Saturday, July 31, 2010

Berkman Deal Official; Yanks In On Kerry Wood Too

So Lance Berkman is officially in the fold. The Bombers made the announcement early this afternoon once Berkman's 24-hour window to veto the trade expired. The Yankees will get four million to offset the seven million remaining on Berkman's deal this season.

That cash means the Yankees had to give Houston something of value and that piece is Mark Melancon. Melancon was a candidate to follow the path of Dave Robertson in the big leagues this season, but the control that had made him so dominant during the 2008 and 2009 seasons eluded him at the big league level and in the minors this year. The 25-year-old righty may benefit from a change in scenery plus the change in league and division.

The Yankees also sent Jimmy Paredes a 21-year-old infielder in Low-A ball. He has a good arm and can hit a little, but he wasn't anything the Yankees had to think twice about giving up.

It also appears that Yanks are bringing in Kerry Wood. Obviously Wood would be a bridge to Mo in the late innings. He has been a disappointment as Cleveland's closer, posting a 4.80 ERA in 80 innings for the Tribe. He has hit the DL twice this year, most recently with a blister problem.

It probably wont cost the Yankees much in terms of prospects so really its a no lose situation for the Yankees as Wood can still light up a radar gun and drop that hammer curve.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Deadline Approaches

So as I watch Phil Hughes die-by-the-fastball yet again, I also have some thoughts as to the Yankees acquisition of Lance Berkman.

If the deal goes down as some have speculated, then this is a steal for the Yankees. The way it sounds, the Yankees will take on the whole of Berkman's contract, releasing the Astro's from about six million that is still owed to Berkman for the remainder of the year. New York will not have to give up any prospects of significance in the deal. The Yankees will be using the commodity the have the most of (cash) while protecting what they have few of (prospects). Sure Berkman is having a down year, but he is a better option as a DH than Juan Miranda and I would prefer him to Nick Johnson even if Johnson was healthy.

Berkman is only hitting .245 for the season, but his slugging percentage has been on the rise since his terrible May. In July he has slugged .521 and reached base at an exceptional rate of .404. Berkman would lengthen the lineup of the Yankees to 2006 standards when the Yankees were Murderers' Row and Cano.

As for Hughes I will just say this: I'm glad he lost tonight. Perhaps if he continues to lose games when he insists on throwing only fastballs, he will learn to read swings better and use his entire repertoire of off-speed pitches.

UPDATE: Well it looks like the Yankees will also be addressing the bench prior to the deadline. They have acquired Austin Kearns from the Indians for a player to be named later. Kearns will be a the fourth outfield option for Girardi. I suppose Kearns will be this season's Eric Hinske, providing decent power of the bench and can play an adequate corner outfield. There was some speculation that the Yankees might address the bench and the bullpen post deadline when the waiver wire heats up, but it appears that Brian Cashman has already addressed one of two Yankee needs plus he upgraded at DH.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Sox are Teasing Me

The Sox finished up their west coast swing by sweeping the Angels. Over the ten game trip they were 6-4. Naturally the baseball gods only did this to prove my "kiss of death" prediction wrong, to show that this road trip was not a harbinger of doom. They did it to coax me into writing an optimistic post in which I write something like, "Hey this is great. 5 1/2 games out of the wild card isn't terrible. Now we have the middling Tigers and pathetic Indians next at home. This will be a chance to pad the record before heading to the hostile confines of Yankee stadium. Then... who knows?!" Then of course the Sox will lay down like a cheap whore and irrevocably take themselves out of all contention. That's what the baseball gods want me to do. I shake my fist at you and spit in your eyes oh you gods! I shall not be your patsy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Link Dump to Keep You Busy

So I might be a little late on some of these stories. Most of them I read over the weekend, but I find them so interesting I feel like they should be read. So just in case you didn't see them here they are again.

The Steinbrenner's must want to spend their money before the government can retroactively hit them with a massive 55 percent inheritance tax because there are suggestions that the brothers might purchase the Tottenham Hotspurs of the English Premier League. There are some reports that the Yanks wont do it, but I would love to join the Tottenham bandwagon if they became a sister team to the Yankees.

Now I hate Tim McCarver already so when he tries to compare the Yankees to the Nazis and Stalin-era Soviets, it's just more fuel for the fire. But if you happened to like McCarver then I hope this changes your feelings about him. The guy is a hack and it's pathetic that he is allowed to call Saturday afternoon games, nevermind World Series contests.

Ah and another reason why the Mets are a joke. Seriously don't they have anyone there who know how to do simply math? I mean how do you let Bobby Bonilla come back and screw you for $23 million over the next 25 years? I just don't understand the logic of New York's second-class team, but I guess that's why the will always be a second-class team.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Sorry. I just couldn't resist. But somehow I think George would have found this funny.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ominous Signs for Red Sox

The Red Sox, refreshed and rejuvenated after the All-Star break, just showed how good they're feeling by getting blown out two games in a row at home by the Rangers. This is a series the Sox really needed because after this comes the kiss of death, the ten game west coast road trip (cue the foreboding organ music). I don't see how the Red Sox can survive this trip and still remain a viable contender with the Rays and Yanks. They're just too banged up.

In other cheerful news, is Jacoby Ellsbury going to be a factor this year? Apparently he's going to be back soon, but I've heard that one before. In any case, I'm really sick of these rotating scrubs in the outfield. Josh Beckett is finishing up his rehab too. I don't have high hopes for him and his 7.00 ERA either. Someone needs to give these guys some V a la True Blood.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Abolish the All-Star Game

Every All-Star game is useless: The Pro Bowl, MLB and NBA All-Star games, all of them. Some people pine for the days when Pete Rose might end your career in a completely meaningless contest just because he's a jerk like that. Not me.

There is just far too much money and too much at stake in the standings for any of these players to play very hard or very long. I for one can't blame any of them. I think those who do are just asking way too much. I know they get paid millions. I would literally have to work over 500 years at my present salary to make what Amar'e Stoudamire makes in one. But if you were a pro player in any sport, and you were making that kind of scratch would you really risk your present and future earnings or a shot a championships to play in an exhibition game? Or if you were an owner or coach would you want your best player putting his $20 million neck on the line in one of these farces? Thought not.

So why does everyone belly ache so much when the MLB All-Star game is "poorly managed" or Kyle Boller is starting the Pro Bowl because Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are smart enough to stay out of it? In spite of last night's MLB "midsummer classic" counting for home field in the World Series, it was clear that even they don't give a damn. It's really not that important to them and also doesn't seem to make much of a difference when you get to the World Series anyway. In the past seven World Series, since the absurd "this time it counts" started, the NL is 3-4; I would hardly call that a clear home field advantage for the AL. No wonder they don't give a crap. Neither do I.

That is why there should be a break, but no game. Just name the all-star teams at the end of the season along with all the other post season awards.

The All-Star Game and the Boss

The All-Star game was played last night, but it was overshadowed, at least in Yankeeland, by the passing of Yankee owner George Steinbrenner. I'm sure that by now everyone has heard about how the Boss died and I am sure that most have peruse the thousands of tribute articles that chronicled the highs and lows of Steinbrenner's time at the helm of baseball's most prominent team.

I wont really bother with most of that. We all know what he did for the Yankees, baseball and American sports in general. Fans of opposing teams usually despised him, but the reality is anyy fan of any team would love to have him as an owner. Steinbrenner ran a team like a fan would. He didn't care about the bottom line, to him all that mattered was winning and any financial endeavor he undertook as the owner of the Yankees had the ultimate objective of helping the Yankees to their next pennant.

Really it is fitting that he pass on the day of the All-Star game because his impact on the game is most personified by the competition between the American League and the National League. The reason the AL has so dominated the Midsummer Classic is because every team in the AL has to compete with the Yankees and therefore must play at a higher level than the Senior Circuit.

Steinbrenner drove the Yankees to greatness, but he also drove baseball to new heights at the same time. There was no one quite like him before and there will probably never be anyone like him again. The Yanks will miss you George.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Two Cents on the World Cup

U.S. sports media, you're kind of pissing me off. I will explain, but first let's get a couple things straight. Soccer is not the Americans thing. Can we just admit that it will never be anywhere near as popular here as it is in the rest of the world? Can we agree that we have inferior talent on the field (or pitch if you prefer. Why the hell to they call it a pitch anyway? My guess is the origins of the great divide start there somewhere.) and that the Libertarians have a better chance of fielding a legit presidential nominee than the Americans have at winning the World Cup? Agreed. Good. It's cultural and that's okay.

My issue with the sports media is that it has been using every available chance it gets to bitch about soccer and the World Cup. All the talk centers around how boring it is and that nobody cares and no one ever will. You think it's boring? Baseball is freakin' boring. That is unless you understand the nuances of the game. And there in lies my beef.

Instead of the ESPN etc. talking heads defecating at the mouth like frat boy ignoramuses, they could have shown us some programing that could teach the casual observers the finer points of the game. Not everyone needs to be converted into a rabid football hooligan, but I think some education, history and X's and O's would have been nice. But then again, that might not have worked for the nacho scarfing masses.

Soccer is a game not easily encapsulated in a box score. You actually have to *gasp* watch the entire game to fully understand what went on. There's no passer rating, VORP or ERA+ to just tell you who the best players are. The action on the field tells you. Spain won each match on the way to the championship 1-0. Yet their play was so dominant the outcome of each contest was hardly in doubt. Soccer requires a devotion and attention to detail from the fan that the American ADD culture has no patience for. I am no Soccer fanatic or expert but I've watched enough to know that I love the World Cup. It's a great event and a great game.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sox Hurtin' at the Break

I was optimistic a week or so ago when the Sox pulled within two games of the Yanks and were a game ahead of the Rays. It was the perfect time for the Sox to assert themselves especially with three games against said Rays right before the All-Star break. Well, all that mojo is gone. They lost three in a row to the Rays and four in a row overall. In addition the roster looks like a MASH unit. I don't even recognize half of these fill-in guys. Now the Sox lie mired 4.5 games out of first behind both the Yanks and Rays.

4.5 games out is certainly not insurmountable, not in the least at this point. The Sox will get their cracks at both division rivals down the stretch with 17 games against them combined. It's important not to panic. Fortunately, other than Pedroia's broken foot the injuries are not that serious. My questions for the second half include: Josh Beckett, are you going to be a factor at all this year? What moves are the Sox going to make to make their playoff push? Can Lester and Buchholz keep up their Cy Young level pitching? Will the Sox win 95+ games and miss the playoffs?

But first... can we please just sweep the Jays on the way to the break?!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cano Joining the Home Run Derby

It looks like Robinson Cano is going to be the first Yankee to participate in the All-Star Game Home Run Derby. Cano is the first Yankee in the Derby since Jason Giambi failed to defend his crown in 2003.

The Home run Derby is pretty pointless and most of the time it disappoints, but Cano in the derby will be pretty entertaining. The guy has a great swing and the clips the YES Network shows of his batting practice bombs are pretty impressive.

I actually hope that this starts a trend and perhaps MLB will stop asking just sluggers to participate. They should try thinking outside the box for once. I think a player like Ichiro would be great to watch in the Derby as well since he is also known for hitting bombs in batting practice whenever he feels like it.

Sure he might so no in order to protect his swing, but what's the harm in asking?

Update: Oh and by the way, who else saw that sick goal by Giovanni Van Bronckhorst for the Dutch against Uruguay in the World Cup semis? Are you kidding me?!?! That was just plain ridiculous. I can't even do that in FIFA '10.

Here's hoping Germany vs. Spain is just as exciting.