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Starting Pitching Needs to Step Up

The New York Yankees have completely turned their offense around during the month of August behind Alfonso Soriano, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.

The Yankees are third in the AL in homers in August (29), fifth in wOBA (.330) and sixth in OPS (.751)  The Yankees have averaged nearly 4.5 runs per game in Soriano’s 30 games as a Yankees and he trails only Miguel Cabrera in home runs after the all-star break.

Rodriguez (.284/.369/.473/.842 with a 133 wRC+) and Granderson (.291/.412/.456/.868 with a 140 wRC+) have both been terrific since they returned from the DL. Assuming that this continues, the Yankees should have plenty of offense for them to make a run at the second wild car in September. The question will be whether the starting pitching can be good enough.

There have been some good signs and some bad signs out of the starting pitchers lately. Andy Pettitte turning it around and Ivan Nova maintaining his performance have been good ones.

Over his last three starts, Pettitte has allowed just two runs on 15 hits over 19.2 innings. The first of those three starts was the biggest, as Pettitte delivered a huge performance in the opening game of the series in Boston. He allowed three unearned runs over 6.2 innings and gave up six hits, one walk and struck out five. He was given a huge first inning lead to work with, but big leads can evaporate quickly at Fenway Park.

Pettitte’s last two outing came against the Blue Jays and he allowed only one run over 13 innings. Toronto is not a great team but the starts were still very encouraging. When the stakes get raised Pettitte raises his game, which is why I have a lot of confidence in him pitching big games down the stretch in September. You know he is going to battle and not be afraid of any moment. Pettitte’s ERA is now down to a respectable 4.05 for the season.

Nova has not been as dominant in his last three starts, but he has still battled and managed to have good results. That is big for a pitcher who has had the physical tools, but lacked knowledge in just how to pitch. Nova has allowed 27 hits to only 11 strikeouts over those last three starts, but the most amount of runs that he allowed was four over 6.1 innings on August 20th against Toronto. In his previous start, he allowed three runs over 7.1 innings against the Angels and came up with a big performance in a game the Yankees had to have Sunday in Tampa.

The problems in the Yankees rotation are CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes. Hiroki Kuroda has struggled as well over his last two outings, but I will chalk that up to just a blip on the radar for him.

Sabathia has shown signs of improvement but has still been unable to put it all back together. His fastball velocity has improved lately, as he has averaged 93.24 MPH on his fastball in August, including averaging 93.88 MPH and 94.07 MPH over his last two starts. However, as Sabathia has added velocity his control has vanished. He has allowed an abysmal 4.70 walks per nine innings in August.

Sabathia has thrown quality starts in three out of his last four outings, but he still has not been the dominant Sabathia we have come to know over the last few years. He had an egregious performance in the rubber match of the Boston series but got bailed out by his offense.

Then, on Saturday, Sabathia blew a 2-0 lead when he imploded in the sixth inning. He was absolutely dominant over the first five innings with his fastball humming at over 94 MPH and his slider breaking as sharply as it had all season. It all fell apart when Sam Fuld hit a bloop single to lead off the sixth inning and Sabathia could not find the plate out of the stretch. That game is the type of game that the Yankees will need Sabathia to finish down the stretch of the season if they want to make the playoffs.

There seems to be little hope for Hughes to be an effective pitcher at all this season. Hughes has been one of the worst pitchers in baseball this season with an ERA of 4.91, which ranks 80th out of 85 qualified starting pitchers.

With only 30 games remaining in the season the Yankees cannot afford to give any games away, which is essentially what they have been doing by running Hughes out there every five days.

Unfortunately, the options that the Yankees have to replace Hughes are not very appealing. David Huff and Adam Warren are the only in-house options with David Phelps, Michael Pineda and Vidal Nuno all injured.

Huff has thrown 8.1 innings of shutout baseball over his last two relief appearances against Toronto and has only allowed one hit. However, Huff’s 5.25 ERA and 4.74 FIP in almost 300 career innings inspires little confidence. Warren has been o.k. this season, but I still do not believe that he has the stuff to be a good MLB starting pitcher. At the very least the Yankees need to skip Hughes’ start this weekend in Baltimore.

The Yankees are currently five games behind Oakland in the chase for the second wild card. They will have to play close to flawless baseball in September to catch them and they cannot do it without great starting pitching. They have not gotten that consistently since the beginning of the season and it needs to reappear right now for the Yankees to have a legitimate shot at the playoffs.

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Five Yankees Questions For the Second Half

We will find out a lot about the Yankees very quickly as they begin the second half of the season tonight in Boston.

They currently sit six games back of Boston in the AL East and three back in the AL wild card race. The first 10 games for the Yankees after the All-Star break have the potential to be a disaster. They play three at the first place Red Sox, four in Arlington against a very talented Texas team and three at home against red hot Tampa Bay.

If I were Brian Cashman I would have desperately been working the phones trying to get an impact bat over the All-Star break because if he waits until after this 10 game stretch it might be too late.

Here are five things to watch over the Yankees second half of the season:

1. What happens at the trade deadline?

The Yankees have recently been linked to Chase Headley and Asrdubal Cabrera and both would be huge gets for the Yankees. Unfortunately, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com wrote that Padres have little interest in dealing Headley despite his down year.

Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain will be continued to be shopped by the Yankees, and it will be interesting to see what happens with them. I do believe that Hughes will be moved because the starting pitching market is very thin, and the Yankees can sell teams on his home/road splits this year. Although, Joel Sherman of the New York Post, wrote that the Yankees would be o.k. with keeping Hughes and offering him a qualifying offer this winter.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe that the time for Cashman to try to strike is right now with this brutal 10 game stretch upcoming. I would be looking for players who are under team control for a few years. I would not be giving up big prospects for rentals this year, since I believe that the Yankees are more than one bat away from being championship contenders this season.

2. Will Ivan Nova’s progression continue?

Nova’s development will probably be the number one thing I will be watching for over the second half. He has looked terrific over his last two starts, as he has 17 strikeouts to only three walks. Nova has always had the talent and if he can finally put it together it will be huge for the future for the Yankees, who have had a tough time developing their own starting pitchers.

What is fascinating about Nova is how he has completely transformed himself as a pitcher from his solid rookie season in which he went 16-4. He only averaged 92.6 MPH and he only was not a strikeout pitcher (5.33 K/9) in that rookie season. He had success because he was able to keep the ball on the ground with his sinker (52.7 GB%), but most thought that he would not have long term success unless he was able to get more strikeouts.

Nova added a slider to his repertoire in 2012 to try to remedy this issue. He threw it 14% of the time and he raised his K/9 to 8.08, but he also allowed a lot of hard contact (16.6% HR/FB%) because he missed location to often with his fastball and that new slider. Also, Nova’s GB% went down to 45.2%.

This year, Nova has mostly scrapped the slider, as he has only thrown it 3.4% of the time compared to 33.5% for his curve ball. Over his last two starts, Nova has thrown 66 curves, 43 of them have been for strikes and 17 of them have induced whiffs. When you combine that dominant curve with a fastball that has been in the 94-97 MPH range, you have a pitcher that has the potential for greatness. His  GB% is back up to 51.4% this year, so hitters are really having a hard time getting good contact on his hard sinker.

3. How much will Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez contribute?

The first question with them is how much will they play? Rodriguez hit a home run for Triple-A Scranton last night and appears set to rejoin the Yankees in Texas on Monday. We should find out more about Jeter’s status today. If Jeter and Rodriguez can stay on the field it will be pretty much impossible for them to not be upgrades, as Yankee shortstops have a slash line of .214/.271/.268/.539 with a 46 wRC+ and Yankee third basemen have a slash line of .218/.281/.293/.574 with a 57 wRC+. They should also add some much needed excitement and buzz to the team as well.

4. What is the plan for Michael Pineda?

At Triple-A Scranton last night, Pineda threw 4.2 scoreless innings and struck out eight. He was dominant in the first three innings before throwing a lot of pitches over the fourth and fifth innings. Right now, with Nova pitching well and Hughes still in New York, the Yankees do not have room for Pineda in their rotation. If there is an injury, or Hughes is traded, than Pineda can slide right in. The Yankees should try to get Pineda to New York as quickly as possible to get more information on what they can expect out of him next year.

If the Yankees continue with their $189 million plan they will need cheap starting pitchers, and Pineda can be one of them. It would be good for him to get as much experience as he can this year and it will be very interesting to see what he looks like if he does come up to the big league club.

5. Can CC Sabathia turn it around?

Sabathia had an uncharacteristically average first half, as he was only 9-8 with a 4.07 ERA. His average fastball velocity has only been 90.6 MPH, although it has been better later in the season. Sabathia has not fully adjusted to pitching with his loss of velocity yet and when he has missed location with his fastball he has gotten hit hard. Sabathia has also had a bit of hard luck this season, as his 3.53 xFIP is very solid. His slider and changeup are still great pitches, and Sabathia has still been an innings eating machine, which is still an under appreciated aspect of his game. I still believe that he is capable of pitching like the Sabathia of old and hopefully we see that in the second half of the season.

 

 

 

Yankees First-Half Awards: Results

Will Brett Gardner take home BOTH the Defensive MVP and Offensive MVP award? Read to find out!

Will Brett Gardner take home BOTH the Defensive MVP and Offensive MVP award? Read to find out!

Welcome back Yankees fans! Now, on July 6th, I posted a poll about the Yankees First-Half awards. The poll had now closed and now it’s time to give the results.

DISCLAIMER: I was not allowed/couldn’t vote for anyone in any category in anyway. All of these votes are from you guys.  Now that we are perfectly clear, let’s start with the Pitching Category, shall we?

Who Is the Yankees Starting Pitcher MVP?

For this category, I listed the pitchers that have had either great or s0-so years. (Ivan Nova wasn’t added because he wasn’t in the rotation the entire half and Phil Hughes was plain terrible when I made the poll). So, here were your nominees for the Starting Pitcher MVP.

1) CC Sabathia

2) Hiroki Kuroda

3) Andy Pettitte

4) David Phelps

The Winner Is:

Hiroki Kuroda!

Hiroki Kuroda had a whopping 92% of the vote among Yankees fans. Andy Pettitte was second in the voting at 3% and CC Sabathia and David Phelps were tied with 2%. So pretty much Kuroda had this category in the bag.

Who is the Yankees Bullpen MVP?

Our next category takes us to the bullpen, where we have some of our top relievers that have outperformed above and beyond. (Shawn Kelley, Preston Claiborne and Adam Warren were not listed in this category because there was a specific category for them. We all know why Joba Chamberlain wasn’t nominated in any category, so that’s that.) Here were your nominees for Yankees Bullpen MVP.

1) Mariano Rivera

2) David Robertson

3) Boone Logan

The Winner Is:

Mariano Rivera!

Mariano Rivera had 85% of the vote, so it wasn’t shocking who won. It was shocking who came second. Boone Logan had 11% of the vote and David Robertson came in third with 4% of the vote. I would have figured more people would have voted for D-Rob. Interesting.

Who is the Yankees Bullpen Standout?

Here is the category where I listed some pitchers that weren’t in the other category. (Again, Joba is not in this category). These are some first time Yankees that have opened everyone’s eyes with what they could do. Here are your nominees for Yankees Bullpen Standout.

1) Shawn Kelley

2) Preston Claiborne

3) Adam Warren

The Winner Is:

Preston Claiborne!

Preston Claiborne had 63% of the vote among Yankees fans while Shawn Kelley had 34% of the vote. Adam Warren finished last in this category with 2%. I was surprised with Warren getting the least amount since he has helped out the bullpen so much as well

Now we move on to the Defense Category. 

Who Is The Yankees Defensive MVP?

This category involved multiple players that have opened our eyes with their defense. Luis Cruz wasn’t added to this category because he came after I already made the poll, but we could give him a pat on the back for the great defense he provided. Here are your nominees for Yankees Defensive MVP:

1) Robinson Cano

2) Brett Gardner

3) Ichiro Suzuki

4) Jayson Nix

5) Vernon Wells

The Winner Is:

Brett Gardner!

Brett Gardner quickly ran away (pun not intended) with this category with 69% of the vote. Robinson Cano came in second with 17% of the vote while Ichiro Suzuki came in third with 11% of the vote. Jayson Nix had 2% of the vote while Vernon Wells had 1%.

Onto the biggest award: The Yankees Offensive MVP

This is the final category of the awards. It also was the tightest race out of all the categories. I pulled up the Yankees best three offensive players throughout the first half and the winner…may shock you. Here are your nominees:

1) Robinson Cano

2) Brett Gardner

3) Ichiro Suzuki

The Winner Is:

Robinson Cano AND Brett Gardner!

I know what you’re thinking, how could BOTH of them win the Offensive Award? It was simple. The race was SO tight that by the time voting closed–they were tied. Both Gardner and Cano had 47% of the vote. Ichiro unfortunately was left in the dust with 7% of the vote.

And those are your winners for the Yankees First-Half Awards! Join me again in September after the regular season when we have 2013 Yankees Awards (awards that are for the entire year, instead of the first half).

Yankees First Half Awards Poll

Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner are MVP's for the Yankees, but who will take home  the Offensive and Defensive MVP?

Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner are MVP’s for the Yankees, but who will take home the Offensive and Defensive MVP?

With the All-Star break approaching us, it’s time to reward the Yankees on the team for their hard work that they’ve done for half of the year. It’s been a tough 3 months, but with a loss of many players, the Yankees are still in the hunt for a play-off spot (yes, I know it’s hard to fathom). So, with the first half of the season closing in, it’s time to have a poll on some deserving players who have went above and beyond in trying to help the Yankees. So here are the categories:

Yankees Offensive MVP:

The Yankees have been through a lot through the last 3 months of the season, some good, some bad, some terrible and some horrendous. However, for the Yankees there have been a few bright spots on the team. I had to find at least three players to be nominated for this award and with this lineup–it was very easy to make my decision. So thank you to the rest of the lineup for constantly struggling. Anyway, here are your nominees for Yankees Offensive MVP:

Yankees Starting Pitching MVP:

There haven’t been a lot of bright spots for the Yankees Starting pitching, but so once again it was pretty easy to find at least three (or four) nominees for this subject. So here are your nominees for Yankees Starting Pitching MVP:

Yankees Bullpen MVP:

The Yankees bullpen MVP was the hardest part to choose Yankees nominees (thanks for being so good guys). These nominees went above and beyond to protect the leads for the most part, and even shut down the opposing team’s offense. Here are your nominees for Yankees Bullpen MVP:

Yankees Bullpen Standout:

Now, there are Yankees MVP, and then there are players that have joined the Yankees in the pen for the first time in 2013 and have shut down the offense. So this category is for those players. Here are your nominees for Yankees Bullpen Standout:

Yankees Defensive MVP:

Now, there are some good catches…and then there are catches that leave the offense wanting to throw their helmets down on the floor in anger. Here are your nominees for the Yankees Defensive MVP for the first half of 2013:

Here are the polls, Yankees fans! You have until July 14th to get your votes in and I’ll have the winners posted up during the All-Star Break! You can vote as many times as you want for a player, so good luck and may the best player win.

A-Rod releases statement amid PED scandal

Dan Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal tweeted that Alex Rodriguez made a statement amid the PED scandal that could have him and 20 other players suspended from Major League Baseball. Rodriguez said the following:

Myself and others are being mentioned in a media report before the process is even concluded. I would hope this thing would follow the guidelines of our basic agreement. I will monitor the situation and comment when appropriate. As I’ve said previously, I am working out every day to get back on the field and help the Yankees win a championship.

– Alex Rodriguez

Some of the Yankees players sounded off about A-Rod’s possible suspension from the MLB with the most logical words coming from Brett Gardner.

We haven’t had him the last two months. It won’t change anything.

– Brett Gardner

However, after that statement Gardner said that A-Rod is like a brother to the team. CC Sabathia said that he team will welcome A-Rod back with open arms while Mariano Rivera said that while he won’t press Alex Rodriguez to talk about the scandal, he will listen with open ears if A-Rod has any thoughts, comments or concerns.

Opening Day is coming, so how’s the team shaping up?

Brett Gardner could be a valuable player in the Yankees lineup...

Brett Gardner could be a valuable player in the Yankees lineup…

In a little less than three weeks, the Yankees will begin their home-opener against the Boston Red Sox with CC Sabathia on the mound. However, this year’s Opening Day lineup might be a little different than what we’re used to due to all of the injuries the Yankees were plagued with during the 2013 season. The Yankees are missing Curtis Granderson (broken forearm), Mark Teixeira (strained forearm) and Alex Rodriguez (hip surgery) in their offense which is sure to look like the ‘Robinson Cano Show’ for the first month and a half. But with still some time to go, just how are the Yankees shaping up as they prepare for the season?

Lineup:

The Yankees lineup has many question marks after losing so many players to free agency and injuries. The bats of Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez will be with different ball clubs, while we will most likely have to wait for Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson to return to their post in early to mid-May. However, the lineup hasn’t looked as puzzling as it did when Spring Training started. The Yankees proved that they can manufacture runs by using a key element that they possess: speed. Players like Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki and Eduardo Nunez are capable of getting on base, going station to station on their own before a key teammate has to drive them in with an RBI. Speed will play an important part this season since the Yankees have lost over 100 home runs than in season’s past. But just because the Yankees are relying on speed, it doesn’t mean we should start calling them the ‘Bronx Bunters’. They will still find a way to hit home runs with Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira making their way back into the starting lineup.

Starting Pitching:

Throughout the course of Spring Training, the starting pitching has been one early glimpse of how our starters will perform during the 2013 season. It looks as if they left off from last season. Hiroki Kuroda looks to be in mid-season form, David Phelps has a 0.63 ERA 14 Spring appearances  Ivan Nova has an ERA of 1. Andy Pettitte has still proven that his pitches are effective although he’s the oldest starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. And as expected, there is no concern over CC Sabathia, whatsoever. The starting pitching looks to be one of the Yankees strong points like it was in season’s past. Let’s hope that the pitching can carry the Yanks this season.

Bullpen:

...while Mariano Rivera could be a dynamic piece to the Yankees bullpen

…while Mariano Rivera could be a dynamic piece to the Yankees bullpen

The Yankees bullpen was another one of their key pieces that helped define the Yankees last season. With pitchers such as David Robertson, Boone Logan, Clay Rapada and Joba Chamberlain, it seemed like an easy task to get the ball to the 9th inning before handing it off to the greatest closer of all time, Mariano Rivera. Last season’s bullpen dynamic was different since there was no Mariano in the bullpen due to an ACL injury, giving the Yankees a glimpse of what it would look like if Mariano Rivera wasn’t there. With Rafael Soriano, the Yankees were able to still close games with a dominant force but this year there is no Rafael Soriano. Mariano Rivera plans to retire after the 2013 season, which gives Yankees fans one last look of the greatest closer before he hangs up his cleats and says goodbye to the game. The bullpen is expected to be a strong part of the Yankees once again, and from Spring observations, I wouldn’t be surprised if Shawn Kelley and David Phelps get spots in the bullpen. With both of their arms this spring, the Yankees bullpen could become an iron gate to prevent runs from scoring.

There’s only 17 days until Opening Day so from now until Spring Training is over, it would be a good time to start watching the games to see who has a legitimate shot of making the team. And from what I’ve seen all Spring so far, there are quite a few who have a chance to go north.

Spring Training Notes 2/16/13: Rivera, Sabathia, Chamberlain, Cervelli

Mariano Rivera watching Andy Pettitte throw a bullpen session

Mariano Rivera watching Andy Pettitte throw a bullpen session

The main event for the Yankees today was the bullpen pitching, provided by none other than Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera. Rivera threw his second official bullpen of the Spring, and feeling more and more comfortable on the mound.

“There’s no piece of mind when I say ‘OK, I feel good now.” Rivera said. “No, I knew the job that I put in during the whole year, it’s been a hard job and I always tell you guys I trust myself. I trust God first, then I trust myself. I’m capable to do this. I was expecting this, it feels good. I feel good.”

So what would be the biggest test for Rivera as he gets ready for the season while wearing a knee brace?

“Bunting. Comeback liners. Cover first. All that stuff. You can’t think, you have to react.” Rivera said. “That will be, what I think, the biggest test.”

CC Sabathia is also coming back from surgery, and hopes to make all his starts while staying healthy.

“After the season I had last year, being on the DL a couple of times, getting a little older, I just want to concentrate on staying healthy.” Sabathia said. “Any kind of numbers I feel will be there if I’m healthy, so that’s the only thing I’m worried about.”

Francisco Cervelli has confirmed that he will not play in the World Baseball Classic for Team Italy and made sure that he let the manager know.

“I talked to the manager a couple of days ago, and he understood the situation.”

So what was the situation? Apparently, Cervelli wants to win the catching job with the Yankees in Spring Training.

“This is what I’ve been waiting for.”

– In…interesting…news, Joba Chamberlain has been reportedly been acting a little–out there at camp today. According to Bryan Hoch, he got into a laundry cart and asked Boone Logan to push him in it. That just shows that 1) Chamberlain has an awesome child-like imagination and 2) it’s not all work and no play with that guy.

– Even the manager of the Yankees has to get in some Spring Training workouts this season. After workouts were finished, Joe Girardi spent time doing batting practice with his son Dante, warming up his catching arm. I wonder if Girardi is considering the role of ‘emergency catcher’ this season. I think he still has some game in him.

2012 Yankees Keep Em’ Or Dump Em’ Results (So Far)

Last Saturday, I posted a Keep Em’ or Dump Em’ article where you voted who you wanted to keep or who you wanted to dump. The results…weren’t very surprising. Let’s break down who you’d strongly keep and who you’d strongly throw away.

Keep Em’

David Robertson (96.83%): David Robertson wasn’t as good as he was in 2011, but he was still very effective in 2012. Let the good pitching keep on going, D-Rob.

CC Sabathia (95.59%): CC Sabathia coming back in 2013? No brainer. He’s the ace. The workhorse. He’s CC. Enough said.

Derek Jeter (95.33%): It’s not a surprise that fans would want to keep Derek Jeter after a great 2012 season but after his ankle injury where he had surgery, going into the future you wonder if Jeter can continue to play SS or if he might have to go to the DH Spot.

Hiroki Kuroda (94.12%): For his first year in the American League East, Kuroda did a good job. If Ichiro re-signs with the Yankees, Kuroda would have to be a no-brainer to follow.

Brett Gardner (93.55%): So Brett Gardner proved that you don’t have to play in order to be extremely valuable to the Yankees. After seeing Cirque Du Left Field in 2012, Yankees fans can’t wait to get their speedy outfielder back into playing shape and defending LF like we know he can.

David Phelps (91.18%): In his first rookie year with the Yankees, Phelps was back and forth from the bullpen to the starting rotation. For a first year–he did good. Would be great to see him get a shot in the rotation in 2013.

Andy Pettitte (91.04%): Andy sure was dandy in 2012, so there’s no question why he’s on the Keep Em’ list. I’d bring back Andy too. Who cares if Andy’s 40 years old? He still pitches like he’s 25!

Boone Logan (90.63%): Boone Logan being in the category where players were to be strongly kept surprised me just a tad bit. But hey. Boone Logan was good in 2012. Can he do it all over again in 2013?

Ichiro Suzuki (90%): Ichiro was a mid season trade for the Yankees. A mid season trade that made Brian Cashman look like a pure genius after a plethora of failure trades (hint, hint: Javier Vasquez, Curtis Granderson, A.J Burnett). Ichiro might come back to the Yankees next season–if you guys were the GM and not Cashman. Honestly, I’d like Ichiro back to. No doubt about it.

Eduardo Nunez (89.93%): Eduardo Nunez is (almost) the perfect back up shortstop. He can run and he can hit. Why he’s not perfect? He can’t field. Hopefully Winter Ball will help him in 2013.

Dump Em’

Freddy Garcia (95.59%): Look at the number of people that don’t want Freddy Garcia. I can’t explain that any further.

Andruw Jones (91.94%): After the terrible 2012 season he had, I can see why Yankees fans wouldn’t want him back in 2013. He says he wants to keep playing. Unfortunately, it’s not with this team.

Nick Swisher (85%): Nick Swisher had a good 2012 regular season but consistent playoff failures according to Yankees fans could be what ultimately sends Nick Swisher and his smiling face–out the door.

Derek Lowe (80%): Derek Lowe could be a great starting pitcher (or bullpen) pitcher for any team–but according to fans, it won’t be with the Yankees.

Alex Rodriguez (70%): Let’s admit it. A-Rod’s contract could possibly be the worst contract in baseball history. He’s deteriorating…and the Yankees still have to give him $110 Million dollars in the next 5 years.  Does any team want A-Rod? Going once? Going twice?

* Not all players from the poll are listed. Just the ones that fans strongly wanted to keep and wanted to get rid of.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Joe Girardi’s press conference

Good evening Yankees fans. Today Joe Girardi had his final press conference of the 2012 season and discussed some Yankees. Here was the gist of what Girardi said.

CC Sabathia hasn’t visited Dr. Andrews but Girardi believes Sabathia will be ready for Spring Training.

– Girardi hasn’t spoken to Alex Rodriguez since the end of the postseason and he said that Rodriguez was (totally) healthy during the playoffs. Girardi also said that Alex Rodriguez will be the everyday third baseman.

– Girardi said Ichiro was a treat to be around but he’s not sure if the Yankees will try to bring him back.

– He hasn’t spoken to Mariano Rivera since the end of the regular season.

– There are no nagging injuries from any other player that we don’t know about.

– Girardi expects his coaches to return in 2013.

– And finally, Girardi will not discuss his contract that expires next season until next season is over.

If next season is Girardi’s last year…can there at least be a World Series trophy involved? Just saying.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Cashman on Nunez, Pineda, Long, CC & A-Rod

Good evening everyone. Hope everyone is enjoying the offseason (and if not, hope you’re counting down to Spring Training). Tonight is Game 7 of the 2012 NLCS with the Cardinals and Giants so if you are still watching baseball, watch that game. A reminder that tomorrow night at 7pm, I will be hosting a live chat so make sure to come with questions or comments about the Yankees, free agent market, possible trades, etc. Here are some notes that have been floating around today that have to do with the Yankees.

Brian Cashman had a radio interview yesterday and covered some topics on certain players. Players like Eduardo Nunez, Michael Pineda (I know, you probably forgot all about him), Kevin Long, CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez. Here is what Brian Cashman had to say about each player.

On Eduardo Nunez: “I don’t look at Nunez being valuable in an everyday role other than a shortstop, and we have a shortstop. In terms of everyday status for Nuney, I don’t see one as long as Derek Jeter is standing there.” When asked about why Nunez can’t/won’t be in the outfield, Cashman said “All the calls of putting him in LF. I don’t understand.”

On Michael Pineda: “We have to keep [Pineda] off our radar for now. We’re talking June of next year.” – on Pineda’s shoulder injury.

On Kevin Long: “Kevin Long without question is one of the best hitting coaches in the game. And what took place here is a collective failure  not an individual one, and no one is going to be pointed at as a scapegoat.”

On CC Sabathia: “If he has anything, it’s not considered major, but it’s obviously the time of year to really focus on it.” – on CC’s elbow.

On Alex Rodriguez: “Is he a superstar at that position (third base)? No. But I think when anyone signed that contract, expecting him to be at that level at that age would be unrealistic also.”

Morning Bits: Jeter, Sabathia, Soriano, Bronx Businesses, Martin

Good morning everyone. Welcome to another day of the Yankees offseason but if you want to watch some baseball, the Giants and Cardinals play tonight with everything on the line. Cardinals try to punch a ticket to the World Series tonight while the Giants try to force a Game 7. Let’s get on with the morning links.

– With no Yankees baseball until April in the Bronx, businesses on 161st Street are beginning to suffer this winter.

–  According to Rafael Soriano‘s agent Scott Boras (of course), he says there’s a strong chance that Soriano will opt out of his contract.

CC Sabathia is going to visit Dr. Andrews about getting surgery for his elbow. He would just need to get some spurs shaved off and should be ready by Spring Training.

– Speaking of Surgery, Derek Jeter had surgery yesterday. Jeter should be ready to play in 4-5 months. (Also in the article explains Andruw Jones‘s “excuse” as to why he hit .197 in the regular season).

– 2 Yankees pitchers want the Yankees to bring back Russell Martin next season; CC Sabathia and Derek Lowe (who most likely won’t be on the team next year)

2012 Yankees: Keep Em’ or Dump Em’?

It had been a long, trying season for the Yankees where so much has happened. Yankees have lost Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, at a point lost Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, suffered through hitting slumps by Russell Martin, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson and a surprisingly good regular season by Nick Swisher. But the Yankees didn’t realize that the season doesn’t end after 162 games and fell flat against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS and will now spend their offseason trying to piece it all together. The Yankees have to make decisions before the 2013 offseason, but if you were the GM of the Yankees who would you keep and who would you dump? Infield

Morning Bits: Game Time!, Robinson Cano, Orioles = Red Sox???

Good morning everyone and a happy Sunday to you all!! Tonight CC Sabathia takes the hill in Game 1 of the 2012 ALDS vs. the Baltimore Orioles. Jason Hammel will pitch for the Orioles. First pitch is at 6:15pm! Stay tuned to the blog today where I will post the postseason 25 man roster and the lineup for Game 1. Until then, here are the morning bits!

– Welcome to October! On paper tonight the Yankees have the advantage vs. Jason Hammel but let’s see how this all plays out.

– In 2009, Alex Rodriguez was the Yankees lead man in the postseason. Not this year. This year it’s the best 2nd baseman in the gameRobinson Cano!

– According to Mike Lupica of the Daily News, the Orioles are the Yankees new Red Sox. If you mean annoying to the point where they won’t go away kind of like the pre-2011 & 2012 Red Sox then he’s exactly right.

Yankees Off-Day Notes: Who does NOT make the roster, Pettitte for Game 2

Good evening everyone! It’s day 3 of the 3-day day off for the Yankees as they prepare to play the Baltimore Orioles. Today is the ALDS for the Tigers and the A’s while it’s the NLDS for the Reds and the Giants. Here are some off-day notes about the Yankees:

– The Yankees 25 man roster will be released tomorrow morning but for now, Joe Girardi has told us who will not make the roster. Here are some of players that haven’t made the roster.

Of course we will find out the rest tomorrow as the Yankees will look to defeat the Orioles and attempt to send them into the off-season.

Andy Pettitte will pitch Game 2 behind CC Sabathia, most likely because  Hiroki Kuroda has better numbers at home than on the road.

Now it’s time to vote on what will be the outcome for the 2012 ALDS series!!

Keys to winning in the play-offs

Robinson Cano could be one of the keys to a successful postseason–but what are the others?

The Yankees are ¼ of the way to another World Series Championship. After winning the AL East and outlasting the Orioles, the Yankees will have to take the hot hitting they have had at the end of the year and transfer it to the ALDS and for the rest of the play-offs should they advance. Here are some key tips that the Yankees might want to do in order to go all the way in the play-offs.

Pitch Effectively: The Yankees are going to start with CC Sabathia for the first game and with Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and (possibly) Phil Hughes taking a turn on the mound, the Yankees need to make sure that they pitch effectively and try to limit runs as much as they can. If they can do that then it could give the Yankees a chance to score some runs and win some games.

Hit with RISP: Speaking of scoring runs, the Yankees need to hit with runners in scoring position. That has been their Achilles heel throughout the regular season. The Yankees have gotten a bit better with RISP coming down the stretch when it came to clinching the AL East. Let’s see if that transfers into the play-offs.

Play ABC Baseball: I know this is not the Yankees style but this is one of the few effective ways to score runs without trying to swing for the fences. The Yankees have players with some serious speed now that Brett Gardner is healthy; Ichiro Suzuki is playing the outfield and Eduardo Nunez is available off the bench. With guys like that able to steal bases, it allows the Yankees to get base hits and score them. Remember, homers hurt but speed kills.

A-Rod, Teixeira, Swisher—Wake up: The Yankees need Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher to wake up from their postseason funks and hit the baseball with authority if they want to make it far. Swisher seemed to have been hitting towards the end of the season but Mark Teixeira since coming back from hurting his calf looks lost at the plate and A-Rod has looked lost at the plate all year. A-Rod and Teixeira are pretty lucky they can’t be traded—Swisher not so much so this would be a great time for Swisher to start hitting.

Robinson Cano, Don’t Ya Know: Robinson Cano has been hitting out of this world for the past week and Yankees fans are only hoping that Cano is able to transfer his hitting skills from the end of the season to the postseason. Cano has looked red hot and he could be the person that carries this team all the way to the World Series—kind of like A-Rod did in 2009.

Are there any other keys to the play-offs that you think the Yankees should follow for a successful postseason? Place your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

 

 

Yankees Off-Day Notes: 25 Man Roster, Sabathia, McGehee, Nix, Jeter, Rangers or Orioles?

Good evening everyone. The Yankees don’t play again tonight but there was baseball to be played since the 2 Wild Card games were on TBS. The Cardinals (controversially) won the NL Wild Card game which sent the Braves packing and the Cardinals to the NLDS. Tonight the Yankees will find out whether they are heading to Baltimore or whether they are heading down to Texas. While we wait for that, here are some notes from today.

– The Yankees won’t release the 25 man roster until tomorrow but the Yankees did reveal that Casey McGehee did not make the postseason roster. He reportedly took it hard.

– Joe Girardi confirmed that CC Sabathia would pitch Game 1 of the ALDS but he didn’t say who he was going to pitch in Game 2.

Jayson Nix says that he feels he’s well enough to make the postseason roster but he’s not sure whether he will make the roster.

– I wrote an article for Yahoo! about why I believe Derek Jeter is a Fall Classic legend by becoming “Mr. November” in 2001.

– While watching tonight’s Orioles and Rangers game, who would you rather see play the Yankees in the ALDS: The Orioles or the Rangers?

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