Once upon a time, in another blog, when Mark Feinsand was the MLB.com beat writer, I would frequently answer his mailbag questions. I’ve let that practice slack because I find the questions sent to Bryan Hoch at MLB.com to be rather underwhelming these days. But now and then, a Hoch answer provides some insight into the Yankees.
I know Jorge Posada says he is healthy, but is there any chance of bringing Pudge Rodriguez back as insurance in case he is not ready to catch? And if bringing Pudge back is out of the question, who will be splitting time with Posada?
– Corey E., Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
For the moment, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that he is keeping his fingers crossed that Posada will make good on his promise to be wearing a chest protector behind the plate on Opening Day at the new Yankee Stadium. Certainly, that would be the organization’s preference, but though Posada can speak as optimistically as he likes, the Yankees won’t really know how to proceed until Posada’s throwing program begins on Dec. 1.
Cashman said that it is not on his agenda to pursue any free-agent catcher right now, which seems to seal Rodriguez’s time in New York as a two-month rental. That could change quickly if Posada experiences something of a setback from the arthroscopic surgery on his throwing shoulder, but during the club’s last road trip of the regular season, Cashman pulled Posada aside and asked how realistic catching 120 games in 2009 can really be. “He looked me in the eye and he swears that he’s going to be back, as good as ever,” Cashman said earlier this month. “It’s up to us to buy into that or not.”
Now, bringing back Pudge, who hit a Melky-like .219/.257/.323 on the Yanks and didn’t handle the pitchers particularly well, isn’t really an option. But it’s hard to overemphasize how badly the Yankees need a healthy Jorge Posada behind the plate next year. If they don’t, they’re going to start the season at a huge disadvantage, and seeing Dionner Navarro on the AL East Champion Rays will hurt even more.
Of course, if Jorge’s shoulder is half healthy, he could play first, but the Yanks would then be left with a huge hole behind the plate. It will be much easier for them to fill the first base hole — Mark Teixeira, anyone? — than it will for them to find a catcher. When the top two free agent catchers are Jason Varitek and Ivan Rodriguez, things do not look good for backstops.
I have my fingers crossed for Posada. More than just about any other off-season move, getting Posada back behind the dish will have a huge impact in 2009. Now, we just have to hope that the shoulder holds up.
Via The Taiwan News, Chien-Ming Wang was one of ten people selected as Taiwan’s Most Outstanding Young Men & Women for 2008. “Wang’s fighting spirit and superior career achievements have made him a role model for young people in Taiwan,” said Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, one of the judges. The award presentation ceremony will be held November 21st. Congrats to the Wanger. · (12) ·
Yankee Stadium and its storied history provides the backdrop for a lot of New York City history. From the stadium’s construction to the rise and fall of the South Bronx neighborhood to the hullabaloo over the new stadium and the land deal not to the mention the decades of baseball lore and history, a urban policy professor could make a class out of it. That’s exactly what Theresa Collins, a professor at Rutgers has done. As The Times reported, Collins is teaching a first-year seminar on Yankee Stadium and the social history that goes with it. Who wouldn’t want to take that class? · (14) ·
Here’s an interesting premise from Mark Kiszla, a writer in Denver: The World Series is dead. Poor ratings, little excitement and a decisive game impacted by weather and halted after 5.5 innings has done in what Kiszla says is the mystique of the Fall Classic. Considering we haven’t seen a six-game series since 2003 and seven game sets since the back-to-back thrillers in 2001-2002, Kiszla has a point. But baseball’s crowning event will bounce back. It just needs a good match-up, better weather and a compelling storyline. · (39) ·
Via Richard Justice, tonight’s completion of Game Five will be postponed until at least tomorrow due to ongoing crappy weather in the Philadelphia area. Tomorrow’s weather looks better, so they should be able to finish the game up then. I blame A-Rod for this mess.
Update (1:40pm): MLB is saying that the game will tentatively be resumed at 8:37pm on Wednesday in Philly. · (22) ·
There’s really not much new in this Jon Heyman column. Will Sabathia go for home or money? Yeah, no one has a clue. He does talk to a friend of Sabathia, though. Plenty of reporters have seemingly done that this year, asking random Sabathia friend after random Sabathia friend about the pitcher’s intentions. Most of them, it seems, feel he’ll go home. The friend Heyman tracked down: Jimmy Rollins. His take: “New York, American League. They’ve got enough money, and they need him.”
Of course, this is just as meaningless as the opinions of Sabathia’s nameless friends. That’s the point, though. · (23) ·
When it became public that the Padres planned to shop Jake Peavy this winter, Yankees fans got a bit excited. Why not? The 27-year-old has been stellar throughout his major league career, and is a veritable ace. However, given his age and his slightly below market contract, we knew that it would take a considerable package of prospects, rife with major-league ready youngsters, to convince Kevin Towers, Sandy Alderson, Paul DePodesta, and company to send Peavy packing for the East Coast.
Then we got news that Peavy doesn’t exactly want to pitch in the AL. He’s more comfortable in the NL, where he has pitched his entire career. Okay, so that’s a strike against Peavy in pinstripes. There was a later report claiming that Peavy hates New York and would not approve a trade here. That’s hearsay, though, and can’t be taken at face value. If the Padres liked what the Yanks were offering, and both teams made it attractive enough for Peavy to make the move, he might still be amenable.
From the latest news, though, it looks like we’ve heard the last connection between Peavy and the Bronx. Tim links to an article in the San Diego Union Tribune in which Peavy agent Barry Axelrod said that Peavy can be compared to top free agent CC Sabathia:
“It’s not that far of a stretch to say this is a free-agent situation,” Axelrod said, “and if there is a guy like Sabathia out there, we would have to look at what any given team is going to pay Sabathia, because he and Jake won the Cy Young award in the same year, and we’re going to put Jake on the same plane as this guy.”
“If it is someplace where Jake is being asked to make massive change and someplace he may not really want to go, it may take more enticement to get him to agree,” Axelrod said.
So we’re back to paying twice for the player. Not that it really matters. If Peavy does in fact require a CC-esque extension to accept a trade somewhere, chances are that team wouldn’t offer the same package as they would if he came as-is. At that point, it’s doubtful San Diego would take a sub-optimal package because of Peavy’s demands.
All this is to say: let’s stop dreaming of Peavy. It’s a nice idea in theory, but in practice it doesn’t look like the Yanks have the players (they’re willing to part with) and the motivation to get this done.
At 10:19, nearly 30 minutes before the umpires eventually halted play, my dad sent me the following e-mail: “They are making a farce of baseball and the World Series by playing this game now.” At that point, the field was soaked, puddles were forming and no one was really having any fun out there.
A half an hour later, the game was halted, and about forty minutes after that, Bud Selig officially suspended the game until later tonight or whenever this rain stops. In the ensuing press conference, Selig mentioned something that, to me, raised a few red flags. Joshua Robinson has the report on the Bats blog:
UPDATE, 11:24: Selig just explained that if the Phillies had been ahead when play was stopped, the game would have technically entered a “rain delay.” That means that we would have waited here until conditions were playable again. But Selig specified that it would not have been called a Phillies victory. “I wasn’t about to let that happen,” he said…
UPDATE, 11:32: He also reiterated that he did not want to have to call this game a Phillies victory if they had stopped with Philadelphia in front: “I have to use my judgment. This is not a way to end a World Series.”
If Selig was so dead set on suspending this call and not awarding the Phillies the World Championship based on a 4.5 inning game — a decision which I support — why couldn’t the umpires halt play a little sooner? At no point in between 10:00 p.m. and 10:41 p.m. when the game was stopped should baseball have been played. Had this not been a World Series, the tarp would have been rolled out well before it finally made its October debut.
I am loathe to subscribe to conspiracy theories involving FOX, Bud Selig or the Masons, but someone was putting pressure on someone else to get this game in. If Bud had the authority to suspend and not end an official game, he should have done so well before 10:41 p.m. Personally, I’m just going to take the easy route out and as Mike did, blame A-Rod. It’s always his fault anyway.
A recent edition of ESPN’s Outside the Lines program explored the stadium financing issue that I’ve touched upon a bit over the last few weeks. While the video doesn’t really cover any new ground, it succinctly portrays why Congress is involved in this case. It seems to involve over half a billion federal dollars.
In the video, Neil deMause offers up his take on the financing, and Randy Levine attempts to defend the Yankees. No matter your opinion on the stadium matter, I’m not so sure I want him speaking for the Yankees, and that relocation threat sounds just as ridiculous live as it does in print.
(Hat tip to Cliff Corcoran)
AzFL Peoria (6-3 win over Scottsdale)
Austin Jackson: 2 for 3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB – picked off second
Kevin Russo: 2 for 4, 1 R, 2 2B, 1 RBI – dude’s now 14 for his last 26 (.538)
Kevin Whelan: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0-1 GB/FB – only 14 of 27 pitches were strikes (51.9%)
HWB Waikiki had a scheduled off day.
Some highlights from the Caribbean winter leagues:
- Matt Carson: 5 for 22 (.227), 2 R, 1 2B, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB in 6 games
- Frankie Cervelli: 1 for 11 (.091), 1 R, 2 BB, 2 K in 7 games
- Justin Christian: 14 for 59 (.237), 8 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 11 K, 7 SB in 14 games
- Reegie Corona: 8 for 21 (.381), 6 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K in 9 games
- Edwar Gonzalez: 5 for 11 (.455), 1 R, 1 3B, 2 RBI, 1 K in 4 games
- Former Met Victor Zambrano: 16 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 12 K in 3 starts