Tag:New York Yankees
Posted on: December 7, 2010 3:53 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 4:42 pm
 

Crain, others looking for Benoit deal

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Everyone is trolling the lobby for pitchers, and this side of Cliff Lee, what most teams want is bullpen help.

So why, then, has only one reliever signed with a new team on the free agent market so far?

Look no further than Detroit, where the Tigers signed free agent set-up man Joaquin Benoit to a three-year, $16.5 million deal earlier this winter.

The Benoit signing has put visions of sugar plums (and multi-millions) into the heads of middle relievers throughout the game.

And not all executives are ready to concede that type of contract to guys who will pitch the sixth, seventh or eighth innings for them.

"No way in hell am I going to pay a guy like that $5 million a year," one NL general manager said.

Among the dozens of relievers still on the market is Jesse Crain, who pitched very well out of the Minnesota bullpen for the past several seasons -- and sources say he's among a handful of relievers right now is targeting a contract similar to the one Benoit got from Detroit.

Aside from Benoit, only two relievers have signed so far this winter: Closer Mariano Rivera re-signed with the Yankees for two years and $30 million, and middle man Jose Contreras re-signed with Philadelphia for two years and $5.5 million.

Posted on: December 4, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2010 5:29 pm
 

Hallelujah! Jeter back with Yankees

The archangels -- not the Angels -- are merrily blowing the trumpets in heaven. The sun smiling and planning to shine on the earth.

Derek Jeter and the Yankees have reached a deal.

And thank heavens that's over.

Rarely is there such huffing and puffing over a non-story.

Seriously, there was a greater chance that Babe Ruth would be reincarnated and come back to run a hot dog stand in the new Yankee Stadium than there ever was that Jeter would leave.

I don't care how "contentious" the negotiations became. It didn't matter who was asking whom to drink a "reality potion."

That it ever became this much of a story was absurd in the first place. There will not be a bigger non-story story this winter.

Anyway, the terms are three years at an average of somewhere between $15 and $17 million a season, with a fourth-year option for 2014.

Judging from the column I wrote the other day, there are many of you who think Jeter will be wildly overpaid at this rate, and that The Man (Hank or Hal Steinbrenner) should have stuck it to him.

There are others of you who agree with me, that a declining Jeter still deserves more than market value because of his iconic status with the Yankees.

If this were Pittsburgh, where every penny counts, I'd be a lot more critical of this contract.

But the Yankees print money. It's not like overpaying Jeter for his value on the field is going to hamstring the Yankees elsewhere as they put this year's team together ... or next year's team ... or their 2013 team.

We're talking about an all-time Yankee here, whose value to the franchise will extend even after Jeter joins Ruth for a hot dog lunch with the Great Yankee in the Sky however many years from now.

Whatever the salary, this was always going to happen.

Now can we move on to things that were not foregone conclusions, please?

Posted on: December 1, 2010 9:14 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2010 9:15 pm
 

Cliff Lee decision? 'It's going to be awhile'

The Cliff Lee talks creep along, with the Yankees and Rangers each tossing bouquets at the ace left-hander's feet.

But even though the Rangers met with Lee and his agent, Darek Braunecker, in Lee's native Arkansas on Tuesday, don't expect any resolutions anytime soon.

Timetables?

"It's going to be awhile," said an official with one of the clubs in contact with Lee.

Braunecker will attend at the winter meetings in Orlando, Fla., next week, at which the pace is expected to pick up.

Posted on: November 19, 2010 3:12 pm
 

Love Letters: Readers take bite of Cy Felix

Some excellent and very well-reasoned responses to my defense of Felix Hernandez's AL Cy Young award this week. In fact, this is the best batch of letters in a long time. Nice to hear from everyone. ...

From: Henry H.
Re. Felix gets his Cy due, thanks to slowly changing outlooks

This vote reflects sportswriters who think they are smarter than the game. You showed Felix's stats against AL east in 5 games! Did he not pitch against the Rays? If not, the vote is more of a travesty. If he actually pitched in the AL East all year long, he would have had something like 15-17 starts against better lineups than he faced routinely -- more chance to explode that ERA. Tougher fans, more pressurized games -- no risk for him where he was. Too small a sample against the best teams in the league. Imagine how great he would have been if he could have pitched in AAA all year long! This isn't old' evaluation technique versus new evaluation technique. This is dopey sportswriters trying to show how smart they are. Pitchers are paid to win. The best pitchers win against the toughest competition. This is vote is crap.

To answer your question, Hernandez did not start against Tampa Bay this year. And in my heart, I agree with you: Pitchers SHOULD BE paid to win. Some are. But anymore, most are paid to keep their teams in games and eat innings. I don't think it was sportswriters thinking they're smart. I think this vote was sportswriters trying their best to get it right. I think they did because, as I pointed out in the column, this was a very unique year for Hernandez. But I'm with you in hoping this is an aberration rather than the coming norm.

From: Jay T.

Though your opinion on the matter has merit, I cannot support it. The pitchers that finished second and third respectively both were better candidates. Felix pitched in the AL West, which was the Rangers then nobody else, where as Price and CC both had to deal with three definite powerhouses of the division. Did Felix have a great year? Yes. But I am sorry to say that 13 wins, when most of your games are against weaker opponents, should not get you a Cy Young.

Tough call. And I'd say your opinion has merit as well.

FROM: Andy

I have no problem with Felix Hernandez winning. My problem is with CC ending up third. The Yankee Love has got to stop. He had a worse season than a handful of other pitchers -- Trevor Cahill, Clay Buchholz and Jered Weaver all had better ERAs, and better WHIPs. All CC had was wins, which are easy to come by when you are a Yankee. Further, somehow he basically got the same point total as Price, which is a joke. Price's ERA is almost a 1/2 a run better than CC's, and CC did not have to pitch against the best team money can buy. Plain and simple, there were several pitchers better than CC in the AL, so people have got to stop handing the Yankees everything.

I take it you don't own a copy of Sinatra's New York, New York.

FROM: Jack H

Given the same sabermetrics Felix Hernandez had, would he win the Cy Young if he were 0-25? Now that I think about it, I would vote for Price. Very good W-L and a good ERA, etc. I could just as well argue that Hernandez lost seven in a row early in the year before his team was eliminated, and demoralized his team and although he pitched great, the team basically packed it in. We have now said that for Cy Young, wins mean nothing.

I hope that's not what we've said. I really do. And if it is, then we need to veer back in the other direction.

Likes: Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central playing in the Michigan state high school football semi-finals on Saturday against Constantine at a neutral site in Jackson. Good luck to the green-and-gold Falcons. Another great season, and it's still rolling.

Dislikes: Been so busy with things this week that I haven't even had a chance to dig into the new Bruce Springsteen box set celebrating Darkness on the Edge of Town that was released Tuesday. All I did was open it, and the packaging is incredible. Cannot wait to dig into the CDs and DVDs.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Some folks are born into a good life
"Other folks get it anyway anyhow
"I lost my money and I lost my wife
"Them things don't seem to matter much to me now
"Tonight I'll be on that hill 'cause I can't stop
"I'll be on that hill with everything I got
"Lives on the line where dreams are found and lost
"I'll be there on time and I'll pay the cost
"For wanting things that can only be found
"In the darkness on the edge of town"

-- Bruce Springsteen, Darkness on the Edge of Town

 

Posted on: October 16, 2010 5:31 pm
 

Hangin' in weight room with Halladay -- or not

Roy Halladay's work ethic is legendary, to the point where even the Phillies couldn't believe their first impression.

Halladay's regular spring training routine was to arrive in the weight room in Clearwater, Fla., by 5:30 or 5:45 a.m. By the time most of the rest of the Phillies arrived at 7:30 or 8, Halladay was finished with that part of his day and on to something else.

When I visited the Phillies' camp, a couple of players talked about how this was a perfect example of his competitiveness. A coach told me it isn't that, it's just that Halladay is so focused on what he's doing that he did not want to share the weight room equipment. As he moves through his circuit, he wants what he wants when he wants it.

Whatever, his near-maniacal zeal was legendary in Toronto, and it's already the stuff of legend in Philadelphia.

"We had some guys try to latch on and stay with him this spring," pitching coach Rich Dubee said Friday before the Phillies worked out in preparation for Game 1. "That lasted a short period.

"If you're going to try and stay with him, you'd better start in the off-season."

No kidding.

One of those who experimented with the early-bird special in the weight room with Halladay this spring was fellow starter Cole Hamels.

"I did that one time, I think," Hamels said, chuckling. "I realized it was insanity.

"I had a newborn. I needed every ounce of sleep I could get. He would get there at 5:30, I was waking up at 5:30. That means he was waking up at 4:30."

Likes: Roy Halladay vs. Tim Lincecum to start the NLCS playoffs. What fun. ... I don't think we've heard enough of this Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira as former Rangers story. I think we'll hear much more of it before this ALCS is finished. ... Tweet of the Day, and I had to pass this one alone, from ESPN baseball writer Jorge Arangure late Friday night when the Rangers blew the 5-0 lead to the Yankees in the eighth inning with a certain former President and Rangers owner in attendance: "I bet George W Bush authorized a sign that read "Mission Accomplished" after the 7th inning." ... The Conan O'Brien ads they're papering the house with during the playoffs are pretty funny. Which is no small thing, given how most ads they consistently blast at us start bad and quickly turn grating. ... Congratulations to the Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons and Coach Jack Giarmo, who clinched another Huron League high school football title with Friday's 63-21 whipping of Milan. Excellent work to all as the tradition continues. Great job. ... Great run Saturday morning down Ben Franklin Parkway, past the Philadelphia Art Museum and along the Schuylkill River. Beautiful, especially the trees along the river. ... Geography lesson for the day: How do you pronounce "Schuylkill"? I admit, not being from the Philadelphia area, I didn't know. Until I checked with a bellman at the hotel when I returned: "Skoo-cull." ... John Lennon, still relevant on what would have been his 70th birthday the other day.

Dislikes: Bedbugs. I keep hearing about them. I've yet to see them.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"People asking questions lost in confusion
"Well I tell them there's no problem, only solutions
"Well they shake their heads and they look at me as if I've lost my mind
"I tell them there's no hurry
"I'm just sitting here doing time"

-- John Lennon, Watching the Wheels

 

Posted on: October 10, 2010 7:11 pm
 

Rays even series with Texas, Yankees win

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- This postseason is becoming Made to Order for the Yankees.

As the New York Daily News comically -- and correctly -- pointed out early in the week, they received an "EZ Pass" in drawing the Twins in the first round.

Now?

Texas' failure to finish off Tampa Bay in three or four games pretty much assures the Yankees that they will not face the winner's ace -- the Rangers' Cliff Lee or the Rays' David Price -- until Game 3 of the AL Championship Series.

Lee and Price will oppose each other in the deciding Game 5 of the Rangers-Rays Division Series on Tuesday night.

The ALCS begins on Friday. The Yankees will have had five days off to prepare, with ace CC Sabathia fully rested for Game 1.

Meantime, there are a couple of other angles playing into the Yankees' hands: Neither Texas slugger Josh Hamilton (ribs) nor Tampa Bay cleanup hitter Evan Longoria (strained quadriceps) is playing at full strength right now.

Hamilton, who missed most of September after breaking a couple of ribs colliding with the outfield fence in Minnesota (is that the center whereby all breaks fall for the Yankees?), is hitting .143 over the four games of this AL Division Series. He's struck out four times in 14 at-bats.

The outfielder, of course, insists that the still-healing ribs are not bothering him.

"I wish I could use that excuse, but they're not," he said. "This is the whole thing that makes baseball fun. You figure them out, and then they figure you out. If it was easy, nobody would play."

Texas manager Ron Washington acknowledges that Hamilton is not at 100 percent but is keeping details in-house.

"I don't think no one is 100 percent right now," Washington said. "But you understand Josh hasn't seen live pitching in a month and he's up there fighting, and he's fighting hard. It's not an excuse, but he is facing some pretty good pitching right now."

Longoria is faring better at the plate, especially in Tampa Bay's 5-2 Game 4 win Sunday when he cracked two doubles and a two-run homers. He's batting .250 for the series, with a .294 on-base percentage. The two-run homer are his only RBIs.

What's particularly bothersome about Longoria, though, is watching him run. He's clearly slowed by the left quadriceps both running the bases and in the field.

"He's under strict managerial orders to not run hard, although he can't anyway," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "What you're seeing is pretty much where he's at right now. I want him to guard that leg. As we get deeper into the playoffs, it shall get better. But for right now, I'm good with what he's doing."

Likes: Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler on Game 5 Tuesday in Tampa Bay: "Everyone understands it's just one game now. It's the same game, there's just more cameras. The bases don't eject out of the ground. Guys aren't throwing 150 miles an hour. There's a little more intensity." ... The Rangers taking the field for Game 4 to Tom Petty's Running Down a Dream. ... Sundance Square in Fort Worth. ... Southwest Airlines, where you don't get the feeling you're bothering the employees when you fly with them. ... Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High School's football team blasting Carleton Airport 34-21 on Friday night. The Falcons now are 6-1, clinched at least a share of the Huron League title and clinched another berth in the state playoffs. Way to go, boys.

Dislikes: Error on me in writing that Tampa Bay had not played a noon game all season before Sunday, including spring training. That was the word in Tampa Bay's clubhouse. The truth of it? The Rays have short memories. They actually had an 11 a.m. start in Boston on Patriots' Day and three 12:10 p.m. starts in Tampa during the season. Thanks to alert reader Daniel Frederick for pointing this out.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well it's funny how it's the little things in life that mean the most
"Not where you live, the car you drive, or the price tag on your clothes
"There`s no dollar sign on a piece of mind this I`ve come to know
"So if you agree have a drink with me
"Raise your glasses for a toast
"To a little bit of chicken fried
"Cold beer on a Friday night
"A pair of jeans that fit just right
"And the radio up"

-- Zac Brown Band, Chicken Fried

Posted on: October 7, 2010 8:46 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2010 11:15 am
 

History between Gardenhire, Wendelstedt not good

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's never expected when a manager gets ejected in a playoff game, but when the Twins' Ron Gardenhire was run by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt in the seventh inning of Game 2, it wasn't exactly a shocker.

The history between the two is not good.

Wendelstedt has ejected Gardenhire multiple times, and there have been at least two public spats between the two -- including a particularly ugly incident in Detroit in August, 2009.

Gardenhire, still livid following the Twins' 5-2 Game 2 loss in the AL Division Series here Thursday during which he was ejected in the seventh inning for arguing a non-strike call to Lance Berkman, insisted the history between the two men had nothing to do with Thursday's ejection.

"Hunter and I talked and we kind of straightened all our stuff away," Gardenhire said tersely. "It has nothing to do with that at all, all right?"

Wendelstedt was not made available to reporters afterward.

Bob Watson, major-league baseball's vice-president for on-field operations, echoed Gardenhire.

"That's in the past," Watson told CBSSports.com regarding whether what appears to be an ongoing feud between Wendelstedt and Gardenhire played into Thursday's incident. "That had nothing to do with tonight.

"That's all squared away. It's non-issue."

Making Wendelstedt available might have helped make that more believable.

As for the Gardenhire-Wendelstedt dust-up in Detroit in 2009, following the ejection, according to Gardenhire at the time, the umpire taunted the manager by asking, "How do you like that?"

"That's the second time I've run into this, with this guy," Gardenhire told reporters after the Aug. 7, 2009, game in Detroit. "He's got an attitude. At home a few years back, he said, 'You're just out here for showtime.' He's got a smart mouth, and tonight was ridiculous, really."

Gardenhire continued: "A lot of the calls [were] no good He had a bad night. He didn't probably think so because he's god, as umpires go. ... I was really disappointed. There was no reason for me to get thrown out of that game."

Speaking to a pool reporter afterward, Wendelstedt said, "Basically, for a manager that has been around for so long, you would think he would understand the way baseball operates, that a warning is a warning."

In what essentially was a must-win Game 2 Thursday night here, the Twins and Yankees were tied at 2-2 when Minnesota starter Carl Pavano issued a walk to Jorge Posada to start the seventh. Then, with the count 1 and 2 on Lance Berkman, Wendelstedt ruled a Pavano sinker ball two when television replays appeared to show it should have been strike three.

On the very next pitch, Berkman ripped a go-ahead double into the left-center gap.

Gardenhire then went out to the mound for a visit with Pavano, Wendelstedt walked to the mound to hurry the game along and, from there, predictably, Gardenhire walked off the mound with Wendelstedt, giving the umpire an earful.

Wendelstedt ejected Gardenhire about the time the two reached home plate.

"I went out to make sure my guys were straight on what we were going to do next and make my side of the story known," Gardenhire said, explaining his trip to the mound with Berkman standing on second, the Twins trailing 3-2, nobody out and Brett Gardner about to bat. "I thought the ball was a strike, he didn't call it a strike and I wanted to make sure he knew that.

"But I wanted to get him away from my guys because there are a lot of guys full of emotion at that time and I wanted Carl to concentrate. I wanted to let [my guys know] they were going to bunt [Berkman] over, and to get the out. That's what I told my guys on the mound, and then I said what I had to say."

The dispute undoubtedly will help catapult the umpires back into the spotlight this postseason. Gardenhire was the second manager ejected on Thursday. Tampa Bay's Joe Maddon was given the heave-ho earlier in the day.


Posted on: October 7, 2010 2:44 am
 

Back outdoors, same result

MINNEAPOLIS -- Mark Teixeira slugged a bad Jesse Crain seventh-inning slider deep into the Minnesota night, high over the right-field fence, and the Target Field crowd went silent.

Just as you imagine the Metropolitan Stadium crowd did on Oct. 5, 1970, when pinch-hitter Rick Renick grounded to short to force Rich Reese at second in the ninth, allowing the Baltimore Orioles to sweep the Twins out of the ALCS.

The last time they played an outdoor playoff game in the Twin Cities.

The to-be-continued part following Renick's grounder, when the October outdoor baseball chapter of Twins' history resumed, picked back up with Twins starter Francisco Liriano fanning Derek Jeter to start Game 1 of the Twins-Yankees latest Divisional Series tussle here.

It was a gorgeous fall night, 63 degrees at game-time, shirt-sleeves weather for much of the evening.

But much like that old Metropolitan Stadium crowd from 1970, these Twins fans went home disappointed, too.

Of course, they've seen it before against the relentless Yankee machine.

"We play nine innings," New York shortstop Derek Jeter said of another comeback, this one after the Yanks trailed 3-0 in the sixth inning. "It's what you have to do. Whether you're ahead of behind, it's what you have to do."

Likes: Watching Roy Halladay was electric even from several hundred miles away. ... Perfect autumn day in the Twin Cities on Wednesday. Temperature around 70, gold leaves, textbook fall weather. ... Great noon-time run on a path along the Mississippi River. ... Former pitcher Jack Morris on the field before the game telling stories. ... Derek Jeter eating at Murray's home of the "Silver Butter Knife Steak" on Tuesday night, the eve of Game 1.

Dislikes: No expanded instant replay for these playoffs. Delmon Young's two-out single in the ninth should have been an out -- television replays showed that Greg Golson, inserted by Yankees manager Joe Girardi as a defensive sub for Nick Swisher in the ninth inning, made a diving catch on Young's sinking liner. Umpires wrongly awarded Young a single which, in a 6-4 game, could have been problematical. But Jim Thome popped up the next pitch to third and the game was over. Had Thome deposited a game-tying, two-run homer against the Yankees, you wouldn't have heard the end of this debate for weeks. And being that it came against the Yankees, I guarantee expanded instant replay would have been put in place well ahead of next season's playoffs.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"From Mankato up to Brainerd
"From Burnsville to Bemidji
"Now we're playing outdoor baseball
"And that's the way it should be"

-- The Baseball Project with Craig Finn, Don't Call Them Twinkies

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com