Showing posts with label Johnny Damon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Johnny Damon. Show all posts

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cashman & Girardi Drop Bombs On Ya Moms When They Met The Media

Still reeling from the Rangers beating the Yankees in the ALCS? Yeah, me too. I was planning in blogging about the series but I decided not to. Instead, I'll wrap that up in one short sentence: The Rangers were/are the better team and deserved to go to the World Series. OK, maybe not a short sentence. I think the Yankees were better than they played in those 6 games but looking back on the final month or so of the season, I'm not so sure. September was a struggle and in hindsight I think they team ran out of gas. I'll probably blog about the season at some point this offseason, but not today. As for the World Series, go Giants! I have no real vested interest in who wins and don't really care either way. I'd just like to see the "claws and antlers" go away. I think those are highly absurd. And at least it's not Philly. I think we can all agree we're happy about that.

Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi met the media today and answered a bunch of questions and dropped a bomb or two on everyone. I was following along with some of the beat writer's accounts on Twitter while it was happening. Fun stuff. The LoHud Yankees Blog has a bunch of tidbits on the meeting. Here are my thoughts on the major stuff:

  • The biggest bombshell dropped today was that the Yankees have fired Dave Eiland. It was Cashman's decision and he described the reasoning as "private." He also said it had nothing to do with performance. Interesting. Something seems a little off on this, don't you think? Bottom line for me is that Eiland just didn't get the job done. Too many struggles from too many pitchers. But wouldn't that be performance based? Yeah, I don't get it either. After I read about Eiland's dismissal, a thought popped into my head: What if Dave Eiland gave A.J. Burnett his black eye? Yeah, I'm reaching, I know. But then again who really knows? I'm sure it has to do something with the personal leave Eiland took in June. You'd think Cashman's decision would be related to that, right? Almost has to be? I know there were rumors that Eiland was in rehab on his LOA and I don't want to get into that. Bottom line, regardless of the "private" reason is that he's out as pitching coach. No big loss. Again as I mentioned, too many pitchers had too many struggles, namely A.J. Burnett and Joba Chamberlain. I have no problem with the Yankees bringing in somebody else to take on that role.
  • Cashman plans to talk with Joe Girardi's agent ASAP to try and lock Girardi into another contract. Both sides want the deal to happen which means that it will. It'll probably happen soon. I'd expect it to be signed, sealed and delivered by the end of the week. Hiring a manager should be and is Cashman's top priority. You can't really move on without one. I have no issue with the Yankees bringing Girardi back. He does make some boneheaded moves but by and large he's doing a decent job. Then again, it's the Yankees. I could guide that team to 90+ wins.
  • The team views Joba Chamberlain as a back-of-the-bullpen pitcher and not as a starter. That should forever put to rest that debate as it sounds like Joba will always be a reliever as long as he's a Yankee. Works for me. Yeah, I'm not a Joba guy. Never really have been. He's had flashes of brilliance but for the most part I think he's a middle-of-the-pack pitcher. I wouldn't be surprised if he's traded before Spring Training.
  • Andy Pettitte pitched hurt during the playoffs. During the ALDS Andy felt tightness in both his back and his hamstrings. Pettitte's injuries were the driving factor in the Yankees' decision to pitch him in games 3 and 7 of the ALCS. I can respect that and have no problem with their decision to do so. The part of have minor issue with is people, mainly certain media members, hammered Girardi for not disclosing that info. C'mon now. If Girardi dropped that on everyone that could change everything. You don't want your opponent knowing your weaknesses. Why would any logical mind think that he should have to disclose that? Oh yeah, we're talking about the media, and again, it's only certain ones.
  • The Yankees don't plan on picking up any player options, of which there are only 3. Kerry Wood @ $11 million, Lance Berkman @ $15 million. Nick Johnson @ $5.75 million. Yeah, I'm with the team on that. There's no need to drop that much coin on any of those guys. I like Wood, but who needs an $11mm set-up guy. $15 million for a part-time DH? No thanks. Nick Johnson? We won't go there.
  • Cashman admitted he had a bad offseason. Nick Johnson was apparently plan C, behind Johnny Damon @ plan A and Hideki Matsui @ plan B. Yeah, Cashman blew that one. Trading for Javy Vazquez was almost as bad. The big plus in that deal was that they got rid of Melky Cabrera, which I think made Robinson Cano a better player.

That's the main stuff. There were some other nuggets dropped but nothing major. This should be a very interesting offseason. Cashman has a lot of work to do and he's already attacking it. I don't think it will take long to re-hire Girardi and then re-sign Mariano Rivera & Derek Jeter. I would expect the Yankees to move pretty quick on bringing back those guys. The Hot Stove is heating up. Won't be long before it's raging.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back To Business

My how time flies. It's hard to believe that it's been 2 weeks since I've been able to blog. I've got so much going on. For starters, the wife and I welcomed a new addition to the family. Just over 2 weeks ago the wife gave birth to our 3rd child, a daughter named Bailey. Thanks again to everyone on Twitter who sent well wishes my way. I appreciate it. Our oldest just turned 3 last Sunday so as you can imagine when you have 3 kids at home aged 3 and under, you don't have a lot of free time. On top of all that we closed on our brand new home about a week after the baby was born. It took about 3 days to move everything in and another 3 days to put it all where it needs to go. I did have time at night to watch the Yankees but we didn't get our cable hooked up until this past Tuesday. I caught a little of the last few games but as you can expect I haven't had time to blog about it. Here's my attempt at catching up a little:

The Yankees are 9-6 since I blogged last. Could be better, could be worse. I'll take it. At the close of the last Boston series the Yankees were 7 up on the Sox in the loss column with 51 to play. 16 games have been played in that span and the Sox are 6 back in the loss column. 6 games back with 35 to play. Yeah, not going to happen. If the Yankees go 17-18 the rest of the way, the Sox would have to go 22-12 (.648) just to tie. Yeah, not going to happen.

A-Rod and Lance Berkman landed on the DL. Andy Pettitte is still on it. Bummer. But I've been so far removed from Yankees news I'm not even sure what's up with them.

CC is the man. He's gone 3-0 while I've been away. He's won his last 4 and has been rather impressive. As the weather heats up, so does CC. Over those 4 starts, he's 4-0, 29.2 IP, 24 hits, 6 walks, 24 K, and has allowed 7 ER for an ERA of 2.12. He's sitting on a record of 17-5 and an ERA of 3.02. Amazing. He's got 5-6 starts left. I don't want to jump the gun but I'd have to put the odds of CC picking up 20 wins at least at 75%. He leads the league in wins. Has the 5th best ERA in the AL. Can you say Cy Young?

Johnny Damon is still the man. I love how he basically gave the middle finger to the Red Sox by deciding to stay with the Tigers. Ha ha ha. I love it.

Phil Hughes was not at all impressive in his last outing but it's nothing I'm concerned about.

I was bummed about not being able to make it to Toronto for the series (1st time in like 4 years) but I suppose a new house and new baby is as good a reason as any to miss out. I plan to be back for the September set.

Javy Vazquez is in the bullpen. Anybody care?

Best Yankees spot starter in recent memory has to be Dustin Moseley.

What's gotten into Boone Logan? 15 straight appearances without allowing a run. 10.2 IP, 4 hits, 2 walks, 11 K, and no runs! Who would have thunk it? Not me. That's for sure.

I'm sure I'm forgetting something but my brain is a little fried. 35 games left. They've rounded 3rd and their heading for home. Will they have to slide or can they cross the plate standing up? Will there be a play at the plate? My gut and head are both telling me that October baseball will be played in the Bronx yet again. But it's baseball. Anything can happen.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Surprise Surprise. Nick Johnson Is Hurt Already

Just got back to my desk from an afternoon of meetings (also had to wait for a "break") and I hear on the XM update that Nick Johnson was scratched from today's game against the Phillies with what's being called a "stiff lower back." Congrats to whoever had 2 plate appearances in the "When will Nick Johnson get hurt" pool.

According to the game report over at the Lohud Yankees blog, Johnson felt something in his back during BP after catching one of his spikes in the turf during one of his swings. The root cause of the "injury" is apparently because Johnson was wearing his spikes when he normally wears his turf shoes. The injury doesn't sound too serious but this isn't a good sign. The Yankees hadn't even started their second spring training game and the injury prone Nick Johnson gets scratched with an injury. I know it's only ST and they don't want to push things, but come on, really? He couldn't even make it 2 days without an incident. Unreal.

I miss Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, February 22, 2010

Damon, Wang v. Park, Hughes v. Joba

It was a pretty uneventful couple of days. I wasn't expecting much since pitchers and catchers just reported 5 days ago. I'm a little bummed because things aren't in full swing yet. I'm jonesing for some games. I'm jonesing for some video. Sure, I could probably dig some up online but hey, I'm lazy. I prefer TV. I wish there was some daily 1/2 hour show about the Yankees. I watch the coverage on MLB Network (when I can) and I hope that I might get a little nugget here and there but i haven't been fortunate enough to run into anything, save for a brief clip of CC on day 1. Games will be here soon enough. I really can't wait for the Yanks ST opener. Hurry up already. Here are a few little tidbits about some things I saw recently.

  • Johnny Damon signed with the Tigers. I really wish the Yanks had found a way to bring JD back. I really like JD. I think he's one of the better guys in the game and I wish him all the best.
  • The Yankees have apparently signed Chan Ho Park to a 1-year deal, to presumably pitch out of the bullpen. I'm not exactly sure why the Yanks felt the need to bring in Park except that he's another pitching option. You can never have enough pitching. His salary is being reported at $1.2m. So the Yankees sign Chan Ho Park for $1.2 million but let Chien-Ming Wang walk and he signs a deal with the Nats for $2 million? I don't get that. Admittedly, I'm not as up on CMW as i should be, so I'm sure there's something there I'm missing, but my impression is that the Yanks had no interest in the Wanger whatsoever. I get that b/c there's really no room for him in the rotation, but was an effort even made to bring him in as a swingman a la Park? I'll probably write more on that later.
  • The biggest story of the spring for my money is the battle for the 5th spot in the rotation between Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. My prediction: Phil Hughes. I've been touting him as a superior pitcher to Joba and I think this season is the season everyone else sees that. Not sure if anyone else saw the picture over at Lohud of the 2 leaving the bullpen. If not, you can find it here. Is it me or does Joba look a little softer than usual? I know those microfleeces aren't the most flattering shirts, but he looks a little bigger than usual. At least to me anyway. Team Hughes all the way. More on this as the spring develops.

Be back later, as time allows.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

1 Week And Counting

I can't believe that the start of Spring Training is a mere 7 days away. It seems like just yesterday I was watching the Yankees finish off the Phillies for the organization's 27th World Championship. Good times.

As a whole I thought the offseason was pretty boring. Maybe I was spoiled by the big signings (CC, A.J., and Tex) from last year. Outside of the Granderson deal, not much went down. Oh wait, forgot about bringing back Javier Vazquez. I'm more disappointed with what didn't happen (Damon, Matsui, and Wang) then what did happen. The offseason move that bothered me the most was the Nick Johnson signing. I still don't get why they went with Johnson when they could have kept Matsui around for pretty much the same amount of money. I have a feeling that is going to come back to haunt the Yankees.

The biggest question for me going into Spring Training is who will be the Yankees' 5th starter? I prefer the team to go with Phil Hughes. I think he is, and I think he'll always be, a more complete pitcher than Joba Chamberlain. Hughes is a pitcher. Chamberlain is more of a thrower. I don't like "throwers" as starters. Call it personal preference but I prefer them in the pen. I also think Joba's mentality is better suited at the back of the bullpen but that's just me. I'll be incredibly miffed if that 5th spot goes to Gaudin, or God forbid, Sergio Mitre. Ugh.

I'm hoping to do a lot more blogging as Spring Training gets rolling. I definitely didn't get to do as much blogging as I wanted to this offseason. It pretty much got away from me. I've been pretty slammed lately. The job is stressing me out. We're trying to buy/sell our house. I've got 2 kids 2 and under and another one on the way. Yes, ladies and gents, we're having another "Boogie Down Baby." ETA = mid-August. 3 kids 3 and under. What was I thinking?

T-minus 7 days until the march to 28 starts. Excitement is building.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Winn Is In, The Damon Is Out

I know I'm a day late on this. I had to be up at 5am today so I sacrificed a night of blogging for sleep. A lot going on in my neck of the woods. Job is getting busier. Trying to sell our house and build a new one. 2 kids 2 and under. Add that all up and I don't have a lot of free time. On to business.....

The Yankees have signed Randy Winn to a 1-year deal for $2 million bucks. And with that, the door on bringing back Johnny Damon, is officially closed. I'm a little bummed about that. I liked JD. I've met him a few times and I can honestly say he's one of, if not the, nicest players I've ever had the fortune of meeting. He always had a great disposition about him and would always take the time to sign some autographs and chat it up with the fans. He was a great guy. I'll miss him.

I totally get why the teams are parting ways. Johnny's salary demands just didn't make sense for the Yanks. I think JD still has a lot to offer but not at the $ figure he was looking for. Things might have been different if Johnny's agent wasn't Scott Boras. I think Scotty totally misread the market for Damon. It's going to be interesting to see where Johnny ends up and what his salary is. Sadly, Johnny is probably going to end up as the #1 loser on the offseason "winners/losers" list. He can only blame Boras for that.

At the beginning of the month, I talked about the Yankees need for a LF and one of the names I dropped was Randy Winn's. I listed the 18 LFs that were still on the market, and here's what I concluded after reading the list:

If I had to pick a guy, I'd go with Randy Winn, or maybe Jack Cust. I know Cust whiffs a lot, but he gets on base and he's a lefty with a lot of power. If Cust can hit 30 bombs in Oakland imagine what he can do with the short porch in the Bronx? But his defense leaves a lot to be desired. The Yankees offense shouldn't need that much of a boost. I guess I go with defense for LF. So let me change my preference to Winn or even Garret Anderson. I can live with one of them on a one-year deal. I'd take both over Brett Gardner, though Gardner starting in LF wouldn't be the end of the world.

So I got what I wanted. I like Winn. He's definitely on the downside of his career but for the money, he's a good fit. As I wrote above, the Yankees offense isn't in need of much. Winn isn't an offensive powerhouse, but he's adequate. He had a down year in 2009 and at 35-36 years old, I'm not expecting a resurgence. I prefer him because I think of him as a solid defender. It doesn't hurt either that he can play all 3 OF positions. I know some people doubt that Winn can be an everyday player. I have those concerns as well but I think he could pull it off. It's $2mm. That works for me.

Is it time for pitchers and catchers yet??

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Johnny Damon, Chien-Ming Wang, And Yet Another Apology

What's up gang? In what's becoming a common theme this offseason, I again must apologize for the break between posts. It's been a pretty slow couple of weeks in terms of Yankee news and talk. I don't really have an opinion on much of what's gone down. There are 2 things I'm waiting on but there's not much movement around it. I'm really dying for Spring Training to kick off so there's more to talk about. You can bet if something went down I'd blog about it, but nothing has sparked my interest. As for those 2 things I'm keeping my eyes and ears open for:

1) Left field. It looks like it's going to be Brett Gardner. I can live with that but would prefer someone else in that spot. Johnny Damon is still on the market but his salary demands are probably out of the Yankees' range. I'm sure there's a salary point where they'd snatch him up but I doubt it will get that low. Damon can't be happy with how this offseason has played out. He reportedly had a 2-yr/$20mm offer from the Yankees that he (or Boras) turned down. I think he'll be lucky to get a 1 year deal for $8mm now. Damon could end up as the offseason's biggest loser. It would be nice if the two sides could come together, but I don't see it happening. But the longer Johnny remains unsigned, I would think the chances the Yankees resign him increase.

2) Chien-Ming Wang. I'm wondering where the Wanger is going to end up. I'd love it to be with the Yankees but based on the current roster, I don't think signing him would make a whole lot of sense. The rotation is pretty much set with Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Vazquez and Hughes/Chamberlain. They've agreed to deals with Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre. What sense would it make to sign Wang when there's nowhere for him to pitch? There's no chance he signs a minor league deal with the Yanks. Some team will offer him a major league contract. The only way I can see this happening is if the Yankees put both Hughes and Chamberlain in the bullpen or possibly if they trade Mitre and/or Gaudin, or maybe a combination of the two. I wouldn't be surprised if the Yankees deal Mitre or Gaudin, but I don't think it would be done at the expense of dealing someone to open up a spot. I would love nothing more than to see CMW wearing Pinstripes. I think his struggles have more to do with how the Yankees handled him post-injury than anything else. The Wanger won 19 games in back-to-back seasons and was 8-2 when he hurt himself running the bases. He was reportedly told not to work out his legs so had to compensate with his arm, which didn't work and is probably the main reason why he needed surgery. If he's healthy, I have no reason to believe that he wouldn't pick up where he left off before the injuries. That's the real question. Is CMW healthy? The Yankees must not be willing to risk it. Again, I'd love for it to work out, but don't see it happening.

Pitchers and catchers in about 30 days. February 17th can't get here fast enough.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Monday, January 4, 2010

Long Time, No Blog, Let's Talk LF

Greetings and salutations. I hope everyone out there is doing well and had a great holiday season. My apologies for not posting in a while. I basically shut it down for the holidays. It was nice to get a break. I certainly would have blogged had anything gone down but it's been pretty quiet out there in the Yankees Universe. Nothing is really going down. It's quiet. Almost too quiet.

I was expecting the Yankees to have signed a LF but I guess that's not a priority. I thought for sure Johnny Damon was coming back after the Yankees dealt Melky to the Braves. Now I think the odds of that are slim. It makes sense to me that Johnny hasn't signed with anyone yet. JD stands to make a little more dough once Matt Holliday signs as he'll be the best available player on the market. That should increase his value, albeit not by much. I'm curious to know if the Yankees have had any recent discussions with Damon and his camp about anything, or if that door is truly closed. I heard an interview with Cashman on XM Radio before Christmas and when he commented on Damon he kind of left the door open. When asked about Damon, Cash said something along the lines of, "we've had a good run so far." The quote isn't dead on but I distinctly remember him using the words "so far." That to me says the door isn't closed, though it's probably not open too wide.

Cashman has also said that the team isn't going to be sending any big money guys. That would rule out Matt Holliday. Mark DeRosa has signed with the Giants. Marlon Byrd is signing with the Cubs. The pickings are getting slimmer. MLBTradeRumors has a list on their site of the available free agents. There are currently 18 LFs still on the market:

Garret Anderson (38) - Type B, not offered arb
Marlon Anderson (36)
Emil Brown (35)
Jack Cust (31)
Johnny Damon (36) - Type A, not offered arb
David Dellucci (36)
Cliff Floyd (37)
Jonny Gomes (29)
Matt Holliday (30) - Type A, offered arb
Reed Johnson (33)
Greg Norton (37)
Wily Mo Pena (28)
Jeremy Reed (29)
Gary Sheffield (41)
Cory Sullivan (30)
Fernando Tatis (35) - Type B, not offered arb
Marcus Thames (33)
Randy Winn (36) - Type B, not offered arb

Not too many names that get me excited. I don't think the Yanks are looking to lock up anyone long-term. Carl Crawford hits the market next year and the Yanks are going to definitely be major players for his services. There are some guys listed above who I'm sure would be a suitable place-holder for 1 year. Again, none jump off the page at me. Whoever it ends up being, if it's anyone, has to be better than Brett Gardner. If I had to pick a guy, I'd go with Randy Winn, or maybe Jack Cust. I know Cust whiffs a lot, but he gets on base and he's a lefty with a lot of power. If Cust can hit 30 bombs in Oakland imagine what he can do with the short porch in the Bronx? But his defense leaves a lot to be desired. The Yankees offense shouldn't need that much of a boost. I guess I go with defense for LF. So let me change my preference to Winn or even Garret Anderson. I can live with one of them on a one-year deal. I'd take both over Brett Gardner, though Gardner starting in LF wouldn't be the end of the world.

So let's check the pulse. Who do you want in LF? You OK with Gardner? Want them to bring back Johnny D? Go big or go home and get Holliday? Play the role of GM. What do you do?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


PS- If you've sent me an e-mail over the last few weeks I'll be getting to that shortly. Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Yankees Reportedly Acquire Javier Vazquez From Atlanta

The Yankees have reportedly acquired Javier Vazquez from the Atlanta Braves. The pieces reportedly being sent to Atlanta are Melky Cabrera, Mike Dunn, and Arodys Vizcaino. The Yanks will also reportedly get Boone Logan. When I heard the rumors this morning that the Yankees were close to landing a starter, Vazquez wasn't who I was hoping for (Josh Johnson) but he'll do. The Yankees didn't really give up much so for me the deal is a win. And at least it's not Derek Lowe or Aaron Harang. I was really hoping they weren't the target.

I have no problem whatsoever with the Yankees dealing Melky Cabrera. I've always maintained that he's nothing more than a 4th OF. I like him, sure, but I've never been high on him. His career OPS is .716. I'm definitely not a fan of that. He has a great arm, which will be missed, but losing that isn't the end of the world. I think Cashman was smart to deal him now because his value is as high as it's going to get. Cash was smart to deal him now.

Trading Melky now opens up a hole in the OF. The OF as it stands now is Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, and Brett Gardner. There is no chance whatsoever that the Yankees will run those 3 out there on opening day. The door for Johnny Damon's return has been reopened. Or perhaps the Yanks will go big and go after Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. I think it's a safe bet that the Opening Day LF will be one of those three.

Mike Dunn was a promising young left-handed RP, but that's easily replaceable. I'm fine with him being dealt. And I'm not real familiar with Vizcaino. No loss there. I have no problem with dealing prospects. You never know what you're going to get from them. They could easily bust.

Speaking of not knowing what you'll get, I wonder what Javier Vazquez the Yanks just got. The bum that was traded after 1 season or the guy who's excelled in recent years? I hope it's the latter. As I said above, he's not the guy I preferred, but acquiring him definitely upgrades the rotation. We're now looking at a rotation of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Javier Vazquez, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain. That's definitely better than it was yesterday. It looks like one of those last 2 is definitely pitching out of the pen in 2010. I hope it's Joba. I think Hughes is the better pitcher and has the tools to succeed as a SP. I think Joba is better suited for the bullpen. Something tells me though that Joba-mania will be the 5th SP coming out of Spring Training. Unless of course, Cashman has plans to deal one of the two. I don't think it's wise to do that at this point. In all likelihood this is Pettitte's last year. Whoever isn't in the rotation this year should be able to fill that role. We'll see.

Next up: signing a LF. I'd expect this to happen next and happen soon. If it doesn't happen today, I think it will happen by Christmas. I'm predicting they'll resign Johnny Damon. I wouldn't mind seeing Holliday come to town, but I think for payroll reasons, it'll be Damon.

Thoughts anyone? Good deal for the Yanks? Bad deal? What do you want to happen next? Lay it on me.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Friday, December 18, 2009

My Christmas Wish:Yankees Trade Nick Swisher & Sign Johnny Damon

According to the NY Times' Tyler Kepner (via Twitter), Johnny Damon asked the Yankees about a 2 year deal for $20 million bucks on Thursday night. The Yankees though had the Nick Johnson deal in place so signing Damon apparently wasn't an option. As I wrote earlier, the Johnson signing probably ends Damon's time with the Yankees. I hope it doesn't.

The reason people think Damon's time with the Yanks is over is because the Yankees already have 4 OFs (Melky Cabrera, Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner) and Nick Johnson has no option but to DH since he's not playing over Mark Teixeira. Basically, there's no room for Johnny. I say make the room. Here's how: trade Nick Swisher.

Nick Swisher is under contract for 2 more years. He's slated to earn $6.75 million in 2010 and $9 million in 2011. Do the math and that works out to $15.75 million for 2 years. I'll gladly take Damon for 2 years @ $20 million than Swisher for 2 years @ $15.75 million. That's an extra $2 million and change per year for Damon. Sign me up.

The Yankees OF with Damon would be Damon in LF, Granderson in CF, and Melky in RF. With Swisher, it would likely be Melky in LF, Granderson in CF and Swisher in RF. The Yankees would benefit by having Melky's arm in RF as opposed to LF and more ground is going to be covered with Damon in the OF than with Swisher. The defense would be improved with Damon in and Swisher out.

I also think Damon is better offensively than Swisher. I can't get past Swisher's inability to hit with runners on. It's why I call him "The Rally Killer." Swisher was a .227 hitter last year with RISP. With RISP and 2 outs, Swish hit .163. With the bases loaded he hit .158. That's brutal. You have to go back to 2007 to find some respectable numbers for Swisher in the situational stats department.

Damon was pretty clutch last season, hitting .299 with RISP, .254 with RISP and 2 outs, and .375 with the bases loaded. He was even better in 2008 and every year before that was definitely respectable.

Damon hits for a much higher average (.288 career to Swisher's .245). They both hit for similar power (Damon career SLG = .439, Swisher career SLG = .460) and the OBP is similar as well (.355 career for Damon to Swisher's .357) Damon strikes out less (2009: 98 to 126) and hits into fewer DPs (2009: 9 to Swisher's 12). Damon is also faster. No matter how you break it down, JD gets my vote.

I know pulling this off isn't as simple as it sounds. The biggest obstacle is finding a trading partner for Swisher. And it has to be one that's willing to take on the whole contract. I'm not sure who out that has interest but I'd have to think someone would be willing to take him on. It would also depend on what Damon's final salary would be. If it were much higher than the $20 million, I might change my tune. My Christmas wish is to see Johnny return and to see Swisher get the boot. I doubt it will shake down that way, but one can hope.

So what say you? Swisher or Damon? All things considered, who do you prefer and why? I'm curious to know if there are any Swisher supporters out there. You definitely won't find one here.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Welcome Back Nick Johnson? So Long Johnny Damon? Trade Nick Swisher?

There are various reports out floating around out there that the Yankees are on the verge of signing former Yankee Nick Johnson to a 1-year deal for a reported $5.5MM. I didn't see that coming but I can get behind it, sort of.

Johnson is a first baseman. The Yankees already have one of those in Mark Teixeira and he isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Johnson's role would have to be as a DH with the occasional spot start at 1B to give Tex a little breather. Hmm, interesting. The Yankees let Hideki Matsui walk and they bring in Nick Johnson. Matsui signed a 1-year deal with the Angels for $6.5 million and the Yanks sign Johnson for $5.5 million. I'm sorry but for the extra million, I'm taking Matsui. I know Matsui has bad knees and can't really play the field anymore, but it's not like Nick Johnson is the poster boy for being healthy. Nick missed all of 2007, played in 38 games in 2008, and in 133 in 2009. Both bring a lot to the table offensively. I think Matsui is capable of bringing a little more. He hits for a higher average and has a little more pop in his bat. I like Godzilla swinging for the fences in Yankee Stadium than I do Nick Johnson. Johnson gets on base a lot (career OBP of .402) and that's awesome, but I still prefer Matsui, especially if we're only talking about a million bucks. i think the Yanks made a mistake here.

If the Johnson signing goes through, which it probably will, Johnny Damon's time with the Yankees may be coming to an end. The Yankees have their OF right now (Granderson, Melky, Swisher, Gardner) and Johnson would be the DH. Sorry Johnny, but right now, the inn is closed. I suppose there's still a possibility that Johnny returns. I would love to see Cashman trade Nick Swisher and resign Damon. Damon could play LF and Melky could play RF. I have to think Cash is at least kicking the tires on this. There was a rumor floating around that Damon was seeking at least $13 million per year and that claim is now being denied by Scott Boras. If the money works out, I hope they find a way to bring Johnny back. Sign Johnny and trade "The Rally Killer" aka Nick Swisher. Swisher is due $6.75MM this year and $9MM in 2011. If you can get Damon for 1-2 years at $10 per, I jump all over it. Assuming of course that Cashman can find a home for Swisher. God, I hope this happens. I'm not a Swisher guy. Deal him.

Is it time for pitchers and catchers to report yet?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Busy Day In Baseball And The Yankees Aren't Involved

Wow. Talk about a flurry of Hot Stove activity. Yesterday was a pretty busy day in MLB. The Yankees weren't involved but the major moves all impacted the Yankees in some way shape or form.

Hideki Matsui signed a 1-year deal with the Angels. After the Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson at the Winter Meetings, it was pretty clear that the Yankees weren't going to bring back both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. The majority of people out there , myself included, thought of the two, Damon was preferred over Matsui. There really wasn't much talk out there about the Yankees having real interest in Matsui. I'm not at all surprised by that. Matsui's role would have been as a pure-DH. I'm not a fan of that. I like the flexibility of having a guy who can play the field. I'm definitely sad to see Matsui go, but it's definitely time for the Yankees/Matsui union to end. All the best Godzilla. Thanks for many years of valuable contributions.

We can all cross Roy Halladay off our Christmas wish-lists as the Blue Jays have dealt him to the Phillies. It would have been nice if Cashman Claus could have stuffed Doc in our stockings but I guess it wasn't meant to be. It would have been nice to land Halladay but the acquisition price was going to be steep, probably too steep. It's tough to pony up some MLB-ready players, top prospects and a boatload of cash for a guy. I'm definitely OK with the Yankees holding on to what they have. I'm really looking forward to Jesus Montero in Pinstripes. If Halladay came to town, odda are said that wouldn't have happened. I'm glad that Halladay was sent to the NL. The East just got a little easier. And at least he didn't go to Boston. Works for me.

the rival Red Sox had a bust day, signing Mike Cameron and John Lackey. I could care less about the Cameron signing. He's been linked to the Yankees for years now and I'm sure he was a target of Cashman's, but I've never been a fan of his. I'm glad he's not a Yankee. The signing works into the Yankees favor as it takes another team of the list of possible destinations for Johnny Damon. It should give the Yankees better leverage in those negotiations. The Lackey signing came out of nowhere, didn't it? It's huge for Boston. Their rotation is now arguably one of the best in the game. Beckett, Lackey, Lester, Dice-K, Wakefield, and Buchholz. Not too shabby. I wouldn't be surprised if Buchholz gets dealt soon. The Sox could definitely afford to deal him. The East just got a little tougher. I'm curious to see if this causes the Yankees to do anything impulsive. I really don't see Cashman doing anything rash, but who knows? The division is pretty much a toss-up right now.

After a busy week last week, the Yankees hot stove has cooled off a little bit. I think we'll know whether or not Damon is coming back by Christmas. I hope the Yankees wrap that up soon. I'd hate to see Jason Bay and Matt Holliday sign before Damon as it'll give Johnny a little more leverage in contract negotiations. I think the Yankees next signing is going to come in the form of a RP. I'm not even sure who I want to see them go after. My head is still spinning from yesterday. It was definitely a fun day.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Yankees Deal For Curtis Granderson

Well, that didn't take long. The reported 3-team blockbuster deal that's been swirling around the rumor mill all day is apparently a done deal. The deal as it's being reported is as follows:

From Yankees to Detroit: Phil Coke and Austin Jackson
From Yankees to Arizona: Ian Kennedy
From Detroit to Arizona: Edwin Jackson
From Arizona to Detroit: Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth
From Detroit to Yankees: Curtis Granderson

I think I have the moving part right. From a Yankees standpoint, the deal breaks down to be Ian Kennedy, Austin Jackson and Phil Coke for Curtis Granderson. The Boogie Down gives the deal a thumbs-up.

I wrote in mid-November that if the Yankees had the chance to make a deal for Granderson they should go after it. I wrote that I wouldn't give up Hughes/Joba and Austin Jackson. Kennedy and Jackson is definitely a downgrade over that tandem. Phil Coke is garbage so throwing him in to get it done works for me. But, I also wrote in November that I didn't want them to give up Jackson at all. Apparently, I re-thought that stance this morning when I saw the proposed deal.

As I wrote this morning, I'm ok with dealing unproven prospects for proven players. You never know what is going to become of a highly touted prospect. A lot of them flame out and never amount to anything. That possibility exists with A-Jax. He could be a HOFer. He could be nothing more than a AAAA OF. Who know? Time will tell on that. With Granderson, we know what to expect. He has speed, has a good bat with some pop, struggles against LHPs, and plays a great CF. He has a few shortcomings, but I like what he brings to the table and I think the pluses out weight the minuses.

So it looks like the OF right now is Swisher in RF, Granderson in CF, and Melky in LF. The question now becomes what to do with Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. I'd have to think that the Granderson deal means Matsui is as good as gone. I think if the Yankees wanted to still bring back one of them, Damon makes more sense. I think there's still a good chance that the Yankees will bring back Damon. Personally, I would prefer to see Damon in LF, Melky in RF, and Swisher can DH. Damon brings flexibility to the team because he can play the field and can DH. I also think the Yankees need him at the top of the lineup. Granderson whiffs too much and has too low an OBP to hit 2nd. I think the Yankees are still in on Johnny Damon.

I think this deal also probably closes the door on dealing for Roy Halladay and rules out signing Jason Bay or Matt Holliday. There's a chance they could still be in play for Halladay but I think without A-Jax and IPK to deal, it means that Hughes or Joba AND Jesus Montero would have to go. They'll have to get creative though. I'd like to see them hold onto Montero and Hughes. i'm more than OK with them dealing Joba. We'll see. Ideally, Doc stays in Toronto and the Yanks nab him as a FA next year. Fingers crossed.

So what do you guys think? Thumbs up or thumbs down on the Granderson deal? Any other thoughts about how things are shaping up? Still 2-plus days left until Winter Meetings wrap up. I'm sure there's still a lot to come.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Yankees Involved In A Potential Big Trade

I went to bed last night around 10:15 and woke up today around 6:30. Within 5 minutes from waking up, I was on MLBTradeRumors, checking to see if any late-night action went down at the Winter Meetings. Apparently, the Yankees were involved in a potential 3-team "blockbuster" that would have landed the Yankees Curtis Granderson. It's being reported today that the deal is unlikely and it mentions that the Yankees felt the price was too high. I'm all for bringing in Curtis Granderson, but the reported "blockbuster" was a little too costly in my opinion.

If you break down the "rumored" deal, the Yankees were getting Granderson from Detroit and some unnamed prospects from Arizona in exchange for Ian Kennedy, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke and Mike Dunn. It's a little costly for the Yankees. Not much, but a little. I'm a little on the fence but my initial reaction was that the price is too high. I'm all for dealing prospects for proven talent. With Granderson you know what you're going to get. Despite his shortcomings against lefties, CG is a really good, and proven, player. Coke and Dunn are expendable middle relievers. Kennedy has the stuff but hasn't been able to put it together on the big league level. Austin Jackson is probably the best prospect the Yankees have but again, he's just a prospect. He could easily prove to be a big bust.

So it'd be Curtis Granderson ( a good and proven player) for 4 guys that may or may not ever really contribute at the big league level. If the deal happened, I'd be fine with it. But if you ask me, the Yankees should be able to get a lot more for that package than Curtis Granderson and some prospects. I'm sure if you pulled out Kennedy and added in Joba, you might have something decent in terms of a Halladay offer. I doubt Coke and Dunn are of interest to the Jays but the foundation of a deal (Joba and Jackson) is there. Who knows? I think the Yanks could get a little more for those guys if they're truly willing to part with them.

If the Yanks happen to bring in Granderson, it's a safe bet that Damon and/or Matsui won't be back. Maybe one will to DH (I prefer Damon), but there would be no chance that both would return. With Granderson, the OF would be Swisher in RF, Granderson in CF, and Melky in LF, with Gardner likely being the 4th OF. Trading for Granderson also likely means no Matt Holiday or Jason Bay. But who knows? Last year we all thought there was no chance they'd sign Mark Teixeira after signing A.J. and CC, but they did.

Buster Olney is on XM radio right now. He didn't call the trade talks dead, but refereed to them as "dormant." I wouldn't be surprised if this deal picks up some steam. It's not a horrible deal. Perhaps they'll rework it. Stay tuned.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Yankees Don't Offer Arbitration To Anyone

The Yankees declined to offer arbitration to any of their free agents yesterday. No real surprise there. I originally thought they might offer something to Damon or even Pettitte, but it makes sense that they didn't. If anyone is offered and accepts arbitration, they're guaranteed to come back to the team. I think if the Yankees offered them arbitration they would have probably ended up paying them more than they wanted to, and I think that goes for all of their free agents.

Offering arbitration is kind of a gamble. If the guy accepts you get him back but possibly at a dollar figure above what you want to pay. If he declines and signs elsewhere, you get compensatory draft picks. It would be nice to land a draft pick or two, but I think in the case of the Yankees, it wasn't worth the gamble as Damon, Matsui, and Pettitte would all likely receive decent raises. Those raises would probably bring their salary to an amount above what the Yankees want to pay.

The Yankees have a lot of shopping to do this offseason. I read that Cashman was meeting with the powers that be to discuss payroll allotment later this week so I would think that we'd start to hear some rumblings early next week. The winter meetings kick off on Monday the 7th and that's usually a very active time for trades and free agent signings. Crank up the rumor mill and turn up the heat on the stove. It should be a fun week.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Friday, November 13, 2009

Curtis Granderson In Pinstripes?? Color Me Intrigued

It's been reported that the Tigers have made it known that Curtis Granderson is on the market. The Yankees of course have interest. When don't they, right?

Bringing Curtis into the fold intrigues me. He's one of the best CFs in the game and can pretty much do it all at the plate. He is one of 4 guys (I think) who have pulled off a 20-20-20-20 season (2B, 3B, HR, and SB). What's not to like about that? He's also relatively cheap if you look at his salary. He's under contract until 2012 with a club option for 2013 Over the next 3 years, he's owed a base total of $23.75 million ($5.5M in 2010, $8.25M in 2011, $10M in 2012). His 2013 team option is for $13M with a $2M buyout. That's a bargain if you ask me.

I think the Yankees will and should explore trading for Curtis. You'd have to assume that The Tigers would want one of the Yankees young SP (Phil or Joba) and probably some other prospects. I don't think the asking price would be too high. Grandy had a down year in 2009, hitting only .249 (23 points below career average of .272) and his OPS was only.780 (about 48 points below his career OPS. Personally, I think Curtis would do well in NY. I wouldn't mind seeing Curtis patrolling the OF with Melky and Swisher. He's definitely an upgrade over Damon. The lower salary wouldn't hurt either. I think if Cash gets the opportunity, he should try to make it happen. At the right price of course. I wouldn't give up Hughes/Joba and Austin Jackson. I don't think I'd give up Jackson at all. I think Joba is expendable and wouldn't be surprised if his name comes up in trade talks. I also wouldn't be surprised if Cashman could wrangle CG away from the Tigers for a group of other prospects. We'll have to see.

Am I the only one out there who'd like to see Granderson in Pinstripes? Right now there's not much to this. It's pure speculation. But it's fun to talk and think about. Just one of the many reasons why I love the Hot Stove.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Hot Stove Starts To Simmer

The November installment of the GM meetings started yesterday and as expected not much went down. The real fun is at the December GM meetings. So if you're expecting some juicy stuff this week, you're going to be let down.

The "big news" yesterday was that both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui filed for free agency. Nobody should be surprised by this. The Yankees have a small window to negotiate with them exclusively before other teams can enter the mix. I believe that window closes on the 19th and I'd be surprised if the Yankees do anything with them before the deadline. There's a lot of question/debate going on as to whether the Yankees should bring back these guys back. A lot of people seem to think that they will sign one of them, but not both. Most people seem to think Damon will be the one returning. I see positives to bringing both back, but I don't see it happening. I think it's possible that neither return.

If you put me on the spot and asked me to pick which one I wanted back, I'd pick Damon over Matsui. I think Johnny can bring more to the table because he can still play the field. I also like him at the top of the order batting behind Jeter. He still has some decent speed and again he can play the field. Right now the Yankees OF is pretty weak with Swisher, Melky and Gardner. Even if you put Austin Jackson in that mix (I don't think they will) it's still weak. Johnny is a viable option. I also think if Matsui isn't on the squad that Damon can get some DH time and that should help him with his leg issues.

I think Matsui has a lot to offer as the guy hitting behind A-Rod but I think his bat can be easily replaced. The Yankees should be able to find a LH power bat for the same kind of money. I'm also not a fan of the full-time DH. But that's just me.

I wouldn't mind seeing both guys return but neither should get more than a 1-2 year deal if they do return. I also wouldn't pay them as much as they were paid in their last contract. I also wouldn't sign either until I explore bringing in other free agents, namely Matt Holiday and Jason Bay, to take their place. Cashman would need to move quickly though because you don't want to wait too long and end up with nothing. I'm sure Cash-Money is looking ahead at who will be available in a few years. It may make more sense to bring Damon back for a year and go after a 2011 free agent than to go after Holliday or Bay. Cash is a smart guy. I'm sure he'll make the right moves. I think we'll see Damon back in Pinstripes before it's all said and done.

You guys have any thoughts? Who do you prefer they sign if given the choice between Matsui and Damon? Do you even want those guys back? The Hot Stove is starting to simmer. Can't wait for it to be roaring. There's no better offseason in sports than baseball's hot stove.

The other Yankees who have filed for free agency include Andy Pettitte, Eric Hinske, Jerry Hairston, Jr., Jose Molina and Xavier Nady. In the next day or two I'll be posting my thoughts on the open roster spots and who I think should fill them. Assuming I can find the time of course.

Peace, love and Pintripes,


Sunday, November 1, 2009

3-Run 9th Inning Puts Yankees 1 Win Away From 27th Title

The ending of tonight's Yankees/Phillies World Series game was one for the ages. It's amazing the range of emotions one goes through while watching a baseball game and how quickly they change. Joba blows a 1-run lead with 2 outs in the 8th and the mood sours. Brad Lidge retires the 1st 2 in the 9th and has 2 strikes to Johnny Damon. At that moment I was having visions in my head of watching the Phillies celebrate a walkoff series-tying victory. Johnny Damon had a great at bat and singles to left and my mood improves a little. Damon steals 2nd and then bounces up and heads for 3rd and I'm ready to throw the remote because I think Johnny thought the ball skipped into center. Feliz chases Johnny as if it's a run down and he slows up?? What? No one was at third. Now I'm on the edge of my seat hoping Teixeira can come through. HBP. Oh boy. A-Rod v. Lidge. Here's your chance Alex. Double to left!! Johnny scores! To quote Phil Rizzuto, "Holy cow!" Jorge follows it up with a 2-run single. Mo closes it out. Ball game over. Yankees win. Thuhhhhh Yankees win! Talk about a roller coaster ride. I love October, or should I say November, baseball. Nothing beats it. Nothing even comes close.

Joh-nny Dam-on. Clap clap clap clap clap. Joh-nny Dam-on. Clap clap clap clap clap. Johnny had an epic 9th inning. His AB against Brad Lidge was epic. His "double-steal" was epic. Johnny is without a doubt the hero of the game. His single and double steal set everything up. Lidge's best pitch is a slider. It's often a pitch he throws in the dirt. It's not a pitch he's likely to throw with a runner on 3rd. Damon getting to 3rd set up the rest of the inning and Lidge's eventual downfall. I suppose I should thank the Phillies' defense for over-shifting on Teixeira as it took the 3B out of the picture. Johnny often gets knocked for being not so smart. That swipe of 3rd was one of the smartest plays I've ever seen. You the man Johnny.

My buddy Scott started calling Alex Rodriguez "Choke-Rod" after his 1st 2 games. I'm sure he wasn't alone in his feelings towards Alex and I'm sure "Choke-Rod" wasn't the worst thing people were calling him. Alex may not be hitting for a high average this series but nobody should say he's choking. His tie-breaking double in the 9th pretty much erases any thoughts of Alex choking. He's had 2 huge hits in the last 2 games. If you're still on his back, get off it.

Question: Who better than Derek Jeter? Answer: nobody. The Captain remains locked and loaded. He picked up 2 more hits tonight and is now hitting .412 in the World Series. Jeter is having a monster postseason. He's now hitting .333 and has hit safely in 12 of the 13 playoff games and he walked 3 times in the game he went hitless. He's just the man. I don't know how anyone can call him overrated.

CC didn't look like the CC we all know and love but he still pitched a really good game. He gave up 3 runs in 6.2 and to be honest, one of those runs was all on Posada (not getting a throw off on Howard's steal and not catching and holding onto the ball when Howard "scored"). It wasn't his sharpest outing of the year but it was still pretty good. It was very similar to his game 1 start. I'll take a start like tonight from him any day of the week. He just needs to find a way to get Chase Utley out. This series would be over right now if not for Utley's ABs against CC. If the series goes 7, I hope CC figures out how to shut him down.

Joba was looking incredibly awesome until he gave up that game-tying HR. He was pumping out some serious heat and was 1 strike away from whiffing the side and then the wheels fell off. My heart sank as soon as the ball left Feliz's bat. I don't know what's up with the bullpen but it's becoming extremely hard for them to get the ball to Mo with a lead. I'm nervous when anyone not named Mariano comes in to pitch. One of the Yankees' greatest strengths coming into the postseason was their bullpen. Right now it's arguably their biggest weakness. What's the most difficult thing to believe is that outside of Mariano Rivera, Damaso Marte is their most consistent performer. You know something is wrong when that's the case. Joba is extremely lucky that the team bailed him out. I hate seeing him pick up the win. It's definitely not deserved.

How awesome is Mariano Rivera? He picked up yet another save, getting 3 outs on 8 pitches. In the last 2 games, he's gotten 5 outs on just 13 pitches. In a word, dominant. I love how stupid Mo is making Jimmy Rollins look. After game 1, Rollins was asked a question about facing Mo. His response was, "I think we saw some things." Oh yeah Jimmy? What did you see? I know I what I see and that's Mo breaking your bat and getting you to pop out weakly in the infield. Sounds like you didn't see much of anything. J-Roll isn't having the best postseason. First, he predicts that the Phillies will win in 5. Then he comments about Mo and pops out twice against him. J-Roll is looking foolish. I love it.

The win tonight puts the Yankees 1 win away from their 27th world title. 1 win. 27 outs. They could be 27 outs away from winning it all. I have tickets to game 7 and I'd be more than happy not to have to go. As it stands right now I'm either going to game 7 of the World Series or I'm watching the Yankees win it all sometime between Monday and Wednesday. Again, I'd be more than happy if it doesn't go 7. It's going to be tough to win game 5 against Cliff Lee. Lee dominated the Yanks in game 1. He's the Phil's ace and he's been absolutely lights out all postseason. It won't be easy. A.J. Burnett is getting the ball for the Yanks and he'll be making the start on short rest. I'm conflicted about having A.J. start. I was all for it at the onset of the series but now that the Yanks are up 3-1 I'm starting to think Chad Gaudin should go in game 5 and A.J. should go in game 6. A.J. for some reason has pitched better at home so there's that benefit. The Yankees have also made Jose Molina A.J.'s personal catcher for the playoffs. Since the game is in Philly, A.J. will have to hit and having Molina and A.J. at the bottom or the order is not ideal. The Phils definitely have the advantage going into game 5. But like John Sterling likes to say, "You just can't predict baseball." Anything can happen.

As exciting as it is to be 1 win away from winning it all, nobody should get ahead of themselves. The team has been here before and failed to bring it home. If the great Yankee collapse of 2004 happened once it can happen again. Like Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over 'til it's over." Wow, I'm quoting everybody today, aren't I.

10 down, 1 to go.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Yankees/Phillies World Series Preview

It's about 10:15pm EST on Tuesday night. The first pitch of the 2009 World Series is a little more than 22 hours from now. I just got finished watching MLB Network's "Path To The Pennant - New York Yankees" special. If you missed it, it was basically a recap of the Yankees 2009 postseason so far. Right now I'm tuned in to MLB Tonight, the World Series preview edition. (Side note: I don't think I watched ESPN's Baseball Tonight once this year.) I'm sure all of you are pumped for tomorrow. I know I am. I can't wait to get this thing started. Happy reading. It's a long one.

Joe Girardi announced today that A.J. Burnett was going to start game 2 of the World Series. So we're looking at CC in game 1, Burnett in game 2, and Andy Pettitte in game 3. The unanswered question right now is are the Yankees going to go with a 3-man or 4-man rotation. Regardless of what they decide to do, I think CC is a guarantee to pitch games 1, 4 and 7. CC has shown before he can pitch well on 3 days rest. It's in the Yankees best interest to have him pitch as much as possible. If the series goes 7, he'll pitch 3 times. I think you can take that to the bank.

If I were running the show I'd go with the 3-man rotation. I'd also flip-flop Burnett and Pettitte. Here's my reasoning: For some reason A.J. Burnett pitches better at home and Andy Pettitte pitches better on the road. If the series goes beyond 5 games, they'd both end up pitching once at home and once on the road regardless of who started game 2. That would be a wash. I also think the Yankees would be better off if they started as many lefties as possible. 2 of the biggest offensive threats for Philly are Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard. Rollins hit .230 vs. lefties this year, with an OPS of .692. Howard hit .207 with an OPS of .653, a far drop from his 1.088 OPS versus righties. It would be huge to neutralize those 2 threats, especially Howard, for 5 games. Two of their other big boppers, Raul Ibanez and Chase Utley, are both lefties and despite their great numbers versus southpaws, I like the lefty-lefty matchup, especially when that LHP is CC Sabathia. CC owns lefties. Lefties hit .198 against CC all season and his WHIP was 0.95. LHPs also fare better in Yankee Stadium. We're also talking about the winningest postseason pitcher of all-time. Andy Pettitte has been there and done that in the postseason. I have more trust in him to pitch a great game than Burnett. I think throwing CC and Andy back-to-back is their best chance out going up 2-0 and taking a lot of momentum into Philadelphia for games 3-5.

The Yankees rotation is going to be a huge key to their success this week. With the exception of one start in the ALCS (A.J. in game 5 of the ALCS) the rotation has been pretty damn good. The trio has made 9 postseason starts, pitching 60 innings, allowing 17 earned runs on 48 hits and 16 walks. That works out to an ERA of 2.55. A.J. was the only one that got roughed up, giving up 9 earned runs in his 3 starts, with 6 of them coming in 1 game. Burnett is the wild-card for me, with "wild" being the keyword. A typical A.J. outing would be a lot of walks, a hit-batter (or two), maybe a wild pitch (or two), and very few hits and runs. A.J. allows a lot of baserunners and his low # of hits and high # of Ks often get him out of trouble, but there are times, like we saw in game 5, where it just doesn't work. Burnett's 2 starts could be what makes or breaks this series.

I don't know why I wrote all of that since Girardi has already made the decision to start A.J. in game 2. I'd go the other way, but what can you do? As for using a 3-man rotation? There are signs that it won't happen. Chad Gaudin threw a 70-80 pitch bullpen today so he could get stretched out a little bit. As I wrote above, I think it's all but a certainty that CC starts 3 times this series. Using Gaudin in game 4 would pretty much prevent that from happening as if CC starts game 5, he'll have 2 days off before game 7. Gaudin, if used as a 4th starter, would likely start game 5, meaning that Andy Pettitte would likely only make one start. If Pettitte starts game 3, he'd start game 6 on short rest. If the Yankees were going to do that, they might as well go with the 3-man rotation. The consensus out there seems to be that of the 3 Yankee starters, Pettitte is the only one who shouldn't start on short rest. By consensus, I mean Tom Verducci. I heard him on both the Michael Kay show this afternoon, and just now on MLB Tonight, mention that Pettitte's last start on short rest was 102 starts ago. That coupled with his age (37) is the only reason I can see them not wanting to use Andy on short rest. But it's the freaking World Series for crying out loud. He can do it one time. I'm sure if you ask Andy if he wants the ball, he'll take it, and he'll absolutely rock the house. I really hope they go with the 3-man rotation. Don't start Chad Gaudin.

The Yankee bullpen is also going to be a key component in this series. The only reliable once out in the pen right now is Mariano Rivera. Everyone else is shaky right now in my book. The 2 guys that need to step up and return to form are Joba and Phil Hughes. The formula for the most part is going to be the SP for as long as possible, then Joba, Phil, and Mo to close it out, with maybe a guy or two getting sprinkled in here and there to face a certain guy. Phil and Joba need to step it up. If those 2 can shut it down, the Yankees should have no problem winning this series.

The Phillies are starting Cliff Lee in game 1 and Pedro Martinez in game 2. I've heard a lot of people remark that they think the Phillies should start as many lefties as possible. As I wrote the other day, bring it on. I don't want to rehash everything I wrote the other day, so here's the short of it: the Yankees do very well against LHPs. I think it's a smart move by Charlie Manuel to throw Pedro in game 2. He's been there. He's done that. He's Pedro. But he's not the old Pedro. He could dominate or he could get shelled. The Yankees have done well against Pedro. Everyone remember "Who's Your Daddy?" You can sure as hell bet Yankee fans bust out that chant, possibly as early as the game 1 introductions. That would be funny. The Phillies pitching doesn't scare me. I would much prefer to go to battle with the Yankees rotation.

The Yankees offense of course need to score some runs. I'd like to say that it won't be a problem, but it very well could be. The Yankees squandered many an opportunity in the ALCS. They were 3-12 with RISP in game 1, 0-8 in game 2, 0-8 in game 3, 4-17 in game 4, 3-11 in game 5, and 2-8 in game 6. Tally that all up and they were 12-64 (.188) in the 6 games. That isn't going to cut it against the Phillies. They can't afford to get the first 2 hitters of an inning on only to strand them, something they did several times in the ALCS. Like with any team, they need those timely hits.

The offense needs to wake up. With the exception of A-Rod (.438 w/5 HR & 11 RBI), Jeter (.297 & 1.030 OPS) and Melky (.314), and to a lesser extent Jorge Posada (.258 &.368 OBP), everyone else is scuffling. They need the rest of the lineup to show up, especially Mark Teixeira (.205 & .581 OPS) and Johnny Damon (.238 & .273 OBP). Damon needs to improve that OBP to better set the table and Teixeira just needs to start hitting. The other sore spot is Nick "The Rally Killer' Swisher (.125 & .378 OPS). Swisher's bat is killing me. If you've read this blog long enough you know I'm not a big fan. I hope Girardi has a short leash on Swish if he continues to tank. I wouldn't mind seeing Brett Gardner get a start or two. But it likely won't happen. Why you ask? The answer is the subject of the next paragraph.

Joe Girardi better not screw this up. He's been making some questionable decisions this postseason. Many, myself included, feel some of his decisions cost the Yankees a game or two in the ALCS. I just hope Girardi doesn't mess this up. His managerial tendencies are starting to scare me. The Phillies definitely have the better manager.

The Yankees have caught a lot of breaks this postseason. Namely, bad calls by the umps (Phil Cuzzi), bad baserunning (Bobby Abreu, Nick Punto, Carlos Gomez), and poor defense (8 errors by Angels - the best defensive team in MLB). I don't see the Phillies making a lot of mistakes, if any. All things considered, the Yankees could very easily be at home right now, watching the Fall Classic on TV. Since I don't see the Phils making these mistakes, the Yanks need to play great baseball if they want to bring home their 27th world title.

This has the making to be one heck of a series. I think both teams are pretty evenly matched and I think every game is going to be a battle. I'm not going to make a prediction for fear of jinxing things, but I think you know where I stand. If the series is a classic like everyone seems to think it will be, I may get to catch part of it in person. I cashed in some credit card points to get tickets to game 7. If it goes that far, I'll definitely be in the house for that one. But as I wrote the other day, I'd be more than happy not to go (and get my points back) if it means the Yankees win it in 4, 5, or 6 games. I'm not rooting for a 7 game series. By all means Yanks, wrap it up in 4.

Wow, it took me almost an hour and 45 minutes to write this. I hope it didn't take you that long to read it, assuming of course that you did actually read it. First pitch is now about 20 hours away. I wish I could wake up and have it be 7:57pm. Speaking of waking up, the alarm clock is going off in about 6.5 hours, and that includes waking up probably around 4pm to feed the 6-month old. Why do I do this to myself? Oh yeah. I love the Yankees and I love baseball.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yankees/Twins ALDS Recap/Breakdown

This post is about a day and a half overdue. I meant to write this around lunchtime Monday, but one thing lead to another and here we are. Since we're now 2 days removed from sweeping the Twins, I won't go into as much analysis as I originally planned. I'll hit up a few bullet points and then call it a night. Let's dive in, shall we?

The Yankees starting pitching in the ALDS was nothing short of awesome. CC, A.J., and Andy combined for 19 innings, allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 14 hits and 6 walks, while striking out 21. That's an ERA of 1.42 and for you WHIP fans out there that works out to a WHIP of 1.05. Pretty impressive, wouldn't you say? The only negative I saw from those 3 was A.J.'s lack of control. A.J. walked 5 and hit 2. Lucky for him (and us) he has shutdown type stuff so the walks didn't hurt him as much as they could have. As long as the runs don't score we're good.

The Yankee bullpen as a whole was very impressive, with the exceptions of Damaso Marte and Phil Hughes. Let's face it, nobody cares about Marte. Hughes on the other hand, didn't look too sharp. Phil appeared in all 3 games, pitching 2 innings and allowing 2 runs, both earned, on 5 hits and a walk. It could have been worse if not for Nick Punto's baserunning blunder in game 3, but more on that later. The hero of the bullpen was probably David Robertson. D-Rob entered the game in a pretty tough spot (2 on w/no out), made it a little tougher for himself (bases loaded w/no outs) and got the team out of it unscathed. That was big right there. But as I said, the pen as a whole, wasn't too shabby. In 3 games, they combined for 10 innings, allowing 2 runs (both earned) on 15 hits and 3 walks, while whiffing 13. The WHIP and ERA came in at the same total, 1.80. That's great for an ERA but lousy for a WHIP. As long as the runs don't score, we're good.

The defense played error-free baseball for the 3 games and as I illustrated in the 2 paragraphs above, the pitching was very solid. The Yankees collective pitching line was 29 IP, 29 hits, 6 runs, 5 earned runs, 9 walks, and 34 Ks. That's an ERA of 1.55 and a WHIP of 1.31. Perhaps the best stat is that the Yankees didn't allow a single HR in the 3 games. As I said, impressive. As the saying goes, pitching and defense wins championships.

The offensive heroes were without a doubt Derek Jeter and A-Rod. Alex had a monster ALDS. I asked my magic 8-ball if A-Rod's October woes were behind him and it said all signs point to yes. For the series, A-Rod hit .455 (5-11) with 2 HR and 6 RBI. Alex went a combined 0-6 in his first 2 ABs of each game. If you do the math, that means he went 5-5 in his final ABs. That's clutch right there. I said it after each game. I'll say it again. Alex is going to have a monster postseason. I think his head is finally in the right place and I don't think he feels much pressure. His October will be huge. Jeter's hot-hitting spilled right over from the regular season. Jeter went 4-10 with 2 walks and 3 extra-base hits. The Captain is always on base, which is exactly what you want from your leadoff hitter.

The rest of the offense with the exception of Jorge Posada, who hit .364 and had the big HR off Pavano, and to a lesser degree, Mark Teixeira, because he had the 2 clutch hits in game 2, was rather unimpressive. Outside of Jeter, Posada, and A-Rod, the only hitter who topped .200 was Hideki Matsui, who hit .222. Johnny Damon and Nick Swisher were absolutely awful. Both hit .083 for the series and both struck out 4 times. The bats need to wake up.

The Yankees also got a little help. The Twins are supposed to be a very sound baseball team. They committed 2 huge baserunning blunders that very well could have changed things. Nick Swisher made a heads up play to nail Carlos Gomez when he slipped rounding 2nd. That blunder cost the Twins a run as Delmon Young was about to score. And as I mentioned above, Nick Punto made a critical mistake in game 3 when he rounded 3rd to far and couldn't get back to the bag in time. Jeter made a nice play right there to read the situation and get the ball to 3rd before Punto got back. Both of those plays could have changed the course of the series. As could have umpire Phil Cuzzi's horrible call in game 2. Cuzzi called a Joe Mauer fly ball foul when it was clearly fair. Mauer would have been on 2nd with no outs. Instead he ended up with a single and he didn't score, thanks to David Robertson. One can't assume though that if the correct call was made that the outcome would have been different. There's no way of knowing and it's pointless to even discuss.

Add all that up my friends and you've got a 3 game sweep and the Yankees are off to the ALCS for the first time since 2004. It should be a very good series. The Angels have always been a thorn in the Yankees' side but I think the tide is turning. The teams split the season series with the Yankees winning 3 of the last 4, including 2 of 3 in Anaheim. The Yanks also won 3 of 4 against the Angels at home. The Yankees have the best home record in all of MLB. The Angels have the best road record in MLB with the Yankees only 2 games worse. It should be fun. I hope to write a little preview of it on Thursday sometime, assuming my schedule allows. So check back for that.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,