Category Archives: Media

New bio on Billy Martin out

Recently, I got a book sent to me in the mail. An advance copy. It is about 500 pages, and from what I’ve skimmed through so far, it may be the most definitive biography of Billy Martin there is.

The book is Billy Martin: Baseball’s Flawed Genius, by Bill Pennington (HMH, $30.00).

Billy was a complex character. No bio on Billy would be a short one and this one is about 500 pages. It appears well worth it.

S.T. Game 7. Yanks edge Nationals, 3-2.

The Yanks improved their S.T. record to 4-2-1 with a 3-2 win over Washington today. (MLB.com, I think, is broadcasting the game at 8 tonight (Sunday)).

A-Rod got his first action in the field, fielding one sharply hit grounder. As he himself stated, don’t expect an Ozzie Smith-type year. Meaning not great fielding or range, just make the routine play. Of course, we don’t expect to see A-Rod at 3B too much this year, mostly at DH. Chase Headley should be the regular 3B, barring injury.  A-Rod did get a Texas-league bloop double in the game, and also struck out.

After Washington scored in the top of the first on a first-pitch-of-the-game HR off of Adam Warren, the Yanks tied it in the fourth on a Brett Gardner single.

The Yanks went up 2-1 in the fourth on a single by Jose Pirela. It is starting to look like Brendan Ryan (abdominal injury) may not be ready for Opening Day, so Pirela and Refsnyder could be battling for a spot on the Opening Day Roster. Neither is the backup SS you would want, but Drew could slide over. The problem is that Drew, like Gregorious, is a lefty hitter. While considered more of a utilty man, and especially at 2B/3B/OF, Pirela, a righty bat, has played most of his minor league games at SS (364 games, as opposed to 300 at 2B), although he really isn’t considered a SS prospect. Still, his versatility (Refsnyder isn’t a SS) and SS experience could help him make the team if Ryan isn’t ready. Pirela was 2 for 3 today.

The Nationals tied the game in the top of the seventh, but the Yanks pushed ahead the winning run in the eighth on a single by infielder Cole Figueroa. Figueroa has played 2B/SS/3B in his minor league career. He is a lefty bat, however. He is 10 for 43 in his MLB career, 0 HR, 6 RBI, all with Tampa Bay last year. Nick Noonan is also a possibility as a backup infielder, but he also is a lefty hitter (.219-0-5 in 105 AB with SF last year). He has mostly 2B/SS experience.

I don’t know who the prospects would be, but a report on MLB Trade Rumors says that the Yankees have put together the best package as far as trying to lure Cole Hamels away from the Phillies. No word on what prospects would be given up for Hamels. The Red Sox were seeking a top catching prospect that Boston didn’t want to give up, so you wonder if the Phils would want a Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine or John Ryan Murphy as part of the package. The Phils would love to dump Ryan Howard and his salary (could they be interested in Greg Bird?). Chase Utley isn’t getting younger and if the Phils want to dump him to anyone (of course, we have to consider no-trade clauses here) they could be interested in a Refsnyder. MLBTR reports that in addition to the prospects, the Phils would want the other team to pick up ALL of Hamels’ salary. That, to me, is unrealistic for the 31 year old Hamels, who is due $23.5 MM through 2018 with a big 2019 option. Could or would Hamels fit in with the Yanks? Of course. A very good lefty, and could you imagine a rotation of Tanaka-Hamels-Pineda-CC and Eovaldi (with Nova in reserve)? Pushing Capuano out and replacing him with Hamels? With Luis Severino in reserve? Actually, I don’t think Severino would be in reserve. I think the Phils would insist on Severino as part of the package. But that rotation, if healthy, could be one good rotation. Tanaka-Hamels-Pineda-CC and Eovaldi. With Nova in reserve. R-L-R-L-R.

Hamels, 108-83, 3.27, has been the victim of poor run support in Philadelphia. His ERA+ is 125, but his 162 g. average is 13-10, 3.27. With a 3.27 career ERA, you’d expect better. He was both the NLCS and WS MVP in 2008. To show how little run support he got, last year he was just 9-9 despite an ERA of 2.46. Despite that, he finished 6th in the NL CYA voting.

As for getting Hamels, I have mixed emotions. I need to see how much the Yanks would have to give up and how much salary they would have to take on.

But maybe Texas now goes full bore for Hamels because it appears as if Yu Darvish will be out for the year due to probably needing Tommy John surgery.

Not only that, but apparently Cliff Lee’s elbow is barking again. Not good news for the Phils, who want to dump aging players that are making too much money (sound familiar, Yankees fans?) but are finding it tough to find takers and who are probably asking for too much of a return.

Good news regarding the question marks of Tanaka, Pineda and CC. All are progressing nicely (fingers crossed) and all should see spring training action soon. None of the three is reporting any concerns on recent injuries (Tanaka elbow, Pineda shoulder and CC knee).

The pitching line today.

Adam Warren 3 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 0 walks and 1 K. His first pitch was hit for a HR.
Adam Miller 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K.
Dellin Betances 1 IP, 0 R 0 H, 0 walks and 2 K.
Luis Severino 1 1/3 IP, 1 R (UNEARNED) 2 H, 1 walk and 3 K. The Yanks’ top pitching prospect was hitting 96/97 today.
Jeff Pazos 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk and 0 k.
Wilkin Rodriguez 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K.
Jared Burton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks and 1 K.

One reason I don’t put too much credence in games this early—Adam Miller will not be pitching in the 4th inning in the regular season this year, nor will Dellin Betances be pitching in the 5th.

 

 

 

 

Chisox great Minoso dead at 89.

In a few days, I’ll be starting the daily S.T. games with the scores and recaps.

Just five weeks ago, Chicago lost a legend in Cubs great Ernie Banks. Now White Sox fans have lost a legend in Minnie Minoso, who died today at the age of 89.

Minoso was the first black to play for a Chicago team. He started his career with Cleveland (1949, 1951) went to the White Sox (1951-1957), back to Cleveland (II, 1958-1959), back to the White Sox (II, 1960-1961), the St. Louis Cardinals in 1962, Washington Senators 1963 and the White Sox 1964, 1976 and 1980. Yes, you read that right. At the age of 50, Minoso went 1 for 8 in 1976 for the White Sox as a publicity stunt (play in 4 decades) and he was 0 for 2 in 1980 at age 54 to have him play in 5 decades.

Primarily a LF, Minoso had a 162 g. ave. of .298-16-90 with 18 SB and an OPS+ of 130. Four times he finished 4th in MVP voting, and he finished 8th another year. He was an All-Star in seven different years, a 3x Gold Glove winner, and led the league in hits once, doubles once, triples 3x, SB 3x, total bases once and getting HBP 10x. He hasn’t made the HOF yet and never appeared in a postseaso game.

Besides getting a new Marty Appel book, I also am receiving a new bio on Billy Martin. Here is the press release…

This spring, award-winning New York Times sportswriter Bill Pennington offers the clear-eyed and quintessential biography of one of the most hauntingly mercurial and endearing characters in the history of sport. “BILLY MARTIN: Baseball’s Flawed Genius” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 7, 2015) presents Martin’s almost unimaginable ascent from hard-punching Bay Area ragamuffin to purveyor of the art of baseball cheered by millions, friend of the cultural elite of his era, and regular on the back pages of the New York tabloid newspapers.
From his early playing years as the firebrand second baseman of the perennial champion New York Yankees to his years as a journeyman manager, he had his way (aka “Billy Ball”). And Billy’s way was like no one else. It was a magnificent combination of learned baseball knowledge and intuitive logic mixed with incredible guts. He was a cunning strategist. He was a winner. Martin had a beautiful baseball mind and was in love with the game. He became alive just before the first pitch of every game, but over a quarter of a century after his tragic death, his demons—alcoholism, insecurity, paranoia, womanizing, fisticuffs, and risky behavior—have tragically come to define him. Until now.
Across the decades, Pennington addresses the fractured depiction of Billy Martin and completes the story of this complicated, but compassionate and endearing man beyond the many hires and firings, brawls and brouhahas, and other episodes within his decades-long tumult outside the lines. His genius, however flawed, is not properly appreciated or understood, but Pennington takes great pains to rectify that. For the first time, Pennington spent time with all four of Martin’s wives to generate the complete portrait of the man. No other journalist or biographer has received this much access. Martin’s was a dynamic, memorable life of accomplishment and great baseball.
 “BILLY MARTIN” also covers:
  • How he was ridiculed for his overly large nose and jug ears in his youth, helping develop his quick trigger
  • His claim that he “never started a fight in his life”
  • The importance of Kenney Park in Martin’s baseball life
  • The original odd couple: Unlikely buddies Joe DiMaggio and Billy Martin
  • How he hobnobbed with the cultural icons of his generation: Frank Sinatra, Rock Marciano, Doris Day, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Gleason, and Lucille Ball, among many others
  • His use of amphetamine tablets during his playing days
  • His close relationship with Casey Stengel
  • The friendships with Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle
  • The story behind the infamous fight at the Copacabana in 1957
  • The strategic marketing plan of the Yankees front office to cast Billy as an unwelcome influence on Mantle
  • The depth of the heartbreak after his trade from the Yankees in 1957
  • Billy magical managerial triumphs for teams in Minnesota, Detroit, Texas and Oakland
  • The affect of the dugout conflict with Reggie Jackson on national TV in 1977
  • Reggie’s claims of Martin’s bigotry
  • The never-ending circuslike atmosphere of 1977
  • The hypnotic and surreal love-hate Billy-George-Reggie triangle
  • The classic Miller Lite commercials
  • How juggling wives and paramours was a major distraction during his career
  • Accounts that some of the women he dated were underage
  • His reputation as a one-year manager
  • The bizarre moments of the 1983 season including Brett’s pine tar home run and Winfield’s dead sea gull
  • The emotional Billy Martin Day in 1986
  • Blow by blow of his well-known fight with Yankees’ pitcher Ed Whitson
  • Whether he should be considered for Cooperstown.
  • The account of a secret meeting with Steinbrenner, where the plan to re-hire Martin again in 1990 was devised
  • Whether Billy was the driver or passenger in his fatal car crash
  • Jill Martin—Billy’s widow—breaks her silence 25 years later about the final moments of Martin’s life

 

 

 

New Book, Tark the Shark.

ex-UNLV college basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian died a few days ago at age 84. Meanwhile, a nod as I was sent a book, Pinstripe Pride, The Inside Story of the New York Yankees. I thank whoever sent it. It’s written by Marty Appel, and I have a few books by him—all excellent.

Santana, Moncado, $$$ and what is old is new again.

Apparently the Yanks are still interested in Johan Santana as a low-risk, high-reward option. Santana is scheduled to start a game in the Venezuelan league soon and the Yankees are said to be one of six teams interested. Santana has pitched in the majors in just one season since 2010, and that was 2012. The 2x CYA winner will be 36 next year and would be seen as a back-of-the-rotation option. Who knows if there is anything left. In his only season since 2012, Santana was 6-9, 4.85 for the Mets. He did throw the only no-no in Mets history that year, although it was tainted. A ball ruled foul was really a fair ball. The batter? Carlos Beltran.

The Yanks are very interested, and had a workout for, 19 year old infielder Yoan Moncado. He profiles at 2B or 3B but could be moved to the outfield. The Cuban defector is a switch-hitter and estimates in order to sign him go at $30MM. Keep an eye on this development.

The Yanks traded recently DFA’d Gonzalez Germen to Texas for cash. Germen was made available when the Yanks picked up Chris Martin from Colorado for $$$.

Finally, what is old is new again. The Yanks non-Cable (non-YES) games will not be on My9 this year, but are moving…. to WPIX, Channel 11. Many of us grew up with the Yanks and Channel 11. Now the Mets are there as well, but apparently the 25 Mets games and 21 Yankees games will not be overlapping. If only we could get back the Scooter, Bill White and Frank Messer. Only White, at 80, is still alive.

What is more interesting, is that my cable company wanted to can WPIX for other stations just a month ago. Due to protests, they kept WPIX, Channel 11 from NY. Had they canned them, and then THIS development happened, the protests that just occurred would have been a drop in the bucket to the protests that WOULD have occurred.

If you were Cashman….

If I were Cashman….

 

Ok. There are a lot of thoughts out there as to what someone would do if they were the GM of the Yanks. If they were Cashman. Here is what I would do. Here is what some think will happen. Feel free to add what you would do.

Remember, you don’t have an unlimited budget. You have to work within the constraints and budget that Hal Steinbrenner gives you.

Also, realize that you are stuck with some ballplayers. McCann has four years left on his deal. A-Rod and Teix two, CC a couple, two for Beltran, six for Ellsbury and Tanaka, etc.

So, I’ll take this position by position, and check into free agents and upgrades.

 

Catcher: McCann has four years left. He led the Yanks in HR and RBI in 2014 with 23 and 75. He only hit .232. The OPS+ was just 93. I’ll take the power numbers, but the average has to increase. Now, as for Cervelli, Romine, Murphy and Sanchez, you now have five catchers (inc. McCann) for the majors and AAA. That is too many. Someone (or two) has to go. McCann will get most of the playing time in the majors. Someone has to get most of the time at AAA (Sanchez?). That means you have to choose on backups. There isn’t enough playing time to go around. The Yanks have to decide who will back up McCann on the MLB level, and who will be the top starter (prospect) at AAA. Someone, or two, have to go. The Yanks have to decide who stays, and who gets included in a package deal. They also need to know what the market would bring for a Cervelli, Romine, Murphy…

So… if I were Cashman, I move one or two of these catchers in a package deal.

 

Infield/DH: You are stuck with Teixeira at 1B. You are stuck with A-Rod as probably the DH (with some time at 3B and maybe backup to the fragile Teix at 1B). Martin Prado fits in here somewhere at 2B or 3B. Ok, do you bring back Chase Headley for 3B/1B? Apparently the Yanks are talking to him about doing so. If they bring him back, does that mean Prado will be at 2B in 2015 and Headley at 3B (with A-Rod mostly DH-ing and playing 3B or 1B only when Headley or Teix need a breather?)

What about Jose Pirela or Rob Refsnyder? Both hit .300 at AAA in 2014. Pirela is more versatile than Refsnyder. Do you give one, or both, a chance?

And what about SS? Brendan Ryan has a good glove, but couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat. Hanley Ramirez is a free agent, but he has been injured recently and some think he is better suited for 3B now than SS. That doesn’t help the Yanks. Ramirez, 31 next year, if healthy, can give .290-20-95 with 20 SB. If the Yanks don’t get him, they could go after a lower-tier SS like bringing back Stephen Drew, or going after Asdrubal Cabrera or Jed Lowrie.

What I would do is something different. Last year at the trade deadline, the Cubs picked up a top SS prospect from the A’s in the Samadzija/Hammel deal. Now, do they want the young prospect at SS, or do they want to keep Starlin Castro there? Is Castro available now that they have that young top prospect? Castro is 25, a 3x All-Star. Eventually the Yanks have to get younger. A 3x All-Star who is only 25 is a nice way to go. The only thing is, will the Cubs trade and who will they trade? They have a lot of money and some indications are they will go “full Steinbrenner” mode and spend a lot on free agents this offseason. So are they open to a trade?

Another trade possibility could be with the Rockies for Troy Tulowitzki. Tulo, like Ramirez, would come with injury questions. Great players, but they have to stay on the field. Ramirez is a free agent, while you would have to work out a trade for Tulo.

My first option: with the young prospect that the Cubs have for SS, see about a deal (and include one of the catchers listed above—Cervelli, Romine or Murphy) in a package deal for Castro. Maybe include Sanchez if necessary (after all, you have McCann for four more years). Tulo and Ramirez are some five to six years older than Castro. Maybe the Cubs don’t go for the package deal. Maybe they are fixed on free agent Russell Martin for catcher. See about a trade first for Castro. Then see about one for Tulo. Then go after Ramirez if the trades are not there. There is less talk about Castro or Tulo not cutting it at SS any more than there is with Ramirez.

Of course if Castro, Tulo, Ramirez fail, then there is plan B—-Drew, Lowrie, Cabrera.

I also let Headley go. I go with the kids Refsnyder and Pirela, and play Prado at 3B. I don’t think the Yanks will do that. I think they will go full in for Headley at 3B, want Prado at 2B and want to give Refsnyder more time at AAA. What they do with Pirela, I don’t know. Maybe a backup. But I give Refsnyder the job at 2B. I make Pirela (who can play five positions) a utility guy and I let Headley go.

Outfield: You have Gardner, Ellsbury and Beltran. If A-Rod Dh’s, Beltran has to be able to play RF. They could use a righty bat to compliment these players. Soriano is gone. Chris Young was there late last year.

My choice: sign Michael Morse as a free agent. His defense isn’t the best, but the dude can hit. He can play LF/RF and back up Teix at 1B.

 

So if I had 13 position players to start 2015 with, here are my choices.

C: McCann 1B: Teixeira 2B: Refsnyder (give the rookie a shot) SS: Castro (or Ramirez or Tulo) 3B: Prado. LF: Gardner CF: Ellsbury RF: Beltran DH: A-Rod.

Ok, that is 9. Now, four backups.

My choices: Backup C: Cervelli (or Murphy, whoever isn’t dealt). Sanchez at AAA with Murphy or Romine, whoever is still here.

Jose Pirela: He can play 1B, 2B. 3B, LF or RF. Versatile. Give the kid a shot, along with Refsnyder.

Mike Morse. Can fill in at LF/RF/1B and DH.

Brendan Ryan. Last guy on the bench. Glove man. All infield positions. Mostly backup at 2B and SS.

Pitchers. Assuming Kuroda is retiring.

Let McCarthy go via free agency.

Go full bore after Max Scherzer. Lester and Shields are available as Plan B if you don’t get Scherzer. Apparently the Cubs want Lester, Boston wants Shields. The Cubs could go for Scherzer AND Lester. But Scherzer, 30, 39-8 in the past two years, is priority #1.

The rotation could then be Scherzer, Tanaka, Pineda, CC (aging and coming off a knee injury, he drops to #4) and Shane Greene. It’s nice to have two aces at the top. Even three.

If Greene fails at #5, Ivan Nova comes back from TJ surgery next year, probably at mid-season.

You also could fill the #5 slot with Phelps, Manny Banuelos (if he isn’t dealt in a package deal), Bryan Mitchell (package deal?), or Jaron Long (same thing).

 

Go full out in keeping Robertson (the Yanks made him a qualifying offer, will he accept?). That way, Betances can stay as a setup guy (and you could use him two innings at a time). Phelps, Warren and Kelley make five relief guys, with Phelps and Warren able to give more than one inning and being available to spot start if needed. This leaves room for two lefties. Give Jacob Lindgren a shot. Maybe bring back David Huff, who can give innings also.

 

There are still problems with the team. I’m not sold on Beltran, A-Rod, McCann and Teix being the 4-7 hitters (in whatever order). There is still some age.

But I try to bring in some youth in Lindgren, Refsnyder, and Pirela. I try to have a two or three-ace pitching rotation with Scherzer and Tanaka. It’s three if Pineda (1.89 ERA in 2014) can stay healthy. Four if CC can be CC again (I don’t think it’ll happen).

I look for some versatility in Prado (mostly 3B, but can play 2B, LF, RF), Morse (LF/RF/1B) and Pirela (1B/2B/3B/LF/RF). Look for A-Rod to mostly DH but fill in at 1B/3B.

Anyway, for me, I go one big free agent splash (Scherzer), one minor one (Morse) and then see about acquisition #3… either big free agent splash (Ramirez) or big trade (Tulo or Castro).

That is what I’d do… as for others….

MLB Trade Rumors and SI have the Yanks getting Scherzer and Ramirez.

However, in the NY Post, Ken Davidoff has them getting neither, but getting cheaper alternatives.

So here is my team, with the crossouts from my team with a line through them, and then the Davidoff replacements following in italic.

McCann, Cervelli or Murphy, Teixeira, Refsnyder, Headley , Prado, Ramirez (or Tulo or Castro), Drew, A-Rod, Ryan, Pirela. So it would look like the infield would be Headley at 3B, Prado at 2B with Drew at SS. No offense to Drew, but a big comedown from my hoping for Castro, Ramirez or Tulowitzki.

Outfield: Gardner, Ellsbury, Beltran, Morse. (maybe the Yanks go cheap and instead of Morse, keep Chris Young. Again, a comedown?)

 

Pitching: Scherzer, McCarthy, Tanaka, Pineda, CC and Greene. (with Nova coming back mid-season if someone falters/gets hurt)

Robertson, Betances, Warren, Phelps, Kelley, Lindgren and Huff. Andrew Miller. Not sure who would be scratched, Huff or the rookie Lindgren.

But with Davidoff’s team, it appears like Refsnyder and Lindgren get more minor league time. Also, the Yanks go with cheaper alternatives (McCarthy and Drew) than the big play Scherzer/Ramirez types.

If the Yanks are able to get Miller and retain Robertson, that bullpen could be lights out.

But the offense really worries me, esp. if they go on the cheap and hope for a rebound from Drew instead of going in the direction I am going in.

 

Ok, you’ve seen some scenarios.

 

Now if YOU were Cashman, what would YOU do?

Dynasty? SF wins 3rd title in 5 years.

When you think of baseball dynasties, you think of the Ruth-Gehrig-DiMaggio-Mantle Yankees of 1921-1964. The Big Red Machine. The Bronx Zoo. The Torre Yankees of 1996-2003. When you look at the makeup of the San Francisco Giants, you don’t see dynasty. But after winning their third title in the last five years, maybe that qualifies them as one now. At the very least, with the decade half-over, they can already call themselves the team of the decade (unless someone else runs off three or four titles over the next five years). The Giants became the first road team since the 1979 Pirates to win Game 7 when they beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 last night.

Madison Bumgarner joined a very select group of pitchers to win three WS games in the same Series. Bumgarner got the save. For his efforts, Bumgarner was named WS MVP. 2012 WS MVP Pedro “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval went 3 for 3, Mike Morse drove in two runs, and all the damage was done by the 4-7 hitters. Neither starting pitcher went four innings. Both managers had quick hooks. SF starter Tim Hudson went just 1 2/3, and KC starter Jeremy Guthrie 3 1/3. With neither starter going five innings, the decision on who got the win came down to an official scorer’s decision. Usually, they just hand the win to the pitcher who was on the mound when the eventual game-winning run was scored. That was Jeremy Affeldt, who was credited with the win. But the official scorer did not get it right. He handed the win to Affeldt. He did not have to. This was “official scorer’s discretion” and the guy who should have been given the win was Bumgarner, who came out of the bullpen on two days rest to pitch five innings of scoreless relief and preserve a 3-2 lead. Bumgarner thus wound up winning Games 1, 5 and saving Game 7 of this WS. No guts by the official scorer there. He went “formula.”

The difference in the series turned out to be one run, and one man. And perhaps, one slip. With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the fourth, Sandoval reached on an infield single. KC 2B Omar Infante made a nice play getting to the ball, but his right leg slipped out from under him as he tried to throw out Sandoval at first. Had he not slipped, who knows? That’s baseball. Sandoval eventually scored the eventual WS-winning run later that inning on a single by Morse. SF manager Bruce Bochy showed guts in going to Bumgarner. 3 titles in 5 years should put him into the HOF one day. Funny how he did go to Bumgarner after some “experts” I heard on ESPN radio said that there was no way Bumgarner should pitch, and no more than one inning. What pansies. To me, it was refreshing seeing Game 7 the way it should be. You manage that game differently than other games. The players have all offseason to rest, and although he didn’t start, Bumgarner winning pitching in a third WS game reminded me of Randy Johnson coming out of the bullpen in Game 7 of the 2001 WS (a painful memory for us Yankees fans), or Lew Burdette starting on two days rest in 1957 (another painful memory for Yankees fans),  Sandy Koufax in 1965 pitching a CG shutout on two days rest, Bob Gibson going 1-4-7 in 1967 or Mickey Lolich going 1-5-7 in 1968 (and facing and beating 1-4-7 Gibson in that 1968 Game 7). You go with your best in Game 7. You manage differently.

Bochy managed it brilliantly. If Bumgarner would have been too tired after only two days of rest, Bochy would have heard it from here to eternity. But Bochy played his trump card. He went with, and stayed with, his best. That’s one thing I’ll take out of this WS. One run, and one man (Bumgarner) made the difference. KC has nothing to be ashamed of.

So the offseason begins… with free agency, trades, etc. and oh yeah,….. A-Rod is now officially back. (Crying.).

In other news, it looks like a few moves are coming soon. Joe Maddon, who just left the Rays, is expected to take the manager job with the Cubs, and there are rumors that the Yanks are after Raul Ibanez to be their next hitting coach.