Tag Archives: George Steinbrenner

The minors, and trade deadline risks.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

With the Yankees off yesterday, a look at the minors and a look at risks at the trade deadline.

AAA: SWB won 2-1 on a walkoff inside-the-park HR by CF Ben Gamel. Kyle Davies 7 IP, 1 unearned run. 3 h, 1 walk and 8 K.  Caleb Cotham two scoreless IP of relief. (W, 2–0, 1.07). Gamel also had a double. Besides Gamel, 1B Greg Bird and 3B Jose Pirela each had two hits.

AA: Trenton off.

High A: Tampa won 4-2. LF Ericson Leonora a 2-run HR. Five others with two hits each. Jordan Montgomery 6 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 walks, 7 K.

A: Charleston off.

Funny how people are still complaining that the Yanks didn’t do a major splash at the trade deadline. I have a few thoughts on that.

For those who say that “the Boss” would have done something, face facts. The Boss, George Steinbrenner, has been dead for five years now. Accept that fact and accept that it is a new regime with his son Hal who isn’t his father. He will run things differently. Also, things weren’t always peaches and cream with George. Remember him trading away talents like Jay Buhner, Bob Tewksbury and Doug Drabek?

So for those who wanted a big deal, were you really going to trade away Luis Severino for what may turn out to be a two-month rental? As much as I would like the Yankees to win every year, you don’t want to sacrifice the future for a one-year quick fix. And don’t kid yourself. You can’t get something for nothing. The Yanks would have had to give up top talent like Severino to get something. You weren’t getting a David Price type talent for lower tier talent.

Here are examples of teams that went for it and paid for it.

8-12-87. The Tigers trade John Smoltz to the Braves for Doyle Alexander. Alexander goes 9-0 down the stretch for the Tigers. The Tigers make the playoffs as the AL East champ and lose the ALCS to the Twins. Alexander goes 14-11 in 1988 and 6-18 (leading the majors in losses) in 1989 then retires. The Tigers don’t make it back to the playoffs until 2006. Smoltz goes to the Braves, is in the playoffs every year from 1991-2005 (except for the 1994 strike) and goes to be a Hall of Famer.

8/30/1990: The Red Sox trade Jeff Bagwell to Houston for Larry Andersen. Andersen goes 0-0, 1.23 as a two-month rental. Boston wins the division but loses the ALCS to Oakland. Bagwell goes on to hit 449 HR for the Astros. He played a lot in the cavernous Astrodome. Imagine him with the Green Monster at Fenway.

Is that what these people want?

Also, some people, upset with Stephen Drew, are wondering if the Yanks should pursue Chase Utley. I wonder if these people realize that Utley, although the greatest Phillie 2B ever (and JAWS has him ranked 12th best 2B all-time), has been worse than Drew this year.

Drew: 32, $5MM, free agent after this year. 94 g. .194-13-32, OPS+ 77.

Utley: 36, $15MM, 69 games, .190-4-28. OPS+ 55. Utley has had a far better career than Drew, and is a borderline Hall of Famer.  His vesting option ($15MM each of the next three years) will not kick in because he won’t make 500 plate appearances this year. But a lot of money for someone four years older who is having a WORSE year for even Drew. Utley WAS great. He no longer IS.

Really, do you want that?

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Game 155. The lineup. Yanks need wins. They don’t get one today as they lose again, 7-3 to Bosox.

92-62, 1/2 a game back in AL East.
Magic #3 for the wild card.
Losers of 12 of last 18.
2 games WORSE than Pythagorean record. OPS+ 109, ERA+ 109

Day game after night game. Posada sits. Kearns in vs. Lefty Lester. Gardner out.

Start winning.

Derek Jeter SS .267-10-65-17sb/22att OPS+ 88 ; 2916 hits. 13 g. hitting streak. Gone yard just once since June 12th (one HR was an inside the parker).  
Nick Swisher RF .291-28-88-1/3; 131
Mark Teixeira 1B .255-32-103-0/1; 124   274 HR
Alex Rodriguez 3B .273-27-116-4/7; 123  610 HR ; 2665 hits
Robinson Cano 2B .319-28-104-2/4; 141
Marcus Thames DH .295-12-33-0/0; 131
Austin Kearns LF .265-10-49-4/5; 108  as Yankee, .242-2-7, 0/0; OPS+ 83, and 33 strikeouts in 91 AB. 
Curtis Granderson CF .251-22-61-12/14; 108
Francisco Cervelli C  .258-0-35-1/2; 79     1 MLB HR

Ivan Nova RHP 1-0, 4.11  ERA+ 106    7th MLB start.

My fears are being realized (see previous post). Nova, still a novice, gives up 3 runs in the third. Yanks doing nothing against Lester. First 9 batters go down in order, 4 by K. Kearns once again proves why his name begins with K.

One thing about Nova. I don’t know if it’s pitching from the stretch that’s a problem for him or what, but the guy has great shut-them-down innings but as soon as someone gets on, he implodes.

4 2/3 for Nova. Once again, no length from him in a game, 4 R, 4 H, 3 W and 2 K. ERA to 4.54. (1-1)

Ring in to face one batter and he gave up an RBI single to Big Papi. Ortiz with 2 RBI today.

Then, goodness gracious. Girardi goes to Gaudin again. I really can’t see the love affair that Girardi has with Gaudin. Gaudin gets out of the fifth. Meanwhile, the Yankees haven’t put anyone on base yet.   

The Yanks seem as if they are playing with no urgency. They better wake up soon, or the 2004 ALCS will be the second biggest Yankees collapse.

After being no-hit for five innings, the Yanks get two hits in the 6th, but Kearns (who walked) is thrown out at the plate on Jeter’s single (hit #2917). 4-0 Boston after six.

Make it 5-0 as J.D. Drew HRs. Seriously, Joe, Gaudin again?

This wild card race is getting too close. As I mentioned, the Yankees need a wake-up call.  

Make it 6-0 as Victor Martinez follows Drew with a HR of his own. Like I said about Gaudin. The fans are booing. Maybe that is what the Yankees need.  

Gaudin went 1 2/3, 2 r, 4 h, 0 W, 0 k. Combined ERA 5.68. Seriously, I don’t know what Girardi sees in him. Aceves has been missed this year.

2/3 of an inning for Romulo Sanchez, both K but he walks two (0.00). Albaladejo in.

PSU wins, but too close of a game. 5 FG in a 22-13 win over Temple.

#7 Texas is getting whupped by UCLA, 34-12. Other teams are putting big numbers on the board. Scores in the 50s and 60s. Heck, Wisconsin put up 70.

#1 Alabama escapes, 24-20. #2 Ohio St. has only E. Michigan, but is up 73-20. Change at the top?

Update: The Yanks wound up losing, 7-3. They only had four hits in the game. Granderson hit a 2-run HR (23) and A-Rod (28) got #611.

Alby had a scoreless 8th (4.66) but Joba gave up a run in the 9th (4.50).

If the Boss were alive, he’d raise hell. Heck, maybe he is doing that in the great beyond.     

Update II: Bronx Baseball Daily points out that over the past 16 days, Gaudin’s ERA is 9.82 in 7 appearances….yet Girardi keeps going to him.  

 

 

Boss to get honored in Monument Park.

Lohud reports that George M. Steinbrenner III (aka “The Boss”) will be getting a monument in Monument Park:

The Monument Park dedication will be held in New York on Monday, September 20, 2010 at Yankee Stadium, prior to that evening’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Now I wonder what it will look like. Will it be like the Huggins/Gehrig/Ruth/Mantle/DiMaggio monuments? or (and I think this is more appropriate) like the Ed Barrow/Jacob Ruppert plaques on the wall?

ruppert monument park
Ruppert’s plaque in Monument Park. I think the “Boss’s” plaque
should look like this.

Monument Park
The old Stadium’s Monument Park. You can see Barrow’s plaque,
top left. I think Steinbrenner’s plaque should look like Barrow’s
or Ruppert’s, and not like the Huggins and Ruth monuments
you see at the bottom of the photo.

What do you think?

Update: Apparently my wish isn’t granted. The Boss is getting a “Ruth” style monument, and not the “Ruppert” style plaque. I still think my idea…bookending a Boss plaque with Ruppert’s…would be better.      

Game 106. Yanks fall to 2nd. Bats dormant, bullpen lets game get away.

Dustin Moseley was not bad tonight. As a replacement for a few weeks for Pettitte, he wasn’t bad.

I know the line shows 5 R in 7 1/3. He really only had one bad inning.

It looked good. A 1-2-3 by Moseley in the first. In the bottom of the first, a two-run HR (23) by Teixeira. How were we to know that after that HR, the Yanks would manage only one other hit for the whole damned game? Yup, two hits. Das ist alles. … and that 2nd hit was an INFIELD HIT.

Moseley gave one back in the second. In the fourth, he gave up a hit but got a DP. Two out. Then the game got away. HBP, double and a HR and the Jays were up 4-2. They way the Yanks hit (or, to be more accurate, DID NOT HIT) tonight, that was all she wrote.

It stayed that way until the 8th. Moseley, (1-1, 4.13) gave up 5 r, 9 h, 1 walk and 2 K. Maybe Girardi pressed his luck by keeping Moseley in there for the 8th, for the leadoff hitter, Vernon Wells, hit one out. Moseley got the next guy out, but maybe he should have been pulled after 7.

Anyway, it didn’t matter. His replacement, Kerry Wood, (6.23 combined) gave up a HR to the first batter HE faced, so there. He then got 2 K to end the inning, but …  

Mitre proved to be the MEAT TRAY again in the 9th as he once again served a MEATBALL. A 2-run HR. Final 8-2. (4.01).

With the loss (66-40) and the Rays win, the Yanks fall to 2nd place, 1 game back.

The Yanks will have to wake up soon. They have a big four game stretch vs. Boston this weekend. The last thing you want is to let THEM back into the race.

Two hits. A-Rod 0 for 3 and 1 for his last 20. It’s like 600-disease has infected the club.

A-Rod drops to .264 with his latest slump.

The “Yankee Truth,” Josh, called as the Yanks were falling into 2nd. Hoo-boy. The best line from him was “the Boss may be dead, but I AM NOT”. Believe you me, the Yanks would rather deal with a Boss rant than the one I heard from Josh tonight.

Yanks need a wake up call
Now that they are in 2nd and have lost the lead,
have the Yankees received a wake-up call?
                            

George M. Steinbrenner III. 1930-2010.

The Boss has passed on.

Upon hearing that Papa Bear Halas passed away, Howard Cosell stated “it was inevitable.” For like the title of a Doors biography states, “No One Here Gets Out Alive.”

The Grim Reaper calls us all.

Today, George Steinbrenner passed away at the age of 80. The Boss was many things. Owner, Patriot, Blustery, Benevolent, Stubborn, Temperamental…I could fill this whole blogpost with only adjectives. Yes, even convicted, as Billy Martin infamously said. He was suspended from baseball twice.

He also was a winner who took a floundering franchise to the greatest heights imaginable.

This isn’t to say I always liked George. I, and many Yankees fans, were quite pissed off at him throughout the late 1970s into his 1990 banishment. Sure, we loved him when he signed Catfish and Reggie, but our love for him turned into scorn and disgust when we perceived him as meddling too much.

The rotating merry-go-round of managers. The Billy Martin yo-yo. Hired, Fired, Hired, Fired. The way he let Yogi go. The Winfield/Spira debacle.

Maybe the Spira banishment opened his eyes. He seemed better from that point on.

But as someone who first started rooting for the Yanks in that mediocre, moribund CBS era, I can say this.

He was a hell of an owner. Yes, there were the “how can you trade Buhner for Ken Phelps?” moments. The moments when he went after the wrong player, such as the Steve Kemps, Phelps, Lance McCullers, Raul Mondesis. The “what were you thinking?” moments.  There were the moments when his impatience would manifest itself in seeing good young players blossom elsewhere, like Buhner, Doug Drabek or a Bob Tewksbury. Times you wanted to scream because the Boss’s impatience traded away a young talent.  

But there was also the guy who wanted to win. Who would do everything he could to put the best team available on the field. People would say he “bought” championships, but he put himself in the position  to do just that.

Isn’t, after all, the Yankees a business?

And businesswise, he did superbly. In 1964, the Yankees were sold by Topping and Webb to CBS for $12 million. After years of not knowing what they were doing (a charge directed at George a lot) and treating the Yanks like a summer replacement series, CBS sold the Yanks for $10 million in January 1973 to a conglomerate fronted by Steinbrenner. They sold it at a loss. 

Today the Yanks are valued at $1.5 to $2 BILLION. If that isn’t shrewd business, what is?

Wouldn’t you want to own, work for, or have stock in a business that performed that well over the last 37 years?    

As a pre-teen, I remember my favorite player in Murcer. I remember Stottlemyre and Roy White. Yankee fans appreciate and love those guys. But playing alongside them in the CBS years were too many Jake Gibbs, Steve Whitakers, Charlie Smiths, Horace Clarkes. No offense to those players, but sheer mediocrity or worse. Too many years where .500 was an acheivement. Too many years with too few stars on the team. Years in which the Mets took over the town, especially during and after 1969.

The Yanks in those early 70’s pre-Steinbrenner years were boring. Sure, I didn’t realize it at the time because I was young. They weren’t good enough to win, although I rooted for them and cheered my favorites with the blind hope of a pre-teen. It’s nice to dream. It still is after you’ve grown up. But with maturity comes more and more the sense of reality. Those Yanks weren’t good enough to win and be beloved, but they weren’t bad enough to be “lovable losers” like the Cubs or the 1962 Mets. They were “there.” As the Seinfeld quote goes, it was like “rooting for laundry.” The uniform worn by Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle. You were rooting for history because there was no present history being made there. The team, like the Stadium, was crumbling. 

It is symbolic that the rise of the Yanks came with the rise (or renovation, if you will) of a new Stadium. Sure there were the two years at Shea. But all of a sudden— within the span of a couple of years, not all at once—there was new ownership, a new manager, a  new-look Stadium, and most importantly, a championship team.

Free agency helped, no question about it. The Yanks did have a couple of second place finishes in 1970 and 1974 before free agency started but when free agency did start, the Boss jumped right in—transforming the game, for better or worse. The players weren’t bound by the reserve clause anymore.

One thing about George…he was the ultimate fan. What fan wouldn’t want the best free agent on the market signed to their own team? The thing the Boss had that others didn’t? The resources to put that guy on his team. Blame Steinbrenner all you want for signing free agents, but it was and is a business. He had the capital. He found ways to make MORE capital (YES Network for one). He put that capital back into the business.

In all businesses, there is a difference. People may think of baseball as one business but it is thirty separate businesses. A recent Supreme Court ruling stated the NFL is 32 separate businesses, not one. To survive, those businesses need competition. You need an opponent. But outside the game, you are your own business. One team can do business with Majestic, another with someone else. One can have a deal with Miller (like the Brewers) another with Budweiser (Cardinals).

George put the Yankees first. Yes, the Yankees are a part of MLB. But they are its own business. The soda business has its Cokes and Pepsis. It also has its A-Treats. This is not to knock A-Treat. It is to show that each business has its GIANTS against something small-market.

George made the Yankees the YANKEES again at a time when they seemed mid-market and were losing the city to the Mets. For sure, he didn’t pitch, field or hit. But his drive, his determination to win, some of the very things that were flaws in him, were also strengths.

He cared. That is all we could ask for. For many times, it seemed CBS didn’t. Even under the Topping and Webb years, the ownership seemed detached.

It surely wasn’t detached under George. Even though he had the shipbuilding and other businesses, George wasn’t CBS. George didn’t run the Yankees as if it were one of its branches. George ran the Yanks like it was the whole tree.

Under George, the Yanks got a new minor league stadium and complex. Under him, the old Stadium was renovated and later, a completely new one built. A palace, with amenities to the players they could only have dreamed of.

What the players wanted or needed, he provided. In return, he wanted 100% effort.

We fans are full of bluster ourselves. We just don’t have the money George did.

But all in all, George did wise with the money. Seven WS championships. Eleven pennants. A franchise that barely drew a million was now packing four million in.

I don’t know what the Yanks will do as a tribute. It was already said that a microphone would be put on the uniforms in honor of Bob Sheppard. I don’t know if a black band for George or his initials would also go on the uniform.

There aren’t too many people synonymous by their first name alone. George. You can think Washington. You can think Harrison, but it seems that only goes when paired with John, Paul and Ringo. A certain British king needs III (like George M. Steinbrenner III) after his name to tie him in with the American revolution. For many, when you said George from 1973 on, it meant only one thing—Steinbrenner, not Bush.

So he passes. The Yankees have had Ruppert, have had Topping and Webb, went through CBS and now George. We now see how Hal and Hank do. Hal seems ok so far.

It’s hard to rank the owners. Maybe George is #1, Ruppert 1A. Maybe it is the other way around. But we will definitely see a plaque in Monument Park soon for George Steinbrenner. (We don’t see any for Topping and Webb). The one for Ruppert mentioned that under him, the old place came to be built. It’s only appropriate that the new place honors the boss, for under him, it came to be built.

His legacy may be seen in the Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban’s of today. Some may think of that as a bad thing.

Yes, there is some overhandedness there. There is also the passion and the desire to win. Moreso than in other owners. Sure they say they want to win. George put his money where his mouth was.    

As a fan, that is all I could ask for in an owner—that he have the same desire I do for my team to win, and that he does everything in his power to help that team win. In that regard, George was tops.

His benevolence was underappreciated. Marty Appel, in his book about Thurman Munson, wrote of how Steinbrenner reacted to Munson’s death. How he sprung into action. Tommy John today talked of Steinbrenner’s understanding and generosity when faced with a family emergency in 1981.

George could be bullying. His benevolence wasn’t written about too often. When you hear or read about that, you realize that not only did the Yankees lose a special person, but the city of Tampa did also.

Yes, there was the conviction for illegal contributions to the Nixon campaign. But the Boss did love this country. Often, in the wake of tragedies, the Yankees were one of the first teams to donate to relief efforts, and often with more money than any other team.

Yes he paid a lot for his players. He also put the same money, effort, care and dedication into charity work.

The success of this year’s U.S. Winter Olympic team had its origins in when Steinbrenner became involved with the Olympic movement. In the late 1980’s, Winter Olympics often meant Bonnie Blair, an ice skater or two,  but not much else. The U.S. might get 12? Winter Olympics medals. Now? Granted there are more events, and some seem X-games-like, but it is a stronger contingent winterwise than say, 25 years ago.

In the end, there was only one “Boss,” George M. Steinbrenner III. There will never be another.

He made the yankees the YANKEES again. May that forever be his legacy.

Rest in peace, George.           

                        

Home Opener today. Andy gets #230 in 7-5 Yankees win, fueled by El Capitan.

Whitey and Yogi hand out the rings, Bernie throws out the first ball and Pettitte on the mound vs. Ervin Santana. I’ll be at work until 2, so will miss the start, then have some errands to do.

BTW, a nice piece from the SWB scorecard I received from a friend. Last year, Scott Aldred, SWB’s pitching coach, coached AAA SWB to the best ERA in the International League. The previous two years, while coaching the AA Trenton Thunder, they had the best ERA in the Eastern League.  

 

In the 6th as I get home from work and a few errands. Yanks up 3-0. Nick Johnson HR’d in the first and Jeter in the 3rd. Jeter had another RBI in the 4th with an infield single. Andy looks great.

Jeter HR #225, twenty less than Jorge.

2 run bases loaded single for A-Rod in the 6th. 5-0.  

Andy out after 6 superb innings, 0 R, 5 H, 3 walks and 6 K. Looking for career win #230.   

Park in.   

Posada doubles in the 7th. The double passes Mickey Mantle on the all-time list and Sterling shows some ignorance.

Yes, John, it is something that Posada passed the Mick in doubles. Let’s remember something though. The 536 to 245 HR difference. When the Mick got a hold of one, lots of times it wasn’t off the wall…it was OVER it. Even in the Old Stadium with its cavernous dimensions.

A couple of walks and El Capitan comes up with the bases loaded. He GIDP to finish the inning. A funny story about today is making the rounds. An hour before the ceremony, Girardi and Jeter presented the Boss with his ring. The Boss took off his 2000 ring and slipped on 2009. Jeter, raised in Michigan, then asked the Boss to remove his Ohio St. ring.

Kendry Morales’ HR in the 8th off Park breaks up the shutout.

The Yanks rebound with two in the bottom of the 8th. Johnson leadoff double, walk, double by Posada (again) for one, single by Granderson for another.

Robertson in to finish it off. 7-1 Yanks.   

Robbie having trouble. Best to have it when up six. Bases loaded and no out. He gets a K, but gives up a grand slam to Abreu.

7-5. Now it’s a save situation. Mo?  

Winn in for defense in RF, btw. Nothing he could do on Abreu’s but watch, however.

It is Mo. 2 up, 2 down. A K and a popup of Godzilla.

Save #529 for Mo, win #230 for Andy. HR #225 for Derek, who tied Vada Pinson on the all-time hit list with 2757. Next up? Ken Griffey, Jr. with 2767 (and above that, Andre Dawson’s 2774). Once Jeter passes Junior, Jeter will be the ACTIVE hit leader.

 

Good reads.

I have to run for an appointment, so I’ll get to Tiger later.

There are some good reads today in the NY Post (yes, Post, you can pay me for the plugs…LOL) but I do encourage you to go onto their website and check three columns out.

The first is an article by Mike Vaccarro on George Steinbrenner’s impact on the USOC. How low it was in 1988 to where it is today. A thing many may have forgotten. Many may criticize the Boss, but there isn’t all bad to him. People forget the good. He has destroyed some teams, but he also built good ones…for the Yanks and the U.S. Olympians.

Secondly, an article on Rivera by Joel Sherman. This one brought back childhood memories. As a child, my dad would ask me to call him whenever “#7” came to the plate. This was most likely at the time that Mantle was playing 1B—the final two seasons of his career. My guess is that my dad knew that these would be the final games of Mantle’s career, and he wanted to savor the few moments left of it. Sherman suggests that we now do the same with Rivera. Not that Mo’s career is coming to an end before our eyes or that Mo is slowing down like Mickey did, but just a nod to age. Mo is 40, after all. There will come a time when #42 won’t be closing anymore, and the sounds of “Enter Sandman” fade into the distance. But Mo is now a fine wine to be savored each and every time he takes the mound. Enjoy him with sips, each and every pitch, and not in gulps. As we watch his career slowly come to and end—whenever it is—let us relish every grain of sand in that hourglass that falls to the bottom. He’s truly, as the Mick was, one of a kind. So as my father wanted to take in each of Mantle’s last at bats, so I will—as Sherman suggests—cherish each pitch Mo has left.

Finally, Harold Reynolds in an interview gives his thoughts on the Yankees, the #5 starter, and the setup situation. Unfortunately, he forgot about Robertson in his equation, but his position remains clear. He thinks Gaudin, Aceves or even the Meat-Tray (Mitre) should be the #5 starter. He thinks Hughes AND Joba should be in the bullpen. Reynolds sees a back-end of Hughes, Joba, Marte and Mo as being the ultimate game-shorteners. If the Yanks are up after six, game over. I’d add two things to what Reynolds’ thoughts are. The first of course, is to add Robertson to that mix. The second is this, with the lineup the Yanks have, being tied or just a run or two behind could also mean game over. Reynolds does make a good point. The question would be this. How much better would Hughes/Joba be over say Gaudin/Mitre in the #5 slot? (I’m keeping Aceves in the long man role for now). Would Hughes/Joba be say, 12-9 as a #5 vs. Gaudin/Mitre’s 9-12? Is that what the difference would be? Three games? So you have to determine the difference and then ask if that difference would be significant enough to cost you a playoff spot. Reynolds does make a good point, though. What a bullpen the Yanks could have, and when you only need six from A.J., Andy, C.C. and Vazquez (and Gaudin/Mitre), what a luxury.