Results tagged ‘ Jesus Montero ’
Well, new year but same old battles. With the first Yankees-Red Sox match-up scheduled for Friday, it’s time to begin my annual grudge match with Julia of Julia’s Rants. For the latest wager, the loser of Friday’s spring training game has to post a blog about the opposing team’s manager. For me, if the Yankees lose, I have to write a post about Boston manager Terry Francona. Conversely, if the Red Sox lose, Julia will be writing about Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
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…
I have to admit that I have never really taken the time to know or understand Yankees president Randy Levine. I took a dislike to him without really giving him a chance to prove himself. I don’t know if it was something he said or a certain look that he gave during a press conference or if I really had any reason at all. But within the last couple of weeks, I have gained a newfound appreciation and respect for Levine. A week or so ago, I was reading a column by one of the Yankees beat writers (I don’t recall which one) and it referenced that the writer had bumped into Levine and he made a comment about how easy and comfortable it is to talk with Levine. Somehow, I had expected him to be “standoffish” and arrogant. But today, when he stood up to Rangers owner Chuck Greenberg, he showed that he is the right man for the job.
Ah, there was a time when those words were such sweet
music to the ears!…
Granted, it was probably more like “Martin’s Back!” but
still, the name Martin and the city of New York is a great match. The latest Martin to set foot on Broadway is
former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin. In theory, he has been groomed for this
opportunity by the best…former Dodgers manager Joe Torre and former Dodgers hitting
instructor (now Dodgers manager) Don Mattingly.
While he still has to pass a physical, Martin has apparently signed a
one-year contract with the Yanks.
Larry Goren/Icon SMI
Martin was one of the top catchers in the NL several
years ago but has regressed. He suffered
a torn labrum in his right hip last August and missed the remainder of the
season. I will be anxious to see what
Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long can do with Martin. More than likely, Martin will be part of a
catching platoon with Jesus Montero, assuming the latter proves that he is
major league ready in spring training.
NY Daily News
Martin will probably be the only guy on the roster with a
name this long: Russell Nathan Jeanson
Coltrane Martin, Jr. Martin, born in East York, Ontario, will be 28
by the time the spring training games begin in February.
I like the move for Martin so long as it is not designed
to replace Montero so he can be used as a trading chip.
It was disappointing to see Cliff Lee decide to return to
Philadelphia on a 5-year deal for less money than he was offered by the
Yankees. I can’t blame Lee for choosing
a place that he is comfortable with, but I wish that he would have given New
York a chance. I grew rather pessimistic
about the Yankees chances last week when the Lee camp did not jump on the
Yankees 7 year offer. Like many, I
thought that he was headed back to the Texas Rangers so it was a bit of a shock
to hear that the mystery team was the Phillies.
All things considered, if Lee wasn’t going to go to New
York, I am glad to see him depart for the National League. I am not excited about a rotation that
features Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and now Cliff Lee, but that’s
only a concern if you make it to the World Series as an American League team
(nice problem to have). The Rangers fans
are glad they didn’t lose out to the Yankees, but conversely, I am glad that
the Rangers and Nolan Ryan didn’t get one over on the Yanks. Also, I am glad that Lee didn’t go to the
Angels or the Red Sox.
As it stands, the Red Sox have enjoyed a hugely
successful off-season compared to the Yanks, but I would not underestimate
Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner family.
As for immediate focus, I think the Yanks need to make sure that they
have the arms in the bullpen and I’d really like to see the return of Kerry
Wood. Of the remaining free agents,
there aren’t many that excite me. Manny
Ramirez is still out there but he’s a liability in the field and the Yankees
have the DH role locked up with Jorge Posada.
Manny’s bat is also not what it used to be and the Yankees don’t need
more ‘late thirtysomethings’ on the roster.
I’d have to say that I am mixed on whether the Yankees
should pursue a trade with the Kansas City Royals for starter Zack
Greinke. However, there will be
competition which of course drives up the trade demands so I am not sure that
avenue is the best given the uncertainty over whether Greinke could handle New
York (assuming he was willing to waive his no-trade clause to the Yankees). I’d probably prefer signing Brandon Webb or
pursuing Mark Buehrle in a trade. The
Yankees do have to do something about their starting rotation regardless of
whether Andy Pettitte returns or not.
Right now the #4 and #5 starters appear to be Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre
based on the current roster which is not very appealing. I am willing to give Nova a shot but if the
Yankees break camp with Mitre as their 5th starter, it’s going to be
a long season.
Why is it that Red Sox fans think the rivalry between the
Yankees and Red Sox is over on December 14th just because they didn’t
sign Cliff Lee? As Brian Cashman
indicated on a conference call earlier today, patience is the key. Somehow, I suspect the team that breaks camp
next spring will be able to compete with the newly enhanced Red Sox…
Congratulations to Hideki Matsui who signed a one year
deal with the Oakland Athletics. As a
resident of the Bay Area, I am sure that Godzilla will be well received and he’ll
be a great stabilizing factor in the A’s lineup.
I fully expect the Yankees to re-sign Derek Jeter…
There has been much speculation about DJ’s next deal and
if the Yankees would truly let #2 walk away or if they could afford to from a
historical perspective. It is not
outside of the realm of possibility for the Yankees to decide they’d be better
off putting the dollars in a younger talent.
However, I really do not expect that to happen.
I do think that it is important to see DJ record his
3,000th hit in pinstripes, although I agree if his play continues to
erode in 2011, it will be time to begin the search for his long-term
replacement. Frankly, I don’t think he
is done and I fully expect a few more strong seasons of play before the sunset
begins. Granted, they may not be
All-Star caliber but DJ can still man short on a championship squad. But obviously they’ll need a strong back-up
when training camp breaks next Spring.
Hopefully, Derek’s deal will include a role with the
organization when his playing days are over.
I do not know what he intends to do in his post-playing days but he is a
face of the organization and the continued association between the two parties
is mutually beneficial for all.
Here’s hoping the Yankees can come up with a creative
contract that entices DJ to finish his career with the Yankees while not
causing the Yankees to seek improvements in other areas due to financial
constraints. Life under Hal Steinbrenner
is different than life under George, and the Yankees won’t throw dollars at a
player simply because they can like they did in the old days.
As for the Cliff Lee chase, I am not sure what I
think. As much as I would like Cliff on
the Yankees, I definitely do not underestimate the Texas Rangers. When you read about Cliff Lee and his
Arkansas roots, it is clear that he is not a “me-first” kind of guy. On one hand, playing in Texas would be good
for him due to its close proximity to his home.
But conversely, if he signs a big deal with the Rangers, he will be THE
GUY in Texas. Success and failure will
be attributed to him. Whereas, signing
in New York, although he’d be on baseball’s biggest stage, he’d line up as the
#2 starter behind CC Sabathia. So, there
would actually be less pressure in New York, as hard as that is to
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
The Yankees clearly need to improve their starting
rotation if they intend to succeed next season.
I expect CC to come back strong, but after that, the rotation is a
question mark. Phil Hughes has to take
it to the next level so the new pitching coach, whenever he is announced, will
have two major projects in Hughes and A.J. Burnett. I read the comments made by Andy Pettitte
where he said that he hasn’t decided yet and is enjoying being home in Deer
Park, Texas right now. He went on to say
that if he does play, it will only be for one more season and only for the
Yankees. At this point, I do think he’ll
come back for that final season. But if
not, I am prepared to accept Ivan Nova as the #5 starter. So this winter, the key is clearly coming up
with an ace to team with Sabathia.
From the sounds of it, the next pitching coach is the
current highest priority. Bullpen coach
Mike Harkey, Triple A pitching instructor Scott Aldred and former Yankees
pitcher Gil Patterson have been mentioned.
I am probably leaning toward Patterson, who is currently a pitching
coordinator in the Oakland A’s organization.
Nevertheless, I certainly would not be displeased to see Harkey get the
job. I don’t know much about Aldred but
I am sure that GM Brian Cashman and Manager Joe Girardi will make the right
choice. Maybe they consider hiring two…one
exclusively for A.J. Burnett!
At this point in his career, I’d probably prefer to see
the Yankees sign Mariano to a short-term deal.
He showed no effects of age last season, but the day will come when he
no longer has it. Ask Trevor
Hoffman. It would be sad seeing Mo
bounce around with a few teams at the end of his career. I’d prefer to see him step away on his own
terms when the time comes. Until then, I
do hope that it is in pinstripes.
I am completely in favor of the Yankees plan to move
Jorge Posada to full-time DH. I think he
still has a productive bat that can be enhanced by avoiding the rigors of
catching. Plus, it is time to see what
Jesus Montero and Austin Romine can do.
It will be interesting to see what the Yankees do with
the bullpen. Now that Kerry Wood has
been cut loose and will most likely sign a deal to be a closer elsewhere, the
Yankees need to ensure that they have choices in training camp for the bridge
to Mo (beyond Joba Chamberlain and other in house options like David
Robertson). Both are certainly capable
pitchers and I’d like to see one of them step forward in training camp. But there definitely needs to be a safety
net, plus an option for a back-up closer given Mo’s age.
This will be a critical off-season for the Yankees. The moves they make with Jeter, Rivera and
Posada have to be made with the future in mind.
Plus, they need to give the team a starting rotation that can shut down
hot hitters in October (unlike this past season). But getting to October will be
challenging. A healthy Boston team has
to be viewed as the favorite. GM Theo
Epstein has already been active in picking up former Florida Marlins pitcher
Andrew Miller. A former top draft pick,
Miller hasn’t succeeded yet, but he is still young enough to achieve his
potential. The Tampa Bay Rays should be competitive
but they are a bit of a wild card until we have an idea of what their 2011 team
will look like. I fully expect improved
play from the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, both teams with quality
managers and strong young talent. I have
no doubt that Brian Cashman will continue racking up frequent flyer miles and
hotel award points as he looks to improve the 2011 squad…
But considering that he is the general manager of the New York Yankees, Brian knows the score. The moves he makes now must ensure success in October 2011. Nothing else matters.
I am glad that the Yankees moved quickly to re-sign
Manager Joe Girardi. It’s not like
Girardi was going anywhere, but the team has much greater things to be
concerned about than negotiating with Girardi.
Once the Chicago Cubs named Mike Quade as their permanent manager, there
was really no question that Girardi would be back in New York. Of course, to listen to Girardi, Chicago was
never an option, but I have to believe at some level it was.
From everything I’ve read, Girardi was more like
the 2008 version in September than the 2009 version that was more relaxed and a
better players manager. Was it
uncertainty about his own future or the sluggish play of his team? Who knows, but whatever the cause, Girardi
has the comfort of knowing he should be able to call Yankee Stadium home for
the next 3 years.
For me, I had held a glimmer of hope that somehow
Don Mattingly could get the job but of course that was nixed the moment the Los
Angeles Dodgers made Donnie Baseball their manager following the departure of
Joe Torre. Outside of Mattingly, there
really was no other manager that I would have preferred to see hold the Yankees
job than Girardi. Well, maybe Terry
Francona, but rumor has it that he already has a job.
2011 will be a very challenging year for the
Yankees. They have an albatross or two
to deal with. It’s tough to sink over
$80 million into a pitcher that was a nightmare for most of the season (A.J.
Burnett). I saw a recent fan poll that
actually showed Yankee fans would prefer Javier Vazquez over Burnett. That’s bad.
The first order of business for the new pitching coach, whenever he is
named, will be to restore Burnett to the pitcher he is capable of being. Also, decisions have to be made regarding the
Core, primarily Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.
Assuming DJ re-signs with the Yanks, he’ll continue to play at short but
will he lead off? Based on comments at
Girardi’s press conference, it would appear that this is being heavily
reconsidered (and rightfully so). As
Posada, the time is clearly now to move on to the next great Yankees catcher,
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
There are many hard decisions to be made between
now and spring training so hopefully Girardi and GM Brian Cashman are prepared
to make the right decisions for the best interests of the 2011 New York
So far, the World Series has been all San Francisco
Giants. It was clear they had superior
pitching in the NLCS but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at their play in the
first two games. I’ve always been a fan
of Matt Cain and he certainly has raised his game to a higher level during this
post-season. With a 2 games to none
lead, the series now shifts to Arlington, Texas. I am sure that we’ll see a much different
Rangers team in their home park, but if the Giants can win a game or two on the
road, I really like their chances to win the World Series.
I spent 14 years in Dallas and used to go to
Arlington to watch the Rangers play quite often. You’d think that I would pull for the Rangers
but as an American League fan, it is hard to pull for anyone other than the
Yankees. Plus, many of the times that I’d
go to Arlington, it was to see the Yankees so I was consistently cheering
against the Rangers. Meanwhile, I’ve
always been a fan of the Giants in the National League even though I didn’t
move to the Bay Area until about 5 years ago.
So, given my current geographic location, it wasn’t hard to pull for the
Finally, I just don’t think there is any way that
Minnesota Vikings head coach Brad Childress pulls the plug on Brett Favre’s
consecutive games playing streak this Sunday against the New England
Patriots. While the best decision is to
probably start Tavaris Jackson, it’s a no-win situation for Childress if he
pulls Favre. So, win or lose, expect to
see #4 on the field when the Vikings take the ball.
As for the Vikings-Patriots game, I have made yet
another wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants.
The loser of the game must write a blog about the highlights of the opposing
team’s history. I know, the Patriots
have a more illustrious history than the Vikings, but I personally will like
reading about Joe Kapp, Fran Tarkenton and the others who made the Vikes such a
great success in the late 60’s and 70’s.
I know, I still owe Julia for another lost wager at
the end of the baseball season. I will
try to make good this weekend.
Caffalo/NY Daily News
Finally, here is a great video of an awesome Giants fan who just can’t stop believin’…
So much has been written about the vacancy in the Yankees’ starting rotation, but I still think it’s Phil Hughes’ job to lose…
The competition has been tough. The early leaders were Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre, thanks to their consistently solid performances. However, in my mind, it’s always been Hughes. Aceves could go the entire spring without allowing an earned run and I’d still be behind Hughes for the 5th spot in the rotation. Aceves, for the record, was blasted for 5 runs in 4+ innings today in an 8-6 loss to the Houston Astros.
Keivom/NY Daily News
I know the Yankees invested much time trying to make Joba Chamberlain a starter. The “Joba Rules” date back to the Joe Torre era as the Yankees tried, albeit very cautiously, to build up Joba’s arm strength and stamina for 200 innings plus per season. But the truth is Joba is ideally suited for the bullpen. His make-up, demeanor, and approach is much more aggressive in a defined relief role. He has looked uncomfortable and at times lost as a starter.
My preference is for Aceves to resume his long relief role, Joba to set up Mariano Rivera (and spelling him on occasion), and Gaudin find his niche in the bullpen. Sergio Mitre has pitched well, but I’d try to trade him for a young prospect.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
When making the decision for who will be the starter, you really have to project who has the best chance for long-term success. Regardless of who pitches the best in March, the winner needs to be someone who can give the Yankees the best chance for October success. The answer is obvious…Hughes.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Curtis Granderson was hit on the right hand in Friday night’s game, but it sounds like he’ll be fine and should be back in the lineup on Sunday. It’ll be just in time to see Phil Hughes nail the final spot in the starting rotation.
Julian H. Gonzalez/McClatchy
The talks of the Yanks’ interest in Joe Mauer reminds me of the talk we’ve heard in the past about the Yankees getting Carlos Beltran, Roy Halladay, Johan Santana, Matt Holliday, Aroldis Chapman et al. All smoke and no fire. As great as Mauer is, the Yankees do not need an injury risk at the catching position. I still think that Mauer will eventually land with the Boston Red Sox if the Minnesota Twins don’t re-sign him. Perhaps it will be a great move for the Sox, and Mauer will make fans forget Jason Varitek and Carlton Fisk. But I don’t he is a good fit for the Yankees. They’ll be fine with Jesus Montero, assuming that he doesn’t “out-grow” the position, as Jorge Posada’s eventual successor. If Montero does have to move because of his physical size, then I am willing to take my chances with Francisco Cervelli or Austin Romine.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
I am amazed that Jamie Moyer, at age 47, is on the verge of nailing down a spot in the rotation for the championship-contending Philadelphia Phillies. He is definitely the Energizer Bunny…
Lori M. Nichols
Personally, I think the Washington Nationals should have kept super-prospect Stephen Strasburg in the major league starting rotation. Nevertheless, I don’t think he should buy a house or sign a long-term lease in Harrisburg, PA. He won’t be there long…
As you know, I am not a fan of the Boston Red Sox (regardless of how much my friend Julia would like for me to be). However, I do want to send my prayers and best wishes to Ryan Westmoreland, Boston’s 19-year-old outfield prospect, who underwent successful brain surgery last week. He faces a tough road and a long recovery, but at least the initial news was promising. Let’s hope the news continues on its current positive, upward trend. Regardless of whether he ever plays baseball again, I will always be a fan of his in whatever he does. I only hope that it will be nothing short of complete and absolute recovery. Ryan, we are all on your team!
Ruben W. Perez/The Providence Journal
When I saw that the University of Northern Iowa had defeated top-seeded Kansas in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, I could only think of one thing…never underestimate the power of an Iowan! Signed, an Iowan. J
I am headed to Dallas for the week on business. I pulled up the weather forecast and was shocked that it was snowing in Dallas on the first day of spring! Meanwhile, in Boston, it was 71 degrees today! What’s up with that? And why do I have to leave this gorgeous, sunny California weather?…
Despite record snowfalls on the East Coast, spring training is right around the corner…
Yankee pitchers and catchers report next week, and the battle will begin for the fifth spot in the rotation. Of course, everyone is quick to indicate that Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin, and Sergio Mitre have a shot, but this is really about a competition between Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. Personally, I am putting my faith in Phil Hughes. I’d prefer to see Joba take over Hughes’ old spot as setup man for Mariano Rivera (positioning himself to be Mo’s successor when the eventual day comes). I am really anxious to see what Hughes can do in the rotation now that he has achieved success at the big league level.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
It will be interesting to see if Curtis Granderson stays in center, or if they ultimately decide to move him to left and return Brett Gardner to center. There should be good outfield competition among Jamie Hoffmann, Marcus Thames, and Randy Winn. Minor leaguer Colin Curtis and off-season pickup Greg Golson (from Texas) will also be on hand to compete. I am hopeful that Hoffmann, a good defensive player, finds a way to make the team. If not, the Yankees will have to offer him back to the Los Angeles Dodgers since he was a Rule 5 pickup.
Miles Chrisinger/Icon SMI
At catcher, Francisco Cervelli should break camp as backup to Jorge Posada. With each passing season, the backup catching position becomes more vital as Posada ages. I am anxious to see what Jesus Montero brings to camp. He’s not ready for the Bronx yet but he is getting close and will obviously be Posada’s eventual successor if they don’t move him to first base because of his physical size.
John M. Setzler, Jr.
It appears that Johnny Damon will sign next week, most likely with the Detroit Tigers based on the latest rumors. I do find it odd that the Tigers would pay Damon more than they would have owed Curtis Granderson yet Grandy was moved for financial reasons. It’s also disappointing that the Tigers will end up getting Damon for less than what the Yanks had been willing to pay at the start of the off-season. Agent Scott Boras forced the Yankees’ hand in signing DH Nick Johnson and outfielder Randy Winn, leaving no room for Damon. If Boras had shown a willingness to negotiate early on, perhaps Johnny would be returning to the Bronx for another go-around. But for as much as I will miss Damon’s ability on the bases and his offensive power, I won’t miss his throws from left field (which seemed to move in slow motion). I wish him the very best wherever he lands…Detroit, Chicago or Atlanta.
All things considered, it should be a fairly quiet camp compared to the past few years. I am not expecting any drug use admissions or sex scandals, but of course, you never know. I am just glad that it’s time for the guys to pick up the gloves, balls and bats and head back out for another summer of fun.
Josh Haner/The New York Times
By the way, congrats to Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum, who avoided arbitration by signing a two-year deal worth $23 million with San Francisco. With a pay increase from $650,000 to $8 million plus $2 million signing bonus in 2010, he can now afford to buy in Nob Hill…
Also, so long to the Big Hurt. Frank Thomas has decided to hang up his cleats and take his 521 home runs home. Of course, he’s been out of the game for a year, but now it’s official. No Brett Favre comebacks in Frank’s future…
Finally, I’d like to send my prayers to the family of Nodar Kumaritashvili, 21, a luger for the former Soviet republic of Georgia, who died today during a trial run at the Olympics in Vancouver, British Columba. I cannot say that I am well familiar with Luge but it seems like there could have been better safety precautions. The Olympic Games start on a disappointing note, but I hope the other athletes from Georgia rise to the occasion and give performances their fallen teammate would have been proud of…
According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers are more interested in Jon Garland, Braden Looper and Randy Wolf than they are in Andy Pettitte. With the Astros already saying that Andy most likely doesn’t fit within their budget, it would appear that all roads lead back to Yankee Stadium…
I am still anxious to see if Scott Boras can save face on his recommendation for Jason Varitek to decline arbitration in December. This situation has played out badly, and clearly no one has been hurt more than Jason himself…
As promising as catching prospects Jesus Montero and Austin Romine are, I sure do wish their ETA to the major leagues was 2009 rather than 2010 or beyond (particularly considering the rumors of Jorge Posada’s desire to play for Puerto Rico in the WBC and questionable health which remains in doubt until he is able to prove he’s healthy).
Given the intensity of the start of the season schedule for the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays (the Yankees play 10 of their first 30 games against the Red Sox and Rays, the Red Sox play 14 of their first 32 games against the Yankees and Rays, and the Rays play 15 of their 33 games against the other two), it will be interesting to see how the Yankees fare out of the blocks given the Yanks recent history of slow starts…not to mention that of Mark Teixeira individually.
I am not surprised that Michael Young relented and has accepted the move to third base for the Rangers (withdrawing his trade request). Ultimately, it was conversations with team president Nolan Ryan that persuaded Young to reconsider his stance. But the entire situation could have been avoided had Ryan held those talks with Young before the holidays…not after.
Less than a month before pitchers and catchers report to Tampa…sweet!
I saw the quote where Derek Lowe said that he was going to love playing in Atlanta. Of course, I had to wonder, what else is he going to say? “Ya know, all things considered, I’d really rather be in Boston. Why didn’t you guys try harder to sign Smoltz?” Geez…
I saw the idea in another blog, but I like the suggestion to pry Lastings Milledge from the Nats in a trade involving either Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher (Nady being the preference at this point). Then, put Milledge in competition with Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera in center (assuming one of them aren’t involved in the trade). I like that line of thinking as the Yanks need to upgrade either the bottom end of the starting rotation or center field with any trade. Milledge hit 14 home runs with 61 RBI’s to go with a .268 batting average and 24 steals in 2008. His OBP, SLG and OPS were .329/.407/.735. At only 24 years old, his upside is still tremendous and the leadership on the Yankee roster would help his attitude. Of course, the cost to acquire him may be too great, but that’s the type of talent that would be great for the new Yankee Stadium center field.