Results tagged ‘ Manny Banuelos ’

Down, set, 247, 247, hike, hike…

To act or not to act…

When is the beast (i.e., the YES Network) going to start screaming, “Feed Me!”…

Okay, okay, I know…the Yankees are a strong team with or without reinforcements.  Maybe it is just the residual effect of having to depend upon Alex Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett.

Not unexpectedly, the Yankees failed to reach agreement with Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima.  Early speculation had Nakajima returning to Japan for one more year since the Yankees wouldn’t afford him the opportunity to start.  The Boston Red Sox seem like the natural fit given their need for someone with Nakajima’s talent and it doesn’t hurt that the manager can speak a little Japanese.

Just as they were not players for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, I don’t really expect the Yankees to pursue Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.  If the Yankees didn’t have any promising prospects it would be one thing, but the organization really likes outfield prospect Mason Williams.  It goes without saying that you can’t sustain a championship squad with $100 million players at every position.  Primarily, it is cost prohibitive, but secondly, the players quickly become less productive than their compensation (i.e., A-Rod) and you’re unable to do anything about it.  Good, cheap young talent is the way to sustain a championship squad.  That’s why Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos should both get opportunities to pitch in Yankee Stadium at some point this season.  If either could prove that he is major league ready, it would significantly strengthen the perceived weak starting rotation.

There are plenty of ‘what ifs’ with the Yankees this year, but IF Phil Hughes can show he is indeed the 18-win game winner we saw several years ago and not the notorious injury risk and IF A.J. Burnett could convert last season’s first half success into full season success, the rotation would be in great shape for supplementation by Betances and/or Banuelos.

Like many, I am anxious to see what Jesus Montero can do on a daily basis with his bat.  I am grateful the Yankees didn’t move him.  I know we’re not out of the woods yet, but if Montero starts hitting like we know he can, he’ll quickly become a fixed commodity in the Bronx.

My primary wish at this point is the return of backup third baseman Eric Chavez.  Yes, I would be in favor of a trade for Matt Garza or Matt Cain, or the free agent signing of Edwin Jackson on a short term deal, but I really think that a solid, proven replacement option for A-Rod is essential.  When A-Rod goes on the inevitable DL stint during the season, I don’t want to see his replacement with a guy that is fighting to stay above the Mendoza line.  I want a guy that is capable of changing the game, and that’s Chavez.  He might not be able to do it every day anymore, but he’s still a superior performer if used properly.  So, Brian Cashman, please talk to your owner and get this deal done.

Money for nothing and the chicks for free…

I have to admit that I am impressed with what Cubs president Theo Epstein has done so far.  To unload the pariah known as Carlos Zambrano and get a young, quality starting pitcher in Chris Volstad was genius.  I know that Andrew Cashner was a heralded pitching prospect, but I really like the move to pick up former Red Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo from the San Diego Padres for first base.  I used to think that Alfonso Soriano was untradeable, but now, if you told me that Theo had traded him for a quality return, I would believe you wholeheartedly.  I kind of feel bad for Cubs GM Jed Hoyer.  Regardless of what he does, Theo will always get credit.  San Diego GM Josh Byrnes is probably saying ‘Thanks, Dude’ every night.

What do you want to be when you grow up?…

I was a bit surprised to see Joe Torre step down from his job with Major League Baseball.  I am sure that the attraction of being a major league owner was very appealing, but it’s hardly a sure bet.  But I guess that Joe’s made his money, and he decided to gamble for the job he wanted, knowing that worst case, he is set for the rest of his life.  One thing’s for sure, if Joe’s ownership group is successful in buying the Dodgers, my longtime idol, Don Mattingly, is secure as Dodgers manager.  So, all I can say is ‘Good luck, Joe!’.

When did Arte Moreno become smarter than a fifth grader?…

I’ve been surprised to hear that the contract Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels is so backloaded.  To pay the best player in baseball $12 million to play in 2012 is clearly the best return on investment that I’ve seen in a very long time.  Sure, in 8 years, the Angels will be paying $30 million for a past-his-prime first baseman, but by that time, he’ll have legendary records within his grasp, and will help fill seats, which of course, will pay his excess salary.  GM Jerry DiPoto is too new to give him credit, but this was a genius move by the Angels and it shows that the Cardinals were never going to pay that kind of money.

What a surprise…

It’s funny that I used the word ‘surprised’ in the last two paragraphs.  That’s not the case with the Yankees where the crickets still reign supreme…

I know, the Yankees signed former Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima but I don’t really see him making the team if Cesar Cabral impresses in camp.  Crickets, just crickets…

–Scott

Land of 2 Seasons: Winter is coming, Winter is here…

I don’t have a beret to throw in the air…

I am finally living in an American League city once again.  Today is my first day as a resident of the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Somehow, recent years have found me in National League cities, which is tough as an American League fan.  Nevertheless, I persevered and now reside in a city that houses good baseball tradition.  In fact, from my living room window, I can see the lights of Target Field.  Sweet!  Of course, I will never be able to admit that I am a Yankees fan in public given the bad blood between the Yankees and Twins.  I’d probably have better luck wearing a Sox cap…

 

Target Field

 

I am looking forward to learning about my new city, and I am excited about the opportunity and potential the area provides.  Yes, I’ll have to get used to winters again, but after living in areas where winter meant a 20 or 30 degree dip in average temps, I am looking forward to true changes of seasons.  Growing up in the Midwest, I never complained about snowfall and it was always one of my favorite enjoyments.  The only issue I have with winter is ice.  Outside of that, I can deal with the cold temps and the white, frosty surroundings.

Oddly, as a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan, this will be the first time that I’ve been surrounded by Vikings fans.  Admittedly, that’s going to be very strange.  Growing up in southeast Iowa, Vikings fans were mixed among fans of the Bears, Packers, Chiefs, and the then St. Louis football Cardinals with the Bears as perhaps the predominate favorite.  I’ve seen the Vikings play in person over the years, but they’ve always been road games.  I never made it to the old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington nor have I been to the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis.  That’s obviously going to change, but admittedly, it will be strange seeing everyone around me wearing purple and gold.

I am glad to be in Minnesota, and I am looking forward to a very long stay.  And, no, I am not suddenly going to become a fan of Carl Pavano…

 

Fundamentals, is it really that hard?…

I was very disappointed to see the Yankees lose a close game to the Tampa Bay Rays last night due to errors.  When you are playing one of your key rivals, anything less than your best is unacceptable.  The Yankees had a chance to bury the Rays and couldn’t do it.  While the Boston Red Sox are running away with the AL East, the Yankees need to make sure that they put distance between themselves and the other wild card challengers like the Rays.  Losing a game because you are outplayed is one thing, but to lose a game because of your own incompetence is wrong.  The Rays had encountered a tough stretch of games with the 16 inning loss to the Red Sox, followed by the baseloaded walk loss to the Yankees.  Another loss last night could have started driving a stake in the heart of the Rays.  But the Yankees allowed the Rays to resume their Wild Card drive, and last year those types of games allowed the Rays to best the Yanks in the East.

 

Mike Carlson/AP

 

The Rays clearly have the superior pitching rotation, but the Yankees are the offensive club…even with Alex Rodriguez on the DL.  With the series tied after two games with two to play, the Yankees have to ensure that they leave St. Petersburg with no less than a split.

 

The price of an ace…

The trade rumors involving the Colorado Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez are great, but I am hesitant given the high cost that would be involved.  I get that Jimenez is young (27) and has a very affordable contract for the next few years, but giving up Manny Banuelos and Jesus Montero (and others) seems like such a high price to pay.  I like Jimenez and his road splits away from Coors Field are ridiculous, but I simply cannot condone giving away the farm to bring him to the Bronx.  That’s tough because who really knows if Banuelos and Montero will be genuine stars.  The cool demeanor of Banuelos seems like a perfect play in Yankee Stadium, and I do really believe that he is destined for greatness.  I also recognize that if CC Sabathia opts out of his contract and signs elsewhere this off-season, the Yankees will be lacking an ace.  Nevertheless, I do not think the Yankees should make the Jimenez trade unless the price is right.  Given the completion for the pitcher, I just don’t think that will happen.  The best deal for the Yankees would be one that no one is talking about.  Once the talk goes public, there is too much potential for other teams, like the Red Sox, to muck things up for no other reason than to drive up the price it would cost the Yankees.

 

Rockies starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez

 

When the Red Sox acquired Josh Beckett from the Florida Marlins, there was not much speculation ahead of the trade.  The Yankees need that same stealth like approach to their next major acquisition.

 

And the young respond…

 

I am glad to see some of the guys from the Yankees farm system get their opportunity.  Guys like Brandon Laird, who was called up when Ramiro Pena went on the DL, and pitcher Steve Garrison.  I’ve really wanted to see what Laird could do in a platoon situation with Eduardo Nunez at third so now is his chance.

Yes, I thank my lucky stars every night for David Robertson…

 

POSTSEASON WINNER: David Robertson's two postseason victories have not only added big-game experience for young relief pitcher, but also have given the Yankees confidence in him.

Charles Wenzelberg/NY Daily News

 

Mutual respect…

I was listening to MLB Radio this week and I heard a Red Sox fan give kudos to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.  I was glad to hear those types of comments because I hold a similar high respect for certain Red Sox players like Dustin Pedroia and Jon Lester.  It seems so un-Yankee like to respect a Sox player, but Pedey and Lester play the game the way it is supposed to be played.  There’s no way that I could ever root against those guys.  If I was a team owner, they would be among the first players that I would want to acquire for my team.

 

Dustin Pedroia Of The Red Sox

 

You have to go back to the 1920’s?  Really?

The Cleveland Indians and Pittsburgh Pirates in first place?  I can’t believe how much media attention that has gotten.  I do not expect either team to be a factor come October, but it’s nice to see their fans having reason to cheer this late in the season.   I enjoyed the early 1990’s when the Pirates were a factor in the play-offs every year.  After years of trading stars for prospects, it is nice to see the team thriving on those prospects.  But much of the credit has to go to first year manager Clint Hurdle.  Similarly, the Tribe’s success has to be attributed to Manny Acta.  Both men know how to get the most out of their guys.  It is very refreshing to see.  Nevertheless, I still do not see anything that’s going to derail a Boston Red Sox-Philadelphia Phillies World Series.

 

Matt Freed/Post-Gazette

 

Yes, I am finally home…

“…You can have a town, why don’t you take it.   You’re gonna make it after all.”  I finally get what Mary Tyler Moore was saying after all these years…

 

 

–Scott

 

Yet another wager loss…


No, I didn’t go crazy and suddenly decide to become a Boston Red Sox fan…  :(




I am still a die-hard Yankees fan, but thanks to Boston’s 2-1 victory over the Yankees in Fort Myers on Monday night, I’ve been forced to show the Sox colors on this site through Tuesday, March 15th.  Congratulations to Julia of Julia’s Rants for her latest conquest.  Unfortunately, I think I’ve forgotten the last time she DIDN’T win.  




I know that today’s game against the Sox was going to be tough when I heard that the infield would be staying in Tampa.  I was also not very excited to hear that the scheduled starter would be Sergio Mitre, so it was a bit of an uplift when I heard that Mitre had been sidelined (not because of his injury which I do feel bad about) because it gave now 20-year-old top prospect Manny Banuelos the opportunity to pitch his first and hopefully of many bouts against the dreaded guys from Massachusetts.  Banuelos did his job, but unfortunately, the Sox were able to rally for the win after Banuelos departed.  

Banuelos didn’t have his best stuff, but I continue to be impressed by his poise and beyond-his-years maturity.  Unfortunately, former Yankees pitcher Alfredo Aceves was also on top of his game as he only gave up a run in his start for the BoSox.  

So, today, the glory goes to Julia, but don’t worry, as Arnold Schwarzenegger always says, I’ll be back…


–Scott

I’m Not A Headline Guy vs Julia’s Rants!…


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.


Of course, I have my doubts about making wagers on meaningless baseball games but I recognize that there is still pride involved for the fans associated with both teams.  Alex Rodriguez may not care if the Yankees beat the Red Sox as he prepares for the season, but for the fans, it is important to win after a long off-season that saw Cliff Lee rebuff the Yanks to join the Philadelphia Phillies while the Red Sox were re-loading with the acquisitions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez.  

So, best of luck…to me!  ;)

I was very pleased to hear today that A.J. Burnett‘s first outing was a successful one against the Houston Astros (he pitched two scoreless innings).  Burnett is one of the keys for the season and his success or failure will go a long way toward determining the Yankees’ October fate.  I really believe that new pitching coach Larry Rothschild will have a very positive influence on Burnett.  

As much as I want Jesus Montero to make the Yankees as back-up catcher to Russell Martin, I am concerned what that decision would mean for current back-up Francisco Cervelli. I really enjoyed Cervelli’s energy last season.  If Montero does make the Yankees, hopefully the Yankees can make a move that helps place Cervelli in his best-case scenario.

It’s been very reassuring to hear the strong impressions the young pitchers have made in camp (particularly Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, and Andrew Brackman).  While I do not expect any of the three pitchers to make the Opening Day roster, there’s no doubt that we’ll see one or more of the pitchers at some point during the season.  

I hear the San Francisco Giants are looking for a way to dump starting pitcher Barry Zito.  Of course, the Yankees get mentioned regarding the topic but I’d really hope that team avoids Zito at all costs.  I don’t see how the Giants can cut Zito with three years and over $50 million remaining on his contract.  Regardless of what amount of salary the Giants may be willing to absorb, Zito would not be worth the risk.  I’d rather see Andrew Brackman or Dellin Betances in the rotation.

Hey Julia, are you ready to absorb your first loss of the season?  You’re going down, my friend.  Can I get some information about Joe Girardi for you?…

–Scott

A Bad Day at Black Rock…

 

It was a sad day with news of the passing of two legends…


Sad Day.JPG


I was saddened to hear that Hall of Famer Bob Feller had
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. 


3238567, Getty Images /Archive Photos

Getty Images


His three no-hitters included one in Yankee Stadium in
1946.

Feller had the personality traits of my grandmother…cantankerous,
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…

Today also saw the loss of movie director/producer Blake
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!

Now, back to baseball and the Yankees.  Of course, not much has happened since I last
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
gifted.


Gary Sanchez is looking to play in U.S. soon  


The Yankees have two very strong pitching prospects in
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.


justin masterson.jpg

Chuck Crow/The Plain Dealer

Admittedly, I am not very optimistic about the Yankees
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. 

The Yankees are apparently working on a deal with former
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. 


mets-pedro-feliciano.jpg

Chris Faytok/The Star Ledger


Now that Kerry Wood is close to re-signing with the
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.

The team is still in on former Red Sock Bill Hall, but I
fully expect him to go to the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Of the remaining free agents, there is not much that
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
be done.

If I were to believe the press clippings, the 2011 World
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…

Yankees win.JPG


–Scott


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