Why Robinson Cano going to Seattle is no big deal for a Yankee fan

Robinson Cano holds a bat prior to a game betw...

Robinson Cano holds a bat prior to a game between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles on August 28, 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Does Robinson Cano need the money? I know it’s been a very long time since I posted here on The Outfield. Since Winter Storm Hercules has kept me home today, I thought I would share some thoughts.

The obvious answer to my question is no, Cano doesn’t need the money. But does anyone?

Before you say I’m just a bitter Yankee fan ranting about the loss of Cano, I have news for you, I wish him the best in Seattle.

I can’t argue with Cano’s production and what he’s done for the Yankees. On the field, yes, it is a loss, but over the long-term, this is a good move for New York. Time has certainly come for the organization to stop with long-term contracts that handicap the team later on.

I can cite numerous examples of long-term contracts in baseball that will hamper teams’ ability to sign younger, more productive talent. Players have come a long way in compensation, and in many situations to the detriment of a club’s ability to win long-term.

Cano, while a big talent and a household name, didn’t fill the seats. I watched numerous games from the comfort of my couch this past season. Without A-Rod or Jeter, there were many empty seats. If Cano couldn’t fill seats, is his on-field performance truly an asset?

If additions like McCann, Beltran and Ellsbury will attract fans to the Stadium, time will tell. I think they will. The off-season additions will fit with manager Joe Girardi’s desired style of baseball. The Yankees gave out some large contracts to these players, but the value is worth more than a single player.

The business of baseball never ends. Teams want to win championships, but owners want to fill seats. A player’s worth is more than just performance. It is the name on the jersey, the brand that player has become. Cano wasn’t that brand for the Yankees.

As the snow falls, I look forward to the new baseball season. Go Yankees.

Thanks for reading! All comments and feedback are always welcome!

 

Baseball All-Stars, Jim Thome, and Robinson Cano’s June: Some Thoughts on the Week In Baseball

English: Jim Thome

English: Jim Thome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The All-Star selections are nearly complete. There is no surprise the Rangers and Yankees dominated the American League roster. Every season we seem to have issue with some selections. The most conspicuous snub is Matt Wieters. Wieters should be starting behind the plate. Wieters can thank the Rangers growing fan base for the snub. Fans, please select players for their performance, not the team jersey they wear.

The most impressive, Mike Trout of the Angels. The rookie sensation is simply phenomenal. The 20-year-old is batting a cool .339 with 9 homers and 33 RBI. What impresses the most, is his mastery of the lost art of the stolen base. Trout currently leads the American League with 22. Needless to say this rookie earned a well-deserved selection.

Centerfield for the American League is perplexing. Why is Granderson starting? Baltimore’s Adam Jones, and the aforementioned Mike Trout are more deserving of the starting job for the AL.

The question remains, will that other rookie phenom, Bryce Harper join the Mid-Summer Classic? When left to the fans who knows. My pick for the National League vote-in all-star is Chipper Jones. Call me sentimental, but his numbers .292/6/29, warrant the selection in my eyes. Consider this, 2012 is his last go-around. Let’s not discount anything Harper brings to the table, however he has his whole career ahead of him.

As Texas and New York dominated the American League selections; Giants fans exercised their voting power for the National League. That said, the Mets David Wright belongs starting at third base.

One last note about the selections and this goes out to Melky Cabrera. As a Yankee fan this is slightly frustrating. Melky put together an awesome first half. Where was this Melky when you were in Pinstripes? 2006 was the closest you came hitting .280. I digress. Congrats Cabrera.

Jim Thome Moving Down I-95

The Baltimore Orioles acquired power hitter Jim Thome from the Phillies. Thome will provide veteran leadership in the Oriole clubhouse. I’m interested to see what Showalter will do with Thome long-term. As with all players, Thome is not the significant threat he once was. Yet, I get the sense his .227 average is misleading. Batting in the middle of the order may just get the hitting juices going. But, time will tell.

Robinson Cano’s June

As Thome is in the twilight of his career, Robinson Cano is in the prime of his. 11 home runs in the month of June is rather impressive. Did I mention his 34 hits as well? Check out this from ESPN to see who Cano joins in the universe of Yankee history.

Cano will join Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson when the American League takes the field on July 10th. Jeter’s selection is truly deserving. All three will look to lead the Yanks into the post season with another division title.

The week that was in baseball was entertaining to say the least.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!

All data from espn.com

Watching Derek Jeter’s Iconic Career

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Previously I posted about the iconic career of Cal Ripken, Jr. Yesterday,  another icon passed Ripken on the all-time hits list. Derek Jeter notched hit 3,185 in the Yankees 14-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

You may ask why is this important on the grand scale of baseball history? The answer is simple: we are watching, live, the career of a living legend. Baseball stories revolve around players. All fans have stories about their favorite players, legends in their own time. Mays, Gehrig, Mantle, Ripken himself. Regardless of whether you love or “hate” the Yankees, Jeter is a rare staple of the game. He reached 3,000 hits on a home run. This, after most, including myself, questioned whether he had anything left to give.

The lesson learned is don’t count out an icon. Jeter will leave the game when he is ready. The talk around Jeter changes with the seasons. Now Jeter’s name is mentioned in the same sentence as Pete Rose. Jeter would need an average of 214 hits a season for the next five years to reach 4,256 career hits. Jeter, at 38, may not have the gas needed to continue playing, and hitting until age 43. Is it possible? Anything is possible.

Let’s not crown Jeter just yet. Instead, let’s enjoy his career one day at a time. In case you missed it, here’s a brief run down of Jeter’s career to date:

3,185 Hits

247 HR

.313 BA

Gold Glove 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2010 (shortstop)

1996 ROY

5 World Series Championships

The Best Shortstop In Cooperstown

Jeter will be a first ballot inductee into the Hall of Fame. However, will he be the best shortstop to enter the hallowed ground of Cooperstown? Honus Wagner, Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripken, John Ward, and several others may object. Intentionally missing from this brief list is a popular HOF member: Phil Rizzuto. My opinion on Rizzuto changed after reading a piece by Bill Miller, author of The On Deck Circle. You can find the current list of Hall of Fame shortstops here.

Statistically Jeter is compiling a compelling argument for best shortstop all-time. Some may contend he played for a perennial winning team. Should championships be considered? Should lack of winning an MVP be considered? What about offensive WAR? OPS+? etc.

The debate over who is the best shortstop, all-time will never be settled. One thing is sure, we are all witness to a legendary career right before our eyes. So sit back, and enjoy. Careers such as this are rare.

All data from retrosheet.org, baseballhall.org, and baseball-reference.com

Mariano Rivera’s Career Isn’t Coming to a Close

Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

October 1996, do you remember what you were doing? I do. I was watching Mariano Rivera embark on an epic career. It’s May 2012 and although he says he’s coming back, I’m wondering if I just saw the end of that same historic career.

For me, as a fan, the true beauty of baseball is the passion and loyalty fans have for teams and players over years. Every generation has players they grow up with. DiMaggio, Mantle, Mays, and for many of us Mariano Rivera. I grew up with Rivera. Along with Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, and Jorge Posada, Rivera formed the quartet of players that led the Yankees to dominate the late 1990s and 2000s. Rivera did even more. He elevated himself to simply be the best closer, ever.

Rivera is, and will be, the benchmark that all closers are compared to. Except there is no comparison. Reasonably speaking, Rivera’s 0.70 ERA in 141 postseason innings will never be surpassed. I would speculate DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak will fall before anyone comes close to Rivera’s postseason ERA. Of course, Rivera benefitted because he was on those dominant Yankee teams. Except the closer’s job is the most important. The team got you the lead, now you have to keep it and put the game to bed. There is an argument, had Rivera not made a few mistakes, the Yankees could have 2 or 3 more titles since 1996. But that is baseball.

The Role Model

I am not a believer that professional athletes be considered “heroes.” They entertain, yes, but they are not heroes. Professional athletes can be role models, to an extent. Rivera is one such athlete. His quiet confidence shows a man of conviction and strength of character that many of us can and should model. His determination to rehabilitate and return next season shows pure committment to his team and to his fans. Rivera wants to go out on his own terms as he should. Whether you bleed Yankee blue or can’t stand the Pinstripes, all of us can agree, Rivera transcends loyalties. The game is not done with Rivera. Most importantly, Rivera is not done with the game. Until next season….

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!

The Yankees, the Mets, What’s Wrong with New York Baseball?

The Mets implosion is now complete. David Wright is the latest injured Met star. The Yankees, while slumping at the plate, questionable pitching, and sideshow antics involving Yankee icons, lost 5 in a row. As fans of both teams contemplate what could possibly be next, we need some perspective on the drama.

The Mets need a shakeup from the top down. If a deal is completed to purchase 25 percent of the team this season, that may just do the trick. Injuries are injuries. Reyes may be gone come season’s end, we don’t know. The Mets need to rebuild and give serious thought to what type of product they want on the field. Then, they need to figure out what is needed to do that. I think in the long run the Mets will be just fine.

The Yankees, the Yankees are in a rut. The problem, is their age is showing. The overrated Joba Chamberlain is just not that good. The Posada incident is nothing more than a sideshow. As a number of sports personalities have said, and I agree, these athletes think they are the best and have always been told they are the best. They simply can’t call it quits. Jordan, Favre, Namath, Mays, the list goes on. Posada is doing what all great athletes do, they go down swinging (in Posada’s case not very often). I’m not apologizing for him, but we are expecting too much from a proud, popular Yankee late in his career.

I am slightly disappointed in the way the Yankees reacted to Derek Jeter’s comments. Jeter and Posada are best friends. Can you call out your best bud? I know I couldn’t. Jeter did what he thought was the right thing. I think, in the back of his mind, Jeter is getting a message. If this is how the organization is going to react to Posada, how will they treat Jeter in the coming months?

At the end of the day, baseball is a business. Wins equals profits. If the Yankees can’t hit, they can’t win. One message that is lost on the Yankee’s Front Office is the fans remember what these guys have done. That’s why Posada got a standing ovation Sunday night. I don’t agree with what Posada did; but this should not be the way he goes out. His career is, and was too special to end like this.

The Mets heed the fans wishes, Oliver Perez anyone? Both New York teams are in dire straits. The Mets problems will not be resolved in a season. The Yankees however, need to make some changes and they will. They’ve done it in the past and they will do it again. Lets not forget what these players, like Jorge Posada, have done for the organization. Lets not forget what players like Jose Reyes can do for an organization. In the end, I hope the respective leaderships of New York baseball are listening.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!

Hip Hip Jorge? Was Posada Right to Pull Himself Out of Lineup?

Jorge Posada, a fan favorite among the minions of the Evil Empire, pulled himself out of the Yankee lineup on Saturday night. There appears to be confusion as to why. Was stiffness in his back to blame? Does he lack the emotional maturity to handle batting ninth? Or is he considering calling it a career before the end of the season? I don’t have those answers. However, I do have an opinion on how the situation went down.

Does Jorge deserve disciplinary action? Technically, he was insubordinate. Jorge you need to  play. This is your job. I’m a huge Posada fan. But he was wrong. Your manager is not asking you to do anything illegal. Girardi wants you to bat ninth, you bat ninth. Whether or not you feel as if you are “pinch-hitting four times a game, ” to quote Posada, it doesn’t matter.

Alex Rodriguez, like him or not, is struggling. He still steps in and plays everyday. Derek Jeter is clearly not what he used to be, he steps in and plays everyday.

Conversely, I understand Posada’s pride is hurt. He’s been one of the guys for years. He deserves a plaque in Monument Park. I can understand he doesn’t think he should be in the lineup. But then go to your teammates and tell them you need a day to clear your head. Then go to Girardi and tell him you need a day and why. Be honest, be sincere. If he tells you he still needs you in the lineup and your batting ninth, you go out there and give it 110%. No questions asked.

I hope this unneccessary, over-dramatic, sideshow disappears sooner rather than later. The Yankees are running into problems and quickly. Kansas City took their series in the Bronx. The Red Sox shut the Yanks out on said Saturday night. A-Rod isn’t hitting, Joba is showing question marks, and the Jeter situation is still looming. I don’t mean to rant, but please.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!

Let’s not celebtrate Jeter’s return just yet

As a pinstripe loving, die-hard, lifelong Yankee fan, I cannot be more pleased with Jeter’s performance on Sunday. However, I just can’t say he’s back to the Jeter of old. I want to, but I simply can’t.

Every player has good days. They have streaks. Baseball is a game of streaks and slumps. Jeter had one good day. He hit his first home run in 259 at-bats. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Jeter is a winner. His attitude is one that breeds winning. Do I believe Sunday’s performance will help him, most definitely. Do I believe he’s back to the Jeter of 2009? I need a few more good games for that.

What do I mean by good games? Jeter needs to put together a string of hits over a five to seven game stretch. He needs to improve his on base percentage. Most importantly, I think Jeter needs to get back , if not significantly close to batting .300. I believe Jeter will be comfortable at .290, but .300 needs to be the goal.

The Captain will get his 3,000 hits this season. I cannot see things otherwise. However, for Jeter, or any player, to have one really good game doesn’t mean he has all the bugs worked out. Baseball is a finicky sport. Baseball players are finicky athletes. Baseball, for all the talk about  bat speed, arm strength, speed around the bases, is psychological more than anything else. If Jeter believes he can improve, he will. If doesn’t, he won’t.

Good luck Derek, we’re rooting for you.

Showalter Is a Bucking Oriole

Buck Showalter, manager of the Baltimore Orioles, slammed Derek Jeter and the Red Sox this week. Seriously?

I’ve never been a fan of trash talking. I understand the importance, sometimes, of getting inside your opponent’s head so to speak. However, try making the playoffs. Better yet, get to .500 for the season before you open your mouth. If Tampa Bay wanted to say a few words, I’m OK with that. But for Buck Showalter to criticize Derek Jeter is misplaced. To imply Theo Epstein’s “genius” is due solely to the number of digits to the left of the decimal point for Boston’s payroll is ludicrous.

Jeter won’t respond verbally, his response will come on the field. The Red Sox will put their payroll to good use beginning April 26-28th. I was a fan of Buck’s. I was happy to see him get the managerial spot in Baltimore last season. I thought, here is one more reason to watch the AL East. However, I expected better from Showalter. As a manager, you don’t say anything. Defend your players when necessary and prove your worth on the field. 

It’s a long season, it just got a whole lot longer for Buck.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!

Jeter and Mo

The New York Yankees signed two of their living legends, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. The contracts all but guarantee both players will finish their careers in Pinstripes. Are they worth the money? Will they perform at the level fans are used to seeing? These are questions I’d like to speculate on.

Continue reading

Strasburg lives up to the hype

Stephen Strasburg is fulfilling the prophecy. He was dominant against the Pirates. What is most impressive is his composure through all of this. As a fan, I am impressed not only by his talent, but his humility and composure as well. I think with Strasburg, baseball is witnessing the beginning of a return to players being just good players. Continue reading