Tag Archives: Ibanez

Tanaka not to be posted?

Reports are coming in that Japanese ace Mashahiro Tanaka will NOT be posted. The star, who was 24-0, 1.27 for Rakuten this season, would be a prize catch for any team that landed him, and yes, the Yanks would be very interested in the 25-year-old.

Without Tanaka, where do the Yanks turn? They still need a #4 starter. Behind CC (who had an awful 2013), Kuroda (39 soon) and Nova, there is a gap at #4. For #5, you can have a battle between Pineda, Phelps, Warren and Nuno… or bring in a retread like Johan Santana on a minor league deal to see what he has left.

But if Tanaka is unavailable, then you have to look. Still available are Garza, Jiminez and Ervin Santana. (A.J. Burnett is also available, but let’s not go there).

Sin-Soo Choo was apparently offered 7 years, $140 MM from the Yanks AFTER they signed Ellsbury but he wanted Ellsbury $$$. The Yanks turned to Beltran on a 3-yr. deal after that happened. Apparently Choo has left an offer by the Rangers on the table for now. Houston is said to be involved. Good luck, there, Choo.

Ex-Yankees Eric Chavez and Raul Ibanez have found teams, Chavez going back to AZ, and Ibanez leaving Seattle to go to the Angels.

Waiting for reality.

As always with the Winter Meetings, there are rumors and then there is reality. I love the hot stove league and the chess-like maneuverings. Who goes where, rumors of trades, etc.

But for the purpose of the blog, I don’t have the time to report on every rumor, and there are many of them out there. What I will do is try to focus on the reality and report and comment on what actually happened or went down. But here is a brief rundown, some of which are rumors and hasn’t happened yet (if it will at all).

That said, the Yanks did turn down a Gardner for Brandon Phillips swap. Yes, the Yanks need a 2B after Cano’s departure, and Phillips (.261-18-103 for the Reds in 2013) would have fit the bill. However Phillips is owed $50MM over 4 years, and has a no-trade clause. He also wanted to renegotiate his deal as part of a possible trade. Checking out various info on Twitter, Gardner (who obviously doesn’t have Phillips’ power) had a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 4.2 to Phillips’ 1.7. Also, Gardner had an OPS+ of 108, Phillips a 92.

With some recent acquisitions (Cano, Hart, Morrison), one-time Yankee prospect Jesus Montero is available. His stock has dropped (PED suspension, poor defense).

The Astros could be interested in Joba. So are the Tigers. Ex-Yank Raul Ibanez is talking with the Angels.

The Yanks could have interest in Joaquin Benoit. Also Johan Santana, but Santana would have to be on a minor-league, “Let’s see what you have left” deal.

Omar Infante wants 4 years at $8MM+. This could be a deal-breaker when it comes to the Yanks getting him. As with Beltran, KC could be the Yanks’ main competition here.

The Yanks picked up an A-ball pitcher from the Pirates in return for Chris Stewart.

More uncertainty as Ibanez goes back to Seattle

The Yankees need a righty-hitting OF, what with their OF now consisting of three lefty hitters in Granderson, Gardner and Ichiro. Andruw Jones, who hit less than .200 last year, signed a deal with a Japanese team. Forget Cody Ross, for he signed with Arizona. Could Melky Mesa actually get a shot?

They may need a catcher, what with the defection of Russell Martin to Pittsburgh. The only in-house options are Francisco Cervelli (probably the best hitter of the bunch, and that’s not saying much), and the better defensive catchers in Austin Romine, Bobby Wilson and Chris Stewart. Romine, 24, has a shot to win the job, but he’s only played 21 games at the AAA level.

Now there is another hole that needs to be filled. Raul Ibanez signed a one-year deal with Seattle. So now the Yanks need to find a DH. They, of course, could DH Jeter, who will be 39 next June and who is coming off that broken ankle. The problem with that is that Eduardo Nunez isn’t known for his glove. So Jeter might have to be the SS but you wonder how his range (never great to begin with) will be after the injury. So you might DH Nunez. But Nunez is good for his speed (as are Gardner and Ichiro) and not power (likewise Gardner and Ichiro), so the Bronx Bombers might all of a sudden be the Bronx Burners. Ichiro won’t, at age 39, steal as many bases as he did before.

Now the loss of Ibanez, who’ll be 41 next June, might not be too bad. The biggest problem isn’t the loss (he hit .240 with 19 HR last year, but then had a great playoff run), but in the replacement. Who will it be?

In this respect it’s like losing Martin, who despite his 21 HR hit just .211. It’s not so much the loss, as it is who will be the replacement?

The Yanks have holes to fill. For right now it’s like too many holes in the dike. Sooner or later the dike bursts and you drown.

We’ll soon see how the Yanks fill these holes.

Yanks re-sign Ichiro, working on Ibanez

The Yankees brought back Ichiro on a two-year deal. Details to come.

Meanwhile, they are talking to Raul Ibanez about coming back to DH.

Nice, but there are a couple of problems here. Both are lefty bats, for one. They still need to get a righty-hitting bat to play the OF and/or DH vs. lefty pitching.

The other problem is the age. Ichiro is 39. Ibanez turns 41 next June.

Closing in on Ichiro, waiting on Youk.

The Yanks are supposedly close to bringing back Ichiro on a 1-yr. deal. Ichiro hit .322 for the Yanks, with 5 HR, 27 RBI and a team-leading 14 SB (in only 67 games) after the Yanks got him from Seattle.

For the season, Suzuki hit .283-9-55 with 29 SB, OPS+ 95.

I don’t mind the move, as I’ve always loved Ichiro. But the move does worry me. As of now, the Yanks OF would be Gardner, Granderson and Ichiro. All lefty bats. A righty bat is needed. Another worry about Ichiro is his age—39. We already have a lot of old players (Mo, Kuroda, Jeter, A-rod, Pettitte…)

Don’t look to Andruw Jones. He signed a deal (thankfully) with a Japanese team this week. Besides, he only hit .197 last year.

Scott Hairston would be a nice possibility to platoon with Ichiro and provide righty-bat OF depth. Hairston, 33 next May, hit .263-20-57 for the Mets last year, OPS+ 117. His 162 g. ave. is .247-20-58, OPS+ 100. Average player, mostly LF, but who has played CF, RF and even 2B.

Meanwhile the Yanks wait on Kevin Youkilis. I know, rooting for Youk is like… ugh. But the Yanks do need a 3B with A-Rod out for half the season. Youk could also fill in for Teix at 1B. He’ll be 34 and hasn’t played 145 games in a season since 2008. He’s had injury issues. He hit just .235-19-60, OPS+ 99 last year. But if he could give .246-18-70 (his average over the last two years, OPS+ 111), … He is not young himself… 34 in March. But Alex being out and Chavez’ departure lead to desperate measures. Even signing Joba’s mortal enemy.

No word yet on Ibanez back as DH, but that (41 in June) is another age problem.

MVPs to Miggy, Posey

Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown season (the first in MLB in 45 years) won him the A.L. MVP award today. Cabrera hit .330-44-139 with an OPS+ of 165.

Buster Posey won the award in the NL with a .336-24-103 mark, OPS+ 172. His OPS+ was the best in the majors. He led the majors in batting average (after Melky disqualified himself after having been nabbed for PEDs).

Robbie Cano of the Yanks finished 4th in the MVP voting, Derek Jeter 7th. In the past three years, Cano has finished 3rd, 6th and 4th.

For Jeter, it was the eighth time in his career he finished in the top 10 for MVP.

Rafael Soriano finished 2oth in the balloting, and someone (?) actually gave a 10th place vote to Raul Ibanez (.240-19-62, OPS+ 104), who finished 24th.

Meanwhile, if you didn’t already hear, the Yanks’ AAA franchise in Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre has a new nickname: the RailRiders.

More awards, a signing, and a huge trade.

Manager of the Year Awards went out last night. Davey Johnson of Washington won for the N.L., and the A.L. award went to Bob Melvin of Oakland.

I thought Buck Showalter of Baltimore would win in the A.L., but he lost 16 first-place votes to 12. I’m not saying Melvin wasn’t deserving, but I thought Buck would get it.

Today, the CYA winners were announced. David Price of Tampa Bay edged out Detroit’s Justin Verlander for the A.L. award by just four points. The N.L.  award went to R. A. Dickey of the Mets, who became the first knuckleballer to ever win the award.

Tomorrow, the MVPs.

Torii Hunter signed a 2-yr. deal with Detroit. You would think that Hunter, winner of 9 Gold Glove awards, will help the Tiger defense, what with being next to Austin Jackson in that big outfield in Detroit. Hunter wanted 2 years, and the Yanks wouldn’t go for that, even if Swisher goes. Hunter got those 2 years, along with $26MM, from the Tigers. Hunter, who will be 38 next June (and it may be a good thing the Yanks DID NOT get him, what with their present age concerns), hit .313-16-92, OPS+ 132 for the Angels this past year. Yes, an excellent year, but you have to ask how many players 35+ you want on the Yankees.

As for the Yankees, they better watch out. Toronto made a huge trade. If the old players on the Yankees show their age, then the Yanks could very well slip to 3rd or 4th place in the A.L. East. The Blue Jays picked up a #1 AND a #2 starter from the Marlins in Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, as well as an All-Star SS in Jose Reyes. They also got C John Buck and speedy utility man Emilio Bonifacio in the deal. (Reyes and Bonifacio combined for 70 SB, and Bonifacio only played in 64 games).

There is rumors that Miami isn’t done. I see on the BBD blog that the Yanks are thinking about bringing back Ibanez (I’m against it, he’ll be 41 next June) and thinking about Ricky Nolasco of the Marlins. I also see a rumor that Miami may shop Logan Morrison.

Nolasco, 29, was 12-13, 4.48, ERA+ 88 last year. I don’t want that. For his career, he is 76-64, 4.49. His 162 g. average is 14-12, 4.49. Figure in the DH league he goes something like 13-13, 4.80. That’s not good enough in my book.

I’d rather let Ibanez go and go after Morrison if the Marlins have him on the block. I appreciate what Ibanez did last year (esp. in the postseason), but he will be 41 next June. How many old players do you want on the Yankees (think Pettitte, Jeter, Rivera, A-Rod, maybe Kuroda, maybe Ichiro… Jones is most likely gone, if Chavez comes back, he is 35, Ichiro…). Morrison is 25, LF/1B. With Gardner maybe moving to CF and Granderson to LF, Morrison can DH, play RF and fill in at 1B once in a while (he seems better suited for DH, his defense isn’t good). He hit just .230-11-36 (OPS+ 91) last year, but is young, a lefty hitter, 6’3″ 240 and hopefully can use that to take advantage of the porch. He hasn’t done badly vs. lefties (.247 vs. righties and .259 vs. lefties). He hit 23 HR in 2011. His 162 g. average is .250-21-73. OPS+ 110. Younger than Ibanez, more potential, can probably put up better numbers in 2013 than Raul.

But getting back to Toronto. This is a big deal for them. Let’s face it. The Yanks have an OLD team. If the Yanks don’t watch it, they can fall to fourth place in a hurry, maybe even last. God forbid. But look at the division. Good young players in Baltimore, Tampa Bay, and now Toronto made a big move. Goodness knows how Boston will rebuild.

Yes, I know the Yanks had the best record in the league last year. But they were exposed in the playoffs.

There is a fine line between experienced, and old.

Will the Yanks inject some youth in 2013?

Slow time.

Well, there hasn’t been many posts lately for a number of reasons.

1) the season is over and we see what happens with trades/free agents.

2) Hurricane Sandy knocked my power off for 22 hours. I’m lucky. Many didn’t get power for many more days.

3) I’ve been busy. 48 hours of work this past week and 48 next. 40 Thanksgiving week and I’m not working on the holiday. 50 hour weeks the two weeks after T-Giving.

So we await on the major awards from MLB. So far, Cano and Teix got the GG, Cano and Jeter SS awards.

I don’t know what the Yanks will do yet with their free agents. They did give some qualifying offers (rejected) to Kuroda, Swish and Soriano. I expect Swish and Soriano to be gone. Kuroda is a question mark.

Martin is a free agent. I wouldn’t mind a 2-yr. deal for him, but remember, he only hit .211 last year (with 21 HR). Romine needs a full year at AAA, something his back injury prevented him from last year. So 2013 AAA, maybe 2014 back up Martin. If so, who is the backup? If Stewart, then best to trade Cervelli and see what you can get for him. Sanchez is on the come, so you don’t even know if Romine is the future. Sanchez is a few years away.

SS/3B is a problem. Jeter is 39 next June, and coming off a broken ankle. He had just 9 sb this year, his range is in question and now a broken ankle. I’d love to see Nunez figure more in the lineup for the 35-40 SB potential he brings, but where to put his horrendous defense? And A-Rod looks like a fading star. 38 next July. Do you really want a left side of the infield that has a 39 year old SS and 38 year old 3B? Guess what. You are stuck with it.

Do you bring back Kuroda and Pettitte? One will be 38 next year, the other 41 next June. Then there is Mo. He threw 25 pitches off a mound for a commercial. Good sign, but he will be 43 in a few weeks. Ibanez is on the block. 41 next year. Jones 35. Chavez 35. Who comes back?

This team MUST get younger.

Meanwhile, Toronto mgr. Farrell goes to Boston. Toronto is looking. One-time A’s SS Walt Weiss is now the Rockies’ mgr. Mark McGwire leaves St. Louis to become the Dodgers’ new hitting coach.

The Mets and Jason Bay reach an amicable divorce. That didn’t work out.

College Football: Darrell Royal died at age 88. He won 3 national titles for Texas in the 1960′s (although, as a PSU grad, I’ll dispute that 1969 one).

Lee MacPhail, who was the Yanks’ GM in the late 1960′s/early 1970′s, died at the age of 95. His dad (Larry) owned the Yanks for a brief time (1945-1947). Lee later became the A.L. President and it was he who made the Pine tar ruling.

The Yanks are thinking of flip-flopping Granderson and Gardner, moving the Grandy Man to LF. If they bring Ichiro (39) back for RF, they’ll have a speedy and good defensive OF, but having Ichiro AND Gardner cuts into your power.

If Torii Hunter really wants $20 mil over 2 years, count the Yanks out. He is 37 so it wouldn’t fit the “getting younger” plan.

I worry about next year. Too much age.

As for 6-4 PSU, I’m happy with the job Bill O’Brien has done. It’ll get much harder after this year. I see an offense that has come out of the stone age. Under very difficult circumstances, he has done a good job.

A strange year. My faves are Rivera and Polamalu (Steelers fan) and between the two, I don’t get to see them on the field what with injuries. I’m happy the Steelers are 5-3. They should beat KC tomorrow night, they should reach the playoffs.

But anyone doubting the Texans needs to be aware of them. Houston is for real.

ALCS Gm 1: Yanks blow early chances, lose in 12. Lose Jeter until 2013.

The Yankees blew early chances, had a miracle comeback (Ibanez again!) to force extra innings, but then lost Game 1 of the ALCS 6-4 to Detroit.

Even more devastating was the loss of Derek Jeter until next season with a fractured ankle.

The Yanks can only blame themselves for the loss. The left the bases loaded in the first when A-Rod’s grounder was fielded on a good play by SS Peralta, who forced Ibanez at second. They left them loaded again the next inning, when Cano’s smash up the middle (Cano is 0 for his last 21 in the postseason) hit Fister on his wrist and deflected to Peralta, who nipped Cano at first. A-Rod hit into a DP in the fifth. In the sixth, after the Tigers scored two off Pettitte in the top of the inning, Teixeira reached on an error. Ibanez doubled. 2nd and 3rd, no one out, and the Yankees once again got NOTHING. A-Rod struck out (and was PH for… again…. later in the game. Sheesh. 5 more years and $114 million left on the contract of a 37-year old who looks done). Swisher walked. Granderson and Martin each struck out. Three times they left the bases loaded in the first six innings. THREE TIMES.

Pettitte, who lost game 2 of the ALDS 3-2, pitched another good game and once again got no support. 6 2/3 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 3 walks and 5 K. He left trailing 2-0.

Derek Lowe went 2/3, 2 R, 2 H, 0 walks and 1 K. The Tigers got two in the 8th. Delmon Young getting the first one with a HR (he killed the Yankees last year and did it again last night, 3 for 6 with 3 RBI).

So they went into the bottom of the ninth down 4-0. Ichiro hit a 2-run HR to cut it to 4-2. Then, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Teixiera, down 0-2 in the count, worked out a walk, bringing up Ibanez, who stunningly, amazingly, did it again. A 2-run HR to tie the game.

On the game went.

Logan 2/3, 0 r, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K.

Eppley 2/3, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks, 1 K.

Rapada 1/3, 0 R, 0 H 0 walks, 1 K.

Soriano 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 walks, 0 K.

Robertson 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 walks and 1 K.

But then Phelps, who lost Game 4 of the ALDS in the 13th, lost this one in the 12th. 1 IP,  2 R, 3 H, 1 walk and 1 K. 6-4 Tigers.

In the middle of that top of the 12th, Jeter fell while fielding a ground ball. He was carried off the field and is done for the postseason with a fractured ankle. Nix will SS from here on out. Nunez is back on the roster.

You hope Nix can provide a spark. Hardly anyone else is.

The Yanks have their backs against the wall. They aren’t hitting (3 for 13 RISP, 13 LOB). They lost their captain. Kuroda on 3 days rest tonight. Down 0-1 in the series. They have to win tonight to avoid going down 0-2 heading to Motown.

Cano was 0 for 6 last night and is 0 for his last 21 or so in the postseason. We know how bad A-Rod (0 for 3, left 6 on) and Granderson 0 for 4 have been. I was one calling for Chavez, and he went 0 for 3 and is hitless in the postseason himself (although, to be fair, Jackson made a great catch to rob Chavez of a double last night). Swisher is 1 for his last 35 or so with RISP in the postseason.

The Yankees wasted another good pitching outing by Pettitte, who is still waiting for postseason win #20.

They have soldiered on this season without Rivera. They lost Pettitte for two months with a fractured ankle.

Now they have to do it without Jeter.

It would help if someone besides Ibanez and Ichiro (who besides driving in all 4 last night, had 2 of the 3 RBI in the do-or-die Game 5 of the ALDS vs. Baltimore) turned up clutch.

Yanks advance to the ALCS. No rest, Game 1 tonight.

The Yankees defeated Baltimore 3-1 last night in Game Five of the ALDS, and get no rest after that do-or-die game because Game One of the ALCS begins tonight. Andy Pettitte will start for the Yankees at home against the Tigers, who knocked the Yanks out of the playoffs last year.

As for last night, CC went all the way, taking a one-hit shutout into the eighth. He gave up a run in the 8th but got out of a bases loaded, one out jam. He wound up with a line of 1 run and 4 hits in his 9 innings. The first run of the game scored in the fifth when Teixeira singled, shocked the world by stealing second, and scored on a single by the Yankees’ ALDS savior, Ibanez. Ichiro doubled in Jeter in the sixth, and Granderson, who came into the game with an ALDS line of 1 for 16, hit a solo HR in the seventh.

A-Rod was benched for this game. Chavez started at third.

The Yanks have made a roster move for the ALCS. Eppley comes on, Nunez is off.

For Joe Girardi, it has been a rough week, for he lost his father a week ago.