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.