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AFL Javelinas (9-5 win over the Phoenix Desert Dogs)

Brett Gardner
: 2-5, 1 RBI, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SB. Reached on a bunt single and stole both bases without a throw. He’s now up to seven SB’s.
Reegie Corona: 1-4, 2 R, 1 BB. Hitting .375 left handed / .000 right handed.
Eric Wordekemper: 1 IP, 1 H, zeros. Topped out at 89mph on the gun.

Miranda didn’t play, but they’ve added one of his AFL hits on YouTube. The game photos are on the other side. Read More→

Categories : Minors
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So Joe Torre. Let’s talk about him. It’s been hours days.

In the aftermath of Torre’s dismissal/firing/decision to quit, the New York sports media, ready to collectively fire Joe in May, were anointing him a saint. He was the Manager Who Stood Up to Steinbrenner. He stuck by his guns and made fools of those Steinbrenner sons and Randy Levine. Hell, even we got into the act last week.

But what if Joe isn’t exactly the saint he was made out to be? He did, as many of you are wont to point out, turn down a $5 million offer to manage the Yankees for another year and could have made up to $8 million. He claims he was insulted by the incentives, but I’m beginning to doubt the man.

Take a look here. In April of 2004, Joe Torre signed a three-year contract extension with the Yanks that carried him through this season. As part of the deal, he would be retained as a senior adviser with the club – the one he called “the last major league team I’m going to manage” – for six years following his retirement. But that’s not the important bit.

The important bit focuses around incentives. Tyler Kepner wrote: “He will also receive bonuses for winning the American League pennant or the World Series, as he did in his last deal.”

Well, well, well. That certainly changes things quite a bit, doesn’t it? Was Joe Torre really that insulted by an incentive-laden deal this year if he had basically been managing on an incentive basis for the duration of his last two Yankee contracts? I find that hard to believe.

Meanwhile, last night on Bob Costas’ show, as Cliff Corcoran details here, Torre said he would have taken an incentive-based deal with a pay cut had the Yankees been willing to offer a second year.

So then, this whole issue boils down to one of two things. Torre, who had long seen the writing on the wall, must have known the Yankees wanted him out of New York, but he wanted to go out on top. So when they publicly offered him a pay cut and a one-year deal, he highlighted the incentives – something in all of his deals – as the kicker for him. He was able to look good while backing out of a deal he probably just should have accepted. With an unstable ownership situation, Torre would most likely have kept his job in 2009 also had the Yankees made the playoffs next year even without a World Series ring. That’s one.

The second piece is pride. Joe Torre always wanted to be the last Yankee Manager at the old stadium and the first at the new one. When the Yankees couldn’t yet guarantee him that experience, he bailed. While the team didn’t need help in making themselves look bad, he took the contract negotiations public and came out unscathed. I’m beginning to think we should question the purity of St. Joe as the Yankees move forward with their managerial search. He surely is not that innocent.

Categories : NYC Sports Media
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The AFL Pitching Debate

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Much has been said about the lack of pitching in the Arizona Fall League. On the surface, the lack of pitching is simply a result of an innings cap that many teams now employ for their top prospects. However, there are always quality pitchers that don’t get enough innings during the year because of injury or other miscellaneous issues. In fact, Humberto Sanchez made a name for himself during the ’05 season when he put up a 2.15 ERA while making up for lost time.

So why is the pitching so consistently bad, you ask? Well, the problem is two-fold. Read More→

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AFL Javelinas (7-6 loss to the Scottsdale Scorpions in 10 innings)

Brett Gardner: 1-5, 1 R, 3 K’s. Beat the pitcher to 1B for an infield single
Juan Miranda: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K. Picked off second base.
Steven Jackson: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K’s. His grandfather, Scott Jackson, was a three-year letter winner at Clemson in the 1950′s
Ross Ohlendorf: 1 IP, zeros. 3-0 GB/FB ratio. Say goodbye to the taxi squad.

Remember when I said that outfielders don’t get errors if the sun was in their eye. Well that goes for the moon as well. Miranda’s double was a sinking line drive but the left fielder got a terrible jump and the ball skipped under his glove when he tried to make a diving catch. It was originally ruled an error but later changed to a hit. Read More→

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Rising Stars Showcase

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Keven Whelan is the only Yankee that made the cut this year. The game will be played on Friday, 10/26. The Rising Starts Showcase is really more of a who’s-who among prospects and it’s not necessarily based on performance. This year Brett Gardner was overlooked in favor of Javelinas teammates Justin Maxwell and Dexter Fowler who are batting .190 and .211 respectively. Our boy was robbed…. and I bet they didn’t even wear a mask.

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Remember those Octobers back in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 200, when Rudy Giuliani, then mayor of New York, could be found at every Yankees World Series game? Despite presiding over a city that houses two baseball teams, Rudy wore his colors proudly. Now, though, he’s committed what amounts to treason. Yes, Rudy Giuliani is rooting for the Red Sox in the World Series.

So why would Rudy break allegiances like this?

“I’m an American League fan, and I go with the American League team, maybe with the exception of the Mets,” he said. “Maybe that would be the one time I wouldn’t because I’m loyal to New York.”

That’s a piss-poor excuse to root for the hated Red Sox. Is there any team in baseball that would make you root for the Sawks? Not me. Not any Yankees fans I know. I’d even root for the Mets if the Series came down to those two teams.

In the grand scheme of things, it means nothing. Who is Giuliani, anyway? My answer: a braying ass, just like the rest of his political brethren. I don’t care necessarily that he’s rooting for the Sawks. He’s clearly not the type of person I’d ever willingly associate with, so he can root for whoever he wants for all I care.

My concern is for how he’s presented himself as this loyal Yankees fan, and then goes and does what no self-respecting Yankees fan would ever do.

So next season, when Rudy’s countenance appears on the scoreboard and he proclaims, “Here’s what I got to say. Let’s go Yankees!” give him the middle finger. He clearly doesn’t mean it.

Categories : News
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This stretch in between the end of the ALCS and the end of the World Series is pretty slow for teams not from Denver or Boston. The Commissioner’s Office tries to keep attention focused on the Series and asks teams not to make many grand announcements before the championship trophy is doled out next week.

But the Yankees are the Yankees, and they do what they please. While Joe Girardi may now be the presumptive front-runner for the Yankees’ vacant managerial job, today’s news comes to us courtesy of Tyler Kepner. Writing a piece that’s a mix between news reporting and news analysis, Kepner delves into the chess game that is the A-Rod/Yankees negotiations. Kepner writes:

The Yankees will soon confront Alex Rodriguez’s agent, Scott Boras, and the overriding issue is which side will back down first.

Neither side accepts the other’s premise. Boras does not seem to believe that the Yankees will remove themselves from negotiations if Rodriguez opts out of his contract and becomes a free agent. The Yankees are highly dubious that Boras can find a more lucrative contract than the one they plan to offer.

The Kepner piece basically puts into print what we’ve all believed this summer: The Yankees and Boras have been conducting quasi-negotiations through the press for the past few months, and right now, it’s a dance.

We know that A-Rod claims to like being in New York. On more than one occasion this season, he expressed his love for this town and its fans despite a tumultuous 2006 relationship. When the Yankees clinched the Wild Card, it sounded like A-Rod wanted to stay in New York. He’s even planning on buying a multi-million-dollar East Side townhouse.

At the same time, the Yankees sure could use A-Rod. He seems to put a lot of fans in the seats, and his offensive production would be impossible to replace. Now, while the Yankees seem firm on the opt-out deal, it’s hard to imagine this team simply walking away from its marquee player. Like it or not, Alex Rodriguez is the current face of the Yankees, and everyone involved knows that.

From a the Boras perspective – that is, from the money side of the equation – Alex Rodriguez is due for a raise. Fault Tom hicks for this one. He outbid himself by nearly $20 million for A-Rod and then felt the need to acquiesce to Boras’ demands of an opt-out clause following each season for the last three years of the deal. After turning in a 54-home run, 156-RBI season, Alex will earn more money amazingly enough.

And that’s where the Yankees come in. A few other teams could theoretically afford to pay A-Rod more than $25 million a year. Maybe the Red Sox could (but Theo is smarter than that); maybe the Angels or Dodgers could; if an ownership group were in place, maybe the Cubs could. But in reality, these teams are unwilling to handicap themselves with this big of a contract.

The Yankees, on the other hand, due in large part to their youth movement, can afford to do so. With Clemens gone and Moose and Giambi nearly off the books entirely, the Yankees will soon have a lot of extra cash lying about. Their stars of tomorrow – Joba, Phil, IPK, Cano, etc. – aren’t making that much money right now. The new stadium promises to be a cash cow, and the YES Network has seen its value increase by leaps and bounds over the last few seasons.

With the money coming to them from the Rangers over the next few seasons and already deep pockets, the Yankees can definitely afford to keep A-Rod. So in the end, it’s simply a matter of bending to Boras’ demands. Scott Boras knows that if he loses the Yankees, he loses his leverage in negotiations, and it behooves both parties to get this deal done.

Even if Boras and the Yankees aren’t ready to take money, as they define the parameters of the negotiations, my money’s still on A-Rod anchoring third base next year and for many more to come.

Categories : Analysis
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Ross Ohlendorf was assigned to the taxi squad, which means he’s only eligible to play on Wednesdays and Saturdays. He probably wasn’t going to pitch more than two days a week, so the taxi squad is really a non issue. What it does mean is that Eric Wordekemper will most likely stay with the AFL team rather than giving his roster spot back to Ohlendorf. The taxi squad is used when a team assigns more than 7 players to the AFL.

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