Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Transactions....

Up next at Ohio State...I don't know. But I don't think it will be Urban Meyer. And I really don't think it will be Gruden. Why would he want to go to college, when he's in a position to grab almost any open NFL spot?

Now, Mark Dantonio at Ohio State makes sense. I can totally see a sweater vest on this guy.

And just a minute. Let me get this right.....college football players traded memorabilia for.....tattoos. Tattoos? Really?

Wow, Bartolo. I know the A's can't hit a volleyball, much less a baseball, but a complete game shutout is still pretty awesome.

Actually kind of impressive that Maria Sharapova won yesterday considering how many mistakes she made. She could look brilliant and like an amatuer, often in the same set. but hey, she's in the quaters.

Nice to see Mark Teixeira up his batting average from the left side 20 points in the past week. Still only at .248, but he looks a little cleaner batting as a lefty than he has for a while.

Who does these rankings? This kind of stuff is ESPN The Mag kind of stupid.

Eric Weddle would fit in perfectly in Jacksonville. He would be a real nice quiet pick-up.

I think Prince Fielder is a really good player. A really good one. but he won't be worth the sick money someone is going to pay for him this offseason. He is only 27, yes, and 35 HRs and a .535 slugging percentage is nothing to sneeze at. But at the kind of money you're going to have to pay to get him. Not sure i would do that.

Everybody who had Lance Berkman as leading the NL in slugging and OBP raise your hand. Anyone? Anyone?

And Matt Joyce leading the AL with a .368 average....anyone?

Good point by Peter King: I think when Plaxico Burress gets out of jail a week from today, and when the NFL resumes, he'll have two or three teams very interested. My guess is the Jets, Eagles and Raiders will be involved (the Jets if they don't sign Randy Moss), and I'll tell you a team that should be interested: Cleveland. A reborn Burress would do a good job giving Colt McCoy a threat he doesn't have right now-if Burress is in shape and as interested in resuming his career as I've heard.  

If its true, Buress could help out McCoy immensely.

If Zach Grienke can get right...the Brewers win the NL Central.

Never. Ever. Thought I would agree with Stephen A. Smith. But wow, he's kinda right.....(I didn't just say that, did I?)

This is just brilliant. Really, really brilliant.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Five

These are really hard...a couple of them I had to look up. Anyway, they are about superstitions.

1. This Angels outfielder puts his glove in the microwave to punish it whenever "it" makes an error. "It's got to learn to catch the ball."

2. This defensive tackle from the U. of Tennessee has an assistant coach slap him across the face as hard as he could before games.

3. This Tigers pitcher used to talk to the baseball, actually telling it where he wanted it to go.

4. Easy one. This shooting guard always wore his University of North Carolina shorts under his Bulls shorts.

5. And last—hat tip to Dan—on the night before a game, this Maverick wears a pair of his future opponent’s shorts to bed.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Good For Dirk! And Jason!

This is Dirk's chance to win it all—and he's playing like it.
I have a soft spot for future Hall of Fame players who never one the big one, the championship, like Charles Barkley. I have a bruised plum soft spot for players who could never even get to the Championship, like George Gervin (poor George—14 time All-Star, career average of 25.1 ppg, never sniffed a championship). That's why I'm really happy to see Dirk Nowitzki make it to his first Championship.

Dirk is a Hall-of Fame player doing everything right in his career. Good guy, good teammate, the 2006-07 MVP is averaging 8.5 boards, and 23 ppg on 48% shooting for his career. And like a true great, The Dirk gets better when it matters most—averaging 26 ppg and 10 boards in the playoffs, including 29 ppg this playoff season. Not only that, he is shooting a 52%—including a mental 52% from 3 point land. And no plan jump shooter, Dirk got to the line almost 10 times per game, making 92% of his free shots—including a sick 59 for 61 in the Thunder series (hat tip Pete S.).

And let's not forget Jason Kidd, who has to be, what? 57 years old by now, but has never won the big one. Kidd, at least played in 2 championships with the Nets. His play was mixed those 2 years, but with a future HOF in Notwitzki by his side (and not, say, Kenyon Martin), his job should be noticably easier.

So, does Dirk get his ring? Tough to say. The Heat play much better team defense team than the Thunder do. (Heat, Thunder, what's with the meteorological names?) It should be an heckuva interesting series—pure offense vs. tough defense. All we at AAPTBNL can say is that Dirk seems right now, to be a man on a mission from Yahweh. He knows that, at 32 years of age, this is his last, best chance. And he's playing like it.He needs to do it now. I hope he does.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is It Time To Get Concerned About Mark Teixeira?

Panicked? No. Concerned? Maybe.....

As of this writing, the well-paid, Yankee 1st baseman is batting .248—well below his .284 lifetime average, and a far cry from the .207 he hit in 2007.

After batting .220 last year in September and October, Teixiera started —for him—fairly decently. Tex batted .256 and 6 HRs in April, not bad for a notoriously slow starter. Since then however, instead of warming up as the weather warms—again, normal for him—Tex has gone the other way. Batting .241 in May, including .226 for the past 14 days, Tex hasn't gotten much good wood on the bat lately.

For instance, in the past 14 days, Tex's BABip is a pathetic .214. After hovering at about 20% for much of his career, Tex's LD rate has steadily dipped since 2008 to where it is now, at a lowly 15.0%. Conversely, his flyball rate has steadily risen from 36.5% in 2008 to a whopping 48.1% this season.

Now here's where it gets interesting: Tex's lifetime rate as a LHB against a RHP is .275. Last year it was .244. This season it is down to .228. Couple that with the rise in flyballs and the question becomes: Is the Yankee Stadium's short right field seats getting to Teixiera? Is Tex trying to hit it over the short porch?

Take a look at this chart from Fangraphs.com. Particularly pay attention to the red line, or Teixiera's BA vs. righties.



Since the day Tex became a Yankee that line has plummeted. Now take a look at this chart: Tex's BABIP:






For a while in his career, Teixeira drove the ball and got hits. Now, Tex's career seems to be heading for the home run or bust, Dave Kingman territory (well maybe not that bad).

After doing some research, it seems that The Captains' Blog wrote something similar not too long ago. The hypothesis of their article was just what we wrote above: "Despite establishing himself as a well-rounded hitter before joining the Yankees, Teixeira has gradually turned into a more one-dimensional slugger, particularly when batting from the left side." One wonders why that would be—his HR or bust  numbers from the left side, and not the same from the right side? Could the short porch have something to do with it?
Tex's swing in Georgia Tech

Now, some theories have Texeira's declining numbers from the left side due to defenses shifting on him or pitchers learning how to pitch against Teixeira—but why wouldn't those numbers be reflected on the right side? Or that it could be wind shifts at the Stadium—but why wouldn't his lefty numbers level out on the road? No theories seem to make sense....

...except the swinging for the right field fences. Considering the other stats we know; Tex's plummeting line drive rate, his steadily increasing flyball rate, his dropping BABIP rate, as well as Teixeira's dropping fastball success rate and we can assume that Tex is swinging for the fences more. It's happened to other lefties who come into Yankee Stadium. They see the short right field seats and can't help themselves but  to swing for it.

And heck, Teixeira himself said it last year: "I have never played in a home before where the discrepancy was so great between center and right," Teixeira said. "So it is a constant battle every game [to not get pull crazy]. I do have 30, 40, 50 at-bats here a year where I go back to the dugout and think, 'I am trying to pull too much."

And it shows. He's putting almost everything he hits from the left side in the air to right field (as well as a ton of slow grounders to the right side as well). All but 2 of his homers are to right field, regardless of park.
Is the swing getting more uppercut and pull-oriented?

This isn't the first time Tex has had his lefty swing down in the .220's as a Yankee. During June and July of last season, Kevin Long worked with Texeira to try to fix his lefty swing—not his righty swing, just his lefty. It worked for a little while—it got Tex's LHB vs. RHP up to .244 by season's end. Not good, but a smidge better. But this season, he's back to not getting good wood on the ball as a lefty—the flaw in his swing is back.

However, whatever the mechanical flaw, there is still the underlying cause of why is Texeira failing against righties when he batted .311 against RHP in 2008, the season before he became a Yankee? Itsabouthtemoney.net wrote recently an article entitled "Don't be concerned about Teixeira." I respectfully disagree. As the stats they point out, when you look at them as trends, you have to draw the conclusion: Worry, not yet. Concern. I think so.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Transactions....

Hope Jimmer had nothing to do with the making of this t-shirt.
Matt Moore of CBSsports.com has Jimmer Fredette going to the Knicks at pick 17 of the draft. That seems like the kind of fit that D'Antoni would like. If he is still the coach.
 
Even though I don't watch hockey, I am still kinda glad that Atlanta is losing their franchise and that it is moving back to Winnipeg. Canada, the northern state. Hockey belongs there. No in "Hot-lanta."

Again with this crap. Enough. Either you have the proof he did it or not. Enough.

How did the Indians get this good this fast? Alex White? Asdrubol Cabrera, Mitch Tomlin, Josh Talbot. Who are these guys?

Brett Gardner is batting .357 in the last 28 days, which is awesome. but did you see that sliding catch he made in the 1st inning yesterday, getting Ivan Nova out of the inning 1-2-3? That's where he makes his money. Nice catch Brett. And nice pop-back-up!

As incredible as the Oakland' A's pitching is—and it is ridiculous—their batting is that bad. How bad? Brandon McCarthy has a 3.39 ERA, a 1.225 WHIP, leads the league with 1.414 walks per 9 IP, has 2 complete games, a shutout and  and has a .1414 HR/9IP and is still 1 and 4.

Mark Polishuk discusses what a "bad" season for Albert Pujols would mean for his off-season negotiations for a new mega-deal. Me? I don't think a down year has any effect on it at all. Teams will still pay through the nose and ears for Albert no matter what he does this season.

If Brandon Jennings is really on the trading block, I betcha there are a bunch of teams willing to trade for the 21-year-old talent. But how would Bucks fans react. There has been along, long drought up there in Wisconsin.

Shawn Marcum...the best trade made this off-season, except maybe for Adrian Gonzalez. 6 out of his 10 starts have gone for longer than 6 IP and with 0 or 1 runs. Awesome.

Has Danica won anything yet? Then I'm tired of seeing her all the frickin' time. She's on the Cover of SI twice! For what?
Not including the ESPN love she's gotten and the stupid GoDaddy commercials.

I voted that the Giants had one of the nicest drafts this past April. let me take that back. The fact that they didn't touch their offensive line until the 45th round disqualifies them. Their line is old and breaking down. They should have addressed this this year if not last year.

Same goes for the Bills. Mansfield Wrotto? Demetrioius Bell? You really didn't address the line? When Gabe Carimi made it past 22 in the first round, how do the Bills not trade up before the Bears to take him. it's ridiculous. Why do you guys hate Ryan Fitzpatrick so much?

Nice little 1-hour special by MLB Network about the 40 biggest trades in MLB history. one caveat. How did they not have the 1972 Steve Carlton trade from the Cardinals to the Phillies. All Carlton did was win 4 Cy Young awards and 241 wins for the Phillies. Not a big trade?

And lastly ...I've avoided this topic because A0 it's being covered everywhere, and B) what is there to say....but now, I'll say this. Come on guys. Let's cut the crap and get back to some football. There's enough money for everybody.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Five

1. After America, which country has the most baseball players in the MLB?

2. Next most popular country in the MLB?

3. How many Samoans are playing the NFL?

4. Name the first Japanese ballplayer in MLB.

5. There was one NBA player from Egypt. Name him. Hint, drafted by the Blazers from Duke.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Should The Mets Trade Jose Reyes?

You can't teach speed—and Reyes has oodles of speed
Until recently, the Mets were hard in "Win Now" mode. They spent beau coup bucks on Johan Santana, dropped 16 mil per on Jason Bay, signed oldsters Gary Sheffield and Gary Matthews to help compete in the NL East and signed K-Rod for serious coin.

That's all over now.

With Mets management having to cut costs due to the Ponzi scheme they got suckered in, and more importantly, their inability to keep up with the Phillies, the Metropolitans are in rebuild mode. With that the case, the question comes, do the Mets trade their most valuable trade chip, Jose Reyes, for prospects. Or do they try to sign him to a big, long-term deal?

The good news for the Mets is that their payroll for 2012 plummets from 2011's 135 million dollar payroll. As of now, the Mets payroll for 2012 is 64 million—even with a bump in Reyes pay to say, 17 million per, the Mets would still be well under 2011's payroll. And considering that the Mets would likely be playing with more prospects, the payroll shouldn't jump too much higher than that.

Reyes turns 28 in a few weeks—the prime of his career—and is fully healthy. He's batting .322, has 16 stolen bases already, and can still go pick it deep in the hole. He is the kind of guy most franchises would want to build around.

That said, both Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com and Rob Parker of ESPN.com feel the Mets should trade Reyes...this minute...and not wait for the deadline.

Rosenthal feels that the Mets have shortstop prospects in their system and that getting rid of a burdensome contract while rebuilding would benefit the Mets. "The idea of trading Reyes would be to acquire additional prospects with the goal of building a more well-rounded club."

Parker feels the Mets need to be blown up and rebuilt and Reyes (and Wright) "...represent(s) what went wrong, not right with the Mets. It's hard to look past the historic late-season collapses both autographed by the pair." Also, he posits, "Everyone knows this franchise needs an overhaul...There are no more quick fixes—no magical free-agent signings out there to turn the Mess back into the Mets."

Both are valid points. However, other writers, for instance, Thomas Saladino of NJ.com feels that selling Reyes would move the Mets backwards, not forwards. "My belief is that specific injuries should only affect a Franchise for weeks, for months, for a year… tops. Selling away your healthy assets during a time of injury-struggle, will perhaps let the effects of those injuries linger on for years...why is it that the Mets, at this point in the life of their franchise, HAVE to trade him? Why can’t he be a part of the plan moving forward?"

Ultimately it seems, the argument comes down to this: Do the Mets see themselves as competitive in the next few years, before presumably, Reyes skills begin to decline at 33 or 34. (Reyes has had some injuries, which could contribute to his skills declining sooner rather than later.) Do they play again at a high level within that time? Does Wright become the leader he needs to be? Does Jason Bay ever show up? Does Santana come back healthy and dominate? Is Ike Davis for real? Can the Mets fill out their pitching rotation with some nice prospects? Will the team be a genuine contender, thus making Reyes invaluable as part of the puzzle?


If you feel the answers to these are yes, then sign Reyes to a 5-6 year deal at about 17 per. But if you think that the Mets are not projectable serious contenders in the near future and have too many holes to fill, then trade Reyes for the best prospects you can get from a team desperate for an All-Star SS with serious lead-off capabilities. The Giants are salivating over a chance to get Reyes. And the Reds in a dogfight with the Cards would love to get Reyes hitting at the top of the order.
The Mets are a ways off from competing...and have a lots of holes to fill

Truth is, the Mets have a lot of holes to fill. Their outfield is a muddle of over-priced, over-aged and never-will-bes. Their rotation is a mess of spare parts. Their second baseman is actually a terrible leftfielder and 1st baseman who's averaged declined 80 points in 2 years. Their catcher is batting .220 and leads the league in passed balls.

If it were my club, I'd trade Reyes for a ransom. He's a potential franchise player when healthy and in a better lineup, he could be deadly. The Mets need to plug some of the gaping holes in their roster and can punch in anybody at shortstop until uber-prospect Wilmer Flores is ready. San Francisco would trade the Golden Gate Bridge for Reyes....so Mets, trade him—and Beltran and K-Rod—and start over.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Blood: The Yanks Need To Call Up Some Kids

Jorge Vasqez leads the International League with 16 HRs.
This morning, Mike Silva of the New York Baseball Digest wrote that the Yankees need some fresh faces. Couldn’t agree more. In fact, I think they should go even further than Silva suggests.

The Yankees average age of 31.5 is the oldest in the American League. Their average pitching age of 31.2 is the oldest in the majors. In short, they are old.

And it shows. Despite the immense talent on the roster and the good start to the season, the bats have been a bit slow. Overall the Yankees look a bit creaky and are starting to slow down in all phases of the game.

The Yankees don’t trust their farm system—I’ve written that before. Due to the fact that the Yankees’ core tenet is to win and win now, they have no patience to let a kid go through the growing pains to become a the good player. If Ivan Nova had a few bad starts in a row, he’d be out of the Bronx faster than you could say “George Washington Bridge.” And could you honestly say that the Yankees would have had the patience to let Gio Gonzalez get shelled for a couple of seasons until he became the 2.31 ERA, 170 ERA+ pitcher he is now? Fuhgeddaboutit.

However, times have changed. And with the Yankees ship looking a bit shabby, now might be the perfect time for the Yankees to actually go down to their number 5 ranked farm system and bring up some new blood to try to invigorate the flagging big ballclub.

Obviously, Jesus Montero is the evident 1st option, and as I’ve written, why not bring him up? And as Silva wrote, another good choice to bring up would be Jorge Vazquez. I mean all he’s done is go 5 for 13 in the last 4 games with 4 HRs, 7 RBIs and 3 walks. Why keep him Scranton when Posada is batting .179 (even with the 2 hits last night), Swisher is batting .218 and Andruw Jones is .220?

Wilson Arias is 30 years old and has been in Trenton since 2008. He has a 1.74 ERA as a lefty reliever this year. Batters are hitting a total of .162 off him this season and lefties haven’t scored a run off him yet. What are the Yankees saving him for? And are you really saying you want to rely solely on Boone Logan as the only lefty out of the pen for the next couple of weeks? What exactly is the hurt in giving a 30-year old lefty with some evident success a shot?

Bartolo is a little too chunky to be counted on to pitch the entire season
After a nice start, Bartolo Colon has a 5.26 ERA in his last 3 starts. He’s 38 next week, hasn’t pitched 100 innings in a season since 2005, and to put it kindly...is a smidge overweight. Meanwhile, in AAA, D.J. Mitchell has a 1.14 WHIP, a 2.50 ERA and is holding opponents to a .192 BAA. When—not if—Colon craps out, would the Yankees actually try out a prospect like Mitchell—or Adam Warren or David Phelps—or go to the waiver wire and pick up another castoff? Armando Galarraga is available.

No one is promising that these kids will turn around the season and lead New York to a championship. But the Yankees have the talent in their farm system. And the big club is old and creaky and in need of a jump. The time seems ripe for the Yankees to tap their farm system—not for a trade this time—but for young talent and the spark it could provide.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Transactions....

The King does not like tough D.
Kinda slow news day....anyway....

Have to give Luol Deng some mad props for the defense he played yesterday against LeBron. James looked frustrated and battered. If this is the kind of D he'll be facing all series, he's in for a long one. And apparently he doesn't like all the tough defense. Boo hoo, King James. Boo hoo.

All right, let's get past the Posada kerfuffle. Lemme just say this. I hate what Posada did this weekend, and I would have pulled him from the lineup and not just dropped him to 9th. That said. Swisher .217. Alex Rodriguez .250. Mark Teixiera .259. Derek Jeter .260. Russell Martin .243. It ain't all Posada. The entire team can't seem to hit anymore.

And it ain't just Posada who needs to find the bench.

So in his first few years in the majors, Jose Bautista hits 15, 16 home runs a season, then last year, he smacks 54 and this years he's on a pace for 80. Hate to say it, but in these times, I have my suspicions about doing the HGH and/or steroids. I hope it's nothing but talent....but....

Peter King wrote this today: "I think I'm for a reunion of Pete Carroll and Matt Leinart in Seattle. For one reason: Why not?" Frankly, I love it. If Carroll can get Mike Williams back on track, why not Leinart?

I think the Braves are starting to make their move in the NL East, taking 2 out of 3 from the Phillies. And I think Jair Jurrjens is the most underrated pitcher in baseball.

That sound whizzing past you....it's Adrian Gonzalez on his way to the MVP.

Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Interesting fact: Since the birth of his daughter, Ian Kennedy has a 1.47 ERA, striking out 37 batters in 36 2/3 innings , walking just eight. With the high K rate, opponents managed his 23 hits against him. Did he name her Cy?

Wes Welker, part 2, trying to break Carlos Roger's ankle.
What is it about Texas Tech and small, fast white guys? After Wes Welker came from nowhere to be the Patriots most reliable receiver, now Danny Amendola—according to Rams offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels—will figure to be a big part of the Ram's offense next season. Amindola had 85 receptions last year, and if anybody knows how to get the best out of Danny Welker-clone, it would be McDaniels.

For my money, the Mavs-Thunder series is the one to really watch—Derrick Rose notwithstanding. Dirk Vs. Kevin Durant just sounds like a heck of a lot of fun—sorta, whoever has the ball last wins the game.

And lastly, sure this guy is an idiot for running onto the filed, but gotta give him creativity points for his escape.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Is Phil Jackson the Best NBA Coach Ever?

More knowledgeable people than I could better answer this question. But honestly, my gut instinct is no.

When you have the best player in the history of the world on your team, it's easy to coach. Late in the game, down by one, all you have to say in the time out is "Give the ball to Michael."

When Michael wasn't there, did Jackson win any championships?

Then all he does is go to a team with Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant. "Give the ball to Shaq." Or, "Kobe, take over." Not much coaching needs to be done there.

No, I'd like to see Jackson go to Milwaukee, or Memphis, or Jersey. Some place like that, where the best player or two in the game aren't in Phil's starting five.

Jackson was a very good coach, no doubt. But the best ever. i don't think so.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday Five–the Saturday Edition

1. What were the most home runs Reggie Jackson hit in one year?

2. What were the most TD passes Joe Montana threw in one season?

3. Did Dave Winfield ever win the MVP?

4. What was the highest batting average Babe Ruth hit for in a season?

5. Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain hold the top18 seasons in RPG? Who's got the 19th spot?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Further Look At Posada And Montero

Last week, I wrote that the Yankees should sit Jorge Posada and bring up uber-prospect Jesus Montero to take over the full-time DH role. And I got raked over the coals for it. One week later, I’d like to take a look at the proposal once again.

Some suggested that the Yankees were fine with Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones as the DH platoon. I implied that Chavez was an injury waiting to happen and that Jones was a shell of his former self. Since then, Chavez has...wait for it...gotten injured. And Jones has been 1 for 9. If fact, Jones has been 3 for his last 20 and hasn’t had a home run since April 5th. He’s batting .231 against lefties and isn’t producing anywhere near where the Yankees had hoped. Who knows when Chavez will get back?

When the article was written, Posada had had a nice couple of days in Detroit. But since then, Jorge has gone 1 for 15 with 5 strikeouts. He hasn’t had a hit vs. a lefty all season.

Another criticism I got is that I quoted Posada’s BA from last year, but not his OPS+. OK, let’s take a look at Posada’s stats—all of them. Posada has struck out 26 times in 27 games. He’s batting .111 with runners in scoring position. His WAR of -0.4 is 10th worst in baseball. His K% of 28.3 is 24th in all of baseball. His BABIP of .138 is by far the worst in baseball. The next worse: Johnny Gomes with .190—52 points higher.

One last geek stat: out of 580 players, www.baseballprospectus.com had Posada rated 554th in the Value Over Replacement Player. Andruw Jones was 429th.

Meanwhile, Jesus Montero has been in a bit of a slump—he is only 6 for 18 lately...which is below his .337 BA—7th in the International league. He has a .768 OPS, which rises to a whopping 1.133 against lefties. (As I said before, Posada hasn’t gotten a hit off of a lefty this season.)

OK, you don’t think the Yankees should bring up Montero to be their full-time DH/part time catcher, then fine. So what do we do with Posada? The guy is cooked—he’s a 39-year old catcher whose body is shot. If Posada’s poor performance goes on much longer, the Yankees should be ashamed of themselves for letting one of the Core Four go out in such an embarrassing style.

So who do we play as a DH? One option is to rotate the DH, with Jeter and Rodriguez getting the bulk of the days and using Nunez more, but Jeter would hate that and it would embarrass the both of them in very damaging style. Another option is the Jones—Chavez split, but as we’ve said before, Chavez is once again injured and Jones is underwhelming at best.

Lastly, the Yankees could do what they always do; trade young talent for a veteran another team doesn’t want anymore. (Did you notice Mark Melancon has a 1.62 ERA?) That could work, but who could they get to fill the DH role in the middle of the Yankee lineup—I’ve heard Alfonso Soriano is for grabs? How about Carlos Lee? And whom do we surrender for the new DH?

The Yankees are decidedly middle of the pack with their .252 BA. Their superior slugging has gotten them this far, but come October, the Yankees are going to also need to know how to manufacture runs as well as club the ball.

To that end and for my part, bringing up Jesus Montero makes sense—the kid can just plain rake. And having him hit everyday and get accustomed to big league pitching, while easing him into the catching role slowly (playing him once a week there or so), again just makes sense. Trade Cervelli or Molina or both? Sure go ahead. Neither of them is Yogi Berra, so get what you can for them, and start grooming the kid.

Anyone have better options, let’s hear them.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Transactions....

You've probably seen it by now, but Andrew Bynam's foul while the Lakers were down 30 points in the 4th quarter in last night's game, then his subsequent shirt tossing—punkest move I've seen for a long time. Just a complete jerk move. First off, why do you take off your shirt—Bynam, you're not ripped—you just look like a punk. And second, why when you are down 30, do you have to throw an elbow into a defensive point guard's chest. Classless move. Hope the NBA suspends you for your blatant cheap shot for half of next season.

After a start where his fastballs were slogging down in the upper 80s, Joba Chamberlain's pitches are consistently hitting 95. Hope as the weather warms it goes even higher to the 98-99 range, back to where they were when he first came up.

One of the most underrated players in the NBA. Al Horford of the Hawks. Watch how he plays. Does a lot of the dirty work, setting screens, extending plays with tips. Dude shoots 56% for the regular season, then ups that to 78% in the playoffs. Also ups his rebounds to over 10 for the postseason and has almost 4 apg a game in the playoffs. Dude is an underrated man.
 
More and more baseball insiders see Albert Pujols staying in St. Louis after the season. The prevailing wisdom is that the big market teams, Philadelphia, the Yankees and Mets and Boston all have 1st basemen they like. I'd like to remind them that the Cubs have 80 million coming off the books this offseason and another 30 the season after. And sure Prince Fielder might be cheaper, but A) Fielder is just not the player Pujols is and B) screwing the Cardinals might be too much fun for the Cubs to pass up the chance. I think Pujols stays in St. Louis as well, but don't count out a massive offer from the Cubs.

Gotta admit, I did not see the Marlins top starting 3 of Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez and Ricky Nolasco combing for an 8-2 record and pushing the team to a 20-13 record. Johnson, sure, you expect it from him. But Sanchez and especially Nolasco, who knew? Those 3 guys could be a thorn in the side of the Phillies all summer and make the NL East a fun race down the stretch.

CFN.com has started its offseason team-by-team breakdown and preview with the Texas Longhorns and then going on to every BCS team from there—one a day. A good read even if you aren't a fan of the particular team that day. Good stuff. But still, I have to say, the best name I've heard in a while, Texas Longhorn running back Fozzy Whittaker. Waka, waka waka.

Nobody is happier that Jeter is doing well lately, but let's just wait until saying he's back until we get a little more evidence. yesterday's homers cam on fat pitches that weren't inside and not exactly hard heat. until he can consistently get the bat on the ball on fastballs, I'll reserve my judgement.

Everyone keeps waiting for the Indians to come back to earth...and they haven't. They are 8-2 in their last 10. And that includes a west coast trip. And big congrats to Travis Hafner for finally making back from all those injuries and returning to the player he once was. Way to endure, Pronk.

This is a nice read—the All-Under 22 team. Check out Bob Feller's 1940 season. 320 IP! 31 CG! And check out Jimmie Fox's 1929 season—batted .354, 33 HRs. But Foxx didn't even get one vote for the MVP award. What the hell?

And lastly....check out David Price's home run trot. Too bad we won't see it too much.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Five

Hall of Fame Edition!!

1. Which team did Tom Seaver put on his Hall of Fame plaque?

2. Which team did Sparky Anderson put on his Hall of Fame plaque?

3. How about Reggie Jackson?

4. And Carlton Fisk?

5. And, last...the oft-traveled Gaylord Perry?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Sell-Out of ESPN

Watching those stupid new Kenny Mayne/Erin Andrews Diet Mountain Dew commercials rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't know why, but they bugged me. So when I tried to find it on YouTube this morning to watch it again, I found like, a jillion Kenny Mayne commercials. For not only Mountain Dew (which I haven't had since I was eight), but for Progressive insurance, Gillette Fusion ProGlide razor, and the kicker, D-2 TopFlight golf balls.

It's bad enough when supposed impartial journalists go on TV to show their preference for Applebee's or Southwest Airlines or Audi but when they actually start to hawk things that they would actually cover, then it goes to far.

ESPN covers golf, so why should on their employees promote one golf ball over another? It's bias. And when Erin Andrews hawks Reebok, doesn't that imply that SportsCenter's coverage involving Nike would be biased.

Which is exactly what happened. In a recent ombudsman report on ESPN, Kelly McBride and Regina McCombs write this:
ESPN's approach toward endorsements came under intense scrutiny earlier this year when Reebok rolled out its Andrews campaign two weeks after she reported on traction issues with Nike cleats during the Rose Bowl.
Jeez. Isn't that a coincidence? Andrews reports that Nike cleats weren't working well at a game, and 2 weeks later, she's appearing in ads for Reebok. Wow.

Kelly McBride and Regina McCombs then quote the irascible New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick to show why mixing sports reporters with product endorsement is a bad idea. As usual, he puts it in his understated way.
"Nike, as if they and ESPN didn't know, is the largest steamroller among the sneaker cartel that has infiltrated, penetrated, dominated and eviscerated U.S. high school and college sports," Mushnick wrote. "But it's not as if [Lee] Corso, Herbstreit and Fowler would have any reason to report on any of that, ya know? And it's not as if Nike would have any reason to pay them off, ya know?"
Which is exactly what happened with Andrews and her Reebok endorsement. And even if Andrews is innocent and it was all a coincidence, it doesn't matter. The appearance of impropriety taints any journalistic integrity ESPN has left. (Which, after their attempt at a Barry Bonds reality show, is at an all-time low.)

McBride and McCombs continue:
For example, why can't anyone at ESPN, even an analyst, take a contract from a college or professional team? Because ESPN likely covers that team. It's challenging enough to create a perception of fairness during a game broadcast (That's probably the chief complaint in the mailbag: "ESPN folks hate Team X or Team Y, my team.") But it would be even harder to maintain credibility in the face of a perceived conflict of interest when the stakes get higher.
What if a player dies because an unreasonable coach bullied him into running too far in the August heat? Or an athletic program covers up the criminal activity of its star athletes? ESPN puts such restrictions into the endorsement guidelines because it recognizes that it would strain trust among the audience if even one person were perceived to be "on a team's payroll."
And this is not the first issue facing ESPN about favoritism. ESPN corporate sent a "Do Not Report" memo regarding the Ben Roethlisberger rape case. Reasons abound for their decision not to report it—their excuse was ridiculous and not even worthy to reprint—but its been speculated that if they ran with the story, they would be penalized financially. And who might be in a position to do that? Somebody who might be heavily financially involved with ESPN. The NFL perhaps?

Or as Mike Francesa said:

“Bottom line is ESPN is extremely protective of athletes, especially the ones that do commercials with them. … ESPN, when they are in bed with athletes, they just protect them. We know that. That’s nothing new.”
Naturally, when brought the fact that sports reporters selling shoes or golf balls is inappropriate—or that ESPN reports its news with favoritism towards certain parties and shows favoritism, the reporters got indignant.

"My loyalties are always to ESPN and the job and to basketball," said Jay Bilas, a former Duke basketball player and coach and a longtime network analyst. "I do this because I love basketball. When someone asks me a question, my job is to provide a factual basis for my opinion."
Right. So how about this?  ESPN decides to quash a story that looked bad to the King of its ratings? Loyalties indeed.

Maybe this isn't big news. And maybe most fans don't care. But if ESPN wants people to take them seriously—Sports Reporters, Outside the Lines, etc—they need to have to project at least a muon of impartiality in its sports reporting. And their reporters shouldn't have a whiff of favoritism—to Reebok, Nike or whomever.

You're the worldwide leader in sports. And your sports news show is your flagship. Keep it clean.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Time For Posada To Sit

This is Jorge Posada’s last year in a Yankee uniform as a player—there's no doubt of that. Someday he might make a nice coach, tutoring young catchers and using his stubborn fiery personality to put rookies through their paces. But as an everyday starter, he’s done.

Here in the beginning of May, Posada is batting .150. He has a miniscule .244 OBP and a 74 OPS+. And despite words from Girardi to the contrary, Posada is not looking better at the plate. Yes he did hit 2 meatballs from Justin Verlander, but once Verlander left the game, Posada struck out twice—once with men on 2nd and 3rd, the other time with runners on 1st and 3rd.

Right now the Yankees are in first and can cover Posada because the team as a whole is playing good ball. The Yankees team batting average is down, but their slugging percentage leads the AL and they have 9 more HRs than any other team in the AL. Over the long haul, however—once the season enters the dog days and the Red Sox come back and the Yankees are in a real pennant race, can the Yankees afford to hide Posada in their lineup?

And this is not new news. Posada batted .248 last year. After last year the Yankees brain trust decided to move Posada to full-time DH in an attempt to get him more rest and save his body so he could be fresher at the plate. That hasn’t worked.

Frankly, there is no masking the fact that Posada is 39 and has taken years of battering as a catcher. And the fact that it's taken its toll is self-evident in his play.

And it’s not the fact that he has to “adjust” to being a DH...please. That’s a load of bunk. And its not that he starts slow, ala Mark Teixeira, he doesn’t—over his career, Posada has hit more HRs in April than in any other month, and has batted .271 in April over his career (including this year).

Could this be an extended slump? Sure, anything is possible. But look at the hard facts. You have a 39-year-old catcher who moved to DH, after batting .248 the year before. And in 90 plate appearances over 23 games, said player is bating .150 and has easily had the worst start of his career.

Lucky for Jorge, Derek Jeter is struggling as well—and the Yankee poster boy has taken the attention off his awful start.

Still, when you look at the body of evidence, there's one conclusion. It’s time to sit Jorge Posada. It’s time to bring up Jesus Montero.

After last night’s AAA game, where he went 3 for 5, Montero is batting .373. He’s proven all he needs to down in AAA, t least hitting-wise. And coming up and filling the DH position, the pressure to catch and control a pitching staff is off his shoulders. He can concentrate on adjusting to major league pitching. And Girardi can work him in behind the plate in spot games and in low pressure situations to get him acclimated. But as stated before, the boy can hit and its time to bring him up.

Jorge Posada has 5 rings and has etched his name along the great Yankee catchers of Berra, Dickey and Howard. He has a puncher’s chance at the Hall of Fame. It’s been a great career. But now is the end his time as an everyday player. It’s time to sit Jorge.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Transactions....

Chris Carter introducing himself to Boise State
Love the Greg McElroy pick by the Jets. He will eventually become a nice no. 2 behind Sanchez.

That said, I'm not sure how they passed on Chris Carter in the 5th round. Carter was a great force at Fresno State, ran a 4.58/40 yard dash, had 11 sacks—7th in the nation—and had 16.5 TFL. He was projected to go in the 3rd round and you had him there sitting in the 5th. And the Jets desperately need a OLB rush linebacker, which is where Carter projects to. Jeremey Kerley is a tiny wide receiver for a AB, Sanchez who's not exactly accurate. And here's Kerley's review in CFN.com

It’s one thing to put a nail in Wyoming’s coffin, but he’s not fast enough make anything big happen on a regular basis in the NFL. He’s quick and can be used as a return man, but he’ll be a disappointing receiver who’ll only be a No. 3.
Just great.

Good to see Brett Gardner working out of his early slump—batting .545 in the last 7 days with a 1.182 slugging percentage and a 1.888 OPS.

And hey, I was very much against the Granderson for Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy trade, and I still feel it was a lot to give up—especially with Kennedy pitching at a 3.93 ERA this year—but credit where credit is due. Curtis is playing really well lately. A 160 OPS+, a .281 BA and 8 HRs. Keep it up Grandy. And great work by hitting coach, Kevin Long. Derek Jeter, are you paying attention—Long can actually help you with your swing. Do what he says.

That foul call on Paul Pierce was a terrible call. Just a terrible call.

My early selection for the team with the best draft selection: The Giants. They got Prince at 19, when most said he would go in the top 12. DT Marvin Austin is a first round talent—taken deep in the 2nd. WR Jerrel Jernigan and OT James Brewer were all expected to go higher and both fill needs. Overall a great draft.

With King Felix pitching a 3.21 ERA, Michael Pineda throwing a 2.01 and Doug Fister throwing a 2.70, how the heck are the Mariners 3 games under .500. Well, i guess it has something to do with them in second to last place in almost every batting statistic—Thanks you Twins! Seriously, with that kind of pitching, which you don't see often, you need to win.

So....Twins. Did you organize a meeting and decide that everyone on the team will have the worst yea of their career? Seriously: Delmon Young, .228 BA, Alexi Casilla, .190 BA, Justin Morneau 225 BA,  Michael Cuddyer .226 BA, Jim Thome .214 BA. Last year, the Tins had a team BA of .273, 3rd best in the AL. What the heck happened?

It's really time to leave the program you supposedly love, Jim.
Completely sucks that BC linebacker Mark Herzlich didn't get selected. I have a feeling he's going to regain some more of his athleticism and make teams pay for not taking him.

I feel terrible about the Phil Hughes situation. No 24 year old, with such a promising future should have the circulation problem he's having. Here's hoping he can make it all the way back. The Yankees sure need him.

Just out of curiosity's sake, take a look at the crazy article over at the Hardball Times. It's The Worst Day By Hall of Famers. Fun read.

Jimmy....it's time to step down.

And finally....no better story than this.