If the Yankees can’t get Cliff Lee, plan B is Carl Crawford

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If the Yankees don’t get Cliff Lee, they’re not going to go with the so-called second best options on the market to bolster their rotation. Mostly because those second best options are allegedly Jorge De La Rosa, who isn’t that good, and Carl Pavano, who the Yankees wouldn’t sign again if he was the last ballplayer left on Earth.

Nope, According to Ken Davidoff of Newsday, the Yankees will pursue Carl Crawford if they are unable to sign Cliff Lee. The thinking being that they can then trade either Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson or Nick Swisher for a starting pitcher. That’s certainly not ideal, in that the Yankees would no doubt love to keep their relatively low-cost outfield intact and spend to get Lee instead. But it sure beats trying to sift through a bunch of unpalatable options on the free agent market.

This may all be academic at this point, of course, because I’m still having a hard time seeing the Yankees not get Cliff Lee.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.