Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pineda to the DL

From Pete Caldera:
Michael Pineda has tendinitis in the back of his right shoulder – a relief for manager Joe Girardi that it wasn’t anything more serious. Still, the 23-year-old right-hander will start the season on the disabled list.

An MRI taken this morning at Tampa confirmed the diagnosis.

“(We’re) very relieved, because the rest of the MRI came out good,’’ Girardi said at Kissimmee, where the Yankees are set to take on the Astros.

So, Freddy Garcia has made the rotation, with CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes the top four.
Well, at least the rotation is set. Either way, the more we get to know Pineda the less and less I like the trade.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rotation Decision Coming Soon

From WFAN:
Hiroki Kuroda went seven innings for the Yankees, allowing two runs and a homer while striking out six. Yankees manager Joe Girardi has said that Kuroda has solidified his spot as the team’s No. 2 starter behind CC Sabathia.

“The other years, we were almost searching for the five starters,” Girardi said. “This year, I think we’ve got six quality guys.”

Girardi expects to set his rotation this weekend. Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia and Michael Pineda are competing for three initial spots behind Sabathia and Kuroda.

“Somebody is going to be disappointed,” Girardi said. “That’s the worst part of this. And they have to get over their disappointment and help this team however we ask them to help us.”

Hughes and Nova are expected to make the rotation. That leaves Garcia and Pineda. The veteran versus the young gun.

“With a young guy, you think a little bit more about what he could be,” said Girardi. “With Freddy, we have a pretty good idea.”
Also, there's the question of what happens when Andy Pettitte is ready, but that's a question for the beginning of May.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yanks Sign Jack Cust!/YankeesWFAN/statuses/185041133414522880
Clearly the Yankees are a little concerned with Ibanez's struggles and bat speed and felt the need to pick up a little insurance at the DH spot.

It's another quality trash-heap signing by Cashman. Cust hit just .213/.344/.329 with 3 HR and 23 RBI in 225 at-bats for Seattle, but in 2010 he did have one of hit better overall offensive seasons. That season year he hit .272/.395/.438 with 13 HR and 52 RBI in 425 ABs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Don't Underestimate the Value of a Relief Prospect

Prospect analysts throughout baseball rarely show the love to minor league relief pitchers.  Now I'm not talking about Spot Starters, or guys that they may convert to the rotation, I'm talking about the pitchers that are strictly short inning relievers.

I've had conversations with people on and Baseball America about this topic & the consensus seems to be that their impact is minimal to a team.  Now I can agree & disagree with this notion.  First I can agree that these short relievers do only come in for one, two innings tops.  Also, if you don't have good starting pitching and a respectable offense to get the ball to these short relievers, they won't get a chance to impact the game.

Having said that, it's not the prospect's fault that the rest of the team isn't good enough to maximize his potential to help the team.  Even if the team isn't competent enough to do that, he still has value and can be dealt to another team for someone of his stature is worth.  If a team has a closer prospect that's just dealing but you can't get him to close games due to another Closer on the roster (Think Bard/Papelbon), you still treat him as a Closer prospect & you only deal him if the value you get in return is fair value.  A closer has much more value if you market him as such instead of a 6th or 7th inning reliever.

David Robertson is arguably the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera & he has never even cracked a New York Yankees Top 10 Prospect list.  The highest I've ever seen him was in 2008 & he was at 15.  In 2008 John Sickels had him at 18, behind guys like Jeff Marquez, Damon Sublett, Brad Suttle, and Alan Horne.  Two of those names were starting pitchers (Marquez & Horne) and the other two are position players (Sublett & Suttle).  Marquez was dealt as part of a package for Nick Swisher (Cashman robbed Kenny Williams, loving it).  Alan Horne has been released after having multiple surgeries mixed with bad numbers.  Brad Suttle, I'm not even going to pretend like I know what his story is at this point, & Damon Sublett is long gone.

I understand that position players and starting pitchers have the chance to have a bigger impact on the game but you have to divide them up a bit.  We all know the answer in 2012 but back in 2008 for those like me who follow prospects closely, Robertson was without question going to have a more positive impact on the Yankees then any of those four players.  The very same could have been said about Mark Melancon, who the Yankees never even gave the chance to show what he can do.  Impact relievers like him are not to be used for garbage innings.

Look up what Rafael Soriano's annual salary is then compare that to the cost controlled young relievers throughout baseball & tell me that relief prospects aren't valuable.  Considering the abundance of high impact relievers that the Yankees have in the system, they should no longer be in the market for Free Agent help.

Mark Montgomery, an 11th round pick, burst onto the scene last year with insane strikeout rate (51 in 28.1IP) including a 5 strikeout inning on July 1 against the Rome Braves.  He has a mid 90s fastball and an ungodly slider, which is why he struck out 5 in one inning.  It is so nasty that the Braves could not hit it & Gary Sanchez couldn't catch it.  He pitched in Staten Island & Charleston last season.  I expect him to begin the year in Tampa & end the season in Trenton.  That's the beauty of relievers, they are generally quick movers.

Manny Barreda, a 12th round pick in 2007, was being groomed as a starting pitcher up until last season when he told me that he was being converted to the pen full time.  Manny had good stuff as a starter but reports out of off-season Instructs are that his stuff has spiked significantly.  He is consistently hitting the mid 90s with above average off-speed pitches.  If he can lock down that command, which I think he will, Yankee fans should start tracking this kid because like Montgomery, he has impact potential & can move fast.  I expect him to begin the year in Tampa as well & if he can harness his command, he will move up to Trenton fast because he is a couple years older then Montgomery.

There are a few other guys in the system that I like as well, such as Danny Burawa, Tommy Kahnle, and Branden Pinder.  Mark Montgomery & Manny Barreda are two guys I'm the most high on to impact a bullpen though.

I love the high impact starting pitchers and position players as much as anyone but without a really good bullpen, you're not going anywhere.  It's ironic and amusing to me when analysts don't give credit to these relief prospects but when they are locking down games at the ML level, suddenly they become cheerleaders.

Jump on the bandwagon everyone, there is plenty of room & I welcome you all with open arms.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Olney: Joba Injury Reports Were Grossly Exaggerated

From Buster Olney:
Joba Chamberlain is likely to speak to reporters later in the week, and he's expected to tell them his life was never in jeopardy after his accident last Thursday.
Obviously that's very good news, but here's to another terrible job by certain members of the media for reporting this false rumors as fact. Well done.

Friday, March 23, 2012

More Details on Joba's Horrible and Almost Life-Threatening Injury

From the NY Daily News:
Joba Chamberlain lost so much blood Thursday when he hurt his ankle while playing with his son that there initially was concern for his life, a Yankees' source said.

At the very least, the gruesome open dislocation of Chamberlain's right ankle could be career-threatening and probably will preclude Chamberlain from pitching for the Yankees this season.


"Keep him in our prayers, because obviously he's facing a lot right now," said Cashman, who appeared shaken while delivering the news. Chamberlain was trying to come back from Tommy John surgery on his elbow and was throwing the ball well enough to believe he'd be back in the Yankee bullpen in a few months.

Cashman said Chamberlain was at a children's recreation center when the accident occurred and, though the GM said he didn't yet know the full story on how Chamberlain was hurt, he added, "I believe it was a trampoline, whether it was a trampoline specifically — any of you who have kids, there's places out there you can go with your children and it's a lot of gymnastic stuff. That's what it sounds like. That's a loose description."


Dr. Steven Weinfeld, the Chief of the Foot and Ankle Service and Associate Professor or Orthopedic Surgery at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said an open dislocation could be a "career-threatening injury."

"The dislocation means the ankle bone is forced out of its socket by some sort of injury and 'open' means the skin is ripped open, like with what Joe Theismann had with his injury," said Weinfeld, who has not treated Chamberlain but is an expert on such injuries. "This makes it a much more serious injury because the skin envelope has been violated. When the skin is intact, it's much easier to heal."

"This makes it not only a career-threatening injury, but a limb-threatening injury. There is a small percentage of people who end up with an amputation. There are a small percentage of people, if the skin envelope doesn't heal, they are susceptible to infection and that can lead to amputation. These days, that's less likely to happen because we have good antibiotics."

Weinfeld added, "I would be very surprised if he played this year. He won't be able to weight-bear for two or three months, let alone start baseball activities."
Cashman did sound somewhat optimistic about an eventual return to the mound for Joba, but he was probably just trying to stay positive in the eyes of what is clearly a very bad situation for Joba and his career in baseball.

If you're wondering, Buster Olney reported earlier today that the Yankees are not upset with Joba for playing with his son on the way he did. I don't necessarily believe that, but that's a discussion for another day.

Curt Schilling, who knows a thing or two about ankle injuries, was on ESPN today and said that if he does ever return to the mound that he is likely facing at least two years of serious rehabilitation.

Joba Dislocates Ankle While Playing With Son

From the AP:
The New York Yankees say reliever Joba Chamberlain has had surgery after dislocating his right ankle while with his son at a play area. There is no timetable for his return.

General manager Brian Cashman said Friday that Chamberlain had surgery Thursday night and will be hospitalized for at least a few days.

Cashman says the accident happened Thursday afternoon while Chamberlain and his son were at a Tampa-area spot that has trampoline equipment. The team is not saying whether Chamberlain was using any of the equipment.
If you have a weak stomach you may want to avoid reading the next part.
Bone broke through the skin during the dislocation. Chamberlain is scheduled for an MRI exam and CT scan Friday. He is already returning from elbow ligament replacement surgery.
Wow, what a terrible break for Joba and the Yanks.

Valentine Upset at Girardi for Ending Game in a Tie

From Mark Feinsand:
Bobby Valentine thought he earned another inning of play against the Yankees when the suicide squeeze he called brought the game-tying run home in the ninth Thursday night.

Instead, he got a 4-4 tie, one that left the Red Sox manager puzzled.

“The umpire came over and said we couldn’t play,” Valentine said. “I don’t care about not playing. It’s just, why do I have to warm up my pitcher who’s trying to make a team come in in a tie game against the Yankees and maybe help him make a team and instead he has to walk off the mound and take a shower? That’s just not very courteous.”


“I used all our pitching, so I just said, ‘That's it,’ ” Girardi said. “I looked at Tim and was like, ‘We don’t have any more.’” Valentine disagreed.

“They had plenty of pitching,” Valentine said. “Probably too long of a ride. They could have known that going in.”
He's an idiot, but one thing is undeniable, he's going to make the rivalry a lot more fun.

As for the tie, who cares? It's spring training.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Not Feeling the Pettitte Signing

I love Andy as much as the next guy. It's been an absolute pleasure watching him come up thru the system and becoming one of the faces of the franchise. In his prime, I felt nothing but confidence when Pettitte was on the mound.

That was then & this is now. This is the year 2012, he is turning 40 years old in June, and he has not pitched in the big leagues in over a year. The Yankees have incredible depth, and this was before Pettitte signed. Word is that Andy is going to either start the year in Tampa or Trenton. Tampa would make the most sense from a location standpoint since the Yankees are obviously based there during Spring Training & he is already unpacked there. From a selfish nostalgic point of view though since the contract is already signed, I'd like to see #46 in Trenton since it's just an hour or so from me.

Back to the point, why? We all know that the Yankees loyalty knows no bounds and for some reason, it's the front office that must show it. It's a two-way street in this business. The players help the team win but it was the team that first gave the players their shot to begin with. To me, this signing from a competitive standpoint, makes no sense, and at $2.5 Million, that is no small chunk of change, even for the Yankees. This is a loyalty signing and it is not in the best interest of the 2012 New York Yankees. You're probably asking yourself "Why is he talking about loyalty?" Well the answer to that is that we all know that when Andy is ready to go, he is going to take someone's spot in the rotation, regardless of how he or the pitcher he's replacing, is performing. Why? It's Andy Pettitte. For how long did we see Jorge Posada flailing miserably while Jesus Montero was raking?

Yes this is a lot of ifs and assumptions but if history has taught us anything, it is the most likely scenario. The only scenario that I would be on board with is if Freddy Garcia is severely under-performing & Pettitte is excelling in the Minors. Under no circumstances, should he replace Phil Hughes or Ivan Nova in the rotation, especially if his spot in the rotation means one of them are sent to the bullpen. Hughes & Nova need to continue to start, especially Hughes, because the Yankees need to see what they have in him.

Besides who is he going to replace in the rotation, he's probably going to need at least a month, maybe more in the Minors before he's ready. So not only is he going to be handed a rotation spot, but he is also going to stunt the development of a young pitcher in either Trenton or Tampa. Whoever he bumps off in the minors, bumps off a pitcher below him, so on & so forth. It's a Domino Effect.

I'm sure this isn't a popular opinion & that's fine with me. I'm not here in hopes of pleasing the masses, I'm offering my two cents on the matter. I would have much preferred to see Pettitte at Old Timer's Day as opposed to a member of the 2012 Yankees.

Again, yes I am aware that none of this is supported with factual evidence. This is what I think is going to happen & it is not good.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cano Leaves Game After Being Hit on Hand With Pitch (Updated - X-Rays Negative))

(Update 11:45 PM)!/MarcCarig/status/181565748429332482

From Bryan Hoch:
Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano left Sunday's Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles after being hit on the left hand by a pitch.

Cano was batting in the sixth inning at Ed Smith Stadium against Baltimore left-hander Troy Patton when he swung at a pitch that clipped his hand, a sequence that was ruled a strikeout by first-base umpire Tim Welke.

Cano doubled over in apparent pain and was immediately seen on the field by head athletic trainer Steve Donohue, who helped the slugger into the third-base dugout.
More updates as they come... Cross your fingers.

D-Rod Update!/YankeesWFAN/status/181423610097971201

Friday, March 16, 2012

Yankee Fan Stereotype

Being a Yankees fan isn't as easy as one would think.  Now, before you respond to that opening sentence with expletives, hear me out.

No matter where you go, no matter what you stand for, if someone hears that you're a fan of the New York Yankees, you are automatically assumed to be, well a -insert insult here-.  In some cases, that insult is rightly earned.  I know a ton of people that want the Yankees to acquire a superstar player at every given choice.  When it comes to some of them, they won't be satisfied until the #5 starter is Josh Johnson and the backup outfielder is Matt Kemp.  Yup, some Yankee fans are extremely spoiled and intolerable to the point that they resemble Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.  Some of them want that Oompa Loompa now & he had better be a five-tool stud who's off day is going 2-for-4 at the plate. 

Those types of fans disgust me & almost make me feel obligated to apologize on behalf of the New York Yankees fan base.  Not every single fan is like that though, certainly not to the point where other fans should approach total strangers and start belittling them at random.  I can't even begin to get into the amount of times that some Joe Schmo has given me crap because of the stereotypical attitude displayed by what they feel is representative of all Yankees fans.  There are stereotypes everywhere with all fan bases but being a snob and that the World Series is their birth right, is an unfortunate stereotype that Yankee fans deal with.  From people that I work with to people I meet at the local bar, from Baltimore and Boston to San Francisco, I've heard it all and it is exhausting.  I've even had my chops busted at a small pub in Rome.  That completely threw me off because who would expect that?

Some of you may not want to believe it, but there are large amounts of Yankee fans out there that don't subscribe to the "World Series or Bust" mantra.  You are only familiar with the type of fan that ESPN broadcasts to increase their ratings.  There are tons out there like me who preach patience and develop from within as the proper way to go.  If there is a legit stud on the open market that fills a pressing need, then yeah go ahead & lock that guy up.  C.C. Sabathia is a shining example of a necessary big money signing to fill a dire need but Mark Teixeira was not.  That signing was overkill and now the Yankees are once again saddled with a huge, long term contract at top dollar.  Yeah it fed a short term need in the 2009 World Series but the last two seasons, he's been underwhelming to put it nicely considering the contract he was signed to.  He was signed to be elite for a long time, not just an all or nothing home run hitter with a nice glove at first base.  Contrary to popular belief, there are fans that do think about the long term success of the Yankees and think the "What have you done for me lately?" attitude is dated and inaccurate. Also, it's going to make you look stupid if that's your opinion.  Everyone has an opinion but if that is yours....yeah, then it really is stupid. 

I'm not a Homer.  I don't feel that the Yankees should be a strictly home grown team.  They should make trades and free agent signings that fill needs.  What they shouldn't do is acquire a player just because he's elite & on the market.  If they truly need that player, like I said, go out and get him.  If not, let him be someone else's albatross of a contract.  The system is deep and there are impact players there at every position.  From starting pitcher to any infield position to the relievers, the system is stacked.  The quick fix high salary star should not be the initial thought for the Steinbrenner brothers.  But the point of this post is that fans throughout baseball need to realize that there are Yankee fans out there that don't want the top dollar mercenary by any means necessary.  Not all of us are going to stomp our feet because the Yankees didn't win the World Series.  Show me progress of young talent on the ML roster and of impact prospects in the minor league system and I am content.  I will mark out over a World Series title like a teenager at a Jonas Brothers concert though, don't get me wrong.  I detest that "World Series or Bust" attitude and I always will.

If you're going to approach a Yankees fan blindly thinking something negative, there's an excellent chance that you will look foolish for that assumption by the end of the conversation.


Twitter: @trevwolff

Pettitte's Back!

Wow, this came out of nowhere.... Here's the story from Mark Feinsand:
Andy Pettitte ended his one-year retirement, agreeing to a minor-league deal with the Yankees worth $2.5 million plus incentives.

“He’s coming back,” a source said.

The deal was first reported by the YES Network.

Pettitte returned to camp earlier this spring, and though he indicated that he planned to remain retired, his three-day stint as a guest instructor “got his juices flowing,” a second source said, prompting him to put the pinstripes back on as a member of the team.

According to the source, Pettitte and the Yankees had been speaking about a possible reunion for weeks, but the trip to spring training cinched his decision.

“He got the itch,” the source said.!/Buster_ESPN/status/180701007414702081
Naturally, I have my doubts about any 39-year old pitcher who just spent a year in his living room, but it's Pettitte so why not give him a chance. I assume he won't be ready by opening day, so I guess we're looking at a mid to later April return.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Could Pineda Open the Season in the Minors?

According to George A. King III, it's definitely a possibility:
Paperwork might determine what the Yankees pitching rotation looks like, and it's not out of the question Michael Pineda could start the season at Triple-A.

Wednesday, for the second straight day, manager Joe Girardi mentioned minor league options and how they may factor into the four-arm competition for the three spots left after CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda.

"That's a possibility,'' Girardi said about a hurler being sent to the minors to start the season. "Some of the guys have options if that's what we need to do. But if it makes us a better team putting them in the bullpen we might do it.''

Phil Hughes has one option remaining, as does Ivan Nova, and Pineda has all three options left, so they can be sent out with fear of being lost. Hughes has 4 years and 113 days of service time. When he gets to five years (in 67 days) he can't be reassigned without permission.

Pineda makes his third exhibition start Thursday against the Nationals and the Yankees will be looking closely to see if the large right-hander's velocity starts to climb.
The article did go on to mention that options might not even be an issue because the guy who doesn't earn the rotation spot could always be added to the bullpen. But options aren't the entire story either.
When 23-year-old Pineda arrived in camp and admitted he was 10 pounds above the 270 he ended last season, the Yankees weren't too concerned because they really didn't know him. Now, they are staying the course when it comes to arm strength, an issue with Hughes last spring that led to a nightmare of a season and may have been the reason he missed significant time with an inflamed right shoulder.

"Some guys are a little bit slower coming along than others,'' Girardi said. "We haven't had him in spring training to really know how he is. We don't want him to conserve but we also want him to be ready to throw 95 to 96 when he is doing it. I don't want him going out there and just airing it out just so he can hit 95, 96 on the gun.''

Girardi is taking into account Pineda's age and one year of big league experience that consisted of a strong first half last season and a drop off in the second.

"You have to see how a guy does and how he responds,'' Girardi said. "This is not a kid who is 27 or 28 years old. Some of these springs are uncharted for him, too. As long as he is going in the right direction, that's the important thing for me.''
It's very early so I wouldn't make THAT much of this. Girardi is probably just covering all his bases, it's spring training, it's what he has to do.

Garcia OK After Taking Comebacker Off the Hand

Freddy Garcia was forced out of today's spring training game after being hit on his right hand by an Edwin Encarnacion liner. He was taken for x-rays after the game and luckily for the Yankees they came back negative.

The Yankees are saying he has a right hand contusion and so far there is no word on how much time he'll miss, if any.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Resigning Cano and Granderson Remains Part of Yanks Plans

From Jon Heyman:
Seeking to diffuse any notion that the Yankees won't be able to retain their buggest stars and perhaps suffer a major talent deficit in 2014 when a payroll cut is planned, team president Randy Levine said, "The plan contemplates (Robinson) Cano, (Curtis) Gransderson and a full championship team.''

The Yankees have said they plan to decrease their payroll from the low $200 millions to below $189 million to get below the luxury-tax threshhold for 2012, thus significantly reducing their tax rate in future years and saving themselces tens of millions. With that in mind, some folks are starting to do their own little math and wondering how many stars can be retained considering the Yankees will still have three $20-million-plus per-year players (Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia) on gthe payroll in 2014, leaving themselves about $120 million to fill out the other 22 spots on the team.

With the contracts of Cano and Granderson up after 2013, folks specifically have wondered how the Yankees will squeeze those two big stars onto their payroll. But Yankees people remain confident publicly they can do that and remain a contender.

"We'll have a great team either way,'' GM Brian Cashman said. "At $189 million, we should,''

The Yankees say they will not entertain the idea of going above the $189-million threshhold and are committed to getting below that figure. "The new Basic Agreement has changed the landscape,'' Cashman said. "From a business perspective, we have no choice. Do you want to go over $1 million at the expense of an additional $50 million? We're going to be at or below that ($189 million) number. We will certainly find a way to do it.''
Personally, I have no idea how it'll be possible to retain those two and have a good roster around them. I guess we'll just have to take their word for it for now.

Times Sure Have Changed

When I was a kid, my family & I would always go down to Florida every year to visit my grandparents in March.  Not so coincidentally those trips were always planned around Spring Training.  I remember standing by the bullpen or down the third base lines of Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter in hopes of scoring an autograph from a big league player.  Besides trying to get a lucky signature from someone (I did a fair amount), I was always awe struck when I got to see a household name up close.  I also immediately became bored once the regulars came out of the game.  I had no idea who any of these players were & I was too young to appreciate the development of prospects.  These days though, I don't have any interest in seeing the guarantees play during the Spring Training games because for them, it's just about getting back into a routine.

I am more interested in watching the young talent that is out there trying to make a name for themselves.  To me, that is why I look forward to Pitchers & Catchers reporting because it represents potential.  It is the official beginning of the 2012 season and the possibilities are endless.  The speculation is endless as well as the question "What if?"  "What if Dellin Betances harnesses the command of his plus stuff?"  "What if Austin Romine has added some power to his game?"  "What if Melky Mesa finally puts those ridiculous tools into consistent production?"  You can't help but get giddy over the thought, I know I can't.

Now don't get me wrong, I am not delusional into believing certain things will really happen (ie, Mesa putting it together) but you never know.  That's the exciting part of watching these kids during Spring Training. Maybe this is their year & if it truly is, that can alter the course of a franchise.  If a young talent starts producing like his potential suggests is possible, that is millions of dollars that the Yankees would save because they did not have to go out & poach that player from another roster.

I'd like to assume that the Yankees wished that they had Mark Melancon and Tyler Clippard back.  Those two plus Robertson would have given them a lights-out back end of the bullpen at very little cost.  Instead, we have a surly and inconsistent 7th inning reliever making more than those three combined.  The things I would have done if he opted out of that contract, I probably should just keep to myself.

This year, the only players in camp with the combination of proximity to the majors & franchise altering potential is Dellin Betances & Manny Banuelos.  Again, "What if?"  There is no denying their stuff, it's all about command with them.  Manny is more of a sure bet to lock it down because before last season, he hadn't had any command issues.  Dellin, with his great height, is a different story when it comes to locking down his command.  But what if?  If these two can remedy that one glaring issue and pitch to their potential, the Yankees would have two cost-controlled front of the rotation pitchers for years to come.  That kind of talent would cost a fortune and if Hal Steinbrenner truly wants to get payroll under $189Million, they are going to need the remaining B's to take that next step.

Austin Romine certainly has potential and with great offense being a luxury as opposed to a necessity at that position, he can help the Yankees' goal of getting under $189M.  Russell Martin isn't going to come cheap, especially after the huge deal that Yadier Molina signed to stay on with St. Louis.  Romine needs to put up a healthy and consistent year because he already has the necessary skills to be a backup catcher.  As I said, what if he adds power to his game?  The Yankees could let Martin walk and have themselves a cost-controlled catcher that can call a good game and swing the stick.

The next great wave of talent is on the cusp of helping the New York Yankees for years to come.  "What if?" can become a reality this season & you do not want to miss the show.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Good News For D-Rob

From Mark Feinsand:
The Yankees got some good news Friday afternoon, as the second round of tests showed nothing more than a bone bruise on top of Dave Robertson's right foot.

“It’s a huge relief,” Joe Girardi said. “I got worried when they said there was a cause of concern, but obviously this is good news.

“When they tell you there’s a cause for concern you’re thinking there could be something broken or who knows what it could have been? I saw him walk out yesterday; I wasn’t real encouraged when I saw him walking. This is as good as it gets for us.”
Roberton will wear a protective boot until Sunday and then ease back into things. It is expected that he'll miss around two weeks. The Yankees are also fairly confident that he'll be on the active roster on opening day.

Allow Myself to Introduce........Myself?

Yes, that was an Austin Powers reference.

Hello readers, my name is Trevor.  I'm 27 & I'm from New Jersey. I'd be lying if I said I was a fan of Jersey.  I do live in a nice neighborhood but there's just nothing to do & believe it or not, I am not a huge fan of going into the City.  I'm more of a landscape kind of guy as opposed to busy streets and really tall buildings. I am a huge New York Yankees fan though, ironic, huh?  I just grew up one as I'm sure most of us did.  It's not easy to just choose a team to like at random & have that passion towards them.  You got to grow up in the environment to really appreciate it & that is something that I was fortunate to experience.

My earliest Yankee memory that I remember clearly was Jim Abbott's No-Hitter.  I remember exactly where I was sitting as a little kid and all the trivial aspects that others probably have no interest in reading about.

I'm a huge prospect junkie. I can't get enough information on Yankees prospects whether they are on the cusp of helping out or are just starting out in the Dominican Summer League.  I plan on offering my two cents on prospects up and down the system as well as the obvious issues that need to be addressed on the big league level.

I have appeared on the LoHud Blog as a "Pinch Hitter" for Chad Jennings.  That was a pretty fun experience & with that, it made me reach out to try & find other writing opportunities.  I love to write.  I love to create.  I love to entertain.  You all may agree or disagree with my opinions on various matters but I don't plan on sugar coating anything.  I plan to express my opinion to show the level of joy or resentment on topics, whether they are popular or not.  I watch a lot of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations & I learned to just say what's on your mind.  That guy has a job I'd do (almost) anything for.

Well, that's all for now, I suppose.  I'm not a fan of talking about myself, I'll let other people do that for me.  Here's to another successful New York Yankees season!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

This Week in Yankees History (3/4-3/10)

This Week in Yankees History 

March 4th - March 10th

March 4th

1891 - Former Yankees and HOF P Arthur “ Dazzy” Vance (1915,1918) was born (1891-1961). Arthur “Dazzy” Vance was acquired by the New York Yankees from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 1915 MLB season. He didn’t pitch for the Yankees in 1916 or 1917 AL seasons due to arm injuries. He went 0-3 in 10 games with the Yankees. He would recover, after being picked up by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1922. He was named the National League Most Valuable Player in 1924. He pitched a no-hitter in 1925, led the National League in wins twice, in ERA 3 times. He is the only pitcher to top the NL in strikeouts 7 consecutive seasons. Dazzy Vance will be elected to the Hall of Fame by the BWAA in 1955 with 205 votes on 251 ballots. He posted a 197-140 record during a 16-year MLB career. He pitched for the Pirates, Yankees, Dodgers (twice), Cardinals and Reds before retiring, after the 1935 NL season. He appeared in 1 game of the 1934 World Series with the Cardinals with no record.

1897 - Former Yankees P/OF Lefty O’Doul (1919-1920, 1922) was born (1897-1969). Lefty O’Doul went 1-1 as pitcher for the New York Yankees before being sent the Boston Red Sox in a trade. In National League, he would become an outfielder, finishing his MLB career with a lifetime BA of .346. Later, he would become a successful minor league manager in the Pacific Coast League, most notably with the San Francisco Seals.

1897 - Former Yankees P Neal Brady (1915,1918) was born (1897-1947). Neal Brady went 1-0 in 4 games for the Yankees. He would play in the minors for several years, reappearing in the majors with the 1925 Cincinnati Reds for 20 games, posting a 1-3 record..

1913 - The Yankees become the 1st MLB team to conduct spring training outside of the United States, when they begin the spring training in Bermuda, where is projected a series of exhibition games.

1918 - Former Yankees P Mel Queen Sr. (1942, 1944,1946-1947) was born (1918-1982). In 1938, the New York Yankees signed Mel Queen, as an MLB amateur free agent. Mel went 8-4 in 33 games for the Yankees, before being sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1947. His son, Mel Queen Jr. played for the Cincinnati Reds during the 1960’s.

D-Rob Hurts Foot Falling Down Steps

From Anthony McCarron:
David Robertson, one of the most valuable pitchers on the Yankee staff and a potential heir apparent as closer if Mariano Rivera retires after this season, could miss a chunk of spring training with what the Yanks are calling a "mid-foot sprain."

Robertson stumbled down the stairs while moving boxes Wednesday night and injured his right foot, the one he pushes off the mound with, Joe Girardi said Thursday morning. Girardi first said Robertson "fell down the stairs" but later said "he missed a step."

Initial X-rays were negative, but Robertson was also scheduled to have an MRI on the foot and the Yankees were awaiting those results Thursday. Robertson was wearing a walking boot when he went to the hospital, Girardi said.

"I'm concerned," Girardi said. "By the way I saw him walking today — it hurt him to walk — you assume he's going to be down a little time, even if everything comes back OK. That doesn't mean he wouldn't have time to get ready for the season, but he'll have to start over a little bit. Not totally, but a little bit."

Girardi added: "If you're going to miss him for a substantial amount of time, you're going to be concerned. If he's going to be out a week or 10 days, you're probably not going to be too concerned about that."

Given that Robertson has a mid-foot injury, Girardi acknowledged, "everyone's going to assume Lisfranc. Obviously, I think you have to be concerned about that. There was no swelling and that's a positive sign to me, but who knows. I think he was more sore underneath. We'll have to see."
Well, that's not good. Hopefully it's nothing too serious and at least it happened now and he'll have some time to recover.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mo May Announce His Plans By The All Star Break

From Kevin Kernan:
All signs point to the great Rivera retiring after the 2012 season. When he retires, in many ways, Rivera will be just beginning his life’s work and will do so through his church, the Refuge of Hope. There are much bigger games to save.

He revealed to The Post yesterday he will announce his decision before midseason.

“I have to fight for my salvation,’’ Rivera said. “I have to work for that. That is what makes a real closer. That is the game I would love to close. That is what drives me.

“These are only games, now we are talking about lives. There is nothing better than that. That’s closing the deal.

“There is definitely a higher calling. I’m not a man to talk about fame or what I have accomplished, none of that stuff. To me that is good, but it is not important.

“If I can get hold of a teenager and tell him, ‘You know what, Jesus loves you, He cares about you and your family,’ that is the message. That’s what I want to do.’’

Rivera, 42, appears to be preparing himself mentally to move on and is savoring each baseball day. He wants to make sure his final decision is the correct one, and that’s why he has yet to announce it.

“I think maybe it will be before the All-Star break,’’ Rivera said of when he will make that announcement.


“I just want to be sure,’’ he said. “I want to make sure whatever I decide, it will be the right decision.’’


“I don’t want to tell you, ‘OK, I’m going to retire,’ and then I don’t do it,’’ he said. “To me, that’s not right.’’


“Whatever decision I make, I continue or I don’t continue, that is a decision I want to stick with,’’ he said of his thought process. “As you get older, you have your priorities and you just go and do it.’’


“It would be nice that you tell the fans, so every stadium you go to, the fans will be there to show their appreciation and you appreciate the fans,’’ he said.

“I appreciate all the fans; I appreciate their support and what they mean to the game.

“That’s the way it should be done, with respect, to give them the opportunity to see you and say goodbye. I think that’s the way to do it.

“I don’t want to take for granted everything the fans have given me. I don’t want to take for granted what God has given me.’’
I hate so much that this is going to be his last year, and the more I hear from him the more that reality is sinking in. Anyway, for now I'd just like to look ahead at this year.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Something To Pay Attention To: Pineda's Velocity

While Michael Pineda's spring debut went well, there was one thing that surprised some scouts in the audience:!/Ken_Rosenthal/status/177042481463033857!/Ken_Rosenthal/status/177043690890604544

Better Know a Prospect Countdown: 20 - 11

Before delving into my constantly evolving (and therefore somewhat arbitrary) rankings, I felt it would be prudent to provide a few token honorable mentions:
Zoilo Almonte has all the makings of a league-average corner outfielder. He's a switch hitter with five average or so tools (and increasing productivity against southpaws), and he could probably fake center field in a pinch without embarrassing himself terribly. The shockingly still only 22-year-old Jairo Heredia is perpetually a healthy year away from rocketing up the list, featuring above-average command and control on three potentially average offerings and fairly sound mechanics. Graham Stoneburner was featured prominently on this list last year, but injuries and slipping effectiveness revealed some nicks in the bedrock in what most would consider a low-risk, low-reward type prospect. David Adams, despite his injuries, continues to impress me with a fine approach at the plate, plus bat speed, and surprisingly strong defense at the keystone. At nearly 25, however, it is difficult to be ambitious with a player that has lost nearly a year of development ... with all of 173 PA above High-A. I really wanted to put Isaias Tejeda on the list, but he is simply too much of an unknown commodity for me to feel comfortable doing so. He is incredibly raw in all facets of the game, but he has above-average contact skills and athleticism, and that in and of itself is a sound foundation to build upon. And finally, Brandon Laird has made himself into a fine defender at third (and a passable defender in the other corners), which sounds appealing when taken in conjunction with his above-average power. His contact issues and lack of discipline, however, may limit him to a platoon role going forward.

Without further ado, I present the first installment of my top-20 prospects.

- 20 -
Greg Bird, C, 19
Acquired: 2011 Draft, 5th Round

This selection is entirely predicated upon scouting reports and amateur competition, as Bird's professional debut was limited to thirteen plate appearances in rookie ball. While that should be an important consideration, I cannot help but feel that I may not have been ambitious enough with the powerful left-handed hitter. Bird, the recipient of a $1.1 MM bonus this past summer, has smooth swing mechanics, raw power to all fields, and demonstrably solid in-game power to right-field. He generates above-average bat speed and a fair bit of backspin on the ball, and Yankee Stadium is always the ideal environment for such a hitter. The non-obvious caveat here is that Bird, like Jesus Montero and Gary Sanchez before him, does not appear likely to stick behind the dish. However, I would argue that his issue is not a lack of athleticism, but rather size (in general) and rawness. That being said, I do believe that he is athletic enough to handle a corner outfield spot, where the demands on his bat (which I do not anticipate to be an issue) would be slightly less than those at first base.

- 19 -
Matthew Duran, 3B, 18
Acquired: 2011 Draft, 4th Round

Duran's case is somewhat similar to that of Bird, in that there is a great deal of projection involved. Both have the makings of pure power hitters, neither seems destined to remain at their drafted position, and the terms 'hard worker' and 'gym rat' have been applied to both. The key difference, assuming that the gap between numbers nineteen and twenty is really a difference, is that Duran is a bit more polished at the plate, with a bit more contact and power ability. Duran has shown in-game power to all fields, as well. He raked in 96 rookie ball plate appearance, slashing .301/.365/.506 with 6 2B and 3 HR - a small sample size, to be sure, but impressive nonetheless. Unlike Cave, Duran does not appear to have much of a chance to contribute on defense, with few having faith that he is not a certain first baseman. His work ethic, however, should give him a fighting chance to be a non-butcher at the hot corner ... at least for a few years.

- 18 -
Nik Turley, LHP, 22
Acquired: 2008 Draft, 50th Round

Turley may have the least impressive stuff of any of the pitchers on this list, but a far argument could be made that he may well have the lowest beta of the bunch. The physically imposing southpaw is listed at 6'6" and 230 lb, yet he deals mainly in deception and command, working off of a two-seamer topping out around 91 or 92 on his best days. A high-70s, low-80s change and a big, loopy curveball (his best offering) round out his arsenal, which he wields with remarkable command and control. Unlike most other veritable giants lumbering about the mound, Turley has the ability to maintain his mechanics and stay on top of the ball, allowing him to repeat his delivery and garner plenty of groundballs. His ceiling is likely limited to that of a third starter, but he seems a safe bet to be a contributor in a big league rotation (although safe is a relative term in prospecting).

- 17 -
Ramon Flores, OF, 20
Acquired: 2008 International Free Agent

Any analysis of Flores requires a fair bit of consternation on his ability to rise above the tweener label. While the formerly diminutive corner outfielder has grown quite a bit over the past few seasons (from roughly 5'10" and 150 pounds to 6'1" and closer to 200), his tools have remained relatively stable - above-average contact skills, strikezone judgment, and plate discipline, average-ish power, speed, and defense. He may well be the least exciting prospect on this list, yet it is not difficult to foresee him having the longest career of any Yankees farmhand. I believe comps can be misleading (and lazy) ... but I think a glance at the career of David DeJesus is a reasonable comparison for the type of player Flores can become.

- 16 -
Cito Culver, SS, 19
Acquired: 2010 Draft, 1st Round

Culver strikes me as the prototypical under-the-radar prospect that is ultimately far more impressive than most anyone realizes. As the second-youngest regular in New York-Penn League, Culver improved his walk and strikeout rates, showcased smoother actions and a surer arm in the field, and showed a smarter, more aggressive approach on the bases in comparison to his short-season debut. He is unlikely to offer much in the way of power, nor will he threaten for a batting title or steal more than fifteen to twenty bases - a decidedly unsexy offensive package, in short. However, he seems all but a lock to stick at shortstop, where he projects to provide above-average defense with slightly above-average offense for the position.

- 15 -
Ravel Santana, CF, 19
Acquired: 2008 International Free Agent

For all the puffery regarding placement on this list that will be found elsewhere, it is Ravel Santana that tossed the largest monkey wrench into my machinations. Santana is a true five-tool prospect, with above-average speed, range, and arm strength, potentially above-average power, and average contact skills. He has showcased fine plate discipline and strikezone judgment since his professional debut in 2009, and he has obliterated the competition in both the Dominican Summer League and Gulf Coast League over the past two years. The caveat here is that Santana suffered a gruesome injury late last summer, breaking his ankle in two places and tearing multiple ligaments. Such an injury could have any number of long-term ramifications, both at the plate and in the field, and it is difficult to know if Santana will ever truly return to one-hundred percent. For all of this, he makes the cut ... and has the largest beta of any prospect mentioned herein.

- 14 -
Adam Warren, SP, 24
Acquired: 2009 Draft, 4th Round

I am far less bullish on Warren than I was at this time last season, on the heels of his regressing across the board while spending the entirety of 2011 in Triple-A. Warren lost nearly 2 K/9 (22.3% to 17.1% K), his groundball rate plummeted from an above-average 54% to a below-average 39%., and he added nearly a walk per inning. All told, his numbers were far from poor, but they remained wholly uninspiring. The silver lining with Warren is that his slider improved dramatically, with many scouts believing it to be a true swing-and-miss offering. The aforementioned strikeout rates do not match such a narrative, but Warren is relatively new to the world of the slider, and he is not terribly far removed from some fantastic numbers. His command and control remain positives, and I still view him as a potential three or four in a strong rotation.

- 13 -
Slade Heathcott, CF, 21
Acquired: 2009 Draft, 1st Round

It may be a bit misleading to say that Heathcott has played below his tools thus far, but his lack of consistency and results is at best bewildering. Heathcott and Ravel Santana are essentially two peas in a pod tools-wise (though Santana has more present power), with both facing disconcerting paths through the minors. The 2009 first-rounder lost yet another large chunk of development to left-shoulder surgery, which may well affect his ability to tap into his power potential in addition to the obvious issues with arm strength and accuracy. Moreover, the attitude issues that were discussed ad nauseum at the time Heathcott was drafted came to the surface a bit in 2011, when the Yankees prospect sparked a bench-clearing brawl. This ranking may appear a bit bearish, considering his jaw-dropping tools, but I consider it rather bullish when taken hand-in-hand with his injuries and merely solid production in a second tour through Charleston. I remain a believer, and I feel that this may be the most important year in Heathcott's development.

- 12 -
Austin Romine, C, 23
Acquired: 2007 Draft, 2nd Round

I cannot think of a prospect with respect to whom I have been more fickle than Romine. I have alternatively praised and doubted his bat and glove, and my view on him has ranged from back-up to solid regular to borderline All-Star. Much of the blame for this lay at the feet of the scouting reports raving about his physical tools, particularly behind the plate, but I would be remiss to suggest that my own lying eyes haven't played a role. Romine simply does not have the look (at face value) of a first division regular at this juncture, failing to put his admittedly strong tools on display with any semblance of consistency. Prospecting is an incredibly subjective balancing test, and I am finding it more and more difficult to rectify Romine's tools with his middling production. Romine did improve his walk and strikeout rates in his second go-round in Double-A, and he was probably hindered by being stuck in Double-A for almost the entirety of 2011 due to the team's stubbornness in promoting Montero to the show ... but I want and need to say more to view him as more than a potentially average-ish backstop.

- 11 -
David Phelps, SP, 25
Acquired: 2008 Draft, 14th Round

Shoulder tendinitis likely robbed Phelps of the opportunity to make it to the Bronx this past season, and may have sealed his fate as future trade fodder for the Yankees. Pessimism aside, Phelps had a fine 2011 season, showcasing above-average command and control of four roughly average offerings, including a fastball that sits around 92 MPH - e.g. the fringe third/solid fourth starter starter kit. The shoulder ailment is somewhat disconcerting, particularly when discussing a prospect that will be 26 when the postseason kicks off, but Phelps returned to Scranton without really missing a beat, then turned in a strong month in the Arizona Fall League. Should calamity strike the rotation, Phelps will be the first reinforcement from the farm - and I think he could perform quite well as soon as April. And if you squint really hard, you can still see seventy-five percent of Mike Mussina.

Follow me on Twitter - @DomenicLanza

Monday, March 5, 2012

Today's News: Pineda's Debut, Nunez Hurt

- Michael Pineda made his spring training debut today for the Yanks against the Phillies at Bright House Field and pitched well. Here's a breakdown from Pete Caldera:
Here’s how he did in the first inning…
Jimmy Rollins: Ground single up the middle (2-2 count)
Placido Polanco: Fielder’s choice groundout (3-2 count)
Shane Victorino: Strikes out (1-2 change-up)
Jim Thome: Strikes out (1-2 fastball)

Second inning:

Hunter Pence: Pops to first (1-1 pitch)
Ty Wigginton: Grounds out, catcher to first (1-1 pitch)
Domonic Brown: Lines out to third (1-1 pitch)

Pineda’s line: 2 IP, 1 hit, 0 BB, 2 K, 30 pitches, 19 strikes.

Afterward, Pineda was asked if he were nervous for his first time out as a Yankee: “Hell, no,” he said.

Pineda, 23, said he was “very confident now…very excited.”
According to Jack Curry, he also used that changeup everyone is banking on and said he was comfortable with the pitch. Nice outing, but there's a lot more to go.

The Yankees also don't seem too concerned that he came into camp 10 pounds overweight.

- As for Eduardo Nunez, he left today's game after being hit on the right hand by Austin Hyatt (who?) in the fifth. Nunez was got precautionary X-Rays and the Yanks are saying he has a contusion.

Garcia Open To Any Role This Season

From George A. King III:
A starting pitcher in 327 of his 329 major league games, Freddy Garcia would prefer to remain in that spot with the Yankees this season.

However, if manager Joe Girardi sends the 35-year-old right-hander to long relief, he won’t have to listen to a protest.

“I have never pitched in the bullpen, but I feel fine [with] whatever happens,’’ Garcia said after a two-inning stint in the Yankees’ 7-4 win over the Phillies at George M. Steinbrenner Field yesterday, when he allowed two runs and four hits. “I will be ready for anything. It’s the manager’s decision and I have to do my job and go from there.’’


Had Garcia known the Yankees were going to add two more starters to the mix would he have decided to go elsewhere?

“Not really, I like it here,’’ said Garcia.
Not sure this means anything, besides that Freddy is saying all the right things. Then again, that's usually the case in early March. If Phil Hughes gets the 5th spot and craps the bed again, I don't think Freddy will be that OK rotting in the pen.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Alex Rodriguez: Clubhouse Leader?

From Tim Brown:
On the morning of the first game they’d play since Game 5, the night the New York Yankees all went home for the winter, Alex Rodriguez stood before them and, according to witnesses, gave the sort of speech that wouldn’t have been possible five years ago.

Somebody else would have told the Yankees it was time to commit in body and soul to the next eight months.

Somebody with credibility would have reminded them who they are. Somebody with clubhouse authority would have challenged them. Somebody who’d endured the terrible stuff, and drank the sweet stuff, and tested out as an honest-to-goodness Yankee. That guy.

For long enough, that wasn’t A-Rod, not in their eyes and not in his own heart.

But on Friday morning, hours before they’d open their spring schedule against the University of South Florida and start all over again, sources said Rodriguez commanded the room for more than 10 minutes like he never had before.

“It was great,” said one witness. “I’d never seen that out of him before. I didn’t know he had it in him.”


Rodriguez wouldn’t talk about his speech, or confirm he even gave one.

According to those in the clubhouse, however, Rodriguez talked about being “all in.” He advised them that, on that subject, there was only black or white, “no gray.” He said each of them – from the biggest superstar to the last guy on the 40-man – knew what “all in” meant. They’d had to have been “all in” just to sit in that room, to make it this far. And that every man knew exactly what his “all in” amounted to, in work ethic and dedication and sacrifice. He asked them to find that within them, to bring it every day, all season long, for the good of the Yankees. For the good of themselves.

“Amazing,” a witness said. “The guys were drawn to him.”

Somebody had to say it.

And, on a Friday leading to his 19th big-league season, Alex Rodriguez became that somebody.
I have to say that I'm impressed that A-Rod has built up enough locker room cred and confidence to pull something like this. Brown is right, this wouldn't have been possible a few years ago. By all accounts he did exactly what a leader is supposed to in one of these types of speeches: let everyone on the team know what the mission is, how to accomplish that, and get everyone on the same page. The all in mentality is a good way of doing that.

"All in" was the battle cry for the NY Football Giants this year and we all saw how they not only bought into the idea, but then took that all for one, one for all attitude and ran through the NFL's best on their way to a 4th Super Bowl.

Something that was lost when Jorge Posada retired was that vocal leader in the clubhouse (according to everything I've read Jeter is a much more quiet leader) and maybe A-Rod is looking to fill that void. And that, to me, is a very good thing. Especially if the team is open to him doing such a thing, which seems to be the case.

Good job, Alex. Now just stay healthy.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The 2012 Postseason Will Officially Include Two More Wild Card Teams

From Barry M. Bloom:
The expansion of Major League Baseball's playoffs with the addition of two Wild Card teams and a one-game elimination in each league will begin this year.

An agreement between MLB and the Players Association, finalized on Friday, adds a second Wild Card in each league, making for a postseason field of 10. The three division winners in each league will await the survivor of a one-game playoff between the Wild Card teams in each league, establishing the Division Series field of four teams in each league. The subsequent Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series formats will remain the same.

For the 2012 postseason only, the five-game Division Series will begin with two home games for lower seeds, followed by up to three home games for higher seeds. This one-year change will eliminate a travel day prior to a decisive Game 5 of a Division Series and was necessary because the 2012 regular-season schedule was announced before the agreement on the new postseason was reached.

Next year, the Division Series will return to the 2-2-1 format used in previous years. Details on the scheduling of the new elimination games between each League's Wild Cards will be announced in the near future.
I wasn't a big fan of this at first, but the idea has grown on me. Now winning the division will actually mean something and those one-game playoffs should be highly entertaining.

Brien Taylor Arrested For Cocaine Trafficking

From John Swartz:
Taylor, 40, was arrested Thursday in Beaufort and now faces a host of cocaine charges after a joint effort between the Carteret County Sheriff's Office and the Morehead City Police Department. Investigators said they bought "a large quantity of cocaine and crack cocaine from Taylor over a period of several months."

The former No. 1 selection in the Major League Baseball draft now faces a slew of charges involving the possession of and the intent to sell and distribute cocaine.

Taylor was placed in the Carteret County Jail under a $275,000 bond and is scheduled for a court appearance Friday morning.
It's amazing how the guy's life changed after that incredibly stupid bar fight. A sad story gets even sadder.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Angelo Gumbs, Your 2012 Breakout Prospect

This entry was posted in part on The Yankee Analysts.

Prospects with flashy tools and unparalleled athleticism often find themselves on the fast track into my heart. Those that are able to couple such glamor with results and other positive indicators are enough to make me swoon. Angelo Gumbs is such a prospect, and I would not be surprised to see him garnering praise this time next year a la Mason Williams … who may well be, dare I say, a slightly less athletic, less powerful version of Gumbs.

At face value, Gumbs’ 2011 production may be categorized as somewhat lacking. In prospecting, though, one must always dig deeper. The future center fielder was the youngest regular in the New York-Penn League this past season, checking in as nearly two months younger than Cito Culver (the second youngest). It’s also worth noting that he is nearly fourteen months younger than Williams – and this, at an age where physical and emotional maturity is of the utmost importance. In terms of tools, Gumbs has plus speed, plus bat speed, plus range at second (and likely plus-plus range in center), solid arm strength, and (possibly) future average power. He has a larger frame and more physicality than either Culver or Williams, and more natural loft in his swing (which often portends over-the-fence power). While he may not hit more than 10 or 15 home runs a year, he would not need to to have a ton of value.

As a little nota bene – I do think he has the tools to stay at second base, where he could likewise be a tremendous player.

Follow me on Twitter - @DomenicLanza

Hal: $189 Million is the Target

From Wallace Matthews:
Hal Steinbrenner got accosted on his way to the elevator by the Yankees' beat crew, and confirmed what GM Brian Cashman has been saying all winter:

The Yankees are in the process of "streamlining'' the payroll, and the magic number is $189 million, which will be the new luxury-tax threshold for the 2014 season as established by the recently ratified CBA.

"I'm looking at is as a goal," Steinbrenner said, "and my goals are normally considered a requirement.''
The only good that can come out of this, besides the Steinbrenner family saving some extra dough, is that fans around the country might slow down a bit with the whole "the Yankees buy their championships" thing. That said, I never cared about those fans or their opinions in the first place.

Welcome to the NL, AJ

From the AP:
Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett will undergo surgery on Friday to repair a fractured right orbital bone.

The right-hander injured himself Wednesday at the team's spring training facilities in Bradenton, Fla., after a bunt attempt caromed off his face. He flew to Pittsburgh late Wednesday to be further evaluated.

There is no immediate timetable for Burnett's return.
To make matters worse, one of the reasons he wanted to go back to the NL was so that he could hit again. Like they say, be careful what you wish for.

Thanks to Robot Devil for pointing out that there was video of the incident: