Category Archives: Managers and Coaches

Odds and Ends.

Some odds and ends.

I saw an article that stated that according to insiders, Manager Joe Girardi did broach the subject of dropping Derek Jeter down in the batting order last season. Jeter hit just .256-4-50, OPS+ just 75 in his final season. The idea was shot down by upper management, and apparently Jeter wouldn’t go for moving him out of the #2 slot in the order either. Girardi knew that to do so would open a can of worms, so before it even hit the media, he apparently went through upper management and possibly Jeter himself. Would dropping Jeter have benefitted the Yanks? Possibly. Enough to make the playoffs? Possibly not. Enough to make the playoffs and soothe Jeter’s ego? Possibly not. But it’s interesting to note that the idea of dropping Derek (where to? 8? 9?) was considered.

Jason Giambi retired. He was with the Yanks from 2002-2008, hitting 209 of his 440 HR as a Yankee. Giambi, 44, hit 440 HR in his career, hit .277 with an excellent OPS+ of 139, won an MVP award with the A’s in 2000, was runner-up in 2001, and is one of five Yankees with back-to-back 40 HR seasons (2002 and 2003). He hit two homers off of Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. He won’t make the HOF however, because of his admitted PED usage and BALCO connection. It’s said he is a great teammate, and Terry Francona, manager of the Indians (Giambi’s most recent team) states that Giambi is a “manager in waiting.” His 162 g. average was .277-32-103, OPS+ 139, with 98 walks.

Alex Rodriguez issued a written “apology.” Really, I don’t want to hear it. Who believes anything he says or does anymore? He’s exhausted all credibility. Really, A-Rod, shut up and play. Show us you have something, if anything, left. It’s noted that he was suspended for all of 2014. What’s forgotten is that he played in only 44 games in 2013 and even then looked on the downside.

The Yanks signed Jared Burton to a minor league deal. The righty reliever is 33 and went 3-5, 4.36, ERA+ 91 in 2014 for the Twins with three saves. For his career he is 18-19, 3.44, 10 saves, ERA+ 123.  A depth move. He was 3-2 with a superb 2.18 ERA (ERA+ 189) and five saves for the Twins in 2012.

When I get time (I’ve been doing my taxes, need to do other family members taxes, working (of course) and …. well, shoveling snow and freezing my ass off…) I want to look at the future. I expect the Yanks to tread water for a while, but to me, the 2020 team could be interesting. Players (top prospects) would be in their primes (providing they prove MLB caliber players and aren’t traded away), old guys like CC, Teix, Beltran and A-Rod gone (maybe McCann as well)….it could be interesting to look at what could be the Yankee future. Stay tuned. Hopefully when Yoan Moncada signs (before the end of this month) I can include him on that 2020 future team I want to write about. Will the Yanks fork over the $$$$ to land Moncada?

New Book, Tark the Shark.

ex-UNLV college basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian died a few days ago at age 84. Meanwhile, a nod as I was sent a book, Pinstripe Pride, The Inside Story of the New York Yankees. I thank whoever sent it. It’s written by Marty Appel, and I have a few books by him—all excellent.

Yankees make incremental move.

You remember when, in playing SCAT, the card game, that you would put down a 3 of hearts and pick up a 5 of hearts because it gave you more points? (Especially if you already held the Ace and King of Hearts?)

That is kind of like the move the Yankees did yesterday. They picked up Chris Martin for cash from Colorado. Martin is a RHP, and a project. He did make the majors last season, and went 0-0, 6.89 in 16 games. 15 2/3 IP, 14 K. He is 6’8″, a big boy, and 28 years old.

In picking him up, they DFA’d Gonzalez German, a 27-year-old RHP, who they got from the Mets for cash just last month. German was 0-0, 4.75 for the Mets in 2014 in 25 games, 31 K in 30 1/3 IP.

Apparently the Yanks felt that Martin is, or has to potential to be, an incremental upgrade over Germen. We’ll see. It doesn’t appear like a major move or upgrade, but…. see the SCAT reference above.

The Yanks finalized their coaching staff. The hitting coach will be Jeff Pentland, who will have Alan Cockrell as the asst. hitting coach. Joe Espada (3b/infield). Tony Pena moves to 1b Coach and Rob Thomson becomes the bench coach. Larry Rothschild is the pitching coach and Gary Tuck the BP coach.

One thing I’ve pointed out elsewhere. Some people wanted a former major leaguer to be a coach. Sometimes it works. But coaches have to teach and just because someone was talented themselves doesn’t mean they can teach. Charlie Lau was a great hitting coach who was a .255 hitting catcher. Meanwhile, Ted Williams was the manager of the 1972 Texas Rangers who only hit .217 as a team.

So the #4 seed won the national championship? What’s scary is that Urban Meyer thought next year would be the time. A lot of sophs and juniors here. Ohio St. and TCU (who finished #3) are on top of a lot of lists right now for the best of next year.

Championship Sunday is set. AFC: Colts @ Patriots (the 4th straight AFC title game for New England), and NFC: Green Bay @ Seattle. Both home teams are favored by about 7.

 

Yankee prospect assaulted

I’ll get into the NFL a bit later. As for baseball, things have been a bit quiet, so I haven’t written much lately (plus, I’ve been busy). James Shields and Max Scherzer are still free agents and there are no indications yet where either may go.

Yankees prospect Ty Hensley was beaten up during the holiday season. Apparently he was at a bar and a mutual acquaintance introduced him to someone else from his hometown who also was a good athlete and could have gone pro as well. The other athlete was a linebacker from a different high school who later went to Weber St. and then who got cut from an NFL team (Carolina). An argument ensued over signing bonuses and the linebacker (Anthony Morales) beat up Hensley, kicking Hensley in the face repeatedly, and breaking Hensley’s jaw and also breaking some teeth.

Hensley, 21, a RHP, was 1-2, 3.00 in 4 starts and one relief appearance in 2012. He missed all of 2013 with an injury, and was 0-0, 2.93 in 10 starts and one relief appearance (30 2/3 IP) in 2014 between rookie league and short season (Staten Island).

The Yanks announced their AA and AAA coaching staffs for 2015. They are still looking for a hitting and 1B/Infield coach for the big league team. Apparently they had talks with Willie Randolph. It’d be good to have Willie back, but nothing official yet. Marcus Thames will be the hitting coach at SWB (AAA), replacing Butch Wynegar.

Ex-Cowboy DT Jethro Pugh, who played for Dallas from 1965-1978 died recently at the age of 70. Pugh played in the Ice Bowl game (and was the victim of the block by Jerry Kramer that sprung Bart Starr for the game-winning last-minute TD). He was a 2x Super Bowl Champion (VI and XII). Besides the two Super Bowl titles, he played in the NFL Title Games that Dallas lost in 1966 and 1967 (Ice Bowl), and losing Super Bowls V, X and XIII. He also was on teams that lost NFC title games in 1972 and 1973.

As I’m watching the divisional round of NFL playoff games, a quick recap. Carolina beat Arizona last weekend, but then lost to Seattle in the divisional game. In the other NFC game last weekend, Dallas got a supposed gift from the refs for a come-from-behind last-minute win over Detroit. Seattle stopped Carolina to advance to the NFC title game next week. Green Bay is playing Dallas (in the first Dallas at Green Bay postseason game since the Ice Bowl 12/31/1967) as I write this. Seattle, the defending SB champ, will host the winner.

In the AFC, Baltimore beat out my Steelers but then lost yesterday to New England. The Patriots were down twice by two touchdowns to the Ravens, but came back. Indianapolis beat the Bengals, as Cincy did their one-and-done routine again. Their coach is 0-6 in the playoffs, and Andy Dalton is still looking for his first playoff win. The Colts take on Denver at Denver later today, with the winner going to New England to play for the AFC title. It’ll be New England’s fourth straight AFC title game appearance. For Brady and Belichick, their 9th in 14 years.

UPDATE: FROM BRONX BASEBALL DAILY

Ladies and gentlemen, the Yankees finally have a hitting coach.

According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, the Yankees are slated to hire Jeff Pentland as their hitting coach and for the first time in team history, will have an assistant hitting coach. The Yankees have hired Alan Cockrell as the assistant coach.

Pentland worked as the hitting coach for the Marlins when Joe Girardi was the manager, was the hitting coach of the Royals when Tony Pena was the manager and when Carlos Beltran was a player; and was the hitting coach for the Mariners and the Dodgers. Cockrell was the hitting coach for the 2007 Colorado Rockies and the Mariners. The 2007 Rockies advanced to the World Series that season.

 

Update 2:

According to Jack Curry of the YES Network, the Yankees announced Joe Espada is going to be the new infield coach, replacing Mick Kelleher who was fired in October along with ex-hitting coach Kevin Long. Espada was a scout for the Yankees last season but has coaching experience; he was the third base coach for the Miami Marlins. Espada joins Jeff Pentland and Alan Cockrell as the new pieces of the Yankees coaching staff.

Notable recent sports passings.

Stu Miller, who gave up Mickey Mantle’s 500th HR on 5/14/1967, passed away at the age of 87. Miller pitched for the Cardinals, Phillies, Giants (NY & SF), Orioles and Braves in a career that lasted 1952-1954, 1956-1968. He made the All-Star Team in 1961 (14-5, 2.66, league-leading 17 saves, ERA+ 143) and is remembered for a balk. While in his windup, a gust of wind blew him a couple of inches of the rubber during that All-Star Game. Miller was 105-103, 154 saves, ERA 3.24, ERA+ 115 in his career. He went 5-8, 4.12, 19 saves, ERA+ 93 for the 1962 NL pennant Giants (no decisions, 1 1/3 scoreless innings, 2 games in the WS that year) and won a WS ring with the 1966 Orioles (9-4, 2.25, 18 saves, ERA+ 150, no WS appearance). He finished 7th for the MVP award while with the Orioles in 1965 (14-7, 1.89, 24 saves, ERA+ 184) as well as 11th in 1966, 12th in 1961 (Giants) and 19th in 1963 (Orioles) when he led MLB with 27 saves.

Also passing away in the past few days was ex-NFL head coach Allie Sherman at the age of 91. Sherman took over as head coach of the NY Giants in 1961 and led the Giants to three straight NFL title games, 1961-1963, losing all of them (37-0 to the Green Bay Packers in 1961, 16-7 to the Packers in 1962 and 14-10 to the Chicago Bears in 1963). The team collapsed in 1964, and its co-tenants at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees, followed just a few months afterward.

Trout, Kershaw MVPS; Dark dies

Mike Trout was named the unanimous MVP in the American League yesterday, and Clayton Kershaw became the first N.L. pitcher since Bob Gibson in 1968 to win the CYA and the MVP in the same season.

Kershaw is the third Dodger pitcher to be the CYA winner and the MVP in the same season, following Don Newcombe (1956) and Sandy Koufax (1963). When Newcombe and Koufax won, the CYA went to only one pitcher in all of baseball. With all due respect to Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, this year’s AL CYA winner, had those rules been in effect today, it’s safe to presume Kershaw would have been the CYA winner had there only been one award as it was from 1956-1966 and not have it split across leagues as it is today.

Alvin Dark, a SS and later manager, died yesterday at the age of 92. Dark played for the Boston Braves from 1946-1949, winning the NL pennant with them in 1948, the NY Giants from 1950-1956, winning the NL pennant in 1951 and the WS in 1954, the St. Louis Cardinals 1956-1958, the Chicago Cubs 1958-1959, the Philadelphia Phillies 1960 and the Milwaukee Braves 1960.

He managed the SF Giants to the 1962 pennant and the 1974 A’s to the World Championship. He won the AL West with the A’s in 1975.

He managed the Giants 1961-1964, KC A’s 1966-1967, Cleveland Indians 1968-1971, Oakland A’s 1974-1975 and SD Padres 1977.

He was a 3x All-Star and ROY in 1948.

He also was a fine football player (LSU) who was drafted by the Eagles.

His MLB debut was delayed due to WWII. When he won the ROY voting in 1948, he was 26 years old.

He was a .289 hitter with 126 HR in his career.

He finished 3rd in the voting for 1948 MVP (won by Musial), and hit .322 when the Braves won the pennant. In 1951, for the Giants, he hit .303, led the NL with 41 doubles and hit .417 in the WS. In 1954, he hit .293, had 20 HR and finished 5th in the MVP voting (won by Mays). He hit .412 in the WS that year.

 

Managers of the Year: Buck, Matt Williams

Buck Showalter and Matt Williams were named the AL and NL Managers of the year today, respectively.

For Buck, it is the third time he has won the award, following the 1994 Yankees (who had the best record in the AL at the time of the strike) and the 2004 Texas Rangers.