Tag Archives: Cone

Yankees news: Silver Sluggers. Boone mgr. candidate? AFL. Another A-Rod endorsement.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Congratulations to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, recipients of the Silver Slugger Awards at their positions.

Another player has endorsed A-Rod for Yankees’ manager: Carlos Beltran.

Here is the problem I have with A-Rod.

Back in the 1930s, Babe Ruth wanted to manage. The line teams gave on Babe Ruth was this: “if he can’t manage himself, how will he manage a team?”

The same applies to A-Rod. Suspended for a full year because of steroids, if he couldn’t manage his own affairs, how could he manage a a team?

Despite recommendations from CC and Carlos Beltran, how do they defend that question?

Besides, I don’t believe that all of A-Rod’s outside interests (including J-Lo) would permit him to manage the Yankees.

Apparently Rob Thomson had a five-hour interview with the Yanks about becoming their next manager.

Besides David Cone and John Flaherty being interested in the job, another interesting name has developed.

Aaron Boone.

Now Boone has a lot of baseball pedigree, and not only as ESPN’s voice on ball games the past few seasons. He fits as a younger manager, just 44.

The bane of Red Sox Nation since his HR to end the 2003 ALCS has a grandpa (Ray Boone) who was a 2x All-Star in the 1950s who led the AL in 1955 in RBI.

His dad, Bob, was a top-notch catcher in the 1970s and 1980s for the Phillies and Angels and who managed for a few years. Bob was a 4x All-Star, and 7x Gold Glove C who could work with Sanchez. Could Bob, even though he will be 70 soon, be a bench coach for his son and work with Sanchez?

Aaron Boone’s brother Bret was a MLB star.

In the AFL, Yankees’ prospects: (Scottsdale lost, 7-6):

SS Kyle Holder, 0 for 4, walked, Scored a run
LF Billy McKinney 1 for 3, walked 3 x.

 

 

Advertisements

Yanks interview Thomson; CC endorses A-Rod, Cone & Flaherty interested.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks’ search for a new manager really began today.  Interviews have begun.

The first person interviewed was bench coach Rob Thomson.

Meanwhile, two YES broadcasters expressed their interest in the job opening, and they are David Cone and John Flaherty.

CC, meanwhile, said that he thinks A-Rod would be a good manager, but A-Rod isn’t interested as of yet, because of too many outside happenings (J-Lo being one, LOL).

No Arizona Fall League action tonight.

A top Red Sox prospect died of complications from cancer surgery. Only 17. Sad.

The Players Choice Awards were announced on MLB network tonight.

Either league

Player of the Year: Jose Altuve (Astros)
Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Anthony Rizzo (Cubs)
Majestic Athletic Always Game Award: Nolan Arenado (Rockies)

American League

Outstanding Player: Jose Altuve (Astros)
Outstanding Pitcher: Corey Kluber (Indians)
Outstanding Rookie: Aaron Judge (Yankees)
Comeback Player: Mike Moustakas (Royals)

National League

Outstanding Player: Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins)
Outstanding Pitcher: Max Scherzer (Nationals)
Outstanding Rookie: Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)
Comeback Player: Ryan Zimmerman (Nationals)

 

 

Game 138. Granderson gets a day off. Yanks hit 3 HR, Jeter drives in 5 as CC wins 19th, 9-3.

News from the Lohud blog: The biggest story to come out of Joe Girardi’s press conference this morning had nothing to do with today’s game. Girardi told the media that a decision has been made on which of the Yankees’ six starters will be pulled from the rotation, but he won’t make the announcement until after today’s series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Yanks 84-53, 1/2 game up on Boston in the AL East, 1st place. Three games worse than Pythagorean record. OPS+ 111, ERA+ 118.

Today’s lineup. The Grandy Man gets a day. Jeter got one yesterday.

Gardner CF .269-6-34  41sb/53att. OPS+ 95AL leader in SB 
Jeter SS .297-4-49  15/20  97   3064 hits; .345 since coming off DL
Teixeira 1B .248-35-100  3/4  122   310 career HR
Rodriguez 3B .289-14-53  4/5  121  627 HR, 2766 H, 305 SB    
Cano 2B .307-23-101  8/9  131  Cano one of 3 Yankees with 100 RBI 
Swisher RF .268-21-78  2/4  123
Jones LF .252-11-28  0/0  126   See below. 418 career HR.
Martin C .238-17-61  8/9  96
Montero DH     1 for 7 in his MLB career, 2 games.

Sabathia LHP 18-7, 2.99, ERA+ 145

Jeter has 338 SB in his career, the same amount Willie Mays had (of course, Willie was a slugger, Jeter not so). Jeter’s next target on the hit list is Dave Winfield at 3110.

On July 11, Andruw Jones was at .195 and I was hoping the Yanks might dump him and look elsewhere. Since then, Andruw has hit .328-7-16 in 64 at bats. He and Montero (if Montero is on the postseason roster) could be very important against Texas (Wilson, Holland, Harrison) or Boston (Lester, and perhaps Bedard). Detroit doesn’t have a lefty starter.

Remember to check out Bronx Baseball Daily, where I put up Classic Yankees pieces. Paul O’Neill is up there now, and David Cone is forthcoming. There are also many others that you can catch up on.

In the “Go Figure” department: Gardner 6 HR, Jeter 4; Cervelli 3 HR, Chavez 1.

In the first, CC gives up two hits, but gets two K and gives up no runs. In the bottom half, Gardner walks, SB #42, and after an out, Teix gets an infield hit and an E-6 lets Gardner score (no RBI for Teix). 1-0 Yankees after one.

A single and error by Gardner put a man on second with no outs in the second, but CC gets out of it.

In the third, Montero gets a single for his second MLB hit. Gardner is HBP and Jeter hits #5 (239 career) to give the Yanks a 4-0 lead.

Trouble for CC in the fourth. Single, walk, rbi double, rbi groundout make it 4-2. 4-2 after four.

Montero gets his second hit of the game in the fifth. Even without the Grandy Man, a nice lineup. Hey, when a guy who hit .288 with 18 HR at AAA is hitting 9th…Still 4-2 after five.

A-Rod gets #15 (628* career) to make it 5-2 Yanks in the sixth. That HR puts him two behind Junior Griffey on the all-time list. 5-2 after six.

Still 5-2 Yanks after seven.

CC goes 7 1/3, 2 H, 6 H, 1 walk, 10 K. ERA to 2.97. Win #19 for the season.

Soriano in. He gives up Bautista’s 40th. 5-3.

2/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 walks and K. ERA to 4.45.

In the 8th, Swisher HR’d (22) to make it 6-3, and Jeter’s 2-run single make the final tally 9-3.

Wade finished up. 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 walk, 2 K. ERA to 2.10.

As I write this, Boston is losing 9-0 in the 7th. If it holds up, the Yanks will have a 1 1/2 game lead with 24 to go.

Game 90. Mo saves the duel at the Stadium, Yanks win 2-1.

A beautiful day. A great matchup, CC vs. Verlander.

On the 10th anniversary of his perfect game, David Cone threw out the first pitch to his catcher of that day, Joe Girardi.

So I’m at the Stadium, and see a price of $6 for a Nathan’s hot dog. You know where I’m going with this, don’t you? Joey Chestnut just won the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest at Coney Island on the 4th of July. 68 dogs in 10 minutes. Now if he tried that at the Stadium…. KA-CHING! $408.

So it’s scoreless after 6 1/2, but via different methods. (I’ll be brief. Jason over at Heartland Pinstripes has a good detailed account of the game). Verlander is cooking. CC is doing a Houdini act, in and out of trouble all game. In the bottom of the 7th, Alex hits #571*—a Yankee Stadium cheapie, but it breaks the scoreless deadlock. With two out, Cano singles, Swisher doubles. Melky hits a slow roller to SS. Swisher uses some baserunning instincts, stays in front of the ball as long as necessary, and on a bang-bang play at first, Melky beats Adam Everett’s throw. Cano scores.

This run proved to be the game-winner. Aceves gave up a solo HR in the 8th, before you-know-who closed it out in the 9th, 1-2-3 for save #507. Mo got help from Jeter, for out #2 was done by Jeter going into the hole and making the patented jump-toss to first to get Inge.

I went up with members of the LVYFC (2 busses). I remarked on this after the game. I’ve said this MANY times before, and if I say it once, I will say it 1,000 times. When a new member joins the LVYFC, our president, Chuck Frantz, asks them two questions. 1) Who is your favorite old-time Yankee and 2) who is your favorite current Yankee. It amazes me that I have been in the club for seven years, and the answer to #2 is always a position player—Jeter, Posada, A-Rod.

Where is the love for Mo? I guess people’s first instinct is an everyday player…

but you think in seven years, SOMEONE would have said Rivera. But no….I’m waiting for that day…  

Sorry no big minor league report last night, but a LONG day today….

…and count me in among those who would LOVE to see Tom Watson hang on and win the British Open…at age 59. 

P.S.: Forgot to mention. I’m sitting in the RF upper deck watching Verlander. In October 2006, I’m in the loge of the old Stadium watching Verlander. Eerie sense of Deja Vu. Only thing is, 2006 was Game 2 of the ALDS. A game rained out the night before that I had to hustle to get to with friends the next day on little sleep. The Yanks lost that one, and I came home to an answering machine that basically let me know that after 21 years at my place of employment, I was being let go. So I had a weird feeling today, sitting in much the same spot, watching the same pitcher for the Tigers and …   

Peavy wants NL; Another coach axed; Exploring options.

I see a report from ESPN that Jake Peavy has given the Padres five teams he would approve a trade to. All five are NL teams. See my comment in a previous post about the DH and why the NL would appeal to pitchers. Why would any pitcher leave the NL to come to the AL?

One comment I read from Manny Ramirez is funny, in which he downgraded the NL and wants to go back to the competition of the AL.

Forget about Alvaro Espinoza replacing Bobby Meacham as 3B coach. Espy, who coached 3b for AAA SWB, got the axe yesterday. Espy of course, played with the Yanks 1988-1991, and was their starting SS from 1989-1991. The good-field, no-hit, never walk (OPS+ 80, 50 and 73 in his three years as the Yankees full-time SS) Espinoza hit .254 (OPS+ 66) in a career that spanned 1984-86, 88-91, and 93-97 with the Twins, Yanks, Indians, Mets and Mariners. He saw one WS, with the 1995 Indians.

George King writes that if the Yanks can’t get Bowa back (which I don’t believe they will) that the Yanks could get someone who replaced Espinoza on the Yankees—Mike Gallego. (Funny in how that works, as Espy basically replaced the .236, 73 OPS+ Meacham, with Wayne Tolleson and Raffy Santana in the mix as well, and later Spike Owen). I always liked Gallego when he played. He was a guy who got the most out of his ability (although, like Espy, Gallego was another good-field, no-hit SS). Hopefully Gallego, a heads-up player, would do the same for Cano. Gallego got in three WS with the A’s, 1 title, playing for LaRussa from 1988-1990. He came to the Yanks in 1992 and was with them from 1992-1994. His best year with the Yanks (and in his career) was 1993, when he went .283-10-54 (OPS+ 112). He went back to the A’s in 1995, and back to LaRussa when he finished his career in 1996 and 1997 with the Cardinals, playing in the 1996 postseason. He only hit .239 in his career, with an OPS+ of 81.

Two people I always have felt the Yanks should go after as far as coaching (if they want to) were David Cone and Robbie Alomar. Cone threw a variety of pitches, and is well-spoken—both attributes I believe could help him as a pitching coach. 194 wins, a winning pct. of over 60%, a CYA. Twice a 20-game winner. Knows NY through the Mets and Yanks. 3.46 ERA (ERA+ 120). Five WS rings, four with the Yanks, one with Toronto. Eighteen postseason starts, 3 more relief appearances, 8-3, 3.80. He may be too comfy in the booth, however.

As for Robbie, his father Sandy has been a long-time coach, and Robbie was considered by his peers to be one of the headiest players in the majors. A five-tool guy. For a 2b, good power. Great on defense. Great speed. .300 hitter. Hopefully he would bring a good rapport with the Latin American players. .300, over 2700 hits, 210 HR, 474 SB, ALCS MVP, 2 WS titles, .313 postseason average with 20 SB. 116 OPS+. 10 Gold Gloves. 4 Silver Sluggers. Cone probably won’t make the HOF, Robbie should be a shoo-in. Who better for Robbie Cano to learn from? One the best 2b ever.

Gut feeling. Not what I want, but what my gut tells me. The Yanks get AJ, not CC (King reports that he told people in Milwaukee that he isn’t keen on playing in NY and that his top preference is the Dodgers. LA upgrades from Lowe to CC?). King reports that at the end of the month that the Yanks expect to hear from Mussina that he will retire. If so, that opens the door for Lowe. Lowe does come with questions. His age. 35. I would probably go two years with an option (Lowe is asking three years and would prefer to stay in LA, but LA may want that “upgrade”). The fact he would be returning to the AL East. That NL/AL difference is huge. Since going to LA, Lowe’s ERA’s have all been below 4.00. His last two years in Boston however, 2003 and 2004, saw ERAs of 4.47 and 5.42. He is a horse, having gone 200 or more IP five times since 2002, but beware.

King reports that they have an interest in Ben Sheets. Again, beware. Like AJ, there are injury issues. The Yanks have to be very careful in choosing between AJ and Sheets should they not get CC. A.J. Burnett will be 32 in January. Sheets is 30. Both are similar in their 162 g. average. Burnett? 13-12, 3.81, ERA + 111. Sheets, who hasn’t pitched in the AL as Burnett has, 13-12, 3.72, ERA+ 116. Since 2002, when he became a full-time starter, Lowe has averaged 15-11, 208 IP and an ERA of 3.79.

Gut feeling? If Moose doesn’t return, the Yanks get AJ and Lowe. The gut says that they don’t get Teixeira. They platoon at 1B or make a trade. What kind of platoon at 1B? I don’t think it would be Miranda and Shelley Duncan. I feel as if they would want an established vet. Miranda’s defense is not the best, but they may want to give Miranda (26 next April) a shot. He hit .287-12-52 in 99 games for SWB this year, 4 for 10 in a brief September callup and so far is 12 for 20 in the Arizona Fall League. If he fails, what kind of backup/platoon player could then go full-time? Probably not Shelley, 10 for 57 (.175-1-6, OPS+ 44) in limited time with the Yanks this year. Duncan is 29, but you wonder if he is a “AAAA” player. Having two guys at 1b with little experience in a platoon isn’t advantageous. You would want to give someone a shot but have someone else with experience “just in case.” One person out there who might lighten up the clubhouse, provide righty pop (and piss off Red Sox Nation) is Mr. Cowboy Up himself, Kevin Millar. If the Yanks spend their financial resources on two starting pitchers, and can’t get CC or Teix (Boras wants $200M over 10 years for Teixeira), a platoon of Miranda/Millar could make economic sense. Millar wouldn’t be there long, and Miranda could be a stopgap until someone needs to be moved to 1b (Posada?) or someone is ready (Montero?). Millar only hit .234 last year, and is 37. But could he be considered for a one year deal? He did have 20 HR, 72 RBI and drew 71 walks. OPS+ just an 89. Disappointing. Splits vs. lefties/righties, no significant difference. Am I worried about his dropoff the past couple of years? Yes. But as a platoon who could step in if Miranda fails, maybe he is worth a look.

Cashman has stated his desire for a “1B to play 1B”. I’m not sold on converted SS Rich Aurilia to play 1B. Aurilia hit .283-10-52 (OPS+ 95) for the Giants this year, switching between 1b and 3B. At least Millar knows the AL and knows the AL East. As for age, Aurilia is three weeks older than Millar. I had interest in Nomar for 1b a year or two ago, but not now.

Of course, the Yanks could still trade for Kotchman.

Would I like Teix? Of course. He would slot in perfectly with his bat and glove. The money and length of contract are troublesome for a team that already has six players making $106.1M for 2009, and the youngest of those players turns 34 next July. The addition of one or two free agent pitchers would take that up. Say they get AJ and Lowe. Now you are talking eight players, probably $136M for the 8, with AJ at 32 being the youngest of the eight. Teixeira is just 28, has a 162 g. ave. of .290-36-121, OPS+ 134. Two gold gloves to date. I’d love to have him. Hope the Yanks get him. My gut just doesn’t feel as if it will happen. I hope I’m wrong.

So then what? Rotation of AJ/Wang/Joba/Lowe/Andy? ….. Hughes starts at AAA? Aceves either at AAA or long man? Giese long man? Rasner at AAA or trade or DFA? Coke lefty reliever along with Mo, Bruney, Melancon?, Veras or Edwar, Marte? Let’s see. The five starters I mention. One year deal for Andy, Hughes replaces him in 2010 (but starts AAA in 2009 and does get MLB experience)? Can’t forget Kennedy as well (but maybe trade bait?). Seven relievers. Mo, Coke, Marte, Bruney, Aceves or Giese, there is five. Melancon could make six. Veras or Edwar make seven. Hey, what about David Robertson? Remember Albaladejo?

There are more moves to come. Rasner, Britton, Giese, Edwar or Veras….these are guys that could go (along with hopefully Igawa?). A rotation that makes Igawa completely forgotten about and irrelevant can only be welcomed. That bullpen surplus should be used to make trades with. I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if some of those bullpen guys go in order to shore up other needs. So let’s say

AJ/Wang/Joba/Lowe/Andy with a lineup of

Damon LF .303-17-71-29-121
Jeter SS .300-11-69-11-105
Matsui DH .294-9-45-0-111 (missed 60 games)
Alex 3b .302-35-103-18-153
Posada C .268-3-22-0-106 (missed 2/3 of year)
Nady RF .268-12-470-1-108 in 59 games as NYY
Cano 2B .271-14-72-2-88
Miranda/Millar 1b Miranda 10 MLB AB, Millar .234-20-72, 88 OPS+ with O’s.
Gardner CF .228-0-16-13-55 in 127 AB.

Hmm…Interesting rotation with a good backup in Hughes if one of the five goes down. The losses of Abreu (.296-20-100-22-122) and Giambi (.247-32-96, 130) would hurt. But it is a lot of money off the books to go after the pitching of Lowe and AJ. The lineup has weak spots—lots of them—and Teix would definitely be missed here. Cano would have to rebound. That is paramount, as is a comeback by Godzilla. Not to mention the development of Miranda and Gardner. …. and I didn’t even mention Posada’s comeback…and Jeter?

There is a lot of work to do. Of course I would like CC or Teixiera. I am just looking at what is there without them and what is there if my gut proves to be correct—that both CC and Teix don’t come to NY. As seen, there could be pitching options without CC. As far as 1b options without Teix (or for that matter, Giambi), that’s another story. Of course with Giambi, it would have to be a buy out the option, then offer a one year deal with a big cut. Not that I want Jason back or think the Yanks would get him back, but without Teix, which option do the Yanks pursue? Trade (and give up who?)? Go with a platoon? or try to squeeze one more out of the big G? Your thoughts?

God forbid Posada not be able to catch and would have to go to first. That’s a subject and idea for a different post, one that with time, could be forthcoming.

Santana coming to NY, but to Queens

7 p.m. Apparently the Yanks and Red Sox both got their wishes as far as where Johan Santana would go if not to them. The Mets and Twins have supposedly agreed to a deal involving Johan Santana. This a) gets Santana out of the A.L., b) keeps him away from the archrival and c) enables both teams to keep their young talent, be it Hughes, Melky and Kennedy for the Yanks or Ellsbury, Lester, Lowrie and Buchholz for Boston.

Dave Pinto of Baseball Musings (Link at right) reports that: 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 sent four prospects to the Twins to land Santana, and they are (notice that Fernando Martinez is not one of them–a surprise):

OF Carlos Gomez, who will probably be the new CF for the Twins. He hit .232-2-12 with 12 SB in 125 at bats for the Mets last year in his rookie season. The righty-hitter is 22.

RHP Phil Humber, a 25 year old who is 0-0, 6.00 in 9 MLB innings. He was 11-9, 4.27 in AAA last year.

RHP Deolis Guerra, 18, 2-6, 4.01 in A ball.

and P Kevin Mulvey, 22, 12-10, 3.20, mostly in AA.

On the surface, it appears as if the Red Sox and Yanks played the Twins just to get Santana out of the A.L., that they never really were interested in giving up their top prospects but were bluffing in order to force the other to make the deal and give up top prospects to do so. This package appears far inferior to the Yanks’ Hughes (better than any of the pitchers listed here), Melky, Marquez (better than the three here?) deal. No way were the Yanks giving up Kennedy AND Hughes. From Boston’s perspective, they keep Ellsbury (who knows if he or Gomez will turn out better), Lester appears better than any pitcher here so far, and Lowrie stays in Boston as well.

Remember the Yanks pay $1.40 to the dollar for free agents since they are over the luxury tax limit. Say they would have made the deal and given Santana a five-year, $100 million extension ($20M/yr.). It would have cost $140 with the luxury tax, meaning that Santana would have cost $28M/yr.–an A-Rod type deal. Signing pitchers to long-term deals like that is risky business.

Now of course, the Big 3 (Hughes, Joba and Kennedy) need to become the Big 3 (and it wouldn’t hurt if Horne, McCutchen, Marquez or others develop into the little two–or turn things into a BIG 4 (along with Wang)). I don’t list Pettitte because of his age. I’m thinking 2008-2015 or so here.

Shea is a pitcher’s park, and in the non-DH league and what may be a better offense, Santana should flourish. Besides, he should love NY. The best pitcher in the game (arguably) in the biggest market. A new stadium on the way. The Red Sox had enough pitching without Santana and as mentioned, keep some top prospects (although they still have to figure where to dump off the Coco). Although the Yanks don’t have the knock-them-dead ace, they did want to build around the Big 3 of Hughes, Kennedy and Chamberlain and don’t give them up, nor do they give up a Horne or Marquez. The CF problems that would have arisen had Melky gone don’t need to be addressed (Damon in CF, or going to either an inexperienced Brett Gardner or looking into the FA market for a Corey Patterson).

The Mets needed Santana. With Pedro and El Duque getting older and Tom Glavine going back to Atlanta (where he will team with Smoltz for an aging duo), the Mets had Perez, Maine and a lot of age (the aforementioned) and question marks (Pelfrey).

I don’t get the YES network, but for those of you that do, David Cone is said to be joining YES, taking the spot that Girardi filled last year. Cone was always an outspoken and well-spoken individual, and hopefully he can add something in the broadcast booth that Jim Kaat or Tony Kubek used to when they were broadcasting and that Al Leiter does today. Lord knows we see and hear enough broadcasters who add nothing except being the team’s shill. I only hope that if Cone does become a good broadcaster, that I will be able to see him on the MY9 broadcasts.

Johnny Estrada has signed with the Nats. With Lo Duca already there, they have to figure out who catches. Not only that, Dmitri Young and Nick Johnson are both at 1B. Are the Nats looking to pull off a big deal? The 31-year old Estrada was .278-10-54 last year for the Brewers, but only walked 12 times in 442 AB. OPS+ 78 as a result. He is a .280 career hitter, but his lack of drawing a walk (OBP .320) has led to a 162 g. average of only 28 walks and an OPS+ of just 86. For Arizona in 2006, the switch-hitter walked just 13 times in 414 AB. Despite hitting .302 that year, his OPS+ was still under average (100). It was a 92.

Kip Wells has signed with the Rockies. Wells was 7-17, 5.70 for the Cardinals last year, an ERA+ of 77. He’s 64-91, 4.63 in his career. (ERA+ 96). As if last year wasn’t bad enough, he lost 18 games for the 2005 Pirates. The righty will be 31 in April.

Rich “Goose” Gossage makes the Hall of Fame

2:55 p.m. Rich “Goose” Gossage has made the HOF. He was the only member voted in by the BBWAA. He received 86% of the vote.

Goose was 124-107 with 310 saves in his career, but look past the numbers. His breed of closer was the kind that didn’t just go one inning (no offense to Mo). From 1975-1985, Goose never had an ERA over 3 (except for 1976, when he started). FOUR times his ERA was under 2.00 in that span, and in 1975 it was 1.84 in 141 2/3 innings—all in relief, and in 1977 it was 1.62 in 133 innings. That is significant work—the work of someone coming in in the 7th inning or 8th inning and who had no safety net behind him. Heck, all you have to do is look at the “Bucky Dent” game, Oct. 2nd, 1978. Game 163 for the A.L. East title. Loser goes HOME. NO WILD CARD. Goose got the last eight, count them, EIGHT outs in that game. Granted he walked a tightrope with 2 on when he got Yaz to pop up for the last out, but he went 2 2/3 for the save. Oh yeah, that year he just missed yet another sub-2.00 ERA. He wound up with a 2.01 in 134 1/3 IP.

In three years, 1975, 1977 and 1978, Gossage pitched a total of 409 innings in 195 games. That is an average of 2.08 IP per appearance.

I didn’t hear what hat would be on the “Goose’s” plaque. After all, he pitched for the White Sox, Pirates, Padres, Cubs, Giants, Rangers, A’s and Mariners besides the Yanks. My guess is that it will be a Yankees cap. It seems to be where Goose had his greatest seasons, and it’s where he won his only World Series ring (1978). The Hall makes the call. Can there be a blank cap? Sure. Before the Hall took control and the players asked for a certain team’s cap, Catfish Hunter couldn’t decide on the A’s or Yanks. The “Cat” has a blank cap on his plaque.

I heard Keith Law on Jim Rice. I disagree with Law entirely, and really have to blast him. I’d love to know Law’s age. I’m 46 and was 16 in 1978. I saw Rice’s whole career, a career that saw six top-5 MVP finishes in 12 years. It was a time when Graig Nettles could lead the A.L. with 32 HRs (1976). You have to compare him to his time, and Rice was one of the top hitters in the A.L. from 1975-1986. Law’s argument on ESPNEWS was ridiculous, and I don’t think he saw Rice in his prime. I think he is strictly going by the numbers, and even though I’m a stats guy, I’m also going by what I saw. Let’s face it, if Law is say, 35 years old, then he was born in 1972 and was 14 when Rice had his last prime year. Believe it or not, this was one argument when Steve Phillips was right.

Jim Rice missed by just 16 votes. Next year he will be in his last year on the ballot, and no one who has gotten this close has missed out. I think it will be a shame if Rice misses out.

In his first year on the ballot, Tim Raines got only 24%. I have to wonder what the heck the voters were thinking there. He is one of the best leadoff men EVER. .294. 2605 hits and 1330 walks equal 3935 times on base right there. 808 steals. The only man EVER (nope, Rickey didn’t do it) to have six consecutive years of 70 or more steals. Isn’t that what you want? A leadoff guy who gets on base and can steal a base? A winning ballplayer. The best Expos teams were those with Raines and Dawson on them (outside of 1994). The White Sox went ten years without a playoff appearance (1983 to 1993). Who was on the 1993 team to help lead them to the playoffs? Raines. In 1996 the Yanks won their first World Series in 18 years. Who was on the team (albeit only as a backup?) Raines. Hearing Phillips on Raines, he is back to his ridiculous self.

Of all the newcomers next year, only two stand out. Rickey Henderson is a bona-fide first ballot Hall-of-Famer, and will deservedly get in with his 3055 hits and 1406 stolen bases. In my opinion, the only other newcomer next year who will draw some support will be David Cone, but Cone comes up short of HOF consideration. With 194 career wins, Cone probably needed 50 more for true consideration, and I’d be shocked if he gets over 30% of the vote.

As for others, Andre Dawson got 66% (looks good for him in the future), and Bert Blyleven received 62%. As for Mark McGwire, no significant bump from last year, either up or down. He got about 23.5% last year, and received only 23.6% this year. Ironically, the number of votes for him were the same.

Player Votes Pct.
Goose Gossage 466 85.8
Jim Rice 392 72.2 (16 short)
Andre Dawson 358 65.9
Bert Blyleven 336 61.9
Lee Smith 235 43.3
Jack Morris 233 42.9
Tommy John 158 29.1
Tim Raines 132 24.3
Mark McGwire 128 23.6
Alan Trammell 99 18.2
Dave Concepcion 88 16.2
Don Mattingly 86 15.8
Dave Parker 82 15.1
Dale Murphy 75 13.8
Harold Baines 28 5.2

Others receiving votes

(or, as I call it, THESE IDIOTS SHOULD HAVE THEIR VOTING RIGHTS REVOKED):

Rod Beck 2, Travis Fryman 2, Robb Nen 2, Shawon Dunston 1, Chuck Finley 1,
David Justice 1, Chuck Knoblauch 1, Todd Stottlemyre 1.

6:40 p.m. Something I should have added before. In 1985, the Yanks won 97 games, as they were led by Henderson, Mattingly and Winfield. The rest of the lineup was a bit shaky. For example, Don Baylor had 23 HR and 91 RBI but only hit .231. Pags had 19 HR but only hit .239. Wynegar hit .223, Meacham .218 (Yup, the same Bobby Meacham who is the new 3B coach) The pitching saw a good bullpen but outside of Ron Guidry (22-6, 3.27 in his last good year) the starting pitching was suspect. Still, 97 wins. Not enough. 2 games back of Toronto, and no wild card back then.

Now suppose if Goose would have stayed in NY and been the closer in 1985. Suppose Righetti had remained in the rotation. Goose went 5-3, 1.82 with 26 saves in S.D. that year. Granted he pitched less innings than Righetti, but who knows how many innings would have been needed by Goose in NY if Rags solidified the rotation. Righetti went 12-7 with 29 saves and a 2.78 ERA. The 1985 Yankees had 24 starts that year from Dennis Rasmussen (16) and Marty Bystrom (8). Combined they were 6-7, 4.48. 11 other starts were by spot starters/long relievers Rich Bordi and Bob Shirley. There was 35 starts. You know that if Rags had those 35 starts, he would have done better than that quartet (and Bordi and Shirley could have been bullpen only). Who knows. Had Goose stayed and been the closer in 1985 with Rags in the rotation, maybe Donnie Baseball would have been in the playoffs in his prime rather than at the close of his career. Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda. We’ll never know, but we can speculate…