The Dodgers made some waves yesterday when the AP revealed some $90 tickets in the team’s new Arizona Spring Training home. That price tag comes as shock to this baseball fan who hasn’t missed a Spring Training trip since 1997. One of the joys of Spring Training has long been the price tag. It’s a time to kick back and catch a game under sunny skies in spring. The regulars play a few innings, and a bunch of prospects and non-roster invitees duke it out for the rest of the day. To charge $90 for what should be a $20 experience seems a bit excessive. But if the market can support, who am I to argue with economics? · (10) ·
The best way to understand Chien-Ming Wang‘s popularity in Taiwan is to compare him to the Beatles in the mid-1960s. So this week, when Chien-Ming Wang finally returned home to his native country for a few weeks, an adoring press corps was there to greet him. The news about the Yanks’ ace right-hander’s foot was encouraging as well.
According to the Taiwanese news, Wang says his foot is completely healed, and he had been throwing three times a week as part of his rehab program. The News Agency reported earlier this week:
Taiwan-born New York Yankees starter Wang Chien-ming returned to Taiwan yesterday morning and pronounced his right foot injury that forced him to miss the last four months of the season completely healed.
Wang, who suffered the foot injury while rounding third base in an interleague game against the Houston Astros on June 15, had to delay his return to Taiwan for several weeks to rehabilitate the foot in the United States following the end of the baseball season…
Wang said the Yankees have arranged a special training program for him during his time in Taiwan to help strengthen his foot, with the program including cycling and weightlifting exercises, but no jogging. Since being diagnosed as completely healed, Wang said, he has been throwing three times a week, including one session last month where he threw fifty pitches and “felt really good” afterwards.
Wang also let slip some details about his next few months. The so-called “Pride of Taiwan” won’t be participating in the World Baseball Classic because Brian Cashman doesn’t want him to. That’s the right call. By the time the WBC rolls around, it will have been nine months since Wang last appeared in game action. There’s no need to throw him into the middle of a heated international competition.
The sinker specialist also hopes to be on the mound come Opening Day. For that, I say, much depends on CC. It is very encouraging to hear that Wang is feeling good.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Yanks and Padres held “numerous discussions” about Jake Peavy during the GM meetings. Supposedly, the Braves and Cubs, Peavy’s top two destinations, are out of the running, and this trade may come down to the Yanks and Angels. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I say that whichever of these two teams doesn’t land CC Sabathia will push hard for Peavy. · (98) ·
The Yankees opened up new Yankee Stadium yesterday afternoon to the beat writers, and the reviews are glowing. Tyler Kepner raved about the amenities, and PeteAbe spoke glowingly of the new home as well. Dismaying though is the news that the seats are further recessed from the field. While we’ve known this for a long time, we will soon have to face the fact that intimate seating in the Bronx is a thing of the past.
In other stadium news, WCBS has some good aerial photos of the old stadium and the new stadium up. Monument Park looks so empty. · (4) ·
On the first day of the free agent signing period, the Yankees gave to CC the biggest contract offer for a pitcher in the history of baseball. The offer is for six years and around $140 million. No one has reported on the exact figure.
This is no small offer. The Yankees have expressed their intentions. They want CC Sabathia, and they will pay through the nose for a chance to land the large lefty. Ed Price, at NJ.com, had the same succinct analysis we’ve been spouting for the last few months:
According to a person with knowledge of the Yankees’ plans, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the competitive free-agent market, the offer exceeds the record (for a pitcher) six-year, $137.5 million deal the Mets made with Johan Santana after acquiring him before the 2008 season.
Despite the overwhelming offer, the Yankees expect Sabathia’s agents to look around, but the team is confident it will end up with the top bid. Whether Sabathia, who prefers the National League, goes strictly for the most money remains to be seen.
That last line is key. If Sabathia wants to play on the West Coast or in the NL, the only thing the Yanks can do is toss more money his way. The Bombers will always out-bid the next highest contract offer. At some point, it will come down to what Sabathia wants, and at that point, it will be out of the Steinbrenners’ and Brian Cashman‘s hands. That’s a little bit of a harrowing thought.
Meanwhile, in Milwaukee, Doug Melvin sounds like a man resigned to his fate. The Brewers GM was incredulous when he heard of the Yanks’ offer. “It sounds like they’re overbidding,” Melvin said. “If the speculation is true that we’ve offered CC $100 million, why would you offer $140 million? Why wouldn’t you offer $110 million?”
The Yanks are offering up that much simply to blow away Sabathia. If they exceed everyone by such a large margin, the Yanks won’t have to worry too much about the competition.
Meanwhile, Hank, the ineffectual voice, told the media that the Yanks want everyone. It’s quite possible that three free agent hurlers will end up in the Bronx this year. That would probably be an unprecedented haul, but if I’ve learned one thing about the Hot Stove League over the years, it’s that we shouldn’t count our chickens before they hatch.
Free agency official started today, but unsurprisingly no big names came off the board. The Yanks did make their presence known however, dropping a 6 year, $140M offer in the lap of CC Sabathia. Right in line with the megadeal the Mets gave Johan Santana despite bidding against no one, this is just the start of what figures to be a rather intense negotiation.The Yanks are expected to tender offers to AJ Burnett & Derek Lowe in the coming days, which is more due diligence than anything.
No free agents signed today, and none are expected too anytime soon. The first major free agent to sign last year was Torii Hunter, who didn’t give it to the Angels until late November. It’s a marathon, not a race sprint; there’s still more than three months until pitchers & catchers have to show up in Tampa.
Your New York sports docket is empty tonight, unless you count the Knicks taking on Seattle Oklahoma City at the Gardner. Here’s your open thread for the night. Talk whatever’s on your mind, but keep it civilized.
I’ve been sitting on this for a few days just because we’ve had better things to talk about. But since it’s Friday afternoon, and everyone enjoys humor on Friday afternoon, let’s make fun of Carl Pavano.
In an article about the mutual affection Carl Pavano and the Marlins seem to have for each other this winter, the long-time denizen of the DL issued a gem of a quote. “I look back at those four years with the Yankees, it was exhausting,” he said.
Exhausting. Someone get this man a dictionary.
Carl Pavano was so exhausted by his four years on the Yankees. He was exhausted by the 26 starts he made over four years, by the nine games he managed to win and by the 145.2 innings he pitched. Or perhaps he was just exhausted cashing his paycheck every other week while contributing little else to the Yanks.
While we’re still a few long months away from Spring Training and Opening Day, it’s never too early to look ahead to next season. To that end, Maury Brown penned a great piece on the top 10 business-related story lines for next season. From the economy to the new stadiums to the second iteration of the World Baseball Classic, the ’09 season will keep everyone pretty busy. · (0) ·
Who would you rather:
Pitcher A: 64 G, 70.2 IP, 41 H, 6 BB, 77 K, 1.40 ERA, 0.665 WHIP, .165/.190/.233
Pitcher B: 76 G, 68.1 IP, 54 H, 34 BB, 77 K, 2.24 ERA, 1.288 WHIP, .216/.314/.316
Now, it’s hard to deny that both pitchers had some pretty impressive numbers in 2008. Pitcher B walked a few too many guys, and Pitcher A was pretty much lights out across the board. Would you believe me if I told you that Pitcher B garnered 32 Cy Young votes and a third-place finish in the balloting while Pitcher A received just three third-place votes?
Of course, Pitcher A saved “only” 39 games this year while Pitcher B set a new MLB record with 62 saves. For what it’s worth, those fancy statisticians over at Baseball Prospectus figure that Pitcher A, Mariano Rivera, was the top reliever in baseball this year while Pitcher B, Francisco Rodriguez, is far down the list. K-Rod was good this year, but he’s no Rivera.
With 62 saves staring at them in the face, the writers were once again misled by a largely meaningless counting stat. Yet again, the voters show that the post-season awards are purely symbolic. Cliff Lee won — and deserved — his Cy Young, but after that, the voters are just pulling names out of thing air.
Postscript: Mike Mussina received just two third-place votes for his 20-win season. While Cy Young votes for Moose would be largely symbolic, I expected him to do slightly better than that. I guess the writers would rather let saves instead of emotions get the best of them.