Archive for September, 2008

Cashman’s Contract Extended Through 2011

September 30, 2008

Joint statement from Hank and Hal Steinbrenner:

“Before we could move forward as an organization this off-season, we needed to come to a resolution on the person who would hold the important position of general manager and allow us to make another run at a 27th World Championship.  We are thrilled that Brian has accepted to renew his commitment to this organization for at least three more years.”


“Holding the position of general manager for any Major League team is a challenge.  But to do so in the great city of New York, where baseball is passionately followed 12 months a year, you must possess a number of unique attributes.” 

“Brian has shown throughout his Yankees career that he has the dedication, integrity and know-how needed to perform—and succeed—in this environment.  Having him in place allows us to begin an off-season of hard work, and we are pleased he will be working hand-in-hand with us to bring the New York Yankees back to the postseason.”

Statement from Brian Cashman:

“I know I’ve said it before, but it’s an incredible opportunity and honor to hold the title of general manager for the New York Yankees.  With it comes a great responsibility to ownership, the people who wear the uniform and our fan base.” 


“I’ve got a job to finish here.   That’s the bottom line.” 


“I consider coming off a season where we didn’t reach the playoffs for the first time since 1993 as a personal challenge.  I’ve never been one to run from a challenge, and I look forward to having the chance to go after this thing again.”

This Championship Team-Signed Ball Could Be Yours…

September 28, 2008

This originally ran a couple weeks back, but just in case you missed it, here it is again. If you already sent me an e-mail, please don’t send another.

Do I even need to ask if you want to win a 2008 Trenton Thunder team-signed baseball, or is the answer just that obvious?

The Thunder have been kind enough to provide me with a baseball signed by 19 members of this year’s team, including top prospects Austin Jackson and Mark Melancon.

Other players and coaches who have signed the ball include: Anthony Claggett, Carlos Mendoza, Colin Curtis, Kevin Whelan, Tony Franklin, Scott Aldred, Bo Hall, George Kontos, Kevin Russo, Cody Ehlers, James Cooper, Eric Hacker, Oneli Perez, Joe Muich, Jose Valdez, Mike Gardner and P.J. Pilittere.

Now, I could just keep this baseball for myself…or I could give it away to the loyal readers of Thunder Thoughts.

I think the answer to that question is pretty obvious as well.

Here’s how to enter my 2008 Trenton Thunder team-signed baseball giveaway:




Brian Cashman’s Thunder Thoughts

September 25, 2008

This report from David Fenster, WIMG’s sports director, who attended the Thunder’s press conference to announce the renewal of the PDC…

All of what you’ll see are quotes from Brian Cashman, ever the popular figure on this blog as of late.

I asked him if the Thunder’s commitment to renovations played a part in the length of the new PDC: “They were a discussion point and I’m glad that they were (the Thunder), obviously, willing to do this for us, but at no time were we interested in moving from this place, leaving this place. This is home and it feels like we’ve been here for a very, very, long time and I’m glad to say that you’ll be seeing us here for the next 6 years too.”

In response to a question regarding how he feels about Trenton and Scranton both winning championships this year: “The fans come out to support the team and it’s our job to come with quality talent to run through and develop. We have a player development program that we’re executing and that is first and foremost, and obviously, if you can win on top of it, it’s all the better…’s hard to sell a quality product if you don’t put a quality product on the field. The NY Club has had a lot of needs in the last few years and we’ve pulled from Scranton and when you do that, you pull from Trenton and we’ve been able to plug some holes together.”

I asked him if it was a bittersweet day since the big club would not be playing baseball in October for the first time in many years, yet he is here in Trenton, where we won back to back championships. I wanted to know if the fact that our players have contributed to the big club was resulting from a “new philosophy”, or increased talent with a tip of the hat to scouting.

“It’s a matter of both. You hope doubt that the players have gotten better under Tony Franklin and the fact that they’ve been promoted bodes well for our future when talent at this level has been tested and they’ve rung and answered the bell (by winning the championship). How this ownership group treats our players is second to none. Trenton is a wonderful place to play and a great environment for our managers, coaches and players. There is now a willingness in NY to give young players opportunity. The high end talent move themselves, and whether it’s players with stats, like Edwar Ramirez, who was released twice by the Angels and signed from Independent ball, or someone like Phil Coke, who was a high end guy at first, then lost his way and then stepped up to find his way here in Trenton. I mean, he spends maybe 70-85% of his time with Trenton, and now no one can touch him on a big league level. It’s a great story.”

Pictures! Of Stuff!

September 24, 2008

Thunder Thoughts reader Gabe recently went down to the Washington Nationals new park, and it was a bit of a Trenton alumni game.

Here’s a few shots of 2006 Ashmore Good Guy Award winner Charlie Manning, Alberto Gonzalez and Scott Patterson…

Manning…who I once wrote a story on solely based on the fact that I thought I came up with a clever headline.


The Stranger


PDC Extended Through 2014 (Updated With Photos)

September 24, 2008

Heeeeeeeeeere’s the press release:

The Trenton Thunder announced Wednesday at a press conference at Mercer County Waterfront Park that the team has extended its Player Development Contract (PDC) with the New York Yankees. The agreement will run through the end of the 2014 season.

“When the Yankees came to Mercer County six years ago, both the Thunder organization and Mercer County promised Brian Cashman and the Yankees that they would never want to leave Trenton,” said Thunder President and Owner Joe Finley. “I think the Yankees commitment to stay at Mercer County Waterfront Park for an additional six years demonstrates that the Thunder and Mercer County have delivered on their promise. We look forward to providing the best setting for player development in all of Minor League Baseball for as long as this great game is being played.”

“Extending our PDC with Trenton was a no-brainer,” said Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. “The Yankees won’t settle for anything less than the best, and the Thunder is by far the best Double-A franchise in baseball.”

“The champion Trenton Thunder are a well known success story in our community that mirrors the success the New York Yankees have enjoyed for generations,” said Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes. “We congratulate the Thunder and the Yankees on renewing an already great partnership.”

The Thunder completed the franchise’s 15th season in 2008. Trenton has been affiliated with the Detroit Tigers (1994), the Boston Red Sox (1995-2002) and the New York Yankees (2003-present) in their history.

In 2008, the Thunder became the first team in the history of Minor League Baseball at the Double-A level or below to draw 400,000 fans for fourteen consecutive seasons. The Thunder’s all-time attendance stands at over six million.

Following the 2005 season, the Thunder became just the 10th team in Minor League Baseball history to win the three major team awards in Minor League Baseball: the John H. Johnson President’s Trophy given to the “Nation’s Best Franchise” (2005), the Larry MacPhail Trophy for Outstanding Club Promotion (2003) and the Bob Frietas Award for Long-Term Success (1998, given by Baseball America).

The Trenton Thunder and its Grand Slam We Care Foundation, have donated in excess of $3 million dollars worth of goods, services and monetary donations, through a variety of community programs in its 15 year history.

On the field, the Thunder have won the last two Eastern League Championships under the guidance of Thunder Manager Tony Franklin. Over 200 players and coaches have played for both the Thunder and in the Major Leagues including current Major League stars Chien-ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain, Robinson Cano, Dioner Navarro, Nomar Garciaparra and David Eckstein.

The following are current members of the New York Yankee 40 Man Roster (as of 9/22) who have played for Trenton.

P Alfredo Aceves, 2008
P Brian Bruney, 2008*
P Joba Chamberlain, 2007
P Phil Coke, 2008
P Dan Giese, 2002
P Phil Hughes, 2006, 2007*
P Ian Kennedy, 2007
P Jeffrey Marquez, 2007-08
P Carl Pavano, 1996, 2006*, 2008*
P Edwar Ramirez, 2007
P David Robertson, 2008
P Humberto Sanchez, 2008*
P Chien-Ming Wang, 2003-04
P Chase Wright, 2007-08
C Francisco Cervelli, 2008
IF Robinson Cano, 2003-04, 2006*
IF Shelley Duncan, 2005-06
IF Derek Jeter, 2003*
IF Juan Miranda, 2007
OF Melky Cabrera, 2005
OF Justin Christian, 2006-07
OF Brett Gardner, 2006-07
OF Hideki Matsui, 2006*

* = MLB Rehab

Thanks to the Trenton Thunder for passing along these photos of today’s press conference…

I was under the impression that a PDC could only be extended for a maximum of four years…so this is a little interesting.  Either way, it goes to show just how happy the Yankees are with the way the Thunder do things.  It was no coincidence that Brian Cashman was walking on the field wearing a Trenton Thunder shirt before the Futures Game.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Exclusive Brian Cashman Interview: Part Six

September 24, 2008

If you were sitting at home, pulling a lever down to help count down the parts of this six-part series, the scoreboard just displayed a zero.

Yes, this is the last part of a series of questions and answers from my exclusive chat with New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

I asked Cashman if Scranton and Trenton winning championships and the overall success of the farm system gave him hope for the future of the Yankees organization, and I thought his answer was pretty interesting…

Brian Cashman: “Well, winning in the minors…it’s not important to me.  Not as much as having a quality talent base for us to utilize for ourselves or for trade purposes.  But we’re proud of what those guys have done, there’s no doubt about it.  But what’s more important is for them to take those giant steps forward that we need them to take.  We’ve got a lot of talent in the system that’s slowly, but surely going to develop for us over the long haul.  And we’ve got a lot of guys down there recognizing that they can be the next generation, and that they can make a difference.  In small samples, where it’s the Eastern League or the International League, they’re able to do something tremendous with their talent, and we’re proud of that.  But ultimately, the biggest reward is getting them here to the big leagues so that they can become consistent, everyday big leaguers for a long time.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

You Down With The PDC? Yeah, You Know Me…

September 24, 2008

A press conference is scheduled for 1PM today in Trenton, with Brian Cashman set to announce the Yankees renewal of the Player Development Contract with the Thunder.

I do not plan on attending the press conference, but will post the press release and any relevant photos later tonight.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Exclusive Brian Cashman Interview: Part Five

September 23, 2008

With the recent news that the Steinbrenner family wants New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman to return next season, it seems as though he may just get a chance to see Austin Jackson patrolling center field in the new Yankee Stadium.

But when?  In the next-to-last installment of my exclusive sit-down interview from the home dugout in old Yankee Stadium, I asked Cashman how happy he is with the progress that A-Jack has made since the start of the season…

Brian Cashman: “Extremely happy.  I was talking to Austin earlier, I pulled him into the player’s lounge and sat down with him, and we talked about the season and all the things I’ve heard about how he goes about his business and how he lifts his teammates up around him and how he prepares both pre and post game and how he gives max effort in games.  We talked about how that attitude and approach becomes contagious and lifts everybody else up around him.  I basically just congratulated him on that type of approach and told him I look forward to seeing more of him in the future.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

So, I Hear Yankee Stadium Is Closing…

September 22, 2008

I’m going to give the Brian Cashman stuff a day off so you can all enjoy and discuss last night’s final game at Yankee Stadium.  Perhaps sometime soon I’ll go into my memories of covering games there…but in the meantime, check out Pete Abraham’s coverage of the proceedings.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT

Exclusive Brian Cashman Interview: Part Four

September 21, 2008

There’s still plenty of stuff coming up on Thunder Thoughts over the next few days, weeks and months.  Never before seen features on Brett Gardner and Dave Eiland, year-end awards, photo-related features and my best guess on which uniform your favorite Thunder players might be wearing in 2009 are all things I’ve got planned.

But for now, you’ll just have to settle for a Q&A with the general manager of what many consider to be the best and most popular organization in all of professional sports.

I hope that’s all right…

In any event, part four is similar to part three, in which I asked Brian Cashman about a specific player who’d just been promoted from Trenton.  Yesterday, it was about Humberto Sanchez.  Today, learn about what Cashman thinks about Francisco Cervelli AND WHERE HE THINKS HE’LL BE PLAYING IN 2009…

Brian Cashman: “In Cervelli’s case, it’s the same thing (as Sanchez).  It’s looking towards ’09.  Here’s a guy that we had high hopes for.  The plan would be for him to go to the next level after he plays winter ball and play in Triple-A next year, and he’d be an injury away from being our guy up here.  So let’s give him a little taste of what it’s like to be up here at the end of September, so when he’s needed and called upon next year, he’s been there and done that to some degree.  Just get that shock out of the way.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT