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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:30 am

Red Sox related questions:

Sam Samson (Allston MA): You're bullish about Kalish - but leery of Lowrie?

Kevin Goldstein: Lowrie is ahead of Kalish, no? That's more of a where he's at kind of ranking. Kalish has way more upside, Lowrie is some much closer to being ready. I'd like Lowrie so much more if I thought he was a shortstop, but I don't.


LindInMoskva (DC): Any regrets on last year's list or does some amount of acceptable error always enter into any process no matter how well refined?

Kevin Goldstein: Sure, there are always going to be mistakes. Last year's list had two major ones, and both were makeup related, on both ends of the spectrum.

1. Dustin Pedroia
2. Justin Upton


JR (New Hampshire): Are you implying that you ranked Pedroia too low considering his great makeup and Upton too high considering his bad makeup? If so, what's wrong with Upton's makeup?

Kevin Goldstein: On Pedroia, yes. On Upton, while it's clearly in his past, his effort level in 2006 here in the Midwest League stunk, no doubt about it. And I dinged him too hard for it, because his raw talent is borderline historic.


jmeltz61 (NH): John Sickles has Lars Anderson above Masterson, Bowden, and Kalish. Are you lower on him because he's so far from the majors? His defense? Something else? That said, after a year in A ball, I realize #100 ain't bad.

Kevin Goldstein: I tend to ding first baseman unless they can really mash. And Anderson has yet to really mash. He had a good year, and is a good prospect, but I'm not sold on his future stardom like some others.


Ivan (NJ): Buchholz ahead of Joba? umh.... are you a red sox fan? come on, no way, Joba is in a different league, he will be a horse, with that tiny little body Buchholz won't hold 200 innings. rolling.gif

Kevin Goldstein: Ivan. I'm not a Red Sox fan. However, you need to get a new prescription for you corrective lenses. Buchholz is a little skinny, but he's 6-3 and about 200 pounds. That's not tiny.

Ivan (NJ): hey it's me again, ok let's get serious. Buchholz fastball is around the low 90's while Joba's is in the high 90's. Doesn't that make Joba the better bet to have a better and longer career? when Buchholz loses a few miles of his fastball what is he going to do? Joba could be the next Clemens.

Kevin Goldstein: Sorry for the delay. Some technical issues on the BP server -- which I'm going to attribute to the overwhelming traffic for the Top 100! Right! Right?

Ok, Ivan, let's get serious. I have Buchholz No. 2 in the game, and Chamberlain No. 4. It's not like that's some sort of massive difference, and many people who I respect have Joba SLIGHTLY ahead of Clay, and that's fine too. Anyone who has a big gap between the two either way, has no idea what they are talking about.


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:31 am

There has always been that KG's bias against Lars and Jim Callis' Love for Lars.
Jim likes an advanced hitter with great power potential. KG prefers all around tool player.
As a Redsox fan I am happy that many experts is leaning toward Jim's opinion on Lars.
See Sickels and Keith Law's list. Both are very high on Lars as well.

QUOTE(ngruz25 @ Jan 31 2008, 12:34 PM) *
Wow, that's some Ryan Kalish love. And not much Jed Lowrie love.

KG has him at 57. Keith Law has him at 55, Mound Talk at 56, Project Prospect at 55, Scouting Book at 70, the Mound Talk community at 64. The only exceptions so far are Sickels (10th hitter) and his community (35)

Interesting list. surprised with some names being so high. Based on that list the Twins really botched the Santana trade. They could have had 3 of the top 60 if they took the ellsbury,lowrie,masterson package and if they took the lester package they would have had 2 along with 2 major league now players with Lester and Crisp.

Can anyone explain why Chamberlin and I am an Idiot are even on this list? How do they still qualify as propsects?

Joba Chamberlain has only thrown 24 innings in the Major Leagues, Buchholz just 22.7. Eligibility for the Rookie of the Year award (which ends prospect status for almost all prospect sites) ends at either 130 AB's, 50 IP, or 45 days of service on the active roster.


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:35 am

Braves not intimidated by Santana
Team confident in own staff despite Mets' trade for ace
By Mark Bowman /

ATLANTA -- As Mets management was feverishly working to secure Johan Santana's contract on Friday, many of the Braves gathered at Turner Field for the opening of the organization's annual voluntary pre-Spring Training camp for pitchers.

While John Smoltz chose to skip the first day, both Tim Hudson and Tom Glavine stopped by to deliver some pitches and more reminders that Santana's arrival in New York wouldn't exactly guarantee the Mets the National League East title.

"It's not like he's unbeatable," Hudson said of Santana. "He did get hit around last year. If you put Smoltz up against him or me up against him, it's a toss up. Obviously, he can go out there and dominate games. But so can some of the pitchers on our club."

Actually, Hudson had Santana outdueled until a 2-0 ninth-inning lead was squandered by Bob Wickman this past June at the Metrodome. It was games like that one that allowed the Braves right-hander to regain his swagger and the confidence that is enhanced by the fact that he'll be pitching alongside Smoltz and Glavine -- two of his favorites from his high school days.

"He's just one player," Hudson said of Santana. "He pitches once every five days."

There was once a time when Smoltz and Glavine were considered aces and even at 41 years old, Smoltz still can fit this category. As for Hudson, if he can prove just a little more consistent than he was last year, when he went 16-10 with a 3.33 ERA, he would definitely be an ace and possibly be in contention to win one of those Cy Young Awards previously captured by his aforementioned rotation mates.

As a group, Smoltz, Glavine and Hudson appear just as strong as the trios that will be at the front of the Mets (Santana, Pedro Martinez, John Maine) and Phillies (Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Kyle Kendrick) starting rotations.

What would set the Mets apart from some viewpoints is that Santana is regarded by many as the best pitcher in all of baseball. Still, he did at least prove human while going 2-4 with a 5.11 ERA in his final seven starts last year.

Those who have yelled, "Glavine is finished" simply because he struggled in his final three starts might want to realize that he was 2-2 with a 4.97 ERA in his final seven starts. Granted there is a significant age difference. But the fact remains that even the game's best struggle.

Hot Stove

"I know that [Santana] is the elite," Braves All-Star catcher Brian McCann said. "But we've got guys that are elite, too."

Had Glavine exercised his $13 million option and stayed with the Mets, there is a chance the Mets never would have pursued Santana. Then again, the Braves wouldn't have been reunited with the 300-game winner and consequently might not be feeling as good about their own pitching staff.

"They got a good one," Braves manager Bobby Cox said of the Mets. " He's one of the top guys, if not the top guy in baseball. It's helped them a lot. But we like our team, too. So we'll see."

It's still far too early for Cox to know exactly what he'll get from Mike Hampton, who has missed the past two seasons recovering from separate elbow surgeries, or Chuck James, whose slightly torn rotator cuff led to his disappointing sophomore season last year.

February is the time to make projections and October is the time to celebrate. As Glavine pointed out on Friday, the Yankees never did celebrate in October after they acquired Randy Johnson before the start of the 2005 season.

"When Randy Johnson went to the Yankees, three, four or five years ago, everybody was ready to hand them the World Series trophy and it never happened," Glavine said. "That's the old cliché in this game: That's why you play the games. You just don't know what's going to happen."

Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell, who will continue to work with pitchers during this voluntary camp over the next week, said he's not going to concern himself with who is on opposing pitching staffs. For the first time in three years, he has enviable depth and over the course of 162 games that can be a team's greatest strength.

"The way I look at it is, if we take care of the games that we should win, the other aspects shouldn't be a concern to us," McDowell said.


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:41 am NFL editors

Name Score Why?
John Banks Patriots 42,
Giants 21 Plaxico Burress and the Giants are talking a good game, but this Super Bowl has the look and feel of a blowout. Expect it to be over by halftime.
Mike McAllister Patriots 34,
Giants 24 At some point, probably early in the fourth quarter of a close game, it will suddenly hit Eli Manning. We may just win this friggin' thing. He'll tighten up. He'll make a mistake. It might be his only one -- but it will be huge. Momentum will change. The Pats will pounce. Game over.
Scott Symmes Giants 27,
Patriots 24 The Giants didn't have much incentive to play hard or much karma in Week 17, yet they nearly ruined the Pats' bid for a perfect regular season. Now the G-Men have both, and the stars just seem to be aligned for a monumental upset.
Sheldon Spencer Giants 27,
Patriots 23 A Patriots' rally falls short inside the Giants' 10-yard-line in the final minute.
Scouts Inc.
Name Score Why?
Jeremy Green Patriots 27,
Giants 23 The Pats will win but it won't be quite as wild as the first meeting. The Giants will continue their hot play, but the Patriots are just too loaded across the board.
Keith Kidd Patriots 27,
Giants 20 Simply put, the Patriots are the best team in football. They have been spectacular all season long and while the Giants are playing with a lot of confidence, the Patriots will finish the season undefeated.
Matt Williamson Patriots 33,
Giants 20 New England will score quickly and grab this game by the throat. The Giants will score late to make the game closer than it really was, but the Pats will win to go down as the best team of all time.
Ken Moll Patriots 28,
Giants 17 Both teams are playing with great confidence and believe they can win, but the Patriots win this game going away in the fourth quarter as they are clearly the better ball club. If Eli Manning and the Giants play mistake-free football, the game will be close at the end, but I think the Giants will have some turnovers in this contest.
Doug Kretz Patriots 31,
Giants 17 Bill Belichick will find some way to eliminate either Plaxico Burress or Brandon Jacobs (more than likely Burress) and frustrate Eli Manning. In their attempt to play catch-up ball, the Giants will make some costly mistakes and lose this game.
Marwan Maalouf Patriots 28,
Giants 27 Both defenses will play well, thanks to being familiar with the opposing offenses due to their Week 17 meeting. The Patriots will come from behind to beat the Giants in the final minute.
Gary Horton Patriots 31,
Giants 20 Any time you give Bill Belichick two weeks to prepare for an opponent, you're going to see a unique game plan and he'll have one that will frustrate Eli Manning and the Giants. Also, on a good field with perfect weather conditions, the Patriots simply have too many offensive weapons for the Giants to contend with. writers
Name Score Why?
Bill Simmons Patriots 42,
Giants 17 If this Patriots season really is a perfect storm, then the Super Bowl should end like that Clooney movie. In other words, the Patriots would charge out to an early lead, throw all over the place, make a couple of big plays, put the Giants on their heels, force the Giants to abandon their running game and put Eli Manning in the position of playing from behind.
Greg Garber Patriots 38,
Giants 21 Nice weather enables Pats' offense.
Gregg Easterbrook Giants 20,
Patriots 19 This was the score 17 years ago when the Giants staged the most recent major Super Bowl upset over the heavily favored Bills, who had a record-setting offense.
Jemele Hill Patriots 38,
Giants 31 Tom Brady becomes quarterback immortal.
Wright Thompson Giants 35,
Patriots 3 Ole Miss (Manning) finally gets revenge on Michigan (Brady) for the 1991 Gator Bowl. The ghost of Greg Skrepenak is exorcised. (Note to all those who think I've lost my mind: This.Is.A.Joke.


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:43 am

Patriots cap perfect season with Super Bowl win

The New England Patriots became the first team in NFL history to record a perfect 19-0 season with a narrow 38-30 victory over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

The Patriots clung to a 24-23 lead late in the third quarter before adding to their lead on a 31-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady to wide receiver Randy Moss with 1:02 remaining in the quarter. The scoring catch was Moss' first of the playoffs, but proved to be enough to lift the Patriots into NFL immortality.

Trailing 31-23 entering the fourth quarter, the Giants were orchestrating a possible game-tying drive when a tipped pass by quarterback Eli Manning landed in the awaiting arms of Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel. The Patriots capitalized quickly when Brady hit wide receiver Donte' Stallworth for a 15-yard touchdown, extending New England's lead to 38-23. The score capped an impressive day for Brady, who took home the Most Valuable Player honors with 277 yards passing and three touchdowns.

Both of New York's second-half touchdowns came on the ground, first on an 8-yard run by Ahmad Bradshaw in the third quarter, and later on a 9-yard run by Brandon Jacobs midway through the fourth quarter.

Early on the two teams traded scores thanks to two touchdowns by Patriots running back Laurence Maroney and three field goals by Giants' NFC Championship Game hero, kicker Lawrence Tynes, from 34, 42, and 30 yards respectively. Manning finished the day with 226 yards passing, including a 32-yard first-quarter touchdown to wide receiver Steve Smith.
New York Giants
QB Eli Manning 27/38 226 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 11
RB Brandon Jacobs 0/0 0 0 0 23 68 1 0 0 0 12
RB Ahmad Bradshaw 0/0 0 0 0 6 39 1 1 12 0 10
WR Plaxico Burress 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 71 0 7
WR Steve Smith 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 58 1 11
WR Amani Toomer 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 45 0 4
WR David Tyree 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 21 0 2
TE Kevin Boss 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 19 0 1
Team 27/38 226 1 1 29 107 2 27 226 1
K Lawrence Tynes 34, 42, 30 47 3/4 3/3 12 12

New England Patriots
QB Tom Brady 29/40 277 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 21
RB Laurence Maroney 0/0 0 0 0 28 86 2 2 23 0 22
RB Kevin Faulk 0/0 0 0 0 11 63 0 0 0 0 6
WR Randy Moss 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 75 1 13
WR Wes Welker 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 68 1 12
WR Donte' Stallworth 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 44 1 10
WR Jabar Gaffney 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 30 0 3
TE Benjamin Watson 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 22 0 2
FB Heath Evans 0/0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 15 0 1
Team 29/40 277 3 1 39 149 2 29 277 3
K Stephen Gostkowski 31 /td> 1/1 5/5 8 8

All games have been simulated through the EA SPORTS Madden NFL 08 game engine in a CPU versus CPU format.


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:44 am

These matchups will determine who wins Super Bowl XLII

Every matchup is important, but the winners of these matchups will likely determine the winner of Super Bowl XLII. Here are a few to watch:

New York WR Plaxico Burress vs. New England CB Ellis Hobbs
The Giants need a big-time performance from their No. 1 playmaker if they are going to pull off the upset. Burress had a solid four-catch, 84-yard day and scored two touchdowns in New York's Week 17 loss to the Patriots, while in the NFC Championship Game Burress had 11 catches for 151 yards. He needs to at least have a day somewhere between the two in the Super Bowl. The Giants need those two touchdowns and eight-to-10 receptions. To best do that, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has to get Burress matched up against Hobbs, who struggled this season and gave up quite a few big plays. Burress is the best playmaking wideout in this game other than Patriots WR Randy Moss, and Burress would have success against either Hobbs or Asante Samuel. But Samuel is one of the best in the business and would make his share of plays, so getting Burress matched up on Hobbs will be a "green-light special" for Giants QB Eli Manning.

New York C Shaun O'Hara vs. New England NT Vince Wilfork
O'Hara was injured in the first meeting between these two teams and the Giants managed to run the ball fairly effectively without him, but getting a good push between the tackles from O'Hara and Gs Rich Seubert and Chris Snee will be key in this game. O'Hara is a big part of that. He played in New York's last two games and an extra week of rest has no doubt improved his sprained MCL, so look for the Giants to allow him to work one-on-one against Wilfork early in the game. If O'Hara can handle Wilfork by himself, that will allow Seubert and Snee to work to the second level and get on New England linebackers Junior Seau and Tedy Bruschi. New York RB Brandon Jacobs averaged 4.5 yards per carry against the Patriots in Week 17, so we know they are somewhat susceptible to the inside run, especially when Wilfork is locked up and Jacobs can run downhill toward the linebackers.

New York RDE Osi Umenyiora and LDE Michael Strahan vs. New England Patriots LT Matt Light and RT Nick Kaczur
The Giants' Pro Bowl ends combined for eight tackles and no sacks in Week 17 against the Patriots, and they must get more pressure on New England QB Tom Brady this time around. Hits and hurries will be important and sacks will be a bonus. Strahan and Umenyiora must be in Brady's face all day. Light is a good-but-not-great athlete who can slide wide and moves his feet well enough to give Brady extra time to step up into the pocket and avoid the rush. This will help with Umenyiora's quickness around the edge. Kaczur is more of a power player on the other side which helps him against Strahan, who at this stage of his career relies more on strength than speed as a pass rusher. Both Strahan and Umenyiora will need to be creative in this game, playing away from their strengths a bit and working on the specific weaknesses of Light and Kaczur. Umenyiora and Strahan don't need to combine for six sacks for the Giants to win; they just need to consistently be in the face of Brady to disrupt the timing of the offense. Also, if Umenyiora and Strahan are having success, the Pats may need to have a tight end or back chipping on those guys, which could also hinder the passing game.

New York CB Aaron Ross vs. New England WR Wes Welker
If Randy Moss is quiet versus the Giants like he has been in the last few weeks, Tom Brady may look to Welker as his go-to guy. Welker will work mostly out of the slot and while Ross matches up well athletically, Welker is a crafty route runner and will put together double moves and use his quickness to create separation. With Moss probably getting combo coverages on the outside, the Giants will gamble that Ross can handle Welker without help and that is a risk that does not favor the Giants.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:45 am

Brady has advantage, but don't disregard Manning

On paper, the matchup between New England QB Tom Brady and New York Giants QB Eli Manning looks to be a huge mismatch. However, the game is not played on paper and if you take away the one ill-advised pass Manning had in their Week 17 contest, both Brady and Manning played a spectacular game. Scouts Inc.'s Jeremy Green and Gary Horton break down both QBs using the basic QB scouting categories.

QB Tale of the Tape
Eli Manning

Tom Brady

Arm strength: Manning has a solid arm and can make all the throws. At times you will hear people say Manning does not have a great arm, but that can be traced directly to his foot mechanics. When his mechanics are good, he has solid-to-excellent arm strength. When he is off-balance, he loses some velocity on his ball. He can make all the throws and will need to throw them all well if the Giants are going to win Super Bowl XLII. Brady has excellent velocity on all of his throws. He can put the ball into tight spots with a lot of zip; is excellent on the deep out route, which is a good measure of arm strength; and throws a great deep ball. He puts a lot of air on the fade route, his ball never floats and all of his passes are tight spirals.
Tom Brady
Accuracy: For his career, Manning has been a 55 percent passer, but in the 2007 postseason, that number has risen to 62 percent. As good as that is, it's still below Brady's career mark of completing 63 percent of his passes. You can draw a direct link from Manning's completion percentage to his pass protection. When he has time to step up into the pocket and throw, he is accurate. When he has to move his feet to make a play or gets pressure, his accuracy goes down a lot. The key to a high-percentage day in the Super Bowl will be good play up front and Manning's willingness to continue taking what the defense gives him. Brady rarely throws a bad ball and most of his passes are right on target. He has excellent timing and chemistry with his receivers and does a great job of hitting them as they come out of their breaks. He can change speeds on the ball and his passes are easy to catch and receiver-friendly. Brady also throws a beautiful deep ball with good loft and touch.
Tom Brady
Release: Manning shows above-average release quickness when not under pressure. When pressured, he tends to hold the ball too long and the ball does not jump off his hand with any velocity. He does show the ability to change arm speeds and motions, which allows him not to get balls batted down at the line of scrimmage. Brady is as good as anyone in the NFL here, so Manning just has to stay within himself, see the blitz and get rid of the ball to his hot receivers when those situations occur. Brady has a classic release -- nice and high -- and his mechanics are the best in the league. He gets the ball out quickly and you never see him carry the ball low or use a sidearm release. He comes over the top and is especially effective when he has a defender in his face because he can elevate his release to avoid having the ball knocked down.
Tom Brady
Vision: Manning has done a much better job in the postseason of getting the ball to the best option. There's not always a guy open, so sometimes it's about making a pass that, despite the fact everyone is covered, still allows the receiver to make a play without potentially throwing the interception. More than anything, that is what Manning has learned this postseason. His ability to read progressions quickly and get the ball to the right target is the biggest reason the Giants are having offensive success in the postseason. Brady sees the entire field and is brilliant at recognizing coverages and matchups. He's also great at taking that information and audibling into better plays, when needed. He processes information quickly and nobody is better at reading all of his progressions -- which is critical in an offense that utilizes multireceiver sets. He looks off defenders and is not hesitant to throw to his fourth and fifth options.

Tom Brady
Mobility: Here is the first area where Manning gets a slight nod. Neither of these quarterbacks moves around the pocket well, but Manning is slightly more mobile. The key for Manning will be to not use his mobility to run for first downs but rather to use it to buy time to allow his receivers to clear and find open areas. Brady is not what you would call a scrambler, but he has underrated movement in the pocket. He has good feet and a knack for moving around the pocket to buy time, a la Dan Marino. He is not really a threat to run and lacks speed, but when he does scramble he knows how to slide and protect his body. He is just a guy who knows how to escape pressure.
Eli Manning
Pocket presence: The new offense installed by offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride has really grown on Manning at the right time. The Giants are using more shotgun formations and will again on Sunday to allow Manning time to see the defense. The Patriots are as good as any defense in the NFL before the snap. Head coach Bill Belichick does an outstanding job of disguising blitzes and coverage. Manning must be sharp with his reads pre-snap to have the needed vision to get the ball to the right spots on the field. Nobody is calmer in the pocket than Brady. He is oblivious to pressure around him and will stay in the pocket and take a hit to allow his receivers to get open. No other quarterback in the league is as good at completing his throwing motion with defenders in his face and he has an innate feel for pressure even when he doesn't see it.

Tom Brady
Ball handling: Maybe his brother Peyton can get away with it, but ball handling is most effective once you have established the run. Even when the Giants run the ball effectively, Manning would not be considered in the upper echelon of play-action passers in the NFL. To be a great play-action passer, you must have very good footwork and that is not a strong suit of Manning. He is much better from the shotgun, where the only ball handling he needs to be worried about is getting the snap from C Shaun O'Hara. Brady has really developed in this area and now is a master at not only play fakes, but also double pumps to freeze defenders. He hides the ball well and is not afraid to put his back to the defense to carry out the play fake. Nobody does a better job of freezing defenders and you rarely see Brady get careless with the ball.
Tom Brady
Intangibles: Not going to win an argument over Brady here, who has the best intangibles of any QB in the NFL. However, Manning has less pressure on him in this game. The Giants were supposed to be out of the playoffs long ago and the lack of pressure on this team plays into Manning's personality type. The Giants are taking it one play, one series, one quarter at a time and that has played into Manning's psyche and strengths. Brady is the ultimate leader. He has a quiet confidence and swagger that make everyone around him comfortable. His preparation is legendary and he rarely sees a situation on the field that surprises him. He is one of the guys and his blue-collar work ethic makes him the player that his teammates want to follow. He also is cerebral, basically an extension of Bill Belichick on the field, and knows he can make a play when his team needs it. If you had to describe Tom Brady in one word, it would be "winner."


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:59 am

Bill Russell joins Red Sox's sixth annual celebration of Robinson

BOSTON -- Celtics great Bill Russell joined a celebration Friday to honor Jackie Robinson at Fenway Park, where the Hall of Fame ballplayer was once given a sham tryout that would have made the Red Sox the first team -- instead of the last -- to field a black player.

It was the sixth annual Robinson celebration hosted by the Red Sox, who did not integrate until Pumpsie Green played in 1959 -- 12 years after Robinson broke the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

On Thursday, the day Robinson would have turned 89, Russell and Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree spoke to 150 Boston students about the importance of his life.

On Friday, the two held a panel discussion along with Red Sox vice president Elaine Steward, Washington Nationals part-owner Faye Fields and Newsday columnist Steve Jacobson, who wrote the book "Carrying Jackie's Torch."

"Jackie was a hero to us. He always conducted himself as a man," Russell said. "He showed me the way to be a man in professional sports."

The feeling was mutual, Russell found out when Rachel Robinson called and asked him to be a pallbearer at Jackie's funeral.

"She hung the phone up and I asked myself, 'How do you get to be a hero to Jackie Robinson?'" Russell said. "I was so flattered."

Jacobson told about how the Red Sox, under pressure from the Boston city council, agreed to hold a tryout at Fenway for Robinson and fellow Negro Leaguers Sam Jethroe and Marvin Williams. The Red Sox chose not to sign any of them; it was 1945, two years before Robinson took the field for the Dodgers.

By the time Russell came to Boston in 1956, he had already won two NCAA titles and an Olympic gold medal. But Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach was still second-guessed for drafting him.

"People said it was a wasted draft choice, wasted money," he said. "They said, 'He's no good. All he can do is block shots and rebound.'

"And Red said, 'That's enough,'" he said.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

The Redsox are last team in baseball to integrate and allow black players to play for them. It bothers me that Redsox Organization think that They're Old Dodgers of old because Letter B in their helmet... First of all, Dodgers will never Redsox..


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:06 am

Super Bowl: Defense key to New York's success
N.Y.'s defensive line hopes to have Brady on the run

GLENDALE, Ariz. - They did not do all of the work themselves, but they were there for most of the critical moments of the New York Giants' Super Bowl season.
The goal-line stand that saved the game against Washington in September, when the Giants were winless and questioning themselves. The 12 sacks of Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb the following week, when they started believing. The shutdown of Green Bay's running game in the NFC championship game, when everything crystallized for them in the freezing cold.
The Giants' defensive linemen, coached by former Utah State player and assistant coach Mike Waufle, have been important contributors all season.

Super Bowl XLII

New England vs. N.Y. Giants, Sunday,
at Glendale Ariz., 4:17 p.m., Ch. 13
will certainly be the case in the team's quest to upset the unbeaten New England Patriots in Sunday's Super Bowl XLII.
"They're physical, they're tough-minded guys and they're very athletic, so they pose all kinds of challenges," said Patriots offensive tackle Nick Kaczur.
The Giants' front four is an intriguing mix of young and old players, with two famous pass-rushing ends: 15-year veteran Michael Strahan, whose smile proudly displays the legendary gap in his teeth, and Osi Umenyiora, an honorary tribal chief in his native Nigeria who has become a Pro Bowl player. Inside are tackles Barry Cofield and Fred Robbins, known for their run-stopping ability. Then there's Justin Tuck, playing

everywhere in reserve.
Amid those labels, Waufle insists that none of them is one-dimensional, and the results validate his belief. The Redskins thought they could run right at the supposed sack specialists, but Umenyiora and Tuck enabled teammates to stuff running back Ladell Betts on two consecutive carries from the 1-yard line in a 24-17 victory.
That series "set the tone for us during the rest of the season," said veteran end Michael Strahan.
Four months later, a week after rushing for 201 yards against Seattle in a playoff game, Green Bay's Ryan Grant gained only 29 yards in the NFC title game, as Umenyiora's strong outside presence repeatedly forced him back into traffic.
In between, the Giants had all kinds of fun against the Eagles. Of the team's 12 sacks, nine were credited to linemen - including six for Umenyiora, two for Tuck and one for Strahan, who that night topped Lawrence Taylor as the team's all-time leader.
"They just came in droves; it's amazing how that happens sometimes," Waufle said this week.
The rewards have just kept coming for the Giants' defense.
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Vilified after allowing 80 points in two losses to open the season, new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has done wonders with a defense that helped New York win three playoff games on the road. Having spent eight seasons on coach Andy Reid's Philadelphia staff, Spagnuolo brought the Eagles' aggressive approach to the Giants, and the linemen have responded well.
So have Waufle and the other holdover defensive coaches, credited by Spagnuolo for sticking with him and making the players believe the system would work when the defense was struggling in September.
Strahan wondered at the time why he had returned for a 15th season. Waufle had lured him back after he missed most of training camp, convincing him the Giants had the makings of a Super Bowl team.
These days, Strahan can say wholeheartedly, "I'm glad I hung in there."
He's the leader of the defensive linemen, a group known for incessantly teasing one another and their coach - "You can't have thin skin in that room," said Cofield.
Waufle also keeps them motivated. They affectionately describe the ex-Marine as "crazy." That's a term he resists, while acknowledging that "intense would be a good word."
Waufle added, "They respond to my energy."
That's why he likes coaching defensive linemen, who play an aggressive, emotional position. Yet players also say he treats them positively, calmly pointing out problems and solutions in film critiques without yelling. Reserve lineman Dave Tollefson says he looks forward to meetings with Waufle far more than sessions in his previous stays with Green Bay and Oakland, because of the atmosphere.
The results are equally encouraging. Thanks largely to Robbins and Cofield, the Giants ranked in the NFL's top 10 in rushing defense. Umenyiora, Strahan and the versatile Tuck combined for 32 sacks.
So now comes the Super Bowl against New England quarterback Tom Brady, known for delivering the ball quickly and avoiding sacks. "I'd be disappointed if I didn't get any pressure on him," Umenyiora said.
Brady treasures the games when he's untouched. "Hopefully, there's one of those this Sunday," he said, "but I doubt it because of the rush we're facing."


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:11 am

Joel Sherman from NY post

The annual "woe is baseball" reaction arrived last week with news of the Yankees' 2007 official payroll again being well over $200 million ($218.3) and again well ahead of the next-highest team, the Red Sox ($155.4 million). I hardly want to be a Yankees apologist, but it is much easier for me to justify the Yankees payroll then the projected 2008 Marlins payroll. The Yankees payroll is about half of their reported revenue.

That payroll has helped create a roster that has done what used to be thought of as impossible, drawing four million annually to The Bronx, while also is helping to launch a network. That payroll has created tremendous wealth around the sport in luxury tax dollars, and also via attendance drawn in visiting stadiums. Meanwhile, the Marlins' highest-paid player in 2008 will be Kevin Gregg at $2.5 million and their total payroll is unlikely to exceed $20 million. That total is less than one-third of what the Marlins receive in revenue sharing/luxury tax (about $35 million) and from the central fund (around another $35 million), which covers, among other items, national TV and radio, the Internet and merchandising.

So before the Marlins sell a ticket, they get $70 million from the Commissioner's office. Again, what is more offensive to your senses: a team spending the money it takes in or a team not spending the money it takes in?


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:14 am

$antana $igns With Met$

From the Daily News -

Johan Santana and the Mets agreed Friday evening on the terms of a record-breaking $150 million, seven-year contract arrangement. It clears the biggest hurdle in the team's acquisition of the two-time Cy Young Award winner.

In return for the extension, Santana will waive the no-trade clause in his contract and allow the four-for-one deal between the Mets and Twins to go through.

The deal bumps this season's salary to approximately $20 million and adds six guaranteed years at $22-23 million.

Let's be honest. Over the last four seasons, Johan Santana and Brandon Webb have been the best two starting pitchers in baseball. Both are 28-years old. After those two, in terms of young starters, you have guys like Carlos Zambrano and Roy Oswalt. But, they're not in the Santana class.

Someone with the pitching talent, and current age, of Johan Santana is extremely rare in baseball today. But, seven years at an average annual value of $21.5 million? That's just insane - for a pitcher.

Around the year 2012, Mets fans are going to hate this contract. They'll be looking at Santana in the years 2012, 2013 and 2014 the way that Yankees fans have been looking at Jason Giambi last season and this year.

Santana better win alotta games over the next four years, and lead the Mets to at least one ring in that time, to offset the back end of this contract.

Personally, there was a side of me that wanted to see the Yankees get Santana. And, I still feel they're short an "ace" this season. But, if it was going to take seven years at an average annual value of $21.5 million, well, for a pitcher - even one in the rare class of Johan - I would have to say "pass."

Even for teams like the Yankees and the Mets, who are printing their own money these days, a deal like this one for Santana is living for today and not caring about tomorrow.

Then again, in baseball, they do always say "Play for today. Don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow, it could rain." So, maybe that's what the Mets and Omar Minaya are thinking here?


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:14 am

Unlike the Yankees, the Mets don't play in the same league as the Twins, so they were willing to accept less from them.

Unlike the Yankees, the Mets don't have cost-controlled, high ceiling young pitchers like Joba, Hughes, and IPK. If they did, they probably wouldn't have traded them.

Unlike the Yankees, the Mets don't have to pay a 40% luxury tax.

Taken together, the deal made a lot more sense for the Mets than it did for the Yankees, although I agree that the contract presents a risk that may well outstrip the reward.


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:15 am

Bill Smith completely drunk...

The Yankees would have traded Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and Jeff Marquez for Santana on Dec. 2, but the Twins asked for Ian Kennedy, too. The Yankees said no, and the next morning, Andy Pettitte announced that he would return to the team.

The Yankees soon pulled their offer and never made another, resisting again Tuesday when Minnesota asked for Cabrera, Kennedy, Marquez and Chien-Ming Wang. Cashman has made his stand, and Santana may be across town to remind him of what might have been.


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:21 am

Jayson Stark- Santana's huge contract could be telling sign for future

It was a great day in the life of Johan Santana.

Any time you can say you're a physical away from becoming the highest-paid pitcher in the history of pitching, that's a day right up there with Christmas.

And it was a great day in the life of the New York Mets.

Johan Santana will be paid an average annual salary of $22.92 million, second only to Alex Rodriguez's $27.5M.
Any time you can say you're a physical away from trading for the best pitcher in the solar system -- without touching any of the surrounding cast you were planning on putting around him -- that's a sensational day. It's a lot better day than, say, fumbling away a playoff spot in Game 162, anyway.

And it was definitely a great day in the life of C.C. Sabathia, too. Definitely.

Any time you're the incumbent Cy Young Award winner and the salary bar for star pitchers just got nudged nearly $4 million a year to the north, that's a day to pop the nearest champagne cork -- because next winter, this could be you. Almost certainly will be you (health permitting).

So that contract extension Johan Santana negotiated with the Mets on Friday -- all $137.5 million of it -- made a lot of people happy, all right. He's a franchise-changing guy. He's a pennant-race-changing guy. And now he's also a salary-structure-changing guy.

Which means he already has left an indelible imprint on the baseball universe, before he has even thrown his first pitch as a Met.

But here's the big-picture question that needs to be asked on a day like this:

Was this deal really good for the sport of baseball? The business of baseball? The carefully resuscitated competitive balance of baseball?

Tough question to answer.

It wasn't a great day in the life of the Minnesota Twins. We know that.

They'd already lost one Face of the Franchise, in Torii Hunter, this winter. Now there goes the other Face of the Franchise, The Great Johan, off to make his fame and fortune in the big city back east.

Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

Makes you wonder what this says about the Twins and where they're heading as a franchise, even as a new ballpark rises in the shadow of the 7th Street Bridge.

Did they have to let those two men go? Or did they merely choose to let them go? Before you answer, stop. Think about it. The answer to that question is more complicated than you think.

"I think the Twins are wrong," said an official of one big-market club. "They're going into a new stadium, a taxpayer-funded stadium. Their owner [Carl Pohlad] is the richest owner in baseball. And this guy [Santana] isn't just another player. Since Kirby Puckett, has there been a more important player on the Minnesota Twins than Johan Santana? I don't think so.

"Remember, the sport is making a fortune. They're taking in a ton of money from the central fund, [the internet] and revenue sharing. So it's not that they can't do it. They choose not to do it."

But a high-ranking official of a middle-market team had a different take.

I think the Twins are wrong. They're going into a new stadium, a taxpayer-funded stadium. Their owner [Carl Pohlad] is the richest owner in baseball. And this guy [Johan Santana] isn't just another

--An official of a big-market team

"I don't know for a fact whether the Twins can afford a contract like that or not," he said. "But it's not sensible to do it, whether they can afford it or not. Just because a team from New York does something doesn't mean it's smart for every team to do it ... because even if you can afford it, your cushion is so much less."

This, friends, is shaping up as the classic baseball debate of the 21st century.

A decade ago, the answers were so much clearer. A decade ago, in a sport with a broken revenue structure, it was easy to pick out the teams that couldn't compete for the biggest stars in baseball. Wouldn't wasn't even part of the discussion when we talked about teams like the Twins.

Now, however, revenue sharing has changed everything. There are clubs out there taking in $70 million before they sell one ticket. Yep, $70 million. So their options, their choices aren't so clear-cut.

We've heard people in baseball say over and over this winter that the Twins could afford Johan Santana. Could.

Not might. Not probably. Could.

The Twins even, essentially, admitted that to the world, didn't they? They offered the guy 20 million bucks a year for four years, on top of the $13.25 million they already owed him.

It wasn't quite enough bucks, and they knew that. It wasn't quite enough years. They knew that, too. But it was a sure sign they could have afforded this man, right?

They just made a choice -- that another couple of million a year wasn't prudent, and that another couple of seasons, for a pitcher, really wasn't prudent. But it was a choice, not a mandate -- a choice that had baseball components mixed in with the financial components. Even the Twins will admit that.

Earlier this winter, we had a long talk with new Twins GM Bill Smith about what he would tell his fans if this became the winter when the long-time Faces of their Franchise -- Santana and Hunter -- waved farewell.

"Every organization has lost players -- popular players," Smith said. "That's the system in our sport. Go back and look at the Red Sox after they won the [2004] World Series. They lost Pedro Martinez and Johnny Damon. Pedro was a great pitcher. Johnny Damon was probably as much the face of the franchise for them as anybody on that team. But you have to get past that and make decisions. Every organization has to make them."

The Twins just handed Justin Morneau a six-year, $80-million extension. They made that decision, to keep Morneau and build around Morneau and commit to him for six years, because they can now afford to do exactly that. Their payroll has climbed steadily for seven straight years. When their new ballpark opens in 2010, this could be a $100-million-payroll kind of team, or thereabouts.

So down the road, maybe the people of Minnesota will see fewer Johan Santanas and fewer Torii Hunters drive down the exit ramp. Maybe.

"We hope so," Smith said. "But some of this is just the nature of the game. From 1987 through the '90s, we had those teams of Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek. We had a group of players who came and went. We traded Frank Viola, and Gary Gaetti, and Tom Brunansky, and Jeff Reardon. Jack Morris was here for a year and left. But every organization goes through that.

"So I hope the new ballpark will allow us to keep our core players longer. But you've still got to make good baseball decisions, regardless of payroll. And I think you'll find that this organization has made pretty good baseball decisions over the last two decades."

Whether this deal will rank with those other good decisions is something we don't know yet. Get back to us in 2011 and we'll have that verdict for you.

I don't know for a fact whether the Twins can afford a contract like that or not. But it's not sensible to do it, whether they can afford it or

--An official of a middle-market team

But you'll notice that you don't hear the men who run this team whining about their sorry lot in life. They had decisions to make, about two very popular players. They made those decisions. Now they'll move on. As always.

This is no longer an age where every small-market and middle-market team is destined to lose all its good players. Not anymore. Check the free-agent market this winter. Ask yourself where all the stars went. Know where they went? They went back to their old teams before they ever hit that market. That's where.

Now maybe this Johan Santana deal tells us that this system still isn't going to allow teams from places like Minnesota to keep the true elite players that pass through their clubhouse. We're willing to open that debate any time.

And this Johan Santana deal definitely tells us that the New York Mets are about to become a revenue-generating monster to rival that other revenue-generating monster in their town. ("The Yankees of the National League," one GM called them Friday.)

We're still not sure what the implications of the Mets' new ballpark and burgeoning TV network will be for the rest of the league. But that's a story for another time. Not a real distant time, either.

But we are sure about one thing:

What happened around that negotiating table in New York on Friday has changed the landscape of baseball -- in many ways, large and small. On the field and off. It just might take a while to sift through them all.

Yes, it was a great day for Johan Santana and that new team he's about to play for. But for the rest of the sport? Well, it was just a day that reminds us there are many monumental baseball decisions for all those other teams to make.

As always.

Jayson Stark is a senior writer for His book, "The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History," was published by Triumph Books and is available in bookstores. Click here to order a copy.

Bunch of Jealous Sob and haters. The Mets have Santana .........


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:25 am

Blame Bud Selig for not having a Salary Cap in Baseball. Big Markets teams like Yankees, Redsox, Mets,Angels, Detroit, and Cubs continue to spend money.


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:27 am

First off I am a Yankee fan. I think this is just a great deal for the Mets. You are getting a stud pitcher. And most important you gave up nothing in return. NOTHING!!! Gomez, that is a joke. He batted .230 in the minors last year. And the pitchers, well their records speak for themselves. Yes, it is a ton of money and for many years. Pitchers tend to break down, but what are you going to do? You have to take a chance sometimes, and this was to good to turn down. I was hoping the Yanks would get him but Minny's asking price was way to high. And I like Hughes and Kennedy. By the way, if the Yanks traded Cabrera who was going to play center? It is bad enough the Yanks now how about 10 guys trying out for first base.

MANTLELIVES7 Feb 2, 2008 4:33:21 AM Report Offensive Post
And I have to laugh over the fact that Mike Lupica loves the deal. If it was the Yanks he be knocking it, because of all the money. And again I ask, why can't we leave comments on Lupica's articles? Is he so thin skin he could not take our knocks? He is a little weasel and I can't stand watching him on that weekend show with the other reporters. You just know what he was when he was growing up. But once again I applaud the Mets on this deal.

HPLeft Feb 2, 2008 5:11:55 AM Report Offensive Post
Someone needs to calculate how much Santana will get paid per start. This is simply crazy money. At least A-Rod plays every day. But, heck, since the Mets signed him, Lupica thinks it's a fair deal. Shocking, simply shocking. Lupica spins for Mets every chance he gets. I hope do as right by him as they have by Santana...


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:28 am

Johan Santana will earn $20.25 million this year under his deal with the Mets, more than all but two players in the majors. His contract, for $137.5 million guaranteed, is the fifth-largest in baseball - and richest ever for a pitcher:


Player, Pos, Team 2008 Salary

Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees: $27 million

Jason Giambi, DH, Yankees: $21 million

Johan Santana, LHP, Mets: $20.25 million

Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees: $20 million

Manny Ramirez, OF, Red Sox: $20 million

Player, Pos, Team, Contract (Years)

Alex Rodriguez, 3B, Yankees, $275 million (2008-17)

Derek Jeter, SS, Yankees, $189 million (2001-10)

Manny Ramirez, OF, Red Sox, $160 million (2001-08)

Todd Helton, 1B, Rockies, $141.5 million (2003-11)

Johan Santana, LHP, Mets, $137.5 million (2008-13)

Player, Team Contract (Years)

Johan Santana, Mets, $137.5 million (2008-13)

Barry Zito, Giants, $126 million (2007-13)

Mike Hampton, Rockies/Braves, $121 million (2001-08)

Kevin Brown, Dodgers/Yankees, $105 million (1999-2005)

Carlos Zambrano, Cubs $91.5 million (2008-12)


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:37 am

If you Joe Torre still managing the Yankees, Could Yankees have landed Santana in pinstripes? Now Joe's gone, The relationship between Joe and Ron Gardenhire disappear and Twins.


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:41 am

Botched deal could make Twins miss King George

Steinbrenner's son Hank let Johan Santana get away -- and Bill Smith let it happen for a song.

For decades, the Twins complained privately about George Steinbrenner. The bombastic Yankees owner inflated salaries, campaigned against low-revenue teams and often embarrassed himself and the game.

Today, the Twins might miss King George more than they miss Johan Santana.

The trade of Santana to the Mets became official Friday afternoon, meaning virtually every baseball writer and columnist in America can ridicule Twins General Manager Bill Smith anew for making a deal that looks like an act of reverse charity.

If you want to be charitable to Smith, you can argue that we should withhold judgment on the deal until we see what becomes of center fielder Carlos Gomez, the peach-fuzzed and anonymous face of the Twins' take.

This much, virtually everyone can agree on: If George Steinbrenner had been running the Yankees instead of his sons, Santana would be wearing pinstripes today, and Twins fans would be much happier with Smith.

In the end, Hank Steinbrenner blew the deal for two teams -- the Yankees and the Twins. In what might be the most astounding development in baseball since the arrival of fish tacos in the Padres concession stands, a Steinbrenner declined to arm-wrestle the archrival Red Sox and Mets over the best pitcher in the game.

George's health has taken him out of the decisionmaking process. If he had been calling the shots, the Twins probably would have gotten pretty much what they wanted. George would not have wanted to cede the AL East to the Red Sox or the tabloid back pages to the Mets. And that's what the Twins counted on, for too long.

Smith apparently assumed that the Yankees' offer would increase, as spring training approached and the Steinbrenner competitiveness percolated. Smith, like many others, assumed wrong, leaving him stuck with what he could get from the Mets.

Now, let's understand that young players are volatile stocks. Gomez could wind up being better than Jacoby Ellsbury, Phil Hughes or Jon Lester, and if that's the case -- and one or two of the pitchers acquired in the deal contribute in the big leagues, or Santana develops tendinitis in his left elbow playing Wii -- this could still wind up looking like a reasonable deal.

But the Twins would have been better off dealing with George.

In the Yankees' convoluted power structure, George was omnipotent and believed himself to be omniscient. Now power in the Yankee front office is divided between Stammerin' Hank, his younger and more conservative brother Hal and GM Brian Cashman. And whoever can distract Hank during meetings with shiny objects.

Hank defied his DNA by yielding to Cashman and Hal, who didn't want to trade Hughes. (This is an assumption based on multiple reports out of New York, and for all of the trouble we all give the New York media, please understand that some of the best reporters in America work in that market.)

With George out of the way, the Yankees became the Hankees. They acted more like the Twins than the old, hyper-spending Yankees.

The Yanks chose to save money -- they'll spend only $218 million or so -- and conserve prospects, even as they prepare to cut dead weight off their payroll in the next year or two and to enter their new stadium in 2009.

That thought alone -- Santana pitching on Opening Day in new Yankee Stadium in '09 -- would have prompted George to trade Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera and a few Yankee monuments to Minnesota.

Instead, Hank will get to watch Hughes pitch for a second- or third-place team.

George occasionally made deals that hurt the Yankees. Hank did him one better this week, failing to make a deal and hurting two teams.

Jim Souhan can be heard Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon on AM-1500 KSTP. •
Here we go again, Everyone in the Media predicting The Yankees to finish second or third and missed the playoffs for first time .


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:52 am

Manny Talks

Manny Ramirez has been a veritable quote machine since hitting that home run off Flail-Rod. Kudos to Friend of YFSF Rob Bradford, who picked up the exclusive:

Manny Ramirez sat down this morning after going through a two-hour workout at Athletes Performance Institute and confirmed that he will be in Fort Myers for the team’s official reporting date for position players.

“I’ll be there on the 21st,” he said, still soaked with sweat from the just-completed session with teammate Kevin Youkilis and Minnesota second baseman Nick Punto.

“Every year is the same,” Ramirez added when asked if he was excited about heading to spring training. “I look forward to ’08, ’09 and maybe move on.”


“I want to be like Julio Franco and play until I’m 48,” said Ramirez, who is planning on leaving Arizona early next week. “And if you want to do it, this is the right place to come.

“It feels much better when you work with people who know what you’re doing. I love it. I’m going to come here every year.”

It will be a sad day whenever Manny leaves Boston for good.


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:58 am

A Clay Joba

Keith Law today released his Top 100 prospects list. Joba Chamberlain is No. 3; Clay Buchholz is No. 4.

Chamberlain is best cast as a four-pitch starter who projects as a true No. 1 starter. He has a four-pitch repertoire where all pitches project as average or better ... . The fastball and slider are already big league out pitches and in relief, he can probably get away without the other two pitches.


Buchholz is an unusual pitching prospect in that he already brings two plus secondary pitches to the table, including one of the best right-handed changeups in the game today, with good tumble and fading action, and he sells it well with perfect arm speed.

The Red Sox and Yankees both land five prospects in the Top 100, tied for third with the Dodgers behind Tampa Bay and Texas. In order:

3. Joba Chamberlain
4. Clay Buchholz
19. Jacoby Ellsbury
21. Jose Tabata
24. Austin Jackson
28. Lars Anderson
45. Ian Kennedy
55. Jed Lowrie
58. Justin Masterson
100. Andrew Brackman

I'll let someone else figure out where the former Mets' prospects rank when compared to Ellsbury (19), Lowrie (55) and Masterson (58) -- all thought to be offered to the Twins in some form or other.


Advantage: Joba?

(It's sooo inflammatory and baiting to have this news about Joba being ranked above Clay and Jacoby. I just can't handle it!)

Posted by: Hudson | Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 05:09 PM

I wonder where Lester and Hughes would rank on this list if they were still technically prospects.

Posted by: Nick-YF | Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 05:16 PM

I don't follow Lester, but Hughes was #1 last year (I think) and if that's the case, then it should probably follow..

Posted by: Lar | Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 05:26 PM

was that comment baiting by Hudson?

Man what bitterness...

Posted by: sam-YF | Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 05:42 PM

This was posted on's Extra Bases bloggy-sorta-thing:

"Just heard from Margie Ellsbury, Jacoby's mom, and yes, she's happy that her son is still with the Sox.

'I'm glad it's finally settled,' she said in an e-mail, 'and our boys (Jacoby, Clay, Jed) got to stay in Boston.'

Clay is Clay Buchholz, of course, while Jed is Jed Lowrie.

'Since the boys are staying,' Margie wrote,
'I wore my Red Sox shirt to work today. GO RED SOX.'"

This is flat-out awesome. She's like the Sox farm club's homeroom mom. I too am doubly glad that there was no Santana-to-Sox deal now.

Posted by: FenSheaParkway | Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 06:06 PM

I keep waiting to see joba as a starter

I am from nebraska, I saw joba pitch from highschool, though college, and now in the pros

you wanna knwo when he did the worst?
as a starter

as a closer he never held back, threw everything eh had, and put the balls to the wall and didn;t hold anything back.

as a starter, he had a hard time managing hsi arm, got tired early, and to compensate he would throw slower to last longer.

I am sure the yankee pitching staff can fix a few of these issues, but seeing as one of the best college baseball programs in the country could not...I'm not exactly holding my breath to see him become a real starter.

sit joba in the pen, otherwise he will be a cautionary tale on the side of the road IMO.

p.s. joba is a tool in person, his father is an even bigger tool.

Posted by: TheTree1918 | Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 06:10 PM

"as a starter, he had a hard time managing hsi arm, got tired early, and to compensate he would throw slower to last longer."

Doesn't every pitcher who goes from closer to starter do this. I think Smoltz probably put a little more zip into his fast ball when he was a closer. Also, his numbers as a starter in college and the minors are pretty awesome. That said, he did suffer through a so-so senior year starting due to tricep issues. Maybe starting hurts his arm? I didn't know that he was used as a closer at Nebraska by the way. Was that on special occasions, or did he do whole seasons in that role?

Posted by: Nick-YF | Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 07:35 PM

never as a full season, only occasionaly as a warm up, and he did exactly what he did in new york last year.

he threw like a machine, he put everything he had into the 1-2 innings of work, throwing a heater with some good movement.

however as a starter he was ok
not nearly a number 1 as the yankees want him to be. he had to hold back, he had to use his control. and as much as his ball moves when it is fast, it doesn;t move as well when it is slow.

like I said, it may very well be the yankee pitching staff that makes him move without issue, and maybe teaching him how to control hsi starting long term pitching past 4 innings. but look at the yankees lately, look at the way they go...pitching for 4-5 innings, bullpen for WAy too long, and hoping to score a lot of runs to overcome bad bully work.

yes, it could be fixed, but i'm not optimistic...I'm a sox fan, we can't be optimistic.

Posted by: TheTree1918 | Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 08:07 PM

> but i'm not optimistic...I'm a sox fan, we can't be optimistic

so you're saying there's a chance....

Posted by: attackgerbil | Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 08:26 PM

but i'm not optimistic...I'm a sox fan, we can't be optimistic.

Jeez, even I, the most nakedly pessimistic Sox fan around, have had something of a change of attitude. Not that I think success is guaranteed for our team, but man, if there was ever a cure for my reflexive lack of optimism it is this year's game threads. The sun is shining! All is well! Come on, Tree, turn that frown upside down!

Posted by: SF | Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 08:42 PM

All in all, it looks like the Santana deal worked out great for everyone except for the Twins.

But they don't play in the East, so who cares?

Posted by: Chris SF | Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 09:01 PM

Maybe they don't play in the East, Chris, but they play in a division with the Indians. And the Tigers. So the Twins getting weaker hurts the Yankees and Red Sox in that the Tigers and the Indians gained, meaning that it's very likely that two teams coming out of the East may be a thing of the past. And that's not even taking the strengthened Mariners (if they get Bedard) or the Angels into account. The Twins getting weaker hurts teams in the East, even though they don't play in the East. So yeah, it's something to care about.

Posted by: SF | Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 09:19 PM

Baseball Prospectus also released their Top 100 list Thursday. The Red Sox scored seven selections, the Yankees netted five. Obviously BP knows that it's talking about!

The relevant picks:

2. Clay Buchholz
4. Joba Chamberlain
16. Jacoby Ellsbury
34. Ian Kennedy
47. Austin Jackson
48. Jose Tabata
53. Justin Masterson
57. Jed Lowrie
60. Ryan Kalish
67. Alan Horne
95. Michael Bowden
100. Lars Anderson

Posted by: Paul SF | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 02:31 AM

Geez, apart from the top guys, there really isn't that much agreement between slots on the lists. I'm not sure what Kalish or Bowden have done to warrant those BA rankings. Lars must have a really big swing to rate so wildly to the BA guys. Sickels loves him.

For the Yankees I can see the thinking, but they don't have any wild guess picks on the BA list, like there are for some other teams Wink

Posted by: A YF | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 05:57 AM

Always fun at this time of year to go back and look at past Top 100 lists:

Posted by: A YF | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 06:00 AM

list-schmist....they mean nothing, except someone has too much time on their hands

Posted by: dc | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 09:35 AM

It's exciting seeing both of our clubs with beefy farm systems. I'm surprised that Buchholz is ranked so much higher than Ellsbury; all of the bulking-up he's done this offseason must be weighing in. Though the no-no probably doesn't hurt, either.

By the way, who the f#$k is Evan Longoria? I had to look at his name 2 or 3 times before realizing that he's not, in fact, EVA Longoria.

Posted by: Atheose | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 09:41 AM

list-schmist....they mean nothing, except someone has too much time on their hands

Of course they have too much time on their hands, dc: it's the offseason! I don't know about you, but I'll take any baseball-related articles that don't involve players named "Johan" or Roger". By the way, 14 days until pitchers and catchers report!

Posted by: Atheose | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 09:43 AM

sorry for being negative're right of course...i hate the offseason...i hate the waiting...PLAY BALL!!, already, for crying out loud...

Posted by: dc | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 10:08 AM

Yeah, no kidding dc. After the 2004 season I almost didn't want baseball to ever start up again--it was just such a glorious feeling that lasted all winter. This year, however, I'm anxious to get started again. It's a great feeling.

Posted by: Atheose | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 10:16 AM

From reading around, Lars is a good prospect, but Law is looking at the power scouts think he is likely to develop, while BP is looking at the fact that he has yet to develop it. It's a matter of your priorities in looking at prospects, and those affect a lot of the players on lists like these.

What was interesting to me is how consistent the Sox' top four were ranked. Buchholz top five, Ellsbury around 15-20, and Masterson and Lowrie bunched around 50. Really, the bottom half of any list could probably be populated by any 50 of 150 prospects or so and not be much worse than any other.

Posted by: Paul SF | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 10:20 AM

You're right, those four Sox are consistent. Weird then the different views on the Yankees, but still bunch Ajax and Tabata together.

On Lars though, he's 20 with a huge frame and great plate discipline. Usually BA loves those guys.

By the way, as a Metallica fan, I'm really jealous that the Sox could have a kid named Lars playing for them. It's almost as good as Joba!

Posted by: A YF | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 11:28 AM

In other news... On

"It appears the Mets' negotiations with the agents for Johan Santana won't be over quickly. reported yesterday that sources familiar with those discussions said that while the talks may not go right to today's 5 p.m. deadline, the sides were still far enough apart - on money and length of contract - that it was unlikely any deal could be reached before this morning."

Posted by: LocklandSF | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 11:41 AM

Re: the Santana negotiations

I just saw a great nickname for the Mets owner: "Jeff Coupons"

And when I say 'great', I mean, 'subtracting 5 years from my life'.

Posted by: FenSheaParkway | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 12:07 PM

Re: Law's list vs. BP's: Not surprising that the lists are so different. There's always differing ways of looking at prospects - ceiling, probability, nearness tot the majors. And I think on top of that, once you get past the top prospects, thre's probably not a whole lot of difference at present time between, say, #40 and #80.

Just because I like Law, here are some other notes from his chat, as pertains to NYY & BOS prospects:

-Top 5 farm systems: 1. Rays 2. Rangers 3. BoSox 4. Yanks 5. Reds
-Alan Horne is a definite MLB contributer - maybe this year
-wasn't sold on Kalish as a prospect - his read on him is that he's a tremendous athlete with fringe baseball skills & is concerned about his broken hamate bone
-He thinks their prospects could make the Rays a playoff contender in 3-5 years
-He *really* likes Austin Jackson - said Jackson has a higher ceiling than Ellsbury, but Ellsbury has a higher probability. Also named Jackson as a potential candidate to move to #1 overall on next year's list.
-Lars Anderson: 2 yrs away from the bigs, projects as a 4-5 power bat in the lineup
-Jesus Montero (C-Yanks) could be a top prospect on next year's list, although Law thinks there no way he stays behind the plate - probably will move to 1B.
-He liked Daniel Bard to make next year's list, but has almost given up on Craig Hansen.

Posted by: Mark (YF) | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 12:30 PM

Sox sign Sean Casey

Posted by: Pocono Sox | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 01:14 PM

"It appears the Mets' negotiations with the agents for Johan Santana won't be over quickly."

I read in the NYT today that the Mets could ask for a 72 hour extension from the Twins, if it looks like a deal won't be reached by 5:00

Also, I heard on xm that the sides were about 25 M apart...

C'mon Mets, get it done - can't wait until this issue is put to bed

Posted by: The Sheriff (Andrews) | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 01:37 PM

Sean Casey? But Boston already has a mayor no one understands correctly. Eh. I guess this means Hinske's going to Arizona.

"Rays a playoff contender in 3-5 years"

I hate being dismissive of other teams, but this sounds really familiar.

Posted by: FenSheaParkway | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 01:55 PM

Hinske is just awful. Sean Casey is an upgrade. Good depth for when Youkilis breaks down at Game #100.

Posted by: AndrewYF | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 02:43 PM

Will get a post up.

Posted by: Paul SF | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 02:58 PM

Hinske isn't very good, agreed. But I'm not terribly excited about this Casey at the bat. At least he brings some OBP.

You seem fairly precise about when Youk's getting hurt. You have tickets to that game or something?

Say, has there been any new info on how the Sox are going to use Buchholz this year? Are they aiming at giving him 'x' amount of MLB innings?

Posted by: FenSheaParkway | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 03:19 PM

No, I was estimating. And by 'break down', I mean start hitting like the .250 hitter he was for most of last season. Game #100 was a conservative estimate. Probably will be earlier, given his history.

Posted by: AndrewYF | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 04:24 PM

If by "most of last season," you mean July and August, then I guess that's an accurate statement.

Posted by: Paul SF | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 05:12 PM

>jeez, even I, the most nakedly pessimistic Sox fan around, have had something of a change of attitude.<

I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, too long and too much of a good to me in September of this year. if they put together another post season candidacy and it turns out to be decent...I will quit being pessimistic.

I am gonna curl up in my Slanket and watch every game this year again, as many as I can on here, and maybe...just maybe....we shall se how it goes Very Happy

Posted by: TheTree1918 | Friday, February 01, 2008 at 11:04 PM


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:03 am

More pictures from Manny's Workout in Arizona


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:05 am

Ramirez: I’ll be at Sox camp on time
Rob Bradford By Rob Bradford

TEMPE, Ariz. - Manny Ramirez [stats] sat down this morning after going through a two-hour workout at Athletes Performance Institute and confirmed that he will be in Fort Myers for the team’s official reporting date for position players.

“I’ll be there on the 21st (of February),” he said, still soaked with sweat from the just-completed session with teammate Kevin Youkilis [stats] and Minnesota second baseman Nick Punto.

“Every year is the same,” Ramirez added when asked if he was excited about heading to spring training. “I look forward to ’08, ’09 and maybe move on.”

Ramirez, who has been working out at API since early December, is clearly focused on making the Red Sox [team stats]’ decision whether or not to pick up his $20 million team option for ’09 a difficult one. Another thing that is certain is that Manny has no intention of drifting off into the sunset after the completion of his current contract, which also includes a $20 million team option for 2010.

“I want to be like Julio Franco and play until I’m 48,” said Ramirez, who is planning on leaving Arizona early next week. “And if you want to do it, this is the right place to come.

“It feels much better when you work with people who know what you’re doing. I love it. I’m going to come here every year.”

The usually reserved Ramirez has no problem talking about his love for his new workout facility, which also boasts Dustin Pedroia [stats], Kyle Snyder [stats], and Youkilis. When the Red Sox played in Arizona last June Manny came over to check out API, having heard rave reviews from former teammate Nomar Garciaparra.

According to his conditioning supervisor, Darryl Eto, Ramirez has been exemplary in his participation, showing up five days a week for sessions that begin at 8 a.m. and run until just after 10 a.m. Today the workout included medicine ball work against a brick wall, the pulling of a sled full of weights, weight training, and mobility drills out on a football field shared by Arizona State University.

The one thing Ramirez hasn’t participated in is API’s hitting program over at Arizona State. After hitting during the offseason for the first time last year, he has chosen to wait until spring training to pick up the bat this time around.

“I haven’t started hitting yet. I haven’t hit at all,” said Ramirez, wearing a bright orange head kerchief. “It’s great if you have somebody who really knows you and knows what you’re doing when you’re hitting. I don’t have anybody out here who really knows me who can throw to me.”

Ramirez appears in solid shape, as does Youkilis, Pedroia, and Snyder. All of the players work out in the same area of the facility where API’s football playing clients train. Presently many football players are on hand getting prepared for the NFL scouting combine. That collection includes Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan.

Manny does stand out in one respect: He is constantly being accompanied by a close relative of his, whom he calls his uncle, named “Rico.” “After we work out here,” Rico said, “Manny trains me back at our place. He’s tough.”

Ramirez indicated he will not be attending the Super Bowl, although he has been offered tickets. He has chosen, instead, to watch the game on television.


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:12 am

Santana deal expensive, but necessary for Mets
by Ken Rosenthal,-but-necessary-for-Mets-

If seven years for Barry Zito is stupid, then seven years for Johan Santana is stupid. Seven years for any pitcher is stupid, but what exactly were the Mets supposed to do? Pass on arguably the best pitcher in the game?

No chance.

Santana's total package — seven years, $150.75 million — is simply the price of doing business in a market starved for starting pitching. If the Mets win one World Series during Santana's tenure — or, even better, multiple World Series — then their investment will look pretty darned prudent.

The top starting pitchers — Santana, Jake Peavy, Carlos Zambrano, Roy Oswalt — rarely make it to the open market. Indians lefty C.C. Sabathia figures to be the next exception, and he likely will hit the jackpot as a free agent, surpassing Santana. Rest assured, that deal will be stupid, too.

The Mets, though, need not apologize for this dramatic step.

They've got the money, thanks to a new television network and a new ballpark that will open in 2009. They've also got the opening, both now and in the future. Three of their starting pitchers — Pedro Martinez, Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez and Oliver Perez — are free agents at the end of the season.

Maybe the Mets could have bid $200 million for Sabathia next winter, but the Indians' oversized lefty is much more of a physical risk than Santana — and besides, there was no guarantee the Mets would sign him, anyway.

Ask yourself this: Who will be the Yankees' future ace if none of their young pitchers develops into a top-of-the-rotation starter? Heck, who will be their Josh Beckett this season? The Yankees lack such an animal. And they quickly could regret allowing the Mets to steal Santana.

Some baseball people question whether Santana was healthy at the end of last season, but most believe he will remain durable and effective. Pitching is less of a strain against National League lineups, which include a pitcher and generally are weaker overall. If you're going to place a $150 million bet on a pitcher, Santana is probably the best possible choice.

While the expectations on Santana in New York will be outrageous, his confident yet respectful persona should play as well in the Big Apple as it did in the Twin Cities. Santana is Pedro without the aggravation. His teammates love him. No one will ever call him a diva.

Frankly, the Mets need his presence, and not simply on the mound. Starting pitchers rarely are leaders, but Santana could provide an authoritative voice in the clubhouse — something the Mets lacked during their historic collapse last September. At the very least, his addition will shift the tone of spring training away from last season — no small psychological benefit.

The Mets know what they are getting into: Santana will be 35 in the final year of his contract, and almost certainly less valuable than he will be in his early years with the club. Yet, teams routinely accept such risk with star performers, trying to extract maximum benefit while those players are in their primes.

Wince if you must, but the Mets did what they had to do.

End of story.


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Post  RedMagma on Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:16 am

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Why are the Yankees always brought into everything that goes on. If the Yankees traded their young players and gave him 150 mil everyone would be screaming that the Yankees are giving away their future and trying to buy a championship. What if the Yankee pitchers do pan out? Who will look smart then? Let the Mets be the Mets and The Yankees be the Yankees. The Yankees should not make trades just to make trades. The Yankees didn't allow the Mets to steal Santana, The Twins did. If he breaks down it is not a steal. Frank Viola was supposed to be a steal. How did that one work out. The Mets were desperate and had to pay 150 mil because they don't have the Young players the Yanks and Sox do. That is why they spent 150 mil and that is not a steal. Omar Minaya is a fraud. He is spendink like crazy since he became GM and they better win because the farm system was bad but now it stinks. Like Peter Gammons said the Mets prospects would not be in the top 10 in the Yankee system. you can't kill the Yankees when they trade young players and spend money then kill them when they don't. What is this the Yankee rules of Baseball. Rosenthal is an BLEEP and he BLEEP s up to the Mets because he appears on their network.


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