Baseball, music and life

Friday, December 17, 2004

Is he or isn't he?
So, as of 10PM last night I was convinced that Randy Johnson would be appearing in pinstripes by tonight, now I'm not so sure. According to Jayson Stark at ESPN the deal was discussed before Adrian Beltre signed with Seattle and now the Dodgers are having second thoughts. To be honest I find that argument unpersuasive. I can't imagine that Paul Depodesto had no idea Beltre was leaving until last night. A more realistic thorn in the side of this trade is Shawn Green's no-trade clause, as he seems to be an integral part of the deal.
Still I suspect that this is going to get done, even if it means bringing in a fourth team. It is pretty clear that Brian Cashman cannot face Boss Hog without the Big Unit, and it is equally clear that the Diamondbacks are not bringing the Big Unit back, so something has to give.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Fixing the Yankees

Moves I'd like to see this offseason:
  1. Trade for Randy Johnson - this is a no brainer. The Big Unit is a nasty left hander who can easily neutralize any benefit Curt Schilling confers on the Red Sox. Brian Cashman is as creative as they come and he should be able to make this happen. I also have a funny feeling that the Big Unit would love to go up against Schilling and shut him up for once.
  2. Keep Jorge Posada - there has been a conspiracy of idiocy stemming from the meager brains of some sports writers who suggest that the Yankees should trade Jorge Posada. All one has to do is look at Jorge's slugging percentage and onbase percentage to realize this would be a foolish move.
  3. Trade Kevin Brown for Andruw Jones - yeah I know Carlos Beltran is the greatest free agent ever. Still, I think trading for Jones is a better move, if for no other reason then he will not require a ten year contract. There's more to why this is a good move though. First of all Jones and Beltran are the same age, they're both excellent center fielders, they both have similar slugging and on base percentages, Beltran's a bit faster, but Jones has flashed better power numbers throughout his career. Beltran is brilliant, but Jones is almost as good and he will cost less.
  4. Sign Steve Kline - but don't over pay for him. I'd like Joe Torre to sign a contract promising to never, ever solicit the services of Felix Heredia, Bret Prinz, et al again. With Kline we get an effective lefty who happens to be a ground ball pitcher out of the pen. This means that Torre can restrict (barring an injury) the bullpen to Steve Karsay, Paul Quantrill, Tom Gordon and Mo Rivera.
  5. Get Jason Giambi healthy - this is of paramount importance. Sure Tony Clark had his moments, and John Olerud had a big homer in the ALCS (hereinafter referred to as the dark times), but neither puts up the kind of offensive numbers a team wants from first base. The suggestion that the Yankees are a better without Giambi is just dumb. The guy is a bona fide masher. When healthy you can pencil Giambi in for 40 homers, 100 RBIs and whole bunch of base on balls. For your reading information compare Giambi's first year with Sheffields: Giambi's first two seasons 2002 - 41 HR/122 RBI/109 BB/120 R/.435 OBP/.598 SLG, 2003 41 HR/107 RBI/129 BB/ 97 R/.412 OBP/.527 SLG. Sheffields first season 39 HR/132 RBI/86 BB/ 126 R/ .419 OBP/ .604 SLG. Okay, so Sheffield had a monster year, but the point is Giambi also had monster years. With Giambi in our lineup the Yanks are just as deadly as Boston at their best. Furthermore, by having Giambi in the lineup Torre can give Posada more days at DH or even to rest because having John Flaherty in the lineup will not be as crippling as it was last season. The return of Giambi also means we can stop having Ruben Sierra run onto the field with that giant fork sticking out of his back.
  6. Sign Matt Clement - the guy strikes people out, something that is necessary to defeat Boston. For proof see 2004 World Series.
  7. Bring in or promote some useful bench players - there is no need to waste pine space for guys who are never going to play. There should be a concerted team effort to bring in useful role players who can contribute instead of having guys like Ruben Sierra/Tony Clark/Kenny Lofton/Enrique Wilson who possess skills (some are even the kind you want on a baseball team) that are easily replaceable by younger, cheaper players.
  8. Avoid the temptatoin to trade for Alfonso Soriano. While we could use an upgrade over Miguel Cairo, although if he does what he did last year and Giambi is healthy and either Mr. Jones or Mr. Beltran are in center field we could live with it, it is hardly a pressing concern. All trade efforts should be used to get Randy Johnson, trading for Soriano would be a poor use of the Yankees meager resources.
  9. Sign one live arm out of the Pavano/Milton/Radke crew - anyone who can soak up six innings once every five days without getting their hair lit on fire. This will prevent Torre from abusing his bullpen, meaning they may be able to actually pitch in the post season instead of hurling flat breaking balls over the plate.
  10. That is all for the moment.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

I'm Baaaack........
It's been a while, so let's have a quick recap on what I haven't written about:
1. The Yankees lose four straight - still unable to form coherent thoughts about this. Although I'm in a state of denial I still find myself cursing Kevin Brown at random points throughout the day.
2. George Bush won, I meant to write cursing Keving Brown and George Bush at random points throughout the day.
3. Paulie O's Warriors finished out of the money. A furious finish could not make up for my midseason swoon.

That's if for now...but updates should appear more regularly.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

A quick thought on A-Rod vs. Varitek

Despite the chest thumping of Red Sox nation and Curt "Cry Baby" Schilling, I do not think Varitek vs. A-Rod is the foregone conclusion most would think. First of all for all of Varitek's supposed toughness he challenged A-Rod wearing slightly more body armor than a cop in riot gear. Finally A-Rod is in top shape, has much less body fat than Varitek, and is probably stronger.
What is happening hear is the whole guy with the goatee who wears the tools of ignorance is clearly tougher than the all-star/best player in the game who looks like he could be on the cover of a fashion magazine. Make no mistake, A-Rod most likely could have whooped Varitek's ass.
I would like to add that Varitek has been much more graceful in his comments than Schilling could ever hope to be.
Of course, the real point is that the Yanks are up 7 and a 1/2 games, and while there's a whole lot of jibber-jabber coming from Red Sox camp about turning their season around, well let's see 'em take over the lead for the wild card first.
There's no justice. there's just, no justice..........
Paulie O's Warriors have hit a rough patch and have sunk to seventh place. Mostly because the Warriors were not able to survive a spate of mid-season injuries: Kerry Wood, Jake Peavy, Josh Beckett, Eric Chavez, etc. Since then I've got my pitchers back and have made a couple of trades to augment the offense: I traded Adam Dunn and Kenny Rogers for Mark Mulder, then traded Josh Beckett for Tom Glavine and Jason Giambi, and finally swapped Cliff Lee for JD Drew.
The Dunn and Rogers trade for Mulder was a product of the times. With Wood, Peavy and Beckett I needed an ace who I could rely upon. Furthermore, I figured there was enough time left in the season that once my pitchers came back I could swap them for some offense.
Then, with my frustration with Beckett's blisters boiling over I traded him for Glavine and what I thought would be a rejuvinated Giambi. So far Glavine has pitched well, although the Mets inability to score when he's on the mound has proven frustrating. Giambi has been a wash, but so has Beckett so I can live with this.
Finally Cliff Lee for JD Drew was like mana from the heavens. I had originally offered Glavine, thinking there's no way I'm going to get one of the hottest hitters in baseball for a starter who pitches well but can't win. Instead I got one of the hottest hitters in baseball for a guy who has a bright future, but I'm not even using this year.
I also picked up Jason Bay whose been fantastic.
So what happens, I get jumped by the unlikely duo of Vinny Castillo and Moises Alou who pick last week to live it up and bash a combined nine home runs to go with countless RBIs and Runs. Then even though my starters are stellar, the team I go up against lucks out by having half his staff injured and the three starts that he got were quality.
Of course now that I have Drew in my lineup and Kevin (oh how this pains me) Millar on the bench I go up against the hottest team in the league. I tell you there's no justice.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Jimy with on M, Jimy!
Jimy Williams' reign came to an end over the All-Star break, destroying one of the longest and best running jokes between me and Adam Levine. Oh well.
The move was hardly a shock, the Astros are under-achieving, something that boggles the mind on a team featuring Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, three of the feircest competitors in the league. Part of their lack of success can be blamed on the pitching staff's health (see Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt), however it is tough to overlook the mindboggling decisions made by Jimy (see Morgan Ensberg). That said I think this team is good enough that they could still win the Central. Yes, I know the Cardinals are playing some of the best baseball in the league. At the same time if Scott Rolen goes down for more than a couple of days or one of their pitchers either reverts to form or gets hurt they have no depth what-so-ever. Finally, I think that the Cubs still have a run left, although I may be saying that because a healthy Kerry Wood is a key to my fantasy season as well as the Cub's real season.
Randy Johnson is officially on the block. I hope he ends up in New York, although I have a suspicion the Yanks lack of anything remotely resembling a prospect may impede that result. If he ends up a Red Sox fan I'll be depressed for a week.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Beautiful Night in the Bronx
Last night was a perfect night for baseball. The temperature was in the high seventies and there was a slight breeze that could be felt passing through the stadium. By game time the humidity had dissipated and there was no longer threats of thundershowers.
I didn't have much hope for the Bombers last night, Victor Zambrano has had the Yanks number this year, beating them three times already. Not to mention Jose Contreras was on the mound and given the Tampa Ink Blot's penchant for stealing bases there was not much hope. However, the Yanks stayed patient when facing Zambrano (seriously, no hitter should even thinking about swinging against him until he has thrown two strikes) and they touched him up for a three runs before the Ink Blot bullpen came in and gave Sweet Lou Pinella a case of heartburn. The Captain was responsible for most of the offense with two RBI doubles, Hideki Matsui chipped and Gary Sheffield murdered a pitch into the left field stands for a two run blast.
Once again Sheffield was hit by a pitch and this time he carried the bat all the way to first base. He's going to snap one of these days and it won't be pretty.
Of course the real story of the night was Contreras. He only had one bad inning in which he gave up a run, but by his standards it was a cakewalk (mostly because he did not give up the back breaking three homer). He wasn't striking out hitters by the bushel but he was effective and threw the ball over the plate. Even better was the fact that the New York papers were able to hold their pens in check and did not annoint this as the game that would turn Contreras's season around. Since El Mysterio has been in the Bronx the papers have been poised for him to get it going, it's probably time we can forget about that. However, if he can put up a few more starts like this one and we might have a nice back of the rotation starter.
There's a rumor that Randy Johnson is willing to come to the Yankees - be still my pounding heart. This probably won't happen but if it does - to quote a Tribe Called Quest OH MY GOD

Thursday, July 08, 2004

It's been a while....

Yes, it's definatly been a while since I've had a chance to post anything. The combination of finals, writing competition and staring an internship has left me with little reserves for writing. However, I'm back so let's see what's been going on.

Baseball Observations
1. The Yanks are pretty much where they should be: they have the best record in baseball and they've put some distance between themselves and the Red Sox. Offensively the Yanks have been brilliant, defensively they've been more than adequate, and they've shown an aggresiveness on the basepaths that has been missing. That said there is ample room for improvement. The starting pitching, sans Javier Vazquez, has been abysmal of late. Mike Mussina seems to have completely lost the plot. Jon Lieber has been inconsistent. Kevin Brown has proven that he does two things well pitch and get injured, unfortunately he is showing his excellence at the latter right now. Jose Contreras is a terrible pitcher, it is time we except that. The only teams he has any success against are those that swing at everything and help him out by getting that elusive strike one. When Contreras faces a team that has either faced him before or is patient he has absolutely no chance. The Yanks need to jettison him quickly and end the needless wondering over whether or not he's a good pitcher. Brad Halsey aka the Kid has done well, but he's a rookie who does not throw 90mph, not a good mix. The fact that Brian Cashman is talking up the return of El Duque is not a good sign. However, this team is simply too good to suffer much of a downswing. I think they could lose tonight as the Bombers can never seem to figure out Victor Zambrano and then recover by taking the next three going into the All-Star break.
Although I anticipate a trade for a starter, please, please let it be the Big Unit, will be made soon unless they get the aforemnetioned Randy Johnson or maybe Jamie Moyer I'm not sure if Kris Benson or whomever else is out there can help this team. Meanwhile as good as the Yanks have been at the plate look for better second halves from Jason Giambi and Alex Rodriguez (yes, I know that's scary).
2. The Red Sox are the most boring team in baseball on the field, off the field they're something else. The Red Sox eschew everything but the walk and the home run, and while this leads to some monumental blow outs (see their last two games against the A's), it also means they are occasionally paralyzed when the two headed monster of Ortiz and Ramirez isn't at the plate. However, there are a ton of subplots surrounding this team: Is Terry Francona a cyborg? How much does Red Sox Nation hate Nomah? Can Derek Lowe sulk more than he already has? Stay tuned.
3. Baltimore and Toronto fans have to be the most disapointed so far. I'd add Kansas, but come on, we all knew that last year was a mirage.
4. I have to eat some crow in regards to Ozzie Guillen. I thought he would be a bad manager and obnoxios. Turns out he's only obnoxious.
5. Teams playing over their heads: Mets and Devil Rays. Let's face neither team is going to win the World Series, although the Muts may, thanks to the utter and complete ineptitude of Larry Bowa, win the East. However, in either case they are putting off the inevitable - rebuilding with youth. It seems both are destined for the mix of veterans and youngsters that can compete for a while but never really go anywhere. (See the last ten years of the New York Knicks for the textbook example of how to do this.)

Fantasy Observations
1. Paulie O's Warriors have sunk to fifth place. The overwhelming injuries have finally bit me on the ass. My rotation of Cliff Lee, Zach Grienke, Greg Maddux, Kenny Rogers and Jake Westbrook could not make up for injured rotation of Jake Peavy, Josh Beckett and Kerry Wood. Not to mention the fact that I've had to use Cory Koskie over Eric Chaves at third.
2. Not one to sit pat I've made some moves that should set me up for a nice second half surge. I traded Adam Dunn and Rogers for Mark Mulder. Giving up Dunn hurt, but now I have another ace on my staff. Rogers was replacable, looked to be heading for a second half letdown, and now is reporting leg troubles. After that move I swooped in and scooped up Brad Lidge, giving me an excellent bullpen. Finally, after a week of haggling I traded Beckett for Tom Glavine and Jason Giambi. Giambi was the initial prize as he is a sizable upgrade, or should be, over my current infielder Billy Beane's Great White Whale Erubial Durazo. Turns out that Beckett has now gone down with the worst blister he's experienced yet and should be on the DL for some time making the Glavine part of the trade even sweeter.
3. With Kerry Wood coming back on Sunday and Eric Chavez coming back the week after the All-Star Break, I am headed into the remainder of the season at full force.

I'll continue to update this week.

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