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Spring Training Notes: Run, Jeter, Run!; Granderson speaks with the media

Although camp technically begins tomorrow, since there is a reasonable amount of players at the complex, we might as well start the Spring Training reports today. Here are today’s top stories from Tampa, Florida.

Jeter begins to run

Derek Jeter told reporters that he received the green light to do all activities that do with baseball–including running. Jeter ran for the first time since the surgery and said he felt pretty good.

 “I’m progressing like I told you. I’m right where I need to be. I’ve gotten the okay to do everything.”

Although Jeter is doing well in his recovery, don’t expect him to play Spring Training games right off the bat. Jeter’s goal is Opening Day, the day where everything begins to matter.

Granderson speaks out to the Media

Curtis Granderson reported to Spring Training a week before position players are slated to appear, and wasn’t shy in talking to the media about the topics that have been surrounding him all winter: the speculation that he will move to LF and his contract.

When talking about the speculation on whether Granderson could move to LF, Granderson said he was “open to it” and that he wouldn’t mind the move. Keep in mind fans, Granderson has barely played LF but of course, you want your best outfielder in CF and that’s not Granderson–no offense Grandy.

Granderson also talked about wanting to talk a contract extension with the Yankees. “I’d be a fool not to.”

“I’m so excited about this fourth season and hopefully this isn’t the last one.” Yeah…that’s what Nick Swisher said last season. Where is he now? Oh, right…CLEVELAND.

Granderson also seems serious about wanting to hit better this season, which is why he talked to Ichiro Suzuki about it. Granderson started working out and hitting earlier than usual, which could be useful since he is speedy and could help out the other speed demons on the team: Brett Gardner, Ichiro and Eduardo Nunez to name a few.

Here’s today’s poll:

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Five Most Important Yankees For 2013

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.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees release Chris Dickerson; Jeter out of his boot

After being designated for assignment for the second time in his short career with the Yankees, today it had been announced that Chris Dickerson had been released. Dickerson quickly became a fan favorite, but the issue that the Yankees see with him is that he hits left-handed. It’s an issue because Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki are all left-handed–and there’s no more room for another left-hander on the roster. Since this was his second designation, the Yankees placed him on release waivers instead of out righting him to Triple-A. Every other team had been watching the Yankees closely with the Chris Dickerson saga, so it’s only a matter of time before another team signs him.

In Other News:

– Brian Cashman confirmed today that Derek Jeter is out of his walking boot and is down in Tampa working out. Jeter is expected to be ready by Opening Day but the beginning of Spring Training is extremely questionable.

Yogi Berra is still contemplating whether to join Twitter, but he did tweet from @Yogi_Museum–which has caused a fan frenzy.

– Mark your calendars  Spring Training begins in exactly one month from today. The first official workout for pitchers and catchers will take place on February 13.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees would trade for Michael Morse

So as we all know, the Washington Nationals finalized a two-year deal with Adam LaRoche. Why is this information important to the Yankees? Because Michael Morse no longer fits on the Nationals and now the Nationals are looking to deal him. According to ESPN, the Yankees are one of the teams that are willing to trade for the outfielder. Morse could be a great fit for the Yankees since he can hit both righties and lefties and his power could help the HR tally which will be severely depleted since the departure of Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez.

Morse will be 31 in March, so that means that he has some years left in him. He could be another answer to the Yankees since he’s a right-handed hitter in an outfield full of lefties (sorry Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Ichiro Suzuki). Now, the question is if the Yankees were willing to trade, who would they give up for Morse. Morse is a valuable player so his trade value might mean the Yankees would have to give up some pitchers. If you were the Yankees GM, who would you give up for Michael Morse?

In Other News:

– The Yankees added another game to their Spring Training list: An exhibition game vs. the Washington Nationals. The game will be on March 29, 2013 @ 2:05pm. Tickets will be sold in the near future and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation which is a charitable organization that is committed to improving lives of children throughout the Washington area. For more information on the organization go to www.nationals.com/dream

– Back to the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez has his hip surgery scheduled on January 16, 2013. Dr. Bryan Kelly (who will be doing the surgery) estimates that Rodriguez could be back by after the All-Star Break but since Rodriguez is older, he expects the recovery time to be longer.

– The Yankees still do not want Rafael Soriano. Looks like Soriano is in quite a pickle–no team is really interested in him, and that means the Yankees.

– Now, since the news above is so serious, here’s something that might make you (or your kids) smile: they now sell toys of our New York Yankees players in stores. Don’t believe me? This is what I found while shopping at Modell’s today.

What Are Some New Year’s Resolutions For Our Yankees?

A new year is upon us and with only 43 days until Pitchers and Catchers report, it would be a good time to list some New Year’s resolutions for some of our favorite Yankees. How could some of our players better themselves coming into the season? Let’s take a look.

gardner 3

Brett Gardner‘s New Year’s Resolution should be to have a healthy 2013 season

Brett Gardner: Have a healthy and productive 2013 season.

Brett Gardner had a frustrating 2012 season only playing in 9 games before becoming sidelined with an elbow injury for majority of the season. Gardner is in serious need of a bounce back season. After hitting  a career high .277 in 2010, Gardner dipped a bit in 2011 with a .259 average. Gardner started on his bounce back season in 2012 before an injury and surgery sidelined him until the ALCS series in October when he clearly wasn’t ready to play yet. 2013 is practically a do or die season for Gardner especially with the way the Yankees are heading. Gardner could be used to his full potential–if he can stay healthy.

Mariano Rivera: Go out in style.

2013 is most likely Mariano Rivera’s final year in Yankees pinstripes before he retires and one thing that the veteran closer could do before hanging it up is going out in style. It’s easier said than done since Rivera had surgery on his ACL that he tore last May. Of course, Mo is practically drinking from the fountain of youth. Him going out in style shouldn’t be too hard for him. 

Kevin YoukilisEarn the Yankees fans respect.

Kevin Youkilis is entering enemy territory after signing a one-year contract with the New York Yankees after being with the Boston Red Sox for most of his career. Of course, he’s not exactly welcomed with open arms since Yankees fans know where he came from. Youkilis could use 2013 in order to win the Yankees fans over by having hits with RISP. If he can do that on a consistent basis then I’ll be sold, but until then…he has some work to do.

david-robertson-yankees-alcs-760066eb7f245395_large

David Robertson‘s New Years Resolution should be to outperform the bullpen in hopes of becoming the closer.

David Robertson: Emerge as a closer role figure.

The Yankees are going to need a new closer most likely after this season. One of the consistent figures in the bullpen is none other than David Robertson but of course earning the closer role is going to be tougher than he thought. Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma are in the bullpen this season as well and we all know that they will try to fight for the closer spot. David Robertson has the stuff. He just has to put it into play and if he plays his cards right, he could be the future closer of the Yankees.

Curtis GrandersonMake contact on the ball!

Yes, we all know Curtis Granderson can hit HR’s and they are mighty impressive, but it would be helpful if he could hit for average and not strike out so much. Yankees fans are grateful for the Kevin Long tutorial that took place a couple years ago, but lately it seemed that Granderson is swinging at everything over the moon. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at Granderson’s strikeout numbers. In 2011, Granderson had 169 K’s. His 2012 numbers are worse. In 684 AB he had 195 K’s! That’s almost a third of his at-bats! Grandy, as much as we love your HR’s…you need to hit for average. And while you’re at it, just tell Mark Teixeira the same thing.

New York Yankees: HIT WITH RISP!!!!

I don’t know if I can emphasize this of it’s importance (do the caps help?). The Yankees need to hit with RISP. That’s what done them in during the playoffs for the past 3 years! If it weren’t for A-Rod and Hideki Matsui during the 2009 World Series run, then that playoff could have been a bust as well. I know the Yankees are called the Bronx Bombers for their home runs, but would it kill them to play small ball once in a while?!

Yankees Offseason Notes: February 12 = Spring Training!

So for all of you Yankees fans that can’t wait until the Yankees get back in action, here’s some good news for you–this year, your wait for baseball will be shorter. Yes, Pitchers and catchers will report on February 12th, 2013 and games will start on February 23rd. Why so early for Spring Training games? The answer is simple: the World Baseball Classic is in March, meaning that teams that aren’t from the USA will play against–the USA. Also a special treat, the Yankees will host the Dominican Republic baseball team and Robinson Cano will play for the DR team (it’s just one game vs. the Yankees so I’m sure that it will be fine). Here’s some more information (along with the schedule for this Spring Training season):

Pitchers and Catchers report: February 12, 2013
First Workout: February 13, 2013
Position Players report: February 17, 2013
Team Workout: February 18, 2013

Spring Training Schedule

February 23:  New York Yankees @ Atlanta Braves (Lake Buena Vista @ 1:05pm)
February 24: Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 1:05pm)
February 25: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles (Sarasota @ 1:05pm)
February 26: New York Yankees @ Philadelphia Phillies (Clearwater @ 1:05pm)
February 27: Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 1:05pm)
February 28: Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 1:05pm) (ss)
February 28: New York Yankees @ Houston Astros (Kissimmee @ 1:05pm)  (ss)
March 1: Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 1:05pm)
March 2: Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 1:05pm)
March 3: New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox  (Ft. Myers @ 1:05pm)
March 4: OFF DAY 
March 5: Atlanta Braves vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 7:05pm)
March 6: Dominican Republic vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 1:05pm)
March 7: New York Yankees @ St. Louis Cardinals (Jupiter @ 1:05pm)
March 8: New York Yankees @ Miami Marlins (Jupiter @ 1:05pm)
March 9: Atlanta Braves vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 1:05pm)
March 10: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays (Dunedin @ 1:05pm)
March 11: St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 1:05pm)
March 12: New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays (Port Charlotte @ 1:05pm)
March 13: Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 7:05pm)
March 14: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays (Dunedin @ 1:05pm)
March 15: Miami Marlins vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 1:05pm)
March 16: Philadelphia Phillies vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 1:05pm) (ss)
March 16: New York Yankees @ Atlanta Braves (Lake Buena Vista @ 5:05pm) (ss)
March 17: New York Yankees @ Pittsburgh Pirates (Bradenton @ 1:05pm)
March 18: OFF DAY
March 19: New York Yankees @ Philadelphia Phillies (Clearwater @ 1:o5pm)
March 20: Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 1:o5pm)
March 21: Minnesota Twins vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 7:05pm)
March 22: New York Yankees @ Minnesota Twins (Ft. Meyers @ 1:05pm)
March 23: New York Yankees @ Detroit Tigers (Lakeland @ 1:o5pm)
March 24: Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 1:05pm)
March 25: OFF DAY
March 26: Houston Astros vs. New York Yankees (GMS Field @ 7:05pm)
March 27: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles (Sarasota @ 7:05pm)
March 28: New York Yankees vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (GMS Field @ 1:05pm)

In Other News:

– The Yankees are still waiting on an answer from Kevin Youkilis. We can expect an answer in the coming days.

– The Yankees are closer in a one year deal for Ichiro, which could fill the RF hole if Ichiro can play a full year. The signing could also give the Yankees some leverage if they ever wanted to trade Curtis Granderson and sign Josh Hamilton.

– Also, the Yankees opted out of their contract with StubHub (I am personally outraged), and I ask myself–was stopping the contract between the Yanks and StubHub really necessary? Shouldn’t they be busy putting a team on the field instead of trying to find more ways to get money out of everyone’s pockets?

Winter Meetings Day 3: Chavez, Keppinger off the market as Yanks do nothing

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:

Derek Jeter
Curtis Granderson
Mark Teixeira
Brett Gardner
Robinson Cano

Right now it doesn’t sound too promising for Opening Day, now does it?

Winter Meetings Day 2: Would you trade Curtis Granderson?

Earlier today, the Yankees made clear that Brian Cashman would become open to a trade for Curtis Granderson. Curtis Granderson has an interesting case. He’s a free agent next season, he strikes out about 200+ times a year and he’s not the best defensive CF in the whole entire world. But what makes Granderson so special, so unique that it would become hard to part with him? It’s simple, the man has hit 40 HR’s and has driven in 100+ RBI’s since the Kevin Long tutorial. Now, we all know the Yankees list has gotten longer and longer, but the fact of the matter is, trading Curtis Granderson wouldn’t be the way to get the players we need. I made a poll on Twitter today asking fans if they would be interested in trading Granderson and why. Here were some of the responses I received:

As you can see, the favorite answer is no. Although it would make sense to trade Granderson since he is a free agent next season, like @venomous1913 said, 40 HR’s and 100 RBI players don’t grow on trees. If the Yankees were to trade Granderson, it would have to be for the right price.

In Other News

– If Alex Rodriguez were to sit out for the 2013 season, the Yankees would get insurance on the contract–but it would count against their luxury tax in 2014.

– The Yankees made no deals but they did talk a lot: They spoke with Kevin Youkillis, asked about Marco Scutaro and of Jeff Keppinger.

– The Yankees have to look for a catcher, right fielder, DH and a third baseman. The Yankees are adding assistant hitting coach to the list to work alongside Kevin Long. Is this a panic move I sense?

– If you’re interested, the Red Sox signed Shane Victorino to a 3 year deal meaning that Nick Swisher is no longer considered for the Red Sox RF role. A source close to Swisher did say that if the Yankees or the Angels/Dodgers didn’t want him he would love to go to the San Francisco Giants.

*I had so many responses for my Curtis Granderson twitter poll that I couldn’t use all the answers but thank you everyone for sending in your input. I appreciate your enthusiasm and your answers.

Yankees Offseason Notes: A lot of questions left unanswered for the Yankees

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)

SS Derek Jeter
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
DH ???
CF Curtis Granderson
RF ??
C ???
LF Brett Gardner

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.

Morning Bits: Yankees free agent, Pineda might not return in 2013?, Gardner, Granderson

Good morning everyone and Happy Saturday to all. Let’s get with the morning links, shall we? 

– The Yankees started off the Winter offseason with a bang by giving Nick Swisher, Rafael Soriano and Hiroki Kuroda a qualifying offer. The Mets however have started their winter–very silently.

– Pitching coach Larry Rostchild said that he expects Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Hiroki Kuroda to return. Michael Pineda–might not return in 2013.

– The Yankees might consider moving Curtis Granderson to LF and move Brett Gardner to CF after Granderson’s fielding has diminished over the last two years.

Grading 2012 And Looking Ahead – CF/RF

The 2012 outfield for the Yankees had somewhat of a different look when Brett Gardner went down with an elbow injury and Ichiro Suzuki came along to fill in for the last 2 months. However, the two (somewhat) constants in the outfield were Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher. With free agency coming up, the Yankees have some decisions to make and frankly, the Yankees could have a completely different outfield (aside from Brett Gardner) in 2013.

Center Field – Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson reminds everyone of Detroit Tiger’s Austin Jackson, at least in the speed and strikeout department. Granderson’s power numbers were good: 43 HR’s, 106 RBI’s, the home runs being a career high. However, the disappointing part was the strikeouts and the average. Curtis Granderson struck out 195 times in the regular season and ended the year with a .232 average, his worst since his rookie year in Detroit (.240). Granderson’s postseason was so horrific that fans could actually predict what he was going to do–strike out. He had a .158 AVG against Baltimore in the ALDS and a .000 AVG against the Tigers in the ALCS. How many strikeouts did Granderson have? Sixteen strikeouts in 30 at-bats. That’s counting both series. If it weren’t for Alex Rodriguez and his ridiculous contract, then Granderson would have been hearing a lot of boos from the crowd.

Regular Season Grade: C+
Postseason Grade: F

2013 Outlook: Granderson has an option for 2013, which the Yankees are almost certain to pick up, but 2013 could be Granderson’s last year in Yankee pinstripes. It wouldn’t be all bad. The Yankees have Brett Gardner who can be the CF should the Yankees pick up Granderson’s option and then trade him. The 43 HR’s are nice…but with Granderson’s average and strikeouts, it makes Granderson look like the all or nothing guy.

Right Field -Nick Swisher

Nick Swisher had a good regular year for the Yankees that it almost looked like the Yankees were sure to offer him a contract. I mean, why wouldn’t they? Swisher had a .272 AVG, 24 HR’s, 93 RBI’s, and he walked 77 times in the season. Unfortunately, Nick Swisher forgot that he is supposed to keep hitting in October–and he’s been forgetting that every year he’s been in the playoffs. Against the Orioles, Swisher had a .111 average and against the Tigers, he hit .250. The .250 average looks decent, right? He had three hits in 12 at-bats, and he was five for 30 in the whole postseason. Swisher has a good personality and he lightens up the clubhouse, but the Yankees are not paying him money just so he can smile. He is supposed to have a good bat all year, not become a postseason zombie like his fellow zombies Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson.

Regular Season Grade: B
Postseason Grade: F

2013 Outlook: Nick Swisher will not be a Yankee next year. I can bet on that. Swisher has had too many flubs in the postseason for the Yankees to give him another chance. It is one thing to get into the postseason. It is another thing to go ice cold once you are in. The Yankees could re-sign Ichiro to take Swisher’s spot in right field but when you think about it, at 39 years old is Ichiro really the better choice? The Yankees would have to offer Swisher $13.3 Million when free agency season comes around (which is sometime next week or so) but if he wants Jayson Werth money–he’s going to have to go somewhere else.

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: Jeter, Teammates Reactions

Morning everybody. The Yankees had the biggest blow come to them last night when they lost 6-4 in extras to the Tigers in Game 1 of the ALCS but that wasn’t the worst thing to happen to them. Anyway, Game 2 of the ALCS is at 4pm with Hiroki Kuroda (on 3 day’s rest) taking the mound. Anibal Sanchez for the Tigers will face the Yankees. Here are the morning links.

Derek Jeter made his bad ankle injury worse. Jeter fractured his ankle in the 12th inning and will now be out for the rest of the year.

Andy Pettitte, Joe Girardi and Raul Ibanez all gave their reactions to Derek Jeter fracturing his ankle.

– With some of the Yankees that are struggling such as Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Curtis Granderson, ESPN New York wants to know–would you start’em or bench’em?

– TIQIQ has tickets for both home and away of this series check it out by clicking here.

How should the 2012 postseason roster look?

Right around the corner is the most exciting time of the year for any team—the postseason. While there are teams that have clinched their spot in the postseason, there are teams like the Yankees that are so close to clinching that they could taste it. However, they still have to battle to stay in 1st place in the American League East. While it is almost certain that the Yankees will be in another postseason, the Yankees have other things on their minds as in after they clinch a spot. What will they be doing? They will be preparing their 2012 ALDS roster (if they are in first place by the end of the season). After observing the Yankees for a while, I decided to compile a list of who would make the 25-man roster for the ALDS series against what looks to be the Detroit Tigers. (Statistics are as of the morning of September 28, 2012).

Infield

Derek Jeter (2012 Season: .318 AVG, 15 HR, 57 RBI): Of course, you cannot be in the postseason without the Captain Derek Jeter. Jeter has had a phenomenal year and will end the year with an average over .300. The last time Jeter finished with an average over .300 was in 2009. How did that end out for the Yankees? Jeter had silenced the critics and had done his thing, but can he continue into the postseason and lead the Yankees to another championship?

Robinson Cano (2012 Season: .300 AVG, 30 HR, 82 RBI): Robinson Cano is one of the best second baseman in the game and he knows how to hit. While Cano has been up and down this year, he has been consistent defensively and can help Yankees pitching by preserving runs and getting double plays with a flick of a wrist. He makes that pivot to first base better than any second baseman than I have seen. Cano was one of the very few Yankees who had a hot bat during last year’s ALDS (along with Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner respectively), so it would be nice to see Cano get on a tear.

Mark Teixeira (2012 Season: .255 AVG, 23 HR, 81 RBI): Comparing Teixeira’s numbers from 2011 and from this year, this year has not been Teixeira’s best. But can you blame the guy? He has been sidelined with a Grade 1 strained calf. While he will make the roster for the play-offs, I doubt he will be 100 percent healthy. Teixeira also is one of the few culprits that seem to mysteriously lose his hitting talents in the play-offs. He needs to have a hot and consistent bat in the play-offs or else it could be an early exit for the Yankees—again.

Alex Rodriguez (2012 Season: .276 AVG, 18 HR, 56 RBI): Now, if the stats were for another player say maybe Eduardo Nunez, Chris Dickerson or Brett Gardner that would be a hell of a year. Unfortunately, it is for the guy that the Yankees gave a lucrative contract that last for another 5 years and did not hit the way that the Yankees were expecting. A-Rod is going to make the roster…but all season he has looked terribly lost at the plate. He is also another culprit that has not hit in the postseason in recent years (no, I am not counting 2009). A-Rod needs to get his act together and very quickly or else…you know. A first round exit for the Yankees.

Russell Martin (2012 Season: .209 AVG, 19 HR, 49 RBI): So this hasn’t been Russell Martin’s best year offensively (the 19 HR’s make the .209 AVG look less hideous) but the reason he makes the postseason roster is because of his defense. He also has been heating up at the plate as of late which means he could be on a tear any day now. He also was the only one that did not look lost during the ugly 6-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Thursday night, cranking 2 hits off Morrow. Martin could add to the offense, which could be something that the Yankees need.

Yankees’ Outfield Due For Changes In 2013

Gardner. Granderson. Swisher. How often have you heard those names said together? Too long, is my guess.

Those three guys have been the starting outfielders for New York since the beginning of the 2010 season. Nick Swisher in fact has been saluting bleacher creatures on a daily basis since the 2009 campaign.

All of them have done more than the Yankees could have ever asked when they first arrived in the Bronx. Gardner has become one of the top defensive players in the game, as well as a lightning rod on the bases. Curtis Granderson, as predicted found his power stroke in Yankee Stadium and has now put up back-to-back 40 home run seasons. And Nick Swisher continues to prove he was worth way more than Wilson Betemit – the player the Yankees had to give up to get him. He’s now put up four consecutive 20+ home run, 80+ RBI seasons, recording his 90th RBI today in Minnesota, the first time he’s done that since 2006.

Clearly, this Yankees outfield is one many teams would only dream of having. But to me, this should be the final year those three man the outfield together. Here’s why:

Granderson = Dunn – Maybe Chicago should ask for me to apologize for that Wilson Betemit joke. This season, Curtis Granderson has truly evolved into a strikeout or home run hitter, a la Mark Reynolds or Adam Dunn. He gets his share of doubles, but more often than not he’s heading back to the dugout, bat in hand and shaking his head. 40 home runs are nice, but not as nice as a high batting-average or on-base percentage, something Grandy has never really accomplished in his career, besides batting .302 for Detroit in 2007. Also, his defense is some of the worst among center-fielders, as he constantly is letting balls sail over his head or fall in front of him. As you know I’m no saber-metrics bust, but whatever stat there is for runs allowed, he was high up there in 2011 and once again is in 2012. The Yankees should look to trade Curtis for pitching, be it a #2 starter or a number of solid pitching prospects. Many teams will overlook the many flaws of Granderson to bring in a 40 homer hitting center-fielder. Because the saying does hold true – chicks still dig the long ball.

Melk, anyone? – Call me crazy, but I think the Yankees should strongly look into bringing back the original Melk man, Melky Cabrera. No doubt he has become one of the more idiotic players in recent memory, as he was suspended for 50 games for testosterone and tried to cover it up in the days prior to his suspension. But using PEDs or not, a return to New York could work wonders for him and the Yankees. Certainly, he must have learned his lesson, and if not he’ll be disciplined and put in his place by the Bombers. There’s no fooling around if you’re a Yankee, and a reunion with close friend Robbie Cano could inspire him to do his best and play hard, without cheating. Moving Gardner to center and Melky to left would greatly improve the defense and allow both of those guys to finally play in harmony on baseball’s biggest stage.

Stick it to the Red Sox – If that Melky Cabrera return frightens you too much, how about signing a guy like Cody Ross? That’s what I mean by sticking it to the Red Sox. Have the Yankees bring this guy in (they’re already reportedly very interested) and make him your starting left fielder. This year, in the AL East mind you, so no “can he produce in the division” talk, he’s hit .270 with 21 home runs and 77 RBIs. He also can play right field and a little bit of center, so he’s also a very flexible option in the outfielder. Most importantly to me, this guy has played in the postseason for the Giants, and came up big as the World Series MVP. Whether that’ll transition to New York is a question, but to me he’d be a solid option as the new left fielder as well, all considering Gardy moves back to center.

Swish needs to stay – As mentioned above, Nick Swisher has been arguably the most consistent outfielder in baseball the past four years. The energetic, always positive Swish has been a fan favorite and a very productive hitter, whether near the top or bottom of the Yankees’ lineup. He seems to just complete it- without him, there’s a hole in the order. The Yankees seem to have their sights on moving on from Swisher this offseason, and going younger or bringing in a cheaper option to fill his void. Which could happen and work, but to me, Swisher is essential to the Yankees’ chances next season. He’s still in his prime and simply is a Yankee if I’ve ever seen one. As long as he stays healthy, he should be a lock again for 20 home runs, 80 RBIs, and being a leader in the Yankees clubhouse for 2013. A three-year deal may be what Cashman will need to give him, but it’ll all be worth it if Swish just continues to do what he’s done for the Yanks since 2009.

So that’s my opinion. A Yankees outfield of Ross/Melky in left, Gardner in center, and Swisher in right is young enough and fresh enough to lead to even more production in 2013. Granted, Grandy probably won’t go anywhere and Melky may not be back in pinstripes, but Ross is a very likely option, and keeping Swisher should become a no-brainier for Cashman following this year. No matter what happens, one thing’s for certain – the Yankees outfield will still be one of the best in baseball in 2013.
What do you think the Yankees should do with their outfield? Should it change, or stay the same? Sound off in the comments below…

Week 19 Yankees Player of the Week

The Yankees started to play some better baseball this week. They went 4-2 in an extremely important week of games. They started it off on Sunday with a blow out win to salvage a huge split in Baltimore. They then managed to take two out of three in Boston against a team there was no excuses for loosing a series against. CC Sabathia continued to struggle against Tampa, but Ivan Nova pitched a huge game to even the series going into today. The Yankees struggled hitting with RISP in Boston, but it seems like their offense has gotten better. Eduardo Nunez has provided a big spark, which he could have before if he was actually used. Curtis Granderson has gone on a home run tear. Alex Rodriguez is really getting into a nice grove and Derek Jeter continues to fight through his injury to produce. The nominees for Week 19 Yankees Player of the Week are Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova.

The Case For Granderson:  Granderson was .318, with 5 HR’s and 11 RBI on the week. He sparked the Yankees to the blow out win on Sunday with a HR and 5 RBI coming off the bench. His 2 HR’s were the key to Wednesday’s win in Boston.

The Case For Jeter: Jeter’s hurt ankle has not stopped him this week. He hit .333 with 1 HR and 7 RBI. His consistency this year continues to be amazing.

The Case For Hughes. Hughes dominated Boston on Thursday by pitching 7.1 shut out innings. He allowed only 5 hits on 7 strikeouts. The Yankees only scored two runs for him so it was imperative that Hughes cam through. He has pitched some big games lately.

The Case For Nova: In a very surprising development Nova looked as good yesterday as he has all season. He pitched 6 innings, allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and struck out 8. He pitched even better than those numbers would suggest. He looked dominating at times and left very few pitches in the middle of the plate as he had before.

Curtis Granderson is the Week 19 Yankees Player of the Week. If he can keep this play up it will be big for the Yankees. There were a lot of good candidates this week so vote for your pick in the poll and discuss in the comments.

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