Saturday, August 18, 2018

Paulie Paulie!!!

The time has come. The Yankee Brand needs to understand there will never be another Paul O’Neil. The number 21 should have been retired already!!!! It is only right that they do it now, not wait any longer. The worst thing to do is to allow another man to don the number 21. Paul is loved and adored by Yankee fans to this day as proven today. The cheers when he was introduced at the stadium today almost blew my speakers out.  

There is one only thing that would be upset that his number was retired..........The Water Cooler!! 😎

On a game to game basis,Paul poured his heart and soul into each at-bat, hell every pitch for that matter. His passion led late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to give him the nick name “The Warrior" and suggested that the he was the heart, fire and soul of the team. A dynasty team at that. The man already has a monument, in Monument Park.  While his career stats as a Yankee are good but not Great(.303 AVG 185 Home Runs, and 858 RBIs), he has had some big moments in Pinstripes, as well as batting .359 in 1994, 4 All-Star sections, and of course 4 World Series Rings. All his teammates love him, as mentioned before the fans love him, and he is a winner, part of the greatest team in history of baseball, and an all time dynasty team. So I beg the Yankees brass please do the right thing......RETIRE #21

Let’s G⚾️ Yankees!!                         James C Palma as always I can be reached at  or on Twitter at @JamesCPalma

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 8/18/18

And just like that it is game time here in the Bronx between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. In the middle game of this three-game weekend set the Yankees will hope for better days with their ace, Luis Severino, on the mound. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays will counter with Sean Reid-Foley who will be making his second MLB start of his career. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Follow us on Twitter, @GreedyStripes, and “Like” us on Facebook, The Greedy Pinstripes, to keep up with us and the Yankees all season long. Enjoy the game, win the game, and go Yankees!!

Using Bats and Rain to Beat the Blue Jays...

Photo Credit: NY Post (Paul J Bereswill)
Yanks overcome pesky Jays in rain-shortened game…

As nice as it would be, I don’t want the Yankees to coast to victory every game. I like to see resiliency in the face of adversity and that’s what we were treated to Friday night in the rain-shortened 7-5 victory over the, pardon the pun, “Happ-less” Toronto Blue Jays.

Sure, I was worried along with everyone else when the Blue Jays opened the game with four runs against starter Lance Lynn. There were some fluke hits and I have no doubt that had Aaron Judge been playing right field, the inning would have been over before the Jays had pushed four across the plate. Nevertheless, it is what it was. A four-run deficit is not a monstrous gap, well, so long as your opponent is not the Tampa Bay Rays (or Baltimore Orioles) when it comes to the Yankees.  

Nice jobs by Didi Gregorius and Miguel Andujar to cut the deficit to two runs in the bottom of the first inning. After Aaron Hicks took a two-out walk against Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, Gregorius laced a triple to left center past defensive whiz Kevin Pillar to score  Hicks with the Yankees’ first run. Miguel Andujar followed with a double to deep right over Curtis Granderson’s head to score Sir Didi. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Elsa)
Much easier moving into the later innings trailing by only two.  Andujar has taken some heat for his defensive play at third, but his bat has been  a source of consistency. He leads the team with doubles, ensuring his name will rank high among Yankee rookies in the history of the franchise. The first inning hit was his 35th of the year, six more than Giancarlo Stanton. Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio holds the Yankees rookie record with 44 doubles in 1936. Don Mattingly holds the team record for doubles with 53 in 1986.  

Despite giving up those four runs in the first inning, I thought Lance Lynn bounced back nicely. He retired three batters in order in the top of the second inning and although he gave up an infield hit in the third, a double play allowed him to face the minimum number of batters for the second consecutive inning. After an easy three-up, three down top of the fourth for Lynn, the Yankees struck hard in the bottom of the frame. Gleyber Torres doubled to left, banging a hanging slider to the wall, with one out, and Greg Bird followed with a walk. It brought Neil Walker to the plate, and his three-run blast to right, high over the head of Curtis Granderson, gave the Yankees their first lead of the game, 5-4. Glad to see runners in scoring position was not an issue for this game.

Photo Credit: AP (Frank Franklin II)
Unfortunately, the fifth inning was not so kind for Lynn. Curtis Granderson, a player who has been the target of much trade speculation for the Yankees, opened the inning with a double to left center off Lynn. Devon Travis singled to right, scoring the Grandy Man and the game was tied. Lynn’s day was over but I liked the way he battled despite not having his best stuff. The three walks were a bugaboo and so were 99 pitches without an ability to record an out in the fifth inning, but for guys like Double-L, my request is always to just give the team a chance and he did. The dude could have melted down after the ugly first inning and he didn’t. Sure, he allowed the hit that tied the game, but he didn’t yield any home runs and for the most part, he did his job after the first inning had gotten away from him.  

The Yankees quickly retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Aaron Hicks opened with a walk off Jays reliever Joe Biagini. After Didi Gregorius flied out, Miguel Andujar singled to right to place runners at the corners. Gleyber Torres grounded into a fielder’s choice at shortstop, with the Jays recording the out at second on Andujar but Hicks scored on the play.  Nice hustle by Torres to beat the throw to first. If it had been Gary Sanchez, he would have been thrown out by a mile.  

The Yanks took the 6-5 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning. With Blue Jays reliever Luis Santos on the mound, Giancarlo Stanton gave the Yankees a two-run lead with his 31st home run of the season, a shot that traveled 431 feet. It's funny how easily the balls come off Stanton's bat (seemingly looking like fly outs that just keep on going and going and going...). After Aaron Hicks struck out, the threat of heavy rain forced the grounds crew to roll out the tarp. From there, the team waited until the game was eventually called. Yankees win, 7-5. Chad Green picked up the win in relief of Lance Lynn.  

Despite the win, the Yankees (76-46) remain 10 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox. The Sox, unlike the Yankees, had no trouble with the Tampa Bay Rays, winning 7-3 at Fenway Park. The Yankees maintained their three-game lead over the Oakland A’s, but, man, look out for the high flying Athletics. With their 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros in ten innings, they trail the World Champions by only a game in the AL West. It’s certainly within the realm of possibility the Astros are the team fighting for a Wild Card berth. The other Wild Card contender, the Seattle Mariners, lost, 11-1 to the LA Dodgers, so they trail the A’s by 3 1/2 games.

With word pain still lingers in Aaron Judge’s right wrist, I remain hopeful the Yankees do something about upgrading right field in his absence. I like Neil Walker’s bat in the lineup but let’s face it, he is an infielder and not an outfielder. We need a better option in right than Walker or Shane Robinson. I don’t know who that is and I know the Yankees have to be cautious with the luxury tax threshold but hopefully GM Brian Cashman can reinforce the outfield for the stretch run.  

Although he didn’t make it into the game, congratulations to former Yankees outfielder Billy McKinney for his promotion to the Blue Jays roster. No doubt we’ll see McKinney sometime this weekend. Who knows, maybe he gets a chance to hit against the man he was traded for, J.A. Happ. Speaking of Happ, I was listening to a pre-game interview on MLB Network Radio yesterday and they ended the interview calling him “J-A” Happ. C’mon guys, it’s “Jay” Happ.

I figured the Yankees would lose reliever George Kontos when he was designated for assignment. It was not the case as Kontos cleared waivers and was sent outright to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Kontos could elect free agency but I’d stay with the Yankees if I were him. He may get another chance in September when rosters expand.

Nice to see that Jonathan Loaisiga has been activated off the disabled list. He made the start yesterday for the Double-A Trenton Thunder with pitches hitting the mid-90's. He only threw an inning and a third, giving up a run but it was a start, literally and figuratively. Hopefully he can shake off the rust and help the Yankees in September.

Photo Credit: The Trentonian (Kyle Franko)
The Yankees apparently will be playing the Los Angeles Dodgers next year at Dodger Stadium. I was excited to hear the news and hope to be at Chavez Ravine for the series. If I don’t make it to Los Angeles, I’ll try to catch up with the Yankees in San Francisco if they play there. I look forward to seeing the actual 2019 schedule to determine the whens and wheres with the NL West teams against the Pinstripers. I would love to see the damage Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge could do at Coors Field. Of course the Yankees will also travel to London, England to face the “home team” Boston Red Sox but I doubt I make that trip (as much as I would like to go).  

Luis Severino (15-6, 3.27 ERA) will face Toronto’s Sean Reid-Foley (0-1, 5.40 ERA) in today’s game.  I honestly do not know what we’ll get with Sevy. Also, I don’t have the stats to back it but it seems like we never fare well against pitchers with hyphenated names or rookie pitchers for that matter. This is a very good day for Sevy to get back on track. We need him in prime form as the calendar page gets ready to flip to September. According to my knowledgeable cell phone, there’s rain forecasted for this afternoon. Hopefully they get a full nine innings in today before the rain makes its appearance at Yankee Stadium.

Go Yankees!

Curtis Granderson, No, But Daniel Murphy, Yes

Earlier in the week as my hiatus from the blog was coming to a close I made the time to type out a simple post entitled “The New York Yankees Don’t Need Curtis Granderson.” That post went over about as well as Greg Bird swinging at the first pitch in the bottom of the 9th inning down by two runs to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday afternoon, as you could imagine. While I outlined, albeit in an unpopular fashion, how Curtis Granderson just didn’t make sense for the Yankees I would be remiss to point out that Daniel Murphy of the Washington Nationals makes a whole lot of sense for the Yankees this season, and for more reasons than you may think. 

First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Yes, calling for one outfielder shortly after dismissing another can be seen as playing both sides of whatever, but keep in mind that this post dismissing the need for Granderson was written before the news broke that Aaron Judge received a cortisone shot and would need longer than three weeks of rest before he started swinging a bat. Also, Murphy would be more than just an outfield option for the Yankees as he can play first base as well. Please keep this in mind before sending your hate mail, comments and tweets directed my way, assuming that you read the article and didn’t just respond to the headline like a lot of people do. Anyway, back on topic.  

As we enter play last night the Nationals found themselves eight games behind the Atlanta Braves in the National League East and 6.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies (Phillies led by a mere .001 percentage point for the first Wild Card) in the National League Wild Card race. As the calendar and the MLB season becomes shorter and shorter it is becoming more and more clear that the Nationals should move a few veteran pieces before the August 31st trading deadline, at least in my opinion. The first piece they should move, because again in my opinion they will not and should not trade Bryce Harper, is first baseman and outfielder Daniel Murphy. 

Murphy checks a lot of boxes for the New York Yankees here in 2018 including the fact that Murphy is a free agent after the 2018 campaign, Murphy is left-handed which works well inside Yankee Stadium while it also helps to even out a heavy right-handed batting lineup in the Bronx, Murphy can handle the pressure of New York as he has spent much of his career across town with the New York Mets, the prospect cost would be minor for basically just a month of his services plus a potential postseason trip, he is hitting at an impressive .310/.354/.446 clip with limited playing time and in a smaller sample size of 53 games, and most importantly his salary could be worked into the roster without forcing the team to exceed the luxury tax threshold. Murphy is set to make $17.5 million this season which would roughly equate to $3 million in remaining and pro-rated salary for the remainder of the season. 

Murphy would not solve all of the Yankees problems that the team is facing right now, but he would go a long way in keeping the likes of Shane Robinson on the bench, or in the Minor Leagues, and keeping Greg Bird fresh, since you know… he is fatigued and all. Murphy makes a lot of sense for the Yankees, which usually means we will not be seeing him in pinstripes this fall… but one can hope, right?

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 8/18/18

Pitch like Pedro

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays will continue their three-game weekend set tonight with the middle game of the series in the Bronx. In the start this afternoon the Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound hoping that whatever has ailed him in his last few starts has been fixed and/or figured out, while the Blue Jays will counter with Sean Reid-Foley. Who? Exactly, but nonetheless, let’s get to it here in the Bronx.

Severino has struggled for much of the second half of the season including his last start on Monday against the New York Mets and Jacob deGrom. Severino lasted just four innings allowing four runs on seven hits including two home runs in a loss to the Mets.

That 'stache though

Reid-Foley made his MLB debut on Monday against the Kansas City Royals lasting just five innings in a 3-1 loss for the Blue Jays. Reid-Foley pitched in and out of trouble for much of the afternoon but did a great job at limiting damage.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

This man wakes up today, book it.

Enjoy the game, how about scoring some damn runs for once…, and go Yankees!!

Hello… and Welcome Back

Good morning everyone and not only welcome back to the blog, but welcome back to the weekend as well. This is a true welcome back to the blog as well as my training at work is COMPLETE, finally. A lot of good has come out of this training and I truly believe that a lot of good will come out of it as well, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to be back to my normal.

It also means that we should be back to your regularly scheduled programming here on the blog, so be on the lookout for that. It also means that I will be able to go back to screaming to the world how much I love Kari Ann Burch, the most beautiful woman in the entire world. I can’t wait to marry you, and I love you.

Oh, and by the way… one year ago today was the day that Kari and I decided to finally move in together. It has been a year full of ups and downs just like any budding relationship, but I absolutely would not change a thing… and I definitely would not change us, at all. I love you, and here is to another year standing right by your side as your protector, as your friend, and as your man.

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/18: Longest Nine Inning Game In MLB History

In the early to mid 2000's the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox played some of the most bitter, the most entertaining, and some of the longest games in the history of the game of baseball. The Yankees and the Red Sox played the longest nine inning game in Major League history on this day in 2006 when the Yankees would beat the Red Sox 14-11. The Yankees completed a day and night double header sweep in Fenway Park and the second game took a cool four hours and 45 minutes to play. A team scored in nine of the 18 half innings and combined for 34 hits.

Also on this day in 1989 Bucky Dent replaced Dallas Green as the Yankees manager. This would mark the 17th time the Yankees had changed managers during George Steinbrenner's 17 year tenure as the Yankees owner. The Yankees were in 5th place at the time with a 56-65 record.

Finally on this day in 1940 Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig and roommate Bill Dickey filed a suit against the New York Daily News. Jimmy Powers, the sports editor for the Sunday New York Daily News, suggested the Yankees poor play this season was to blame for a mass polio epidemic that the team contracted from Gehrig. In the end the newspaper retracted its statement and apologized to the Iron Horse.

Friday, August 17, 2018

For All Those Fans Who Say George > Hal Steinbrenner

Good morning, afternoon, or evening wherever you are when you are reading this. Hopefully your day is going well, you left your blinders at home and your rose-colored glasses did not match your favorite shirt and pants combination today because I am going to make a statement that is not only going to be an unpopular one, but it’s going to be true as well. I have grown increasingly impatient with the Yankees fan base as a whole recently and, for what it’s worth, a lot of you out there have completely gone off the reservation here. The fans that I am speaking of know what I mean, and they know who you are. These fans are ready to fire Aaron Boone, a rookie manager who is managing the second-best team (record wise) in Major League Baseball, Larry Rothschild, a great and well-respected pitching coach, and Brian Cashman, an amazing General Manager that has not only rebuilt this team but rebuilt a decimated farm system as well. These fans also want to demote (FYI, so-called fans, you can’t) Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Luis Severino and others (Giancarlo Stanton not too long ago) because they are failing seven or eight times out of every ten at-bats in a game that says you are great, not just good, for doing exactly that. These fans are also extremely quick to mention the fact that this situation would not be going on if George Steinbrenner, the Boss, were still alive. Um, excuse me? If anything, the situation is the way it is today BECAUSE of the Boss.

No disrespect to George Steinbrenner, I fully respect the man and what he did not only for the New York Yankees, but for the game of Major League Baseball as a whole. Let’s be real though, depending on how long on this timeline you want to go back on, the reason the New York Yankees are even in the situation they are in right now is because of the Boss, not because of Hal Steinbrenner “the coupon clipper.”

The luxury tax threshold came about because of teams and owners who heavily spent on free agents and on the international market. There once was a time where the New York Yankees owned everything, some may remember, and some may not. If there was a free agent on the market that the Yankees wanted, they got him. If that free agent didn’t work out instantly and there was an upgrade on the trade market that July, the Yankees got him too. If there was an international phenom coming over named Jose Contreras or Hideki Irabu, the Yankees got them too. Who was the man at the helm making all these decisions and signing off on all these paychecks? George Michael Steinbrenner III.

What was the league to do in order to counteract this? What was the Players Association to do? The only thing that they could to in order to not only curtail the dominance and the spending by the Yankees (who, if you remember, had their own television network in an era where this was virtually unheard of, unlike today) was to somehow implement a way to cap spending and bring some sort of normalcy and parity back into the game. Enter the original “competitive balance tax” and how it started way before it was implemented before the 1997 season. Let’s go back to the strike of 1994 that ended the season prematurely and ultimately cancelled the World Series. Much of what caused the strike was the disagreement between the league, the players and the owners over the control and power the teams had over their players in the salary department. Small market teams felt handcuffed by fiscal budgets while the larger market teams, like the Yankees (George Steinbrenner was still suspended from baseball at this time), refused to accept a salary cap. What did it result in? A strike. The players and the league agreed to return to the sport, albeit late, in 1995, before the two sides agreed upon a collective bargaining agreement in 1996 that would include Major League Baseball’s first ever luxury tax. The agreement states that the top five teams in terms of salaries paid would each have to pay a 34% fine on each dollar spent beyond halfway between the salaries of the 5th and 6th teams’ salaries. For example, if the 5th highest payroll in MLB that season was $100 million and the 6th highest payroll that season was $98 million the top five spending teams in the league would have to pay a 34% tax on every dollar they spent over $99 million, or whatever that median was.

Before the Yankees “Dynasty” success of the mid-90’s and into the early 2000’s the Yankees only spent a total of $9,919,651 in luxury tax dollars, although that was the second highest mark to only the Baltimore Orioles who spent $10,643,897 from 1996-1999. The luxury tax was working for the most part until George began dipping his feet into the deep end of the free agent pool again starting in the early 2000’s. While the luxury tax was eliminated from 2000-2002, which led to presumably a lot of the heavy spending from the Yankees, the luxury tax was back in a new CBA signed during the 2002 season that placed a flat, albeit soft, cap on spending that teams could not go over without being penalized. Here is the history of the luxury tax threshold and what those marks were from the 2003 season to what we will see in the 2021 season when the latest CBA expires.

Source: wikipedia

The luxury tax basics changed some over the years, but the basic premise remained the same, if teams went over the cap they were hit with fiscal penalties. Under the CBA that stretched from 2002 – 2006 teams that were going over the cap for the first time had to pay a fee of 17.5% on every dollar over the luxury tax threshold (later increased to 22.5% with the 2006 CBA), while second time offenders would pay 30% on every dollar. Third time offenders, like the New York Yankees, were paying 40%, or 40 cents on every dollar that they spent over the luxury tax threshold. To put this in an example that many Yankees fans can understand, before the 2001 season the Yankees signed first baseman Jason Giambi to a seven-year deal worth $120 million. While there wasn’t a luxury tax threshold in 2001 when he signed, there was for the final five seasons of the contract. To make it simple, Giambi’s seven-year deal was worth roughly $17 million per season, with 40% of that being $6.857 million. Multiply $6.857 million five times and you have $34.285 million dollars in taxes alone and on the Jason Giambi contract alone. FYI just to put this into perspective of how much $34 million in payroll was back in the early-to-mid 2000’s, the entire payroll of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2003 when the tax came back to the game was $19,630,000.  

During the first CBA that stretched from 2002-2006 the Yankees spent $152,749,814 (2003), $182,835,513 (2004), $205,938,439 (2005), and $194,663,079 (2006) in overall payroll, tops in Major League Baseball each season by a long shot. This did not factor in what the team spent in luxury tax dollars. Obviously, the luxury tax threshold was not deterring anyone, but especially the New York Yankees and George Steinbrenner during that time (although George passed away in 2010 before these changes were implemented), from spending so things were switched up before the 2012 season with a new CBA. With the new CBA came a new penalty for going over the luxury tax, this time for offenders that have gone over the luxury tax threshold four or more times, hitting them with a 50% tax on every dollar spent over the luxury tax threshold. Since the inception of the luxury tax threshold in MLB the Yankees have spent a whopping $319.6 million just in luxury tax penalties alone, “closely” followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and their $149.7 million in penalties spent for second place. It wasn’t until the current CBA that was agreed upon in 2016 that we saw the ability to stay under the threshold for one year to reset the penalty to “first offense” spending on dollar spent over the threshold.

So, why does Major League Baseball even have a luxury tax threshold, and the subsequent penalties that followed which now include international spending limits and draft pick compensation limitations? Because of people like George Steinbrenner, God rest his soul. With this information it seems not only silly, but also irresponsible to say that George Steinbrenner was a better owner than Hal Steinbrenner when you can’t really compare the two. George Steinbrenner was apples, and his son Hal is oranges. Th difference is that George was ahead of his time and had the ability to pay whatever for whomever and dominate the league, Hal is just being forced to play in a league that finally caught up to what his father was doing and getting away with all along. The only reason there is a luxury tax threshold, due in large part anyway, is because of George Steinbrenner… and the only reason that Hal needs to get under it is because of his father.

It isn’t just sacrificing money anymore, because yes I do realize that the Yankees make $500 billion a season or whatever number those irrational and uninformed fans on social media love to gloat about when bitching about not signing a player for financial reasons, but it is also about sacrificing prospects, draft picks, international money, and lord knows what else they will come up with when the current CBA expires in 2021. The league has caught up to the Yankees, both in terms of players and in terms of money, and the game just isn’t the same anymore. Add Hal Steinbrenner to the helm of the Yankees empire in the mid-90’s through the 2000’s and the Yankees may have won a lot more World Series than just five World Series Championships, but put George Steinbrenner at the helm of the Yankees from 2009 to present… and the Yankees may not have a single ring, or prospect, or draft pick, or anything else BUT THEIR MONEY to gloat about or talk about.

Think about that before simply declaring that this “wouldn’t happen if The Boss were alive.”

The Fine Line Between Passion And Ignorance

I don't know if any of you saw it, as it was closing in on midnight, but I went on a bit of rant on Twitter last night.

My first tweet on the subject was meant to stand on its own...
But not long after that, I had to get it all out...
It's hard to express yourself 100% correctly on Twitter, so I wanted to write something here to make sure.

Every year it's the same thing. When the Yankees play well all you'll hear is praise for Brian Cashman. Fans will talk about his great trade for Didi Gregorius (especially during Didi's incredible start to the season), or the trade that brought Gleyber Torres to the organization. But when things aren't going so well those same fans will cry about him trading for J.A. Happ instead of a bonafide ace at the trade deadline. Although that Happ thing is working out pretty well, huh?

To be fair, the hate thrown at Aaron Boone has been around for most of the season. Even when the Yankees were winning 70% of their games the manager's moves were questioned. However, some of those that merely questioned Boone earlier this season are now calling for his head on a pike. Amazingly, I've heard numerous people wish Joe Girardi was never let go.

So many fans hated Joe Girardi! But some people have this amazing ability to remember the past differently.

Does a manager have any influence on the outcome of a game? Of course. But is it nearly as high as some people tend to think? No.

A number of people have written about lineup construction and came to the same conclusion... it really doesn't matter a whole hell of a lot. Going by the results, even the best lineup would only result in a handful of extra runs throughout the season. And that comes from things like Gary Sanchez being much worse than any of us imagined, or Miguel Andujar having a rookie of the year season that very few thought would happen.

And don't get me started on the bullpen decisions. Sure, it can be frustrating to see Boone bring in certain pitchers in certain situations, but at the end of the day, we're talking about what should be the best bullpen in baseball. So many of the failings we've seen from the bullpen should not have happened. David Robertson nor Chad Green are the same guys that were destroying the competition last season. And Zach Britton has been nothing like the guy we imagined he'd be when the Yankees acquired him a few weeks back.

Aaron Boone should be able to bring any of the three aforementioned guys into a game with little to no worry, but that hasn't been the case. And that's not Aaron's fault. The players failed Aaron... not the other way around.

Now for the biggest fallacy you'll read on Twitter or anywhere else...

"Hal Steinbrenner doesn't care about winning. All he cares about is making money. If he really wanted to win then he wouldn't care about going over the Luxury Tax threshold, especially since the team makes over a half billion dollars a year anyway."

This is actually very simple. Sure, it may not be true everywhere, but in New York (at least in the Bronx) fans demand a winner. Otherwise they don't show up.

In 2009, when the Yankees won the World Series, the average attendance at Yankee Stadium was 45,918. That was also the first year of the new Yankee Stadium, so I'm sure that helped ticket sales too. In 2010, when the Yankees made it to the league championship series, average attendance was 46,491. Attendance remained over 45,000 a game through 2011 when the Yankees won the division, and attendance was still very good in 2012 when they won the division again. But the following season, when the Yankees finished 12 games behind in the AL East, attendance plummeted by over 3,000 a game. Even in 2014, which was Derek Jeter's final season, attendance only went up a bit, which is likely due to another 3rd place division finish (12 games back).

And attendance has yet to bounce back to anywhere near the level they saw when they first moved into Yankee Stadium III.

Side note: It still amazes me that attendance wasn't as high as ever in 2014, the last chance to watch Derek Jeter in Yankee Stadium. Wow.

So stop saying Hal doesn't care about winning. Winning = money. So whether Hal cares more about winning or money, it doesn't matter.

Like I said on Twitter towards the end of the rant... it's perfectly okay to be pissed. Hell, if you truly care about something you should be mad when it goes wrong. Demand more effort from a player when everything he does or says screams "lackadaisical". Discuss an error by a player, or a bad move by Aaron Boone. But for the love of God stop acting like you know better.

The truth of the matter is none of us know what's best for the Yankees. If we did then we wouldn't be talking about it on a blog or on Twitter. Hell, we wouldn't be writing for ESPN or the New York Daily News, either. We'd be standing next to Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner, and Aaron Boone. Or we'd at least be in similar positions for another professional baseball organization.

We're fans. To take that further, we're some of the most passionate fans you'll see in all of sports. We want perfection, even if we know we won't get it. And there's not a damn thing wrong with that. But everyone should know their limits.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

InCESSAnt Behavior...

Photo Credit: AP (Frank Franklin II)
Yanks Ride Luis Cessa to Loss…

Sorry Cessa, not a fan…

Luis Cessa may be a great guy and one of the ‘boys’ in the clubhouse, but he isn’t a pitcher I want in the starting rotation for a team driving for a shot in the post-season. I realize that Cessa had a couple of good starts in July, but in two August starts totaling seven innings, he has given up fourteen hits and ten runs.  In three seasons with the Yankees, he is 5-10 with 4.71 ERA in 133 2/3 innings. He has given up 129 hits. This is who he is. If you’re lucky, he is not going to give up more than 4-5 runs before the game is halfway over. We need better.

I am not sure why the Yankees have such an infatuation with Cessa. I think he’s better served pitching in the bullpen.  That’s not a slam.  Bullpens are filled with failed starters. I’d gladly take Cessa as the long man in the pen over A.J. Cole. Cessa is better in short non-starting spurts than he is starting games. Cole would be better served pitching elsewhere. 

To Cessa’s defense, any of the Yankees starting pitchers were going to lose yesterday if the offense could only push one run across the plate in the 6-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. Still, it felt like it was going to be a loss before the first pitch was thrown. Maybe his teammates have full faith and confidence in his ability, but for me, it was a psychological downer knowing Cessa would be on the mound.  It’s hard to be at your best when you are not mentally in the game. I can’t really see what Cessa has done to inspire any confidence. 

After the game, Cessa was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre so A.J. Cole lives to see another day. He remains my latest preferred DFA candidate unless he can somehow survive the next 15 days. George Kontos, on the other hand, was not so fortunate. I am not really sure why the Yankees acquired Kontos. They paid cash to the Cleveland Indians on August 4th for the former San Francisco Giants reliever and one-time Yankees prospect. It was kind of a nice story about the former Yankees farmhand coming home.  They placed him at Triple A for a week and promoted him to the active roster on August 13th. He pitched an inning and two-thirds against the New York Mets on the day of his promotion, limiting the Mets to a hit and no runs while striking out two. Yesterday, he was designated for assignment to make room for Cessa’s start. There was a reason Kontos was available. His velocity is down significantly from last year, but I am not sure why the Yankees even bothered to acquire him. To create a spot on the 40-man roster to pitch him for less than two innings seems curious at best. It’s not like he pitched Sonny Gray-style in his one and only appearance. Maybe he clears waivers and is outrighted to Triple A, but I’d be surprised if another team doesn’t place a claim. Everyone could use bullpen help.  Just ask the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Photo Credit: AP (Mark J Terrill)

Frankly, I am a little tired of people who keep promoting GM Brian Cashman as the greatest genius in the sport and the Ninja Master. There’s no doubt he has had his share of successes but his closet is littered with failures.  I shouldn’t be bitter the Yankees have the second best record in Major League Baseball, but I am frustrated that the team could have been better if not for questionable Cashman moves and the overall inexperience of manager Aaron Boone. Boone’s a good man and I think he’ll eventually be a good manager but there have been and will continue be bumps along the way. Cashman and his analytic team making the lineup decisions is befuddling at times. I guess we should say that Michael Fishman, VP, Assistant General Manager and head of the Analytics Department, is the true manager of the Yankees.  Sometimes, the answers are not in the numbers.

When it was mentioned that Aaron Judge was only going to be out for three weeks for his injured right wrist, I felt the timetable was probably a little over-aggressive. So, the latest word that Judge will need more time and we may not see him until September is not surprising.  This is why I felt the Yankees should have acquired another outfielder in lieu of promoting one of the few healthy outfielders at Triple A, Shane Robinson, earlier in the month. I’ve mentioned Curtis Granderson.  I know that will bring ire from TGP’s Bryan Van Dusen. I get that Grandy has seen his better days and he was such a disappointment down the stretch last year for the Los Angeles Dodgers. But, compared to Shane Robinson, Grandy still looks appealing to me. Of course, he hit a grand slam last night for the Toronto Blue Jays so it’s easy to say when the player is performing.  I really wish that Clint Frazier was healthy. This would have been his opportunity to shine and his chance to prove to the Yankees he represents the future of the outfield.  It was not meant to be, unfortunately, so I feel that Cashman and Company should have turned quickly to Plan B. “B” standing for ‘better than Shane Robinson’. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Elsa)

It was funny yesterday when first baseman Ryan McBroom was pulled from the lineup in the double-header between the Indianapolis Indians and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at Moosic, PA. Yankees Twitter blew up with the usual ‘trade or call up’ speculation. Subsequent word was that he was scratched due to a stiff back that tightened up on him during Tuesday’s game. He is expected to be available today for the RailRiders. Despite his good year at Triple A, he doesn’t seem like a prospect that is going to warrant much consideration from the Front Office. 

To replace Luis Cessa on the active roster, it appears reliever Tommy Kahnle will be returning to the Bronx.  He cleared out his locker at Triple A last night, after not appearing in the double-header. I am hopeful Kahnle is back for good. Of course he has to pitch like we know he can to keep the spot but that’s on him. Welcome back, Tommy! The Philadelphia Eagles suck but we are happy you are back. 

Speaking of the RailRiders’ double-header, the first game was not very kind for top Yankees prospect Justus Sheffield. He only lasted an inning and two-thirds after getting tagged for four hits and four runs, while mixing in five walks in the short outing. Not exactly a stellar start for Top Sheff. He took the loss as the RailRiders were unable to rally against the Indians. He held Indianapolis scoreless in the first inning despite leaving two runners stranded after a hit and a walk. But it unraveled for him in the second inning.  The Indians scored three of four runs that inning  after Sheff had recorded two outs, and he was pulled with the bases loaded. J.P. Feyereisen struck out Wyatt Mathisen to end the inning so the damage to Sheffield’s final pitching line could have been much worse if not for Feyereisen’s K. Nevertheless, it was just a blip. Sheffield has not become the second incarnation of Luis Cessa. It happens to the best of pitchers. He’ll be back strong next start, I am sure. Brian Cashman has indicated we’ll see Sheffield at some point this season so I fully expect his arrival when rosters expand in September. 

I guess at this point the AL East standings do not really matter, however, the Yankees lost an opportunity to pick up a game on the Boston Red Sox yesterday. The Sox suffered a rare loss against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday while the Yankees were losing to the Rays. The Yankees (75-45) stayed ten games behind Boston. They also maintained their slim 3 ½ game lead in the Wild Card standings over the Oakland A’s. The A’s lost to the other Wild Card contender, the Seattle Mariners. The M’s are 2 ½ games behind Oakland. 

The Yankees conclude their series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium today. They’ll send Masahiro Tanaka (9-3, 4.08 ERA) to the mound. He’ll be opposed by Rays ace Blake Snell (13-5, 2.18 ERA). I am hopeful that we’ll see a much better Tanaka than we did last start. Regardless, the Yankees offense needs to chip in some runs today if we are to be successful. I am sure that a few balls will leave the yard today but hopefully the majority of the culprits will be wearing pinstripes.

Go Yankees!