Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Staying Put?
2006-01-08 07:50
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

While all remains quiet in Yankeeland (with the exception of the Alex Rodriguez-WBC affair, which Bob Klapisch updates today), the biggest story in the AL East during the past several weeks has been whether or not the Orioles and Red Sox will swap Manny Ramirez for Miguel Tejada. At it stands this morning, Tejada has rescinded his trade demand (Ramirez has been doing the cha-cha around his desire to be in Boston all winter long). Which is not to say that things won't change again--the latest gossip had Tejada going to the Phillies for Bobby Abreu, but for the moment, it doesn't look as if Tejada will replace Manny as David Ortiz's partner in destruction next season. Which is just fine by me.

I've rooted for Tejada for about five years now, ever since I read "Away Games," really. If he went to Boston, my ability to pull for him would be seriously compromised (which is funny because he plays for a division rival now in Baltimore, but it just ain't the same, is it?). For now, he's a-stayin.' Next week, it could change again, right?

2006-01-08 08:31:01
1.   adenzeno
Away Games!! Very interesting and powerful book-makes you appreciate Tejada even more- Really enjoy your blog and site, even if I am a Mets fan.
2006-01-08 09:33:48
2.   wsporter
It looks like Tejada isn't going anywhere. That's good news cause I'll get to see him more. He is an easy guy to root for. I would have hated it if he went to the Sawx.

This is from Ken Davidoff today under the heading of free advice: "The Yankees should seriously look into signing Bengie Molina, which would allow them to shift Jorge Posada to designated hitter and relieve them from the 2007 option (for $12 million) that vests if Posada plays 63 games behind the plate this year." Any thoughts? Is anyone glad Ken's not running the Human Resource office where they work?

2006-01-08 10:25:31
3.   Cliff Corcoran
Funny, I can't stand Tejada. I haven't read Away Games, but have always seen Tejada as an overrated crybaby. Not to say that he isn't one of the top shortstops in the game, he is, but he isn't one of the game's very best offensive players. No way he could replace Manny's offense in Boston. Not that that's going to happen anyway.

Sporter, I think the Yanks should sign Piazza to play DH and take 40-50 games behind the plate. There's a reason that Molina hasn't signed yet. Coming off a big year he won't repeat, he won't settle for what he's being offered and he won't be offered what he will settle for. Piazza, meanwhile, might be willing to take a Bernie-type deal to stay in New York and try to prove he can still hit as a DH.

2006-01-08 11:06:00
4.   yankz
I agree with Cliff. Baseball Musings had a couple good articles about Tejada being a big baby- basically, you exist to bring Baltimore a championship, not the other way around.

Plus, ESPN once said that if Tejada had been in Jeter's place in 1996, the result would have been the same, and I've disliked him since because I refuse to believe that.

2006-01-08 13:18:18
5.   singledd
What's up with Frank Thomas? In the few games he played last year, he posted very good numbers. Can you imagine him as our number 7 or 8 batter? Put him at 8th behind Posada... who is still good for a decent OBP.

Also.... in blowouts (either way), is there any reason Bubba can't play LF or RF to rest Matsui and Sheff a little?

2006-01-08 15:18:13
6.   brockdc
Blowout or not, Bubba should spell both Sheff and Matsui on a semi-regular basis, since the offensive output disparity between Bubba and Bernie will most likely be minimal.
2006-01-08 15:20:13
7.   brockdc
My previous post is assuming that Bernie has already won the DH job (ugh!).
2006-01-08 17:29:43
8.   BklynBomber
#3 — Cliff, I think you are right on about Tejada. I've watched him from the start here in the Bay Area and the mostly toothless local sports media had pretty much allowed him a free ride. As incredibly dumb as it sounded, I was praying for a Manny-Miggy deal to come off. The management in Beantown went sideways after winning it all, but even they couldn't get that stupid.

Off topic, anyone know when the Giants first round playoff game has been rescheduled for? I know the Carolina Panthers showed up at The Meadowlands this afternoon, but no Giants... maybe their team bus broke down or something. Anyone hear anything?

Yeeesh... don't get me started.

2006-01-08 23:14:32
9.   Cliff Corcoran
The good news is that I won't have to worry about missing the Giant's second-round game next week. Sigh. Three crap games this weekend, only TB-Wash was worth watching and that was all defense, with Washington setting a record for fewest total yards by a winning playoff team. Remind me why football is supposedly more popular than baseball again?

Also, did anyone else realize that Tiki Barber had the second most yards from scrimmage ever this year? How is it he finish, what was it, fourth in the MVP vote? Is there a more underrated player in any sport? Is it just that the Giants use Tiki to go the length of the field then give someone else the ball in the endzone? Or is it that he's so darn low-key and humble? Maybe if Tiki did freaking snow angels after he broke a big run he'd get the hype.

(deep breath)

Singledd, Thomas has always been able to hit and probably always will be able to hit, but he's missed significant time to injury in three of his last five seasons and will be 38 in May. The fact that he's not been signed by Oakland yet suggests to me that he is asking for more than a make-good contract. Perhaps he's looking for a deal that will set him up for the rest of his career, assuming he can stay healthy enough to have a rest of his career. I'd love for the Yankees to give him an incentive-laden make-good deal given the potential upside there, but that's up to Thomas.

2006-01-09 03:54:26
10.   mikeplugh
I've said it before here....

No Big Hurt in pinstripes. I know what he used to be when he was a first baseman and part time DH. He is no longer that. He's an injury prone aged star that isn't getting any better.

If I wanted to put a guy like that in the DH hole, I'd agree with Cliff on the Piazza call. With Piazza at least there's the hope that he can still mash without the grind of catching. Thomas has been a DH the last several years and hasn't done the job.

Frankly, I'd prefer to open the season with Andy Phillips competing witg Bernie for time at the DH. A young guy would be far more interesting to me than yet another old geezer.

2006-01-09 04:29:42
11.   Dimelo
Cliff, Tiki is great and I agree he should have finished higher in the MVP voting. However, yesterday Tiki left a sour taste in my mouth with his post-game comments ripping the Giants coaches for their gameplan. He broke rule #2, never rip your coaches in public. Rule #1, never rip your teammates in public. He should show a bit more class.
2006-01-09 04:55:03
12.   Dimelo
BTW, thought every Yankee fan would love to read this on Bob Sheppard from

I love the opening:

Before Jason Giambi's first home game as a member of the New York Yankees in 2002, he was visited on the field by a thin, elderly man with a distinctive voice. The man asked Giambi what the correct pronunciation of his last name was. After the distinguished man walked away, Giambi approached Derek Jeter and asked, "Who was that?"

"That," Jeter said, "was the voice of God."

2006-01-09 06:45:39
13.   JL25and3
I first heard Michael Kay tell that story a good ten years ago, with the player in question being Paul Zuvella. The distinguished man asked if he pronounced his name ZU-vell-a or zu-VELL-a, and after he left Zuvella asked Kay, "Was that God?"
2006-01-09 09:11:52
14.   BobbyBaseBall
Re: Frank Thomas

Here's an interesting breakdown of The Big Hurt's stats via NYPost:

I agree with mikeplugh. I'd much rather see Piazza in stripes spelling Jorge behind the plate occassionally. We don't need another 1B/DH combo who doesn't add any spectacular defense prowess. Give that one to Phillips.

2006-01-09 09:23:20
15.   Nick from Washington Heights
I think if the yanks were to sign Piazza the off-season would be complete. He'd fill many small holes that still remain. Unless you think his catching 30-40 games a year, playing some first, and DHing the rest would seriously be worthless.
2006-01-09 09:32:46
16.   markp
Thomas OPS+ for the 2003-2005 seasons are 149, 151, and 131. Bringing him in for a part time DH/PH would be a lot better than having Bernie or Phillips in that role.
2006-01-09 09:39:02
17.   YankeeInMichigan
Two significant lists were released today:
a) The 20 Non-Roster Invitees to the Yankees' Major League camp.
b) Baseball America's top 10 Yankee prospects.

The disparity between the two lists is striking, with Hughes (BA #1) and Duncan (BA #2) being the only players appearing on both. In fact, Duncan is the only player on BA's list who played Double-A (or Triple-A) last year.

Most disturbing was the absence of J.B. Cox (#2 draft pick, touted as the next Huston Street) from Baseball America's Top 10. Cox's numbers from Tampa look pretty solid: 27 IP, 27 K, 3 BB, 1 HR. Has anyone heard any negatives on Cox that could be affecting his rating?

2006-01-09 10:03:05
18.   Count Zero
Wow, some of you guys need to lay off that nostalgia pipe!

While Thomas' numbers still look good, there is a small problem -- namely, he's played a total of 108 games over the last two seasons. Didn't we learn anything from "Broken-Down Brown"? Guys 37+ who have been spending significant time on the DL are likely to spend even more time on the DL in the future.

As to Piazza, he's clearly lost significant bat speed and turned into a guess hitter. That's why you see him swinging at bad pitches more often. His whopping .778 OPS in '05 hardly makes him a quality DH, and his inability as a C is only exceeded by his complete lack of a clue at 1B. We're talking about a guy who makes Giambi look like a Gold Glover at the position. Why would we possibly want a DH with a .778 OPS, a C who can't throw out Benjie Molina on the bases, or a 1B who can't field a ground ball?

I agree that Bernie as a DH doesn't exactly make feel all warm and fuzzy, but those two geezers aren't exactly upgrades.

2006-01-09 10:04:14
19.   standuptriple
Whomever is trying to sell us on Thomas, please stop. He's an all-or-nothing aged DH. And his power #'s mainly came from Comiskey. The Stadium is not as RH-hitter friendly if you haven't noticed. Let him pasture out somewhere else.
2006-01-09 10:08:34
20.   pistolpete
Re: #12 (Dimelo)

I heard an interview on 'FAN between Sheppard and Steve Somers, hours before his last game as Giants' announcer - the man is pure class.

Interesting take on why he announces the way he does - he claims he's simply passing along information, and in no way should a stadium announcer have any inflection that could be perceived as 'rooting' for the player or team in question. He said he bristles when he hears other parks' announcers 'shouting' for 9 innings.

He's funny, charming, and repeated any line (in his famous delivery) that Somers wanted him too. A national treasure (if I may be so bold) and cannot be replaced. Going to a Yankees game will never be the same once Mr. Sheppard departs from his position.

2006-01-09 10:28:53
21.   Dimelo
I agree pistolpete. Going to a Yankee game WILL NOT be the same if Bob Sheppard is not the one announcing every player's name. Sheppard is one of the many reasons we love sports.
2006-01-09 10:45:46
22.   standuptriple
Mr. Sheppard is a national treasure. If you've ever experienced the pain of listening to the PC-SF Giants announcer Ms. Renell (yes, you read that right...female), you'd weep like a baby for somebody who could give you one-tenth of Bob's ability on a daily basis. At least we get Jon Miller on a regular basis.
2006-01-09 10:57:05
23.   Dimelo
re: b)Baseball America's top 10 Yankee prospects

Whatever happened to Melky Cabrera? He's not even on the list.

2006-01-09 11:34:31
24.   JVarghese81
Dimelo & YankeeInMichigan,
From what I understand, the BA lists tend to skew toward more "toolsy", high potential, high ceiling type of players and over the last couple of years, the Yanks have been stockpiling those guys.

As for Melky, in terms of OFers in the Yankee system, based on production and ceiling right now, he's probably where he should be - behind Austin Jackson, Brett Gardner, Tim Battle and Tabata. He's also kind of a tweener right now which I think is hurting his status as a prospect. He's not fast enough/good enough defensively for center (or so some say) and he doesn't have enough pop for the corners (it could come in time though). Nevertheless, Melky is only 20 yrs old and with a good showing in the dominican this winter, he will play at AA and AAA this year - there aren't that many other minor leaguers who can say that to this point.

2006-01-09 14:27:28
25.   Zack
Does anyone have access to the in-depth scounting report from baseball america and feel like posting it here? I am cheap, no other way around it, and don't subscribe but would lov eot read up on more...
2006-01-09 18:46:15
26.   wsporter
Plainly and simply Mr. Sheppard is the way Yankee Stadium sounds. People mock much of what we do and what we stand for, however they can only respect what he does and what he stands for. "And now batting 4th and playing Centerfield for the New York Yankees Mickey Mantle." Looking back he seems like the only man ever entitled to say those words for the home side.
2006-01-10 00:55:13
27.   Cliff Corcoran
Actually, it would be more along the lines of "Now batting . . . number seven . . . Mickey . . . *Man*tle . . . number seven." But yes.

"Ladies and gentlemen . . . may I have your attention please. Please rise . . . and direct your attention to the area behind home plate as Robert Merrill sings . . . our national . . . anthem."

Sorry, had to do that one.

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