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http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:11 pm

Minor League Transactions

http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Posted Jan. 4, 2008 6:49 pm by Matt Eddy
Filed under: Transactions

This week’s installment considers all transactions reported by MLB between Dec. 15, 2007, and Jan. 4, 2008. Last week’s transactions are available here.

Minor league free agent signing season is in full swing, and some notable names from prospectdom past found homes for 2008, including Tim Raines Jr., Luis Terrero, Brad Eldred, Scott Strickland, Billy Traber, Franklyn German and Bubba Nelson.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Signed: SS Jesus Merchan, OF Tim Raines Jr.

Atlanta Braves
Signed: RHP Jorge Campillo, RHP Matt DeSalvo, C Jean Boscan, C Ray Serrano, SS Javier Guzman

Baltimore Orioles
Signed: RHP Cory Doyne, RHP Gerard Oakes, 3B Ryan McCarthy, OF Luis Montanez, OF Luis Terrero

Boston Red Sox
Signed: LHP Jon Switzer, LHP Michael Tejera
Released: RHP Carlos Gonzalez

Chicago White Sox
Signed: RHP Mark Perkins, 1B Brad Eldred, 3B Royce Huffman
Traded: RHP Fautino de los Santos, LHP Gio Gonzalez and OF Ryan Sweeney to Athletics for OF Nick Swisher

Cincinnati Reds
Signed: RHP Dan Denham, LHP Chris Michalak, LHP Luca Panerati, LHP Adam Pettyjohn, LHP Matteo Pizziconi, 1B Kevin Barker, 1B Andy Phillips, 2B Andrew Green, 3B Jolbert Cabrera
Released: RHP Thomas Pauly, 2B Billy Rojo
Traded: OF Josh Hamilton to Rangers for RHP Edinson Volquez and LHP Danny Ray Herrera

The Reds signed two players from Italy, Panerati and Pizziconi, and it is the former who has the higher ceiling. The 6-foot-1, 156-pound Panerati, who turned 18 in December, pitched for Italy in the World Cup in Taiwan, the highlight coming when he struck out Cardinals top prospect Colby Rasmus. Panerati had struggled a year earlier against Team USA at the IBAF World Junior Championship in Cuba. He was named the top pitcher at the European Junior Championships when he was 17, pitching 12 1/3 scoreless innings with 14 strikeouts. Panerati’s fastball currently tops out at 86 mph with some life, and the pitch should gain velocity as his frame fills out. His go-to pitch is his changeup, which sits in the mid-70s and tails away from righthanders. He also throws a curveball. Pizziconi turned 18 in October, and at 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds he is another slender Italian lefthander. His delivery has some deception and his fastball tops out in the high-80s, but his secondary stuff is rudimentary. (Ben Badler)

Cleveland Indians
Signed: SS Brandon Chaves

Colorado Rockies
Signed: RHP Darren Clarke, LHP Micah Bowie, OF Josh Burrus

Detroit Tigers
Signed: RHP Anastacio Martinez, RHP Maxim St. Pierre, SS Caonabo Cosme

Florida Marlins
Signed: C Paul Hoover, 1B Jorge Cantu, 1B John Gall

Houston Astros
Signed: RHP Felipe Garcia, RHP Carlos Hines, RHP Natanael Mateo

Kansas City Royals
Signed: RHP Roberto Giron, OF Damon Hollins, OF Alexis Marte

Los Angeles Dodgers
Released: 2B David Nicholson

Minnesota Twins
Signed: RHP Landon Jacobsen, RHP Heath Totten
Reinstated from inactive list: OF Eli Tintor

New York Mets
Signed: RHP Andy Cavazos, RHP Juan Padilla

New York Yankees
Signed: RHP Scott Strickland, LHP Heath Phillips, LHP Billy Traber, C Jason Brown, 2B Nick Green

Oakland Athletics
Released: RHP T.J. Franco, RHP Michael Rogers, LHP John Peterson, OF Ramiro Mendez
Traded: OF Nick Swisher to White Sox for RHP Fautino de los Santos, LHP Gio Gonzalez and OF Ryan Sweeney

Philadelphia Phillies
Signed: LHP Cory Willey, 1B Angel Negron

Pittsburgh Pirates
Signed: RHP Elmer Dessens, C Miguel Perez, SS Gabriel Suarez, OF Jose Macias
Released: RHP Juan Rojas, SS Starlin Cespedes
Reinstated from inactive list: RHP Masumi Kuwata

St. Louis Cardinals
Signed: RHP Cliff Politte
Traded: OF Jim Edmonds to Padres for 3B David Freese

San Diego Padres
Signed: LHP Javier Lopez, LHP Mike Megrew, OF Roberto Gonzalez
Released: LHP Roger Deago
Traded: 3B David Freese to Cardinals for OF Jim Edmonds
Outrighted to Mexican League: RHP Reynaldo Morales, RHP Martin Sotelo, OF Yancarlo Angulo, OF Efren Espinoza

San Francisco Giants
Signed: C Steve Holm

Seattle Mariners
Signed: LHP Philip Barzilla, C Luis Oliveros

Tampa Bay Rays
Signed: 2B Brent Butler, SS Johnny Raburn, OF John Rodriguez
Released: OF Chris Cunningham

Texas Rangers
Signed: RHP Jake Dittler, RHP Franklyn German, RHP Alfredo Gonzalez, RHP Elizardo Ramirez, RHP Tim Stanford, 3B Edgardo Alfonzo, OF Jason Ellison
Traded: RHP Edinson Volquez and LHP Danny Ray Herrera to Reds for OF Josh Hamilton

Toronto Blue Jays
Signed: RHP Lance Carter, RHP Kane Davis, RHP Bubba Nelson, RHP Jamie Vermilyea, LHP Ryan Ketchner, LHP John Parrish, OF Luis Rivera, OF Matt Watson

Washington Nationals
Signed: LHP Justin Jones

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:38 pm

why do they see JD as a right fielder?

i think that's the most blatant annoyance at the moment that's only going to magnify as the season begins and goes on into summer. did we ever quantify his suck last year, or is it still sort of nebulous?








His little smile pissed me off.
by colintj on Thu Jan 03, 2008 at 10:34:48 PM EDT
[ Parent ]


quantified

AIM: SouthSideCheat

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:42 pm

White Sox Minor League Rankings

Per Baseball America

(Please Note, Kenny's first full year as GM was 2001)

2001 #1
2002 #9
2003 #15
2004 #20
2005 #12
2006 #14
2007 #24

2008? do you see a trend? The well has gone dry.

by BobbySouthSide on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 02:17:17 PM EDT

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:37 pm

The latest from Chairman Hank

http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2008/01/04/the-latest-from-chairman-hank/

Hank Steinbrenner stopped and talked to an AP reporter outside of Legends Field tonight. Here’s what he said about Johan Santana:

“Nothing is really decided at this point. I’m still leaning towards doing it. There’s others leaning not to do it. There are some others that are leaning to do it also. Disagreements within the organization. Nothing major, but just different opinions. I’ve changed my opinion a couple times.”

On Brian Cashman: “I always told him, `I’m going to make the final decisions because when you’re the owner you should.’ He is the general manager, and he has the right to talk me out of it and he has talked me out of some things.”

The Twins must be loving this. Cashman is like a poker player who’s buddy is standing behind him saying, “Wow, you have two kings.”

Hank also said that Tino Martinez would join the crew of guest instructors at spring training and that Luis Sojo is returning as the manager of Class A Tampa.

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:42 pm

Beantown… I just cleaned up after sick dog, and it kind of reminded me of Boston… the smell, the visual… the attitude… very ill feeling.

Your Celtics are 26-3 this season… because your PLANT McChump gave you a team… your GM is a pile of crap… kind of like ours here.

And as I said, I will always respect Len Bias… my all time favorite Celtic. God watching Magic kick your butts in the 80’s was a beautiful thing.

For me to go back to the 80’s is no different than you ignoring the last 15 years of futility. or the Steve Grogan years for the Patriots, or the oh 86 years before your first WS title.

Boston Red Sox fans in general aren’t so bad… but the fans in Boston… they lack class. I’m just not sure why… they’ve had amazing talent all those years… Williams, Yaz, Lynn-Rice-Evans, Boggs, Burks, Clemens… they just weren’t as good as the Yankees, and that bitterness of always falling to 2nd behind New York had to be hell for you guys. I understand, but to be so cruel towards Minnesota since we freaking MADE your city a bit more than just the worthless trash bin that it is.

Moss indirectly, Ortiz, Maroney, Garnett, Ray Allen indirectly…

Pal… you need to kiss up to us and say thanks, and pray we give you Santana as well because if the Yankees get that one ACE that they need… they will destroy you… even though your team has a lot more talent… in a 5-7 game series I will always take the Yankees because they are winners.

So be kind to us… we made your freaking sports area what it is.

Hell Ted Williams played minor league ball here, and McDildo was a Gopher… so again… you owe us a bit more respect than you’ve given up

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:42 pm

1. Jim PA January 4th, 2008 at 10:18 pm

Hank sounds alot like the Seinfeld version of his father. Scary…
2. Scooter January 4th, 2008 at 10:24 pm

If Hank gets advice from his baseball people (like Cashman), why the heck aren’t his baseball people advising him that these statements really hurt any negotiations with the Twins?

This statement serves absolutely no positive purpose

In fact, it’s out and out stupid UNLESS it’s some sort of PR cover for Hank if the Mets or Sox trade for Santana - “I wanted to do it, but…”
3. whoa January 4th, 2008 at 10:25 pm

JUST SHUT UP!
4. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Save the Three Musketeers! January 4th, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Eee, welcome back Tino and Sojo!
5. Phil January 4th, 2008 at 10:28 pm

Wow, spot on, Pete. Hank is showing everyone the cards in the Yanks hand.

I wonder how Cash feels about all of this. I’m just hoping Cash is feeding things to Hank to say to throw off other clubs…but that would be too good to be true.
6. Jordan January 4th, 2008 at 10:30 pm

this is the mouth that never ends. yes it goes on and on my friends…
7. Buddy Biancalana January 4th, 2008 at 10:31 pm

The Twins must be loving this. Cashman is like a poker player who’s buddy is standing behind him saying, “Wow, you have two kings.”

—————————————————————-

Classic Pete!
8. Giuseppe Franco January 4th, 2008 at 10:35 pm

I’m so tired of Hank opening his big stupid mouth. He’s like the Energizer Bunny.

Just shut up and let the grown-ups handle the media.
9. Buddy Biancalana January 4th, 2008 at 10:36 pm

River Ave Blues has some good things to say about Heath Phillips who the Yanks just signed to a minor league deal.

http://riveraveblues.com/2008/01/04/desalvo-phillips-sign-elsewhere-yanks-ink-a-different-phillips-1931/
10. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Save the Three Musketeers! January 4th, 2008 at 10:38 pm

Heath related to Andy?

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:43 pm

Reds sign Phillips

http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2008/01/04/reds-sign-phillips/

Former Yankee Andy Phillips signed a minor-league deal with the Reds that included an invitation to spring training.

The Reds have Scott Hatteberg at first base with top prospect Joey Votto close to being ready. But if they make a trade for pitching, Votto could go.

This much I can tell you: When the Yankees play the Reds in Sarasota on March 6, I suspect Andy will be the story of the day. He’s a good guy who had a lot of bad luck the last two years. Here’s wishing him well.

————

RHP Scott Strickland, LHP Heath Phillips, LHP Billy Traber and C Jason Brown all signed minor-league deals with the Yankees and will be invited to spring training. Phillips appeared in seven games for the White Sox last season. Traber is a well-traveled former first-round pick of the Mets. He was with the Nationals last year.

RHP Matt DeSalvo signed a minor-league deal with the Braves. Good news for the bookstores in Richmond.

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:45 pm

#

That was smart for desalvo to go to an NL team. His lack of quality stuff may translate well in the NL. The NL may even be easier then AAA for him.
#
Barry says:
January 4th, 2008 at 8:36 pm (Reply)

I hope DeSalvo does good down with the Braves. Knowing our luck Phillips will probably end up being the shit with the Reds.
#
mike f says:
January 4th, 2008 at 9:19 pm (Reply)

i was sorta hoping to see andy end up with joe in LA. i’m sure we all wish him well.
matt too.
#
stefan says:
January 4th, 2008 at 10:01 pm (Reply)

Is it just me, or does Jason Brown remind people of Crash Davis? It was all the more appropriate when Phil Hughes was down in Trenton in 2006 as Nuke Laloosh.

Just sayin’
#
Jeff says:
January 4th, 2008 at 10:03 pm (Reply)

I like Philips and think he could have a bright future. He made so much good contact last year but I think our deep left field took away a lot of balls that could have been HRs in lets say Baltimore or Texas. Wish him luck in Cinci.

1.
steve (different one) says:
January 4th, 2008 at 10:32 pm (Reply)

he’s 31 and has a career OPS+ of 76 as a 1Bman.

he will most likely not make the Reds.

nice guy, but i don’t know if i would call his future “brigh

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:47 pm

The Politte comments come from two different articles. I didn't have time to hash them all out and I don't have access to the locker room to ask good questions.

Now that we've clinched a series win, Jerry Manuel would have start Sean Tracey in tonight's game.

Ooh, a three-year old Neal Cotts reference. Nice.

They're 42-16, a full 13 games ahead of second-place Durham in the South division of the International League.

The Knights introduce the team by saying "With the best record in organized baseball, your Charlotte Knights" or something to that effect.

One intriguing name is Heath Phillips, a guy who hasn't been considered a prospect, but who has a 1.89 ERA in twelve starts this season. Is he someone to watch?

Technically, no. He was a mildly-touted prospect a few years ago after his second season at Winston-Salem. His stuff is rather ordinary, allegedly, so scouts are excited about him. And he posted consecutive 4.05 ERAs in pitcher-friendly Birmingham, so statheads are high on him. His control has been very good for a couple years and good this season since April. Aside from his ,a href="http://www.angelfire.com/nb/jms/milb/ChaIL.html#Heath+PhillipsP">numbers</a> against lefties (small sample) nothing really jumps out at you. That said, he's still just 24. If his changeup is good and his control keeps up, he could still have a major league career.

Mike, have you actualy seen him pitch?

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:47 pm

Johan Santana-S-Twins Jan. 4 - 10:33 pm et

Hank Steinbrenner said Friday that he's "leaning towards doing" a Johan Santana trade with the Twins.
Get it over with then. "Nothing is really decided at this point," Steinbrenner blabbed. "I’m still leaning towards doing it. There’s others leaning not to do it. There are some others that are leaning to do it also. Disagreements within the organization. Nothing major, but just different opinions. I’ve changed my opinion a couple times." Steinbrenner made it perfectly clear that it's his call. "I always told (GM Brian Cashman", 'I’m going to make the final decisions because when you’re the owner you should.' He is the general manager, and he has the right to talk me out of it and he has talked me out of some things."

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:51 pm

Just posted a not-very-smart statement Hank Steinbrenner made to an AP reporter (as posted by Pete Abraham's blog):

Quote:
“Nothing is really decided at this point. I’m still leaning towards doing it. There’s others leaning not to do it. There are some others that are leaning to do it also. Disagreements within the organization. Nothing major, but just different opinions. I’ve changed my opinion a couple times.”
On Brian Cashman: “I always told him, `I’m going to make the final decisions because when you’re the owner you should.’ He is the general manager, and he has the right to talk me out of it and he has talked me out of some things.”

http://yankees.lhblogs.com/2008/01/0...chairman-hank/

I can't say what I'm really thinking without violating the CS

Even if you want to deal Hughes (say) for Santana, public statements like these are really detrimental

The big question - does Hal Steinbrenner have veto power over Hank on this, because of fiscal concerns?

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:53 pm

I wish george had some sense and told him to shut up, but he probably would be proud of his son, maybe hal can say nope we are not doing it and I have a say to.

Originally Posted by THEBOSS84
Is it possible he's trying to get the Sox to pony up a bigger package?

Being a front is possibly the only way he (and the Yankees, for that matter) wouldn't look like buffoons with how he's handling this.

Sheesh, you need hip boots to wade through everything Hank is spouting. This is nothing different than what was quoted in Newsday a few days ago - Hank has said it before and, unfortunately, he'll say it again: he's the owner, he makes the final decisions, there are disagreements. Whatever, I'm not buying it. The GM doesn't want to make this trade......why have a GM if you aren't going to take his advice? Not that it matters - if Hughes is dealt, the Yankees won't have a GM.

Hank is also forgetting one important thing -the Twins don't have to accept any offer from the Yankees or anyone. So what, Hank? You'd do it? Great - too bad you can't force the Twinkies to accept.

The man does not care about giving up the best Yankees prospect in years...oh wait, he undoubtedly thinks Joba is that man; he doesn't care about the future.....he can only see 2008, not beyond. Hank is a man of limited vision.

I wish someone would tell Hank to stuff it. seriously........


he makes it less fun to be a yankee fan. When george spoke it was the ramblings of an old man, and could be dismissed, but now it is someone who is the head of the franchise going forward and it is disturbing, unprofessional, goes against yankee pride, and is embarassing. I would hate to work for a company with a man like this at the helm, I would quit, suck I can't quit being a yankee fan.

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:55 pm

All Hank is doing is stringing the Twins along so they don't take a substandard deal from the Red Sox. He hasn't once said anything of substance. It's the same B.S. over and over. Nothing to lose sleep over.

I have to believe that Hank has some sort of plan here.

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:57 pm

LOL... Hank Steinbrenner is the Gift that keeps giving :

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2008-01-04-2716080837_x.htm

Hank recycles some stuff from the other day, but also is alluding to the battle between him and bro Hal.

I think Hank is gonna lose, Hal apparenly decides financial policy.

Which makes sense. Hank doesn't sound like the kind of guy that you want touching your finances....

Hank will become Fredo from the Godfather. Poor Fredo. (Hal shoots Hank soon...)

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:58 pm

Quote:
Originally Posted by THEBOSS84
I see the latest comments from Hank got you to change your av. Now we're brothers instead of Twins.

Yep. Turns out, I was wrong. There really was such a thing as too much Hank.

Hal's easier on the eyes. And smarter. And quieter. And apparently, going by Yankees.com, has a higher title (General Partner vs. Senior Vice President).

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 9:03 pm

Not so fast! Mets remain suitor for Johan Santana

http://mikesilva.gothamsportsmedia.com/content/view/183/9/

Friday, 04 January 2008
Joey DeMayo's Mets Report

Until yesterday, the Johan Santana bidding war was basically considered a Yankee/Red Sox battle. According to sources, the most recent Yankee offer to the Twins includes RHP Phil Hughes, OF Melky Cabrera and RHP Jeff Marquez, and possibly a low level minor leaguer in addition. According to a baseball official, the Twins are demanding that the Yankees change Marquez to Ian Kennedy, but they can keep the fourth player. Essentially, the Twins want Hughes, Cabrera, and Kennedy. If the Yankees won’t do that, another deal out there is Hughes, Cabrera, RHP Alan Horne, and OF Austin Jackson.

Johan Santana The Red Sox interest appears to me to be nothing more than lukewarm. It looks as if they are mainly in it to prevent him from being a Yankee if possible. They currently have two offers out to the Twins. One would send LHP Jon Lester, RHP Justin Masterson, OF Coco Crisp,2B/SS Jed Lowrie, and the other would send promising young OF Jacoby Ellsbury, Lowrie and Masterson. According to a baseball official, the Twins want Ellsbury, Lowrie, Masterson and another prospect. Reportedly the Red Sox have declined.

A question Met fans have asked a lot, “Why do the Mets have to drain their farm system, but the Sox and Yanks don’t?” Well according to a baseball official I spoke with, the Red Sox and Yankees also have to, as you can see by the deals above. I personally am not 100% behind Jon Heyman’s report on WFAN yesterday that stated that the Mets have essentially told the Twins that “any four prospects” could go for Santana. If that was the case, Santana to the Mets would be done right now.

Word around the league is that the Mets are very much in this, and quite possibly frontrunners, as they have the need, and the willing to overpay some in talent to get Santana. Also, word is Omar Minaya is OK with giving Santana the 6 or 7 year deal he would require to re-sign.

Don’t expect the Twins to trade him for any less than four players. A couple possible packages that could be worked out between the Mets and the Twins are OF Carlos Gomez, OF Fernando Martinez, RHP Kevin Mulvey, and RHP Philip Humber. This is, according to sources, the deal Minnesota would like to make. Also possible, but more speculation from my part than fact, is a deal of Gomez, RHP Deolis Guerra, RHP Mike Pelfrey, and Mulvey.

This is a three team race for Santana, and who better to have in the race than the two NY teams and the Red Sox? According to sources, Santana will indeed be traded because Minnesota is set to do so. And they can get a nice bounty from any of these three teams. Whichever of the three were to acquire Santana, in my opinion, would instantly be the favorites to win their league pennant and possibly the World Series. Santana is simply an organization changing kind of player.

Extra Innings: Listen to Gotham Baseball Live this Sunday January 6th at 7pm and a special edition of the show with WFAN host Ed Randall on Monday Jan 7th at 7pm

Keywords: New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox. Johan Santana


Not so fast! Mets remain suitor for Johan Santana

http://mikesilva.gothamsportsmedia.com/content/view/183/9/

Friday, 04 January 2008
Joey DeMayo's Mets Report

A question Met fans have asked a lot, “Why do the Mets have to drain their farm system, but the Sox and Yanks don’t?” Well according to a baseball official I spoke with, the Red Sox and Yankees also have to, as you can see by the deals above. I personally am not 100% behind Jon Heyman’s report on WFAN yesterday that stated that the Mets have essentially told the Twins that “any four prospects” could go for Santana. If that was the case, Santana to the Mets would be done right now.

This is a three team race for Santana, and who better to have in the race than the two NY teams and the Red Sox? According to sources, Santana will indeed be traded because Minnesota is set to do so. And they can get a nice bounty from any of these three teams. Whichever of the three were to acquire Santana, in my opinion, would instantly be the favorites to win their league pennant and possibly the World Series. Santana is simply an organization changing kind of player.


Last edited by on Fri Jan 04, 2008 9:14 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 9:11 pm

When baseball was life

Editor's Note: Prompted by an e-mailed request, I am republishing this column, which originally appeared on Sox and Pinstripes last February.

Like a monument commemorating a historic event that once happened on its soil, the baseball diamond in the neighborhood where I was raised sits silent. During the carefree summer days when school is out, the field remains empty - patches of grass growing on the infield. If you listen closely, you might hear the diamond calling out, beckoning for a return to the springs, summers and falls when it was more special to neighborhood kids than even a trip to King's Island, which is the amusement park just an hour's drive away.

An only child, my love for baseball was born at an early age, spurred by watching my dad play softball in the competitive recreation leagues around southwest Ohio, and watching the Reds on TV. I was born and raised in Xenia, a city many people know because of the tornado that destroyed it in 1974. I was 5 at the time, and the only part of our house left standing was the hallway where we sought cover. To this day, it is the most powerful tornado on record in U.S. history. The winds were more than 300 miles per hour.

My parents rebuilt on the same lot, which was in the heart of an expansive middle-class neighborhood of single-story brick ranches. Dozens of streets - all named after states - and thousands of houses composed the subdivision. Since my parents were one of the first to move into a rebuilt home that fall, at first it was lonely for me, being the only kid in the neighborhood.

My parents took me to my first baseball game in the spring of 1975, an extra-inning game at Riverfront Stadium where the Big Red Machine edged San Diego, 3-2. I was captivated. The next morning, as soon as the sun rose, I reenacted the game in my backyard with just a wiffle ball and a bat. All nine innings, top and bottom. It must have been amusing for neighbors peering out their windows seeing a six-year-old towheaded boy throwing a ball into the air, hitting it, and running around the bases for hours.

That summer, more homes were rebuilt on my block, and some of them were occupied by families with children my age. It wasn't long before wiffle ball games became a staple of life in our little section of Arrowhead Acres. I watched my first Red Sox game that fall, Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, when Carlton Fisk launched Pat Darcy's pitch off the left-field pole after midnight, keeping the Sox alive for Game 7. The Sox lost the next night, but I was an instant fan, my introduction to the thrills and heartbreaks of what is now Red Sox Nation.

By the summer of 1976, when I turned eight, most of the subdivision was rebuilt, and each block bustled with children. As the years passed, wiffle ball games in my backyard started as soon as the snow melted in March and continued until our own little World Series in October. We chalked the basepaths, kept score on a chalkboard and clipped mechanic's lights onto the fence so we could play at night. We would even play in the rain and mud, at least until our parents realized what we were doing and called an official rainout. Sometimes, games would be interrupted by arguments of whether the pitch was a strike or a ball, or if the baserunner was safe or out, and there was the occasional scuffle (our own version of a bench-clearing brawl, limited to pushing, shoving and name-calling, just like in Major League Baseball - much ado about nothing), but most days our field would be enlivened by the innocent excitement that children portray and visions of hitting the game-winning home run in Game 7 of the World Series.

My dad often served as the pitcher for both teams, and we would mimic our favorite players. Most of my friends imitated guys from the Big Red Machine like Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Pete Rose. I preferred Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans and Fisk. At the end of the season, we constructed trophies made of shoe boxes covered by aluminum foil and voted for our own Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and MVP.

Eventually, we added baseball down at the neighborhood park to our daily summer gala. Though we played organized baseball on Little League teams and then Babe Ruth teams as we grew older, there was nothing quite like pickup games at the park. No adults. Just us kids. When we were not playing wiffle ball, we would ride around the neighborhood streets in search of players until we had enough to field two teams of nine for baseball. The next year, some parents even bought us batting helmets, and we took care of that field as if it were our own. On many summer days, the first game would start at 9 a.m. As word spread, kids on each block formed their own team. It was like our own league, much like in the movie, The Sandlot. Games would continue until it was too dark to see.

As our high school years arrived, baseball at the park and wiffle ball in my backyard were replaced by after-school jobs, school sports, girlfriends and cruising around town with our friends. In my backyard, the grass returned, covering the worn-out spots where the bases and the pitcher's mound once were. A new generation of elementary school-aged kids kept up the tradition down at the park, but as time passed and culture changed (with the arrival of video games), slowly but surely those sounds of pickup baseball games faded into distant memory.

Looking back, now a thousand miles away in Orlando, I smile when I think of those days when the most important thing was getting up in the morning and playing baseball and wiffle ball until we were called inside by our parents, one by one. Those days have long passed, but the passion and love that I have for baseball and the Sox have grown with time. Baseball represents a part of my childhood that will remain constant until I die. Today, I still play baseball (yes, baseball, not softball) in a 30-and-over league (I'm 39). I write about the game as a freelance journalist, blog about it regularly, pour over dozens of baseball web sites and articles weekly and closely monitor the Sox game by game.

To me, baseball is not just a game. It represents an integral part of where I come from and who I am. It represents long summer days in my backyard and down at the park. It represents the bond I developed with my dad, who spent hours coaching my teams, playing catch and sharing many of those summer days - curious about why I did not like the Reds, but content nevertheless to share a game that he spent hours playing as a child.

Baseball is a part of my childhood that hasn't left, and it also represents the promise of future summer days when I have children of my own. Maybe someday the baseball diamond in the neighborhood where I was raised will again stir with the sights and sounds of kids playing the greatest game. Unlike hours spent in the living room with video games, baseball will allow them to forge fond memories they will carry long after the actual moment of experiencing them

RedMagma

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Re: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/prospects/?p=699

Post  RedMagma on Fri Jan 04, 2008 9:12 pm

Checking in on Clemens, the Yankees and Sports


http://www.soxandpinstripes.com/

So let me get this straight; Roger Clemens is going to air on 60 minutes and admit to taking substances multiple times that weren't steroids or illegal? The man has done this over 4,000 times, but he's about to strike himself out. I don't get it. You are finally starting to actually sway the benefit of the doubt in your direction with the fabricated reports of your name in the Grimsley report, you have a chance to lie your way out of it on national television and NOT be in the same boat as Bonds and instead you choose this?

Naming legal substances injected through the backside?

Try and picture this for a moment and tell me if it makes sense: Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte are working out at whatever facility they work out at. We know they work out together because they have said it numerous times in published reports. Brian Mcnamee is in the middle of them and Pettitte accepts his human growth hormone or whatever he "took" (forget the dates and statistics for a second). Mcnamee then changes needles and Clemens takes B12 and his other substances and then they resume working out. So Pettitte, the family man who accepts his trade to Houston and in his mid 30's almost retires to be with his family and God and all that other fun, wholesome stuff, is the one "cheating" and Clemens, the Hall of Famer, ego and statistic driven, Nolan Ryan worshipper, has no desire to do anything illegal to keep his fastball and maintain his "power pitcher" status? He takes injections, but totally legal stuff. The same totally legal stuff Raphael Palmeiro claimed to be taking. The same legal stuff Barry Bonds THOUGHT he was taking. Mcnamee, who by all means doesn't have the greatest reputation in the world, still has a sports science degree, and he's the one who has no idea what he's talking about. The professional who was soooo trusted by Clemens that the pitcher demanded to keep him when he went to the Yankees, all of a sudden didn't know what substances he was placing where and has victimized Clemens. How does Roger not see what he has admitted to will be his undoing? He has opened Pandora's box to investigate all of his injection regiments now. He basically is writing his own "Game of Shadows". If you're going to lie, do it right.

That's the other thing that annoys me about this whole Clemens situation. Now we will introduce statistics. Mcnamee wasn't Clemens' trainer in Boston, they didn't meet until Toronto. Everybody first of all keeps referring to Clemens like he is Pettitte, or a "Yankees-lifer", which he's not. He happened to win two rings as an added gun on part of an already forming dynasty. It's like calling Randy Moss the face of the Patriots Superbowl wins in the new millenium.

The guy spends 13 seasons with the Red Sox, two Cy Young seasons with the Blue Jays, multiple ERA shattering years with Houston (including Cy Young's and a World Series appearence) and 5.5 seasons with the Yankees where he happens to win the World Series (twice) on already superior teams (they won 114 games the year before he came) and a Cy Young and all of a sudden he's a Yankees black eye? Because Mcnamee says he started taking steroids in Toronto? How does that make sense?

In 1994, Clemens had a 2.85 ERA in the strike shortened season. In 1995, it was 4.18 with a hit per inning and less than a K per inning in only 140 innings. In 1996, his final season with the Sox, everybody remembers his 10-13 season and not his 3.63 ERA, or his much less than a hit (216) per inning (242.2) or his 257 K. Twilight of his career? I think not. And those were on crappy Red Sox teams. To give you an idea, when Clemens won his Cy Young for the Yankees with a 20-3 record in 2001, he had a 3.51 ERA with 205 hits and 213 K in 220.1 innings. That is how much a team can effect the perception of a season. Other than that, he never duplicated his 1996 success (with the Sox) on the Yankees. So even if the dates are right about when he took steroids, I don't want to hear anything implying that Duquette was right, or that it's impossible to imagine Clemens used steroids in Boston, or even that Clemens should somehow be categorized as a Yankees cheat in all of this. The guy was 27-18 with a 4.15 ERA during his two championship years in New York. How did he do in Toronto the two years beforehand?

* With West Virginia and Kansas winning their bowl games and Florida stomping Troy Smith into the ground last year in the national championship, I will never trust another bowl "expert" for college football ever again. LSU by 10 on Monday.
* Let's make a prediction. Which will there be less of: Florida State players in their recent bowl game, or Miami Dolphins from their 1-15 roster next year? My bet is with Miami.
* With Hal Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman seemingly vehemently against a Santana deal, what exactly is Bill Smith waiting for? I'm not so sure he's hot for the Red Sox offer and I don't take Epstein at his word when he says Boston "wouldn't mind" the talks of a 7 year, 150 million dollar extension. Even the Yankees have come out publically and expressed concern about it. Personally, I think I like Hal running the show. He seems to have "philosophical compatibility" with Brian Cashman and he knows how to keep his mouth shut. It's nice to know the Yankees are still willing to spend when and where they see fit and the new blood is officially involved, but I can do without Hank blowing up every trade rumor and legally tampering (somehow) with everybody else's players.
* A lot of rumors floating that if Melky Cabrera goes in any deal, Mike Cameron should come aboard despite his upcoming 25 game suspension for amphetamines. As much as I enjoy a career .251 hitter, who has never sniffed .300, has never had more than 8 assists, hasn't had less than five errors since 2003 and has been both injury proned and in steady decline (even taking into account he played in San Diego) since 2005, at the age of soon-to-be-36, I'm not so sure he's the best option. I'd rather try Gardner.
* Sox and Pinstripes will be showcased on Pete Abraham's blog on January 19th. OK, Yankees fans, obviously this is a big spot for the blog, so if you have any ideas for me (I haven't made a decision yet, but I have some ideas floating around) feel free to leave them here or email me (yankeevmm@yahoo.com). Red Sox fans can participate too, but it has to be Yankees related and 450 words or less.


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