We all think … no wait … we all know we can be highly successful Major League General Managers. It’s a piece of cake. Sign this guy, trade these guys for that guy, cut that dude, deal this guy for a bag of balls to free up money, so on and so forth. It’s never as easy as we make it sound, but most of us will never get a chance to find that out for ourselves. Until now.
2K Sports’ MLB Front Office Manager is basically the baseball version of NFL Head Coach. It puts you in the GM chair and bombards you with all the team building stuff every real life GM has to deal with. (Luckily you don’t have to deal with the shareholders or marketing people or politicians though.) Billy Beane and Brian Cashman both consulted on the project, and the game is true to life in almost every way possible. There’s waivers, the arbitration process, 40-man rosters, the Rule 5 Draft, no trade clauses, performance bonuses, Type-A and B free agents, unhappy superstars, pissed off owners, you name it.
As you can probably imagine, the game is menu heavy. You’re kept up to date on all the major news around the league via email, although you’ll have to dig around for the smaller moves yourself. Beane also acts as your “advisor,” emailing you with advice and instructions for some of the more complicated parts of the game. The filing system for the emails is a little stupid, but it’s not terrible. I’ve seen come complaints about the intricate menu system, but I don’t have any problems with it. I think it’s pretty easy to navigate, actually.
According to a recent study by the city’s Independent Budget Office, the City of New York will have to pony up nearly $80 million more than originally expected to replace the 22 acres of parkland lost to the new Yankee Stadium. This project will now cost around $195 million. Who would have guessed?
Crain’s Daniel Massey has more:
Design revisions, project additions, unanticipated cleanup of hazardous materials and construction inflation have driven costs up by $78.6 million, the report said. While the Yankees are financing the stadium — with the help of city and state subsidies — the parks are being paid for by the city.
“The city pledged to provide new recreational facilities of equal or greater fair market value to those displaced,” the report said. “Since the plans were announced, the costs of these projects have risen significantly.”
According to the original 2005 estimate, the cost of the replacement parks was projected to be $116.1 million. But design revisions and the addition of new projects have added $30 million to the cost. Unanticipated hazardous waste cleanup and environmental remediation cost an extra $7.6 million, and additional site work and safety increased costs by $10.9 million. A greater-than-expected rise in construction costs accounted for $7.6 million of the increase, while construction delays added $6.2 million.
The factors driving the remaining $16.3 million cost increase are not yet clear because portions of the project are still out for bid, the report said.
Furthermore, the replacement parks project won’t be complete until 2011 at the earliest, nearly a year behind schedule. Joyce Hogi of the Bronx’s CB4 isn’t happy. “The kids that played in these parks will be adults and parents by the time we get the replacements,” she said to Crain’s.
In the end, this is of course no different from countless other city projects. Along Second Ave., the long-awaited Second Ave. Subway has run into countless delays and budget problems, the Atlantic Yards and Hudson Yards projects are a mess, and even the Fulton St. Hub, part of the Lower Manhattan post-9/11 redevelopment plan is stuck in neutral.
This one is, of course, on the city and not the Yankees. But it is a prime example of bad planning. The area needs these parks, and it’s a shame they won’t be ready on time.
From the beginning of the off-season we knew that Bobby Abreu’s preference was to remain a Yankee. That was not the team’s preference, though. The acquisitions of Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira essentially spell the end of any reunion talks, giving Abreu even less leverage in a free agent market saturated with corner outfielders. That three-year, $48 million pipe-dream he was seeking earlier this winter? Gone, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (h/t MLBTR). Instead, he’ll seek a deal more in line with Raul Ibanez and Milton Bradley.
Sadly to say, I don’t think any teams are going to bite even at that price. There are just too many teams that can’t afford him at that price. The Angels could, but why would they pay $30 million for Abreu when there don’t seem to be any other offers? A week ago Chico Harlan of the Washington Post quoted an executive who thought Adam Dunn “will get a max of $5 million per year.” I’m surprised the same wasn’t said about Bobby Abreu.
This was just a bad time for Bobby to become a free agent. It’s not only the market in general. It’s hitting free agency at the same time as five other corner outfielders. It’s the fact that he’s 35 years old and has seen a diminished OBP and walk rate over the past two years. It’s the recent and prominent criticisms of his defense. It’s all come together at once and it’s working against Bobby getting anything more than a one-year deal.
Before long Bobby will find a new home, and it will probably be a one-year layover until he has to do this all over again next off-season. Maybe then he’ll find a few takers at a price more in line with how he values himself. Seeing as he’ll be another year older, I don’t think that will be the case.
Sometimes in baseball things happen that we just can’t explain, and when it does happen we call it luck. Good luck, bad luck, whatever. One of the biggest statistical luck fiends in BABIP, or Batting Average on Balls in Play. Nick Swisher posted a career low batting avg last year (.219) despite a career high line drive percentage (20.9%) how? Bad luck, evidenced by his absurdly low .251 BABIP, fourth lowest in baseball. Diasuke Matsuzaka posts the third best ERA (2.90) despite the worst walk rate in the league (5.05 BBper9, worst by 0.55) how? Ridiculously good luck, like the fourth lowest BABIP in the league (.267) good luck.
Derek Carty over at THT took a look into all the different ways to calculate BABIP yesterday, while Rich Lederer at Baseball Analysts dug deeper into how groundball rate will effect a hitter’s BABIP today. Both are interesting reads and worth your time .Check ‘em out. · (82) ·
What I love about the nightly open thread is that we can write about basically anything. If you find it boring, irrelevant, or overdone, you can just skip over the post and dive into the comments. If you want to use the post as a jumping off point you can, but there’s certainly no obligation to do so.
Why did I open like this? Because I saved up some articles relating to the Joe Torre book, and I figured I’d dump them on you in the open thread, rather than litter your day with them. I know a lot of people are sick of the topic. Even for those who aren’t, it’s a tough topic to navigate because so few of us, if any of us, have read the book. We’re going on reactions. But they can be fun too, right?
First up is Ken Davidoff. He wrote about Brian Cashman‘s relationship with Joe Torre following the 2005 season. Yet before he gets into that, he says something about A-Rod which I think is worth repeating:
And as Tyler [Kepner] points out, if Mariano Rivera had just picked up the save in 2004 ALCS Game 4, then Alex Rodriguez would’ve been riding a monster first two rounds into the World Series, and we wouldn’t be standing here today, dissecting A-Rod the way we do.
Of course, this isn’t blaming Mo, just like “if he hadn’t thrown the ball into center field we would have won the 2001 series” isn’t blaming Mo. It does bring up an interesting point, though. People also kill A-Rod for striking out with a man on third and less than two outs in the game, and then dismiss his early home run. This I will never understand. Sans the home run, Mo doesn’t have a lead to blow.
Next up, and also relating to A-Rod, is a statement by Brian Cashman. Bryan Hoch brings it to us.
“I think we’ve gone through so much of the Alex stuff that, you know, if anything, maybe this brings people closer together,” Cashman said on Monday during a conference call to announce Andy Pettitte‘s one-year contract.
I’m not so sure this will bring anyone closer together. Cashman does have a point, though: the team has been through all this. They’ve dealt with A-Rod for five years now. I doubt anything Torre makes public in the book will change how the guys on the team view him now.
Finally, Jack Curry has some quotes from Torre on the book. The former Yanks’ skipper made it clear that he never used the word “betrayal,” despite every tabloid in the city saying so. He also had a comment on A-Rod: “I don’t think I said anything about A-Rod that I didn’t say already.” Yeah, that you didn’t already say to Tom Verducci. Thankfully, it appears A-Rod is taking this all in stride.
This is your open thread for the evening. The Knicks and the Nets are off tonight, the Hurricanes are in the Garden, and the Devils are in Ottawa.
While I had pegged Dan Giese as the likely man designated for assignment, the Yanks had other ideas in mind. The AP reports that Chase Wright has been designated for assignment to make room for Andy Pettitte. Wright, 26, is a lefty famous for giving up back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs against the Red Sox in 2007 when he was rushed into an emergency start. As a young lefty with a good MiLB ERA but mediocre peripherals, I doubt he’ll clear waivers. I guess the Yanks like Giese as a potential long man instead. (Hat tip to MLBTR.) · (63) ·
A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory finds a unique way to honor and remember post-renovation Yankee Stadium: through the appearance of the old BRUT ad in baseball cards. In a massively long but highly entertaining post, Jere tracks the appearance of that once-iconic ad in baseball cards throughout the 1980s. A surprising number of visiting team players are featured in front of the ad. I guess Topps didn’t want to dispatch a photographer too far from its home at One Whitehall St. in Lower Manhattan. · (6) ·