Wednesday, March 19, 2014

2014 Season Preview: What We Know And What We Don't Know (The Rotation)

(Courtesy of the AP)

When Brian Cashman took the plunge and signed CC Sabathia during the 2008-2009 offseason, it was the start of the Yankees' new commitment to building a solid starting rotation.  The main factor that kept them out of the World Series after 2003 was their lack of top notch-quality starting pitching and their lack of rotation depth.  Sabathia has given them more than what they hoped for and then some since signing, but one thing that's always lagged behind is the quality of depth behind him in the rotation.  Former top prospects like Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain didn't pan out, nor did CC's fellow big FA signing from that offseason.  The lack of back end depth became such an issue that Andy Pettitte had to be brought back and then brought back out of retirement to fortify the rotation.

He's not around this year, nor are Hughes and Chamberlain, but for the first time in a while it appears as though the Yankees have finally solved that depth problem for the short and long-term futures.  There are still a few things that need to be ironed out, but the lay of the rotation land this year is much brighter than it's been in a while.

So The Yankees Basically Won The Pineda-Montero Trade Yesterday, Right?

(Fist bump city.  Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

The title of this post was a topic that came up on our daily email thread yesterday, mostly jokingly if I interpreted the email correctly.  The now infamous Michael Pineda-Jesus Montero trade of 2012 has been an easy source of comedy in the baseball world with how poorly the deal has turned out for both sides thus far, but the more I thought about it last night, the more I think the joke is actually true.  Even if he wakes up today, has his right arm fall completely off of his body, and never throws another pitch for the Yankees again, Pineda's start yesterday guaranteed a W for the Yankees on that deal.

Mark Teixeira, Bee Expert

(Courtesy of SB Nation)

By now, I'm sure everybody knows about the little 7-minute bee delay that interrupted yesterday's game.  What you might not know is that, had the umpires had the wherewithal to ask him, Mark Teixeira would have had the whole situation under control:

“What I thought was if you could just do a line of honey out to the parking lot, the bees would maybe follow it and leave us alone.”

Well duh.  Why didn't anybody think of that??  No need to spray a bunch of insecticides into the air, potentially putting the fans and players at risk and senselessly murdering a few hundred bees who were just trying to do their thing.  Just do a line of honey out to the parking lot and maybe the bees would have followed it.  Teix even volunteered the Yankees' honey.

Real multi-threat that Mark Teixeira.  Gold Glove-caliber first baseman, most boring person ever on Twitter, Broadway actor, painfully white, and amateur apiologist.  Now if only he could translate that bee knowledge to the batter's box and add a little sting to his swing.  That'd be something.

P.S.- Do you see what I did there with the "sting" joke?  That's highbrow stuff.

Spring Training News And Notes: 3/18/14

I don't care when it happens, beating the Red Sox is always great.  The Yankees took them down 8-1 yesterday, which made the fact that I forgot I was supposed to live blog the game even more painful.

- The star of the day was Michael Pineda, who made his second ST start and looked damn good doing it.  Pineda threw 4.1 shutout innings, gave up 4 hits and no walks, and struck out 5.  He threw 60 pitches, 45 for strikes, and all 5 of his Ks came on swinging sliders.  He was sitting low 90s with his fastball and touched 94.

- Jacoby Ellsbury continued to progress, going through a full day of workouts.  Joe said he won't play today or tomorrow, and that he won't put Ellsbury back in the lineup until a day or 2 after Ellsbury tells him he's good.

- Brendan Ryan also did a full day's work with no problems and the plan is for him to play again on Thursday.

- David Phelps, CC Sabathia, and Masahiro Tanaka all threw bullpens in the morning.

- Big day of roster cuts.  12 MiLers got the axe, including Chase Whitley, Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, Mark Montgomery, and Corban Joseph.