Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mariano Rivera news - It's A Very... Very... Sad Night.

Mariano Rivera has a torn ACL, which basically means he's done for the year. Mo will require surgery to repair the ligament, which takes anywhere from 9 months to a full year to recover from. As hard as this will be for the Yankees, even with guys like Soriano or Robertson to take over the closer role, it's even sadder for fans.

Rivera is the most sure-thing Hall of Famer that I've ever seen. Nobody has done more at his position than the Sandman has. I could go on and on spewing out his achievements, but Yankee fans have already heard them all. So I just wanted to tell you how sad this news makes me.

It looked as though 2012 would be Mariano's final year in Major League Baseball, which was already going to be hard enough on me and pretty much all Yankees fans. Not only has he been so damn good for so damn long, but he's epitomized what it means to be a Yankee. Greatness on the field and off. If he indeed doesn't return to the Yankees in 2013, then this would be one of the biggest travesties in the history of the New York Yankees.

I'm really lost for words here. I want to write more, but I just can't. It hurts too much to think that the last image I'll have of Mr. Mariano Rivera on a baseball field is him on a freakin' golf cart.

Mariano Rivera Injured Right Knee During BP


The Yankees are calling it a "twisted knee" which is the best news we could have hoped for if it is true. Mariano is scheduled to go for an MRI tonight. 

Season.... Over

Apparently Mariano Rivera hurt his right knee shagging a fly ball in the outfield during batting practice tonight. My fellow twitterers , if that is even a word, are saying he was "withering" in pain. Does not look good because if Mariano goes down, we all go down.

The sky IS falling Yankees fans. If you do not believe me just look at some of these posts from local Yankees forums. Hopefully some of these are sarcastic...

More to come I'm sure as the night goes on.

Yankees @ Royals 5/3/12


Danny Duffy is throwing 99 mph? The gun in Kauffman hot much?

Mike Moustakas hits a home run to center field to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead.

Derek Jeter got his 500th double in the 3rd inning off of Duffy.

Royals take the lead back after three singles in the 3rd. 

Yankees lose 4-3
I Got This Bro!

Tonight marks the first start ever for Yankees rookie David Phelps as the Yankees face the Royals in the first of a four game series. The game tonight will be broadcasted on MLB Network and will be on at 8:10 pm ET in Kauffman Stadium.

Here is the lineup

Derek Jeter DH
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Andruw Jones RF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Russell Martin C
Jayson Nix LF

More Roster Madness

As expected Eric Chavez was put on the 7-day DL, which is specifically for players that suffer concussions. That cleared a spot on the Active Roster.

Joba Chamberlain was moved from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL, thus creating an opening on the 40-man roster.

Jayson Nix was then added to both the 40-man roster and the Active Roster, thus taking Chavez's spot on the Yankees' bench.

Some people are losing their minds, asking what Cashman is doing. Why would he not bring up somebody like Dewayne Wise or Chris Dickerson? First of all, if either man is brought up they can't be sent back down to AAA without clearing waivers first (even then, I think Wise could choose AAA or free agency), and neither of those two would clear waivers. Secondly, with Nunez getting starts in the OF like we saw twice in the Orioles series, the team needs a super utility guy like Jayson Nix. Nix can play all positions except for catcher and centerfield. Even players like Brandon Laird can only play a corner IF spot, which is not good enough... even with Nunez around.

This would weaken the lineup even more should Nix need to come into a game, but hopefully it will only be for a week or so since we should get Swisher and/or Gardner* back around the middle of next week.

*It was announced that Gardner is looking at a rehab assignment possibly this weekend.

The Yankees Don't Need A Sacrificial Lamb

"Wait? I'm the sacrificial 'what'?"

Yankees Fans Unite conducted an interview with Wally Matthews, who writes about the Yankees for, which you can read here. They cover various topics such as Cano's slow start, how Girardi is as a manager, and his routine as a writer, so it's worth the read. But there was one response he gave that I wanted to address.
Q: You wrote a column in Spring Training about how Rafael Soriano should be the closer when Mariano Rivera retires instead of David Robertson. Can you elaborate on that? 
WM: Whoever follows up Mariano will have trouble. That spot should be used more for a sacrificial lamp, which is why Soriano would be better for the job than Robertson. Since Robertson will be a part of the Yankees future for many years to come it does not make sense to give him the almost impossible task right away. If Soriano succeeds he will get a big contract to close elsewhere and Robertson can then become the closer. Robertson will soon realize it is better to be the guy after another a guy takes over for Rivera. A pitcher with Robertson’s future should not be exposed to the wrath that the pitcher who succeeds Mariano will get.
I don't buy into the "sacrificial lamb" thing. This isn't the first time I've heard that term either, so Wally is not the only person guilty of bringing it up. Not that I don't understand what they're talking about, though. The majority of Yankee fans are not exactly rational folks, who will surely boo the hell out of the next closer that happens to blow a save.

Heath Bell, who the Marlins signed this past offseason to a 3 year/$27 million deal with a 4th year option, has blown 3 saves in his first 6 opportunities. This was a guy that was an all-star the previous 3 seasons, and averaged 44 saves a year, with San Diego. So if the Yankees needed a new closer for 2012, there's a really good chance Bell would have been on their radar. You can imagine the death threats being hurdled at Heath if he were in New York rather than Miami.

But Heath Bell is not a bad closer. His triple-slash against for his career is .235/.303/.328, and right now it's way above that at .313/.452/.438. Bell's career BABIP against is .307, and it's currently at .333. He's walking way more batters (9.4 to 3.1 per 9 innings), and he's striking out way less batters (5.9 to 9.2 per 9 innings), than he has in his career. So I think Heath is going to be just fine. It's just a good thing he's in the calmer Miami environment, as opposed to the amped up and oftentimes crazy environment of New York.

I addressed a similar thought from a person at the Yankee forum at The Fanatic, who didn't like the idea of David Robertson taking over, since David isn't the ideal guy in his mind. My response was short... we're not going to get another Mariano Rivera, so stop being so picky.

Jonathan Papelbon, who is currently leading MLB in saves with 9, has a BABIP against of only .200. Not to mention his LOB% of 100. Both of those numbers are going to even out so that is .82 ERA is going to go up.

Javy Guerra is tied for second in saves in MLB, but he is walking 3.18 batters per 9 innings, which is higher than Robertson's current mark of 2.5 batters per 9 innings.

Chris Perez is tied for third in saves in MLB, and not only does Perez walk to many hitters (4 per 9 innings), but he doesn't strike out enough either (7 per 9 innings).

The point is, all relievers not at Rivera's level (meaning everybody) have flaws that can make Yankee fans say "no" to them being the heir to the closer's thrown in New York. And going back to an earlier point, which is that some Yankee fans are going to go insane when the bullpen doors open in the 9th inning and Mariano Rivera isn't walking out of them. But that doesn't mean the team should use a "lesser" reliever in the closer's role. It makes absolutely zero sense to put a worse pitcher in that role. The only reason they should do so would be to baby a pitcher into that role later on, but that is exactly what some fans are up in arms about when it comes to developing starting pitching. Where's the consistency?

Put the best pitcher available into the closer's role the year after Mo retires. If that guy can't handle the fact he gets booed the first time he blows a save then he's not our guy. Because although New York will be a little more insane than normal following Rivera, it's not like this town is going to be okay with a pitcher that can't handle the pressure sometime down the road.