Friday, December 18, 2015

Darryl Strawberry Opens Drug Rehab Center in Florida

A former member of the New York Yankees and the New York Mets is giving back to the community and is helping those in need because he knows more about those in need than most. His name is Darryl Strawberry and he is opening a second rehabilitation center to treat people with drug addictions in the Florida area.

The new Darryl Strawberry Recovery Center outside DeLand will open in January, 2016 and will offer a 28-day residential treatment program. Strawberry knows addiction, during his 17-year MLB career he battled with drugs for much of it and faced multiple suspensions due to his drug use. Strawberry’s first rehab center opened just two years ago in St. Cloud, Florida.

During his career Strawberry played with the New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and the New York Yankees. 

So I Guess San Francisco Wins the World Series in 2016, Right?

Well look what we have here, it looks like a pattern developing. The San Francisco Giants have made it a habit of missing the postseason only to win the World Series the next season. It happened in 2010, 2012 and it happened again in 2014. Will it happen again in 2016? Well looking at the free agency signing and the fact that Matt Cain is now you’re fifth starter it looks extremely likely.

First things first, they have to make the postseason. San Francisco should have a much clearer path to the postseason this coming year than in seasons past. The Los Angeles Dodgers have been their biggest obstacle within the division with their one-two punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke at the top of the rotation but Greinke is gone and Kershaw was exposed for some not-so-nice comments he made to the team’s GM about right fielder and star player Yasiel Puig. Don Mattingly is gone and I just have a gut feeling that things are going to be a mess in Los Angeles. Especially if the Dodgers want to cut payroll by the $100 million that we have seen thrown around.

The Giants pitching staff is built for the long haul and is built for October baseball. Madison Bumgarner has been the only 200 IP in the San Francisco rotation since Matt Cain did it back in his hay day but this winter the team has seemingly fixed their rotation woes. The team signed Johnny Cueto to a six-year deal and signed Jeff Samardzija to a five-year deal, both perennial 200 IP pitchers, to plug in behind Bumgarner in the rotation. Samardzija and Cueto both pitched in hitter friendly ball parks in 2015, more so Cueto with the Reds than Samardzija in Chicago, and should benefit from the big dimensions and speedy outfielders in San Francisco’s outfield leading to more innings and more victories.

The time for San Francisco and teams like the Arizona Diamondbacks to strike is now and both teams are seemingly going full steam ahead. It shouldn’t matter though if the past is any indicator of the future, the San Francisco Giants missed the postseason completely in 2015 so they are almost a virtual lock for the World Series title in 2016. Right?

Since the Yankees Refuse to Spend Money for 2016…..

Since the New York Yankees and specifically their owner Hal Steinbrenner refuse to spend money before the 2016 season I thought it would be fun, and it can help pass the time as the hot stove market begins to cool down a bit, to look at the free agency market set to hit before the 2019 season. You know, that season where the Yankees are supposedly going to get Bryce Harper.

No free agent market in recent memory has looked like the one this season has yet the Yankees fiscal hands are seemingly tied. Why? Because the last time there was this deep of a free agent market the team went out and signed CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and AJ Burnett while also acquiring Nick Swisher from the Chicago White Sox in a trade. That was 2009 and the team, along with a few bumps along the way, is still paying for it. Literally and figuratively.

An early look at the 2019 free agent class looks tantalizing. Bryce Harper is not the only name that will presumably interest the Yankees. Names like Clayton Kershaw, Andrew McCutchen, Josh Donaldson, Adam Jones, Dallas Keuchel, Jose Fernandez and Matt Harvey headline the list while both the best starting pitcher and hitter on this year’s market, Jason Heyward and David Price, can opt out looking for larger deals. That’s before you mention that the Yankees Andrew Miller, the Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel and former Yankees right-hander David Robertson will also hit free agency all before the 2019 season. It’s going to be a deep class to say the least with many intriguing names for New York and their fans to drool over all winter long.

That offseason Chase Headley’s contract will be off the books, hello Donaldson, as well as the bigger names like Carlos Beltran, Miller, Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. The Yankees, as it stands today, have a whopping $57 million coming off the books before that season and Hal Steinbrenner has said the team will spend heavily when they have substantial money coming off the books. That is substantial, expect the Yankees to spend heavily once again before 2019.

A lot can change between now and then, a lot, but it’s still fun to look at as a fan. 

My Take on the Unpopular Popular Decision on Pete Rose

Pete Rose had one last shot to make it back into Major League Baseball and into the Hall of Fame and that hope lived and died on the decision made by Commissioner Rob Manfred. Manfred promised to have his decision to us by the end of the calendar year and he did just that this week when he denies Rose’s application for reinstatement back into the game. This is it for Pete Rose. This was a popular decision to some and unpopular to others but truthfully I am on the fence. I have been a Rose supporter for so long and I have defended him for many years making the remarks that he should be judged as a Hall of Famer for his time as a player, not as a manager, but I’ve come to learn that Rose is one of those that absolutely cannot get out of his own way.

Rose had an opportunity to avoid the lifetime ban altogether if he just admitted to betting on the game. Rose chose the hard way, denied it and is now banned from baseball. Rose has later admitted to betting on baseball but only as a manager and only on his team, the Cincinnati Reds, to win games. Later on news broke that evidence was found that Rose bet on games as a player too, again the hard way for Mr. Rose. Baseball has had 26 years to change its mind and it didn’t and it’s not going to, and that is something we all now need to come to terms with.

Rose will die banished from the Hall of Fame. He can walk in and see his memorabilia and his name mentioned in the record books but he cannot ever see his plaque, and honestly it is probably for the best. I know what you’re probably thinking, isn’t this the same guy screaming for the steroid users to not only be forgiven but also be allowed into the Hall of Fame? Yes, it is, but with an explanation. Steroids were not against MLB rules at the time, betting on the game of baseball was. Those who have used steroids since, Alex Rodriguez for example, should not be in the Hall of Fame 100%.

Rose knew heading into the interview with Manfred that him and his investigators confirmed the information found in the Dowd Report that declared Rose not only gambled as a manager but as a player as well in 1985 and 1986. Rose was told heading into the meeting that Manfred knew he bet as a player and he still told him face-to-face that he did not. Later in the same meeting he admitted, once again, to betting as a player but only to bet that the Reds would win the games he was betting on. I guess that justified it to Rose. Rose later admitted that he is still betting on Major League Baseball games and other sporting events showing the world that, no Pete, you have not changed. You haven’t changed one bit. In fact you’re likely just exploiting this to sign more baseball, sell more posters and get more face time. That’s it. You’re greedy. You’ve made me look bad for defending you and I’m done with you, and so is Major League Baseball. 

Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes and Brett Gardner Sitting in a Tree

W-A-I-T-I-N-G. The MLB free agency market for the outfielders has been slow to develop this winter despite the fact that Jason Heyward, the top overall free agent and far and away the top outfield free agent on the market, signed with the Chicago Cubs for $23 million annually. Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes are far and away the best remaining free agents in the outfield on the market and they will likely have to be signed before the New York Yankees can even think about trading one of their own, Mr. Brett Gardner.

I believe that the Yankees and their GM Brian Cashman have made both Brett Gardner and Andrew Miller available for trade this winter and I believe that the Yankees are likely to move Gardner, but not for a while it seems. The way the market is shaping up many teams are waiting for the top-tier free agents to sign before the secondary market begins to take shape. Gardner, as much as we love and adore him as Yankees fans, may lead the secondary market as the best outfielder available but I find it hard to place him in the upper-echelon of outfielders with Upton and Cespedes.

When we begin to see Upton and Cespedes come off the market teams will begin to scramble for talent, we have seen it many times over the years. The dominos always fall and those dominos are holding up much of the market right now. If the Yankees really want to get the ball rolling they can sign one of them themselves, preferably Upton over Cespedes for obvious reasons, but Cashman is not one to get in a hurry during the offseason. Cashman will continue to wait the market out and then pounce, or not, with Gardner. The price is only going to go up on him the closer we get to January and February.

New York has made trades that shocked many as late as spring training, they really don’t mind making additions to the club at any point in the season, so I’m not getting impatient and I’m far from worried yet. I’m just going to sit back, relax and wait for the bigger chips to fall before I start planning my new 25 man roster predictions and lineup predictions without Brett Gardner. 

Miller, McCann Abbott Thurman Munson Award Honorees for 2015

This year’s Thurman Munson Award honorees were announced this week and three either current or former members of the New York Yankees were honored. Those three men were former Yankees pitcher Jim Abbott as well as current Yankees Andrew Miller and Brian McCann. This will be the 36th annual Thurman Munson Awards and they will take place February 9, 2016 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

Abbott was nominated because of his work and inspiration for people with disabilities. Abbott was born with only one hand and still managed to pitch in the Major Leagues and even threw a no-hitter while wearing a Yankees uniform. The awards and benefit help with children and adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities in New York City. This organization and benefit was started by Dian Munson, Thurman’s widow, and she has attended all 35 award ceremonies prior.

Other men who will be nominated are New York Mets closer Jeurys Familia and 1986 World Series champion Jesse Orosco from the Miracle Mets. The “Voice of the Yankees” Michael Kay will be the Master of the Ceremonies at the event. For tickets call 212-249-6188, email or jump online at

How awkward would it be if Miller were to return for the awards as a member of the other team?

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/18: Roger Clemens Plays Defense

On this day in 2007 Roger Clemens went on the defensive when it came to his name being mentioned in the Boston Red Sox loving, Bud Selig loving, Mitchell Report. As you probably remember Clemens trainer Brian McNamee stated in the report that he injected Roger with performance enhancing drugs at least 16 times from 1998 with the Blue Jays to 2000 and 2001 with the Yankees.

Also on this day in 2001 Yankees legend Tino Martinez would leave New York after being replaced by free agent Jason Giambi when he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals. Tino signed for three years and $21 million.

Finally on this day in 1973 the Yankees announced the signing of manager Dick Williams. The Yankees would keep their manager for two days before American League president Joe Cronin voided the deal since the Yankees were in the middle of a legal showdown with Charlie Finley.