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Mariano Rivera

(Not So) Instant Trade Analysis: David Wright, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Russell Martin and BJ Upton

In the midst of the NBA’s multiple storylines right out of the opening gate, the MLB hot stove is burning. In the past 36 hours especially, there’s been a ton of action on the baseball front, so let’s take a MAMBINO-sized shot at examining the various moves with our (not-so) Instant Trade Analysis:

New York Mets get: 3B David Wright

David Wright gets: 7 years, $122 million

As much as people everywhere want to revile David Wright for signing with one of the worst ownership teams in professional sports, the truth is that on his end, the future could look pretty bright for the Mets. It certainly doesn’t start with the bats: the offense is still hugely reliant on big years from Wright and Ike Davis to merely be better than mediocre. Meanwhile, the bullpen still lists Frank Francisco…anywhere, so there’s obviously work to be done. But, the hardest task is seemingly complete–the rotation.  
Examining their 2013 roster, it’s headlined with the 2012 NL Cy Young winner, an aging but effective Johan Santana, young pitching prospects in Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey and Jenrry Meijia, and steady hands in Dillon Gee and Jon Niese. If Harvey and Wheeler emerge this year in a Lincecum/Cain-like tandem, then the Mets could potentially have the…best rotation in the NL East? It’s not crazy. 

For the Mets, there’s obviously two ways to look at this: management needed to show fans (and the team itself) that they weren’t going to completely submerge themselves in a middle-market type of free agent irrelevance. They had to keep their star player at whatever price it took. After all, what type of message would not re-signing a six-time All-Star who just finished in sixth place in the NL MVP voting? 

However, I do have concerns that as Wright reaches his 30’s (this contract will take him until his age 37 season), he’s going to wear at a high pressure, high intensity position at third base and his recent injury history is going to become even more a problem. All of Wright’s advance metrics suggest that he’s just as good as he’s ever been despite hitting for less power than in his early twenties, but he’s still a very good to elite defensive hot cornerman and a 40 doubles, 20 (maybe not 30) homer hitter. 
In regards to the contract, Wright certainly could have gotten more money playing out free agency. Anaheim, LA, the Yankees, Philadelphia and both Chicago clubs could have offered him more money. However, Wright has always proclaimed that he’s wanted to retire as a Met (the fool!), and he obviously saw the team’s future prospects ready to emerge.

The Mets had to make this deal, simply to show everyone that they weren’t turning into the Cleveland Indians. I have little doubt that Wright won’t be earning his money by the time the contract ends, mostly due to the fact that he’ll be playing first base around that time. However, re-signing with the Mets wasn’t an awful decision for his personal future, baseball-wise.

New York Yankees get: SP Andy Pettitte, RP Mariano Rivera

Andy Pettitte gets: 1-year, $12 million (plus $2.5 million in performance bonuses)

Mariano Rivera gets: 1-year, $10 million (plus performance bonuses)

The City of New York gets: A grand total of three active Yankees they’ll never boo

In both guys, there’s a strange dichotomy of knowing exactly what you’ll get, but at the same time having not knowing anything. Rivera is coming off a torn ACL, the first serious injury of his cRead more...

Hide Ya Kids: A Mariano-less World Isn’t Safe

I don’t go to the Boogie Down often, but when I do, I go to watch YOUR New York Yankees.

Last night, the gloomy, rainy night mimicked my emotions as I entered through baseball’s 3-plus year old cathedral for the first time this season. I wasn’t going to see the great Mariano Rivera pitch tonight, nor would I get to see him pitch live for the rest of the season.

Rain makes a baseball game about as boring as watching it on TV. The seats, and therefore your pants, are wet. The stadium is as empty as a New Jersey Nets game. And there’s always the threat of the umpires postponing the game, making the trip a complete waste of time.

But throw in the fact that Rivera wasn’t there, and for most of the evening, I just wanted to go back home.


David Robertson is a more-than-capable closer, regardless of his high-wire trapeze act that simultaneously inflates his WHIP and our collective blood pressure. He leads ALL active pitchers in strikeouts per 9 innings with a 12.3 career mark, which includes an astonishing 15.9 K/9 ratio this season. While Robertson’s fastball routinely clocks in at only 93-94 miles per hour, many players have admitted that due to his late release point, the ball feels like it’s coming in at 97. To complement that, Robertson can throw a legitimate 12-to-6 curveball on the black, a burgeoning circle change to lefties, and oh yeah, he’s been trying to learn The Great One’s famous cutter.

But it’s just not the same. Even while the idiots in my section (when you win all the time, you’re bound to have fans that are just downright dumb) demonstrated their stupidity by yelling at Robertson and calling for Mo, I couldn’t help but associate with them. This was a different Yankee team just because 3 measly outs in 1 measly inning were being produced by a player who didn’t wear #42. Mariano’s peripherals may not compare to Robertson’s anymore, but there’s something magical about the skinny kid from Panama. If God Himself were to pick up a bat and stand in, maybe He gets a hit (you know, because He’s God), but at the very least, He wouldn’t dare bat lefty and allow Himself to be jammed by The Cutter.

True fans root for the laundry and not the man. It’s how we tolerate and root for Alex Rodriguez and Carmelo Anthony, two guys that seem like absolute jerks but represent a piece to the puzzle that cannot be replaced. We sacrifice our personal feelings for the big picture. Mariano Rivera, however, is the polar opposite. Knock on wood that he never signs with another team (which is the silver lining of him getting injured, I guess), but if he did, find me a Yankee fan who wouldn’t at least silently root for him, and I’ll show you a Yankee fan who just died from a anthrax package sent by yours truly. There isn’t a bigger Derek Jeter supporter than me, but Mariano is Jeter without the glitz, glamour, and girls — and sometimes, that’s better.

Mariano, we appreciate your courageous attempt to come back next season and don the pinstripes for one final year. But if you come up short, don’t let anyone tell you that your legacy changed. We’ll be right here to remember you in the exact same way.

@BKMambino

MAMBINO Fantasy Mondays: Errbody on the Field Gettin’ Injured

What’s happening in the water in major metropolitan cities across the US? Has the trace amount of fluoride in the tap just suddenly started to disintegrate tendons in your joints? Has pine tar gained the properties that destroys calcium in your bones? I’m not sure exactly what’s causing our favorite athletes to drop faster than Charles Barkley does names on TNT. Let’s take a look at who exactly went on the 15-day DL this week, how it’ll affect their team, but most importantly, how it’s going to affect YOUR fantasy team.

OF Carlos Gomez, SS Alex Gonzalez and 1B Mat Gamel, The Good Land Brewers

All in a week, three Milwaukee starters went down with leg injuries, including Gomez with a strained hamstring, and both Gonzalez and Gamel with a torn ACLs. Extremely bad news for a Brewers team that’s already under .500 and trying to get their postseason mojo back after losing Prince Fielder to free agency and trying to escape Ryan Braun’s cheatery scandal.

The problem here isn’t so much that these guys are integral parts to the Milwaukee offense; Gomez was an above-average player, while Gamel and Gonzalez were giving the Brewers replacement-level production. Nor was it that they had any particular upside as the season went on. The real hurdle to their absences, especially a season-ending injury like Gamel’s and Gonzalez’s, is that the players replacing them are indicative of Milwaukee’s lack of depth. Two punchless hitters in SS Cesar Izturis and 1B Travis Ishikawa are now the starters, and an under-achieving OF Nyjer Morgan is replacing a cresting Carlos Gomez. Sure, Gamel, Gonzalez and Gomez weren’t All-Stars or highly productive hitters, but at least they were decent, rather than the below replacement-level stink performed by their understudies. All in all, a devastating week for Milwaukee.

Fantasy Spin: None of these three are worth even holding on your DL spot, unless you’re in a very deep mixed league or NL-only league (in both Gonzalez’s and Gamel’s situation, they’re a must-drop for everyone). Their replacements aren’t worth picking up either, so if you owned anyone that I just talked about, you’re pretty much screwed. Sorry.

RP Huston Street, SP Cory Luebke San Diego Padres

Like the Brew Crew, an awful week for the San Diego Padres. Almost already out of the race for the NL West at 9-20, the Padres just lost their best starting pitcher to potentially a season-ending Tommy John surgery (not confirmed yet), and their injury-prone closer to a strained lat muscle. It’s not so much the on-field performance for both of those guys, but rather how they fit into the Padres future plans.

Luebke of course is young and controllable contract-wise for years to come. Surgery to repair a torn UCL in his pitching elbow would knock him out well into next season, when the young Padres would begin to be at least competitive, if not working for a NL West title. On the other hand, Street is a free agent at the end of the season, so his value to the Padres lies entirely in if he were to be dealt at the trading deadline for at least one decent prospect. Unlike the win-now Brewers, this was a bad week for the Padres because of how it affects them down the road.

Fantasy Spin: Word is that the human machine-gun Andrew Cashner is the trendy pick for the closer’s role, so if you’re in a league of any respectable activity, he’ll already be gone at this point. Luke Gregerson might be a guy to hold onto just to make sure Cashn… Read more...

Mariano Rivera, Out for the Season

In what seems to be an epidemic in the sports world as of late, Mariano Rivera tore his ACL last night, shagging balls during Yankees batting practice in Kansas City. We’ll wait until next week until BockerKnocker gets back from his out of town business trip (read: he’s up to no good) for his no doubt heart-wrenching reaction, but in the meantime, we’ll get some reflection from Mambinite and sullen Knicks soldier, El Miz:

Last night, while shagging fly balls in the outfield to warm up for a game, Mariano Rivera tore both his meniscus and ACL, and likely was on the field in Yankees uniform for the last time.  A sad end to a truly legendary character, a man who dominated professional sports like no other in the 90’s and 00’s — counting Tiger, MJ, Kobe, and Tom Brady as his main competition. Not bad company. 5 world championships, 7 appearances in the World Series, 8 appearances in the AL pennant, and 17 total playoff appearances over a an 18-year career. Not a bad resume, either.
When he burst on the scene in ’96, Mo was a true menace: 107.2 innings pitched, 130 strikeouts…and only 1 guy hit a home run off him all season.  Rivera ended the year with a 1.88 ERA, setting up for the esteemed John Wetteland, he of the sweat-stained cap.  The Yanks went on to beat the Braves in six games to win the first of five championships over the next 13 years (Just for contrast’s sake, ’96 was Pettitte’s second full season, Jeter’s first full season, and a 24-yr-old Jorge Posada had 1 hit in 14 at bats. That’s how long Mariano has been dominant).
Arguably Mo’s best statistical season was in 2008, at 38 years old — in 70 innings, he stuck out 77 and only gave up 11 earned runs all season.  Oddly enough, 2008 was the only year in his entire career that Rivera did not make the playoffs.  The reason? Quick trivia: the Yankees 5-man rotation that year — Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Darrel Rasner, Chien-Ming Wang and Sidney Ponson. Not exactly the glory days of the Core Four.

The Skinny Kid from Panama

Ruth, Boggs and Damon played for the Red Sox.
Mantle was an alcoholic.
Joe D married a sloot.
Reggie was a dickhead to his teammates.
O’Neill slammed Gatorade coolers.
Giambi, Clemens, Pettitte, and A-Rod took performance-enhancing drugs.
Wells won a Babe Ruth game-worn hat in an auction, and sweat into it while pitching a real game. (This was slightly cool, actually)
The Big Unit assaulted a photographer.
Leyritz killed somebody!
Torre threw his own players and his former employers under the bus with a tell-all book.
Jorge went passive-aggressive on us, taking himself out of the lineup after Girardi batted him 9th.
Even the Captain, as great as he is, revealed his frustrations about contract negotiations to the public.
So many transgressions from so many Yankees. And then there’s Mariano Rivera. When people use the pause button on Yankee-hating hour, they often speak of Derek Jeter. They laud Jeter for his class. They praise Jeter for being clutch. They envy Jeter for his stable.
What about Rivera? He has been the consummate professional for his entire career. Talking heads will certainly mention in the coming days that he always “played the game the right way,” but up until they do so, he certainly hasn’t received the attention that the shortstop has.
But it’s almost better that way. Real Yankee fans know this. We know that save #602 never mattered to us, because we all can remember an outing that cemented his place in the Hall of Fame long long ago. (For me, it was the 3 scoreless innings he pitched BEFORE Aaron Boone sent the Red Sox packing in 2003.)  The only reason #602 has any relevance is that it shuts up the ignorant San Diego Padre fans who indignantly claimed that Trevor “Wait For My Change-up” Hoffman was the greatest relief pitcher, and not Mariano.
So, Mr. Rivera, on the not-a-chance-in-hell likelihood that you come across Mambino HQ, I present to you, my favorite moment of your illustrious career:

The manner in which you walked from mound to dugout, after giving up the 2001 World Series-winning hit to Luis Gonzalez, was legendary.

Gonzalez’s hit cannot even be called a bloop hit. With KOBEsh’s permission, I’d like use an expletive, and call it a BITCH hit. An 97 mph cut fastball rode in on Gonzalez’s bat. Gonzalez hit the ball with the thinnest part of the wood. It sailed over a drawn-in infield. Gonzalez then jumped for joy with the twang of a Little Leaguer in Williamsport.
I was crushed. But Rivera walked off the field with so much class. He lost the game, the series, and the championship for the most storied franchise in all of sports. But the way he walked…he just didn’t give a crap. He knew that Gonzalez got lucky. So what did he do? Well, he continued along the same path. This path led him to the clubhouse, where he stayed until every single reporter was finished asking questions. It’s easy to smile for the cameras when you win; A-Rod has made a living doing this. Carrying yourself the same way after one of the most excruciating losses in baseball history is another story. This path began when Rivera was the dynamite setup man to John Wetteland in 1996, exemplified itself to the fullest in 2001, and has led Rivera all the way to #602.
Years ago, Major League Baseball retired the number 42 for all teams going forward. The number was worn by the incomparable Jackie Robinson, arguably the most important baseball player (and maybe athlete) to ever play. However, they inserted a caveat. Any player who was currently wearing #42 was all… Read more...