Monday, October 29, 2012

Yankees Exercise Options on Cano, Granderson, and Aardsma

From Erik Boland:
Free agency officially kicked off in the hours after the Giants completed their four-game sweep of the Tigers in the World Series on Sunday night and, as expected, the Yankees on Monday exercised the club options they held on second baseman Robinson Cano, centerfielder Curtis Granderson and reliever David Aardsma.

Twelve of their players became free agents, headlined by Hiroki Kuroda, Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Ichiro Suzuki, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera. The others are Eric Chavez, Pedro Feliciano, Freddy Garcia, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones and Derek Lowe.

Players can start signing with other clubs after midnight ET on Saturday.
OK, just wanted to post that before the Sandy knocked out my power and internet. Stay safe people.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Uh oh.... Mariano Rivera May Be Leaning Towards Retiring

From Andrew Marchand:
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Mariano Rivera, considered the greatest closer in baseball history, informed him earlier this week that he is unsure if he will play again or retire.

Cashman told ESPN New York that on Tuesday he and Rivera had a conversation in which Rivera said he was unsure if he will return for a 19th season.

"He wasn't certain on what he is going to do," Cashman said.


Now, with his 43rd birthday next month and as he's worked very hard during his rehab to return, Rivera has the familiar tug that he has carried for many years of possibly wanting to stay home with his family and call it a career.

In the past, Rivera also has emphasized that he expects to leave the game as an elite player. If he has doubts that he will retain his skill level, that also could tilt him to call it a career with the most saves (608) in MLB history and five World Series rings.

The negotiations for a new contract also could be a bit complicated. Rivera made $15 million last season, but even with the front office's utmost respect for him, it is unclear what it will offer him considering he would be returning after a season in which he pitched in only nine games.


During his end-of-season news conference on Wednesday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi hinted that Rivera may not return.

"From watching how he rehabbed and everything that he was going through, picked up a baseball sooner than he was supposed to and got his hand smacked a little bit, that would tell me that Mo probably wants to play," Girardi said. "But in saying that, it's a decision that I think he'll sit down with his family, evaluate where he is maybe a little bit later in this process and how he feels and how his arm feels, to feel like you think you can compete at the same level he's always competed at. But I don't think that you push a rehab like he pushed it unless you think that you possibly have some interest in coming back."
If Mo decides he wants to hang it up and spend more time with his family that's certainly something he's earned.

Now, if the Yankees make money an issue and pull the same crap they did with Jeter a few years back than I think we all should be pretty pissed off. This is Mariano Rivera for crying out loud, if he wants to return you give him basically whatever he wants, especially if it's on a one or two year deal.

CC Has Bone Spur Removed

From Andrew Marchand:
New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia had arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone spur in his left elbow on Thursday. The team announced he is expected to be ready for spring training.

Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery and the club said that no other problems were detected.

"They found a small bone spur," said Yankees GM Brian Cashman. "It was a quick and minor cleanup. We'll take him along slowly through spring training and he'll be ready for Opening Day.''
"Quick and minor" are always good things to hear about any kind of surgery.

Ichiro Interested In Returning To Yanks

From Joel Sherman:
The Giants were working hard to obtain Ichiro Suzuki before the Yankees did in late July and probably would have interest in the free agent this winter. But a person close to Ichiro told me he strongly wants to stay with the Yankees because he so enjoyed playing in a professional, winning atmosphere with so many contemporaries near his age range.

The friend said he can’t imagine money being a factor, noting that to make matters work when he wanted to be in Seattle, Ichiro deferred $5 million a year on his last long-term contract. The implication was that a one-year deal, perhaps with an option, in the $5 million-to-$8 million range might get it done.
In 67 games for the Yankees, the veteran hit .322/.340/.454, stole 14 bases so to me bringing him back is a very easy decision.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Heyman: Yankees Have No Interest In Giving Swisher Multi-Year Deal

From Jon Heyman:
The Yankees are still planning to make a qualifying offer of about $13.5 million to free agent Nick Swisher, but only to protect the draft choice, not with any hope or expectation he'd accept the offer and return to the Bronx.

While Swisher generally had a nice four-year run in the Bronx, the Yankees are ready to move on after a fourth straight postseason of struggle for Swisher.

The Yankees were certain all year they'd extend the qualifying offer, and it appears they still are extremely likely to do so since the chances for him to accept would still appear to be remote.The one-year qualifying offer amount is expected to be for about $13.5 million in the new set-up, so the great likelihood would seem to be that Swisher could beat that total on a multiyear deal elsewhere.

The Yankees haven't made a final determination about what to do. General manager Brian Cashman declined comment.


The Yankees have no interest in making Swisher a multi-year deal at the going rate, but that's mostly about their desrire to get their payroll below the lucury tax threshhold of $189 million in 2014 -- though of course Swisher's .167 batting average with only two RBI in 30 postseason at-bats doesn't help, either.
Also according to Heyman, other MLB execs expect Swisher to get a 3-year-deal.

Pineda Likely Out Until June or July

From Dayn Perry:
Pineda was initially expected back in spring training, however irrationally optimistic such a timetable was. Now, Yankees GM Brian Cashman says Pineda is not expected back until well into the 2013 season.

"We have to keep him off our radar for now," Cashman, appearing on Ian O'Connor's ESPN New York radio show, said of Pineda. "We're talking June of next year ... the second half of next year."
Some pitchers have been out for two seasons with this injury, so this is hardly unexpected.

Sherman: Cano Wants 10-Year Deal

From Joel Sherman:
Whenever I have asked about his financial goals, Cano always has said he is not concentrating on that subject. Yet a few members of the team told me Cano has said he is expecting a 10-year contract at top-of-the-market dollars. In a conversation with me yesterday, Boras also did not give numbers, but it was clear he expects his client to be treated financially like one of the great players in the game.

Boras said he anticipates the no-brainer move of the Yankees picking up Cano’s $15 million 2013 option, but he does not foresee an extension this offseason because “their normal course of action with players under contracts is to let them play it out, so I don’t think there will be urgency on their part.”

The Yankees’ urgency is in knowing that if an extension is not done by the start of spring training, Boras almost certainly would take their best player into the free-agent market for 30 teams to bid on a year from now.
You obviously pick up his option for next season, $15 million for Cano is very reasonable, even with his annual October disappearing act. But if those are going to be his demands, I think the Yankees should call his bluff and see if any other team is stupid enough to give Cano that type of deal. If there is one, then they should strongly consider letting him walk.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lupica: Yanks Now Concerned More About Money Than Wins

From Mike Lupica:
Yankee fans really need to take a deep breath here, be a little more realistic about who their team is, has been for a long time. We hear constantly about the Yankee “brand.” Well, here is what the Yankee brand has become: Winning a lot of regular games, drawing a lot of people, making a lot of money. They are big winners, unprecedented winners, April through September. Just rarely in October. October was the old brand.

And they’re still working off an old script at the new Yankee Stadium. The comments from members of the Yankees’ high command after the team doesn’t make it to the World Series have become as predictable as their baseball team not making it to the World Series.

Once the bottom line for Steinbrenner the Elder was winning it all, or else. For his heirs, it seems the bottom line is more about profit and loss, and that sure doesn’t mean the kind of loss the Yankees just suffered at the hands of the Tigers.


The modern Yankees are a rollicking good show, good home-run show, now that they’ve moved across 161st St. Beasts of the AL East. Brian Cashman, the general manager, says he is going looking for more home-run hitting monsters, even though we all saw what just happened in the postseason when good pitching kept the monsters the Yankees already have in the ballpark.


Understand: The Yankees clearly have a tremendous business plan. It’s just not exactly the one they’re selling about how every season is World Series or bust. They are a long-running TV series for YES (even though ratings were down this season), the money absolutely keeps rolling in. They are hairy monsters in the regular season. But what happens in the postseason keeps happening, no matter how surprised they act every time it does.

We keep hearing that they’re going to get the payroll down to $189 million by 2014 to avoid serious luxury-tax penalties, but that is a bit of a hustle, too. The next year they can go right back to outspending everybody (well, maybe not the Dodgers going forward) if they choose to.

Understand: They have made a lot of smart decisions in that time to keep the pump primed, don’t worry. Cashman had one of his best years in 2012 with Ibanez, Ichiro and Hiroki Kuroda, and maybe it’s fitting that his best work turned out to be with guys whose ages are 40, 38, 37. The Yankees, year after year, are always a win-now team.

But when it comes to the World Series, they have become a win-then team.

Under Joe Torre they won four times in five seasons, made it to the World Series five times in six seasons, finally six times in eight. But starting in 2002, they have become the New York Braves.

Obviously there is no shame in that, the people in charge can point to other teams spending big money and not having nearly the regular-season success the Yankees have had. You think Mets fans wouldn’t trade places with Yankee fans? But the idea that the sky is falling because they just did what they usually do — fell hard before they got to the Series ­— is just plain dumb.

They consistently fall short of what they say their mission statement is, but nothing really changes in the organization. You know the only person who effectively got fired from the World-Series-or-bust Yankees lately? A.J. Burnett. They paid the Pirates to take Burnett off their hands. They might pay somebody else to take A.E. Rodriguez off their hands. That is the modern Yankee idea of holding somebody accountable.


Everybody talks about the Yankees making more big changes. Maybe getting another big player or two. But in the end, and with as much money as they spend, they are mostly about big coin that keeps coming in. That’s the real difference between the way they are run now and the way they were run when the old man was still in charge. That’s the real bottom line with the modern Yankees.

The people in charge say what they think George M. Steinbrenner would have wanted them to say. But with the old man, it was more than just talk.
The New York Braves.... Boy do I hate the sound of that.

I do have some concerns about the way the team is being run--I'm sure we all do. Hal is certainly not his father, and winning doesn't seem to be as important to him. That said, this team did still have a huge payroll and did win 95 games. And a few big hits or defensive plays earlier on in the ALCS and we may still be playing now.

What do you guys think? Is part of the Yankees problem the change in philosophy from father to son, or, as many has suggested, they were good enough but just choked?

Sabathia Wants Martin Back in 2013

Here's a little more CC Sabathia related news, though this time it's not related to anyu injuries. Here's the story from Mark Hale:
Two Yankees pitchers voiced their support yesterday for free-agent catcher Russell Martin.

“I think it’s important. He’s been a great addition to our team, on and off the field,” CC Sabathia said of re-signing Martin. “That’s not in my department, though. But we’ll have to just wait and see what happens. But he’s been great for us.”

Derek Lowe, who also is set to be a free agent, is unlikely to return to The Bronx. But the veteran righty raved about Martin, whom he has known since the two were teammates with the Dodgers. Lowe pointed out the value of Martin’s power, the defensive improvement he has made and the significance of Martin having proven he can handle playing in New York.

“I had him in L.A.,” Lowe said. “He’s actually probably gotten a little bit better as far as catching because of experience, and with [bench coach] Tony Pena here being a catching guy. There’s not many catchers that are going to hit you 20 home runs and drive in I don’t know how many he had, call a great game, throw guys out. From that standpoint, he’s a guy that’s only getting better. Again, I can say that because I’ve played with him back in L.A., and I’ve seen the progression in a positive way.

“I know this, and you guys know this, it’s hard to bring guys in here that maybe you don’t know how they’re going to perform. And once you have people here that you know can perform here, in my opinion, you’ve got to keep them. Because you know what you’re going to get.”
It's always good to get an endorsement from the ace of the staff, but remember, we're talking about a guy who sat at or under the Mendoza line all season so if they do bring him back I hope it's on a relatively inexpensive deal.

If you were wondering, here is a list of catchers who may be available next season via MLB Trade Rumors:

Rod Barajas (37) - $3.5MM club option, no buyout
Henry Blanco (41) - $1.24MM mutual option
Gerald Laird (33)
Russell Martin (30)
Brian McCann (29) - $12MM club option with a $500K buyout
Jose Molina (37) - $1.5MM club option with a $300K buyout
Mike Napoli (31)
Miguel Olivo (34) - $3MM club option with a $750K buyout
Ronny Paulino (32)
A.J. Pierzynski (36)
Humberto Quintero (33)
David Ross (36)
Carlos Ruiz (34) - $5MM club option with a $500K buyout
Brian Schneider (36)
Kelly Shoppach (33)
Chris Snyder (32) - $4MM mutual option for 2013 with a $500K buyout
Yorvit Torrealba (34)
Matt Treanor (37)

Not a lot of great names on there, so Martin may actually end up being their best option.

CC Headed To See Dr. James Andrews

From George A. King III:
Previous MRI exams on CC Sabathia’s valuable left elbow have not discovered ligament damage that would necessitate Tommy John surgery.

However, the Yankees’ ace will visit noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews this week to get an explanation why his hinge has been inflamed between starts since August.

Because Sabathia has had a bone spur in the elbow since he pitched for the Indians (his last season in Cleveland was 2008), the 32-year-old might require an arthroscopic procedure to shave or remove the spur. Or he could be told to rest.

Since the ligament was clean on tests done in August, the Yankees don’t believe the inflammation is being caused by something that would require reconstructive surgery.

Of course, there always is the chance the spur grew and caused damage to the ligament. Whatever the case, pitchers don’t visit Andrews unless there is something wrong.

Sabathia spent two weeks on the disabled list in August with an inflamed elbow. Yesterday, talking outside of Yankee Stadium, Sabathia said the swelling surfaced following every start he made since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 24.

“A little bit because it’s something I have never felt before, never had a problem with the elbow,’’ Sabathia said of being concerned. “I felt it off and on in between starts. But I didn’t feel it on the field.’’

General manager Brian Cashman decided to send Sabathia to Andrews because he knew Sabathia never would complain about an injury following a poor postseason outing.
Luckily, it seems that this is just precautionary, and at worst he'll just have the bone spur removed. Still, any time Dr. Andrews is brought into the situation it gets a little scary.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Pettitte to decide on 2013 in "a month or so"

From Peter Botte:
Another offseason, another retirement decision for Andy Pettitte. The 40-year-old lefty hopes to tell the Yankees whether he’ll be back in 2013 “one way or another, within a month or so.”


“I came back because I felt like I had some competition left in me and I wanted to help this organization win another championship,” Pettitte said. “There’s no doubt I still have the desire to compete. For me, it’s the family situation. That’s the biggest thing. I’ll just try to figure that out. It’s a long season. What better job to have than play baseball? But at certain times, it gets tough whenever the family can’t be together.”
With CC, Nova, Hughes, and Pineda all in the mix for next year's rotation, bringing back either Kuroda or Pettitte, or both, would really solidify the staff.

Some Yankees Blame Fans For Awful ALCS

From John Harper:
...while A-Rod blamed two weeks of postseason futility at the plate, saying it “sucked the energy out of us," another player privately made a far more indicting observation: that the ballclub was affected by the hostility from the fans at Yankee Stadium last weekend.

“I really think the booing spooked a lot of guys," the player said. “A lot of guys hadn’t been booed before, and they couldn’t believe how nasty it got in the stands."

Obviously Nick Swisher admitted to being sensitive to such treatment after Game 2, but the player said Swisher was far from alone in his reaction.

“A lot of guys were talking about it in the clubhouse," he said. “I was surprised by how much it bothered them. I really don’t think they ever recovered."

If that’s true, well, so much for the big, bad Yankees.
Sounds like that unnamed Yankee is someone who has been here for a while. Maybe Andy?

Anyway, the idea that this team struggled because of the fans says a lot more about the team than the fans. On one hand I do agree that the booing of A-Rod this postseason was ridiculous and could not have been good for team morale, but at the same time these guys are paid a lot of money to perform so grow a sack and deal with it. Hopefully, any player that was spooked won't be here once the 2013 season rolls around.

A-Rod: I'll Be Back in 2013

From Peter Botte:
One day after GM Brian Cashman denied reports about trade talks regarding Rodriguez, the benched former All-Star said he has no plans to waive his no-trade rights during what figures to be an eventful winter in the Bronx.

“That’s correct. I will be back. I have a lot to prove and I will be back, on a mission,” Rodriguez said after going hitless in two at-bats off the bench in the Yanks’ 8-1 Game 4 loss. “I love New York City, and I love everything about being a Yankee. The highs are very high, and the lows are extremely low.

“But I’ve never thought about going to another team. My focus is on staying here. Let’s make that very, very clear. No. 2, I don’t expect to be mediocre. I expect to do what I’ve done for a long time.”


“Look, I know it was difficult for Joe. I know Joe didn’t want to sit me,” Rodriguez said. “If I do what I do, Joe doesn’t have a choice, neither does (GM Brain) Cashman, neither does anybody.

“I have to look in the mirror. I sat in this room in 2006, some of you guys were here, there were a lot of doubters. I said I was going to get back to the drawing board and I did. And I came back with a vengeance in ’07. I’m looking forward to hopefully doing the same.”
Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi also commented on A-Rod's future with the team:
“I expect Alex to be here. I expect Alex to come back and be our third baseman,” Cashman said. “Obviously what just happened here, I just don’t think it’s reflective of Alex’s abilities — and I think that’s true of a lot of the guys, not just Alex.”

Girardi doesn’t believe his relationship with Rodriguez needs mending.

“As far as I know, we’re OK,” Girardi said. “I don’t have any signals that he’s mad at me. I know he wanted to be in there. … But if there are things I have to do, I’m going to do them.”
At this point, getting rid of that contract would do a lot for the team's future financial flexibility. That said, nobody is going to take him unless the Yankees eat most of the contract--I've heard reports of something in the ballpark of $90 million--so in that case it probably makes more sense to keep him.

What do you think, should the Yankees do everything to trade A-Rod or keep him around?

CC: I Didn't Give Them A Chance

From Marc Carig:
The moment he released the pitch, a look of disgust swept over the face of CC Sabathia.

The desperate Yankees needed something close to perfection from their ace. But he had just made another mistake, one that Miguel Cabrera turned into a two-run homer and a 4-0 lead. Sabathia winced. It was all he could do as the Tigers pounded him in an 8-1 victory that clinched a sweep of the American League Championship Series.

"It's embarrassing to come out and not give my team a chance to win," Sabathia said. "I pride myself on trying to give us a chance and I didn't do that tonight."


Sabathia insisted that his left elbow, which landed him on the disabled list this season, gave him no problems.

"It felt good," he said. "It felt good enough to pitch tonight."

Still, general manager Brian Cashman said the Yankees intend to take no chances.

"Let's put it this way, we're going to look at that elbow, no doubt about it," Cashman said. "That will be on the list of things we have to look at now that the offseason's here. Whether he wants to or not, we're going to go look into this thing and make sure everything's OK."


I was terrible today," Sabathia said. "Didn't make pitches. Changeup was a non-factor, fastball command at the end wasn't good."
Out of everyone on the team, CC is the last that deserves any blame. This series was over after game 3, maybe even game 2, and the blame should sit squarely on the hitters.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

ALCS Game 4 Lineups: A-Rod Rides The Pine Again

Ichiro Suzuki LF
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibañez DH
Eric Chavez 3B
Russell Martin C
Brett Gardner CF
Eduardo Nuñez SS

LHP CC Sabathia

TIGERS (3-0)
Austin Jackson CF
Omar Infante 2B
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Delmon Young DH
Jhonny Peralta SS
Andy Dirks LF
Avisail Garcia RF
Gerald Laird C

RHP Max Scherzer

Alex Rodriguez Might Accept A Trade

(UPDATE) Alex Rodriguez is once again not in the lineup for today's rescheduled game 4.

I was busy at work all day yesterday so I was unable to post, but if you missed it, there was a ton of talk about Miami being a possible destination for Alex Rodriguez if the Yankees do try an unload his contract this offseason. Well, today we have this report from Bob Nightengale that says if the situation was right, Alex, who has a full no-trade clause, may accept the deal:
Take a good, long hard look at him.

This will be the last time you'll ever see Alex Rodriguez in a New York Yankees uniform.

We might have already seen him play his last game for the Bronx Bombers.

The Yankees, desperate for offense, and set to play in an elimination game Wednesday night, benched their greatest and most expensive star for the second consecutive game.

Though Game 4 of the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers was postponed by rain, the Yankees already tipped their hand and had him on the bench, leaving A-Rod humiliated.

The Yankees are making it loud and clear they want Rodriguez out as quickly as possible.

Rodriguez, his pride and ego damaged beyond repair, is now telling close friends that he won't stand in the way.

Rodriguez, who has a full no-trade clause, won't ask to be traded, a person familiar with Rodriguez's thinking told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the situation.


He will welcome a trade, the person says, but it must to be to another big-market club. Hint: He won't be going to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The most likely choices would be the Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
First, let me say that A-Rod has been awful this October. However, so has 90% of the starting lineup so really, why are we still blaming everyone's favorite scapegoat?

To me, this whole situation was made much worse by Joe Girardi, and his benching of A-Rod for the last two games -- though he can still make up for the game 4 benching today if he has any clue. There are reports of a fractured clubhouse, and that he's completely lost the team, which only makes this 0-3 feel that much more insurmountable.

The decision to bench A-Rod is only made worse by his replacement, Eric Chavez. Chavez has been virtually invisible in his plate appearances this postseason and also made that costly error in game 3 that might have cost the Yankees the game and a chance to get back in this series.

Does this mean I think A-Rod would have gone 4-for-4 with a homer off Verlander? No, but I do think A-Rod could get his swing going if given the chance, especially away from all the boos in the Bronx. There's no reason to further embarrass the guy and disrupt the clubhouse for a replacement that has also done nothing this series.

No matter what the outcome, the thing that sticks out to me the most is how poorly the Yankees and Girardi have handled this mess. If you think about how good we all felt about this team after that four run 9th on Saturday it's amazing how quickly things have changed.

Sure, there is still more baseball to be played and mistakes could be corrected. Maybe A-Rod is in the lineup today, gets a couple hits, and the Yankees actually win a game in this series. Or maybe, and much more likely if you ask me, things just get worse, the Yankees get swept, and this really is the end of A-Rod in New York.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

ALCS Game 3 Lineups

Brett Gardner LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Raul Ibanez DH
Russell Martin C
Eric Chavez 3B
Granderson CF
Eduardo Nunez SS

Phil Hughes RHP

TIGERS (2-0)

Austin Jackson CF
Quintin Berry LF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Delmon Young DH
Andy Dirks RF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Alex Avila C
Omar Infante 2B

Justin Verlander RHP

9 Years Ago Today, This Happened

Hughes Talks About His Huge Game 3 Star

From Chad Jennings:
“There’s always pressure that comes with every start,” Hughes said. “I don’t really feel like I can, you know, sort of feel any added pressure just because of the circumstances. I just have to go out there and pitch, that’s all it boils down to. Not really worry about being down 0 2, that Verlander is on the mound, that we don’t have our captain. Those sort of things are going to be wasted energy, and all I really want to focus on is the Detroit Tigers lineup and doing the absolute best job I can do.”

Hughes’ two starts at Comerica Park this season were a pretty good snapshot of the highs and lows of his yaer. In August, he couldn’t get out of the fifth inning. In June, he threw the first complete game of his career.

“You can’t really look at those two starts and take a whole lot away from them coming into this start,” Hughes said. “I just have to hope that I have good stuff and good command and attack the strike zone like I normally do, and I think we’ll have some good success.”


“I remember I actually started off a little bit slow in that (complete game) start,” he said. “It was kind of a struggle for me to get going — almost similar to my last start against Baltimore (in the division series) — and then I remember I got stronger as the game went on and I was able to command the ball a little bit better. So hopefully (tonight) there’s a little bit of a similarity in the fact that I can command the ball and hopefully command it early and often. It’s a tough lineup, and I’m going to have to be on top of my game, but I have confidence that I will be, and I look forward to it.”

“As a pitcher sitting on the bench, I am not used to seeing [the offense struggle like this] either,” Hughes said. “We are a team that is a high-powered offense. We get a lot of home runs and things like that. But anytime you are going through these struggles, as pitchers, we take it as we have to step up and do a better job and put up a bunch of zeros because we know we can scratch and claw and put together a couple of runs. As long as our pitchers do a stand up job, we know we will have a chance to win the game.

“I think it is a challenge for our pitchers and we’ll have to do a really good job and have the confidence that we will score at least a few runs, and hopefully a bunch, and turn this thing around.”
I don't have to explain how important this game is for the Yankees and Hughes himself. A win tonight with CC going in game 4 could turn the series around. Sure, it's a very tall order, but this is sports and stranger things have happened.

Let's go Hughes, make this a series.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Brett Gardner Could Start Game 3

From Andrew Marchand:
With the idea of shaking up the lineup going into Game 3 against the Detroit Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander, Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that Brett Gardner could be a starting outfielder.

"He still might play a role in this thing," Cashman said on ESPN New York 98.7 FM’s "The Michael Kay Show." "You could very well see Gardner in this big outfield that Detroit has. The way our offense is, it is a possibility. He deserves consideration considering what is going on right now."

Gardner could start in the outfield with Nick Swisher or Curtis Granderson or, in some arrangements, both sitting. Previously, Yankees manager Joe Girardi has said he is hesitant to play Gardner because he has only had three major league at-bats since April. Gardner missed most of the season with an elbow problem.
Gardner is 5-for-11 in his career against Verlander and at this point I'd have to imagine he'd put up better at-bats than Swisher, after all Swish got his feelings hurt. Also, and more importantly, Swisher is just a .180 in 61 at-bats against Verlander.

Yankees Fans Should Be Embarrassed

The title speaks for itself. Since the beginning of the postseason, I have heard some pretty ridiculous things from Yankees fans. One of my favorites was one female fan’s claim that because the Yankee players are clean cut, that makes them “classy.” Please, so now facial hair dictates what kind of a human being you are? For the most part, these were the type of humorously naïve comments I would be subjected to on a somewhat consistent basis. You laugh at them, poke a little fun, but ultimately, you just roll your eyes at the stupidity and carry on with your life.

Now we are learning that not only has the fans turned on Nick Swisher, but some of them are actually blaming him for Derek Jeter breaking his ankle. Are you kidding me? That brings ignorance to a whole new level. I get that in the postseason, especially in close games, emotions run high but the suggestion that Swisher had anything to do with Jeter’s broken ankle proves how dumb people can be. Everyone is frustrated with how this team is playing but there is no excuse for saying something like that to someone that has been a great player since he came to the Bronx. Not only has he been a great player, he has been one of the most likeable guys in the game, and one of the few celebrities out there that seems to genuinely care about his fans. If you want to be frustrated with his postseason performance, that is fair but leave the ignorance to the two fools that are campaigning for President.

Swish has also said these “fans” have made it personal with attacks on his family. Way to go whoever you are. There is a good reason why fans of the New York Yankees have a really bad reputation. Just like fans of Philadelphia sports teams, the popular opinion is not a positive one. It is absolutely vile to go after a person’s family. This is a game, people. Remember that. So if the New York Yankees and their $200Million payroll don’t bring home a World Series this year, is it that horrible of a thought? Is the idea so offensive that these fans feel it is their obligation to spew such hatred? I am not even 30 years old and I have already seen five World Series championships. Most people will not even get to see one in their lifetime. If they don’t win it all this year or the next, I will be fine. You all will be fine as well (unless you placed big money on the ALCS). Everybody should just relax with the theatrics already. The guy isn’t playing well but it is certainly not due to a lack of effort.

I am not defending his postseason performance this year or any other year, it’s been pretty bad. I just cannot wrap my head around why there are people at a baseball game that would resort to such classless tactics. Just for kicks, I have even heard fans complain that he is smiling too much. This isn’t news. When doesn’t Swish smile? He is a happy guy that is living his dream & being paid handsomely to do so. I would be smiling from ear to ear all the time if I had his life. For some reason though, these fans seem to expect Nick Swisher to not be himself. What do you want him to do? If he frowns when they lose, does he get his Yankee-Cred back? Do you guys want him to sulk in a dark corner?

Nick Swisher has the right attitude in life and he has his priorities straight. The Yankees fans that feel the need to try and destroy his spirit could learn from him because they do not. Remember, it is just baseball. After the final out is recorded, life goes on.

Nick Swisher is a Crybaby

Apparently, Nick Swisher was upset at the treatment he's been receiving from some bleacher creatures over the last couple games. Here's more on the story via Bryan Hoch:
Nick Swisher and Yankee Stadium's right-field Bleacher Creatures have enjoyed a warm relationship over four seasons in the Bronx, one that includes Swisher enthusiastically acknowledging cheers with a left-handed salute during "Roll Call" each day.

But on Sunday, as the Yankees took the field for Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, Swisher's heart wasn't quite in it. Stung by jeers he heard from the home crowd during the Yankees' Game 1 loss to the Tigers, Swisher acknowledged that he offered just a lackluster wave when he heard his name chanted.

"That's the last thing that I ever thought would be in this ballpark, that people would get on you that bad," Swisher said after the Yankees lost, 3-0, to fall into a 2-0 deficit in the ALCS. "Especially your home, where your heart is, where you've been battling and grinding all year long. It's just frustrating, man. You never want to be in that spot. It's not like you're trying to go out there and do bad on purpose. It's just tough, man."

... what troubled Swisher were personal jabs and critiques that seem unfair.

"Last night was pretty big," Swisher said. "A lot of people saying a lot of things that I've never heard before. Prime example: I missed that [12th-inning Delmon Young] ball in the lights, and the next thing you know, I'm the reason that [Derek] Jeter got hurt. It's kind of frustrating. They were saying it was my fault."


"I'm one of those guys that if you give me a hug, I'll run through a brick wall for you, man," Swisher said. "It just seems right now like there's just a lot of ... it's tough. It's really tough. You want to go out and play for your city, play for your team. Right now, it's just really tough.

"It hurts. Sometimes I'm a sensitive guy and some of the things people say, they get under your skin a little bit. I've been lucky to be here for the past four years, bro. We're not going to go out like this. We're going to go to Detroit and give everything we've got."
And one more from the Daily News:
“As the game progresses, you’re trying to go up there and get a hit. If you don’t, people let you know about it,” said Swisher, who is batting .154 with one RBI through seven postseason games this October. “It’s a tough spot. Hey man, I guess that’s playing in New York... That’s New York for you.
Also, according to a this Newsday article fans serenaded him with: "Na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye." after his final plate appearance.

Swisher also went on to suggest that the atmosphere in the Bronx might be hurting the team, calling it "a negative setting."

I'm sure there will be some who side with Swisher here, but it's not going to be me. Grow a sack and I don't know, maybe get a damn hit. Then those boos that hurt you so much might just go away.

A-Rod said it best in his postgame:

“Our fans haven’t had much to cheer about, so you can’t blame them. You have to blame us. If was sitting there I would be perplexed too. We didn’t score any runs. What the hell are we going to cheer about?”

Sunday, October 14, 2012

ALCS Game 2 Lineups

Ichiro Suzuki LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez DH
Russell Martin C
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Curtis Granderson CF
Nick Swisher RF
Jayson Nix SS

Pitching: Hiroki Kuroda RHP

TIGERS (1-0)
Austin Jackson CF
Quintin Berry LF
Miguel Cabrera 3B
Prince Fielder 1B
Delmon Young DH
Andy Dirks RF
Jhonny Peralta SS
Alex Avila C
Omar Infante 2B

Pitching: RHP Anibal Sanchez

Jeter Fractures Ankle, Done for Postseason

Girardi on the injury:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

ALDS Game 4 Lineups: A-Rod Batting 5th

Derek Jeter DH
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Nick Swisher RF
Russell Martin C
Curtis Granderson CF
Jayson Nix SS

Pitching: RHP Phil Hughes

Nate McLouth LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Jim Thome DH
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Manny Machado 3B

Pitching: LHP Joe Saunders

Jeter Day-To-Day With Bone Bruise

From Mark Hale:
There is a major question about Derek Jeter’s health right now.

In the third inning of the Yankees’ 3-2, 12-inning victory over the Orioles last night, Jeter, who has been battling a late season, left-ankle bone bruise, fouled a ball off his left foot. Jeter was badly limping and hobbling during the game, an alarming development. It became more alarming for the Yankees as he exited the game for defense before the ninth inning.

Jeter was replaced by Jayson Nix, and there’s a chance the Yankees will have to use Nix at shortstop tonight while using Jeter as DH. After the game, manager Joe Girardi said he wasn’t sure if Jeter will play tonight.
Girardi also mentioned in the post game that it's a bone bruise on the top of his foot that he got by fouling a ball off his foot early in game 3. He's day-to-day, but Jeter, as always, played the injury down and said he expects to play on Thursday.

Here's Jeter's post game:


For the tie...
... and the win!
And if you're interested, here are Sterling's calls.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ALDS Game 3 Lineups

Derek Jeter SS
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Alex Rodriguez DH (WHY!?!?!?!?)
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C
Eric Chavez 3B

Pitching: RHP Hiroki Kuroda

Nate McLouth LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Jim Thome DH
Mark Reynolds Dh
Ryan Flaherty 2B
Manny Machado 3B

Pitching: RHP Miguel Gonzalez

Monday, October 8, 2012

ALDS Game 2 Lineups

Derek Jeter, SS
Ichiro Suzuki, LF
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Russell Martin, C
Curtis Granderson, CF
Eduardo Nunez, DH

LHP Andy Pettitte


Nate McLouth, LF
JJ Hardy, SS
Chris Davis, RF
Adam Jones, CF
Matt Wieters, C
Mark Reynolds, 1B
Jim Thome, DH
Manny Machado, 3B
Robert Andino, 2B

LHP Wei-Yin Chen

Sunday, October 7, 2012

8:40 First Pitch

ALDS Game 1 Lineups

Derek Jeter SS
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Russell Martin C
Raul Ibanez DH

LHP CC Sabathia

Nate McLouth LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 1B
Chris Davis DH
Lew Ford RF
Manny Machado 3B
Robert Andino 2B

RHP Jason Hammel

Yankees ALDS Roster Announced

Here's the 25-man roster that will be taking on the Orioles:


CC Sabathia
Andy Pettitte
Hiroki Kuroda
Phil Hughes
David Phelps
Clay Rapada
Derek Lowe
Boone Logan
Joba Chamberlain
David Robertson
Rafael Soriano

Position Players:

Russell Martin C
Chris Stewart C
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Eric Chavez 3B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Derek Jeter SS
Jayson Nix INF
Eduardo Nunez INF
Brett Gardner OF
Curtis Granderson OF
Raul Ibanez OF
Ichiro Suzuki OF
Nick Swisher OF

Saturday, October 6, 2012

2012 ALDS: Roster & Rotation Info

As of now mananger Joe Girardi has not yet announced the full ALDS roster, but he has revealed that Andy Pettitte will start game 2. So the Yankees are going with CC, Pettitte, and Kuroda for the first three. Game 4 is apparently still up in the air.

There was also some rotation info from the other side of the diamond as the Orioles announced that Jason Hammel to start game 1 of the ALDS. Hammel went 8-6 with a 3.43 ERA for the O's this season, but has made just two starts since July.

Also, Andruw Jones told the media he would not be on the roster. He also agreed with the move, saying he didn't deserve to make the cut. According to the skipper, Jayson Nix is a possibility for the final spot, if he is healthy enough to play.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Beyond the Box Score: A Brief Q & A with Yankee Prospect Kelvin De Leon.

I had the pleasure of getting to speak briefly with Tampa Yankees’ right fielder, Kelvin De Leon. He was signed by the Yankees as an International Free Agent on the July 2nd signing date in 2007. After a very impressive 2008 campaign in the Dominican Summer League, he made his jump to the United States in 2009 as a member of the Gulf Coast League Yankees. Always heralded for his big time power potential, De Leon has had a steady path towards reaching his dreams of one day donning the pinstripes of the New York Yankees. With a good showing next season, he can make a jump to the Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League. He has the talent and is desire and work ethic is second to none.

Trevor Wolff:
I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie Sugar, but it follows the story of a young Dominican pitcher named Miguel Santos. His biggest struggle appeared to be dealing with life off of the field since he was in a new country & away from home for the first time. Was it a struggle for you to adapt to the U.S. when you came to the Gulf Coast League in 2009?

Kelvin De Leon:
It was a bit difficult, especially because it is a different language, but over time I adapted to the language as well as the food and atmosphere as I knew most of the year would be in the U.S.

Trevor Wolff:
 Here in the U.S., you’ve played in Tampa, Staten Island, & Charleston…what city has been your favorite place to play in so far?

Kelvin De Leon:
[Staten Island] was my favorite place because it is the island state [portion] of New York City where the major league team is, where one day with the help of God I will play, I also felt the family because many of them live there

Trevor Wolff:
 What pitcher that you faced in the Dominican Summer League back in 2008 do you think will go on to have the most successful Major League career?

Kelvin De Leon:
Edwar Cabrera, I think [he plays for] Colorado, is the pitcher who played with me in 2008 that may have a good career in the big leagues.

Trevor Wolff:
Who has been the toughest pitcher that you’ve faced here in the U.S., and what made him so tough to hit?
Kelvin De Leon:
I faced many talented pitchers in America but I think one of the best front what this year is Jose Fernandez who plays for Miami Marlins [in their farm system. Fernandez finished the year with the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Florida State League].

Trevor Wolff:
Do the Yankees implement a program that assists young foreign players into adapting to the United States?

Kelvin De Leon:
They have a good program from summer league [Dominican Summer League].  They teach us English, [and how to] speak like the [players in the] in the United States.  [We] arrived in the United States and took classes until we perfect the language so it will help fellow Americans socialize with us.

Trevor Wolff:
 Now that the offseason is here, do you plan on playing any fall or winter ball? If not, what is a typical offseason for you?

Kelvin De Leon:
Right now I'm in training for my team, Toros del Este [of the Dominican Winter League] this winter. I play here to learn as there are more experienced players of all levels, including big leagues to help me learn more about the game.  I’ll be playing with players at the highest levels, and the level that I am at.

Trevor Wolff:
The last comment is all yours. If there was one thing that you can tell baseball fans everywhere about the grind of playing Minor League Baseball, what would that be?

Kelvin De Leon:
I can only [show my] desire.  I love baseball,  it is not just a sport for me, but it's my lifestyle, I always give it as much as possible to fulfill my dream and with the help of God and my hard work, I will end up where I hope to be.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yankees Leaning Towards Pettitte in Game 2, Kuroda in Game 3

From Mark Hale:
The Yankees certainly can start Kuroda, who has been their No. 2 starter this season. But now they also have the option of starting Pettitte in Game 2 on seven days’ rest and moving Kuroda to Game 3 on Wednesday. That would allow Kuroda (16-11, 3.32 ERA) to pitch on two extra days’ rest, which seemingly would be beneficial to the right-hander.

Girardi said a Game 3 start for Kuroda is a strong possibility.

“That’s something that we’re going to have to talk about. Absolutely,” he said. “[Kuroda] had an unbelievable season, and that’s something we’ll definitely consider.”


“I’m going to respect any decisions that Joe makes,” Kuroda said of potentially being pushed to Game 3.

Another factor that could influence Girardi’s Game 2 decision is because CC Sabathia will pitch in Game 1, do the Yankees want their two lefty starters to pitch on consecutive days? As for home-road splits, Kuroda and Pettitte have been far better in The Bronx this season (Games 3-5 will be at the Stadium). Kuroda has a 2.72 ERA at home versus a 4.23 one on the road, while Pettitte owns a 1.85 ERA at home and a 4.26 one away.
I like the plan. Kuroda has been better at home all season, and he could use the extra couple days rest after throwing a career high number of innings.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Banuelos To Have Tommy John Surgery

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hal Speaks, Says All Jobs Are Safe

From Wallace Matthews:
Even with the New York Yankees having relinquished a 10-game lead in the AL East, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said neither manager Joe Girardi's job, nor anyone else's, is in danger.

"Jobs are not riding on this," Steinbrenner said, speaking to a small group of reporters in the corridors of Yankee Stadium.

Steinbrenner said the team examines everything in the offseason, but he seemed to be satisfied with Girardi and all of the Yankees' personnel.


Steinbrenner reiterated that he plans on cutting the Yankees' payroll by 2014. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, the Yankees could save tens of millions of dollars if they lower their payroll -- now around $200 million -- to $189 million.

"I've made it clear that is very important to me, for several reasons," Steinbrenner said. "You are talking about a 10 percent reduction in payroll. I don't see that as an outrageous concept. I never have."


Right now, Steinbrenner said he is "tense."

"I'm excited," Steinbrenner said. "I think we would all like a bit more breathing room. Right now, we have zero breathing room. We have had a few good weeks. They have been playing tough. We have (Mark Teixeira) back tonight, which could only help and be a boost."
Hal also told a little story about how he always felt--even when the Yanks were up 10 games--that this would get closer as the season wore on. Which might be true, but really at this point, who cares.

I'm not saying anyone should necessarily be fired for this, although there are valid arguments on that side of the aisle, but it's times like these that I miss George the most. Even if nobody would end up losing their job, at least the newspapers would be interesting to read.

Nova Out, Phelps In For Tuesday's Game vs Boston
Smart move.

Cheap Tickets Available For Yankees-Red Sox

So, we got three games left and we're all tied with those pesky Orioles for first place and the Red Sox (of all teams) are coming to town. You would think that tickets for this series would be pretty expensive, but then you'd be wrong.

In fact, tickets for this series are selling for 16% less than the Yankees-Red Sox series in August, and 41% less expensive than their series in July. I'm not sure why fans are so uninterested in seeing this huge series live, but hey, it's better for those of you who are.

If you are one of those fans who want to see the Yankees wrap up the division against the hated Red Sox, click here for your tickets.

Teixeira Expected Back Tonight

From Chad Jennings:
The Yankees expect Mark Teixeira to be in the lineup and playing first base tomorrow. After playing in an instructional league game yesterday, Teixeira will go through a normal workout today and rejoin the Yankees when they get home for this final three-game series against the Red Sox.

It will be Teixeira’s first game since aggravating his strained calf injury on September 8, and only his second game since originally hurting himself on August 27. His injury through the month of September, and Alex Rodriguez’s injury through the month of August means it’s been a long time since the Yankees have consistently had two of their middle-of-the-order bats in the lineup at the same time.

“Obviously two middle-of-the-order hitters, number one,” Girardi said. “But two, it gives you the ability not to stack left handers, which is something that we’ve had to fight and at times we’ve been vulnerable to that. It seemed like everyone was throwing left handers against us, and Tex is a huge bat against left handers. It’s affected us.”

The Yankees face two right handers (Buchholz and Matsuzaka) and one lefty (Lester) in this final series against the Red Sox.
Besides the injury to Mariano, everyone else is now back in the fold so finally, after several months of dealing with various players going down, the Yankees are pretty much at full strength. Hallelujah!