Joe says it so it must be true!…
So now even manager Joe Girardi is expressing interest in a left-handed bat! Joe’s joined the club of us overly intelligent, know-more-than-Brian Cashman fans! LOL! Just kidding. But it is interesting to see a key Yankee figure express the need for additional help. With free agents Raul Ibanez (wow, I almost typed Mondesi!), Hideki Matsui, and Johnny Damon lurking on the sidelines, GM Brian Cashman recently indicated the Yankees would pursue help via trade.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Obviously, the Yankees need to unload a pitcher. With three starters vying for the #5 spot in the rotation (Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett, and Phil Hughes), it’s clear that this is going to end badly for one or two pitchers. All things considered, I think you have to put Phil Hughes in the rotation. The Yankees HAVE to prove that 2010 was not a fluke (or not). Plus, Hiroki Kuroda, at 37, is not destined to be a long-term Yankee. Sure, the Yanks could go hard after Cole Hamels or Matt Cain as a replacement following the 2012 season but I still subscribe to the ‘dance with the one who brung ya’ theory. Well, at least until he proves us wrong. I know, the leash is overly long, but Hughes is still young, and he can still be a force in the rotation. He’d certainly be cheaper than either Hamels or Cain in the foreseeable future.
So, where does that leave Burnett and Garcia? I think Garcia is the best option to plant in the bullpen as the long man and #6 starter in the event of injury in the rotation…at least until Dellin Betances and/or Manny Banuelos are ready later in the year. This means shipping Burnett and lots of money to another team is probably best case scenario. Trading Hughes would be foolish since the return, following his poor 2011 season, would be under market value. Plus, Hughes has more long-term value to the team than Burnett. There’s no way the Yankees re-sign Burnett at the expiration of his contract. He’ll see the same door as Jason Giambi with a slight push from behind.
But, and that’s a big but, what does Burnett bring in trade? He is not going to bring a young slugger, that’s for sure. More than likely, it would only be someone else’s albatross, ala Alfonso Soriano. I still think one of the available free agents is the best option for the left-handed bat, but I am sure whatever move Cashman makes will be the best one for the organization.
Wanted: Someone who’s butt can withstand splinters…
As for the additional infield bench support to accompany Eduardo Nunez, I still would really like to see the return of Eric Chavez even though Bill Hall’s name has been mentioned more frequently as of late.
“Buck, we really need to be the focus of the tabloids”…
I have to admit that I am surprised to see the teams mentioned as possibilities for Manny Ramirez. No, I don’t want Man-Ram calling 161st and River home, but the teams mentioned…Oakland A’s, Baltimore Orioles, and Toronto Blue Jays…seem like odd fits for a guy that has to spend 50 games on the suspended list. With the emphasis on youth in Oakland and Baltimore, I’d question whether having Manny on the team is worth it in terms of the negative impact he can have. Younger players are far more impressionable, and no team, even the Blue Jays, need a distraction. Maybe Manny can still swing it. I acknowledge that he was once the most feared hitter in the AL, but I don’t think he’ll ever be close to the hitter he once was. Age sucks, but it happens to us all…
A funny thing happened to the Phillies on their way to the World Series…
Edwin Jackson to the Washington Nationals on a one-year deal was a good move for the Nats. Outside of the New York Mets, the NL East is a scary division. Yeah, the Philadelphia Phillies have the Big 3 (Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels), but there are too many other question marks to make them the clear favorite. I don’t think the Miami Marlins will win the division but they’ll make noise. The Braves, the Nats. That’s a tough division. Then, there’s the Mets…
With a New York-Boston Super Bowl upon us, it’s weird that I, as a Yankees fan, find myself on the Boston side of the battle. That seems so wrong on so many levels. But it is what it is…go Patriots!
Baseball’s not a slow game but the off-season is…
It’s Thanksgiving, and the Yankees’ big moves this week were to sign journeyman utility infielder Jayson Nix and last year’s Andy Pettitte stand-in, Freddy Garcia. While I recognize that the Yankees needed to bring Garcia back, I hope that it does not deter them in their search for a legitimate #2 or #3 starter to go behind CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova. I have not seen any updates on how potential talks are going with backup third baseman Eric Chavez, but hopefully, he’ll return to New York for one more season. At this point, I view Nix as spring training fodder that will be discarded by the time the team heads for the Bronx.
In recent weeks, I’ve heard the Yankees linked to potential trades for Jair Jurrjens of the Atlanta Braves and Gio Gonzalez of the Oakland A’s. My preference of the two is Gonzalez because of Jurrjens’ history of knee trouble. Gonzalez, ironically, has been involved in separate trades involving current Yankees players during his career (Nick Swisher, when he was traded from the A’s to the White Sox, and Freddy Garcia, when he was traded from the White Sox to the Phillies).
I am anxious for the Baseball Winter Meetings so that free agent and trade activity will begin to heat up. So far, the early winner of the Hot Stove League has to be the Philadelphia Phillies for no other reason than they’ve been aggressive while other teams have been idle. Jonathan Papelbon was a good choice for closer, especially when you have as much invested in the rotation as the Phillies do. Ryan Madson did a good job last year, but it’s really anybody’s guess if he would have enjoyed the same level of success this year since he simply does not have the history to support it…yet. I am not quite sure how Jim Thome fits in, but as a pinch-hitter off the bench, there’s certainly worse bats you could have.
The Texas Rangers also did a good job in picking up former Minnesota Twins closer Joe Nathan, even if it does come with significant risk. As long as they have a solid Plan B in place, Nathan could be a very pleasant surprise if he shows that he can still pitch at a very high level.
Who will be the Astros’ DH?…
It will probably be strange for the Houston Astros next season as they make their farewell from the National League. Andy Pettitte is probably wishing that this had happened during his playing days so that he could have been ensured of playing at home every season. I think Brad Mills is a good manager but it will be interesting to see if he is retained by new owner Jim Crane when the Astros enter the AL West in 2013. He certainly deserves the opportunity, but you have to wonder if he’ll be given sufficient time to succeed.
Happy north of the border or wishing that Yawkey Way was a daily routine…
It’s no secret that the Boston Red Sox would love John Farrell as their manager, but the Toronto Blue Jays were obviously unwilling to allow that to happen. Nevertheless, I wonder how Farrell feels. Is he happy and delighted to be in Toronto, or does he have an unfulfilled desire for the Sox? Speaking of the Sox, I just don’t see how Bobby Valentine and the city of Boston are a good fit. I don’t dispute that he’s a good manager, but eventually he wears out his welcome and the pressure of Boston is greater than Arlington, Texas or even Flushing Meadows, New York. I don’t really know anything about Torey Lovullo’s managing background and Gene Lamont seems like an uninspired choice so I can’t say who I think would be a great fit for the job. Admittedly, I am a fan of former manager Terry Francona, so it does seem that whoever takes his place is going to an inferior choice. If it were my decision, I’d probably go with someone who has strong ties to the organization already, like bench coach DeMarlo Hale. But Boston’s late season collapse effectively removed any September participants from consideration and perhaps wrongfully so. It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the course of the next few weeks.
My first year in Minnesota coincides with the Vikings’ worst year in their 50 year history…
With the Minnesota Vikings standing at 2-8 heading into this weekend’s play, the baseball off-season has already seemed so incredibly long and it hasn’t even really started yet…
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
Congratulations to the New York Yankees for their
ALDS series win over the Minnesota Twins!
Neil Miller/New York Post
I don’t know why the Yankees have enjoyed success
against the Twins. Perhaps it is why the
Toronto Blue Jays love playing the Yankees.
Some teams have other teams number and the Yankees certainly hold a psychological
edge over the Twins.
I’ve been reading many articles about which team
the Yankees would prefer facing in the American League Championship
Series. While I am still not convinced
that the Yankees have “it” this year to see them through a World Series that
most likely will feature a frontline rotation of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and
Cole Hamels, the two potential AL contenders (Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers)
certainly have their own issues.
As for a potential ALCS opponent, I’d have to say
that I’d prefer to see the Tampa Bay Rays.
I don’t really want to see the Texas Rangers advance to the World Series
(not that I want to see the Rays go there either), but a series with the
Rangers would result in very bitter confrontations with Rangers ace Cliff
Lee. Win or lose, it could potentially
impact Cliff’s decision this offseason regarding where to sign (or
re-sign). CC Sabathia neutralizes the
advantage of David Price, and with the other starters rested, I like the team’s
chances against the other Rays starters.
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for
their NLDS ouster of the Atlanta Braves and future Hall of Fame manager Bobby
Cox. It was a tough fought series, and I
give the Giants credit for much heart in this series. They thrived on stellar pitching and used
small ball to topple the Braves and send Cox away at the end of the long and
successful managerial career. It was odd
seeing the final out recorded by former Yankee Melky Cabrera, who had seemed to
thrive in walk-off situations in 2009.
With the tying and winning runs on base, Melky hit a grounder to third
to end the game. With the series win in
Game 4, the Giants saved scheduled Game 5 starter Tim Lincecum for a first
round NLCS match-up against Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies. It should be a terrific pitchers’ duel…
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Well, with just one division series left to go, I
guess I’ll end with saying, ‘Go Rays!’…
The Bully has spoken…
As much as I love the Yankees and support their right to spend whatever is necessary to win, I admittedly have trouble warming up to Yankees president Randy Levine. I agree with Levine’s words: “We play by all the rules and there doesn’t seem to be any complaints when teams such as the Brewers receive hundreds of millions of dollars that they get from us in revenue sharing the last few years. Take some of that money that you get from us and use that to sign your players”, Levine said in an interview with ESPNNewYork.com in response to Milwaukee owner Mark Attanasio’s ongoing complaints about how much the Yankees spend. Per ESPN, the Yankees have paid out nearly $175 million in the last 7 years (92% of the total revenue sharing that has been paid out to teams).
I agree, in principle, with everything Levine has said, but he still comes across as a big bully. I don’t follow the business side of the Yankees as much as I do the playing side so maybe I just don’t know Levine. Or maybe this truly is the real Levine. Either way, I am not a fan of his…
After failing to see the much-needed clutch hit during Sunday night’s loss to the Red Sox, I could not help but notice Monday’s box scores:
Johnny Damon, Detroit Tigers (8-4 win over the Kansas City Royals)
2 hits (including a double); 2 runs; and 2 RBI’s
Hideki Matsui, Los Angeles Angels (6-3 win over the Minnesota Twins)
2 hits (including a solo home run); 1 run; and 2 RBI’s
Rose Palmisano/The Orange County Register
The four RBI’s could have come in very handy on Sunday night!
At least Melky Cabrera went 0-for-5 for the Atlanta Braves. Well, he did score a run. Ugh!
The Yankees captured their first win of the season with a 6-4 victory in Boston. The win evens the series, and sets up the getaway game as the deciding game in my latest wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants. It should be a great game with Andy Pettitte facing new Red Sox pitcher John Lackey. Hopefully, I will be arranging for the shipment of a book to the Boston area so that a friend of mine can begin her book assignment!
In tonight’s game, Nick Johnson did EXACTLY what he was signed to do…get on base. With the bases loaded in the 8th and the score tied 4-4, Nick worked a walk to bring in the go-ahead run. Robinson Cano added an insurance run with a solo homer in the 9th, but Nick Johnson was definitely the key to the rally.
Joba Chamberlain showed me that he is the 8th inning set up guy, and Mariano Rivera proved, yet again, he is a legend in our midst. I am sure it will be a very sad day when Mo walks off the mound for the final time. I have been very proud of him all these years, and he probably is my favorite Yankee.
It was not a great night for Boston’s Jon Lester but I am convinced this will be a big year for him. I may not be a Red Sox fan but I am a Jon Lester fan. Beckett and Lackey? Not so much…
The answer to the question is an old friend from the past…
It was no secret that the Yankees were actively seeking to fill an open spot in the rotation and the word was that it would be accomplished by year end. As it were, the Yankees wrapped the package up prior to Christmas. The result is the return of Javier Vazquez….
When I first heard the deal, I was a little upset at what the Yankees gave up (Melky Cabrera, Michael Dunn, and Arodys Vizcaino). However, after having time to let it sink in, I am okay with it so long as the Yankees can come up with a decent alternative for left field. Brett Gardner is not an every day player, and at this point, neither is Jamie Hoffmann. Perhaps Gardner can be part of a platoon, but the other half is not currently on the roster.
Vazquez was a Yankee for one brief season. But it was a very painful season. For years, we had grown up knowing that the Boston Red Sox had been suffering from the Curse of Babe Ruth prior to our own births. However, in 2004, the Red Sox finally shook the curse and defeated the mighty Yankees despite being down 3 games to none in the American League Championship Series. The defining moment occurred in Game 7 when Johnny Damon hit a grand slam off Javier Vazquez. The win propelled the Red Sox to the World Series and an eventual championship that could have belonged to the Yankees. After the season, the Yankees packaged Vazquez in a deal to Arizona that netted Randy Johnson. At the time, Vazquez didn’t want to leave the Yankees but “public opinion” was clearly against him and the Yankees fans didn’t cry too much as Vazquez headed for the Sonoran Desert.
Nevertheless, spin forward 5 years, and Vazquez has proven consistency and durability. 2009 was perhaps his finest year with Atlanta Braves as he went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA. Injuries, including pink eye, kept 2009 from being even more successful. When you are throwing around names like Ben Sheets, Justin Duchscherer, Aaron Harang, and others, I have to admit that Vazquez is the best case scenario. Admittedly, I would have preferred a Bronx return by Ted Lilly but there probably wasn’t any way that the Chicago Cubs were going to let him go. The Yankees tried hard for Cliff Lee, but the Phillies felt they needed to send Lee as far from Philly as they could given the backlash they’d receive by dealing him. Understood. So all things considered, Javier Vazquez as your number 4 starter is a pretty good situation. I’d take Vazquez in a head-to-head match up against John Lackey so I think the move was a good counter to Boston’s free agent signing.
Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal Constitution
It is ironic that Damon’s departure is met by Vazquez’s return. It is equally ironic that Vazquez and DH Nick Johnson will be teammates given they were once traded for each other. Hopefully, this ends the Yankees’ attempt at a 2003-04 reunion tour. We really don’t need to see a return performance by Jason Giambi. Sorry, G, I loved you in pinstripes but that day has passed.
The Yankees did manage to secure a bullpen part with the Vazquez trade. They also acquired pitcher Boone Logan. Gotta love the name. Logan is a lefty but is probably more of a one batter specialist. The Yankees are hopeful that Damaso Marte will continue at the level he displayed late in the season. Logan was acquired by the Atlanta Braves in the same trade that brought Vazquez from the Chicago White Sox. So, once again, Logan and Vazquez are intertwined…and hopefully the duo will prove to be very successful in the Bronx. Vazquez is a free agent after 2010, so it’s possible that this is another one-and-done Yankee performance, but it is my hope that he proves he belongs in pinstripes.
The Yankees also signed free agent catcher Mike Rivera (formerly of the Milwaukee Brewers). So long as Rivera is slotted for the third catching spot, I am okay with the move. I feel that Francisco Cervelli deserves the primary shot to be Jorge Posada’s backup, but a veteran influence like Rivera can’t hurt.
So, now the question is what the Yankees will do about left field? The Vazquez trade brings the payroll to nearly $200 million which is the alleged budget for 2010. Perhaps they’ll need to offload Chad Gaudin and/or Sergio Mitre (among others), but room can be made for a capable left fielder. Alas, it won’t be Matt Holliday or Jason Bay (or even Johnny Damon), but I have confidence that GM Brian Cashman won’t leave the team shortchanged.
All these moves do have the potential of disrupting team chemistry so I am hopeful that the team is able to mesh in spring training. From a character standpoint, I have no reservations with Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, or Javier Vazquez, so I think they’ll be fine. But as they say, the proof is in the pudding…
I really do not believe the headline, but it’s time to settle the bet so let’s begin the temporary journey back to the Red Sox Nation…
On June 9th through 11th, the Yankees played a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox. Of course, they were once again swept by Boston, who are now 8-0 against the Bombers this season. The scores of the latest series were 7-0, 6-5, and 4-3, respectively. According to the rules of the wager with Julia of Julia’s Rants, the loser was to wear a t-shirt belonging to the opposing team. If I had won the bet, Julia would be wearing a Mark Teixeira t-shirt. I was originally slated for a Jason Bay t-shirt, but Julia, with my consent, opted for a t-shirt from the Life is Good series. T-Shirts were included for both me and my Yankee bear, Lou.
My t-shirt simply made the following statement…
Lou’s t-shirt issued the following proclamation…
Lou and I got ready for the photos, but of course, you-know-who had to make an appearance and get in on the act…
Wally thought it would be great if we could take a group pic…
I had to take my punishment alone…
However, Lou had made a new friend…
Nevertheless, Lou could simply take no more, and convinced another Bear to wear his “shame”. Of course, he lost the girl too…
Meanwhile, Lou needed some time alone to overcome his embarrassment.
So, the trip to the Red Sox Nation is over. Julia, by my count, that’s 8 photos to match the Red Sox streak. The debt is paid, and this blog can return to all-Yankees programming…
Yankees Win Subway Series…
A.J. Burnett returned from his 5-game suspension on Saturday, and brought his “A” game with him. He had a no-hitter going until the 6th inning, when Alex Cora opened with a single. But that’s all the offense the Mets could muster against Burnett, as he finished with a 7-inning one-hitter, and a season high 10 strikeouts.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
I knew that A.J. was going to be tough to beat after watching him strike out two of the first three batters he faced in a 3-up, 3-down first inning. Burnett, 6-4, was removed after the conclusion of the 7th inning despite the fact that he was still cruising. He had thrown 108 pitches, and was working under a team-imposed pitch limit of 115 pitches. With a 5-run lead, I thought it was the right thing to do. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if Cora hadn’t gotten that hit. But I recognize that a healthy A.J. is better than a complete game performance. Brian Bruney and David Robertson each pitched an inning of hitless relief to keep the one-hitter intact. A terrific performance by A.J., with great support from the Pen. Hopefully, this is a recipe that we’ll see again…soon and often!
The New York Post
The Yankees only scored in two innings, the 3rd and 6th innings, but it was enough. Aside from a RBI single by Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees scored the rest of their runs on homers (by Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada).
Tony Kurdzuk/The Star Ledger
The Yankees have won this Subway Series by taking the first 2 games of the 3 game series, and have won their first season series against the Mets since 2003. Yes, I think I kind of like the new Citi Field…
I had forgotten that the Mets losing pitcher, Tim Redding, had once pitched a game for the Yankees. On July 15, 2005, he faced the Red Sox at Fenway Park and the results were disastrous. He started but was only able to record three outs. During those forgettable first two innings, he faced 11 batters, and allowed 6 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks. The Red Sox went on to a 17-1 victory that day…
Redding was designated for assignment the next day.
The flu bug has been tearing through the Yankees clubhouse like the Red Sox playing at Yankee Stadium. It hasn’t been pretty. Derek Jeter has missed two games, although you could tell that he was frustrated to sit out Saturday’s game. Girardi’s hand was forced when the medical staff advised him that Jeter should not play. Also sitting out the game with the flu was Johnny Damon.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Now comes word that Phil Hughes has been bit by the bug. Perhaps there was some sort of virus on that David Ortiz jersey that they dug out of the Stadium…
Congrats to the St. Louis Cardinals! They outfoxed all other major league clubs, including the Chicago Cubs, to acquire the Cleveland Indians’ super utility man Mark DeRosa. He’s the guy that I felt would be perfect for the Yankees. As hard as the Cubs tried to re-acquire him, I am still amazed that they ever traded him to begin with. Losing him to the Cards must be salt in the wound.
Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune
As the other contenders start to add talent in the coming days leading up to the trading deadline, I am hopeful that GM Brian Cashman is working overtime to convince the Steinbrenners to loosen the purse strings and allow the team to pursue additional depth. DeRosa is lost, but there is still plenty of talent available for the right price. Shelley Duncan is having a tremendous season with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees (21 HR’s, 64 RBI’s, .289 BA), but he unfortunately fills the same role as Nick Swisher so he most likely won’t be getting an opportunity with the big league club anytime soon.
With his next save, the great Mariano Rivera will reach 500 saves for his career.
Noah K. Murray/The Star Ledger
The final game of the Subway Series pits Chien-Ming Wang against Livan Hernandez. Although Chien-Ming has pitched better lately, he’s still seeking his first win of the season. Hopefully, he’ll get that out of the way today but I’ll hold my breath anyway…
I know that Julia has a preference for the number “5”, but I am hoping for “3” to be the magic number at the conclusion this day’s games. Best wishes to the Braves’ Tommy Hanson. May he show the Red Sox what he showed the Yankees last week…
Note: Tommy Hanson proved me correct as the Atlanta Braves defeated the Red Sox, 2-1. Hanson, despite the flu, was masterful and pitched six innings of two-hit, shutout ball.
Derek Lowe versus Andy Pettitte…
It was a match-up that reminded me of some great Red Sox battles of the past. Unfortunately, this one was not memorable as neither pitcher was around very long. The Yankees had built an 8-1 lead by the 4th inning against Lowe. It should have been an easy win for Andy Pettitte, but he struggled too. In the bottom of the 4th inning, he gave up 5 runs, thanks in part to an error by center fielder Brett Gardner, and was lifted for Alfredo Aceves. Aceves was the eventual winner in the 11-7 Yankees victory over the Atlanta Braves.
I am concerned about Pettitte. He pitched great during his last start, but otherwise, his starts have been very spotty. He is definitely no longer the pitcher he once was, or at least I do not recall him being so consistently “hittable”.
But the one player we do not need to be concerned about is Alex Rodriguez. After a month long slump that saw his batting average slide to .207, A-Rod was back last night. He had a key hit on Wednesday, and followed that up with his 563rd home run (tying Mr. October, Reggie Jackson on the all-time list). He was 3-for-5, with two runs scored, a walk, and 4 RBI’s (pushing his BA to .223).
The key hit for this game, in my opinion, was delivered by Johnny Damon. With the bases loaded in the top of the 3rd inning, Damon came to bat against his former Red Sox teammate and delivered a triple to clear the bases. The hit increased the Yankees’ lead to 6-1 at the time. Even though the Braves scratched and clawed to get back in the game, they could never recover from the huge hole created by Damon.
Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald
The bullpen did a good job with Aceves, Phil Coke, and the great Mariano Rivera. The only questionable performance was by David Robertson who gave up a 9th inning home run to Brian McCann, and had runners at the corners, before Mo came in to get the final out. Robertson did have two strikeouts in the frame. Hopefully, he was just upset by the Mets’ recent release of his brother Connor, and he’ll perform the next time he is placed in a key situation.
The Yankees now head to Queens for a weekend Subway Series against the Mets. I am concerned about the health of CC Sabathia, but it appears that he is a ‘go’ and should be fine this evening. A.J. Burnett will return from his suspension tomorrow so it should be a fun weekend in Flushing Meadow. With A-Rod coming around, I am sure that the biggest beneficiary will be Mark Teixeira. The team responded to Brian Cashman’s call to arms, and hopefully that will continue. The Toronto Blue Jays lost last night, so the Yankees once again have sole possession of 2nd place and are now 4 games behind Boston. Meanwhile, those pesky Rays keep winning…
Chris Urso/Tampa Tribune
Happy 35th Birthday to the Captain, Derek Jeter!
Xavier Nady had a major setback during his minor league rehab with Triple A-Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Brian Cashman is calling it a possible worst case scenario as Nady felt pain while throwing. Not a good sign. At some point, you have to wonder if surgery is the only option. Best wishes to the X-Man for a “best case” scenario outcome…
Finally, Thursday was a very sad day in the Entertainment World with the loss of two icons… Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.
Say what you will about MJ in recent years, but he was truly the King of Pop during the early 80’s. His music was everywhere, and I can still so vividly remember waiting to watch the MTV world premiere of the video for Thriller in late 1983. Like Elvis, Michael has left us way too soon.
Farrah’s passing was more expected but no less difficult. I had the Farrah poster on my wall as a teenager (like every other guy my age).
Goodbye to both…they will be missed…