Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Out With the Old...Yankees

Fact: Randy Johnson is officially gone from the Yankees organization and, pending future advancements that could allow Johnson to preserve himself in a block of ice until he can be rebuilt using next generation tissue rebuilding technology; I think that is the last we will see of the Unit in the Bronx. In exchange for the pitching behemoth, the Yankees acquired Luis Vizcaino, Ross Ohlendorf, Steven Jackson (pitchers) and Alberto Gonzalez (infielder). Vizcaino and Jackson are currently on the 40-man, but Vizcaino will likely be the only newcomer on the bench come opening day.

Spank’s Opinion: Cashman…nice dude. I think it is pretty easy to see what Brian Cashman is attempting to do as of late. Anyone with a brain will notice that the Yankees are one old guy short of a Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, but the team can play well together. Cashman is trying his best to make much needed changes to the Yankees bench and bullpen including bringing in more youth without compromising the team’s chance at going to The Series this year. A “rebuilding year” is not something the triumvirate will ever settle for and I like that. The Yankees don’t rebuild, they don’t back away from deals to lower the payroll, the Yankees win. That’s what they do, and neither Steinbrenner, Cashman, nor Torre will do anything to compromise that mentality. That’s why I love these guys. By dealing Johnson, the Yankees only minimally hurt the starting rotation and gained some more depth in the bullpen and a few definite prospects. Let’s look at the numbers: I personally think Johnson had a good season for a 42 year old man. The Unit finished 17-11 with 205 innings and a 5.00 era. His only real problem (other than his mustache) was giving up the long ball with men on base. Now let’s look at the numbers from the newly acquired players. Vizcaino has had some pretty impressive numbers for a middle reliever. Luis threw 65 innings in 70 games last year finishing with a 3.58 ERA. Ross Ohlendorf’s numbers from AA ball looked pretty good as well. Ohlendorf, a 24 year-old righty, went 10-8 with a 3.29 ERA over 27 games. He also averaged nearly 7 innings a start. While, Steven Jackson’s record at 8-11 is misleading, he finished out the 2006 season with a 2.65 era over 149.2 innings. With run support from a team like the New York Yankees, Jackson may never have to worry about such a discrepancy again. Finally infielder Alberto Gonzalez hit .287 over 449 games during the 2006 season. With the star-studded infield currently in pinstripes, Alberto may not see any time in the majors next season, but his consistent bat makes him look like a promising utility infielder for the future. Who knows, I don’t think the nickname A-Gon has formally been taken by any other pro infielders. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Monday, January 8, 2007

State of the Unit...

Fact: Johnson’s deal is basically finished returning him to the D-backs, Igawa’s official, Doug Mientkewicz is on board for a one year deal, and the Yankee’s lineup is really starting to fill out.

Spank’s Opinion: Well my temporary hiatus fielded quite a bit of news. Randy’s gone. Doug Mie#$@#%1*&%wicz (I don’t get it, I might as well say my name is Rich but it is pronounced like Paul) is in. Murcer is recovering. Igawa’s an official striper (not stripper, man that would be funny, though in a creepy/ugly way). Etc Etc. Etc. Oh the humanity. What is important here, is the Yankees have too many healthy players. Yes that’s right, too many. Thank you Lord on high. And not all of them are back from recovery at the glue farm. In fact the median age for the Yankees as of now is lower than 47, which is a huge improvement of late. Pavano is apparently healthy, which makes one day in the last three years, and Pettite is back in the pins’. I love it. We look like a rotation again. The rest of the team is looking great as well. Our middle infield will be solid for as long as the captain sees fit, and the corners are the only infield positions that are seemingly up in the air. However even those positions are looking less precarious every day. Mientkiewicz will make a solid first basemen for the Yanks and A-Rod will probably disappoint all by only hitting .290 with 121 RBIs and only 35 HRs, deplorable isn’t he. The outfield is pretty much set with Matsui, Damon, and Abreu in left, center, and right respectively with Cabrera on the bench. Giambi will most likely become a full time DH. “Spank Man, what does all this mean?” you ask? Bernie Williams is gone. I know I am going to get a lot of crap for saying this, but I’m going to anyway. Bernie Williams is like a bad houseguest. If someone doesn’t tell him to leave, he’ll be here forever. Bernie has never had a good arm, he hasn’t been faster than the average Joe in about five years, and he’s behind any pitch that isn’t coming from the hand of a guy whose name begins with a “W” and ends with an “akefield.” He’s old, he’s done, he’s washed up. Bernie we had fun, but you’re killing me. Joe needs to specifically tell Bernie that he should retire respectably as a Yankee great and continue with his jazz career. I just don’t get it -Joe and Steinbrenner is nothing but cut-throat with everyone in the program but Bernie. I know, I loved him too, but it’s time to let go. Love ya Bern, it’s been fun, we’ll visit you in Florida.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Yankees, and Johnson Close to Deal - Thank God

The Facts: Randy Johnson has expressed a desire to be closer to home. The Diamondbacks have expressed the most interest in the aging hurler and the Yankees have said that they wouldn't be opposed to giving him up for the right deal.

Spank's Opinion: Randy Johnson has been one of the most dominant and successful pitchers in recent history. He has stunned baseball fans for 19 seasons with fastballs topping out at over 100 mph and a slider that can make even the biggest hitters in baseball get rubber knees. Randy Johnson has had three twenty win seasons, over 3,000 strikeouts, and a perfect game. But now that he's older and more injury prone (who even knows what will happen after his surgery), it is time to get rid of Randy while we can still score a few prospects and bolster the bullpen. 43 years old is a bit mature for this era of baseball, regardless of his ability. While the Unit could probably give the yankees a solid 15 win season this year, he continues to give up the long ball. In 2005, Johnson's first year with the Yanks, he set his career high at 32 dingers -a 78% increase from his last year with Arizona. In 2006, Johnson made a little improvement giving up 28 but having pitched 25 fewer innings. Personally, I think passing on Barry Zito was a mistake but one that the yankees can afford to make having improved their situation in the bullpen with Pettitte and Igawa. I say get what you can with the aging Johnson before he retires, besides I can think of $16 million reasons not to sign an old man with a shaky medical history.