Thursday, January 22, 2015
In case you held out hope that the Yankees would turn to James Shields now that Max Scherzer is officially off the market, well, the club is apparently sticking to its pledge this winter to stay away from big free agent contracts for starting pitchers, GM Brian Cashman reiterated on Wednesday.
And the return of a certain Yankee slugger may have something to do with that.
“We in fact had some contracts coming back on with Alex Rodriguez returning from his suspension. That was $21 million dollars coming back on the payroll.” Cashman said Wednesday night during an interview on WPAT-AM 930. “. . . We’ll still have about the second-highest payroll and I don’t see it going any higher.”
Yeah, I’d pass on Shields as well. But not because of Rodriguez’s deal.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Alex Rodriguez is apparently seeking a blast from the past in his quest to return to baseball after two hip surgeries, advancing age, bruising steroid investigations by Major League Baseball and the federal government, and, oh yes, a season-long suspension.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday that Rodriguez has been spending time getting hitting tips at a San Rafael, Calif. baseball training facility from another steroid-stained slugger, home run king Barry Bonds, whose own battles against charges that he used performance-enhancing drugs rival few players other than Rodriguez.
According to the Chronicle, Bonds — who spent time tutoring Giants hitters last season — has also worked with Dexter Fowler, who was traded Monday from the Astros to the Cubs, but his star pupil is Rodriguez, who will report for spring training with his Yankee teammates in Tampa in mid-February to attempt a comeback that is sure to generate controversy all across the game.
There are worse players to work out with than one of the greatest hitters of all time. Who incidentally struck out every single time he faced the great Mariano Rivera.
Monday, January 19, 2015
So it appears, once and for all, with Max Scherzer reportedly agreeing to a seven-year deal with the Nationals late Sunday night, the Yankees weren’t bluffing about keeping a lid on spending this winter.
That makes sense for their long-term future, saying no to another huge contract likely to look bad on the back end. But it also makes it hard to see, considering the fragile state of their starting rotation, how they can be serious contenders in 2015.
In any case, after all the speculation, much of it from baseball executives and scouts, that the Yankees were lying in the weeds on Scherzer, it turns out they never got into the bidding for the top pitcher on the free-agent market, according to a team source.
Instead Scherzer goes to the Nationals, as first reported by CBSsports.com. And while that will make life tougher in the NL East for the Mets and their publicly-stated intention to make a huge leap to post-season contention in 2015, his signing for the moment surely resonates more loudly in the Bronx.
GM Brian Cashman and team president Randy Levine had been publicly saying for months they weren’t going to spend huge money on a pitcher such as Scherzer. But their history of such signings, combined with the injury-related uncertainty that surrounds their starters, made it hard to believe.
Did anyone here really think the Yankees were going to make a stealth run at Scherzer? I sure didn’t.
Can’t say I blame them. They’re not a Scherzer away from being one of the better teams in baseball.
Friday, January 16, 2015
NEW YORK—In the post-Jeter era, the Yankees are in a yet-to-be defined transition stage in their history. Are they retooling? Rebuilding? Or just plain regressing?
They haven’t made the playoffs in two years and, if they are going to return to the postseason, it very well could be on the backs of newcomers like Andrew Miller, Nathan Eovaldi and Sir Didi Gregorius.
No one knows what will happen in 2015, with 13 new faces and Alex Rodriguez showing up in Tampa next month, but we asked scouts and executives to give us their take on the Yankees’ offseason so far.
For the most part, they like what they’ve seen.
“I think this is a step in the right direction,” one scout said. “Are they at the top of the perch? No, but they are going in the right direction.”
I think the Yankees are about as ‘good’ as they’ve been the last two seasons, as in they are probably a team that will likely be outscored and will be lucky to finish at .500. But I do think I’m fine with the offseason they’ve had. There was nothing that could have realistically been done to turn this into a good team. I guess they could have traded Melky + IPK + ??? for something awesome, but aside from that… Instead, they’ve brought in some younger players with some potential and have kept their farm intact while maintaining a puncher’s chance at the postseason if a lot of things happen to break just right.
I’m not sold on Didi Gregorius being an average SS or Nathan Eovaldi being anything more than a back-of-the-rotation starter, but they at least might be better than that. So that’s something. And while the likelihood of Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda pitching 200 innings this season are slim, it’d be a pretty awesome young front of the rotation if they can do something close to that.
I miss the days of a just about sure-fire 95 win team, but this is where we are now.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz.—Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner said on Wednesday that he’s happy with the progress his club has made trying to improve so far this offseason, and he wouldn’t dismiss making more significant roster additions before Spring Training opens in Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 20.
“It’s not over until it’s over. We still have a full month before Spring Training,” Steinbrenner told a group of reporters as the first day of this week’s quarterly Owners Meetings got underway. “We’re always going to continue to improve. I’m not putting a cap on it. We’ve certainly filled some holes that we had. We’ll keep going for the next few weeks.”
Yay. More middle relievers coming!
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
The Yankees acquired reliever Chris Martin from the Rockies on Tuesday. The Rockies will receive cash considerations.
The 28-year-old Martin made his MLB debut in 2014, posting a 6.89 ERA and 1.66 WHIP in 16 relief outings.
In order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated reliever Gonzalez Germen for assignment.
I can’t believe the Yankees are getting rid of a True Yankee™ like Gonzalez Germen for a guy who had a 6.89 ERA and 1.66 WHIP last year. Farewell Gonzalez, it was a pleasure to have you in pinstripes.
I can’t tell you a damn thing about Martin, aside from the fact that he’s a reliever who has options left and he didn’t really cost the Yankees anything. So sure, why not?
Ty Hensley, the Yankee prospect who suffered a fractured jaw and other injuries in a beating in his native Oklahoma Dec. 28, posted a video of himself throwing a pitch on Instagram Sunday.
“Hope everyone is just as excited for the 2015 season as I am!” Hensley wrote in an accompanying message.
“He has thrown a couple of times,” Hensley’s agent, Rob Martin, wrote in a text message to the Daily News. “Biggest issue is pain threshold and breathing (with) jaw wired shut still. But arm feels good!”
In this particular throwing session, Hensley made about 30 throws from flat ground at a sports facility in his native Edmond.
“Ty is very determined for this not to set back his throwing progression,” Martin wrote.
Last week, the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office charged NFL hopeful Anthony Morales with felony assault and battery stemming from an incident Dec. 28 that apparently started after an argument about athletes’ signing bonuses, according to court papers.
Morales pleaded not guilty and was released on $8,000 bond. Hensley’s lawyer says he was attacked by Morales, but Morales’ lawyer says Morales was defending himself. There’s a court date next month for the case.
Pretty crappy story, but it’s good to see Hensley throwing. Even if it’s off flat ground.
Monday, January 12, 2015
The Yankees are set to replace fired hitting coach Kevin Long with Jeff Pentland, a source confirmed.
And they also plan to add Alan Cockrell as an assistant hitting coach, with Joe Espada taking Mick Kelleher’s spot as infield coach.
Long was let go shortly after the season ended and the Yankees missed the playoffs for a second straight year. Pentland was first named as a potential replacement for Long in The Post last month.
The 68-year-old Pentland was the hitting coach for the Marlins, Cubs, Royals, Mariners and most recently the Dodgers in 2010 and 2011. Last year, he served as the Marlins’ hitting coordinator.
He told The Post last month when asked about the Yankees’ job, “It’s a great city and a great organization.”
I am not sure exactly why anyone would want the Yankees’ hitting coach job.