Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Best Yankee-Related Holiday Story Ever? Best Yankee-Related Holiday Story Ever

It appears New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman isn't afraid of heights.

The Stamford Downtown Special Services District has announced Cashman will join this year's Heights and Lights event as a celebrity guest elf, accompanying Santa Claus on a 22-floor rappel the Landmark Building.

"Brian Cashman will be there with smiles and his Yankee jacket, rappelling," said Sandy Goldstein, director of the DSSD.

Cashman, who lives in Darien, mentioned at a DSSD fundraiser this summer that he would be interested in participating, Goldstein said.

"He mentioned something about wanting to rappel," she said. "What could be better than having a star rappel?"

The Yankees general manager will warm up for the weekend's rappel at a rehearsal Friday morning....  Santa and Cashman will kick off the holiday season in Stamford Sunday, when they step off the Landmark building's ledge at 4:30 p.m. Music performed by local students and a fireworks display will accompany the rappel.

The DSSD is keeping the details of Cashman's elf costume under wraps for now.

"This is going to be a surprise for all," Goldstein said. "Will he be an elf in Yankee clothing or a Yankee in elf clothing? You've got to come Sunday night to find out."(courtesy of The Stamford Advocate)

HO.  LEE.  CRAP!!!  If this story doesn't get you in the holiday spirit, then you're a bigger bah-humbug, Grinchy asshat than Casey Close.  Brian Cashman.  Dressed up as some sort of Yankee-elf hybrid.  Rappelling down the side of a building as Santa Clause.

These people could charge $5,000 a ticket to this event and I would still go see it.  I love Cash, but let's be honest, he is rather elf-like in his appearance already.  Sure he could stand to smile more and have rosier cheeks, but the stature is there.  The fact that the Stamford DSSD has waited this long to have what should be their favorite native son participate in this event is mind-boggling.

Please, please, PLEASE, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If there is anybody out there that actually reads this blog on a daily basis and has the means to get to the Landmark building in Stamford, Connecticut this Sunday at 4:30, for the love of everything that is good and righteous, please attend and take pictures of this.  I need to see Brian Cashman rappelling down the side of a building dressed as an elf.  I HAVE to see Brian Cashman rappelling down the side of a building dressed as an elf.    If I can actually get a picture of this happening, I don't think I would even care if the Yankees didn't end up signing Jeter and Cliff Lee.  I don't have incurable cancer or any terminal disease, but think of this of my dying Christmas wish.  Get me a picture.

P.S.- If you didn't think I was going to have Duckson Photoshop this then you are outside you're mind.


Belated Happy B-Day To The One Even More Almighty Than The Almighty

In my excitement to discuss The Jesus' birthday on Sunday, it slipped my mind that the single greatest person in the history of people doing any one singular job incredibly well also celebrating his birthday soon.  Luckily, fellow blogger and friend of AB4AR, Rasheeda Cooper of Bomber Boulevard, was smart enough to alert me to that and so before The Sandman comes on over to shut my lights out I will pay him the proper respect and wish him a happy birthday as well.

The man is 41, ladies and gentlemen, and still at the top of his game in professional sports, which is unheard of.  He's also reportedly close to re-upping with the Yankees by the end of the winter meetings, most likely for a one or two-year deal worth $17-18 mil a year.  In typical Mo fashion, he's just quietly going about his business and getting shit done.

(Photo used courtesy of River Ave. Blues)

Yes, the Jesus' birthday is a momentous occasion that deserves its proper recognition.  But as the above picture states, without Mo there would be no Jesus.  So even though it's a day late, it's still probably in my best interests to acknowledge and pay my proper respects to the Great One.

The Single Greatest Quote I Have Heard All Year

Stop the voting!  Close the polls!  It's all over!  The winner of the 2010 "Best Line of The Year" goes to the "source" close to the Yankee-Jeter talks who stated that the talks were going to stop until Jeter and Casey Close "Drink the reality potion."

Read that again.  "Drink the reality potion." I consider myself a pretty solid wordsmith, but even I couldn't come up with something as perfectly accurate, appropriate, and hilarious as that simple 4-word statement to describe this situation.  It's brilliant.

Now I don't know what the reality potion is.  My guess would be it has to involve alcohol because everybody knows the truth comes out when you're drunk and truth and reality go hand-in-hand.  So drink up, Derek, and don't be afraid to pass that bottle over to your boy, Double-C.  We've got to get these negotiations a-movin' again and have to get them going in a direction that is much more in touch with reality.

(Swanny Duckson strikes again with the Photoshoppiness)

Monday, November 29, 2010

AB4AR's 2010 Yankee Team Awards

Am I a month too late with these?  Yes, yes I am.  But have I been ahead of the curve on the Jeter negotiations?  Yes, yes I have.  Gotta take the good with the bad, people.  And here are the winners:

MVP- Robinson Cano: The numbers, the awards, the consistency, the effortless fluidity of his game, the recognition from the media (finally), and the overall awesomeness.  It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Cano stepped out of the box to play a little jazz trumpet during an at-bat next season.  He's that fucking good and that fucking cool.

/wishes I were actually Robinson Cano

Cy Young- Andy Pettitte: Maybe I'm taking CC for granted here, but my vote for team Cy Young would go to Andy.  His numbers are equal to or better than CC's across the board except for strikeouts, and he would have finished somewhere around 18-19 wins if he played the whole season. Earlier in the year when CC was scuffling, Andy was the team's de facto ace and stopper, and since the AB4AR voting criteria includes the postseason and Andy was the only starter to pitch worth a damn in the postseason, he gets the nod.

Coach of The Year- Kevin Long: Since there is only one manager, we'll open up that award to whole coaching staff.  And if you do that, there really isn't any competition for Long.  Eiland's crew was hit-or-miss, Harkey's boys spit the bit in the postseason, and Joe kept his nose in his matchup book too many times to do actual managing, so it's Long's for the taking.  His preseason work with Cano and Swish set them up for big years and his in-season work with Teix, C-Grand, A-Rod, Jeter, and Berkman produced positive results across the board.

Rookie of The Year- Ivan Nova: He showed flashes of brilliance in his outings both as a reliever and a starter and could be the team's 5th starter to open 2011 if Andy decides to hang 'em up.  His stuff is above average, his approach is mature beyond his years, he just needs some more time and more experience to hone his craft and work on mixing his pitches up the 2nd and 3rd time through the order.  A lot of people aren't as high on Nova as I am (as evidenced by my turning him into a member of AB4AR Photoshop Club) but he was the best of the bunch of rookies who all played minor roles this year and I think he could see some drastic improvement next year working with Larry Rothschild.

Comeback Player of The Year- Boone Logan: Not in the traditional sense of the award, since Logan came back from a Triple-A demotion earlier in the year, but after his return to the bullpen on July 17th, Logan was light years better than he was earlier in the year, locking down the LOOGY role and making everybody all but forget about Damaso Marte.  A 25-game runless streak wasn't too shabby either.

Most Improved Player- Nick Swisher: After working extensively with Kevin Long in the offseason, Swisher came into camp in 2010 a new man with a new approach at the plate.  All he did with that new approach in 2010 was improve on what had been his best career year in 2009 by setting new career highs in at-bats, hits, triples, batting average, and OPS, while also putting up 91 R, 33 2B, 29 HR, and 89 RBI.  Swish excelled in multiple spots in the lineup and continued to play solid defense in right.  This season was the final step in the evolution of Swish into a complete, All-Star-caliber player.

Best Roster Move- Kerry Wood Trade: The AB4AR version of Executive of The Year, this award goes to Cash for his pilfering of Kerry Wood from the Indians for Andrew Shive and Matt Cusick.  All Wood did after becoming a Yankee was post a 0.69 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 26 innings while striking out 31 and ending the merry-go-round that had become the 8th-inning setup role.  8 innings of 2-run ball in the playoffs was pretty good too, especially considering what the rest of the 'pen did.

Least Valuable Player- A.J. Burnett: He had a lot of competition with Javy's awful year and Nick Johnson's no-show, but with the money invested in him and the fact that he started the season as the #2 starter, this award has to go to A.J.  We've already beaten the all-time, Yankee history-horrible stats to death so we'll spare A.J. here on that.  But I will take time out to kindly inform A.J. that if he thinks that team actually has faith in him because of Cash's visit before Thanksgiving then he's an idiot.  If the team had faith in him, Cash wouldn't have wasted his holiday time with his family to come to A.J.'s home to tell him so.  He probably did it to make sure A.J. hadn't killed himself.

So there you have it.  Congratulations to all the winners (except A.J.).  And hopefully all of you who didn't win this year use that snub as motivation for 2011.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy Birthday To The Chosen One

I know that for most people Jesus' birthday is on December 25, which is still a few weeks away.  But any good Yankee fan knows that the REAL Jesus is celebrating his 21st birthday today.

So with that in mind, AB4AR would like to wish Jesus a happy birthday and once again announce that we can't wait to see him in pinstripes next season.  Hopefully he enjoys his first night of legal drinking.  He already has a leg up on the rest of us since he can turn water into wine.  That's gotta cut down on the bar tab at the end of the night.

The Grinch Who's Stealing Christmas

Casey Close, you are now public enemy number 1 in Yankeeland.  And I say that because I still believe, like any other logical Yankee fan would, that you're the one behind all these insane demands and unnecessary comments about the negotiations and not Derek Jeter.  Jeter has been a model of class since Day 1 in a Yankee uniform, so I still refuse to believe that he is honestly sitting there in his home, Minka by his side, completely flabbergasted and insulted by the Yankees initial offer and I refuse even more to believe that he would actually demand and think he is worth a 6-year, $150 million contract.

Now if Close honestly thought that the 3-year/$45 mil offer by the Yankees was baffling and a lowball deal, that's fine.  He's an agent and it's his job to get as much for his client as his possibly can.  And as much as I'd like Jeter to sign on the line for 3 and 45, I always knew in the back of my mind that the final offer was going to be more than that, probably somewhere around 4 years/ $75-80 mil.  But to publicly dismiss the Yankee offer as a slap in the face and then counter with 6 years/ $150 million is so out of the realm of basic logic and mental health that is makes me concerned for his well being.  The Yankees haven't wavered from their plan in these negotiations, and that plan falls right in line with how they have operated since Cash took full control in '08.  Close has done nothing but make the Yankees look like the good guys and he and his client, the most beloved Yankee since Thurman Munson, look like the bad guys and the greedy guys.

5 years/ 100 mil, OK, I can live with that.  It's a respectable counter offer and gets both sides closer to what would be the middle ground of 4/80.  But to take the Yankee offer and triple it for twice the years?  That's not only insulting to the Yankee management and their intelligence, but also insulting to every other player on the Yankees who was more productive than Jeter last year and will be more productive than him next year.  If Jeter is worth $25 million a year then Nick Swisher is probably worth $35-40 million and Robbie Cano is worth $50 million at least.  To quote Gob from "Arrested Development," "COME ON!!"

I'm sure Jeter has stayed out of the media in these negotiations to keep up his image as a team-first guy.  Any statement he makes regarding either of the offers makes him look like he's in it for himself and that's not what he's about, so he's in a tough spot as far as commenting on the proceedings goes.  But with the way this has gotten real ugly real fast, Jeter needs to come out and make a statement now.  The longer he waits and the longer he lets Close run him into the ground with the way he's handling the situation, the more and more it makes Jeter look like he's on board with Close and makes it look like Jeter actually wants $25 million a year for 6 years.  That kind of ignorant, arrogant greed is the type of thing associated with the A-Rods of the world and Jeter has never been one to get lumped in with guys like that. 

I don't want to have to turn against Jeter and the rest of the Yankee fanbase doesn't want to either, but that's where Casey Close is taking this negotiation and Jeter needs to get off the sidelines and do/say something to get these talks back on track and get a deal done that both sides are happy with before any more mud gets slung.

And then he might want to fire Close.  Just a thought.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's That Time Again

... To put all the petty crap behind us for a day and just be thankful for what we have, no matter how much or how little it may be.  Every one of us has something we can be thankful for today, for example:

- Derek Jeter and his agent should be thankful that there's a team out there that actually wants to pay him to play shortstop next year.

- Jorge should be thankful that we never have to watch him flub a curveball in the dirt again.

- Joe should be thankful that by the time next season starts he will have a perfectly straight, pearly white smile instead of a 7th grade metal mouth.

- Joba should be thankful that there's no close game situation for him to come into today and give up 4 runs.

- Pretty much everybody that picked up a bat for the Yanks this past season should be thankful for Kevin Long.

And in about a month, Cliff Lee will have 140 million reasons to be thankful.  So you see, people, we can and should be able to find something on this day to be thankful for and we can get back to the Yankee stuff tomorrow.  So find that something, enjoy the time with your family today (even the people you secretly can't stand), raise a glass and toast to whatever it is that you're thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks.  Now start gorging yourselves.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hardball Time For The Holidays

I really don't know what else to say about the Jeter negotiations other than I still love what the Yankees are doing and that everybody who is upset by Cash and Hank's statements and thinks the Yankees should just bend over to Jeter is an idiot.  So instead of reiterating how I love that the Yanks continue to give themselves the upper hand and paint Close into a corner (since he's the one that all these statements are directed at any way, not Jeter), I'll just show this funny picture of Jeter getting brushed back that perfectly captures the current state of these contract talks.

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cano Only 3rd In AL MVP Vote: TRAVESTY!!

By now, I'm sure you know that Josh Hamilton won the AL MVP today and Robbie Cano finished a distant 3rd.  And if you didn't know that, then shame on you because it makes you a bad sports fan and, more importantly, a bad Yankee fan.  Now Hamilton winning I'm OK with.  The guy had a monster year for what turned out to be the best team in the AL and even though he missed a month he still managed to lead the league in many key categories, including WAR.

But Cano finishing 3rd behind Miguel Cabrera is an absolute joke.  Without standing up on my soap box for too long, here's the argument.  Cabrera put up big numbers from a traditional power position while playing marginal defense at best for a team that was out of the playoff race in mid-summer.  Cano put up big numbers (although admittedly not as big as Cabrera's) from a position not typically associated with big offensive output while at the same time playing Gold Glove-caliber defense (his GG Award supports that) for a playoff team and ALCS competitor in a year where almost all the other names in his lineup around him suffered down years.

Cano firmly established himself as the best second baseman in baseball and one of the best all-around players and he did it for a better, more successful team.  And he didn't even get one first place vote.  Jose Bautista got one first place vote for Christ's sake and all he did was hit a bunch of phony 'roid-aided HRs for another shitty team.  Cano undoubtedly suffered the fate of having all those other big names next to him on the lineup card every day, which voters saw as evidence against his importance to his team, which is a fucking joke.  Robinson Cano was one of the 5 best players in baseball this year and he deserved to finish behind Hamilton in the voting, with Jose Bautista's first place vote and at least 3 of Cabrera's 5.

(Yes, I'm a huge homer.  But you already knew that.)

Money, It's A Gas

It's all about contracts today, people.  Jeter's contract, Lee's contract, and yes, even Mo's contract.  The wheels are starting to turn a little faster this week and while I still don't expect anybody to be locked up before the winter meetings, everything is moving forward to the eventualities that are Jeter, Lee, and Mo being in pinstripes in 2011.  A quick update on all 3 situations.

- Jeter: Yanks came in with a 3-year/$45 mil offer over the weekend that Jeter's agent called "baffling" given Jeter's legacy and off-the-field value.  He and his client are probably looking for something in the 5-year/$100 mil range, which is completely ludicrous.  The Yanks will probably be willing to go to $20 mil a year if they can keep the years down, which I think they do by making the 4th year optional and putting in performance-related clauses.

- Lee:  Earlier it was reported that the Yanks were expected to offer Lee something in the 5-year/$115-120 million range, and now today there is a story out there that the offer is going to be closer to 6 years/$140 million, which would be a bigger deal than CC got.  Lee and his agent are said to be holding out for a 7th year, but nobody is going to come close to matching 6 for 140 so the Yankees are leading coming around the 2nd corner and pulling away from the competition there.

- Mo: The first words out are that Mo is looking for $18 million beans a year and wants a 2-year deal.  The Yanks are said to only want to offer one year.  If this were Jeter, I would understand their hesitation, but we're talking about the best closer of all time who just came off another season where he was the best closer in baseball.  2 years for Mo isn't that big of a risk considering how he's aged.  I would give him whatever he wanted from a money and years standpoint, but that's just me.

Another interesting contract note; the Tigers signed former Red Sox catcher Victah Mahhtinez to a 4-year/$50 million deal.  A bit surprising that Boston would let him go given the "huge" impact he supposedly had on their clubhouse after his arrival, but I guess when you've got Jerrod Saltalamacchia (don't give a fuck if I spelled that wrong.  He's a Red Sock) as your backup, you feel confident in letting the most productive offensive catcher this side of Joe Mauer walk.  Another brilliant move by Theo.  Now tha Sawx ahh goin' to have to count on they-ah hahht and soul, the immoawtal Dahstin Pedroiah even mo-ah!!

** Quick note for the rest of the week- The computer at my folks' house back in CT is ridiculously slow.  I'm talking "sit and watch your fingernails grow as pages load"- slow so there won't be any links to stories where I'm pulling my info from for the rest of the week.  Go ahead and criticize me for not bring my laptop home, but there was no way I was yanking that thing out at the airport to slow me down even more getting through security when I already had motherfuckers' hands all up in my shit with these pat downs. **

Monday, November 22, 2010

Bee Attack On The Horizon

Andrew Brackman  was already on the 40-man, and after this weekend so is Dellin Betances.  Ladies and gentlemen, the hive is building.  It's only a matter of time before all these hosses are out there on the mound stinging the fuck out of every batter who dares step inside the chalk box.  And the scary part is, Man Ban isn't even on the roster yet.  He's still inside the pupa or chrysalis or whatever the fuck bee larva live in before their born. 

The Yankees weren't dumb enough to trade these guys for Lee last year, so I'm assuming they aren't going to be dumb enough to trade any of them for The Justin Upton or anybody like that.  They see the future.  And the future is bees, or more accurately, B's.  The time is coming my friends, some time next year, probably later in the summer or early in the fall.  You're going to see an infestation of Killer B's on the mound at Yankee Stadium like you've never seen before.

Odds that each of these guys pitches in a Yankee uniform this year:

- Brackman: 2-to-1
- Betances: 8-to-1
- Banuelos: 15-to-1

Bring calamine lotion or an emergency kit if you're allergic, people.

P.S.- Hector Noesi is on the 40-man too.  Check his Minor League stats up to this point and tell me you aren't getting a little lump in your pants somewhere near the groin region.

P.P.S- Bonus point for me for using the word "chrysalis" in a Yankee blog.  I just high fived myself twice for that one.

A Quick Little Pat On The Back

For me, baby!!!  I mean when you're good, you're good.

In case you missed it, the Yankees made their first offer to Jeter over the weekend, for 3 years and $45 million.  And if memory serves me correct, the deal that I said I would offer him would have been for 2 years and $30 mil with a club option for a 3rd year, which comes out to, you guessed it, 3 years and $45 million.  Never mind the fact that the Yanks didn't take my advice and made the 3rd year guaranteed, the important thing is that they recognized the intelligence that I showed in suggesting that shorter deal and took my advice.

At least that's what I'd like to think.  Seriously, when can I turn my genius on this wee little blog into a front office job?  This wasn't the first time I've been right on shit like this and it certainly won't be the last.  You aren't just getting hate lists and F-words here, people.  This is like a window right into the inner workings of Cash's mind right here.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Larry Rothschild: The Right Man For The Job

I was on the record as saying I would not have been a fan of the Yankees promoting Mike Harkey from bullpen coach to pitching coach, but I have to admit I was a little surprised when my old man handed me the sports section of the Saratoga Springs newspaper in the hotel dining room yesterday morning to tell me that the Yanks had hired Larry Rothschild as their pitching coach.  His name hadn't been mentioned at all amongst the list of "leading" candidates so my initial reaction was "Larry Rothschild???  Why him??"  But now that I've had time to read up on Rothschild's coaching history and his interview process with the Yankees, I think he's the perfect man for the job.  Here's why.

1) More strikeouts and fewer walks

Studies by FanGraphs have shown that pitchers under Rothschild tend to strike out more batters and walk fewer.  The Cubs pitchers led the league in strikeouts 7 times under Rothschild from 2002-2010 and set the ML record in 2003.  The Yankee pitchers struck out fewer batters and walked more in 2010 than they did in 2009, with CC and A.J.'s numbers in particular taking big hits.  Combining Rothschild's approach with the Yankee pitchers' stuff could work to improve the staff's K and BB rates in 2011.

2) Repeating deliveries

On his conference call after being hired, Rothschild stressed the importance of being able to repeat your delivery as a pitcher.  He actually spoke more about that point than he did about individual pitchers on the Yankees.  There are plenty of guys on the Yankee staff who have had issues repeating their deliveries, with A.J. and Joba being the 2 most glaring examples, but with CC and Mo also being guys who experienced issues with their deliveries this past season.

3) Track record of success

Rothschild has held many jobs as a Major League coach and has been successful at all of them.  He's been a part of 2 World Series champions (1990 Reds and 1997 Marlins), was the first manager of the Rays and improved their record in each of his 3 years on the job (no easy task when you consider how talent-strapped those teams were), and we've already touched on his success with the Cubs' pitching staff since '02.  He's a smart baseball guy and has the history to back that up, something Dave Eiland never had.  If there's a veteran coach out there who should be able to improve each member of this pitching staff, it's Rothschild.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday News And Notes

- The Yanks are set to make their first contract offer to Derek Jeter before the end of the week.  Indications are it will be for 3 years/ $45 mil and early reports suggest Jeter wants more years while the Yanks are willing to go more money.  And around and around we go...

- While Cash said he wasn't planning on getting anything done at the GM meetings, there have been stories about the Yanks showing interest in lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano and Diamondbacks OF The Justin Upton.  Upton wouldn't be a bad trade at the right price (cough, cough!  Not 2 of the 3 Killer B's and The Jesus), but I have no interest in Feliciano.  If the Yanks want another lefty, get me Randy Choate.

- Marcus Thames could end up in Japan if the Softbank Hawks throw a couple million at him.  Can't say I blame the guy if he leaves, 'cause he ain't getting that kind of money from the Yankees.

- Reports are that Jorge Posada is doing very well after his knee surgery this week.  So we've got CC and Jorge down.  Who's next for a little offseason repair?

- Speaking of CC, we'll know by the end of the day if the mainstream baseball media is still a bunch of idiots if CC wins the Cy Young over Felix Hernandez.  Don't get me wrong, I'm rooting for CC all the way, but if King Felix doesn't win this award then it should be completely done away with.

Traveling home today to handle some family business before the Thanksgiving holiday, so the content will be a little light around here this weekend.  As always, I'll direct everybody to the fantastic trio of LoHud, River Ave. Blues, and TYU for all the best Yankee news and opinions.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Top 10 Most Hated Yankees: Part II

Part I is right here if you're too lazy to scroll down the page a little bit.  Now we're getting into the big-time hate.

5) Kei Igawa- I can't even think about Kei Igawa without getting nauseous.  And then I look at him and before you know it my lunch is on my shoes.  I mean really, just LOOK at this asshole!  It's like Droopy Dog had sex with a hideous Japanese woman with no talent and out popped Baby Kei.  Then you add in the nifty sunglasses he always wore on the mound because the light bothered him and he hated pitching during the day (awwwwwwww!!) and you're looking at quite possibly the goofiest-looking motherfucker to ever disgrace a Major League pitching mound.  And his performance in a Yankee uniform was almost as hideous as his physical appearance.  2-4 record in 13 career starts, a 1.758 career WHIP, 11.2 H/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1.9 HR/9, and a perfectly fitting 6.66 career ERA (the number of the beast seems very appropriate for such an ugly dude).

The good news is Kei Igawa hasn't pitched for the Yankees since 2008.  The bad news is they are still paying his candyass gobs of money on the contract they signed him to in 2007.  It has cost the Yankees $46 mil + to bring this guy into the fold between his posting fee and contract and when all is said and done he will have spent more time in Triple-A than in the Majors.  I don't know what's more maddening, having to actually watch him pitch or seeing his name pop up every spring on the list of non-roster invites to Spring Training, almost like a yearly reminder of the team's stupidity in going after him in the first place.  According to Wikipedia, Igawa enjoys playing "shogi," a Japanese version of chess.  Well I certainly hope you're better at that than pitching, you horse-toothed asscluster.  Don't take it as a racial thing, Kei, but I fucking hate you.

4) Jeff Weaver- Ahh yes, good old Jeff Weaver.  He was A.J. Burnett in pinstripes before A.J. Burnett was A.J. Burnett in pinstripes.  A guy with all the talent in the world and no mental toughness or hair on the old apple bag to back it up, Weaver wilted under the NY pressure almost immediately after he was acquired in 2002 and his pained looks and dugout tantrums were almost as memorable as his shitty pitching.  And how ironic that this picture of him biting his glove in frustration was the exact same thing I was doing every time I had to watch him.

I'll spare Jeff the run through of his stats as a Yank, as there are actually some numbers he has put up for other teams that are worse.  But I will remind him that he cost the team Ted Lilly, and that he gave up the game-losing walk-off 12th HR to Alex Gonzalez in the 2003 World Series, and that somebody actually tried to sell him on eBay during the season in 2003, and that I absolutely hated watching every pitch of every inning of every game he pitched as a Yankee.  The bottom line is the guy was an absolute disaster as a Yankee starting pitcher and the fact that the team even managed to make the World Series in 2003 with him on the roster is a miracle right up there with the menorah lasting 7 days and 7 nights with only 1 day's worth of oil or whatever the hell the Hanukah story is.  Jeff Weaver, I, like many other Yankee and Tiger and Mariner and Dodger and Angel fans, hate you.

3) Javier Vazquez- Javy is an interesting case because out of all the guys on this list (with the exception of Giambi), his numbers as a Yankee really aren't THAT bad.  Sure he sucked this year, but he started off his Yankee career in 2004 with an All-Star appearance.  However, after that it was all downhill.  He sucked for the rest of the 2004 regular season and then sucked in the postseason, culminating the suckiness by giving up a grand slam to Johnny Damon on his first pitch in Game 7 of the ALCS that all but sealed the Yankees' fate in that game.

Now any Yankee fan with half a brain knows that that grand slam wasn't Javy's fault.  But that one pitch has lingered with him ever since he threw it and it was clear from the get go this season that he, like the fans, hadn't forgotten about it.  The most frustrating thing about Javy was his seemingly ignorant, uncaring, indifferent attitude towards his diminished stuff and diminished confidence and his unwillingness to change his approach when what he used to do no longer worked.  It was almost as if he had accepted the fact that he sucked, accepted the fact that he failed, and just went out there on the mound knowing he was going to get shelled and that's not something that I as a fan, former competitor in multiple sports, and current coach, cannot accept.

Javy, you're one of the last of a long line of unsuccessful free agent pitchers brought in by the Yankees and possibly the only one who didn't seem to care about that fact.  And for that, I hate you.

2) Kyle Farnsworth- Jesus Fucking Christ on a Stick, I hate Kyle Farnsworth.  I never wanted him on the team to begin with, I never wanted him to enter a single game after the Yankees did sign him, and every time he was on the mound I was left with nothing but feelings of dread and horror about what he was going to do to blow the game.  And he even looked and acted like a complete asshat the whole time he was with the Yankees, like the big muscly frat guy at every college party who can't handle his Natty Light and just stumbles around talking shit and trying to start fights with everybody.  Even though he isn't Number 1 on this list, if there is one Yankee in all of the team's history that I could kick in the fucking balls, it would be Kyle Farnsworth.

His numbers also actually aren't horrible when you look at them as a whole, but if you watched him pitch you know he accumulated most of his stats against shitty teams in low-leverage situations.  If the Red Sox, Angels, or Tigers were involved, you could bet every cent you had that he was going to shit the bed one way or another.  Some of my most vivid Yankee viewing memories are of my dad and I watching games together and screaming in unison "THROW A FUCKING STRIKE!!" as Farnsworth would enter the game in the 8th and immediately go 3-0 against Julio Lugo or Orlando Cabrera.  Just a big pussy in every sense of the word.  The fact that the Yankees traded him in 2008 for Ivan Rodriguez, a washed up catcher that they didn't really need, tells you everything you need to know about the Kyle Farnsworth Era.

So fuck off, Kyle.  I hate you and I hate your stupid Rec Specs.  I hope you take a line drive right off of them and shards of plastic gouge out your fucking eyeballs.

1) Carl Pavano- Goddamn you, Carl Pavano.  Goddamn you straight to the deepest, darkest, most fiery depths of Hell where you can be raped repeatedly with a re-creation of that spiked strap-on dildo thing that Leland Orser killed the stripper with in Seven (was that too much?).  Another one of the "He spanked us so we must sign him" pitchers that the Yankees threw money at, Pavano's Yankee tenure might be the most frustrating ever.  When he did pitch, he wasn't bad.  But the problem was that HE NEVER FUCKING PITCHED!!!  If it wasn't one injury it was another.  When he was supposed to be coming back from one, he was bringing up other injuries that he had sustained in a car accident and didn't tell the team about.  Sprained shoulders, bruised buttocks, broken ribs, strained elbows, dinged hips, hang nails, scraped knees, posion ivy, ingrown hairs, and severe menstrual cramps, you name it and he had it.

And that wouldn't be so bad except for the fact that he made 40 MILLION FUCKING DOLLARS from 2005-2008 to pitch in just 26 FUCKING GAMES.  I repeat, 26 FUCKING GAMES!!!!!  For every game he pitched in a Yankee uniform, Carl Pavano pocketed $1,538,461.54 or in other terms, MORE MONEY THAN I WILL EVER SEE IN MY FUCKING LIFE!!!!!  And like Javy Vazquez, it was like he didn't even care.  When you've got guys like Mike Mussina and Derek Jeter calling you out in the papers and in front of teammates without mercy, you know you're a fuck up.  I read "The Yankee Years" and I got the impression that even Torre fucking hated Pavano.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, this motherfucker has had the audacity to be the model of fucking health over the last 2 years, making 33 starts in 2009 and 32 this year when he was, at times, the Twins' ace and grew that ridiculous mustache.  2 of my biggest regrets as a sports fan are that I wasn't at Pavano's final start as a Yankee on September 14, 2008 when he left with a hip injury so I could throw batteries at him, and that I will never get the chance to find him, kidnap him, tie him up in a dark basement somewhere, and burn the mustache right off of his stupid face.  The fact that the Yankees have beaten him twice in the last 2 postseasons does nothing to quell the hatred I have inside for Carl Pavano.  I will hate him until the day that he or I dies, whichever comes first.  As a matter of fact, I want that to be written into my eulogy somewhere.  "Brad was a good man.  A good man who hated the fuck out of Carl Pavano."  Yeah, that'll work.  On behalf of Yankee fans everywhere, I just want to say that I hate you, Carl Pavano.  Fuck off and die.

So there you have it, folks.  My most hated Yankees.  Some of them were pretty good players, but most were awful.  Some are probably nice guys, and some are dicks.  But whatever the case, I hate all of these dudes and are glad that only 1 of them is still in a Yankee uniform because I don't know what I would do if I had to put up with 2 or 3 or 4 of them on the same team, polluting it with their weakness.  In closing, I would like to leave these 10 gentlemen with a last little message from the always-classy Silky Johnson.

Rangers Finally Get Around To Visiting Cliff Lee

News came out yesterday that the Rangers brass met with Cliff Lee, his family, and his agent on Monday in Arkansas.  According to team pres Nolan Ryan, the meeting was to let Lee know that "we [the Rangers] are interested."  My only reaction after hearing the news last night?  Why the fuck did Texas even bother?

Let's set the stage again in case you've forgotten.  The Yankees can offer Lee more money for more years and can offer the chance to play in New York, the biggest sports market in the US, where he can earn more in endorsements.  They can offer a more temperate climate for Lee, who is said to not be a fan of the Texas heat.  They can offer the chance to pitch beside his former teammate and very good friend, CC Sabathia, to form the top 1 and 1A pitching duo in baseball.  And with the revenue they generate and the TV deal they have in place with their own freaking network, the Yankees are better equipped to spend money both in free agency and in building up their farm system to continue to position themselves as a top contender for a World Series title every single year while Texas is waiting for a few years for their new TV deal money to really kick in.

Add to that the fact that the Yankees were down in Arkansas a week ago meeting with Lee and his family almost as soon as the free agency period started and before any talks between them and their own 2 premiere free agents and team icons, Jeter and Mo, even began.  The Yankees made the first strike on Lee, showing not only that they were "interested" in signing him but that signing him was their top priority.  As soon as that meeting was done, the Rangers were in trouble in the negotiations because they had nothing they could try to sell Lee on other than the premise that he was a bigger deal to them than to the Yankees.

By finally getting their asses down to talk to Lee on Monday, the Rangers not only reinforced the thought that Lee is the number one priority for the Yankees, they also gave off the impression that he ISN'T the number one priority for the Rangers.  I mean, what the hell have they been doing for the past week while the Yankees were moving in on their ace?  Helping Ron Washington rebuild his stupid house in New Orleans?  The best move the Rangers could have made was fly down to Arkansas as soon as they got word that Cash was there talking to Lee.  Instead, they let 4 days go by for Lee to think about his discussion with Cash and wonder when Nolan and the crew were going to come talk to him.  Not exactly a good impression to make if you're really serious about bringing back the guy who would anchor your rotation next season.

Round 1 in the Lee Sweepstakes clearly went to the Yankees, who made the preemptive strike and got in front of Lee as soon as they could.  With as long as the Rangers waited to respond and have their meeting with Lee, I think you have to chalk up Round 2 to the Yanks as well.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Offseason Space Filler Post: My Top 10 Most Hated Yankees Part I

With the GM meetings looking like they won't be bearing any fruit for the Yankees this year, the hot stove talk can be put on the back burner for a little while (see what I did there?  "Hot stove?"  "Back burner?  Ehh, ehh).  But this is a Yankees blog, damnit, and now that I've eliminated the NFL and UConn basketball coverage of yesteryear, I need something to write about.  And seeing how this blog is heavy on the fan-ness and a little light on the advanced statistical analysis, it makes sense to me to go real heavy on the fan side and focus on a topic that every Yankee fan has: the players on the Yankees they can't fucking stand.

You don't necessarily need stats to support hate, but most guys who have received multiple Bronx cheers in their time in pinstripes certainly have the stats to support the hatred.  Now bear in mind that my list is comprised solely of players from the generation of Yankee baseball that I have lived through and been involved in (late 90s-present) so if one of your boo targets isn't here, that's why.  Alright, let the hating commence!

10) Nick Johnson- This fat, big-headed fuck was the Yankees' most prized hitting prospect in the early 2000s and all he did was treat me to 3 years of low batting averages, no power, and seemingly constant stints on the DL for a variety of candyass injuries that wouldn't even have NFL players listed on the injury report.  Sure the .894 OPS in 2003 was nice, but that was mostly thanks to a .422 OBP.  HIT FOR SOME FUCKING POWER, YOU FAT MOUTHBREATHING CHUB BUCKET!!! 

Not to mention the fact that Johnson was/is fat and slow and arguably the least athletic person in Major League Baseball.  Every time he drew a walk, I half expected to see a bunch of Jabba the Hutt's minions come out and load his lardass onto a dais to be rolled to first base.  Then this year, as if they hadn't learned their lessons from before, the Yanks brought him back on $5.5 million contract for a grand total of 72 at-bats and yet another season-ending wrist injury.  72 at-bats!!!  Nick Johnson made $76,388.89 per at-bat this season.  I'm only going to make $40,000 this year for an entire year's worth of work.  GAHHHHH!!!!

So fuck you, Nick Johnson.  I hope you break your fat jelly head open and snap both of your weak wrists clean off of your body in a horrible jet ski accident this offseason on a vacation that you'll be able to take thanks to the millions of unearned dollars you now have in your bank account.  I fucking hate you. 

9) A.J. Burnett- Only 2 years in pinstripes and a World Series championship to his credit and already A.J. cracks the top 10.  I wasn't super jazzed up about the Yankees signing Burnett in the first place in the 2008 offseason.  It was a classic case of misguided Yankee upper management logic that followed the idiotic "He's been really good against us in the past so he will be even better with us.  We have to have him!!!!" model.  And after 2 years I can say I feel justified in not being that excited about A.J. being brought on board as he has shown himself to be nothing more than a cowardly man-child who doesn't possess the inner strength and testicular fortitude to pitch under the pressure of New York despite having boatloads of talent at his disposal.

I think the reason I actually hate A.J. so much is because of his talent.  It would be one thing if he was just a shitty pitcher who happened to also be a mental midget.  But ask around and most people agree that his stuff is right up there with the best in baseball.  When his fastball and curveball are on, there isn't a hitter alive who can compete against Burnett.  The problem is, they both rarely ever are on and even when they are, at the first sign of trouble (hit, walk, wild pitch, hit batter, error) A.J. turns into Sir Robin from Monty Python and The Holy Grail and runs away.  It would be sad watching his meltdown sessions on the mound if they weren't always costing the Yankees wins and taxing the bullpen.  And the worst part is, with his monster contract he's practically untradeable so we're all potentially stuck with him for 3 more years of sub-.500 winning percentages, above-5.00 ERAs, countless excuses, and I'm stuck drinking more beer and getting fatter and more pissed off as a result of watching him pitch.  A.J. Burnett, I hate you.

8) Jaret Wright- Another guy that the Yankees fell in love with after watching him tear up inferior competition in the NL for the Atlanta Braves in 2004, Wright came back to the AL in 2005 and began the first of 2 forgettable seasons as a Yankee.  In his 2 years in the Bronx, Wright pitched to an ERA of 4.99, a WHIP of 1.60, and 0.9 WAR while making over $13 million.  And the most maddening part was, even in his prime (if you want to call it that), Wright was a guy who didn't miss bats and didn't limit damage.  He had one year, ONE FUCKING YEAR, of success in the JV league and suddenly the Yankees think he's a world beater.  So he comes over to play with the big boys in the AL again and guess fucking what?  HE DIDN'T MISS BATS AND HE DIDN'T LIMIT DAMAGE!!!

I remember thinking when the Yankees announced they had signed him to a 3-year, $21 million deal, "No, that can't be the same Jaret Wright.  The same guy who I watched as a 12-year-old in the 1998 ALCS give up 6 consecutive hits to the Yankees in the bottom of the 1st and then proceed to walk 8 more batters over his 6.2 innings of work in arguably the biggest game of his life?  Why the fuck would the Yanks want him?"  And I was completely right in that thought.  Wright came back to the Yankees older, with a much fatter head, with much less stuff, and with more tobacco jammed into his lip.  I hate you, Jaret Wright, and I hope you get cancer of the mouth.

7) Kevin Brown- 'Roid raging piece of shit rat bastard!!!  I will remember Kevin Brown for 2 things: 1) Throwing a hissy fit and breaking his hand when he punched the wall leaving Joe Torre's office late in the season during a time when the team was already in crisis mode with injuries to their pitching staff, and 2) Starting, and completely bombing, in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS, putting the Yankees behind right off the bat and setting the table for the grand slam that Javy Vazquez allowed upon relieving Brown in the 2nd inning, thereby sealing the Yankees' fate as the only team to blow a 3-0 lead in history.  And by all accounts, he was a complete prick to boot, so that's fun, huh?!

And surprise, surprise!  A quick check of the stats shows that Brown's worst career ERA, WHIP, ERA+, H/9, HR/9, and K/9 numbers came in his 2 years as a Yankee.  Life ain't so easy without having that needle jabbed into your ass all day, is it, old man?  After continuing to suck on the mound and sulk off of it in 2005, Brown finally succumbed to injuries and was done for the year.  If I were managing the team that season, I would have taken him out into the parking lot after his last start and blown his fucking brains out.  Really the only positive thing you can say about Kevin Brown is that at least the Yankees managed to get rid of Jeff Weaver by bringing him in.  To think that the Yankees paid this miserable asshole over $30 million when he was 39 and 40 and clearly past his prime makes my physically sick to my stomach.

Eat a dick, Kevin Brown.  Eat a dick and then choke on it half way down and choke on your own puke/dick combination and die.  I hate you.

6) Jason Giambi- This was a tough one for me because when you look at Giambi's numbers as a Yankee, they really aren't all that bad, even when he was banged up and sick and diseased and whatever the hell else was wrong with him.  For the most part he produced as a Yankee, getting on base, driving in runs, and creating a menacing presence at the top of the lineup that every team had to respect and gameplan for.  The guy had a great batting eye and could get on base even when he was in the coldest of slumps, and he also seemed like a pretty cool dude.  I would have gone out and gotten a beer with him.  Sure he was a complete abortion at first base, but everybody knew that going in.  He was brought in to hit and hit for power and he did that.

My biggest beef with Giambi was that he was the first big signing for the Yankees after they lost the 2001 World Series and really signaled the transition from those perfectly-constructed teams of the late 90s and early 2000s to the completely-purchased, spend at will, biggest name possible, age be damned teams that plagued the Yankees' through the mid-2000s.  As much as Giambi produced and as much as he was paid, he didn't help the Yankees win anything.  If anything, his signing started the trend of buying bigger and bigger names to try to get back to the World Series without consideration of anything else and that philosophy damn near ruined the team before Cash finally got control and restored order to the organization.  When I think of the dark times of the mid-2000s, the first name that comes to mind is Jason Giambi.  And because those were the worst years of my Yankee fan career, I hate Jason Giambi for that.

** Coming up tomorrow:  The Top 5.  Get excited... **

Cash's GM Meeting Plans

With Cash announcing that he didn't plan on getting anything done as it relates to the Yankees at the GM meetings this week, that should free up his time to do other things while he's in Orlando.  Here are some of the other activities he has planned this week:

- Come up with some other shitty pitching coach candidates to interview (seriously, Rick Peterson?  As a Wisconsinite I can tell you that the Brewers' pitching staff, top to bottom, was the worst in baseball last year.  And he was the pitching coach.  Do the math).

- Check out the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Islands of Adventure.

- Talk to Hank and Hal about what verbal jab they'll take at Jeter in the papers next.

- Cruise the local fast food and supermarket scenes to find Omar Minaya and see how he's doing at his new job.

- Try to get his friends and family tickets on the 50-yard line for this weekend's Army-Notre Dame football game at The Stadium.

- Ask Theo what genius plan he and his crack team of sabermetricians have come up with this year for their free agency approach that will ensure they miss the playoffs again.

- Ask teams about the availability of guys like Pujols, Joey Votto, Adam Wainwright, Hanley Ramirez, and Tim Lincecum just for shits and giggles.

- Get a head start on his holiday shopping.

- Get outside and get a little sun on that sixhead...

JESUS!!!  Look at that thing!  Also, it might not be a bad idea to stop into a Sunglass Hut and pick up some new shades that don't make him look like Agent Smith from The Matrix movies.

- Prank call Sandy Alderson and offer him trades like CC for Oliver Perez straight up or Gardner, Dellin Betances, and Gary Sanchez for Fernando Martinez just to see if he's as dumb as Omar.

- Take his talents to South Beach and cruise the local beaches looking for some good old Miami strange to get with.  Shit was all over the place on season 2 of "Jersey Shore" so it shouldn't be too hard for somebody of Cash's stature to bring home a couple of dirty whoooooooores with which to entertain himself.

Those are just some of my ideas.  And who knows?  Cash could be luring everybody into a false sense of security like he did in 2008 when he stole Teix.  For all we know, he could be on the phone right now negotiating a trade package for Josh Johnson and making an offer to Carl Crawford.  You just never know with Cash.  But if he isn't secretly wheeling and dealing, then he's got plenty of other options to pass the time over the next few days.  What else do you think he should do?

Monday, November 15, 2010

How The Hell Did I Not Know About This?

In his column on Saturday, the Daily News' Bob Raissman brought up a very interesting point about the future of John Sterling and Suzyn "Goodness Gracious" Waldman when the Yankees' radio contract with WCBS-AM ends after the 2011 season.  You can say what you want about the Jeter contract talks, the potential Cliff Lee signing, and the catcher battle for 2011, but this might very well be the most divisive Yankee storyline going right now.

The opinions on John and Big Suze usually fall on either the "they are dimwitted blowhards and unapologetic Yankee homers who make the game borderline un-listenable" side or the "they are entertaining and fun to listen to because of their story telling and Sterling's over-the-top calls of plays" side with not much in between.  Because of this, Sterling and Waldman not coming back as the team's radio announcing team in 2012 would be met with cries of joy and thunderous applause from many and also cries of sorrow and disappointment from may more.

Personally, I would like to see Sterling and Suzyn come back.  I know they are at times painful to listen to because of their constant ability to get wrapped up in drama and story telling and reminiscing about the past, and because Sterling's eyesight has deteriorated to the point that every fly ball could be a home run or a pop up to short in his book, but their style has become part of Yankee tradition.  Sterling's home run calls are among the most widely-known in baseball and arguably sports.  And Suzyn, homerism and crying during Joe Torre interviews aside, can actually bring a few useful bits of info from her pre- and postgame reports from time to time.  After all these years, it would be strange to hear another voice doing the play-by-play for the Yankees and when you think about it, who else is there out there who could do a good enough job that isn't already employed?

I think it's a safe bet that WCBS and the Yankees will come to an agreement on a new deal.  ESPN will get into the mix since adding the Yankees to their broadcast lineup would certainly help their listener numbers, but with their weak signal issue in the greater NY area, that will be their downfall.  If the Yanks are back on CBS in 2012, I think it's only right that Sterling and Waldman be brought back.  They're as synonymous with this generation of Yankee baseball as the Bleacher Creatures, big contracts, pies in the face, and championships.  They may not be everybody's cup of tea, but they deserve the right to go out on their own terms.

Besides, would you really want to miss out on shit like this?

I mean, come on.  No replacement announcer is going to have a game-winning call better than that.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Well It's Better Than "No"

Andy Pettitte on his future when asked if he was coming back in 2011:

“I’m just going to wait and see what my heart wants me to do.  Right now, I can tell you my heart’s right here in Deer Park. If something happens and I play one more year that would be it. It would be one more year and that would be it.”

It doesn't exactly inspire hope or give any kind of indication that he'll be back next year, but it's better than Andy not saying anything or saying he was done.  It's still a little too early after the season for him to be thinking about baseball.  Give it another month or 6 weeks for the itch to get out and start throwing again to kick in.  This was basically a nothing statement by Andy and it's STILL the best news I got this weeked.  What does that tell you about my weekend?

Friday, November 12, 2010

And The Hits Keep On Coming

It looks like everybody is climbing on the "Derek Jeter Should Not Be Getting a Huge Contract" Express that Hal is conducting and I'm riding first class in.  When Cash was asked about Jeter's off-the-field earning potential factoring into his contract last night on YES, he dropped this gem:

"Iconic, off-the-field value doesn't translate in my world."

BOOM!!  That's like a roundhouse kick to the ego if I've ever read one.  And Cash is completely right.  He doesn't get paid to make sure Jeter gets paid all sorts of appearance money after he retires.  He gets paid to put the best team on the field each season that can win the most games possible and come home with a World Series trophy.  That's his focus, that's his goal, and that's what Jeter's negotiations should really be focused on and how his declining skills fit into that goal.

In his column this morning, Joel Sherman joined in on the perfectly justifiable Jeter contract bashing with this:

"This is a baseball team, not a fan club or an alumni association. Realistic discussions of Jeter are too often scuttled with his intangibles or his class or his history. That is all nice. But what do they have to do with winning games from 2011 forward? If you are honoring those elements with unquestioned playing time or a spot atop the order, you have lost what Jeter himself claims he is all about, which is team and winning."

SHAPOW!!  There isn't a single word in that paragraph that isn't true.  And that last sentence is particularly interesting because it's something that both the Yankees and Jeter need to be aware of in these negotiations.  The Yankees need to make sure they stay focused on winning in 2011, which it appears they are, and Jeter also needs to be cognizant of his 'team first' reputation and not get caught up in discussions about intangibles, legacy, and post-career earning potential.

All in all, it's been another rough couple days of having reality slap Jeter in the face.  I love the guy, and it pains me to say this, but Derek,

Don'tcha Know

(Photo courtesy of The AP)

In the shocker of the century, Robbie Cano picked up the AL Silver Slugger Award yesterday for 2B to go along with his Gold Glove.  I'm not even going to rattle off his numbers again for fear that I might cum in my pants, but I think we can all agree that the award was well-deserved.  Too bad MLB doesn't give out a Bronze Cannon Award for best throwing arms or something like that so Cano could complete his medal tally.

Next up for Robbie is the AL MVP vote later this month.  After that we'll have to wait for the Nobel Prizes and the nominees for the Grammys and Oscars to be announced to see what else Cano can win this year.  With the kind of season he had, I wouldn't count him out of anything right now.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

AB4AR's First Fictional Yankee Mailbag

We don't get too many emails here at AB4AR, but since I know there are some of you readers out there who are just too lazy or scared to write in, I took the liberty of asking (and answering) the questions I know everyone is dying to ask me.  Let's face it, my Yankee insight and opinions know no boundaries.  It would be wrong to keep these answers to myself.  Let's get to the bag!

* What's your take on the Yankees not starting any negotiations with Mo yet?  I would argue that he's more important than Lee or Jeter, right? - Matt, The Bronx.

Good question, Matt.  I also think it's a little strange that the Yankees haven't reached out to Mo and his agent to lock him up for next year.  And your argument that Mo is more important to next season's success than Lee and Jeter is correct.  Mo is the one guy that the Yankees absolutely can't be without next year (would you feel good about D-Rob or Joba having to close?), so he should be a higher priority.  But if you think back, this is kind of how Mo's new contracts have always gone.  He's such a low-maintenance guy that it's almost a foregone conclusion that he will re-sign.  And he's still at the top of his game so there really isn't much to negotiate about.  The Yankees are going to pay him a shit ton of money and he's going to be happy with it.  My guess?  1-year deal for 2011 at $16 mil with a player option for another year.  No worries, Mo will be back.

* What kind of deal should the Yankees offer Andy to come back next year?  And what's the backup plan if he decides to retire? - Sarah, Charleston, SC.

I don't think there's a certain dollar value that is going to swing Andy one way or another.  The Yankees gave him $11.5 mil to come back in 2010 and that worked out pretty well, so I would imagine the next contract would be almost identical, maybe bump him up to an even 12.  But my take is still that Andy isn't coming back after how badly his body broke down at the end of this season.  He's going to be 39, and while it's obvious he still has the talent to get it done out there, it just doesn't seem like his body can keep up with his skills anymore.  After he sits down and talks to his family, I think he's going to hang it up.

Which brings us to the backup plan.  Assuming the Yankees get Lee, which I believe they will, that would leave them with CC, Lee, Hughes, A.J., and an open 5th spot.  I'm not in love with any of the other free agent options (Kuroda, Westbrook, etc.) and Zach Greinke has said he doesn't want to come here, so I would pencil Ivan Nova into the 5th spot and see if he improves enough in Spring Training and early in the season to lock down the job.  If not, we've established that the Yanks have a ton of pitching talent in Double- and Triple-A (Killer B's, Noesi, Warren, Phelps), so the 5-spot could be the audition role for some of those guys.  You gotta find out if these kids can get it done in the Majors at some point, right?

* Now that Jorge has been told he will be primarily DH'ing next season, how do you see the Yankee catching situation going next season?  Can The Jesus really win the job and hold it down all year? - Jake, Middlebury, CT.

I don't see any reason why he can't.  All indications are that the Yankees are going to give him the job to lose in Spring Training, and I still say there's no way he can be as bad a defensive catcher as Jorge so why not give him the job and let him learn?  For the most part the Yankees call pitches from the dugout anyway, so there's no pressure on Montero to call games, and the more experience he gets both behind the plate and at it, the better he's going to get.  Jorge's sun is setting on his career while Montero's is just starting to rise.  It's time to get the kid into the lineup and see what he can do.  My vote would be to have him catch 100-120 games next year and let Cervelli and Posada split the difference.  Then, depending on matchups and health, have either Posada or Jesus DH on the days that Cervelli catches with the other at attention to step in for Frankie as a late-game pinch hitter/replacement.

* What's Option B if the Yankees somehow lose out on Cliff Lee?  Does Cash get back on the phone with KC with an offer for Greinke that they can't refuse? - Ruben, Valencia, CA.

Since they've already got the ball rolling on the Lee situation while Andy is taking his time on his decision, the immediate Option B becomes "bring Andy back at all costs."  If they can do that, then at least you're still coming back with CC, Andy, Hughes, and A.J.  Just like the same situation if Andy doesn't come back, I would make the 5th spot in the rotation the 'Ivan Nova/whoever else from Triple-A earns a start if Nova sucks' role and go from there.

I personally don't like the idea of giving up any amount of top prospects for Greinke.  Yes, he's a stud, but unlike many of the other sites out there, I will admit that his SAD scares me to death.  I could see the kid bombing out in NY because of it.  It's easy to deal with that when you're pitching in KC where nobody gives a fuck.  Try handling your freakshow pussy disorder when you've got the NY media breathing down your neck on every inning you pitch.  Plus, with a stockpile of arms like the one they have now, I think it's in the team's best interest to try to build up the next generation of core Yankees around them.  Pitching wins championships and the Yankees have a shit ton of high-quality pitching in the Minors.  Why trade it all away before you have the chance to see what they can do for you?

Now if the Yankees don't sign Lee AND Andy decides to retire, then you've got a problem.  The Yanks would be situated with CC, Hughes, A.J., Nova, and a big old question mark.  If this scenario, unlikely as it is, plays out, that's when you'll see Cash on the phone calling up the agents for Kuroda or Westbrook or offering 2 of the 3 Killer B's, Gardner, and Austin Romine for Greinke.

* Of all the Yankees that had down years this year (Teix, A-Rod, Jeter, Jorge, A.J., Joba), which one do you think will rebound to have the best 2011? - Marcus, Manhattan.

Definitely Teix.  He has the best overall skill set, is still in his prime, and should be back to 100% healthy by the time Spring Training 2011 rolls around.  If he had any kind of consistency this year, he could have hit .280/.390/.530 with 40 HR and 125 RBIs.  I expect him to work with Kevin Long in ST on fixing his issues from last year and finding that consistency.

A-Rod will have a better year next year, but no longer the monster numbers he used to put up, Jorge will be better without getting beaten up behind the plate all the time but not what he used to be, Jeter will probably be about the same, Joba might not even be a Yankee next year, and it would be tough for A.J. to be any worse than he was in 2010.  But the smart money for a big bounce back would still be on Teix.

* You're such a smart and funny guy and your blog is the best!!  How do you manage to come up with such awesome material?  I think you are incredibly sexy and I want to have your babies. - Kristy, Pewaukee, WI.

Why thank you, Kristy.  I am quite awesome and I appreciate you taking the time to not only notice that, but to compliment me on it.  I can't really say where I get my material from.  A lot of it is just spontaneous ideas that pop into my head and then I just let it roll from there.  I would also have to give some credit to the copious amounts of alcohol I drink and the occasional paint huffing session.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that my awesomeness and the blog's awesomeness are complicated issues with more than one source, all pulled together into a tight little package by the natural levels of awesomeness within my own chiseled, hard body.  And yes, I am a sexy motherfucker.

Thanks for the fictional emails, kiddies.  Until next time...

Take A Quick Moment Today

(Only uniform besides the pinstripes that Joltin' Joe looked good in)

... And thank a veteran that you know.  Or at the very least take a moment to sit and reflect and be thankful for all they've done for you and this country.  It's because of these brave people that I even have the ability to write this blog and say whatever I want so a big thank you to everybody who has served or is serving right now to protect our freedom.  I know I'm too much of a pussy to ever be able to do it, so much respect to all those ballsy enough to put their country and its citizens before themselves.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Perfect Visual Representation Of This Blog

That's 2 playoff series worth of pre and postgame notes right there, people.  Front and back.  And the majority of the shit written was usually done either super late at night or super early in the morning at the office.

Just wanted to give a little visual reminder of what we're all about here at AB4AR.  No crack staff of dedicated writers and advanced sabermetricians or anything like that here.  Nope, just one dude who knows enough about what statistics really matter to be dangerou , his opinions (misguided as they may be), and his sticky notes .  I'm just a man who loves his Yankees and knows how baseball works and enjoys writing about it.

And I hope some of y'all enjoy reading it.

Meeting & Greeting Mr. Lee

Well that didn't take long.  According to multiple sources, Brian Cashman flew to Arkansas today and is probably in the middle of meeting with Lee and his family right now as we speak.  No word on whether or not he brought a few Bleacher Creatures with him to spit on and throw things at Lee's wife, but I would imagine not.

Guess re-signing Jeter and Mo weren't the biggest priorities after all, eh?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's A Golden Infield

And the winners are...

Robbie Cano (of course), Mark Teixeira (naturally), and Derek Jeter!!

Wait, what?

Yeah, you heard right, folks.  Somehow Derek Jeter won his 5th Gold Glove award today in a year where he posted negative defensive numbers across the board.  Shit, you didn't even have to look at the numbers.  Just watch a game or 2 and it would have been painfully obvious to everybody who isn't John Sterling and Joe Morgan that The Captain was not a Gold Glove defender this season.  I'm a Yankee fan and one of the biggest homers around and even I think that Jeter winning the award is a joke.

Oh well.  We'll take it.  God bless the mainstream baseball media.

The Best Offseason News So Far

It isn't Yankee news, but it's certainly news that every baseball fan will enjoy.

"Jon Miller and Joe Morgan's 21-year run on ESPN's "Sunday Night Baseball" is over.

Morgan's contract is expiring and he will not be renewed. Miller's contract is also expiring though he may remain at ESPN working the "Sunday Night Baseball" series and postseason baseball for ESPN Radio.

"Jon and Joe have contributed greatly to the success of 'Sunday Night Baseball' for the past 21 seasons," ESPN executive vice president Norby Williamson said in a statement Monday. "Over the last two decades, Joe went from Hall of Fame player to one of his sport's top analysts and Jon's Hall of Fame voice and tremendous knowledge of the game have connected with baseball fans everywhere. We owe them our deepest thanks for an outstanding body of work." (via ESPN.com)

In actuality, Miller is a rambling boozebag who flip flops between making over-exaggerated calls of insignificant plays and then downplaying big game-changing moments, and Morgan is a self-righteous asshole who has used his position on 'Sunday Night Baseball' to do nothing more than reference his own accomplishments and playing career and downplay the improvement in today's players and statistics.  Both are sadly behind in the times when it comes to baseball and should have been out a long time ago.  But nice try on the praise, ESPN.  Next time take it easy on the literary blowjobs.

P.S.- Whoever ESPN decides to replace these clowns with, Orel Hershiser better be at the top of the list.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Important Award Dates For The Yankees

It's not all Cliff Lee and Derek Jeter contract drama in the offseason, people.  There are still awards to be handed out and the Yankees figure to play a big part in almost all the major categories.  Here are the biggest chances for the Yankees to bring some hardware home to the Bronx.

* Tuesday, November 9th: AL Gold Glove Awards- Robbie Cano should be a shoo-in for his first Gold Glove after a fantastic year at 2nd, and Mark Teixeira should also be the favorite for the award at 1B.  A sleeper could be Brett Gardner in LF.  He's probably going to get beat out by Carl Crawford, but their numbers stack up very well.  At the very least he'll be in the mix. 

* Wednesday, November 10th: Silver Slugger Awards- This should be another cakewalk for Cano to collect this award, which would be his first.  There could be some consideration thrown the ways of Teix, A-Rod, and Swisher for their collective numbers, but with better, more productive options all around I would be surprised if any Yankee other than Cano walked away with some silver.

* Thursday, November 18th: AL Cy Young Award- I certainly wouldn't consider him the front runner, but CC is going to get some serious consideration for the award thanks to his 21 wins, high innings, and respectable ERA and WHIP numbers.  At worst, he finishes last out of the top 3 contenders (CC, King Felix, David Price).  At best, he takes the award thanks to a high number of voters who still focus too much on wins and ERA and not the sabermetrics. 

* Tuesday, November 23rd: AL MVP Award- Like CC, Robbie Cano won't be considered the favorite for the award, but he stands just as good a chance as Josh Hamilton or Miguel Cabrera.  Working in his favor is his all-world production from the 2B position, not one traditionally associated with gaudy offensive numbers, and his Gold-Glove caliber defense that he played all year long (Hamilton missed some time) and did for a contending team (Detroit was out of the race ages ago).  Working against him is the fact that Hamilton and Cabrera's numbers, both the regular ones and more advanced ones, ARE better than Cano's.  In the end, I say Cano gets a few more votes than expected and finishes 2nd behind Hamilton.

And The Great Cliff Lee Race Has Begun

Well that didn't take long.  The Yanks contacted Lee's agent on Sunday and are planning to send their contract offer to him some time this week.

So the obvious big question, what is this offer going to be?  It's no secret that the Yankees are head over heels in love with Lee, but would they throw him a bigger offer than what they gave CC, their big man, their ace?  CC seems like a 'team first' guy, but I wouldn't blame him if he was a little chapped at the new guy in town, friend or no friend, getting a bigger deal than him when he's 2 years older and was on the losing end of their battle in the 2009 World Series and got beat twice in the 2010 World Series.

If it were up to me, I'd offer Lee a 5-year deal at $112.5 million, slightly less than the average per-year value of CC's deal, with a player option for a 6th year.  It gives Lee the biggest deal in baseball outside of CC, keeps CC happy, and more than likely knocks whatever offers the other interested teams are going to make out of the park.  The Yankees will probably go more than that, somewhere in the 6-year, $135-140 million range to make damn sure they get Lee.  Is that the right move to make?  I don't know.  All we can do now is sit and wait.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

2010 Yankee Report Cards Part IV: The Lineup

Here's what you should have had to read yesterday:

* Mark Teixeira- C: It was a whole season of alls or nothings for Teix at the plate, and even though his 33 HR and 108 RBIs make you think he was productive this year, if he had any kind of consistency he probably would have hit 20 points higher and had a chance for 40/130.  Teix made the most of his hot streak to put up some good peripherals but let's be honest, a .256/.365/.481 year is just not good enough from Teix.  He's going to win another Gold Glove at 1B, and maybe I'm being too harsh here, but his down year at the plate and no-show in the postseason again even before the injury make this an underachieving year for Teix in my book.

* Robinson Cano- A+: I'm just going to let the numbers speak for themselves.  A .319/.381/.534 tripleslash with 200 H, 103 R, 41 2B, 29 HR, 109 RBI, 334 TB, 6.1 WAR and his situational numbers are even better than that: .909 OPS with runners on, .922 with RISP, 1.635 with the bases loaded.  And after that monster regular season, Cano went on to post a .343/.361/.771 line in the playoffs with 8 R, 6 XBH, and 6 RBI.  He officially became the best 2B in baseball this year, he's going to win a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger Award, and going to finish in the top 3 of the AL MVP vote.  Kind of hard to give him anything less than an A+.

* Derek Jeter- C-: It was a rough year for The Captain as we all were witness to the beginning of his end as a productive full-time player.  The .240/.340/.370 line is bad enough, and the 111 runs scored are more of a testament to the guys hitting behind him than to how well Jeter hit, but perhaps worst of all were the constant images we were not used to seeing.  Jeter showing no patience at the plate, Jeter grounding everything to the left side instead of going the other way, Jeter almost never coming up in the clutch, Jeter cheating on fastballs and still swinging late on them, and Jeter looking almost statuesque on everything hit to his left or right at shortstop.  It was just not a good year for The Captain.

* Alex Rodriguez- B-: Like Jeter, A-Rod had a down year this year, but he was still able to be very productive even in a "down" year.  Despite a career-low .270/.341/.507 tripleslash, A-Rod still managed to swat 30 homers and drive in 125.  His numbers with RISP and the bases loaded were terrific and allowed him to still be a dangerous presence in the lineup despite all the injuries and age-related decline he dealt with.  His range is also limited at 3rd, but on the balls he did get to A-Rod played Gold Glove-caliber defense.  He couldn't replicate his 2009 postseason, but I still call this year a success for The Horse.

* Jorge Posada- C+: Another player of the Yankee elder statesmen not aging so gracefully, 2011 was another year of injuries, inconsistency, and rapidly-declining defense for Jorge.  At this stage in his career, he's basically just a pitch back behind the plate, and he probably couldn't throw me out trying to steal 2nd.  But he can still work counts (.357 OBP) and still has some pop (18 HR, 57 RBIS, .454 SLG), so his numbers in fewer at-bats stack up well against his competition.  At DH next year, he should be a more productive bat.  It's just a matter of Jorge swallowing his pride and accepting the role change.

* Nick Johnson- F: Just terrible.  Got on base but didn't hit or field worth a lick when he was healthy.  And didn't stay healthy for more than 5 fucking minutes.  Definitely a waste of money on the signing and definitely looking forward to not having his ass back next year.

* Brett Gardner- B: An overachieving year for Gardner (even with the weak 2nd half) that probably saved the Yankees a bunch of money on a Carl Crawford contract offer.  Gardner hit well enough and got on base thanks to great patience at the plate (.277 BA, .383 OBP) and utilized his speed to hit 7 3B, steal 47 bases, and score 97 runs from almost exclusively the 9-spot in the lineup.  Combine that with outstanding defensive numbers in the outfield (21.9 UZR, 27.9 UZR/150) and Gardner was worth 5.4 WAR in a solid first full-time year and hopefully a predictor of future success.

* Curtis Granderson- B-: Early-season struggles, injuries, and swing rebuilds aside, Curtis Granderson did manage to produce when he was healthy.  Even with the .247 BA, he still posted an OPS close to .800 (.792) thanks to improve patience and solid power numbers.  48 of C-Grand's 115 hits were XBH and he put up positive defensive UZR numbers as well.  So for as much crap as he took from the media and fans before turning his season around, Granderson still posted a 3.6 WAR and was the Yankees' 2nd best postseason hitter behind Cano.  Something tells me 2011 could be a big comeback year for C-Grand.

* Nick Swisher- A-: The continued evolution of Nick Swisher as a baseball player took a huge step this year as we were witness to a new, less patient, more compact swinging Nick Swisher that rocked balls all over the ballpark while continuning to play better than expected defense in right field.  Swish posted a career high .288 BA to go along with an .870 OPS, 29 HR, 89 RBIs, 163 H, 91 R to earn himself his first ASG berth.  And while some people couldn't, I'll let Swish's 2nd straight rough postseason go since nobody else hit in the ALCS and he was a 4.1 WAR player in the regular season.

My Bad, Y'all

I know I was supposed to put up the lineup report cards yesterday, but I was a lazy forgetful asshole.  So to make up for it, here's a picture of Minka Kelly.  Even if Jeter doesn't get the contract he wants, he's still got this to fall back on.

The lineup reports will be in this afternoon.