Archive for the ‘Owned!’ Category
The tears are streaming down my face as I write this. Life is sooooo hard. I couldn’t believe my ears when Scottie told me what you told him, and that was what you said that I said Scottie said to me. I mean, REALLY NOT COOL.
Why don’t you listen to reason? Everyone who’s anyone thinks that we should be together again.
At least whell always have my “dash” to third base.
Yep, that’s my article.
What’s the countdown to pitchers and catchers?
…PART 2 of 5…
In part 2 of my series outlining 5 Red Sock stories that are deserving of NY Sports Media coverage, yet remain snow jobbed, I will now tell the tale of just how the Red Sox spent 10 long years setting themselves up to get completely owned by the Yanks and their successful pursuit of Mark Teixeira.
I present the following frame-by-frame account of the slow-motion train wreck that was the Red Sox’s role in the Mark Teixeira negotiations, from a fan’s perspective, sitting calmly, as it were, on a tractor in a nearby field while the derailment and carnage ensued. For the purpose of posterity:
1876 The National League is chartered, beginning a long, continuous line of professional baseball leagues to the modern day.
1920 Babe Ruth is sold by Harry Frazee to the New York Yankees for $125,000 cash, a $350,000 mortgage on Fenway Park, a Cubano sandwich, a flask of abysinthe, and a busted Victrola.
1998 An 18-yr-old Mark Teixeira, widely assumed to be a first-round pick in the Amateur Draft, is drafted in the 9th round by the Boston Red Sox. Mark turns down their $1.5M signing bonus and instead enrolls at Georgia Tech, taking new friend Scott Boras’ advice. Years later, Mark would declare to Baseball America:
They said take it or leave it. It was a decent bonus, but it wasn’t what we were looking for, and we didn’t want to cap our negotiation before the draft even happened. It’s unfair and illegal to go to a kid and say, “We haven’t drafted you yet, we may or may not draft you, but if you don’t take 1.5 we’re not going to draft you.” What would you say? There’s 29 other teams out there–why would I ever cap myself before the draft even happens?…I was naive…The Red Sox told everybody that I wouldn’t sign, and when it got to a late enough round, they said, “Let’s take a flier on him.” So they spoiled me for everyone else–the only one that would draft me was them.
Dan Duquette, then the Red Sox general manager, said it was ‘common knowledge’ that Teixeira would be difficult to sign:
“That’s why he went in the ninth round.”
2001 Mark wins the Dick Howser Trophy as the National Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year…later that year, the Texas Rangers draft the college graduate as the 5th overall pick…
2002 Advances through the minor leagues….
2003 Rookie year; hits 26 homeruns…
2005 Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, All Star, Sets a record for switch-hitters with 144 RBIs…
July 2007 Traded to the Atlanta Braves mid-season…
July 2008 Traded to the LA Angels mid-season, where he preps for free agency.
9/30/08 Meanwhile, the Yankees fall hard, and do not make the playoffs for the first time in 12 years. The consensus of speculation is that first base will be fielded by a clipped-wing Jorge Posada, that Robbie Cano will be traded, that Matt Holliday is the big free agent target in the crosshairs, and that the Yanks will pursue pitching above all else.
10/16/08 Speculation on the Yankee offseason continues at full throttle. It seems every Tom, Dick, and Harry has their own plan for Yankee Success ’09, including this projected lineup [that includes pictures!] from Bill Madden with the Daily News.
11/4 The Yankees, predictably, decline Jason Giambi’s contract option, bid goodbye to the aging slugger, and clear a conspicuous vacancy at first base.
11/9 Anthony McCarron hints of the possibility of Tex going to the Yankees. The article attracts very little attention [24 total comments] upon it’s 6:30am publication on that Sunday morning; the Jets won big the night before, Andy Pettitte had just filed for free agency himself, and, oh yeah, Mike Lupica issues his weekly installment about the tax burden of the new stadiums on the good people of wauh bluah blahh….
11/13 The Yanks acquire Nick Swisher, in a move roundly applauded by fans. Cashman toasts the deal:
“I know one thing about Nick Swisher from afar…He’s a very competitive player. He’s a grinder. He plays at one level at all times.”
Girardi waxes gleeful:
“We’re excited with the addition of Nick Swisher…We feel he has a ton of upside. He’s a patient switch-hitter, adds versatility at a number of defensive positions, including first base and the outfield, and will be a positive presence inside the clubhouse.”
Anthony DiComo of MLB.com suggests that the lineup is finalized:
It originally seemed as if the Yankees would attempt to fill that void by throwing money at Mark Teixeira, far and away the top free-agent first baseman on the market. And even though Cashman said that the addition of Swisher wouldn’t preclude him from pursuing Teixeira, it stands to reason that Girardi’s lineup is now all but set heading into 2009. Instead of spending money on a first baseman, the Yankees can now focus almost exclusively on pitching — their top priority all along.
11/14 Negotiations between free agents and teams may officially begin. GM Brian Cashman puts his first call into the C.C. Sabathia camp.
11/18 Nick Swisher is interviewed by Mike Francesa on WFAN, a NYC AM radio station, where “new Yankee first baseman” introduces himself as a “part of the puzzle [heh heh]”:
11/25 Reports from the Dominican Republic of Robinson Cano’s greatly improved workout ethic emerge, along with the announcement of his promotion in the lineup to batting 3rd or 5th. Batting coach Kevin Long declares:
“If he is going to be a third- or fifth-place hitter, which we need him to be, he has to learn about the strike zone and taking a lot more often than not…He can do that, because he hits as well as anybody with two strikes.”
12/2 The Yanks decline to offer arbitration to Bobby Abreu, one of their top sluggers. The internet buzzes with speculation on the 2009 Yankee lineup; most figure a more muscular and revitalized Robinson Cano, along with ARod, Nady, Swisher, and Matsui in the middle of the order.
12/7 Brian Cashman heads out to the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas:
Pitching remains a top priority…Cashman would not specify what areas of need he saw for the Yankees, beyond starting pitching. “We’re open to anything that makes us better,” he said. “I have players at positions who are set, but I also have flexibility.”
12/9 Cashman makes a personal visit, upon invitation, to CC Sabathia’s home in California. He seemingly jokes about 1-way flying coach [the Red Sox booked a private jet to court Daisuke Matsuzaka] with a single comment that subtly foreshadows the carnage yet to ensue on Yawkey Way:
“We’re not the Red Sox.”
12/10 News breaks of CC Sabathia signing with the Yanks. The free agent market floodgates are officially open. But the Yankees’ final intent is far from revealed, and the media has no inkling of the twist in the tracks that Boston is speeding into:
Jon Heyman / SI: “..they are also in serious negotiations with free-agent Derek Lowe. An agreement with Lowe appears likely to be finalized in the coming days, as well….The Yankees, though, are intent on adding three starters and are also talking with A.J. Burnett and Ben Sheets. They are hopeful of adding one of those two pitchers to round out their rotation.”
Providence Journal: “Reports surfaced yesterday that the Red Sox are likely to land free-agent Mark Teixeira. Several media outlets reported Boston GM Theo Epstein has made it a priority this offseason to sign the slugging first baseman.”
The Great Jay Jaffe / Baseball Prospectus: “Cashman made fixing the rotation his top priority…On the other hand, their offense in 2008 was mediocre…I’ve argued elsewhere that the Yankees should have instead pursued Mark Teixeira, the free-agent market’s top hitter…”
Buster Olney / ESPN: “Sabathia was more than just the No. 1 prize on the free-agent market. He was the centerpiece of their entire offseason game plan….And had the Yankees not been able to land him, they might have shifted philosophies and made a major play for the biggest bats on the market, Mark Teixeira and Manny Ramirez.”
Bill Madden / NY Daily News: “”It’s all but done, but there are still a lot of things that have to be worked out,” said a club source. Cashman was heading back here for the winter meetings and was expected to resume negotiations with the agents for free-agent pitchers A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe.”
Peter Gammons: “John Smoltz wants to come back for another season. He is throwing and thinks he will be ready early next season. The Red Sox have been given his medicals and videos. The feeling is that Boston might be a good fit.”
12/13 The Washington Post cites Yankee sources as declaring the Yanks out of the Tex running:
To this point, the Yankees have signaled a firm no, but if there is any chance at all of it happening, agent Scott Boras would almost certainly give it all the time it needed to happen. One clue might have come when the Yankees and pitcher A.J. Burnett agreed to a reported five-year, $82.5 million deal yesterday….One Yankees executive as far back as mid-November insisted the team would not be bidding on Teixeira, as their focus was on pitching. With ace left-hander CC Sabathia already in the fold and Burnett about to sign, the Yankees still may not be done, with veterans Andy Pettitte and Derek Lowe also on their radar screen.
12/14 The New York Post lists the Yankees among Tex’s secondary suitors, then quickly mentions Manny Ramirez as the targeted alternative free agent slugger that the Yanks would really try for.
12/16 Yankees.com reports that “Teixeira decision is likely coming soon”. The probables:
Teixeira is known to have eight-year offers, of varying financial value, from the Angels, Red Sox, Orioles and Nationals. Ravech includes among the interested teams the Yankees, who are not believed to have yet made an offer, and indicates that the Orioles have a strong attraction for Teixeira, who is originally from Annapolis, Md.
12/18 NY Newsday quotes anonymous Yankee officials backing off Teixeira:
“We’re monitoring the situation, but we have not made an offer. We may not make an offer. If the money gets too rich, then we won’t“
Meanwhile, multiple media outlets report that Red Sox officials are in Texas, where Teixeira lives, to meet with agent Scott Boras. Some Boston sites already declare Boston is the frontrunner.
12/19 Early in the morning, Boston owner John Henry sends a now infamous email to the Boston media:
“We met with Mr. Teixeira and were very much impressed with him. After hearing about his other offers, however, it seems clear that we are not going to be a factor.”
To which Scott Boras responds,
“The Boston ownership was kind enough to request and travel to meet with Mark Teixeira. While it was a very positive meeting, Mark was candid and advised he is in the process of making a decision and is now attempting to eliminate teams.”
**Editor’s Note: Later that morning, LibertyBoyNYC laughs his ass off.
Later that day, Terry Francona and Theo Epstein are denied comment at a press conference announcing an unrelated business partnership:
Just 15 hours after Henry sent that e-mail, Epstein and Boston manager Terry Francona did not speak at a news conference at Logan Airport, which lasted about 15 minutes…Epstein and Francona were escorted away as the news conference was ending.
[That evening, Kevin Youkilis announces that he is, now, ready to move back to third base to accomodate Mark Teixeira. There are no comments on record from current Red Sock thirdbaseman Mike Lowell.]
Ken Rosenthal wonders,
The Yankees seem disinclined to sign Teixeira if his price soars to the $180 million to $200 million range. Funny time for them to find religion, don’t you think?
The Yankees, in the opinion of one rival general manager, should be pursuing Teixeira as aggressively as they did left-hander CC Sabathia.
“Teixeira is the only great player the Red Sox are after,” the GM says. “If the Yankees get Sabathia and Teixeira, the Red Sox can’t counter that. There’s nothing they can do.”
12/20 Peter Gammons assures Red Sox Nation that all is well on the Red Sox Express Train. The ride was just getting bumpy and rest assured, all is well – despite Scott Boras diving off into the underbrush, despite the hydraulic wailing of steel brakes, and despite the flames slithering about the head and ankles.
Gammons is in control here:
…We don’t know whether the Angels, were they to lose Teixeira, would turn to Manny Ramirez. We don’t know whether Randy Levine, Hank Steinbrenner and the Yankees could win out and buy Ramirez. We don’t know whether the Red Sox will decide not to pony up and sign Teixeira…Yankees GM Brian Cashman flew to Sabathia’s house during the winter meetings…because he feared that if Teixeira signed quickly with the Red Sox or the Nationals and the Angels then approached Sabathia…he might give them the California discount…For two years, it has been the Red Sox’s plan to sign Teixeira. That plan remains. What remains to be seen is whether the Red Sox can quantify what Boras does or does not have in offers…
12/22 A Nation turns it’s lonely eyes to Bill Madden, who simply sends out more smoke, railing against Boras and his mechanism of suckering owners into spending more than they want to. The word “Yankees” does not appear in the column a single instance:
…Boras potentially had the perfect storm of ingredients to make yet another record score – two of the wealthiest large-market teams, the Red Sox and Angels, desperate to have Teixeira’s bat, and a perennial doormat, the Washington Nationals, desperate to generate enthusiasm from their disillusioned fan base…the Nats’ Ted Lerner more and more looks to be emerging as this year’s prime candidate for the “One Dumb Owner” (in the mold of Texas’ Tom Hicks) Boras always seems to bamboozle…apparently, the Red Sox’s and Angels’ offers for Teixeira are not even approaching $200 million – Boras’ downscaled figure – and that’s why he invoked his patented “mystery team” card on Henry.
12/23 Mark Teixeira signs with…the Yankees.
Jon Heyman breaks the story:
Teixeira, who hit .308 with 33 home runs and 121 RBIs in 2008, will receive an eight-year, $180 million deal from the Yankees with a full no-trade provision…
…It appears as if the Yankees were given the last chance to sign Teixeira, an indication that New York was near the top of his list all along. The Yankees quietly remained in contact with the Teixeira camp, but after spending $243.5 million on star starting pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, they didn’t appear anxious to be the market setter.
2009 Mark Teixeira dons the Pinstripes:
I’ve been very blessed in my career, very lucky to play with some great players, and now I’m getting to play with the greatest organization in sports history, with some of the greatest players in sports history.
I’ve always said ever since I was a rookie that no one is going to expect more out of me than I expect out of myself. I’ve been given an incredible gift and I believe that I have yet to tap my potential and I’m trying to get better, I’m trying to find ways to get better, so I know there’s a lot of responsibility but you know my character says, hey, I’m trying to get better I haven’t accomplished anything yet.
I don’t have a World Series ring on my finger so I think it’s going to be a give and take. I know that you guys are going to expect a lot out of me, the fans of New York expect a lot out of me, but at the same time I expect more out of myself so it’s going be to be a lot of fun.
I think it says a lot about the Yankees organization that a kid that grew up in Baltimore, had season tickets to Baltimore Orioles games, and would cheer for every other player in the world except for Don Mattingly. Don Mattingly was my guy and people say, why not Cal? Why not Eddie? And I say I love Cal, I love Eddie, but there’s something about Don Mattingly. I would go to Orioles games, my dad would take me to O’s games and I would wear a Yankees hat. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s that wasn’t a safe thing to do in Baltimore, but it was worth it. That’s just a part of being a Yankee that there’s something above everything else, no matter where you are, no matter what stadium you’re in, there’s Yankees fans everywhere and being a Yankee there’s nothing better.
This process was so confusing at some times. Sometimes I told Scott, hey stop calling me (laughs), and then I’d call him five times a day, hey what’s going on, what’s going on. My wife and I decided probably two weeks before Christmas, ‘Hey, the Yankees is where we want to be.
I was very impressed with Cash when he came out to Washington. We met with a bunch of teams. You know it took Scott and I probably a month just to narrow it down to five teams that we would want to negotiate with. Cash made me a nice little video of Yankee Stadium and he put his college recruiting pitch in there and I was impressed.
I’ve always wanted to be with an organization that doesn’t shy away from the big money players, free agents, and doing whatever it takes to win, and the Yankees are on the top of that list.
“That’s why he went in the ninth round.”…
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