The Yanks hold a $20 million option or a $5 million buy-out on Jason Giambi’s contract. While the team will, in all likelihood, not exercise that option, Giambi says he would like to return to the Yanks. I’m on the fence here. The Yanks need the 134 OPS+ Giambi brings to the table, and he’s certainly a much better option than Hideki Matsui at this point. But they need a better first baseman, and the team really needs to get younger. For the right price, I’d bring him back but not at the expense of any other potential moves to improve the team. · (22) ·
Jim Palmer, an old buddy of Mike Mussina’s for his Orioles days, spoke to a MASN reporter yesterday and dropped in a line about Moose’s future. According to Palmer, Mussina told the Hall of Famer that he doesn’t think he’ll pitch in 2009. If Mussina, who goes for win number 20 this weekend, the Yankees would have quite a few rotation holes to fill in the coming months. · (32) ·
It’s amazing what $39.95 million can buy in these troubled economic times. For their pretty penny, the Yanks got 26 starts and nine wins. That’s just $4.43 million a win. Act now; supplies are going fast.
In a rather inglorious fashion, the Carl Pavano Era in the Bronx likely ended last night when Pavano and a bunch of Yankee farmhands lost to the Blue Jays 8-2. Roy Halladay threw a complete game, giving up six hits and a walk in the process, and if it seemed like the fifth time this year the Yanks have lost to Hallday, well, that’s because it was. Only once did the Yanks beat the AL Cy Young candidate, and that was a way back on Opening Day when Chien-Ming Wang outdueled Halladay.
For Pavano, today was hardly a stellar start in his effort to find himself a job for next year. He lasted just 3.2 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out one.
On the season, Pavano made seven starts for the Yanks and has thrown 34.1 innings. He has a 4-2 record with a 5.77 ERA, and he struck out 15 while walking 10. While we’ve debated the merits of picking up Pavano’s option for 2009 to ensure some pitching depth, the truth is that Pavano just hasn’t offered up much. He hasn’t shown much control; his breaking pitches are doing much breaking. It seems as though, after three season of inactivity, Pavano has turned from a pitcher into a thrower.
What Pavano and his failed tenure symbolize for the Yanks is up for debate. It could stand for the frustrations of the last few seasons. It could stand for an era of decadence in which the Yanks tried to grab every big-name free agent out of there regardless of numbers of make-up. Or it could just have been a high-profile mistake that, today, doesn’t even seem that expensive.
At some point, another Carl Pavano will come along. In fact, Carl wasn’t the first of his kind – Darren Dreifort and Mike Hampton come to mind — and he won’t be the last. But as Pavano heads for greener pastures, perhaps the Yanks have learned their lessons about signing pitchers that just aren’t that good. Good bye, Carl. We hardly knew ye.
While Joe alluded to a problem with Mariano Rivera in the game thread, we didn’t realize the severity of the issue until later on. The Yanks’ All Star closer left the team in Toronto in order to get an MRI in New York on his sore right shoulder. Clearly, this isn’t the best news, but we’ll hold our breaths under the Yanks announce the test results tomorrow. More on the Yanks’ loss to the Blue Jays in a bit.
Update 11:38 Tyler Kepner reports that Rivera may need arthroscopic surgery but would be ready for Spring Training. The Yanks aren’t sure. That’s some way to put a damper on the end of a disappointing season. · (27) ·
Not that I’m complaining. I’m actually glad to see Frankie Cervelli behind the plate tonight. And no, I don’t mind seeing Melky’s cute little baby face patrolling left. Might as well get him some time while things don’t matter.
Ben wanted me to share this with you guys:
A win tonight would solidify our spot in third place. In other words, our magic number is one. For a meaningless consolation prize. Though, as I’ve said, 90 wins would be nice, in an it-doesn’t-matter kind of way.
Most eyes will be on the Mets/Cubs game tonight. I know it’ll be on at the bar I’m hitting. I’d much rather see the Twins/White Sox, though. The Twinkies can go up a half game if they complete the sweep tonight, and have to face KC over the weekend, while Chicago gets the resurgent Indians, who have a chance to finish at .500 for the season. Imagine if they hadn’t dished CC.
Enough of that. Onto the lineups.
And on the mound, number forty-five, Carl Pavano.
Notes: Mo is back in New York getting a physical. Girardi says he’ll be able to pitch over the weekend. We’ll see about that.
A moment ago, the Diamondbacks lost to the Cardinals, and the Dodgers clinched the NL West. For the 13th season in a row, Joe Torre has managed his team to the playoffs. While the media will soon be all over St. Joe for this one, the Yankees have clinched at least the same record as the Dodgers, and LA plays in a weaker division. Manny Ramirez also deserves a lot of credit for driving the Dodgers to the playoffs. But for all that, I’ll tip my cap to Joe. That streak is quite an accomplishment, and this playoff berth is the reason why the Dodgers signed him. · (34) ·
In a typical fact-less anti-A-Rod column, Fox Sports’ Ian O’Connor writes about the uneasy marriage between the Yankees and their expensive third baseman. O’Connor doesn’t think that A-Rod will make it through his contract as a Yankee and anticipates the team’s trading him within five years. My only questions are thus: Why would the Yankees ever trade A-Rod to a team that would be in a position to compete against them? How would the Yanks replace A-Rod’s bat? A-Rod might not be the most beloved Yankee ever, but the two of them can’t really exist without each other anymore. · (58) ·
A topic we’ve hotly debated in the comments over the past few months is A.J. Burnett. He’s eligible to opt out of the five-year, $55 million deal he signed after the 2005 season, and most people think he will. After he made his final start of the 2008 season last night, many Blue Jays bloggers bid him adieu, admitting that the chances of his return are slim. The Jays are rumored to be negotiating an extension, but at this point, this close to free agency, it’s not probable.
It’s not difficult to concoct an argument against signing Burnett. He’ll be 32 for the start of the 2009 season, and will likely require a four- or five-year contract with an average annual value of around $15 million, possibly more. That’s quite a risk to take on a guy who has just three 200-inning seasons in his career — and followed two of them up with injury-shortened campaigns. In short, taking on Burnett would be a considerable risk.
When he’s on, though, he’s nearly unhittable. Even with his ERA north of 4.00 this season (though just barely), he’s still struck out 231 in 221 innings, walking 86 in that time. His 19 home runs is quite low, too.
One case I’ve heard for signing him is that he’s a Yankee killer, so it makes sense to have him pitching for us instead of against us. He does, after all, hold a career 2.43 ERA against the Yankees in 77.2 innings of work. That alone, though, isn’t good enough a reason to ink him. Yeah, he might hurt us if he’s pitching for another AL team, though that damage is far lessened by just getting him out of the A.L. East.
You know what other team he’s succeeded against? Yep. The Red Sox. In 56.1 career innings against Boston, he’s pitched to a 2.56 ERA, including a 2.60 mark over 27.2 innings this year. In four starts, two of them in Fenway, he allowed just two homers, striking out 24 and walking 13. They hit a paltry .206 against him this year, and have managed just a .212 average over his career.
Does this mean that we should sign Burnett? Hardly. It does provide another point for the team to consider, though. Not only does he pitch well against them, but he pitches well against the Sox — and wasn’t too shabby against the Rays this year, striking out 26 to 8 walks in 20 innings (3.15 ERA). Which, of course, makes me wonder if the Red Sox will be in on him. While I’m open to the idea of Burnett, I’m not too keen on a bidding war over him. I hope the Yanks front office isn’t, either.
Image from flickr user Larry Coor under a Creative Commons license.
If you’ve read books like Wikinomics and The Starfish and the Spider, you know that Lego has done much over the past few years to encourage their building community. One Lego artist has decided to pay tribute to the House that Ruth Built by recreating it with plastic bricks. Sean Kenney details the experience at his Lego artist website.
The model is five feet by five feet, rendering it at a scale of 1:150. With the help of a Manhattan gradeschooler, Kenney has snapped 45,000 bricks in place. The model should be completed within the next few months. They’ve been working on it since February 2006.
Once again, you can check out Sean Kenney’s Lego artist website to check out even more photos, plus check out the other things he’s building. I was a huge Lego fan as a kid, so looking through his portfolio was rather neat.
Thanks to Swarna for sending this in.
The Yankees find themselves in a rather odd position right now. They’ve won seven in a row and 10 out of their last 11 contests. They have the fourth best record in the AL and are tied with the Mets and Brewers for seventh best overall in baseball. Yet, they’re heading home in four days, and I find myself thinking that, maybe, perhaps this would have been easier had the team now gotten so hot in September.
Right now, the Yankees are the hottest team in baseball. Over their 10-1 stretch, they’re pitching to an ERA of 2.52, and opponents are hitting about as well as Melky Cabrera against them. While they’re scoring 5.4 runs per game, that is decidedly better than their season pace of 4.8 runs per game. Where has this team been all year?
What the Yanks have done over the last two weeks is tease their fans. They’ve turned it up a notch when it was too late in the season for them to control their own destiny. We’ve seen Mike Mussina reach 19 wins for the first time in 12 years; we saw Phil Hughes throw eight innings in a start for the first time in his Big League career; we’ve seen the bullpen throw lights out ball; and we’ve seen the Yanks pick up that big hit — as Bobby Abreu did last night — when they absolutely needed it.
Just in case you’ve forgotten, none of that had happened earlier in the year. Phil Hughes in April was 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA. No one was getting hits at the right time, and the Yanks couldn’t buy runs if they tried.
This run has certainly made for a fun September, but it’s made for a forlorn month as well. It’s made for a month of what if’s. What if the Yanks had played like this not just in September but in April, May and June? What if the Yanks had won just five or six more games earlier this year? Baseball has always been a game of what if’s, but for some reason, with the recent Yankee resurgence, this year seems to hurt more than the playoff losses from years gone by.
I guess we’ll just have to do what the old Brooklyn Dodger fans long did. We’ll wait ’til next year, and we’ll get ‘em then.