Letters to the NL East, Part 0/5

(To read past year’s letters, click here)

Letters to the NL East, Part 0 of 5. (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4)

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Dear New York Yankees, (Because while they are not part of the division, are still are rivals in a way)

Ugh.  You purchased your 27th World Series last year.  You made the team better by acquiring Javier Vasquez from the Braves, even if he’s struggled as a Yankee before.  But this doesn’t exactly guarantee the same success in 2010.

Your team looked old and over the hill last April but was able to bounce back.  Eventually the age on the team won’t be able to do that, although Jeter and Rivera will certainly be trying so they can get that extra bit out of you in contract negotiations.

However, just about everything went right for you last season, and it’s not likely to go that way again.  Will guys like Nick Johnson and AJ Burnett stay healthy?  Will Granderson hit lefties?  How many games can Posada play behind the plate?   As I write this, Nick Johnson and Posada have both already been scratched from spring games this week.

It’s fair to say that the Yankees don’t have a ton of holes, but you do have two talented teams in your division that can exploit even the smallest problem in your game.  The success of last year does mask a lot of possible problems that could open up and devour the team though.  The handling of the bullpen, Joba and Hughes.  The range and age of your shortstop.  A-Rod’s hip, which was supposedly going to need more surgery but somehow didn’t.  Are the Feds coming for A-Rod and why is he dodging them?  Will Yankee Stadium in 2010 become the setting of some sort of Bourne film with A-Rod dashing through the stands with Matt Damon chasing him?  It’s probably a safe bet that they all the holes won’t all open at once, and that the Yankees could overcome some of them, but that’s why we play the games. When the dust clears you may find yourselves in third place and playing golf in October.

Your cross-town rival,

Optimistic Mets Fan

Still Cheating

The baseball players that decided to cheat, especially the ones that cheated this century, are unlikely to have stopped cheating because of testing. In past decades these things were almost universally, if secretly, accepted in baseball so It’s harder to be annoyed at any one guy. Everyone was cheating to get that edge. But as Balco happened, as we started to talk about making baseball clean, many people continued to cheat. The guys that have been caught, A-Rod among them, aren’t likely to have stopped because of the 2004 testing policy, especially considering how weak the original penalty was. More likely these guys, used to taking something undetectable that gave them a boost, simply switched to something else undetectable. Many of them are wealthy and have access to many trainers and resources that can provide these things. So even when A-Rod tries to tell us, as guys like Pettite have told us in the past, that it was a momentary mistake, they only did it once, they’re clean now, it’s hard for me to believe. I’m sure most of them switched to HGH or something else that is undetectable in today’s drug tests.

Classless organizations

Enough with A-Rod. I actually like A-Rod while he’s not currently employed by those people, but I’m tired of the crazy rumors and speculation. Would he just sign somewhere already?

As for the Yankees supposedly willing to talk again? It’s such a joke.

They’ve gone back on their word.
They’re staging a one-man boycott of an agent, which will only hurt them in the end. You can’t arbitrarily not deal with players because of who their agent is.
They expending quite a bit of effort and attention on basically keeping together a team that won one postseason game last year. They’re putting an awful lot of faith in those young pitchers, which is the only real area you could expect improvement.
They just barely stopped short of asking A-Rod to crawl back to them, beg for his money, and apologize for opting out. Real classy.

As for the Mets, It’s still a long offseason, but I’m getting antsy for some sort of real move, involving hopefully a bullpen guy or a starting pitcher.

Today’s resignings

I have no problem with resigning Alou. In fact I wanted someone like him for next year. I want Alou, Beltran, and Milledge opening day. I wonder if this move was made with the thought of trading Gomez, but if not, Gomez(and Endy) can get a fair amount of left field time in when Alou is out.

I’ve never been a big fan of Easley, and while he had some moments last year, i’m not sure where he fits with this team. Unless they’re thinking of trading Gotay, this puts us in exactly the situation as last year with an overload at second base. Unless they’re thinking Easley off the bench, a job that he’ll hopefully play second-fiddle to Marlon Anderson. Does this effect the possibility of resigning Castillo? I hope not. (or the possibility of the A-Rod, Wright to second stuff?)

Good to see the Mets start making some news. The 2007 is officially over, and it’s time to forget that, and focus on the future and stop letting the Yankees take all of the attention.

A-Rod and Joe Torre

The New York Yankees, as is typical of their history, again act without class in firing Joe Torre. A move that I am really happy about, because I think it opens the door for the Yankees to not make the playoffs next year. If Mariano, Pettite, Posada or/and A-Rod decide to use the manager change as an excuse to leave for another team, the Yankees will take a blow. Hopefully at least one of them leaves.

As for A-Rod, I expect it won’t be all about the money this time. He was willing to take some sort of pay cut to go to Boston. Only the greed of the players association kept him from going there. Maybe he’ll overlook getting 900million dollars this time and take merely 800million to go somewhere that he’ll be happy and have a chance to win. How much Joe Torre effects that, it’s hard to say. Likely Mariano and Posada could have made a decision by the time A-Rod does.

In my last article at totk.com, I talk about A-Rod’s impending pay day and how he’s probably worth it. Hopefully someone else realizes this and takes him away from the Yankees. The former ‘Bronx Bombers’ used to have both the single season, and all-time home run records, but now they have neither. Babe Ruth was still probably the best slugger ever, but now his curse is focused on them. A-Rod leaving would pretty much prevent the Yankees from making an attempt at either record for a long time. Losing the best player in baseball could only hurt a team.

A team that payed Kei Igawa and Carl Pavano for pretty much nothing worthwhile this season, were supposedly upset about giving Torre an extra couple of million dollars, and now they’re stuck looking for an option that has a prayer at living up to what Torre has done for the team. Likewise by not extending Rivera’s contract before the season started like he wanted, they’re risking letting him get away. There shouldn’t have been any doubt that Rivera would be wanted on the team beyond this year, but someone that makes the decisions decided it wasn’t worth paying the guy who may very well be the most valuable Yankee over the last 12 years.

Things look like they could be bleak in the future for the Yankees, just how I like them.

Notes from Early September

Pedro: He’s looking better and better. Hopefully the end of the season doesn’t come before he peaks.

Book review: I just finished a new Mets book, my write-up to come.

David Wright: You all know the story here, and it’s really no surprise. He’s an uncrowned leader and most valuable player of at least the Mets.

Bullpen: It’s looking better. Remember that in the playoffs it’ll also have one or two of our five strong starters.

A-Rod: Suddenly talk has risen about him surpassing Roger Maris. I don’t think he will; he’s actually four or five behind the pace. I’m torn about whether I think he’ll tie the Babe at 60 or fall one short. The Curse of the Bambino will permit nothing else.

Tonight’s game is an example of how the Mets just aren’t going to win every single game, but Reyes has three doubles so far, which is nice to see. Reyes does get into a funk every once in a while, and I think the grind of the season caused Reyes to take longer to break out of it this time.

I really like Wright batting third. I didn’t think I would at first, but somehow this lineup just seems right. Reyes has been getting some criticism about his production this year, but I think it’s mostly unfounded. He doesn’t have as many RBIs or home runs this year, but that’s not his game, and lately the complaints have been that he’s popping up the ball too much. I think he has improved; his runs are a little behind this year, but I actually think they reflect better on him this year. He’s gotten more of those runs manufactured this year, through his many stolen bases, whereas last year Lo Duca and Beltran and Delgado were driving him in. This year the offense behind him was a little slow, which kept him from scoring more often than not.

I will be at Shea tomorrow night, courtesy of the free tickets from the Mets for attending the Mets at the Movies promotion. I’d invite you to come say hello, but the tickets are for section 41, row Q. I think I can find two seats a teensy bit closer than that at least. I’ll also be in my usual seats (UR section 15, Row G) for Saturday too.

And it begins

Apr 02, 2007 02:06 PM

The Mets played wonderfully last night. There were some blips here and there, and some nice plays to get them out of trouble too. Watching them play like a continuation of 2006 and nothing like this past March just reaffirms how I feel about them taking this division. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them be the first team to clinch a spot in the playoffs again this year.

Willie Randolph is a big part of that. Even when I disagree with his moves, I can see what he’s thinking and understand it. I love that he continues to put Wagner out there in non-save situations, challenging him to be ready always. He won’t be surprised again to come into a four run game and blow it. I also like that he’s open to change, experimenting with David Wright batting second in the spring. I really like Joe Smith, think he could be a big part of the team this year, and it was great to see Willie put him in last night where he could get his feet wet.

The season continues, A-Rod’s already made an error and struck out with runners in scoring position. Hopefully the Mets will continue to make news so that we don’t have to listen to the jibes about A-Rod and if he will opt out of his contract all year.