The New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates have been talking about trading A.J. Burnett to Pittsburgh.
The Yankees are willing to unload Burnett since the Yanks now have a surplus in pitching with the acquirement of former Seattle Mariners pitcher Michael Pineda. However, the Yankees want the Pirates to go somewhere around 50-50 when it comes to paying the rest of the $33 million owed to A.J. Burnett.
New York is trying to clear some salary to sign more position players, rumored to be Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon, and Eric Chavez.
Burnett has been a bust for the Yankees going 11-11 with a 5.14 ERA, the second straight year with an ERA over five. Since Burnett signed a five year, $82.5 million deal with the Yankees in 2009, he has gone 34-35 with an ERA of 4.82. His 2010 season might have been one of the worst seasons for a Yankees starting pitcher ever, going 10-15 with an ERA of 5.26.
In an upcoming autobiography, Oil Can Boyd has admitted that he frequently used cocaine during his MLB career.
Boyd appeared on WBZ NewsRadio to promote his book and said that he was under the influence of cocaine for "two-thirds" of the games in which he has pitched.
Boyd went on to say, ""Oh yeah, at every ballpark. There wasn't one ballpark that I probably didn't stay up all night, until 4 or 5 in the morning, and the same thing is still in your system. It's not like you have time to go do it while in the game, which I had done that."
Last year, former Boston Red Sox manager said that Boyd was too drunk to pitch in the 7th and final game of the 1986 World Series.
Boyd continued on saying, "Some of the best games I've ever, ever pitched in the major leagues, I stayed up all night; I'd say two-thirds of them. If I had went to bed, I would have won 150 ballgames in the time span that I played. I feel like my career was cut short for a lot of reasons, but I wasn't doing anything that hundreds of ballplayers weren't doing at the time, because that's how I learned it."
He also said that never in his career was he tested for drugs. "I never had a drug test as long as I played baseball," he said. "I was told that, yeah, if you don't stop doing this we're going to put you into rehab, and I told them (expletive) that (expletive). I'm going to do what I have to do. I have to win ballgames. We'll talk about that in the offseason, right now I have to win ballgames."
Boyd also believes that bigotry, not drug use, was to blame for his relatively short career.
"The reason I caught the deep end to it is because I'm black," he said. "The bottom line is the game carries a lot of bigotry, and that was an easy way for them to do it. If I wasn't outspoken and a so-called 'proud black man,' maybe I would have gotten the empathy and sympathy like other ballplayers got that I didn't get; like Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Steve Howe. I can name 50 people that got third and fourth chances all because they weren't outspoken black individuals."
Boyd has attempted to make a comeback in the past years. He played for the Can-Am League's Broxton Rox in 2005 and announced in 2009 that he was trying to make a Major League comeback at the age of 49.
Boyd's autobiography, "They Call Me Oil Can: My Life in Baseball" is scheduled to be released in June.
We continue our Year in Review, albeit a bit late, with our look at the Best Sports Moments 0f 2011.
Abby Wambach Keeps US Hopes Alive With Miracle Goal
Remember in the 2010 World Cup when Landon Donovan's goal lifted the US into the knockout round, only to lose to Ghana, GHANA!, and made Americans care about soccer for a hot minute. Well, Abby Wambach's goal in the 2011 Women's World Cup was perhaps bigger than Donovan's. If not for that goal, the US don't make it to the Finals, where they eventually lose to upstart Japan. This goal does not get nearly enough credit like Donovan's did.
Mavericks Defeat Big Three, Nation Rejoices
The Miami Heat have become the villains of the NBA ever since LeBron and Chris Bosh decided that it would just be easier to join a team of superstars to win a title rather than lead one, like Michael Jordan did. So when they reached the NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks, most of the US, except for a smattering of people in South Florida, were rooting for the Mavs. The Heat finally met their match going up against Dirk Nowitzki and Jason "Jet" Terry as the Mavs won the series in six games. I don't think I've been that happy during an NBA Finals since Jordan pushed off Byron Scott in the '98 Finals to give the Bulls their most recent title.
David Freese Goes From Goat To Hero In One Game
St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese had quite a postseason winning the NLCS MVP and World Series MVP, but Game 6 every baseball fan can agree was quite a roller coaster. Freese had committed an awful error in the 5th inning when he dropped a routine pop up from Michael Young. That error allowed the Rangers to score later in the inning to take a one run lead. Then in the 9th inning, Freese stepped up to the plate with two outs against a young flame throwing closer in Neftali Feliz and hits a bases clearing triple to tie the game.
After the Rangers blew a two run lead in the 11th inning, Freese once again came to the plate against Mark Lowe, perhaps the Rangers weakest reliever, and hit a bomb to dead center field to force a Game 7 that the Cards would eventually win. ESPN's Buster Olney has said that Game 6 was the greatest game in baseball history.
Eric LeGrand Leads His Team On The Field After Spinal Cord Injury
This is perhaps the most inspirational moment of the year. Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand had suffered a severe spinal cord injury while making attempting to make a tackle last season in a game against Army. Doctors said that LeGrand would be paralyzed from the neck down, but in January, LeGrand defied the odds and regained feeling in his shoulders and sensation throughout his entire body. In July, LeGrand was able to stand with some assistance and was gaining feeling back in his arms.
On October 29, Eric LeGrand led his Rutgers teammates onto a snowy field for its game against West Virginia. LeGrand sat in his wheelchair with an ax across his lap symbolizing coach Greg Schiano's message to "Keep Chopping". LeGrand has indeed taken that motto to new heights.
Tim Thomas, Tim Thomas, Tim Thomas
As a Bruins fan, I feel I need to put this down on my list of moments. Without the outstanding goaltending of Thomas, the Bruins don't win the Cup. Hands down. Sure the Bruins have great pieces around him, but without solid goaltending you can't go far. Case in point, the Philadelphia Flyers.
In the epic seven game series against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Thomas was perhaps his best in Game 7. The Bruins won Game 7 by the score of 1-0 and Thomas was a huge, if not the main, reason they won that game and the series. The Lightning gave the best challenge to the Bruins all playoffs, not the Canucks. Dwayne Roloson would not back down and if the Canucks had Roloson in net, Vancouver would be hoisting the Cup not Boston. Thomas' GAA was an outstanding 1.98 and his save percentage was .940. So, yeah Tim Thomas big, huge part of the Bruins Cup run.
September 28, 2011: Greatest Night of Baseball Ever
Four teams entered the final night of the baseball regular season with two spots on the line. The Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox were trying to find a way to stop the bleeding and back their way into the postseason. The St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays were just trying to complete to epic comebacks and surprise the baseball world by making the postseason.
The Cards won rather easily over the Major's worst Houston Astros, but the other three games were of epic proportion. The Atlanta Braves blew a 9th inning lead to the Philadelphia Phillies and lost the game in extras to complete the meltdown. The Red Sox seemed to have the game locked up, at least according to Boston Globe writer Dan Shaughnessy, and all of New England was calling for the umps to call the game early due to rain, but to no avail. Papelbon ends up blowing the save when Red Sox killer Robert Andino lined a hit to left field that came up short from a diving Carl Crawford's glove. The Red Sox lost to the Orioles and were now rooting for the Yanks.
The Yankees had a SEVEN run lead in their game against the Rays, but in true Boston sports fan tradition the Rays came all the way back to tie it in the 9th inning when seldom used Dan Johnson just cleared the right field fence to tie the game. Red Sox fans should have known something was up when Joe Girardi kept one of his seldom used, worst relievers in the game for 2 and 2/3 innings and didn't use Rivera to close the game. Again in true Boston sports fans tradition, Evan Longoria launched a ball just over the left field wall and sent the Rays to the postseason and the Red Sox, and Terry Francona, packing.
I'm sure there is more, but I can't keep typing forever. If you have any more moments I should have mentioned, feel free to comment below. Have a Happy New Years, folks.
An another year is about to pass and with it we wax poetic on the year in sports. The entry will start our "Year in Review" leading up to the new year. Today we talk about the odd and quirky moments in sports for the 2011 year. So without further ado, here we go.
Eric Byrnes Steamrolls Harold Reynolds on live TV
I have been a big Eric Brynes fan for quite sometime. He is energetic, crazy, and just a spark plug wherever he goes. So when he demonstrated how to plow over a player on MLB Network, you had to expect this...
CFL Greats Fist Fight At A Luncheon
I guess the only way the CFL is going to make news in the US is when two 70 year olds slug it out on stage. Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca have had a feud since the 1963 Grey Cup when Mosca knocked out Kapp's teammate in a controversial hit. 48 years later, Mosca attempted to deliver an olive branch to Kapp and Kapp showed Mosca where to stick it.
Jarome Iginla Gets Vague Question, Is Puzzled
After a win against the Minnesota Wild, Flames captain Jarome Iginla was doing his normal post-game interviews from the locker room when he received a vague question from a reporter, who I assume is filling in for a normal sports reporter. The question was, "setting up the play". Fast forward to about the 2:20 mark for the question and response to perhaps one of the worst question asked in sports (outside of Super Bowl Media Day).
Ben Revere Somersaults His Way Into A Triple
Minnesota Twins outfielder Ben Revere ripped a ball down the right field line against the Kansas City Royals and appeared on his way to an easy triple. Until he stumbled between second and third. Most players would have retreated back to second and have been content with a double, but not Revere. Revere not only stuck the landing, but made it into third with a triple in perhaps the most unintentional play of the year.
Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo Uncontrollably Laughing At Fan's Grab
As a fan of the Red Sox, I watch NESN all the time for games. I'm a HUGE fan of Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo. They have great chemistry and make the game enjoyable to watch even when it is a blowout. They riff on random things from pop culture to solar eclipses (the sun does not go in front of the moon, Don). This moment starts off innocent enough until one fan gets a little too intimate with his lady friend.
I'm sure there is more moments, but I can't type forever. If you have one that you think is worthy comment below and here's to more odd moments in 2012.
Yahoo Sports reporting that the Texas Rangers have won the rights to Japanese pitching phenom Yu Darvish. Major League Baseball has confirmed that the Texas Rangers were the highest bidder and that the Nippon Ham Fighters, Darvish's Japanese team, have accepted the bid.
The reports also say that the Rangers winning bid was $51.7 million, topping the Boston Red Sox record $51.1 million bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka. If Darvish and the Rangers do not agree to a contract in 30 days, Darvish returns to the Ham Fighters and they receive no money from Texas.
Darvish, 25, had an ERA of 1.44 and averaged 10.7 strikeouts last season for the Ham Fighters and he hasn't posted an ERA of 2.00 since 2007.
The Toronto Blue Jays were reportedly the only other high bidder for Darvish's services. The Chicago Cubs and New York Yankees also placed bids for Darvish.
Reports from the New York Times are reporting that the Chicago Cubs will name Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum as its next manager.
Another report out of Chicago is reporting that the Cubs could name Sveum the new manager as early as tomorrow.
Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has not confirmed nor denied the reports, only saying that, "We've got to get to the 27th out".
Dale Sveum briefly managed the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008, taking over for Ned Yost for the final 12 games of the year when Brewers management fired Yost when the Brewers were free falling in September. Sveum went 7-5 in the 12 games managed as the Brewers held onto the NL Wild Card. Sveum also went 1-3 in the postseason as the Brewers lost the 2008 NLDS to eventual World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Sveum was once considered the front runner for the Boston Red Sox vacancy, but the Red Sox did not offer him a contract when they met for a second time earlier this week.
Now that the Philadelphia Phillies have signed Jonathan Papelbon away from Boston. The Red Sox now must make a decision on who they want as a closer. Luckily, the closer market this season is rich and if there was ever a time to lose your closer, this was the year.
We start with Heath Bell. Bell has been a rock in the San Diego Padres bullpen for the past three seasons. Bell has racked up 132 saves during his time as closer in San Diego, but San Diego is a small market team so he might not return. He would prefer a West Coast team as he is from California. The Dodgers and potentially the Angels are interested in his services, but the Dodgers can't sign any free agents until they get a new owner, which could take a while. The Angels have a young closer in Jordan Walden, so the Angels could be out of play. Bell could very well take a pay cut to stay in San Diego where he loves it and has expressed his desire to stay.
What about the Phillies former closer Ryan Madson? Madson's demands led to the Phillies going elsewhere and signing Papelbon. Ryan Madson is a good closer, don't get me wrong, but he hasn't been a closer long enough to get the contract he wants. The Red Sox might just overpay to get Madson since the Red Sox are now desperate for a closer. The Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins are also interested in Madson.
Jose Valverde had a perfect season in 2011 going 49 for 49 in save opportunities. Valverde, however, is 33 and you don't really want to give him a long term deal, you really don't want to give any closer a long term deal. The Detroit Tigers have made Valverde their number one priority and it doesn't appear that Valverde doesn't want to leave Detroit and vice versa.
Jonathan Broxton looks like an intriguing choice to land in Boston. He would be a low risk, high reward signing, you sign Broxton to a one year deal just to see if he has anything left. He lost his closing job in Los Angeles after injury problems and lack of confidence. Broxton would really cost that much and the Sox should take a look at him.
Joe Nathan is much like Broxton, he would be cheap and you could get a lot out of him if he can find his stuff again. Nathan showed that he can close games while in Minnesota becoming the Twins all time saves leader in 2011. Nathan lost his job in Minnesota to Matt Capps and the Twins most likely won't re-sign Nathan. However, Nathan does have injury problems, he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010 and has had shoulder problems back to when he was with the Giants.
A friend of mine suggested that Jamie Moyer could become a closer. Moyer's fastball was clocked at 83 MPH and in Fenway Park , if an opposing player got a hold of that it is an automatic home run.
Looking inside the Red Sox, Daniel Bard appears to be the only option. Bard was once considered to be the heir apparent to Papelbon, but Bard's September struggles showed Boston he is not yet ready to be a closer. The Red Sox might have to turn to a closer by committee situation that blew up in their faces years earlier. It is in my opinion that the Red Sox are probably going to overpay for a closer just to get a closer and they will probably sign Ryan Madson in a tit-for-tat move with the Phillies. I really think they should look at Broxton as I believe he still has stuff in the tank and could be an under the radar signing for the Sox.
After the Philadelphia Phillies deal with Ryan Madson seems to have fallen apart, the Phillies are now turning their attention to Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon.
The proposed deal with Madson, the Phillies closer last season, has fallen apart and appears to be on his way out of Philadelphia.
The Phillies brass is debating whether or not to keep madson or sign Papelbon. Reports have said the Papelbon's asking price is not that much higher than Madson's price and Papelbon is a better closer than Madson.
Papelbon in six seasons as a closer has 219 saves compared to Madson's 52 saves. Papelbon also has a lower ERA than Madson, 2.33 for Papelbon and 3.59 for Madson.
Seth and Sam Levinson, Papelbon's agents, have had "extensive negotiations" with the Phillies minutes after the free agent season started.
The Toronto Blue Jays and Florida, soon to be Miami, Marlins are also interested in Papelbon's services.
The Boston Red Sox have announced that they are going to interview three new candidates for the managerial vacancy. The names are Cleveland Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar, Jr., Toronto Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo, and Detroit Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont.
Alomar will be interviewed on Wednesday, Lovullo on Friday, and rounding out the three, Lamont will interview on Saturday.
Alomar will also interview with the Chicago Cubs later in the week.
Lovullo has worked in the Red Sox organization before. Before becoming teh Blue Jays first base coach, Lovullo was the manager of their AAA team, the Pawtucket Red Sox, in 2010 after eight years working within the Indians organization.
Gene Lamont clearly has the most experience out of the three. Lamont has managed in the past for the Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was the 1993 American League Manager of the Year leading the White Sox to a division championship and a 94-68 record. Lamont got the White Sox off to a hot start in 1994 before the strike abruptly ended the '94 season. He last managed in 2000.
Alomar, who just completed his second season with the Indians, became the bench coach for the last game of the 2010 season and is expected to remain in that position presuming Alomar doesn't get any offers.
The Boston Red Sox have a need for a right fielder next season and Carlos Beltran could be the newest right fielder playing Pesky's Pole next year at Fenway.
Red Sox front office members have talked about possibly signing Beltran or using Ryan Kalish and Josh Reddick in right. Kalish and Reddick would be considerably cheaper for Boston.
Beltran hit .300 last season with 22 home runs and 84 RBI's, a huge upgrade from the oft injured J.D. Drew. However, the down side on signing Beltran is that he is 34. Beltran's skills aren't going to get better, they are just going to diminish.
The Red Sox desperately need a right fielder, or at the least an outfielder (just move around Crawford and Ellsbury), and Beltran is the best outfielder on the market this offseason.
Rumor has it that two East Coast teams are vying for the services of San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell. The Boston Red Sox are one of those teams.
The Red Sox closing situation is up in the air with their current closer Jonathan Papelbon entering free agnecy. Bell has saved 134 games for the Padres in his three seasons as a closer and made three All-Star Games.
However, Bell has stated he would prefer to stay on the West Coast. Bell is from Oceanside, California. The Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers could be in need of closers, more likely the Dodgers. Bell would prefer, however, to re-sign with the Padres.
The other East Coast team interested in Bell is Philadelphia.
The New York Yankees are very interested in Cuban defector, center fielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Cespedes, who defected from Cuba this summer, is seeking a contract similar to the one Cincinnati Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman received in 2010, at least $30 million.
The six foot, 215 pound center fielder has drawn interest from the Yankees because of his raw power and defensive skills. Cespedes tied the Cuban record for home runs in a season with 33 in 90 games.
A video that has circulated among baseball minds shows Cespedes amazing opposite field strength and making behind the back catches, a la Jim Edmonds in his hey day. Cespedes, 26, but disputed, is also seen in the video running a 60 yard dash in 6.5 seconds and his compared to high touted Los Angeles Angels prospect Mike Trout.
His contract demand is not outrageous, he has demonstrated on the video that he could be a superstar for years to come. The Texas Rangers signed a Cuban center fielder, Leonys Martin, to a five year, $15.5 million deal and he is not nearly as talented as Cespedes.
When signing foreign talents you need to take caution. Look at Jose Contreras, Hideki Irabu, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Kei Igawa. They all have been busts after being stars in leagues in their home countries. Also, when signing a Cuban defector take age in consideration. Cuban defectors are notorious for changing their age in hopes for a Major League deal.
Will Yoenis Cespedes be a star? Only time will tell, but if the stories are true about him, the Yankees might have a new superstar on their hands.
The Baltimore Orioles and former Boston Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette are nearing a deal to make him the team's next general manager.
The Orioles offered the job to Blue Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava first, but turned it down. Also interviewed were Jerry Dipoto, now Angels GM, De Jon Watson, assistant GM for the Dodgers, and Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock.
Duquette is travelling to Baltimore on Saturday to iron out the details and could be named the new GM in a matter of days.
Duquette was the general manager of the Montreal Expos in 1994, when they had the best record in baseball and a favorite to win the World Series until a strike ended the season. He was also former general manager of the Boston Red Sox and many of his deals and scouting talent led to the 2004 World Series title for the Red Sox.