Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 1/31/14

I'm not much of a gambler.  I've had 1 good day at the casino and 1 good day at the track in my life and both days ended with me leaving with 3 figures in my pocket.  That said, here are the money Super Bowl prop bets for Sunday:
  • Coin Toss- Tails.  Never fails.
  • First Penalty- Seahawks.  Will be too amped up at the start and jump offsides on defense.
  • First Timeout- Broncos.  Peyton, on a 3rd down inside the Seattle 30-yard line on the Broncos' second offensive possession.  Pey-Pey knows how valuable early points are in the Super Bowl.
  • Number of Times "Beast Mode" is said on the broadcast (over/under 2)- Over.  Hammer the over.  After Lynch went radio silence on media day, he guaranteed himself extra attention during the game.
  • Will Any of the Red Hot Chili Peppers be shirtless during their halftime performance?- No.  15 years ago maybe, but these guys are all old now.  They aren't going shirtless in 30 degrees.
I'll be cracking a beer the minute I wake up Sunday and I hope you all plan on doing the same.  Super Bowl Sunday is the 3rd best day of the year and it should be celebrated as such.  Rooting Seahawks but calling it Broncos 27-20.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, SJK of NoMaas questioned just what, exactly, Brian Cashman's role as GM really is these days.

- Jason Cohen of Pinstripe Alley offered up his picks for prospects most likely to get called up in 2014.

- On Tuesday, el duque of It Is High... mused on what Joba and Robbie changing their appearances after leaving might say about the Yankee tradition.  I had never thought about that, but maybe there's something to it.  Maybe "Yankee tradition" doesn't mean as much to today's players as it did 15 years ago.

- On Wednesday, Mike Axisa of RAB laid out how and why Kelly Johnson has become a much more important part of the Yankee puzzle in 2014.  Somehow I don't think that was their original plan.

- Michael Eder of IIATMS/TYA made another case for going after Ubaldo Jimenez now that he's reportedly dropped his asking price.  You know the old saying...

- Michael Montrone of Yanks Go Yard wondered why the Yanks aren't showing any interest in FA pitcher Suk-Min Yoon.  My guess is it has to be something physical or injury-related.

- Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits looked back at last offseason and identified the biggest regret the Yankees should have given what they did this offseason.

- Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily tabbed Brandon Thomas as a potential prospect breakout candidate in 2014.

- On Thursday, Chad Jennings of LoHud took a stab at predicting next year's top 10 prospects.

- William Juliano of The Captain's Blog broke down Keith Law's top 100 prospects to see what trends he could find.

It's the final football Sunday until September so we need something to get the blood pumping today.  "Doen" by Red Fang should do the trick.  It'd be exceptionally baller if one of the teams came out to this song on Sunday, but I highly doubt Goodell would let that happen.  No Fun League indeed.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

2013-2014 AB4AR Top 30 Prospects: 10-1

(Courtesy of

This is it, the top 10.  The cream that's risen to the top of the Yankee farm system.  For the first time in a few years, it feels like the organization's top prospects are actually close to breaking into the Majors.  There's high-level pitching, a lot of high-level hitting, and a smattering of lower-level guys with major upside to balance things out.  From seeing some of the mainstream top 10 lists that have already come out, I can tell you that mine's pretty different and there are more than a few names on the AB4AR list that didn't show up anywhere on the others.  I stand by my selections though, and truly believe that these are the 10 best players in the Yankee farm system right now.  If you missed either of the first 2 days, here's Part I here and Part II here.  After the jump, the third and final part of the 2013-2014 AB4AR Top 30.

What's Ichiro Going To Do This Year?

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

I don't mean in terms of production.  That I can already anticipate.  Every projection system out there has Ichiro Suzuki pegged as a below-average hitter again this year, hardly a shock when you consider his .281 wOBA last year and the age at which he'll play this season (40).  The title of the post is more in reference to how Joe plans on using Ichiro this season and how much he plans on using him.

Keith Law Ranks His Top 11 Yankee Prospects

I really have to hand it to Keith Law.  Guys really knows how to upstage a small timer like myself.  Good old Keith decided it was a good idea to have his prospect week while I was having my prospect week, and he continued it yesterday by releasing his top 11 Yankee prospects list.  The list, for those without Insider access, is as follows:

1) Gary Sanchez
2) Tyler Austin
3) Mason Williams
4) J.R. Murphy
5) Slade Heathcott
6) Aaron Judge
7) Ian Clarkin
8) Eric Jagielo
9) Luis Severino
10) Greg Bird
11) Jose Ramirez

I'm going to withhold all comments on Law's list, and instead use it as an introduction to the final third of this year's AB4AR Top 30.  You can see his top 10 right here and my top 10 will be coming out in a few short hours.  Law's been stealing thunder all week, but come 11 AM Central time we'll see whose Prospect Week and top 10 list is really #1.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

AB4AR's Top 5 Prospect Tools: Speed

(Courtesy of

Speed kills.  Everybody knows that.  Everybody also knows that the Yankees, year to year, aren't always the fleetest of foot on the basepaths.  They've been better in recent years than they were in the mid-2000s, but with Derek Jeter getting older, Brett Gardner possibly gone via free agency after this season, and Curtis Granderson playing for the little brother across town, the collective speed threat in their lineup could be better.  Luckily there are more than a few prospects in the system with a plus speed tool.  None of them are Billy Hamilton-esque warpaths running the bases, but they've got enough giddy-up to be major base-stealing threats in the future.

2013-2014 AB4AR Top 30 Prospects: 20-11

(Courtesy of

10 down, 20 to go.  Yesterday marked the first official installment of the 2013-2014 AB4AR Top 30 and it was a wide range of players.  From high-level guys who were relative unknowns just a year ago to low-level guys for whom the sky is the proverbial limit, there was a little bit of everything in the bottom third.  Today we move into the middle third of the rankings and as you'd expect everything is a little better in this group.  There's still a nice mix of new faces and holdovers from last year, but the new faces are ones that put up big numbers to earn their spot and, in some cases, did it at higher levels than rookie ball.  The familiar faces all experienced some kind of leveling out of their production in 2013, but not enough to totally wash away their prospect status.  After the jump, dive right in to the middle third of this year's Top 30.

Handicapping The Non-Roster Spring Training Invitees

(Steinbrenner Field.  Site of the only Yankee game action a lot of these players will see in 2014)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

The Yankees announced their list of non-roster invites to spring camp yesterday, 26 in all.  As expected, all the recent MiL signings received an invite and an opportunity to compete for one of the last spots on the Opening Day roster.  There's also a decent-sized contingent of non 40-man prospects who got the nod, although one glaring omission was utility man Ronnier Mustelier.  Mustelier seemed like a lock to get invited again considering the need the Yankees have for right-handed power and a third base platoon partner for Kelly Johnson, but for whatever reason they decided to proceed without him.

While all of these 26 players technically have a non-zero chance of making the Opening Day roster, the reality is that only a few of them have an actual chance and the rest are just there to fill out workout groups and early spring split squad games.  Being the kind-hearted, generous blogger that I am, I took the liberty of creating this helpful handicap breakdown of the non-roster guys so everybody knows who to focus on when ST starts and who they can ignore.

Yanks Put 3 In Keith Law's Top 100 Prospects

Continuing his efforts to upstage AB4AR Prospect Week 2014, Keith Law released his list of Top 100 Prospects on yesterday.  As was the case with the organizational rankings, the posts are Insider-only but the important thing for Yankees fans is the inclusion of 3 of their own on the list.  Gary Sanchez came in at 68 (down from 18th last year), Tyler Austin at 85 (down from 52nd), and Mason Williams at 87 (down from 35).

Austin staying on the list was a bit of a surprise.  He's taken a big fall on most other rankings after his down year but Law is still high on his overall hitting makeup.  Law also gave another positive review of Sanchez's defense, and stated that he still believed Sanchez could be an MVP-caliber player if he puts it together at the plate and maximizes his power potential.  For a team that came within 1 spot of being in the bottom third of the overall org ranks, it was nice to see 3 players make this list.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2013-2014 AB4AR Top 30 Prospects: 30-21

I'm pretty sure I've used some variation of this as the intro the last 2 times I've started officially releasing my prospect rankings, but screw it, I'm doing it again.  After all the games, all the injuries, all the research, all the ranking, re-ranking, and re-re-ranking, all the hints dropped, all the plugs at the end of old posts, all the Facebook reminders, and the last 2 days of lead-ins, we've finally come to this moment, the unveiling of the first third of the 2013-2014 AB4AR Top 30.  This first group has a lot of new faces and a few familiar ones.  It's got players still scratching the surface of their potential, players still struggling to reach their potential, and players whose potential could already be shrinking.  After the jump, spots 30-21 of this year's AB4AR Top 30.

Yankees Sign 17-Year-Old Australian Pitcher Brandon Stenhouse

(Stenhouse and his dad.  Courtesy of News Limited)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Already over their 2013-2014 international spending limit, the Yankees pushed themselves further over by reportedly signing Australian pitcher Brandon Stenhouse to a 6-figure contract yesterday.  Stenhouse, 17, is a right-hander who drew the eye of scouts after pitching in the Under 18 National Championships.  There's not much out there on him scouting report-wise, but the report from Australia references fastball velocity in the low 90s and the pictures make him look like he's got a decent frame.

The exact figures of the deal are unknown, but the Yankees' plan for Stenhouse is not.  He's going to report to the team's Tampa complex for a 2-week Extended ST "orientation" in April and then go back to Australia to complete school.  Once that's done, he'll return to the US to start his professional baseball career full-time.

Keith Law Ranks Yankee Farm System 20th In MLB

Keith Law released his list of farm system rankings on yesterday.  The top 3 teams were the Astros, Twins, and Pirates, and the Yankees came in at 20th.  It's an Insider-only article, but if you don't have access here's what Law had to say about the Yankee system:

"It seemed like everyone who mattered in this system got hurt in 2013, and of those who didn't most had disappointing years. The good news is every one of the injured prospects should be healthy to start 2014 (except Slade Heathcott, for whom 'healthy' is an abstract concept), but it also means the Mason Williamses and Tyler Austins of the system will run out of excuses if they don't hit."

Nothing we didn't already know there.  The bulk of the Yankee system had a down year, but they've got enough talent and enough depth to move back up in the rankings if a few guys turn things around in 2014.  Law also cited the "strong" 2013 draft class as an upgrade to the system.  For what it's worth, Law had the Yankees 10th in his 2013 rankings.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Can Russ Canzler Be Of Any Use?

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

As the Yankees wind down their offseason spending spree, the position players are coming back into focus as the group most in need of a boost.  Third base, second base, a true backup at first base, and a bench bat that's actually league average are all still big areas of need and areas unlikely to get any more help than they already have.  In digging through the collection of third base platoon candidates and trying to make sense of the DH rotation, there was one name I skipped over that could be another option in camp if nobody stands out.  That name is Russ Canzler, 27-year-old righty bat who's back for his second go-round with the Yanks.

2013-2014 AB4AR Top 30 Prospects: Just Missed The Cut

(Courtesy of

Yesterday I looked back at the baker's dozen from last year's AB4AR Top 30 who will not be a part of the 2013-2014 edition.  Now that we're done living in the past, today we can start to look towards the future with the 5 players who missed the cut for this year's Top 30.  For all the talk about how bad the Yankee farm system is right now, the one thing they do have is depth.  More than 1 of the guys who didn't make my top 30 cut are going to show up on other prospect lists around the Yankosphere and there are a couple who could become top 10-15 guys if they stay on track.  After the jump, the 5 players who just missed making the 2013-2014 AB4AR Top 30.

AB4AR's Top 5 Prospect Tools: Power

(The Judge.  Courtesy of Fresno St. Athletic Dept.)

Power can take you a long way in baseball.  We all know that chicks dig the long ball, but owners, general managers, and coaches dig it too.  The home run is the best possible outcome of any at-bat, and the more of them you're capable of hitting the higher your offensive ceiling is going to be and the more teams are going to want you around.  The Yankee farm system isn't overloaded with power right now.  It's got a few guys with serious power potential, but no one who's really stepped up and mashed at an elite level for a full season.  If 1 or 2 of these high power potential guys starts translating it to consistent in-game power this year, 25-30+ in a season, they're going to draw a lot of positive attention.  As an added feature to Prospect Week 2014, here are my top 5 power guys in the system right now.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Filling Out The Back End Of The Bullpen

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

There's no denying that the Yankees have done a helluva lot of work to reload their team this offseason.  They've spent over half a billion dollars in contracts, both in large amounts and small, to upgrade their rotation, lineup, and to a very small degree their bench.  One roster area that hasn't harvested the fruits of that half-billion dollar labor is the bullpen.  To date, the Yankees' only addition of significance to the 2014 'pen has been Matt Thornton, a 37-year-old lefty specialist who, while still effective against same-side hitters, is at the point in his career where his best days are behind him.

This singular signing in response to the loss of Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, and some guy named Mariano Rivera has put the Yankee 'pen in a state of uncertainty, one that the free agent market is no longer as well equipped to resolve as it was a few weeks ago.  As we move below the 3-week threshold until pitchers and catchers report to spring camp, it's time to look at what the Yankees could do to fill out and fortify their bullpen.

2013-2014 AB4AR Top 30 Prospects: Those We've Lost

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

I thought there was high turnover from the first Top 30 to last year's when 9 new players made the cut.  From last year to this year the turnover was even higher, 13 players to be exact.  That's almost half of last year's list gone and replaced by new faces.  That seemed high to me at first, but when I considered all the factors that led to the high turnover rate it's not as drastic as it seems.

There are a handful of players no longer eligible for this year's list because they're on other teams and there were multiple players who were no longer eligible due to Major League service time in 2013.  When you eliminate them, the number of guys who dropped off due to age and/or subpar production this year is reasonable.  When you consider the influx of young talent that joined the system this year in the form of 3 1st round picks and a healthy collection of young international players, the higher turnover becomes more than reasonable.  After the jump, the 13 players who, for a number of reasons, won't be appearing on the 2013-2014 Top 30.

Yanks Not Well Repped In Latest Top Prospect Lists

The big dogs of the baseball scouting world are releasing their annual top MLB prospects lists and so far it's been a disappointing showing for the Yankees.  On Friday, they landed 2 on's Top 100 for 2014.  Gary Sanchez was ranked 47th after being 27th on the 2013 list, and Mason Williams was ranked 75th after being 37th the previous year.

Today it's Baseball Prospectus unveiling their Top 101 for 2014 and the Yankee representation is even slimmer.  Just 1, Sanchez, coming in 85th.  Regardless of how you feel about the Yankee system or prospects in general, that's not good.  It speaks both to the lack of top tier talent currently in the Yankee system and the generally "blah" year that most of their top guys had.  The good news?  They still have a bunch of players with top 100 upside.  Just need them to start playing like it.

Welcome To AB4AR Prospect Week 2014

(The original #1.  The Jesus)

In late December of 2011, I was home for Christmas and bored at my parents' house during the week so I decided to put together my first top Yankee prospects list.  The inaugural AB4AR Top 30 admittedly wasn't very good, but going through the process of doing it opened my eyes to the world of prospect evaluation and I think it made me much smarter about how I follow and rank prospects.

Which brings us to today, the start of AB4AR Prospect Week 2014 and the unveiling of the 3rd edition of the AB4AR Top 30.  If you followed Prospect Week last year, you know that the format has already been changed a little bit but the overall format for the next 5 days will stay the same.  Today I'll go back and look at all the players from last year's AB4AR Top 30 who didn't make the 2013-2014 edition, tomorrow I'll focus on the players who just missed the cut this year, and Wednesday through Friday will be the actual release of this year's Top 30 in 10-player chunks.

If you're not familiar with AB4AR or my prospect evaluation process, I invite you to read this post I did last year explaining my system.  Long story short, I tend to value consistent production and advancement through the system more than just raw tools and high ceiling.  I also think there's more value in a lower ceiling player at a higher level of the system than a "toolsy" 17 or 18-year-old in rookie ball, especially when that player plays a position of need for the Major League club.  To further familiarize yourself with the AB4AR system, feel free to check out last year's AB4AR Top 30 as well.

Time permitting this week, I'll try to work on some posts on player tools and who I think has the best in the system but the real focus is the 5 major posts mentioned above.  Check back this afternoon for the first one on the group of players who fell off this year's Top 30 and welcome again one and all to AB4AR Prospect Week.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

"Not A Prospect Yet" Player Profile Wrap-Up

Tomorrow's the big day.  AB4AR Prospect Week 2014 kicks off with a look at the players from last year's list who dropped off the 2013-2014 edition.  Before we get to that, I wanted to take a quick look back at the players I've profiled over the last 2 weeks.  These are the guys knocking on the door to the prospect party, and if they all have strong seasons in 2014 I'm confident that all 4 will be a part of the 2014-2015 AB4AR Top 30.  If you missed any of those profiles, here's your chance to catch up.

- Jake Cave

- Dietrich Enns

- Thairo Estrada

- Omar Luis Rodriguez

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Should The Yankees Sign Stephen Drew?

It's a question that's been going around a lot this week.  With all the conflicting reports on the Yankees' interest in Drew and his interest in the Yankees, it's hard to know where the truth lies either way.  The need is obviously there from the Yankees' standpoint.  Their infield is currently the biggest weakness on the roster, and Drew would help fix some of those cracks.

The short answer is yes, they should.  Drew would be at worst as good a starting third base option as Kelly Johnson, and he would allow the Yanks to move Johnson over to second base, his better position.  He could be injury insurance for Derek Jeter at short this season and slide in and take over the job for a year or 2 after Jeter retires.  He's not too old, his left-handed swing would play well in YS3, and it wouldn't take crazy money or years to get him.

Not A Prospect Yet (But Worth Watching): Omar Luis Rodriguez

(Photo courtesy of Eddie Michels)

It's a mere 2 days until the start of AB4AR Prospect Week 2014.  It's right there, folks.  You can almost reach out and touch it (you can't).  As another lead-in to that magical week, let's look at yet another young player in the Yankee system who's making some noise but not enough to crack this year's AB4AR Top 30.  We went international on Tuesday and we're staying there today.  This time, however, we're stepping it up from the small money surprise signings and focusing on Cuban pitcher Omar Luis Rodriguez, the last big signing bonus swing the Yankees took before the new international spending rules were put into effect in 2012.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 1/24/14

The next person who talks about how KUH-RAYZEEEEEEEEE cold it is outside is getting punched right in the throat. I don't care if it's a 5-year-old girl. POW!! Sorry, sweetheart. You just got Vietro'd. It's bad enough that the social media explosion has made everybody think they need to announce everything they're doing in their lives at all times, but it's even worse when that extends to mindless commentary on things as basic and trivial as the weather. Yes, it gets cold in the winter. I'm aware. You should be too. This is not a new phenomena. Stop Instagramming screenshots of the wind chill from your phone and get on with your life. By the way, it's going to be negative degrees in Wisco all day next Monday and Tuesday. That throat punch threat probably won't last much past 7:30 Monday morning. Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Chad Jennings of LoHud commented on how much Derek Jeter has to prove this year after what happened last season and all that's gone down this offseason.

- EJ Fagan of IIATMS/TYA listed his top 10 international Yankee prospects.  Looking forward to seeing what Molina, Rodriguez, and Palma do this year.

- On Tuesday, Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily profiled burgeoning pitching prospect Shane Greene, who could start to sneak into the spot start candidate discussion before too long if he starts the season in Triple-A.

- Mike Axisa of RAB reminded everybody how important CC Sabathia is to the Yankees this year and how he might be able to fix the problems that dogged him last season.

- On Wednesday, William Juliano of The Captain's Blog questioned what the Yankees bailing on the luxury tax avoidance payroll plan means for their true payroll goals and commitment to winning moving forward.

- SJK of NoMaas praised the front office for putting their money where this mouth is this offseason while also questioning why the lame attempt to trim payroll in 2013 even happened in the first place.  Fair question that I still need time to digest before addressing.

- Jonathan Aron of Yanks Go Yard mused on what this coming season has in store for Brett Gardner now that he's changing roles again.

- On Thursday, Roberto E. Alejandro of Respect Jeter's Gangster asked the most important Tanaka-related question that nobody has asked yet.

- SG of RLYW put Tanaka under the CAIRO projection microscope to set an appropriate level of expectation for 2014.

- Jason Cohen of Pinstripe Alley introduced his plan for how to fix the Yankee farm system.

- On Friday, Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits took to the ZiPS projections to see how fair the Tanaka contract is.

- El duque of It Is High... argued for why the Yankees should go ahead and sign Stephen Drew.  Part of me thinks Drew is waiting because he wants to come here.  Most of me thinks it's just Boras dangling the Yankee threat to force Boston's hand.

- Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes suggested taking an Andy Pettitte-esque workload approach to Hiroki Kuroda next year to help keep him fresh later in the season.

Little throwback action for this Friday's jam, a little "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" by Judas Priest.  Classic heavy metal song.  If you think you like metal and you don't like this song, you simply do not like metal.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

Let's Talk About Some More Prospects

(Courtesy of Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA.  Reminder that AB4AR Prospect Week starts on Monday)

The Masahiro Tanaka signing storm has calmed down a bit, things are getting back to normal in Yankeeland, and we're exactly 3 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting.  Obviously that means it's time to talk about prospects again.  The Yankee Minor League complex in Tampa is open and there are already a handful of top guys down there getting ready for the season, plus I'm releasing my yearly top 30 prospects list next week.  Timing couldn't be better.  Last time I rattled guys off the top of my head who I had already labeled.  This time it wasn't so easy.  Probably the most mental energy I'm going to exert today.

Tanaka's First Post-Signing Meeting With The Media

(Courtesy of the AP)

Masahiro Tanaka held a press conference with the Japanese media yesterday to issue his first public comments since signing a 7-year/$155 million deal with the Yankees.  The AP had the details of the presser, but here's the money quote:

“I’m going there to win the World Series.  I can’t wait to get to the pitcher’s mound at Yankees Stadium.”

And we can't wait to see you out there, Tanaka-san.  I think you and I are going to get along just fine.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Oh Really... ?

Via Jon Heyman:

"The Yankees are now considering free-agent shortstop Stephen Drew, which could potentially put another dent in the rival Red Sox's up-the-middle alignment only weeks after the Yankees signed Boston star center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury."

Huh.  That's interesting.  I thought the Yankees were done spending.

Masahiro Tanaka Signing Thoughts & Afterthoughts

(Courtesy of Mike Eder/IIATMS/TYA)

For a while there it didn't look like Masahiro Tanaka was even going to be posted.  The dragging out of the new NPB posting rules put his availability and the Yankees' plan to upgrade their rotation in jeopardy.  When he finally was posted it looked for a time like maybe the Yankees weren't going to win the competition for him.  Every day for the last week or so there has been a new team that was reported to be the favorite for Tanaka.  Last week it was the D'backs, Monday it was the Dodgers, and Tuesday, the night before the reported soft deadline set by Tanaka and his agent to make their decision, it was the Cubs.

Once again though, the reputation, history, and checkbook of the Yankees overcame all and was the deciding factor in Tanaka's choice.  The time and effort the Yankees put into scouting and targeting Tanaka as their true #1 free agent target paid off and in the end the Yankees got their man.  Their rotation has the jolt it needed, the last piece of their offseason puzzle is in place, and the Yanks are once again at the top of the conversation regarding AL contenders.  After the jump, my take on the signing and what it means for Tanaka and the Yanks going forward.

Reconsidering The Yankee Rotation With Tanaka

(Courtesy of MLB's Twitter feed)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Before the news of the Masahiro Tanaka signing came out yesterday morning, the Yankee rotation was in big trouble.  At least that's the spin that was being put on the majority of the conversations, reports, and blog posts around the Yankosphere.  CC Sabathia was coming off a terrible year and was going to be another year older with no indication that he could ever rebound to become a good pitcher again.  Hiroki Kuroda was also going to be another year older and potentially ready to break down and regress after a poor second half in 2013.  Ivan Nova was a big, inconsistent question mark, Michael Pineda was an even bigger question mark in bold font who might never be a starter again, and the rest of the 5th starter competition contingent was nothing special.  There was no way the Yankees were going to compete for anything with that crew.

Hal Names D-Rob The Closer, Scores Another Point With Me

(From fireman to chief of the house.)

On any other day, this would have been bigger news.  When Masahiro Tanaka signs a 7-year deal worth over $22 mil a year, it gets swallowed up in the wake.  While commenting on the Tanaka signing and the team's plans for the remainder of the offseason, Hal made the first public declaration that David Robertson will indeed be the Yankee closer this season.  Via Joel Sherman:

“I have a lot of confidence in Robertson and so does Joe. Robertson is going to be our closer, and I believe he will do a good job."

Now whether Hal has the final say to make that call or if he discussed it beforehand with Cash and/or Joe, I don't know.  What I do know is that it's the right decision and I support it 100%.  I've been saying for a long time now that D-Rob is the man for the job and the team should commit to him and props to Hal for finally manning up and doing it.  I swear it's like the guy reads this site and is trying to change my opinion of him.  Now somebody hit the music!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What Could A-Rod Have Done For The Yankees This Season?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Barring a highly improbable decision by the federal courts, Alex Rodriguez will not play a single Major League game this season for the Yankees or any other team.  His playing career as we know it looks like it could be over and if he does try to come back in 2015 he may be on the receiving end of a beanball targeting that would make what Ryan Dempster did last August look like a walk in the park.

While the Yankees know that A-Rod will not be their starting third baseman this season, they've still yet to figure out who will be.  We know that they're bringing a small army of replacement level competitors to Spring Training.  The most likely scenario is that 2 of those players split time at the hot corner as part of a replacement platoon, at least until one of them gets hurt or sucks so badly that someone else needs to replace him.  It's a risky strategic decision given how much money the Yankees have spent to upgrade the rest of their lineup this offseason, and one that could backfire if they're unable to get consistent production and value out of the position.

Yanks Officially Announce Tanaka Signing

There you have it.  The Yankees have officially announced the deal so any last doubts that may have lingered about it can be put to rest.  Multiple beat guys have confirmed that lefty David Huff has been DFA'd to clear a roster spot, and since we already know that the Yanks aren't going to conduct a second physical on Tanaka all that's left to speculate on is his jersey number.

Kudos to the Yankees for coming out on top of this and making all the effort they put in on scouting Tanaka worthwhile.  I know there were some doubts out there about whether or not he'd sign with them, but the allure of the playing in pinstripes is clearly still alive and well.  I'll have more thoughts on the deal and what it means for Tanaka and the Yanks moving forward tomorrow.

BREAKING NEWS: Yanks Sign Masahiro Tanaka To A 7-Year Deal (UPDATED)

(Courtesy of the AP)

Reports were that we'd find out by the end of today who Masahiro Tanaka would choose to sign with, and per Ken Rosenthal that team is the Yankees.

According to Rosenthal, the Yankees and Tanaka have agreed to a 7-year/$155 million contract.  The deal includes an opt-out clause after the 4th year.

This was the big move the Yankees wanted and needed to make to upgrade their starting rotation for this season and the future.  They paid a hefty ransom for Tanaka, including the $20 million posting fee they'll now have to send to the Rakuten Golden Eagles, but that's what it was going to take once the new posting rules were put into effect.  More on this story as it comes out.

** UPDATE 8:50 AM- Joel Sherman has confirmed Rosenthal's report.  Sounds like this is legit. **

** UPDATE 8:58 AM- Deal has been confirmed by a slew of other Yankee beat guys.  For the sake of conversation, the $155 mil is the 5th highest contract for a pitcher in MLB history in terms of total dollars.  Yanks weren't kidding when they said they were going all in to get him. **

Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Brian Roberts' Playing Time

Joe announced recently that he sees newest Yankee Brian Roberts as the everyday second baseman this season.  Those were bold words when talking about a guy who hasn't played in triple digit games since 2009 and has played in fewer than 200 total in the last 4 seasons.  Roberts' career has been completely derailed by injury problems and players who start getting hurt all the time in their early 30s generally don't stop getting hurt when they turn 36.  Roberts was a guest on "Yankees Hot Stove" last night and he commented on his expectations relative to playing time for the upcoming season:

“I’m excited for the opportunity.  My goal is just to come in and try and play as many games as they want me to be able play, and obviously help us get to where we want as an organization.”

Roberts said he was healthy and felt good and was ready to go, but the phrasing of "try and play as many games as they want me to be able play" leaves me feeling a little skittish.  I'm all for seeing what Roberts is capable of now that he's healthy, even though I don't expect it to be much.  I'm not too keen on the idea of running him out there every day until he breaks down and leaving the team with another roster hole to fill.  It's OK to want Roberts to play every day and hope that he can.  It's not OK to expect him to or anticipate that he will.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Report: Teix Still Feeling Stiffness In His Wrist

The Yankees needing a healthy and productive Mark Teixeira in 2014 is a point that no longer needs to be made.  We know how important he is and how valuable he can be when he's healthy, and we don't know how healthy or productive he'll be this season at age 34.  The uncertainty surrounding the last part of that sentence is going to remain until we see him on the field again playing every day, and the latest news on his rehab from wrist surgery doesn't read as encouraging.

According to a report by Bryan Hoch yesterday, Teix is still feeling some stiffness in the surgically-repaired wrist.  He's been continuing his strengthening exercises and has graduated to hitting off a tee recently, but he's still looking at February for live batting practice and an early March date for returning to game action.

That Teix is going to miss the first week of ST games hardly comes as a concern if you remember back to his "Yankees Hot Stove" appearance in November.  That his wrist is still feeling stiffness and discomfort does come as a concern considering how early in his "baseball activity" rehab schedule he is.  If the wrist is stiffening up on him during tee time, how's it going to respond when he starts taking real BP?  How's it going to feel when he starts playing in games and hitting and throwing regularly every day?

Teix himself could only offer an "I hope so" when asked if he'll be 100% physically by Opening Day.  Having seen what happened with The Captain last year when he tried to push for an unrealistic Opening Day return date, the Yankees need to closely monitor Teix and how his wrist is feeling when spring camp starts.  No sense in pushing it if he's not ready.

Not A Prospect Yet (But Worth Watching): Thairo Estrada

(Courtesy of Baseball America)

We're now less than a calendar week from Prospect Week 2014.  To continue to whet your appetite and build anticipation towards what I'm sure will be the highlight of your 2014 (or at least your January 2014), it's time to take another look at a young player in the Yankee system who's just starting to scratch the surface of his prospect potential.

Changing it up a bit from the recent MLB draftees and going international today, back to the 2012 international free agent class when the Yankees flexed their monetary muscle for the final time before the new international spending pool limits were put into place.  Hidden beneath the higher-profile signings of that summer was a 16-year-old Venezuelan shortstop named Thairo Estrada.  He signed for relative chump and didn't draw a lot of interest or positive commentary from scouts, but his 2013 performance definitely turned a few heads.

Thinking About The Potential DH Carousel

(Not pictured: the Yankees DHs.  Courtesy of Richard Walker)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

We're less than 4 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting, so baseball is officially out there on the horizon.  When that Friday comes, baseball will officially be back and a few days later when the rest of the team arrives at the Tampa complex Spring Training 2014 will be fully underway.  As usual, there will be a handful of roster battles that will dominate the ST headlines, highlighted by the annual 5th starter competition.  A bench job or 2 will be up for grabs, as will some bullpen roles, possibly the closer role if the Yanks do end up signing another veteran late-inning reliever, and the third base platoon jobs.

One spot that won't be up for competition this year is designated hitter.  The older and injury risky Yankees have more candidates for the DH spot than ever this season and will most likely be rotating a large cast of veteran characters through it in an attempt to keep everybody as well-rested and healthy as possible.  How that rotation is going to work and what players get the most time in the DH spot remains to be seen, and managing that rotation will be among the most daunting tasks on Joe's plate this season.

Yanks To Get Aggressive With 2013 1st Rounders?

(Courtesy of somebody)

This almost slipped through the cracks last week, but with AB4AR Prospect Week right around the corner I figured I had to swing back and address it.  VP of player ops Mark Newman spoke to the media last week on a wide range of prospect-related topics.  Most of it was updates on players' health and confirming whether or not guys would be ready to start the season, standard stuff.  The one interesting bit of news was related to the plan for 2013 1st rounders Eric Jagielo and Aaron Judge this season.  According to Newman, the Yankees could start both of them at High-A Tampa this year, and if not, there's a very good chance both at least start in Low-A Charleston.

Monday, January 20, 2014

I'm Back, Doesn't Look Like I Missed Much

I'm back from my extended Chicago weekend.  If you're wondering, yes, the Blackhawks game was outstanding.  The United Center is a great place to watch any sporting event, Hawks crowds are always good, and watching Patrick Kane play hockey live is a real treat.

I'd like to thank the Yankees and the rest of MLB for not doing anything major while I was gone the last 2 days.  We still don't have a resolution in the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes with just a handful of days remaining for him to sign.  Far as I can tell, this is all I missed:

- The Yanks are unsurprisingly still looking for another late-inning reliever, according to Joel Sherman.  They continue to show little to no interest in Grant Balfour or anybody else available on the FA market.

- 6 teams have officially submitted offers to Tanaka, and all 6 of them were for at least 6 years/$100 million.  I expect the Yankees were on the higher end of the spectrum and I still think they end up getting Tanaka sometime in the next 2 days.

- Biggest on-field news was Derek Jeter getting back onto the field today as planned.  According to the AP, he took swings off a tee in the batting cage and took 108 grounders on the inner infield grass at the team's Tampa complex.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Jeter Says He's Been Working Out For 2 Months, Confirms What I Most Feared About Last Offseason & Already Knew About His Medical Skills

(Courtesy of the AP)

Saw the highlights of Derek Jeter's MLB Network interview over on LoHud this morning and his comments on his offseason workout status stood out the most to me, for obvious reasons:

“I feel good. It’s been a good offseason. Last year at this point, literally I’d just come out of the boot. I’ve been working hard since the beginning of November. … I don’t know if I learned anything (from last season), I just had more time. It’s my fault. Look, I rushed to get back. I wanted to be back. I set the goal for Opening Day. I don’t know how real that goal was, but set it, and it’s my fault. I really didn’t have enough time, or I didn’t take enough time. I wasn’t careful like I should have been.”

Couple of things here, one good and the other not so good.

Arbitration Avoidance Wrap-Up

Yesterday was the deadline to submit contract figures or accept a deal to avoid contract arbitration, and as expected all 5 of the Yankees' arbitration-eligible players agreed to new deals before the deadline.  Joel Sherman was the first to report most of the signings, and if you missed any of them yesterday here's how the new deals broke down.
The higher values than what was projected for guys like Gardner and Nova puts the Yankees right up against the $189 million LT threshold.  With the starting rotation still needing an arm or 2 added to it, I think it's safe to say that the Yankees won't get under the threshold this year.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 1/17/14

Big sports weekend for me this weekend.  HYYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE sports weekend.  Got a real nice lineup of college basketball games tomorrow, the NFL conference championships Sunday, and before that I'll be down in Chicago checking out the Blackhawks-Bruins game live.  It's almost enough to make me forget that we're 4 weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting.  Almost.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, SJK of NoMaas commented on the hypocrisy of MLB in how they handled the A-Rod suspension and subsequent appeal.  Preach, brother.  Preach.

- On Tuesday, Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits explained why the Yankees are not interested in signing Stephen Drew.  He makes a very strong case, but I'd still rather have Drew than Sizemore and Anna.

- On Wednesday, Michael Eder of IIATMS/TYA ran the numbers again to see how much room the Yankees have under the budget ceiling with Tanaka still to sign.  No chance they get under 189 now.

- Also from IIATMS/TYA, the second of our new podcast series "It's About The Yankees, Stupid."  Still a work in progress but you should definitely check it out.

- Mike Axisa of RAB broke down Adam Warren's 2013 pitch type splits and results to see if he could be an effective short reliever.  I still like him as a long man.  Just my opinion.

- On Thursday, Tanya Bondurant weighed the pros and cons of releasing Alex Rodriguez.

- Chad Jennings of LoHud had all the details on the new replay system going into effect this season.  Still don't understand why the neighborhood play at second isn't reviewable.  If the guy isn't on the base, it shouldn't be an out.

- El duque of It Is High... imagined what Bud Selig's farewell visit to Yankee Stadium might look like later this season.

- Jason Evans of Yanks Go Yard examined how the Clayton Kershaw deal will impact the Yankees' pursuit of starting pitcher in this and future offseasons.

- On Friday, Greg Corcoran profiled rising lefty pitching prospect Dan Camarena.  Wouldn't mind seeing a breakout from him this year.

- Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes compared some key stats for David Robertson and Grant Balfour to show why D-Rob should just be named the closer.

Going with the new song by A Perfect Circle, "By and Down", for this week's Friday Jam.  Creepy tune.  Very creepy.  Makes me want another APC album and another Tool album this year.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

What Other Number Are The Yankees Going To Retire This Year?

Not everything Hal had to say at the owners' meeting earlier this week was A-Rod-related.  One of the more fun talking points that came up in his media session was the implication that the Yankees could be retiring multiple numbers this season.  With Joe Torre getting elected to the HOF, it's obvious that his #6 will be going out to Monument and that day and ceremony at The Stadium will be awesome.  Hal's statement on the eventual date left the door open for somebody else to join him:

“We’re going to figure out just who.  He may not be the only one.  We haven’t gotten into it yet.”

So who's the other lucky duck?  The players who make the most sense are Andy Pettitte, Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams, and Jorge Posada.  Pettitte and Jorge haven't been retired long enough to have their numbers retired, although it's obvious the team is going to retire them at some point down the road.  O'Neill, as much as I love him, wasn't a lifelong Yankee and wasn't a homegrown Yankee, so I'd be surprised if he got the honor before the other guys.

That leaves Bernie.  Homegrown, 16-year career, all in pinstripes, 4 WS titles, has been retired for almost 10 years now, and has had his number 51 out of circulation since he retired.  That's basically the perfect resume for Monument Park.  If the Yankees are serious about adding another honoree with Torre this year, I think it'll end up being Bernie.

CC Signs With Roc Nation

(Courtesy of Carsten's Twitter feed)

When you find a way to get your first client a 10-year deal that nobody thought he would get, that's going to draw some interest from other players.  Via the above photo, CC Sabathia became the second current/former Yankee to jump ship to Jay-Z's Roc Nation Sports agency yesterday.  Unlike Robinson Cano, he's under contract through at least 2016 and not looking to maximize his earning potential, so there's not nearly as much to this move as there was for Cano and nothing really changes for CC as far as us fans and bloggers are concerned.

I want to like this move, I really do.  But after Cano signed with Jay-Z and turned what should have been an easy re-sign into a new deal in Seattle, I'm not as big a fan of Hova the agent as I should be.  Only a matter of time before somebody else in pinstripes follows suit and joins the new fad.  My money's on Preston Claiborne.

P.S.- I think I might actually be fatter than CC at this point.  That's not good.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Not A Prospect Yet (But Worth Watching): Dietrich Enns

(Courtesy of Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

We continue our slow build towards the start of AB4AR Prospect Week with another look at a young player starting to make some waves in the Yankee MiL system but not enough waves to warrant full prospect status in my eyes.  Today's player is Dietrich Enns, left-handed A-ball pitcher.  You might remember Enns from my profile post on him last June, and since that post there have been some developments in his development that make him one of the more intriguing fringe guys in the system.

How About Signing Grant Balfour Now?

Buster Olney tweeted this out on Monday, finally shedding a little light on just what the hell is up with Grant Balfour.  He's been completely off the map since his 2-year deal with the Orioles fell apart and now it makes sense why.  Dude's just all kinds of banged up.

This raises the questions of would you still want him if you were the Yankees and do you think they're still interested?  On the one hand, wrist and knee problems aren't as bad as the shoulder for pitchers but are still enough to present considerable risk to any team that signs him.  We could be dipping back into 1-year deal territory with Balfour now, at less than the $7.5 mil he was slated to make with the O's.  On a 1-year commitment, it could be worth the risk to add another late-inning arm.

On the other hand, if the wrist and knee issues were enough to convince Baltimore to cut bait, that could be a sign that Balfour is more damaged goods than he's letting on.  He's already not the best fit for pitching in Yankee Stadium.  Maybe the Yanks turn their attention to someone like Fernando Rodney or a cheaper injury risk like Joel Hanrahan.

Looking Good, Alex...

(Courtesy of @GTMags)

Looks like somebody hasn't been keeping up with his usual offseason workout routine.  I wonder why?  A few more pounds and I might have to upgrade his nickname to The Clydesdale.  Fat A-Rod, so hot right now.  Fat A-Rod.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Report: Yanks Not Making Any More Moves Until Tanaka Signs

Things have slowed to almost a snail's pace as the offseason moves into its final stanza and Spring Training starts to vaguely appear in the distance.  A report from Steven Marcus of Newsday confirms that the Yankees will keep it at that pace until the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes conclude.

"The Yankees' pursuit of Japanese righthander Masahiro Tanaka has essentially frozen any other additions to the big league roster.

"We are doing nothing until Tanaka resolves," a club official said Wednesday."

"Duh," the rest of the Yankee fanbase also said Wednesday.  In all seriousness, this makes sense from the Yankees' standpoint and is the right approach to take.  There's not much left out there on the free agent infield and bullpen markets and the team isn't in a rush to go after what is still there.  Tanaka represents their biggest opportunity for improvement in their biggest area of need and they should be focusing all their energy over these next 9 days towards signing him.  As I've been saying all offseason, they've put too much time and effort into Tanaka to risk losing him now.  The Dodgers look like they're focused on getting Kershaw locked up before the arbitration figure deadline on Friday.  Now's the time to strike and land Tanaka.

A Quick Word On The Idea Of Moving Derek Jeter To Third Base

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

The Yankee infield is a hot topic right now and rightfully so.  On Opening Day the Yanks will have a starting infield that's entirely different from the one that opened the 2013 season.  They've got 2 old/older players in Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira returning from serious injuries at first base and shortstop, they've lost Robbie Cano at second base and Alex Rodriguez at third base, and their current plan to replace the 2 of them appears to be the old "throw as much stuff at the wall as we possibly can and see what sticks" method.

An idea that I've seen mentioned multiple times in various blogs across the Yankosphere, and one that's really been gaining steam in the comments section here is moving Jeter to third base and making Brendan Ryan the starting shortstop.  In theory it makes a lot of sense and I totally understand why people are thinking this way.  Jeter's biggest defensive weakness is lateral movement.  It always has been and it's not going to get any better now that he's turning 40 this year and coming off a litany of leg injuries.  By moving him to third base, the Yankees could not only mask his defensive deficiencies and improve their overall infield defense, they could also protect him from re-injuring himself by cutting down on the ground he has to cover.

Again, this is all great in theory.  There are 2 problems with that plan though.  It would never work and it's never going to happen.  If you'll allow me, I'd like to quickly explain why so we can all put this notion behind us and move on with our lives.

Report: Yanks Reach Out To Padres About Infield Depth

When Ken Rosenthal reported over the weekend that the Yankees weren't going to sign any more infielders to Major League free agent deals, he didn't say anything about not trading for Major League talent.  The Yanks have been quiet on the trade front since dumping Chris Stewart, but a report from Jon Morosi earlier in the week may suggest a change there.

According to Morosi, the Yanks have made a "trade inquiry" to the San Diego Padres about infield depth.  The Papas, while not exactly flush with it at the moment, have some pieces they could deal and they're definitely in the market for some pitching help.  This obviously brings the name Chase Headley back to the forefront of most people's minds, but Morosi reports that Logan Forsythe "is the most realistic target", not Headley.

Forsythe, 27, is a natural second baseman who played every position except first base, catcher, and center field in 2013 while putting up a .272 wOBA in 243 PA.  He's only a .241/.310/.349 career Major League hitter but raked at every level of the Minors before breaking in.  He's almost like a right-handed version of Dean Anna, and if San Diego isn't asking for too much in return he's worth taking a chance on.  I'd still rather have Headley though.

Five Yankees File For Arbitration

Yesterday was the deadline for arbitration-eligible players to file, and as expected the 5 eligible Yankees all filed.  It's more of a procedural thing than anything else.  The real action starts on Friday when the players and team exchange salary figures and then in February when the hearings start, provided both sides don't come to an agreement before then.  In case you've forgotten, here are the 5 eligible Yankees and their respective MLBTR projected 2014 salaries:
Off the top of my head, I wouldn't be surprised to see D-Rob get a little more based on his excellent body of work the last 3 seasons and I think Gardner could get significantly more than 4 mil because of the value his speed and defense creates.  The other 3 should come in right around those projected figures, but we'll see what happens Friday.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Not A Prospect Yet (But Worth Watching): Jake Cave

(Courtesy of Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images)

I missed it by a day in terms of having it be a nice even 2 weeks out, but let this be the official announcement that AB4AR Prospect Week 2014 will be taking place 2 weeks from now starting on Monday, January 27th.  Obviously that week will consist of the unveiling of the 3rd annual AB4AR Top 30 Prospects list, along with a look at the guys who are off the list after last year's edition and the guys who just missed making this year's edition.

As the lead in to Prospect Week I'd like to revisit a post series that was actually part of Prospect Week 2013, profiling players who are making some waves in the Minor Leagues and working their way into legitimate prospect contention but aren't quite there yet.  You might remember last year's group of these players included Matt Tracy, Corey Black, Adonis Garcia, and Daniel Camarena.  The first of this year's crop is Jake Cave, a 2011 draft pick who just finished his first year of full-season ball.

Sorting Through The Collection Of Platoon Candidates At Third Base

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Conventional wisdom had the Yankees using the announcement of the A-Rod suspension decision as the springboard towards finding another established third baseman to replace him.  A decent chunk of that conventional wisdom had Mark Reynolds' name as the one most likely to be signed next as part of a L/R platoon.  Turns out none of that wisdom was correct, at least not according to what we've heard over the last 2 days.  Ken Rosenthal reported on Sunday that the Yanks were not going to add any more third base candidates on Major League deals this offseason, and assistant GM Billy Eppler and Joe Girardi both echoed that report in so many words yesterday in separate interviews.

The plan, according to Eppler and Joe, is to head to camp with what they've got and sort out who they think the best guys for the job are there.  Eppler didn't completely close the door on the idea of bringing in another warm body, saying "“Our eyes are always going to stay open.  We’ll look left, we’ll look right, we’ll look under rocks and see if something can work itself out and make sense."  He also didn't make it sound like adding another guy was a high priority, which is somewhat surprising given the limited upside of many of the current internal candidates.

The New A-Rod Lawsuit Is No Joke

If you're going to burn every bridge, you might as well soak them in lighter fluid and fire a flamethrower at them to make sure every last bit turns to ash, right?  The full lawsuit filed by Alex Rodriguez's lawyers yesterday is available to the public and it doesn't pull any punches.  My favorite passage might be this one about the MLBPA:

" MLBPA determined early on that it did not want to "take on" MLB over the alleged use of PES by Mr. Rodriguez and, instead, would "save its fire" for other issues where it would be across the table from MLB.  As a result, it engaged in numerous acts that were arbitrary, capricious and taken in bad faith, each of which constitutes a breach of MLBPA's duty of fair representation, and each of which had undermined the entire Grievance process to Mr. Rodriguez's detriment."

Arbitrary, capricious, and in taken in bad faith?  That's dynamite stuff.  Jackie Chiles couldn't have said it better himself.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Can Scott Sizemore Actually Help The Yankees?

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

When the Scott Sizemore signing was announced yesterday, I was a little quick to condemn it as an organizational depth move and nothing more.  We are talking about a guy who's played in just 2 games and had only 6 plate appearances since the end of the 2011 season, and while ACL injuries aren't quite as devastating to baseball players as they are to basketball or football players, 2 of them in a row to the same knee isn't exactly a recipe for MLB success.

The more I let the idea of Sizemore marinate in my subconscious while watching the football games yesterday, the more I started to feel like I rushed to judgment on the guy.  Now that I've checked his numbers, I'm starting to feel like he may have something to offer the Yankees after all.