Hot Stove Still Smoldering

Sports Radio NY AM1240-WGBBContributor IDecember 16, 2009

How ya guys doin’? First thing I wanna talk about today is the hot stove of baseball still smoldering in the week following the winter meetings. As a diehard Yankee fan I tend to view everything that happens around the league as how affects the Bombers. This weekend brought news of the Empire still flexing its muscles by trading some young pitchers and their hot shot prospect to bring in all-star center fielder, Curtis Granderson. I love this move for a few reasons; first, this is another great guy entering the Yankee clubhouse. Not only did Jim Leyland send him off with the quote: “He’s everything that’s right about baseball.” But he was also chosen as the 2009 Marv Miller Man of the Year, an award given for outstanding work on and off the field. I like the direction that Cashman has gone with off-season acquisitions the last two years, as it seems he is computing clubhouse demeanor in his scouting process. It’s undeniable the effect that CC, AJ, Tex and Swish had on the Yankee clubhouse and Granderson is another step towards recapturing the feel of the classy, standup Yankee brotherhood that was the late 90’s dynasty.

In looking at what we gave up on; I wouldn’t have given Ian Kennedy up two years ago before the lat problems, but after the last two seasons, he becomes more expendable. Trading Phil Coke scares me a little because I don’t see Damaso Marte as a long-term solution as a left specialist.

The most intriguing piece in the whole deal to me is Austin Jackson. I can’t figure this kid out, he has been the talk of our farm system since we got him, but with the instability in CF obviously such a concern that the Yanks got an All-star, why didn’t he come up when Gardner went down? Knowing the Yankees how I do, I sense something wrong with this kid. (If he’s an All-Star in 3 years, I’ll write an entire column on why I was wrong about him.)

In other baseball news affecting the Yankees, the number 2 and 3 teams in the league both made pushes for big pitchers after the winter meetings. Boston and Philadelphia went out and grabbed the two jewels of the available off-season pitching group, and now all I can hope is that Brian Cashman is dialing Joe Urbon as fast as he can to talk about the latest Red Sock to Yankee heist, Jason Bay.

First, when I heard about Roy Halladay to the Phillies, I was instantly relieved that we don’t have to see that guy four times a year anymore. Honestly, that was the best thing that could have happened with Halladay, other than the Yankees snagging him. (Which I was praying for so maybe Joba can go back to where he belongs). The way it works out, he’s out of the division, he isn’t paired up with Cliff Lee, Cliff Lee didn’t come to the division in return, and the Red Sox didn’t get him. However, that’s not to say the Sox didn’t make big moves this weekend, because they certainly did. They not only signed John Lackey, the number 1 pitcher on the free-agent market, but they also got to take a jab at the Yanks by having the terms of the contract described as “a little more than Burnett got”.

Lackey scares the hell out me because now they have 3 absolute studs in Lackey, Lester and Becket. With the back end of their rotation hit or miss with two guys who are either injured or pitching like aces, the Red Sox rotation, on paper, is the best they’ve had in years. While I am holding my breath waiting for Cashman to come out and strike, the Red Sox are continuing to make moves, and as of right now they are ready to announce a two-year $15.5 Million dollar deal with OF Mike Cameron. While he isn’t on the same level as Curtis Granderson, it is nonetheless another improvement in Boston, albeit one that shows they expect to not come to terms with Jason Bay.

All-in-all the last week in baseball is a prime example of what I tell every Yankee-hater; the Yankees spending what they do is the best thing for baseball. Sports are best when the Yankees, Lakers, Cowboys, Notre Dame are performing at highest levels, because whether you hate a team or love a team, you are a fan of a team if you react to every move they make, whether you cheer for or root against.

As a parting shot, I would love to implore everybody to leave Tiger alone. The man has made some mistakes in his personal life, as have many, many people, and it isn’t fair for us to continue to destroy him over and over again. Put yourself in his shoes, his marriage is falling apart and he was in a car accident. Now, because of our obsession with seeing him fall as far as possible, we are ripping him to shreds with everything from steroid accusations, to portraying him as a sex-craved pervert, and it all needs to end. I’m going to be the first to say to Tiger: We’re sorry for what we are doing to you, If it wasn’t for the fact that we worshipped and respected you so much no one would be doing this to you, so just take it as a compliment that enough people care about your life that you have been on Sportscenter every day for two weeks.

That’s all I’ve got for you guys today, but check back in tomorrow for a few words on the Nets traveling to Cleveland and some talk about the fast-approaching Big East conference season.