Saturday, June 29, 2013

Game Thread: Yankees @ Orioles 6/29

The Yankees and the Orioles play the dreaded Saturday night game on FOX tonight at 7:15 pm ET on Camden Yards. David Phelps and Zach Britton is the pitching match up and the Yankees offense may or may not bother to show up tonight. Check out the game on FOX tonight and go Yankees!

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Another Look At Robinson Cano's Future In Pinstripes

A lot of things get said in the "heat of the moment." No matter how good a player has been, when they fail there's bound to be at least one person that says that player sucks. Luckily, when things cool down, the vast majority of those people realize they were being silly and move on. Although there are definitely other players that could fit into that discussion, the one I'm thinking about here is Robinson Cano.

"Who said I suck?"

I'm still on the side that says the Yankees should re-sign Robbie, albeit to a contract of 6 or 7 years rather than the 9 and 10 year deals that Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols recently signed. I could live with the Yanks giving Robbie an 8 year deal, but I wouldn't like it. And yes, I do realize that things could get rough on the backside of such a contract, but that's the way things are in today's game. To get an elite player teams have to make sacrifices. It's a matter of whether those sacrifices are worth it to them.

And remember that even in the last four years of Cano's contract, should he sign an 8 year deal, the Yankees will not have Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter and CC Sabathia making a combined $92.125 million a season. I don't mean to say New York won't have any other big contracts to work around, but if they are to spend that much on a player (and you know they not only will, but they can) then it should be on somebody they can build around. And a perennial MVP contender, who plays a premium position such as second base, definitely fits that definition of "somebody".

I realize that Robbie is not having a great year. A batting line of .281/.361/.492 doesn't make you think the guy deserves a contract approaching $200 million. But you can't forget the .311/.370/.539 line, while averaging 30 home runs, that Cano put up in the previous three seasons. Or the three straight All Star appearances he made between 2010 and 2012. The four Silver Slugger awards. The two Gold Glove awards. And finally there are the many American League Most Valuable Player award votes he received throughout his career.

"What do you think of that?"

People like to say that elite players don't need lineup protection. That they are guys that can carry offenses all by themselves. First of all, that's silly. During a normal baseball game a team will get between 40 and 45 plate appearances. A single player will have 4 or 5 of them. So unless that single player is hitting 3 or 4 home runs a game, there's no way they can carry their team's offense. And as for players like Fielder and Pujols, who got those 9 and 10 year contracts, it's not as if they had nobody around them in the lineup.

While Prince Fielder was hitting to an OPS+ of 164 with the 2011 Milwaukee Brewers (the season before getting that fat contract with the Tigers), he had guys like Ryan Braun (OPS+ of 166), Corey Hart (OPS+ of 133), Rickie Weeks (OPS+ of 121), and Nyjer Morgan (OPS+ of 111) around him. The season before Albert Pujols signed that 10 year deal with the Angels, when his OPS+ was 148, he was in the Cardinals lineup surrounded by Lance Berkman (OPS+ of 164), Matt Holliday (OPS+ of 151), Yadier Molina (OPS+ of 124), David Freese (OPS+ of 118), Jon Jay (OPS+ of 112), and Colby Rasmus (OPS+ of 108).

In comparison, there are only two other Yankees in the lineup with Cano that are hitting to an OPS+ over 92... Brett Gardner at 116 and Travis Hafner at 106. There's a reason why Robbie's walk percentage this season is at a career-high 10.6% (up from a career-high mark of 8.8% last season), and it's not because he's a more disciplined hitter. Which any Yankee fan that watches most of the games can attest to.

So you'll have to forgive me if I either disregard or laugh at the "Cano is not that good" comments.

"Thanks for having my back."

New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles 6/29

The Yankees will face off with the Baltimore Orioles again tonight at Camden Yards in the second game of their three game weekend series. David Phelps will start for the Yankees, for real this time, tonight against Zach Britton for the Orioles. The game will be televised at 7:15 pm ET on FOX.

Mariano Rivera Will Close The All Star Game This Year

The Detroit Tigers made it to the World Series last season so their manager Jim Leyland will be the manager of the All Star Game for the American League this season. Leyland has said that Mariano Rivera will close out the game in his final season in the big leagues. Rivera immediately shot down the idea of him starting the game in New York and is pleased to know he will be closing out the game.

Game 80 Lineup: Yankees @ Orioles

It's Game 2 of the three game set and you might want to prepare yourselves...this game is on FOX. Anyway, here is the lineup.

Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells DH
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Zoilo Almonte LF
David Adams 3B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Austin Romine C

David Phelps RHP

One Potential Trade Target Comes Off The Board

One guy that the Yankees would have probably had interest in this trading deadline has come off the board, but not in a way that you would expect. Corey Hart has been rumored to interest the Yankees with his power bat and versatile defense at the corners of the infield and outfield. Corey Hart has been rehabbing his right knee injury all season but it is a left knee surgery that will cost him the rest of the 2013 season. Corey Hart has a .279/.343/.514 triple slash over the last three seasons and 29 home run average would have got the Brewers a ton in a trade and would have upgrades the Yankees big time. Corey Hart has to be discouraged as he is a free agent at the end of this season and will likely have to sign a one or two year deal now to prove his health and worth rather than finally cash in. The Yankees should be interested this off season if you ask me but you don't have to ask me, you have to ask Brian Cashman.

Yankees That Should Go To The All-Star Game

Cleveland Indians v New York Yankees

The 2013 All-Star Game is quickly approaching and it's sure to be a week of festivities in New York City. Players from all 30 teams will go to Queens and fight for one of the most glorious prizes: home field advantage during the World Series. Now, there are multiple ways for players to go to the All-Star Game. There's the famous voting for your favorite player 25-35 times on (by the way you have till July 4 to do so), and there's the manager selection. For those of you unfamiliar with the manager selection here is the rule:

The manager of each leagues All-Star Team--in consultation with other managers in his league and the Commissioner's office-- will fill his team's roster up to 33 players .

So with that rule in effect and with the ballot voting, it's time to decide which Yankee should (in my opinion) should make it to the All-Star Game.

1. Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano obviously should be on the All-Star Team (and if voting went his way, he should be the starting second baseman). Robbie Cano is having a slight off-year in the batting average department but he leads the team in HR's and RBI's and is one of if not the best second basemen defensively in the game. I know defense isn't going to mean anything in the All-Star Game, but Cano has many other aspects. And if (for some odd, strange reason) Cano doesn't make it to the All-Star Game, we will see him during All-Star Week, since he is the Captain of the AL HR Derby Team.

2. Mariano Rivera

This is an obvious no-brainer. It's Mariano Rivera's final year, he's having another All-Star season and I bet if it weren't for his season ending ACL injury, he would of been on the 2012 All-Star Game Roster. The only issue is where would Mariano Rivera pitch in the game. Fans want him to start the All-Star Game but Mariano Rivera wants to close the All-Star game. If I could have a say, I would love it if Mo got the last three outs of the game. It would be a fitting end and it would be better than getting the first three outs of the game. Plus, if Mo does go in the game, can we hear Enter Sandman as a loving tribute to the greatest closer ever?

3. Preston Claiborne

The good news with pitchers is the league decides and not the fans. And I know Preston is a rookie and has only been here for roughly 2 1/2 months, but he has done a phenomenal job in the Yankees bullpen. Maybe with the roster moves that the league would have to do with the pitchers that pitched the Sunday before the game, Claiborne can somehow squeeze his way on the roster. David Robertson did so in 2010 when he wasn't originally listed on the roster, yet made it after the plethora of changes the day before the All-Star Break.

4. Brett Gardner

Brett  Gardner

Before you say that 'Gardner is not an All-Star' and 'There are a bunch of players that are better than Gardner for the manager's vote' just hear me out here. For most of the season, the one who has been carrying the Yankees on their backs (along with Robinson Cano) is Brett Gardner. He has the most hits on the team, is tied for the most stolen bases on the team and numbers show that he is the fourth best outfielder defensively. Gardner's not a power-hitter but he already has 6 HR's on the season and has shown some power with his booming doubles and triples that almost leave the park. If anyone should at least be considered for the manager's vote, it's Gardner. Right now, he's the Yankees best player hitting with consistency.

5. Hiroki Kuroda

CC Sabathia is the 'ace' of the Yankees staff, but the one that has been pitching like an ace this season is Hiroki Kuroda. Other than his two starts to begin the season, Kuroda has not had a 'bad' outing. He considers a couple of his starts bad when he gives up three runs (which isn't bad at all) but if you look at his numbers, he has been the guy that they go to in order to shut down the other team's offense. The only reason Kuroda has those losses is because--the Yankees can't score. But his ERA and his numbers should tell the story as to why he's having an All-Star year.

So now that I have given my five players that I think should make it to the All-Star game (whether by the fans or managers vote), it's time for you to decide. If you had five players that you wanted to take to the All-Star game, which five players would it be?

Yankees Are On Yovani Gallardo's No Trade List

Yovani Gallardo signed a five year extension worth $30,100,000 during the 2010 season which included a full no trade clause through the 2012 season and a partial no trade clause for the 2013 - 2015 seasons. That limited no trade clause includes 10 teams that can change at the beginning of every season and this season that list includes the New York Yankees. Thankfully, I think anyway, the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox are also on his no trade list for this season so that always helps. Yovani could always waive his no trade clause and go to one of these 10 teams anyway if he so chooses but this complicates matters a little bit.

I mentioned that him being able to block trades to our division rivals and teams we are chasing, the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles, may be a good thing even though his stats say that he is struggling a little bit this season. Gallardo has pitched to a 4.20 ERA this season and has seen his velocity drop down to under 91 MPH on the fastball. He is still a good pitcher though and only 27 years old so you never know what a change of scenery or a new pitching coach can do for a pitcher.

Gallardo is owed $11,250,000 in 2014 and has a club option worth $13,000,000 for the 2015 season and would still be on the right side of 30 years old heading into free agency. The Yankees may be interested in acquiring Gallardo to replace Phil Hughes if we traded him or to have him tucked away along with CC Sabathia, David Phelps, and Michael Pineda for the 2014 season. Either way it should be an interesting trade deadline and we should explore all areas to upgrade because frankly, we need upgrades everywhere it seems.

This Day In New York Yankees History 6/29

On this day in 1941 in a double header Joe DiMaggio ties and then breaks the American League hitting streak record previously held by George Sisler. The previous record was 41 consecutive games with a hit and DiMaggio would reach 42 consecutive games by nights end.

On this day in 2000 the Yankees acquire David Justice from the Cleveland Indians for Ricky Ledee and two players to be named later. The Yankees would get David a ring when they beat the Mets in five games in the Subway World Series.