Earlier in the week it was announced that the Mets Triple-A hitting coach George Greer had been hired by the St. Louis Cardinals. Greer was named the Cardinals system wide hitting coach. It is well-known that the Mets are in search of a new hitting coach, thus making the timing of this move a bit odd to me.
The Cardinals have been one of the premier franchises in the sport for some time now. They compete for a World Series title year in, year out, leaving many wondering just how do they do it? Very rarely do you see the Cardinals give out long-term deals to overpriced free agents. They let arguable the games best player at the time, Albert Pujols, walk and they didn’t even skip a beat. I credit much of this to their player development and scouting department. An area which the Mets undoubtedly need to improve on.
This is what left me thinking, What exactly are the Cardinals seeing in Greer that the Mets aren’t? If an organization of the Cardinals stature felt he was worth such a position, why wouldn’t the Mets do their best to hold onto him? Greer was rumored to be a potential candidate for the Mets hitting coach, I’ll go ahead and assume he felt he was not going to be offered the position. Aside from that, interim hitting coach Lamar Johnson was told the Mets would not be retaining him as the teams hitting coach, choosing to rather reassign him elsewhere within the organization. These two factors must have played a big part in Greer making the decision to leave so quickly. But at the very least, why wasn’t he offered a similar position within the organization?
I’ll be the first to say that I think the value of a hitting coach is overstated. These are major league baseball players, they already know how to hit and require very little coaching at this level of play. With that being said, even the best of players can develop bad habits and go into a slump. This is where the advice from a hitting coach may come into play. Besides the occasional tweak or words of encouragement to a younger player, I don’t think a hitting coach has the ability to turn around an entire offense simply by his presence.
At the end of the day, this is just a minor league hitting instructor. But this move left me once again questioning the thought process within our front office. Look around the league, unless you are willing to open up your checkbook like the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox, you must rely heavily on your farm system to build from within. Maybe I’m overstating this and Greer is an easily replaceable coach, but I have to doubt that if an organization of the Cardinals caliber was willing to scoop him away.
Last night was one of the more surreal moments I have ever experienced at a sporting event. When I first got my hands on four tickets for Derek Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium, my initial instinct was “I’m going to make a fortune off of these”. Although that may have very well been the case, I couldn’t be happier that I bypassed the financial reward and decided to attend the game with three of my closest friends.
From the moment we stepped foot into the stadium the “De-rek Jet-er” chants had begun, it didn’t take long to realize just how electric this crowd would be all night long. A good portion of Yankee games sellout throughout the season, but you know it’s a special game when everyone is in their seats a half hour before first pitch.
Jeter was given a standing ovation before the game even started, when he accepted a donation on behalf of the Yankees to his charity. Then another when he took the field to warmup. Then another after a scoreboard message played a thank you tribute. Then another when his Gatorade commercial aired. Then another when he took his position on the field. Then another when his Nike commercial aired. Then another when he stepped into the on-deck circle. Then another when he finally stepped into the batter’s box. If you didn’t get the hint by now, there was very little sitting at this game.
It became apparent rather quickly that Jeter would once again relish in the moment. In his first at-bat, he roped a deep line drive to left center field, missing a home run by only a few feet. That left many of us wondering if that would be the highlight from his final game. He hasn’t exactly torn the cover off the baseball this season, would that be his final hit at the stadium?
After the first inning, the game went into cruise control through the 7th inning. The most entertainment came from the Jumbotron. In between innings former players and coaches would share with us their favorite Jeter moments. It was truly remarkable that one man could be in the middle of so many historical moments in this storied franchises history. I applauded for each and every one of these, except for one. When the 2000 World Series highlight reel began, when the Yankees beat my beloved Mets and Jeter was named series MVP, it reminded me of the love/hate relationship I’ve had with Jeter for all these years.
Hate is a strong word, but there were plenty of times when I truly felt this way towards Jeter. I’m 27-years-old, meaning my baseball memories pretty much started alongside Jeter’s career. In that time, I have seen the Mets make the playoffs three times, compared to the Yankees 16, and that’s not even counting the one game regular season playoff against the Mariners in 95’. The Mets have become known for public relation blunders, lack of accountability and most notably, heartbreak. Jeter on the other hand, has stood for the polar opposite.
The man has never made a public relations blunder in his life, even the story of Jeter giving his one night stands a gift baskets of sorts turned positive for the coveted bachelor. It’s hard to walk 5 feet in Yankee Stadium without seeing a “Yeah Jeets!” shirt or a fan shouting the term in endearment. Accountability, fugetaboutit. Despite being second only to Bill Belichick in giving the most boring interviews, he always stands pact at his locker accepting both the praise and blame. You will never hear him throw blame elsewhere, all of it falls on the Captains shoulders. When it comes to heartbreak, Jeter has given the fans very little. He has been a part of 13 division titles, seven American League Championships and won five World Series Championships. Sure this is a team sport, and he isn’t solely responsible for those accomplishments, but he played a damn big part in it.
Needless to say, my feelings towards him have walked a fine line between hate and envy. But back to last night…
Jeter stepped up with the stage set for a big moment in the seventh. With the bases loaded and the game tied the crowd was, you guessed it, on their feet. Although Jeter didn’t come through with a hit, he did put the ball in play forcing an error on a fielder’s choice, allowing the Yankees to take the lead. This might not have felt like a significant play, but I felt summed up a big portion of Jeters career that you won’t find in any stat sheet. He was involved in a game changing play. Sure it wasn’t a home run or a bases clearing double, but he made something happen on a measly weak ground ball. Typical Jeter.
When David Robertson took the mound in the ninth inning to close out the game, the crowd was more than happy for it to end this way. My friends and I might have been the only four people in the stadium rooting for the Orioles to tie it up. Jeter was due up third in the bottom of the ninth, who wouldn’t want to see him bat one more time? After Robertson surrendered the first home run, we cheered, when he gave up the game tying home run….we really cheered. At this point we HAD to be the only non-Oriole fans high-fiving each other. The guys behind us were not amused. One friend quickly stated his ninth inning prediction:
“Single, bunt him over to second, Jeter single to win it”
We kind of laughed this statement off and gave each other the “imagine?” response. Even Jeter can’t be that lucky to have it end like that.
Well, wouldn’t you know it, Jose Pirela started the inning off with a single. Alright, now we’re looking at each other like we might be onto something. Gardner steps up and lays down a perfect sacrifice bunt. At this point, I think the whole crowd was in a state of disbelief that Jeter would be coming to the plate in this situation. It just seemed too good to be true. In true Jeter fashion, he lines a single into right field and drives in Pirela for the winning run. I mean, wow. Words cannot even describe the emotion running through the stadium at that very moment. The same guys that we aggravated an inning earlier by our blown save celebration were now shaking my buddies in disbelief for predicting this exact scenario.
Jeter was mobbed by teammates and the Yankees used their flair for the dramatics – revealing the presence of Joe Torre, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Tino Martinez and Mariano Rivera on the Jumobtron, one-by-one, as they waited to greet Jeter. I would say the crowd gave Jeter one last standing ovation, but the truth is I don’t think we ever stopped standing or applauding from the moment he stepped up at the plate to the time he faded away forever into the dugout.
This was truly a fairytale ending for Jeter, something straight out of Hollywood. You would’ve sworn this game was scripted the way it all unfolded. Jeter might have been the luckiest man on the face of the earth last night, but my friends and I were a close second.
Despite all of the injury problems the Yankees have faced this season, they have continued to keep themselves in the playoff hunt. While general manager Brian Cashman made some nice additions around the trading deadline, he was unable to land that “game changer” type of player.
Although there wasn’t a big name brought in, the Yankees could soon be receiving a jolt from within their own roster. Mashiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, the early season 1-2 punch in the rotation, each received good news this week regarding their rehab. Pineda, completed his first assignment and is scheduled to throw two more before a possible big league return. While Tanaka, threw a baseball for the first time in a month yesterday to positive results. Although his return would be roughly a month away, he could very well prove to be the difference maker they need down the stretch.
Cashman, did a fine job adding the pieces he did with such limited resources. Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy have quickly made an impact, while Martin Prado and Stephen Drew added some much-needed versatility to the roster. But the moves he didn’t make could turn into his finest of them all. The Yankees farm system is already well depleted. Trading for a rental player would have only sent their system back even further than it already is. Waiting on the rehabbing Tanaka and Pineda could prove to be the best decision he makes this year.
If the Yankees are able to stay in contention until the cavalry arrives, high praise will not only be in order for the job Cashman has done, but Joe Girardi as well. Girardi has once again proven himself to be a top-tier manager in the game today. He continues to get production out of his rosters, no matter who is on the disabled list.
Look for the Yankees to make things interesting down the stretch, especially if Tanaka and Pineda return to their earlier form.
In unsurprising news, Jacob deGrom was named the NL Rookie of the month. It was hard to imagine deGrom NOT winning this award after going 4-1 with a 1.39 ERA in July.
Much has been made of the New York Mets pitching depth, and rightly so, but deGrom was a bit of an afterthought heading into the season. Although he was spoken of highly by the front office inner circle, Noah Syndergaard and Rafael Montero were supposed to be the rookies making an impact this year. While those two struggled early on, deGrom rose to the occasion and quickly made his presence known in the majors.
Degrom, is now 6-5 on the year with a 2.77 ERA. Those numbers are great for anyone, let alone a rookie. It isn’t just his raw stats that have impressed, but also his demeanor and mentality on the mound. DeGrom has that “it” factor, one that can’t be fully explained. He attacks a lineup in a fearless manor, challenging hitters at all times. Which is what has drawn the comparisons between Matt Harvey and himself. There repertoires may not be the same, but their desire to compete and win are similar, which has quickly won over this fan base.
When asked about the Rookie of the Year rumblings, deGrom struggled to even name the others in contention.
“I don’t know who they all are,” deGrom said. “I know Hamilton. Who else? I honestly really haven’t been paying attention to it.”
At this point, deGrom may have named the only competition he has. If deGrom isn’t widely known around the league by now, he will be soon.
Despite a depleted starting rotation, and their aging position players dealing with nagging injuries, the Yankees have kept themselves well within reach of playoff baseball. Without any true powerhouse in the AL East, every team has been able to stay in the mix.
Brian Cashman has already been a busy man, making an array of mid-level moves to patch holes on his roster. Chase Headley, was brought in to fill a need at third base, while Brandon McCarthy and Chris Capuano, are attempting to solidify the rotation. So far-so good, as all three of these players have already made a positive impact. These are the kind of low-risk, high-reward maneuvers that Cashman has been making the last few seasons (Ichiro in 2012 & Alfonso Soriano 2013). Since there additions, each has provided an initial spark into the Yankees, helping them winning 7 of their first 8 games after the all-star break. But, they have lost three straight games since. While these are nice pieces that can undoubtedly help the Yankees down the stretch, they probably aren’t enough to get the job done.
After all, these are the Yankees we’re talking about. With the money Cashman spent this offseason, forget about any of that luxury tax nonsense many convinced us the Yankees were striving to stay below. There is no shortage of star power available at this years trade deadline, it’s more a matter of are you willing to take on one of these contracts? Names such as Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Ryan Howard, Matt Kemp, Marlon Byrd, Bartolo Colon, Chase Utley, Josh Willingham, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki have all been tied to the Yankees in trade rumors. Many possess large multi-year deals, the type that their respective teams would love to unload, but only few teams would be capable of adding these numbers onto their books. Luckily, the Yankees are one of them.
As I mentioned earlier, no one is running away with the division this year. Baltimore sits atop right now with a 2.5 game lead over Toronto, with the Yankees in third place trailing by 4.5 games. Tampa, who many thought played themselves out of the discussion with their horrendous start, is now the hottest team in baseball. After winning 29 of their last 40 games, the Rays are behind the Yankees by only 2.5 games. Division aside, the Yankees are tied with Seattle in the wild card standings, trailing the Blue Jays and Angels by two games for one of two spots available.
Brian Cashman needs to pull the trigger on one of these impact players, preferably a top of the rotation starter. With C.C. Sabathia finished for the year and Tanaka’s future in question, Joe Girardi desperately needs an anchor in his staff to count on down the stretch. A vintage Yankees “big splash” is exactly what this team needs to become a real contender. Simply put, with two months of the season left to play, October baseball is well within grasp.
Joe Torre, who was famously dubbed “Clueless Joe” by the New York Daily News, was enshrined into the baseball Hall of Fame yesterday. Turns out Torre DID know what he was getting himself into, and may have managed the last great dynasty we will see in baseball.
Many forget just how good of a player Torre was before his managerial career ever began. He was a 9-time all-star, who won the batting title and NL MVP award in 1971, while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite having a great 18-year career, it was as a manager that he really left his mark on the game.
Torre first got his chance to manage in 1977, as he served as a player/coach for the New York Mets in the final year of his career. Torre went on to coach the Mets for the better part of 5 seasons, where he received poor results, due mostly to the lack-luster roster he was given to work with. From there, he went on to coach the Atlanta Braves for three years and the St. Louis Cardinals for six years. There his teams improved, but was still unable to turn any of them into a real contender.
Cue 1996. The Yankees were coming off back-to-back strong seasons, and had a young core in place to build around. George Steinbrenner made a highly questionable move when he hired Torre in to take over at the helm, considering he had winning seasons in only 5 of his 15 years as a manager. Nonetheless, it quickly became apparent that he was indeed the right man for the job. In his 12 seasons with the Yankees, his teams won 10 division titles, 6 pennants and 4 World Series championships. All the while putting up with the daily scrutiny from the NY media and most importantly, Steinbrenner himself. Torres’ tenure with the Yankees will long be remembered as one of the greatest stretches in baseball history.
After moving on to manage the L.A. Dodgers to put an end to his stellar career, Torre finished with 2,326 games won as a manager, good for 5th all-time. Congratulations and welcome to Cooperstown, Joe Torre.
Watch his Hall of Fame speech in its entirety below:
Remember heading into the All-Star break when the Mets seemed poised to take back this town? Yeah, about that. Amazingly, in just the first weekend back, the Yankees and Mets momentum has reversed.
We had the young Mets riding high, winning 8 of 10 to finish off the first half. Newspaper and TV outlets had announced it was time for the Mets to end the Yankees long running reign as kings of New York. Things looked even brighter when the Mets were set to face the lowly Padres to start off the half. After a promising win on Friday night, the Mets offense went silent as they dropped the next two games. It wasn’t just that they lost, it was how they lost. Although the pitching remained strong, the return of an anemic offense reminded us of this teams achilles heal. Daniel Murphy will need to get out of this recent slump, while the revival of Lucas Duda, Curtis Granderson and Travis d’Arnaud must continue for the Mets to turn things around.
The Yankees closed out the first half getting bad news, after bad news. Their aging roster continued to get banged up and one after another went down in the starting rotation. C.C. Sabathia had knee surgery to finish his year, Michael Pineda’s return remains in doubt and no one really knows what the future holds for Mashiro Tanaka. With nothing but negativity surrounding the Yankees heading into the break, starting the second half with a sweep of the Reds was exactly what this franchise needed. Despite the lack of depth in the starting rotation, unlikely candidates have stepped up. Hiroki Kuroda is now the “ace” of this staff by default, and he pitched quite well out if the gate. David Phelps had a solid performance and newly acquired Brandon McCarthy showed signs of returning to his old form. Jacoby Ellsbury carried the offense over the weekend and he may need to do so the rest of the way if the Yankees are going to make any sort of a run. So far, so good for the Yankees.
I realize we are only ONE series into the second half, but it’s amazes me just how quickly the mood surrounding each franchise can change. I still believe the Mets have a brighter future ahead of them, but I’m not ready to commit to their reign starting in the second half. Many questions still remain surrounding the Yankees, as I don’t have confidence that they will be able to stay healthy enough to reach the post season. But the AL East lacks a dominant team and the division is there for the taking. A big splash from Brian Cashman at the trade deadline wouldn’t surprise me, as that is what it will take to keep this team afloat. One thing I do know for certain, it’s good to have baseball back in full force.
Much like highly anticipated Super Bowl ads are leaked days in advance now, Nike released their Derek Jeter tribute commercial a day before it’s due to air. The video has quickly gone viral, taking over our social media news feeds, and rightly so.
A star-studded list of celebrities and athletes make cameo’s as they tip their caps, a gesture of respect in baseball circles, to the longtime Yankee captain before he steps in for an at-bat. Spike Lee, Billy Crystal, Joe Torre, Carmelo Anthony, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan are just some of those featured.
Jeter, will start in his 14th, and final, All-Star game tonight. Much like former teammate Mariano Rivera last year, this will undoubtedly become the Jeter show. Dugouts will clear, fans will rise to their feet and broadcasters will go numb as baseball fans across the country show their gratitude for everything he has given to the game. It isn’t just his Hall of Fame credentials, but Jeters’ character that has him among the most respected players of his generation.
Watch the very well done ad below:
We’ve all read and heard the praise of the Mets young starting pitchers, but not enough has been said regarding the arms in the bullpen. The Mets have quietly put together a young core, that has become a force, late in ballgames.
Sandy Alderson’s goal all along was to build this team around their pitching, and in 2014, that goal is becoming a reality. The starting rotation is stock full with young pitchers such as Dillon Gee, Zack Wheeler, Jonathon Niese and Jacob deGrom. Now add in future pieces Noah Syndergarrd, Rafael Montero, Steven Matz and Matt Harvey, who will return from his Tommy John surgery next season, and you have an abundance of arms to build your rotation around.
When you look back on playoff team success in recent years, there is always a common trait, a shutdown bullpen. It isn’t always the dominant offenses, but rather the teams that are able to shut down games by the 7th inning, that make deep runs. That is what the Mets are looking to put together. When closer Bobby Parnell went down, a major concern remained as to who the Mets would use to finish off ballgames. However, the combination of Vic Black, Josh Edgin, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia, has stepped up and answered that question.
- Josh Edgin (27) 25 GP – 1.76 ERA
- Vic Black (26) 22 GP – 1.77 ERA 1.77 ERA
- Jeurys Familia (24) 44 GP – 2.11 ERA
- Jenrry Mejia (24) 25 GP – 2.42 ERA – 9 SV
Tonight, Yankees rookie Chase Whitley was lit up for 8 ER in just 3.1 IP against the Toronto Blue Jays. This was easily the worst outing in Whitley’s young career, as he has been a pleasant surprise in the rotation up to this point. The question remains though, just what do the Yankees have in Whitley?
The 25-year-old came into this game with a 3-0 record and a 2.56 ERA. With Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia on the shelf, Whitley has been a saving grace for the Yankees. Although Whitley was undefeated in his first 7 starts, he has only pitched more than 5 innings twice, and has never thrown more than 100 pitches in a game. I realize he’s young and probably on an inning/pitch count, but that isn’t too reassuring for me. It’s hard to count on a pitcher who can’t get through more than 5 innings in a start. With the Yankees rotation as thin as it is, it will be difficult having to use your bullpen for an extended period of time every fifth game.
More than anything else, Whitley just ran into a very good offensive team tonight who was seeing him for the second time around. But that is also what would alarm me the most. Is Whitley going to turn into one of those guys who the league quickly figures out? Or will he be able to make the adjustments as quickly as the batters will to him?
I know I’m only talking about 8 starts here, so I won’t get too carried away with any forgone conclusions about what Whitley will ultimately become. But if I were Brian Cashman, I wouldn’t be trigger shy when it comes to adding another starter. The name of the game is pitching, and I’m not sure you should be counting on Chase Whitley to be one of the starters you count on to help get you into the postseason. Best case scenario, Whitley slides into the fifth starter spot where he can eat up innings and keep the Yankees in ball games.
Today we were given mixed reports regarding Chris Young’s future with the Mets. Adam Rubin, a team beat reporter for ESPN, said that Young may be cut from the team as early as Thursday. If we were judging this news off of numbers alone, this wouldn’t be a story at all, he deserves to be cut. But, when you pay a player $7.25 million just this past off-season, this becomes headline worthy.
The 30-year-old outfielder has failed to return to his all-star form with the Mets this season. Sandy Alderson brought him in quickly this winter to be the teams left fielder/fourth outfielder. Truth is, no one really knows what exactly Alderson promised him. Whatever it was, he is now walking on thin ice when it comes to keeping his job.
Despite Rubin’s report, Mets officials vehemently deny that there is any truth to this. However, we all know that doesn’t exactly mean much. It’s not like Alderson would come out and tell us “Yes, that report is correct and we plan on cutting Young if he doesn’t perform over the course of these next two days”. That wasn’t going to happen. Alderson gave us the statement that he HAD to come out and make. It’s impossible to let those reports float around over a player’s head, even if that is indeed your plan.
Personally, I hope the Mets do cut ties with Young. He has proven to be a complete bust of a signing, something we all saw coming months ago. His defense has been sub par and he looks over matched at the plate. I know we all want to jump on Alderson for making this move in the first place, and rightly so, but I will give him some credit if he ends this debacle of a signing sooner rather than later. It takes a lot to admit that one of you biggest off-season moves was the wrong one, but you must do whats right for the team, not your ego.
The Mets will be better off playing their younger outfielders on a daily basis than putting a struggling veteran out there whose career looks to be nearly done. With Juan Lagares due to return from the DL soon, their void in center field will once again be taken care of. Curtis Granderson has turned his season around and will remain to be a stable in right field. I would like to see Terry Collins continue to throw a combination of Eric Young Jr., Andrew Brown, Eric Campbell and Kirk Nieuwenhuis out there in left field. All of these players are better option than Chris Young at this point.
Bite the bullet Sandy and make the move. We may not be happy you made the signing, but we will respect you for admitting your mistakes.
The Mets and Yankees fan bases were filled with two different emotions Friday night, as we given two exciting, yet opposite, endings within a half an hour of each other.
First, we have the Mets. After winning two straight games, the Mets looked to continue to build momentum and put together a winning streak. Once again, the offense struggled to score runs as they trailed 3-0 heading into the latter innings of the game. The Mets offense were able to muster together a few runs to cut the lead to one heading into the ninth inning.
Kirk Niuewenhuis led the inning off with a pitch hit double over Giancarlo Stantons head in right field. After Ruben Tejada laid down a sacrifice bunt, the Mets now had a runner on third base with one out and Chris Young stepping to the plate. Young, merely had to hit a fly ball into the outfield to tie this game up and keep the Mets alive. Although that doesn’t sound like it is asking too much, Young has been struggling to even make contact most of this season. But, he was able to get the ball in the air to left field, which at first glance appeared to be enough to get the run in.
Earlier in the game, the Mets challenged the arm of left fielder Marcell Ozuna when David Wright was gunned down at the plate. It was a risky move, as Wright didn’t have much of a chance to score, but the Mets have to take their chances when they come. As Ozuna began to circle under this fly ball, you began to realize it was not as hit as deep as initially thought. Ozuna took a full running start as he caught the ball and fired a strike to home plate, deja vu, Nieunwenhuis was out a the plate to end the ball game.
He didn’t just throw him out, he was dead upon arrival. In the words of Charlie Brown, good grief. The Mets continue to find new ways to lose…
Then we have the Yankees. Unlike the Mets, who failed to complete their 9th inning comeback, the Yankees were able to finish the job. With the score 3-1 in the ninth, the Orioles sent out newly appointed closer Zack Britton. Britton, has been very effective in his new role, until last night. Brett Gardner was able to start things off with a lead off single. But he would be followed up by a Derek Jeter Strikeout and Jacoby Ellsbury fly out to quickly make it two outs with a runner on first. Mark Teixeiria stepped up next and was able to work a walk to keep the inning alive. Brian McCann, who has been struggling with the bat, hit a double to cut the lead to one run as Gardner scored.
It was now Carlos Beltran’s turn up at the plate. Beltran, is playing through elbow issues and is stuck mostly at the DH position since returning from the DL. You have to give Beltran credit, he could have easily taken the surgery route and missed most of, if not all, of the season. But he has toughed it out and gotten himself back into a lineup that desperately needs him. Beltran, batting right-handed against the left-hander, gave one a ride over the left field wall for a walk-off win.
The Yankees are in the middle of an important part of their schedule. This stretch includes games mostly against divisional opponents who sit atop the AL East, making this win all the more important. This game should help the Yankees confidence and leave the Orioles down on themselves for letting one slip away. Let’s see if there will be an after effect as these two finish off their weekend series.
Say what you will about David Wrights performance on the field this season, but you can never question his character. Wright, who was named team captain last season, has been nothing short of a role model since joining the Mets in 2004.
In every persons life, there is someone who helps mold us into who we will become later in our lives. After watching this interview segment, there is no doubt that Wrights parents deserve the credit for making him the man he is today. This short, but well done, piece summed up just how much influence Wrights father has had on him.
More than any other sport, baseball seems to have the strongest father-son connection. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s the remembrance of playing catch at an early age (which I able to do again yesterday), our first trip to a major league ball park or the encouraging words our fathers gave us after our little league games, but that bond has given many of us memories that will last a lifetime.
Hope you all enjoyed your father’s day!
Much has been made about Sandy Alderson’s offseason decision to sign Chris Young rather than Nelson Cruz. Young, who was signed early in the winter months, agreed to a 1-year $7.25 million deal. While Cruz on the other hand, turned down a 1-year $14 million offer from the Texas Rangers to retain him, waited out the market. It appeared to backfire, as no long-term offers came in, leaving Cruz to accept a 1-year $8 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles.
This brought about immediate outrage from the Mets fan base. How could Sandy Alderson not have signed Cruz, Chris Young or not, for such a bargain price? Let’s remind ourselves how Cruz got into this situation in the first place. Cruz, was among several players involved in the Biogenesis scandal last season, which ultimately lead to him accepting a 50-game suspension. This put him among a long list of sluggers to have tarnished the games reputation and put his previous season’s stats into question.
Chris Young: .202 BA/.288 OBP/4 HR/14 RBI (1-year $7.25 million)
Nelson Cruz: .314 BA/.384 OBP/20 HR/52 RBI (1-year $8 million)
Despite his black eye amongst many in baseball, Scott Boras still had his client believing he would attract a significant multiyear contract offer. Boras, arguably the most powerful agent in baseball, was wrong. When no suitors came calling, Boras and Cruz accepted what many believed to be a losing contract from the Orioles. FINALLY, teams had stood up against a steroids linked player and super-agent Scott Boras, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a backup plan all along.
Despite not receiving a contract that even matched his one year offer from the Rangers, let alone a multiyear deal, this was still a well thought out maneuver. Camden Yards, home of the Orioles, has long been known as a hitters ballpark. Thus making it the ideal situation for a power hitter to go spend a year and pad his stats before another year on the free agent market. On top of the friendly confines, the Orioles also possess a strong lineup from top to bottom, providing Cruz some much-needed protection.
The ONLY way the Mets had any real shot at getting Cruz, and I mean ONLY, was to give into Boras’ initial demands of a long-term deal. You can argue that he may very well have been a better investment than Curtis Granderson and Young combined, but it’s hard to assume his production would still have been the same. He is playing like a man on a mission this year in attempt to earn himself that mega contract. It’s no guarantee that his power numbers would be anywhere near the same in pitcher friendly Citi Field, surrounded by half the lineup that the Orioles have stacked around him. The odds are highly unlikely that he would be leading the league in HR and RBI with the Mets, but we will never know that for sure.
Let’s not act like Sandy Alderson chose Young over Cruz for virtually the same contract. Cruz was NEVER going to sign with the Mets for that same deal. Boras may not have gotten plan A to work out, but his fallback plan is making him look like a genius thus far.
However, I am still all for criticizing Alderson for his signing of Young. His production has been about what we all expected, and it isn’t pretty. The money was a head scratcher from day 1 and clearly could have been spent wiser on other players. The farm system is beginning to provide the big league level with high quality arms in the rotation and bullpen, the time has come for Alderson to earn his keep and find that hidden talent on the free agent market. Time and patience is running up on Alderson if he makes a few more Chris Young signings.
Apparently it’s not only the players who find a way to embarrass the Mets at Citi Field. Before tonight’s game, Curtis Jackson, better known as 50 cent, threw out the first pitch. Jackson, was on hand to promote his post-game concert next month, while he might not get much press for that show, his first pitch efforts will certainly make headlines. While I know nothing about the performer’s athletic background, I can tell you he most certainly was not a baseball player.
When I saw him step foot onto the actual mound, I had high hopes for him, as only people who have confidence in their abilities step that far back. But that was quickly washed away once he brought his arm back. Jackson, threw one of the worst ceremonial first pitches you will ever see. I don’t know if he had one too many “up in da Caesar’s Club” or not, but that was more embarrassing than his acting career.
It was reminiscent of Gary “Baba Booey” Dell’Abate’s first pitch a few years back. Hard for me to say which one was worse, as I never expected to see Baba Booey topped, but 50 cent may have done just that.
Jackson, 50, or whatever I’m supposed to call you nowadays, stick to rapping.