All Things Bubba

Because how can you not love a baseball player named "Bubba"?

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Yanks sign Morgan Ensberg

The Yankees have added yet another first baseman: Morgan Ensberg. He's been signed to a minor league contract and will compete with Shelley Duncan, Wilson Betemit, Jason Lane, Nick Green, etc.

And I wonder who Johnny Damon will be voting for now? His guy, Guiliani, dropped out. I guess there's still former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

The Reds have released some spring training news. Position players must report by February 19, (though Andy, like most players fighting for a roster spot, will probably show up early). The first full-squad workout will be February 20. Photo day will be Friday, February 22.

The Reds play three spring training games against the Yankees:

March 6: 1:05 p.m. Ed Smith Stadium

March 10: 7:15 p.m. Legends Field

March 14: 1:05 p.m. (split squad) Ed Smith Stadium

If what happened with Bubba last year is any indication, Andy will get a warm welcome from the NY press, the fans, and his former teammates.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:52 PM | link | 3 comments |

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Pettitte to rat out Clemens?

This could be bad news for Clemens if it's true:

Lawyer for Rocket's ex-trainer says ex-teammate can confirm HGH use

WASHINGTON - So far, Roger Clemens and his former personal trainer Brian McNamee have engaged in a he-said, he-said, with no third party providing evidence to back either account.

A lawyer for McNamee believes that could change next week, when New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte — Clemens’ former teammate and workout partner — speaks to a House committee.

The lawyer, Earl Ward, said Tuesday night he thinks Pettitte will tell Congress he discussed human growth hormone with Clemens between the 2001 and 2002 seasons.

I guess Andy's going to have to find himself another workout partner.

Everyone thinks the Twins got screwed in the Santana trade. Pete Abe reports that the Twinkies were "robbed without a gun." Baseball America says the Twins should be hoping the deal collapses, so they have a chance to start over.

The Twins are supposed to be pretty good horsetraders, so it's odd to see them on the short end of such a one-sided deal. Perhaps they value the prospects they got more than anyone else does. (That would be very Minnesota.) More likely, the restrictions Santana put on them - according to rumor, only to NY or Boston, and only before spring training starts - hamstrung them a bit. They should have traded him in December, before the Yankees changed their minds. I think once the Yanks pulled out, the market collapsed. The Red Sox were only trying to keep him from the Yanks, so once the Yanks dropped out, that left only the Mets.

Meanwhile, the Reds have issued their media guide. The section with Andy Phillips is here (PDF). Andy's section starts on page 164.


posted by BubbaFan, 5:48 PM | link | 6 comments |

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Santana to Mets

Twins agree to deal Santana to Mets for prospects

The New York Mets have agreed to a trade for two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana, giving up four prospects to acquire the left-handed ace of the Minnesota Twins, according to two high-ranking Twins officials with knowledge of the talks and a person close to Santana.

The deal is pending the Mets and Santana reaching agreement on a six- or seven-year contract extension and that Santana passes a physical; they have been granted a 48 to-72-hour window to do so. Santana has a no-trade clause that he will waive if agreement is reached on a contract extension.

The Mets paid a high price in prospects to land Santana, agreeing to send the Twins outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey.

Sounds like the Mets were really the only ones bidding. The Sox weren't serious, the Yanks were out of it. I guess Cashman took a stand.

Though if the Yanks lose to the Sox again, heads will roll, possibly Cashman's among them.

Speaking of Cashman, Was Watching is doing a report card on him. They rate the Ventura trade as "good impact":

July 31, 2003 - Traded Robin Ventura to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Received Bubba Crosby and Scott Proctor.

At the time, everyone thought Cashman was a genius, who had fleeced the Dodgers. They thought Ventura was worth Crosby or Proctor, not both. The Dodgers scouts included.
posted by BubbaFan, 5:18 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, January 28, 2008


You can call off Dog the Bounty Hunter. As Caja noted in the comments, Chuck Knoblauch has been found.

Well, that's not quite accurate. They never did find him and serve him with the subpoena. He called them up, agreed to testify, and they canceled the subpoena. IOW, he turned himself in. (Ya did the right thing, Chuck.)

A pretty skimpy Baseball America minor league transaction report this week. The Yankees have signed shortstop Chris Woodward to a minor league deal. I guess they don't have a lot of faith in Betemit. They seem to be holding open auditions for a Miguel Cairo replacement.

Speaking of Miggy, he is now a Mariner. They gave him a one-year major league deal, and are hoping he lights a fire under Jose Lopez.

Still a lot of veterans who haven't been signed. Baseball's new emphasis on youth? Or just everyone waiting for the Santana trade?

posted by BubbaFan, 5:53 PM | link | 0 comments |

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Crunch Time

It's "We're All Doomed" day on The History Channel. They've been running documentaries about the end of the world all day. Mayan prophecy, asteroid hit, global warming, Nostradamus, you name it. They're currently running a new documentary about peak oil. Puts things into perspective, I guess. No need to worry about who's being traded or where Bubba's going to play, because we're all doomed!

It is getting down to crunch time, and things are finally starting to move. Bedard is going to Seattle. (I'd rather he go to the NL, but at least he's out of the division now.)

Still no official word on Santana, though MLB Trade Rumors reports he'll be traded within ten days. Also:

The Yankees, Red Sox and Mets are still in the mix. Whoever satisfies Minnesota with a trade offer must then pony up six years and $150 million for the lefthander.

They also report a rumor that the Red Sox have pulled Lester off the table. The Twins probably prefer Ellsbury anyway. Though I still don't think the Sox are serious. They're just trying to drive up the price for the Yankees.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:18 PM | link | 1 comments |

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Cashman Speaks...

...and he didn't mince words.

He called out Bobby Abreu and Johnny Damon for reporting to spring training out of shape last year. "That's not going to happen this spring," he said.

Yikes. What's he going to do about it? Fire them?

And that was the least of it. Cashman was surprisingly blunt. He had some harsh words about Bernie Williams.

Cashman took a few jabs at Bernie Williams, the popular Yankee whose exit from the team was not on friendly terms. Cashman said that Williams was terrible in 2005, but that he brought Williams back as a farewell in 2006. After Williams had a solid year, he wanted to return for 2007. But Cashman did not sign Williams. Cashman said that Williams’s music career “took away from his play.” Interestingly, Cashman said that Joe Torre, who was then the manager, looked for ways to play Williams in 2006 “ahead of guys who could help us win,” so Cashman did not want that to happen in 2007.

Not exactly a shock. Many thought the non-signing of Bernie in 2007 was a way to "Torre-proof" the roster. But it is surprising that Cashman would say so in public.

(And jeez, 2006 was so frustrating. Torre kept running Bernie out there, even when it was obvious he couldn't handle it any more. The Bubba/Bernie and Aaron Guiel/Bernie right field platoons that immediately turned into all-Bernie, all the time. Torre putting Bernie in as a defensive substitution in CF, and Bernie letting easy fly balls drop in in front of him. Other teams constantly running on Bernie's weak arm...without even looking up. Arrghhh.)

Pete Abe got a chance to ask Bernie for a response:

Told of Cashman’s comments, Williams first said he didn’t want to resond. But then he paused and took a deep breath.

“I don’t think he has any basis to say anything like that,” he said. “Let me put it this way: Questioning a person’s commitment to the team is a very serious accusation, at least in my book.”

I asked whether music was a distraction during the final seasons of his career. “Everybody’s entitled to their opinion,” he said. “I haven’t really talked to (Cashman) about what he said. But I want to.”

Williams did not attend any Yankee games last season despite several invitations from Joe Torre. He has yet to officially retire, putting the Yankees in an awkward spot in terms of offering him some sort of role.

Poor Bernie. Can't blame him for feeling hurt, but you also can't blame the Yankees for cutting him. Nobody's career lasts forever.

Cashman also said he doesn't want to trade for Santana. He wants to keep Phil Hughes. Again, not a surprise. That's what the grapevine has been reporting for months.

Speaking of Santana, it sounds like some kind of deal will be done soon:

I was told today that next week is a big week in terms of determining if and where Santana will be dealt. Some in the organization feel the Twins can be a factor in a tough AL Central and entertain thoughts of keeping Santana in his walk year and making a run at the postseason.

I still expect Johan to be dealt.

Anything's possible, but I'd say Santana's heading for New York. The only question is whether it's the Yankees or the Mets.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:17 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, January 25, 2008


The Robinson Cano deal is done. He got four years, $30 million, plus options that could bump it up to six years, $56 million. The Yankees usually don't do long-term deals with young players. Not even Jeter got a deal like this. Cashman's influence, maybe?

The Santana watch continues. It sounds like the Twins are eager to move him before spring training, for a variety of very good reasons. And the Yankees are still very much in it:

The Yankees remain in contact despite claiming recently that they have pulled out of talks. Another person with knowledge of the talks said a lot of discussion has focused on the third and fourth players in any deal, which suggests that top pitching prospect Phil Hughes and outfielder Melky Cabrera remain the top players in the package.

The Red Sox are also still in it, but people don't seem to believe they are serious. In any case, one reason the Twins want to get a deal done soon is they need to know if they should sign a center fielder. If they get Melky Cabrera or Jacoby Ellsbury as part of a deal for Santana, they've got their center fielder. If not, they have to sign someone.

And speaking of center fielders...the Reds DFA'd lefty center fielder Jeff Fiorentino to make room for their new pitcher, Jeremy Affeldt. The Reds recently claimed Fiorentino off waivers from the Orioles, but didn't keep him long. The A's claimed him off waivers today. Many found it odd that the Reds kept their other lefty outfielder claimed off waivers, Drew Anderson, instead of Fiorentino. Maybe they're hoping for someone who can play this season. Fiorentino is two years younger, and not ready for prime time yet.

Well, perhaps the Reds will have a spot for Bubba, if he doesn't get any better offers. They're down a couple of lefty outfielders, what with trading Hamilton and losing Fiorentino to the A's. Though they still have an awful lot of them.

Oh, and Chuck Knoblauch is still eluding federal marshals. His mom insists that he will eventually cooperate.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:53 PM | link | 0 comments |

Thursday, January 24, 2008


My, what long fingers you have...

Came across this interesting article today. It's about how the length of your ring finger vs. your index finger correlates with talent such as music ability. Sounds bizarre, but apparently, exposure to testosterone early in utero affects finger length...and many other traits.

Men tend to have longer ring fingers than index fingers, while women tend to have ring fingers and index fingers that are the same length. The more testosterone you were exposed to in the womb, the longer your ring finger in comparison to your index finger.

Among the traits connected to exposure to higher levels of testosterone in utero: musical ability, heterosexuality, spatial ability.

But the strongest correlation so far is for athletic ability. Not surprising. If testosterone helps full grown athletes, why not when they're in the womb?

Will baseball scouts be measuring fingers one day? Maybe.

But, Manning says, one country hopes the tool will help identify future athletes. He is working with Qatar's Aspire Sports Academy, whose vision, according to its website, "is to discover the best young sporting talent … and transform them into world-renowned champions."

Manning's goal: to prove that finger ratio at age 10 predicts athletic ability at age 18.

Manning's research seems to have been done only on men. However, I did read another article awhile back, that said longer ring fingers correlated with increased athletic ability in girls, too.

Alas, my ring finger is actually shorter than my index finger. And sure enough, I've never been in any danger of being a pro athlete.

On the flip side, long ring fingers are also associated with arthritis, independent of athletic activity. Consolation for couch potatoes, I guess. (Increased risk of arthritis combined with the wear and tear of a career in baseball...sounds like a recipe for a lot of Celebrex in your golden years.)

posted by BubbaFan, 11:27 PM | link | 2 comments |

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

21 Days...

...until pitchers and catchers report. The time of year when a young man's (and woman's) fancy turns to baseball. Which means I'm getting more traffic. And more e-mails from fans wondering where Bubba will be playing this season. No news yet. Believe you me, as soon as I know, I will post it, both here and at, as fast as my little fingers can type.

Baseball America's weekly transaction log went up today, later than usual because of the holiday. Not a whole lot of transactions. It really does seem to be slow this season.

They aren't too impressed with Jason Lane:

Lane hit .267/.316/.499 in regular play with the 2005 Astros, but it’s been downhill since. In two seasons since, he’s hit .201 and .175 but has managed 23 homers in 459 at-bats. Part of that is Minute Maid Park, but the 31-year-old Lane might be serviceable if the Yankees need righthanded power—a role Andy Phillips never was able to secure.

The Pirates have added Jaret Wright to their growing collection of former Yankees:

Wright is a long way from his fine 2004, after which he cashed in with the Yankees for three years and $21 million. He gave New York (and then Baltimore in 2007) an ERA of 5.08 in 214 1/3 total innings over the life of that deal.

Not one of Cashman's more brilliant moves.

And they have this to say about Sardinha:

Sardinha had a brutal season on the Yankees farm in 2007, getting sent back to Double-A and hitting just .222/.306/.387 in his Triple-A time. He got a big league callup in September, though, before being non-tendered after the season. He might make a good reserve outfielder down the road, as he offers natural hitting ability and athleticism.

Phil Rogers has some thoughts on the AL East today. He's delusional if he thinks the Yankees "botched" the Torre situation. They got exactly the outcome they wanted: they got rid of Torre without actually having to fire him.

He says the Yankees need a first baseman, and might trade Melky Cabrera and Juan Miranda to the White Sox for Paul Konerko and Juan Uribe or Mike MacDougal.

The Santana rumors are heating up again.

First of all, the Twins continue to talk to the Mets, Red Sox AND YANKEES about deals for Johan Santana. Despite the Yankees claiming that they are out of the running, I’ve been told the Twins have spoken with all three teams in recent days.

The Twins hope to get a deal done before spring training, but if it doesn't happen, they can still trade him during spring training.

And if anyone's seen Chuck Knoblauch, please let the federal marshals know:

Federal marshals unable to find, serve Knoblauch with subpoena

Former major leaguer Chuck Knoblauch had not been tracked down as of early Wednesday evening by federal marshals trying to serve him a subpoena from a House panel investigating steroids in baseball, a committee staffer told The Associated Press.

C'mon, Chuck. You're only ticking them off. Cooperate, and you'll get the Giambi treatment. Keep being a pain, and you'll get the Bonds treatment.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:25 PM | link | 4 comments |

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mattingly cuts back on coaching role, cites family

Wow. This is a surprise:

Mattingly Cuts Coaching Role to Spend More Time at Home

Don Mattingly, who followed Joe Torre west to work for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, has told the Dodgers that he cannot be their batting coach after all. Mattingly has decided to spend more time with his wife and his youngest son at home in Evansville, Ind. He will remain with the team as a special assignment coach.

After Mattingly lost out to Joe Girardi as Torre’s successor as the manager of the Yankees, Mattingly was hired by the Dodgers to work for Torre. As recently as last month, Mattingly spoke excitedly about his new position. But Ray Schulte, Mattingly’s agent, said unspecified family issues caused Mattingly to revise his plans.

The Dodgers created a special position for Mattingly this year; he is expected to return as Torre's batting coach in 2009.

The article says the problem isn't anything medical. Maybe his youngest son is getting in trouble in school or something. His two older kids are already out of the nest, and his wife of 28 years is surely used to the life of a baseball wife by now. (I hadn't realized Mattingly was still married to the girl he wed when he was 18. That's pretty impressive, especially for a star athlete.)

I guess it's a good thing for all concerned the Yankees chose Girardi instead.

In other news, the Dodgers avoided arbitration with "Every Day" Scott Proctor, signing him to a one-year deal worth $1.115 million.

Then there's this: Johnny Damon is stumping for Guiliani. Just in case you were wondering which candidate is getting the millionaire baseball player vote.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:12 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Weather Outside Is Frightful...

Andy Phillips at the "Miracle on Madison" charity event, Dec. 3, 2007

The weather that was in Green Bay yesterday is in upstate New York today. Brrrrrr!

Today's Reds Mailbag mentions Andy Phillips. Mark Sheldon seems to think he has a good chance of making the roster:

With Scott Hatteberg and Joey Votto both being solid first basemen, what do you think will happen with Andy Phillips? Will he start the year in Triple-A, or does he have a legitimate chance of making the team out of Spring Training?
-- Danielle K., New Jersey

Outside of utility player Jeff Keppinger, the Reds really lack a right-handed-hitting first baseman at the big league level. Phillips, who will be in camp as a non-roster invitee on a Minor League contract, fits that bill, and therefore would have a decent shot, I'd think. Of his 67 games played for the Yankees last season, 57 were at first base in a platoon situation. The Reds seem to covet versatile guys (like Keppinger and Freel). Phillips can also play second and third base and the outfield.

As I suspected - the replacement for Jeff Conine/Jorge Cantu.

Newsday reports that Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens were never as close as the media made out, and this steroids thing has driven them even farther apart. The Rocket is not happy that Andy corroborated McNamee's story, and Andy's not happy Clemens played the McNamee tape.

The article also notes that there are a lot more free agents still available than usual for this time of year. A new emphasis on youth? Veterans asking too much? Or just everyone waiting to see what happens with Santana?

And holy jeez, it's a stock market bloodbath today. US markets are closed due to the MLK holiday, but in futures trading, the Dow is down over 500 points, and it appears trading has been suspended. (It would likely be much worse if markets were open.) Dow Jones Europe is down almost 10%. This is insane.


posted by BubbaFan, 2:47 PM | link | 4 comments |

eBay Update

I was bored this morning, and decided to look in at eBay and see how those auctions of Bubba Crosby memorabilia I posted about earlier this month turned out.

Holy guacamole. Remember this auction? It's for a cracked bat used by Bubba during spring training last year. It's not a small crack, either. The bat is practically broken in two. Starting price was $9.99, and I figured it would go for around that, if it got any bids at all. Nope. It got 21 bids by seven bidders, and went for $182.50. Wow. For a broken bat used in spring training? I guess it is kind of a unique item, since it's a Yankees bat with Bubba's Reds number on it, but still. I thought this game-used jersey would go for more, but it got only one bid (for the asking price of $59.95). Good thing I'm not a sports memorabilia dealer, because I never would have guessed.

On the hot stove front...MLB Trade Rumors reports that both the Red Sox and the Yankees are interested in lefty outfielder Brad Wilkerson. I would guess the Yankees want to use him at first base, rather than in the outfield.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:52 AM | link | 1 comments |

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie?

Not much going on baseball land today, it being Sunday, and a big day for the NFL. I could blog about today's playoff games, I suppose, but I'm just too depressed after the Cowboys' early exit.

Other bloggers blog about pop culture on slow days: music, movies, TV shows, books. But my taste in music is boringly bourgeois, I rarely go to the movies, and I watch mostly news and sports on TV. That leaves books. I do like to read, and these days, my taste runs heavily towards science. (Why yes, I am nerd. ;-) I'm reading a truly fascinating science book right now - one that I think will prove to be tremendously important. But it's not much to do with baseball. You've been warned. I'm drifting off-topic today.

The book is Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes. At first glance, you might think it's a diet book. It's not. Taubes is a correspondent for Science, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science - one of the world's most prestigious scientific journals. He's written on many scientific topics, especially about how science goes wrong.

Taubes first broached the idea that low-fat diets might actually be bad for you in a 2002 NY Times article called What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie? Now he's come out with an entire book on the topic, and it's a masterpiece.

Good Calories, Bad Calories argues, persuasively, that we've been seriously misled over the past 30 or 40 years. It was with the best of intentions - but wrong. Doctors were so eager to help people that they got ahead of the science.

There's more and more evidence that, contrary to what we've been told, it's not dietary fat that causes obesity, cancer, and heart disease. Rather, the problem is carbohydrates - especially refined carbohydrates like sugar, white flour, rice, and pasta.

This is an astonishing claim, but Taubes has the evidence to back it up, and he lays it out in detail. So much of what I thought was proven science on nutrition turns out to be built on shaky ground indeed. Fiber doesn't prevent colon cancer. Fat isn't bad for you - not even saturated fat. High cholesterol, even "bad" cholesterol, isn't the cause of heart disease. The "Mediterranean Diet" may be healthful because it is low in refined carbohydrates, not because it's high in vegetables and olive oil.

How did they get it so wrong? A lot of it has to do with the problems that come with science that involves people's health. There are limits on what kinds of experiments you can do on humans. And animals may not be good stand-ins. (For example, one of the early influential cholesterol studies used rabbits. But rabbits are herbivores. They don't normally eat cholesterol.) Many of the early researchers were doctors, not scientists; they did not know how to properly design studies. And they were so eager to save lives, that they felt they couldn't wait for proof.

But perhaps the greatest factor was mistaking correlation for causation. The classic example of this logic error: claiming that people going through the revolving doors of Macy's department store power the escalator inside. The proof? When you look inside the store when the doors are locked, the escalator is no longer moving!

Similarly, many of the studies of diet and health found a correlation, but did not prove causation. In particular, fat and meat consumption often go up with sugar consumption, so it's hard to say which one is the cause of health problems. Also, for international studies, many of the populations that ate a lot of carbs and not much meat and fat were chronically undernourished. (It's known now that calorie restriction can prolong life. But it's not easy to half-starve yourself your whole life - and maybe, if you eat the right kinds of calories, it's not necessary.)

There was also a lot of "confirmation bias" - the human tendency to interpret data in the light of one's preconceptions, and ignore anything that doesn't fit. An example was a study that clearly showed that high cholesterol was not linked with heart disease, but low cholesterol was strongly linked with cancer. That so contradicted expectations that the researchers simply refused to believe it.

If Taubes is right, then what we've been told for the past 30 years or so is the opposite of what we should be doing. I don't know if he's right or not, but intuitively, I suspect he's onto something. There are so many things that make sense in the light of his work. The so-called "French paradox": the French have fewer heart attacks than Americans, despite eating a lot more butter and cream, and smoking more. That Inuit eating their native diet of red meat and blubber don't get heart disease (and no, it's not fish oil). That Americans have gotten fatter, despite cutting back on fat and red meat, and eating more carbs. The fact that farmers who want to fatten their hogs feed them skim milk; they don't get fat if you feed them whole milk.

Back in the '50s and earlier, it was common knowledge that sweets and starches were what caused weight gain. The "diet plate" offered at restaurants was a hamburger patty, with a scoop of cottage cheese instead of a bun, and no fries. Maybe grandma was right after all...

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posted by BubbaFan, 11:22 AM | link | 2 comments |

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Carlos Pena hits the jackpot

Meant to post about this earlier, but forgot...Carlos Pena got a 3-year, $24 million deal from the Devil Rays. Not bad for a guy the Yankees threw away in 2006.

Letting Pena go has to be one of Cashman's most bone-headed moves. He was playing very well for Columbus in 2006, but the Yankees didn't consider giving him a chance. Torre even said at one point that they weren't even checking to see how Pena was doing.

Pena won a spot with the Rays in 2007...and ended up the league's best first baseman. Meanwhile, the Yankees were desperately seeking first base help, running out Josh Phelps, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Andy Phillips, none of whom stuck. True, Pena is a lefty and the Yanks wanted a right-handed first baseman. But they ended up signing Mientkiewicz as their starting first baseman, and he's a lefty.

And now Pena will get lots of chances to show the Yanks what they passed up, when the Rays play the Yankees, like, 20 times a year.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:12 PM | link | 2 comments |

Friday, January 18, 2008

Betemit Deal Done

Betemit signed a one-year deal worth $1.165 million today. Not bad, considering he was making the MLB minimum last year.

Joe Torre is taking Andy Phillips' name in vain:

"The youth off the bench is always a question mark because you don't know how they handle not playing and playing after not playing," Torre said, citing the example of the problems the Yankees had with Andy Phillips.

Jeez, Joe. Throw Andy under the bus, why don't you?

Chad Jennings of SWB Yankees Blog fame has rundown of Yankees player who won't be returning to Scranton:

Sardinha is not the only player from last season’s opening day roster who won’t be back with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Of the 24 players who broke camp with the local Yankees last season, only seven are still in the Yankees system. And two of those, Phil Hughes and Shelley Duncan, are favorites to win jobs with the major league club.

The other five are Chris Britton, Eric Duncan, Alberto Gonzalez, Steven Jackson and Ross Ohlendorf.

Among the notable 2007 Yankees who have signed elsewhere are: Chris Basak (Twins), T.J. Beam (Pirates), Jim Brower (Reds), Andy Cannizaro (Devil Rays), Angel Chavez (Dodgers), Raul Chavez (Pirates), Matt DeSalvo (Braves), Ben Kozlowski (Japan), Charlie Manning (Nationals), Andy Phillips (Reds), Omir Santos (Orioles) and Kevin Thompson (Pirates).

The Bucs really like Yankees castoffs, don't they?

posted by BubbaFan, 5:59 PM | link | 2 comments |

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Seattle Signs Sardinha

Well, I guess we know why it was taking the Yankees so long to re-sign Sardinha. He wanted out, and he got it. Bronson is with the Mariners now.

Other non-roster players invited to spring training inlude left-handed pitchers Arthur Rhodes, Philip Barzilla, Robert Rohrbaugh and Jake Woods; right-handed pitchers Roy Corcoran, Brody Downs, Stephen Kahn, Kameron Mickolio, Chris Tillman and Chris Reitsma; catchers Jair Fernandez, Adam Moore and Brant Ust; and infielders Tug Hulett, Mark Kiger and Matt Tuiasosopo; and outfielder Bronson Sardinha.

It's not too surprising. The Yankees have so many outfielding prospects it's not even funny. And it will be easier for his family to come watch him in Seattle (or Tacoma, if he doesn't make the roster).

In other news, Hank is still talking about Santana. It sounds like Cashman and Hal don't want to pay the price for Santana, but Hank does. Hank says he could get his way if he really wanted to, but he doesn't want to upset people too much. Hmmm.

posted by BubbaFan, 5:28 PM | link | 5 comments |

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


The wheeling and dealing seems to be picking up. A lot of deals announced today, most notably Lieber to the Cubs.

This week's Yankees Mailbag has a bit about Andy Phillips:

I don't understand why the Yankees let Andy Phillips go. He played perfect defense for the team last year, and aside from his home run total, he beat or matched almost every offensive stat from his 2006 season in roughly half the number of games played.
-- Mike B., Southwick, Mass.

It's easy to root for a guy like Phillips, a legitimately good guy who has had to endure so much heartache. Phillips declined an option to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this offseason and elected free agency when given the chance, and he has found a new home with the Reds, with whom he may have a better shot at making the Opening Day roster.

With Jason Giambi, Shelley Duncan and Wilson Betemit all under contract, there just seemed to be too many cooks in the kitchen at first base -- actually, some would say there still are. Phillips did the Yankees a favor by going to Triple-A last year and, after working into their starting first baseman for a stretch, likely would have seen playing time in the playoffs if he hadn't been injured. Yet even Phillips would agree that a fresh start might be just what his career needs.

I have to agree. The Yanks DFA'd Andy twice. He was right to try and find a team who will value him more than the Yankees do.


posted by BubbaFan, 11:49 PM | link | 4 comments |

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

This 'n That

With no Bubba news to report, I've been going through the archives, finding older stuff to post. This photo is from 2005. No, it's not spring training. It's from batting practice during the regular season.

Meanwhile, on the hot stove...Santana talk is heating up again. Despite the "Yankees walking away from Santana" stuff that appeared in the media yesterday, Hank Steinbrenner says the Yanks are still in it:

New York Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner has not closed the door on a trade for Minnesota Twins left-hander Johan Santana.

"It's still in the deciding process," Steinbrenner said Monday night outside Legends Field at the Yankees' spring training complex. "We're still discussing it. There's still a little talk back and forth."

...Steinbrenner said reports that the Yankees recently withdrew a formal offer to the Twins are not true.

And the Twins seem to be getting just a little worried:

Are the Twins overplaying their hand in the Johan Santana trade talks?

It's possible. That thought came Monday, when ran the headline, "Source: Yankees again backing away from Santana."

If the Yankees ever truly reached the point of no return, it would theoretically cripple the Twins' leverage.

The article ends on an upbeat note, pointing out that the worst that could happen is Santana stays a Twin.

I don't buy it. The Twins want to deal Santana now, to get the most value for him. And after all the talk of stud prospects - Hughes, Ellsbury, Lester - getting a lesser return would be a huge disappointment. They might wait until spring training, but I think waiting until the trade deadline is a risk they won't take.

And speaking of spring training...the Yanks announced their list of spring training invitees, and SWB Yankees Blog has a rundown of each player's chances. He thinks Nick Green will make the roster.

There could of course be more players invited to spring training later.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:42 PM | link | 0 comments |

Monday, January 14, 2008

I Hate Mondays

Sigh. The wrong Manning won this weekend, and now both my football pool tickets are worthless. Worse, all the Giants and Packers fans I know have been ragging on me because my Cowboys lost. My e-mail box filled up with taunting messages seconds after the game ended. This morning at work, the smokers hanging out under the crabapple tree by the front door starting yelling at me as soon as I came in earshot. The nice security guard at the desk in the lobby, who is my brother in arms when it comes to the Yankees, is a diehard Giants fan and couldn't resist rubbing it in. Everyone from the woman who sits in the next cubicle to my boss had to get their digs in. I don't get it. I'm a nice person. When my team wins, I don't gloat. (Much. ;-)

Darned Tony Romo broke my heart again. I've been avoiding the sports news ever since. However, I did peek in at Baseball America's minor league transaction report. It usually goes up Monday afternoon. I was hoping there would be news about Bubba to distract me from yesterday's disaster, but no such luck. A lot of players were released, but not that many were signed. Though Aaron Herr, a Louisville Bat infielder last year, was picked up by the Cleveland Indians.

There's not that much trading going on at all, really. Maybe they're still gearing up from the holidays. Or maybe everyone's waiting to see where Santana lands.

Speaking of which, ESPN reports that the Yankees have pulled their offer for Santana off the table:

For the second time this offseason, the Yankees have pulled their Phil Hughes-centered trade offer for Johan Santana off the table.

The Yankees, then, will not restart trade talks with the Twins unless Hank Steinbrenner has another change of heart, a baseball official with knowledge of the talks told 1050 ESPN Radio's Andrew Marchand.

I dunno. Was the offer ever off the table in the first place? I still think it's all posturing.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:16 PM | link | 5 comments |

Sunday, January 13, 2008

San Diego Super Chargers

Well, there goes my pick in the office Super Bowl pool. One of them, anyway. I have two tickets, one with Dallas going all the way, one with Indy going all the way. Guess I can rip up the Indy one. Hopefully (at least for my football pool chances), we'll have a Manning-free playoffs by later tonight. Though everyone's picking the Cowboys to win, which makes me kind of nervous.

I was reading the (virtual) NY Times this morning, and came across this article. It was the illustration that caught my eye:

Very cute. Though the article is actually not about sports at all. It's about the biological underpinnings of human morality. Fascinating stuff. Turns out, morality has little basis in rationality. It's hard-wired in the human brain; our moral reactions are visceral. Basically, there are five elements of morality: harm, fairness, community/loyalty, authority and purity. When people disagree about moral issues, it's because they rank those elements differently. So, for example, people who rank respect for authority over not causing harm may well decide that naming a teddy bear "Mohammed" is a death-penalty offense.

And I guess that Yankee fan in the picture better hope that the Red Sox fans that surround him value not causing harm over loyalty to the group. ;-)

posted by BubbaFan, 4:25 PM | link | 1 comments |

Friday, January 11, 2008


Looks like it was outfielder day on the Hot Stove. The Brewers landed Mike Cameron. Says Rosenthal:

The Yankees had pursued Cameron, but their decision to pass on him indicates that they still could be considering a trade for Twins left-hander Johan Santana. They might not have been willing to absorb the salaries of both Cameron and Santana, sources say.

Either that, or they're not trading Melky for Santana, and don't need a center fielder?

The A's signed Emil Brown. Presumably, this is because they are sending Mark Kotsay to the Braves.

Meanwhile, the Reds hired the Cards' former GM, Walk Jocketty. No, not to replace Wayne Krivsky. Jocketty will be a "special adviser" to owner and chief executive Bob Castellini. I imagine he will take over some of Krivsky's responsibilities, but I wouldn't read this as a vote of no-confidence in Krivsky or anything. A lot of teams are adding more brass at the top. I think Castellini just wanted Jocketty - in addition to Krivsky, not instead of him.

MLB Trade Rumors has an analysis of Jocketty. He's an excellent horsetrader, but not so hot at drafting and developing young players. He's old school, and doesn't like the new-fangled sabermetrics:

Supposedly Jocketty deeply (ticked) off his bosses - owner Bill DeWitt and team president Mark Lamping - for failing to develop an amicable working relationship with VP of player development (and stat maven) Jeff Luhnow. Supposedly Luhnow lived in fear of being seen around Busch Stadium, especially with reporters, for fear it would get back to Jocketty. And the Jocketty wing of the organization - the old-school scouting types - generally treated Luhnow, according to one source, "like a war criminal."

Yikes. If true, it's not good news for Cincinnati. IMO, a small market team like Cincinnati can't afford to ignore sabermetrics.

posted by BubbaFan, 9:42 PM | link | 2 comments |

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bubba's spring training jersey

Came across another item bought at Redsfest, for sale on eBay. It's one of Bubba's spring training jerseys:

Here's the description:

For auction here is a great #16 Bubba Crosby Cincinatti Reds spring training/BP jersey from 2007. It is the new cool base BP jerseys that were first worn in spring training in 2007. The material is much lighter weight then previous BP jersey. The name, numbers and logo have a felt look that seem to be heat sealed onto the jersey. The jersey is manufactured by Majestic and is a size 46. It has the 0068 code in the hem of the jersey. The jersey has been faded from sunlight and numerous washings. It was acquired directly from the Reds organization.

Nice item. I like those red jerseys. I was thinking about buying one, but worried that it would fade or run in the wash, as red often does. Sounds like fading is indeed an issue. I mean, jeez, he only wore it a month. OTOH, it was Bubba. That poor jersey's probably been through a lot of scrubbing.

It's getting to crunch time, with pitchers and catchers reporting in little more than a month. I hope Bubba finds a home soon. The suspense is killing me.

Someone noted in the comments that the Yankees are rumored to be pursuing Mike Cameron. Interesting. If that's true, they are planning to trade Melky...or they don't have much faith in him as a starter.

There's also this:

Just in case Jason Giambi, Shelley Duncan and Wilson Betemit aren't enough at first base heading to spring training, the Yankees have interest in adding free agent Jason Lane, according to a source.

Cashman was on YES tonight, and he confirmed that the Yankees have signed Lane to a minor league deal. He is actually an outfielder, but they want to convert him to first base.

Speaking of first basemen...former Yankee Josh Phelps signed a minor league deal with the Cards. He could get as much as $1 million. Cheez Whiz. That seems like a lot, for a guy who couldn't even stick with the Pirates.

Lots of rumors about Bedard and Santana today. They are contradictory. The Reds are offering a huge package for Bedard. No, they've lost interest and aren't signing any more starting pitchers. The Yankees are back in hot pursuit of Santana. No, they aren't, they've decided the price is too high. It all sounds like more posturing to me. Today, it sounds like Santana will end up with the Mets. But that's what they were saying about the Red Sox and the Yankees earlier.

posted by BubbaFan, 8:11 PM | link | 4 comments |

Monday, January 07, 2008

Monday Link-o-Rama

It's halftime at the BCS championship. I hate the long halftimes of these "special" games. Just play the game already.

Some links of interest...

The Pittsburgh Pirates are interested in Ron Villone.

The Yankees have hired Pete Mackanin as a major league scout. Mackanin was the Reds' interim manager, after Jerry Narron was fired. While the Reds promised he'd have a job if he needed it, he felt it would be awkward to go back to being a scout in the same organization where he'd been the manager.

I wonder if Bucky Dent's had any offers? He was fired along with Narron.

The SWB Yankees Blog has an overview of last year's Scranton team. Where they are now, etc. Pretty interesting. Very few players are left. Many were released or lost to free agency; some were called up or traded. (There's still no word on whether Sardinha will be back.)

A sad story here: Where Once Brooklyn Triumphed, a Tragic Scene.

I found this eBay auction curious. It's one of Bubba's game-used bats. Cracked, so it's cheap. The bat says "Yankees" on it, but it also has #16 on the knob. Which Bubba wore with the Reds in spring training and with the Bats in Louisville, but never wore with the Yanks. So he must have brought that bat with him from NY.

What I found interesting was that it was apparently bought at Redsfest last month. Seems a rather odd item for the Reds to be selling, since Bubba played only in spring training for them. Did they just sell everything that was left behind in the locker room or what?

Well, halftime is over and it's not looking good for the Buckeyes. Can't say I'm too broken-hearted. Hey, I'm a Michigan fan.

Hawai`i is losing June Jones. He's heading to Southern Methodist. They offered him a $10 million contract. Meanwhile, Hawai`i can't even afford soap for their locker rooms. Sigh.

posted by BubbaFan, 10:09 PM | link | 5 comments |

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Decline and Fall of the Cashman Empire

People have been talking since at least last season about Cashman's rumored loss of power in the Yankees organization. In 2006, he was on top of the world. He made a couple of deadline deals that seemed astonishingly good (Craig Wilson, Bobby Abreu, Cory Lidle). Adoring fans wanted to buy Cashman jerseys. Word was that the Yankees had agreed to let Cashman have the final say, banishing the "Tampa Cabal."

It didn't last long. On Friday, Hank Steinbrenner spoke to an AP reporter about Johan Santana. It's been rumored that Hank is at odds with brother Hal, the bean-counter of the organization, who doesn't want to spend the money it would take to get Santana.

Speaking yesterday outside Legends Field in Tampa, Steinbrenner essentially confirmed a report that indicated he still wants to make a deal for the Twins' ace but is facing opposition from his brother Hal, who has concerns about the financial implications of adding Santana to the team's $200 million payroll.

"I'm still leaning towards doing it," Hank Steinbrenner told the Associated Press.

"There's others leaning not to do it. There are some others that are leaning to do it also. Disagreements within the organization. Nothing major, but just different opinions. I've changed my opinion a couple times."

But perhaps more interesting is his comment on Cashman:

Though Yankee GM Brian Cashman has a say in the process, Steinbrenner indicated that ownership will make the final call on pursuing a deal...

The fact Cashman won't have final say on whether the Yankees pursue a deal indicates the GM, whose contract expires next fall, has lost much of the authority he gained following the 2005 season, when he contemplated leaving the organization.

"I always told [Cashman], 'I'm going to make the final decisions because when you're the owner you should,'" Steinbrenner said. "He is the general manager, and he has the right to talk me out of it."

Yesterday, Cashman weighed in, and seemingly confirmed what Hank said:

“The dynamics are changing with us,” said Cashman... “When I signed up with this current three-year deal, and this is the last year of it, it was with full authority to run the entire program. George (Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ owner) had given me that. But things have changed in this third year now with the emergence of Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and that started this winter.

“I’ll be honest, I’m learning as I go along, too. But it is different. But the one thing is that I’ve been with this family, the Steinbrenner family, for well over 20 years, so I’m focused fully on doing everything I can to assist them in their emergence now as decision makers. But it is definitely different than it has been the last two years.”

NYYFans sees this as warning from Cashman that he could walk at the end of this year, when his contract is up. Perhaps. But I'm not sure this is the best way to deal with Hank. He seems too clueless to detect subtle messages like that. And if he does, it seems more likely to tick him off than to get him to change his ways.

Cashman seems to be blaming the Steinbrenner sons for his decreased influence within the organization, but I wonder if might have happened anyway. Even when Cashman was first granted his increased authority, many wondered how long it would last. The Yankees expect to win every season, and if they don't, there's hell to pay. The Boss even said that if the Yankees failed to win, it would be Cashman's fault, not Torre's or anyone else's.

Well, the Yankees haven't won. Some of Cashman's luster began to fade in the 2006 post-season, when despite those great deadline trades, the Yankees washed out of the playoffs early. In fact, the players gained in those deals had little to no impact, then or in the following season. Lidle passed away when his plane hit a Manhattan building. Craig Wilson was released, and ended up missing almost the whole season after shoulder surgery. Abreu got off to a terrible start, and though he rebounded eventually, he was something of a disappointment for the season.

And Cashman brought some of it on himself. He laid down the law early last season, saying he wouldn't talk about extensions until after the season was over. It ended up costing him. If he'd been willing to make the deals early, he could have probably signed Mo and Jorgie to shorter contracts than they ended up getting. And he might have been able to prevent A-Rod from opting out.

But he insisted on waiting until after the season. By then, the market had changed. And A-Rod opted out, making it much harder for the Yankees to lose the switch-hitting Posada, their second-best right-handed bat.

I'm not sure what to make of all this. I'm glad Cashman has nurtured the farm system, and is open to "new school" stuff like sabermetrics. OTOH, he might take it too far. The Yankees want to win, not just have a good farm system. Would it have killed him to sign Mo to a deal in the spring, instead of waiting until after the season? Yes, the stat-heads warn that relievers can fall off the cliff quickly, so logically, you should wait until the last minute to sign them. But this was Mo, not just any reliever. He was clearly hurt that Cashman wouldn't make a deal early, and I suspect that cost the Yanks later. Sometimes the logical thing to do isn't the smart thing, if you know what I mean.

The Yankees going back to their dysfunctional warring factions, complete with meddling owner, doesn't seem like a good thing. OTOH, maybe it's a good thing for Cashman's decisions to be tempered a bit by others in the organization.

posted by BubbaFan, 4:11 PM | link | 3 comments |

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Andy's Chances

So, what are Andy Phillips' chances of making the roster in beautiful Ohio? At first blush, it doesn't seem like a very good fit. The Reds are well-stocked in the infield. Let's take a look...

3B: Edwin Elpidio Encarnacion. A young player with plenty of upside. He'll start, unless he's traded. Which doesn't seem likely, because the Reds need righty bats.

2B: Brandon Phillips. Another young player with a bright future ahead of him. He's rumored to be disliked in the clubhouse, but as long as he produces, they'll put up with him.

1B: Lefty Scott Hatteberg was the Reds' most productive player last year. Joey Votto, the Reds' best hitting prospect not named Jay Bruce, is also a lefty, and he is ready for the big leagues. If he doesn't start the season in Cincinnati, he'll probably be called up in June.

SS: Alex Gonzalez, formerly of the Red Sox. The Reds seem to really like him, and he produced last year, so I don't think he's going anywhere.

Reserves: The Reds have a wealth of reserve infielders. The slick-fielding Juan Castro, "Manos de oro," is getting up there and is no longer quite so slick-fielding. And he can't hit a lick. However, he's got a big contract, and he can play SS, so the Reds will probably keep him. Jeff Keppinger played very well last season, and has become a fan favorite. Many want to see him start. He can also play corner OF, so he's versatile. Ryan Freel, super-sub, can play infield as well as outfield. Paul Janish (like Bubba, a Rice alum) will be ready for the big leagues soon, if he isn't already. Not sure if the Reds would use him as a backup; they may be planning for him to be A-Gon's successor at SS.

It's possible one or more of these players will be traded. But as it stands...if there's a spot for Andy, it's probably at first base, as a platoon partner for Hatteberg. Last year, Jeff Conine had that role. After he was traded, they got Jorge Cantu to replace him. They wanted to keep Cantu, but Cantu asked for more money than they were willing to give him. (He signed for a very modest amount with the Marlins, so I guess either he over-estimated his value, or he really didn't want to stay in Cincinnati. I could understand that; he could be a starter for the Fish. There's no way he'd start for the Reds.)

So, my guess is that Andy is competing to be the next Conine/Cantu. The right-handed half of a first base platoon.

The only problem with that is that Andy's splits are reversed. At least in the majors. He's hit lefties better than righties throughout his minor league career. But in the big leagues, it's the other way around.

The first year, I thought it was a fluke. But he was DFA'd, cleared waivers, and ended up on Scranton. Where he smoked the southpaws. Then he was called up again, and once again, his splits reversed.

Maybe the Reds haven't noticed. Maybe they think it's a fluke (and perhaps it is). Anyways, if Andy wants to make the Reds' roster, he'll have to prove that he can hit lefties. That is what the Reds are looking for. They have plenty of guys who can hit righties.


posted by BubbaFan, 12:57 PM | link | 5 comments |

Friday, January 04, 2008

Reds sign Andy Phillips

Andy's heading to Cincinnati. Hopefully, he has better luck there than Bubba did.

Reds sign IF Phillips

The Cincinnati Reds on Friday signed infielder Andy Phillips to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.

Good luck to you, Andy!

UPDATE: Baseball America has updated their transaction list. Still no word on Bubba, but Matt DeSalvo signed with the Braves. Caonabo Cosme signed with the Tiggers.

The Cardinals signed Cliff Politte. (He was the pitcher who was DFA'd the day after Bubba hit a home run off him.)

And the Yankees have signed RHP Scott Strickland, LHP Heath Phillips, LHP Billy Traber, C Jason Brown, and 2B Nick Green.


posted by BubbaFan, 7:54 PM | link | 2 comments |

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Well, it was a pretty disastrous night for Hawai'i. Can't say I was too surprised, but I was disappointed. I was hoping they'd at least put up more of a fight. Alas, the WAC is a pretty weak conference, and Hawai`i just wasn't prepared to play with the big boys. They started out making lots of stupid mistakes due to nerves, and never recovered.

And now they might lose their coach. June Jones has been offered big bucks to coach at SMU. It's kind of surprising he's stayed with Hawai`i as long as he has. But he likes the islands, even turning down NFL opportunities because he'd rather live in paradise. So maybe he'll stay put.

Real life has been unexpectedly crazy lately. (Oil hit $100/barrel, and a lot of people are going nuts. If this keeps up, expect $5/gallon gasoline this summer.) So I haven't been keeping up on sports news as much as usual.

However, I did see this. Hank Steinbrenner says the Yankees are still in the Santana chase. He thinks the Yankees' offer is the best the Twins have gotten, and it is still on the table (despite other reports saying it had been withdrawn). He didn't say what the offer was, but it's rumored to be Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, Jeff Marquez, and another prospect.

posted by BubbaFan, 11:44 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Hail to the Victors

Hail! to the victors valiant
Hail! to the conquering heroes
Hail! Hail! to Michigan,
The champions of the West!

Okay, "champions" isn't very accurate this year. But Michigan won a thriller today, and it was good to see after their generally lousy year. With a pro team, there's always "wait 'til next year." It's different with college ball. A lot of the players won't be back next year. May never play again, even. So it's nice to see them go out on a high note.

I'm looking forward to the Sugar Bowl tonight. This is a really, really big deal for the good people of Hawai`i. Hawai`i is a public university, and doesn't have the kind of money many private schools have. They serve a relatively small population - one not big enough to support a pro football or baseball team. And it's an ethnic melting pot, with a lot of people of Asian descent. This means the locals tend to be smaller than mainlanders - not an advantage when you're recruiting for a football team.

But this year, they are undefeated, and they're playing in the Sugar Bowl. Shortages of tickets and hotel rooms are driving the prices up. My aunt and uncle will be going to the game. She has "connections" and got a bargain: $3,000, including hotel, tickets, and airfare. (Definitely too rich for my blood!)

For many fans, this will be their first look at Hawai`i's "run and shoot" offense. I've always liked the run and shoot. The old Houston Oilers were famous for it. It didn't take them all the way, though, and that kind of led to its decline. But June Jones is still a believer, and he's been pretty successful with it, all things considered.

I hope Hawai`i at least puts up a good fight, or I won't be able to show my (virtual) face at C. Trent Rosecrans' new blog. (The Cincinnati Post published its last edition yesterday, so his old blog is going bye-bye.) He's a Georgia alum, and will no doubt be rooting for the Bulldogs.

posted by BubbaFan, 6:37 PM | link | 4 comments |