Mark Prior is every baseball fan’s fantasy: A free agent pitcher with a career Major League K/9 IP of 10.37 and a career ERA of 3.51.
Of course, the flip side of that fantasy is Mark Prior’s current nightmare. Since carrying to the Cubs to within one bad play by their short stop of a World Series berth and throwing 235 innings in the process, Mark Prior has never been healthy. Since the end of 2005, he’s thrown just 43.2 innings of baseball, and after shoulder surgery last year, at the age of 27, Prior is trying to prove himself all over again.
For Yankee fans, Mark Prior would be everything Johan Santana, the other object of our dreams, is not. Prior is no sure thing. We don’t know how his arm will hold up or what sort of stuff he’ll have after an extensive rehab period. But he’s also carries a “low risk, very high reward” potential. So why not give him a contract offer and hope that, when he returns in May or June, he can throw four months of solid baseball?
Well, not so fast, says Hank Steinbrenner, the new Voice of the Yankees. In an article that says the Yankees have “an outside chance” at acquiring Johan Santana – is that even news anymore anyway? – Steinbrenner said the Yanks are going to pass on Prior. “We kind of looked into it, but at this point, no,” he said, sounding much like a 16-year-old girl.
I’m not sure why the Yanks are passing on Prior. Perhaps he’s indicated that he doesn’t want to come to New York or pitch in the American League. If that’s the case, I don’t blame him. New York isn’t exactly the city to come to if you carry around the potential of a Mark Prior but need some time to prove your health and ability.
But if the Yanks are passing on Mark Prior for reasons not related to his health, they’re probably making a little bit of a mistake. They’ve got nothing to lose from having Prior around and everything to gain.
Won’t he just shut up?
Roger has denied every allegation brought to the table. So as a fan my thought is that Roger will find a way in short order to organize a legal team to guarantee a retraction of the allegations made, a public apology is made, and his name is completely cleared. If he doesn’t do that then there aren’t many options as a fan for me other than to believe his career 192 wins and 3 Cy Youngs he won prior to 1997 were the end. From that point on the numbers were attained through using PED’s. Just like I stated about Jose, if that is the case with Roger, the 4 Cy Youngs should go to the rightful winners and the numbers should go away if he cannot refute the accusations.
Innocent until proven guilty? Or guilty — based on the testimony of one man — until proven innocent? Think what you will about Roger. Hell, I’ll concede that it’s in a way naive to dismiss the possibility that McNamee’s testimony is the truth. However, the burden is not on Roger. He’s accused without a shred of hard evidence. Any court in the land would throw the case out as it currently stands. Only when we see further evidence of his use should we even begin to consider the idea of him forfeiting his awards.
Even if Roger did assemble a legal team to demand a retraction from McNamee, he in all likelihood wouldn’t get it. Schilling himself explains exactly why:
The two men that fingered multiple players, from my understanding, both testified with immunity, but only if they told the truth. So these guys had every reason in the world to NOT lie.
So if McNamee was to retract his testimony, then he lied. Which means he likely spends time in the slammer. His entire reason for giving up Roger and Andy was to avoid just that. So why would he cave to Roger’s legal team? The outcome would end up being the same as if he didn’t give up any names at all.
There’s been a lot of talk of players’ legal rights in this case, and as a layman, I’m not in tune with much of it. But I have to think that McNamee won’t retract and apologize.
But this is all beyond the point. Roger shouldn’t have to defend himself until he’s presented with evidence that compels him to do so. The testimony of one man — no matter the accuracy of any other aspect of his testimony — is not sufficient evidence. At the very least, he needs a corroborating story. And to date, we’ve seen none.
Yet (yes, there’s more), Schilling tries to equate Clemens with Bonds:
Whatever happens now though, can you separate what Barry is accused of from what Roger is accused of?
Yes. There weren’t dumpsters full of doping schedules for Roger. There was no BALCO lab. There was no Game of Shadows. There is one man and his word. That is all.
I’m sorry. I don’t want to keep talking about steroids, and I really don’t want to talk about Curt Schilling. But this is really about neither. It’s about hearsay, justice, and windbags with an audience spouting off unfounded opinions.
We’re a day or two late on this one, but MLB Trade Rumors linked to this article in the Dominican daily Listin Diario about Melky Cabrera. The Yankees, it seems, have invoked the fatigue clause and have ordered Melky to sit out Winter Ball this year. While the paper in Spanish speculates that this move may be a part of any deal for Johan Santana, the truth is that Melky faded pretty badly down the stretch last year and probably shouldn’t be playing baseball until Spring Training. · (8) ·
Pardon me while I rant about something barely related to the Yankees for a few minutes…
On the same day that the friend-of-free-media and Russian President Vladimir Putin won Time Man of the Year honors, the NCAA released their new Live Blogging Policy. This is such a ridiculous step toward censorship. It’s rather shocking.
As The Big Lead noted, the NCAA will somehow try to enforce rather stringent live blogging rules. For football games, reporters are graciously allowed three updates per quarter and one at halftime; for basketball, it’s five times per half, once at halftime and twice per OT period; and for baseball, it’s just once an inning. The full draconian rules are available at the NCAA’s site as a PDF. This is a sad day for bloggers everywhere.
Ostensibly, the NCAA is worried about blogs somehow replacing live broadcasts of the game. If some blogger is allowed to update their live blog as often as they want, what’s stopping them from giving a text version of the play-by-play?
In reality, that’s a pretty weak argument. No one I know is going to sit a computer refreshing a blog while reading the play-by-play for the BCS Championship game. And if I were the NCAA, I’d be much more concerned with those online who are actively engaging in copyright infringing retransmissions of NCAA telecasts.
Blogs serve a journalistic purpose and provide an outlet for fans to share their common interest. Alienating sports sites and attempting to limit their post frequency during games is not only a form of censorship, but it’s bad business practice as well.
Alex Rodriguez isn’t shy about his association with the Southwest Miami Boys & Girls Club — he has a field there named after him. And now he’ll have the $1.5 million Alex Rodriguez Education Center, which projects to open in April. “It will include a state-of-the-art computer laboratory, an area for Internet use, classrooms for homework study and a huge teen center, where the older kids can meet.” A-Rod himself kicked in a third of the overall costs.
Say what you will about his character and his intentions, but nothing bad can be strewn from this. Helping underprivileged kids is one of the most noble things someone can do, no matter if their intention is to enhance their image, or if it’s true altruism. · (10) ·
Caught this bit on Johan and the Sawks in this morning’s Pioneer Press (not sure if you have to register every time — I did this time around, under the name Abe North). It’s nothing earth-shattering, though it does imply that the Twins are holding out for Lester and Ellsbury, as they damn well should.
Supposedly, Dan Haren set the bar high in a prospects-for-talent exchange. I don’t really buy into that, but it’s not my opinion that matters. The only one who can decide the price for Santana is Bill Smith. Thankfully, he’s not caving at this point, and seemingly won’t trade the lefty to the Sawks unless Ellsbury and Lester are included.
My question: How desperate are the Twins to unload Santana? Are they fronting now, hoping to get the Sox to bid against themselves and dish both players? Or are they asking for the moon because they’d be content to head into the season with Santana at the top of the rotation?
The longer the Red Sox hold out, the better perspective we’ll get on the actual landscape. This is because the Sox are in a position where their need isn’t necessarily to get Santana — their rotation will be one of, if not the tops in the AL with or without him — but rather to keep him away from the Yankees. They’ve got a standing offer that (I think) they’re pretty sure Minnesota won’t accept. But should the Yanks raise the stakes, they could easily improve the offer.
Unfortunately, by naming so many untouchable players, the Yankees aren’t doing themselves any favors. Not that I disagree with what’s going on. Under no scenario would I dish Hughes and Kennedy. But the constant lists of untouchables certainly creates a level of ill will in negotiations. This was brought up, actually, by Jim Callis in an ESPN chat:
Yankees fans and some of the local media seem to have this notion that clubs ask the Yankees for more than they ask for other teams for. But if you talk to some of the teams that try to trade with New York, they’ll tell you that the Yankees declare far too many untouchables.
If the Twins are bluffing, we could see a mad scramble for Santana in January. If not, I don’t see either the Red Sox or Yanks going out of their ways to improve their offers. Both teams, I think, would be content to see him open the season in Minnesota.
I was thinking this morning: Are the Yanks basically done with the off-season? It seems so. With six starting pitchers, a slew of relievers and potential relievers, a decent number of outfielders, and an entire infield save for a definite first baseman. Check it.
1B: Shelley/Betemit/eventually Miranda
That’s only 12 guys (not counting Miranda, who will start the season in AAA). Since we’re not going with 13 pitchers, there’s still room for one more guy on the roster. The Yanks have done plenty fine with one utility infielder for the past few years, so I’d hope they add an outfielder — unless Betemit is getting the bulk of the time at first. In which case having someone like Alberto Gonzalez on the roster would be useful.
That’s six, so six relievers:
And then you have the next three slots for the following players: Jon Albaladejo, Ross Ohlendorf, Chris Britton, Brian Bruney, Edwar Ramirez, Jose Veras, Chase Wright, Sean Henn, Kei Igawa, Jeff Karstens, Darrell Rasner, Scott Patterson, and then the converted starter-types: Alan Horne, Jeff Marquez, Steven “Don’t Call Me” White. Further, we should have access to J.B. Cox and Marc Melancon by late May/early June, as they’ll be ready for Opening Day, and will likely open in Tampa.
So what’s left of the off-season for the Yanks is basically compiling a decent minor-league invite list, though Mark Newman thinks that “[MiL free agents] don’t want to sign with us for obvious reasons.” That being less of a chance for playing time. A minor-league free agent has a far better shot of making, say, Houston’s roster than the Yanks.
Here’s the only question I’m left with: Do you carry all six starters from the beginning, or do you let one of them — presumably IPK — work out in the minors a bit so you can experiment with four relievers at a time, rather than three?
We’re a bit Mitchell’ed out around here, but I’m breaking the steroids embargo to bring you this hot news: Roger Clemens has vehemently denied the allegations against him in the Mitchell Report.
His statement, if you please:
“I want to state clearly and without qualification: I did not take steroids, human growth hormone or any other banned substances at any time in my baseball career or, in fact, my entire life. Those substances represent a dangerous and destructive shortcut that no athlete should ever take.
“I am disappointed that my 25 years in public life have apparently not earned me the benefit of the doubt, but I understand that Senator Mitchell’s report has raised many serious questions. I plan to publicly answer all of those questions at the appropriate time in the appropriate way. I only ask that in the meantime people not rush to judgment.”
Who knows the truth? Not I.