• Mazzone, Yanks interested in each other
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    In a piece about the imminent Yankee meetings in Tampa, Ed Price of The Star-Ledger dropped in an interesting tidbit about the recently-fired pitching coach Leo Mazzone. According to a source inside the Yankees’ camp, this week’s discussions will include a bit about Leo Mazzone. The Yanks were interested in Mazzone two years ago, and Mazzone’s manager has indicated that Leo is again interested in working for the Bombers. With a few young pitchers on the horizon, this is a match made in baseball heaven. · (18) ·

As the Joe Torre Job Watch nears some sort of resolution, we’ve got some interesting developments courtesy of Ed Price from The Newark Star-Ledger. According to Price, Don Mattingly has told the Steinbrenner brothers — now in charge of the team — that he is not ready for the Yankees managerial post and does not feel comfortable replacing his current boss and mentor.

Price has more:

The friend, who requested anonymity because the situation is unresolved, said he spoke directly with the former Yankees great in recent days. Mattingly’s stance could open the door for the Yankees to bring back Torre for a 13th season because he was the leading candidate for the job.

The development comes as George Steinbrenner and his sons, Hank and Hal, convene an annual top-to-bottom review of the organization Tuesday. A Yankees official, who speaks often with top management, said Torre is a candidate for the job. The official, who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak for the owners, said the discussion was expected to center on who is the best man for the job as opposed to a referendum on Torre, whose contract is expiring.

Now, as every Yankee blogger and their uncles are trying to find something, anything, new to write about concerning Joe Torre, this news, if true, is quite the curveball. First, much like we’ve done, the Yankees aren’t discussing Torre’s future in black and white terms. Rather, they are going to figure out which available target is the best man for the job.

In other words, they will try to figure out who can handle up-and-coming young pitchers, who can best deal with the bullpen, who can best placate veterans sticking up for their current manager and who can deal with the scrutiny of managing the Yankees in New York. When all is said and done, can the Yankees braintrust really find someone better than Torre for the job right now? My money’s on no.

At the same time comes the Mattingly bombshell. At the end of the playoffs, it seemed as though Donnie Baseball was gearing up to take the reins from Torre. He was deferential toward Torre, but at the same time, it seemed as though he anticipated being named manager sooner rather than later. I guess those writers speculating as such were reading Mattingly incorrectly.

If Mattingly is hesitant about taking the job — and I think anyone with any sense of the situation would be hesitant to follow up Joe Torre coming off a 94-win season — the Yankees will not give it to him. That hesitancy would automatically make Mattingly the wrong guy for the job right now. This isn’t to say he won’t be the manager; it’s just to say that he won’t be the manager at the end of the day today.

So as the Yankees brass gather in Tampa, we’re really no further along in this saga than we were on Friday. Joe Torre still seems like the best man for the job, and the number one candidate to replace him isn’t quite as interested as everyone figured. Yet.

Categories : News
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But the Yankees still — like always — bring in the news. Look at the top stories on FoxSports.com:

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Well, this was bound to happen. The A-Rod/steroid rumbling is picking up steam even if it has no basis in any sort of reality. Take a look.

Over at the blog Steroid Nation, Gary Gaffney, an M.D. at the University of Iowa’s College of Medicine, writes about Scott Boras’ clients’ ties to steroids. Gaffney points to this article in Sunday’s Daily News about the relationship and dynamic between the Yanks and the A-Rod/Boras camp that is sure to unfold over the next few weeks.

Interestingly, the article gets into the Boras-Steroid tie in relation to Rick Ankiel and Scott Schoenweis. Boras, who likes to say he is very involved in the lives of his clients, represents these two players who were outed in the press for receiving steroid shipments. It’s a classic issue here of “What did Boras know and when”?

The Daily News article also touches on some of the Jose Canseco steroid claims, and Gaffney uses that mention to discuss a previous post of his about Jose Canseco. Earlier this year, Jose Canseco – who was never a teammate of A-Rod’s – claimed that he had “other stuff on Alex Rodriguez.”

Immediately, everyone assumed that Canseco was going to point a finger at Alex Rodriguez, the performance-enhancing drug user. But that brief mention in July was all we ever heard about it. No one followed up on it, and we refused to write about it.

But I think it’s worth a mention now because this is just totally absurd. Gaffney highlights a passage in the Daily News that features an anonymous baseball official expressing skepticism toward Boras’ clients. To me, this seems like just another way to smear Boras’ name. Are Arn Tellem’s clients any better off? I don’t think so.

Now, I have no overwhelming love for Scott Boras. I think he puts his monetary interests in front of what some of his clients would rather do. This will be especially true if A-Rod opts out and leaves New York. But to start dragging his clients into this steroid mess because some anonymous officials want to cast some doubts on Boras’ integrity over the PED issue is absurd.

Until we know who did what when, writers shouldn’t be idly fingering people on the steroid issue. It transcends irresponsible rumormongering and is bad for baseball.

Categories : STEROIDS!
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AzFL is off on Sundays.

HWB Honolulu (5-2 win over Waikiki)
Ajax: 1 for 3, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB – on base 19 times in his last 8 games
Bradley Suttle: 1 for 2, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K – hey look, he’s got a 2-game hit streak!

Venezuela Winter League
Marcos Vechionacci: 3 for 5, 3 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI – one of those hits came off a guy who spent a good part of the year in the bigs
Edwar Gonzalez: 2 for 3, 1 RBI, 1 K
Gerardo Casadiego: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Justin Pope: 1 IP, zeroes
Juan Francia: 1 for 4, 1 RBI

Categories : Down on the Farm
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The New York Post reports that Hal and Hank Steinbrenner are now in charge of baseball operations for the New York Yankees.

“There’s always been a succession – and that’s myself and my brother,” Hank told The Post in an exclusive interview.

He said he and Hal will have final say on baseball decisions as well as the running of the YES Network and the construction of the new Yankee Stadium.

“I’ll pay more attention to the baseball part. The stadium, that’s more Hal. But basically everything will be decided jointly.”

This move was foreshadowed late last week when Hank announced that Joba will start in 2008. The NY Post article quotes Hank as saying “That’s something I’ll insist on,” when referring to Joba and Phil starting 2008 in the rotation. I’m beginning to grow fond of Hank Steinbrenner.

“I tend to be more volatile than my brother,” Hank said. “Hal is calmer – and that will probably be a good influence.”

Behind the scenes, the boys have impressed.

“Both Hank and Hal are extraordinarily smart, extraordinarily articulate and, like their father, very genuine people,” said Levine. “And they like each other a lot. I think the Yankees are in very good hands.”

This is starting to sound good. True, this article is probably a PR pitch. But it’s nice to know that 1) we’ll have a fiery guy at the helm in Hank, and 2) he’ll have a counterbalance in Hal. I really do think that the brothers will work well with our front office tandem of Brian Cashman and Damon Oppenheimer.

The best news of all from this is that the Yankees won’t be sold. I know it was a longshot when it was mentioned earlier in the year, but at least we’ve put it to rest.

Categories : News
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  • In the court of public opinion, Torre wins
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    Jon Heyman has an interesting piece up on at CNNSi.com on the fate of Joe Torre. We should know by Tuesday at the earliest if Joe is staying or going, and Heyman speculates that with Joe’s enjoying the support of both the public and current Yankee fans, the Steinbrenner sons may have a hard time summoning up the strength to fire the beloved Torre. All of this leaves me to wonder: Outside of A-Rod, is Joe Torre now the most powerful figure in New York baseball? He sure has seemed to eclipse George Steinbrenner. · (6) ·