Results tagged ‘ Johan Santana ’

So little time yet so much to do…

 

For Whom the Beltrans…

Well, it’s finally official.  The Yankee fan is finally a Yankee.  With today’s introductory press conference, the Yankees have continued to rebuild the team’s offense following the departure of Robby Cano and his bat.  Carlos Beltran talked about how he has long looked up to the Yankees organization.  The backhanded swipes at the Mets certainly didn’t hurt boosting his stock in the Bronx, particularly after those comments made by Curtis Granderson during his Mets press conference earlier in the off-season (even if the Grandy Man was just being lighthearted). 

It’s always nice to see guys who genuinely want to be in the Bronx.  Brian McCann certainly conveyed that message and Carlos Beltran did the same today.  I think Jacoby Ellsbury is just as excited but his situation was a bit different and he is coming off a World Series championship.

Listening to Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi talk, it clearly sounds as if the Yankees outfield will be consisted of Brett Gardner, Ellsbury, and Beltran.  Three centerfielders, with two playing out of position.  I know, there are a multitude of reasons for why it makes sense to keep Gardner, but he is really the only major league trading chip and the Yankees still need rotation help.  They have not shown any desire to pursue the likes of Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez, or others that can be had for a simple cash outlay.  Johan Santana’s name has been bandied about, and I would see no harm as long as the Yankees clearly invest in a Plan B to go with it.  My primary hope is that Michael Pineda can finally show us the potential he had in Seattle.  But that’s for the #5 spot.  The Yankees should roll the dice with the young organization pitchers, including Pineda, for the last position in the rotation but not both #4 and #5.  For #4, the Yankees need a proven performer.  Santana is a huge health risk, but if healthy…I know, that’s a big IF…he would significantly solidify the rotation and help mask any further regressions by CC Sabathia or Hiroki Kuroda. 

It’s unfortunate the Yankees have to keep an eye on the Alex Rodriguez situation to determine what their next moves will be.  I just hope they aren’t caught looking while waiting to find out if A-Rod and his behemoth contract will be an obligation for 2014 or not. 

But regardless of what happens for the remainder of the off-season, it goes without question that Carlos Beltran was a good signing.  The reports have surfaced that free agent outfielder Shin-Soo Choo turned down a 7-year, $140 million deal from the Yankees before they turned to Beltran.  I would prefer to go with the 3-year Beltran deal as opposed to locking into 7 years with Choo considering the Yankees are already on an extended hook with Ellsbury.  At some point, the young talent in the lower levels of the farm system have to make their way to the surface.  I have high hopes for Aaron Judge, and I really hope that Slade Heathcott can bring his game to the next level within the next couple of years. 

Much has been written about Beltran replacing the lost production in St Louis when Albert Pujols signed his $240 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels and is now being asked to do the same with Cano opting for money over a win-first mentality.  However, there is a big difference.  The Cardinals have Allen Craig and Matt Adams as two very capable first baseman.  The Yankees are not so lucky at Cano’s former position.  There are no immediate farm system solutions.  With Beltran now scheduled to start in Ichiro Suzuki’s position, it is a foregone conclusion that either Ichiro or Vernon Wells will soon be an ex-Yankee.  Pitcher Brett Marshall may have paid the price for Beltran’s spot, but I expect Ichiro or Wells to go when the Yankees create roster space for their latest additions.  The Yankees will have to include cash if they move Ichiro so that makes Wells the more likely one to go given that the Angels are still paying the majority of his salary. 

I keep getting sidetracked when the main topic is Beltran but he opens up much discussion in other areas.  I am glad that he’s a Yankee and I truly hope the Yankees can make the additional moves that will be necessary to return one of baseball’s great play-off performers to October.  Pitching, pitching, pitching…

Meanwhile, at Second Base…

Kelly Johnson, Eduardo Nunez, Corban Joseph…

None of the names are exciting and it’s more likely that Johnson, with a platoon-mate in Nunez, will be asked to cover third if A-Rod is suspended for a lengthy period as expected.  Joseph is not ready so the Yankees signed long-time Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts.  Roberts was once one of the best 2B’s in the game, but injuries have robbed him of playing time the last four years.  I do not expect him to be a major force at the position this year assuming that he makes the team.  It is a curious move for a beloved Oriole to join a hated AL rival.  I know that Mike Mussina did it but he was still in his prime.  I know, there’s Jacoby Ellsbury too, but again, that player, despite his past injuries, still has prime years ahead.  Roberts has seen his better days.  At that point, I’d probably go out of division or out of league even if it sacrificed a few dollars to maintain my legacy with the original team. 

Roberts will always be a great Oriole.  There’s nothing that he can do to take away his quality years.  Hopefully, the Baltimore fans will recognize that it was time for Roberts and the O’s to part ways, particularly given their acquisition of second baseman Jemile Weeks.  Mike Mussina had quality years with both the O’s and the Yankees.  Roberts will be like Luis Tiant.  The best years were with the home team, and the last year or two were with the Yankees. 

At this point, it does appear the Yankees will be heading to spring training with Roberts, Nunez and Johnson covering second.  However, things will change when the A-Rod drama is finally put to rest.  I was surprised the Yankees didn’t try harder for Omar Infante.  It’s not often the Kansas City Royals beat the Yankees in free agency. 

As for third…

It’s a given that A-Rod will be lost for a certain amount of time.  It’s just a question for how long.  I would like to see a trade for the San Diego Padres third baseman, Chase Headley, something that has been mentioned on and off for the last few years.  We know that it won’t be a return of last year’s third base wannabe, Kevin Youkilis (thwarted by injuries to the surprise of no one).  Youk in stating a preference to being closer to his West Coast home, decided to take his family on a one year vacation touring Japan.  I am not quite sure how the DL works in the Japanese League but I guess we’ll find out.  I loved Wallace Matthews’ quote that Youk will probably be injured on the plane trip to Japan. 

Another third base possibility, and former Yank, Casey McGehee, signed with the Miami Marlins.  So, like second base, pickings are getting very slim at the infield positions.  I fully expect the Yankees to lose one of their promising young catchers in any trade.

The Bullpen…

I was disappointed to see Boone Logan go.  Good for him in signing the three year contract with the Colorado Rockies.  Denver is a wonderful city and I do not begrudge anyone who wants to be a part of that community.  But still, he was a solid option in the pen for the Yanks and will be missed.  To replace him, the Yankees signed former Sox (both White and Red) reliever Matt Thornton.  A great lefty, no doubt, but one that is 37.  All things considered, I would have preferred a few more years of Logan.  I’d like to see a younger guy like Nik Turley take it to the next level but I am fearful that Turley will be a roster casualty with the additional moves the Yankees have yet and still need to make.

I am not sure how I feel about David Robertson as closer.  When Mariano Rivera was hurt in Kansas City early in the 2012 season, Robertson failed in his brief appearance as closer.  If memory serves correctly, he was injured and it opened the door for Rafael Soriano to grab the job and run with it.  If the Yankees opt to go with Robertson, they need another Plan B like Soriano in place.  Yes, I know, there are only so many spots on a 25-man roster for Plan B…

On the bright side, catcher and center field are locked up…  ;)

I don’t expect much in the way of Yankees news next week so Operation Improvement will have to be resumed in January.  Meanwhile, Happy Holidays to All!  Enjoy!

–Scott

 

 

 

 

You had me at MRI…

A foot apart…

Yes, I admit it.  I was genuinely concerned.  Yesterday, news broke that David Robertson had hurt his foot in a mishap at his home.  The Yankees sounded very concerned and of course they ordered a MRI and were making comments about the severity of the injury.  The immediate thought was the Lisfranc injury suffered by former Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang.  While Wang is pitching again, it took years and he is still not the same guy who won 19 games in successive seasons a few years back.

Today, it was announced that Robertson had a deep bone bruise after missing a step on the stairs at his home.  The foot is a boot and he’s on crutches until Sunday, but it now sounds as though Robertson will be back sooner than initially thought.  So, the best case scenario played out, but it’s another example of how conservative the Yankees are when it comes to injuries.  That’s a good thing, I suppose, from the perspective of the players’ health, but it does cause a little angst among the fan base.  The thought that we’d have to go to the guy who is being paid over $30 million for 3 years to set up (Rafael Soriano) to actually be the set up guy is terrifying!

I know, we’re spoiled but when you live in the midst of a ‘World Series or bust’ environment, it goes with the territory.

Heading into spring training, my concerns for injury resided with players like Alex Rodriguez, Eric Chavez and Joba Chamberlain.  Robertson has been so clutch and reliable that you just don’t expect HIM to get hurt…and particularly not in such a freak accident.  But of course, pitchers are fragile creatures.  You don’t have to look much further than the Mets’ Johan Santana.  Even Pittsburgh’s A.J. Burnett is down after suffering an at-bat injury in a bunt attempt.  The Yankees have been very lucky that CC Sabathia has stayed healthy given the other injuries they’ve dealt with.  Why can’t every pitcher be gifted with the elasticity of David Wells’ arm…

AL East or bust…

Hearing reports of the Baltimore Orioles’ hot and cold interest in Johnny Damon truly shows that Johnny has an interest in playing for every team in the AL East.  I suppose that his agent has been calling the Toronto Blue Jays even if there haven’t been any sightings.  Damon probably should have accepted that trade from the Detroit Tigers to the Boston Red Sox at the trading deadline a couple of years ago.  I hate to see him bouncing from team to team.  That’s probably a good indication that it’s time to go home.  He can still hit, but there’s too many younger, cheaper options.

Have bat, will travel…

The Yankees’ desire to get salaries below the $190 million threshold by 2014, I have to wonder if we are seeing the final two years of Derek Jeter’s Yankee career.  With so much invested in Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia, the Yankees will no longer have the luxury of a huge investment in an aging shortstop.  It’s also disheartening to think that the day will come when the Yankees have to make the decision to keep Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano.  If they manage to find a way to keep both, then there’s not much left for other key positions.  Who would have ever thought that $190 million would be such a small amount of money…

Teams like the Minnesota Twins probably laugh at the Yankees being placed into a situation where they have to re-tool with less expensive options and make hard decisions on popular players given that’s been their business model for years.

I know, doom and gloom…it will work out.  The Yankees will do what they need to do.  I can’t see them allowing the team to become a modern version of the CBS ownership era of the late 60’s and early 70’s.

Can Minneapolis keep the Vikings where they belong?…

After years, it feels like there finally may be movement in the plans for a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.  The proposal has been finalized and now needs city and state approval.  The new stadium would be located next to the Metrodome, and the team would only be displaced for one season before moving into the new digs.  I believe the target date is in 2016.  This has been a very long road, and hopefully, the city and state will approve the plans so that the construction can begin and Minnesota can be assured of keeping the Vikings.  The Los Angeles Vikings never really had a good flow to it anyway…

Whether it’s in the standings or not, losing still stinks…

If spring training games mean nothing, why do I feel excitement when the Yankees win and angst when they lose…

–Scott

Two Outta Three Ain’t Bad…

 

A “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” kind of weekend…

 

 

On Saturday morning, when I saw the Mets starting pitcher (an unknown, at least to me, by the name of Fernando Nieve), I figured that the Yankees were going to have an offensive field day.  Unfortunately, I forgot that the Yankees just don’t play very well against pitchers they’ve never faced before.  Nieve, a former Astro, got his first win since June 25, 2006 by allowing only 4 hits and 2 runs in 6 2/3 innings. 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte looked pathetic. 

 

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

 

Former Yankee minor leaguer Omir Santos hit a two-run homer in the second inning to set the tone for the day.

 

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

 

The Mets pounded out 17 hits enroute to the 6-2 victory.  Every Mets starter had at least one hit, and Gary Sheffield homered against his former team for the second straight day.  It was not a fun game, and it was obvious that the Yanks had mentally checked out of this game.  When you watch the Boston Red Sox, they never give up and battle to the end.  So, it was disappointing to see the Yanks throw in the towel…

 

Give Up.JPG

 

On Sunday, after the Yanks disappointing performance the previous day and Johan Santana on the mound for the Mets, it didn’t look promising.  My only hope was for A.J. Burnett to try and keep it close so that perhaps Tex or A-Rod could come up with a key hit in the later stages of the game.  What I saw shocked me, to say the least.  When you analyze the line scores for the two starting pitchers, you’d assume that Burnett must have had a bad day…

Pitcher A

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC-ST

3.0

9

9

9

2

3

1

82-48

 

Pitcher B

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC-ST

7.0

4

0

0

4

8

0

111-66

 

Fortunately, Pitcher A was the Mets’ Johan Santana, who suffered the worst start of his career.

 

 

Nick Laham/Getty Images 

 

A.J. Burnett pitched a terrific game.  Of course, it helps when your team stakes you to a 13-0 lead after only four innings.  But the Burnett of the last few starts, excluding the debacle in Boston, is the pitcher the Yanks thought they were getting in the off-season when they signed him to the big contract.

 


AJ Burnett.JPG 

 

As the Mets did the previous day, the Yankees pounded out 17 hits, including three by catcher Francisco Cervelli.  Jose Molina who?…

 

Jobs.JPG

 

The Yankees got the scoring started in the second inning with run-scoring singles by Cervelli and Derek Jeter, as well as a two-run single by Johnny Damon.  I guess he is over his “fluttering eye” issue…

 

 

What, no homers?  Don’t worry; they were on the way…

 

 

In the 4th, the Yankees scored 9 runs and ran Santana out of the game.  The weekend birthday boy, Hideki Matsui, hit a two-run homer to start the scoring.  Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon knocked in runs with an infield single and a double, respectively.  Jeter scored when Alex Rodriguez hit into a double-play.  Robinson Cano followed with a two-run homer, scoring A-Rod.  Melky Cabrera capped the scoring with a two-run double, but he ended the inning attempting to stretch out the double to a triple.

 

 

Sipkin/New York Daily News

 

Four innings, a 13 run lead, and Johan Santana in the showers…the game was effectively ended at that point.  The Yanks did pick up a couple more RBI’s by Ramiro Pena and Robinson Cano in the 7th inning, but the Fat Lady had already sung…

 

Its Over.JPG

 

Phil Hughes looked like he was going to ruin the shutout in the 9th inning, when he allowed two base runners.  But he settled down, and got the final outs.  So, thanks largely to Friday’s gift from Luis Castillo, the Yankees won the Subway Series, two games to one.

The Red Sox lost to the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizen’s Bank Park, 11-6, so the Yankees closed the gap back to two games. 

 

Jimmy Rollins´ solo home run gave the Phillies the lead in the seventh inning. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer, Philly.com 

 

The two teams have a much needed break on Monday, before they resume interleague play.  The Red Sox return home to Fenway Park to face owner John Henry’s former team, the Florida Marlins.  Meanwhile, the Yanks will see old friend Nick Johnson when the Washington Nationals travel to Yankee Stadium.  Of course, I wonder who the manager of the Nationals will be…Manny Acta or someone else…

 

Manny Acta

Brian Blanco/AP

 

It’s been a great day…almost perfect, in fact!  The only thing that could be better would be the crowning of Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers as the 2009 NBA Champions!

 

Kobe Bryant, Phil Jackson

Chris Carlson/AP

 

Go Lakers, but more importantly…

Go Yankees!

–Scott

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