Monthly Archives: February 2012

Derek Jeter O/U .292 in 2012?

This is a blog post from Andrew Marchand from ESPN New York.com

In a recurring feature of the blog, we play the always fun “Over-Under Game,” in which we will set the line for a player and a stat and ask you to weigh in. 

The Player: Derek Jeter
The Number: .292 batting average
 

The Scouting Report: Jeter finished last year hitting .297, which included batting .327 in the second half of the season. For his career, Jeter is a .313 career hitter. 

Our insider colleague Dan Szymborski projects Jeter, soon-to-be-38, to hit just .268. For a more positive outlook, the legendary Bill James has Jeter at .291. I’ve set the number at .292 average, thinking like Vegas that will encourage people to weigh in on both sides. 

Personally, I would take the under with Jeter hitting in the .280s. 

I tend to agree with Marchand. Asking Jeter to hit around .300 at the age of 37. Jeter had a spectacular 2nd half last year batting. 327 with 3 HR, 37 RBI, and a .811 OPS so maybe he can carry that over to 2012.  Vote in the poll and state your thoughts in the comments on your expectations for Jeter in 2012.

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Thoughts about Martin

This is from an article on ESPN New York by Andrew Marchand.  My thoughts are in blue.

With the sides too far apart, the agent for Russell Martin, Matt Colleran and Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke on Friday and decided to table talks until after the season.

This has to be the best decision for the Yankees being that what happens if Martin breaks down like he has done in previous seasons with injuries.   Martin did come into spring training in great shape as he worked out MMA style in the off-season.

Cashman said the two sides “mutually agreed to wait,” after Colleran called on Friday.

I don’t see it as two sides when other sources reported that the Yankees did not offer the money that Martin wanted in a three year deal.

“It was a good conversation,” Colleran said Friday evening. “By the end of it, we were on the same page.”

Martin can become a free agent at the end of the season. Prior to agreeing on a one-year, $7.5 million deal before going to arbitration, Cashman had put forth the idea of a three-year contract that would have included this season.

With the 2014 season getting closer why add a contract like this when we can wait a year to see how Romine does in AAA to see if he could be a cheaper option.  That money saved could go to another bat or some pitching.

On Thursday, Colleran told ESPNNewYork.com he planned to present Cashman a counter proposal that could serve to rip up this year’s deal.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman tweeted the Yankees were only prepared to go to three years and $20 million.

Martin will likely seek $8-$10 million per year and will have more negotiating leverage with a big season and the specter of free agency.

 

Or he could have less leverage with an injured plagued season.  Other catchers to note that will be free agents that the Yankee could look to are Yadier Molina, Mike Napoli, Miguel Montero (my personal choice), and others with club options are Brian McCann, Carlos Ruiz and Miguel Olivo.   So the choices are plenty.  What do you think the Yankees should do?  Vote in the poll below.

 

Morning Bits: Martin, Hughes, Burnett, Swisher, Posada

Good morning Yankees fans and Happy Saturday! Position players reported yesterday and will soon start their workouts! Here are your morning links.

Russell Martin & the Yankees agreed to wait to talk about a contract extension until after the season.

Phil Hughes spoke with ESPN & said it will be nobody’s fault but his if he struggles in Spring Training and ends up in the bullpen

– With A.J Burnett now a Pittsburgh Pirate, ESPN wonders, who will be the new pie man? The obvious choice? Nick Swisher.

Jorge Posada’s absence from camp is more noticeable than Andy Pettite’s according to Derek Jeter

Spring Training Notes: 2/24/12

Today Spring Training got a little more interesting. Position players had to report to Spring Training today and prepare for their first workout tomorrow. Let’s get to  today’s Spring Training notes!

Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher & Brett Gardner were spotted in the Yankees clubhouse today.

Derek Jeter addressed the press today (wearing a Muhammed Ali shirt that everyone couldn’t stop talking about). During the conference when asked if Jeter could keep up his numbers from the second half of the season he said, “Yeah, why not. I think if you work hard and you’re dedicated—which I’ve always tried to do—I don’t see any reason why not. I don’t think you ever go into a season saying you’re not capable of doing something. I always try to stay positive, you guys know that, and I have a lot of confidence in what I’m able to do. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it. If I didn’t feel as though I was able to do it, then I wouldn’t be here trying.”

Jeter also talked about his skills and why he’s still able to play baseball. “If I didn’t think I was capable of playing the game at a high level, I would go home. If I wasn’t enjoying myself, enjoying the competition, then it’d be time to go home. Right now, I think I’m capable and I’m enjoying myself. I can’t comment on what would force me to retire, go home, stop playing. But I have a lot of confidence. I’ve always had confidence. If that starts to waver, then I wouldn’t do it.”

Michael Pineda plans to learn how to throw the changeup from CC Sabathia. If you ever need to learn a pitch, going to CC is the way to do it.

Who Should Be The Fifth Starter?

On the evening of January 13th Yankee GM Brian Cashman emerged from a winter slumber of inactivity with two moves that sent a rumble throughout MLB.  The first news to hit was that Cashman had traded Yankee uber-prospect Jesus Montero along with pitcher Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Michael Pineda.  Just as Yankee fans and media were trying to absorb and analyze that surprising move the second shockwave hit. Cashman had also signed free agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a one year, ten million dollar deal.

With those moves, four slots of the Yankee rotation were all but assured. The newly acquired Pineda and Kuroda would join C.C. Sabathia and Ivan Nova in the 2012 Yankee rotation.

It was about ten minutes after those moves were digested that the debate began about who the Yankees’ fifth starter in 2012 would be. It looked like a three-man battle would take place this spring between A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes, and Freddy Garcia.

Last week the Yankees traded Burnett to the Pirates for two low-level prospects and the battle for the fifth rotation spot was down to Hughes and Garcia.  So which of these pitchers should be the Yankees fifth starter in 2012? The answer, for a variety of reasons, is Phil Hughes.

By now almost everyone who follows baseball has heard of the Joba Rules.  Many Yankee fans cringe when they hear a reference to these rules and with good reason.  In an effort to protect the young arms of their prized pitching prospects from injury, GM Brian Cashman and the Yankees formulated a systematic plan limiting the innings that these young pitchers could throw in their initial years. The idea was to prevent injuries to these young pitchers like those that crippled the careers of young sensations Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. The general consensus is that overworking young pitchers can lead to problems later on.

On the surface these rules seemed to be a good innovation by a franchise looking to learn from the mistakes of others. It was the practicality of the application of these rules where things got sticky.

Read the rest of this entry

Morning Bits: Chavez, Mariano, Kuroda, Romine, Girardi, Nova

It’s Friday so Hooooray for that.  With everyone reporting to camp more stories should be coming out.  Let’s get right to the links.  Have a good weekend everyone.

* The Washington Post reports that Chavez is happy to be back with the Yankees.  (Has a player ever said I’m not happy to be back with a team?)

* MLB.com reports that Hal Steinbrenner mentions that Mariano is a life long Yankee.

* Newsday writes that Kuroda is getting good reviews this spring.

* Nice article from The New York Times about Romine and how Girardi is working with him.

* MLB.com has Nova more secure after tough stretch last year.

* The Daily News says that Russell Martin, Yankees not yet close on a new deal.

* This article from The Daily News goes into how Girardi might be around longer than Joe Torre.

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Spring Training Notes: 2/23/12

Russell Martin & Francisco Cervelli signing autographs

Another quiet day for the Yankees as they prepare for their first Spring Training game next week. Of course, Russell Martin & Francisco Cervelli just couldn’t say no to autographing for fans. How nice! Now onto today’s Spring Training notes:

– After signing with the Yankees, Eric Chavez has reported to camp!

– The Yankees aren’t going to retire #34 for A.J Burnett–they’ll just give the number to David Aardsma instead!

Austin Romine experienced soreness in his back while doing workouts today. The Yankees might hold Romine out of workouts tomorrow as a precaution.

– Russell Martin said that he was “baby-ing” Michael Pineda with his first few changeups. Once Pineda had thrown the changeup with the same arm speed as the fastball the there was big improvement. Russell Martin also believes that Pineda can win with the fastball-slider combination but believes that if Pineda trusts the changeup  & develops it then it would make him a much better pitcher.

There are a few reminders for Yankees fans:

  1. Tonight at 7pm we are hosting a live chat, so come with any questions that you may have about the Yankees.
  2. Also all position players are slated to report tomorrow (that includes Rodriguez & Teixeira) and workouts will begin on Saturday.
  3. Also, there are 43 days until Opening Day so mark your calendars.

Interview with LHP Matt Tracy

Matt Tracy led Staten Island to a Championship (photo from Mike Ashmore's Thunder Thoughts)

I had the privilege to speak with Yankee left-handed pitching prospect Matt Tracy who is down in Minor-League Training Camp in Tampa.  Tracy was a 24th-rd selection by the Yankees in the 2011 draft out of the University of Mississippi. The 6’3” 212 pound southpaw pitched out of the bullpen for the Staten island Yankees and was extremely effective allowing just 1 earned run in 22.3 IP and holding hitters to a puny .108 Batting Average.

His effectiveness out of the pen led Manager Tom Slater to stretch him out to see what he could do as a starter. It took Tracy a few weeks to build up innings and he made 6 starts to finish the regular season.  In the post-season, Tracy really stepped up, throwing a pair of 6-inning shutouts to lead Staten Island to the NY Penn League Championship. Overall, Tracy finished the year going 3-2 with a 2.43 ERA/1.06 WHIP , 56 Ks & 17 BBs in 59.3 IP. He held hitters to a .211 BA with just 1 HR and an impressive 2.26 Ground Out to Air Out Ratio.

Tracy was overlooked by a lot of prospect evaluators (myself included) because he was an older college grad in the NYPL who pitched most of the season out of the pen. He’s a very promising lefty with 3 quality offerings who can induce grounders and be effective vs. LH & RH hitters. 2012 will be an opportunity for Tracy to pitch as a full-time pitcher for the first time right out of ST and could move up through the system very quickly. My questions are in BLUE.

You were drafted by the Marlins after your Junior year in college but elected not to sign and returned to Ole Miss. What went in to that decision?

I felt like I still wanted to finish up my degree so I had that out of the way, and I felt there was still stuff for me to do at Ole Miss. I wanted to see how the team could do my Senior yr and I just wasn’t ready for pro ball yet.

You were a 2-way player in college at Ole Miss as an OF and Pitcher – Do you think that may have hurt your development as a pitcher?

Its definitely a challenge when you are doing both because you don’t get to spend your full time and energy on one specific thing. But it also helped me in ways too because I learned how to be a hitter and how I don’t like to be pitched and stuff like that so I had the hitters perspective.

You pitched in a big-time baseball conference in college at Ole Miss – how did the competition in the New York Penn League compare to the SEC?

The NYPL has a lot of talented players. That’s the way it will be in pro ball – these guys are here for a reason. In the SEC I faced a lot of talented guys as well. It’s the toughest college baseball conference in the country so I think it prepared me very well for this type of setting.

After they drafted you, did the Yankees discuss whether they viewed you as a Starter or Reliever?

Not much was discussed, I went to Staten Island to see where I fit in. They used me in the pen and then about half way through the season they had me starting.

What was it like to make the transition from relieving to starting in the middle of the season?

There’s a little bit of a difference but starting is something I did my whole career. I did it growing up, in high school and I did it in college. I’m used to it so it wasn’t a huge difference to make the transition.

What does your arsenal consist of?

Fastball – 2-seamer & 4-seamer, Curveball & Change Up.  The Fastball was between 90-94 mph this summer

What is your best pitch?

I like my Fastball. I think its one of the most important pitches for a pitcher. Having good command of the Fastball and being able to attack hitters with that. My best off-speed pitch is my changeup

On video your changeup looks very effective pitch against RH hitters – Is that why you had success vs. Righties? ( RH hitters hit .221 vs. Tracy while LH hitters hit .270)

My out-pitch depends on the hitter but I generally feel real comfortable against RH hitters because I have a good feel for my Changeup.

Have you noticed a change in your stuff or velocity once you started pitching full-time with Staten Island?

Yes, I definitely saw an up tick in velocity this summer. I started throwing a little harder this summer because I was surrounded by a couple of great coaches. First we had Danny Borrell, pitching coach for Staten Island, he helped me out tremendously with my mechanics and cleaning everything up. Then Rosie (coach Jose Rosado) came up when Danny got hurt and he also helped me out. Definitely, mechanic-wise, because of the good coaches, I feel more comfortable and the ball seems to be coming out a little better. There were small things we saw while looking at tape, some stuff with my leg kick and some stuff with my front side.

You only got 6 starts under your belt as a starter before the post-season started. What clicked for you in the Playoffs that made you so successful?

I just got back to the same old stuff that makes a good pitcher – making quality pitches, getting ahead of guys, attacking hitters and making good quality pitches down in the zone. As the season progressed, my Curveball got a little better and more consistent. That helped me out, having that 3rd pitch that I could throw for a strike that maybe wasn’t there for me in the middle of the summer.

What is your approach out there on the mound?

My approach on the mound is to attack the hitters and make quality pitches. Its really as simple as that – just trying to execute. I attack different hitters differently – I throw more changeups to righties and more Curveballs to lefties.

After the season ended in late September, did you pitch in the Fall and what were you trying to improve upon?

I went to the Instructional League here in Tampa for 2 weeks. I enjoyed that. Working on my delivery in front of a lot of different coaches. I worked on my Curveball a lot down in Instructs – that was my main focus. I think I improved that and played in some games. I got some stuff done and got a little better.

How about the Winter – where did you workout?

Working out down at Ole Miss with 6 or 7 other pro guys from Ole Miss. Working out and throwing. Good to be surrounded by other guys with the same goals to push each other. Worked on full-body stuff, Core, legs & upper body.

What was it like wining a championship at Staten Island in your first year of pro ball?

NY Penn Lg Championship Cup (photo from Mjtracy17 twitter's page)

It was definitely cool. We had a great group of guys and some good team chemistry. I really like all those guys and we clicked really well. Winning is fun. Any time you’re in a postseason atmosphere when the games mean a little more, it’s a really great feeling to win.

Your SI team was filled with talent -which of your teammates really impressed you?

We really did have a lot talented guys. Game to game someone else stood out.  Mason Williams in CF was terrific all yr. What was impressive was a lot of those guys were so young to be able to perform at that level. We had a lot of HS guys, it’s a different dynamic and I thought we meshed really well – the college kids and the HS kids.

What do you feel you need to improve and what are your goals for 2012?

Continue in my progression as a pitcher. Getting more consistent with my Curveball is definitely going to be up there – getting more consistent all around that’s what makes you a good pitcher. Being able to attack the zone and throw quality strikes to make things tough on hitters

What pitchers in the majors do you try to emulate or who would you compare yourself to?

I’m a huge baseball fan and there’s stuff I pick up from a bunch of guys. I like watching all the great pitchers to try and pick something up whether its Chris Carpenter or Roy Halladay they’re both so great I love watching them pitch.

I know you grew up as a Cardinals fan in St.Louis – What was it like being drafted by the Yankees?

Been a great opportunity to be part of this organization and they do things right so its definitely a blessing.

Morning Bits: Aardsma, Girardi, Cashman, Martin, Piniella

First off I want to mention that our own Delia will be hosting a live chat tonight at 7pm.  It’s Thursday so one more day to the weekend.  Lot’s of things happened yesterday so plenty of articles covering it.

and away we go….Enjoy!

* ESPN has all the information of the signing of David Aardsma.

* The Wall Street Journal says the Yankees already look set.

* The Star Ledger reports that Girardi disagrees with Cashman’s comments about 2010.

* New York Daily News thinks Russell Martin may be the victim of number crunching after his one year deal runs out.

* The Washington Post mentions that Lou Piniella is hired to join the YES team.

Yankees Sign OF Reynolds

Yankees Sign OF Reynolds

By Delia E.

The New York Yankees signed third baseman/outfielder Burt Reynolds after watching him play for the independent Newark Bears & Can-Am Baseball Association in 2011. Reynolds has some family members in the game; his cousin happens to play 2nd base for the New York Yankees whose name happens to be Robinson Cano. Last season Reynolds hit .232 with 13 HR’s, 36 RBI’s & 11 SB. He was a 30th round draft pick for the Washington Nationals and spent time in Tampa Bay’s minor league system before joining the Can-Am league.

Spring Training Notes: 2/22/12

Day 4 of Spring Training has come and gone and the Yankees have had an eventful day. Let’s sum up today’s Spring Training news shall we?

Derek Jeter (pictured above) mentioned that Mariano Rivera has told him about his plans, but don’t expect Jeter to spill any details. Jeter’s staying mum on Rivera’s decision. Jeter did say, “It’s really hard to talk about someone being gone when they’re still here. I think we’ll just appreciate him while he’s here.”

Brett Gardner showed up to Spring Training camp yesterday and spent his time at the minor league complex doing batting practice.

– The Yankees signed former Seattle Mariners closer David Aardsma as he recovers from Tommy John surgery which includes the 2013 option. Brian Cashman said the move had more to do with 2013 since we don’t expect to see Aardsma until the summer of 2012.

Joba Chamberlain threw off of a mound today for the first time since having Tommy John Surgery. He said it went “really, really good.” His next mound session will be on Friday.

Gardner & Jones Platoon In 2012?

The New York Yankees re-signed former OF Andruw Jones to a contract this past winter to fill the vacant DH role and although there hasn’t been talks of platooning him with current LF Brett Gardner, Jones was 10-12 pounds lighter, said he was healthier & rehabbed his knee which might have some people rooting for having the platoon in 2012.

While I was reading Wallace Matthew’s article on ESPN New York, I couldn’t help but feel skeptical about having Gardner & Jones platoon. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

And as great as Gardner is in certain aspects of the game — he’s the epitome of a leadoff hitter, speedy, selective and a superior defensive player — Jones brings two things to the table that make him worth considering: power (420 home runs) and leather (10 Gold Gloves as a center fielder). Plus, he crushes left-handed pitching.

Now I understand the reasons the Yankees might want Jones to platoon with Gardner in 2012, but the issue here is that Jones is not the same fielder he was 10 years ago. It’s hard not to think of Jones as the guy that hurt the Yankees in the World Series about a decade ago, but the issue is that Jones has gotten older. Gardner is young, versatile and a much better outfielder than Jones is now.

Read the rest of this entry

David Aardsma signed a major league deal with the Yankees

David Aardsma signed a major league deal with the Yankees

by Matt S.

It’s a major league deal worth 500,000 reported by Feinsand.  He will start the season on the DL as he is coming back from Tommy John surgery. The deal includes a club option for 2013.   I think this is a great add on for the Yankees.

Seems like a good guy.  He recognized us right away on twitter.

Who Should Be The Setup Man To Rivera In 2012?

The bullpen is a very important piece to any team. It helps you win games and it helps hold games to a tie when it’s one of those, “must win” games that you need to get into the playoffs. The bullpen is also good for the “mop up” games whether your team is in the lead, or whether the team is poorly behind.

Now, the Yankees have I believe the best bullpen in the Major Leagues right now, also with the greatest closer of all time named Mariano Rivera, but before Rivera can come in there needs to be a pitcher that can set him up in one of those must win games. The 8th inning role has come down to 2 men who will probably be fighting for the setup role this Spring Training; David Robertson & Rafael Soriano. They both are excellent pitchers, but who is more qualified to take the coveted position to warm up the ball for Mo?

David Robertson:

Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson

After having a mediocre 2010 season, David Robertson started the season in the bullpen as the 6th inning guy. David Robertson would soon get his chance however to star in the 8th inning position after Rafael Soriano went down with a shoulder injury. Let’s just say at the end of the year Robertson’s numbers did not disappoint. In 2011, Robertson was 4-0, had a  1.08 ERA, a 1.125 WHIP, managed to notch 100 K’s in the season all while pitching 66.2 innings. Everyone that knows Robertson understands that even he gets himself into some situations every now and again, but David Robertson is able to end an inning in dramatic fashion(3 strikeouts after loading the bases is one instance). Because of such theatrical pitching, he is known as  Houdini. If Robertson continues his stellar pitching, not only will he get the 8th inning role this year but he might get the coveted position of closer once our beloved Mariano Rivera retires.

Rafael Soriano:

Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano

Rafael Soriano was signed in the 2010 offseason to become the 8th inning man to Mariano Rivera. He was originally the closer with the Tampa Bay Rays but couldn’t continue the closing duties because of…well…Mariano Rivera. Soriano didn’t get to keep the 8th inning role for long after he obtained a shoulder injury and he didn’t get the role back even after he came back from the DL. Instead his role was the 7th inning since Joba Chamberlain was out for the rest of the season due to Tommy John Surgery and let’s just say that Soriano was…mediocre. In 39.1 IP he was 2-3, had a 4.12 ERA, a 1.297 WHIP and racked up 36 K’s. It’s not bad but would you really want someone with a 4.12 ERA attempting to pass on the ball to Mo in a tight game?

While I enjoy watching Robertson & Soriano, I would have to give the 8th inning role to David Robertson. Robertson came out like a full fledged All-Star while Soriano was either hurt or inconsistent in his appearances. Soriano could do the 7th inning role while Joba Chamberlain recuperates and nurses his arm back to pitching form but when he comes back he could be the 6th inning man.

Now it’s up for you to decide:

Morning Bits: Yankees DH, Mariano, Pineda, Kuroda, Chavez

Good morning.  It’s already Mid-week so that’s awesome.  Even better position players report in just a couple days so that’s exciting. Let’s get right to the links….

* Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal writes that the Yankees DH for 2012 is everyone.

* The New York Times reports that the bullpen is full of disbelief and denial about Mariano retiring.

* Jeff Pasan of Yahoo says Michael Pineda, Hiroki Kuroda take on Yankees history with move to New York.

* Here is a great story from news-press.com. A Cubs fan buys jetbluepark.com  (just in case you don’t know that’s the name of the Red Sox’s new spring training home).  Read the article for a laugh.

* From The Daily News: Andruw Jones brings a healthy optimism into spring training.

* Chad Jennings of Lohud has the bench set as Chavez re-ups.

* Jon Heyman reports that Cashman retools the rotation at a reasonable cost.

* Heyman also has his camp report: Likes and Dislikes.

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