The New York Yankees Eye A Championship

August 10, 2009

Every season the Yankees try to win a championship, but since 2000 have only found themselves buying heartache. Their rosters have been filled with top tier All-Stars Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Mike Mussina, who were all paid big bucks and produced solid statistics, but were unable to deliver a championship. Then there are the players such as Carl Pavano, Raul Mondesi, Jon Leiber, Jose Contreras and Kei Igawa, who the Yankees willingly forked over a kings ransom in hopes that they would get high return on their investments, but were sorely mistaken. Looking at the Yankees current roster the biggest investments that have not paid championship dividends for the New York Yankees are Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and of course Alex Rodriguez. With the way the 2009 season is playing out, these three players may just be hoisting the World Series Trophy by October’s end.

The 2009 Yankees Want To Bring Championship #27 To The New Stadium

The 2009 Yankees Want To Bring Championship #27 To The New Stadium

The top tier teams in their large markets may never be able to duplicate the amount of revenue that the Yankees bring to the game on a yearly basis, but with teams like the Dodgers, Mets and Red Sox all trying to spend in the same league as the Yankees these past few years, it allowed the Yankees the right to break the bank this offseason. GM Brian Cashman (potentially the most ironic front office name in sports history) to sign CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett to three mega contracts. To the Yankees delight, these three players are making pinstriped patrons proud by playing their best baseball and leading their team to the best record in the majors.

Coming off of a 4 game sweep of their arch-rival Boston Red Sox, all is well in The Bronx. The new Yankee Stadium that was being criticized to no end for the amount of home runs it allows is no longer being condemned because it has been a true homefield advantage for this team, leading them to a MLB best 39-17 record thus far. This record is beacuse this Yankees lineup is formidable. 9 players have 11+ Home Runs, with extreme balance within the 9 (11,12,14,16,16,18,21,21,29 HR’s respectively). That 29 HR’s is from the workman like All-Star First Baseman, 8 Year, $180 Million Dollar Man, Mark Teixeira. His impressive offensive achievements (leading the team in all major offensive categories) have been matched by his gold glove caliber defense to lead the Yankees to the top of the AL East once again. Derek Jeter is enjoying a terrificely productive offensive season, Nick Swisher has been a mashing surprise after being a subtle addition at the start of the year, Johnny Damon loves the new ballpark to the tune of 21 dingers, A-Rod feels happy/excepted by his teammates, with his play reflecting it, Robinson Cano is playing up to his All-Star level, the Cabrera/Gardner platoon injects life into the lineup everyday and Jorge Posada is healthy enough to contribute again. This is an lineup that no pitcher would be excited to face come October.

With a 6.5 game lead and enough firepower on offense to have Yankee fans expecting a playoff birth, the pitching is going to be put under the microscope more then ever before. We all know that CC Sabathia is worth every penny of his massive 7 Year $161 Million Dollar contract. For being a true ace, a true leader, an innings eater, a workhorse and undoubtedly being slated to start Game 1 of any playoff series. After the mammoth at the front end of the rotation, the rotation picture gets less crystal clear but has the ability to be electric. The Yankees were wary about A.J. Burnett’s health before signing him, so they only offered him 5 Years, worth $82.5 Million Dollars, which he happily excepted after terminating his contract early in Toronto to pitch for New York’s AL East contender. A.J. may hold the key to the Yankees post season success since he will be slated to be the Game 2 starter for the Yankees in nearly every scenario. No one is questioning the fireballers ability to dominate a major league lineup, but questions of his durability and focus tend to creep up on Burnett more then other pitchers on the roster. However, it cannot be forgotten that Burnett, along with Josh Beckett, carried the Florida Marlins to the 2003 World Series with their pitching performances, most notably against his current NY Yankee squad. Burnett can be the pitcher that they need him to be come playoff time, but time can only tell which A.J. will show up. Then there was the time tested Andy Pettite, who would be your Game 3 Starter. Pettite is a pitcher with a phenomenal postseason mark, but stumbled last season versus the Cleveland Indians. That will not frighten skipper Joe Girardi from using Pettite in a tight spot. With Pettite he has a starting pitcher with the intelligence, moxie and talent (blessed or illegal) to lead the Yankees to victory.

Then there was the bullpen, potentially the chink in the armor that is the 2009 NY Yankees. Mariano Rivera is still there, in dominating fashion at the end of the game. Rivera has been given more help in the bullpen then in the last few seasons from Alredo Aceves, Phil Coke and the versatile 23 year old Philip Hughes, which makes Yankee fans breathe easier and makes them happy towards the end of the game. Happiness may be even more apparent when the teams X-Factor Joba Chamberlain, happily shifts back to his role in the bullpen during the post-season to do whatever it takes for the team to win. Jubilation is resounding from the house that George built (Steinbrenner not George Herman Ruth) these days and with the Summer winding closer to September, then October baseball. the New York Yankees look prime and ready with a mix of talent both new and pinstripe veteran, to go head on with the best that Major League Baseball has to offer.

Best to you and yours from your blogging buddy,

Jordan


A pair of Sox winners at trade deadline

August 2, 2009

A couple big names will don new uniforms following the trade deadline, and none were bigger winners than the Red and White Sox that Victor Martinez and Jake Peavy will be slipping on.  While the Indians season fell apart quickly leading to trades of 2 of their best, the White Sox have fought nicely to keep themselves in the playoff mix, and now they have positioned themselves to potentially steal their division in September.

By acquiring Jake Peavy for 4 prospects,  Ken Williams has now put together one of the best rotations in the league, with Mark Buerlhe, recent author of a perfect game, all of the sudden becoming a pretty damn good 2nd starter. Throwing Peavy and Buerlhe gives the White Sox a chance to win any one single game, and should they find their way in to the playoffs, they will be extemely dangerous. And let’s not forget Gavin Floyd and John Danks are no slouches either.  Peavy is on the disabled list with ankle issues, but should return at the end of the month, when the White Sox will then throw a quality starter out every day for the rest of the season.  The White Sox won the World Series a few years ago with a similar kind of depth to their rotation,  which pitched deep in to nearly every game and gave way to a strong and rested bullpen.  Ken Williams wasn’t just thinking about this year,  he’s thinking about the next 3 or 4, and as they’re veteran hitters tail off, he has again put together the kind of rotation that can shoulder the load. Whether they make the playoffs or not, this move makes them alot better now, as well as next year and beyond.  Smart move by Ken Williams, who in typically aggressive fashion goes out and gets the type of front line starter you need to win in this league.

The Red Sox trade for Victor Martinez makes them big winners at the deadline as well. While the Red Sox had some very good hitters in their lineup, it’s just not as imposing as it was in their World Series years, with Ramirez and Ortiz striking fear in the heart of the apposing pitcher. This move gives them that extra stick in the middle of the order that they sorely needed to stretch out the lineup. As Jordan pointed out, he will give them some flexibility between Catcher, where a near the end Jason Varitek currently resides, 1B and DH, and lightens the burden that falls on Pedroia and Youkilis considerably.  Manny is gone, the bloom is off Big Papi’s rose, and Jason Bay has been no where to be found of late.  So the Sox did what they had to do and went back to Cleveland for another slugger years after the Ramirez trade. Boston’s farm system was deep with prospects to dangle and Martinez should slot into the 3 or 4 hole for several years to come.  The Red Sox can only hope that his time with the team will bring as much success as Manny’s.  A year ago, they finally removed him from the middle of the order, potentially costing themselves a trip to the Series. This time around, they did what was necessary to fill at least a large portion of the gap he left, and perhaps with a little less drama as well.

The Phillies were big winners as well, they didn’t come up with the big fish Roy Halladay, but we knew they would get a pitcher, and I think that last year’s Cy Young winner Cliff Lee will suffice. I just don’t want to give them credit for anything. I don’t even want to talk about them.

Be back in the coming days to touch on some of the other deadline moves that could loom large, and maybe even our first dive into some NFL football.  I know I’m not the only one that’s counting the days…

Until next time

Bdon


You Can’t Spell Victory Without Victor

July 30, 2009

The art of sports is often in it’s calculations and negotiations, this being never more evident then when the trading deadline approaches in Major League Baseball.  It is that special time of the year in America’s pastime that separates the Champs from the Chumps.  The Cleveland Indians season spiraled out of control quickly,  finding themselves buried in the basement of the dismal AL Central before they could we could even reach mid season.  The white flag was not allowed to be waved by Indians GM Mark Shapiro right away, but we knew it was coming.  Cleveland has been easily one of the most unpredictable teams of the year and I mean that in the worst possible way.  The Indians would win a game 10-2 just as easily as they could lose 10-2, but unfortunately for them the latter has been the case more often.  They tried to convince themselves that they would just need to have all world talent Grady Sizemore back in the lineup and all would be well.  Alas, this ship was one that had more then one hole to fill and when they sent Garko to the SF bay for youthful reinforcements for 2010 and beyond, the other 29 teams took notice of the impending fire sale.

When a fire sale occurs so close to the deadline from a team that has pieces of true value (not you Pittsburgh), the big fish jump into the pool.  The rich get richer as they say and that’s what the top tier teams hoped for in grabbing Roy Halladay.  With  Toronto holding on to their top gun in the arms race, attentions were turned to the last years AL Cy Young Award Winner Cliff Lee.  I know that I mentioned this in my last column but Lee was so dominant last season going 22-3,  it was a wonder when he even lost a game.  ABANDON SHIP! ABANDON SHIP!  CLEVELAND DOESN’T ROCK!  TAKE OUR GARKO,  MAKE LEE FLEE FOR THE RIGHT PRICE…  Philadelphia had the assets to get the 30 Year Old lefty stud and they stepped up and got him.  Thus making the strong, stronger.

It is an undeniable fact that pitching wins championships but the Red Sox appear to want a starter unless he is Roy Halladay.  As it stands now, they have too many pitchers and would really need to give up a truck load to get their man, and the closer we get to the deadline, the less likely a Boston/Toronto trade tango seems for various reasons.  It could be the prospects involved are too talented, that they share a division, or that the Blue Jays feel they can compete in 2010.  Luckily for the Red Sox, there is a red hot fire sale going on in Ohio and another 30 Year Old stud is available for the right price.  The talent in question is none other then Catcher/First Baseman, All Star,  Victor Martinez.

Victor Wants To Make You #1... Won't You Let Him?

Victor Wants To Make You #1... Won't You Let Him?

The way that Martinez was touted coming up through the Indians farm system, one would assume that he would be a man to hold on to for as long as humanly possible, but this does not seem to be the case anymore.  The Red Sox are foaming at the mouth at the chance to add his dynamic bat to a lineup that has had it’s stuggles at times.  Jason Varitek is long past his prime, Youkillis needs to be anchored at third with Mike Lowell being incapacitated, and Adam LaRoche is a platoon player at best for a Championship caliber team like the Red Sox.  Victor Martinez can play both Catcher and First Base well, adding flexibility to Terry Francona’s roster and would give the Sox some additional firepower to a lineup that already knows how to scrap together runs.  If Halladay is not traded and the Red Sox get Victor Martinez,  they are going to the World Series.

You can’t spell Victory without Victor, Boston and you better act quick because it looks like the same rambunctious Rays that knocked you out in the ALCS last season, think as highly about Martinez as you do.  Championships are won in October, but what happens at the end of July can change the season.

Have a happy day from your blogging buddy,

Jordan


Cliff Lee in Philly

July 29, 2009
Can The Phucking Phillies Come Out On Top Again?

Can The Phucking Phillies Come Out On Top Again?

Cliff Lee is not Roy Halladay. But what he is, is the reining AL Cy Young Award Winner, and the defending Champion Philadelphia Phillies were just able to acquire him without trading their top two pitching prospects.  It boils my blood to think that the Phucking Phillies have a great chance to defend their title this year AND go for another next season with their current roster.  We all know about that they are an offensive juggernaut, with a stellar bullpen, but it was their starting pitching that had the city of brotherly love itching for a trade.

A move was always inevitable for a top of the line starter in Philly.  They had the prospects, and the title in their hands, so this is all on house money.  With Cliff Lee as their No. 2 starter behind Cole Hamels, it gives them a 1-2 punch to be reckoned with in the playoffs and solidifies them as the favorite to be the National League representative in the World Series this October.

Now it is on the Los Angeles Dodgers to prove that they are a true powerhouse in the National League after coasting with the best record in the league for the majority of the season.  The Cubs/Cardinals duo has the bats and the pitchers to make some noise in the playoffs, the Giants have the arms but are not built to run with the thoroughbreds. And watch out for those Rockies, their roster is very deep.  As far as the Braves/Marlins/Brewers/Mets(I hope they prove me wrong)/ and Astros go,  in the end, will most likely not be there year.   The road to the championship will lead through L.A. because the baseball season is a marathon and not a mad dash to the finish, (unless you are the ’07 Rockies, but I don’t see that occurring this year), and the Phillies are team to beat.  Can Dodgers GM Ned Coletti get a deal done for Halladay and up the ante in what is shaping up to be one of the greatest post seasons in recent memory?  Doesn’t look like it. Or will the Phillies championship experience lay the smack down on Manny and his mates when it’s all said and done?  The tolling of the clock come deadline day will give us some answers, and we will stack things up from there…

Keep enjoying the boys of summer sports fans!

Best from your buddy blogger,
Jordan


A True Fan Never Flees a Sinking Ship

July 28, 2009
By Berg the Basher

Well, the front office is a complete disaster right now,  but the Mets on the field, have managedto bounce back a little here. This sandlot team that they have put together is on a 3 game winning streak and seems to be relaxing for the first time, following the low point of the season.  Right now the current series they have with the wild card leading Colorado Rockies might as well be the World Series for the Metros. If they can sweep this series, or even take 3 out of 4 they can pull within 3.5 or 4.5 games of the wild card with about 60 to play. Which means a slight glimmer of hope.
Castillo has caught fire after his blunder in the Bronx

Castillo has caught fire after his blunder in the Bronx

Even with Daniel Murphy in the cleanup spot who is batting around .240 with 5 HR’s, the team as of late has been scoring runs and the starting pitching has been going late into games. Luis Castillo has been on fire with his bat and his glove; he has 4 consecutive mult -hit games and is batting over .400 in the month of July. This guy is carrying this team right now, getting on base at a tremendous rate since his unimagainable dropped pop up against the Yanks.  Speaking of which, YES Network should catch a smack for the amount of times they have showed that play.  That’s what you’re banking on making your fans happy?  Winning a game on an error off the bat of your $300 Million Dollar A-Hole?  Gooooood, we all live in the same city ya dirt bags.   Back to the Queens team, Angel Pagan has been a spark plug since he has been put in the lead off spot, and Jeff Franceour has stepped up big time since coming over from the Braves.  He is always talking it up in the dugout and fist pumpin’ like crazy and not to mention he’s crushing the ball.
Maybe this team realized that some of these players (Reyes and Delgado) aren’t coming back and its time to forget they exist and just go play some baseball for a change. The Metros play 20 out of the next 27 at home which is a big plus for the squad; they are 6 games over 500 at Citi Field. Tonight we have Big doofus (Pelfrey) on the bump and I’m hoping and praying that this moron can help keep this streak alive. Just give me something to cheer for a few days this summer so  I’m not just sitting around counting the days until football season. I know I’m not the only sports fan feeling this way.
Best,
BB

The Don dropping in

July 26, 2009

Hello all,

It is me Brandon and I have finally found my way to a computing device for the first time in several days.

My time is limited but I wanted to drop in and say a word or two on Matt Holliday.

The Cardinals Hold A Playoffs Bid In The Palm Of Their Glove With Matt Holliday

The Cardinals Hold A Playoffs Bid In The Palm Of Their Glove With Matt Holliday

I don’t know if a player can fit better than Matt Holliday going to the Cardinals. He gives them strong, imposing, reliable lineup presence that has long been missing from the Red Birds lineup. He provides the best protection for Albert the great since Rolen, and Edmonds flanked him a few years ago. I love this move. They are barely clinging on to the lead in that division and he makes their entire lineup better, taking a tremendous amount of pressure off Ludwick to be the 2nd stud that he’s  just not capable of being.  The weight on Pujols back just lightened considerably.

Holliday and the Cardinals will have 2 months to get to know each other, and all goes well, it would appear to be a good spot for him to resign longterm being pujols sidekick for the next 5  or 6 years of his Hall of Fame career. This team needed a jolt of life to the lineup, and got it.  Holliday must have been extremely depressed playing for a bad team in front of no one in a mammoth park in Oakland.  I expect him to be terrific here….

I’ll do my best to be back tomorrow for at least a few more tidbits…

My best to all,

Bdon


Halladay Will Cost You

July 20, 2009

Pitchers as good as Roy Halladay just don’t become available very often.  So Blue Jays GM, J.P Riccardi wants a ton of compensation, and rightfully so. Halladay is as dominant a starter as their is in the league, and he immediately changes the dynamic of any team he goes to. But the amount of prospects another team would have to give up, coupled with the knowledge that a big payday will be due, may be too rich for many teams blood in this economy. A year and a half ago, Halladay would have hauled in a gargantuan package of quality prospects, from the highest bidder (see Bedard, Sabathia deals). Today, the majority of the league is being extra cautious about the investments they make, and equally leery of trading young, cheap talent that is under their control.Roy Halladay is The Ace of The AL

The Phillies are the front runners, but are reluctant to give up top prospect Kyle Drabek, and already have an elite starter in Cole Hamels whose won a World Series MVP. They are hitting their stride, are holding a nice cushion in the NL East, and appear to be at worst the 2nd best team in the NL. And based on last season, I wouldn’t expect them to be too scared of the Dodgers. I’m sure they like their chances regardless of if they get Halladay or not at this point. They are defending champs, and don’t have to make a desperate grab for the big fish. If they do, he takes them to another level. But they’ll get a starter, one way or another and are a near lock for the NLCS.

The Dodgers would also seem like a suitor for his services, but they have a cheap owner,  so don’t count on them forking over the ransom the Jays will request. If your Toronto don’t you have to get Matt Kemp or Andre Either?  Halladay is a free agent after next year, and his agent will have Johan Santana’s (6 for 136), and CC Sabathia’s (7 for 161) contracts as precedent to slap down on a negotiating table. Any offer would likely have to at least split the difference of those two deals to get Halladay to sign on the dotted line. Not gonna be from Frank McCourt’s checkbook.

I think he fits really nicely in St. Louis, but they don’t appear too eager to dive in the the mix with Chris Carpenter looking as strong as ever. The Cardinals seem comfortable with their low-risk approach when it comes to pitching, and prefer avoid paying a premium for it in free agency. They have had success in recent years with reclamation projects, such as Joel Pineiro, Ryan Franklin, and Kyle Lohse, thus are more likely to take that route. The last time they made a large trade to acquire a front end starter, it was Mark Mulder and it cost them a guy named Dan Haren.  Check out that guys numbers this year. Ouch.  You can understand their reluctance.

The Angels won’t do it either, because they won’t pay him. If they wanted to spend $160 million on one player than they would have resigned Mark Texieira who plays every day.

Forget Milwaukee, they took their shot last year with C.C

There’s just not a lot of options. Where else are we looking to find the team?

Even the Yankees, it appears have limits. I hope..

The Red Sox are 19 deep at starter.

The Braves don’t have the guts or the resources.

The White Sox maybe?

That’s the issue here. There’s no teams really in position to ante up and make this move besides the Phillies. With few suitors, the Blue Jays may be forced to lower their asking price or keep him. If it comes to that, expect them to hold on to him until the off season when teams can sit back, and evaluate rationally.

“I don’t think much has changed,” Ricciardi said Monday afternoon. “We said we’d listen. We will listen. But we have to be blown away. Look, we have what we think is not only a division changer, but a league changer. A guy that will make a difference.”

If someone wanted to blow them away, they probably would have done it already and quit wasting time. A trade will be more likely this off season, when a team has time to sit down and lock up the Doc to a long term extension, which is difficult to do in the middle of a season.

There’s still a possibility Halladay will move, but all the information available leads me to believe it likely won’t happen, for now. Will the Phillies go for it? I sure hope not.  I’d have to slide them just past the Red Sox as the favorite for the World Series if they get him.

Deja vu of my worst nightmare come true.

We shall see what unfolds, with only 10 days remaining until the trade deadline…

Until next time.

Bdon