The Yankees might not want Sheffield, but reporters sure don’t want him to leave town

November 9th, 2006 → 6:05 am @

There was a player on the Red Sox — and I’m not giving any hints as to whom I’m talking about except that he currently plays for the Yankees — who was known around the league as a great interview, because he was usually open and available and more importantly because he’d pretty much say whatever it was any given reporter needed him to say at any given time. “So isn’t it awful that so-and-so keeps on putting himself above the team by playing while injured?” and “Aren’t you glad so-and-so puts the team first by playing while injured?” would both produce affirmative results, even if they were asked within minutes of each other.

Gary Sheffield has a similar reputation. I have no idea if it’s deserved…but in today’s paper, Sheffield once again shows why he’s a reporter’s wet dream, slamming Brian Cashman (“If George Steinbrenner was feeling better, my situation would already be resolved”), Bobby Abreu (“I’ve done more for the Yankees than he will ever do”), and the team in general (“I will tell you that not everything is rosy in Yankeeland. It’s all a facade — it ain’t real”). “Sheffield was soon talking about Alex Rodriguez,” the story goes on to say, in what could be code for, “Reporters then proceeded to press Sheffield on the Yankees’ most controversial and unpopular player; soon, we were asking why that jerk-face Derek Jeter didn’t stick up for his teammates.” The answer? Just what any good scribe would want: “When you have a teammate under fire like that, why would you keep your distance and just let people keep taking shots at him? If it was anybody else, their teammates would have stood up for them.” (Like Jeter?) “I’m not naming names, it is what it is, but it tells you a lot about the situation here. I like Alex, but we have different personalities. He doesn’t fight back because he wants everyone to like him, but that doesn’t work here. I will not let anyone take shots at me like that.”

Let’s see: shots at the team, the general manager, the new guy in the clubhouse, and the captain. Yeah, it definitely sounds like Sheff’s gonna be wearing pinstripes on Opening Day.

Post Categories: 2006 Hot Stove Season & Gary Sheffield & Sports Reporters & Yankees

And you wonder why Gary Sheffield’s on his sixth major league team

October 26th, 2006 → 5:55 pm @

Remember back in spring training when Gary Sheffield said the Yankees better pick up his 2007 option, or else? And remember how happy he said he was when Brian Cashman told him, yup, the team intended ot do just that? (“There was only one place [I want to play], and that still remains the same,” Sheff said at the time. “I don’t want to play for nobody else but the Yankees.”) Since then, Sheff has: 1. bitched and moaned when he was told that an intention to pick up a player’s option is different from actually picking it up; 2. said, after the Yankees traded for Bobby Abreu, that he didn’t feel threatened because he was a “team player” who wanted to help the team win a World Series.

Well guess what? The Yankees picked up Sheffield’s option…and he’s back to pouting the corner. “This will not work,” he said. “This will not work at all.” He then went on to say the team best not play him at first base or trade him to another team. (If only Gary had managed to stay someplace for five years he’d have that no-trade clause. Oh well.)

I know: this shouldn’t come as a surprise; players lie all the time, like, say, when they tell everyone who’ll listen they wouldn’t play for a team and that money doesn’t matter and then sign with that very same team in the offseason for marginally more money. And in a weird way, I can’t help but admire a guy who can take so many directly contradictory positions on one issue.

Post Categories: Gary Sheffield & Yankees

Questions from our loyal readers

October 16th, 2006 → 10:40 am @

Nate from Connecticut has a question for all you number freaks out there: have the Yankees spent more in player payroll this millenium to not win a World Series than the Red Sox did in 86 years? The Yankees, as has been wildly reported, have spent around a billion dollars on player salaries since 2000. The Sox, according to Nate’s computations, spent around $875,000,000 to not win a Series between 1985 and 2003, leaving them approximately $125 million for the period in between 1918 and 1984. only has a salary database going back to ’85; anyone know where Nate can find the rest of the info he needs?

Post Categories: Red Sox & Yankees

A $500,000 marketing campaign doesn’t buy what it used to

October 16th, 2006 → 10:25 am @

Back in September, Yale professor Jeb Rubenfeld published his first book, The Interpretation of Murder. It was the most hyped and most publicized first novel in a long time; Henry Holt had a mind-boggling first printing of 185,000 to go along with a 15-city book tour and an almost unprecendented $500,000 marketing campaign.

Rubenfeld’s book has been, to put it gently, a huge, spectacular, awe-inspiring flameout. It never hit the best seller list, and to date, BookScan reports that it’s sold approximately 15,000 copies; BookScan represents somewhere between 60 and 70 percent of book sales, which would put Interpretation somewhere between 21,500 and 25,000 sales. To put that in perspective, if Holt had simply spent its $500,000 on buying the book on Amazon, it could have bought around 28,000 copies and given them out as holiday presents.

EDIT: I haven’t seen it, but apparently there’s a WSJ story in today’s paper about this very subject. And here I thought I was all ahead of the curve.

Post Categories: Red Sox & Yankees

For the sixth year in a row, the Yankees are the most expensive team in history not to win a World Series.

October 7th, 2006 → 10:48 pm @

“They have won almost 600 games over six regular seasons, spending nearly $1 billion on salaries. They have imported some of the biggest stars in baseball, created their own cable network, set attendance records at their ballpark and broken ground on a new one.

But the one thing that used to define the Yankees, the boast spelled out across the marquee at Yankee Stadium, has escaped them. The Yankees no longer win championships.

Another year is over, and another chance is gone. The Yankees shuffled meekly from the postseason stage Saturday, falling to the Detroit Tigers, 8-3, in Game 4 of their American League division series at Comerica Park.”

— “For Yankees, October Has An Early Exit
Tyler Kepner
New York Times
October 7, 2006

Indeed. The Yankees — the heralded best-hitting team of all-time, the first team in history with three $20 million players, the first team in history with 11 $10 million players, and the second team in history with a payroll over $190 million (last year’s $208 million Yankees were the first) — have lost in the first round of the playoffs for the second year in a row.

Tomorrow’s headlines are gonna be fun.

The breakdown:

Alex Rodriguez, $25 million: 1-14, 4 Ks, 0 RBI, .071 av., .133 obp, .071 slg.
Derek Jeter, $20.5 million: 8-16, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 15 tb, .500 av., .529 obp, .938 slg.
Jason Giambi, $20.5 million: 1-8, 1 HR, 2 RBI, .125 av., .417 obp, .500 slg.
Mike Mussina, $19 million: 0-1, 7 IP, 5.14 ERA
Randy Johnson, $15.5 million: 0-1, 5.2 IP, 7.94 ERA
Bobby Abreu, $13.5 million: 5-15, 4 rbi, .333 av., .412 obp, .400 slg.
Johnny Damon, $13 million: 4-17, 1 HR, 3 RBI, .235 av., .278 obp, .412 slg.
Hideki Matsui, $13 million: 4-16, 0 RBI .250 av., .250 av., .312 slg.
Jorge Posada, $12 million: 7-14, 1 HR, 2 RBI, .500,. .563, .786
Gary Sheffield, $10.75 million: 1-12, 1 RBI, .083 av, .083 obp, .083 slg.
Mariano Rivera, $10.5 million: 1.0 IP, 0.00 ERA
Jaret Wright, $7.5 million: 0-1, 2.2 IP, 10.12 ERA
Kyle Farnsworth, $5.17 million: 2.0 IP, 0.00 ERA
Cory Lidle, $3.3 million: 1.1 IP, 20.25 ERA
Ron Villone, $2.5 million: 1.0 IP, 0.00 ERA
Bernie Williams, $1.5 million: 0-3, .000 av., .000 obp, .000 slg.
Mike Myers, $1.15 million: 0.0 IP, infinite ERA

Post Categories: 2006 Playoffs & Yankees

Damon: There must be a wormhole around here somewhere

October 7th, 2006 → 10:46 am @

From this morning’s Jerry Krasnick ESPN story on the Yankees 6-0 Friday night loss — and 2-1 deficit in the ALDS — against the Detroit Tigers:

“We negatively need to have more life,” Damon said. “Not so much rah rah, but that inner confidence that says, ‘Every time I go up to the plate, I’m going to get the job done.’ And when you don’t, the next guy needs to have that confidence.” (Emphasis added)

I assume that’s a typo on Krasnick/ESPN’s part, but there definitely is a lot of negativity:

New York Post
Yankees Loss Is Un-Kenny; Team on Brink After Rogers’ Gem; Joe Fumes
Paper Tigers: Yanks’ Expensive Ship Needs to be Wright-ed

New York Daily News
Yankees Face Doom, Gloom; Torre’s warning: End is Near
Last Licks for A-Rod; May Be Goner if Yankees Fail
Bernie Gamble a Bust
Yanks Big ‘O’ 0-for-key spots

New York Times
Yankees, Looking Powerless, Face Elimination
Rodriguez, Batting Cleanup, Fails to Repeat Success Against Rogers

Post Categories: 2006 Playoffs & Johnny Damon & Yankees

David Wells headed anywhere except to the Yankees

August 29th, 2006 → 6:47 pm @

From the “not-hugely surprising” department: the Sox are apparently shopping David Wells, who passed through waivers and can be traded to any team (although it’ll have to happen in the next couple of days for him to be eligible for the postseason). In this article, Buster Olney lists the Mets, Twins, Diamondbacks, Padres, Dodgers, Phillies, Cardinals, A’s, and Reds as possible destinations. That’s nine teams. Eight other teams have hopes of reaching the playoffs: the Tigers, White Sox, Giants, Marlins, Astros, Brewers, Braves, and Yankees. The Tigers and the White Sox aren’t in the market for starting pitching, despite recent woes. The ‘Stros have Clemens, Oswalt, and Pettitte; their problem is their pen. The Marlins would only agree to a trade if Wells paid them. The Braves’ best pitcher and its GM are too busy sniping back and forth to think about playing baseball in October, the Brewers are suffering from the curse of Bud Selig, and it wouldn’t be right if Barry Bonds got to finish his career in San Francisco with a trip to the playoffs.

That leaves the Yankees. Wells loves the Yankees. New York loves Wells (this guy notwithstanding). The Yankees could certainly use pitching: any team that’s relying on Jared Wright (9-7, 4.72), Cory Lidle (10-9, 4.64 ERA) and, um, Randy Johnson, (14-10, 4.96) can’t be totally secure about its starters. (And it doesn’t look like Carl Pavano will be helping the Yankees this year. Or ever.)

Which I guess means that while players have no compunction about jumping directly from one team to the other, the front offices still aren’t crazy about dealing with each other. Especially in the middle of a pennant race.

(Tomorrow if Wells ends up in pinstripes and this is proven wrong I’ll blame it all on Buster. No, not that one; this one.)

Post Categories: David Wells & Oblique references to Buster Bluth & Red Sox & Yankees