Wild thought of the moment: If New York does become concerned about Jeter's defense at SS, then sign Julio Lugo after the season.
Lugo, while not in the class of Adam Everett or Jack Wilson with the glove at SS, would be an improvement over Jeter.
Then you move Jeter to 2B in 2007. And, you can either trade Cano (who would be a legit trading chip - given his age and contract) or move Cano to the OF in 2007. (With Sheffield - assuming they extend him - becoming the full-time DH in 2007.) Cano goes to LF and you move Matsui to RF.
I know that many are thinking now "What about A-Rod at SS?" While that might make some sense, I don't see Jeter moving off SS for Alex. Yes, it's an ego thing. Think Derek doesn't have an ego? He might move for a new free agent or a kid coming up, but, with A-Rod, that's an admission of "He's better than me" that I think Jeter would have a hard time accepting.
Derek Jeter is batting a whopping .408, and has more three-hit games (four) than no-hit games (two).
I gave myself a good 24+ hours to mull over this whole Delmon Young bat throwing incident, and I've got to say that not for nothing, Young had a reason to be angry cause Lester's pitch was about a foot off the plate. In the spirit of Chris Rock: I'm not saying he shoulda threw the bat at the umpire, but I understand.
Mets minor-league pitcher Yusaku Iriki was suspended for 50 games Friday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, making him the first player to be penalized under Major League Baseball's toughened steroid rules.
The 33-year-old Iriki agreed to a one-year, $750,000 deal with the Mets in January after spending his entire career in Japan. He was playing at Triple-A Norfolk this season and was on the Mets' 40-man roster.
I'm not worried about Mo. Never have been, never will be. I just think Torre needs to use him a little more aggressively, like when the Yanks are tied in the 9th or even trailing by run. With the offense this team has shown, it looks like Mo may only get 30 save chances or so this year.
So far this season, Rivera has become the Maytag Repairman, such is his lack of work.
But, as Rivera explained, "Playing catch is good. But there is nothing like being in the game.''
Rivera had been mostly idle because, of the Yanks' 10 wins this season, eight have been by five or more runs. That the Yanks did not generate another blowout last night to make Rivera irrelevant once again will drive them bonkers.
This was just Rivera's sixth outing of 2006. However, for his few appearances, Rivera is now 0-2. Good thing he has a long memory for a short reliever. Last year, he blew his first two save chances, and he had just three saves and five tries through the Yanks' first 32 games. Yet he arguably went on to his best season, with 43 saves and a 1.38 ERA.
"There are five months and 140 games left," Rivera said. "I will pitch and pitch a lot.''
Starting next week, the Yanks begin to see the Red Sox and Mets a lot on their schedule. That foretells tightly contested, pressure games. Rivera is right, there will be plenty of opportunities. The Yankees need him to catch on to his usual excellence, and quickly.
bill (new york): phil hughes has pitched very good so far although its only been 4 starts, given his talent and with the age and question marks in the yankees rotation, would you be shocked if he was in the rotation nect year?
Jim Callis: Assuming you're talking Opening Day, I would be shocked from the standpoint that the Yankees just don't rush prospects. With a payroll pushing $200 million, they don't usually turn to young guys unless they have no other choice. On the other hand, Hughes is very talented, and there are a lot of question marks in the rotation, so he could surface by the end of 2007. I'm not sure that's much of an answer.
Mike A. (Chico, CA): If health was a non-issue: Pelfrey or Hughes? [I had a on-going debate to settle]
Jim Callis: Hughes, because he has a better breaking ball. But right now, factoring everything in, I'd give Pelfrey a slight edge.
Phil (Portland, ME): ok lets get it started..... A-rod at 25 or Wright at 25?
Jim Callis: OK, we'll go to either/or five minutes early today . . . A-Rod at 25. If he hadn't moved, we'd be talking about A-Rod as the best shortstop ever by the time he retired.
Kevin (CT): long term, Pedroia or Cano? [he's referring to Dustin Pedroia, a Red Sox middle infield prospect in case you don't know]
Jim Callis: At the risk of angering two huge fan bases, both of these guys are good players but not as good as most fans think. Cano can hit, but he's not a good second baseman and will have to move to the outfield. At that point, his bat doesn't stand out as much. Pedroia is solid, but he's not an elite prospect and he's not going to be a
superstar. He'll be a solid second baseman when all is said and done. I guess I still have to pick . . . I'll take Cano, who has more upside.
"I'm not worried about my team," Steinbrenner told a few reporters as he arrived at the Stadium hours before a 9-1 victory over the Devil Rays.
Just a few minutes after the demolition was complete, The Boss departed in a private car. But not before some more comments.
"It was a good win," he said. "Everybody's hitting, and they're doing well."
Asked about Mike Mussina, who allowed only one run on four hits over six-plus innings, Steinbrenner answered, "He was great. Moose carried us, and we did the rest. It was a good feeling."
Hochevar has a deal to pitch for the Fort Worth Cats of the independent American Association, which would give him the opportunity to make six starts in front of scouts before this June's draft. Hochevar remains eligible to sign with the Dodgers until a week before this year's draft, but after negotiations took an ugly turn last fall that seems unlikely.
Ridiculous secondary numbers . . . Hughes is off to his best start as a pro with the biggest number being his 24-1 strikeout-walk ratio. He's been uber-efficient with his pitches lately as well, working into the sixth and seventh innings over his last two outings.
minors-best 13-for-13 steals on the season
Peaking at .094 . . . It doesn't get much worse than Battle so far this season, whose average has dipped to .080 with 22 whiffs in 50 at-bats.
Small, who tossed four scoreless innings in his first start, on Monday, will pitch on Thursday for Triple-A Columbus, taking on Louisville.
Small, who has been on the disabled list since the start of the season with a strained right hamstring, will likely return to the Yankees during their next road trip. He will probably head to the bullpen as the long reliever and an emergency spot starter.
In a rare exclusive interview, the Yankee Boss told the Daily News he is both "gratified" and "humbled" at the Yankees becoming the first baseball team to be worth $1 billion according to the latest financial team evaluations by Forbes magazine. Not bad for an original investment of $8.7 million.
"This is all very gratifying," Steinbrenner said by phone from Tampa. "I'm truly humbled. I've been very lucky in life, and more than anything this is the product of surrounding yourself with good people. That's always been my philosophy. I've had a lot of good people with me the whole time."
"I re-member," said Steinbrenner, "when I told my father I had bought the Yankees, he said to me: 'You're better off sticking to shipbuilding.'"
"I could have never envisioned all this," Steinbrenner said. "All I knew when I went into [then-CBS chairman] Bill Paley's office was that I wanted a baseball team."
Where has Christian Garcia been this year so far? I haven't noticed any of his stats on your wrap ups, and wondered if he hasn't been pitching for some reason.
Garcia hasn't thrown a pitch this year and I have no idea why. I did a quick google search but it came up empty - maybe it says something in the Prospect Handbook, but I don't have it with me. I'll look more into it later today, but I've got a test to study for.
P Christian Garcia - Nursing strained oblique. Will be on mound in 2 weeks, and in Tampa's rotation in about 4-6 weeksStrained obliques are a moderately serious injury for pitchers, so hopefully he'll take the proper amount of time to let it heal and get back on the mound sometime in the next 2-4 weeks for Tampa. That's all I've been able to come up with regarding Garcia, but if you have any more info I'd appreciate you sharing it with me via the comments section.
Dotel felt soreness in his surgically repaired elbow after throwing an inning in an extended spring training game, Cashman said yesterday.
"It's nothing to get alarmed about," Cashman said. "His body is telling him let's back
off a little bit."
The Yankees have always hoped to have Dotel back in June, though the pitcher has been more optimistic. "We've said the summer," Cashman said. "He's got a lot to do before he can come to us."
What is becoming increasingly apparent is that the Yankees almost certainly don't have the kind of starting rotation needed to win the World Series. They might be good enough to make the playoffs, but here's the problem with the Yankees' staff: There is not a single member who is going to get better through development this summer.
The group is so old or and bears so much injury risk (Carl Pavano, Chien-Ming Wang, Jaret Wright) that what the Yankees are really hoping for is diminished regression.
Going after Clemens makes more sense in that the Yankees wouldn't have to part with any prospects to get him. They have shifted their philosophy in the last year and hung onto youngsters like Philip Hughes and Eric Duncan, and if they were to make a bid on the best pitchers available for a trade in midseason, they would have to part with someone like Hughes. But all they need to land Clemens is cash, and the Yankees have plenty of that.
With most other acquisitions, the Yankees would have to weigh their concerns about how the player would adjust to New York -- and just about every major star, including Clemens, has initially struggled in adapting. With Clemens, the New York factor would not be a problem; he had a good relationship with the fans by the end of
his tenure with the Yankees, and has maintained a strong relationship with the organization.
The Yankees are going to throw out a big number in the bidding, and if money is a major factor how Clemens makes his choice, they are going to win.
Baseball owners continue to slam the ball out of the park. Team values increased an average of 15 percent for the second consecutive year, to $376 million, in our 2006 survey of Major League Baseball's 30 franchises. Overall operating income increased to $360 million ($12.1 million per team) from $132 million ($4.4 million per team) the previous year, as revenue increased faster than player salaries.
But the biggest story is the effect revenue sharing is having on the league's economic landscape. Most of the money comes courtesy of the New York Yankees, which paid a record $77 million toward baseball's revenue sharing system.
But the league's reliance on Steinbrenner's Yankees goes far beyond revenue sharing. For example, a visit by the Yankees can increase a home team's ticket sales by as much as 25 percent. And the Yankees account for 27 percent of all league merchandise sales, the profits of which get shared equally throughout the league to the tune of more than $3 million per franchise. In effect, much of the league operates as subsidiaries of the Bronx Bombers.
But don't feel bad for the Yankees or the Red Sox. They sit atop our [Forbes'] rankings, worth $1 billion and $671 million, respectively, thanks to the revenue generated by their ownership stakes in regional sports networks. Steinbrenner's $62 million in cable money from the YES channel was by far the most in the league. Moreover, the Yankees will have a new cash-rich ballpark by 2009 -- perhaps adding another 20 percent to the team's valuation.
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It's not often you'll see a pitcher record 15 of 16 outs on the ground, but that's exactly what Yankees righthander Matt DeSalvo did last night. He also whiffed four Red Barons.
DeSalvo took the loss against Scranton, but for his part he went seven innings, gave up six hits and allowed just two runs, one earned.
When he's on, DeSalvo relies on a power two-seam fastball, but his changeup might have been even better last night. He was able to command the pitch even when behind, which enabled him to induce lots of soft contact.
DeSalvo consistently threw first-pitch strikes, and even neutralized lefthanded batters, who had hit DeSalvo hard early on."The key is for him to get ahead of lefthanders," Columbus pitching coach Neil Allen said. "Because when he does, he'll throw all manner of changeups and balls with wrinkles at them."
So, who do you want leading your staff? Identities are revealed at the end of this post, although I doubt they're much of a secret...
Just like every Thursday, here's the highlights from yesterday's ESPN chat with BA's Jim Callis:
Bob (North Hampton, NH): How's this years crop of draft eligible catching prospects looking?
Jim Callis: Not very good. The top catcher taken will be either Pepperdine's Chad Tracy (son of Pirates manager Jim) or California high schooler Hank Conger. Conger is a switch-hitter with power, but not a lock to stay behind the plate. Florida's Brian Jeroloman is a defensive specialist, while another Florida high schooler, Max Sapp, is more of an offensive player.
Mike A. (Chico, CA): Hey Jim, thanks for taking our questions. Where do you see Hochevar going in this year's draft? Would it be wise for a team that lacks upper-level talent (i.e. the Yanks) to take him in the 2nd or 3rd round considering the merely average draft class this year? Thanks again
Jim Callis: A lot is going to depend on how good he looks when he gets back on the mound in indy ball this spring. That may be a tall order, because he's coming off a long layoff and will face a lot of older hitters, many with Double-A and Triple-A experience. Hochevar, based on his 2005 form, would go in the upper half of the first round. But he probably won't be in that form, there still will be signability questions and you have to question his makeup after the Dodgers fiasco last year. So it's too early to tell where he goes. He might get to the Yankees at No. 41 after going No. 40 a year ago.
Paul (San Francisco): How predictive is a good farm system of a club's future big league success? For instance, do the clubs whos farm systems you rate in the top 5 in a given year generally do well 2-3 years in the future? I guess the real question is, how fired up can we be if our teams rate as having good farm systems?
Jim Callis: I recently looked at the teams we had ranked No. 1 over the last decade, and the last club to get that ranking and fizzle was the 1997 Pirates. All of the other clubs had a great deal of success (though some, like the Braves and Yankees were already successful when ranked No. 1). Unless the club's talent is being overestimated (in retrospect, that's what happened with the 1997 Pirates), an elite system should lead to big league success.
Down on the Farm (yesterday was an ugly day for the system):
Triple-A Columbus (2-1 loss to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre)
Kevin Thompson: 1 for 4, 1 K
Melky Cabrera: 0 for 4
Eric Duncan: 1 for 3
Matt DeSalvo: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K - 15-1 GB/FB ratio
Double-A Trenton (9-3 loss to Altoona)
Justin Christian: 2 for 5, 1 SB - moved to leadoff spot a few games ago and took off
Rudy Guillen: 1 for 4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K - .086 BA, you can stick a fork in him, he's no longer a prospect
Danny Borrell: 4 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
High-A Tampa (4-3 loss to Fort Myers)
Brett Gardner: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB
Hector Made: 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 K
Jason Jones: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Low-A Charleston scheduled off day
Pitcher A: Josh Beckett
Pitcher B: Moose, but I’m sure you knew that already
Pitcher C: Roy Halladay
Twelve games into the season, Jason Giambi is showing last year's sensational second half wasn't a fluke.
Noting his body hasn't felt this good in two years, the Yankees' first baseman was named AL Player of the Week yesterday.
"This is the best I have felt in the last couple of years," said Giambi, who was the 2005 Comeback Player of the Year. "From being sick  and blowing out my knee . All the work I did rehabbing my knee was lost when I got sick [pituitary tumor]. It was nice to finish with a positive last year and the way I came in this year."
Giambi was 8-for-14 (.571) with four homers, 10 RBIs and an on-base percentage of .700 last week. It was the third time he has been named AL Player of the Week but the first time as a Yankee.
Yesterday in Tampa, Carl Pavano (bruised butt) threw off a bullpen mound for the first time since the final week of spring training. He threw 48 pitches and is expected to repeat the process tomorrow.
Aaron Small (hamstring) took another step toward coming off the DL by throwing four shutout innings of an extended spring training game against the Phillies. He allowed one hit, didn't issue a walk and fanned four.
By all rights, the Yankees probably should have won two out of three against the Twins. But Mariano Rivera blew a game on Saturday night in typical Rivera style -- sawing off a batter (Justin Morneau), breaking his bat and getting burned on a seeing-eye bloop single. "Maybe sometimes you want them to hit the ball harder so the outfielder can catch it," he said. "What can you do?"
Russ Johnson, Columbus
.436 (17-39), 9 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 6 BB, 3 SO, 0 SB, .795 SLG
Columbus third baseman Russ Johnson had seven extra-base hits and hit safely in nine of 11 games. The 33-year-old Louisiana native went 4-for-5 with a homer and a triple while scoring twice to help the Clippers run away from Charlotte, 12-6, on April 12.
Florida State League
Cody Ehlers, Tampa
.343 (12-35), 8 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 3 BB, 7 SO, 0 SB, .829 SLG
Tampa first baseman Cody Ehlers smacked four homers, three doubles and a triple to drive in 14 runs and raise his slugging percentage to .829. The 24-year-old first baseman went 4-for-4 with four RBIs to lead the Yankees over Lakeland, 5-4, on April 8.
Are there any indications -- with Brian Cashman more in control -- that the Yankees are going to try to develop some of their own stars? Do they have any projected stars in the making in their system at present?-- Jack Gibson, Neepawa, Manitoba
Jack, Baseball America has the Yankees ranked 17th in their organizational talent rankings. Last year, two homegrown prospects, Chien-Ming Wang and Robinson Cano, both paid off. But it looks pretty dry from there, at least in the high majors.
The Yanks' most talked-about prospects right now are outfielder Melky Cabrera and right-hander Philip Hughes. Cabrera had a cup last season, and he's on the 40-man roster now, but the 19-year-old Hughes still is way down in the minors. Not much chance you'll see him at all this year.
"That dress code isn't going to work," [Triple-A manager Dave Miley] told a confused Smith.
"I thought maybe he was a stickler about the dress code being on the road," Smith said. "I said, 'What do you mean?' and he said, 'The dress code is a little different in the big leagues.' I thought he was joking, but I know a manager wouldn't do that to a guy in my situation, who had never been there."
Miley wasn't joking. Smith was recalled by the Yankees before Friday's game in Minnesota, giving New York a 12th arm on the pitching staff. To make room for Smith on the roster, the Yanks designated catcher Koyie Hill for assignment.
"First and foremost, I have to get lefties out; being a lefty, that's pretty much what you have to do. I really won't know how they're going to use me until I get out there. Right now, I could care less what they do."
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