Continuing the non-stop Saturday coverage of Manny Ramirez comes a piece from Ken Davidoff. Unnamed Yankee insiders claim the team is more likely to wind up with Manny Ramirez than with Mark Teixeira, and Davidoff believes the determining factor is the number of years each player wants. While I’d like to see Manny in pinstripes, I have no qualms about committing to seven years of Mark Teixeira. I believe that Teixeira fills a need now and in the future and would have a greater impact on the team in the long run than Manny would in the short run. If I’m picking one, I take Teixeira. · (125) ·
Jesse Spector writes the Touching Bases column for the Daily News. It’s a lesser known blog that the tabloid has run for the better part of four years now. Today, he tackles the topic of Bobby Abreu:
The top right fielder on the free-agent market is a Yankee, wants to stay a Yankee, and the Yankees might let him walk away.
You read that right. Bobby Abreu’s stated first choice this winter is to remain in the Bronx, but the Bombers have a surplus of outfielders – Melky Cabrera, Johnny Damon, Brett Gardner, Hideki Matsui and Xavier Nady – under contract, in addition to the organization’s top hitting prospect, Austin Jackson.
“Bobby’s definitely very happy with the Yankees and he’s enjoyed his time with the Yankees, and it’s his first choice to come back,” said Chris Leible, one of Abreu’s agents. “But it’s just wait and see what happens.”
If the Yankees do let Abreu walk after he hit .296 with 20 homers and 100 RBI, they probably won’t be looking for his replacement via free agency, where other options are sparse.
I don’t really see the harm in letting Abreu walk though. Sure, he may be the top right fielder on the market, but he’s not the top outfielder on the market. The Yanks could easily slide Xavier Nady to right to make room for Manny Ramirez, a far, far superior player to Bobby Abreu. The cost-benefit analysis would show that Manny is a better investment.
Meanwhile, the Yanks also aren’t going to let having Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner under contract at or slightly above the league minimum deter them from finding an adequate replacement for Bobby Abreu or for re-signing Abreu. Furthermore, Hideki Matsui isn’t and shouldn’t be considered an outfielder at this point in his career. Until his knees show otherwise, he’s a full-time DH, and even if his knees are healthy, he’d be a defensive liability at this point.
The other options — Ken Griffey, who will never play in New York, and Brad Wilkerson — are indeed sparse, but it’s not really a dire predicament. I’m glad Abreu enjoys New York; I’m glad he’d like to return; I’m just not so sure he’s the man for the job.
Via The Star Ledger staff comes another Hank Steinbrenner gem:
Ramirez in pinstripes?
Hank Steinbrenner said the Yankees will explore all options during the offseason, including the possibility of making an offer to the free-agent slugger.
“There’s nothing we are not looking at,” the team’s co-chairperson said Friday at the team’s spring training complex. “And personally, I like Manny. He’s one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game. He’s a free spirit for sure, but he knows how to win. We like some of the other guys, too. We just don’t know yet.”
Personally, I too like Manny Ramirez. Despite his age, despite his baggage, he is still one of the top five hitters in Major League Baseball. What I don’t like, however, is Hank Steinbrenner spouting off about the Yankees’ off-season plans.
I have no problem with Hank’s tendency to talk too much. But as he did last year, Hank is in danger of overplaying the Yankees’ hand. He may not have the baseball prowess or power to make a move, but he is part of the family that signs the checks. If he says he wants Manny Ramirez, then Manny and Scott Boras have even more leverage. The Yanks are better off if Hank says nothing. Whether Manny comes to New York is an entirely different story altogether.
SG at the Replacement Level Yankee Weblog took at a look at pitchers with inning loads similar to that of CC Sabathia and found that perhaps we shouldn’t be so keen to embrace Sabathia. While he has yet to run the numbers specifically on Sabathia, history does not favor pitchers who have thrown as many inning as he has by age 28. · (18) ·
Over at Blogging the Bombers, Mark Feinsand has the early odds on 2009. The Yankees are at 6/1 to win the World Series with only the Phillies, Angels, Cubs and Red Sox ahead of them. Imagine how good the Yanks will look with CC Sabathia, Manny Ramirez, Mark Teixeira and Willy Tavares on the team too.
It’s interesting to see how the Rays catapulted up the standings. Prior to the season, Vegas was giving anywhere from 150/1 to 100/1 on Tampa’s winning the World Series. While Baseball Prospectus had the upstart team as clear-cut AL East competitors, Vegas was slow to realize that Tampa had a potential worst-to-first team on their hands.
Heading into 2009, the long-shots are as follows:
Kansas City Royals 100/1
Baltimore Orioles 100/1
Seattle Mariners 100/1
San Diego Padres 100/1
Pittsburgh Pirates 200/1
Washington Nationals 300/1
I wouldn’t bet on any of those teams to surprise us next year though.
So now, as we head into Halloween and a Friday night after the World Series, let’s just open this thread up to whatever. Talk baseball; talk 2009; talk life; talk rumors; talk football. Just leave the partisan politics at the door, and if you’re hanging out at home looking for a place to chat, this thread’s your landing spot.
Via Mike Ashmore, the Yanks have added RHP Eric Hacker & LHP Wilkins DeLeRosa to the 40-man roster. Both players would have been eligible for the Rule 5 draft in December, and essential take the spots of Pudge & Abreu, who filed for free agency yesterday. I’m a bit surprised they added DeLaRosa, I think he would have slipped through the Rule 5 with ease because it would be tough for a team to keep a raw arm like that on their 25-man roster all season. This tells you what the Yanks think of both players, and I congratulate them both on this career milestone. · (27) ·
Seven years ago, I was a freshman in college. The country was just seven weeks removed from the horrible events of Sept. 11, and the Yankees were battling it out against the Diamondbacks in the World Series as the city poured its heart and soul into the games.
The night before, I had been at Yankee Stadium. Of course, I had leaped at the chance to go to game three of the World Series. With the Yanks down 2-0 to the Diamondbacks, they needed a win and got a solid, steady performance. As I returned to suburban Philadelphia and settled in to watch the rest of the series from the couch in our lounge, little did I realize the excitement and utter heartbreak the next five days would bring.
Halloween in 2001 was a Wednesday, and this midweek game would pit Curt Schilling against Orlando Hernandez. Prior to the game, Schilling lambasted the Yankee Stadium mystique and aura. He said that mystique and aura sounded more like cheap strippers than anything related to baseball. Little did Curt realize who would show up in the 9th and 10th innings.
For seven innings, Schilling and El Duque put on a show. Curt struck out nine in seven innings and gave up just three hits. The only blemish on his record was a Shane Spencer home run in the third. El Duque allowed eight baserunners in 6.1 innings, but Mike Stanton got Tony Womack to hit into a double play. Through seven, the game was knotted at one.
In the top of the eighth, Arizona broke through and carried a two-run lead into the bottom of the ninth. The Yanks were in trouble, and I and my fellow Yankee fans were slumping on the couches, dejected at the thought of a 3-1 Diamondbacks lead in the World Series. Byung-Hyun Kim was due to pitch, and he had been stellar that year with 113 strike outs in 98 innings.
Derek grounded out, but a Paul O’Neill single kept the inning alive. After Bernie Williams struck out, the Yanks’ fortunes rested on the bat of Tino Martinez. The Yanks’ first baseman wasted no time. On the first pitch — BAM! — tie game. Tino’s blast to nearly straight-away center field brought life back to the Yanks. It was his first hit of the series.
Kim would allow two more baserunners that inning, but it wouldn’t be until November that the Yanks would win this game. Shortly after the clock on the scoreboard hit midnight, Derek Jeter blasted a home run into the night as the Yanks drew even with the Diamondbacks.
I went to bed that night quite content. I wondered if I’d ever see anything as dramatic as that Yankee rally in the World Series again. Little did I realize what the next night would bring.
I don’t have a link for you yet, but this year’s Elias rankings are out. Quick rundown of the Yanks: Abreu, Pettitte, Moose & Marte are all Type-A’s, Pudge is a Type-B, and Giambi isn’t anything. Eddie Bajek at Tigers Thoughts had Pudge projected as a borderline Type-A, but alas, he barely missed the cut. Marte’s ranking isn’t worth anything, they’ll almost assuredly pick up his option. All-Star Catcher Jason Varitek is inexcusably a Type-A, somehow ahead of Pudge. Bah.
Update (1:45pm): Farnsworth is neither a Type-A or B. Hah.
Update (3:45pm): ESPN’s Free Agent Tracker has the Elias Rankings. Check them out there. · (17) ·
Perhaps, the Yanks will send off Yankee Stadium with an off-season ceremony after all. According to Pete Caldera, the Yankees may, next weekend, ask Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte to carry home plate across the street. This farewell with the four remaining members of the 1990s dynasty would be a fitting way to ring in the new park while saying good bye to the old. · (16) ·