Thursday, December 17, 2009
You've probably heard by now that A-Rod and Kate Hudson apparently have split. And well, if those two crazy kids can't make it then what hope is there for the rest of us?
Hudson was credited with helping Rodriguez find peace this year. So without her, he'll surely go back to being a self-centered, socially-awkward, post-season choke artist. It was fun while it lasted.
Don't feel bad A-Rod. You aren't the first one to lose out on this one.
That's it for today Fackers.
“I know how tradition is and superstition is from an outside standpoint, so I don’t want to mess with that. Hopefully he’ll continue to wear it and we’ll move forward and keep on knocking people’s numbers out of the way,” Granderson explained. Instead, Curtis chose a number that had worn in high school, which also happens to be 28 divided by 2 - 14.
More numerous though are the largely forgotten likes of Depression era pitcher Bump Hadley, World War II veteran and scab Butch Wensloff, the amusingly-named Cuddles Marshall, Italian-born Rugger Ardizoia, consummate journeyman Harry Bright, puss-y toad Hideki Irabu, utility man Miguel Cairo and recent PeteAbe age-joke punching bag, Angel Berroa.
Russ Van Atta
What confuses me isn't keeping all the players and parties straight. It's that I can't figure out what Philly is thinking here. Don't get me wrong, the Phillies hauled in the unquestioned best player amongst the nine on the move in this deal. But I don't get why they're willing to pay virtually the same price for Halladay now that they refused to pay in July, and to do it for a half a year less of his services.
Further, I can't figure out why they would pay that cost now, essentially decimating their farm system, to make an incremental upgrade from a top ten pitcher in Cliff Lee to a top five pitcher in Halladay, especially when they were universally lauded for making a smart deal for Lee when the Halladay price was too high five months ago. Lee is more than a year younger, has 1,060 fewer professional innings on his odometer, is half as expensive as Halladay in 2010, and they had to commit a $20M per year extension to Halladay that will carry him through his age 36 or age 37 season.
But let's back up the train a bit. In July, Toronto was apparently asking Philadelphia for J.A. Happ, Dominic Brown, and Kyle Drabek - son of former Yankee pitcher Doug Drabek. The Phils continually balked at that request, deeming Drabek untouchable and were willing to offer Carlos Carrasco instead. When a Halladay deal couldn't be reached Philly turned to Cleveland, and were able to bring in Lee for Carrasco, Jason Donald, Jason Knapp, and Lou Marson. The Lee trade allowed them to keep all the proposed chips from the Halladay deal but cost them their number 2, 3, 4, and 10 prospects according to Baseball America.
Less than five months later Philly chose to make the deal for Halladay, surrendering Drabek, as well as Michael Taylor in place of Brown and Travis D'Arnaud in place of Happ. In surrending this package they give up their number 5, 6, and 7 prospects, but did get to keep their top prospect in Brown, as well as Happ, who has proven himself capable of pitching at the Major League level.
In order to afford Halladay, and to restock their beleaguered farm system, Philly then shipped the younger, less used, less expensive Lee to the Mariners for Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies, and Juan Ramirez. Aumont ranked as Seattle's third best prospect, Ramirez as their fifth. Gillies didn't rank, though he did profile as their system's top base runner and best outfield arm.
I don't know that this was bad a series of trades for Philadelphia, but I'm unsure that they were necessary. I suppose the regime change in Toronto had something to do with it. And I suppose Seattle's apparent willingness to go all in for 2010 played a role in the decisions as well. But it boils down to Philly trading seven of their top ten prospects, and six of their top seven, to get Halladay, two of Seattle's top ten prospects, a third Seattle prospect, and $6M - or enough to cover slightly more than 75% of the 2010 salary difference between Halladay and Lee.
Now not all prospects are the same and not all systems are created equal. Perhaps the package Philly received from Seattle is comparable to what they gave up for Lee in the first place. But it doesn't appear to be. Instead, they've given up seven of their own guys - guys who they drafted and developed and know very well - to get a pitcher who's only slightly better than the one they gave had and three other prospects about whom they don't know nearly as much. It just doesn't add up to me.
Last year, there was talk of the old Yankee Stadium hosting the NHL's Winter Classic as a sort of final sendoff. For a number of reasons it didn't pan out, but one would imagine Yankee Stadium is still in the running for the future. Except the Stadium's football commitments might make that a problem. Puck Daddy takes a look:
It goes on to speculate that Yankee Stadium could lose out to the new Giants Stadium or (gasp) Citi Field.
This is a problem if you're planning on the NHL hosting a hockey game on New Year's Day in the next few seasons. Even if the bowl game was played on Christmas Day, that would give the NHL six days to prepare not only the rink, but also the stadium to their standards and the Winter Classic isn't an event, especially in New York, that the League will look to rush in and out of quickly. As we're seeing in Boston, the NHL wants to use their portable rink in as many entertaining and profitable ways possible. Not to mention the bowl game organizers would have to breakdown the field in a given amount of time to allow Dan Craig and his crew to get to work. Two high-profile events being held on the same field in such a short period of time would also be a big concern for the Yankees, who do not want to have their maintenance people fixing divots in the field in the months before Opening Day.
The NHL told us that they have a seven-day build out plan for their Winter Classic venues, so Yankee Stadium on New Year's Day between 2011-2013 seems like a fantasy.
Despite being just a two year old tradition, the Winter Classic is one of the best sporting events each year. The NHL shows no indications of abandoning their new found New Year's tradition. In fact, yesterday there was talk of expanding the Winter Classic to include a Canadian game. Perhaps such an expansion might allow for a Canadian game on New Year's and a game at Yankee Stadium some days later.
This year's Classic is at Fenway Park, where the ice is already down. In typical Fenway fashion, the ownership group will try to maximize their bottom line on this one, adding open skates, prep school games, and a pair of college games to the schedule over the next several weeks. I'll be there to see Boston College face Boston University on January 8th. I hope that I have the opportunity to see an outdoor hockey game at Yankee Stadium one day too.