It was so close to happening last winter. The Yankees sought a right-hand-hitting first baseman, and Shea Hillenbrand was on the free agent market. So, you’d think this was a bada-bing, bada-boom deal, right? Well, unfortunately, Hillenbrand and his agent far overvalued his worth and demanded a two year contract. The Yankees declined and signed Doug Mientkiewicz, leaving Hillenbrand to sign with the Angels. Well, it’s nearly a half-year later, and Hillenbrand is on the verge of yet again becoming a free agent. It seems that the Angels have realized the errors of their ways, and are prepared to cut bait, giving Bill Stoneman 10 days to trade him, lest he become a free agent (he would almost certainly clear waivers). This is the Yanks’ big opportunity. They must sign Shea Hillenbrand.
You need an iPig:
“This is the most anticipated pig since Porky,” [St. Paul] Saints general manager/executive vice president Derek Sharrer said in statement. “Taking on a major player like Apple is daunting, but our sense is that Apple has exposed a niche that these pigs fill. Our critics will say there’s no market for trying to reinvent the pig. We’ll see.”Now if only the Yankees could get an iWin. (hat tip to TPA) · (0) ·
So Mariano Rivera pitched tonight because, according to Kenny Singleton, he “needed work.” But last night, when the Yanks needed a win, Rivera just sat in the bullpen as Scott Proctor imploded. I covered this to death earlier with this post here and this one here, but it’s worth repeating. We have seem terrible bullpen utilization by Joe Torre over and over again this season.
Meanwhile, the lethargic Yankee offense has mustered a two-run home run in 18 innings in Baltimore. So at this point, I have to wonder: Who’s going to be managing the Yankees on Friday when they return home from what would be, at best, a 2-7 road trip against the Orioles, Giants and Rockies? Which brings me to a new poll…
Shelley DuncanÂ & Jim Brower are heading to the Triple-A All-Star game, where a team of International League all-stars play a team ofÂ Pacific Coast League all-stars.Â For a club that started the year with what was being touted as “the greatest minor league rotation ever,” I have to say I’m unimpressed. Â Â
High-A Tampa (8-0 win over Vero Beach) they were getting no hit into the 5th, then they hung a 6 spot on one of the better pitching prospects in the game
Reegie Corona: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K – a K and a nonmulti-hit game? wtf??? seriously, the Yanks couldn’t be any happier with how he’s played since the promotion
Jose Tabata: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K – first homer since April 7th, his 3rd game of the year…
Edwar Gonzalez: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 K
Marcos Vechionacci: 0 for 3, 1 R, 1 BB
Frankie Cervelli: 1 for 3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K – 5 for his last 40…
Russ Raley: 1 for 3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 2 K, 1 E (fielding)
Kevin Whelan: 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4-7 GB/FB
Guillermo Villalona-Bryan: 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 6-3 GB/FB
Not baseball related, but if you’re in NYC looking to commute home on the subways on the East Side or via Metro-North, there’s been a massive power outage, and rail service is down. Check my subway blog for updates this afternoon. Good thing there’s no game at the Stadium tonight as 4 train service is out north of 68th St. and D train service has been suspended north of 145th St. · (0) ·
RAB fave Keith Law sat down for an interview with Lion in Oil. He made a great comment about what a GM’s responsibilities really are:
LIO: With the explosion in fantasy sports, it seems like everyone thinks they could be a GM. Could you give us some insight into the things a GM has to do that the average fan might not know about? KL: Thatâ€™s a great question. I got an email a few months ago from a reader who said he thought he could do a much better job than (some GM I wonâ€™t name) if he could get the chance â€¦ and I didnâ€™t respond, because I couldnâ€™t think of a way of doing it without mincing him into tiny pieces. Seriously â€“ give the average fan a GM job and by 5 pm of his first day, heâ€™ll be crying for his mommy.
A GMâ€™s job goes so much farther than just setting the major-league roster, but thatâ€™s the part the average fan thinks about. A GM also has to run the entire baseball operations department, with five or six direct reports including the manager (of course), assistant GM, scouting director, farm director, head trainer, and maybe some special assistants, and to do that job he has to constantly be on top of everything going on with the big-league club and all of his affiliate teams, which includes a lot of crap that you donâ€™t hear about on the outside. A GM also has to deal with the media, which even in a soft media market like Toronto is still a big time sink. A GM also has to be the liaison between baseball ops and the rest of the company â€“ marketing, sales, corporate sponsors (all of whom want his time), PR, the teamâ€™s charitable foundation, and so on. And he has to be accountable to his boss or bosses, which (if heâ€™s any good) means managing upwards, regularly talking to or meeting the President or the owner or both. To be good at the job, a GM also has to have a lot of characteristics other than the ability to make trades and write comments on message boards. He has to be a leader, has to be somewhat articulate (a rule I admit is often broken) to be able to deal with the press and to make a strong impression on people in finance or with corporate sponsors, has to have some financial sense, and should be able to evaluate players, whether itâ€™s via stats or scouting or both. He has to be able to think strategically, to craft a long-term plan while dealing with short-term realities, and to ignore the media and fans who demand this move or that. And it doesnâ€™t hurt to be just plain smart, because a good GM assimilates information from all kinds of sources, synthesizes it, and adjusts his long-term and short-term plans accordingly. Granted, not all GMs have all these traits, but they all have some of them, even the ones we all ridicule. What we see is when a GM doesnâ€™t have good baseball skills, and ultimately that will get him fired because results on the field matter most, but thereâ€™s a lot more to the job than that. Anyway, thatâ€™s just off the top of my head. It is a huge job, with lots of responsibilities and pressures and none of the boundaries of time that a typical office job has â€“ if youâ€™re a GM, your phone will sometimes ring at 11 pm, and you have to take it. Youâ€™re accountable to everyone.That last little bit of emphasis is mine, because I think it really puts into perspective the amount of responsibility a GM really has. If I screw up at my job and the Pavano Account ends up costing the company $40 million bucks, I get fired. Relative to me, that’s a big deal, butÂ no one outside the front door gives a shit.Â If a GM goofs and gets fired, he seesÂ it in the paper, on the Web, and on TV. They say closers need to have a short term memory, bit GMs need an even shorter one. AnotherÂ thing Law mentioned that’s worth repeating is thatÂ the GM gets direct reports from his manager, scouting director, etc. -Â a GM is only going to be as good as the people he surrounds himself with.Â It’s a team on the field and a team in the front office. (hat tip to Pinto) · (10) ·
I hate to relive last night’s game. I really do. But after posing this question last night, Joe Torre has forced my hand yet again.
After the Scott Proctor debacle ended, our man on the street, Peter Abraham, posted his usual postgame wrap-up complete with audio from the Yankee skipper. Abraham, taking a cue from common sense, asked Torre if he considered using Rivera in a tie game on the road. (Oh, the horrors!)
Here is Joe Torre’s answer from the audio clip on Abraham’s site:
He pitched in the 8th and 9th just a couple of days ago on Saturday and I wasn’t ready to bring him in at that point.
Got that? Joe Torre, Yankee manager, thinks that Rivera threw too many innings on Saturday and couldn’t be used in the 9th inning of a tie game the Yanks should have won. Well, as any Yankee fan knows, Mariano Rivera didn’t pitch on Saturday. That was the other game this week the Yanks lost in a final at-bat with Rivera in the pen.
No, Joe, Rivera pitched last on Friday when he threw a whopping 20 pitches in 1.2 innings. Funny enough, those are the only 1.2 innings Rivera has thrown since June 16, a span of ten days.
There you have it. The Yankees manager doesn’t know when he uses his relievers, and he thinks that his closer can’t handle more than 1.2 innings over a ten-day span. So either Rivera is hurt and can’t pitch too much or Joe is completely clueless as Rob Neyer intimates today. I know which one I’m picking.
Back in May of 2005, we saw the debut of Robinson Cano. He wasn’t exactly a highly regarded prospect — the Diamondbacks rejected him as part of a trade-deadline Randy Johnson trade in 2004. But he tore up AAA in April, and was given the call once the Yanks realized that Tony Womack wasn’t going to cut it (which was about four and a half months after the rest of the league knew it). He ended up being an enormous upgrade, hitting .297/.320/.458 for the season, with 14 homers and 34 doubles on his way to placing second in the Rookie of the Year voting. He also struck out only 68 times in 551 plate appearances, a more than respectable 12% rate (which went along with his minor league numbers post-2002). However, one bit of criticism prevailed: the dude swings at everything.