Now that the Dodgers season is officially over, I’d like to look back at the Manny Ramirez experiment. Sure it’s not over, but as a Los Angelino, I’m saddened by the fact that there’s nothing to look forward tow with respect to Maniaco. In hindsight, the Dodgers’ best move would have been to not sign him to the two year $45 million contract they gave him in the beginning of this year. I know it was Manny’s power that pushed them inot the playoffs last year, sweeping the Cubs and eventually losing to the Phillies in the NLCS. Fast-forward 1 year, and what do we have? A post-steroid Manny who can’t hit a whiffle ball and a Dodgers’ clubhouse filled with unpredictable pitching. Why didn’t they lock up Cliff Lee? All they had to do is give up one of those young “studly” pitchers they have. The same pitchers that got shelled by the Phillies. Sure, the NLCS is an accomplishment and considered a successfull season for many teams. But not if you were there the year before and supposed and cruised to the best records in the league the following year. The Dodgers aren’t/weren’t built for the post-season. And I’m not talking about the shitty Cards that they spanked (let’s not even bring out that dropped ball by Matt Holliday). The best thing that happened to the Dodgers this year was Many’s 50 game suspension. Unfortunately, he’ll be around for the entire year next year because there is no way he’s going to opt out. I can’t see anyone pay this guy a tenth of what he is making right now, and at age 38, good luck. Now if only the Angels could shock the world and beat the Yanks in 7. GO RALLY MONKEY!!!
The champagne was still flowing in the Red Sox clubhouse when Alex Rodriguez opted out of his Yankees contract. Everyone knew that A-Rod had ten days after the World Series to opt out of the remaining three years of his contract, but no one expected it to come this early. This on the heels of the Yankees preparing to offer him a five year extension worth $150 million. The Yankees have said repeatedly that if Rodriguez opted out, they would not pursue him on the free agent market. Now we have a chance to see if they stay true to their word. Not long after Rodriguez and his agent, Scott Boras filed, Hank Steinbrenner issued a statement saying that Rodriguez doesn’t appreciate the privelage of being a Yankee and that they basically don’t want him around. Sounds like fighting words to me. Now the list of suitors can line up for quite possibly the greatest player of our generation. The list should be a short one, with the Angels, Cubs, and the Red Sox believed to be the only ones that can afford him. This will be the greatest contract in the history of sports. Stay tuned.
One last Joe Torre article and I’ll put this baby to rest. I think Joe Torre is an avid reader of On The Buzzer, because just one day after I told him to grow some balls and tells the Yankees to shove it, that’s just what he did. Good for you Joe! The Yankees tried to low-ball Torre with a one year extension, and Torre said thanks but no thanks. Now look, I haven’t been the biggest Joe Torre supporter. I think he was made into a god for winning in New York, when with that payroll half the managers in MLB could do the same. I think he would wine a bit too much when the Yankees lost and not give the other team enough credit, and I think he loved the spotlight a bit much as well. But I’ll be the first too admit that the guy seemed like one of the good guys. Now that he’s gone, I kind of miss him already. Strange, but when you go through the past twelve years hating someone and the team that he manages, then all of a sudden it’s over, you miss it a bit. I’m not sure who the next manager of the Yankees will be, reports are Don Mattingly is a shoe in, but it will take some time to develop the type of hatred/respect that I had for Torre. It’s the end of an era in Yankee town and for me. We’ll miss you Joe, and I think Bobby Cox may be retiring in a year, how about coming back to Atlanta and finishing off where you started? Think about it.
Is it just me or is ESPN owned by the New York Yankees? Call me crazy but I thought the Yankees were eliminated by Cleveland over a week ago. That’s right, the same Cleveland that is one win away from the World Series, but you wouldn’t know that unless you paid close attention because ESPN is too busy reporting about Yankees orginazational meetings in Tampa at George Steinbrenner’s house. Is it necessary to talk about organizational meetings? You don’t hear about the San Diego Padres having organizational meetings, or how about the Los Angeles Angels. No, you just keep hearing about the Yankees, and how there is no decision yet about Joe Torre, or how The Boss is giving control to his sons, or how Don Mattingly really is ready to manage if called upon. Every day there is something new. Now I’m not naive, I know the Yankees are the biggest sports franchise in America, but come on. Do we really need to know when so and so cleaned out his locker and what brand of cologne he was wearing. So if you’re keeping score at home, there is still no word on Joe Torre, and believe me, he is waiting by the phone like that little school girl waiting for the school hunk to call her back. Grow some balls Joe and tell Steinbrenner to take his job and shove it up his ass, I think you’ve earned that right haven’t you? And Mattingly, we are all relieved to hear that you are ready to manage. So tune in tomorrow for another update on ESPN about their beloved Yankees.
That was the statement sent out by the Yankees on Friday. Joe Torre could still be back but he might have to take a pay cut. Torre was the highest paid manager in baseball earning 7 million. Since the Yankees lost in the division series to Cleveland, all indications have been that Torre would be out, however they have left him spinning in the wind waiting for his fate. If Torre had any pride he would walk away from the Yankees and tell them to shove it. He gave them 12 great years, taking all the crap that came along with it, and he should get a bit of respect. At the end of the day baseball is still a business and the Yankees should do what is best for their club, whether that’s with Torre at the helm or without. Torre should put his ego aside and grow some balls. The fact of the matter is Torre eats up the lifestyle that comes with being the manager of the most famous sports franchise in America and I doubt he will walk away. In fact, I think they may have to drag him out. So if it takes a pay cut for him to stay, I think he’ll take it and make up some crap about how his taking a pay cut will help the team’s payroll and give them the best chance of winning. So we might not have seen the last of teary eyed Joe.
George Steinbrenner had the mandate yesterday, win or don’t come back, and now the Yankees are headed into the offseason with more question marks than the Riddler’s costume. Joe Torre speaking like a man who’s been beaten by the Indians and by his own boss, referred to the the Yankees as “they” as in “they have a great future.” Mariano Rivera is a free agent and was visibly upset at the Yankees for not negotiating a new contract with him during the season. However, Rivera is 37 and showed signs that he was human this year, and with Joba Chamberlain waiting in the wings, do you give the aging closer a new multi-year deal? Jorge Posada is another question mark. Coming off one of his most productive seasons, but he is 36 and you wonder what the life span is for a catcher at that age. Roger Clemens proved to be a high priced bust and maybe he can wander off into the sunset and take his place in Cooperstown. Then the big question, do you sign Alex Rodriguez? Coming off a year in which he is a lock for MVP, ARod will certainly opt out of his contract and seek God like money. The Yankees took a stance and said they would not resign him if he tested the market, but I see them wavering on that one and opening up the bank for quite possibly the greatest player of our generation. Finally will Joe Torre be back? Don Mattingly has been groomed to take over, and if you listen to the Boss, Torre has already cleaned out his desk. But we have heard these idle threats before. Remember last year when ESPN.com reported that Torre was out and Lou Piniella would be the new manager? We all saw what happened there. Steinbrenner isn’t the same man and some say he suffers from dementia, so we’ll have to wait and see. I for one am looking forward to the offseason and all that will ensue.
Move over Reggie Jackson, the new sheriff in town is Josh Beckett. Beckett continued his post-season mastery by shuting out the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, while striking out eight, with no walks and no extra base hits. This was Beckett’s third career post-season shutout, tying him with hall of famers Three Finger Brown and Whitey Ford. The only player to have more post-season shutouts is Christy Mathewson with 4. Beckett is one of those rare players that just seems to turn it up in the playoffs and he picked up right where he left off after his last post-season performance in 2003 when he dominated the Chicago Cubs and later the New York Yankees in the World Series. Beckett was named World Series MVP after the Marlins won. The funny stat is that Beckett only has 2 career regular season shutouts in comparison to his 3 post-season ones. That’s the kind of player you want on the mound, and that’s the kind of player that’s going to lead his team to the title once again.
Two days after completing one of the most memorable collapses in MLB history, NY Mets GM Omar Minaya announced that Willie Randolph will remain their head coach. The Mets blew a 7 game lead with 17 remaining, to be outed by the Philadelphia Phillies on the last day of the season. I don’t know about you guys, but someone better get the ax for this. Now I’m no Met fan, but if my Angels blew this kind of lead, I would want some heads to roll. Maybe pitching coach Rick Peterson should bite the bullet or even hitting coach Howard Johnson. All I know is while the Mets are giving their support to their staff, those other guys across town are getting ready to walk through the 1st round of the playoffs against those janky Cleveland Indians.
After 161 games, the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies are tied for first place in the NL East. If both win on Sunday, then the Phillies will travel to the Big Apple and play the Mets for the whole enchilada. This is playoff fever folks, what baseball is all about. The greatest part of this year’s playoffs is that its up for grabs without any clear cut favorites. One final prediction: a bench clearing incident on Saturday will drive the Mets deep into the playoffs.
Game over, words directly linked with superstar closer Eric Gagne. After a series of injuries or what some would call “unjuicing,” Eric Gagne thougth he would rejuvenate his career with the Texas Rangers, and now the Boston Red Sox. But after going from the most dominant pitcher to the only alternative, the Sox and their fans are now realizing what the rest of the league knew for a long time…this guy is done. On Tuesday night, in the thick of a pennant race, Gagne gave up 3 earned runs in the bottom of the eight and took the loss against the Blue Jays. His 4.18 era is probably not what the Red Sox signed up for. With the Sox struggling and the Yankees hot on their heels, this was a win they needed. Gagne better “tinker” with his mechanics or else he’ll get kicked to the curb before the Sox can say wildcard.