Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Yankees Aim To Give The Captain One More Ring (D4A)

The 2013 New York Yankees season was rife with poor performance, injuries, moves made in desperation, steroid allegations, and a roster of maybes, has-beens, and never-weres. Owner Hal Steinbrenner wanted general manager Brian Cashman to get payroll under control so that the team would fit under the 2014 luxury tax threshold of $189MM. With injuries and payroll cuts, sub-par players like catcher Chris Stewart and journeyman infielders like Reid Brignac and Luis Cruz littered the 25-man roster last season.

Manager Joe Girardi did his best to push all the right buttons, but many days he simply ran out of buttons to push. The team managed to rack up 85 wins and finished in third place the AL East, but their record fell well short of a playoff appearance. It was just the second time since 1995 that the Yankees missed the post-season.

With Derek Jeter's announcement that this will be his final season, the moves made by the Yankees this off-season could give him one final chance to add to his championship ring collection (He has five).  More importantly, Jeter needs to remain healthy after ankle and quad injuries limited him to 17 games in 2013.
The Yankees upgraded at catcher when they signed veteran Brian McCann to a five-year deal worth $85MM. The former Atlanta Brave hit 20 or more home runs during the last six seasons and should enjoy swinging at the short porch in right field this year.

Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, a member of the Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series championship, was persuaded to put on the pinstripes with a seven- year deal in excess of $152MM. (The deal could earn Ellsbury close to $169 if the Yankees exercise an 8th-year option.) There's no question that the Yankees overpaid for a player who has missed more games than he has played in two of the last four seasons and suffered a calf injury during the current Spring Training season. But, if healthy, he can steal 50 bases and hit 10-15 home runs.

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Yogi Loses His Lifetime Love Carmen

A sad day for the Yankees family, but much more so for the Berra family. Carmen Berra, long time wife of Yankees legend Yogi Berra, passed away at an assisted living facility as the result of complications from the stroke she had suffered earlier this year.

The Berra's son Larry had this to say:
“She died peacefully -- she went the way she would have wanted to. We’re grateful that she and dad were able to spend some good time together (Thursday). I’m not just saying this because she was my mom, but she was one of the great women of all time.” 1
In addition to her beloved Yogi, to whom she was married for 65 years, she is survived by their sons - Larry, Dale, and Tim, and 11 grandchildren.

Hal Steinbrenner, managing general partner of the Yankees, released this statement:
On behalf of the entire New York Yankees organization, we offer our deepest condolences to the Berra family. Having known Yogi and Carmen for so long, it is almost impossible to imagine two people who complemented each other better than they did. We will always remember Carmen’s smile and sense of humor, and her kindness and generosity will be deeply missed by all who knew her.” 1
My condolences to the entire Berra family on their monumental loss.

1 - NY Daily News