|MVP||Alex Rodriguez||Mark Teixeira||Travis Hafner||Grady Sizemore|
|Cy Young||Roy Halladay||Felix Hernandez||Rich Harden||Daniel Cabrera|
|Rookie of the Year|
|Francisco Liriano||Justin Verlander||Brandon Wood|
|Manager of the Year|
|Eric Wedge||Joe Torre||Joe Maddon|
|MVP||Albert Pujols||Jason Bay||Roy Oswalt||Alfonso Soriano|
|Cy Young||Roy Oswalt||Jake Peavy||John Smoltz||Aaron Cook|
|Rookie of the Year|
|Jeremy Hermida||Ryan Zimmerman||Ronny Cedeno|
|Manager of the Year|
|Ned Yost||Jim Tracy||Joe Girardi|
World Series Champs
At a time when so much of the game is reduced to scientific examination and action, I also wondered why the best players seemed to come from Latin America. If we have become a nation of superkids with superparents who hire supercoaches and use videos and stats and scientific research to teach throwing, hitting, running, and sliding to the privileged scions of the American Dream, why do so many great and innovative players come from places where bats need to be carved out of tree trunks?
Even though we all know the outcome of the game, Euchner still manages to capture your attention and leave you wanting more each time you put the book down. An extremely easy and quick read, I highly recommend it to not just Yankee fans, but fans of the game in general.
Alex Bleth over at Bronx Banter (by the way, a belated congratulations to the BB guys for being named the Best Sports Blog of 2005) provided an excerpt recently, you can find it here.
2005 stats: 9-1, 2.19 ERA, 86.1 IP, 54 H, 20 BB, 93 K
2005 Club: Charleston/Tampa
ETA in Majors: 2007
2005 Final Rank: NR
Hughes jumps onto the fast track this season with a leap up to Double-A. It's not out of the question he'll see the Bronx by September, then challenge for a rotation spot next spring.
|2002||U. of Illinois||2-0||3.68||1.18||8-1||22.0||18||10-9||1||17-8|
|2003||U. of Illinois||2-3||5.70||1.53||9-6||30.0||31||20-19||3||18-15|
|2004||U. of Illinois||6-4||3.63||1.32||12-10||57.0||65||24-23||3||49-10|
|2005||U. of Illinois||8-3||3.10||1.14||14-14||93.0||89||36-32||5||63-17|
Octavio Dotel will definitely turn out to be one of the offseason's best moves, but be surprised if he's back as fast as people are speculating. Pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery almost always think they're way ahead of schedule, then hit a minor wall as they get close.Chien Ming Wang took a ground ball off his shin:
"No problem," said Wang, who had a gauze wrap around the knee. He left the stadium joking and in good spirits.The start of the season is still a week away, and there's already talk about who'll replace the injured Aaron Small, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright and now Wang in the rotation. Hopefully Cash has the Rocket's agent on speed-dial. At least Pavano is making progress:
"I came in and looked at him and I could see discoloration on his knee. Everything is normal so that's good," said Joe Torre, who was less certain about Wang starting Friday. "We're thankful that is wasn't more than what it was. The next 48 hours will probably tell us more."
Pavano was supposed to throw batting practice yesterday at Legends Field, but manager Joe Torre said that was canceled because of unusually cool weather. Now the plan is to throw a bullpen session today and - if all goes well - throw a few innings in relief of Mike Mussina Thursday against the Devil Rays at Legends Field. The Yankees want Pavano to throw as many as 35 innings during his minor-league rehab, putting him in line to be ready at the end of April, at the earliest.
Unlike the Brooklyn Cyclones, the Mets farm team based in Coney Island, the Yankees affiliate has failed to capture the public's imagination.
The Getzlers own 51% of the team while Steinbrenner's son, Hal, owns 49%. They have talked about selling the minor-league squad - but at least one potential suitor has balked.
The Getzlers, who could not be reached yesterday, reportedly were asking from $3 million to $5 million for the rookie-league team.
Yankees completed a minor-league trade Friday, acquiring catcher Keith McDonald from Texas for a player to be named. McDonald spent last year in Triple-A (Oklahoma) and batted .240 in 66 games.Hopefully this means they'll let Wil Nieves go via free agency instead of putting him on the big league roster.
|Average per Start|
Raw EWSL: 297.00 (99 W)
Adjusted: 317.17 (106 W)
Age-Adj.: 280.18 (93 W)
POS Age PLAYER Raw EWSL Age Adj C 34 Jorge Posada 21 19 1B 35 Jason Giambi 19 14 2B 23 Robinson Cano* 6 17 SS 32 Derek Jeter 25 22 3B 30 Alex Rodriguez 32 31 RF 37 Gary Sheffield 32 22 CF 32 Johnny Damon 24 21 LF 32 Hideki Matsui 25 22 DH 37 Bernie Williams 13 9 C2 36 Kelly Stinnett 2 1 INF 32 Miguel Cairo 7 6 OF 29 Bubba Crosby+ 1 6 13 29 Andy Phillips+ 0 6 SP1 42 Randy Johnson 17 16 SP2 37 Mike Mussina 12 11 SP3 30 Carl Pavano 10 8 SP4 26 Chien-Ming Wang 4 7 SP5 28 Shawn Chacon 7 8 RP1 36 Mariano Rivera 18 15 RP2 30 Kyle Farnsworth 9 7 RP3 36 Ron Villone 6 5 RP4 34 Aaron Small 4 3 RP5 30 Jaret Wright 5 4
Other pitchers we are likely to see include Tanyan Sturtze and, if he gets healthy enough to pitch this season, Octavio Dotel. Carl Pavano is clearly the key guy on this team; a solid year from Pavano gives them three dependable starters, with a chance for 4 if Wang holds up (no, I don't expect the fairy godmother to give Chacon and Small a new set of ball gowns this season), and could take the pressure off a bullpen that yet again is shaky behind the sandman. On offense, the Yanks are 8 men and out once again, with the decrepit Bernie eating up at bats and minimal help from the bench. And, of course, this is an old, old team.
With Bonds ailing last season and Palmeiro having hung it up, we haven't yet had a test of a guy with the kind of steroids bullseye Sheffield now has painted on him; 2006 will be that test, and we'll see if Sheff proves that he's still impervious both to age and to the media. Long term, of course, if it turns out that a lot of the performances by mid/late-30s slugging of the past decade have been steroids-driven, and those performances don't hold up in the future under the new testing regimes (two big ifs), that could adversely impact Steinbrenner's business model of buying established over-30 veterans.
I'm not optimistic about Cano, who came into camp out of shape and isn't the most disciplined player to start with.
I think the Crank needs to take a look at the spring Chacon and Cano have had. And by God, if Robbie's out of shape, I don't wanna know what I am:
The Yankees and Red Sox got into a little war of plunk Wednesday night, with both sides getting warned by game's end. I didn't see David Riske's pitch, so I can't speak to intent there, but did see Tanyon Sturtze's shot and there is no confusing the message with that pitch; he's the Yankees' version of an enforcer.
There are so many new players -- new relievers, in particular -- on the two teams, and they will tend to be overaggressive in reacting to somebody getting hit by a pitch in this rivalry. It will be as if Kyle Farnsworth and Julian Tavarez and the others joined a fraternity fight, they know all their new house brothers are watching and they feel a need to demonstrate their toughness. There's almost no doubt that they will have incidents this year, and you can almost assume that Farnsworth or Tavarez or Sturtze will be in the middle of something.
Posada was to have the nose realigned last night and is expected to be released today.
"He will probably be out about five days," Joe Torre said after a 5-4 win over the Red Sox at Legends Field last night. "He can work out but no games. The eye socket is good."
|Bryan Bullington||1st overall (PIT)||8.84||2.52||6.89||.84||1.26|
|Joe Saunders||12th overall (LAA)||9.46||2.70||6.34||.42||1.42|
Roger Clemens, everyone agreed, looked great on the mound during the WBC, too good to retire, and, you know, wouldn't he look nice wearing pinstripes this summer? So of course they made sure the certain Hall of Famer knows how much he's wanted back.
Although the Yankees are one of four teams Clemens, 43, is considering, he always mentions retirement as a viable option, a course nobody who knows him expects him to follow.
"Presently, Roger does not plan to play in April or May," his agent, Randy Hendricks, said in an e-mail yesterday. "We will review things in mid-May."
The Yankees -- for whom Clemens pitched from 1999-2003 -- realize it's likely that he will choose the Astros over the Yanks, the Rangers and the Red Sox, but until he does so, they might as well keep hoping. Knowing that a decision isn't coming for a while, they are in a wait-and-see mode, saying there's no reason to reach out because he knows of their interest.
Although the Astros can offer the seven-time Cy Young Award winner the attractive opportunity to play close to home with the benefit of missing some road trips, the Yankees hope the competitor in him ultimately decides that he wants to win another World Series ring.
Although the Astros reached the 2005 World Series, the Yankees believe they're in the best position to offer that. "He's in a pretty good situation," Damon said, "because he knows how desperate
teams are to get him."
David Regan of Hardball Times has an interesting article up on Baseball Analysts analyzing long-term contracts, which is something Yankee fans are familiar with. It's worth the read (as you can imagine, several Yankee names make a cameo), but here's the conclusions he draws from his analysis:
Aaron Small will likely open the season on the disabled list, as the Yankees right-hander strained his right hamstring while running on Tuesday.
Although he is not battling for a spot in the starting rotation, Small was scheduled to start in the Yankees' split-squad game in Lakeland, Fla., against the Tigers on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the Yankees scratched Small from that start, so they will use either right-hander Matt DeSalvo or left-hander Sean Henn in his place.
"I just tweaked it a little," said Small, who is 0-0 with a 4.05 ERA in three relief outings this spring. "It will set me back a little bit, but I've never done it before, so I don't know how long it will be. They said these things need time to heal, since they have a way of lingering."
Oh by the way, I'm officially on the Kevin Thompson bandwagon (hat tip to No Maas for the graphic):
- Hitters have historically been a better investment than their counterparts on the mound for teams looking to spend big money in free agency. There's not much risk in signing an under-30 superstar hitter to a long-term deal.
- Home-grown is the way to go. Instead of overspending on guys who stand a great chance at underperforming once they sign, develop young, cheap pitching talent.
- Contracts longer than three years for pitchers aren't a good idea. We've seen the rapid drop-off in years two and three of a deal, and it likely won't get any better in year four unless, of course, year four is another contract year.
- Lengthy and lucrative free agent contracts are not going to go away.
"The whole premise of this deal [Chacon for 2 minor leaguers] comes down to, simply, I needed a starter tomorrow."Chacon's had a stellar spring, running his scoreless inning streak to 8 despite a rough outing:
In other words, Chacon was a fill-in, a sub, a body. Faced with the prospect of handing the ball to yet another minor-league pitcher or asking a slew of relievers to get through a Saturday matinee against the Angels, Cashman instead made what was supposed to be a relative blip of a deal to get Chacon. He was supposed to pitch that one game, maybe hold a place for one of the Yanks' injured starters and then, in all likelihood, get lost in the bullpen.
"It was the worst three-inning shutout I've ever thrown," he [Chacon] said. "It was definitely one of those days where I threw a lot more pitches than I should have. I need to go back to the pen and find that rhythm."Despite his spring brilliance, his spot in the rotation is far from guaranteed:
Torre will only say that Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina have guaranteed spots in the rotation, with Carl Pavano joining them once his back is at full strength; Chacon, Wang and Jaret Wright are competing for the other two spots, though the Yanks only need four starters for the first few weeks of the season because of several off days.
[Rodriguez] may opt out [of his contract] after 2007 unless he gets an $8M/year raise or $1M more than MLB’s highest-paid playerHe's already slated to make $27M a year from 2007-2010, and he could up that to $35M a year (he'll still be the highest paid player by 2008)? That's ridiculous. I wonder if he really would opt out if the Yanks refused to give him the extra money...
Is the Yankees' farm system close to again cranking out talent for the big club?
No matter how much money George Steinbrenner throws at free agents, he continues to lose sight of the fact that the great Yankees teams of the 90s were led by players such as Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Alfonso Soriano, and Mariano Rivera—for the most part, 100% home-grown Yankees. There are encouraging signs recently however, as general manager Brian Cashman has refused to part with young players Robinson Cano, Eric Duncan, Philip Hughes, and Chien-Ming Wang in trades. Of course if George wanted to deal Cano and Hughes for a quick fix to the starting rotation, he’d have takers to be sure, but it appears he's wising up and listening to his baseball people more these days.
There are signs that the Yankees' farm system is headed in the right direction, and Duncan and Hughes are premium talents that should be ready to contribute by 2008. Athletic high school shortstop C.J. Henry wasn’t the typical Yankees pick when he was drafted in the first round last year. In addition, the team has a number of talented teenage international signings in the lower rungs of the system. Perhaps a few of those will turn out to be helpful in a few years. I think this is a system on the rise.
Torre has been impressed with some other youngsters as well:
Losing four stars to the WBC has irked Yankees management, but it has allowed Florham Park's [Eric] Duncan and a few other prospects to get playing time in Grapefruit League games that otherwise would have been tough to come by.
"That's the upside to it," manager Joe Torre said yesterday. "It's an upside for these guys because they're here in the big-league camp and they're actually getting at-bats and playing games. So it can do nothing but help them."
Duncan, 21, said he has carried over some confidence from the Arizona Fall League, where he was named Most Valuable Player (helping erase the disappointment of a .235 average last year at Double-A Trenton).
"His attitude is really good," Torre said. "He's got some thunder. He's going to be able to do some things."
A main focus of Duncan's this spring is working on defense and he makes the transition from playing third base to first. With Alex Rodriguez entrenched at third, the Yankees decided to slide Duncan across the diamond."
I talked to him early on because of the position switch," Torre said, "and he's very upbeat about it, which is good. Sometimes kids will take it as a little bit of a what's-wrong-with-me type of thing. But I think when you look up and see Alex playing third you realize it's no slap at you."
Torre has also been impressed with [Ramiro] Pena, a 20-year-old shortstop ("He's got some special tools"), and [Marcos] Vechionacci, a 19-year-old switch-hitter moving from second to third ("His moves at third base look very good").
Duncan probably speaks for all of them when he says, "I'm having a blast."
Before the Yanks' April 3 opener in Oakland, "Yankees Batting Practice Today" will premiere at 9 p.m. on the YES Network.
Besides showing taped segments featuring the Yankees and their opponents taking batting practice (thankfully there will be no BP play-by-play, just graphics giving info on each batter), "BP Today" will include Yankee updates and interviews.
As if Joe Girardi didn’t have it bad enough, there’s already talk that stud lefty Dontrelle Willis and third baseman Miguel Cabrera are both going to be available at the trade deadline this summer because their contracts are about to go through the roof.
Willis is collecting $4.3 million this season and has two years of arbitration eligibility left, and Cabrera ($472,000) will reach arbitration status next off-season, when he’s likely to be worth at least $5 million.
It didn't take long for Joe Torre to send a message to his players that waiting for the home run to carry the Yankees isn't going to be a staple of the offense this season.
Torre spent the winter preaching the Yankees needed to do the little things more, and in the second inning of yesterday's 6-3 loss to the Phillies at Legends Field, provided a glimpse of his thinking.
With Jason Giambi on first via a leadoff single and no outs, Torre put on the hit-and-run and watched Giambi reach third on Bernie Williams' single. Giambi scored on Jorge Posada's fly to center that advanced Williams to second. He scored on Derek Jeter's single to center.
"Joe said we are going to try new things," said the heavy-legged Giambi, who looks like Fred Flinstone when he runs.