Results tagged ‘ Gary Sanchez ’
Where is Lyle Overbay when you need him? I know, he’s enjoying the early season winning in Milwaukee, but the Yankees are clearly in need of someone who can play first base better than just a fill-in. I am still not convinced that Mark Teixeira will be a reliable force anytime soon even though his DL stint ends on Sunday. He hasn’t been hitting and he never hits in the early stages of a season. It’s made worse this year given that he is coming off a year lost to injury. Maybe we’ll experience a renaissance at first with Tex but put me in the “I’ll believe it when I see it” category.
Poor Kelly Johnson. Signed to play second base, he became the starting third baseman when he who shall remain nameless was banned for the season. Johnson subsequently had to move across the diamond to play the other corner when Teixeira went on the DL. What’s next? Catcher? Or maybe he’ll be the team #5 starter should anything happen to a member of the rotation. He’s versatile, but seriously, I’d rather see Johnson stick to the left side of the infield. It’s too bad that someone with talent like Stephen Drew remains unsigned when he could help the Yankees in so many ways. I know, the cost is too great and we’re spoiled Yankee fans. But seriously, the team needs to protect its investment. The starting rotation has been solid and is capable of taking the team further than expected. But the bats and defense have to perform.
With the placement of backup catcher Francisco Cervelli on the DL, I was wondering what moves the Yankees would make. They have subsequently called up catcher John Ryan Murphy and signed Scott Sizemore to the major league roster after sending pitcher Shane Greene down to AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre. I’ve never been excited about Sizemore’s bat so the move doesn’t exactly resolve my infield concerns but to his defense, he had gotten off to a good start at AAA.
Interesting that the Yankees called upon Murphy rather than catcher Austin Romine. Brian Cashman made the comment that Murphy was the “better player”. When a GM talks, you always have to wonder if it is the truth or simply posturing for potential future trades. I fully expect the Yankees to move one of their minor league catchers in the days leading up to the trading deadline. Could be Murphy, Romine or even Gary Sanchez. But at some point, someone has to go to upgrade other areas in need.
Shawn Kelley has allayed my early concerns about his ability to close games. After blowing a game shortly after he became the interim closer, he’s been fairly solid the last few games. While it is good to see him gain closing experience, I’ll be glad to see David Robertson return.
Even with the help of some liquid brown dirt (yeah right), Michael Pineda has been everything I’ve expected since 2011. When people were calling the trade a bust, I stayed patient as I wanted to see Pineda perform when healthy. Yes, he could turn out to be another Carl Pavano but I don’t really expect that to happen. It’s great to have someone with his ability as the fifth starter. In many ways, he is better than the so-called “ace” of the staff. Speaking of the latter, I really hope CC Sabathia can successfully return to his status as a frontline starter if he can make the necessary transition and changes to his pitching style with the loss in velocity.
So far, I’ve been pleased with the performance of the Yankees. They’re holding their own and they just came off a series victory over arch-rival Boston. It’s still a long season and the team will have to do something about the holes in the infield but at least they are not in a dire situation at the start.
The nice thing about the Yankees…they’ll always give me something to complain about. Well, 1998 excluded.
Why? Because the Yankees McCann!…
I have to admit that the Yankees’ free agent signing of former Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann caught me by surprise. Like so many people did last Saturday, I went to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. No sooner than I walked out the theater after the movie, I immediately saw the alerts the Yankees had signed McCann.
I had heard the Yankees were interested in McCann, but so were other teams like the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, and Colorado Rockies. I thought the Rangers were the most likely landing spot. It’s a winning organization in a city that puts more pressure on the local football team. The cost of living is reasonable, and the area is spacious. There’s not too much to dislike about Texas…well, outside of those hot humid summers, the long drives to get anywhere, and the infrequency of trees (at least in North Texas). I also thought the Boston Red Sox might have an advantage with former McCann backup David Ross on the roster. Either Texas or Boston offers the chance for World Series participation.
But in the end, it was the Yankees’ offer (number of years) in combination with the short porch in right field which is very attractive for the left-handed slugger.
I had Brian McCann as my catcher on my fantasy baseball team this year and his health caused me to seek other options. While he was on the DL, I leaned on his Braves replacement (Evan Gattis) among others. So, McCann’s health is an obvious concern. But if healthy, he is a tremendous addition to the team. He gives the Yankees their best offensive threat from the position since Jorge Posada retired. Russell Martin would occasionally get hot, but he is not close to the hitter that McCann is. Plus, McCann’s leadership abilities are well documented. When Chipper Jones retired, he gave a strong recommendation for McCann as a team leader.
Nothing against Francisco Cervelli, but I think he is better suited to backup someone like McCann than to start. He had his moments last year before getting hurt and then the subsequent suspension, but he’ll get his opportunities when McCann rests or moves to DH. I am fine with the number of years on the contract because I think McCann is an excellent bridge to super prospect Gary Sanchez. When Sanchez is ready for the majors, it will be time to slide McCann to first or DH anyway. It also frees GM Brian Cashman to potentially include other catching prospects like Austin Romine or J.R. Murphy is potential trades.
Signing McCann was a great start to the off-season but there is obviously still much work ahead for Cashman and the Yanks.
Where are we?…
As we turn the page to Thanksgiving, the Yankees have their manager, backup shortstop and catcher in the fold. They are rumored to be the leaders for the services of free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran of the St Louis Cardinals, although I have heard he has a preference for staying in the NL (I don’t know if that’s true or not, and I personally believe he’d have even greater success in the American League). I like the idea of Beltran in right.
As it sounds, Robinson Cano’s camp is still asking for something in the neighborhood of $300 million. They’ve dropped “slightly” from the initial figure of $310 million, but anything in the Alex Rodriguez area of contracts is too much…even for arguably the team’s best player. I would rather see the Yankees use the money on multiple key players, shift the offense to other positions and then backfill second base with someone like Omar Infante. I still hope there are compromises made on both sides to bring Cano back to the Bronx, but if it is not meant to be, I don’t want to see the Yankees overspend.
So far, no help for the starting rotation. Several notable free agent pitchers in a market void of any aces have already signed. Dan Haren with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tim Hudson with the San Francisco Giants, and Ricky Nolasco with the Minnesota Twins. I don’t think the Yankees were linked to any of those guys, but the smaller the free agent pool, the more intense the competition becomes at least for the guys who can win 12-14 games for you. I know the Yankees are rumored to be heavily counting on the posting of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka if MLB and the Japanese are able to come to an agreement for a new posting system. But you have to wonder what Plan B will be. So far, I have not heard much about Hiroki Kuroda but I would like to see the team try to bring him back for one more year.
The next few weeks will go a long way toward determining how strong and competitive the 2014 Yankees will be.
Coaching staff intact…well, almost…
Several weeks ago, I heard that Joe Girardi’s entire coaching staff would be returning. However, today, I saw that the Arizona Diamondbacks have named Yankees bullpen coach Mike Harkey as their new pitching coach. Congratulations to Mike! Larry Rothschild is not going anywhere so it is good to see Harkey get his opportunity elsewhere. Now, the Yankees will be in the market for a new bullpen coach. Say, I wonder what Mariano Rivera is doing… ;)
Well, that’s all for now. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season!
Bay Area and Thud…
Living in the Bay Area, there was no reason that I should not have attended the Yankees’ just completed three game series against the hometown A’s. But miss it I did, and in retrospect, it was probably just as well. Today’s 18-inning loss marked a sweep for the A’s. The Yankees were punch-less and the combined 0-for-12 in today’s game for Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis certainly did not help.
I was worried about Teixeira’s late start due to injury. A notoriously slow starter, he began his 2013 season strong but lately he is playing to form (in other words, “ice cold”). I think the Yankees’ early season success was an aberration at this point, and if things do not improve, they’ll be sellers at the trading deadline, not buyers.
The A’s series continued to show me that Phil Hughes is not the answer and the team will be best served by letting him walk at the end of the season if they don’t move him in July.
Speaking of Yankees who have to go, I sincerely hope that Alex Rodriguez has played his last game for the Pinstripers…
The MLB Draft was exciting this year with three picks at the end of the first round. I think the Yankees did very well with 3B Eric Jagielo and OF Aaron Judge. I am very intrigued by Judge and look forward to his arrival in the Bronx. Jagielo, as a college player, should be on the fast track to replace A-Rod at third. It was enjoyable to see two players with ties to the organization selected by the Yankees. Paul O’Neill’s nephew, Michael, an outfielder, and Andy Pettitte’s son, Josh. Of course, Pettitte was just a token selection as a hat tip to Andy as he’ll never negotiate or sign with the Yankees…at least not this year. I love Josh’s potential, but it will be interesting to see what he is able to do at Baylor University. Hopefully, the Yankees will have another chance at selecting him when he is ready to turn professional. Then again, he could end up someplace like Pittsburgh, ala Gerrit Cole. Given Paul O’Neill’s popularity in the Bronx, Michael O’Neill should be well received if/when he arrives. Of course, he’ll need to perform to maintain the applause, but not many players get the grand treatment from the start.
With the promotion of catcher JR Murphy to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, I wonder if it is a matter of time before he supplants Austin Romine as the immediate catcher of the future pending the arrival of super-prospect Gary Sanchez…
It’s good to see that pitcher Michael Pineda is finally throwing again. The trade with Seattle was starting to look rather one-sided, but now Jesus Montero is in the minors and the Mariners have called up another catching prospect to the major league team, while Pineda is getting his arm back in shape. I could easily see the Yankees dumping Phil Hughes to drop Pineda in his rotation spot.
I think I am in the mood for a few consecutive Yankee wins. C’mon, guys, pick up the intensity in Anaheim!…
The Year of the Disabled List…
Just as we start to get some of the regulars back to reinforce the over-achieving bargain bin replacements, Curtis Granderson is headed back to the bench for a month due to a broken pinkie suffered in Friday night’s Tampa Bay Rays game. This season seems to prove the old adage that if it can go wrong, it will. In Granderson’s case, each return to the DL almost solidifies that he is playing his final year in pinstripes.
Yesterday morning, I was reading an article about how the Yankees were trying to figure out how to rotate four outfielders into three spots. The article seemed to imply that among Vernon Wells, Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Granderson, Ichiro would be the odd man out given how strong Wells has played so far this year. I guess Granderson’s pinkie came to the defense of Ichiro as it will keep him on the field for the foreseeable future.
I hope that Granderson’s return to the DL results in the return of Brennan Boesch who has been spending a few weeks at Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
I saw the Yankees have activated Ivan Nova. I suppose that Nova now knows what it must have felt like to be Wally Pipp. Granted, David Phelps is no Lou Gehrig but Phelps is clearly the better starting pitcher than Nova. The battle for a spot in the starting rotation is no doubt between Nova and Phil Hughes. I have watched enough of The Phil Hughes Show. I am ready to change the channel even if that means putting Nova in his spot. Of course, Hughes will probably go to another city and win a Cy Young but some guys just aren’t cut out for New York and I think Hughes is one of those guys. Or it could be that he’s just not a good or consistent pitcher…
David Adams has been a pleasant surprise at third since his call-up from the minors. When the Yankees placed him on waivers earlier in the season in order to remove him from the 40 man roster and return him to the minor leagues, I was surprised that he wasn’t claimed by another team. He has always had potential and it is good to see him finally enjoy a cup of coffee in the big leagues. I wonder how this bodes for Kevin Youkilis when he returns. As well as Adams is playing, he does not deserve to be sent back down. I like the idea of Adams and Youk at third so I am sure that Joe Girardi will find time for both. My only disappointment will be when Alex Rodriguez returns. I have truly enjoyed the time away and frankly I’d love it if A-Rod never returned.
Can Sox Blood Succeed in the Bronx?…
I would really like to see Austin Romine start to hit. All of the reports indicate that his defense will ensure a career as a backup catcher and the difference in the ability to start is his offensive game which has been feeble thus far. Everyone knows that Chris Stewart, Francisco Cervelli and Romine are just keeping the plate warm for the next couple of years until highly touted prospect Gary Sanchez arrives. Still, I’d like to see ex-Red Sock Kevin Romine’s son succeed in the Bronx.
#23 deserves so much better than this…
I feel really bad for Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. Going into the season with ridiculously high expectations, it was clear that this would be a very challenging season for Donnie Baseball. His recent comments about the ill-construction of the team were on mark and were said in a very professional Donnie-like manner. I see that the Dodgers executive team is giving Mattingly a vote of confidence, however, that’s never a good sign. I still hope to see the day where Mattingly takes the field as Yankees manager, but I do not want to see him unceremoniously dumped in LA. He is playing with the hand he was dealt. I do not blame Mattingly for the Dodgers’ early season struggles as I feel that he is doing the best he can. The blame should be placed on the GM and the ownership group.
Put a great manager in a good organization and see what happens…
It’s fun to see Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona having fun again. He is another one of my favorite managers, even during his time in Boston. He is 1-1 in the first two games of a four game set in Boston, but winning the first game had to be a thrill. Here’s to hoping for more success for Tito on Saturday and Sunday.
I guess Larry Platt (aka “Pants on the Ground”) is unavailable…
I didn’t watch American Idol this past season (apparently I wasn’t alone), but I find the show’s choice of Jennifer Hudson to be a curious one. I heard that they are also looking at Kelly Clark and Adam Lambert or Clay Aiken for the other two judge seats. Interesting that they are only looking at their own homegrown talent. I am not sure if it will be enough to bring the viewers back. I am watching The Voice (and have from the start). I like the chemistry among the show’s judges and their format is much more positive with a better focus on quality talent. The show didn’t lose anything in judge chemistry with the substitutions of Shakira and Usher for Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green. I think it is time to sunset American Idol and let the younger shows take the main stage. Well, on the latter point, they already have…
Thank you, Merci, Gracias, Grazie, Danke, ありがとう…
Yes, I admit it, I was worried that starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda was either going to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers or head back to Japan to pursue his stated intent to finish his career in his home country. Pulling Kuroda out of the Yankees rotation was not a promising thought. Given CC Sabathia’s recent minor surgery, it is no sure thing that he’ll be Mister King of the Hill when the season rolls around. After CC, there is nothing but question marks. As it stands, the rotation would be Sabathia, Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and David Phelps. Nothing against the latter three, but all of them carry their own questions and concerns. The Yankees are not going after a prize free agent pitcher, so they would have been left to try and find a diamond in the rough. Fortunately, that’s no longer a concern, particularly if the Yankees get a return engagement from Andy Pettitte.
In the back of mind, I did feel that Kuroda would stay in New York due to a sense of unfinished business. In his final season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, I remember he had veto power on trades and he made a comment that he wanted to finish the season with the guys he started the year with. He struck me as a loyal and honorable player with those remarks, and despite rumors he left money on the table from other prospective clubs, he made the decision to return to New York on a one-year, $15 million deal. This may be his second and final season with the Yankees, but he’s certainly proven to me that he has a great deal of integrity with a genuine respect for the game which places him among the upper echelon of guys who have put on the pinstripes.
Thanks, but don’t let the door hit you on the way out…
As for the other two notable Yankee free agents (Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher), I am indifferent about who they sign with. I would prefer to see neither player sign with an AL East club, but then again, they have to find the best deal for them wherever that may be. I saw some speculation that the Boston Red Sox might go after Swisher, but after their signing of former Oakland A’s outfielder Jonny Gomes today, I wonder if it lessens their interest in Swish. I am concerned about right field, but I have to trust that GM Brian Cashman has a plan. His trade for Swisher a few years ago was inspired, and I am sure they’ve scoped the league for players who are long on talent but have underperformed to this point. Logan Morrison of the Miami Marlins is one player who immediately comes to mind.
Player most likely to replace A-Rod during the inevitable DL stint…
Once we get past Thanksgiving and to the Baseball Winter Meetings, we should start to get a better idea of what the Yankees game plan for 2013 looks like. I am sure that there will be late moves in January or early February, but at some point, the Yankees have to do something to improve their roster. Complacency in the AL East will only buy you last place.
There hasn’t been much talk about catching, but I wonder who’ll be the backstop in 2013. Russell Martin has not been a priority so the potential increases every day that someone steps forward with a reasonable offer that entices Martin to bite. I get the sense that if he is healthy, Austin Romine may see some time behind the plate. It’s too bad Gary Sanchez is still so far away in the minor leagues.
I was surprised to see the Toronto Blue Jays bring back former manager John Gibbons, but then again, they brought back Cito Gaston for a second tour of duty (when he replaced Gibbons a few years ago). Gibbons must be jazzed about getting control of his old team combined with the influx of great talent through the trade with the Marlins that brought Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Emilio Bonificio to Ontario. Of course that adds pressure to the job due the increased expectations. I was still surprised that the Jays didn’t try to keep Torey Lovullo (who followed John Farrell to Boston) given the recent trend to go with younger, unproven managers (ala Robin Ventura, Don Mattingly, Walt Weiss, Mike Redmond, etc.). Not that Gibbons is old (he is only 50), but he does kind of have that ‘been there, done that’ stigma attached to him.
Why did I tell Boston to shove it?…
Speaking of the Marlins, I wonder how their new hitting coach Tino Martinez feels about the team now. He signed with the Marlins just prior to the blockbuster trade, so the roster looks completely different now than it did when he joined Miami. He’ll have his work cut out for him as the Marlins unveil a largely unknown roster when play resumes in April.
Hal, Rupert Murdoch on Line 1…
Now that the News Corporation has acquired a 49% stake in the YES Network, I wonder how much influence Rupert Murdoch will have on the Steinbrenner family. The YES Network is dependent upon the success of the Yankees, and if Hal’s imposed budgetary constraints on the Yankees result in diminished performance, how loud does Murdoch become? People will not pay premium dollars to watch a 70-win team on the field. The Steinbrenner family insists this is not a prelude to the possible sale of the Yankees, but then again, Hal and Hank were always reluctant to join the team’s management when their dad was alive and healthy. For years, it seemed like a Steinbrenner son-in-law had more interest than a blood-born Steinbrenner (outside of George, of course). If someone told me that I could make billions, I am sorry but I’d have to let go of my affection for the Yankees. If Hal is so focused on the bottom line, I believe that inevitably he’ll seek to cash out when the team is at an optimum potential sales price.
The next couple of years will be very pivotal years for the Yankees franchise.
Who died and made you George Steinbrenner?…
The Los Angeles Dodgers remain my second favorite team (otherwise known as my favorite National League team), but I maintain my reservations that they want to become the new “Yankees”. It is not outside of the realm of possibility that they’ll surpass the Yankees in total annual salaries. Yes, I am tired of simply buying players. I do like the good old fashioned trade to help subsidize home-grown talent. For years, that was the Dodgers’ business model and it is one that has helped propel the San Francisco Giants to two World Championships in three years. I remain a devout Don Mattingly fan, but I hope that the organization is not creating expectations so great that Donnie Baseball can’t survive. Then again, there is the scenario that the Yankees and Dodgers regress, and both Joe Girardi and Mattingly are fired, setting up the potential return to New York for the now experienced manager Mattingly.
I want to wish everyone a very happy and enjoyable Thanksgiving! May it be a time of peace, joy, and robust memories for all of you and your respective families. Of course, in Dallas, it will only be memorable if the Cowboys win, but everywhere else, I hope everyone is grateful and thankful for life and what life has to offer. Be well and enjoy!…
Thanks for the memories…
Although Prince Fielder had other ideas, today was Jorge Posada Day. On a day when the Milwaukee Brewers’ talented free agent signed an unexpected 9-year, $214 million contract with his father’s former team, the Detroit Tigers, a Yankee Legend called it a career. So, while Tigers fans are rejoicing, the Yankees Universe is united in sorrow to see the end of a tremendous career.
It was time. Although I knew that Posada could still hit, he was ill at ease at DH and he was no longer the consistent clutch hitter that he had once been. He could have held on for a few more years in a more limited role, but I am grateful that he recognized that it’s best not to overstay your welcome. It would have been awful to see him put on a Rays, Marlins or Mets uniform. I am sure that we would have quietly supported him, but now this way, he bled pinstripes from beginning to end. I value and appreciate the untarnished career. Don Mattingly may call Dodger Stadium “home” these days, but he’s still a Yankee. The same holds true of Posada…once a Yankee, always a Yankee.
In the late 1970’s, my favorite Yankees were catcher Thurman Munson and closer Rich “Goose” Gossage. I truly did not believe that I’d ever see two players as great as those two legends. Of course, the great Mariano Rivera has eclipsed Gossage’s career, but Posada has certainly earned the right to stand in the same room with Munson, Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey and Elston Howard. It’s ironic that long-time projected replacement Jesus Montero and Posada officially exited the Yankees on back-to-back days, but the position seems to be in capable hands with Russell Martin until future star Gary Sanchez is ready for the major leagues.
I wish Jorge the very best in whatever he decides to do next. Selfishly, I’d like to see him stay in baseball as he’d make a great future manager. I love people who are passionate about what they do, and Jorge lived and breathed passion every day. He is the type of guy that you’d want to go to battle with so long as he was on your side. The immediate thought is probably to spend some quality time with his family, but hopefully, he’ll be back in Major League Baseball as a coach sometime in the not-so-distant future.
Hip, hip, Jorge! :)
If he is following his father’s footsteps, when does he become a Yankee?…
Speaking of Fielder, I was shocked when I heard that the Detroit Tigers had signed the prolific young slugger. There were constants reports of possible signings by the Texas Rangers and the Washington Nationals, and the occasional links to passive teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, but I have to admit that I did not suspect the Tigers. Of course, I didn’t foresee the Angels signing Albert Pujols but I suppose when you are talking about $200 million, it’s probably best not to tip your hand.
Photo ops for game winning hits…is that too much to ask for?…
I thought the Yankees and the Tigers were searching the same pool for an effective, low-cost option to DH. While I wanted the Yankees to sign Johnny Damon, I knew that he had enjoyed his time in Detroit and there seemed to be some level of interest there. Obviously, the Fielder signing takes the Tigers out of the market for someone like Damon or Hideki Matsui. But based on comments that Yankees GM Brian Cashman made earlier in the week, it sounds like a free agent slugger is Plan B. Plan A apparently involves the trade for a young, controllable hitter. I am sure that type of move is predicated upon moving a contract like A.J. Burnett’s even if it means packing a few extra dollars in his suitcases. My fear is that a trade could cause the loss of someone like Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos which I’d hate to see. I am not sure what quality hitter is available and the market seems to be drenched with potential salary dumps. I wonder if Cash has his eye on a certain player. Still, I’d go the cheaper route and sign Damon, Matsui, or Raul Ibanez to a short-term deal. If the team offense struggles early on, the Yankees could potentially make a move in July for a veteran hitter. I am not sure that there is a young position player out there with the potential of pitcher Michael Pineda that could be had for a relatively inexpensive cost.
My fear with the Yankees offense, while they have produced, is they do not strike fear in the hearts of opposing pitchers. When Robinson Cano is in the groove, he is as good as anybody in the game. I know that Curtis Granderson had a near-MVP season last year, but I’d be surprised if teams planned their strategy around him. Yes, Alex Rodriguez was once the best player in the game, but he is a couple years removed from domination. Injuries have held him back and while he certainly has the potential to have a few more power seasons, he carries a big “if”. It would be great if Mark Teixeira could get back to the hitter he was a couple of seasons ago. Up and down the lineup, outside of Cano, there are questions. I am pleased with Granderson but I want to see him do it again before he has my complete trust.
It would have been foolish for the Yankees to pursue Fielder. Even if they have the money, it just doesn’t make financial sense to tie the organization to the player for the next decade at that kind of money. It makes me sick to think the Yankees pay A-Rod more than the Angels pay Pujols or the Tigers will pay Fielder. When A-Rod leaves the ballpark, I bet he pops the Dire Straits’ Brother in Arms into his CD player, listening to “Money for Nothing”…
A Sad Day lies ahead…
It was mentioned today that Mariano Rivera might be the next Yankees great to call it a career, possibly as soon as the end of the upcoming season. I’m telling ya, that’s going to be a day that I cry like a baby. Rivera has been my favorite among current Yankees and it will be a tough day when #42 simply walks away. I am glad that 162 regular season games and a few play-off series in October stand in the way of that dreadful day.
If Everybody Cared…
This is off-topic, but I am excited to have a ticket to the upcoming Nickelback concert tour, Here and Now. This will be my third Nickelback concert in three years. So far, I’ve seen them in two outdoor amphitheaters (San Jose, CA and Concord, CA) but this time I will be seeing them inside (in May at Target Arena, home of the NBA’s the Minnesota Timberwolves). I have also enjoyed Seether and they will be one of the opening acts. It should be a great show!
Amare, Carmelo and Fid…together again…
My next event at Target Arena, which will be my first visit to the facility, will be to cheer on the New York Knicks when they come to Minnesota to play the T-Wolves in February. Hopefully, the Arena won’t be rocking like it will with Nickelback when the Knicks come to town. In fact, I hope it’s eerily quiet. Score one for the away team!
After some thought, I’ve come around…
Now that I’ve had time to digest the Friday night whirlwind that brought pitchers Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda to the Bronx, my initial disappointment was evaporated. Don’t get me wrong, I love the power potential of Jesus Montero, and I know full well that he’ll be as devastating against the Yankees as Jay Buhner was if not more. But I recognize that from a position of need, a top of the rotation starter is better than a player without a position.
Ever since I first heard Jesus Montero’s name, it always included a statement that he’d eventually have to find a new position because he would outgrow catcher. The obvious moves would be to either first base or left field, but last time I checked, both of those positions were occupied by long-term tenants. Putting an offensive juggernaut at DH is great for offense but it does nothing to help with the defensive aspects of catching or learning a new position. With Russell Martin in the fold for the foreseeable future, there was no way that Montero would gain the starting position at catcher. Martin’s ability to handle the pitching staff is simply too important to the team even if his bat is nothing remotely close to Montero.
With Montero, I was always worried about the other young Yankee catchers. Of course, there’s Francisco Cervelli on the active roster. If Montero were to take the backup catching job, where would that leave Cervelli? Most likely playing for the Twins, backing up oft-injured Joe Mauer or someone like that. I like the defensive reports that I’ve heard about both Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez, but if their path was clogged by Martin and Montero, where did that leave them? Sanchez needs more time in the minors, but Romine is nearing major league ready status. With an injury or two, I fully expect him to get his chance to make an impression at Yankee Stadium in 2012. The trade of Montero ensures that Romine will get his major league opportunity with the Yankees so that’s a good thing. He doesn’t have Montero’s bat (who does?) but good defense is essential for championships.
Maybe just tell us who the Yankees haven’t talked to…
As for the DH slot, it seems like the Yankees have expressed interest in about everyone. There have been reports they’ve spoken to the agents for Carlos Pena, Johnny Damon, and Hideki Matsui. There are pros and cons with all three players, but whoever the Yankees bring on board will have to share time at DH with Alex Rodriguez, Andruw Jones, and Derek Jeter so I’d be okay with any of the three. I’ve always liked the clutch bats of Damon and Matsui, and the swing for the fences power of Pena is nice even if the average is hovering slightly above the Mendoza line. With all the reports that the Yankees only have a $1 million or two to spend on a DH, I half expect a report that they’ve talked to Reggie Jackson! Okay, that might be a stretch, but I’d consider letting ‘all or nothing’ slugger Jorge Vazquez. He does deserve a shot. If not, the Yanks should cut him loose and let him pursue a team that will.
If Jorge Posada had embraced the DH role last year, he’d be on his way back to the Bronx for an encore performance…
Upon second thought…
As for the pitching staff, my initial prediction about the rotation order was flawed. I recognize that Micheal Pineda is the clear #2 in the rotation. I’ve seen Ivan Nova slotted at #4, but I’d still keep him at #3 at least until he gives reason to drop him in the order. I think Kuroda is a great addition, but he has to adjust to the American League in the most difficult division, while moving from a pitcher’s ballpark to a park that is less forgiving. So, I’d give Nova time for pinstripes served and put him ahead of Kuroda. After the former Dodger, it’s anybody’s guess who will win out…Phil Hughes, my personal favorite; Freddy Garcia, probably the better choice among the pitchers in terms of consistency; and A.J. Burnett, the candidate for most likely to depart the Bronx if the Yanks can find a willing trade partner that wants Burnett…and a boatload of cash to pay that ridiculous salary. What happens if either Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betances pitches “lights out” in training camp? This is going to be an interesting battle.
He’s really a cousin of Alcides and Kelvim Escobar?…
Back to Friday night’s trade, I was a bit dismayed when I saw that pitcher Hector Noesi had been included in the trade. I kept hearing that his ceiling was the back end of the rotation but there was something that I liked about the pitcher. At first, I didn’t know anything about the “other” Mariner included in the deal, Jose Campos. But since the initial report of the trade, I’ve come to realize that he has great potential. At 19, he’s 6’4” and throws in the mid 90’s. He’ll more than make up for Noesi and fits a better timeline in terms of being major league ready given the high level pitching prospects already in the organization (Banuelos and Betances, for example). The Curtis Granderson trade has been labeled as a ‘win-win-win’ for all concerned. Hopefully, this M’s-Yankees trade will meet a similar fate.
What would I expect Bobby V to say?…
Contrary to what Bobby Valentine may think, the Yankees are a better team today than they were last Thursday. But, I recognize the Boston Red Sox are not done yet. They signed former Dodger pitcher Vicente Padilla today (a guy I loathe personally) and there’s rumors they could go after Roy Oswalt if they can move payroll. I still think Boston could be a player for Cubs starter Matt Garza given Theo Epstein’s knowledge of the Red Sox minor league prospects. Whether Ben Cherington or rather Larry Lucchino would trade with Epstein is another matter. Still, I think there are changes to be made on both the Yankees and Red Sox between now and training camp. Last year, I saw a Red Sox friend predict 118 or 119 wins for Boston. Teams look great on paper, but as they say, the ‘proof is in the pudding’!
Moneyball II, starring Jorge Garcia…
It’s hard to think of the Oakland A’s signing former Yankees starter Bartolo Colon as a low-cost, high reward “Moneyball” kind of move. At 39, I don’t think there’s really any upside to Colon at this point and in my opinion, he’s not capable of sustaining a full season of starts. I’d rather have Gio Gonzalez or Trevor Cahill in the rotation, but I guess since those are no longer options, they have to look at the scrap heap that served the Yankees so well last season.
Yes, I know the way to San Jose!…
Speaking of Oakland, I do hope they are successful in their desire to move to San Jose. As a former San Jose resident, I think it’s very exciting for the city and its metro area to be on the verge of landing both the A’s and the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, to go with the NHL’s Sharks. I saw that A’s owner bought the famed Hotel Sainte Claire in downtown San Jose. He already owns one hotel in San Jose so I guess you can’t read too much into it, but he’s definitely positioning himself for the growth and excitement that San Jose could see in the coming years. I’d be happy with a Stanley Cup Championship this year, but that’s a little off-topic…
I really don’t forsee another 99 losses when you place character first…
I was a little surprised to see the Minnesota Twins sign former Detroit Tigers flamethrower Joel Zumaya. He suffered his devastating arm injury at Target Field in 2010. So, in terms of Karma, you’d think that he’d avoid Target Field like the plague. But I read comments in this morning’s paper about how he was touched by the reception he received from the Twins fans as he left the field that fateful day. Stories like that certainly make me feel honored to be a Minneapolis resident, but I was still surprised by Zumaya’s decision. I wish him the best as he begins the Comeback Trail. Hopefully he can get back to the level he was before. For the Twins, with Joe Nathan in Texas and Matt Capps scheduled to close games, they need Zumaya as the pitcher he once was and hopefully will be again.
When it’s tough being the son of Donnie Baseball, come home to the Bronx!…
Before I go, I want to say that I am really hopeful that the Yankees organization proves to be a blessing for former Dodgers prospect Preston Mattingly. I’ve always heard what a great athlete he is/was when he was younger. I don’t know what happened through his time in the Dodgers and Indians organizations and I realize that he is getting a bit long in tooth for a prospect, but I really hope that he can find some level of success with the Yankees. It would be very cool to see Mattingly make a debut at Yankee Stadium at some point in the future. Who knows if it is in the cards, but being a late bloomer is not outside of the realm of possibility when it comes to someone with his bloodline.
It’s hard to believe that we are just a month away from training camp. I’m excited and looking forward to a great season.
It was a sad day with news of the passing of two legends… I was saddened to hear that Hall of Famer Bob Feller had Getty Images His three no-hitters included one in Yankee Stadium in Feller had the personality traits of my grandmother…cantankerous, Today also saw the loss of movie director/producer Blake Now, back to baseball and the Yankees. Of course, not much has happened since I last The Yankees have two very strong pitching prospects in Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer Admittedly, I am not very optimistic about the Yankees The Yankees are apparently working on a deal with former Chris Faytok/The Star Ledger Now that Kerry Wood is close to re-signing with the The team is still in on former Red Sock Bill Hall, but I Of the remaining free agents, there is not much that If I were to believe the press clippings, the 2011 World –Scott
passed away. While not unexpected, it
was still the loss for baseball’s legacy.
I was too young to have ever watched Feller pitch, but I could identify
with him having grown up in a small Iowa farming community.
honest to a fault, and a complete disregard about what others may have thought
about him/her. Of the stories I heard
today, I liked the one about when he bought a new furnace at the age of
90. Apparently, he was arguing over the length
of the warranty (wanted a 15 year warranty rather than 10 years). His wife tried to reason with him by saying
that either way, the furnace was going to outlive him. Yet, Feller simply reiterated that he wanted
15 years. You gotta love his fight and
determination! It is a sad day for the
Cleveland Indians organization and an ever sadder day for the baseball
world. He’ll be missed…
Edwards. He made many great movies but
for me, the most notable was the Pink Panther series with Peter Sellers. He was married to legendary actress Julie
Andrews for over 40 years. Thanks Blake
for bringing us a lifetime of great memories!
wrote. The Yankees officially announced
the signing of catcher Russell Martin to a one year deal for $4 million with
incentives. It was also disclosed that
he needs knee surgery but it is considered minor and he’ll be ready to go after
three weeks following the surgery on Monday.
Of the two up and coming Yankee prospects at catcher, I can see the
argument for Austin Romine given the greater defensive potential than super
prospect Jesus Montero. I don’t want to
see Montero traded given the power of his bat, but I am warming up to the idea
if it means bringing a #2 starter to the Yankees rotation. Romine is the son of a former Red Sox (Kevin
Romine) but he does appear that he’ll be a better catcher than Montero but
obviously won’t have similar offensive production. The wild card is catching prospect Gary
Sanchez who is not as advanced as either Romine or Montero, but is certainly as
Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos. I’d really
hate to see the Cliff Lee snub result in the loss of either prospect. I like Betances but I am very intrigued by
Banuelos, a lefty. I’d also like to see
Andrew Brackman succeed in pinstripes.
But, all things considered, the Yankees do have the prospects to make a
notable trade. For whom, that’s anyone’s
guess. Personally, I would prefer to
target a 25 year old who is on the verge of a breakout season rather than trade
for a 32 or 33 year old starter who has probably seen his better days. This is why Justin Masterson of the Cleveland
Indians stands out to me. As a former
Red Sox pitcher, it would be so great to see him realize major league success
in the Bronx.
signing of onetime super prospect Mark Prior.
Now, just a body for the bullpen, he has potential but I am trying to
keep expectations low.
Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano. I like
the move. I think that Feliciano would
be a great alternative for Boone Logan as the second lefty in the pen. I saw that the Yankees were mentioned as a
possibility for Brian Fuentes, but I just wasn’t that impressed with Fuentes
during his stays in Anaheim and Minneapolis.
I know the Yankees have long lusted after him dating back to his days in
Denver, but I’d rather go for a specialist like Feliciano.
Chicago Cubs, the Yankees do need to find a reliable setup option to Joba
Chamberlain and David Robertson. Wood
showed how great a solid and consistent setup option for closer Mariano Rivera
can be. Given the weaknesses of the
starting rotation, the Yankees need to re-create the shutdown capability that
the Tampa Bay Rays had last year with Joaquin Benoit and Rafael Soriano.
fully expect him to go to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
excites me. It would be great to see the
addition of someone like Rafael Soriano but all indications are the Yankees won’t
pay closer dollars for a setup specialist.
As each year passes, I do think that the Yankees need a
closer-in-waiting for Mariano Rivera as he will begin to falter at some
point. This is why I think the Yankees
need to focus on one of those great Roberto Kelly-for-Paul O’Neill type of
trades. Get the guy who is on the verge
of greatness and one who we will cheer when he takes the field for the final
time. Easier said than done, but it can
Series has already been determined (Boston Red Sox versus Philadelphia
Phillies). But, sorry, I am not going to
concede. Give Brian Cashman the time he
needs to assemble the 2011 Yankees. I am
sure that we won’t be disappointed. The
YES Network and Yankee Stadium are, of course, two very big beasts to
feed. Fielding a middle division team
just won’t cut it…
It was a sad day with news of the passing of two legends…
I was saddened to hear that Hall of Famer Bob Feller had
His three no-hitters included one in Yankee Stadium in
Feller had the personality traits of my grandmother…cantankerous,
Today also saw the loss of movie director/producer Blake
Now, back to baseball and the Yankees. Of course, not much has happened since I last
The Yankees have two very strong pitching prospects in
Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer
Admittedly, I am not very optimistic about the Yankees
The Yankees are apparently working on a deal with former
Chris Faytok/The Star Ledger
Now that Kerry Wood is close to re-signing with the
The team is still in on former Red Sock Bill Hall, but I
Of the remaining free agents, there is not much that
If I were to believe the press clippings, the 2011 World
It was just a bad day all the way around…
The Yankees lost to the Seattle Mariners, 8-4, to end their seven game winning streak. The loss also prevented the Yankees from closing the gap on the Boston Red Sox and they fell to three games behind the AL East Leaders.
You knew it was going to be one of those days when Mark Teixeira couldn’t snare Ichiro Suzuki’s lead-off hit which bounced off Tex’s glove for a double. In the 6th, Ryan Langerhans led off with a hard grounder that Tex attempted to make a play on but missed, giving the newest Mariner a double. But the official error that ended Teixeira’s 107-game errorless streak didn’t occur until the 9th inning. He threw wide to pitcher Alfredo Aceves, who was covering first, and it allowed Ichiro to reach base safely. He would later score on Russell Branyan’s 451-foot home run to dead center. Texeira’s last error occurred August 19, 2008 while he was a member of the Los Angeles Angels. He has also gone 65 at-bat’s without a home run…
CC Sabathia was throwing in the mid-90′s, but he could not keep his fastball or his change-up down. With the pitches staying in the zone, CC gave up 10 hits and 6 runs in 5 2/3 innings of work.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Manager Joe Girardi said after the game, “We had been playing so well and CC was throwing well so I felt good about our chances. He showed he was human”. The only problem is the Yankees don’t pay CC to be human. Anything less than complete domination is unacceptable. Okay, I am just kidding, but you’d expect more than a win-loss record of 7-5 for $161 million.
The Yankees had their opportunities, but the clutch hits never came. In the 9th, it appeared the Yankees were getting something going when the first two batters, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher, both singled. But fly outs by Hideki Matsui and Melky Cabrera, and a swinging strikeout by pinch hitter Jorge Posada ended the game.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
It does not get any easier for the Yankees as they open the four-game holiday weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays. A.J. Burnett will face his former teammates in tonight’s opening game. I’ve never heard of the Blue Jays starter, Brian Tallet, but it seems that’s never a good thing…
Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer
Meanwhile, the Mariners travel north to Boston to face the Red Sox. Felix Hernandez, who I am glad the Yankees missed, will open their series against 10-game winner Tim Wakefield. If anything came out of the Mariners’ win on Thursday, I hope they can use the momentum to carry them to victory over the Red Sox. I’ll borrow these words that Julia used all week, “Go Seattle!”
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
Speaking of Julia, she mentioned on her Julia’s Rants blog that it has been 70 years since Lou Gehrig gave his immortal farewell speech at Yankee Stadium. She also has some good words to say about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease as it is more commonly referred to.
ESPN Outside The Lines has a great piece on their site about final letters written by Lou Gehrig. The letters are primarily between Gehrig and a doctor in Minnesota, Dr. Paul O’Leary, who helped first diagnose Gehrig’s illness. The letters cover the final two years of Gehrig’s life. You can feel Gehrig’s hopes rise and fade through the letters, and I was surprised at how Dr. O’Leary and Eleanor Gehrig withheld the severity of the illness from him. The letters are definitely an interesting read. Saturday will mark the 70th anniversary of Lou’s farewell speech. Lou is my favorite all-time baseball player, and it will be a day to remember how truly special he was…not just as a ballplayer but as a man.
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In other news, the Yankees signed 16-year old catching prospect Gary Sanchez from the Dominican Republic for a signing bonus of nearly $3 million. One Latin American scout said, “He’s a big kid, with a big arm”. Sanchez is 6’2″, 210 lbs. The Yankees would seem to be set at catcher for years to come when Jorge Posada decides to call it a career. Their best catching prospect is 19-year old Jesus Montero, but there’s been some talk he may physically outgrow the position. Montero, 6’4″ and 225 lbs, was recently promoted to the Trenton Thunder (AA). The other key catching prospect in the organization is Austin Romine. Of course, Francisco Cervelli is probably wondering, ‘What about me?’ Cervelli will most likely head back to Scranton/Wilkes Barre for further development once Jose Molina completes his injury rehabilitation in the next week.
The Yankees also signed two other Dominican players, shortstop Damian Arredondo and right hander Christopher Cabrera.
Yet another all-Williams final at Wimbledon? I was really pulling for Dinara Safina, who was ranked #1. But she was a complete no-show, and Venus looked like she was practicing with a high schooler. Nevertheless, for the final, I’ll go with Serena…
Let me close with a video of what Julia must have been like as a baby. In fact, I am sure of it…
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