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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?

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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

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.

Who should be on the Yankees 2013 roster?

Some of the Yankees that most likely will make the 2013 roster are Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson. But who are the others?

Looking ahead is not a bad thing. The Yankees looked ahead when it came to releasing the 2013 schedule, so why not look ahead to see who could be on the field when you go to a game in 2013. Here is how I picture the Yankees having their alignment of players in 2013.

Let us start in the outfield, shall we? In left field, we have none other than the Yankees speedster Brett Gardner (2012:  .321 AVG, 0 HR, 3 RBI). Now keep in mind that Gardner has only played in nine games and was shut down for the duration of the season due to elbow surgery. Gardner is a catalyst for the Yankees and plays the game Joe Girardi hates to play–small ball. He gets on base, he steals, he bunts and he is one of the best defensive players in baseball. Gardner is arbitration eligible so do not expect there to be much of a fight since Gardner has not played most of the year.

In center field, we have another speedster but he is known for his power bat, Curtis Granderson (2012: .233 AVG, 37 HR, 89 RBI). 2013 is Granderson’s free agent year and after the Kevin Long tutorial in 2010; Granderson has become a home run hitter. Now, Granderson does not hit for singles or doubles (note the .233 average) but he is a power bat, which is something the Yankees could use in the heart of the lineup. What happens after 2013, we do not know but—at least the Yanks could see Granderson’s bat in the lineup in 2013.

In right field, you may be a bit surprised by my choice but I believe Nick Swisher (2012: .258 AVG, 20 HR, 78 RBI) will be in Yankees pinstripes in 2013. Now, why do I think Swisher will be a Yankee? Because along with Swisher’s good bat in the lineup, he has a charming and bubbly personality that would be sorely missed if he ever left the team. The Yankees were a serious bunch before Swisher came along and now the team seems livelier. Swisher has left an imprint on the team—but if Swisher signs with the Yanks, he cannot expect a $100 Million contract. We are still recovering from 3 of those.

In the infield, we have of course the third baseman Alex Rodriguez (2012: .276 AVG, 17 HR, 50 RBI). A-Rod this season is not A-Rod but he has come back a hot hitter since getting off the DL. In addition, A-Rod is stuck with the Yankees until his contract expires in 2018 (Yikes).

At shortstop, we have the Captain Derek Jeter (2012: .323 AVG, 15 HR, 53 RBI) who becomes a free agent in 2014. There is not much to explain about Jeter except for the fact he is having his best year average wise since 2009.

At second base, there is the young Robinson Cano (2012: .299 AVG, 30 HR, 77 RBI) who is by far the Yankees best player. He plays second base so smoothly and has a great pop to his bat. For a person who does not think he has home run power—he is mistaken. He is a home run hitter. That is all.

Finally, to round out the infield, we have Mark Teixeira (2012: .255 AVG, 23 HR, 81 RBI). Teixeira is stuck with us until 2017 and even if the Yankees wanted to trade Teixeira (they do not), they cannot because of Teixeira’s no trade clause. We might as well make the best of it so Tex…we are going to need lots of game winning and World Series winning HR’s until then.

Week 16 Yankees Player of the Week

The Yankees turned their week around after starting 1-2 by winning 4 straight to go a solid 5-2 on the week. However, there were some very tense moments in the Detriot series. One was when the Yankees nearly blew a 7-0 lead when the Tigers cut it to 8-7 after a bunch of lucky hits and Yankee errors. That was as close as they would get as the Yankees added 4 tack on runs to win 12-8. The next day the Yankees were down 3-2 in the 8th when Mark Teixeira and Eric Chavez hit back-to-back homers to give the Yankees the lead. Rafael Soriano then had to get out of a first-and-third jam in the bottom of the 9th to preserve the win. The Yankees then took advantage of a banged up Toronto team to easily win the 1st two games of that series. The nominees for Week 16 Yankees Player of the Week are Eric Chavez, Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, and Freddy Garcia.

The Case For Chavez: Chavez had an amazing week hitting .474, with 2 HR’s, and 5 RBI. It’s unfortunate that Chavez had to sit in Toronto against the two lefties because he left Detroit scorching hot. He had at last 2 hits in every game and got himself moved up to the fifth spot in the lineup. He had two impressive opposite field home runs in spacious Comerica Park, one of which won the final game and got the Yankees a series split.

The Case For Cano: Cano just kept up his consistent year this week by hitting .367 on the week. Cano also stole 2 bases this week, which is something new for him. It will be interesting to see if he keeps that up at all.

The Case For Jeter: Jeter had another splendid week that much like Cano goes along with his season. Jeter hit .342 on the week, with 3 RBI and had multiple hits in five of the seven games this week.

The Case For Garcia: Garcia continues to get the job for the Yankees and gives them a chance to win nearly every time he takes the mound. He does not do it in a flashy way, but for a #5 starter he gives you a he gives you all you can expect. Garcia won 2 games for the Yankees this week against Seattle and at Toronto. He pitched 6 innings and allowed 2 runs on 5 hits at Toronto. He had a similar performance against Seattle going 5 innings and allowing 2 runs on 5 hits.

Eric Chavez is your Week 16 Yankees Player of the Week in a landslide. Perhaps you feel differently though and you can express your opinions by voting in the poll and talking about it in the comments.

Morning Bits: Toronto Series, Chavez comes up big and more

Good morning all.  Nice that the Yankees salvaged a split with the Tigers.  The Yankee will begin a new series tonight in Toronto.  The first pitch is scheduled for 7:07 PM EST.  On the mound will be Garcia vs Romero.

Enjoy the game and enjoy the weekend.

Now for some links…

Katie Sharp & Mark Simon of ESPN have all the stats to watch for tonight’s game.

Andrew Simon of MLB.com has all the notes and tidbits of the upcoming series with the Jays.

Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com writes that the Yankees are in good shape if they can find their rhythm.

David Waldstein of the NY Times writes how Chavez is coming up big for the Yankees during A-Rod’s injury.

Joe Zemla of Yahoo Sports ponders how many future Hall Of Famers do the Yankees have on the roster.

Teixeira and Chavez go back-to-back as Yankees split series with 4-3 victory over Tigers

After it looked like the Yankees and Tigers weren’t going to play the game due to rain, the rain stayed away and let the Yankees and Tigers play the whole game but there was more than enough drama as the Yankees scratched out a 4-3 victory over the Tigers to even the series at 2.

After a delay of game, the Yankees quickly got two runs in the 2nd inning against Doug Fister after Raul Ibanez tripled to knock in a run, followed by Ichiro Suzuki getting his own RBI. The Yankees game was very emotional when in the 5th inning the Tigers tacked on three runs. The third run never should have scored. Andy Dirks hit a fly ball to left field that umpire Tim Welke called foul, but when the ball hit the ground and rolled away, Welke changed his call to a fair ball, which allowed the third run to score. Joe Girardi immediately came out of the dugout to argue the call and after the umpires felt Girardi was questioning them, they ejected him for his third ejection of the season (all three of his ejections this season came against the Tigers).

The Yankees scored the third and fourth runs in the 8th inning after Mark Teixeira and Eric Chavez hit back-to-back homers to give the Yankees the 4-3 lead. However, the Yankees tight roped their way to the victory after they called upon David Phelps to get two of the three outs in the 8th inning and asked Rafael Soriano to get a four out save. Soriano got into trouble in the 9th inning after Alex Avila doubled and Omar Infante singled to give the Tigers first and third with no one out. However, Soriano was able to induce popups from Ramon Santiago and Quintin Berry and for the final out was able to get Andy Dirks to sky out to Curtis Granderson.

The Yankees now head to Canada where they will face the Blue Jays in a three game set. First pitch tomorrow night is at 7:05pm.

Yankees Report Card: July

It’s that time of the month again where we decide which Yankees were at the top of their class and which Yankees just didn’t make the grade in July’s Yankees Report Card. After a stellar June, the Yankees had a so-so July but some Yankees players that were struggling really improved their game and earned a higher grade. If you don’t agree with the grade that any Yankee gets, put the grade that you believe they deserve in the comment section below. Now, onto grading those Yankees!

Derek Jeter (A): Derek Jeter was on fire in the month of July, hitting a .346 average with 37 hits and 7 doubles. Jeter doesn’t hit for power (he only has 1 HR in July) but he has been able to get on base so his fellow teammates can make some damage. Maybe Jeter can continue his hot-streak in August. I know one thing–Derek Jeter is not too old to play baseball.

Curtis Granderson (B+): Curtis Granderson only had a .245 average this month, but he has been the one that has helped pick up this team with 5 HR’s, 10 RBI’s, 2 doubles and 2 triples. Granderson is now required to pair up with Robinson Cano to supply power since A-Rod is currently on the disabled list but if there is anyone that can do it, it’s Curtis Granderson (also, he might be interested in hitting a HR whenever he can since he gets rewarded with ice pops.)

Mark Teixeira (A+): Mark Teixeira had his best month in the month of July with a .298 average. He also had 7 HR’s, 14 RBI’s, 12 walks, 5 doubles and a triple. Teixeira would have normally have gotten an A, but after hitting a HR off Vicente Padilla during the Yankees/Red Sox series, Teixeira deserved a higher mark for 2 reasons. One, he was the bigger man in their rivalry and two, what other way can you say don’t mess with me by hitting a 2 run homer that temporarily tied the game?

Alex Rodriguez (A): The month of July was A-Rod’s best month average wise with a .314 average. His HR and RBI numbers had slightly decreased from June since he only had 2 HR’s, 9 RBI’s, 5 doubles, 1 triple and 1 walk. It seemed as if A-Rod was getting everything together–until Felix Hernandez took that all away with one pitch that hit him in the wrist, thus forcing him to go on the DL for 6-8 weeks. Yankees may not see A-Rod until the end of September, but the Yankees were able to add depth by trading Chad Qualls for Casey McGhee. Let’s see how A-Rod returns: will he be the one that the Yankees can rely on, or will he get into his early season funk once again.

Robinson Cano (A): Robbie Cano has been the one that had carried the Yankees to first place, he had been the one that carried them when they were struggling (even when he was struggling himself) and Robbie Cano continues to carry this team with a .314 average. Cano had 4 HR’s, 14 RBI’s, 5 walks and 6 doubles which proves that even when Robbie gets base hits, a lot of them count for something. Let’s hope Robbie can continue his streak in August (we know he will, he’s Robbie Cano!)

Nick Swisher (B-): Nick Swisher didn’t hit for average in the month of July, only hitting .222 but he could have done more if he wasn’t injured with a strained muscle near his hip. Swisher hit 2 HR’s, 8 RBI’s, and hit 3 doubles all in 63 at-bats. When Nick Swisher is healthy, he is able to change his team. When he’s not healthy, then–the team somewhat misses him. But with Ichiro Suzuki possibly vying for a right field spot next season and this being Swisher’s walk year, he might want to consider getting on a gigantic hot streak. But–Swisher’s smile and personality might win his teammates, the fans and the front office over.

Raul Ibanez (B): One of the best acquisitions of the 2012 season has to have been Raul Ibanez and he continues to prove that he is an important piece to the Yankees bench. In the month of July, Ibanez hit .279 which is his second best month (May was .288). Ibanez has 3 HR’s, 10 RBI’s, 5 walks, and 4 doubles. The one flaw this month from Ibanez was that he struck out 17 times which was the most he struck out in a month this season. As long as Ibanez hit’s HR’s for power, then I don’t care.

Russell Martin (D): Russell Martin continues to struggle at the plate which is making the Yankees scratch their heads. Martin hit .183 in the month of July which means his average is still below the Mendoza line. Martins’ best month? May with a .203 average. I know the Yankees aren’t expecting much out of Russell Martin, but the least he could do is hit! Is it too much to ask? Hopefully August he’ll turn it around?

Andruw Jones (B-): Andruw Jones didn’t hit for average this month, but he played an important part for the Yankees in July. While Jones only hit .218 in the month of May, he did have 5 HR’s, 11 RBI’s, 2 walks and 2 doubles. Jones is an important part to the Yankees when he plays and although his average doesn’t say much, he is always doing something to help his team win.

Chris Stewart (B-): Chris Stewart has been a delightful surprise for the Yankees due to his catching skills and his ability to call a ballgame. Although his bat is nothing to ‘ahh’ over, he has done everything the Yankees wanted (and he has a higher batting average than the primary catcher Russell Martin). Yep, I think that Chris Stewart is going to fit in quite nicely around here.

Jayson Nix (B): Jayson Nix is another pleasant surprise for the Yankees, since he is doing exactly what the Yankees wanted. He plays great defense, he gets base hits when they matter and in July, Nix has shown power. Nix hit 2 HR’s and has 6 RBI’s in the month of July which means when it’s up to him, ‘Nix Knocks’.

Eric Chavez (B+): Chavez continues to prove just how important he is to the Yankees bench and once again, he has done what he has to do. In July he hit a .264 average with 4 HR’s, 9 RBI’s and 7 walks. Chavez is another Yankee that proves that age isn’t anything but a number. Let’s keep it up Chavez, shall we?

CC Sabathia (B-): For the ace of the Yankees, this wasn’t exactly the month that CC Sabathia was hoping for. After being on the disabled list in late June-early July, CC hasn’t exactly came back into form yet. For the month of July he holds a 4.26 ERA and a 1-0 record (he has 2 no decisions). In good news he only gave up 9 runs this month which was his low point during the year. The Yankees expect to see their ace back in August–and we are sure CC expects to see himself return to form as well.

Hiroki Kuroda (B-): Hiroki Kuroda has had worst months in the past, so looking at his numbers here it was pretty good. In the month of July, Kuroda has a 2-0 record and a 3.60 ERA. The good news is that he’s 2-0. The bad? In the month of July he gave up 15 runs (14 of them were earned, but they all count in the game). Kuroda isn’t supposed to be lights out, but he has to get better at stranding runners when there is an error.

Ivan Nova (D): Ivan Nova is usually one of the Yankees youngest and brightest stars on this team, which is why I don’t understand how he could have a 5.97 ERA in the month of July. Nova had seemed to have been getting it together last month, but this month makes everyone question what’s wrong with Nova. Is something wrong with his mechanics? Is he not hitting spots because he’s concerend that the might get hit hard? And why did he give up 27 runs (23 earned)? Nova has to do better in August because if he doesn’t then he could quickly find himself back at Scranton. Remember–he has options.

Freddy Garcia (B-): Now, we aren’t expecting Freddy Garcia to throw shut-outs in each and every game. It’s not going to happen. But the month of July has been a solid month for Garcia after having a 2-3 record and a 4.00 ERA. I know what you’re thinking, a 2-3 record is not solid. It should be if this team is the Yankees. In the 3 starts that he lost, he had given up no more than 4 runs. After going from the bullpen to the starting rotation, Garcia has done okay, but he’s doing well enough to stay in the rotation.

Phil Hughes (B): Phil Hughes has easily been the Yankees best starter in the month of July with a 2-2 record and a 3.09 ERA. Although Hughes’s issue is the home run ball (He gave up 6), he really has done a fantastic job for the Yankees and is definetely looking like the Phil Hughes of 2010. Also, his ERA as a whole is 3.96 which is much better than where he started the season at.

Cody Eppley (B+): In the beginning of the year, it would have been very easy to send Cody Eppley back to Triple A because the Yankees knew they could, but that isn’t the case now. In the month of July, Eppley has a 2.53 ERA while only giving up 4 runs (3 earned) in 10.2 innings pitched. Eppley has become such an important part of the bullpen and is trusted in preserving leads and getting out of situations with his right handed sidearm motion. As we all know, Eppley has been doing his job and he’s fantastic at it.

Clay Rapada (B): We can’t really grade Clay Rapada since he only pitched 4.2 innings in the month of July (the Yankees haven’t really needed him) but only giving up 2 runs isn’t all that bad. Rapada is still an excellent complementary pitcher to Cody Eppley (Rapada has a left handed sidearm motion), and without him the Yankees would only have 1 lefty in the bullpen (Mr. Boone Logan).

David Phelps (A+): The incredible David Phelps has done so much for the Yankees since he came back from Triple-A to get more work in. Phelps in July was known as the pitcher to give the Yankees some length when one of the starters only made it 5-6 innings, and he has stopped the Yankees opponents stone cold. In 13.1 IP, he has a 0.68 ERA while giving up 1 run on 4 hits with 21 strikeouts. Now, I don’t know who the other David Phelps with a 7.36 ERA in June is, but this is more like the David Phelps that we all know.

Boone Logan (D): Boone Logan is easily one of my favorite Yankees (we share the same birthday, so what’s not to like) but no matter how much I like him, I don’t like his numbers for the month of July. In July he has a 9.95 ERA which means in 6.1 IP he gave up 7 runs on 8 hits. That sounds like the starts that some of the starting pitchers have been having, and it’s not pretty. Hopefully Logan can get it together this month and if he can’t–then he’ll just be the lefty that no one can count on, and we don’t want that now do we?

David Robertson (A): David Robertson is once again back into form for the Yankees in the month of July after what seemed like he struggled after coming off the disabled list. Robertson in the month of July had a 1.54 ERA which easily means that Robertson is the pitcher the Yankees can count on before giving the ball to Rafael Soriano. We expect great things from you in August Mr. Robertson but please, can we ease up on the Houdini tricks? They are bound to give someone a heart attack.

Rafael Soriano (A): This hasn’t been Rafael Soriano’s best month but it certaintly wasn’t his worst. He was 9/10 for saves and even the great Mariano Rivera isn’t perfect when it comes to save situations. Soriano has been the most consistent in the bullpen which is why he is the best go-to person for the Yankees. Also, when he complete’s saves I really enjoy when he untucks his shirt to celebrate a Yankees win, and I’m sure a lot of Yankees fans enjoy it as well.

Yankees Acquire Casey McGehee

According to Joel Sherman, the Yankees have traded RHP Chad Qualls to the Pirates for 3B/1B Casey McGehee. In 293 PA this year, the right-handed McGehee has hit .230/.297/.377. He will be beneficial as another right-handed bat in an otherwise heavily left-handed roster with the injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. This year against left-handers, McGehee has a very strong 119 wRC+, a .348 wOBA, and a .807 OPS. He also brings a lot of value as a pinch hitter with a line of .292/.382/.542 coming off the bench in his career which is rather impressive. McGehee plays both 3rd and 1st base so he can add some pop to the lineup at 1st base while Teixeira is out, and then he could probably platoon with Eric Chavez at 3rd with A-Rod out. Sherman also notes that the Pirates are giving the Yankees $225,000 of the $485,000 differential between the contracts of Qualls and McGehee.

Chad Qualls was going to be the odd man out of the bullpen anyway with Joba Chamberlain returning from the DL so this is a good move by Cashman to get some value out of the right-hander instead of simply sending him down or DFA’ing him. However, this trade doesn’t come without a negative side, as McGehee’s defense at third base is not anything to rave about. Also as William J. of The Captain’s Blog pointed out on Twitter, the trade makes the Yankees lineup even more suscepible to splits as McGehee is extremely weak against right-handed pitching (.222 AVG, .616 OPS, 67 wRC+ this year).

Joba will be activated tonight and will be a great piece to have in the bullpen as someone who can get both righties and lefties out.

Do the Yankees Have Too Many Platoon Players?

Brian Cashman has done an incredible this season of finding great players to produce that he got at a minimal cost. Guys like Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, Jayson Nix, Cody Eppley, Boone Logan, Clay Rapada, and now Ichiro Suzuki have done a great job in their roles. While these players have all been very good contributors to the Yankees they all have one thing in common. They’re all either platoon players or OOGY pitchers. This really hampers what Joe Girardi is able to do late in games. Yes, sometimes he over manages, but this roster configuration doesn’t do him any favors.

A perfect example of how having too many platoon players can hamper Girardi occurred in Wednesday’s win over Seattle. With the Yankees down 2-1 in the 8th Raul Ibanez was due up against a lefty with the bases loaded and 1 out. None of Girardi’s options in this situation were good at all.  Ibanez has been on base a grand total of 7 times this season against lefties in 35 AB’s. He is batting .171, with 0 HR’s, 0 RBI, and a .452 OPS. Girardi’s only option to avoid using Ibanez in that spot was to pinch hit for Jayson Nix and most likely have Seattle manager Eric Wedge bring in a righty to face him. It worked out as Nix hit a bases clearing double, but Girardi was really handcuffed in that situation, as Nix was only 1-20 against righties this year prior to that AB. The same situation came up the previous game with Ibanez up against a lefty with the game on the line. This time Jones was available on the bench and Girardi should have went with him against the righty, but that situation is not really ideal either.

I probably noticed this more on this west coast trip due to Nick Swisher being out and Jones and Ibanez both having to play even more, but even with Swisher back the Yankees will be very vulnerable to left handed pitching with Alex Rodriguez out. A-Rod was the only right handed power player the Yankees have other than Jones and Mark Teixeira when he bats righty. Those fans who were booing him before will learn the lesson the hard way about what life is like without him. Losing a middle of the order guy with a team that is weak at the bottom of the order hurts greatly. Chavez is a fine replacement if he can stay healthy but he won’t be able to hit lefties and Jayson Nix will have to. I had no issues with the Ichiro pickup before A-Rod got hurt. He will be a very nice fill in for Brett Gardner and would have been a nice addition to the bottom of the order. Now he may have to hit lead off. He has very nice road numbers this year and getting out of Safeco Field and into a pennant race should revive him. However, if Cashman knew A-Rod was going to be out he might have tried to get somebody who could hit lefties as Ichiro is only hitting .236, with 0 HR’s, 8 RBI, and a .510 OPS against them. So now you have Ichiro, Chavez, and Ibanez who can’t hit lefties. You also have Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson who have not been as good against them this year as last year.  This all leaves them very vulnerable against lefties late in games and there is not anything Girardi can do about it.

The Yankees also have a similar problem in the bullpen. The Yankees have 3 OOGY pitchers in Logan, Eppley, and Rapada. They also have one guy in Chad Qualls who can’t get anybody out. The 3 OOGY pitchers have been great at what they do but that is what they’re limited to. So at the moment 4 of your 7 bullpen players are either OOGY’s or are incapable of getting anybody out. Fortunately, Joba Chamberlain has been lights out in the minors and should be coming to the Yankees real soon. He is a non OOGY pitcher who should be able to help solve this problem. You like to be able to matchup in the bullpen but you also like to have guys who can get both lefties and righties out so you do not have to burn through so many pitchers.

Martin’s 2 errors costs Yanks as they fall to Rays 7-4

Yesterday it was Mark Teixeira’s error that cost the game. Tonight it was Russell Martin and his 2 errors that cost the Yankees the game as they fell to the Rays 7-4.

Ivan Nova started the game for the Yankees, but he wasn’t at his sharpest giving up 6 runs (3 were earned) in 6 innings plus. 3 of the runs should not have scored but Russell Martin botched a throw home by Dewayne Wise in the 3rd which helped the Rays tie the game. Later in the 7th inning, Martin threw a ball into center field which allowed another run to score. Not only has Martin been dismal at the plate but his defense was off tonight as well.

Chad Qualls allowed a run of his own to score in the 7th inning which led to the Yankees falling behind to the Rays. The Yankees originally had given Nova a 3 run lead after the first two innings on Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano RBI doubles and a Dewayne Wise HR. The 4th run scored on an Eric Chavez double.

Tomorrow the Yankees play an afternoon game at 3:10pm where it’s the battle of the David’s. David Price will go for the Tampa Bay Rays and David Phelps will go for the Yankees in hopes to prevent the Rays from sweeping the Yankees.

Hughes cruises for 8 innings as Yanks beat White Sox 4-2 to tie series

In the first inning of the game, Phil Hughes was off to an inauspicious start as he let 2 runs score and left the Yankees in a 2-0 hole. Since the first inning he had put 0′s up on the scoreboard as the Yankees were able to defeat the White Sox 4-2 to tie the series at 2 games apiece.

Phil Hughes after the rocky first inning in which he gave up 2 runs and 3 hits went 7 more innings giving up 0 runs and 3 hits. Hughes went 8 innings with 2 runs on 6 hits with 8 strikeouts. Rafael Soriano came in the 9th inning to seal the deal and give the Yankees their 1st victory in July.

In the 2nd inning, Raul Ibanez singled and Eric Chavez hit a 2 run homer which tied the game at 2. In the 3rd inning Robinson Cano hit a 2 run homer with Mark Teixeira on base which gave them the 4 runs they needed to beat the White Sox.

Now the Yankees head on their final road trip of the first half of the season as they play 3 games in Tampa and 4 games in Boston (2 games on Sunday due to a doubleheader). Tomorrow it will be Freddy Garcia vs. the Rays pitcher Matt more as Garcia auditions for the rotation spot while Andy Pettitte & CC Sabathia are out with injuries. First pitch will be at 7:05pm.

Yankees Report Card: June

Here’s a new monthly article I like to call the Yankees Report Card. Every month based on the Yankees performances (pitchers included), I will give them a letter grade from A-F and explain why they got the grade they deserved. If there is a grade that you might not agree with, place the grade that you would have given a player down in the comment section below. All stats are as of June 26. 

Derek Jeter (B): Derek Jeter’s bat hasn’t been as hot as it was in April & May since his average is .240 in the month of June. However, Jeter hit 2 home runs in the month of June (He’s not a HR hitter so it’s remarkable) and he has 7 RBI’s.  It also helps that he kept his average over .300 for the past 3 months. A downside as to why Jeter didn’t get a higher grade? He struck out 17 times.

Curtis Granderson (B-): Curtis Granderson’s average for June is .211, but of course we all know Curtis Granderson isn’t hitting for average. In the month of June, Granderson hit 5 home runs, drove in 14 RBI’s and walked 13 times in the month of June. Granderson’s strikeouts are however a little outrageous. He struck out 29 times in June which brings his total for the season so far to 86.

Mark Teixeira (B): Again, it looks as if Mark Teixeira isn’t hitting for average since he’s batting .241 in the month of June. Instead Tex is hitting for power and RBI’s. Although he’s only hit 3 HR’s, he’s driven in 13 runs and walked 13 times. He also doesn’t struck out a lot since he’s only done it 14 times. Teixeira also has been hitting with RISP lately which was why I bumped his average from a B- (which was his original grade) to a B.

Alex Rodriguez (B): Alex Rodriguez hit only .225 in the month of June, but he hit 6 HR’s, drove in 15 runs and walked 11 times. Although A-Rod is looking a little hotter at the plate, June wasn’t his best month. May was. If he keeps hitting home runs that help win games then he’ll continue to pass on his report card.

Robinson Cano (A): Robinson Cano’s bat in the month of June is “muy caliente”. After a slow start to the season, Cano is batting .325 in the month of June while also hitting 9 HR’s, driving in 16 RBI’s and walking 12 times. It seems to me with the 9 HR’s that Cano is hitting, he’s practicing for the Home Run Derby. Well then by all means, you don’t need the practice, but keep hitting them anyway Robbie. Chicks dig the long ball.

Nick Swisher (A): June has been Nick Swisher’s best month by far with a .338 average. Swisher hit 4 HR’s, drove in 14 RBI’s and walked 10 times. Not only that, but Swisher has been making great plays in the outfield. Swisher makes watching him play in right field fun, and not only that but you can’t help but get a smile on your face just by watching Swisher play with a smile on his face.

Raul Ibanez (C-): In the month of June, Raul Ibanez has seemed to have faltered a bit after having a good April and May. In June, Ibanez is hitting .169 with 2 HR’s & 7 RBI’s. He also has only walked once. The good we can take away from this is that he only struck out 8 times. That’s something, right?

Russell Martin (D+): Well, June has been Martin’s best month so far–but the numbers are still pretty bad. Martin’s batting .217 in June with 4 HR’s & 9 RBI’s. The only reason he doesn’t get lower than a D+ is because he knows how to call games, but hitting the baseball is just as important as calling a game Russell. Maybe July will be your month?

Andruw Jones (D+): Andruw Jones hasn’t played a lot in June–but that’s no excuse for doing almost absolutely nothing at the plate. Jones only hit 2 HR’s & drove in 4 runs in 34 at-bats. His average is also at .206. He doesn’t get an F however because he does do well in the outfield when he’s in there but seriously Andruw, where’s the power?

Chris Stewart (B): Chris Stewart has 8 at-bats less than Andruw Jones and he has been able to do more with his at-bats. Stewart is batting .306 in June and has driven in 4 RBI’s but don’t expect the ball to go out of the park with him. He also is known for calling great games and his defense is good (I know he made a mistake in the Mets series finale game but come on, everyone makes mistakes). Stewart always does something when he plays which is probably why Cashman and Girardi thought it made most sense to go to him as a backup catcher. Well, wherever you got him from, don’t return him. He’s awesome.

Jayson Nix (B-): Nix hasn’t gotten a lot of at-bats in the month of June, but he has been able to get on base with a .263 average in June. Nix has no homers or RBI’s but he’s a bench player so it’s understandable. Whatever you’re doing to get on base Nix, don’t stop.

Eric Chavez (B): Eric Chavez is another one of those bench guys that is always doing something amazing (when he’s not injured). Chavez has a .294 average in June with 2 HR’s & 4 RBI’s but what really makes him deserve a B is that he’s a great defender at third base when Alex Rodriguez is out of the lineup. Of course did you expect anything less from Chavez? Chavez is a 6 time Gold Glover after all.

Dewayne Wise (B-): June has been Dewayne Wise’s best month so far with a .286 average. It also helps that he got his first home run of the season in the month of June–and how it was a 3 run homer.

CC Sabathia (B+): CC Sabathia is the Yankees ace but he has looked like he doesn’t have great command of his pitches. In 5 starts he’s 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA with 36 strikeouts. It however amazes me when CC doesn’t have his best stuff and then he ends up going into the 7th inning or so which gives the bullpen a break.

Hiroki Kuroda (A-): Hiroki Kuroda in the month of June has been flat out terrific. He’s 3-1 with a 2.38 ERA with 32 strikeouts. It’s also Kuroda’s first winning month of the season. Kuroda was 2-3 in both April and in May. Impressive, huh?

Ivan Nova (A+): Ivan Nova in the month of June has been flat-out dominant. He’s 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA  with 22 strikeouts. He’s also 9-2 on the season which is very impressive. Who said that Nova was going to have a Sophmore slump?

Andy Pettitte (B+): Andy has sure been good in the month of June, which is why his record is 1-1 with a 3.08 ERA. Both of Pettitte’s starts were good, even the loss (if you take out the 5 run 1st inning from the Mets). Andy, are you sure you’re 40, because you’re pitching like an All-Star.

Phil Hughes (B+): Phil Hughes has been great for the Yankees in June going 4-1 with a 2.67 ERA. The only thing that stopped him from getting an A-? He’s given up 7 HR’s in the month of June. Other than that, he looks like the Phil Hughes of 2010!

Cody Eppley (B+): Cody Eppley has been one of the biggest surprises in the Yankees bullpen only giving up 5 earned runs in 18 innings which results in a 2.50 ERA. He’s also held opponents to a .234 average against him. It helps to have a right handed side armer, doesn’t it?

Clay Rapada (A+): Clay Rapada has emerged from the Yankees bullpen and has became one of my favorite pitchers to watch. He is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA and holds batters to a .071 average against him! I had been rooting for Rapada to make the team since Spring Training so it makes me glad that he has a chance to show Joe (Girardi) what he can do.

Freddy Garcia (A): Ever since being placed in the Yankees bullpen, Freddy Garcia has been dominant. He’s 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA and holds batters to a .190 average. I’m still a little iffy about Garcia though since I don’t fully trust him, but he’s been doing well so I tip my cap to him.

Boone Logan (A):  Boone Logan is in Clay Rapada territory meaning that he has one of the lowest numbers in the bullpen. He’s 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA while holding batters to a .107 ERA. This bullpen just gets better and better, doesn’t it?

David Robertson (A-): David Robertson was on the DL for a bit but when he came back he was a little rusty in his first outing which explains the 2.45 ERA in June, but since then he’s been Houdini. Stranding batters and striking them is all apart of Robertson’s description. Girardi has been cautious of Robertson since he is just coming back from an oblique injury, but he’s having another great year.

Rafael Soriano (A+): Can anyone say ‘lights out’? Soriano is having a ridiculous month with a 0.96 ERA in the closer role. It makes the Mariano Rivera season ending injury a little less painful when you have someone who is already a closer in the bullpen. Soriano, keep it up.

Cory Wade (F): Cory Wade in June is very baffling. The guy has an 11.05 ERA and seems to be having trouble straightening himself out. Well, Wade better get it together soon or he might be wearing a new uniform in the Yankees organization. Maybe a Scranton Wilkes-Barre uniform?

Yanks fall to Mariners 6-2 in Andy Pettitte’s return

It was a joyous day in Yankee Stadium on an early Sunday afternoon as Andy Pettitte made his way to the mound. He knew that he was ready to take on the Seattle Mariners lineup and start his 2012 season on the right foot. Although he didn’t walk away with the win, Andy did walk away (somewhat) on the right foot. Pettitte had given up 4 runs in 6+ innings pitched but received the loss because the Yankees offense couldn’t get the clutch hit.

The Yankees had plenty of opportunities to score, especially in the 5th & the 8th inning. They started both those innings with the bases loaded and no one out, but all the Yanks could do was get 2 runs; both on walks. Derek Jeter grounded into a double play in the 5th and Mark Teixeira grounded into a double play in the 8th thus ending the Yankees rally.

Nick Swisher raised some eyebrows in the 9th inning when he tried to stretch a double into a triple and was gunned down at third. Swisher ended the rally in the 9th as Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez  both flew out to end the game.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Yankees head to Camden Yards for 2 games in which I like to call “their home away from home”. Ivan Nova will pitch tomorrow and CC Sabathia will pitch on Tuesday before the Yanks pack it up and head to Toronto.

Yanks fall to Rays 4-1 after Robertson blows save

Going into the top of the 9th inning, the Yankees were leading 1-0 and put their closer David Robertson on the mound. Usually with Robertson, it’s somewhat an automatic 1, 2, 3 game over inning right? Wrong. Robertson gave up 4 runs in the top of the 9th which gave the Rays a 4-1 victory over the Yankees.

WALKING ON A TIGHTROPE: Ever since the 1st inning, the Yankees had been walking on a tightrope with a slim 1 run lead. The lead wasn’t going to last long when in the 9th inning, David Robertson gave up 4 runs on 3 hits in 0.2 of an inning. Let’s not all freak out now. Robertson was bound to give up runs at some point. He’s not a robot. But did it have to come 3 outs away from a victory?

GARDNER PASSES REHAB GAMES WITH FLYING COLORS: Brett Gardner played his second rehab game during the Yankees game and did another amazing job. Gardner was 1 for 2 with a triple and 2 walks. Gardner seems to be ready to go and can be recalled as early as tomorrow if Joe Girardi feels Gardner is ready. Gardner can come back to the Bronx but he might not play tomorrow due to a left hander being on the mound (David Price).

MO HAS BLOOD CLOT; ALL IS WELL: Mariano Rivera had a blood clot in his right knee but it was taken care of. Mo spent last night at the hospital getting treatment and is still getting treatment as of today. Mo will not have surgery on his torn ACL as of yet since the doctors want him to maintain mobility of his knee and Mo is unsure how the blood clot happened in the first place.

CHAVEZ TAKES IMPACT TEST: Eric Chavez took an impact test which is mandatory for players on the concussion DL. Chavez doesn’t know the results and neither will we until the results get to Joe Girardi.

WHAT’S NEXT: The series finale between the Yankees and the Rays will commence with CC Sabathia on the mound for the Yankees and David Price for the Rays.

The Injury Update

The last 4 weeks of the season have been very eventful. The Yankees have been on an up and down rollercoaster with their offense, their pitching isn’t up to par and the Yankees have caught the bug that no team wants; the injury bug. Star players that make an impact in the lineup or on the bench are either shut down or put on the disabled list. It’s only the beginning of May and the Yankees have lost key players to injuries. Let’s take a look at some key players and where they are coming along on their road back to the lineup/rotation/bullpen.

Brett Gardner
Injury: Bone bruise on elbow, muscle strain
Placed on DL: April 19, 2012

Yankees OF Brett Gardner

Let’s put it this way: Brett Gardner didn’t have a good April. Oh, there was nothing wrong with his numbers–the numbers were perfect. It was just the issue of bad luck. A couple of days before Gardner was placed on the DL, he had a stomach bug that was going around the clubhouse. Gardner was able to recover from that quickly, but the Yanks would lose him once again; this time a bit longer.

After making a spectacular catch the night before, Gardner felt soreness in his elbow just 20 minutes before the game was to begin. Gardner had an MRI and it revealed that he had a bone bruise in his elbow. He also had a slight muscle strain. Gardner was placed on the 15 day DL and was eligible to come back on Thursday. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be so.

Gardner still felt a bit of pain from the bone bruise (the muscle strain has healed) and he was shut down once again by Girardi. Gardner will most likely not play through the Kansas City series but the Yankees are anticipating having him back by next week.

Nick Swisher
Injury: Low Grade A Hamstring strain
Placed on DL: N/A

Yankees OF Nick Swisher

Nick Swisher was hoping for another good start to the season. Unfortunately 3 weeks into the season, Swisher suffered a low grade A hamstring strain during a game. Swisher was given a time-able that he would return in 1 week, but Swisher was optimistic thinking that he could be back by the time the Royals series started.

Girardi put his foot down, saying that Swisher will not play until next week.  Swisher hadn’t done much work since the injury occurred which would make the Royals series impossible for Swisher to return to. The good news is that this isn’t a DL situation–yet.

Just noting: It’s been May and this is Swisher’s 3rd calf/hamstring injury. 2 of them happened in Spring Training. How many calf injuries do you think Nick will go through before the season is over?

Eric Chavez
Injury: Whiplash Concussion

Placed on DL: May 3, 2012

Yankees IF Eric Chavez

Somehow, this doesn’t surprise me. Eric Chavez was supposed to be one of the strong bench players that could have gave the Yankees the bat that they need. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case when he went down during the series finale between the Yankees & Orioles. After trying to dive for a ball to prevent it from being a base hit, Chavez suffered a whiplash concussion and was taken out during his at-bat.

Chavez has a streak of being placed on the DL. As a matter of fact, he was on the DL last season due to a broken pinky toe–in May. ‘May’be it’s not Chavez’s month.

Michael Pineda
Injury: Shoulder Soreness
Placed on DL: March 30, 2012

Yankees SP Michael Pineda

Yankees fans will not see Michael Pineda pitch in 2012. After a somewhat puzzling 2012 Spring Training where his velocity went down, Yankees put Pineda on the DL. Only a matter of time later, Pineda was diagnosed with having an anterior labral tear in his right shoulder. Pineda had shoulder surgery and that unfortunately ended his season.

There hasn’t been a word on when Michael Pineda will start rehabilitating but Pineda is scheduled to be back on a mound by May of 2013.

I wonder what Brian Cashman is thinking of the trade right at this very moment?

Joba Chamberlain
Injury: Tommy John Surgery/Trampoline Accident

Placed on DL: June 8, 2011

Yankees RP Joba Chamberlain

Joba Chamberlain was supposed to be on a mound by next month. Now Yankees fans are sure that they won’t see Chamberlain in June. Chamberlain was coming back from Tommy John Surgery when he injured his foot during a freak trampoline accident during Spring Training.

Yankees are now uncertain when they are going to get Chamberlain back, but there was some enlightening news. Just yesterday, Chris Dickerson tweeted that Joba was walking around and beginning to rehab, so maybe we will see Chamberlain when the year ends after all.

Mariano Rivera
Injury: ACL Tear, Meniscus Tear

Placed on DL: May 4, 2012

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera

Probably one of the most devastating injury in the history of Yankees baseball. While shagging fly balls yesterday, Rivera slipped on the warning track and fell but as soon as he fell, he gripped his right knee in pain. When the team saw Mariano go down, they knew that it was something very serious.

Mo was carted off the field and was on the way to the hospital to get an MRI. After the game, a teary eyed Mariano Rivera sat in the Yankees clubhouse explaining to reporters that it was a torn ACL and a meniscus tear, and that he was to see the New York doctors. Mariano’s teammates were shaken up, Girardi was somber and Mo was disappointed that his season had to end that way.

Mariano Rivera revealed that he will pitch in 2013 for the Yankees which was a sigh of relief for fans and for the team.  For now, David Robertson seems to be the new closer but for the next 5 months, the team will not be the same without Mariano Rivera.

Being plagued with the injury bug isn’t fun, but I like to think of it this way; it’s better to be injured now than in October. Of course, the players that are healthy have to hit their way into October baseball. Yep, like I said. Injuries are not fun.

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