Thursday, March 31, 2011

CC on Letterman Last Night

Opening Day: Yankees vs. Tigers

Opening Day
Yankees vs. Tigers
Yankees Stadium - Bronx, NY
Game Time: 1:05 p.m.

Here are the lineups:

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C

Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

TIGERS (0-0)
Austin Jackson CF
Will Rhymes 2B
Magglio Ordonez RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Victor Martinez DH
Ryan Raburn LF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Brandon Inge 3B
Alex Avila C

Pitching: RHP Justin Verlander (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

"You always get a special kick on opening day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you're a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen."

- Joe DiMaggio

Opening Day Roster and Pitching Matchups for Series vs. Detroit

Here is your 2011 opening day roster:

Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C


Gustavo Molina C
Andruw Jones OF
Eric Chavez 1B/3B
Eduardo Nunez SS/2B


CC Sabathia
A.J. Burnett
Phil Hughes
Ivan Nova
Freddy Garcia


Mariano Rivera
Rafael Soriano
Joba Chamberlain
Dave Robertson
Boone Logan
Bartolo Colon
Luis Ayala

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Thursday @ 1:05 PM - TV: YES, ESPN
LHP CC Sabathia (21-7, 3.18 ERA) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (18-9, 3.37)

Game 2: Saturday @ 4:10 PM - TV: FOX
RHP A.J. Burnett (10-15, 5.26) vs. RHP Brad Penny (3-4, 3.23)

Game 3: Sunday @ 1:05 PM - TV: YES
RHP Phil Hughes (18-8, 4.19) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (12-11, 3.50)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Granderson Will Play Tomorrow

From Andrew Marchand:
Curtis Granderson came through his workouts in Tampa successfully today and will be in the Yankees lineup tomorrow, a Yankee official confirmed.
He also reported that an official announcement should be made later today.

One More Day

With Opening Day a little less than 24 hours away I'm interested to see what you guys think about the upcoming season. Post your predictions below.

Also, according to ESPN NY, this will be tomorrow's lineup:

Brett Gardner LF/CF*
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Curtis Granderson CF/Andruw Jones LF*
Russell Martin C

*--Contingent on Granderson's availability

Ayala Completes The Pen

Via Mark Feinsand:
Luis Ayala will be the final man on the Yankees' pitching staff to open the season, as the Bombers chose the veteran righthander over young lefty Steve Garrison.


Ayala, who came to camp as a non-roster invite, did not fly to New York with the team on Tuesday, but was headed north on a flight Wednesday morning.
In 8.2 innings this spring, Ayala posted a 1.08 ERA while striking out 8 and not walking a batter.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Seven-Day Disabled List Implemented for Concussions

While concussions may not be a pressing issue within Major League Baseball, I cannot help but feel that this is an important step in the means by which professional sports handles what amounts to a very serious health risk. Cash Kruth of provides a great deal of insight into this new policy here. What follows is an edited selection of items that caught my eye.
"I believe that Major League Baseball is taking a major step forward on a vital shared goal with the MLB Players Association," Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said. "This policy, which reflects the collective expertise of many of the foremost authorities in the field, will benefit players, umpires and clubs alike, and I am proud of the spirit of cooperation that has led us to this result."


"I like it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I like it because sometimes that two or three days where a guy can't play can really put you in a hole where you don't want to send him down for 15 days. So, I think it's great."

The procedure for clearing a player or umpire to return to activity includes a club-submitted "Return to Play" form to Major League Baseball's medical director. The submission of the form is required regardless of whether the player was placed on the disabled list.

The policy also includes mandatory baseline neuropsychological testing requirements for players and umpires during Spring Training, or when a player joins a new club during the season. This already has been common practice for most clubs.

New procedures will be implemented for evaluating players and umpires for possible concussions after such incidents as being hit in the head by a pitched, batted or thrown ball or bat; a collision with a player, umpire or fixed object; or any time the head or neck of a player or umpire is forcibly rotated.

The Commissioner's Office will conduct an orientation for club medical staffs regarding the new protocols, and each club will be required to have a mild traumatic brain injury specialist in its home city.

"The MLBPA is pleased to have worked with the Commissioner's Office, members of club training and medical staffs and some of today's leading experts in neurology to develop new protocols for the diagnosis and treatment of concussions," said MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner. "Player safety is a major concern of the collective bargaining parties, and these new protocols and procedures should enhance our ongoing efforts to protect the health of players and umpires."
The article also contains a list of all of the committee members that worked on this new policy, and it's a fairly impressive and ambitious group. Here's hoping that these measures help to prevent a redux of Morneau's 2010 season, as well as future ramifications like those suffered by former NFL players.

Brett Gardner to Lead Off in the Opener!/JackCurryYES/status/52768824520478720
I've been a fan of moving Gardner to the leadoff spot since last year so clearly I think this is long overdue. Good call by Joe.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bench Updates

There are no real surprises here. The Yankees don't want to rush Montero or Romine (or kick start their service clocks unnecessarily), and I can't quite blame them - particularly with Cervelli likely to return by early May. Nunez outperformed Pena in Spring Training, though neither impressed, and he's more of a threat at the plate and on the bases. And, as good as Vazquez performed, I think Chavez was the proper choice. His swing is tailor-made for Yankee Stadium, he can play 3B, and he has an actual track record, albeit one seriously hindered by injuries. Vazquez is a nice story, but his minor league numbers don't really portend much success in the Majors.

Jones is locked-in as the fourth outfielder in the Yankees ideal roster construct, though he could start the first few games while Granderson recovers from his oblique strain. It seems likely that the newly acquired Chris Dickerson will serve as the fourth outfielder during that time frame, and I could see him performing quite well should either Granderson or Gardner end up missing time - that being said, I hope such a scenario does not arise.

Yet Another Top Prospects List - Fangraphs Edition

Just when I thought I was out ... they pull me back in. The following Yankees made the cut:
005. Jesus Montero
018. Manny Banuelos
040. Gary Sanchez
057. Dellin Betances
100. Austin Romine
Here are the other top prospects lists that we've covered this offseason:
Baseball Prospectus
Frankie Piliere
Keith Law

Feliciano Will Start The Season On The DL

From George A. King III:
After leading the majors in appearances for the past three seasons with the Mets, the 34-year-old lefty was expected to be durable and effective against lefties.

Now, he is going to open the season on the disabled list with a muscle problem in the back of the left shoulder.

"He played catch [yesterday] and didn't feel great," manager Joe Girardi said yesterday before a 7-6 loss to the Twins at Hammond Stadium. "It's hard to think he would start [the season]."


Girardi added lefty Steve Garrison to the mix of arms to replace Feliciano, who appeared in 266 games in the past three years. Also being considered are Mark Prior and Luis Ayala.

Romulo Sanchez was mentioned earlier in the process, but the Yankees removed him from yesterday's travel roster because they were discussing a trade involving the right-hander who is out of options.
Hopefully this isn't something that lingers.

Either way, the Yankees will be able to manage without him for the first few weeks so I wouldn't be too concerned.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Karl Ravech Interviews The Captain

This Week in Yankees History (3/27-4/2)

This Week in Yankees History 

March 27th - April 2nd

March 27th

1879 - Future Hall Of Fame Yankees Manager and MLB INF Miller Huggins was born in Cincinnati, Ohio (1879-1929). Adept at getting on base, Huggins will led the National league in walks 4 times, score 100 or more runs 3 times, and regularly collect 30 or more stolen bases and an on base percentage near .400. He will start as a player-manager with the Cardinals before heading to the Yankees in 1918. Huggins will led the Yankees to 6 AL pennants and 3 World Series titles, and his "Murderers' Row" club, which won 110 games before sweeping the 1927 World Series, has been considered one of the greatest MLB teams in history. He died during the 1929 AL season on September 25, 1929 from exhaustion and blood poisoning. In 1964, Miller Huggins was elected to the Baseball’s Hall Of Fame by the Veterans Committee. His New York Yankees manager career record was 1,067-719 .596 (1918-1929), fourth on the Yankees all time Managers wins list.

1910 - Former Yankees P Steve “Smokey” Sundra (1936,1938-1940) was born. On December 11, 1935, Steve Sundra was traded by the Cleveland Indians along with P Monte Pearson to the New York Yankees for P Johnny Allen. Steve went 21-11 in 77 games with Yankees before being traded to the Washington Senators in 1941.

1941 -The New York Yankees sell veteran P Steve Sundra to the Washington Senators, who had posted an 11-1 record in 1939. He slipped to a 4-6 record during the 1940 AL season.

1946 - Former Yankees C/DH/INF Bill “Suds” Sudakis (1974) was born. On December 7, 1973, Bill Sudakis was purchased by the New York Yankees from the Texas Rangers. Bill hit .232 in 89 games with the Yankees in 1974. On December 3,1974, Bill was traded by the Yankees to the California Angels for P Skip Lockwood.

Lance Pendleton Returned From Astros

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Injury Updates As Opening Day Approaches

From Bryan Hoch:
Left-hander Pedro Feliciano may not be ready for the March 31 opener against the Tigers and could begin the season on the disabled list. Feliciano still feels discomfort behind his left shoulder and is scheduled to try playing catch again on Sunday.

Additionally, Curtis Granderson is continuing treatment on his strained oblique – he swung a bat today, ran the bases and threw – and says he feels like he has a “50-50″ chance of being ready for March 31.
 Hoch also reported that Brian Cashman said that the team could wait until their March 30th workout day at The Stadium to determine if Granderson will head for the DL.

The Rotation is Set

From Marc Carig:
He walked into Joe Girardi's office, heard the news he's been anxious to receive, then slipped back into the clubhouse to text his brothers in the Dominican Republic.

Ivan Nova tried to play it cool this morning when he learned that he had made the Yankees' starting rotation. But the 24-year-old couldn't help but smile, especially as teammates came by to shake his hand.

"This is a big step for me right now," Nova said. "I was waiting for that moment."

So began a day of decisions here at Yankees camp. Girardi announced Freddy Garcia will be in the rotation as the fifth starter while Bartolo Colon will work out of the bullpen, in a role similar to the one filled by Alfredo Aceves in 2009.
So as most people (myself included) predicted earlier this spring this is your 2011 Yankees starting rotation:

1 LHP CC Sabathia
2 RHP AJ Burnett
3 RHP Phil Hughes
4 RHP Ivan Nova
5 RHP Freddy Garcia

Friday, March 25, 2011

Gustavo Molina Now In Lead To Be Yanks Backup Catcher?

From Wallace Matthews:
This afternoon, Joe Girardi let it slip that Gustavo Molina, who has appeared in 14 games this spring but come to the plate only 13 times (.077, one single), has at least pulled even with the wunderkinds, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine and in fact may now be the favorite to win the backup catcher position.

"He's a guy we're looking at,'' Girardi said. "Molina does have big league experience. We've given the young kids a lot of looks and we're giving Molina some looks now, too, so that we know we feel like we're making the right decision; what's right for everyone, the team, these young guys' careers. These are kids that have only caught every day one year. That's a decision that we have to make, or do you want to go with a veteran guy that has caught in the big leagues and knows how to do it?''

When it was pointed out to Girardi that is sounded as if Molina's chances to make the team had increased recently, if only because the other two hadn't progressed as hoped, the manager said "Good observation.''
Marc Carig and Ben Shpigel are reporting the same thing.

Yanks Trade Mitre to the Brewers

(Update) In return for Mitre, the Yankees got outfielder Chris Dickerson from the Brewers. Here's what RotoWorld had to say about the trade:
Not a bad get for the Yanks, considering how far Mitre's stock had fallen inside the organization. Dickerson is an athletic outfielder with a decent .257/.356/.403 career batting line and very good speed. He will help ease the pain of Curtis Granderson's sudden oblique injury, either as a member of the season-opening big league roster or from afar at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.!/jcrasnick/status/51298072294195200
This likely means that the Yanks are going with either Color or Garcia as their long reliever to start the year. 

King: Garcia Could Land 5th Spot in Rotation Today

From George A. King III:
And, even though Colon's numbers are better and he is throwing very well, Garcia remains the favorite because he won 12 games last year and logged 157 innings.

Despite the strong spring by Colon, the Yankees aren't sure what he can deliver innings-wise, because he hasn't pitched in a big-league game since 2009 due to arm trouble.

Garcia can exercise a March 29 opt-out if he isn't on the roster; Colon's date is March 31.

Wednesday, Girardi said he didn't need to see any more out of the 34-year-old Garcia during yesterday's minor-league game -- when the righty worked five innings against the Phillies' Triple-A club, allowing a run, four hits and fanning three.

It was an indication that the manager was leaning toward Garcia. And while there was plenty of Yankee brass watching Garcia, Girardi wasn't among them.
He also mentioned that if Garcia does get the job, it doesn't necessarily mean Colon will be released sent to the minors because there's a chance he could work out of the pen for the Yanks to start the season.

Yanks Sign Millwood

(Update) According to Buster Olney, "The Yankees' deal with Kevin Millwood is for $1.5 m/ base -- but that's prorated and won't start until May 1 at earliest; could opt out then." He also won't start getting that money until he makes the big league roster.

Aaron Gleeman is reporting that Millwood "can earn an additional $3.5 million in incentives, with $500,000 each for 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 starts and $1 million for 30 starts."

Brian Cashman continued his valiant attempt to sign every available washed up pitcher in baseball today by signing Kevin Millwood. Here's more from Jon Heyman:!/SI_JonHeyman/status/51263493676077056
At least it's a minor league deal. Besides that, I have nothing good to say about this signing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hughes Brings Back The Slider!/Ledger_Yankees/status/50731441549623296
As Joe from RAB points out in this excellent post, this isn't exactly a new pitch for Hughes. As you can see below, while still a prospect Baseball America mentioned Hughes' slider several times over the years:

2005: “Hughes changes a hitter’s sightline with a slider that at times has good bite and depth.”

2006: “He has a hard, late-biting slider that the Yankees wouldn’t let him throw in last year, but he likes it better than his curveball and has the go-ahead to use it again in 2006. … As he reintroduces his slider, he should become a starter with well-above-average control and above-average command who throws three plus pitches for strikes.”

2007: “Hughes’ greatest accomplishment as a pro has been to forsake his slider in favor of a knockout curveball, which is more of a strikeout pitch and produces less stress on his arm. … While his slider is still a good pitch, he rarely throws it in games anymore.”

For a pitch that had potential, it's good to see him going back to it. 

As Joe also mentions in his post, the pitch "will go a long way in making [Hughes] a more complete pitcher," and if the pitch is effective, that certainly will be the case. Obviously it's not something that he just picked up last week, so I'm fairly confident the pitch will be a good one for Phil. Let's hope it is, because whether he takes that next step or not could make or break the 2011 season.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yanks Claim Jose Ortengano off Waivers
The 23-year-old southpaw is 25-31 with a 4.05 ERA in 101 minor league games (78 starts). He struggled last season going a combined 5-15 in 28 games (27 starts), mostly in Triple-A. In 131 innings he allowed 87 ER on 163 hits, walked 51 and struck out 99.

Yanks Farm System 5th in Baseball America Rankings

I just received a complimentary digital edition of Baseball America and one of the articles was their organization talent rankings. They evaluate "each farm system based on its prospect eligible players heading into the 2011 season. [Their] ratings consider both impact talent and overall depth..."

As the headline says, the Yankees ranked 5th, jumping 17 spots from the 2010 rank of 22nd. The rest of the top five were Kansas City (1), Tampa Bay (2), Atlanta (3) and Toronto (4).

BA lists Jesus Montero, Gary Sanchez, Manny Banuelo, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman (the obvious choices) as the Yankees "Impact Talent". The article also calls Montero and Sanchez "the two best catching prospects in the baseball."
New York climbed higher in our rankings from 2010-11 than any organization, not so much because it added new talent but more because many of its prospects had breakout years.

Kernan: Posada Open To Playing Somewhere Else Next Season

From Kevin Kernan:
Jorge Posada will turn 40 this season. This is not the end of the line, though. If all goes well in his new designated-hitter role, Posada wants to come back to the Yankees again in 2012.

If they don't want him back, Posada admitted, it would be difficult after playing in the Yankees organization his entire career, but he would look elsewhere to find a place to play.

"I feel like I can keep playing, I feel like I can still contribute," Posada told The Post yesterday.

"That's the toughest one," Posada said of the possibility of moving to another team. "I really don't want to go anywhere else. I would like to stay here."

If the Yankees closed the door on him, though, and Posada still thought he could contribute, he said he would look to other teams.

"I would, if it's the right situation," he explained. "It's got to be the right situation."
I hate the idea of Posada playing anywhere else, but at the same time it's unfair to blame him if the Yankees don't want to bring him back and he feels like he can still play. I hope it doesn't come to that.

Either way, now isn't really the time for this discussion, I just wanted to pass along the quote to you guys. There will be plenty of time for this after the season is over, but for now it's time to focus on Opening Day and the season ahead.

All MLB Teams Rose in Value Except For Padres, Indians, and of course, the Mets

From Forbes:
The average MLB franchise is now worth $523 million, an all-time high and 7% more than last year. All of the league’s teams rose in value except for three: the New York Mets, San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians. The increase in team values is the result of greater revenue for teams playing in new stadiums, like the New York Yankees (up 6% in value to $1.7 billion) and Minnesota Twins (up 21% to $491 million) as well as the Florida Marlins (up 13% to $360 million), who are scheduled to move into their new stadium in 2012.

Strong attendance and local television ratings boosted the values for teams like the Philadelphia Phillies (up 13% to $609 million) and Cincinnati Reds (up 13% to $375 million). The Yankees are baseball’s most valuable team for the 14th straight year (since Forbes began valuing franchises in 1998). The gap between the Yankees and No. 2 Baltimore in 1998 was 12%. Today the Yankees are 86% more valuable than No. 2 Boston.

Yankee Global Enterprises is a three-engine money-making machine. The baseball team generated $325 million in revenue from regular-season tickets and luxury suites in 2010. Sponsorship revenue at the stadium is $85 million annually thanks to deals with PepsiCo, Bank of America, MasterCard, Delta Air Lines and others.

The YES Network, the team’s 34%-owned regional sports channel, is the most profitable RSN in the country and had over $400 million in revenue last year. The Yankees own a stake in Legends Hospitality Management, which manages stadiums, and generates $25 million in operating income. The enterprise value for the Yankees, YES and Legends is $5.1 billion.

Harper: It Makes More Sense to Send Montero Back to the Minors

From John Harper:
Jesus Montero, the can't-miss slugger, hasn't lived up to the hype in spring training, and it's starting to look as if the Yankees may not have a choice but to send him back to Triple-A, as much for him to get his bat healthy as to continue working on his much-debated catching skills.

Really, does it make any sense to keep Montero on the big club as Russell Martin's backup if he's going to get only a handful of at-bats a week - and his defense isn't major league ready?

Brian Cashman wouldn't bite on that question Tuesday, but it may have been telling that the GM admitted Montero's work behind the plate has slipped lately as his bat has slumped.

"He hasn't played well recently," Cashman said after watching Montero catch in Tuesday's 6-2 loss to the Orioles. "He's better than what he's shown recently, catching-wise.

"He's been struggling with the bat, and I don't know if it's cause-and-effect. I just know that last year he didn't start catching well (in Triple-A) until he started hitting. And from June on, both went through the roof."


Only a few weeks ago, Cashman and other Yankee people were raving about Montero's progress defensively. The GM even chuckled then over how scouts from other teams had finally stopped questioning whether the 21-year-old would have to be moved from behind the plate eventually.

Since then, however, scouts say Montero's defense has slipped again - that he's not moving well behind the plate, getting crossed up on pitches, rushing his throws, and generally giving off an indifferent vibe with his work habits.


Cashman said nothing has been decided in that regard. But unlike a few weeks ago, he didn't give the impression Montero would be just as well off as a major league backup as he would be continuing to refine his game in Triple-A.

"We're obviously talking about what's best for all of us right now," Cashman said. "Our overall opinion on Montero has not changed at all. I know what the scouts from other organizations were saying early in camp - 'Wow, he looks great' - but at the same time you can't deny that he's not the same right now.

"It's the pendulum swing and emotional roller-coaster of development: yes he can, no he can't, yes he can. It's part of the evolution of a young player."
Like most of you I want to see Montero get a chance in the big leagues, and the sooner the better, but if he's not ready than he's not ready. But don't worry, unless he's traded we'll see him at some point this season.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cashman: Perez doesn't make sense for Yankees

My reaction to this was somewhere in between "meh" and "halleleujah." I don't think tendering Perez a minor league deal doesn't not make sense, as depth is always a good thing - particularly given the questionable nature of the back end of the Yankees rotation ... but I suppose it doesn't really make a great deal of sense, either. Considering the progress made by Banuelos, Betances, and Brackman over the last year, I would much rather see those three (as well as the lesser heralded arms we've discussed) handle the workload between Trenton and Scranton.

Colon Close to Wrapping Up Fifth Starter Role

As per the Daily News:
When spring training began, it would have been difficult to find anybody who believed Bartolo Colon would land a spot in the Yankees' season-opening rotation. Now, it's hard to find somebody who thinks he won't make it.

Colon has been solid and steady this spring, outpitching his veteran counterpart Freddy Garcia for the final spot in the Bombers' rotation.

The race began as a four-man competition for two spots and is winding down with Ivan Nova all but clinching the No. 4 spot and Sergio Mitre seemingly penciled in as the long reliever.

"I've been pleasantly surprised," Joe Girardi said of Colon. "He is a guy that knew how to compete. We knew that. He was a guy that knew how to be successful. We knew that. But I just didn't know what to expect."


"I know what Freddy is; I've seen it," GM Brian Cashman said. "Bartolo is a little bit more of a newbie in the fact that, all right, this guy is really showing us a lot of good stuff and it's nice to see, but is it enough?

"At some point you take a leap of faith that this guy is going to help us more than that guy. I'm not ready to make that call yet, but we're going to have to make it soon."

Colon made his fourth start of the spring Monday night here. In his first three starts, Colon allowed three runs over nine innings, giving up eight hits and one walk, striking out 12. He also threw 79 pitches in a simulated game last Tuesday, giving Girardi a close-up look at his stuff.

"I don't remember the sink on his ball that he has now," Girardi said. "I don't remember his changeup being that good and I don't remember his breaking ball being that good. I remember him being more of a power pitcher that could locate. Now he can do the other things - and still locate - and he's been effective."


The Yankees took a low-risk gamble on the 37-year-old this spring, signing him to a minor-league deal and inviting him to camp. Colon was little more than an afterthought when the spring began, but with each outing, it is clear that he has some life left in his right arm.

"It is impressive; when you watch him, it's pretty simple how he does it," Girardi said. "He's kind of reinvented himself. He still throws up to 93, but you're not going to see that 97 or 98 we used to see in the seventh and eighth inning."

There are still questions about Colon, most surrounding his bulky 267-pound frame. Colon acknowledged at the start of camp that he was about 25 pounds overweight.

"It is somewhat of a concern because of his stamina and if we get into the dog days, how his body holds up," Girardi said. "It hasn't been cool here and he seems to bounce back well from day to day. In Anaheim, I'm not sure what weight he pitched at, but he was fairly large there, too."
I feel like 'fairly large' is something of an understatement, as Colon's rotundity may be more well-known than his actual on the field resume.

To be perfectly frank, I cannot disagree with this move. Colon has been quite good throughout the Spring, and I believe that the fifth spot should be garnered through merit. While Garcia's recent history is far stronger than Colon's, it isn't as if he has been light's out of late - as semi-tragic as it may sound, the 'what have you done for me lately' mentality would probably lend itself to Colon, on the strength of his strong winter ball and Spring Training performances.

I may not like the fact that Colon will be toeing the rubber every fifth day for the Yankees ... but he's certainly earned the opportunity.

Video: Curtis Granderson Picks His At-Bat Music

Granderson Sits With Oblique Strain

Bryan Hoch is reporting that Curtis Granderson has been scratched from today's lineup due to a right oblique strain. No word yet on the severity of the injury but with opening day rapidly approaching you hope it's nothing too serious. 

If there are any updates they will be added to this post.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Heyman: Yankees may have some interest in Oliver Perez

If Bartolo Colon and Mark Prior are worth a token minor league deal, then I think one would be hard-pressed to argue against offering a minor league deal to Perez. He's been nothing short of awful over the last two seasons and only has two good seasons under his belt ... but he also seems to be the sort of player for which the term "change of scenery" was coined. That Cashman isn't "enthused" doesn't mean too much to me, as he's not in a position to be terribly picky (particularly as Garcia has an opt-out clause through Opening Day) and has been scraping the bottom of the barrel for months now. At the very least, he could be given a shot as a lefty mop-up guy waiting in the wings.

I take that back. At the very least, it would be hilarious to see him provide even some semblance of replacement-level value while cashing $12 MM in paychecks from the Mets.

All Questions Answered - Submission Thread

Nearly four months later, it appears that I haven't quite created a SIH tradition - yet.

The blame lies entirely on my keyboard, as I chose the worst possible time to create a new series of posts. With the free agent frenzy hitting a lull in mid-December and the Yankees a veritable non-factor for the first time in what seems like forever, there simply was not enough for me to muse upon ... nor enough intrigue for others to seek whatever semblance of wisdom or insight that I may have. With Spring Training wrapping up next week and the regular season beginning in ten short days, it seems like the perfect time to revisit and rekindle.

You may post your questions here in the comment section, shoot me an e-mail (, or tweet me (@DomenicLanza). No question is too foolish, and I shall do my best to provide an answer to each and every question asked - just keep it semi-on-topic.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Tale Of Two Teams - 2009 and 2011.

This year, all we've heard since Cliff Lee spurned the Yanks and signed with the Phillies, is that the Yankees' rotation will be their Achilles heel, and ultimately, the reason they can't win the World Series this year. Well, on the contrary, that, after thinking about it, is truly B.S.

Here is the Yankees' 2009 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP rotation:

C.C. Sabathia - 19-8
A.J. Burnett - 13-9
Andy Pettitte - 14-8
Joba Chamberlain - 9-6
Sergio Mitre - 3-3

Are you kidding me??? That's the Yankees World Championship rotation? Yes, it is. That 2009 team, fueled by a powerful lineup, won 103 games with that starting 5. Of course Joe Girardi went with the three man rotation in the '09 Postseason, but throughout the course of the regular season, we saw Joba struggle horrendously as the fourth starter, and the fifth starter varying, from Phil Hughes, to Chien-Ming Wang, to Sergio Mitre. This was, in no way what so ever, a perfect or great rotation. But did it get the job done? You bet. Best record in MLB. And a World Championship.

Now, two years later, let's see the projected rotation for the 2011 Yanks:

C.C. Sabathia
A.J. Burnett
Phil Hughes
Ivan Nova
Freddy Garcia

When you think about it, is this rotation that bad? Or at least compared to the 2009 Yankees? No. It may be better.

C.C. is almost a lock to win 19 or 20 games, A.J., even if he's average, can get you 12 or 13 wins. Hughes? He won 18 last year, why can't he do it again? And Ivan Nova at least has been a starter before. He won't struggle that much like Joba did, and could win 10 or 12 games. You also can't forget about Freddy Garcia. He's a seasoned veteran, and at time can really be a beast on the mound. I'd take him over Meat-Tray anyday.

And this 2011 team still has a kick-ass offense, which will be the key to a lot of Yankee wins this season. Also add in a better bullpen, with Rafael Soriano and Pedro Feliciano? Certain games can become 6 inning games. Any of the starters give you a nice 6 inning outing. You hand the ball to David Robertson in the 7th. Rafael in the 8th. And a guy named Rivera in the 9th. 

Before anyone jumps the gun, saying the Yankees' rotation is not even close to being championship caliber, think again. Because you'll probably be slapping yourself in the forehead, when the Yankees are the 2011 World Series Champions.

This Week in Yankees History (3/20-3/26)

This Week in Yankees History 

March 20th - March 26th

March 20th

1875 - Former Yankees INF Patrick “Willie” Greene (1903) was born. Paddy Greene appeared in four games, hitting .308 in 1903. On July 16,1903, he was traded by the Highlanders to the Detroit Tigers for P John Deering.

1944 - Former Yankees P Steve Blateric (1972) was born. Steve Blateric was acquired in a conditional deal with the Cincinnati Reds. He appeared in only 1 game with the Yankees with no record. He was returned to the Reds in the spring of 1973.

1954 - Former Yankees P Paul Mirabella (1979) was born. On November 10,1978, Paul was traded by the Texas Rangers along with Greg Jemison (minors), OF Juan Beniquez, Pitchers Mike Griffin, and Dave Righetti to the Yankees for INF Domingo Ramos, C Mike Heath, Pitchers Sparky Lyle, Larry McCall, Dave Rajsich and cash. Paul won the 1979 James P. Dawson Award for being the best Yankee rookie in the 1979 Yankees spring training camp. He went 0-4 in 10 games with the Yankees during the 1979 AL season. On November 1,1979, he was traded by the Yankees along with 1B Chris Chambliss and INF Damaso Garcia to the Toronto Blue Jays for P Tom Underwood, C Rick Cerone, and OF Ted Wilborn.

1958 - The Philadelphia Phillies acquired veteran 1B/OF Joe Collins (1948-1957) from the New York Yankees. Opting not to report to the Phillies Clearwater, Fla. spring training camp, Joe Collins decides to retire from MLB, thereby canceling the deal. Joe Collins was quoted by the NYC media saying that, “I want to be remembered as a Yankee.” He turns down a player contract offered by the Phillies of $100,000. Joe batted .258 in 908 games with the Yankees (1948-1957), never becoming the player that the Yankees had projected him to be. Manager Casey Stengel used him against right hand pitching. Joe appeared in 7 World Series with the Yankees. During the 1955 World Series opener against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Joe hit 2 HRs in a Yankees 6-5 win. Casey Stengel often referred to Joe Collins as “My meal ticket.” Bill “Moose” Skowron replaced him as the Yankees regular 1B during the 1956 American League season. Joe was a life along resident of New Jersey.

1961 - New York Yankees announced that the team will opposed any plans that would enabled the new National League expansion franchise to use Yankee Stadium. This decision leaves the only the old Polo Grounds as the only viable option for the new NL team, the New York Mets.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Garcia Open to a Relief Role and a Few More Notes From Today

From Chad Jennings:
Just 24 hours after a series of injuries left some mild concerns about the state of the Yankees bullpen, the Yankees relievers came through with flying colors today. And Freddy Garcia said he wouldn’t be opposed to joining them.

“If I can pitch in the bullpen, I pitch in the bullpen,” Garcia said. “The goal is to make the team, but that’s not in my hands. Try to do my best. I don’t pitch the way I want to pitch (today), but that’s the way it is.”

If he doesn't make the rotation it might be a good idea to keep the guy around as some insurance. 

In other news:

- Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances were assigned to minor league camp.

- Joba Chamberlain threw a max effort bullpen session earlier today and said he felt no discomfort.
“I feel great, and I’d rather have this happen at this time instead of this time next week,” he said. “There would be no question (if it happened next week) that I wouldn’t be able to make the season. I want to head north with these guys.”
- Pedro Feiliciano threw a light BP session and is one more BP session away from returning to game action and says he'll be ready for opening day.

- Manny Banuelos will make an appearance on Monday following Bartolo Colon's start. This could be his final big league outing of the spring.

First Three Rotation Spots Set: CC, AJ, Hughes

From Wallace Matthews:
It's official: Joe Girardi designated A.J. Burnett as his No. 2 starter after today's game with the Blue Jays (which ended in a 5-5 tie), Phil Hughes the No. 3. (No need to remind you who's No. 1, is there?) "That was our plan all along,'' the manager said
I'd have gone with Hughes as the No. 2, but it really won't matter too much in the end. If Burnett has a repeat performance of last year, regardless of what spot in the rotation he's in, the Yankees aren't going to be in good shape.

Montero & Romine in Cagefight For Backup Job!/Ken_Rosenthal/status/49121591715573760
Their spring training stats:
  • Montero - 13 games: 31 AB, .194/.219/.226, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1 2B
  • Romine - 8 games, 13 AB, .231/.333/.305, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 1 2B
Nothing stands out here besides the face that neither are doing much with the bat.

Cash: 5th Starter To Be Decided Soon

From Bryan Hoch:
With Ivan Nova seemingly in line for at least one of the spots after firing six hitless innings against the Orioles his last time out and Sergio Mitre heading for a long reliever role, it appears to be down to Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia for the last slot.

Both have outs in their contracts that could make them free agents, and it is unclear if both pitchers would accept assignments to the bullpen.

"I think we're going to have to make that [decision] sooner than later," Cashman said. "Ultimately, we have guys who have outs in their contracts with Garcia and Colon. We have to stretch guys out and start defining roles sooner than later."
2011 Spring Training Stats:
  • Colon - 3.00 ERA, 9 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 12 K
  • Garcia - 4.70 ERA, 7.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 K ... (has also allowed 3 ER in 4 IP so far today vs. the Jays)
It always tough to base major decisions on small sample sizes, especially when those small samples come from spring training. The tough part is that they're most likely going to lose whichever pitcher they don't pick and there's always a chance you're saying goodbye to the better of the two. I know that before spring training started I felt that Garcia was the better pick, but based on their performances this spring it's going to be hard for them not to give Colon the job. He's clearly been the more effective pitcher of the two and at this point I think that's the direction the Yankees will go.

Put yourselves in the Yankees shoes, who is your fifth starter?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Towers Says Betances is Better Than Banuelos

From Ken Rosenthal:
Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers, who spent last season scouting with the Yankees, offers yet another ringing endorsement for the Yanks’ top pitching prospects — and actually likes right-hander Dellin Betances even better than lefty Manny Banuelos.

Betances, 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, “might be King Felix," Towers says.


“Teddy Higuera in his prime,” Towers says, “but with a better arm.”
"Might be King Felix"? Those are words that are bound to make every Yankees fan happy.

If you're not familiar with Higuera, here are his career numbers. From 1985-1988 (his prime) he went 69-38 with a 3.25 ERA. Injuries, including back surgery in '88 and a torn rotator cuff in '91, put a quick end to his career.

Torre Visits Yankees Camp

From Marc Carig:
The process of reconciliation between Joe Torre and the Yankees reached another important step today, when the former manager said he will accept an invitation to participate in the annual Old-Timers’ Day festivities June 26 at Yankee Stadium.

“I don’t know if I’m letting the cat out of the bag, but I was invited back for Old-Timers’ Day,” Torre said. “If I did let the cat out of the bag, maybe they’ll withdraw the invitation. But, yeah, I’m planning on it.”


He spent time in Joe Girardi’s office — his old spot — while also visiting with general manager Brian Cashman. Torre also caught up with Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Russell Martin, a catcher during his tenure with the Dodgers.


“It does feel strange,” Torre said. “But it feels good.”


“You wish the time I left that it could have ended differently, but I don’t know how it could have,” said Torre. “I don’t know if any one of us knew how to say goodbye at that point in time.”
Maybe now all those bitter Torre-hating fans can get over his book. It seems like the Yankees have.

As you probably know, it never bothered me. In fact, I liked the book a lot.

Anyway, it's nice to see Torre back at Yankees camp and it will be even better to see him back at The Stadium in Pinstripes on Old-Timers' Day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nova Throws 6 No-Hit Innings vs. the O's

In case you missed it, Ivan Nova threw 6 no-hit innings last night in Tampa as the Yankees destroyed the Orioles 10-0.

His line: 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HB. While this was still a spring start, many of the O's regulars, including Vlad, Markakis, Adam Jones, Luke Scott, Matt Wieters, started the game and got three at-bats each. 

This should all but lock up that 4th spot in the rotation for the kid. Here's more on the story from Brian Costello:
Yankees manager Joe Girardi stopped short of pronouncing Nova the first winner of the pitching sweepstakes, but he sounded as if he was very impressed.

"That's as good as it gets," Girardi said. "It's the best pitching performance probably we've had in spring training."


After hitting the first batter of the game, Nova allowed just one more base runner and that came on an error by Alex Rodriguez. Nova's final line was six innings, no hits, no runs, no walks, four strikeouts and the one hit batsman.

"I keep working hard," Nova said. "I try [not to] think too much about [the competition]. I just keep focused and pitch my game every time I go out there."

Nova and catcher Russell Martin saw his slider was working in the bullpen before the game. Both men seemed surprised at how effective it was, and Nova used it to get strikeouts.

"My slider is like a new toy," he said. "You've got to start playing with it sometime."


"He impressed me out there and I think he impressed himself," Martin said. "It's hard to have a much better outing than that. He showed it last year that he can pitch in the big leagues. With a start like this, it could just go into the season in the right direction."
Great start by Nova, and barring injury I'd be shocked if he wasn't in the rotation come opening day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

They're really still talking about this guy?

From Joel Sherman:
The Yankees attended a showcase for pitcher Kevin Millwood on Wednesday at UC-Irvine, according to a source.

Millwood turned down the Yankees' offer of a minor-league contract this winter, hoping to get a major-league deal for about $4 million.
As I've said before (several times), the Yankees have more than enough washed up veteran pitchers. No need for another. As of this moment, Colon and Nova have earned those final two spots, with Garcia also an option. Stick with them and stay away from Millwood.

Update on Joba
I'm not too concerned. Not only does he seem to be fine, but his role is relatively minor at this point so if he were to miss some time I don't think it would be a big deal. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One More Cut & Some Other News

- Kyle Higashioka is the latest cut in Yankees camp. He has been reassigned to minor league camp.

- According to Joe Girardi each of the Killer-B's, Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman, will get at least one more outing for the big league team this spring.

- Sergio Mitre will throw a bullpen tomorrow. Joel Sherman reported earlier that scouts are convinced the Yanks will eventually release the right-hander.

- Joba had an MRI yesterday which showed an injured oblique. His outing later this week has been pushed back, but both he and Girardi believe he's fine.

- Francisco Cervelli is off crutches.

- Derek Jeter is on this month's cover of GQ (shown below).

Monday, March 14, 2011

ST Game 19: Yankees @ Red Sox

YANKEES (6-10-2)
Brett Gardner LF
Ramiro Pena SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Eric Chavez 1B
Eduardo Nunez 2B
Ronnie Belliard 3B
Jorge Vazquez DH
Jesus Montero C

Starting Pitcher: LHP Manny Banuelos

RED SOX (9-8)
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Carl Crawford LF
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
David Ortiz DH
Mike Cameron RF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia C
Marco Scutaro SS

Starting Pitcher: RHP Alfredo Aceves
News & Notes

- Here are the Yankees reserves for tonight's game:

Bench: C Austin Romine, 1B Jose Gil, 2B Kevin Russo, SS Doug Bernier, 3B Brandon Laird, LF Justin Maxwell, CF Melky Mesa, RF Jordan Parraz, and DH Gustavo Molina

Bullpen: Dellin Betances, Romulo Sanchez, Mark Prior, Luis Ayala, Ryan Pope, Steve Garrison and D.J. Mitchell.

- Here is what Joe Girardi said about Banuelos' surprise start tonight:
“I’m curious to see how he reacts,” Girardi said. “I waited until today to make sure that’s what we wanted to do… The Red Sox. There (on the road). ESPN. It’s something.”

“Even if he gets too hyped up, that’s something that he can learn from,” Girardi said. “That’s what we’re going to concentrate on not letting him do tonight. Don’t get too hyped up.”
Chad Jennings is reporting that the Padres have returned Rule 5 draft pick, RHP George Kontos. He will report to minor league camp.

- Joba Chamberlain is suffering from mild discomfort around the ribcage area. According to Girardi,  it’s similar to the Sergio Mitre's injury that forced him out of tonight's start. Griardi said that Joba will probably be pushed back to Wednesday or Thursday and that Yankees "don't think it’s anything serious.”

Padres Return Rule 5 Pick George Kontos

As per Chad Jennings:
Rule 5 pick George Kontos has been returned from the Padres. He’ll report to minor league camp.
Short and to the point - I like it.

For what it's worth, while his days as a potential high-ceiling prospect are a thing of the past, I do think that Kontos could be a solid bullpen arm for the Yankees this year. It's not much, but it's something more than worthless.

Banuelos To Start Tonight vs. Boston

Mark Fiensand is reporting that Sergio Mitre has been scratched for tonight's start vs. the Red Sox due to "some type of ribcage/oblique type injury". He hopes to get back on the mound by Thursday.

Bryan Hoch is also reporting that Manny Banuelos will take his place. The game is on ESPN and will start at 7:00pm.

Sickels: Montero could see 'significant at-bats' as back-up

As per Minor League Ball:
It seems increasingly likely that Jesus Montero will open 2011 as the Russ Martin's backup catcher. Given what Yankees Vice President Mark Newman told me a couple of weeks ago, I doubt the Yankees would do this unless they were planning on Montero seeing significant at-bats as a DH. It wouldn't make sense to burn a year of service time otherwise, adding in the risk of hurting his development by sitting him on the bench.
This is mostly conjecture on Sickels' part, but it is quite informed, to say the least. While the Yankees haven't been terribly concerned with service time in the past, they also haven't had a prospect of Montero's caliber in quite some time - and I can't see them hedging his development against a replacement-level back-up.

More Cuts

Following Sunday's 9-2 loss to the Twins, the Yanks made a second round of cuts. Austin Krum, Daniel Brewer and Bradley Suttle were sent to the Minor League camp and Rule 5 pick, Daniel Turpen, was returned to the Red Sox.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

This Week in Yankees History (3/13-3/19)

This Week in Yankees History 

March 13th - March 19th

March 13th

1886- Future Yankees INF and Hall Of Fame 3B Frank “Home Run” Baker (1916-1919, 1921-1922) was born. A 3B and left handed hitter, Baker will guide the A’s to 3 World Series championships. Nicknamed "Home Run" during the 1911 World Series, in which he hit a go-ahead HR off of Giants starter Rube Marquard in Game 2. A 9th-inning game-tying homer off of Giants starter Christy Mathewson in Game 3. Baker will led the American League in HR’s for four consecutive seasons, twice he led the AL in RBI’s. Frank Baker hit .363 in six World Series with the Philadelphia A’s and New York Yankees. Frank played 3B for the New York Yankees from 1916-1919,1921-1922. He took the 1920 American League season off, after his wife passed away to take care of his two children. Frank Baker will earn Hall Of Fame honors in 1955.

1922 - Former Yankees OF Cliff Mapes (1948-1951) was born. On November 1, 1946, Cliff Mapes was drafted by the New York Yankees from the Cleveland Indians organization in the 1946 MLB Rule 5 Player Draft. Cliff spent the 1947 season with the Kansas City Blues (AAA) of the American Association. 1947 was his best year in the minors. Cliff had 167 hits, 107 runs, 27 doubles, 11 triples, 21 HRs and 117 RBIs at .308 in 155 games. He led the American Association in RBI’s that season. He won a MLB job with the 1948 Yankees in spring training. In 1948, Mapes had 11 doubles and only 9 singles, making him 1 of only 11 MLB players to ever have more doubles than singles (in 90 or more plate appearances).

On July 5, 1950, in a sloppy game that featured 18 walks, Mapes drove in 5 runs with a HR and single to pace the Yankees to a 12–8 win over the A’s. Mapes walked twice in the 3rd inning to tie a MLB record. He was also involved in a collision with at 2nd base with Eddie Joost in the 7th inning, in which Joost tore ligaments in his left knee. On August 11,1950, Mapes replaced Joe DiMaggio in CF, who was benched for the 1st time in his MLB career. Cliff met the challenge of replacing the “Yankee Clipper” by hitting a 7th-inning HR to give the Yankees a 7–6 win over the Philadelphia A's. In 1950, Cliff had his best year in the MLB; he had 88 hits, 60 runs, 14 doubles, 6 triples, 12 HRs, 61 RBIs and 1 stolen base for a batting line of .247 in 108 games. In the 1949 and 1950 World Series, he had 1 hit (but one that mattered), 3 runs, 1 double and 2 RBI while batting .071 in 5 games. He was the last active Yankees player to wear Babe Ruth’s No. 3 uniform. Also he wore Yankee uniform No. 7 in 1951, the number that rookie OF Mickey Mantle would get after returning from Kansas City Blues (AAA). On July 31,1951, Cliff was purchased by the St. Louis Browns from the Yankees.

1937 - American League All Star 1B Lou Gehrig signs with the New York Yankees for $38,000 with a $750 signing bonus. Gehrig will play his 1st spring training game on March 20th, collecting 2 runs batted in as the Yankees beat the Boston Bees (the Braves) by the score of 5-3.

1963 - Former Yankees INF Mariano Duncan (1996-1997) was born. Mariano Duncan was signed as a MLB free agent in 1996. He hit .340 in 109 games in 1996. Mariano appeared in 50 games hitting .244, before being traded by the Yankees on July 29, 1997, to the Toronto Blue Jays for Angel Ramirez.

1991 - Yankees minor league P Manny Bannuelos was born. Manny Bannuelos signed with the New York Yankees in 2008. He debuted with them the same year, going 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA for the GCL Yankees. After a strong start with the 2009 Charleston Riverdogs, the Mexican southpaw was chosen for the 2009 Futures Game. In 2011, Bannuelos attended the Yankees' spring training for the 1st time and impressed with his poise and polish after pitching a perfect inning against the Detroit Tigers and two scoreless frames against the Boston Red Sox in his 1st taste of Grapefruit League action.

First Cuts & Today's Lineup

According to the Yankees (via RAB) Hector Noesi, Adam Warren, David Phelps, Brian Anderson, Buddy Carlyle and Andy Sisco were this year's first cuts. Noesi has been optioned back to AAA while the rest are being reassigned to minor league camp.

In other spring training news of the day, Mariano Rivera will make his spring debut against the Twins today.

Here is today's lineup as well as the list of available reserves and relievers:

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Andruw Jones LF
Russell Martin C

Starting Pitcher: RHP Freddy Garcia

Available in the bullpen today: Rivera, Soriano, Chamberlain, Robertson, Brackman, Romulo Sanchez, Steve Garrison, Ryan Pope, Eric Wordekemper and Dellin Betances.

Available Reseves: C Gustavo Molina, 1B Eric Chavez, 2B Ronnie Belliard, SS Eduardo Nunez, 3B Kevin Russo, LF Melky Mesa, CF Austin Krum, RF Daniel Brewer and DH Kyle Higashioka.

Report: Yanks Scouting Carlos Silva

From Bruce Levine:
Chicago Cubs right-hander Carlos Silva has been pitching for a rotation spot with the Northsiders, but his spring outings also appear to be an audition for other teams in need of starting pitching.

During Saturday's 7-6 split-squad loss to the Cincinnati Reds, numerous scouts, including three from the Washington Nationals, saw Silva's best performance of the spring. The 31-year-old veteran threw five decent innings, giving up four runs on five hits.

In addition to the Nationals, the New York Yankees are following all of Silva's outings, according to major league sources. Both teams need to fortify their rotations. The Yankees could easily absorb most of Silva's $12 million salary for 2011 if they like what they see from the veteran pitcher the rest of the spring.
$12 million for a guy who posted a 6.46 ERA in his last full season in the AL?

No thanks.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yanks Make $100K Donation To Japan Earthquake Relief Fund!/YankeesPR/status/46588546852720641
Classy move by the Yankees. I hope other teams as well as the league itself plans on doing the same (if they haven't already). If you would like to donate or help in any way, CNN has all the info here.

Friday, March 11, 2011

KLaw Says Banuelos Can Start in the Big Leagues Right Now

From a recent online chat with ESPN's Keith Law:
Joe (RI) Manny Buenlos has been lights out for the Yankees so far, how long before he forces his way to the bigs?

Klaw (12:19 PM)

Midyear? I feel like this is Heyward/Atlanta all over again, where you might let the best interests of the club in the current season trump long-term considerations - and it's not like Banuelos has a ton of things to work on in the minors. If they gave him a rotation spot now I wouldn't argue.
According to everything Cashman and the Yankees are saying, it's not going to happen. And if the Yankees don't want to potentially waste guys like Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon--whoever wins that 5th starter spot--I wouldn't hold it against them. I also wouldn't hold it against them if they continue to take it slow with Man-Ban. After all, the kid is turning just 20-years-old this weekend and hasn't pitched above Double-A.

But what if you were running things, would you give the kid a shot?

Yanks Sign Dominican Right-Hander

From Baseball America:
The Yankees have agreed to terms with 20-year-old Dominican righthander Juan Carlos Paniagua, a source confirmed to Baseball America. Dionisio Soldevila, a reporter based in the Dominican Republic, reported that Paniagua signed for $1.1 million.

Paniagua, who had previously been suspended by Major League Baseball for one year due to age and identity fraud, is 6-foot-1, 170 pounds with excellent arm speed and a power fastball that sits around 93-95 mph and touches 98. Some scouts said Paniagua has shown feel for a curveball and a changeup that could become above-average offerings in the future, though other scouts weren't quite as sold on his secondary pitches.

The Yankees have no shot (and other tongue-in-cheek observations)

Boston has the best roster ever constructed by any team at any time. The 1927 Yankees? Please. This assemblage of Red Sox talent will make that group look like the Little Sisters of the Poor. Red Sox Nation laughs at the 1998 Yankees, since this group of Boston's finest will clearly win 138 games in the regular season. If those two outfits, often touted as two of the greatest teams of all time aren't fit to be in the same sentence as the 2011 Red Sox, why should the Yankees even take the field against Boston this year? Consider:

-I mean, seriously, Adrian Gonzalez is so far ahead of Mark Teixeira, despite their statistical similarities and Tex's "apparent" edge on the defensive side of the ledger.

-Dustin Pedroia is the best all-around second baseman in baseball if you disregard Cano's "better" statistics in all major categories.

-Derek Jeter is so old that he remembers when Fenway Park was built, and there's no way under the yellow sun of the Earth that he'll outshine surefire Hall of Famer Marco Scutaro at his advanced age.

-Youuuuuuuuuuk versus A-Rod? That popcorn-eating pansy is soft, even though he showed up to Spring Training in the best shape that he's been in in years. Regardless of Kevin Youkilis changing positions and not being the defensive whiz that the departed Adrian Beltre was, he's still better than the over-the-hill Alex Rodriguez, who could never come close to another MVP-caliber season, although, every other year he seems to.

-That outfield isn't even worth discussing. 29-year old Carl Crawford will steal 489 bases at the Fens and have 1,636 triples. 27-year old Brett Gardner, will be lucky if he steals another 47 and gets on base 38% of the time like he did last season. Yeah, Jacoby Ellsbury is always hurt and may not ever be the same player again, with his bizarre recuperation creating a rift in the clubhouse, but Curtis Granderson's late season upswing under the tutelage of Kevin Long was an aberration, and he will go down as another in a long string of terrible Yankee acquisitions. JD Drew and Nick Swisher, I'll grant, is close. I'll still take JD's bland persona over Nick Swisher's gregarious personality any day of the week.

-Then there's the pitching. Not even a fair comparison. Boston has no question marks at all in the rotation. Of course Josh Beckett isn't on the decline of his career, and, no, those recurring health issues aren't worrisome. John Lackey can't possibly be a guy who has never pitched well at Fenway Park because last year was just his adjustment year and not a playing out of a consistent pattern. Dice K isn't an enigma that is going to walk the ballpark in half of his outings who is also getting on in age; he's deceptive and crafty. I won't even mention Cy Young and Nolan Ryan. Oops. I always make that mistake. I meant Lester and Buchholz. CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes aren't even on the same planet as those two, and it's not even worth discussing. AJ Burnett is an obvious headcase who will never return to the form he showed in 2009 and the early part of 2010. Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia are jokes. The former showed flashes of excellence in 2010, but another year of maturity and being pushed to excel by top Major League- ready pitching prospects will only hurt him. Hey Freddy, 2002 called, and they want their pitcher back. Sure, you've always pitched well against the AL East, including at Fenway, and, yes, you've looked very good this spring coming off a year that you were finally healthy and gave the White Sox 12 wins in 28 starts, but none of that matters because you're old. Even if one of the Red Sox studs should falter, they have the ageless wonder Tim Wakefield ready and wiling to go, for 28 innings per start if he has to.

-Papelbon thinks he's better than Rivera, and that's all the proof I need, although the evidence suggests otherwise. Bobby Jenks got cut by the White Sox not because of his poor diet and attitude, but because the ChiSox had another closer who cost them less money waiting in the wings. Plus Soriano is overpaid.

-Tito doesn't need a binder since he wrote the book on managing.

-Theo walks on water, so even if Cashman manages to trade for another starting pitcher, it will be too little, too late, as the Red Sox will be able to acquire somebody better without having to sacrifice Bard, Kelly, Iglesias, or Rizzo. Cashman will probably trade Montero, Betances, Banuelos, and Romine for Wandy Rodriguez.

-Bottom line, the Red Sox will have the division clinched by mid-May and the pennant by early June.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Berra Hospitalized After Fall in Yankees Clubhouse

Luckily, it seems like he's going to be OK. Here's more from the St. Petersburg Times:
Yankees icon Yogi Berra was hospitalized Thursday morning "as a precautionary measure" after tripping and falling in the clubhouse at Bright House Field, about an hour and a half before the first pitch of a New York Yankees-Philadelphia Phillies spring training game.

"He was alert, in good spirits," before he was taken to Morton Plant Hospital, said Yankees spokesman Michael Margolis.

Update 4:45 PM:!/BryanHoch/status/45951317016977408

Mo Hops On The Manny Banuelos Bandwagon

From Andrew Marchand:
The greatest pitching prospect whom Mariano Rivera had ever seen was 1991 first overall pick Brien Taylor. Taylor and Rivera were teammates for Class A Fort Lauderdale in 1992.

In the nearly two decades since then, Rivera has watched prospects come and go, but he has never seen one better than Taylor.

Until now.

The greatest closer in the game thinks 19-year-old lefty Manny Banuelos is the greatest pitching prospect he has ever seen.

"I would say so," Rivera said during a conversation with in which he revisited Taylor's devastating skills and Banuelos' combination of ability and composure.

"I like everything about him," Rivera said of Banuelos. "The makeup and how he keeps his composure. I notice situations and how you react in situations. Where you make your pitches in tough situations, where you spot your pitches, he has the ability to do that."


Rivera has begun to advise Banuelos. Rivera has told "little Manny" to not listen to all the hype. The clutter will only cloud his chances.

"'Stay humble, stay within yourself, God will take care of the rest,'" Rivera said he has told Banuelos. "You don't try to put that junk in your mind because that will hurt you."

Banuelos, who is from Monterrey, Mexico, speaks decent English. He understands what Rivera's compliment means. When it is relayed to him that Rivera has said he is the best prospect he has ever seen, Banuelos smiled sheepishly.

"Mo said that, 'Thank you, Mo,'" Banuelos said.
The article, like most we've seen this spring, is filled with praise for Banuelos, including a few quotes from Jorge and Jeter.

The left-hander struck out two more yesterday in two scoreless innings of work. He now had 8 K's over 5 innings this spring, while allowed just a walk and three hits.

Mo to Make His Spring Debut on Sunday

After throwing his first BP sessions yesterday--a 35-pitch session that Rivera said "was good, real good"--he is set to make his spring training debut on Sunday.

In other bullpen related Spring Training news, Rafael Soriano made his debut yesterday, and allowed a hit and struck out one in a scoreless inning.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mark Newman on the Back-Up Catcher Dilemma

A tip of the hat to NoMaas:
With Cervelli out with a broken foot for who knows how long, everybody's wondering if the Yankees will start the season with The Next Big Thing, Jesus Montero, as backup catcher. So, we went straight to the source and asked minor league head honcho and friend of NoMaas, Mark Newman. Here's what he told us on Tuesday:

"No decision has been made. At-bats are an issue for Montero, but so are innings caught. It depends on how much he plays when discussing the effect on his development."
I share Newman's sentiment. It seems unlikely that Montero would gain much of anything from garnering inconsistent at-bats and defensive reps, particularly when he has a fair bit of work to do behind the plate. I suppose he could benefit from working regularly with Joe Girardi, Tony Pena, and Jorge Posada, but I'm uncertain that any amount of one-on-one work can replace in-game experience.

Should Martin's health become an issue, however, I would hope to see Montero wearing the tools of ignorance for the Yankees ahead of both Cervelli and Posada.

Yanks Offered $54 Million For Chapman? (Updated)

(Updated: 11:44 AM)
We know Cashman will lie to the media so I'm not so sure I believe him on this one.!/MelissaSeguraSI/status/45298229184704512
The lawsuit mentioned in the tweet refers to a Florida lawsuit against the Fernandez and Hendricks Sports Management, Chapman's representatives, that alleges "tortuous interference" and "unjust enrichment" in signing Aroldis Chapman as a client.
 Regardless of the suit itself, I guess I should get off the Yanks case for not signing the guy because it appears like they certainly tried their best. I'm pretty shocked that he would pass up an extra $24MM to play in Cincy, but I guess he wasn't ready for the bright lights of The Big Apple.