Can Jeter Catch Rose?

The active hit leader now sits 74 hits shy of 3,000 and 1,330 short of Pete Rose’s all-time record.  He’ll be 37 in June and is now locked up potentially through his age 41 season.  Baseball Prospectus writer Neil Paine used formulas from the great Bill James and came up with a fair projection of 3,382.  The article goes on to give him a zero percent chance of catching Rose but what it ignores is the possibility that Jeter plays past the end of his contract. 

In Jeter’s first 15 full seasons, 2010 is the first that can truely not be called above average and is the first real sign of age.  Granted he could very well continue to decline and maybe he won’t even last to take the player option when he’s 41.  But if he can put together a few more productive seasons and he wants to come back, who’s to say he can’t hold on and make a run?  Highly unlikely, but still possible.

Rose had only 40 more hits than Jeter at this point, but looking at his numbers after age 40 (.272 AVG, .355 OBP, .327 SLG) you can see that he played far longer than he should’ve to allow him to catch Ty Cobb at age 45.

Through both of their age 36 seasons, the two have very similar numbers.  Jeter in fact is superior in every rate stat so one could make the argument that he will age slower than Rose but who knows how long he will actually hold on and play for. 

Pete Rose:





















































 Derek Jeter:






















































The Yankees could very well decide he’s not productive enough to play anymore and he may not want to take a limited role or leave New York.  Whatever the case may be, it’ll interesting to see if he bounces back this year and shows that 2010 was just a fluke or continues to decline.  The Yankees better hope it’s not the ladder or they’ll be stuck with a utility player making 17 million dollars a year. 

Continue reading

Imagining Life Without A Newspaper

A story that has me second guessing what to do with my life.  Jim Caple:


Tracy Ringolsby has covered baseball for so long that he’s in the Hall of Fame and can remember transmitting stories via Western Union. This spring brought a new experience. When his newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, abruptly stopped publishing last month, he needed to arrange a flight home from Tucson, Ariz. Then he learned his company credit card had been cut off. He wound up paying for his flight, hotel and rental car out of pocket, then submitted the expenses for reimbursement.


The bank refused to accept the check. Twice.


The check eventually cleared, but that story pretty much sums up the current state of newspapers, which makes the U.S. auto industry look robust.


In addition to the Rocky Mountain News, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, my former employer, ceased print publication last week after 146 years, laying off around 150 employees and retaining about 20 reporters to maintain a Web-only product, Three of the four newspapers that cover the world-champion Philadelphia Phillies on a daily basis filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 24/7 Wall St. speculated that the San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Detroit News, Miami Herald and Minneapolis Star Tribune are among 10 papers most likely to fold or publish only online.


And all that has happened just since pitchers and catchers reported for spring training.


I feel awful about the P-I situation. I know one writer who filed a story, then realized it might be the final game he would ever cover, sat in his car and cried. I’ve heard stories about reporters (husband/wife couples who both were thrown out of jobs) that made me want to weep, too. But I also realize the only difference between these employees and the millions of others thrown out of work in the past year is that the newspaper pink slips strike much closer to home for me.


My school of choice, Suffolk University in Boston, costs 43,000 dollars a year.  My question to myself: why pay that to get into a field that makes on average only 42,000 dollars per year?  Why pay that much to get into a field that may be obsolete by the time I have my degree?

Caple brought up quite a few newspapers close too going down but The Philadelphia Daily News, Chicago-Sun Times, New York Daily News, Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, and Cleveland Plain Dealer all could go under within two years.  The Houston Chronicle and Atlanta Journal-Constitution have combined to lay off about 300 workers already.

This is a sad time in American history.  When I am old and grown up and my son asks me what my first job was, I am also going to have to explain to him what a newspaper even is.  Circulation rates are constantly dropping and newspapers could go extinct a lot sooner than you think. 

If you don’t have a subscription to a local newspaper, think about investing in it.  Once newspapers are gone for good they won’t be coming back.  Web content from newspapers won’t be free anymore in the coming years.  I guarantee once you pay your first online subscription your going to miss something people have taken for granted for centuries.

There is no substitute in life for what you read in the morning everyday with your coffee.  Something that’s been a basis of American life for centuries is about to die off in a decade, and that is very sad.



What’s Wrong With The WBC?

Sorry I haven’t gotten on I a while to make a post, I’ve been busy being absorbed my March Madness, which is exactly what’s wrong with the World baseball Classic. Jayson Stark:

What happened to the Americans who should love the WBC most? They aren’t watching. That’s what. Not enough of them are, anyhow. Either they’ve been way too preoccupied with how to handicap Wake Forest-Cleveland State, or the folks locked in on baseball are more focused on their teams. Understandably, too. Why wouldn’t Yankees fans care more about who their center fielder is going to be than who’s going to close for Team USA? Sure, it’s possible to care about both, I guess. But why is baseball so intent on competing against itself? What kind of business sense does that make? 



But in the end, here’s what I want to see happen:

I want this event to be everything it should be. I want to see Roy Halladay dueling Johan Santana, with Josh Hamilton at the plate, Ryan Howard on deck and Jonathan Papelbon warming up in the bullpen.


I want the night of the WBC finals to feel like baseball’s version of Super Sunday. I want it to be one of the most momentous nights on the entire sports calendar.


And I want spring training to feel like spring training again — not the background noise for the WBC.


Speaking of which I had Wake Forest in the final four and my bracket is officially busted but that is besides the point.  The World Baseball Classic is trying to compete against one of the premier events in all of sports.  March Madness falls behind maybe only the Super Bowl in sporting significance in the United States.  So why do it then?  No one is in shape, everyone is getting hurt, and no one wants to do it.  What other time is there to do it you ask?



 I heard this proposal from the always-incisive Buck Martinez, who managed Team USA in the 2006 WBC. Here’s his idea:


Bag the All Star Game every four years and play the whole WBC during what would otherwise be All Star Week in July.


The sites would be the three metropolises with two ballparks — New York, Chicago and L.A./Anaheim. No off days in each round for any team still alive. Finish the entire tournament in one week in July. And hold the finals on a Sunday, in prime time, when there isn’t another sporting event in America to serve as competition. But, most of all, play this event when “players are ready,” Martinez said.


“In July, players are ready to go,” he said. “Players are in optimum shape. You’d take extra starters, so you’d have one starter start a game and that’s it. And you’d give the rest of baseball a week’s vacation in the middle of the summer. I think it would be a great thing for baseball.


“Then everybody’s in shape. Nobody’s concerned. Then you might get the Roy Halladays and Brandon Webbs and Jon Lesters and Josh Becketts. But if you hold it in March, then I understand why they won’t do it.”


What’s the down side: Excellent idea. But there are two reasons owners would balk: (1) No interest in abandoning tradition by not holding the All-Star Game and (2) forcing half the clubs in baseball to give up a weekend worth of gates in July. To me, the positives take a unanimous decision over the negatives. But it would be a tough sell.


Outside of the United States, the WBC is a huge success.  In Japan, TV ratings are said to rival the Super Bowl.  Buck Martinez’ plan would be a hit in the United States.  The All-Star game is not what it was to earlier generations.  No one would mind if they canned it once every three or four years in favor of a tournament that would fall behind only the Olympics and World Cup in sporting significance on this planet.

Per capita, the Dominican Republic may be the best, and internationally Cuba may be the most successful, but no matter how you look at it the United States is the best baseball country in the world and without us on board then the credibility of the tournament becomes drastically diminished.

The length of the tournament could easily be shrunk down to a week. One option would be to have a single elimination tournament which would be over in four days.  The other would be to leave it as is in a double elimination format, but take away the championship games for each pool which seem to be very unnecessary.  That version would be over within four days.  Maybe they could even play the first round in spring training and just send the final eight to the new “Midsummer Classic.”

This would allow us to finally move past the ridiculous rule that the winner of the All-Star game wins home field advantage in the play-offs.  It should be whichever league wins the interleague series during the regular season anyway.  As for the money issue, last time I checked, Major League Baseball was in no financial danger.  And why would a tournament like this not make money.  There is nothing else going on around this time.  Baseball has a monopoly on the summer.  The possibilities are astronomical.


WBC Power Rankings: Week 3

Week 3 Power Rankings

1. United States (1)

2. Japan (2)

3. Korea (5)

4. Venezuela (4)

5. Cuba (3)

6. Puerto Rico (6)

7. Dominican Republic (7)

8. Mexico (8)

9. Canada (9)

10. Australia (11)

11. Netherlands (10)

12. Panama (13)

13. Italy (12)

14. China (14)

15. Taiwan (15)

16. South Africa (16)

WBC Power Rankings: Week 2


1. United States (1)- What’s the reasoning for splitting innings between Derek Jeter and Jimmy Rollins?  I’d personally go with Rollins.  They’re both similar hitters except he adds more speed and a significant upgrade in the field.  Doesn’t seem to be having a negative effect on either though, Rollins is hitting .600 and Jeter is at .400.

2. Japan (4) – Daisuke Matsuzaka is now 4-0 all-time in the WBC, look for 22-year-old Yu Darvish to follow in his footsteps and become the next big Japanese pitcher.

3. Cuba (5) – Six homers in an easy win over South Africa.

4. Venezuela (3) – Not much pitching depth after Carlos Silva, Armando Galarraga, King Felix and K-Rod as shown by Team USA’s 13 runs off their bullpen.

5. Korea (6) – Dangerous team looking to get back to the semi-finals.

6. Puerto Rico (8) – Carlos Delgado (.917 OBP, 1 HR) and Ivan Rodriguez (.545 AVG, 2 HR) are tearing the cover off the ball.

7. Dominican Republic (2) – No comment other than Pedro looks good.

8. Mexico (7) – Hairston Brothers (Scott and Jerry Jr.) were a huge aide in advancing Mexico out of the first round.

9. Canada (9) – Seattle Mariners pitching prospect Phillippe Aumont is absolutely dirty.

10. Netherlands (12) – I’m sure the win means the everything back in Europe but don’t buy into this team.  They are hitting .151 as a group, ranking dead last in the WBC and the Dominicans got 30 base runners as opposed to their 11 in the two games.  They got lucky, very lucky.  A hit here and a hit there mixed in with fewer than the six errors they made and D-R is obviously in Miami instead.

11. Australia (14) – Chris Snelling leads a team much improved from ’06 Classic when they ranked 13th in pitching (6.85 ERA) and dead last in hitting (.113 AVG).

12. Italy (11) – Upset Canada but not much else to show for ’09 Classic.

13. Panama (10) – Never had a chance, two and done without one run to show for it.

14. China (15) – They got their first victory, maybe this is the first stride in the development of Chinese baseball.

15. Taiwan (13) – 7.31 ERA would’ve been helped a bit if Chien-Ming Wang had been available.

16. South Africa (16) – Join Panama as the only countries yet to win a game, haha, country.

Red Sox Off-Season Better Than Yankees?


 Before I bite on Rob Neyer’s writing style, I must first say that even though I’m a Yankees fan, I couldn’t agree more with Jayson Stark’s assessment of the New York and Boston off-seasons:

But the Red Sox’s additions were products of a whole different philosophy, not just a whole different checking account. The four free agents they imported — John Smoltz, Brad Penny, Takashi Saito and Rocco Baldelli — cost this team 4 million fewer guaranteed dollars ($12.5 million total) than the Yankees will pay Burnett alone this year.

Nevertheless, the upside of those men gives the Red Sox four potential impact players without the price tags, or long-term inflexibility, that come with handing out contracts that run through 2016.

And that, for this team, was the whole idea.

 Took the words right out of my mouth.  All winter I shared mixed thoughts on the Yankees spending spree, first running wild with news of each new big signing before realizing how poorly each contract could turn out, as I briefly mention in my first post. 

Smoltz’ rehab has gone well and he was reported to have already been hitting 90 mph on the gun as early as January.  Pending an injury or an ineffective Penny or Tim Wakefield, he will be joining a rotation that already includes Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, and Daisuke Matsuzaka by the middle of June.  You know his heart will be in it to prove people wrong and guess who else is in the AL East?  That’s right the Yankees, same team that knocked the Braves out of his last two World Series. 

Just two seasons ago, Penny was 16-4 with a 3.08 ERA over 208 innings.  What happened last year?  That can’t really be explained.  His good stats seemed to be cut in half while his bad stats doubled and he dropped to 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA over just 94 2/3 innings.  Injuries didn’t seem to be the problem, though he spent some time on the DL.  He was sent home in September for being unproductive and a hindrance in the clubhouse.  A change of scenery could be all he needs.

Now Shifting to their bullpen, a very good bullpen should it hold together.  The thoughts of what it will look like are just plain frightening.  Justin Masterson, Hedeki Okajima, and Manny Delcarmen make up the middle innings.  Jonathan Papelbon is the best closer in the game and he will be set up by a guy who would make a pretty good closer himself in Saito should he come back healthy.  His brief three year career numbers: 81 saves, 11.63 K/9, 1.95 ERA, and a .91 WHIP.  He has one appearance this spring and showed no discomfort while going one inning, allowing a hit and striking out two.

Sure there are questions, lots of them.  Smoltz is 42 and Saito is 39, both coming off torn labrums in their elbows, a daunting task at any age.  If the deals don’t work out though, so what, they have the depth to make it without them.  Don’t forget about Clay Buchholz, though he struggled last year, and prospect Michael Bowden.

As for Baldelli, he fits in perfectly.  Since he lacks the stamina to play every day, slotting him in a fourth outfielder role works just fine for both sides.  Plus if someone gets hurt, they now have an All-Star talent sitting on their bench to take over. 


Do Smoltz and Penny equal Sabathia and Burnett? Depends how you look at it. Over the long haul? Not a chance. Which explains why that Yankees tag team hauled in $243.5 million, while Penny and Smoltz were guaranteed about one-23rd of that ($10.5 million).

But when it comes to pitching, the word that defines the Red Sox is “flexibility.” For 50 starts or so this year, if all goes right, Penny and Smoltz could give them just as much impact. Their one-year deals also give this team maneuverability to attack its needs again next winter.

–snip —


But remember this: The Yankees needed to add those players, because it was clear to the world that the Red Sox and Rays were both better and more talented. We didn’t mention the Rays until now, because this was a piece comparing the Red Sox and Yankees. But nobody should forget them once the season starts.

Regardless, though, no team had a more underrated offseason than the Red Sox. And we’ll find out over the next seven months exactly how good a winter they had.

“I just like the way they added depth and filled their needs,” said one scout, “without spending $423 million.”

I apologize for the long quote but it couldn’t have been worded any better.  I think the Red Sox have now cemented themselves as favorites in the AL East, especially with the A-Rod saga.  If the the moves work, then they make the play-offs and contend for the World Series.  If they don’t work, they could afford to make these moves anyway and didn’t break the bank in the process.  Either way the team is fine on the field and financially.  It’s just the beautiful part about being wise with your money.


Rodriguez Elects to Have Surgery

Alex Rodriguez has elected to have a basic hip operation that will only cost him 6-9 weeks, as opposed to the more complex surgery that could have cost him up to four months which he has put off until the offseason. 

Dr. Marc Philippon will be the operating surgeon and says that there is an 85-90 percent chance the surgery will hold for the entire season.  He also said that he thinks it’s more likely he’ll be back in six weeks rather than nine.

The Yankees, who are currently in the second year of a 10-year deal paying him 275+ million dollars, reportedly have an insurance policy in the event of him going to the disabled list.  It is unknown if this is actually true or how much money the Yankees would get back, but it is worth noting.

I think the surgery is the right call.  With at least 247 million dollars yet to be paid to him you have to be cautious.  Getting screwed here is the worst possible thing that could happen.  He absolutely needs to get back to full strength.

Fox Sport’s Ken Rosenthal wrote that he could be starting to age and that this may be the inevitable breakdown all players must one day face.  I wouldn’t go as far as saying that yet but it really makes you wonder how he will come back.

An expensive transaction like trading for Scott Rolen and undertaking his contract would be an utterly irrational move.  He could be back by the end of April and the Yankees can live without him for a month.  If it was half a season then I agree that it would be time to panic, but Cody Ransom can get the job done for a few weeks.  A quick fix like signing Mark Grudzielanek or trading for a Mark Teahan or Bobby Crosby would make sense.  Upon A-Rod’s return it wouldn’t hurt to have an experienced utility man and they’d still get a decent amount of playing time as he gets used to playing everyday again.

The decision allows Rodriguez to nurse himself back to health while at the same time leaving New York contenders in the AL East.  Alex and the Yankees made the right move for both of their short and long term futures.

Who’s Still Left Without A Team?

With Manny Ramirez and Orlando Cabrera officially signed, I take a look at what’s availible in the Unsigned Players Dept.

Top Remaining Free Agents

1.       Ben Sheets

2.       Ivan Rodriguez

3.       Ray Durham

4.       Jim Edmonds

5.       Paul Byrd

6.       Mark Grudzielanek

7.       Joe Beimel

8.       Pedro Martinez

9.       Will Ohman

10.   Kenny Rogers

11.   Moises Alou

12.   Frank Thomas

13.   Emil Brown

14.   Chad Cordero

15.   Curt Schilling

16.   Richie Sexson

17.   Rudy Seanez

18.   Luis Gonzalez

19.   Keith Foulke

20.   Sidney Ponson

21.   Mark Mulder

22.   Julian Tavarez

23.   Damion Easily

24.   Dave Roberts

25.   Ben Brousard


Ben Sheets gets the top spot only because of his dominant 2008 season and I don’t think anyone else on this list deserves it.  A torn flexor in his elbow will keep him out of action until at least July.  If he signs on with a team before the June draft then the Brewers will receive a compensation pick so don’t expect any offers until then…Ivan Rodriguez will use the World Baseball Classic to showcase all he has left.  The Mets, Astros and possibly Marlins have shown interest…There are reports that Moises Alou and Kenny Rogers may have unofficially retired…Paul Byrd will take at least early 2008 off to spend time with his family, but could get back into action by the All-Star break…Look for Mark Grudzielanek to get a look at third base in the Bronx should A-Rod need surgery…Pedro Martinez‘ velocity and stamina are both way down and  he’s had trouble finding work for this season.  The Cardinals may bring him on and try him in the closer’s role…Former All-Stars Chad Cordero and Curt Schilling are off injuries costing them both the 2008 seasons but are still trying to find work.

More A-Rod News From Tampa

alex-rodriguez-stretching.jpgAlex Rodriguez has a torn labrum and a cyst on his right hip.  It may require surgery and would effectively knock him out of the World Baseball Classic and the Yankees line-up until May or possibly as late as the All-Star break.  The ladder would cost New York 88 games without its premier slugger.  With things as close as they are in the AL East, they’d take a step back behind the Rays and Red Sox. 

Jayson Stark speculated on Sportscenter earlier that they could take a look at Bobby Crosby or Mark Teahan.  If the injury worsens over the season then players like Adrian Beltre or Garrett Atkins could get some looks as well, but nothing is close.

You could have a worse back-up than Cody Ransom, but that’s exactly what he is, a backup.  He’s a 33-year old utility player with all of 183 at-bats (.251/.348/.432) in the majors since 2001 while also spending time with the Giants and Astros.

A report was just released that he will have his hip drained and that he is going to try to play through it and rejoin the team.  He is still out of the WBC.  Hopefully for him and the Yankees he can get back right away and continue to prove that he can produce while playing clean to try to clean up his image before it is forever tarnished, though it may be too late.