|Credit: Brian Blanco/Getty Images|
No hole is too deep to climb out of…except when Masahiro Tanaka is on the mound. I am seriously concerned about Tanaka after his latest disaster. In Fantasy Baseball, I’ve seen many owners dumping Tanaka from their rosters for no return. I am not suggesting that the Yankees cut him and I am hopeful that he rediscovers his touch. But as the New York papers are screaming, Tanaka is in full-blown crisis mode. You have to admit that this is very disconcerting. For a rotation that had many questions coming into the season, none of the questions were directed at the team’s ace who is, right now, the rotation’s weakest link.
I am not sure what has to be done. They’ve tried different arm angles and placement on the the pitching rubber, but Tanaka’s pitches are still getting hammered. Kevin Kernan of The New York Post had the best line, “that just meant he had a different view of baseballs zooming out of the ballpark”.
In Saturday’s 9-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, Tanaka lasted only three innings. Rays hitters got nine hits and six runs off Tanaka, including three home runs. Tanaka (5-3) also walked three batters in the loss, which elevated his season ERA to 6.56. In his last two games combined, Tanaka has given up seven home runs in 4 2/3 innings…and fourteen friggin’ runs.
At the beginning of the year, the fear was that Tanaka would opt out of his contract at the end of year. Now, the fear is that he won’t. My first thought at the latest stinker was the partially torn UCL in his elbow, but the Yankees insist he is healthy. Of course, their recent “surprise” about Aroldis Chapman either tells you that the players are not always being honest with the team or the team is withholding information. If Tanaka is healthy, then this scares the h**l out of me.
At this point, I am probably in favor of skipping Tanaka in the next run through the rotation to give him extra time to right the ship. There’s no doubt he lost his splitter and slider on one of these recent road trips and can’t remember where he left them.
As for the game, the Yankees did get home runs from Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Nevertheless, this was a game we’d just as soon forget. Both pitching coach Larry Rothschild and manager Joe Girardi were tossed in the fifth inning for arguing balls and strikes. Girardi even covered home plate with sand and the ump (Scott Barry) refused to clean it. Gary Sanchez finally took it upon himself to wipe home plate. Speaking of Sanchez, he didn’t play on Friday night due to a stiff neck so I’ll take Rob Thomson off the hook for not using Sanchez as a pinch hitter in the loss. I just hope the foul tip Sanchez took off the mask yesterday doesn’t worsen his health concerns.
|Credit: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Times|
Rays starter Matt Andriese was tossed in the sixth inning for plunking Aaron Judge with a pitch. Tommy Layne had hit the Rays’ Corey Dickerson in the back with a pitch the prior inning. Dickerson had hit two home runs in the game. The tired lines of ‘the ball got away’ were used but I still don’t appreciate the potential harm to our young slugger.
|Credit: Getty Images|
The Yankees (24-16) fell a half-game behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East standings with the loss. The Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-5. As losers of three in a row and seven of their last ten, the Yankees are on a faster track to be the 80-win team they were forecasted to be at the start of the season rather than a division contender. Good hitting beats poor pitching every time. Hopefully, the Yankees re-discover the Cinderella slipper sooner rather than later.
Tyler Austin made his 2017 debut with the AA-Trenton Thunder (rather than High-A Tampa) on Saturday. He went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored. He was also hit by pitch in the Thunder’s 5-2 loss to the Portland Sea Dogs.
The Yankees conclude their three-game set in Florida with the Rays today. CC Sabathia will be on the mound versus the Rays’ Chris Archer. I am really hopeful that we get the most recent version of Sabathia (6 2/3 innings of scoreless pitching) and not the Masahiro Tanaka-version that we saw in the preceding weeks.
Have a wonderful Sunday! Let’s have some fun today…finally!
But at least it wasn’t for BIG money…
Good for Ivan Nova to get his new contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. All things considered, I am still glad that he is an ex-Yankee. Even though the Yankees are in desperate need of help in the starting rotation, I wasn’t looking for a reunion with the right-hander.
One headline I saw did strike me as odd. It basically said that Nova had signed but not for big money. 3 years, $26 million. Maybe it’s just me, but $26 million is definitely “big money”. Okay, if Nova pitches for Pittsburgh like he did after the trade from the Yankees last year, he’ll be a bargain. But still, receiving more than $8 million per year is still a heck of a lot of money for a historically inconsistent pitcher.
But the more telling headlines are about how great Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage is. The so-called “Pitch Doctor” is getting the credit for Nova’s turnaround performance in Pittsburgh last year. The underlying tone of the message is that the Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild is inadequate. If Searage is so great, perhaps the Yankees should find a way to pry him from the Pirates.
I know that Rothschild has a good reputation, but at some point, someone has to be held accountable for the inconsistencies of the Yankees starters. Masahiro Tanaka rebounded to have a very solid 2016 campaign but the work put up by Michael Pineda continues to be frustrating to say the least. Luis Severino was dreadful as a starter. I can’t say that I’ve ever looked at Rothschild as an “amazing” coach. It would be nice to have one of those for a change.
Kevin Long is an excellent hitting coach. Yet, when Yankees hitters couldn’t hit, he lost his job and now flourishes in Queens. He remains better than the Yankees current array of hitting coaches. I personally felt that Long was a better hitting coach than Rothschild is a pitching coach. Long was held accountable and so too should Rothschild. The Yankees have too much at stake with their young, unproven starters to fail miserably because they didn’t have the right guy at the helm.
It’s a Chess game…
I wanted to see the Yankees make a move but sending Martin Prado to Miami was not exactly what I had in mind. As with my previous post, I understand why the Yankees can’t pay another $25 million per year for a top starter and how that figure balloons with the luxury cap limitations.
It’s good that the Yankees are acquiring a young arm with Nathan Eovaldi but when I heard the guy has had control problems and allowed the most hits among NL starters, I wasn’t exactly enthused. Still, there must be something in Eovaldi that Larry Rothschild and company see and know that they can tweak for more effective results (or so one would hope).
The Yankees have long needed a quality back up first baseman so adding Garrett Jones does add some pop off the bench with an ability to play first for extended periods of time.
I liked having Martin Prado on the roster given his versatility, however, if his departure means that Rob Refsnyder will get a legitimate shot at second base in the spring, then I am all for it. Jose Pirela has been hitting all winter long and looks like he can be the utility player that Ramiro Pena never was and might even be an option at second base if Refsnyder stumbles. Clearly, the Yankees do need to open starting spots for young guys and as such, the Prado trade was probably justified after the team re-signed veteran third baseman Chase Headley.
I still do not see the Yankees as more than an 85 win team (and most likely less). But as some have said, they are accomplishing the goal of getting younger. Personally, I think if this is the path they’ve chosen, then it’s best to move the most desired players to other teams for quality prospects and wait for the albatross contracts to expire.
As it stands, we’ll be watching the Chicago White Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels, Boston Red Sox, Seattle Mariners and Detroit Tigers race for the AL Championship. I don’t expect the Baltimore Orioles to go away, but I don’t think the Yankees will be in the thick of things come September based on the current roster configuration. I am just not convinced that we’ll see the collective bounce back of the group that includes CC Sabathia, Brian McCann, Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira. Chances are that one or more will spend a significant amount of time on the DL and the Yankees will be searching for replacements in AAA and on the scrap heap.
Would Max Scherzer change that outlook? No, probably not. The Yankees need a vast overhaul and it’s probably going to take a few years just to flush the toilet. The Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers have been able to maneuver very quickly to unload dead weight but the Yankees have too much of it.
The worst thing the Yankees could do at this point is to sign a veteran infielder like Asdrubal Cabrera to play second. I don’t want to see a placeholder at the position. I’d rather see a player with strong long term potential. No more Mark Reynolds fill-ins. It is time to develop the future core of the team.
I would love nothing more than to see a guy like Tyler Austin come to spring and force the Yankees to play him in right field. Carlos Beltran should be the full-time DH at this stage of his career, not Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod should be playing somewhere in Siberia. If there is one move that would make me truly ecstatic this off-season, it would be to find a way to eliminate A-Rod’s presence. If I was a billionaire, I’d gladly give another team $61 million to take him off my hands.
Chris Capuano qualifies as one of those Mark Reynolds fill-ins, but of course, he’ll be the first to go if Ivan Nova successfully returns in May or June. The wild card that I like is to finally see Manny Banuelos fulfill his destiny of reaching the Bronx. He is now far enough removed from his Tommy John surgery that 2015 should be his potential breakout year ala Dellin Betances. If the Yankees broke camp with Banuelos in the starting rotation over Capuano, I’d be very happy.
I am sure that there are still more moves to be made, but at least the Yankees are finally doing something even if we do not yet fully understand the plan.
Meanwhile, Boston Red Sox fans continue to gloat…
Why? Because the Yankees McCann!…
I have to admit that the Yankees’ free agent signing of former Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann caught me by surprise. Like so many people did last Saturday, I went to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. No sooner than I walked out the theater after the movie, I immediately saw the alerts the Yankees had signed McCann.
I had heard the Yankees were interested in McCann, but so were other teams like the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, and Colorado Rockies. I thought the Rangers were the most likely landing spot. It’s a winning organization in a city that puts more pressure on the local football team. The cost of living is reasonable, and the area is spacious. There’s not too much to dislike about Texas…well, outside of those hot humid summers, the long drives to get anywhere, and the infrequency of trees (at least in North Texas). I also thought the Boston Red Sox might have an advantage with former McCann backup David Ross on the roster. Either Texas or Boston offers the chance for World Series participation.
But in the end, it was the Yankees’ offer (number of years) in combination with the short porch in right field which is very attractive for the left-handed slugger.
I had Brian McCann as my catcher on my fantasy baseball team this year and his health caused me to seek other options. While he was on the DL, I leaned on his Braves replacement (Evan Gattis) among others. So, McCann’s health is an obvious concern. But if healthy, he is a tremendous addition to the team. He gives the Yankees their best offensive threat from the position since Jorge Posada retired. Russell Martin would occasionally get hot, but he is not close to the hitter that McCann is. Plus, McCann’s leadership abilities are well documented. When Chipper Jones retired, he gave a strong recommendation for McCann as a team leader.
Nothing against Francisco Cervelli, but I think he is better suited to backup someone like McCann than to start. He had his moments last year before getting hurt and then the subsequent suspension, but he’ll get his opportunities when McCann rests or moves to DH. I am fine with the number of years on the contract because I think McCann is an excellent bridge to super prospect Gary Sanchez. When Sanchez is ready for the majors, it will be time to slide McCann to first or DH anyway. It also frees GM Brian Cashman to potentially include other catching prospects like Austin Romine or J.R. Murphy is potential trades.
Signing McCann was a great start to the off-season but there is obviously still much work ahead for Cashman and the Yanks.
Where are we?…
As we turn the page to Thanksgiving, the Yankees have their manager, backup shortstop and catcher in the fold. They are rumored to be the leaders for the services of free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran of the St Louis Cardinals, although I have heard he has a preference for staying in the NL (I don’t know if that’s true or not, and I personally believe he’d have even greater success in the American League). I like the idea of Beltran in right.
As it sounds, Robinson Cano’s camp is still asking for something in the neighborhood of $300 million. They’ve dropped “slightly” from the initial figure of $310 million, but anything in the Alex Rodriguez area of contracts is too much…even for arguably the team’s best player. I would rather see the Yankees use the money on multiple key players, shift the offense to other positions and then backfill second base with someone like Omar Infante. I still hope there are compromises made on both sides to bring Cano back to the Bronx, but if it is not meant to be, I don’t want to see the Yankees overspend.
So far, no help for the starting rotation. Several notable free agent pitchers in a market void of any aces have already signed. Dan Haren with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tim Hudson with the San Francisco Giants, and Ricky Nolasco with the Minnesota Twins. I don’t think the Yankees were linked to any of those guys, but the smaller the free agent pool, the more intense the competition becomes at least for the guys who can win 12-14 games for you. I know the Yankees are rumored to be heavily counting on the posting of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka if MLB and the Japanese are able to come to an agreement for a new posting system. But you have to wonder what Plan B will be. So far, I have not heard much about Hiroki Kuroda but I would like to see the team try to bring him back for one more year.
The next few weeks will go a long way toward determining how strong and competitive the 2014 Yankees will be.
Coaching staff intact…well, almost…
Several weeks ago, I heard that Joe Girardi’s entire coaching staff would be returning. However, today, I saw that the Arizona Diamondbacks have named Yankees bullpen coach Mike Harkey as their new pitching coach. Congratulations to Mike! Larry Rothschild is not going anywhere so it is good to see Harkey get his opportunity elsewhere. Now, the Yankees will be in the market for a new bullpen coach. Say, I wonder what Mariano Rivera is doing… 😉
Well, that’s all for now. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season!
I said ‘NO’, oh, by the way, here’s a $30 million contract for you…
There is still not much to write about in the Yankees Universe. There’s a report that Managing GM Hal Steinbrenner has talked with super agent Scott Boras about pitcher Edwin Jackson, but other than that, not much to talk about. Given that Steinbrenner orchestrated the signing of reliever Rafael Soriano last season (much to the disagreement of GM Brian Cashman), it would be interesting to hear what Cash has to say about Jackson. Universally, any team would be happy to sign Jackson on a short term, but a longer term deal is perceived as problematic. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The Yankees need a solid #2 or #3 pitcher in addition to the current roster, but it is not worth the price of paying Jesus Montero and/or Manuel Baneulos.
Personally, I would not be opposed to Jackson in the rotation as I feel that pitching coach Larry Rothschild would be a very strong influence on the pitcher. He certainly has the potential of being better than anything in the rotation outside of CC Sabathia.
It’s a given that the Yankees need to do something. I think standing pat is the wrong approach. It would most likely ensure a second or third place finish behind the Boston Red Sox and/or Tampa Bay Rays. They need to improve the rotation. There are too many question marks attached to Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter will be another year older. The Yankees need a pitcher other than Sabathia that is completely capable of shutting down the opposition. Jackson can be that guy. I don’t like the idea of “saving your bullets” for another off-season in terms of projected free agents. In 2013, A-Rod and Jeter will be another year older and further from their prime. Why couldn’t have George Steinbrenner instilled this win at all costs mentality in his sons? Okay, fiscal responsibility is a good idea, but the Yankees need to ensure that they can withstand improved Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays squads.
I like the Yankees’ signing of former Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Preston Mattingly. Granted, Donnie Baseball is one of my all-time heroes. But I’d like to see what the Yankee coaches and instructors can do with the former first round pick. He certainly has the pedigree to succeed. But time will tell if he can be Ken Griffey, Jr… or Pete Rose, Jr. His current path leans toward the latter, but he is only 24 years old. This goes into the category of ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’. For Preston’s sake, I hope that he succeeds in the organization that his father starred.
It was only $35.5 million…
I really feel bad for former Philadelphia Phillies closer Ryan Madson. Once rumored to be close to a 4-year, $44 million contract with the Phillies, he signs with the Cincinnati Reds for a one year contract at $8.5 million. He’ll close for a fraction of the money that the Yankees pay 7th inning guy Rafael Soriano. The hope, obviously, is that liquidity will return to the closer market during the next off-season so that Madson can capture a lucrative long-term deal. I don’t know what went wrong with his negotiations with the Phillies and what led to their acquisition of former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, but he’ll long wonder what could have been.
We’ll give you over $50 million, but we’d really prefer to keep his salary at a couple mil…
For as much as the Texas Rangers bid for Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish, I will be very surprised if they fail to come to contract terms with Darvish returning to Japan. But at this point in the negotiations, you have to wonder if that’s not the likely outcome. It would be interesting to see Darvish on the open market after next season. I wonder if that would change the Yankees interest level…
It’s hard to believe that pitchers and catchers will be reporting to camp next month. I’ve been in Minnesota all winter long hoping for snow…and being sadly disappointed. At least the opening of baseball camps gives me something to be excited. I am looking forward to the debut of the 2012 Yankees! Bring it on!…
I am glad that I quit holding my breath…
Finally, the Yankees emerged from a series with the Boston Red Sox as the victor. It was the first time it has happened this season. In past years, it seemed the Yankees and Red Sox always split the season series, give or take. But this year, the Sox have the decided advantage. For whatever reason (well, Josh Beckett and his 4-0 mark is one), the Red Sox have owned the Yankees. However, I am hopeful that the latest series will give the Yankees the confidence they need heading into the final season series later this month and again in the play-offs should the teams meet again.
I’d be foolish to think that the Yankees will overpower the Red Sox to win the division. On paper, the Sox still have the better team, but in the play-offs, it is all about who gets hot. So, even as the Wild Card, I think the Yankees have as good a shot as anyone.
It is concerning that the Red Sox have figured out Mariano Rivera. Last night, they were able to load the bases and probably could have/should have scored a run or two in the 9th inning but Mo was the beneficiary of a questionable call that gave the Yankees the win. It is important to get back to decisive wins and saves, and not hope that an umpire’s call is the deciding factor. Mo has been and continues to be my favorite Yankee. I don’t think he has lost it yet, and I agree with those who say that Mo will walk away from the game when his skills deteriorate. Lou Gehrig is my all-time favorite Yankee and baseball player, but Mo is certainly a legend in his own right and I am proud to have lived during his era. I think Mo will be able to solve the Red Sox dilemma. The Yankees may not win the World Series, but it won’t be because of Mo.
Does one game a season prove? I am hopeful that the adjustments Larry Rothschild made with A.J. Burnett will prove successful for the remainder of the season. He was extremely solid against Boston on Thursday night and it was more the Blue Jays version of Burnett against the Sox than the horrific Yankees version. I really believe that the Yankees chances to go deep in the play-offs are solely dependent upon Burnett.
What, was your phone broken?…
I really wish that GM Brian Cashman would have made a move to pick up a bat for the bench. I still think that Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui would have been ideal as someone to plug into the DH spot and for spot pinch-hitting roles. Boston was active, even if to a minor degree, at both the July and August deadlines, while the Yankees did nothing. Hopefully, Cashman’s call was the correct one (he knows better than I). But it will be disappointing if the season is lost on a single bad at-bat from the DH.
The blog, Scott Proctor’s Arm, has to be pleased…
It’s kind of weird to think that Scott Proctor is back in the Yankees bullpen after his September 1st call-up from the minor leagues. Joe Torre is always blamed for ruining Proctor, but it would be nice to see him enjoy some success again. I’d really like to see what Brandon Laird can do. I hate to put so much emphasis on Eric Chavez given how fragile he is in light of Alex Rodriguez’s health. I’d rather use Chavez in spot roles.
I know, go ahead and laugh about the winters…
I’ve been in Minneapolis for a month now, and I really like this town. It’s clean and the people are friendly. I know that the winters get a bad rep, and perhaps I’ll be crying wolf when April rolls around. But this is a good city and the baseball fans are knowledgeable and passionate. I’ll never be a Twins fan, but I can appreciate the organization and the pride that the fans have. As a Vikings fan, I am loving the focused attention on MY team. I’ve never lived in Minnesota so this is a completely foreign concept. I am a fan of Christian Ponder so it’s exciting that I am here for Season #1 even if he has to wait for his turn behind the guy the Philly fans used to love to hate, Donovan McNabb. I think if McNabb shows any signs that his horrible season in Washington last year wasn’t a fluke, we’ll see Ponder sooner rather than later. Oops, how did I go from the Twins to the Vikings? Back to downtown Minneapolis, it is a great city and I’ve definitely enjoyed my short time here. I am looking forward to the future as a “Minn-a-soat’n”.
A Yankee Fan Succeeds…
This is not baseball related, but I have to congratulate Fang Wong on being named as the National Commander for The American Legion. The American Legion is a huge organization for American veterans (I am one), and they make a difference each and every day. What kid growing up playing baseball hasn’t been a part of American Legion baseball? They are committed for a better America for all of us. I mention Fang because 1) I know him personally and he is one of the best and most honorable guys that I’ve ever met, and 2) he is a Yankees fan. Fang has been a longstanding member of the New York American Legion, and he is, in my mind, the commander the organization needs to move forward to greater heights. If I could be half the man Fang is, I’d be proud…
Is it really September already?…
Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day Weekend!
It was great to see Mark
Teixeira homer in the Yankees’ Opening Day win against the Detroit Tigers. Hopefully, it is a sign that we won’t see the
April freeze this year with Tex. He has
worked hard to try and overcome his history of slow starts.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
So far, I really like what I
have seen of catcher Russell Martin. He
seems to have captured the respect of the pitching staff in a very short period
of time. For as much as I feel pitching
coach Larry Rothschild will have a positive impact on A.J. Burnett, I cannot
underestimate what Martin will do for him also.
I don’t know why the relationship between Burnett and Posada was never
an easy one, but it would be a terrific boon for the team should Burnett and
Martin click together.
Speaking of A.J., he goes
today against the Tigers so we’ll soon see…
What a great game for Curtis
Granderson on Thursday! He homered and
came up with a few defensive gems that made the highlight reels. Last year, I had started to regret the trade
that sent Austin Jackson and Phil Coke to Detroit for Granderson, with Ian
Kennedy going to Arizona. But late in
the season, with a few adjustments, Curtis started to show us the player he
could be. Some players take time to
adjust to New York, while others can slide right in (like Nick Swisher). Granderson is probably more in the former
category, especially given the high expectations of the multi-player
So, Cliff Lee pitches
tonight in Philadelphia against Wandy Rodriguez and the Houston Astros. If he had joined the Yankees, he’d be
starting today against the Tigers. It’ll
be hard not to wonder ‘what could have been’ this year when Lee starts. That feeling will probably be present until
the Yankees can make a move to acquire another top flight pitcher. I do know that I’ll be cheering for the
Although I am pulling for
Don Mattingly and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League, it was
horrible to hear about the Dodger fans that beat up the Giants fan in the
parking lot of Dodger Stadium after the season opener. Obviously, the violence is not condoned by
the Dodgers, and Mattingly said it was crossing the line. I know that I am always cautious about
wearing a Yankees hat in certain cities.
For example, if I went to Fenway Park, I would not take any Yankees gear. But that is a sad statement that you cannot openly
support your team without concern for your health and safety.