Monday, November 29, 2004

Yankees Whine: Lieber's Playing Hardball

The Junkees have proven, by the way they've handled the whole Lieber situation, why Ca$hman is a buffoon.

They turned down an $8 million option on Lieber with hopes to resign him to a 2-year $12 million deal. Meanwhile, the Mets signed Kris Benson to a 3-year deal worth about $7.5 million per. Now Lieber is just as good, if not better, than Benson, so the idea that you were going to offer him only $6 million per is ridiculous. So he'll probably get a comperable offer elsewhere, and leave New York. So what will end up happening is that the Junkees lost their #2 starter because they didn't want to give him an extra $500,000. Who knows - maybe they are serious about cutting payroll!

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Irony of Nomar

The latest on's Rumor Central says that the Yanks are interested in Nomar Garciaparra. This shouldn't come as any surprise; this blog has said long ago that George would love Nomar to help stick it to the Red Sox.

The irony about Nomar is that back in July, the media and Junkee fans were comparing his dour attitude to that of Jeter's selfless passion for the game. While Jeter was jumping into the stands to catch a ball, Nomar had no interest in getting up to pinch-hit and had no passion at all for the game. It will be hilarious to hear the feedback from Yankee fans if the Yanks get Nomar.

And I know what the response will be: Listen, Nomar was bitter because the Red Sox tried trading him during the winter. You can't blame the guy for feeling that way; his team betrayed him! But look at Manny Ramirez: much as you can give it to him for his antics, you have to respect the fact that he was a team player this year. He didn't let the fact that he was put on waivers in November affect his attitude. He just kept doing his thing all year and put up his usual almost-MVP caliber numbers.

Nomar is a sensitive guy, that's what it comes down to. And New York is not a place for sensitive people. Nomar was a fan favorite in Boston for many years. But as an injury-prone guy who's days of hitting .370 are over, Nomar may not get such a reception here.

At least Kevin Brown is basically untradable. Nomar should fit in well with him.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Steiner a Goner reports that it's official; Steiner is now part of the Dodgers' radio team. I've already laid out my thoughts on Stiener in an earlier piece. I think with a classy organization like LA, Steiner will return to the professionalism he had with ESPN radio. Working for the same organization as Vin Scully (and no longer having to kiss King George's fanny) will rub off on him.

And as the Despiser has said, I'd love to see Suzyn Waldman in the Yankees radio booth. The Yanks would love to do it for the PR, even though the fans won't buy it. If the Yankee fans hated Steiner, they'll be smashing their radios once Waldman comes on the air.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Pedro for Four Years? Come On, George!

When Pedro made his infamous "call the Yankees my daddy" speech a while back, he was planting the seeds to become a Junkee in '05. Why? Because they're the only team dumb enough to give him four years guaranteed at a ridiculous amount.

He had the highest ERA of his career this past year, a walk year. You would think that he'd be motivated to do even better than he's ever done to show that he's worth the big bucks. So how do you think he'll perform with a contract that runs through 2008?

He gave up 26 home runs in '04, tying his career high. His 61 walks were his most since 1998. He allowed more hits this past year than ever before.

Now don't get me wrong - a 3.90 ERA in this day and age is darn good. But he's clearly deteriorating, he's a small guy, and he'll be in his mid-30s. Now you'll tell me that Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Curt Shilling are all doing great despite being up there in the years. True, but look at their builds.

I ask you, does it get any better than this?

Friday, November 19, 2004

Snorre: You May Sign Pedro

Joe Snorre, who died and made you God? Who cares whether you like Pedro or not? George will decide whether he wants to bring in Pedro, and you have no say in the matter, so why say that you don't mind having him here when you really have no choice anyway? Just shows you what an arrogant bum Snorre really is.

George: Ca$hman's in Charge

George is shrewd - you have to give him that. Now he's saying that Ca$hman is in charge, so any deals have to be done through the Junkee GM. Why the sudden change of attitude? Answer: This way, when Pedro ends up being a bust, George can wash his hands clean of the deal. "Hey, it wasn't me. Brian signed him."

So if Ca$hman's been in charge all along, why would you meet Pedro face-to-face to discuss coming to the Junkees? Face it - if George wants him badly enough, Ca$hman will sign him, even if Ca$hman thinks it's a dopey move. He knows that if Pedro signs elsewhere, George will needle him every time Pedro has a good outing, similar to what George did to Ca$hman in 2000, when the GM nixed a Soriano-for-Edmonds deal. So ultimately, it's up to George, but if Pedro stinks, he can always point a finger at Ca$hman. Clever, eh?

Thursday, November 18, 2004

George Ticks Off Ca$hman

Newsday is reporting that Ca$hman was NOT invited to the Tuesday night meeting between George and Pedro, and the Junkee GM was quite upset about it. Folks, what did I tell you? This is a return to the Bronx Zoo of the mid-'80s, and I'm telling you, the team is falling apart. Ca$hman no longer has a say in any matter (boy, he's got an easy job!) and whenever George is the GM, the Junkees make stupid moves. Throughout the late '80s and early '90s, until his suspension, George made all the decisions and the GMs were just a bunch of puppets. For the few years he was out of office, and the years after when he didn't stick his nose where it didn't belong, you saw the acquisitions of Paul O'Neill, Jimmy Key, David Cone, Wade Boggs, Tino Martinez, and all the guys who made the Junkees a winning team.

Now let's look at the past few years. Enrique Wilson misplays a ball in right field, and a couple of days later Raul Mondesi is brought in. Then you have Kenny Lofton; Jose Contreras; Jason Giambi; Aaron Boone. And soon, hopefully, they'll add Pedro Martinez to that list.

Every offseason, I've been fretting that the Junkees are going to win it all. This past year, with A-Schmuck, I was totally despondent. Well, no more. At the rate things are going, I have absolutely nothing to worry about.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Do It, George! Sign Pedro!

The Red Sox aren't stupid. They know that Pedro is a shell of what a used to be. Which is why I was surprised at first that they offered him a 2-year $25 million contract. Now I know better.

They knew that George would be all over Pedro, so they offered him the loot knowing that he'd turn it down. Now he can go to George and say, hey, they offered that, what can you guys do? So now, George will offer him a 3- or 4-year offer, at $13 million per, and if he doesn't breaking down, he'll be decent, but Jon Lieber will be better wherever he is, and the Junkees could have had him for $8 million. Putzes.

And as Manny pointed out, the bullpen will be overworked because Pedro will never pitch into the seventh inning.

So George, do all of us Yankee despisers a favor and sign him!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Why George Wants Leiter

After the Schmets declined Al Leiter's 2005 option last night, he is officially a free agent. Leiter is among the better pitchers in the game, there's no arguing that. But he's 39 years old. And he's had a few injuries the past few years. And with his age and his erratic control, he usually won't give you more than 5-6 innings a night. And he may pull a David Cone in 2000 and just lose it. But George will want him badly, and will likely get him. George loves PR. That's why he got Matsui and Contreras. Here's why George wants Leiter:

a) Leiter is one of those players who comes off as the ultimate good-guy nice-guy. He always gets awards from various charity organizations during the winter, and comes off as a real family man. And maybe George wants to bring back more family men to the Yanks, guys like Tino, Brosius, O'Neill, and Pettitte. Leiter would certainly provide a happy face in the rotation compared to the arrogant Mussina and the surly Kevin Brown, and bring back memories of another lefty hurler named Andy Pettitte.

b) Leiter is a good buddy of Michael Kay's. After Chris Russo called Leiter "shot" in the summer of '03, Leiter was mad and got closer with ESPN-Radio's Kay to spite the FAN. Every Friday, Kay and Leiter yuk it up on Kay's show. And since Kay is the biggest Yankee fan out there, he may have a big say in bringing his pal to the Bronx. And just wait till Kay lays on the praises of Leiter next year on al-Yankzeera. Bring out the barf bags, please.

c) Leiter is an ex-Met. And King George has an ex-Met fetish. Come on. Doc, Darryl, David Cone, Todd Zeile, Robin Ventura, Tony Clark, Mel Stottlemyre (coach). Hell, Joe Torre managed the Mets! So that's another thing going in Leiter's favor. George would love for Leiter to do well so he can stick it to the Mets for losing the guy. And perhaps he's hoping that the Mets fans who adore Leiter will switch allegiances with him. As for me. I'm hoping Leiter will bring the Schmets luck (or lack thereof) with him.

d) Many years ago, George blundered in trading Leiter to the Jays for Jesse Barfield. While Leiter was one of the game's better pitchers in the '90's, Barfield stunk and was a poster boy of the woeful Junkees of the Stump Merrill era. So perhaps to make amends and recognize his mistake, George will bring back Leiter, as if to say "all is not lost."

On the same note, I think Eric Milton has a good chance of bringing his 4.76 career ERA to the Bronx. Again, it would be George atoning for trading Milton for Knoblauch. Hey George, maybe you can get Cristian Guzman too. And while you're at it, coax Doug Drabek out of retirement. Also, Milton's a lefty. Perhaps after this year's all-righty rotation fizzled, George will have his eye on the lefties in particular, even a guy like Milton who gives up homers like hotcakes.

And with that in mind, I think Jon Lieber's done in the Bronx. He's a nice guy and younger than Leiter, but not enough PR impact there.

But between Leiter and Pedro, the Yanks will have two 6-inning pitchers. Someone tell Quantrill and Gordon to enjoy their winter, because they'll be in for a very long summer.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Answering Comments 2 - How the Junkees Ruin Baseball

I wrote that on April 1st, 20 teams have no shot of winning the Series because of the economics of baseball. With the Junkees buying up a team of all-stars every year, they do not allow lesser teams to compete with them. As a result, two-thirds of the teams are out of it before the season even starts. Some commentor asked me to name the teams. Fine.

A's; Blue Jays; Brewers; Devil Rays; Diamond Backs; Dodgers; Expos; Giants; Indians; Marlins; Orioles; Padres; Pirates; Rangers; Reds; Rockies; Royals; Tigers; Twins; White Sox.

And I'm being generous by not including some of the teams that may belong there, like the Mariners or Astros.

Let's think about this - these teams have no shot. The A's have a limited budget, so even if they make the playoffs, they're not getting through the first round with the middle relief pitching of the mighty Jim Mecir. Same with the Twins. They had the best pitcher in the AL last year, and couldn't close the door because the middle relievers couldn't hold down a 5-2 lead. And every year, these two teams lose players either to free agency or due to budgetary constraints. Think of all the guys who've come and gone in the Oakland organization: Johnny Damon, Keith Foulke, Jason Isringhausen, Jason Giambi (okay, they caught a break there), and of course, Miguel Tejada. Minny lost Pierzynski, Milton, and now they'll probably lose Brad Radke.

Sure, once every ten years a team like the '03 Marlins will win. Otherwise, it's a team with a hefty payroll. So there you go. Steinbrenner ruined baseball.

Did he break the rules? No. Did he help baseball? Hell no!

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Answering the Comments, pt. 1

Believe it or not, there are a few insightful Yankee fans out there. And they bring up what appeas to be some valid points that I'd like to deal with. The comments are italicized.

Over the past twenty years in Major League Baseball, the New York Yankees have won a whopping 4 championships. You would think from listening to some people that they win every year, but that’s just false. I would be very interested to hear your opinions on the state of baseball in the years that they don’t win (like 1979-1995, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004).

I dont' judge baseball's state by the Yankees' results. I judge it by the financial opportunities other teams had to compete with them. In '96, for example, the Yanks' payroll was the highest at $61 million, but the other teams were close. The 2nd-highest teams (Orioles and Braves) were just $8 million away, not $60 million like it is today. And a bunch of teams were in the $4o millions. So it was much closer to a level playing field than it is now. In fact, in '98, the Yanks payroll was second to Baltimore's. So I don't have a huge problem with that.

But the payroll gap has grown huge. It's now about $60 million between the Yanks and Red Sox-- and $60 million can get you the entire Oakland A's roster. So that's far from a negligble difference.

And the Yanks' losing the past few years doesn't mean much. I attribute that to George and Cashman's blunders. There have been so many the past few years: Weaver, Contreras, Brown, Vazquez, Giambi, Mondesi, etc. If the Yankees were managed solidly with that kind of payroll, they might be on a 7-year dynasty run by now. But when you've got a $60 million advantage over the next best team, you should be able to win it all. If the Yanks had Beane or Schuerholz running the team, the Yankees would be downright scary.

And speaking of Schuerholz...

They do dominate the American League East. However when you devote as many words criticizing the Atlanta Braves for an even greater stronghold on the NL East, I’ll address that level of dominance. Keep in mind that the Braves were the first team to own their own national TV station (Ted Turner owned both entities) and reap the financial benefits of such.

Granted, the Braves have been among the upper half of baseball's payrolls for much of their run. But do they have as huge an advantage as the Yankees do? No way. In fact, the Braves payroll has been lower than the Yanks for much of that time. Even in '91 when the Braves made in to the Series while the Yanks lost 91 games, the Yanks still outspent 'em by $10 mil. So maybe the Braves aren't quite the penny-pinching A's, but they've never outspent the rest of the league by a ridiculous margin.

And keep in mind that they're in a bit of a weak division. The Phillies and Mets are two of baseball's biggest underacheivers-- in fact, they have recently been spending in the same range as Atlanta (Philly had a higher payroll- $93 mil than the Braves this year -- $88 mil). The Expos need no explanation. And the Marlins have been up and down.

Atlanta has also been well-managed. From Schuerholz to manager-of-the-year Bobby Cox to pitching guru Leo Mazzone, they've won around a strong rotation (till this year) and role players like Bret Boone, John Burkett, Kenny Lofton, Marquis Grissom, and Johnny Estrada. Of course, that management hasn't done a whole lot in October.

And in the '80's, even Ted Turner's pockets couldn't help a poorly managed team. In '86, for example, Atlanta had the highest payroll at $15.8 million, but still lost 89 games. But they've certainly come a long way since the Bruce Benedict era.

More to come.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Teasing, Winning, and Dynasties

Many commenters have pointed out that, in fact, many small-market teams can win it all. After all, the Royals had a great run in '03. And the Marlins won it all in spite of their small payroll. So these teams have no right to cry poverty. They have as much of a chance to win as the Yankees do!

First off, when teams like the Royals get hot, it's just a tease. Plain and simple. It's nice for a while, but it doesn't last. Realistically, these teams have no chance to grind it out through the summer and stay on top. The Royals had a few good months that year, but once reality set in they were awful. And being unable to afford players to improve the team, they were simply horrible in '04.

And even this year when the Reds were hot for the first few months, you knew they would implode once the pitching cooled off and Griffey got hurt. And after that happened, they stunk. The same goes for the Brewers and Indians. Hot for a while, but it's all a tease.

And Texas was a nice story this year, but they had a very slim chance of making it. And they wouldn't have lasted a day in the playoffs with that patchwork pitching staff. You're not winning it all with John Wasdin on your team.

When you've been turned off by a team with losing seasons for a decade, can you really get excited when the team gets hot? Especially when you know it's just not gonna last?

And even when a mid-market team like the Marlins win, they can't build a dynasty. After winning the championship, the Marlins had to cut payroll and shed I-Rod, Urbina, and Derrek Lee. And aside from Benitez, they couldn't sign any big names on the market (and I'm being very generous to Benitez by calling him a "big name"). And those losses hurt the Marlins in '04. And with Pavano and Benitez on the brink of leaving, it may get even harder for the Fish to return to October baseball. And with Billy Beane's A's missing the playoffs this year and Tim Hudson a free agent next winter, it looks like Moneyball magic may have run its course.

Only a few teams like the Yankees and Red Sox can afford to build a contender every winter without sacrificing a thing. A team like the Astros has to lose a Billy Wagner in order to sign more free agents. But the Yankees won't be stopped this winter, even with Giambi, Brown, and Bernie making more than the whole Devil Rays team.

Suzyn Waldman in the Radio Booth? PR All the Way!

According to the Daily Snooze, the Junkees are considering having Suzyn Waldman be one of the radio voices in the booth. This reeks of bad PR. They want to show how great they are for having the first woman call a game on the radio.

This is dumb because she stinks. I know you're not allowed to criticize a woman without being called a chauvinist pig, but I don't care. I can't stand her. She has a grating voice, and she doesn't say anything that knocks my socks off. Let's be realistic here - she only got to where she is now because she's a woman, and everyone wanted the PR.

Let me guess - in 2003, Lisa Guerrero got the job as sideline reporter for Monday Night Football because of her extensive knowledge of the game, right? Same thing here, except Waldman is certainly not eye candy - she's old enough to be my grandmother. But that's not the point.

There are more qaulified broadcasters out there, but if George hires Waldman, it'll be to exploit her to make himself look like a great guy. Make no mistake about it; everywhere you turn you'll see or hear, "The first female to broadcast radio games, blah blah blah..."

Just how low can you go, George?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Why I Love Hating the Yankees

All of the comments from Junkee fans are the same: You're jealous of our success, we're not breaking any rules, we're good for baseball, you're a loser...

First of all, I don't know if there's anything more satisfying than the Junkees either not making or losing the World Series these past four years. Ah, memories... Luis Gonzalez popping it over Jeter's head in '01, Nick Johnson popping out to end the ALDS in '02, Josh Beckett tagging out Jorge Posada in '03, and Ruben Sierra grounding out to second in '04... But I digress...

The Junkees are the evil empire. Nobody ever said they're breaking any rules, but that doesn't mean they haven't ruined baseball. Because of their spending, 20 out of 30 teams show up to Spring Training knowing that they have no shot of winning. In the '80s, all the teams thought they had a shot. But that was before George got out of control.

So rooting against the Junkees is like rooting for David against Goliath. It's no big deal if Goliath beats David - that's what's supposed to happen. But when David pulls off the upset, how sweet it is! So rooting against the Junkees is rooting against arrogance, buffoonery, and the jerks who ruined baseball for all the small market fans. Come on, isn't it great when something evil just totally collapses?

And I'm not a Red Sox fan. They happen to be playing the Junkees, and the Junkee fans despise Boston, so I had to root for them. If the Orioles fight the Junkees for first place in '05, I'll be rooting my fanny off for Baltimore.

Now what happens if the Junkees return to their early '90s form of losing baseball? Will it still be as satisfying to root against them? I don't know; I'll cross that bridge when I get there, but I'd sure love to find out!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bernie Williams: Arrogant Bum

I always thought that Bernie was one of the classier Yankees. Boy was I wrong. The papers are reporting that Bernie has given his blessing to the Junkee front office to go out and sign Carlos Beltran. Hey Bernie, who the heck needs your blessings? The Junkees are paying you $15 million a year (which is about $14 million more than you deserve), so they don't need your approval. If they give you a first-baseman's glove, you take it! You mean to tell me that had you not approved, the Junkees wouldn't pursue Beltran?

I hated when Piazza did the same thing with the Mets about moving to first base. Who gives you a right to dictate to your bosses where you'll play and where you won't play? Bernie, you're lucky that the Junkees are willing to keep you around next season, let alone give a darn what you think about where you'll play. If they hadn't been such boneheads by signing you to this outrageous contract, you'd be a Milwaukee Brewer right now, you arrogant bum.

The Road Attendance Myth

One commenter yesterday noted that the Yankees have the highest road attendace in baseball. In fact, I was once listening to Yankees-Royals game at Kauffman Stadium when John Sterling said, "The Royals usually draw 15,000 a night, but during this three-game set, they've drawn over 30,000 a night. Who said the Yankees were bad for baseball? Look at all these extra fans they're bringing in!"

Sterling's moronic statement ignores the big picture. Why don't the Royals draw? Because they can't compete. They don't have the money to buy all-stars. When the Yankees spend like crazy, small-market teams can't get those marquee players and build a team. And the disparity has reached the point where many teams feel like they're out of it before they start spring training. How does that motivate fans to come to the park?

And baseball wasn't always like this. In his great book The Last Night of The Yankee Dynasty, Buster Olney quotes a old GM of a cruddy team as saying, "back in the day, we felt like if we can make one good trade or have a solid young starter come up, we've got a shot. But it's not like that anymore."

Think about the '80's. Back then, every small-market team had a chance to win and players worth watching. The Expos had Tim Raines. The Royals had George Brett. The Brewers had Yount and Molitor. And the Reds had Eric Davis. You didn't need to wait for the Yankees to come to town to watch a good team play. And these teams didn't need the Yankees to come and help them draw 30,000 a night.

I recently saw an ESPN Classic playoff game from '81. It was Dodgers-Expos in Olympic Stadium. The place was packed. None of this bull that "Canadians are more into hockey." Baseball's system wasn't as screwed up back then. If the Expos were competitive, the fans would come. But once they got shafted by the system in the mid-late '90's and couldn't afford their young stars, the fans said "screw you" and stopped showing up. I don't blame them.

And nowadays, who do the Royals have that's worth watching, Ken Harvey? And the Brewers-- Geoff Jenkins? Please. The Yankees have screwed up the system so much that the small-market teams are out of the race on April 1 and are stuck with a lousy team and inexperienced players that don't attract fans to the ballpark.

The Yankees, on the other hand, have an all-star at every position, basically. So when a traveling all-star team comes to town, of course you want to see them!

Perhaps there's hope, though. With teams like the Brewers and Indians surprising in '04, fans showed up in record numbers. The more competition, the more fans will come. And more record-breaking attendance. And they won't need the Yankees to help them, either.

Also, after seeing how a Red Sox world series get much higher TV ratings than the Yankees series the past few years, perhaps the public has had enough of the Junkees. I know I have.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Duh! Post Says Yanks Can't Shed Payroll

After Brian Cashman's startling revelation, I'm not sure how Yankee fans will cope. This is almost as big a shocker as losing a series after you're up 3-0.

The Post reports, "In candid comments at the general managers' meetings here yesterday, Yankee GM Brian Cashman acknowledged he likely can't cut any payroll this winter.
In fact, as the Bombers attempt to bounce back from the worst playoff collapse in baseball history, Cashman said the payroll will likely increase from the approximately $191 million George Steinbrenner futilely spent last season.
Cashman made it clear that he'll be unlikely to dump any money in unproductive or unpopular players such as Jason Giambi, Kevin Brown, Kenny Lofton or Javier Vazquez."

No team wants to waste its time and money on these guys. Even if the Yanks pay most of the contract, which NL team would want a guy like Giambi? And Brown is finished. We all know that. So is Lofton. Vazquez being unmovable kind of surprises me, but keep in mind the guy pitched in a pitchers' park up in Montreal. So maybe his numbers this year tell you more about him than anything else.

And this basically means the Yankees can only sign free agents. No trades. So wake up, all you dumb Yankee fans in fantasyland. You're not getting Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, or Ben Sheets. Do you really think Billy Beane is stupid enough to take your garbage?

Further in the article, Cashman jumps into BS mode:
""It's more likely going up a little bit than it is going down," Cashman told reporters in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton. "Because we aren't getting any relief of any major free agents involved.
"But again, my preference is to put the best team out there that can win a championship.
"It's unlikely we'll have a drastic change in payroll."

Shut up, buffoon. The Yankees' payroll will skyrocket. Beltran and Pedro give you at least $25 million per. And the Yanks will likely get Nomar or Jeff Kent for second base. That's another $7 mil per year, at least. And expect another free agent pitcher or two from the likes of Russ Ortiz, Eric Milton, and Brad Radke. Add $10-15 million more. And after Quantrill's struggles last year, I think you'll see Troy Percival in pinstripes, or another of the closers on the market. Plus Steve Kline as a lefty from the pen. Another few million there. It all adds up to at least $50 million more.

So Cashman is full of garbage. The Yankee payroll is gonna climb like crazy this winter. And it still won't help.

Stupid Question About Lieber

Ca$hman said that he didn't want to pick up Lieber's option because $8 million is too much, but he hopes to resign him to a two-year deal. Reports indicate that the Junkees are going to offer a two-year deal worth $12 million, or put another way, $6 million a year for two years.

So why didn't the Junkees just offer him another year at $4 million? If Lieber's willing to accept $12 million over two years, pick up his $8 million option, add $4 million for '06, and your total is... $12 million! The same you want to offer him anyway!

Oh, I hope I see him in a Red Sox uniform come '05... And nobody's taking Posada, so forget about Varitek...

Monday, November 08, 2004

Yankees Coaching Update

Now it looks as if Mattingly will be back, taking an $80,000 pay cut, and will make $420,000. When George says he's looking to save money, he means it!

And now that Randolph went to the Mets, sources say that Joe Girardi will take over as bench coach. What's with George's sick obsession with ex-Junkees on his coaching staff? Last year he employed Luis Sojo as the third base coach, Roy White at first, and Rich Montleone served as the bullpen coach. Let's not forget Mel Stottlemyre, the pitching coach. Are there any other teams out there that will let you coach only if you played for that team? Yeah, you'll have Mookie Wilson coach the Mets, or Kirk Gibson the Tigers, but every darn coach has to be an ex-Yankee? And there were talks that if Mattingly didn't return, they'd get Chili Davis, you guessed it, another former Junkee.

So if you're a former baseball player and you want to coach for the Yankees... if you never played for them, don't bother applying.

Your Big Fat Obnoxious Boss: Screwing Mattingly

George is really losing it. First he lets Lieber go because he decided he wants to curb spending (watch the '05 payroll be at least $225 millions...). Then, he decides that $500,000 a year is too much to give Don Mattingly to be his hitting coach. So now Mattingly might leave.

George, you have money coming out of your backside, and you're cheaping out on a Yankee legend? How can any of you guys root for an owner who's has absolutely zero respect for Yankee tradition? Hey George, you didn't have to bring Mattingly back, but you were so desperate for PR, that you threw bad money at him. Now you want to cut his salary? Too bad! You made your bed, now you have to lie in it. You should have thought of that before you made him the highest paid hitting coach in the majors!

As much as I despise the Yankees, I still respect Mattingly. He played hard, had enormous respect for the game and for his teammates, and never won a ring. Then again, I respect the good guys who won rings, like O'Neill and Tino, even if I rooted against them at the time. But the Yankees are becoming a harder team to root for, and a much easier team to despise.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Leave, Lieber

So the Yankees declined their $8 million option on Jon Lieber. Now, if Lieber really wants to go back to New York and is willing to go for cheaper, then the Yankees have pulled off a decent move, saving themselves a few million bucks in the process. And Lieber has claimed that his first choice is New York.

But who knows if that's true. Maybe he's really had enough of the Bronx Zoo and George's shennanigans. And if Lieber signs elsewhere, then the Yankees blew this one. They'll have lost their #2 starter, and be left with one sure deal: Mike Mussina. Brown and Vazquez are finished in New York, and you have to wonder how much Old Duque has left in the tank. And even if the Yanks sign Pedro, they'll miss Lieber. I would love to see Lieber go and screw the Yankees. I was thrilled when Pettitte and Clemens got outta there last winter. Especially after they gave a good guy like Pettitte a hard time about his kids wearing Mets caps (part of their little league team's uniform) in the dugout during spring training. He wanted no more of New York.

I would also find it amazing how George can cheap in all the weirdest places. While he'll overpay for guys like Giambi, Posada, and Karsay, he'll cheap out when it comes to his #2 starter. Is Lieber worth $8 million? No way. But these are the Yankees we're talking about, who gave that same number to Jose Contreras, who's far worse. And if there's a chance Lieber will sign elsewhere, the Junkees are taking a gamble. Here's hoping it'll backfire.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The Return of Soriano?

Now the Old York Times is reporting that Texas is considering trading Soriano back to the Junkees for Javy Vazquez. I sure hope Texas isn't that stupid. Granted, Soriano is due $8 million in '05, but the guy is worth it. He's a fantastic slugger. The Junkees want Vazquez out so badly, they'll take a bag of tee shirts in exchange. And I bet Texas could get back a much better player than Vazquez in return.

Then again, Soriano had such a dreadful 2003 postseason that who knows - maybe he can no longer handle playing in New York, especially in October. He can be an easy strikeout, so if he comes back, the Red Sox may be glad to see him. But I don't want him in the Bronx. He's too darn good.

Now Tino? I Told You They Were Desperate!

A couple of days ago, I discussed a report that the Yankees were considering bringing back David Wells by saying this: The Junkees are looking to recreate the Junkees of '96-'00, so what do they do? They bring back the same players from that era!

In the words of Rush Limbaugh – see, I told you so, because the Daily Snooze is now reporting that the Junkees are talking to Tino Martinez about coming back. Tino Martinez! The guy was a bust in St. Louis, the Cardinals somehow managed to dump his salary onto Tampa Bay, and now the Devil Rays don’t want him!

Now you know that had he not played for the Junkees, George would have zero interest in Tino. But, in a lame effort to recreate the dynasty, George will bring back an aging first baseman who the Devil Rays don’t want. Think about it.

Now you’ll tell me that he’s only an insurance policy anyway, in case Giambi doesn’t work out… Nonsense. Either Giambi will be healthy, in which case Tino will sit and rot on the bench, like Mike Stanley did in ’97, or Tino will have to play every day, and when they see that they are not getting the production they want, they’ll go out and acquire a power hitter.

Tino had one great year – 1997, when he hit 44 home runs. Since then, he’s been decent, although he’s hit .262 in two of the last three seasons, and hasn’t come close to 44 homeruns in the past few years. George doesn’t realize that Tino wasn’t the reason the Junkees won all those championships. They won because of pitching, pitching, and pitching. What did Tino do really? Sure, he hit the big grand slam in Game 1 of the ’98 World Series, but (a) the score was tied then, so chances are the Junkees would have come back anyway; and (b) the Padres didn’t have a chance in Games 2, 3, and 4, so I can’t go crazy with the Tino home run.

But when you’re desperate, you do crazy things. But enough about Kevin Brown…

Thursday, November 04, 2004

No Shoulder Surgery for Sheffield / Posada on Block?

I wonder if the Yankee fans will finally shut up about how heroic it was for Sheffield to play with a bum shoulder. Obviously, if he doesn't need surgery, it wasn't as bad as they made it out to be. So he had shoulder pain? What major leaguer plays without pain? That's what happens! That's why they get paid the big bucks!

And what's all this stupidity I hear about the Yankees trading Posada to the Diamond Backs for Randy Johnson? Why on earth would Arizona do it? Posada is heading downhill, he makes way too much money, and a team that lost 111 games doesn't need a veteran catcher - they need prospects, and they need pitching. The Junkees' farm system is in shambles, and other teams that want Johnson have much more to offer. I guess when you buy every player you want, you get used to it as a way of life. So the spoiled Yankee fans think everything is coming to them, but if they think Arizona is so dumb that they'll take an aging catcher in return for the best pitcher in baseball, they're in for a rude awakening.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Sayonara to Steiner?

Hey Despiser, I don't know if Charley Steiner will be talking about Jeter's Gold Glove for much longer. The man who once said he had the perfect face for radio has yet to have his contract renewed as color commentary guy on al-Yankzeera radio, and word is the fans have had enough. Is Steiner's tenure finished?

It's funny. I always liked Steiner when he was doing the Sunday Night Baseball games on ESPN-radio. He had a real passion for the game, and was engaging and fun to listen to. There was pretty good chemistry between him and Dave Campbell. So when the Yankees got him, I thought it was a pretty solid move on their part. Instead of getting some washed-up ex-Yankee for PR purposes, (hey, let's listen to Joe Girardi!), they got a professional.

But Steiner's professionalism ended the day he walked into the Yanks' radio booth. It seemed like Steiner was trying to compete with his compadre John Sterling in trying to be as pro-Yankee as possible. Steiner never developed the awful trademark lines that Sterling has ("Theeee Yankees Win!" "Bern Baby Bern!"), but he sure wanted to.

And it seems like Steiner failed. All his kissing up hasn't led George to renew his contract, and the fans didn't draw to Steiner. Maybe he wasn't as pro-Yankee as his annoying, whiney predescessor Michael Kay. But you gotta give him the A for effort.

And after selling out so dramatically, I don't see Steiner getting a job anywhere else. His reputation as a professional guy is gone. He can't pull off the shtick like Sterling, so he really has no appeal anymore. What a loser.

Jeter's Gold Glove

Hey Manny, how many times will the clowns on WCBS and Al-Yankzeera (Sterling, Steiner, Kay, and the rest of the losers) say, "And now the gold-glover Jeter comes to the plate..." or, "Nice play by the gold glover at shortstop!" About 3000?

"That play right there shows you why he's a gold-glove winner!"

The guy's been around for nine years and has won a grand total of one gold glove. I say, let's take it easy a little. You make one nice catch in the stands, come up bleeding on your face, and you win a gold glove. Hmmph!

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Wells? Wow, They're Desperate

Now the Daily Snooze is reporting that the Junkees are thinking about bringing back David Wells. Just how dumb are they? Here's a guy who's going to be 42 in May, admits that he doesn't take care of himself, and had a decent year in '04 in a pitcher's park. The Junkees are looking to recreate the Junkees of '96-'00, so what do they do? They bring back the same players from that era!

I'm a tad nervous if they do bring him back, because he might pitch well, but at the same time, there's enormous potential that he'll stink up the joint, so it's exciting that he might be back in pinstripes next season. And if they commit to giving him a spot in the rotation and then he breaks down, the Junkees will be plucking guys out of the scrap heap.

Now you know it's only a matter of time until they talk to Roger Clemens. Will they try to talk the Astros into trading back Andy Pettitte? Maybe they'll try to talk David Cone into coming out of retirement...

There's also the factor of George tweaking Snorre, so for that alone it's worth bringing Wells back.

Oh, I can imagine the Junkees '05 rotation:


Scary, huh? NOT!

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Other Ortiz

That other Ortiz? He would be ex-Brave Russ Ortiz, a free agent pitcher on the market. (Not to be confused with homer-happy Angels pitcher Ramon Ortiz.) I'd love to see the Yankees get this guy. Talk about a disaster waiting to happen.

But, you'll ask, Ortiz has out up some solid numbers throughout his career, including a 21-win season a few years ago. Who's to say he wouldn't do the same in pinstripes?

Well, throughout Ortiz's career he's had two huge factors going for him that he won't have in the Bronx:

a. Don't let Barry Bonds fool you: the Giants' SBC Park is one of the biggest pitchers' parks in the game. Ortiz's numbers with SF definitely were helped by this one. Yankee Stadium (and the DH rule) isn't as generous.

b. And in Atlanta, not only did Ortiz have pitcher-friendly Turner Field, but he had pitching genius Leo Mazzone taking care of him. Look at what Mazzone did a few years back with John Burkett. The guy was just a mediocre journeyman, and Mazzone turned him into one of the NL's best hurlers in '01. Then when Boston signed Burkett, he crashed back down to earth. The whole Red Sox Nation held their breath when he started game 6 of the ALCS last year.

Mel Stottelmyre (or whoever takes over) won't have the same effect. And Stottelmyre is overrated- he doesn't even deserve credit for the '86 Mets. They had a young Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, Bobby Ojeda, Sid Fernandez... With talent like that, who needs a pitching coach? And the same holds true for the guys he had in the late '90's.

And after Vazquez and Brown's disastrous league-switches from the NL, can Ortiz do better?

And Ortiz'z control has been awful: he's given up at least 90 walks in all of his full seasons in the majors. Steinbrenner was excited when he got Steve Trout; he can repeat that success by getting Ortiz.

Will the Yankees Go To Hell-ton?

Today's NY Post has a Joel Sherman article that says the Yankees might go after Todd Helton, especially if they don't get Beltran. While I don't know much credibility Sherman has on this one, I'd love to see the Yankees get Helton. I'd love to see the stupid Yankee fans get excited, the ones who think Helton will put up Coors Field-esque numbers in the Bronx.

In terms of numbers, the guy is kinda like Shemp Matsui. Matsui had amazing numbers in Japan, and has been pretty good here, but nowhere near the level he was in the Far East.

Here are Helton's numbers for the last 3 seasons in Coors and away:
HOME:.380, 62, 197
ROAD: .310, 33, 125

He's averaged about 10 HR a year on the road. Over a full year for another team, he probably hits 20 HR with an average at around .305-.310. So if you look at his road numbers per year, he's basically a little better than Mark Grace and John Olerud (in his prime): a 1b-man who can hit for average, but not a ton of pop. Good, but nothing special. (And again, don't forget the big market factor. Colorado is not New York. If Helton struggles and buckles under the pressure, the Yanks will be in trouble.)

And of course, he'd be a defensive upgrade over Jason Giambi. Then again, that's true of every first baseman in baseball except Mike Piazza.

Is that worth over $15 million a year? I don't think so. But I think George is fed up with Giambi, and will likely try to get Helton. And that's even if the Yanks get Carlos Beltran, and even if they can't get rid of Giambi.

Problem is, who will Colorado want from New York? Vazquez maybe? Would they take risky Giambi if the Yanks eat a large chunk of the contract?

A possible wild-card here is Carlos Delgado. He's a free agent, and I think he's another guy that George has liked, seeing that he's done well against the Yankees. Plus the fact that he stays seated during "God Bless America" will appeal to the ultra-liberals all over Manhattan. Delgado struggled last year, but should still command a lot of money for the numbers he's put up in the past. But that won't stop George.

By the way, the Yankees payroll will skyrocket this winter. Anyone who thinks they're gonna slash payroll is ridiculous. The Yankees will likely find no takers for huge contracts in Brown, Bernie, Giambi, etc. and being unable to make a trade, will instead spend on free agents like Beltran, Pedro, and others. I think you'll see $250-260 million on the payroll by next spring.

The Homegrown Myth

First off, it's amazing how quiet the Junkee fans have been lately now that their team is long gone. When I celebrated the Twins Game 1 victory in the ALDS, the Junkee fans were all over me as the Twinkies dropped the next three. But now, complete silence. Life really is beautiful.

Next topic - I hate when Junkee fans attribute their '96-'00 success on the fact that they had lots of homegrown players. For one, that's not even true. In '96, they had Tino at first, Mariano Duncan at second, Boggs at third, Raines in left, O'Neil in right, Girardi behind the dish, and a staff featuring Jimmy Key, David Cone, Kenny Rogers, Dwight Gooden, and John Wetteland closing, all of whom came from other teams. So homegrown players can't be the only reason they won. And then in '98, they acquired Chili Davis, Scott Brosius, David Wells, and a bunch of other guys from other teams. Same in '99 and 2000. So why is it suddenly a concern in 2004?

Also, many other teams won the Series without a ton of homegrown talent. Look at the '86 Mets. Carter, Hernandez, Fernandez, Darling, Ojeda, Knight, and a bunch of others came from other teams. Same with the Blue Jays in the early '90s and the Red Sox of '04.

So why are the Junkee fans so hung up on homegrown talent? Answer: Because they don't want to acknowledge that Brian Cashman is a buffoon, or that George doesn't know what he's doing. So they blame the farm system, despite the fact that George hires the scouts! They won in '96 because they got the right players. They lost in '04 because they got the wrong players. It's as simple as that.

Recent Yankee Transactions

I love how put it:

"The Yankees began restructuring for 2005 Friday, declining options on Travis Lee and Paul Quantrill..."

Meanwhile, what they don't tell you until you click on the declining options link is that Quantrill's option is for 2006! So unless they can dump him, they're stuck with Mr. 4.72 ERA for '05. But Travis Lee is gone? Uh oh, watch out, Red Sox fans!