Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Yankees Right To Continue Their Scorched A-Rod Policy

Shortly after MLB handed him his 162-game suspension last year, Alex Rodriguez embarked on a scorched-earth policy. Claiming innocence for what was probably the 100th time, he set out to sue everyone and everybody in his path, including his own union.

This policy was the furthest thing from anyone's mind after his 2009 mea culpa, in which he said to everyone, "Judge me from here on out."  That day, the Yankees put together a formal press conference on the grounds of their spring training complex, where he was surrounded by team personnel and had his teammates in attendance.

Rodriguez recently asked for another formal mea culpa. The Yankees said no.  He also declared his intentions to be the starting 3B.  Chase Headley let them say no.  He made it clear that he wants to be an everyday player.  The acquisition of Garrett Jones gave them another opportunity to say no. Now they are (rightfully) trying to say no to something else: his milestone home run bonuses.

No. It's a very simple word. It's also a very powerful one. A hot one. A burning one. It is the Yankees' Scorched A-Rod Policy.  Fans who think he's being shafted need to go back and read the first two paragraphs of this post.  Alex Rodriguez deserves everything the Yankees have coming to him.

Get off A-Rod's bandwagon, guys. It's about to go up in flames.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Another Bad Visual For Alex Rodriguez

We're a little over a month away from the Yankees welcoming back the mistake that is Alex Rodriguez.  However, it seems as if A-Rod can't wait until then to make himself look bad. There is a post over at Hardball Talk that links to a San Francisco Chronicle article about whom he is currently working out with: Barry Bonds.

Yes, Major Leaguers like Dexter Fowler and Michael Morse have also worked out at the same facility, which is owned by a friend and ex-college teammate of Bonds. However, Fowler and Morse have no PED connections (that we know if). Even if A-Rod is now clean as a whistle, being seen working out with Bonds just doesn't look right. It's a bad optic. A bad visual.

This development really should surprise no one. A-Rod cares nothing of visuals, as demonstrated by his attempt to hang out with Yuri Sucart, his now-estranged cousin, a few years ago on a west coast road trip. He is in his own little world. It is a world he believes he's allowing the rest of to live in.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Dodgers, The Nationals & The 2015 World Series

This year's Major League Baseball season gets under way on Sunday April 5, 2015, and online bookmaker Betfair has already priced up this exciting competition. The Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals have been put in as the 15/2 joint favourites, and both sides are likely to be popular with punters in the ante post market. The Dodgers have won successive West Division titles but were defeated in four games to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Division Series. Manager Don Mattingly will be keen for his side to improve on that showing, and I fancy the Dodgers to be involved at the business end of the 2015 season. Whether they are quite good enough to make it all the way to the World Series is open to question, but the arrival of Brandon McCarthy and Brett Anderson will certainly aid their chances of success. As far as the Washington Nationals are concerned, two East Division title wins in the last three years would suggest that they should also have sound claims when it comes to the 2015 Major league baseball season.

Having been known as the Montreal Expos until 2005, the Nationals are the only franchise in the National league to have not played in a World Series, and the fans will be hoping this set of players can put that right this year. Following their division title victory last season, the Washington National’s campaign was ended by the San Francisco Giants in the National League Division series, where they went down by a score of 3-1. This was the very first postseason encounter between the Nationals and Giants, and the experience gained during those matches could well help the side during the upcoming MLB season

Another side that must enter calculation when it comes to 2015 World Series are the Detroit Tigers. It has been reported this week that the Tigers look unlikely to re-sign Max Scherzer and while that news may come as a bit of a blow, Detroit are still a team who look capable of challenging for top honours in 2015. The odds compilers at betfair.com make the four time World Series winners 10/1 shots to add a fifth title to their record this season, and they are fair value as far as I’m concerned. Having won the last three Central Division titles, the Detroit Tigers are likely to give backers a good run for their money, and make a bold bid for the World Series crown.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Yankees' Coaching Staff, Willie Randolph & Misplaced Nostalgia

The Yankees will have almost an entirely new coaching staff this year, and Willie Randolph will not be part of it.

From the team's press release:

The New York Yankees today announced Joe Girardi's coaches for the 2015 season, with Jeff Pentland (hitting), Joe Espada (third base) and Alan Cockrell (assistant hitting) joining the staff. Larry Rothschild (pitching) and Gary Tuck (bullpen) will each return to the roles they served in 2014, while Rob Thomson will now be the club's bench coach and Tony Pena will serve as first base coach.

Lots of fans in Yankees Universe were sad to find out that Randolph will not be a part of the staff.  Randolph himself expressed disappointment in not be selected.

It is sad, and Randolph is right to be disappointed.  He was a fan favorite and, as far as I've heard, he is a very good coach. However, a lot of this angst is nothing more than misplaced nostalgia.  It happens every time a Yankee gets or doesn't get something, like getting (or, not getting) re-signed by the team, or getting (or, not getting) into the Hall of Fame. Do the names Andy Pettitte and Don Mattingly ring a bell? What about Jorge Posada, whom fans were up in arms about when the team told him he couldn't catch anymore?

Nostalgia is fun, but a lot of fans mistakenly believe that having former Yankees around almost guarantees another World Series Championship.  It doesn't.

We don't know (and, may never know) why Randolph wasn't hired this year.  However, it doesn't mean that the Yankees are doomed to failure.  Let's welcome the new coaches and wish them and the entire staff well for the upcoming season.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

On the 2015 Baseball Hall Of Fame Election

The Stephen Drew re-signing seems to be hanging over all our heads like a loose brick. (Why, Brian? Why?) Until the Yankees actually confirm it, I'm not going to believe it. I'm going to focus, instead, on yesterday's Hall Of Fame announcement.

Congratulations to the inductees: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and my birthday brother, Craig Biggio.  Eight former Yankees appeared on the ballot, resulting in the following:

Tim Raines, 55%
Roger Clemens, 37.5%
Mike Mussina, 24.6%
Gary Sheffield, 11.7%
Don Mattingly, 9.1%
Aaron Boone, 0.4%
Tom Gordon, 0.4%
Tony Clark, 0

It was Mattingly's final appearance on the regular ballot. He will now be at the mercy of the Expansion Era Committee.  He still won't get in, nor does he deserve to.

Boone received two votes. Really? An ALCS-winning walk-off homer warrants two HOF votes? The same applies for Tom Gordon. It makes no sense.

Sheffield and Clemens: Need I say more? If there is more than suspicion, you shouldn't be let in.

Though I don't believe Mussina deserves to be inducted, he did deserve more than the 135 votes he got, simply because he pitched in the same era that guys like Sheffield and Clemens played in.

As for Tim Raines, anyone who didn't vote for him should have his head examined.  However, wouldn't it be great if he got in the same year as his buddy Derek Jeter?  (Are you listening, Expansion Era Committee?)

Once, again, congratulations to the inductees. Better luck next year to all the rest.

Friday, January 2, 2015

And Then There Was One: Yankees Trade Banuelos To Braves

The "Killer B's," comprised of Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman, were once the future of starting pitching for the New York Yankees. Of the three, Banuelos seemed to have the most potential. I, myself, could have bet that, though he was younger than the other two, Manny Banuelos would be the first to have success on a Major League mound.

Well, we all know how the story ended: Brackman is out of baseball. Betances is probably in line to be the next Yankees closer. Manny Banuelos is now an Atlanta Brave, after never regaining his form following Tommy John Surgery in 2012.

It's just another example of how inexact a science scouting is. An older example involves the late Mario Cuomo, who served as New York's governor for many years.  Cuomo, who passed away yesterday at the age of 82, played baseball in his youth, and received a larger pro signing bonus than Mickey Mantle. Of course, we all know how that story ended as well.

Though the Yankee chapter has ended, the story of the career of Manny Banuelos has not.  He will have a chance to re-invent himself in Atlanta.  As a Yankee fan who waited years for his MLB career to begin, it will be very hard to watch from afar if that re-invention is a success.

Meanwhile, with the addition of David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve, the Yankee bullpen appears firmly solidified.  That is a good thing, considering how uncertain things are with the starting rotation. 

We'll see just how solid and/or uncertain they both are in less than two months.