Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hamilton Signing Ends Any Chance Of A Big Yankee Splash

Unless you either live under a rock or are more dedicated to your day job than I am and didn't spend time surfing the interwebs today, you already know that the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim swooped in and signed big free agent fish Josh Hamilton to a 5-year/$125 million deal earlier today.  The move was a bit surprising, as the Angels hadn't been connected to Hamilton nearly as much as other clubs and there hadn't been much talk of Hamilton getting an offer for more than 3-4 years.  But kudos to the Angels for adding the  best FA hitter available on the market to an already dangerous lineup and for effectively ending any chance of there being fireworks for the Yankees this offseason.

Those chances were already slim to none.  The Yankees have executed what they said their offseason plan of attack was going to be to a tee, securing their own internal free agent pitchers to re-bolster the staff and focusing on 1-year deals and cheap platoon players to keep payroll flexibility intact heading into 2014.  I had my dream scenario, as we all did (probably including Cash), but with Zack Greinke and Hamilton coming off the market, Arizona making a trade that likely ended any chance of them moving Justin Upton, and San Diego holding firm to their commitment to not trading Chase Headley, the big move well has pretty much dried up for New York.

They've got their replacement third baseman, and they are reportedly getting closer and closer to finalizing a deal with one half of a possible right field platoon.  After that, I think we can all shut off the lights on the major portion of the Yankee 2012-2013 offseason.

Mo Says He'll Be Ready For Opening Day

It's pretty much a top 5 sports cliche for an injured athlete to say he's going to make it back in time for insert important sport milestone here.  And most of the time I'm inclined to call bullshit.  Derek Jeter has been saying it since his surgery, and I can't get on board with it because the expected recovery time and the calendar don't 100% support his claims.  I had aboslutely ZERO faith in Adrian Peterson's ability to come back in time for the start of the NFL season, which is why I passed on the chance to take him with the 10th pick in my fantasy draft and now my team full of crummy running backs is 5-8 and all but finished for the year.

But when Mariano Rivera says he's coming back, wait, scratch that.  When Mariano Rivera says anything, I take it as the word of God and accept it as fact.  That's why it was awesome to see this quote from him in the Daily News yesterday when asked about his chances of being ready for Opening Day 2013:

“Oh, yeah, I don’t see why not.  We have at least three months, four months until that point. I’ll be ready.”

He still hasn't started throwing a ball this offseason, so it will be worth watching how his velocity and cutter command look when he does start pitching in game situations again, but based on that comment I'm taking it to the bank that Mo will be jogging out to "Enter Sandman" if there's a save situation on Opening Day.  Now somebody hit the music!

A Quick Word On The StubHub Thing

It didn't seem like nearly as juicy a story as the Kevin Youkilis signing, but it's something that will actually have a lot bigger impact on us as fans than any free agent signing this offseason.  I'm sure many of you heard or read the news earlier in the week about the Yankees opting out of MLB's new deal with StubHub and deciding to go with Ticketmaster as their official re-sell outlet for tickets.  If you haven't, well you just did.

The Yankees called this move one that was more "fan friendly" to folks looking to pick up cheap or cheaper tickets, which, as Brien Jackson of IIATMS pointed out, is complete BS.  This was a move designed to put more money into the Steinbrenner's pockets, much like the YES deal with News Corp., and that's the bottom line.  And truth be told, I'm fine with that.  At the end of the day, they are still running a business and they've made it very clear that their goal in running the Yankees is to make more money for themselves.  At least they're being consistent, right?

As someone who lives too far away to attend Yankee games regularly, this isn't going to have much of an impact on how much I get to see the Yankees.  As it is I can only catch them when they're on TV, and I go out of my way to make sure I can watch them when I know they're going to be on.  As a diehard fan who promised himself he was going to make it to The Stadium for a series next season A) because I still haven't been there, and B) because I want/need to see Mariano Rivera pitch one more time, this is going to be an inconvenience and hurt me some in the wallet.  I've used StubHub before, I know what kind of good deals you can get on there, and I can totally see why a lot of fans would be upset about this.  Going to a Yankee game at The Stadium these days is hardly cheap, and now one of the options available to help people save a little money has been taken away from them.

I've called out the Yankee Stadium crowd for being weak before, and it was painfully obvious that The Stadium was not full and not loud in the postseason this year.  But I'll say this, if the Steinbrenners think that this switch to Ticketmaster is going to help bring people back to fill the seats next year, I think they're going to be sorely disappointed.

(For more reading on the StubHub situation, check out William Juliano's take over at Pinstriped Bible and Brien Jackson's follow-up post from yesterday.)