Saturday, November 29, 2008

Burress Puts Bullet in Leg

You my be surprised to find out the title of this article does not act only as an attention getter but also as the truth. Late Friday night, Giants Wide Receiver Plaxico Burress "accidentally" shot himself in the leg. He shot himself in the same leg that was bothering him and keeping him out of this Sunday's game against the Redskins. This may raise a few questions. First off, why is Burress carrying a loaded gun? Well thats obvious, he probably had someone he wanted to kill. A small pistol in New York is rarely used for hunting. But seriously, who knows why he would have a loaded gun? You may also ask, what the heck is wrong with this guy? Probably the most obvious question is who shoots themself in the leg? How dumb can you possibly be?

Well the picture above is a picture of Plaxico Burress at a Knicks game. Maybe Burress had a few ideas from Stephon Marbury. Maybe Burress does not want to play football. So how can you say you do not want to play football without being fined or suspened? "Easy!" Burress thought. "I'll just shoot myself. Yeah, I'll show them." Well what a genius idea. This should end Burress' season. I mean he put a bullet in his leg.

I would think Marbury and Burress have to be best friends. Maybe they can setup a playdate. They both cause so many distractions and have so many similar habits. I would be wasting my time to list everything.

Of course there could be other theories to why a bullet ended up in Burress' leg. I think it would be fair to say Burress is "different." We have seen football players shoot others and we have seen others shoot football players. Well Burress did not want to be like that so he figured he would be the person taking AND receiving the shot. You never know. It could happen.

Really, the only thing I can say is wow. I cannot wait until Burress makes a statement. What can he possibly say to defend himself on this one? Will any cliches work? Well let us look at a few:

Life isn't fair, Money doesn't grow on Trees, Speak softly, but carry a big stick, in a nickel out a dime, God does not like ugly, An apple a day keeps the doctor away, Live and let live, Karma will come back and bite you in the butt, It's not what you know, it is who you know, It does not matter if you win or lose, but how you play the game, Death is terrible, Life is hard then you die, When you have a bunch of lemons, make Lemonade, Don't confuse love with lust, Worrying does not change anything, Think positively, Believe in yourself, It will get better, It is not who wins the battle but who wins the war, Good things come to those who wait, The devil at work today, God has a plan, Rainy days pass, Get a good night sleep, you will feel better in the morning, In for a dollar out for a pound, You are what you eat.

Well after looking over all of the following it comes down to a couple of choices. He will either say "Life isn't fair," Live and let live," Death is terrible," or the most likely choice "the devil at work today."

But all in all... again the only thing I can say is wow. Of course Burress has the right to bear arms but why does Burress really need to exercise that right?

Mark Elliot Wishnia
SportsTalkNY Blog Team

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Seeing the Forest for the Swamp

I was warned that every Thanksgiving dinner in New York City and the surrounding area would feature at least one conversation about whether the Giants and Jets would reach the Super Bowl this season.

Not my table. My family knows better.

Because you see, they were with me for the Mud Bowl, Bernie Kosar, Pete Carroll's choke symbol, Blair Thomas, Roger Vick, Kyle Brady, Vinny Testaverde's achilles, Chad Pennington and Jay Fiedler having injuries end their seasons in the same quarter, Herm Edwards' clock management, and Dewayne Robertson. They know that November is way too early to be talking about Super Bowl ... whether the Giants are a part of it or not.

Believe me, I don't want to be a killjoy about this. I'm as excited about the Jets being 8-3 as anyone ... because this isn't like Al Groh going 9-4 where you still sensed doom was coming (and doom did indeed arrive at the Jets' door in 2000) ... this is a legitimate 8-3. And there really is no good reason for this Jets team not to go to the Super Bowl ... well, except for the fact that they are still the Jets, they still wear green, and inevitably that Joe Walton playbook is going to get dusted off at some point. But other than that, this is a Super Bowl caliber team in this season's AFC.

But unfortunately, we live in a sports society that spends too much time looking at the forest that it bonks its collective nose on every tree it tries to walk through. It's the same reason why we ask LeBron James about playing in New York in 2010 when we just started 2008 (the basketball season ... not the calendar year). It's why we make predictions for the 2009 World Series two days after the 2008 World Series ends. It's why we start talking about a Swamp Super Bowl (last I checked, no subways in East Rutherford ... only swamp) after week 12.

You know as well as I do that there's a long way to go ... whether you're a Jet fan like me, or a Giant fan. Now I'm convinced that the Giants just need to stay out of their own way to make a return trip to the Super Bowl ... but I'm sure a Giant fan will tell you that it's a different vibe being the favorite as opposed to being that scrappy underdog that everybody (besides Cowboys fans) rooted against the Patriots. That target on your back weighs a ton. But besides that, it sure as hell looks good for them.

The Jets? Their schedule looks like cake the rest of the way ... certainly easier than what Pittsburgh has, paving the way for a two seed and a bye week in the AFC. But the Jets have repeatedly choked on cake in the past (despite the fact that cake has no bones). How about losing to a 4-12 Bears team during Week 15 in 2002 to make it almost impossible to make the playoffs that season? (They got their miracle that final week when Dave Wannestedt gave away the division title by losing to the Pats setting up the Jets to win the title against Green Bay.) Or how about '97? You surely remember that season for the ill fated Leon Johnson halfback option during their season ending loss to the Lions that season. But do you remember a 22-14 loss to the 1-12 Colts two weeks earlier? That would have made the Lions game meaningless.

But the real reason it's way too early to talk about a Jets/Giants Super Bowl: Because if it does happen, we'll have a whole two weeks to talk about nothing except a Jets/Giants Super Bowl ... to the point where even Jets and Giants fans will want to poke their ears out from hearing all of the mindless "blah blah blah" from people that know nothing of an oblong shaped ball with pointy ends until January when they're all of a sudden "experts".

You know, like me.

So let's enjoy the journey, which will have plenty of football to keep us entertained along the way. Good or bad, things will work themselves out. And if we do get that Swamp Super Bowl, believe me, there will be plenty of opportunity to discuss. But for now ... Denver at the Meadowlands at 4:15 on Sunday will provide enough consternation and acid reflux, thank you.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Call that a Bargain !!

We are now 1/4 of the way into the NHL season, a pretty good sampling to see who is and isn't getting the job done. This past off season the NY Rangers committed 11.5 million dollars for this season for 2 defencemen, Wade Redden and Michal Rosival, yet it is the 2nd lowest paid defencemen on the team who far and away has been the best night in and night out. Dan Giardi currently sits 9th amongst all NHL defenceman in scoring . Among those top 9 Giardi is the 3rd lowest paid backliner trailing only Shea Weber of Nashville and Mike Green of the Capitals. Giardi is the prototypical 2 way defenseman. He does not do anything flashy, he just does everything right. Giardi already has more then half the points he had all last season he is on pace to score 10 goals and have 41 assists which would translate to a 51 point season, now those are not Bobby Orr numbers mind you, but if you look at the 2 highest paid Rangers Defenceman's prior season that netted them the big contracts they are working on, you can only sit and scratch your head. Redden last season had 38 points and in his 13 year NHL season only surpassed 10 goals once and never had more then 50 points in a season, that body of work netted him a 6.5 million dollars a year contract.  The next highest paid D-man is Michal Rozsival (the new Marek Malik), Rozsival  has played 7 NHL seasons and again only scored more then 10 goals once in his career and his highest point total is 40 ,which was more a cause and effect of playing on the power play with Jagr. Giardi is doing what he is doing with limited power play time and a not so potent offensive attack. While the Redden and Rozsival contracts are worthy of a government bailout, Dan Giardi's to borrow a phrase from The Who, I call that a Bargain the best we every had.

Mark Rosenman

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

LeBron or Bust

The Knicks are trying to be relevant again in the town known for being the Mecca of Basketball.

It'll just take a couple of years.

In a society and a city that depends on instant gratification, Friday's trades of Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph are no doubt seen as putting all their eggs in the basket of the future, while fans will no doubt have to endure two more seasons of certain frustration from a team that has given them a decade's worth.

But for those waiting for the 2010 free agent class to actually be free see Friday's events as the necessary cleansing of years worth of bad financial decisions, which started with the trading of Patrick Ewing to Seattle for bad contracts, which turned into more bad contracts, which turned into more bad contracts, which turned into a payroll roughly the amount of the national debt.

People will no doubt wonder why it was necessary to sacrifice the '08-'09 season for the sake of '10-'11, while taking on another team's "situation" (Al Harrington) in the process. After all, this team started 6-2, and had the Mavericks on the ropes in a game they probably should have won. And under their new run 'n gun approach implemented by Mike D'Antoni, the Knicks have at least showed a capability of taking care of lower rung teams like Charlotte and Oklahoma City (although they did let a 30 point lead fritter down to 10, tsk tsk), which probably puts them in a position to battle for the 8th seed for the right to get their heads handed to them by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs.

That said, the Knicks of Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph, even under D'Antoni, weren't getting anywhere. The sooner you're honest about that, the better. When the chance arises to trade a first round beating this season for being in contention for the whole freakin' kit and kaboodle in two seasons, you take it. Every time.

Let's not forget that this is the Knicks we're talking about, so there's some inherent risk here. First off, of the big names available in 2010 in addition to James, you have Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Amare Stoudamire. Though I personally don't see any of those three coming to New York, money does talk. And you never know what kinds of challenges drives these athletes, and you also never know what kind of moves can precede a big fish. Would Kevin Garnett had been comfortable with a trade to the Celtics without their previous acquisition of Ray Allen? The answer is no, and look what happened to the Celtics last season (and this, with a 12-2 record and steamrolling towards another division title even at this early stage.) Don't think the Knicks ignored the basketball renaissance in Boston last season where superstars provide instant credibility.

But with Wade and Stoudamire most likely staying where they are, and Bosh being a Texas native who may look at the three Lone Star franchises before New York, it would seem to be "LeBron or Bust" for Donnie Walsh.

The Knicks hope that LeBron James noticed the happenings in New York today, and they hope he sees it as the ultimate sign of respect, admiration, and the ultimate floral bouquet sitting at his doorstep. "LeBron, we're clearing the way for you. Love, New York City." But so much can happen in two seasons. Not the least of which is this: What if LeBron James wins a championship in his home city this season or next? How possible would it be for him to leave then? LeBron did take the Celtics to Game 7 before finally falling. What if they get over that hump in '09 or '10, for a team that can give him a max contract? And did I mention ... at home?

It's not impossible, with the Cavaliers at 9-3 and Mo Williams now manning the point for Cleveland instead of Daniel Gibson. This is a team that has a punchers chance at returning to the Finals. Unless the Knicks get another superstar or two to commit to complementing James (instead of being the star of their own team), can a potential situation in New York be better for his legacy than what would be presented him in Cleveland?

The Knicks do have D'Antoni going for them ... not only is he one of the best offensive coaches going which may be attractive to James, but their experience together at the Beijing Olympics could give the Knicks an advantage when that fateful day finally comes. But there is too much time between now and then to guarantee that these deals are going to pay off with the bounty of LeBron. But it's worth the gamble.

In any event, this trade may have the unintended effect of making it easier to buy out Stephon Marbury. By offering him the chance to play this season, Marbury no longer has the luxury of refusing a buyout to do the same thing he would be doing while employed: and that's not play. Now, Stephon has the choice to either play or take a lump sum buyout and go somewhere else. By choosing not to play against the Bucks Friday night, he loses all leverage he once had ... and its increasingly clear that the end of his fruitless Knick career is coming sooner rather than later. And that makes this trade gamble already worth while.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

All Right, My Head is Spinning Now

After a few weeks of nothing in the world of all things Metropolitan, now we have more news than we can handle. First, Aaron Heilman demands to either start, or be traded somewhere where he can start. Then we find out that Luis Castillo has practically begged the Mets to not be traded.

Now we have news that it's not Frankie Rodriguez nor Brian Fuentes, or even Bobby Jenks that the Mets are targeting to close, but Mariners closer JJ Putz.

Irony, thy name is Omar Minaya. It's kinda hilarious the same team that is concerned that K-Rod might get hurt would instead turn to Putz, who already has been hurt. Yup, forward thinking.

But before you overreact by throwing a brick through a plate glass window, breathe. The same person who originally brought us this nugget
also told us that Livan Hernandez was on his way to Queens also. So easy does it, gang.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008


Money can't buy you love perhaps. Recent history, in fact, indicates it can't even guarantee a playoff appearance, let alone a championship. However, as Congress' recent bailout of the banking sector demonstrates, cash certainly can assuage anxiety, restore confidence, and renew hope.

So for all us Yankee fans who recently watched the Red Sox and Rays, fortified by seemingly endless reserves of young talent, march through the playoffs and have wallowed in resentment, despair, and self-pity ever since-- well, have faith, and remember Scarlett O'Hara's credo. For tomorrow is indeed another day. This time, quite literally.

For tomorrow the Yankees can begin to offer contracts to free agents. Tomorrow, the Yankees can begin to leverage their financial might to compensate for a farm system, that while beginning to show the first signs of growth after a decade of neglect and plunder, will not yield the likes of a Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youklis, or Jacoby Ellsbury; Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, or BJ Upton for years to come.

No, it won't earn the Yankees many admirers in the industry or among the games' self-appointed moral guardians in the media. Before the Steinbrenners have spent so much as a penny, in fact, baseball's Reds have already launched their annual jeremiad about the gluttonous Yankee payroll and have accused the Bronx robber barons of cornering the market and destroying baseball's competitive integrity. The irony is how many of these same media hacks would impose on the Yankees a financial tax they themselves would bridle at paying. The New York Daily News, for example, recently quoted one of the most consistently strident and dogmatic advocates for a salary cap in baseball, The Million Dollar Mad Dog, Christopher Russo, as follows, "I voted for McCain. I think there is an element of people sitting on their fannies. 'Lets go tax the wealthy up and down to make sure the guy on Main Street can sleep until 10 o'clock in the morning.' That kind of thing... steered me to McCain." Let them all eat Yankee Franks, says the Mad Dog.

The truth is that in the NBA and NFL, salary caps, actually, enshrines an aristocracy of talent, crowning dynasties like the Spurs and Patriots and perpetuating losing franchises by preventing them from spending enough money to re-arm. This is why NFL and NBA teams, to improve, depend so heavily on their drafts.

Baseball, in contrast, more readily approximates the liberal democratic ideal. In many ways, in fact, it mirrors the U.S.'s own system of liberal welfare state capitalism. No law prohibits Microsoft, for example, from mustering its $21 billion in cash reserves to throttle and ravage would-be competitors. They just have to pay taxes. So too with the Yankees.

In 2005, Forbes reported that the Yankees earned $354 million in revenue, $77 million of which baseball exacted and redistributed to 16 small-market teams through revenue-sharing, another $34 million of which the Yankees paid in luxury taxes. (Steinbrenner's Tax Shelter, Forbes, 05/08/06) Together, the two levies constitute the equivalent of a 31% tax, about as high the 35% rate both Microsoft and Chris Russo probably paid last year.

Accordingly, the Yankees will have no reason to apologize for if in the forthcoming weeks they spend prodigious sums of money and sign multiple players from among, perhaps, the most talented free-agent class in baseball. After all, the Red Sox responded likewise after failing to qualify for the playoffs in 2006, going on a $210 million off-season spending spree that netted them Dice-K, J.D. Drew, and Julio Lugo. What's more, with the 2008 season's end, $80+ million in Yankees player contracts have expired which they now can re-allocate to address their most pressing needs. Onward, Cash.


PRIORITY #1: The Ace
That the Yankees foremost priority should be to marshal every last resource to sign CC Sabathia strikes me as so self-evident it's not worth arguing. Rare is it for a team to rectify the mistake they made one year the next.

The 2008 season, as such, could best be called Cashman's Folly. For it demonstrated the hubris of constructing a rotation in the New York crucible that hinges so greatly on the performance of rookie pitchers confined by innings caps. It's one thing to cultivate starting pitchers and to integrate them slowly into the rotation. Quite another, to bear the risk of injury and inconsistency that comes with assigning 40% of the rotation to two untested, under-25 pitcher with innings limitations to boot and still to expect the team to thrive and qualify for post-season. The risk only intensifies, in fact, when two 35+ starters comprise another 40%.

Apart then from the quality start a pitcher like Sabathia can offer every fifth day, he, in anchoring the rotation and providing 200+ innings, also alleviates the pressure on the starters who follow him. He would allow the Yankees, then, to exercise more patience with, and thereby assist in, the ongoing development of Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Alfredo Aceves, or whomever else earns a Bronx audition in 2009.

Priority #2: The Three Hole
According to SI's John Heyman and other reporters privy to the Yankees thinking, the front-office's second priority is to sign one of the other two or three other premiere free-agent pitchers-- A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe, or perhaps, Ben Sheets. With this decision, I admantly disagree.

Let's begin by assuming the Yankees sign Sabathia (if they cannot, then in this eventuality, I can't argue with signing Burnett or Lowe or both). Andy Pettite already has indicated he wishes to return and would accept a one-year deal to do so. Should the Yankees oblige Pettitte, then, they'd begin with a rotation of Sabathia, Wang, and Pettitte. I'll address the 4th and 5th spots below in Priority #3.

To my mind, the Yankees' lineup last year was almost as deficient as their starting rotation, if not more so. They scored 179 less runs than in 2007. Their on-base average declined from .366 to .344; their slugging percentage dropped from .463 to .427; their batting average with runners in scoring position fell from .293 to .261.

Nonetheless, the Yankees would compound the regression the lineup already has shown. That is, the Front-Office intends not to re-sign their 3rd and 5th hitters, Bobby Abreu and Jason Giambi, two of their lineup's most proficient hitters last year in two of the three statistical groups above which accrued a shortfall from the previous year -- on-base percentage and slugging. Only Alex Rodriguez exceeded Abreu and Giambi in OPS (on-base + slugging percentage). Giambi and Abreu also led the team in the number of pitches they saw per plate appearance, each with 4.3 P/PA.

Yes, Posada and Matsui may return next year, but relying on either player to recuperate fully at their advanced age, to reproduce their 2007 totals, and to stay healthy for the season's duration is as presumptuous and reckless as Cashman's decision last off-season to entrust 40% of the rotation to rookies. Perhaps, the Yankees can assume Posada and/or Matsui could fill the five hole and compensate for Giambi's loss. Neither however is a genuine 3 hole hitter even when fully realizing his potential.

The only two players available via free-agency who promise the Yankees sufficient production as three hitters in (i) their ability to get on base, (ii) work counts, and (iii) amass extra-base hits are Mark Teixiera, Manny Ramirez or Abreu himself. (It is impossible to project how Adam Dunn-- a career NL player, with a low average and high strike out totals and a questionable passion for the game-- would perform in New York. But each caveat presents its own risk.)

Ramirez is limited to LF or DH and will command a $100 million contract besides. He's the least desirable option as such. Teixiera and Abreu, to be sure, present risks as well. Teixiera is a younger than Abreu, a better hitter and fielder, but nonetheless will commit the Yankees to at least a seven year obligation, if not more. Abreu, on the other hand, only desires a 3-year contract and might even acquiesce to two years with a vesting option, if the Yankees offer it because he wants to return to New York. I concede his speed has diminished and he's lost some range in RF but he's not nearly as much a defensive liability as his critics insist. Nor for that matter does his anointed succesor, Xavier Nady, represent a dramatic improvement.

Re-signing Abreu has the added virtue of enabling the Yankees to play Nady at 1B or to trade him for first-baseman while Nady still has value. (Nady is a Boras client and will accompany Damon and Matsui on the free-agent market at next season' conclusion.) Alternatively, after re-signing Abreu, they Yankees could trade Matsui, freeing the DH position for Damon, Abreu, Nady, and Posada to rotate through, and could audition Juan Miranda at 1B or perhaps even sign Giambi for one-year.

Either way, with Brett Gardner expected to play CF in 2009, Jorge Posada returning from labrum surgery, Matsui suffering from chronically arthritic knees, Derek Jeter reverting to his free-swinging ways and his GDP numbers increasing annually, and A-Rod always prone to press, the Yankees need a sure-fire, prolific bat in the three hole almost as much as they do Sabathia. Only two free agents fit the bill, Teixiera and Abreu. The Yankees would err greatly in not signing one or the other.

Priority #3: The Innings-Eater
Another reason why a 3-hole hitter should take precedence to a second starter is cost efficiency. Mark Teixiera is a young elite talent and one of the best players in baseball at his position, and probably will remain so for the lion share of his contact. Abreu, similarly, joins Pujols and A-Rod as one of only three players in the game to amass 6 consecutive seasons of 100 RBI's. He also happens to be one of the game's most durable players as well, playing 150 games or more every year since he became a starter in 1998. Plate discipline, his great asset, what's more, is one of the more age-resistant player skills. The Yankees, accordingly, can expect to receive production roughly commensurate to their outlay by signing either.

The same cannot be said of AJ Burnett certainly, and perhaps not of Derek Lowe either. Burnett lives on the disabled list, having thrown 200 innings or more in only 3 of the last 7 seasons. (No, cleverly, refers to him as the baseball market's equivalent to a sub-prime mortgage.) Lowe, on the other hand, while more durable, will turn 36 next year, wants a 3-4 year contract at $15+ million, despite not qualifying as one of the best pitchers in the game, and finally, hasn't pitched in the AL since 2004.

The Yankees would profit more accordingly from signing one or more less prestigious, second or third-tier pitchers who would cost them less and necessitate a shorter contractual commitment, but upon whom they can rely alone, or in tandem, to pitch 200 innings: John Garland, Paul Byrd, Randy Wolf, Mike Mussina (if for a year, two at most) or perhaps, some combination of one-year contracts for Brad Penny, Carl Pavano, and Eric Milton.

The Yankees rotation would then consist of Sabathia, Wang, Pettite, Innings-Eater, and Joba. Then as injuries mount and innings caps are reached, the organization could integrate Hughes, Aceves, Kennedy, Coke, Brackman, etc., as their performances and health warrant.

What the Yankees actually do is anybody's guess. The marketplace unfolds according to a logic of its own that can upend even the best laid plans. Count on it, for this reason, to dictate one or more choices the Front-Office otherwise wouldn't make.

Still, should the Yankees somehow achieve a reasonable facsimile of the three priorities above, I'm confidence they'll resume their role as perennial contender in the AL East.

Matthew Schweber, Sportstalkny, Yankees Beat Reporter
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Missing Moose

Well we have a new state of mind in New York. It is called "quit while you're ahead." We have seen it from Tiki Barber and now we see it from Mike Mussina. After his first 20 win season of his career, Mike Mussina has called it quits. He said he planned on retiring after this season no matter what but he did not tell anyone. Who knew he would have such a great year after winning only 11 games the prior year. Mike Mussina deserves a lot of credit for a few reasons. Although most Yankee fans will be upset, he is showing that he is not money hungry. After having a 20 win season at his age many teams including the Yankees would without doubt be willing to throw a lot of money at Mussina and he knows that. Instead of being money hungry and being greedy like many professional athletes are, he is just calling it quits. You cannot disrespect that. He also deserves credit for being loyal and true to his decision. He had a poor season prior to this one with just 11 wins like I mentioned above. After that poor season, he most likely said to himself, "I am too old for this so after next season I am going to retire." Despite having a spectacular year to show himself and the MLB that he still is a great pitcher, he has stuck with his decision to retire. I guess when you are with New York teams for a long time, these decisions stick with you. Tiki Barber, Michael Strahan, and now Mike Mussina all had intentions to retire and they all did. There were no Brett Favre's or Mario Lemieux's.

We sure will miss you Mike Mussina and we all praise you for your stint with the Yankees and your loyalty to your decision. Yankee fans now of course will hope the C.C. Sabathia is money hungry and chooses the Yankees. Nobody will beat their offer but if Sabathia stays true to himself, he will be in the National League next year and/or on the West Coast....

Mark Elliot Wishnia
SportsTalkNY Blog Team

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Booing Betemit

We all know New York City is known as the Big Apple. Does that mean all the people in it are New York's little apples? Well I know one person who is and that is Wilson Betemit. Wilson Betemit is a career .260 hitter and under manager Joe Girardi he played 87 games. Go figure. For those of you who are bad at math or those who do not have a calculator, that means Betemit played in 53% of the Yankees' games. Oh by the way, 53% is more than half. Wilson Betemit is a utility infielder and the reason he would play so many times over either Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, or Jason Giambi is in fact mind boggling. I can continue to throw out stats at you like his .218 average with runners in scoring position but I just don't find it necessary. The point is, Wilson Betemit is in fact a little apple. Had a deal actually been completed I would prefer an apple playing in place of Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez on a day off. Given the small strike zone provided by an apple, the on base percentage would be nearly 1.000.

The Yankees made a great move today in trading Wilson Betemit. I won't even get into why a team would be willing to take him. But in return, the Yankees received OF/1B Nick Swisher who is a big improvement over Betemit and is much needed due to the vacancies at both first base and outfield. Granted he can only play one position at a time and will most likely play first base moreso than anywhere else, I have finally given props to Brian Cashman on this move. The Yankees did also give up RHP Jeff Marquez and RHP Jhonny Nunez. In addition to Swisher, the Yankees also received RHP Kanekoa Texeira
who is now the closest the Yankees will get to Mark Texiera... or is he? Swisher did have a pretty awful season last year but still did show his display of power and if he can get back to his old self this is a true upgrade at both first base or the outfield. If the Yankees do continue to try and pursue Mark Texiera, then it will be a great move. Keep in mind the Yankees still can give another shot to Shelley Duncan at first base. So to sum it all up, the Yankees got Nick Swisher in return for an apple. Now let us discuss C.C. Sabathia...

Mark Elliot Wishnia
SportsTalkNY Blog Team

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Thursday, November 13, 2008


Omar, Omar, Omar deep down you know I am right. There simply is no way on earth,let alone Citifield that Heilman can remain a New York Met, so today on the infamous day in honor of Felix Unger let the house cleaning begin. Here is my list of players currently on the Mets 40 man roster that must go, and I am sure my good friend and New York Herald sports reporter Oscar Madison would agree .

1) Aaron Heilman : One winning season in six as a Met, back to back seasons with 5 blow saves in less then 10 save opportunities, an ERA of over 5.2 last season and over 4 for his career. Heilman wants to start ?? Fine , START by packing your bags ! 

2) Abbiorix Burgos : Gives a whole new meaning to term "battery mate " I doubt the NYSE had as bad a month as Burgos did this past September to October. Burgos was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend,prosecutors say he repeatedly punched her on the back,bit her and slapped her, and then less then a month later he was indicted on charges of hit and run in his native Dominican Republic. Sources say that Burgos  struck two women in his SUV and drove off. The woman later died of their injuries. There is no upside here, the closest Burgos will ever come to being a closer is maybe being booked by Kyra Sedgwick.

3,4 ) Orlando Hernandez/Moises Alou:  Yes these two players epitomize what a professional baseball player should be, that being said, if you look very closely ay Davinci's Last Supper you can see EL Duque and Moises  on the far right. Hey Jesus is Moises uncle ! There clearly is no role for either of them on this team.

5) Scott Schoenweis : From all accounts a great guy, from all accounts a lousy pitcher. Lifetime 10 games under .500, 15 blown saves in 24 chances in his career, Lifetime ERA close to 5 runs a game. Go to baseball and compare by age and the impressive list of relief pitchers that he ranks with are Brad Havens, Wandy Rodriguez, Ron Villone and Brian Bohanon..get the point ?

Bonus clean-up : Luis Castillo * I am actually on the fence on this one. A few years back I was screaming that Jose Valentin was done, yet he went on to have a very productive year and was a key component of the team, I loved the acquisition of Castillo and thought he was the perfect number two hitter behind Reyes. Castillo was known for his work ethic, his bat control, yet this past season he seemed to be the second coming of Roberto Alomar. I would like to give Castillo spring training and the month of April before writing him off, I think he may have a rebound year.

Your thoughts ??

Mark Rosenman, SPORTSTALKNY, Host and Producer
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