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Last Build Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2016 12:29:17 +0000

 



Q & A with Charlie Hayes

Fri, 05 Aug 2016 01:23:00 +0000

Written for Bronx PinstripesThe past week felt like the “Bizarro Yankees” world. (Thank you Superman and Seinfeld.) For the first time in the Steinbrenner era, the Yankees were big time sellers at the MLB trade deadline.Carlos Beltran, Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Ivan Nova were all sent to new homes. Conversely, in 1996, the Yankees were big time buyers on their way to their first championship. One of the players they brought in was a former Yankee, third baseman Charlie Hayes.One of the lasting memories of the that season was the final out of the World Series. Mark Lemke’s foul pop nestled neatly in Hayes’ glove and he squeezed it tightly for the third and final out in the 9th inning. To help commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 1996 team, I spoke with Charlie Hayes about the ’96 team, his sons, and what the future holds.Read the rest of this column for free at BronxPinstripes.com.[...]



Yankees Acquire Aroldis Chapman

Mon, 28 Dec 2015 22:22:00 +0000



In a shocker Monday afternoon, the New York Yankees acquired Cincinnati Reds' closer Aroldis Chapman for four prospects. Chapman was close to becoming a Los Angeles Dodger until the Cuban born reliever was accused of physical abuse by his girlfriend. In addition to reportedly choking his significant other and pushing her into a wall, Chapman also fired eight shots in the garage of his Miami-based home. Though police were called, no arrest was made.

The Yankees agreed to send third baseman Eric Jagielo (26th overall pick out of Notre Dame in the 2013 draft), second baseman Tony Renda, and right-handed pitchers Caleb Coltham and Rookie Davis to Cincinatti. Coltham appeared in 12 games for the Yankees this past season.

Chapman is in his third year of arbitration eligibility and can become a free agent for the 2017 season. The four-time All-Star has averaged better than 15 Ks per nine innings over the last four seasons, with a  high of 17.7/9 IP in 2014. His fastball has been clocked as high as 105 mph. Chapman has averaged 36 saves per season over that same stretch.

The move could mean that the Yankees current closer, Andrew Miller, could be used as trade bait. The fellow left-hander signed a four-year, $36MM contract prior to the 2015 season. Miller recorded 36 saves and rang up 100 strikeouts in 61.2 innings.

With Dellin Betances, the Yankees could have a three-headed monster out of the pen and insurance in case Chapman leaves as a free agent. In all likelihood though, Miller will be given his traveling papers in exchange for starting pitching or a solid bat.



Yankees Deal Pirela and Murphy, Acquire Hicks

Wed, 11 Nov 2015 21:18:00 +0000

Jose Pirela and John Ryan Murphy are the first Yankees on the move this offseason.The Yankees swung into action Wednesday eliminating one of the competitors for the 2016 second base job and possibly adding a player that could spell the end of Brett Gardner in Pinstripes.First, GM Brian Cashman sent second baseman Jose Pirela to the San Diego Padres for pitching prospect Ronald Herrera. Pirela had an excellent 2015 Spring Training and looked poised to head north when the regular season started until a  collision with an outfield wall and the resultant concussion that followed landed him on the disabled list.Pirela hit .333 in seven games for the Bronx Bombers in 2014, before he appeared in 37 games this past season. He wasn't able to take advantage of his opportunity, with just 17 hits in 74 at-bats and a .558 OPS. His departure could mean the Yankees will go with a platoon of Dustin Ackley and Rob Refsnyder at second base next seasonLater Wednesday the Yankees acquired one-time outfield prospect Aaron Hicks from the Minnesota Twins for backup catcher John Ryan Murphy. Hicks was the 14th overall pick in the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft and made his MLB debut in 2013. It's been no picnic at the plate for the 26-year old switch-hitter, although he began to show some promise in the latter part of the 2015 season.Hicks made a career high 390 plate appearances this past season and produced 11 home runs, 33 RBI and stole 13 bases. He has the opportunity to strengthen the Yankees lineup against left-handers - he produced an .870 OPS against southpaws last season - and will likely replace Chris Young as a fourth outfielder. There have also been rumors that the Yankees might be willing to part with left fielder Brett Gardner for the right price. Gardner has had poor second halves of the season the last two years though new hitting coach Alan Cockrell recently told the media that Gardner played with a wrist injury all season.The departure of Murphy, who did a solid job (.277/.327/.406) as Brian McCann's backup in 2015, could mean that long-time prospect Gary Sanchez gets a shot at being the #2 catcher next season. Still just 23-years of age, Sanchez has been in the Yankees' farm system since they signed him out of his native Venezuela in 2009. He's had his ups and down at the plate throughout his minor league career, but has been on a tear playing in the Arizona Fall League the past month.The 20-year old Herrera, himself a native of Venezuela, was originally signed by the Oakland A's before he was acquired by the Padres in 2014. He put up solid numbers for advanced-A ball club Lake Elsinore of the California League - 3.88 ERA, 1.255 WHIP - in 2015 before he struggled in eight starts for Double-A San Antonio. Herrera has a low 90s fastball, a strong curveball and a changeup.[...]



Mattingly Out in LA

Thu, 22 Oct 2015 14:08:00 +0000



After three straight NL West division titles and two straight division series losses, the Los Angeles Dodgers and manager Don Mattingly are going their separate ways. That news according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, who describes the ouster as a "mutual parting of the ways".

Although the higher ups, including primary owner Mark Walter, reportedly supported Mattingly, the team fell well short of expectations. Those expectations were high, though the Dodgers didn't necessarily have the team to meet them.

Mattingly was the first Dodgers manager to win three straight NL West titles. The team didn't make the playoffs in his first two seasons at the helm in 2011-2012. The Dodgers reached the NLCS in 2013, but lost in six games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals eliminated the Dodgers again in 2014, that time in the first round, before the NL pennant winning New York Mets knocked them out of this year's postseason.



Carlos Gomez Shouldn't Mess With a Brian McCann Team

Wed, 26 Aug 2015 16:09:00 +0000

Houston Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez has a flair, for shall we say, the dramatic. He plays passionately and that was on display Tuesday night in the Bronx when Gomez hit a routine fly out. The problem was Gomez flipped his bat in doing so, as well as yelled at himself. The problem was the Astros were up 9-0 over the New York Yankees and the Yankees did not want to see or hear Gomez' actions.
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So much so that the Yankees bench, Joe Girardi included, began shouting at Gomez, who in turn repeatedly yelled shut up. It wouldn't be a surprise if one of those players involved on the bench was catcher Brian McCann. The Yankees regular backstop had the night off, but he is all too familiar with Gomez' antics.

Case in point - Gomez' Brewers vs. McCann's Braves two years ago. McCann's backup John Ryan Murphy had a few choice words for Gomez as well. You just get the feeling that not too many of Gomez' teammates care for his shtick either.

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Yankees Fly In Bird For More Lumber

Thu, 13 Aug 2015 16:31:00 +0000

In the midst of a five-game losing streak, in which runs have been harder to come by than a late night meal in Cleveland, the Yankees have recalled minor league slugger Greg Bird to add some punch to the lineup. The Yankees had acquired Garrett Jones back in December (along with Thursday night's starter, Nathan Eovaldi) to back up Mark Teixeira at first base as well as play some right field, but Jones was designated for assignment Wednesday for the second time in two weeks.In addition, to spelling Teixeira, Bird will also get some at-bats at DH when Alex Rodriguez needs a day off. Just as the Yankees called up Luis Severino a little over a week ago to bolster the starting rotation, Bird's recall is an attempt to wake up the suddenly sleepy Yankees bats. New York has lost five straight games, in which they have scored a total of six runs. Four of those runs came in one game and the team has been shut out twice. Combined with the Toronto Blue Jays 10-game winning streak the Yankees have fallen out of first place in the AL East for the first time since July 1. At that time, they moved back into first the very next day. They're hoping that can happen again.Bird was a fifth round draft choice out of Grandview High School (Aurora, CO) in 2011 and has steadily climbed the Yankees organization ladder. He first made a name for himself when he slugged 20 home runs and drove in 84 runs for the 2012 Charleston RiverDogs ('A'). In addition to hitting .288, he drew 107 walks and had a .938 OPS. He started this season at Double-A Trenton where he put up a .258/.358/.445 slash line with 6 HR and 29 RBI in 182 At-Bats. He's been even better since his promotion to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre - a .301/.353/.500 line with 6 HR and 23 RBI in 136 AB's. In his 2012 breakout year, Bird also struck out 132 times. So far this season, he has struck out 57 times in 318 at-bats. That means he's been more patient looking for his pitch and not chasing bad pitches or being fooled as often as he was three years ago. He comes to the Majors after going 19-52 (.365) with 3 HR, 9 RBI, and 8 runs scored over his last 12 games. Any help to the offense would be greatly appreciated at this time.Here's a closer look at how bad the Yankees team slump is.Jacoby Ellsbury 0-19; benched Wednesday nightBrett Gardner 5-35 (.143) in last 10 games; was thrown out stealing the last two nights and hasn't stolen a base in two months.Alex Rodriguez 6-37 (.162) in last 10 games. 2-21 during losing streak.Mark Teixeira 7-40 (.175) in last 10 games. 1-17 in last four games.Chase Headley 3-21 (.143) in last seven games. Did have go-ahead 2-run single in first game vs. Indians.Stephen Drew 1-18 (.056) with 1 solo home run in last five games played.Brendan Ryan 2-16 (.125) in last half-dozen. And dude, that mustache has got to go.Brian McCann 1-19 (.053) in last six played. Like Drew, with one solo home run. Not everyone has been bad.Didi Gregorius went 6-19 in the last five games, though he didn't have an RBI or run scored. Carlos Beltran has a modest seven-game hitting streak in which is 8-24 (.333) with five walks, and a pair of home runs and RBI.Here comes the corny. The Yankees are hoping that Bird will help them rise like the Phoenix and to soar again.  I told you it was corny.[...]



Let the Luis Severino Era Begin

Wed, 05 Aug 2015 22:16:00 +0000

Luis Severino is ready to bring his electric stuff to the Bronx.There was a time that most fans of the New York Yankees didn't care about the team's farmhands. They didn't even know their names. But all that changed with publications like Baseball Weekly and Baseball America and the advent of social media.While some fans still will quickly fork over top prospects for a current or former star, more and more fans want to see home grown ball players don their team's uniform for more than Spring Training.The Yankees farm system was derided for some time after poor scouting, drafting, and trades for veterans left it bereft of ready for prime time players. Now the farm system has become replenished with top grade prospects. Those prospects were in demand during last week's trade deadline, but General Manager Brian Cashman refused to part with any of the cream of the crop. Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, Greg Bird and tonight's Yankees' starter Luis Severino remained in the Yankees system, much to the delight of the Yankees fan base.While there is no such thing as a sure thing, the Yankees front office, manager Joe Girardi, and pitching coach Larry Rothschild expect a lot from Severino, the Yankees top rated minor leaguer.It's not the first time a pitcher made his highly anticipated debut in the last decade. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain both turned in some terrific performances in their initial lengthy recall with the team. Neither of them are in the organization any more, and Cashman is hoping (and probably praying) that will not be the case with Severino.You probably need to go all the way back to 1964 to find a time when a Yankees staff was counting this heavily on a rookie this late in the season. Long before he was the Yankees coach, Mel Stottlemyre made his debut as a 22-year old stud on August 12, 1964. "Stot" went 9-3 with a 2.06 ERA in 12 starts and one relief appearance. He had five complete games in a time when starting pitchers still went the distance. He also made three starts in the '64 World Series, finishing 1-1 against a St. Louis Cardinals team that captured the championship in seven games. It would be the only postseason appearance for Stottlemyre.Severino made eight starts for Double-A Trenton this season and averaged over 11 strikeouts per 9 innings before a promotion to Triple-A Scranton. He excelled at the challenge of facing hitters in a hitters' league, the International League. Severino compiled a 7-0 mark with  a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts. He allowed less than a base runner per inning, with just 40 hits allowed in 61.1 innings.And now he'll put on #40 and face the Boston Red Sox in Yankee Stadium.[...]



Sanchez Promoted To Triple-A

Sat, 18 Jul 2015 17:20:00 +0000

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Gary Sanchez joins recently promoted Thunder teammates Luis Severino and Aaron Judge in Scranton.

Gary Sanchez has been a highly touted prospect since the Yankees signed him as a free agent teenager out of the Dominican  Republic in 2009. In fact, this is the first season since 2011 that Sanchez has not been ranked in top 100 prospects by Baseball America, MLB.com, and Baseball Prospectus.

Sanchez has appeared to overcome the immaturity that plagued him earlier in his career and recently got on a hot streak at Double-A Trenton. He leaves the Thunder with a slash line of .262/.319/.476 with 12 HR and 36 RBI in 58 games.

The 22-year old's best season came in 2012 when he played for Charleston ('A') and Tampa ('A+'). He produced an .829 OPS with career highs in home runs (18) and RBI (85). There has been speculation that the Yankees may use him as trade bait at the upcoming non-waiver trade deadline.



On The Warning Track - 2nd Half Outlook AL East - Yankees

Fri, 17 Jul 2015 18:29:00 +0000

For years the American League East held the unofficial title of the best division in baseball. That’s not the case any more, though the division is still extremely competitive despite its flawed teams. There’s no question that it may take as little as 90 wins to capture the division title and any of the five teams in the division could be on top when the regular season ends on October 4.The next two weeks will determine whether or not teams are buyers or sellers at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. With a weakened division and the two wild card spots, a minimum of four teams will be buyers, with the Red Sox the lone possible seller as of this writing.Here’s a look at what you can expect from each AL East team, starting with the Yankees, for the second half of the season.New York Yankees (48-40): Most media experts and predictors felt the Yankees would finish in 4th or 5th/last place in the division. When you look at the construct of the team, you can understand why those predictions were made. But the Yankees have gotten performances from unexpected sources and have taken an advantage of the inconsistency of their division rivals.Surprises – There was nothing more unexpected than the performances of first baseman Mark Teixeira and Designated Hitter Alex Rodriguez. Teixeira was selected to his first All-Star since 2009, his first year in New York. The Georgia Tech product saw his production suffer the last few years due to some bad habits and injuries, including a wrist injury that kept him out of all but 15 games in 2013. He entered the break with an AL leading 62 RBI and has his highest slugging pct. (SLG) in six years.Read the rest of the story on the always free, On the Warning Track.[...]



Derek Jeter Receives ESPN Icon Award at ESPYs

Thu, 16 Jul 2015 15:52:00 +0000


I'm no fan of the ESPY Awards, but last night they presented Derek Jeter with an icon award. If you only he could ever thank the ladies in his life that aren't his Mom or sister. Or at least think Hannah Davis' horse.

To add some irony and RE2PECT to the moment, ESPN had Red Sox fan Ben Affleck present the award.


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Pineda Mows Down 16 O's in Yankees' 20th Win

Sun, 10 May 2015 20:54:00 +0000

photo courtesy of usatoday.comMichael Pineda's Major League career has been and up and down journey threw injuries, pine tar suspensions, and high expectations. There was a lot of outrage among Yankees fans in January, 2012 when he was acquired for the Yankees top hitting prospect Jesus Montero. Fans had heard for so long that Montero would be an offensive superstar, the deal came as a shock, even to those of who liked the idea of obtaining Pineda from Seattle. (Keep in mind I was also thrilled when the Yankees acquired Jeff Weaver.)The outrage got amped up when Pineda missed all of 2012 and 2013, due to shoulder surgery, without ever having thrown a baseball in a Yankees regular season game. Meanwhile in Seattle, Montero hit 15 home runs and drove in 62 runs for the 2012 Mariners in his first full season in the Majors.Much has changed since then though and on a sunny, Mother's Day in the Bronx on Sunday, Pineda made it clear who the trade has worked out better for in the long run. The 26-year old struck out 16 Baltimore Orioles in a 7-inning stint as the Yankees won their 20th game of the season. (The team's best 32-game start since 2010.)Due to injuries, Pineda was limited to 76.1 innings in 2014, but posted a 1.89 ERA and struck out seven batters per nine innings. With the 6-2 win over Baltimore, Pineda raised his record to 5-0, lowered his ERA to 2.72 and raised his K's per nine innings to 10.49. Montero, meanwhile, waits for his call at Triple-A Tacoma, a season after he had a dispute with a team scout who sent ice cream during a game to the out-of-shape Montero.With injuries to Ivan Nova and Masahiro Tanaka, and CC Sabathia not pitching like the ace he once was, Pineda has become the de facto ace of the team. The Yankees are 6-1 in Pineda's seven starts, 14-11 when someone else has toed the rubber in the 1st inning. Pineda's most remarkable stat has to be the 18:1 strikeout to walk ratio he has posted in 46.1 innings. He has issued just three free passes this season and only one in his last four starts.Pineda tied David Cone for the team record for strikeouts by a right-handed pitcher in a single start. [...]



Shout It From The Rooftops: Opening Day Is Here! - Lineups

Mon, 06 Apr 2015 14:43:00 +0000

Regular season test 1 of Tanaka's elbowApril 6, 2015. A lovely Spring day that is perfect for the opening of the baseball season at the big Stadium in the Bronx.The Yankees open with a tough week - three games each with the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.  The Yankees send Masahiro Tanaka to the hill for the opener. It's the first time since he became a Yankees in 2009 that CC Sabathia isn't the Game 1 starter.The Yankees lineup, which looks very strange without Derek Jeter in the two hole, isCF Jacoby EllsburyLF Brett GardnerRF Carlos Beltran1B Mark Teixeira  C Brian McCann3B Chase HeadleyDH Alex Rodriguez2B Stephen DrewSS Didi GregoriusThe Blue Jays go withSS Jose Reyes  C Russell MartinRF Jose Bautista1B Edwin Encarnacion3B Josh DonaldsonDH Dioner NavarroCF Dalton PompeyLF Kevin Pillar2B Devon TravisLet the game begin.[...]



Yankees Acquire Petit For Shortstop Shortage

Thu, 02 Apr 2015 13:06:00 +0000



The Yankees were supposed to rely on youngster Didi Gregorius and veteran Brendan Ryan to replace  play shortstop in the wake of Derek Jeter's retirement. But as the team gets ready to head north to start the season on Monday, Gregorius is recovering from a sprained left wrist and Ryan is likely headed to the DL with a Grade-2 calf strain.

To add some depth, the Yankees have acquired 30-year old shortstop Gregorio Petit from the Houston Astros for a player to be named and/or cash. Petit played in 37 games for the Astros last season with a .278/.300/.423 slash line at the plate. 10 of his 27 hits were for extra bases, hence the decent slugging percentage. The Venezuelan native can also play second base and third base as wekk, giving the Yankees another utility player option.

Petite played a combined 25 games for Oakland in 2008-2009, but spent the next four seasons in the minor leagues before Houston gave him another shot in the show. The Yankees are his sixth organization.



The Not So Odd Couple

Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:52:00 +0000

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Hideki Matsui receives his 2009 WS ring at Yankees 2010 home opener.

Despite a language barrier, it didn't take Hideki Matsui long to fit in with his New York Yankees teammates upon his arrival in 2003. He quickly became one of the favorite teammates of many of the players, including the captain, Derek Jeter.

So it comes as no surprise that the two are now working together to help the victims of Japan's devastating earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. Jeter, who recently held a major fund raising event for his Turn2 Foundation, will help aid the survivors of Japan's Tohoku region by participating in baseball clinics and a home run derby (move the right field fence in).

Jeter compared the victims' plight, especially the children, to those of 9/11.
''The kids will never forget what happened,'' Jeter said. ''But if they can come out and have fun and enjoy themselves through the sport of baseball, that's what we're trying to do here.''
15,000 people were killed when tragedy struck on March 11, 2011. Among other fund raising events will be a baseball game Sunday at the Tokyo Dome. The teams will be made up of players from the Tohoku region. In non-related news, Jeter said he needed "a break from the game", but hopes to return at some point as an owner.



Eovaldi Impressive In Yankees Debut

Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:51:00 +0000



The Yankees parted with a valuable piece when they dealt Martin Prado to the Miami Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi and others during the offseason. In his first start of Spring Training, Eovaldi already had his fastball fully gassed in the Yankees home opener against the Clearwater Phillies. He consistently threw his number one in the mid-90's, and topped out at 98.

Eovaldi also tossed a 90 mph curve and a changeup between 84 and 89 to keep the hitters off-balance. He allowed a run on two hits, the first of which may have been caught had right fielder Tyler Austin taken a better route to the ball.

The only other batter that reached safely did so on a Stephen Drew error.



Yankees Tie As Judge Makes The Final Decision

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 21:26:00 +0000

Aaron Judge cuts an imposing figure.

The Yankees opened their 2015 Grapefruit League schedule Tuesday, in Clearwater, FL, against the Philadelphia Phillies with a 5-5 tie. The game was called after nine innings, which is not unusual during Spring Training.

Highly touted pitching prospect Luis Severino tossed 1.1 innings and Adam Warren threw two scoreless innings as he battles for a spot in the rotation. But it was Aaron Judge everyone was talking about afterwards.

Judge, a first round draft pick (32nd overall) by the Yankees in 2013, hit a three-run home run in the top of the 9th inning as the Yankees rallied from a four run deficit to tie the game at five apiece.

The 6'7", 230 lb outfielder split 131 games between Single-A Charleston (SAL) and Advanced-A Tampa (FSL) last year. In his first year of professional ball, the right fielder hit 17 home runs and drove in 79 runs. He produced a slash line of .333/.428/.530 for the RiverDogs before his promotion to Tampa. There he put up a slash line of .283/.411/.442. Though Judge struck out 131 times in 467 at-bats, he also walked 89 times and stroked 24 doubles.

It's only one game, but it's the first game and Judge make a quick, positive expression Tuesday.


Severino didn't fare as well. The Yankees top prospect gave up two runs on four hits. The Yankees had 13 hits, led by Slade Heathcott and Greg Bird with two apiece. Future second basemen Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder both committed errors in the game.



But Where Is My Plaque?

Mon, 23 Feb 2015 03:25:00 +0000

One can dreamIt's hard to believe, but December 12, 2014 was the 9th anniversary of My Pinstripes.  You would think that by now the Yankees would have contacted me to put a plaque in my honor, or the blog's honor, in Monument Park. I have no number to retire, but I've been writing about the Yankees longer than Tino Martinez was a Yankee and they had a day honoring him. And he got a plaque in Monument Park.Sarcasm, not necessarily at its finest. You know the story by now. Family owned team builds new stadium and overspends in doing so.  Ticket prices go way up. Area parking goes way up. Food and souvenirs follow suit.The new place holds less seats and less seats are filled. After five years and one World Series title, and two missed post-seasons (for the first time since the early 1990's), it's time to pull out the gimmicks.Retiring endless numbers and/or putting numerous plaques in Monument Park, is just that, a gimmick to boost attendance. Prior to the 2014 season, the Yankees had retired numbers 1 (Billy Martin), 3 (Babe Ruth), 4 (Lou Gehrig), 5 (Joe DiMaggio), 7 (Mickey Mantle), 8 (Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey), 9 (Roger Maris), 10 (Phil Rizzuto), 15 (Thurman Munson), 16 (Whitey Ford), 23 (Don Mattingly), 32 (Elston Howard) 37 (Casey Stengel), 42 (Mariano Rivera) 44 (Reggie Jackson) and 49 (Ron Guidry).Some can argue that some of those number(s) should not have been retired. (I'll argue that number 1 should not have been retired and was only done so due to the guilt George Steinbrenner felt for the way he mistreated Martin as a manager and the tragic circumstances surrounding Martin's death.)Along comes the 2014 season, a season following one in which the Yankees missed the playoffs. It was Derek Jeter's last season, Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the year, and one player after another was felled by injury. Time to pull a rabbit out of the hat to get some fannies in the seats.On May 8, the team announces that Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Goose  Gossage, and Joe Torre will be honored with plaques in Monument Park. In addition, Torre's number 6 will be retired and Bernie Williams will be feted in 2015.Torre was one of the most successful managers in team history and had the longest tenure, by far, of any manager since the big guy with the boats purchased the team. He and Gossage were both inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  No matter how big a fan you might have been of O'Neill and Martinez - and I was a huge fan, especially O'Neill - neither deserves a plaque in Monument Park.Bernie Williams will have his number 51 retired on a Sunday night, yes at night, in May and Andy Pettitte will have his number 46 retired in August. Plus plaques in M.P. of course. Both well deserved for home grown products, especially Williams who suffered through the very lean years in the early 1990's. In addition to a plaque, Jorge Posada will also have his number 20 taken out of the available numbers. This is where things get a little iffy.There's already been a debate as to whether Posada is worthy of the Hall of Fame. Those in favor point to his offense and how it stacks up against the catchers already in the Hall. The same type of debate has tkaen place about retiring Posada's number. His detractors point to his defensive shortcomings. A home grown talent, who spent 17 years in the Majors, I have no problem with Posada receiving a plaque. Retiring his number, I believe, is going overboard.Willie Randolph, one of the classiest people around, will also be honored with a place in Monument Park this Summer. I would actually rather see the former Yankees pl[...]



Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz, and Biggio Headed To Cooperstown

Tue, 06 Jan 2015 21:45:00 +0000

  For the first time ever, three starting pitchers have been elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in the same year, and four players have been elected to the Hall for the first time since in 60 years.Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz make up the triumverate of pitchers headed to upstate New York this July. They will be joined by catcher-turned-second baseman Craig Biggio, who spent 20 seasons with the Houston Astros.Johnson struggled early in his career as a 6'10" member of the Montreal Expos, but once dealt to the Seattle Mariners, saw his Hall of Fame career get kicked into gear. Johnson won 303 games, five Cy Young Awards, and struck out 4,875 batters playing for the Mariners (10 yrs), Houston Astros (post deadline 1998), Arizona Diamondbacks (8), New York Yankees (2), San Francisco Giants (1), and the Expos (2).The "Big Unit" was the 2015 top vote getter with 97.43% of the tally, the eighth highest total in Major Leauge History. A 10-time All-Star, Johnson received a no-decision when he struck out 20 Cincinnati Reds on May 8, 2001. He is one of five pitchers to throw a no-hitter in both leagues and was the 2001 World Series Co-MVP with teammate Curt Schilling, after he won Games 2, 6, and 7.Martinez, a slightly built power pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers, saw his career begin to blow up after he was traded to the Expos prior to the 1993 season. But it was his time in Boston that made Martinez a household name. The crown jewel of pitching statistics, the Triple Crown, was accomplished by Martinez grabbed in 1999 when he topped the American League with 23 wins, a 2.07 ERA, and 313 strikeouts.A three-time CY Young winner (once with Montreal, twice with Boston), Martinez was a character on and off the mound; a pitcher who wasn't afraid to throw inside at hitters of any stature. He won 219 games in parts of 18 years with the Dodgers (2 years), Expos (4), Red Sox (7), Mets (4), and Phillies (1). The native of the Dominican Republic produced two seasons - 1997 (1.90) and 2000 (1.74), with ERA numbers under 2.00), struck out 3,154 batters.Martinez, who inexplicably received just 91.1% of the vote, won a World Series ring with the 2004 Red Sox and pitched in the 2009 World Series for the Phillies.Smoltz is the only pitcher in MLB history to win at least 200 games and save at least 150, and just the second pitcher (Dennis Eckersley the other) to win at least 20 games and save a minimum of 50 games in separate seasons. Acquired  for the Detroit Tigers' Doyle Alexander in a 1987 deadline deal, Smoltz spent 20 seasons with the Atlanta Braves. He won the NL Cy Young Award in 1996 when he earned 24 victories and struck out a league high 276 batters. After missing the 2000 season due to Tommy John surgery, Smoltz came back as a reliever and led the NL with a league record 55 saves in 2002. He would save 45 and 44 games the next two seasons before moving back into the starting rotation in 2005. A year later he tied for the NL lead in wins with 16.An eight-time All-Star, Smoltz finished his career in 2009 with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. He compiled a 213-155 record with 154 saves and 3,084 strikeouts.  "Smoltzie" won a World Series ring in 1995 and was a member of four other NL pennant winning teams. He'll join former teammates and fellow pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and his former manager Bobby Cox, all of whom were induced into the Hall last year. Smoltz received 82.9% of the vote.Craig Biggio came into Major League Baseball as a catcher out of Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Selected by [...]



It's the Most Hall Time of the Year

Mon, 05 Jan 2015 19:42:00 +0000

Happy New Year means that it is just about time for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY to announce who this year's inductees are.The ballot for this year's class was loaded - the first-year eligible players alone include Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Gary Sheffield. In all, there were 34 names on this year's ballot for voters to choose from.As you may recall, it takes a 75% vote count to gain induction via the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). With that in mind, Craig Biggio should be a shoe-in for this year's class. If not, an investigation should take place ASAP. Biggio finished with 74.8% last year, his third year on the ballot. The next highest on the 2014 ballot was Mike Piazza, who was hampered by performance enhancing drug rumors, and finished with 62.2%. He too should be elected this year.I won't get on my soapbox about players that were never "caught" using PEDs, other than to say it's not fair of the voters to leave someone off their ballot that they think was a cheater. Jeff Bagwell has been thrown into this same category (he finished third in 2014 with 54.3%).Johnson and Martinez are no brainers. Smoltz should join former teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who were inducted together in 2014. The right-hander is the only pitcher in Major League Baseball history with at least 200 wins (207) and 150 saves (154).  Though Sheffield finished his career as a memeber of the 500 home run club, PEDs could definitely derail his Hall bid. In 2003, Sheffield told a grand jury that he had "unwittingly" used a steroid cream that he had obtained from BALCO. He was introduced to the company by its most well known client, Barry Bonds.At the time, Sheffield said he thought it was a cortisone cream and was angry when he found out otherwise. ESPN tried to ask Bonds about it in 2004, but Bonds, via a spokesman, ignored the elephant in the room and wished Sheffield all the best. So did Sheffield lie about "oops" moment? The guess is that the voter's will think so. With a .907 career OPS. nine All-Star appearances, and a World Series ring, it would be hard to make an argument to keep Sheffield out otherwise.At the other end of the spectrum are those players who are near elimination from future ballots. A candidate must receive at least 5% to remain on future ballots. PED prime suspect Sammy Sosa received 7.2% of the vote in 2014 and is likely to drop off in this year's vote. Don Mattingly, who could have ended up with Hall numbers had he stayed healthy, managed to receive barely over 10% last year.As much as I loved Mattingly as a player, I don't believe he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Many do though and point to Kirby Puckett, who I don't believe should be in either, whose statistics are similar to that of Mattingly's. The biggest difference between the two are the two World Series rings Puckett earned, while Mattingly's mediocre Yankees teams made the post-season just once in his 14 years.No matter what happens this year, these things hold true - no one will get a unanimous vote; the steroid players will see their perecentages drop; fans, media, and players will not like all the results. It's that Hall time of the year, what else would you expect?UPDATE (toh to @rebeccapbp):A's fan and HoF tracker Ryan Thibs has made a spreadsheet of vote totals available to the public. If these numbers hold true, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, and John Smoltz are headed to Cooperstown this Summer.As of 1:55 PM ET, Both Johnson (98.6[...]



Designated For Assignment - WHITE SOX GET MELK, HEADLEY RE-UPS WITH YANKEES

Tue, 16 Dec 2014 02:53:00 +0000



The latest free agents are comprised of a player moving on to his sixth team in seven years and one that is staying where he was two-month rental. The Chicago White Sox have been busy this offseason and they continued their re-tooling over the weekend with the free agent signing of outfielder Melky Cabrera. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees agreed, on Monday, with Chase Headley to keep the free agent third baseman for the next four years (at a cost of $52MM).

Cabrera, who played four full seasons with the Yankees, then spent one season in Atlanta, one in Kansas City, one in San Francisco, and two years in Toronto. He'll replace the lackluster bat of Dayan Viciedo in left field and join newcomers Jeff Samardzija and former Yankees teammate David Robertson on the list of big time acquisitions by GM Kenny Williams.

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Yankees Continue to Spend Stupidly, Near 4-Year Deal With Headley

Mon, 15 Dec 2014 16:28:00 +0000

I got 52MM bucksI've repeated it numerous times this offseason. The Yankees do not have a philosophy for building the 2015 team. They're avoiding giving big bucks to those who will help the team (i.e. David Robertson) one second, and in the next moment they are spending money in a ridiculous manner. It continued on Monday when media outlets reported that the Yankees and Chase Headley agreed to to a four-year, $52MM deal.While $12MM a season is reasonable these days, giving Headley four years is not. This is a guy who has had ONE great season. It was a fabulous, MVP-type season. But he did nothing before it and he's done nothing since. Acquired at this past season's trade deadline, Headley had ONE good stretch as Yankee. He brings a great glove to the position, but having the left side of the infield as a complete good-glove, no-hit combo is not a good combo.It is clear that Hal Steinbrenner does not want to spend money like his Dad. Which is fine, but spend it wisely. George made plenty of mistakes in that department too, but getting cheap on David Robertson isn't the way to do it. They should have used this money to lure back Brandon McCarthy. They overspent last year on Jacoby Ellsbury (by a lot) and Brian McCann.This isn't the Kansas City Royals where it takes more than a decade to build a contender. This is New York and though the Yankees don't need to win the World Series every year, you at least want to be competetive.The team still does not have a solid rotation due to injuries and uncertainities, and the lineup will have a hard time producing runs. Much of the issues comes down to Alex Rodriguez and, believe it or not, this is not his fault. The Yankees stupidly gave him a 10-year deal at an average of $27.5MM a year and it has completely hamstrung them.This team is in disarray from top to bottom. [...]



Yankees Send Cervelli to Pirates for Lefty Reliever

Thu, 13 Nov 2014 03:22:00 +0000



Francisco Cervelli had an up and down career in his time in New York.  A fan favorite to some, part of the Biogenesis scandal, a sufferer of serious injuries, and one of the most spirited players in the Major Leagues.  But with Brian McCann signed to a five-year deal prior to the 2014 season and a laundry list of catching prospects making their towards the Majors, the Venezuela native became expendable. The Yankees sent their backup catcher to the Pittsburgh Pirates for left-handed reliever Justin Wilson.

Cervelli hit a career hit .301 this past season, but appeared in just 49 games. A strained hamstring in mid-April sent him to the 60-day disabled list and missed 59 games. He got hot towards the end of July, but drove in just 13 runs on the season. Defensively, he threw out just six of 24 potential base stealers.

Cervelli, who will be 28-years old when the 2015 season is in his first season of arbitration eligibility after he earned $700K last year.

The 27-year old Wilson appeared in 70 games this past season, his second full season in the Major Leagues. He finished 3-4, 4.20 with better than 9 K's/9 IP. In 2013, Wilson made 58 appearances and posted an ERA just over 2.00.

His numbers were actually better against right-handed hitters rather than lefties and he suffered some control issues. (30 walks in 60 IP). The California native was a 5th rd draft choice out of Cal St.-Fresno in 2008.



Yankees Talk D-Rob, Headley, Likely Say Sayonora to Kuroda

Mon, 03 Nov 2014 21:25:00 +0000

The postseason is over with the San Francisco Giants sleeping at night with visions of Madison Bumgarner dancing in their heads. It means it's time to get back to the business of baseball or more precisely, getting ready for next year.First  on the docket is deciding whether to extend a qualifying offer to your team's eligible free agents. The Yankees most certainly will extend an offer to David Robertson, aka "D-Rob", who did a very good job in his first season as a full-time closer. Those who think the Yankees should let him go and immediately install Dellin Betances as closer are either bananas or haven't paid much attention to the games they watched.Robertson will turn down the offer, which is set this year at $15.3MM, up from $14.1MM from last season. This is Robertson first chance at a multi-year, multimillion dollar deal and there will be plenty of calls to his agents. He would be a fool to accept a one year deal to keep his high socks in the Big Apple.No player accepted the 2014 qualifying offer last season and that's a pattern that's likely to repeat this season. The exception, though, could be Hiroki Kuroda. Which is wjy the Yankees should NOT extend him a qualifying offer. After a fabulous 2013 season, Kuroda was very erratic this past season, though the team's lack of defense and run production hurt his record and adversely affected the outcome of many of the games he started. He would probably jump on the offer, if he intends to play another season and wants to stay a Yankee. There's no way the Yankees would (should) give him an amount close to that. The Yankees need to reserve their money for younger, talent-rich players. (And no, that doesn't mean an All-Star at every position.)Though the only starting pitcher, at the moment, the Yankees have under contract and is (somewhat) healthy is Michael Pineda. Since CC Sabathia hasn't thrown a pitch in a Major League game since May 10, he's not yet in the equation. Ivan Nova is coming off Tommy John surgery. Masahiro Tanaka's seven innings in September, after two months off, doesn't inspire confidence, and Brandon McCarthy is also a free agent. David Phelps, Chase Whitley, and Shane Greene are all question marks for consistency, among other things.In addition to not retaining Kuroda, the Yankees should also not pursue Max Scherzer, who turned down a six-year, $144MM offer from the Detroit Tigers earlier this year, or lefty Jon Lester, who figures to earn a boatload of money as a free agent. While either would be fine acquisitions, their cost is too high, especially for a team with so much money owed to underachieving players.The Yankees should try to bring back McCarthy, who adapted to well to Yankee Stadium, and James Shields. While Shields does not always live up to that "Big Game" moniker, he'll give you a solid regular season and 200+ innings, and will make less than Scherzer or Lester. Jeff Samardzija is also likely to demand too many greenbacks.The Yankees liked what they saw in third baseman Chase Headley, though he has not come close to his 2012 offensive production. (31 HR-115 RBI-.875 OPS) Headley was spectacular manning the hot corner and occassionally filled in at first base. Several media outlets reported today the Yankees are already in negotiations for a new contract with the 30-year old Colorado native. It may not be easy though, as Headley is preferred by a number of team to free agent Pablo Sandoval and his expected wish for a big mon[...]



Jeter Reveals Players' Tribune Site

Thu, 02 Oct 2014 11:40:00 +0000

Derek Jeter has a job! No having to apply for unemployment! The choice of job is a curious one though. The freshly retired Yankees' shortstop is the publisher of his own brand new website, The Players' Tribune.It's a site for "unfiltered" talk between athletes and the fans (and the media?) from a player who was notorious for not giving the media many worthy sound bites. This is a snippet from Jeter's website welcome:"I do think fans deserve more than “no comments” or “I don’t knows.” Those simple answers have always stemmed from a genuine concern that any statement, any opinion or detail, might be distorted. I have a unique perspective. Many of you saw me after that final home game, when the enormity of the moment hit me. I’m not a robot. Neither are the other athletes who at times might seem unapproachable. We all have emotions. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend."Some would disagree about the robot part and the timing is strange considering Major League Baseball is in the middle of the post-season. While not comparing apples to apples, Alex Rodriguez was vilified when he opted out of his contract with the Yankees during the 2007 World Series.Quick tip from a longtime blogger - Make sure your site isn't out of alignment like it is right now on the closing paragraph. Centering an entire paragraph usually doesn't look good. ;)The Players' Tribune intro closing"Introducing The Players’ Tribune, a new media platform that will present the unfiltered voices of professional athletes, bringing fans closer to the games they love than ever before. Founded by Derek Jeter, The Players’ Tribune aims to provide unique insight into the daily sports conversation and to publish first-person stories directly from athletes. From video to podcasts to player polls and written pieces, The Tribune will strive to be “The Voice of the Game.”The initial reaction of the fans is "huh?" while some in the mainstream media would like to figuratively, or literally, flip Jeter the bird. The site mentions there will be more of a real today, October 2. Stay tuned.Derek Jeter's appearance on the Today Show[...]



D4Assignment: Big Names, Big Games in AL Wild Card Contest

Tue, 30 Sep 2014 21:42:00 +0000



James Shields and Jon Lester, dueling aces

It has been 29 years since the Kansas City Royals reached the postseason. 1985 saw the Royals win their one and only World Series Championship. (With a little help from umpire Don Denkinger.) Tuesday night, the Royals will host the Oakland A’s in a one game showdown between the two AL Wild Card winners. To the victor go the spoils and a divisional round match up with the Los Angeles Angels. You know where the losers go.

The A’s have been to the playoffs 11 times during the Royals drought, but haven’t been to the World Series since 1990. Their last World Series title, the ninth in franchise history (The first five were won when they called Philadelphia home), came in the “Earthquake series” with the San Francisco Giants.

The Royals were an expansion team in 1969, two years after the A’s departed Kansas City after a 13-season run. The only prior postseason meeting between the two squads came after the strike-shortened 1981 regular season. The Billy Martin-managed A’s swept KC in three straight games before they were swept in three games by the New York Yankees in the ALCS. It was a disappointing end of the season for Kansas City, which lost the World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies one year earlier.

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