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News of the Day – 12/29/08

It was 65 degrees here in NYC yesterday … they should have been playing baseball!  Here’s the news:

  • Newsday’s Kat O’Brien has an overview of the changes made by the Yankees to this point in the off-season.  Of some interest is the supposed offer the Yanks had on the table to Teixeira:

The Angels pulled their offer for Teixeira Dec. 21. That left the Yankees, Red Sox, Nationals and Orioles, though most reports had Teixeira choosing between the Red Sox and Nationals as late as Dec. 23, when he came to terms with the Yankees. The Yankees, at least publicly, were a dark horse.

Boras disputed that yesterday, as well as Newsday’s timeline of the negotiations. He said the Yankees had an offer on the table all along, though team sources say that was not the case.

  • Anthony McCarron of the News takes a position-by-position look at the Yanks roster, last year versus the current one, and likes what he sees … a lot.
  • John Sickels on MinorLeagueBall.com gives his Top 20 Yankee Prospects for 2009.  Here’s his top five:

1) Jesus Montero, C, Grade B+: I believe in the bat. Where he fits with the glove I don’t know.

2) Austin Jackson, OF, Grade B: Should be a solid player but not a star. Will that be enough in New York?
3) Dellin Betances, RHP, Grade B-: Very high ceiling, has flashed dominance, can he stay healthy?
4) Austin Romine, C, Grade B-: More likely to stick behind the plate than Montero, though not as good a hitter.
5) Zach McAllister, RHP, Grade B-: A favorite of mine heading into 2008, looks like a strong inning-eater type.

  • Andy Martino of the News has a long article detailing concerns over the pressures on Joba Chamberlain:

The pitcher’s success at 23 has come despite a family background marred by addiction and separation, and in part because of a big heart and strong work ethic.

But now some of the people closest to Chamberlain are concerned that he is changing, that his troubles are catching up with him despite his success or emerging because of it. With a worrisome pitching shoulder and DUI suddenly on his resume, Chamberlain faces a personal and professional crossroads in 2009, a year that could determine whether his legacy will be more lightning in a bottle or sustained light.

“Joba is a great person and I love him, but now he’s ventured into something that’s not so good,” says Wally Gant, a family friend who spent long afternoons on his front porch engaged in heart-to-hearts with the teenage Joba. “I heard through the grapevine that he had been drinking more. (Success) has gotten to his head a little. If he does things like this, he won’t be able to stay in the major leagues.”

  • Marty Noble of MLB.com recaps the stellar career of David Cone, but admits it most likely won’t be enough to gain him entrance into the Hall:

Not the most accomplished pitcher of his time, Cone nonetheless developed a reputation for Bob Gibson resolve and the stamina of a marathoner that set him apart from most of those with totals greater than his. How his achievements, image as a Hessian and five World Series rings will resonate with those casting Hall of Fame ballots is yet to be determined. Cone is among 10 players new to the ballot this year. But he appears to be a candidate who will elicit support out of respect and not only for his statistical achievement.

Gaining the minimum support for election — inclusion on 75 percent of the ballots distributed to more than 575 members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America — appears to be a long shot for Cone, particularly with a sure-fire candidate, Rickey Henderson, among the new 10 and three holdover candidates named on at least 60 percent of the ballots cast last year, Jim Rice (72.2 percent), Andre Dawson (65.9) and Bert Blyleven (61.0).

[My take: Here are his stats.  One can only wonder what kind of toll his arm took by having eight starts of 141 or more pitches during 1991 and 1992, including that famous 166-pitch outing in July 1992.  I think he’ll be named on 15% of ballots this year, creep up a bit over the next three or four years, then drift off the chart.]

  • Jaret Wright turns 33 today.  Wright managed to go a combined 16-12 in two seasons with the Yanks despite allowing 238 hits and 89 walks in only 204 IP.  The Yanks were nonetheless able to peddle Wright to the Orioles for Chris Britton.
  • Richie Sexson turns 34 today.  “Big Sexy” continued his impotent ways after the Yanks signed him in July of ’08.  K’ing 10 times in 28 ABs, he was released by late-August.
  • Dennis Werth, who had cups of coffee with the Yanks in ’79, ’80 and ’81, turns 56.
  • On this date in 1933, Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert refuses to release Babe Ruth from his contract, thus preventing him from becoming the manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Ruth will never receive a chance to manage a major league team.
  • On this date in 1977, Melissa Ludtke, female Sports Illustrated sports writer, files suit against MLB, the Yankees and New York City officials for denying her access to the locker room to interview players during the 1977 World Series.

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 monkeypants   ~  Dec 29, 2008 11:17 am

Interesting comparison: Guidry v. Cone. Well, maybe not so interesting, but in my distorted memory their two careers (and thus HOF dossiers) have a certain resemblance.

2 Joseph   ~  Dec 29, 2008 1:06 pm

Concerning Joba, you would think that teams, with so much riding on players, both in dollars and in terms of the future of the franchise, would try to keep tabs a little bit on what the hell is going on with a player during the offseason. I suppose some do to some extent, and I'm sure it's difficult to be aware of what's transpiring in the lives of all the players in the organization. I believe I read somewhere that Cashman had talked to Joba after the DUI, and hopefully, others have done the same. Joba needs to realize how special he is, and how lucky he is to have the opportunity he has, and how important it is for him to make the right decisions going forward with his life and career.

3 OldYanksFan   ~  Dec 29, 2008 3:02 pm

I kinda wonder if there are/the Yanks hire 'specialists' in this area. MANY players have had early success go to their heads and blow their careers. Psychologist, motivational coach, guru, mother.... I don't know who qualifies, but this is a common problem, and one you hate when it rears it's head.

4 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 29, 2008 3:09 pm

[2] Joba needs to realize how special he is, and how lucky he is to have the opportunity he has, and how important it is for him to make the right decisions going forward with his life and career.

What he doesn't need is every person in the world constantly reminding him of how important he is. That's like being told everyday by your boss and your coworkers and strangers from all walks of life that if you are a father, you have to love and take care of your kids because you are special to them and important to their future. Cashman has talked to him and his teammates will likely be there for him or in his face, and I'll bet you bottom dollar his father has had more than a few things to say. What more should we expect, GPS and shackles?

I know our first reaction when a phenom has trouble like this is to set ourselves up as legal guardians and make the decisions for them, but can we at least give him a chance to prove that he's capable of understanding or reaching out for help on his own before we do? He's a human being, not a life-sized action figure.

5 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 29, 2008 3:17 pm

[3] Ray Negron? What Joba and any of these guys need more than anything is beyond what we know about them personally, like a true friend maybe?

6 The Hawk   ~  Dec 29, 2008 3:29 pm

That Joba Chamberlain piece was much ado about nothing. Just a waste of time.

7 thelarmis   ~  Dec 29, 2008 4:26 pm

OT = Jazz Tokyo, if you check here today... Freddie Hubbard died. BOO!!! i listened to him earlier this afternoon on a Blakey record w/out knowing. very sad. he was a brilliant master musician!!!

8 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 29, 2008 6:28 pm

[7] oh, no way man! had on "Open Sesame" just the other night too..he wasn't even 70 I think, but heard his health wasn't too good..will go check the jazz sites for the info. always sad to see the great ones pass on..thankfully Sonny Rollins and Ornette are still around and STILL bringing it in concert..

thelarmis, who would be a good baseball comparison for Freddie? Prodigy, played on dozens of classic albums in his 20s, sold out to some horrid disco fusion in the 1970s..had injury problems, then became an elder statesman (though I heard he was a real prick to any female players..)

9 thelarmis   ~  Dec 29, 2008 6:38 pm

[8] yeah man, he was 70, right on the button. he had a heart attack earlier this month and i think he was in a coma for a spell. i've been listening/buying sooo much blue note lately, that freddie is on a lot of what i've been spinning. mccoy is still around too! i *just* got his 1968 Expansions cd, it's on right now, and it's GREAT!!! i think horace silver is still around. roy haynes is here. but yeah man, we just lost freddie hubbard, andrew hill & johnny griffin the last few months.

ooh, that's a TERRIFIC ?, looking for a baseball comp for freddie. i need to go to play my jazz gig now. i'll try and think of one, though i have a feeling you'll come up w/ a fantastic one before me! don't worry, we won't play Red Clay tonight! i'd like to do Up Jumped Spring, in his honor though...

joe henderson was great to female players. in fact, he had an all female band for awhile. i believe that's where Renee Rosnes got her start. she's awesome and i have 7 or 8 of her Blue Note cd's.

how 'bout someone like Ruben Sierra for a comp?

10 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 29, 2008 6:42 pm

Red Clay is awesome! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp6S6yOD6qM (Alex, you'll know the bass line at 01:45 methinks...)

and classic Freddie with Art Blakey http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4noNAphDFA8 he was only 23 here!

Ruben Sierra is an interesting case, awesome first few years for sure, though I think Freddie's status as a trumpeter exceeds Ruben as a ballplayer...need to think more on this (and yes, I realize how geeky we are in pursuing this comparison, but it's the offseason, what the hell

Good luck at your gig!

11 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Dec 29, 2008 6:45 pm

[9] Hey thelarmis, I put some youtube links of Freddie in post 10 but they are awaiting moderation..guess that is the new procedure for links then?? hope they get through soon. enjoy the gig, chat later

12 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 29, 2008 7:32 pm

Wow, Freddie Hubbard?? Not a good time to hear that... :(

13 Rich   ~  Dec 29, 2008 9:36 pm

"...I heard through the grapevine that he had been drinking more. (Success) has gotten to his head a little. If he does things like this, he won’t be able to stay in the major leagues.”

Obviously, being clean and sober is probably a preferable way to go through life, but MLB history is hardly devoid of very good players who had more than a few cold ones on a regular basis.

That said, although person who made this allegation could be clueless or worse, I will give him credit for attaching his name to the quote. It's also interesting that he uses the word "had." So either the problem, as he sees it, is in the past, or his syntax is poor.

14 The Hawk   ~  Dec 29, 2008 9:41 pm

[12] This is what I mean. The article is kind of worthless insight- or news-wise if you already know about the DUI ... It's a stretch to go from "some of the people closest to Chamberlain are concerned that he is changing" to a "family friend" who hears things "through the grapevine". I mean, if you're hearing things through the grapevine are you really one of the closest people to the guy?

15 Joseph   ~  Dec 29, 2008 10:46 pm

[4] Just a few things Chyll.

1. "What he doesn't need is every person in the world reminding him how important he is."

Every person in the world? Nice exaggeration. How about a few people close to him who he will listen to.

2. Your analogy of comparing Joba flying down the road drunk with a beer between his legs to some guy raising his kids is a lousy one and totally unrelated.

3. If what you believe has transpired has, including: Cashman speaking to him, teammates being there if he needs them, and of course, his father speaking with him, then at this point, that's good enough for me. But GPS and shackles? More exaggeration. Did I say something that was going over the top in my concern for Joba? Did I say something about an intervention and having him committed? Are you in a bad mood today?

4. " Set ourselves up as legal guardians"

Huh? Your taking my comment to exaggerated extremes. FWIW, I'll be happy to hope Joba puts this one behind him and goes on to a great, trouble-free career with the Yanks.

16 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 29, 2008 11:02 pm

[14] Let's not make this personal, Joseph. I was making a point that we should not jump to any conclusions about Joba's condition or state of mind when all we know is what a person "heard through the grapevine." Hyperbole or not, if you did not want to be called out on the things I pointed out, you could have been more specific. I wasn't being mean, but I am reacting to a habit that occurs very much in media and in blogs.

For what it's worth and since you asked, I am in a very very dull mood, so if it seemed like an attack, I sincerely apologize as it was not meant to be so, and I do hope you understand my point.

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