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

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Demise of the Yankees?

Could I still call myself a man if I use peppermint shaving cream? I'm not sure I can, but it smells to good not to try.

Speaking of men being men, Joe Torre showed he was a man by not allowing himself to work for the petty sum of $5 million (which still makes him the highest paid manager incidentally). Of course, there is more at play here. The Yankees gave off signs that they did not want him so why would Torre put himself in a position where he was not wanted? However, anyone saying the Yankees 'lowballed' him is nuts. Yes, it is less than he made in guaranteed money, but what is wrong with pay for performance? Aging players get incentive laden contracts so they have to prove their worth, why not managers as well?

He could certainly still feed his family on that salary and take some nice vacations, but that is not the real point. The real point is the Yankees made an offer that they hoped he would not take and he did not take it thereby making it look like the Yankees made a valiant offer. No counteroffer by the Yankees, just an "oh well, let us start looking for new managers". If the Yankees knew he was not going to take the offer, why be childish about it and just throw that out there? Being manager of a baseball team is not a position for life and it is their right to choose not to have him. It is as simple as that and should have been treated thusly, but we are not talking about normal teams with normal ways of going about things.

'Tis the life of anyone who wants to be involved with the most prestigious and virtuous franchise in organized sports. Also, the coverage on this thing has been ridiculous. It is getting covered like it was the death of JFK Jr. or Lady Diana. Really, everyone is acting like the Yankees made some huge mistake when all they really did is got rid of a marginal to bad in game manager and will replace him with someone with the same skill set or possibly even a better skill set. I am fairly certain that Torre's intangibles should be reasonably replicated as long as a coherent individual is awarded the job.

Next year will not be impacted whatsoever on the loss of the greatest human being alive. The outcome of the Yankees season does not hinge on this and things will chug along merrily. Mo will be back if he gets an offer, which he will. Posada will be back if he gets an offer, which he will. A-Rod will be back if he gets paid, which might not happen. But in the end, nothing is going to change in Yankee-land and things will be back to 'normal' shortly. In closing, who gives a fuck about Joe Torre?

Yes, the easy answer would be me because I'm writing about it, but give me a break. It is a looooong off-season and there has been nary a work from the Mets.

* * *

  • Bobby V. would be a horrible choice to coach the Yankees given his ability to rub veterans the wrong way. Also, why would he leave there? He has success, is a god, and is probably the tallest guy around. Over there, he is treated extremely well and compensated well and managers here just get shit on and have the shelf life of milk on the front lawn in mid-summer. Sure, he might think he has something to prove and might want to prove something back in the bigs, but there is something to be said for quality of life. Being the manager of the Yankees does not really support that quality of life thing unless you are winning a World Series every year.

  • Boras making sense?

    "Say Alex never would have left Texas and had the year he just had with the Rangers - 54 homers and 156 RBIs and Gold Glove-caliber defense - and then as was his right, opted out. Do you think the Yankees would be interested in signing him as a free agent at whatever cost? And do you think the Yankees would give him a deadline?"

    Great point. The Yankees are trying to stand toe to toe with him for no reason at all. They are just penny pinching but when phrased like Boras did above, it makes sense to me. Why should it matter? If the Yankees want him, they will still have a chance like everyone else. Besides, are they truly caught off guard here? Are they really fooling themselves into thinking A-Rod should have some loyalty to them? His first few years as a Yankee were extremely bumpy and now it should be water under the bridge? After getting ridiculed after the monster seasons he put up, they should be lucky he is even considering staying. But in the end, it is Scott Boras. The man loves opting out of contracts and thrives off free agency.

  • So if you are keeping score....Glavine does not care....Green cares.

  • Eureka!

    The only way Sabean can pry top young hitters loose from other clubs is by dangling one of his top two young pitchers, Cain or Tim Lincecum, but he’s not willing to do that and other teams won’t give up much for Noah Lowry, who’s a No. 3 or 4 starter on a good staff.

    The Giants truly have two options here.

    1) Suck for a while.
    2) Trade from a position of strength to try and bolster your team in weak areas.

    Pitching gets back major premiums. Young pitching gets someone's first and second born.
  • Labels: ,

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Predict This!

    I don't have to remind everyone that I picked the Indians and the Rockies to make it to the World Series back in April, right? Well, maybe not April, but I did predict them to face off in the World Series when the playoffs started. However, while touting my picks from the start of the playoffs, it is worth nothing how miserably I failed to predict the playoff participants.

    NL: Mets; Brewers; Diamondbacks
    Wild Card: Braves

    AL: Boston; Detroit; Angels
    Wild Card: Cleveland

    Those were my picks and exactly half of them made it into the playoffs. My insistence on banking against the Yankees bit me in the ass once again and why I ever supported the Braves is beyond me. I completely forgot to incorporate the intangibles of the Phillies which led me to pick the uninspiring Braves over them.

    As for the Mets and the Brewers, I stand by those picks. They should have made it into the playoffs but they simply did not hold up their end of the bargain. Next year, I cannot even see my picks changing much with the exception of the Braves not being the Wild Card and the Brewers being switched out for the Cubbies (I'm not discounting the Brewers as the Wild Card just yet though). Of course there is a long off-season to go, but I just see a few teams as having a sufficient amount of a lead in talent to be prohibitive favorites at this point even without knowing what everyone will do.

    * * *

  • Tim Marchman takes an unnecessary shot at my favorite team the Colorado Rockies. Just for the record, they do not think he is all that special either.

  • As DG says, we are in day 10,994.99999 of the Joe Torre watch. However, Jim Callis did weigh in on the topic as to his choice between possible successors if he is given a golden parachute.

    Jeff (NYC): Girardi or Mattingly? If Torre goes of course...

    SportsNation Jim Callis: I'd go with Girardi. Turning over a contender with a lot of expectations to someone who has never managed before, no thanks.

    Hmmm...sounds strangely familiar. Of course the Mets in '05 and the Yankees in '08 are extremely different animals, but the Mets were on the verge of contending and handed over the team to a guy who had zero experience and zero credentials. He was best known in the coaching realm for his nickname of Windmill Willie. Guys like that can start on clubs with no real chance at winning and good teams should stick to guys with managerial experience. And yes, minor league experience is just fine as available guys with big league experience that you would actually want heading up your team are not all that plentiful.

    Here is some more on Torre so DG can get his daily fill....

    The word was mum for Girardi on the topic of him replacing Torre.

    Bill Madden says this silence is not good for Torre's aspirations to return back as the Yankee skipper.

    ...and the second best first baseman of New York during his era chimes in with exactly what we all would have expected him to say.

    "It's pretty much a no-win situation for someone coming in here, to be able to live up to expectations and live up to what (Torre did)," Mattingly said in a recent interview. "So as far as someone coming in and taking over this job, it's not necessarily a great situation."

    Again, Mattingly could be a massive trainwreck. It really seems like the best thing would to bring in an outsider for at least one year and axe him for Mattingly. Girardi would be a long term solution and not an interim one and probably would never keep the seat warm for Mattingly.

    Also, while on the topic of managers, Rob Neyer just threw out an unsubstantiated guess as to some figures that I have been a big proponent of for a while. There are only a few managers who positively impact a team, a majority who do neither good nor bad over the long haul, and some who detract from the overall result. He said it was 10% good, 65% marginal, and 25% bad. I'm sure there is a margin of error there, but I wholeheartedly agree with his observation. We know where I think Willie fits in, but I'm sure Neyer would say he is part of the majority that has virtually no effect on his team's overall performance. However, I think that would be premature until you watch 140+ New York Met games, which I doubt he has.

  • The really remarkable thing about this is not the bird dancing, but the fact that they even put the Backstreet Boys on.

  • At least someone has some common sense out there.

    An Indians-Rockies World Series is just about guaranteed to lead to a headline we just can't wait to read:

    "World Series Ratings Lowest Since 1906"

    But you know what? Bring it on. Who cares? A Cleveland-Colorado World Series wouldn't be a bad thing for baseball. It would be a great thing for baseball.

    We've gone through payroll information all the way back to 1977, which essentially takes us back to the beginnings of the free-agent era. Here's the big news:

    We've never had a World Series that matched two teams from the bottom eight in the sport in payroll -- in the entire free-agent era.

    In fact, the only other World Series between two teams that were even in the bottom half of the payroll bin was 1991.

    That year, the Braves ranked 19th of 26 teams (or seventh from the bottom), according to USA Today. The Twins ranked 15th (or 11th from the bottom).

    So if there's anyone at MLB shedding tears over this matchup right now, here's our advice: Stop it. It's a sign of this sport's health, not its demise -- no matter what the ratings might suggest.

    Preach on brother Stark!

  • Also, be on the lookout for the best show in the history of television coming back on October 30. Everest. Watch it before it watches you.


  • Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    Met Related Post

    Well, there is not much Met news these days as they are being pretty quiet. After Willie got that boost of confidence from the front office, things have been hush hush with the exception of a Rudy Jamarillo rumor which seems to be just that at this point.

    Where do the Mets go from here? Well, the big problem is there is not much they can do to improve their team this off-season with what is on the market. It is actually even more of a skimpy crop than last year, which is scary to even think about. It is so bad, the Mets would actually have to think about bringing Glavine back with the unknowns on their team.

    The Mets really have one thing to concentrate on this off-season and that is pitching. More offense is nice, but I think Delgado will contribute more in '08, Castillo seems destined to be back, they might actually be ready to give Lastings a chance, Alou is a no brainer to bring back, and there are lackluster catching choices. What else is there aside from pitching for them?

    Then you look and see the rotation has 3 for 4 slots already taken with Pelfrey and Humber in the mix and there is not much worth doing there. Steven Trachsel? No thanks. Kris Benson? Not so much. The Paul Byrds of the world would be utilitarian for sure, but not worth throwing our youth aside for another year. Sure Omar might be able to get creative this off-season, but the Mets farm system is dangerously close to being barren. Any big deals would likely liquidate half of the impact talent that is close to the bigs and possibly set the Mets back long term.

    The only big area that the Mets have an opportunity to make some inroads on the market is in the bullpen. Jeremy Affeldt is a guy that I have liked for years now. He is a hard throwing left hander that just seemed to have problems putting it all together. He had a nice season for my new favorite team and would be a welcome addition to the Mets as a guy who can start or head to the bullpen. The Mets can have him fight it out in the spring or just send him into the bullpen to see if he can be transformed into a dependable set-up man.

    Then there are some decent guys like David Riske, Scott Linebrink, etc. and some unknown Japanese guys that might work as well. I do think Omar can add some quality arms, but nothing really spectacular and at least Affeldt has upside. On top of that, it is imperative that either Humber or Pelfrey gets to be in the bullpen mix from day one so they can start putting their young arms to use. Omar has one focus this off-season and he should try and not get to cute like he did last off-season which backfired on him in magnificent fashion. Also, it would be nice if the Mets could hold onto their first round pick this year so they can add a high impact player into a farm system that direly needs it.

    * * *

  • Speaking of draft picks, Tampa will pick first for the third time in six years.

  • After this season is over, Mitchell might name names and an ex-Met trainer is going to have played a big part in it.

    Baseball investigator George Mitchell has received an extensive paper trail documenting performance-enhancing drugs sent to players by former New York Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski, a person familiar with the probe said Monday.

    What is crazy about all this is that the Player's Union has brought this on themselves. They have probably caused some serious damage to the game by not agreeing to random blood testing.

    "You would have thought by this time this wouldn't be, but they've put us to the sword again," said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.). "We want them to police themselves the way they're supposed to. We want them to obey the law."

    When all of this first came down, instead of protecting the 'privacy' of the players, they could have taken a hard line stance and all this would have gone away. The government would have been satisfied and baseball probably could have gotten away with having some big names named, which is probably going to happen.

    "There are two simple steps that could close the gaping loophole in Major League Baseball's drug testing policy," Waxman said in a statement. "Baseball could either begin random blood testing or it could store current urine samples so that they could be available when testing methods are improved. Storing samples would be an effective deterrent and would make players think twice about using HGH."

    The Government has no incentive to not tell all, but baseball did have incentive to keep things quiet. Imagine if steroids was more widespread than originally thought? It was already believed to be rather widespread and this could spread it to living legends and other players who were not previously implicated in this steroids mess.

    This all could have been avoided, but methinks this is going to get ugly. Baseball is riding high right now with record attendence and it would truly be a shame for public opinion to worsen and have people driven away from the game.

  • Adam Dun is back and that certainly re-crowds the Cincinnati outfield. They finally were looking like they had things freed up a bit, but they brought back Dunn. Not that I don't agree with it, but they better be looking to trade off Griffey or Hamilton. If they think Hamilton's first season in the bigs was a fluke, then they should deal him while he has some worth. If they really think he is the real deal, Griffey needs to finally be dealt for something useful and so they can save some cash.

  • A-Rod vs. Boras....

    The main topic for Rodriguez to decide on is if he will opt out of the final three years of his contract and leave $91 million on the table. He has until 10 days following the World Series to opt out and become a free agent; Boras said last week a 12-year deal worth $360 million isn't out of the question. The Yankees have said if Rodriguez opts out, they won't chase him as a free agent since they would lose the $23.1 million over the next three years the Rangers are paying on Rodriguez's contract. However, that could change.

    You have to think that A-Rod wants to stay a Yankee and does not want to compromise that. Afterall, he will still get mega-bucks after this contract is up and he already has more money than he can ever spend. However, you do not have Scott Boras as your agent if you are not trying to maximize your money at any cost which leads me to believe A-Rod will be surely opting out and we will all see if Cashman is willing to back up his big talk.

    I still think they would be involved as long as they get to save face a bit which is predicated upon not many teams getting involved into the bidding. However, A-Rod's production is going to be tempting to other teams no matter what they are saying now and the Yankees know they simply cannot replace that in any fashion this off-season.
  • Labels: ,

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    The Anit-Mets

    Grant (NYC): Steve, Can you explain how the "playoff share" system works? Since I have no real stake in the game when it comes to the NLCS, I am pulling for the Rockies because they voted to give a share to Michael Coolbaugh's widow.

    SportsNation Buzzmaster: The players on each team get a percentage based on where their team finished. The players vote as to which players and staff get shares of the allocation. Some get 100 percent, while players who came in at the trade deadline, for instance, get voted a percentage by their peers. The Rockies made an extraordinary gesture that speaks volumes as to their character,

    The Rockies keep on rolling and I think it is ridiculous that a large majority of baseball fans are disinterested in this team's story. They are the feel good story of the year out of any sports team and they continue to earn some of the worst ratings. Baseball, more than any sport, loses the interest of the fan of the teams that did not make it. You would have to think that the rich history of baseball would mean that there would be more true fans of the sport. Where is the disconnect?

    Of course there has always been a problem keeping people interested in this sport as it runs into October because it is so long. Once people's teams are out of it, there just is not much incentive to care anymore, but here is thought. For anyone that actually cares about baseball and has the ability to spread the word (like every sports radio show in New York), why not spread it instead of bad mouthing this series and calling it pointless? Regardless if your team is in it, there is still some amazing baseball to be played and people should be encouraged to tune in.

    I have to admit that I have been a big offender in the past of tuning out of the playoffs when the Mets were out. This year has been a complete 180 for me and I have been tuning in as much and as often as I can whether it be for the AL or the NL games. It is a shame that baseball generates so little interest this time of year when the Yankees are out of it or when two small market teams go at it. Typically society loves to root for underdogs except when it comes to baseball and that is certainly confusing to me. Three small to mid market teams remain and have slaughtered all the giants but the Red Sox. Surely that would be of some interest, no?

    * * *

  • Again, the Mets are sending not so subtle messages to Willie.

    Jaramillo was a finalist for the Mets' managerial job that went to Randolph. That would raise eyebrows considering the organization let Randolph squirm for 48 hours before confirming he'd return for a fourth season as skipper. But those who know Jaramillo believe he's content as a hitting coach and doesn't have managerial ambitions now. Jaramillo is taking his hitting-coach responsibilities with Texas seriously, too. With his contract not set to expire until Oct. 31, Jaramillo just flew to Arizona to work with Rangers minor leaguers.

    Really, the guy has one opening and the Mets still will not let him name anyone to his staff. Throw on top of it all that Rudy was seemingly their top pick for the managerial opening over Willie himself. Regardless if Rudy wants to coach, it seems like an awful big distraction and it seems like the Mets front office has a lack of respect for Willie.

    Not that I have a problem with the Mets doing what they see fit, but I just think that these types of things speak volumes of their faith in Willie and how sedentary he actually is.

  • For once, I agree with Steve Phillips. A-Rod makes any team better, but moving Wright would seem a bit silly. He profiles best a third baseman and would probably fit nicely at first, but he would have to man second or shift to the outfield for a year. Also, offense truly is not the Mets problem and especially not if they let Milledge start from day #1 and get more of Alou next season.

    They should concentrate on their pitching more than anything and allocating that much to one player at this point is probably not the best course of action.

  • Randy Miller know how to fix the Phillies.

    Transaction No. 1: Sign Curt Schilling to a one-year, $13 million deal with a $15 million club option or $2 million buyout for 2009.

    Not a bad idea.

    Transaction No. 2: Re-sign lefty reliever J.C. Romero to a 3-year, $9 million deal that includes a $2.5 million 2008 salary.

    Ouch. Not sure I do that, but how does that fix the Phillies anyway? They had him and went to the playoffs. That is more keeping the status quo than fixing.

    Transaction No. 3: Sign reliever David Riske to a three-year, $10 million deal that includes a $3 million 2008 salary.

    Hmm...two big contracts to relievers? It seems like we've seen this somewhere. There is certainly a lot of risk throwing a lot of years at relievers these days since very few of them seem to do it year in and year out.

    Transaction No. 4: Sign infielder Mark Loretta to a 2-year, $6.5 million deal that includes a $3 million base salary for 2008.

    A light hitting 36 year old for third base? Not really sure how that makes anyone better. He is best utilized as a utility player at this point in this career.

    Transaction No. 5: Sign center fielder Mike Cameron to a 3-year, $27 million deal that includes an $8 million salary for 2008.

    Great peripheral player, but losing Rowand and picking up Loretta and while getting Cameron only is not exactly a step in the right direction.

    Transaction No. 6: Trade left fielder Pat Burrell and reliever Geoff Geary to Anaheim for two decent minor leaguers.

    So let me get this straight. Bill Stoneman is hesitant to trade his youth away for you....know....talented players and he will give two decent minor leaguers away for one year of Burrell and then only Geary?

    2007 dollars spent: $23 million; Free dollars: $0.

    There you have it, a championship team in place.

    Truly perplexing how that makes one iota of sense to any rational human being.

  • Luis Castillo returning would not exactly be a horrible thing and he certainly is a capable bat, but one with zero power.

  • Joba is in the rotation.

  • Joe Torre to the front office? The Yankees seem to do that for a lot of ex-Yankee players and I guess that would be there way of quelling the negative press they would get for letting Torre go. It really is a smart move if they plan to ditch him as it keeps the natives from being restless.

  • Dusty Baker is back in the bigs and it seems like a weird call by the Reds. It is clear they wanted a name and though Dusty has a good rep for getting along with this players, he also has a very bad rep of ruining arms.

  • Filip Bondy lays it down.

    But you know what? Most managers make the same mistakes. And if they don't, then they commit others. This mythology of the genius manager is just that. It's nonsense. Lou Piniella and Tony La Russa look pretty dumb a lot, too. They are all great thinkers when they are in the World Series, and then they are all screwy when they are knocked out in the first round.

    Mattingly or Joe Girardi would fare just fine. Managing isn't that complicated. This is baseball. American League baseball. A coach tells you when the pitch count reaches 90. The data sheet tells you how a certain batter has done against a certain pitcher. You inform the first baseman why you're benching him, before you tell the media.

    This is no big deal. It's hilarious to read all the concerns out there now about Mattingly's alleged inexperience. The guy played with the Yankees for 14 years. He's coached with them for four years. He's smart. He's steady. You really think he doesn't know when to flash a steal sign, or when to hold a team meeting?

    Losing Torre should be a minor blip on the radar, but it matters to the players. Keeping them happy may be worth the retirement package of giving him a few million, letting him sit in on some high level meetings, and shake some hands in the clubhouse.
  • Labels: