Tagged: Hot Stove

Lactose Intolerance

Got Melk?
I love Melky Cabrera. I have since he made his debut, and I always will. His wonderful personality outweighed his numbers in the hearts of most Yankees fans, and there was much love for him in New York. Especially from the “da womans”. I just want to make it very clear that Melky was one of my favorite Yankees when it came to character. His close friendship with Robinson Cano made him even more of a joy to watch on the field, and off. I will miss him. 
Now that I’ve cleared that up, let’s discuss what happened yesterday.

Melky Cabrera, Aroldis Vizcaino and Michael Dunn were traded to the Atlanta Braves for Javier Vazquez and Boone Logan. Hmmm… I like the name Boone. I tip my hat to Cashmoney for getting this done. In my opinion, this was one Brian Cashman’s best trades of his career. No doubt about it in my mind. 

I was somewhat disappointed, but not really surprised, by some of the reactions to this trade. While a lot of my fellow Yankees’ fans are happy about the trade, there are many others who are ready to see Brian Cashman fired for this. Reading all the negative reactions to this big move, in online forums and on Twitter, was hilariously infuriating to me. I didn’t know whether to laugh about it, or stab the desk with my pencil. No. 2 pencil, of course. The one thing I learned from the SATs is that No. 2 pencils are the Yankees of the pencil world.

The negativity can be divided into two categories: love for Melky, and hate for Javy.
Love for Melky:
Judging by the severity of these negative reactions, you would think Brian Cashman traded Derek Jeter to the Phillies to bring back Cody Ransom. Some fans were going crazy! Some of them were blasting Cashman for being a “heartless pr*ck who will run this team into the ground”, while others were saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Relax for a moment, people. Take a deep breath and go to your happy place. Easy there, Tiger. I love how that phrase has even more significance now. 
First off, in baseball, if it “ain’t broke” it doesn’t mean you can’t fix it. Are we the current World Champions? Yes, we are. Did our team work well for us in 2009? Yes, it did. Does that mean we can’t improve? No, it doesn’t. Anyone who tries to sell me on not fixing something unless it’s broken is someone who has no business discussing baseball, or professional sports in general. When you’re the New York Yankees’ General Manager, you don’t wait until something breaks before you fix it. You keep fixing and tweaking, day after day, to prevent it from breaking. Waiting for something to break before you fix it is how you end up with teams like the Kansas City Royals and the Milwaukee Brewers.
Secondly, being “heartless” is what usually makes a General Manager great. Sorry to break it to you, my friends and hippies, but you can’t love your way to victory. You can’t hug your players to a World Championship. You need to go out there and break some balls. Not only is breaking balls as fun as it sounds, but it also leads to a franchise’s success. Being sentimental is how you end up with a washed-up has-been eating roster space and payroll money. It’s basically how you end up with Jason Varitek still on your team.
Third of all, we traded Melky Cabrera. Distraught Yankees’ fans: are we looking at the same Melky Cabrera here? I understand your love for the Melk-Man. I love him too, but that doesn’t make him an amazing player. If I had a mentally-challenged son, I’d love him, but that wouldn’t make him a rocket scientist. For the love of Mo and all else that is holy, WE GAVE UP MELKY CABRERA. We didn’t give up the next Babe Ruth. We gave up a mediocre player. Yes, I said it, Melky is mediocre. He’s average at best. Look at his numbers. He’s a C-average student in an Advanced-Placement course. While that may make him a B+ student in a standard course, the Yankees are definitely an Advanced-Placement team. Stop being blinded by nostalgia and sentiment, and open your eyes to the facts.
Finally, with Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher in the outfield, and Brett Gardner probably ready to play off the bench, Melky Cabrera was the weakest link. Goodbye. When we have several options when it comes to players in left field (I’m hearing word of the Giants making DeRosa an offer), who in their right mind would choose Melky Cabrera? Wait, I think I answered my own question within the question by including “in their right mind”. Point, set, match. I win.
Hate for Javy:
Look, I get it, “2004” wasn’t pleasant for any of us. It was devastating. Why are you blaming the collapse on Javy? Oh, I see your logic, it’s not like the rest of the team decided to start choking or anything. It’s not like games 4, 5 and 6 had anything to do with it. It must have all been because of Vazquez pitching in game 7.
Give me a <insert swear word here> break.
Javier Vazquez was expected to be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher in 2004. He was very good in the first half of 2004, and then declined in the second half due to injury. Or, as Javy says, not injury, but he just didn’t feel right. Whatever. We expected him to be our main man after Mike Mussina in 2004. 
In 2010, we’re expecting him to be our #4 starter after CC, AJ and Andy. All three pitchers have proven to be solid throughout the season, and they don’t burn out our bullpen. So, if every 4th start, we get a good 6 innings from Javy, we’ll be fine. Really, people? You don’t think that Vazquez can give us a decent start in the #4 spot? Please, do me a favor (before I slam my head against a wall) and look at his numbers. Vazquez is more than qualified to be our 4th starter. With Pettitte getting older, we may need to limit his innings more, I can see Vazquez moving up to #3.
Speaking of slamming my head against a wall, I saw something on Twitter that pushed me close to doing it: “I’d rather put Mitre and Gaudin in the rotation than Vazquez”. Dude, do yourself (and us) a favor and stop folllowing baseball right now. I’m not even going to dignify that statement with any further response.
For your information, Javier Vazquez came in 4th in this year’s Cy Young Award voting. You’re right, that definitely means he’s a horrible pitcher. Funny how he placed 4th, while CC Sabathia also placed 4th. It’s also funny how his ERA was lower than any of our starting pitchers, including CC. You’re right, that clearly shows how horrible he will be in our rotation. Not to mention his 238 strikeouts this year. Oh my, that’s terrible. He also pitched more innings than AJ and Andy. How rancid. Even with the Braves, Vazquez still managed to get 15 wins this year. That’s more wins than our #2 and #3 starters got for us this year, backed up by our lineup. He definitely sucks.
Again, give me a <insert swear word here> break.
Why all the hate, people? Take a good look at yourselves and answer that question. Sure, we didn’t sign Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay, but Vazquez is a great acquisition for us. Who in our league has a better rotation than Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Vazquez and (fingers crossed) Hughes? The Red Sox? Just shut up already. We have [arguably] the best rotation in baseball now, would you stop complaining? If Vazquez even semi-mimics his 2009 performance in 2010, he will be solid for us.
I really do believe that a chunk of our fanbase consists of spoiled brats who will complain about anything and everything. Here we have our GM finalizing what could possibly be the best trade of his career, and a lot of our fans are bitching and whining.
Need I remind you people that you are supposed to be fans of the team and not of just one player? Wake up before I b*tchslap you back to consciousness.
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Brian Baby

A little Christmas parody for Brian Cashman. I wrote the lyrics, sang and recorded it myself. 
I’m putting up the lyrics under the player.
I hope you like it!

http://twiturm.com/audio/twiturm_player_s.swf?soundFile=3b9r0

 
(If the player doesn’t work for you, here’s the direct link to the song: Click Here)
“Brian Baby”
Brian Baby, Slip a pitcher under the tree, for me.
Been an awful good fan
Brian baby,
So finish up a deal tonight.
Brian Baby, a starting pitcher is what I need, indeed.
I can’t wait long for you dear.
Brian baby,
So finish up a deal tonight.
Think of all the players we’ve missed.
Think of all the pitchers we crossed off the list.
Next year we could win our 28th.
If you just replace who we dismissed.
Brian baby, I want relievers leading to Mo, and you know,
Joba’s not enough dear.
Brian baby,
So finish up a deal tonight
Brian honey, another thing I really do need, in left field:
A player who can throw a ball.
Brian baby,
So finish up a deal tonight.
Brian cutie, you’ve done a lot with Grandy and Nick, I know,
But we need more from you dear.
Brian baby,
So finish up a deal tonight
Come and trim my Yankees’ tree,
With some more additions like last year’s three.
I really do believe in you.
I hope you don’t disappoint me.
Brian baby, forgot to mention one little thing, another ring.
And I don’t mean from the store.
Brian baby,
So finish up a deal tonight.
Finish up a deal tonight.
Finish, tonight.

The Wang Gets Some Non-Tender Action

Who loves Wang? 

Not the Yankees, not anymore. Who can blame them? In 2006/2007, the Wang was rock solid. In 2008, the Wang started to lose some heat and ended up hurt. Then the Wang came in 2009. What can I say about 2009? Let me just say this: I haven’t seen a Wang so flaccid since I volunteered at a retirement home back in high school.

We all know the horror story that is The 2009 Wanger & The Non-Sinking Sinker, so there’s really no need for me to revive it in detail. I’ll spare you the pain of playing with a Wang that doesn’t know how to hit the right spots. Does it really come as a shocker to anyone that we got off the Wang? Personally, I see no more reason to ride the Wang out. I’m not feeling the Wang anymore, and neither are the Yankees.
I counted 10 double entendres there. Did I miss any?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Chien-Ming Wang has been released into the world of free agency. It’s not like the Yankees didn’t try to keep him. They did. They made him an offer that shows what he’s currently worth to the Yankees: a minor-league deal to give him the opportunity to work his way back up to the majors. Wang, of course, declined. He wanted a guarantee that he’ll be pitching in the majors. I don’t blame him, there are several teams who would be willing to gamble on him. The Yankees, however, don’t need to take such a risk.
Wang’s rejection of the offer was expected. He’s a pitcher who had two consecutive 19-win seasons, surely there are teams who will offer him major league contracts. Why should he settle for a minor league deal? His refusal to accept the offer also tells me that he’s not confident he can work his way back up to the major leagues with the Yankees. If that’s the case, then good riddance.
Why should the Yankees gamble on Wang any longer? I think we’ve waited long enough for his recovery. 
We all know that Chien-Ming’s problems stem from his shoulder injury. Shoulder injuries require more recovery time than elbow injuries. Wang has also developed lower-body problems. If you compare the mechanics of Wang in 2007 with the mechanics of Wang in 2009, you will see a big difference in his leg work. He isn’t using his “core” properly anymore: he’s not rotating his hips in a way that allows him to extend his back leg as fully as he used to. Now his stride towards home while he releases his pitch is more compact. This forces him to depend on his upper body rather than his lower body muscles, therefore, adding more strain on his bad shoulder. 
The fact that Wang is suffering from injuries to his upper and lower body muscles makes me think that he may never go back to his ’06-’07 form. If it were ONLY his shoulder or his leg, then there would be more hope. Having a problem with your upper body means you need to depend on your lower body, and vice versa. When you have problems in both areas, it becomes a vicious cycle in which neither upper nor lower body muscles can fully recover. Basically, it means that Wang is a risk; a risk that the Yankees don’t need to take.
I’ve heard talk about the Yankees trying to slash the payroll. While I doubt that will actually happen, one thing is obvious: the Yankees are only spending the money they think they need to spend. The days of paying players they don’t really need seem to be long gone. Thank Mo! 
Sidenote: Mariano is my God. So when I say “Thank Mo”, I’m thanking God.
The Yankees don’t see the need to spend any more money on Wang, and neither do I.
What I don’t understand is why Mitre was offered arbitration, but I suppose that’s a discussion for another blog post. Back to Wang.
A part of me is sad to see Wang go, but that’s only because it’s always a little sad to let go of a player that came up through our system. He also gave us a couple of very good seasons, there’s no denying that. The bigger part of me, however, thinks that the Yankees made the right move. At the end of the day, you can’t really run your organization based on nostalgia. It’s all about whether or not a player is worth the money and roster space. Currently, Wang is not.
This doesn’t mean he will never go back to being a good pitcher. I think he’ll be decent again. I doubt, however, that he’ll go back to his 2006-2007 form. He was never a lights-out pitcher to begin with, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t great. He was very good, he’s just not very good right now, and probably won’t be for another year or two. I don’t particularly want to see him go to a division rival, just in case he goes back to sinking his sinkers.
If we are going to take a risk, I’d rather gamble on Ben Sheets. He’s known for his injuries, but when he’s healthy he’s very good, and he’s definitely ready to pitch in April. My top choice, like I said in my last post, is John Lackey. With CC, AJ and Pettitte, I think Lackey would be a great acquisition. We offered Mitre and Gaudin arbitration, so they can tough out the #5 spot. Wang, in his current form, is not the answer.
So, goodbye to the flaccid Wang. It’s time to stop playing with the Wang. The Wang gave us some good hot rides over the years, but recently, a ride on the Wang has been too rough for our tastes. We will always have memories of when the Wang was hard and solid, and we will soon put the soft Wang behind us. I wish the Wang all the best in his future affairs. Maybe one day the Wang will be able to rise to the occasion.
8 more double entendres. How do you like them apples?


An Apple A Day?

Keeps the Doc away.

No, I’m not talking about that hot doctor I met at the emergency room today. If anything, I’d stop eating apples all together for that guy. Long story, let’s not go there.

 I’m talking about Roy “Doc” Halladay. The Toronto Blue Jays have already made it known that they’re willing to trade him, but obviously they want a pretty good offer for him. Rightfully so, after all, we are talking about The Doc.

Let’s look at the numbers, shall we?

In 2009, Roy Halladay won 17 games, had an ERA of 2.79, pitched 9 complete games, 239 innings, and had a career high of 208 strikeouts. If those numbers don’t make your mouth water, then you need to get that checked out. I have the perfect doctor to recommend to you.

It’s no wonder that the Blue Jays are asking for a lot in return for Doc. Any team would. If they weren’t in desperate need of players to fill the holes they have in their roster, and if they didn’t have a horrible farm system, they wouldn’t trade him. They do have holes in their roster, they do have a horrifyingly bad farm system, so they are definitely looking to trade him. Why wouldn’t they? They’re going to lose him next year anyway.

The Blue Jays are looking for quality, not quantity. One Blue Jays official said “We would rather have one above-average impact guy than eight ordinary guys”, when asked what they will be asking for in return for Roy Halladay.

So, what does this mean for the Yankees? The same thing it always means when an excellent players is suddenly available: should we go after him? If so, what kind of offer are we bringing to the table?

Let’s start out by weighing out the positives of getting Roy Halladay.

First of all, it’s always good to add a solid pitcher to our starting rotation. Sure, we won the World Series with our current 3-man rotation, but there is no doubt that a 4th solid starter would have made life a little easier. Secondly, just close your eyes and imagine a rotation of (in no particular order, and assuming Pettitte and Wang come back) Sabathia, Halladay, Wang, Pettitte and Burnett. If that doesn’t cause a party in your pants, I don’t know what will.

Also, we don’t know that Pettitte is coming back, so in the case of an Andy Pettitte retirement, Roy Halladay makes all the more sense. Not to mention that he’s been pretty much unhittable within our division. No other pitcher is as successful facing AL East opponents as Roy Halladay. That is always a major added bonus. Furthermore, signing him would mean keeping him out of Boston, and it is never a good thing to see a great pitcher go to your strongest division rivals.

Now, let’s look at what the Blue Jays want in return for Roy Halladay. To the Yankees, these are the negatives:

Halladay will be eligible for free agency after the 2010 season. He’s already made it known that he will not be signing a contract extension with the Toronto Blue Jays. So, by letting the Doc walk away after 2010, the Blue Jays will get two draft picks. Therefore, in order to trade him now, they will definitely be asking for some top prospects as they will be losing those two picks. Keeping in mind that they can’t ask for too much, because John Lackey is still available, they’ll still be asking for some quality players to add to their roster and weak farm.

So, to get Roy Halladay we’ll probably have to give up either Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes, and a top prospect. The names Cervelli, Montero, Romine, Betances, and Jackson come to mind as possibilities. I’m not a “Hot Stove” expert, but if I were a GM, that would be the bare minimum I’d ask for.

The Blue Jays’ farm system is pretty thin, so you know they’ll be asking for prospects. Another player they may be asking for is David Robertson. While Robertson is a Major League pitcher and they’re probably looking for prospects, he has the potential to be a dominant closer in the future. Any team would love to have him on board.

Now, here’s the part a lot of you may not agree with…

I don’t think we should go after Roy Halladay. If he was a free agent this off-season, then I’d be all for it, but we’ve worked too hard on our prospects to send them away. Our top prospects are vital for our future, and trading them away for someone we don’t really need would be sickening to me. Honestly, it would be a George Steinbrenner thing to do.

Chien-Ming Wang (if he returns) will be in the rotation next year. Will he be 19-Win Wang? Doubtful. He will more likely give us around 14 wins and an ERA of around 4 (+/- a few). To me, with our current rotation (with Andy), that’s good enough. So we really have no need for Halladay.

Also, we’d most definitely have to give up either Hughes or Joba for him. Really? Now that they’re finally starting to get into the groove of things, we should send one of them up to Toronto?

Forget about his postseason performance, Phil Hughes’ regular season domination in the setup role is precisely why we should hold onto him. Joba Chamberlain? Well, he’s Joba Chamberlain. We saw him return to excellence as a reliever. Hopefully our management have removed their heads from their rectums, and have learned to stop screwing around with Joba’s future. He is obviously best fit to be an amazing reliever, and I hope to see plenty more from him in that role.  

Folks, I don’t want to go back to the George Steinbrenner days of giving up our young, home-grown talent for the big stars of the moment. Free agency? Sure, why not? I wouldn’t mind seeing us go after Lackey. In true Yankee fashion, I’m going to say: it’s just money. If money can get us a good pitcher (arguably overrated, but would be better than our other options if Joba remains in the bullpen), then why the Hell not? Especially if Pettitte chooses to retire.

Trades? Right now, not so much.

With who we currently have on the roster, trading for Halladay will simply be a glamor acquisition. Kind of like trading your Aston Martin in for a Lamborghini, when you already have a Ferrari, Bentley, Porsche and Hummer in your garage.

So, right now, during this off-season, I say we should keep eating that apple a day.

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Show Me The Money

Folks, Scott Boras is at it again. The sports agent everyone loves to hate is once again in the spotlight as baseball’s winter meetings commence.

What has he done this time? Well, several things. But in what interests us as Yankees fans, he’s asking for a relatively long-term deal for outfielder Johnny Damon.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Yankees are going into the meetings planning to bring back Johnny Damon, as well as Hideki Matsui and Andy Pettitte. Their priorities probably lie with Damon and Pettitte since they are more crucial to the team as a whole. Matsui has proven that he deserves to wear the pinstripes, especially in his World Series performance, but I just don’t see them picking him over Damon. This is my own personal opinion of what will happen, not what should happen. I would personally make all three equal priorities of mine, and if Pettitte decides to retire, scratch him off and pursue John Lackey.

So, anyway, back to Mr. Boras.

The Yankees are probably looking to re-sign Damon to a one-year deal. I think that’s fair, after all he is 36 years old. While he’s proven that age is just a number, who knows how long he can remain healthy? If a team is desperate, they might offer him a two-year contract, but I think that a one-year deal is what he should be realistically looking for.

The Yankees could offer him arbitration, but I read somewhere that it would be $15 million. If they offer him arbitration, he’d definitely be in pinstripes next year, simply because other teams might not take much of a risk on a 36-year-old outfielder. However, I don’t see the Yankees paying $15 million for Damon. It’ll probably be in the $10 million range. But I’ve been wrong about these things before, so don’t hold me to this.

Scott Boras, of course, doesn’t think that this is the case. In true Bora$ $tyle, he is aiming for a multi-year deal for his client. Multi-year means 3-4 years. Do I need to point out the insanity here? Yes, he’s a Type-A free agent. Yes, he’s always a valuable member of the team. Yes, he’s still got it. But who in their right mind would offer a 36 year-old outfielder whose legs aren’t getting any younger and whose arm isn’t getting any stronger (not that it was particularly strong to begin with) a 4-year contract?

Personally, I think this whole “multi-year” thing is a load of bull. Scott Boras knows he won’t be able to get 3-4 years for Johnny, but Scott Boras wants to get him as much money as possible, as any agent would. By asking for a multi-year contract, Boras is driving up the asking price. Teams will respond with “we won’t give him more than one year, but here’s what we’ll pay for that one year”.

Scott Boras clients usually go to the highest bidder. Whether or not these players are happy with their current teams is insignificant. So, knowing that he can only get one year, Johnny Damon will probably go to whatever team pays him the most.

Will Johnny Damon be in pinstripes next year? In my opinion, it’ll all depend on how firmly Brian Cashman puts his foot down. As much as I’ve loved seeing Damon’s performance this past season, I don’t think the Yankees should pay more than $10 million for him. If Johnny Damon doesn’t come back to us, then I guess we’ll have to pursue Matt Holliday.

I wouldn’t mind seeing Matt Holliday in pinstripes.