Friday, January 31, 2014

Yankees Fans All Owe Senator Schumer A Thank You

The New York Yankees have used political contacts in New York Senator Chuck Schumer who helped Masahiro Tanaka obtain his visa. With pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training camp in about two weeks Tanaka needed his visa so he could join the team on time, something that can be a lengthy thing to do at times. The paperwork was "handled properly" and Tanaka now has his visa and will be in Yankees camp on time. Here is the quote from Mr. Schumer:

“My office works tirelessly to help constituents every single day, but it’s not often you get a call from a constituent like the New York Yankees,” Schumer said. “You see, the Yankees called me a couple of days ago to say they were worried about Masahiro Tanaka getting to Spring Training on time due to the length of time it can take for foreign players to get a visa.
“Foreign baseball players apply for something called a P-visa and the whole process can take up to a month; but with pitchers and catchers reporting on February 14th, it was very possible he wasn’t going to make it. So I made sure we had someone go to the mailroom at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), pull his application and get it processed quickly – something I have done in the past for the Mets as well, when they had a similar issue with Jose Reyes.”
“Now the Yankees’ star free agent will be able to join the team at spring training with everyone else,” Schumer added. “As a lifelong Yankee fan who is hoping for another World Series this year, I could not be happier.”

Reminder: Prospects Month Starts Here Tomorrow

If you guys haven't noticed I have been unusually quiet on the blog and on Twitter especially lately and that is because I have been working really hard on our second annual Prospects Month here on the blog. Prospects Month starts tomorrow and will go all the way through February. We will introduce you to more than a few of the Yankees prospects, look back at the Yankees stars when they were prospects, interview a guy or two, and bring you everything you need to know about the Yankees farm.

Prospects Month is my baby and I have been putting everything I have into it this season so I hope you all check in often, hopefully daily, and really enjoy what I have put into this month. I am a huge prospects guy and this is honestly my favorite time of the year, enjoy and don't forget to join the discussion we have going on in our comments section of the site. We have a great nucleus growing and it can only get better with you guys coming and joining the discussion.

Check in tomorrow and every day in February for Prospects Month here on The Greedy Pinstripes.

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #60 Lou Piniella

During his 11 seasons playing for the New York Yankees Lou Piniella helped the club reach the World Series four times, winning the series twice. In the 1981 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Piniella had seven hits, put up a .438 batting average, and raised his career World Series batting average to .319. Piniella played in a total of 43 postseason games and hit .300 with 15 runs and knocked in 18 RBI's.

60 days until Yankees Opening Day

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/31

On this day in 2007 Major League Baseball announced that the 2008 All Star Game would be played at Yankee Stadium. The announcement was made at New York's Gracey Mansion and would mark the fourth time that the All Star Game would be played in the Bronx, the other three times in 1939, 1960, and 1977. This was also especially special because this would be the final season of Yankee Stadium before it was torn down for Yankee Stadium III.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Michael Young Comes Off The Yankees Board, Retires

Michael Young has officially come off the New York Yankees board this offseason as a possibility for third base after he retired this afternoon. Young was awfully youthful as he was only 37 years old when he retired and still had a few reported offers out there for his services this season.

Young was a seven time All Star, will finish with a .300 career batting average, .346 OBP, and .441 slugging percentage. Young hit 185 home runs, knocked in 1,030 RBI's, scored 1,137 runs, and stole 90 bases in his 14 year career with the Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Yankees Add Five To Pro Scouting Department

The New York Yankees have bulked up almost everywhere this season from the on the field product now to the pro scouting department adding five guys to the fold. Kendall Carter, Brandon Duckworth (yes the former player), Joe Espada, Dan Giese (yes the former Yankee as recently as 2008), and Dennis Twombley.Carter and Twombley have been promoted from the amateur scouting staff while Espada was a member of the Miami Marlins last season.

Keith Law's Top 11 Yankees Prospects

Here are Keith Law's Top 10 11 Yankees prospects. If you have a subscription to ESPN Insider, you can read the the whole thing here.
  1. C Gary Sanchez (68th overall)
  2. OF Tyler Austin (85th overall)
  3. OF Mason Williams (87th overall)
  4. C J.R. Murphy
  5. OF Slade Heathcott
  6. OF Aaron Judge
  7. LHP Ian Clarkin
  8. 3B Eric Jagielo
  9. RHP Luis Severino
  10. 1B Greg Bird
  11. RHP Jose Ramirez (Law said he is #11 in the write-up)
How important was last year's draft to the Yankees? Whew.

Injuries hit the Yankees pretty hard, and not just at the pro level. Austin, Williams, Heathcott, Judge, Clarkin, and Gabe Encinas all missed time due to some ailment. However, Heathcott is the only one of that group with true injury concerns. 

JR Murphy and Gosuke Katoh both had great seasons. I'm guessing Katoh was kept off the list since he's not only young, but his upside isn't as high as the other three from last year's draft that did make the list. 

Although he's #5 on the list, Law doesn't think Heathcott will make it. Slade has had all sorts of injury concerns, and had work done on his knee after trying to play on it all season. Keith notes that not only can't Heathcott run, but his reads in center were poor. He even quotes one Yankees scout as saying Slade is a "crazy person".

Law picks a sleeper for each team, and the guy he chose for the Yankees was Luis Torrens. Torrens was signed in 2012 and turned into a catcher, where he's done very well. He has great hands, and great overall defense. He may not hit for much power, but Torrens' looks like he'll hit well for average and on-base percentage.

Hopefully the Yankees do well in their international spending, which they've said they're going to spend big on. The farm could definitely use the boost, that way the big club doesn't have to go and spend another half a billion dollars in the offseason.

Introducing The New Thunder Team Bat Dog, Rookie

(Trenton, NJ)- After nearly three weeks of fan input and voting, the Trenton Thunder's bat dog of the future has a name. The Golden Retriever puppy, who is the son of team bat dog, Derby, and grandson of original bat dog, Chase, will be named, Rookie. 
Thunder fans submitted 1,164 different names during a 10 day name submission period then thousands of fans voted for one of eight finalists during a week long online vote. 
The eight finalists are listed below in order of votes received: 
1. Rookie
2. (Inside The) Parker
3. Slugger
4. Slider
5. Scooter
6. Thor
7. Ace
8. Mo 
"With all the young players that pass through ARM & HAMMER Park each year, it's only fitting that we have a 'Rookie' here to fetch their bats," said Thunder General Manager Will Smith. "The interaction we had with the fans throughout the naming process was outstanding and there's no doubt that everyone is excited about Rookie becoming part of the Thunder experience." 
Rookie will make many appearances at Thunder games during the 2014 season. He will be trained by Shelly's School for Dogs in Millstone, NJ and should make his bat dog debut for Thunder fans during the 2015 season.  Rookie, like his dad Derby, is sponsored by ARM & HAMMER.
The Thunder gained worldwide attention starting in 2002 when then two-year old "Chase That Golden Thunder" joined the team as an official bat dog, entertainer and mascot. In 2008, Chase fathered a litter of puppies. His son "Home Run Derby" followed in his father's pawsteps in Trenton while "Ollie" continued the family business with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Class AA, Toronto). Chase and Derby worked alongside each other at ARM & HAMMER Park from 2010 until Chase's passing last July.  
Rookie was born on December 15 at Goldilocks Goldens of Levittown, PA. Derby's mate Reba had a litter of two puppies, a boy and girl.  

The Thunder will begin the 2014 season at ARM & HAMMER Park on Thursday, April 3. Season tickets, group outings, Pic-A-Plans, and Mini Plan renewals are on sale now. Single game tickets will go on sale on March 1, 2014. For more information about tickets, fans should call 609-394-3300 or visit

This post is being posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder organization. The original article can be seen HERE

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #61 Rick Cerone

Rick Cerone joined the New York Yankees from the Blue Jays in 1980 and had his best offensive season in his career that year. The Yankees catcher has career highs in hits with 144, runs with 70 runs, hit 30 doubles, hit 14 home runs, and knocked in 85 RBI's. Cerone finished seventh in the American League Most Valuable Player voting in 1980.

61 days until Yankees Opening Day.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/30

On this day in 2007 The Yankees agreed to help establish baseball academies in China and sent coaches, scouts, and player development staff over to give a hand. Randy Levine, the Yankees team President, committed the Yankees to help the Chinese Baseball Association develop young talent while also trying to promote baseball to a community that does not know baseball.

On this day in 2009 Joe Torre was on CNN's Larry King Live answering questions about his new book "The Yankee Years." The book caused a firestorm of reaction from former players, fans, and the Yankees organization just a week after its release.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Yankees Missed Out On Scott Baker

The Seattle Mariners have signed utility guy Jeff Baker to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training and the Yankees really dropped the ball. First off I don't care about the concern for his defense at third base because before last season Kelly Johnson had never played first base. Secondly the other likely option at the hot corner is Eduardo Nunez and his defensive struggles are well documented here as well as everyone in the Yankees blogosphere. Third of all it's a minor league deal, also known as a no brainer.

Baker can play third base, first base, and some outfield and would have really helped the Yankees off the bench or as a starter this season. Baker can make up to $1 million if he makes the team and can make an additional $2.25 million in incentives. It perplexes me that the Yankees did not snatch this guy up, especially on a minor league deal. We had the money to offer, we had the playing time to offer, and we have the need for a guy like Baker.

Please disregard :)

Law Ranks Three Yankees In Top 100 Prospects List

The other day we learned that the New York Yankees did not have a great farm system when Keith Law released his rankings by team of the farm systems across the league. Today we got to read Law's Top 100 Prospects list and three Yankees made the cut, Gary Sanchez, Tyler Austin, and Mason Williams. Once again, even though he is eligible for the Rookie of the Year Award this year, Masahiro Tanaka was not eligible due to his time in Japan and the NPB.

Sanchez was ranked #68, Austin was ranked #85, and Williams came in at #87 on the list that requires subscriptions to read unfortunately. Law says of Sanchez:

“[Sanchez] has huge upside as a hitter, with plus-plus raw power and very hard contact.” His defense behind the plate, while improved, continues to need work. “Even a grade-45 defender [on the 20-80 scouting scale] back there with Sanchez’s potential offensive upside will be an MVP candidate, and if he continues to work at receiving and on his plate discipline he’ll be ready to take over and make a real impact for the Yankees by 2016.”

Law also touched on maybe a surprising pick in Austin:

“When healthy, Austin has a very sound swing that is geared both toward contact and power and is short to contact with good extension. He rotates his hips well to generate power, all with enough patience to keep his OBP in the .350 range,” he wrote. “He’ll be only about average in right field — making the necessary plays but not much more — so he needs to hit and hit for power to be a regular.”

Law didn't leave out Mason Williams and was quoted as saying:

“He is a potential Gold Glove defender in center, a future 70 on the 20-80 scale with good reads off the bat and bursting speed to chase down balls in the gaps … His ultimate outcome should be a high-average, doubles-power guy who might hit 15 homers in his best season, but even .290-plus with 50-60 walks and 10 homers with great defense is an above-average regular.”

MLB Tries To Dismiss Alex Rodriguez Lawsuit

Major League Baseball is seeking a speedy dismissal of the lawsuit brought down from Alex Rodriguez. I guess I need to be more specific since A Rod is suing the world these days, this is the lawsuit fighting the season long suspension in 2014.

Major League Baseball and their lawyer Howard Ganz say that the federal court system has no right to overturn a decision made by an arbitrator. Obviously Alex and his lawyers Joe Tacopina feel otherwise so this will get ugly before it gets better.

Yankees Invite 26 Non Roster Players To Spring Training

The Yankees have released a press release releasing the 26 non roster names that have been invited to Spring Training camp this year. Just as a reminder every man on the 40 man roster has an automatic invitation to camp so we will see the likes of Gary Sanchez, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos, Slade Heathcott, JR Murphy, Austin Romine, and Jose Ramirez to name a few will be there.

The list of guys invited were right handed pitchers Bruce Billings, Robert Coello, Brian Gordon, Chris Leroux, Matt Daley, Jim Miller, David Hernon, Yoshinori Tateyama, Danny Burawa, Chase Whitley, and Mark Montgomery. 

Left handed pitchers included Fred Lewis and Francisco Rondon. 

Infielders included Scott Sizemore, Yangervis Solarte, Zelous Wheeler, Russ Canzler, Francisco Arcia, Jose Gil, Peter O'Brien, Corban Joseph, and Jose Pirela.

Outfielders included Antoan Richardson, Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, and Adonis Garcia. 
With every list of invites is always the snubs or omissions and a big one that stands out is Ronnier Mustelier, who was expected to at least be in the discussion at third base. Greg Bird will not be making his second straight trip, although the Yankees brought extra players last season to account for the World Baseball Classic. Borderline players like Kyle Roller, Rob Segedin, and Addison Maruszak also did not make the cut, maybe next year. 

David Ortiz Would Complete The 2004 Red Sox Turned Yankee Mass Exodus

There have been a ton of the 2004 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox that have since become members of the New York Yankees, could David Ortiz be the next? Ortiz was interviewed by CBS Boston and spoke about his future with the Red Sox and it may not look good if you're a Sox fan. Apparently Ortiz wants to stay a member of the Red Sox, who could blame him really, but emphasizes that he wants a multi year deal, something that Boston may not be willing to give him. Here is a quote from Ortiz on the subject:

“Hey, I would like to. I’m having fun. It’s been a hell of a ride as long as I’ve been here,” Ortiz told WBZ-TV’s Steve Burton in an interview that aired on Sunday night’s Sports Final. ”But as I always keep on telling people, this is a business. Sometimes you’ve got to do what’s best for you and your family.
“As long as they keep offering me a job and I keep doing what I’m supposed to do and the relationship keeps on building up, I’m going to be there. Hopefully, I won’t have to go and wear another uniform,” he said, hoping for another multi-year extension from Boston.
But if the Red Sox do not offer him a multi-year deal, or it’s not up to Ortiz’s standards, the slugger said it would be “time to move on.”
“If I have to, I’ve got no choice,” he said. “I’m not going to quit. As long as I keep hitting the ball the way I have, I’ve got to keep on giving it a try.”

Ortiz is 38 years old now so demanding a multi year deal in your age 39 season may be probably asking a lot. The Yankees though seem to have no problem offering multi year deals to guys way past their prime, especially one who will be a DH only. Presumably after this season Derek Jeter will be retired and Alfonso Soriano will be elsewhere so the DH spot wouldn't be as a big of a log jam as it may be this season. Could we get Ortiz? Should we get Ortiz? Yes and yes please. 

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #62 Tommy John

Tommy John enjoyed two separate stints in New York and pitched for a total of 26 seasons in the Major Leagues. John was a crafty left handed pitcher and racked up 288 wins in his career including a career high 22 victories in the 1980 season with the New York Yankees. John also pitched well in the 1981 World Series allowing one earned run in 13 innings, although did  not get a ring to show for it. John finished his career with a 2.65 ERA in 88.1 postseason innings.

62 days until Yankees Opening Day

RailRiders Dave Miley Inducted To IL Hall of Fame

Former Scranton Wilkes Barre RailRiders manager and Manager of the Year Award winner Dave Miley has been elected to the International League Hall of Fame for his efforts. Former IL League MVP Jeff Manto and longtime Toledo Mudhens broadcaster Jim Weber were also elected to the hall on this day. Miley's ceremony will happen on Saturday, June 7 when the RailRiders host the Toledo Mudhens of the Detroit Tigers organization.

The first 2,500 fans through the gate will receive a Dave Miley statue, which is kind of cool. Miley won the fan vote this past season to receive the honor of being made into a giveaway statue, which is also very cool and shows the respect the fans have for Miley.

Yankees Sign 17 Year Old Kid From Australia

The New York Yankees have made one kids dream in Australia making him a millionaire before he can legally drive a car. Brandon Stenhouse will head to Tampa for two weeks before returning home to graduate High School and has landed himself a six figure contract, plus money for college. After his graduation he will return to the United States for good and pursue his professional baseball career.

There is obviously not many reports coming about the kid at age 17 and in Melbourne but his fastball can already touch 93 MPH so that is something you can work with. The Yankees were already slightly over their international draft pool cap for this season so this pushes them closer to big penalties next season when they plan to outspend the world in the market.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/29

On this day in 1999 Jimmy Key decided to call it a career after suffering from multiple shoulder injuries. The 37 year old appeared in the playoffs with every team he played for including the Toronto Blue Jays, the New York Yankees, and the Baltimore Orioles.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

AJ Burnett To Pitch In 2014 & Test Open Market

Should the Yankees be interested in free agent pitcher AJ Burnett now that he has announced that he would pitch in 2014 and it wouldn't necessarily be with the Pittsburgh Pirates? I say why the hell not but my favorite pitcher in all of baseball is AJ so call me a little bias, something about throwing a no hitter with nine walks has always done it for me for some reason. Effectively wild always intrigues me and I am a fan of his tattoos so my opinion means little, I want the guy, but should the Yankees go after him?

Burnett is 37 years old, a littler older than you would like, but would likely command a one year deal which always fits in with the Yankees plans. He is also coming off of two great seasons in Pittsburgh throwing a combined 393+ innings, and what team couldn't use a veteran presence at the back end of a rotation that can eat innings? Burnett had a 3.51 ERA in 2013 and a 3.30 ERA in 2012 with a 9.8 K/9 ratio to go with it. Burnett also gets enough ground balls at this point in his career to make him really attractive in a Yankees uniform, seen by his 56.5% ground ball ratio. Oh yeah and he has done it before in New York and in the World Series, he also found a now well publicized mechanics flaw that he attributes to his success in Pittsburgh as well as adding a sinker to his repertoire. He was learning how to pitch, not throw, when he came to New York the first time, now he knows how to pitch.

Burnett does not come with draft pick compensation and has the lowest FIP and xFIP of any available free agent on the market with a 2.80 and 2.92 average respectively. Burnett is going to really throw a monkey wrench into this whole free agent market and things could really start moving now. Instead of dumpster diving Cash let's right a wrong that should have never happened in 2012.

Keith Law Ranks Yankees Farm #20 In League

Keith Law has posted his annual list ranking all 30 Major League Team's farm systems and apparently Mr. Law is not a fan of the New York Yankees farm system. The Yankees farm, even with Mason Williams and Gary Sanchez, was ranked #20 in the league. A subscription is required to read his ranking unfortunately so we will just have to go with this paraphrase and also included is a quote from Law as to why he ranked the Yankees so low:

“It seemed like everyone who mattered in this system got hurt in 2013, and of those who didn’t had disappointing years.” 

The Houston Astros are ranked as the top team followed by the Twins, and the Pirates in the top three. The three worst teams on the list in order were the Tigers, Angels, and Brewers. Surprisingly I thought the Cardinals would be higher and the Brewers not so bad but that's baseball I guess.

JR Murphy Signs One Year Deal for $502K For 2014

The Yankees have signed JR Murphy to a one year deal for the 2014 season with the Yankees worth $502,700. The league minimum for 2014 is $500,000 but this deal is probably a split contract which would pay him less for his time in the minors, where he is presumed to start the season. Murphy still has six years left of team control and his arbitration before becoming a free agent so I am kind of perplexed as to why they made this deal now, especially with Austin Romine ahead of him on the depth chart, but it works.

MLB Approves Protective Hats For Pitchers

Major League Baseball has approved protective fitting hats for pitchers and has named  them isoBLOX. While no one in the majors or the minors will be required to wear them they do have the option to test them out this Spring Training if they so choose. The product weighs six to seven ounces more than your normal cap, which doesn't seem like it would weigh you down or be overly annoying, and a half inch of bulk in the front which looks awkward. Safety before fashion is what I always say, well I don't really ever find myself saying that but you get the message.

We all know the stories of pitchers getting hit in the head with line drive balls and the injuries being career and life threatening, see Brandon McCarthy, so I am 100% on board with this decision. J.A Happ was hit in the head last season as well as Alex Cobb so this is happening more and more, even Doug Fister got hit in the 2012 World Series, and the change needed to be made and I am glad that it was made.

New York Yankees Off Day Music Recommendation

I have not done one of these in a long while and I cannot get this song out of my head, so yeah here it is. I am also going to see him live on April 3rd so there is always that too. Enjoy!

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #63 Dave Winfield (Again)

Dave Winfield was a classy and amiable personality off the field but was a monster in the batter's box. Winfield ranked 30th in Major League history at the time of his retirement with 465 career home runs. Winfield hit a career high 37 home runs in 1982 while playing decent defense in the outfield. Winfield earned five American League Gold Glove Awards from 1982-1987 with the Yankees.

63 days until Yankees Opening Day

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/28

Nothing... so here is a bold prediction. Today I predict that the Yankees sign a pitcher, and that pitcher is Ervin Santana for three years and $30 million. Probably wrong but write it down anyway.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ben Nicholson Smith has tweeted that the New York Yankees have inked 29 year old right handed pitcher Chris Leroux. The deal is a minor league deal and will more than likely include an invite to Spring Training. The Canadian has nearly 70 IP of Major League experience that he brings to the table along with his 5.56 ERA, 8.1 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 career numbers.

Gary Sanchez Makes Baseball Prospectus Top 100

Baseball Prospectus' Jason Parks has released their annual Top 101 Prospects list and Gary Sanchez was the only New York Yankees player to make the list. The list is free, no subscription needed, so check it out by clicking HERE, thank you BP.  Sanchez made the list ranked at #85 down from #47 last year, even after steps forward with his offense and his defense. Mason Williams was ranked #51 last year and totally fell off the list, and the face of the Earth for most of the season for that matter, after a disappointing 2013.

To no surprise Byron Buxton of the Twins was at the top of the list followed by the Red Sox Xander Bogarts and the Cardinals Oscar Tavares.

Michael Young Says Dodgers, Retirement, or Bust

Another third base option may potentially be off the board in Michael Young, not that we showed much interest anyway. Young is contemplating retirement at age 37 but said if he did play in 2014 it would be with the Los Angeles Dodgers or bust. Young has said this before as recent as last year as he would only accept a trade back to Texas, and then New York, and ended up being traded to LA. He may just call it a career or he may change his mind, honestly who knows?

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #64 Dave Winfield

Dave Winfield was a powerful home run threat for the New York Yankees winning five straight American League Silver Slugger Awards starting in 1981. Winfield was also named a starting outfielder in the MLB All Star Game for the American League in seven of eight seasons from 1981-1988. Dave was one of only eight Major League players to get over 3,000 hits (3,110 to be exact), and 400 home runs (465) in their career.

64 days until Yankees Opening Day

Yankees Still Showing Interest In Ervin Santana

According to Chris Cotillo the New York Yankees are still showing interest in Ervin Santana for their starting rotation. The Yankees have some stiff competition for Santana as the Rockies, Orioles, Mariners, and Dodgers are also said to be interested in the right hander. The Cubs have also asked about Santana but are reluctant to give up their draft pick associated with signing Santana after he rejected a qualifying offer.

Yankees & Baseball Players Turned Poker Stars

I kind of fell into this article here and I am still doing my research on it but it truly amazes me how many baseball players have turned into poker players that we don't know about. We all heard about the whole Alex Rodriguez, who else right, attending illegal 888 poker games scandal where drugs were used and all that and it got me thinking, is it as wide spread as maybe steroids were speculated to be? So I went to where they have a list of "famous" poker stars and the list really surprised me which led me to do my own research, because surely this poker craze is not a new thing, and have compiled a list here of the Major League Baseball players that have turned into poker stars.

As we referenced above Alex Rodriguez is apparently a big fan of poker and has even went as far to break the law to do it, SEEN HERE from a post that was posted when the news broke in . Also Alex's foundation was in hot water for not donating enough of the donations and proceeds from a charity poker event, also seen HERE. Alex has proven two things over the last few years when it comes to baseball stars and poker, it is much more prominent then we thought and that Alex is an idiot, but I think we all knew that already.

Hall of Fame pitcher Orel Hershiser has been playing professional poker since 2006 after retiring from Major League Baseball and moving to Summerlin, Nevada. Hershiser signed with Poker Royalty to get his professional career started after becoming a regular at Red Rock's poker room in Summerlin. Hershiser drew some attention with his poker playing and was invited to participate in the 2008 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship and made the quarter finals under the Poker Stars banner beating poker legends like Ted Forrest, Allen Cunningham, and Freddy Deeb who has a total of 12 World Series of Poker bracelets between them. Hershisher took his hot streak all the way to the 2008 World Series of Poker and to the 2009 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure tour and has made thousands of dollars playing professional poker. It's kind of cool to play with him though because Hershiser gives an autographed baseball to the poker player that eliminates him.

There are many other examples of pro baseball players turned pro poker players including Jose Canseco who was in Celebrity Poker Live, former Red Sox player Gabe Kapler is a well known poker player, Jeff Francoeur, Ricky Henderson, Bobby Bonilla, Randy Wolf, Jason Giambi, Cory Lidle, Vicente Padilla, career minor league player  Al Barbieri, and college baseball player and star Eric Baldwin to name a few. That's just who we know about and could find links on Google talking about playing or getting in trouble for playing, imagine the players we don't know about. Poker may be on the fall on news networks like ESPN but it is still very much alive and kicking inside of MLB clubhouses.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/27

On this day in 1956 the New York football Giants switch their NFL home games to Yankee Stadium. This fueled tons of speculation that the baseball Giants would also be leaving the Polo Grounds.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Speculation On Other Teams Bids For Tanaka

I was browsing MLB Trade Rumors this morning when I ran across an article that I can only assume is  speculating and revealing the top bids for Masahiro Tanaka. It was originally posted by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, SEEN HERE. In the article he states that "one GM handicapped" the Tanaka bidding but the GM is unknown so take that for what you will. Here is the list:

Yankees - $155 million
Cubs - $120 million
Diamondbacks - $120 million
Dodgers - $119 million
White Sox - $100 million
Astros - $100 million

And now we know what Tanaka meant when he said the "Yankees wanted him more" it meant they offered the most money, and it wasn't even close. Get greedy!

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #65 Dave Righetti (Again)

After Dave Righetti gave up his career as a starting pitcher after four seasons as a member of the New York Yankees Righetti converted to a closer in 1984. The payoff was immediate for Righetti as the left hander notched 31 saves in his first season as the Yankees closer which was fourth best in the American League that year. Righetti finished his career with 252 saves which as the time was good for 32nd most in Major League history. His 46 saves in 1986 set an MLB record for the time which has obviously since been surpassed.

65 days until Yankees Opening Day.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/26

On this day in 2009 the New York Yankees signed Andy Pettitte to a $5.5 million one year contract. The then 36 year old signed for half of the Yankees original $10 million offer but could earn the additional $4.5 million based on innings pitched incentives as well as an additional $2 million for staying healthy and on the active roster.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Masahiro Tanaka vs. Boston Red Sox Meme

Courtesy of our friends at and Sergio A Holfmann we bring you this really awesome meme of Masahiro Tanaka out for Boston Red Sox blood. Any New York Yankees fan can appreciate this I'd say.

Stephen Drew Is Not The Answer

The other day it was rumored that the Yankees were interested in making a run at Stephen Drew, and I commented on that news here at The Greedy Pinstripes that I was for it. Although I didn't do any research into the possible move, and just assumed Drew > Johnson, I was wrong. Here's why...

Over the last three seasons, while playing for Arizona, Oakland, and Boston, Drew has hit .245/.322/.403 with 25 home runs. All of that is good for a bWAR of just 4.6. And it's worth noting that during those three years Drew made $21.9 million.

Meanwhile, the guy he would likely replace as the Yankees third baseman in 2014, Kelly Johnson, has hit .226/.307/.395 with 53 home runs. Those numbers, along with some other stuff, was good for a bWAR of 4.7.

Basically, thanks to a few more home runs, both Johnson and Drew are worth just as much to their team. But the difference comes in the fact that Stephen Drew could very well make three times as much in 2014 as Kelly Johnson is (Johnson will make $3 million). The dollar amounts just don't add up in Drew's favor... not by a long shot.

"Yeah, the math is all wrong."

The only thing that may be good about signing Stephen Drew would have to do with Derek Jeter. Jeter will turn 40 years old on June 26th, and is currently playing with a one-year deal with the Yankees. That doesn't mean this is Derek's final season, but I wouldn't call you crazy if you thought that. For that reason, Drew would slide in at shortstop in 2014 and beyond.

But is that a good thing? I don't think so.

Drew's bat is nothing to write home about, although he's a good defender. But there are plenty of guys like that. Heck, Brendan Ryan is one of the best fielders in baseball, but I don't hear any Yankee fans begging the team to lock him up long-term. I don't think anybody is clamoring for Ryan to be Jeter's heir, either. 

Not only is Stephen Drew not a great choice to replace Derek Jeter, but there are some intriguing shortstops that will be free agents next year...

Asdrubal Cabrera - He had a down year in 2013, batting .242/.299/.402, but the Venezuelan is just 28 years old, and he hit .273/.333/.419 the previous three seasons. In 2012 and 2011, Asdrubal was an All Star selection, and actually won the Silver Slugger Award in 2011. Unfortunately, Cabrera's UZR/150 of -16.8 last season at shortstop does not help matters.

Jed Lowrie - Although Jed's 2013 season, in which he hit .290/.344/.446, is a bit of an outlier, that type of production is not unheard of from the 29 year-old shortstop. Back in 2010, with the Red Sox, Lowrie hit .287/.381/.526 in 55 games. However, like Cabrera, Lowrie's UZR/150 of -9.2 at short last season doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence.

Hanley Ramirez - Even though his performances in 2011 and 2012 are far from amazing, as he hit .252/.326/.416 with 34 home runs, Hanley's numbers in 2013 made people think the guy they saw between 2006 and 2010 may still be around. Last season, Ramirez bounced back and hit .345/.402/.638 with 20 home runs. Mind you, Ramirez has never been a defensive whiz at short, but he was average there last season (0.5 UZR/150). 

The point of this is Stephen Drew is not the answer to the Yankees infield woes for 2014, nor is he the answer at shortstop for 2015 and beyond. If it comes down to Drew or Johnson, I'm perfectly content in seeing if Kelly can continue to hit double-digit home runs while playing above average defense at third base (24.4 UZR/150 there in 118 innings last season with the Rays).

High fives for being just "okay".

Omar Luis Arrested for DUI

Early Friday morning, Omar Luis was arrested for driving under the influence in Tampa. Luis apparently had a BAC of .102, which is quite a bit over the legal limit of .08. Omar reportedly drove the wrong-way down two different one-way streets, before two police cars got him pulled over. Luis was released after posting bail.

Luis was the final signee for the Yankees before the latest regulations on international free agents was imposed. You may remember that he was originally signed for $4 million, but it was reduced to $2.5 million after his physical revealed a bit of an issue. Omar defected from Cuba two years ago, and last season was sent to the Gulf Coast League, where he put up an ERA of 5.68, and WHIP of 1.863, in 11 starts.

I don't care who he plays for, or how big a prospect he may be... anybody that drives drunk should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. He not only put himself in danger, but due to his actions he could have hurt many more. Hopefully he'll learn his lesson, and come back as a better person for it.

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #66 Dave Righetti

Dave Righetti was named the American League Rookie of the Year as a starting pitcher in 1981 in Yankees pinstripes. Righetti soon was converted into a late inning reliever and a closer and quickly made a name for himself as the best closer in the game. "Rags" nailed down at least 25 saves in each of his first seven seasons as the Yankees closer and ranks second in Yankees history with 224 saves.

66 days until Yankees Opening Day

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/25

On this day in 1943 The New York Yankees sold Lefty Gomez to the Boston Braves. Gomez will be released before playing a game with the Braves and will sign with the Washington Senators in May.

On this day in 1945 the Ruppert estate sells the New York Yankees to Dan Topping, Del Webb, and Larry MacPhail for $2.8 million. Topping and Webb, who ended up buying out MacPhail two years later, will sell 80% of the Yankees to CBS for $11.2 million after 1964.

On this day in 1966 the Yankees Tony Kubek announced his retirement after nine seasons. Kubek was diagnosed with having three crushed vertebrae from a childhood injury and decided to retire rather than risk further harm to his back.

On this day in 1999 the Yankees lost one of their free agents after winning the 1998 World Series in Tim Raines. Raines signed with the Oakland Athletics on a one year deal worth $600,000 at age 39.

On this day in 2008 the New York Yankees offered Robinson Cano a six year contract worth $55 million to buy out his arbitration and some free agent seasons. Cano was 25 years old and was under contract through the 2011 season with the Yankees, although New York held two team options for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Cano was coming off a season in which he hit .306 with 19 home runs and 97 RBI's.

On this day in 2012 the second of the Cour Four announced his retirement when Yankees catcher Jorge Posada announced it at a SRO Yankee Stadium news conference. Posada played with the Yankees for his entire 17 year career and joined Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte in retirement.

Friday, January 24, 2014

BREAKING: Fox Buys Majority Stake In YES Network

Fox has a deal in place to buy the majority of the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, more commonly known as the YES Network. 21st Century Fox went from 49% to 80% with the remaining 20% staying with the Yankee Global Enterprises. The YES Network is now a fully consolidated 21st Century Fox entity, George Steinbrenner was truly a businessman and his dreams are paying off literally.

Fox has announced that CEO Tracy Dolgrin will remain in the same role with the YES Network, that is always nice. The purchase has not been finalized, the sale must meet regulatory approvals, but once it is approved the purchase should be finalized by the end of the first quarter in 2014. Nothing has been announced but the YES Network could be re-branded after the takeover into Fox Sports New York or some other variation, and that sucks.

Yankees Trade David Huff To Giants For Cash

The New York Yankees have traded recently designated left handed pitcher David Huff to the San Francisco Giants for cash considerations. Huff did a great job for us last season out of the bullpen as a fifth starter piggy back with Phil Hughes and will bring another left handed option to the Giants team. Huff was DFA'd to make room for the recently signed Masahiro Tanaka. I am not going to lie I was secretly hoping that Huff would clear waivers and come back but that's not going to happen, time to move on.

Bring Maw Den a Peashootah, 'cause #MongoNation is on the move, uhkay? The (in)complete history of #MongoNation.

*all typos are in Zaunglish. Only Mongos would get it. Everyone else, I hope you have a sense of humor, otherwise "get lawst...and do some charity werk, uhkay?"

Yesterday, a case just over six years old finally received closure, as Eric Rivera Jr., the man who murdered Sean Taylor back in November 2007, was sentenced to 57 years in prison. I want to go back to the immediate aftermath of Taylor's tragic death for an entirely different reason however. On December 2nd, 2007, the "sportspope" YouTube account posted a video of Mike and the Mad Dog "dissecting" (a.k.a. drawing the entirely wrong conclusions on motive) the Sean Taylor murder case. Before this, plenty of radio hosts like Don Imus would get tape of Mike and Doggy fighting on the air and laugh and make fun of them, but to me, this video is one of the first RECORDED moments of Mike, well, being Mike on da aih.

I thought that it was ironic that the beginning of what has turned into a colossal social media powerhouse began with Sean Taylor, and today, the day after his murderer has finally been brought to justice and thrown behind bars, Mike Francesa, for the first time, historically drew attention, in a POSITIVE LIGHT, to his vast "cult following," (as he called it) #MongoNation.

I've been listening to Zaun (da artist fawmally known as "Dupp") on WFAN since I was a little kid. I knew he was a must listen after a Yankee championship, a Jet loss, or even better, a Jets win/Giants loss weekend. Never could I have imagined that TEN, let alone, a "yooge" group of people followed, adored, hell (da heck), WORSHIPPED da Spawts Pope like I did. #MongoNation is a family, hands down.

There were the impressionists over the years; people in their cars tawkin Jeetuh in their best Francesa Lawn Guyland accents, the "Racist Francesa" that called into Opie and Anthony every once in a while. There were the parody websites that went on for years since Mike and Dog first got the YES simulcast. Then, Mike Franceser (@mikefranceser) introduced us to a whole new vocabulary: "Georgia Roddy," "Mock Tecks Shearer,""Joper Turnah." Then came the definitive videos from @WFANAudio. But like all fan clubs, it went a step further. One twittuh dared wonder, "There's a Mike Francesa in all of us. What would he have been tawkin about during some of Americar's most historic moments?"

Yes, @BizzaroZaun and WaitUhSeckin Productions traveled back to the past to see Mike compare General Cornwallis to Alexander the Great like Derek Jeter to Mickey Mantle. It was back then that the first John Hancock joke was invented, who woulda thought?! Mike didn't know who Al Albuquerque was in 2011; he didn't know who Harriet Tubman was in 1862! Guys, did you know that before he became a SF Giants fan, Mad Dog was a fan of the Germans?! It's amazing how we learn something new every day.

We've even put Mike in different cities after teams lose in the playoffs. Never have I been more upset than the day the Miami Heat beat the Spurs in Game 7, more because the would-be classic #MiamiZaun hashtag and audio had to be put to bed. Hopefully the Pacers beat them in the Eastern Conference Finals...and hopefully we have #SeattleZaun by 10 p.m. next Sunday. Never have I been more happy then the day I was knighted by @WFANAudio with my Zaun-style nickname, Kneeled Wire.

Over time, we Mike Zaun fans have watched our feahless leader grow from just an ordinary talk show host analyzing batting averages (Albert Belle) to exercising authority over some of the first mongos (ANDY PETTITE IS A STARTIN PITCHAH; HE'S MARIANO RIVERA!) and fellow employees (It's nevah youah, Jim; PETAH, YOOSE YA NOOGIN...uh YA NOODLE HEAH!) His hahd-hittin analysis has transcended time and space, and has even caused some of the best athletes in New Yawk (Revis) to stop in awe and wonderment of Pope Zaun (just kidding, Revis hung up on him.)

Mike has also taught us the value of honor and standing up for what you believe in. No one in the media (that I've seen) has defended A-Rod except Mike. Mike's seen that the baseball machine has sought out a scapegoat for their misdeeds, and has fought with every writer on the air, much to the delight of the fans (great radio!)

If I had to try and describe the relationship between the fans and Mike, I'd call it a brother-brother (Harbaw-Harbaw) relationship. Mike's the little brother that the older brother has to toughen up and make fun of, but if anyone (Michael Kay, Keith Olbermann, ESPN) tries to pick a fight, the fans are the first to step in and defend Zaun. This family of #MongoNation has grown from die-hard Francesa fans to include writers like Bernie Augustine, (Bernie got to interview the @mikefranceser guys for the Daily News) Brian Monzo (Mike's producer), a true friend of #MongoNation interacting with mongos every day, and even introducing Mike to the "Numbah One" Francesacon shirt, (as if Mike didn't already know about it) and even Mike's own family, who as he said loved the shirts!

#MongoNation is such a force that all the Zaun hashtags have repeatedly trended nationally!

This is the incomplete Mongo Nation history. There will be many more years of laughs, song parodies and love for New Yawk's Numbah One. The day he retires will be a day of mourning for us all. Radio will never sound the same without that re-assuring, grandfatherly voice full of wisdom at 1 p.m. telling all of New Yawk (and the country via the YES Network) that Mike's on. We'll still listen on the radio during his brief TV departure, only to be huddled up by our televisions once again to watch da Pope sit back in his chaih, chug some Diet Coke (DC) stare into the camera and remind everyone that he'll be "Back Aftah Dis."

Neil Dwyer @neildwyer1993

P.S. If you haven't got it by now, Mike Zaun="Mike's On"+ a thick Lawn Guyland accent.

Masahiro Tanaka Will Wear #19 For The Yankees In '14

Masahiro Tanaka will wear #19 for the New York Yankees in 2014 ending the debate about Hiroki Kuroda possibly giving up his #18 uniform. Many good Yankees have worn #19 including Bob Turley, Dave Righetti, Whitey Ford for one season, Aaron Boone, Luis Sojo, and Bubba Crosby our starting center fielder.

Williams & Sanchez Place In MLB Top 100 has released their annual list of the Top 100 prospects in baseball and two New York Yankees, Mason Williams and Gary Sanchez, cracked the list. Sanchez makes his spot on the list at #47 while Williams comes in at the #75 spot. Masahiro Tanaka will be eligible for the Rookie of the Year Award this year but was not eligible for this list for whatever reason since he played so much in Japan.

The Twins Byron Buxton tops the list as expected. The Red Sox, Astros, and Cubs have 23 out of the top 100 prospects which speaks volumes to how strong their farm systems are. Sanchez was ranked as the fourth best catcher in all of baseball and Yankees first basemen Greg Bird ranked seventh at his position.

Alex Rodriguez In A Sombrero

This story tell itself...

The '13 Andy Pettitte Connection To '14 Hiroki Kuroda

It has been well documented here on The Greedy Pinstripes and all across the Yankee Universe that Hiroki Kuroda has faded the last two seasons in the Bronx and I think I have the solution to prevent it from being a third times the charm type of scenario. Andy Pettitte was the oldest pitcher in 2013 and did not suffer from the loss of velocity or the loss of command and control of his pitches like Kuroda did, he actually seemed to get stronger as the season went on although some of that could be chalked up to adrenaline. Could we not follow the same protocol and such with this years oldest pitcher in the majors, Hiroki Kuroda, to prevent a similar melt down in the stats department?

Before coming to the Bronx the most innings that Kuroda had thrown in his Major League career with the Los Angeles Dodgers had been 202 IP, although he had only thrown 699 IP in his entire four year Dodgers career. In two seasons in pinstripes Kuroda has already thrown 421 IP and has set a new career high with 219.2 IP in 2012. The number would have been a whole lot more had it not been for those aforementioned well documented melt downs in late August and through September the last two seasons. This could have been a lot more of a glaring problem has Kuroda not pitched six or less innings in seven of his last 10 starts due to the meltdown. Pettitte pitched six or less innings in five of his final eleven starts, August and September, but Pettitte had a 6-5 record in those games where as Kuroda had a 3-7 record down the stretch.

Andy Pettitte on the other hand threw only 185.1 IP in 2013 including a complete game on his final start of his career down in Houston on the second to the last day of the season. While Pettitte's career high in IP in a single season was 240.1 that was way back in 1997. Pettitte had not gone over the 200 IP mark since the 2008 season, including his retirement in 2011 where he did not pitch at all, but his stats did not seem to suffer all that much from it. Pettitte did win a World Series titles in 2009 including pitching in all three of the series clinching games and getting the win with his reduced workload that came with age.

Using Baseball Reference we can see that Kuroda averaged 100 pitcher per start in 2013 and 101 pitcher per start in 2012. Using the same sources we see that Pettitte only averaged 97 pitches per start in 2013 and 94 pitcher per start in 2012. It is also worth noting that before Pettitte averaged 103 pitches in 2009 he did not average over 100 pitches per start since the 2003 season. A few pitches here or there over the course of a long season could be the difference between skipping a start or two, pitch wise, and can make the world of differences. Kuroda went over the 100 pitch mark 21 times in 2013 while Pettitte only did 14 times. It is worth noting also that both men had 11 wins in 2013 so the reduction in pitches should not affect Kuroda as a pitcher that much.

In closing Hiroki is not a spring chicken anymore and has a ton of innings on his arm, treat him like it. Joe Girardi is constantly throwing Kuroda out there like his stud 25 year old ace and not like the 39 year old pitcher that he is. Kuroda should not be throwing complete games much anymore and should not be pushing the 200 IP barrier before September even begins anymore, he is 39 not 29. Kuroda is great but Kuroda has earned the right to be babied and the load on his shoulders lightened as he gets older, not increased. If the Yankees want Kuroda to be fresh all season long and into the playoffs potentially then they need to take a page out of their own books and pretend the #46 is on his back and not the #18 because Kuroda cannot do it anymore for 200+ innings. Eight innings or less, 100 pitches or less, and one more ring and a ride into the sunset for Kuroda and the Yankees.