December 29, 2009

Bay Set To Sign With Mets

Jon Heyman confirms WFAN's Mike Franseca's report that Jason Bay will (pending a physical) sign a contract with the Mets. An offer of around 4/65 had been mentioned previously.

December 25, 2009

peace

And all the best for 2010!

December 24, 2009

Lester Rodney: 1911 -2009

American journalist Lester Rodney passed away last Sunday at the age of 98.

Dave Zirin, Edge of Sports:
He crusaded against baseball's color line when almost every other journalist pretended it didn't exist. He edited a political sports page that engaged his audience in how to fight for a more just sports world. His writing, which could describe the beauty of a well-turned double play in one sentence and blast injustice in the next, is still bracing and ahead of its time. He should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Instead he was largely erased from the books.

If you have never heard of Lester Rodney, there is a very simple reason why: the newspaper he worked at from 1936-1958 was the Daily Worker, the party press of the U.S. Communist Party. Lester used his paper to launch the first campaign to end the color line in Major League Baseball. ...

[Lester recalled Jackie Robinson as] "a continuing militant, and that's why the Dodgers never considered this brilliant baseball man as a manager or coach. It's because he was outspoken and unafraid. That's the kind of person he was. In fact, the first time he was asked to play at an old-timers' game at Yankee Stadium, he said 'I must sorrowfully refuse until I see more progress being made off the playing field on the coaching lines and in the managerial departments.' He made people uncomfortable. ...
Sadly, but not surprisingly, that crucial aspect of Robinson's character has been erased from all modern mainstream recollections.

You can read the forward and some of the first chapter of Irwin Silber's book about Rodney -- Press Box Red -- here.

Also: a 2003 Village Voice interview and his New York Times obit.

December 22, 2009

Gammons: Sox Made Offer To Holliday

Odd to bury it in a tweet, though:
Boston ecstatic with Lackey. Before he stepped foward, Sox offered 4x$15M to Bay and 5x$16.5 to Holliday.
December 18, 10:16 AM

December 21, 2009

The Curious Case of Jacoby Ellsbury

According to various fielding metrics, Jacoby Ellsbury was the worst center fielder in all of baseball last year.

And, last week, almost on cue, fans at mlb.com chose Ellsbury as the Defensive Player of the Year. However, LBJ had a very solid season in the field in 2008. So what gives? SoSH discusses the matter.

Jason Varitek talks about his role on the 2010 Red Sox.
I don't know exactly how that's all going to play out. Knowing going into it, [Victor Martinez] is going to play the majority of time. For me, I kind of got in that role last year, so I had two months to get used to it.
A scout says the Red Sox offered Manny Delcarmen to Texas for rookie reliever Guillermo Moscoso. If true, I guess Texas said no.
Example
Two posts from SoSH:

bombdiggz:
Assuming that every Red Sox lineup holdover — Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and J.D. Drew — performs at his 2009 level next year, and that Cameron, Kotchman and Scutaro performed at their career averages, the Red Sox starting nine would project (according to the amazing baseballmusings.com Lineup Analysis tool) to score 5.646 runs per game. Over a full year, that would project to a whopping 915 runs.
phragle:
[Buchholz] throws five plus pitches (fastball, sinker, change, slider, curve) any of which can be un-hittable on a given night. What other young studs throw five plus pitches in the AL? Greinke, Verlander and Hernandez, they all throw fastball, sinker, slider, curve, change. [What] if I told you Buch's stuff is as dangerous as theirs, would you believe me? I hope so, because it is. Out of all the qualified AL starters, Jon Lester (2010 CYA winner, callin' it right now) generates less contact than any one, followed by Verlander, Sabathia, Hernandez and Greinke. Point? Clay's contact percentage is in between Hernandez and Greinke. Thats filthy, filthy stuff. Add that to his ground ball percentage and you have bona fide stud on your hands.

December 20, 2009

Lowell Trade Called Off

ESPN:
The proposed trade between the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox involving Mike Lowell is off, according to a source.

The reason: Lowell has a torn radial collateral ligament in his right thumb and will have surgery after Christmas.
The article states that Lowell injured the thumb taking batting practice during the final weekend of the 2009 season.

Recovery time from the surgery is 6-8 weeks, which might make him a bit late for spring training.

December 19, 2009

December 18, 2009

Lowell Trade May Be Resolved Soon

News of a possible trade of Mike Lowell to the Rangers for Max Ramirez broke nine long days ago -- yet Dr. Doubles has still not had a physical with the Rangers.

An examination of Lowell's right hip and right thumb may finally occur this weekend. The ProJo's Joe McDonald reports the chances of the deal going through have dropped from 80% to 50%. In any event, it would be nice to hear something on Monday.

December 17, 2009

Lackey, Cameron Deals Announced

The Red Sox held separate press conferences yesterday to announce the signings of right-hander John Lackey (#40) to a 5/82.5 contract and outfielder Mike Cameron (#23) to a 2/15.5 deal.

Theo Epstein:
I think if you look on paper, we'll put our starting five right up there with anybody's. I think our run prevention overall is going to be really solid. We like our lineup. This puts us in a position to have some flexibility if we need to make a move down the road to add some offense.
Lackey:
I'm here to win. That's the bottom line. ... I was always interested in coming here. Winning was definitely my first priority of a team to go to. With this franchise and their history and the way I've seen from the other side of the field -- I've been knocked out of the playoffs a few times by them -- I know I'm going to have a chance to win here, and that means a lot.
When the off-season began, Epstein did not think Lackey had any interest in coming to Boston. Steve Hilliard, Lackey's agent:
When I talked to Theo at the GM Meetings in Chicago and told him John had interest in coming to Boston, he really didn't believe me. ... Not after some of the things over the years, the rivalry and maybe some of the comments that had been made along the way. It took some convincing. At the beginning, Theo was kind of skeptical.
Lackey's contract is the largest given to any free agent during Epstein's seven years as GM. Theo:
A lot of discussion went into it. When you draw up clubs in theory, if you look to build the 2010 Red Sox in a vacuum or design your five-year plan, you can do it a certain way. You can adhere to every element of your personal philosophy. When you've made the playoffs six out of seven years, you're looking a couple of years ahead as what you see as a really good young team, you can find a way to make it work in the meantime.

When you operate in the real world, with imperfections, you have to make choices. The more you looked at it, the more we talked to different agents, and the more we assessed what both the best fit was for now and for the future, which is all I've ever talked about since I've been here, no matter what words I've used, I've talked about being competitive now and in the future, this was clearly the best way for us to go.
Cameron:
I haven't really been this excited about coming somewhere since I first came to the big leagues.
Epstein, on whether the addition of Lackey might mean that Josh Beckett leaves as a free agent after this season:
I sent Josh a text message as we were finalizing John Lackey's deal, and I just told him, "Some might speculate that this means the end for you in Boston." I said, "Don't listen to them. You're a huge part of what we've had going on here, and we'd love it if it worked out that you were a huge part of our future as well. The most important thing is we've got one heck of a pitching staff right now." ... I don't think it impacts Josh nearly to the degree that people are speculating.

December 15, 2009

SoSH: Top 100 Red Sox Of All-Time

Last June, SoSH began voting on the top 100 players in Red Sox history.

The process went something like this: Members and lurkers nominated players for spots 1-10; the 20 players with the most nominations were put in a poll to determine the 1-10 spots. Anyone that did not make the cut for either the 20 nominations or the 10 voting spots was available to be nominated in the next round. Repeat for 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, etc.
The Top 100
  1. Ted Williams
2. Pedro Martinez
3. Carl Yastrzemski
4. Cy Young
5. Roger Clemens
6. Manny Ramirez
7. Tris Speaker
8. Wade Boggs
9. Jimmie Foxx
10. Babe Ruth
11. Jim Rice
12. Carlton Fisk
13. Dwight Evans
14. Bobby Doerr
15. David Ortiz
16. Lefty Grove
17. Smokey Joe Wood
18. Nomar Garciaparra
19. Joe Cronin
20. Dom DiMaggio
21. Luis Tiant
22. Mo Vaughn
23. Tim Wakefield
24. Fred Lynn
25. Tony Conigliaro
26. Johnny Pesky
27. Jason Varitek
28. Harry Hooper
29. Curt Schilling
30. Mel Parnell
31. Jimmy Collins
32. Dick Radatz
33. Rico Petrocelli
34. Jonathan Papelbon
35. Mike Greenwell
36. Bob Stanley
37. Bill Lee
38. Vern Stephens
39. Jackie Jensen
40. Dennis Eckersley
41. Derek Lowe
42. Dutch Leonard
43. Reggie Smith
44. Bruce Hurst
45. Pete Runnels
46. Kevin Youkilis
47. Buck Freeman
48. Dustin Pedroia
49. Larry Gardner
50. Ellis Burks
51. Josh Beckett
52. Frank Malzone
53. John Valentin
54. Tex Hughson
55. George Scott
56. Ellis Kinder
57. Duffy Lewis
58. Johnny Damon
59. Billy Goodman
60. Rick Burleson
61. Trot Nixon
62. Jim Lonborg
63. Bill Monbouquette
64. Marty Barrett
65. Jimmy Piersall
66. Mike Timlin
67. Rick Ferrell
68. Carl Mays
69. Joe Dobson
70. Rich Gedman
71. Mike Lowell
72. Bill Mueller
73. Frank Sullivan
74. Troy O'Leary
75. Wes Ferrell
76. Bill Dinneen
77. Chick Stahl
78. Jody Reed
79. Brian Daubach
80. Tom Burgmeier
81. Jon Lester
82. Sparky Lyle
83. J.D. Drew
84. Bernie Carbo
85. Bill Carrigan
86. Boo Ferriss
87. Mike Andrews
88. Dave Henderson
89. Ernie Shore
90. Everett Scott
91. Keith Foulke
92. Tom Gordon
93. Tommy Harper
94. Lee Smith
95. Butch Hobson
96. Jacoby Ellsbury
97. Bill Campbell
98. Ray Culp
99. Jake Stahl
100. Rich Garces

December 14, 2009

Red Sox Close To Signing Mike Cameron

UPDATE: Done! 2/approx. 15.5.
Example
The Red Sox are making "significant progress" in signing outfielder Mike Cameron to a two-year deal.

One source says Cameron would be a full-time player in either left or center field, as opposed to being used in a platoon with Jeremy Hermida.

The Red Sox could play Cameron in left or use him in center, with Jacoby Ellsbury moving over to left. ... And the pieces are quickly falling into place. Theo passes on Bay and Holliday and gives the big bucks to Lackey, inks Cameron, and still has his eye on Beltre.

SoSHer Savin Hillbilly:
This is what I've been thinking would work. Call the default starting outfield Ellsbury-Cameron-Drew from left to right. That unit starts about 80 games. Against the toughest RHPs, make it Hermida-Ellsbury-Drew, about 40 games. Then Hermida will also get some starts spelling Drew (with Cameron moving to RF), maybe 25 games, and also spelling Ellsbury, 15 games.

This translates to starts as follows: Ellsbury 145 (80 LF, 65 CF), Drew 135 (all RF), Cameron 120 (95 CF, 25 RF), Hermida 80 (all LF). That could work. Cameron might not be thrilled with that little playing time, but given that he'll be 37, that much rest might help him finish strong (he's had pretty severe September fades the last couple of years).

Lackey Takes Physical For Sox

First reported by Ed Price and expanded by Ken Rosenthal:
Free-agent right-hander John Lackey underwent a physical Monday with the Red Sox, an indication that he is close to an agreement with the team, according to a major-league source.

The deal is expected to be similar to the five-year, $82.5 million contract that the Yankees awarded free-agent right-hander A.J. Burnett last winter.
Lackey's personality annoys me quite a bit, but the man can pitch -- over the last five seasons, his ERA+ of 128 tops Beckett's 116. Indeed, Beckett is his top comp at B-Ref. A threesome of Beckett, Lackey (who turned 31 this past October) and Jon Lester would be pretty nice.

We'll see if adding him means Clay Buchholz is traded or that the team is focusing on run prevention rather than offense and will go cheap in left field or if Theo expects Josh Beckett to walk after this year (or the Sox will let him walk). However, Rosenthal also states that the Red Sox are trying to sign a contract extension with Beckett.

Plus they have reportedly made an offer worth approximately $15.5 million to former Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman.

December 12, 2009

Bay to Boston: I'm Oot!

[Title stolen from SoSH]

Joe Urbon, Jason Bay's agent:
We don't agree with their evaluation of the player. Frankly, we have other offers on the table that are of greater interest to Jason.
Rob Bradford says a team has offered Bay more than four years.

The Red Sox offered 4/60 -- and were turned down -- and they seem to not be willing to outbid the Mets' 4/65. Good. I'd rather Boston not go higher than 15 per or more than four years. Honestly, three years would be my limit, but there is no chance on Earth of Bay accepting that.

Mets Make Offer to Bay

Daily News:
Bay is believed to have received a four-year, $65 million offer from the Mets. That exceeds by only $5 million the amount Boston offered to retain Bay during the season.
I'm highly skeptical that the Red Sox's interest in Matt Holliday is overstated, as Gordon Edes says he's hearing. Just hotel lobby chatter. I'm confident the team would rather have Holliday than Bay.

December 10, 2009

Lowell Traded To Texas For Max Ramirez

Friday AM Update: Not a done deal yet. Could be another 2-3 days as Texas wants more info on the Dr.'s reconstructed hip and the Sox want the same re Max-Ram*'s wrists. So maybe 75% done. Also because of the cash involved, Selig has to sign off on the deal and his office had not been asked as of last night.

[*: We will not be calling him that.]
Example
Amalie Benjamin:
Ramirez, 25, is not regarded as an particularly skilled defensive catcher, though he is prized for his bat. He could evolve into more of a designated hitter/first baseman than a catcher.
SoSH TaLK and Maximiliano Ramirez at B-Ref.

A scout on Ramirez, July 2007:
You have to love the bat, but you somewhat question his overall tools defensively. Still, if he can catch a little bit I don't think you can ignore the offensive potential. This is definitely a guy who will hit for high average and I think he'll be a guy who has the ceiling to hit 20 homers a year in the big leagues.

He smokes balls to right-center (as a righthanded hitter). I mean, he just wears out that gap. But there's also big power to that side of the field, which is impressive. He hits to all fields, he's not afraid to shorten up his stroke when he has to ... he's just the complete package as a hitter. He turns on inside fastballs like nobody's business and handles offspeed pitches well. Great pitch recognition.
WEEI reports that Ramirez
currently is in the Venezuelan Winter League to get some playing time after missing a hearty chunk of the year with wrist injuries. He is hitting .236/.355/.461/.815 in Venezuela and is tied for the league lead in homers with 11.
Example
Boston also picked up Boof Bonser and a another Ramon Ramirez!

December 9, 2009

E-Cafardo (5)

Nick Cafardo, Globe, December 9, 2009:
So Granderson is on the verge (pending a physical) of going to the Yankees, who will give up prized center field prospect Austin Jackson, righthanded starter Ian Kennedy, and lefty reliever Phil Coke in a three-way deal that includes the Diamondbacks. Arizona gets righthander Edwin Jackson from Detroit and Kennedy, while the Tigers get Austin Jackson and Coke from New York, plus Arizona righty Max Scherzer and lefty Daniel Schlereth.
That is not what Cafardo originally wrote and what the Globe originally posted. As SoSH points out, the original version of that paragraph contained no fewer than five errors:
1. "lefthanded starter Ian Kennedy"
2. "Erwin Jackson"
3. "lefty Matt Scherzer"
4. "lefty Matt Scherzer"
5. "righty Daniel Schlereth"
Dick Pole Upside, the SoSHer who posted about the article: "thank goodness we weren't willing to give up Cliff Buckholtz and Jeremy Ellsbury in that deal".

Remember, kids: Avoid unprofessional, careless bloggers who do not hire fact-checkers; get all your information from the mainstream sports media.

December 8, 2009

Casey Kelly Will Pitch

Twenty-year-old pitcher-shortstop Casey Kelly, one of the Red Sox's top prospects, has decided to work exclusively on the mound (as the team had hoped). Theo Epstein:
He could, if everything breaks his way, force his way on to the major league radar screen sometime in the next year or two.
Terry Francona met with the media and talked about Jonathan Papelbon, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Marco Scutaro, Manny Delcarmen, and the search for a left fielder:
I'm sure when we head down to Fort Myers we'll have a left fielder. We always do. They're really good about that.
The Red Sox signed RHP Scott Atchison to a one-year deal ($420,000), with club options for 2011 ($440,000) and 2012 ($600,000). Boston also inked LHP Fabio Castro.

Good news for NESN viewers everywhere! Dave Roberts has been hired by the Padres as a special assistant in baseball operations.

December 5, 2009

Red Sox Playing In Australia?

UPDATE: The team has denied this report, stating "the Boston Red Sox aren't in negotiations to play nor plan to play a game in Australia in the 2010 season".
Example
The Daily Telegraph (my emphasis):
THE Boston Red Sox, one of the world's most famous baseball teams, are coming to Australia for a Major League game at our own field of dreams - the Sydney Cricket Ground - next year.

Red Sox officials watched the Danny Green-Roy Jones Jr fight at Acer Arena on Wednesday night as guest of Events NSW chief executive Geoff Parmenter. We understand negotiations have been taking place with Red Sox management for several months about coming to Sydney to play a yet to be announced Major League rival around late March.

The game would be beamed live back into the US and would be an official Major League game and not a trial. The Red Sox are considered the Manchester United of American baseball and would prove a huge hit Down Under.
Man U? Really? Did this marriage end in divorce?

Sydney is 16 hours ahead of Boston. So, for example, a 7 PM game in Sydney would begin at 3 AM in Boston.

The Red Sox opened the 2008 season in Tokyo, which is 14 hours ahead. The reported date of late March would indicate a similar beginning to the 2010 season.

December 4, 2009

Yankees Claim "Unfair Competition" From A Blog

We know what Yankees management did in the 2008-09 off-season -- comitted nearly a half-billion dollars to three players while demanding a few more dump trucks of taxpayer money. What are they going to do for kicks in 2009-10?

For starters, they threatened to file suit against five of the team's fans -- hardcore fans who have willingly spent their free time maintaining a blog. The Yankee Universe recently received a cease and desist letter, claiming, among other things, possible confusion (or even deception!) that the Yankees are sponsoring or have approved their blog. And the Yankees actually had the gall to claim these five bloggers might be guilty of "unfair competition" and "dilution" of the Yankees' trademark.

From TYU's reply to its readers:
We started this site a year ago because we love to write and argue about baseball. We've amassed a modest following – roughly 1,500 unique visitors per day – but by no means are we any more than a normal baseball fan blog. MLBAM knows this. There is nothing on our site that even appears to be detrimental to the Yankee brand.

The truth is, we're good for Major League Baseball and the Yankees. Bloggers like us help the league. We create interest, discussion, and new niches for the game. I know that reading blogs has made me a much bigger fan of the game, and I am sure that many of you had the same experience. Baseball has experienced an unprecedented period of growth that has coincided with the new predominance of baseball blogging on the internet.

What would MLBAM be without the hundreds of baseball blogs out there? And how many of those blogs use the names and images of teams? MLBAM is making a serious mistake by alienating its most important followers. ...

We do not think that any reasonable person can mistake our site for an official representation of the New York Yankees or MLBAM ...

We do not mean to pick a fight. We simply want all of our hard work over the past year to remain where it is.
Re TYU's line about "alienating its most important followers": Time and time (and time) again, the Lords of Baseball have, when faced with a decision regarding the future of the game, nearly always picked the option that pisses off the greatest number of fans. This is one more example to that long list. (Also, MLB has gone after bloggers before.)

[I know the Yankees have a charity known as Yankees Universe (with one hell of a homepage!), but they are still needlessly acting like bullies here. No one with an IQ above Jeter's Range Factor would confuse the targeted blog with either the team's official website or the charity. As the disclaimer to RLYW states: "If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you're an idiot. Go away." The Yankees brand has not been, and will not be, tarnished by the existence of TYU. The club's legal department should find better ways to waste its time.]

I'm late to this story, as it looks now like TYU will shortly be abandoning their URL. And with the ominous threat of "dilution" now gone, the Yankees stockholders can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Scutaro Contract

Maybe not quite a "steal", but considering Lugo was getting $9 million, this is a very acceptable contract (it's not my money either way, but I'm liking this deal more and more):
2010 - $5
2011 - $5
2012 - Options: $6 club
$3 player
$1.5 club buyout
Example
Gammons:
Baird put Scutaro through a series of hard workouts in Miami and told Epstein that he thought Scutaro is ready to play. In fact, Scutaro thought so as well, and was planning to go play in Venezuela. ...

In mid-July, Scutaro's defensive metrics -- according to three teams' valuations -- were the best in the American League. Then the foot began bothering him ...

"He's one of the best shortstops, period," Ricciardi said. "He's a guy that's going to be able to play at this level until he's 37 or 38. He works at it. Look, this is a great signing. He's a really smart player. He's a great base runner. He keeps improving (his on base percentage has risen from .332 to .341 to .379 the last three seasons). He grinds at-bats (he led all shortstops in pitches per at-bat). He could bat leadoff and they could let Dustin Pedoria bat third. He can do a lot of things." ..

"We still have a lot to do," Epstein said.

Fangraphs on Scutaro

In mid-November, Fangraphs' Dave Allen had an interesting write-up on our new shortstop's tendencies at the plate:
The increase in offensive value [in 2009] came, largely, from an increased walk rate, 13.6%, a career high for him and in the top 25 of all of baseball. He coupled that with a low strikeout rate; he was one of the few players in the game to have more walks than strikeouts. This led to a jump in his OBP, and thus offensive value. ...

Scutaro is due for some serious regression to his offensive level, as is anyone who posts 2400 PAs at wOBA of .311 and then 680 at .354. But I think that, because the change is supported by the per-pitch level data, which is not immune from regression itself, we can temper that regression somewhat.

Scutaro can play average defense at second or slightly below average at short, is 34 coming off far and away a career year at the plate, and is a type A free agent. It will be interesting to see what kind of deal he gets.
Example
SoSHer Worst Trade Evah:
Guys with big walk spikes in their mid 30s are pretty worrying to me. There are lots of examples where that walk spike is a sign the hitter is laying off things he used to be able to hit but can't anymore. Pretty soon the pitchers figure it out and bust after him, and then it's down hill.
Trlicek's Whip:
Scutaro's only really played two full, full-time seasons, and those have just come to pass in 2008 and 2009 - two seasons where skills that he's demonstrated in part-time status have sustained out over a longer stretch. ...

Scutoro's contact rate is consistent, and his walk rate has climbed in a way that suggests he's learned or earned it. Scutaro isn't an aging power hitter masking his decline by swinging away or taking vast doses of walks (Giambi etc). He's also not a speed merchant who's overcompensating for creaking legs with a better eye at the plate. He's not a black hole with the bat, he's got range and skills in the field, his position flexibility is a Lowrie-hedge ... Even if 2010 is a regression across the board, merely returning to replacement level at the SS position would be an improvement ...
Example
It's hard to get excited over this signing, but considering (a) what we've recently had at short and (b) what is available this winter, we could have been stuck with far worse. Scutaro can also play second and third and seems more than adequate in the field. And even with a regression from last season, his bat should be a massive improvement; the last regular Sox SS to have an OPS+ even a stone's throw from league-average was Nomar -- in 2003.

Ian Browne has two good articles: a good recap of our shortstop woes (20 (!) different players since 2004 (anyone remember Alejandro Machado?)) and a piece on Cuban defector Jose Iglesias, with tons of encouraging quotes from former shortstop and current Sox minor league infield instructor Gary DiSarcina.

Red Sox Sign Marco Scutaro For Two Years

Gordon Edes, ESPN:
The Red Sox are on the verge of a making a deal for free-agent shortstop Marco Scutaro, who apparently has satisfied Boston's concerns about his health after he worked out for the club Tuesday and the team examined his medical records.
It looks like it's been confirmed as a two-year deal, with maybe an option for a third year.

A 34-year-old guy who just had his career year at a 111 OPS+? I know there's not a lot out there to choose from, but jesus. What the fuck kind of $ did Theo agree to shovel at this guy? Scutaro's next best OPS+ was 96 in 2006 -- and he's never broken 90 in any of his other six seasons. He's a utility infielder; two of his top three B-Ref comps are Tony Graffanino and Pokey Reese.

SoSHer Sprowl:
I watched Scutaro fairly often on the Toronto channels last summer. He has some gap power, really works his at-bats well, and can drive some pitchers to distraction. He fielded very well on the turf, but I still want to see him manage the Fenway grass before I'll feel entirely comfortable with the 2 Year Bridge to Iglesias.

December 3, 2009

Atlanta Signs Saito, Wagner

CBS Sports reports that Atlanta has signed two members of the Red Sox 2009 bullpen.

Takashi Saito (who turns 40 in February) agreed to a one-year deal for $3.2 million. Billy Wagner signed a one-year contact worth $7 million on Wednesday.

Aw Jeez

So I totally missed the nomination phase for the 2009 Canadian Blog Awards -- plus no one nominated me -- so I am not on the Sports ballot.

It turns out that all the while I was thinking of posting a short note telling people that while the season is over and you will probably not visit the site as often, don't forget to check in for the CBAs, the actual nomination process was slowly ticking away.

L says these awards are nothing to get emotional in any way about and she's right, but still.

Bah.

December 2, 2009

Bits

It should come as no surprise that the Red Sox are contacting (or will contact) just about every available player out there. And so there will be, at some point before Truck Day, a news bit saying that Boston is "interested" in X, where X = any free agent or any player that another team might possibly trade.

SoSH debates the merits of Adam Everett, Rich Harden and Kelvim Escobar. In the on-going shortstop search, the FO has also kicked the tires on Marco Scutaro, Adam Kennedy and Bobby Crosby. And Mark DeRosa. Plus the Dodgers are not offering Orlando Hudson arbitration.

December 1, 2009

Red Sox Considering Pedroia At SS

Old Hickory has the poop:
"They've asked me if I think I could play shortstop," Pedroia says. "They've put it out there and I've told them I'm all for it. I can do it. I can't wait for Tito to call me and ask, 'Can you do it?' I can do it. I really want to do it."

Pedroia was an all-American shortstop at Arizona State, and takes ground balls at the position during the season. The staff has thrown it out to him, realizing that it might be easier to sign or acquire an everyday, defensive second baseman ...
FY was signed in 2004 as a shortstop, but was (primarily) moved to second base the following season. Gammons points out that the Red Sox have 19-year-old Jose Iglesias penciled in at shortstop for no later than 2012. If Iglesias could be ready for 2011, it would make the FY/SS idea a one-year experiment.

Pedroia:
Tell Derek to enjoy the gold glove and silver slugger awards while he can.
Whether this is a serious possibility or the front office putting the word out that its shortstop situation might not be quite so dire, it's interesting.

November 30, 2009

Back In The Basement

On the afternoon of August 4, the basement in our rented house -- where I have my office -- flooded.

I was at my desk at the time and, considering the amount of crap I had down there, I was able to move stuff upstairs fast enough so that pretty much nothing of value was destroyed. And now -- almost four months later -- I am moving back downstairs!

Our landlord made extensive improvements -- a wood floor to replace the carpet, a new ceiling with pot lights, a completely new bathroom. My office is now the nicest room in the house!

By the end of the week, everything should be back to normal.

November 26, 2009

Canadian Seabass

Alex Gonzalez has signed a $2.75 million contract for 2010 with the Blue Jays.

The Red Sox grabbed infielder Tug Hulett, who was DFAd by the Royals last week.

November 25, 2009

Hard Push For Halladay?

Daily News:
The Red Sox are "putting on a full-court press" to acquire Roy Halladay, according to a source, and are hoping to add the former Cy Young winner to the top of their rotation to go with Josh Beckett and Jon Lester.

"They would love to get it wrapped up before the winter meetings (beginning Dec. 7)," the source said of the Red Sox, who made a big push to deal for Halladay last summer.
Like the Daily News, the Globe also mentions Clay Buchholz and Casey Kelly as likely players in any deal ... SoSH TaLK.

November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

On November 25, 1976, the five members of The Band -- Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel, and Robbie Robertson - played their last concert together. It was billed as The Last Waltz.

The Thanksgiving Day show (all 5,000 tickleholders were given a full sit-down turkey dinner before the show) was held at San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom and was filmed by Martin Scorsese. Besides the official releases, a black and white video of the entire show, filmed from the mixing desk, circulates as a bootleg ("The Lost Waltz") -- and the complete concert is also available. That's what we have here -- from the Mouth of the Beast label. (There does not seem to be any art for the MotB set; there is some here, but it's a different release.) Enjoy the show, Mike!
Disc 1
01 - Up On Cripple Creek
02 - The Shape I'm In
03 - It Makes No Difference
04 - Life Is A Carnival
05 - This Wheel's On Fire
06 - W.S. Walcott Medicine Show
07 - Georgia On My Mind
08 - Ophelia
09 - King Harvest
10 - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
11 - Stage Fright
12 - Rag Mama Rag
13 - Who Do You Love (Ronnie Hawkins)
14 - Such A Night (Dr. John)

Disc 2
01 - Down South In New Orleans (Bobby Charles)
02 - Mystery Train (Paul Butterfield)
03 - Caledonia (Muddy Waters)
04 - Mannish Boy (Waters)
05 - All Our Past Times (Eric Clapton)
06 - Further On Up The Road (Clapton)
07 - Helpless (Neil Young)
08 - Four Strong Winds (Young)
09 - Coyote (Joni Mitchell)
10 - Shadows & Light (Mitchell)
11 - Furry Sings The Blues (Mitchell/Young)

Disc 3
01 - Dry Your Eyes (Neil Diamond)
02 - Tura Lura Lura (Van Morrison)
03 - Caravan (Morrison)
04 - Acadian Driftwood
05 - Genetic Method
06 - Chest Fever
07 - The Last Waltz
08 - Evangeline
09 - The Weight
10 - Baby Let Me Follow You Down (Bob Dylan)
11 - Hazel (Dylan)
12 - I Don't Believe You (Dylan)
13 - Forever Young (Dylan)
14 - Baby Let Me Follow You Down (Dylan)

Disc 4
01 - I Shall Be Released
02 - Jam #1
03 - Jam #2
04 - Don't Do It
So what makes The Last Waltz the best rock and roll film of all time? There are the songs and the musicians, of course, but the key is Scorsese. He decided beforehand how he wanted to shoot every single song -- he storyboarded the entire show. I don't think I have ever seen video footage of a live band that has been shot like The Last Waltz (though it can't be unique). What you usually are given is seemingly random quick cuts between the various cameras, hectic and not timed in any way to the flow of music; any sense of the musicians playing as a group is lost (or maybe wasn't even considered as important). Scorsese framed several of the musicians in many shots, often stayed on one person for quite awhile, and captured subtle gestures and interactions between the musicians.

One great example of the camera work is towards the end of "It Makes No Difference" (why does this have subtitles?). A camera at stage right has a spotlighted Hudson and his sax in the foreground, then he steps back but we stay with that shot, with Robertson, Danko, and Helm further away, towards the middle of the stage, as Robertson solos a little bit. Then the camera pulls slightly back and Hudson steps forward again with his sax. It's one continuous camera angle. Brilliant.

There are so many highlights -- from the interviews (the beginning of the beginning of the end of the beginning ... Marshmallow Overcoat ... an adult dose ... and what's it called?) and the concert (Manuel's jacket, Hawkins fanning Robbie's guitar with his hat, Morrison's jump-suited kicks, a cool Clapton playing rings around Robertson while Robbie sweats and thrashes about) -- but I'll single out my favourite.

I first saw The Last Waltz in 1986, back when Laura and I were still long distance. During one of my weekends in Brooklyn, we rented the movie. I was doing college radio at the time and was a big fan of the American roots rock/cow punk movement, but I was fairly ignorant about Dylan's rootsier rock.Near the end of the film, Dylan and the Band slid into "Baby Let Me Follow You Down" -- and I was floored. It was a revelation. And anytime I have seen it in the nearly 25 years (!) since that night -- including the maybe 10-15 times I either watched the clip or listened to the song while writing this post -- I have never been unfloored. Familiarity has not dulled any of its vitality.

Dylan recorded the traditional folk song way back in 1962 and it was part of his electric set on his infamous 1966 tour with the Band (known then as the Hawks). The song is played at a faster clip in The Last Waltz than it was 10 years earlier -- call it a funky gallop. For all the barbed-wire guitar and Dylan's stupendous vocals (his voice peaked in the mid-70s), the star of the song is Helm. He's doing a ton of shit on the drums -- the fantastic two-beat bump-bump after the main riff that acts like a little kick in the ass, the way he rides his cymbal during the riff, the "god almighty world" lines, and even some of Robbie's bits of solo. He makes the song dance, and never comes anywhere close to cluttering things up.

Watch and listen to this two-song clip. First up is "Forever Young", off Planet Waves, the 1973 album Dylan made with The Band; it did not break any new ground as far as Dylan's canon is concerned, but it's easily one of my Top 5 (maybe Top 3) Bob albums. And then it's into a reprise of BLMFYD, which Dylan had begun his short set with.

Check out Dylan noodling between the two songs at about 4:10. It's one of the best moments in the entire film. Helm is back behind the drums, head cocked, waiting, Robertson's eyes are darting from Dylan's hands to Dylan's face, down to his own hands, Danko is simply staring at Dylan with a fantastic look of anticipation. The final stray notes dissolve into the air, and everyone is watching Dylan -- except us! We have no idea what he is doing. Then Danko starts to slowly smile -- a split-second before the familiar chords start up again. YEAH!



More:
Hazel -- from The Lost Waltz bootleg
Cripple Creek, Rockin' Chair, King Harvest and Long Black Veil -- probably from 1970
Time to Kill -- Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh, November 1970
Just Another Whistle Stop -- Wembley Stadium, 1974
Highway 61 Revisited -- Dylan/The Band, Isle of Wight, 1969

November 23, 2009

Life [sic] Of A Blog Spammer

Jere has done some great research on someone named "Tom Palomino", who has been spamming Red Sox and Yankee blogs (and many, many others) with advertising clumsily wrapped in a seemingly on-topic comment. It's a must-read.

I can understand leaving bare links, but to actually write a relevant comment at every blog you visit -- that must take an extraordinary amount of time. (Maybe there are several "Tom"s who use the same account.) Is this his regular job at the memorabilia company or is he working free-lance? If the later, what does he get paid?

This is one more another reason why this blog will never have advertising on it. This type of spam pollutes and degrades a blog in the same way ticket broker widgets do.
Example
We are driving to New Jersey today for a Thanksgiving week with Laura's family, with a couple of days in Manhattan thrown in. Special Turkey Day post coming, probably Tuesday.

Sox Willing To Eat Half Of Lowell's Contract

Ken Rosenthal, MSN/Fox:
The Red Sox not only are shopping third baseman Mike Lowell but also are willing to pay $6 million of his $12 million salary for next season, according to major-league sources.

One rival executive, however, says he would be surprised if a team was willing to pay Lowell even $6 million. ...

His right-hip issues have limited his range and he ranks as one of the worst defensive third basemen in the majors, advanced metrics say. ... [Lowell] benefited greatly from playing at Fenway Park last season, posting a .932 OPS at home and .713 OPS on the road.

November 22, 2009

Drew Has Left Shoulder Surgery

Nick Cafardo reports that J.D. Drew
had surgery on his left shoulder last week to help alleviate the inflammation he was experiencing in the second half of the season. He should be able to take part in spring training without missing any time.
Another tidbit is that the idea of playing Mike Lowell at first base has been "discussed internally" by the front office.

Twenty-one-year-old fireballing lefty Aroldis Chapman, who pitched for Cuba in the 2009 WBC and defected in last July, is now represented by Hendricks Sports Management. Chapman visited Fenway Park last month.

November 20, 2009

Blogging In 1974

Daniel Shoptaw, the man behind the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, is posting short Q&As of BBA members. Here's mine.

One thought: this blog is a clear descendant of the sports pages I created on my parents' electric typewriter roughly 35 years ago. Also, I love hearing about other writers who did similar things when they were kids.

November 19, 2009

Bay Rejects Boston's 4/60 Offer

Not a surprise, as Theo Epstein said.

He may end up back in Fenway, but at age 31, Bay wants to see what is out there in the free agent waters.

Terry Francona held court on a number of matters, including Bay:
He has earned the right to be a free agent. This is his first time, and he wants to see it through. You know we're going to be a major player. We always are. Do I hope it gets done? Yeah.
The Red Sox's exclusive rights to negotiate with Bay end at midnight tonight.

While Tito would like the Sox to go after some pitching (like John Lackey), David Ortiz says the team needs a power bat:
I said that like a year ago and everybody was looking at me like I was a (expletive) clown. You know? I said we needed another 30-home run hitter. Everybody was talking trash. There you go. Now what? ... You want to compete with those guys across the street? You better bring it. Period.
The Sox have asked Atlanta for the medical records of free agent relievers Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano.

November 18, 2009

Sox Release Kottaras

Zachary Nicholson, Sox Prospects:
With the deadline to add players to the 40-man roster and protect them from the Rule 5 Draft rapidly approaching, the Red Sox [Tuesday] made another move to clear space, releasing catcher George Kottaras. ...
Links: 40-man roster deadline and Rule 5 draft (to be held on December 10).

November 17, 2009

Greinke Wins AL Cy Young

It's a rout.
                      1st  2nd  3rd   Pts
Zack Greinke, KC 25 3 134
Felix Hernandez, SEA 2 23 1 80
Justin Verlander, DET 1 9 14
CC Sabathia, NYY 2 7 13
Roy Halladay, TOR 11 11
NL Cy on Thursday.

Rookies of the Year: Andrew Bailey (A's) and Chris Coghlan (Marlins).

November 14, 2009

Dock Ellis And The LSD No-No

On June 12, 1970, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis took the mound in San Diego while high on LSD.

A video from No Mas and James Blagden.



Ellis:
I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate.
The audio in the video comes from an interview Ellis did with NPR shortly before his death last December.

November 13, 2009

Secret Source Of Yankees Cash Flow Revealed

Now we know how the Yankees have been able to spend so much money:
New York Yankees team ownership revealed Tuesday that the phrase "Yankees suck," one of the most popular chants in sports, was trademarked by the 27-time World Series champions prior to the 1996 season, a business strategy that has earned the team close to $100 billion over the past 13 years.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records show that every time an individual chants, shouts, or writes the words "Yankees suck," the New York Yankees organization earns at least $2.15 ...

Furthermore, financial records indicate that by also owning the rights to the common anti-Yankee epithet "Jeter blows," the team earned much of the money needed to sign Alex Rodriguez in 2004. ...

General Manager Brian Cashman told reporters that baseball fans who muttered "Yankees suck" to themselves while on the grounds of major-league ballparks during the second half of the 2007 season alone essentially funded the team's new $1.2 billion stadium.

The organization also has reason to be optimistic about the future of "Yankees suck" revenue: Accountants project that, as the Internet and cable television bring the team into millions more homes across the globe, there could soon come a time when the Yankees are told they suck three times a second on every continent.

Trivia

From Baseball Reference's blog:
Name the only two players in the last 56 years to have at least 16 total bases in a game without hitting four home runs in the contest.

November 10, 2009

"Pay Attention Jack-ass!" Or, A Few Thoughts On Canadian (Non-)Confrontation And An Admission Of My Own Paranoia

I came out of a store yesterday afternoon and found this stuck under one of my wiper blades.Actually, I did not see it until I was driving out of the parking lot. I wondered why I had received a ticket. Where I had parked was not part of a handicapped zone. ... Then I noticed that part of the ticket was green. That's when I thought it might be one of those fake tickets. I had another stop maybe two minutes away, so I looked at it then. Yup.

1. This guy was not "waiting for" the parking space. Thinking back on the situation, he was roughly two or three seconds ahead of me and had driven his car past the empty space.

2. Because of this "citation", I believe he had driven past the empty space he wished to park in because he planned on backing up into the space.

2a. Backing up into parking spaces is a strange phenomenon I have found quite common in Canada, though since I lived in New York City for 17 years prior to moving here in 2005 -- and there are not many parking lots in Manhattan and we did not have a car -- maybe this is a fairly common practice since the mid-1980s.

2b. Why do people do this? I will sometimes drive through an empty space to park in the empty space that adjacent to it, so I can drive out of the space when I leave. However, I see no point in backing carefully into a space so I can drive directly out later on. What's the benefit? You either drive in and then back out -- or you back in and then drive out?

3. Regardless, this guy had not yet put his car into reverse when I pulled into the empty space. There were no white taillights. He was not "waiting for" the space. No spot was stolen.

4. I pulled in and got out of my car. He could have upbraided me right then and there. I think he was pulling into a space maybe four or five spaces away from where I was parked -- Oh, what a much longer walk he had to make! -- when I got out of my car. Why not say something then?

4a. Canadians are not big on direct one-on-one confrontations. That's a generalization -- and Laura touched on an aspect of it here -- but this webpage of the Council of Ministers of Education backs me up:
Canadians, in general, avoid conflict and confrontation and thus it is not common for people to intervene directly.
4b. This theory goes right out the fucking window, though, once you get on the highway. If you want or need to change lanes, the driver that you will be pulling in ahead of will speed up to deny you the opportunity to change lanes. Also, if you are on an on-ramp and about to enter highway traffic and someone else is about to get off the highway via an the off-ramp that is a bit ahead of where the on-ramp is letting you in, rather than slow down -- which he has to do anyway to go down the off-ramp -- and pull in behind you -- which makes common sense since at the time he is slowing down, you are accelerating to get up to highway speed, he will stomp on his accelerator like a goddamn maniac, cut directly in front of you, meaning you have to suddenly brake and slow down, THEN he'll get off the highway and slow down.

4c. Though being in a car is not a direct confrontation.

4d. This guy didn't even bother to honk his horn when he saw me pulling into what he believed was his rightful spot in the parking lot.

5. He saw these "citations" in a store, thought "This is what I need in my non-confrontational crusade to 'make the world a better place to park'! Look at all these possible instances I can use then in." and bought them.

6. He keeps them in his car, with a pen.

7. He fucking USES them!

8. After feeling seriously aggrieved, this guy grabs his pad of citations (are they in his glove box? does he keep them on the passenger seat?) and his pen, fills the thing out, gets out of his car, walks over to the car and leaves the citation under a wiper blade -- but only after he has clearly seen the other person go into the store and knows damn well he or she will not be coming right out.

8a. I am 100% sure this was a guy.

8b. And I'm not expecting any confrontation to be necessarily loud or obnoxious or laced with profanity. He could make his case clearly and in a normal tone of voice. He could not bring himself to do even that.

9. He filled in the name of the store (Canadian Tire) -- AND the date! Beautiful!

9a. Checking the appropriate box was not enough. He also circled the "infraction" and added some editorial comment. It also looks like he traced over the X to emphasis his disapproval.
Example
I went over to the shopping centre nearby and parked and went off to buy wine. I came back to put the wine in the car and then go grocery shopping. I had parked aways from the store and now there was a car pulled up in the space next to mine. It seemed odd to park right alongside a car when there were so many other spaces around. A guy was standing near the car talking on a cell phone. I went into the store and started shopping. But now I'm thinking that maybe that was the guy who left the note. Maybe he followed me over here and is going to damage my car. And I'm in here shopping. Shit. After a few minutes of increasing paranoia, I leave the cart and walk out back to my car. The other car is there, but the guy is not. My car seems fine. I fake getting something out of the car, note his license plate, walk back into the store, walk past my cart to a section where I know there is a pencil, and jot down the plate number on my shopping list. I then continue shopping and when I get out, the other car is gone and my car is fine.

November 9, 2009

Red Sox Decline Option On Varitek

UPPER-DATE: Peter Abraham, Globe:
Just spoke to Theo Epstein [late Monday night]. Contrary to a report, Jason Varitek has not yet exercised his $3 million player option for 2010. ... To be sure, the Sox expect Varitek to trigger that option. But it hasn't happened yet.
Example
UPDATE: NESN reports that Varitek will exercise his $3 million option:
The move is expected to be formalized on Tuesday ... With the incentives, Varitek would earn an additional $400,000 for starting 80 games in 2010 and another bonus for every 10 starts thereafter.
Example
Rob Bradford:
Red Sox will not pick up Jason Varitek's $5 million team option. Now [Varitek] has 5 days to make decision on $3 million player option.

Red Sox, Wakefield Agree On 2/5 Deal

Tim Wakefield has agreed to a two-year deal with the Red Sox for a total of $5 million. Wakefield will be paid $3.5 in 2010 and $1.5 in 2011 (with more incentives in the second year).

Tony Massarotti reported that the Sox had "some concerns about exercising the regenerating, $4 million option ... in the wake of surgery to remove disc fragments" from Wakefield's back.

I'm assuming the $5 million is guaranteed. That way, Wakefield gets a bit more dough in case age/injuries limit him to pitching only in 2010 and team gets a discount if Wakefield is able to pitch in 2011. If it's not guaranteed, I'm not sure why Wakefield would agree to a lower salary in 2010, if it could possibly be his final season. I doubt the Red Sox would decline the option over a half-million dollars.

The team picked up the $7.1 option on Victor Martinez, but declined $6 option on Alex Gonzalez. No public decision has been made re Jason Varitek.

November 8, 2009

Gaudeamus Igitur


It may be a mess, but it's a very careful mess. A lot of work went into making it look like that. ... I wanted to write something that would make somebody say, "Holy, shit, I've got to read this," and then seduce them into doing a certain amount of work.
The JoS IJ read begins today.

November 5, 2009

Red Sox Trade For OF Jeremy Hermida

The Red Sox have acquired outfielder Jeremy Hermida from the Marlins for left-handed pitchers Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez (who spent 2009 in A ball). [SoSH]

Also: Fernando Cabrera, Joey Gathright and Nick Green have been optioned to Pawtucket.

Decisions On Gonzalez, Varitek Due

In the next five days, the Red Sox will likely exercise the club options for 2010 on Victor Martinez ($7 million) and Tim Wakefield ($4).

They have seven days to decide on Alex Gonzalez ($6), though Seabass can opt out of the option even if the club picks it up. There is also a decision to be made regarding Jason Varitek ($5), who has a $3 player option.

Theo Epstein said that David Ortiz has been working out at Fenway Park almost every day since the ALDS ended. "It's still early in the offseason, but he looks like he's in great shape." 2010 is the final year of Ortiz's contract; the Red Sox hold a $12.5 option for 2011.

November 4, 2009

WS6: Yankees 7, Phillies 3

Phillies - 001 002 000 - 3  6  0
Yankees - 022 030 00x - 7 8 0
MVP: Shemp (8-for-13, 3 HR, 8 RBI; 6 RBI in Game 6).
Example
Pedro Martinez (G2: 6-6-3-2-8, 107) / Andy Pettitte (G3: 6-5-4-3-7, 104)
Two old goats out there doing the best they can and having fun with it. I don't have enough words to describe how excited I am about being here. This is just a great gift to me.
Example
Chris Jaffe, Hardball Times:
[T]here have been 57 previous best-of-seven World Series that reached a Game Six. In the sixth contest*, the trailing [team] has amassed an impressive record of 35-22. Not too shabby. Actually, it was achieved in a very odd manner. The first two dozen such games were split evenly 12-12 between leaders and trailers. The most recent 18 games have been likewise split down the middle, 50% each. However, from 1955 to 1975, 15 World Series reached Game Six - and the trailing team went 14-1 in those games. Only in 1959 did the Series end in the sixth contest. Weird.

[*:Note: for purposes of this research, the tie in the 1912 World Series never happened. Thus Game Eight is considered Game Seven, and so on down the line).]

Anyhow, that's only half the battle. After going 35-22 in Game Six, the survivors went 17-18 in Game Seven. Overall then, teams trailing 3 games to 2 in a best of seven World Series go 17-40 in their quest for the World Championship, so odds are a bit over one-third.
Example
The Daily News sounds somewhat worried:

The "Derek Jeter Bridge"

The New York Post reports that Bronx politicans are considering naming a soon-to-be-built bridge after Derek Jeter.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. says he has a "man crush" on CI:
There have been conversations at the community board, and I know the idea is being examined. It's something I am ready to support.
The bridge will span the Metro-North tracks that bisect East 153rd Street between Park Avenue and the Grand Concourse.
Example
Maybe some of CI's back taxes could help pay for the $87 million bridge. Back in late 2007, the New York State Division of Tax Appeals said that Jeter had cheated New York out of millions of dollars by claiming he lived in Florida when he was residing in Manhattan.

Beckett To Meet With Sox Re Contract

Josh Beckett and his agent will meet with Theo Epstein in the next few weeks to discuss Beckett's future in Boston.

Beckett signed a 3/30 extension in mid-2006 and the club option for 2010 will pay him $12. He turns 30 next May.
I want to see where they're going, if I'm even in their plans. If I'm not it was an awesome run. I really haven't sat down and thought about it too much, but at the end of the year we will sit down and at least have a talk.
I assume Beckett is expecting (at least) something similar to what A.J. Burnett got from the Yankees (5/82.5). A five-year deal would cover Beckett's age 31-35 seasons. (SoSH discusses the pros and cons.)

November 3, 2009

Schadenfreude 93 (A Continuing Series)

Mark Hale, Post:
Mark Teixeira is in a prolonged slump right now that's starting to become alarming. ... Teixeira is a woeful 2-for-19 with seven strikeouts in this World Series. ... Teixeira has been abysmal in the postseason, hitting just .172 (10-for-58) with 16 strikeouts.
Mike Puma, Post:
Derek Jeter occasionally wears postseason goat horns, too.

Last night the Yankees captain had a chance to embellish his November legacy -- he is, after all, the original Mr. November -- but couldn't produce in the ninth inning. Jeter hit into a double play, all but killing the Yankees' comeback hopes in their 8-6 loss to the Phillies in Game 5 of the World Series.
A.J. Burnett:
I let 25 guys down. I let a whole city down. It's the worst feeling in the world.
Mike Vaccaro, Post:
When it was over, the clubhouse boys were stuffing gear into bags rather than wrapping plastic over lockers. Instead of uncorking champagne, the Yankees were tossing socks and sanitary hose into big laundry bins. Bud Selig, with no presentation to make, walked briskly and bypassed the room altogether.

There was no music, no laughter, very little conversation, very little interaction at all.

November 2, 2009

WS5: Phillies 8, Yankees 6

Yankees  - 100 010 031 - 6 10  0
Phillies - 303 000 20x - 8 9 0
Chase Utley: 2 more home runs, 4 RBI; ties Reggie Jackson with 5 HR in a WS; ties Willie Aikens with two 2-HR games in a WS.

Burnett: 2-4-6-4-2, 53!Derek Jeter was the potential tying run with no outs in the top of the ninth. And ..... GIDP!

Pedro in New York on Wednesday!
Example
A.J. Burnett (G2: 7-4-1-2-9, 108) / Cliff Lee (G1: 9-6-1-0-10, 122)

Forty-three teams have held a 3-1 lead in the World Series, and 37 of those teams went on to win the championship. The six that could not close the deal?
1903 Pirates - lost to Boston Americans (best of 9)
1925 Senators - lost to Pirates
1958 Milwaukee - lost to Yankees
1968 Cardinals - lost to Tigers
1979 Orioles - lost to Pirates
1985 Cardinals - lost to Royals
Can the Yankees, no strangers to choking in the post-season, become #7?

Since 1969, of the 16 times a team has held a 3-1 lead in the World Series, only three times has the series even gone to a Game 7 -- no matter who won.

Jim Salisbury, Philadelphia Inquirer:
The Phillies had 12 winning streaks of three or more games this season.

Do they have one more in them?
If the Phillies win tonight, there will be a World Series Game 6 for the first time since 2003. The five World Series since then have been sweeps or gone five games.

Also: GDGD, 1911.

November 1, 2009

WS4: Yankees 7, Phillies 4

Yankees  - 200 020 003 - 7  9  1
Phillies - 100 100 110 - 4 8 1
Way to go, Lidge.
Example
CC Sabathia (G1: 7-4-2-3-6, 113) / Joe Blanton (4.05, 106 ERA+)

Did you know that Sabathia has a higher career slugging percentage (.391) than the mighty Melky Cabrera (.385)?

Well, there's a lot, a lot of reasons why the Phillies have to win tonight's game.

October 31, 2009

WS3: Yankees 8, Phillies 5

Yankees  - 000 231 110 - 8  8  1
Phillies - 030 001 001 - 5 6 0
Example
Andy Pettitte (4.16, 107 ERA+) / Cole Hamels (4.32, 99 ERA+)

Post:
"Can you hear anything here that you haven't heard in Boston?" Jeter was asked prior to a Citizens Bank Park workout yesterday in preparation for tonight's World Series Game 3 against the Phillies. ...

"Boston is pretty bad. ... I don't want to say no, then they will figure out something new" ...
Example
Post:
A-Rod Art Hung Like Horse: Ex

The Yankees slugger is reportedly such an egomaniac that he placed paintings of himself depicted as a centaur -- a mythical creature who is half-man, half-horse -- over his bed, an ex-girlfriend said.
The Post notes that Slappy "has been hitting more like My Little Pony" in the first two games of the World Series (0-for-8, with 6 strikeouts).

Happy Halloween

October 30, 2009

October 29, 2009

WS2: Yankees 3, Phillies 1

Phillies - 010 000 000 - 1  6  0
Yankees - 000 101 10x - 3 8 0
Pedro allowed two solo home runs through six innings -- Mark Teixeira leading off the fourth and Hideki Matsui with two outs in the sixth -- but then gave up two singles to start the seventh. One of them scored, giving Martinez a final line of 6-6-3-2-8, 107.

Pedro struck out three of the first four Yankees --and he fanned Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez twice each. He pitched extremely well, but the Phillies had no luck against Burnett (7-4-1-2-9, 108), who retired 11 of his last 12 batters. Burnett allowed only one Philadelphia runner past second base.

Mariano Rivera needed 39 pitches -- and a clutch double play with the go-ahead run at the plate in the eighth -- to get through the final two innings.
Example
Pedro Martinez (3.63, 118 ERA+) / A.J. Burnett (4.04, 110 ERA+)

Pedro:
I don't know if you realize this, but because of you guys [the media], in some ways, I might be at times the most influential player that ever stepped [on to the field] at Yankee Stadium. I can honestly say that. I have all the respect in the world for the way they enjoy being fans. Sometimes they might be giving you the middle finger ... I don't have any problem with that.
Martinez also said the New York media has
used me and abused me since I've been coming to [Yankee] Stadium. I remember quotes in the paper, "Here comes the man that New York loves to hate." The man? None of you have ever eaten steak with me or rice and beans with me to understand what I'm all about as a man. You might say the player, the competitor, but the man? You guys have abused my name. You guys have said so many things and have written so many things.

There was one time I remember when I was a free agent, there was talk that I might meet with Steinbrenner. One of your colleagues had me in the papers with horns and a tail, red horns and a tail. That's a sign of the devil. I'm a Christian man. I don't like those things. I take those things very serious. Those are the kind of things that the fans actually get used to seeing, and actually sometimes influence those people to believe that you are a bad person, that you are like an ogre.
As far as any chants he might hear:
Any time I hear that "Who's your daddy?" it really reminds me that God is my daddy. It gives me strength. ... When you have 60,000 people chanting your name, waiting for you to throw the ball, you have to consider yourself someone special, someone that really has a purpose out there.
Pedro and the Red Sox defeated the Yankees in the 2004 ALCS and then won the World Series. That should have put the Daddy talk to rest forever.

After watching their team commit the worst choke job in the history of baseball, Yankee fans chanting "Who's your daddy?" makes as much sense as chanting "1918".
Example
Burnett (6-8-5-2-7, 95) faced the Phillies on May 22, 2009, allowing three home runs and losing 7-3.

Cliff Lee And Deacon Phillippe

In his complete game win over the Yankees last night, Philadelphia's Cliff Lee struck out 10 batters and did not walk anyone.

Only one other pitcher in baseball history has won a World Series game in which he had at least 10 strikeouts and no walks. It happened in the first very World Series game ever played.

Deacon Phillippe (9-6-3-0-10) of the Pittsburgh Pirates did it on October 1, 1903 against Cy Young and the Boston Americans. Pittsburgh led the best-of-9 series 3-1, but Boston won four consecutive games to clinch the first of the franchise's seven championships.

On October 5, 1949, Brooklyn's Don Newcombe struck out 11 Yankees and did not issue a walk, but he lost Game 1 to New York 1-0. Here's the list of the six times it has happened in post-season history. Lee has two of those six performances this month.

Joe Posnanski:
Cliff Lee pitched Wednesday like he had already seen the game and knew how it turned out. He pitched like he was on Tivo.

Schadenfreude 93 (A Continuing Series)

Mark Feinsand, Daily News:
Yankees fans are sure to be in panic mode on Thursday - judging by the e-mails I've already received and the comments on this blog, they're already there ...

Could A.J. Burnett go out to the mound and completely fall apart? Absolutely. ... It's time for him to earn that big contract the Yankees gave him. ... But regardless of how Burnett does, the Yankees offense - as weak as it looked against Lee - should have a field day with Pedro Martinez ...
George A. King III, Post:
Cliff Lee's evil arsenal and control good enough to consistently hit a gnat's backside combined with Chase Utley's biceps to put the Yankees in a World Series ditch last night in Game 1 [in front of] a Yankee Stadium crowd of 50,207 that had nothing to get excited about.
Kevin Kernan, Post:
This was not the Twins and Angels running silly around the bases. This was a composed team with a killer on the mound, a leader at shortstop and a big bat at second base. ...

Mystique and Aura aren't yet in this Yankees lineup, and a lot of fans bailed early.