Sunday, January 18, 2009

Things will never be the same . . .

That's what I said to my wife right before the final of the '04 Series.

And while we've seen our share of oddities since then (Tampa in the World Series for example), I never, as in ever, gave any thought to even the concept of the Cardinals in Super Bowl.

Good for them - Kurt Warner is a first ballot HOFer.


The Scooter said...

and can we please finally see the dissolution of the Andy Reed..Donovan McNabb marriage.

Larry Fitzgerald is fun to watch.

Go Redbirds!!!!!

Crash said...

I'm definitely hoping the Cardinals win the Super Bowl. Both Championship games were good football games to watch. Scooter couldn't agree more with the Fitzgerald comment. I don't think he's the best WR in the NFL (maybe Andre Johnson), but he can do great things out there and is fun to watch. He has taken over the playoffs. And if you've seen any of his interviews over the last couple of weeks. He seems like a real good guy. Not the typical egomaniac-me first-WR that we have seen in the NFL lately.

The Giants lose Steve Spagnuolo to the Rams. It was rumored that Dom Capers would replace him but it looks like Capers is now heading to Green Bay. Not sure who they will look to as a replacement. Coughlin is loyal to his staff, almost to a fault (very Torre-esque in that regard) so I don't expect to see Kevin Gilbride fired, though he really deserves it after the last 6 weeks.

Nothing major brewing on the hot stove right now for MLB. Everything is real quiet for Manny. Mets have begun talks with Sheets. The Cubs-Orioles trade was interesting. Olson showed some potential last season, but for the most part struggled (as expected from a young pitcher in the AL East...we should keep this in mind for Phil Hughes). Pie is another great OF prospect from the Cubs who hasn't lived up to the hype yet. The Orioles have stock piled a young OF. They're about to sign Markakis to an extension, they traded for Adam Jones last year, now Felix Pie. They could be set out there for years if Pie can mature as a player. Now they just need pitching, and lots of it. They literally don't have a legitimate starter after Guthrie.

Middle Relief said...

I'm kind of surprised it has taken this long to have Man Ram signed - maybe we should make a token offer to see if sticks? - 3 yrs 10 million per.

Middle Relief said...

Getting back to Warner for a sec.

Who were the Rams before he got there, and what have they been since he left them.

The Giants were alive for the playoffs when they opted to bench him in favor of Eli.

And now he takes the Cardinals to the Super. I mean, the Cardinals! What other QBs have taken multiple teams to the big dance??

I guess I've found a greater appreciation for this guy.

Crash said...

Mid I think Warner goes to the Hall of Fame. I can't understand how Peter King of SI says this guy isn't a Hall of Famer. His stats aren't overwhelming, but his story is great how he was in the arena league then literally working in a grocery store when he got a call for a tryout. Due to injury the guy becomes the starter and all he does is lead the Rams to their first Super Bowl win. He wins the MVP in 1999 and 2001, he's the Super Bowl MVP in 1999 as well. He now leads the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl.

I can't believe I actually saw this guy play in 1999. He was amazing.

old professor said...

Now we know why the games are played. I don't remember one of the major prognosticators (look it up mid) predicting the Cardinals or Steelers going to the Super Bowl. Prior to the Season it was Dallas. As the season went on, Dallas imploded and everyone jumped on the Giants and Titans bandwagon. Both are now home watching to very unlikely teams going to the super bowl.

Mid, I hope you aren't suggesting that if the Giants kept Warner, they would be in the super bowl this year. The cardinals do have their version of TO in the person of Antwan Boldin. He was caught on the sidelines arguing with the offensive coordinator during this weekends game.

Mid, a lot of free agents may be on the outside looking in when Spring Training opens. Manny may be one of them. So the guy can hit, how many of the teams out there have such short memories that they won't remember him quiting on the Red Sox and forcing his way out of town. There was a direct relationship in his leaving Boston and the way the team improved after his departure.

Do you actually think if he signs a contract for less than HE believes he is worth, he will be productive??

He and his agent overplayed his value.

Crash said...

Old Prof I don't think Mid was saying that if they had Warner this year they would be in the Super Bowl. All he was saying is that in 2004 the Giants were 5-4 when they benched Warner and put in Eli...they finished 6-10. Warner was completing 63% of his passes and had a QB rating in the mid 80's. Eli completed 48% of his passes and had a rating in the mid 50's. In 2004, 8-8 made the playoffs. Yeah I think Warner had a win or two left in him that year. Given that, I'm not trading last years Super Bowl for could have made the playoffs in 2004. If the Giants don't bench Warner, Eli doesn't get the experience of that season, if Warner does get into the playoffs Eli probably doesn't start the next season either, regressing his progress even further, etc.

**MLB News**
No news really just a couple of observations:

Ben Sheets is asking for a 2 years $18MM. Mets are looking to offer an incentive based deal.

If Sheets is looking for $9MM, then he would probably accept $7-8MM per year with option for 3rd. I think the Yankees should jump on it and fill the back end of the rotation.

Padres are still over their self-imposed payroll budget of $40MM. That means Giles and/or Peavy could still be traded. I would make Nady and Swisher part of any package that would get back Peavy.

Crash said...

This argument may sound a little ridiculous in light of the Yankees offseason spending, but how the hell does Melky Cabrera get a million dollar pay raise? He made about $400,000 last season, gets demoted to the minors, gets recalled but does not see any significant playing time and gets a raise to $1.4MM. UNREAL!!!

old professor said...

Crash, once again I have to agree with you (the universe has to be out of alignment). Cabrera was demoted, has not been guaranteed a starting position nor a spot on the 25 man roster, yet the Yankees cough up 1.4 million. They also give Nady a $6.6 million contract. The Nady signing while a bargin may make it harder to move him to a team that has a tight payroll or a payroll problem. And those teams don't have anything of value to really offer in a trade.

On a quick note, the Giants promote their linebacker coach to the position of defensive coordinator. May be a good move because it lends continuity to the defensive scheme versus having someone new come in and run a completely different approach. It will be interesting to see if Spagnola will turn the Rams into a contender. Also have to wonder where the Boston College Coach will land since he was fired for taking an interview with the Jets for a job he didn't get. Maybe he ends up the offensive coordinator with the Giants (since Coughlin does have a significant BC connection).

Crash said...

I think I saw this morning that the BC Coach was interviewing with the Rams for their Offensive Coordinator.

Ken Rosenthal, of Fox Sports, recommends the Yankees jump on Sheets and Juan Cruz. Rosenthal is apparently a big reader of the Pinstripe Postings.

Rosenthal points out the obvious injury risk, which may be too much for the Yankees to absorb considering the history with Burnett and uncertainty with Joba.

Cruz was a high ranking Cubs prospect not too long ago, ended up in Arizona last year. Great stuff but has command issues at times. I heard the reference made think of a more affordable Kyle Farnsworth. That's a reasonable comparison, but I think Cruz has better stuff than Farnsworth and throws just as hard.

I haven't heard anything on Andy Pettitte lately. I think Pettitte would be more reliable than Sheets in the #4 spot. Some other Yankee blogs have been critical of the Yankees for not showing interest in Jon Garland (us being one of them) but one blog suggested that a closer look at his #'s show a very alarming downward trend in some key areas (increase in walks, decrease in K's, increase in HRs, decrease in ground ball outs, etc.) I didn't see this, I was strictly looking at innings and ERA.

There's some talk on ESPN (both Rob Neyer and Buster Olney)that the Yankees may entertain trading Nady or Swisher for a mid-level starting catcher. Not a back-up but more of a co-catcher, due to the uncertainty of Posada. If that's the case not sure what they do with Molina.

The Scooter said...

I think the BC coach is going to wind up with Singletary in San Fran.

I consider myself a pretty decent baseball fan, so why haven't I heard of Juan Cruz?

Sheets or Pettitte....Sheets or Pettite....Come on, throw caution to the wind. Sheets' upside is ten times that if Pettite. Two years $18 mil. Do it Cashman.

Crash, Molina IS a mid-level starting catcher...why would we the Yankees waste a trade chip?

The Mets just avoided arbitration with Angel Pagan....YAYYYYYY...That Omar really earns his keep, doesn't he?

old professor said...

Crash, Juan Cruz may have a great arm and may be young, he was also foolish to turn down arbitration with the Diamondbacks. The last thing the Yankees need is to have someone throw 97+ and not know where it is going. They don't need to have a Bull Durham redux in the Bronx.

The lack of interest in Orlando Hudson is puzzling. Many of you who contribute to this blog were screaming for him to be signed and to replace Cano. Apparently, the Bronx Braintrust has more faith in Cano, which may not be a bad thing.

Scooter, the issue with Sheets versus Pettitte goes beyond who will be cheaper and a better deal. There is still the court of public opinion. And neither the team nor Pettitte are doing well in that realm. Pettitte said it his return to the Yankees would never be about the money. Well it turns out it is all about the money as he now considers and offer for more years, but less annually from of all teams the Astros. The Yankees for their part have never been successful when they confront an employee and say take it or leave it and the contract is always for a significant amount less than the previous year.

The public backlash when they did it to Torre is still an open sore and there will be some backlash should Pettitte not come back. They used the same sort of tact with him the last time he left the Yankees. They should make it easy by saying - look thanks for all you have done, but we really don't want you back because we don't think investing $16 million in you at this time is a good thing for the team. Let both sides then just walk away. Instead they over a contract at slightly more than a 30% cut and think the ballplayer would eagerly take it. There isn't anyone in the front office who would take a deal like that.

When it is all said and done, the Yankees still need more reliable arms. Burnett and Chamberlain cannot be counted on to deliver a lot of innings for the full year. If one or both them go down with injury even for a short time it could be a repeat of last year. They tried relying on youth last year and got burned. I don't disagree with giving the young guns some shot, but you have to plan for the unexpected injury bug.

old professor said...

Latest MLB rumors have Freddie Garcia on the Yankees and Mets radar. Apparently Garcia has narrowed it to both of those teams. Can only see the Yankees offering a minor league contract with incentives if he makes the major league roster. Mets may be desperate enough for pitching that they offer him a guaranteed roster spot.

Crash said...

That's interesting about Garcia. Last I heard he was considering the White Sox. If he can return to 2006 form that could be a steal.

The Scooter said...

Freddy Garcia signed a minor league deal with the chokers from Queens.

old professor said...

Interesting about Garcia. He is now two years removed from surgery and may be healthy. Another free agent pitcher with the same surgery issues (not sure he still is a free agent) is Kris Benson. He normally would fill the role of a good #4 or #5. Have not heard much about any further interest by the Yankees in Oliver Perez.

57 said...

My sources put Manny in Queens in less than two weeks.

Crash said...

I don't know 57, Wilpon says Mets are not interested in Manny. Is that just a smoke screen? Manny would remake that entire line up though.

It looks like Pettitte and the Yankees have re-engaged their negotiations. With Sheets most likely heading to Texas and Perez going back to the Mets, the Yankees almost seemed forced to be a little more aggressive with Pettitte.

One intriguing name out there is Randy Wolf. He's younger than Pettitte, he's left handed and proved he was healthy last year. There were rumors that the Yankees almost picked him up around the All Star break last year (when the Padres were in NY for inter-league play). He would be a cheaper option than Pettitte without a significant drop in production (he averages 12 wins and an ERA around 4.30) and the kind of guy you want at the back-end of the rotation. A lot of people thought Wolf would go to Houston, but he says he wants to sign with a team who will be playing in October. I don't think that's Houston. Plus the Astros already pulled a multiyear deal off the table for him, he may be willing to sign a one year deal for around $7MM.

old professor said...

Crash, Randy Wolf would come with the liability of switching leagues. His numbers, while respectable, come from an entire career in the National League. He might have some difficulty in the first year of transition.

As usual 57 must be using that little black fortune telling ball that can be purchased at your local dollar store. In all likelihood, the Dodgers will resign Manny. If he ever signed with the Mets, it would create, as Crash indicated, a whole new look to their lineup.

old professor said...

Did he say it or didn't he? There are reports that Joe Torre's new book has some very negative things to say about Brian Cashman and George Steinbrenner and the phrase A-Fraud is associated with A-Rod. The author of the book has indicated the comments are taken out of context. Torre apparently is backtracking somewhat. The explanation being - the story is written in the third person.

On the free agent front, Yankees still trying to sign Pettitte but now for less then the $10.5m. They are also looking at Sheets and could apparently get him for around $7m. Sheets could be the better choice. Hey sign both Sheets and Wolf combined cost would still be less then the $16 million Pettitte is looking for.

Crash said...

I don't know the Mets line-up all that well, but if they can go something like:


That's really powerful..looking over the roster quickly I don't know if they have a true #2 hitter. Castillo is more of #8 hitter. I don't think you move Wright or Beltran into that spot...either way you can't argue with the depth 1-7. With Manny batting behind David Wright, Wright would win the MVP.

The Dodgers are refusing to move off the 2 year $45M offer to Manny. If this thing goes late could the Mets (or Yankees) offer a $25M 1 year deal?

Yankees seem to be closing in on the 1 year deal with Pettitte, for less than $10M guaranteed, I would guess they would offer him some decent incentive clauses. Jon Heyman of says Yankees are in "serious talks" with Pettitte.

Crash said...

I'm buying the Torre book.

old professor said...

Interesting question has to be asked. The Yankees signed a Cuban Free Agent named Juan Miranda to a four year deal as the supposed heir apparent at first base (singed in 2006). Kid is 26 (yes Scooter when you are as old as I am 26 is a kid)and has demonstrated some power from the leftside. He hit .287 at AAA and had 12 homeruns. Has better than average defensive skills. He is also under contract until 2010. Wonder where is future lies. Same can be said for the 19 year old catcher Jesus Montero who they believe will be much too large to catch but has a great upside offensively.

Crash, Pettitte turns down $10.5 for one year and now you say he will sign for less - doesn't seem to compute right.

Crash said... has a little snippette from the Torre & Verducci book. This takes a look at the meeting that ended the Torre era.

As for Pettitte, it may be less than the $10.5 but it may still be more guaranteed $ than the market will bring, and if they offer incentives then it will most certainly be above market. I would guess Andy's market value is $7-9M.

Most of us here were all about giving Miranda the job at 1B...but he's not Teixeira. If he does well at AAA this year the Yankees can maximize his trade value.

Crash said...

Pettitte is a Yankee again. He has agreed to a 1 year deal, it is being reported that deal has a base salary of $5-6MM with incentives based on IP and days on the roster that could get him up to $12MM.

Announcement set for 4pm.

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