Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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.
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.
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.
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 Newsday.com.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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."
I cannot get the H.R. Puff'n'Stuff theme song out of my head. Damn Syd and Marty Croft to hell.
Mr. Hollywood (R)
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.
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?
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)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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
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.
Hopefully (fingers and toes crossed) Andy wins the DH job in ST. Now that's a barren bench.
Shef happy, Moose understands:
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...
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.
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.)
Damn straight about the 13mil - no need to rush things.
I could be nuts. There could be some statistical thing I don't know. . .
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.
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