- How much is enough?
The above lines are from the movie Wall Street, which reminds me that there's a sequel to the film coming out soon; this also reminds me of a clip from the old Ben Stiller Show on Fox from years ago called OliverStoneland. The Ben Stiller Show was brilliant, but presumably too highbrow (in a comedy sense) for fans of Married With Children to grasp late on a Sunday night and after a few beers.
But I digress.
The Yankees are involved in talks to get Dan Haren from the Diamondbacks and in the aftermath of their failed pursuit of Cliff Lee, Haren, on the whole, is probably a better long-term investment due to age, finances and probable cost. It will be fascinating to see who the Diamondbacks want from the Yankees in exchange for Haren----they already have a relatively young catcher named Montero (Miguel Montero), so they don't need Jesus Montero from the Yankees.
I suggested after the Lee negotiations fell apart and the Yankees' subsequent tantrum that perhaps they and the Diamondbacks could work something out centered around Joba Chamberlain----Posting 7.12.2010. In much the same way the Mets Generation K came apart in the mid-90s, is it possible that two of the three phenoms will have to try and fulfill their potential elsewhere with Chamberlain and Ian Kennedy reuniting in Arizona?
Trading Chamberlain is no longer so far-fetched as he's faltered in the bullpen and it's beginning to become clear that the likelihood of him becoming the "next Roger Clemens" as much of the hyperbole (from me included) suggested. He's in play for a trade.
But that's not my point.
Haren isn't quite as good a pitcher as Lee, but he's not that far off; he's remarkably durable and doesn't have Lee's injury history; he's two years younger; and, most importantly, he's signed long term at a comparatively cheap rate.
The Yankees would get a similar performance from Haren as they would from Lee and would only pay a fraction of the cost financially. With the contract he signed with the Diamondbacks in August of 2008. Haren is signed for $12.75 million per in 2011 and 2012 with an option of $15.5 million and a $3.5 million buyout for 2013.
Cliff Lee is going to cost at least $120 million to sign; and while he's a free agent and won't require the Yankees to ante up the talent they're going to surrender to get Haren, taking everything into account, it's a wash----a cheaper wash----to get Haren.
I believe the Haren to the Yankees talk has legs and will happen. Of course I have to add the twin caveats of not believing a deal is done until it is done; and that you should not pay attention to anything said or written by Joel Sherman.
On another note, the interwebs were abuzz with the thought of the Yankees getting Haren, but it wasn't simply the idea of getting a top-tier pitchers that caused all the excitement; naturally some Yankee fans exemplified why a large segment of them are so relentlessly despised by the public in general when they exclaimed that in 2011, they'd have Haren and Lee.
I've never given the Yankees a hard time about using their financial might to get whichever player they wanted regardless of the cost; they have the money, spend the money; but it's the arrogance that is so off-putting; this belief that because the Yankees want something and that they are the Yankees, they should get it. In addition to that, we've seen what can happen when so-called "dream teams" are put together. Many, many times, it doesn't work.
If the Yankees get Haren, you can forget about them getting Lee unless they find some fool to take A.J. Burnett's contract.
That won't happen.
The days of collecting stars and paying for them without any restraint ended when the Steinbrenner sons and Brian Cashman took complete control of the Yankees. Do you really believe that they're going to be paying a starting rotation the amount of money it would cost to add Haren and Lee?
Let's break it down.
C.C. Sabathia: guaranteed $23 million annually through 2015.
A.J. Burnett: guaranteed $16.5 million annually through 2013.
Haren: guaranteed $29 million through 2012.
Phil Hughes: arbitration eligible and due a big raise.
If you add Lee to the mix and his $20 million-plus annual salary, the Yankees would be paying over $80 million annually for their starting rotation alone!!! Then you realize they have to re-sign Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera and there's no way it's going to happen.
The Yankees are not getting both Haren and Lee.
- Observing with vested interest...
Omar Minaya, Jeff Wilpon and the Mets are watching and hoping their good luck regarding Cliff Lee continues. First the Phillies traded him to the Mariners; the Mariners collapsed; then a trade to the Yankees that was said to be "done" fell apart; Lee was traded to a team in the Rangers that won't be able to keep him; and the Yankees are in on Dan Haren.
If the Yankees get Haren, they may also be delivering Cliff Lee to the Mets.
After getting Haren, the financial circumstances make it all but impossible for the Yankees to make a heavy play on Lee this winter; so where is The Stone Cold Killer going? The Phillies can't afford him and, despite Lee assertions to the contrary that he'd consider anyone, he's not going back there. The Dodgers are in disarray. The Cubs? Forget it. He's not going back to the Mariners. The Orioles? No thanks. The Red Sox might check in, but they're not paying Lee either when they want Adrian Gonzalez and are going to have to pay him Joe Mauer money.
Where's Lee going?
I said months ago that it would come down to the Angels and the Mets. If the money is similar, Lee is such a competitor and so vindictive that he'd love nothing better than to be 90 miles away from Philadelphia, on the big stage of New York and shoving it to Ruben Amaro Jr. every time he walked out to the Citi Field mound.
Despite allegations to the contrary, the Mets are going to have the money to sign Lee especially if they backload a deal with the bigger paychecks coming after Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and Carlos Beltran come off the books after 2011. They have a lot of young players on the way up and will be in shape to contend with that youth coming to the forefront. They'll be paying low salaries to their 1st baseman (Ike Davis); 2nd baseman (Ruben Tejada); right fielder (Fernando Martinez); catcher (Josh Thole); and two-fifths of their starting rotation (Jon Niese, Jenrry Mejia). They'll be able to afford Lee.
The Angels are a stealth, ruthless and deadly opponent; but don't discount the Minaya charm that netted Pedro Martinez and Beltran after 2004 when few saw the Mets as a realistic possibility for either. Underestimating that aggressiveness and convincing sales pitch has been a mistake before and could be so again; plus the money will be there.
The dominoes are falling and they're falling for the Mets.
For a change.
- The Mariners' train wreck gets worse:
Chone Figgins and manager Don Wakamatsu got into a Billy Martin-Reggie Jackson-style confrontation in the dugout after Figgins was pulled from the Mariners game vs the Red Sox for lack of hustle----ironically the same team and for the same reason as the Martin-Reggie dustup. You can see the clip here----MLB.com link.
I'm still waiting for an answer as to why no one is eviscerating the Mariners in general and shredding GM Jack Zduriencik in particular. Imagine if this happened with the Dodgers, Royals or Mets? In addition to the horror film into which the Mariners of 2010 have deteriorated, now players are fistfighting with the manager? In the dugout?
The perception is going to be that the players don't think much of Wakamatsu. From the Ken Griffey Jr. nap controversy; to the lack of hustle; to the horrible way they've played overall; to this latest incident, it's a disaster in Seattle. I have no way of knowing what the players think of their manager, but actions speak far louder than words and the way the players have openly disregarded Wakamatsu and any form of baseline decorum, you don't have to take too far a leap to realize that he's not highly thought of.
With Figgins, he didn't hustle on the play and he did deserve to be yanked. I'm getting the impression that he's the latest in a long line of players who left a more stable and organized situation and was shocked and disoriented by the absence of commitment and chain-of-command with the Mariners. It happened with Carlos Silva after he left the Twins; and it's happening with Figgins after leaving the Angels.
Nor can it be lost on anyone that both Silva and Figgins were signed by two different regimes in terms of reality and outside appraisal----and both were expensive busts.
That's no excuse, but it is an explanation. Maybe the entire culture in Seattle isn't as altered as was believed simply by the hiring of a new GM who adheres to stat zombie principles; principles that have been bolstering and protecting him.
So, is Zduriencik still a genius?
Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?
I'm in 80s movie mode today. Dunno why. Maybe it's a subconscious hearkening back to the Mets glory days as Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Davey Johnson and Frank Cashen are preparing to enter the club Hall of Fame. Maybe.
- Viewer Mail 7.24.2010:
Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE the media:
Getting to see the "legit" writers' wheels spin via Twitter and the like is a pleasure for me. Like you mention, sometimes they say the dumbest things.
(Heyman does this a LOT!)
"Oops" is for the playground.
It's such a joy to see that they're just as capricious in their responses and assessments as everyone else; worse in fact because one would think that if they're writing about the sport and getting paid well for it, they'd have to: A) have writing ability; and B) some knowledge of what they're saying.
Heyman? Are you referring to The Blocking Machine? He's a weak man.
Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes RE the media and Jerry Manuel:
First it was "Fire Manuel!" Then it was "Keep Manuel!" We've seen this many times before in the media. A team wins and the manager is safe. It loses and the manager is fire fodder. Just how it goes.
They're sitting there and waiting for a cold streak to get a fire the manager chant going. Sometimes it's justified, sometimes not; but you'd think with the Mets streakiness this year and that they're still very close to the top of the Wild Card race, they'd take that into account before firing up the familiar and lame rhetoric again. Clearly I'm giving them too much credit.
Gabriel (Capo) writes RE the media:
I agree with Jane, the media is always in favour of a manager if a team is doing well, and asking for his/her head if the team's losing. It happens all around the globe, and in every team sport with a manager involved. That said, most of the time the statements are made to sell. Right now, more than before, they have to grab attention, and controversial statements are the easiest way to generate interest. I saw on "Private Parts", the Howard Stern movie, that people who liked and disliked Howard Stern tuned in just to hear what he was going to say. It's the way the media has always worked, and until bloggers can cover a team and become beat-bloggers, it's the way it's gonna be.
Negative stories are always more juicy than positive stories and they're easier to write.
It's interesting you bring up the Stern movie. I became an ambivalent fan of his after his hypocrisy regarding the divorce. The movie is funny in so many more ways when watching it with hindsight. I remember his promotion of the film----it was okay, not great as he claims----and it grew tiresome that he continuously played it up as if it was better than it was. His movie career has fizzled along with his attempts to take the next step in all forms of media. He lost something important when he became a happier person in his personal life. It was a trade-off that alienated hard core fans like myself and was presumably inevitable.
The Brooklyn Trolley Blogger writes RE Milt Thompson, the Phillies and Mike Francesa:
Power to the Bloggers!
Milt (Phila), obviously is a sacrificial lamb, but it was a pro-active move. I'll say that. Will it work? Milt wasn't the problem so who knows. Guess Amaro was firing a shot across the bow. And Francesa is just way too smug for me. He's too everything else for me also. I tuned him out a decade ago. He makes my ears bleed. Am I really missing something by not being on Twitter?
It's getting to the point where bloggers are the only place to get intelligent analysis and it may be because we're detached from the more often than not planted "inside" information.
Sometimes a change is needed for its own sake. The switch from Thompson to Greg Gross will be seen to have worked only if it works and the Phillies hit better. Their problems go far deeper than a hitting coach.
The funniest thing about Francesa is that he portrays himself as a Godfather-type, but he's more Fredo than Vito. It's somehow appropriate.
I'll say this regarding Twitter: it has its uses for discussion and information; it can be a fun, though addicting, diversion; and if you sign up, you'll automatically be a member of the most feared and respected crew in the place----mine. I say go for it. I can use you.
Joe writes RE his J.D. Drew pajamas:
Hey, my JD Drew pajamas don't care anymore and won't fit me. Do you know where I can find Keith Law pajamas with little Keith Law faces all over them?
There are many directions for me to go in responding to this, but I'll instead ask a question: what's with the sudden burst of humor, Joe? (At least I hope it's humor; I'd hate to think you're serious about Keith Law pjs, but you might be. That's the scary part.) Did you get lucky with the ladies or something? Is that accounting for the improved outlook?
I was a guest with Sal at SportsFan Buzz yesterday and discussed everything going on with baseball on and off the field. I even mentioned the Yankees and Dan Haren hours before it became a trending topic everywhere.
I'm ahead of the game. As usual.
You can listen directly here----link----or click on Sal's site and download it from I-Tunes.