"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

News of the Day – 3/4/09

Today’s news is powered by a little league game turned into a big-time event …

  • A-Rod has been diagnosed with a cyst on one of his hips, and will most likely miss participating in the WBC.
  • Here’s the official press release from the Yanks on the cyst-em of a down-ed player.

[My take: Unfortunately, one of the first things I thought of when I read this news was ‘cysts can form around multiple injection sites, but its highly unlikely it developed five years after he stated he last used injected PEDs … unless he was using HGH recently’.  (Yeah, I wanna give him the benefit of the doubt, but its so hard to given all that has gone on lately …).]

  • Rodriguez complimented the play of Jose Reyes, but may have slighted his BFF Jeter in doing so:

“I wish he was leading off on our team, playing on our team,” Rodriguez said of Reyes, who hustled to take an extra base in the fifth inning and then stole third and scored in the Dominican team’s 10-1 win over the Marlins. “That’s fun to watch. Anytime you have that type of speed… I mean, we have a guy in (Brett) Gardner that’ll be fun. That’s probably the most you can have, watching those guys run.”

Rodriguez may have forgotten who plays shortstop for the Yankees these days, but he quickly remembered once his brief press conference was over. A Dominican team spokesman told reporters that Rodriguez’s compliment of Reyes was not intended as a shot at Jeter, the Yankees captain who has remained somewhat distant since A-Rod’s steroid admission.

[My take: Its the subject of our poll today (see below).]

  • PeteAbe seems to think A-Rod stuck his foot in his mouth again.
  • Darryl Strawberry empathizes with Rodriguez’s steroid situation, and adds some interesting quotes:

“I’m not saying that was the right thing to do,” Strawberry said. “But somebody asked me, If I’d faced it, what would I have done? If that was going on in the ’80s, it definitely would have been in my system, too.”

“I was stupid, too, when I was 24, 25,” he added, referring to Rodriguez’s comments that he was stupid and naïve during the time he used steroids. “I’ve done a lot of stupid things.”

Strawberry expressed sympathy and admiration for the way Rodriguez has handled the news cycle, and said he was disappointed by the players union. He believed that the union should have destroyed the 2003 tests — which were meant to remain anonymous — when it had the chance.

  • Joel Sherman writes that the Yanks have finished up signing players on their 40-man roster (and lists the salaries for each).

[My take: I may be a bit naive, and I know lots of minor leaguers have off-season jobs, but for some of them their minor league salaries are in the $20,000-$35,000 range.  Its not all peaches and cream, is it?]

  • A.J. Burnett “felt strong” after his simulated game outing on Tuesday.
  • Brett Gardner was named Yankees minor league player of the year, and Phil Coke took the pitcher honors, for 2008.
  • Yahoo! Sports has come up with a list of various team’s season ticket plans that are actually cheaper than one $350 seat to one Yankee game.
  • PeteAbe details the TeamUSA love of their captain, Derek Jeter.

Poll time!

[poll id=”18″]

Categories:  Diane Firstman  News of the Day

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1 Dimelo   ~  Mar 4, 2009 10:09 am

It really is amazing to me how incredibly dumb Rodriguez is, I thought he was much smarter than what I've seen the last 5 years. He can compliment Reyes, he is exciting, but why does he have to say: "playing on our team".

Jeter would never say, "Wright is so great, I wish he were playing on our team". You can compliment a guy w/o having to say anything that can be misconstrued as a slight against one of your teammates.

This shouldn't be something that should cause this much attention, but ARod just brings it on himself. I am amazed at how much credit I gave him, in terms of being a smarter athlete, but he's about as dumb as Carl Everett. Though, Crazy Carl did give us the 'CHB' line.

2 Start Spreading the News   ~  Mar 4, 2009 10:17 am

I love how this quote is use to stir up things between Arod and Jeter. If anything, Arod is commenting on the fact that we don't have a basestealer as a leadoff hitter anymore. That used to be Damon. Why isn't this quote used against Damon (our leadoff hitter)? After all, Arod was talking about speed, basestealing and leading off. All of those descriptions fit Damon more than Jeter.

Oh right. That would sell fewer papers.

3 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 4, 2009 10:21 am

I think the Arod/Reyes quote falls solidly under the "who cares" column. Of course, the Arod detractors will fill their columns with more inane criticism, but I think most logical people will see it for what it is: an effusive complement.

The irony, of course, is that the idea of replacing Jeter with Reyes is probably something that many on this board, in the MSM and throughout baseball would advocate. So, basically, this would be another case of Arod simply stating what others think. It's funny how on one hand Arod gets blasted for being a phony and on the other hand people get so upset when he doesn't say/do the politically thing.

Instead of being so critical of Arod, I think many of his detractors should be more concerned about why they seem to be so obsessed with him.

4 Mattpat11   ~  Mar 4, 2009 10:29 am

Jeter isn't the Yankees lead off hitter.

5 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 4, 2009 10:29 am

[2] Exactly. Your point exposes the motives of the headlines and the weakness of the people criticizing for the quote. Arod never commented on Reyes defense...the thing that would indentify him as a replacement for Jeter. Instead, he talked about having him bat lead off. If anything, that would be a slight against Damon.

6 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 4, 2009 10:31 am

Bingo, SSN

7 Dimelo   ~  Mar 4, 2009 10:31 am

Yeah, I won't be bothered one bit if a guy that had the same skills I have, was working for a different company, and one of the key people on my team said: "Man, I wish that guy were working for us". Yeah...that can't ever be misconstrued and it's more of ARod's critics that are using this as fuel to bash the innocent ARod.

Evil media go away already, bad, bad, Red Rum, Red Rum, Red Rum. Amazing!

8 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 4, 2009 10:36 am

Who cares!

I wonder what the effects of both steroids and cocaine or angeldust would have been on a player who had access to both at the time... would it be his heart, brain or spare change that burst like a kernel of popcorn?

9 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 4, 2009 10:45 am

His testicles would have shrunk to the size of peas, but he would have been oblivious to that fact?

10 swedski   ~  Mar 4, 2009 10:53 am

Thank you all for some sanity. Who cares and is this important. No this is a BS issue to sell the NYP and DN.

11 Just Fair   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:08 am

"Booooooorrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnngggggg" -Homer Simpson

12 Chyll Will   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:14 am

[9] One less thing to have rage about, huh?

13 Just Fair   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:19 am

Rage against the manpeas. Terrible. I know. : )

14 The Hawk   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:32 am

[3] I'd much rather we move Jeter to third and replace Rodriguez with Reyes. That way you replace a talented headache with a talented headache, instead of having two right next to each other.

15 Shaun P.   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:39 am

[2] Fewer papers, and fewer page views too, SSTN.

In the meantime, I wonder how IPK will pitch today vs the Braves' regulars - two pitch disaster or three pitch location master. This is his first spring appearance, right?

16 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:43 am

[14] If you don't mind seriously downgrading the talent on your team, I guess that would work. Of course, nothing gives me a migraine more than a team that can't score enough runs.

17 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:46 am


In a similar vein, KMFDM could stand for 'King Manny Finagles Dodger Millions' :-)

18 Yankee Mama   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:47 am

[15] It's IPK's second appearance. He pitched well according to Pete Abe.

Alex has a poor relationship with the spoken word. There must be some disconnect between brain and mouth. Hell, as long as his brian is connected to his body while he's playing, I no longer care If only he would just stop talking.

19 Yankee Mama   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:49 am

I got it: disconnect between brain and mouth equals dumbass.

20 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:53 am

AP is reporting A-Rod had this hip issue last season

.... which makes me wonder why they didn't do an MRI on it while he was recuperating from his ailments last year?

21 Shaun P.   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:58 am

[18] Thanks, Yankee Mama. I hope IPK does well again today, and that Pete Abe gives us a look at him the way he did yesterday with Hughes and the changes in his repertoire. Those are the kinds of posts that make Pete Abe a must-read.

22 Yankee Mama   ~  Mar 4, 2009 12:05 pm

I agree about Pete Abe. I, too hope IPK does well, as I've long forgiven him for his chunp postgame interview. Anyway, how can you not root for a Howdy Doody look-alike?

As for Alex, when he decided that he was going to play in the WBC for the Dominican team (and not team USA), I had a thought that something was going to come up in the last minute which would drive him away from the competition. I tend towards the cynical, but could it all have been staged?

23 The Hawk   ~  Mar 4, 2009 12:20 pm

[16] You only have to score enough runs to win. The best team I've ever seen had no-one like Rodriguez in terms of talent but always scored enough runs.

24 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 4, 2009 12:38 pm

[23] Are you talking about the 1998 team? If so, they did have Bernie Williams put up an Arod-like 160 OPS+ as well as 5 other players post an OPS+ over 120. This current team can't approach that kind of production without Arod.

25 MichiganYankee   ~  Mar 4, 2009 12:42 pm

I saw Sherman's blog entry on the contracts, and I too was stunned by $23,500 minor league figures. I thought that CBA had a minor league minimum that was substantially higher than that.

Sherman writes that the Yankees have finished up contracts for the 40-man roster, yet I have not seen any contracts reported for Joba, Hughes, Edwar, Aceves, Veras, Coke, Giese, Sanchez or Claggett. In fact, Sherman himself wrote on Feb. 20 that Joba remained unsigned and that the Yankees could renew his $390,000 contract (I presume that means adjusting to the new ML minimum of $400,000) between March 2 and 11.

26 The Hawk   ~  Mar 4, 2009 12:44 pm

[24] Thought we were talking about talent and scoring runs. If you think the 1998 team was made up of a bunch of A-Rods, so be it!

27 thelarmis   ~  Mar 4, 2009 12:55 pm

hmmm, the braves had a spring training game on tv here last thursday; i wonder if today's will be televised. i'm guessing no...

pete abe: jeter - no comment on the a-rod comment. damon - funny comment about "showing alex what i can do", (said w/ a laugh).

kudos to Diana for a KMFDM reference! i'm down with the original meaning for the bands' acronym, for certain!

28 Diane Firstman   ~  Mar 4, 2009 1:33 pm


Year Team Off. OPS+
2008 101
2007 118
2006 112
2005 115
2004 112
2003 115
2002 114
2001 100
2000 104
1999 110
1998 117

29 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 4, 2009 1:52 pm

[28] Exactly my point...the Yankees have usually had a great offense, not an opportunistic lineup of "winners". If the Yankees want to have a dominant offense, they need Arod.

30 The Hawk   ~  Mar 4, 2009 4:10 pm

First of all, OPS is not the be all end all. It's sort of wearing me out how it gets slapped down on the table like a royal flush, point proved.

Second, it just seems like all roads lead to A Rod in these arguments. No matter what is said, it somehow equals absolutely needing him on the team.

In a general sense, the 1998 team had no real power and still had a dominant offense. Their offense had little to do with slugging, but it was about as even a team as you could ask for. Teams with one or two big boppers tend to wait around a lot for someone to go yard. We saw the Yanks do it for years to stagnant effect. And we saw them thrive when slugger-less. Not that that's the only way to do it, but the idea that they need a player like A Rod, and especially A Rod the walking distraction himself, is without basis.

31 Raf   ~  Mar 4, 2009 4:26 pm

In a general sense, the 1998 team had no real power and still had a dominant offense. Their offense had little to do with slugging, but it was about as even a team as you could ask for.

FWIW, they led the league in OBP (.362), and were 4th in the league in SLG (.460), finishing behind Seattle (.468), Boston (.463) & Texas (.462).

32 Raf   ~  Mar 4, 2009 4:30 pm

And we saw them thrive when slugger-less.

I don't think there ever was a time the Yanks were "slugger-less." Bernie, Tino, O'Neill, Strawberry, to name a few slugged over .500 a few times.

33 The Hawk   ~  Mar 4, 2009 5:41 pm

And yet I'm fairly certain not one of those players hit 30 HRs. When I'm talking about sluggers in this sense I mean a la Giambi or A Rod (who once again is the basis for this discussion), serious HR threats. I'm not talking about line drive double in the gap guys ...

I mean I know I'm not alone in the world in my view, but if I'm on the other side of some line here that dictates the late 1990s championship Yankees teams were power hitting powerhouses I can deal with that. To me it's bizarro world if they are considered that. They had no A Rod or A Rod type player, and they succeeded; that's my point. They didn't NEED that one or two mashers. A good, balanced team shouldn't.

And for the love of all that's holy no one is debating their ability to get on base.

34 OldYanksFan   ~  Mar 4, 2009 6:33 pm

[28] If I might add:
Off. OPS+ / ERA+
2008 101 / 104
2007 118 / 99
2006 112 / 102
2005 115 / 93
2004 112 / 96
2003 115 /109
2002 114 / 114
2001 100 / 111
2000 104 / 101
1999 110 / 114
1998 117 / 117
1997 108 / 117
1996 100 / 108

To note:
Certainly, we had an awesome team in 1998.
If you give pitching an edge. the 2008 team was better then the 2000 team.
1999 and 2003 were tough years to lose the playoffs.
We don't mke the PS in 2007 without ARod.
Post 2003, we've had an average ERA+ of 99. I wonder if that explains our PS failures.

And Hawk... No, you don't really NEED an ARod type force on a team with an ERA+ in the 110 range. But with a team ERA+ in the 100 range, he sure is a ahbdy guy to have around.

35 OldYanksFan   ~  Mar 4, 2009 6:35 pm

he sure is a ahbdy guy to have around... or
he sure is a HANDY guy to have around.

36 Start Spreading the News   ~  Mar 4, 2009 7:39 pm

[33]"And for the love of all that’s holy no one is debating their ability to get on base."

True, I think we are generally talking about their slugging. Slugging by definition is not limited to home runs. So the 1998 Yanks didn't need a 50+ homer guy to help them be a good slugging team. They did have four guys who hit 20+ homers and TEN guys who hit 10+ homers. That's pretty good slugging, if you ask me. That team could hit a homer at any time, especially considering Yankee Stadium's pitcher friendly park factor.

Plus Tino was a guy who hit 44 homers the year before. Bernie was routinely between 25 and 30. I think they were considered "serious HR threats."

Still, if your earlier point is that we should get rid of Arod and replace with Jose Reyes, then you should also address where we are going to make up the difference. But how much is the difference?

OPS and Total bases don't take into account steals and avoid double plays (two things Reyes does better than Arod). So we can use Runs Created which "involves some positive value for things like hits, walks, steals, home runs, etc. and negative values for outs, caught stealing and GIDP." That stat should portray Reyes in a more positive light than traditional stats.

Still, Arod has 8.3 career Runs Created per Game compared to Reyes' 5.5. How big is that 2.8 RC/g differential? To put it in context, the dropoff from Arod to Reyes is bigger than the dropoff of 2006 Robinson Cano superstar (6.6) and 2008 Robinson Cano suckfest (4.0).

Making up that difference in offense is hard when this team gets as injured as often as it does as the players age.

37 Raf   ~  Mar 4, 2009 10:52 pm

And for the love of all that’s holy no one is debating their ability to get on base.

If people are introducing the OPS stat, why not break it down, since OBP is part of the equation?

Post 2003, we’ve had an average ERA+ of 99. I wonder if that explains our PS failures.

It's a combination of things; the Yanks have failed in all aspects of the game; pitching, offense, defense.

[36] You may also want to add defense to the equation

38 The Hawk   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:26 pm

[36] It wasn't slugging - and I may have added fuel to that unfortunate fire - but A Rod, and how necessary he is. I brought up the 98 team merely as an example of how well it's possible to do without a player like that. Of course it got turned into an argument of overall team OPS vs a certain individual's OPS - [37] a stat I think is overrated and at times misleading on an individual basis, never mind for a team; I certainly didn't bring it up - and other apples and oranges questions.

I'll also add that however runs per game your worth, when those runs happen is also important. If that number is weighted towards blowouts in either direction, it loses some of its luster.

Anyway my point was I'd rather Reyes replace A Rod than Jeter and how the former two are high-maintenance, and Jeter's anything but. So they'd cancel each other out in that regard (with some improvement, actually). Then the question put was how in the world a team could survive without A Rod and I'm saying it could happen. In fact, I'm wondering more how the team survives WITH him, his OPS notwithstanding.

39 Start Spreading the News   ~  Mar 4, 2009 11:32 pm

[38] "my point was I’d rather Reyes replace A Rod than Jeter and how the former two are high-maintenance, and Jeter’s anything but. So they’d cancel each other out in that regard (with some improvement, actually)."

I have used a few stats to show that what you have said is NOT true. They don't cancel out. And Reyes is certainly not an improvement over Arod in any category except steals.

If you don't see how the Yanks got to the playoffs in 2007 WITH Arod (instead of say, Reyes), then I am really curious to see what stats you use.

40 PJ   ~  Mar 5, 2009 12:40 am

Don't feel sorry for the guys making "only" $30K for their minor league deals. If they progress through the system as planned, and they get a September call up, they get 1/12 of the major league minimum $400K or $33K more for that one month whether they play or not. $66K plus meal money and free equipment and hotel rooms is not a tough way to make a living for seven months if your up side is getting the major league minimum during any time of the year. They get thousands more per day at that level for meals to stick in their pocket as well. I'd feel more for the guys that never make it to the show and have to get a "real job" like most of the rest of us. Their $30K is all they get, but it's still for half of the year.

Source: Rheal Cormier was my next-door neighbor during his salad days in the Cardinals' system in Louisville, KY. He didn't do too badly for a wrong-sided hockey playin' Canuck from New Brunswick! I always made fun of him by telling him it was too cold for baseball way the hell up in Moncton, New Brunswick and that he learned the game in and was really from New Brunswick, New Jersey! He would go on to an undistinguished, but profitable $25M plus major league career pitching past his 40th birthday.

LOL @ The Moncton Missile!


41 The Hawk   ~  Mar 5, 2009 10:20 am

[39] Dude, of course I'm not saying they cancel each other out stat-wise. Are you kidding me? You think I smoke crack rocks all day long or what! I'm saying they are both high maintenance. Sheesh.

And I don't know what you're talking about re: 2007. I never said I didn't see how they got to the playoffs with A Rod.

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