Browsing Posts published in February, 2012

The Yankees and incumbent catcher, Russell Martin discussed a multi-year deal during this off-season. The 29-year-old backstop rebounded in a big way last season as a member of the Yankees. Martin hit 18 HRs and drove in 65 runs in 125 games. More importantly, Martin was excellent with the younger Yankee pitchers. Martin, who is owed $8 million in 2012, is set to become a free-agent in 2013. Some of Martin’s counterparts are starting to secure multi-year contract extensions. And to be clear–Martin’s services won’t come cheaply if he continues to perform.

AP Photo

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Baseball screwed up.

Again.

But baseball has been screwing up since its inception in the late 1800s. Baseball fans have endured scandals, steroids, championship runs, and everything in-between. More times than not, the MLB has punished those who have broken the rules. As of 2008, the Collective Bargaining Agreement laid out strict rules for failed drug tests. First time offenders would serve a 50-game suspension with steeper penalties for each additional infraction. Manny Ramirez, who is no stranger to this rule, will serve his second suspension this season. While Manny is known for his theatrics and off-field comments, his career numbers (555 HRs, 1,851 RBIs, .312 career batting average) rank him among the all-time greats. With that being said, Major League Baseball did an absolutely horrible job by letting its most recent offender (Ryan Braun) off the hook. Here’s why:

Blah, Blah, Blah I'm A Cheater Blah, Blah, Blah--AP Photo

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The NHL trade deadline came and went without a big splash from the Rangers. Rick Nash remains in Columbus and the Rangers’ roster remains intact. This is good news for the Rangers.  They keep their current chemistry and hopefully stay on their current roll.

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On Sunday, the Washington Nationals and 27-year-old third baseman, Ryan Zimmerman agreed to a six-year, $100 million contract extension. Zimmerman, who had two years and $26 million remaining on his contract, essentially signed an eight-year, $126 million deal. That’s big bucks for one of the game’s underrated players.

While Zimmerman just collected big bucks, the New York Mets have their own late-20s third baseman who is approaching free agency. Given Zimmerman’s hefty contract, is it reasonable to expect the Mets to keep David Wright?

Will The Price Be 'Wright'--AP Photo

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Chase Buddinger. Jeremy Evans. Paul George. Derrick Williams.

Let’s be honest. The casual sports fan probably has no idea who these guys are. Even the most loyal NBA fan (myself) had no idea who Jeremy Evans was. Well, these four professional athletes came together on Saturday night for Sprite’s annual ‘Slam Dunk Contest’. After watching the first round of dunks, I had to turn this off to watch something more entertaining. (Luckily for me, Operation Repo was on).

The NBA’s most storied All-Star event that once featured Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, and Julius Erving, has turned into a ‘who is that dude?‘ contest filled with the same old uninspiring dunks. With that said, here’s a way for the NBA to restore the Dunk Contest’s image and bring the game’s best out for the event.

Who?--AP Photo

 

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In a very, very underrated move, the Yankees agreed to a very cheap, two-year deal with RHP, David Aardasma. Aardasma, who saved 69 games for the Mariners in 2009 and 2010, did not pitch last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in July. Due to the recovery time associated with the surgery, Aardasma could join the Yanks in the second half. If he makes the big league roster this year, Aardasma will make $500,000. The same salary structure applies for next season.

AP Photo

Essentially, the league minimum is $400,000 so the Aardasma signing carries little to no risk for the Yanks. If he does not rehab or perform well, the Yankees can cut him. If turns out to be a viable bullpen option, the Yankees have a very nice, cheap option on their hands.

Since the Yankees agreed to a Major League contract with Aardasma, a move needed to be made to the 40-man active roster. LHP Pedro Feliciano, who still hasn’t made his Yankee debut, was put on the 60-day DL.

This was just Cashman being Cashmoney.

All-Star Weekend is here. Needless to say, this shortened NBA season has been fast-faced and full of drama. The Miami Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder sit atop their respective conferences while the New York Knicks (17-18) have one of this season’s best stories. On the other side of town, the New Jersey Nets (10-25) have dealt with injuires, Dwight Howard trade rumors, and speculation about the future of Deron Williams.

With both teams expecting to rebound in the second half, here are first half grades for both teams.

Lin is Lin--AP Photo

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Over the last twelve months, the Mets have started to perform a full makeover. Jose Reyes won his batting title and ran to Miami. The Mets stole Zach Wheeler from the Giants in exchange for Carlos Beltran. And K-Rod was dealt to the Brewers to set-up for John Axford. Those subtractions have created three big holes that the Mets will try to fill. While some holes will be larger than others, the backend of the Met bullpen is definitely an important part. After K-Rod left, the Mets relied on a Jason IsringhausenBobby Parnell closer by committee approach. After this duo blew a total of ten saves, Sandy Alderson wasted no time adding three relievers who have had success as closers. Free agents, Jon Rauch, Ramon Ramirez and Frank Francisco will compete with Izzy and Parnell for the closer’s role in Queens. With five potential closers in the fold, which player will claim the all-important ninth inning duties?

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During the last year, we’ve watched a few special New York athletes truly breakout. In New Jersey, Jason Pierre Paul registered 15.5 sacks and helped the Giants win the Super Bowl. In Manhattan, Jeremy Lin is the starting point guard of the Knicks and has taken the city (and now country) by storm. On Long Island, center John Tavares has scored 22 goals and is on pace to break his career scoring record. Moving forward, one young New York baseball player is ready to break out and his name is not Michael Pineda..

Who Is This Dude?--AP Photo

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After AJ was dealt to the Bucs, it was only a matter of time before the Yankee bench was finalized. The Yanks and Raul Ibanez agreed yesterday while the Yanks and Eric Chavez agreed tonight. Per Jon Heyman, Chavez signed a one-year, $900,000 Major League contract. He has some incentives in there, but he’ll likely spell A-Rod at third on occasion. Remember, Chavez broke his foot last season and was sorely missed. Chavez didn’t bring much power to the plate with only two homers in 160 at-bats, but his error-less play in 42 games was more than the Bombers could hope for. 

With the move, the Yankees have 13 offensive players on their Major League roster. Barring a major injury, they’ll open the 2012 season with these players:

C: Russell Martin, Francisco Cervelli
INF: Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Eric Chavez, Eduardo Nunez
OF: Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher, Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez