Category Archives: Offseason Moves

Team of Destiny? KC up 2-0; SF goes up 1-0.

I’m starting to wonder if KC is a team of destiny for this postseason. They won their sixth straight postseason game, doing it late like usual, albeit in regulation, not in extras this time. (Four of their six postseason wins have come in extra innings). They scored two in the top of the ninth to break a 4-4 tie and win 6-4 on Saturday. They go home up 2 games to none in the ALCS, winning both games in Baltimore.

Meanwhile the NLCS, the visiting San Francisco Giants shut out the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 in Game 1 last night.

Good move in Cashman telling A-Rod to prepare for reps at 1B in spring training. I’m not a fan at all of A-Rod’s return, but since he’ll be 40 next July, missed all of 2014 and all but 44 games in 2013, also is coming off two hip surgeries, you wonder about EVERYTHING with him. Offense, defense, baserunning. There is no guarantee he can hit, handle 3B, etc. But the Yanks didn’t have a legit 1B backup for the fragile Teixeira last year. Kelly Johnson, moving a C to 1B (McCann/Cervelli), even sometimes putting Brendan Ryan there… not answers. At least with A-Rod you would have an experienced infielder… and hopefully power-hitting 1B, playing 1B when Teix can’t.  It beats what was attempted last year, when there was no legitimate backup to 1B.

Turning to college football, this PSU grad has to say that so far he isn’t too impressed with the new coaching staff at his alma mater. I’m not thrilled with some of the play calling this season, there isn’t a running game, for some reason big bull Zach Zwinak appears to be underutilized (the big boy may not be quick or gain too much yards/carry, but he may be able to wear down the opposition in the 4th quarter if used more often earlier in the game) and the O-line has serious issues.

Cashman returns, but not Long or Kelleher

The Yanks signed GM Brian Cashman to a new 3-yr. deal today, but let go of hitting coach Kevin Long and 1B/Infield coach Mick Kelleher.

Baseball resumes/Yogi/The SS search

The ALCS gets started tonight with Game 1 between Baltimore & KC. The NLCS starts tomorrow between SF and StL.

Meanwhile, sad and disturbing news. Late Tues. night or early Wed. morning, professional thieves broke into Yogi Berra’s Museum. Items stolen include his WS rings and MVP trophies. I hope the scumbags are caught soon. Their punishment should be that every Yankees fan gets a bat and one good swing at these thieves, hitting their bodies wherever.

Yogi, of course, is devastated. The 89-year-old legend lost his wife earlier this year, and now this.

Cross J.J. Hardy off your wish list for Yankees’ SS. He won’t be going into free agency. Instead he signed a 3-yr. extension with the Orioles.

Surprises in Division Series, Jeter Rumors, and Yanks hands tied

We’ll start with the Division Series. The Royals and Orioles are both in the driver’s seat, up 2-0 in a best of five, with two thrilling wins yesterday.

KC won its third straight extra-inning postseason game, setting a postseason record, by scoring 3 in the top of the 11th to defeat the Angels, 4-1. While Mike Moustakas had the HR in the 11th inning of Game 1, this time it was Eric Hosmer with the big blow.

I like the way KC plays. Not only that, although I admire Trout and Pujols, I can’t root for the Angels. I’m tired of seeing Mike Scioscia bitching all the time about balls and strikes. I admire Scioscia as a manager and think he’s one of the best in the game, but he (and when he was managing, Bobby Cox) are two of the biggest dugout whiners and crybabies I’ve ever seen.

Meanwhile, Baltimore, down 6-3 in the bottom of the 8th, scored 4 in that inning and went on to win 7-6. Delmon Young, who while with Detroit was the ALCS MVP in 2012 against the Yankees, got revenge on his old team with a bases-loaded double. I have to admit, I have a soft spot for seeing Buck Showalter do well (as well as Donnie Mattingly with the Dodgers).

In the NLDS, a shocker. You expected a pitching duel between Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright. The Dodgers knocked out Wainwright in taking a 6-1 lead. But then Kershaw, 21-3, 1.77 in the regular season, lost it. St. Louis got one in the sixth and 8 in the seventh and hung on for a 10-9 comeback victory in Game 1 of the NLDS. The Cardinals’ mastery of Kershaw goes back to last year’s postseason. They have his number, or maybe Kershaw is tipping his pitches and only St. Louis knows how?

In the other NLDS, the SF Giants won Game 1, 3-2 over the Washington Nationals.

Some great, great games in this postseason so far.

There was a good article I read about the Yankees noting how they really are hamstrung in trying to improve the team for 2015. Yes, you’d like to improve the offense, but how when players are tied up into long-term deals, are declining and have no-trade clauses? Or, if you CAN trade them, you won’t get equal value or will have to eat much of their expensive contracts? McCann, Teix, A-Rod, Beltran, Gardner, Ellsbury, CC… all these guys are signed up for 2015 AND BEYOND. (Also, younger guys like Tanaka are, but Tanaka is a different story…). Which means these guys have to improve on 2014’s performances. You are stuck with them. For some guys who are aging, you have to wonder if they EVER will get back to what they once were. And that is a problem.

There are rumors that Derek Jeter has a big to-do this weekend. Some call it a retirement party. Others say he’s getting married to Hannah Davis. If it IS a wedding, it’s on short notice, since Derek really, if things would have gone right, would be having an off-day today in the middle of playing in the Division Series. In another words, the original plan was for him to be playing ON the field and not OFF of it. We’ll wait for confirmation on that wedding rumor.

Yanks 2014: The Stats. Part 1.

A look at the stats now that the season is over. Part 1. General and Offense.

Part 2 will focus on the pitching.

Wins: 84. One less than last year. At 84-78, it is the worst record for the Yanks since 1992. Second straight year with no postseason and second straight year where their Pythagorean record (what the record should have been based on runs allowed vs. runs scored) was under .500. According to this formula, the Yanks should have gone 77-85 this year. They should have been 79-83 in 2013 when they won 85. So whether it’s luck or Girardi, they actually won six and seven more games in the last two years than they probably should have. Considering how mediocre they are, that’s probably not real good, esp. if the coin flips over and the luck runs out.

Offensive stats (and they are offensive): Brian McCann led the team with 23 HR and 75 RBI but only hit .232. No 30 HR guy. No guy with over 75 RBI. As for batting average, the highest by any player who could have qualified for a batting title was Ellsbury at .271 (Ichiro at .284 didn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title).

The team hit .245 (11th in AL). They were 13th in runs scored, hits and doubles. Next to last in on base pct.

The middle of the lineup: McCann .232; Teixeira .216; Beltran .233. Throw in Soriano, who was released after 67 games, not quite half the year, at .221. Soriano had 6 walks and 71 strikeouts. Ugly. As for next year? Teix turns 35. Beltran will be 38. Oh yeah, A-rod comes back. He’ll be 40 next July, missed all of 2014 and only played in 44 games in 2013. It could get uglier.

Teixeira as Yankee: 2009: .292; 2010: .256; 2011: .248; 2012: .251 (but missed about 35 games); 2013: .151 (played in only 15 games). 2014: .216 (missed about 35 games). See a trend here?

Cervelli actually hit .301 as a backup C.

Unfortunately, of the positions Prado plays, he hasn’t played much SS. Just 16 MLB games. Mostly LF, 2B and 3B. Yes, the Yanks have Rob Refsnyder at SWB (and Jose Pirela did nice in the one week he was up, but Pirela is a minor league free agent and could leave). You wonder if Prado will be at 2B and if they’ll give Refsnyder more time at 2B at SWB to start 2015. There are a couple of ways to go here. Prado at 2B, re-sign Headley (Headley could platoon with A-Rod and Teix at 1B/3B giving each rest). Or if Headley leaves, maybe Refsnyder (24 next year, .318-14-63 in 2014 between AA/AAA) can play 2B with Prado at 3B. Anyway, the Yanks should get a legitimate 1B backup for Teixeira. One option: Have A-Rod play some 1B in spring training as well as 3B.

Headley (.262-6-17 in 58 games, OPS+ 118) and Prado (.316-7-16, OPS+ 143 in 37 games) were excellent pickups.

As for SS in 2015. Who knows. Jeter retired with 3465 hits, a .310 batting average, 200 postseason hits, 260 HR, 20 postseason HR, but his 2014 wasn’t Jeteresque. .256-4-50, OPS+ 75. Those are numbers Bucky Dent might put up in the late 1970s. A trade for Tulowitzski? What would you have to give up? He’s 30 and injury-prone. He missed 110 games in 2012, 30 in 2013 and about 60 this year. Great player, but it means nothing if you aren’t on the field. Since becoming full time in 2007, Tulo has played in 130 or more games in a season just 3x in 8 years. Free agent signing of Hanley Ramirez? 31 and scouts think he’s more of a 3B right now than SS. Had issues in Florida. Great player who missed 60 games in 2011, 70 games last year and about 30 this year. Like Tulo, great player with injury issues. J.J. Hardy is available as a free agent. 32.  Not as good as the other two, but more dependable and less injury prone. Maybe a better fit would be a trade for 24 yr. old Starlin Castro of the Cubs, now that the Cubs have traded for a SS prospect in the Samardzija/Hammel deals. Given that the Yanks need to get younger, maybe trading for Castro is the way to go.

They need to add a righty-power bat in the OF. They thought they had that with Soriano. Ellsbury (.271-16-70, 39 SB, OPS+ 110) and Gardner (.256-17-58, 21 SB, OPS+ 110) were ok. Gardner, in fact, was the Yankees’ best player, according to WAR (Wins Above Replacement). Ichiro gave them a good defensive OF, but Ichiro gave three lefty hitters and no power. Only 16 of Ichiro’s 102 hits (.284) were for extra bases and at 41, he won’t be back. He did steal 15 bases but drove in 22 runs. You can’t have an OF where one guy (Gardner) doubles his HR high with 17 and another regular OF hit just one HR (Ichiro).

As for DH, someone wrote a good article on it earlier this year. The Yanks are using the spot to rest tired people or play injured people there. They will probably do so next year too, what with A-Rod, Teix and Beltran. It isn’t working. The Yanks’ DH numbers are among the worst in the league b/c their DHs are playing tired or hurt. Think back to when the Yanks had a healthy full-time DH, be it Chili Davis or as recent as 2009, Matsui. Just look at Boston with Ortiz.

Ok, I got to get to work. Part 2—the pitching, later.

 

 

Yankees rained out. Team set. Nunez sent down.

The Yanks were  rained out today, and end spring training at 17-12-2.

The team is now set to begin the season. Eduardo Nunez has been sent down to AAA and Yangervis Solarte has made the team.

C-McCann and Cervelli

INF-Teixeira, Roberts, Jeter, Johnson, Anna, Solarte

OF-Gardner, Soriano (mostly DH), Ellsbury, Beltran, Ichiro

SP-CC, Kuroda, Nova, Tanaka, Pineda

RP-Phelps, Warren, Nuno, Betances, Kelley, Thornton, Robertson

Lineup looks like Ellsbury, Jeter, Beltran, McCann, Teixeira, Soriano, Gardner, Roberts and Johnson.

The surprise is Gardner seventh. You think he would be 9th to give the Yanks him and Ellsbury back-to-back speed on the basepaths when the lineup turns over.

But according to Jack Curry of YES:

On Gardner batting 7th, not 9th: He had 51 extra base hits last yr so smart to get him to plate sooner, even if its only few extra at bats.

Also,

Yankeesource@YankeeSource 20m

Gardner in 110 career PA in the 7th spot in lineup has hit .337/.417/.467

Masahiro Tanaka won the James P. Dawson award as the best rookie in camp.

 

S.T. Game 14. Yanks, Tigers tie at 7

Hiroki Kuroda wasn’t good today, and the Yanks staged a late comeback to tie the Tigers 7-7 in a 10-inning affair.

The Yanks’ S.T. record so far is 7-5-2.

Kuroda really struggled, going 3 2/3, giving up 6 R, 10 H, 0 walks and 1 K. Chase Whitley went 1/3, scoreless.

Shawn Kelley, Jose Campos, Fred Lewis, and Danny Burawa then each pitched a scoreless inning. Robert Coello gave up an unearned run in his inning of work. Yoshinori Tateyama pitched a scoreless inning.

There are rumors that Francisco Cervelli could be dealt because of the Yanks’ backup C surplus (Gary Sanchez was optioned to AA Trenton today, and the Yanks still have Austin Romine and John Ryan Murphy for backup or AAA). Cervelli hit 2 HR today. He is 8 for 16 for the spring with 3 HR. After being suspended 50 games last year for the Biogenesis thing, I can hear the snickers about his S.T. numbers.

Zoilo Almonte was 2 for 2, including a 2-run HR that tied the game in the bottom of the 9th.

Yangervis Solarte is having an INCREDIBLE spring training. Another hit and his batting average is .632 this spring.

Zelous Wheeler had 2 RBI.

Ervin Santana finally found a home. 1 yr. deal w/Atlanta for $14.1 MM.