"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 11/23/08

C’mon …. read this …. you know you want to …

  • LoHud’s Pete Abraham is taking a well-deserved vacation, but before doing so, lets us know he is now firmly in the “Mussina is a Hall of Famer” camp.

I was on the borderline until a few months ago until a conversation with Johnny Damon convinced me. Johnny brought up the point that Mussina spent his entire career in the American League East and faced eight teams that won the World Series (Blue Jays 1992-93, Yankees ‘96, 1998-2000, Red Sox 2004, ‘07).

“It’s different for a pitcher pitching in this division,” Damon said. “The schedule isn’t balanced. A guy like Moose, he was facing a great offensive team every other time he pitched.”

I also looked at Baseball Reference.com, which has a good Hall of Fame gauge for every player based on some Bill James research.

The “Gray Ink” test gives a player points on based on where he finishes in the top 10 in his league in ERA, wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, win-loss percentage, saves, complete games, walks per nine innings and hits per nine innings.

Moose has 244 such points. The average Hall of Fame pitcher has 185. Based on his career statistics, Mussina compares favorably to guys like Juan Marichal, Jim Palmer, Curt Schilling and Carl Hubbell.

  • The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers poses a question …. what if none of the pitching trinity of Lowe, Burnett and Sabathia end up wearing pinstripes in 2009?:

That would be the ultimate low blow to the Yankees’ self-esteem and would leave manager Joe Girardi wondering how he’s going to fill the 200 innings he got from Mike Mussina …  It might force general manager Brian Cashman to stop trying to get Andy Pettitte to take a pay cut. And it could happen.

It’s easy to think of players as the ultimate mercenaries, but the highest offer doesn’t guarantee a deal. Remember when the late Syd Thrift said he felt like he was offering “Confederate money” when free agents wouldn’t come to Baltimore under any terms?

No one is suggesting the Yankees have slipped as badly as the Orioles under Peter Angelos, but it’s not a slam dunk that they are going to be able to money-whip Sabathia, Burnett or Lowe.

  • The Post’s George King sort of answers Rogers’ question … the Yanks will just try and outscore everyone again:

If the Yankees don’t bag two of the top three free agent pitchers, they aren’t going to deposit the money back into the Steinbrenner family vault or throw a financial lifeline to America’s mismanaged auto industry.

They will attempt to add muscle to a lineup that is expected to lose Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi and hope to slug their way back into the postseason.

According to a person familiar with the club’s thinking, if only one of the pitchers from the free agent pool of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe sign with the Yanks, they are set to be aggressive with switch-hitting free agent first baseman Mark Teixeira.

  • Commercial break! Five …. five season … five season too loooong: Anthony McCarron of the News reports that the A.J. Burnett probably won’t find the Yankees willing to go five years:

The Yankees are on an all-out pitching blitz, but A.J. Burnett’s desire for a five-year contract has bogged down the Bombers’ pursuit of the righthander, according to a baseball executive familiar with the team’s thinking.

The Yankees, who made a six-year, $140 million offer to CC Sabathia last week and planned to make an offer to Burnett shortly thereafter, have not made a formal proposal to the pitcher and likely won’t as long as he insists on a five-year pact.

The Yanks and Burnett’s agent, Darek Braunecker, are “talking parameters,” according to the executive. “But right now they are saying five-year offers. The Yankees are not ready to go to five years.”

  • McCarron also notes there has been no contact between the Bombers and Bobby Abreu.  It appears to be the end of Abreu’s time in pinstripes, unless he accepts arbitration.

  • Ken Davidoff of Newsday has an interesting quote from Brian Cashman on the strong rotations of the Blue Jays, Rays and Red Sox, and how that was difficult for the Yanks to deal with last year:

“I think the intimidation factor comes from the performance. It doesn’t matter if they have a name,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday. “Last year, A.J. Burnett was performing. So Toronto could say, ‘Burnett, Halladay, Magowan — we’ve got those three guys.’ Tampa Bay, out of the blue, had guys like Kazmir, Garza and Shields. Boston has Beckett, Matsuzaka and Lester.

“When we ran into guys like that, there was no breathing room. We could go a full month and not face a layup. If the starters lined up properly, we would’ve had that. We had a rotation, in theory, of Wang- Chamberlain- Mussina- Pettitte.”

  • In a separate article, Davidoff notes that Hideki Matsui, recovering from surgery, will not suit up for Japan in next year’s WBC.
  • Stephen Stills and Hal Steinbrenner … together again … for the first time!  GatorSports.com reports:

More than 200 people came to Friday’s dedication of the newest addition to the University of Florida – the Steinbrenner Band Hall.

The facility includes a new rehearsal hall that can fit the entire 325-piece marching band, a 1,600-square-foot music library and 3,500 feet of instrument and uniform storage space.

Those attending the ceremony included Sophie Mae Mitchell, the first woman in the UF marching band, and Stephen Stills, the famous guitarist from Crosby, Stills and Nash who helped fund the building.

Also in attendance was, as of Thursday, the new owner of the New York Yankees.

Hal Steinbrenner, son of George Steinbrenner, who gave major funding for the building but was not able to attend Friday, spoke to those gathered.

At the end of the ceremony, David Waybright, director of bands at UF, named both Stills and the Steinbrenner family honorary bandsmen … and presented them with official UF marching band hats with plumes.

(Editor’s note: don’t you just want to see Hal wear that hat …. just once?)

  • Happy 37th birthday to one-year wonder Aaron Small.  He had gone through 12 different organizations before landing with the Yankees in 2005 at age 33.  He then ripped off a 10-0 record with a 3.20 ERA, despite K’ing only 37 in 76 innings.  The league caught up to him the following season …
  • Dale Sveum, who contributed 58 ABs of .155/.203/.155 to the Yanks in 1998, turns 45.  Fun fact: Sveum is a cousin of John Olerud.
  • Brooklyn-born Frank Tepedino turns 61.  Tepedino was one of the players traded to acquire Pat Dobson from the Orioles in 1973.
  • Luis Tiant turns (his back to the batter?) 68.
  • On this date in 1977, the Bombers sign free agent Rich Gossage to a six-year, $2.75M contract.
  • On this date in 1988, free agent 2B Steve Sax signs with the team.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Mattpat11   ~  Nov 23, 2008 10:52 am

I'm so, so, so against the AJ Burnett signing that I think none of the three is better than all of the three.

And I really want Sabathia

2 OldYanksFan   ~  Nov 23, 2008 12:49 pm

1 pitcher + Tex >>>> 2 pitchers. Let's hope it happens that way.

3 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Nov 23, 2008 1:06 pm

I couldn't agree more, OYF. Add a few more greater-than signs for me . . .

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