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Battle of the Superagents: Arn Tellem vs Scott Boras
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
The rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox is as strong as ever, but they have been taking such different tactics to remedy their respective rosters (Boston has been on a spending rampage [JD Drew could be the next beneficiary of Epstein's poorly constrained wallet] while the Yanks are holding onto their baby Bombers for dear life) that the off-season animosity between the two has been less than thrilling. The competition between MLB Superagents Arn Tellem (above left, in what appears to be a high school year book photo) and Scott Boras (above right, with his balls) is heating up, though! They both have history with the Yankees and the Red Sox and each is representing a big-name Japanese pitcher, but which Superagent truly wields the power when it comes to MLB contracts?

BackgroundGraduate of Haverford College and University of Michigan Law School; working as an agent since early 1980's.Graduate of McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific and holds a doctorate in industrial pharmacology; working as an agent since early 1980'sBoras. His pharmacology knowledge makes him the winner with the juicers.
Advocate for...players' rightsbig bonuses for amateur draft picksTellem. Creating a contract that keeps a player happy is far superior to landing a draft pick an extra $50K
ClientsGiambi, Moose, Matsui, Kenny Rogers, Rafael Palmiero (former client)Damon, A-Rod, Bernie, Beltran, Bonds (former client) Even
Reaction to Clients' indiscretionsIn response to Rafael Palmiero's association with Balco: "There is another side to this story, and Raffy will tell it soon. I hope that the public will wait to make a final judgment about Rafael until they hear his story in its entirety."In response to MLB's alleged distaste for A-Rod's poker playing: "The Yankees have never addressed or spoken with me in regard to any off-field activities regarding Alex Rodriguez. And the Yankees have never spoken to Alex regarding any of his off-field activities."Boras. Granted, poker playing is just a tad less controversial than using steroids, but I think his down-to-business statement protects his client better than Tellem's promise of another side to the "story".
2006 Japanese Import ClientIgawaMatsuzakaBoras.
Matsuzaka is the stronger pitcher by leaps and bounds.

Arnie and Scooter are certainly fighting in the same weight class, but I believe that Mr. Boras comes out of the ring the victor. His pharmacology background - essential in the Steroids Era - and the way he has handled Matsuzaka thus far put him on top, but Arnie could take the next round if Scott doesn't secure the type of blockbuster deal for Matsuzaka that we are all anticipating...


posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, November 29, 2006   4 comments
Overspending!? I’ll Show You Some Overspending…
Monday, November 27, 2006
The Yankees have cultivated a reputation as free-wheeling spenders during the Big Stein era, shelling out the big bucks to bring Bombers to the Bronx, and more than a few people have criticized the club for “overspending” on big names. Contracts like those of A-Rod, Giambi or Damon may have seemed extravagant in their day, but this year’s free agents have milked the meager market enough to make the Yanks’ blockbuster deals look like bargains. One needn’t look any further than the contracts inked this past week to see some true overspending:

soriano's pimped rideAlong with Barry Baked Ziti and Mr. $50 million cup of coffee Matsuzaka, Soriano was arguably the most-hyped free agent available for 2007. I’m sure the Cubs are hoping that the mega-ultra-multi-million dollar deal they gave Sori (left; he's clearly already used his cash to pimp his ride) will pay off come October, but its going to be a long 8 years for Cubs fans if he doesn’t perform. He had a great 2006 season with the Youppi-less Nationals and hits enough homers to make Balco sweat (I have a feeling they don’t like to see athletes do well without their assistance), but let’s not forget that this is a kid who couldn’t tell a ball from a strike if it smacked him in the head and whose stolen base count is impressive only until you see the number of times he was caught. His price? 8 years, $136 million, or 356.95 Robinson Canos.

carlos lee astrosAfter seeing Soriano score with such a ludicrous contract, the 2nd-tier free agent outfielders apparently collectively decided to add a few zeroes to their asking prices. The Astros signed Carlos Lee (right, already drunk on Cristal) to a 6 year deal worth $100 million, meaning that he’ll be making about double what he made in 2005 and 2006 annually. Unless Lee winds up hitting .400 with 97 home runs to propel the Astros into the post-season, I have a feeling the Astros would have been better off signing Jeromy Burnitz for $8 million and purchasing about 15 million delicious Chipotle burritos with the rest of the cash. Over in LA, where speed (the skill, not the drug) is apparently valued tenfold over power and OBP, the Dodgers determined that paying Juan Pierre $44 million over the course of the next 5 years - - years during which he will undoubtedly slow down and get caught stealing even more than he already does - - would be a keen move. Pierre is a dandy outfielder, one the Yankees Chick was rooting for last year when the Yanks were looking for an outfielder, but $44 million?! To put that in perspective, the Yanks will pay Matsui $13 million next year – just $4 million more than what Pierre will make – and his OPS is over a point better than Pierre’s.

baked zitiFree agents obviously are able to finagle heftier contracts when the market is sparse and multiple teams are in on the bidding, but the Yankees’ hesitance to strike on Matsuzaka (by the way, I now charge $50+ million to have a chat with me, too) and Baked Ziti (left, yum) makes me hopeful that perhaps the era of signing whoever the off-season’s hot ticket is without regard to cost or value is tapering off at last. When 2009 rolls around and the Mets are paying Barry Zito $25 million each year to maintain a 4.00 ERA, the Yanks will be watching Phillip Hughes or the Wangster do the same for a fraction of the cost.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Monday, November 27, 2006   8 comments
And The MVP Award Goes to Derek Jeter! Justin MorNO HE DIDN’T!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
In a world where a team with the most intimidating batting lineup I’ve seen in my lifetime cannot make it out of the first round of the playoffs and a scowling pitcher can be DFA one moment and a World Series hero the next (I’m looking at you, Jeff Weaver), I suppose seeing Jeter receive only the 2nd most votes in the MVP contest should come as no surprise. I had such high hopes for Jeter this year, though: his first batting title was within reach right up to the bitter end, a World Series ring seemed imminent, and his consistency, clutchiness, OBP and average pointed directly towards MVP-ville.
Justin Morneau is certainly a deserving candidate; the Twins would have had a much tougher time overtaking the White Sox without his power and RBIs. I suppose I would even be willing to admit that Mr. Morneau may have been more valuable to the Twins than Jeter was to the Yankees, for the simple fact that Jeter has the luxury of being backed up by 8 other stellar batters. From a purely numerical standpoint, I still believe that Jeter had a superior year. Morneau edged out Jeter in power and in RBIs, but Jeter is not a power hitter – he’s a “get on base and create runs” hitter, as evidenced by his impressive average (2nd in the league), OBP (3rd in the league) and stolen bases count (7th in league).
Let’s take a peak at their key numbers:

BattingAve .343.321
X-base hits5682
Stolen Bases/CS34/53/3
W/ RISP and 2 outs.369.303
Close and Late.325.299

mary camdenJeter and Morneau both had seasons deserving of a prize or two. The good news for Morneau is that he’s going home with the MVP trophy. Jeter’s prize came in the form of a hot c-list actress who is best known for portraying a bad-seed preacher’s daughter on 7th Heaven (see right: tank top and sassy look = out of control preacher's kid). Judging by her acting skills on that show, I’m not able to decide whether Jeter should have held out for the trophy or if he should just be thankful a young lady likes him.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Tuesday, November 21, 2006   20 comments
Time for Some Bitching About the Yankees' Pitching!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
hello, pavano?"Hello, Carl? It's Mr. Cashman....From the Yankees...Yeah, you're still on this team..."

Pitching seems to be the downfall of the Yankees’ otherwise dominant organization year after year, and the current 2007 rotation isn’t shaping up to be any better than the last few years. Wang and Mussina (whose new 2-year, $23 million contract should be finalized this week) combine to offer a 1-2 any team could be proud of, but the Yanks have little else to rely on in the form of starting pitching. Wright is gone (not that he was 100% reliable…but at least he had healthy buttocks), leaving Pavano, the Unit and Humberto Sanchez to round out the rotation, all three of whom make me very, very nervous. The Unit underwent back surgery just 3 weeks ago, and while he will be healed enough to play next season it is unclear whether the old man will be able to rehab in time for opening day. Pavano, of course, is more likely to take a tumble over a pile of batting gloves and impale himself on Joe Torre’s pen than to pitch more than 4 innings next year, and while I am very excited about the addition of young Humberto Sanchez I don’t think it would be prudent to expect a 23-year-old rookie to lead the team just yet.

Daisuke Matsuzaka has been the name on the top of every GM’s Christmas list all year, but much like Tickle Me Elmo, the demand simply exceeded the supply. Many people – Yankees Chick included – believed that the Yanks would put up the big bucks to ensure that the Great Matsu would be wearing pinstripes when he crossed the International Date Line, but their (comparatively) conservative bid and subsequent loss of any chance of a New York Matsuzaka means that they will simply have to look elsewhere to fill the gaping holes in the swiss cheese that is the Yankees’ rotation. Here’s a look at some folks who are considered to be options for the Yanks’ rotation at this stage in the game:

dr proctorScott Proctor: The Yankees are apparently considering transitioning Doctor Proctor out of his reliever role and putting him into the starting rotation. This isn’t an inherently bad idea, as he did a swell job pitching several times a week (102 innings over the course of the season) in 2006 and probably wouldn’t have too big of an problem adjusting to the higher pitch counts. However, this would simply shift the hole in the cheese to the bullpen, which isn’t in such hot shape itself.

Andy Pettitte: He is officially a free agent now, though he hasn’t said if he plans to pitch next year or if he will be heading to the retirement home. Cashman has expressed an interest in him, but I have a feeling ol’ Andy will be following in his boyfriend best friend Roger Clemens’ footsteps and will stick around in Astro-ville.

Kei Igawa: The 27-year-old lefty from Japan's Hanshin Tigers was posted last week and teams have until 5 p.m. Nov. 27 to make a bid. Igawa has a 3.15 ERA in 8 seasons, pitching in close to 30 games each year since 2001. With Matsuzaka being touted as the hot ticket this year, Igawa has flown somewhat under the radar, but he would likely be a fine – and more affordable – starter for the Yanks.

TED LILLYTed Lilly (right): The Yankees love bringing back former team members, and Ted could be just the salve the Yankees’ pitching pains need. He’s apparently looking for a 4-year deal in the $36 million range, which is pricey, but the meager market drives prices up faster than a bidding war for a PS3 on Ebay. Since leaving the Yanks in 2002 (when they traded him for Senor Scowl Jeff Weaver), Ted has put up consistent numbers for Oakland and Toronto. Just yesterday Cashman acknowledged that the Yanks are indeed looking into a Lilly-redux, but I don’t believe any contact has been made at this time.

As for Barry Zito, the Yanks don’t seem to be too keen on entering into the sort of mega-contract Scott Boras would no doubt demand. Zito will probably fetch a 5-year deal worth upwards of $75 million (yes, you read that correctly), making Lilly, Pettitte or Igawa seem like a bargain in comparison. The Yanks have slightly more than 4 months to put together a rotation to back up their awe-inducing batting lineup, and Cashman’s patience and insight in recent years has satisfied me enough to feel confident that they will indeed add a respectable arm to the roster in plenty of time - - - and if he can somehow keep Pavano wrapped in enough bubble wrap to prevent major injury for even a month of the season, I believe my feelings for Cashman would skyrocket from “satisfied” to “awe-stricken deification”…

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Sunday, November 19, 2006   5 comments
Were the Yanks Right to Write Off Wright?
Sunday, November 12, 2006
It’s still early on in the game of off-season musical chairs, but the Yankees have made it clear that they are focused on rejuvenating the lackluster pitching staff that let them down in the ALCS. They have already replaced Sheffield and his accompanying emotional baggage (which tends to manifest itself in angry outbursts – never attractive) with 3 young pitchers from Detroit - a 23-year-old potential star starter and 2 young relievers – and are expected to sign Moose to a new 2-year contract before long. Today the Yankees bid farewell to Jaret Wright, shipping him off to the Orioles in exchange for Chris Britton (right, looking eerily similar to Mr. Jaret Wright himself), a young (he’ll turn 24 in December) righty reliever who put up a 3.35 ERA in 52 games with Baltimore last year.

Jaret’s time with the Yankees wasn’t particularly prolific, and I’ll admit to having thrown things at the TV in disgust one or two (ahem) times during his starts over the course of the past 2 years, but I’m actually not convinced that he needed to be dealt. By the 2nd half of the 2006 season Wright had turned into a relatively dependable starter; he didn’t pitch complete games or intimidate batters with 100mph fastballs, but he could be counted on for 5 innings of 3-run baseball. What’s more, the Yankees paid the Orioles $4 million (the amount of Wright’s buy-out) to take Wright off their hands, but it would have cost them just $7 million to keep him on the team for the 2007 season.

My main reservation regarding this trade is that, for reasons I cannot even begin to comprehend, Cashman has made repeated statements indicating that he is counting Pavano (right, in a studio, the only place he has ever worn his Yankees uniform) as one of his 5 starters for the 2007 season. Now, I was the vice-president of the math club in high school (this is true…sadly), and based on the frequency of Pavano’s injuries divided by the total number of strikeouts he has accumulated since 2004, multiplied by the square root of the amount of injectable steroids he used in 2004, I can confirm with 99.98% accuracy that he will not be making more than 3 starts during the 2007 season. He clearly is not one to be counted on, so without Wright, the Yankees are left with just Wang, Mussina and the Unit in their starting rotation. Humberto Sanchez, the much-lauded prospect the Yanks acquired from the Tigers this week, has not played in the majors yet and may not be ready for the big time right away, and the other 3 pitchers the Yankees added this week (2 others from the Sheff deal and Britton today) are strictly relievers.

The good news is that Cashman seems to be weilding more control over the decision-making process as Big Stein gets older and weaker, and he has impressed me with his forsight in the past. Let's just cross our fingers and hope that he lands another starter (or 2!) in the next few months...

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Sunday, November 12, 2006   6 comments
Sheffield And His Mom are Like THIS
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I’m sure you’ve read all about the Gary Sheffield trade, and if you’re anything like the Yankees Chick you agree that it is a great move for the Yankees. Surprisingly, Sheff hasn’t gone on a public tirade about the trade, but I was lucky enough to accidentally hack into his email account and stumble upon this sweet email Sheff wrote to his mama describing his reaction to the trade.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

To: kiss_the_sheff’s_mama@aol.com
From: xxsheffield_is_godxx@balco.com
Subject: what a day!

Hi Mom,

Sorry I didn’t make it to your house the other day – how’s that broken hip feeling? Did you ever make it to the hospital? I totally would have taken you, but while I was on the way to your house to pick you up my cell rang and damned if it wasn’t that bastard Cashman, telling me that I, the best slugger the Yankees have ever had on their team in the history of the universe AND the undeniable true captain of the team, had been TRADED to Detriot!! I was pretty upset and chucked my phone out the window of my Escalade, and by the time I had pulled over and raked through 3 feet of raw sewage to find it (I paid $1.99 for a custom “who let the sheff out?” ringtone and I was not about to lose it) I had completely forgotten about you.

Once I had confirmed that the ringtone still worked (it did, thank god!!), I got back into my car and drove straight over to Rufus Williams’ house to give him hell for not putting a no-trade clause in my contract. After beating him nearly senseless for close to an hour I realized that he was trying to tell me something, so I eased up just enough to hear him gasp “you…created…the… contract…yourself… with… steinbrenner …you… wouldn’t… allow… me…to …help…”. Apparently, when Big Stein and I sat down to hammer out the contract back in 2003 I insisted on doing it without the help of my agent! Oops!!!! I felt kind of guilty about the beating so I offered to take Rufus out to dinner, but he wasn’t really conscious at that point so I left him to rest.

Obviously, I was pretty upset. I mean, the Yankees wouldn’t have even made it to the post-season without me and they just disposed of me like I disposed of my Marlins gear a few years back. Once I left Rufus’ house I headed home and signed online right away to check out my fans’ reactions to the trade, knowing that the legion of Gary Sheffield Disciples would surely have some inspiring words for me. But before I even had a chance to do my nightly “I love Gary Sheffield” google search, I caught a glimpse of a headline on MLB.com describing the trade and started laughing so hard that the chocolate milk (low-fat, Mom, don’t worry!) I was drinking spewed out of my nose and almost ruined my cell phone (don’t worry, I checked it and the ringtone still works! Whew!). Apparently, the Yankees traded ME, Gary Sheffield, for 3 young pitchers! Boy, are they going to regret that!! They traded ME, a SLUGGER who hits close to .290 sometimes and can wiggle my bat like nobody’s business and all they got were 3 KIDS. Just you wait, Mom. Mr. Cashman will be knocking at my door in April just begging me to come back.

Gary always gets the last laugh!!!


P.S. Just got a call from your landlord telling me you are still waiting for me in front of your house – I guess you never made it to the hospital! I’m on my way now, seriously.

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Saturday, November 11, 2006   1 comments
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
The World Series is over, awards season is in full swing, leaves have changed colors from green to Cardinals red and the time has come to clean up the Yankees' figurative house. Six Yanks have already filed for free agency, and while simply filing does not mean that the Yankees can't or won't resign them, it does allow Big Stein and the Gang (not to be confused with Kool and his Gang) to ditch some dead weight and look for greener pastures. Free agents can't sign with a new team until November 12th, giving the team they played for this year a chance to make an offer before other teams swoop in (and by "swoop in", I mean "begrudgingly decide to sign someone after realizing that the anemic market inflated Barry Zito's asking price to $2349084329082 million").

Tanyon "Bring In Da Noize, Bring In Da Hurtz" Sturtze (right, accurately imitating the face I make whenever I see him pitch), Miguel Cairo, Craig Wilson, Octavio Dotel, and Ron Villone were the first Yanks to file this week. The Yanks have not given any indication that they will resign any of these five, but I wouldn't be surprised if Big Stein and the Cash Man decide to keep Villone, Dotel, or Sturtze around, simply because the Yankees' bullpen is a disaster and any one of these 3 will be cheap.

Bernie (left, partying like the rockstar he is) joined the free agent list yesterday, though he hasn't even decided if he will return to baseball for any team next year. He's been with the Yanks for 16 seasons - he's never played for a different team - and at 38 years old, he might be ready for retirement. On the other hand, he played very well this year, hitting .281 (and winning the Yankees Chick $20 in a bet!) with 12 homers and 29 doubles in 131 games, a performance significantly superior to any expectations placed upon him at the beginning of the season. Since the Yankees have Matsui, Damon, Abreu and Melky to play the outfield, Bernie could feasibly rejoin the Yanks in the role he was intended to play this year (before the Sheff/Matsui injuries): occasional DH/pinch hitter. If the Yankees do not make Bernie an offer, I believe Bernie would likely forgo an offer from another team in favor of retirement as a Yankee.

As for Gary "Sir Easy to Pleasey!" Sheffield (right, in a super-intimidating terry cloth hat), he will also become a free agent this year if the Yankees choose not to pick up his $13 million option. That is probably a moot point, though, since the Yankees have made it pretty clear that they do intend to pick up that option. Whether they turn right around and trade him remains to be seen, but regardless of the outcome I know I can rest assured that Sheff's reaction will be completely inappropriate and deliciously comedic!

Like the Sheffster, Moose (left...obviously) and Jaret Wright also have options on their respective contracts this year. Mussina's is for $17 million, which the Yankees can "buy out" for $1.5 million. It looks like the Yanks may go ahead and pay the $1.5 mil for the buy out and then resign Moose to a contract worth less than the $17 million, but if they opt to go that route they'll have to make the buy out decision by the 15th. Wright's option is for $7 million and the Yankees haven't announced what they plan to do with him, but it would cost them $4 million to buy out the contract and allow Wright to become a free agent, so I imagine they will go ahead and pick up the option.

In other housekeeping news, bench coach Lee Mazzilli has been given the boot and Don Mattingly has been promoted from hitting coach to Torre's right-hand man on the bench. Donnie has made managing an MLB team one of his career goals, and if he does a good job with Torre in 2007, we may be looking at the Yanks' future skipper...

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posted by Yankees Chick @ Wednesday, November 01, 2006   5 comments
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