Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Dont Worry Yankees Fans... #28 Is In The Bag

A lot of you probably dont know but I am a New York Yankees fan living in Atlanta Georgia. I moved to Atlanta in October of 1999 due to family reasons. Many of you  probably know that we very rarely play the Braves in interleague play... The last time the Yankees came down to Atlanta was the last time I saw the Yankees live... 2009. Before that was in the mid to late 90's. 

Guess what, the Yankees play this year IN Atlanta in June.. and guess who is going? That would be me. Me in my usual seat of Section 118 Row 2 in Turner Field. I basically rest my right elbow on the Yankees visiting dugout railing. The best seats in the house.

Its fate gentlemen... 28 is 2012. Get on board the bandwagon. 

Alex Rodriguez 2012 MVP

CC Sabathia 2012 Cy Young
Jesus Montero AL ROY
Gold Gloves to Teix, Cano, Jeter, Granderson, & Martin

Really this post was supposed to be fun and kill time while we have nothing going on in mid January... but really.. Im going.. and really the last time we won a world series was when I went to see the Yankees in 2009. Baseball people are the most superstitious in the world and so am I.

Garza to Detroit would not be a big deal

With the news of Detroit being willing to deal away Jacob Turner, who is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, many believe the chances of the Yankees trading for Matt Garza are closer to "none" than "slim". Right away myself and other Yanks fans thought "dammit", but I had to ask myself... is that really a problem?

Sure, the Tigers get a lot better with Garza slotted behind Justin Verlander, along with Max Scherzer and Doug Fister. But I've always believed that if the Yankees do "their thing", then it doesn't matter what anybody else does. Especially when it comes to making moves in response to what the Red Sox do, which is something that always freaks out many Bomber fans.

The Yanks could still pick-up Kuroda and have a rotation that could put the team in position to beat anybody. Remember, we don't need a rotation like the one in Philadelphia in order to win. Hell, our offense was able to overcome AJ Burnett's sad starts the last two years.

Will Hamels reach free agency?

I like to read the "Truth and Rumors" section of FanNation at daily. I'm not really sure why, as they rarely post anything worth a damn, but I guess it's the little bit of "TMZ" in me. Today, however, I was interested in the following...

Philadelphia's rotation is an expensive one, and Cole Hamels is nearing a Jered Weaver-like payday. The Phillies have long been a club that likes to lock up young, core players and keep them off the free-agent market. At 28, [Hamels] fits that description. In fact, Phillies officials have commented that they'd like to keep the left-hander in red pinstripes for years to come. But it does not appear as if Hamels, who will be eligible for free agency after the 2012 season, will get a long-term contract extension this winter. "We've had discussions with Cole," assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said during an appearance on Comcast SportsNet's Phillies Hot Stove on Tuesday night. "Right now, we're focused on a one-year deal."
Seeing the Phillies payroll for next season is already at around $108 million, which includes $20m to Halladay (who has another year and an option after 2012) and $25m to Lee (will have 3 more years and an option remaining), not to mention Victorino being a free agent and Pence being arbitration eligible again, I'm not sure they will have the money to bring Hamels back. It could certainly happen though, so I'm not 100% keen on waiting for him to hit free agency. But this is good news none-the-less.

Expanding the Budget

Yesterday Buster Olney reported that the Yankees are thinking of expanding the budget this season. This report was picked up by River Ave Blues, The LoHud Yankees blog, and elsewhere (the Olney article is Insider at Here's the exact quote from Buster...

The New York Yankees will determine in the next couple of weeks whether they will expand their current budget, and this, of course, will determine exactly who they might add for their pitching staff.

My initial reaction was a positive one, as I'm not comfortable with the question marks in the rotation as it stands now. Can Ivan Nova repeat his 2011 season? Will AJ Burnett continue to be awful? Can Freddy Garcia contribute again? What about Phil Hughes? Honestly, it's CC Sabathia and then question, question, question, and question. So I would really like to see the Yankees acquire another starter, who can fit into the #3 or #2 spot in the rotation without a problem.

This is also a positive because earlier this off-season I expressed a desire to sign Hiroki Kuroda, after it was reported that he'd take a one year deal. That seems perfect, because after free agency next off-season, the team really wouldn't need another starter. They could have Sabathia, Hamels, and Nova in the top three spots, then fill the bottom with two of Burnett, Hughes, Warren, Phelps, Mitchell, Banuelos, and Betances. I'm not saying the reasons for backing off of Kuroda a bit weren't legit, as signing him to $13 million would end up costing an extra $5 million or so due to the luxury tax. Last season the Yankees had to pay $13.9 million towards to luxury tax, due to a payroll of $212.7 million. As things stand now the Yankees are looking at paying a little under $10 million towards the Luxury Tax, with a payroll of around $202 million. Adding Kuroda could bring the payroll to $215 million, and cost the team $14.8 million for the Luxury Tax. So we're not talking about pinching pennies here.

Well, I spoke of my "initial reaction" in the last paragraph, which means I had a different reaction after thinking about it. And that reaction wasn't a great one after looking at the payroll and luxury tax numbers. Well, in the following case, the payroll and Luxury Tax cost would likely go down a bit, but not enough to overcome my other issues. I'm talking about signing Edwin Jackson. For one thing, it's going to cost a 3-4 year contract. Which throws a wrench into the plans of getting a starter next off-season (although there's no guarantee there will be anything really good out there anyway). And on top of that multi-year deal, I'm simply not a big fan of the guy.

Edwin has averaged 203.1 innings over the last three seasons. That's great, but AJ Burnett has averaged 194.2 innings over the last three seasons, and I'm not exactly jumping around in excitement over him possibly being a starter in 2012. Being a workhorse is great, but you have to have the effectiveness to go with it. Does Jackson? Well he's given up more hits per 9 innings each season over the last three years (including giving up more hits when he moved from the White Sox to the Cardinals during last season), his ERA+ of 109 over the last 3 years suggests that he's above average but not spectacular, his BABIP was pretty high last year which suggest a regression of some of his numbers (it was .338), his batting average against has gone up in each of the last 3 seasons, and his line drive percentage was a fairly high 25%.

So Edwin may help improve the rotation a bit, I don't think it's enough to warrant a 3-4 year deal. So the idea that the Yankees are expanding the budget, and will likely make some sort of improvement when it comes to the starting rotation, frightens me a bit. And all for different reasons (Kuroda's issue is the extra money, while Jackson's is the extra years). Oh, and that doesn't get into the possibility of Roy Oswalt and his problematic lower back.