Saturday, January 30, 2010

Baseball Odds and Ends

The New York Mets made a couple of minor league signings today. They signed pitcher Josh Fogg and also utility man Frank Cattelanotto. He is a native of Long Island so he will be coming home. Josh Fogg pitched well as a longman for the Colorado Rockies last year. Cattelanotto hit 278 with one homerun and 9 rbi's with the Brewers last year. He had a 346 obp in 144 at bats. Adam Dunn through his agent is saying that Orlando Hudson prefers to sign with the Washington Nationals and Jon Heyman is tweeting he thinks he will end up there. The Yankees will be going on a 6 day tour of the Far East. We know the Yankees have had a relationship with Japan even though Matsui is gone now. The Yankees have a agreement with China and will be furthering their relations on this trip as well as showing off the World Series Trophy. Jim Edmonds signed a minor league deal with the Brewers with a invite to spring training. It looks like the Oakland A's are in serious discussions with Gabe Gross. If they do sign him Damon will have one less team. I still don't see where he will end up maybe it will be Toronto or Tampa.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Where will the Damon story end?

The New York Yankees and Johnny Damon seemingly came to a bitter end with a painful divorce the other day. The Yankees signed Randy Winn and confirmed that Damon would not be coming back. The thing is usually when you have a bitter parting of ways there is anger, resentment, talking bad about each other etc. GM Brian Cashman was on the Yankees Hot Stove Show last night on the Yes Network and said that he wanted Damon back but it just didn't work out, he said he just hopes wherever he winds up it isn't for what he could of stayed a Yankee for. Johnny Damon was on WFAN this afternoon with Mike Francessa and said his heart is in NY and even floated the idea of returning to the Yankees in midseason via a trade. He said if not by a trade then maybe resigning with them at a later date. I just don't understand this whole thing. If both sides really wanted each other then they should of made it work. I am not one of those that thinks this is devestating for the Yankees. I like Johnny Damon a lot, I always have but they have gotten younger and they are much better defensively. Damon was not a good outfielder, had a terrible arm and runners took the extra base on him constantly. The good of Damon was he is a clutch player, he is fast and his swing was ideal for the New Yankee Stadium. He will not be the same player on another team, you watch and see his power numbers go down. I think the Yankees with Granderson in left and Gardner in center and Winn as the 4th outfielder are much better defensively. The Yankees are more versatile also as Winn can play all 3 outfield positions. He doesn't have any power compared to Damon but last year was his worst year and in other areas like speed and batting avg he is pretty comparable. He is a much better defender then Damon especially in the corner outfield positions. The comments on sports talk radio today and also on the internet are amazing. There are people so upset over this that they are threatening to not renew their season tickets. I think this is going a little overboard, I undertand that fans are upset but the Yankees are probably a better team right now then last season even without Johnnny Damon. This is a team that will be fine offensively and be better pitching wise and defensively. I know it is hard to say a World Championship team can get any better but in my mind they are and will be tough to beat next year. The Yankees know what they are doing and are going to be fine, they actually had a budget for once and stuck to it and you can't fault them for that. It will be interesting to see where Johnny Damon ends up, in the end best of luck to him and hopefully he won't regret his decision.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Yankees appear to say bye bye Johnny

The New York Yankees signed outfielder Randy Winn today to a 1 yr deal to be worth 2 million. The Yankees in doing this ended the marriage with Johnny Damon. His bat, professionalism and clubhouse presence will all be missed. He is a good player that is getting older and in the end it just didn't work out. The Yankees will be getting someone in Winn who had his worst year last year but he is a 286 career hitter and plays good defense. He can also play all 3 outfield positions. I personally think that Gardner will be the CF and Granderson the LF with Winn being the 4th outfielder who will spell them all out in the outfield and be a good guy off the bench. He is still a fast runner who can steal a base when he needs too. The Yankees outfield defense will be significantly better this year even though they will lose some offensive firepower. The Yankees figure they will be better in pitching and defense and that does go a long way. The Yankees and Johnny Damon were both wrong in this negotiation. Tyler Kepner tweeted earlier that Scott Boras said that Cashman never even made him an offer and Cashman responded by saying that he was told dont give a penny less then 13 million a year and if you do then don't even bother making an offer. Cashman believed Boras and therefore did what he said and moved on and Boras apparently didn't like that Cash called his bluff. I think Boras really did Johnny wrong and I wonder where he may end up. It looks like the Rays are jumping in the mix and the A's may still be interested. There just doesn't seem to be too much interest for Damon for what he wants.

Busy day in Baseball

It has been a rather uneventful couple of weeks around the baseball world. We are drawing ever closer to spring training and the start of the baseball season and today the baseball world was very busy. Here are some of the transactions and rumors that took place today. Ben Sheets signed a 1 yr contract with the Oakland Athletics for 10 million plus incentives. Jim Thome signed a one year 1.5 million dollar deal with the Minnesota Twins. It also includes up to 750,000 in incentives. Xavier Nady is close to a deal with the Chicago Cubs. His deal is for 3.3 million with 2.05 million more in incentives for games played. The deal is pending a physical which isn't a foregone conclusion for him since he is coming off the second Tommy John surgery of his career. This affects the Yankees as they are looking for a right handed bat to play the outfield. Johan Santana of the New York Mets threw off a mound today for the first time since leaving a game last August and undergoing elbow surgery. He threw 35 pitches in 6 minutes and came through it fine. He said he feels good and will just be building up for opening day. Chad Jennings of the Journal News and the Lohud Yankees blog had some Yankee news tonight. Joe Girardi was in Times Square receiving the Bobby Murcer award from B.A.T which is the Baseball assistance team. He spoke about Johnny Damon and said he never believes something is completely shut until it is completely shut. He did say though with that said he doesn't see it happening. He can see Gardner in center and Granderson in left, he said he does see them as interchangeable. Joe Girardi also said that he feels good about Francisco Cervelli being the backup catcher. He said that he played at a very high level for them last year and learned a lot. He thinks he can handle the job. Joe Girardi said that Bernie Williams hasn't asked him about coming to spring training as a instructor but if he does he will consider it. I don't think there is any doubt that if he asks he will be there and he said on the radio the other day he would like to be in spring training. Joe Girardi brought the World Series trophy today to his daughter school. I can only imagine that being the show and tell, how cool is that. Brian Cashman via Brian Hoch said that Johnny Damon does not fit into his budget and he is not going to discuss Damon any further. It sure sounded like the door is slammed shut on Johnny but I still don't believe it until he signs somewhere else which I don't see happening. I think eventually they will work this out. I think it is both sides being bitter at the negotiating and using the media for leverage. The Yankees did add some outfield depth today when they traded minor league infielder Mitch Hilligos to the Texas Rangers for minor league outfielder Greg Golson. He has had 7 at bats in the major leagues without a hit. He is 24 years old and is considered a very toolsy player.

Monday, January 25, 2010

New York Mets mini camp

The New York Mets started a 3 day optional mini-camp today in Port St. Lucie,Florida. Oliver Perez, Johan Santana, John Maine, Daniel Murphy and others were there. Johan Santana and Oliver Perez will begin throwing off a mound tomorrow. Johan Santana remains a optimistic person and had this to say. " I believe, if we stay healthy our team is much better." He said that if the team stays healthy they will be good and that they are looking forward to the season starting. Mets manager Jerry Manuel was in attendance and said the team needs to get off to a strong start. He also said he considers Angel Pagan the frontrunner to be the centerfielder in Carlos Beltrans absence. I think that is the right move as Gary Matthews Jr. is a bench player and should not be more. He also said at catcher he considers Omir Santos the starter but it wasn't a ringing endorsement. He did talk up Josh Tole and said it isn't out of the question that he could start. I just don't see the Mets going with a rookie catcher but who knows. If they don't sign anyone they really don't have a starter, they are all backups and then the young kid. He said he is anxious to see Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarashi pitch, he considers the 8th inning very important. These are the guys that will be competing for that role. Jerry Manuel said the 8th inning role will be determined by someone that will throw strikes, he considers that a key in the park they play in. He said that they have to play good defense also. He said that the free agent market wasn't very good and that was a challenge they had to add another starting pitcher. Jerry Manuel said that he won't act any different because of the pressure to perform this year. He knows his job is on the line but doesn't seem too fazed by that right now. Here is what the GM Omar Minaya had to say. " I do believe that we are going to have a good team. I think that a healthy New York Mets team will contend for a playoff spot. I think it is fair to say that the Philadelphia Phillies have improved themselves. We have a lot of work to do but I think these guys are committed, Jerry is going to be committed to get back on track to what we did in 06, 07 and 08. Is this guy for real, how can they not be committed and also didn't they lose in the NLCS and then blow playoff spots the following 2 years. I think you want to improve on that not get back to that point. Omar did say they are still considering Carlos Delgado. He was asked a question by Kevin Kernan of the NY Post about the team being a joke. He did seem to be taken aback but said he didn't consider them to be a joke but that you have to win. I personally just think the Mets are poorly run from top to bottom and that is why they have the reputation that they have. They just don't seem to get anything right that they do and they always look worse and worse. The only way for them to get away from that is to go out on the field and win. It is hard to see this team doing that though without getting at least another pitcher, other then Johan Santana you really have to worry. I also need to say that most of the information coming from the mini-camp was via Ken Davidoff of New York Newsday and his blog. I have given my opinions but obviously wasn't there so have to rely on others that were.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Super Bowl Is Set

The AFC Championship game had the momentum carrying New York Jets taking on the Indianapolis Colts. The game was in Indianapolis where in week 16 the Jets ruined the Colts perfect season. That game back then was controversial as the Jets were 7-7 and the Colts were 14-0, the Colts pulled their starters in the second half after leading and of course ended up losing the game which kept the Jets alive for the playoffs. The Jets won the next week to get themselves in the playoffs and then won 2 playoff games on the road to get to this AFC Championship game. The Jets and their fans wanted validation bad but the Colts were ready to prove that they let them in the playoffs and they were going to knock them out. The final score was Colts 30 Jets 17. The game started off very well with the Jets, they were playing good and getting to Peyton Manning a little. The Jets had a 17-6 lead with just over 2 minutes left in the first half. Peyton Manning got the ball and as he does so often in the 2 minute drill, he took his team down the field for a touchdown to get them within 17-13 at the half. The Colts got the ball in the second half after stopping the Jets and went down and scored again to take the lead that they would never relinquish. It was like a switch flipped on and Peyton Manning just took the Jets defense apart. He threw for near 400 yards with 3 touchdown passes. The Jets running game never got it going like they had in the previous playoff games and Shonn Greene left the game with an injury which hurt them badly. Mark Sanchez played a pretty good game but in the end the Colts were just too good for the Jets and they are headed back to the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning trying to win his second ring. The Mannings have been in 3 of the last 4 Super Bowls and this week Archie Manning will be front and center with his son in the Big Game against his Old Team. The NFC Championship was a great game, it was back and forth the whole game. The Minnesota Vikings really controlled the game but had 5 turnovers which kept the Saints in the game. The Saints did cause most of those turnovers as you could really see them going for the strips and playing aggressive defense. Brett Favre was really getting hammered and even left the game at one point for an injury. He is a tough guy though and came back in after getting taped up. The game ended up being history repeating itself. The Vikings were in field goal range with not much time left when Brett Favre threw a pick and the game went into overtime. The Saints won the coin toss and ended up going down the field and kicking the game winning field goal. This is a rule that is going to have to be looked at and we can debate that another time. The last time Brett Favre was in the title game was in 2007 with the Packers against the Giants. He threw a pick in OT that ended up leading to the game winning field goal by the Giants. I don't think you ever know with Brett Favre but the way he got beat up last night this may be the end for him. I can't see him saying yeah let me try this all again next season. It should be a great Super Bowl and we will have plenty of time to go over everything with the Big Game. Congratulations to the Saints and Colts, it is really good to see New Orleans be able to celebrate after everything that city has gone through and it will be a big boost for them.

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