When tonight’s Reds starter Edinson Volquez made his Major League debut, he was 21 years old and a phenom out of the Texas Rangers’ system. He struggled mightily that year, going 0-4 with an ERA of 14.21.

Over the next two years, he would improve but not by much. In 2006 and 2007, he was 3-7 with a 5.90 ERA. While his strike out totals improved in 2007 to a shade under one K per inning, the Rangers opted to trade the youngster for Josh Hamilton last winter. It’s been a win-win trade for both teams.

On the season, Volquez has been one of the top NL pitchers. He’s 9-2 with a 1.64 ERA. In 88 innings, he’s given up 29 fewer hits per innings pitched, but he’s walked a batter an inning every two innings. His 105 strike outs are rather impressive.

Volquez is a study in patience with youth. He made his debut just a few weeks after his 22nd birthday, and now he has matured into a pitcher everyone thought he would be. Keep that mind when next you disparage Phil Hughes for a bad start this year.

On the mound for the Yankees is Father Time himself, going for his 11th win. Mike Mussina will have to pitch a tight game to give the Yankees an opening they’ll need against Volquez. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

Damon LF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Giambi 1B
Cano 2B
Cabrera CF
Molina C

Mussina P

Categories : Game Threads
Comments (116)

Back in 2000, as part of a charity auction, cows decorated by people from all over adorned the streets of New York as part of the Cow Parade. This year, with the All Star Game in town, MLB is releasing its own version of the cow parade: baseball-themed replicas of the Statue of Liberty.

Throughout the city starting today, observant New Yorkers can find 42 different Statues celebrating the 30 teams, the Brooklyn Dodgers and various other New York City baseball related designs.

I like this idea. While it’s clearly a bit gimmicky, it’s a nice way of honoring the city while marketing baseball, and if it’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few years, it’s that baseball needs to find a few feel-good marketing campaigns to run. Much like they did with the cows, fans will hunt down these statues for photo ops, and the casual person happening upon one of these statues will stop and notice it.

Per the press release, find the statues here, among other places:

STATUE LOCATION
All-Star Game MLB, 245 Park Avenue
American League Statue of Liberty
National League Ellis Island
Brooklyn Dodgers Topps, One Whitehall Street
New York Giants Toys “R” Us, Times Square,1514 Broadway
New York Mets Penn Station, 2 Penn Plaza
Yankee Stadium tribute Yankee Stadium
Atlanta Braves World Financial Center Plaza
Boston Red Sox Sports Museum of America, 26 Broadway
Chicago Cubs 20 Broad Street, near N.Y. Stock Exchange
Pittsburgh Pirates 888 7th Avenue, near Carnegie Hall
St. Louis Cardinals 1290 Ave. of the Americas, near Radio City
Tampa Bay Rays Champs, 5 Times Square

Of course, you can also buy replicas online as well. The one commemorating the last season in Yankee Stadium is pretty neat.

Categories : All Star Game
Comments (9)
  • Free ticket for Volquez vs. Mussina
    By

    We’ve got a free extra to tonight’s game. Seats are in the bleachers. First person who wants the ticket to leave a comment in this thread with a valid e-mail address in the e-mail field (where it will stay private) gets it. Please be in New York and able to go the game tonight. Ready, set, go. · (5) ·

  • Checking in on Kei Igawa
    By

    It’s time for the once-a-month look back at Kei Igawa! This time, it’s brought to you by Rainer Sabin and The New York Times. Reading about Kei’s predicament in Scranton and his constant trips to New York to visit his wife, I feel bad for the Yanks’ expensive left-handed flop. He just wants to do well. · (19) ·

For those of you who get to the bottom of the DotF comments, there’s some video on the Pat Venditte incident from last night. It’s a bit long, but if you want to make him play the hitter for a fool, fast forward to the last few seconds.

Categories : Whimsy
Comments (70)

Is it too early to think about 2009? It seems as though, in Yankee-land, it is not.

Toward the end of Jayson Stark’s latest (and voluminous) Rumblings & Grumblings, the ESPN columnist drops in a note about Jason Giambi and the Yankees:

Price of the Giambino: Two months ago, we would have set the odds of Jason Giambi’s returning to the Bronx next year at approximately, well, zero. But we’re hearing the Yankees have sent signals to Giambi that, assuming he stays healthy and reasonably productive, they would be amenable to bringing him back next year. There’s zilch chance they’ll pick up his $22 million option. But a modest one-year offer, on top of his $5 million buyout, apparently is no longer out of the question. Who’d have thunk it?

Who’d have thunk it? Well, outside of our own Jamal, approximately no one. We knew Giambi wasn’t going to be terrible all season; we didn’t realize he would start putting up MVP-caliber numbers over a significant stretch of the season.

Now, I don’t need to rehash Giambi’s numbers since he broke out of his slump. I’ve done that recently here and, in a more in-depth post here this week. Suffice it to say that Jason Giambi is having a stretch right now that ranks among his best in pinstripes.

So what are the Yankees to do next year and beyond? The Yanks hold a $20 million option or a $5 million buyout for Giambi. There’s almost no chance that the Yanks would opt to exercise that option. Stark’s sources speculate that the Yankees would be more inclined to exercise that buy out and sign Giambi to a much lower one-year deal.

There are of course a few factors involved in this decision. One of those factors lies with Jason Giambi. If Jason continues to mash this year, the odds are pretty good that he could land a deal longer than one year. He’ll have to decide if he wants to stick around New York or go for a longer contract. I highly doubt the Yanks would be willing to do more than a year-to-year situation with Giambi. Maybe they would give him a two-year deal with a lower salary but some high incentives.

The other factor, of course, lies with the Yankees. If Jason Giambi can be a productive offensive player, the Yankees will definitely look to bring him back. He hasn’t been terrible in the field this year, and he more than makes up for it at the plate. Furthermore, the Yanks seem to believe that Hideki Matsui is no longer as durable as he once was and are hoping to prolong Jorge Posada‘s career by spelling him behind the plate as often as possible. Giambi could do a bit of 1B/DH platooning next year.

But if the Yankees want to go young — or younger — and take a long, hard look at Mark Teixeira in the off-season, they probably wouldn’t opt to retain Giambi and Matsui. Despite the age difference, I’d almost take Giambi over Matsui with that lineup. Of course, economics play into it too. If the Yanks are going to be paying Giambi $5 million not to renew his contract, they’ll probably want some of that money to go to on-field production and would thus be more willing to bring him back for the right price.

In the end, of course, despite Stark’s assertions, it’s way too early to be making this decision. We still have over half the season to go, and questions of frailty surround Jason Giambi. It’s interesting to think about it, and if Giambi stays healthy and keeps producing, the Yanks will have to make a decision this October that probably doesn’t have a right or wrong answer.

Categories : Analysis
Comments (95)

Mike is out of commission for the next few nights. So I’m taking over the Down on the Farm reins for a few days. Don’t worry; I’m not staging a coup. I’ll have a link to the box scores and a few stat lines but not nearly as many as Mike features. Feel free to add more depth in the comments.

AAA Scranton-Wilkes Barre lost to the Toledo Mud Hens 4-3(box score).
Alan Horne – 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K – He threw 96 pitches but only 53 for strikes in a losing effort
David Robertson – 2 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K
Shelley Duncan – 1 for 4 with his 7th AAA HR of the year

The Mud Heads featured former Yankee farm hand and Major Leaguer Fernando Seguignol as their clean-up hitter. The Yanks owe a thanks to the 33 year old as he was once traded by the Yanks to the Expos for a pitcher named John Wetteland.

Read More→

Categories : Down on the Farm
Comments (41)
  • Open Thread: Evaluating RAB
    By

    So things are good in Yankee-land tonight. While the Yanks have the evening off, an afternoon win brought the Bombers their seventh victory in a row. With a plethora of open threads lately, we figured now would be a good time for some site evaluations. Thanks to Mike’s tireless draft coverage, we’ve had a huge month traffc-wise, and today, Joe debuted first RAB podcast.

    So I want to take this opportunity to ask you, our readers, to evaluate the site with a critical eye. If you think we’re doing a great job and shouldn’t change a thing, thank you, but we’re not fishing for congratulations. We’d rather reserve this thread for comments about what we aren’t doing or aren’t doing well. What would you do to improve the site? What would you like to see added to our coverage? Leave your ideas in the comments, and we’ll sift through ‘em over the next few weeks. The feedback would be a massive contribution to the site.
    · (95) ·