Well…is been a while since you have heard from me. Now that its 1/4 a way through the season so i felt the need to evaluate thus far.
6 Pack….still going!!
After 6 straight victories and 3 of those coming in dramatic walk off fashion The New York Yankeese starting to look like they should. After being all but mathematically elimiated by the media a few weeks ago, and CC and Tex being labeled “busts” it seems as though they have turned the corner. Tex and CC are both starting to look like the elite atheletes they are, and the return of Arod has proved what his bat means to this lineup.
The pitching is coming around, and Wang and Bruney are both close to returning, with Bruney back probably today or tomorrow.
Jorge, and X-man
Also on the injury front it seems like JOrge Posada is still a few weeks away, but young C Francisco Cervelli has really surprised Girardi, and the fans with his great defense and a decent bat. This kid is gonna stay with the club and could mean Jose Molina could be used as trade bait in order to bolster the bullpen.
When they do get Jorge back the Yankee line-up will be the best in baseball. With the Re-emergence of Melky Cabrera and the continuing hot hitting by Johnny Damon the Yanks are deep, and dangerous up and down the order.
AS for Nady…..well….he has decided to use the same plasma injection method that has allowed Takashi Saito to recover form ligament injury without surgery. While I still dont belive Saito will hold up, I do belive Nady can return based on his performance. He can at the very least can be used opposite Matsui at DH when facing lefties.
The Yanks look good. Now im saying they still dont have some issues, but they are playing hard and having some fun, and with the SOx and Rays having some of their own pitching issues, and the Sox dealing with BIg Papi(who is looking like MO Vaughn reincarnated) and his goose egg in the HR department the Yanks and their fans are feeling good for the first time in while. This team is on an upswing, and is really starting to get a swagger about them!
Watch Out AL east!!
With Less than a week before the season opens if your a Yankee fan you have to like what you been seing and hearing. EVen the news regarding Arod has been encouraging. I have a feeling he will be back a littel sooner than origionally expected, and will slide right back into this line-ip that even without him has proven to be pretty scary. Here are a few notes to recap the Yanks Spring.
Gardner to start and Jeter to lead……off that is!
I have been saying all spring that Girardi loves Gardner’s speed and that he would win the starting CF job, and he did. Now while no one is ever confuse his bat with Ichiro he does have that type of speed, and in a Yankee line-up filled with veterans he brings an added dimension, and is a real weapon on the bases. This relegates Melky reserve OF and pinch hitting/running. There is also alot of rumors about Melky being dealt being that the Yankees already have 4 OF not including Matsui, and rookie Austin Jackson poised to make his MLB debut.
Jeter is gonna bat leadoff this season. For thosewho think this is a weird move please remember that the Captain has had @2500 AB’s in this spot during his career. I really love this move. With Gardner in the line-up this move breaks up Lefty/Lefty, but more importantly Damon has more power, and as a lefty batting 2nd it allows the Yanks to start runners, and stay out of the DP which Jeter’s style of hitting is very prone too.
All 5 Yankee starters have the ability to throw up an ‘ace’ type outing. Yes..ALL 5!! I know Andy is getting up there but as the #4 guy this season he will not have the pressure on him he did last season, and with CC, AJ, and a healthy Wang(whose importance has been truly undervalued this of season), Pettitte will not feel the need to go back out when he is at 100 pithces to save the bullpen.
The 2009 Yankee bullpen is one of the best they have had in years. They have 2 good hard throwing lefties in MArte, and Coke(who i love btw), and with Bruney, Veras, Ramirez,Albaladejo, and of course Mo they can match-up with anyone late in the Game. They also have MArk Melancon, Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Alfredo Aceves all waiting in the wings incase of anything.
While i truly believ the Yankee moves have put them past the other 2 i must elaborate my feelings. The Dead-Sox and their Pink Hat wearing Fans will keep opening their “pie-hole” about how deep the Boston staff is. But my problem is this…Wakey is all but done. This guy is gonna get shelled more times than not this year. He will beat the Royals, and Mariners, but any of the top teams are too much for the 42 yr old Knuckler. Brad Penny is a BUST!! This guy is barley touching 92-93 mph…rmeber he use to throw close to 100mph. His shoulder will not hold up, and he will out of the roation by June. As for Smoltzy….he will pitch like he always does, but a powr pitcher at age 42 coming back from MAJOR shoulder surgey I just cant see him making it throught the year.
The SOx have line-up issues as well. WHile all the Pink Hats have been telling me how Posada is done(see him gun out Ellsbury?) and Arod wont come back..ha! Oh…and MO wont be the same….um…no need to comment, thy have big issues too. Will Papi be good or great? They cant afford a .265 25hr year form him. He needs to be his old self in order for them to compete. Can Drew stay on the field? (doubt it) The Sox are counting on Lowell and Papi returing to 07 form, and Ellsbury becoming a solid everday player(not too sure about that) They also expect the same if not better production form Youk which may be askin alot form a guy who had a career year.
The Rays actually have the best starting pitvhing of all 3 teams if they bring David Price back up, or at least make him the closer.
I can not see the Rays making it through the year with as much luck as they had last year, and with a lower payroll they will not be able to come back from things as easily. I am expecting a 3rd place finish for the 2008 AL Cham0ps!.
Im Just excited for the season, ansd think the Bombers have a realistic chance to win it all!! The pitching, and the addition of the gold glove and triple crown bat of Tex really have made this the team to beat!!
This Brett is a Jett!
The most interesting battle in NY is that between Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera for the starting CF postion, and for Cabrera he is possibly fighting for his career as a Yankee.
When you have a team like the NY Yankees there usually is not too many posions battles during spring training for a starting roster spot, but this spring they Yankees have 2 battles in their outfield. While the Nady Swisher competetion for RF is intriguing it appears much more likely that they will split time and being Swisher is a SH Girardi may play the lefty/righty game.
Its no secret that Girardi has marveled over Gardners ability to “wreak havoc” on the bases. Melky was thought to be the CF of the future for NY until he took major steps backwards last year after a strong start. Now he is being pushed by the speedy, hard nosed Gardner who has shown an improved bat this spring, and has a rare form of speed that is virtually unstoppable on the base paths.
Usually this battle would mean one would go down to AAA until needed due to injury or a need in the OF but Melky is out of options and will be off the roster with his unconditinal release if he loses this spring. Gardner has been playing great this spring and I think he will be the starting CF for the Yanks this year. I really like this kid and love his heart. I think the addition of Gardner and another hard nosed guy like Swisher are exactly what the business like Yankees need…..Its time to bring back the ’96 intensity that Girardi knows all about!!
Penny making me look good so far!!
I have been telling anyone who would listen to me that Brad Penny will not make 15 starts this year for Boston from the git-go! The portly Penny has proved over the last few seasons that he has no regard for his conditioning, and after shoulder problems last year did nothing this off season to ensure his health.
This past week he was scratched form his spring debut due to a tired shoulder. Tired? He hasnt played yet. I know the boston creams can weigh a little more but Brad maybe you should go for a jog once in a while. The sox are gonna pay this guy 5 million this year to tease them all season. He will be off and on the DL, and when he pitches against any of the better teams in the AL he will get CRUSHED!!
There is a reason he Dodgers let him go so easy. Ask Larry Bowa about Penny. He has stated that Penny was repeatedly late to meetings, lacklsuter in practice, and thought hard work was deciding on rocky road or cookie dough! (ok i made the last part up)
Now i know the Sox fans are gonna give me the list of Clay BUcholtz (head case, and wears too many necklaces), John Smoltz (43 coming of MAJOR surgey), MIcheal Bowden (made ONE 5 inning start in the big leagues), and Masterson (who i like, but is better in the pen), as Penny insurance. While i agree one of this group will be able to replace the Rusty Penny my question is this. Who is gonna replace Shakey Wakey? I think the Sox rotation is not as solid as Peter Gammons, an Steve Phillips like to say. It remains to be seen, but as for Penny. Well…Sox honks better hope he is not riding the pine all year on Bostons’ dime!
Quick hit on A-Rod
Im sure most have read or heard Alex’s comments regarding Jose Reyes. First off let me just say that A-Rod sould take a vow of silence becaue he can not get out of his own way in front of the microphone. That being said. It was an obvious that his comments were merley meant as the highest compliment to his Dominican teammate and an up an coming superstar in MLB, But Alex has to know that when he doesnt choose his word wisely they will be twisted into negative ASAP! I truly dont think this was a shot at Jeter or Damon, but once again A-Rod..please…for the love of God…JUST DONT SAY ANYTHING ANYMORE!!
Hey..i know its still February but thats not gonna stop me form highlighting a positive thus far.
JOrge Posada hit a home run and a double over the wall on Thursday in his first action since last summer. Of course i know this means nothing as far as what he will produce in the 09 season, BUT….it does show he is getting closer to being healthy. I have said it many times already and will say it again..Jorge Posada’s health could be the key to the Yankees season. The seitvh hitter has always been a clutch hitter, and his ability to break up the middle of the line-up can not be underestimated.
Also if he is able to resume the full time catching duties the pitching staff will also be well served. Jose Molina is an awesome catcher but you could see last year he is not ready to play every day. His offensive numbers became virtually non existant. He hits much better in a limited role and with that gun behind the plate he gives the Yankees an extra weapon in their backup.
As Posada’s throwing arm gets back into shape Manager Joe Girardi has shown reserved confidence about his All-Star catchers surgcially repaired shoulder. Jorge has said the entire time he would be ready for opening day but i thin it as been in the last few weeks thta Girardi might actaully be starting to believe it. The skipper knows how important the teams catcher is and based on his words over the last 2 weeks Posada is regaining the zip on his throws and has shown NO signs of pain, or suffered any setbacks.
Lets keep our fingers crossed!!
As ususal the first week of Spring Training brings excitment and great interest. Here are some insights from Friday’s Practice!
Wang is Healthy
Not every pitcher throws each day but this Friday i got the opportunity to see Chein Ming Wang on the mound for one of his first appearances since a sprained Lisfranc ligament and a partial tear of the peroneus longus of the right foot ended a possible CY Young caliber season. Wang threw around 30-35 pitches to live hitters and looked good. He was popping the mit and making hitters swing and miss or hit weak grounders. His only mistake was a sinker he left up to Bernie Williams (WHAT?), Yes Bernie was there and is practicing for the WBC (more on that in a min), but Bernie took a hogh sonker over the center field wall at GMS Field.
The most importan thing was to see the two time 19 game winner move around the mound without any sign of pain or discomfort. This is greta news for Yankee fans and even better were the word form Wang himself sfter the BP session “It’s normal,” Wang said. “I don’t feel anything.” The now #3 starter im the Yankee rotation is primed to have a monster season with a bonified Ace in CC and #2 in AJ pitching in front of him.
Bring Bernie Back!! Bring Bernie Back!!……
Those were the chants of teh fans at Steinbrenner field on Friday as the retired Yankee legend took batting practice and OF drills with the club as he prepares for the WBC where he will play for his native countey of Puerto RIco. The 40yr old Williams has not ruled out an attempt to play in MLB again but says that is not something he would consider until after he gauges his performance in the WBC.
Bernie played to the crowd as they chanted and he was motioning to them to get louder as he stood behind GM Brian Cashman with huge grin on his face. While all pastied involved realize there is virtually no posible scenario tha brings Williams back to the Bombers it was great to see him back in pinstripes. I also believ that it should not be underestimated the impact a presonlaity like this can have on the young players as well as the vets. During a time of great fluxuation and media scrutinty is was great to have a this guy in camp to keep it loose and fun. Derek Jeter stayed out on the field for the entire practice fielding gorunders and palying with his former teammate and buddy.
As the debate continues on how to use Joba Chamberlein a new name appears to have emergered as his possible replacement and maybe that of closer Mariano Rivers. Mark Melancon a 23 yr old RHP has impressed all at Yankees camp thus far, This prospect has been viewed internally as the possible heir apparent to Mo. But he is not ready to accept that or dismiss it just yet.
“I think it’s able to be done, so I’m excited for that,
“ Melancon said. “I’m excited that people are throwing that out there, but I know it’s not true until I make it true.”
The young hard throwing righty made a few Yankee regulars look bad during BP including Derek Jeter who minutes before he smurked at Melancon after his 12-6 curveball made him look silly was chirping towards the mound after he shatteres Robinson Cano’s bat yelling, “Get him, Mark, get him!”
While the Yankees are in rush to put this kid in the pen they seem to agree he has a bright future and a chance to start the year with the big club in NY according to catcher Jorge Posada.
“We’ll see how he progresses,” Posada said. “I think they don’t really want to rush him right now. They want him to get a full year in and see what happens. But he’s got a bright future. There’s no doubt about that.”
These sentiments were retiterrated by mananger Joe Girardi when asked about the rookie..
“I think we’d like to see him get his feet wet before we start talking about that,” Girardi said. “Those are extremely big shoes to fill. But he’s got a chance to learn. He’s got a chance to be around a lot of big leaguers here and a lot of guys that have a lot of experience. That’s good for him.
“ His ball cuts, it sinks, it’s got late life to it,” Girardi said”That usually translates into swings and misses, and not solid contact.”
I predict that Melancon is a major part of the Yankee bullpen rotation and along with Biran Bruney will become the 7/8th staples alng the bridge to Mo.
….more to come
Its finally that time when the 2009 MLB season officially begins. Pitchers and catchers will report to camps today and mark the start of the upcoming year. Obviously the buzz on Dale Mabry will be more about Alex Rodgriuez and less about the Yankees, but that is no surprise.
Ok..Listen! Arod took PED’s. The fact remains the guy has passed every test he has taken since that time. I understand that many people will continue to hate him, and bash him as a ”cheater” and fake, but he will be a Yankee for the next 9 seasons. And if he prodcues the way he has in the past everything will be ok. During that time frame the use of steroids was rampid, and used by so many big time players that is has marred these years in MLB history. BUT! I think we are all being VERY hipocritical. Gaylord Perry is a HOF pitcher who admits to cheating his entire career, and is beloved and still considered an all-time great. MIke Schmidt and MANY MANY others from the 1970′s and 80′s adn even into the 90′s admit to using “greenines” on a regular basis. And by this i mean DAILY. For any of you who dont know what these were; they are “uppers” “speed”. They were primarily to help players get up for games during the grind that is the 162 MLB season.
If anyone has ever used the herb Mua-Hung (ephedra) you understand the value that somehing like this could have on your perfromance, and energy level. These drugs were available in the CLUBHOUSE!! But little is ever made of these FACTS. Im not codemnin these players, but i would like to make a point that guys have been using things to give them an edge for as long as the game has been around. These are just people. ARod can not be held to a higher moral standard just cause he’s a baseball player. If you can say that you have never used poor judgment or done something you regret then please pile on Arod, but if not then get off the guy and give him a chance to prove he is sorry before you make any decisions.
I will predict a monster season from the Yankee slugger! For the first time he will be forced to focus on only baseball, and the idea of saving his legacy will drive him.
Jorge & Joba
Jorge Posada could be the KEY to the Yankees success this season. Having his SW bat in the line-up at th C positon is a HUGE advantage. So far Jorge has progressed nicely and was throwing from the couching position. Now…no one will really know of his true health baramoeter until he uncorks a few down to 2nd during a game sitution pain free(and he gotta be able to throw some guys out) If the Yankees are forced to use him as a DH they will have an enormous problem. Not so much at catcher because Jose Molina has proven to be a nice backup and GREAT defemsive catcher, but this would force the Yankees to do something with Matsui,(and Swisher/Nady to lesser extent), who will primarilty be DH this year. All signs thus far have shown Jorge’s surgery went well, and he can return to his all-star form, but its a shoulder and no one ever knows how it will respond. I’ll just keep my fingers crossed!!(toes too!)
AS for Mr. Chamberlein. The kid witht the golden arm seems pumped (when doenst he?) for his chance to be in the rotation all year. Joba has spent his off-season doing extra drill to strengthen his soulder so he can hold up to the test of the MLB season. Expect to see the Yankees use VERY conservative approach to him this year, and use spot starts to make sure he stays healthy.
This kid has the chance to be a legitmate “ace” and if he reaches anywhere close to that potential this season the Yankees will have the best staff in MLB. I believe in Joba and think he will be a valued stated for years to come. But i also belive if he has any problems with his sholder that look like a re-occurring event he will go back to the pen. But if anyone saw him dominate the Sox and Josh Beckett 1-0 last year you realize this kid’s potential!
Spring Training is here!!! No matter what team you like or what issues you have with MLB right now this is one of the best times of the sports year!!
The bombers singed long time lefty starter Andy Pettitte yesterday for a discount $5.5 million with another $6.5 million possible based on innings pitched and starts made. This signing solidifies a Yankee pitching staff that has already addedd CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, as well as, two time 19 game winner Chieng Ming Wang. This move also gives the Yankees 2 quality lefties in their starting 5. That is not something you see alot of anymore and should not be understated!
What this means?
Andy will be the 4th starter which means in stead of facing the teams #1 or #2 everytime he pitched he will face a 4 or 5 most likely. Also with the signing of 2 proven starters and a bonified ace Pettitte will not have the pressure to eat up as many innings as he did last year. The veteran stayed in many games last season well above his pitch limit because of a tired Yankees bullpen who was faced with pitching 5-6 innings everytime a Darrel Rasner or Sindey Ponson threw. This will save his arm and should relieve the shoulder problems he faced at the end of last season.
This also will raise the questions about Joba chamberlein and his role for the 09′ season. With the addition fo Pettitte the Yankees may take a second look at moving JOba back into the 7th and 8th innning role and allow Phil Hughes another shot at starting. Much of this could aldo hinge on how Mariano Rivera is throwing in Spring Training. Chamberlein would be the most likely choice to replace Mo if he hit the DL. But with a young Hughes and Joba who will have a inning cap all year then Yankees could also use a 6 man rotation at certain points of the season. No matter what this is a great problem for manager Joe Girardi to have.
Best Staff in MLB?
Now that Pettitte is back in the rotation i truly believe they have to be in the arguument for best staff in MLB. With a healthy Wang, and the additions of CC and A.J. along with Joba in the mix the Yankees have given them the chance to send out #1 starter talent almost every night. This also will allow the bullpen to rest, and get the ball to Rivera, who appears to have no issues from his minor procedure he had this offseason.
It is obvious that one could argue that Boston and Tampa each a have staff that are equal or better but no can dispute these upgrades, and no team in the East has a measurable edge in starting pitching anymore!
Glad to have you back Andy!!
Buuuuut are they out thinking themselves? Think about this….
The Red Sox allowed the Yankees to sign Mark Teixiera becasue they did not want to pony up another $10 million over 8 years, and then face the task of moving the popular 3rd baseman Mike Lowell to make room for Tex by shifting Youk to 3rd.
My question is this:
Why Sign 2 5th starters for a combined $19 million(if they pitch all year) when for another $1.3 a year you could of had Tex?
Brad Penny and John Smoltz aere BOTH coming off shoulder uinjuries, and Smoltz had Laburum surgery. At the Age of 41 there is not a great chance of him making a full recovery and lastinig the year. Now if they were able to complete the deal with Tex and move Lowell they would of had the $12 Million Lowell makes to spend on…say…Derek Lowe? A guy who basically vener misses a start. It seems as though Theo has possibly out thought himself this time and decided to take a big chance with the back end of his rotation.
Prediction: Penny and Smoltz combined do not pitch 200 innings!
As for Rocco:
Cant say anything negative about the guy. Hard worker, great talent, good clubhouse guy, but he cant play more than 2 days in a row. The fact is they are not gonna pay him much so its definitley worth the risk, but it just appears to me that the Sox are taking alot of risks with guys coming back form injury that couls leave them high and dry towards the end of the season.
I think with the Rays addition of Pat Burrell and the Yankees off season bonanza the Sox have dropped to the 3rd best team in the east. Any Yankee fan will tell you that going into a season with as many question marks as the Sox have(Big Papi, Lowell, Penny, Smoltz, Ellsbury, Varitek), is not a recipe for success. It just seems Kid Genius and his team have possibly tried to cut too many corners and it could provide them with a 3rd place finish and no Playoffs.
More rumors are surfacing about the Yankees taking a look at Oliver Perez for the final spot int he rotation, but the smart money is still on veteran Andy Pettitte returning to the Yankees to open the new stadium.
While it may seem like Perez has far more upside he will also cost a longer deal,(probably 3-4 years), at the same $$ value per year as Pettitte. You also can not discount the popularity of the long time Yankee lefty hurler. Bringing Andy back will allow the Yankees to take another look at Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and even Alfredo Aceves this year in AAA.
I understand that many of you are concerend about bringning back Pettitte becaue of his poor 2nd half last year but fear not! Andy was forced to be put into the #1 or #2 slot for the entire 2nd half of the season. He also stayed in many games that he should of came out because he tried to give the weary bullpen a rest and it took an obvious toll on his arm. This season he will be a 4th or 5th starter, and will face that counterpart form other teams. He will also be able to come out after 95 pitches or so because inning eaters Chein-Ming Wang, CC Sabathia, and (if Healthy) AJ Burnet. They will pitch far more innings than Sidney Ponson, Darell Rasner, and Carl Pavano who started almost 25% of teh Yankees games last season.
Yes! No Wonder Pettitte was throwing 115 pitches every outing! This signing also allows the Yankees to keep the possibility of putting Joba in there pen out there. If Phil Hughes looks like a MLB starter in spring training look for the Yanks use Joba as part of a dominant 1-2 late inning combo.
If Varitek leaves the Sox are in BIG Trouble!
It is becoming more likely that the Red Sox will not re-sign the vateran catcher and team Captain Jason Varitek. While his futility at the plat was painful to watch at times last season it would still behoove the Sox to buck up, show some loyalty, and pay the man. The Sox have enough bats in their line-up that then can afford one dead bat, and who is to say Tek wont bounce back?
It appears that what Tek does for this team has been somewhat de-valued by the Theo Epstein and the current leadership group. All I can say is that if they do not bring him back you will a HUGE adverse effect on the pitching staff.
You think Dice-K be able to continnue his high wire act without a Varitek?
Can a young star like Jon Lester repeat his dominance with a yong catcher calling his games?
How will Josh Beckett bounce back form a down year without his rock behind the plate?
And what affect will dropping the Captain have in the Sox clubhouse?
It amusing to me that all the Sox honks continue to rell me how they are all about HAAART. Really?
Your heart and soul is Jason Varitek. He controls the game. He knows every hitter and every pitch. He could be the one of best game calling catchers ever to play. Sure you may have to pay an extra year when he is washed up, but if the Red Sox dont want to finish in 3rd place in 2009 they better buck up and pay a big piece of the HAAART!
If the dont mark it down….Dice-K will fall apart, and you will see regression from Jon Lester, and another so-so year form Josh Beckett. Not to mention what it could do for the relievers…Papelbon only really has one pitch, and without someone putting it where it needs to be it could be a problem. I know he throws real hard but a fastball down broadway will get crushed by any major leaguer…..except for maybe Jason Varitek…..hehehehe!
It is seriously embarassing to listen to all the whining going on aruond the league about the Yankee Offseason. It is not like they have gone out and spent like this every year. In fact can anyone name one big aqcuisition the bombers made last year?
Besides resigning A-Rod the Yankees saved their money and waited til this year when they had some $84 million coming off the books. As of now the payroll is less than it was last year and the year before so what’s the problem?
The problem is the other teams are bitter. Hey, sorry that the owners in NY try to give their fans a winner each year. Have they gone out and spent money of mid-level talent. NO! They have singed potential HOF caliber players to long term deals to keep them in Pinstripes.
The Dead Sox had their chance…Bottom line they lost their nerve!
Now people want a salary cap. Ok..lets have one, but at the same time lets have a minimum too! Why should the owner of Wal-Mart have one of the lowest payrolls in the league? The fact remains that for many teams the only time they sell-out a regular season game is when the Yankees or Sox come to town.
As for the Red Sox crying poverty and the uphill battle against the evil empire. Well what abour $70million for JD Drew or a combnied $103 million for DIce-K, and dont forget the $36 million on Julio Lugo…WHO?
Listen and listen good…stop whining! Everyone knows that they havent won anything yet but guess what? Even if they dont win this year they will have CC, AJ, Arod, and Tex for the next 5 years. I defy anyone to tell me that is a bad investment or bad for baseball!