Red Sox Reach Tentative Agreement to Miss the Playoffs

As seen on http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/, via The Palm Beach Post

Marlins get: Manny Ramirez, cash, prospect from Red Sox
Red Sox get: Jason Bay, John Grabow
Pirates get: Ryan Tucker, Jeremy Hermida, one prospect from Red Sox, perhaps another prospect from Marlins

Long story short; Manny, 2 prospects and cash for a downgrade in Left Field and a servicable left handed reliever. Thanks Theo.

UPDATE - As per Peter Abraham, this is how the trade works out:
Red Sox get: OF Jason Bay.
Pirates get: RHP Bryan Morris and INF Andy LaRoche from the Dodgers, RHP Craig Hansen and OF Brandon Moss from the Red Sox. Maybe another Dodgers prospect, too.
Dodgers get: Manny Ramirez and $7 million from Boston.
The team options were taken off Manny’s deal. He also will agree to decline arbitration so they can get draft picks when he becomes a FA.

So, final tally for the Red Sox looks like this; Manny, Craig Hansen, Brandon Moss and $7 million for Jason Bay and...nothing. Enjoy your elongated offseason boys.

Why is This Man Smiling?

Because he just got away with grand larceny. The Yankees have added Pudge Rodriguez to the mix, allowing the league's best backup catcher to do just that. At what price you ask? KYLE FARNSWORTH. Straight up. You read that right. After 2 1/2 horrific seasons, Cash spun 8 effective innings into a starting catcher worthy of a championship run. Please extend this man.

Even Red Sox Whore #1 Has to Recognize

"A group of Red Sox watched the Yankees take early batting practice Friday, and they complimented the way Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Bobby Abreu and Johnny Damon show up every day. 'Say what you want about A-Rod,' said one, 'but he plays every day and he plays his behind off.'" - Peter Gammons


One good thing about tonights game...

Even though the Yankees were pummeled by Baltimore in the quintissential let down game after a hard fought Red Sox series, at least I was not forced to hear John Sterling describe Mike Mussina's shutout innings as "Moose Eggs". Note to John: Moose do not lay eggs. They are mammals. Much like you, you whale.

8 (or so) Questions: Tim Dierkes of mlbtraderumors.com

If you aren't familiar with Tim Dierkes website, http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/, you are way behind the curve. The site delivers information pertaining to Major League transactions and provides detailed analysis and commentary. Tim took a few minutes out of his busiest time of year to answer some of our questions.

Jimmy Dugan - What was your first impression of the (final) trade setup between the Pirates and Yankees?
Tim Dierkes - It may just be that media reports leading up to this trade led us to believe the Pirates would get more. But my first impression was that the Pirates didn't do too well. Not a huge Tabata fan.

JD - What is the latest on the potential Jarrod Washburn deal?
TD - The Mariners are now waiting to see if the Yankees will give them Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera.

JD- Are the Yankees actively pursuing a catcher?
TD - It doesn't seem that way.

JD- Is there any substance to the Brian Bannister-melky rumors?
TD - Bob Dutton does good work at the KC Star, so I'd say yes.

JD- Why on God's green earth are the Mets plastered on the back page today making a move for Manny?
TD - Not a good fit, they couldn't really give the Red Sox an impact bat back in return. And I doubt they'd part with Fernando Martinez.

JD- Did Sidney Ponson crapping himself at Fenway add to the urgency to add a starter, or does Brian Cashman truly believe this team can contend by promoting from within?
TD - I wouldn't imagine one start changed Brian Cashman's plans at all. He still seems likely to add Washburn or someone similar.

JD - Would you have traded your snack pack for billy madisons half eaten banana?
TD - I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Thanks to Tim Dierkes for giving us some time. Again, loyal followers, I implore you to utilize http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/ to keep up with the rumor mill.


Au Revoir

Ground breaking French relief pitcher The Troy Hawkins' storied Yankee career comes to a triumphant end as he is DFA'd by the organization. In other roster news that surprised absolutely no one, Kei Igawa cleared waivers and is likely on his way back to Scranton-Philly-Intercourse-Wilkes-Barre to continue stealing money from the Yankees.

Congratulations, Goose Gossage

A Personal Note to Theo Epstein:

Trade Manny Ramirez. Team chemistry is much more important than a hitter with a career .999 OPS to protect Big Fati.


The clock is ticking for the Yankees to acquire Jack Bauer, er, Jarrod Washburn to start tonight vs. the Red Sox, thus avoiding the inevitable Sidney Ponson nuclear meltdown.
UPDATE - Washburn started in his normal spot this afternoon for Seattle in Toronto. Here comes Sidney.
UPDATE #2 - Here's the line on Washburn: 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. Meanwhile, Sir Sidney's line, as we projected, looked more like a soiled diaper. If you think the Yankees don't need a more reliable 5th starter, you need not look farther than this evening's box score. I hope Cashman holds steady in his offer of a marginal prospect and an offer to eat Washburn's contract, and watches the Mariners succumb by Thursday.



Miscast Set Up Man Dominates Red Sox

7.0 Innings
3 Hits
0 Runs
0 Earned Runs
1 BB
9 K

*Ball Thrown at Kevin Youkilis' Head


The Yankees have acquired OF Xavier Nady and RP Damaso Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jose Tabata, Ros Ohlendorf, Phil Coke, and George Kontos.

Jimmy Dugan's Take - At first glance, this looks like a lot to give up for a couple of 'band-aids', but I like this move. Both Nady and Marte could be a part of the 2009 roster, with Nady under contract, and the latter having a $6 million option.
As for what the Yankees are sending to the Bucs, yes, they are giving up some value. Tabata has loads of potential, but his downside has become more evident in 2008. Not only has his power continued to disappoint, his attitude is now in question. Ohlendorf is at best a servicable reliever. Kontos and Coke are similar as they both have solid minor league numbers, but are not considered in the Hughes-Kennedy-Horne-Melancon or even Marquez level of Yankee pitching prospect.

UPDATE - Coke and Kontos have been replaced by minor league pitchers Daniel McCutchen and Jeff Karstens. While most experts have McCutchen rated higher than both Coke and Kontos, Karstens is a spare part - and horribly ugly to boot. Still a good trade.

8 (or so) Questions: Ed Price of the Newark Star Ledger

Ed Price is the Yankees beat writer for the Newark Star Ledger. Always insightful, Ed took the time to speak with Fowl Balls about the upcoming trade deadline, amongst other things.

Jimmy Dugan - You have been right on top of the Jarrod Washburn story since it broke. What is the latest? Also, is Washburn really the answer?
Ed Price - I have nothing new today on Washburn, but it's pretty warm if not hot. He's not "the answer" but he's an upgrade from Ponson or Rasner (if one doesn't consider the salary).

JD - You just broke a story linking the Yankees to Randy Winn. What does this mean? Is he considered a potential corner outfield answer, or does this open the door to move Melky to Seattle for Washburn?
EP - I could definitely see Winn coming in and playing CF if they move Melky for Washburn. Or playing LF if Posada has surgery and Damon is the DH.

JD - Now that ESPN has blown it completely out of proportion, how serious was the Yankees' consideration of Barry Bonds?
EP - Never serious. Hank told an Associated Press writer he'd bring it up. He did. It was shot down quickly.

JD - Play Brian Cashman for a minute (like we all wish we could): Is it smarter not to make a move based on the lack of difference making players available, rather than 'rearranging lawn furniture"??
EP - It's always smart not to overpay. If there's someone who can push you over the top - Sabathia - then you go for it. A championship now is worth giving up someone who has only potential.

JD - If no move is made, do you think that the Yankees have the answers internally to make a run at the division? World Series?
EP - I think they could use another starting pitcher. If the top 6 hitters hit to form and the bullpen stays the way it is, they have a chance.

JD - How will Jorge Posada's potential move to first base affect the Yankees pursuit of Mark Teixiera?
EP - My guess is the Yankees were never hot on Teixeira to begin with -- as a trade now or free agent in the winter.

JD - How much confidence does the organization have in Wang to be a reliable number 1 upon returning after the playoff collapse of 07 and erraticness of mid '08. How much will that determine moves beyond bullpen, rotation backend, and righthanded bat? Are they banking on Joba's development to fill that "ace" role?
EP - Well, I don't know that right now you have to choose between Wang and Joba as the first-game playoff starter. But they aren't worried about Wang's 07 playoffs because they seem to feel they know what caused it -- as long as he fixes it. He isn't a classic #1 -- but Joba could be once he gets his pitch counts down

JD - Is Derek Jeter's haircut now out-dated enough that it could be considered 'retro'?
EP - I think he wishes his slugging percentage was retro.

Thanks to Ed for taking the time to speak with us. Please check out the Newark Star Ledger Blog at http://www.nj.com/yankees/.


Futures Game Wrap Up

Fowl Balls was in attendance for the Futures Game (as well as the Celebrity Softball abortion)and aside from the fact that some Asian guy from the Red Sox system won the MVP, there was a lot to take away concerning the future of the MLB.

Who Impressed Us:
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates CF - Although very little of it will show up in the box score, this guy showed all of the tools to be a star. He moved over to left in deferrence to Rockies prospect Dexter Fowler, but McCutchen takes a back seat to very few prospects. Much like a Ferrari, he has that 'you-know-he's-fast-even-though-he's-standing-still' look about him. To go with his blazing speed,, he also drove a ball into the upper deck in LEFT FIELD, sailing about 10 feet fowl. He isn't as big as other prospects that he has been grouped in with, like Cameron Maybin, but this kid has Keny Lofton-like potential.

Jesus Montero, Yankees C (for now) - Ok, it's a bit of a homer thing to say, but this kid just LOOKS like raw power. Large and imposing, and contrary to prior reports, he doesn't look completely retarded behind the plate (only slightly). Here's to hoping he can stay there.

The Oakland A's System - No matter who they trade away, they are just keep churning out pitching. Trevor Cahill, and Brett Anderson pitched well, but the star of the day was Henry Rodriguez. The slightly-more-than-half-full stadium ooooh'd and aaaah'd as he hit 101 on the gun (on the display in CF, meaning he was probably sitting at about 87 or so).


Deepest Apologies

Big updates coming shortly, including Fowl Balls' trip to the Futures Game, the State of the Yankees, and our reccomendations for moves to be made at the trade deadline.



The Old Mail Sack

Oh my God, someone cares about our opinion. I took the time to answer a question from a loyal reader - one whom obviously does not understand the amateur nature of my analysis, but I decided to indulge them anyway...on with the show

Loyal Subject - What are your thoughts on our rotation going into the second half?
Rasner's pitching some innings and Ponson looks really good. You see
any significant promotions happening?

Jimmy Dugan - My feeling on the rotation is that right now is going to have to do. Rasner and Ponson are stop gaps. Ponson battles, but he just seems to bend too much. Against good teams, he has to reach a breaking point (like when the Rangers pummeled him). There is just something that I don't like about Ian Kennedy. I fear that he has Ed Whitson Syndrome, and the city is just too much for him. As much as I think he has superstar stuff when healthy, Hughes seems to be hurt constantly. If they can stay close (easier said than done), then Wang and a healthy Hughes could be a Sabathia-like swing in power.

Honestly, I think that extra arm in the bullpen could mean a lot more than a starter. I love the Brian Fuentes idea. Let him pitch the 8th, then some semblance of Hawkins, Farnsworthless (who actually looks really good right now), Edwar, and Veras can get the other 3-6 outs that are required to get to Mo.

I don't think that I would call any promotions 'significant' regarding the rotation with the possible exception of Alan Horne, who hasn't been able to stay healthy.

As for relievers, Mark Melancon is a guy whose stats I check every day. He was an elite closer in college, and hes a TJ recovery, with this being his first full year back. They are bringing him along slowly, but hes pitching lights out. His outings have been 2 and 3 innings with no consecutive days, but he has been dominant to the tune of a 0.77 WHIP in 36 innings. Peter Abraham told me that he should be the 8th inning guy, but they are still treating him with kid gloves.

Please feel free to send your questions to jimmyduggan.fowlballs@yahoo.com, and I will be glad to answer them in a timely fashion. That is all.


With All Due Respect...


Hero of the Day

Maybe he isnt the long term answer, but we'll take it.

Major League Baseball Players are Stupid

Mike Mussina left off of All Star roster after 11 first half wins. Meanwhile, Jason Varitek is selected by the players as worthy of a roster spot when he has been the worst hitting catcher not named Molina all year with a sparkling .219 average. Biased much?

Nobody F*cks With the Jesus

Future's Game Selectee Jesus Montero -
.777 OPS at 18 years old in the Sally League


Top. Men.

Yankees invest millions in an attempt to clone Derek Jeter so he can actually cover the shortstop position at a Major League level.

32 Minutes to Change the Season

Will Joe Girardi's tongue lashing be enough to scare a $200 million team into winning?


Point, Cynthia

Report: Wife dumps A-Rod for rocker
He's out at home! Yankee superstar Alex Rodriguez's marriage is kaput, sources told The Post. A-Rod's wife, Cynthia, has been shacked up with rocker Lenny Kravitz in Paris. The couple's two daughters - 3-year-old Natasha and 2-month-old Ella - remained in Miami, sources said. The stunning news emerged a day after revelations that Alex Rodriguez has been paying late-night visits to Madonna's Upper West Side apartment. The game of musical celebrity beds has effectively ended the randy Rodriguez's already-shaky marriage, even though divorce papers have not been filed, sources said. Cynthia Rodriguez, 34, has been in Paris for at least the past four days visiting Grammy-winner Kravitz. C-Rod was seen outside the 44-year-old Kravitz's pad in the romantic City of Light as recently as Tuesday night. The magazine also reported that A-Rod may have gone to Madonna's New York pad as early as one night after leaving his wife's side in Miami following the April 21 birth of their daughter Ella. (New York Post)

To be honest, I could care less what the guy does personally as long as he is hitting. But as a man who makes $30 million a year, howe do you let your wife go out and trump your affair? If i were ARod, I would be tearing my way through the Maxim Hot 100 list right about now...


Yankees Offense, 4 games between June 28-July 1
7 Runs, 25 LOB

Yankees Offense, July 2 vs. Texas Rangers
18 Runs, 16 Hits (6 XBH), 0 Melky AB's

Granted, the Rangers are the worst pitching team in the AL, but the Yankees needed a full head of steam going into a series that potentially bring them even with the Red Sox headed into the All Star Break. Unfortunately for both clubs, it doesn't look as though the Ex-Rays are going to lose another game all season.



Ashton Rodriguez makes his deep seeded mother issues public.

Lactose Intolerant

Girardi Finally Gives Melky a Rest

In a potential Wally Pipp situation, the Yankees will be starting Brett Gardner in center field tonight against the Texas Rangers.

After a strech of God-awfulness that extended far beyond his recent 0 for 18 slump, the Yankees seem to be looking at other options in center. Unlike some other Yankees enthusiasts, I do not see Gardner as a long term answer to patrol the storied patch of grass located between the 399 signs in Yankee Stadium, but clearly something has to be done. If for no other reason, then just for the fact that I caan't afford to be breaking shit in my house for another 80 games every time the Melk Man doesn't deliver.

As our friend Peter Abraham mentioned over on his blog, http://www.yankees.lhblogs.com/, it is very curious that Melky has been afforded the same respect as superstars like Jeter and ARod in that his name has been penciled into the lineup every day, regardless of results. The bottom line is that he is a mediocre hitter and a serviceable fielder with a plus arm. As the offense has been struggling, it is just not feasible to have an automatic out in any spot in the order.