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Accept it: Kevin Youkilis is a Yankee

kevin_youkills--300x450

Not even one full day into his first day at spring training, the few sentences said by Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis sent fans and the media into a frenzy. Likely a few hours after he was sized for his pinstripes, Youk was telling reporters he’d always be a Boston Red Sox.

He’s learned now, but that’s a big no-no and certainly not something that will go unnoticed in the big New York spotlight. Of course, his allegiance to Boston spread all over the back pages of newspapers was not the only quote he gave, but it was the only one people cared about.

Already on Yankees fan’s bad side, Kevin Youkilis said he will always remember the first nine seasons of his baseball career, which just so happened to take place with the Bombers’ biggest rival. Two World Series rings, three All Star appearances, a Gold Glove and Hank Aaron Award, and he is being ridiculed for saying he enjoyed what he accomplished there? Are fans truly clinging to any little thing he says that sounds the slightest anti-Yankee? That is truly pathetic.

Now, there’s not a fiber in my body that tells me a clean-shaven Kevin Youkilis wearing our beloved Yankee pinstripes is right. This is not a plea of defense nor show of love to the  guy who batted .235 last season and yet received $12 million, from an apparently penny-pinching Yankees front office. But it’s just me accepting it.

Many people have brought up the argument that players like Sparky Lyle, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, and Johnny Damon all started out as hated rivals in Beantown, and ended up becoming fan favorites [and more importantly, World Series champions] in the Bronx. Did any fan really expect those four “idiots” to put on the pinstripes, play with Yankee pride and partake in some of the greatest moments the team has ever had? I don’t think so.

I’ll give you a moment to reminisce about Sparky’s 1977 Cy Young season. Or Boggs riding the horse after ’96. Don’t forget Clemens’ postseason dominance either. Or Damon’s double-steal.

That is not my number one point, but it largely contributes to the idea that fans need to just wait and see what happens this season. The fact is, no one knows what Kevin Youkilis will do for the Yankees this year. I don’t expect anything outstanding, but I don’t expect anything horrible either.

Yankees fans have been considered vulgar, ignorant, downright stupid and clueless in the past. They have also been known as classy, every now and then, for cheering for whoever is wearing the pinstripes. I’m not a fan of A-Rod and a number of guys on the team. But I still support them and cheer for them. Why? Because they’re Yankees. And Kevin Youkilis is now one too.

So forget what he was, as he is now a player for our favorite team. Forgive and forget. Give him a chance. All those statements and more apply. The fact is, you don’t know anything until you know everything. Who knows what these upcoming 162 games have in store for Youk. Only time will tell. Not me or you.

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Yankees Offseason Notes: Mr. Soriano goes to Washington; 4 Yankees file for arbitration

– Well, it took from October to January but Rafael Soriano finally has a new home and that is with the Washington Nationals. He signed a two year, $28 Million with an option for a third year. Soriano’s contract makes him the highest paid reliever in baseball but second all time to New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. When Soriano didn’t take the option that the Yankees were offering him, it had fans wondering if he would ever find a job. Well, it took him a while since teams don’t really want to give up a draft pick just to sign a player.

The Yankees now have three draft picks in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft. They are #27 (which was their original draft pick), #31 (since Nick Swisher signed with the Cleveland Indians) and #32 (since Soriano signed with the Nationals). But if you’re sad that you won’t see Soriano as much and you’re a Yankee fan–don’t be. The Yankees and Nationals meet up on March 29, 2012 for an exhibition game. Although it’s the end of the ‘untuck’ era, I’m sure someone on the Yankees can one-up that this season.

– In our second major story of the day, four Yankees have decided to file for arbitration after not being able to agree on a contract offer. Those four Yankees are Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, David Robertson and Boone Logan. Now, the four players still have time to work this out, but the issue at hand could be that they all feel they are worth what they want. I’ve seen what Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are reportedly asking for and they should go to an arbitration hearing. They aren’t worth what they’re asking for, especially Hughes. Give Robertson and Logan what they want since they were more dominant but there has been some cries from Yankees fans that maybe it’s time for Boone Logan to go since he only has one year remaining.

Honestly guys, why couldn’t you have made it as easy as Brett Gardner did. The guy took what the Yankees gave him, no questions asked. Then again, he was injured for most of the year. It would be exciting to see how all of this plays out in the end.

In Other News:

– Before signing with the Yankees, Kevin Youkilis spoke to Johnny Damon about the transition from Boston to New York. Luckily for Youkilis, Damon gave the transition two thumbs up. Also dealing with Youkilis, he began working with Kevin Long to prepare for the upcoming season. Sounds like a good idea if you want to get off on the right foot with the Yankees organization.

 

Spring Training Notes: 2/19/12

The Yankees have reported for Spring Training this morning and with the start of the season comes news.

– According to Mark Carig of The Star-Ledger some of the Yankees have been assigned numbers. New numbers are as follows:

#18 – Hiroki Kuroda
#22 – Andruw Jones
#35 – Michael Pineda
#38 – Dewayne Wise
#40 – Bill Hall
#43 – Manny Delcarmen
#45 – Russell Branyan 

Andruw Jones originally wore #18 in 2011. We were told the split was amicable. Pedro Feliciano is still slated to wear #31 but we doubt we will see Feliciano this season, thus eating all the money of his 2 year contract doing nothing. #20 (which was previously worn by Jorge Posada) has not been assigned and in my opinion should not be assigned.

– Joe Girardi was scheduled to have  a press conference this morning but unfortunately the press will have to wait until Girardi actually gets to Florida. Girardi’s 6am flight at Newark Airport was delayed.

– Only one pitcher didn’t show up for Pitchers and Catchers; Mariano Rivera. But don’t worry Yankee fans, Mo isn’t in trouble. He spoke with Cashman and Cashman gave him the thumbs up. “He said ‘Cash I wanted to give you a heads up, I might be a little late.’ Just tell me when you are coming. What am I going to do? It’s Mariano Rivera.”

– Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain had made progress and he can soon throw off the mound, but Brian Cashman said that they aren’t going to rush Chamberlain back. Cashman isn’t going to listen if Chamberlain says he can come back in April, May or possibly next week. At the earliest the Yankees can have Chamberlain back in June.

– Even though everyone is anticipating Michael Pineda to be #2 in the rotation, Brian Cashman said that Michael Pineda will not be the No #2 pitcher behind CC Sabathia. The reason? Pineda only knows 2 pitches & his change-up is under developed. With that, it means that most likely either Ivan Nova or Hiroki Kuroda will pitch before Pineda in the rotation.

– Brian Cashman addressed the issue about the vacant DH spot. Yankees fans know that Johnny Damon won’t be in the DH mix which leaves Raul Ibanez, Hideki Matsui, Vladmir Gurerro and possibly Eric Chavez.

Freddy Garcia told the press that he had no regrets signing with the Yankees last season and he claims how much he loves to play in New York. Well Freddy, we like having you here as well.

– via Jon Heyman, the A.J Burnett deal is DONE. A.J passed his physical and the MLB approved the trade which means that Burnett is a Pirate.

Why Not Add Johnny Damon? Damon Wants To Know Himself

The Yankees only have 2 tiny problems to kink out before they are ready for the 2012 season. One of them would be to send away A.J Burnett, and another one would be to get at least 2 bats for their bench. The Yankees have had an eye on Raul Ibanez and are attempting to bring back Eric Chavez but in a tiny article by Andrew Marchand of ESPN, Johnny Damon is questioning why he hasn’t gotten a call from the Yankees yet. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Johnny Damon doesn’t know why his phone is not ringing this offseason. He can’t understand why the Yankees are seemingly going to sign Raul Ibanez over him. And he is asking, “Why?”

“I think it’s a perfect fit,” Damon told CBS Sports’ Heyman. “But for some reason you have the year I had, especially with a team that has trouble scoring, and you can’t even get a call to continue playing.”

Well I’m going to think of it this way. Johnny Damon is also on the verge of getting 3,000 hits just like Derek Jeter was last year. I believe that the reason the Yankees are holding back on Damon is because of 3,000. I would get the idea that since Derek Jeter already had 3,000 hits, the Yankees wouldn’t want to have Damon to be another distraction to the team. After all the Yankees are trying to get #28, not put the focus from Jeter to Damon.

So why do you think the Yankees haven’t called Johnny Damon. Is it because of his journey to 3,000 or because of something else? Place your thoughts in the comments section below.

Damon vs. Ibanez

Via Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York:

Nearly a month ago, we told you that if the Yankees were to add a DH, it would be “late and cheap,”, according to a source.

Well, it is late so the Yankees are halfway there. Now, they are just waiting to see who will accept the cheap. The three main candidates to come to the Bronx are Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. They are all in the aisle in the free-agent market as older players who could be good fits for the Yankees as part-time, left-handed DHs.

Against left-handed pitching, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez can DH more with Eduardo Nunez getting more playing time in the field. Against, righties, Ibanez, Damon or Matsui could get the call a lot of days and nights this summer.

Me? I would go with Damon because he gives the Yankees power, with an added element of speed. And, most importantly, he plays.

“That is a tough one,” an AL scout said when presented with the three options. “Based on their versatility, I almost take Damon because he has remained the most healthy.”

Yup, Damon plays.

He has played in at least 140 games in 16 straight seasons. That ties Pete RoseHank Aaron and Brooks Robinson for the longest consecutive streak of 140-game seasons, according to researcher Katie Sharp. Only three players have had more 140-game seasons (non-consecutive): Rose (19), Carl Yastrzemski (17) and Brooks Robinson (17).

The Yankees’ philosophy on guys at the end of the bench is to take chances on players a little past their prime because they have more to recapture or, even if their skills have diminished, they still have more left. With Damon, there is a very good chance he is going to be healthy, even if he is in his late-30s.

Read the rest of this entry

Yankees Expected To Add DH

Yankees Expect To Add DH

By Delia E.

According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Yankees are expected to add a DH within the next week. The Yankees have 3 serious contenders for the DH role; Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui or Raul Ibanez. Olney also reported that he believes that Raul Ibanez would be the best fit for the Yankees if they choose to sign one of the 3.

Out of the 3, which one would you want to be the Yankees DH in 2012?

Morning Bits: Hendry, Girardi

Good morning everyone. Here are a c0uple links to start the day…

— Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago writes about how former Cubs GM Jim Hendry is ready for his new position as Top Assistant to Brian Cashman.

— Joe Girardi thinks the Yankees lineup could use some more offense. He lists Raul Ibanez, and ex-Yanks Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon as several possibilities.

Have a great Saturday!

Top 5 Spring Training Storylines

It is creeping up on us very quickly. In a little over two weeks Yankees pitchers and catchers will report to Tampa, Florida. The Giants deep run in the playoffs has probably made the time go by quicker for everybody (not me of course as I am a Packers fan). The offseason storylines have picked up of late and they should lead to an intriguing spring training.  I will breakdown my top five storylines going into camp. Feel free to add more that you guys think are important in the comments.

1)  The 5th starter competition

This spot would seem to be the only one up for competition this spring, other then the usual few bullpen spots, unless an injury crops up.  It will probably come down to how Freddy Garcia. A.J. Burnett, and Phil Hughes pitch in the spring. The Yankees have a lot more invested in Hughes and Burnett, which is why I do not give Garcia much of a shot, despite his solid year last year.  I do think Garcia would be a successful long man and can fill in the rotation at a moments notice, like Bartolo Colon did last year. I do not see Burnett or Hughes being traded. Nobody want’s Burnett’s contract, even if the Yankees would pick-up a large portion of it. As with Hughes, I don’t think the Yankees should trade him until they get his value back up. Why trade somebody when their value is way down, like it is now? So I do see it coming down to how Hughes and Burnett perform in their spring starts. Hughes needs to come into camp in much better shape than last year. There was no excuse for him coming in the shape that he did and it probably was not a coincidence that he got hurt. We all know Burnett’s issues, but maybe having to pitch for his job will light a fire under him.

2) Who will DH?

I am not in favor of rotating the DH spot. Obviously you have to give Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter DH AB’s, but when they are in the field the Yankees should sign or trade for somebody to DH. Andruw Jones will get most of the DH AB’s against lefties, but the Yankees need to find somebody to face righties. Also, if Brett Gardner hits lefties like he did last year it would not be a bad idea for Jones to play left and have a DH. Gardner only hit .233, with 0 homers, 6 RBI, a .272 slugging percentage, and a .616 OPS against lefties last year. Those are not acceptable numbers. Obviously Gardner is not a power guy, but if you are only going to have a .272 slugging percentage against lefties your average must be higher than .233.

I thought Carlos Pena was an ideal option to DH vs. righties, but he is no longer available. Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez, Vladimir Guerrero, and Hideki Matsui are all options. I do not see Jorge Vazquez as a legit option because of his high Triple-A strikeout numbers. If they do not sign anybody I would let Jones or even Nunez DH against righties before the 29 year old journeyman.

3) Mark Teixeira Bunting

This is a new story that has crept up and I find it very interesting. Wally Matthews wrote about it on ESPN New York.com. Texeira has said he will work on bunting in spring training and may try to get bunt hits against the shift. I will believe that when I see it. I am not opposed to him dropping a few bunts down against the shift in certain spots, but the Yankees do not pay Teixeira to lay down bunts.  The Yankees pay him to hit home runs, knock runners in, play gold glove defense, and perform in the playoffs. He did 3 out of 4 of those things last year. The Yankee Analysts wrote a great article on Teixeira that everybody should take time to read. I was surprised to learn that Teixeira batted .337 and slugged .837 when pulling the ball against righties. When going the other way against righties Teixeira batted .086 and slugged .103. Those numbers suggest that if Texeira can’t fix his swing going the other way against righties that he should just continue to pull everything. He did do well going the other way hitting right handed so hopefully it can translate to the left side.

4) The Health of Alex Rodriguez

Everybody will be watching Alex Rodriguez this spring to see what his health is. Of course, just because he is healthy in the spring does not mean he will stay healthy the whole year. Last spring A-Rod was hitting the cover off the ball and a lot of people thought he could compete for the MVP again. Unfortunately, that was not the case and he had an injury plagued season. I am optimistic about the results of the knee therapy that A-Rod had in Germany, that Kobe Bryant suggested to him. It is called platelet-rich plasma therapy and is becoming more popular among athletes. Anybody that has watched Kobe in the NBA this year knows he got a lot of explosion back and looks a lot more spry after this surgery. The Yankees need A-Rod back healthy and producing.

5) Which Young Guy Will Shine?

Every spring training a young player will make a splash. That splash usually does not put them on the major league roster, but they do catch the eyes of the Yankees brass and the fans.  Last year Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos had great springs and gave Yankee fans a glimpse of the future. It will be interesting to see them again, but it also will be interesting who else steps up.

Morning Bits: Posada, Damon

Congrats to all the giants fans.   Let’s get to the links…..

* Posada to announce his retirement early this week at Yankee Stadium.

* The Tigers have some interest in Damon.

Open Thread

Good evening everybody.

Let’s recap today’s events:

— The Yankees and Brett Gardner avoided arbitration and settled on a $2.8MM salary in 2012 – the mid-point between his asking price and the Yankees’ offer.

— Via Mark Hale, Jorge Posada will announce his retirement at a press conference on Tuesday of next week.

— The Yanks lost a very plausible DH option in Carlos Peña today, as the slugging lefty signed with the Rays for 1 year at $7.25MM.

Although it would have been nice for the Yankees to sign Peña, he may have taken a bit of a discount to return to the Rays organization. I don’t really think that the Yankees would have been willing to spend much closer to the $10MM mark. There are still options though, as players like Wilson Betemit and Johnny Damon are free agent possibilities.

Here’s your open thread. Enjoy the night.

Morning Bits: Rotation, Depth at 1B, Prospects, Damon, Joba, Robertson

Good morning all it’s the mid-week.  Let’s get right to the links…

* Mike Bauman of mlb.com writes that the Yankees beefed up the rotation without breaking the bank.

* Chad Jennings of Lohud has the organizational depth of the Yankees at first base.

* Jonathan Mayo ranks the top 10 left-handed pitching prospects.  I’m sure you will like number 2 on the list.

* John Harper of the Daily News thinks the Yankees should bring back Johnny Damon for the DH position.

* Andy Martino of the Daily News has the scoop of the Yankees bringing back Joba and Robertson.

Damon or Matsui

I got it! I got it!!

If the Yankees turn to Matsui or Damon to come back to DH who would you prefer?

Morning Bits: Colon, Best Trade Ever, Damon

Morning all.  What a whirl-wind of a weekend with the trade and the signing of Kuroda.   I wonder what else the Yankees have in store for this week.   Check back often for the latest as it happens.

Now on to the links…..

* ESPN’s Marchand says thanks for the memories to Bartolo Colon.

* Harper of the Daily News thinks Cashman made his best trade ever by acquiring Pineda.

* Andy Martino of the Daily News has an article about bringing Damon back to the Yankees.

* From the Boston Herald Scott Lauber says Yankees forcing Sox to make pitch.

Damon and Yanks have been talking

Damon and Yanks have been talking

by Mike D.

Via Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Yankees have talked to Johnny Damon about a possible reunion in which the 38 year old would be the club’s designated hitter. In 150 games for the Rays last year, Damon hit .261/.326/.418 with a .328 wOBA and 109 wRC+. He has been on a pretty steady decline since his stellar 2009 season with the Yanks, so I’m not overly convinced Damon is the best option to platoon with Andruw Jones at DH. A combination of Carlos Pena/Wilson Betemit with Jones would probably make for a more potent lineup, but there is the argument that the price for Damon could be less.

Johnny Damon A Possible DH Bat

Johnny Damon A Possible DH Bat

By Delia E.

The Yankees aren’t willing to go all out for a bat for the DH spot, but according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN the Yankees see Johnny Damon as a possibility. The Yankees have also looked at Carlos Pena but it is unlikely that the Yankees would sign him, seeing that he could get more playing time and money from Milwaukee and Cleveland.

Johnny Damon was formerly on the Yankees in 2009 and was a big part of the 2009 World Series run. Would you want Johnny Damon back with the Yankees for the right price?

Hot Stove Targeting: Johnny Damon

Remember this guy? I’m sure you do – Johnny Damon a fan favorite to many Yankee fans. Who would have thought that when he was a Red Sox that Yankee fans would adore Damon while he was a Yankee. The majority of fans did when he played for the Yankees for many reasons. He was a hard worker; he was a team player and always played smart. You rarely see Johnny Damon make a bad play. Why does Johnny have this connection with so many Yankee fans my thinking is for plays like this.  Click the link to watch his amazing double steal.

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=7113111&topic_id=7223232

Yes Johnny Damon has a high baseball IQ and was a great all around teammate.

Below are his stats while a Yankee and than his two seasons after.

Year Tm G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2006 NYY 149 593 115 169 35 5 24 80 25 67 85 .285 .359 .482 .841 286
2007 NYY 141 533 93 144 27 2 12 63 27 66 79 .270 .351 .396 .747 211
2008 NYY 143 555 95 168 27 5 17 71 29 64 82 .303 .375 .461 .836 256
2009 NYY 143 550 107 155 36 3 24 82 12 71 98 .282 .365 .489 .854 269
2010 DET 145 539 81 146 36 5 8 51 11 69 90 .271 .355 .401 .756 216
2011 TBR 150 582 79 152 29 7 16 73 19 51 92 .261 .326 .418 .743 243
17 Seasons 2426 9529 1643 2723 516 107 231 1120 404 986 1230 .286 .353 .435 .789 4146
162 Game Avg. 162 636 110 182 34 7 15 75 27 66 82 .286 .353 .435 .789 277
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/30/2011.

As you can tell he is still a valuable asset to a team. Yes his average is down a little but his other numbers are still impressive. Johnny Damon will be a good fit for any team that signs him.

Ok let’s get to the point. Is Johnny Damon a good fit for the Yankees next year?  The answer: no way. I was emailing back and fourth with a good friend about this topic and he basically put it in a nutshell for me saying that Damon is focused on reaching 3,000 hits and why would he want to come back to the Yankees if it was just as a role player. 3,000 hits is so important as that is a bench mark for the Hall of Fame something I’m sure Damon wants to accomplish. Who would he replace in the Yankees outfield? Gardner? Not a chance. Granderson? Ha I just laughed while typing that. Swisher? Well there have been rumors of trading him so maybe Damon could fill in for a year. But I still don’t see that happening.

It’s a great thought to bring him back but for both parties there is no fit.  Johnny was a good Yankee and I’m sure the next time we see him in pinstripes will be at Old Timer’s Day in the summer after he retires.

So what are you thoughts? Do you think the Yankees should or shouldn’t get him?

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