Deadline Day Thread

Not a lot to report (as of yet), but I wanted to give my readers a space to discuss todays happenings (and potential happenings). I will be popping in and out to make sure everyone is playing nice.

Let me know what you think. Washburn? Halladay? Pavano? Who will be in pinstripes by 4pm?

*UPDATE (11:36am) - MLBTR reporting that Tigers have acquired Jarrod Washburn for Luke French and another prospect. There goes that idea...

*UPDATE (1:48pm) - MLBTR says Orlando Cabrera to Twins for minor leaguer. Why weren't the Sox interested in him again? Wasn't he a stud for them after the Nomar deal?

*UPDATE (1:54pm) - Red Sox to acquire V-Mart according to Bob Nightengale's twitter. Nick Hagadone, Justin Masterson, lower level prospect back to the Tribe.

*UPDATE (3:16pm) - Red Sox spin Adam LaRoche to Braves.

*UPDATE (3:21pm) - FINALLY! Yankees acquire Jerry Hairston, Jr from the Reds according to Joel Sherman. At least it's SOMETHING. I hope Shelley Duncan enjoys his one night stay in Chi-town.


Just pull the friggin' trigger already

Deja vu all over again as the Yankees are t-minus 24 hours to the trade deadline.

Hey, Boston fans: STFU

It looks like Christmas came early for Jimmy Dugan. After enduring endless amounts of shit from my Red Sox fan friends about the Yankees' links to steroids, I have been vindicated.

The New York Times is reporting that both David Ortiz AND Manny Ramirez were on the list of 104 steroid users in 2003 (you know, the list that A-Rod was on?). This further proves that the "report" conducted by George Mitchell isn't worth the paper that it was printed on. Despite Mitchell's best efforts to avoid the public indictment of any Boston player, his efforts will now be futile.

So, in short, screw you all. This does nothing but prove that EVERYONE was guilty, and no holier-than-thou fanbase has the right to thumb their noses at the rest of the offenders any longer*.

*Though this is the same group that had the balls to act like Rodney Harrison thing never happened, so I guess only time will tell if this does anything to pare back their douchebaggery.

Joba to Mike Francesa, others: "Suck it"

Joba Chamberlains numbers since the All Star break:

21 2/3 IP, 0.83 ERA, 19 K, 8 H, 8 BB

Two words. Starting. Pitcher.
Once again, I reiterate: Pitchers that have command of 3+ pitches that have the ability to throw 5-6 innings are, by definition, starting pitchers. Phil Hughes is proving that good pitchers get outs whenever they toe the rubber. Though it has taken a little time for Joba to get his sea legs (he is 23 years old, by the way), another lights-out start last night proves that the Yankees have placed him in the role that allows them to get the most value out of his talent.

Yankees interested in outfielders that suck

With the loss of Brett Gardner to a broken thumb, the Yankees are in need of another player capable of manning centerfield. According to Joel Sherman, the team is eyeing recently DFA'd outfielder Corey Patterson (Natinals) after Danny Knobler of CBS Sports already reported that the Yanks are interested in Josh Anderson (Tigers).

Both players are blessed with speed and not much else, although Gardner has proven The Balls wrong all season. Looks like Shelley Duncan will remain stuck in Scranton no matter how many home runs he hits or how hard he mashes right handed pitching.

On a separate note, with the trade deadline looming, I implore you all to check out MLB Trade Rumors. It would be pretty asinine to assume that you are coming here for all of your baseball news, so head over to MLBTR as Friend of The Balls Tim Dierkes and the guys do an amazing job of compiling all of the rumors flying around every two-bit paper in our great nation.


OK, no more phallic jokes

The Yankees announced yesterday that Chien Ming Wang will undergo season ending surgery on his right shoulder today. This is the capper to what has been a horror show of a season for Wang. We here at The Balls wish only the best of luck to him in his recovery. Maybe he can ask the surgeon to do something about the terribly pained faces that he sports upon every release.


Theo Epstein is a genius!!!!11!!!!!1!!!!

While the Yankees went out this offseason and "wasted" millions on healthy, proven players, the Red Sox showed how financially savvy and shrewd they are by signing high-ceiling value plays that would surely make the Yankees look foolish. But a funny thing happened on the way home from the infirmary...

John Smoltz - 1-4, 7.04 ERA
Brad Penny - 7-4, 4.71 ERA
Rocco Baldelli - .263/.333/.432 in just 95 at bats


Downright Philthy

Phil Hughes recorded his first career save last night, which prompted me to put together this Phil appreciation thread.

Since being sent to the bullpen on May 8th, Hughes' numbers have been other worldly:

1-0 W-L, 24 1/3 IP, 12H, 28:5 K:BB, .69 WHIP, .73 ERA

The Yankees have been searching for the famed "Bridge to Mariano" since moving Joba Chamberlain to the rotation, and Hughes has been a revelation. His control, stuff, and overall presence on the mound have advanced by leaps and bounds as he has gained confidence, showing why he has been such a highly touted prospect since being drafted in 2004.
Much like Joba, we still support using Hughes in a starting role over the long haul. In this situation, however, he is being used in the best way for the team to win now in a time when dead weight like Andy Pettitte is clogging his spot in the starting five. That's right, I just called a "Four Ring" player dead weight. Suck on that 35-50 year old demographic.


Red Sox acquire Adam La...oh, hey look! A bird!

Continuing their season-long commitment to making small-time moves like Smoltz, Penny, and Baldelli, the Red Sox traded minor league pitcher Hunter Strickland and minor league shortstop Argenis Diaz to the Pirates for Adam LaRoche.

LaRoche, once a highly touted Braves prospect, is now a below average defensive first baseman with a below average corner infield stick. As for the prospects that the Sox sent in the other direction, I could give a shit about their system, so here is a report from Baseball America's Matt Eddy:

Signed out of Venezuela in July 2003, Diaz has big league potential as a defense oriented shortstop, thanks to plus hands, instincts, range and arm strength. The 22- year-old is not fast or aggressive on the basepaths, though, and his bat projects to be a bit light for a regular role. A righthanded batter, Diaz was hitting .253/.309/.310 in 277 at-bats for Portland, showing the lack of patience (21 walks, 60 strikeouts) and power (14 doubles, one triple) that have been constants during his six-year pro career.

A 6-foot-5 righthander lauded for his makeup, Strickland had touched 94 mph in his last two starts for low Class A Greenville, where he was 5-4, 3.46 in 18 games (12 starts). He generally sits in the 88-92 mph range and locates his fastball down in the zone. Strickland's secondary stuff needs refinement, and he lacks a swing and miss pitch, as evidenced by his strikeout (51) and walk (13) totals over 83 innings for the Drive. On the plus side, his fastball command gives him a chance of developing into a big league reliever. The Red Sox selected Strickland in the 18th round of the 2007 draft, taking him from Pike County High in Zebulon, Ga.

Ok, so I wanted to beef up my post - kiss my ass. In reading all of this, it looks like the Sox traded two players with the potential to suck at the Major League level for one that already does. Nice work. I guess they are banking that Ritalin isn't on the PED list.

Twitter is the greatest thing on Earth - nay, nay - the universe

Due to extreme boredom, I hopped on my iPhone and poking around twitter to get some reactions on the Yankees daytime win. When I saw Doug Mientkiewicz had an awesome new profile picture that showed him screaming at douchebag extraorinaire Randy Johnson, I had to shoot a comment of approval over to him (obviously he would value MY opinion). Then a funny thing happened - he actually DID care. In fact, he had a quasi-conversation with me as he drove to Arizona to begin his rehab stint. I attached some of the conversation below, even though none of my readers may give a shit about since he is no longer a Yankee. It is actually a cool thing to have a good experience interacting with a big time athlete every so often. This beats the time that Carlton Fisk beat up my grandmother (not true, though I am sure that asshole is capable). By the way, notice how Dougie gives props to Mark Teixeira - we are kindred sprits, Doug and I.
Jimmy DuganJimmyDugan@Dougiebaseball that new profile pic is phenomenal
Doug mientkiewiczDougiebaseball@JimmyDugan avoid the clap! Jimmy dugan!! Great line!!!!
Jimmy DuganJimmyDugan@Dougiebaseball Hows the drive going? The Yankees miss you - we actually have pitchers that would protect you after getting mowed at 1B
Doug mientkiewiczDougiebaseball@JimmyDugan almost done. 30 miles. I think the guy u have now is doing ok!!!
Jimmy DuganJimmyDugan@Dougiebaseball Well played - safe trip, stay off this thing!


Well congratufuckinglations

According to SWB Yankees beat writer Chad Jennings, Kei Igawa set the franchise record for wins tonight by throwing seven scoreless innings. Good for him.

This is particularly rewarding for those of us Yankee fans who were CRAZY enough to have regretted the Yankees passing on Ted Lilly to sign this waste of blood for $46 million. Pardon me while I wipe this egg off of my face!

Back where they belong

Tonight's Yankee win, along with a Red Sox loss, allows the Bombers to take over sole possession of first place in the American League East.

Hideki Matsui: We love you long time

Another 2-1 Win.
Another walk-off.
Tied for first place.

A picture of Hideki Matsui covered in baby batter.
This is the best day of my year.

The Mets (finally) make the right move

According to SI's John Heyman twitter account (I have one that you should follow too, by the way), the Mets passed on a deal for Roy Halladay. Rumored to be included were Fernando Martinez, Bobby Parnell, Jon Niese and Ruben Tejada. Despite the undeniable talent of Halladay, this is a smart move for a few reasons, but not the least of which is that the Mets are awful.

The Mets are falling like a rock out of contention for a playoff spot, and the addition of Roy Halladay would be futile unless he can also bat behind David Wright. Regardless of how good your pitching is, running five position players out every night that are not Major League quality is too much to overcome (just ask Johan). Stripping your already anemic farm system completely bare to make a half-assed run at a Wild Card is just bad business.

More importantly, in my mind, the Metropolatinos have saved themselves a PR nightmare in passing on this deal. Accepting this offer publicly only to have Halladay exercise his no-trade clause would be a tremendous blow to the team, both internally and in the prison-raping that they would take in the New York media. It also came about this week that even if traded this season, Halladay can demand to be traded again at season's end. So for all of you "wait 'til next year" Mets fans can stuff it.

Sure, Santana and Halladay at the front of your rotation sounds formidable, nay, unbeatable. But even in the stretches where Johan Santana has looked super-human, the Mets haven't been guaranteed a win due to the fact that players like Fernando Tatis that were signed for the purpose of being fringy bench players are being counted on to produce (Gary Sheffield?? REALLY??).

So if Heyman is correct, which Keith Law has already rebuffed, I commend the Mets on having the wherewithal to realize that they suck. Plus, as we all know, Omar Minaya was not giving up a package including two Latin players to receive a white guy in return. (hat tip to MLBTR)


Thanks y'all

Dearest Minions,

This weekend The Balls set a site record for page views, unique visitors, and comments in its long and distinguished history. Thanks to all of our followers and supporters over the years. Coming soon we will be running another contest and posting some big time interviews for you, the reader.

Again, if you have any questions, comments, or theories as to why Derek Jeter refuses to let the mid-nineties high-top fade go by the wayside like everyone else did, drop me a line at jimmydugan.thefowlballs@gmail.com.

Thanks again.

- JD


Celebration - come together in every nation

With all of the talk of Roy Halladay making all of my felow bloggers go apeshit, I wanted to take the time to weigh in with my opinion. The official stance of The Fowl Balls is as follows:


In my mind, a package including Joba Chamberlain, Jesus Montero, Austin Jackson, and a fourth, non-Phil Hughes prospect is more than fair.

Chamberlain, though loaded with potential, has shown inconsistency throughout his tenure as a starter. I do realize full well that he is only 23 years old, but we are not talking about moving him for Brett Myers here - this is Roy Halladay we are talking about. One of the three best pitchers in the game of baseball.

I may be a little late to the party on this one but moving Jesus Montero, though it will drive the prospect junkies crazy, could be a God send. As friend of The Balls Mike Ashmore wrote over at Thunder Thoughts, Montero will more than likely end up a man without a position when he is ready for the big leagues. His catching is horrific, and the Yankees seem to have first base locked up for the next eight years. Add in the fact that Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and even Teixeira himself will all need reps at DH by that time, and Montero's future in pinstripes looks even more bleak.

Austin Jackson is the epitome of the over-hyped Yankee prospect. Though he is hitting well over .300 at AAA, he has struck out at an alarming rate with little-to-no power.

As for the rest of the prospects in the system, take your pick. Zack MacAllister, Dellin Bettances, PTBNL, whoever.

My reasoning can be illustrated in a simple mathematical equation:

Halladay, Sabathia, Burnett > Beckett, Lester, Wakefield (or Bucholz, or Penny, or Smoltz, or Luis fucking Tiant)

The Yankees seem to be competing with one team and one team only, and the acquisition of Roy Halladay could be the defining factor over the next season and a half. As a Yankee fan, I would trade three Joba Cy Youngs and a Montero MVP for two straight rings.

The Balls has spoken.


I guess it isn't just the New York Media...

Everbody wants Derek Jeter to grab their balls, even in St. Louis.


...and all is right with the world

Mark Teixeira hit his first home run in 96 at-bats yesterday against the Twinkies (tee hee).


Yankees vs. Twins in 2009

7 Wins
0 Losses
RS - 41
RA - 25


Kevin Millar Hates the New Stadium

Kevin Millar made an appearance on Sirius XM yesterday with Seth Everett and Jim Duquette discussing, amongst other things, his first visit to the new Yankee Stadium. Let's have some fun, this beat is sick, I wanna take a ride on the blockquote:

The Blue Jays just completed their first trip to the new ballpark. Millar played in the old Yankee Stadium many times as a member of the Boston Red Sox (2003-05) and Baltimore Orioles (2006-08).

Host, Jim Duquette: “What’s your impression of the new Yankee Stadium?”

Kevin Millar: “I’m going to be honest with you. You know I’m going to shoot from the hip. I’m not a big fan of it. Nothing pops there, nothing pops. The old stadium, you walked in, you knew this was where [Mickey] Mantle played and [Joe] DiMaggio. It was just that old school. I got booed a lot louder. They didn’t boo me as loud here. I like to get booed. They were too nice to me here. They’re too nice to me. I don’t know if it’s all corporate, but they’re too nice. But it’s just like a big, huge – it’s a beautiful facility, don’t get me wrong – but the navy blue seats, a lot of concrete and nothing pops. I mean, nothing pops there, personally. Now, it was our first trip in and I don’t know if I was expecting more, but that’s the truth and it’s just I loved the old stadium.”

The Frankie Cervelli Farewell Tour

Back on May 5th I posted a piece suggesting that the Yankees sign Paul LoDuca, citing the fact that the catchers that the team had in the system would be a detriment in the lineup. Francisco Cervelli has gone ahead and made me look like an asshole.

Now that Jose Molina is playing in rehab games, Cervelli becomes a lame duck as the Yankees backup catcher. During his time here, however, Cervelli has been impressive. He has handled veteran pitchers admirably, at one time sparking rumors that A.J. Burnett would rather work with him that Jorge Posada. Frankie has also, most notably, handled himself with the bat to the tune of a .269/..284/.346 slash line to date.

What Cervelli's stint will be remembered for, though, is his unwavering enthusiasm for the game and energetic appraoch to the game. I am not much for "rah-rah" shit in baseball, but at times the Yankees are missing any semblance of that component. Cervelli, as with Nick Swisher, has provided a youthful exhuberance to a team that was painfully flat at times last year and others. Jesus Christ, I just wrote "youthful exhuberance" on a blog filled with a trucker-like vernacular. I suck.

Anyways, thank you to Francisco Cervelli from Yankee fans as a whole. See you again in September.


The Eric Hinske Era begins with a loss

Get off your knees, Blue...

The Yankees lost an immensely frustrating game yesterday to the Blue Jays, due in no small part to three horrific calls on the base paths. The picture above shows Derek Jeter's left hand blatantly planted on the bag prior to Scott Rolen's tag (oddly enough, Rolen was not injured on the play). Althought I have to ask - what the HELL was Jeter doing even making that attempt with no outs? (/blasphemy)

I am not going to go on a rant like my Grandfather did last night, calling for the arrest and execution of all umpires, but I will say this - umpires need to be held more accountable for their calls. The explanation given by the man in blue on this particular play was deplorable. He basically gave the "ball beat him by a mile" argument that you would here in an in-house Little League game. (Check out some other opinions here and here).

In the end, though, the umpiring didn't cause the Yankees to falter with RISP, and they sure as hell didn't make Eric Hinske swing at two consecutive balls to end the game. Umpires alone do not lose games in most cases, and this game was most certainly in the majority.

(hat tip to noMaas.org for the pic)


Creamy Goodness

Alfredo Aceves had another dominating performance out ot the 'pen yesterday, holding down the fort after Joba Chamberlain's soiling of the sheets. Aceves has been the constant in a bullpen full of question marks in his 21 outings this year.

Aceves in 2009:
5-1, 40 IP, 30H, 34 K, 0.93 WHIP, 2.08 ERA

Can you hear that?

That roaring sound you hear is the Joba-to-the-bullpen bandwagon gaining steam. Although the bullpen and offense saved him from the loss, Joba Chamberlain was ugly to watch yesterday.

Chamberlain's fastball was reaching 92 as he was smacked around Yankee Stadium by the Blue Jays on Sunday to the tune of nine hits over 3.2 innings. It is rumored that Mike Francesa was so excited to see this that he choked on the arm of the child he was eating.

Unfortunately for Francesa and his constituents, the Yankees now have bigger fish to fry in regards to the starting rotation. Chien Ming Wang was placed on the DL this weekend, apparently with a genuine injury - unlike his last DL stint, which was purely for sucking donkey anus. The Yankees must find a replacement in the rotation for the duration of his stay on the DL, which will presumably mute the Joba-as-a-setup-man contingent for a while.
Although I see it clear that Chamberlain should be in the rotation, the fact that he has struggled cannot be ignored. His consistent failure to put away hitters, especially yesterday, has been unbelievably frustrating to watch. Growing pains are expected and tolerated in other cities, but this isn't one of them. Maybe skipping him a start before the All Star break could help Joba regroup, but only time will tell if the loss of Wang prevents that from happenning.
Just a reminder: even though the uneducated fan continues to scream from the mountain tops that Joba should be setting up for Mo, it seems as though the Yankees are 15 games over .500, and just a game back of the Red Sox.


Happy Independence Day

To all of our faithful readers, we here at The Balls wish you a happy
and healthy 4th of July. We will be posting again coming on Monday, so
don't get all platered today and drive home.

Also, a happy 70th birthday to the greatest owner in the history of
sport, George Steinbrenner.


This is not a reprint

Alex Rodriguez watches his two-run, go-ahead homerun (this time off of Jarrod Washburn) leave the park in the sixth inning. A-Rod is teh suck.


Mitch Kramer continues to dominate

It seems as though pitching in high pressure situations in Little League games anticipating ass-whippings from seniors has paid off for Mitch Kramer.

Go ahead two run home runs in the 7th inning= Not clutch

The Balls' Bold Prediction: A-Rod finishes the '09 season with 30+ home runs.