Friday, February 22, 2013

Yankees Spring Training In Pictures Part 1

A member of The Greedy Pinstripes family, @RobbinsDynasty on twitter, has been spending a lot of time down in Tampa at Spring Training camp at George Steinbrenner Field lately and was kind enough to share some photos with the blog. Follow @RobbinsDynasty on twitter and say thanks for the photos if you enjoy them as much as I have. There were so many we will have to do this in a three part series or more. Enjoy!

Mariano Rivera playing catch 

CC Sabathia looking "slim"

Kevin Youkilis taking ground balls

Curtis Granderson in center field

Expecting big things from Brett Gardner

Ichiro taking it easy in right field

Jay Z & Justin Timberlake To Perform At Yankee Stadium

On July 19th Justin Timberlake and Jay Z will perform at Yankees Stadium as part of their Legends of Summer tour. Tickets will be available at as part of a 12 city tour that also includes the home of the Toronto Blue Jays when they travel to Rogers Centre.

New York Yankees Spring Training Notes 2/22 Part 2

More news from Yankees camp today...

Mark Montgomery threw his 25 pitch bullpen side session today as expected and came through it with no set backs, pain, stiffness or, complications. Montgomery threw all of his pitches and is scheduled to play catch tomorrow before facing live batters on Sunday. His back has not bothered him at all so I am going to file this as a non issue at this point.

Michael Pineda also threw a 25 pitch bullpen side session today throwing all fastballs while working back from shoulder surgery. He expects to throw 30 pitches at his next bullpen sessions and is expected to also start throwing change ups. Pineda has only thrown change ups while playing catch, not on a mound, since the surgery. Everything seems fine on the shoulder and Pineda has said that he does not even think about it while pitching anymore.

Yankees prospect Pat Venditte will pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic as a left handed pitcher only. Pat is coming off of shoulder surgery on his right shoulder and has not been cleared to pitch right handed just yet.

Jorge Posada arrived at Yankees camp today to fulfill his job as a special guest instructor and watched Mariano Rivera throw his first batting practice. Posada, when asked if he would consider coming back a la Andy Pettitte, said he knows that he cannot play the game anymore and has no intentions of making a come back in the majors.

New York Yankees Spring Training Notes 2/22

The Yankees have announced that Francisco Cervelli will get the first shot at winning the starting catcher job as he will start in tomorrow's Grapefruit League opener with David Phelps on the mound. Cervelli is expected to catch four or five innings tomorrow.

Phil Hughes said his back is significantly better after resting it the past couple of days. Hughes is expected to do some pool exercises and work tomorrow while trying to get back to camp. We won't know truly how well he is progressing until he gets back on a mound but any progress is good.

Mariano Rivera threw live batting practice today for the first time since his ACL surgery last season and everything seems to have gone great. Apparently he threw cutters and everything so everything seems to be fine for Rivera.

Rockies Willing To Trade A Catcher

The Colorado Rockies are looking for pitching help, and apparently are willing to give up one of their catchers to do so.

Don't get your hopes up about the Yankees possibly acquiring Wilin Rosario, who finished 4th in National League Rookie of the Year voting last season. Wilin is the last guy I'd expect the Rockies to part with due to him being only 24 and having years of team control remaining, along with the fact that Colorado doesn't have any big catching prospects in their system. Sure, if the Yankees offered the right player(s) for Rosario then there's a chance, but does the team have that guy? Although Phil Hughes' injury doesn't seem to be serious, it wouldn't be a good idea for them to offer him, Ivan Nova, or David Phelps for the Rockies' young catcher. Outside of Sabathia, Kuroda, and Pettitte, the only other possible candidate in a trade would be Adam Warren, but I doubt one MLB start is going to make the Rockies bite.

So if anything were to happen involving one of Colorado's catchers it would have to be for Ramon Hernandez or Jordan Pacheco, and neither player tickles my fancy. Hernandez is coming off a season in which he hit .217/.247/.353 in only 52 games for the Rockies in 2012, and hasn't played more than 97 games in a season since 2008. Pacheco is a bit more intriguing thanks to having hit .306/.338/.413 in 593 MLB plate appearances, but from what I've read he's not much of a defensive catcher (something Girardi is big on), which led to him playing the vast majority of the time at third of first base for the Rockies.

Call me crazy, but I'd like to see what Austin Romine could do as a regular backstop for the Yankees before they deal away somebody with even modest value. And who knows? Maybe the Yankees should listen to what Yogi Berra said, and get Eduardo Nunez more at bats by teaching him to catch.

Is $189m mandate really changing or is it Front Office PR?

[caption id="attachment_14916" align="aligncenter" width="430"]Is Randy Levine behind these latest stories? Is Randy Levine behind these latest stories?[/caption]

I read Wallace Matthews piece about the $189m payroll next yr and Hal's changing stance on it.   Matthews cites some vague anonymous team sources saying that Hal is ready to spend money and draws the conclusion that the $189M budget isn't a necessity anymore.  I'm sorry, but I don't buy it.  Until I see them spend some money or Hal comes out and says they are scrapping the plan, I don't believe it because all of their actions up to this point say they are serious about trimming payroll.

I think it may just be the Yankees trying to leak stuff to the media because they know fans aren't happy and that ticket sales are likely down again.   The last 2 days we've had back to back non-news headlines stating that Hal is willing to spend big money to bring back Cano and now that Hal is likely to ditch the $189 goal because he wants to ensure they field a championship team.  Sounds like they are trying to save face in the media to me.  EVERYTHING they have done for the last 2-3 offseasons has been based on getting below $189m.  They have not signed 1 significant player in FA past 2013 except Ichiro who will turn 41 in 2014.  I think that speaks volumes.

Think about the Ichiro signing.  First off Cashman refused to give anyone a multi-year deal this Winter to protect the 2014 budget.  He liked Tori Hunter for RF but it went nowhere because he wanted 2 yrs.  Russell Martin was never even made an offer.   If you recall, Cashman tried to sign Nate Schierholz to play RF before he decided on the Cubs and kept Ichiro on the back burner for weeks.  It looks like Ichiro was signed more at the direction of ownership/Levine than by Cashman due to the fact that he attracts a large Asian fan-base that adds to ticket sales.  Don't forget it was Levine who originally initiated the Ichiro trade talks with Seattle in July and brought it to Cashman.  Once again that likely had a lot to do with ticket sales just like when Levine over-ruled Cashman and signed Rafael Soriano in 2011 because Cashman hadn't signed any significant FAs.  Fans weren't pleased and Levine felt the team had do something to spark interest and at that stage of the offseason, Soriano was the only legitimate FA left.

Hal was surprised to hear that fans weren't happy with the offseason and according to Matthews' source,  he was "freaked out" by the fans negative reaction to the team's payroll cuts and lack of significant acquisitions. The 2 stories about Cano and $189 on back to back days seems like a PR move orchestrated by Levine and/or Hal to address fan perception just like the Soriano signing in January 2011, the Ichiro trade in 2012 and the Ichiro signing in 2013.  While it sounds like a good thing that the Front Office cares what the fans think, putting band-aids on problems and making reactionary moves to try to bolster ticket sales are not a way to run a team. Bring up and play some exciting young players, sign/trade for players in their primes and don't mandate sizable payroll cuts while revenues around baseball are at an all-time high and the team has the highest ticket prices in MLB.  Those are the things that will energize the fan base and help the direction/performance of the team at the same time.  After all, nothing is better for attendance and fan confidence than winning rings.

What do you think? Do you think the team has softened on $189m or is this a PR move designed to save face?

Meet A Prospect : David Adams

David Lee Adams was born on May 5th, 1987 in Margate Florida where he attended Grandview Prepatory High School in Boca Raton, Florida. With a 6'1" 205 lb frame batting right handed and playing the middle infield you can see why the Yankees drafted him in the third round of the 2008 MLB First Year Players Draft. It is worth noting that the Detroit Tigers originally drafted David in the 21st round of the 2005 MLB Draft but David decided instead to go to the University of Virginia. With, finally, a full season and a healthy season under his belt he may finally be on the cusp on the Major Leagues whether that be with the Yankees or another ball club.

The first time the Yankees casual fans really ever heard the name David Adams was at the trade deadline in the 2010 season where he was in a potential deal that would have brought left handed pitcher Cliff Lee to the Bronx for Jesus Montero and others. The deal was all but agreed upon until the Mariners noticed that David Adams, who was on the disabled list with a sprained ankle at the time, ankle was broken and not sprained and the deal fell apart. A few days later the Mariners would trade Cliff to the Texas Rangers and David Adams would miss most of the 2010 and a lot of the 2011 season with ankle issues. These issues would force the Yankees hand, along with a declining Alex Rodriguez not that they would ever admit to that, in moving him from second base to third base before the 2011 season.

David Adams will be entering his age 25 season and this will be his second season on the 40 man roster under Rule 5 draft protection. David had a stellar 2012 season with the Trenton Thunder putting up a triple slash of .306/.385/.450 with an OPS of .834 playing in 86 games, the most he has played in since 2009. David seems slated to be the starting third basemen for the Scranton Rail Riders starting in 2013 and should be able to see the majors as early as mid season 2013.

ETA : 2013