CC Sabathia recieved the Warren Spahn award for being the best left handed pitcher in baseball. This is the second year in a row he has won it. Warren Spahns son challenged him to be back next year to win it for a third straight year. CC had some interesting things to say.
"If you ask anybody in my family or anybody that knows me, there is no outside pressure that could be put on me that I don't put on myself." "I put an enourmous amount of pressure on myself to go out there and perform and to expect to win every game, expect to pitch well in every game. I think having the guys in New York, the Arods, Jeters and these great players, Tex-- I think it will help me be a better player." Before recieving the award he said he is excited to have Joba and Mo closing out games for him. He says he has already talked to Joba about this, does he know something we don't know?? I thought Joba was a starter. "To add me and AJ and have Tex in that lineup, i think its going to be an unbelievable team, hopefully it will be a special year."
I have always liked CC and have wanted him for the past year as some of you already know. I like this guy even more everytime he speaks. I really think he is going to have fun and loosen up the clubhouse and hopefully all the chemistry will work together and they will get back to the top of the mountain. I am so excited to see these guys go to work everyday and just have that passion to win that I think has been missing. I feel Tex,CC and even AJ will bring that fire, that moxy to the team.
The major league roster is set with Arod at third and either Cody Ransom or Angel Berroa as the utility infielder backup. Mark Texiera can actually play a little third in an emergency also.
AAA-Eric Duncan should be back here again. He always show occasional flashes of brilliance offensively but has ultimately never lived up to his potential. Chris Malec or Kevin Russo may also see time here, one should be more of a utility guy in AAA while the other will be in AA im sure.
AA-see above. Mitch Hilligoss may also get a promotion up to this level. He is a interesting prospect, he seems to have a good bat. He did have a bad year though in A last year. Brandon Laird and Brad Suttle further down the line may be good third base options but Laird is seeing more and more time at first base. Ultimately the yankees aren't going to be worried about third base for a very long time so most of these guys will probably be on other teams or maybe at the major leagues in a reserve role with the Yanks.
I have said this before the yankees seem pretty weak at the positions, they have heavily invested in pitchers and done a good job with that but now they need to work on drafting good quality position prospects.
The Arizona Cardinals will host the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Baltimore Ravens. I so far have been wrong on almost every game so its a good thing I dont bet on these things. I am not inclined to pick anymore but I will say I think there is a good chance for an all Pennsylvania Super Bowl. I don't like the Eagles at all, but this would be an amazing story if they can win it all. Donovan Mcnabb and Andy Reid who have done nothing but win have been maligned in Philly, of course they haven't won the big one. They have been in the NFC championship game 5 out of the last 8 years which is amazing to me. It doesn't always come down to Mcnabb not playing well either but he will always get the blame. This is the great thing about sports, you can bounce back off the mat and change the way people view you forever. I think either the eagles or Cards provide an interesting storyline but the Super Bowl really needs Pittsburgh to win, if its Baltimore that may lose some of the luster although Flacco is a great story. Everyone enjoy the games, i am still upset over the Giants losing but they will be back next year.
The Philadelphia Phillies avoided arbitration with their ace Cole Hamels. They agreed to a 3 yr contract extension worth 20.5 million.
The Boston Red Sox owner John Henry and captain/catcher Jason Varitek met in Atlanta for 90 minutes on friday night. Varitek requested this meeting, he would like to return to the Sox and Boston has interest in him coming back but it is unknow if they will be able to come to an agreement. I would guess yes, as he isn't much of a offensive force anymore but he is their leader and without him I wonder how much the pitching would suffer.
Tampa Bay Rays senior advisor and former Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer is recovering from a stroke. The stroke happened on December 23 and initially he was having trouble speaking but his condition has improved. He said he will whip this thing, it isn't expected to keep him from his duties with the Rays.
The rumors continue to swirl regarding Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher. To this point the Yankees haven't seemed interested in anything that has been offered. I am hoping they keep both as you always need depth but if the right player comes along, maybe a pitcher or CF then they should think about it. The Yanks are at a position of strength here and can be very picky.
The Dodgers continue to negotiate with Manny but nothing has changed. The team wants him for a short term deal and he is seeking four years. It is amazing to me a guy with his talent can still be out there with only a month to go before spring training. I know the reason because of his antics but still, this is so amazing to me. It isn't just him either guys like Abreu,Dunn,Griffey Jr,Sheets,Perez and many more. If Pavano can get a deal these guys shouldn't be having trouble. I think they are just going to have to take one year deals perform and then hope the market is better next year.
There are just 28 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Kevin Long has had a busy winter vacation, and spoke to Pete Caldera of the Record. I am going to post some of what he had to say. He traveled to Tampa to see Jorge Posada, Miami to spend some time with Arod and the Dominican Republic to work with Cano. He said last year as a whole there were too many missing pieces and it just never clicked on all cylinders. He is talking about the teams offense. He says as long as everyone remains healthy that 900 runs is a realistic goal. He also said that the team has to get better and he has to get better, building on what Cashman did this winter. He said he sees Big Tex batting third and Arod fourth with Matsui fifth and Posada hitting sixth, he says these two guys being healthy and in the 5 and 6 slot should make a huge difference.
Speaking of Posada he says "He gives us that leadership and grit we were missing." Earlier this week Long spent 3 days in Tampa with Jorge who has increased his throwing to 90 feet and is expecting to be ready for opening day. "Looking at his swing it was just like i remember it, short,compact and explosive from both sides." This is a very good sign, as they really need him, not just how good he is offensively, he really is the vocal leader of this team.
He said of Arod who he plans on visiting one more time before spring training. "It's not so much mechanical anymore, its about him feeling good,making sure his mind is right." I wouldn't worry about Arod, everyone forgets he did miss about a month last year with the injured leg and he still put up good numbers and he just didn't have the protection in the lineup. He said Arod is anxious, fired up, ready to go.
He said Cano is also ready to go and thinks that September benching kick started something. "There were a lot of changes that occured in September,from the standpoint of how he played the game." He said he may have gone from 80-100 percent in his concentration level. He took the mechanics he learned from Long in September into winter ball and also hired a person strength and conditioning coach.
I never really liked Kevin Long, but I do like his optimism and the fact he admits he has to get better. I do think Cano is going to have a huge year, i just wish Girardi would of benched him earlier in the year, i think Tex will have a huge impact on the team, Arod will be better, and having Matsui and Jorge healthy and in that lineup will just be huge as they are both teriffic hitters. I really think this team is set up to go a long way and I can't wait for spring training to get going. This offense also won't feel as much pressure because of the pitching, they know they have CC,AJ and Wang and Joba going and feel they have a great shot at winning everyday. It should be fun to see how much more relaxed this lineup may be and if they can all be together for a long time, Girardi having the same lineup would be great. I think if Long fails this year then he is gone but since he is still here, i have to hope he will get it done. It is good to see he worked so hard in the offseason with these guys.
Freddy Garcia is considering joining the Yankees,Mets,Rangers and White Sox. He could reach a decision by the end of next week. I think this is interesting, he was known as a workhorse before he got hurt a couple of years ago. I think if this is a minor league deal for the Yanks then it is fine but i have a funny feeling the Rangers may offer him a guaranteed contract. He is a pretty good pitcher when healthy winning 118 games. His career record is 118-77 with a 4.07 ERA. That Era was bloated the last couple of years with the injuries. He is worth the risk, if healthy he can definitely be a productive pitcher for the Yanks.
Kevin Youkilis has signed a 4yr 40million dollar extension with the Red Sox according to ESPN.
David Eckstein has signed a 1 yr deal with the San Diego Padres.
The Yankees stated that Jorge Posada will not participate in the World Baseball Classic. This is interesting since it is conflicting with what his father is saying. The Yankees of course could ban him from participating and will, so it doesn't matter what he says.
The New York Yankees released their spring training invitee list today. Here is the list, and then i will have some thoughts about it after i list the names. The total number of players now expected to report to Tampa,Florida on February 14th for pitchers and catchers and February 19th for everyone else is 60.
C-Kyle AnsonINF-Doug BernierINF-Angel BerroaC-Kevin CashOf-Colin CurtisInf/Of-Shelley DuncanP-Kei IgawaOf-Austin JacksonP-Jason JohnsonInf-Justin LeoneOf-Todd LindenP-Mark MelanconP-Sergio MitreC-Jesus MonteroInf-Eduardo NunezInf-Ramiro PenaC-PJ PilittereOf-John RodriguezC-Austine RomineIf-Kevin Russo
Why in the world is Kei Igawa on this list? The only thing he can be good for is to pitch BP. There are always a lot of catchers because this is needed in the spring for all the pitchers. Austine Romine and Jesus Montero are the most promising. Montero may still one day switch positions but for now he is a catcher and has improved defensively. Mark Melancon may make the team out of spring training, the Yankees view this guy as the eventual sucessor to MO, so keep your eye on him. OF Austin Jackson is the Yankees top prospect and is worth watching, he will be in AAA but depending on how he does could be a september call up and maybe could be with the team next year. Shelley Duncan must be on this list because he passed through waivers and was optioned outright to AAA, I hope he does well and makes the Yanks keep their eye on him again. John Rodriguez is a interesting name, he has done well in a couple of stints with the St Louis Cardinals and could come into play if the Yankees move any of the other OF's they have and if guys like Melky or Gardner fail. Jason Johnson is a veteran pitcher brought in for depth,as is veteran C Kevin Cash who was last with the Bosox. Angel Berroa has a chance of making the team as the utility infielder as he will be competing with Cody Ransom. If you look at this list and examine some of the other catchers, the Yankees probably have the best prospects at this position, they really look to be in good shape for when Jorge is done with catching in a couple of years. There is a chance this list grows but most of these guys will be in the minors to start the year.
A report from ESPN Deportes is saying that Jorge Posada will participate in the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico as a DH. Jorges father confirmed this also, the problem is we haven't heard anything from the Yankees or Jorge himself. I am sure the Yankees want to see him in spring training and be able to control him since he is so valuable to the team. If Jorge really does feel that good to play in the WBC though that is a great sign, i think not only couldn't the Yankees make up for the production he gives out of the catcher position but his fiery leadership was sorely missed. I think the only ones who should be involved are Jeter and Arod because the Yankees don't have to worry about them. Matsui,Posada and Wang the Yankees need to keep their eyes on coming off of injuries. If the Yankees can stay healthy this year they have a great chance at getting back to where they belong the World Series and they need to watch the injured players very closely.
Ching Ming Wang and his wife are expecting their first baby in June. I just wanted to wish them well. This is a wonderful thing as I am enjoying my first baby. I am dreading going back to work next week. I am guessing he will have to miss a start or two if his wife is delivering in June, but that is for another time. I thank Peter Abraham of the Journal News for providing this information. You can read his story on http://yankees.lhblogs.com. He does a wonderful job, I highly recommend his site if you haven't already checked it out. I also thank Peter for all his support and the chance to guest blog for him on January 21st.
The New York Giants sure sounded like they will give Plaxico Burress a second chance if he is cleared by the legal system. I think the Giants realized they really need him, they are a good team, but with him they can be a great team and probably would of been in the super bowl again. I don't think this is a bad idea, if he is cleared to just let him come back but any wrong move and they cut him and thats it. I am sure if he came back and acted up the NFL would discipline him anyway and there is still a chance they would suspend him to start next season. It will be interesting to watch this develop but his teammates really like him and I think it is likely now that he does come back. If he doesn't the Giants may try and trade for Bouldin from Arizona or go the free agent route. They will probably be losing Amani Toomer also but have Mario Manningham waiting in the wings, i think he will turn out to be a steal and may play a big role next year. Eli Manning certainly wants Plax back as they share a special bond, he said sure sure he is a great player when asked about wanting him to come back. There were many other players who spoke up in support of him yesterday as the team cleaned out their lockers and looked towards next year.
The Atlanta Braves have come to an agreement with free agent right hander Derek Lowe. The deal is for four years and 60 million. The Braves aren't commenting on it right now as they have been bit earlier this offseason by Rafael Furcal. Japanese veteran Kenshin Kawakami will be introduced later today at Turner Field. The Braves now have a remade pitching staff that could help them compete. They have Lowe and Vasquez at top with Kawakami and Jair Jurjjens. The fifth spot will be a competition between Glavine,Jo-Jo Reyes,Charlie Morton,James Parr,Tommy Hanson. The best thing about Lowe and Vasquez is their durability as both guys are known to consistently throw 200+innings a year. The braves rotation last year was decimated by injuries. The Mets better make a move here, they have a 3yr 30 million dollar offer on the table for Perez but they are also going to need another starter and may have to take a long hard look at Ben Sheets. It also looks more likely now that Pedro will be back in a Mets uniform. The Mets division just got tougher and they better act, if i was them I would also try and sign Manny.
The Yes Network has listed their broadcast schedule for spring training. Here it is
Feb 26-Tampa Bay Rays 1:15PM
Feb 28-Minnesota Twins 1:15PM
March 3-Team USA 1:15PM
March 7-Atlanta Braves 1:15PM
March 10-Cincinatti Reds 7:15PM
March 14-Houston Astros 1:15PM
March 17-Pittsburgh Pirates 7:15PM
March 19-Toronto Blue Jays 7:15PM
March 24-Boston Red Sox 7:15PM
April 1-Philadelphia Phillies 1:15PM
April 3-Chicago Cubs 7:15PM
April 4-Chicago Cubs 1:15PM
The last two games are the games at the New Stadium,hopefully I will be going to at least one and will give some live posts regarding the new stadium. There are only 12 games broadcast, i wonder if more will be added or is this it for the spring. It is great to start seeing things like this, because baseball is getting closer.
The New York Yankees issued some statements today regarding Rickeys induction into the Hall Of Fame. I first was alerted to these thanks to Peter Abraham of http://yankees.lhblogs.com. Here we go
George Steinbrenner-"There was only one Rickey Henderson in baseball. He was the greatest leadoff hitter of all time. I consider him a great friend with tremendous spirit and a true yankee." I am not sure of the true Yankee thing but he was fun
Willie Randolph-"Rickey and I have been friends for a long time, and i am ecstatic for him. I have been fortunate and blessed to have played with a great number of phenomenal baseball players but pound-for-pound,Rickey Henderson is the best I have ever played beside. No one was able to impact the course of a game in as many ways as Rickey. This is a great day for him and I can't wait to hear his acceptance speech." It is too bad that they didn't have any pitching when they played together with the Yanks.
Dave Winfield and Ken Griffey Sr also chimed in, you can take a look at what they had to say over on Peters Blog. I can't wait to hear his acceptance speech either, he was a true charachter. I remember going to the games when he was playing left field and he would be talking to us in the middle of the game. He would also tie his shoe in the middle of a pitch, just classic stuff. I remember going to see him years later in Port St Lucie when he was a met and sitting right behind home plate and yelling to him and all, he acknowledged me, he was always a lot of fun.
Here is how the voting broke down.
No one else got even close but here are the other notables
Tim Raines-22.6%-I am suprised he didn't get more support as he may be the 2nd best leadoff hitter of all time.
Mark McGwire-21.9%-I am happy about this that he is being affected by steroids as he should.
Players are eligible to remain on the ballot for 15 years as long as they recieve 5% of the vote. Those that will remain on next year are: Dawson,Blyleven,Morris,Smith,Raines,McGwire,Mattingly,Trammel,Parker,Murphy and Baines. The New ones for next year are Barry Larkin,Roberto Alomar. I think these are the most notable. Andres Galarraga is also eligible next year.
The Yankees unveiled a new commerative patch to be worn on home and road uniforms for the 2009 season. The patch of course commerates the first season in the New Yankee Stadium. The Mets also unveiled one and it is hideous. I think any of us could of come up with something better. They don't have any mention of Citi Field in it which is wierd to me. The Two logos are above. What is your opinions on these? The Yankees sure know how to make money as they already have merchandise up on yankees.com and im sure more is to come. When people complain about the Yankees spending this is part of the reason that they can, they generate more money then anyone and choose to put it back into the team.
The Hall of Fame results were announced at 2:00pm eastern time. Here are the new inductees.
Joe Gordon and Tony Kubek were inducted by the veterans comitee. Joe Gordon was a former yankees second baseman and Tony Kubek a former Yankees announcer. Here are the regular inductees.
Rickey Henderson was an obvious choice to me. He is the greatest leadoff hitter of all time. He was a true hot dog but i used to enjoy interacting with him when he was a yankee.
Jim Rice gets in on his last chance to get in. This was the 15th year he was eligible and he finally makes it. I'm sure Red Sox Nation is rejoicing but he deserved to get in.
I think you can make arguments for Andre Dawson and Jack Morris. Don Mattingly is my all time favorite player and i would love for him to get in, but he just didn't put up the numbers for a long enough period of time due to his back injuries. He only got 11.9 percent of the vote.
The announcement was on the MLB network, the first time it was on national television. I will be back later with more opinions on this and would love to get a discussion going. If anyone has any opinions on any of the nominees or the ones that did get in please let me know and we will talk about it.
The New York Giants got beat by the Philadelphia Eagles today 23-11. They played a terrible game or I should say the QB Eli Manning played terribly. The way he played today he seemed like a rookie again. The bottom line though is Philly deserved to win and also the Giants do miss Plaxico and now we realize that. The Giants still have a young team and will be competitive for some time. They have to come back next year and play with that chip on their shoulder.
The good thing about football being over is that as i signified with my countdown clock over on the right is that their are only 84 days until opening day. Spring Training starts in 34 days which warms the heart even more. I can't wait for this season. I feel the Yankees have the team now to finally get past the first round and do some damage, hopefully winning that elusive 27th world series. All you Giants fans out there don't worry they will be back and its time for baseball now.
I am a diehard New York Yankees fan,season ticket holder and a sportsnut. I also like the New York Giants and Rangers. I am married with a beautiful babygirl. I am a caremanager for passaic county and graduated from William Paterson University in Wayne,NJ. I have always wanted to be a sportswriter and thought this blog would help me live my dream. I cover the Yankees/Mets Giants and Jets for www.worldnewsvine.com and also will be writing for numberonebaseball.com so check me out there, thanks.