New York Yankees: New York Mets
But Reyes' face really lit up when he was asked about Derek Jeter's retirement.
"I think everybody was surprised," said Reyes, who held nothing back in his praise of Jeter. "He's my idol since Day 1."
Reyes later added: "He is the best shortstop to ever play the game. If he is not the best, he is in the top two."
A year from now, you have to wonder if Reyes ends up on the short list as a possible replacement for No. 2. Since Reyes now sports a beard that could fit in at Fenway, it was jokingly mentioned that he might have to shave it next year in the Bronx. Reyes retorted that after this season he still has four years left on his deal.
It is not that hard to imagine Cashman pursuing Reyes next winter. If the Blue Jays have a down year, but Reyes is still good, they may try to rebuild without Reyes. This could lead Cashman to dial the 416 area code.
It should be noted Reyes, who turns 31 in June, still makes his family residence in Long Island.
Reyes' focus is clearly with Toronto. He is looking forward to 2014, because like Jeter he feels his ankle is healthy. His severe ankle sprain limited Reyes to 93 games. Even when he returned he felt his mobility at short was limited.
"After you injure your ankle, that is never going to feel normal again," said Reyes, who had a .780 OPS and stole 15 bases. "You always have to live with something there. [Jeter] is working hard in rehab. I saw his highlights this year, running to first base. I think he is running very good. That's good to see."
Reyes thinks the Blue Jays could be better this season, even in, what he called, the "toughest division" baseball. He thinks the Yankees will find to way to get it done, despite losing Robinson Cano.
"I was surprised," Reyes said. "But, in baseball, nothing surprises me anymore."
There was a time no one thought Reyes would ever leave New York, but the Mets never offered him a contract and so he fled to Miami.
Now, a Blue Jay for a second season, he looks forward to coming to New York and seeing the Yankees so he can be on the field with his idol a few more times.
"This year more than ever," Reyes said.
Reyes has a signed Jeter jersey hanging in his home in Long Island. He also has a bat from the Captain. Maybe one day he will have Jeter's position.
"Everyone is going to miss him, for sure," Reyes said. "Not just as a player, but as a person more. He's an unbelievable guy. I'm glad to share the same field with him. Like when I played in New York, I shared the same city with Jeter. He is a role model."
The talks with all the teams are in the preliminary stages.
According to a baseball official, another of his former teams, the Minnesota Twins, has expressed interest in Santana. The other five teams are the Tampa Bay Rays, the Baltimore Orioles, the Kansas City Royals, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Like other clubs, the Yankees could possibly offer Santana an incentive-laden non-roster invitee contract. Santana's agent, Peter Greenberg, has told teams Santana is interested in signing a contract now if a club separates itself from the pack. If not, Santana is expected to throw in January to showcase himself.
If he is willing to shave his facial hair, the Yankees could be a good match for Santana because they are in need of starters. As it stands right now, they have three starters in CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova. Joe Girardi confirmed Tuesday that Michael Pineda, David Phelps, Vidal Nuno and Adam Warren will compete for the fifth spot.
The Yankees would be players for Masahiro Tanaka, if he is posted. At this point, they are not in on the top MLB free-agent pitchers, but could go after someone like Paul Maholm.
Back in 2007, before the Twins traded the lefty to the Mets, the Yankees and Minnesota had talks for Santana. The Yankees were hesitant to give up Phil Hughes in a possible trade. This offseason, Hughes signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Twins. Santana was not fully keen on the Yankees because he likes facial hair.
It is possible now that Santana could be a replacement for Hughes in the Bronx.
“Who wouldn’t be interested if the governor of your state for whatever reason of their due process thought [you were] worthy, in their opinion?” Leiter, currently an announcer both for the YES Network and the MLB Network, told ESPNNewYork.com. “So, yeah, I would be interested.”
Leiter, 47, has known Christie, a Mets fan, for a long time. Leiter, like Christie, is a Republican. He has campaigned for Christie in their home state. He was a member of Christie's transition team after the election and served on the New Jersey Sports, Gaming and Entertainment Committee. Leiter was also nominated by Christie and approved by the state Senate to be a member of the New Jersey Hall of Fame Commission.
During the last presidential election, through his connection to Christie, Leiter attended fundraisers for Mitt Romney.
The appointment by Christie is expected to become a big national issue because of the Jersey governor's presidential aspirations. Christie said on Tuesday that there will be a special election this year to allow voters to choose Lautenberg's long-term replacement.
Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis are expected back with the Yankees on Friday.
Given that the Yankees, who have lost four straight, can’t score many runs right now, that’s a good thing.
Andy Pettitte is supposed to join them sometime next week.
That said, who do you think should go to make room for the veteran trio?
Of note: Manager Joe Girardi said he wants to carry 12 pitchers. The Yankees are currently carrying 13, which means two hurlers have to be subtracted to meet that number.
Here are the likely candidates:
Vidal Nuno: Nuno, a 25-year-old left-hander, gets the start on Thursday night against the Mets. He is 1-1 with 1.93 ERA in four games (two starts). With Pettitte returning to the rotation, Nuno is the obvious candidate to be pulled out.
Preston Claborne: Claborne, a 25-year-old right-hander, retired all five batters he faced in place of an ineffective David Phelps Wednesday night. Claborne has allowed just one run over 14 2/3 innings since his promotion from the minors, which equates to a 0.61 ERA. It would be tough to send him down, but with Joba Chamberlain back, he may have to go.
Ivan Nova: Nova, 26, was impressive in relief of Phelps, allowing just one run and striking out six over five effective innings. His season ERA is down to 5.16. It was a great step toward eventually returning to the rotation. But would Nova be better-served starting every five days in Triple-A?
Reid Brignac: Brignac is hitting just .071 since being acquired by the Yankees. His versatility on defense is nice, but that’s about it.
David Adams: Adams, 26, has played quite well since being called up, hitting .265. He can’t play shortstop but can man third, second and first base if necessary. Doesn’t look like he’s going to stick around with a glut of corner infielders already on the roster.
Again, what moves do you think the Yankees should make? Let us know in the comments section below.
UP NOW: Wallace Matthews writes that Teixeira and Youkilis coming back is nice, but their returns won’t fix all the Yankees’ problems. I did a blog which mainly focuses on Phelps’ poor outing. And Kieran Darcy has the latest on the surging Metropolitans.
ON DECK: Andrew Marchand, Adam Rubin and Ian O’Connor have you covered for ESPNNewYork.com as the 2013 version of the Subway Series comes to a close Thursday night in the Bronx. It’ll be Nuno (1-1, 1.93 ERA) for the Yankees going against Mets righty Dillon Gee (2-6, 6.34). First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.
UPDATE: The game is scheduled to begin at 8:40 p.m.
He is 16-for-26 so far in the
David Wright hit a grand slam to beat Italy in the first round and has added another six RBIs, which gives him the most of any player in the tourney with 10. His average isn’t shabby either at .438.
The Mighty Cano vs. Captain America.
Get used to it, New York baseball fans.
This is the theme of Thursday night’s matchup, but it could be the foundation of a renewed Yankees-Mets rivalry over the coming years. If Cano re-signs with the Yankees, he will become the new face of the franchise. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez may still be around, but it is Cano, 30, who is the undisputed best player and, if inked, will be here for the long haul.
Wright, also 30, will be on the Mets’ marquee into the 2020s. His eight-year, $138 million deal guarantees that. If the Mets’ young pitching can eventually lead to a renaissance, Wright will have a chance to win a ring or two and really be the Mets' Jeter.
Wright and Cano are similar players. In 2012, according to FranGraphs, they both were worth 7.8 Wins Above Replacement. On Thursday, they will be the leading forces for each of their countries -- the USA and the Dominican Republic, respectively. They both have a special pride in doing so, and as key figures on the Big Apple baseball teams, they make for one of those beautiful New York baseball debates.
QUESTION: Who would you rather have over the next eight years? Cano or Wright?
The truth is, there aren’t really any terrible contracts in baseball. There are bad contracts and bad players getting overpaid, sure, but as we’ve seen in recent years, teams can still win with the most burdensome of deals on their ledger and have even been able to offload some of the worst contracts.
Remember all the mocking the Giants incurred on the Barry Zito deal? Seven years and $126 million for a finesse left-hander? Has Zito been worth the money? No, he’s barely been a replacement-level pitcher during his six years with the Giants, with a 3.9 WAR and no seasons with an ERA under 4.00. But the contract wasn’t a franchise-killer. The Giants won the World Series in 2010 (although Zito didn’t pitch in the postseason) and have a chance to win again in 2012 (with help from Zito this time).
When the Blue Jays signed Vernon Wells to a seven-year, $126 extension after his big 2006 season, it seemed like a reasonable deal for a two-way center fielder in his prime. Wells has produced a .256/.305/439 line since, but the Jays were still able to deal the final four years of his contract to the Angels.
The $142 million the Red Sox gave Carl Crawford immediately turned into a disaster, as Crawford played poorly his first season and battled injuries in his second. Still, the Red Sox managed to dump Crawford by packaging him with Adrian Gonzalez. As P.T. Barnum said ...
So you get the idea. That said, here are 10 contracts I’d rather not be paying out.
1. Alex Rodriguez, 10 years, $275 million
2. Ryan Howard, 5 years, $125 million
3. Carl Crawford, 7 years, $142 million
4. Jayson Werth, 7 years, $126 million
5. Albert Pujols, 10 years, $240 million
6. Adrian Gonzalez, 7 years, $154 million
7. Mark Teixeira, 8 years, $180 million
8. Joe Mauer, 8 years, $184 million
9. Vernon Wells, 7 years, $126 million
10. Contract of your choice, too many years, too much money: Jason Bay, John Lackey, Chone Figgins ... even if these deals have only a year or two left, if you’re a fan of these teams, you know the aggravation factor. So fill in the blank here with the contract you love to despise.
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What intrigues you most about Friday’s game?
Sharp: Can the Yankee lefties take Jonathon Niese deep?
Niese has allowed one home run to the 46 left-handed batters he’s faced this season, but that longball came in his most recent start against the Reds.
Yankee lefties have combined to hit 11 homers off same-handed pitchers, the most among all MLB teams. Curtis Granderson has seven of them this year, but has yet to homer off Niese in six career at-bats.
Simon: Will the Mets be able to resist Andy Pettitte’s slider.
Of the 20 sliders Pettitte threw with two strikes to Mets hitters, only four ended up in the strike zone. Yet, Pettitte recorded seven strikeouts with the pitch.
The Mets were actually better than most teams in terms of knowing when to chase that pitch (they swung at 41 percent of his out-of-zone sliders), but they’ll either need to be better, or avoid getting to those counts in the first place to have a successful night.
What intrigues you most about Saturday’s game?
Sharp: If Ivan Nova can continue his remarkable streak of excellent pitching performances in road interleague games.
Nova is 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA in four career interleague starts away from Yankee Stadium.
He is the first pitcher to start his career winning his first four road interleague starts while allowing no more than one run in each outing. The only other pitcher with a streak like that at any point in his career is Jamie Moyer, who had a similar four-start streak from 2002-04.
Simon: How many fly balls Chris Young allows that would have been home runs or extra-base hits in Yankee Stadium.
Young’s style is such that he allows a lot of fly balls, with a batted-ball breakdown of 36 flies, 22 grounders and 10 liners. In Yankee Stadium, about one of every seven fly balls leaves the park. In Citi Field, the rate is about one of every 12.
To his credit, Young has not allowed a homer in his first three starts. I’d expect that to change on Saturday night.
What intrigues you most about Sunday’s game?
Sharp: Can the Yankees solve R.A. Dickey’s knuckleball?
Dickey shut down the Yankees in two starts against them last year (two earned runs over 11 innings), but this is the first time he faces them in 2012.
Raul Ibanez and Alex Rodriguez have been able to hit Dickey in the past. Ibanez is the only player with three homers off the knuckleballer; A-Rod is 6-for-13 (.462) with two doubles against him.
However, the Yankee switch-hitters (Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher) have not had much success against Dickey, going a combined 3-for-21 (.143) with six strikeouts and seven groundouts.
Simon: CC Sabathia's hitting.
Sabathia is 2-for-14 and hitless in his last nine at-bats as a Yankees hitter in regular-season play. That’s not like him. Prior to coming to the Yankees, Sabathia hit .259 with three home runs in 59 at-bats.
R.A. Dickey needs to know that grooving an 85 mile-per-hour fastball over the middle, like he might do against other pitchers, is not necessarily the best option against Sabathia.
If you look at the Yankees' position players, the most realistic place for them to make a change are in the corner outfield spots. Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi love Brett Gardner. Gardner, 28, made $530,000 last year and that number should rise for next year, but it's a great Yankee bargain given his production. Thus, it is doubtful the Yankees will do anything there.
At catcher, Russell Martin -- who can't become a free agent -- figures to be back, while Jesus Montero can assume the DH/backup catcher job.
So right field is the most likely spot for a change to occur. Personally, I can't see the Yankees declining Swisher's option. At worst, I would think they would pick it up and then deal him. At the least, they will look into that, while keeping tabs on what is happening in the free agent outfield market.
If you could trade Swisher and a prospect for No. 3 or so starter, it may be a good move.
Here is my question for you to answer below: Forgetting what Swisher could maybe bring in a trade, whom would you rather have? Swisher or Beltran?
Check it out here.
Here is the money quote from O'Neill:
“They were very good,” O’Neill said. “I couldn’t sit back and go player-by-player. I think the ’98 team had much more depth. We had a couple of World Series under our belts, too. We were seasoned to that point. The ’86 Mets were just a great team. They won just one World Series, right?”
O'Neill's question at the end was not mocking. He legitimately was asking.
Bedlam ensued, both benches cleared, and Clemens later said he thought the bat was the ball.
Nearly 11 years later, it's a play that still leaves those associated with the Subway Series at a loss for words.
"The sad thing about it is, that's kind of what everybody remembers, and Roger actually threw a great ballgame after that," former Yankees and Mets reliever Mike Stanton said. "I don't even -- you might even be able to ask Roger, he probably doesn't know what happened. It's just one of those things -- heat of the moment."
Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine believes that Clemens and Piazza's previous incident led to a ballooning of the bat-and-ball incident into a memorable World Series moment.
During a July game between the two teams, Clemens nailed Piazza in the head with a pitch. Piazza, who had great numbers against Clemens, said he thought the beaning was an intentional move. Valentine also said at the time he thought the beaning was intentional.
"I don't know what the heck I thought. I ran onto the field and I had no idea what to think," Valentine said of the Game 2 moment. "It seemed a little silly to me at first."
Former Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer seemed to be defending Clemens by saying that Clemens often pitched inside, but he also admitted the previous incident didn't help the Yankees pitcher's causes.
Said Zimmer: "Like Bobby said, it just looked bad after he hit him in the head."
A group of formers Mets and Yankees players, coaches and managers gathered to reminisce and celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2000 Subway Series on Friday night at Mohegan Sun. The event also included a celebrity dinner and memorabilia auction, and was hosted by the Connecticut Sports Foundation. Roger Clemens was scheduled to speak at the dinner.
Players in attendance at the pre-dinner news conference included former Mets closer John Franco, former Mets outfielder Benny Agbayani, and former Yankees reliever Mike Stanton. Former Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer and first baseman Moose Skowron also were present.
"It was a wonderful time in my life personally," said former Mets manager Bobby Valentine. "I thought it was a wonderful time in New York. I can't even envision the excitement that was on the streets, in the stands, over the airwaves because of guys like you see here in front of me.
"Both teams had true grit players -- guys who loves to play the game, who were laying it all out on the line. And the New York fan got that dream coming true of having a [Subway] Series. And the Mets fans' dreams were crushed, but it sure was a good series and they sure were good games as I remember them."
The former participants all laughed as they remembered the details of the five-game series that concluded with the Yankees winning their 26th world championship. There was talk of Jeff Nelson coming out of the bullpen for the Yankees, Todd Zeile's near-home run in Game 1 that instead turned into an out at home plate due to some poor base running by Timo Perez, and how both teams used police escorts to quickly get back and forth between the two stadiums.
One play that stuck out as a key point in the series was former Yankees outfielder Paul O'Neill's lengthy at-bat that resulted in a walk with one out in the bottom of the ninth of Game 1 against Mets closer Armando Benitez. The Yankees went on to tie the game that inning, and later took Game 1, 4-3 in 12.
"In our minds aside, that was the Timo game -- besides not having an extra pad going into that inning, that (10)-pitch at-bat was the difference in that game," Zeile said. "Benitez gives up a run, we go into extra innings, we lose, and (O'Neill) fought off pitches that were on the black. Armando was throwing great pitches, everything he had in his bag, and Paulie found a way to get on base."
While the Subway Series was certainly memorable for pitting two New York teams against each other in the World Series, some of those involved believe that interleague play lessened the hype and excitement leading into the series. The Yankees and Mets had already played six times that season before the World Series began. Even that point, though, wasn't harped on by the former players, just briefly mentioned.
It had been 44 years since the last time two New York teams played against each other in the World Series. Those in attendance on Friday won't forget the memories of being in a Subway Series.
"Growing up as a Mets fan and getting the opportunity to play for the Mets and getting into the World Series, when I waited a zillion years to finally get into the World Series, and finally got in and we had to play the Yankees -- I thought it was great for the city," Franco said. "Both fans were great -- Yankees fans, Mets fans. I think the interleague probably took a little bit away from it probably with how crazy it could've been, but it was a joy to play and unfortunately for us we fell on the short end of it. But it was great."
Final NY Rangers 1 Carolina 3 Final New Jersey 2 Philadelphia 1
7:00 PM ET Butler Seton Hall 7:00 PM ET South Florida Rutgers 7:00 PM ET Fordham George Mason
8:00 PM ET NY Rangers Winnipeg 7:00 PM ET San Jose NY Islanders 7:30 PM ET New Jersey Florida
12:00 PM ET Milwaukee New York 7:00 PM ET Brooklyn Washington
7:00 PM ET Buffalo NY Islanders 7:00 PM ET New Jersey Tampa Bay
9:05 PM ET Marlins Yankees 1:05 PM ET Yankees Orioles 1:10 PM ET Twins Mets 4:05 PM ET Mets Cubs