Friday, February 22, 2008

This Just In

The Yankees have one lefty in their entire pitching staff, and his name is Andy Pettitte.

Their entire bullpen is comprised of right-handed pitchers and with that short porch in right field, the Yankees better get someone fast. I don't know how deep the free agency pool is for left-handed relievers, but there are only two southpaws that have even been invited to spring training to battle for a spot on the team. Their names? Heath Phillips and Billy Traber.

Apparently Kei Igawa, Chase Wright and Sean Henn are going to have to anchor the Yankees out of the pen, acting as the left-handed specialists against guys like David Ortiz and Travis Hafner. Scary.

Mangini no Genius

Credit Eric Mangini's creepy need to be exactly like Bill Belichick for Jonathan Vilma being allowed to shop around for a trade from New York.

When Mangini was hired as head coach of the New York Jets he changed the Jets' defense from a base 4-3 to the 3-4, the one that they have so much success with up in New England. In 2004 the Jets had the seventh ranked defense, their first round draft pick Jonathan Vilma led the league in tackles, and all was well on the defensive side of the ball. This was with the base 4-3 defense.

Mangini then came in and threw that out the window, causing Vilma to go from tackling machine to mere speed bump for opposing offensive linemen. The Jets don't have the personnel for the 3-4, hence the eighteenth and twentieth ranked defenses in two seasons under Mangini. Vilma got hurt, resulting in season-ending surgery, and is now seeking a trade.

Vilma is undersized for a middle linebacker. Listed at 6'1, 230 pounds, he is successful because he is one of the fastest and smartest linebackers in the league. Second round draft pick David Harris (6'2, 245 pounds) came in to replace Vilma this past season, dominating the middle linebacker position and racking up tackles in bunches. With Harris entering his sophomore campaign in 2008, the Jets figure that they can afford to let Vilma go, trying to get someone for him.

My suggestion? If you want to stick with the 3-4 so badly then stick with it. Just draft the biggest and most ferocious defensive tackles you can to protect Vilma and Harris in the middle. Glenn Dorsey (LSU) would be nice, but at this point, anyone will do. If you can get a decent, hole-plugging tackle, maybe an end who can get to the quarterback (Chris Long) and an outside linebacker to join Harris, Vilma and Hobson, this defense could be a serious problem for NFL offenses. Kerry Rhodes is already a stud, and with a little help stopping the run, could really sit back and dominate centerfield.

Right now Bryan Thomas is listed as the starting outside linebacker. He is a defensive end. Get him back there and create your own mock Strahan/Umenyiora combo with Sean Ellis and Thomas.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

Wish I found this before tonight... enjoy.

The Way to a Man's Heart - Rick Reilly

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pettitte Ready to Move Forward

Andy Pettitte and the Yankee organization held a press conference in Florida on Monday where he repeatedly apologized for his involvement in the Mitchell Report and his usage of Human Growth Hormone.

"I want to apologize to the New York Yankees' and to the Houston Astros' organizations and to their fans and to all my teammates and to all of baseball fans for the embarrassment I have caused them," Pettitte said. "I also want to tell anyone that is an Andy Pettitte fan I am sorry, especially any kids that might look up to me."

Sincere, honest, expected.

Andy Pettitte is one of the good guys in today’s world of party-going, drug-using, entourage-having sports stars. He used HGH and apologized for it, stating he still did not believe, after all of this, that he cheated the game of baseball.

"Was it stupid? Yeah, it was stupid. Was I desperate? Yeah, I was probably desperate," Pettitte said. "I wish I never would have done it, obviously, but I don't consider myself a cheater, no."

Human Growth Hormone was not banned by Major League Baseball until 2005 so Pettitte is not at risk for a suspension from the league, as his uses were before the ban date.

Pettitte has claimed since the Mitchell Report broke out that he did not take HGH to improve his game, but to help get him off the disabled list. He felt like he owed it to his team to get back from and elbow injury as fast as possible. Maybe Pettitte will rub-off on some other oft-injured Yankee pitchers.

"I didn't do it to try to get an edge on anyone. I didn't do it to try to get stronger or faster or throw harder. I did it because I was that it might be able to help me," said Pettitte.

With long-time teammates Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada with him, as well as the Steinbrenners and Brian Cashman, Pettitte spoke for nearly an hour, answering most questions and only shying away from those prying about Roger Clemens’ “misremembers” statements before Congress.

"I'm just not going to go there," Pettitte said. "I've had to testify under oath. So has Roger. And, you know, I don't think that's anything I need to sit here and try to elaborate on with anyone else."

His Yankees teammates were not shy about their support of Andy:

"We've been through a lot of tough times in baseball. Why not support him?" Rivera said. "I consider Andy my friend. I'm glad I was there."

Derek Jeter also commented on the press conference, claiming that this should not hinder the Yankees' ability to win games.

"There should be no problems with the team," Jeter said. "It's Andy's issue. It has no effect on anyone else on the team, so it should not be an issue. You've got to put it behind you at some point, sooner rather than later," he added. "That's why it's good he's addressing it today. Hopefully it's over with after that. You can't help the stories, you can't help what's said on television."

Everyone knows Pettitte is a very religious man, crediting God whenever he can. As Pettitte spoke longer and longer, I began to believe Roger Clemens less and less. Pettitte was answering most all questions, looking the reporters in the eye and responding with an unbelievable sense of confidence. There were some extremely tough questions but Andy took the bull by the horns and answered to the best of his ability. One reporter asked if he knew his name would be on the Mitchell Report before he signed his deal with the Yankees. He was not sure of the timeframe, but claimed he knew several days before the deal about his involvement in the Mitchell Report. The reporter then told him he signed the day before the Report came out.

"I don't feel I misled the club," Pettitte said. "I think at any time, if this organization didn't want me, all they had to do was tell me they didn't want me to play again and I would have shut it down. That would stand right now if they told me they didn't need me on this team. I don't need the money; I think they know that. I think they know that's the kind of guy I am. I don't feel like I misled them at all." Genuine and honest, everyone could see the weight being lifted off of Andy’s shoulders.

"I think you'll see the smile back on his face," Cashman said of Pettitte.