…and, man, does he have a lot to say.
In a fantastic and compelling interview with CBS Newsradio 880′s Phil Allard, Cashman fields questions on, well, everything. He talks about the young pitcher prospects; Joba Chamberlain‘s future; the high-risk, high-reward nature of the Brackman draft pick; what the future holds for Humberto Sanchez, Ross Ohlendorf and the disappointing Kei Igawa; some injury updates; and of course, Alex Rodriguez.
The kicker is A-Rod. Cashman reiterates his stance: The Yanks will negotiate with A-Rod as long as the slugger does not opt out. Once he opts out of the contract, Alex Rodriguez will not be back as a member of the New York Yankees. For the Yanks, this makes perfect financial success. They want to keep the money flowing to A-Rod from Texas, and to do so, A-Rod will have to agree to an extension beyond the terms of his original deal.
If A-Rod opts out, a new deal would force the Yanks to pay A-Rod his entire salary. For the next three years under the current deal, Texas foots the bill for a substantial portion. But this unique financial arrangement means the Yanks can afford to pay A-Rod into the future. I think – and I hope – he stays.
Read the interview; it’s a great insight into the mind of the Yanks’ GM.
Meanwhile, in Toronto, as the AL Player of the Week looks to homer in his sixth straight game and Phil Hughes goes for his second straight strong start, Derek Jeter makes his triumphant return to the lineup. While the grumblings are that he’ll need to go in for minor off-season knee surgery, I won’t complain about the Captain’s return to the lineup.
On a related note, how great is it having a bench? While Wilson Betemit had struggled with irregular playing time in August, filling in for the Jeter the last few days, Betemit has gone 5 for his last 13 with a 1 HR and 5 RBI. Miguel Cairo never did that.
Meanwhile, today’s game is brought to you by the number 15. When the Tigers lost game 1 of their day-night doubleheader to the Rangers this afternoon, the Yanks saw their magic number to clinch the Wild Card drop to 15.
Phil Hughes P
According to reports, the city’s Industrial Development Agency postponed a vote on the Yankee Stadium parking tax exemption plan. Some board members had more questions about this plan that could cost taxpayers up to $8000 per parking space. It sounds like the board listened to the Bronx Borough President’s formal protest. · (0) ·
Leave it to the New York Post to turn the Joba Rules and a new playoff format into some whiny article with little basis in reality.
In today’s sports section in the once-proud paper, Larry Brooks opines on the way The Man is conspiring to keep down the Yankees. Brooks says:
That’s because, The Post has learned, the AL regular-season champion will be given the choice of whether to play Division Series A, in which the if-necessary five games are scheduled to be played in seven days beginning on Thurs, Oct. 4; or in Division Series B, in which the five games are scheduled to be played in eight days…
Is it such a stretch to think that the Red Sox, who went into last night leading the Angels by 2½ and the Indians by 3½ for the league’s best record, wouldn’t jump at the chance to play the eight-day series if for no other reason than to require the Yankees to play the seven-day series so Joba Chamberlain would only be available for three games, instead of the four in which he’d be allowed to pitch in the extended version?
When did “regular-season champion” become a term? I thought the regular season champion came out of the League Championship Series. Shows how much I know about baseball.
Throughout the rest of the article, Brooks finds fault with the Yankees for failing to finish with the league’s best record. He says they picked a bad year; he basically says baseball is conspiring against them.
Not once does Brooks consider the obvious: Perhaps in the postseason, the Yankees will relax the Joba Rules.
“Heresy!” you may scream. Well, before you burn me at the stake for offering such an audacious suggestion, let me remind you that the Yankees themselves talked about relaxing the Joba rules earlier this month.
Heaven forbid someone at the Post actually do some reporting before levying doomsday playoff scenarios. Alexander Hamilton must be spinning in his grave.
Are any of you readers having intermittent issues with loading River Ave. Blues? We’ve seen some strange Google search hits for the site and just wanted to make sure everything seems okay. So just leave a comment here if you can or e-mail me at Ben at riveraveblues dot com, replacing the necessary words with punctuation, if something seems out-of-whack around here.
There is quite a bit of Yankee-related content in the mainstream media today, so let’s make the rounds. (Aside: See, if we bloggers had some degree of access, we wouldn’t have to go linking these stories; we could create them ourselves.)
Roger Clemens has rejoined the team in Toronto. His scheduled bullpen session today will determine whether he starts against Curt Schilling on Sunday at Fenway Park. As long as IPK stays in the rotation after this move, I’m fine with it.
The Red Sox were Kazmired, dropping a 1-0 contest to the D-Rays. That’s good news for the Yanks, since the Red Sox will inevitably wallop the Rays over the next few games. It puts the Yanks just five back, and with a stroke of luck they might enter the weekend series just four games out of first place in the AL East.
There’s an article in the Bergen Record recounting A-Rod’s growing relationship with Joe Torre. This is significant because of the off-season implications. Torre’s contract is up after this season, but what if A-Rod declares that he’ll stay only if the manager returns? That could be an even more perplexing question than the one Mike posed yesterday.
Tim Marchman, who is probably the best sportswriter in the New York press, opines that A-Rod is as good as gone come the off-season. His most likely destination: Boston.
Remember how the Yankees’ 2005 start in Japan screwed them up for a few weeks? Remember how Mike Mussina whined about it for a while, Kevin Brown came down with a parasite, and the Yanks generally seemed like they were sleepwalking through April? Well, next year, the Red Sox are opening up their season in Japan. This inconvenient trip and a pitcher who is 1-4 with a 9.57 ERA over his last five starts is what the Red Sox get for their $102 million investment. · (4) ·
Double-A Trenton was off tonight. Game 1 of the Eastern League Championship Series is tomorrow, with the primo pitching matchup of Tyler Clippard vs. Chuck Lofgren.
Update: Looks like Akron is pulling out the big guns, and sending Adam Miller to the mound in Game 1. Here’s the series preview.
Short Season Staten Island (3-1 loss to Brooklyn) Brooklyn wins the best-of-three series 2-0…fog delayed the start of the game nearly 2 hours, then another 50 minutes after the 5th inning
Justin Snyder & Braedyn Pruitt: both 0 for 4 – Snyder K’ed thrice…Pruitt once…this team doesn’t win if these guys do that
Taylor Holiday: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 CS
Damon Sublett & Chris Raber: both 1 for 4, 2 K
Austin Krum: 1 for 4, 1 R
DJ Hollingsworth: 2 for 3, 1 RBI – drove in the team’s only run on a sac fly
Jose Gil: 1 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K – left 2 RISP with 2 outs
Darrell Rasner: 5 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HB – he had been sent to Scranton last week in anticipation of helping the Triple-A team on their playoff run, but was sent back to SI when Scranton was knocked out
Nick Chigges: 0.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K – had given up only 1 ER in his previous 21 IP
Craig Heyer: 2.1 IP, 1 H, zeroes, 4 K
Baseball America’s Jim Callis tackles the Phil Hughes Conundrum in today’s Ask BA column. As the grumblings about Hughes’ subpar 2007 performance have grown louder, many are starting to wonder if the Hughes Hype was simply hot air.
Here is Callis’ take on the Hughes issue:
Coming into 2007, I rated Hughes as the top pitching prospect in the minors. I still am very high on him, but the bottom line is that he hasn’t shown the same quality of pitches that he did a year ago. Instead of ranging from 91-95 mph with his fastball, he’s showing just average velocity at 88-92 mph. His curveball has gone from an out pitch to just mediocre.
This just isn’t the real Phil Hughes. What we’re seeing is probably related to the severe hamstring injury he sustained in his second big league start back in May. His command hasn’t been as sharp as usual, either, though that’s typical for rookie pitchers. In 2008, when Hughes is fully healthy and better acclimated to the majors, I think we’ll see why he was so highly regarded in the minors.
Basically, Callis is echoing what we said on Thursday. It’s quite likely that Hughes is still dealing with issues from the hamstring injury. Whether it’s a question of shortening his stride because of lingering fears of a recurrence or simply arm strength and mechanical issues from the long pitching layoff, Hughes hasn’t been pitching as Hughesian levels.
Right now, I’m not concerned about Phil. I’m sure an off-season of rest will do him wonders, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn it around this month and next. A healthy and effective Phil Hughes would be a huge boost to a Yankee rotation full of question marks after Pettitte and Wang.
In August, Andy Pettitte went 6-0 with a 2.36 ERA. With those six victories, he became the first pitcher this year to win six games in one month, and for his efforts, he took home the Clutch Player of the Month Award. Pettitte’s been a great pickup for the Yanks this year, and I can only wonder how 2004-2006 would have ended had Pettitte been in Yankee pinstripes then. · (3) ·