Wednesday, October 9, 2013

2013 Storylines Review: The Walking Wounded

(Exhibit A.  Courtesy of The NY Daily News)

Injuries.  Nothing can kill a team's chances for success faster than injuries.  Every year you know going in what players are going to perform well, what ones aren't, and you can reasonably anticipate a handful of players having better seasons than usual and a handful having worse.  What no manager ever knows is how injuries are going to affect his team, when they're going to strike, and how long they're going to last.  The Yankees, to a certain extent, bucked that trend in 2013 by heading into the season with a well-known collection of injuries: Jeter's ankle, A-Rod's hip, CC's elbow, Mo's knee.  And that was just the tip of the iceberg.

In my "Walking Wounded" preview post in March, I pointed out that "the Yankees' main backup options for their injured regulars are injury risks in their own right" and said, "If the Yankees are going to be a player in the postseason race in 2013, they're going to have to find a way to overcome these injury hurdles."  They never did and more than anything that could be the reason they finally fell out of the postseason race in late September.

Yankees Re-Sign Joe Girardi To A 4-Year Deal (Updated)

Guess he wasn't as "torn" between New York and Chicago as it seemed.

As formally announced by the team just minutes ago, the Yankees and manager Joe Girardi have agreed to a new 4-year contract that will keep him at the helm through 2017.  No specifics of the deal or money has been announced, but there is a conference call scheduled for 4 PM and I expect those details will come out then.

Smart move by the Yankees.  Joe was and is the best man for the job.  More on this story as it becomes available.

** UPDATE 2:17 PM- Jon Heyman reporting that the deal is worth $16 million plus bonuses.  Pretty fair raise from Joe's last deal and not as steep as I expected. **

** UPDATE 3:33 PM- Via the conference call, Joe said he initiated the discussion about a 4th year, saying he liked the stability it brought. **

Thinking About C-Grand's New Contract

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

If you're the type to put weight in early October hot stove rumors, it appears there's already another potential suitor for Curtis Granderson this offseason.  A Chicago Sun-Times report this past weekend painted the White Sox as an interested party, citing the always anonymous source who said they were expected to make "a hard push" for Granderson.  Like the Yankees, the White Sox were a hot offensive mess this season.  They could use Granderson's power, local ties, and personality to help inject some life into their franchise and put a few more butts in the stadium seats.

The Yankees were expected to make C-Grand a qualifying offer once the offseason started, although their true motivations for doing so are a bit of an unknown.  After seeing what Ichiro and Vernon Wells were still capable of in full-time outfield roles (nothing), the Yanks could certainly use Granderson in one of the corners and in the middle of the lineup next year.  With the criticism of their inability to develop any impact talent through the farm system getting louder and the front office acknowledging that changes need to be made, another 1st round draft pick would be nice to add to the MiL rebuilding effort.  Oh yeah, there's also that pesky little "goal not a mandate" payroll crunch in play.

Betances Not Allowed To Play Winter Ball?

(Scene inside Mark Newman's office.  Phones rings)

"Hello, this is Mark."

"Mr. Newman, this is Dellin Betances."

"Dellin, how are you, son?  What can I do for you?"

"Well, I was hoping I could get your permission to pitch in the Dominican Winter League this offseason.  I know I made some strides on improving my command once you moved me to the bullpen and I'd like to continue working on refining my mechanics so I can win a spot on the Major League roster next spring.  I know it's my last chance."

"Refine your mechanics, eh?  That would be beneficial to both you and our team.  We're going to need arms in the bullpen and you'd be an ideal option as a cheap, homegrown player.  But I'm sorry, I just can't allow that.  Thanks for calling though.  Enjoy your offseason."

I'm sure it didn't go down quite that way, but I really don't understand the Yankees' decision to not let Betances pitch in winter ball.  He obviously still needs the work to be an effective Major League reliever, and it's not like he threw an overwhelming number of innings this year (89.0 total between Triple-A and the Majors).  I hope the team has something else in mind for him if they don't want him pitching in game situations.  Letting somebody with sloppy mechanics like his sit all winter is hardly a smart plan when he's one of the players being considered for a bullpen spot next year.