Results tagged ‘ Evan Longoria ’

The Anticipation…

 

The 2013-14 Hot Stove League has opened for business…

The baseball offseason is always interesting.  In November, when the Hot Stove League open, there is more talk and speculation than real action.  There is the occasional free agent signing, like Marlon Byrd to the Philadelphia Phillies, but for the most part, it’s the most boring part of the winter. 

Baseball fans get excited as the baseball winter meeting approach in early December.  The ‘name’ free agents come off the board and there are a few major trades as teams look to improve their rosters for the coming year.

Then, in January and early February, things go quiet again until the excitement of pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training begin to fill the air. 

The key is what teams do in December.  Doing something versus doing nothing can be the difference in an invigorated fan base.  With the Boston Red Sox fresh off a championship season, the Yankees and their fans need something to be excited about.  Hope needs to be restored in the Yankees Universe.  The Steinbrenner family have an enormous responsibility of the owners of baseball’s most storied and valued franchise.  Sure, it is their right to do nothing and cut salaries if they so choose, but it is not good for baseball.  MLB needs a successful Yankees franchise as much as the fan base demands a winner.

From early indications, it does appear that Hal Steinbrenner is taking a more proactive role.  He plays down the speculation that the team is resolved in its intent to bring salaries below $189 million and he recognizes the weaknesses of the current roster.  So, what is he going to do about it?  Time will tell, as the saying goes…

I am still not 100% convinced Derek Jeter can be the player of old or just an old player.  He might be able to play a serviceable shortstop if healthy but the Yankees need more.  I want Jeter to play for the Yankees his entire career and he is clearly a future Hall of Famer but this is the season of transition for the legendary player.  He needs to work on playing other positions, whether it is third base or left field, to give the team its greatest value.  It is obvious Jeter has the ability to exceed my expectations but I think the odds are against it.  I am just being a realist.  Age doesn’t slow down for anyone.  Well, except for maybe Mariano Rivera

The “gift” that keeps on giving…

The unresolved Alex Rodriguez situation casts an ominous shadow over the team.  I believe the Yankees should proceed as if A-Rod will not be a member of the 2014 team but that’s easy for me to say.  The Yankees have to be prepared for a scenario that allows baseball’s most vile player to return to the field in 2014.  Personally, I look forward to the day A-Rod turns in his pinstripes for the final time.  I do not expect the Yankees to go out and land a premier third baseman like Evan Longoria but they need more than they had last year.  I respect Kevin Youkilis but his best years have passed by and at this point, he is too much of an injury risk to re-sign.  I heard the rumors the Yankees had talked with the St Louis Cardinals about David Freese but I don’t think that would have been the solution.  It’s too bad that former number one draft pick Eric Duncan didn’t work out as this would have been his prime opportunity to take third if he had been successful and not released.  But still, there are Scott Brosius-type third basemen that can be found. 

Betances-Robertson?…

After years of knowing the back end of the bullpen was secure, the Yankees have uncertainty.  The heir apparent to the great Mariano Rivera is top set up man David Robertson.  However, there is risk.  When Mo was lost for the season in 2012, Robertson failed in his brief audition as closer before Rafael Soriano took the role and ran with it.  I like Robertson as the key 8th inning guy but I am not convinced that translates to 9th inning success.  I really do not want an aged option like Joe Nathan as I would prefer younger arms.  My hope is for Robertson to succeed but there does need to be a safety net in case it doesn’t work out.

I am looking forward to key bullpen roles for guys like Dellin Betances, Preston Claiborne, and Adam Warren.  With the right moves this winter, the Yankees bullpen should be a strength even if we no longer get to see #42 warming up. 

I do remember the sense of some uncertainty when Mariano Rivera replaced John Wetteland and that turned out well.  Granted, David Robertson will never be Mariano Rivera but he can be successful in his own right.  With the right bridge from the starters to his late inning arrival, he can be successful. 

The April Iceman Cometh…

Mark Teixeira, I really hope your wrist has healed and is stronger than ever before…

But first, or rather, but second…

The perceived success or failure of the Yankees’ offseason will be tied to a single event…whether or not they re-sign second baseman Robinson Cano.  While that’s a huge part of the 2014 equation, the true testament will be how the team bolsters the starting rotation behind CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova.  Nevertheless, I hope the Yankees can retain Cano even if the player has the desire to go for top dollar regardless of who cuts the checks.

Speaking of the rotation or lack thereof…

It is hard to get excited about potential names like Ricky Nolasco.  I remain hopeful Hiroki Kuroda returns for one more year and Michael Pineda is finally able to fulfill the promise that brought him to New York.  It’s hard to speculate who I would want added to the team as there is no possibility for an acquisition of David Price or Felix Hernandez.  As Pineda has shown, arms carry great risk.  I have liked free agent Bronson Arroyo but he does not exactly fit the ‘younger arm’ mold.

Well, for now, the uncertainty and disappointment of the 2013 season still looms but soon the promise of the 2014 season will be upon us.  I said it last year and it did not happen so I’ll say it again:

Hal Steinbrenner, the message is simple…excite us!  Signed, Yankees fans.

 

–Scott

The Law of Diminishing Return…

 

Dollars to donuts…

Joel Sherman has a good post today with his Hardball Blog in The New York Post entitled ’What would George do?’ among questions in Yanks’ $189M quest.

I do not dispute the reasons for why the Yankees are financially motivated to get under the $189M threshold given the reduced tax penalties it will create for future years in addition to the savings in 2014.  But can the Yankees maintain a championship caliber club in their quest to reconcile the bottom line?  Something’s got to give, and I am fearful that it will be the quality of the Yankee clubs put on the field in the next few years.

That sounds kind of ridiculous to say when other clubs have proven you can succeed with lesser dollars, but in Tampa, for example, it was years of high draft picks that filled the cupboards with premier players like Evan Longoria and David Price.  I see the same thing happening in Kansas City as they’ve been building solid, young talent.  The Yankees, on the other hand, have been picking at the bottom end of rounds for years and there have been more than a few misses along the way.  There has been a renewed emphasis on the farm system in recent years, however, it is still not within the upper echelon among the other clubs.

This paragraph in Joel Sherman’s post cuts to the heart of the problem:

“The aging/diminishing Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira plus the roughly $11 million each team is charged for a benefits plan costs about $84 million toward the luxury tax each season. That would give the Yankees roughly $105 million to complete a contender in 2014. But say Robinson Cano gets $22 million a year. Now it is $83 million for everything else. That is doable, but less so after a year in which the Yankees’ farm system regressed horribly, potentially derailing the expected pipeline of lower-cost talent.”

I checked the cities of Baltimore, Boston, and Tampa against Manhattan on a cost of living calculator and found that the equivalent salaries in New York would need to substantially greater to maintain the same cost of living.  A Boston salary would need to be 63.10% greater, Baltimore 89.70%, and Tampa 145.28%.  Okay, not every player will live in Manhattan and that’s probably an extreme, but it still shows on the affordability scale, it simply takes more dollars to live in New York than anywhere else.  Other places like Florida and Texas have no state income tax.  I am sure that when A.J. Burnett got to Pittsburgh, it wasn’t just the reduced spotlight that helped his successful turnaround, the realization of how much further his millions would go in the Steel City probably factored into the equation.

As it stands at the moment, it is very likely the Yankees enter the 2013 season as a weaker team than the one who was swept by the Detroit Tigers last month.  I know, a lot can happen between now and then, but for the sake of this post, I have only the insight for where we stand today.  I felt that it was essential for the Yankees to re-sign Hiroki Kuroda.  As soon as there were indications that Kuroda would consider a one-year deal, the Yankees should have been aggressive in locking him up.  But by delaying, the two LA teams are stepping up their pursuit and the area has an advantage given Kuroda’s familiarity and close ties to Southern CA.  I believe that his wife and two daughters still reside in California.  Losing Kuroda from the rotation will hurt.  I am not convinced that David Phelps can match the level of performance that Kuroda achieved this past season.

The sooner the Yanks can move Alex Rodriguez to full-time DH will be better.  They need a quality, front-line third baseman who can hit in the clutch.  Sadly, there are not any high level prospects so free agency or a trade might be the only options.  Given the former is probably not where the team intends to put its “limited” dollars, a trade is most likely the only solution.  Of course, that will only deplete the Yankees of other young talent.

I guess Moneyball is alive and well and living in the Bronx.  It is time for Brian Cashman to prove to the critics that he is a good general manager despite the Yankee resources.  I do believe that he is so it will be interesting to see how the next few months unfold.  I have read those who believe the Yankees will ultimately spend without regard to 2014, but given Hal Steinbrenner’s financial background, I see the team sticking to its plan.  Time will tell if his stance is justified.  Perhaps this is a radical, game-saving approach that will bring fiscal responsibility back into the game.  Then again, maybe not…

–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

Proper Balance in the AL East…

 

It’s funny what a difference a day makes.  I took another look at that dog for the blog about yesterday’s loss, and miraculously its appearance has changed dramatically…

 


Cute Puppy.JPG

 

I will borrow the words of my friend in Boston; the Yankees are back where we belong!

 

AL East

W

L

Pct.

GB

New York

33

23

.589

Boston

33

24

.579

1/2

Toronto

32

27

.542

2 1/2

Tampa Bay

29

29

.500

5

Baltimore

24

32

.429

9

 

 

Looks good to me!  J  The teams should start Tuesday’s series with the Yankees either up by a game or the two teams in a deadheat since the Red Sox are off on Monday while the Yanks close out their series with the Rays.  Make no mistake, the Yankees-Red Sox series is huge.  The Yankees cannot afford to “no show” like they did earlier in the season.  With the Mets on the heels of the Red Sox, the next week is going to be very challenging and the team needs to show what it is made of.  Plus, the Yankees wouldn’t really want to see me in a Jason Bay t-shirt, would they?  Let’s hope that they put a Mark Teixeira t-shirt on my friend Julia!

 

Okay, I suppose I should say how we got to this point.  Sorry, I got a little ahead of myself…

 

Ahead.JPG

 

The Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays today, 4-3, in a comeback win.  It wasn’t the dramatic 9th inning walk-off variety, but it worked just as well.

Yankees win.JPG

The game was rather tight in the early going.  I was pleased to see Joba Chamberlain breeze through the first inning with three putouts by Mark Teixeira.  B.J. Upton started the scoring with a RBI double in the 3rd, bringing home Reid Brognac.  The Yankees countered in the bottom of the inning when Nick Swisher hit the 100th home run at Yankee Stadium this season, a solo shot.

 

Nick Swisher's solo homer accounted for the Yankees' only run before they scored three runs in the eighth to rally past the Rays.

 

During ESPN’s Baseball Tonight show prior to the game, the sportscasters attempted to predict who would hit the 100th home run.  Names like Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira were thrown out, but in the end, it was Swish!

 

 

The game remained tied at 1 until the 6th inning.  With a two-run single by Gabe Gross, the Rays took a 3-1 lead.  Joba only had 4 strikeouts on the day, but he registered a huge one when he struck out Dioner Navarro with two outs, and runners at second and third, preventing further damage by the Rays.

In the bottom of the 8th, with both starting pitchers long gone, the Yankees played a game of small ball.  After Derek Jeter flied out, Johnny Damon singled.  The next batter, Mark Teixeira, singled to advance Damon to third.

 

Christopher Pasatieri/US Presswire

 

Alex Rodriguez walked to load the bases.  J.P. Howell was brought in to relieve Grant Balfour who had started the top of the inning in relief of Joe Nelson.  He surrendered a walk to Robinson Cano, which scored Damon from third.  3-2 Rays.  Jorge Posada grounded into a fielder’s choice at third, which scored Teixeira.  A-Rod was safe at third, due to an error by third baseman Willy Aybar.  Game tied at 3.  Hideki Matsui came up next, and hit a grounder to second which took out Jorge Posada but Alex Rodriguez scored to put the Yanks up, 4-3.  Melky Cabrera missed a clutch scoring opportunity with a strikeout to end the inning, but the Yankees had their first lead of the game.

Bring on the 9th and Mariano Rivera.  A day earlier, the Rays had victimized Rivera, scoring 4 runs in the 9th to win 9-7.  In a controversial decision by manager Joe Girardi, Rivera had intentionally walked the Rays’ Evan Longoria.  But Sunday was a new day, and Mo, never one to back down, was prepared.  The first two batters were retired easily.  Matt Joyce grounded out to first, and Gabe Gross struck out swinging.  The next batter due up was Dioner Navarro, but he took a seat as Evan Longoria was brought in to pinch hit.  The dramatic stage was set.  Rivera versus Longoria.  The matchup that had never materialized the previous day due to the intentional pass ordered by Girardi.  Would Longoria tie the game or get on base as the potential tying run?  Or would Rivera re-establish his dominance as perhaps the greatest closer of all-time?  Longoria fouled the first two pitches to fall behind in the count, 0-2.  The next pitch was a ball to put the count at 1-2.  On the fourth pitch, Longoria grounded out to second and the ball game was over.  The Rays were no longer undefeated at Yankee Stadium and the Yankees had moved into a tie with the Boston Red Sox for first, and then moved forward by a ½ game later in the day when the Texas Rangers defeated the Red Sox 6-3.  Alfredo Aceves, who has truly morphed into the role once occupied by Ramiro Mendoza, was the winner with two innings of one-hit, shutout ball in relief of Chamberlain.  Rivera picked up his 13th save.

Goodnight to the Rays and Red Sox!  This day belonged to the Yankees…

 

Goodnight.JPG

 

So, although the weekend started on a depressing note, it rebounded very nicely! 

 


Never 2 late.JPG 

 

Hey Julia, the Yankees will soon be headed for Boston…with a vengeance!  Look out…

 


Turn out the lights.JPG 

 

Go Yankees!

 

–Scott 

A Very Unenjoyable Day…

 

It was ugly…

 

 

When you have a game where the Yankees give up a total of 9 runs, it is surprising that the pitchers included CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera.  But that’s what happened in a disappointing Saturday game against the Tampa Bay Rays that saw the Yanks fall, 9-7.

 

Antonelli/New York Daily News

 

The Yankees had rallied from two runs down to tie the score at 5 in the 8th inning.  CC Sabathia pitched 8 innings, but a homer by Ben Zobrist in the 5th inning and a three-run shot in the 6th by Willy Aybar had allowed the Rays to take a 5-3 lead. 

In the Yankees’ 8th, Mark Teixeira greeted reliever Grant Balfour with a leadoff homer to pull the Yanks within one.  The Yanks added another run when Melky Cabrera hit into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded, scoring Jorge Posada.

The stage was set for a dramatic Yankees comeback and walk-off win, but it was not meant to be.

 

 

The usually reliable Mariano Rivera came out to open the 9th inning.  Ben Zobrist immediately hit a triple.  The next batter, Joe Dillon, singled to left single to score Zobrist with the go-ahead run.  The next two outs, a grounder and a fly out, advanced Dillon to third.  In a move that backfired and one that Rivera openly disagreed with, manager Joe Girardi called for Evan Longoria to be intentionally walked.  With Andy Sonnanstine running for Longoria, B.J. Upton followed with a single to score Dillon and advanced Sonnanstine to second.  In a rare occurrence, Rivera was pulled and Phil Coke was brought in to face Carl Crawford.  Crawford singled to left to score Sonnanstine, and Upton moved to third.  An error by Alex Rodriguez allowed Willy Aybar to reach first base, scoring Upton.  Crawford was thrown out attempting to steal third to finally end the horrific inning.

 

Jeff Zelevansky/AP

 

I do think it was inappropriate for Girardi to call for an intentional walk with Mo on the mound.  When you have your closer on the hill, I feel strongly that it should be an all or nothing proposition.  Mo wanted to pitch to Longoria, and he should have been allowed to.  Who knows, perhaps Longoria would have belted a homer, but we were never given the opportunity to find out.  Mo deserves better, and hopefully, he’ll be back to his usual stellar self before the current series concludes.

 

sportsgrumblings.com

 

The Yankees attempted to rally in the 9th.  Derek Jeter singled, and Johnny Damon doubled to put two runners in scoring position.  Mark Teixeira followed with a two-run double to bring the Yankees within two.  However, Tex was stranded at second as the next three Yankee batters were retired to end the game.  Former Yankee Randy Choate even picked up the save, his third of the season.

Tampa’s pitching phenom, David Price, pitched a good game.  In 5 2/3 innings, he gave up three runs on two hits (only one run was earned), walking 5 and striking out 3.

 

Photo 

AP

Alex Rodriguez hit his 561st career home run, leaving him two shy of Reggie Jackson for 11th place on the all-time list.

The Yankees remain winless at Yankee Stadium against their two key AL East Rivals, the Rays and the Boston Red Sox.  The Rays have won 3 games at the Stadium this year, and have a 4-2 mark overall for the season series.

I know that my friend, Kelly, is probably doing the Happy Dance in Tampa.  Thankfully, I haven’t heard from her yet but I know it’s coming if the games continue like this…

 

 

 

The loss, combined with the Red Sox win, dropped the Yankees out of first place.  They are now a ½ game behind Boston.  Boston beat the Texas Rangers 8-1 behind a tremendous pitching performance by Jon Lester.  I do have to tip my cap to Lester…he was masterful.  He had a perfect game through 6 1/3 innings.  He finished with a complete game, and allowed only 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 11.

 

Coming off his best start of the season, Lester looked even better against the Rangers. Lester fanned 11 on Saturday night, and has 23 strikeouts in his last two starts (he struck out a career-high 12 in his last start).

Globe Staff Photo/Barry Chin 

 

The game also included a David Ortiz home run, so I guess it was a perfect night for Julia

 

Matthew Healey/Boston Herald 

 

It was a tough day, but in the words of the Governor, I’ll be back!

 

 

Go Yankees!

 

–Scott

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