Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Randy Johnson Nearly Done Deal

Let's look at the bright side of this, although I wish he'd stay a Diamondback:

(a) If the Junkees don't win it all in '05, it'll be a bigger embarrassment than had they not gotten Johnson.

(b) This will get the small market owners to push harder for a salary cap. Even though they have enough of a case as it is, once the Junkees have the top hitter (A-Schmuck) and the top starting pitcher (RJ), the Junkees will have no argument whatsoever to say that the system is fair.

(c) I read that in '04, they spent something like $85 million between revenue sharing and the luxury tax. Taking on another $16 million contract will inflate that number.

(d) If the Junkees do win it all in 2005 (please God, no!), Yankee despisers like me will be able to rationalize by saying, hey, they bought themselves a World Series title.

(e) They'll have to sign him to an extension, and chances are, he won't be any good in two years from now, so the Junkees will have another hefty contract on their hands.

When you hate the Junkees, you have to be optimistic!

Monday, December 27, 2004

But Can They Spend $200 Million?

I've heard the argument against owners like the Twins' Carl Polhad and the Tigers' Mike Ilitch many times. How can these billionaires cry poverty when they're too cheap to spend their own money on their teams? After all, Ilitch was all willing to spend his big bucks on the Red Wings (back when hockey existed), but was a cheap bastard when it came to the Tigers! But I don't blame these owners for acting the way they've been acting.

Think about it. Every free-agent signing is a risk. Aside from a few teams with crafty GM's (and the verdict is out on the A's in the post-Mulder and Hudson era), many teams are going to make mistakes. So it's not enough to ask these owners to spend an extra 10 million. Perhaps more like 25-30 million is more like it. And maybe more.

After all, the Yankees are the one team that can afford to eat a mistake, or a bunch of mistakes. Jose Contreras for 8 million? No problem, just sign someone else. Sterling Hitchock for $6 million? No problem, just get Jeff Weaver. No all-star in RF yet? Just trade (glorified salary dump) for Raul Mondesi. Mondesi turns out to be a mistake? Just sign Gary Sheffield.

But when the Pirates sign a Jason Kendall long-term and it turns out to be a mistake, they're strapped for a good few years. Only the Yankees can afford to eat their mistakes. These other teams have no margin for error. And no, they can't spend $200 million.

Besides, will the Twins be profitable by spending $200 million? In a small market? No YES network? I don't think so. So do you expect Polhad to ultimately waste millions just so his team could win? Come on.

In April, BusinessWeek wrote about how Boston has hit the limit on the amount they can spend:
The truth of the matter is that the Sox are hitting a wall. "We're maxing out on everything," [Red Sox owner] Henry admits. Every game is already sold out. Ticket prices are the highest in the majors. That means the Sox payroll has gone about as high as it can, which could have a severe impact on the team as early as next year. Four of the Sox' biggest stars -- Martinez, pitcher Derek Lowe, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, and catcher Jason Varitek -- could become free agents at the end of the season. All are demanding huge new contracts, but "we can't afford to re-sign all of them," warns Lucchino.That's why sabermetrics has become such an important part of the Boston strategy. Henry is not a guy who goes in for half-measures. After buying the Red Sox, he first tried to sign Billy Beane. When that fell through, he did the next best thing: He hired Bill James, the writer and baseball thinker who invented sabermetrics, as senior baseball operations adviser.

The article also quotes baseball economist Andrew Zimbalist saying that the TV revenue gap between the Sox and Yankees is at least $100 million.

And if the Sox are "hitting a wall" with a $120 million payroll, what can you say for the rest of the teams!? If the Brewers tried spending as much as the Yankees, forget it! Either the owner or the team would go bankrupt. They're not getting YES network revenue. It just isn't happening.

And speaking of the Sox, in spite of their high payroll, I don't blame them for their spending. After all, with the Yankees setting the precedent by buying an All-Star at nearly every position, what do you expect the Sox to do, just sit there with their arms folded and say "forget it"? They want to win too. But in this league, if you want to win, you've gotta play by the Yankees' rules. And after the Yankees started putting their payroll on steroids, the Sox have done the best they can trying to compete.

And even if you'll tell me that the Yankees are just playing by the rules, and it's not the Yankees that are the problem, it's the system that's an issue, I think it's fair to say that the Yankees are the perfect poster boy for all that is wrong with the system.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Twins Owner Speaks the Truth

Although I have not been able to dig up quotes, I heard on ESPN-Radio that Twins owner Carl Pohlad complained about the state of baseball. He said that his team cannot compete because they keep losing too many players. Over the past two offseasons, his team lost LeTroy Hawkins, Eddie Guardado, Christian Guzman, and Corie Coskie to free agency, had to trade Eric Milton in a salary dump, same with A. J. Pierzynski.

Pohlad said that the system stinks (which everything agrees with, except Yankee fans), and Torii Hunter shared similar sentiments.

So we'll see what happens when the CBA expires in 2006. If owners like Pohlad can convince the others that they need to make drastic changes in the system (i.e. salary cap), who knows - maybe something happens. Then we can see the Junkees return to the AL East basement.

Looking Ahead: Hudson in '06

Anyone who knows anything about baseball knows that come 2006, Tim Hudson will be donning pinstripes.

The Yankees will offer him a huge amount of money, and no other team will come close; they won't be able to. Then the Yankee despisers will have to pray that his health deteriorates, or that he is the next Mike Mussina - okay, but not worth the big bucks.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Crybabies are at It Again

What can you expect from a team that cries for a forfeit when the Devil Rays show up a few hours late after a hurricane? Well, team president Randy Levine had this to say about the Dodgers after the Randy Johnson deal fell through:

Last Friday a deal was agreed to with the only contingencies being [contract] extensions and physicals. [L.A.] got cold feet. As early as [yesterday morning] they wanted to go through with it. Their actions said something different. It's very disappointing. We will take a long, hard look before doing business with them again.

I'm sure the Dodgers are shaking in their boots by this dumb threat. How will they win without Eric Duncan and that guy Navarro?

I hope Arizona comes to their senses and decides to keep him. There's no dominant team in the NL West, so with Johnson, Ortiz, and a healthy Glaus, they may be able to squeak out a division title.

But Yankee despisers get to breathe for another few days.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Jeter, Rivera Welcome Back Giambi

I know, I know, it's a slow news day, and the beat writers have to come up with something, but how dumb is this? Hey Jeter, who died and made you God? Since when do you decide who's welcome and who's not? Same with Rivera. I thought it was dumb when the Mets used to ask Al Leiter and John Franco who they should keep and who they should get rid of, and now the Junkees are acting the same way.

What is Jeter supposed to say - "we want him off the team"? So that when Giambi comes back they'll hate each other? There's just no logic here. Just shut up, and everyone will be better off.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Yankees Starting Five: $67 Million

I saw this on Mike'd Up on Sunday night - when the Yankees get Randy Johnson, their five starters (Johnson, Mussina, Pavano, Wright, Brown) will all make $67 million in 2005, which is more than 18 teams' entire payrolls. But there's no problem with disparity, right Junkee fans?

By the way, check out - another great Yankee despiser site.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Wait and See; Renteria = Jeter?

Been busy lately, so not much time to blog, but a quickie here.

a) I'll admit. As a Sox fan, I was hoping for them to get Pavano. And yes, the Yanks will probably end up getting Johnson and Beltran. But remember last winter: After getting Brown, Vazquez, Gordon, and especially A-Schmuck, the Yanks looked like the team to beat. And what memorable moments did those guys provide? Brown, punching the wall and breaking his hand? Vazquez morphing into Jeff Weaver? Gordon barfing in the bullpen during game 6? A-Schmuck flailing at the ball in Bronson Arroyo's hand like a 2-year old during the ALCS?

Look, a lot of deals look good at the time. If you would've told me 3 years ago after Giambi signed with the Junkees that 3 years later they couldn't get rid of him fast enough, you would've looked at me like I was from Mars. Ask Schmet fans about Roberto Alomar and Mo Vaughn. And I remember my Yankee-fan friend telling me how Weaver was gonna win 20 games in pinstripes, and how the Vazquez deal will be viewed as one of the best trades in Yankee history.

Basically, a lot can happen. Let's see what happens come next October.

b) I may offend a bunch of Yankee fans and 16-year old girls with this one, but new Red Sox SS Edgar Renteria is as good (ok, arguably a drop worse) than Derek Jeter. Let's compare their numbers from '02-'04:


AVG .308
OBP .362
OPS .802
HR 34 (11.33 per year)
SB 73


AVG: .302
OBP: .371
OPS: .818
HR 51 (17 per year)
SB 66

Aside from the power numbers (a 6 HR difference per year for Jeter) and a slight edge for Jeter in OBP and OPS, the two are basically the same. Both are gold-glovers, too (Renteria 2, Jeter 1), although Renteria is probably the better fielder.

The major difference here? Salary. Renteria's getting about $10 mil a year from Boston, and Jeter about $19 mil. Is Jeter worth nearly double the price, Mr. Ca$hman? Maybe they pay him to be the first to high-five everyone. Or to pull off the tired "Mr. Torre" shtick. That's right. An extra $9 million for Jeter's priceless "intangibles." Too bad he can't rub Zim's head anymore.

Of course. Overpaying is part of the Yankee way.

Johnson and Beltran: Yankees in '05

Buster Olney, among others, are willing to bet the farm that both Randy Johnson and Carlos Beltran will wear pinstripes in 2005. Just another example of how the system stinks. The Astros want Beltran back in the worst way, but will not be able to compete in terms of salary, so they'll lose him. How can any Yankee fan with half a brain tell me that that's totally fair? Sure, they're not breaking any rules; they're taking advantage of a lousy system. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the Yankees are buying themselves another championship for 2005. Their payroll will be in the $200 millions, at least $50 million higher than the next team, so how a Yankee fan can get excited when their team buys World Series is beyond me.

As far as Randy Johnson, again, the other 29 teams know he's good, but they can't afford him, so the Yankees will get him. I guess the Yankee despisers will have to pray that this is the year he breaks down. I know, he was good in '04, but consider that Johnson has never pitched for a high-pressure team. Montreal, Seattle, Houston, and Arizona are places where the teams are happy just to make the playoffs. He seems like a sensitive fellow, so who knows - maybe he gets bombed in his first start, gets booed, and it's all downhill from there. One can only dream....

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Pedro to Mets: Rubs Yankee Fans the Wrong Way

Yankee fans are probably upset that Pedro is going to New York. Sure, the Mets are nutjobs for giving this guy a 4-year deal, but with George, you know it's as much about being on the back page of the newspaper as it is about winning. And Pedro does that. He puts the Mets on the back page of the papers.

When Pedro made his "call the Yankees my daddy" statement, he wanted George to sign him. He thought that George was going to shell out the big bucks, but even George wasn't that stupid. Still, George must have assumed that he was going back to the Red Sox, so he didn't bother pursuing Pedro. So the question remains - had George known he'd become a Met, would he have pushed harder?

When the Mets dominated the papers in the mid to late '80s, it ate George up. New York has been Yankee Town since '96, and now the Mets are trying to grab some headlines.

But you can't tell me that George wasn't interested at all; why then would he meet with Pedro? Don't tell me to drive up Boston's price, because that doesn't work with the Red Sox. George had lukewarm interest, but didn't blow Pedro out of the water, so Pedro's a Met, and the Mets gain some points in the PR war.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Pavano: Another One-Year Wonder

Going back to the theme of George loving guys who had beaten the Yankees, here you go: Pavano in the 2003 World Series.

Now there's no doubt that he had a great season in '04 - 18 wins, 3.00 ERA. But two points:

(a) His lifetime record is 57-58. So we're not talking Tim Hudson here. For the first five years of his career he did nothing. He was 12-13 in '03, and last year he was his breakout year, so granted, as a Yankee despiser you hate seeing him picking up the pace, but at the same time, let's take it easy.

(b) You might say that unlike Vazquez, he has postseason experience. True, but you have to admit that pitching for the Marlins isn't exactly pressure. It's not like being a Junkee, where you have to win. They knew that even had they got knocked out of the first round, the Florida fans would have been happy that at least they made it that far. And after the '03 ALCS (Aaron Freakin' Boone), there was a letdown by the time the Series rolled around. Nobody was paying attention. So let's be fair.

Now to be honest, I would not have thought of him as a one-year wonder, but Harold Reynolds of Baseball Tonight made the point. "They're giving him four years $39 million because he had one good year?" So I'll take it.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Looking at Other Teams' Pockets

When the Yankees thought they had the Randy Johnson deal worked out, the only thing preventing Arizona from taking Vazquez was the money. Johnson is owed $16 million for one year; Vazquez is owed $35.5 million over the next three years (great job, Ca$hman). The D'Backs asked for the $19.5 million difference. The Yankees were only willing to give $12-13 mil. Now that the D'Backs have signed Troy Glaus and are on the cusp of signing Russ Ortiz, the Junkees are saying that, hey, Arizona doesn't need the money, so how dare they ask us for millions.

Hey idiots, what do you care how much money they have? They asked you for money - either you make the deal or you don't. Whether they have money or not has nothing to do with anything. This is not charity, where you want to make sure the recipient really needs it. This is a business. If you don't want to give them the money, then it shouldn't matter what their situation is. So they pleaded poverty to you? Who cares?

That's just dumb. I guess this was the Yankee way of covering themselves in case Johnson ended up being a bomb - "Hey, we did Arizona a favor. They really needed the money."

I'm telling you, being a Yankee despiser becomes more fun by the day.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Wright and Womack? Ca$hman Is Senile

Why do the Junkees fall in love with one-year wonders? First it was Chris Hammond a couple of years back. He had been a journeyman for years, had one solid year in Atlanta, and the Junkees picked him up. He stunk as a Yankee, so they got rid of him.

Yet, they're willing to pay Jaret Wright $7 million a year for three years despite the fact that he's had only one good year, and wouldn't you know - it was in Atlanta! Face it - Leo Mazzone, the Braves' pitching coach, is a magician. That's why so many pitchers did well there, and then faltered elsewhere. Wasn't Steve Avery supposed to be the next Tom Glavine?

Granted, Wright had a better year in '04 than Lieber did, but Lieber has a track record. I would have picked up the $8 million option. It's only a million more, and you know what you're going to get with him. I bet the Junkees are kicking themselves for letting him get away.

Then you have Tony Womack, who hit .224 for three teams in '03. He was pretty good for the Cardinals in '04, but think of this - his career OBP is .319. That stinks. Also, he was hitting ahead of Walker, Pujols, Rolen, and Edmonds. Now you could make a similar argument that with Jeter, A-Schmuck, and Sheffield, he'll see pitches to hit. But you can't deny that the Junkees are banking on the fact that he had one good year and therefore, he deserves a 2-year contract.

Or maybe they got him for the same reason they got a washed up Mike Stanton - they're living in the past. And they want to make sure that Game 7 of the 2001 World Series doesn't happen again.

Ah, joy in Yankee despiser land.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Felix Rodriguez? Are You Kidding Me?

Let's get one thing straight: Ca$hman was in idiot for giving Lofton a 2-year deal. In '02 and '03, Lofton wasn't signed until Spring Training. So what do the Junkees do? They give him a 2-year deal for $6 million. Insane! So now, to get rid of him, they had to take Felix Rodriguez off the Phillies' hands. Now anyone who has followed baseball over the past five years or so knows that Felix Rodriguez cannot buy an out in a big spot. He stinks. He's like Kenny Rogers and Armando Benitez - great when there's no pressure, but lousy in the big game. Anyone remember Rodriguez in the '02 postseason?

So what we're going to have is a repeat of Tom Gordon in '04 - amazing during the regular season, horrible during the postseason.

I tell you, between this, the whole Giambi thing, the Junkees' failure to get Randy Johnson (until now, at least), the 2005 season cannot start soon enough!

Friday, December 03, 2004

Void Giambi's Contract? Dream On

Here go the crybabies again. They signed a bulked up slugger they had to know was taking the juice, benefited from his 30+ homeruns in '02 and '03, but now are crying foul that his '04 season was terrible because he was off steroids. Hey, idiots, you knew he was doing it, yet you signed him anyway. Why didn't you look for it when you gave him a physical before signing him after the '01 season? Answer: They didn't care. Only now that he stinks is it an issue. Once again, another Junkee double standard.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Now Stanton? I Told You They Were Desperate

The Daily Snooze is reporting that the Junkees are close to re-acquiring Mike Stanton in exchange for Felix Heredia. I've said it a million times and I'll say it again - George is so desperate to bring back the glory days of '96-'00 that he's trying to get as many players from that era as he could. That's why there were talks of Tino Martinez a few weeks back. Now if only Cecil Fielder would come out of retirement...

You know as well as I do that Stanton will not be a set-up guy. In other words, he'll only come in when the score is 10-0. And the Junkee fans will give him a standing ovation the first time he takes the mound in pinstripes.

Has anyone bothered to look at the guy's numbers over the past two years? He had a 4.57 ERA in '03, and last year he blew six saves. Yeah, the 3.16 ERA is respectable, but do you think they'd have any interest in him if he were never a Yankee? No way, Jose.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

What are the Junkees Waiting For?

Can somebody tell me why George and Ca$hman have been sitting on their hands doing nothing so far? Well, let's be fair - they did re-sign Miguel Cairo.

Maybe they are so afraid of getting burned, as they've gotten several times over the past few years, that they're going to sit back, see what happens, then jump in later to sign the guys they need. Of course, they run the risk of those guys getting picked up by other teams.

Maybe they don't have a plan. The Red Sox, the A's, the Giants, and some other teams have been thinking about which guys they want. They have guys they want to re-sign, and others to take their places in case they don't get who they want in the first place. That's why the Red Sox will not be held hostage by Jason Varitek or Pedro Martinez. No matter who stays and who goes, they'll be okay for '05. The Junkees, though, don't seem to know what they want. Sure, they'd love to have Randy Johnson, but other that that, there are talks that they may pursue Jaret Wright, Eric Milton, Al Leiter, Ron Villone (!), Russ Ortiz... otherwise, they don't seem to have much of a mentality.

That's why I could see them missing the playoffs in '05.