What’s the plan?…
Well, it’s January 2015. The Yankees roster is slowly evolving. The latest addition/return was the surprise re-signing of Stephen Drew which certainly makes sense. While I still prefer to see Rob Refsnyder win the second base job outright, Drew certainly provides great insurance at both second base and shortstop. It’s no sure thing that Didi Gregorius will be successful and I’d prefer not to see Brendan Ryan as the only other choice, even if he is a slick fielder.
I am still concerned about the starting rotation. Reading CC Sabathia say the knee is fine is hardly a ringing endorsement that he’ll be the CC of old. I think best case he is a strong #3 in the rotation if he is able to come back healthy. His days as the team’s ace are over…in my opinion. The hope of the rotation lies with Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. Obviously, there are health concerns with both pitchers. Even though Ivan Nova will return later in the year, I do not expect him to be back up to par until 2016. Nathan Eovaldi is the project. The Yankees apparently think they can turn him around and perhaps they can. It would be good to get him to the point that he is as reliable and consistent as Hiroki Kuroda was.
While I get why the Yankees will not pay $200 million for Max Scherzer, I wish they would make a play for James Shields. With a rotation containing so much uncertainty, the Yankees really need a dependable starter without question marks.
I have heard some rumblings that the Yankees now have the prospects to make a trade for Cole Hamels, but I am not sure that’s one I would pursue. I like prospects such as Aaron Judge and Luis Severino and want to see them succeed in pinstripes. It was tough when I was a kid and the Yankees were always trading youth for veterans. Doug Drabek, Jay Buhner, Fred McGriff, Al Leiter, J.T. Snow, Brad Ausmus. I know the list is much longer than this, but it was tough watching guys like that succeed elsewhere.
I don’t think that Cole Hamels would be the missing ingredient to suddenly make the Yankees the World Series favorites. So, if he is not the difference maker, then the Yankees shouldn’t raid the cupboards to bring him aboard. I’d rather see Hamels go to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The fear of course is that he’ll be calling Fenway Park home next season.
At this point, I still do not see the 2015 Yankees making the play-offs. I think the Baltimore Orioles will still be the team to beat. They suffered off-season losses, yes, but they’ll also be getting back Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters. The Toronto Blue Jays look to be the most improved team and they’ve been a team of potential for a few years. Boston will be stronger, and it’s best to never underestimate the Tampa Bay Rays even if Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman are no longer calling the shots.
There’s still time for GM Brian Cashman to make the moves to propel the Yankees into contention but so much is riding on better seasons from Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Mark Teixeira. Of the group, McCann is the only one I feel is capable for turning it around. Beltran and Teixeira are in their decline years, and that slippery slope is steeper for some guys.
Hear the voice of the Bard!…
There’s a nice piece in Nick Cafardo’s column today (Sunday Baseball Notes in The Boston Globe) about the comeback of Daniel Bard. It would be good to see Bard successfully return to his position of bullpen relevance after years of struggle. Perhaps that’s a buy low signing the Yankees should pursue. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. There was a time when Bard was a Yankees draft pick although he never signed. Even if he goes back to Boston or another team, I truly hope that Bard is successful.
Short walk to the Hall…
Congratulations to the Hall of Fame inductees: John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, and Pedro Martinez. I think all of the selections were justified. It was sad that it was the final ballot appearance for Don Mattingly, but it was a given that he was not going to make it. Maybe he can take the Joe Torre route…great managerial success to go with a strong playing career…to gain access to the Hall.
25 years is long enough…
Put me in the group of people who want to see Pete Rose allowed to enter the Hall of Fame. He remains one of the best players I’ve been privileged to see play in my lifetime. This is not an endorsement of Pete the man and I feel what he did was wrong, however, Pete the player was one of the best players of all-time.
I am glad that this is the last full month without any baseball activity. Looking forward to the opening of spring training camps next month.
Isn’t this kind of like pulling my finger- and toe-nails?…
One thing I’ve learned with these extended A.J. Burnett trade talks, patience is not my middle name and it’s not one of my virtues! While the Michael Pineda-for-Jesus Montero came very fast and furiously, the potential Burnett trade has been dragging for an eternity. There’s no question the Yankees have identified the Pittsburgh Pirates as the prime target. It’s been reported that the Yankees and Los Angeles Angels were willing to make a trade that would have brought the return of Bobby Abreu to the Bronx, but it was nixed by A.J. as the Angels were one of the ten teams on his no-trade list. This actually blows my mind to think that he’d turn down the Angels, arguably one of the best teams in the major leagues with Jered Weaver and Albert Pujols, but he’d be willing to go to Pittsburgh. To me, and maybe I am off-base, baseball is about winning and championships. Nothing against the Pirates, but the Angels, as currently built, will see deep October sooner than the men from the Steel City.
Granted, Burnett would be the #2 starter on the Pirates staff and no better than #5 on the Angels. But, c’mon, how much pressure can there be pitching behind Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson, and Ervin Santana? With Burnett in a low-risk situation, the Angels would have an absolutely ridiculous starting rotation and one that would clearly put the Philadelphia Phillies in an inferior position as baseball’s best rotation. But Mrs. Burnett apparently has issues with flying, so the perfect situation for Burnett won’t happen.
What will it take to consummate the deal with the Pirates? I’ve read the Yankees have proposed a sliding scale…the more money the Pirates take in salary, the less the Yankees will seek in terms of prospects. I do think that Burnett could excel in Pittsburgh. There’s pressure but it is certainly nothing like playing in New York. A.J.’s problems tend to be mental as there is no questioning the value of his great arm. I think A.J. can relax and trust his stuff better in a lower-pressured situation.
For the Yankees, I think the #5 slot is Phil Hughes’ to lose regardless of the contract the Yanks gave to Freddy Garcia. Garcia will be the long man and spot starter. That leaves no room for Burnett, and of course, that would only bring a bad attitude if he reports to camp with the Yankees. So, hopefully, GM Brian Cashman can put the distractions of his poor sleeping partner decisions to rest long enough to hammer out the deal with the Pirates within the next 24-48 hours. With the recent promotions of Assistant GM Jean Afterman to SVP and Angels GM Candidate #2 Billy Eppler to Assistant GM, maybe the second string is working this one. I don’t care if George Steinbrenner’s widow, Joan, is working this one, let’s just get it done…
Sorry, A.J., I love your arm, but I haven’t wanted to see a player leave New York this bad since Ed Whitson was a Yankee.
Welcome to New York…err, Tampa!..
I really enjoyed reading some of the early reports about new pitcher Michael Pineda. He reported to camp early and talked about how excited he was to be a Yankee. He gave glowing reports of his interactions with Robinson Cano, and it is easy to see that he’ll mesh very nicely with “King of the Hill” CC Sabathia. Passion and intensity are two qualities that I’ve always respected, and Pineda seems to have “it”.
If Ken Griffey, Jr and Gary Matthews, Jr can do it, so can Donnie Baseball, Jr…
I realize that minor league OF prospect Preston Mattingly is getting a bit long in tooth after two failed tries with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians, but he is still only 24 years old. I know that he’s getting “old” for a prospect, but it would be a wonderful story for Mattingly to seize the opportunity with the Yankees and prove that he can be the talent that he was once projected to be with the Dodgers. So far, I’ve liked what he has had to say. He certainly has his father’s positive attitude and realistic perspective, even if he isn’t the player his father was. I’d like nothing more than to see Preston eventually earn a spot on the Yankees roster. I am biased because his father was my favorite player and is the reason that the Los Angeles Dodgers are my favorite NL team. Let’s hope that good things happen for a deserving son of a great legend…
Scratching nails on a chalkboard…
It rubs me wrong every time the Yankees sign a former Boston Red Sox player. Well, I might be okay if the Yankees picked up Jon Lester, Jacoby Ellsbury or Dustin Pedroia. But otherwise, I really have no desire to see former Red Sox players pull on the pinstripes. Conversely, it is even harder to watch former Yankees sign with the Red Sox. When the Yankees cut ties with Alfredo Aceves due to his injury history, my immediate thought was a potentially huge mistake. At that point, I was hoping someone like the San Diego Padres would sign Aceves, but unfortunately, the Red Sox swooped in and captured Aceves. He went on to have a brilliant season with the Sox in the bullpen, and is a valued member of their pitching staff heading into 2012. So, it pained me today when I saw that the Red Sox had signed former Yankee pitcher Ross Ohlendorf. I realize that Ohlendorf had a miserable 2011 season with the Pirates, but I’ve always liked the guy who the Yanks acquired when they dealt Randy Johnson back to the Arizona Diamondbacks a few years ago. I am really hoping that Ohlendorf doesn’t become the next Tim Wakefield for the Sox.
Clearly our loss…
Baseball-speaking, today was a very sad day. I had heard that Gary Carter was battling cancer, but it was still hard to hear the news that he had passed. I think back to when I first became aware of baseball and a Yankees fan. It was in the mid-1970’s. In those early years, I was focused primarily on the Yankees. I was aware of other teams and players, but I can’t say that I know too much about them. Thurman Munson was the catcher and he quickly became my favorite player. I could never fully appreciate the greatness of Johnny Bench because of my admiration for Thurman. Same holds true for Carlton Fisk, who I always saw as a Red Sock even after his trade to the Chicago White Sox. My world changed on August 2, 1979, and it caused me to step back and look at the bigger picture. Only then did I begin to truly appreciate the value of great players on other teams. At that point, the catcher of the Montreal Expos quickly rose to the surface, for me, as one of the premier players at his position. There was something very clutch and special about Gary Carter. He went on to drive the New York Mets to a World Series championship in 1986, and proved that he was the catcher of my era. I am glad that he saw his entry into the Hall of Fame and there’s no question that he packed more into 57 years than I’ll ever experience regardless of how old I live to be. A good man, a proud father, a legendary baseball player. Gary, we will never forget you.
Maybe Phil Jackson would like to have one more shot…
I had fun on Saturday night when the New York Knicks came to Minneapolis to play the Minnesota Timberwolves. As a Knicks fan (my first year!), I was excited to see what Lin-mania was all about. He was a little off that night, but at the end, it was Jeremy Lin’s basket that proved to be the game-winner. The T-Wolves, or the Muskies as they were referred to that night in tribute to a former Minneapolis basketball team from the 60’s or 70’s, had led the game from the start. The Knicks had caught the T-Wolves a couple of times, but then Minnesota seemed to drop a few consecutive buckets to pull ahead again. But at the end, Lin was not to be denied, and “Lin-sanity” continues. It’s funny because I bought the tickets to the game hoping to see Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, and neither player dressed for the game. But all things considered, Lin was the perfect substitute.
Yes, it was exciting to see the opening of Fantasy Baseball…
It’s fun to see the return of fantasy baseball. I’ve already set a few teams with ESPN and I think my first draft is this weekend. I am looking forward to when they open the live drafting functionality. I like fantasy baseball if for no other reason than it helps you know and understand players on other teams than just your favorite team. If Jon Lester heads my starting rotation or if Jacoby Ellsbury is roving my outfield, I am okay with that. Granted, when Lester and Ellsbury come to Yankee Stadium, I’ll be pulling for L’s and O-fer’s but when Lester shuts down the Rays or Ellsbury slams a homer to beat the O’s, there might be a smile on my face.
Baseball, let’s get started…
Brian Cashman, did I mention how much I appreciate the investment you made in A.J. Burnett?
The Yankees salvaged the final game of the four game series with the Cleveland Indians to settle for a split in the first series ever played at the new Yankee Stadium. Considering that the Yankees lost games of 10-2 and 22-4, taking 2 of 4 sounds like a fairly good deal. The last time the Yankees gave up two big innings in a series like this, they were known as the New York Highlanders and it was 1907.
Branch Rickey, who is best known as the Dodgers GM who broke the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson, was a left fielder on the team.
The Sporting News
Jack Chesbro, who had won 41 games three years earlier, was winding down a great career. San Jose’s own Hal Chase was the Yankees first baseman.
Courtesy Hal Edward Chase III
Sunday brought the return of Carl “American Idle” Pavano, and he pitched the way he should have when he wore pinstripes. He pitched six innings, gave up 4 hits and 1 walk, and struck out 4. He turned over the game to the Cleveland bullpen, with a 3-1 lead. Fortunately, the Yankees rallied against the Tribe, thanks in large part to a disputed two-run pinch hit homer by Jorge Posada. The play represented the first time the officials used the video replay, but the upon review, the homer stood. The Indians had claimed fan interference.
A.J. Burnett had gotten into trouble earlier in the inning, when he loaded the bases with one out. A.J. struggled with his control today, walking 7 batters and throwing three wild pitches. But he kept the Yankees in the game, until he couldn’t go any further. Joe Girardi went to reliever Jonathan Albaladejo who did a great job in retiring the next two batters. Then, it was time for Posada’s heroics.
Cody Ransom (he’s still a toad) hit a three-run double in the 8th to provide the final margin of victory, 7-3. I am not quite sure why Shin-Soo Choo slowed up and let Ransom’s hit drop, but I’ll take it. Maybe the ghosts of The House That Ruth Built finally moved across the street after seeing Saturday’s debacle.
The game was closed out by the dynamic duo of Brian Bruney (8th) and Mariano Rivera (9th). It was not a save situation for Mo due to Ransom’s insurance runs. Albaladejo got the win (1-0).
A.J. Burnett may not have had his best stuff today, but again, he has proven he is a warrior and the guy knows how to pitch. I have great confidence when Burnett pitches. He may not get the decision and he might take the loss, but you know that he’s going to give it everything he’s got and clearly he’s nobody’s fool. The guy has heart, and the last guy who pitched like that in pinstripes (David Cone) had a memorable Yankees career.
The Yankees are in second place, 2.5 games behind the AL East Leader, the surprising Toronto Blue Jays. Julia‘s Red Sox are a half-game back, tied for third with the Baltimore Orioles.
Next up at Yankee Stadium is an old friend. Jason Giambi returns to the Bronx to check out the new Stadium with his team, the Oakland A’s.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Nomar Garciaparra will be in tow. I think he’s played a meaningful game or two in the Bronx.
Speaking of old friends…well, maybe less emphasis on the “friends” part, congratulations to Randy Johnson for his stellar performance against his old team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. He had a no-hitter into the 7th inning before giving up a double to Augie Ojeda. Johnson stranded Ojeda at third, and left the game after 7 innings. He gave up just one hit, Ojeda’s double, and struck out 7. It was Johnson’s first victory of the season (1-2) and the 296th of his career. As one who never minds seeing the D-Backs lose, congrats to the Big Unit for the vintage performance!
I had told some Dodger friends that the Yankees would have a better record than their team by the end of week. The only problem? The Dodgers haven’t lost since. Yikes! Joe Torre and company continued their 8-game winning streak with a 14-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies. Manny Ramirez may be all that, but Matt Kemp is finally becoming the man for the Dodgers. Credit Donnie Baseball for his help in Kemp’s realization of his five-tool talent.
The Red Sox won. Bummer…
Just kidding, Julia! 🙂
Have a great week!
He’s got to go…
My patience for Chien-Ming Wang to find himself effectively ended today. The Indians defeated the Yankees 22-4 in what should stand as the worst beating at the new Stadium for quite some time (or let’s hope so).
I don’t want to see Wang pitch in New York again if this is what we have to look forward to. I realize that he can’t be sent down (out of options and would have to have at least five years of service to agree to go down which he does not have). He should be sent to the Yankees facility in Tampa for an extended spring training (if that’s possible) to work on re-establishing himself as a major league pitcher because right now he’s not one.
Wang’s ERA now stands at 34.50…
In Pete Abraham’s LoHud Blog this morning, he said that if Wang threw three complete game shutouts, his ERA would still be over 4. No telling how many complete game shutouts it would take now.
Over the past few years, the Yankees have thrown up a few of these clunkers but this is on the heels of the Tampa debacle last Monday. Of course, the common denominator is Wang.
The Indians scored 14 runs in the second inning. Wang’s pitching line reads 11/3 innings, 8 hits and 8 runs. Anthony Claggett, called up from AAA Scranton earlier today (Juan Miranda was sent down), gave up 9 hits and 8 runs in 1 2/3 innings. Claggett now lays claim to the worst ERA on the staff at 43.20. Looking at the ERA’s of all the NY pitchers that appeared in the game is frightening. Edwar Ramirez, who gave up 4 runs in 2 innings, stands at 8.44. Jose Veras, who gave up 1 run in 3 innings, is at 8.53, and Damaso Marte, 1 run in 1 inning, is at 21.00.
I know that the Yankees have been hit hard by injuries, but I’d have to believe that Joe Girardi’s seat just got a little hotter.
Clearly, New York needs to get Wang away from the magnifying glass so that he can work on correcting himself and getting back to the pitcher we saw early last season before the foot injury in Houston.
I am ready for Phil Hughes to make his 2009 debut at the new Stadium. Phil is 2-0 in two games (11 2/3 innings) with a 2.31 ERA for AAA Scranton.
I am sure that Julia is enjoying her day…
There are a few pitchers on other teams that I like to follow. Some of my favorites are Jon Lester, Scott Kazmir, Clayton Kershaw, and Ubaldo Jimenez to name a few. Another one is Tim Lincecum. Unfortunately, Lincecum received a no-decision today despite 13 strikeouts and no runs in 8 innings (he gave up 5 hits). The Giants lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks on a 9th inning two-run double by Chris Young. Speaking of the D-Backs and Giants, Sunday’s pitching match-up is Max Scherzer against Randy Johnson. It should be interesting to see how the Unit performs against his former team…
Phillies fans said goodbye to legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas today at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. It was a beautiful day (warm with lots of sun), so it is a fitting farewell for a man who will never be forgotten…
Posted by ESPN
Well, as I so often say early this baseball season, tomorrow is a new day! Have a great night!
Another Loss from the Yankee Dynasty Years…
Another lesser known but important Yankee passed away this week. Tom Sturdivant, who was a member of Yankee teams that played in three consecutive World Series from 1955 through 1957, has died at age 78. The cause of death was not immediately known.
Sturdivant went 16-8 in 1956 and 16-6 in 1957. He led the American League in won-lost percentage in ’57, and was second in ERA at 2.54. He hurt his arm the next year, and was never the same. He was subsequently traded to Kansas City in 1959. He spent the remainder of his career, which ended in 1964, Boston, Washington, Pittsburgh, Detroit and the New York Mets.
Sturdivant was a member of the 1956 World Series rotation that threw five straight complete games, a feat that has not been matched since. The rotation consisted of Whitey Ford, Sturdivant, Don Larsen, Bob Turley and Johnny Kucks.
Sturdivant evened the ’56 World Series at 2 games apiece on October 7, 1956, with a complete game 6-2 victory. It set the stage for the next day when Don Larsen threw the only perfect game in World Series history.
In his final season, on May 31, 1964, Sturdivant combined with three other New York Met relievers to hold the Giants scoreless through 19 2/3 innings (in a game the Mets finally lost in the 23rd inning).
So Much For What’s His Name
Now that T.J. Houshmandzadeh has signed with the Seattle Seahawks instead of the Minnesota Vikings, it removes the pressure for me to learn how to pronounce his name. Surely, there is some free agent Wide Receiver somewhere named Smith or Jones…
Actually, there are some quality wide receivers available, although nobody quite in T.J.’s category. The Vikings still need a playmaker opposite Bernard Berrian.
The latest rumors indicate possible Vikings interest in Denver quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler, refusing to speak with Broncos management over their denial of trade discussions, may hasten his departure from Denver with his current stance. Of course, it’s not exactly like he’s John Elway. I am not sure that he has done enough in the league to warrant his obstinate approach regarding alleged trade rumors. However, despite the Vikings acquisition of QB Sage Rosenfels, Cutler would be a very nice addition for the Vikings.
Odds & Ends…
On the heels of signing SS Orlando Cabrera, the Oakland A’s have inked Nomar Garciaparra. “No-mah” will be the starting DL for the A’s…
QB Kurt Warner’s flirtation with the San Francisco 49ers reminds me of Timothy Hutton’s new TV series…“Leverage“. Seriously, about 10 to 15 years ago, would a player have used to the 49ers to sign with the Cardinals? Um, probably not…
Derek Jeter hit a two-run single in the third inning to help power Team USA past the New York Yankees today in exhibition play. Granted, Kevin Youklis also added a two-run single, but it was painful to see DJ represent the primary reason for a Yanks loss. He also scored a run on a based loaded error in the sixth inning by Angel Berroa.
What’s with the influx of Baltimore Ravens to the New York Jets? First, there was coach Rex Ryan. Then, the Jets signed LB Bart Scott. Now, they’ve reached an agreement with S Jim Leonhard. If the exodus continues, I don’t think the Ravens will be a threat to prevent the Patriots from reaching the play-offs again anytime soon.
Randy Johnson pitched three scoreless innings, and struck out 7 of the 12 batters he faced in a Cactus League match-up between the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Working out some anger management issues there, Randy? The Giants won the game, 7-6.