After pausing to wonder whether one of the signature dishes at the Hard Rock restaurant at the new Stadium will be called “Pastadiving Jeter”, I now give you the news …
- Sean McAdam of the Boston Herald believes that the Yankees acquisition of Swisher leaves the BoSox an easier door to open to sign Teixeira:
While Swisher can play all three outfield spots and the Yankees currently have openings in center and right, it’s widely assumed that Swisher will be the team’s everyday first baseman.
One top Yankees official urged for Swisher’s acquisition, lauding his on-base ability and power as cheaper alternatives to Teixeira.
Moreover, it’s apparent the Yankees will aim their considerable financial resources toward free agent pitching, having already bid $140 million over six years for CC Sabathia, while promising forthcoming offers to A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe.
Removing the Yankees from the equation is sure to keep Teixeira’s asking price from rising beyond the Red Sox’ means. Had the Yankees been determined to land the first baseman, they might have directed the bidding to a level only they can afford.
- Pete Abraham at LoHud believes the Yanks are settled in the bullpen for 2009 already. Here is the top portion of his “org chart” for the bullpen:
Closer: Mariano Rivera.
Left-handed set-up: Damaso Marte, Phil Coke
Right-handed set-up: Brian Bruney, Jose Veras, Edwar Ramirez
Promising young guys who are moving up: David Robertson, Mark Melancon
Injured guys who could have a role: Humberto Sanchez, Jon Albaladejo
Guys you get a sense could help if they didn’t send them back and fourth to Scranton 500 times: Chris Britton
Assorted long reliever candidates: Dan Giese, Alfredo Aceves
- Mark Hale of the Post relays some public comments from Joba Chamberlain regarding his DUI arrest.
“You’ve always got to take a negative and turn it into a positive and teach kids and understand that it’s not right,” Chamberlain told The Post following an autograph signing at Last Licks in Rye. “And coming from somebody that’s experienced it, there’s a little more legitimacy behind it. But you never want to -– once is enough. That’s not going to happen again.
“And I apologize not only to the kids, but to the fans that spend their money to come out and to do the things that they do for us and for myself. And as somebody that’s in the spotlight, you’ve got to understand that there’s more important things to life than baseball and you realize that.”
- Over at BP.com, Joe Sheehan comments on a mid-level free agent list of available bargains, hidden values, and sensible signings for some team (not necessarily the Bombers). Included in his list are Pavano, Mussina, Abreu and Giambi. This particular quote about Giambi made me giggle (emphasis mine):
Stop asking him to play defense, don’t worry that he runs like a pregnant Matt Stairs, and just take the .370 OBP and .520 SLG against right-handers.
- A strongly-dissenting opinion on the Swisher deal comes from New York magazine’s Will Leitch:
Of the 146 players to reach the 506 at-bats required to qualify for a batting title last season, Nick Swisher finished last . This is a special achievement. It necessitates that you play horribly, but not so horribly that you are benched. One could make an argument that Swisher, the first-baseman/outfielder for the White Sox in 2008, caused his team more damage than anyone else in the sport. After all, he wasn’t just bad; he was bad a lot.
In most areas of business, this sort of performance would get you marched out of town, preferably trailed by pitchforks and torches. In baseball, this gets you traded to the Yankees.
With Yankees fans salivating over C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Mark Teixeira, or, God forbid, Manny Ramirez, Brian Cashman and company started off the free-agent season by trading Wilson Betemit and some minor leaguers for Swisher, adding a mediocre player to a position in which they are stocked with enough mediocrity already. The team says it gives them “positional flexibility,” which is true. It’s also true that if you have a pocketful of dimes and nickels, you have financial flexibility. You still don’t have much of value.
[Editor’s note: It is plate appearances, not at-bats, that qualifies you for a batting title. Also, it is 502 appearances for those players on teams that played 162 games. It is 506 only for those players whose teams played a 163rd game.]
- The Cubbies will be the first opponents of the Yankees in the new stadium, as they play exhibition games on Friday night April 3rd and Saturday afternoon, April 4th, as per ESPN.
- The Staten Island Advance reports that Joe Girardi will host a Alzheimer’s research fund-raiser Wednesday night at the Grand Central Oyster Bar. Girardi’s dad suffers from the disease.
- Happy 38th birthday to another guy who played for both NY teams (in the same season no less!), Allen Watson. Fun fact: Watson is one of only four players in ML history to have played their college ball at the New York Institute of Technology. Happy 40th to Clay Bellinger, who may hold some sort of record for appearing in the most post-season games (19) while compiling a lifetime regular season batting average under .200 (.193 in 311 ABs). Also celebrating his 40th is Mr. Sunshine, Gary Sheffield. Tom “Flash” Gordon turns 41, and Ron Coomer hits 42.
- On this date in 1976, the Yankees sign free agent pitcher Don Gullett for $2 million. Gullett will have a 14 – 4 record in 1977, but spend most of the next three seasons on the DL.