Tuesday, February 20, 2007

So this new $39.95m pitcher we've got...

He goes by the name of Carl, and he used to pitch for the Florida Marlins before taking a wheelbarrow full of cash and signing for the New York Yankees. Can Carl Pavano be of any value to the 2007 New York Yankees?

Well let me tell you a very unexciting antidote.

Last Saturday morning I was up in a fantasy league draft. With 12 keepers already set (16 teams) and 4 mL keepers set for each team, 240 players were already taken. It was pick 111 of the draft so depth wise it was the 351st pick overall and yes, I took Pavano much to the amusement of the league in general.

On my depth chart he'll start as my final pitcher (Dice-K, Wang, Millwood, Westbrook, Olsen, Wolf, Pavano) and don't worry, I know my rotation isn't special but I do have a kick arse offense but it goes to show that the expectations for Pavano are very low, both in the terms of fantasy baseball and in the real world.

With a top three set of Wang, Mussina and Pettitte, the Yankees with their offense only need solid numbers from Pavano. I was arguing with Neil H yesterday about Beckett and how he should be doing better for a #2 pitcher, but Pavano needs only to give the Yankees innings and to give them a chance to win games, he isn't expected to dominate the opposition coming off the years he had.

Carl Pavano is a good pitcher, his problem is now a mental one, every little niggle and he wants to shut it down. Most players play hurt for vast amounts of the season, he needs to get over this and start paying back some of the money he's taken off the Yankees over the past two years.

He came to New York because he wanted to be a Yankee (he even turned down more money elsewhere to sign for the Yankees) and he knows he owes the club and the fans. It wouldn't shock me if Pavano ends the season in the NL after being replaced by Philip Hughes or Roger Clemens in the rotation but for both himself and the club, Pavano needs to start showing that he can pitch and pitch effectively, his career depends on it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Oh the Rocket...

My favourite story is back for one final round, no not Rocky Balboa (although his final round was good) but the Rocket will yet again surely put on the cleats and pitch in the bigs this season.

Everyone has an opinion on the seven time Cy Young award winner and I was asked to put some thoughts together about the man for A British Baseball website so I did and you can read my meandering thoughts here.

Yahoo Fantasy Baseball opens tomorrow...my life is about to get swallowed up once again.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

To pay or not to pay...

In a few years Mariano Rivera will be standing in front of a large group of people proclaiming how happy he is to be entering the Hall of Fame. His perfect smile beaming as photographers take his picture whilst wearing a Yankee Cap, the future is bright and his legacy is assured.

Here though in 2007 there is talk that the Yankees aren't ready to extend his contract with the club just yet. The last #42 in the history of the game could spend the finals of his glorious career wearing a different uniform, surely this couldn't happen?

In all honesty its very unlikely to get to that. Mariano Rivera has been well paid by the Yankees throughout his career and as long as he proves his health throughout the upcoming season, there should be little question that he'll get the two year extension that he is looking for.

Some say that he should get the extension now and to show him the money. I don't argue this point but I think it is a prudent decision to wait and see how his arm holds up. The superstar closer is 37 years old and despite logging four straight sub 2 ERA seasons, age will catch up to him one day.

If Rivera is healthy then expect to keep hearing Metallica's music blazing in Yankee Stadium in 2008 and in the new ballpark in 2009. Just because they haven't already signed him up doesn't equate to them not showing him respect, the future of the Yankees involves Mariano Rivera, not just for 2007 but beyond.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fenway Park - July 28 - A date for your diary

July 28 2007, the Red Sox will be busy playing the second game of a three game series in Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay. Whilst they are away from home one of the greatest supergroups ever will be playing Fenway Park on their reunion tour.

Earlier today in a club in Hollywood, The Police announced that finally after a 23 year wait, the band who split at the height of their powers in the 80's were getting back together for a Worldwide tour that has gotten fans of the band giddy.

Drummer Stewart Copeland and bassist Andy Summers have always stated that they were willing to reform the group for a worldwide tour, with Copeland saying they should do in for the fans and give all the profits to charity. Lead singer and superstar Sting was always the member who wasn't keen but three months ago he decided it was time and here we are.

So despite the tenuous link to baseball, here is a 3,079 Miles... top tip for what to do on July 28th if you can't get down to the Trop, get to Fenway instead, you won't be sorry.

The fire is almost out

He has been the mainstay of the Yankees line-up for the best part of the past 15 years but now it seems as though father time has caught up with Bernie Williams.

He was the first player I ever saw score a winning run in a game (my first live game on TV was the 2001 WS - Game 3) and he was a five time All Star. Four gold gloves and one silver slugger. 2336 hits, 22 round trippers in the post season, 80 RBI in October, all impressive stats in themselves and when you add them to his 162 game average of .297/22/98 you have to agree that he was one of the premier players in his position throughout his career.

However despite saying all that, he shouldn't be given a guaranteed spot on the 25 man roster for 2007. I am all for sentiment but when a player is solely on a roster just because of past glories then it isn't good for the team. Williams will surely have his # retired and a plaque in Monument Park and would be welcome to become a special advisor at Spring Training but you get the feeling he has other avenues to explore.

A music career beckons for the former Yankee great and it is time to concentrate on that part of his life. He will always have a special place in Yankee fans hearts but if fans want to return to the World Series and to win it, then they have a better chance doing it without Bernie Williams as a 5th OF on the bench.

Father time catches up to us all, and as one door closes another one opens. Williams' baseball career is coming to an end but the future is still bright.

Monday, February 05, 2007

It may be the off-season, but Yanks lose to Sox again!

Well it may be exciting, but the quality level in Super Bowl XLI is atrocious - and that was before Prince's version of All Along the Watchtower - so much so that it has driven me to my first blog since 2006... in my defense, I was away getting married at Nathans on Coney Island to Theo...

And what drew me to awaken from my creative writing slumber - Schilling's contract demands? JD's failure to make the 40 man roster? the trade value of Dice-K in a fantasy baseball keeper league?

No, much more important than that - and possibly the key to the Red Sox season in 2007 - the emergence of Craig Hansen as a bona fide, major league... games player... come on - instead of playing Project Gotham Racing, couldn't he be working on that slider?

However, given this is a Red Sox v Yanks fan blog... I feel the need for one gratuitous swipe at the diminishing evil empire... even in the off season, it is good to to see the Sox hand the Yankees a defeat...