Thursday, September 5, 2013

Yankees Rank 11th In ESPN Future Rankings

ESPN had a panel of Insiders judging all 30 MLB teams based on things like big league talent, minor league talent, finances, management, and roster flexibility and the Yankees ranked 11th in the league. The Cardinals led the way with an 86.9 score out of a possible 100 with the Boston Red Sox finishing second with an 84.3. The Yankees came in around the middle of the pack with a 53.8 score which is down from 5th last year when they had a 65.9 score and is two years removed from a second place finish with a 79.6 score.

The Yankees are obviously hurt by their lack of high end prospects in the upper levels of the farm system. The aging veteran core of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, etc along with the impending retirement of the likes of Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. The years of the Yankees owning the financial department are over with a second place finish this season to, who else, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Just as an FYI, and I apologize in advance to all the Brewers fans, but the Milwaukee Brewers finished in last place with a 14.3 score. Can you say ouch?

Zoilo Almonte Joins Playoff Roster on MLB Rehab

The Trenton Thunder, Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, announced Thursday that major league outfielder Zoilo Almonte has been transferred to the Thunder active roster to begin an injury rehab assignment. He is expected to be in the starting lineup for Game 2 of the divisional round playoff series against Binghamton tonight (Thursday).
Almonte, who played for Trenton in 2011 and 2012, is working his way back from a left ankle sprain that has had him on the Yankees DL since July 20. He made his MLB debut with New York this June and played in 26 games, batting .261 with one home run and nine RBI.
The 24-year-old was named an Eastern League Season Ending All-Star in 2012 when he batted .277 with 21 homers and 70 RBI in 106 games played. Almonte played in every Thunder postseason game last year (eight total) and smashed two long balls and drove in ten runs.

Being posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder organization. The original post can be seen HERE

New York Yankees Wild Card Update

Started from the bottom, now we're here. 

Game Thread: Red Sox @ Yankees 9/5

The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox start a big four game series at Yankees Stadium that will go through the weekend as the AL Eastern division and wild card positioning begin to take shape. The Yankees come into the game continuing to try and climb into the playoffs with this recent string of victories built on the backs of good pitching and timely hitting, oh and a few Alfonso Soriano finger points or two. The pitching match up is Ivan Nova for the Yankees and Jake Peavy for the Red Sox and the game can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network, and MLB TV. Ivan Nova is coming off of his first career shutout and looks to build on that and keep the line moving against our most bitter rivals.

Here is the Yankees lineup:

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Curtis Granderson DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chris Stewart C

Follow us on twitter by following @GreedyStripes. Get your Yankees tickets for this game and all the games this weekend right HERE on The Greedy Pinstripes. 

Boston Red Sox @ New York Yankees 9/5

The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox begin an all-important four game series tonight at Yankees Stadium with the Sox trying to hold on to first place in the AL East and the Yankees trying to climb and grab one of the remaining wild card slots. The Yankees will send Ivan Nova to the mound to face off with recently acquired Jake Peavy for the White Sox.  The game will be televised at 7:05 pm ET on the YES Network, MLB Network, and MLB TV.

THIS...IS...SPARTA! (I mean the South Bronx, but just as dangerous.)

Ok, guys, this is it. The Francesa stretch begins tonight...the 11 games; Bahstan, Baltimore, Bahstan.

The last time we spoke, I told you if they didn't win four of six this past week, they were in big trouble, if not done. This team's such a different team from even early August. This team works together, the starters are healthy, A-Rod's hitting, Soriano and Mark Reynolds have contributed big. But, the Yankees could've lost half the games this week very easily. Because the offense has clicked and is healthy, they've scored runs in BUNCHES as you've seen. Last Friday, CC was against the ropes, and then the Yankees grab a five-run inning to win 8-5. Labor Day they scored eight in the fourth against a bad White Sox bullpen. Wednesday, Kuroda had another bad outing, but the Yanks pulled the rabbit out of the hat-- a four-run eighth to win 6-4. Yesterday, CC had one of his best starts in a long time. Yes, he's gone 4-1 in his last 5 starts, but he pitched seven innings for the first time since August 7th. D-Rob had maybe his one really bad outing the whole year--it happens to the best of 'em. No matter, Mo came in, four up, four down for his 41st save of the year.

Now you have a gigantic, and hopefully exciting, weekend coming up. The Yankees have the absolute right man on the hill tonight: Supernova. Ivan Nova earned the August AL Pitcher of the Month award, which was caused single-handedly by the start against the Orioles last Saturday. He pitched like a MAN; complete game shutout, three hits, one walk and five strikeouts, against one of the toughest lineups in baseball. Want proof? They took a nice Andy Pettitte start on Sunday and flipped it around on the Yankee bullpen with a seven-run seventh inning. With CC's down year and Kuroda's recent struggles, it's been nice to watch Nova be Nova again.

Finally, they took Phil Hughes out of the rotation and put David Huff in. For those that don't know, David Huff's been in the long reliever role; he can give you five or six solid innings. In his past four starts, he's given up one run, six hits and struck out 10. I like Girardi's move to pencil him on on Saturday; I think he can match inning-for-inning with Lackey, but one mistake can be deadly, 'cause Lackey can still pitch deep into games, and he handed the Yankees their one loss a few weeks ago in Fenway. A long time ago, Lackey was a solid ace, but don't let the 8-12 record fool you.

Bottom line: I don't see the Yankees losing this series. I see them at least splitting. Nova's been amazing. Andy's (Friday's starter) been hot, particularly against the Sawx, and David Huff can fill that starter role. Should be a great weekend between the Yankees and all the FOOTBALL. YES, football's season's finally here; I know most Yankee fans are also Giants fans, so we'll all be watching the opener Sunday night. There's also a lot of great college action on Saturday, which I'll talk about on my own personal, and re-re-re-rebooted blog, Steel in South Florida. I'll post the link here tonight.

GO YANKEES! 'Till next time,

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

Started From The Bottom, Now We're Here

Just a quick pep song before we start our big series with the Red Sox. Kind of sums up our season to date, no?

Could Hughes Be The Yankees' Set-Up Man in 2014?

For a moment I thought about the possibility of Phil Hughes joining the Yankees bullpen next season, and possibly taking over as the set-up man for David Robertson.

"Yeah, that could work."

I can't say that I'd feel comfortable with somebody like Preston Claiborne as the new set-up man, even though he's been very good this season. On the surface, his ERA of 2.74, thanks to holding opposing batters to a batting line of .231/.285/.335, should make anybody happy to have him in the 8th inning. But Preston is only 25 years old, and had an ERA in AAA of almost 4.00. On top of that ERA, Claiborne's WHIP in AAA was a fairly high 1.328. For comparison, David Robertson is well-known for allowing too many baserunners, but is able to get out of trouble thanks to his high strikeout rate. Meanwhile, Clairborne's strikeout rate hasn't been as high as DRob's since Preston was in low-A minor league ball.

As for other options, who could be or will be around next season, we have Shawn Kelly, Adam Warren, and minor leaguers such as Dellin Betances. Depending on how many starters the Yankees acquire this offseason, somebody such as David Phelps or Michael Pineda may be available for the set-up job, but are they any more trustworthy? Phelps is much more valuable as either a starter or long reliever, while Pineda's coming off of a major injury and hasn't come into a game as a reliever since A+ ball.

In my original look at the 2014 payroll, I mentioned that the Yankees may want to look at a free agent or trade candidate to take over as the set-up man or closer. Seeing as how Phil Hughes has said that he'd be open to a relief role, although he'd prefer to remain a starter, what about a regular bullpen role?

Mind you, Phil hasn't been a regular part of the bullpen since 2009, when he came out of the bullpen 44 times out of 51 total appearances. So we can't assume that he'd fall right back into those old ways, when opponents only hit .172/.228/.228 against him. That thinking may actually be downright silly, seeing as how he's given up a batting line of .293/.342/.404 to opponents in the first inning this season. But perhaps he'd throw differently, knowing that he wasn't looked at to give the team around six innings.

"I get tired just thinking about throwing six innings."

Some may be concerned about Hughes as the new set-up man, or simply as a middle reliever, due to his penchant for giving up the long ball. But if you look at his career splits you'll see that while his home run rate as a starter is .04 HR/AB, that homer rate as a reliever drops all the way to .01 HR/AB. Even this season, in the first inning of his starts, Hughes has only given up one home run, while he's given up 11 over the next two innings. Of course, that first inning is typically against non-power hitters (spots 1-3 in the batting order), while the next inning is against your power hitters (spots 4-6 in the batting order). But I digress.

So re-signing Phil Hughes as a reliever, and possibly the set-up man for David Robertson, may not be a bad idea. It could actually turn out to be a very good thing. But this is where we get to the reason my thought of such a thing only occurred for a "moment".

In the last offseason there were three pitchers that were signed as starters, who were all under 30 years old (like Hughes)...

Scott Feldman was given a one year deal worth $6 million, even though he'd only produced a total WAR of 3.9 between 2010 and 2012. To be fair, I shouldn't count that low WAR against Scott. What should be counted against Feldman is the fact he missed about 20 starts in 2011 due to recovering from knee surgery.

Then we come to John Lannan. Lannan was 28 during the offseason, and received a one year contract worth $2.5 million. That was despite having a total WAR of 2.3 during the previous three seasons, in which he only missed two or three starts.

And finally there's Mike Pelfrey. Mike was 28 when he signed his last contract... a one year deal worth $4 million. In the three years prior to signing that deal, Pelfrey had a total WAR of 3.7. Of course, that WAR would have been better if it wasn't for the fact he missed pretty much the entire 2012 season due to having Tommy John surgery in May of that season. Yeah... that's right. Minnesota signed him, as a starter, about 7 months after he had TJ surgery.

By the way, Phil Hughes will be 27 years old when he signs his next contract, and his total WAR over the last three seasons is 4.2. Furthermore, Phil has only missed one start in the last three years. Which makes me feel almost 100% certain that somebody will give Hughes a chance to start for them next year.

You can be sure that Brian Sabean is watching Phil.

I see no way Hughes signs with a team, whether it be the Yankees or otherwise, as a reliever. That would make him worth even less when the time comes to sign his next contract, seeing as how relievers make much less than starters. Who knows? Maybe I'm vastly underrating Phil's love for the Yankees. I mean, I guess it's not crazy to think a player would take less money to play for a team he loves, rather than making more money for a team he's not as fond of. But I'm not going to hold my breathe for that.

Besides... it's Phil Hughes we're talking about. I really don't think he'll make the difference between having a decent bullpen next year, and having a great one.

Minor League Deal Options For 2014: Carlos Marmol

Carlos Marmol entered the major leagues with the Chicago Cubs way back in 2006 after being signed as an amateur free agent in 1999 and has been a huge part of their bullpen ever since then until recently. Marmol had varying good and great seasons from 2007 to 2012 including finishing a league leading 70 games in 2010 before the decline started. This season we have seen Marmol with the Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers and still finds himself struggling to find the strike zone and seemingly lacks any confidence in going right after hitters anymore. With a WHIP pushing two points and a K/BB ratio well below two this could work exactly into the Yankees hands this off season. 

Marmol will be entering his age 31 season going into the 2014 season which means he is still young enough and, if healthy, can still turn this thing around in the majors. I cannot see any team handing a guy with a H/9 ratio creeping around double digits per nine, a guy with almost as many walks per nine as he strikes out guys, and a guy that has almost a negative one WAR so the Yankees should offer this guy a minor league contract. The Yanks will be losing some veteran bullpen arms after this season with the possibilities of being without Mariano Rivera, Boone Logan, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain. It would be nice to stash a veteran arm on a low risk/ high reward type signing and the worst thing that could happen is we release him or give him multiple opt out clauses in his contract. With an invite to spring training I cannot think of a single reason not to offer Marmol a minor league contract and I cannot think of a single reason why he would not accept it at this point. Get it done Cash!

Game 140: Yankees vs. Red Sox

The Yankees begin a crucial four-game set with the Boston Red Sox tonight at the Stadium. While the division may be out of reach, this is still a must-win series, as is practically each one for the remainder of the season. After this, they play the Orioles for three games in Baltimore and then the Bo-Sox again for three games at Fenway. These next 11 games likely will decide the Yankees' fate, so here's hoping they win every one! 

Anyway, here are the lineups for tonight...


#2 Jacoby Ellsbury CF
#18 Shane Victorino RF
#15 Dustin Pedroia 2B
#34 David Ortiz DH
#29 Daniel Nava LF
#12 Mike Napoli 1B
#7 Stephen Drew SS
#20 Ryan Lavarnway C
#16 Will Middlebrooks 3B

Pitching: #44 Jake Peavy


#11 Brett Gardner CF
#2 Derek Jeter SS
#24 Robinson Cano 2B
#12 Alfonso Soriano LF
#14 Curtis Granderson DH
#13 Alex Rodriguez 3B
#55 Lyle Overbay 1B
#31 Ichiro Suzuki RF
#19 Chris Stewart C

Pitching: #47 Ivan Nova

Game time: 7:05pm
TV: YES Network
Radio: WCBS 880

The Wild Card Race Coming Down To The Wire

Obviously you want to disregard the Chicago White Sox series for the Yankees as we completed that last night but here is the remaining schedule for all the teams still in the wild card hunt. We really will decide our own fate here as we have plenty of head to head games with the Tampa Bay Rays and have enough games against teams that we should beat, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Houston Astros for example, that we should be able to sneak in there. It will not be easy and we need to keep our foot on the gas pedal but it can be done if we just believe.

Talking Yankees With Mike Coming To TGP

We here at The Greedy Pinstripes are very happy to announce that Mike Karatay and his blog, Talking Yankees With Mike, are merging with us to bring you a better New York Yankees experience. Mike has done great work over at his blog and we are very happy to be bringing him over to join the staff here. Help us welcome Mike to the family. Follow Mike on twitter by following @mikeymike3d93 and follow the blog by following @GreedyStripes.

Game 1 Thriller: Thunder Stun B-Mets in 10 Innings

Five consecutive two-out hits win series opener

TRENTON, NJ - In miraculous fashion, Trenton salvaged Game 1 of the Eastern Division Championship Series from the jaws of a seemingly-unavoidable loss to win 6-5 over the Binghamton Mets to begin their 2013 playoff run.
After Pat Venditte allowed a pair of runs to the B-Mets in the top of the 10th inning, the Thunder bats entered the bottom of the 10th inning trailing 5-3. Mets closer Jeff Walters recorded a pair of outs to the first two batters he faced and was ahead of Jose Pirela 0-2 in the count before surrendering a two-out double to start the rally.
Catcher Gary Sanchez singled to score Pirela and draw the Thunder back within a run and Sanchez was immediately lifted for pinch-runner Francisco Arcia. Tyler Austin was the next batter- representing the tying run- and he hit an infield single to put runners at first and second base with still two outs.
The next batter was Casey Stevenson who had replaced starting first baseman Kyle Roller in the 9th inning as a pinch runner, and in his first at-bat the lefty shot a soft liner the other way over the head of Binghamton's third baseman Josh Rodriguez for a game-tying base hit. Ben Gamel's single to right field was his second run-scoring base hit of the night and scored Tyler Austin for the win. Venditte gets the win for the Thunder after he had one win in eight regular season appearances.
Trenton leads the best-of-five series over the Binghamton Mets, 1-0.
Following their thrilling walk-off win, the EDCS continues Thursday with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Binghamton Mets at ARM & HAMMER Park. RHP Mikey O'Brien (7-8, 4.12) pitches for the Thunder against LHP Darin Gorski (6-1, 1.83) for Binghamton. Tickets are available for 2 of the series by going to or by calling (609)394-3300. Radio coverage of Thursday's game on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and coverage online begins at 6:45 p.m.

Being posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder organization. The original article can be seen HERE

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/5

On this day in 1989 the world was really introduced to Deion Sanders as a sports player. On this day Sanders would hit a home run for the Yankees in a rout of the Seattle Mariners 12-2. Five days later Sanders made his NFL debut and returned a punt 68 yards for a touch down.

On this day in 1995 Cal Ripken Jr. received a five minute standing ovation from the Oriole Park in Camden Yards crowd after the game became official in the bottom of the fifth inning. Ripken would tie Lou Gehrig for the consecutive games played streak of 2,130 games.

On this day in 2007 Alex Rodriguez became only the fourth player in Yankees history to hit two home runs in one inning in a rout of the Seattle Mariners 10-2. Prior to the game Alex was sent to the hospital to get tests on a sore knee and had to beg his way into the lineup, good decision by Joe Torre.

Also on this day in 2007 Yankees long time announcer Bob Sheppard would announce his final game at Yankees Stadium. Sheppard was a part of over 4,500 games as the Yankees announcer since 1951.