Friday, December 12, 2014

Gregorius: I Have to Focus on Winning With Yankees, Not Jeter

Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius is keeping a level head about his new job. 

Gregorius said during a conference call Friday he's not going to worry about the fact he's replacing Derek Jeter when he begins his tenure with the club next season, his first full one in the big leagues. Jeter started at short for the Yankees every year from 1996-2014, and Gregorius made it clear he doesn't intend to make people forget it.

“Jeter is still Jeter,” he told The New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron. “Everything everybody is going to talk about is Jeter. I’m learning. Just try to focus on the game and win every game, not worrying about what’s going on.”

One way Gregorius could do that could be by improving his offense, an aspect of his play he's certainly struggled with in the past. He hit just .241 with 13 home runs and 55 RBIs with the Diamondbacks the last two years, slugging a low .300.

Still, at age 25, it's not like he doesn't have plenty of time to better himself, something he considers a priority. 

“I have to improve on everything," he said. "I don’t want to think I know everything. I love working hard. People say ‘Your defense is really good,’ but I don’t want to think that. I’m still working on everything because every day’s a new day to learn something. For me, you have to keep learning to get better.”

It seems that's a mindset the entire Yankees clubhouse could use right now, as just one of its everyday players last season batted higher than .290. He was Martin Prado, who didn't even join the team until July 31.

Yet Gregorius' energy and the possibility of an upcoming run at Max Scherzer may be reasons for optimism when it comes to the Yankees' future, bleak as it appears at the moment. 

Andrew Friedman Goes Crazy When He Has Money

Remember when the Los Angeles Dodgers fans and fans around Major League Baseball were excited about getting former Tampa Bay Rays GM Andrew Friedman? Many praised Friedman for what he did with such limited resources and finances which worried some around the league now that he had the highest payroll in baseball. And then the third day of the Winter Meetings happened.

Dan Haren was traded to Miami along with Dee Gordon for a nice prospect haul while Los Angeles agreed to pay Haren’s $10 million in salary. Haren had stated multiple times that he would likely retire rather than leave Southern California if traded which makes me seriously question why a GM would want to pay someone $10 million to retire elsewhere when the team could use him in the rotation. This was a small price to pay when they traded Andrew Heaney, the top prospect they received from Miami, to Los Angeles to receive the Angels Howie Kendrick to replace Gordon.

I praise Freidman for acquiring Jimmy Rollins as he is still above average offensively and defensively and is probably the best shortstop available not named Troy Tulowitzki. That praise was short sighted when I learned that the team gave Brandon McCarthy a four year deal worth $48 million. In no way, shape, form or market is McCarthy worth four years or $48 million. No way, good luck with that.

You have to give credit where credit is due though as he fixed the Dodgers outfield logjam, traded away their highest paid player and a $100 million contract, improved the infield and added some nice prospects to their farm system. All in all a good week for Friedman but seriously, about that McCarthy contract... 

Yankees 2015 Opening Day Countdown - 115 (Year 1)

It is officially 115 days until Opening Day, don’t depress you I know. Coincidentally, well I don’t believe in coincidences so not so coincidentally, the New York Yankees franchise is celebrating their 115th year of existence in 2015.

In the Yankees first season their team name was the Baltimore Orioles and they played their first games during the 1901 season. Let’s take a quick snapshot of that historic team as we countdown to Opening Day.

Team overall record: 68-65
Place finished: 5th in American League
Wins leader:Joe McGinnity (26-20)
Home runs leader: Jimmy Williams (7)
Manager: John McGraw

What Exactly is Los Angeles Getting From Brandon McCarthy?

Brandon McCarthy signed a four year deal worth $48 million with the Los Angeles Dodgers after spending half a season with the New York Yankees this past season. As much as I like McCarthy as a player and appreciate what he brought to the team in 2014 I think New York truly dodged a bullet here. Not because I think McCarthy’s stats were an aberration and he is expected to decline heavily in the next four years, although it wouldn’t surprise me personally, but because of the injury history specifically related to his right throwing shoulder.

A quick look at his injury history obviously raises some red flags and makes you wonder what exactly the Dodgers will be receiving for their $48 million investment over the next four seasons. McCarthy missed nearly two months in 2007 with a stress fracture in his shoulder blade and battled elbow inflammation in 2008. His 2009 season ended prematurely with another surgery on his shoulder that also cause him to miss the entire 2010 season while rehabbing the injury. While ignoring the unfortunate incident where he was struck by a line drive in 2011 and missed most of the season he was once again on the disabled list in 2012 with, you guessed it, another shoulder injury.

There are two main components to a pitcher’s ability to stay on the field, their elbow and their shoulder, and McCarthy has dealt with both extensively in the past. While the knees, the legs etc. are important as well, ask CC Sabathia about that, they don’t mean much when you can’t lift your arms high enough to put a shirt on. I wish McCarthy nothing but the best for the remainder of his career and I thank him for and appreciate what he did for the team in 2014 but in the same token I am not upset that he left for Los Angeles. Not for that many years and for that kind of money with that kind of injury history. Good luck in LA Brandon, here’s to you pulling an AJ Burnett and putting it all together health wise as a late bloomer. 

I Wish I Knew the Yankees Plan

First and foremost I want to say that I fully realize that deals can be made and are allowed outside of the Winter Meetings. Just because the team didn’t get anyone of any significance doesn’t mean this is the team we will see in April. With that said I wish I knew the plan that is going through Brian Cashman’s head right now. Is the team rebuilding? Is the team just being patient and (finally) fiscally responsible? Is Hal Steinbrenner handicapping the Yankees and their GM? What’s the deal?

In less than 24 hours the Boston Red Sox acquired Rick Porcello and Wade Miley along with signing Justin Masterson to a one year deal. Boston unloaded Yoenis Cespedes to the Detroit Tigers to make that lineup incredibly potent while many other teams in the American League continue to add pieces while the Yankees sit idle. Boston, it’s worth adding, added three solid pieces to their rotation for a combined $25 million while Jon Lester is going to make more than that himself in 2015 making Ben Cherington look smarter and smarter all the time.

I’m not a fair-weather fan and I’m not screaming that the sky is falling but the team needed a starting pitcher or two before dealing Shane Greene to the Tigers and New York walked away with none at the Winter Meetings. Max Scherzer is still on the board but what perplexes me is the fact that Cashman did not even make offers to the likes of Jon Lester, David Robertson and Brandon McCarthy. Truth be told none of them were probably taking a home town discount or any sort of discount but you don’t know until you try.

If the team is rebuilding, tell us, and if the team is ready to build from within and rebuild on the fly then tell us that too. Signing Andrew Miller to a lucrative four year deal and then building from within just doesn’t make sense unless you’re a small market team. The New York Yankees are not a small market team and they need to quit acting like it. 

TGP Daily Poll: Alex Rodriguez Will Come to Yankees Camp “Overweight”

Something I learned today, apparently the Yankees give all their players a desired weight they would like to see them at when they come into Spring Training camps. Brian Cashman told Alex Rodriguez he was over that weight goal and needed to lose the weight before camp. He’s A Rod, he won’t.

Vote in our poll.

Happy Holidays from the Tampa Yankees

I received this email yesterday so I figured I'd pass it along and share the Christmas and holidays love. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/12: Robbie Cano, Don't Ya Go!

Because I refuse to post a picture of Cano in a Mariners uniform. 
It was on this dark and gloomy day in 2013 that the New York Yankees learned that Robinson Cano was leaving to sign a lucrative deal with the Seattle Mariners. Cano landed a 10 year deal worth $240 million which was the third largest in Major League Baseball history. Cano was 32 years old at the time. 

Also on this day in 2008 I became the happiest Yankee fan on the planet when we followed up our CC Sabathia signing with an AJ Burnett signing. AJ would receive a five year deal worth $82.5 million finally bringing my favorite pitcher home to the Yankees, for a few seasons anyway.

Finally on this day in 1998 Joe DiMaggio, after being given the worst news you can be given by doctors, makes an amazing recovery defying doctors. Joe D would go home in mid January after a 99 day stay in the hospital after a long battle with lung cancer. DiMaggio would die on March 8th of 1999.