Wednesday, October 23, 2013

2013 BBA awards ballot - American League

The following are Squawker Lisa's AL picks:
Connie Mack Award - Top Manager: John Farrell, Boston Red Sox

Willie Mays Award - Top Rookie: Wil Myers, Tampa Bay Rays

Goose Gossage Award - Top Reliever: Mariano Rivera, New York Yankees

Walter Johnson Award - Top Pitcher: Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers

Stan Musial Award - Top Player: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers

Monday, October 21, 2013

2013 BBA awards ballot - National League

Before getting to my awards picks, congratulations to our Red Sox fan readers on Boston winning the pennant! (All Squawker Lisa has to say about it is to ask me why I don't have a playoff beard.) And congratulations to Carlos Beltran, so underrated as a Met, finally getting to the World Series. But  though I'm pulling for the Red Sox, I'd just as soon see someone else besides Shane Victorino be the hero.

2013 Baseball Bloggers Awards Ballot - National League

Connie Mack Award - Top Manager: Clint Hurdle, Pittsburgh Pirates

Willie Mays Award - Top Rookie: Jose Fernandez, Miami Marlins

Goose Gossage Award - Top Reliever: Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves

Walter Johnson Award - Top Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers

Stan Musial Award - Top Player: Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What's up with Hal Steinbrenner's magical mystery tour?

So I see that Hal Steinbrenner made the media rounds yesterday, telling reporters and sports yakkers gems like "I think Brian [Cashman] did a great job" as general manager. (What high standards, eh? If Cashman did a great job this year, then I would hate to think what Hal considers a bad job?) I wonder what took Hal so long to finally speak out about the season. After all, it ended 10 days ago. (And it ended pretty much exactly like I predicted in March -- I said the team would not finish higher than third place, or win more than 86 games, and that is virtually what happened.)

 After all, Mariano Rivera tributes aside, this season was a debacle. And Hal, while giving lip service to the team's goals about a championship, sounded pretty blase about the whole thing. He seems to think that if you clap your hands and believe in fairies, that is enough. He told Joel Sherman this about the quotes about his father posted around Yankeeland:
“My favorite is Churchill who said: A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity and an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty,” Hal said, leaning forward for the kind of emphasis that would make his old man proud. “My job is to be an optimist.”
Hal, here are a few other Winston Churchill quotes you ought to pay attention to:

“It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”

"To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."

"It's time for Brian Cashman, Randy Levine, and Lonn Trost to go." (Okay, Churchill didn't really say that, but I bet he would have if he were still alive!)

Anyhow, the whole reason, it seems to me, for Steinbrenner's magical mystery tour yesterday is to put pressure on Joe Girardi to re-up as manager ASAP. I think Joe has less than a 50-50 chance of returning, though -- that's what I said on Facebook on the final game of the year.

The Yanks want him to re-sign without hearing what other teams have to say, though -- they have refused to give him permission to talk to other teams. I have to agree with Wally Matthews of ESPN in wondering what the Yanks are afraid of here. Matthews writes:
If it's fair for them to ask Girardi to make up his mind before the end of the month, then it is fair to grant him permission to talk to whoever else might be interested in him. That is what constitutes a good-faith negotiation. And you would think that the New York Yankees, who drink from the richest font of sports revenue in the world, would have nothing to fear from going up against smaller-market clubs like the Cubs and Nationals. 
Run, Joe, run! Away from this team. The Yanks are going nowhere next year.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

If Brian Cashman is really taking full responsibility for the Yankees, then why does he still have a job?

So New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman had a press conference Tuesday in which he claimed to take full responsibility for the Yankees' failure to make the postseason this year. Of course, to my knowledge, none of the lapdogs in the New York media bothered to ask him this followup question -- why aren't you quitting or being fired if it is your responsibility?!

Look at this, from the presser:
Q. "Who do you put the ultimate responsibility on for the team not being good enough?"
A. "Me."
Q. "Nobody else?"
A. "It’s my responsibility."
Q. "Were you given all the resources necessary in the winter to build a winner?"
A. "Yes."
Well, in the words of Michael Kay, shouldn't Cash be saying "See ya!" and jumping out of an airplane and out of his job or something? He failed at his job despite being given $230 million, and he ought to be fired, or at least show some dignity (ha!) and quit.

But of course that isn't going to happen. Cashman has to pay over $1 million next year in alimony to his ex-wife, so he's not going to walk away. And the Yankees aren't going to fire him, either. After all, they still owe him $3 million for the 2014 season.

(An aside: is there any organization more penny wise and pound foolish than the Yankees? They did the same thing when it came to keeping Joe Torre for another season, choosing to keep him long past his sell-by date because otherwise they'd have to pay him $8 million. They never consider the money they lose and do not make by essentially giving up on the season to save a few bucks.)

The thing is, there is no logical argument for keeping Cashman in. I predicted in March that the Yankees would not win more than 86 games, and would not finish higher than third place, and I was right on both counts. With the poor way this team was constructed, that record was not a surprise to anybody who paid attention. Not to mention that woeful farm system. Cashman demanded complete control of that in 2005. What does he have to show for it? The Yanks had 56 players on the field in 2013, and there was not one future star -- or even just future everyday player -- in any of the prospects. The problems with this team rest at Cashman's feet.

Yet Hal Steinbrenner is apparently so afraid of being seen like his dear old dad, that he won't ever actually hold anybody accountable. So Cashman is coming back, as are Randy Levine, Lonn Trost, and all of the other dunderheads in Yankeeland.

Almost nobody even argues anymore that Cashman is a great GM -- all they can say is that his replacement could be worse. Well, that's the excuse for staying in a bad relationship -- your boyfriend or girlfriend may treat you badly, but your next boyfriend or girlfriend could be worse. People who talk that way have a failure of imagination and a fear of change. It never occurs to them that the replacement could be better!

And who couldn't be better than Brian Cashman? He has a stated mandate to win the World Series of that year. In 12 of the last 13 seasons, he has failed at that goal, and this year, his team didn't even make the playoffs, despite having its highest payroll in history.

But the no-talent clown still gets to keep his job, and tell lies like this, like what he said yesterday when asked about A-Rod's PED appeal hearing (emphasis added):
“I operate on the assumption that I have him until they tell me otherwise. I’m not really in a position to talk about the Alex stuff. We’re not a party to it. I know from the media reports it was supposed to start yesterday and for a while there, until I looked on Twitter and saw certain things about people coming and going I wasn’t even sure if it had started or not. Because that’s how out of the loop I am on it. There’s not much to say on it. At this stage I’m not a participant in any way.”
Really, Bri? You're really claiming this nonsense? If you really didn't know, then you ought to lose your job just for that -- being an ignoramus!

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