Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Yankees Sign Bruce Billings & Yoshinori Tateyama

The New York Yankees have announced the signing of two minor league deals with two relief pitchers, Bruce Billings and Yoshinori Tateyama. Matt Eddy of Baseball America, seen above, broke the news on his Twitter today.

Billings is 28 years old and spent 2013 in the Oakland Athletics system posting a 4.31 ERA and 3.96 FIP in 28 games, 26 of them as a reliever. Billings has four games and seven innings of Major League experience that he gained in 2011 and posted a 10.29 ERA and a 5.45 FIP as a reliever. Small sample size thank goodness.

Tateyama is a re-sign after he was traded to the Yankees last year for a bucket of signed baseballs from Joba Chamberlain from the Texas Rangers. Tateyama is 38 years old and coming off his stint with the Scranton affiliate posting a 1.70 ERA and 2.11 FIP in 21 games, 20 as a reliever, with the RailRiders. Tateyama also has Major league experience posting a 5.75 ERA and 4.54 FIP in 53 career relief outings with the Rangers from 2011-2012.

Nothing wrong with minor league deals or pitching depth so both deals get two thumbs up from me.

Gardner & Cone To Be Honored With Munson Awards

Current Yankee Brett Gardner, former Yankee David Cone, and Jim Kaat, Dillon Gee, Bernard King, and Antrel Rolle will be honored this year at the 34th annual Thurman Munson Awards. The awards were intended to honor and remember the late Yankees captain and will be held on February 4th at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. Diana Munson, the widow of the late Thurman Munson, will attend her 34th consecutive award ceremony on that night in February to honor all the men getting this award. Should be a pretty cool night for the fans and the writers.

Maddux, Glavine, Thomas Hall Of Fame Bound

This morning Daniel Burch posted his ballot for the Hall of Fame, and earlier those that will be enshrined in Cooperstown were announced.

While Daniel continued his quest to have all PED users forgiven, the Baseball Writers Association Of America weren't on board with him. Rafael Palmeiro, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa all failed to get the 75% or more needed to be inducted. Perhaps they, along with Don Mattingly (he got 8.2%, not nearly enough to get in, but enough to get on next year's ballot), will get to the Hall of Fame in 2015.

Nobody should have been surprised to see Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas get enough votes to get into the Hall of Fame. Maddux is a four-time Cy Young Award winner with a career ERA of 3.16, Glavine has two Cy Young Awards of his own to go with a career ERA of 3.54, and Thomas is a two-time AL Most Valuable Award winner with a lifetime triple-slash of .301/.419/.555.

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, if you are a baseball fan then Cooperstown should be on the top of your list of places to visit. The small town in upstate New York is beautiful, and there is so much to see. I've been lucky enough to not only go there twice, but I also got to play on Doubleday Field. 

As great as the Hall of Fame is, I'm hoping that things go better for the Yankees than they have the last few years. It's been a great start to the offseason, but adding a good pitcher or two (hello, Masahiro!) would go a long way to seeing that happen.

Derby Is A Daddy; The 3rd Generation Bat Dog Is Here

(Trenton, NJ)- Derby, the Golden Retriever bat dog for the Trenton Thunder Minor League Baseball team, recently became a father and the Thunder are proud to introduce the newest four-legged member of the Thunder family.  
The Thunder are asking fans for their help in naming the bat dog of the future. Fans are encouraged to submit potential names ONLINE HERE. The name submission period will end on Friday, January 17 and the top names will be announced shortly after. Fans will be asked to vote for their favorite.   
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.  
The puppy will make many appearances at Thunder games this 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. The puppy, like his dad Derby, is sponsored by ARM & HAMMER.
The puppy 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.  

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

RiverDogs Announce 2014 Manager & Coaching Staff

CHARLESTON, SC - The New York Yankees have announced that Luis Dorante, who served as bullpen coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2008-10 and has managed 11 seasons in the minor leagues, will serve as manager of the Charleston RiverDogs in 2014.
Dorante was most recently the first base coach for the Trenton Thunder, the Yankees' Double-A affiliate, the past two seasons, and he also skippered the Aguilas de Zulia to a 34-29 record in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason which was good for second place. A native of Falcon, Venezuela, he spent six seasons as a player in the Boston Red Sox organization prior to beginning his coaching career.
"Luis has a load of coaching experience, all the way up to the major league level, and has also successfully managed for many years," said Pat Roessler, the Yankees' director of player development. "We are excited to have Luis lead this group in Charleston for the 2014 season."
Dorante replaces Al Pedrique, who has been named manager of the Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League. Dorante will be the sixth RiverDogs manager in as many years and follows Pedrique (2013), Carlos Mendoza (2012) Aaron Ledesma (2011), Greg Colbrunn (2010) and Torre Tyson (2009).
Born on October 25, 1968, Dorante appeared in 221 games over six seasons in the Red Sox farm system. A right-handed batter, he primarily caught, but also made appearances at first base, third base and in the outfield. Dorante compiled a career batting average of .216 with 32 doubles.
After retiring following the 1993 season, Dorante joined the Montreal Expos organization in 1994 as an international scout. The next year he began his managerial career when he steered the Expos' Gulf Coast League team to a 21-35 record. He has managed in five different leagues over his 11 seasons at the helm, including the South Atlantic League in 1998 when he guided the now-defunct Cape Fear Crocs to a solid 80-61 finish.
The Yankees also announced first base coach Justin Tordi will return to the staff. A former Florida Gator, Tordi is a native of Rochester Hills, Mich. He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 46th round of the 2002 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Dr. Phillips High in Orlando, Fla., and by the Cincinnati Reds in the 41st round of the 2005 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Florida.
Joining the staff as the team's new hitting coach will be former RiverDog outfielder Edwar Gonzalez. A right-handed hitter from Maracaibo, Venezuela, Gonzalez spent nine seasons as a player in the Yankees organization reaching as high as Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2010. He enjoyed his beat season as a pro in 2008 when he hit .292, clubbed 20 homers and drove in 85 runs as he split time between High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. Gonzalez spent last year as hitting coach of the Gulf Coast League Yankees 2 team.
Another familiar face that is new to the staff this year is pitching coach Carlos Chantres, who served in the same capacity in Charleston in 2011 under Ledesma. Chantres enjoyed a lengthy 12-year playing career as a right-handed pitcher in the Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Philadelphia Phillies' organizations. He spent parts of four seasons pitching at the Triple-A level, and overall finished with an 80-88 record and collected six saves in 291 appearances over his dozen seasons on the mound. Chantres was born in Miami, Fla., and spent the past two seasons as the pitching coach for the short season Staten Island Yankees in the New York-Penn League.
Additionally, Jimmy Downam, who was with the Staten Island Yankees last year, will serve as the trainer while Anthony Velazquez, who was with the Philadelphia Phillies organization last year, is the new strength and conditioning coach. JR Bassett returns as the clubhouse manager for his third season in the Lowcountry.
The RiverDogs open the 2014 home campaign on Monday, April 7, when the rival Greenville Drive invade Riley Park with a scheduled first pitch at 7:05 pm. For tickets and more information, please contact the RiverDogs Box Office at 843-577-DOGS (3647) or online at

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

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #83 Derek Jeter (Again)

Derek Jeter is the face of the New York Yankees franchise. Jeter not only gets the job done in the regular season but is also known as one of the best postseason hitters in the history of the game. Jeter holds the record for most postseason games (158), runs (111), hits (200), and total bases (302). In seven trips to the World Series Derek has five rings to show for it.

83 days until Yankees Opening Day

My Hall of Fame Ballot

I don't have a Hall of Fame ballot yet, maybe next year, but if I did it might look a little something like this. With the Hall of Fame voting being announced today it should get really hairy and controversial when all is said and done. There is some 35 players available on the ballot and voters can only vote for 10 players, max. Players need a 75% vote to make the hall and can be left off future ballots if they do not garner enough votes. I think we will see quite a few guys make the hall, probably not the guys that I am voting for, and I think we will see even more left off of future ballots. Let's delve deeper:

Mike Mussina
Roger Clemens
Barry Bonds
Mark McGwire
Rafael Palmeiro 
Sammy Sosa
Tom Glavine
Greg Maddux
Frank Thomas
Craig Biggio

That 10th guy was hard to put on there because it could have been so many players. In my opinion the likes of Edgar Martinez, Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Larry Walker, Tim Raines, and Alan Trammell are all deserving and should be in the hall eventually.

This list is very steroid user or alleged user heavy, and I realize that probably only Mussina, Glavine, Maddux, Thomas, and Biggio have a shot this year but that's my list and I am sticking to it. I'm part of the new school I guess and I have no problem leading the charge. Forgive all steroid users and forgive them now.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/8

On this day in 1913 Frank Chance became the manager of the New York Highlanders, soon to be the Yankees. The veteran manager will finish next to last in the league with a 57-94 record and will compile a 117-168 record in his two year stint in New York.

On this day in 1990 Johnny Sylvester, a terminally sick boy whom Babe Ruth promised to hit a home run for in the 1926 World Series, died at the age of 74. Ruth did hit that home run against the St. Louis Cardinals as promised and the then 11 year old recovered from his illness. This story was showcased in the movie The Babe Ruth Story, although the facts in the movie have been proven to be less than accurate.

On this day in 2004 Don Zimmer, fresh off of resigning as the Yankees bench coach, was named as a Senior Baseball Adviser for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Zim would be a coach during Spring Training and pregame practices at all regular season home games, most road games, and assisted the team with community affairs.

On this day in 2008 Rich "Goose" Gossage, in his ninth year on the ballot, is the only player to receive more than 75% of the writers votes, tallying 85.5%, and was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Goose played for 22 seasons, most notably with the Yankees, and compiled a 124-107 record while saving 310 games and posting a 3.01 ERA.