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Yankees expect Kuroda to decline qualifying offer

Yankees expect Kuroda to decline qualifying offer

By Delia E.

A week after giving Hiroki Kuroda a 1 year, $13.3 Million qualifying offer, Brian Cashman and the Yankees expect that Kuroda will decline the offer. Although nothing is official yet, Cashman did speak with Kuroda’s agent unofficially. The other two players that were offered a contract (Nick Swisher, Rafael Soriano) will decline. Soriano is most likely gone from the team since the Yankees refuse to spend $26 Million on the closer role that will now become Mariano Rivera’s in the 2013 season.

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Yankees Offseason Notes: Red Sox interested in Kuroda, Martinez, GIBBY Awards, Roster Rules, Pitcher Protection?

Good evening everyone. With the GM Meetings happening in California there has been news coming from the Yankees organization all day. Here are some notes from today.

– The Boston Red Sox are reportedly interested in both Hiroki Kuroda and Tino Martinez. Kuroda has until tomorrow whether to accept or decline the qualifying offer and if Kuroda declines, he could test the waters. The Red Sox have contacted Kuroda about the matter. Now, for Martinez the Red Sox want him–but we all know it’s not to be a player. They want him to be a hitting coach. The Red Sox aren’t that desperate to have Martinez play on the field for them–or are they?

UPDATE 6:16pm: The Red Sox were interested but the Marlins made a hire. They hired none other than Tino Martinez for the hitting coach job.

– As we all know the 2012 GIBBY Awards are around the corner so it’s time for fans to vote. Here are the Yankee candidates this season:

Hitter of the Year: Robinson Cano (He’s good, but I don’t think he’s the hitter of year).
Setup Man of the Year: David Robertson (Robertson won the award last year)
Defensive Player of the Year: Mark Teixeira (Aside from the Game 4 ALCS debacle, he’s one of the best defenders in the game)
Manager of the Year: Joe Girardi (He’s a good manager, but I’m almost positive ‘Binder Joe’ won’t win this category)
Executive of the Year: Brian Cashman (Cashman, Cashman. Hmm….again, he’s good…but if he was the Executive of the year, he would have possibly got a younger team. He won’t win).
Postseason MVP: Raul Ibanez (He was the Yankees Postseason MVP but remember, the Giants won the WS. One of their players might win the award).

Play of the Year: Russell Martin‘s play in front of the plate in Game 1 of the ALCS
Hitting Performance of the Year: Curtis Granderson, 5-for-5, three-homer game
Walk-off of the Year: Raul Ibanez walk-off vs. Red Sox in October
Postseason Moment of the Year: Raul Ibanez in Game 3 of the ALDS

To vote for your Yankees in the 2012 GIBBY Awards, click here.

– Now, MLB was speaking about expanding replays,  maybe changing the 25 man roster rule in September and possible pitcher protection for when they get hit in the head (not a bad idea at all). Here is the Associated Press with that information:

On Expanding Replays

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Baseball is considering a broader expansion of video review for umpires than first discussed.

Instant replay in baseball began in August 2008 and has been limited to checking whether potential home runs were fair or cleared over fences. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has been saying since early 2011 he wants to expand it to two additional types of calls.

“He was talking about really basically fair-foul, trap plays. But we’re looking into more than that,” Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations, said Wednesday at the general managers’ meetings.

Torre did not detail what types of calls a broader expansion might include.

MLB experimented with the Hawk-Eye animation system that is used to judge line calls in tennis and the TrackMan radar software used by the PGA Tour during tests late this year at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.

“We still have some questions on the way it is now, if that’s going to fit with baseball,” Torre said. “I’m not saying it can’t be adjusted or they can do something would make it work for our game.”

He pointed out tennis courts are smaller than baseball fields.

“It’s easier to cover as opposed to what we have,” he said.

Depending on what baseball decides, changes might have to be negotiated with the umpires’ and players’ unions.

Selig has said he hopes to have wider replay in 2013.

On September Roster Rules

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Major League Baseball is considering a change to its longtime rule allowing active rosters to expand from 25 to 40 from Sept. 1 through the rest of the regular season.

MLB executive vice president for baseball operations Joe Torre said general managers discussed the matter Wednesday on the opening day of their annual meeting.

Some teams have been reluctant to use the larger limit late in the season. They have cited not wanting to disrupt minor league teams in their playoffs, and those decisions have led to big league games in which teams have differing numbers of available players.

“Each team should have equal number of players available every day,” Torre said. “I just think you play the whole season with one set of rules and the most important time of the year, especially for clubs that are in a pennant race, I just don’t think it’s fair for it to be done (with a) different number of roster people.”

Torre said one possibility would be setting a fixed number of players who must be on the active roster for September games.

“We’ve talked about 28. We’ve talked about 30,” he said. “It was talked about at length today.”

Any proposal for change would be subject to bargaining with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

On Pitchers Protection

NDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — At their first meeting since a pair of pitchers were hit on the head by line drives, baseball general managers discussed ways to protect hurlers from injuries in the future.

Major League Baseball staff have said a cap liner with Kevlar, the high-impact material used by military, law enforcement and NFL players for body armor, is among the ideas under consideration.

“If we settle on something that is going to make sense, and obviously the pitcher has to be comfortable with it, we’ll obviously put that in as soon as possible,” MLB executive vice president Joe Torre said Wednesday.

Oakland’s Brandon McCarthy was hit on the head by a line drive in September, causing a skull fracture and brain contusion that required surgery.

Detroit’s Doug Fister was hit on the head by a liner off the bat of San Francisco’s Gregor Blanco during the World Series. Fister was unhurt and stayed in the game.

MLB medical director Dr. Gary Green is to give a report at next month’s winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn. MLB senior vice president Dan Halem has said protective headgear for pitchers could be in place in the minor leagues for next season.

“We’ll talk to our doctors to make sure that they’re comfortable or they’re satisfied this is an advance,” Torre said.

Any change to require protection for big league pitchers would have to be negotiated with the players’ association.

What do the Yankees qualifying offers mean?

Last night was technically the beginning of the Yankees offseason after they made qualifying contracts to three players: Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda and Rafael Soriano. Some fans were wondering, why didn’t they offer Ichiro Suzuki or Russell Martin a qualifying offer? What is  a qualifying offer? What would mean if either three of them didn’t re-sign with the Yankees?

What is a Qualifying Offer?

A new procedure that was in place for the 2012 offseason. A Qualifying offer is a team offering their free agent a contract of 1 year and $13.3 Million. The player on the team has seven days to either accept or decline the offer. If the player accepts the offer then they would be on the team for the 2013 season. If the player declines the offer, they could still re-sign with the team but they would be placed in the free agent market where the other 29 teams can have a chance to offer them a contract. If the player signs elsewhere than with his original team, the original team would be rewarded a first round draft pick.

Why didn’t Ichiro or Russell Martin get an offer?

Ichiro Suzuki and Russell Martin are both terrific players–but both of them didn’t get a qualifying offer for different reasons. Ichiro hasn’t been on the team for the entire 2012 season, meaning he’s not eligible to receive an offer. Russell Martin is a good player, but the Yankees don’t deem him worthy enough of 1 year and $13,3 Million.

Does that mean the Yankees don’t want Martin?

No. All the qualifying offer is saying is Martin shouldn’t get $13.3 Million. The Yankees still want Martin, but they probably would offer him less than what the qualifying offer is.

What are the chances Swisher and Soriano accept the offer?

The chances that both Swisher and Soriano accept the offer is–zero. Both players are looking for multi-year deals and one year on the Yankees won’t cut it. The Yankees could possibly negotiate a contract with Swisher and Soriano, but chances are they both will head onto different teams, rewarding the Yankees two first round draft picks.

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.

Yankees Offseason Notes: Yankees make qualifying offers, Yankees keep Cabral

Good evening Yankees fans. Today is one of those days where we ask ourselves–”Is it February yet?” Anyway, onto tonight’s notes that circle around Yankees baseball!

– The Yankees announced today that they have made qualifying offers to Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda and Rafael Soriano. The bigger question here is–why didn’t the Yankees make an offer to Ichiro Suzuki or Russell Martin? Do they plan on letting them go? We’ll find out more as the “Off-Season Saga” continues. (BTW, the Yankees would get a draft compensation pick if either of the three sign elsewhere).

– Speaking of Russell Martin, the Yankees did not make him a qualifying offer. Martin can still sign with the Yankees but they won’t get compensation for him if he goes to another team.

– The Yankees also announced that they plan on keeping Rule 5 pitcher Cesar Cabral for the offseason. They want him to come back to Spring Training and compete for the job in the bullpen. Last season, Clay Rapada beat out Cabral for the job (mostly because Cabral fractured the tip of his elbow) but this season Cabral would have to make the team or he gets sent back. A loophole however is if Cabral makes the team, he doesn’t have to spend the whole year on the team. He can be optioned to the minor leagues at any point during the season.

– And finally, Michael Pineda–might miss the entire 2013 season. There’s no information as of yet but tune into MLB Tonight on MLBNetwork to find out why. (And for those who hate the Red Sox, David Ortiz might be out the entire season as well). MLB Tonight airs at 6pm. Check your cable provider for which channel.

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

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

Keep Em’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dump Em’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keys to winning in the play-offs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Yankees Postseason Notes: Who makes the roster, Rangers or Orioles and Bobby Valentine?

Good evening everyone. There’s no baseball at all tonight so we’re going to post some tidbits and notes that have been stirring around from Yankee Land. Here are some evening notes.

– The Yankees have yet to make the postseason roster but there are 3 definite players aside from the other starters for the roster: David Phelps, Eduardo Nunez and Brett Gardner (Brian Cashman confirmed Gardner today).

– The Yankees might either face the Orioles or Rangers on Sunday so the question is–who would you rather face?

Andruw Jones might get a roster spot for the postseason. I don’t think he should be on the roster considering he had a pretty bad 2012 regular season and there are hitters that could be of assistance on the bench. Players such as Chris Dickerson perhaps?

– A lot of writers believe that Andy Pettitte should start Game 2 of the play-offs instead of Hiroki Kuroda. Here I would have to agree. Kuroda has a better home record than an away record and since the Yankees are on the road to begin the play-offs, it would make the most sense to have  CC Sabathia and Pettitte for Games 1 & 2 and Kuroda and Hughes for Game 3 & 4. Sabathia would pitch Game 5 if it came down to that.

– In other news that has nothing to do with the Yankees but the Red Sox fired Bobby Valentine after 1 year with the Red Sox. Honestly, the Red Sox never should have fired Terry Francona to bring in Bobby Valentine. Francona won 2 championships and had one bad year. Bobby Valentine came in and made everything worse.

Yanks’ Have What It Takes, But Will It All Come Together?

One month ago, many people including myself were incredibly worried about the Yankees potentially missing the playoffs. The Bombers’ huge ten game lead in the division had dwindled down to one, as the Baltimore Orioles played their best baseball in 15 years. Not only that, but the Yankees themselves were playing absolutely terrible baseball, and many were calling for Joe Girardi’s head.

But by re-gaining some important sidelined players and taking advantage of an easy schedule to end the year, the Yankees came together and wound up making the playoffs and could clinch the A.L. East tonight with a win over the Red Sox. The calendar has now flipped to October, and this postseason is shaping up to be an uphill battle for baseball’s winning-est franchise.

As displayed in September, this Yankees team is not one to be taken lightly, and very easily could the club come together on all aspects and make a fierce run for their 28th world championship. For that to happen, the team will need to play as one unit, consistently producing by way of clutch pitching AND hitting – something we haven’t seen from the Yankees on a nightly basis really all year.

And ironically every time the playoffs roll around, the Yankees go about it saying, “it’s just another game on the schedule”. Yet for the past few years, they’ve played their worst baseball in October. Last year they couldn’t buy a run with men on base; and in 2010 their pitching (besides Andy Pettitte) tanked against Texas in the ALCS. Besides the glorious season of 2009, you can trace every Yankee playoff loss in the past 10 years to a lack of either clutch hitting/pitching, or both in the same series. Don’t even get me started about Jaret Wright or Chien-Ming Wang.

I’m not saying the Yankees lie about their approach to the postseason, but clearly something changes in them over the course of the days following Game 162 and Game 1 of the ALDS. They just aren’t the same Bombers we see throughout the summer.

Maybe this year though, that would be a good thing. No, a great thing.

I’m not saying it’s as simple as the law of averages, but the Yankees really haven’t been the consistent, overpowering force in the American League they normally are each regular season. Sure, they wound up on top of the division again, and you bet they were right there in the standings for the best record in Major League Baseball. But more often than not there was uncertainty and inconsistent play by New York. They’d sweep a series versus a pennant chaser, then lose 2 of 3 to a non-contender. The injuries piled up as well, largely the reason why the Yankees faltered in mid-August and nearly lost a grip on control of their playoff destiny.

Now, the Yankees are a much healthier and complete team then they were. Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira have returned and (for the most part) really haven’t skipped a beat. Not only that, but the past couple weeks the Yankees played some of their best baseball, getting hits with runners in scoring position that aren’t also known as “home runs”. Sure, they still heavily rely on the long ball, but guys who can’t crush a fastball 400 feet every night are learning to be better situational hitters, and looking to rather move a runner to third then trying to score him on one swing of a bat. As I mentioned, hitting with RISP has been the Yankees’ Achilles heel for most of this season and certainly a prime reason for their first-round exit last year. Hitting well now should have some level of a positive impact on how the Yankees swing the lumber as the playoffs begin in a couple days.

Not forgotten is also the pitching staff this year, which has had some streaks of success and streaks of utter failures. As mentioned earlier, the rotation is now re-stocked with the clutch southpaw Andy Pettitte returning from the freak injury he suffered in late June. He’s come back and shown no signs of slowing down, and is absolutely essential to any World Series run the Yankees want to make this year. If he didn’t come back from retirement, the Yankees may not have been back in the postseason.

The other pitchers who haven’t been gone as long – CC, Kuroda, and Hughes, all had solid seasons, Kuroda especially. From May on, he arguably was the ace over a hobbled and inconsistent Sabathia, posting a 3.34 ERA (as of the morning of October 3rd) with 15 wins. Hughes, as I tabbed him the Yankees “Comeback Player of the Year”, looked like his 2010 self here in 2012, hovering around a 4 ERA but putting in a number of quality/dominant outings. More importantly, CC has clearly re-gained his health and strength, as he finished the season with three outstanding starts following an up and down second half of the year.

Say what you want about them, but the Yankees’ bullpen still has many quality relievers who have postseason experience. That’s not something you can say about the Orioles and A’s, of course. It’ll certainly be bittersweet when instead of the Sandman entering, we have Rafael Soriano jogging out to some mamba music in the 9th inning. But he still did a fantastic job as the first successor to the great Mariano Rivera. Sori has been mostly automatic all year for New York, but of course, nothing is certain with closers in the postseason, so all we can do is hope Girardi doesn’t over-use him and he stays fresh enough to produce just as well as he did in the regular season.

The supporting cast, as I like to call them, also had good years, and should be able to transition into the fall. Set-up man David Robertson pitched to a tune of a 2.67 ERA, once again shutting down hitters and building the bridge to Rafi’s entrance in the 9th. Joba Chamberlain has emerged as the Yankees’ 7th inning man, returning back to pumping his 96 mph fastball and getting outs when needed. He’s nowhere near the superstar status he nearly achieved when he first burst onto the scene in 2007, but he’s definitely already had his share of moments in the playoffs and should be able to be relied upon to help the Yankees in those close game situations.

You’d figure the Yankees’ top flight starters of CC, Kuroda, and Andy should be able to get the Yankees to the 6th inning at the very least, but if not, you still have other options out of the ‘pen. Boone Logan, Cody Eppley, and David Phelps can all too contribute to the Yankees’ quest for another world championship.

All in all, this Yankees team is absolutely good enough to win it all. When they are firing on all cylinders, they are a very hard team to beat. The problem is, normally they aren’t. Stranger things have happened in the playoffs before, but the Yankees are going to have to do some quick soul searching and quick rebounding to try and play as a complete team and get those 11 more wins needed, for #28.

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.

Spanning the Yankee Blogs: A-Rod, Lowe, Swisher, Kuroda & More…

* An A-blog for A-Rod looks at the return of A-Rod.

* Bleeding Yankee Blue says don’t panic yet.

* Bronx Baseball Daily looks into how bad Derek Lowe is.

* Pinstripe Alley has an article about Swisher being ready for the playoffs.

* The Captain’s Blog asks the question of to bunt or not to bunt.

* The Yankee Analysts are taking a closer look at Kuroda.

Morning Bits: Kuroda, Jeter

Good morning everyone and a happy Saturday to everyone. Yankees finally were able to stop their 3 game halt with CC Sabathia on the mound. Hiroki Kuroda takes the ball tonight as the Yankees try to take the series. Here are your morning links.

– Speaking of Hiroki Kuroda, could he possibly win the Cy Young award? While ESPN says he has good numbers–that’s a negative.

– We all saw Derek Jeter get hit in the head last night with a pitch and as expected, he isn’t happy about it.

– With the final month of the regular season rapidly approaching, the Yankees have a chance to once again pad their lead against the Rays and the Orioles.

What the rotation should look like in the 2012 playoffs

Of course CC would get a spot in the playoff rotation but the question is–who comes next?

The Yankees are expected to be one of the contenders during this year’s 2012 play-offs, and although so far it looks like the Yankees might lose first place to the Rays, I still predict that the Yankees will win the American League East by at least 3-4 games. With that being said, I do not feel like it is a bad idea to think about the starting rotation for the 2012 play-offs. For the Yankees, CC Sabathia goes first–but if the Yankees were to go all the way to the World Series (hypothetically), how would you shape up the rotation? After observing the Yankees starting rotation for quite some time, here is how I would compose the 2012 play-off rotation if the Yankees were to go all the way to the World Series.

American League Division Series

CC Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Phil Hughes

Reason: It is obvious that our ace, CC Sabathia would go first since he is the one that holds us into games and always gives us a chance to score and after CC, to me it seemed that this rotation makes sense. When the Yankees first signed Hiroki Kuroda, I thought it was going to be another signing gone wrong (like the signing of Carl Pavano & A.J Burnett), but Kuroda proved me wrong as well as Yankees fans when he came out of the dugout throwing gem after gem. Unfortunately, the Yankees seem to not score when Kuroda is on the mound, thus why his win/loss record is not spectacular. Kuroda however, proves that he is a liable part to the rotation and has earned the #2 spot with his 2.96 ERA and 1.120 WHIP so far this season. Now, we move onto Phil Hughes. I know, you’re asking why did I chose a guy whose 12-11 with a 4.15 ERA & a 1.269 WHIP as the third starter. It’s because when Hughes is right, his stuff is ‘Philthy’ (pun intended). Hughes proved it in his last outing when he only gave up two runs. Sure, his Achilles heel is giving up the long ball but all pitchers give up home runs.  When Hughes is also right, he is able to keep the Yankees in the game. That is what makes Hughes so valuable (and he pitches better than what his outings says).

American League Championship Series / World Series

CC Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Andy Pettitte
Phil Hughes

Reason: The ALCS and the World Series rotation are a little different due to one name–Andy Pettitte. The only reason I did not list Andy Pettitte in the rotation for the ALDS was because he is still recovering from that foot injury and of course, if I were the manager I would want to give Pettitte’s foot just a little more time to heal. Pettitte is competitive and has the most postseason wins on the Yankees. He is also a great addition to the rotation and gives it depth. Sure, he’s only gotten a couple of starts since returning in May, but if he could get 2-3 more starts before he’s plugged back into the rotation then he should be just fine.

What about David Phelps? 

David Phelps has played a big part in the rotation with the injuries to CC Sabathia and now Ivan Nova, but I would not put Phelps in the rotation in case one of the pitchers in the rotation has an off night and the Yanks are in dire need of a long man. You cannot ask Derek Lowe to go out there since he might be needed later in the game and you definitely cannot ask David Robertson or Rafael Soriano to come in earlier than expected. Phelps belongs on the play-off roster and he belongs in the bullpen to help the Yankees out. If you need more convincing that he belongs on the playoff roster, he has a 2.69 ERA and a 1.147 WHIP.

What about Ivan Nova?

At the rate he is pitching, Ivan Nova would not get a playoff spot in the rotation. Yes, he is 11-7 but he has an ERA of almost five and a WHIP of 1.456. He also is right there with Phil Hughes in giving up a lot of HR’s. It also seems for the last 2 months or so, Ivan Nova looks lost on the mound. Maybe I might change my mind when he comes off the DL and if he pitches like ‘Super Nova’ but until then, there is no way that he’s getting a spot on the playoff roster.

What about Freddy Garcia?

Freddy Garcia has been a surprise for the Yankees since coming back into the rotation. On the season, he’s 7-5 with a 4.96 ERA. Trust me, the ERA of five is nothing to be happy about but it is a big improvement from when his ERA was over 12 in the beginning of the year. Garcia would be another pitcher that would go into the bullpen for the playoffs in case the starters do not perform up to par. When you think about it, Garcia has not been bad at all and he’s actually earning some trust back from Yankees fans. Remember earlier in the season when we wanted him gone and we wished for A.J Burnett to return? Well slowly, we all forgot A.J Burnett’s name and continued chanting ‘Sweaty Freddy’. Garcia could play a huge role in the playoffs like Phelps and right now, he might get a spot in the bullpen but all that could change now that we are in the final month of the regular season.

There is still a lot of baseball to be played and anything could happen, but if the season ended today, is this the top starting rotation that you would attempt to take above and beyond?

 

 

 

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