Wednesday, January 15, 2014

MLB Network Asks Who Is The Face Of The Yankees?

Don't forget to tweet them and let your voice be heard. Also leave your answers in the comment box. I went with Derek Jeter obviously because that is the only correct answer but I have seen many vote for Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez. Okay..

Yankees Wont Make Moves Until Tanaka Signs

The New York Yankees will not make any significant moves until the Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes ends in less than two weeks. This coming from Steven Marcus from Newsdsay as he points out that this is limited to the major league roster and not minor league deals and such. Next Friday at 5:00 pm ET is the signing deadline meaning he has to be signed, pass his physical, and on the 40 man roster no later than that or he is heading back to Japan.

The way the starting pitching market has evolved it looks like the Yankees are not the only team taking this stance as it has come to an absolute halt with great starting pitchers still available. Ubaldo Jimenez, Matt Garza, and Ervin Santana should start coming off the board rather quickly after Tanaka signs, maybe by the end of next weekend. We're still waiting but we draw closer every day.

Dodgers Extend Kershaw, Likely Out On Tanaka

The Los Angeles Dodgers got their man in Clayton Kershaw and will likely lead to the Yankees getting their man in Masahiro Tanaka. The Dodgers extended Kershaw seven years and the deal is worth $215 million. The deal includes an opt out clause after just five seasons, Kershaw's age 30 season conveniently. Surely this has to take the Dodgers out of the sweepstakes for Tanaka doesn't it? Kershaw's AAV is $30.714 and how they could find room to bring in Tanaka as well is beyond me. If they do, and write this down, I am buying the domain for the Greedy Dodgers and I am branching out because that would be absolutely insane. Good news for the Dodgers and probably better news for the Yankees today.

Still Concerned About David Robertson Closing?

Yesterday we learned that the reason Baltimore Orioles cancelled their agreed upon contract with Grant Balfour was because of knee and wrist issues found during his pre-signing physical. The problem was not, as previously thought, Balfour's shoulder. Last February Grant had surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus, so the idea that his knee was the problem was not far-fetched.

"Oh, it wasn't my knee this time?"

Some would like the Yankees to swoop in and sign Balfour for cheap, as I'm sure his chances for getting a nice multi-year deal are gone. But if the Athletics former closer is having health issues, then perhaps the Yankees should stay away.

Anyway, during the Grant Balfour talk, some people brought up their concerns when it comes to David Robertson being the new closer. Many others, and I count myself among them, felt that DRob will do a fine job. But I decided to take a quick look at a couple things that should make the non-believers feel better.

Before I do that, though, I have to remind some Yankees fans... there will not be another Mariano Rivera. At least there's nobody in Major League Baseball that currently looks like he could be the new most dominant closing pitcher in baseball history. To be fair, in his first three seasons with the Atlanta Braves, Craig Kimbrel has been amazing. Kimbrel's career ERA is 1.39, and he already has 139 saves. For reference, in his first three years as the Yankees' closer, Rivera's ERA was 1.87, and he'd saved 124 games. But keep this in mind... between 2009 and 2011, after having already spent 12 years in the Majors, Mariano Rivera's ERA was 1.82 and he saved 121 games. So Craig has a lot of work to do.

Whether it's David Robertson or Grant Balfour, or whether the Yankees signed Joe Nathan or Joaquin Benoit before the Tigers and Padres got to them, we Yankees fans are not going to see another Mo. As long as we get a good closer, then there's no reason we shouldn't be happy about it. And that brings us back to Mr. David Robertson.

"You're damn right it's 'Mr.' David Robertson."

Taking a look at David's career splits as his Baseball Reference page, Robertson has thrown 123.1 innings in save situations. Not only has he looked pretty darn good for the past six years, but his ERA in those save situations is 1.75. Going further, David's WHIP is 1.127. By the way, while Robertson has had issues with walks in his career, he's done a great job of fixing that the past two seasons. In his first four years his walk rate was 4.7 batters per nine innings, but in the past two years that number has gone down to 2.6 batters per nine innings.

One last thing about how Robertson has thrown the ball in save situations... opponents in that same situation have hit .201/.283/.301 against him. As for how batters did against Mariano in save situations, that triple-slash was .205/.251/.279.

I'm sure there are many reading this that still aren't convinced about Robertson, seeing as how the vast majority of Robertson's save situations occurred in the 8th inning, not the more pressure-filled final/9th inning. And on the surface that makes sense, because whether it's pinch-hitters or pinch-runners teams will do everything they can in that final inning, as it's their last chance to score runs and win the game. Well, let me remind you that opposing teams basically did treat the 8th inning as if it was their last chance to win the game. With Mariano Rivera looming for the 9th, outs 22-24 pretty much were their last chances to win. So David Robertson has gotten everything thrown at him.

Short of somehow acquiring Craig Kimbrel, I see no reason what-so-ever not to give David Robertson a shot at the closer's gig in 2014.

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #76 John Wetteland

John Wetteland pitched just two seasons in the Bronx for the Yankees but the hard throwing right hander made his mark by recording 74 total saves during the 1995 and 1996 seasons. Wetteland also made a name for himself in New York with his seven saves during the 1996 postseason and eventual World Series. In that 1996 World Series against the Atlanta Braves Wetteland saved all four Yankees victories and was named the World Series Most Valuable Player.

76 days until Yankees Opening Day

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/15

On this day in 1958 the Yankees announced that an unprecedented 140 games would be televised this season on local channel WPIX. You obviously had to buy a package and the deal for the Yankees was worth more than $1 million. The decision to televise so many games, including 63 road games, started when the Dodgers and the Giants high tailed it to California. Good call if you ask me.

On this day in 2013 the Yankees saw their shirt get #UNTUCK (grammatical error I know but you get the point) and land in Washington as former Yankees closer Rafael Soriano agreed to a two year deal worth $28 million to close games for the Nationals. Soriano was coming off of a league leading 45 saves for the Rays in 2011 and 42 saves for the Yankees after filling in for Mariano Rivera after his ACL injury.