Build-a-Bullpen

Much has been made of the state of the Yankees bullpen. There are loads of choices, but realistically there are only two spots to hand out. Mo, Farnsworth, Proctor, Myers and Vizciano can be considered locks. You can bitch about Myers all you want, but I don’t think anything will affect his status as a LOOGY in this pen. Such is life.

Your task: select and justify the final two bullpen spots from the following list.

Karstens, Rasner, Britton, Bruney, Villone, Ohlendorf, Sanchez, Beam, Henn, Bean (just for fun)

Personally, I’m going with Rasner and Britton. There’s no reason to let Britton fester in the minors if he can repeat or even improve on his performance last year. If he doesn’t work out, he still has options, and can be replaced by another member of this list.

I like Rasner because of his performance so far this spring. Okay, so he’s only pitched twice, but he has looked good both times. At 26 years old, it’s getting to the point where he either peforms or he he might not ever. Might as well get a glimpse now.

As for the others: I’d rather see Karstens, Sanchez and Ohlendorf develop as starters at AAA; Bruney has spent much of the spring sick and/or hurt, so he could use some more time to build up strength; Villone was greatly overworked last year, and who knows how long he’ll last this year; I’m not completely sold on Beam as a major league reliever.

Chime in, everyone. The comments are waiting.

Review of MLB 2k7

Ever since I shattered a controller playing Madden — my annual indication that I’m done with the game until it is re-released in August — I’ve been awaiting the release of MLB2k7. I was reluctant to buy the game last year, because I thought MVP was the be all, end all of baseball video games. But after playing the craptacular “MLB: The Show,” I was left with little other choice.

I fell in love with the game, though. The pitching system was sleek, and I eventually grew used to the Tiger Woods-esque hitting system. I actually like it a ton better than the MVP hitting system, which at one time I thought was the closest simulation possible. In short, I was sold.

I’ve had March 5th circled on my calendar for a while now, and planned to buy the game on my lunch break this past Monday. You can imagine my excitement and ensuing disappointment when on Saturday night I found out that it had been realeased on Feburary 26th. Why disappointment? I had made the discovery at 10 p.m., when all major retailers were closed. I searched endlessly, but there was no place within a reasonable driving distance open 24 hours.

The worst part of all: I live in Bergen County, NJ. Anyone familiar with the area knows that, by law, retail and other “non-necessary” businesses must be closed on Sundays.

Bah, like that would stop me. Across the New York border it was, and I came home with my beloved copy of the game. Within minutes, I had a GM career set up and ready to go with the San Francisco Giants. The reason being: I was excited as hell to use both Matt cain and Tim Lincecum. But wait…no Lincecum? What the hell?

This led me to browse the Yankees roster. And guess what? No Phil Hughes. This was particularly troubling, because he had appeared in MLB2k6. But I shook it off and continued my season with the Giants.

The gameplay, hyped as being revamped from last year, is still just like the original. It’s still highly possible to miss a routine fly ball, though the ground ball fielding is a bit improved. Hitting has the same old flaws: the bunt button doesn’t always work, you can’t pull back diagonally on the R stick in any way, or you won’t step, and I even had an at-bat that was started with the hitter facing the catcher. And pitching is exactly the same as 2k6.

The GMing aspect is also exactly the same. You can cut people and shave that money off the cap; rarely do you see a Boras-esque contract demand; your minor leaguers don’t progress well; trades are ridiculously lopsided. The latter is linked directly to the ludicrous player ratings — J.D. Drew is a 100. Hell, Randy freakin’ Winn is a 95.

I sit here today without a longing desire to get home and play the game, when a year ago I would be comping at the bit. Not only do I feel like I wasted $30, but I also wasted my time driving to New York to purchase it. My recommendation: just play 2k6.

Get to know Phil Hughes (even more)

Nice little puff piece about Phil Franchise (hat tip to Pete Abraham for the moniker) over at the Worldwide Leader:

[Hughes agent, Nez] Balelo tells a story about the day in 2004, when the Yankees invited Hughes — their new No. 1 draft pick, out of Santa Ana, Calif. — to meet them on a trip to Dodger Stadium.

They gave him a uniform, then marched him out to the bullpen before a game to throw for Joe Torre and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre.

When a group of fans around the bullpen began hooting at him, Stottlemyre walked over to Hughes and asked: “Is all the yelling bothering you?”

“I don’t even know what you’re talking about,” Hughes replied.

Sounds like pitching in the Bronx won’t be a major obstacle for the kid. All I know is that when I was 17 and muttered “I don’t even know what you’re talking about,” there was a damn good chance I new exactly what you were talking about, and I was just trying to hide it.