Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Couple of Three Random Things
2008-07-23 05:30
by Alex Belth

According to Ken Rosenthal, Jarrod Washburn isn't likely to land in the Bronx.


Over at the Times, Harvey Araton has a blog post on former Yankee announcer, Tony Kubek, who talks about why he walked away from broadcasting in 1994:

"I had two years remaining on my contract with MSG at the time," Kubek said. "But it struck me that day that I just didn't want to be in or around baseball anymore. I remember that I called Bob Gutkowski, who was my boss, and I told him that I wasn't going to finish the contract. He said, `Wait a minute, that's pretty good money you're going to walk away from,' but I had made up my mind and that was it.

"Part of it was that I didn't like what was happening in the game, or what was going to happen. But part of it was that I had been around baseball my whole life. Everyone around me had been in baseball. I decided I didn't want to be in it anymore, to go home and spend time with my family. I said goodbye, and that was it. I haven't seen a major league game since I retired, even on television. I've never seen Derek Jeter play, though I do recall seeing him work out when he was very young and still in the minor leagues."

Kind of hard to imagine never having watched Jeter isn't it? Good stuff from Araton.

Jeez, tough loss for the Mets last night, huh?

2008-07-23 05:54:10
1.   Bob Timmermann
That was an interesting interview with Kubek. For a man who was almost everywhere on televised baseball games when I was growing up, he just vanished one day. Almost like Keyser Soze.

Although some may think he seems bitter, he at least has found something personally fulfilling to do and it's not like he's spending his entire day golfing or fishing.

2008-07-23 06:24:36
2.   Sliced Bread
I imagine after last night's debacle at Shea, there are at least several busloads of Mets fans departing for Appleton, Wisconsin, where they will join the Kubeks, and immerse themselves in charitable causes, instead of horseshit baseball.
2008-07-23 06:29:23
3.   rbj
"Players generally require financial compensation to waive no-trade protection, usually in the form of a cash bonus or contract extension."

Memo to Jerrod Washburn:
Mariners' record 38 - 62
Yankees' record 55 - 45

And you might want compensation to waive your no trade clause? Howzabout this for compensation -- getting the ^#@!@@% off of the worst team in the AL and on to a team with a legit shot at the post season.

True, this is just Rosenthal's musings and not Washburn's, but I think I'd jump at the chance to get away from the Mariners this year.

2008-07-23 06:38:31
4.   JL25and3
1 I wouldn't say he seems bitter. After 40 years in the same field, he realized that the job had become less interesting and the bullshit harder to stomach. I'm sure a lot of people here can sympathize with that. He had both the means and the self-awareness to walk away.

It doesn't even sound like he's refused to watch baseball games, just that he hasn't bothered. He's not particularly interested.

2008-07-23 06:44:21
5.   Shaun P
4 Good for him? I think?

Its hard to believe that Tony Kubek, of all people, hasn't watched a single baseball game in almost 14 years.

The funny thing is, as a kid, I thought he was a terrible broadcaster. I don't remember why. Its too bad they dub over the old MSG broadcasts with the radio broadcasts when they show old games on YES, I'd like to give him a second chance.

2008-07-23 06:48:17
6.   JL25and3
3 In the longer term, I'm not so sure it would be a smart move for Washburn. He's got another year left on his contract, and it's not clear that there's a spot in the Yankee rotation for him next year. For the sake of his next contract, he might want to stay where he knows he can start every fifth day.

Besides, maybe there's a reason he put NY on his no-trade list. Maybe he really doesn't like it here, in which case I'd rather have him in Seattle.

I don't see this deal as particularly important one way or the other. The Yankees are stuck with Molina's production for the rest of the year, so they need to get a lot more production out of CF and either LF or DH (whichever one Damon isn't playing), as well as more power in other places (Abreu). If they get those things, I think they've got a good shot at the playoffs even without Washburn. If they don't get those things, Washburn ain't gonna help.

And I'm not at all sure I want him taking up a roster spot next year.

2008-07-23 06:53:06
7.   Seaver
"Jeez, tough loss for the Mets last night, huh?"

Yup, but still only a game out of 1st

2008-07-23 06:54:39
8.   Alex Belth
Agreed. Tough loss but it's just one loss and the Mets are right where they want to be.
2008-07-23 06:55:02
9.   RIYank
Did everyone see Bob T's Griddle entry, "No hits, no walks, no hit batters, and a loss"? The title describes Joe Smith's outing last night. It also describes a dozen other pitching outings in the annals of post-1956 MLB, but now add: ... and no errors. And that makes Smith unique.

I'll add: no sac, no outs recorded, no catcher's interference (a likely suspect given that it's Bob's posting), no wild pitch, no SB.

Strange but true!

2008-07-23 06:56:12
10.   cult of basebaal
eh, who cares about next year? trade him in the offseason. the crux is what the mariners want. if they'd be happy with igawa + scrub prospect (as olney reported, geroge kontos, come on down!), that's win-win proposition, even if you have to find a taker for him in the offseason. in that case, he just costs money.
2008-07-23 07:03:18
11.   RIYank
Oh, and 9 no balk (that was my son's guess when I put it to him).
2008-07-23 07:03:26
12.   Shaun P
6 I thought that way too, and then BobB pointed out that while Washburn takes up a roster spot next year, after that he's done. Meanwhile, by getting rid of Igawa (who was part of the trade, according to the rumor), the Yanks would open up a roster spot that's now occupied through 2011. The money is also a wash if Igawa goes.

That was enough to put me on board. All for naught if Washburn is going to say no.

2008-07-23 07:11:16
13.   cult of basebaal
10 looking at cot's it appears that vidro has a vesting option for 2009, but it doesn't say what triggers the vesting, nor what the 2009 salary is if vested.

suffice to say, vidro is tits-on-a-boar useless and i'd rather swim in a lake of my own flaming piss than acquire him, let alone put him on the roster and play him.

2008-07-23 07:12:49
14.   JL25and3
12 I'm not seriously objecting to the idea; I don't think it makes much difference, but if you can do it without giving up much of any value, fine.

I still don't want him taking up a spot next year. Igawa's a slightly different situation, because at least you can still option him out. He'll take up a spot on the 40-man roster, but not in the majors. And if they really need the spot, they'll probably be more willing to DFA Igawa at $4M than Washburn at >$10M.

But those aren't big-time objections. If you can do it for nothing, do it, and I'll keep my fingers crossed that they'll find a way for him to be gone next year.

2008-07-23 07:22:45
15.   JL25and3
13 Here's the only info I could find on it, from a Seattle Times columnist ( "...according to a source with knowledge of Vidro's contract, his 2009 option (for $6 million) kicks in at 625 plate appearances in 2008, or 1,150 plate appearances in 2007-08, of which 600 of those plate appearances are in 2008."

He's only got 295 PA so far, so there's no way he's getting to 600. However, while the option shouldn't be a problem, his incredible awfulness is.

2008-07-23 07:24:28
16.   monkeypants
13 Vidro (.223/.266/.318/59 OPS+) is a full-time DH who is actually batter worse, WORSE, than Miguel Cairo (.225/.298/.284/61 OPS+)!! Useless indeed!!
2008-07-23 07:24:49
17.   Shaun P
14 But Igawa is owed $4M for '09, '10, and '11, so it'd be DFA Igawa at $12M vs DFA Washburn for ~$10M.

In any case, I agree with you, so I'll just shut up now.

2008-07-23 07:34:11
18.   Shaun P
OK, I have to open my mouth again. What PeteAbe said about Washburn, line by line:

"He has a 2.82 ERA in six career starts at the Stadium."


"Washburn also has pitched well against AL East team this season"


"and has eight games of playoff experience."

5 of which came 6 years ago in 2002, so let's just ignore them altogether, because that was his last very good season. And he was 27 then vs 34 now. Since 2002, in 3 postseason games - all of which happened before 2006 - he's 0-1 in 8 IP (SMALL SAMPLE SIZE!) with 4 K, 4 BB, and a 4.50 ERA.

This is not the reason to acquire Jarrod Washburn. The reason is because you fear Wang doesn't make it back, and Ponson or Rasner (or both) are going to collapse (more likely Ponson), and you best minor league options right now are Igawa, Scary Fly Ball Guy, and a kid who's thrown less than 100 professional innings in his life (Aceves).

2008-07-23 07:38:43
19.   jonm
I'm not criticizing Kubek, but the fact that he has not watched or even really followed baseball strikes me as so strange that it is almost impossible to understand.

Kubek was involved with the game for 40 years, presumably loved at least something about the game, and surely made many friends who continued in the game after he left. It just strikes me that curiosity would make a person want to check the papers to see what was going on with his old friends at the very least.

2008-07-23 07:45:07
20.   cult of basebaal
18 aceves is no kid, he's 25 and he's been pitching in the mexican pro-leagues (prolly between AA and AAA).
2008-07-23 07:49:30
21.   cult of basebaal
15 thanks, my main concern was some sort of option triggered by a trade, though i didn't think that was likely.

vidro's just money, then and not an overwhelming amount. worst case scenario is he's included and DFA'd before the ink dries ...

well, worst case is he plays a game as a yankee, but i just can't see that happening ...

2008-07-23 07:50:59
22.   JL25and3
18 Agreed. You get him because he might be less bad than your other options.
2008-07-23 07:52:51
23.   cult of basebaal
20 i think cashman is more confident of aceves than he is of all the other options (that you listed), which is why i think he doesn't see starting pitching as the most critical hole that needs filling. but washburn on the cheap is worth the upgrade over one of the snacks/razzleberry combination.

if it costs actual useful parts, i (and i think cashman) don't have any interest in making the trade ...

2008-07-23 07:55:16
24.   cult of basebaal
"According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies have asked various teams for the following players for closer Brian Fuentes: Wade Davis, Ian Kennedy, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Niese."

wow ... i don't know what's more staggering to me ... that the rockies think that 2 months of fuentes is worth ANY of the pitchers above ... or that they value IPK as much as they value buchholz or davis ...

2008-07-23 08:02:17
25.   Raf
5 I liked the Staats - Kubek pairing. Kubek reminded me of Kaat in that they didn't sugarcoat things.

Glad to hear Kubek's doing well.

I do wonder what he meant by 'part of it was that I didn't like what was happening in the game, or what was going to happen.' Is he referring to the events leading up to the strike, steroids, or simply the changes in the game (lcd catering to fans for example). IIRC he was butting heads with Steinbrenner too.

2008-07-23 08:40:56
26.   JohnnyC
25 Raf, you got it. More from that Araton article:

"Do not expect Kubek back in the Bronx anytime soon. The year after he retired from the broadcast booth, he made his feelings clear about George Steinbrenner in an interview with the Daily News.
"George is a detriment to an organization," he said. "He's a loser, is what he is. The guy is a loser, and you don't work for losers. I don't care how much money he throws at people or charities, you don't balance the scale by treating people like crap."

It's also important to note that Kubek is a devout Christian(whose closest friend on the team, Bobby Richardson, retired at the age of 31 to pursue church-related activities)and that he found the antics and lifestyle of Yankees like Mantle, Ford, Pepitone, and others unsavory to say the least.

2008-07-23 08:59:30
27.   pistolpete
So what's Rosenthal's whole point, that Washburn would have to waive his no-trade and that there might be some compensation on the Yankees' end?

Excuse me, but he crafted an entire article out of this? Hope you can cash that check from Fox with a clear conscience, buddy.

If the Yankees want him badly enough, they'll get it done. Ken would have more credibility in my eyes had he argued that Washburn's on the down side of his career and that Cashman might not want to deal for him...

2008-07-23 09:24:24
28.   bobtaco
My father was an obsessive Yankee fan for his entire life. He died in 1994. Sometimes it amazes me that he never saw Jeter play.
2008-07-23 10:22:12
29.   The Mick 536
Last week, Bobby Murcer died. People made him out to be worthy of monument park as a player, and an instant inductee into the Hall of Fame as a broadcaster. The banter went on incessantly.

Alex brings a story about Tony Kubek and hardly anyone comments. Sad. Very sad. Didn't see Jeter? He could have been Jeter before Jeter was Jeter. Was a member of the greatest Yankee infield, as I was reminded by Old Yankee Fan a while back. Bad bounce cost the Yankees a WS, giving Billy Maz an historic place. Where was he last week?

Tony worked with Curt Gowdy on the Game of the Week, called World Series and All-Star games; provided analysis you hadn't heard before. Didn't like schilling goods. Come to think of it neither Red Barber, nor Bob Wolfe. Nice to hear Tony didn't like Georgie. He didn't like Charlie Finley either. Joe Garagiola might have screwed him in 1983 when he got bounced as the chief analyst and replaced by Vince Scully. Heard Joe talk about it at a Sabre convention. Seems they are on good terms. Tony was "demoted" to play-by-play with Bob Costas. Not so bad. They were terrific.

He may not to have anything to say about today's game. If he did, you can be sure he would be closer to Costas than McCarver in bringing you the truth.

2008-07-23 10:28:18
30.   The Mick 536
One other thought that I missed. Today's NYT has a book review about another person who voluntarily left the field after being a superstar, Goddard. Tough dealing with all the crap. Self-exile, before disfigurement. Death, before unconsciousness.

The world is for the young who care little about the past other than they don't want to see it so they won't be tempted to live in it.

2008-07-23 12:56:33
31.   Raf
30 The world is for the young who care little about the past other than they don't want to see it so they won't be tempted to live in it.

Well, baseball ain't the sport for that.

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