Tagged: Bob Klapisch

A Headline 4 or 5 Years Too Late…

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Photo Credit: Getty Images (Elsa)

Yankees Sign Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki…

I went to bed early last night and missed the news the Yankees had signed veteran shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. So, I woke up to the flurry of news this morning the Yankees had signed the one-time superstar. What does it mean? Nothing, nothing at all. A few years ago, this would have been major news but not today. The 34-year-old Tulo is a shell of his former self. But to his defense, it kind of reminds me of the old Toby Keith song, As Good As I Once Was, which goes on to say “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m as good once, as I ever was”.

This is simply another “dumpster dive” by GM Brian Cashman.  He gets a player he coveted in years past for pennies on the dollar. The Yankees will only be responsible for paying the Major League minimum of $555,000 while the Toronto Blue Jays pay Tulo $38 million to wear the famed Pinstripes. I don’t think anyone has expectations or illusions Tulo will be ‘the man’ at shortstop during the absence of Didi Gregorius. If he plays, it is a bonus. A shot worth taking. Worst case, Tulo can’t make it back from the variety of ailments that have afflicted him over the last few years and the Yankees cut him. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.  If he performs, there is the potential Cashman flips him at the trading deadline in July if Didi is back and healthy (assuming Tulo plays well enough to warrant a prospect or two) or they keep him around as a depth piece. For Tulo, it is an opportunity to rebuild value on Baseball’s biggest stage. I’m sure he’s talked to former teammates J.A. Happ and Matt Holliday about what it is like to play for the Yankees.

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Tulowitzki, as we all know, was a huge fan of Derek Jeter growing up as we’ve been constantly reminded about over the years. Tulo has only worn the number 2 at the Major League level with the Colorado Rockies and Toronto Blue Jays but he’ll have to pick out a new number in the Bronx assuming he makes the Opening Day roster. My vote is for Number 12. Tyler Wade has not done anything of significance with the number and he seems like the best candidate for number re-assignment. Or I’d take Number 72 as representation for both Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter.

I wish Tulo the best as he tries to make his comeback. I hope he’s successful. If he is, that means he outperformed guys like Tyler Wade, Thairo Estrada, and Hanser Alberto in spring training. But there’s no way anyone should be counting on Tulo as a savior for the drive to World Championship #28. He is a roll of the dice for pocket change. That’s all.

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As for the real shortstop target, we should have resolution on Manny Machado this week…hopefully. I don’t know what I think at this point. I’ve seen the positive news such as Dan Clark’s infamous Twitter declaration that Machado will be a Yankee and other miscellaneous reports such as an alleged house hunting excursion in Westchester County to look at Phil Jackson’s old place. It’s no secret I am on Team Machado. I want the Yankees to sign him and I know that I’ll be disappointed if it does not happen. I did see a tweet by baseball writer Bob Klapisch this week who put the odds for Machado signing with the Yankees at 60/40. He mentioned Yankees ownership and front office are split on Machado. It seems like it could give the Philadelphia Phillies an opportunity to slip in with a revised significantly greater offer to snag the generational talent away from the Yankees. I know there are many Yankee fans that won’t be disappointed if Machado goes elsewhere. This is about as divided as I’ve ever seen the Yankees Universe or at least in recent years. Regardless of the guys who show up in Tampa next month, I hope the Yankees fan base will unite and support the players who break camp as the Opening Day roster even if neither Machado nor Harper are on the team. I think they will, but we’ll have to deal with the division a little bit longer until all of this plays out.

Even if the Yankees redirect and go after Bryce Harper instead of Machado, I’d still expect them to bring in another shortstop or second baseman to help fill the Gregorius void. Adeiny Hechavarria, Freddy Galvis, Jose Iglesias, I don’t care but I’d want other options besides Tulowitzki and holdover Tyler Wade. My preference has been to keep Gleyber Torres at second base but, in my opinion, he remains the best shortstop option despite the Tulo signing.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t express best wishes and congratulations to TGP Leader Daniel Burch. Today, Daniel and his lovely fiancée, Kari Ann, will finally say “I do” to become Mr and Mrs Greedy Pinstripes.  As we’ve seen from his posts for a long time, Daniel has been so incredibly excited for this day to arrive (as I am sure Kari Ann has been too). We are equally as excited about their future together and wish them much love, extraordinary happiness and overwhelming success! Congratulations Daniel and Kari Ann!

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Time for me to go back into Waiting for Machado mode. Hopefully we’ll hear something by the end of the week. I don’t think I could possibly stand this dragging into next week.

As always, Go Yankees! But today and better yet, Go Daniel and Kari Ann!

Daniel

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Is Total Domination by the Yankees Asking Too Much?…

The Yankees, most likely, have made their final moves for 2017… 

Granted, we only have a couple of days left but it’s been all quiet in the Yankees Universe.  Rumors continue to swirl and the Yankees are always linked to, seemingly, everybody.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported today that the Yankees continue to eye free agent pitcher Yu Darvish. Regardless of the cost, that one makes no sense to me. The money it would take to sign Darvish would erode the remaining dollars under the luxury tax threshold of $197 million. There’s no way that Darvish will settle for $5-$10 million in annual compensation at this point in his career when he should command more. The pitcher needs to rebuild value after his disastrous World Series performances for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but at the end of the day, teams look at his body of work and not a couple of ill-fated starts with accusations that he was tipping his pitches.

Credit:  Associated Press

Yesterday, TGP’s Bryan Van Dusen made the argument that the Yankees should stand pat with their starting pitching staff. To a degree, I concur but ultimately GM Brian Cashman is on record saying the Yankees want to acquire another starting pitcher. There are questions about every starter in the Yankees rotation and Cash obviously has more information and insight into each pitcher that we are not privy to. So, from my perspective, while I may believe another starter is not necessary, the powers-that-be feel otherwise so our opinion is irrelevant.

I don’t really want to give up Clint Frazier, Chance Adams, and/or Miguel Andujar in a trade for Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole. I am a little frustrated that Frazier’s current predicament is a direct result of an outfield glut hurt by the presence of Jacoby Ellsbury and his massive contract. In a perfect world, I’d trade away both Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to make way for the younger guys. I want to see room made for Frazier but equally I’d like to see Billy McKinney and Jake Cave get opportunities. McKinney can hit and he showed last year why he was once a top draft pick.

I am a fan of Chance Adams but the presence of Justus Sheffield and Albert Abreu give me comfort the Yankees have other young viable starters on the immediate horizon.

I recognize that not every Yankees prospect has a future in Pinstripes. There is great value in prospects as trading chips for contending teams. I am prepared for a trade for a proven Major League starting pitcher. I may not like it, but it is the cost of doing business for a team that is prepared to win NOW. I am not sure who will be the fifth starter for the Boston Red Sox at the start of the upcoming season since Edwin Rodriguez is recovering from knee surgery (Steven Wright perhaps?) but the Red Sox still have arguably the best staff in the division with a front four featuring Chris Sale, David Price, Drew Pomeranz, and Rick Porcello. The Toronto Blue Jays are probably not too far behind with Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada and Joe Biagini. Admittedly, both of those teams have injury concerns. With the Red Sox, it is David Price who has struggled both mentally and physically in Boston. For Toronto, it is Aaron Sanchez who missed most of last year with right middle finger issues. Sanchez is the latest example of a young starter who threw a career high in innings pitched the preceding year, only to follow up with an injury plagued season. I am not saying that Luis Severino is going to get hurt but he did pitch a career high with innings pitched last year including the play-offs. Many experts have forecasted some regression in his 2018 performance. If either Boston or Toronto are able to overcome their injury concerns, they will be very formidable. If the Red Sox add a power bat like J.D. Martinez, they’ll be tough to beat. So, if Brian Cashman feels that we need to add starting pitching, I am not going to argue with him.

For what it is worth, Bob Klapisch is currently reporting that the Yankees are “nowhere” on a possible deal for Gerrit Cole and have never been close in talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates. As Klapisch tweeted today: “NYY rotation is set for now”.

My biggest concern heading into 2018 is second and third base. I am ‘all in’ for making Gleyber Torres the starting second baseman or going with Tyler Wade/Ronald Torreyes to start until Torres is ready. Third base troubles me the most. I am not convinced that Miguel Andujar is ready (offensively, yes, but I feel that his defensive skills are lacking). I prefer Torreyes as the utility player and not in a dedicated starting position so he is not really who I want at third base day in and day out.

I’d love to see the return of Todd Frazier but I am not optimistic at all. Everyone talks about the Yankees signing Manny Machado after the 2018 season as a free agent, but I really feel that if the Chicago Cubs or St Louis Cardinals make the investment to acquire Machado this off-season (which could very well happen), they’ll make very strong efforts to sign Machado to a new deal. It is easy to say the Yankees should just sign Frazier or Mike Moustakas to a one-year deal, but in reality, the market will dictate otherwise. The Yankees need a hedge for 2019 if Machado (or someone like Josh Donaldson) is not an option. I’d be a proponent for a two-year deal for Frazier. I really like what he brings to the team with his play and attitude. It is infectious. He may not hit for average, but he’ll give you some bombs and will play a great third base. Plus, he’ll keep the clubhouse loose in the pressurized New York environment.  Trade him next year if the team is successful in signing Machado. But regardless of my preferences, I’d like to see the Yankees get experienced help at third base to ease the transition we’ll face at second. Poor Didi Gregorius if he has to play with rookies on both sides.

Credit:  Seth Wenig, AP

All indications are that 2017 will end quietly for the New York Yankees. We’ll soon see what 2018 has in store for everybody’s favorite team.  Exciting times in the Bronx.

Go Yankees!

Which book to read first?…

BOOKS ARE ON THEIR WAY…

 

I received the e-mail from Amazon that the two books I ordered are on their way (Joe Torre’s The Yankee Years and Jane Heller’s Confessions of a She-Fan).

 

After Joe’s softball interview with Larry King on Friday, his book tour gets underway this week.  I agree with those who say that Joe is backpedaling, and his “clarification” of his A-Fraud comments is case in point.  In the book, he does not reference that it was in jest, but now he supports Larry Bowa’s comments that it was a fun-natured comment that was made to A-Rod directly. 

 

Bob Klapisch of The Record (newjersey.com) interviewed Mike Mussina last week, and I thought Mike had some very insightful comments:

 

“it’s not just what goes on in the clubhouse, it’s sitting on the bus, or if you’re out having lunch. As a ballplayer you need to know who you have to watch out for and who you can trust. First and foremost, you should be able to trust your manager.”

 

Mike went on to say several statements of the obvious:

 

“I mean, people knew that Brown was out there, and that Randy was ornery all the time. And Pavano is whoever he is. But if you’re their manager, you can’t go out and write about them like that.”

 

It’s unfortunate that Joe Girardi has to learn on the job, but in the end, I think the Yankees will be much better off with Mr. G. than Mr. T.   I personally wanted Donnie Baseball to get the job after Joe T. left, but for personal reasons, he clearly wasn’t ready.  Although I am hopeful that he gets his opportunity one day, I believe that the time is now for Joe Girardi, and he deserves every opportunity to lead the ship to battle. 

 

As much as I am looking forward to reading Torre’s book, I have to admit that I am more excited about Jane Heller’s Confessions of a She-Fan.  Clearly, her book will get preferential treatment upon receipt.  I can relate to her story first and foremost as a fellow Yankees fan.  But I can further relate to her story.  The Minnesota Vikings have been my favorite football team since 1972, and I was so upset when Fran Tarkenton retired and they gave the QB job to Bob Lee (I hated that guy!).  As a product of my frustration, I wrote a letter to the Vikings organization informing them that I had resigned as a fan.  I came back around with Tommy Kramer, but admittedly there are incredible highs and lows when you are passionate about a sports team.  I have thoroughly enjoyed every blog Jane has written, and I am very excited about the book.  I will provide my review after I have received my copy. 

 

I have been a Yankees fan for over 33 years, and I met the first Yankees fan that I am proud of during the 2001 World Series.  I attended Games 2 and 6 in Phoenix, and during Game 6 I encountered a very knowledgeable Yankees fan from New York who made me realize that the World Series was beyond anything short of a Yankees championship.  He had attended the games in New York, and the magic and inspiration that he shared that day were incredible.  Of course, the Yankees then got shellacked by the D-Backs, but it was still an experience I’ll always remember.  Jane sharing a story that is so engrained in our hearts is incredible. That places her among the top two Yankees fan I’ve encountered.  Considering that the Yankees are THE most storied franchise, she has written a book about us, among us, with us…

 

Thanks Jane.

 

OTHER THOUGHTS…

 

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers and their record 6th Super Bowl championship.  Perhaps we can put an end to the talk of the Cowboys as “America’s Team”.  I want to say that the TD catch by Santonio Holmes was one of the greatest acts of concentration and attention to detail that I’ve seen in a Super Bowl in a long time.  It was a incredible catch, and certainly deserves placement up there with the likes of the “Immaculate Reception”. 

 

The latest rumors have the New England Patriots placing the franchise tag on QB Matt Cassel and then trading him to the Kansas City Chiefs (due to the Scott Pioli connection).  I think that the Chiefs and Vikings rumors will run rampant until a trade actually happens, but I do hope that Cassel is wearing purple and gold when all is said and done. 

 

As Kevin Millar says, the Orioles aren’t going to win this season, but they have quietly been making some very sound acquisitions…

 

If the Dodgers are down to making a one year, $25 million offer for Manny Ramirez, why don’t the Yankees enter the game?  Trade Xavier Nady and Nick Swisher (there is significant interest in both), and ensure YES ratings with Manny in right field.  Sorry, I just can’t let go of my totally gluttonous dream!

 

Adding a Jim Edmonds to platoon in center with Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera is probably not a bad idea…

 

I hated to hear that Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers will miss 8-12 weeks due to a tear in the medial collateral ligament of his right knee, but at least it wasn’t a season-ending injury.  I wonder how much different last year’s NBA Championship would have looked had Bynum been healthy and available to play.

 

Bobby Knight at the University of Georgia?  C’mon, Bobby, give it up.  I am sure that ESPN will provide for a very comfortable life in your remaining years.  But you are like the guest who stayed too long, we’re ready for you to leave…

 

Just 10 days until pitchers and catchers report…