Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Doug Gottlieb: A Poor Man's Jeremy Schaap?

Yanks Settle With Nady

First from MLBTR, The Yanks avoided going to arbitration with Xavier Nady by settling with him for $6.55M. PeteAbe points out that he nearly doubled up his salary. It's a little higher than most of the estimates I heard before, but no so much that it will affect his trade value.

Good for you, X. You rode that extremely high BABIP you had last year into the best season of your career. Your .305 batting average was .25 higher than your next closest season. Your OPS+ was 128, 19 points greater than any other year. Unfortunately for the team you end up playing for, you're probably coming back down to earth in 2009.

[Update: 6:45] Melky Cabrera has also settled with the Yanks for $1.4M. Only Brian Bruney remains.

National Non-Productivity Hour [Non-Sports]

I know everyone watched the Inauguration just now. A few (apolitical) things.

Seriously, what the fuck is this? CNN, how does this make you any money? Yay, we can all comment on each other's Facebook status!!1!1! Not sure if you can read it, but one of my Facebook "friends" is saying that Biden's wife is hot and two people are agreeing with him.

Did you know that Rick Warren's Saddleback Church is located on Brokeback Mountain? True story...

Good to see Dick Cheney in a wheelchair. Pretty apt metaphor for how the previous administration left the country. Drown in the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool you evil bastard. (oops, was that political?)

The song that Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Pearlman played was called "Air and Simple Gifts"? Wow. If you are going to write a song with no words for a specific event, don't you think the title should at least have a tangential reference to the proceedings? That sounds like the intro song for a Lifetime movie. And also, that guy on the clarinet couldn't hold Kenny G's jock (panties). If anyone talks to him, please tell him he was awesome in Season 2 of The Wire for me.

Ladies and Gentlemen: The black Andy Rooney...

The Next Great Debate

Yes, the "Next Great Debate" (that's sure to be played out by the time I'm done writing this post.)

What position would LeBron play if he was in the NFL?

In that freeze frame above, it looks like he's lined up wide, but #23 is a RB's number. He's listed at 6'8" 240 or 250 (or 6'9" 270). We'll go with 6'8" 250, close enough. He could be a defensive end, but he's probably not quite bulky enough. He could be a linebacker, but I don't think he's mean enough. I think most people agree that he should be on the offensive side of the ball at a skill position. It basically boils down to RB or WR.

Am I the only person in the world who thinks that LeBron should be a running back?

There is one thing every single person who disagrees with me says: "He's too big". Is he? Being large in and of itself is not a bad thing, it's a good thing. It's the things that come along with being unnaturally massive that those doubters are referring to. Freakishly tall people's bodies break down because our infrastructure just wasn't made to support that much weight, except in very rare cases like LeBron, who I assume was genetically engineered in a laboratory under the NBA headquarters on Madison Avenue. The thing that makes him such a transcendent athlete is that he has the quickness and agility of someone much smaller than him.

The tallest RB in the NFL right now is Brandon Jacobs (6'4" 264), and truth be told, LeBron would be tied for the tallest WR ever in the NFL with Harold Carmichael. Kobe recently claimed he could play wide receiver for the Eagles (via Deadspin). I'm not sure I've ever heard of that franchise, but I agree with that casting. Kobe (6'6" 205, er 220?) [Ed note: Can we get these fuckers on a scale and get this straight?] is built a lot more like Randy Moss (6'4" 210) than LeBron is. He's lean and graceful, and could never take the pounding necessary to carry the ball even 10 or 15 times a game. LeBron is a whole lot sturdier than Kobe.

What it really comes down to is the injury factor. If LeBron could stay healthy as a RB he would be more valuable that he would at WR. It's almost exactly the same conundrum you have with Joba Chamberlain. In both cases, you have a freakishly gifted athlete who could probably play two different roles. The more valuable one seems like it would create a greater potential for injury.

Running backs get hit almost everytime they carry the ball, but at the same time, they have more control over how they get hit. You rarely see a RB take a crushing blow (Willis MaGahee not withstanding). They develop a sense of how to cushion the blows, while a wide receiver can get blindsided going over the middle in a way a running back is rarely going to. LeBron is tremendously shifty for a guy his size and would be extremely hard to tackle. Evidenced by his incredible passing ability on the hardwood, he's the great vision and awareness necessary to find seams in defenses.

Brandon Jacobs runs a 4.56 40 yard dash and on a basketball court, he'd probably lumber down the floor like a C or a PF. LeBron blasts down the floor to the tune of a 4.4 40 and runs the break like a PG. Please direct your attention to the video below and then tell me King James couldn't blow open any counter rush or screen pass and take it to the house.

Pettitte Ultimatum Must Be Issued

I have had it with Andy Pettitte.

This guy thinks he deserves more than $10MM, given his August/September splits and the current state of the economy? Ridiculous. Andy, you have made $108,082,416 in your lifetime (not including endorsements). What the fack is a few million? Seriously. If you truly cared about the Yankees and pitching in the new Yankee Stadium you would have signed by now. But it is now clear that you do not and all you care about is money.

Spare me this loyalty crap. The Yankees handled your HGH/Mitchell report affair with grace. If the Yankees had any true principle, they wouldn't even consider bringing back an admitted steroids user.

If you are so valuable then why haven't other teams signed you?

Screw the Hendricks Brothers. They already made out like bandits from the ridiculous Clemens comeback contract.

Brian Cashman needs to issue an ultimatum. Sign by a particular date or be gone. The emotions of Yankees fans notwithstanding, the team will not be losing much. You can be easily replaced. Anybody can put up a 5.00 ERA, including those who make the league minimum.

[Ed. Note: According to MLBTR, for $2M more than what Pettitte is asking ($16M), you could get two years of Ben Sheets]

Number of Days Until Spring Training: Martinez (#24)

There are now only 24 days until Pitchers and Catchers report to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. 24 is most notably Tino Martinez's number.

In his two stints with the Yankees, he hit 192 homers and drove in 739 runs. Tino was renowned for his defensive skills and timely hitting (see: Game 1, 1998 World Series vs. Trevor Hoffman, or Game 4 of the 2001 Fall Classic against Byung-Hyun Kim). In my opinion, he is the best 1B to never have won a Gold Glove.

His best season statistically came in 1997, when he was second in the American League in home runs and RBI (with 44 and 141 respectively), and finished second in AL Most Valuable Player voting.

In 2008, Martinez agreed to be a special instructor for the Yankees to help their first basemen with defensive skills. An all-around class act and nice guy. I remember talking to a him a few times during my 4 year "prison" stint in Boston. One of the nicest guys you ever want to meet.

Most admirable was his ability to replace longtime fan favorite Don Mattingly.