Jeter is SI's Sportsman of the Year

Monday, November 30, 2009

Yankees captain Derek Jeter has another award to add to his resume, as Sports Illustrated named him their 56th Sportsman of the Year. Jeter hit .334 while finishing third in the American League MVP voting after leading the Yankees to their 27th World Series as a franchise and his 5th individually. This year, he also won the Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron Awards, the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove at shortstop. Here's a quote by Sports Illustrated Group Editor Terry McDonald:

Derek Jeter has always presented himself with class; he does numerous good works for the community with his Turn 2 Foundation, which is one of the most efficient, effective foundations of its kind; and he's extremely generous with not just his money but with his time, which in many cases is more valuable. He also had another signature year on the field.
So congratulations to Jeter, and though I'm sure he will try to deflect and focus on the team, he deserves it. The issue hits stands Wednesday.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Bud Selig Stepping Down As Commish in 2012

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Bud Selig will step down as Commissioner of Major League Baseball after the 2012 season. The 75-year-old commissiner said he plans on staying on the job for three more years, which takes him into the next labor agreement in 2011, which would be his final act as commissioner.

Selig has been commissioner since 1992, and has done a lot to help the game of baseball, such as introducing the Wild Card. I think this was the best thing Selig did because it made the season more competitive and more teams a chance of winning the World Series. Some purists may disagree, but I grew up with the Wild Card so I can't see it any other way.

Interleague play, more revenue sharing, and a disciplined drug testing program are also some of the highlights of his career.

However, Selig reigned as Commissioner during some controversy. He was the man in charge under one of the biggest scandals in MLB history during the Steriod Era. He will always be criticized for not noticing the problem sooner and not doing anything about it until people started asking questions in the late 90's early 00's. He was also the Commissioner when the MLBPA went on strike in 1994, and for the first time since 1904 the World Series was cancelled. Finally, making the All-Star Game determine home-field advantage in the World Series has also came with some controversy.

Overall, there were many ups and downs in Selig's career, and perhaps how the media portrays him the remaining three years will be how we remember him.


Bob Sheppard Officially Retires

Friday, November 27, 2009

As you might have heard yesterday, long-time Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard said that he will not return to announcing the lineups and that he is retired from his job. Sheppard, believed to be 99, told's Bryan Hoch this yesterday. Sheppard has been calling Yankees games for over 50 years, but has not done a game since 2007. Sheppard called his first game in 1951, announcing a lineup that had Yankee greats like Phil Rizzuto, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Yogi Berra in it. Sheppard has his own monument in Monument Park and has been long known as the "Voice of Yankee Stadium," some even called him the"Voice of God."

Fans have still heard Sheppard's voice the last two years, and will continue to do so because Derek Jeter has a recording of Sheppard announcing his name to the plate.

Sheppard was also the PA announcer of the New York Giants, but retired from that position in 2005.


Free Agents 2010: The Outfield

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

With nothing really solid happening on the free agent market yet, we'll take a look at some of the names being associated with the Yankees in regards to offseason plans, and how realistic the chances are they are wearing pinstripes in 2010.

Today we will look at he outfield candidates that could possibly end up in pinstripes next season. This is arguably the area the Yankees need to concentrate most this offseason because of Damon and Matsui (if you consider him OF) are free agents.

Matt Holliday
Age: 29
Status: Free Agent
2009 Salary: $13.5 Million

Matt Holliday is probably the biggest position-player free agent on the market. With Johnny Damon also a free agent the Yankees are looking to fill a void in leftfield and Holliday can provide that. Holliday hit .313 with 29 HRs and 109 RBI last year. He was the leader of the Colorado Rockies team that went on an incredible run in 2007 to win the NL Pennant. However, he started the season with the A's last year and struggled power-wise in the AL. Once traded to St. Louis he re-emerged from his power-outage, making him a National League hitter. However, he is young and in the prime of his career, and is almost in the exact same situation Mark Teixeira was last year.

Like Teixeira Holliday will want a long-term contract and with Scott Boras as his agent that contract will be over the $100 million mark. Cashman has already made it clear he wants to watch spending, so I do not expect Holliday to go to the Yankees. However, the Red Sox are candidates to sign Holliday if they cannot re-sign Jason Bay, and if the Red Sox are in play so are the Yankees. It will be interesting to see if the Yankees lurk in the bushes like they did with Teixeira, or go after another outfielder.

Jason Bay
Age: 31
Status: Free Agent
2009 Salary: $7.8 Million

Jason Bay's name has gone hand-in-hand with Matt Holliday this offseason because they are the two biggest position player commodities ont he free agent market. Bay hit .267 with 26 HRs and 119 RBI last year with the Red Sox. Bay came to the Red Sox in the Manny Ramirez deal, and easily filled that void by quickly becoming a Yankee-killer the way Manny was. Bay's numbers show he had a solid season, but it was also a streaky season as his OPS was below .800 in the months of June and July and his batting average dropped from .301 on May 21 to .251 on July 31.

The Red Sox recently offered Bay a 4-year $60MM deal that Bay rejected. So obviously Bay is looking for something more than $15MM a year, but how far up would the Yankees be willing to go? Bay could be looking for something more like a 4-year $80MM which the Yankees can certainly provide. Bay might cost less money than Holliday, although there has been speculation that he wants a similar contract to Holliday. I do not think Bay will sign with a team until Holliday signs, but looking at the numbers, Holliday is clearly the better player. I wouldn't mind having Jason Bay on the Yankees, he is certainly an upgrade over Damon and other than Holliday there is no other free-agent outfielder who can provide the offensive production that these two can.

Johnny Damon
Age: 36
Status: Free Agent
2009 Salary: $13 Million

Johnny Damon had a career-year hitting .282 a career high 24 HRs and 82 RBI. Damon was a vital part of the Yankees 27th World Championship and his double steal in Game 4 will go down as one of the greatest postseason plays and World Series moments in Yankees history. If not for Matsui's Game 6, Damon may have been the MVP. So, how do the Yankees deal with a player who has been so good for the team the last 5 years, but at the same time is aging and exiting the prime of his career? It all comes down to if Damon is willing to take a pay cut. And as a client of Scott Boras, that is highly unlikely.

Damon has reiterated that he wants to stay in New York while Boras has been saying that they will listen to who has the best offer. They finally got on the same page this week, when Damon tweaked his wording around, saying, "I want to continue to be on a team that can win and to play in front of great fans – and we know that the Yankees fill both of those,” Damon said. “I think everyone knows my desire to come back. Still, every time I’ve been a free agent, I’ve ended up switching teams. It’s the nature of the beast. If people are interested, I’m going to listen.”

Signing Damon back on a short-term deal would be the most cost-efficient way to fill the hole in leftfield. His defense may be shaky, but they were still able to win a championship with him out there everyday. Then again, this is the same guy who said he would never leave Boston, and then went to the Yankees that same winter. I would love to see Damon return to pinstripes, but the Yankees objective is to get younger. I think that Damon is their first choice at who to play left-field next year, but with Boras as his agent and Damon's free agent history, signs indicate he will go the highest bidder.

Curtis Granderson
Age: 28
Status: Under contract with Detroit Tigers until 2012. Owed $25.75MM over next 3 seasons.
2009 Salary: $3.5 million

In order for the Yankees to obtain Granderson, they'd have to give up prospects to get him. Maybe not the pitchers that they'd have to give up for Roy Halladay, but star prospect Austin Jackson would have to be the centerpiece of the deal. Acquiring Granderson could also mean fixing the DH spot, as the Tigers are also looking to get rid of Magglio Ordonez. If they can dump his contract off in a deal with Granderson and the Yankees are the one's who can do it, than they can fill the void in the outfield and DH in one deal. Acquring these two would also be less expensive than re-signing Damon and Matsui.

The downside to Granderson is that many believe he has turned into a platoon player. His numbers against lefties are downright awful. He only hit .183 against lefties last year. Granderson's numbers were .249, 30 HRs, and 71 RBI. Are the Yankees willing to deal Jackson for a guy who isn't any better than a platoon player? I only see the Yankees getting him if they can pull off a deal without giving up their top prospects. I believe if a team takes a chance on Granderson, he can have the type of season Nick Swisher had this year with the Yankees.

Mike Cameron
Age: 36
Status: Free agent
2009 Salary: $10 million

Mike Cameron has been mentioned as a possibility of going to the Yankees for the last few years. Cameron hit .250 with 24 HR and 70 RBI last year and has above-average defense. With him in center Melky in left that gives the Yankees two-above average outfielders defensively. However, Cameron would be a downgrade offensively, despite similar numbers to Damon, his OBP is 20 points lower and he struck out 58 more times than Damon did last season. Cameron would come at a low price, but I think he's more of a last-option.

Hideki Matsui
Age: 35
Status: Free-agent
2009 Salary: $13 million

I decided to include Matsui in this category, despite him now being a full-time DH. Matsui was the World Series MVP and had himself a pretty good year too. He hit .274 with 28 HRs and 90 RBI. I have always liked Matsui and see him as a very professional ballplayer who is all about winning. He has gotten his share of big hits over the years for the Yankees, and if they cannot re-sign Damon, I think the Yankees would be more than happy to re-sign Matsui to return as the DH. The only problem is re-signing Matsui does not answer their problem in left-field, and that needs to be addressed first.

Matsui will probably sign for less money as he is in the decline of his career. It could be possible he can be this year's Bobby Abreu, and sign a 1-year deal for about $5million with incentives.

That conclude's the outfield edition of free-agents. There are still many possibilities we didn't explore, such as the Yankees taking a chance on Austin Jackson, or other free-agent outfielders like Jermaine Dye. But I felt both those were highly unlikely to happen.


A look at Yanks offseason pitching targets

Monday, November 23, 2009

With nothing really solid happening on the free agent market yet, we'll take a look at some of the names being associated with the Yankees in regards to offseason plans, and how realistic the chances are they are wearing pinstripes in 2010.

First, note that with the free agents, the Yankees are currently on the books for a 2010 payroll of $166,334,714. There's a great chart at Cot's Baseball Contracts of the future payroll commitments by the Yankees. That number is considerably ($41 million) less than 2009's payroll, giving the Yankees plenty of money to spend (or not spend, but when has that ever happened?).

We'll split this up over a series of posts, organizing them by position. We'll start with what I believe is the most important, starting pitching:

Starting Pitchers
John Lackey
Age: 31
Status: Free Agent
2009 Salary: $10 million

This first target is very familiar to Yankee fans, as they've seen Lackey as the workhorse for the Angels since he came up as a rookie in 2002. He's started at least 30 games 5 times in his 7 full seasons, but the two season's he didn't were 2008 and 2009. He is not a true ace, but would fill in nicely as the Number 3 man in the Yankees rotation behind CC and AJ. Personally, I also loved and respected the fire he showed on the mound when Angels manager Mike Scioscia went to take him out of the game during the ALCS saying, "This game is mine!"

He is apparently looking for the type of contract the Yankees gave AJ Burnett last year, $82 million over 5 years. Considering I thought the Yankees gave Burnett too much money, I'm not sure they should make the same mistake twice. The Red Sox, however, are also interested, which obviously means the Yankees will be involved, if only to jack up the price for Boston.

Roy Halladay
Status: Under contract with Toronto Blue Jays through 2010 season
2009 Salary: $14.25 million ($15.57 million due in 2010)

The pièce de résistance of this year's trade market, Halladay will be the most talked about name until he is traded, whether it be this offseason, next season, or not at all. Halladay is not expected to resign with Toronto when his contract expires after next season, and the Blue Jays will try to get some value out of him. In a similar situation a few years ago, the Twins got fleeced in the deal that sent Johan Santanna to the Mets, so the Blue Jays won't want to make the same mistake.

Halladay is a bonafide ace and would give the Yankees two number one starters at the top end of their rotation, which would be devastating during the season and in postseason series. He has won almost 70 games over the past 4 years, and has had an ERA under 3.00 for the past two seasons.

The Blue Jays were reluctant to trade to an AL East team during the season, but a new general manager may see things differently. The Yankees would need to part with one of their top four prospects, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Austin Jackson, and Jesus Montero, to get this deal done. The talk is that the Yankees seem more inclined to give up Hughes or Joba in this deal, which makes sense. Halladay would come in and take up one of the rotation spots that would otherwise be filled by the two youngsters. Also, the Yankees would move to lock Halladay up long-term. If the Yankees gave him a 5-year extension, the top three spots in the rotation would be set through the end of Burnett's contract following the 2013 season.

As stated before, the Blue Jays will want the best package for Halladay. If they don't get that from teams, they could just sit back and take the two draft picks they'll get when Halladay signs with another team. Also, the Halladay situation could become a lot like the Sabathia situation during the 2008 season. The Indians didn't trade Sabathia during the offseason, but waited until midseason to do it. The Yankees decided not to pursue CC, and waited until he hit the free agent market and only gave up money for him (which the obviously have plenty of) instead of both money and prospects (of which they don't have many of high quality).

Aroldis Chapman
Age: 21
Status: Free agent
2009 Salary: N/A (Cuban Defector)

The other name you will hear a lot of from starting pitchers is Chapman. The Cuban defector has apparently been clocked at over 100 miles per hour by scouts. He pitched in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, going 0-1 with a bloated 5.68 ERA while striking out 8 in 6.1 innings pitched. Besides those six innings, there really isn't too much to go on besides what he does in front of scouts. There are his stats from his time on the Cuban National team, but can you take them at face value?

As a Yankee fan, I'm a little wary of Chapman just because he is so young, and apparently has some control issues. He recently fired his agent and joined the Hendricks Brothers, Alan and Randy. The Hendricks also represent Andy Pettitte and formerly Roger Clemens, so they have a solid relationship with the Yankees. As always, the Yankees and Red Sox will be battling tooth and nail over a player, but I'm still not convinced I want to win this time. We already had the failed Jose Contreras experiment this decade, and no one is sure if Chapman is even ready for the majors, as there is talk he would start in the minor leagues. The AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees already have one starter with a huge salary (Kei Igawa, another failed investment in a foreign pitcher), I don't think they need two. Are the Yankees ready to invest upwards of $50 million in a big question mark, especially after the recent mistakes (Pavano, Wright, Vazquez, Igawa, Contreras, do I need to go on, because this is painful?)

So those are the big names attached to the Yankees right now. They could go for a cheaper option to just fill a spot in the back end of the rotation, or trust guys like Hughes, Joba, and Ian Kennedy to take one of those spots. There is also the question mark of Chien-Mien Wang. There's the possibility he comes back, which personally I would like to see. He won 19 games two years in a row, that doesn't usually happen on accident. And he would be the third starter, which would make it much easier on him than it was in 2006 and 2007 where he was the number one guy.

When looking at the plan of attack for the Yankees, or any team for that matter, you cannot simply focus on that year's class. The Yankees did this last year with Mark Teixeira. Brian Cashman knew that the 2010 free agent position players were limited to Jason Bay and Matt Holliday, so he made a push for Tex, and it worked.

The inverse situation exists this year in regards to starting pitching. While this year only has three big names, where one of them must be traded for and one comes with more questions than answers, that is untrue of the 2011 offseason. Some of the pitchers that will be free agents after next season include: Josh Beckett, Matt Cain (has a vesting option, so he will likely NOT reach free agency), Jeff Francis, Halladay (if he's not traded and signed long-term), Cliff Lee, Ted Lilly, and Brandon Webb. That's a very impressive class. Plus, with so many good pitchers on the market, simple supply and demand would indicate that the prices may be lower for these players than usual, if you strike early.

Of the three pitchers I named, I don't see any of them as a real fit right now. Lackey isn't worth what he is asking, but will probably get it anyway. Chapman is too risky of an investment for a AAA starting pitcher or even a major league reliever. Halladay would work only if the Yankees were to give up one of the blue chips and not much else. I'd like to see if the Yankees can take the Sabathia approach with Halladay, but if that doesn't work, at least keep him away from the Red Sox. I would say let Joba, Hughes, and/or Kennedy show you what they can do, for real since it seems the inning limit (at least on the first two) are finally out the window, and go hard after the free agent class next year. A (healthy) rotation of Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte (assuming he comes back), Joba, and Hughes, with the Yankees' lineup, will probably be good for a division title and a good chance at #28.



Finale of Baseball Tonight Discussion

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Last week, the Sport Management Club at Syracuse University hosted two of ESPN's Senior Baseball writers, Tim Kurkjian and Jayson Stark, for a discussion on Major League Baseball. This is the fourth and final part of the discussion.

If you haven't read the other posts on this here are the links: Part I. Part II. Part III.

Q: The National Baseball Hall of Fame is very concerned about whether they have lost a generation of fans because of things like late-night games. What do you think?

TK: I am concerned that we have lost fans. I know my own children didn’t see a World Series game from beginning to end until last year. After the Yankees clinched last week, I looked at my watch and it was 1 o’clock in the morning. But how many people were up? I know all of you college kids were, because you never sleep anyway. But TV runs the show. The games did start earlier this year. They went from 8:20 to 7:57, a whopping 23 minutes. But I remember when I was in 6th grade, my teacher essentially canceled class so we could watch the Cardinals play the Red Sox in the World Series. And to a 6th grader who loved baseball that was absolutely amazing.

JS: I think it was revealing that Selig has been talking about it and talking about it. He said he was going to try and get an afternoon game in the World Series on the Saturday, and then nothing happened. I don’t see it changing anytime soon.

Q: What do you think about Pete Rose getting into the Hall of Fame?

TK: Personally, I would vote for him if he came up on our ballot. As it seems that his transgressions occurred as a manager and not a player, I would vote him in as a player. Plenty of people disagree with me, including Frank Robinson. When I wrote that I would vote for him if he came on the ballot, Robinson yelled at me for about five minutes. He said that if Rose is ever inducted, he will never go back to the Hall for any reason. One old-time scout once told me, “if Rose killed man, it would be less of a violation than him betting on the game.” He told me I couldn’t understand because I wasn’t around back in the days after the Black Sox scandal where we almost lost the game forever. I don’t think it is going to happen as long as Selig is the commissioner and especially if the Veterans Committee (living Hall of Famers) has anything to say about it.

JS: Now that it’s been 15 years since he played, it’s not up to the writers, it’s up to the Veterans Committee. And the Veterans Committee answer is, “Hell no.” They will not go for it under any circumstances. There was a lot of talk around the time of the All-Century team announcement with Rose meeting with Selig. Rose turned down a compromise offered to him that he could be partially reinstated in that he would appear on the ballot but he would never allow to be part of a team again; coach, manager, front office executive. Rose turned it down because he wanted it all, he wanted full reinstatement. If he had taken that deal, he would have appeared on our ballot, and I believe he would have gotten in. But now that it’s up to the Veterans Committee, it won’t happen.

Q: What is your opinion on the exclusivity of the Hall of Fame?

TK: I believe that if you are a Hall of Famer, you are always a Hall of Famer. There are some guys who simply do not vote for people in the first year because they say, “Joe DiMaggio didn’t get in the first year, so I’m not voting for this player his first year!” That is absolutely ridiculous because the system was completely different back then. But it’s not like the players are playing between their first and sixth year on the ballot that is going to change my mind, unless I go back and find some statistic that changes my mind. I usually vote for somewhere between 5-9 players, and this year I may vote for 10 because I think there are 10 Hall of Famers on the ballot.

JS: By the time Jim Rice was inducted, he hadn’t gotten a hit in 20 years. The fact that he went from 59% in year 10 on the ballot, to being over 75% at year 15, I’m like, “What changed?” And I don’t see why we need to do this for 15 years? It makes no sense. If he is a Hall of Famer, why is he a Hall of Famer one year, but not another? We could do this in 5 or 10 years at the most, because there’s guys like Rice and Bert Blylevan who have to go through this year after year.

Q: What was the favorite moment or story you covered in baseball?

TK: Mine was the day that Cal Ripken, Jr. broke the consecutive games played record. It was more than just the record; it was a story of family and commitment. I got to know him while working for the Baltimore Sun and outsiders just didn’t understand what the big deal was. There was a writer from Toronto who came in just to cover the record breaking and he came up to me and asked, “What’s the big deal with this.” I told him to come back after the 5th inning. So the top of the 5th ends and the game is official, he’s broken the record. The drop the “1” down on 2,131 and the place goes crazy. And then, after being shoved out there by his teammates, Cal goes on this victory lap around the stadium. He was shaking hands and pointing at people in the stands. He was pointing at those fans that were there all the time. He knew a lot of their names, and if he didn’t know their names, he sure recognized their faces. They suspended the game for 22 minutes as Cal went around the stadium. It was a story about a homegrown kid who broke the record that would never be broken. The Toronto writer came over in the bottom of the 5th, and he had been moved to tears,

JS: Well, one of mine is that day, as well, but for a different reason. I was one of those outsiders coming in and trying to figure out what the big deal was. But this was in 1995, right after the strike had ended, and I saw this magnificent scene and it showed how the game could recover. A few months later, two Phillies, Mike Schmidt and Richie Ashburn were inducted into the Hall of Fame together and I went to cover it. It was the largest crowd the Hall had ever had at an induction ceremony. There were fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, grandparents and grandchildren all there. It showed that, despite all that had gone on the year before, people still loved baseball.

Well that concludes all the write-ups on Tim Kurkjian and Jayson Stark's visit to Syracuse University. John's in the Bahamas for the next couple of days, where it is about 50 degrees warmer than it is here in Syracuse. So I'll be updating with news on Joe Mauer and Albert Pujols winning the MVP's in their respective leagues once that news is made official. With this being Thanksgiving week, I'll be sure to mention some rumors and news from the Hot Stove, as well as some opinions on potential targets.



Baseball Tonight discussion, Part III

Friday, November 20, 2009

Last week, the Sport Management Club at Syracuse University hosted two of ESPN's Senior Baseball writers, Tim Kurkjian and Jayson Stark, for a discussion on Major League Baseball. This is Part III of the discussion.

Q: How has Scott Boras affected the game with his trend of pitting teams against each other to drive player salaries up?

TK: I’ll let Jayson answer this because Boras hates Jayson.

JS: Well, I’m not Scott Boras’s favorite person. I once wrote that one of Boras’s clients was less likely to get a job than another player because Boras was his agent and some teams did not want to deal with him. He sought me out in the press box the next day and demanded I print a retraction because he said there was no evidence that the agent will prevent a player from signing with a team. But the fact is that there are some General Manager’s and teams that won’t deal with him. Now, he tries to work around the people that won’t deal with him. He’ll try to find someone else in the front office or deal directly with the owner to try and get a deal for his player. The major issue with him I think is what is more important; making the player happy or getting him the most money? I know guys who go for the big contracts and are just miserable with where they end up and cannot wait to get out of there. The perfect example this year is Matt Holliday. Holliday loved it St. Louis, the fans embraced him, he did well, but they probably aren’t going to be able to give him the best deal. Now shouldn’t Holliday be able to go to Boras and say, “I don’t need to have the most money, I just want to stay here where I’m comfortable.”

Q: What do you think about the trend of General Managers and other top executives moving from being former players to being college-educated businessmen?

TK: There was a time 20 years ago where 70% of the GMs played in the Majors. Now, 3 of the 30 played. That is where the sport is going. Guys like Theo Epstein is extremely smart figuring out all the statistics and information like that, but his biggest strength is surrounding himself with baseball people. Too many GMs like that think they can evaluate talent the way someone who played can. There was one story about how a GM came to a manager and said, “All of our charts and say that this player can play centerfield, so we want you to put him there.” The manager told him that the player could not play centerfield. The GM trusted his research and told him to try him out there. So the player went out there for a week and was horrible. So after a week, the GM went to the manager and told him he was right and asked, “How did you know that?” It’s because managers like that have played and understand what it takes to play. I don’t have a problem with the trend as long as the new GMs understand that they can’t evaluate talent like a baseball person can.

Q: How has technology like Twitter helped or hurt the way you cover baseball games?

At this point, Tim’s daughter Kelly, a freshman at Syracuse who was sitting in the audience raised her hand and said:

Let me just say that my dad knows absolutely nothing about technology.

TK: Well, I guess this isn’t a question for me to answer, go ahead Jayson.

JS: I love Twitter. At one point it was a little bit of an issue at ESPN because they were concerned about what were putting on there because they wanted to make sure it drove people to and not Twitter. I backed off until they decided what to do, and now there’s a Twitter module on our ESPN MLB page for all the Tweets we do. But it’s an amazing interactive media. I’m sitting in the press box and all the sports writers are tweeting about the game, and we’re all sitting right next to each other providing information. It’s a great place to put tidbits and information that may not fit anywhere else, too. And when I’m not physically there, using it helps me feel like I am there.

Q: With a lot of glaring mistakes by the umpires in the postseason this year, do you think instant replay will be expanded?

JS: I wish they would. I was the guy, who a week after they instituted replay, called for them to expand it. At the General Manager’s meetings, they made no formal recommendation about instant replay. And Bud Selig is dead set against the further expansion of it, so as long as he is in charge, I don’t see it happening, whether it is a challenge system or a fifth umpire.


Sabathia SI Sportsman of the Year?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Well, Sabathis didn't win the AL Cy Young, that went to Royals ace Zack Greinke.

However, every year, Sports Illustrated presents the award Sportsman of the Year in its first issue in December. Many great athletes such as Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, and Michael Jordan have earned this honor. Many times it is given to a player who stands out the most on a championship team. With all the stars on the Yankees, and the postseason heroics of A-Rod, a case is made for CC Sabathia by Ben Reiter. Here is part of his argument:

"Sabathia is my Sportsman of the Year, first and foremost, because of what he did on the field. While he might not win his second AL Cy Young Award -- that honor will probably, and deservedly, go to the Royals' Zack Greinke -- no pitcher was as valuable to his team as Sabathia was to the Yankees. He was an ace, a stopper, a leader of men, and he was at his best when it mattered most.
But Sabathia is also my Sportsman of the Year because he showed us, in this money-fueled era of pro sports, that cash doesn't always change athletes, or corrupt them, and that the idea of a "contract year" can sometimes represent nothing more than a matter of timing."

Reiter makes an excellent case for Sabathia and I would love to see him win the award. You can argue Jeter, A-Rod, Matsui, but Sabathia demonstrated his character on and off the field is a huge part of being a successful athlete.


Weekend Trade Rumors

Monday, November 16, 2009

We apologize for not having any updates over the weekend, but there really hasn't been anything but rumors. So, we will give you a rundown on what some of those rumors are.

There are a lot of rumors and not much real news, and it is going to be like that probably until the Winter Meetings. We're going to continue to hear rumors about Holliday and Bay talking to the Yankees and Damon with the San Francisco Giants. We'll let you know if anything noteworthy happens.

For some real news, Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan and A's pitcher Andrew Bailey were named Rookie of the Years for their respective leagues today. Tommorow AL Cy Young is announced. I'd say Greinke wins over Felix Hernandez.

See Ya!


Derek Jeter Is A Bum

Friday, November 13, 2009

For a guy who just won a World Series, Gold Glove, and Silver Slugger Award, he really let himself go.

Ok, so he's not really a bum.

If you are wondering, Jeter makes a cameo in an upcoming Will Ferrell movie, The Other Guys. They filmed Jeter's part yesterday in Coney Island at Nathan's. This is the second movie Jeter is making a cameo in. He appeared in a cameo with Roger Clemens in Anger Management in 2003. Jeter also hosted SNL in 2001 where he infamously dressed as a woman, and like many Yankees, he was once on an episode of Seinfeld alongside Bernie Williams.

[photo from NY Post]


Kurkjian and Stark discussion, Part II

Earlier this week, the Sport Management Club at Syracuse University hosted two of ESPN's Senior Baseball writers, Tim Kurkjian and Jayson Stark, for a discussion on Major League Baseball. This is Part II of the discussion.

Q: What are some of the biggest storylines of the off-season and the Winter Meetings?

JS: The trade market is going to be very interesting this winter. It already has been, since we had about 5 trades within 48 hours of the World Series ending. Roy Halladay will obviously be the most talked about player this offseason, much like Johan Santana a few years ago. And the thing is that they HAVE to trade him. The poor guy went to the All-Star game and for two days had a million people like me ask him about him getting traded and where he wanted to go. Then over the next month it was all that was talked about, and then he stayed in Toronto. He is not going to want to go through that again. He wants to play for a contender, and the Blue Jays are too far away from being that type of team. He has a full no-trade clause. He can go to the team and say, if you are going to trade me, do it in the offseason because I will not do this again. Then they lose him and only get the two draft picks. The teams that are the front runners are the Phillies, who obviously made a strong play at the trading deadline, the Red Sox, and because Boston’s involved, the Yankees will be. Then the Mets will try to make a deal, that is, if they have anything left to trade. The free agent market consists of really three guys: Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, and John Lackey. There is not too much depth in this class. Holliday and Bay are not true centerpiece players, but they are going to want to get paid like they are. Then there is Lackey who isn’t a true ace, but he’s the best pitcher on the market.

TK: This is the most work we have to do as baseball writers. People will come up to us after the World Series and say, “So you’re on vacation for the next four months, right?” No, not at all. During the season, it’s easier because you know where the story is. If the Yankees lose six games in a row, you know that’s the story. But in the offseason, it’s not like that. Most of our work is done over the phone trying to track people down to find out which teams are making trades and which free agents are going where. And Manny Ramirez took four months to sign last year. It was torture trying to figure out where that clown was going!

JS: I’ll tell you a story about misinformation and knowing who to trust when it comes to breaking stories like these. At the trading deadline, one of my best sources came to me and said that the Indians and Red Sox were working on a three-team deal to bring Victor Martinez to the Red Sox. They just needed a third team to put Adam LaRoche. So with that and all the corroborating evidence I had, I was going to run it. But I thought, “I need to run this by someone from one of the teams involved.” So it’s very late and I have an email out to someone in the Red Sox executive and I still hadn’t heard back, and I decide that I trust my source and my reporting enough, and we run the story. We were the only one who had it. That’s a lonely feeling in that situation. So I go to sleep, since most of the time we’re up and working 20 hours a day, and when I wake up I get an email back from my Red Sox contact who says that this information is “completely false.” And this trade actually happened! I email him back telling him about my source and all the evidence I had and why I decided to run the story. Two minutes later I get an email back from him saying, “It’s alright, you got it mostly right.” In two minutes, I had gone from “completely false” to “mostly right.” You just need to know who to trust and who not to and who may be misinforming you.

Q: How will the disaster of the Santana trade (on the Twins end) affect the Halladay deal?

TK: As you saw at the deadline, the Blue Jays won’t make a deal unless they get exactly what they want. They want, and need, better prospects in return for Halladay. There is a zero percent chance that he re-signs with them. Teams are unwilling to part with top prospects because of uncertainties in how a player will perform the next year. In basketball and football you know almost exactly how a player is going to perform the next year, but not in baseball, and that’s the ultimate beauty of the game.

JS: I think the lesson teams are learning is to not wait too long to trade these players. You can’t wait until a player like Halladay has one year deal left on his deal. Especially since teams didn’t get a window to negotiate a contract with him during the season, so it’s unlikely that it is going to happen in the off-season. The optimum time to trade big players like Halladay is with two years left, or even this past trading deadline so team’s get him for a year and a half. If they trade him next July, teams like the Yankees are just going to say, ‘Why should we waste prospects on him when we can wait 3 months and sign him for a bazillion dollars?” just like they did with Sabathia. And the Twins example shows that teams should look for quality, not quantity.

Q: When International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) founder Dick Pound came to talk to us [Pound spoke to Sport Management majors on October 25] he spoke about how big of a joke the MLB drug testing system was and it was ridiculous that they thought they had a strong testing program. What are your thoughts on that?

TK: Well, you have to give the MLB credit for how far they’ve come over the past 15 years. If you had told me back then that we would have the type of testing we do now, I would not have believed you. There was no way the Union would have allowed it, but now there have been too many embarrassing situations and something needed to be done. While this system is not perfect, it is not the be all, end all, and it still has holes, there is no perfect way to do it, and right now this is the best way.

JS: I think that the penalty for first-time offense should be a year and not 50 games. That would get some people’s attention. But baseball is completely different than the Olympics. Baseball is everyday and the Olympics happens once every four years. But you have to look at if it is working or not. How many 60 home run guys have you seen lately? How many 50 homer guys have you seen? Baseball’s program is on par with the three other major sports in North America.


Legal Disclaimer

The owners, operators, and writers of the Michael Kay's Successors blog are in no way sponsored, endorsed or affiliated with the New York Yankees or the aforementioned Michael Kay. Because if they were, we'd be on World Series championship #39 by now.

Also, anything written about broadcaster/on-air personalities is all in good fun and meant to be taken as a joke.

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP