Thursday, February 28, 2013

Teix Now Front And Center On The "Needs To Produce" Radar

(More swings like this, please.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

2013 was already going to be an important year for Mark Teixeira.  After a stellar Yankee debut season in 2009, the last three have been a downhill trend of offensive regression and 2013 was shaping up to be the tipping point for the rest of Teix's Yankee career.  He could either bounce back and prove that he still had enough in the tank to be a consistent middle-of-the-order threat, or continue his decline, officially enter the downside of his career, and become the latest contract anchor on the payroll.

Teix's comments to Dan Barbarisi a few weeks ago showed that he was very aware that he had reached this stage in his career, and his candor and openness about his regression was refreshing to read in a modern sports world full of excuses and cliches.  But that position became much less acceptable when A-Rod had his surgery and even more unacceptable when Curtis Granderson was shelved over the weekend.  Teix is now more important than ever to the lineup and the Yankees' chances for success this season, a point Mike Axisa touched on earlier in the week.  After spending four years flying under the radar in the Bronx, the spotlight is going to shine brighter on Teix than it ever has, and he needs to step up and meet the challenge.

Don't Get Too Jumpy About Hughes Just Yet

(Courtesy of the AP)

The latest bad injury news came in yesterday when Joe said "it's possible" that Phil Hughes won't be ready for the start of the season due to the bulging disk in his back.  At least it's bad news if you consider that tiny morsel of vague information news.  Hughes has done nothing but work out in a pool since the injury was diagnosed, and there's still no definite timetable for when he'll pick up a ball and throw again, let alone pitch in a ST game.

But Joe also acknowledged that it's still "too early to tell that" when delivering his pseudo-update on Hughes' condition, and with as much time as there still is in ST he's right.  Hughes has another two weeks before time really starts to work against him, and as a guy with a history of back injuries it's better to use as much of that time as he needs and not rush back to risk further injury.  It's possible that Hughes won't be ready for the start of the season just like it's possible that Jeter won't and just like there's "a chance" that A-Rod won't make it back at all this season.  Until we have a better idea of when he's going to start throwing again, it's not worth wringing our hands over.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Analyzing The Early Season "Sans-Granderson" Schedule

(Coach 'em up, guy.  Courtesy of Ron Antonelli/NY Daily News)

For all the talk about the projected strengths and weaknesses of this year's team, and the adjustments that now have to be made to make up for the loss of Curtis Granderson, nobody out there (myself included) has really looked at the schedule to see how difficult or easy a time the Yankees will have making those adjustments.  It's easy to say that every team in the AL East has gotten better (not all of them have) and the Yankee have gotten worse, but what teams the Yanks play and when they play them can have just as big an effect on their early-season success or failure as the makeup of their own club.  With that in mind, and as a way to tie together all the "what are they going to do to get by without C-Grand?" talk and this morning's sobering offensive projection, let's take a look at the early schedule and set some realistic expectations for what the Yankees can do.

Joba's Latest Words Signal Future Intentions

There's been plenty of talk about what the future has in store for upcoming free agents like Robbie Cano, Phil Hughes, and C-Grand, but there's another upcoming FA who's not getting a lot of attention, at least not until yesterday.  Joba Chamberlain's contract is also up after this season, and he made it pretty clear what his intentions are with his comments about his ability to pitch as a starter again.  Joba has been a full-time reliever with the Yankees since 2010, and at this point there's no chance they make the attempt to convert him back to a starter.  Joba's best chance to get that chance again is being signed by a team willing to at least try him out as a starting pitcher and his statements yesterday certainly seemed like Joba trying to set that precedent early and up his value on the open market.

The timing of Joba's comments can be called into question, and I did like both Joe and Cash subliminally pointing that out in their responses to Joba, but at the same time I can't really get on Joba for saying what he said.  He's 27 years old, hitting free agency for the first time in his career, and doesn't have much of a resume to show off in an attempt to get a big deal.  The Yankees and their handling/mishandling of the early years of his career are a contributing factor to that light resume.  Their commitment to letting him start was always weak at best, and even though his career starter splits aren't Strasburg-ian, a 4.18/4.27/4.17 slash over 221.2 IP in 43 starts as a 23/24-year-old is hardly a good reason to pull the plug.  Joba' has the right to speak his mind and do what he feels is in his best interests, same as the team has used him to fit their best interests.

Some are going to spin this as Joba not being focused on this season and not being focused on the team, but I don't see it that way.  If anything, I think this is a sign that Joba is more focused and feeling better than he has in years.  He's healthy again and he knows his opportunities to prove himself this season are going to be limited.  It's no fun thinking about the prospect of him leaving for another club, but if this is the first step towards a return of the flame-throwing, fist-pumping, post-K-screaming Joba, I'm OK with it.

Latest ZiPS Projections Not Kind To The Yankee Offense

Not to belabor the point, but the Yankee offense has taken a beating these last 4+ months.  Through players lost, lesser players added, players getting injured, and players recovering from injuries, the starting lineup on Opening Day could look drastically different than in recent years and drastically weaker as well.  Dan Szymborski of ESPN, master of the ZiPS projection system, attempted to project just how much weaker the lineup could be after the Curtis Granderson injury by running the latest projected lineup through a simulator.

It's an Insider Only piece, but there are only a few key things you need to know to get the point of this exercise.  One is that Szymborski left Derek Jeter out of this lineup projection, not an entirely unfair move with Jeter's Opening Day status still in the air.  The other is that the projected lineup looked like this: 1) Gardner, 2) Ichiro, 3) Cano, 4) Teix, 5) Youkilis, 6) Hafner, 7) Rivera, 8) Stewart, 9) Nunez.  You don't have to be a sabermetric genius to figure out that that lineup ain't much.  But just how bad does it project to be?  I'm glad you asked.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Johnny Damon? No Thanks

As part of the MLB-wide reaction to the Curtis Granderson injury, Johnny Damon's name popped up yesterday as a possible cheap stopgap option.  Damon himself spoke at length about his desire to return to the Yankees and his willingness to work around their needs as a temporary player:

“You guys know that I would have tons of interest to go to New York.  But I just don’t think they would be interested.  They have had plenty of opportunities and I kept raising my hand, wanting to go back and, you know, hopefully it would be a perfect fit. It always had been. Have me for six weeks and then send me off on my merry way. That’s fine.”

Damon's interest in returning to New York has been a yearly offseason topic of discussion for him, but as he said, the feeling hasn't been mutual from the Yankees' side.  A year or two ago he would have made sense as a 4th outfielder, but based on his recent performance I don't think that argument still holds.  Damon hit just .222/.281/.329 (.271 wOBA) in 224 PA for Cleveland last year before being cut, with his lowest BB rate since 1996.  He's been on a rapid decline since leaving the Yankees after the '09 season, and even though he still rates positively as a defensive outfielder, it would be a stretch to say he's a better offensive option than the collection of guys already in-house who have to step up and cover for the loss of C-Grand.

So sorry, John.  You'll always have a place in Yankee history, and I know I'll never forget the double stolen base in Game 4 of the '09 World Series, but you just don't cut the mustard anymore.

The Problem With Brett Gardner

(He does deserve props for the bunt.  Courtesy of the AP)

Getting Brett Gardner back is going to be a huge boost for the Yankees this year.  His count-working ability and speed on the basepaths brings back a key missing element to the team's offense and gives Joe another lead-off option, and that same speed makes him arguably the team's best and most important defensive player wherever he is in the outfield.  When Gardner went down last season, the team's speed went down with him, and getting that speed back is a huge blessing for a team that's lost a big chunk of its power.  But Gardner's speed can also be a curse, something that can and has gotten him into trouble before.  Nowhere was that more apparent than in his first at-bat of yesterday's game.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weird Injury Situations Already Popping Up This Year

(Never a good look.  Courtesy of Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News)

Spring Training still isn't two weeks old and already it's been an eventful one for the Yankees, especially in the health department.  The Bombers had their fair share of injury concerns coming into camp with A-Rod's hip surgery and their collection of veterans fighting to come back on schedule from major 2012 injuries.  And after a season as injury-plagued as 2012, it would have been nice to have a spring that was light on the injury news.  I guess the infamous baseball gods didn't get that memo because these first two weeks have been chock full of injury stories, and not just from the expected recovery sources.  As luck would have it, none of those guys have been problem areas at all so far, quite the opposite in fact.

Mo Ahead Of Schedule Again This Spring, Could Indicate Retirement Plans

When Mariano Rivera showed up early to camp (by his standards) last season and started throwing earlier than he usually did, it was a pretty strong indicator that 2012 was going to be his last season.  Those plans got derailed by his ACL injury, but it appears Mo is taking a similar approach this spring as he puts the finishing touches on his comeback from surgery.

Now it could just be a coincidence that he's on almost the same schedule he was last year- arrive the day after pitchers and catchers report, starting throwing bullpens and side sessions weeks earlier than he used to- and the timing of Mo's ST activities could be dictated more by his knee rehab schedule than personal preference, but it's still worth nothing that he's ahead of where he usually is at this point in ST.  He faced live hitters for the second time this morning and said the knee felt good.  The next step is still pitching in full game situation settings and seeing how he moves when he has to field a grounder or cover first base, but Mo himself talks like he's not worried about that.

Mo said a few weeks ago he had made a decision on his future after this season but that he wasn't going to announce that decision yet.  I saw his accelerated schedule last ST as a sign that he was going to hang 'em up after the season, and even if that similar schedule this spring is being driven by the knee rehab and not Mo's own plans I still feel it's that same  sign.  On the one hand, it's great to see that Mo is progressing nicely and not suffering any setbacks on his road to recovery.  On the other, it's never good to have to think about Mo retiring again.

Impact & Effects Of C-Grand's Fractured Forearm

(Why pitch that far inside in late February???  Courtesy of the AP)

I've been tougher on Curtis Granderson than most these past few seasons, admittedly shifting from excitement about his new power swing to disappointment that it sapped so much of the rest of what used to be a well-rounded offensive game.  But even I can't try to spin his fractured right forearm into anything remotely positive because there's simply nothing positive to take from it.  Granderson was one of the handful of players the Yankees couldn't afford to lose this year, Teix and Cano being the other two, and to lose him for 10 weeks, even if half of that time is Spring Training time, is a huge blow.  The baseball season doesn't give you timeouts or do-overs, though, so the Yankees must move forward with the players they have and try to figure out a strategy for how to get by without C-Grand until May.

There are a lot of aftershocks that will be felt throughout the ST roster and lineup, from now until the regular season starts, and a lot of players who are going to be looked at differently for the rest of spring camp.  In order of most immediately important to least, here are the biggest effects of C-Grand's injury.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Curtis Granderson Out With A Fractured Right Forearm

I was hoping it wouldn't be this bad after first reading that he had left the game after getting hit on the right wrist in his first AB of 2013, but the Yankees are calling Curtis Granderson's injury a fractured right forearm according to multiple reporters, and he is expected to be out 10 weeks.

This is obviously a huge unexpected blow to the Yankees and what was expected to be a weaker offense this year.  More details to come on this story as they become available.

** UPDATE 2:05 PM- Just to clarify, the 10 weeks includes time needed to recover and rehab (via Jack Curry). **

** UPDATE 2:29PM- Granderson on the injury- "I was excited. My body was feeling good, mind was feeling good and I was ready to go. Five pitches in we have a little setback. They said it could be worse. Now we rest, recover, get it back and get ready to play whenever that day comes. " (via Mark Feinsand) **

** UPDATE 2:52PM- Via Bryan Hoch, Cash has already ruled out the possibility of Eduardo Nunez being an OF replacement for Granderson. **

** UPDATE 3:19PM- Via Erik Boland, Cash has said that all current replacement options are internal.  We'll see how long that lasts. **

Yanks Not Willing To Give Up Much For Soriano

As the transition from offseason to preseason has been made, the chatter about what players the Yankees might go after to fill out their roster, or at least add depth for the ST competitions, has quieted down considerably.  One player whose name never really picked up a lot of steam was Alfonso Soriano, who the Cubs would love to get rid of and who would have been a great fit for the Yankees' righty OF needs.  Earlier this week, Jon Heyman all but put the final nail in the coffin of any "Soriano to the Yanks" possibility by tweeting that the Yankees weren't willing to give up much in the way of prospects to bring Soriano back.

According to Heyman, the Yankees wouldn't be willing to give up a "good" prospect let alone a top one for Soriano, who still has 2 years and $36 mil left on his current contract.  Heyman did say they would be willing to pay 10 of the remaining $36 million, but with Theo looking to add talent to his rebuilding project in Chicago that bit of financial relief won't be enough to get a deal done if it doesn't include said talent.  When I wrote about the idea of adding Soriano late last year, I said I'd like to have him if the costs required tipped a little more in the Yankees' favor.  If even a good prospect is still a part of those costs, I'm more than willing to pass on Soriano and it appears the Yankee brass is as well.

Spring Training Game 1 Wrap-Up: NYY 8 ATL 3

(Courtesy of the AP)

There wasn't a whole lot of meaning to yesterday's Spring Training opener, other than players on both sides using it to take the next step in their preparation for the 2013 season.  Major League participants in yesterday's game were outnumbered by the Minor League counterparts, and most of them didn't stay in the game for more than 3-4 innings.  It was about what you'd expect from a ST opener, with little to be taken from the game that will have an impact on the big picture.  But just like the players have to get back in the groove of their regular baseball routine, so do the bloggers.  So I'm using yesterday's game as my early Spring Training workout for getting back into doing game recaps.

Game Notes:

- David Phelps got his 5th starter competition off to a solid start, pitching 2 innings of shutout ball and allowing 3 hits.  Just a small first step, but still a good first step.

- Brett Marshall looked good in his 2 relief innings of Phelps.  He did give up an earned run on a walk and a double, but he also struck out 2 batters and had his fastball sitting 93-94.  Not bad velocity for a first spring outing.

- Strong showing for a couple MiL outfielders.  Melky Mesa showed off his speed with a nice play in center and a stolen base that led to a run in the 3rd.  Zoilo Almonte was the star of the day with a great throw to nail a runner trying to go 1st to 3rd on a single and a 2-run homer in the 4-run 3rd.

- Robinson Cano also looked good in his first game of the year, belting a solo shot in the 5th and scoring 2 runs.  He's got about a week's worth of ST games left before joining his team for the WBC.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Joba Chamberlain Says Hello

Looking good, Joba.  Donnie Baseball ain't got nothing on that 'stache.  Just dripping class all over the place.

P.S.- How could David Price not want to come to New York and be able to rock facial hair like that??

First Spring Training Game Today

It's been 127 days since the New York Yankees played a baseball game.  That streak ends today with the start of Grapefruit League season.  It's not a full Major League lineup, the handful of Major League regulars won't play for very long, and you won't see any of the Major League pitchers, but who cares?  Baseball is officially back!

Today's Lineup

1) Eduardo Nunez- SS
3) Mark Teixeira- 1B 
4) Juan Rivera- DH 
5) Matt Diaz- LF 
7) Melky Mesa- CF 
8) Zoilo Almonte- RF 

SP) David Phelps- RHP

Other players who could see game action today include Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, Austin Romine, Ramon Flores, Nik Turley, Brett Marshall, Branden Pinder, and Francisco Rondon.

Go Yankees!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 2/22/13

Big old batch of links this week.  Let's get right into it.

- On Monday, Jimmy Kraft of Yanks Go Yard, seemingly in anticipation of the public outcry to come, looked at some of the traditional slow starters on the Yankee roster.

- George Szabo of Gutty Gritty Yankees looked at a potential inter-divisional matchup problem between the Yankee lineup and Toronto's lefties.

- Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily previewed the newly named Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.  Not a lot of sexy names there, but it should be a strong team.

- On Tuesday, EJ Fagan of TYA argued against the idea of extending Robinson Cano now, believing it's a better strategic move to wait and see how 2013 plays out first.

- El duque of It Is High... wondered if the Houston Astros moving to the AL West will hurt the Yankees' wild card chances.

- Mike Axisa of RAB pointed out just how important Eric Chavez was to the team last year and how much more important he could have been this year.

- On Wednesday, William Juliano of The Captain's Blog pointed out the flaws in Jeff Passan's piece about the Yankees being poor developers of pitching in the last 5 years, and showed how they've actually been pretty good at it.  I was hoping to touch on this today, but William beat me to it and said everything better than I could have.

- Egon Spengler of NoMaas mused on what David Phelps could have in store for an encore in 2013.

- Matthew B of Yankees Fans Unite correctly pointed out that the rest of the AL East has its own questions heading into the season, an important thing to remember if you're bumming on the Yankees.

- Steven Goldman of Pinstriped Bible picked through other teams' roster depth to identify possible trade targets who could help the Yankees.

- On Thursday, Chad Jennings of LoHud used his morning notes to give unfamiliar fans an introduction to prospect Corban Joseph.

- Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits, also doing a week-long look at the ST roster battles, examined the 4th OF/Righty DH competition and came to conclusions very similar to my own.


- Bryan Van Dusen of The Greedy Pinstripes kept their string of prospect interviews going by talking to Ty Hensley.  I can't say I'm a fan of his at-bat song choice...

- On Friday, Tamar Chalker of IIATMS released their official Top 30 Prospects rankings for 2013.

This week's Friday Jam is "Hey Joe" by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, arguably the greatest song about the worst subject matter in the history of music.  I read that the BBC had to apologize earlier this week for one of its stations playing this song after doing a news report on the Oscar Pistorius case.  Pistorius is obviously a piece of garbage and there's nothing cool about murdering your significant other in cold blood, but let's get one thing straight.  Nobody ever has to apologize for playing "Hey Joe" on the radio.  Ever.  That song is the biz and I sure as shit ain't apologizing for playing it now.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

2013 Spring Training Roster Battles: Utility Infielder

(Courtesy of Barton Silverman/NY Times)

The last real roster battle in this year's camp is definitely the least exciting of all the battles, but is one that could have more importance than people realize.  The left side of the Yankee infield is full of more health-related questions than answers thanks to A-Rod's hips, Jeter's ankle, and Youkilis' entire body.  At the very least the Yankees are going to have to lean on their utility guy more in the first month of the season to give Jeter time to get into everyday game shape and to make sure that Youkilis doesn't get too worn down from playing every day.  At most, the utility guy might have to step into an everyday role for a period of time if Jeter or Youkilis hit the DL.  The Yankees have gotten by with average-at-best production from this spot in the last few years, but average-at-best might not cut it this season now that Eric Chavez has moved on.  Without a real solid corner infield option, the utility infielder role will expand in 2013, and these are the fellas competing for the job.

Phil Hughes And The Art Of Not Being Labeled Injury-Prone

Phil Hughes has been given a lot of different titles and descriptive identifiers in his professional career.  From "can't miss" and "surefire" to "uncertain" and "inconsistent," he's pretty much run the gamut of labels given to top prospects in his still short Major League career.  One thing he hasn't been called, however, is injury-prone, which comes as a bit of a surprise given his long track record of injuries, the latest of which could put him out of early spring action for a couple weeks.

(Click to enlarge.  Courtesy of Baseball Prospectus)

Take a gander there.  That's not a short list by any measure, basically one injury for every year Hughes has pitched in the Majors.  For most guys, that's enough to get the label slapped on them after just 3 or 4 years, but Hughes has spent 6 pitching at the Major League level and has still yet to have his injury problems questioned as much as his offspeed pitch selection, fastball command, or future ceiling.  How can that be?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 Spring Training Roster Battles: 4th Outfielder

(Failboat... Courtesy of Getty Images)

The departure of Nick Swisher and the re-upping with Ichiro Suzuki has left the Yankees with an all-lefty starting outfield for 2013.  That's not the worst thing in the world considering the benefits of having 81 games at home for those guys to swing for the short porch in right field (well, maybe not for Gardner) and the fact that most pitchers are still right-handed.  But it does create a greater need for a useful, right-handed 4th outfielder on the bench.  Andruw Jones filled that role for the previous two seasons, with varying levels of success, and as part of the early payroll crunching plans the Yankees decided to stay cheap and low-risk in their search for his replacement rather than trading away prospects for someone like Michael Morse.  The added internal MiL candidates for the job makes depth a non-issue, but how do all of these guys shake out in the competition hierarchy now that we know who has opt-out clauses?

David Price Is An Idiot

The light at the end of the $189 million tunnel for us Yankee fans is the prospect of the Yankees getting back to their spending ways once they dip under the luxury tax threshold and reset the penalties.  One of their big targets in the years to come is going to be David Price, the Rays' 27-year-old Cy Young winner. Price is still years away from free agency, but could be at risk of following James Shields out the door in a cost-controlling trade before he becomes too rich for Tampa's blood.  Price talked to Jon Morosi  about that possibility yesterday, and mentioned the Yankees as a team he wouldn't want to sign a long-term deal with because of their facial hair policy.

Dave, Dave, Dave.  You fool.  I have a beard too, a better one than yours if I'm being honest, and I would cringe at the thought of having to rid myself of it just to play for the Yankees.  But what you don't realize is that by making that statement you've shown your hand.  The correct answer to Morosi's reference to the Yankee beard policy would have been, "I'm not even worried about that right now.  I love being a Tampa Bay Ray and I'm focused on this season and my teammates and us doing what we have to do to get back to the postseason.  I can't think about what may or may not happen years down the line, I just have to keep doing my job."  Instead you took the bait and talked about why you wouldn't want to re-sign there like it was already a foregone conclusion that you were going to be traded to the Yankees.

Just admit it, bro.  You've got Yankees on the brain.  You sweat the Yankees.  You can't get them out of your head.  Even if you aren't traded, you've got three more years before you become a free agent and your beard even becomes an issue.  Three years is a long time into the future, my dude, and you're already fixated on whether or not you're going to have to shave your beard for the Yankees.  You're like the girl in high school who's already dreaming about her crush asking her to the prom in October.  You might as well schedule a sitdown with the Steinbrenners and work out a new contract right now.

Bearded man to bearded man, I can appreciate your love for your facial hair.  But you're only lying to yourself if you honestly believe you are going to turn down an offer from the Yankees for that reason, and the way you responded to Morosi bringing it up is proof.  At the end of the day, money talks and facial hair walks.

Hal Ditching The $189 Million Budget? Believe It When You See It

(Budget cutbacks in the style department too, huh?  Courtesy of Getty Images)

After a dark, dismal offseason, there may be some rays of spending sunshine peeking through the clouds.  At least that's the implication in Wally Matthews' latest post from yesterday afternoon.  In it, Matthews suggests that Hal Steinbrenner's sudden willingness to engage in contract extension talks with Robinson Cano could signal a shift in Hal's philosophy on spending and the eventual end of the $189 million payroll budget for next season.  Matthews cites "sources" in the story, unnamed ones of course, and the whole concept of the story seems like a big conclusion to jump to based on a few reports of the two sides talking.  It's great in theory, but being willing to negotiate a new deal with Cano before his current one is up doesn't exactly trump every other offseason decision the Yankees made.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2013 Spring Training Roster Battles: Starting Catcher

(Is the kid already being groomed?  Courtesy of Ron Antonelli/NY Daily News)

There's no denying that the Yankees downgraded at more than one position this offseason, perhaps nowhere more than at catcher.  Low 2012 batting average aside, Russell Martin was a good 2-way backstop in his two years in New York.  He brought power and patience (the top two Yankee offensive staples) to the plate, some decent speed and smarts on the basepaths, and a strong all-around defensive game behind the plate.  The Yankees' decision to not even offer him a contract this offseason was beyond puzzling, both because of the money involved in the deal he eventually did sign and because of what they had left available to pick from for a replacement.  There's no other way to say it than to just say that the Yankees have two substandard candidates for the everyday job this year, guys who are much better suited as backups than starters.  That's the decision the front office made and a decision they've stood by all offseason, for better or worse.  Now that camp has started, we'll find out who's the next in line to be the bridge to Gary Sanchez.

2013: Year Of The Back

Of the litany of injuries that struck the Yankee organization last year, the defining body part was probably the elbow.  Elbow injuries affected veteran and prospect alike in 2012, prematurely ending more than one season, extending to end one player's 2013 season, and lessening the impact of some of the key Major Leaguers.  If the first 2 days of full-team camp are any indication, this season's injury area du jour is shaping up to be the back.

Two days of team workouts complete, two back injuries.  Mark Montgomery was scratched from a scheduled bullpen session on Monday with a back strain, and has yet to have another session scheduled.  Yesterday, it was Phil Hughes who was shelved for a few days with back stiffness after hurting himself in a fielding drill on Monday.  Neither injury is expected to be serious and both players are expected to be back soon (no pun intended), but back injuries have the tendency to linger and can turn into a recurring problem if not given enough time to fully heal.  Just ask Austin Romine.

I'm not trying to scare anybody or stir shit up in the first week of camp here.  But if another player hurts his back today...

** UPDATE 9:35AM- And the AB4AR jinx strikes again!!  New report on Hughes, via George King and Joel Sherman of The Post, has him diagnosed with a bulging disc in his back after visiting a spine specialist yesterday.  He is going to be out of action for at least 5 days, possibly up to 2 weeks. **

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013 Spring Training Roster Battles: 5th Starter

(Can Nova The Unknown shake off his terrible 2012?)

Now that all the players are in camp and team workouts have started, we can transition from introducing them to the unwashed masses who may not be familiar with every ST invitee to actually analyzing them and what they have on their respective plates this spring.

The Yankees are never short on spring roster competitions and this year is no exception.  There are four surefire roster spot battles that will be playing out over the course of this year's camp, and if you want to be bold and throw the right-handed DH role into the mix then there are five.  I personally don't consider that a real competition as that spot is basically going to be a revolving door for all the old, right-handed infielders on the roster and possibly Eduardo Nunez if the Yanks get tired of watching him botch shit in the field.  So four it is, and we're going to cover all four this week, starting with the most exciting and most time-honored of Yankee Spring Training competitions- the competition for the 5th spot in the starting rotation.

Yankees Put Four In Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects

Prospect season continued today with the unveiling of Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list.  This comes on the heels of Keith Law's Top 100 from two weeks ago and BA's 11th place ranking for the Yankee farm system as a whole last month.

The four players who made the cut come as no surprise.  Mason Williams ranked 32nd, Gary Sanchez 57th, Slade Heathcott 63rd, and Tyler Austin 77th.  Williams and Sanchez moved up the board significantly from their rankings last year (Sanchez was 81st, Williams 85th), and the inclusion of Heathcott and Austin gives the Yankees 4 in BA's Top 100 for the second straight year even after ManBan and Dellin Betances dropped off.

BA wasn't as high on this group as Law was in his rankings, but this continues the same trend that we've seen play out with the Yankee organizational rankings this offseason/preseason.  It's Williams, Sanchez, Austin, Heathcott, and everybody else.  Hopefully that talent gap gets closed some this season with some bounce back years from other top guys and a couple of big hits in this year's draft, but 4 in the top 77 is still pretty damn good.

Is Michael Pineda Ahead Of Schedule? Should We Be Excited About That?

(Courtesy of the AP)

Michael Pineda came to Yankee camp last year with high expectations.  He was a hulking 23-year-old kid coming off an impressive rookie season, the Yankees had just traded their best prospect in years to acquire him, and he represented the first significant move in the Yankees' efforts to get younger and get below the $189 million payroll threshold.  Long story short, those expectations were far from being met after Pineda showed up to camp overweight, struggled with his velocity and command, and eventually missed the whole 2012 season with a labrum tear in his pitching shoulder.

Pineda came to camp this year with no expectations.  He started his rehab throwing program in the fall, and the early words coming back from Brian Cashman and the coaching staff focused more on the idea of Pineda not pitching at all in 2013 than on exactly when he would be back.  Since arriving in Tampa, however, there's been a pretty noticeable shift in the Pineda discussion and evaluation, and there seems to be a renewed sense of positivity about the progress he's making.  With not a lot of other positive storylines to latch onto this spring, I'll raise the question.  Is it too early to start getting excited about Pineda's comeback?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nunez Confusion Continues

A little over a month ago, Brian Cashman stated that Eduardo Nunez would be shifted back to the utility infielder role that was taken away from him in 2012 because of his defensive struggles.  That announcement inspired my response post in which I openly questioned the Yankees' logic and decision making when it came to handling Nunez.  While acknowledging that Nunez has all the tools to be an effective utility infielder and was the best in-house candidate for the job, I felt and still feel that the Yankees' failure to stick with one defined role for Nunez was hindering his development and possibly contributing to his continued problems in the field.

This past weekend, the saga continued when Joe announced that Nunez would work exclusively as a shortstop in camp this year and there are no plans to work him in at any other position "for right now."  The reasons for doing this are obvious and sound, as Derek Jeter is expected to have a slow spring to work himself back from his ankle surgery and will definitely need regular days off early in the season regardless of whether he is able to play on Opening Day or not.  Nunez is the most logical choice as a backup for Jeter, and making sure he's prepared to fill that role makes sense.

With regards to the utility infielder position and Nunez's involvement in that role, however, Joe's statement does cause a bit of trepidation, if for no other reason than it's not in agreement with what Cash said earlier.  Third base is going to be just as much an area of concern with respect to health and rest as shortstop is, and Nunez was expected to be the backup for that position as well under the "utility infielder" title.  This disagreement in role definition from the two guys most in control of setting the definitions could be setting Nunez up for failure again, and could result in an adjustment of the projected bench roles and players filling those roles if there are still questions about Nunez's ability to handle the utility infielder job.

Scaled Back Spring For CC Could Be A Positive

(Always good to see the big fella on the mound.  Courtesy of the AP)

After what the team called a "scheduling error," CC Sabathia threw his first bullpen session of the spring on Saturday, really testing out his left elbow for the first time since offseason surgery to remove bone chips.  Sabathia said he felt good after the 29-pitch session, which was all fastballs and changeups, and commented on his desire to stay healthy for the full season this year, something that becomes a new goal for all players as they journey into their mid-30s.  Joe was also happy with CC's performance and gave a little bit of insight into what might be a more cautious team approach with CC this season when he announced that CC will be skipped the first time through the spring rotation.  This might come as a surprise and cause for concern for some, but if this is handled correctly it could be the perfect way to keep CC fresh.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Prep Yourself, Fool

Position players were set to report to camp today, which puts the Yankee 2013 Spring Training contingent at full attendance.  I am hanging like a bastard today, so rather than cover whatever's going on at camp today (hint- pitchers are pitching, catchers are catching, hitters are hitting), I'm just going to re-post all the Report Date Prepper posts from the past week and give you one last chance to get yourself ready for this year's camp.  As it is, I wrote half of these posts with a hangover too, so it only seems fitting.

- The Catchers

- The Relievers

- The Starters

- The Infielders

- The Outfielders

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Wait, Derek Lowe Is Still Available?

That's a serious question.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I didn't realize Derek Lowe was still wallowing away on the free agent market.  I assumed some team had already snapped him up on a MiL deal after his surprisingly strong late-2012 stint with the Yanks.  Came to find out he's still out there thanks to Axisa's little update blurb on him yesterday when Lowe said he would be willing to come out of the bullpen.

I definitely wouldn't be interested in Lowe on anything more than a MiL deal, and I wouldn't expect him to make the Opening Day roster, but he could be valuable in multiple scenarios for the Yankees.  At best, he could do what Axisa would like him to do and serve as the swingman and 7th reliever in the bullpen, freeing the lose of the Nova-Phelps competition up to go down to Triple-A to stay stretched out as a starter for the eventual injury that will come up.  At worst, he decides to stay in Triple-A after camp ends and serves that cheap veteran innings-eater function I was talking about yesterday.

Lowe might still be holding out for a Major League offer, counting on other injuries in another camp inspiring teams to give him a look.  But if he doesn't get any, and still wants to play, he should be willing to take a MiL deal as much as the Yankees should be willing to offer him one.

Nothing To See Here, Folks...

Nope, nothing at all.  No big deal.  Just the 2 best pitchers in the last 30+ years of Yankee history doing their thing in the bullpen.  That's a pretty everyday occurrence right there.  Probably discussing the finer points of the cutter and counting their World Series rings.  Moving on...

(Photo courtesy of Erik Boland)

Don't Forget About Cesar Cabral

With almost every other pitcher still in the earliest phases of their Spring Training routines, Michael Pineda has dominated the headlines with the positive reviews he's gotten from his rehab work.  But there's another pitcher also on the comeback trail who's worth keeping an eye on, and that's lefty Cesar Cabral.  You might remember Cabral as one of last year's Rule 5 draft picks who came to camp and impressed the coaching staff.  He actually had a leg up on Clay Rapada for the 2nd LOOGY job, and probably would have won it were it not for the fractured elbow he suffered late in camp that caused him to miss all of 2012.

Via Chad Jennings, Cabral was also out on the mound yesterday and threw a 25-pitch session that drew positive feedback from Joe.  Like Pineda, Cabral won't be ready for the opening of the 2013 season, but his return should come much earlier as a reliever and could be a blessing if there are problems with Boone Logan.  George King reported yesterday that Logan had a wrap on his arm after throwing long toss and Larry Rothschild confirmed that the Yankees "are being cautious with him" this spring.  The first few days of ST are hardly the time to be cautious with a pitcher who isn't hurt, and this approach is a sign that there's concern about Logan's health after his heavy 2012 workload.  Cabral's presence not only gives the Yankees the opportunity to be cautious with Logan, but also to have another lefty option should Logan end up on the DL.

The Yankees could have very easily cut bait on Cabral last year after he missed the season, and it would have been perfectly understandable given his injury and the fact that they added more LOOGY depth to their system.  But they kept him around, brought him back to camp this year, and barring another injury will have him available should their bullpen require another lefty arm.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 2/15/13

No time for jibber jabber today.  Let's just jump right into the links!

- On Monday, el duque of It Is High... listed his top 10 Yankee prospects and went pretty off the board with his top two selections.

- William Juliano of The Captain's Blog investigated the pros and cons of the new Ticketmaster deal, and what the effects would be for buyers and sellers.

- On Tuesday, Matt Imbrogno of TYA took the lineup building idea a step further than I did by constructing two optimal batting orders based on CAIRO projections.

- Robert Casey of Bleeding Yankee Blue interviewed SS prospect Cito Culver.  I wish Robert would have asked him when he's planning on dropping the switch-hitting thing, but that's probably why I don't do interviews.

- On Wednesday, Jason Cohen of Pinstriped Bible dug deeper into Joe's "finding new ways to score" statement to point out that this year's team will not be completely powerless.

- Mike Axisa of RAB reviewed the Yankees' collection of 2012 international signings.  At first glance, there aren't any players who stand out like a Gary Sanchez, but there is potential there.

- Egon Spengler of NoMaas played with past and present projections for Jeter, A-Rod, and Ichiro to set a basis for expectations in 2013.

- Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits compared the projections for the 2013 offense to last year to see just how big the potential drop-off could be.

- On Thursday, Lisa Swan of Subway Squawkers commented on the Yankee front office's continued battle against StubHub and the stupidity of their choice to make that a major offseason focus.

- Chad Jennings of LoHud had the latest on Michael Pineda's rehab, which sounds like it's going very well, and some comments from coaches on his progress.

- Kate Conroy of Lady Loves Pinstripes wasn't drinking the Joe Girardi Kool-Aid when it came to the 95 wins declaration.

- Hunter Farman of Yanks Go Yard said the utility infielder job is Corban Joseph's to lose this spring.  I don't know if I would go that far, but he certainly has an opportunity.

- On Friday, Stacey Gotsulias of IIATMS set everybody straight on the comments Kevin Youkilis made about "always being a Red Sock."  Stacey is running the show over there now, so make sure you've got IIATMS in your regular blogosphere rotation if it isn't already.

- Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes kept the prospect interview train chugging by having his own Q&A with Corey Black.

This week's Friday Jam is "War Machine" by BRMC because well, why the hell not?

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

Yanks Still In The Market For Pitching Depth, Eyeing An Old Friend

Along with signing cheap veteran players to fill bench results, a Yankee staple the past few seasons has been stashing a cheap veteran starter or two in the Minors for emergency pitching depth.  Last year it was Ramon Ortiz and John Maine who filled that role, and filled it admirably, but so far this offseason there hasn't been a single signing of that type.

Enter this little nugget of intel from The Post's George King about the Yankees monitoring the status of Chien-Ming Wang, who threw for Billy Connors recently in a quasi-audition.  According to King, the Yankees haven't reached out to Wang or his agent, but they will be scouting him when he pitches for Taiwan in the WBC.  Wang has never been the same since injuring his foot in Houston in 2008, and was downright awful last season in Washington (6.68/5.85/5.43 in 32.1 IP).  He wouldn't be in the running for a Major League call up, as those will most likely be given to Adam Warren and Brett Marshall, but he could serve as backup depth in Triple-A should one of those younger arms be needed in the Majors.

Position Players Report Date Prepper: The Outfield

(Awww, friendship.  Courtesy of Reuters)

Players continue to trickle into Yankee camp this week, but they all have to officially be there by Sunday, when Spring Training will really get started.  The final group of players to take a look at are the outfielders.  The Yankee outfield in 2013 will look, and probably play, much different than the one that started last season.  Nick Swisher is gone, replaced by the re-signed Ichiro in right field, and Brett Gardner returns to left (or possibly center) after missing pretty much all of last season.  The backup OF spots are not as clearly defined as they were last spring, and one of the main roster battles in camp will be for that coveted 4th outfield bench spot.  Let's meet our contestants.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

At What Point Would The Yankees Consider Trading Robinson Cano?

(Dat swing... Courtesy of Getty Images)

Picture this.  It's sometime around the All Star Break, and the Yankees are floundering.  Andy is on the DL again; CC has had issues with his surgically-repaired elbow and spent a 15-day stint on the shelf as well; Hirok has regressed after his heavy 2012 workload; Phil and Nova are pitching about the same as they did last season.  Jeter's return from his ankle injury has been tough and he's still having to take days off to stay healthy enough to play; Youkilis is underperforming and on the DL with Andy; C-Grand is still striking out a lot, Teix continues to decline, and Ichiro is pre-trade Ichiro and not the post-trade version.  The team is hovering around 3rd or 4th place in the AL East, 13 games out of the division lead and 10 out of the last Wild Card spot.  It's the worst worst-case scenario imaginable, but one that honestly has a non-zero chance of happening.  If that were situation at the ASB, would that be enough to inspire the front office to trade Robbie Cano?

Position Players Report Date Prepper: The Infield

(Finger guns FTW.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

With Mo making his customary late arrival yesterday, all the pitchers and catchers who were invited to participate in Spring Training are now in camp.  And believe it or not, they're actually pitching and catching.  The remaining members of the ST invite list, the infielders, outfielders, and designated hitters, are scheduled to arrive on Sunday to complete the squad and get ready for the first Grapefruit League game of the preseason a week from Saturday.  Continuing our rough run-through of the players participating in big league camp this year, here are the infielders we can expect to see on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yanks Make Small Trade, Add A Bullpen Arm

It wasn't a move to re-acquire Jesus Montero as some people have suggested, and it wasn't the dream trade for Felix Hernandez that many still desire, but the Yankees and Mariners hooked up again today in a minor deal.  The Yankees acquired right-handed reliever Shawn Kelley from Seattle for MiL outfielder Abraham Almonte.

Kelley is 28 years old, has good size at 6'2"/220, and is actually a pretty decent relief pitcher.  In 44.1 IP last season over 47 appearances, Kelley pitched to a 3.25/3.55/4.20 tripleslash with a 9.14 K/9.  He's almost exclusively a fastball-slider pitcher, and can dial the heater up to mid-90s when he needs to.  Kelley spent small parts of the last 4 seasons in the Seattle 'pen, but could never break into a regular role.  He likely won't do that with the Yankees either, but he'll be right there with Cody Eppley as an early call-up candidate if he sticks.

Almonte was a fringe prospect at best in the Yankee system, and removing him from the outfield equation helps clear up a bit of the overcrowding problem that was creeping up in the Minors.  He didn't have much of a future as a Yankee, and may not have a much better chance of upward mobility in Seattle with all the OFers they've added.

Not a bad move for the Yankees, but if Seattle is interested in dealing it would have been better to try to make a run at Casper Wells.

** UPDATE 7:32AM- Neglected to mention this last night, but another added benefit of trading for Kelley is the years of team control remaining.  Kelley is a Super Two player and has 3 years of arbitration eligibility remaining.  If they want, the Yankees can keep him through 2015 before he hits free agency. **

The Offseason Boiled Down To The Simplest Terms

With the 2012-2013 offseason now squarely in the rearview, the Yankosphere is collectively getting its last licks in this week and putting the finishing written touches on what was universally regarded as a boring, unproductive, "bad" offseason.  There are a million ways to paint that picture, the best of which involve statistical analysis and comparison, and some of which have been done in bits and pieces on this blog as part of other posts.  But with so much still to happen that will ultimately determine just how successful or unsuccessful this past offseason truly was, it's almost more hassle than it's worth to try to dig through the numbers and analyze the projections.  Here's all anyone really needs to know about this offseason:

Reaction To Joe's Opening Press Conference

(No binder??  For shame, man.  Courtesy of the AP)

Joe met the media for the first of many times this season yesterday, giving his take on the most important and newsworthy talking points surrounding the team as they come into camp and setting the tone for what the important talking points will continue to be as Spring Training ramps up.  As usual, he was positive and optimistic when evaluating his team and their chances this year, saying he felt they were capable of winning 95 games and the World Series this year and citing the strong returning pitching staff as a reason.  There was plenty more where that came from and plenty to take away from what Joe had to say.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Where's The Rest Of CC Sabathia??

(Courtesy of the AP)

"Sabathia said he lost about 10 pounds over the winter and is down to 290. He said that’s what he was last spring, and that seems about right. He looks about the same as last spring. 'This is the ideal weight,' he said. 'I was probably about 300 by the end of last year, so I probably gained 10 pounds.'" (via Chad Jennings)

Either CC is wearing Shaq's shorts and t-shirt in that picture or he lost more than 10 pounds this offseason.  Seriously, what is going on there??  Is that a camera trick or something?  Dude looks fucking SVELTE.  If that's CC at 290 then I can say with 100% certainty that he looks better at 290 than I look at 200.  I'm also not 6'7" but you get the point.  The big fella is looking lean and mean.

P.S.- Is it the tights?  It's gotta be the tights.

Return Of The Spring Training New Numbers Game

(Obviously ain't going to be any of these)

One of the more fun parts of Spring Training is the juggling and assigning of numbers to new team members.  The exercise is especially tricky for the Yankees, who have their large collection of retired numbers and a couple of numbers that are off limits until they are officially retired.  It became even trickier this season with a greater influx of new players and a collection of returning players who decided they wanted to trade up for a better number this season.  Does any of this have any bearing on how each player will perform this season?  Absolutely not.  Is it worth covering on the first day of camp when all guys are doing is putting stuff in their lockers and maybe tossing a ball around?  I think so.  Especially now that I was smart enough to not guess at the new numbers this year and open myself up to criticism for the lack of AB4AR t-shirts in the world.  New number assignments after the jump.

C-Grand In Camp, Wants To Return Next Year

Curtis Granderson arrived at camp yesterday, and participated in some outfield running and throwing drills with Derek Jeter before speaking to reporters.  The biggest point of discussion was Curtis' impending free agency after this season and his desire to remain with the Yankees.

I don't need to go back through the reasons why I think the Yankees should let C-Grand walk after this season, and it certainly comes as no surprise that he wants to stay.  The stadium dimensions are tailor-made for his power swing, being a star in New York gives him a ton more opportunities to participate in off-field and local activities that he loves to do, and the Yankees would probably offer him the most money.  Curtis has fully ingrained himself into the Yankee family and been a valuable member of the team in his time here, but I still wouldn't anticipate anything more than a qualifying offer.

One interesting bit of baseball-related info to come out of Curtis' chat with reporters yesterday was the revelation that he tweaked his offseason program and started hitting earlier than usual at the suggestion of Ichiro (via Erik Boland).  If that change in routine helps cut down on the strikeouts and improves his overall production this season, maybe that will inspire the Yankees to consider offering C-Grand a new deal, especially if they are unable to re-sign Robbie Cano.

Pitchers & Catchers Report Date Prepper: The Starters

(The big 3.  Courtesy of Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post)

Today's the big day.  As I sit here writing this and as others of you will sit here and read it, players are making their way to the Yankees' Spring Training complex to begin their preseason work.  There's a lot that needs to be done to prepare for the 2013 season, and a lot that still needs to be worked out, but one thing will hold more true than it ever has for the Yankees this year and that's the need for their starting rotation to stay healthy and pitch effectively.  Last year's group did for stretches, especially for a period in June when Andy had joined the rotation and gotten up to full game speed, but injuries and uneven performance were the bigger storylines.  The Yankees head into camp this season with the same 6 familiar faces that finished last year vying for the 5 spots in this year's rotation, with some youth and depth behind them.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Jeter Runs For First Time Since Surgery; I'm Still Not Convinced He'll Be Ready For Opening Day

The Captain has had his walking boot off for a while now, and has been working out at the team complex in Tampa hitting in the cage and taking groundballs for the last 2 weeks.  Last Monday, Erik Boland reported that Jeter would begin running when everybody reported to camp "in a few weeks," and now it appears that schedule has been slightly accelerated.  Boland tweeted this morning that Jeter ran for the first time since his surgery and told reporters he had been given the "green light" to start intensifying his workouts.

This should be a positive sign that things continue to be right on schedule with respect to Jeter's rehab program, and to a certain degree it is.  But Jon Morosi's follow-up tweet stating that Jeter only ran on a treadmill does cause me to rein in my excitement a bit.  I was skeptical about the prospect of Jeter making it back for Opening Day when his early progress was reported by Joe last November, and this latest report does little to change my feelings.  Running on a treadmill and running on a baseball field are two completely different things, and as a shortstop who also hits leadoff, Jeter has to do quite a bit of on-field running.  If all he can do right now is take light swings and jog on a treadmill, he's still a long way away from being back in game shape.  He's still got 7 weeks to get there, but that may not be enough to be completely ready for Opening Day if he still isn't physically able to put multiple baseball activities together.

Regardless of whether or not Jeter was able to go Opening Day, the Yankees were going to have to handle him carefully for the first few weeks of the regular season.  That plan may have to include contingencies for how they want to handle the SS position if Jeter isn't ready to go, because to rush his comeback would be insanely unwise.  Hopefully Eduardo Nunez has been taking a lot of grounders this offseason...

Pitchers & Catchers Report Date Prepper: The Relievers

(The great Yankee tradition of the ST baton twirl.  Courtesy of Ron Antonelli/Daily News)

1 day.  We're just 1 day from the beginning of the 2013 Yankee season.  By this time tomorrow, guys will be rolling into Tampa, swinging through the team facility, getting their quick physicals, and getting settled to prepare for the first team workout on Wednesday.  It's about as exciting as the most un-exciting part of the season can be, and to prepare for it we're taking a 3-part look at the group of players who will make their arrivals tomorrow.  Last Friday it was the catchers, a most uninspiring group at the Major League level, and today the level of inspiration should jump a bit with the move to the bullpen.  It's shaping up to be another deep, talented, strong group in 2013, but not a group without its question marks, particularly in the health department.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's Still Important To Stay Grounded With Ichiro & Gardner

(Can this trio carry enough offensive weight?  Courtesy of Getty Images)

ESPN NY's Spring Training countdown series got off to a pretty crummy start, but he's been a little better lately.  Earlier this morning, Wally Matthews took a break from handing out fictional punishments on Alex Rodriguez to discuss the 2013 outfield, which is actually a worthwhile topic.  The Yankees are looking at a serious offensive downgrade from that group this year, and the ability of Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki to be productive in their ways could be a big determining factor in the level of success this season's team can have.  Wally, to his credit, thinks Ichiro and Gardner can get the job done, and maybe they can.  But Wally's reasoning for why leaves much to be desired.

Cash Comments On MiL Option Situations (And So Do I)

The theme of the bulk of the Yankees' low-dollar offseason signings is that most of the players they've signed are fringe Major Leaguers at best.  Adding a little bit of intrigue to that "meh"-worthy group is the difference in contract situations and flexibility with regards to Minor League options.  Yesterday Chad Jennings of LoHud shed some light on the situation with comments from Brian Cashman on who does and doesn't have a MiL option or 2 still available, and who does and doesn't have the option of opting out of their deal if they don't make the Yankees' Opening Day roster.  While on-field performance in camp is usually the biggest factor in determining who makes it and who doesn't, these opt-out options could play a role as well.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Give It Up, Hal

Maybe you should consider not talking when reporters put a recorder in front of your face, guy:

“All I can assure the fans is, we’re always going to field a championship-caliber team every single year.”

Yeah, you keep assuring us, Hal.  We totally believe you when you say that because your actions this offseason have totally been in line with your words.

You know what?  It's not even worth re-hashing this type of stuff from Hal.  I've said my piece on it before.  I just wish he'd shut the fuck up.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 2/8/13

Here's something I've never really understood about the whole "blizzard preparation" process; people who insist that you need to gas up your car before the storm.  Ummmm, why?  Where exactly do you think you're going to be driving to when Mother Nature drops 18-24 inches of snow on your candyass?  Answer- nowhere.  You're not going anywhere and nor should you be.  You should be staying in your house, eating the food that you were hopefully smart enough to stock up on, crossing your fingers that the power doesn't get knocked out, and catching up on all the TV shows you've been meaning to watch on your DVR (side note- "The Americans" on FX is the tits).  Anybody who goes to fill up their gas tank before a blizzard just so their car can sit in the garage for 3 days is an idiot.  So don't be an idiot and stay safe and stay warm this weekend if you're area is fixing to get clobbered.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Rupert Pupkin of NoMaas pointed out the big difference in Jeter's and Mo's reactions to the latest A-Rod news.  Personally, I think Jeter's sheds more light on how the organization feels about Alex right now.

- Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits asked if the Yankees needed to add another bullpen arm before the season.  I don't think they HAVE to, but more bullpen depth is never a bad thing.

- On Tuesday, fishjam25 of Yankees Fans Unite ranked and released his 2013 Top 40 prospects list.

- Chad Jennings of LoHud questioned whether Brett Gardner was still a platoon candidate or if his all-around skill set made him worthy of having an everyday role.

- Rob Abruzzese of of Bronx Baseball Daily investigated just how overpaid Mark Teixeira is on the heels of Teix's candid comments to Dan Barbarisi last week.

- On Wednesday, Mike Eder of TYA made a strong case for pursuing Casper Wells in a trade to add a strong right-handed outfield bat.  I admittedly hadn't considered Wells, but it makes a lot of sense.

- Mike Axisa of RAB took a stab at constructing the 2013 Triple-A RailRiders roster.  Could be a pretty good outfield and pretty good bullpen.  Rotation might need some work.

- On Thursday, Steve Skinner of Bleeding Yankee Blue analyzed the projected Yankee rotation and how it stacks up against its AL East competition.

- El duque of It Is High... declared that 2013 will be the year of Austin Romine and Romine could be a make-or-break factor to the Yankees' season.

- Hunter Farman of Yanks Go Yard looked back at the 2007 offseason and wondered what could have been if the Yankees went through with their plans to go after the non-A-Rod third baseman who was available.

- William Juliano of The Captain's Blog discussed the unfair nature of the MSM's handling of the Biogenesis story and the lack of accountability on their part when it comes to maintaining journalistic integrity.

For today's Friday Jam, we're kicking it old school with some Public Enemy.  As an upper middle class white kid growing up in Connecticut, songs like "Rebel Without A Pause" really spoke to me and helped mold me into the strong, anti-establishment badass I am today.  For example, I don't always separate the glass from the plastic when I recycle.  That's just what THE MAN wants me to do.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.