Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Pros and Cons of Korean SS Jung-Ho Kang, According to The Star Ledger

Star Ledger Yankees Writer Brendan Kuty has released his pros and cons for soon-to-be posted Korean SS Jung-Ho Kang, whom the team may pursue this offseason.

Here are the pros of the article, which can be read here:

"As far as Korean Baseball Organization shortstops go, Kang is the cream of the crop. He's got four 20-plus homer seasons and he's coming off a year in which he slammed 38 bombs, drove in 107 runs and hit .360. He's also just 27 years old. Compare that to 32-year-old Stephen Drew and 30-year-old Hanley Ramirez and you've got the longterm shortstop option you wanted to replace Derek Jeter, one who's just entering his prime."

And the cons:

"The KBO is a step down from Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball, which is a step down from Major League Baseball. Who's to say whether Kang's offensive numbers will hold up? Just one South Korean infielder, Hee Seop Choi, has made a respectable transition to the majors, and Choi hasn't played in the majors since 2005."

Basically, in a best-case scenario it seems Kang would be an average-to-slightly-above-average infielder for the Yankees, although after their successful international signing of Masahiro Tanaka last offseason, it wouldn't be that strange if they went ahead and inked him anyway.

You be the judge. Is Kang worth the financial risk, or should New York just stick with the aforementioned Drew?

Watch Game 7 of the 1985 World Series Here

Maybe he is some good luck for the Kansas City Royals tonight as they try and force a Game 7 in the 2014 World Series. Here in it's entirety is Game 7 of the 1985 World Series. Enjoy Yankees family.

Yankees Plethora of Options at Second Base

Heading into the 2015 season the New York Yankees will have a plethora of options for their overall roster construction, especially at second base. The team has seemingly been built around players that can play multiple positions well giving manager Joe Girardi a multitude of options and second base is no different. The list includes, but is not limited to, Martin Prado, Jose Pirela, and Robert Refsnyder and could extend outside the organization if need be.

Martin Prado is a more than capable second baseman that could play the position every day leaving Jose Pirela on the bench and Robert Refsnyder down in Triple-A. That's one option, another is to have Prado play third base essentially bumping Alex Rodriguez to the designated hitter spot and leaving no room for Chase Headley on the roster. This opens up the position for either Refsnyder or Pirela. If the position goes to Refsnyder then Pirela rides the bench while if Pirela gets the starting gig then Refsnyder likely stays in Triple-A to fine tune his game until mid-season.

The Yankees could also just go with a revolving door there. There will be a starting second baseman on Opening Day but a guy like Prado could play three or four positions a week keeping everyone healthy and giving everyone ample playing time. It could happen and it's a good problem to have for Girardi, Brian Cashman, and the entire Yankees crew.

FYI, in case you were wondering, I would give the starting second base job to Refsnyder, essentially make Carlos Beltran a full time DH like Alfonso Soriano was in 2013, give the third base job to Prado, and have A Rod on the bench as a backup third baseman, first baseman, and DH. I would make A Rod earn his spot back onto the field and not have his contract dictate his playing time. Maybe that's just me.

Juan Perez & the Oscar Taveras Link

We all learned late Sunday evening that St. Louis Cardinals centerfielder Oscar Taveras died in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic and it sent shockwaves throughout Major League Baseball. I found it interesting reading USA Today yesterday morning about the Juan Perez and Taveras link and how Perez may have used the news to get the biggest hit of his career.

Set the stage, it’s the fifth inning and the Giants hitting coach Hensley Meulens went into the clubhouse to find Perez crying. Perez was a friend and former teammate of Taveras in the Dominican Winter League and was so upset by the news he threw his phone away when the news was confirmed. Three innings later Perez used this emotion to get a two run double off the untouchable Wade Davis en route to a 5-0 victory for San Francisco.

Perez was noticeably upset and overwhelmed by the news when speaking to reporters after the game and was quoted as saying: 

"I put it out of my mind. By the time I was in the game, I put it away,'' he said, stopping to compose himself. "You never know what may happen. That young man was here two weeks ago and now he has just died in an accident. It's so sad. I still can't believe it happened.''

Perez batted just .170 in 100 at bats this season and had just one hit in 18 at bats with runners in scoring position this season and came up against a Royals pitcher in Davis that had been virtually untouchable this offseason making the deep double even more unlikely. Perez dedicated that double to Taveras as he posted a picture of himself and Taveras giving a high-10 during an Aguilas game with the English and Spanish caption “that double was for you, my brother! My soul misses you. Go with God. I love you. My condolences to the Tavares family.”

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Kevin Long

Kevin Long was let go as the hitting coach for the New York Yankees a couple weeks back and has since landed across town with the New York Mets in the same position. Let’s take a look back at Long’s tenure as a member of the New York Yankees and see if he warrants the nickname “The Hitting Guru.”

Kevin Richard Long was born on December 30, 1966 and played minor league baseball in the Kansas City Royals organization. Long was drafted in the 31st round of the 1989 MLB First Year Player’s Draft by the Royals out of the University of Arizona. Long never amounted to much in the minor league and officially retired at the end of spring training in 1997 after being assigned to Triple-A Omaha still in the Royals organization. Long was named the Class-A Wilmington Blue Rocks manager that season and stayed in A-Ball through the 1999 season. Long was promoted to hitting coach for the Double-A team from 2000-2001 and Triple-A for the 2002-2003 seasons before heading to the Yankees Triple-A team, the Columbus Clippers for the 2004 season.

Long spent the 2004 through 2006 seasons in Triple-A with the Yankees before being promoted to major league hitting coach for New York before the 2007 season. During that 2007 season Alex Rodriguez won the MVP Award, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Rodriguez won Silver Slugger Awards, the team led the majors in runs (968), hits (1,656), home runs (201), RBI (929), team batting average (.290), slugging percentage (.463), on-base percentage (.366), and total bases (2,649). The Yankees claimed four of the American League’s top 15 spots in batting average that season.

The Yankees had a down year offensively in 2008 under Long before bouncing back in 2009 to win the team’s 27 World Series championship in their franchise’s history. Long led impressive offensive teams in 2010-2012 before having a drastic fall off in both the 2013 and 2014 seasons which ultimately cost him his job in New York with the Yankees. No worries though you can still see the hitting guru in New York as he coaches the New York Mets through at least the 2015 season. 

TGP Daily Poll: MadBum Wins World Series MVP

Madison Bumgarner will win the 2014 World Series MVP award over Pablo Sandoval.

Vote in our poll!

Quick Hit: My Tribute to Oscar Taveras

I can't pretend like I was a fan of Oscar Taveras, or even of the St. Louis Cardinals, but nonetheless Sunday night was a sad night for Major League Baseball, the players, and the fans. Oscar Taveras was 22 years old when he died and that is far too young, baseball talent or not. Rest in peace Oscar and our condolences go out to his family, friends, teammates, and everyone involved.

He started from the bottom....

And then he was here...

And then here....

And finished here... RIP. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/28: Alex Rodriguez Opts Out

On this day in 2007 in the middle of Game 4 of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Colorado Rockies we heard the news that Alex Rodriguez had opted out of his contract with the New York Yankees. The timing of the announcement as well as being a no show to receive the Hank Aaron Award, which honors the best offensive player in the league, did not sit well with MLB, Bud Selig, the fans, or the Yankees.

Also on this day in 1979 Dick Howser replaces Billy Martin as the Yankees manager. Howser would lead the Yankees to a 103-59 record with an American League East championship although he was fired by George Steinbrenner when he was swept in the playoffs by the Kansas City Royals.

On this day in 1953 Red Barber quit his job as the broadcaster of the Brookyln Dodgers and would find a new job with the New York Yankees. The man nicknamed "The Old Red Head" was upset with Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley over money and lack of support.