Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Remembering 2014: Derek Jeter Day

Derek Jeter Day 2014

Top 5 Worst Yankees Free Agent Contracts Ever

It's the final day of 2014 so let's take a quick look at the worst free agent signings for the Yankees ever:

5. Jose Contreras - 4 years $32 million

He was no "El Duque" and was signed in 2003 and traded in 2004 for Esteban freaking Loaiza. Come on.

4. Kei Igawa - 5 years $20 million

3. Ed Whitson - 5 years $4.5 million

Whitson had ugly ERA numbers for his year and a half in New York, broke Billy Martin's arm in 1985 and received death threats from Yankees fans due to his poor performance.

2. Carl Pavano - 4 years $39.95 million

Four years and roughly $40 million for 26 starts and a 0.4 WAR

1. Alex Rodriguez -10 years $252.87 million plus incentives ($320 million cap)

Enough said.

Honorable mentions:

Dave Collins - 3 years $2.47 million
Spike Owen - 3 years $7 million
Pascual Perez - 3 years $5.7 million

State of the Yankees Bullpen without Shawn Kelley

The New York Yankees threw a bit of a curveball to their bullpen earlier in the week when they traded Shawn Kelley to the sleepless AJ Preller and the San Diego Padres for a RHP prospect. This leaves the Yankees 40 man roster at 39 players and potentially opens the door for a Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb, Danny Burawa, Branden Pinder or equivalent.

Set in stone right now seem to be the positions, in no particular order, of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, Adam Warren, Justin Wilson and Esmil Rogers. Rogers is cheap enough to where his spot is pretty fringy at best but without Kelley in the 7th inning his spot looks to be more secure than ever.

Presumably New York will use one of those spots on another long man and that job will likely go down to either Bryan Mitchell or Manny Banuelos. The last spot looks to be wide open with the above aforementioned players and a few others like Jose Ramirez. Either way with the trade the Yankees continue to get younger, cheaper and more flexible while still trying to compete in a watered down version of the AL East. I guess I can see the logic in that.

Key Yankees New Years Resolutions

Right after Christmas I made a phone call to some of the key members of the New York Yankees and asked them what they received for Christmas this season. Most of the players received healthy 2015 seasons or productive campaigns next year while A Rod got money so I decided to check in on this New Year’s Eve to ask what some of their New Year’s resolutions were for 2015. The answers may surprise you.

Mark Teixeira – “I’m going to beat the shift. “

Hal Steinbrenner – “After reading the ‘Ghost of Yankees Past’ I think I’m going to give more power and responsibility to Brian Cashman and be more of an owner and less of a power hungry GM.”

Brian McCann – “I was going to say beat the shift too but as we saw in our race last year Mark Teixeira is just a tad quicker than me. I guess I’m going to have to beat Teixeira instead.”

Brian Cashman – “I’m going to put a real World Series caliber team on the field, it just may take me until the 2017 or 2018 season to do it.”

CC Sabathia – “I’m going to make 30 starts this season and try not to flip out on airport personnel because I missed my flight to Jamaica.

Masahiro Tanaka – Something that roughly translated into either “the disgrace the original Power Rangers brought to his family” or “less practical jokes in the locker room.” My Japanese is rusty.

Brendan Ryan – “Hit above .220 so I actually have a place on the team past June.”

Are the Yankees done this offseason?

The Yankees have made plenty of moves this offseason huge and minor. As the New Year is in less than a day fans are wondering if the offseason for the Yankees is over. In my opinion yes the Yankees addressed some positions that they desperately needed but I think they could be better.

As I said yesterday Max Scherzer would be a good sign to improve the rotation. Doesn't look like that'll happen though. Even though the Yankees 5-man rotation is filled Chris Capuano can be a starter but I'd prefer him in the bullpen.

Scherzer would take the place of Capuano and that would help the Yankees rotation and bullpen. Those two things are probably the key to a successful 2015 season for the Yankees. The lineup wouldn't be bad with adding another bad. Brendan Ryan shouldn't be on this team.

The Yankees may not need to add any bats because they have infielders Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela. Those two guys are very talented and with them the Yankees may not need a bat. I like Pirela over Refsnyder so Pirela should get the starting second baseman job. Here's my projected lineup this doesn't include any unsigned free agents.

1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2. LF Brett Gardner
3. C Brian McCann
4. 1B Mark Texeira
5. RF Carlos Beltran
6. 3B Chase Headley
7. DH player mix
8. SS Didi Gregorious
9. 2B Jose Pirela
This Yankees lineup could be very successful in 2015.

Quick Hit: An Interesting Quote from Shawn Kelley

I thought this quote from Shawn Kelley, courtesy of Dan Barbarisi's Twitter account, was pretty interesting and worth a share. What about you? Sounds like Kelley knows what's going on and isn't talking and it more importantly sounds like there is actually a plan here, which is encouraging. What say you?

Baseball Beginning to Catch on in Uganda

Major League Baseball’s goal always has been and always will be centered on being a global game. Uganda became the first African country to travel for the Little League World Series when the team made the trip to the United States in 2012. This is all showcased in a documentary called “Opposite Field” which screened in New York City last month. New Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins has been very active in the baseball growth in Uganda and even narrated a 2012 ABC feature as well as directed and produced Opposite Field.

The Wall Street Journal’s John W. Miller had the story about going to coach baseball in Uganda with the country’s top baseball administrator George Mukhobe and wrote an interesting piece about it. Here is the entire article from Mr. Miller.

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/31: #BringBackTino

On this day in 2004 the Yankees agreed to a contract with Tino Martinez for a one year reunion after the Tampa Bay Devil Rays declined his $8 million option. Martinez was coming off a .262 batting average with 23 home runs and 76 RBI's and signed a $3 million deal with New York. Tino played in New York from 1996-2001 and was replaced by Jason Giambi in 2002 before coming back in 2005 to be Giambi's backup.

Also on this day in 1974 free agent pitcher Catfish Hunter ended an unprecedented bidding war when he signed with the New York Yankees. Hunter signed for $3.75 million, which ended up being three times more than any other player at the time, to leave the A's for New York.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kelley: Yankees Trading Me to Padres Part of Their "New Plan"

If the Yankees want to sign an expensive free agent like Max Scherzer or James Shields this offseason, they'll no doubt need a lot of money. 

The team has maintained a stance of shying away from doing so up to this point, but might be forced to later on due to the health issues CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova have recently experienced. 

And the Yankees may have taken the first step in that process with Monday's trading of Shawn Kelley to the Padres, a move that will save them just under $2 million in 2015. Or at least that's what Kelley said shortly after the deal was completed, reviewing what club GM Brian Cashman told him while talking to The Wall Street Journal's Daniel Barbarisi

"[Cashman] said he hated to see me go, but they have some things they're doing, some things they're working on, and it was part of a new plan," Kelley said.

It's difficult to judge what that plan is, as the Yankees' winter intentions right now are still mostly a mystery. Some speculate they're secretly gearing up for a belated spending spree, while others buy the rhetoric they're just going to build from within. 

Whichever possibility is true, Kelley made sure to express his own thoughts on the move to San Diego, the third city in which he will have played.

“It was a little shocking at first but I’m sure [the Yankees] are still going to have a good pen, even with [David] Robertson gone and now myself gone,” he said. “I was really looking forward to a third year. I hate to go. But at the same time I’m excited for this new opportunity.”

Kelley went 7-8 with a 4.46 ERA in 105 innings with the Yankees the last two seasons, and often threw either sevenths or eighths. He struck out 3.2 hitters for every walk, solidifying his role as a valuable bullpen piece.

He's expected to be the Padres' set-up man next year, working in front of closer Joaquin Benoit.

Yankees Interested in Hector Olivera

Shortly after the Tampa Bay Rays snatched up shortstop and second base option Asdrubal Cabrera off the free agent market conveniently the New York Yankees were linked to Cuban defecting infielder Hector Olivera. Olivera is 29 years old and would presumably be ready to step right into the major leagues today and play, no seasoning needed, so this is a definite threat to the Robert Refsnyder and Jose Pirela Spring Training 2015 competition for the second base position. I do question the timing though of the report as I do not believe in coincidences but anyway, let's delve deeper.

Olivera's contract demands are being thrown around in the six years and $68.5 million range that Yasmany Tomas received from Arizona. That makes a ton of sense if the projections are true which state that he could be the best Cuban defecting player since Yasiel Puig to come to the United States. Olivera stands 6'2" and weighs in at 220 pounds with a smooth and solid power stroke from the right side of the batters box. Olivera's speed and athleticism are highly praised along with his power making him attractive to more than a few teams, especially considering that he is a true free agent and will not count against a team's international signing caps.

Whether the Yankees are in on Olivera or not and whether the team acquires him or not remains to be seen but the idea of adding him is pretty darn interesting.

Remembering 2014: Brett Gardner's Highlights

Brett Gardner's Highlights

Remembering 2014: Chase Headley's First Yankees Game

Spoiler alert, he walked off. 

Are the Yankees going to sign Max Scherzer?

By Eddie Sapienza
With some rotation injuries in 2014 the Yankees needed to sign some pitchers in the offseason. The Yankees traded for Nate Eovaldi and signed Chris Capuano so as of now here would be the rotation.
1. Masahiro Tanaka
2. Michael Pineda
3. CC Sabathia
4. Nathan Eovaldi
5. Chris Capuano

This rotation is pretty solid. Imagine if Max Scherzer was in that rotation to. The Yankees bullpen could be stronger by moving Chris Capuano with a Scherzer signing. Now imagine this rotation.
1. Max Scherzer
2. Masahiro Tanaka
3. Michael Pineda
4. CC Sabathia
5: Nathan Eovaldi

This actually has a chance to happen. Before we all thought Scherzer would come to the Yankees then we didn't and now we do once again. Scherzer won the 2013 CY Young Award and in my opinion is a superb pitcher. He had another great season in 2014. His ERA wasn't great in 2013 and 2014 but Yankee fans would be perfectly fine if he gave up average 2 or 3 runs per game.

Do I think this move will happen probably not. I haven't heard the rumor of him going to any other team besides the Yankees. His agent Scott Boras had a high asking price for him. It will doubtfully be the same if the Yankees talk to Boras about Scherzer again. 180-190 million should be the highest the Yankees will go with Scherzer. I hope Scherzer comes to the Yankees and makes this Yankees rotation better.

The New Yankees Core?

The New York Yankees seem to be rebuilding on the fly as the team gets younger, develops their own players and basically waits out the contracts of Alex Rodriguez, CC Sabathia and Carlos Beltran. It makes me wonder if New York is planning on going with another core, core four, core five, whatever and it also makes me wonder if Robert Refsnder/Jose Pirela are the first dominos to fall. Are Refsnyder and/or Pirela the Bernie Williams who comes before a huge influx of minor league talent? It’s looking to be the case.

When the Beltran contract expires New York should have at least a right fielder or two primed and ready to go in Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge. When the Rodriguez contract runs out New York should have a much clearer picture on whether Eric Jagielo is for real or not and what the team should do with Chase Headley in his final season. He could play first base since mark Teixeira’s contract will be up but that would presumably block Greg Bird from making his way to the show. Brian McCann’s contract will be winding down while John Ryan Murphy, Luis Torrens and Gary Sanchez are all knocking on the door if they aren’t traded beforehand and Luis Severino will be itching to replace Sabathia once his contract is off the books.

While watching this offseason has been one of the most frustrating in my Yankee fan career I can see a light at the end of the tunnel and I think Brian Cashman can too. A lot can happen between now and the 2016 and 2017 seasons but the stars are aligning for another Yankees core and possibly another Yankees dynasty and I think I can suffer through a few years of mediocrity for that. 

Quick Hit: The Interesting Story Behind the AJ Pierzynski Signing

I know this is not exactly New York Yankees related but when I read this I had to share with the readers an interesting story regarding the Atlanta Braves signing of AJ Pierzynski. Apparently a Braves fan Aaron Lunsford and his father were in line at the Honeybaked Ham location in Woodstock, GA when they noticed they were standing behind Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez. According to a set of tweets (@darrenstains, seen below, the group got talking about baseball when Gonzalez leaked a signing that the big guys had not reported on yet. Gonzalez leaked the news that the Braves had signed Pierzynski to a couple of random fans waiting in line for his ham sandwich.

Take that to the Jon Heyman and Buster Olney’s of the world.  In response, and somewhat as a joke, Lunsford started a blog called which went on to basically attack Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Mark Bowman for falsifying the story that Lunsford and his father told. It’s an interesting read and let’s be honest, you’re either at home with nothing better to do or at work with nothing better to do. Give it aclick and check it out. 

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Will Cut Brendan Ryan

The New York Yankees will cut or designate Brendan Ryan before the beginning of the 2015 Yankees season.

Vote in our poll!

Cops Called on CC Sabathia Inside an Airport

Nobody likes missing their flight ... including MLB star CC Sabathia ... who was so upset after missing his plane to Jamaica, cops were called to calm down the big fella ... TMZ Sports has learned. 

Sabathia -- along with 11 people in his party -- arrived to the Newark International Airport on Saturday morning ... only to be told they were too late to board the flight. 
As one source put it, "CC started freaking out" on airline staff -- and that's when someone called the NY Port Authority for help. 

Fortunately for CC, this story has a happy ending ... we're told cops helped CC cool off and the NY Yankees pitcher was able to book a later flight for his entire party. 
No arrests. No citations. And eventually, the gang made it to Jamaica to start their vacation. 

We reached out to CC, his reps and the Yankees for comment -- so far no word back.

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/30: Return of the Rocket

On this day in 2002 Roger Clemens signed a one year deal worth $10.1 million with the Yankees at age 40. Clemens was coming off of a 13-6 season with a 4.35 ERA and states that this would probably be his last season. The six time Cy Young Award winner was only seven wins shy of 300 victories for his career.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Are the Yankees Still Planning to Pursue Max Scherzer?

They've stated multiple times this offseason they have to intention to do so, but are the Yankees still planning to pursue former Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer?

Fox Sports' JP Morosi says yes, using the team's 2008 treatment of first baseman Mark Teixeira as evidence. He believes the Yankees are just staying quiet to draw attention from themselves, but still might make a run at Scherzer later this winter.

"A search of newspaper archives [regarding Teixeira] for mid-December of that year revealed the Yankees were not comfortable paying Teixeira more than $160 million," Morosi pointed out. "[The Yankees] were merely 'on the outskirts of the pursuit' for him and had done all their major spending on other areas of the team."

Teixeira went on to sign with the Yankees for eight years and $180 million December 23, seemingly making an upcoming offer to Scherzer likely. However, the Yankees also spent big on guys like CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett that year, and the team hasn't done such a thing recently.

Not to mention, the Yankees are cautious of inking expensive arms right now, having seen the negative effects contracts like Sabathia's ultimately cause. 

"So if your question today is whether I believe the Yankees are pursuing Scherzer, the answer is an emphatic yes," Morosi wrote nonetheless. "The New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium could have been renamed the 'We Are Not Signing Max Scherzer Bowl,' and I wouldn't have been convinced."

Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi are all already guaranteed starting jobs in 2015, so it's tough to speculate where Scherzer would fit into the Yankees' rotation if a part of it. Chris Capuano is probably flexible, but then what will the club do when Ivan Nova comes back from Tommy John surgery?

Indeed, acquiring someone like Scherzer would bring up questions for the Yankees, but if they want to seriously contend for the World Series next season, they might just have no choice but to get it done. 

Yankees Trade Shawn Kelley to Padres for Minor League Pitcher

Barbato. (Screen grab via

The New York Yankees have officially traded RHP Shawn Kelley to the San Diego Padres for minor league pitcher Johnny Barbato. Kelley is on the 40 man roster and Barbato is not so essentially the Yankees cleared a 40 man roster spot with this move begging the question if this is part of a bigger deal. New York also saved about $2 million with the deal and continued their process of getting younger across the board.

Barbato, if healthy, will presumably start the season in Triple-A in his age 22 season. I say if healthy because Barbato was shut down last season due to elbow soreness and there is at least a possibility that he will need Tommy John surgery.

Here's a quick scouting report on Barbato:

He pitches with mid-90s velocity and verve, attacking hitters with a live fastball that sinks and runs as it nears the plate. He throws a true curveball in the high 70s that features extreme break through the zone, and he locates and mixes his two pitches well enough to boast a career strikeout rate of 9.2 per nine innings … Barbato has the raw stuff to zoom to [New York] in 2015 and gradually work his way up to a setup role. - 

Remembering 2014: Derek Jeter Highlights

Derek Jeter's 2014 Highlights 

Remembering 2014: Mark Teixeira Highlights

Mark Teixeira's 2014 Highlights

Recapping the Yankees Offseason to Date

Just a quick recap of the New York Yankees offseason to far. Not for the faint of heart unfortunately.

11/9 - Yankees re-signed Chris Young

11/12 - Traded Francisco Cervelli to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Justin Wilson. The team also signed Jose De Paula to a major league contract.

11/18 - Re-signed Andrew Bailey to a minor league deal

11/20 - Yankees protected Danny Burawa, Mason Williams, Tyler Austin and Branden Pinder from the Rule 5 Draft. On the same day the team sent Zelous Wheeler to Japan for cash and signed infielder Jonathan Galvez to a minor league deal to be the next Yangervis Solarte.

12/5 - Yankees signed Andrew Miller to a four year deal after trading Shane Greene in a three team trade for Didi Gregorius from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team also re-signed Jose Campos to a new minor league deal.

12/15 - Signed Chase Headley

12/16 - Signed Chris Capuano

12/19 - Traded David Phelps and Martin Prado to Miami for Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and Domingo German. New York also traded for Gonzlaez Germen from the New York Mets for cash considerations. In a corresponding roster move the team designated Preston Claiborne for assignment and lost him to Miami later in the week.

Kuroda Accepted Less Money to Return to Japan: Report

Hiroki Kuroda wasn't exactly torn between the Yankees and Japan.

The 40-year-old right-hander accepted a deal worth five times less to return to the Hiroshima Carp, according to a report from The Japan Times. Kuroda's new contract with the Carp, worth just one year, will pay him ¥400 million, or $3.32 million. 

But that's not much since Kuroda's offer from the Yankees must've therefore been somewhere around $16.6 million, a price the Carp are thankful he turned down. 

"I am grateful for the choice Kuroda has made," Carp manager Koichi Ogata told The Times. "This will raise the motivation of the players and have a significant impact on the team."

If Kuroda's recent numbers with the Yankees are indicative of his talent, the Carp certainly should improve with him in their rotation, as Kuroda has been a reliable force for New York since 2012. In three seasons with the Yankees, Kuroda solidly went 38-33 with a 3.44 ERA, often not getting much run support. 

The Carp expect he and Kenta Maeda, who was originally expected to switch to MLB this offseason, to lead their pitching staff in 2015, and considering the more difficult level of American play, Kuroda should have no problem doing so. 

“The club has persevered with the negotiations," Ogata said, "and I feel this shows how determined the club is to win the pennant next season."

Kuroda likely won't have much trouble fitting in with Hiroshima, having pitched for them for 11 years from 1997-2007. He left them for the Dodgers before 2008, and stayed with Los Angeles through 2011.

Kuroda then joined the Yankees, where he became somewhat of a mentor to Masahiro Tanaka last season, to be the team's no.2 starter, working behind CC Sabathia for the entirety of his tenure with them.

Most Popular Article of the Week: George Steinbrenner & The Ghost of Yankees Past

Set the scene, picture Hal Steinbrenner sitting at his desk in his multi-billion dollar home with any bill less than a $50 burning in the fireplace for no apparent reason. It’s Christmas Eve and he’s making his list and he’s checking it twice to make sure he didn’t miss anybody. Chris Young, check. Andrew Miller, check. Didi Gregorius, check. Nathan Eovaldi, check. Chris Capuano, check. Chase Headley, check. Garrett Jones, check. Beside that list was another list, a more general and generic list, which Mr. Steinbrenner moved to satisfied with his findings on the first list. Find a shortstop to replace the great Derek Jeter, check. Find a closer to replace David Robertson, check. Improve the pitching, check. Emulate the Kansas City Royals bullpen from 2014 with a three headed monster, check. Keep Alex Rodriguez off the field at all costs, check. Bring back Brian Cashman, check. Fire Kevin Long, check. Fire Mick Kelleher, check. Replace both Long and Kelleher, he’ll have to get back to that. Steinbrenner, satisfied with his offseason even though it’s Christmas Eve and two of the top 10 free agents are still on the board, Hal decides to go to bed in his 8,000,000,000 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets when he hears something knocking at the door, a ghost.

“Son, it’s me. What in the world are you doing?” says the ghost of George Steinbrenner. Hal, shocked, replies that he was going to bed for tomorrow was Christmas Day and he had hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of presents to open in the morning and wanted to get an early start. This angered the ghost of Yankees past and he snatched Hal out of the bed and ushered him into the kitchen where he poured him a very ironically and strategically placed glass of Kool-Aide. Hal, thinking it was some of his 1996 wine he had ordered from Italy just three days prior, took a big swallow only to realize his mistake, spit out the wine and ask his father “What in the world are you feeding me?” The ghost of Yankees past, which that grin that he was so known for especially around the months of July and November – January, replied “I am simply giving you what you are feeding the greatest fans in the world, the Yankees fans. Now come with me while I show you the error of your ways.”

In a flash George and Hal Steinbrenner sat in the living room of a die hard Yankees fan who owned a blog called The Greedy Pinstripes. Daniel Burch could not see or hear the Steinbrenner’s but they could hear him and watched as he ferociously typed away on a piece about how the Yankees should “get greedy” and “sign Scherzer” and “trade for Tulo” and something along the lines of “World Series caliber team.” That’s when Hal began to shudder as he knew where this conversation was going. He looked up at his father and caught a glimpse of a father looking down at his son in a way that showed not anger, but disappointment. The same disappointment that Daniel had on his face when he waved his hands in a dismissive fashion, closed his Google Chrome and did not click save changes on his post.

Without saying a word, because the ghost of Yankees past knew a word did not need to be muttered, he flashed in an instant to another Yankees fans house, that of Mr. Michael Brogna. Michael was frantically checking Twitter every so often wondering who and what would happen next like he had been for the last number of weeks with little results. Again the look of disappointment on a true fan sporting the interlocking N and Y and once again the utter look of disappointment on the ghost of Yankees past’s face. Hal could hardly look his father in the eyes now and simply replied with a “We spent over $500 million last season and it got us 85 wins.” This angered the ghost of Yankees past and for the first time since they left the Steinbrenner Mansion the eldest Steinbrenner broke his silence and spoke. “We can’t live in the past, we’re always looking towards the future. Nobody cares what you did last season unless it brought us all the ultimate goal of a World Series championship. Can’t you see what you’re doing and how it is affecting the bottom line you care about so much? Look at the attendance the last two seasons as well as the ratings on the YES Network, you know that network I broke my back to build for you to sell less than five years after my death, after putting out such a mediocre team on the field. They sucked and you should be fired. In this market you have to spend money to make money. How much money is this team going to make with declining attendance and no 3,000 hit chase, no farewell tour of a member of the Core Four and no player’s jersey that we can’t keep on the shelves before Spring Training? Don’t answer that as I have one more stop to make tonight if we’re quick enough, so let’s move.”

The third and final stop on the journey went to the home of a Mr. Alex Emmanuel Rodriguez. Rodriguez was on the phone and the Steinbrenner’s only caught the tail end of the conversation. Rodriguez, speaking to an undisclosed person on the other end, was overheard saying “and the best part is I am still going to get $61 million over the next three years and everything they have done pretty much assures me that I don’t have to do anything for it. It’s free money. All I have to do is play once a week, hit my six home runs to tie Willie Mays, collect my extra $6 million bonus and go home to Miami for the winter. They think they are hurting my feelings not guaranteeing me a contract and not giving me any playing time like it’s going to hurt my ego but I’m over it. Two steroid allegations, a steroid suspension and millions of dollars in lost wages will really mature a guy and make him see the bigger picture. I’m not going to simply retire and declare myself physically unable to play I am going to sit on the bench and collect my money like any other person would. Call me Albert Belle, call me Bobby Bonilla, call me Centaur, call me whatever you like as long as the check doesn’t bounce.” And with that the look of disappointment from the ghost of Yankees past went from disappointment to anger. With a flash the two were back in the Steinbrenner kitchen with that same glass of orange Kool-Aide sitting on the counter.

This time the ghost of Yankees past did not have to say anything, it was Hal that did all the talking. “I understand what you’re trying to show me sir and I get it. You gave complete control to Brian Cashman and I, my brother and Randy Levine took that from him. We signed Alex to that monster deal and big against ourselves much like we did with Rafael Soriano. I refused to write checks to Yoenis Cespedes, Yasiel Puig and another notable international free agents because of the fear that a Jose Contreras contract put in my heart some 15-20 years ago. I’m the one essentially letting Robinson Cano walk and I’m the one trading the Shane Greene’s of the world while I give Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts one year “reclamation” deals. It’s on me sir and I intend to fix it. I no longer will live in your shadow and I will no longer live in the rearview mirror of the Los Angeles Dodger’s accountants. Dad, get me the phone!”

The ghost of Yankees past handed his son the iPhone 6 Plus and he proceeded to call agent Scott Boras. Within minutes a blank contract and check were faxed to Max Scherzer while a list of available players and prospects were being drawn up and prepared to send to the Colorado Rockies. With his final action the younger Steinbrenner called Mr. Brogna, Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Burch and each phone call had an entirely different tone to it. An apology to Mr. Brogna came after an olive branch containing season tickets for life in A Rod’s luxury suite. That suite was easily handed to Michael because the next call was to Rodriguez and he was told to take his $61 million dollars and go, anywhere but here, and don’t come back. The final call to Mr. Burch was a more somber call and conversation which ended in Hal asking Mr. Burch to be his Peter Brand. Mr. Burch, embarrassed, asked Hal “who is Peter Brand?” with a laugh Hal simply responded “you know, Jonah Hill from Moneyball.” Burch, with a sheepish laugh and with an intended fist pump” screamed “YES!!!” into the phone.

The deals were done, the Yankees were better, the fans were happy, Hal’s conscience was clear and his understand hit a new level while the ghost of Yankees past simply disappeared into the infinite abyss. Hal never knew what happened to the ghost of Yankees past, whether he had been real or an eerily vivid dream, but Hal understood what needed to be done and he did it. Hal did not sell the team and the screams for him to sell the team almost immediately stopped. The Yankees went on to win their 28th, 29th and 30th World Series championships before the turn of the century and once again a dynasty was in place just like the way it should be. All thanks to an old rich guy with bad hair and a huge checkbook, a pissed off ghost and one Yankees fans undying love for the team. The faith and love for the team returned and the fans returned to the Bronx in flocks all to live happily ever after.

Well except for the ghost of Yankees past, he was still dead. The End. Merry Christmas everyone.

ICYMI: BREAKING: Kuroda to Return to Japan in 2015

A little bit of breaking news that affects the New York Yankees specifically as Hiroki Kuroda has finally made his decision for the 2015 season as he will be returning to Japan and not pitching in the majors. Kuroda was very solid for the Yankees in his three seasons in New York and it always seemed like Kuroda would pitch in the Bronx, in Japan or retire in 2015 with no other options. Apparently that option has led him back to where his career began in his native country of Japan.

Good luck for the rest of your career Hiroki and thank you for all you gave the team. We appreciate you.

Dates to Remember For Remainder of Offseason

Just a few dates to remember for the rest of the offseason since the New Year is right around the corner.

1/6/15 - Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and likely John Smoltz will be elected into the Hall of Fame while Don Mattingly likely will not in his final season. 

1/13/15 - Arbitration filing

1/16/15 - Arbitration numbers exchanged

2/1 - 2/21 - Arbitration hearings 

2/20/15 - Pitchers and catchers

2/25/15 - Full squad reports

4/6/15 - The  return of Alex Rodriguez

A new chapter begins

So, the New York Yankees have finally made some moves. Trading for Sir Didi Gregorius in a three team trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Detroit Tigers was a start. Later that same day, by acquiring Andrew Miller, David Robertson – who seamlessly replaced Mariano Rivera – left to sign with the Chicago White Sox. Shane Greene was traded to the Detroit Tigers in the Gregorius trade. The Yankees are replacing the retired Derek Jeter with a real-life knight. (Bad joke aside, Gregorius has big shoes to fill). The Yankees re-signed Chris Capuano on a one year deal.

Many fans (including myself) were puzzled at the Yankees offseason strategy as the rest of the division has been busy reloading and has improved tremendously.

As it turns out, Brian Cashman was not finished. Friday’s activity was a big deal: the Yankees re-signed Chase Headley to replace Alex Rodriguez as the starting third baseman and traded Martin Prado to the Miami Marlins in a five player trade. In the Prado trade, the Yankees sent Prado and David Phelps to the Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi, Garret Jones and pitching prospect Domingo German. And top it all off, the Yanks and Mets also completed their first trade since 2004 when the Yankees acquired reliever Gonzalez Germen for cash.

Now that the core four era has officially ended, the Yankees are attempting to re-launch those dynasty years. In doing so, the Yankees are finally trying to bolster the team through the farm system again, by giving Rob Refsnyder or Jose Pirela a chance to become the starting second baseman and trading or signing young talent. The re-upping of Capuano and acquisition of Eovaldi helps ease the departure of Brandon McCarthy.

The Yankees are at long last getting younger, instead of irresponsibly spending money on players who are past their prime. It seems as if this new era is off to a good start.

Only time will tell if the Prado trade was a bust. But for now, there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic that the Yankees are finally heading in the right direction.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/29: Melissa Ludtke

On this day in 1977 Melissa Ludtke filed a lawsuit against major league baseball, the New York Yankees, and New York city officials after the Sports Illustrated sports writer was denied access to interview players in the locker room during the World Series. Wonder if Reggie didn't want her to see the straw that stirred the drink.

Also on this day in 1933 Babe Ruth lost an opportunity to manage the Cincinnati Reds after being denied a release from the Yankees by Jacob Ruppert. Ruth was 38 years old at the time and was coming off a .301 season with 34 HR's and 103 RBI's in the 1933 season.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Remembering 2014: Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka's 2014 Highlights

Remembering 2014: Brian McCann

Brian McCann's 2014 Highlights

NoMaas Says Goodbye

I bring this to you from NoMaas with a heavy heart, NoMaas says goodbye.

OG – Original Gangsta.
NoMaas was born in May 2005 to celebrate and critique the Yankees organization in a way that no other outlet dared to venture. While we did our best over the years to make people laugh, we also aimed to provide commentary that could not be found anywhere else. In a sea of uniformity and mainstream media cheerleading, we desired to be a bastion of alternative thought.
Fast forward ten seasons, and our impact was bigger than we ever envisioned. While we may not have been the biggest site, we were influential in shaping conversation and never pulled any punches. And although we’d like to keep NoMaas going into internet infinity, we are sadly announcing that our time has come to an end.
It’s an emotional decision to do this, one that we’ve wrestled with for a few months now. It’s very difficult to walk away after a decade of existence. NoMaas was a founding father of Yankee blogs, and we know there will disappointment among our longtime fans. It pains us to know there isn’t another venue that challenges conventional viewpoints and groupthink. So, part of us feels like we’re letting people down.
Unfortunately, life is starting to get in the way. Contrary to popular belief, we don’t live in our mother’s basements; we’re not virgins; and we don’t eat Hot Pockets. NoMaas was always a hobby, and adult responsibilities are making it difficult to devote the necessary time to analyzing daily Yankee happenings. If we can’t be at our peak abilities, we know it’s time to walk away. We won’t continue to demand we hit at the top of the batting order (cough Derek cough).
We must also be honest and tell you that the Hal Steinbrenner Regime has significantly dampened our enthusiasm and passion for this storied club, making it harder to put our heart into the site. From turning Yankee Stadium into a Ritz-Carlton that caters to the wealthy like a Federal Reserve governor; putting revenues into his pocket as opposed to the team (Yankees spend much less per % of revenue than many other teams); propagandizing to the fanbase by saying his team is “championship-caliber” when it clearly isn’t; allowing the same decision-makers to plunge the team further into mediocrity (it’s a good ol’ boy network); and commercializing EVERYTHING.
And speaking of Hal, that brings us to Brian Cashman. He has been a longtime friend of the site and we have lauded him for his embrace of quantitative analysis, his commitment to more efficient spending, his public rebuke of abominable contracts, and stressing the importance of youth development. For years, he seemed to be the sole voice of sanity in a zoo of a front office. And who could forget the interview he did with us?
However, his demeanor has changed over the last few seasons. Some of the philosophies he once advocated for have been minimized, particularly when it comes to youth development and sabermetric analysis. He has become a company man and an apologist for ownership’s atrocious baseball decisions. He has repeatedly refused to take advantage of the few tradable assets the team has had, hitting a nadir with the Robinson Cano fiasco. He has also failed to hold accountable the people who have turned out more busted prospects than a wholesale pimp.
We don’t know exactly why he’s changed in recent years, but we still consider him a friend and it’s why he gets our first ‘Thank You’. While we haven’t agreed with many decisions lately, we would like to thank Ca$hmoney for his friendship, for the access, for being his guest several times at the Stadium, asking our opinion on trades, for the texts, for the phone calls, for visiting the site….everything. He even told us that players would take our photoshops and put them up in the weight room. Please know, Cash — any time we critiqued you it was just business, not personal. We love this team as you do…we’ve just disagreed with the recent direction. We hope that we can continue to be friends, even with our site headed to the internet graveyard.
There are obviously many others to thank, and we’ll begin with everyone who has visited the site since 2005. As we said in the outset, it’s humbling that we’ve been able to exist for so long — to see people wear our T-shirts, to shout us out on Twitter, to see our photoshops linked on other sites, for the rap contests, etc. We will truly miss our fans (and those who hated on us, but still visited the site). You will never find a more wretched hive of scum & villainy.
We also want to thank everyone who has contributed to NoMaas over the years. Thank you to those on that little secret message board that gave birth to the idea. Thanks to my boy Lane Meyer who helped out for years, ran the draft site, and was there from the jump. Props to Vizzini, Louis Winthorpe III, and Wade Garrett for their friendship and contributions. Thank you to the ‘King of All Media’ Mike Silva for having us so many times on his radio show and consistently promoting us. Thank you to family and friends who tolerated the very late hours of photoshopping and writing. And although we’ve railed against the MSM, there are some good guys we’ve developed relationships with over the years, including Ken Davidoff, Mark Feinsand, and Tyler Kepner (and you too, “Interested Reader”).
We have done our best over the years to entertain and educate. We hope that you’ve enjoyed following along as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it for you. We will still be creeping around and watching, and will stay on Twitter so feel free to hit us up there. However, will be taken offline soon into the New Year. It is with considerable sadness that the dojo is closing, but we have no regrets. We did it our way.
Thank you for ten seasons. Much love.
Sweep the leg,
Sensei John Kreese

Without Hiroki the Yankees Rotation is Thin

Hiroki Kuroda has officially decided to return to his native Japan to finish his baseball career where it started with the Hiroshima Carp. Many Yankees fans had held on to the fact that New York may bring Hiroki back for a fourth season to once stabilize the Yankees rotation but it will not happen a fourth time. So what's left in the Yankees rotation you ask? Without a free agent signing or trade, not much. 

CC Sabathia has not been effective really since the 2012 season and is coming off a knee surgery before his age 34 season. Has CC learned how to pitch with a decreased velocity? Has he been eating Captain Crunch? These are things we won't know until he is on the mound facing off with major league talent unfortunately. 

Masahiro Tanaka's battle with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament is well documented so I won't harp on it too much. Like Sabathia we won't know what we have until the season is under way and he is facing major league talent on the biggest stage. 

Michael Pineda has been inside the Yankees organization for three years now and has yet to pitch a full and healthy season in New York. Pineda has had shoulder issues and muscle strains and issues around the shoulder which makes it hard to count on him for 30-35 starts in 2015. 

Nathan Eovaldi gave up the most hits in 2014 and was very home run and fly ball prone inside a typically pitcher friendly Marlins Park. How will that translate into a very hitter friendly Yankee Stadium? See Tanaka, see Sabathia and see my very ugly and scary BIP locations post. 

Finally we have Chris Capuano. That's really all I have to say, it's Chris Capuano. Sure most fifth starters around the league are mediocre and sure he is probably just a place holder until Ivan Nova is ready but still.... it's Chris Capuano. 

Quick Hit: Kuroda's Three Years in New York

Hiroki Kuroda spent three years in New York as a member of the New York Yankees and now we must say goodbye as the 40 year old will return to Japan in 2015. Kuroda is returning to where his career started with the Hiroshima Carp to presumably end his career. We wanted to take a quick second to look at what Kuroda brought to the team as the teams "Ace" for three seasons as we say goodbye. #HIROK

2012 37 16 11 3.32 33 33 219.2 86 81 25 51 167 127 3.86 1.165 8.4 1.0 2.1 6.8 3.27
2013 38 11 13 3.31 32 32 201.1 79 74 20 43 150 121 3.56 1.162 8.5 0.9 1.9 6.7 3.49
2014 39 11 9 3.71 32 32 199.0 91 82 20 35 146 104 3.60 1.136 8.6 0.9 1.6 6.6 4.17
NYY (3 yrs) 38 33 3.44 97 97 620.0 256 237 65 129 463 117 3.68 1.155 8.5 0.9 1.9 6.7 3.59