Sunday, December 16, 2007

Andy Pettitte Confesses

Many of my fellow Yankees fans have spent the last few hours questioning the Mitchell Report, alleging bias by Senator Mitchell and pointing out that the report contains little in the way of tangible evidence. Most of this was clearly to justify the conflicting emotions they continue to feel about homegrown hero Andy Pettitte. To be entirely forthright, I would be remiss if I did not include myself among those fans. I savaged the report among my friends, stating that its ridiculously low standard of evidence was irresponsible, and would eventually serve as its downfall. Although I continue to feel this way, this defense no longer provides any support for the case of Andy. Early last evening, he confessed to his mistake. He corroborated the testimony of Brian MacNamee, his longtime trainer, concurring with the assessment that he had taken HGH on two separate occasions regarding one injury in 2002. Now, there are a few questions to consider.
How does Pettitte look? Compared to most of the other big name players implicated in the report or by previous criminal investigations, I would suggest that he comes out of this looking fairly good. Regardless of whether the mainstream media accepts the veracity of his story, he comes off as the first major player named in this report willing to admit his error and seek the forgiveness of the baseball public. He is immediately placed in stark contrast from Roger Clemens, who continues to proclaim his innocence in the face of significantly more damning evidence.
Who does this hurt? Clemens, obviously. Roger claimed that MacNamee was an unreliable witness, pressured to provide names so as to avoid criminal prosecution. To be honest, many writers and columnist agreed with Clemens, most notably Jayson Stark (notable because he was the only writer at The Worldwide Leader who did not accept the report as gospel). However, MacNamee seems fairly reliable now, being that one of the troika of players that he accused came forward and corroborated his claims. Clemens may be forced to go to court and win in order to restore his reputation.
Is Pettitte telling the truth? I am inclined to believe him. He has always seemed like an honest man, and many of my friends from Boston have found him to be the only decent likable Yankee during the dynasty run. Even MacNamee testified to Andy's motive, stating that Andy had told him, in confidence, that he wanted to try HGH to heal his elbow, and only used it during that one stretch. For all those who were so quick to believe MacNamee in the first place, it would be hypocritical to now ignore other portions of his testimony to serve the ends of further vilifying and pillorying a decent man who made an incredibly stupid error. The one idea that I will not buy is the concept that HGH was legal in the game in 2002. As Andy himself stated in his apology, he knew he was doing something wrong, and therefore stopped. If Pettitte knew at the time it was wrong, who are we to contradict him and suggest that he was really not culpable of any crime? Yankees fans must accept that one of their favorite sons committed a crime against the game, even if it only occurred once. However, fans of other clubs must see that Pettitte confessed to his mistake regardless of the weak nature of the evidence against him, thereby rightfully positioning himself as a sympathetic and honorable (at least more honorable than Clemens, Bonds, McGwire, etc..) figure in this sordid tale.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Pettitte and Clemens implicated in Mitchell Report

Pettitte hurts, but even he started after the last Yankee title in 2000. Clemens is the big fish. I have no alleigance to Roger, but he gets killed by this. I have read a few analysts stating that Clemens may be the greatest right handed pitcher of all time. This highly impacts his legacy. I still think he gets into the hall of fame, but it will definitely not be on the first ballot. Otherwise, the report is dissappointing. Anyways, I am back, and will give my predictions on the 2008 stats for various Yankees tomorrow.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lack of Updates

I know what you are thinking. I go and bookmark this guy's blog, and he basically disappears for weeks. Here's the scoop. I am taking the LSAT on Monday, so I have been busy. After that, I am doing nothing for the rest of the year, literally, and will put plenty of time into this blog. Next week, I will address all the Santana rumors, as well as any other rumors that crop up at the winter meetings. I will also begin my feature predicting the 2008 performance for various players who are either young or had poor seasons in 2007. So, be patient. I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A-Rod Wins MVP

As expected, Alex Rodriguez won his 3rd MVP award. There is not much else to say, as the only surprise was that it was not unanimous, as Magglio Ordonez garnered 2 first place votes from his hometown writers. I can not be too upset about that, as Ordonez did have a big year, with many clutch hits, and was the obvious second place candidate. Still, you had to be ignoring everything outside of Detroit to really pick Mags over Alex. Anyways, it should be interesting to hear what Alex has to say about his negotiations with the Yankees during his conference call.

Quiet Weekend

Since the ARod news broke, not much else has happened to the Yankees. For that matter, it seems that this free agency period is going to move very slowly across the league, as the weakness of the free agent field has teams reluctant to make large commitments to marginal players. It seems that the trade market may prove to be far more interesting. Anyways, it seems that Alex and Mo will be back, and the roster is starting to take shape. In the upcoming weeks, I will be running a feature called "What to expect from..." where I will attempt to predict the 2008 numbers for various players, mostly those that did not perform according to their track records in 2007 or are too young to have a track record. I will probably have the first one up by Wednsday.
In the poll that was rendered moot by Alex resigning, Scott Rolen and "other" (probably Tejada, who I neglected to put on the list) were in the lead for a while, until the ARod news broke, pushing Rodriguez into the lead. Anyhow, there is a new poll up, vote and then leave comments here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ARod Redux?

There is a story that came up on Lohud Blogs in the comments section a few days ago that has now taken on some steam. It seems that ARod has reached out to the Yankees through back channels, behind the back of Scott Boras, and is attempting to make a deal to return to the Bronx. I know I said I would not take Alex back and felt the team could benefit from being built in a different manner. However, a friend of mine put it well to me this morning. The Yankees biggest need is a third baseman and a power right-handed bat, and ARod meets both needs. The only way he can be accepted back, however, is if he meets two criteria. Firstly, he must come back at a discount to allow the Yankees to explain their about face. If he takes a cut to make up for the Texas money, both sides save face. Secondly, he must do this without Boras, at least on the surface. If he ditches Scott and takes less money to return to New York, that will go a very long way towards winning back fans who considered his opt out unforgivable.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Posada Resigns for 4 Years

Late last night, it was revealed that the Yankees have inked their homegrown backstop to a 4 year, 52.4 million dollar deal. The extra .4 million at the end of that figure makes Jorge the highest paid catcher in history, averaging 13.1 million a year, .1 more per year than the previous high by Mike Piazza. Posada actually met with the crosstown Mets yesterday, and lo and behold, hours later, the Yankees had added a year to their offer.
There are those fans that disapprove of the length of the deal, being that Jorge is 36 and plays a physically demanding position. While I concur that optimally, Posada should not have gotten more than 3 years, I understand that the team really had no choice, and I applaud the club for biting the bullet and giving Jorge what he wanted. Losing ARod and Posada in one month would have been catastrophic for the offense, and losing Joe Torre and Jorge (and possible Pettitte and Rivera) in that span would have been equally problematic from a public relations standpoint. After this past season, in which he posted a magnificent year, there is no reason to suggest that Jorge will not be worth the terms of his contract for at least 2 years behind the plate and another season with the bat (maybe at 1st or DH?). If the last year of the deal is a lost cause, it still will have been worth keeping Jorge in the clubhouse and at the plate for the next three seasons. All in all, good news for Yankee fans, and finally some stability in a tumultuous off season.

Friday, November 9, 2007

State of The Yankees

I was sick this past week with tonsillitis, so I figured I would catch up on the state of the team since I last blogged. Rivera and Posada are still unsigned. Reportedly, Mariano has not responded to the Yankee offer. I am not sure what to make of that, but most pundits seem pretty sure that he will be a Yankee. The Yankees are raising their offer to Jorge, hoping to entice him to forgo free agency and remain with the club. Andy Pettitte declined his option, but this was not as much a decision as it was a delay, as he stated that he needs more time to decide his own fate. Brian Cashman said that he was unlikely to trade any of the big three prospects, and tons of third basemen were brought up in the rumor mill. Bobby Abreu had his option picked up, a logical move when you consider the production they would have lost in the middle of the lineup, letting ARod and Bobby go. Also, being that the team's top prospects are outfielders, it is logical to make a short term commitment to someone who is essentially keeping the position warm until Jose Tabata and Austin Jackson are ready.
In our poll, it seems most of you liked the choice of Joe Girardi as manager. In this weeks poll, you get to choose the third baseman.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Do We Take A-Rod Back?

The question rolling around the blogosphere today is an intriguing one. Scott Boras is clearly trying to make a case that Alex did nothing wrong, and that the Yankees should just treat him as another free agent available to fill the third base hole. So the question is, now that he has already opted out, and that ship has sailed, do we get involved in the A-Rod sweepstakes? More specifically, what if A-Rod finds no one to give him 30 million a year, and returns to the Yankees asking for 8 years at 28 per, for 224 total, which is 16 million less than what the Yankees were supposedly ready to offer. This would mean that the opt out cost the team only 5 million. Do we take Alex back?
I would not. He is obviously the best 3rd baseman on the market, but we have been down that road before and not succeeded. I believe that the Yankees have been afforded a fantastic opportunity by Alex's decision. They can now shift the focus of the team from one built on big boppers to one focused on pitching and timely hitting. Consider the following plan. The Yankees use Melky as a trade chip to obtain starting or relief pitching, being that the teams' best two offensive prospects are outfielders (AJax and Tabata). That helps bolster a staff already on the upswing due to the injection of top young arms. In the field, imagine adding Hunter or Rowand to play Center, a Lowell type at 3rd, and a Casey Blake or Ben Broussard at 1st. A lineup such as Damon, Jeter, Abreu, Posada, Lowell, Cano, Hunter/Rowand, Matsui, Blake/ Broussard, provides a group of consistent hitters who will score plenty of runs. I think that team is better than last year's Yankees in the field and on the mound, and does not have a major drop off at the plate. For that reason, I say we turn our backs on A-Rod and never look back.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Mets Interested in Posada

According to the NY Post, the Mets have, as expected, targeted Jorge Posada as one of their offseason priorities. This should make for an interesting battle between the New York teams for the All-Star backstop's services. To me, the Yankees have to give Jorge whatever he wants, even if it entails giving him a fourth year. My feelings in this regard have nothing to do with sentiment towards Jorge or animosity concerning the Mets. It is a matter of practicality. The Yankees top catching prospects, Cervelli, Romine, and Montero, are all at least two years away. Jorge has shown great durability, so I dont expect him to be a Giambi like albatross in the last years of a four year deal. Furthermore, if he starts to break down after two seasons, the Yankees can always plug in whichever one of their catching prospects that happens to be ready at that point, and move Jorge to first. After losing A-Rod, losing Jorge's ability to hit from both sides of the plate with consistency would be catastrophic. Obviously, I feel even more adamant in this position due to the interest of a certain club from Queens. 4 years, 52 million should get it done.

Andy Pettitte: A Class Act

Pettitte said today that he will honor the handshake agreement he has with the Yankees regarding his player option. When he signed his deal prior to last season, he told the Yankees that he would honor the second year of the contract if he did not retire. Today he reiterated that commitment. The contrast to A-Rod is stark and telling. Andy would instantly be the best pitcher on the free agent market if he selected to opt out. He could get more money and more years. Yet to him, it is not about the money. It is about keeping your word and showing some loyalty. Refreshing, isn't it?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Give Me Some Mo

Mariano Rivera and his agent, Fern Cuza, are meeting now with the Yankees at Legends Field. Hopefully this leads to an agreement being reached. Resigning Mariano is vital on two fronts. Firstly, he is still an excellent closer. More importantly, keeping him allows the Yankees to stick Joba in the rotation, hopefully allowing him to reach his potential. An ace is significantly more important to a team than a star closer. On a related note, Joe Nathan's option was picked up by the Twins. It is quite possible that they did this to trade him. The Yankees should be involved in any discussions to that effect. Nathan can set up for Mo for a few years and then take the closer job. Anyways, hopefully Mo signs, and is the first domino to fall among the Yankees own free agents, specifically Posada and Pettitte.

Joe Torre to The Dodgers

The Journal News is reporting that Joe is in discussions with L.A. to replace Grady Little, and that he will be joined by Donnie Baseball in the dugout. Good move for the Dodgers, who have the right mix of veterans and youthful talent to contend, but have clubhouse issues to deal with . That is one problem that Joe Torre is well equipped to handle, having spent the last 12 years massaging egos in New York. Being that the Dodgers closer, Takashi Saito, is a free agent, I am curious to see whether this development makes them a factor in the Mariano Rivera sweepstakes. Regardless, L.A. has a strong bullpen, and it will be interesting to see whether the perception of Torre as a poor bullpen tactician stems from the lack of personnel with New York, or if it was actually a malady from which Joe suffers. Scott Proctor must be terrified. I wish Joe all the best, and hope the Dodgers have a good season. Knowing the Yankees luck the last few seasons, it would not be shocking if Joe, Don, and Mariano will face off against A-Rod and the Red Sox in the 2008 World Series.

Monday, October 29, 2007

From Joe to Joe: Girardi the Choice for Manager

The Yankees have selected Joe Girardi as the next manager of New York Yankees. In my humble opinion, this is an excellent choice. Girardi has a reputation for being an excellent tactician, something that was sorely lacking during the Torre era. Furthermore, he represents more of a break from the past than either Mattingly or Pena, both of whom served under Torre last year. I happened to have felt that the Yankees should have retained Torre. At the same time, I understood that it may have been time for a change. Once it was decided that a change was in fact neccessary, Girardi represents the cleanest break from the previous regime. Entering the managerial search, I suggested that the Yankees could not go wrong with any of the choices. However, the fact that the Yankees made the best BASEBALL selection is encouraging, specifically because it illustrates that Cashman remains in charge, being that Big Stein was said to have favored Mattingly. There are some that believe that this selection will negatively impact the Yankees chances with Posada, Rivera, and Pettitte. With the possible exception of Pettitte, I believe that this will not in fact make a difference. Money usually talks, and these players are lifelong Yankees. If the money is there, they will return regardless of who is filling out the lineup card. All in all, I feel this decision helps salve the wounds of losing Alex earlier on this wild day in Yankeeland.

A-Rod Opts Out- The Greatest Fraud of All Time

Allow me to preface this blogs' inaugural entry by stating that I was one of Alex Rodriguez' most avid supporters. In 2006, when he was being unfairly attacked by the fans and the media, I spent many a night defending Alex to my unsympathetic friends and blogging counterparts. At the various games that I attended, I stood and cheered Alex while he was mercilessly booed. To me, his only failing seemed to be the ridiculous notion that he was not "a real Yankee." I rejected that oft-repeated assertion, and respected Alex for being a great player who was willing to swallow his pride and move to third base in order to join a winning club. So when A-Rod began to curry favor among Yankee fans with his exceptional season, I looked on with a mixture of pride and haughtiness, giving myself credit for sticking with A-Rod until he became a 'true Yankee'. However, as I sit here today, I cannot help but feel as if I personally, as a fan, was duped. Alex spent the entire season reassuring Yankee fans that he loved New York, and would love to stay a Yankee. He even had the gall, the audacity, to state that he could not imagine himself playing for any other team. Yet, when Opening Day 2008 rolls around, he will be in some other city, in some other uniform, hitting cleanup in some other lineup. Had Alex listened to the Yankees offer and found it unsatisfactory, that would have been upsetting, but at least understandable. Rather, he refused to even come to the bargaining table prior to opting out, which is indicative of one thing: his incredible desire to leave New York. He claims that the state of flux the club is in was the reason for his decision, as he was unsure of the direction that the team was going. There has never been a more disingenuous statement made in the history of free agency. Query any player in baseball as to which team they had the most confidence in to be a contender on a yearly basis, all would pick the Yankees. Claiming that he feared the Yankees were going to ALLOW themselves to fall from contention is so patently ridiculous that it is fairly insulting for Alex to believe that the Yankee faithful will accept it as a reasonable impetus for opting out. The Yankees were about to offer him a spot on the richest and most consistently competitive team in the sport for the remainder of his playing days, with a contract worth 10 million dollars more annually than the next greatest non-AROD contract in history. He turned down that chance because he cannot handle this city, cannot handle the media, and cannot handle the spotlight. I have rejected the notion of "the True Yankee" for many a year now. However, the disastrous A-Rod chapter of Yankee lore, which included a historic collapse to Boston, 3 first round exits, and two Boston World Championships, has opened my eyes. I do not know if there are, in actuality ,specific qualities that make one fit to play for the Yankees. I do know, however, that if there are such qualities, Arod clearly does not have them. To him I say, good riddance. The Yankees went to 6 World Series in 8 years before you appeared, and will return once you are gone. You leave a team that is loaded with young pitching, a team that may not be able to replace your statistics, but can easily replace your heart, easily remedy the very tiny hole you leave in the clubhouse. The Yankees will be fine. They will have to replace Alex by getting stronger in various positions, such as at first base and in the bullpen, as well as signing a capable third baseman to man the hot corner. They will continue to win, because they are the Yankees and that is what they do. Of course, Alex will continue to do what he does- hit long homeruns and infuriate fan bases around the country. Whoever signs the regular season warrior may win some more games, but will never win the big ones. Wherever he does go, the fans of that city will eventually come to know the feeling that I am suddenly experiencing now- an intense dislike and disrespect for one Alex Rodriguez.
The purpose of this blog, just to set the stage for its (hopefully) continued existence, is twofold. Firstly, I hope to provide my feelings and opinions about the New York Yankees on a daily basis, and I look forward to some stimulating and intelligent discussion regarding the club as well as baseball in general. Furthermore, I hope to indulge my petty side from time to time, following and mocking the trials and tribulations of the 252 million dollar man and his incredibly ridiculous life. I hope that the blog can achieve some level of success with your support.