Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Afternoon "One Week 'Til Opening Day" Linkapalooza: 3/30

We're one week away from Yankees Opening Day, people.  This time next week we can put aside the talk of velocity, platoons, injury concerns, and roster battles and just kick back and watch some baseball, which is awesome.  I still have to figure out how I'm going to watch the game, since I'm a cheapskate and don't have any kind of MLB viewing package on my TV or computer.  But at least I won't have to miss the game because I'm stuck at work.  Good Friday indeed!  Onto the links.

- On Monday, Ran Shulman of Yanks Go Yard welcomed D-Rob back to the bullpen by giving a refresher course on just how nasty Robertson was in 2011 and how valuable he is for 2012.

- On Tuesday, Rebel Yankee Chick flirted with the Dark Side by taking the Fenway Paahhk tou-ah.  She gave it a positive review.

- Trevor Wolff of Sliding Into Home posted a friendly reminder to not dismiss the Yankees' relief pitching prospects.  Given how good some of them have been early in their careers, I would have to agree with Trevor.

- Rob Steingall of Pinstripe Alley offered up his picks for prospects he'll be keeping a close watch on this season, and I commend him for picking guys outside the normal group.

- Joe Pawlikowski of RAB debated whether the Yankees should trade or hold some of their players who have been drawing interest from other teams, specifically Freddy, Ramiro Pena, and Justin Maxwell.

- On Wednesday, Bryan V of The Greedy Pinstripes explained why he feels Russell Martin is the most important player in the Yankee lineup, at least from a health standpoint.  I can buy that.

- Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily scoured the Yankees' MiL affiliates to identify the players who he thinks could be fast risers through the system this season.

- Matt Filippi of Beyond the Box Score offered his 2012 season preview for the Yankees, touching on their improved rotation and age concerns in the lineup.

- On Thursday, Jamie Insalaco of Bomber Banter made his 2012 predictions.  He sees rebounds for Hughes and The Horse and another AL East title for the Yankees.

- Hippeaux of IIATMS discussed the trend in baseball of shuffling guys from the bullpen to the rotation, touching on the Yankees' recent following of the trend with Hughes and Joba.

- Fishjam25 of Yankees Fans Unite looked at the evolution of the Yankees' strategy when building their rotation and the shift to focusing more on homegrown pitching talent.

- Dave Schoenfield of ESPN's Sweet Spot set the over/under for Yankee wins at 93.5 and inquired about their ability to reach 100.  I'm not sure about 100, but I would definitely take the over on 93.5.

- Today, Mike Eder of TYA crunched the numbers on Teix's ST at-bats to show just how much he's focused on hitting the other way from the left side.  Hopefully that carries over to the regular season and translates into an overall improvement in his stats.

- Mike did the same thing on Wednesday with Phil Hughes' batted ball profile to show the improvements in Hughes' game this spring.

For the Friday Jam, I'm going back to my middle school days with some Orgy.  They've recently reformed, although lead singer Jay Gordon is the only original member still involved, but they're still pretty badass.  I remember being 13 years old when their "Blue Monday" cover started to become popular and thinking I was the coolest cat on the block because I bought a CD called "Candyass" by a band named "Orgy."  Hell, I'm 26 now and I still think it's cool that the band is called "Orgy."  I don't think it came with a parental advisory sticker, but I definitely hid it from my folks for a while.  I was such a loser back then.  Anyway, if you're somehow still an Orgy fan like I am, you'll appreciate this one from 1999.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.

2012 AB4AR Season Preview: What We Know & What We Don't Know (The Bench*)

(Frankie breaks out his best chicken dance.  Courtesy of The AP)

* I'm including Russell Martin in this group simply because I'm an idiot and didn't remember to include him in the infield post on Monday.  I'm also lumping Ibanez into the bench group as a platoon player, even though he will be the starting DH.

What We Know- Russell Martin is Playing for a Contract

Russell resurrected his career last season in his first year in pinstripes.  He played in 125 games, hit 18 HR, posted a .325 wOBA, made the All Star Game, and played all-around solid defense behind the plate.  That being said, he did only hit .237 and didn't contribute much in the Yankees' ALDS loss to Detroit, so the Yankees weren't quite convinced that he was back and only gave him a 1-year deal this year.  At 29, Martin is right smack in the middle of his prime years and will be one of the top catchers available on the free agent market after this season.  He got in great shape again in the offseason to prepare himself for a big year, and if he has one chances are he'll be brought back by the Yankees on a 3-4-year deal.  If they decide they don't want to bring him back, or can't afford to, some other team will definitely be in the market for his services.

What We Don't Know- Whether That Will Impact Cervelli's Playing Time

Martin knows he needs to be on the field to showcase his skills and earn himself that new contract, so he's going to be pushing to play as much as possible.  Playing the catcher position, it's a sure thing that he's going to get banged up at some point, and chances are he will try to play through the pain.  What Joe will need to decide is how often he wants to let Martin do that as the season progresses and the bumps and bruises start to pile up.  Francisco Cervelli is once again lined up to be Martin's backup behind the plate and we know what he is at this point.  He can hit a little bit here and there and he won't embarrass himself defensively, but when Martin is healthy and at his best there isn't anything that Cervelli can do better than him.  130-135 games for Martin would be good, with Cervelli catching the rest.

More after the jump

Will There Be Any Friday Funny Business Today?

2 weeks ago Friday it was Andy's comeback.  Last Friday it was Joba's failed attempt to be an Olympic gymnast.  So what's in store for us today?

I'm almost scared to check LoHud for news updates.  I'm afraid it's going to be something like Larry Rothschild getting kidnapped by Colombian drug lords or Curtis Granderson suddenly going blind.  Hopefully it can just be a nice calm day and we can continue to talk about finalizing the rotation order and why Michael Pineda isn't throwing 200 MPH.