Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Keep In Mind This Occurred In Phoenix

It's not like you can switch into those costumes in the bathroom. The guy dressed up as Jerry Sloan even brought a clipboard to pretend to draw plays on? I'll bet you $50 the fella in the Hornacek jersey was the mastermind behind this. Come on, you're getting 5:1 odds.

The guy on the far right is either wearing a #26 Kyle Korver or John Amaechi jersey. Judging by the way he has his hand tenderly placed across his chest, I'm going to go with the latter.

You Can't Get There From Here

Ross at New Stadium Insider drums up another detail in the fine print about the New Stadium: Only those with Field Level tickets will have access to the Field Level area and concessions:
We have mentioned before that one of the most enjoyable aspects of going to baseball games is roaming around the stadium and checking out all of the nooks and crannies of the ballpark. Never before have we been to a ballpark that does not let fans explore the concessions on an entire level of the Stadium. We have been to Camden Yards in Baltimore, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia and Safeco Field in Seattle in the past few years and NONE of those stadiums have this policy.
I'm hoping there aren't any concession stands that are located only on the Field Level, so everyone would have access to everything they wanted to try, but if not, that's the Yankees' loss more than ours.

A lot of the people at the Field Level have the option of having food brought to their seats. Why do can't us commoners come check out the food options and walk around? It's not like people can get down to where the seats are. They are still advertising the availability of "Between the Bases" seats during Spring Training games and elsewhere. The Yankees continue to cater to the endangered species that is "Corporate High Rollers" while telling the average fan where they can stick their New Stadium experience.

Tucked away at the bottom of the Yanks initial press release was the fact that gates would be three hours prior to game time, so fans would presumably be able to take in some batting practice. Ross shoots that one down too. He finds here that "Guests are welcome to watch batting practice from their seat location".

Yup, hurry to the park three hours early so you can sit in your 400 level seats during batting practice and get a head start on getting ripped off on concessions. You wouldn't want to disturb those people in the Field Level, who aren't even going to be there yet.

Or you could just go to Stan's, Billy's, or the Bowling Alley. Your choice.

Looking Ahead

Trying to make sense of Matt Holliday's home/road splits yesterday got me thinking about next offseason already. After this year, the Yankees are going to be in the market for some outfielders. The contracts for Xavier Nady, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui will all be expiring, leaving Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera and possibly Austin Jackson if he makes some serious strides through the minors.

Those remaining all represent some pretty serious question marks. As a Yankee fan, I'd like to think that Swisher is due for a bounce back since his stats took a serious dip last year in what is ostensibly his prime (age 27) and had a BABIP of .249. Brett Gardner may be off to a nice start this Spring, but let's not forget that in 127 Major League AB's last year he had a line of .228/.283/.299, good for a 53 OPS+. In a year when Melky was supposed to step forward, he fell back significantly. Austin Jackson is still only a prospect, so planning around him being MLB-ready to start the 2010 season is quite foolhardy.

Back in December, Tim at MLBTR compiled a list of the free agents to be in 2010. I whittled it down to the most intriguing options, in my opinion. (The Scarlet B represents a Boras client)

Centerfield Options
Rick Ankiel (30) - B
Coco Crisp (30) - $8MM club option with a $500K buyout

Unless the market turns around Crisp won't have his option picked up the the Royals, but I'd rather have Count Chocula or Tony the Tiger playing CF. Ankiel represents the Boras Dilemma. If he has a great year, his price tag will be astronomical, if he has an average one, you aren't going to be too excited about getting him anyway.

I think we have to hope that either Jackson or Gardner pan out for that spot. They are both solid defensively, which is tremendously important, but they will have to prove that they can hit Major League pitching before I get excited about either of them manning center field.

Now, the Corner Outfield Options.
  • Carl Crawford (28) - $10MM club option with a $1.25MM buyout
  • Jason Bay (31)
I really, really, really like Carl Crawford, aside from his production (or lack thereof due to a torn tendon in his hand) last year. Each year from 2004-07 he had 11 or more HRs, from 46-59 stolen bases, and averaged almost 15 triples (!) per year. The Rays have a pretty well-stocked farm system and it wouldn't be all that shocking if they didn't spring for his $10M option. More on that here (from before Fack Youk's pre-Black & White borrowed picture policy).

I get the feeling the Red Sox will sign Jason Bay before the season is over, but if they don't, I hope the Yankees take serious interest. He gets slept on because he spent most of his career with the Pirates, but look at his numbers. He had a down year in '07, but the guy can hit.

More Boras Dilemmas:
  1. Matt Holliday (30) B
  2. Xavier Nady (31) B
  3. Johnny Damon (36) B
Pass. Pass. Pass.

The Old, the Expensive and the Defensively Incompetent:
  1. Bobby Abreu (36)
  2. Jermaine Dye (36) - $12MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
  3. Vladimir Guerrero (34)
  4. Manny Ramirez (38) - $20MM player option B
  5. Magglio Ordonez (36) - $15MM club/vesting option with a $3MM buyout
Part of me would love to see one of these guys DH'ing, but the other knows that with the Yanks aging rapidly, there will be guys who need a break from playing the field from time to time. Is it worth overpaying for a top of the line hitter when their presence is going to take Jorge out of his rhythm when he has to ride the pine when he's not manning the dish? Maybe not.