"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 11/24/08

Don’t worry … none of this will be on the quiz.  Here’s the news …

  • At BP.com, John Perrotto has heard that the Red Sox will outbid everyone for Mark Teixeira, unless the total package goes over $200 million.  Perrotto also has this brief Mussina note:

In an informal poll of veteran baseball writers, it appears Mussina may not be a lock to get into the Hall of Fame when his name will first appear on the ballot in 2013. However, no eligible pitcher with a won-lost record of at least 117 games over .500 has ever been denied entry into Cooperstown.

  • Joel Sherman of the Post has this opinion attached to the Yanks’ dance with Sabathia:

The Yanks also have indicated they will put a time limit on their six-year, $140 million offer for Sabathia. But that is a worthless time limit. They said last year they would not re-sign Alex Rodriguez if he opted out, and then not only brought him back, but did so on a record contract. So their credibility on this issue is zero.

  • ESPN’s Buster Olney spoke with Sabathia about C.C.’s impending free agency a few times during the season, and came away with these impressions:

1. He fully appreciates the fact that no matter what decision he makes, he is never going to be able to spend the money he is about to earn.

2. Factors other than money could serve as tiebreakers in his decision. Maybe, in the end, it will be about remaining in his home state of California, if the Dodgers or Giants or Angels check in with a competitive offer. Maybe it will be about playing in the National League. Maybe it will be about heading to New York with a good friend who happens to be a pretty good basketball player, and taking a parallel path and commiserating and sharing the experience of shouldering enormous pressure and conquering New York.

  • The News’ Mike Lupica on Hal Steinbrenner:

The best part of this is that Hal Steinbrenner can do it his own way now. He doesn’t have to do it with back pages and headlines and threats and being louder than New York City traffic, because everything we have seen from him so far indicates that it isn’t his style. Hal Steinbrenner, who was always going to be the guy in charge no matter what his older brother kept saying, who was quietly learning the business while his brother kept talking, can do it his own way and make his own way.

And because the Yankees are such a big deal around here and always will be, there is no reason to root against him, no reason to hope he does anything besides do things right, and with some style. This is good for the Yankees and good for baseball, which did not want Hank to be the one in charge.

  • The Times’ Alan Schwarz has a nice article on new Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu.  Wakamatsu has a Yankee connection … he was the Yanks 51st round pick in the 1984 draft  … the 839th (and last) man selected.  He decided to go back to school.  From the article:

According to the Web site baseball-reference.com, Wakamatsu is one of two players to reach the major leagues after being the draft’s Mr. Irrelevant. The other was Desi Wilson, the 1,490th overall pick in the 87th round in 1989 by the Astros.

Wakamatsu is also the second Mr. Irrelevant to become a major league manager. Matt Galante, who became the second member of the club in 1966, led the Astros for 27 games of the 1999 season when Larry Dierker had health problems.

  • Los Angeles Daily News columnist Steve Dilbeck opines that the passing of the torch from Boss George to Hal has been rather subdued and underplayed, given the George’s importance:

Such a quiet passing of the torch, so unfitting, so at odds with everything that had come before.

The most bombastic, pompous and notorious owner in all of sports – if not sports history – called it a career Thursday and there was barely a media ripple.

Now 78, Steinbrenner’s brash style had long ago become obsolete but the man’s significance is not remotely debatable. It could be argued he is the most significant pro sports owner of the past 50 years.

…. (another excerpt)

It’s not that I feel sorry for him over his lack of media fanfare. He received more than his worldly share while leading the Yankees the past 36 years. Became expert at continually landing the Yankees on the back page of the New York tabloids.

It’s more the simple lack of recognition for an amazing, controversial and historic career.

Really, there has never been another like it.

  • More George Steinbrenner appreciation, this time from the Sporting News’ Richard Justice:

There never will be another one like George. There never will be anyone as complex, as full of bluster and meanness one moment and yet capable of such acts of kindness the next.

George was the perfect owner in a city in which fans demand a winner, a city in which fans simply don’t want to hear about excuses and bad bounces. They just want to win.

George was like that. He just wanted to win. Whatever criticisms Yankee fans spouted in his direction, they always knew he wanted to win and that money was never an object.

He didn’t always spend his money wisely, but he always, always kept the Yankees interesting. One of the New York columnists wrote this week that in Steinbrenner’s 36 seasons as owner, the Yankees were never irrelevant. No other New York team can make such a claim.

Indeed, Yankees offseasons were more interesting than most teams’ seasons. Thank you, George Steinbrenner.

  • MLB.com has an article on more players taking notice of their nutrition.  A-Rod and Andy Pettitte are mentioned in the piece:

Some, like the Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez, are particularly meticulous, tracking fat, calories and carbohydrates while planning ahead on road trips in order to find smart restaurants to dine at.

“Alex is unbelievable. Just his diet,” Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte said. “He just doesn’t put anything bad in his mouth, and it’s amazing. But look at the way he looks, and that’s why. There’s no doubt that he watches extremely closely what he eats, and he’s very disciplined. And that’s the biggest thing, is a disciplined person.”

  • Dan Rosenheck of the Times has a statistical analysis of Mussina’s career, and thinks its Hall-worthy.
  • The Post reports that actor Josh Lucas is slated to play Thurman Munson in the film “Keeper of the Pinstripes”, based upon the series of children’s books by Yankee lifer Ray Negron.
  • Randy Velarde, who appeared at every position for the Yanks except catcher, turns 46.  Happy 66th to Fred Beene, who went 6-0 with a 1.68 ERA in 19 games during his best season with the Yanks.  Beene was included in the trade that brought back Chris Chambliss.
  • On this date in 1972, the Bombers acquire veteran Matty Alou from the Oakland Athletics for Rob Gardner and Rich McKinley. It is the second time the Yankees have traded Gardner to the Athletics for an Alou. The prior year, it was Felipe Alou.
  • On this date in 1986, the Yankees deal prospects Brian Fisher, Doug Drabek and Logan Easley to the Pirates for pitchers Rick Rhoden, Cecilio Guante and Pat Clements. Drabek will win the NL Cy Young Award in 1990.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Raf   ~  Nov 24, 2008 11:20 am

Drabek will win the NL Cy Young Award in 1990.

And Rick Rhoden would be out of baseball by then. What was the justification for this trade? I can understand why Buhner and Rijo were traded, but I don't see the logic in trading Drabeck for Rhoden, even though Rhoden had a good year in 87.

2 Shaun P.   ~  Nov 24, 2008 11:28 am

[1] Young pitchers are evil, Raf! You can't trust them to put up solid numbers right away like you can a veteran.


You're right, of course. IIRC, wasn't Rhoden quite the hitter for being a pitcher? (In fact, IIRC, he even took over at DH for a PA in a game at one point with the Yanks.) Maybe they were trying to leverage that?

3 Raf   ~  Nov 24, 2008 11:50 am

Rhoden had that reputation, and yes he did appear in a game as DH (for Rafael Santana, IIRC), but I can't see that as a good reason to trade for him.

From what I remember, Rhoden was a pending FA, I think and had to be signed to an extension. There was something holding up the trade, that I cannot quite remember at the moment.

4 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Nov 24, 2008 11:54 am

Actually, Rhoden started a game at DH for the Yankees. That was during Billy Martin's final stint managing the team in '88. I remember seeing the lineup on WPIX that day:

5 Raf   ~  Nov 24, 2008 11:59 am

Cliff, do you remember the circumstances behind the Rhoden trade? I seem to remember that there was something holding up the trade as it wasn't announced right away.

I can't seem to find anything online about it.

6 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 24, 2008 12:01 pm


wild guess ... perhaps there was a large amount of cash involved?

7 Raf   ~  Nov 24, 2008 12:06 pm
8 Diane Firstman   ~  Nov 24, 2008 12:08 pm

Here's a Times article on the hold-up ...

9 Raf   ~  Nov 24, 2008 12:16 pm


Looks like that may have been the case. Looking at his salary breakdown, it's reasonable to think that he may have been a free agent after the 1987 season, and the Yanks signed him to a 2-year extension.

Rhoden would then be traded to the Astros after the 1988 season in what appears to be a salary dump.

10 Raf   ~  Nov 24, 2008 12:17 pm

shoulda hit f5 before I posted...

11 Raf   ~  Nov 24, 2008 12:18 pm

So they split the difference; Rhoden asked for $1m, the Yanks offered $800k, and signed Rhoden for $900k

12 Raf   ~  Nov 24, 2008 12:19 pm

Thanks Diane!

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