Monday, January 30, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
My predictions for Teixeira in 2012: .270 BA, 34 HR, 108 RBI
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
- Michael Pineda is now a New York Yankee and Jesus Montero is a Seattle Mariner. The trade became official today. Pineda held a conference call and stressed that he was speechless and is totally looking forward to pitching with CC Sabathia and playing with the likes of Jeter and A-Rod.
- Montero said he was "shocked" about the trade because he thought the Yankees would have given him a legitimate chance to prove himself in the big leagues.
- Cashman stated that he doesn't see Hughes as a reliever. He is more comfortable with him being a starter.
- Also from Cashman, he says that free agent DH's are "secondary" in his search right now. He would prefer to trade an arm for a bat that can make a significant impact.
- Brett Gardner avoided arbitration this weekend, settling on a one-year contract worth $2.8 million.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
|Burnett's reaction after giving up a home run to Bengie |
Molina in the 2010 ALCS
Moving forward, Burnett has $33 million remaining for two years on his Yankee contract. The Yankees have a boatload of front-line starters not named AJ Burnett. Is it a possibility that he gets traded before the start of the season? Very unlikely. Teams do not want to be responsible for his salary and the Yankees do not want to pay the majority of it for a different team. The Yankees would rather have him on the team, knowing that he is an innings-eater. That is perhaps the only value that Burnett has right now, and it only means something to the Yankees because they are paying him to eat those innings and to have a great start now and again.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
I will dedicate a blog post to each position for the New York Yankees. In these posts, I will be discussing organizational strengths at each position and how they will be affected by minor leaguers coming up through the system. With my first post, I will hone in on the Yankees catching situation and what it will look like in the long term, post Russell Martin.
The Yankees currently have Russell Martin at catcher. Martin has been great for the Yankees in his first season in 2011. He threw out 30% of potential base-stealers, something that Posada was not especially good at doing. He hit for power, mashing 17 home runs and provided stability behind the plate for over 120 games. There is no doubt that the arbitration-eligible catcher will be back in pinstripes in 2012, judging from comments made by Brian Cashman. However, if the Yankees do not lock Martin up to a long-term deal, which they won't, they need to have the stability at the catching position that they had when Jorge Posada was squatting behind the plate for most of 15 seasons. The organization is stacked with an embarrassment of catching prospects which include Austin Romine and even further down in the system, Gary Sanchez. After Martin becomes a free-agent, the Yankees need to look closely at making Romine their every day catcher. The AAA player had a taste of big-league time when he was called up in September, but needs to further develop his hitting skills. Before the Yankees commit to making Romine their every day catcher, they need to gradually set him into the role of back-up catcher. When Jorge Posada was coming up, Joe Girardi was the Yankees catcher and Girardi taught Posada the ropes of how to catch a big-league staff. Over the last three years, the Yankees back-up has been Francisco Cervelli, a terrible defensive catcher who is a singles hitter. If the Yankees want Austin Romine to be successful at the big-league level, catching the likes of CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda, they need to let him break camp with the Bombers to get a taste of life in the majors. Although Francisco Cervelli is a pro at fist-pumping, he needs to get traded for a similar player at a different position or as a complementary piece for a big-time pitcher. Cervelli, not Martin, is blocking Romine's future with the Yankees because the Yankees are opting to go with the guy with more big-league experience rather than with a new guy who needs to mature. For that to happen, I don't see any other option but parting ways with Cervelli. Sanchez still has a long way before he hits the majors which would give Romine plenty of opportunities to prove himself as a legitimate defensive catcher who can handle the bat and hit .280 consistently. What actually happens though, remains to be seen.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Yesterday, the Yankees announced that they came to an agreement with RHP Phil Hughes on a one-year, non-guaranteed contract worth $3.2 million plus incentives. That's a $500,000 raise for a guy who essentially had a lost season, winning a lowly 5 games for the Yankees with an inflated ERA of almost 6. There is nowhere to go for Hughes but up. He had a dreadful 2011 season and did not come close to his 2010 first half statistics. He came into spring training overweight and not as ready as he did the previous year, knowing that he was a lock in then- the Yankees thin rotation. Being that the Yankees have surplus starting pitching, it would help the Yankees in a possible trade involving Hughes if he began the season as the number 5 starter. It is unlikely to happen however, because of the size of Burnett's contract and having Freddy Garcia as a proven starter. Nonetheless, Hughes has potential to be a front-line starter, but his likely home to start the season will probably be in the bullpen until Chamberlain fully recovers from Tommy John surgery. He is a proven winner in the bullpen and the move would only make sense.
The Yankees also announced that they have come to agreements on one-year contracts with setup man David Robertson and reliever Joba Chamberlain. The two were no-brainers to obtain contracts from the Yankees. Without Robertson setting up for Mariano, there may not have been a postseason for the Yankees. Let's not forget how he Houdini'd himself out of based-loaded jams throughout the season. Personally, I think the Yankees should lock him up to a long-term deal before he gets too expensive. Chamberlain is a wildcard because he, like Hughes, had a lost season. Before his elbow injury, he was having a great season, with an ERA under 3. While at one point Chamberlain was thought to be the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera, his place within the organization remains a mystery with the Yankees already having two eighth inning relievers and a closer who isn't bad himself.
Update- 3:39 PM- According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Robertson will make $1.6 million with 25K in incentives and Chamberlain will make $1.675 million.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Eric Chavez was a valuable asset to the Yankees bench last season when he was not hurt. He played gold glove caliber defense at third and even at first base. When Alex Rodriguez went down because of his ailing knee, Chavez stepped up and filled the void at third base in a platoon with Eduardo Nunez. Though Chavez's bat never really lived up to it's potential, there was more he had to contribute defensively. He did get hits in key spots and many of them came against the Red Sox, but his power was virtually non-existent except for homers he hit in a blowout game in Chicago and toward the end of the season in Toronto. Chavez is a very undervalued player who can contribute in a lineup and defensively. Although he is still no longer the healthy player he once was with the Oakland A's, Chavez is a valuable piece that would give the Yankees bench an additional weapon from the left side. Cashman would be foolish to not sign Chavez to fill the last spot on the bench, knowing that A-Rod is coming off of an injury plagued season. The Yankees bench was an overall success in the 2011 season and having the same pieces back in the 2012 season would only make it stronger.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Pineda was a top tier prospect in the Mariners system who showed that he could be a legitimate number one in the first half of 2011. He was an all-star on a team that went on to carry a 17 game losing streak in August. His numbers plummeted shortly after the all-star break, where he carried an inflated ERA and his stuff was not fooling as many major league hitters. Let's not forget that he was pitching many of his games in pitcher friendly Safeco Field, making his ERA deceptive. The Yankees acquired him from Seattle, hoping that someday he will be a number one for the Yankees. He has yet to develop a third pitch, but with some extra work in spring training that could change. Remember what happened when Ivan Nova was sent down and was called up again? This is the ideal situation for Pineda, who carries an intimidating presence on the mound. CC Sabathia is a veteran starter whose dominance season after season is difficult to match, especially while pitching in the AL East. Will Kuroda crack under the pressure of flashing lights? Will Pineda develop into an ace starter if he masters the changeup? Time will tell. One thing remains certain however, and it is that CC Sabathia will remain the Yankees ace for years to come.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
|Damon as a member of the Rays hitting a walkoff home run against the Twins|
Going into the 2012 season, the Yankees were set on making Jesus Montero their primary DH. Now that he is a Seattle Mariner, plans have shifted just a bit. The Yankees need to go out and get a reliable bat. Their options are limited because of their need for a left-handed hitter. Two names on the free agent market jump out at you. Johnny Damon and Carlos Pena. There are upsides to both players and drawbacks that could detour a trip to the Bronx for the 2012 season. Johnny Damon is AL East tested and a proven winner who does not cave in pressure moments. He thrives in key situations and continued to do so for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011. One thing that makes a reunion with Damon difficult is his age. The 38 year old has seen a decline over the last two years with the Tigers and Rays, respectively. His batting average has taken a considerable dip in the last two seasons. Additionally, his fielding is suspect as a 38 year old left fielder. Carlos Pena is also AL East tested and though he has not won, he certainly has pop. The first baseman hits for power, and lots of it. He plays sparkling defense at first base. However, as a DH for the Yankees, his fielding would not be needed as Mark Teixeira is not a bad first baseman himself... Another negative about Pena is that he is an all-or-nothing hitter. His batting average is embarrassing but his power numbers are outstanding. Pena's lack of consistency at the plate is a turn off for the Yankees. The Yankees have power hitters with respectable averages and do not need a headache that will hit 30 homers but have those homers be 1/3 of his total hits. Looking at in-house options, Jorge Vazquez is a 29 year old AAA DH/1B who mashes the ball, but with that comes plenty of strikeouts. He has raw power that can give the Yankees a cheap, in-house option that will save them several million. My take is this: Damon is a good leadoff hitter that can cause havoc on opposing pitchers. Pena is a more expensive Jorge Vazquez, so I do not understand why Pena's name is even coming up. I would sign Damon to a $4.5 million contract and have him platoon with Jeter for the leadoff position. Jorge Vazquez can begin the year in AAA with a possible call-up later in the season if injuries plague the everyday players.
However, there is a positive that comes out of all this, and not a small one. The Yankees get two quality starting pitchers! They now have a rotation that features CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Hiroki Kuroda, and Ivan Nova. If that doesn't scare you as an opposing team, it should. The Phillies have aging star pitchers. Two of the Yankees top 4 are under 26 years old. Don't forget that Banuelos and Betances are waiting in AAA to get a chance to pitch for the Bombers. I would rank the Yankees starting rotation in the top five in the American League, joining the likes of the Angels and Rays. The Yankees splash also leads to another series of questions. The first one being that they have seven starters. Who will be the odd man out between Hughes, Burnett, and Garcia? The other question that remains is who will be the Yankees designated hitter in 2012? Let's start with the first question. The Yankees may have something else up their sleeve. Phil Hughes and AJ Burnett are the odd men out based on last year's statistics. If Hughes isn't traded, I can see him joining the Yankees bullpen while Joba Chamberlain is on the DL recovering from Tommy John surgery. If the Yankees can find suckers to take on the majority of Burnett's salary it will be a miracle. This leaves Freddy Garcia as the most sensible option to round out the Yankees stacked rotation. (Never thought I would say that). To answer the second question, the Yankees have an eye on Carlos Pena. I do not think he is a good option to fill the designated hitter slot in the Yankees lineup. A .225 average would not serve the Yankees very well. I envision a possible reunion between Johnny Damon and the Yankees. It would make sense. He would be a great leadoff option against right-handers and Jeter would remain the leadoff hitter against lefties. Damon is also a proven asset in the American League East and in the past has been very clutch and reliable for the Yankees. Nevertheless, look out for the Yankees to make a move in the DH department and soon.
Friday, January 13, 2012
We all remember the last two months of the 2010 season. Kerry wood was traded to New York from Cleveland and returning from the DL. He was hardly anything to get excited about. His first game with the Yankees was in Tampa Bay where he got himself into a jam where the bases were loaded. Girardi went to the bullpen because he felt that Wood could not handle pressure situations. Later however, Wood's talent would be revealed to Yankee Universe when he consistently was put in games and would get positive results. Despite his high walk totals, he always seemed to get out of those "first and second, nobody out" jams and more confidence was instilled in his manager. Wood would allow two earned runs in 26 innings pitched for the Bombers. His post-season heroics were also evident when he would put men on base in the eighth inning of tight games and picked them off attempting to steal. Bottom line: Kerry Wood was a savior for the Yankees in 2010 and helped them advance to the postseason with his strong pitching in the latter part of the season when the Yankees bullpen was thin and lacked effective pitchers aside from Mo. It was a major disappointment to see Wood reject the Yankees last off-season to sign with the Cubs for a below-market salary. The Yankees eventually signed Rafael Soriano to a highly controversial three year deal making him the highest paid set-up man in the game. Soriano struggled in his first season in pinstripes and was plagued by injury, causing him to miss almost two months of the season. A Wood reunion is is not happening this year, but Yankee fans can't help but feel nostalgic about the the right-hander and what he did for us in 2010. Maybe 2013 will yield different results and a reunion. We can only hope.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
I am an enormous Yankees fan. I follow every player and watch all 162 games of the regular season... and of course post-season games too. I follow Yankees players and beat writers on Twitter and love to get my Yankees fix during any part of the day. My favorite current Yankees are Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner. Cano's pure ability to hit and Gardner's speed make them especially intriguing and unpredictable. During the regular season, I hope to post daily blogs about game predictions and player updates. From now until spring training, I will be talking about up-to-date Hot Stove action and how different signings affect the Yankees. Here's hoping that we get #28 in 2012. Let's Go Yankees!