Sunday, October 14, 2012

Derek Jeter out for remainder of postseason

Tragedy struck Saturday night in the Bronx for the second time this season. 

The Yankees lost the heart and soul of their team when Derek Jeter, The Captain, fractured his ankle and will be out for the remainder of the postseason.  Go ahead, watch the video at your own risk, I can't watch it without feeling nauseous. 

What could possibly be said except that this is probably the most devastating injury the Yankees have suffered all season. Sure, they lost Alex Rodriguez for a few weeks to a broken hand and Andy Pettitte to a fractured leg of his own, but neither are Jeter. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

First place Yankees take on suprising first place Nationals

When the season schedules were released earlier in the offseason, who would have ever thought that June 15-17 could be a series to prove a team's legitimacy? 

The schedule showed a three-game series between the Yankees and Nationals.  The Nationals, who are perennial basement dwellers in a division that is normally dominated by the Philadelphia Phillies are shocking the baseball world with their play this season.
That's right ladies and gentleman, the Nationals are on top of your National League East, with a 9.5 game lead over the Phillies.  With a 38-23 record, the Nats have the second best record in all of baseball, just behind the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This also includes the Yankees.  The Yankees sit atop the American League East with 37-25 record after winning nine of their last ten games. 

As I said before, who would have thought both teams would be in first place this late in June.  Let's be honest, many thought the Yankees would be sticking around.  With the Nationals, many including me, believed the team was at least one year away from having winning baseball in the District of Columbia. 

So how are both teams in first place after dealing with devastating injuries? The Nationals have relied on one of their greatest assets: youth, while the Yankees are relying on experience.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Welcome Back, Andy

In a somewhat surprising move on Thursday, Jack Curry of the YES Network reported that Andy Pettitte did his best Brett Favre imitation by coming out of his one year retirement to return to the Yankees.

Pettitte was serving as a spring training instructor for the team in Tampa and many, including his former teammates, had noted that the lefty was in great shape.  Nobody was aware that the reason why he was in such great shape was that he was secretly throwing bullpens since January 1, at his home in Texas this winter.  In December, Pettitte was offered a contract somewhere between $10-12 million by general manager Brian Cashman, before Cashman traded for Michael Pineda and signed Hideki Kuroda.

Pettitte declined Cashman's offer, but he still continued to work out.  Last week he threw a secret bullpen in front of Cashman, Joe Girardi, Gene Michael and pitching coach Larry Rothschild and that's when the contract discussions began.  Pettitte agreed to a one-year $2.5 million minor league deal.

So what does this all mean for the Yankees?

An already crowded starting rotation just got even more crowded.

CC Sabathia and Hideki Kuroda will no doubt make the rotation.  That leaves five more pitchers for three open spots.  Pettitte will not be ready to join the team until early May at the earliest, but, what happens when he returns?  Joe Girardi is going to have some tough decisions to make.

Monday, February 20, 2012

5 Burning Questions Spring Training Edition

Yesterday officially kicked off the 2012 New York Yankees season as pitchers and catchers reported for the first day of spring training.  Though the day consisted mostly of the players taking physicals and throwing long toss, without Joe Girardi, the idea of baseball finally starting up again was music to my ears.

As the rest of the players begin to arrive in Tampa, here are some burning questions to keep an eye on for the next six weeks as the regular season approaches.

1. After C.C. who's next?
Joe Girardi confirmed today in his first press conference, that C.C. Sabathia will be the Yankees No. 1 starter, which is not a surprise to anyone.  Sabathia showed up to Tampa noticeably slimmer, weighing  290 pounds, down from 315 which is the weight he finished last season at.  But after Sabathia, Girardi will have to consider how to round out his rotation.  He has the newly acquired Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda as well as Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia to round out his rotation. Thankfully, he has A.J. Burnett off of his hands

Too many pitchers is always better than having not enough.  Pineada will obviously make the rotation as will Nova and Kuroda.  This means the fifth starter's role will come down between Hughes and Garcia.  Earlier in the off season, general manager Brian Cashman said Garcia will not have to compete for a roster spot but, that was before the signing of Pineda and Kuroda.  If Garcia beats Hughes for the final spot, Hughes will obviously slide to the bullpen but will he be as effective? Hughes also showed up to camp looking slimmer as well while adding muscle.  Would Cashman trade Garcia if Hughes beats him out?  We'll see.

My guess: Sabathia, Nova, Pineda, Kuroda, Hughes. 

2. Who will be the primary back up catcher?
Girardi all but confirmed that Francisco Cervelli will resume his duty of Russell Martin's back up in today's press conference.  But, what if Cervelli's on again/off again concussion symptoms become a problem again?  After trading away Jesus Montero to the Mariners, the Yankees are down to one player who is on the active roster: Austin Romine.

Romine impressed the coaching staff last season when he appeared in nine games for the Yankees.  Though he is not as well equipped with his bat as Montero, his defensive skills go above and beyond Montero's.  Romine is just 23 years old and another season in the minors may help his bat develop.  But, if Cervelli or Martin down for an extended period of time, I expect Romine to be back with the club.  He has the benefit of having worked with Hughes and Nova in the minors while they were all teammates. 

3. The DH situation 
While this may look like it's resolved, with the signing of Raul Ibanez, I think the situation is anything but.  The reality is Ibanez will be 40 in June and in all likelihood, his best days are behind him.  The DH spot was already an overcrowded position for the Yankees, in my opinion.  Andruw Jones was brought back to hit against righties while the team also has two aging veterans, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, whose bodies would appreciate a little break every now and then at the DH position.  Ibanez, who will hit mostly lefties, knew what he was getting himself into though as his contract is incentive heavy contract.  Ibanez was signed to a $1.1 million contract but has the opportunity to make $4 million with incentives. 

4. The health of Alex Rodriguez 
It's no secret that Alex Rodriguez's best and healthy days are behind him.  Last season, Rodriguez was limited to just 99 games due to a lingering knee injury.  Because of the injury, Rodriguez's power numbers were down with only 16 home runs and 62 RBI's.  Everyone believed Rodriguez would continue to get healthy over the off season, but he had a mysterious knee surgery over the winter in Germany which was also performed on Kobe Bryant previously.  Rodriguez has not played in 150 games since the 2007 season and at 36, he's more likely to have injuries than a 26 year old.  For what it's worth, Cashman said that Rodriguez is healthy, but we'll see what happens once the grind of the 162 game season begins.

5. Will Mark Teixeira return to form?
Teixeira is an interesting player to take a look at.  In the 2011 season, he played in 156 games and hit 39 home runs while driving in 111 runs, but hit just .248. Teixeira admitted he was frustrated with his lack of consistency and did not like that he was hitting just mostly home runs.  Since Teixeira signed with New York, his number of hits per year has decreased dramatically.  In 2009, his first season with the team, he had 178 hits, 2010: 256 and last year 148.  It was particularly frustrating when runners were in scoring position and Teixiera often struck out or flew out to end a rally.

Fans should not be complaining about his production given the number of runs he drives in each year, but hearing that Teixeria is frustrated is comforting to know that he wants to improve and return to being the all around player he once was.  Sadly, his days as an American League All Star may be over as Albert Pujols makes the switch to the AL this season.  Teixeira will have to compete with Pujols, Detroit's Prince Fielder and Boston's Adrian Gonzalez to find a spot on the roster.

* Photos courtesy of:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pinch Hitting

Today, I am honored to be featured on the Journal News' Yankees blog as a guest poster.  In my post, I talk about how the Yankees age actually helps the team rather than hurts them as many critics believe.  Please check it out. 

Special thanks goes out to Chad Jennings for letting me share my thoughts with so many people.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Yankees Acquire Pineda for Montero; Sign Kuroda

Just about an hour and a half ago (around 7:30 p.m. EST) the Yankees almost broke the Twittersphere. 

First, news started breaking that the Yankees had acquired Mariners No. 2 pitcher Michael Pineda and 19-year-old pitching prospect Jose Campos for catcher Jesus Montero, who kickstarted the Yankees when he made his debut in September and Hector Noesi, a promising young pitcher in the Yankees system.  Noesi made a few spot starts for the Yankees and was lights out of the bullpen as well. 

Jack Curry of the YES Network also reported that the Yankees agreed to terms with Hiroki Kudora.  Kuroda, 36, has spent his entire four year major league career with the Dodgers.  He was 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA last season with 161 strikeouts.   

In Pineda, the Yankees received a solidified No. 2 starter behind ace CC Sabathia.  Pineda, a 6 foot 7 right-hander, was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA who made the All Star team as a rookie last season.  Pineda had a 3.03 ERA in the first half of the season but fizzled out in the second half with a 5.12 ERA, which could be attributed to a Mariners team that hit rock bottom last season. 

Campos, spent his second year in the minors at low A-ball in 2011.  He was 5-5 with a 2.32 ERA with 85 strikeouts and just 13 walks in 81.1 innings pitched. 

Brian Cashman finally found the right suitor to trade away Montero.  Montero, the 21-year-old catcher was most likely going to split time at catcher and DH, which was already a crowded enough position for the Yankees.  Montero played in 18 games for the Yankees and hit .328 with 4 home runs and 12 RBI's. For those who believed that Montero would take over the catcher's position from Russell Martin may be disappointed but, Pineda should prove to be more valuable to the Yankees. 

The piece of the puzzle that the Yankees may regret trading the most is Noesi.  Just 24, Noesi made starts for the Yankees and appeared in 28 more.  Overall, he was 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA.  He stuck out 45 over 56.1 innings pitched. 

A few days ago, starting pitching seemed to be one of the Yankees weaknesses.  Now, the Yankees have an overload of starting pitching.  In Sabathia, Pineda, Nova, Kuroda they have four proven starters.  The fifth starter however is up for grabs.  There are three possible pitchers that could win the fifth starter's role in AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia.  Expect a trade in the near future of one of the three for perhaps, another bat. 

*Image courtesy of

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Jorge Posada's Yankee Legacy

Yesterday afternoon, Sweeney Murti of WFAN reported that Jorge Posada will announce his retirement from the Yankees and from the game of baseball within the next two weeks.

As a fan of the game and the Yankees, it was refreshing to see Posada know when to bow out gracefully. The fiery catcher had a fantastic 16 year career for the Yankees.

Posada is a lifetime .273 hitter, with 275 home runs, a .374 on-base percentage, .474 slugging percentage and 1,075 runs batted in.

Though his career statistics may seem underwhelming compared to other Yankee greats, it's important to compare with other catchers who have worn the pinstripes.

Posada's 275 career home runs rank second all time behind Yogi Berra.  His 1,664 hits rank third all time behind Berra and Bill Dickey.  Posada also ranks second all time behind Berra on games played.  (**All Yankee records.**)

Perhaps Posada's greatest contribution to the teams he played on was his defense and ability to call games.  Though he never won a Gold Glove, Posada was responsible for guiding the dynasty pitching staffs of the '98-'00 teams.  Those starting staffs included Andy Pettitte, David Cone, David Wells and Roger Clemens among others.  Wells pitched his perfect game in '99 with Posada behind the plate calling the pitches.

He became a postseason hero among fans during the Yankees glory years by producing timely hits and driving in key runs.  One of his most memorable hits was off of Pedro Martinez in the eighth inning of the 2003 ALCS which allowed the Yankees to tie up the game and eventually win, sending the Bombers to another World Series.

Posada prided himself in his ability to stay healthy.  The first time he was placed on the 15-day disabled list was in 2008, which also coincidently was the first time the Yankees missed the playoffs since 1994.  Posada recovered nicely from a shoulder injury, hitting .285, 22 home runs and driving in 81 runs.  It was the last great season for Posada, as he saw his playing time reduced due to younger catchers.

Though he batted a career-low .235 in 114 games in 2011, he still managed to hit .429 in the Yankees postseason series against the Detroit Tigers.

Posada's friendship with shortstop Derek Jeter, closer Mariano Rivera and Pettitte was well chronicled as the four earned the nickname of "the core four" during the latter years of Pettitte and Posada's career.

As Posada joins his "core four" teammate and friend, Pettitte in retirement, Yankee fans will now turn to Jeter and Rivera to cling to the glory years of the '90s.  Rivera, could be entering his final season, with Jeter retiring soon thereafter.

The Glory Days of the "Cour Four" are really coming to a close.

I'll leave you with a picture of the "core four" from the last home game at Old Yankee Stadium

*Photos courtesy of Detroit Free Press and Sports Illustrated

Ps I'm going to miss this commercial.