Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What about Mike Gonzalez?

There isn't a whole lot to talk about when it comes to the Yankees, so many fans have turned their attention to the 25th spot on the active roster. Every other spot seems to be locked up except for one more arm in the bullpen.

And it makes sense that the team, in particular Joe Girardi, would like a second lefty in the bullpen. Cesar Cabral probably has the inside track on that job, but the Yankees do have Clay Rapada in camp as well (I'd rather go with Cabral). But what about adding another arm, preferably to a minor league contract with incentives?

Mike Gonzalez has had plenty of success in MLB. Over the last three seasons he's thrown 152.1 innings, with an ERA of 3.37 and a strikeout-rate of 10.18 K/9. However he does walk a decent amount of batters, as over the last 3 years his walk-rate has been 4.02 BB/9. But he did lower that walk-rate last year to 3.5 in 53.1 innings, although his strikeout-rate dropped to 8.6.

But looking at last year he's really only good against left-handed batters. Versus right-handed batters Gonzalez's triple-slash against was .287/.375/.525 in 120 plate appearances. However, against left-handed batters, Mike's triple-slash against was a really good .214/.264/.311.

So although he may not be somebody you want to see face opposite-sided hitters, he does seem like somebody the Yankees should look into. Heck, at this point, one would wonder why he's even available at all. But looking at his injury history it becomes clear why...

In the last three seasons Mike has missed 116 games due to injuries to his elbow, forearm, lower back, shoulder, and knee (he had surgery on his knee last November). Mind you, the majority of his time away came in 2010 when he missed 89 games due to two tears in his rotator cuff, and a frayed labrum. But you can see that he's not the most healthy person in the World, so it's far from a no-brainer for any team to sign him.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Gonzalez is a Scott Boras client. That means he's likely to hold out for more guaranteed money, as Boras clients are not ones to leave money on the table at all. And due to Mike's upside there may be a team willing to give him a Major League contract. Now, if a Minor League contract would get it done, then I see no issue what-so-ever bringing him on board. But the Yankees are in a position where they absolutely do not need to give out a Major League deal, especially to somebody with the injury track record that Gonzalez has had.

Sherman: Hughes chosen one in Yankees rotation battle

Being borrowed from Joel Sherman from the NY Post:

TAMPA — We can pretend there is a competition going on for the Yankees’ No. 5 starter spot, but that is what it is. Pretend. The WWE stages more realistic battles.
The Yankees are saying it is Freddy Garcia vs. Phil Hughes. But their general manager is also saying this: He believes Hughes is, right now, a top-of-the-rotation starter. That has not been said about Garcia since, oh, about 2001.
So this is a competition only because the Yankees want to sell you that this is a competition. They do not want a prideful veteran in Garcia to be offended. They do not want Hughes, who showed up out of shape last year, to feel he is being handed anything. And with six weeks to Opening Day, the potential for injury or stumble means the Yankees see no reason to publicly declare even a front-runner, much less a winner.
A HUGHES SHAM: With all the high praise Phil Hughes (above) has received at spring training, Joel Sherman says the “battle” between Hughes and Freddy Garcia for the fifth spot in the Yankees’ rotation is merely for show.
A HUGHES SHAM: With all the high praise Phil Hughes (above) has received at spring training, Joel Sherman says the “battle” between Hughes and Freddy Garcia for the fifth spot in the Yankees’ rotation is merely for show.
But understand this: The competition is rigged. If it is close, Hughes wins. If it is advantage Garcia, but only slightly, Hughes wins. Hughes can only lose this by doing what he did last spring, having his fastball go on a mysterious hiatus. The early signs are Hughes’ better dedication to offseason conditioning has led to less gut and more heat.
Normally anything in February or March should be ignored, but it was obvious in his first live batting practice session yesterday that Hughes’ arm was quick and his fastball had life.
“It is a heavier ball,” Russell Martin said. “He changed his body. He looks more explosive. He has more arm speed, which leads to a better breaking ball and more deception on the changeup.”
For his part, Hughes is mostly dismissing early signals as pretty inconsequential and promoting the idea of a fierce competition in which he must earn his way into the starting five.
But, again, we turn to the general manager, Brian Cashman, who when asked about rotation competition talks about “six guys for five spots.” But when asked specifically about Hughes, Cashman says: “Aside from last year he was viewed, and not just by us, as one of the better young arms in the game; with success to prove it. He was a dominant reliever for us in 2009 and an All-Star as a starter in 2010. Why would I judge him by last year when he was injured? It feels like everyone wants to take him down a peg. I think he is a top-of-the-rotation starter.”
And why exactly would “a top-of-the-rotation starter” not be at least the No. 5 man? Especially when the words associated with Garcia are “dependable,” “competitive” and “savvy.” When he was signed for one year at $4 million, the Yankees had not yet pulled off their trade for Michael Pineda or their signing of Hiroki Kuroda.
So not only was Garcia in the starting five, but so was A.J. Burnett. The additions of Pineda and Kuroda to join CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova enabled the Yankees to trade Burnett and, now, de-emphasize Garcia. If everyone is healthy (big if) come April, Garcia will be the long man, a proven safety net.
The sport has been gravitating the past few years toward more high-end pitching, and the Yankees believe to survive in the AL East you have to have elite stuff. Garcia finished last year at 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA. But against Boston and Toronto, the two best offenses in the division not belonging to the Yankees, the righty was 2-5 with a 5.31 ERA. Hughes had a 7.43 ERA against teams with a better than .500 record. But the Yankees do not think that was the real Phil Hughes.
At 25, he is 10 years younger than Garcia. These days the best Garcia can do is maintain his now-limited fastball and rely on his unflinching nature and high pitching IQ to compensate.
Also, the Yankees are committed to Garcia only through this season. Hughes, though, as young as he is, can be a free agent after next season. So, right now, he is like a college senior who has yet to declare a major. Is he starter or reliever, back end of the rotation or front?
Cashman believes he is front of the rotation. So the No. 5 competition today is just theater. Nevertheless, Hughes’ scholarship ends after this. Time to declare who he is.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/yankees/it_just_pretend_HV7uMp5WSb9RRjzN7xs8mL#ixzz1nignObAV

Spring Training Day 10

10 days into Yankees spring training camp already huh? Where does the time go?

Joe Girardi came out today and said "the only two locks in the rotation are CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda" and that the rest of the rotation spots are up for grabs. Personally I think this is nothing more then making competition out of nothing because if anyone believes that Nova and Pineda are not going to be in this rotation then they are dreaming or a Yankees hater. Girardi claims that the starting rotation is NOT only limited to Hughes vs Garcia but raise your hand if you believe him... I'll wait...... No hands? Exactly!

Girardi also pretty much stated that Cano would be in the 3 spot, as my friend Bryan said in an earlier post, for the 2012 season. I think this is the best move for the Yankees for next season and beyond. You put your best hitter in the #3 spot and he is absolutely our best hitter no doubt. I am glad to see that Girardi had to gonads to finally make a hard decision that "hurt" or changed the routine of a veteran player (Mark Teixeira).

Joba Chamberlain finally threw off of a full mound today, only throwing 16 pitches. He looked great and felt great but this is just the first step in the long process of getting back on the field in a real game. He will be re-evaluated tomorrow to see how he feels but everything looks good in the Joba camp and he still hopes to be back in the Bronx well ahead of schedule. Speaking of tommy john surgery survivors David Aardsma arrived at Yankees camp donning the #34 jersey that AJ Burnett has worn the last 3 seasons so I guess that puts to bed any chance of the Yankees retiring it right? By the way Aardsma is eyeing an all star break return to the Yankees pen.

Minimal news but David Robertson and Boone Logan both threw batting practices today and both looked and felt great. The bridge to Mariano Rivera has all appeared in spring training and all look and feel good. Health is always a good thing in spring training camp , especially before our first game on March 2nd. Until then join us at TheGreedyPinstripes.com for all your up to date spring training news and notes. Go Yankees.

Our New Home, Finally

The Greedy Pinstripes now own a domain and while we had trouble with the hosting wanting to update and such it is all fixed now. Our new web address is www.thegreedypinstripes.com but dont worry thegreedypinstripes.blogspot.com WILL automatically redirect you to the new domain. Enjoy the new home and we look forward to growing with you even more in the 2012 season! Go Yankees!

Cano, Girardi, and the 3-Hole

I just read this over at the LoHud Yankees Blog -
In the past, Joe Girardi has talked about his lineup as if the team is strong considering Robinson Cano in the No. 3 spot. Today he talked about his lineup as if Cano is locked into the No. 3 spot, and the rest of the lineup will be built from there.

“Is there an immoveable piece?” Girardi said. “I don’t think so. When you think about it, you’d probably like to hit Robbie third. That’s the one guy you’d like to keep.”

Otherwise, Girardi said he doesn’t have to be “married” to one lineup. He said he’s “not necessarily” locked into having Cano hit immediately behind Curtis Granderson, and he said flipping Granderson and Derek Jeter is “a possibility you could talk about.”

“We started talking a little bit the other day, some different things (about the lineup),” Girardi said. “I kind of want to see how guys look as we enter spring training, and we’ll try to iron out a lineup by Opening Day. It may take until then for us to make up our minds.”
I like this news for two reasons...

1. I believe Cano is the teams best all-around hitter. Robbie led the team in batting average, was 2nd in slugging percentage, and 5th in on-base percentage. And generally you want your best hitter batting 3rd, as it not only gives him many opportunities for RBI, but also gets him more plate appearances.

2. It shows that Girardi is not afraid change. He was lambasted by fans and media for not getting rid of the 6-man rotation earlier last season, especially when he said he was going to do just that. Which is a good criticism, in my opinion. If you say you're going to do something... do it. And I believe, along with many others, that he waited too long to take Teixeira out of the 3-hole last season as well. Moving Cano to the 3-hole isn't happening as soon as some of us would have liked, but the fact it apparently is changing is a good thing.

I'm not going to lie, I'm an apologist for anything Yankees. That doesn't mean I accept everything they do or say, but for the most part I will see the good in their moves before I will see the bad (assuming I see the bad at all). But even the biggest Girardi hater has to agree that hearing this from Joe is a good thing.

Our New Home

I posted on Twitter last night that we got a new home/domain. Unfortunately we are having some troubles moving the site over there. We'll keep you updated.

Meet A Prospect : The Yankees Analyst Top 20 List

Being borrowed from our friends at The Yankees Analysts:

They did a top 20 prospect list and me, as a confessed "prospect humper" decided that I wanted to share while we at Daily Sports Pages, compile our own top 20 list. Here is the list...

Manny Banuelos is the consensus #1 prospect for us and I do not see how anyone could disagree with that because the guy is 2 years younger then Dellin Betances and a little better. Throw in the fact that he is left handed and he projects to be an ace (as his ceiling) and what more do you need?

Brad putting Austin Romine as the #3 prospect is a reach if I have ever seen one. The absolute highest that I would put Romine would be at #4 behind Banuelos, Betances, and Gary Sanchez. REACH!!!

Brad.. really? Adam Warren #7? Talk about optimism. I guess that he took MLB readiness into account and put a lot of stock into it. I personally like to go with ceiling and projections more but to each his own.

Overall I would change a few things but the lists seem to be consistent with everything else that is coming out these days. This list will look nothing like ours that comes out (SPOILER ALERT) so stay tuned for The Greedy Pinstripes top 20 Yankees prospect list.