Monday, March 2, 2015
If the Yankees like to imagine they do things bigger and better than anyone else, they approach retiring numbers with the same gusto.
They have retired 18 numbers, and by the end of this summer, another three will be decommissioned: the No. 20 belonging to catcher Jorge Posada, pitcher Andy Pettitte’s 46 and the 51 worn by center fielder Bernie Williams. And it will not be long before Derek Jeter’s 2 joins them.
In addition, 21, which belonged to right fielder Paul O’Neill, seems to have been given an off-the-books retirement. In the 14 years since O’Neill retired, it has been awarded only briefly, in 2008, to LaTroy Hawkins and Morgan Ensberg, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
Throw in No. 0, which has never been worn by a Yankee, and that makes 23 numbers that are unavailable.
“They’re going to have to go to triple digits pretty soon,” said Ryan, a backup shortstop. “I don’t think they want to have to go to negative numbers.”
It would be nice if the Yankees could put a team on the field that would pull in attendance which wouldn’t have to be artificially propped up by these days honoring good (but in many instances not great) players. Yeah, you retire Derek Jeter’s number. Do you really retire Tino Martinez’s?
I guess it’s not going to be a big deal going forward since they won’t extend or re-sign any of their drafted/developed players once they hit free agency so it’s not like we have to worry about Robinson Cano Day or David Robertson Day.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
But the problem here isn’t whether Yoan Moncada alone is plying his trade in New York or Boston. He may be a superstar, he may flop, he may get injured. Adding that kind of prospect to a farm system and major league team largely bereft of high-ceiling middle infielders made a ton of sense, but the Yankees should have other similar opportunities.
The real worry out of the Moncada incident is this: Just how much will the gap between what Hal Steinbrenner thinks he knows about the baseball business, and what he actually knows, cost the New York Yankees? Increasingly, it looks like it could be quite a bit.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
But while the early start may have lessened the media boom, it also caught the Yankees by surprise, leaving Brian Cashman and the team’s media relations staff scrambling for answers when asked about Rodriguez’s rumored arrival.
The Yankees had no issues with A-Rod arriving on Monday, but team officials were fuming that he hadn’t alerted them to his plans.
“He’s learned nothing,” said one baseball executive. “He’s the same old guy. He just did what he wanted to do.”
This team is run by a bunch of jackasses. I’m not sure I’m even a fan anymore.
Monday, February 23, 2015
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Yoan Moncada, a 19-year-old star from Cuba, has agreed to sign with the Red Sox according to a report by MLB.com.
Moncada is a switch-hitting infielder with power and speed who left Cuba in June and quickly became the subject of an intense bidding war. The Sox, according to the report, will give Moncada a $30 million bonus.
At that price, I find if awfully disappointing the Yankees were not the winning bidder. Sure, he may turn out to be a bust, but how often do you have a chance to add a 19 year old with tons of physical promise whom scouts seem to like (including the Yankees’ own scouts) for money and nothing else?
I’m not surprised, because this is the way Hal Steinbrenner runs the team now. But I am annoyed.
Sunday, February 22, 2015
An offseason an a knee surgery later, Sabathia’s back. Back with the Yankees. And back to being among baseball’s largest hurlers, weighing 305 pounds this spring, he told reporters at George M. Steinbrenner Field Saturday, the first day of pitchers and catchers workouts this spring.
Manager Joe Girardi, however, said he’s not even thinking about Sabathia’s weight.
“Whether he’s 2 pounds heavier or 2 pounds less, I’m not worried about it,” the manager said. “That’s not my concern.”
Sabathia doesn’t appear concerned with his waistline, either.
Instead, he’s more concentrated on his knee, which didn’t appear to give him any problems during a 25-pitch bullpen session Saturday morning. Mixing fastballs with change ups to catcher John Ryan Murphy, Sabathia completed the workout having hardly broken a sweat. It was the first time he’d thrown off a mound since a minor league rehab start in the middle of last season.
I’m not sure how to feel about this.
Friday, February 20, 2015
There was a time, between his Tampa tent revival and Biogenesis, when Yankees voices were not drilling down into Alex Rodriguez’s performance enhanced past. When it came to pinstriped cheaters, like Andy Pettitte and Jason (The Giambalco) Giambi, this was also standard operating procedure.
This is not to say the performance-enhancing stylings of these players were never mentioned. They were — briefly, before voices moved on to real baseball matters. There was every reason to believe orders, er, suggestions about ignoring, er, dealing with Yankees PED issues were passed directly down to the broadcast booths from the Yankees’ high command.
What little common sense we have tells us this is all about to change. Does anyone really believe Yankee poohbahs, like prez Randy Levine, whom Team A-Rod figuratively defecated on, are going to mind if any Bombers broadcasters direct verbal heat at Rodriguez?
And if you can cleverly eviscerate A-Rod in the process, you too may be next in line for a Monument Park ceremony.
Balanced commentary coming out of the booths concerning A-Rod will be brief and fleeting. Your Yankees world has been officially turned upside down. Suzyn (Ma Pinstripe) Waldman is torn. She knows the stain on Rodriguez’s career is indelible.
“But I find him impossible to dislike,” Waldman, the Yankees radio analyst, told me during a telephone conversation. “I’m not defending him. I think what he did was stupid more than anything else. I know he’s lied. He’s made every wrong decision. He says things and does things and you just want to say ‘Why?’ I also know you can’t go wrong for dumping on Alex. This is what its become. What’s he supposed to do?”
Suzyn, let me introduce you to Mel Hall.
Seriously, I don’t think Rodriguez is an evil person. He may be an unusual person and I think he’s done some stupid things and made some very bad decisions. In my opinion that doesn’t warrant the level of venom he has received and likely will receive over the rest of his time in the spotlight.
Do I wish the Yankees were not on the hook for the contract that they signed him to? Yeah. It was a terrible contract the moment it was signed, even without any knowledge of Rodriguez’s PED use. But it did bring us 2009, and it’s not to blame for the rest of the team being in the shape they are in now. We can blame the dummies that signed that contract for that.
I have no idea if Rodriguez will ever have another regular season PA as a Yankee. I am certain that the Yankees would do everything legally possible to avoid that from happening if they could recoup the sunk cost that they likely assess Rodriguez as right now. And I’m sure Rodriguez is aware of that, and for that reason I am sympathetic to him trying to fight back against that happening. I also think some lawyers took advantage of that and gave him horrific legal advice to swindle him out of millions of dollars, and as a desperate person he fell for it. Again, that doesn’t make him the devil incarnate in my opinion.
I’m rooting for Rodriguez and I’m not really 100% sure why. I guess part of it is the common theme in the prior thread that he’s not as bad as MLB and the Yankees. Part of it is the absurdity of him somehow becoming an underdog of sorts. And I’m sure a large part of it is because watching him in 2005 and 2007 and 2009 was watching true greatness on the field and I’d love to see a few more glimpses of that before he goes.
I have no problem with people who feel Rodriguez is scum and who wish he would go away forever.
But I am not one of those people.
In other news.
“This offseason, I got to go back to working out and getting strong,” Teixeira told reporters, including the Times-Tribune. “That’s who I am. I’m a big, power-hitting first baseman and I have to be strong. Last year I wasn’t.”
TAMPA — Nothing the Yankees saw in a second private viewing of Yoan Moncada at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Wednesday evening changed their mind about his talent.
Nevertheless, if the price tag is as high as some people believe, the Yankees likely will pass on the 19-year-old, switch-hitting second baseman from Cuba.
“It would be a surprise if he got $40 [million] to $50 million,’’ said an executive with a team not interested in Moncada.
To me this reads as much as a negotiating ploy as anything. But there is a certain price point where Moncada would not be a good investment. I just don’t know what that is.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
The Yankees announced today that they have come to terms with RHP Jared Burton on a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Burton, 33, had spent the last three seasons with Minnesota, where he was 3-5 with a 4.36 ERA and three saves in 68 relief appearances in 2014. For his major league career, Burton is 18-19 with a 3.44 ERA and 10 saves in 367 relief outings over eight seasons with the Twins and Reds.
Burton had an excellent 2012 season out of the bullpen after doing little up until that point in his career and followed that with a decent 2013. But his 2014 was bad enough that the Twins did not pick up his 2015 option. He will play next season at 34, so I doubt he makes it on to the roster to start the season and is more likely to serve as organizational fodder. Sort of like the similar Scott Baker signing (although Baker had more sustained success in the Majors).
CLEVELAND—Jason Giambi spent this offseason weighing whether to step away from baseball after a Major League career that spanned two decades. The veteran slugger maintained a media silence throughout the winter months, choosing to consider the decision in private with his family.
On Monday, the 44-year-old Giambi took the final step in a storied career, announcing his retirement from the game of baseball. The former designated hitter and first baseman had stints with the A’s, Yankees, Rockies and Indians, evolving from an MVP-caliber slugger in his prime to a clubhouse leader and bench player in his final two seasons in Cleveland.
Giambi was one of the more interesting players I’ve had the opportunity to write about during my time blogging. One of my favorite posts was this one on the last version of this site, where I wondered if Giambi was cooked. It was a reasonable question at the time, considering he was hitting .109/.288/.283 on the day it was posted. He hit .262/.383/.527 with 30 HRs in 506 PA over the remainder of that season.
It wasn’t the first time Giambi had made a Lazarus-like return from the dead. In 2005 he was hitting .198/.381/.321 on May 9 and there was talk about sending him to the minors. My memory says he was benched for a few days to work on his swing and perhaps to clear his head, then returned to the lineup in a road series against Oakland. He hit a go-ahead double in the seventh inning against lefty Ricardo Rincon in the May 15 game of that series and then hit .290/.456/.591 over the final 430 PA of 2005.
2008 was his last really useful season, and although he hung on for another six seasons he was replacement level during that stretch. He probably won’t get a Hall of Fame vote because of the PED taint and his relative lack of counting stats, but his performance from 1999-2002 (OPS+ of 177, bWAR of 29.9 and a slash line of 326/.452/.612) was sublime.
Giambi made blogging easier, because he was engrossing. Even if you didn’t like Giambi, which a lot of Yankee fans didn’t, he was compelling. In hindsight his contract wasn’t the disaster a lot of people expected as the Yankees paid him $120M and got 22 bWAR out it, which works out to about $5.5M per WAR.
I always wished that Giambi and Mike Mussina would have had a chance to play on the 2009 World Series winning Yankees but it wasn’t meant to be. But Giambi was a very entertaining player to watch in pinstripes and I’ll remember his career with fondness.