Wednesday, February 22, 2006

We've Got the News. We've Got the Spec-U-La-Tion

Okay, time to try something new. The one thing I want to avoid this season is writing about the Yankees five days a week. True, this is technically a Yankees blog, hence I should focus on them. And I will, trust me. But I’d rather write thought out, in depth articles (which I’ll have time to comb over before I post) about them two or three times a week than force something out every day and become stale and repetitive. I also don’t want to limit my postings to those, so I need something on the non-Yankees days.

Solution No. 1: my buddy Charlie Hustle has signed on as an author and will be providing commentary and analysis on the NFL off-season, among other sports topics. My only warning is that he’s a Minnesotan, and that you might be hearing a bit more about the Twins and Vikes than you’re used to at the Sporting Brews.

Solution No. 2: Rounding up three or four of the top news and speculation stories from the day and adding my brand of commentary. So let’s get a movin’ on this one today while the gettins are good.


Rangers Sign Durazo to Minor League Deal
I’m very surprised that no one picked up Durazo prior to yesterday. There may be concerns about his surgically repaired elbow, but it shouldn’t have taken this long for him to catch on. He may be a liability in the field, but surely he will thrive in a part time role. Even though his batting average prior to 2004 was never impressive, Durazo has always possessed a penchant for getting on base and hammering the ball a little bit.

The only doubt in my mind is that Billy Beane knows something that the rest of us don’t. He let Durazo walk this winter following his surgery, only to take an enormous risk with the Frank Thomas signing. I’m not equating the skill of Durazo to that of Thomas, but I believe that giving Durazo 400 AB is a slightly lesser risk than giving them to The Big Hurt. There’s just too much injury history for my liking.

There were some Yankees fans singing Durazo’s praises this winter, hoping the team would take a flier on him. Problem is, as it was with many off-season targets, he provides zero roster flexibility. Beyond DHing, Durazo can play first, but he actually may be worse than Giambi. And to award him a roster spot would be to use him as the backup first baseman, which would be detrimental to the late innings defensive switch. Plus, we already have a DH who can’t play the field.

Honestly, I don’t see Durazo breaking camp with the Rangers. They’re still overstacked in the outfield with Kevin Mench, Laynce Nix, Gary Matthews, Brad Wilkerson, and David Dellucci, and also have Phil Nevin as their DH. Barring injury or a trade (or two), Durazo may be begging for work come April. Though a solid WBC performance for Mexico could up his stock a bit.


Flash Not Fond of New York Media
Boy do I dislike Bill Madden, so reading this column was kind of a pain. But the punchline came early, so all I had to do was skim the rest of it.

"I don't want to hear about you guys missing me," Gordon said. "That's a lot of --- after all the abuse I took from you. You guys wanted Farnsworth? You got him!"

Who said we’re missing Flash? I for one am very excited to see how Farnsworth works out. And quite frankly, I was glad to see Flash go. He may have pitched well during his tenure in New York, but 1) his arm is about to fall off and 2) he sucked when there was actual pressure on him.

What gets me most about this outburst is the middle of the quote, “after all the abuse I took from you.” Aw, Fwashy, are you gonna go cry to momma about it? Everyone in New York gets abused, but you don’t see them crying about it. You think Flash got it hard, look at what the media did to A-Rod and Giambi. Hell, even Randy was more prominently lambasted than Gordon was. This all goes to proving a point: Gordon could never be a huge success in New York, and he’ll find no such success in Philly as a closer. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if he retired following this year.

Prior Disagrees With Media
We can expect stories like this for years to come. Amidst reports that he has an ailing shoulder, Mark Prior has issued a denial of the allegations, saying that he’ll begin his throwing regimen in a few days.

Of course, if he isn’t cleared to throw off a mound now, the media has a right to speculate. He isn’t exactly known for staying healthy, so a complication like this – especially involving the shoulder – is a gateway for speculation. And since he hasn’t thrown off a mound yet, Prior’s only recourse is to deny, deny, deny.

I want to believe that he’s healthy and will maintain that throughout the season. The linked article makes him seem likeable, as his comments came with a side of candor. He rebuffed talks about looking weak and sick by saying, “I don’t tan well,” and also riffed on Donovan McNabb’s 2005 season as somewhat of a parallel to his situation. Unfortunately, the past isn’t much of a help to Prior’s case, and I think that I may ultimately be disappointed as Prior hits the DL at some point this season.

And in lesser speculation…

Manny to the Mets? SHUT UP ALREADY!
I debated whether I should link to this article, since it’s the same old mumbo jumbo. Yes, Manny would be a great fit with the Mets. He’d be a great fit with plenty of teams. But you know what? You know what team he fits best with? Yes, the Boston Red Sox.

I’ll say it now: Manny is not leaving before July, maybe June if the times become dire. He’s too integral to the Red Sox offense this year to be discarded for Lastings Milledge and Philip Humber. And by dealing those two prospects – possibly among other chips – the Mets are effectively mortgaging their future. If they’ve learned anything from their cross-town rivals, it’s that selling off prospects to an extent, but if you trade everyone, the system takes years to rebuild.

So not only would the Mets have to trade their two remaining prospects, but they also don’t have a prime rebuilding chip this year, as their first-round pick was sent to Philly for the Billy Wagner signing. Oh, this is looking more like the Yankees by the day.