Friday, December 6, 2013

Freaky Friday (I miss the old Lindsay Lohan.)

Today has really been Freaky Friday for the Yankees; Cano out, Beltran in. There's simply no room for Gardner on the outfield anymore; he deserves more than a backup spot for the years he's given the Yankees. You have Soriano, Ellsbury, Beltran, Vernon Wells (who'll probably get released) and (unfortunately) Ichiro. I love you Brett, but we may be saying goodbye very soon. You can either trade Gardner for Brandon Phillips (sorry Bryan and/or Daniel :) or, trade for a pitcher. Jason Rosenberg of "It's About the Money" just tweeted a good idea; Gardner for Doug Fister.

Here's a partially-satirical look at what the Yankees need to do get the rotation going.

1) They've already resigned Kuroda for $16 million, which I feel is grossly overpriced, unless you're getting pre-All Star Game Kuroda, you know, the ACE.

2) Please feed CC Sabathia. If the Yankees are going to empty their pockets this winter, why not buy a franchise for him? Maybe a McDonalds, or, if you want a healthier option, Subway (or another sub shop since I've heard bad things about Subway.) Haven't we learned from Babe Ruth how some players are better when they're fatter?

3) Restore Pineda's strength. This depends on what religion you follow. Even though I'm a Catholic, I was told God gave us free will; so in order to assure a full season from Pineda, may I suggest sacrificing a live chicken? Or, you can get a full KFC bucket like they did in Major League; Pedro Cerrano hit a clutch game-tying 7th inning home-run with that method!

4) Replace all 9s on the scoreboard as far as the innings go. In its place, put an 8. This way David Robertson will be more comfortable closing the game with two 8th innings.

5) Tell Joba there's a sack of money deep inside a cornfield; you won't have to worry about him anymore, he'll spend years looking for it.

'Till Next Time!

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

P.S. Hopefully the Ellsbury signing works out, you don't want a 36-year-old in six years who can't hit and can't run the bases anymore.

Yankees Sign Carlos Beltran

It didn't take long for the Yankees to react to losing Robinson Cano.

"I want three years!"

The team has come to an agreement of three years and $45 million for Carlos Beltran. Not long ago he seemed to be out of the picture as the Yankees weren't willing to meet his demand of a three-year contract, but here we are now.

I would have rather seen the team take a chance on Corey Hart, as he's pretty much the same type of player when he's healthy. But I guess the team would rather spend more.

Kelly Johnson Signing Made Official

Is it a coincidence that the Kelly Johnson signing was made official on the same day that Robinson Cano ducked and ran to Seattle? Probably not. Anyway Johnson is officially in the fold for the Yankees in 2014 and will at least compete for the starting second base job this spring. Johnson is capable of playing first base, second base, third base, and left field so he would also make an attractive bench option or could replace Alex Rodriguez if he is suspended.

Kelly was a teammate of current Yankee Brian McCann while with the Braves from 2005-2009. His left handed power hit 16 home runs in 2013 and could be a potential 20 home run guy in Yankee Stadium in 2014. Welcome to the family sir.

Gary Tuck To Be Our Next Bullpen Coach

The New York Yankees need to replace their bullpen coach after Mike Harkey left to be the pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks and we may have our guy in Gary Tuck. Tuck has been a Yankees coach in the past, and even the bullpen coach in the 90's, and looks to be all but back for 2014. Brian Cashman basically confirmed it in an interview today when asked if Tuck would be the bullpen coach:

“I don’t have it done, but more likely than not, Gary Tuck will be our bullpen coach.” 

In other Yankees coaching news former Royals manager Trey Hillman is now in the Yankees organization as a pro scout and player developer. Former Cubs manager Mike Quade is the Yankees new roving outfield and base running instructor and will work with players in all levels. Eric Hinske was a Yankees scout for about a month, you can remember him from being a Yankees player in 2009, and is now the Cubs first base coach so congratulations to him.

Granderson Is Returning To New York, For Real This Time

Remember a couple days ago when my inside source told us that the Curtis Granderson to the New York Mets deal, seen HERE,  was done and it was nothing but a formality at this point? Well that was Wednesday and two days later my source finally came through as Grandy signed a four year deal worth a reported $60 million. My source gave us the three or four years and told us it was worth a reported $15- $17 million annually so the information was correct, maybe just a bit premature. Either way Granderson is staying in New York and is with the Mets through his age 37 season.

The Yankees will get a supplemental draft pick for Granderson much like we will get one for Robinson Cano do there are two "first round" draft picks made up that we lost by signing free agents.

Calling Ryan Braun, Train Is Making A Stop In Milwaukee

The forgiveness train that is, it is making a stop in Milwaukee to visit the Brewers and to forgive Biogenesis suspended Ryan Braun. I know Braun is not a Yankee and this is not Yankee related, and last I checked this is still a Yankees site, but this is much bigger than team lies and loyalties. This comes down to getting ahead of the curve when it comes to forgiving steroid users. People may call me crazy now but there once was a time it was thought to be outrageous for a black baseball player to play. There once was a time where it was crazy to think players should become a free agent after so many seasons. There once was a time where Babe Ruth was the single season home run king no matter what Roger Maris did. There was once a time in baseball where the World Series was cancelled and a great Yankees team never got to see their true potential thanks to a greedy Bud Selig who wanted a salary cap and was willing to shut it all down to get it in 1994. The point I am getting at is one day MLB Network, ESPN, your favorite blogs, the Hall of Fame voters, and your favorite people on Twitter will say that it's okay to forgive these guys and I want to be able to tell you I told you so.

Ryan Braun screwed up, whether it be once or twice I don't think we will ever know the truth, he admitted it, he took his suspension, he apologized to the fans, and wants to get back out there to prove it rather then say it. If he can't prove it in Milwaukee because they want to cut ties with him then fine, ship him to New York and let him prove it here. The Yankees already have Brett Gardner in left field, Jacoby Ellsbury is centerfield, and Alfonso Soriano in right field. We could easily, and benefit from, make Soriano a "full time" DH and insert Braun right into right field. Braun adds the right handed pop we are still lacking, improves our offense and defense, and would not cost as much as a guy who hits .300 and 30 home runs annually I wouldn't think. The St. Louis Cardinals put the game, the business, and winning ahead of past mistakes, ask Jhonny Peralta, so why can't we? The Cardinals are the model organization right now so any way we can be like them is a good thing in my eyes.

So I ask again, and I know I ask a lot and I know I ask often, but repeat after me:

"My name is ________, I love the New York Yankees, I want to win a World Series, Ryan Braun if available helps us win a World Series, I forgive Ryan Braun." Thank you.

Did The Yankees Make A Huge Mistake?

Yankee Universe is up in arms over the loss of Robinson Cano. While there are many things being said that make me roll my eyes, there are two things that stand out as legit gripes.

The first one being that the Yankees should have traded away Robbie last season. Even though Cano was in the final year of his contract, a player of his caliber could have gotten the Yankees a nice package of young players.

"Wouldn't I look good in pinstripes?"

Staying within reason, there is no package of young players that would equal Robinson Cano. Cano has received MVP votes in six different seasons, finishing in the top five of voting three times. He's also a five-time Silver Slugger winner, two-time Gold Glove winner, and five-time All Star. Unless the Yankees got back Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, or Andrew McCutchen, the chances of one player in that package getting to Robbie's level of play would be slim to none.

But that package would certainly be better than the nothing the Yankees currently have for keeping Robinson.

Perhaps the Yankees didn't think anybody would be willing to offer more than they would, and therefore didn't want to deal him away and hurt their chances of re-signing their star second baseman at the end of the season. I don't know the type of person Cano is, but I can imagine a player wouldn't feel nearly as inclined to re-sign with his old team after being traded. I can't think of a situation where the team that traded away a star player tried to re-sign him at the end of the same season, so I have nothing to back up that thought. But I can't blame the Yankees front office for holding onto him like they did.

The Yankees likely didn't think they were out of things on July 31st, either. Of course, they were in 4th place and only four games over .500 at that point, but they also trotted out a lineup that night which included Brent Lillibridge, Jayson Nix, and Chris Stewart. So they had reason to think better days were ahead. They were wrong, as the team finished in that same 4th place, while also finishing 6.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. But for a team that never says "die", I totally get not wanting to trade away their best player mid-season.

The other thought that holds water with me has to do with the contract the Yankees just gave to Jacoby Ellsbury. While Ellsbury is a really good player, he's not at the level of Robinson Cano. Ellsbury's career wRC+ is 109, while Cano's career wRC+ is 126. And even though Jacoby's injuries were of the "freak" variety, the fact of the matter is Robbie has played in 405 more games than Jacoby has since 2007 (Ellsbury's rookie season).

So how could the Yankees not be willing to go two or three more years for a player that's not only clearly better than Jacoby Ellsbury, but who has been a Yankee since he started playing professional baseball?

"Yeah, what's up with that?"

My answer to that is two-fold.

First of all, the average annual value of the contract the Yankees offered Robbie (reportedly 7 years for $175 million) is higher than the one he took in Seattle. Cano's deal with the Mariners (10 years for $240 million) is worth $24 million a season, while the contract offered by the Yankees was worth $25 million a season. So you can't tell me it was about the money. The problem for the Yankees was the years. And you can not blame them for wanting to stay away from that type of commitment, which gets into my second point...

Just look at the ten year deals that have been handed out.

Alex Rodriguez has signed two different ten-year contracts, and I really don't think I have to tell you how that has turned out.

Albert Pujols signed a ten-year contract with the Angels, and just in the past year he's had knee surgery and suffered a partial tear in his left foot. Not to mention that his OPS has gone down in each of the last three years.

Prince Fielder signed a nine-year contract with the Tigers two years ago, and in only the 2nd year of that deal he had his worst season since 2006. You have to imagine the people in Detroit Texas are a bit concerned about having Prince for another seven years.

The Yankees have another long contract, this one for eight years, that they're regretting right now. That one belongs to Mark Teixeira. You know, the guy that's made $107.5 million in his first five seasons with the Bombers, but only been worth $64.5 million (according to Fangraphs).

And then there's the eight-year deal the Dodgers gave to Matt Kemp. In the four years before giving Matt that contract, Kemp had averaged 159 games a season. In the two seasons since then he's played a grand total of 179 games, thanks to having two different surgeries on his left shoulder, and another surgery on his left ankle.

I know you can't predict injuries, and they are especially surprising when they happen to players with no prior history of injury, but those five players are pretty good examples of why it's not a good idea to give away long contracts.

Perhaps the silliest response I've heard to this news is that the Yankees are somehow doomed. As if the future of the organization sat on the shoulders of Robinson Cano. Before I show you something, let me say one thing...

"You're a moron!"

Okay, two things... No one player can make or break a baseball team. Not the greatest pitcher on the planet, not the greatest hitter on the planet, and certainly not the best second baseman in Major League Baseball. If a baseball team only had to bat one player, or could only start one pitcher, then okay. But last time I checked nine players were in a batting lineup, and five pitchers were in a starting rotation. That means any one player only makes up 1/9th or 1/5th of a team's offense/pitching.

Winning takes a team effort. In fact, speaking of teams, let's take a look at the starting second baseman for the Yankees championship teams (including their bWAR) of 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000...

1996 - Mariano Duncan 2.7
1998 - Chuck Knoblauch 2.8
1999 - Chuck Knoblauch 3.5
2000 - Chuck Knoblauch .3

The average bWAR for Yankee second baseman in those four seasons was 2.3. What was Omar Infante's bWAR last season? 2.4.

This news also means that things are about to get very interesting for the Yankees and their fans. Do you think the team is going to sit on that $175 million? Heck no! Omar Infante, or another replacement second baseman, is not the only new Yankee we're going to see next year due to this. Actually, this news makes me feel better about the team's chances of really improving their pitching. Instead of signing Cano and one other great starter, the team can get somebody like Infante to play second base, while getting two other great pitchers to put with CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and Hiroki Kuroda.

And while the downgrade is fairly large going from Cano to Infante (or whoever), the team has already upgraded more-so at the catcher spot... where they went from Stewvelli to Brian McCann. If they can get another batter such as Beltran to keep Wells and/or Ichiro out of the lineup, then there's another big upgrade to counter the downgrade at second base.

I'm not saying the loss of Cano is a good thing. It's never a good thing to lose a player like Robbie. But what I am saying is that this isn't the beginning of the end, it's the beginning of a brand new chapter in Yankees baseball. And I'm really excited for it.

"This is going to be awesome!"

Grant Balfour Is Not The Solution For The Yankees

So this week we have looked at Phil Hughes and learned that he will still be home run prone and home run friendly in Target Field much like he was in Yankee Stadium. We then learned that Brian McCann and his "left handed swing tailor made for Yankee Stadium" was overblown because he would not get any more extra base hits or home runs in Yankee Stadium over Turner Field in Atlanta. We then realized that Carlos Beltran would be a significant upgrade in Yankee Stadium over Busch Stadium but that Corey Hart would be an even bigger upgrade from his 2012 Miller Park numbers including a possible 20 home runs added to his final line. This look today shows you just how scary Grant Balfour may be if he was thrown at the end of the games in Yankee Stadium.

Information found using

I know we are talking about a pretty small sample size obviously since Balfour only pitched in 62.2 innings but the Yankees have a vacant closer position and have been linked to Balfour this offseason. Looking at the picture above we see that the dark blue dots show all the home runs that Balfour gave up in McAfee Coliseum and see that all four of them would have gone out in Yankee Stadium by a long shot. The light blue dots signify doubles that Balfour gave up in Oakland and we see that at least two of them would have been out of Yankee Stadium bringing his total to six home runs. Finally the orange dots show us all the fly ball outs that Balfour recorded for the A's and see that if he were closing games for the Yankees at least one of them would have gone out for sure. This obviously does not factor in elevation, humidity, wind, the fans, etc but one would think that the orange dot close to the right field wall would have gone out of Yankee Stadium.

That brings Balfour's impressive four home runs given up to eight home runs in a season. In comparison Mariano Rivera had a struggle of a season in 2013, although was still dominant, and only gave up six home runs in 2013. That is a ton of home runs and RBI's to make up for in such a short sample size and would make that final line look really nasty for Balfour. He would be boo'd off the mound in New York as we have grown accustomed to dominance from the great Rivera. Either give the ball to David Robertson in the 9th next season or go get a guy like Joaquin Benoit for way too much money, just stay away from Balfour if you know what's good for you.

Robinson Cano Agrees To Sign With Seattle Mariners

For the first time in what seems like... forever, the Yankees took a hard stance on negotiations. Robinson Cano wanted 10 years, and the Yankees weren't willing to go there. The thought around baseball was that no other team would be able to lure Cano away from the Bronx, and we were wrong.

Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners have agreed to a 10 year, $240 million, contract. The only thing standing in the way is a physical, which shouldn't be a problem.

Well, that could be a problem.

I'm sure to write more about this in the near future, but my initial thought is that while it sucks Cano is no longer a Yankee, I'm glad the Yankees didn't give him a 10 year contract. Money clearly wasn't the issue for the Bombers, as the AAV of their offer around $170 million for 7 years was higher than the AAV of the 10 year/$240 million he agreed to.

Yankees Close To Deal With Hiroki Kuroda

According to multiple sources on Twitter the New York Yankees are close to bringing Hiroki Kuroda back on a one year deal. The deal is not official but early estimates predict the salary to be in the $16 million range. Stay tuned

#WhereAreTheyNow: Gabe Kapler's MLB Journey

 Ok so I lied I saw this one on the Where Are They Now Youtube channel from Eddie Matta and felt compelled to share. I like Gabe Kapler, even though he is a Red Sox at heart, because he plays the game right. Enjoy this and the rest of your Friday.

#WhereAreTheyNow: Hal McRae MLB

This week's final look at Where Are They Now is looking at longtime MLB player Hal McRae. McRae played for the Kansas City Royals and the Cincinnati Reds in his career and went on to manage the same Royals in his career. Enjoy and Happy Friday!

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/6

On this day in 2010 George Steinbrenner, who recently passed away, came up shy of being voted into the Hall of Fame. George could not get the 75% needed by the Veteran's Committee even though the Yankees won seven World Series championships, 11 pennants, and 16 American League East titles under his tenure as owner.