With the selections of Ivan
Nova and Freddy Garcia as the #4 and #5 starters in the Yankees rotation, I
think that manager Joe Girardi made the right choices (even if those were
really the only viable options).
J. Meric/Getty Images
I agree with those who
speculate that Bartolo Colon is better suited to be the long man in the
pen. Given his physical conditioning,
there are clearly concerns about his stamina.
His arm may be alright but that wouldn’t get him through long
innings. The trade of Sergio Mitre to
the Milwaukee Brewers opens the way for Colon to make the Yankees roster.
I am not sure what I think
about the Yankees signing pitcher Kevin Millwood to a minor league deal. I realize that he is strictly an insurance
policy, but I’d really like to see one of the younger guys, like Andrew
Brackman, Hector Noesi, or Dellin Betances, get the opportunity should Nova or
Garcia falter. Millwood is probably just
coverage for the next month, while the prospects will be options later in the
The Yankees gave Chris
Dickerson, the outfielder they acquired in the Mitre trade, Darryl Strawberry‘s
old jersey number (39). Those are big
shoes to fill. I love great home run
swings and for as many sluggers that have come through the Bronx, few can
compare to the swing that Straw had.
Dickerson is not a home run guy, so we won’t be seeing #39 swinging for
the fences. But the number did bring
back some great memories of Strawberry at the plate. Dickerson was the player the Reds sent to the
Brewers last summer in the deal that brought Jim Edmonds to Cincinnati. He turns 29 on April 10th so he is
no longer really considered a prospect, but I’d like to see him carve out a
role on the team. With Curtis Granderson
hurting, the Yankees will definitely need help in the outfield and Andruw Jones
can’t do it all by himself.
With all the talk about
catchers Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero, and Austin Romine, it’s strange
that Gustavo Molina has emerged as the frontrunner to capture the backup
catching position behind starter Russell Martin. I suspect that Cervelli will take the
position once he is healthy but I am disappointed that neither Montero or
Romine could hit well enough to stay on the major league roster. I know that it just means their arrivals are
simply delayed. Hopefully, they can draw
positives from the heavy focus this spring and use it to power forward when
their next opportunity comes.
I was surprised that Baltimore
Orioles manager Buck Showalter took potshots at Derek Jeter and the Boston Red
Sox. I would have expected better from
Showalter, but I can honestly say that I have never missed him from the day he
left the Yankees.
It’s hard to believe that
Opening Day is next week! I am so glad
that the season is finally upon us. Win
or lose, it should be a great year!
Ah, there was a time when those words were such sweet
music to the ears!…
Granted, it was probably more like “Martin’s Back!” but
still, the name Martin and the city of New York is a great match. The latest Martin to set foot on Broadway is
former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin. In theory, he has been groomed for this
opportunity by the best…former Dodgers manager Joe Torre and former Dodgers hitting
instructor (now Dodgers manager) Don Mattingly.
While he still has to pass a physical, Martin has apparently signed a
one-year contract with the Yanks.
Larry Goren/Icon SMI
Martin was one of the top catchers in the NL several
years ago but has regressed. He suffered
a torn labrum in his right hip last August and missed the remainder of the
season. I will be anxious to see what
Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long can do with Martin. More than likely, Martin will be part of a
catching platoon with Jesus Montero, assuming the latter proves that he is
major league ready in spring training.
NY Daily News
Martin will probably be the only guy on the roster with a
name this long: Russell Nathan Jeanson
Coltrane Martin, Jr. Martin, born in East York, Ontario, will be 28
by the time the spring training games begin in February.
I like the move for Martin so long as it is not designed
to replace Montero so he can be used as a trading chip.
It was disappointing to see Cliff Lee decide to return to
Philadelphia on a 5-year deal for less money than he was offered by the
Yankees. I can’t blame Lee for choosing
a place that he is comfortable with, but I wish that he would have given New
York a chance. I grew rather pessimistic
about the Yankees chances last week when the Lee camp did not jump on the
Yankees 7 year offer. Like many, I
thought that he was headed back to the Texas Rangers so it was a bit of a shock
to hear that the mystery team was the Phillies.
All things considered, if Lee wasn’t going to go to New
York, I am glad to see him depart for the National League. I am not excited about a rotation that
features Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and now Cliff Lee, but that’s
only a concern if you make it to the World Series as an American League team
(nice problem to have). The Rangers fans
are glad they didn’t lose out to the Yankees, but conversely, I am glad that
the Rangers and Nolan Ryan didn’t get one over on the Yanks. Also, I am glad that Lee didn’t go to the
Angels or the Red Sox.
As it stands, the Red Sox have enjoyed a hugely
successful off-season compared to the Yanks, but I would not underestimate
Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner family.
As for immediate focus, I think the Yanks need to make sure that they
have the arms in the bullpen and I’d really like to see the return of Kerry
Wood. Of the remaining free agents,
there aren’t many that excite me. Manny
Ramirez is still out there but he’s a liability in the field and the Yankees
have the DH role locked up with Jorge Posada.
Manny’s bat is also not what it used to be and the Yankees don’t need
more ‘late thirtysomethings’ on the roster.
I’d have to say that I am mixed on whether the Yankees
should pursue a trade with the Kansas City Royals for starter Zack
Greinke. However, there will be
competition which of course drives up the trade demands so I am not sure that
avenue is the best given the uncertainty over whether Greinke could handle New
York (assuming he was willing to waive his no-trade clause to the Yankees). I’d probably prefer signing Brandon Webb or
pursuing Mark Buehrle in a trade. The
Yankees do have to do something about their starting rotation regardless of
whether Andy Pettitte returns or not.
Right now the #4 and #5 starters appear to be Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre
based on the current roster which is not very appealing. I am willing to give Nova a shot but if the
Yankees break camp with Mitre as their 5th starter, it’s going to be
a long season.
Why is it that Red Sox fans think the rivalry between the
Yankees and Red Sox is over on December 14th just because they didn’t
sign Cliff Lee? As Brian Cashman
indicated on a conference call earlier today, patience is the key. Somehow, I suspect the team that breaks camp
next spring will be able to compete with the newly enhanced Red Sox…
Congratulations to Hideki Matsui who signed a one year
deal with the Oakland Athletics. As a
resident of the Bay Area, I am sure that Godzilla will be well received and he’ll
be a great stabilizing factor in the A’s lineup.
Waiting for the Baseball Winter Meetings to start seems
like an eternity. The meetings are next
week, but this week has been relatively slow aside from today’s free agent
signing of Adam Dunn by the Chicago White Sox (nice pickup, by the way). When I woke up, I was met with the headline
of ‘Yankees Re-Sign Sergio Mitre’.
Unfortunately, that did little to excite me…
I am not a “Meat Tray” fan, but for some reason, manager Joe
Girardi has been in his corner since his days as manager of the Florida
Marlins. Conversely, the Yankees
non-tendered Dustin Moseley today which I thought was a mistake. Moseley proved to be very capable as a spot
starter and bullpen arm. I realize that
if the Yankees sign Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte returns (which everyone
expects), then Ivan Nova becomes the “#6” starter. Also, re-signing Mitre had an impact. But, still, it was a mistake to let go of
Andrew Burton/Getty Images
The Yankees decision to non-tender pitcher Alfredo Aceves
surprised me somewhat. However, when I
heard that he had re-injured himself this off-season in a freak accident (bike
accident), I realized that it would probably be best for him to start over
somewhere else. The Yankees did tender
the guys that really mattered (Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, and Phil Hughes).
The Yankees quietly signed relief pitcher Buddy Carlyle
who is returning from Japan. Carlyle
underachieved during his previous major league stint, most recently with the
Atlanta Braves in 2009. Nevertheless,
you can never have enough fodder for the bullpen during spring training. As the Tampa Bay Rays showed last year, you
never know what you might find (stellar setup artist Joaquin Benoit).
I was pleased to see the Derek Jeter negotiations take a
positive turn this week. Jeter and his
agent Casey Close were smart to engage the Yankees in Tampa. There has been no negative comments made by
either side this week and it appears the Yankees are willing to increase their
offer while the Jeter side is willing to reduce their demands. Everybody knows this marriage will continue
so there was no sense airing the dirty laundry in the difficult
negotiations. Hopefully, they’ll come
to an agreement sooner rather than later so that we can move on to more
important things…like signing Cliff Lee!
Speaking of Jeter, it’s funny how much attention this has
gotten. Troy Tulowitzki, arguably one of the greatest shortstops in the game
today, signs a huge long-term extension and it gets marginal print. DJ, a soon-to-be 37-year old, past his prime,
shortstop garners national attention.
The photos of Jeter in other uniforms were particularly humorous. I’m sure that Julia loved Red Sock Jeter…
The Beckett Blog
While I saw that Zack Greinke might be willing to waive
his no-trade clause for the Yankees, I’d have to say that I still prefer Cliff
Lee. I know that Cliff will soon be 32
and Greinke is about 6 years younger, but the difference is that I know Cliff
can handle New York. Plus, he would only
cost money whereas Greinke would cost quality prospects plus money in the
long-term. I want to see Jesus Montero
as the Yankees starting catcher in 2011 so I am hopeful that the Yankees aren’t
faced with a scenario where they “need” to acquire Greinke.
Can I wake up to the headline ‘Yankees Re-Sign Rivera’
P.S. I have to show this video clip. The veteran on the left, Fang Wong, is my wife’s uncle and he is one of the greatest people I’ve met in my life. His strong sense of humor doesn’t show through but I can assure you he is one of the funniest and most intelligent guys I’ve met. Plus, he is a die-hard Yankees fan…
What a difference a day makes!…
Of course, the Yankees could have used a few of
those runs on Tuesday night, but at least they were facing a proven major
league pitcher (Fausto Carmona) which they definitely have greater success
against than unproven, unknown rookies.
The Yankees got the scoring going early, building
up to a 6-0 lead after just three innings, and then coasted to the 8-0 win
against the Indians in Cleveland.
Another night, another homerless evening for Alex Rodriguez who remains
stuck on 599. It would be nice for him
to just hit the home run so that he’d stop pressing so hard.
Andrew Weber/US Presswire
It was also a great pitching performance by the
hotheaded A.J. Burnett, who managed to avoid a meltdown in throwing scoreless
ball for 6 1/3 innings (he gave up 7 hits and 3 walks, while striking out
I did think that it was a good idea to bring in
Joba Chamberlain in the 7th inning despite the 8 run lead. He needs to build his confidence back up
again, and become the pitcher that we know he can be. The 8th inning went to starter
reject Sergio Mitre as manager Joe Girardi continued to experiment with the
bullpen. Mitre was effective with two
strikeouts as he retired the 3 batters he faced in the 8th, although
he did struggle somewhat in the 9th (allowing two baserunners
through a hit and a walk). But he did
end the game on a swinging strikeout. I
think he’s definitely better in spots than as a starting pitcher, so perhaps he’s
found a niche. His replacement in the
rotation, Dustin Moseley, starts against the Indians tomorrow in the getaway
game. Hopefully, Dustin will enjoy
greater success than Mitre did in the last start.
Despite the Yankees’ win, they failed to pick up
any ground on either the Tampa Bay Rays or the Boston Red Sox as both team won
today. The pressure will be on the
Yankees tomorrow night, especially if the Rays win their earlier game against
the Tigers. The Rays are presently two
games back in the AL East, so they could be within a game after tomorrow’s
results. The Red Sox, 7 games back, are
I can’t say that there have been many trade
speculations this week that I have been excited about, but I agree with Mike Axisa of River Avenue Blues about the potential of adding Adam Dunn to
the lineup at DH. His swing would be a
great fit for Yankee Stadium, and unlike Nick Johnson, he is someone that can
be counted on to be around when October rolls around. He would also provide great protection for
Robinson Cano in the batting order. I
think Dunn and a solid reliever would make the July trading deadline a huge
success for the Yanks.
Doug Benc/Getty Images
I want to send out my best wishes for former
Yankees pitcher Ross Ohlendorf who was hit in the face on a ball hit by
Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki. The line
drive hit which struck the right side of Ohlendorf’s face occurred in the first
inning of tonight’s game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Colorado
Rockies. Ohlendorf remained upright and
never lost consciousness. He underwent
further tests after the incident, but hopefully, all is well and he’ll be back
in the Pirates rotation soon.
IP 4.1, H 7, R 7, ER 5, BB 1, SO 1, HR 1…
Okay, that’s a lousy pitching line any way you slice it. I recognize that Sergio Mitre, fresh off the DL, was rusty, and you can’t expect perfection. But I was not a Mitre fan before and I am not one now. I think there are better pitching options on the roster as fill-in’s for injured Andy Pettitte. I would rather see Dustin Moseley get a shot to start before taking another chance on Mitre. Moseley, by the way, pitching yesterday too, and his line was much more appealing:
IP 4.2, H 1, R 0, ER 0, BB 1, SO 1, HR 0
As for trading for an option like Dan Haren of the Arizona Diamondbacks, I am reluctant at best. I really want to see the Yankees pursue Cliff Lee in the off-season, and I am fearful that adding a pitcher like Haren and his salary would be a detriment. We saw last off-season when the Yankees held the line and allowed Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui walk rather than increase payroll above $200 million. I do think that Andy Pettitte will give hard consideration to retirement after the season. There is uncertainty with Javier Vazquez who will be a free agent, and there are still questions about Phil Hughes who has been mired in a slump for the past month (not to mention a innings limitation).
This is a tough call. The Yankees do need to maximize their own resources for starting talent, but in my opinion, it doesn’t start with Mitre. If Moseley is not the answer, then reach into the farm system and give Ivan Nova or Zach McAllister a shot.
The awful performance by Mitre put the Yankees into a hole that they were unable to recover from in losing to the Kansas City Royals, 7-4. It did hurt in the 4th inning when Robinson Cano hit into a double play on a great play by Royals shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. The DP left the bases empty with two outs after the Yankees had scored a run at the start of the inning with Mark Teixeira’s lead-off home run. Facing a 6-1 deficit, Jorge Posada followed Cano with a solo home run. Had Betancourt not made such a great play on Cano, the Yankees would have had two men on base when Posada came to the plate. Had he homered in that situation, the score could have been 6-4 instead of 6-2 which would have given the game a completely different complexion.
Still, the Yankees had a shot in the bottom of the 9th inning with Mark Teixeira at the plate with two men on. He had hit two home runs earlier in the game, so this was a terrific opportunity for three home runs. But he grounded out to end the game.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
No home runs for Alex Rodriguez, who remains at 599.
John Munson/The Star Ledger
Today, the Yankees will see if Phil Hughes can turn it around. He’ll face Sean O’Sullivan, who beat Hughes and the Yanks 10-2 last Tuesday while wearing a Angels uniform.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Both Nick Swisher (Achilles heel) and Brett Gardner (acid reflux) will be back in the starting line up today so that’s a positive sign.
This is a great day for a Yankees win!
John Munson/The Star Ledger
So much for the idea of a day of rest doing some
After an off day on Monday to recover from the
events of the past week, the Yankees came out with a thud on Tuesday. Facing bitter rival Los Angeles Angels, the Yankees
took an early 2-0 lead and closed the book on their offense, while the Angels
pounded out 10 runs to take the first game of the series. It was another disappointing performance by
11-game winner Phil Hughes, who has looked pathetic since he was skipped in the
rotation back in June. Of course, he was
also the loser in the All-Star Game.
Sipkin/NY Daily News
Hughes went 5 innings, and gave up 9 hits and 6
runs. Maybe it’s just me, but that doesn’t
qualify as a quality start. With A.J.
Burnett’s flare up, Andy Pettitte’s strained groin, and now the stinker laid by
Hughes, the last three games have been very disappointing from a pitching
standpoint. And just think, we have
Sergio Mitre to look forward to on Saturday.
None of the other pitchers in tonight’s game fared
any better as the three relievers (Jonathan Albaladejo, Chan Ho Park, and Chad
Gaudin) all gave up at least a run. For
Albaladejo, it is a disappointing start to his return to the majors. For a guy who has been unhittable in the
minors (0.96 ERA with 31 saves), Albaladejo showed that he is still quite
hittable at the major league level.
Hopefully, he’ll shake the nerves and show New York what he has been
showing Scranton/Wilkes Barre. Park and
Gaudin are my favorites to be ex-Yankees should the team make any moves to
bolster the pen by the trading deadline.
No home runs for Alex Rodriguez so he stays at 598
home runs. Congratulations to the Angels’
Hideki Matsui who did homer. At least it
occurred in a rout and was not the difference maker.
William Perlman/The Star Ledger
If the Tampa Bay Rays win tonight, the
Yankees lead in the AL East will be cut to just 1 ½ games. Cliff Lee would have really looked good in
pinstripes about now…
Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News
I am not enamored with the idea of using Sergio
Mitre as the replacement for injured starter Andy Pettitte. Personally, I’d probably be more willing to
consider Dustin Moseley. Mitre, or “Meat
Tray” as I frequently see his name on other blogs (a very appropriate nickname,
I might add), just isn’t the consistent starter that I’d like to see in that
spot. Behind Moseley is Chad Gaudin,
although I’d be more inclined to try a minor league starter like Ivan Nova (7-2,
3.21 ERA, and 78 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings for AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre). Externally, I’d want a short term rental like
Ted Lilly or Jake Westbrook (guys who know New York) over long term
possibilities like Dan Haren or Roy Oswalt as I want the Yankees to be in good
position to go after Cliff Lee at season’s end.
It is bittersweet to see Lou Piniella announce his
retirement after fours years as the manager of the Chicago Cubs. If Sweet Lou’s availability had coincided
with Joe Torre’s departure, I am convinced there was a good chance that he
could have been the current Yankees manager rather than Joe Girardi. I am happy the way it worked out, but still
it would have been good to see Lou enjoy success in Pinstripes for one last
For as many years as Lou played (18), it’s hard to
believe that he has managed longer (22) .
He had the misfortunate of managing the Yankees when George Steinbrenner
was his most volatile, not a good combination considering Lou’s temper. Lou managing for Hal Steinbrenner would have
yielded an entirely different result. I
don’t know what life after baseball will mean for Lou, but hopefully #14 will
be a fixture at future Yankees Old-Timers Games. I wish Lou the very best in his final season
with the Cubs.
As for a Cubs replacement, I have to believe that
favorite Ryne Sandberg is a shoo-in given his history with the organization and
status as manager for the team’s AAA in Des Moines, Iowa. It would be like Don Mattingly being named
manager for the Yankees, which of course will never happen since Donnie
Baseball will be the next Los Angeles Dodgers manager but it would certainly
have that type of impact.
Have arm. Will travel…
Well, not me, but the Yankees will be looking for some arms after this weekend’s injuries to A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte. Burnett should not miss any time after his boneheaded stunt on Saturday. He was frustrated about giving up three runs after two innings, and proceeded to take his frustration out on double doors in the clubhouse. The doors won as Burnett cut both hands on plexiglass lineup holders affixed to the doors. On Sunday, Andy Pettitte went the more honorable injury route as he was actually hurt while playing the game. He strained his left groin throwing a pitch to Kelly Shoppach in the 3rd inning after giving up back to back singles.
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
There were no long man in the bullpen on Sunday thanks to Burnett’s episode on Saturday which required extended use of both Dustin Moseley and Chad Gaudin. So, the first guy out of the pen on Sunday was potential 8th inning set up man David Robertson. The pieced-together pitching staff worked well as the Yankees overcame an early 3-0 deficit against American League All-Star starting pitcher David Price to win 9-5.
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
The win gave the Yankees the series win against the Tampa Bay Rays, who had won Saturday’s game against Burnett, 10-5.
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
After the Yankees had won on Friday night in a thrilling 5-4 victory against the Rays on a night the team gave tribute to public address announcer Bob Sheppard and owner George Steinbrenner, I knew the Yankes would have a tough time on Saturday and Sunday facing Jeff Niemann and David Price. But if I had expected a pitcher to falter, it would have been Niemann and not Price so clearly the Yankees were fortunate that Price chose Sunday to have his worst start of the season.
Sergio Mitre, who is nearing return from the Disabled List, will slide into Pettitte’s spot in the rotation for the foreseeable future. It is anticipated that Pettitte will be out for 4-5 weeks. Even though Burnett should be able to make his next start, the Yankees need to be prepared for the worst-case scenario so I am sure that Joe Girardi will have Dustin Moseley and Chad Gaudin again waiting in the wings. I remember Moseley most as one of the guys that the Los Angeles Angels turned to after the death of Nick Adenhart last season. It would be good to see him excel in his opportunity with the Pinstripers.
After the missed opportunity for Cliff Lee, I did not expect the Yankees to pursue a starting pitcher prior to the trading deadline. However, I do wonder if that will change now that Pettitte is out for a month and Phil Hughes will be nearing his innings ceiling later in the year. The names on the market do not excite me (not like Cliff Lee did). Perhaps someone like Ted Lilly would be a good short term option, but he is hardly the front of the rotation starter that Lee would have been. The only guy I’d love to see in Pinstripes, outside of Lee of course, would be Florida’s Josh Johnson but I really doubt the Marlins would trade him.
Alex Rodriguez hit his 598th home run on Sunday (off Andy Sonnanstine on Sunday in the 7th inning).
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
The Yankees have a much-needed day off on Monday to recover from the events of the past week and the weekend tributes to two legendary men. They’ll face the Los Angeles Angels beginning Tuesday in the Bronx as Hideki Matsui comes home to face his ex-teammates.
In a game that George Steinbrenner had wanted to attend, the Yankees held their Annual Old-Timers Game on Saturday. I have heard so many ex-player quotes about how well the Yankees and George in particular had treated the former Yankee players. I hope the Steinbrenner Family keeps up the tradition with the same conviction and passion that George did. I was saddened to hear that in addition to Steinbrenner, the Old-Timers Game was missing Yogi Berra who was hurt in a fall at his home. The game is definitely not the same without #8 on the field so I look forward to his return next year. For this year’s game, the Yankees celebrated the 1950 World Champions. Like last year’s champions, the 1950 club defeated the Philadelphia Phillies to claim the championship.
Zach Ornitz/The Star Ledger
It is tough to see George Steinbrenner go, but it is time to move on. I look forward to the leadership of Hal Steinbrenner, and the rest of the Steinbrenner children, and I hope they share their father’s passion and commitment to the success of the New York Yankees.
The New York Times