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http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:02 am

Robinson Cano, Yanks near 4-year deal


http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/25/2008-01-25_robinson_cano_yanks_near_4year_deal-1.html


BY ANTHONY McCARRON
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Friday, January 25th 2008, 4:00 AM
Robinson Cano Antonelli/News

Robinson Cano

The Yankees have long believed it's better to go year-to-year on contracts with their young players, figuring their outsized checkbook could always cover exploding costs if a player's career took off faster than projected. Plus, they wouldn't have guaranteed any cash if a player fizzled.

But, in a departure from that philosophy, the team is close to a four-year, $30 million deal with Robinson Cano, according to a baseball official with knowledge of the discussions.

The sides are still haggling over two club options that could be worth $12 million-$14 million apiece. If the Yankees don't trigger the options, there would be a $2 million buyout.

If Cano plays out the entire contract, he would forgo his first two cracks at free agency and be in pinstripes until at least 2013.

Overall, the contract would cover at least all four years that Cano, based on major-league service time, is eligible for arbitration, including this one. Cano asked for $4.55 million in arbitration this year and the Yankees offered $3.2 million. Cano made $490,800 last year.

Chien-Ming Wang is also eligible for arbitration and the two sides submitted figures only $600,000 apart - Wang asked for $4.6 million and was offered $4 million - but several baseball officials polled recently said they won't be surprised if Wang and the Yankees go to an arbitration hearing.

One official cited the example of Dontrelle Willis, who earned $4.3 million after 2005 when he went 22-10, as a reason the Yankees might not offer to settle at the midpoint between the two figures. Wang was 19-7 and 0-2 in the playoffs last year. Arbitration hearings will take place over the first three weeks of February.

It's unlikely the Yankees will do a long-term deal with Wang, in part because pitchers are generally considered more fragile and Wang has had past shoulder problems.

The 25-year-old Cano has proven to be one of the best young offensive players in the game over his three seasons in the majors. He batted .306 with 19 home runs and 97 RBI last season and hit .333 with two homers in the Yanks' first-round playoff loss to Cleveland.

In 414 career games, Cano has an average of .314 with an on-base percentage of .346 and a .489 slugging percentage.

He finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2005 and was credited, along with Wang, with injecting energy iinto the Yanks when he came up in early May.

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Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:04 am

A pivotal step in Cano’s life?
Yanks reportedly working on 4-year, $30-million contract

BY KAT O'BRIEN | kat.obrien@newsday.com
January 25, 2008


http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/yankees/ny-spyanks255551145jan25,0,3627602.story?track=rss


The Yankees are working toward a deal that would lock up second baseman Robinson Cano for the next four years and perhaps beyond.

The discussions, first reported yesterday afternoon on FoxSports.com, are believed to center on a four-year guaranteed contract worth about $30 million with team options for the following one or two years, which otherwise would be Cano's first free-agent years. Cano, 25, had 19 home runs, 93 runs scored and 97 RBIs, all career highs, and batted .306 in 2007.

This is the first season Cano has been arbitration-eligible. He had submitted a salary figure of $4.55 million that the Yankees countered with an offer of $3.2 million.

It now seems likely, however, that the two sides will reach agreement on a long-term deal without having to go through the arbitration process.

Some teams frequently give multiyear deals to their pre-arbitration players, paying a little more up front but generally saving on the later years of the contract. The Yankees, however, typically eschew such practices.

Cano's agent, Bobby Barad, told Newsday on Tuesday that Cano would be open to a long-term deal, saying: "He wouldn't be averse to it in theory."

At the time, Barad said no contractual discussions had taken place and that the topic had not even been broached. That has changed drastically. Reached last night, Barad said he could not comment on anything, even whether the reports were true about Cano being near agreement on a four-year, $30-million deal.

Cano, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner did not return phone messages. A source confirmed the ongoing contract talks, though.

Cano, promoted to the Yankees on May 3, 2005, has a .314 career batting average. Since his debut, he has the most hits as a second baseman (498) in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

He hit .342 in 2006 and finished third in the American League batting race.

In 2007, he got off to a slow start, hitting .274 with six homers and 40 RBIs before the All-Star break, but hit .343 with 13 homers and 57 RBIs after the break. He earned $490,800 in 2007.

Phillies second baseman Chase Utley, Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, Mets third baseman David Wright and Rangers shortstop Michael Young are other players who have signed multiyear contracts before reaching free agency.

Utley signed a seven-year, $85-million contract last winter just over three years into his major-league career.

That contract paid him $4.5 million in 2007 and will pay him $7.5 million this year, $11 million in 2009 and $15 million each of the following four years. Utley is four years older than Cano but has shown somewhat more power.

Reyes signed a four-year, $23.25-million contract extension in 2006 (three years into his career) with an $11-million option for a fifth year.

Wright signed a six-year, $55-million contract extension in 2006 with a club option for $16 million.

Young signed a four-year, $10-million contract extension with a $4-million team option for a fifth when he was at the same stage of his career as Cano. He inked a five-year, $80-million extension last winter.

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Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:06 am

Twins Patiently Wait For Deal That Fits System

http://www.nysun.com/article/70195?page_no=1

Stars have formed and clustered into galaxies since the Minnesota Twins began soliciting offers for ace pitcher Johan Santana, and will likely collapse by the time they actually trade him. So, at least, it seems to anyone following what was once the winter's most important story and has since become merely its most interminable.

As revolting as it has been to watch the Yankees, the Mets, and the Boston Red Sox tussling over the rights to send tens of millions of dollars worth of prospects west in exchange for the sport's best pitcher, though, it's also been instructive. This whole auction has generally been taken as evidence of the grotesque, insatiable appetites of the game's three richest teams, an indictment of a fundamentally corrupt system that robs small market teams of their best players. It may be those things, but it's also a demonstration of how much power has shifted away from New York and Boston, the game's centers of gravity for more than a decade.

Minnesota is a successful team. They've made the playoffs four of the last six years — as often as Boston, and more often than the Mets have had winning seasons — and boast one of the more impressive talent bases in the game. Joe Mauer, for instance, is 24, a former batting champion, and a sterling defensive catcher. First baseman Justin Morneau, 26, is a former Most Valuable Player. Baseball America rated outfielder Delmon Young, 22, the third-best prospect in the game last year.

Even leaving Santana aside, the Twins don't lack pitching. Francisco Liriano, 24, posted a 144/32 strikeout-to-walk ratio and allowed nine home runs in 121 innings as a rookie while showing the filthiest raw stuff of any young left-hander; he's due back this year, after rehabilitating from elbow surgery. In Kevin Slowey, Scott Baker, and Nick Blackburn, they have a small army of right-handed control pitchers with good chances of developing into sold starters. And closer Joe Nathan, who's posted sub-2.00 earned run averages three of the last four years, is one of the very best in the game.

Not only will nearly all of these players be under the Twins' control for years, most of them aren't even eligible for salary arbitration yet. The Twins, who will open a new stadium in two years, are not some perpetually crippled franchise trying to extract a bit of value from some star they can't afford. They're a first-rate operation sitting on a Scrooge McDuck-style money vault of young star talent and looking to add to it by marketing a 28-year-old two-time Cy Young Award winner. They suckered the San Francisco Giants into giving them Liriano, Nathan, and starter Boof Bonser in exchange for A.J. Pierzynski, a catcher best known for playing video games instead of attending scouting meetings; no one should doubt that they'll get exactly the players they want in any Santana deal.


Who exactly those players might be is the interesting question. The Twins have peculiar ideas about baseball; this is the same organization that preferred Doug Mientkiewicz to David Ortiz because Ortiz hit for too much power. They value speed more than most teams do, because it plays on both offense and defense, and they prefer talented prospects to skilled ones, believing that skill can be taught.

For a team that builds from within, these are good principles; Branch Rickey built the modern farm system on them. They work especially well for the Twins because they are excellent at teaching certain skills. Santana and Liriano, for example, have perhaps the best two left-handed changeups in baseball, and both learned their grip from Triple-A coach Bobby Cuellar. The aforementioned small army of control pitchers, as well as Matt Garza, the prospect who fetched Delmon Young in trade, went through the same system.

Because the Twins have a system, certain players will be more, or less, valuable to them than other teams. They are good at training raw young outfielders to take the ball the other way and play alert, hustling baseball in the field and on the bases. They are good at teaching a changeup to a starter with a live fastball. They generally aren't good at cultivating young power hitters, and they don't tolerate wild pitchers at all.

Given all this, I suppose that if Santana is traded, he'll end up in Queens, even though the Mets can't offer the long-term infield help the Twins need. Carlos Gomez is just the kind of unrefined athlete the Twins would want, and Mike Pelfrey is just the sort of pitcher one supposes could really use a few months with Cuellar. They may not have the superstar potential of the Yankees' and Red Sox's best prospects, but then that may not matter. A team that believes in its system enough to get rid of David Ortiz isn't always concerned about superstar potential.

What's really interesting about the situation, though, is this: For all the success of their system, for all the young talent they have, and for all the prudence with which they manage it, the Twins are the third-best team in their division, even with Santana. Cleveland and Detroit, run by two of the smartest and most aggressive front offices in baseball, look like absolute juggernauts. Minnesota looks like Toronto, a team that would make the playoffs in the National League but is being squeezed out by the behemoths in its own division.

In the end, the trade of Santana may have a lot more to do with how brutal the Central Division is than how brutal the East is. It's a welcome change.

tmarchman@nysun.com

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Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:12 am

Peyton’s Advice




http://giants.lohudblogs.com/2008/01/24/peytons-advice/

Eli Manning said he didn’t ask for any strategic advice from big brother Peyton, who led the Colts to a championship last year. But he did tell him to keep things as normal as he can.

“No, I don’t game plan with Peyton,” Eli said. “That is not what you do.

“I talked to Peyton a little bit but a lot of it is just trying to, ‘How do you treat the week, how do you prepare when you are there, when you are down there? What do you try to do?’ So he just said, ‘Try to keep a normal routine, your regular routine. If you lifts weights on Tuesday and Thursday, when you are down there lift weights on Tuesday and Thursday, if you watch a certain film on this day or if you go out to eat on this night. Whatever you do, try to keep it as normal as possible and do that same routine.’”

Probably easier said than done during Super Bowl week, when the whole world is watching. But if anybody can pull it off, it’s the laid-back Eli. They don’t call him “Easy” for nothing, you know.

Ciao for now.

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Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:14 am

Fastball 101: Bringing The Heat


http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=705


Pitchers with premium velocity have an advantage because their heat gives themselves a bit more margin for error. A quicker fastball has a better chance of missing bats, keeping the ball out of play and leading to more strikeouts. The faster the pitch, the less time the hitter has to react, and being off by a fraction of a second can be the difference between a hit and weak contact or a strikeout.

The harder a pitcher throws, the more likely he is to have a lower ERA, and that effect might be even more pronounced in the postseason.

Of course, velocity isn’t everything for a pitcher. A pitcher’s breaking ball, other offspeed pitches, delivery, arm action, control, athleticism, pitchability and health are among the myriad factors that affect his future. In fact, velocity isn’t even everything when it comes to the fastball alone. Movement, such as whether the pitch tails, bores or sinks, is important, and the ability to command the fastball has separated plenty of successful major leaguers from pitching prospect flameouts.

But let’s face it: fastball velocity matters—and it’s simple to quantify. The Prospect Handbook offers 469 scouting reports on pitching prospects, with information on what pitches they throw and how hard they throw their fastballs.

A Look Back

But before we look at the hardest throwers from 2007, let’s take a look back at the highest peak velocity readings from the 2002 Prospect Handbook, along with those pitchers’ career major league numbers. Ages are as of Sept. 1, 2001, and an asterisk (*) denotes lefthanded pitcher.
PEAK VELOCITY • STARTING PITCHERS, 2002 PROSPECT HANDBOOK
PITCHER AGE MPH ERA IP ERA+
Erick Threets* 19 101 19.29 2 23
Colt Griffin 18 100 N/A N/A N/A
Bobby Jenks 20 100 3.26 174 144
Sean Henn* 20 99 7.53 57 59
Ben Howard 22 99 5.20 83 77
Brandon League 18 99 4.37 95 103
Seth McClung 20 99 6.16 263 73
Francisco Rodriguez 19 99 2.37 383 188
Carlos Zambrano 20 99 3.14 1193 130
Aaron Cook 22 98 4.47 718 109
Brad Lidge 24 98 3.30 401 132
Nick Neugebauer 21 98 4.99 61 82
Anthony Pluta 18 98 N/A N/A N/A

To review, Carlos Zambrano has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for the last five seasons. Aaron Cook has been an above-average starter, despite pitching his home games at Coors Field. Francisco Rodriguez and Brad Lidge converted to relievers before they reached the majors, and both were two of the elite closers in baseball at their best. Bobby Jenks has also emerged as one of baseball’s best relievers. Brandon League doesn’t have too many major league innings under his belt—mostly because of shoulder and oblique issues in 2007—but he shows the potential to be a serviceable reliever when healthy.

After that, the talent drops off. Erick Threets, Seth McClung and Ben Howard all made the major leagues but haven’t panned out, mostly due to a lack of quality secondary offerings or poor command. (Threets in fact is in this year’s Giants Top 30, one more time.) Sean Henn had Tommy John surgery after the 2001 season and never regained premium velocity. Anthony Pluta had poor command and never made it out of high Class A. Nick Neugebauer was one of baseball’s best pitching prospects after he dominated Double-A and Triple-A in 2001, but arm injuries destroyed his career.

So out of 13 fireballers, the list yields five above-average pitchers—including one of the game’s best pitchers—and an unfinished product in League. All in all, it’s a solid list given that the only criterion is peak fastball velocity. But it also shows that lighting up the radar gun isn’t everything in pitching prospect evaluation.

Back To The Present

Even the fastball, the pitch that’s the easiest to quantify, has its own margin for error. While reports vary from scout to scout and from gun to gun (and stadium guns notorious for inflating the readings fans see), the Prospect Handbook presents the most accurate velocity readings and reports you will find on pitching prospects.

The following is a list of the top 10 peak velocities recorded by pitchers in the Prospect Handbook. Relief pitchers have been excluded from the list (but will be touched on later) because of the natural advantage they have of being able to throw at maximum velocity in shorter stints.

Of course, with a 13-way tie for tenth, the list really goes 23 deep. As always, an asterisk (*) denotes a lefthander, and a pound sign (#) signifies that a pitcher missed either most or all of the 2007 season due to injury or will miss the 2008 season. Statistics are aggregate minor league totals from the 2007 season, and ages are as of Sept. 1, 2007.
PEAK VELOCITY • STARTING PITCHERS, 2008 PROSPECT HANDBOOK
PITCHER TEAM AGE MPH K/9 BB/9 IP LEVEL
Felipe Paulino Hou 23 102 8.8 3.9 112 AA
Andrew Brackman# Nyy 21 100 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Joba Chamberlain Nyy 21 100 12.8 2.3 88 HiA/AA/AAA
Jeremy Jeffress Mil 19 100 9.9 4.6 86 A
Aaron Poreda* Chw 20 100 9.3 1.9 46 Rk
Henry Rodriguez Oak 20 100 9.6 5.2 100 LoA
Jordan Walden Laa 19 100 8.8 2.4 64 Rk
Neftali Feliz Tex 19 99 11.7 5.1 42 Rk/SS
Clayton Kershaw* Lad 19 99 12 4.9 122 LoA/AA
Phillippe Aumont Sea 18 98 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Daniel Bard Bos 22 98 5.6 9.4 75 LoA/HiA
Erik Cordier# Atl 21 98 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Wilmer Font Tex 17 98 12 4.7 46 Rk
Connor Graham Col 21 98 8.5 2.8 19 SS
Craig Italiano# Oak 21 98 12.7 8.5 17 LoA
Brad Lincoln# Pit 22 98 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jake McGee* Tb 21 98 11.3 3.3 140 HiA/AA
Franklin Morales* Col 21 98 7.4 4.6 113 AA/AAA
Mark Rogers# Mil 21 98 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jeff Samardzija Chc 22 98 4.1 2.8 142 Hi/AA
Max Scherzer Ari 23 98 10.5 4.2 91 HiA/AA
Ryan Tucker Fla 20 98 6.8 3.0 138 HiA
Chris Withrow Lad 18 98 13 4.0 9 Rk

Many of the game’s elite pitching prospects are here, like Joba Chamberlain, Clayton Kershaw, Jake McGee and Franklin Morales. Others are mainly getting by with an overpowering fastball and still refining their secondary pitches. Wilmer Font is the most unrefined pitcher here, but at 17 he already is touching 98 mph.

On the whole, these pitchers don’t have the best command. Among pitchers in full-season ball, only Chamberlain, Jeff Samardzija and Ryan Tucker had a walks per nine innings rate lower than 3.0, and Tucker barely snuck in with a 2.99 BB/9. Samardzija is an interesting case because of a rare convergence of low strikeout rate and high-90s fastball. Blue Jays fans will remember Brandon League had a similar profile.

At 23, Felipe Paulino and Max Scherzer are the oldest players here; Paulino’s 102 is reported by other organizations’ scouts, while the Astros say he’s peaked at 100. The list tends to skew young, though, with an average age of 20.4 years old. That’s partly a byproduct of who is eligible for the Handbook, but it’s also because of pitchers’ aging patterns. Pitchers gain velocity as they fill out their frames and improve their mechanics, but over time many of them lose velocity as quickly as their early 20s due to injuries, workload or regular wear and tear.

Many of these players will likely one day find their way into a major league bullpen, where their plus-plus velocity will play up. Scherzer and Daniel Bard, for example, already have been discussed as potential relievers.

Risky Business

Among the injured hurlers, Erik Cordier didn’t pitch last season after having Tommy John surgery, the second time he has missed a full season because of injury. Cordier missed all of 2005 following knee surgery. Mark Rogers had shoulder surgery that cost him all of his 2007 season. Brad Lincoln was the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft and missed all of last season after having TJ.

Andrew Brackman, the Yankees’ first-round pick last June, touched 100 mph at North Carolina State. He won’t pitch again until 2009. Craig Italiano made six starts before a line drive off the head left him with a skull fracture. That makes two lost seasons in a row for Italiano, as he lost all but four games in 2006 to labrum surgery on his shoulder.

Check back later for a look at the hardest-throwing relief prospects as well as a look at the full list of lefthanded flamethrowers.

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:16 am

Back To The Present


http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=705

Even the fastball, the pitch that’s the easiest to quantify, has its own margin for error. While reports vary from scout to scout and from gun to gun (and stadium guns notorious for inflating the readings fans see), the Prospect Handbook presents the most accurate velocity readings and reports you will find on pitching prospects.

The following is a list of the top 10 peak velocities recorded by pitchers in the Prospect Handbook. Relief pitchers have been excluded from the list (but will be touched on later) because of the natural advantage they have of being able to throw at maximum velocity in shorter stints.

Of course, with a 13-way tie for tenth, the list really goes 23 deep. As always, an asterisk (*) denotes a lefthander, and a pound sign (#) signifies that a pitcher missed either most or all of the 2007 season due to injury or will miss the 2008 season. Statistics are aggregate minor league totals from the 2007 season, and ages are as of Sept. 1, 2007.
PEAK VELOCITY • STARTING PITCHERS, 2008 PROSPECT HANDBOOK
PITCHER TEAM AGE MPH K/9 BB/9 IP LEVEL
Felipe Paulino Hou 23 102 8.8 3.9 112 AA
Andrew Brackman# Nyy 21 100 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Joba Chamberlain Nyy 21 100 12.8 2.3 88 HiA/AA/AAA
Jeremy Jeffress Mil 19 100 9.9 4.6 86 A
Aaron Poreda* Chw 20 100 9.3 1.9 46 Rk
Henry Rodriguez Oak 20 100 9.6 5.2 100 LoA
Jordan Walden Laa 19 100 8.8 2.4 64 Rk
Neftali Feliz Tex 19 99 11.7 5.1 42 Rk/SS
Clayton Kershaw* Lad 19 99 12 4.9 122 LoA/AA
Phillippe Aumont Sea 18 98 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Daniel Bard Bos 22 98 5.6 9.4 75 LoA/HiA
Erik Cordier# Atl 21 98 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Wilmer Font Tex 17 98 12 4.7 46 Rk
Connor Graham Col 21 98 8.5 2.8 19 SS
Craig Italiano# Oak 21 98 12.7 8.5 17 LoA
Brad Lincoln# Pit 22 98 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jake McGee* Tb 21 98 11.3 3.3 140 HiA/AA
Franklin Morales* Col 21 98 7.4 4.6 113 AA/AAA
Mark Rogers# Mil 21 98 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Jeff Samardzija Chc 22 98 4.1 2.8 142 Hi/AA
Max Scherzer Ari 23 98 10.5 4.2 91 HiA/AA
Ryan Tucker Fla 20 98 6.8 3.0 138 HiA
Chris Withrow Lad 18 98 13 4.0 9 Rk

Many of the game’s elite pitching prospects are here, like Joba Chamberlain, Clayton Kershaw, Jake McGee and Franklin Morales. Others are mainly getting by with an overpowering fastball and still refining their secondary pitches. Wilmer Font is the most unrefined pitcher here, but at 17 he already is touching 98 mph.

On the whole, these pitchers don’t have the best command. Among pitchers in full-season ball, only Chamberlain, Jeff Samardzija and Ryan Tucker had a walks per nine innings rate lower than 3.0, and Tucker barely snuck in with a 2.99 BB/9. Samardzija is an interesting case because of a rare convergence of low strikeout rate and high-90s fastball. Blue Jays fans will remember Brandon League had a similar profile.

At 23, Felipe Paulino and Max Scherzer are the oldest players here; Paulino’s 102 is reported by other organizations’ scouts, while the Astros say he’s peaked at 100. The list tends to skew young, though, with an average age of 20.4 years old. That’s partly a byproduct of who is eligible for the Handbook, but it’s also because of pitchers’ aging patterns. Pitchers gain velocity as they fill out their frames and improve their mechanics, but over time many of them lose velocity as quickly as their early 20s due to injuries, workload or regular wear and tear.

Many of these players will likely one day find their way into a major league bullpen, where their plus-plus velocity will play up. Scherzer and Daniel Bard, for example, already have been discussed as potential relievers.

Risky Business

Among the injured hurlers, Erik Cordier didn’t pitch last season after having Tommy John surgery, the second time he has missed a full season because of injury. Cordier missed all of 2005 following knee surgery. Mark Rogers had shoulder surgery that cost him all of his 2007 season. Brad Lincoln was the fourth overall pick in the 2006 draft and missed all of last season after having TJ.

Andrew Brackman, the Yankees’ first-round pick last June, touched 100 mph at North Carolina State. He won’t pitch again until 2009. Craig Italiano made six starts before a line drive off the head left him with a skull fracture. That makes two lost seasons in a row for Italiano, as he lost all but four games in 2006 to labrum surgery on his shoulder.

Check back later for a look at the hardest-throwing relief prospects as well as a look at the full list of lefthanded flamethrowers.

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Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:23 am

Eli: We must be perfect vs. Patriots



ttp://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/2008/01/25/2008-01-25_eli_we_must_be_perfect_vs_patriots.html?page=0


BY RALPH VACCHIANO
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Friday, January 25th 2008, 4:00 AM

Eli Manning already insisted the Giants know how to beat the New England Patriots. Yesterday he revealed the secret.

All he has to do is throw a perfect game.

"We did a lot of good things (in the first game against the Patriots) from an offensive standpoint, but we had one interception, that one turnover and they answered," Manning said. "We gave them a heck of a shot, but that shows we're going to have to play our best football and play a perfect game if we want to win."

Manning was nearly mistake-free in the Giants' 38-35 loss to New England on Dec. 29. But in the fourth quarter, with the Giants trailing, 31-28, Manning made his lone mistake when he overthrew Plaxico Burress and was intercepted by Ellis Hobbs.

Nine plays later, the Patriots were up by 10 and the game was out of reach.

"We can't afford turnovers. We can't afford to have bad plays," Manning said. "That's what their defense thrives off of."

BIG & RICH: Guard Rich Seubert, who sprained the MCL in his right knee in the NFC Championship Game, did not practice yesterday, but Tom Coughlin said he expected him to return when the team arrives in Arizona. Asked if he'd be ready for the Super Bowl, Seubert said. "I'll be on the field." ... Injured CB Kevin Dockery (hip) was unable to practice yesterday, but Coughlin said he "ran real hard on the side."

BROTHERLY ADVICE: Peyton Manning, one year removed from his first Super Bowl, gave his baby brother some tips this week on how to handle his first Super experience.

"He said, 'Just try to keep a normal routine, a regular routine,'" Eli said. "If you lift weights on Tuesday and Thursday, then when you're down there lift weights on Tuesday and Thursday. If you watch certain film on this day, or go to eat on this night, whatever you do try to keep it as normal as possible and do that same routine."

STEVE IN SKINS' MIX: Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo still could be a candidate to become the Redskins' head coach if former Giants coach Jim Fassel doesn't get that job.

Eli Manning already insisted the Giants know how to beat the New England Patriots. Yesterday he revealed the secret.

All he has to do is throw a perfect game.

"We did a lot of good things (in the first game against the Patriots) from an offensive standpoint, but we had one interception, that one turnover and they answered," Manning said. "We gave them a heck of a shot, but that shows we're going to have to play our best football and play a perfect game if we want to win

Manning, of course, was nearly mistake-free in the Giants' 38-35 loss to New England on Dec. 29. But in the fourth quarter, with the Giants trailing, 31-28, Manning made his lone mistake when he overthrew Plaxico Burress and was intercepted by Ellis Hobbs.

Nine plays later, the Patriots were up by 10 and the game was out of reach.

"We can't afford turnovers. We can't afford to have bad plays," Manning said. "That's what their defense thrives off of."

BIG & RICH: Guard Rich Seubert, who sprained the MCL in his right knee in the NFC Championship Game, did not practice yesterday, but Tom Coughlin said he expected him to return when the team arrives in Arizona. Asked if he'd be ready for the Super Bowl, Seubert said. "I'll be on the field." ... Injured CB Kevin Dockery (hip) was unable to practice yesterday, but Coughlin said he "ran real hard on the side."

BROTHERLY ADVICE: Peyton Manning, one year removed from his first Super Bowl, gave his baby brother some tips this week on how to handle his first Super experience.

"He said, 'Just try to keep a normal routine, a regular routine,'" Eli said. "If you lift weights on Tuesday and Thursday, then when you're down there lift weights on Tuesday and Thursday. If you watch certain film on this day, or go to eat on this night, whatever you do try to keep it as normal as possible and do that same routine."

STEVE IN SKINS' MIX: Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo still could be a candidate to become the Redskins' head coach if former Giants coach Jim Fassel doesn't get that job.

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:30 am

Boston Herald Jessica Heslam says -Pats fans a cut above
Giants outclassed on the field and in the stands

http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/football/patriots/view.bg?articleid=1068889

New England Patriots [team stats] fans are smarter, classier and healthier and own pricier homes than the riff-raff who root for the New York Giants - and now we’ve got the research to back it up.

Some 62 percent of Pats fans living in the Boston area earned a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree or have some higher-education experience, compared to 59 percent of Giants fans, according to the latest marketing data provided by the Nielsen Co., the TV ratings firm.

Likewise, 72 percent of Pats fans live in homes worth north of $200,000, compared to 63 percent of Giants yahoos, the Nielsen data show.

That’s just for starters.

Pats fans consistently show better taste than their Gotham counterparts, according to Nielsen.

We drink Amstel Light, not Bud Light. Giants fans slug back lots of whiskey.

We are likely to read connoisseur magazines like Wine Spectator. Gotham fans like to pig out on junk food like pretzels, chips and nuts. They’re also less likely to favor organic food than other New Yorkers.

Giants tailgaters are conspicuous consumers who party off the backs of Land Rovers and showy BMW SUVs. Pats fans are more likely to tailgate off the back of an understated Lexus or a sturdy Volvo SUV.

When Pats revelers aren’t watching football, they’re hitting the slopes skiing or going for a sail. They’re also more likely to belong to country clubs.

When Giants fans aren’t booing Giants coach Tom Coughlin or punk quarterback Eli Manning in that New Jersey stadium they call home, they’re out practicing their tennis backhands in the backyard.

None of these marketing revelations came as a surprise to Mike Schuster, 45, who lives in the shadow of Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

“Boston fans are much classier,” said Schuster, a real estate agent and software consultant who is heading out to Arizona for the Super Bowl. “Have you ever been to Yankee stadium? I mean, they boo their own players.”

“Bostonians, in general, are better educated,” Schuster added. “New Yorkers have to send their kids to Boston to educate them.”

It’s also worth noting that the Patriots are an equal opportunity franchise, drawing more female fans than the competition. Nearly half of all Pats backers - about 43 percent - are women. In Giants country, just 31 percent of the fans are female.

Pats fans are also more Web savvy, some 63 percent have broadband Internet connection.

Of course, though we may hate to admit it, fans on both sides of the turf do have some similarities. The Nielsen data indicate that Pats and Giants fans are both likely to live in “affluent” suburbs or rural neighborhoods. They both buy “above average” amounts of beer, too, and they like to garden.


you can email her at jheslam@bostonherald.com

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:41 am

Twins, Santana stuck between a rock and a hard place


http://www.postbulletin.com/newsmanager/templates/localnews_story.asp?a=325061&z=22

MINNEAPOLIS -- Johan Santana will not be at TwinsFest this weekend, but one wonders if Santana will be in Fort Myers, Fla., with his old teammates on Feb. 17 when pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

The Twins have spent the offseason bogged down in talks with the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets about their two-time Cy Young Award winner. They've tried different approaches to get a deal done, but with no success. And fans shouldn't hold their breath hoping the Twins will suddenly sign Santana to a contract extension. One Twins official said this week there have been no recent contract talks.

The Twins don't want to bring Santana to camp under these circumstances, but they also don't want to trade him for what they perceive as 20 cents on the dollar in terms of talent return.

However, the worst-case scenario will begin to play out this weekend at TwinsFest, as single-game tickets will go on sale to a fan base trying to determine if they will have Santana in a Twins uniform or someone from the group of Carlos Gomez, Phillip Hughes or Jacoby Ellsbury to root for.

This scenario will worsen as spring training nears and Santana is bombarded by national media questions about his future and teammates will be asked daily for their thoughts. Neither the Twins nor Santana's camp want that to happen. It's such a concern that Peter Greenberg, Santana's agent, admitted during a telephone conversation this week that he will need to discuss strategy with Santana soon on how to handle things if he is forced to report to camp with the Twins.

What Greenberg wouldn't address is if Santana will refuse to waive his no-trade clause once he reports, but that possibility surely exists. It's unclear if the Twins have been told that yet -- but it appears that they have stepped up their efforts to make a deal happen before camp begins.

The Twins have been in contact with all three teams this week. Let's begin with the Mets because they currently appear to have the best chance of landing Santana.

The Twins would like the Mets to add outfield prospect Fernando Martinez to a package of outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra. According to persons familiar with talks, the Mets view Martinez as practically untouchable and might not include him even to replace Gomez in the deal. The clubs have talked about adding another player to the deal, such as pitchers Scott Schoeneweis, Joe Smith or Aaron Heilman. A report out of New York on Thursday had Ryan Church as a possible addition.

The Yankees remain in contact despite claiming recently that they have pulled out of talks. Another person with knowledge of the talks said a lot of discussion has focused on the third and fourth players in any deal, which suggests that top pitching prospect Phil Hughes and outfielder Melky Cabrera remain the top players in the package.

The Red Sox have been willing to tweak the back end of their offers to make a trade, but the Twins still would have to work with either a deal led by outfield prospect Jacoby Ellsbury or another led by lefthander Jon Lester -- but not both in the same deal. The Red Sox seem the least likely to deal for Santana at this point because they don't need him as much as the other teams do -- but there's always the concern that the Yankees will land Santana and make things tough for the Sox in the AL East.

If the worst-case scenario continues into spring training, look for the Twins to sign a temporary fix for center field -- such as Kenny Lofton or Corey Patterson. The next week should determine if the Twins really need such a contingency plan.

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:52 am

You guys should love this...Neutral


From the Mets message board on espn.com......

miraclemauer from the espn message boards wrote:
Le Velle Neal is going to break this story in the morning for the star tribune in Minneapolis. He already hinted at a major Santana story in the morning. I have a friend who works for the Twins. For what it's worth he said these are the 5 player.

Ryan Church, Fernando Martinez, Deolis Guerra, Kevin Mulvey, and Mike Pelfrey.

I'm excited to read the paper in the morning. I'm predicting Johan goes 25-5 in 2008 for the Mets.

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:54 am

The papers go online in an hour or 2. How would Neal have this story... hint at it and NOBODY else has it? Nobody else decided to sniff around because of this hint? lol Guys... he may be a Met but it hasn't happened, there is no deal, likely won't be one anytime this weekend maybe not this week.



From Neal... 3 hours ago

The Twins would like the Mets to add outfield prospect Fernando Martinez to a package of outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitchers Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra. According to persons familiar with talks, the Mets view Martinez as practically untouchable and might not include him even to replace Gomez in the deal. The clubs have talked about adding another player to the deal, such as pitcher Aaron Heilman. A report out of New York on Thursday had Ryan Church as a possible addition.

The Yankees remain in contact despite claiming recently that they have pulled out of talks. Another person with knowledge of the talks said a lot of discussion has focused on the third and fourth players in any deal, which suggests that top pitching prospect Phil Hughes and outfielder Melky Cabrera remain the top players in the package.

The Red Sox have been willing to tweak the back end of their offers to make a trade, but the Twins still would have to work with either a deal led by outfield prospect Jacoby Ellsbury or another led by lefthander Jon Lester -- but not both in the same deal. The Red Sox seem the least likely to deal for Santana at this point because they don't need him as much as the other teams do -- but there's always the concern that the Yankees will land Santana and make things tough for the Sox in the AL East

http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/14297236.html


Get ready to wait longer lol...

"After weeks of speculation with Knoblauch, the Twins finally pulled the trigger on Feb. 6, 1998. That’s a reminder that there is still plenty of time for a Santana deal to happen before spring training."

Joe Christensen


I'm of course skeptical about that kind of espn post/poster and i sure want to be bc that is way too much--nando/guerra/pelfrey AND church and mulvey? if Omar were offering that much it would have been done already. i'd find that hard to believe if Omar told me himself.

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:55 am

Wallace Matthews- Mets have done nothing to improve since collapse


http://www.newsday.com/sports/baseball/mets/ny-spwally0125,0,5872006.column

New York's Stealth Franchise, the one that flies so deftly below the radar that it could land at LaGuardia without being noticed, has conducted its offseason the way Rudy Giuliani is running his presidential campaign: hoping to win by doing nothing.

They shed Lastings Milledge, Paul Lo Duca and Tom Glavine. In return, they brought in Ryan Church and Brian Schneider, paid more money to Ramon Castro, Luis Castillo, Jose Reyes and Endy Chavez, and issued a stern warning to Duaner Sanchez to stay out of taxicabs in South Florida at 2 in the morning.

Meanwhile, Johan Santana still is a Twin, A-Rod still is a Yankee and Reyes still is a Met.

And yet, to quote the words of Mets VP David Howard, "If you look at it objectively, are a championship-caliber, playoff-contending team."

And if you look at it ration.ally, Howard, or whoever is writing his material, very well may be out of his mind.

They act as if last season was some kind of hallucination, that the historic collapse (they led the Phillies by seven games on Sept. 12 with 17 games to play) never really happened, that despite what the NL East standings showed Oct. 1, the Mets actually were the best team in baseball and, as such, didn't really need much in the way of tinkering in the offseason.

In fact, when it came to personnel, they didn't really need anything at all.

All they needed, actually, was a little bit more of your money, because, as general manager Omar Minaya was quick to point out after the Mets lost six of their last seven games of the season, "We spent more days in first place than any other team in baseball.'"

Yeah. And Billy Conn was leading Joe Louis after 12 rounds, the Titanic sailed beautifully for three days and didn't Lincoln just love the first two hours of the play?

Still, that was reason enough for the Mets to raise ticket prices by about 20 percent for the upcoming season. The reason for this, according to Howard, friend of baseball fans everywhere: "We're not going to make business decisions based on a two-week period."

The only saving grace in that statement is that perhaps Howard someday will use the same rationale to hold the line on ticket prices if the Mets ever manage to win a World Series on his watch. (And in other news, Pamela Anderson has asked me to marry her.)

Returning to reality, that means this season you will pay more to see the same team, only a year older. You know this is not the fault of Minaya, who would just love to spend Fred Wilpon's money, and it probably is not the fault of Howard, who is too busy thinking of new ways to get into your pocket.

That responsibility falls upon the owner, Wilpon, who is on the verge of a Steinbrennerian windfall with the opening of Citi Field, and his son Jeff, who is James Dolan without the guitar.

(It was Jeff Wilpon, de facto GM, who uttered the most infamous line in the recent history of the Mets: "Can somebody tell me why I shouldn't trade this guy?" The guy was Scott Kazmir.)

What really happened here is that once again, the fans are being forced to pay for the failings of the players. When the Mets bombed out of the playoffs, they lost anywhere from $2 million to $15 million in postseason income. Somebody had to make up that shortfall. It wasn't going to be the players and it certainly wasn't going to be the Wilpons.

That leaves, well, you.

Last year, about 3.8 million of you paid your way into Shea, expecting to cash in on the guarantee that was plastered right on top of the dugouts: "Your season has come." If anything close to that number returns this year, then the Mets' fan base is either incredibly understanding or understandably numb.

The Mets caught a break when the Yankees performed their own crash-and-burn a week after their own, and there was the Torre Drama and the A-Rod Saga and Syringe-gate, starring Roger Clemens, to distract us from what wasn't going on in Flushing through October and November and December. Now the excitement about the Giants in the Super Bowl will provide a smoke screen for the next 10 days or so, and if the Mets get real lucky, the Knicks will fire Isiah just before Opening Day.

But sooner or later, the smoke will clear, the air will warm and it will be baseball season again. The Mets will be back in business with roughly the same cast of characters, the same set of built-in excuses, the same big talk and the same small expectations.

But then, you know what they say in Flushing: Around here, there is no offseason.

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:58 am

Jack Nicholson warned Heath Ledger on 'Joker' role


http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008/01/24/2008-01-24_jack_nicholson_warned_heath_ledger_on_jo.html

Thursday, January 24th 2008, 3:18 AM
Jack Nicholson, who played the Joker in the 1989 'Batman' movie, says he warned Heath Ledger, below, about the part.

Jack Nicholson, who played the Joker in the 1989 'Batman' movie, says he warned Heath Ledger, below, about the part.

Heath Ledger thought landing the demanding role of the Joker was a dream come true - but now some think it was a nightmare that led to his tragic death.

Jack Nicholson, who played the Joker in 1989 - and who was furious he wasn't consulted about the creepy role - offered a cryptic comment when told Ledger was dead.

"Well," Nicholson told reporters in London early Wednesday, "I warned him."

Though the remark was ambiguous, there's no question the role in the movie earmarked as this summer's blockbuster took a frightening toll.

Ledger recently told reporters he "slept an average of two hours a night" while playing "a psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy ...

"I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going."

Prescription drugs didn't help, he said.

Ledger's ghastly image as the Clown Prince of Crime in "Dark Knight" has been an Internet sensation since trailers were released in December, featuring Ledger in full death's-head mode.

His face chalk-white, his hair green and his mouth a sliced red grimace, the handsome 28-year-old Australian actor looked frighteningly true to the character in the Alan Moore graphic novel, "Batman: The Killing Joke."

The movie wrapped filming in the fall - right after Ledger's breakup with actress Michelle Williams - and post-production work finished not long after.

While "Dark Knight" is the film that will stand as Ledger's cinematic gravestone, insiders say the flick, set for a July 18 release with Christian Bale as Batman, won't suffer from his death.

"Ledger's portrayal of the Joker is already one of the most anticipated screen characters of the whole year," says Gitesh Pandya, editor of the movie tracking site boxofficeguru.com

"I think most of the audience will still be there. If anything, I would think the marketing of his character might be scaled down a bit.

"The Joker is a character where you could go over-the-top with marketing. The studio might scale that back a bit in the next few months, just to be respectful."

Tony Timpone, editor of the fantasy magazine Fangoria, said the movie should do well, despite the "cloud over it" from Ledger's death.

"It's going to be tough, because the Joker is such an indelible character, and Heath was such an indelible actor. It could be tough to disassociate ourselves from reality. Because the movie looks like it's going to be so dark, and his life had such a dark end."

Critic and film historian Leonard Maltin said Ledger's death will heighten curiosity about the movie - and certainly won't hurt the box office.

"This is sad and so different from any previous examples, because the film has such an enormous built-in audience; people will go anyway, but there's no question it could cast something of a pall over the film," Maltin said.

"It says something about the curious nature of film, that someone can be so alive onscreen when we're all too aware that they've passed. It underscores how we're mortal, and films are immortal."

jneumaier@nydailynews.com

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:31 am

Odds and Ends: Velocity, Santana, Teixeira


http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/


Make sure to check out these links.

* Baseball America admits that fastball velocity is important, and does a Where Are They Now with all those who had reached 98 mph from the '02 prospect handbook. The success rate was solid. They have an even bigger list of guys who topped 98 from their upcoming '08 handbook, some of whom will be aces one day. Did you know Felipe Paulino reached 102? Hat tip to Depressed Fan on the link.
* Joe Posnanski writes about how the Royals are leading the Johan Santana race. Funny stuff. Would be refreshing to see the Royals in there.
* White Sox outfielder Brian Anderson busts out the ol' "best shape of my life" cliche. He's trying to ditch the negative attitude, but still wants out of Chicago so he can have a shot at a full-time role.
* Not sure what to make of this...did Mark Teixeira buy a house in north suburban Atlanta? If so does it mean anything? Hat tip to Braves Love for the discovery.

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:33 am

Official Clay Buchholz" blog


http://buchwild.com/

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:39 am

Joined: 22 Jan 2008
Posts: 43


New postPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:57 am Post subject: Reply with quote
what bugs me the most about this offseason is that the under the radar, but extremely crucial problem with the franchise that had a direct impact on the collapse has not been dealt with. I felt that from May on, the Mets felt that the NL East was theirs & there was no way they could possibly not win the division. Because of this attitude the mets took their foot off the gas pedal & simply coasted. It's part of the reason why their longest winning streak of the year was 5 games & that didn't even come until the 2nd to last month of the season.

Remember during the 1st yankees series how their season was going down the toilet & the mets were in 1st place & pretty much in total control of the east. Things couldn't get better for the Mets & couldn't get worse for the Yanks. The mets hierarchy loved it to death. They had their heads held high & they were out there beating their chest. Hell they were doing it even before the NYY series. As Wallace (who I HATE BTW) stated last seasons marketing slogan was "Your Season Has Come."

This attitude is still running rampant through the franchise. They really think that last September was a fluke when I feel that it was simply the knockout punch in a season where the mets were up against the ropes all year. The self righteous entitled attitude the franchise has displayed is a big turnoff for me. Especially when you consider that historically this is a losing franchise. We're a lot more Cub than Yankee.

But they were in first place all year you'll say. Well that's what's even more frustrating to me. The mets were a sub 500 team for the majority of the year & they remained in 1st place. What does that say about the rest of the division. The fact that the mets lost such a poor division further supports my belief that the team isn't as good as we're led to believe.

The champaign didn't taste sweeter in the end Willie

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This is about Robinson Cano and the contract offer.

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:44 am

The pathetic thing about these comments is how it turns into a NY vs BOS thread.
This is about Robinson Cano and the contract offer.

To bring in Dustin Pedroia is meaningless. I mean, why? Because he has a ring and Cano doesn't?
World Series titles are team accomplishments. Luis Sojo has a World Series ring. Ken Griffey does not. According to that logic you people would imply that Sojo is better than Griffey. Blasphemy.

The money aside, the Yankees don't have any 2nd base prospects. And they were not going to offer Cano as incentive in the Johan trade talks, so why not sign him?

According to Rob Neyer's January 17th Blog, Robinson Cano ranked just behind Chase Utley among all 2nd-basemen in WARP at 9.2 and his OPS+ was 120. As for his defense, he does lack focus from time to time but he did rank 3rd in Range Factor and 4th in Zone Rating in all of baseball last year. Not bad at all if you ask me. (For the record, Dustin Pedroia ranked 16th in Range Factor and 5th in Zone Rating)

Do I think Cano is the best 2nd baseman in baseball? No, but he's young, he's good, and the deal would make sense from his perspective because it makes him (possibly) a free agent at 29/30, just in time to cash in at what should be his prime.

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:45 am

Livan Close to Deal with Mets?


Right-hander Livan Hernandez, who is a workhorse, is close to a deal with the Mets, where he will be reunited with brother Orlando Hernandez.

Rocky Mountain News

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/jan/25/ringolsby-quiet-winter-for-big-spenders/

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:49 am

RINGOLSBY: Quiet winter for big spenders




http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/jan/25/ringolsby-quiet-winter-for-big-spenders/


By Tracy Ringolsby, Rocky Mountain News
Friday, January 25, 2008
Twins ace Johan Santana still could be traded to Boston or the New York Yankees, but up to this point, the two high payroll teams have stayed out of the trade and free-agent markets.

Eric Miller / Associated Press/2006

Twins ace Johan Santana still could be traded to Boston or the New York Yankees, but up to this point, the two high payroll teams have stayed out of the trade and free-agent markets.
Related Stories



The biggest surprise this offseason could be that the big spenders didn't spend.

After winning the World Series in 2004, the Red Sox revamped their rotation. They let Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe leave as free agents and brought in Matt Clement and David Wells, a pair of signings that went bad.

This time? The Sox have kept their 2007 world championship team intact. The only loss was reliever Eric Gagne, a midseason addition from Texas who was a disappointment in Boston.

The Yankees, meanwhile, traditionally have been big spenders on the free-agent market. Not this year. Their only offseason addition was middle reliever LaTroy Hawkins, who takes the place of right-hander Luis Vizcaino.

Both the Red Sox and Yankees, of course, remain involved in talks with Minnesota about left-hander Johan Santana, but in general, they both seem ready to give players from within a chance to fill needs.

NL Central a'changin'

Things are changing rapidly in the National League Central, where rosters and front offices are being shaken up.

New managers have been hired in Cincinnati (Dusty Baker), Houston (Cecil Cooper) and Pittsburgh (John Russell). And there are new general managers in Houston (Ed Wade), Pittsburgh (Neal Huntington) and St. Louis (John Mozeliak).

Nothing like successive seasons in which the Central champ won 82 games (2006 Cardinals) and 85 games (2007 Cubs) to create hope among the other members of the division.

Astros roll dice

It would seem Houston got trapped trying to ensure it would get compensation for free-agent second baseman Mark Loretta, prompting the Astros to offer arbitration. But Loretta accepted the offer.

Now the Astros are gambling again. They filed a $2.75 million arbitration figure, which is $750,000 less than they paid Loretta last year. Loretta is seeking $4.9 million - a $2.15 million difference.

Of the 48 players who exchanged salary proposals with teams in arbitration this year, Loretta is the only player offered a pay cut.

Overheard

* One-time Toronto phenom Eric Hinske could sign with Arizona as insurance in case third baseman Chad Tracy doesn't meet his ambitious schedule of returning by Opening Day. Tracy underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee last season. Tracy's rehab was slowed in November when he developed blood clots.

* Right-hander Bartolo Colon's market is shrinking. After watching him throw in the Dominican, Cleveland backed off. The Mets also are concerned about Colon's health. He was diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff in 2006 but opted to rehab and skip surgery. Kansas City and the White Sox are believed to still have interest.

* Right-hander Livan Hernandez, who is a workhorse, is close to a deal with the Mets, where he will be reunited with brother Orlando Hernandez.

Readers' turn

Robbie Doty wonders, "Why hasn't Garrett Atkins' name come up in discussions about the Rockies extending long-term contracts?"

Robbie, Atkins was approached a year ago about the possibility of a multiyear deal and wasn't interested. At this point, it appears the Rockies are looking into the possibility with other players to see their interest. Signing a player to a multiyear deal is not a one-sided event. The player has to buy into the idea. The team provides the long-term financial security, which is its risk.

In return, the player realizes that he won't make as much money as if he were to go year to year and get maximum market value, which is his risk.

For responses to other questions, or to ask questions of your own, check out the Rockies Inbox at RockyMountain News.com/sports.

Two cents' worth

Here's what's puzzling about arbitration. Ryan Howard made $900,000 last year. The Phillies are offering him $7 million, and there is concern they need to reach a settlement so Howard, who is seeking $10 million, doesn't get upset.

Let's get this straight. The guy loses and gets a $6.1 million raise, and there is concern that he might be mad about it? What a system.

ringolsbyt@RockyMountainNews.com

NUMBERS GAME

63wins for the Cubs in their final 99 games last season, which they hope is a sign they will be much better this season than the season- ending 85-77 record that won the National League Central in 2007.

AILING ATHLETICS

Oakland has its annual health concerns about right-handed pitcher Rich Harden and shortstop Bobby Crosby. This year, however, the Athletics also have concerns about right-handers Chad Gaudin and Justin Duchscherer, both coming off hip surgery; third baseman Eric Chavez, who underwent postseason surgery on both shoulders and his lower back; outfielder Travis Buck, who had bone chips removed from his right elbow in September; and closer Huston Street, whose 2007 season was punctuated with arm problems.

HE SAID IT

"This is the perfect place for me. I love the city, the club and the people. I like what we're doing and the direction we're taking. I had a chance (three years ago) to explore other opportunities, and I'm glad it didn't work out. Money's not really an issue. If I'm doing this job, I think this is the best place for me to be doing it."

Kevin Towers, 46, Padres general manager, who with 15 years on the job, is senior among current GMs and has agreed to a two-year contract extension.

MILE HIGH WATCH

* Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins figures to be one of the biggest winners in arbitration this year.

Atkins, who made $400,000 in 2007, filed for $4.65 million. The Rockies have offered him $4,125,000.

The spread between what Atkins is seeking and what he made last year is the fourth largest of all arbitration cases, according to BizofBaseball.com. Atkins trails Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard ($900,000 last year; seeking $10 million), Angels right-hander Francisco Rodriguez ($7.1 million last year; seeking $12.5 million) and Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard ($3,425,000 last year; seeking $8 million).

And the spread between what Atkins made last year and what the Rockies have offered is the second highest, trailing only Howard (offered $7 million).

Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang had the third-highest gap between his salary last year ($489,500) and what the Yankees have offered ($4 million), and Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe is fourth after making $403,000 and being offered $3,575,000.

Rockies left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes filed for $6.5 million, matching the fifth-highest request. Mets left-hander Oliver Perez also is seeking $6.5 million.

Angels closer Rodriguez is seeking the largest salary, $12.5 million, followed by Howard, Bedard and Indians third baseman Casey Blake at $6.9 million.

* Nine of the Rockies' top 30 prospects, according to Baseball America, were foreign signees, the third-highest total in baseball.

Only Seattle (11) and the Mets (10) had more. Florida is the only organization that did not have a foreign signee among its top 30.

Twelve of the Rockies' top 30 prospects were college draft picks. (The average for college players was 11 per team.) The Rockies' list also included six high school draftees, two junior-college players and one player who was an undrafted free agent (right-handed reliever Ryan Speier).

The Rockies, Milwaukee, Dodgers and Seattle were the only teams that originally signed all 30 players on their prospect lists.
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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:50 am

25 man out of Spring Training


http://www.yp-forums.net/index.php?showtopic=11858&st=0&#entry489638

1. Jorge Posada
2. Robinson Cano
3. Derek Jeter
4. Alex Rodriguez
5. Hideki Matsui
6. Johnny Damon
7. Melky Cabrera
8. Bobby Abreu
9. Wilson Betemit
10. Shelley Duncan
11. Jason Giambi
12. Jose Molina
13. Nick Green
14. Chien Ming Wang
15. Andy Pettitte
16. Phil Hughes
17. Joba Chamberlain
18. Mike Mussina
19. Mariano Rivera
20. Kyle Farnsworth
21. LaTroy Hawkins
22. Ian Kennedy
23. Ross Ohlendorf
24. Brian Bruney
25. Billy Traber

Green could be switched with Alberto Gonzalez...I went with Green under the assumption the Yankees will want Gonzalez to spend one more season in the minors to see if they can get more out of him. I'm also assuming that Betemit and Duncan make up a first base platoon, which is why I expect the Yanks to carry a backup infielder. Kennedy (or I suppose Joba) could also be switched out for Rasner (to act as a long reliever) if one of the two starts the season in AAA.

The last three spots I had a tough time with, and I'm still not really set on those three. I think the Yanks are high on Ohlendorf and that, plus his stuff, is going to get him on the roster, although I wouldn't be shocked to see him in AAA to start the season. Bruney I believe is out of options (correct me if I'm wrong) and that's the only reason I have him there. He wouldn't be my choice but I think the Yanks may give him one more chance. Traber is on there only because I expect the Yanks to carry a lefty, and that gives them only 5 options...Igawa (who should be given a chance to pitch in relief in the minors first), Chase Wright (again, I expect him to pitch in relief in the minors before throwing him into the major league bullpen), Heath Phillips (just don't think it's likely) or Sean Henn (we've been there before...). Henn's a good possibility to fill that spot too, but I think he's running out of chances. Traber isn't that good overall, but he has great splits against lefties and that may be enough.

Thoughts? Anyone else want to post theirs? Keep in mind this isn't a "What I want to see" but a "What I expect to see" roster. Feel free to assume trades if you think one will happen, I went with the idea that there wouldn't be any more trades for major league talent.

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:53 am

Here's a refresher...

Forty Seven wrote:
What I can say is that a certain high profile reporter in the NY media has the scoop but also has a reputation to protect. This deal is on the verge of being completed and the Sox and Yankees have been more or less told the bidding is over. He won't go out on a limb and say the deal is done, but I will.

He is also been contacted by Mike Arias about the Mets reaching out for Feliz. To me this makes sense as the Mets could bring in Feliz to be a bench player or even start games in right field, which further leads me to believe Church is gone.

Take it or leave it, that's what I got.


Forty Seven wrote:
BTW, this certain reporter is generally consistant in his accuracy.

He was the one that gave me the tip on Bladergroen being the prospect for Mientkiewcz (which I broke here before anywhere else) and also had the Delgado trade done before anyone. On that same token he was the one who told me about Omar's lusting for Kent prior to the 06 season, which I believe was correct but just never got done.


Forty Seven wrote:
I have nothing to gain by making things up. I am speaking about actual updates from a very credible source. For Omar to have people working on right fielder options says a ton. For Bill Smith to have informed the Sox and Yanks that the bidding is over says a lot. This trade is finished, it's a matter of it leaking officially.


Forty Seven wrote:

I maintain what I said, folks. My friend HAS been exhausting the phones and only had a minute to return my message with a text that said nothing has changed and this deal is done. I can only speculate as to why this hasn't been announced or leaked but my friend's hang up about reporting it at this moment is a the fact that his source in the Twins organization reports the Yankees and Red Sox have been told it's over, but his reps with Boston are telling him otherwise. That's been the case all day, it hasn't changed that I know of. If I hear otherwise, you'll hear otherwise.

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Quote:

And, if they fail, the team will lose games and possibly miss the playoffs. But that doesn't matter so long as the PLWs got to watch their heroes?

Quote:

Fine. Forget sanchez. How about Joe Smith? Willie Callazo? Matt Wise? Mike Pelfrey? Phil Humber? Kevin Mulvey? Between all the guys that are avaliable in house, and the guys in the free agent market, I think the Mets will be able to find a decent middle reliever.

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:05 am

If the Mets sign Livan you can go ahead and assume the Santana deal is dead because Livan would never sign just to take his brothers job and Orlando will not want to pitch out of the pen. That is why he wanted out of New York and Chicago. He wants to start. Pedro
Maine
Perez
O. Hernandez
L. Hernandez

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:08 am

The key part is your last statement, “If that is what the Twins want” By the farm I am guessing Gomez, Guerra, Mulvey, Humber and Fmart. That may not even be enough based on what the Yankees and Sox do. So at that point do you want to add more?

Plus don’t forget that Perez and Maine should be on pace to increase their innings this season. Maine pitched 191 last year and although he did experience a drop off his arm should be stronger this year. I would expect at least 210 from him this season. Perez had 177 this season through 29 starts, I would expect him to be in the 195-210 range as well. So although that does not “replace” Glavine’s innings it could as a rotation.
Last season the opening rotation gave us 787 innings
This seasons opening rotation baring a substantial injury should give us
Pedro 150+
Maine 210
Perez 200
Elduque 150
Pelfrey 150
That rotation actually gives us 860 innings. Of course the problem with that is what happens if there is a major injury or Pelfrey still sucks.

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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:11 am

We are not gng to contend without Mr. Santana. As much as Glavine hated being here…he still gave us 200+ innings every year and is in his 40’s. We Have no starter right now who ever has gone 200+ innings except pedro, who is our number one, who will go 6innings for the most part. year. The mets could still keep Pelfrey and that Kunz kid…and they have 3 first round draft picks i beleive this year….which can wisely be used to restock our farm system. Trade the farm, if thats what the twins want





More depressing? Please….just reiterating the “legit fears” of many Mets fans….All I am trying to do is point out that there are very many risks with trying to hold onto prospects for a team built to win now.

Also, I would like you to point out one part of the post that not a real concern with this team heading into 2008?

Fear of the Yankees trumping us to get the best pitcher in the game the longer we wait?

Arizona has better starting pitching?

Humber and Pelfey have not shown much at major league level?

Gomez can hit a curve ball?

AL elites team have much better staring pitching (e.g. See Boston Redsox)
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The ” new” Yankees are such a loose cannon….if we get Johan, it will be a miracle….we are just being teased…and a month from now we will all wake up and realize oh man…Pedro and his 5/6 innings max is our number one starter…and that Humber never has recovered from his Tommy John surgery…Pelfrey was overrated….Gomez can’t hit a curve ball……..problem is that we wont make the playoffs with the pitching we have….not to mention seriously contend with an AL team if we were, somehow, to make to the World Series because our starting pitching is too weak.. Without a true number #1, how are we going to get by Arizona with Webb and Haren? Pedro and Maine?????? hah.

OMAR, if you are reading….pull the trigger….the longer you wait the greater the chance that crazy Yanks make a deal….if you srew this one up…you may not be around to see how those “prized” prospects turn out…..



If the yankees offer a package including hughs, the sox will counter with a Bucholtz package just to avoid the yankees landing santana, however, im not sure if the sox want to spend the cash on santana after the crazy over bid on dice K, especially if they dont need Johan, so they might even swing a 3 way and take what we have to offer; mets get Johan plus his contract, red sox get martinez, Guerra, Mulvey, humber, twins get Bucholtz and gomez. through in a dash of red sox #2 prospect somewhere and a splash of twins#3, and thats the receipe, Bam!

ok maybe not both but Capital WAY for Bucholtz, if the yanks propose a trade centering around Hughs the sox will counter with a trade certering around Bucholtz who is the best youg pitcher in the game, currently more appealing with more upside that Hughs. The yankees dont get Santana,,,,, its the Mets or the red sox, just depends on how far the damn babling steinberner wants to take it,,, if hank shuts the f up now, johan to the mets, if he keeps sipping on corona’s, Santana gos to the red sox.


No way do the Sox include Ellsbury and Bucholtz. If the Yankee’s include Hughes and Kennedy then he is theirs. The Sox would still have a stronger team and would then go out and get Nathan or Street.




I think Main and Perez are negotiable when it comes a Johan SAntana. Geting a Santana caliber of a superstar is not just a player to take a rotation spot. Its going to take some high level of trickery to pry him away and compete with a Hughs offer which I believe would be would be contered by the sox with an Ellbury/Bucholz offer and ultimately forbid the Yankees from landing Johan. The bottom line is the mets will have to up the anty at the end and its going to take a legitimate package to get concidered for the Johan sweepstakes no matter what public BS coments are circulating about Martinez or Reyes which is an immature request.
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Re: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/2

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:17 am

Yanks and Canó Work on New Deal


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/25/sports/baseball/25yankees.html?_r=1&ref=baseball&oref=slogin

When major league teams and players submitted figures for salary arbitration last week, the Yankees and second baseman Robinson Canó had a substantial gap. The team offered $3.2 million, and Canó requested $4.55 million.
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But instead of preparing for a hearing, the sides are gaining momentum on a multiyear contract in which the Yankees would buy out Canó’s arbitration years. The Yankees, who once eschewed long-term deals for young players, are in serious discussions with Canó.

The talks have not been completed, but they are centered on a roughly four-year, $30 million deal that would take Canó through the 2011 season.

Canó, who has fewer than three years of service time, would be eligible for free agency after 2011, though the deal may include club options..

Canó, 25, has batted .314 for the Yankees since joining the team in May 2005. An All-Star in 2006, he hit .306 with 19 homers and 97 runs batted in last season.

The Yankees have made little progress with their other star player who is eligible for salary arbitration, starter Chien-Ming Wang.

The Yankees offered Wang $4 million, and he is asking for $4.6 million.

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