So says Knicks guard Steve Francis, who rejoined the team on Monday, though he claims he is still two weeks away from a return to game action. Francis has been undergoing rehab for knee tendinitis in Houston, and last played on December 29th. During the hiatus, rumors swirled that Francis and the team were mutually interested in negotiating a buyout, but were unable to come to an agreement. Says Francis, “I’ve never heard of that. That was never mentioned. I don’t know where that came from.”
Archive for January 2007
So much for that. Apparently the trade talks between Boston and Colorado have broken down now that the Sox have refused to sweeten their offer for Todd Helton. Boston was looking to acquire the 33-year-old first baseman in exchange for two mid-level prospects under the condition that Colorado would pay a portion of the $90 million owed to Helton. In addition, Boston was hoping that the Rockies would take two veteran contracts off their hands – Mike Lowell and Julian Tavarez. Rockies owner Charles Monfort issued a statement stating that discussions had officially collapsed, and the Rockies are ready to move forward with Helton on board. It’s unknown how Helton will feel about returning to Colorado now that he knows ownership was looking to unload him. Likewise, there will be bridges to mend in Boston. According to the Boston Globe, the Sox were “not pleased” that the names of Lowell and Tavarez were leaked by Monfort.
There is some question, however, whether …
The Giants continue to flesh out their revamped coaching staff, naming Chris Palmer their new Quarterbacks coach. Palmer filled the same role for the Dallas Cowboys last season. Palmer has a history with head coach Tom Coughlin, formerly taking over as Coughlin’s offensive coordinator in Jacksonville when Kevin Gilbride left the staff to take over as head coach of the San Diego Chargers in 1997. Gilbride was the Quarterbacks coach for the Giants last season before being promoted to offensive coordinator during the last week of the season. In 1999, Palmer was named head coach of the expansion Cleveland Browns and held the position for two seasons before moving on to the Houston Texans, where he served as offensive coordinator from 2002-2005.
Over the weekend, some trade buzz started that could significantly impact the Yankees in 2007. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com reported that the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies had been discussing a trade that would send first baseman Todd Helton to the Red Sox in exchange for pitcher Craig Hansen, centerfield prospect Jacoby Ellsbury, and an additional prospect. Since Rosenthal’s story broke, the rumor has been substantiated by Rockies CEO Charlie Monfort, who confirmed on Saturday that the team was exploring the swap.
While the 33-year-old Helton has been the face of the Rockies franchise for nearly a decade, the team may have miscalculated in 2001 when it signed the then-27-year-old to a nine-year extension with two years remaining on his prior contract, bringing the total value of the agreement to 151.5 million over 11 years. The Rockies now find themselves on the hook for $90.1 million through 2011 for a player whose production has taken a meteoric plunge. In the year Helton signed the …
…they pull him back in.
The Mets continue to follow the theory of strength in numbers, on Thursday adding yet another mediocre pitcher in 36-year-old Aaron Sele. Sele was signed to a minor-league contract and invited to spring training, where he’ll compete for a spot in the starting rotation.
Despite the addition, Newsday reports that the Mets are still shopping for low-cost, low-risk starting pitching, and are one of a handful of teams interested in righty Victor Zambrano. Yes, that Victor Zambrano.
Zambrano missed the majority of 2006 after tearing a ligament in his elbow, and at the end of the season the Mets declined to offer the pitcher arbitration at $2.4 million. The Mets watched a bullpen session by Zambrano in Venezuela recently, and if the team remains interested, would likely look to sign him to a minor-league deal similar to the one given to Sele.
The Mets had long contended that Zambrano was damaged-goods when they received him from Tampa, so it’s not beyond …
With Spring Training around the corner, it might surprise some out-of-market fans to learn that they will no longer be able to watch their favorite teams on television. From the fat cats that brought you baseball’s Steroid-Era comes the latest in greed and avarice as MLB is on the verge of agreeing to a seven-year, $700 million deal that would eliminate MLB Extra Innings from all cable networks, as well as the Dish network, in favor of an exclusive arrangement with DirecTV. The deal would also make DirecTV the exclusive provider of the 24-hour baseball channel that MLB is launching in 2009.
Currently, DirecTV is available to just 15 million subscribers, or less than one-fifth of cable subscribers. While baseball will receive $30 million more per year under the agreement with DirecTV, Richard Sandomir of The New York Times wonders aloud if it’s worth angering and marginalizing your fan base to make a buck.
The only recourse for jilted fans at this point …
Rumblings of a major personnel shakeup have been swirling around the New York Rangers since the New Year. With the team limping into the All-Star break, it seems that changes are finally on their way. On Wednesday, the club placed veteran defenseman Darius Kasparaitis on waivers with the aim of demoting Kaspar to the AHL affiliate Hartford Wolfpack and promoting defensive prospect Dan Girardi. Though Girardi was selected to play in the AHL All-Star game, he’ll be suiting up for the Rangers on Saturday instead.
One could forgive Kasparaitis if he doesn’t feel he’s getting a fair deal here. Unbeknownst to many fans at the time, the hard-hitting defenseman played in the 2006 playoffs despite tears to his shoulder and groin. Both injuries required surgery in the offseason, and as a result, Kasparaitis reported to training camp in sub-par physical condition. The defenseman was stripped of his alternate captain’s ‘A’ by head coach Tom Renney, and in November submitted to a conditioning-stint in Hartford. …
John Delcos of The Journal News caught up with Bernie Williams last night at the Irvington Town Hall Theater, as New York baseball fans continue to await word on the centerfielder’s future. It’s become increasingly evident that the Yankees don’t have room on their major league roster for Williams unless another outfielder – such as Melky Cabrera – is moved.
Bernie as quoted on his future with the Yankees:
“Part of me says if they wanted me, they would have made an offer by now. When you play this game for a long time, you take things for granted and think it won’t end. But the harsh reality of it is, it will.”
On the prospect of playing elsewhere next season:
“The loyalty factor goes both ways. When a team that you’ve played for doesn’t want to offer a contract, it is making a business decision. So I have to make a business decision.”
On the idea of joining the crosstown rival Mets:
“I have a lot of friends over there.”
While the notion …
“If Roger were to play for the Yankees, I know he would appreciate Cano’s gesture,” Hendricks added. “But it is worth noting that 22 is waiting in Houston and 21 [Clemens’ original number] in Boston.”
Speculation about Willie Randolph entering the 2007 season as a lame-duck manager can now end. While the parties involved never seemed overly concerned, the media – bored, perhaps – had worked itself into a frenzy over the last week, some even speculating that Willie could play out the final year of his contract for $700,000 and take over as Yankees manager when Joe Torre’s contract expires at the end of the season. Instead, Willie and the Mets have agreed to a three-year deal worth $5.65 million. The Mets have torn up the final year of Randolph’s current deal, and instead will double his salary, paying him $1.4 million for the 2007 season. Willie would then be due to make $2 million in 2008, and $2.25 million in 2009. The Mets hold a $2.5 million option for 2010.
Currently Torre is the richest manager in baseball, making $7.5 in 2007. New Cubs manager Lou Piniella is a distant second, earning $3.5 million. Despite his relatively …
As expected, former Met Cliff Floyd agreed to terms with his hometown Chicago Cubs yesterday. The deal was a long time in the making as the Cubs attempted to find room in their budget for Cliff while constructing a highly complex, incentive-laden contract with the oft-injured slugger. According to ESPN.com, the deal is “creatively structured” and guarantees one-year at $3 million, however that number could rise to $7.5 million if certain health-related incentives are met. The deal also contains a player option, club option, and a vesting option that is activated if Floyd makes 425 plate appearances in 2007 or starts 100 games. If he gets 500 plate appearances in each of the next two seasons, the total value of the deal increases to $15.5 million. The ceiling for the deal is $17.5 over two years, and can be attained by reaching 550 plate appearances in each of the next seasons.
The Mets will miss Floyd for both his bat and his presence in the clubhouse. …
Last night before the Baseball Assistance Team dinner at the Marriot Marquis in Times Square, Yankees catcher Jorge Posada spoke with reporters. The topic on everyone’s tongue? Bernie Williams. The local papers are slanting Posada’s comments on Bernie in various ways this morning. The Times is running with the angle that Bernie is “not willing to give up his pinstripes,” and the Bergen Record states, “it’s Bronx or bust for Bernie.” These headlines are a tad misleading, however, as Posada states that it would be “tough” to see Bernie in another uniform, not that he doesn’t think it’s a possibility.
In fact, Posada says that Bernie wants to play one more season and won’t retire this offseason. The Yankee hero doesn’t wish to play for anyone but the Yankees, but unfortunately for Bernie, Jorge, and Yankees fans, the decision isn’t likely up to him. The Yanks have no room for him in their crowded outfield and can likely offer …