Baseball Bracketology

I just want to mention that the college baseball postseason kicks off today…well, not if you count last week’s Conference tournaments I guess. Anywho, I’m going to venture a guess that your office doesn’t have a massive pool akin to March Madness set up for baseball.

Well fear not my metal bat loving friends (and please, lets not forget ’bout those RBI Girls), you can head over to Baseball America and participate in their Bracket Challenge for a chance to win a couple prizes if you get lucky/actually know what the hell you’re doing.

I made my picks, you can check’em out here.

Five players that could help the Yanks (with no commitment for ’08)

As the calendar turns to June, the Yanks are close to being dead in the water.

In April, they went 9-14, scoring 131 runs while allowing their opponents 125. Poor starting pitching performances spearheaded the loss column, though a potent offense mitigated some of the damage — which says a lot, considering the results.

In May, they went 13-15, scoring 137 runs while allowing their opponents 143. This was due to hitters not hitting for games at a time. However, the team line of .276/.351/.431 is comparable with the team April batting line of .268/.347/.421.

The pain of this season is simple: the highs are too high and the lows are too low. And, in the end, the stats balance themselves out. However, because their standing is based on the results of games, rather than an amalgamation of the entire season, they’re sitting in last place in the AL East. Only Kansas City, Texas, and Cincinnati have won fewer games than the Yanks (they share a win total with Tampa Bay, Washington, Chicago, St. Louis, and Houston).

Now Jason Giambi is out, leaving a hole at DH. There are a number of things the Yankees can do to fill that gap. The most likely is to rotate it among Matsui, Abreu, and Damon, leaving Melky in the outfield full time. Another is to add Josh Phelps to that rotation.

But the Yanks have other glaring problems that need to be addressed. Brian Cashman needs to work the phones to see if he can salvage this season with a few replacements. Because we could get them for less value than, say, Mark Teixeira, here are a list of five players I wouldn’t mind seeing Cashman trade for. Suggestions? Leave ’em in the comments or hit me with an e-mai: rabjosephp at gmail dot com.

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Down on the Farm

Triple-A Scranton (8-6 loss to Toledo)
Angel Chavez: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 K
Andy Phillips: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B – .326-.391-.508
Eric Duncan: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 K, 1 E (missed catch) – 12 for his last 35 (.343)
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K
Bronson Sardinha: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Alberto Gonzalez: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 1 K – 12 for his last 41 (.293)
Chris Basak: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 SB
Chase Wright: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 1 Balk – IP in his last 3 starts: 7.2-5.1-3.2…
Edwar Ramirez: 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 WP – 48 K in 26.1 IP…get this guy in pinstripes…like fuckin’ yesterday!
Charlie Manning: 2 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 WP – 1 H & 8 K in last 5 IP

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Giambi to the DL

We’ve been calling for it for weeks, and now it’s reality. Doctors found a “tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot.” He won’t even be checked out again for another three weeks.

No word yet on who will fill his role. Speculation early today was that Matt DeSalvo would be optioned back to AAA in favor of a reliever — likely Chris Britton. Does this change things? Would the Yankees consider carrying 13 pitchers to Fenway? It wouldn’t make much sense to me.

Right now, we’re looking at a handful of possibilities. I’ll list them in order of probability: Kevin Thompson, Andy Phillips, Shelly Duncan, Eric Duncan. Problem is, the latter three would have to be added to the 40-man roster. Though, that might not be a problem, since the team can likely stick Phil Hughes on the 60-day DL.

More as we hear it. Pete Abe speculates that this means Damon DHs more, meaning Melky in center. That would mean a KT call-up, since he’s the best option as a replacement outfielder. If Damon is going to continue playing the field, look for Phillips.

Update by Ben: And let me preemptively say that Bernie is not coming back. It’s not an option; it wouldn’t help the team; don’t even mention it.

Update by Joe: It’s Thompson.

RAB Exclusive: Interview with Keith Law

I have to admit, I’m extremely exciting about our latest draft coverage pinch hitter: Keith Law, Senior Baseball Writer for ESPN’s Scouts Inc. One of the best talent evaluators around, Law and his army of freelance scouts travel this great land to bring you firsthand information on the nation’s top amateur players, unlike many other scouting publications which provide hand-me-down info.

Prior to his gig at the Worldwide Leader, Law spent 4+ years in the Jays’ front office, serving as a Special Assistant to the General Manager. He’s also written at Baseball Prospectus. So yeah, not only are we honored to have him, I think it’s safe to say that he’s most qualified person to ever talk baseball here at RAB.

You can check out Keith’s baseball thoughts in a variety of ways at ESPN, including his blog, chats, and frequent television spots. You can also head over to his personal site to find his non-baseball musings.

I…ahem…sat down with Keith and asked him some questions about the upcoming First Year Player Draft, which is now barely a week away.

Who has been the most impressive draft-eligible player you’ve seen this spring? Why?

Jarrod Parker was the guy who really made me say “wow.” I had heard he was throwing hard, but what I hadn’t heard was how good his delivery was, or how advanced his slider is. If he can keep the ball down – or if he’s drafted by a team in a big park – he should be excellent.

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The A-Rod fun never stops

The Post, echoing my belief that athletes have girlfriends all over, reports that A-Rod and his blonde girlfriend were spotted in five cities.

The Daily News reports that Cynthia, A-Rod’s wife, has left the couple’s apartment. Just think of the money, Cynthia. We already know that’s all Alex thinks about.

And the Blue Jays aren’t too happy because A-Rod called for a pop-up yesterday … while he was running the bases. Nice little league play for A-Rod there.

It’s the Alex Rodriguez show these days in the Bronx. Anyone want to take bets on where he ends up next season: Chicago or Anaheim?