Results tagged ‘ Rafael Soriano ’

The difficult life of Yankee decision-makers…

 

The Ace of Scranton/Wilkes Barre…

I kept hoping that the Yankees would be able to find a way to keep Ivan Nova in the rotation, but inevitably, the team made the only decision it could by sending him down to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  I agree that it is in Nova’s best interests to keep him on rotation, and not stunt his development by moving him to the pen.

I find it highly unlikely that either Bartolo Colon and/or Freddy Garcia will make it through the remainder of the season without any health issues.  So, almost assuredly, Nova will be back and he’ll prove why he is a long-term option for the starting rotation.

 

0909nova.JPG

Christopher Pasatieri/Newsday/MCT

 

Larry knows best…

Nothing against former pitching coach Dave Eiland, but his replacement, Larry Rothschild, has certainly shown why he was a great hire in the off-season.  The Yankees struck gold with both Colon and Garcia when they were hopeful that they’d be able to get something out of at least one of the pitchers.  I thought the Colon signing was a joke, and didn’t really begin to take the former Cy Young Award winner seriously until after the regular season began.

 

New York Yankees pitching coach LArry Rothschild speaks

Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday

 

Rothschild has also overseen the return of A.J. Burnett as a viable force in the rotation, which, after last season, was no small task.

In the bullpen, the Yankees have overcome the loss of set up man Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain with the superb play of David Robertson.  Robertson has shown that he is not only a great bridge to Mariano Rivera, but is perhaps a very viable alternative as Mo’s eventual replacement.  GM Brian Cashman was right to be against the Soriano signing, and now the Yanks will have Soriano for two more years since there’s no way that he’ll opt out of his lucrative contract.  It will be interesting to see how the Yankees handle this situation when Soriano returns.

As great as Larry Rothschild is, there are still going to be those moments when all goes wrong like today’s loss to the New York Mets.  Mariano Rivera blew a save opportunity in the 9th, and the Yanks subsequently lost in 10 innings.  But the nice thing about the Yankees bullpen is that they have a very short memory, and I’m sure that they’ll be back in stellar form tomorrow.

Congratulations, you’re an All-Star!  As your reward, here is a ticket to the face of the Sun…

Congratulations to the players that will represent the Yankees during next week’s All-Star Game in Phoenix.  Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson will be in the starting lineup, while Mariano Rivera and Russell Martin were also added to the squad.  Count me as one of those who hope that a spot opens for David Robertson.  The All-Star Yankees will need to get used to the heat as it has been blistering hot in the Valley of the Sun.  Yesterday, the official high was 117 degrees in Chandler, AZ, however, I saw temperature readings over 120 degrees.  It may be a dry heat, but it’s just plain hot.  Fortunately, Chase Field will be covered and the indoor temps should be very mild.

 

 

Nearing the end of the first half…

I am quite please with the way the Yankees have played the first half of the season.  I still feel that the Boston Red Sox have the superior team on paper, but the Yankees have held their own and currently lead the Sox by 1 ½ games.  I don’t think the Yanks can stay ahead of the Sox without any changes to the roster, but the team has definitely gotten more out of less.

 

Have fun!…

Have a very happy, safe and enjoyable 4th of July, everyone!

 

 

–Scott

 

All I want for Christmas (err 4th of July) is a friggin’ pitcher…


This has not been a good
year for Yankees pitchers (or potential pitchers).  First, prime free agent target Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia
Phillies.  Then, Andy Pettitte decided it was time to stay home in Deer Park, Texas
to spend time with his family.  And now, Phil Hughes is on the DL and it doesn’t
sound like he’ll be coming off any time soon.



Fortunately, the Yankees
have gotten very solid pitching from Ivan
Nova
, Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon (much better than almost
anyone had expected).  But from the ‘glass
is half empty’ approach, can they keep it up? 
Most likely, there will be a few hiccups along the way.  Considering the Yankees have to decide by
Sunday whether to call up Kevin Millwood
or release, my guess is that they’ll bring him up as the long man in the pen
and send Buddy Carlyle back to
Scranton-Wilkes Barre.  Millwood would be
the first to start should Nova, Garcia or Colon suffer any setbacks.  At this point, I don’t think the Yankees can
afford to let Millwood slip away. 

As I write this post, I am
watching the 2011 NFL Draft.  I am
waiting to see who the Minnesota Vikings select with the #12 pick.  As it stands right now, the Buffalo Bills
just selected Marcell Dareus, DT
from Alabama with the #3 pick.  I want
the Vikings to pick a QB of the future, so I am okay if they reach with their
pick or trade down to get their man.  My
personal favorite for selection is QB Jake
Locker
from the University of Washington. 
We’ll see how the choice goes down later in this post.  If the Vikings don’t get Locker, I’d like to
see them find a way to get Christian
Ponder
or Andy Dalton.  As a fan of the University of Iowa, I’d love
to see Ricky Stanzi get a shot but I
recognize his talent and potential is below the other name QB’s. 

For as great as the Yankees
bullpen is supposed to be, it’s disturbing to see the breakdowns of Rafael Soriano and Mariano Rivera.  It would
seem that pitching the 9th is more difficult than pitching the 8th,
but Soriano is making the 8th look the hardest.  Mo recently went through a stretch of two
blown saves although he did right the ship against the Chicago White Sox on
Wednesday night.  Hopefully, the guys in
the pen grow accustomed to their roles and manager Joe Girardi is able to resist the temptation to bring Mo in for
anything other than the 9th
Although Mo leads the AL in saves with 8, it’s strange to see former
Yankees gasoline artist Kyle Farnsworth,
now Tampa Bay Rays closer, in the top 5.

Why do I cringe when I see Eric Chavez playing first base?  I know that he can handle the position, but
after watching him with the Oakland A’s the last few years, it’s hard not to
think that the next play could be the one that puts Chavez on the DL…

We are through the first 5
picks of the NFL Draft and Blaine
Gabbert
is still on the board.  Why
is that important?  Because as long as
Gabbert is on the board, Jake Locker
is only the 2nd best QB still available.  Here’s to still hoping for Jake Locker in purple, but I can’t see
Gabbert getting by the San Francisco 49ers at #7.

It was strange to see the
Yankees score their first two runs of tonight’s game against the Chicago White
Sox without recording a hit against Sox starter Edwin Jackson (courtesy of four walks in the inning).  With CC
Sabathia
on the mound, I feel fairly confident that the Yankees will be
able to exit the four game series with a split. 
Well, so long as Soriano and Rivera don’t implode in their respective
innings…

Surprise, the 49ers didn’t
go for Gabbert so perhaps it helps improve the chances for Locker in the Land
of 10,000 Lakes…

Ugh, the Tennessee Titans
just took Locker!  

Wow, I don’t know what I
want the Vikings to do now.  There’s no
way that Gabbert will still be available if the Vikings don’t try to move
up.  It would be way too early to go
after Ponder so it would appear that the Vikes pick will most likely be a
defensive selection.  Bummer for me…

This is how I felt many
years ago when the Titans took Steve
McNair
when I was hoping that he’d fall to the Vikings.  Drats, those Titans!

Meanwhile, on the Yankees
front, they seem to be having a good night as it is now 5-0 in the bottom of
the 5th inning.  The sole
Yankees home run was by Brett Gardner
so maybe his bat is starting to come around. 
It’s not that I’d expect Gardy to hit homers since that isn’t his forte,
but still, it’s nice to see him in the offensive mix. 

The Yankees game is up to
7-0, and the only players without either a run scored or a RBI are Eric Chavez (two walks) and Jorge Posada.  Speaking of Posada, I am not certain how long
the Yankees give Posada to start hitting. 
His batting average stands at .134. 
If I were the Yankees GM, it would be hard to resist the urge to recall Jorge Vazquez and insert him as a
part-time DH.  Of course, I’d have
absolutely no idea who to send down to the farm so that’s why Brian Cashman has the job and I don’t.

Well, give Posada a RBI on a
walk.  8-0 Yanks in a 6-run 5th
(so far).  So I guess that makes Chavez
the only one who hasn’t produced a run in this game.

It looks like the
Jacksonville Jaguars will take Blaine
Gabbert
with their trade up with the Washington Redskins.  So much for the QB for the
fu
ture for
Minnesota…  D
oes this mean that the Vikings QB will be
someone like Carson Palmer, Vince Young, or Donovan McNabb?  Very
disappointing when you play in a division with Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, and Matthew
Stafford

My guess is that the Vikings
will make a play for Ponder or Dalton later in the draft.  Man, I really wish that QB Joe Webb wouldn’t have engineered that
upset of the Philadelphia Eagles last year.

With the 12th
pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the Minnesota Vikings take…QB Christian Ponder, Florida State.  


Drew Weatherford, front, is competing with Christian Ponder, left, and D'Vontrey Richardson to start at quarterback.

AP


Wow, as much as I wanted a QB and I thought that Ponder was the next
best option, #12 is probably a bit early. 
But still, with the likes of Joe
Webb
and Rhett Bomar as the only
QB options in Minnesota, I do like the upside of Ponder at the position.  I just never expected Ponder to go that
early, especially with defensive greats like Nick Fairley and Da’quan
Bowers
just sitting there for the taking. 
Oh well, Go Seminoles!

Meanwhile, it is still 8-0
in New York in the bottom of the 6th. Oops, 9-0.  Nice…


–Scott

 

‘Just Win, Baby!’…

 

So far, the Yankees have started like last season…winning their series as they’ve taken the first two from the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins.  As the saying goes, ‘Two outta three ain’t bad!’.  Keep it all season and it would equate to a divisional championship.

 

 

A.J. Burnett remains perfect in pinstripes in April with a six-inning, two-run outing against the Twins to close out the Yankees' season-opening home stand with a 4-3 win.

Simmons/NY Daily News

 

 

I was a bit surprised about Rafael Soriano‘s implosion that cost the Yankees the second game in the series with the Twins.  His career high three walks in an inning proved fatal as the Twins rallied in a game CC Sabathia should have won.  But the bigger problem was avoiding the media after the game.  Being in New York is about being a stand up guy through thick and thin.  Frustration is understandable, but unfortunately, there is more to baseball than just a game.  I think Soriano will learn from the situation and of course being around Mariano Rivera is sure to have its positive impact.  There’s not too many people that understand New York better than Mo and Derek Jeter.

 

I was really sorry to hear that Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka broke his leg on a hard slide at second base by Nick Swisher.  I thought it was very classy of Swisher to visit Niskioka after the game to express his apology.  Swish likes to have fun but he’s certainly not a dirty player and it would be unfair to pin that tag on him because of the incident.  I thought Nishioka has done an admirable job in his MLB debut season and wish him the very best for a full and speedy recovery.

 

For all the problems that A.J. Burnett has endured in New York, I am amazed about the stat that he is undefeated in April.  Of course, with today’s win, the streak continues.  I want to say that Burnett is pitching so much better than last year and I don’t have the fear I used to have when he took the mound.  But still, I guess I had better wait until May before forming any opinions.  Whatever it is, I hope that A.J. can keep it going. 

 

Who would have thought the biggest pitching concern in the rotation would be Phil Hughes?…

 

Freddy Garcia did miss out on his start because of a rain postponement when Joe Girardi skipped his turn in the rotation for the next game.  So the Yankees still don’t know what they have at the back end of the rotation.  If Hughes implodes again, I’ll definitely be concerned since it will put a fair amount of pressure on Ivan Nova. 

 

I am very surprised that both the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays are a combined 0-12.  Despite the slow start, I still recognize that the Boston Red Sox have a very powerful and formidable team.  With 156 games to go, I am sure the Red Sox will have a higher winning percentage than most teams over the same period of games and will be leading the way into October.  Actually, I am not too excited about the Yankees facing their most bitter rival at a time when they’ve been backed into a corner.  A win or two against the Yankees can definitely kick start the Red Sox Machine and give them the momentum to charge forward.   I don’t think the series will be a sweep in either direction but it is going be a hard-fought battle, and the winner will have their share of bumps and bruises.

 

 

Sox turn to Lester

AP 

 

 

Of course, with the Yankees playing the Red Sox, it is time for yet another wager with my good friend, Julia, of Julia’s Rants.  For the latest bet, the loser will write a critical analysis of what ails his/her team.  The loser will also have to write about why the other team is better.  Pride and ego will definitely have to be checked at the door for this one.  The opening game of the series on Friday pits two huge question marks against each other…Phil Hughes versus John Lackey.  The game will most likely set the tone for the rest of the series.  May the best team win…which, of course, are the Yankees!  ;)

 

It should be a great weekend for baseball!

 

–Scott

 

 

 

 

Seriously?…


As if the off-season hasn’t been difficult enough regarding the Yankees’ starting rotation, now comes word that the Yankees have signed soon-to-be 38 year old pitcher Bartolo Colon.  Sorry, but in my opinion, this signing has no upside.  Colon hasn’t pitched since 2009 and he has not started at least 20 games since his Cy Young Year with Chicago in 2005.  When he pitched for the Boston Red Sox, he just struck me as old and out of shape.  I just don’t see a comeback season in Colon.  I know that he’s probably just fodder for spring training as the Yankees look to see if they can find some nuggets in the scrap heap.  

My favorite quote about Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez signing with Tampa Bay was that the Rays are now the early favorite for the 2004 World Series.  I guess that means the Yankees view Colon and his 18 2004 wins as a potential obstacle for Damon and Ramirez.  Maybe Major League Baseball needs a Senior Tour like the PGA.  Oh, nevermind, that’s what we are going to see in the MLB next season…

The Yankees have apparently offered Andy Pettitte $12 million to return for a final season.  I know that Andy is still in Texas deciding his future (how long does it really take?) but it is definitely a reality check when a baseball player can view $12 million like I do with 12 dollars. I am ready for Andy to make his decision…either way.  I know the Yankees are allegedly not waiting for his decision, but this needs to end.  

I liked Brian Cashman’s comment this week that the Boston Red Sox have the better team but the Yankees have the better bullpen.  He definitely wants the world to know that he was against the Rafael Soriano signing.  I was listening to MLB Radio this morning and the hosts were speculating that Cash sounded like a guy who was trying to talk his way out of a job.  Frankly, I’d have to agree.  When George Steinbrenner was alive, I remember hearing how much the organization admired Jim Bowden.  In light of his failure with the Washington Nationals a few years ago, I wonder if he is still a favorite son.  Whether it is Bowden or someone else, it appears the team might be ready for a new general manager and Cash ready for new ownership when his current deal expires at the end of the season.

If the Yankees finish third or fourth, they may be looking for more than just a new general manager.

–Scott

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!…


Understandably, the signing was met with mixed reaction by Yankees fans, but personally, I liked the move to sign Andruw Jones as the team’s fourth outfielder.



98486113, Sports Illustrated/Getty Images /Sports Illustrated
Brad Mangin/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

Marcus Thames came up with a few clutch hits last season but it was fearful to watch him play the outfield.  With Jones, the Yankees have someone that can spell all three outfield positions and can be counted on to provide adequate defense.  With the bat, when hitting in his spots, he can still perform as evidenced by his 19 home runs with the Chicago White Sox last season.  

I realize that Andruw is a shell of the superstar that he used to be despite being only 33, however, he is still young enough to turn it around for a few seasons if he can make a commitment to conditioning and the other factors that make older players like Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter successful.  I know, he’ll never hit 51 home runs again or even 30 or 40, but so long as he can hit a few clutch shots, I’ll be satisfied.  The Yankees are only paying him $2 million for one year…a far cry from the $18 million per season the Los Angeles Dodgers were paying him only a couple of seasons ago.  

The sad part of the season is that it meant the Yankees would not be pursuing Johnny Damon.  Jones had the advantage of being the better defensive player (at this stage of their respective careers) and that ensured him of the Yankees primary focus.  Damon, meanwhile, has signed with the Tampa Bay Rays where he’ll see greater playing time than he would have with the Yankees.  Aside from all the love and positive statements that Johnny will be professing about Tampa and the Rays, I wish him all the best.  


Johnny Damon Tigers Alex Rodriguez Derek Jeter Yankees
John Dunn/Newsday/MCT

Speaking of the Rays, they also signed Manny Ramirez as their DH.  I was a bit surprised by that move considering that the Rays have been so selective about bringing on quality, team-first guys.  Perhaps they feel that Damon will be able to keep Manny in check.  Or perhaps it really was just a move to help drive up attendance.  Either way, it is going to be hard to take the Rays as seriously as I have in the past.  It could be a long season in Florida or maybe the joke’s on us.  Time will tell…

Chicago White Sox DH Manny Ramirez talks with former Boston Red Sox teammate David Ortiz Saturday at Fenway Park.
Townson/AP

Back to the Yankees, they’ve made all the necessary moves…except the final one or two pieces…namely the #4 and #5 spots in the starting rotation.  When I heard that the Detroit Tigers had designated pitcher Armando Galarraga for assignment after signing free agent pitcher Brad Penny, I was a bit skeptical and leery of Armando.  However, after additional thought, he might be someone the Yankees should pursue.  So long as they don’t have to relinquish any top shelf talent, the gamble would be worth the risk.  He might blossom under the tutelage of pitching coach Larry Rothschild.  He is the type of pitcher that I’ve wanted the Yankees to acquire.  Someone who hasn’t quite fulfilled his promise or potential but who is still young enough to have that breakout season.  Maybe Armando is that guy…


Umpire Jim Joyce, pitcher Armando Galarraga, wire
Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press/MCT

If the Rafael Soriano signing was Hal Steinbrenner’s idea, hats off to him.  It was a bold move and I have been concerned that Hal, as an educated bean counter, would not make those seemingly crazy moves to improve the team.  I should qualify that by saying that I do not want to see another Ed Whitson or Steve Kemp signing, but you want an owner who sometimes sets aside rationale and conservative thought to go with a gut instinct.  When I first heard that the Yankees had signed Soriano, my immediate thought was that Hank Steinbrenner was behind the move.  Perhaps it was and he sold his brother on the idea, but if it was Hal’s idea, that’s even better.  As a fan, I do not view GM Brian Cashman any less than I did before.  Ownership always has the right to have the final say and of course it’s their money.  Brian does what is right for the organization.  The Steinbrenner family is responsible for ensuring a marketable and performing asset for the YES Network and their Yankee Stadium season ticket holders.  




–Scott

Finally, there’s action in the bullpen!…


After the long, off-season drought where the Yankees didn’t succumb to we, the fans, comes word that the Yankees have signed former Tampa Bay Rays closer Rafael Soriano…



The signing was reported by SI’s Jon Heyman according to MLB Trade Rumors. 

This is great news!  With the problems facing the starting rotation, the Yankees desperately needed to have a shut-down combination in the bullpen (particularly after Kerry Wood spurned the Yankees money to take a “hometown” discount from the Chicago Cubs).  The team knows what they have with David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain, and I don’t think the team could have withstood continued inconsistency from those two during the upcoming season.  Perhaps they pitch lights out in 2011, but fortunately, it will be in the 7th inning or earlier giving the Yankees the opportunity to really shorten up games.

When I say the Yankees didn’t succumb to the fans, I mean that they didn’t overreact and simply stayed the course.  They were able to take advantage of Soriano’s free agent slide, although it did cost closer dollars (allegedly 3 years for $35 million, however, he can opt out after either the first or second year).  This gives the Yankees some time to make improvements on the starting rotation and hopefully allow Robertson or Chamberlain to prove that they can set up in 2012.  

On a sad note, I caught the news blurb that Touched by an Angel star John Dye has passed away at the very young age of 47 due to a heart attack.  That’s very sad news and it definitely makes one realize how short our stay is here.  May he rest in peace…



–Scott


I Know What It Must Feel Like To Be An Angels Fan…


As it stands today, and I realize that it is still early
January, the Boston Red Sox are clearly the class of the AL.  The Yankees inability to snag a frontline
pitcher will haunt the team, and the missed opportunities to upgrade in other
areas will cost the team valuable victories in the highly competitive AL East.


The 2004 Red Sox team celebrates after winning the World Series in St. Louis Wednesday night.

Jim Davis/Boston Globe


At the moment, Ivan Nova represents the #4 starter behind
CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett. 
I’d argue that Burnett should be considered no more than a #4 if he can’t
turn it around.  Meanwhile, other teams
are getting stronger.  The latest AL team
to improve was the Texas Rangers with the addition of former Boston third
baseman Adrian Beltre.  I know that the
Rangers, like the Yankees, still need more starting pitching, but they’ve
clearly improved the offensive and defensive makeup of the team. 

It appears that the Chicago Cubs have acquired pitcher
Matt Garza from the Tampa Bay Rays.  At
face value, it would appear the move weakens the Rays for the short term,
particularly in light of the previous losses (namely Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano,
and Carlos Pena).  However, the Rays have
a rich farm system and of course they needed a spot in the rotation for high
end prospect Jeremy Hellickson.  Everyone
seems to be writing off the Rays, but I fully expect them to be in the thick of
the race.  Somehow, they are the New
England Patriots of baseball…they may suffer huge personnel loss but there’s
always someone ready to step up their play as a replacement. 


Tom Brady (left) and wide reciever Deion Branch differ on how far New England is from the goal line.

Jim Davis/Boston Globe


The rest of the division has gotten better, while the
Yankees have simply gotten older. 


Last year, when the Rays trotted out Joaquin Benoit and
Rafael Soriano, it was game over.  As it
stands, the Yankees set up crew consists of David Robertson and Joba
Chamberlain…a combo that was not consistent last year and forced the deadline
trade for Kerry Wood who solidified the position.  I would have really liked to have seen the
Yanks pursue Soriano for the set up role, especially after his agent expressed
his willingness to set up for Mariano Rivera. 
I was disappointed when GM Brian Cashman came out today to say there was
no chance of a Soriano signing since it would cost a first round pick.  I get it. 
The farm system is important and it has taken years for the Yankees to
rebuild the system after the cupboards were left bare.  But still, it is hard not to think about how
effective a bullpen duo of Soriano-Rivera would be.  It would probably be the best one-two punch
since the days of Rivera-Wetteland in the mid 90’s. 


Tampa Bay Rays closer Rafael Soriano racts after picking up the save in the Rays 5-3 win over the Seattle Mariners during a baseball game Friday, Sept. 24, 2010, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

AP

It definitely sounds as though Andy Pettitte won’t be
making the trip to Florida next month.  I
want Andy to come back but I am okay if he decides to stay home.  If he came and his heart wasn’t in it, he
just wouldn’t be the same pitcher we’ve come to rely upon.  I wanted Minnesota Vikings QB Brett Favre to
come back this year and he did after much coaxing by his teammates, but the
results were horrific.  Andy either has
to be “all in” or he should go ahead and hang up the glove.  I would hate to see Andy leave with a Javier
Vazquez type of season. 

The Yankees have made minor moves this off-season that I’ve
liked.  The latest is the pick-up of
former Chicago Cubs reliever Brian Schlitter. 
While he was not effective in his brief time with the major league club
last season, I have to believe this signing had much input from former Cubs,
and now Yankees, pitching coach Larry Rothschild.  If Larry felt the Yanks should move on
Schlitter, then I feel he showed Larry enough to prove that he could be a
valuable and effective arm in the pen. 



There’s still time for the Yankees to make the necessary
moves to improve the roster and certainly if an “all in” Andy Pettitte signs up
for a final season, the team will look much better than it does today.  


Underachieve.JPG


If they maintain the status quo, I can’t help but wonder
how intense the pressure will be on manager Joe Girardi.  Can he survive a season where he finishes
third (or worse) in the division?  I am
not so sure.  His best friend is his new
three year contract.  Managing General
Partner Hal Steinbrenner is a numbers guy, and unlike his father, might not be
so willing to “eat” a contract.  As much
as I would dislike the move, I can’t help but think that the Yankees failure to
land a quality frontline starter has enhanced the chances that we will see
Bobby Valentine in the Yankees dugout. 
Ugh, I hope it doesn’t come to that…


bobby-valentine-new-york-mets-espn-929.jpg

AP


Sadly, today brought the loss of another former Yankee
(Ryne Duren).  Duren was a reliever for
the Yanks in the late 50’s and early 60’s, and was known for his coke bottle
glasses and 100 mph fastball.  I liked
Yogi Berra’s quote about Duren:  “Ryne could throw the heck out of the ball. He threw
fear in some hitters. I remember he had several pair of glasses but it didn’t
seem like he saw good in any of them
.”  Duren
passed away in Florida on Thursday at the age of 81. 


Ryne Sandberg was named after ex-pitcher Ryne Duren whose real name is Rinold.

Diamond Images/Getty Images


Congratulations to Jim Harbaugh, the new head coach of
the San Francisco 49ers.  My favorite
Harbaugh moment still has to be in 1992 when the Chicago Bears were leading the
Minnesota Vikings 20-0 in the fourth quarter and the Vikings came back to win,
21-20.  I can still remember the
frustrated Harbaugh wondering what hit him. 
Nevertheless, I do wish him much success as he attempts to revitalize
the 49ers.  It should be fun next season
when the Niners play the Baltimore Ravens, coached by Harbaugh’s brother
John. 



Well, I guess I’ll go back to waiting for the Yankees to
make a move…zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

 

–Scott

 

 

A Reason To Be Grateful…


I have been a Yankees fan for exactly 36 years! 


How do I know?  I
became a Yankees fan the day that free agent pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter,
formerly of the Oakland A’s, signed with the New York Yankees.  The date was December 31, 1974.  Prior to the signing, like many other people,
I had been a fan of the Athletics.


Catfish Hunter

Sport/Getty Images


I was fairly young so my deep interest in baseball didn’t
really materialize until after I had become a Yankees fan.  Each year, from the 1975 season until about 1982,
I kept a scrapbook on the season.  I’d
record box scores and transactions, and would collect news clippings and
photographs. 

I think it was during the 1981 season that I showed my
scrapbook to then Yankee Oscar Gamble and he autographed it for me.  I still carry these scrapbooks around with me
although they’ve been packed in storage for years.  One of those days, I will pull them and
re-live those great seasons of Catfish, Thurman Munson, Ron Guidry, Sparky
Lyle, Rich Gossage, Graig Nettles, Willie Randolph, Chris Chambliss, Bucky
Dent, Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin, and others.


 


Becoming  a Yankees
fan was easy.  One of the very first
books I recall reading as a child was a biography about Lou Gehrig.  I was probably only 7 or 8 at the time and I
was so in awe of Gehrig and the history of the Yankees.  I am not sure why I didn’t become a Yankees
fan then, but at that point, Fran Tarkenton and the Minnesota Vikings were my
main spectator sports passion.  Baseball
did not really capture my attention until the personalities of the championship
Oakland teams of the early 70’s hit the scene.


Rollie Fingers

AP  


It is hard to believe that it’s been over 10 years since
Catfish passed away.  He was a great
Yankee and one of the best pitchers of his era. 
I will forever be grateful to him for bringing me with him to the
Yankees. 


88748041, Sports Illustrated/Getty Images /Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated/Getty Images


As for the current Yankees, not much has been happening
but that’s to be expected this time of year. 
Once we get past the holidays, I am sure that we will see movement on
the Andy Pettitte front (will he retire as currently expected by many?).  While no frontline starting pitcher looms on
the horizon, the Yankees can help minimize the deficiencies of the starting
staff by building a superior bullpen.  I
remain hopeful the team finds a way to bring reliever Rafael Soriano on board
to set up Mariano Rivera.  That would
allow David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain to focus on the seventh inning and
prior to really shorten up the games for the starters. 


Rafael Soriano, who is under contract only for this season, surprisingly became available from the Braves and cost the Rays only a prospect in their biggest offseason move.

Getty Images


I really cringed when I heard that Bartolo Colon was
saying that several teams were interested in him, including the Yankees.  That is definitely one signing that I do NOT
want to see!


bartolo_colon_with_dominican_team


Patience, patience, patience…I know, that’s what Brian
Cashman keeps saying.  So, we’ll see what
the new year brings us!




Happy New Year to everyone!  May 2011 be your best year yet!  J



–Scott


Looking Up at the Red Sox is not Fun!…


So far, it feels like the Yankees are on the outside
looking in for the Hot Stove League. 


 

Missing out on Cliff Lee, they’ve made some under the
radar moves, but that’s it.  The Boston
Red Sox, who potentially had a much stronger team than the Yankees LAST season
if not for the injuries, have significantly improved this off-season with the
additions of Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Bobby Jenks, Matt Albers and Dan Wheeler.
  At this point, I’d have to say that the
Red Sox are the favorites to win the American League Eastern Division.


Fans celebrate on Brookline Avenue near Fenway Park after the Boston Red Sox defeated the Colorado Rockies  to win the World Series.

Getty Images


Today, the Milwaukee Brewers stunned everyone by
acquiring Kansas City Royals ace Zack Greinke. 
After their earlier acquisition of former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher
Shaun Marcum, the Brewers now feature a very formidable trio of Yovani
Gallardo, Greinke, and Marcum.  Randy
Wolf is not a slouch at #4 so the Brewers certainly have a play-off contending
rotation. 


zack-greinke-kansas-city-royals-american-league-cy-young-award-1117.jpg

The Star-Ledger


There was no attempt by the Yankees to acquire Greinke,
and I have mixed feelings.  On one hand,
there is the doubt about whether or not he could have handled the pressure that
goes with playing in the Bronx given his prior anxiety problems.  Greinke didn’t shy away from New York when
the Yankees were rumored as a potential destination but family members
apparently echoed a different sentiment. 
I would certainly hate to give away the likes of Jesus Montero, Dellin
Betances, Eduardo Nunez, Manny Banuelos, and others for what could have been Ed
Whitson II or worse, A.J. Burnett II. 



If the Yankees get Andy Pettitte for one more season (and
it’s still a big IF), there are still so many questions about the rotation.
Andy is not getting any younger and his potential for injury is increased as
each year passes.  Ivan Nova was solid
during his brief audition, but he does not have a high ceiling as a
starter.  So, the only sure bets in the
rotation would be CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes. 
I expect Hughes to be stronger in 2011 than last year when he faded at
the end.  But I recognize that you have
to wonder what if he isn’t able to take it to another level like Sox starters
Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz have.  The
mention of Sergio Mitre in the starting rotation gives me reason for worry
before the first pitch of 2011 is even thrown.



There have been a number of reports that the Yankees
should pursue Felix Hernandez, but those are simply pipe dreams.  There is absolutely no way that the Seattle
Mariners are going to trade King Felix. 


mlb_a_hernandez_600.jpg


What’s left?  I am
not sure.  There is not really anything
out there that excites me.  But if the
Yankees do nothing, their best hope is a Wild Card slot and the worst case
scenario is potentially a 4th place finish.  I know, that’s a very pessimistic view, but
the Red Sox, at this point, are that much better and the other teams in the AL
East, except maybe the Tampa Bay Rays, have improved.  The Rays cannot be underestimated because
they’ve been able to replace veterans with youth, so there’s always the chance
they will be every bit as good in 2011 as they were last year when they won the
AL East. 

I fully expect improved performances by the Buck
Showalter-led Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays, so 2011 may be the
toughest year yet in baseball’s toughest division. 


Buck Showalter

Mark Goldman/Icon SMI


Of the moves the Yankees have made, I do like the
acquisitions of catcher Russell Martin and reliever Pedro Feliciano.  I also think the Yankees should pony up and
pay closer dollars to free agent reliever Rafael Soriano unless they can entice
the Royals to continue their rebuilding by unloading Joakim Soria.  I know that Mariano Rivera had a great 2010,
but let’s face it, he will be 41 years old next season.  At some point, even Hall of Famers begin to
fade.  The Yankees need to be prepared by
having a closer-in-waiting.  Given the
shortcomings in the starting rotation, a superior bullpen is a must.


Rafael Soriano has coverted 23 of 24 save opportunites in his first season with Tampa Bay.

Tampa Tribune


I can only hope that GM Brian Cashman is actively working
this holiday season and will be at work tomorrow morning dialing his fellow GM’s
for his Christmas wish list.  If he’s
home enjoying his family, that’s sweet, but it spells doom for the Yankees in
2011.  Just sayin’….



–Scott



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