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News of the Day – 11/18/08

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 titleAlso, 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.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Alex Belth   ~  Nov 18, 2008 8:34 am

"Pastadiving Jeter"? Yo D, you are too much. Thanks for making my morning! LOL

2 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 18, 2008 10:09 am

Yes .... Pastadiving Jeter, an all-you-can eat "home plate" of your favorite pasta, topped with your choice of "clutch sauce". So much food, you'll barely be able to move afterwards (especially to your left). :-)

3 Benjamin Kabak   ~  Nov 18, 2008 11:10 am

That Will Leitch bit is the hackiest piece of hack sports writing I've read from New York mag in a long time. Do we really have to acknowledge it as a valid point of view?

4 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 18, 2008 11:19 am


Well, I wasn't a fan of Leitch during his days at Deadspin, but I thought I'd put it out there for discussion.

I *did* have fun pointing out his "plate appearance" error, though. :-)

5 seattleyank   ~  Nov 18, 2008 11:33 am

I loved the Swisher trade...unless it actually means the Yanks are now not making a push for Tex. Several writers whose opinions I greatly respect (Keith Law, Rob Neyer) said that the Yanks will love Swish if they plan on using him in the outfield, but as their starting 1B, not so much. And if us getting Swish facilitates the Red Sox getting Tex, that's a big net loss for us

6 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 18, 2008 11:37 am

[3] [4], this isn't the first hacky piece of sports writing about the Yanks that Leitch has done at New York Mag: see here and here. I'm starting to wonder if its intentional, to drum up attention. I always found Will to be a better writer than this. Shoot, he's even got an interview up with the FJM guys at Deadspin - those guys would have taken him to town on junk like this.

(Aside: in the old posts ported over from the Toaster, the old number links still work!)

7 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 18, 2008 1:13 pm

I mentioned in the last post, but I'll say it again, and ask other Banterers to state WHO THEY WOULD GET this offseason. Please stick with realistic transactions (2/$50 for Manny is not realistic).

I am reading that CC doesn't want to be in NY (and he has not yet accepted what will obviously be the biggest offer), Long contract, overpaying on AAV and deosn't want the Yankees? I say pass.

Tex: offer 6/$132. No more then 6 years. The money is not as important.

Franlky, I am OK with staying pat... aside from looking for Swisher type deals. Solid, rounded players at a reasonable cost.

I'm OK finishing 3rd if it comes to that.
Trying to win in 2009 is not worth getting scalped.

I like Holliday. I like Crawford. I like the idea that FAs will be cheaper next year and maybe again the year after.
I like the ideas of smart deals.
I like the idea of NO desparation deals.
We lose Matsui and JD next year.

By 2010, we basically have Wang, Joba, ARod, Cano, Mo and a fading Jeter and Posada.
We have no outfield.
We have a limited SP staff.
This team needs to be almost totally rebuilt. We can't even be sure Po is still in the picture as an impact player.
If we were willing to NOT win this/next year, we could have gotten 2 picks for Marte.

I say: REBUILD for longterm Dominance.
Understand the keys are: 1) Farm system 2) International Signings 3) Selected, expensive FAs.

The Sox have as much money to spend as we do, as they have a core of cheap kids. They are here for a while.
If TB decides to raise their payroll by $20m, after adding Price, they could also be serious players for a while.

We had our run. It was historic. But it is over.
We may be throwing good money after bad, by overpaying in $$ and year to get CC, Lowe, AJ, Tex, etc.
Mind you, we MIGHT win with these guys. It's certainly possible.
But I think it's more likely we are perpetuating our: overpaid, inflexible, ALMOST good enough team.

I've been rooting for the Yankees since 1965.
At 55 and fat, I could be sharing games with Jim Dean next year... who knows.
But I am willing to wait.
We are the New York Yankees. It is time to start winning on intelligent management and player development, with our money the icing on the cake.

I think my post maybe reflects how Emma feels. Maybe others feel this way. But nobody has outright stated that they are willing to wait 2 years.

Emma... if you don't want CC and Tex (at the current going rate) what do you propose? Banterers.... what do you propose?

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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