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Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh Pirates’

New York Yankees (0-1) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (1-0)

Pitching Matchup:

RHP David Phelps (0-0, 0.00) vs RHP Charlie Morton (0-0, 0.00)

Lineup

Gardner LF
Jeter SS
Suzuki RF
Roberts 2B
Cervelli C
Johnson 3B
Romine DH
Canzler 1B
Williams CF

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The game will take place at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  It’s slated to start at 1:05PM ET. The game will be televised on  the YES Network (and MLB.TV – Free Game)

Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press

Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press

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AJ Burnett‘s time in pinstripes seems to be approaching its end, and the cost to jettison the enigmatic righty looks to be around $13 million. While AJ failed to deliver on his $82.5 million contract, his biggest problem was never attitude or talent: it simply is that AJ remains as inconsistent today as when he first broke into the big leagues. While he certainly can’t be a signing that Brian Cashman considers a success, AJ is far from a total flop. After all, he did actually contribute to a World Championship, and his stand-up attitude and shaving cream pies were welcome additions to the clubhouse. No, the Yankees have made their share of horribly awful deals over the years and I thought it might be fun to remember some of them. Here are the five most miserable transactions, and excuses for baseball players, in Yankee history – at least during the Steinbrenner Era.

#1: Tim Leary (RHP, 1990-92). 18-35 record, 5.12 ERA. The skinny: Originally acquired in a trade from Cincinnati for Hal Morris, nobody expected Leary to be the staff ace. Nobody expected him to lead the league with 19 losses, either. The mystifying part is why, after that, the Yankees signed him to a 3 year, $5.95 million deal. He was so terrible that midway through the ’91 season, he was sent to the bullpen – and the boos were so loud at Yankee Stadium that he ceased pitching at home. Before the ’92 season was over, the “Six Million Dollar Man” was exiled to Seattle. In return, the Yankees received the utterly forgettable Sean Twitty, who never made an appearance in the majors. Morris, however, went on to  a 13 year career in which he hit .304, won Rookie of the Year and was a key member of the Reds 1990 Championship team. Oops.

#2: Steve Kemp (OF/DH, 1983-84). .264 BA, 19 HR, 90 RBI. The skinny: Steve Kemp is the poster child for why guaranteed contracts aren’t necessarily a good thing. A two-time All-Star who averaged 21 HR and 98 RBI from 1979-82, Kemp was supposed to bring a left-handed power bat to Yankee Stadium. After two seasons in which Kemp seemed happier striking out than hitting home runs, the Yanks sent him packing to Pittsburgh for Dale Berra and Jay Buhner (yes, that Jay Buhner). Of course, Kemp’s 5 year, $5.45 million deal was guaranteed, so for the next three seasons the Bombers paid him to ride the bench in Pittsburgh, San Diego and Texas. I realize that in today’s baseball economy, middle relievers make more than a million bucks a season, so the money may not sound outrageous. But this was in 1983 – Kemp’s deal was worth more annually than Dave Winfield’s.

#3: Dave Collins (1B/OF, 1982). .253 BA, 3 HR, 25 RBI, 13 SB. The skinny: remember the Go-Go Yankees? Signed to a 3 year, $2.5M contract, Collins was supposed to team up with Rickey Henderson and Ken Griffey at the top of the line-up and let the Yanks steal a WS title. After stealing 79 bases in 1980 for Cincinnati, Collins only ran 21 times for the Yanks (and got caught 8 times, a miserable 61% success rate). He was traded prior to the 1983 season to Toronto and the Blue Jays demanded Fred McGriff as ransom. George’s attempts at recasting the 1982 Yankees as the 1959 White Sox cost the team more than a lost year and $800,000. It also wound up costing 493 career home runs. And it led to the Yanks signing Steve Kemp.

#4: Kenny Rogers (RHP, 1996-97) 18-15 record, 5.11 ERA. A classic example of a guy who simply couldn’t handle Broadway’s bright lights. When he pitched in small markets, Rogers was a four-time All Star, 5 time Gold Glover and a fixture in the postseason. For the Bombers, the Gambler just couldn’t get the job done, and he and his 3 year, $15M contract were shipped off to Oakland after only two years for the infamous Player to be Named Later. At least the PTBNL turned into Scott Brosius, who was anything but a dud for the Yanks.

#5: Carl Pavano (RHP, 2005-08) 9-8 record, 5.00 ERA. When Pavano hit free agency after the 2004 season, teams were lining up for his services. The Yankees outbid everyone and landed the former Marlin for 4 years and $38 million. We all know how that turned out. Pavano only made 26 starts over those four seasons as a myriad of strange injuries kept him off the pitching rubber (including the now infamous bruised butt). He probably would be more fondly remembered if he had done anything memorable in those starts, but he spent most of his time getting his ego as bruised as his tailbone. Like Rogers, once he left for smaller pastures he became a decent pitcher again, averaging 13 wins and 214 innings over the last three years for the Twins and Indians.

There are some notable honorable mentions who didn’t make the cut; guys like Raul Mondesi, Doyle Alexander, Jeff Weaver and Roy Smalley. AJ Burnett will undoubtedly join this list as a player who failed to live up to expectations, but he is a long way from being considered a flop on this scale.

So, what do you think? Are there any glaring omissions – or would you include AJ in the top 5? Let us know in the comments below. Fire Away!

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Bobby Abreu: Coming Back?

Bobby Abreu: Coming Back?

Over the weekend, rumors have been hot & heavy regarding a proposed trade that would send AJ Burnett and cash to the Pirates in exchange for a couple of minor leaguers. Joel Sherman in this morning’s New York Post has an interesting write-up. The deal right now is hung up on the two teams agreeing to fair compensation, given the amount of money the Pirates want along with AJ.

It seems as if the Yankees are intent on moving AJ purely as a player dump, with the hope that they can free up enough payroll to find a left-handed bat for the DH spot. I’m fine with just dumping AJ, who has been the model for inconsistency throughout his career and whose Yankee career has been underwhelming (to say the least). But what if the Yanks could actually get a quality bat in return, rather than the borderline prospects the Pirates seem willing to part with? Such a deal may be possible. Ken Rosenthal tweeted
around 11:30am
 that the Angels would like to have AJ’s services. And the Angels have a serious logjam at DH/OF, with the expected return of Kendrys Morales, youngsters Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, and Peter Bourjos and veterans Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter and Vernon Wells all looking for playing time. Add Albert Pujols to the mix, who is guaranteed to take over at first, and suddenly Trumbo and Morales are without a position. In short, they have seven players for four spots. Somebody will be the odd man out in that game of musical chairs and my guess is it will be Abreu.

The Yankees are familiar with Abreu, who patrolled right field for the Bombers from 2006-2008. While his skills have declined, the Yanks are only looking for a part-time left handed bat, a role Abreu could certainly fill. His power has taken a serious dive over the past two seasons, but his splits against right handers are still decent (.259/.366/.400) and after adjusting for ballparks, actually slightly better than league average (108 OPS+). And in clutch and high leverage situations, Abreu still shows the ability to rise to the occasion: in 104 “clutch” plate appearances last year, Abreu hit .306/.423/.482. We all know he isn’t anyone’s idea of a good outfielder, but the Yanks probably wouldn’t play him more than 10-15 games in the outfield anyway – not enough to have his fear of walls do any real damage to the Chase for 28.

There are two huge obstacles to getting a deal done: the first is AJ’s no-trade clause. The Angels are one of the ten teams on his list and it seems AJ is dead set on staying on the east coast. But we’ve all seen no-trade clauses get waived when the player is given enough “incentive.” I suspect AJ can be properly incented, given the difference between the Pirates and Angels chances for winning – and the difference in their home ballparks. (In case you hadn’t noticed, Angels Stadium is much more pitcher friendly than PNC Park). The other is, of course, the money. Abreu is in the last year of his deal and owed $9 million, while AJ has two years and $33 million left on his. But it seems to me that if the Yanks are willing to pay the Pirates $10-13 million for a pair of borderline prospects, then the Yankees could agree to a similar amount for Abreu. And once Abreu is off the books next year, the Yanks would look to have even more salary space next season to find a DH type than they would if they accept the Pirates trade offer. Let’s say the Yanks agree to pick up Abreu’s contract for this year and chip in an additional $5 million in cash, along with an extra $3 million for AJ to head west. $17 million is a hefty price to get AJ out of town – but I still prefer that to the Pirates offer, as the Yanks would get a known commodity for 2012 and salary relief for 2013.

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New York Yankees Pitcher Phil Hughes ThrowsNew York Yankees (1-2) vs Pittsburgh Pirates (1-0)

Pitching Matchup:

RHP  Phil Hughes (0-0, 0.00) vs RHP James McDonald (0-0, 0.00)

Lineup

Gardner LF
Swisher RF
Granderson CF
Posada DH
Chavez 3B
Montero C
Nunez SS
Laird 1B
Pena 2B

The game will take place at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida.  It’s slated to start at 1:05PM ET. This game will not be televised.

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After watching the sports documentary, The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (an Aviva Kempner film), I found an interesting connection between the Yankees organization and the legendary slugger.

In 1947,  Detroit Tigers owner Walter Briggs became infuriated with his star slugger, Hank Greenberg because he was asking for more money than he wanted to pay. Hank was at the tail end of his career, but he just came off a tremendous 1946 season, where he hit 44 home runs and knocked in 127 RBI’s. Briggs also saw a picture of Greenberg in the Sporting News paper, which displayed a picture of Hank sitting in a clubhouse with a Yankees uniform on his lap. The general idea was that Hank wanted to go to the Bronx (where he grew up) and finish his career as a New York Yankee.

Soon after this photo was released in the newspaper, Hank learned that he had been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates over the radio airwaves. He didn’t believe it until a telegram was delivered to him. It read: “Your contract has been assigned to the Pittsburgh Baseball Club of the National League. We wish you good luck.” The photo really infuriated Briggs and he let him go without investigation. They would later find out that the picture was taken years ago during Hank’s service in WWII. Hank took part in an All-Star benefit game while in the service and they didn’t have a uniform that would fit him, so they gave him a Yankees uniform to wear.

Briggs made sure that nobody in the American League would pick up Greenberg through waivers, so he couldn’t come back and haunt them. At the time, baseball owners had complete control over their players and they could send players to other teams on a whim. You couldn’t get away with such a thing today.

It came as a shock to Greenberg and the Detroit fans. Hank was so upset over the situation, he was ready to retire. The Pirates contacted him, making him an offer he couldn’t refuse. They were set to make him the highest paid player in baseball. Greenberg wound up being the first player to ever break the $80,000 barrier (Ruth’s 1930-31 Salary). Pittsburgh gave Hank $115,000 to play for them in 1947. It was the last season he would ever play.

(more…)

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I’m following up on Kevin’s post from last night: my biggest pet peeve is #22: specifically, hearing fans from “small market” teams complain that they can’t compete with the Yankees because they’ll never have the similar payrolls. (I don’t understand the fuss over #23, girls accepting marriage proposals. But then, I’m an old-fashioned romantic).

Just typing that nonsense about “competing” made my blood start to boil. There are two problems with that entire line of reasoning: (1) baseball is about competition; not just on the field but between the front offices and (2) there are plenty of teams out there who do not have the Yankees financial resources but manage to field playoff-caliber squads every year.

Minnesota and Philadelphia are great examples of teams that compete for the pennant, despite limited resources. Last time I checked, San Diego has an excellent shot to return to the fall classic this year. The Marlins, Rockies and Rays all have legitimate chances at the postseason. And let’s not forget the ultimate in small-market success: the Braves will finish above .500 for the 19th consecutive season, a stretch unmatched by any team in baseball (including the Yankees).

So, if you’re a disheartened Pirates or Royals fan, turn to your teams’ ownerships and ask them why they refuse to put the money they get from MLB back into players. (Hey, the Pirates reported a $20.4 million disbursement to the ownership group last year. Sure glad they earned it.) Stop complaining about the Yankees and start complaining about your team’s inept front offices.

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Yankees (5-6) vs. Pirates (3-7)

Pitching Matchup:

LHP C.C. Sabathia  (0-0, 10.38) vs RHP Charlie Morton (0-0, 7.20)

Lineup

Jeter SS
Johnson 1B
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Thames LF
Gardner CF
Winn DH
Cervelli C
Vazquez 3B (more…)

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Yankees (3-4) vs. Pirates (1-4-1)

Pitching Matchups:

LHP C.C. Sabathia (0-0, 0.00) vs RHP Charlie Morton (0-0, 4.50)

Lineups

Jeter SS
Johnson DH
Posada C
Rodriguez 3B
Granderson CF
Swisher RF
Winn LF
Miranda 1B
Russo 2B (more…)

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Yankees (1-4) vs. Phillies (1-2-1)/Pirates (1-2-1)

Pitching Matchups:

RHP Javier Vazquez (0-0, 0.00) vs RHP Kyle Kendrick (0-0, 0.00)

RHP Alfredo Aceves (0-0, 0.00) vs LHP Paul Maholm (0-0, 0.00)

Lineups

vs. Phillies: Gardner CF, Johnson DH, Teixeira 1B, Posada C, Cano 2B, Swisher RF, Thames LF, Russo 3B, Pena SS

vs. Pirates: Jeter SS, Granderson CF, Winn RF, Rodriguez 3B, Miranda 1B, Rivera C, Hoffmann LF, Pilittere DH, Corona 2B (more…)

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The Yankees opened up the schedule against the Pittsburgh Pirates today, and they continued their style from last season. One thing that caught my on the field was how good Nick Johnson looks back in pinstripes. I don’t know, I guess I’m just a big fan.

Fifth-starter candidate, Chad Gaudin made the start for the Bombers, allowing one hit and no runs over two innnings (34 pitches, 23 for strikes). Gaudin also got a throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt. Sergio Mitre and Alfredo Aceves both threw two perfect innings a piece. Johnathan Albaladejo came on in relief after that, giving up three runs (2 earned). Ring, Hirsh and Sanit also entered the game to get some work in.

As for the offense, Jeter, Granderson and Tex went hitless. Ramiro Pena hit a solo HR blast (off of former Yankee prospect, Steven Jackson) in the bottom of the 6th inning to give them team a 1-0 lead. Nick Johnson hit an RBI double in the 6th and knocked in Nunez. Laird, Weber and Nunez all picked up a base hit on the game. Colin Curtis stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 9th inning, and hit a three-run homer to break a 3-3 tie which gave the Yankees a walk-off victory. Amaury Sanit wound up with the win (W, 1-0).

The Yankees Spring Training record goes to 1-0. Tomorrow, the team will travel to Clearwater, Florida to play the Philadelphia Phillies. The game is slated for 1:05PM ET. It will not be televised on the YES Network, but it will be carried on MLB.TV. The pitching matchup will be Sabathia vs. Halladay. (more…)

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Signing of Mark Teixeira, AJ Burnett, CC Sabathia: $423.5 million

2009 New York Yankees Payroll: $208,097,414 million

Bringing the World Series Championship to New York: Priceless

Cost of Priceless World Series: $25.69 million

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the cost of the Yankees 2009 run to the championship cost the Yankees over $25 million in luxury tax. In all seven seasons that the luxury tax has been in place, the Yankees have paid luxury tax. You hear that KC Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, that prospect you sign, you can thank the Yankees this year for!

Compared to last year, the Yankees paid $26.86 million in luxury tax. You know, I am of the mind to say that if you have the money and there is something you want, you should go after it. So, I in no way feel bad for the Yankees going after what they want last year and this year (if they do make a big splash). If they have to pay a little tax on what they did this year, so be it.

Considering that this year will be less than $201 million, the luxury tax will be less than this year one would think…

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