Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
A-R Puff'n'Stuff
2006-02-21 05:27
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Alex Rodriguez arrrived at the Yankees' training camp yesterday. Reporters, eager for something juicy to write about, were ready and waiting. Meanwhile, Bernie Williams prepares for his new baseball life.

2006-02-21 05:57:16
1.   bp1
Nice A-Rod article by Joel Sherman. Glad to see someone not dwelling on all the other crap that surrounds the guy. But again - it's nothing new. Just filler to meet an article deadline. Move along, Douglas.

Loved these quotes from Bernie re: Damon:

"When he needs a break, I'm going to go out there and try to do the best that I can. Hopefully it won't be too much of a downgrade," Williams added with a chuckle. "I'll be ready to play."

The guy is a class act.

Boy am I ready some games to be played.


2006-02-21 06:20:29
2.   Dimelo
I've been a critic of ARod before, but I really loved the Sherman piece. I wish Ozzie never would have opened his big Venezuelan mouth. F'en guy is the 'Little Me' of President Hugo Chavez and probably just as dumb - though, I would root for Chavez if he were to get in a celebrity death match against Pat Robertson. Anyhow…back to ARod….I really wish the guy had a little more of that 'I don't give a eff' attitude', he's too worried about doing things right - is that actually a bad human characteristic? I guess it can be because you can be perceived as someone who tries to hard, a phony and/or disingenuous.

I guess I'm getting fed up with the ARod story of the week already. Let's play the games and let's see ARod smack a few 400+ foot homeruns already.

2006-02-21 07:10:53
3.   Sliced Bread
The drought is over. At last, we are awash in Yankees 'news.'

The New York Times, The NY Daily News, The NY Post, Newsday, The NJ Star Ledger, The Bergen Record - all the major New York newspapers have multiple stories from Spring Training today - dozens of headlines, thousands of words.

After months of scouring through the sports sections for something, anything about the Yankees, you know what I enjoyed more than reading about the team this morning? Looking at the 34 photos from Spring Training posted on

Sure, it was interesting to read Alex Rodgriguez's comments in 6 newspapers today, and to 'hear' the voice of the Ghost of Bernie.

But nothing got me more excited about the upcoming season than seeing the players going through the motions of training camp: Jeter fielding a grounder, or sharing a laugh with Rodriguez, Bernie back in the batting cage, Jaret Wright releasing his first pitches, Guidry talking to Randy Johnson, Johnson reaching over a high chainlink fence to sign a fan's baseball glove.

There's another shot of spectators looking down on the action from a walkway above Legends Field, like spectators looking down on the polar bears at the Bronx Zoo.

The sights of spring training. No words. Enough said.

2006-02-21 07:22:33
4.   joejoejoe
I am looking forward to the Ghost of Bernie Williams being one nasty Poltergeist off the bench. I will always root for the guy.
2006-02-21 07:26:27
5.   Rob Gee
I don't know about you guys, but I really liked the comments from A-Rod. Why? Because they were the first thing I've read from him that seemed like an honest assessment without the filter. It's like he's getting more and more comfortable and just doesn't give a damn. Heck ya!

We all know he has an edge, and what's so grating is that he tries to hide it and talk around it. Hell no - be yourself, rips your bombs, and ALL the fans will come around. Don't be a PUSSYcat. Be a tiger! And throw some elbows and shoulders, esp. if charging down on Varitek.

Can we play some games already?

2006-02-21 07:54:30
6.   singledd
I agree with Rob Gee... ARod is getting more comfortable. I think as he REALLY feels like a Yankee, we will continue to see great things.

Finally Bernie will be used in LF and RF. I simply can't imagine why last year, when Bernie played CF, that Matsui didn't play CF instead, with Bernie in LF. I think Matsui's better arm and better ability to come in on balls would have made some difference. Mind you, it would be far from great, simply better then before.

Giambi is bulked up again. Expect more steroid talk for him.

I expect a better year from Posada. I don't think he's done, and I believe his riff with RJ bothered him.

My 2 main questions are:
1) Is Cano humble enough to learn and get better.... basically play smarter in the field and more patient at the plate?

2) Now that Jason 'passed the test' last year, is he gonna relax (and maybe regress), or has he come to prove he is still an elite player?

I think will all believe that our SP will be up and down, with injuries and problems. Our pen is better then last year (provided Mo is still Mo). To win, we will simply need to batter the other teams. This means Giambi and Cano will need to perform like last year.

Watch for Damon to try and pull everything.
Watch for Matsui to have a better year.

Giambi needs to bat 3rd. in front of ARod. He will see better pitches, avoid the shift more frequently (with guys on base), will move runner over on ground balls, and will be less of a liability on the bases with power behind him. He led the league in OBP, and is an OBP machine. Shouldn't be be up B4 ARod, Shef and Matsui?

I love Ex-Yankees as coaches. I just like hearing their names. But I can't believe Guidry will be any good, unless all our guys need is a pat on the ass.

2006-02-21 08:34:05
7.   Levy2020
I agree strongly with putting Giambi before A-Rod. Highest OBP should precede most HRs!
2006-02-21 08:39:51
8.   Rob Gee
Honestly, considering that A-Rod was still getting comfortable LAST year, I can't wait to see what he does this year. A monster season would quiet the birds, but he needs numbers in the Serious to shut them up.

And singldd, I'm with you on Giambi in the 3-hole - hopefully Torre sees that logic as well. The question is: Torre follows the LRLR 'logic' he loves - where's Shef - 6th? Wow.

Les-go YANK-ees...

2006-02-21 09:15:31
9.   brockdc
Though I was against Bernie's re-signing, I'll always root like hell for the guy. He IS a class act. With that said, the only outfield he should touch this year is when he's hustling down the 1st base line, trying to beat out an infield hit.

I'd like to think Giambi can still jack 30 homers this year, with a .390 or so OBP. In the words of the immortal Kent Brockman: "Only time will tell."

2006-02-21 09:18:28
10.   brockdc
By the way, Alex: UGH!

I cannot get the H.R. Puff'n'Stuff theme song out of my head. Damn Syd and Marty Croft to hell.

2006-02-21 09:23:09
11.   singledd
Rob Gee #8:
Hey.... I'm not the guy telling Shef he's in the 6 hole! Torre batted ARod/Shef next to each other basically the entire year. I hope/guess he will do it again.

So its:
Caveman (L)
Mr. Hollywood (R)
Giambi (L)
ARod (R)
Shef (R)
Matsui (L)
Posada (S)
Cano (L)
Bernie (S)

I THINK Bernie has done well in the 9 hole in the past. Relieves some pressure. I like having as (S) their, and I would like to see Bernie concentrate on OBP and not fell he needs to 'drive' the ball.

I also see Bernie having a considerably better year this year (.270/.330/.425) than last. I think his "contract year / retirement/not being a Yankee in '06" issues weighed on him. He's going out the way he had hoped... as a Yankee. He'll be happy to pad his PS stats. I look for a content Bernie this (last) year, and a lot of standing O's in October.

2006-02-21 09:28:48
12.   singledd
Off topic thought:
I hope I'm not out of line here (with Alex and Cliff) but....

I know there are a number of 'Janks fans in the North Country (Boston and North). Might this be a good place to Network a little and see if we can put together a day trip/overnight trip to the Bronx? I ain't driving to NYC alone, but I think that a 'road trip' could be a lot of fun.

Too daring? Any northerners think this could be cool?

2006-02-21 09:59:03
13.   Count Zero
I too like the idea of Giambi batting 3rd in front of A-Rod. However, to play devil's advocate for a moment, singledd's lineup has a glaring situational lefty opp in it.

Bernie and Jorge have nearly identical numbers (aside from Bernie's power) from either side, so it's a no-brainer to bring in a lefty anywhere 6-9 and carry him over to Damon. I know Damon was better against lefties statistically in '05, but go last three and his numbers are much better against righties. (.293/.350/.413/.763 vs. .300/.371/ .454/.825) Cano is far better against righties. (.270/.304/.358/.662 vs. .307/.326/.497/.824)

2006-02-21 10:21:11
14.   Rob Gee
Great find Count. I'm not sure what the solution is for that? Bat Damon 2nd? Makes sense but Torre won't do it.

Of course, if our bench wasn't barren...well, maybe that's it - close and late Andy hits for someone and Kelly/Bubba, Cairo come in to play the field. It's less of an issue if Andy gets the majority of DH AB's.

2006-02-21 11:38:03
15.   wsporter
That bottom of the order stuff could be interesting. Cano has got to grow into handling lefties better. He appeared to be growing in both competance and confidence in taking them the other way by Aug/Sept. Andy Phillips, I think, may by July be showing folks that the 6-8-9 slot is not a rest haven for wayward southpaws.

If that happens they may still be able to bat Cano 9th. Although if they find that splitting Bernie and Posada works I'm not sure why they'd want to.

2006-02-21 12:36:30
16.   sam2175
Three arguments against Giambi at number 3:

1. He is really slow in front of A-Rod, perhaps possibly the best baserunner in the game.

2. A-Rod is a better hitter (although perhaps not by much), and should get more ABs over the season.

3. Giambi is ideally suited for clean-up in this team.

Sheff at number 5, ideally, followed by Matsui, Posada, Cano, Bernie. I dont care if it is Damon-Jeter or Jeter-Damon.

2006-02-21 12:45:27
17.   Ben
anyway you slice it, this is a fantasy league type of offense. 1-4 is looking like some of the most patient batters in the league. Those early innings are gonna be slow and painful for the opposition. Let's hope the pitching develops into something worth watching too.
2006-02-21 13:11:29
18.   singledd
sam2175 #16:
Gotta Disagree:
"1. He is really slow in front of A-Rod, perhaps possibly the best baserunner in the game."

Giambi is really slow in front of ANYBODY! We like high OBP guys because ideally, we want them to score. So, better to have a slow guy in front of a singles hitter, or in front of a HR/Doubles hitter? It's even possible that if ARod triples, Giambi COULD score.

"2) A-Rod is a better hitter (although perhaps not by much), and should get more ABs over the season."

True, but Giambi is a better OBP guy. So the better hitter comes up AFTER the better OBP.
ARod will only lose ABs when Giambi makes the last out of a game. How many times will that happen in a year?

"Giambi is ideally suited for clean-up in this team."

Why? And we don't know if Jason will pop a lot of HRs this year. But even when his hitting sucks, his OBP is usually the best on the team.

In terms of our 7,8 and 9? Depends who's pitching and what kind of year they are having. I think we know our 1-6 (assumming Caveman doesn't suck). 7,8 and 9 will probably change with the weather (Bubba, Stinnet, Phillips, etc).

2006-02-21 13:20:26
19.   debris
re. number 6. Damon

Singledd - You better hope not. Damon gives up enough offense leaving Fenway as it is. If trys to pull everything, watch him hit 18 home runs with a .275 batting average.

Damon is most effective when he's slapping the ball to the left side, particularly into the 5.5 hole

2006-02-21 13:41:07
20.   sam2175

Giambi clogs bases for everyone, but it is magnified if he clogs it in front of a fast runner like Rodriguez.

I agree with the OBP part, Giambi is the best in terms of getting on base. But when it comes to scoring runs, I think having speed on the bases help. Consider a situation where Sheffield is on the batter's box with Giambi on second and A-Rod at first. A single most likely does not score a run, just pushes A-Rod to second and Giambi to third. If on the other hand, A-Rod is on second and Giambi on first, Yankees probably have a run there.

Examples aside, let's consider OBP. Alex Rodriguez had a .421 OBP last year, and I expect him to easily have a close to .400 OBP. Giambi had a .440 OBP, let's have him at an OBP of .420 for the next season. You lose 20 points of OBP, i.e., 12 times less on base over a course of a full season assuming 600 ABs, a marginal decline. But you significantly increase chances of scoring run if you combine the high OBP of Rodriguez, Giambi and add the power and OBP of Sheffield behind them.

Putting Giambi ahead of Rodriguez not only leads to Giambi not being able to score a run, but amplifies the problem by not allowing Rodriguez to do so. A multi-talented player like A-Rod is perhaps wasted at 4.

Giambi has enough power to bat clean-up, and will not give up an out easily. And having someone in front of him who can help him beat out a DP ball also helps, although that last point might be irrelevant.

It is also in the team's best interest to make use of every possible skill that Alex Rodriguez offers. At 3, he can combine his OBP, power and speed to good effect. Plus, he will get more ABs over the course of a season.

2006-02-21 13:49:17
21.   Rob Gee
Correction: There's no way Torre PH's for Posada with Andy. No chance in hell.

Hopefully (fingers and toes crossed) Andy wins the DH job in ST. Now that's a barren bench.

2006-02-21 14:14:14
22.   Rob Gee
At least Cash is handling something right...

Shef happy, Moose understands:

2006-02-21 14:32:40
23.   Zack
Damn Rob, you beat me to it. Looking back at Sheff's #'s from last year, damn he is a good hitter. His bat speed hasn't slowed down, so I don't see any reason to see it start this year. As for 13 mill for next season, well, theres a reason we pick that option up at the end of the year.

And 17 Mill for Moose is just not happening. Would like to see us buy him out and resign him for one or two years muuuuuuuuch cheaper, but the key is the buy out. At least he gets it and won't freak out..Not that Moose seems really capable of emotion...

2006-02-21 14:34:51
24.   sam2175
More on 18.

Giambi batting in front of Rodriguez can also affect his triples total. Sometimes, Bowa will hold Giambi to third, thus making a possible triple a double. So instead of Giambi scoring and A-Rod on third, an equally (or, perhaps more) likely scenario is A-Rod on second, Giambi on third.

And Sheffield still have .500+ SLG in him. I dont think that it will affect his run scoring ability if it is Sheffield, not Rodriguez.

2006-02-21 14:47:08
25.   Rob Gee
Sorry sam, I'm more with single on the Giambi at 3 thing. You make a good point but I'm not all that convinced that the 1st/2nd scenario will happen all that much. If Giambi walks, A-Rod gets pitches to mash. Whereas vice-versa, A-Rod is more like to steal and thus G gets a free pass. Or those twelve extra times G gets on base, means twelve extra times that A-Rod has a chance to drive him in. Again, if the OBP's hold, the converse is not true.

You know, we could go around and around like this for the rest of the day. You can bet Torre will play with these things (depending on how hot G gets) - he needs something to do! (besides figure out his DH and 8-9 slots.)

2006-02-21 14:52:50
26.   Rob Gee
You know, Zack, Shef is OPP I can deal with because the PP is not very dramatic. I really wanted Vlad that off-season but the games played really shows I was wrong. And Shef has been great, save the bitching over the interest on the deferred money, though I do wish he clocked that Boston fan. He didn't have to be such a PUSSYcat.

Damn straight about the 13mil - no need to rush things.

2006-02-21 15:23:03
27.   Levy2020
The thing about the "bases clogging" argument is that the only way to take advantage of Giambi's high OBP/walk rate is with a homerun. I think we all agree that it's unlikely for Giambi to advance three bases on a single or a double.

I could be nuts. There could be some statistical thing I don't know. . .

2006-02-21 15:35:49
28.   Nick from Washington Heights
I could be completely off about these two things because I'm basing it completely on intuition, but I think that Giambi's slow baserunning and its ultimate effect on scoring runs is like Johnny Damon's inability to throw. Both have minimal effects on the bottom line that is run producing and run prevention. That's my spidey sense speaking, and it's often wrong, but I sense that people make too much out of these things because they're both ovemphasized by baseball broadcasters.
2006-02-21 15:41:46
29.   Nick from Washington Heights
"They brought me in and told me they were probably going to pick the option up," Sheffield said after meeting with general manager Brian Cashman. "You always want to earn whatever you get. I take a lot pride in that. He didn't have to bring me in today. I appreciate that. When I was a free agent, a lot of teams called and I really didn't answer. There was only one place, and that still remains the same. I don't want to play for nobody else but the Yankees."

I just don't get people who don't like Sheff as a Yank. His time here has been near perfect; He's already one of my favorite Yanks I've ever rooted for.

2006-02-21 17:13:06
30.   Schteeve
Rob Gee, you REALLY wished Sheff clocked that Boston fan? So he could have been suspended and cast as a baseball pariah and brought all that negative attention to the Yankees and himself. The best thing (among a crapload of great things,) he's ever done as a Yankee was NOT clocking that jackwad.
2006-02-21 17:39:59
31.   Rob Gee
Come on, Schteeeeeve, just one crack to his skull? Shoot, I was there the day Rice charged the stands because someone took his hat. Now Shef can't deck a glassbowl that hit him? One quick pop ("self-defense") then he walks away...I mean where's our edge? When's the last time you saw our guys running people over or roll-tackling 2nd? If anything we're known more for little bitch slaps at corn-rowed kids named Brandon.
2006-02-21 18:49:38
32.   brockdc
Re: Sheff. You've gotta love guys who love wearing the pinstripes. Plus, he can still mash the hell out of the ball.
2006-02-22 10:25:44
33.   jeterluva
I'm from NH I have been wanting to take my son to see the Yanks. I heard there is a bus package that you can get. I will try to find out the details.

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