10 Reasons The NY Yankees Won’t Win World Series in 2018

Image result for yankees world series wins

Overnight, the “Baby Bombers”, morphed back into the “Evil Empire”, and the bandwagon is getting crowded fast.  However, before Yankee fans (of which I am one) start celebrating number 28, (as in World Series wins) below is ten reasons why that flag may not be raised come November.

10Surprise team.  Which team might this be?  I don’t know, that’s why they call it a surprise.  Not too many people were picking The Philadelphia Eagles to win the Superbowl this year.  Since the inception of the wild card in 1994, six wild cards have won the world series.  That, and worst to first is like a thing now.

9Aaron Judge does not duplicate rookie success.  Judge can have a great year and still fall short of 52 homers and 114 RBI.  You can’t just pencil in production like that.  And while he is expected to be 100% ready by spring training, he did have off-season shoulder surgery.  I guess we will find out if that second half slide he has last season was due to the shoulder or pitchers adjusting to him.

8Giancarlo Stanton just had the best year of his career.   It is also the first time in his 8 seasons he has played more than 150 games.  What are the odds he plays all 162 again?  And while he did not come to the Yankees via free agency, it is his first season in NY, with a huge contract and huge expectations, oftentimes, it takes half a season to a season to adjust to life and pressure in the pinstripes.

7Thin starting pitching.  There is a reason why GM Brian Cashman is scouring the pitching market.  For an ace/ #1, Luis Severino can be inconsistent, Mashahiro Tanaka under-performed last season, and his elbow is still a candidate for needing Tommy John surgery.  CC Sabathia has knee issues and father time banging on his door, and Sonny Grey is good but doesn’t scare anybody.  Like former hall of fame Yankee manager Joe Torre use to say… We will only be as good as our pitching.

6Injuries.  You never know who or when the bug might hit you.  In addition to red flags of Tanaka and Sabathia, Aroldis Chapman spent time hurt last season.  In the four seasons prior to last, Stanton missed, 43, 88, 17, and 46 games.

5– Reacting to the pressure.  The Yankees are no longer be the cute underdog Baby Bombers.  They are among the favorites.  In other words they’re back to being the hunted.  We’ll see how the players and the rookie manager handle the pressure and adversity that comes with that.

4– Dodgers are still the favorite.  The Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs will still be around.

3– Bullpen may be overratedAroldis Chapman was inconsistent and showing signs of declineDellin Betances was a disappointment last season.  Yes the pen is still a strength, but it may be just a tad overrated and overused due to a starting rotation that doesn’t give you a ton of innings (in part due to analytic era) and possible injuries.  Will they be fresh by the postseason?

2– Rookie Manager/ rookie bench coach – it’s all well and good to have a winning smile, and get all along with everyone at ESPN, but neither that nor the home run Aaron Boone hit in 2003 will prepare him for every situation he will face.  Looks like he makes a great “good cop”, but sometimes being a great manager means being “a bad cop”, and analytics won’t always have the answer.   Not sure if it’s all-inclusive, but according to ESPN, rookie managers don’t win often.

1– Teams with better starting pitching.  This goes with number 7.  The Bombers may set all kinds of records during the regular season, in part due to feasting on pitching on bad teams.  The playoffs tend to bring out the teams with very good to great pitching.  Right now, the teams list in number 4 have better starters.

With their hitting and bullpen, the Yankees are clearly built to make a strong regular season run.  The post season?  Not so sure.  Of course other teams can be hit by injuries, and there is still plenty of time for the Yankees to improve their starting pitching via free agency, trade, or one of their ballyhooed prospects coming into play.

It will not be a big surprise if the Yankees do win number 28, but these are some reasons not to plan the parade down the Canyon of Heroes just yet.

Why The Stanton to Yankees Jeter Conspiracy Doesn’t Make Sense

Image result for giancarlo stanton derek jeter

About ten years ago, Minnesota Timberwolves Vice President and former Boston Celtic great Kevin McHale, gifted Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics.

Back then there was some noise about it, but social media being what it is now and the New York Yankees being involved this time and being “the evil empire” and all, this Giancarlo Stanton trade is drumming up a lot of conspiracy talk.

Yes, Derek Jeter, part owner of the Miami Marlins, is a Yankee icon who just traded the 2017 NL MVP to his former team.   And many think there is something fishy about that.  (Sorry, I had to.)

Sorry to inject some reasoning and get in the way of a good conspiracy but let’s look at some of the factors that existed prior to and brought about this trade…

  • The Miami Marlins were financially challenged before and after Jeter’s ownership group took over the team.
  • The Marlins have had two “fire sales” prior to Jeter’s arrival and it was considered a possibility there would be a third regardless of who the new owner was.
  • Stanton has a monster contract and was likely to be traded under this scenario.
  • Are conspiracy theorists suggesting that for years the Marlins were intentionally losing money, had two fire sales so they could sell the team and set up a third and not look suspicious?  I didn’t think so.

However, Miami homer, The Dan Le Batard show tweeted:

This sounds asinine.  MLB didn’t plan for the Marlins fiscal woes or for Jeter coming in with a competitive group to buy.  Jeter may not be Michael Jordan, but to many, he was the face of baseball for a long time. MLB saw the opportunity to place the face of the game, and a minority, into ownership, that is a good thing.  It doesn’t mean he’ll do a good job, but it explains why they would want him.

Questions and Speculation:

  1. Did the Yankees or Jeter give Stanton a no trade clause in his contract?
  2. Didn’t Derek Jeter complete deals in principal with the St. Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants? Was this a ruse?  Were the Cardinals and Giants in on “the conspiracy” or were they patsies?
  3. Did the Yankees or Jeter determine which teams would be on Stanton’s approved list?
  4. Were the Los Angeles Dodgers Stanton’s first choice?  and did the Yankees or Jeter know what offer LA would or would not make?
  5. Was Stanton lying about LA being his dream team to play for having grown up in Los Angeles, and being a Dodger fan just to throw us off the track and conspire to join the Yankees?
  6. Was Derek Jeter’s last contract with the Yankees contentious?… Yes it was.
  7. Was there a reported frost between Jeter, and Yankee GM Brian Cashman, who told Jeter to shop the Yankee offer and take it or leave it?  Apparently so.
  8. Even after making over 200 million from the Yankees Jeter was looking to get every last dime on his last contract.
  9. Is Jeter one of the most competitive athletes to play in any sport?
  10. Is Jeter likely to take a lesser deal from the Yankees both in terms of talent and money saved, which his franchise is desperate for?
  11. Do you think Jeter wants to succeed as an owner?
  12. Would he intentionally take a lesser deal from the Yankees and Cashman, then he could get elsewhere?
  13. Have the Yankees been setting themselves up for years to reset the penalty fees they pay, in part to sign Bryce Harper at the end of 2018?  Okay I can understand some skepticism on this one.  But if the Yankees weren’t serious about this, then why did they trade for Sonny Gray this past season at the trade deadline and not Justin Verlander or Yu Darvish?  Why not both?
  14. Image result for giancarlo stantonDid the Yankees have a need for, and could Jeter have anticipated, Yankee interest in Stanton?  Nope.  Not with Judge and their loaded farm system, and their need for starting pitching.

Is this a bad deal for Marlin fans? You bet.  It sucks.  And while this deal fell into the Yankees lap (ergo not planned, not a conspiracy), and looks great today, it may bite them, (especially if this deal comes at the expense of shoring up their pitching) like many long-term big money contracts have.

I’ve been against these long-term deals for a while.  I was fine with Yanks not matching Seattle and letting Robinson Cano walk. And wrote this in 2011 about why St. Louis should not resign Albert Pujols, and how most long-term deals don’t work out.

I’m sure talk radio, the twitter mob, and usual suspects who like to hate on the Yankees will gin up the conspiracy talk, but when considering the above, it just doesn’t add up.

By all means continue to hate and or root against the evil empire if you will, just not over a conspiracy theory that isn’t.

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King Theo Epstein the Overrated?

The Boston GM Bolts for Chicago

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on Oct 12, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

So Theo Epstein is going to the Chicago Cubs. I wish him luck. I think it would be great for baseball and the city of Chicago for the Cubbies to win a World Series. But how is it that the Brian Cashman of The New York Yankees gets so little credit as a GM because of his high payroll and Theo Epstein gets lauded and credited with being a great GM with the 2nd highest payroll? What? He was only outspending Tampa Bay by $120 million instead of $160 so he has to be smart?

Yes I am a self-admitted Yankee fan and while there are likable qualities to both Cashman and Epstein, I think the correct analysis is to evaluate them in the framework of their unique situations.

Both have proven themselves in the context or running high payroll teams, standing up to ownership and adding a small measure of sanity as they both look to blend and develop a farm system in conjunction with overpaying free agents. However, does this translate to genius or to success with teams that don’t have an absurd payroll?

In basketball if a team was on the brink of winning or competing for a championship, and Phil Jackson was available to coach, it is a no-brainer to hire him. But what about if you were in rebuilding mode? Would the Zen Master be your first choice? Maybe, maybe not.
Since Theo is the flavor of the day lets take a closer look at his work.

Formerly of ESPN and now with the MLB Network, Peter Gammons referred to Epstein as “King Theo” for landing Curt Schilling in a trade prior to the 2004 season. What a brilliant move, trading for arguably the most clutch pitcher of his time in his prime.

How did this trade come about? Lets see, Arizona could no longer afford Schilling and had to move him. Of the three teams that were capable of pulling off the trade, the Philadelphia Phillies did not have the money to pay him. Arizona still had their panties in a bunch with the Yankees over their signing David Wells after Zona thought they had a handshake agreement with Wells. As a result, the Diamondbacks were asking for a lot more/better players from the Yankees. That left the Red Sox all by themselves. Courting Schilling on Thanksgiving was a nice touch but really not necessary, nor proof of genius.

But lets not forget that many key pieces to the 04 team and breaking the curse of the Bambino were already in place prior to Epstein assuming his throne. Including world series MVP Manny Ramirez, the guy who broke open game seven in Yankee stadium with a grand slam, Johnny Damon, the still six inning dominant Pedro Martinez, the very solid Derek Lowe, catcher Jason Varitek and the list goes on.

In 2003 the Red Sox lost in part because of their bullpen. Who was the best closer available on the free agent market? Well any barroom fan could have told you it was Keith Folke of the Oakland A’s. I don’t know how he thought of this, but King Theo outbid the A’s and signed him. (The Yankees had some reliever named Mariano Rivera so they weren’t in on the bidding) Pure genius right?

Epstein also gets credited with acquiring the following players for the 04 team: David Ortiz and Kevin Millar. And lets give Theo some credit for over the years not trading players from his farm system such as Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsberry, Kevin Youkilis and Jonathan Papelbon. Yes he got Josh Beckett in a trade but he had to give up Hanley Ramirez to get him. He may have overpaid for him in his last contract but on balance still a plus a move since Beckett was key in a second world series in a decade.

However, like Adrian Gonzalez, Beckett was a known commodity with only a handful of teams having the assets to make the trade and the money to sign or pay the player. It is easier to be smart when you have greater resources and limited competition, no?

Here are other names added during the reign of Theo: Jeremy Giambi, Pedro Astocio, Pokey Reese, Byung-Hyun Kim, Ramiro Mendoza, Matt Clement (The Sox less ridiculed version of Carl Pavano), Wade Miller, Jose Cruz Jr., Coco Crisp, Wily Mo Pena, Daisuke Matsusaka, J.D Drew, Bartolo Colon, Brad Penny, John Smoltz, Eric Gagne,Edgar Renteria, Mike Cameron, John Lackey and Carl Crawford. Epstein also made major efforts and failed to land Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira (lucky him).

There are plenty of mistakes that get overlooked when you win. Mistakes that teams with lesser payrolls can’t afford to make or overcome.

The media loves to credit certain people. They love the story of Theo. With the Yankees they the loved story of Joe Torre. With one team it’s the manager leading the team, with Boston it was the GM. In football, Bill Parcells could be a team’s hot dog stand vendor, but if they win he is the one who lead them to victory.

Beware King Theo, unless he comes from your farm system in Chicago don’t expect to sign the next Curt Shilling, or Keith Folke. You will be watching the Yankees, your new genius replacement in Boston, or perhaps another market with more money to spend then you sign him.

Fate may still smile upon Theo is Chicago, with the Yankees and Red Sox not likely to be bidders on Pujols. If the Cubs sign him (or Prince Fielder) it won’t be because of genius it will be because they’re the highest bidder…

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in-depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

Why the St. Louis Cardinals Should NOT Resign Albert Pujols

Do You Think the Yankees Would Resign A-Rod If They Could Get a Do Over?

(This blog was originally posted on the Yahoo Contributor Network on April 13th, 2011. As of 7/31/14 YCN has taken down all of its content)

No one is debating whether or not Albert Pujols is a great, first ballet, hall of famer. He has been great for the city of St. Louis, he’s a champion, and to date he is clear of any performance enhancing drug accusations. But if the money he’s going for after the 2011 season is as rumored, north of 300 million, that is a figure beyond what the Cardinals or any team should offer. Nothing personal Albert, but you’re not worth the risk.

To date the two biggest contracts in the history of the sport have been signed by Alex Rodriguez. No doubt the first time A-Rod was a free agent he was a better player than Pujols is now. A-Rod was younger, faster, had as much power, and was a better defender at a more premium position, shortstop, versus Pujols at first base. How did that contract work out for the Texas Rangers? A-Rod performed, but it financially handicapped the organization. They couldn’t build around him, so they dumped him to the NY Yankees, and ate ten million a year to do so.  And like the Seattle Mariners, Texas improved after he left.

Astonishingly, the Yankees eventually give A-Rod a second long term contract of ten years for 275 million. Not long after, there is the steroid admission, a hip injury requiring surgery and declining numbers.

Consequently I don’t see any fifty home run seasons in A-Rod’s future. Stolen bases? Not so much. Defense? Declining. Home run chase? Who cares? Between Texas and New York you see all the things that can potentially go wrong for a mid market team like St. Louis: Paying too much money to one player, off the field issues, declining skills due to injury and or aging.

A-Rod is the first example but far from the last. Let’s eliminate the everyday players who are clear of a performance enhancing drug connection and show me one that has produced 30 million a year numbers beyond the age of 37. Albert would be into his forties by the end of a ten year deal.

Based on the highest paid players through 2010, ask yourself are these players worth the money they were paid to their teams? Alex Rodriguez (33 m) Derrick Jeter (22.6 m) Mark Tiexera (20.6 m) Johan Santana (20.1 m) Miguel Cabrera (20 m) Carlos Betran (19.4) Ryan Howard (19 m) Carlos Lee (19 m) Alfonso Soriano (19 m) Carlos Zambrano (18.8 m) John Lackey (18.7 m) Manny Ramirez (18.6 m) Torri Hunter (18.5 m) Barry Zito (18.5 m) Maglio Ordonez (17.8 m) Todd Helton (17.7 m) Aramis Ramirez (16.7 m) A. J. Burnett (16.5 m).*

That is eighteen out of the top twenty that were debatably overpaid last season. Do you think all of these players could find a team willing to pay those figures if they were free agents again?

Think the New York Mets would like a do over on the big contracts they gave the injury prone Santana, Beltran, or even Jason Bay or Francisco Rodriquez? Generally, pre free agent numbers are better then post.

Miguel Cabrera is an exception however his off the field alcohol issues add a question mark to him. Plain and simple the odds are stacked that you’re paying for past performance and you will not get value out of a long term deal.

More logic used to justify such a salary for Pujols by analysts like ESPN’s Jon Kruk is that, “well A-Rod has a 275 million dollar contract and Albert is better then A-Rod now so, you know, Albert should get more”. If I walk into a car dealership and the sales agent says to me that the idiot before me paid ten thousand dollars over sticker price for a car that doesn’t mean I will do the same.

A team (the Yankees) that is clearly playing on a different financial field than any other cannot be used to set the market. Nor can the actions of a desperate owner, Tom Hicks of the Texas Rangers, who made a deal that set his team on a path to financial ruin.

Being from New York I am not a Boston Red Sox fan but I respect the way they do business with their players and how they created a climate where players take less money to stay there…they accomplished this by showing fiscal discipline and letting stars like Nomar Garciaparra and Mo Vaughn and Johnny Damon leave. Theo Epstein and company assess the value of a player, don’t get emotional about it and make a take it or leave it offer. Star players like David Ortiz and Jason Varitek have taken less money and or diminished roles to stay a part of Red Sox nation.

If Albert wants to be a “true” Cardinal, and spend his career with one team, let him take a little less and not break your budget. If he wants to go to the Chicago Cubs for some extra coin let him. Don’t be sucked into a bidding war and pay what will handicap you like A-Rod did with Texas.

The Cubs are not about to win even if they sign Pujols. In order for the Red Sox to break through their curse, they needed a juiced up Manny Ramirez (allegedly), David Ortiz, Curt Shilling, Pedro Martinez, Keith Foulke (who was closing like Mariano Rivera that year), Johnny Damon and the rest of the idiots. If the Cubs or anyone pay Pujols three hundred million, they will get the first laugh, but odds are you will get the last.

Published by Jeff Schubert

Jeff Schubert is the Host/Executive Producer of the show Filmnut that airs on thestream.tv. Each webisode provides an in depth interview about the making, marketing, or distribution of film, TV or new media…

Good Call By Jeter To Retire

DerekJeterWS

I always say an athlete should retire when they are good and ready.  No need to worry about legacies and staying on too long.  Usually, these are young men and women when they retire from their sport, and better to hang on one year too many than leave one year too soon.

Having said that, and having been a fan of Derek Jeter’s throughout his career, I applaud him on the timing of the choice he is making to move on and retire.

After an injury plagued 2013 his current season can go one of two ways:

  • He can return to his all-star form and go out on a high note.
  • Age and his foot injuries can take a toll on his skills and we could bear witness to an uncomfortable decline.

The following questions and hounding from the media would have added to this season’s grind.  With questions about:

  • His game?
  • Impending free agency?
  • How long he can play shortstop and bat at the top of the order?
  • Is he considering retiring?

All of that pressure is out the window, as 2014 now becomes a celebration.  Like his great teammate Mariano Rivera, who also suffered a serious injury prior to his final season, Jeter deserves to go out on his own terms and with the fanfare of a modern-day baseball icon.  2014 will be about love and winning one more ring for the road.

Aside from what he may do on the field this year, Jeter’s final gift to his fans across the nation and MLB, by making this announcement now, is that every last game he plays in each ballpark becomes “must see” TV.

The cherry on top for Jeter is that by retiring at the end of 2014, he’ll be gone for the return of the circus in 2015, that is Alex Rodriguez when A-Rod returns from his 162 ban for use of PED’s.

For as bland as Jeter can be when it comes to avoiding saying anything controversial, when it comes to seminal moments, such as the closing of Yankee Stadium, the death of George Steinbrenner, or his retirement post on facebook today, he authentically communicates like a leader, with grace, and appreciation.

Here is to you Captain, and your hunt for a sixth championship ring with the New York Yankees.

 

David Ortiz: You Don’t Know What You’re Talking About!

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With regards to the New York Yankees “letting” the Seattle Mariners sign Robinson Cano away from them, ESPN.Com news service quoted the below from David Ortiz in his interview with WEE Radio in Boston.  I will dissect  one by one:

1) “Great news for us” but a blow to the rival New York Yankee.

Partially true.  The Yankees lost a legit All-Star.  However off-season moves should not be judged until the end of the off-season.  It didn’t take long for the Yankees to sign Carlos Beltran after losing Cano.  Not as good a regular season offensive player as Cano at this point in his career, but Beltran is clutch and I will take him in the playoffs over anyone except for Ortiz.

cano2New York is likely not done yet and we will see whom else they bring in as a result of the money saved on Cano.  If it is not pitching help then it doesn’t matter because they wouldn’t win with or without Cano.

Long term.  This is a good move.  No way Cano is worth 10 years and 240 million.

2) The Yankees lost “the face” of the team. “I couldn’t believe the Yankees let that walk away. He’s the face, as long as he played for the Yankees, he was the face of that ballclub. He was backing up everybody.”

derekjeterstadiumgoodbyeLudicrous. Um Mr. Ortiz, the Yankees have a shortstop, their Captain, perhaps you have heard him?  His name is Derek Jeter.  Cano has never been the face of this franchise.  Not with Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte on the team.  Yes he had the potential to become it.  But to date, when you thought New York Yankees, Cano was not the first face to come to mind.

2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui was one of many Yankees to outplay Cano

2009 World Series MVP Hideki Matsui was one of many Yankees to outplay Cano

Backing everyone up?  In the one world series they won with Cano in 2009, there were at least five more Yankees more valuable than him (and that is being generous) with his .136 batting average, no home runs and one r.b.i..

Now that he will be the face of a franchise in Seattle, let’s see how he handles that pressure for the first time.

3) “This guy hurt us,” Ortiz said. “He is the guy that, you’re never going to forget about him because he puts up some monster numbers. He puts up some monster numbers…”

False!  Let’s not confuse consistent numbers with “monster numbers”.  Over thirty home runs one time in a career is not “monster”, nor is a .309 career regular season batting average or a .222 playoff batting average.  Never won an MVP or batting title.

4) With regard to the length and size of Cano’s contract Ortiz told Wee:  “That’s what the players are getting — young, talented players with the skills that he has, that’s what they’re getting,”.

Wrong again.  Um there have been exactly three 10 year 200 plus million contracts ever given in baseball.  And two of them were given to the same player, Alex Rodriguez, the other being Albert Pujols, so it is not “what they are getting”.

The Texas Rangers regretted the deal they gave A-Rod so much that after year three they paid the Yankees a huge sum of money to take him off their hands.  Given his injuries, lack of production and likely pending suspension for steroids, it is fair to say the Yankees regret giving A-Rod, his second 10 year contract.   Pujols isn’t working out well with the Angels either.

At least those players DID have monster numbers when they signed their contracts.  A-Rod and Pujols were transcendent superstars, above and beyond all-stars (like Cano).

And Cano is not young.  In baseball terms he is middle-aged and will be old at 41 years of age at the end of the contract.

5) Ortiz called Cano’s deal “well deserved.”

cano1Really?  Then where were all the teams lining up to sign him?  Apparently, he received only two offers.  One from the Yankees of 7 years and 175 million and one from Seattle, a team described as desperate to land a “name” free agent and one that they would HAVE to grossly overpay to get.  And that is what they did.

Doesn’t mean Cano deserved it, it means he and his agents were able to find, literally, the one dumb owner and exploit his desperation.

6) “He makes the game look so easy…”

Half true.  Cano does make the game look easy with his sweet swing and smooth play in the field.  But his lack of hustle to first base on grounders is the antithesis of Derek Jeter and unbecoming of a would be face of a franchise.

There are things to respect about David Ortiz.  One is his loyalty and “home team” discounts he has provided to Boston over years.  Ortiz had similar options to Cano and has given his big market team a discount to help put a winner together, so it is a little ironic to hear him come out like this about Cano whose agents asked for an insulting and egregious 310 million for the Yankees to buy out his rights as a free agent when he was still under contract.

davidortiz1Ortiz is supporting a good friend, so I guess I get it, but he is mostly wrong in his assessment.

What The Ellsbury Signing DOESN’T Mean For Cano

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With righteous indignation ESPN’s Steven A. Smith lamented on First Take yesterday that since the N.Y. Yankees overpaid for Jacoby Ellsbury, they have to do the same for Robinson Cano.  With all due respect Steven A.,  Hogwash!

StevenA

ESPN’S Steven A., Smith on First Take

On balance, Steven A. is generally more rational and measured in his commentary.  He has demonstrated an appreciation for the business aspect of things on many occasions.  As he is a self-admitted Yankee fan, I will cut him some slack here, but he is wrong for several reasons.

To date, Cano’s representation, led by Jay Z, has handled this negotiation horribly.  Firstly, the 300 plus million they reportedly asked for and referred to as, “buying out Cano’s free agency”, when he still had a season left on his contract, is ass backwards. 

I am shocked that I have not heard anyone in the media call them on this.  You see generally you ask for less money when you are still under contract… Not more!  Dustin Pedroia’s 110 million dollar contract with the Boston Red Sox is a great example.  (In fact instead of asking how can the Yankees not overpay Cano when they overpaid Ellsbury, we should be asking how can Cano not accept the Yankees offer after Pedroia accepted the Red Sox?  Does Cano think he is that much better than him?)

Players generally settle for less while currently under contract when they want to stay with their current team, (as Cano professes to want to stay with the Yankees), and avoid the risk of injury taking away a nice payday.  It is commonly referred to as “the home team discount”.  Cano’s people, I guess wanted, “the home team surcharge!”

A simple rule of negotiation when you want to make a deal with someone is to start with a proposal that is in the ballpark of reality.  If I am applying for a job that pays between 10 and 12 dollars an hour and put a salary demand in my cover letter of 31 dollars an hour, I will not get that interview.  Maybe if I put 13, 14 or 15 dollars per hour, and I had superstar credentials, maybe I get call in for an interview and we negotiate.

Speaking of superstar credentials, Cano doesn’t have them.  Steven A., you admit this, and that Cano doesn’t draw at the gate like a Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez.  Cano doesn’t hit 40 home runs, (over 30 HR once!) doesn’t bat 350, doesn’t steal 50 bases, (doesn’t steal 10!), and doesn’t generate revenue by drawing crowds at the stadium, or on TV. 

Where the bleep do his reps get off asking for 300 plus million?   It is an insulting figure to the Yankees and the fans of the team.  Why?  A- Are the Yankees and the fans that stupid?  B-You can’t care too much about winning and ask for that number, even from the Yankees.  Especially in a year when they are trying to cut payroll so they can save on revenue tax and reload even more in the future.

Cano’s more recent $260 million figure, while less ludicrous than the 300 plus, is still ludicrous and not a reasonable starting point.  A- Because his credentials do not warrant it.  B- Because of the handful of teams that could possibly afford it, (Dodgers, Red Sox, Mets, Angels) no one is in.  Why should the Yankees bid against themselves?  They refused to do it with Jeter’s last three-year contract, and they’re right for not doing it with Cano.

Cano is not Albert Pujols, or Miguel Cabrera.  Side note, how is that Pujols contract working out?

canojayz

Steve A., the Yankees had given Cano and his reps. ample notice that they were going to pursue other free agents if they didn’t move on the Yankees offer of 7 years 160 million.  A great offer considering what Pedroia makes in Boston.  Had Jay Z and his partners showed more reasonableness in their figures, (maybe started out at 8/ 210 mill) perhaps the Yankees could have played it out and landed on 7/ 180.  But given their unreasonable demands to date, the Yankees had to believe it was possible Cano would not come down.  And maybe the one dumb owner theory would play out and Cano would get north of 200 from somebody.  (A figure you agree they should walk from.)

So the Yankees paid Brian McCann and now Ellsbury.  Yes Steven A., they overpaid.  But that is what teams do to get players to leave a team and join theirs.  What were the Yankees suppose to do, wait?  Let Ellsbury and everyone else get signed?  There was a market and competition for Ellsbury in a price range the Yankees were comfortable with.  Where is the market for Cano?  Who is offering the absurd figure he is asking for that you agree the Yankees shouldn’t pay?  Good luck in Seattle if they end up being that team.

Cano was adequately warned and his team saw how the last major Jeter negotiation was handled.  They can’t claim to be surprised.  If the Yankees add another piece, or can no longer afford Cano, or do not want to budge off of their 7/160 or “only” go to 7/ 170, I have no problem with it.  Cano took a risk.  Sometimes risks payoff, sometimes they don’t.

Cano has showed zero loyalty to the Yankees in these negotiations so far, why should they should more to him than he is showing to them or to the fans?  If it is all about money to Cano then it is fair that it is all about money and business to the Yankees.

Paying Ellsbury $153 mill doesn’t prove they can still pay Cano $180.  All it proves is that they had that ballpark amount of money allocated to pay one player…Cano didn’t move on what was offered to him or make a reasonable counter, so the Yankees moved on.

If I had to pick between Cano at 7/175 or Ellsbury at 7/153… In two seconds I’d pick Cano.  But he didn’t give the Yankees that choice.  If they close him out or don’t have the money or inclination to go above that, blame Cano and or his reps. Not the Yankees.

 

Please Stop Making Me Defend A-Rod

Arod

Look if Alex Rodriguez is guilty of all that is alleged against him that I cover in my previous blog, here, than I am all for the 211 game suspension and if possible, him never donning New York Yankee pinstripes again.  Further, if the latest allegation, reported by 60 Minutes, is true and he actually ratted out other players for the purpose of diverting attention from himself, including his own teammate, Francisco Cervelli, and Ryan Braun, than that elevates A-Rod to a new level of sleaze.

However, the key word repeated in the paragraph above is, IF.  Like or disliking, and or wanting something to be true doesn’t make it true.  And it doesn’t eradicate someone’s right under due process or the MLB collective bargaining agreement.

Now some players on the Boston Red Sox, outfielder Jonny Gomes and pitcher John Lackey, and Tampa Bay Rays Evan Longoria and team owner Stuart Sternberg are saying A-Rod shouldn’t get to play while he is appealing his suspension.

Johnlackeybrawl

John Lackey as part of a brawl with the Oakland Athletics. Hmm.

I’m guessing that Gomes, Lackey and Longoria have either been or played with other players who have been suspended and also appealed them.  Did they have a problem with that then?  Other players have been suspended for PED use and appealed it, where were the cries of not allowing them to play during an appeal?

We don’t get to make special rules for players with a more marquis name or whom we may not like.  This is not how the system works.

Maybe in addition to A-Rod, it is also a case of Yankee hating.  When the talk was of suspension, we heard how unfair it was, from Baltimore Oriole manager Buck Showalter, that the Yankees may benefit from saving the money they would have to pay him.  Now that A-Rod is playing we hear it is unfair that pitchers should have to face him.

Sorry, but you can’t make rules for individual players or teams.  Or change rules after the fact depending on who is involved.  However, these situations can inspire change.  

If players and owners want to change the system and make stiffer penalties for PED use, I’ll vote for that.  If they want to take away a players right to appeal a suspension, that one I am not so sure of.

I’ll tell you what, if you’re going to take away a players right to appeal, do it for pitchers who are suspended for beaning a hitter and potentially ruining his season or far worse. 

A beaning is a case where the evidence is far more immediate and evident.  For events such as beaning, or brawls, I’m open to taking away the right of appeal.  But in situations where we need to see and or hear evidence to support allegations, not so much.

Despite the tough talk on A-Rod, I’m guessing Gomes, Lackey and Longoria wouldn’t be so quick to give up their right to appeal, nor do I see the union voting to make that change.

Right now with A-Rod we have strong allegations and leaks of rumored evidence, that if true and provable, I want him gone as much as anyone.  However, for now he deserves to play as much as any head hunting pitcher who has ever appealed his suspension.

 

 

No Deal Between A-Rod and MLB is a Good Thing

Arodselig

I hope Alex Rodriguez gets what he deserves.  That sounds like a loaded statement against A-Rod, but it is not.  If someone is guilty of a crime I want him to get the sentence the crime calls for.  If he is innocent, I want him to go free.  If he is guilty of a lesser crime, than the person should be punished accordingly and in line with what others who have committed the same offense and who have the same history or record.

There are a lot of people out there who do not like Rodriguez.  I’m a Yankee fan who never wanted him to be on the team.  When A-Rod opted out of his contract I was praying for the Yankees to sign a Boston Red Sox free agent, Mike Lowell, so third base could be filled and they could move on from A-Rod.  But alas, they didn’t, and then they signed A-Rod to an absurd extension.

However, not liking someone is not an excuse for not sorting through the facts to reach a fair conclusion, or for abusing power.  It’s not for the state to unilaterally do that to its citizens, nor for Major League Baseball (or management) to do it to players (or workers).

A recent example is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell overreaching in the bounty-gate scandal.  Yes, we need to make football safer for players, and yes bounties are wrong and a rule violation, but in his zeal to make the game safer, Goodell went too far with his punishment and New Orleans Saints players won on appeal.

With performance enhancing drugs, we have an issue where there is seemingly even more agreement that it has to go.  And because Goodell overreached, that doesn’t mean MLB commissioner Bud Selig is currently about to do the same.

belichickgoodell

Bill Belichick & Roger Goodell

The reason I don’t want a deal is because I want the full truth to come out.  When deals get made, the truth often gets lost or filed away with clauses that bind both parties from talking.  Evidence gets locked away.  I still want to know what is on those spy-gate tapes that Roger Goodell destroyed in the New England Patriot scandal.

If A-Rod is guilty of the things being reported:

  • Using steroids for three seasons.
  • Obstructing investigations.
  • Leading other players to use steroids.

Further, that the evidence collected against A-Rod far exceeds what they have collected on others, than the ban being talked about, 214 games, sounds fair to me.  And if A-Rod thinks he has received negative press before, wait until all of this supposed evidence comes out.  It will be unrelenting.  Again if the allegations are true, he will deserve much of the scorn he will receive.

However, if MLB is bluffing and or doesn’t have the evidence, like what happened with Goodell and bounty-gate, than regardless of your feelings for A-Rod, he should be punished accordingly and closer to what the other players are receiving, in the 50 game range.

Further, while he still may be guilty of PED use, if the evidence is not there to punish him to the extent being rumored, there will be some small measure of vindication for A-Rod.  And another reminder to the guilty until proven innocent crowd that judgment should be delayed until the all the facts are in.

Personally, I am rooting for MLB to have the evidence that has been suggested they have.  Ever since 2000 when A-Rod talked smack about Derek Jeter, A-Rod has been on my sh*t list.  He hasn’t earned his way off since.

As a Yankee fan, it would be good for the team, to be rid of him and get the salary relief they would receive from such a suspension.  That is $34 million plus whatever they save in luxury tax money that could be applied elsewhere.  Also, if true I want A-Rod to be exposed for the fraud that he is.  I want all of the evidence to be known.

However, if he is just another steroid user, than he deserves to be evaluated, judged and punished in that context.

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One way or the other, as a result of Biogenesis scandal, I think baseball will increase PED penalties for all.  Which is a good thing.  And I applaud the MLB Union and MLBPA director Michael Weiner for their cooperation on this issue. Rather than the usual close ranks and protect the guilt at all costs because that is what is we do.  By taking the big picture view, the Union is helping to protect its players long-term and protect the integrity of the game.

Is The N.Y. Yankee/ Boston Red Sox Rivalry Dying?

***The blog below was originally posted on 2/18/13 on: http://sportsnuthub.com/   The site is no longer up so I am re-posting on my personal blog.

Yankees-Red-SoxHi, my name is Jeff Schubert; I am a lifelong New York Yankee fan, Boston Red Sox hater. (I feel like some sort of support group should over enthusiastically respond, HI JEFF!). Maybe it’s because I’m over 30.  Okay over 35, but the rivalry just doesn’t seem to have the bite it used to.  And we all should have seen it coming.

Thurman Munson & Carlton Fisk

Thurman Munson & Carlton Fisk

Firstly, kudos to the national sports media for keeping it alive as long as it has.  The truth is, since the advent of free agency and players changing teams, the rivalry hit and past its peak in the Thurman Munson / Carlton Fisk days of the 1970’s.

Sure it got a nice spike when Major League Baseball added the wildcard round and we got to see them go head to head in the playoffs.  Yes, I reveled in delight in the Yankees lighting up Pedro Martinez in game seven in the 2003 ALCS.  And yes, I shriveled into a ball in the corner and wept after Boston came back from an unprecedented three games to none hole to beat the Yanks in game seven in the 2004 ALCS .

But the Red Sox winning the World Series was yet another nail in the coffin of the over hyped rivalry.

Winning not one, but two WS last decade, had Red Sox fans deservedly feeling pretty good about themselves.  It went a long way towards soothing their inferiority complex.  And with the fun of being able to chant, “1918”, gone (1918 was last time Boston won a World Series prior to 2004), Yankee fans just went back to rooting for more championships.

The Yanks and Sox compete in the same division and with their history of course the rivalry will never be dead.  However, aside from free agency and the Red Sox finally winning, here are more reasons it is not the same:

  • Former Yankee and Red Sox managers, Joe Torre and Terry Francona, respectively, ushered in a new era of class and respectability from the teams towards each other.
  • They are no longer the only financial bullies on the block.  More teams are generating bigger revenues and spending more.
  • There are more good teams with marquee players and story lines so the media doesn’t spend as much time on the Yankees / Sox as they used to.
  • More competition within the American League East from teams like Tampa, Toronto and Baltimore means spreading the hate a little.
  • Both teams have a combination of internal issues and questions that detract from caring as much about what the other is up to.
  • They play each other so much and the media replays the same stories over and over (Jason Varitek and Alex Rodriguez getting into, Pedro Martinez and Don Zimmer etc) it is just getting old.  And the new players get along too well to spice it up.
Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek gets into it with Alex Rodriguez after Arod gets hit by a pitch by Bronson Arroyo

Boston Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek gets into it with Alex Rodriguez after Arod gets hit by a pitch by Bronson Arroyo

Bobby Valentine had some potential to juice things up.  But while he is a very good baseball analyst, he became kind of a caricature of his asinine managerial self with the Red Sox.  He imploded before he could be any good to the rivalry, or the Sox, and was fired after one season .

Don’t get me wrong, when the two teams play each other it isn’t like playing any other team.  And while the national media may not be devoting as much attention to the rivalry, the local scribes and talking heads still try to instigate and milk it for all it is worth (See Kevin Youklis’ recent harmless comments.)

A major difference today is it used to be that the rivalry was authentic and built from the inside out. The players not liking each other, and the fans and media reacting to that.

Today, the rivalry gets perpetuated, yes from some diehard fans, but mostly from a media infusion that keeps it alive because it is good business to do so.  I choose to not being so easily manipulated by them.

So, Yankees / Red Sox is not dead, it might not even be dying, but it is not the same.  What do you think?

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About The Author:

Jeff Schubert

Formally the host/executive producer of the live web show Filmnut, http://thestream.tv/filmnut, Jeff Schubert now turns his research and writing abilities to sports. In the last couple of years, Schubert started a sports blog on Yahoo and WordPress.  Schubert grew up in New York City where he became a fan of the empire (N.Y Yankees) at an early age. The New York Football Giants would soon become his favorite team lead by his favorite athlete, Phil Simms. His favorite sports are Pro football, baseball, basketball, and tennis. As a blogger, Schubert is no homer. Nor does he just stick to writing about players and teams. Like many other fan of sports, the arrogance the blowhards on TV and radio display gets on his nerves. They think they know more then they really do and they need to be held accountable… And then God said let there be a blogosphere!