Friday, July 07, 2006

For All You Bored Suckaz At Work

It's Friday at roughly 3:00 p.m., leaving a mere two hours until the weekend. This weekend is especially sweet because it comes off the heels of a three-day workweek. However, doom looms Sunday afternoon; after the 27th out is recorded, we have no Yankees baseball for ::gasp:: FOUR DAYS!

What the hell am I going to do with myself? My bread and butter is sitting down at the computer, running Win Expectancy situations through a computer program, and posting my thoughts here on the Sporting Brews.

Talk trade rumor. That's what I'm going to do. I'll get to it after the jump.

[MORE]Word began spreading today about an impending Shawn Chacon for Joel Piniero trade. If this was MVP Baseball 2004 (or even 2005), this would be a superb trade. However, this is real life, and Joel kinda sorta stinks. Bonus: so does Chacon!

I had e-mailed Jeff of Lookout Landing a month back to get an Ms fan's perspective on Joel's availability and price tag.

Joel would come very, very cheap. At this point I have
difficulty imagining a scenario in which Bavasi
wouldn't just give him away - it's the last year of
his contract, he stinks, and there are more intriguing
options available in AAA. The only reason we haven't
seen Bobby Livingston or Francisco Cruceta get a start
in the Major Leagues is because there hasn't been
space in the rotation. Dealing Pineiro makes space
while also almost certainly making the Mariners a
better team.

Because he has a "proven track record" and should be a
reasonably hot commodity around deadline time, Joel
will probably cost someone a decent prospect - for the
Yankees, maybe a Darrell Rasner or Matt DeSalvo. More
than he's worth, since Joel blows, but not something
that you'll regret five years down the road.

Obviously, Jeff hasn't been keeping up with Mr. DeSalvo, but you get the point. I'd mention something about Gator and Kerrigan working Piniero into a serviceable starter, but it appears they didn't do such a hot job with Chacon. Then again, J-Wriggidy has been surprisingly effective some of the time this season. What this proves, I guess, is that we can't accurately measure the pitching coach's effect on a particular player.

There are two ways of looking at this. First is that Chacon is worthless – a fair assessment at this point – and gaining a 27-year-old who has shown flashes (though not many recently) would at worst be a push and at best be a repeat of Chacon's own situation from last year. The other way to view it is that Chacon has been pitching on an inconsistent basis since returning from the DL, and that he may be able to work out his control problems.

Unfortunately for Chacon, there is a distinct counterargument here. He has always, always, always walked too many batters. Even last year during his magical run, he walked 3.41 per nine, which just won't translate into consistent success. He walked at an even greater rate – 3.81 per nine – in 2003, that season where he went 11-0 and made the All-Star team, followed by an 0-8 record after the break, capped off with a season-ending DL stint. Worse yet, he walked – get this – 7.40 per nine over the course of his lone season in the bullpen, a season in which he had a K/BB ratio of exactly 1.00. So his move to the bullpen may not be the best remedy here.
For the best perspective, I point to his 4.61 BB/9 career mark. I just pointed out two seasons in which he fell below that mark, so you can only imagine the rest of his career. And if you think that 7.40 mark in 2004 inflated his numbers, you're wrong. He pitched only 63.1 innings that year, half of what he pitched in his shortest season as a starter.

Joel? His career BB/9 is a much more manageable 2.56. His career K/9 is 6.19, leaving his K/BB ratio at – I'll wait for you to punch the numbers into the calculator stored in your front pocket – 2.17. Unfortunately, these peripherals are loaded up with pre-2005 numbers, the year that Joel took a header into the shallow end. This year, he's walking 3.21 per nine, which plain scares the shit out of me. The last thing the Yanks need is a guy who issues free passes. We've had too many of them and have fallen victim too many times to let it happen again. But then there's the issue of Chacon being that much worse in the walk department, and you figure you're better off taking on a reclamation project (Joe Kerrigan's forte) than sticking with the guy proven to let men on base for free.

But with Kris Wilson as Sunday's scheduled starter, I don't see this discussion really heating up until after the break. I mean, you want to make sure Chacon is going to be of no use to you before shipping him off, so why not give him a few mop-up innings out of the bullpen this weekend? That is, if there's a mop-up situation.

Wilson v2006 = Small v2005
Piniero v2006 = Chacon v2005

If only it was that simple...

Some AA Thoughts

If only we could figure out that Jeff Karstens character. The not-yet-24-year-old hurled a six-inning gem last night, allowing just a solo homer while striking out five and walking two. He paved the way for J.B. Cox's two frames (four strikeouts, one walk), and Justin Pope's 18th save.

The thing with Karstens and Pope: they both had unsuccessful stints with Columbus this year, but are absolutely dominating in AA. Karstens is now 6-0 and seems to have put his unsightly stint in Ohio behind him. His ERA sits at a tidy 2.31, while walking less than two per nine and maintaining a 4.80 K/BB ratio. He's surely not the answer for our present woes – I wouldn't even send him to Columbus until next year – but he 's young and promising. This means he could help sometime in the future, though the scenario remains likely that he'll be shipped off before the end of the month.

Pope just got hammered in his 12.1 innings in Columbus, allowing 10 runs – three homers – while walking six to match his strikeouts. His K/BB is at 2.25, much more normal than Karstens, but still very respectable. I don't see Pope going anywhere, mainly because I think other teams won't be particularly interested, not when an under the radar guy like Karstens will likely be available.

While we're here talking about Trenton, I should mention Tyler Clippard's resurgence. His ERA still hovers well above 4, but that is mainly the result of too many long balls too early in the season. He's recovered from that ailment, and his ERA should begin to dip, normalizing itself with that 1.09 WHIP he's carrying around.

At this point, I don't think teams will be sniffing around for Clippard. He got off to such a horrible start that we was removed from most prospect lists, though he never became an afterthought to us Yankees prospect geeks. If I'm Cashman, I'm holding out with Clippard, refusing to deal him unless we can package him for Bobby Abreu. In fact, if Pat Gillick is in fact going to gut the team, I'd offer up Duncan and two of Karstens, Pope, or Clippard. He likely wouldn't take that unless he was desperate to sell, which could be the situation if the Brewers and Nationals can successfully unload Carlos Lee and Alfonso Soriano within the next week, week and a half.

On the other hand, why am I advocating the further gutting of our minor league system? You just never know with these young guys, especially lanky guys like the recently 21-year-old Clippard. Sure, you want to land pitching and an outfielder, but do you really want to give up so easily on a guy who was just recently allowed to order a drink?

Does anyone have a more informed opinion of Clippard's true potential and trade value? I know Baseball America doesn't like him at all, but they've snubbed guys who ended up performing well.

Yanks 10, Indians 4

Indian Errors.119Randy.248
Wild Pitch.001

(What's this?)

You wanted Randy, you got Randy. Well, at least for the first six innings and most of the seventh. Yeah, he was a little shaky later on, but the offense had won the game by that point. Obviously, the thought of Randy in a pitcher’s duel at this point still scares me. But I’ll take it, so long as Moose and Wang continue to tow the line.

The biggest disappointment of the night came after flipping to the Sox-Rays game. Down 5-1 in the fifth, I had pretty much counted the Rays out. Much to my delight, they had pulled to within one, 6-5, in the seventh. The Rays stalled in the eighth, and the Red Sox took over from there. Two singles and a walk left David Ortiz at the plate, and at this point I don’t think I even need to say what came next. Fuckin’ Red Sox.

The good news is that we’re heading into a weekend series with the co-last place Devil Rays. Last year’s troubles haven’t made the jump to 2006, as the Yanks have taken four of the first five meetings. As always, two of three would be just grand. The Red Sox are in Chicago, so here’s hoping Guillen’s crew can help us pull to within two games heading into the break.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

M is for Melky and Mussina

Aaron Boone.021

(What's this?)

Sweet, sweet redemption is what the Yanks got last night. The supplier: Melky Cabrera. He walloped the ball all night, allowing Mike Mussina and Co. a little margin for error.

I overheard Michael Kay say something about Mussina being 5-1 following Yankees losses this season. I’m not sure of the exact significance of this stat. Of course it’s important to get a win following a loss, as to not let the loss turn into a losing streak. But isn’t important to get a win every time you go out there? Furthermore, I don’t think this a repeatable stat (though that’s just a hypothesis; I have no research to back up my running mouth). So, uh, I guess it’s good that Moose is picking the team up after losses. I, uh, hope the Yankees continue to lose the games prior to Mussina’s outings so he can, uh, keep winning those games.

[MORE]Kris Wilson, the man touted in this space yesterday, spun two perfect innings in relief. Whether he’ll pitch Sunday on three days rest remains to be seen, but having only worked a pair tonight, I would bet on it. He seems a better choice than Villone, both because he presents more long-term potential as a starter and because Villone is valuable in the bullpen. I’m not saying Wilson is the savior this year, but he should at least get a few starts to prove that he can outpitch Chacon – which isn’t a daunting task at this point.

My wonder is what they’ll do with Chac. His lack of control makes him a liability in the bullpen, and his worst season prior to 2006 was his lone stint in the Rockies ‘pen. It’s unlikely any team would trade for him, given his inflated arbitration value and the fact that he’s not good enough to be a half-season rental. Don’t be surprised if you see Chacon DFAd by mid-August.

(Note: I still like the guy and wish for nothing more than his return to 2005 form. However, evidence is beginning to mount against him, and the Yankees just don’t have time to wait for him to come around – because there’s always the chance he never will.)

Seeking a low-cost alternative to the Sorianos and the Abreus of the trade market, Brian Cashman claimed Aaron Guiel off waivers from the Royals. Now, this sounds terrible at first. In fact, if you didn’t look up Guiel’s stats, you might immediately write off this move as insane. I mean, got released by the freakin’ Royals! However, the circumstances are extenuating. New GM Dayton Moore has no use for the 33-year-old Guiel, as he’s got Reggie Sanders, Joey Gathright, and David DeJesus manning the lawn. I’ve described Guiel as a homeless man’s Adam Dunn – and been ridiculed for it. But they both strike out a lot, walk their share, and hit with some power. Obviously Dunn is the superior player by a few furlongs, but in style they’re comparable. Kinda like when amateur bands compare themselves to Radiohead.

Randy’s going tonight, and understandably that gives some of you the jitters. However, his start against the Mets may have been an aberration, according to’s Jon Heyman:

Here's the real reason Randy Johnson was pounded by the Mets while throwing 97 mph: He was tipping his pitches. "Definitely," one Yankee said, adding that Carlos Delgado is the master at detecting pitch tipping. "I don't know what you're talking about," Delgado said with a smile. "I was on the third-base side. I couldn't see." Delgado was asked whether he'd admit to tipping off teammates to Johnson's tipping, and Delgado responded, "I wouldn't tell you."

Hopefully Heyman’s hit the one on the head. The discrediting point, however, lies in Heyman’s next paragraph, where he speculates that Jeff Weaver may end up back with the Dodgers. Of course, he was traded to the Cardinals yesterday, ostensibly hours after Heyman’s article was published.

Baseball Tonight, which I watched in spurts tonight for the first time since May, noted that historically, the Yankees go on tears after getting ripped like they did on Tuesday. If we can rattle off nine of 10 going into and coming out of the break, I think we should start thinking about getting blown out every once in a while. Think about it: if we get blown out the game before each Mussina start, we’ll be unstoppable! I nominate Chacon to take those starts. He gets killed, we rattle off four straight, he gets blown out again, repeat 32.4 times over the course of a season, and you have 130 wins. Brilliant!

The LPGA Is A Sport, Right?

For the zero readers out there who care about my personal life, I’ve been writing for a local lifestyle magazine for about a month now. It’s nothing exciting: I get an assignment, I call up relevant businesses to solicit advertising, and I beg them to grant me an interview so that I have credible quotes for my story.

Quite honestly, this has become tiresome after just a month. The writing part is great; they allow me plenty of time to research, write, and tinker with my stories. Soliciting advertising, however, has proved quite a detriment. It appears people get slightly peeved when you ask them to spend money, even if their job is to do so.

Before my intro becomes too long-winded, here goes. Everyone in the office knows I’m a sports nut. That much was made apparent during our recent trip to Yankee Stadium. So when a sports assignment came in, it was immediately handed to me. This would have been wildly exciting…had it not been an LPGA assignment.

But hey, it’s sports and it’s a start. While ladies playing golf may not be the most interesting sports subject, it sure beat the shit out of writing about a local chamber of commerce. Press festivities were scheduled for Wednesday, July 5, the day following a glorious (woo hoo!) four-day weekend. My mind would still be on vacation, anyway, so it was nice to know I’d be out of the office.

Upon awakening yesterday morning, one thing sorely stuck out: it was raining like the dickens. Shit, I thought, there goes that plan. Looks like a day of sitting in the office and pretending to cold-call businesses. Could the day get much worse?

I spent the first hour or so like any normal day: diddling around at my desk, reading baseball blogs, and kind-of-sort-of editing my chamber of commerce article. It was much to my surprise that at around 10:15, my boss asked if I was getting ready to leave to cover the Anika Sorenstam press conference.

Me: Uh [Boss], it’s pouring. Are you sure they’re still holding the press-ops?

Boss: Sure they are. They always have tents for the media.

Okay, time to pack up and head out. At very worst, I get there and nothing’s going on, successfully wasting half my day. So I shove off from work, anticipating a day not spent biting off my cuticles.

But my aspirations die about three minutes into my trip. There I sit, dead in traffic. Now, I commute 30 miles a day, which equates to about an hour of travel time, much of which is spent moving inch by inch. But for this to happen at 10:30 a.m. is inexcusable. It can’t be construction, because the New Jersey government has temporarily shut down because they’re all a bunch of faginas. So it must be an accident. Morons.

Thankfully, I have a book sitting on my passenger seat. Catch by Will Leitch (no, seriously, that’s what I was reading in traffic; I’m not just saying that to get a link on Deadspin). I’ll be sure to review it in the coming days.

After crawling along for roughly 40 minutes, I finally come to the culprit: road cones. Apparently, they were left there from last week’s roadwork project, and since the government is in shutdown, they aren’t about to go out of their ways to remove them. Unless the cones are the exact size of devastating potholes, I see no reason for their obstruction of traffic.

Finally, I reach my destination. The Jeep rolled up the gravel paths with ease, but there is one thing insurmountable even to the King of Off-Road Vehicles: the security guy. He oh so kindly pointed out that I lacked a media parking pass, and therefore had to park a mile away in the general admission lot. Wonderful.

What he failed to mention was that the general lot was basically a grass field, muddied by the torrential downpour of the morning. One step out of the Jeep, and my shoes were instantly ruined. A look at my watch reveals that it’s 12:15, making me an hour late for Sorenstam’s press conference. Surely its over by now. And, as if things couldn’t get any worse, I’m stuck walking through the gravel and mud to the shuttle bus. All this for women’s golf – AND THEY’RE NOT EVEN PLAYING TODAY!

At this point, I’m surprised I even have a media pass. I’ve been given no real instruction other than to take notes on the press conference, so when I finally get to the festivities, I’m just wandering around. It’s humid, and sweat is rolling down my back. Worse yet, I’m by myself, as the office didn’t deem it appropriate to pair me with a cameraman. And the worst: I have to wear one of those retarded looking media badges. There is nothing dorkier than hanging a badge from your neck. I should know; I’m King Dork.

After confirming that I had in fact missed the press conference, I strolled over to the media center where I conveniently find transcripts not only of Sorenstam’s media dealings, but also those of three other golfers of whom I’ve never heard. Maybe they’ll have something interesting to say…wait, they’re athletes. Of course they don’t.

Since my prime objective is now moot, I begin Task No. 2: searching for hot media tail. Having interned at a TV station that will remain nameless and working at no less than two college newspapers, I know that there’s plenty of potential. And, not to my dismay, I quickly notice a tall blond honey headed for the media building. I’m feeling a bit hungry, so I slowly make my way to the same destination.

A closer look reveals that this chick has the goods. 36-24-36 with ravishing blue eyes. According to her badge, she’s working with CBS. This makes me a bit jealous, since CBS rejected me a few months back. But she doesn’t appear to be with the television station, since she’s with a still photographer. I debate for a second introducing myself as a Sports Illustrated writer, but it appears that everyone from a real media outlet has a real identification card, unlike me, who is stuck with the generic media badge.

The buffet lunch is just a room to my left, but hot reporter heads down for the driving ranges, sans cameraman. If there is ever going to be a chance, this is it. So I head down there, scrawling down sarcastic notes to myself as to not look like I’m stalking the girl. I get to within 20 feet of her, but stop immediately in my tracks. From that distance, I can see a glimmer emanating from her left ring finger. Engaged/married! Foiled again! All the sudden, that buffet is sounding better.

Lunch voucher in hand, I reenter the media building where I’m swiftly distracted by a dark-skinned brunette. I imagine her name is Maria; I also imagine I’ll never find out for sure. She as well is the bearer of a diamond, but that doesn’t stop me from glancing her way every five or six seconds.

Apparently, they’ve never heard of meat on the LPGA, because I’m not finding any of it in the buffet. I’m not a huge veggie fan, but I get by with them. However, I do not particularly like jambalayas of cold vegetables, especially when they’ve been sitting around all day. But I’m pretty hungry and am forced to sustain myself on bread, butter, Rice Krispies treats, and cookies. What I wouldn’t give for a hot dog right now (well, I wouldn’t give up $5, which is what they are going for in the pro shop).

After lunch, I’m forced to come to the sad conclusion that there’s just nothing to see here. There are various players practicing their driving, chipping and putting, but how interesting is that? I mean, they don’t even have nameplates. Don’t they know that no normal person can identify a female golfer not named Michelle Wie?

Speaking of Wie, there she is! No, wait, that’s just another Asian.

Resigned to the fact that I’m getting nothing accomplished by being here, but still not ready to sit in the office, I head back to the media building. Shockingly, not only do I find out that I have a seat with the rest of the media, but I’m next to a guy from The New York Times, a publication for which I wouldn’t mind writing. John Branch is the writer, though I honestly have never heard of him. That doesn’t stop me from trying to pick his brain, but he seems far too focused on his story to give me any usable advice.

I’m about to bite the bullet and return to the office, but decide to check out the driving range one last time. And, much to my delight, there is yet another radiantly beautiful woman checking out the action. She’s just my type: short, a little junk in the trunk, and…golf shoes? She’s a player? It can’t be. I mean, this would be nearly unprecedented. I don’t think I know of any hot (and legal) female golfers. The taller, older dude accompanying her wears a Pro-Am badge, so there is a distinct possibility that she’s an “Am.” There’s a greater possibility that I’ll never find out for sure. Usually I’d have more balls than this, especially when I’ve definitively determined that there’s no ring on her finger. But there’s something intimidating about approaching a girl with her golf coach.

Let’s recap. Over the course of my abbreviated day, I took particular notice to three females, two of whom bore engagement rings. The other was being watched by a father figure. So why were these women inaccessible? It’s simple supply and demand, my friends. Both sports and the media are both male-heavy industries. Beyond on-air talent, hot women are rarities, even as they continue to fill more and more jobs. Obviously there’s a high demand for hot women, who are in short supply. Hence, most of these women will be taken. It makes me hate economics just a little bit more.

My solution…well, I don’t really have one. As far as I know, this ends my time covering the LPGA. The actual match play begins today, but who the hell wants to cover that? Everyone knows that the interesting stuff comes from the players mouths, not from their swings. Hell, they should probably cancel the tournament. After all, the players were already interviewed, thus ending all things interesting about sports.

But if I was to cover the triviality that is the match, I’d be sticking to hitting on the event staff. At least they’re not surrounded by sweaty, sex-deprived men all day.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Score Unprintable

No way I’m running last night’s game through the WE tracker. Maybe on a day that I’m more bored and more stoned, but definitely not today.

I think we’re beyond the realm of doubt now: Shawn Chacon isn’t going to cut it in 2006. His second half performance in 2005 had us all wondering if he could repeat, but the answer is an apparent no. In order for the Yanks to have a fighting chance at the postseason this year, Cashman’s No. 1 priority must be the acquisition of a No. 3 or No. 4 starter. Too bad there won’t be any available.

The only question that remains now is if Chacon will indeed make the final start of the first half. While it would be nice to see him on normal rest, I don’t think it’s a risk the Yanks can really take now. There are two possible outcomes, neither of which is beneficial to the team. First is that he bombs, in which case they would have been better off calling up Steve White (or even possibly, if he’s no longer hurt, starting Darrell Rasner). The second is that he pitches well, which would only be giving the team false hope.

All this considered, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chacon DFAd in the near future. He’s completely untradeable, both because he stinks and because he has one more year of arbitration at which he’s currently commanding $3.6 mil. At $1 mil, he’s a project for a team with patience. At $3.6 mil, he’s a veritable bust. Surely someone would pick him off the waiver wire, probably before Boston would get their chance.

I nominate Kris Wilson to take Chacon’s next start. In 92 innings at Columbus, he’s the owner of a 2.84 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. This is in addition to excellent peripherals: 7.14 K/9, 1.47 BB/9, 0.39 HR/9, and 4.87 K/BB. He may be 29, but that’s no reason to write him off. If Aaron Small can put it together for half a season, surely Wilson can.

A younger option would be 25-year-old Steven White, but I would think the Yanks consider him more of a trading chip than this year’s answer. It wouldn’t hurt to take a look, but a floundering appearance could erase all potential trade value.

Not only did the starting pitching problem rear its ugly head tonight, but the bullpen is waving red flags of its own. Working two innings of mop-up was Scott Proctor, who was believed in April to be the 7th inning man. Unfortunately, Torre, per protocol, overused him and has left him completely ineffective. Whether some time off can heal Proctor’s woes remains to be seen, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to get a breather any time soon.

T.J. Beam, once the hurler of 38 consecutive scoreless innings this year for Trenton, also hit the wall yesterday, allowing six runs over 2/3 of an inning. I fully expect his demotion tomorrow, with Jose Veras coming up as a replacement. I don’t mind this so much, as I’m willing to be patient with Beam. Send him back to Columbus, allow him to regain his dominating form, and try, try again next year. Or even later this year, if the situation is appropriate.

On the plus side in the bullpen, Ron Villone pulled his ERA under two with his 2.2 scoreless innings. Now, if the starters could only go deeper into games, Villone could be putting away the seventh inning rather than the second, third and fourth.

And I know that the bats haven’t been as lively lately. But with quality pitching, you can overcome the occasional lineup failure. These guys are going to score runs; it’s just a matter of the pitchers picking up for off-days. And vice versa.

Man, am I tired.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Yankees Notes

It’s the 4th, and by all means I shouldn’t be posting today. As a 24-year-old, I should be out at a barbecue, slugging down a few cold ones and preparing to watch the Germany-Italy match later on. But there have been a few developments in Yankeeland that I figure I should cover.

  • Henn Moving to Bullpen
    Lefty Sean Henn, once regarded as one of the team's top pitching prospects, has been moved from the rotation to relief at Triple-A Columbus.

    Cashman said while Henn still had the potential to be a back-of-the-rotation starter, he could help the Yankees down the stretch as a reliever because of his 93-95 mph fastball.

    A very astute move by Cashman. I’ve been moving for Henn’s conversion to the bullpen since his cups of coffee last year. To this point, Henn’s minor league experience, right down to the elbow surgery, has been similar to that of Mariano Rivera, though I’ll cease making comparisons at this point. When Scott Proctor finally breaks down, Henn could be an adequate step-in.

  • Roberto Hernandez??
    With the Yankees hoping to improve their bullpen by the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, one name that figures to come up in conversations is 41-year-old Roberto Hernandez, whom the Pirates are telling people will be shopped around the league.

    The Yankees expressed interest in Hernandez last offseason, but the former Mets righthander shunned them to sign a one-year, $2.75-million deal with the Pirates because he didn't know where he'd fit in the Yankee bullpen. He has a 2.43 ERA in 37 innings.

    He’s a half-year rental, so I don’t have a problem if the price is cheap. No, wait, I do have a problem: HE SIGNED WITH THE PIRATES OVER THE YANKS! This is a guy who was in the midst of a pennant race last season with the Mets, and instead of returning there or signing with the Yankees – both poised for playoff runs – he inked a deal with the Pirates, who were basically guaranteed futility.

    I’m not questioning his ability, as he’s proven to be reliable (he allowed more than one run only thrice last season). I’m questioning his ability to keep it together in the Bronx. Unless Cashman smells desperation, I’d just say no to this one.

  • This is what I like to see from our young arms:

    Pitchers IP H R ER HR BB SO
    Philip Hughes 4.2 2 0 0 0 2 9
    J.B. Cox 2.1 0 0 0 0 0 1

  • Anyone who is even remotely buying into this A-Rod to the Cubs rumor is way too obsessed with the trade deadline. Only an idiot would deal A-Rod to the Cubs without receiving Carlos Zambrano in return, and I somehow doubt Jim Hendry wants to deal his 24-year-old ace. Then again, Zambrano’s name was never mentioned in the rumor. Instead, the compensation package was said to be – get this – Aramis Ramirez.

    Ramirez: .255/.312/.477
    A-Rod: .285/.394/.522

    Yeah, let’s swap them. Grand idea!

    If you are a proponent of this trade, I’ll just assume you’re either 12 years old or don’t watch baseball.

  • I’ve been harping on this subject for some time now, but since I’m posting random notes, I figure I’ll get back to it. Why is Andy Phillips not playing second base in Robinson Cano’s absence? This would allow Carlos Pena to get a shot to prove his worth as well as remove Nick Green and Miguel Cairo from the everyday lineup. With the bench having been an egregious problem in the last few years, you’d think Cashman would be actively seeking guys who can fill in for a few days and come off the bench as a pinch hitter. Something tells me Nick Green and his sub-.100 batting average isn’t going to do the trick. They already blew it with Erubiel Durazo, who was granted his release a few days ago. I pray they don’t make the same non-evaluatory mistake with Pena.

    (Please note that this does not take away from Greeny’s performance Sunday night. That gets all cheers from this end.)

  • I don’t like to get my hopes up with injuries, especially injuries to small muscle/bone groups. With both Sheffield and Matsui out with wrist injuries, it seems the safe bet would be the acquisition of a Craig Wilson-esque outfielder and hoping that you get one of the two back for September. However, the initial reports on the team’s corner outfielders looks favorable.

    George King on Matsui:
    Hideki Matsui's goal of returning from a fractured right wrist by the middle of August took a step in the right direction yesterday.

    Matsui was examined by Dr. Melvin Rosenwasser, who operated on Matsui on May 12. Rosenwasser told the left fielder the bones were fusing and the injury was progressing well. Rosenwasser told Matsui to continue his daily workouts and wanted more X-rays taken in two weeks.

    The only issue I have with this report is that it came from the always unreliable King. But it appears that he’s reporting facts from Matsui’s doctor, which gives me a bit more faith.

    Sheffield is equally as confident of a return.
    "My doctor told me that once [the cast] comes off, [I'm] not going to realize the injury was there. That's the words I wanted to hear."

    Sheffield, who is in the final year of his deal with the Yankees, wants to play three more years. His eyes are locked on a September return.

    "If I can have a full September, I can go into the playoffs ready to go and I can be myself," Sheffield said. "[The doctor] said, 'When you come back, you're going to be better than ever. You're not even going to notice it.' Anytime you get surgery, that's what you want to hear."

    That’s what you want to hear, indeed, Sheff.