"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 12/27/08

Here’s hoping your holidays were filled with joy and baseball … and now, on to the news:

  • The Post’s Mike Puma gives us some more good reviews of Mark Teixeira:

“We all know with multiyear contracts the risk you take, but if you’re going to take one on a position player, he’s certainly one you strongly consider,” said former Yankees manager Buck Showalter, who managed Teixeira with Texas. “He’s going to stay healthy, he’s not going to embarrass you on or off the field. He’s a clean, solid citizen.” …

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say a bad word about him,” said Jason Basil, a former college teammate. “He came in to Georgia Tech highly touted, and when that happens you kind of expect the guy to have a little bit of an attitude, but it never happened. I think anybody who he ever played with considers him a friend to this day.”….

“His dad was a Navy pilot, and that kind of discipline rubs off on anybody,” said former Blue Jays manager Buck Martinez, who became friends with Teixeira two years ago during the World Baseball Classic. “Just look at Mark. He looks like he could have gone to the Naval Academy with the way he takes care of himself, the close-cropped hair.”…

“Mark can do so many things with the bat and he’s a Gold Glove first baseman, but his ability to fit in with any situation is really an asset for him,” Martinez said.

“He’s not going to let you in too deep,” Showalter said. “[Because of his time at] Georgia Tech [and] a military background with his dad, he understands the professional part and the business part of the game. He’s not led around on a nose ring by [Boras]. Mark knows there is a time for business and a time for baseball.”

  • At NPR.com, Stefan Fatsis talks about the immense cash flow of the Bombers, and how it allows them to make these types of signings.
  • Over at LoHud, Pete Abe discusses the seeming lack of love the Yanks have shown to their best pitcher of late, Chien-Ming Wang:

Dave Eiland referred to Chien-Ming Wang as the No. 3 starter in a story Pete Caldera did for The Record. Labeling starters is a fruitless exercise. But it’s further evidence of how little respect the Yankees give Wang.

The Yankees took Wang to arbitration last year to avoid paying him an extra $600,000. And now Eiland is dismissing him as a No. 3 starter. Memo to Eiland: Wang is 46-15 with a 3.74 ERA since the start of the 2006 season. Burnett is 38-26, 3.94. Wang’s career ERA+ is 117. Burnett is at 111. …

In time, people will figure out that Wang’s sinker makes him the exception to the idea that a great pitcher has to strike a bunch of guys out. If the Yankees don’t, another team will once he becomes a free agent.

  • MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch gives us a rundown of the Yanks’ 2008, month-by-month.
  • Andy Pettitte’s return to the Bombers in ’09 is now in jeopardy, as per MLB.com.
  • ESPN’s Rob Neyer posits that the Red Sox didn’t need Teixeira as much as they wanted him:

The Red Sox obviously wanted Teixeira. They’ve got an immense amount of money to spend, and there aren’t actually many players worth spending it on. Teixeira is worth it, and the Red Sox know the math a lot better than I do. So, of course, they wanted him.

Needed, though? Hardly. Last season, the Red Sox outscored both the Rays and the Yankees handily, and (more impressively) they led the American League in OPS in road games. The Red Sox featured a championship-quality attack in 2008, and figure to do the same in 2009.

And then, of course, there’s young Lars Anderson, who just turned 21 and has already spent half a summer tearing up the Double-A Eastern League. The odds are against Anderson becoming anything like Mark Teixeira; few prospects do. But there is a considerable chance that Anderson will, in four or five years, be (roughly) as good as Teixeira.

The Red Sox wanted Teixeira, I think, because he was the best player out there, and next winter the free-agent crop will be exceptionally thin. …

[My take: Well, one of their corner infielders (Lowell) is 35 and coming off surgery to repair the labrum in his hip (successful surgery … but hip surgery on a 35-year-old corner infielder nonetheless).  Youkilis could certainly slide over to third base, but he is a very good fielder at first (2007 GG winner).  Ortiz’s wrist and general body type would seem to point towards a quick decline in production in the coming years.  Perhaps an equally-important reason to acquire Teixeira would be one of the same reasons the Yankees signed him … to keep him away from their arch-rival.]

  • Jim Leyritz turns 45 today.  The always-classy Roy White turns 65.
  • Belated 60th birthday wishes to Chris Chambliss (yesterday).
  • On this date in 1994, “Superchief” Allie Reynolds passed away at the age of 77.  Reynolds was a huge pitching star for the Yankee dynasty in the 1950s, compiling a 131-60 record and a 3.30 ERA in his eight years in pinstripes, and a 7-2 record in World Series starts.
  • On this date in 1984, Ed Whitson, who went 14-8 for the National League champion Padres, begins a nightmarish association with the Yankees by signing a five-year $4.4 million contract. By the middle of his second year with the club, Whitson gets so rattled in Yankee Stadium that manager Lou Piniella will refuse to use him in home games.

[My take: Whitson actually performed slightly better at home than on the road during his only full season with the Bombers:

Split  G   PA   AB   R   H  2B 3B HR  BB  SO  BA   OBP   SLG   OPS
Home   12  292  274  33  83 15  3  7  13  39 .303  .336  .456  .792
Away   18  413  376  67 118 22  2 12  30  50 .314  .361  .479  .839]
  • On this date in 2001, after 21 years being heard on WABC, the Yanks announce they will begin broadcasting their games on WCBS-AM, which is owned by Infinity Broadcasting. The five-year deal with the Yankees’ YES Network, created earlier that year, is worth approximately about $50 million.

See you all Monday …

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 monkeypants   ~  Dec 27, 2008 10:12 am

It really must be the slow time for baseball news (despite the Yankees spending spree), when a non-story like "is Wang the #2 or #3 starter) gets even the little amount of play that it has.

2 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 27, 2008 10:51 am

Wang may be referred as such because he's coming off an injury and has to rebuild himself this Spring, while Burnett has 18 wins and a full season in 2008. I wouldn't put much pressure on Wang at this point, since he is easily an A.J. injury away from being the No. 2... sometimes the easiest explanations are too simple to accept.

3 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 27, 2008 11:48 am

PeteAbe has some very good posts, but in truth, he works for a corporate newspaper, and I believe he is concerned with 'hits'. I'd kinda like to see how he would blog if he weren't commercially employed. A lot of his stuff is posted just to get traffic, ESPECIALLY during slow times.

4 Pete   ~  Dec 27, 2008 12:18 pm

[3] >> I’d kinda like to see how he would blog if he weren’t commercially employed. >>

Without a major news organization to worry about offending, my guess is he'd be even *more* opinionated.

5 rbj   ~  Dec 27, 2008 8:05 pm

"I wouldn’t put much pressure on Wang at this point, since he is easily an A.J. injury away from being the No. 2"

So what's the over/under on when Wang does become #2. I'll say May 30th.

6 Rich   ~  Dec 28, 2008 2:01 am

With regard to want v. need:

Runs Scored Yanks/Sox


Y: 930
S: 820


Y: 968
S: 867


Y: 789
S: 845

Last season, the Yankees lost Posada and Matsui for significant portions of the season, while Cano and to a lesser extent Jeter and even A-Rod had down years.

Lowell's health is uncertain, as is Ortiz's ability to be > 1.000 OPS hitter again. Any number of other players could experience some short of statistical decline, although I would expect Ellsbury to have a better offensive season.

As a result, drawing the line between need and want is often to embark on a slippery slope.

7 Joel   ~  Dec 28, 2008 11:36 am

I believe the "Superchief" missed the HOF by one vote among the veterans committee this year. He ptiched before my time, but my Dad tells me he was the true anchor of the staff and a money pithcher in big games.

Given some of the others who are in the Hall, he should be there.

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