Results tagged ‘ Eric Chavez ’

Okay, I have an inferiority complex…

Another Boston Series, Another Series Loss…

The latest Yankees-Red Sox series showed that the Yankees are still inferior to the Sox…unfortunately.  The Yankees could have made a statement and reversed the trend of series failures against Boston by taking 2 of 3 from the Boys of Beantown.  Instead, Mariano Rivera and Phil Hughes let victory slip away and yet another series defeat to the Sox who re-captured sole possession of first place.

I can’t say the Yankees’ inactivity at the trading deadline was the wrong thing to do.  I don’t believe in making moves just for the sake of making a move, and it wouldn’t have been prudent to give up talent like Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, or Jesus Montero for a half-season rental.  I admire the job the Philadelphia Phillies did in filling the void in their offensive lineup by acquiring Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros.  The Texas Rangers did an excellent job repairing their bullpen with Mike Adams and Koji Uehara.  Boston was relatively inactive, acquiring only Erik Bedard and Mike Aviles, but all those teams had an eye for October.   I would have liked for the Yankees to make an improvement in an area of weakness, but the reality is that type of deal did not present itself to Brian Cashman.  So, congrats to him for standing pat.  Better to not make a move, than to make a move he’d regret.

Still, I am not sure the Yankees have the team to overpower the Sox in the AL Play-offs.  A stronger Rangers club will also be tough to beat.  In the NL, the Philadelphia Phillies will be hard to stop.  My early season World Series prediction was Boston versus Philadelphia (whoa, really stepping out on a limb with that one!) and it continues to stand.  Texas could get hot, but I really don’t see anyone beating Boston or Philly.

When the Yankees lost to the Red Sox on Sunday night, I didn’t blame Mariano Rivera or Phil Hughes.  Robinson Cano had the opportunity to drive in a few runs earlier in the game and failed to come through in the clutch.  CC Sabatha, Saturday’s starter, so dominant against the rest of the league, looked like the young Cleveland Indian pitcher who couldn’t beat the Boston Red Sox .  Still can’t.

When a bat goes dry…

But the biggest disappointment might be the fall of Jorge Posada.  His deterioration in his ability to catch seemed to be synchronized with his inability to hit major league pitching.  When they say that the DH helps extend playing careers, they weren’t talking about Posada.  There’s absolutely no way that he is on the roster in 2012.  He may be a great Yankee and he’ll be fondly remembered among the likes of Paul O’Neill, Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, and others, but if he wants to extend his baseball career, it won’t be as a member of the New York Yankees.  It sucks watching great catchers get old.  Well, actually I take that back, I would have loved to watch Thurman Munson get old, but after so many years of clutch hits, it is sad to see that Posada’s bat has left him.

My only concern with Eric Chavez stepping into the DH role when Alex Rodriguez returns is the obvious health related concerns.  I am not sure if there is a quality bat on the market who has passed waivers but the Yankees would probably benefit if they could bring in some new blood with pop in the bat, particularly if the price is the right.  If that reasonably priced vet is Adam Dunn, then the best deal is the truly the best deal never made…

–Scott

Time for a change…

 

 

The dawn of a new day…

This is tough for me.  I started my blogging on MLBlogs and consistently ranked in the Top 20 during my two year association with the site (for fan blogs).  I’ve decided it is time to go to a stand-alone site, and just enjoy doing what I like to do…talk about the Yankees and whatever other sports topic that might cross my mind.  This is not about trying to seduce other bloggers to visit your site to boost the popularity numbers.  Hopefully, there will be key words or tags that lead people to my new site (http://scofid23.blogspot.com/).

I have truly enjoyed the blogging community regardless of what service you subscribe to.  People who like to write are a very passionate crew, and there is definitely a strong camaraderie that exists among the “family”.  Maybe nobody ever reads this blog, but is that really the point?  Everyone has an opinion.  I am no different than anyone else.  I like to write, and this is my release.

Well, this is a sports-related blog so let’s get it going…

 

A huge week ahead…

This is a very crucial week for the Yankees as the trading deadline approaches.  Of course, I always feel like there needs to be a caveat attached to the July trading deadline as teams still have to the end of August to make trades albeit subject to the waivers process.  Yeah, like Evan Longoria is going to clear waivers.  Granted, there’s no way the Rays would be foolish enough to trade Longoria but you get the picture.

I still think if the Yankees make a move for a frontline pitcher, it will be a potential trade that we’ve heard nothing about.  There is no way that Ubaldo Jimenez is going to find his way to the Bronx.  I really don’t think the Colorado Rockies are motivated to make the move, plus I don’t think the Yankees would be willing to part with the talent that would be necessary to swing the deal.  At this point, I am not expected a frontline pitcher although I realize that is probably the only hope for the Yankees chances to compete for their 28th World Championship.  They have a good team, but not good enough to advance past the Boston Red Sox or the Texas Rangers in a short series.

You could say that this week will determine the fate of GM Brian Cashman, who’s contract expires at the end of the season.  He is in a tough spot as no team is going to hand him an ace, and if he fails to advance in October, there will be a press conference to announce him as some other team’s new GM in the off-season.

I am glad to hear that 3B Eric Chavez is about to come off the DL.  With Alex Rodriguez still a few weeks away, it will be nice to have Chavez in the lineup…even on a part time basis with Eduardo Nunez.  I like Brandon Laird but his day will come.  For now, it’s time for him to go back down to Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

 

Down, set, 244, 244, hut, hut…

I am glad the NFL has finally settled their differences with the Players Association.  Granted, there was no way that either side was going to pass up huge pay days, but it sucks for us fans that they put us through the lockout for the past few months.  As a Vikings fan, it is the end of July and I don’t know if WR Sidney Rice will be wearing purple or catching TD passes from some other team’s QB this fall.  The most experienced QB on the roster is a one year veteran (Joe Webb) who was originally drafted as a WR after playing QB in college.  I am a Christian Ponder fan but I don’t want Ponder to start until he is ready.  I would definitely prefer a stopgap at QB until Ponder is ready to take over, so I am okay with a signing of Matt Hasselbeck or a trade for Donovan McNabb.  But, as Brett Favre rumors re-surface, I really don’t want to see #4 back on the sidelines for a third season.

I am excited about this football season.  I’ve been a Vikings fan all my life, but I’ve never attended a home game.  I’ve seen the Vikings play on the road over the years, but I wasn’t raised in Minnesota and hadn’t lived in the state until last week.  Work brought me to Minneapolis, so I am now within walking distance of the Metrodome.  Rest assured that I’ll be attending my first Vikings home game this fall.  Skol Vikings!

Have a great week, everyone!

–Scott

Yeah, I was afraid so…


So, was the injury to Eric Chavez unfortunate or
inevitable?  Sadly, it’s a little of both…


Chavez.JPG

Kim Klement/US Presswire


I enjoyed watching Chavez
rebound his career with the Yankees, but I was always concerned that he was
just a play away from the DL.  That time
finally reared its ugly head when Chavez fractured his foot.  Hopefully, best case scenario proves out…Chavez
wears the protective boot for two weeks and is ready to begin rehabilitation
play soon over.  On the bright side, the
injury is unrelated to past injuries so this should not be a recurring theme
(hopefully).

I was surprised that the
Yankees brought up Ramiro Pena
instead of Jorge Vazquez.  I had really thought that Vazquez would get
the first call if/when Chavez went down. 
I realize that he isn’t on the 40-man roster, there was talk of the
Yankees making a move with minor league infielder Kevin Russo.  The Yanks did
DFA Russo today, but they signed Cleveland Indians cast-off Jess Todd, a reliever, to take his
place on the 40-man roster.  I don’t know
much about Todd but he has gotten off to a poor start with the AAA Columbus
Clippers.  He does have strikeout
potential so I am sure that his youth (he is only 25) and pedigree (a former
second round draft pick for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2007) were factors that
led to the Yanks decision to take a bite. 

Unfortunately, the move
keeps Vazquez at AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre. 
All he has done this year is hit (9 homers, 27 RBI’s, .300 BA).  I am sure that he’s wondering what it takes
to crack the bigs.  At age 29, he’s not
getting any younger.

After losing the four game
series to the Detroit Tigers, the Yankees look to rebound tonight in Arlington,
Texas against the Rangers.  I’ve been
concerned about the Yankees reliance on the home run and lack of timely
hits.  So far, the pitching had been
compensating for the hitting deficiencies but it’s impossible to ask the
pitchers to continually walk a line with no margin for error. 

Congratulations to the Los
Angeles Dodgers’ Andre Ethier as he
extended his hitting streak to 30 games tonight against the New York Mets.  Ethier is now just one game from tying the
franchise mark which was set by Willie
Davis
in 1969.  I like Ethier’s
approach which was typified by his pre-game comment that he is “not losing a
wink of sleep about it”.  Ethier has been
one of my favorite Dodgers on a team managed by perhaps my all-time favorite
living ballplayer so it’s a great situation all the way around.  I continue to cheer for Ethier with each hit.


Andre Ethier high fives Don Mattingly.JPG


I am a fan of the Los
Angeles Lakers but I don’t like their current situation…down 2 games to zero
and in Dallas tonight to play Game 3. 
Plus, Ron Artest has been
suspended for one game so that’s one less bullet in the gun.  The Lakers will be hard pressed to win in
Dallas.  It looks like destiny is removing
the barriers for Team LeBron.  I know,
Chicago and Dallas are formidable opponents, but I really thought that either
the Lakers or the Boston Celtics would be able to stop the Miami Heat.  So far, the Celtics have done nothing against
the Heat and the Lakers have put themselves in a life support situation.

My friend Julia, of Julia’s Rants, attended a charity event
this week that featured the release of two new wines…Clay Buchholz ChardonClay and Jon
Lester
CabernAce.  Clay’s 2009
Chardonnay benefits Jimmy’s Fund, while Jon’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon benefits
the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. 
Count me in as I’ve bought both wines. 
More info can be found at charitywines.com.

Clay BuchholzClay Buchholz

–Scott

All I want for Christmas (err 4th of July) is a friggin’ pitcher…


This has not been a good
year for Yankees pitchers (or potential pitchers).  First, prime free agent target Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia
Phillies.  Then, Andy Pettitte decided it was time to stay home in Deer Park, Texas
to spend time with his family.  And now, Phil Hughes is on the DL and it doesn’t
sound like he’ll be coming off any time soon.



Fortunately, the Yankees
have gotten very solid pitching from Ivan
Nova
, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon (much better than almost
anyone had expected).  But from the ‘glass
is half empty’ approach, can they keep it up? 
Most likely, there will be a few hiccups along the way.  Considering the Yankees have to decide by
Sunday whether to call up Kevin Millwood
or release, my guess is that they’ll bring him up as the long man in the pen
and send Buddy Carlyle back to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre.  Millwood would be
the first to start should Nova, Garcia or Colon suffer any setbacks.  At this point, I don’t think the Yankees can
afford to let Millwood slip away. 

As I write this post, I am
watching the 2011 NFL Draft.  I am
waiting to see who the Minnesota Vikings select with the #12 pick.  As it stands right now, the Buffalo Bills
just selected Marcell Dareus, DT
from Alabama with the #3 pick.  I want
the Vikings to pick a QB of the future, so I am okay if they reach with their
pick or trade down to get their man.  My
personal favorite for selection is QB Jake
Locker
from the University of Washington. 
We’ll see how the choice goes down later in this post.  If the Vikings don’t get Locker, I’d like to
see them find a way to get Christian
Ponder
or Andy Dalton.  As a fan of the University of Iowa, I’d love
to see Ricky Stanzi get a shot but I
recognize his talent and potential is below the other name QB’s. 

For as great as the Yankees
bullpen is supposed to be, it’s disturbing to see the breakdowns of Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera.  It would
seem that pitching the 9th is more difficult than pitching the 8th,
but Soriano is making the 8th look the hardest.  Mo recently went through a stretch of two
blown saves although he did right the ship against the Chicago White Sox on
Wednesday night.  Hopefully, the guys in
the pen grow accustomed to their roles and manager Joe Girardi is able to resist the temptation to bring Mo in for
anything other than the 9th
Although Mo leads the AL in saves with 8, it’s strange to see former
Yankees gasoline artist Kyle Farnsworth,
now Tampa Bay Rays closer, in the top 5.

Why do I cringe when I see Eric Chavez playing first base?  I know that he can handle the position, but
after watching him with the Oakland A’s the last few years, it’s hard not to
think that the next play could be the one that puts Chavez on the DL…

We are through the first 5
picks of the NFL Draft and Blaine
Gabbert
is still on the board.  Why
is that important?  Because as long as
Gabbert is on the board, Jake Locker
is only the 2nd best QB still available.  Here’s to still hoping for Jake Locker in purple, but I can’t see
Gabbert getting by the San Francisco 49ers at #7.

It was strange to see the
Yankees score their first two runs of tonight’s game against the Chicago White
Sox without recording a hit against Sox starter Edwin Jackson (courtesy of four walks in the inning).  With CC
Sabathia
on the mound, I feel fairly confident that the Yankees will be
able to exit the four game series with a split. 
Well, so long as Soriano and Rivera don’t implode in their respective
innings…

Surprise, the 49ers didn’t
go for Gabbert so perhaps it helps improve the chances for Locker in the Land
of 10,000 Lakes…

Ugh, the Tennessee Titans
just took Locker!  

Wow, I don’t know what I
want the Vikings to do now.  There’s no
way that Gabbert will still be available if the Vikings don’t try to move
up.  It would be way too early to go
after Ponder so it would appear that the Vikes pick will most likely be a
defensive selection.  Bummer for me…

This is how I felt many
years ago when the Titans took Steve
McNair
when I was hoping that he’d fall to the Vikings.  Drats, those Titans!

Meanwhile, on the Yankees
front, they seem to be having a good night as it is now 5-0 in the bottom of
the 5th inning.  The sole
Yankees home run was by Brett Gardner
so maybe his bat is starting to come around. 
It’s not that I’d expect Gardy to hit homers since that isn’t his forte,
but still, it’s nice to see him in the offensive mix. 

The Yankees game is up to
7-0, and the only players without either a run scored or a RBI are Eric Chavez (two walks) and Jorge Posada.  Speaking of Posada, I am not certain how long
the Yankees give Posada to start hitting. 
His batting average stands at .134. 
If I were the Yankees GM, it would be hard to resist the urge to recall Jorge Vazquez and insert him as a
part-time DH.  Of course, I’d have
absolutely no idea who to send down to the farm so that’s why Brian Cashman has the job and I don’t.

Well, give Posada a RBI on a
walk.  8-0 Yanks in a 6-run 5th
(so far).  So I guess that makes Chavez
the only one who hasn’t produced a run in this game.

It looks like the
Jacksonville Jaguars will take Blaine
Gabbert
with their trade up with the Washington Redskins.  So much for the QB for the
fu
ture for
Minnesota…  D
oes this mean that the Vikings QB will be
someone like Carson Palmer, Vince Young, or Donovan McNabb?  Very
disappointing when you play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew
Stafford

My guess is that the Vikings
will make a play for Ponder or Dalton later in the draft.  Man, I really wish that QB Joe Webb wouldn’t have engineered that
upset of the Philadelphia Eagles last year.

With the 12th
pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings take…QB Christian Ponder, Florida State.  


Drew Weatherford, front, is competing with Christian Ponder, left, and D'Vontrey Richardson to start at quarterback.

AP


Wow, as much as I wanted a QB and I thought that Ponder was the next
best option, #12 is probably a bit early. 
But still, with the likes of Joe
Webb
and Rhett Bomar as the only
QB options in Minnesota, I do like the upside of Ponder at the position.  I just never expected Ponder to go that
early, especially with defensive greats like Nick Fairley and Da’quan
Bowers
just sitting there for the taking. 
Oh well, Go Seminoles!

Meanwhile, it is still 8-0
in New York in the bottom of the 6th. Oops, 9-0.  Nice…


–Scott

 

All Hail the Red Sox Nation…


The first win of the season
goes to my friend Julia, of Julia’s Rants
Despite an 0-6 start to the season, the Boston Red Sox were able to
capture their first two wins of the season in this past weekend’s series
against the New York Yankees.


Red Sox.JPG


With the loss, I have to
write about what’s right with the Red Sox and what’s wrong with the Yankees.  So, here it goes…


Why the Boston Red Sox will win…

Pitching, pitching, pitching.  Say what you
will about Dice-K, but the Red Sox have, arguably, the best starting rotation
in the American League.  Jon Lester has
been one of my favorite pitchers and will be a Cy Young candidate when the
season is over.  Despite some early
season struggles, I definitely feel that Clay Buchholz is one of the up and
coming stars and will be solid over the course of the long season.  I know that the third starter, John Lackey,
has also struggled, but I feel very strongly that he’ll find his niche in
Boston and will consistently put the Sox in a position to win.  Josh Beckett, if he continues to pitch like
he did on Sunday, is back.  The Yankees
have a rookie in the 4th spot…the Sox have a former ace and one who
is capable of pitching like the elite pitcher he once was. 

You can say that the Yankees
have the better bullpen, but if Jonathan Papelbon falters, the Sox have several
fallback options in former Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks and future
closer Daniel Bard.  They have reliable
arms in the pen, and have a proven long man in a guy the Yankees are well
familiar with (Alfredo Aceves).  The gap
between the Sox and Yankee pens won’t be as big as experts may believe,
especially since the Sox will be able to be more selective in relief with a
superior rotation that is able to go much deeper into games. 

Adrian Gonzalez.  Count me as one of those who
believe that Gonzalez will be a monster at Fenway Park.  He counteracts anything the Yankees have with
Mark Teixeira plus he has the intangibles.  
A few years back, I was constantly looking up to see the highlights of
David Ortiz with another walk-off home run. 
I fully expect Gonzalez to be that guy for the Sox, and he is going to
win games with both his bat and his glove. 

Disruption.  Once Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury get
going (it’s a question of when, not if), the Sox are going to be very
disruptive for opposing pitchers. 
Singlehandedly, they have the ability to change the complexion and
momentum of games. 

The forgotten hitter.  For all the
headlines the newest additions have gotten and the return of players who were
injured last year (like Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia), it is easy to forget that
this lineup still features third baseman Kevin Youkilis.  Youk is one of the best clutch hitters in
baseball, and teams will be so focused on stopping Crawford and Gonzalez that
they’ll lose sight of Youk…and will pay a high price for it. 

The dead will rise.  It is easy
for people to write off David Ortiz and Jason Varitek given their respective
ages, however, they are both consummate professionals who can still perform at
a high level.  Like the Toby Keith song
goes, ‘I may not be a good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was’.  There’s no doubt that these two will figure
prominently in Sox wins over the summer. 

The bench.  If there is anything I’ve learned about the
Sox, it is to never underestimate the power of Theo.  Time and again, names come out of nowhere to
lead the Sox to victory.  They had a
chance to catch the Yankees last September despite fielding a roster of
unknowns.  Even on Tuesday night’s game,
the first run of the game came courtesy of a home run by Darnell McDonald.  It wasn’t that long ago the Yankees wanted
Mike Cameron as their centerfielder, and here he is backing up the Sox
regulars.  I don’t care if the player’s name
is Dork Fumblefingers.  If he puts on a
Sox uniform, he is most likely going to hit game winning home runs and make
highlight reel catches in the outfield.

Terry Francona.  When the Sox lose, Francona
detractors seem to come out of the woodwork, but he is, in my opinion, the best
manager in baseball.  The only place with
greater expectations than New York might just be Boston, yet Terry is always a
show of class and his decision making skills show a deft understanding of now
and the future (i.e., the season).  He
garners the most of his roster, and I have no doubt that he’ll right the ship
despite the slow start to the 2011 season. 
With the Sox standing at 2-8 entering play tonight, people are quick to
say how poorly comparable teams have finished. 
I will argue that when the season is done, the Sox will be the model of
the franchise that was able to successfully overcome such a poor start.  In future years, when a team goes on a losing
streak to start the season, the media will be saying ‘but the 2011 Red Sox were
able to overcome…’. 

Theo Epstein, Larry Lucchino, and John Henry.  These
gentlemen took a franchise that was “cursed” from the 1923 trade that sent Babe
Ruth
to the Yankees, and eradicated the word “curse” from the Red Sox
vocabulary.  I also have not heard any
mention of Bucky Friggin’ Dent in several years.  These guys have successfully brought two
world championships to Boston, and there is no doubt that they’ll have a third
one in the not-so-distant future (much to my chagrin). 

The RSN.  The fan base for the Sox is the most
passionate and fervent of any that I’ve experienced.  I am not saying that Yankees fans aren’t
passionate, but Sox fans are like no other. 
They stuck by their team when championships were only something their
grandparents or great-grandparents had ever experienced.  Yankees fans get spoiled by championships in
almost every decade.  The Sox fans have a
greater understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a true
champion.  I am not one of them, but I
respect them. 


Why the Yankees won’t win…

Pitching, pitching, pitching.  As great as
CC Sabathia is, he is still not a sure thing. 
He has his moments where he struggles. 
I know, like all pitchers, but there is something special when a pitcher
like Roy Halladay takes the mound.  Win
or lose, you expect the team to win.  I
expect the Yankees to win when CC is on the mound, but it is not with the
confidence that I’d have if Halladay were a Yankee.  After CC, there is nothing but question
marks.  A.J. Burnett has pitched well to
start the season, but he always starts good. 
It is how he finishes.  If he
reverts to 2010 A.J., the Yankees are toast. 
Phil Hughes and the decreased velocity are a concern.  He finished poorly last season, and he has
yet to pitch lights out this year.  At
this point, I am really not sure what Hughes lies ahead.  After Hughes is a rookie, Ivan Nova, who has
pitched well, but how will he perform the second time around when opposing
lineups get used to him?  Can he make the
necessary adjustments?  As it stood, the
ceiling for Nova was much lower than it is for guys like Brian Matusz or Jeremy
Hellickson
(or even Michael Pineda).  Is
he in the rotation because he has the potential to be great or is it because
none of the other prospects are ready.  I
remain fearful that it’s the latter.  I’ve
heard that Nova’s future is in the pen, and that doesn’t bode well for the
rotation.  In the fifth spot, who
knows.  Freddy Garcia has yet to pitch
due to rain delays.  Bartolo Colon is
waiting in the wings if Garcia stumbles, as are Kevin Millwood and Carlos
Silva
None of the options instill
confidence.

The bullpen looks great on
paper, but already this season, there have been failures by Rafael Soriano and
Joba ChamberlainPedro Feliciano is on
the DL and I heard that he had a setback today. 
Luis Ayala is headed for the DL so the Yankees are already looking to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre for replacements. 
One of these years, Mariano Rivera is actually going to show his
age.  Will this be the year?

Aging lineup.  Mark Teixeira is already
31?  Seriously, we are already in the
midst of another April chill for Tex.  He
started strong this year (thanks to Opening Day in March), but he went 0-fer
against the Sox.  He was as much responsible
for me writing this post as anyone. 
Derek Jeter has continued to show his age and is providing evidence that
his down season in 2010 may be a sign of things to come.  Jorge Posada feels like a fish out of water
at DH.  He’s done at catcher so where’s
his long-term potential with this team? 
Alex Rodriguez looked great during spring training, but he is getting
older.  Question marks continue to dog
Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner.  The
Yankees are a great offensive club, but their hitters just don’t put fear in
you.  If they don’t hit, they can be beat
as Josh Beckett proved on Sunday night. 
In October, you’re facing the best pitchers in baseball.  If the Yankees can’t hit the best, they can’t
be the best.

The bench.  Don’t get me wrong…I love Eric Chavez and I
am glad that he’s a Yankee.  But I am
concerned that injuries may force the Yankees to play Chavez more than they
should, exposing him to potential injury. 
What if Derek Jeter is done?  Is
Nunez ready to take over at short?  I really
don’t expect this to be the year that Jeter goes south, but you have to
recognize that it could happen.  It
eventually happens to all superstars

Hank Steinbrenner.  Eventually,
Hank is going to make an impulsive move that he’ll regret.  I am sure that he has a Jay Buhner like trade
that he’ll force causing the Yankees to relinquish a prime prospect for an
aging past-his-prime veteran in an effort to shake things up.
 

The off-season.  As difficult as last season was,
there is the potential that this off-season will be even more difficult.  CC Sabathia can opt out of his contract, as
can Rafael Soriano.  If the Yankees lose
Sabathia, they won’t be able to recover. 
As the season progresses, the Sabathia opt-out is going to get more and
more ink.  Hopefully, it doesn’t become a
distraction.

Who knows that the 2011
season holds in store for the Yankees and the Red Sox, but I can assure you,
that both teams will be in the thick of things come September.  I will never be fooled by Boston’s slow start.  This is a very dangerous team and one that
can never be underestimated. 

Clearly, I want the Yankees
to win, and I am hopeful they will, but Boston, even at 2-9, is still the best
team in the American League from top to bottom. 
That may change by the trading deadline, but as it stands today, the Sox
are still a team capable of 100 wins.

Julia, I’m out…

–Scott

 

Live from New York, Play Ball!…


CC Sabathia versus Justin
Verlander


Larry W. Smith/EPA


Because the Tigers hope rookie Justin Verlander will pitch for years, they're cutting back on his work.

Tony Dejak/AP


Finally, Opening Day is upon
us!  It has been a long and at times
disappointing off-season.  Optimism
returned in Spring Training as there were a few success stories and
surprises.  The pitching match-up for the
Yankees against the Detroit Tigers is perfect as I expect banner years by both
pitchers.  They both will most likely be
finalists for the Cy Young Award at the end of the year if all goes right.

For Opening Day, here are the 2011 New York
Yankees:

 

Manager

Joe Girardi

 

Coaches

Kevin Long, Batting Coach

Larry Rothschild, Pitching Coach

Mick Kelleher, First Base Coach

Rob Thomson, Third Base Coach

Tony Pena, Bench Coach

Mike Harkey, Bullpen Coach

Roman Rodriguez, Bullpen Catcher

 

Starters

1B – Mark Teixeira

2B – Robinson Cano

SS – Derek Jeter

3B – Alex Rodriguez

C – Russell Martin

RF – Nick Swisher

CF – Curtis Granderson

LF – Brett Gardner

DH – Jorge Posada

 

Bench Strength

Bench – 1B/3B – Eric Chavez

Bench – 2B/SS/3B – Eduardo Nunez

Bench – OF – Andruw Jones

Bench – C – Gustavo Molina

 

Starting
Rotation

1SP – CC Sabathia

2SP – A.J. Burnett

3SP – Phil Hughes

4SP – Ivan Nova

5SP – Freddy Garcia

 

Bullpen

Closer – Mariano Rivera

Setup – Rafael Soriano

RP – Joba Chamberlain

RP – David Robertson

RP – Boone Logan

RP – Bartolo Colon

RP – Luis Ayala

 

Several of the spots are held by injury replacements
(Molina for backup catcher Francisco Cervelli, and Ayala for reliever Pedro
Feliciano
) so they’ll go down to the minors when the regulars return.  I am sure that Freddy Garcia and Bartolo
Colon
will be on short leashes, and it’s very possible that one of their spots
could be taken by Kevin Millwood should either one falter.

 

I am very pleased to see Eric Chavez on the
roster.  It was a foregone conclusion
that he’d make the team after the spring he had, but going into camp, there
were certainly plenty of questions about his health and durability.  I am sure that Jason Giambi has probably been
on the phone to his good buddy to let him know the inner workings of the
Yankees organization and the city of New York. 

 

Congratulations to Manny Banuelos for winning the
James P. Dawson Award as the team’s outstanding rookie in camp.  I am definitely looking forward to his
arrival in the Bronx, even if it is still a few years down the road.

 

Even though there were no major additions in the
off-season, I do like this year’s team. 
The hiring of pitching coach Larry Rothschild was huge, and I think he’ll
be able to get into A.J. Burnett‘s head and rebuild the pitcher’s
confidence.  I expect continued
progression from Phil Hughes, and if Ivan Nova continues to build upon his
outstanding spring, I think the Yankees rotation will be quite strong. 

 

What can you say about the bullpen?  They will definitely shorten games for the
starters.

 

As for the regulars, I expect Derek Jeter to
rebound from last year and put up his usual DJ-like numbers.  Robinson Cano will continue his progression
of one of the game’s elite, and Alex Rodriguez looks charged and ready for a
fantastic season.  I am expecting more
consistency and better timely hitting from Curtis Granderson this year, and if
Brett Gardner stays healthy, the outfield should be significantly
improved. 

 

The health of Russell Martin is a concern,
particularly since neither Jesus Montero nor Austin Romine was able to prove
they are ready for the major leagues.  If
the Yankees have to start Posada at catcher, it will definitely be a sign of
trouble ahead. 

 

In my mind, the positives will outweigh the
negatives, and the Yankees will be in the hunt at the end. 

 

Nevertheless, with all things considered, I do
think the league champions, as it stands right now, will be the Boston Red Sox
and the San Francisco Giants.  A World
Series matchup would put the Sox over the Giants for the championship.  This is not what I want, but rather, on
paper, it is the most logical conclusion. 
Much can happen between now and October, and I certainly expect the
Yankees to acquire a #3 starter (or better) for the starting rotation by the
July trading deadline.  I did like the
Philadelphia Phillies, but I think the loss of Chase Utley to injury and Jayson
Werth
to free agency will be too much to overcome.  Pitching staff to pitching staff, I like the
Giants rotation better than the Phillies.

 

Win or lose, this should be a tremendous baseball
season for all of us!  Go ahead, throw
the first pitch…

 

–Scott

 

 

 

I am not really looking for new cologne…


Can I say that I am quietly rooting against Bartolo
Colon
?  Sorry, but I just don’t want to
see the 5th spot in the starting rotation go to such a high
risk.  I would never fool myself into
believing that a few good spring starts will lead to a replication of Colon’s
2005 Cy Young year with the Los Angeles Angels. 
My personal preference is for the 4th and 5th
spots to go to Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia, respectively.  It’s not outside of the realm of possibility
that both Colon and Garcia head north with the Yankees when camp breaks, but I
hope that it means Garcia is in the rotation and Colon is bumping shoulders
with Sergio Mitre in long relief.


FreddyGarcia.JPG

Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger


I am not looking for Garcia to be a full season option.  I’d really like to see one of the Killer B’s
(Andrew Brackman, Dellin Betances and Manuel Banuelos) step up at some point in
the season and prove they belong in the majors now.  My favorite among the group is Brackman if
for no other reason that his age (25) and the fact that he’d have the maturity
to handle New York.  My absolute favorite
among the group is Banuelos but I don’t want to see the Yankees rush him too
soon. 


NY Daily News


Although the Yankees rotation looks questionable at this
point, there is definitely the potential that the staff will be among the
league’s best as the season progresses. 
Either the Yankees will reach out at the trading deadline or one of the
Killer B’s takes it to the next level, but the end result will be a much closer
gap between the Red Sox rotation and the Yankees. 

I am very pleased that Eric Chavez has done well so far in
camp.  I am very hopeful that he, along
with Eduardo Nunez, nail down the infield bench roles for the team.  I like what Jorge Vazquez has done, but
unfortunately, there just doesn’t appear to the room on the roster (barring
injury).  It will be interesting to see
what Brian Cashman does with the excess talent (notably Vazquez and catcher
Francisco Cervelli…once the latter recovers from the foot fracture).  Both have proven they are major league ready,
but if Chavez and Jesus Montero make the team, there won’t be any room for
Cervelli or Vazquez.

Congratulations to former Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng for
her new role with Major League Baseball (Senior Vice President for Baseball
Operations).  She’ll report to former
Yankees and Dodgers manager Joe Torre.  I’ve
read the news reports that Kim took the job with the hopes it will help propel
her to an eventual GM job.  I have had
great respect for Kim since her days with the Yankees, and I am hopeful that
she does become the first woman GM in baseball. 


Northwest Asian Weekly


I can’t help it but I am definitely pulling for the Los
Angeles Dodgers this year as my favorite NL team.  Go Donnie Baseball! 


Mark Duncan/AP


–Scott

Welcome 2011 New York Yankees!…

It’s been a combination of both a long and a short winter and now “spring” is officially upon us as Yankees pitchers and catchers report to Tampa on Monday…

George M. Steinbrenner Field
There are many questions to be answered in training camp, and it remains to be seen who will fill the last two spots in the starting rotation.  The bench will look different with Andruw Jones in for Marcus Thames who signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and a potential role for former Oakland A’s great Eric Chavez.  
With Jorge Posada now the full-time DH, the catching position be headed up by Russell Martin but it’s anybody’s guess who will back him up (Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, or Austin Romine?).  I do think now is the time for Montero but if the Yankees decide to break camp with him on the major league roster, what does that mean for Cervelli?
I am intrigued by the Yankees potential interest in pitcher Kevin Millwood.  I keep hearing stories that he’s about ready to sign with the Cleveland Indians, then stories surface about the Yankees interest.  As a player in the latter stages of his career, I’d think that winning starts to become an overwhelming factor so I’d have to believe that if all things are equal, the Yankees would be more attractive to Millwood than the Indians.  Nothing against the Indians, but I do not see them contending for the World Series this year.  
The Boston Red Sox still have the best team on paper and a signing of someone like Millwood is not going to change that fact.  But I am still not going to concede the AL East or the World Series to the Red Sox just yet.  I want to see what the Yankees roster looks like on July 31, 2011, and where they are in the AL East standings.  This season is going to be a battle, but I wouldn’t want it any other way…
–Scott

Maybe I should sign with Boras…

All hail the Sultan of $$$$$$$$$$$$…


deadspin.com


Unfortunately, the Yankees are going to be seeing super agent Scott
Boras more than they’d like given his newest clients are Robinson Cano and Nick
Swisher.  I have to admit that I was
dismayed to see the two Yankees sign on with Boras because it will mean the
potential for contentious negotiations in the not-so-distant future.  It also felt like the chances the players
stay in the Bronx behind their current deals lessened substantially when I
heard the news. 

From the players’ standpoint, Boras makes complete sense.  He has shown an uncanny knack for getting the
most for his clients (sometimes in seemingly impossible situations).  While I may not like Boras personally, he is
clearly on a different level than most agents. 
I can only hope that it does not eventually lead to Cano’s departure.

I have to admit that it looks strange to see former Oakland A’s third
baseman Eric Chavez in Yankees gear. 
Chavez was always an Athletic that I held high regard for, but as with
former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, injuries have taken their toll on a
once outstanding career.  I am really
pulling Chavez and I hope that he earns a bench role for the Yankees (even at
the expense of Ramiro Pena).  I’d like to
see Chavez backing up the corner positions, with Eduardo Nunez covering the
middle infield positions. 


Chavez n Swish.JPG

daylife.com


Of the other players in camp on minor league deals, I’d say that I am
most supportive of former Chicago White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia.  If the Yankees don’t trade for a starting
pitcher or sign someone like Kevin Millwood, I’d like to see Garcia earn a spot
in the rotation ahead of Sergio Mitre and the other cast of characters.  While I recognize that the other spot will
most likely go to Ivan Nova, I am very intrigued by Hector Noesi and I am
looking forward to seeing what he can do in camp.  Of the younger guys, I most excited about lefty
Manny Banuelos but he is still a few years away from the majors.

It was tough to see Alfredo Aceves sign with the Boston Red Sox.  I know the Yankees were interested in
bringing Aceves back, but Boston’s willingness to extend a major league
contract was the difference maker. 

It’s hard to believe that pitchers and catchers report on Monday but I’m
ready for the new season.  I still think
that the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies have the best teams on
paper but there’s still a lot that can happen between now and October.  And, oh yeah, they still have to play the
games…


–Scott


 

Andy will be missed…so will the pitcher…


A day after Andy Pettitte’s retirement announcement, it is sad to think
that he’ll no longer be part of the team. 
As much as I would have liked him back, I didn’t want him to return if
there was any doubt in his mind so all things considered, the retirement was
probably the best thing for both Andy and the team.  If he had any doubts in his mind entering the
season, he most likely would not have performed at the level we’ve been
accustomed to over the years. 


Andy Pettitte dealt the Yankees starting rotation a crucial blow with his retirement (below) and he seemed sincere, but he may have left the door open for a comeback at Friday's press conference.

Sipkin/News

I will miss the personal attributes that went with being Andy
Pettitte.  He was universally respected
and from afar it was apparent that he was a man of high integrity and very
respectful of others.  I had admiration
for the way he was non-judgmental and would form his own opinions and beliefs
regardless of how others felt.  I
recognize that Andy admitted steroid use, but it is a testament to the man that
he did come clean with full honesty and disclosure.  Never for a minute have I believed Andy
misled or was less than honest with the fans. 
He is a class act and will be hard to replace on the team without even
getting into what he meant to the team as a player and pitcher. 

While I am hopeful that Andy stays in baseball in some capacity, it
really sounded like he was closing the door on life in baseball after his playing
days.  I think he’d make a terrific
pitching coach if he ever wanted to get back into the game once his children
are older.  He has so much to offer
younger players, and particularly those who are not as naturally gifted as
someone like Stephen Strasberg or Tim Lincecum. 

I can still remember when Don Mattingly wore #46 before taking #23, but
I hope that Donnie Baseball was the last player to wear the number before or
after Andy.  Andy deserves his place in
Monument Park and I look forward to the day of his induction.


98730903, Sports Illustrated/Getty Images /Sports Illustrated

Getty Images


When you hear the pitching options available to the Yankees, it is
rather disappointing.  I am not looking
forward to the back end of the rotation being filled by Sergio Mitre, Bartolo
Colon, Freddy Garcia, and/or Ivan Nova. 
While I wouldn’t mind either Garcia or Nova in the #5 spot, I am hopeful
that the #4 starter is not on the roster right now.  Ideally, I’d like a #3 starter in front of
A.J. Burnett, but again, the options just don’t look that appealing.  Even the San Francisco Chronicle was speculating
if the Yankees would look at taking Barry Zito and his mammoth contract off
their hands.  Please, I hope not.  I still think that the best case scenario, if
they could convince Cleveland to trade him, is to acquire Fausto Carmona.  I really think that Carmona could flourish
under CC Sabatia’s wing.  Okay, best case
scenario is actually Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, but I don’t see any way to
convince the Mariners to trade him.  So,
Carmona represents the best realistic option.

The Yankees training camp is going to be filled with former major league
stars.  The latest to sign a minor league
deal is former Oakland A’s slugger Eric Chavez. 
I’ve always liked Chavez as a player but injuries have definitely taken
their toll in recent years.  It would be
great to see him excel at a reserve role behind Alex Rodriguez and Mark
Teixeira, however, I am not expecting a lot. 
Hopefully, Eric will surprise me. 
The Yankees are also bringing in former Los Angeles Dodgers infielder
Ronnie Belliard.  It will be interesting
to see if these players motivate Eduardo Nunez and/or Ramiro Pena to take their
game to the next level. 


Sports Illustrated/Getty Images


With all the attention that the Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles and
Tampa Bay Rays have gotten this off-season, the Toronto Blue Jays are
definitely flying under the radar with a team that is fully capable of
challenging in the division.  The AL East
is going to be a beast this year, and of course, it makes you wonder if
everyone will be beat each other up so badly that the Wild Card will come from
another division.  Boston does look like
the favorite, but it wouldn’t take too many injuries to bring them back to the
pack.  This should be a long, grueling
race for October…


–Scott


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