Thursday, October 16, 2014

Yankees Interested in Bichette, Thames, Rowson for Hitting Coach

The New York Yankees have begun the interview process for their vacant hitting coach position and have shown some early interest in Dante Bichette, Double-A hitting coach Marcus Thames, and James Rowson. New York has already interviewed former Texas Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan for the job and will interview current Oakland Athletics hitting coach Chili Davis in the near future.

My Take: Ranking the Yankees Offseason Needs

The New York Yankees are heading into unchartered territory this offseason as this will be the first time in twenty seasons that they will need a shortstop going into the winter. Derek Jeter has retired, Ivan Nova is coming off Tommy John surgery, Masahiro Tanaka may still need Tommy John surgery, Alex Rodriguez is coming off a second hip surgery and a second lost season due to injury or suspension, Mark Teixeira is still a coughing fit away from a 60 day DL trip, and Carlos Beltran is coming off elbow surgery. There are many question marks surround this team and many needs that need addressing this offseason. Depth should be the biggest concern for the Yankees. With depth the Yankees can also get younger at the same time. When I rank the Yankees needs it looks something like this:

1.       Shortstop
2.       Starting Pitcher
3.       4th Outfielder
4.       Starting Pitcher
5.       Third Baseman
6.       Starting Pitcher
7.       First Baseman

With so many question marks in the rotation the Yankees need to do SOMETHING in the starting rotation market. Whether it be promote the likes of Bryan Mitchell or Manny Banuelos, signing a few Chris Capuano’s to minor league deals, or go crazy and bring in a Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, or James Shields. Brandon McCarthy has a history of shoulder issues (and is a free agent), CC Sabathia has the knee and elbow issues, Masahiro Tanaka has that partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, Ivan Nova is coming off Tommy John surgery and will not be sharp or effective in his first season back, and Michael Pineda has yet to put together a full and healthy season for New York. The need for pitching is apparent and obvious right now for New York.

Obviously the Yankees need to replace Derek Jeter physically but they also need to improve the offense at the same time if they can. The need for a fourth outfielder is huge right now because honestly nobody knows if Carlos Beltran will be able to play even 100 games in right field in 2015 for the Yankees. Like Beltran no one knows what to expect out of a 40 year old two bad hip having Alex Rodriguez at third base either. Plus we all saw what Mark Teixeira went through this season. I’d rather not be caught flat footed this time around so hopefully the Yankees and Brian Cashman are reading this and readying their plans. If you need some help Cash, call me!

2015 Yankees if I Were GM: Starting Rotation

If I were the GM of the New York Yankees we would have well over 30 World Series championships by now, but I digress. I have revealed what I would personally do if I were in Brian Cashman’s shoes with the infield, outfield, and bullpen so today it’s time for the starting staff. The Yankees have a starting staff chock full of question marks heading into the 2015 season which means the need for stability, depth, and young talent may never be more important than it is right now. Heading into the season the Yankees staff looks something along the lines of CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Shane Greene, and David Phelps in no particular order. Hiroki Kuroda is all but gone, Brandon McCarthy is a free agent, and Ivan Nova won’t be ready until May or June after rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. For my first move as the GM I will spoil the offseason for a lot of fans by stating that I will not be going after any of James Shields, Jon Lester, or Max Scherzer. Sorry Yankees family.

The Yankees need stability and I think that comes in the form of Brandon McCarthy. While I worry about his ability to stay on the field, those should injuries scare me, and while I also worry about having my expectations too high after his second half stint with the Yankees bringing him back makes a lot of sense. If he stays healthy he can keep the ball down, keep New York in games, and give you 200 innings. I think of McCarthy more as a replacement for Kuroda in 2015 filling that role than I do an ace of the staff type signing. I would also entertain a Chris Capuano return but only on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. Capuano was good for the Yankees but there are much better options already on and around the team and that 40 man roster spot is valuable.

In the prospects department I think New York is set. The team got stellar results from Bryan Mitchell the half a second they used him and I truly think he could be the next Shane Greene/ David Phelps/ Adam Warren type to come out of the Yankees system. Manny Banuelos finally looks healthy and ready to contribute at the major league level after his Tommy John surgery and would also be waiting in the wings at Triple-A. Another reason not to bring back Capuano is simply because Luis Severino seems to be on the fast track to the majors and could be a factor in the second half to late 2015.

I finish my search for starting pitching with a lengthy discussion with Jason Hammel of the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics. Hammel pitched extremely well for the Cubs in a tiny little ballpark, albeit in the National League, but got bombed in the American League with the A’s. The ballpark he pitched in while with the A’s was much bigger with a lot of foul ground and he simply struggled to get outs. I don’t believe with the flip of a switch Hammel forgot how to pitch and I also look to examples like Jim Johnson as a reason to think maybe it’s Oakland, the weather, the ballpark, whatever and not the pitchers themselves. Hammel may be the steal of the offseason after a down half season in Oakland and is a definite low risk high reward type player. Hammel could be a steal and I want him to be a steal for the Yankees, not a team like the Tampa Bay Rays or Minnesota Twins.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. With McCarthy, Sabathia, Tanaka, Greene, Phelps, Pineda, Nova, Hammel, Mitchell, Banuelos, and Severino the Yankees may have too much pitching and not enough spots to fill them all, and that’s the best kind of problem to have. I think it’s realistic and I think it could be done without huge commitments for long years and huge contracts. Whether it happens or not remains to be seen but if I were GM this is what I would do, what would you do?

Jason Giambi the Next Yankees Hitting Coach?

The New York Yankees are still without a hitting coach after firing long time hitting guru Kevin Long. Many names, nostalgic or not, have been named as possible replacements including Tino Martinez, Paul O'Neill, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, Dante Bichette, Chili Davis, and others including former Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi.

Giambi was the Yankees first baseman replacing Tino Martinez from 2002-2008 as he passed the torch to Mark Teixeira and is still listed as an active player at age 43 with the Cleveland Indians. Giambi hit well during his major league career but his biggest asset was getting on base. Giambi will likely retire with a .399 OBP with 1,366 walks which is 32nd best all time. This is all before you consider his 440 career home runs and MVP Awards and hitting titles with the Oakland Athletics.

Giambi has quite the reputation with the players and has drawn praise from current manager Terry Francona in recent years for his leadership and coaching ability. Giambi has also been one of the few players that have used PED's, admitted it, and came back better and better for it in the league. If anyone can use Giambi as a mentor more than a coach isn't it Alex Rodriguez? A Rod, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, etc. already know how to hit but if they can learn something from Giambi I think he would be worth his weight in gold. Giambi could also be great teaching McCann and Mark Teixeira especially because he faced the shift, and went against the shift, for many years during his playing career.

Giambi was called a future manager by Terry Francona and could use the Yankees hitting coach position as a stepping stone for his ultimate goal. If the Yankees want to bring the Giambino back they have my vote of confidence.

Tino Martinez and Time for Forgiveness

My name is Daniel Burch, I am a fan of the New York Yankees, and I forgive Tino Martinez. It’s crazy that I even had to start out a post like that but it’s getting ridiculous out here. Martinez, the former Yankees legend who has a plaque in Monument Park for God’s sake, is being bashed all over the Yankees blogosphere by bloggers and beat writers when the idea is brought up that he should be the next hitting coach in New York. Everyone is extremely quick to bring up his time in Miami, his choking allegations, and his ultimate firing as reasons to not bring him into New York again on the coaching staff. It’s over people and it’s time to forgive, again.

It looks like the Yankees have already forgiven and forgotten, or don’t care as they shouldn’t since it happened in MIAMI not NEW YORK, as they held Tino Martinez Day at Yankee Stadium this past season. If the Yankees can forgive then so should you. I could be wrong but I don’t believe Tino ever admitted to physically choking a player, although I believe he did admit to physical confrontation which is probably not all that uncommon in the clubhouse, and even if he did so what? People make mistakes, it’s the first time I can remember his name ever being dragged through the mud for negative reasons, and everyone should get at least one free pass and get out of jail free card in life.

Tino screwed up but only because Tino has the fire that this lackadaisical Yankees squad needs and lacks. Tino was a professional hitter and has been hanging around Yankee Stadium and awful lot lately which leads me to believe that he could at least be in consideration for the job, and he should be in consideration for the job.

Tino was the Marlins coach in 2013 and it’s about to be 2015 so it’s time to forgive and forget. If you’re not comfortable with forgetting, then simply forgive. Besides, fear is the ultimate motivator so maybe this is what Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira need to finally start beating the shift. I kid, somewhat. 

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Will Hire Omar Minaya

Apparently the Yankees are flirting with Omar Minaya while looking to hire him in the team’s scouting department. Minaya is well respected around the league and a personal friend of GM Brian Cashman so he will be hired by New York.

Vote in our poll. 

Quick Hit: Aaron Boone’s 2003 ALCS Home Run

Here is some video proof of Aaron Boone’s 11th inning pennant clinching walk off home run off the Boston Red Sox and Tim Wakefield to get your day started. This game ultimately ended the Grady Little era in Boston after leaving in ace Pedro Martinez for one or two batters too many and kept the Curse of the Bambino alive for at least one more season. Have a great day Yankees family and enjoy the Game 7 IN IT'S ENTIRETY right here on the blog. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/16: Aaron Bleeping Boone

The most hated and closely played rivalry in Major League Baseball history is between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. This rivalry was never stronger, at least during my years of being a fan, then in the early and mid-2000’s. On this day in 2003 the Yankees and the Red Sox played Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. After the Yankees came storming back late in the game off Pedro Martinez Aaron Boone came to bat in the bottom of the 11th inning to face Tim Wakefield. On the first pitch he saw the Yankee third baseman slammed a home run down the left field line helping the Yankees capture their 39th American League pennant of the franchise’s history and yet another decisive blow to the Red Sox.

Speaking of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry in the postseason and Pedro Martinez it was on this day in 1999 when Martinez faced off with the Yankees ace Roger Clemens in the ALCS. This was touted as one of the best pitching matchups of all time on paper but that did not translate onto the field. Clemens did not last three innings in the contest as the Red Sox blew out the Yankees 13-1.

Also on this day in 1962 the Yankees beat the San Francisco Giants in Candlestick Park in Game 7 of the World Series to capture the team’s 20th World Series Championship. The Giants threatened late before Willie McCovey lined out to the Yankees Bobby Richardson as New York won the game 1-0.