Today’s news is powered by the King of Pop:
Rest in peace, Michael . . .
Let’s lead off with a dandy trivia question from MLB Network (the Yankees are involved in it):
There are seven currently active MLers who have a chance of playing in four decades (80s,90s,00s,10s). Can you name them? Here’s a hint: three of them have played at one time or another for the Bombers. Answer later.
- Like Tyler Kepner, Buster Olney also wonders what has become of A-Rod:
The question is this: Is Rodriguez, a month from his 34th birthday, much less of a player because he presumably no longer takes performance-enhancing drugs?
It’s a question that can never be answered, but it’s a question that will continue to be asked, probably more within the Yankees organization than anywhere else. And really, if you want, just consider the question in terms of money.
The Yankees are still on the hook for about $250 million in the next eight-plus seasons. The player who will receive that money can never give them quite what they paid for, in a sense, because A-Rod, as a marketing tool, is damaged forever. They would settle for paying him just to hit well, field effectively and run the bases as well as he did for 15 years — doing all the things on the field they needed him to do when they signed him to the highest salary in the game.
But he is not providing any of that, either. Even after delivering a crucial two-run single in the Yankees’ win over Atlanta on Wednesday night, Rodriguez is batting .210 this season; since June 7, his batting average has dropped 45 points. His slugging percentage of .441 is by far the lowest in any season since 1994, when he had a handful of at-bats for the Mariners as a teenager.
“He looks like a record playing at a slower speed,” said one talent evaluator who saw Rodriguez over the past two weeks.
Said another, “He looks old. He’s a first baseman. How many years does he have left on the contract?”
[My take: He looked pretty solid at the plate Thursday night. Let’s see if he can keep that going, or will he need a rest again soon?]
- He apparently won’t be resting this weekend versus the Mets:
“It’s our home city, and I think our guys enjoy the Subway Series,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Thursday before New York played the Atlanta Braves. “Alex feels good, feels like he’s got a lot of energy in his legs. He feels good, so we’ll let him keep going.”
[My take: Well, they DO have an off-day on Monday, but after that its 13 games in 13 days prior to the ASB.]
- ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick thinks the Yanks might be looking for some bullpen help:
“The Yankees’ bullpen has logged 225 innings, fourth most in the American League, so I can see Brian Cashman trolling around for a veteran reliever. David Robertson, Alfredo Aceves, Phil Coke and Brian Bruney all have solid numbers, but that’s a pretty inexperienced group.
. . . I can see the Yanks being interested if Jose Valverde, Huston Street or someone of that ilk becomes available.
- Nady suffers a setback:
Outfielder Xavier Nady, who had tried to avoid surgery for the elbow injury he sustained in April, pulled himself from a game with Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after a painful throw. “It’s the thing you try to avoid,” said General Manager Brian Cashman, who spoke to Scranton Manager Dave Miley. “It could be the worst-case scenario.”
- How does Baseball Prospectus’ Joe Sheehan feel about Mr. Girardi? Perhaps this excerpt from an on-line chat will provide an answer:
ekanenh (Capitol City): Joe Girardi will get fired if the Yankees are _________ at the all-star break.
Joe Sheehan: Still enfranchised?
(A boy can dream.)
- Jesus Montero will be the lone Yankee representative in the Futures Game to be held July 12.
- Casey Fossum has opted out of his minor league contract with the Yanks.
- Happy 35th birthday to the Captain, Derek Jeter! Here’s who was taken ahead of Jeter in the 1992 amateur draft:
1 Houston Astros Phil Nevin 3B California State-Fullerton (Col.) Fullerton, CA 2 Cleveland Indians Paul Shuey RHP University of North Carolina (Col.) Lima, OH 3 Montreal Expos Billy Wallace LHP Mississippi State University (Col.) [] 4 Baltimore Orioles Jeffrey Hammonds OF Stanford University (Col.) Plainfield, NJ 5 Cincinnati Reds Chad Mottola OF University of Central Florida (Col.) Augusta, GA
- Mike Myers turns 40 today. The 2006/7 Yankees were Myers’ next-to-last stop in his 13-year, nine team career. Myers appeared in 883 games total, all in relief.
- On this date in 1920, Lou Gehrig gets his first national mention when, as a high school junior for New York City’s School of Commerce, he steals the show in a high school championship game against Lane Tech in Chicago. His grand-slam HR in the eighth gives the NY team a 12-8 victory. Scouts sit with open mouths as the ball sails out of the NL park (later known as Wrigley Field).
- On this date in 1939, in Philadelphia, the Yankees play their first night game in franchise history, losing to Connie Mack’s A’s, 3-2.
- On this date in 1944, at the Polo Grounds, with over 50,000 fans looking on, the three New York major league teams played against each other in a six inning three-team game (a team played consecutive innings against the other two teams then sat out an inning). The contest, which was played to raise money for war bonds ended with the final score of Dodgers 5, Yankees 1, Giants 0.
- On this date in 1979, the Yankees reacquire the popular Bobby Murcer from the Cubs in exchange for P Paul Semall and cash. Murcer will once again thrive in Yankee Stadium, hitting .273 with eight home runs.
- On this date in 1987, Roger Clemens fails to hold a 9 – 0, 2nd-inning lead. Boston loses to New York 12 – 11 in 10 innings. The 9-run comeback ties a Yankee team record.
Trivia answer: Omar Vizquel, Ken Griffey Jr., Gary Sheffield, Tom Gordon, John Smoltz, Randy Johnson and Jamie Moyer.
See you Monday!