Tag Archives: Phillips

Game 133. Bird is the word in Yanks’ 6-2 win.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

It’s been a horrible year for Greg Bird, who had such a great spring training before fouling a ball off his ankle which messed up his swing, put him on the DL, and required surgery.

Last night, we saw what could have been for this year if Bird had stayed healthy. He hit a 2-run HR (3) to give the Yanks a cushion and had 3 RBI in the Yankees’ 6-2 win over Boston.

The win puts the 71-62 Yanks 4 1/2 behind Boston in the AL East. They have the top wild card spot by just one game over the Twins, and have a 2 1/2 game edge over the Angels for falling out of the playoffs altogether. The Angels made a couple of big moves to try to get over the hump and into the playoffs, picking up Justin Upton from the Tigers and Brandon Phillips off the Braves. Meanwhile, AL West leading Houston picked up Justin Verlander (Kate Upton’s fiancee, LOL) from the Tigers.

CC Sabathia escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning but gave up a run in the third. The Yanks won one challenge in the top of the third when Aaron Hicks threw out Andrew Benintendi when Benintendi was trying for a double, but lost another when Mookie Betts was called safe at second when the Yanks were trying for an inning-ending DP that would have prevented a run from scoring. Instead, one out, no DP and Boston up 1-0.

Gary Sanchez tied the game in the bottom of the third with his 28th HR of the season.

The Yanks got a big break in the fifth. With one out, Brett Gardner singled. Aaron Hicks was jammed, but his little jam shot found grass, and the single pushed Gardner to third. Sanchez popped up, but Eduardo Nunez, shifted over from his normal position, overran the popup, it fell for a single, and the Yanks were up 2-1.

Bird’s 2-run HR (3) made in 4-1 in the sixth. It came after a Chase Headley double that led off the inning. After Bird’s HR, Todd Frazier singled, and with one out, Aaron Hicks singled. With two out, Didi Gregorius singled to make it 5-1.

A walk to Aaron Judge (dropped to sixth in the lineup), a single by Headley and a single by Bird made it 6-1 in the seventh.

Boston got a run in the ninth for the final of 6-2.

Gardner 2 hits.
Hicks 2 hits. Robbed of a third, when a line drive was turned into a 1-3 DP.
Sanchez 2 hits, HR, 2 RBI.
Castro 2 hits.
Headley 2 hits.
Bird 2 hits, HR, 3 RBI.

Nice TEAM effort.

Sabathia (W, 11-5, 3.71) 6 IP, 1 r, 4 H, 5 W, 6 K.
Robertson 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 w, 1 K. 2.36
Betances 1 Ip, 1 R, 0 H, 2 W, 1 K. 2.34

CC was in and out of trouble, what with the walks, but got out of it. Hicks and Judge made nice throws from the outfield to nab runners at second.

UPDATE: Rosters can expand now, and Matt Holliday will be back with the Yanks tonight (Friday). We’ll see who else joins the team.

The Yanks got 37 year old catcher Erik Kratz off of Cleveland for cash considerations. This is because Romine and Sanchez will have to serve their suspensions soon (not simultaneously, of course). But it gives them a backup catcher. Kyle Higashioka is on the DL down at SWB. Kratz has played with the Pirates, Phillies, Blue Jays, Royals, Phillies again, Astros, and Pirates again. In 225 games, 599 AB, he is .200-24-73. Low average, has a bit of pop. 162 g. average: .200-17-53, OPS+ 66. This is just a temporary thing b/c of the suspensions.

This year, Kratz was at AAA Columbus, .270-13-37 in 86 games.

Baseball passings.


Tony Phillips and Jim Davenport, two infielders of the Bay Area, passed away this week.

Phillips, 56, was a utility man who was on the 1988 A’s AL Championship team and also the 1989 WS Champion A’s team. He played in the majors from 1982-1999 for Oakland, Detroit, the Angels, White Sox, Angels again (first Angels when they were the California Angels, the second time the Anaheim Angels), Toronto, the Mets, and back with the A’s again.

He finished 16th in the 1993 MVP voting when he hit .313 for Detroit and led the majors with 132 walks.

The versatile Phillips played over 100 games at five different positions (2B, SS, 3B, LF, RF) and 97 games at a sixth (CF), and played over 100 games at DH as well.

His 162 g. average was .266-12-61, with 13 SB, 99 walks and an OPS+ of 109. Phillips led the league in runs scored in 1992 and walks in 1993 and 1996.

Davenport was a slick fielding 3B for the SF Giants from 1958-1970. He was the 3B on the 1962 NL Champion Giants squad. Davenport, 82, was an All-Star, Gold Glove, and finished 24th in MVP voting in 1962.

Davenport’s 162 g. average was .258-8-49, OPS+ 90. Besides 3B, he put some time in at 2B and SS as well. He led the majors in sac bunts in his rookie year of 1958.

I would like to understand the logic and criteria of some radio hosts where I live. Granted, I was coming home from work and only heard the last half hour of the show, so maybe I missed something. But they were talking about the 100 most famous athletes of the last 100 years. Not best, mind you, but famous. I did scratch my head when they weren’t going to include Tiger Woods.I could see and understand their exclusion of Jim Thorpe, who as talented as he was, is mostly forgotten today except by the most avid and knowledgeable of sports fans.

I nominated Yogi Berra. They poo-poohed it, saying that “other than Yankee fans…”

Really? Yogi was one of the most recognizable people in America. He crossed over from the sports culture to everyday life culture. Even people who know little about baseball would a) recognize Yogi Berra in an airport b) recognize one of his famous quotes. Maybe it was just that unique face of his, maybe it was the quotes, maybe it was the commercials he did. But Yogi wasn’t just a baseball icon, he was an AMERICAN icon. That is my point. If that (crossing over from a sports icon to an AMERICAN icon) doesn’t qualify as famous, what does? They did list Derek Jeter.

I’d love to hear their point. Granted they (the hosts) are some 20 years younger than me and not as experienced  (or as knowledgeable as they think they are). But by famous, are they talking just in the USA or worldwide? As I mentioned, this wasn’t about BEST athletes in the past 100 years, but the most famous. They did mention Derek Jeter. I’d love to see how many of their choices are of more recent vintage as opposed to people like Berra, Mantle or DiMaggio, for instance.

Or even a Wilt.

UPDATE: The Yanks will continue to wear Yogi’s #8 on their uniforms this season as a tribute to the legend who passed away late in the 2015 season.


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.

Hello, Goodbye. A busy day for the Yankees.

Yesterday, the Yanks introduced their new catcher, Brian McCann. They hope he will add to the great Yankees tradition of Dickey, Berra, Howard, Munson and Posada.

Today, they wave goodbye to maybe the best Yankees second baseman of them all, Robbie Cano. It’s arguable who is best, Lazzeri, Gordon or Cano. Willie Randolph is probably a notch below.

Cano accepted a $240MM, 10 yr. deal with Seattle today.

I just can’t see it. You are paying a middle infielder (who probably won’t be playing that key position after the age of 37) $24 MM at the age of 40? Really? Would Robbie’s talents really translate that well to DH or 1B?

As I wrote earlier this week and wanted you to think about, and think about hard,


Read that sentence a few times. Let it soak in a little.  Can you think of any player, EVER, that would price himself off of the Yankees. The Yankees?

But that Cano did. Enjoy Seattle, Robbie. You may have kissed Monument Park goodbye. Not to mention Cooperstown.

As Steve Miller sang, ‘”Take the Money and Run.”

It’s all about the buck. Forget about being a team player. Forget that a 7 year, $170MM deal is more than fair. It was all about getting a tenth year. Heck, Seattle thought they had a 9 yr., $225 MM deal all wrapped up, when Jay-Z (ugh) wanted a tenth year and $250MM. Seattle’s owner balked, then caved in.

Let’s think about this.

Yes, the Yanks grossly overpaid for Ellsbury. The Red Sox’ deal w/Crawford was bad, $142MM for 7 years. So the Yanks gave Ellsbury, a similar type player, a $153MM deal for 7 years. More than Crawford. Ummm….

But let’s do some math, here. Cano by himself, 10 years, $240MM.

McCann $85MM for 5 years (option for 6 takes deal to $100MM) and Ellsbury for 7 years at $135MM means $220 MM. $20 MM LESS than what Cano signed for.

Cano for McCann and Ellsbury… at $20MM less.

You can’t put all your eggs in Robbie’s basket. The Yanks have more holes to fill. They could best do that by letting Robbie go. (We won’t get into A-Rod’s deal.)

The Yanks filled depth by signing Kelly Johnson to a 1 year deal, relatively cheap. He can play 2B, hit .235-16-52 last year for the Rays. He could take over at 2B, play 3B, LF, but I see him more as a utility guy.

They also re-signed Kuroda to a one-year deal at $16MM.

Then they made a splash, signing Carlos Beltran to play RF for 3 years (they didn’t want to go there but did) at $45MM.

So now you have an excellent defensive OF of Gardner in LF, Ellsbury in CF and Beltran in RF. Soriano moves to DH.

Some are suggesting Soriano, who started his career at 2B, go back there. Um, NO! He will be 38 next year and hasn’t played 2B since 2005.

BTW, Beltran has 358 career HR—–the same number as Yogi Berra.

You can see a big deal coming, hopefully for pitching. Right now, Ichiro and Wells are backup outfielders. I would rather keep Ichiro, but with two lefty hitters in Gardner and Ellsbury, and a switch-hitter in Beltran, he may be expendable. I hate Wells, but he is the one who could be kept for his lefty bat.

Some think Gardner may be dealt. If so, only to the Reds in a package deal for Brandon Phillips, who would take over second base. You could package a catcher in the deal along w/Gardner. The Reds are losing leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo to free agency. Gardner fills a need for a new leadoff hitter. The Reds lost a catcher this week, sending one to the Rays. The Yanks have catching depth behind McCann with Cervelli, Romine, Murphy and Sanchez. Gardner and one of the catchers could be a starting point to get Phillips to replace Cano.

Of course, Johnson could be at 2B, or could go to 3b. But it seems more likely that a trade could be done for Phillips, or the Yanks could be zeroing in on Omar Infante to play second.

Pitching is the key to the kingdom, however, and after re-signing Kuroda, the Yanks still have two rotation spots to fill after CC, Nova and Kuroda. The #5 spot could be a competition between Pineda, Phelps, Warren and Nuno. You could also sign someone like Roy Halladay or Johan Santana to a minor-league deal to see what each has left after major injuries set both back recently (think Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon a few years back, low-risk, high-reward). Matt Garza would be a nice addition for the 4 spot. Of course, I’d prefer Tanaka, but will he be posted at all? Plus, if there will be the $20MM cap for the posting fee, that means his salary then counts against the cap, hurting the Yankees.

Then there is the bullpen. Mo is gone, Logan probably too, and Joba. Some holes there as well.

Will Cano be missed? Sure. But by NOT putting all your eggs in Cano’s basket, you can fill other holes.

The A-Rod deal was a mistake. Both by Texas (original deal) and by the Yankees (renegotiated deal). The Pujols deal will be a bad one. Maybe the Ellsbury deal as well. As also Prince Fielder.

Yay for Robbie for getting the deal. I’d probably take it too. But as for legacy, as I wrote, Monument Park and maybe Cooperstown are maybe no more.

Expect to be walked and pitched around a lot in that lineup, Robbie.

But by not putting all their eggs in Cano’s basket, the Yanks filled other needs.

There will be more moves coming (for example, with the Brendan Ryan and Kelly Johnson deals, Nunez is probably on the block). Pitching needs must be met.

But by NOT caving in Cano, the Yanks can fill more holes than just Robbie, and that may help them get back to the postseason and World Series quicker.

It’s one thing to take the $$$. It’s another to be a team player, recognize that more holes need to be filled to make you a champion again and accept a very fair offer.

In the end, it was all about Robbie (as it is for most players). Robbie’s dad, Jose, mentioned that the Yanks weren’t showing his son much love.

I only wish I was shown 7 years and $170MM of love.

Enjoy Seattle, Robbie. You were great, maybe the best Yankees’ second baseman ever.

Yes, the Yanks probably overpaid for Ellsbury.

But you priced yourself out of the Bronx with your greed, and to that I can only say:

Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.

Yankees pull shocker! Get Ellsbury

I didn’t hear or read about this one anywhere. No one saw it coming.

It was expected that Carlos Beltran would be coming to the Yankees. On a 2 or 3 yr. deal. Beltran is 37.

Instead, the Yanks have agreed to a 7 yr. deal with someone younger (30) and faster, and in so doing, take him from their biggest rival—-Boston.

Jacoby Ellsbury.

You wonder what move comes next. I’ll elaborate on that in a bit.

Ellsbury hit .298-9-53 with Boston in 2013 and led the majors in SB. 3x has he led the league in steals.

Yankee Stadium should help his power. He finished 15th in MVP voting this year, but in 2011 was the runner-up to Verlander. That year he was a 30/30 guy. 32 HR, 105 RBI.

His 162 g. ave. is .297-15-71 with 55 SB and an OPS+ of 108. Of course, taking him away from Boston is a plus.

You wonder what this means for Robbie Cano. I think he is gone. Seattle is reported to be a big player for him. But consider this. Cano may have priced himself out of the Bronx.

Let me repeat that in big letters.


Think about that for a moment. Priced himself OFF the Yankees, of all teams.

For the amount that Cano wanted, the Yankees signed both McCann AND Ellsbury.

You know what? Serves Cano and his greedy pig agents right, then. Let’s see how Robbie does in Seattle and how much he hustles, then, when Seattle is 15 out in August.

It’s a shame. Cano may be the best 2b ever to play for the Yankees. Better than HOFers Lazzeri and Gordon, better than Randolph.

But $250-$260MM for 9 years? The Yanks picked up McCann for 5 at $85MM, Ellsbury for 7 at $150 MM.

That’s like making a trade. Cano for Ellsbury AND McCann.

I think Cano is gone. I’ll be shocked if he is back. If he is, he has to come back to earth regarding his demands. There is only so much $$$ to go around.

Now who to replace him? There are more deals coming. Is Cano’s replacement going to be free agent Omar Infante?

Will Ellsbury and Gardner be in the same outfield? Are the Yanks still after Beltran? If after Beltran, then Gardner is on the block.

The Reds may be losing Sin Soo Choo, who is a free agent. They could be looking for an OF and leadoff hitter to replace Choo. Could they have interest in Gardner? If so, would 2b Brandon Phillips be available to replace Cano?

Stay tuned.

Tonight’s deal for Ellsbury is a stunner.

Now to get pitching.


Cashman pessimistic on retaining Cano?

Brian Cashman, in this NY post article


sounds pessimistic on the Yanks retaining Cano. Personally, if Cano refuses to budge from 9 yr. $250-$260MM (some $28-29MM/yr. to take him to age 39), let him go and go after Omar Infante or deal for Brandon Phillips. The Yanks offer of something like 7 yrs., $168 MM ($24 MM/yr to take him to age 37) is more than fair. There are other holes to fill and you can’t put all your eggs in Cano’s basket. Say he gets hurt? What then?

The Post also reports that the Yanks have offered Kuroda a one year deal to return. Kuroda was 11-13, 3.32 last year but is 39 and faded badly down the stretch. Still, the Yanks need him back, what with Pettitte retiring and Hughes going to Minnesota.

Another report is that A-Rod used the term “food” when texting or discussing PEDs with Biogenesis. It’s reported that the Yanks could be looking at bringing Eric Chavez back to play 3B if A-Rod’s suspension is upheld. Chavez played for the Yanks in 2011 and 2012 and his lefty bat translates to Yankee Stadium well, but he’ll be 36 soon and only once (2012 with the Yanks) has he played 100 games in a season since 2006. He’s too fragile in my opinion to be the regular, or possibly even a platoon 3B. Bring back Mark Reynolds, strikeouts and all. Reynolds enjoyed his brief time in NY late last year, can play 3b and has power. His low average and K’s are a problem, but you need someone who will be healthy, which you probably won’t get with Chavez.

Trenton (AA) could have the Killer B’s.

It looks like Trenton could have a rotation of killer B’s in 2011.

Dellin Betances will be 23. He had 14 games at high A Tampa in 2010, 3 at AA Trenton. 8-1, 2.11. 108K in 85 1/3 IP.

Andrew Brackman will be 25. He started at Tampa (12 g), finished at Trenton (15). Combined 10-11, 3.90.

Manny Baneulos will be 20. 10 g. Tampa, 3 at Trenton in 2010 (and 2 in the GC Rookie League). Combined record of 0-4, 2.51, 85 K in 64 2/3.

The other could be Jeremy Bleich, who had just 8 games at AA Trenton before getting hurt. I don’t know when he’ll be back from the injury, but he’ll be 24 next summer. Before getting hurt, Bleich was 3-2, 4.79.

So you may have the Killer B’s.

ESPN news. For all those fed up with Joe Morgan’s commentary, relief. After 21 years, Sunday Night baseball won’t have Miller and Morgan. Morgan’s contract wasn’t renewed. Miller’s contract expired as well, but he may be doing radio and not TV.

As long as they don’t turn to Sutcliffe. 

Interesting. Wade Phillips gets canned after Dallas (thought to be a Super Bowl contender) falls to 1-7. What’s interesting is that I’m a Steelers fan. Three head coaches starting from 1969 to now. Not only that, I’m a PSU alum. One head coach starting in 1966 to now.

Lastly, check out a picture on LoHud’s blog. The Stadium converted to football for the upcoming ND-Army game.  

Whew. Steelers almost blow a 27-7 lead. Escape 27-21.