Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Jeter Retirement Presser Wrap-Up

Derek Jeter's press conference to discuss last week's announcement that he will retire after this season was held today.  I did not watch a second of it because I was at the bar watching the USA-Czech Republic hockey game, so if you were unable or otherwise preoccupied from viewing the presser live like me, here's what you missed:

- The first question was the obvious "why now?" one and Jeter answered it with the response you'd expect from a 20-year vet.  He said last season's injury struggles were a factor and made the decision easier, he cited the desire to move onto other things, and said it was just "the right time."

- One thing that didn't influence the decision was his health.  Jeter said he feels great and is "looking forward to playing the entire season" this year.

- If you were curious about how much of last week's announcement Jeter wrote himself, he said he wrote all of it and that there was a lot of other things he wrote down that didn't make it into the final cut.  Good to know that those were his words.

- Jeter said he wanted to make the announcement months ago but that his friends and family told him to wait, think about it, and make sure it was something he really wanted to do before making it official.  He did speak to Jorge Posada about it a few weeks back, but he didn't talk to Mo.

- When asked about playing time this season, Jeter said, "I want to play every day.  This year will be absolutely no different."  He also said he wants to be remembered as a great Yankee because, "the great thing about being a Yankee is you're always a Yankee."

- What moment from his 20-year career stood out the most?  “Every time we win. … If you ask me what stands out the most, it’s winning.”  Typical Jeter.

It's still a little weird to think about him not being around next year, just like it was with Mo last year.  But he came across like his mind was made up.  Here's hoping he stays healthy and we get to see him on the field as much as possible this year.

Honest Post-Offseason Roster Evaluation: The Bench

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

Obviously the Yankees had major problems with injuries last season.  That's how you end up with 943 combined plate appearances from Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay and another 639 from Jayson Nix and Eduardo Nunez.  Part of what made last year's injury plague so detrimental was the failure on the Yankees' part to build a solid bench behind their older starting lineup.  During the glory years of the late 90s dynasty, a powerful, flexible, well-rounded bench was a staple of Yankee rosters.  Over the last 12-15 years, that standard has fallen by the wayside and it came to a head last season when the Yankees were forced to give another 427 PA tothe likes of Thomas Neal, Alberto Gonzalez, Brent Lillibridge, Chris Nelson, Reid Brignac, Ben Francisco, Luis Cruz, and David Adams.

For all the work the front office putting in addressing the rest of the roster this offseason, the bench once again seems to be the neglected child.  It may not ultimately be as bad as what was riding the pine for the majority of last season, but it's nowhere near the levels of some of the great Yankee benches of the recent past.  The strategy in building this season's bench appears to be just letting the lesser holdover players from last year trickle down to fill the open spots as their free agent replacements take the starting roles.  Let's see how it works out for them, Cotton.

Spring Training News And Notes: 2/18/14

- Ivan Nova became the latest pitcher to graduate to throwing live batting practice yesterday, tossing an early session to Gary Sanchez.  Cash was there to watch.

- Masahiro Tanaka threw his second bullpen  in the morning, as did CC, Hirok, and David Herndon.  J.R. Murphy caught Tanaka for the first time and called his stuff "really impressive" when the session was over.  Chad Jennings has video.

- Cash declared that it will be business as usual when it comes to Jeter and Teix's playing time this season, saying, "Tex is going to be at first, D.J. is going to be at short, and what we’re going to get is what we’re going to get."  We'll see how real that is when their bodies start to ache.

- Jacoby Ellsbury arrived at camp and said his foot injury from the end of 2013 is fully healed and feeling good.  That's good news.

- Don't know why he feels this way, but Brendan Ryan made a little news yesterday for saying he's expecting boos this year on days where he's playing instead of Jeter.  Ummm, Brendan?  Have you ever paid attention to yourself when you're playing shortstop?  Pretty sure nobody in their right mind is going to boo this:

Take it from me.  I'm the guy who basically, and stupidly, called you a piece of shit last week.  I know what I'm talking about.