Jerry Crasnick hosted an ESPN.com chat this afternoon in which he facilitated something of a discussion on the Joba vs. Buchholz debate. It’s your typical back-and-forth bluster with most folks coming down, rightly, on the side of Joba. But the fun is in the poll. Joba’s got over 60 percent of the vote right now. I like that.
The Yanks announced that they’ve invited a small army of non-roster players to Spring Training. The breakdown:
IF: Bernie Castro, Eric Duncan, Nick Green, Cody Ransom, Marcos Vechionacci
OF: Justin Christian, Colin Curtis, Brett Gardner, Austin Jackson, Jason Lane, Greg Porter, Jose Tabata
C: Kyle Anson, Jason Brown, Jesus Montero, PJ Pilittere, Austin Romine
RHP: Dan Giese, Alan Horne, Steven Jackson, Dan McCutchen, Mark Melancon, Darrell Rasner, Scott Strickland
LHP: Heath Phillips, Billy Traber
Wow, you think the Yanks like Austin Romine just a bit? I can’t remember the last time they invited a HS draftee to ST the year after he was drafted; maybe Eric Duncan? I don’t think this is a case of simply needing some catcher to catch all these pitchers, the Yanks have a ton of guys older and more experienced than Romine at their disposal to do that. Hopefully he stations himself directly between Jorge and Tony Pena at all times.
Jon Albaledjo, Jeff Marquez, Scott Patterson, Steven White, Juan Miranda and Frankie Cervelli will also be with the big boys during ST, by virtue of holding down a 40-man roster spot. If I was Kevin Whelan, I’d feel a bit snubbed. Just about all of the pitchers listed – Mark Melancon being the exception – will compete with the likes of Edwar, Ohlendorf, Bruney, Britton, Henn, etc. for a big league bullpen spot. Whoever pitches the best will get it. My dark horse? Steven Jackson.
I know a few readers here have grown tired of my new stadium posts, but I have my reasons for following this story. I’m a firm believer in good government (as is evidenced by my other blog focusing on the MTA), and I don’t think the stadium financing and the land deals represent anything close to good government. So bear with me, and if you don’t like it, read about Huston Street.
The latest news comes in the form of land deal that Bronx activists say will turn former park land into commercial developments. That wasn’t supposed to be part of the original deal. Bill Sanderson has more from the Post:
A sneaky city land “giveaway” will turn over former Parks Department property to real-estate developers – and further infuriate activists in the park-starved South Bronx neighborhood near Yankee Stadium, The Post has learned.
When the city gave up plans for a parking garage on East 151st Street between River and Gerard avenues last fall, the property was set aside for “neighborhood-oriented mixed use, retail or parking,” according to documents…
What’s unclear, said Geoffrey Croft, of NYC Park Advocates, is whether a state law allowing South Bronx parkland to be used for the stadium project permits commercial development on the site, south of the stadium and adjacent to the Bronx Terminal Market shopping mall now under construction.
In the grand scheme of problems with the stadium deal, this little trade-off isn’t nearly as sneaky as the Post would have believe, and the Parks Department didn’t consider their former holdings at E. 151st St. as green parkland. However, with parkland at such a premium in the South Bronx, the city’s surrendered land shouldn’t be going to real estate developers.
The Stadium project came with real estate development plans and a new mall has spurred on talk of a Bronx boom. With concerns over increased traffic due to increased parking spots around the Stadium, the city should be pressing for more parkland in the Bronx. Those parks were part of the original deal, and so far, no one – not the Yankees, not the city – has delivered on that front.
We’ve got less than a month until pitchers and catchers report, and with all the crap that’s gone on this winter, I couldn’t be more psyched. Maybe when they start playing some games, we can put the winter of Santana and PEDs behind us. You might have heard that there’s a congressional hearing going on now about steroids, but let’s forget about that and talk some baseball.
Yesterday, a Mark Kotsay for Joey Devine trade was finalized, furthering Oakland’s reconstruction. Remember back in 2005, when we needed a CFer, and the A’s wanted Phil Hughes for Kotsay? Yeah. Glad we didn’t pull the trigger on that one.
This leaves the A’s younger and less experienced, as have all of their moves this winter. My first question: How far-reaching is this rebuilding going to be? One might figure that Joe Blanton will be on the move, but new reports suggest that he’ll be around to make the Opening Day start for the A’s. Another big name is Huston Street, Oakland’s stud closer who spent much of 2007 on the DL. That’s the name that attracts — or should attract — the Yankees.
With such a compelling case to keep Joba in the rotation, the Yanks are still short a solid 8th inning guy. Barring a surprise turnaround from Kyle Farnsworth (hey, he’s had three completely dominant seasons), there’s going to be a lot of nail-biting going on late in close games. A proven reliever — a rare commodity for sure — would help alleviate those woes. Street is ideal not only because he’s proven he can pitch, but because he’s not eligible for free agency until after the 2010 season.
If he is available, the next question is, how much? Billy Beane clearly isn’t going to give Street away. He’s gotten a huge haul this winter by trading Dan Haren, Nick Swisher, and now Mark Kotsay. He’s not going to, for instance, trade Street straight-up for, say, Jeff Marquez. He’s going to ask for the sky at first, likely Hughes. And then he might back down to Kennedy, but I can’t see him going below that. And that’s not a move the Yankees should be making. At that point, I’d rather just stick Kennedy in the 8th inning.
(For the record, I do not advocate sticking Kennedy in the 8th inning role. I’m just saying that if the Yankees felt they needed an 8th inning guy so badly that they’d trade Kennedy for Street, they’d be better off just putting Kennedy in that role.)
The only slight on Street is that he’s a one-inning pitcher. In 2006, he never pitched two innings in an outing. Of course, that is the purpose of an 8th inning man. But what I’m asking is, what’s that worth to you? The 8th inning is critical, and it’s one the Yanks could stand to improve, as we said in our pinch-hit post today. But at what cost? Would you trade Ajax? Tabata? Horne?
It’s not an easy question to answer. We’re talking unproven prospects here in exchange for a proven reliever. That stacks the deck in Beane’s favor. And when he’s got the advantage, my suggestion would be to avoid doing business with him. While he fails some of the time (see: Tim Hudson), he often gets the better of teams (see: Mark Mulder). Why play with him when he’s at an advantage?
This all might be a moot point, though. Street does have injury concerns, which likely deflate his value. Beane would be smart to hang onto him until July. If he’s healthy, some contending team is going to overpay for him. I just hope that team isn’t the Yankees.
Our guest post on PeteAbe’s blog is live. Click your way over to here to read it. Eschewing steroids, Johan Santana or Brian Cashman’s inability to accurately predict the future, we wrote instead on Joba Chamberlain and his perceived role on the Yankees. Check it out.
Sigh. For a non-story, this thing sure gets a lot of press, huh?