"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 12/23/08

Powered by a $275,000 to $400,000 watch, here’s the news:

  • ESPN.com’s Buster Olney recaps the offers made to Mark Teixeira to this point, and foresees that Tex will wind up with the BoSox at the end of all the circus acts:

Mark Teixeira told Red Sox owner John Henry the other day that he has offers higher than what the Red Sox offered, but as Boston gauges the market, it’s clear that club executives now must have serious doubts about that.

Does Teixeira really have lots of offers for more than what the Red Sox are offering? Clearly, Boston doesn’t think so. Only Boras knows for sure.

It seems that the game has played itself out, the last cards have been dealt, and now Teixeira is in position to make his decision. The read on the table here, still, is that he will sign with the Red Sox.

  • The Record’s Bob Klapisch thinks a Girardi/Manny combo won’t work:

Just how much of the Yankees’ ineptitude was the fault of the over-zealous manager, who transferred his anxiety onto his players? Girardi’s postgame death stare was legend in the clubhouse; at times he wouldn’t even speak to his players, much less look at them, as he marched back to his office after a loss.

So before they start negotiating in earnest with Scott Boras, Manny’s agent, the Yankees need to consider how Ramirez would respond to Girardi’s state trooper mentality. Here’s an early theory: He won’t.

Put it this way: How likely is it that Manny would shed his dreadlocks for Girardi, as per club policy? Ramirez did trim his hair for Torre, but only by an insignificant amount. Torre, knowing that he needed a happy and productive Manny during a three-month rental, chose not to push the issue.

  • MLB.com reports that the Yanks avoided arbitration with Chien-Ming Wang by signing him to a one-year deal worth $5 million.

[My take: Do only position players get offered deals to buy out arbitration and/or free agency years?  Given Wang’s excellent track record, his youth, and the fact that none of his injuries have been arm-related, would there be any incentive for the Yanks to wrap him up for a few years, at least in terms of vesting options based on innings pitched?  The Tribe are well-known for buying out a year or two of free agency of young position players, saving a few bucks now and down the road.  But the Yanks have only done that sort of thing with one player of recent vintage (Cano), and so far, its not a bargain for the Bombers.  Nonetheless, if I’m Wang, I’m looking at A.J. Burnett’s track record and saying “we get outs in different ways, but I’m just as effective in terms of winning games.  How about a multi-year deal for me?”]

  • The Star-Ledger’s Dan Graziano writes of his having the Yanks pegged for third place again in ’09.  He compares the Rays, Sox and Yankees in terms of offense, defense and pitching, and finds the Yanks trailing in all respects except relievers.
  • At FOXSports, Dayn Perry reaches the same conclusion as Graziano.
  • Per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, it appears that Ellis Burks, the special assistant to Indians GM Mark Shapiro, played a role in helping CC Sabathia mature during his time with the Indians, and then helped him decide if the pitcher wanted to play ball on the East Coast:

“I just told him that there’s a big difference between the two coasts when it comes to things like the intensity of the fans, the intensity of the media, and that you’re much more accountable for everything. I told him when you go to New York you’ve got to know you can handle it. He turned to me and said, ‘I think I can handle it.’ And I said, ‘No, that’s not good enough, you’ve got to know you can handle it before you make a commitment like that.’ That’s when he turned to me and said, ‘I know I can handle it.’ And I believe him. He’s got thick skin and he’s done everything he’s ever put his mind to do. He’ll be very good there.”

  • The Captain thinks Manny could still be Manny, and a Yankee: Chris Mascaro from Newsday has a quote from Jeter on whether Manny could make it in pinstripes:

“We’ve had some free personalities throughout the years,” he said. ” David Wells was his own person, Giambi is his own person, Johnny is his own person. When you’re on the field, you’re all trying to accomplish one thing. We welcome people with their own personality.” …

“You guys are asking me all these Manny questions, but Manny’s not on our team,” he said. “I don’t know him personally. With the exception of playing against him and some All-Star Games, I don’t know him well. I know he’s had a lot of success everywhere he’s gone.”

[My take: Unlike Manny, Jeter doesn’t take his disputes with management out on the field.  How well would that play in da Bronx?]

  • Over at BizofBaseball.com, Maury Brown lays out how the Yanks found themselves flush with cash to spend this off-season, and the strong desire to spend it.
  • They may be flush with cash, but they’re gonna pony up a sizable amount in luxury tax for ’09.  The AP reports that the Bombers will be paying $26.9 million to the Commissioner’s Office, based on their being subjected to a 40% tax on 2008 team salaries over $155 million.
  • At the Toaster’s Cardboard Gods, Josh Wilker has a nice multimedia perspective on the late Dock Ellis.
  • Speaking of cardboard gods, it appears Phil Hughes is a huge collector of baseball cards and assorted memorabilia, to the point of privately responding to a request from a fan on a baseball card message board:

His username was “nyyphily45″ and he told me that he could hook me up with anything Phil Hughes. We exchanged messages for a while and I asked him what he had for me. He told me that he had anything from hats, jerseys, balls, cards, etc. I was interested in all of that stuff, so I asked him what he needed. He told me that he was Phil Hughes. I didn’t believe him when he first said it, but I gave him a chance.  … I guess I was the first to know about his identity, because he told me to keep it on the down low. …  I offered him money or baseball cards in return, but he refused to accept that. He told me that he would send me some stuff for free. I was like..what do I have to lose? He told me that he would cover shipping and handling.

A couple of weeks later, I received a box from UPS. I noticed the return address had the name Phil Hughes in it. I opened it up and there they were. He sent me three brand new autographed hats, along with a bunch of signed baseball cards, and a small note on the envelope. I was amazed. I later thanked him for everything he sent me. He was very generous, and nice enough to take the time and package this stuff up and send it to me. He later revealed his identity to the message boards, and everyone went wild. Most of them didn’t believe who he was claiming to be, so he had to prove it.

Later on, the administrator of this message board was notified about this. The site verified that it was him …

  • Former Banter favorite Andy Phillips got a minor league contract and a Spring Training invite with the Pirates, as per MLBTradeRumors.
  • MLB.com reports that 19-year-old Yankee catching prospect Damian Taveras has been suspended for the first 50 games of the 2009 season, after testing positive for Stanozolol, an anabolic steroid.
  • Shawn Chacon turns 31 today.  Chacon went 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA in 2005 after the Yanks acquired him from Colorado (where he had gone 1-7 to start the year).  He then somehow went 5-3 despite an ERA of 7.00 and a WHIP of 1.794 in ’06, before being dealt to the Pirates for Craig Wilson.
  • Tim Leary hits the big 5-0 today.  Despite decent peripherals (202H, 78BB, 18HRA, 138K, 4.11 ERA in 208IP), Leary went 9-19 for the 1990 Yanks.  His 19 losses were the most since Mel Stottlemyre’s 20 in 1966.
  • On this date in 1981, the Yankees sign free agent OF/1B Dave Collins for a reported $750,000 a year for at least three seasons. Collins, who stole 79 bases for the Cincinnati Reds in 1979, will end up a bust in New York and will be traded after one season to the Toronto Blue Jays.

[As I remember it, Boss George came down with a case of stolen base and team speed envy after the 1981 season, and decided that what the Yanks really needed was their own version of Rickey Henderson or Willie Wilson.  Unfortunately, Collins hit .253/.315/.330 and went a dismal 13 for 21 in SBs for the Bombers.]

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 ieddyi   ~  Dec 23, 2008 9:45 am

CMW had a rotator cuff injury that was never surgically repaired. Have to think that is a facotr in not making a long term deal

2 Raf   ~  Dec 23, 2008 9:54 am

Just how much of the Yankees’ ineptitude was the fault of the over-zealous manager, who transferred his anxiety onto his players?

That's a good question. My answer would be "not as much as Posada, Matsui, Joba & Wang's injuries, as well as general suckiness from Jeter, Melky, Cano & Molina."

3 Raf   ~  Dec 23, 2008 9:58 am

[1] Actually, I think he had surgery on his shoulder. I do recall him missing a year in the minors.

4 ieddyi   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:15 am


Raf, he had surgery in 2000 on his shoulder. In 2005 he missed 2 months w/ a rotator cuff problem that was corrected with rehab

5 The Hawk   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:17 am

Yeah the Manny/Girardi combo could be lethal. I'm not a big fan of Girardi, I'll admit.

6 standuptriple   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:22 am

Gotta say, I'm loving today's contribution. First off, I've heard for a while that Ellis Burks was very influential in CC's development as a young player in the league. Same for Omar Vizquel who my wife's cousin had dinner with in Spring Training and is since a lifelong fan of his. I'm glad CC had those guys around him during a diificult time in his life (sudden freedom/$) and to steer him in the right direction.
Secondly, Dave Collins signed a ball for me at my first game I ever went to (when he was with the A's). I still have that ball and really cherish the memory.

7 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:23 am

[2] All that aside, you gotta think that Girardi's being watched upstairs with the amount of money being spent and with the chances they're taking by hoping all of those guys rebound. I do think those reporters are only tightening the screws for their own reasons, but if Girardi responds the way he did last year and the team is trailing the same way, he's likely a goner by mid-season (by acclimation).

8 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:24 am


dang .... I knew I missed something in his history ...

nonetheless, he's passed his "injury nexus" as a pitcher, as Will Carroll likes to say ...

9 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:32 am

[8] "Where... where... where did you get that tear?" >;)

10 Raf   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:34 am

[4] Thanks, I had forgotten about that.

11 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:38 am

While the fan base (not necessarily me) grew increasingly tired of Joe Torre's calm, cool and collected "Zen" style of managing, in favor of a more firy style. In comes Girardi, a tense, guarded military man tightening up the club house. I can't say how it contributed to wins and losses. I can say that it's not easy to work when a manager conducts himself like that. And with some of these fragile egos. Although I'm not advocating for Manny, part of me would love to see how the Girardi/ Manny dynamic would go down when (not if) Manny decides not to hit or run after a fly ball. Boy would that be fun.

12 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:39 am

Tex to sign with Sox?

(take this story for what its worth) ....

13 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:41 am

I'm crushed!

14 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:42 am


I'm not buying it .... just yet.

15 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:44 am

There's no sign of it anywhere else.....as yet.

16 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 10:56 am

I think it's just a trial balloon to see if Cash will now swoop in with 8/190 with an opt out :)

17 Eric B   ~  Dec 23, 2008 11:01 am

Heyman is also reporting a deal is close, but he's not sure who it's with

18 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 11:02 am

Hey, did you know there's a guy with almost the same name as Tex who's a comic book artist?


19 Mattpat11   ~  Dec 23, 2008 11:06 am

I think Girardi got a lot of leeway because he handled the bullpen better than Torre.

I think he handled everything else significantly worse, though.

20 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 11:35 am

[19] And that's probably why we overpaid for CC and Burnett. I'm all for giving Girardi the benefit of the doubt into mid-season, but that benefit's got to come with some changes...

21 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 11:40 am

Scott Proctor would probably agree with the assessment of Torre's bullpen "approach." Question is if Girardi doesn't figure out a way to keep his players loose, who will they look to next?

22 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 11:45 am

[21] Overpay for Mattingly's "triumphant return"? >;)

23 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 11:47 am

[22] Seriously, Tony Peña's got a relaxed vibe about him, and that's probably why they sat him next to Girardi this year.

24 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 11:50 am

I like Peña. That would make sense. Also, if Girardi doesn't cut it, Tony could slip right into position.

25 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 11:57 am

[24] Btw, are you related to Bama Yankee? I like how your names echo each other like bad-Englsih palindromes (though the real palindrome for Bama Yankee is Notlob...) >;)

26 Raf   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:08 pm


I don't think Girardi got much in the way of leeway, and I don't see the media fawning over his bp usage.

Personally, I thought we'd get a combination of Billy Martin, Whitey Herzog & Buck Showalter. We got neither. Dallas Green lite is what we got. I don't see Girardi getting fired next season if the Yanks tank, definitely not after the circus that preceded his hiring.

27 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:08 pm

A palindrome would be Yankee Mama Amab Eeknay. No relation to Bama. Just another Yankee loser who should be making a business call.

28 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:12 pm

[27] ?? What are these words you use, "Yankee loser"... now that's Bad English!! >;)

29 Raf   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:12 pm


Problem was that "zen style of managing," for better or worse, worked. Having said that, I don't think a manager means all that much to a team, and before last season, I figured that the Yanks would make the playoffs with the team they had. Bad luck and injuries prevented that from happening. As well as not beating up on the weak sisters of the league.

30 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:18 pm

True. What was thinking? I'm actually a 3rd generation Yankee Fan. It's in the DNA. I think I'm just tense about the Sox possibly getting Tex and the Yankees not being able to hit their way out of a paper bag. I need some positives.

31 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:19 pm

Stronger indications that Tex has chosen the Sox ...

32 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:22 pm

Historically, the Yankees don't get it up for the weak sisters. They make Cy Young candidates out of pitchers with a 10 plus eras. They dont always capitalize on opportunities. That said, the last Torre year, after tha All-Star break, they did go on a tear, only to fall to midges. All in all, I love them just the same.

33 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:23 pm

[30] That may be correct, but it also smells a little like reporters reporting other reporters, you know? Meaning, I'm not sure that more people were told more information. Again, it may be the case (and let's be honest, it most likely is given what we think we know...) but I'll wait for the formal announcement.

Anyone know where Cash is at the moment?

34 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:25 pm


true dat .... next we may read that Tex is headed to the Yomiuri Giants :-)

35 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:25 pm

[30] You're not the 3rd Gen we knew from Toaster?

36 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:26 pm

Do you think that the Yankees were honestly disinterested in Tex, or did they not go after him to dispel their image of being able to buy whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted?

37 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:28 pm

I know that. I'm sure there are many 3gs here.

38 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:34 pm

[35] My guess is that for better or worse they decided to impose (some) fiscal discipline this year in an effort to bring down the payroll in some material way. If we sign Tex at say 20/yr, I believe that would more or less get us back to our payroll next year (assuming some raises to the arb guys ala Wang, and a Pettitte signing).

I still think we should sign him but then it's not my money! After all, Matsui and Damon are gone next year. That's 26mm. Assuming at least 1 among Melky, Ajax, and Gardner prove that they are starting mlb outfielder, we won't have to fill all 3 OF spots after 2009...meaning, there's some potential savings there.

One more bad year of payroll to get us over the hump. But again, it's not my money!

39 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 12:34 pm

[37] should say "our payroll of LAST year..."

40 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 1:00 pm

Maybe this is all a Boras ploy. Lying to the media. Calling Cashman all the while.

41 Bama Yankee   ~  Dec 23, 2008 1:53 pm

[0] Thanks for the update on my homeboy Andy Phillips. He's a good guy and I hope he sticks with the Pirates.

[24] Yeah, as far as I know, I'm not related to Yankee Mama. As a matter of fact, my mother is not even a big baseball fan. However, my grandmother was a huge Braves fan (even before they started winning). I really was afraid that she might disown me after those two World Serious victories by the Yanks. ;-)
btw, what is a "Notlob..." ?

42 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 2:06 pm

[41] Don't worry. Uncle Woodrow was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan until they moved, then like many others became a Mets fan, though he's one of the few who also roots for the Yanks. But, he harbors a special fondness for the Braves because he was born in Macon...

If you're a big Monty Python fan, the palindrome and Notlob remarks are immediately apparent >;)

43 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 2:08 pm

No, not the 3rd gen from Toaster. Was envious of his (or her) user name. I was only a voyeur back then,

Bama, I could be your sister, except I'm from Manhattan.

44 The Mick536   ~  Dec 23, 2008 2:15 pm

How about the Red Barber piece in the Times today. Just lyrical.

Need a first baseman.

45 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 2:18 pm

[43] I think she (yes, she) made it over for the debut now that I think about it. Ah well, at least you can help Diane add balance to our obsessiveness >;) Where's Abby?

46 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 2:31 pm

Heyman saying the Yanks are IN IT, turning up the heat on Tex as we speak. Fingers crossed...

47 Bama Yankee   ~  Dec 23, 2008 2:45 pm

[41] Ahhh, Monty Python (Flying Circus, right? The dead parrot sketch: "He's not dead, he's restin'"). That's good, there for a second I thought you might be confusing me with a certain late 80's/early 90's long haired singer... ;-)
Speaking of Monty Python, it's probably a good thing my granny never saw that "Gangs in Notlob, errr Bolton" sketch... she might have come after me with her Atlanta Braves handbag... ;-)

[42] Who knows, you might be my sister. Chyll Will swears that he is my long lost cousin...

48 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 2:47 pm

[46] Wowzers, Heyman's really taking it on the chin...

49 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 2:51 pm

Stepping back for a moment, I think it entirely possible, even easy, for the Yanks to "steal" Tex from Boston. All we have to do is bid marginally higher and/or offer something like an opt out that the Sox might not have. Boston won't counter IMO. They're frankly much more disciplined than that - they set a price beyond which they won't go in $ and/or years, and that's that. As far as I know :)

And I don't think that Sox-love-Mauer story got out today by mistake...

50 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 2:57 pm

The downside to the media. They are mere pawns in Boras's nefarious schemes.

You can't be my brother. My brother thinks that Yankee blogs are yes, obsessive. He sticks with the standards: espn, si, NY Post, etc. He doesn't even Lohud. But he's a 3 gen as well.

Maybe we're long, lost cousins as well.

51 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:02 pm

Yankee blogs are not obsessive. If they were, yours truly would still be living with my mother, posting from the basement. :-)

52 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:05 pm

Pete Abe makes a good point about signing Tex. It might explain why the approach has been so discreet...


But at the same time, depending on how he produces the value of his contract may be offset by the value he adds to a championship (or at least a playoff-bound) team overall. The Yanks have been in the red for a little while now; it's a lot more money to have under the line than any of us know can be handled. If we don't get him, I almost feel sorry for whatever team does, because only us and the Tigers are paying lux tax. On the other hand, if we do get him, it's only because Cash and Hal know we can afford him. That'll in turn put more pressure on Girardi to get off on the right foot. Oy...

53 thelarmis   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:06 pm

[42] yeah, 3rd gen, is a "she." iirc, her name is Jen.

[20] if girardi gets gone, it's possible Bobby V. will be here. he's only got 1 more year in Japan, and then he's done. i'd post the link - if i could even find it - but i think any link now takes a while to get "moderated," for some reason...

meanwhile, all the best for Todd Drew! he went in for surgery this morning. crossing all digits - and eyes! - that he's doin' well!!! : )

54 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:06 pm

Preaching to the choir. There is nothing like a good banter. And Bronx Banter is in a league of its own. Love the writing!

55 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:11 pm

Just an FYI, I was dianagramr back at the Toaster ....

56 thelarmis   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:16 pm

[53] yes, i love that screen name and still refer to you as that! at the toaster, i was...thelarmis! but there always seems to be confusion w/ people thinking it's The Larmis or, for some reason, adding an "A", thusly creating: The Alarmis. anyway, there are jazz fans here aplenty -- just think "thelonious," then say "thelarmis," the same way, and voila! ya got my stage name! : )

57 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:17 pm

[53] I miss dianagramr :)

Crap I just realized that today is in fact Tuesday, not Wednesday. So we may have to suffer through 24+ more hours of unconfirmed Tex updates :( I'm more wrapped up in this than I'd anticipated.

No Anaheim for Manny it would appear...

And what do you mean someone is a fan and doesn't read lohud. Huh??

58 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:21 pm

HFS Heyman now saying YANKEES ON THE VERGE OF SIGNING TEX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll be refreshing with ADD regularity. Nowhere better to be than RIGHT HERE.

59 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:26 pm

OK so where is everyone?!? Don't tell me you're all wrapped up in this christmas business...

60 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:28 pm

we fainted?

61 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:29 pm

8/180, full no-trade .... wow!

63 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:33 pm

Interesting - ESPN is saying it's for over 170 (which, I suppose, 180 is...) so it'll be interesting to hear how the details unfold. Opt out anyone? My guess is yes, after 5 years.

64 Yankee Mama   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:33 pm

I'm here and going into shock. Cashman rules.

65 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:35 pm

A-Rod may hit 60 homers next year now ....

66 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:38 pm

[63] Yup, another MVP coming for ARod, right on his every-other-year schedule!

67 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:42 pm

OYF....William...WHERE ARE YOU GUYS!?!?

If this turns out to be a "Furcal" I'm going to throw up a little in my mouth.

68 Diane Firstman   ~  Dec 23, 2008 3:49 pm

Given all this, I now smell a "Phil Hughes for Taylor Teagarden" deal coming down the pike ....

69 sonyahennystutu   ~  Dec 23, 2008 4:03 pm

[66] Whoa. That would be...interesting. I'd prefer a larger sample size for both guys, no?

70 thelarmis   ~  Dec 23, 2008 4:04 pm

TEX!!!!! holy shit!!! yeah!!! i had a feeling i was gonna get a text message at some point, from someone, saying we got him. got outta the shower, and there it was! then, my brother called...

time to trade nady...

i hope Todd Drew gets word!!! : )

71 thelarmis   ~  Dec 23, 2008 4:05 pm

i'm everybody's brother and son
I ain't different from anyone

72 thelarmis   ~  Dec 23, 2008 4:38 pm

holy crap, where is everyone?!?!

73 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 5:06 pm

[72] Are you ... Alarmed? (couldn't help it >;)

74 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2008 5:16 pm

[55] My Favorite Scrabble! >;)

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