Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pineda Mows Down 16 O's in Yankees' 20th Win

photo courtesy of usatoday.com

Michael Pineda's Major League career has been and up and down journey threw injuries, pine tar suspensions, and high expectations. There was a lot of outrage among Yankees fans in January, 2012 when he was acquired for the Yankees top hitting prospect Jesus Montero. Fans had heard for so long that Montero would be an offensive superstar, the deal came as a shock, even to those of who liked the idea of obtaining Pineda from Seattle. (Keep in mind I was also thrilled when the Yankees acquired Jeff Weaver.)

The outrage got amped up when Pineda missed all of 2012 and 2013, due to shoulder surgery, without ever having thrown a baseball in a Yankees regular season game. Meanwhile in Seattle, Montero hit 15 home runs and drove in 62 runs for the 2012 Mariners in his first full season in the Majors.

Much has changed since then though and on a sunny, Mother's Day in the Bronx on Sunday, Pineda made it clear who the trade has worked out better for in the long run. The 26-year old struck out 16 Baltimore Orioles in a 7-inning stint as the Yankees won their 20th game of the season. (The team's best 32-game start since 2010.)

Due to injuries, Pineda was limited to 76.1 innings in 2014, but posted a 1.89 ERA and struck out seven batters per nine innings. With the 6-2 win over Baltimore, Pineda raised his record to 5-0, lowered his ERA to 2.72 and raised his K's per nine innings to 10.49. Montero, meanwhile, waits for his call at Triple-A Tacoma, a season after he had a dispute with a team scout who sent ice cream during a game to the out-of-shape Montero.

With injuries to Ivan Nova and Masahiro Tanaka, and CC Sabathia not pitching like the ace he once was, Pineda has become the de facto ace of the team. The Yankees are 6-1 in Pineda's seven starts, 14-11 when someone else has toed the rubber in the 1st inning. Pineda's most remarkable stat has to be the 18:1 strikeout to walk ratio he has posted in 46.1 innings. He has issued just three free passes this season and only one in his last four starts.

Pineda tied David Cone for the team record for strikeouts by a right-handed pitcher in a single start.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Shout It From The Rooftops: Opening Day Is Here! - Lineups

Regular season test 1 of Tanaka's elbow

April 6, 2015. A lovely Spring day that is perfect for the opening of the baseball season at the big Stadium in the Bronx.

The Yankees open with a tough week - three games each with the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox.  The Yankees send Masahiro Tanaka to the hill for the opener. It's the first time since he became a Yankees in 2009 that CC Sabathia isn't the Game 1 starter.

The Yankees lineup, which looks very strange without Derek Jeter in the two hole, is

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
LF Brett Gardner
RF Carlos Beltran
1B Mark Teixeira
  C Brian McCann
3B Chase Headley
DH Alex Rodriguez
2B Stephen Drew
SS Didi Gregorius

The Blue Jays go with

SS Jose Reyes
  C Russell Martin
RF Jose Bautista
1B Edwin Encarnacion
3B Josh Donaldson
DH Dioner Navarro
CF Dalton Pompey
LF Kevin Pillar
2B Devon Travis

Let the game begin.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Yankees Acquire Petit For Shortstop Shortage



The Yankees were supposed to rely on youngster Didi Gregorius and veteran Brendan Ryan to replace  play shortstop in the wake of Derek Jeter's retirement. But as the team gets ready to head north to start the season on Monday, Gregorius is recovering from a sprained left wrist and Ryan is likely headed to the DL with a Grade-2 calf strain.

To add some depth, the Yankees have acquired 30-year old shortstop Gregorio Petit from the Houston Astros for a player to be named and/or cash. Petit played in 37 games for the Astros last season with a .278/.300/.423 slash line at the plate. 10 of his 27 hits were for extra bases, hence the decent slugging percentage. The Venezuelan native can also play second base and third base as wekk, giving the Yankees another utility player option.

Petite played a combined 25 games for Oakland in 2008-2009, but spent the next four seasons in the minor leagues before Houston gave him another shot in the show. The Yankees are his sixth organization.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Not So Odd Couple

Hideki Matsui receives his 2009 WS ring at Yankees 2010 home opener.

Despite a language barrier, it didn't take Hideki Matsui long to fit in with his New York Yankees teammates upon his arrival in 2003. He quickly became one of the favorite teammates of many of the players, including the captain, Derek Jeter.

So it comes as no surprise that the two are now working together to help the victims of Japan's devastating earthquake and Tsunami of 2011. Jeter, who recently held a major fund raising event for his Turn2 Foundation, will help aid the survivors of Japan's Tohoku region by participating in baseball clinics and a home run derby (move the right field fence in).

Jeter compared the victims' plight, especially the children, to those of 9/11.
''The kids will never forget what happened,'' Jeter said. ''But if they can come out and have fun and enjoy themselves through the sport of baseball, that's what we're trying to do here.''
15,000 people were killed when tragedy struck on March 11, 2011. Among other fund raising events will be a baseball game Sunday at the Tokyo Dome. The teams will be made up of players from the Tohoku region. In non-related news, Jeter said he needed "a break from the game", but hopes to return at some point as an owner.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Eovaldi Impressive In Yankees Debut



The Yankees parted with a valuable piece when they dealt Martin Prado to the Miami Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi and others during the offseason. In his first start of Spring Training, Eovaldi already had his fastball fully gassed in the Yankees home opener against the Clearwater Phillies. He consistently threw his number one in the mid-90's, and topped out at 98.

Eovaldi also tossed a 90 mph curve and a changeup between 84 and 89 to keep the hitters off-balance. He allowed a run on two hits, the first of which may have been caught had right fielder Tyler Austin taken a better route to the ball.

The only other batter that reached safely did so on a Stephen Drew error.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Yankees Tie As Judge Makes The Final Decision

Aaron Judge cuts an imposing figure.

The Yankees opened their 2015 Grapefruit League schedule Tuesday, in Clearwater, FL, against the Philadelphia Phillies with a 5-5 tie. The game was called after nine innings, which is not unusual during Spring Training.

Highly touted pitching prospect Luis Severino tossed 1.1 innings and Adam Warren threw two scoreless innings as he battles for a spot in the rotation. But it was Aaron Judge everyone was talking about afterwards.

Judge, a first round draft pick (32nd overall) by the Yankees in 2013, hit a three-run home run in the top of the 9th inning as the Yankees rallied from a four run deficit to tie the game at five apiece.

The 6'7", 230 lb outfielder split 131 games between Single-A Charleston (SAL) and Advanced-A Tampa (FSL) last year. In his first year of professional ball, the right fielder hit 17 home runs and drove in 79 runs. He produced a slash line of .333/.428/.530 for the RiverDogs before his promotion to Tampa. There he put up a slash line of .283/.411/.442. Though Judge struck out 131 times in 467 at-bats, he also walked 89 times and stroked 24 doubles.

It's only one game, but it's the first game and Judge make a quick, positive expression Tuesday.


Severino didn't fare as well. The Yankees top prospect gave up two runs on four hits. The Yankees had 13 hits, led by Slade Heathcott and Greg Bird with two apiece. Future second basemen Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder both committed errors in the game.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

But Where Is My Plaque?

One can dream

It's hard to believe, but December 12, 2014 was the 9th anniversary of My Pinstripes.  You would think that by now the Yankees would have contacted me to put a plaque in my honor, or the blog's honor, in Monument Park. I have no number to retire, but I've been writing about the Yankees longer than Tino Martinez was a Yankee and they had a day honoring him. And he got a plaque in Monument Park.

Sarcasm, not necessarily at its finest. You know the story by now. Family owned team builds new stadium and overspends in doing so.  Ticket prices go way up. Area parking goes way up. Food and souvenirs follow suit.

The new place holds less seats and less seats are filled. After five years and one World Series title, and two missed post-seasons (for the first time since the early 1990's), it's time to pull out the gimmicks.

Retiring endless numbers and/or putting numerous plaques in Monument Park, is just that, a gimmick to boost attendance. Prior to the 2014 season, the Yankees had retired numbers 1 (Billy Martin), 3 (Babe Ruth), 4 (Lou Gehrig), 5 (Joe DiMaggio), 7 (Mickey Mantle), 8 (Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey), 9 (Roger Maris), 10 (Phil Rizzuto), 15 (Thurman Munson), 16 (Whitey Ford), 23 (Don Mattingly), 32 (Elston Howard) 37 (Casey Stengel), 42 (Mariano Rivera) 44 (Reggie Jackson) and 49 (Ron Guidry).

Some can argue that some of those number(s) should not have been retired. (I'll argue that number 1 should not have been retired and was only done so due to the guilt George Steinbrenner felt for the way he mistreated Martin as a manager and the tragic circumstances surrounding Martin's death.)

Along comes the 2014 season, a season following one in which the Yankees missed the playoffs. It was Derek Jeter's last season, Alex Rodriguez was suspended for the year, and one player after another was felled by injury. Time to pull a rabbit out of the hat to get some fannies in the seats.

On May 8, the team announces that Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Goose  Gossage, and Joe Torre will be honored with plaques in Monument Park. In addition, Torre's number 6 will be retired and Bernie Williams will be feted in 2015.

Torre was one of the most successful managers in team history and had the longest tenure, by far, of any manager since the big guy with the boats purchased the team. He and Gossage were both inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  No matter how big a fan you might have been of O'Neill and Martinez - and I was a huge fan, especially O'Neill - neither deserves a plaque in Monument Park.

Bernie Williams will have his number 51 retired on a Sunday night, yes at night, in May and Andy Pettitte will have his number 46 retired in August. Plus plaques in M.P. of course. Both well deserved for home grown products, especially Williams who suffered through the very lean years in the early 1990's. In addition to a plaque, Jorge Posada will also have his number 20 taken out of the available numbers. This is where things get a little iffy.

There's already been a debate as to whether Posada is worthy of the Hall of Fame. Those in favor point to his offense and how it stacks up against the catchers already in the Hall. The same type of debate has tkaen place about retiring Posada's number. His detractors point to his defensive shortcomings. A home grown talent, who spent 17 years in the Majors, I have no problem with Posada receiving a plaque. Retiring his number, I believe, is going overboard.

Willie Randolph, one of the classiest people around, will also be honored with a place in Monument Park this Summer. I would actually rather see the former Yankees player and coach's #30 retired, along with Mel Stottlemyre, who wore the number prior to Randolph.

Notice anything about the players being honored? Only Randolph and Gossage were not part of the 1996-2000 dynasty. The Yankees, obviously, are appealing to the fans who became fans or were already fans during that stretch. It makes sense if they are looking to help fill the empty seats and bring some excitement back to the Bronx.

But in doing so the Yankees have ignored some players that are a deserving of the honor. In addition to Stottlemyre, who pitched for the Yankees from 1964-1974 and was their pitching coach from 1996-2005, other players from the lean years should be recognized.  First and foremost, and yes I am definitely biased, is Bobby Murcer.

The late Oklahoman was one of the few name players the Yankees had in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Bobby Ray was with the Yankees from 1965-66, missed two years in the service, 1969 through 1974 and returned during the 1979 season until his retirement in June, 1983. He immediately joined the Yankees broadcast team and remained in that role into 2007.

Roy White was never flashy, he just quietly did his job. The Yankees smooth left fielder played his entire 15-year Major League career (He also played in Japan) with the Bronx Bombers. He too played on the weak teams of the 1970's with Murcer and Stottelmyre, but earned World Series rings with the 1977 and 1978 squads.

Others to consider - Sparky Lyle, Graig Nettles, Lou Piniella, Bill Skowron, and Allie Reynolds.

I may not get my plaque, but please don't tell me that Bubba Crosby is getting a plaque.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz, and Biggio Headed To Cooperstown

 
For the first time ever, three starting pitchers have been elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in the same year, and four players have been elected to the Hall for the first time since in 60 years.

Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz make up the triumverate of pitchers headed to upstate New York this July. They will be joined by catcher-turned-second baseman Craig Biggio, who spent 20 seasons with the Houston Astros.

Johnson struggled early in his career as a 6'10" member of the Montreal Expos, but once dealt to the Seattle Mariners, saw his Hall of Fame career get kicked into gear. Johnson won 303 games, five Cy Young Awards, and struck out 4,875 batters playing for the Mariners (10 yrs), Houston Astros (post deadline 1998), Arizona Diamondbacks (8), New York Yankees (2), San Francisco Giants (1), and the Expos (2).

The "Big Unit" was the 2015 top vote getter with 97.43% of the tally, the eighth highest total in Major Leauge History. A 10-time All-Star, Johnson received a no-decision when he struck out 20 Cincinnati Reds on May 8, 2001. He is one of five pitchers to throw a no-hitter in both leagues and was the 2001 World Series Co-MVP with teammate Curt Schilling, after he won Games 2, 6, and 7.

Martinez, a slightly built power pitcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers, saw his career begin to blow up after he was traded to the Expos prior to the 1993 season. But it was his time in Boston that made Martinez a household name. The crown jewel of pitching statistics, the Triple Crown, was accomplished by Martinez grabbed in 1999 when he topped the American League with 23 wins, a 2.07 ERA, and 313 strikeouts.

A three-time CY Young winner (once with Montreal, twice with Boston), Martinez was a character on and off the mound; a pitcher who wasn't afraid to throw inside at hitters of any stature. He won 219 games in parts of 18 years with the Dodgers (2 years), Expos (4), Red Sox (7), Mets (4), and Phillies (1). The native of the Dominican Republic produced two seasons - 1997 (1.90) and 2000 (1.74), with ERA numbers under 2.00), struck out 3,154 batters.

Martinez, who inexplicably received just 91.1% of the vote, won a World Series ring with the 2004 Red Sox and pitched in the 2009 World Series for the Phillies.

Smoltz is the only pitcher in MLB history to win at least 200 games and save at least 150, and just the second pitcher (Dennis Eckersley the other) to win at least 20 games and save a minimum of 50 games in separate seasons. Acquired  for the Detroit Tigers' Doyle Alexander in a 1987 deadline deal, Smoltz spent 20 seasons with the Atlanta Braves. He won the NL Cy Young Award in 1996 when he earned 24 victories and struck out a league high 276 batters. After missing the 2000 season due to Tommy John surgery, Smoltz came back as a reliever and led the NL with a league record 55 saves in 2002. He would save 45 and 44 games the next two seasons before moving back into the starting rotation in 2005. A year later he tied for the NL lead in wins with 16.

An eight-time All-Star, Smoltz finished his career in 2009 with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. He compiled a 213-155 record with 154 saves and 3,084 strikeouts.  "Smoltzie" won a World Series ring in 1995 and was a member of four other NL pennant winning teams. He'll join former teammates and fellow pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and his former manager Bobby Cox, all of whom were induced into the Hall last year. Smoltz received 82.9% of the vote.

Craig Biggio came into Major League Baseball as a catcher out of Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Selected by the Houston Astros as the 22nd overall pick in the 1987 draft, Biggio spent his entire career in an Astros uniform. After four years behind the plate, Biggio moved to second base prior to the 1992 season and went on to win five Gold Glove Awards.

A five-time winner of the Silver Slugger Award, Biggio reached 3,000 hits in his final season (2007) and ended up with 3,060 for his career. He led the league in doubles three times, and topped the league in being hit by pitches, five times. He stole 414 bases, including a league best 39 in the strike shortened 1994 campaign. Biggio finished in the top five in the NL MVP vote  in 1997 and 1998 and was a member of the 2005 Astros NL pennant winning team. (It's the only Houston team to reach the World Series.).

Biggio just missed out last season, his second year on the ballot, when he came up .2% shy of the required 75%. This year was no problem as he finished with 82.7% of the vote. He is the first player to entre the Hall as a Houston Astro.

For those that missed out this year, catcher Mike Piazza came the closest to making it a five-player induction when he received 69.9% of the vote. It's a good sign for him to get enough votes next year when Ken Griffey Jr. is the only first year eligible player who is a sure thing.

Carlos Delgado was the top player with under 5% of the vote required to remain on future ballots. Don Mattingly receievd 9.1% in his final year of eligibility, now that the rule has changed from 15 years to 10 years to be voted for.

Monday, January 5, 2015

It's the Most Hall Time of the Year


Happy New Year means that it is just about time for the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY to announce who this year's inductees are.

The ballot for this year's class was loaded - the first-year eligible players alone include Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz, and Gary Sheffield. In all, there were 34 names on this year's ballot for voters to choose from.

As you may recall, it takes a 75% vote count to gain induction via the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA). With that in mind, Craig Biggio should be a shoe-in for this year's class. If not, an investigation should take place ASAP. Biggio finished with 74.8% last year, his third year on the ballot. The next highest on the 2014 ballot was Mike Piazza, who was hampered by performance enhancing drug rumors, and finished with 62.2%. He too should be elected this year.

I won't get on my soapbox about players that were never "caught" using PEDs, other than to say it's not fair of the voters to leave someone off their ballot that they think was a cheater. Jeff Bagwell has been thrown into this same category (he finished third in 2014 with 54.3%).

Johnson and Martinez are no brainers. Smoltz should join former teammates Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who were inducted together in 2014. The right-hander is the only pitcher in Major League Baseball history with at least 200 wins (207) and 150 saves (154).
 
Though Sheffield finished his career as a memeber of the 500 home run club, PEDs could definitely derail his Hall bid. In 2003, Sheffield told a grand jury that he had "unwittingly" used a steroid cream that he had obtained from BALCO. He was introduced to the company by its most well known client, Barry Bonds.

At the time, Sheffield said he thought it was a cortisone cream and was angry when he found out otherwise. ESPN tried to ask Bonds about it in 2004, but Bonds, via a spokesman, ignored the elephant in the room and wished Sheffield all the best. So did Sheffield lie about "oops" moment? The guess is that the voter's will think so. With a .907 career OPS. nine All-Star appearances, and a World Series ring, it would be hard to make an argument to keep Sheffield out otherwise.

At the other end of the spectrum are those players who are near elimination from future ballots. A candidate must receive at least 5% to remain on future ballots. PED prime suspect Sammy Sosa received 7.2% of the vote in 2014 and is likely to drop off in this year's vote. Don Mattingly, who could have ended up with Hall numbers had he stayed healthy, managed to receive barely over 10% last year.

As much as I loved Mattingly as a player, I don't believe he belongs in the Hall of Fame. Many do though and point to Kirby Puckett, who I don't believe should be in either, whose statistics are similar to that of Mattingly's. The biggest difference between the two are the two World Series rings Puckett earned, while Mattingly's mediocre Yankees teams made the post-season just once in his 14 years.

No matter what happens this year, these things hold true - no one will get a unanimous vote; the steroid players will see their perecentages drop; fans, media, and players will not like all the results. It's that Hall time of the year, what else would you expect?

UPDATE (toh to @rebeccapbp):

A's fan and HoF tracker Ryan Thibs has made a spreadsheet of vote totals available to the public. If these numbers hold true, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, and John Smoltz are headed to Cooperstown this Summer.

As of 1:55 PM ET, Both Johnson (98.63%) and Martinez (97.95%) approached Tom Seaver's all-time record of 98.8%, but as usual some voters left them out. Inexplicably, Twins beat writer Mike Berardino left both pitchers off.

Looks like Sheffield did indeed take a big hit. So far just over 8% of the vote. Don Mattingly and Sammy Sosa are both below the required 5% minimum. Jeff Bagwell increased to 66.44%, so there is still hope for him in future years.

UPDATE 7:50 PM

As of now, Randy Johnson has tied Tom Seaver with 98.8% of the vote. Pedro Martinez is closing in at 98.2%. Going the wrong way - that would be Mike Piazza, who has dipped below the 75% minimum.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Designated For Assignment - WHITE SOX GET MELK, HEADLEY RE-UPS WITH YANKEES



The latest free agents are comprised of a player moving on to his sixth team in seven years and one that is staying where he was two-month rental. The Chicago White Sox have been busy this offseason and they continued their re-tooling over the weekend with the free agent signing of outfielder Melky Cabrera. Meanwhile, the New York Yankees agreed, on Monday, with Chase Headley to keep the free agent third baseman for the next four years (at a cost of $52MM).

Cabrera, who played four full seasons with the Yankees, then spent one season in Atlanta, one in Kansas City, one in San Francisco, and two years in Toronto. He'll replace the lackluster bat of Dayan Viciedo in left field and join newcomers Jeff Samardzija and former Yankees teammate David Robertson on the list of big time acquisitions by GM Kenny Williams.

Read the rest of this column for free at Designated For Assignment

Yankees Continue to Spend Stupidly, Near 4-Year Deal With Headley

I got 52MM bucks

I've repeated it numerous times this offseason. The Yankees do not have a philosophy for building the 2015 team. They're avoiding giving big bucks to those who will help the team (i.e. David Robertson) one second, and in the next moment they are spending money in a ridiculous manner. It continued on Monday when media outlets reported that the Yankees and Chase Headley agreed to to a four-year, $52MM deal.

While $12MM a season is reasonable these days, giving Headley four years is not. This is a guy who has had ONE great season. It was a fabulous, MVP-type season. But he did nothing before it and he's done nothing since. Acquired at this past season's trade deadline, Headley had ONE good stretch as Yankee. He brings a great glove to the position, but having the left side of the infield as a complete good-glove, no-hit combo is not a good combo.

It is clear that Hal Steinbrenner does not want to spend money like his Dad. Which is fine, but spend it wisely. George made plenty of mistakes in that department too, but getting cheap on David Robertson isn't the way to do it. They should have used this money to lure back Brandon McCarthy. They overspent last year on Jacoby Ellsbury (by a lot) and Brian McCann.

This isn't the Kansas City Royals where it takes more than a decade to build a contender. This is New York and though the Yankees don't need to win the World Series every year, you at least want to be competetive.

The team still does not have a solid rotation due to injuries and uncertainities, and the lineup will have a hard time producing runs. Much of the issues comes down to Alex Rodriguez and, believe it or not, this is not his fault. The Yankees stupidly gave him a 10-year deal at an average of $27.5MM a year and it has completely hamstrung them.

This team is in disarray from top to bottom.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yankees Send Cervelli to Pirates for Lefty Reliever



Francisco Cervelli had an up and down career in his time in New York.  A fan favorite to some, part of the Biogenesis scandal, a sufferer of serious injuries, and one of the most spirited players in the Major Leagues.  But with Brian McCann signed to a five-year deal prior to the 2014 season and a laundry list of catching prospects making their towards the Majors, the Venezuela native became expendable. The Yankees sent their backup catcher to the Pittsburgh Pirates for left-handed reliever Justin Wilson.

Cervelli hit a career hit .301 this past season, but appeared in just 49 games. A strained hamstring in mid-April sent him to the 60-day disabled list and missed 59 games. He got hot towards the end of July, but drove in just 13 runs on the season. Defensively, he threw out just six of 24 potential base stealers.

Cervelli, who will be 28-years old when the 2015 season is in his first season of arbitration eligibility after he earned $700K last year.

The 27-year old Wilson appeared in 70 games this past season, his second full season in the Major Leagues. He finished 3-4, 4.20 with better than 9 K's/9 IP. In 2013, Wilson made 58 appearances and posted an ERA just over 2.00.

His numbers were actually better against right-handed hitters rather than lefties and he suffered some control issues. (30 walks in 60 IP). The California native was a 5th rd draft choice out of Cal St.-Fresno in 2008.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Yankees Talk D-Rob, Headley, Likely Say Sayonora to Kuroda



The postseason is over with the San Francisco Giants sleeping at night with visions of Madison Bumgarner dancing in their heads. It means it's time to get back to the business of baseball or more precisely, getting ready for next year.

First  on the docket is deciding whether to extend a qualifying offer to your team's eligible free agents. The Yankees most certainly will extend an offer to David Robertson, aka "D-Rob", who did a very good job in his first season as a full-time closer. Those who think the Yankees should let him go and immediately install Dellin Betances as closer are either bananas or haven't paid much attention to the games they watched.

Robertson will turn down the offer, which is set this year at $15.3MM, up from $14.1MM from last season. This is Robertson first chance at a multi-year, multimillion dollar deal and there will be plenty of calls to his agents. He would be a fool to accept a one year deal to keep his high socks in the Big Apple.

No player accepted the 2014 qualifying offer last season and that's a pattern that's likely to repeat this season. The exception, though, could be Hiroki Kuroda. Which is wjy the Yankees should NOT extend him a qualifying offer. After a fabulous 2013 season, Kuroda was very erratic this past season, though the team's lack of defense and run production hurt his record and adversely affected the outcome of many of the games he started. He would probably jump on the offer, if he intends to play another season and wants to stay a Yankee. There's no way the Yankees would (should) give him an amount close to that. The Yankees need to reserve their money for younger, talent-rich players. (And no, that doesn't mean an All-Star at every position.)

Though the only starting pitcher, at the moment, the Yankees have under contract and is (somewhat) healthy is Michael Pineda. Since CC Sabathia hasn't thrown a pitch in a Major League game since May 10, he's not yet in the equation. Ivan Nova is coming off Tommy John surgery. Masahiro Tanaka's seven innings in September, after two months off, doesn't inspire confidence, and Brandon McCarthy is also a free agent. David Phelps, Chase Whitley, and Shane Greene are all question marks for consistency, among other things.

In addition to not retaining Kuroda, the Yankees should also not pursue Max Scherzer, who turned down a six-year, $144MM offer from the Detroit Tigers earlier this year, or lefty Jon Lester, who figures to earn a boatload of money as a free agent. While either would be fine acquisitions, their cost is too high, especially for a team with so much money owed to underachieving players.

The Yankees should try to bring back McCarthy, who adapted to well to Yankee Stadium, and James Shields. While Shields does not always live up to that "Big Game" moniker, he'll give you a solid regular season and 200+ innings, and will make less than Scherzer or Lester. Jeff Samardzija is also likely to demand too many greenbacks.

The Yankees liked what they saw in third baseman Chase Headley, though he has not come close to his 2012 offensive production. (31 HR-115 RBI-.875 OPS) Headley was spectacular manning the hot corner and occassionally filled in at first base. Several media outlets reported today the Yankees are already in negotiations for a new contract with the 30-year old Colorado native. It may not be easy though, as Headley is preferred by a number of team to free agent Pablo Sandoval and his expected wish for a big money contract.

Headley had a .768 OPS in 58 games in pinstripes with 6 HR and 17 RBI. While far from spectacular, it was difficult for anyone  on the team to drive in runs when no one was getting on base on a regular basis. The plan would be for Headley to regular man third base with Alex Rodriguez becoming the primary DH.

UPDATE -  The Yankees indeed made an offer to Robertson and bypassed Kuroda.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jeter Reveals Players' Tribune Site



Derek Jeter has a job! No having to apply for unemployment! The choice of job is a curious one though. The freshly retired Yankees' shortstop is the publisher of his own brand new website, The Players' Tribune.

It's a site for "unfiltered" talk between athletes and the fans (and the media?) from a player who was notorious for not giving the media many worthy sound bites. This is a snippet from Jeter's website welcome:
"I do think fans deserve more than “no comments” or “I don’t knows.” Those simple answers have always stemmed from a genuine concern that any statement, any opinion or detail, might be distorted. I have a unique perspective.
Many of you saw me after that final home game, when the enormity of the moment hit me. I’m not a robot. Neither are the other athletes who at times might seem unapproachable. We all have emotions. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend."
Some would disagree about the robot part and the timing is strange considering Major League Baseball is in the middle of the post-season. While not comparing apples to apples, Alex Rodriguez was vilified when he opted out of his contract with the Yankees during the 2007 World Series.

Quick tip from a longtime blogger - Make sure your site isn't out of alignment like it is right now on the closing paragraph. Centering an entire paragraph usually doesn't look good. ;)


The Players' Tribune intro closing

"Introducing The Players’ Tribune, a new media platform that will present the unfiltered voices of professional athletes, bringing fans closer to the games they love than ever before. Founded by Derek Jeter, The Players’ Tribune aims to provide unique insight into the daily sports conversation and to publish first-person stories directly from athletes. From video to podcasts to player polls and written pieces, The Tribune will strive to be “The Voice of the Game.”


The initial reaction of the fans is "huh?" while some in the mainstream media would like to figuratively, or literally, flip Jeter the bird. The site mentions there will be more of a real today, October 2. Stay tuned.

Derek Jeter's appearance on the Today Show