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 Posted:   Jul 8, 2014 - 11:37 AM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

Oakland A's GM Billy Beane made a strong pitching staff even stronger by trading with the Cubs for the steady Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel. One outstanding arm and another steady one in a single deal. To get it done Beane had to part with highly touted shortstop prospect Addison Russell. Oakland is serious about finally getting over the hump this year and Beane did not sit on his hands already overloaded with pitching as he was. Samardzija has been toiling away for a while now on losing ballclubs in Chicago, and the A's will have him under contract for one more season after this one. The Cubs have been in rebuild mode for what seems like forever. They were going nowhere fast with the 30 year old Samardzija, and with the addition of Addison Russell the Cubs will now have the option of possibly moving Starlin Castro down the road in a multi player deal.

Castro has been rumored to be on the trading block recently, mostly in conversations about the Mets who need a shortstop and the bat that comes along with him. There is no doubt about Castro's ability, but his defensive lapses at times and work ethic have been in question. The Mets have young pitching to trade, but as has been proven in the Matt Harvey circumstance if I were Alderson I would procede with extreme caution in even thinking of trading away ANY of them. The veteran Bartolo Colon will likely go in any upcoming deal the Mets make. Colon still has one more year left at 10 million on the contract he got from Alderson last winter. I'm sure more than a few GM's in contention in need of a veteran starter to bolster their rotations will be (or already have been) in touch. Colon has had some rough spots this season as a Met but he's mostly been steady and the guy knows how to move the ball around to get hitters out. He's cool as a cucumber out there and surely could help a team down the stretch if in fact he is moved.

Congratulations to Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy on making the National League All Star team this year. His first All Star appearance. Murphy was chosen as the lone Mets representative this year and he deserves it. I expected David Wright to be chosen once again but was happily surprised it was Daniel Murphy. Murphy has taken a lot of crap in the New York press over the years about his defense but nobody on the team works harder than he does. He's done all they've asked and then some. A gritty ballplayer and a solid hitter. Earlier in his career Murphy was bounced around all over the place defensively and he has worked hard at being a good second baseman. He's also become a solid .280-.290 gap hitter who is always tough on pitchers trying to pitch him away. He never makes excuses and stands there at his locker before the press and answers the tough questions day in and day out.

 Posted:   Jul 22, 2014 - 3:02 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Belated acknowledgment of the fine tribute to Derek Jeter in the All Star Game in which he delivered with a 2 for 2 performance and the AL came through with a victory drawing them closer to finally tying the NL in terms of the lead in the 81 year series overall. (the last time the AL and NL were even was 1964 which tells you how extensive the NL lead became even as the AL has mostly dominated the last quarter-century).

This has not been a good first half for the Yankees with all their injuries and only for the fact that the AL East is very weak do they even have a shot this year. But they're not going to do it if they keep losing at home to doormat teams like Texas as they did last night. My optimism is not high and with Jeter doing his farewell tour this year as the last of the Yankees from the golden age, my real sense that the golden age of Yankee history that began first in 1993 with the dramatic turnaround season after four straight sub-500 years and continued through the end of the playoff drought in 1995, the first championship in 96, and had its last moments of glory with the 09 title and through the 2012 ALCS (I always alas had the grim feeling that Jeter coming out in Game 1 with that injury had a symbolic end of an era quality) is now truly over.

 Posted:   Jul 23, 2014 - 7:34 PM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

There's not a whole lot of dominance anywhere in baseball this season. Which is why a lot of teams that were supposed to contend who struggled in the first half are still at least within striking distance of the playoffs.

And now a mini-rant on all the shifting that's been going on.

The offensive numbers are down in baseball and with all the defensive shifting now going on by managers during games "sure hits" are not such sure hits anymore. Another of these changes to the game many are howling about recently. It does indeed add another element of strategy and has bailed out quite a number of pitchers around both leagues already but it's at a cost. Hitters are having a tougher time and are going to have to work harder adjusting to driving the ball to the opposite field. Should major league hitters have already mastered the art of hitting the ball to the opposite field? You bet. Professional hitters should want to eagerly learn this skill in the low minors and master it all the way through the ranks if they wish to remain at peak level in an elite group of major leaguers. Pitchers are not going to ease up learning and perfecting their craft and the same should apply to hitters.

Attendance is down in baseball, games are getting longer (put on a strong pot of coffee) and "the shift" is not helping fans maintain interest. Fans want to see hitters hit and not get thrown out at first on what in the recent past would have been a base hit because of a shifted over infield and a drawn in outfield. But "the shift" is here to stay for now and both the players and the fans have to live with it. But you can bet it will be reviewed in commitee this winter. I'll be interesting to see if they reign it in a bit. Pitching is wonderful, I love pitching and watching pitching duels. Not everyone does. The bottom line is offense sells baseball. It's been that way for over a hundred years.

Just one example of a good hitter who has been shifted to death this year is Brian McCann of the Yankees. McCann is a former multiple Silver Slugger Award winner during his years in Atlanta with the Braves. In other words, this guy is a proven quality hitter whose numbers should not be hovering where they are at this point in the season. I heard his 2014 Yankee stats being discussed on WFAN the other day and it was interesting to hear what his numbers might have looked like so far if it wasn't for the opposing teams shifting their defenses to the right each time he comes up. A lot more was expected of McCann this year after the big contract and the numbers to this point are not what was expected. As I said he's only one example. But a big one. It's happening all over baseball and only time will tell how "the shift" will affect the game long term.

 Posted:   Jul 31, 2014 - 5:25 PM   
 By:   Gary S.   (Member)

In a year in which both Verlander and Cabrera are not still at 100% after "core surgery", the Tigers have attempted the shore up the bull pen by grabbing the closer from the Rangers. So far that deal has been a bust as he has yet to impress since joining the Tigers. The blockbuster came today when the Tiger's landed David Price, giving the Tigers the last 3 AL Cy Young winning pitchers.

The Tigers gave up Austin Jackson and Drew Smyly and an 18 year old prospect to get Price. I will miss Jackson in Center field and Smyly coming out of the pen in post season games. With the A's getting Lester the Tigers had no choice but to trade for Price.

 Posted:   Aug 1, 2014 - 10:35 AM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

Some big moves yesterday at the deadline no doubt about it.

A bit of a surprise that David Price went to the Tigers. What a rotation it already was with Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Porcello having the year he's having to name a few. Former Yankee castoff Joba Chamberlain has even had a rebirth (heavy mountain man beard and all) for Detroit in their bullpen. You now add Price to their rotation, and it looks for all the world right now that it's going to be Detroit and Oakland locking horns for the American League title once again this fall.

The big trades keep on coming for Oakland A's GM Billy Beane. Jon Lester is a big post game pitcher and even though he had to give up Cespedes to Boston to get it done he got it done. Beane is quite correct in the statements he made recently. You only get so many chances to get to hoist a championship trophy with a certain group of players and he's been piling on the pitching this year. Yoenis Cespedis was a big part of that Oakland offense and we shall see what effect that has down the road but for now in Lester Beane got himself another big starting pitcher heading down the stretch into the fall. The Red Sox also unloaded their recently re-signed their 2013 World Series shortstop Stephen Drew to the Yankees. Why they signed him back at all just to unload him at this point is anyone's guess. Drew is a light hitter, but he can field well which is something the Yankees did not have at all at second base this year with the departure of Robinson Cano to Seattle. Boston will now pick up the pieces of a dissapointing season and rebuild for next year after their stunning run to a World Series Championship in 2013. Lester has not ruled out a possible return to Boston in the future. As with anything in baseball, money talks.

And now to my Mets. (You knew it was coming, right?) big grin

When the clock struck 4 pm est yesterday at the trading deadline and 41 year old veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon was still a Met I was not the least bit surprised. Colon has been solid for most of the year in the rotation and just recently carried a perfect game into the late innings against Seattle. He's not spectacular, but he's been fun to watch pitch. He knows what he's doing out there and for a big man he can get you deep into games in many of his starts even with a high pitch count. He's already a 10 game winner on a team that has struggled for runs all year until recently. The only way Colon was going anywhere was if a contender was going to pick up the remainder of his two year 20 million dollar contract lock, stock, and oversized jock. In other words, you want him, take him off our hands completely. He's still here.

The contending teams interested in Colon wanted Mets GM Sandy Alderson to pick up at least part of the contract in any deal while he helps their team in a pennant race. And if you know the Mets as I do (And believe me, I DO big grin) you knew that was not going to happen given how tight the organization has been with finances for years now. The Mets will be perfectly fine running (no pun) Bartolo Colon out there on his regular pitching days for the remainder of the season trying to help THEM win while they pay him. While Colon has gotten an extended stay for now, I would not be the least bit surprised if a desperate contender comes calling down the road and an attempt is made to move him through waivers.

Young Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom and his already surgically repaired arm is opening eyes around baseball this season.

First baseman Lucas Duda is on fire right now with the power stroke Mets fans have been patiently waiting for.

Despite the suspension taking a beating from the many potholes in the first half, the future is looking up for the Mets organization. I have to squint sometimes but I see it. The young pitching is there and it has been impressive. Jacob deGrom is currently in the running for National League Rookie of The Year honors, and Zack Wheeler has his ups and downs but you can see the potential and the growth of the kid in each and every start. He's making adjustments after each and every start and is highly critical of his own performances. A sign of maturity in a pitcher. A guy named Tom Seaver used to be like that. And last year it was Matt Harvey. First baseman Lucas Duda is now hitting mammoth home runs in bunches just as I said I thought he would earlier on this thread. Ike Davis is now in Pittsburgh. Did I mention possibly getting Colorado Rockies All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki in a trade this offseason? I'll save that for yet another post.

 Posted:   Aug 3, 2014 - 10:14 AM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

What a pitching duel last night between the Mets rising young pitcher Jacob deGrom and San Francisco's Jake Peavy. Both had no hitters going well into the game. When it was all over neither one got a no no, but this game certainly got a lot of attention last night. Peavy is one of those guys that had a lot of early success in his career but in recent times has fallen off the cliff. He pitched a tremendous ballgame last night until the 7th inning when the wheels came completely off. Giants left fielder Michael Morse (not a good outfielder to begin with) misplayed a Daniel Murphy hit that went over his head and from there the Mets did what they have not done most of this year. They put the hammer down on Peavy (who seemed rattled after losing the no hit bid) and tacked on runs. Peavy had to be shaking his head after that performance last night wondering what he has to do to get a win.

Jacob deGrom was superb once again. This kid has been toiling in the Mets farm organization for a while now but has been overshadowed by the big guns that get all the press like Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Noah Syndergaard. Sometimes all it takes is a chance on the big stage. He's surprised a lot of people, mostly the scouts many of whom did not rate his stuff nearly as high as the "big three". His starts have been quality starts and his command and poise on the mound suggest a pitcher with many more big league years under his belt. It's still very early, but deGrom has made a name for himself around the league quickly. He's more than several years removed from Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm and is showing no ill effects. This from a youngster who started out in the game as an infielder and then became a pitcher.

Another one of those wonderful stories in baseball that gives the fans of a struggling team hope. It was great to see more fans out at Citi Field last night actually getting into deGrom's start and having fun watching the Mets again last night. The team had an awful first half offensively. The solid starting pitching (and strong bullpen of late with Familia setting up for the closer Mejia) has been what has kept them even close to being able to get over .500. If the team hit even a little bit to support the pitching in the first half the Mets would be in a much better position right now in what has turned out to be a mediocre National League east division this year.

 Posted:   Aug 4, 2014 - 9:09 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Brandon McCarthy is turning into a good scrap-heap acquisition!

 Posted:   Aug 7, 2014 - 5:45 PM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

I give the Yankees manager Joe Girardi a lot of credit. He's lost almost his entire starting rotation due to injuries with the exception of the veteran Hiroki Kuroda. His key offensive hitters when not on the disabled list have been hot and cold and yet he's still got the Yankees within striking distance of getting into post season play. Brett Gardner is having a great year with the bat. The Yankees might not make the World Series this year but Girardi has made very good use of the pieces that GM Brian Cashman has given him. Derek Jeter is having a very good final season. What a way to walk away from the game after 20 years for a guy who will go down as one of the greatest players at his position in Major League Baseball history.

 Posted:   Aug 7, 2014 - 9:24 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Taking three out of four from this Tigers staff by basically outpitching them was no small feat. Girardi almost made a bad move today having Greene, the starter start the 9th in a 1-0 game, but Cabrera hitting into a DP killed any hopes of a game tying rally.

They are lucky to have kept themselves above water and also thankfully the division and league has been pretty much soft all year keeping them in contention.

 Posted:   Sep 15, 2014 - 6:12 AM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

Yesterday I finally saw the movie "42," which was ironic it took me so long, because when it was first released I gave a lady in my office enough money to go see it with her mother and her daughter (they loved it). I really liked it, and it's chilling to remind ourselves what it was like in this country back in the 1940s and even 1950s. And of course the movie sugar-coated how ugly it really was back then! Really cried at the end when we read that baseball retired the number 42 so no player can have it again. Tears fill my eyes now just thinking about it.

The above post was by Ron Hardcastle on November 26, 2013.

I was sorry to hear of Ron's passing on the thread posted by edwzoomom. At the time he posted these comments, I had yet to see the film "42". Though we had discussed Jackie Robinson in the past on this thread, I wish I had seen the film at the time and could have had a back and forth about it with Ron. I regret that. He never again posted back to this thread, but I got the feeling that he was a baseball (and possibly a Dodgers) fan. It was stated in the thread that mentions his passing that Ron was a generous man. The above post that he left here back in November of 2013 is but one example of that. I really appreciated that he took the time to post his thoughts on this thread. Rest in Peace Ron Hardcastle.

 Posted:   Sep 15, 2014 - 5:46 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Sorry to hear the board has lost a member, though he joined at the point when I was pretty much disengaged from it. Condolences to his family.

Frank Torre also passed away over the weekend and it gave me a reminder of how fortunate it was that he was able to live 18 years after he was called a "dead man walking" with his bad heart that kept him confined to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital until a transplant took place during the 1996 World Series just in time for him to see brother Joe finally win that first championship. And he also lived to see Joe inducted into Cooperstown and honored among the Yankee greats in Monument Park wit his number retired.

As for this season, with Jeter leaving and the Yankees about to miss the playoffs for the second year in a row, I can now officially pronounce the Golden Age that began in 1993 with the turnaround season and carried us through the 2012 ALCS is now officially dead and over. It was a great run but its time for the Yankees to stop going for quick fixes and start retooling and looking for a new Core Four.

 Posted:   Sep 22, 2014 - 2:01 PM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

Multiple sources are confirming that the Mets will extend GM Sandy Alderson's contract through the 2018 season. Some fans may disagree, but my feeling is that despite some bad moves that I've discussed here (What GM doesn't give their fans agita once in a while) I believe he has this team on the right track to getting back to the playoffs. He's a veteran baseball man, well respected, and quite frankly I don't think there is anyone better suited for this particular job of balancing the Mets tight budget trickled down from on high while evaluating future talent within the organization. I wanted him to stick around to finish what he started. And it appears he will do just that.

It's taken years of patience which as a Mets fan you have to have in large supply or you walk away. Alderson has built without doubt one of the best young starting rotations in all of baseball and that will become the foundation of this team moving forward in the years ahead. Youngsters Mejia and Familia have anchored an effective bullpen after the Valverde/Farnsworth fiasco of earlier this season. Closer Bobby Parnell will have to earn back his spot next spring after season ending surgery. But a healthy Parnell added to the bullpen mix that is already there is a huge upside.

Still, the team needs offense and a solid shortstop moving forward to 2015. It will take money to do that, and I think that the Wilpons have run the team on the cheap long enough. The Mets are a popular National League franchise playing in New York operating on a budget of under 100 million dollars. They will not get totally over the hump if they are not willing to take chances and spend some money to put more offense on the field. And they'll continue to take heat for it.

There have been many positives in what will be yet another sub .500 season. Lucas Duda has finally broken out. His average has been hovering around 250-260, but the big guy has hit 28 home runs with over 80 ribbies while playing a solid first base since the departure of Ike Davis to Pittsburgh. They handed the job to Duda and he has produced. Travis d'Arnaud has blossomed into a fine defensive catcher and has hit for power showing why he was so valued in the R. A. Dickey trade. Behind d'Arnaud in the minors the Mets have possibly the best young catching prospect in baseball in Kevin Plawecki.

Juan Lagares with his Gold Glove caliber defense has settled in as the centerfielder. Jacob deGrom is a rising star on the mound and will most likely win Rookie of The Year honors in the National League this season. He's made a pitching rich deep starting rotation even deeper. deGrom has been absolutely superb since his debut. Zack Wheeler is progressing nicely. Quality lefty veteran Jon Niese and Dillon Gee are still under 30 years old. And if all goes as planned, the Mets ace Matt Harvey will return to the mound next season after sitting this one out recovering from Tommy John surgery. Some big pieces are there. The pitching. If this team gets some offense this offseason and irons out a few issues things could be very different next year in what has turned out to be (other than Washington) a very weak NL east division.

 Posted:   Sep 25, 2014 - 7:29 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

At first I wondered what kind of cruel fate could make David Robertson blow a three run lead in the 9th when the stage had already been set for Jeter to go out a winner at the Stadium in his last game there having already gotten the go-ahead RBI.

And then Jeter proceeded to cap his career by showing why he is the DiMaggio of our time. That moment ultimately for me means more than making the postseason and a likely early exit would have and is a game they'll remember for decades.

I can think of no other Yankee in the last half century who has had more memorable games and moments as Jeter has.

Thank you, Derek.

 Posted:   Sep 26, 2014 - 8:18 AM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

Remember the days on this thread not so long ago when we were discussing the Yankees contract dispute with Derek Jeter? All that is forgotten now and the rest that followed is history. He will be a first ballot electee into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I would not be a bit surprised if he goes in to the Hall with the highest percentage of the vote and overtakes Tom Seaver's record vote numbers. Seaver has held the record as the highest vote getter for years, and Jeter beloved as he is by not only the writers but by the fans as well should be a unanimous choice when his time comes.

As a baseball fan, I always admired Derek Jeter for being a true professional. His overall career, the stats, and the many Yankee championships over the 20 years he was a part of speak volumes. Jeter has always had a flair for the dramatic in big moments and last night's game winning hit in his last appearance in Yankee home uniform pinstripes was simply incredible. The topper in this long and winding road season of goodbyes. The ratings for this game last night will probably be through the roof. People who usually don't watch baseball were watching last night. The Orioles had just suffered a loss and had a plane waiting to wisk them away to their next stop on the the road to the playoffs and they all stayed in their dugout during the ceremony after this game to honor Jeter. Jeter looked their way with a microphone in front of him and wished the Orioles luck as they move on and said "they deserved it". Pure class from a guy saying goodbye who owned the night.

 Posted:   Sep 28, 2014 - 4:03 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

The last official game for Jeter ended on a good note with a classy ceremony by the Red Sox, and Jeter getting a hit his last time up in a 9-5 victory. For Yankee fans like me it will let us wait a while before we start thinking ahead as to how this team gets on track for 2015 as a new era dawns.

Meanwhile, I hope the Washington Nationals will be on their way to something special keyed by Jordan Zimmerman throwing the first no-hitter in team history since the move.

 Posted:   Sep 29, 2014 - 11:26 AM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

Washington has definately recovered from last year when they fell backwards from expectations. A well rounded and solid ballclub. This is the Washington Nationals team I was expecting to see last season. Once again I will be rooting for them in the postseason. Hopefully the Cardinals won't poop on their parade again this fall.

Manager Ron Gardenhire has been fired today by the Minnesota Twins. His coaching staff was cut loose as well. Gardenhire was a fixture in Minnesota for 13 years and was one of the longest tenured managers still serving with one organization. He had a tough job filling the shoes of the popular Tom Kelly over there when he first took over but he did have a decent run up until recent years with the club. This is obviously another case of a team wanting to shake things around after the losing seasons started to pile up. Gardenhire is only 56 will not have a problem getting another big league job if he wants one. As soon as this news was announced I'm sure more than a few GM's in need put him near or at the top of their manager searches.

 Posted:   Sep 29, 2014 - 11:51 AM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

The last official game for Jeter ended on a good note with a classy ceremony by the Red Sox, and Jeter getting a hit his last time up in a 9-5 victory. For Yankee fans like me it will let us wait a while before we start thinking ahead as to how this team gets on track for 2015 as a new era dawns.

Well, the 2015 "new era" according to Yankees manager Joe Girardi will indeed include 40 year old A-Rod returning to third base next season off his one year PED suspension. On top of not knowing what he has left after a year off, they will be back to having the stench of the A-Rod media circus hovering around them once again. I thought by now they would have found a way to be rid of him and that absurd contract so that they could truly start over. From "class" in 2014 to "crass" in 2015.

 Posted:   Sep 29, 2014 - 12:20 PM   
 By:   Eric Paddon   (Member)

Cashman and Hal need to do a buyout, plain and simple. The problem is if A-Rod refuses a buyout or if you can't get an insurance company to nullify things, then you're stuck with the proverbial pickle of what to do with something you've got money tied up in. At the moment, all I can do is hope that he will demonstrate he can not play at all after all this time and make the decision easier by him recognizing himself that he can't do it any longer.

OTOH, if the guy ends up demonstrating that he can still play, then the Yankees will have no choice but to play him. All of the other players who took their suspensions are playing again, so ugly as A-Rod's thing was, from a technical legal standpoint the Yankees will have no choice but to play him if he proves he still can do so and if he has paid his debt as it were. And then if A-Rod finds himself that lucky, then he has to behave like a quiet, contrite individual who doesn't say a word to the press about anything. If he behaves like he did in 2009 when he was as humble as he ever was in his Yankee career, then he can defuse the circus. That's of course a tall order but it's the best I can hope for if we're going to be stuck with him on the roster.

I am no defender of A-Rod as a person, or of his conduct, but I will say this. After what I've seen the NFL go through in the last month, I got another reminder for myself why I can never feel the same level of outrage over steroid use in baseball as others do.

 Posted:   Sep 29, 2014 - 1:40 PM   
 By:   Gary S.   (Member)

The Tigers win another Central Division title in the AL. Thank goodness David Price was able to throttle the annoying Twinkies. What is it with the Tigers that they make poor to average starters look like the second coming of Don Drysdale, Sandy Koufax and Bob Gibson? Given the Killer line- up Detroit has in the 1-5 and number 9 spot Kinsler, Hunter, Cabrera (who is healthy finally at the tail end of the season), Martinez, Martinez and at number 9 Davis, I don't get it.

What the heck is up with the to be determined start times for the Tigers vs. Orioles?

 Posted:   Sep 30, 2014 - 9:44 AM   
 By:   ANZALDIMAN   (Member)

The Baltimore Sun has listed probable start times and the umpiring crews. The times may be subject to change of course.

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