A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

I Want to be a New York Yankee

For the life of me, I'm not sure why players want to be a New York Yankee. I know the Yankees offer the best chance for a player to win a championship year in and year out, but they chew up and spit out just about every free agent and player received via a trade lately. Maybe professional players want the opportunity to play in a stadium that could be considered the grandest stage in all of baseball. The idea that if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere may play a factor into it as well. But the utmost reason people come to the Yankees is most likely not the opportunity to win, but the money.

The desire to be a Yankee not only resonates with baseball's free agents and players demanding to be traded to the Yankees and the Yankees only like Randy Johnson, but in international scouting as well. When you have players out of Cuba, Japan, and other countries, the Yankees are the biggest and most recognizable name. They get first dibs on anyone because of their mystique and the honor to put on the pinstripes on a daily basis.

Over the past few years, many people have seen players beat down, cast off, and run out of town. Playing for the Yankees is like playing in a pressure cooker. There is no tolerance for marginal play or underperforming players. Mediocrity will not be tolerated no matter if your past achievements and a player may not get much time to prove themselves. Is that necessarily a bad thing? No, however, players have to choose whether or not they really want to subject themselves to that. The Yankees is an organization where pitchers that can start on other teams become 6th or 7th starters who rarely see playing time. The Yankees are where some young pitchers on verge of becoming one of major league's elite go to become the goat. The Yankees are where guys who are considered one of the top five young pitchers in the Major Leagues to not even be a starter in the playoffs. The Yankees are where people come who leave their families back in the home country come to play to get ridiculed by the organization and sent packing when they could not handle it. The Yankees are where many people just leave with a sour taste in their mouth.

Todd Ziele's short stint there was a memorable one. Just not memorable in a good way.

"I have no desire to play again for that organization," Zeile said.

"I think some of the things that happen over there are different than any other organization in baseball. I have a pretty good track record to judge that," Zeile said, citing his numerous stops across the majors. "Every day is potentially the end-all," he said. "It's whatever they need that day. It sometimes can be unsettling for people in role positions there. ... I don't really have a desire to get back into that mix."

Javier Vazquez was considered on of the premier pitchers in all of baseball. He was traded from the Expos to the Yankees and signed a very lucrative extension and was able to satisfy his desire to stay near Puerto Rico on the East Coast so his wife can fly up to see his games. He was a top of the world at the All-Star break and ended out the season by not making the post season rotation and being relegated to mop up duties. Sure the Yankees used him to upgrade the rotation by bring in RJ, but at the expense and uneasiness of Vazquez. I guess someone should have warned him that something like that may happen.

Jason Giambi was once pumping his body full of steroids and full of life in Oak-town. He was a party animal and very much in the public portraying a young party animal. Then he came into the personality vacuum known as the Yankee organization. As soon as Giambi signed a deal with the devil, he was cleanly shaven making bad commercials about just saying "NO!" to B.O. What a far cry from the Jason Giambi that was in Oakland. You think he regrets leaving Oakland for a few more million per year? I know Billy Bean doesn't, but I think he might.

Jeff Weaver was on the verge of a breakout year by going 6-8 with a 3.18 ERA in 121.2 innings pitched before being traded to the Yankees which began what is undoubtedly the worst year and a half of his life. The Yankees finally granted Weaver parole by jettisoning him to the National League and as far as way from New York without being traded to the Yomiuri Giants.

Jose Contreras was highly sought after by the Red Sox and Yankees and was considered the best pitching in the world not in the Major Leagues. Jose was offered more money by the Red Sox and when the Yankees stole him from under the Sox’s noses it prompted Larry Luchino to call the Yankees the “Evil Empire”. I have no hard proof in the form of some good quotes or a person familiar with the situation, but it's safe to assume Jose would rethink signing on the dotted like for Steinbrenner again.

The Braves actually offered Dioneer Navarro more money than the Yankees, but Dioneer was swayed by the Yankees and their evil international grasp. Instead of possibly being where Johnny Estrada is sitting within the Braves organization, he's now been on three teams this off season. He probably will not start for the Dodgers this upcoming season and still has an uncertain future when it comes to which organization he is going to call home. Someone should have told him prospects have zero chance of actually making the Yankees Major League squad.

If Jason Giambi did not learn that honesty is not the best policy from Aaron Boone, then I do not know how he will every learn it. Lie like Gary Sheffield and you will be OK. Tell the truth like Aaron Boone, and you will be in great shape. I'm sure Mr. Boone is not exactly enthralled with the Yankees despite him playing some basketball, which was not allowed by his contract.

Bubba Trammell chose not to play baseball at all instead of putting on those pinstripes one more day. I really cannot blame him.

While Hideki Matsui is no doubt a Boss favorite now, Steinbrenner called him out in the NY papers in 2003. He said something to the effect of "this is not the player we thought we were getting". This is not the first nor the last time George used the papers to make digs in players. He's done it to Jeter before amongst others. No one is safe. It is like a soap opera every year in the Bronx.

The above players were not the only ones in the past few years to get discharged by Yankee organization or labled goats and they will certainly not be the last. Yankee Stadium is not the easiest place to succeed and will anyone be surprised to see two more names added to the dubious list above? Raise your hand if you do not see the same things happening to Pavano, Wright, or both of them. No hands up? Didn't think so.

I guess sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for and wishing to be a New York Yankee could be the worst thing.

* * *

  • The Mets are mulling Magglio according to Newsday.

    According to a National League source, the Mets are taking a close look at free-agent Magglio Ordoñez. Having already added high-profile free agents Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran, the Mets have held internal discussions about going after the 31-year-old, who missed the bulk of the 2004 season with serious left knee problems.

    To that end, the Mets could schedule a workout very soon to see Ordoñez perform.

    The Detroit Tigers have been the most aggressive suitors for Ordoñez's services, having extended a five-year offer that, similar to the contract to which they signed Ivan Rodriguez last year, would be voidable if the bone-marrow edema in Ordoñez's left knee persists.

    If that clause is in there to void the contract if the bone-marrow edema persists, I say do it. Though, from what I understand, the edema is not the long term problem. The problem will be the meniscus that he has had to repair surgically twice. I would certainly hope that would be part of any clause, but I think an incentive laden deal is what the Mets have to try for. Cameron is obviously not very happy and he still can net something positive back in a trade. If Cameron can be dealt for pieces to improve the team and the organization, it has to be looked at since a healthy Magglio would conceivably be a better fit anyway.

    Meanwhile, the Tigers negotiations have hit a snag. They are offering five years, and he wants seven. Who is going to pony up seven years for Magglio is the real question. The answer is no one. Also, since the Cubs appear to be on the verge of signing Jeromy Burntiz, the field for Magglio is not that big right now. So far it is the Tigers bidding against themselves for time being unless the Mets decide to join.

  • There is no doubt that the there are problems with the payroll disparities of baseball today. Big market teams have an advantage every season by the simple fact they can buy what they need and do not necessarily have to bargain shop. However, I do take offense to the statement of one Kevin McClatchy.

    For once, the Yankees aren't being fingered as the villains. What drove McClatchy to complain to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review last weekend was the Mets' off-season spending binge - and not so much the money they paid to superstars Pedro Martinez and Carlos Beltran as the pricey deal the Mets gave to former Pirates pitcher Kris Benson.

    "It seemed like there was sanity for a couple of years, but now all my brethren decided to go crazy," McClatchy said. "It just hurts the industry. When somebody goes out and pays an average pitcher $7 million a year, then anybody who's an average pitcher says he needs $7 million a year.

    "As we go toward a new [CBA], there's going to have to be some form of constraints because these guys can't control themselves. I'm tired of other people affecting the marketplace and making it more challenging for small-market teams . . . I've been talking to a lot of owners, and a lot of us are concerned. And we're going to speak up."

    In Kris Benson's last year of arbitration, he earned $6,150,000. He is now earning an average of $7,500,000. Basically Benson got a 22% raise. It does not take a brain surgeon to know the Mets were in a different situation with Kris in that they gave some good prospects and a solid major leaguer to get him with the idea he'd be a Met for a few years. Besides that, teams sometimes pay for what they think he'd be worth in the future. If the Mets thought he'd post something similar to the 4.97 and 4.70 ERAs like he did in 2002 and 2003 for the next three years, they presumably would not have valued him so high when they traded for him or offered him his contract. For reasons right or wrong, they felt they had to hold onto him and if that meant paying him $500,000 to $700,000 dollars more per year than Mr. McClatchy would have approved of, then so be it. The Mets really did not overpay by that much.

    The Yankees paid $40 million for a guy who had only had one good year. I'm not sure Kris Benson's contract is outrageous at people think. The going rate for a ace is $10 million or above. A back end of the rotation guy would get $5 million or less. The rest get somewhere between. A number three pitcher on a large market team would surely earn about what Kris Benson is getting and the Mets certainly view him as that with the ability to become something more. After all, he just spend the last four of five years being the Pirates #1. There was not way he was going to get a salary lower than he earned in 2004 and ultimately it comes down to how much player is worth to a team, which was Kris Benson for $22.5 million over three years for the Mets.

    Besides, the Washington Nationals paid almost $17,000,000 for four years of Christian Guzman. Is there anyone in baseball who thinks he is worth that amount of money? That was one of the first signings of the off season and was certainly a curious one. The Mets are not the only team that could be accused of overpaying for anyone this off season. If fingers should be pointed at anyone for overpaying they should maybe be pointed at the Diamondbacks and the Mariners who seemingly set off a spree of overpayments on position players. Everyone just loves to hate the Mets. The Mets also barely have a higher payroll than the second place Chicago Cubs. Their outrageous spending has basically put them in line with every large market team not named the Yankees.

  • Taxes? I don't want to pay no stinkin' taxes.

  • Some things are just plain wrong. You can steal a guy's woman, take his job, or even kick his dog. But don't mess with a man and his unhealthy affection for the Simpsons.

    A woman pleaded guilty Wednesday to selling on eBay three nonexistent cases of Duff brand beer — the favorite of cartoon character Homer Simpson.

    Tara Edith Woodford, 28, pleaded guilty in the Mackay Magistrates Court in northern Queensland state to three charges of dishonestly gaining money by false pretenses.

    Prosecutor Gavin Burnett told the court Woodford was paid a total of 1,951 Australian dollars (U.S. $1,511) by three separate buyers after advertising the bogus beer on the eBay Internet auction site.

    That's just wrong on so many levels.

  • I've just wasted a half hour of work doing this. (Not to mention the time I've wasted doing this page)

  • BA has their first round projection out.

    1. Justin Upton, ss/of, Great Bridge HS, Chesapeake, Va.
    2. Cameron Maybin, of, T.C. Roberson HS, Asheville, N.C.
    3. Alex Gordon, 3b, U. of Nebraska
    4. Mike Pelfrey, rhp, Wichita State U.
    5. Luke Hochevar, rhp, U. of Tennessee
    6. Tyler Greene, ss, Georgia Tech
    7. Jeff Clement, c, U. of Southern California
    8. Wade Townsend, rhp, Rice U.
    9. Troy Tulowitzki, ss, Long Beach State U.

    A steady defender and emerging hitter, he beat out Tyler Greene as Team USA’s starting shortstop.

    The Mets picking a shortstop with their first pick?

    10. Ryan Zimmerman, 3b, U. of Virginia
    11. Stephen Head, 1b/lhp, U. of Mississippi
    12. John Mayberry Jr., 1b/of, Stanford U.
    13. Sean O’Sullivan, rhp/of, Valhalla HS, El Cajon, Calif.
    14. Mark McCormick, rhp, Baylor U.
    15. Justin Bristow, ss/rhp, Mills Godwin HS, Richmond, Va.
    16. Craig Hansen, rhp, St. John’s U.
    17. Jordan Danks, of, Round Rock (Texas) HS
    18. Zach Putnam, rhp, Pioneer HS, Ann Arbor, Mich.
    19. Taylor Teagarden, c, U. of Texas
    20. Travis Buck, of, Arizona State U.
    21. Brian Bogusevic, of/lhp, Tulane U.
    22. Chris Volstad, rhp, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) HS
    23. Andrew McCutchen, of, Fort Meade (Fla.) HS
    24. Daniel Carte, of, Winthrop U.
    25. Brett Jacobson, rhp, Cactus Shadows HS, Cave Creek, Ariz.
    26. Austin Jackson, of, Ryan HS, Denton, Texas
    27. Brandon Snyder, c/ss, Westfield HS, Centreville, Va.
    28. Henry Sanchez, 1b, Mission Bay HS, San Diego
    29. Cliff Pennington, ss, Texas A&M U.
    30. David Adams, 3b, Grandview Prep, Boca Raton, Fla.


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