T-minus one day till free agent hell breaks loose … here’s the news:
- Over at Newsday, Ken Davidoff pokes holes in the public statements that Hank, Hal and Brian are all working with the same mindset on how to build the team.
“Cashman understood that the key to roster management was controlling the years you commit to players. … the Yankees were using their financial might in a more intelligent way: Paying over slot in the draft. As Cashman said, better to pay them well on the front end than on the back end.
Cashman’s vision started to melt away a year ago at this time … the Steinbrenners – both Hal and Hank, we should stress – decided they needed to retain their own free agents at all costs. They signed Jorge Posada to a four-year, $52.4-million deal, an investment that already looks terrible; Cashman wanted to give Posada two years and an option … the fact that A-Rod has nine years left in pinstripes seems to horrify, rather than excite, the Yankees and their fans.
There went some roster flexibility, and they sure seem happy to fritter away at it some more, starting on Friday. Will they really bid six years for CC Sabathia? Would they possibly go seven for Mark Teixeira?”
- MLB.com reports that Al Leiter has taken his microphone from the YES Network and will be a studio analyst for the new MLB Network next season.
- Aside from clearing out the area near “the bat” soon to make room for a pedestrian walkway to the new ballpark, demolition of the old stadium won’t really take place until Summer 2009, as per LoHud’s Pete Abe.
- From the Times, we read that in other old stadium news, Babe Ruth’s monument was VERY carefully excavated and wrapped up for its move across the street.
- Newsday’s Anthony Rieber is the latest to put his two cents in on the public funding and tax breaks involved in the new Mets and Yankee stadiums. Here’s a quote:
The bottom line is the Yankees (and Mets, for CitiField) have gotten massive tax breaks to build their new palaces and will get to keep most, if not all, of the profits. While the politicians have gone to great lengths to pretend no public money is being used on the projects except for infrastructure, you can be sure the Yankees (and Mets) will be keeping tens of millions of dollars over the next few years — two private businesses getting richer at the public’s expense. And then charging top dollar for you to get in, if you can.
- Happy 67th birthday to longtime Yankee hurler and former pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre.
- On this date in 1978, the Bombers sign free agent Luis Tiant to a two-year $875,000 contract.
- On this date in 1998, the ball thrown by Red Sox pitcher Howard Ehmke and hit by Babe Ruth for the first homer in Yankee Stadium history was sold at an auction for $126,500. Mark Scala found the historic ball ago in the attic of his grandmother’s home several years prior.