No Hablo Red Sox…
I know that it was a “no-risk, why-not-take-shot minor league with a major league camp invitation” signing but something just struck me wrong with the addition of former Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen. Over the past few years, I have admittedly built up some respect for the good Red Sox players. I’d count Red Sox ace Jon Lester as one of my favorite pitchers, and I appreciate players like Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury. I think Adrian Gonzalez is one of the premier sluggers in baseball and all things considered, the Red Sox got the better end of the deal when they lost out on Mark Teixeira to the Yanks and had to “settle” for Gonzalez in a trade with the San Diego Padres. There are those Sox players that I dislike but know they are ‘gamers’ like Josh Beckett, but conversely, there are those guys that I just thought were bad baseball players. I’d put Delcarmen in the latter category.
Delcarmen is the bullpen answer to A.J. Burnett. In other words, the guy most likely to implode. The Red Sox proved they held a similar opinion when they dumped Delcarmen on the Colorado Rockies in 2010. Delcarmen failed to stick in the Mile High City, and bounced in the minor leagues last season with the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners, accumulating a less than inspiring 5.59 ERA. Odds are that he’ll never see the light of day at Yankee Stadium, but I think my tolerance quota for ex-Red Sox players in Yankees camp has been exceeded with Hideki Okajima, Delcarmen, and the possible signing of former Sox infielder Bill Hall. I guess the Yankees brass wants to counteract the strong performance that Alfredo Aceves gave the Sox last year after being cut by the Yankees with a rejuvenated former Sox player in pinstripes. If this was the objective (I know it wasn’t), then the Yankees should have signed DH David Ortiz before he accepted arbitration with the Sox.
Good luck to Delcarmen, but I still hope that he finds success elsewhere.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Hendry…
I was surprised to hear that the Yankees had signed former Chicago Cubs GM Jim Hendry as a special assignment scout. For one, the Yankees have a stable of up-and-comers in Billy Eppler and Damon Oppenheimer. Eppler almost landed the GM job with the Los Angeles Angels before Jerry DiPoto was hired so he’s certainly a sought-after commodity. I saw today that the Yankees added the title of Senior Vice President to Assistant GM Jean Afterman, while naming Eppler as an assistant GM. I know that Afterman doesn’t have the authority of Brian Cashman but it’s weird that they are both SVP’s. All things considered, Cash should be in line for a promotion to Executive Vice President since he is clearly above the other SVP’s.
Admittedly, I am leery about bringing in strong GM types like Hendry. Sure, he has a wealth of knowledge, but this position allows him to learn the inner-workings of the Yankees organization. I am sure that Arizona Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers used his brief time with the Yankees to identify pitcher Ian Kennedy as a trade target. I realize that Kennedy brought Curtis Granderson to New York, but had the Yankees been able to include a different pitcher with qualifications below Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos in the trade, how good would Kennedy have looked at the back end of the rotation instead of Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon?
Snow: To be or not to be…
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is February and the month that players report to training camp. My first winter in Minnesota has been so incredibly mild. I think there have only been two days of challenging driving conditions but even on those days, I still managed to travel without too many obstacles. Of course, we could be engulfed in a blizzard while Robinson Cano is punching one over the Steinbrenner Field wall, but I am definitely excited for the return of the primary major sport. No offense to the New England Patriots or the New York Giants, but pro football ranks second to America’s favorite pastime (in my opinion). I’ll be more excited to see CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda standing side-by-side in camp than watching QB Tom Brady tell me via TV that he’s headed for Disney World.
Let it snow in Minnesota and let those Michael Pineda fastballs start popping Russell Martin’s mitt. Life is good. Now, about that DH position for the Yankees…
All hail the Sultan of $$$$$$$$$$$$…
Unfortunately, the Yankees are going to be seeing super agent Scott
Boras more than they’d like given his newest clients are Robinson Cano and Nick
Swisher. I have to admit that I was
dismayed to see the two Yankees sign on with Boras because it will mean the
potential for contentious negotiations in the not-so-distant future. It also felt like the chances the players
stay in the Bronx behind their current deals lessened substantially when I
heard the news.
From the players’ standpoint, Boras makes complete sense. He has shown an uncanny knack for getting the
most for his clients (sometimes in seemingly impossible situations). While I may not like Boras personally, he is
clearly on a different level than most agents.
I can only hope that it does not eventually lead to Cano’s departure.
I have to admit that it looks strange to see former Oakland A’s third
baseman Eric Chavez in Yankees gear.
Chavez was always an Athletic that I held high regard for, but as with
former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, injuries have taken their toll on a
once outstanding career. I am really
pulling Chavez and I hope that he earns a bench role for the Yankees (even at
the expense of Ramiro Pena). I’d like to
see Chavez backing up the corner positions, with Eduardo Nunez covering the
middle infield positions.
Of the other players in camp on minor league deals, I’d say that I am
most supportive of former Chicago White Sox pitcher Freddy Garcia. If the Yankees don’t trade for a starting
pitcher or sign someone like Kevin Millwood, I’d like to see Garcia earn a spot
in the rotation ahead of Sergio Mitre and the other cast of characters. While I recognize that the other spot will
most likely go to Ivan Nova, I am very intrigued by Hector Noesi and I am
looking forward to seeing what he can do in camp. Of the younger guys, I most excited about lefty
Manny Banuelos but he is still a few years away from the majors.
It was tough to see Alfredo Aceves sign with the Boston Red Sox. I know the Yankees were interested in
bringing Aceves back, but Boston’s willingness to extend a major league
contract was the difference maker.
It’s hard to believe that pitchers and catchers report on Monday but I’m
ready for the new season. I still think
that the Boston Red Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies have the best teams on
paper but there’s still a lot that can happen between now and October. And, oh yeah, they still have to play the
So much has been written about the vacancy in the Yankees’ starting rotation, but I still think it’s Phil Hughes’ job to lose…
The competition has been tough. The early leaders were Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre, thanks to their consistently solid performances. However, in my mind, it’s always been Hughes. Aceves could go the entire spring without allowing an earned run and I’d still be behind Hughes for the 5th spot in the rotation. Aceves, for the record, was blasted for 5 runs in 4+ innings today in an 8-6 loss to the Houston Astros.
Keivom/NY Daily News
I know the Yankees invested much time trying to make Joba Chamberlain a starter. The “Joba Rules” date back to the Joe Torre era as the Yankees tried, albeit very cautiously, to build up Joba’s arm strength and stamina for 200 innings plus per season. But the truth is Joba is ideally suited for the bullpen. His make-up, demeanor, and approach is much more aggressive in a defined relief role. He has looked uncomfortable and at times lost as a starter.
My preference is for Aceves to resume his long relief role, Joba to set up Mariano Rivera (and spelling him on occasion), and Gaudin find his niche in the bullpen. Sergio Mitre has pitched well, but I’d try to trade him for a young prospect.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
When making the decision for who will be the starter, you really have to project who has the best chance for long-term success. Regardless of who pitches the best in March, the winner needs to be someone who can give the Yankees the best chance for October success. The answer is obvious…Hughes.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Curtis Granderson was hit on the right hand in Friday night’s game, but it sounds like he’ll be fine and should be back in the lineup on Sunday. It’ll be just in time to see Phil Hughes nail the final spot in the starting rotation.
Julian H. Gonzalez/McClatchy
The talks of the Yanks’ interest in Joe Mauer reminds me of the talk we’ve heard in the past about the Yankees getting Carlos Beltran, Roy Halladay, Johan Santana, Matt Holliday, Aroldis Chapman et al. All smoke and no fire. As great as Mauer is, the Yankees do not need an injury risk at the catching position. I still think that Mauer will eventually land with the Boston Red Sox if the Minnesota Twins don’t re-sign him. Perhaps it will be a great move for the Sox, and Mauer will make fans forget Jason Varitek and Carlton Fisk. But I don’t he is a good fit for the Yankees. They’ll be fine with Jesus Montero, assuming that he doesn’t “out-grow” the position, as Jorge Posada’s eventual successor. If Montero does have to move because of his physical size, then I am willing to take my chances with Francisco Cervelli or Austin Romine.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
I am amazed that Jamie Moyer, at age 47, is on the verge of nailing down a spot in the rotation for the championship-contending Philadelphia Phillies. He is definitely the Energizer Bunny…
Lori M. Nichols
Personally, I think the Washington Nationals should have kept super-prospect Stephen Strasburg in the major league starting rotation. Nevertheless, I don’t think he should buy a house or sign a long-term lease in Harrisburg, PA. He won’t be there long…
As you know, I am not a fan of the Boston Red Sox (regardless of how much my friend Julia would like for me to be). However, I do want to send my prayers and best wishes to Ryan Westmoreland, Boston’s 19-year-old outfield prospect, who underwent successful brain surgery last week. He faces a tough road and a long recovery, but at least the initial news was promising. Let’s hope the news continues on its current positive, upward trend. Regardless of whether he ever plays baseball again, I will always be a fan of his in whatever he does. I only hope that it will be nothing short of complete and absolute recovery. Ryan, we are all on your team!
Ruben W. Perez/The Providence Journal
When I saw that the University of Northern Iowa had defeated top-seeded Kansas in the NCAA Basketball Tournament, I could only think of one thing…never underestimate the power of an Iowan! Signed, an Iowan. J
I am headed to Dallas for the week on business. I pulled up the weather forecast and was shocked that it was snowing in Dallas on the first day of spring! Meanwhile, in Boston, it was 71 degrees today! What’s up with that? And why do I have to leave this gorgeous, sunny California weather?…
So much for quality starting pitching to rival Boston’s staff…
Matthew West/Boston Herald
There was a time this season where you could trust the starters, but had to worry about the bullpen. My, how times changed! Suddenly, Joba Chamberlain has become the starting rotation’s version of Jose Veras, and Andy Pettitte is its Damaso Marte.
Sunday’s game turned out well (a win), but it was Joba’s worst outing yet. He couldn’t get out of the 4th inning, and gave up 8 runs on 9 hits and 1 walk. Fortunately, for Joba’s ERA, only 3 of the 8 runs were earned. But games are won or lost on runs, earned or unearned, and Joba gave up a lot of them. He threw 86 pitches in 3 2/3 innings, and failed in his 9th try to win at the new Yankee Stadium. To me, Joba isn’t improving each time out and he is not even forcing the “to the pen” chants to percolate, but rather he looks like is auditioning for a possible future start in Scranton/Wilkes Barre or Trenton.
The Yankees have been very fortunate for Alfredo Aceves to find his niche in long relief and prove he is the guy the Yankees have been seeking for years to replace Ramiro Mendoza. Aceves’ four innings of one-hit, scoreless relief allowed the Yanks’ comeback to stand, as they beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 10-8. Aceves picked up his first save of the season in relief of Jonathan Albaladejo, who picked up the win.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
All-Star starting shortstop Derek Jeter had four hits and delivered the key go-ahead two-run homer in the bottom of the 5th inning.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
Monday, on the other hand, did not turn out so well. After a solid outing in his last start, Andy returned to his inconsistent ways. By the top of the 7th inning, the Blue Jays had built a 7-1 lead against Pettitte and Brian Bruney. Pettitte gave up 6 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings. He walked 3 Toronto batters.
Chris Faytok/The Star Ledger
The Yankees attempted to rally, scoring 5 runs over the final 3 innings. However, with the tying run on first in the 9th inning, Eric Hinske struck out to end the game as the Yankees fell to the Jays, 7-6. To Hinske’s defense, he had homered earlier in the game and also had several outstanding defensive plays in right. So, the loss cannot be saddled on Hinske. But Pettitte? He gets full credit for this loss. Well, Derek Jeter’s failed attempt to swipe third didn’t help. Tag or no tag, it was a bad play on DJ’s part…
I am definitely concerned about both Chamberlain and Pettitte, and both guys need to get it together. With Chien-Ming Wang on the DL, the Yankees cannot afford for the only source of consistency to come from CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. Plus, CC has not performed like the ace he is paid, so that places even more pressure on the back half of the rotation.
When Girardi stretched Aceves out to four innings and let him close out Sunday’s game, I suspected that he was giving Aceves for length for a possible start. Sure enough, Aceves will start on Thursday against the Minnesota Twins. I was probably more in favor of bringing up Sergio Mitre, but if the Yankees feel that Wang will be back in a month, then perhaps Aceves is the best option. But long-term, I’d hate to lose the long relief star.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Tonight, the Yankees defeated the Minnesota Twins, 10-2. CC finally pitched like the ace he is, and he only gave up three hits and one run in 7 innings of work. So, the streak of poor starting pitching is over. Hopefully, Chamberlain and Pettitte will follow CC’s lead as we move into the second half of the season…
In addition to Derek Jeter, the 2009 American League All-Stars will include Mark Teixeira at first base. Mariano Rivera was among the pitchers selected. Congratulations to DJ, Tex and Mo!
The Toronto Blue Jays have indicated that they’ll entertain offers for pitcher Roy Halladay, 32. I’d be very surprised if the Jays dealt with either the Yankees or the Red Sox. If they did, I am sure that the price would be significantly greater than what, say, the Philadelphia Phillies would have to pay. But a note to Jays’ GM J.P. Ricciardi, if you receive a phone call from someone named Epstein with a 617 or 857 area code, don’t answer it. It’s probably just an annoying sales call! 😉
It sounds like Francisco Cervelli is headed back to Scranton/Wilkes Barre, possibly tomorrow, to make room for the returning Jose Molina. Bummer, I will definitely miss Cisco’s energy and hustle. He had definitely made his mark on the team, and hopefully, he’ll be back sooner rather than later…
There is no love lost as the Yankees play their final series in the Metrodome. The Twins will move to their new home, Target Field, in downtown Minneapolis next spring. Now, if the Vikings could only figure out a way to get out of the Metrodome…
Sorry Julia, it’s still just one game…