Thursday, January 23, 2014

Yankees May Make Run At Stephen Drew

According to Jon Heyman and his Twitter account the Yankees may be ready to make a run at Stephen Drew now that the $189 million luxury tax threshold is out the window. I have been calling for Stephen Drew as our third basemen this season and shortstop next season so I am excited to hear this news. Drew has expressed a willingness to play other positions other than shortstop, where he has spent his entire career, so this may be a match made in heaven for the Yankees.

The Yankees would have to surrender a draft pick if they were to sign Drew and the Boston Red Sox would gain a draft pick but at this point it's only the 53rd overall we would be surrendering. Drew would probably be more valuable to us now and long term than the 53rd overall pick so the deal is one that I am watching closely. Stay tuned.

Joe Torre Heading To Cooperstown As A Yankee

Joe Torre is heading into the Hall of Fame as a member of the New York Yankees per an announcement from Cooperstown. Bobby Cox is also heading to the Hall obviously as an Atlanta Brave with Tom Glavine, Frank Thomas is going in as a White Sox, and Tony LaRussa and Greg Maddux are going in without a specific cap for some reason. Here is the statement from Joe Torre:

“I was lucky that my career took me only to great baseball towns. Every place where I played or managed is special to me because of the memories and the friendships that each afforded me. When I became the manager of the New York Yankees, it was an opportunity to realize my lifelong dream of winning the World Series. We were fortunate enough to succeed in our first season in 1996, and in the years that followed, we wrote some great new chapters in Yankee history. I am honored that I will wear the Yankee logo on my cap in Cooperstown to represent what our teams achieved together.”

David Robertson Officially Named The Closer, I Think

Hal Steinbrenner is talking again and this time it is about David Robertson and now the formerly vacant (maybe) closer position for the Yankees in 2014. I say maybe because Hal is not filling out the lineup card and really does not have much of a say here at the end of the day but what do I know. Long story short, when Joe Girardi says it then I will put it in pen, until then it's in pencil. Here is the quote from Mr. Steinbrenner regarding Robertson and the closer position via the New York Post:

“Robertson is going to be our closer,” Steinbrenner said. “And I believe he will do a good job.”

Matt Garza Comes Off The Yankees Board

Boy they weren't kidding when they said the pitching market would move fast after the New York Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka. Grant Balfour came off the board today as well as Matt Garza as he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. Garza got a four year deal worth $52 million to anchor what could be a pretty good staff, the lack of hitting behind them should be concerning though.

Either way Garza is a Brewer for the next four seasons at least. Garza is 30 years old and did not come with draft pick compensation so the Brewers will not have to surrender a pick for the Texas Rangers.

Ervin Santana Is Actually Affordable

The entire starting pitching market should now really start to take form, and fast, with the signing of Masahiro Tanaka and Ervin Santana has started it off by throwing out his asking price. Santana is actually pretty affordable when you consider Tanaka got an AAV of $22.15 and other free agents, Ubaldo Jimenez for example, will probably get a higher AAV than Santana. Santana has asked for a four year deal and $60 million for an AAV of $15 million for those without the use of a calculator at the moment.

Jeff Passan from Yahoo Sports said that Santana asked for a much larger deal earlier in the offseason but the closer we inch to the calendar saying February the more I think free agent deals will start to come down. Santana comes with draft pick compensation so that is something the team that will sign him will have to consider as well as his awful 2012 season before breaking out in his contract year. Santana is 31 years old though so there is plenty of his prime left to be bought, I wonder if it will be from the Yankees. 

Grant Balfour Comes Off The Yankees Board

If Grant Balfour was ever on the board for the New York Yankees he came off today after signing with the rival Tampa Bay Rays. Balfour got a lot more money, $12 million, and years, two year deal, then I thought he would after all the injury concerns. Balfour returns to the team where he had his best season of his career, 1.54 ERA in 2008, and his worst season of his career, 4.81 ERA in 2009. Hopefully Balfour see's a lot more of the latter then the former while in Tampa.

Masahiro Tanaka Bringing Impressive Resume To Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka has had a really good career to date, if you can say that for a 25 year old, and brings a very impressive resume to the Yankees and to the states. Let's take a look at his career stats while he was pitching in Japan.

Tanaka had a very impressive 2013 season including a 24-0 record with a 1.27 ERA throwing 212.0 IP with 30 earned runs allowed in 28 games, 27 of them as a starter. Tanaka allowed 168 hits and allowed 32 walks while striking out 183 batters. Tanaka threw eight complete games and two shut outs and a save in 2013. Tanaka led the Nippon Professional Baseball league in wins and ERA and led his team to the Japan Series title, the first title in Rakuten franchise history.

Tanaka for his career in Japan, all with the Rakuten Golden Eagles, posted a 99-35 record with a 2.30 ERA pitching 1,315.0 IP. Tanaka gave up a total of 336 earned runs, 1,182 hits, gave up 275 walks, and struck out 1,238 batters in 175 games, 172 as a starter. Tanaka has some mileage on his arm as he has thrown 53 complete games in his seven professional seasons, 18 of them shutouts, and allowed 0.899 H/9 in his career.

With The $189 Goal Toast It's Time To Get Greedy!

This blog was built on the backs of the New York Yankees dominating the offseason and free agency spending millions of dollars at will, much like they did this offseason. The Yankees have flirted with the whole luxury tax $189 goal, but not a mandate, threshold for two seasons but I think the Masahiro Tanaka signing for seven years and $155 million put that whole discussion to bed at least for another season. With that said Mr. Hal Steinbrenner himself said that the Yankees would either get under the cap or go way over it, no middle ground, so it is time to get greedy.

The Yankees bullpen is now the biggest glaring "weakness" on the team with the starting rotation all but set in stone up so Grant Balfour come on down! Balfour has stated that he has a willingness to pitch the 8th inning and that is perfect for us because we have David Robertson closing out games. The Yankees truly need a guy in the 8th inning with closing experience just in case D Rob's Houdini act does not translate well into the 9th inning. With the "concerns" over Balfour's wrist and knee he should come relatively cheap as well on a one or two year deal, sign me up.

The Yankees infield is the second biggest weakness and easily the biggest question mark on the team, Stephen Drew come on down. Drew has stated, through Scott Boras of course, a willingness to play a different position other than shortstop where he has played his entire career. That's perfect for us as we need a third basemen and will likely need a second basemen before it is all said and done. Also Drew could sign a multi-year deal and have the opportunity to go back to shortstop for the 2015 season assuming Derek Jeter decides to walk away. Sounds like a perfect match to me, but that's just if you ask me.

Finally the Yankees, because it wouldn't be getting greedy if you weren't signing someone just for the simple fact of signing someone, need to bring Ubaldo Jimenez into the fold. When he is on he is on, and unfortunately when he is not he is not, but we would be paying for when he is on. The Yankees would have enough starting pitching on the team to be able to mask and hide his AJ Burnett type splits and still survive. Plus I have always liked the guy and I am a fan first, sue me.

In closing it's time to man up, get greedy, and show the rest of the league that the real evil empire is not sitting on a beach on Los Angeles right now it is right here in New York City!

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #68 Willie Randolph

Willie Randolph was a leader inside the Yankees clubhouse while excelling in the field as the everyday second basemen. Randolph ranks among the Yankees Top 10 leaders in a number of career categories including singles, walks, and stolen bases. Randolph was a member of the American League All Stars four times in his career and led the AL with 119 walks in 1980. Randolph also won a Silver Slugger Award in 1980 and was named a co-captain with the Yankees along with Ron Guidry.

68 days until Yankees Opening Day

My Starting Rotation Including The Newly Signed Masahiro Tanaka

I wanted to take a second to construct my starting rotation for the Yankees if I were filling out the lineup card now that Masahiro Tanaka is officially in the fold for the New York Yankees. Many people are likely to debate whether to put him or the more “sure thing” in Hiroki Kuroda behind CC Sabathia as the latter part of our latest one-two punch. I personally think that we need to limit Kuroda’s innings as much as we can this season after two late season fades in a row so I am putting Kuroda as my third starter behind Mr. Tanaka. Also, when on, Ivan Nova has the possibility of being the best #4 starter in all of baseball. While that is not something to write home about necessarily it means the Yankees starting rotation, with this lineup, makes one of our biggest weaknesses into a huge strength.  

Here is my starting five that I would be penciling in on Opening Day if I were Joe Girardi:

CC Sabathia
Masahiro Tanaka
Hiroki Kuroda
Ivan Nova
Michael Pineda/ Vidal Nuno/ Adam Warren / David Phelps / The other half of CC Sabathia that he lost this offseason

On paper that rotation is taking the bombers to the promised land, especially if the Yankees were to sure up the bullpen at the back end and turn every game into a six inning game like they used to with John Wetteland and Mariano Rivera.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/23

There is not much history on this day in New York Yankees history so I want to use this opportunity to remind all Yankees fans that we got Masahiro Tanaka yesterday. Just in case you missed it.