night rule night hans
Addition by addition — Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Bobby Jenks, the hopefully renewed health of injured stars — was one-half of the trick. Addition by subtraction was the other, and the decision late last week by the Yankees’ Andy Pettitte to retire was just the latest winter storm that tracked directly over The Bronx and appears destined to knock the Yankees (and probably the Rays as well) down the AL East pecking order for at least the 2011 season.
What separates the Pettitte news from the multitude of hits the Rays have sustained is that it is the second punch to the gut in the one area — the rotation — where the Yankees were already getting pummeled.After A.J. Burnett blew up last season, the team placed all of its eggs in Cliff Lee’s free agent basket. But when Lee had the nerve to turn down both the Yankees and the Rangers in order to go “home” to the Phillies, the Yankees had just one bet left: Pettitte.
And now that Pettitte is out of the equation, the Yankees suddenly have rookie Ivan Nova penciled in as the No. 4 starter and old, injury-riddled options such as Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia duking it out for the fifth starter’s job.
“C’mon — they’re the New York Yankees,” Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino said at the Red Sox’ Town Hall last week, prior to the Pettitte announcement. “They’re in the biggest market in the world. We’re happy to be those guys that they worry about looking over their shoulder.”
By then, the Yankees should have the details in place for a monster trade for a monstrously talented starter. If Felix Hernandez’ name does not come up repeatedly by then, shame on all the rumor-mongerers.
Besides Crawford, the 2010 AL East champion Rays lost first baseman Carlos Peña, shortstop Jason Bartlett, starter Matt Garza and the back end of their bullpen: closer Soriano, Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler and Joaquin Benoit. That’s a hit to the outfield, infield, rotation and bullpen, a very egalitarian approach that helps soften the blow somewhat.
The Rays, as usual, have enough bright lights from their farm system (starter Jeremy Hellickson and outfielder Desmond Jennings stick out) and enough proven blue-chip talents sticking around (Evan Longoria, David Price) that their step back may not be as far as most people think. And should the acquisition of veteran “Idiots” Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez [stats] pay off, then they could do well.
The Rays, however, have nowhere near the payroll, never mind the fandom, that the Yankees possess, which probably will translate into increased odds for a blockbuster move in the Bronx.
That’s their problem, however. For now, the Red Sox have solved theirs. The starting catcher’s position is not really up for grabs, it’s Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s to lose. Given that the Red Sox are entrusting such a vital position to such a young (24) and unproven (250 big-league appearances) backstop, it bodes well in early February that the early reports are encouraging.
The more the merrier is this spring’s theme for the Red Sox [team stats]’ competition for their left-handed reliever job, after the club agreed yesterday to a minor league deal with veteran Dennys Reyes.
Reyes, who will turn 34 in April, will vie to make his 11th team in his 15th big-league season.
He has a career OPS against left-handed hitters of .669 vs. .801 against right-handers. Last season with the Cardinals, however, was his first season since 2004 where he did better against right-handers (.481 OPS) than left-handers (.862).The chief competition for Reyes will be among four left-handers with big-league experience: Rich Hill, Hideki Okajima [stats], Felix Doubront and Andrew Miller. Okajima and Doubront are on the 40-man roster, the others are signed to minor league deals.
Terms of Reyes’ deal were not immediately available.
Signed by the Dodgers as a 16-year-old amateur free agent in 1993 from Higuera de Zaragoza in Sinaloa, Mexico, Reyes made it to the big leagues with the Dodgers in 1997. After playing in Los Angeles for two years, Reyes was traded to the Reds, where he played four seasons.
Wow, that's a lot of info in a short amount of time Rule. I'm loving all the hype. When the Sox fall on their faces this season, it will be almost as funny as when the Pasties failed again this year just because the media is overhyping them like they did with the Patsies.
The Patsies are overhyped every year, at the very least locally.
...and not to worry Rule, they will fall. I have forseen it!