Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Sign of the Times
2008-08-21 10:26
by Alex Belth

The Red Sox are clearly the third most popular team in New York these days. Ten years ago you'd rarely see someone wearing a Red Sox hat, and when you did, it was hard not to have some grudging admiration for the brave soul. Now that the Red Sox are a success the bandwagon is full and Sox fans can rock their gear without shame. They are a dime a dozen. This trend will eventually pass but not anytime soon.

And so long as the New York Times owns a piece so the Red Sox we'll continue to see features in the sports page like Jack Curry's piece on Jed Lowrie. Curry has been with the Sox in Baltimore the past couple of days.

Why would the Times assign their lead baseball feature writer to follow Boston? They aren't playing the Yankees until next week. Because at the Times, the Sox matter almost as much as the Yankees or the Mets.

It's a sorry state of affairs but that's the way it is.

Meanwhile, in more regional affairs, Tyler Kepner has a nice post over at Bats, and asks the question: Should the Yankees re-sign Bobby Abreu?

Comments (83)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-08-21 10:48:23
1.   tommyl
0 No, they should not. He's the worst defensive OFer in baseball and his bat while decent isn't that great for a corner OF. Nady slots in to RF fine, Damon into LF and the real problem is CF. In terms of position players the real problems next year will be 1B and CF. RF should be at least decent with Nady manning it.
2008-08-21 10:55:16
2.   Sliced Bread
Can anyone explain why I've seen so many Massachusetts plates around NY and northern NJ this summer? I commute about 45 miles each way to NY and I'm not exaggerating when I say I see 6, 8, a dozen Mass plates a day.
Most of the cars do not appear to be carrying families on vacation. They look like commuter vehicles, just one or two people in each car or truck. Has an entire industry moved here that I don't know about? Anybody else notice this?
2008-08-21 10:58:50
3.   JL25and3
1 Obviously, CF is the real problem. I certainly hope the Yankees can find a legitimate player to fill that spot - but I don't have a lot of confidence that they will. (I'm not at all sure who that player would be.)

If they don't, Abreu starts to look more attractive to me. Nady-Damon-Abreu might be an atrocious defensive outfield, but I still like it better than Damon-Melky/Gardner-Nady.

2008-08-21 11:03:02
4.   Knuckles
2 College kids?
Seems like half of my town in NJ went to school in Mass...if insurance is cheaper up there, then maybe people are registering their cars where they go to school. Most of my buddies in college (in VA) were from NY/NJ/PA and we all reg'd our cars in Virginia to take advantage of the lower costs.

Re: the bandwagon. It sucks. But all bandwagon jumpers are losers anyway, and once you spot them, you can dismiss them as such. I find this only makes them madder or causes them to shut their yaps. A new kid at my job is a "Sox fan" and was giving me crap right when he started last Fall. Once it was established that he's from Baltimore (another AL East city, fer pete's sake) and spent a whole 4 years at Bowdoin, I called him on his bonafides, and he hasn't really said 'boo' since.

2008-08-21 11:05:24
5.   ChrisS
1 I agree and disagree. I wouldn't think that bringing him back on the option is a good deal, so it hinges on signing him to a better contract. However, like you said, as long as he isn't playing the field. I like Abreu's bat more than I like Matsui's as a DH. And who's going to DH depends on what they do with 1B.

But another thing is that, despite Abreu hitting decently (less so when not using RBI as a base metric), his BB% has been steadily decreasing from when he was an elite hitter. And for a potential DH that doesn't slug .500+, a lot of his value is tied up in his OBP.

I guess if they move Matsui or Damon, and Giambi, I wouldn't be upset if they brought Bobby back as a DH under a two-year $20 million deal.

2008-08-21 11:07:06
6.   OldYanksFan
I think Bobby and Matsui are similar players. Maybe Mats gets the edge in OPS, but Bobby has a much better arm and is faster. I like Bobby and he has a great approach at the plate, but I don't think we afford another aging vet for another 2 or 3 years. For 1 year, I'd certainly consider it, and that would allow us to trade Matsui if a good trade game up.

I guess a lot depends on if we get a CFer, if Matsui's knees allow him to play the field (not that I want him to, but it's better if it's at least an option), if JD is trade bait (sell high). At least 1 of Bobby/Mats/JD must go, maybe 2.

2008-08-21 11:07:26
7.   Travis08
The bronze medalist in the 400 meters today dove across the finish line, edging out the 4th-place finisher by 0.04 seconds. I hope Melky doesn't watch the Olympics.

2008-08-21 11:09:28
8.   Sliced Bread
3 What would Melky have to hit to be acceptable?
Also, did you see this from Marchman in the NY Sun the other day? Thoughts?

"Whatever terrors he visited upon spectators while hitting, Cabrera notably improved in the field this year, something the better defensive statistics picked up. The Fielding Bible's plus/minus system, for instance, credits him as having been 10 plays better than an average center fielder this year.

On their own, none of these three things would come near to outweighing Cabrera's demonstrated ability to suck the life out of a lineup spot for months at a time, or the fact that he's regressed at the plate in each of the last two years. The combination of the three, though, does. Cabrera's age counts; what he did when he was 21 counts; the fact that he's played well at a premium defensive position counts. He may no longer look like a potential building block player, as he did before the year or at the end of April, but that doesn't mean he's lost his chance of developing into one."

2008-08-21 11:11:08
9.   tommyl
7 Diving is not sliding. It would likely be slightly faster to bellyflop over the back, touching it with an outstretched hand. That'd hurt though. Sliding is designed to stop you on the bag, it makes you slower.
2008-08-21 11:13:42
10.   Sliced Bread
4 yeah, could be some college kids, but most of them have appeared to be commuters on their way to and from work. I've also seen a lot of construction workers in pickup trucks from Mass.
Nothing against the Massachusians?, mind you, have just noticed a ton of them around lately.
2008-08-21 11:14:53
11.   Sliced Bread
here's the whole Marchman-Melkman thing if yer interested:

2008-08-21 11:23:59
12.   ChrisS
3 "Nady-Damon-Abreu"

I really don't want to see that next spring (or for much longer this season).

Ugh. So few attractive options out there.

I'm in agreement with SG: bust 'em up. I could take a losing season, or two even, if it at least sparked hope for the future. It's tougher to get excited for a team when hope is centered the players not declining faster than expected or Pavano-ing themselves.

2008-08-21 11:32:20
13.   JL25and3
8 I still don't put much stock in any of the individual fielding stats, so that part of the argument doesn't sway me. I think Melky's a good-to-very-good outfielder with a terrific arm, no Devon White but a definite asset.

At this point, his age and what he did at 21 aren't necessarily points in his favor. He's now three years in and has regressed significantly. If he hadn't done well at 21 but had shown little bits of improvement, that would be far better than what we've seen.

I want him back to that age-21 level of performance.

2008-08-21 11:43:14
14.   JohnnyC
If this were, say, 2003 or even 2004, you keep him at a reduced rate for lesser years because there's no superstar alternative on the horizon. But, the team is in a different place now, probably missing the post-season for the first time in 14 years. We shouldn't be thinking about plugging holes but rather looking to redo the hull...something Cashman alluded to before the year: getting more athletic, younger, cheaper, etc. No on Abreu. As everyone has said, find a centerfielder.
2008-08-21 11:46:01
15.   JohnnyC
Marchman's attempt to use Beltran as an analogue to Melky's career path is ludicrous. The two players couldn't be more different in skill set and potential.
2008-08-21 11:47:17
16.   tommyl
14 Disagree with you there. The team's only real upper level position prospect is a CF. Whatever you do, you can't block him. He could slot in as early as June or July next year (huge caveats of course). I think you start the year with Melk/Gardner or find a serviceable retread on a 1-year deal. We do not want some huge contract blocking one of the few prospects we actually have.
2008-08-21 11:48:35
17.   tommyl
15 Well the problem with it is he's comparing things like age-21 seasons. Almost all players suck to some extent that young (unless they are named A-Rod or Longoria). Comparing two guys who struggled when they first came up doesn't tell you much. One guy (Beltran) could be building to a superstar, another could just suck.
2008-08-21 11:49:27
18.   tommyl
17 Its like those comparisons between Johan Santana and rookie pitcher of the month. Just because said rookie has an ERA of 5 right now doesn't mean he's going to turn into Johan Santana in three years.
2008-08-21 11:56:20
19.   tommyl
Pavano has supposedly been named the starter for Saturday's game. Has anyone seen the three other horsemen?
2008-08-21 12:01:22
20.   pistolpete
0 Considering the full-blown ESPN Sox lovefest that's been going on since '04 and the fact that national media personality Peter Gammons manages to shoehorn Boston into virtually ANY conversation about the game (ever listen to him on Michael Kay's radio show? Yeesh!), the only surprising thing is that they haven't overtaken the Mets fans in the area.
2008-08-21 12:01:39
21.   Sliced Bread
19 no, but a swarm of pigs just flew by window in midtown. or is it a flock or gaggle of pigs? doesn't matter I suppose. the apocolypse is neigh.
2008-08-21 12:01:57
22.   pistolpete
19 Can we officially nickname our rotation, "The Killer P's"...? :-)
2008-08-21 12:04:44
23.   JohnnyC
16 That's what I meant. Our problem is not RF where Nady is capable but stabilizing CF and I'm open to finding a solution within the organization as well as considering stopgaps like Kotsay, Cameron, or Rowand.
2008-08-21 12:04:54
24.   Sliced Bread
22 Pussina?
2008-08-21 12:11:59
25.   pistolpete
Yes, Ponson, Pavano, Pettitte ... Pussina.
2008-08-21 12:12:08
26.   JohnnyC
20 The annoying thing is not that Gammons manages to talk about the Red Sox in any and every conversation no matter the topic (after all, in reality, he's not a national correspondent but an overblown parochial beat reporter) but that he insists on tying in a Red Sox player to make every point he puts forward. 95% of the anecdotes or examples he uses to illustrate his discussions revolve around either current Red Sox or long dead Red Sox players. I know they advise writers to write what you know but the only thing Gammons knows is the Red Sox.
2008-08-21 12:12:50
27.   Sliced Bread
don't forget Pazzner.
2008-08-21 12:13:04
28.   ChrisS
I know there are Melky haters, but I'm glad that Cashman didn't trade Melky+ to the Mariners for Washburn who, in August put up this line: 0-4, 7.36 ERA 22 IP, 28 H, 22 R, 18 ER, 9 BB, 11 K, 4 HR.

Regardless of his trendlines in ML ball, 23 year olds that can OPS .850+ in AAA are rare and most of them tend to graduate to ML jobs are at least league average. Small sample sizes, of course, considering that Melky never spent much time in AAA at all, but I don't think he's someone to throw away on a journeyman pitcher that's owed $10 million and pitches as well as Darrell Rasner.

2008-08-21 12:13:18
29.   Travis08
11 15 The Beltran comparison in the Marchman piece is ridiculous.

Beltran played rookie ball in 2000 (for one game!) not for ability reasons, but because he was rehabbing from a knee injury that had him out for 2 months.

2008-08-21 12:16:54
30.   pistolpete
26 Just the other day he and Kay were talking about free agent possibilities for the offseason. Kay brought up the subject of CC Sabathia and Texieria going to the Yankees and/or Angels.

Gammons: "Well, don't be surprised if the Red Sox make a push..."


Just one example, but reminiscent of virtually every conversation I've heard with Gammons and Kay on ESPN radio.

2008-08-21 12:17:04
31.   JohnnyC
29 I used to like Marchman's columns but lately he's been doing a lot of sloppy stuff like this. Last week he actually surmised that a Yankees' weakness this year has been the bullpen, therefore they would need to sign a veteran set-up guy for 2009. Huh?
2008-08-21 12:21:06
32.   JohnnyC
30 If Gammons were a NY writer and acted that Yankees-centric, do you think he'd be on ESPN or in the Writers' wing of the HOF? Please. He'd be roughly equivalent in stature to Mad Dog Russo.
2008-08-21 12:21:22
33.   Schteeve
Melky is fine if you have 8 other legitimate bats in the lineup. When you are trotting out a Brett Gardner/Richie Sexson/Justin Christian and a Jose Molina/Ghost of Pudge, and a Robinson Cano every day, Melky's defense is a luxury you can't afford.
2008-08-21 12:27:00
34.   JeterChrist
Gammons' most recent column about the draft was up there too, the Greenville Drive are the most prospect filled team in the minor leagues? I'd take Charleston over them every day of the week just by way of having Montero and Betances.
2008-08-21 12:29:59
35.   JeterChrist
The thing from Goldman's column that worries me the most are all these guys accepting arbitration. Personally, I'd like to use the next 2 offseasons to build a juggernaut going forward. There's no guarantee that any of those guys turns into a 1st rounder. And looking at our Supp and 2nd picks from this season, I like the guys we took further down the line (Marshall, Higashioka, Lassitter, O'Brien, and Richardson) a lot better.

Might just be a matter of preference though.

2008-08-21 12:32:22
36.   pistolpete
34 Not that Charleston is lighting the league on fire in the standings, but Greenville is 4 games behind them.
2008-08-21 12:34:46
37.   Raf
8 I'll start with asking at least league average offense from Melky.
2008-08-21 12:34:53
38.   rbj
21 Might it be a sty of pigs?

And I'm finally going on a date with Cindy Crawford.

2008-08-21 12:37:37
39.   JeterChrist
36 Not that I put much stock into minor league W-L records, but it's actually 9 games over the full season. I think it's just that according to Gammons, any team that Ryan Kalish is on is by default the most talented team in the minor leagues.
2008-08-21 12:39:03
40.   Sliced Bread
ok, Banterers. Complete the sentence:

Seems like the last time Carl Pavano pitched for the Yankees...

(I'll go first)

... Kate Smith sang it live.

2008-08-21 12:40:13
41.   Sliced Bread
40 Stump Merrill removed him in the 8th. I remember it like it was yesterday.
2008-08-21 12:41:52
42.   JeterChrist
40 Andy Hawkins pitched a no hitter the day before...and lost.
2008-08-21 12:47:13
43.   rbj
40 Bobby Murcer hit a three run homer to help him win.
2008-08-21 12:47:57
44.   Knuckles
40 Billy Martin had recently been hired. Or fired. I forget which.
2008-08-21 12:50:07
45.   thelarmis
40 barry foote was his catcher and yelled at him during a mound visit. pavano would miss the rest of the season w/ a ruptured eardrum.
2008-08-21 12:53:05
46.   pistolpete
40 Bobby Meacham was launching balls into the seats instead of base runners into surefire outs at the plate.
2008-08-21 13:03:45
47.   ChrisS
40 ... he was having a pretty decent season until the players went on strike.
2008-08-21 13:08:19
48.   Biscuit Pants
40 Horace Clarke went 3-4
2008-08-21 13:13:44
49.   DarrenF
40 The Highlanders outmatched the Superbas in the second game of a triple header.
2008-08-21 13:15:01
50.   cult of basebaal
lineup's in:

Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
A. Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
I. Rodriguez C

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-08-21 13:24:18
51.   kylepetterson
40 Moses hit the go ahead run in the in the 8th and Jesus pitched a 1-2-3 ninth (2 pitches, no hits, 3 K's) for the save.
Pun intended.
2008-08-21 13:25:25
52.   thelarmis
51 and we have a winner! you are awesome! ; )
2008-08-21 13:25:58
53.   rbj
40 Or, Carl Pavano was healthy.
2008-08-21 13:26:46
54.   ChrisS
Halladay has 9IP, 8Ks, 4 hits, 1 run

Ponson explodes. Unfortunately, he's due for a correction.

Watching this game might be like watching a solar eclipse, it's better for one's health to not look directly at it.

Of course, I could be wrong. That's what I like about baseball.

2008-08-21 13:28:22
55.   3rd gen yankee fan
Pavano'll break a sweat on the way to the mound and say his pores hurt too much for him to pitch.
2008-08-21 13:29:17
56.   rbj
51 How did Felipe do in that game? And I believe it's spelled Moises.

(couldn't resist that old one)

2008-08-21 13:29:45
57.   Chyll Will
40 Clara Barton was inspired to found the American Red Cross.
2008-08-21 13:30:42
58.   Chyll Will
57 (I always come late to the party, huh?)
2008-08-21 13:32:07
59.   SF Yanks
51 Wow, I got a good laugh at 2 pitches, 3 K's!!
2008-08-21 13:35:34
60.   Chyll Will
54 How do you correct an explosion? Poosh it more to the left?

55 Pitchforks and torches, onedollah-onedollah...

2008-08-21 13:37:08
61.   Chyll Will
59 Yet he couldn't beat Bugs Bunny's changeup???
2008-08-21 13:45:32
62.   standuptriple
0 Ugh. is the add at the top of this thread. Please, please, please create a new one before that curses The Banter
2008-08-21 13:56:45
63.   thelarmis
62 thanks for saying somethin' - it's been driving me mad...
2008-08-21 14:01:19
64.   cult of basebaal
62 63 it's very likely our fault for mentioning the red sox so many damn times in the thread ... we've gotta change that!

here, i'll help!

goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!goat sex!

2008-08-21 14:17:07
65.   kylepetterson
64 Wow! I haven't seen goat sex talked about so much in a least a week!
2008-08-21 14:24:06
66.   kylepetterson
Bronx Banter - The only Yankees blog that goes from Jesus to goat sex in less than 15 comments! (I heard it takes Peter Abraham's blog over 25 posts to get there.)
2008-08-21 14:50:21
67.   yankster
So if, and I know it's a stupid if, Pavano pitches four quality or better starts between now and the end of the year, will he become a type A/B free agent and get us at least a draft pick?
2008-08-21 14:54:38
68.   SF Yanks
67 Why let him go? I say sign him for 4 more years if he's healthy...
2008-08-21 14:57:37
69.   yankster
68 You really sure about that. How much are you thinking he should be paid?
2008-08-21 15:09:28
70.   Chyll Will
68 ,69 (cricket, cricket...)

Now would be a good time for one of Cliff's famous change-the-topic-entirely-with-game-thread posts...

2008-08-21 15:13:16
71.   kylepetterson
68 69 70 I'm not sure what's worse, goat sex or the idea of signing Pavano again.
2008-08-21 15:15:12
72.   OldYanksFan
64 You're pissing my sheep off!
2008-08-21 15:17:08
73.   Chyll Will
71 I don't understand why we're contemplating either one of them! >;)
2008-08-21 15:19:28
74.   Chyll Will
72 Why, have they been reading William Butler Yates too? >;)
2008-08-21 15:24:22
75.   Chyll Will
Yeats, yeesh. Now to scramble Banter brains with my fourth post in a row...
2008-08-21 15:25:04
76.   OldYanksFan
Chyll... I live in NH (as opposed to the South). The State joke here is:
Q: Why did God invent women?
A: Because sheep CAN'T cook!
2008-08-21 15:29:09
77.   OldYanksFan
Hey you laugh, but if Pavano is good, I would offer him a 1 year deal (depending on Moose and Andy). Tell him if he pitches well, he can then get a decent FA deal. Then if we don't need him by midseason, he's a good trade chip. A Pavano, who is healthy for 4 months and better then league average, is a decent chip. Plus Phil and Joba are on 170 IP counts, and who knows with IPK. As we have seen, you can never have enough pitching.
2008-08-21 15:30:06
78.   Chyll Will
76 I was just near your neck of the woods (well, not really, though they have signs for NH posted all over the Mass Turnpike) and all I can say for now is that the traffic signs are almost as horrible as the ones in Jersey...
2008-08-21 15:30:57
79.   SF Yanks
69 4 pennies. 1 for each year.
2008-08-21 15:31:47
80.   Chyll Will
77 At this point, we should be charging Pavano to pitch (on any roster)...
2008-08-21 15:40:56
81.   Chyll Will
Question of the Day (to be repeated on the game thread):

If you could broadcast Pavano's impending start on any channel, which one would you choose and why?

2008-08-21 15:44:16
82.   SF Yanks
81 SciFi channel. If he does it, did it really happen?
2008-08-21 16:26:11
83.   OldYanksFan

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