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.