Tag Archives: Napoli

Ruppert makes HOF, A-Rod to miss 1/2 of 2013

Jacob Ruppert was elected to the Hall of Fame today by the Veterans Committee. The Yanks’ owner in the Ruthian era built the original Yankee Stadium.

Meanwhile, GM Brian Cashman will need to do yeoman work to build a team. We already knew that a catcher and RF may need to be found, what with Martin’s departure and Swisher’s probable departure. Throw in DH if they don’t bring back Ibanez.

Now count 3B into the mix.

Alex Rodriguez will need surgery on his other hip (possibly explaining his poor postseason) and will miss half of the 2013 season.

You wonder if his body is breaking down. It sure appears so. Alex will be 38 in July. You also wonder if that steroid abuse while in Texas has anything to do with it.

You also wonder if he’ll even get the 53 HR he needs for 700. (He needs 99 hits for 3000 and 50 RBI for 2000).

Meanwhile, do the Yanks now bring back 35 year old Eric Chavez for 3B? He’s brittle and would need to platoon. But with whom? Where does Eduardo Nunez slot in, especially if Jeter isn’t ready for Opening Day?

The left side of the Yankees’ infield is now a mess. Two aging, injured players.

Do David Adams (26 in May, AA .306-8-48 in 86 games) or Ronnier Mustelier (28, .314-15-69, AA/AAA, 114 games) get a shot? Platoon one or the other with Chavez?

So now Cashman has to deal with a catcher (unless they are going with Cervelli or Romine), 3B (do you bring back Chavez, and who platoons with him?), possibly a SS if Jeter isn’t ready, a DH (do you bring back Ibanez?) and a RF (do you bring back Ichiro?) Do you sign someone like Cody Ross, Shane Victorino or Ichiro for RF? Trade for a Justin Upton or Mike Cuddyer? Give Melky Mesa a shot at a platoon role? Trade for a catcher? What about DH? Utility infielder?

Position-wise, there are some four positions there where things are a mess.

Cashman has some work to do.

Forget Mike Napoli at C (the Yanks never had interest). The power hitting, but weak defense C signed a 3-yr. deal w/Boston—-to play 1B.

I was kind of hoping that the Yanks would take a flyer on Joakim Soria, thinking that Soria, coming off TJ surgery, might be worth a shot to replace the expected-to-depart Rafael Soriano. Instead, Soria signed with Texas.

Yanks sign Mo, but now need a catcher

The Yanks and Mariano Rivera reached agreement on a one-year contract worth $10 MM + incentives on Mo’s 43rd birthday yesterday.

It’s expected that the 2013 season will be Mo’s swan song.

But the Yanks now need a catcher. Russell Martin, who hit .211-21-53, OPS+ 92, has signed a two-year contract with Pittsburgh, leaving the Yanks with Francisco Cervelli (who spent almost all of last year in AAA), untested Austin Romine, who missed most of last year with a back injury, and Chris Stewart, Martin’s backup last year.

Stewart hit .241-1-13, OPS+ 67 in 55 games last year. Romine, 24, was 3 for 19 in 2011 in a brief callup with the Yanks, but got into just 31 minor league games last year due to his back injury, hitting .243-4-15. It’d be a stretch to suggest he is ready.

Cervelli, who’ll be 27 next year, hit .246-2-39 at AAA last year. In 490 MLB at bats, Cervelli is .271-5-71, OPS+ 84.

Martin only hit .211 last year (and spent most of the year in the .180’s), but it’s still a dropoff.

Gary Sanchez, who’ll be 20 soon, is far from ready. He hit .290-18-85, and could be the catcher of the future, but he hasn’t played any games at all above High-A.

So do the Yanks trade for a catcher?

The two free agent catchers out there are Mike Napoli, 31, who is more of a hitter than a catcher. Napoli hit .227-24-56 last year for Texas, OPS+ 110 (but wags (like me?) would say his low average/high HR would fit in with the Yanks’ lineup). He had 30 HR for Texas in 2011, has postseason experience (10 RBI in the 2011 WS). But his defense isn’t good. He is a .259 career hitter with a very good OPS+ of 126. However he doesn’t seem to fit defensively, as Girardi, a former catcher known for his defense, would want someone in the same defensive mold as himself.

The other free agent catcher is A.J. Pierzynski. Pierzynski hit a career high 27 HR his past season, .278-27-77. OPS+ 118. His average year is more like .284-13-60, OPS+ 96. He, like Napoli, has postseason experience (and, in his case, a WS ring from 2005), but I don’t see his personality (he can be grating) fitting in with the Yanks.

The Yanks said that they didn’t have the money to compete with Pittsburgh on Martin’s deal. Like one friend stated on his blog, read that again.

It’s too bad Brian Schneider isn’t five years younger. Schneider comes from my hometown, and is a lefty bat. But he hasn’t played regularly since 2008. Since then he hasn’t played in more than 59 games in a season, and has hit just .214. Schneider, a fine defensive catcher, if he were 31 instead of 36, could have platooned with Cervelli until Romine is ready. But even if he were in his prime, and gave you 100 games, the best you would expect from Schneider would be .247-8-40 or so.

Maybe the Yanks force-feed Romine now into the starting role, but I doubt it. But instead of getting the year in AAA he needs, Romine could be force-fed into the backup role. But as of now, I see Cervelli #1 and Stewart #2.

That could change over the next few months. It most likely will, but who would be the new catcher? In any case, it appears that that new catcher would just be a stopgap. But you never know.

No, I don’t see Posada (41) coming out of retirement. Remember that Jorge hasn’t caught regularly since 2010, and his defense in the last few years of his career was highly suspect.

But considering the age of this team, with Jeter, Mo, Pettitte, A-Rod, Kuroda, and possibly Chavez and Ichiro, Jorge would fit right in, wouldn’t he?

2011 WS Game 5: Napoli does it again. Rangers up 3 games to 2.

Mike Napoli did it again, putting in his bid for WS MVP, as his bases-loaded double knocked in two runs in the bottom of the 8th to give the Rangers a 4-2 win.

Napoli had a big 3-run HR in Game 4 and also HR’d in Texas’ Game 1 loss. He has 9 RBI in the Series so far.

For a while, it looked like sloppy Texas D by Moreland would cost the Rangers. For the second time in this Series, he appeared to have a play at the plate and couldn’t execute.

Game 6 is scheduled for Wednesday night in St. Louis. Texas could win their first title ever with a win.

BTW, Derek Holland’s moustache has to be one of the cheesiest I’ve ever seen. He’s 25? He looks 17 with that moustache (which looks like he drank chocolate milk) and probably would look 14 without it.

In other news, the Phils declined options on Oswalt and Lidge. If they want them back, it’ll be at a lower cost.

2011 WS Game 4. Rangers even series behind Holland, Napoli.

Derek Holland pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings and combined with Neftali Perez on a two-hit shutout as the Texas Rangers evened up the World Series at two wins apiece with a 4-0 victory.

One day after scoring 16 runs, the Cardinals attack was just about dead. Both St. Louis hits were by Lance Berkman.

The big blow for the Rangers was a 3-run HR in the sixth by Mike Napoli. Earlier, Josh Hamilton had a first-inning RBI double.

I’m watching some NFL and college football now, of course. Happy my Steelers are 5-2, but a big game awaits next week. They are home vs. New England. Meanwhile Penn St. is #21 (19 BCS) & 7-1, but they have Illinois (home), #13 Nebraska (home) @ Ohio St. and #12 Wisconsin (home) coming up.

2011 WS: Cards take Game 1, 3-2.

In a good game, the Cardinals captured Game 1 of the 2011 WS, 3-2 over the Rangers.

Allen Craig’s PH RBI single in the 6th was the game winner. The Cards went up 2-0 early on a Berkman double. Napoli later tied it with a 2-run HR for Texas.

It will be interesting to see how the Bengals/Raiders Palmer trade works out.

In Yankees news, they declined the option on Damaso Marte, who missed all of this year. A no-brainer. Marte hardly ever pitched for the Yanks after they acquired him, and his regular season stats, let’s be honest, sucked.

BUT… and it’s a big BUT… he owned Ryan Howard in the 2009 WS. You have to give him that much.

 

Don’t unpack your bags/Jeter in CF?

Hope the suitcase wasn’t unpacked.

Just days after the Blue Jays acquired Mike Napoli in the Vernon Wells deal, they shipped him off to Texas for Frank Francisco.

I mentioned it yesterday, but I’m still not sold on Jeter moving to the OF. Cashman’s statements about wanting power in the corners make it seem as if he would move Jeter to CF once Derek’s SS days are over. I’m not sold on that. Frankly, I don’t think Derek has a position once his SS days are over. Not enough power for DH/3B/ OF. Or even 1B. Remember that Derek had only 10 HR last year, and only one hit out of the park (there was one inside-the-park HR) after mid-June. Will he still have the foot speed? And for those who say we have lack of power in one OF spot (Gardner) at least Gardner stole 47 last year—something that Jeter won’t be doing at the age of 40.

Cashman advises that it’s a decision that won’t have to be made now. I hope it isn’t made. I can’t see a 38 to 40 (pick your year) Jeter in CF much as I can’t see him at SS. For the record, Earle Combs was retired at 40. At the age of 35, he crashed into the Sportsman’s Park wall, fracturing his skull (1934). He did play in 1935, then retired. DiMaggio’s last year was at the age of 36. Shortly after his 37th birthday, he made his retirement official. Mantle’s last year in the OF was 1966. Shortly after he turned 35, the announcement was made about Mickey’s switch to 1B. By that time, Mantle’s legs got to the point where he was removed for defense in the late innings of games. Shortly after Bernie Williams turned 38, he played his last game. Those of us who remember, remember the decline Bernie had. Once he turned 34, he wasn’t the same (2002 season, OPS+ 141, 10th in MVP. Turned 34. After that, his OPS+ numbers were 107, 108, 85 and 96, and the defense dropped off as well).

DiMaggio, at 36, hit .263-12-71, OPS+ 115 in his final season of 1951. The Yanks won the Series that year. Since then, three CF 36 or over have won the WS. Al Bumbry of the 1983 Orioles. .275-3-31, 12 SB, OPS+ 91. 2001 and Steve Finley of the Diamondbacks. .275-14-73-11, OPS+ 91. Lastly Jim Edmonds of the 2006 Cardinals (who were 83-79). .257-19-70, OPS+ 110. All 36. All declining but still close enough to the average 100 OPS+ mark. Jeter had a 90 OPS+ in 2010. His power come 2013 won’t be Finley/Edmonds like. In 2009, Jeter became the oldest SS since Reese in 1955 to win a WS title. (Regular. I am not counting benchplayers here). Do I foresee him being an old CF and doing such? No. As I’ve mentioned before, Jeter has never played a professional inning anywhere but SS. I really wonder if he can make the adjustment as he nears 40. It could be that if he can’t play SS, that DH may be it for him. But with Alex just one year younger than Jeter. It could be that Derek may be an ill-fit anywhere but SS. To quote Clarence “Frogman” Henry, “Ain’t got no home, no place to roam.”

Jeter in CF. It may look as odd as Mantle at 1B. Heck, even Joe D. (1 game in 1950) at 1B. Yes, Yount moved. At age 29. Not 39. Heck, in a few years, who do you want in CF? Gardner? Granderson? Or a 39/40 year old Derek?

Someone in their prime? Or someone past it?           

Update: I had to include this great piece of trivia from Tyler Kepner of the NY Times.

Since 1946, only four players age 39 or older have played 100 games in a season in center field: Willie Mays, Otis Nixon, Steve Finley and Kenny Lofton. All of them had spent years playing center already, an advantage Jeter would not have.

Now let’s look at shortstop. Since 1946, only three players age 39 or older have played 100 games in a season there: Luke Appling, Luis Aparicio and Omar Vizquel.

Makes you wonder about Derek, eh?

AL East busy with moves today

The AL East was busy with some moves today.

The Toronto Blue Jays traded Vernon Wells to the Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera. Wells will be in CF, split by Abreu in LF and Torii Hunter in RF. The Angels lost out on Beltre and were looking to add some offense. 

Meanwhile the Rays added both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez. Frankly, I don’t think it helps the Rays much. Tampa Bay did lose a lot this year. Crawford, Pena, Benoit, Soriano … they traded Bartlett and Garza… but I don’t think the aging Damon (who’ll play LF) or Manny (DH) will help. Damon on Astroturf? I wonder if his legs will hold up. Not to mention that I don’t think he has the arm to play the OF anymore. He is 37. Manny will DH, and he’ll be 39 in May. That attitude, plus the fact he didn’t do much in 2010 (90 games combined Dodgers/White Sox; combined .298-9-42, OPS+ a good 138 but only 2 RBI in 69 AB for the White Sox).          

Rumors are that Vlad could be Baltimore bound. The O’s made some decent moves, and Buck is a good manager. That short LF (364 to LCF) could help Vlad. Vlad, Derrek Lee, Kevin Gregg, Uehara… all help the O’s. You still wonder about their starting staff, but the O’s could finally be on the upswing.

Worries about Teixeira, by Tom Verducci.

    

Game 22. Yanks win third straight with 3 in 8th, 7-4.

Melky Cabrera got the game-winning single, and Ramiro Pena’s first extra-base hit of his career (double) drove in two insurance runs as the Yanks scored three in the 8th to win 7-4.

The Yanks fell behind early as AJ Burnett wasn’t on his “A” game. Burnett gave up a run in the first, but the Yanks tied it in the bottom of the inning on Matsui’s single. Burnett however, gave two runs right back, one on a HR by Napoli.

In the third, Damon’s HR made it 3-2. Our old buddy, Bobby Abreu, showed that (lack of) defense we remember in the fourth. Derek Jeter’s single scored the tying run, and the Yanks went ahead 4-3 when Abreu made an error.  Burnett however, gave it right back—hence the tie score going into the 8th.

Burnett went 7, giving up 4 R on 8 h, 1 walk and 5 Ks. Phil Coke, who pitched the 8th, had a 1-2-3 inning with a K and got the win.

Mo got back to being Mo in the 9th. After a couple of subpar outings, he gave up a leadoff single, but then got two K’s in a row and a groundout to polish off the 7-4 win. Save #5 for the season and #487 of his career. The Yanks end April 12-10.

 

Rally Monkey lives for another day. 5-4 Angels in 12.

Alive!
For at least one more day, he is spared.

After homering twice earlier, Mike Napoli singled and scored the winning run in the 12th on a single by Erick Aybar as the team of the Rally Monkey stayed alive, 5-4 over the Red Sox. Both AL Division Series head to a Game 4 today. Now it’s up to John Lackey (2-4, 6.34 at Fenway in his career) to beat Jon Lester (16-2 career at home).

The Angels botched a pop up into a bases-clearing 3-run single in the 2nd. In the 10th, K-Rod came thisclose to losing his fourth postseason game to the Red Sox, getting out of a bases-loaded, two out jam.

I didn’t think they could do it. With the Steelers having a depleted backfield and a banged-up Big Ben, this Steeler fan thought “no way” as the Black and Gold went to Jacksonville. The Jaguars, after all, had twice beaten the Steelers last year—once in the regular season, then in the postseason. Banged up, on the road, and somehow Big Ben rallies them to a last minute TD and a 26-21 win. Gutsy. Now a much-needed bye week.