I wonder if Mike Mussina can still pitch…
It’s still early in May but the Yankees have only two remaining starters in the pitching rotation from the Opening Day roster. With the placement of CC Sabathia (knee) on the DL, the two Japanese starters, Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka, are the only remaining starters with Ivan Nova (elbow/Tommy John surgery) and Michael Pineda (back) already on the DL. This means the remainder of the rotation after Kuroda and Tanaka, are David Phelps, Vidal Nuno and perhaps Chase Whitley or Alfredo Aceves. That’s not exactly a rotation that strikes fear in the heart of opposing batters.
The Yankees are so very fortunate that they won the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes in the off-season. I’d hate to think where this rotation would be without Tanaka. Or the team for that matter.
The Yankees will need to do something to address the starting rotation. Nova is gone for the year, and Sabathia is still showing difficulty in adjusting to the latter stages of his pitching career. I am really not sure what to expect when Pineda comes back and Kuroda has not shown consistent dominance since early last year.
But with the July trading deadline still over two months away, there are simply no quality options available. Well, at least not at more reasonable prices. Hopefully, someone among the Phelps, Nuno, Whitley et al group step up to show that they belong in The Show. The Yankees need a new starter next year to replace Kuroda, who, more than likely, will retire or return to play in Japan. Rather than vastly overpay for an upcoming free agent, it would be preferable for a young starter in the organization to step up and take his spot (obviously).
Passing the torch…
With Stephen Drew still available and the June draft upcoming, the rumors are picking up again that Drew would be a great fit for the Yankees. I do not disagree. No disrespect for Derek Jeter but he simply is not the player he was once. He will not ride to the sunset like Mariano Rivera at the top of his game. It’s unfortunate, but age has a funny way of doing that to the best of us. I have felt that Drew would be a very solid addition since spring training and better than adding Brian Roberts or Kelly Johnson. I know it would cost a draft pick, but the Yankees should pull the trigger now and sign Drew rather than wait until the competition is much stronger once Drew no longer has compensation tied to his signing following the player draft.
Brendan Ryan is a great fielder at shortstop but this team needs quality, clutch bats and Drew would be perhaps the best option for production among the middle infielders if signed.
The quarterback who wears gloves picked the right city…
As a Minnesota Vikings fan, I bought into the hype of Johnny Manziel. After experiencing life as a fan of Donnie Baseball, it was appealing to think of my favorite football team being led by Johnny Football. When the Vikings were on the clock at #8 and Manziel was still available, I was hopeful, along with many other Vikings fans apparently, that the team would call his team. But instead, the Vikings swapped places with the Cleveland Browns at #9, and took a defensive player (Anthony Barr). While I recognize the team needed defensive help, particularly the linebackers and defensive backfield, but the team needs a true leader. I had been hopeful Christian Ponder would be the guy but it has never worked out. Perhaps offensive coordinator Norv Turner can pull something out of Ponder but in many ways it is too late. Matt Cassell will be the starter in 2014 barring injury, so it was a given the Vikings would take a QB in the draft.
After failing to trade up to #22 (the Philadelphia Eagles accepted a better offer from the Cleveland Browns who then took Johnny Football), the Vikings traded back up into the first round (last pick at #32) with the Seattle Seahawks and grabbed the guy who was number one on many top QB lists, Teddy Bridgewater. So, while I was disappointed the Vikings didn’t get Manziel, it is certainly not difficult to be excited about the potential of Bridgewater. He’ll have great weapons with Adrian Peterson, Cordarelle Patterson, Kyle Rudolph, Greg Jennings and others. Ponder now becomes an afterthought, unless he is somehow able to find his way back into the starter’s role before Bridgewater takes the position for good.
Happy Mother’s Day!
We’re off to the races…
It was Game 1 of 162 tonight as the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox kicked off the 2010 season on a warm night at Fenway Park. After a cold and rainy day in Northern California, I turned on the TV to ESPN and was surprised to see it was 67 degrees at game time. I had not checked out the weather forecast, and had expected to see a game played in the 30’s or 40’s. It sounds like the warm weather will stay through the duration of the three game series. Hopefully, the Yankees can keep things hot at Fenway (well, maybe not tonight but there’s still two games to play)…
The night got off to a great start for new Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson. In the bottom half of the first inning, he recorded the first out of the Yankees season by catching a fly out by Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury. Then, in the top of the 2nd inning, after Jorge Posada had hit a liner off the foul pole in right for a home run, Curtis hit the first ‘no doubt about it’ home run of the season to put New York up 2-0, his first official at-bat as a Yankee.
Speaking of impressive beginnings, not-so-new Yankee but new left fielder Brett Gardner showed why the team has shown faith in him. After reaching base in the fourth, Gardner advanced to third and later scored on a double steal. His speed on base is a difference maker so if he can continue to hit, this could be the beginning of a great season. Not bad for the shortest guy on the team. Long live short guys! 😉
On the downside, the short guy didn’t look so good in the 5th inning when his throw home was way off line, allowing two rather than just one runner to advance into scoring position. Fortunately, no damage was done aside from the run that scored during the errant throw. Still, Gardner is going to have to work on his play in left and adjust to the angles.
Neither starting pitcher figured into the outcome of the game. Josh Beckett was chased early (in the 5th), but CC Sabathia met the same fate the next inning. Clearly, neither has the stamina they will have in August. But bullpen to bullpen, I like the Yankees chances. Last year at this time, there were few reliable arms in the pen outside of the great Mariano Rivera. It took several months until Joe Girardi was able to make some moves that gelled. This year, the pen is a strength from top to bottom. Boston’s pen does scare me if Daniel Bard realizes his potential, but until then, the Yankees have a chance against the Boston relievers.
Tonight was not meant to be for the Yankees bullpen as the Red Sox rallied for the 9-7 victory. The primary culprits were Chan Ho Park and David Robertson, although Jorge Posada figured into the equation with what should have been a passed ball. Still, I think the Yankees bullpen will be a strength over the course of the season. Joba Chamberlain gave up a run, but I fully expect him to thrive in the 8th inning role and grab it permanently over the course of the next month or so. As the ESPN announcers related, Joba throws with a sense of urgency in a relief role, and that was missing during his time as a starter. Chamberlain-to-Rivera should be a good combo in later games. I loved Rivera-to-Wettleland, so hopefully, Chamberlain-to-Rivera can become equally as good if not better.
I know, Julia is ahead 1-0 with the advantage in our latest wager. Congratulations to her for the Game 1 victory. On the bright side, we still have 161 more games before anything is decided.
Hats off to Dustin Pedroia for his play in tonight’s Red Sox victory. I admit that he has the heart of a lion, and Boston is very fortunate to have such a great second baseman.
Boone Logan found out it’s not good to be the 25th man, when he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre prior to today’s game to make room for outfielder Marcus Thames.
Leading up to the Opener, I heard constant reminders of Aaron Boone’s home run to win the 2003 American League Championship Series against the Red Sox. Boston got its revenge a year later, but Boone will forever be defined by that home run. Actually that’s rather silly in mind given that he spent over six years in Cincinnati as a Red, compared to a couple of months in 2003 as a Yankee. He also played with the Cleveland Indians, Florida Marlins, Washington Nationals and Houston Astros. Given that Boston did win the following year, I don’t think Boone’s home run will stand the test of time like Bucky Dent’s 1978 home run. Nevertheless, it continues to be the hit people talk about when his name comes up.
In a trade that surprised me, the Washington Redskins acquired quarterback Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles. You never expect a team to trade with a bitter division rival and that’s exactly what transpired today. Now, the Eagles will face McNabb twice a year. The Eagles did not get the first round pick they were seeking, but did secure a second round pick in this year’s draft and either a third or fourth round pick next year. I thought that McNabb would have fit well with the Minnesota Vikings since they play a similar scheme to the Eagles, but perhaps the Vikings’ lack of interest is a sign that Brett Favre will return this summer.
I hope everyone had a very happy and enjoyable Easter!