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MLB Hot Stove: Separating New York Yankees Fact from Fiction

The silence of free agency is overwhelming New York Yankees fans, as rumors of contract negotiations and who is going where are circling the sports media.

No one really knows much except that Yankees GM Brian Cashman met with ex-captain Derek Jeter in Tampa Bay, FL. Then, Cashman and crew headed to Benton, Arkansas to pay a visit to the home of free agent ace Cliff Lee.

Cashman also made a point to meet with catcher Jorge Posada so there was no confusion of what his role for the 2011 season would entail. To no surprise, Posada will primarily be a DH but still catch around 40-50 games. Posada was told to stick to his regular off-season regime and come to spring training ready to catch.

The only other fact confirmed by the Yankees is that a scheduled meeting with closer Mariano Rivera and his agents was up next.

Everyone wants this drama to have an ending ASAP.

What is most bothersome is the media’s new found shredding of Derek Jeter, which is a major embarrassment.

ESPN is turning into TMZ, featuring stories of icons like Jeter, Favre and Bonds, but the difference is Jeter is a gentleman. Jeter is not hopped on ‘roids or sending pornographic pictures to married women.

Jeter only won a Gold Glove, not because he campaigned hard to win it. The voting for the Gold Glove Awards consists of all MLB managers and coaches, but they cannot vote for anyone on their respective teams. So, if haters need to blame anyone it’s the 29 non-Yankee managers for giving Jeter the award.

Jeter is a true real role model, works hard, and doesn’t cheat on his wife with hookers or harass any woman he wants. Jeter is a winner, who is deeply respected by his peers and has still remained a humble captain.

That’s all the facts as of today. Plenty of hearsay and diarrhea of the mouth has and will go on, but until it comes out of Cashman’s mouth it is best to ignore it.

Please note: Robinson Cano won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger; Mark Teixeira won a Gold Glove. Congratulations to both of them.

MLB Silver Slugger Awards Winners

Rawlings Gold Glove Award Winners

MLB Hot Stove: Shame on You for Disrespecting Derek Jeter

Ex-New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter is getting a lot of heat from the media lately.

Today’s announcement of Derek Jeter winning the 2010 Gold Glove Award for best defensive AL shortstop is adding fuel to the fire.

Not ’cause Jeter is smoking hot, actually quite the contrary. Adjectives like over-paid, selfish, undeserving and messy are being used.

It must be jealousy or just Yankee haters’ first opportunity to pounce on the Captain, but it all seems very rotten.

Since I have been a baseball fan it is entirely unfeasible to find anyone, even a Boston Red Sox fan, who did not respect Derek Jeter the player and the person.

That same sentiment for Jeter is also unanimous from his own peers, coaches and managers across baseball. Jeter has been hailed for his work ethic and attitude. Players admire Jeter’s class and the dignity by watching the way he carries himself every day, both on and off the field.

Legendary sports writer Gay Tales said it best:

“Endowed as he is with all that talent, all that money and such impeccable manners-that makes him an anachronism. In this era of boorish athletes, obnoxious fans, greedy owners and shattered myths, here’s a hero who’s actually polite, and that has to have come from good parenting. You can’t compare him to Joe DiMaggio, for DiMaggio didn’t have bad manners—he had no manners. Where have you gone, man with manners? Here you are, Derek Jeter.

Jeter has not been seen nor heard, and nothing factual has been stated about his current contract negotiations from the Yankees organization.

So all this boundless chitchat for what reason is beyond me.

Everyone knows that 2010 was Jeter’s worst career performance, and no one is saying differently. Some people have never thought Jeter was that good defensively, but if they can kiss his five World Series rings and can repeat that sentiment over again, then they don’t know baseball or sports for that matter.

Blaming a guy who never asks for any attention, who embodies what a true professional is in sports, all because he is getting a higher paycheck or given an award is just plain petty.

Excuse all the MLB coaches and managers for voting for a player like Jeter. Obviously these managers, who are all ex-players themselves, don’t know squat about the game at all, right?

Wrong….and shame on everyone who shoots down Jeter for receiving an award that others felt he deserved. Take it up with the managers and coaches who voted for #2.

Will this same attitude go if Phillies Jemmy Rollins wins the NL Gold Glove?

Not from me, as I have never played or managed on a professional baseball team. Making my opinion irrelevant because experience knows what wins, and that vote I trust to be accurate.

Derek Jeter is not Brett Favre, Manny Ramirez or Alex Rodriguez, nor has he ever wanted to be an athlete whose personal issues hurt a game he loves so much.

When I think of Jeter-types athletes I want to embrace this almost extinct competitor, not ridicule them for one bad season.

New York Yankees: Three Possible Cliff Lee Back-Up Plans

MLB free agency has officially started and the New York Yankees have a full plate to say the least.

Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte are no longer officially Yankees. Than there is free agent pitching ace Cliff Lee, along with outfielders Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth—who will be the most sought after players on the market.

Cliff Lee has been on the Yankees “Christmas List” for quite some time and no one in the Bronx is denying that Lee is what they want.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman needs to get the iconic players all squared away before even getting to Lee. The Yankees should overpay, because no one can imagine the Yankees sans the Captain and the Closer, especially the huge and loyal fans. A group that Cashman and co. needs to keep happy as clams, making the above inevitable.

Unfortunately, Lee’s wife did not enjoy her time at the Stadium during the ALCS. A handful of stupid Yankees fans decided to taunt the ace’s Mrs., which was not a smart idea considering the circumstances. Any and every Yankees fan knows that we coveted Lee and that he was finally a free agent at the end of 2010 season. This makes it so hard to comprehend what the hell these fans were thinking. Obviously they were not at all.

What if these contract talks with Jeter do become “messy” and take up a lot more time, money and manpower than anticipated?

When will Southpaw Andy Pettitte decide if he is done with baseball or not? Hopefully, it will be sooner than later. The Yankees are going to need Pettitte more than ever, if for some reason Lee does not sign with New York.

So, what are the Yankees other options if the Lee deal doesn’t come about?

Do they move onto Crawford or Werth and forget starting pitching as the top priority? Continue reading ‘New York Yankees: Three Possible Cliff Lee Back-Up Plans’ »

New York Yankees: Starting Early Pre-Free Agency Drama

The latest message from the New York Yankees is that they will not be caught up in the bidding for the Philadelphia PhilliesJayson Werth or the Tampa Bay RaysCarl Crawford.

Players are not even legal free agents until Saturday at midnight, so shouldn’t their respective teams be allowed to negotiate without the Yankees butting in yet?

The Yankees made it clear: They want to bring the talents of Texas Rangers ace Cliff Lee to the Bronx. Add Lee’s monster deal with new contracts needed for a captain, a living iconic closer and a superstar southpaw who are also three of the infamous Yankees “Core Four.”

Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte all command huge paychecks, and let’s hope the new Steinbrenner ownership doesn’t make a mess of what daddy built.

The usually non-confrontational and sensible brother, Hal, made older brother Hank-like public statements in regards to Jeter’s contract talks. Hal’s testimony sounded like a warning to Yankees fans explaining that these proceedings have to work for the business and the pinstripes. Here are Hal’s exact words:

“You just never know with these things… Both parties need to be happy with the deal—that’s absolutely going to happen—and that may make things more complicated, I don’t know. There’s always the possibility that things could get messy. I’ve got to try to do my job on behalf of the partnership and our partners and everybody else involved with the organization, and Hank and I need to keep a level head and realize… that we’re running a business here.”

My only hope is that Hal didn’t mean it to come off as a warning regarding Jeter’s future as a Yankee being in question. I feel I can speak for 99 percent of Yankees fan by saying that turmoil and anarchy would result from losing out captain. God only knows how the players would feel, but I would presume lost and upset.

Truth is, Yankees fans wish those words came out of Hank’s mouth, but they did not.

Jeter’s agents fought right back, making the normally private Jeter’s professional affairs ESPN’s needed replacement for any Brett Favre stories. Jeter’s camp had every right to invalidate Hal’s remarks. Referring to recent comments by Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman, Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, said:

“While it’s not our intent to negotiate the terms of Derek’s free agent contract in a public forum, we do agree with Hal and Brian’s recent comments that this contract is about business and winning championships. Clearly, baseball is a business, and Derek’s impact on the sport’s most valuable franchise can’t be overstated. Moreover, no athlete embodies the spirit of a champion more than Derek Jeter.”

Now Yankees fans should bear in mind that even with the resigning of Jeter, Mo and Pettitte, and if they can get Lee, it doesn’t completely close the door on anything.

Rewind back to the 2008-2009 offseason when the Yankees claimed not to be mixed up in bidding on Mark Teixeira‘s talents, following the monster signings of CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett.

Where is Teixeira playing now?

Exactly my point. So I am not giving up on my dreams of getting Jayson Werth just yet. Having a four-man rotating outfield of Swisher, Granderson, Gardner and Werth (or Crawford) gives significant rest without forfeiting any talent. It adds another quality fast base-runner and power hitter to the lineup, while keeping the group healthy, considering all three were hurting at one point or another in 2009 season.

This should make for some seriously historical Yankees drama. Unlike before, fans want the “older and declining” players to be the first priority.

Looking back to about a week ago, age and experience can still win championships—just go ask the San Francisco Giants World Series MVP or leading regular-season RBI hitter about that.