Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Brett Anderson Comes Off The Yankees Board

If the Yankees had any dreams or aspirations of trading for Athletics left handed starting pitcher Brett Anderson those can go by the wayside as Anderson has been traded to the Colorado Rockies today. The Athletics fetched pitcher Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen for the lefty. Honestly I think if we wanted to we could have matched that package or exceeded it but he was not a make or break player for us in my opinion. Good luck getting bombed in the thin air in Colorado.

Phil Niekro & Javy Lopez Meet & Greet Auction Goes Live

RiverDogs to Auction Chance to Meet Two Braves Legends

CHARLESTON, SC – The Charleston RiverDogs have announced they will hold an online auction for the unique opportunity to rub shoulders with two former Atlanta Braves players. Fans can bid on the chance to join Hall of Fame pitcher Phil Niekro and former Atlanta Braves catcher Javy Lopez for a private Meet & Greet presented by Kickin’ Chicken on Friday, January 31.

Niekro, who was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1997, had a 24-year career playing for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Toronto Blue Jays. He was nicknamed “Knucksie” for his fluttering knuckle ball that helped him achieve an impressive lifetime record of 318-274. A five-time All Star and five-time Gold Glove Award winner, Niekro won 121 games after he turned 40, which is the most wins in baseball history by anyone over that age. 

Lopez played for the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, and most notably the Atlanta Braves. He was a member of the Braves’ 1995 World Series team and caught for John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Steve Avery, also known as the “Young Guns.” In 1996 Lopez established himself as the Braves’ regular-season catcher and helped Atlanta win the NL Championship Series, earning the series Most Valuable Player honors in the process. Lopez had his best season in 2003 with a .328 batting average, 43 home runs and 109 RBI in 129 games, which propelled him to win the Silver Slugger Award and a spot on the All-Star Team for the third time.

The online auction for the Meet & Greet is currently open for bidding at www.riverdogs.com/auctions and will continue through 12 noon on Jan. 30. Fans can bid all week (every week) with the bidding closing at 12 noon each Friday. Each week there will be three winners.

During the Meet & Greet, winning bidders will have the opportunity to get autographs, photos and visit with the former Braves stars. Refreshments will be provided by Kickin’ Chicken.

The Hot Stove Banquet is an annual event is hosted by the RiverDogs to keep the thrill and magic of baseball in the air throughout the off-season. Proceeds benefit The Citadel, College of Charleston and Charleston Southern baseball programs along with MUSC’s Storm Eye Institute, the RiverDogs’ primary charity. The banquet, which will be held on the evening of Friday, Jan. 31, in The Crystal Ballroom at the Charleston Marriott, is presented by Tom McQueeney State Farm Insurance.

For tickets to the Hot Stove Banquet and additional information about the Meet & Greet, please contact the RiverDogs at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or visit www.riverdogs.com.

Being posted with permission from the Charleston Riverdogs organization. The original article can be seen HERE

20th Anniversary Tampa Yankees Calendars For Sale!

The Tampa Yankees offices are open Monday - Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm
There are three ways to purchase:
  1. At the stadium, in the main lobby.  
  2. By calling (813) 673-3055
  3. By e-mailing jlack@yankees.com 

Winter Meetings Day Two Mid-Day Quick Hits

It's day two in Orlando at the yearly Winter Meetings and the Yankees are still seemingly interested in everybody. Rather then typing out 100 different posts let's put all the quick hits here.

The Nationals are "balking" at trading Danny Espinosa even though the Yankees are interested.

The Yankees are interested in bringing back Mark Reynolds which makes a ton of sense because he can either start at third base or provide right handed power off the bench. Not to mention he can give Mark Teixeira a day or a day and a half off a week at first base.

The Yankees are "heavily interested" in Michael Young for the same reasons as Mark Reynolds.

Tommy Kahnle and Fred Lewis are likely to be selected in Thurday's Rule 5 Draft after being left unprotected.

Aledmys Diaz Will Be Eligible To Sign In February

Cuban defecting shortstop Aledmys Diaz will be eligible to sign with Major League teams on February, 19 after being suspended by Major League Baseball for falsifying his age. The 23 year old shortstop has drawn a lot of interest from the Yankees as they have been at every one of his recent showcases in Mexico, where he established his residency. Diaz could be used as a shortstop or as a second basemen as well so the Yankees should surely be interested in his services when he becomes available. Diaz will be 24 years old in January.

Omar Infante Seeking $8 Million+ Per Season

On the heels of Robinson Cano leaving the New York Yankees to sign a very lucrative deal with the Seattle Mariners Omar Infante instantly became the best second basemen available on the market, and he wants to be paid like it too. Infante is asking for at least $8 million per season and is looking for a long term deal, no word on how many years constitute a long term deal. Infante has already been linked to the Kansas City Royals and to the Yankees in the last 24 hours as the market seems to be heating up on the 31 year old right hander.

Cashman, Pay Attention, Cliff Lee Was Made Available

Since we are in the market of righting wrongs and signing players that we should have acquired years ago the news that Phillies ace Cliff Lee was made available this morning intrigues me. Lee is 35 years old and is owed a ton of money likely for the next three seasons, $25 million in each of 2014 and 2015 and a vesting option for 2016 worth $27.5 million. The Phillies have announced that they would not be willing to eat any of his or teammate Cole Hamels salary in a trade so that is good news for the Yankees since it would bring down the asking cost prospect wise.

I do not pretend to be a Phillies farm system expert, nor do I profess to be a Phillies expert, so I struggle to know what they would want in return but I would think a package would start with Gary Sanchez. Sanchez is blocked by McCann for at least the next five seasons, if not six, and just hitting the AA level his trade value may not get higher. Brett Gardner does not make much sense for the Phillies after the news that fellow outfielder Domonic Brown so that options is automatically off the table. I am a professed prospect humper, I have said it many times, but if it takes Sanchez or one of Austin Romine and JR Murphy mixed in with some pitching or positional prospects not named Tyler Austin, Slade Heathcott, etc then I think the Yankees have to take advantage of their catching depth right now and pull the trigger, even if it costs David Adams (obviously sarcasm) this time.

Lee pitched to a 2.87 ERA with a 9.0 K/9 ratio and a minuscule 1.3 BB/9 ratio in 2013 in 222 2/3 innings. Lee would absolutely improve the Yankees pitching staff and essentially make Hiroki Kuroda a #3 starter, thus limiting his innings, and would make Ivan Nova possibly the best #4 starter in all of baseball. In true Yankees form we could also still go after Masahiro Tanaka for the future and make David Phelps, Vidal Nuno, Adam Warren, and anyone else not named Michael Pineda, Rafael DePaula, or Jose Campos available in a trade to help elsewhere.

Yankees Remain In Contact With Boone Logan

The New York Yankees are being active in the reliever market as well as every other market and have kept in contact with their own free agent Boone Logan. Logan recently had bone spurs removed from his left throwing elbow and is expected to start throwing again sometime in January. Logan is said to be looking for a set up man job and not a LOOGY, something that I cannot see the Yankees handing him, so that may count his former team out of the running. The Hal Cap of $189 million may also keep the Bronx Bombers on the back burner for Logan's services.

Kenta Maeda Wants To Play In MLB As Soon As 2015

Kenta Maeda, the next "next big thing" from Japan, wants to play in the states and will play in Major League Baseball as soon as 2015. Maeda is a starting pitcher and would be in his age 27 season in 2015 when he would presumably be posted and has shared success over the last two seasons for the Hiroshima Carp. With the Yankees, already looking towards 2015 cannot be a great idea, set to lose Hiroki Kuroda after this season Maeda may be a good replacement in the rotation. A lot can happen both for the Yankees, for the Carp, and for Maeda between now and then though.

Here is a look at his stats from his years in Japan just to give you an early look at what we may be interested in.

6 Seasons71502.411612291116.1931333299802378971.0467.
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/10/2013.

Cano Will Miss New York, But Are the Yankees Better Off Without Him?

He’s smiling now, but wait until he plays a game in Seattle  
It was a hectic Friday for the New York Yankees. They took some big losses to their offense and franchise. First, their best player departed the team after nine seasons in the Bronx. Their first homegrown superstar to leave in the prime of his career. Robinson Cano signed a 10 year contract with the Seattle Mariners worth $240 million, one of the four most lucrative deals in sports history. Curtis Granderson went across town to join the Mets for four years.

There's no doubt the Yankees will miss Cano and Granderson, as they hit a combined 232 home runs from 2010-2013. However, they may miss the Yankees even more; in the long run, the Yankees may be better off without them. Cano moves from Yankee Stadium, one of the best hitting parks in baseball, to Safeco Field, one of the worst hitting parks in baseball. That alone will cut his power numbers by a serious margin.

Cano also moves from the greatest franchise in sports to one of the worst franchises in baseball. The Mariners have just 11 winning seasons in almost 40 years of existence, making the playoffs just four times. They only attracted 1.76 million fans this past season, 11th in the AL. Do Cano and Jay Z think he's going to breathe new life into that franchise? He's no Ken Griffey, Jr.

Let's also not forget the talent in Seattle's lineup is of minor league quality, so he will not be able to get good pitches to hit with a lack of protection. I mean, his second best teammate is Kyle Seager, a career .260 hitter. Thus, his numbers will start to decline as soon as next year, and it's unlikely the Mariners will be competitive in the same division as Texas and Oakland. Cano's move to Seattle from New York will be one he will regret, even if he got paid.

So how did the Yankees respond to two big losses for their lineup? Simple: Spend mo money. They brought back ace Hiroki Kuroda for one more season, a much needed piece to fill a huge void in the rotation. Then, they struck again on Friday night, bringing Carlos Beltran to the Bronx at long last; for three years and $45 million. They also have finalized the deals for Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann this past week; both are serious upgrades to positions where the Yankees had huge holes at.

Carlos Beltran finally joins Derek Jeter in the Bronx

So, to recap: The Yankees have so far spent about $300 million between McCann, Ellsbury, Kuroda, and Beltran. Cano and Granderson alone got the same amount of money. The Evil Empire still has some more holes to fill, (in the rotation, the bullpen, and the infield), but they have more than enough financial muscle to do so.

Their payroll is currently around $150 million, so they still have about $30-35 million to spend if they are committed to keeping the payroll around $189 million to avoid the luxury tax. They may risk going over the limit for trying to further upgrade the roster, but they may have even more flexibility if Alex Rodriguez gets suspended for the entire 2014 season. That’ll free up over $25 million.

Next move for the Yankees may be on the trade market. With the arrival of Ellsbury and Beltran, Brett Gardner becomes expendable, and he’s a valuable asset, being worth 16 wins in his last three full seasons and providing Gold Glove caliber defense. He can be packaged along with expendable prospects, and there’s already talk of the Reds willing to take him for either Homer Bailey or Brandon Phillips. They should also look into Chase Headley from the Padres if A-Rod gets banned.

The Yankees are not done. 2008 ALCS MVP Matt Garza could be next on their shopping list. 

Then there’s the rotation. Currently, three spots are filled with CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and Hiroki Kuroda. It seems one of the open spots will be a Spring Training competition, so the Yankees could afford to fill the last one via free agency or trade. The top free agent pitcher is Matt Garza, an AL East veteran who is looking for a deal for about five years. There’s also Masahiro Tanaka, the latest Japanese sensation, but he may not be available at all this winter as his team is frustrated by big changes to the posting system. Either one would be a terrific no. 2 or no. 3 pitcher in the rotation, but with plenty of risk attached.

This is likely going to be their Opening Day lineup, with different scenarios considered:
CF Jacoby Ellsbury (L)
DH Derek Jeter (R)
RF Carlos Beltran (S)
1B Mark Teixeira (S)
C Brian McCann (L)
LF Alfonso Soriano (R)
3B/3B/2B Alex Rodriguez/Chase Headley/Brandon Phillips (R/S/R)
2B Kelly Johnson (L)
SS Brendan Ryan (R)

Potential rotation:
LHP CC Sabathia
RHP Hiroki Kuroda
RHP Matt Garza/Masahiro Tanaka
RHP Ivan Nova
RHP/RHP/LHP Michael Pineda/David Phelps/Vidal Nuno
IF everybody stays healthy, any scenario is a really damn good lineup, one that is also very well rounded. Could be one of the best lineups in the game. That rotation looks pretty solid too, especially if Sabathia returns to form. A lot will still have to go right for the Yankees next season for them to win, given all the inconsistencies and injuries to several regulars this past season. But hey, it happened to the Red Sox this year, so “why not us?” They’re sitting more pretty even now than Seattle-bound Robinson Cano.

John Sterling - Love him or hate him?

As I'm sure those of you who are kind enough to follow me on Twitter (@barkerclive) know, I live in England and of course this means that I drink tea, have a butler, speak with a posh accent and complain about the weather. Whilst I can assure you that only one of these things is true, there is something I do enjoy that does seem to be quintessentially English and that is listening to sports on the radio. I mean, what better way to keep up with the latest thrashing England are receiving in the cricket?! Anyway, I digress slightly.

In amongst all of the hot stove news recently, I have heard very little about the switch of Yankees game radio broadcasts from WCBS to WFAN. As I mentioned, I enjoy listening to sports on the radio and the first thing I thought when I heard about the change was, "What about John Sterling?" for he has been the voice of Yankees radio since I started listening to games.

I know he is loved and hated in equal measure by fans but to me, he is the voice of Yankees radio and without him, it wouldn't be the same.

Sure, he's overexcitable, he reuses the same catchphrases over and over again and he has been known to make the odd mistake but let's face it, a Yankees win really isn't a Yankees win without his trademark. "Ball game over, the Yankees win, theeeeeeeeee Yankees win!".

His other trademark is the fact that he has a personalised home run call for each player. So after the usual, "It is high, it is far, it is GONE", he will give a special call with a play on the players name. For example when Curtis Granderson hit a homer, there usually followed a brief rendition of "The Grandy man can!" To the tune of "The Candy Man".

Now I've listened to other teams radio broadcasts and I would say that probably as many as two thirds of them are, for want of a better word, DULL. This is something that you cannot accuse John Sterling of. He somehow manages to inject enthusiasm and passion into his voice, no matter what's happening on the field. Other broadcasters do a simple play by play call (x hits one to shallow right, fielded by y and the throw is in time at first), now imagine that being said in a really dull and monotonous tone and you've got  what to some people may be a standard radio broadcast.

I'm sure when it was announced that Yankees radio broadcasting was moving to WFAN, some people hoped that would be the end of John  Sterling but as the Yankees have the final say in who commentates, he stayed on. This means for those who love him, we will continue to get the broadcast we're used to with the usual catchphrases, albeit with a few new ones thrown in too!

With this in mind, let's look at 5 of my favourite John Sterling home run calls:

1) Nuney to the mooney (Eduardo Nunez)

2) Who's sorry now? Not Alfonso! (Alfonso Soriano)

3) David is Goliath (David Adams)

4) The Bronx is Vernon (Vernon Wells)

5) You know what (opposing city)'s thinking? Curses, Zoiled again! (Zoilo Almonte)

Of course with the current offseason signings, not only will Yankees radio have a new home but certain players will too. No longer will we have the Grandy man and Robbie Cano, don'tcha know! Instead we'll have all new calls like (maybe):

Who can? Brian McCann can! *Cue cancan music*

Another ball buried by Ellsbury!

So overall, I think Yankees fans should appreciate what we have in John Sterling, the man is a legend in his own right and to me, will always be the voice of the Yankees. If people don't want to listen to him, just remember, you could always listen to the opposing team's radio feed and see how bad it could really be! 

Personally, I can't wait to hear what he comes up with next year and I guarantee, I'll be along for the ride with you John!

Yankees Not Interested In Johan Santana

The New York Yankees have expressed zero interest in free agent left handed starting pitcher Johan Santana for 2014.Santana is coming off of his second torn capsule in his left throwing shoulder and would probably not command more than a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. One torn capsule usually ends a pitchers career so Santana having a second one is what is keeping him from garnering any serious consideration for a contract this early in the offseason.

I think if all Santana wants, or will get in the end, is a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training then I don't see why we are not showing interest. There is no such thing as a bad minor league deal. Hell if he could teach Manny Banuelos that Bugs Bunny changeup that would be worth the $400 K or so he would command if he got a contract. Maybe in February the Yankees will change their mind, stay tuned.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/10

On this day in 2008 the Yankees went on a crazy spending spree and gave out the fourth richest contract in Major League history when they handed a seven year contract worth $181 million to left handed free agent starting pitcher CC Sabathia. This was the largest contract ever handed down to a starting pitcher and included an opt out clause after three seasons for the then 28 year old. This AAV of $25 million was just ahead of the Mets deal with Johan Santana that he had signed in February of 2008.