Before today, the last time Joe Girardi saw Derek Jeter on a baseball diamond was in Game 1 of the ALCS, where he had to carry him off the field due to him shattering his ankle. Today was a friendlier and warmer sight for the team to see, Jeter warming up with his teammates, getting in shape for the season as if everything was normal. Well, almost normal. Derek Jeter still can’t run the bases and can’t run around the field like the rest of his teammates. However, that’s not slowing down the Captain, as he’s progressing o get back on the field.
“I already said to myself I’m good to go.” Jeter said. “There’s steps along the way, but there’s always steps along the way in the offseason before you play. You run the bases. You go first to third. You make different plays in the field. Those are all things you have to do, so I have to progress to that, but I don’t have to convince myself that I’m ready.”
The good news? Derek Jeter’s ankle feels great. And it should feel great: his ankle has bolts and screws inside to prevent it from breaking again.
–Robinson Cano spoke to the media today after working out with his teammates, and the questions that were mostly asked was about the Biogenesis report. Cano’s name isn’t in the reports, but two of his closest friends Alex Rodriguez & Melky Cabrera‘s were, the latter being suspended 50 games last season after testing positive for PED’s.
“They are still my friends.” Cano said to the media. “You have to be with your friends through the good times and bad. I have to stay with my friends. I don’t have any reaction. I would say that’s a personal matter and to let them handle that.”
– And the award for the most clever yet innocent remark of the day goes to…Ichiro! As we all know, Derek Jeter made the back cover of the New York Post over the winter where it infamously showed him “out of shape.” Ichiro said what was the most clever, funny and innocent comment I’ve heard all Spring.
“Jeter was not the eater the media portrayed him to be.” Ichiro said. “That was good to see.”
– And the last tidbit of the day goes to none other than Brett Gardner. Gardner didn’t speak to a crowd of reporters like the others, bu he did disclose that he would prefer to play his natural position (center field). However, he’ll help anyway he can help the team, even if that means him playing in left field while Curtis Granderson patrols center.
As the offseason winds down, aside from the Alex Rodriguez drama and the small signings of Matt Diaz, Kevin Youkilis and Juan Rivera, the Yankees seem to be almost the exact same team as in 2012 minus a few losses. Nick Swisher packed his bags and went to the Cleveland Indians, Russell Martin did the same and rejoined former Yankees teammate A.J Burnett with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Raul Ibanez decided to take his bat to Seattle where he could end his career on a good note and Andruw Jones went to Japan, one of the few loses the Yankees won’t mind at all. However, as the 2013 season comes upon us, the Yankees look as if they hadn’t done much on the market. The 2013 team has been predicted by multiple fans that they will finish from either 2nd place – 4th place in the AL East.
The Yankees may look like the same old Yankees as the 2012 season, but there’s one small detail that the Yankees completely missed: some of the players that are ready to play this season, weren’t available last season due to injury or health issues. Some of the big names on the team spent quite some time on the DL and the reason that the Yankees didn’t make a deal with other players, is because they believe there’s someone on the team that can do the job better than someone on the market.
Brett Gardner – OF
Last season looked very promising for Brett Gardner. Once April came around, he was hot right off the bat. He looked as if he was going to bounce back from his so-so 2011 season–until injury struck. Gardner was unsure what was going on with his elbow. At first he went on the DL believing that 15 days later, he would be back to help the team. Once he started to swing a bat again, he felt the pain again. The Yankees tried to rehab him for a third time and he still felt pain in his elbow. A concerned Gardner was then sent to a surgeon to see if there was something wrong with his elbow. Alas, the young outfielder once again needed surgery. Gardner is now back for the 2013 season and this time he’s healthy. In the 2010 season, he proved that he was a starter, but his most impressive stat was his stolen base numbers. Although his hitting was down in 2011, Gardner outdid his stolen base numbers from 2010, going from 47-49. A healthy Brett Gardner can steal bases, is the only Yankee that truly knows how to play small ball and can work the count with his impressive patience at the plate. No need for Michael Bourn. Brett Gardner is already an upgrade from what’s on the market.
Spring Training is only a little bit over two weeks away and that usually brings about optimism for every baseball fan. There has not been a lot of reason for optimism for Yankees fans this winter. Ownership has not allowed Brian Cashman to spend freely, due to the mandate of getting the payroll under $189 million by 2014. This has led to very little activity from the Yankees this offseason. They have seen other teams in the American League get better like the Angels and Blue Jays. While the pessimism is certainly justified, it is not all doom and gloom for the Yankees. While the Angels and Tigers are a step above them right now, the Yankees should still have a solid team. Toronto is the favorite in the AL East right now, but it certainly is not impossible for the Yankees to win the division. Here are the five most important players for the Yankees to have a successful year this season:
1. Mark Teixeira- While Mark Teixeira has performed like a very good player over the last three years with the Yankees, he has not been the superstar that they were hoping for and that he was in 2009. The Yankees will be counting on Teixeira to bat cleanup and provide protection for Robinson Cano. That means an .OPS in the low .800’s and a batting average around .250 isn’t going to cut it. The Yankees need his OPS back around .900 and his average around .270 or .280. Teixeira is the Yankees’ only power threat from the right side and they need him to produce. Power won’t be the issue as Teixeira has hit close to 40 home runs even in his down seasons. If the Yankees can get anything close to the 2009 version of Teixiera him and Cano would be one of the best 3-4 duo’s in MLB.
2. Curtis Granderson- Curtis Granderson is in a similar situation as Teixeira. While he hasn’t had the career success that Teixeira has had, Granderson needs to get back to his 2011 season like Teixeira needs to get back to his 2009 form. There is a ton of pressure on Granderson this season because the Yankees did not go and add another bat for the 5th spot in the lineup. Justin Upton or Michael Morse would have been perfect, but obviously the Yankees did not acquire either of them. So, the Yankees will be counting on Granderson to return to his 2011 form. Granderson hit 43 home runs last season, but his line of .232/.319/.492/.811 was simply not good enough. Worst of all, he had an egregious 28.5 K% and looked completely lost at the end of the year. Kevin Long will need to work his magic on Granderson again for the 2013 season.
3. Mariano Rivera- The biggest strength the Yankees have right now is their bullpen. David Robertson, Joba Chamberlian, David Aardsma, Boone Logan and Clay Rapada make up a very solid middle relief core. There is one question about the bullpen Can Mariano Rivera be the Mariano Rivera that we know him to be at age 43 coming off a torn ACL and meniscus? Even for the immortal Rivera it is a legitimate question. If Rivera is injured or ineffective, the Yankees would still have a good bullpen, but probably not an elite one like they do if Rivera is his dominant self. However, I will never bet against Rivera, so I expect him to be just fine.
4. Brett Gardner- The Yankees sorely missed Brett Gardner last season, as a wrist injury in April caused him to miss most of the 2012 season. Gardner, the only Yankees regular starter under 30, will be a key piece for the Yankees this season. Last season, New York’s left fielders hit .253/.315/.444/.759. They largely depended on the power of Raul Ibanez. While Gardner won’t provide that, he will provide many other good qualities. Gardner will provide great patience at the plate, as his career walk percentage (11.0%) and pitches per plate appearance (4.29) are extremely good. Gardner will be huge on the base paths, as he has stolen 47 and 49 bases in his last two healthy seasons. His defense in left field is probably the best in MLB. While we know his defense and base running will be great, his hitting is still a question mark. His career line of .266/.355/.368/.723 is only OK for a non power hitter. Also, he has been poor against lefties for his career (.256/.362/.355/.731). For the Yankees to be an elite offense, they will need Gardner to have a close to .290 average at least. He has never done that in his career, but at age 29 Gardner should be peaking.
5. Phil Hughes- Like the bullpen, the rotation is a strength of the Yankees. CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda form a very solid top of the rotation and Phil Hughes is a little bit of a wild card. Hughes overcame a rough April to have a solid season. He improved on his slider and changeup to help put more hitters away. This helped him to strikeout 7.8 per nine innings and only walk 2.2 per nine innings. Hughes is in a contract year, so he should be motivated to have a great season, as he can cash in big at the end of the year. From June through August, Hughes had a 3.19 ERA. If he can pitch even close to that for the whole 2013 season the Yankees will have a dominant rotation.
The Signing of Dan Johnson
The Yankees are still being quiet in the Major League department, but the Yankees have another player that they signed for a minor league job. The Yankees signed 1B/3B/DH Dan Johnson to a minor league contract with an invitation to Spring Training. Now, those of you may know Johnson as the player who hit the game tying HR for the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 162 in 2011 against the Yankees (which allowed Tampa to make it to the playoffs and the Red Sox to go home). He played for the Chicago White Sox Triple-A affiliate last season batting .267 with 28 HR’s and 85 RBI’s. He also got a spot in the Triple-A All Star Game and placed second in the Home Run Derby.
Now, I know that Dan Johnson could be a good signing for the minor leagues, but the Yankees main focus should be the Major Leagues. They are basically without a catcher and they don’t have depth on their bench. Spring Training is in less than three weeks and this is the team that the Steinbrenner’s and Cashman want to put on the field?
Johnson has a slight chance to make the 25-man roster as the Yankees DH if he does well in Spring Training, but he could start the season in Triple-A which will once again, leave the Yankees with a thin roster.
Only One Left in Arbitration
I know I didn’t update about this since I was on vacation, but now I can officially report that almost all of the Yankees that were arbitration eligible have signed through the 2013 season–except for one. While Brett Gardner, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Boone Logan don pinstripes for the season, David Robertson will go to an arbitrator with the Yankees if they don’t reach a deal before then. Robertson is the lone Yankee in arbitration and it’s puzzling why the Yankees haven’t worked out a deal with him as of yet. Just give Robertson what he’s asking for since he actually deserves it.
Yankees announce Game Times for 2013 season
MLB announced today the times for the upcoming season for the Yankees. Now, while the Yankees calendar hasn’t been fully updated, here are some dates and times that have been updated.
April 5-7 (vs. Tigers): 1:05pm, 4:05pm, 1:05pm
April 8-11 (vs. Indians): 4:05pm, 7:05pm, 7:05pm, 7:05pm
May 10-12 (vs. Royals): 7:10pm, 6:10pm, 1:10pm
May 25 (vs. Rays): 4:10pm
June 16 (vs. Angels): 3:35pm
August 2-4 (vs. Padres): 7:10pm, 5:40pm, 1:10pm (All Eastern Time)
Final Series of Year (vs. Astros): 7:10pm, 6:10pm, 1:10pm
– Well, it took from October to January but Rafael Soriano finally has a new home and that is with the Washington Nationals. He signed a two year, $28 Million with an option for a third year. Soriano’s contract makes him the highest paid reliever in baseball but second all time to New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. When Soriano didn’t take the option that the Yankees were offering him, it had fans wondering if he would ever find a job. Well, it took him a while since teams don’t really want to give up a draft pick just to sign a player.
The Yankees now have three draft picks in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft. They are #27 (which was their original draft pick), #31 (since Nick Swisher signed with the Cleveland Indians) and #32 (since Soriano signed with the Nationals). But if you’re sad that you won’t see Soriano as much and you’re a Yankee fan–don’t be. The Yankees and Nationals meet up on March 29, 2012 for an exhibition game. Although it’s the end of the ‘untuck’ era, I’m sure someone on the Yankees can one-up that this season.
– In our second major story of the day, four Yankees have decided to file for arbitration after not being able to agree on a contract offer. Those four Yankees are Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, David Robertson and Boone Logan. Now, the four players still have time to work this out, but the issue at hand could be that they all feel they are worth what they want. I’ve seen what Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are reportedly asking for and they should go to an arbitration hearing. They aren’t worth what they’re asking for, especially Hughes. Give Robertson and Logan what they want since they were more dominant but there has been some cries from Yankees fans that maybe it’s time for Boone Logan to go since he only has one year remaining.
Honestly guys, why couldn’t you have made it as easy as Brett Gardner did. The guy took what the Yankees gave him, no questions asked. Then again, he was injured for most of the year. It would be exciting to see how all of this plays out in the end.
In Other News:
– Before signing with the Yankees, Kevin Youkilis spoke to Johnny Damon about the transition from Boston to New York. Luckily for Youkilis, Damon gave the transition two thumbs up. Also dealing with Youkilis, he began working with Kevin Long to prepare for the upcoming season. Sounds like a good idea if you want to get off on the right foot with the Yankees organization.
For a baseball fan, this MLB offseason has been far from dull. Players have been picked up faster than you can say “2013 World Series”, teams are beginning to look good (on paper) and some of the biggest trades have stunned the baseball nation. However, there are still players that are on the market looking for a team to play for in 2013. A name that has been popping up a lot? No, not Nick Swisher. Michael Bourn. Since Josh Hamilton signed with the LA Angels last week, Michael Bourn has quickly become the top free agent, which means many teams are pining for him according to MLB Trade Rumors. I mean, why wouldn’t a team want Michael Bourn? He is a great defensive outfielder; he has a good bat, an outstanding glove, fast blazing speed. Wait a minute, it sounds like I am describing a player the Yankees already have and he is under team control until 2015: the young, talented and underrated Brett Gardner.
The Yankees may have “quiet” interest in Bourn but Gardner practically is almost similar to the free agent outfielder–even the numbers speak for themselves. Let us compare the free agent to the Yankees LF (who could be the CF on Opening Day since the Yankees reportedly plan to switch him and Curtis Granderson) and see who is the better option for the Yankees.
Let us start with Gardner since he is already on the team. Now, Gardner had a disappointing 2012 season and it was not because he played horrible (because he did not). He was injured almost the whole season after landing awkwardly on his elbow during the Yankees/Twins game on April 18, 2012. Overall, his career numbers are decent: .266 BA/.355 OBP/.368 SLG. In 5 years, Gardner also swiped 137 bases, which is very impressive considering he wasn’t a full time player until the 2010 season. Now, let us look at my favorite defensive stat: WAR (Wins above Replacement). According to Baseball-Reference, throughout Gardner’s 5 years in service to baseball, his dWAR is 7.4. Not bad for a speedy left fielder with a great glove (who has yet to win a Gold Glove award, which I’m still mad about). Gardner’s numbers are what the Yankees are looking for (even though he doesn’t hit home runs), but let’s go to Michael Bourn and see what his numbers are.
Now before we continue, let us keep in mind that Michael Bourn played two more years than Gardner did and played double the games than Gardener did. All right, with that being said, here are Bourn’s career numbers: .272 BA/.339 OBP/.365 SLG. According to Baseball-Reference, throughout his 7 years in the Major Leagues, Bourn swiped 276 bases, which is also impressive. Looking at Bourn’s defensive stats now, throughout his 7 years in service to baseball, his dWAR is 8.6. Yep, Bourn’s speed helps him become one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball.
So Who’s the Better Option
Looking at both Gardner and Bourn’s numbers, the offense is almost a carbon copy to one another. If not for the 2012 season, Gardner could have had approximately 20 steals shy to 200 SB and could have improved his dWAR significantly. However, although Bourn has better numbers in different departments, I would have to go with Gardner as the better option for the Yankees. I know you are asking, ‘Why Gardner? His numbers are a bit lower than Bourn’s. What’s the reason?’ The answer is simple: Gardner is cheap. Bourn is not. Gardner fits into the Yankees 2014 budget plans in which his contract could be about $3+ Million. Bourn made $6.8 Million last season and he probably won’t take a pay cut just to play for the Yankees. So the bottom line is, the Yankees have all they need in Brett Gardner without having to go out there and spending extra money on Michael Bourn. In Yankee Land these days, the less money you make, the better option you are (especially if you are trying to avoid a luxury tax in 2014).
It’s December 8th and the Yankees have done little to none since the season ended. The Yankees signed Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Hiroki Kuroda (all of which were expected from the get-go. What would have been shocking was Kuroda going to a different team). The Yankees have only just started taking care of their arbitration players and only have completed a contract with one player out of the six players that were on the list: Brett Gardner.
Gardner will get $2.85 Million for the 2013 season along with performance bonuses, $25,000 for each plate appearance milestone (375, 400, 425, 450, 475, 500). So in other words, if Gardner played all 162 games (or at least 150) games with that many plate appearances he could make up to $3 Million. Let’s see if the extra money can entice our lovely injury prone left fielder to try to not injure himself again. We need him.
The Yankees have four other players on the arbitration list after dealing a contract to Gardner and letting Casey McGehee walk. Here are the four players and their projections based off MLB Trade Rumors:
Phil Hughes: projected to make 5.7 Million in 2013
Boone Logan: projected to make $2.8 Million in 2013
David Robertson: projected to make $2.7 Million in 2013
Joba Chamberlain: projected to make $1.8 Million in 2013.
If I were to guess why Gardner’s contract was the only one that was able to get completed so quickly, it’s probably because Gardner can’t really argue that he should get more money since he only played 12 games in the 2012 season due to an elbow injury. Now if you were to ask me if these players deserve the money that they’re asking for, here’s what I think.
Phil Hughes: Hughes looked better in 2012 than in 2011 but I don’t know if I would give him almost $6 Million dollars. Maybe if he continued winning 16+ games but lowered how many games he actually lost then I would say why not.
Boone Logan: Heck, for the great job he did in 2012, let’s give him $3 Million. Logan did a great job when the Yankees needed him, so maybe a small raise wouldn’t hurt.
David Robertson: Give the man more than what he’s asking for. He’s simply amazing and really should consider changing his middle name to “Houdini”. I wouldn’t be surprised if this man was the future closer of the New York Yankees. Money wise for 2013, I’d say give him $3 Million.
Joba Chamberlain: Yep, $1.8 Million sounds about right, especially since he just came back from Tommy John Surgery (and an ankle injury but that’s another story). Chamberlain seemed to have gotten it together towards the end of the season so that’s a sign of hope that he’ll be effective come Spring Training.
So if you were the Yankees (or an arbiter), what would you do with Chamberlain, Robertson, Hughes and Logan? Would you give them less money or more money depending on what they’re asking?
In Other News:
– Eli Whiteside who was DFA’d by the Yankees has been picked up by the Toronto Blue Jays. No worries, the Blue Jays have to pay the contract that the Yankees signed Whiteside to prior to designating him for assignment.
– Alex Rodriguez had a charity event in Miami today and answered questions to the press about certain subjects.
On Kevin Youkilis: “Youk has always been a tough out. He’s a tough player…a winning player…I think that would be a good move for us.”
On why he didn’t disclose his injuries during the playoffs: ”When I struggle,it’s on me. It’s a team sport. I have to do my part. There’s no excuses here”
– Also one more tidbit: If you’re following an account that says @realhankaaron on Twitter, you might want to unfollow it. Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) confirmed the account was a fake.
The Yankees didn’t add anyone new today but they did lock up someone for the 2013 season–their prized outfielder. The New York Yankees and Brett Gardner both agreed to a one year contract, avoiding arbitration. According to sources, Gardner is expected to make $2.8 Million in 2013 since he was sidelined for most of the 2012 season with an elbow injury. Now that Gardner has been officially signed to the club for the ’13 season, the speculation can begin on whether or not the Yankees plan to move Gardner to CF and Granderson to LF (should Granderson be with the team for the ’13 season). I personally believe that the Yankees should move Gardner to CF since you would want your best defensive outfielder in center, but that’s up to the Yankees to decide.
In Other News:
– The Yankees have conducted a background check on FA Josh Hamilton, which speculates that the Yankees have interest in the outfielder. However, the Yankees have to understand that signing Hamilton could be risky with his injury history. Signing Hamilton could also be quite expensive unless the Yankees plan on trading Granderson to free up some cash. It’s honestly been a dream of mine to see Hamilton in pinstripes. Heck, it was a dream of mine to see Cliff Lee in pinstripes when Lee was a free agent. But that’s all what those scenarios are–dreams.
– The Yankees haven’t heard back from Kevin Youkilis as of yet since placing a one year, $12 Million contract offer on the table. Youkilis was at a charity event last night in Boston so Youkilis’s decision might not be for another couple of days. Even if Youkilis signed with the Yankees–there will always be a bit of Boston in his blood. He’s married to the sister of New England Patriots QB Tom Brady. Thought I’d share that piece of information.
It’s Day three of the Winter Meetings and every team in the AL East has done something to spice up their team. Every team, except for the New York Yankees. After being told that they were the favorites for Eric Chavez, he went and inked a 1 year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Jeff Keppinger who was the Yankees main target for a replacement third baseman since Alex Rodriguez went down went ahead and signed with the White Sox, avoiding New York once again.
Once again what the Yankees are doing is simply “talk.” The Yankees have been asking around for players such as Kevin Youkillis (who the Yankees asked for his medical records) and most recently Mark Reynolds. We could call him “Curtis Granderson 2.0″ if you’d like. He doesn’t hit for average, he strikes out a lot but–he has enough power to send the ball over the right field porch at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees don’t have a lot of options and they don’t have a lot of backup.
A lot of speculation went around today, wondering if the Yankees would now consider Eduardo Nunez for the 3B role (part time of course) and if the Yankees would move Mark Teixeira from 1st to 3rd since Tex played 3rd base in the minor leagues. Both ideas were shot down with a firm “no”.
The Yankees haven’t been close to making a deal with a new player all winter (Kuroda, Pettitte and Mariano don’t count) and all they’ve been doing is asking around.
To quote a famous Neon Trees song: “Oh my, my dear. Everybody Talks too much.” Apparently, that’s all the Yankees have been doing: talking too much and not getting anything done. There’s still two more days of the Winter Meetings, but don’t hold your breath for something exciting to happen.
One other note to think about:
Here is how many legit starters the Yankees could have by Opening Day:
Right now it doesn’t sound too promising for Opening Day, now does it?
It’s November 30th and Winter Meetings are on Monday. But when this should be a joyous time of year to watch other teams moves, hear other team rumors, this year it’s slightly different. The Yankees have no right fielder, no legitimate catcher and ten million questions for Brian Cashman. Although Cashman says the first priority is a right fielder, fans can’t help but worry about if the catcher should be first on the list. They are the ones that stop the pitches from hitting the backstop in every game you know. Given the Yankees current roster, here is how the Opening Day lineup would look (I factored in that Jeter most likely will be able to play shortstop on Opening Day)
Some of the main questions for the Yankees could possibly, who will the Yankees bring to be the everyday catcher? Can the Yankees really count on Austin Romine to be ready for Spring Training despite the back issues? Can the Yankees really count on Francisco Cervelli‘s bat? Can the Yankees count on Chris Stewart to take on a bigger role? Can the Yankees bring back Ichiro Suzuki to the team for another year? Who will the Yankees chose to be the DH for the 2013 season? Can they get Raul Ibanez or Eric Chavez back into their roles for another year?
And…the questions go on and on. What questions will be answered and which ones will remain a mystery? Stay tuned to find out.
In Other News
– Curtis Granderson signed up to be an ambassador this off-season and will fly to Korea and Japan.
– Who remembers seven years ago to this date where Brian Cashman was planning to use Bubba Crosby as the everyday CF for the 2006 season? Then they signed Johnny Damon and Bubba Crosby was traded. Well, the first part mirrors the catcher predicament. Cashman believes that any of the catchers in the organization can replace Martin. I bet he makes some kind of deal for a catcher by January.
Good evening everyone. I hope everyone is doing well in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and hope that everyone safe.If you have power, you can read this. If not–this article will be here when your power comes back. Anyway, here are some notes from today.
– Yankee Stadium was left unscathed in Hurricane Sandy. The power is on, there’s no flooding but there are a few broken windows. Nothing money can’t fix.
– The New York Post mentions the 5 players the Yankees should probably look into this offseason: Carlos Beltran, Torii Hunter, Jeff Keppinger, A.J Pierzynski and Scott Hairston. If the Yankees want to talk money and short term they should go with Hunter. If they want a consistent bat that will also hit in the playoffs, they should go with Beltran though Beltran is a risk.
– The Gold Gloves will be announced tomorrow and there are 3 Yankee candidates for the award: Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin. Remember guys, if you don’t win the award that doesn’t mean you aren’t the best at your position. Remember the Gold Gloves last year and how Brett Gardner was robbed.
– There are seven Yankees that are arbitration eligible. Here is the complete list of Yankees that are arbitration eligible.