Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?
This year started out so promisingly. The Reds and the Yankees were the last undefeated teams in spring training, and even though spring training doesn't mean anything, there was a lot of hope in the hearts of their fans. Alas, it quickly proved unfounded.
Similarly, I thought Bubba had a good chance of making the Reds' 25-man roster, and if he didn't, I figured he'd be called up soon enough. It didn't work out that way, because of a shoulder injury that eventually required surgery.
Last year, I posted a top ten list of the year's best Bubba Crosby plays. I can't really do that this year, because his season was so short. But here's a list of his season highlights, in chronological order:
March 2, 2007: With the bases loaded and two outs, Bubba hits a bloop down the left field line, and drives in the go-ahead and game-winning runs.
March 5, 2007: Bubba scores the game-winning run with a walk, stolen base, and suicide squeeze.
March 7, 2007: Bubba returns to Legends Field, and robs Eric Duncan with this great play.
March 8, 2007: Bubba hits a three-run bomb in the 9th inning.
March 10, 2007: Bubba hits two doubles, including one that plates the go-ahead run.
April 5, 2007: Bubba hits a walkoff fielder's choice. It ends up the Frisch's Big Boy Big Play of the Game.
April 8, 2007: Bubba's RBI triple scores the first run of the game (which eventually turns into a blowout).
April 9, 2007: Bubba hits a walkoff single - once again the Frisch's Big Boy Big Play of the Game.
April 18, 2007: Bubba's RBI single provides an insurance run in a 2-1 game. Once again, he got the Frisch's Big Boy Big Play of the Game. The third time in twelve games. Mr. Clutch!
April 19, 2007: Bubba made an amazing circus catch on the warning track. Alas, he couldn't throw it in because of his shoulder. This game ended up being the last game Bubba would play in 2007.
Today, the counter at Bubba-Crosby.com rolled over to five digits. I suspect it would have hit 10,000 a lot sooner, except for the technical difficulties we had earlier this month. Not only was the site offline for a few days, the counter was out for about a week...then was reinstated from an old backup, and thus lost a bunch of hits.
In any case, it's a nice year-end milestone.
Not much going on now on the Hot Stove front, but that should change in a couple of days, once the holidays are over.
There is this: Jose Canseco is doing another book, and promises to name more names. The title is Vindicated (and I have to admit, he was). It's supposed to be released on Opening Day 2008.
I can't help but suspect A-Rod will be one of the names named. Canseco has already hinted at least twice that A-Rod is a juicer.
Jim Leyritz could be facing 15 years in prison. (Somehow, I doubt he'll get that much.) In a strange twist, he may have known the victim. She worked as a bar waitress, and he seems to have spent a lot of time in bars.
And today was the last day of the NFL season. Wow, it seems like it's flown by. Of course, they have a long post-season that will take practically until spring training.
Last week at the grocery store, there was Christmas stuff everywhere. Candy, toys, cards, decorations, etc. This week, it was all gone. In its place was a mass of pink and red - yup, the Valentine's stuff is out already. Even the packages of red and green Christmas M&Ms were replaced with bags of pink and red Valentine's Day M&Ms.
Sheesh. It's not even New Year's. Seems like jumping the gun, just a bit. Spring training begins on Valentine's Day this year, and it sure seems long way off.
And the Santana negotiations show every sign on being as long and slow as this winter. Joel Sherman still thinks the Red Sox are likely to be the winning bidder, but he's about the only one. Everyone else thinks it's just a bluff, to raise the price for the Yankees. I can't help thinking the Yankees are feeding Sherman a line, trying to pretend they aren't interested, and thus lower the price.
The Yankees have pulled Cano from winterball. Supposedly, they want him to rest a calf injury. But of course, everyone's now wondering if Cano is on the trading block. (Personally, I doubt it, but you never know.)
The mugshot is of Jim Leyritz, hero of the 1996 World Series. He was arrested today and charged with killing someone while driving drunk.
Witnesses said he ran a red light with his Ford Expedition, crashing into another vehicle and killing its occupant, a 30-year-old woman. He appeared intoxicated, and refused to take a Breathalyzer test.
Well, I guess he can kiss his dreams of a coaching job with the Yankees goodbye. What a senseless tragedy. He made at least $10 million dollars during his MLB career, and he couldn't afford a cab?
It's not even New Years yet, but the Santana talk is heating up again. Supposedly, the Twins have backed off their demand for Ian Kennedy, and are willing to consider a package of Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, and Jeffrey Marquez instead. Possibly with a fourth prospect thrown in.
Some sources have reported that the Yankees refused a similar deal earlier in the month, because of what Santana's salary would do to their payroll. But Murray Chass points out that if money were an issue, the Yankees wouldn't still be talking to the Twins.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox, once reportedly on the verge of signing Santana, no longer seem very interested. Many observers, including Chass, think that the Sox are just bluffing, trying to drive the price up for the Yankees. Boston doesn't really need Santana. Pete Abe notes that if the Sox were serious, the deal would be done by now.
As for whether the Yankees will deal for Santana...Cashman is against it. He doesn't want to give up Hughes. Hank Steinbrenner could overrule him, though.
And if neither the Yanks nor the Sox get Santana...the Mariners, the Mets, and maybe the Dodgers are waiting in the wings.
Yes, the Dodgers. Bert Blyleven thinks the Dodgers may be the surprise team of the year. And they have a deep farm system, and could definitely offer a package that would interest the Twins. The Twins might prefer to trade Santana to the NL - and he might prefer to go there. (If so, that would help the Mets' chances, too.)
Or "Happy Christmas," as the Brits would say. Hope Santa was good to you.
Actually, my family has kind of toned down the Christmas stuff lately. We've reached the point where we don't need any more stuff. We give each other very small gifts, or even none at all. Less clutter, no debt, and it's better for the planet.
I did get some things from my parents. (Being parents, they can't quite bring themselves to forgo gifts entirely.) But they were small, practical things. Mostly clothing (including a Dallas Cowboys t-shirt) and food.
My friend D. gave me a baseball bat signed by Bubba:
It's a very nice item. And I figure it counts as a practical gift, too. I can keep it by the bed in case of burglars!
Here in the US, we tell ghost stories at Halloween. In Japan, they tell ghost stories in the summer. (The resulting chill down your spine is supposed to cool you off in the heat.) But in the UK, Christmas in the time of year for ghost stories. (Hence A Christmas Carol.)
I found this Christmas-themed tale on About.com's (supposedly) true ghost stories page. It's by someone who used only the name "James."
My father told me this story. When he was a boy his family lived in a house with a legend behind it. It happened on Christmas Day somewhere in Texas. The legend goes when the house was first built in the late 1800s a stranger, in the middle of the night, knocked on the front door looking for shelter. It was cold and snowing hard that night. Without opening the door, the owner listened to the stranger tell him he was afraid he was being followed by Indians and asked if he could spend the night there. The owner refused and told the stranger to leave! The next day they found his mutilated body in a field not far from the house! From then on, every Christmas Day at midnight there would be a knocking on the front door, and when you opened it, there'll be nobody there!
People say it's the spirit of the stranger wanting to be let in! So on Christmas day in 1933 my father waited up with the rest of the family to see if the legend was true. A little past twelve midnight they heard a knocking on the front door, which made my father's sisters run to their rooms! Even though he was scared, my father opened the door. There was nobody there, but without hesitating my father's dad (my grandfather) called out and said, "Come in, come in, you're more than welcome. Come sit by the fire. You must be cold!" There was a chair in front of the fireplace and my father said he saw it rock just a little!
After that night the knockings stopped. My father understood that by his dad's invitation, the stranger's spirit can finally rest. My father was sure of that for in the new year in the spring when the snow melted away there was a message carved on the trunk of the tree in front of the house. It simply said,"Thank you for your kindness."
The Boston Globe thinks so:
Here's the skinny on a possible deal for Johan Santana. The Red Sox would break from their philosophy of not giving out long-term deals for Santana. They'd prefer fewer than the seven years agent Peter Greenberg is seeking but will go there for one of the top two or three pitchers. Since the winter meetings, nothing has changed with Boston's offer, but after the New Year things are expected to get down to the nitty-gritty, when Minnesota will expect the Yankees and Red Sox to give their final "best offer." The Sox are still offering Coco Crisp, Jon Lester, Justin Masterson, and Jed Lowrie. If the Yankees don't include Ian Kennedy, the Red Sox will land him. As to the growing theory that Josh Beckett would be bent out of shape over Santana earning twice as much, forget it. Beckett signed the contract and knew what he was doing.
Not much to do with baseball in this post. I just feel like rambling...
The annual office holiday party is an American tradition - and according to surveys, one most people would be happy to do without. Employees would rather be given the time off to do as they wish, and have the money spent on the party as a Christmas bonus.
But employers still insist on holiday parties, and mine is no exception. Our party was Friday afternoon. You get the afternoon off - but only if you attend the party. If you don't attend the party, you have to work your normal hours or use your vacation time.
I've been enjoying the parties less and less, not least because they've been getting ever-larger and more corporate. When I first started this job, the holiday parties were planned by individual work groups - maybe 10-20 people each. One group even held their party in July (a pool party, not a Christmas party). Now, we all attend one big party, as dictated by TPTB. I guess they think it helps with teamwork or something.
But that means our holiday party is now 120 people, instead of ten separate parties of maybe 12 each. This is a pretty small town, and there simply aren't many facilities that can handle a group that size. The few that can are very boring and corporate. You're crammed into a big room, where you can hardly move, and there's nothing to do but stand around and drink. You're packed in like sardines at the tables, and the food is awful (since cooking for 120 isn't easy).
It was a lot more fun when the parties were smaller. We could go to normal restaurants and order off the regular menu, so you could get what you wanted, rather than same old bland rubber chicken and dried-out ziti buffet that's standard at big parties. And we could go to places that had things to do: billiards, darts, bowling, video games, off-track betting, foosball, etc.
I was seriously considering not going to the party this year. It's getting to the point that spending the afternoon in the office working is more fun than the party. But I went. And it was worse than ever. There was no parking, the food was bad, the restaurant was horribly boring with nothing to do, and it was so packed it was hard to mingle. A lot of people didn't show up, or snuck off early. But in the end, I was glad I went. I got to see some friends I hadn't seen in awhile, and that was nice.
In particular, I got to catch up with a guy who used to sit in the next cubicle. (Yes, I work in Dilbert-land.) He's really into sports, and we used to talk football for half the year and baseball for the other half. He transferred to another department (mainly because he gets a company car there, and gas prices were killing him). It was great to see him again.
He told me he'd recently found out that his only child, a teenaged son, is gay. I wasn't really surprised. His son is a great kid, but he's always been different from other boys. He didn't like sports, which was a disappointment to his jock of a dad. He didn't seem interested in girls, at an age when most boys are girl-crazy. Indeed, my friend had long suspected his son was gay, even when the kid was very young. And he always said that it wouldn't matter to him, either way. (The kid is very lucky to have my friend for a dad, IMO.)
Unfortunately, the boy's mother was not so accepting. She's still in denial, even though her son is now out of the closet. This has caused so much difficulty that she and my friend briefly separated. It's kind of the reverse of the stereotypical situation, where the father gets upset and the mother is accepting.
At least, that's how it was in my house. My sister is gay, but she was afraid to tell our parents for a long time. My dad is glued to Fox News every day, and is politically somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun. She finally told my mom, and she broke it to dad. He was upset for about a week, then he wrote a letter to my sister, apologizing for all the terrible things he's said about gays and saying that he was proud of her and would always love her. He's still somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun, but he's no longer a gay-basher.
On a lighter note...my boss is one of those people who should not drink at company parties. But that never stops him. He gets glaze-eyed drunk, and then starts trying to pick up chicks. He's married with three kids, mind. And his life is so tightly scheduled that he couldn't do anything even if he did manage to pick someone up.
Not that that's likely to happen. He was hitting on two young women yesterday, but they weren't fooled for a minute. One of them looked at him and said, "Okay, you're married. Where's the ring?" He was outraged, and denied that he was married. But they weren't buying it. Somehow, they knew just by looking at him that he was married. It was hilarious.
Well, I guess that's one more reason to envy pro baseball players: no company Christmas parties.
Newsday is reporting that the Yankees have given up on acquiring Santana:
Johan Santana is not expected to be the Yankees' big Christmas present, a source with knowledge of the situation said Friday.
"I don't see it happening with us," the source said. "We pulled out in Nashville, and we haven't put an offer back on the table."
"He's a package deal with me. If I'm going to be here, he's going to be here. And that's not just for this year. That's for a lot of years," Hamilton said. "If they're really serious about having me as a player and want me to do well, they'll keep things like they are."
The Reds, with a glut of lefty-hitting outfielders, were rumored to be shopping some of them. They moved one of them today: Josh Hamilton. He was dealt to Texas today for two pitching prospects.
I can't say I'm surprised. Hamilton was obvious trade-bait. The Reds weren't going to get a lot for players like Freel or Hopper. Veteran stars Dunn and Griffey were unlikely trade candidates. And the Reds have declared Jay Bruce untouchable. Which left their other young stud center fielder, Hamilton.
There were other signs that Hamilton was not long for Cincinnati. One reason the Reds took a chance on him was his connection with Jerry Narron. But Narron was fired mid-season. His brother, Johnny, who was basically kept on the payroll to be Hamilton's babysitter, was let go at the end of the season. To me, that was the handwriting on the wall. Either the Reds were planning to trade Hamilton, or they were done coddling him. Whichever it was, it didn't bode well for his future with the team.
Hamilton was very popular with Reds fans, but they are taking this deal better than I thought they would. Perhaps they read the tea leaves the same way I did, and were expecting it. Most of them seem to understand that Hamilton is a great risk as well as a great talent, and that the Reds are short of pitching but have a glut of outfielders.
Rangers fans, OTOH, are not taking it well. Which is odd, since Texas blogger Jamey Newberg thought the Reds would get a lot more than they got for Hamilton.
However, most of the experts seem to think this is a good deal for both teams.
(And let me take this opportunity to offer some advice to the Yankees pitching staff. Do not throw fastballs to Hamilton. It doesn't matter how well-located they are. He's got the strength and the bat speed to hit them, even on the edges of the strike zone. Even outside the strike zone. Stick to breaking stuff.)
No trade news on the Yankees front. I'm guessing that we won't hear any news about Santana, or Bubba, or Andy Phillips, etc., until after New Year's...but the way things are going, I could be wrong.
It used to be that MLB pretty much shut down for the week of Christmas and New Year's. But with Blackberries, cell phones, etc., that's changing. Last year, the Randy Johnson trade was big news in the days after Christmas, which I wasn't expecting, and several other small deals were done around the league. So who knows? I'll be keeping my eyes peeled.
Well, if anyone's wondering, the pumpkin bars were a huge hit. Everyone was raving about them and asking for the recipe. Usually, there's so much food at our holiday food fests that there's always leftovers of everything. Not the pumpkin bars. They were scarfed down so fast I didn't even get a piece. Guess I'll have to make them again sometime, just so I can try them.
The Santana trade talk is definitely heating up. From Jayson Stark:
Elsewhere on the Santana front, a tug-of-war could be looming between Yankees GM Brian Cashman and Principal Son Hank Steinbrenner over Santana.
It's clear that since talks broke down, many of the Yankees' baseball people have had second thoughts about including Phil Hughes in any package for Santana -- which effectively would obliterate any chance of that deal happening.
But according to one baseball man who has spoken to the Yankees' brass, Steinbrenner is "moving towards it." And if he moves any further toward doing that deal, he could find himself in a fascinating debate with Cashman and others over whether to pull this very large trigger. If that happens, why do we think it might not be the last debate Cashman has with Hank Steinbrenner?
And as the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox jockey for prime Santana position, the rest of the sport watches from afar, trying to handicap where this will lead. One AL executive still thinks it will eventually lead Santana to the Bronx.
"The Twins are doing the right thing, waiting for the right deal," he said. "But the Red Sox don't need to panic. They don't need him. There's no reason for them to get anxious. But the Yankees actually do need him. They're just trying to convince themselves they don't."
The Johan Santana Sweepstakes are likely to come down to whether new Yankees boss Hank Steinbrenner is willing to overrule GM Brian Cashman again. Steinbrenner wants to go for Santana, Cashman doesn't (at least not at the cost of Phil Hughes).
Word is that Steinbrenner the Younger would like to back Cashman, especially after disregarding the GM on whether to hold firm at three years for Jorge Posada and no years for Alex Rodriguez after A-Rod opted out. However, some executives around the league are predicting that Steinbrenner will ignore Cashman's advice to keep Hughes and save the $23 million a year or so, and that the Yankees will eventually land Santana.
The package would be expected to include center fielder Melky Cabrera, pitching prospect Jeff Marquez and another prospect in addition to Hughes. The Red Sox and Mets remain in the bidding and can't be counted out. But the Twins appear to be waiting for someone to bend, and the short history suggests that Junior Steinbrenner is the most likely to do so.
It's official: Nick Green has been signed:
The Yankees signed infielder Nick Green to a minor-league contract, with a non-roster invitation to spring training. If he makes the team, Green will make $550,000 with $100,000 attainable in incentives. He has an opt-out on March 25.
I should be baking pumpkin bars for the office party tomorrow, but, well, it's a lot more fun to surf the web for baseball news than to slave in the kitchen. :-)
Since even MLB clubs take the holidays off, I'm not expecting too much to happen between now and New Year's. There are a few tidbits, though....
Darrell Rasner signed a minor league contract with the Yankees. No word yet on DeSalvo, Beam, or Sardinha. They must be looking around for better offers. If they don't get any, they may return to the Yanks.
Former Yankee Sal Fasano signed with the Blue Jays. He signed a minor league deal with them last year. They were very pleased with him, and immediately offered him another minor league deal. He wanted to look around for a big league offer instead, but I guess he couldn't find one. He's back with Toronto (Syracuse, actually).
Brian Roberts, Bubba's one-time roommate, was named in the Mitchell report. Some said he didn't deserve to be tarred as a steroids user based on "hearsay." Well, now he's admitted he used steroids. He says it was just once. (Funny how everyone says it was just once or twice.)
I guess he gets credit for fessing up when so many were rushing to his defense. But I find it hard to believe it was just once, and I'm not the only one. Curiously, in 2005, the season that was cut short when he put his elbow between Bubba and first base, he had 18 home runs. He'd never had more than five before then, including in the minors. His slugging percentage was way out of line with the general trend that year.
And speaking of 'roids...Chad Curtis is shocked that Andy Pettitte admitted to steroid use. He didn't think a nice, religious guy like Andy would cheat.
On 60 Minutes the other night, A-Rod said he's not speaking to Boras. Not sure I buy that, either, and again, I'm not the only one.
Then there's this interesting bit. (It's in Spanish). It says the Yankees will not allow Melky Cabrera to play winterball. (If you run it through Babelfish, it translates "Cabrera" as "Goatherd." :-) Anyway, the article speculates that since Cano and Abreu are being allowed to play, Melky's being held back suggests the Yankees are considering trading him. Perhaps as part of a package for Santana.
I seem to recall that Melky was almost traded last year, to the Pirates or Braves. They ended up not trading him, and it was rumored that one reason was because he didn't play very well in winterball. A few winterball games don't predict a player's career, but there was some doubt about Melky's ability to hit at the big league level anyway, and his struggles in winterball just reminded everyone of that.
Well, I guess I better get baking...
Courtesy of an anonymous informant: some scans from the 1994 Bellaire High School yearbook. It's called The Carillon. (I'm pretty sure I had a yearbook called The Carillon. Can't remember which one it was, though. We moved around a lot, so I have yearbooks from so many different schools it isn't even funny. I seem to recall the cover was blue, but that's all I remember.)
"Richard Crosby" was a junior that year. Which is kind of odd, since you'd expect a guy born in 1976 to be a senior in 1994. I'd noticed that Bubba was a year older than you'd expect when he was drafted, but never knew if it was because he'd taken a "gap year" or what. Looks like his parents started him a year late. Either that or it's some oddity of the Texas school system.
No, I don't think he flunked a year. His sister was a senior in '94, which means she's also a year older than you'd expect for her grade. A lot of parents do that. It's supposed to give the kids an academic and athletic advantage. My mom's a teacher, and she's always said there's a sharp difference between the kids born in the first half of the year vs. the kids born in the second half of the year. In the lower grades especially, the difference in maturity is quite noticeable.
(Many teachers, aware of this, try to time their pregnancies so their kids are born early in the year. This can backfire. I know one teacher who planned for her baby to be born in January. He was two months premature - born in November. In some states, he would have been forced to wait until the next year. But not in Hawaii. He ended up younger than most of his classmates - and constantly getting in trouble in school!)
There really isn't a lot of baseball stuff in the yearbook. Only a few photos, and no stats. This is probably because the baseball season is near the end of the school year, and the yearbook staff would have been up against the deadline if they wanted to get the yearbooks to the students in time for them to get them signed.
Here's a photo of the varsity baseball team:
Bubba is in the second row, the second from the right. Here's a blow-up:
There are also individual photos of the varsity team. Bubba wore #9 in high school, too:
I wondered if there were any photos of Ray Knoblauch (Chuck's dad and the Bellaire pitching coach) in the yearbook, but apparently there aren't.
Yes, we have "Bubba Burgers" here in New York.
No, I've never tried them. I'm not really the frozen burgers type. Plus, there's no way a box that size would fit in my freezer. (I really should go in there sometime before Christmas, and clear out the anonymous icy blobs and half-eaten cartons of Ben and Jerry's that have probably been there since about the time the Yankees last won a World Series...)
There's still no news on Bubba. We may not hear anything until after Christmas. However, it shouldn't be too much longer than that. It's only 60 days until spring training.
Some rampant speculation...
Often players in Bubba's situation go back to one of their former teams, where they have connections. I suppose it's possible he could return to the Yankees, but it doesn't seem likely. The Yankees DFA'd Sardinha, which suggests they really don't have room for Bubba. Plus Bubba has said he thinks the NL is a better match for his talents, and I think he's right.
There's the Reds, which I wouldn't mind. The Reds are a very convenient team for New Yorkers to follow. But Bucky Dent (who I suspect was the guy who wanted Bubba) is no longer with Cincinnati. Plus, Cincinnati seems pretty set for outfielders, especially lefties.
Which leaves...the Dodgers. The team that drafted Bubba, and the team Joe Torre now manages. And it's a NL team. It wouldn't be very convenient for me, I must say. West coast games are brutal for us east coasters. Their Triple-A team is the Las Vegas 51s, which is a PCL team, of course. They'd never play here in the northeast as an IL team would. At least their spring training is in Florida (though it's moving to Arizona after next year).
And Torre probably wouldn't give Bubba any more of a chance than he gave him in NY.
Poking around eBay today, I found this auction. It's a Yankees jersey signed by Bubba. The jersey is in "mint condition," so obviously it's not game-worn. At least, not by Bubba.
Another thing I noticed on eBay today: there's yet another player the baseball card dealers are confusing with Bubba. They already mix up Bobby Crosby and Bubba Crosby. Now there's a minor leaguer named Bryan Crosby who's being confused with Bubba.
What are the odds? There are only three Crosbys in pro baseball, and their names are Bobby, Bubba, and Bryan!
Sounds like the Yankees' pursuit of Santana is heating up again. Haren has been dealt to the D-backs, so the Yanks don't have him as a fallback option any more. Bedard is the best pitcher available other than Santana, but the Orioles have made it clear they won't trade him within the division. (Though he may land with the Reds.) Given what Haren cost, the price for Santana is going to be steep. And the Yanks just might pay it.
Andy Pettitte has confessed to using HGH. He says it was only to heal faster, not to improve his performance. I call bullcrap on that. A big reason players use PEDs is to heal faster. It's a long season, and players often play at less than 100% even when they don't miss games. You think healing faster doesn't help? Bubba basically lost his roster spot with the Yankees because of a hamstring injury. "Healing faster" would have been a big help for him.
But at least Andy admitted it. I have more respect for him than for Clemens, who is claiming innocence.
We're scheduled for another huge storm, starting at about midnight. It's predicted to be even worse than the last one. Rather than all snow, we're supposed to get high winds and snow turning over to ice. Ugh. Sounds like a recipe for power outages.
The technical difficulties Bubba-Crosby.com suffered earlier this week should be fixed. If you encounter any problems, let me know, and I'll put my web hoster on it.
The money quote:
There is a widespread misconception that the use of steroids and other performance enhancing substances, such as human growth hormone, was not prohibited in Major League Baseball before the inclusion of the joint drug program in the 2002 Basic Agreement. In fact, as early as 1991 baseball's drug policy expressly prohibited the use of "all illegal drugs and controlled substances, including steroids or prescription drugs for which the individual ... does not have a prescription." Even before then, however, the use of any prescription drug without a valid prescription was prohibited in baseball, and even earlier under federal law. In 1971, baseball's drug policy required compliance with federal, state, and local drug laws and directed baseball's athletic trainers that anabolic steroids should only be provided to players under a physician's guidance.
Courtesy of Sporting Life, the list of players from the Mitchell report. Names of current and recent Yankees are in bold.
Jerry Hairston Jr.
Paul Lo Duca
Gary Matthews Jr.
Labels: Lenny Dykstra
The Yankees waited until the last minute to make a tough decision. There was no doubt that Wang, Cano, and Betemit would be offered contracts. Many thought Bruney might be non-tendered, but he, too, was offered a contract. Instead, it was Darrell Rasner, Matt DeSalvo, and TJ Beam who got the axe.
Bronson Sardinha was also non-tendered, which I guess means he cleared waivers and no one was interested in trading for him.
The four are now free agents. (And thanks a lot, Carl Pavano, for refusing to give up the roster spot.)
All four are players many other teams would be keeping. The Yankees would probably have kept them only a couple of years ago. They are very deep in talent now, especially right-handed pitchers. (They are rather short of lefties, unfortunately, which is why Sean Henn and Chase Wright were safe.)
Huge blizzard heading toward New York today. Hopefully the power and the Internet connection stays up, so I can follow the Mitchell Report brouhaha.
Well, the Yankees have a full roster, and at least three players they need to add (Mo, A-Rod, and Hawkins). Tonight at midnight is the non-tender deadline. Probably the only Yankee in danger of being non-tendered is Brian Bruney. Last year, it looked like he was destined to be our setup man. But he hasn't pitched as well this year. And the rumors about why Arizona dumped him seem have some substance: he's difficult. Pete Abe said he's "oddly resistant to advice."
And tomorrow is the dreaded Mitchell report. There's a big press conference tomorrow. The names of 60-80 major league juicers will be revealed. Will there be any big names on the list? (Pettitte or Clemens, as in the leaked Grimsley affidavit?) Or will it be all Matt Lawton types?
Grrr. I wanted to use another word, one that was more, er, alliterative, but this is a family blog.
You know, I've never been one of those who constantly hate on Carl Pavano. Yeah, I joke about him now and then, but hey, I pick on everyone (even my beloved Bubba sometimes). The Pavano saga has been frustrating, but I thought he might genuinely have had some bad luck, injury-wise, and was hoping he'd come back and show 'em all.
Now this. The Yankees made their offer to Pavano yesterday. They offered him all the money he is owed, and use of their facilities to rehab his elbow, and asked him to sign a minor league contract. His reply? "I'd be giving up a lot of options if I signed a minor league deal."
That's right. The guy who has sucked up $40 million of the Yankees' money to sit on the DL for three years won't do the right thing and let the Yankees release him to clear roster space. The Yankees could release him anyway, but probably won't, if he won't accept a minor league contract. Pete Abe says it's because the Yankees won't get the insurance money if he doesn't stay with the organization.
This is unbelievable. Pavano had Tommy John surgery this year. There is no way he can come back in 2008 and pitch. He's not losing anything by signing a minor league deal with the Yankees. And he owes them, big-time. You'd think the least he could do would be to take the minor league deal and let the Yankees use his roster spot for someone else.
He might still do that. But good gravy. I can't believe he even has to think about it.
If anyone's wondering...Bubba-Crosby.com is having technical difficulties, and has been since yesterday afternoon. Don't worry, I haven't lost interest. I am still maintaining and updating the site, and I am paid up on the domain registration and hosting. But my web host seems to be having some kind of technical problem. I e-mailed her. She usually gets back to me in minutes, but it's been several hours now with no reply. I hope she's all right.
The hot stove is cooking away...
Hawkins is now a done deal, pending a physical.
There's some talk about Moose being traded to the Phillies. He's from Pennsylvania, and he wants to start, so this might be a good deal for all concerned, if it happens.
Reds fans are all excited because someone in the Reds organization said the Reds have a "75%" chance of trading for Erik Bedard. It would probably mean giving up Homer Bailey (who is their Phil Hughes), plus Hamilton and/or Votto. But the Reds want to win now, if the Cordero signing is any indication.
Bedard is a stud. (Though Bubba has a .667 average against him. ;-) The Yankees would probably love to have him, but the Orioles don't want to trade him within the division.
Remember that can of bug spray MLB.com was auctioning off? It was used on Joba Chamberlain during that horrible game in Cleveland (the mistake by the lake, indeed). Well, someone paid $673 for it. That's gotta be the world's most expensive can of bug spray.
Oh, and for whoever asked about the 60-day DL...there is no DL in the off-season. If you want to keep a player, you put him on the 40-man roster. It doesn't matter if he can't play, since there are no games.
ESPN is reporting that the Yankees are signing right-handed relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins to a one-year deal worth $3.74 million. One reason the Yankees like him is that he's one of the few relief pitchers out there who is willing to sign a one-year deal.
He seems like a decent guy, anyway.
Those who were at Coors Field on July 7 might recall that he was the only Rockies player to jump in and help the grounds crew control a runaway tarp when a fierce rain-and-wind storm blew through. The visitor's dugout emptied as players ran onto the field when it became apparent the grounds crew needed help.
The team the Rockies were playing that day? Their division series rival, the Philadelphia Phillies.
"We started to go after character six or seven years ago, but we didn't follow that like we should have. I don't want to offend anyone, but I think character-wise we're stronger than anyone in baseball. Christians, and what they've endured, are some of the strongest people in baseball. I believe God sends signs, and we're seeing those."
Looks like the next contestant voted off Yankee Island will be "American Idle," Carl Pavano. The Post is reporting that the Yankees will release Pavano and sign him to a minor league contract.
While Pavano doesn't have to accept a minor league contract, he said he would. He had Tommy John surgery this year, and is unlikely to be able to play next season. Theoretically, a pitcher can come back a year after surgery. Realistically, it's more like 18 months before they're effective. And with Pavano, it will probably be longer. If ever.
He needs some place to rehab his arm, and it's unlikely any other team would offer him a contract. As for why the Yankees would...I guess they're just hoping against hope that he'll bounce back and show them something.
Curiously, the Post article says:
Pavano, 31, can't return to Arizona because his questionable work ethic ticked off fitness guru Brett Fischer last winter.
Andy Pettitte officially accepted arbitration. That means he must be added to the 40-man roster...which means someone had to be dropped. That someone was the pride of Hawai`i, infielder turned outfielder Bronson Sardinha.
Sardinha was the Yankees' first round draft pick in 2001. He was converted from 3B to outfield, probably because with A-Rod, Jeter, and Cano in front of him, he wasn't likely to make the big club as an infielder. The switch in positions seems to have affected his hitting. But the wave of outfielder injuries in 2006 gave him a chance to jump up to Triple-A (since the Clippers' outfielders had all been called up). Strangely, moving to AAA seemed to wake up his bat. Maybe he was just bored in AA.
However, the Yankees have more outfielders than they know what to do with, so Sardinha is expendable.
A-Rod and Mo still have not been officially added to the roster. That's at least two more players who have to be DFA'd soon.
Wow. Last I heard, Cashman considered Vizcaino an indispensable part of the bullpen. But not enough to offer him a long-term contract. Like Andy Phillips, Vizcaino is moving on.
The Yankees also learned yesterday they are without two pieces of last year's strong second half. Vizcaino, who appeared in a team-high 77 games, refused arbitration and is a free agent. First baseman Andy Phillips declined an outright to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and will become a free agent Monday.
Vizcaino wanted to remain a Yankee, but they weren't willing to go beyond one year and the market was yielding three- and four-year deals for relievers.
Phillips' departure is puzzling. With Shelley Duncan, Wilson Betemit and Giambi to play first, the Yankees don't have All-Stars ahead of Phillips, who batted .292 in 61 games (49 starts) last year and was the starter until fracturing a bone in the right wrist on Sept. 2 that ended his season.
"I think it's time for a fresh start for him," agent Rex Gary said. "Had he not gotten hurt he would have been the first baseman during the postseason."
Labels: Andy Phillips
Andy Phillips cleared waivers today. It's not really surprising; he cleared waivers before, last spring. And now he's coming off a broken wrist - a notoriously tricky injury for hitters.
The Yankees offered him a minor league assignment, but he refused. As Pete Abe said:
Given that the Yankees have DFA’d him twice in the last nine months, can’t say I blame him. Obviously they don’t have much regard for him. Good luck to him finding another team.
First baseman Andy Phillips refused an outright assignment to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday and is set to become a free agent.
..."He's going to look and see what's out there," said Phillips' agent, Rex Gary. "He proved that he is a Major League player and would have been the Yankees' first baseman all throughout the season had he not gotten hurt. If he's not going to get that opportunity with the Yankees, he'd like to get that opportunity elsewhere."
Labels: Andy Phillips
The Rule 5 draft was today. The Yankees were expecting to lose Steven Jackson and/or Brett Smith. But neither was taken. Nor was Eric Duncan. Instead, the Yanks lost RHP Mike Gardner, to the Padres.
The Reds, as expected, lost screwball pitcher Carlos Guevara. The Marlins took him, then flipped him to the Padres. With their pick, the Reds took RHP Sergio Valenzuela from the Braves. It's a rather puzzling choice. The scouts must have seen something in him they liked, because his stats are underwhelming.
The Sweeny Blog is reporting that the Yankees will be signing Nick Green to a minor league contract (again). They'll give him a chance to make the roster as a reserve infielder.
And the blogosphere is abuzz with the rumor that Hideki Matsui is on the block. He may be traded to San Francisco. Dunno if I buy that. He has a no-trade, and he likes NY. The Yankees have a cachet in Japan that other teams don't. Also, the Yanks make a lot of money selling TV rights to Japan, just because of Matsui.
Well, despite all the reports that a deal would be signed with the Sox last night, 24 hours later, Johan Santana is still a Twin. I'm starting to think the Twins aren't serious about trading him. They're like those people who put their houses on the market to see what people will pay, but have no intention of actually selling.
At least, not yet. Santana will likely be traded before spring training, but I suspect the Twinkies are in no rush. They'll try to get as many teams into the bidding as possible, for as long as possible, trying to wangle the best deal.
As for the Yankees...I think they're still interested, but perhaps not as interested as they were before Andy Pettitte agreed to return. Pettitte gives them the lefty ace they needed. And his $16 million salary makes it harder for the Yanks to afford the $20 million a year or so Santana is likely to get. Even the Yankees have limits. Their payroll is now about $200 million, and likely to rise as they sign more players and work out deals with the arbitration eligible guys.
Which doesn't mean they wouldn't shell out for Santana if the Twins ever get serious about trading him. Yes, the Yankees have a lot of talented young starting pitchers, but none are left-handed. And given how loaded Boston is with pitching these days, well, the Yankees will spend what it takes to compete.
The Reds made some moves today. They traded Buck Coats, DFA'd last week, to Toronto for a PTBNL or cash. And they released Jorge Cantu. That last surprised a lot of Reds fans. Apparently, Cantu was arbitration-eligible. The Reds made him an offer, and he turned it down. They liked him, but not enough to pay as much as he was likely to get in arbitration. So he'll become a free agent.
If Andy Phillips clears waivers, he'll become a free agent on Friday.
The Yankees-Twins Santana trade appears to be fading, if it's not already dead. Instead, various sources are reporting that the Red Sox are on the verge of signing him.
Of course, it looked like the Yanks were on the verge of signing him a few days ago, and it collapsed. I can't help wondering if the Twins are just jerking everyone's chains. The supposed Boston deal is up to 5 players for Santana now, and counting.
The big news today (so far) is a blockbuster deal that will send Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tiggers. Holy guacamole.
If these deals come to pass, the Yankees may have a tough time winning the division or the wild card.
The Washington Post is reporting that Tyler Clippard has been traded:
A source with knowledge of the situation said the Nationals traded reliever Jonathan Albaladejo to the New York Yankees in exchange for right-hander Tyler Clippard, pending physical examinations of both players. The 22-year-old, who went 3-1 with a 6.33 ERA filling in for the Yankees this year, has a 3.52 ERA over five minor league seasons. He should immediately be a contender for Washington's rotation. Bowden did not return messages seeking comment on the deal.
Andy Phillips has been designated for assignment.
The Molina signing was made official today, and with the roster full, someone had to go.
In order to make room on their 40-man roster, the Yankees designated first baseman Andy Phillips for assignment. A product of the Yankees' farm system who was selected in the seventh round of the 1999 First-Year Player Draft, Phillips fell victim to a numbers crunch at first base, where the Yankees are prepared to enter the 2008 season with Jason Giambi, Shelley Duncan and Wilson Betemit all on the roster and capable of playing the position.
Labels: Andy Phillips
It's been crazy warm this year, but today, it finally snowed. The first snowfall is usually around Thanksgiving, but it was a little late. Snow was predicted a couple of times in November, but never materialized.
I checked the weather last night, because I was planning to go shopping this morning. It said that the snow wouldn't start until afternoon. Well, they blew that one. I woke up, and it had already started during the night. Everything was white.
It didn't look too bad, but the roads were treacherous. Partly because the snowplow guys were taken by surprise and weren't up yet, partly because it was the first snow of the year, and people were either driving like maniacs or were being super-cautious, crawling along at a snail's pace.
RUSSELL, Pa. — Careers at stake with each swing, baseball players leave little to sport when it comes to their bats. They weigh them. They count their grains. They talk to them.
But in towns like this one, in the heart of the mountain forests that supply the nation’s finest baseball bats, the future of the ash tree is in doubt because of a killer beetle and a warming climate, and with it, the complicated relationship of the baseball player to his bat.
The NY Daily News is reporting that the Yankees have agreed to offer Hughes to the Twins for Santana. The Twins insisted on either Hughes or Chamberlain, and the Yankees refused to give up Joba. The package would also include Melky Cabrera and another pitching prospect.
Supposedly, it was Cashman who didn't want to trade Hughes. How the mighty have fallen. A year ago, he was in the catbird seat. He'd demanded more power in the organization, and gotten it. Everyone thought he was genius. Now you rarely hear Cashman's name mentioned, and he is clearly not in charge.
I'm not sure how I feel about this trade (if it happens). On the one hand, the Yankees need Santana. It sounds like Pettitte is serious about retiring, which leaves them without a lefty ace. In Yankee Stadium, you need a lefty. So much so that the Yankees are refusing to trade Igawa...just in case.
But giving up Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera (and another prospect). It's a very steep price. Santana is worth it, but still. I didn't think they'd trade Hughes. I'm a little in shock at the idea he might be wearing a Minnesota uniform next year.