Tag Archives: Ibanez

Yankees re-sign OF Chris Young

Well, there goes my hope in the Yanks maybe going after Michael Morse for corner OF/backup 1B/ backup DH.

The Yanks re-signed Chris Young to be their 4th OF. The righty-hitting Young started last year with the Mets and finished it with the Yanks. He gets a one-year deal for $2.5 MM.

Young hit .222-11-38 combined last year, OPS+95. His 162 g. average is .234-23-71 with 19 SB. OPS+ 94. Has power and speed, but low batting average and averages 143 strikeouts a year.

Mostly a CF, he can play all 3 OF positions, and hit 32 HR in 2007 for Arizona. In 2010, he was an All-Star, when he hit 27 HR and had 28 SB for the D-Backs.

While Ichiro Suzuki, who just turned 41, still wants to play in the majors next year, the signing of Young probably means Ichiro is done with the Yankees. The Yanks have Gardner, Ellsbury and Beltran in the outfield, two lefty hitters and a switch-hitter, and now have Young, a righty batter, to back them up. Ichiro, of course, is a lefty hitter.

Meanwhile, Raul Ibanez isn’t only being talked about as perhaps the Yanks next hitting coach, but he also is a finalist for the Rays’ open managerial position now that Joe Maddon has gone to manage the Cubs.

New Twins manager: HOF Paul Molitor.

 

 

 

Dynasty? SF wins 3rd title in 5 years.

When you think of baseball dynasties, you think of the Ruth-Gehrig-DiMaggio-Mantle Yankees of 1921-1964. The Big Red Machine. The Bronx Zoo. The Torre Yankees of 1996-2003. When you look at the makeup of the San Francisco Giants, you don’t see dynasty. But after winning their third title in the last five years, maybe that qualifies them as one now. At the very least, with the decade half-over, they can already call themselves the team of the decade (unless someone else runs off three or four titles over the next five years). The Giants became the first road team since the 1979 Pirates to win Game 7 when they beat the Kansas City Royals 3-2 last night.

Madison Bumgarner joined a very select group of pitchers to win three WS games in the same Series. Bumgarner got the save. For his efforts, Bumgarner was named WS MVP. 2012 WS MVP Pedro “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval went 3 for 3, Mike Morse drove in two runs, and all the damage was done by the 4-7 hitters. Neither starting pitcher went four innings. Both managers had quick hooks. SF starter Tim Hudson went just 1 2/3, and KC starter Jeremy Guthrie 3 1/3. With neither starter going five innings, the decision on who got the win came down to an official scorer’s decision. Usually, they just hand the win to the pitcher who was on the mound when the eventual game-winning run was scored. That was Jeremy Affeldt, who was credited with the win. But the official scorer did not get it right. He handed the win to Affeldt. He did not have to. This was “official scorer’s discretion” and the guy who should have been given the win was Bumgarner, who came out of the bullpen on two days rest to pitch five innings of scoreless relief and preserve a 3-2 lead. Bumgarner thus wound up winning Games 1, 5 and saving Game 7 of this WS. No guts by the official scorer there. He went “formula.”

The difference in the series turned out to be one run, and one man. And perhaps, one slip. With the game tied 2-2 in the top of the fourth, Sandoval reached on an infield single. KC 2B Omar Infante made a nice play getting to the ball, but his right leg slipped out from under him as he tried to throw out Sandoval at first. Had he not slipped, who knows? That’s baseball. Sandoval eventually scored the eventual WS-winning run later that inning on a single by Morse. SF manager Bruce Bochy showed guts in going to Bumgarner. 3 titles in 5 years should put him into the HOF one day. Funny how he did go to Bumgarner after some “experts” I heard on ESPN radio said that there was no way Bumgarner should pitch, and no more than one inning. What pansies. To me, it was refreshing seeing Game 7 the way it should be. You manage that game differently than other games. The players have all offseason to rest, and although he didn’t start, Bumgarner winning pitching in a third WS game reminded me of Randy Johnson coming out of the bullpen in Game 7 of the 2001 WS (a painful memory for us Yankees fans), or Lew Burdette starting on two days rest in 1957 (another painful memory for Yankees fans),  Sandy Koufax in 1965 pitching a CG shutout on two days rest, Bob Gibson going 1-4-7 in 1967 or Mickey Lolich going 1-5-7 in 1968 (and facing and beating 1-4-7 Gibson in that 1968 Game 7). You go with your best in Game 7. You manage differently.

Bochy managed it brilliantly. If Bumgarner would have been too tired after only two days of rest, Bochy would have heard it from here to eternity. But Bochy played his trump card. He went with, and stayed with, his best. That’s one thing I’ll take out of this WS. One run, and one man (Bumgarner) made the difference. KC has nothing to be ashamed of.

So the offseason begins… with free agency, trades, etc. and oh yeah,….. A-Rod is now officially back. (Crying.).

In other news, it looks like a few moves are coming soon. Joe Maddon, who just left the Rays, is expected to take the manager job with the Cubs, and there are rumors that the Yanks are after Raul Ibanez to be their next hitting coach.

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.