As part of a multi-billion-dollar deal to broadcast baseball, TBS gets the non-exclusive rights to Sunday baseball games. This weekend, while I watched the Sabathia-Wang pitcher’s duel on the YES Network, fans around the country could tune in on TBS.
While watching the game, Maury Brown, the man behind the Biz of Baseball site, transcribed some of the more interesting tidbits from the broadcast. The first topic I found interesting focused around CC Sabathia:
CC Sabathia on his impending free agency: “This is home, I mean I’ve been here since I was 17 years old, eleven years now. This is the only place I know and I feel comfortable here, coming in from the parking attendants to the General Manager I feel comfortable, so that’s been the biggest difference.”
Martinez on the CC Sabathia’s needs versus those of the MLB Players Association: “He is very genuine and sincere about his desire to stay here (in Cleveland). Get the deal done and don’t let the outside influences cloud your judgment. The Players Association want him to set the standard for free agent contracts in this off-season and at his age, 27, he’ll turn 28 in July, he is the premiere free agent pitcher on the market. (Johan) Santana’s contract of 137 million with the Mets, they want him to out do that contract, and I don’t know if that is going to make him happy.
While Buck Martinez and Chip Caray were discussing this, so were the Yanks’ announcers. It seems that Kevin Millwood, unhappy in Texas despite the big bucks, called his former teammate and warned him to pitch where he is happy even if that means giving up a few dollars. For the Yankees, this could be a sign that they shouldn’t be counting on overwhelming Sabathia with dollars. Perhaps Sabathia will elect to remain with Cleveland for fewer dollars if the team makes a ballpark offer.
On the other hand, it seems that Sabathia knows he could have a four-year, $80-million extension from the Indians and has elected to pitch out the season anyway. If he continues to throw like he has in his last two outings, he’ll easily clear that $80 million and stands to land a deal in between those signed by the Giants’ reliever Barry Zito and the Mets’ starter Johan Santana.
The other topic was, of course, Joba Chamberlain. Take it away, Buck Martinez:
“I know there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Joba Chamberlain about whether he should start or be used as an eighth inning set-up guy and as a former manager this is where he was meant to be in my mind…I believe he can turn into Mariano Rivera in a couple of years when Rivera steps aside.”
In less than a couple of years, he could be an ace starter giving the Yankees way more than one inning every two or three games. With Rivera under contract for three more years after this one, why waste Chamberlain in the eighth inning for years on end? But then again, we’re just beating a dead horse with this one.
While you and I don’t think baseball is a boring sport, TV ratings for the game’s big-ticket events — the playoffs and World Series come to mind — have been trending downward recently. Yesterday, the Freakonomics blog tried to look at ways to make the game more “interesting.” The piece fails, in my opinion, because it focuses instead on new strategies and not overall ways to draw more casual fans to the game. Yes, managers are getting more creative with their pitchers. We’ve seen relievers play the outfield and return to the mound; we’ve seen pitchers bat eighth; and we’ve seen starters come in as relievers if the weather’s bad. But do any of those moves really draw in more fans or do they simply excite the baseball geeks in all of us? · (7) ·
In an Ed Price notebook today, we learn that a few anonymous sources claim that Jorge’s injury is not season-ending. An official diagnosis is forthcoming. More interesting and concrete, however, is the news about the Yanks will handle Jose Molina. They recognize that Molina cannot catch every single day; he is, after all, a career backup catcher. Expect Molina to play three days in a row with Chris Stewart sinking or swimming during those other games. Molina’s health and freshness is riding on Stewart quite a bit. · (11) ·
It went a little bit something like this: infield single, infield single, line drive single, HBP, ground out, ground out, infield single. And all of a sudden, the Yanks had a 4-2 lead. They wouldn’t look back.
Behind another solid outing by Mike Mussina, the Yanks salvaged a split of their four-game trip to Cleveland. Moose worked his way through five innings, and what we saw today is what we’ll get from Mussina. He tired around 85 pitches; he gave up 7 hits; he struck out just two. But he kept the Yankees in the game.
As long as Mussina’s not throwing against the elite offenses, he seems to be a good back-end starter for the Yanks. He’s 3-3 with a 4.72 ERA, and I’ll be happy if he can keep that ERA around that 4.50-4.75 mark. Anything else is gravy.
After Moose, the bullpen took over. Jonathan Albaladejo, Kyle Farnsworth, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera combined for four innings of work, three of which were 1-2-3 innings. Tonight’s inning was Kyle Farnsworth’s fourth 1-2-3 appearance of the season. Hell hath frozen over.
Rivera meanwhile continues to wow everyone all the time. In ten games, he’s thrown 11 innings and has allowed four hits. He’s walked no one and has 11 strike outs. He has eight saves already this year.
On the other side of the ball, the Yankee offense again packed little punch. Outside of that sixth inning, the Yanks managed just one hit, and after the wind knocked down a few first-inning blasts, they hardly hit the ball with much authority throughout the remainder of the game. A Hideki Matsui RBI double in the 8th would be the loan rocket. But a win is a win is a win, and the Yanks return home after a brutal stretch of the schedule at 14-13, one game out of first and two games ahead of their 2007 pace.
But for all of this, the win pales in comparison to the news that came out of Yankee camp after the game. When Johnny Damon pinch hit for A-Rod in the eighth, we all knew something was up. And something is up indeed. According to Kat O’Brien, A-Rod has reaggrevated his quad injury. He felt it in the fourth, and it got worse as the game wore on. The slugger says he won’t be able to play on Tuesday, and he feels he rushed back from the initial injury.
In other bad news, the Yankees, according to Tyler Kepner, fear that Posada could have damaged his labrum by playing through his shoulder injury recently. The Yankees and Posada are awaiting word of the catcher’s trip to Dr. James Andrews. It is important to note that this not an age-related injury. Posada tweaked his shoulder on an awkward throw to second on Opening Day. That could happen anytime. Cashman detractors will criticize the Yanks for tossing a 36-year-old catcher a four-year deal, but this injury is not a good selling point for that side of the argument.
The Yanks will take the win, but it’s a bit bittersweet as two of their top sluggers work their ways through injuries. A trip home has never sounded so nice right now.
D-Ras is your Triple-A International League Pitcher of the Week. Well deserved.
Triple-A Scranton (5-2 loss to Buffalo)
Brett Gardner, Juan Miranda, Eric Duncan & Jason Brown: all 1 for 4 – Gardner walked & K’ed … Miranda walked once & K’ed twice … E-Dunc & Brown each K’ed twice
Bernie Castro: 3 for 5, 1 K, 2 SB
Nick Green: 0 for 5 – batted third … no joke!
Jason Lane: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB
Cody Ransom: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K - 10 of his 23 hits have gone for extra bases
The Ghost of Kei Igawa: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 7-5 GB/FB – 32-8 K/BB ratio … who knew?
Steven Jackson: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Scott Patterson: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 WP – 12 baserunners in his last 8.2 IP … very un-Patterson-esque
Scott Strickland: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Oh, lefties, how the Yankees hate you.
While the Yankee offense has sputtered all season, against lefties, their numbers are particularly brutal. In a combined 186 at bats, the Yanks are hitting .247/.325/.339 against lefties. They’ve managed just three home runs off of southpaws and just nine extra-base hits overall. Against righties, the team is hitting a not-quite-so-robust .267/.332/.454 in 692 at bats.
So after facing a tough lefty yesterday and managing just one run on four hits, the Yanks are in for yet another lefty starter. Tonight, they’re facing Aaron Laffey, a soft-throwing lefty making his 10th Major League start and first against the Bombers. Laffey’s a high-80s guy with a decent sinker. I hope it’s not one of those games where I want to hurl my TV out the window by the end of the third inning.
To counter Laffey, the Yanks are turning to none other than Mike Mussina. Moose threw a great game against Chicago last week. Can he put together back-to-back starts against good-hitting teams? Time will tell. The weather — a game-time temperature of 47 degrees — does not bode well.
Meanwhile, it seems as though Chris Stewart, the Yanks’ fourth-string catcher, will don number 38. I’m not sure what Chris Britton will take in his place, but I do expect fans of Matt Nokes and 1984 Jose Rijo to boo Stewart tomorrow night at the stadium. How dare he takes Randy Choates’ old number? (For more on Stewart, check out this profile.)
Game Notes: The Shelley Duncan two-day experiment is over. Jason Giambi — 0 for 10 against lefties this year — is in the lineup, and Hideki Matsui‘s two-day vacation is over…RAB is now tabloid-free. Find out more in this post.
When in the Course of baseball events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the hyperlinked bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of The Game and of Baseball’s Gods entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold this truth to be self-evident, that all fans are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are truth, logic, and the pursuit of further knowledge.
That to secure these rights, publications are distributed among men and women, deriving their just powers from the consent of the readers, That whenever any publication becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new publications, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Knowledge and Sanity. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that publications long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that readers are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such publications, and to provide new Guards for their future enjoyment.
Such has been the patient sufferance of these readers; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former publications. The histories of the New York Post and Daily News are histories of repeated irrational thoughts and fallacies, all having in direct object the dumbing down of fanbases. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
Let it be known that from this day forward, with the few exceptions to be noted, RAB will no longer acknowledge the bodies of work created by New York tabloids. We take this stand in the name of sanity for all Yankees fans, and further for all who enjoy the game of baseball.
Every day, these publications assail our better senses and bring us little in the way of opinion and insight. We are constantly bombarded with fabricated rumors, flimsy analysis, and half-baked opinions that do not pass muster to the educated fan.
So, in the interest of saving our readers time and anguish, we will forego even making mention of these publications. However, in the further interest of providing our readers with the most comprehensive view of the New York Yankees, we include the following exclusions:
- Blog posts from Daily News beat writer Mark Feinsand, which contain factual statements which may be of interest to RAB readers.
- Updates on the new stadium which happen to be exclusive to a tabloid publication.
As the nature of scoops has changed, so has our dependence on traditional outlets. What appears one place may appear in many within minutes. This gives us a greater body of source work on which to base our stories. So we can, from this point forward, simply ignore the works which we consider insulting to our and our readers’ intelligences.
Update: For clarity, this applies to the NY Post and the non-Feinsand portion of the Daily News. Pete Abraham does not write for a tabloid, and is under no fire here.
When Jorge Posada went on the DL yesterday, the Yankees had to resort to recalling their fourth-string backup catcher up from the Minors. The team had to DFA third-string backup catcher Chad Moeller on Friday to clear some roster space, and as the Yanks await the ten-day waiver period for Moeller, they had to call up some guy named Chris Stewart.
For even the most avid of Yankee fans, the name Chris Stewart is sure to raise a few eyebrows. “Who is this guy?” I wondered to myself yesterday when word of his call up came down. So I went looking.
Chris Stewart is a 26-year-old catcher out of Riverside Community College in California. He was drafted in the 12th round and 373rd overall by the Chicago White Sox in 2001. He toiled through the White Sox’s system and made his Major League debut on Sept. 6, 2006. As a September call-up for the Sox, he went 0 for 8 in six games. He did throw out two of the three runners who tried to steal off of him.
The White Sox shipped him to the Rangers in January of 2007, but Stewart didn’t fare much better in Texas. He started the season as Gerald Laird’s backup and made it all the way to June 9 before getting his ticket punched to AAA Oklahoma City. With the Rangers, Stewart went 9 for 37 over 17 games. Two of his hits went for doubles; the rest were singles. He also walked three times. Behind the plate, he threw out four of the 12 runners attempting to steal off of him but was charged with three passed balls as well.
As a Minor Leaguer, Stewart’s offense has been less than stellar. This season with Scranton, he’s 12 for 40 (an even .300) with a .404 OBP but only a .375 slugging. For his career, he’s hit .253/.314/.361 with just 21 home runs over 1583 plate appearances. Behind the dish, he’s had his problems too. Despite being tagged as the White Sox’s best defensive catcher in 2005, he’s been charged with 61 passed balls over the 361 games he’s caught. On the plus side, as Baseball America reported last year, he led the Southern League in throwing out 52 percent of would-be basestealers in 2005 and ranked second in the International League in 2006 with 49 percent.
While Darrell Rasner seems to like throwing to Chris Stewart, he is very much a back-up back-up back-up catcher. He’s a no-hit catcher with a decent arm who’s improved behind the plate a bit but doesn’t seem like a future Gold Glover. He won’t get much playing time in New York, if any, and I’m guessing we’ll see Chad Moeller return once he is eligible to do so. The list of available catchers is slim, and the Yanks are a bit stuck for now. Here’s hoping Jose Molina doesn’t go down anytime soon.
Tyler Kepner, writing on the Bats blog, reminds us that not only will we miss Jorge Posada’s offense while he’s on the DL, but we’ll miss his toughness as well. It’s hard to overstate what Posada means to this Yankee team. He’s a feared switch-hitter in the middle of the order with an excellent feel for his pitching staff. While a few Yankee fans may criticize them for signing an old catcher to a four-year deal, this injury is not age-related, and it’s a blow the Yanks will have to absorb for now. · (8) ·