Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 1998 World Series Game Three HERE

Game Three of the 1998 World Series between the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres

Miami Signs Edwin Jackson, Unlikely to Acquire Nova?

I don't pretend to be an expert on all things Major League Baseball. I used to be but when I had kids some things had to go by the wayside. I stopped watching the NFL for the most part and I completely stopped watching the NBA but I always made room for as much baseball and college football as I could. When I had my second child a lot of college football went by the wayside and some of my baseball, although I still catch each and every Yankees game every season in some capacity. I said all that to say this, I no longer can name all 30 team's 25 man rosters, needs and trade pieces but one thing caught my eye this week on MLB Trade Rumors. First it was that the Miami Marlins were actually interested in the Yankees starter Ivan Nova and then it was that this same Miami squad signed Edwin Jackson to a major league deal. Does one report contradict the other?

I'm not so sure. The Edwin Jackson I truly remember, the one who was traded every year for a decade it seems, was a starting pitcher but I am well aware that he was converted into a reliever with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves as recently as 2015. I am not entirely sure if Miami plans on having Jackson essentially replace Steve Cishek in their bullpen or if he is going to be counted on as a reliable back-end of the rotation starter. Until that I cannot make a true determination on whether Miami is still interested in Nova or not. I can speculate though...

My speculation is this, Jackson may go to Spring Training camp as a starter and may start some games this March but the only way he is making the MLB roster with Miami is out of the bullpen. I guess this would have to mean that the Marlins are still interested in a potential trade for Ivan Nova. Again, this is all speculation on my part. I guess we'll all have to stay tuned and find out.

Time To Get Real On PEDS

Note: I wrote this on Wednesday, but couldn't get it edited and published until now. Sorry that it's a bit dated now.

PEDS are a part of the game and it's time that people deal with it.

Okay. I could leave it at that, but I have a few other things to say...

At this time there's a particular group of people I'm aiming this rant towards, and that's the members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Do I like it that Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, and countless other players have admitted to using or clearly were using something? No, I'm not. I'd love to believe every one of the baseball players I looked up to as a kid were clean and did what they did using only their God-given talent. But there's a problem with that.

See, contrary to what some may think, I'm not a fool. Wherever money is involved, there's bound to be people that are going to try and get their piece of the pie is any way possible. Our government broke treaties with Indians in order to get the land known today as the United States of America. There's a shady guy on the corner that's making his money by selling drugs, because there are people out there willing to part with a nice chunk of their money to get their hands on them. The area in which I grew up is willing to deal with a landfill and a new casino being built there in order to get more money pumped into the town's economy.

Whether it was the year 1998, 2008, 1908, or otherwise, I guarantee you there were people trying to figure out the simplest way for them to "get theirs". You want to know why cheating wasn't as well known back in the "gold ole days"? Two words.... "the" and "internet".

When I was a kid my parents got their news from two sources... the newspaper and the television. That meant the local paper (which, by the way, was only delivered to the house six days a week) and whatever station they were watching at 6:00pm. There was no and it's reporters. ESPN was simply another television station that reported news a handful of times a day, instead of 24 hours a day 7 days a week on Sports Illustrated was a magazine that you read monthly, instead of at all hours on any day of the week on the internet. Twitter? LOL! Get out of here!

"No, don't go. Where else would we get our news 140 characters at a time?"

Basically, we've gone from getting our news from a select few sources at specific times each day, to getting our news from dozens... if not hundreds... of sources any time we turn on our computers or smartphones. And that has led to thousands of reporters/bloggers starving for the smallest scrap of news, leading them to treat a rumor with little to no credibility as the truth.

The point is this... cheating has always been around, so to act like it's new and therefore those that have been caught cheating should be shunned is ridiculous. It is well-known that Ty Cobb was a jerk, so it's hardly a stretch of the imagination that he would have cheated in order to win. And is Mr. Cobb in the Hall of Fame? Of course!

I'm all for getting PEDs out of baseball, and out of sports entirely. I'm not one of those people that's going to say "put 'em all on drugs... the more home runs the better!" But for every Barry Bonds that's used a PED and got caught doing it, there are probably dozens of others that didn't get caught because they couldn't hit 700 home runs no matter what drug they shoved down their throats or injected into their butt.

I could be on the most insane drugs imaginable, but am I going to hit .300 in MLB? Oh heck no! Roger Clemens may have gotten a few more mphs on his fastball thanks to a PED, but the fact he could place that ball right on the corner of the plate consistently is still something to be in awe of.

And when it comes down to it the Baseball Hall of Fame is for entertainment. Not just for any entertainment, but for baseball entertainment. So the only question at this point should be this... did "so-and-so" entertain me that well on the baseball field? And if you answered "yes", then make the guy a plaque and add it to the Hall.

"Are you... "
Yeah, you know the line.

Looking Ahead to a Potential 2017 Hall of Fame Ballot

The 2016 Hall of Fame ballot and vote is officially in the books with Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza making their walk into Cooperstown on the BBWAA side of things. As far as the IBWAA goes we elected Piazza in 2015 allowing the Internet Baseball Writers Association of American to elect Ken Griffey Jr. and his former teammate Edgar Martinez into the hall. The 2016 vote is over but it's never too early to look towards 2017.

Here are some notable first time and holdover players that will grace the 2017 ballot:

Mike Cameron
J.D. Drew
Vladimir Guerrero
Derek Lee
Magglio Ordonez
Jorge Posada
Manny Ramirez
Edgar Renteria
Ivan Rodriguez
Jason Varitek
Tim Wakefield

I don't see any slam dunks on this list personally. I believe Vlad will get in and Posada will garner more votes than expected but that's about it. This could potentially open the flood gates of votes for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and others.

What Would I Buy w/ Tonight’s Powerball Jackpot?

I don’t play the lottery, I think it’s a foolish waste of money and time… well unless it gets to above half a billion dollars like it is tonight with the Georgia Powerball. I’ll throw down a couple of bucks on that and put my ethics and belief aside for greed, I am the Greedy Pinstripes after all but I digress. Let’s just throw a nice round number out there, after taxes, and assume that if I won tonight’s drawing I would take home $500 million in cash. If I were running the Yankees what could I do with said winnings? And spoiler alert, you won’t be calling me the cheap owner when it’s all said and done.

$500 million can buy a lot but I would want to be smart with it. Justin Upton is smart money and is easily the best positional player and best fit left on the free agency market. I personally like him more than I did Jason Heyward so if Upton wants $200 million Upton gets $200 million from me. At 28-years old and with the stats he has put up in pitching friendly parks in Atlanta and San Diego I think he will live up to the contract and then some. Upton hits right-handed, hits for both power and average, will take a walk, steals bases and plays some stellar and underrated defense.

My next thing to do would be to eat the contracts of Jacoby Ellsbury and CC Sabathia. I am personally big fans of both but honestly there is just better ways of spending your money than on oft-injured and under-performing stars. As a fan that hurts but on the business side of things it simply makes sense. I am reluctant to eat the Ellsbury deal with a shade over $100 million left and the Sabathia deal with around $50 million left but that’s business. It’s six of one and a half dozen of the other if you’re paying them on the disabled list anyway. With my final $150 million I would throw a contract to a starting pitcher and/or a relief arm. Wei-Yin Chen and Antonio Bastardo maybe? Chen and Doug Fister? Who knows what it would take but I would improve the pitching in some way, shape or form.

Releasing Ellsbury allows Brett Gardner to slide back into center field and Upton to slide into left field. Releasing Ellsbury and adding Upton balances out a very left-handed heavy lineup and ultimately makes the lineup 100 times better in my opinion. Releasing Sabathia and adding a proven AL-East veteran and bullpen arm finishes out the roster and the pitching staff and all because I bought a stupid $2 lottery ticket and won the Georgia Powerball. You’re welcome Yankees family!

Yankees Also Sign Jonathan Diaz and Tyler Jones

The New York Yankees are doing everything they can to bulk up their depth in the minor leagues which was never more evident than after the team signed infielder Donovan Solano and acquired Kirby Yates from the Cleveland Indians. According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America the Yankees made a couple of other moves with Triple-A insurance and Scranton/Wilkes Barre depth when they signed infielder Jonathan Diaz and RHP Tyler Jones.

Diaz is primarily a shortstop but has also played a bit in the outfield, at third base and at second base in his professional career. Diaz has spent parts of the last three seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox and has earned a reputation for having a good on-base percentage, defense and being extremely versatile. Diaz could win the last bench job out of spring training but it's likely he will be the RailRiders utility player in 2016.

Jones is a classic starter turned reliever who was twice ranked in the Minnesota Twins Top 30 Prospects list according to Baseball America. Hones has a fastball that can get up into the upper 90's in velocity with nasty cut and sink. Jones is a classic strikeout pitcher and will be 26-years old in 2016. Jones, like recently traded Rookie Davis, finally reached Double-A last season and could be a Triple-A candidate depending on how spring competitions shake out.

The Steroid Era Did These Players No Favors

With another year of Hall of Fame voting behind us and another year to discuss who should be in, who shouldn’t be in, who took what, who should be able to vote, who the judge, jury and executioner should be and who is really being helped and who is being hurt by the whole steroid era ahead of us I wanted to focus on a little something different today. All the talk surround the steroid era and the Hall of Fame is focused on players who got an unfair advantage and “cheated” the sport that cheated them in 1994 with the strike and work stoppage but what about the players that are being cheated by the steroid era? Players like Mike Piazza until recently and a few other standouts from this year’s class that didn’t get in. names like Jeff Kent, Gary Sheffield, Jim Edmonds, Sammy Sosa, Carlos Delgado, Fred McGriff and Larry Walker. What about them? 

Carlos Delgado finished his MLB career with 473 home runs and a .929 OPS but spent just one year on the ballot, not because he was elected in his first year of eligibility but because he didn’t garner 5% of the vote in his first year and will forever be left off the ballot. Fred McGriff on the other hand thankfully garnered his 5% in his first year of eligibility but it still on the outside looking in despite 493 home runs and a career .886 OPS.  

Then you have more current names like Jeff Kent, Jim Edmonds, Gary Sheffield and Larry Walker who all received around 10% of the vote despite stunning numbers in their careers. In Sheffield’s case specifically he was listed on the Mitchell Report explaining the lack of interest in electing him into baseball’s hall of immortality but the rest of the group is still puzzling. Jeff Kent is possibly the best hitting second baseman of all-time but he played in an era where players took steroids and played beside the most notorious suspected steroid user of all in San Francisco, Barry Lamar Bonds.  

Sammy Sosa has 609 career home runs and Rafael Palmeiro had over 500 home runs and 3000 hits, neither are in the hall or on the ballot. Palmeiro failed a drug test and waived his finger in front of Congress, Sosa did not. Sosa did suddenly forget how to speak English but that’s a thing, right? It’s not even important if you used or not anymore, what’s important now to many of these voters (it seems anyway) is when you played. Steroids may or may not have helped these players during their playing career but they damn sure aren’t helping them now, that much is for sure. 

I’ll probably never get a Hall of Fame vote and it’s probably for the best, I am too vocal and too friendly towards the steroid era. I want these players in because I am 100% sure there are players that used steroids before testing was implemented in the mid-2000’s that are still in the Hall. What’s good for one is good for them all and it’s a shame that Delgado, Kent, Sheffield, Palmeiro, Edmonds, Walker and McGriff may never get into the Hall because of the era they played in, not the stats and such that they compiled while playing. 

Aroldis Chapman's Possible Suspension, Math & the New York Yankees

I have many people emailing me and tweeting me about a potential suspension Aroldis Chapman and what it could mean to his impending free agency. I wanted to take this opportunity this morning to quickly put it all in once place rather than responding to everyone individually, some call it lazy but I call it efficiency.

If and when Chapman is suspended by the league due to his altercation in Florida with the league's Domestic Violence Policy he would have to be suspended for at least 45 days to delay his free agency. Free agency is based on MLB service time and if Chapman was suspended for at least 45 days, not games, he would not accumulate the amount of service time needed to qualify for free agency thus leaving him under team control for the 2017 season as well.

So I did the math and the 45th day of the MLB season, for the Yankees anyway, is on Wednesday, May 18th. That is a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks just as an FYI. This accumulates to a 40 game suspension. If Chapman gets a 40 game suspension or higher we will see him in pinstripes for the 2017 season with one more year of arbitration eligibility. If it's less than that, and Jon Heyman formerly of CBS seems to think it will be, than he hits free agency as expected and the Yankees can offer him a qualifying offer.

Now everyone is caught up. Carry one.

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/9: The Highlanders are Born

On this day in 1903 Baltimore's American League franchise is sold to Frank Farrell and Bill Devery for $18,000 and is moved to New York. The Manhattan team will be known as the New York Highlanders before being renamed the Yankees in 1913.