Friday, July 4, 2008

More On The Yankees And Other Stories

  • Red Sox 7-Yankees 0 (Part II):
Manager Joe Girardi closed the clubhouse doors for a half hour as he lit into his team for their lackadaisical play; we'll know at the end of this weekend whether or not it did any good
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(or will be perceived to have done any good, anyway). There's no doubt that the team deserved a tongue lashing after the way they've played this week, but what I'm wondering is how far Girardi is able to go in unloading on his team and how much the players----many former teammates of the manager and in the same age group----are going to take.
The players know he's the manager and that the relationship between player and teammate and player and manager must be at least slightly different, but if he really starts letting them have it, how long before a guy like Alex Rodriguez (for example) just rolls his eyes and uses the logic of "who are you to be telling me anything?" It's a fine line that a contemporary has to take when he essentially becomes the boss. Girardi is a solid enough strategic manager and he does have some presence, but I would think that Joe Torre tearing paint off the walls in screaming at his slumbering players would have more of an impact than Girardi doing it would just because Girardi's such a young and inexperienced manager.

Michael Kay was at it again with the nonsense of "Jason Varitek wants a Jorge Posada-type contract"; you have to give Kay credit in that he latches onto one thing and doesn't start changing his tune months later even if what he says was ridiculous when he first said it and continues to be ridiculous. I'm not going into repeated detail on this because I talked about it earlier----Does Michael Kay Listen To Himself When He Speaks? 4/16/08----and the gist remains the same almost verbatim.

There's another story about Brian Cashman's contract in the NY Times----Story----and it's implying that the deal is about fait accompli that Cashman is going to return and I'm not so
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sure. The longer this drags out and the combination of things----change in ownership, struggles on the field, leaving the team with a young nucleus and the possibility of moving onto a less stressful environment----make it at least a decent chance that Cashman might leave. Add in that there are going to be attractive jobs definitely open----Philadelphia and Seattle----and jobs probably open----Washington and Toronto, and Cashman may tell the Steinbrenners that
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enough's enough and leave. The one I would keep an eye on is in Washington because it's a job that any baseball person in his right mind should want. I've said this before and I'll say it again: if an executive is able to bring a championship contending team to the Washington DC area, the world (literally) could be his. Cashman's calculating enough to take that into consideration and might want to take the opportunity if it's presented and it very well might be.
  • Diamondbacks 6-Brewers 5:
I opened my big mouth about Salomon Torres and the possibility of the Brewers closer
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making the All Star team because he solidified the role and possibly saved the manager's job and the team from an under .500 season and he blows a game a couple of hours later. In all fairness, no closer is going to enter a ninth inning with his team leading by five runs and expect to have to record a save; it's part of the job description for a closer to be ready at all times, but even Hall of Fame closers like Mariano Rivera aren't going to expect their teams to blow a lead that fast. Torres blew the game, but it may have been more of a mental hiccup than a physical one.
  • Dodgers 5-Astros 2:
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Even with all the injuries and problems scoring runs the Dodgers have endured, they're starting to get their veterans back and Chad Billingsley is beginning to look like the ace his stuff dictates he could be. The Diamondbacks have slumped and it's allowed the Dodgers to heal without worrying about getting buried in the playoff race and I think, after the All Star break, they're going to take off.
  • Mark Grudzielanek or Luis Castillo----20/20 hindsight:
I hadn't even thought of Luis Castillo as an option at second base for the Mets last season when they were openly in the market for a replacement for the injured Jose Valentin; I preferred Mark Grudzielanek and they presumably could have gotten him for a couple of prospects. The argument that the Mets would likely have made for
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Castillo is that he's (supposedly) five years younger than Grudzielanek, but Grudzielanek is the far better player; now that Castillo's on the disabled list and Grudzielanek is having such a fine year at the plate and is a Gold Glove winning second baseman, are the Mets having second thoughts about A) going after Castillo over Grudzielanek; and B) signing Castillo to a long-term extension? I don't think they need to be told now that they made a mistake.

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