Checking in on two practically perfect pitching prospects, several seasons on.
On the night that Homer Bailey pitched his second career no-hitter, fanning nine Giants against only one walk, Phil Hughes was also in action. Hughes had a good outing, but hardly a historic one: he threw seven innings of one-run ball against the Twins, striking out three and walking two. Bailey’s start was the one that led SporsCenter, but it’s appropriate that the pair’s spots in their respective rotations were synched.
Bailey and Hughes have been linked for a long time. Both were hard-throwing, right-handed high schoolers selected in the first round of the 2004 draft. Hughes stands 6’5”; Bailey stands 6’4.” Hughes is less than two months younger. On our list of the top 100 prospects of 2007, Hughes placed second and Bailey ranked fourth, which made comparisons between them inevitable. Just breathe in the August, 2006-ness of this excerpt from Future Shock:
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There’s a strange thing that happens to normally rational baseball writers when discussing the Yankees. People who would normally question every assumption and demand to see some empirical proof blindly believe that the Yankees have mastered the dark art of picking up past-their-prime players and restoring some of their former success. The only evidence is anecdotal, so we know we’re being naughty and going off the reservation, sabermetrically speaking. But like Luke Skywalker, we’ve searched our feelings, and we know it to be true. And we’re only kind of kidding.
When the Yankees traded for a struggling Ichiro Suzuki last July, The Great Grant Brisbee—after acknowledging the absurdity of what he was about to say—wrote this:
If the Yankees could send their current roster back in time to a previous season, which one would they choose?
A few days ago, Ken Rosenthal wrote an article about the Yankees’ advanced age, entitled “Yankees working on getting younger.” “One thing we know,” Rosenthal wrote, “no matter how this season turns out—the Yankees need to get younger.” Then he went through all the ways the Yankees’ youth movement could work: young prospects panning out, good drafting, “a strategic trade or two.”
I’d like to suggest a simpler scenario: a time machine. Let’s say the Yankees are stuck with their current collection of talent—they can’t acquire anyone who isn’t already on their 40-man roster. But they can have that talent at any point in time. So if the Yankees want one of the MVP Award-winning incarnations of Alex Rodriguez instead of the 37-year-old version who can’t play baseball but looks great eating dinner, they can go get him.
A look at the ten most likely places for a new MLB club
It seems that nearly every week, articles surrounding the potential relocation of the A’s and Rays surface. A panel looking into a potential San Jose relocation for the A’s has been gridlocked since 2009 (and remember, the A’s have been looking to move to San Jose for a heck of a lot longer than that). The Rays haven’t been far behind in their efforts to get out of Tropicana Field. Whether it’s the commute for fans to get to the domed stadium, the aesthetics, or the need to be closer to an urban core, it seems that Tampa Bay has been seeking a new ballpark for just as long. Relocation for these two clubs is crucial.
Another thing that comes up less frequently but has extra meaning going into 2013 is expansion. With the Astros moving into the AL West, the American League and National League will now be balanced at 15 clubs a piece. The problem is that 15 is an odd number, and as a result, interleague will become a daily affair. It’s unlikely that’s something that the league wanted, so getting to 32 clubs would take care of that matter. That would mean revenues spread thinner with two extra mouths to feed. Additionally, it’s no given that one or both wouldn’t be revenue-sharing takers, and trying to get ballparks built is no easy feat in this economy. So, 30 is a number that seems to suit the “Big Four” sports leagues in North America. The NBA has it. Ditto for the NHL. Currently, only the NFL—which has the advantage of being highly centralized (revenues are shared more evenly across the franchises) and exceptionally popular—is the exception at 32 clubs.
A series that wasn't close ended with a game that wasn't close. The Tigers get a long break before the World Series, and the Yankees get a long offseason.
ALCS Game Four was decisive, but decidedly short on new narratives. What we saw, for the most part, was more of the same motifs that wove through the first three games. The Tigers pitched well; the Yankees couldn’t put anyone on. Some slumping Yankees batters were benched; Alex Rodriguez, despite not starting, still managed to steal some of the spotlight. We couldn’t get much more mileage out of a one-sided series: either the Yankees would do something drastic to change the script, or the Tigers would sweep. With Max Scherzer on the mound, the script stayed the same. The Tigers won the pennant, and the Yankees went quietly into what’s shaping up to be an eventful winter.
It can be hard to know which players to keep, and which players to dump, if you're running a major-league baseball team. (Those are the only options; keep or dump. Players who are not kept are all dumped.) But the wisdom of crowds has never led anybody astray, so the New York Daily News has asked its readers whom to keep and whom to dump. There are a lot of Yankees that the crowd would like to dump:
What would it look like if the Yankees actually consider moving Alex Rodriguez this winter?
Before Derek Jeter fractured his ankle on Saturday, talk of the Yankees centered on Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez is in a horrible slump and, unless he has a spectacular turnaround this month, baseball writers, fans and unnamed sources will spend the winter speculating about whether the Yankees will trade him. That, however, would be incredible. You see, the Yankees owe Rodriguez $126 million over the next five years*. Also, he has a no-trade clause. So, like swallowing a whole bunch of diamonds, trading A-Rod would be difficult, painful, and insanely expensive.
*This includes two reasonably reachable $6 million bonuses for home runs no. 660 and no. 714. It does not include three other $6 million bonuses for home runs no. 755, 762 and 763.
The Yankees offense is waiting for the fever to break, while Detroit is halfway to the World Series.
The tableau in the Yankees’ clubhouse after ALCS Game Two was telling: in a room packed with high-profile players, the greatest gaggle of reporters was gathered around the team’s hitting coach, Kevin Long. They had just filed in from the interview room, where Girardi had said, “We have to make adjustments.” Now they wanted to know what those adjustments would be. Standing just in front of Derek Jeter’s loudly vacant locker, Long fielded questions about why the Yankees haven’t hit over the first two games of this series or the last four games of the ALDS, and what they planned to do about it. At times, the exchange grew testy.