Peter Abraham drops in an alarming note about Jason Johnson in his Spring Training wrap-up today: The righthander, in camp on a Minor League deal, is getting treatment for a cancerous growth in his right eye. By all accounts, this procedure has a very high success rate, but Johnson must work indoors for at least the next two weeks. · (4) ·
Yesterday’s not-so-new revelations that A-Rod had trained with the Angel Presinal generated a good amount of discussion on RAB. While Presinal has been linked to PED use via the Mitchell Report and various journalistic investigations, numerous Dominican players have turned to him as a trainer.
Today, The Times notes that MLB is again turning a wary eye toward Presinal in light of the revelations that he trained with A-Rod during the period of the Yankee slugger’s admitted PED use. While Presinal has engaged in “he said/he said” battle with Major League Baseball officials over Juan Gonzalez’s 2001 steroid use, MLB has formally banned Presinal from the game in the U.S.
This is, of course, a dicey situation. Cano said he wasn’t concerned about being, as Kat O’Brien put it, “guilty by association,” but with the way the steroid witch hunts are conducted, the company one keeps weights heavily upon the court of media — if not public — opinion. Hopefully, Presinal’s steroid transgressions are things of the past because the players who swear by him are not inclined to stop.
Michael Salfino posted SNY’s annual breakdown of the Mets vs. Yanks, comparing each team’s players based on the four main pitches – fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. As if we didn’t already know it, A-Rod is the best hitter in New York, leading all players in OPS off fastballs (.967), curves (.861) and sliders (1.168), but he also led in swings and misses (failed to make contact on 24% of swings taken). CC Sabathia dominates the pitching categories, with the city’s best fastball (.610 OPS ), best slider (.417) and second best changeup (.558). No Mets’ pitcher qualified for the curveball and slider categories, which makes me wonder what the hell their pitchers are throwing. Give it a read, it’s quick and entertaining. (h/t BBTF) · (11) ·
With so many new Yankees in camp this spring, many of the non-A-Rod stories focus on these new faces. We met Mark Teixeira last night; today, we meet the player Teixeira pushed back into the outfield picture. In The Journal News today, Peter Abraham profiles Nick Swisher. While he was briefly disappointed when the Yanks signed Teixeira, Swisher realizes they couldn’t just pass up on the opportunity to land the All Star first baseman. All things considered, Swisher sounds like he’s ready for a season in New York that will see him play a number of roles and positions in the Bronx. · (15) ·
In what could be the first step in an NBA-esque sign-and-trade move, the Twins made an offer to free agent reliever Juan Cruz late last night. Cruz, like The Orlandos (Cabrera & Hudson), has been having a devil of a time trying to find a job this winter because teams are unwilling to part with their first round pick to sign him, and now that Spring Training is underway his agent is really starting to feel the heat. You probably remember seeing the blurb earlier this week in which MLB basically said it would be willing to look the other way as teams try to circumvent the free agent draft pick compensation rules, and it’s looking more and more like this might actually happen.
Forget A-Rod and all the PED nonsense. If baseball is willing to essentially amend it’s rules with almost zero advance notice to the benefit of only some teams, then that’s the game’s biggest problem. The Yankees played by the rules and coughed up the draft picks needed to sign free agents this winter, ditto the Mets, Angels, and Dodgers, and now you’re telling me that other teams have a chance to operate under a completely different set of rules? Sorry, but that’s just not fair. If Juan Cruz wants to get paid, then he should have accepted arbitration. There’s a reason David Weathers and Darren Oliver have contracts for 2009 right now and he doesn’t. He doesn’t get to be above the system because his agent misread the economic climate. Life doesn’t work like that.
I swear, the Yanks (and the Mets, Halos and Dodgers as well) better raise some frickin’ hell if this is allowed to go down.
As Friday night turns into Saturday morning, the Yankees are one day closer to Opening Day. Hopefully by April, A-Rod won’t dominate the headlines. I’m sure that’s naive wishful thinking on my part, but a man can dream.
Damon: “Yeah he did some bad things, he took a steroid. I definitely do not condone that at all, but there could be a lot worse things he could have been doing. He hasn’t done a crime … so, there’s worse things he could have done, but I’ve known Alex since he was 15 and he’s always been super-nice to me, so I’m going to support him and try to help him through this time.”
Reporter: Johnny, what would have been worse?
Damon: “Murdering someone. There’s plenty of things that could have been worse than what he did.”
That basically sums up this whole thing in a nutshell. Many members of the media act as though A-Rod has committed high treason while the players seem to see it as a bad mistake he made a few years ago. He certainly never killed anyone, as Damon noted, and there are far, far worse things he couldn’t do.
Meanwhile, A-Rod seems to recognize that if he and the Yanks win, all will be forgiven. That’s life in the Bronx.
Earlier this week, the SEC accussed Texas billionaire R. Allen Stanford of fraud. At first blush, it seemed like just another domino in the collapsing U.S. economy. Today, we learn that Xavier Nady’s and Johnny Damon’s assets are frozen because of the ongoing investigation. According to Ken Rosenthal, Nady’s and Damon’s millions will probably emerge none the worse for the wear from this ordeal, but the two Yankee outfielders are having a tough time accessing their liquid capital right now. · (15) ·
So what do you think of the new site design? Snazzy, huh? Anyway, here’s the links:
- It looks like Jeff Francis is going to miss the year with a shoulder issue, which is a tough break for the recently turned 28 southpaw. Matthew Carruth uses this as an opportunity to remind us all that locking up young players, especially pitchers, to long term deals covering their arbitration years (and then some) doesn’t always work out.
- Orlando Hudson caught on with the Dodgers today, leaving only four Type-A free agents unsigned. The Diamondbacks now have back-to-back first round picks, their regular 16th overall pick and the Dodgers’ 17th overall pick. You can see the updated draft order here.
- Jose Guillen don’t need no stinkin’ surgeon.
- There’s a new site out there call MLB Depth Chart, which (you guessed it) posts depth charts for all thirty clubs. Here’s their Yanks page. (h/t MLBTR)
- RLYW posted a list of the twenty worst offensive seasons by a Yankees’ second baseman. The only recent players to make the list were Enrique Wilson (2004) and Andy Fox (1996), but Robbie Cano‘s 2008 season came in at number twenty-one. Was he really that bad last year? Sheesh.
- Nick Swisher is Twitterizing.
- The 2009 college baseball season kicks off today, and someone’s already got a 31 game hit streak going. As always the place to get your college baseball info is The College Baseball Blog., while D1 Baseball is the best spot to get all the day’s box scores in one convenient location. In case you’re still obsessing over him wondering, Gerrit Cole is scheduled to make his first collegiate start with UCLA tomorrow at home against UC Davis.
Here’s your open thread. The Knicks and Nets are both in action tonight, but talk about whatever you want.
While the Yanks don’t begin their competitive Spring Training schedule until next week and Opening Day is still a few weeks away, already Mark Teixeira has been anointed the Yankee savior in the wake of the A-Rod scandal. Steve Politi in The Star-Ledger called the latest first baseman a Yankee throwback in a recent profile. Considering that Teixeira will be around for the next eight years, it’s a reasonable if lofty expectation. The rhetoric though can be a bit tough to stomach before Teixeira takes his first Yankee AB. · (21) ·
Trouble is, as much as he welcomed the thought of being a Yankee, they never seemed particularly interested in welcoming him. He shared a spring training locker room with guys who worked for the same organization, but he had a difficult time thinking of them as teammates.
“That’s how I would describe it — you just don’t feel like a part of the team. There are the veterans — the superstars — and then the rest of the guys,” said Jones, who was drafted by New York in the fourth round in 2004. “Here, there are superstars too, but it feels a lot more like we’re a team. It’s a lot better chemistry.”
“I don’t think I ever talked to (Yankees GM Brian) Cashman, other than ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ a couple of times.”
As the article mentions, Jones was the Yanks’ fourth round pick back in 2004, signing for a $245,000 bonus. I’m kind of surprised about this little mini-outburst, but what can you do. Jones averaged just about 140 IP and a 3.44 ERA over the last four years, mostly in Double-A, but the fact of the matter is that he was stuck behind bigger names and better talent. Such is the life of a middling Yankees prospect.
Update by Ben (5:11 p.m.): I just wanted to add a quick note about this development. Jones was a Rule V draft choice by the Twins a few months ago. If Minnesota opts not to keep him on their Major League roster and cannot create an injury him, they will have to offer to return him to the Yanks. The Yanks could then choose to trade him to Minnesota. Right now, Jones is in the process of creating a very awkward situation for himself, especially if he winds up back in the Yankee organization.