yanks drafted thanks to his picturesque swing and electric bat speed, but just about every aspect of his game needs to be refined. He’s an extremely high ceiling player, but also a very low probability guy.
The Yanks will receive compensation picks for their failure to sign Cole and Bittle, officially dubbed picks #28A and 75A in next year’s draft. Since the Nationals were unable to agree to terms with their top pick, Missouri RHP Aaron Crow, they will receive pick #9A as compensation. The Mariners haven’t signed their top pick, Georgia closer Josh Fields, yet, but because he is a senior with no college eligibility remaining the deadline does not apply to him, and he is free to sign at any point until next year’s draft. He will certainly do that at some point. So what all this means is that pick #28A will essentially be the 30th overall pick. We won’t know the actual spot of the 75A pick until the length of the sandwich round is settled via free agency this winter. It could get pushed back as far as #90-100 overall. The compensation picks are protected, and can not be lost as the result of signing Type-A free agents.
When it was all said and done, the Yanks inked 26 of their first 30 selections, at least five of which received over-slot bonuses. The highest bonus paid was the $850,000 given to 6th rounder Brett Marshall, and this marks the first time since 2002 that the Yankees did not hand out a seven-figure bonus. Overall, it’s a rather mediocre draft class, and a lot is hinging on the status of Bleich’s elbow. You can see all of the Yankees picks here, while BA’s Draft Blog has you covered on all fronts.
Damon Oppenheimer & Co. have had finer moments.
Triple-A Scranton (5-4 loss to Lehigh Valley)
Matt Carson, Shelley Duncan & Chad Moeller: all 1 for 4 - Carson drove in a run & was hit by a pitch… Shelley drew a walk, scored a run & K’ed twice … Moeller K’ed twice
Eric Duncan & Juan Miranda: both 1 for 5, 2 K
Jason Lane: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – nice return from spending just about a month on the DL
Ben Broussard: 3 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Nick Green: 0 for 4, 3 K, 1 E (fielding) – days like this make you want to take a bat to the watercooler
Chris Basak: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 8-9 GB/FB – 77 of 112 pitches were strikes (68.8%)
Steven Jackson: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Mark Melancon: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 3-0 GB/FB – 12 of 19 pitches were strikes (63.2%) … just didn’t have it today
It’s 5:15 as I type this. I’m headed to some place, where I might get a ticket for the game. I’m also four beers deep, so I don’t feel up to commenting on the game, except that we better damn well win, and Gardner damn well better get on base at least once.
If you don’t mind, could you all sing a verse of “Sha na na na” for Melky?
And on the mound, number forty-six, my favorite Yankee of the dynasty, Andy Pettitte.
Saw this on MLB Trade Rumors a minute ago. It comes from a source we don’t enjoy citing, but the news is too big to pass up. Apparently, the team has waived Richie Sexson, and has sent Melky Cabrera to Scranton. Brett Gardner and Cody Ransom take their places. This is quite the strange turn of events. While I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the source jumped the gun on this, it would be a welcome change if true. · (76) ·
For a few months, we had been hearing the rumors of an imminent sports radio divorce. On Thursday, the break-up finally materialized as Chris Russo — Mad Dog to most — announced his departure from the inexplicably popular WFAN radio show. Mike Francesa will stay on as the afternoon host and, presumably, the YES Network will simulcast “Francesa on the FAN” in place of Mike and the Mad Dog. Newsday’s Neil Best has a lot more on this hot story, and we can take solace in the fact that sports radio in New York just got slightly more tolerable. · (35) ·
Mark your calendars for April 16, 2009. According to the Associated Press, on that Thursday, the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees will play the first game at the new Yankee Stadium. The game will be long sold out before anyone really has a chance to grab tickets. According to reports, the Yanks’ preliminary schedule — subject to change — has the team opening on the road in Baltimore with stops in Kansas City and Tampa Bay before arriving in New York to open the new stadium. · (9) ·