Friday, August 29, 2008

Thank You Jason (Not Mustached One Either)

So Jason Stark has pointed at what the chances of the Yankees making the playoffs are. 2.3 %. You almost have a better chance of being struck by ligntning, twice, then seeing the Yankees make the playoffs. They would need to go on a run that they have not had since 1998 when they won 114 regular season games.

2.3% is still a chance but it doesnt seem likely. Jason Stark has pretty much shown us Yankee fans that yesterday was just a tease and that the 2008 playoffs are almost improbable.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Answer: 4 yrs 60 Million

Earlier in the week, we at the Eliassportsblog asked you to vote and comment on which pitcher you would give a 4 yr 60 million dollar contract (15 million a year.) Thank you for all the votes and keep them coming in as the seaosn winds down. These guys will all get, could get, or currently get more then that but this seems to be a fair contract to a pitcher. Not crazy money (20 million a year) and a fair length (4 yrs.) A team would be lucky to have any of these pitchers and none of them are the wrong choice.

Our finalist were: Carlos Zambrano, Brandon Webb, CC Sabathia, Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay, and Johan Santanna.

In reverse order here is our pick for the pitcher who most deserves this contract:

6) Carlos Zambrano- The Cubs know who their ace is. Zambrano was supposed to be the third best pitcher out of their big three (Kerry Wood and Mark Prior). But he has proven to be the only durable and big time pitcher out of the group. He is a workhorse who goes over 200 innings and year. He strikeouts out a lot of guys, is a perennial all-star and can even swing the stick pretty well. He just isn't at the level of the other five guys.

5) Johan Santana- Johan has had another dominant season. He is putting together another year with an ERA under 3.50 and trying to help the Mets to the playoffs. The two strikes against Johan is the fact that until recently he seemed content with going 6 or 7 innings and turning it over to the bullpen. An ace of a team should go out there and throw 9 innings when needed and he just doesn't seem to want to do that. Another strike against him is his size. How much longer can he be an elite starter. He will likely break down by the end of the third year of this contract (hypothetical) and might be a shell of himself by the final year. Think he gives up a lot of homeruns now? Wait till the 2012.

4) Tim Lincecum- In two years Tim Lincecum will probably be the number one pitcher in baseball. But I want to see him do it for another year or two before I crown him the best in baseball. His stuff is electric and he knows how to pitch. His size leaves a question mark as to can he withstand a long healthy major league career. But his mechanics look flawless and hopefully he wont suffer and injuries.

3) Brandon Webb- Webb will pick up his 2nd Cy Young in three years. He has added a new pitch every year to go along with his devastating sinker. He has the drive to improve and looks like he can be dominant for years to come.

2) CC Sabathia- Sabathia knows he will get more money then this contract in the offseason. He has been amazing for the Brewers and has completly owned the National League. He is the perfect age to get this contract. He throws hard, has great offspead pitches, and can eat up innings. The only two strikes against him are: his size (he eats a lot more then 200 innings a year). Who knows what he will weigh when raking in the big bucks. And two when asked the same question Steve Phillips picked Sabathia. We all know his track record.

1) Roy Halladay- Over the last six to seven years Halladay has been the best pitcher in baseball. He is a lost treasure in Toronto. If only he could get a chance to show his skills on a playoff contender. He can go out and throw a complete game any night of the week. He has eight this year, some teams probably havent had eight complete games in the last decade. He is a throwback pitcher who stays relatively healthy (last year he had an appendix removed but thats not a baseball injury.) Halladay could pitch on my team any day (and probably will when he is 38, as that is the Yankee track record.)

-Your thoughts/ comments?

Everytime You Think You Are Out They Pull You Back

Heading home from Yankee Stadium Wednesday night I had finally convinced myself the season was over. No sooner had Dustin Pedroia connected on a grand slam to make it 11-2 my mind was made up. In fact I was up and out of my seat on the way home before that ball even landed. I was even convinced that they were going to get swept in the final Yankee-Red Sox series in the current stadium. I had even told a Red Sox fan congrats on winning the wild card.

As I headed to the Stadium today, I only hoped for a well played game and a win. I just didnt want to see another double digit slaughter by the Sox. I am heading to Florida this week and figured that this was a good time to get away and not worry about the Yankees for a week. They would be 8 games out with 29 to play and just swept by the Red Sox.

But with a couple Giambi swings everything seemed to change. The Stadium had a weird feeling all day, it was almost like the fans were expecting the Yankees to lose. Down 2-0 heading into the 7th things looked bleak. It looked like another game where the Yankee bats would fail them, which is the same script that has been followed for the first 120+ games. Cody Ransom's double with two outs looked like a meaningless hit. And when Girardi brought in the Big G to pinch hit to face Hideki Okajima I had my doubts. I was even questioning the move (I had no faith in Giambi.) But the Big G ran into an Okajima fastball and crushed it to leftcenter and the Stadium was rocking again. The fans were looking for something to chear about and Giambi's 27th homerun was what they needed. He had stopped the final nail into the coffin from being hit (for now.) And then with the bases loaded Giambi lined an 0-2 Jonathan Papelbum pitch to centerfield to send everyone home happy. The Yankees had a huge weight lifted off their shoulder.

This win pulled me back into the season. I was ready to watch them play out the string. I would still watch every game just not live and die with every pitch. But now 6 games back with 29 to play seems slightly do-able. Crazier things have happened. This is a big momentum game that the Yankees can possibly build on. It would be easy as they face Burnett and Halladay this weekend and only have 7 games with teams under 500. Maybe they are done and this was one last good feeling for the 2008 season, maybe this was just a tease, but the Rockies won something like 18 straight games last year to reach the post-season, why cant the Yankees. You have to believe in a team led by Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

As I was riding the 4 train home all I could think was "I thought I was out but they pulled me back in."

Breaking News- Beckett to Alabama

Josh Beckett has been scratched from Fridays start vs the Whitesox and is being sent to Dr. James Andrews office in Alabama. He will be checked out there and Buster Onley has reported his status for the rest of the season is up in the air.

Dr. James Andrews are the three scariest words in baseball (other then Red Sox Win). It is a phrase no team/fan/player ever want to hear.

You never want to see someone hurt and I am only reporting this not trying to make fun of the Red Sox. I hate it anytime someone gets hurt and people celebrate. This is not good news for baseball. As a fan you want to see your team beat their opponents at full strength not a dilluted version.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Unfamiliar Position

The New York Yankees will find themselves in a very unfamiliar position. They are now nothing more then 200 million dollar spoilers. They have been knocked from playoff contention (not matchematically but they need to go 25-5 to have a shot.) Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will miss the playoffs for the first time in their careers. The Yankees are now no better then the Royals/ Pirates/ Nationals for the final 30 games of the season. They are irrelevant in the baseball world. It is something that has not been experienced in over 14 years.

There will be plenty of time to reflect on the great moments of the past 14 years and the great run, but right now its time to realize its over and that Jeter and the rest of the team has fallen into depths unknown to them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Do or Die

As everyone knows this Yankee season has been an up and down roller coaster. One week they look dead with no pulse only to quickly change the next week to a team who looks like they can win any type of game that is thrown at them. But those good feelings do not last for long as the teams returns to its listless ways and looking disinterested. Can this team postpone the last game at Yankee Stadium until October or will it officially close Sept 21st as planned?

Well Joe Girardi's team finally has met its crossroad this week. With just 32 games to go and a 5 game deficit the Yankees get a chance at the team who is directly ahead of them. Forget about the first place Rays, they are long gone in the Yankees mind. The Yanks need to focus on their most hated rivals who come to the House that Ruth Built for the final time (unless a one game playoff occurs.) The Red Sox lead when they leave Thursday afternoon will either be 2, 4, 6, or 8. If the deficit increases the Yankees are done. If it is four the season is still on life support as there will only be 29 games to make up the hole. And they will be facing Halladay and Burnett this weekend, two guys who they cant hit. Is four impossible? No as we saw last year with the Mets collapse and the Rockies amazing run anything is possible. But there is a reason those are historic comebacks they do not happen every year or even every ten years. A two game difference and now we are talking about a come back.

Either the beginning of a great comeback or the official beginning of the first meaningless September since 1993 begins tonight vs. Tim Wakefield. It is truly a testament to the Yankees grit that they have managed all the injuries to key players that they are still in this race. But it is also a testament to the awful play of their competitors that they haven't put the kill on a team who has played very mediocre over first five months of the year. It is time for Alex Rodriguez to carry the team over the final month. If he has a big month he could win his second straight MVP award. The team also needs Jason Giambi and Robinson Cano to drive in big runs and get hits with runners in scoring position. Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu need to keep up their hot hitting. Hideki Matsui returning makes the lineup deeper and stronger. And Xavier Nady has handled the pressure of New York beautifully.

As for the pitching the Yankees need to win almost every start that Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte makes. With Carl "American Idle" Pavano, Sidney Ponson, and Darrell Rasner making 60% of the remaining starts Moose and Andy starts are that more important. The bullpen has to be solid and not blow leads.

The pitching has not been the problem, even with all the injuries (Chamberlain and Wang) and ineptitude (Hughes and Kennedy.) If the offense was what it was last year this team would be leading the race. So for that reason these last 32 games are on the offense they need to hit and hit and hit some more to get this team to a 14th straight post-season.

Monday, August 25, 2008

4 yrs/ 60 Million To Spend on Any Pitcher

So I was listening to Mike and Mike on ESPNradio last week and every baseball guest was asked the same question: if you could sign any pitcher to a 4 yr 60 million dollar contract, who do you sign?

There are a lot of pitchers to consider, from veterans like Roy Halladay to young guns like Tim Lincecum everyone is in play. This is an interesting question to think about. Here is a quick list of guys who come to mind who would be in play for this contract: AJ Burnett/ Rich Harden/ Brandon Webb/ Dan Haren/ Cliff Lee/ Johan Santanna/ Josh Beckett/ Roy Halladay/ Tim Lincecum/ Edinson Volquez/ Jake Peavy/ Cole Hamels/ Felix Hernandez/ Carlos Zambrano/ Joba Chamberlain/ Ben Sheets/ Chien-Ming Wang

Lets start by eliminating dominant guys, with great stuff but who are always hurt: AJ Burnett, Jake Peavy, Josh Beckett, Ben Sheets and Rich Harden are out of the discussion.

Cliff Lee is not proven enough. Even though he is starting this year's all-star game last season he was sent to AAA due to ineffectiveness.

Joba Chamberlain/ Edison Volquez/ Felix Hernandez all are very impressive at their young age but they do not have the experience or lasting power so far to show that they are going to be this dominant.

I would put Dan Haren, Chien-Ming Wang and Cole Hamels into the second tier of pitchers. They are not worth the big, big money. They are solid number two pitchers but are not the aces that this contract is for. Even though Wang had the most wins over the last two years he still isn't the ace everyone is looking for.

The Finalists: Johan Santanna/ Brandon Webb/ Roy Halladay/ CC Sabathia/ Carlos Zambrano and Tim Lincecum.

Vote and leave comments on your picks on the Finalists. Our picks will come later.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Golden Thoughts

As the Yankees have an off day, that leaves some time to think about the sport spectacle known as the Olympics that are going on in Beijing to discuss. Leaving the political problems, and underage Chinese girls out of the equation, with these Olympics aside these games have been great and very compelling:

1) The Golden Boy- What more can be said about Michael Phelps? He was amazing and a handled himself perfectly. It was an honor as an American to have someone as amazing as him represent this great country in such a great way. He is arguably the most dominant athlete in the history of sports. Maybe not the best athlete but most dominant. He is definetly in the short list. Here is hoping he can compete in 2012.

2) The Re-Deem Team: This version of Team USA basketball has looked a lot like the 92 Dream Team. They have simply dominated their opponents and re-stored America back to the top. Entering the medal rounds anything less then a Gold would be simply a failure. This group led by Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dewayne Wade has handled this responsibility with great class and dignity. They have made an effort to restore the image of USA Basketball. They have even gone to watch fellow Americans compete, like seeing Michael Phelps go for his record 8th medal.

3) The Human Bolt- Two things come to mind while seeing this race a) Someone in the NFL needs to give this guy a chance. He is 6'5 and runs like the wind. You cant tell me he wouldnt be a great deep threat every sunday
b) This is the sports world we live in but I cant believe the this amazing runner was not on some sort of steroid or HGH. There is no way someone should win a race like that and so convicing. He blew away the best in the world and even coasted to a win. Not only that but he smashed the world record. A win that easy, something cant be right.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Thoughts on Past Week

Sorry for the lack of updates. Between being too upset with the Yankees and studying for a test I havent been able to update the blog. Here are some quick thoughts on recent activities:

1) The Yankees- I dont know where to start with this team. Have they been decimated by injuries? Yes, they have lost two of their top pitchers, plus another guy they were counting on. Plus their franchise catcher and their starting designated hitter. But their recent bad stretch goes beyond the injuries. If they were getting killed every game, I could chalk it up to injuries. But the way they lose is pitiful. They don't hit with runners in scoring position, at all period. That has cost them 10-15 games this year. Suzanne Waldman today said they only needed 10 sac flies over 20 games and they could have won them. They couldnt have been as bad as they were doing if they tried

2) Is Season over? They are not mathematically eliminate, yet. But they most likely are done. However there is a chance they can get hot and pull off a streak of winning 7 of 9 going into the Boston series starting in one week. If they do that, anything can happen. But if the bats don't wake look for them to be pitiful and dusting off their golf clubs earlier then expected.

3) The Jets new engine- I was tired and uninterested in the whole Brett Favre saga, however the turn it made in the last week has got me extremely excited for the 2008 season. I have never been a Favre fan but once the move was made I finally realized the significance. The Jets are RELEVANT. They are probably the most important team to the NFL this year. Evcryone is talking about the Jets now, and in a positive way. Has this ever happened before? I dont think so, at least not since 1969. Jets fans have never been this excited going into a season after losing 12 games the year before.

4) Mad Dog leaving WFAN- Some sad and puzzling news. There will be no more Mike and the Mad Dog show as Chris "Mad Dog" Russo has left WFAN to go on to XM satellite radio. I do not get this move as Russo lacks general sports knowledge. Unless he only talks about Tennis I am not sure how he can handle a sport show on his own everyday. This seems like a mistake for his career, despite the money he will receive. He will now be barely heard from just as Howard Stern has lost a lot of his audience by going to Satellite Radio.
The interesting part of this move is the fact that Chris Russo acted like the players he criticizes daily. He went for the money not for the job that was best for him. He should have practiced what he preaches and stayed in the best situation for him.
Mike and the Mad Dog was a great radio show. It invented the sports talk show format that we all love. It was a must listen everyday and provided hours of entertainment. It will be greatly missed.
Tomorrow some thoughts on the Olympics so far.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Attention 2008 Yankees: There Is No More Space on the DL.

I don't even know where to begin. Normally if the Yanks were 6 out at this point of the season and behind TWO teams for the division I would be throwing things at the TV, or simply refuse to watch. Honestly though, how could you be that mad about this season. I understand that when people point to injuries some see it as an excuse, but you need to draw the line somewhere. The Yankees haven't had one major injury they've had four, and as much as it pains me to say it, with Dr. Andrews in the picture it looks like that number will be five. Here's a review of what they've lost:

Wang: Winningest pitcher in the entire MLB over the last two seasons... out for season.

Posada: Coming off a career year where he finally learned how to hit an offspeed pitch. Handled that pitching staff about as well as anyone could have....out for season.

Matsui: Led the league in hitting, has been nothing but consistently productive since he has arrived despite his slumps where all he does is ground out to 2B. Was well on his way to being most productive outfielder this year.....out for season.

Hughes: Lost a no hitter last year to an injury, came back and was great down the stretch. One of only two Yankee pitchers to throw well during playoffs last year.....pitched with broken ribs and has been out for most of the year.

Joba: All I will say is that if he is seriously hurt they can pack it in for the next 5-10 years.

There is no other team in baseball who could have sustained an injury to their ace, catcher, most productive outfielder and their no. 4 starter, and still be somewhat (barely) in contention for a playoff spot. I know a lot of people will point to the payroll, but those who do that know next to nothing about baseball. Teams have won the world series with huge payrolls and with minuscule ones, so that argument can be thrown out. I don't care what your payroll is, no team can sustain those injuries.

For example let's take the Red Sox who's fans are comparing the Yankees injuries with David Ortiz's poor wrist. Pretend Ortiz was never hurt, and just for arguments sake pretend they never traded Manny. Take Beckett, Varitek (who isn't half the offensive player that Posada is, and while he might be better defensively it is not by enough to make up for his piss poor performance at the plate) and Drew off their team for the same amount of time Wang Posada and Matsui have been out for the Yanks (I didn't take another starter out for the Sox bc Schilling has missed the entire year). Taking Beckett out means Bucholz never had time to go get his hand held in Pawtucket and had to grow a pair at the Major League level. Taking Drew out means Ellsbury has to play everyday and we all know how The Nation feels about that now-a-days seeing as he has been benched for Crisp. If you take Varitek out the entire team supposedly falls apart, which is partly true and partly an excuse for the 2006 season. Now add in all the other injuries like Jeter being out for 15 days, Damon going to the DL, and Arod being on the shelf for a while, or how about Bruney (who was pitching outstanding) being out for 3 months. I know that Lowell was on the DL for a bit, but now on top of that take Youkilis and Pedroia out for two weeks a piece, along with their best relief pitcher (outside of Papelbon) at the time for 3 months, and you have yourself a sub-.500 ballclub. I took the Red Sox as an example not because I dislike them, but because they too have a high payroll. Also, being a Yankee fan I pay a lot of attention to the players on the Sox, so I know what losing those players would mean to that team.

My point isn't that Yankee fans should be content with not making the playoffs, but if that does happen to remember that this isn't the team they meant to put on the field. The team they were supposed to field can be found in the picture at the top of this post. I know that this seems to happen every year with the Yanks as they trot people back and forth from AAA to the Major Leagues in order to try and fill in spots here and there, but it hasn't happened this late in the season.

On to Joba. Simply put: if he is seriously hurt they are completely screwed for a long time. The kid can pitch, plain and simple. He is a smart pitcher who is talking about the economy of pitches at age 23. He is someone who can throw 100 mph but knows how to bring it down and save some for when he needs it (just like Rich Harden, as much as I hate the injury comparison that is begging to be made). If there is any, and I mean even the slightest bit, chance that he could injure himself in the long term if he comes back this season then shut him down. The Yankees have been so careful with Joba to this point and for them to rush him back for a playoff race they are probably going to come up short on anyway is the closest thing to completely brain dead I can fathom. That being said, I don't think there is a chance they would do that.... they're not the Mets (Ryan Church). I really hope he is okay, he is hands down the best homegrown pitcher they have had since Pettite and if he can continue to pitch like he has he will be far better than Pettite. He is a huge fan favorite and the last thing anyone wants to see is his career be plagued by injuries and then compared to Mark Prior.

On to a related, but different topic. I am completely against signing pitchers to these ridiculously long term/high money deals, because not a single one has worked out. But how nice would a rotation of CC, Wang, Joba, Hughes and Moose be next year (if Moose wants to come back)??? Sounds pretty good to me. If there is anyway the Yankees could get an injury discount on Ben Sheets, they should consider that too, although he will most likely get hurt. On the other hand CC is never hurt, and while he does pitch a lot of innings his body type (i.e. FAT) allows a lot of pressure to be taken off his arm. CC is a new type of free agent pitcher. What I mean by that is every knock on the other long term high money pitchers doesn't apply to CC. Santana didn't pitch deep into games, not only does CC pitch deep into games, he is routinely at the top of the league for Complete Games (usually behind Halladay). Barry Zito's velocity, actually all his numbers, were on their way down... CC's have gotten better (minus the first 8 starts of this season), plus no one should have even come . Kevin Brown signed his deal when he was 34 (the Dodgers HAD to be dropping acid), CC just turned 27. Mike Hampton, well he just caught bad luck with injuries, but he is only 5'10" and 180lbs and his name isn't Pedro Martinez so what did you think would happen? lists CC at 6'7" 250lbs....250lbs?????? Yeah ok, maybe with only one foot on the scale. Hopefully Brian Cashman reads this and signs CC based on all of this wonderful research. Getting CC for 7 years (ages 27-35) at 18-20 mil a year is a risk, but shouldn't be grouped with those other guys. And yes, that is him wearing a Yankees hat,

On the next post I will attempt to write about football. I am morally opposed to writing about sports you've never played at least once in your life, but no one is reading this anyway so I'll do some research and give it a shot.

One last thought on the Yankees, they make average (and below average) LHPs look like Sandy Koufax and can someone for the love of God teach Richie Sexson the proper way to swing a bat, even when he hits the ball he looks like he swings only until he makes contact and then forgets that you're supposed to keep going and come through the ball.

Oh yeah, Congrats to the Co-AL player of last week: Xavier Nady.

PS: Nolan Ryan looks like he could still kick somebody's ass.....Watch out Robin Ventura.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Texas Slam Book on (Possibly) Yankees Season

The Yankees 2008 is most likely over following a crushing loss to the Texas Rangers. In a night where the Yankees were poised to get a game on both the Red Sox and Rays they stayed put. And frankly that is not good enough, they need to make up ground every possible chance. Everyday they dont do what they did tonight, its a win for the division leaders and the wildcard leaders. They tick off another game off the schedule and the Yankees have one less day to make up the distance. When you the chasers you cannot afford to stand still you have to make up ground when they lose. It seems there is too much going against the Yankees. Too many injuries and road games vs good teams left on the schedule. And 13 years of hits falling in and now being caught, like Jeters liner to center. The feeling is not good surrounding the Yankees as they have lost about 4 games in the standings in about 6 days.

Yankees Head West Minus Some Hair

As the Yankees embark on an extremely 3 city 10 day 10 game road trip they will be without a major symbol of the team. Jason Giambi's good luck mustache has been shaved off. The luck must have worn out in Giambi's eyes as he has been slumping of late. The 'stache was a symbol of the Yankees good play to end the 1st half and begin the 2nd half. Giambi's resurgence was timed along with the growth of his facial hair. The Yankees even had a Jason Giambi Mustache giveaway before the all-star break to encourage fans to get him into the all-stargame. As Giambi's bat cooled it was time for the 'stache to go. What sort of luck will it bring, we shall see.

Apparently Giambi decided to shave the stache following Mark Texeiras Grandslam Sunday afternoon. The luck must have been reversed as the Yankees rallied for 5 runs and the win.


It seems the stache being gone helped Giambi start the roadtrip out on a good foot. A clean-shaven Giambi stroked a 3-2 single to left center to put Yankees up 1-0 in the first inning of first of 10 games on road.
Its official the stache should have been gone weeks ago. Apologies to the American Mustache Society but the Stache probably shouldnt return for a while. (Or until another slump comes.)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Season on the Brink

The 2008 New York Yankee season is on the verge of spiralling out of control. As they seemed to make all the right moves at the trade deadline and their opponents either stayed pat, the Rays, or got rid of their best hitter, the Red Sox, everyone was basically handing the Yankees one of the two possible entries to the playoffs. Their moves signaled a going for it this year attitude. But hold on not so fast, since Saturdays trade the Yankees have just two wins and five losses. Oh yeah and these losses are at home. With only about 20 home games left each one is very valuable and cannot be thrown away like last night. Two guys they count on have gotten rocked, Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina, while they lost games that they should have won because of the efforts of their four and five starters, Darrell Rasner and Sidney Ponson. The office has reverted back to the first half where they can't hit with RISP or even in general.

They have shown all the signs of a bad team. When they score a lot of runs they get no pitching, like Tuesday night. And when they get good pitching they don't score at all, just like last night. They can't put it all together for more than one week.

It might be time to panic as the Yankees have eight games versus the best team in baseball, the LA Angels of Anaheim. They also embark on a day game road trip that has them going to Texas, Anaheim, and Minnesota. The losing could get out of control. As Texas has gone into a complete rebuilding mode and called up a bunch of new pitchers who the Yankees have never seen. Historically, they usually give the Yankees a lot of trouble. The team will have to return to the west coast a few weeks later as they go to Anaheim again and to Seattle. These are not trips that teams want to have at the end of year.

They must find a way to one of the next two games at home and get some of that good feeling back that they had at this time last week. Only time will tell if all the trades made sense or if they disrupted a good thing. When they return home from this upcoming road trip we will know a lot about what the Yankees are about and if they actually have a chance at making the playoffs or if Sept 21 will be in fact the final day the Yankees play at the House that Ruth Built.

Friday, August 1, 2008

More Thoughts on Manny.

I still cannot believe that the next time the Sox come to the Stadium Manny will not be there. The best way I can put it is that it is a huge relief. Anway, the Sox got absolutely taken on this deal. In the end Boston traded Manny Hansen and Moss for Jason Bay. No one in their right mind would make that trade (enter Tijuana whore house and Tony Reagins). I understand the Red Sox have had enough with Manny being Manny, but they had to either give up less or get more in return for one of the best 3 right handed hitters of this era. That being said lets go to the numbers.

Manny Ramirez's average line is .312/.409/.590 with 40 HR 132 RBI and an OPS+ of 154. Jason Bay's average is .281/.375/.515 with 31HR 102RBI and an OPS+ of 130. Clearly, Manny is past his prime and Bay is in the peak of his career so Manny's numbers are not going to end up at his career average while Bay's numbers are. That being said, Bay will have more RBIs hitting in the potent lineup of the Red Sox. In the end however, who would you rather have up in a big spot down the stretch or in the playoffs, Manny Ramirez or Jason Bay? That's an easy question and if you say Jason Bay then stop being interested in baseball. Also, while Bay may have more RBIs by simply hitting in a better lineup, how is he going to play in Boston where games actually matter. In Pittsburgh no matter what Bay did he would be looked at as far and away the best player on his team (until this year where it is McClouth). Now, in Boston, he is just another above average player who HAS to perform. You could make the argument that Bay is now in Fenway Park where he might morph into a Mike Lowell type player who hits tons of doubles off the green monster. That seems like something that could happen, but he is still not Manny. In addition to all the offensive talk, what has been lost is how well Manny played the green monster and left field at Fenway. Manny, an assclown in any other ballpark, was phenomenal at Fenway. I think the reason for this is Fenway allows for a very lazy LF to be played as long as you play it smart. Manny always seemed to be in the right place (especially when he made that diving cutoff on the throw by Damon a few years back, still the most athletic thing Manny has ever done) when at Fenway and it clearly took him longer than 2 months to learn how to play there. This makes Bay a downgrade on offense as well as defense (at home, definitely not on the road). It's not a huge point, but it is something to think about that no one has even mentioned.

On to the part that I am personally the happiest about. Manny's numbers against the Yankees were beyond outstanding. In 200 games vs. the Yankees (both with Cleveland and Boston) Ramirez put up a stat line of .321/.411/.618 with 55HR 163RBI and an OPS of 1.029. I know that you cant in any way compare that with Jason Bay since Manny has played almost 3x as many games against the Yankees than Bay has played against any team, however, there is no way Bay is going to put up those numbers against the Yanks. How do you trade the player who has routinely pounded your fiercest competitor?

I know that the Sox were tired of Manny's antics, but they have endured 8 years of it and they can't last another 2 months? I mean honestly, in the offseason you could probably trade for Bay for Hansen, Moss and one other solid young player. Personally, I'm tired of hearing how much the Red Sox hated Manny. They didnt hate him when he won the 2004 World Series MVP, they didn't hate him when he hit the walk-off HR against K-Rod last year, but in the middle of a tight 3 team pennant race they decide enough is enough??? I'm sorry but they need to swallow their pride for 2 months and try to repeat as World Series champions.

Another issue is what this does to the Red Sox lineup. Taking Manny out of the lineup and adding Bay severely undercuts the strength of this team. Is it any wonder as to why 2 years ago Ortiz went cold as soon as Manny went down? Or why when J.D. Drew was put into the 3 slot he magically hit a lot better? Or why Mike Lowell had 120 RBIs last year when he only had 100+ twice before? IT'S BECAUSE MANNY WAS IN THE LINEUP. This is not quantum physics people, Manny is a feared hitter and makes every body around him better by simply being in the lineup. Even if he goes 0-4 the 3 hitter still gets a lot better pitches to swing at purely because Manny hits behind them. Who hits 4th now? My guess would be Lowell while Bay hits 5th and Youk 2nd, but who knows. Youk is a hot head and maybe the Sox have had enough of his antics as well.

Bottom line is the Red Sox HAD to get more for Manny. I don't care how badly they wanted to trade him, the Red Sox are an organization who expect to win NOW and are 3 games back in the AL East. They need Manny , and if they were going to trade him they needed to pry an extra bat or better yet, an arm for their desperate bullpen from either the Pirates or Dodgers. Don't get me wrong, I was pissed when they got Gagne last year and we all know how poorly that one turned out even though they still won it all. Bay looks like a downgrade, but teams aren't judged by the trades they make just the games they win.

Yanks got killed tonight and they are probably going to get swept by an Angels team that shouldn't even have to play the rest of the season and should go straight to the playoffs. It's okay though, those 3 games at the end of the season in Boston will be somewhat less stressful without Manny there.