Monday, January 12, 2015

Former Yankees player Randolph disappointed team didn't hire him as infield coach

Willie Randolph is disappointed the Yankees didn't hire him to be their infield coach.

The 60-year-old former second baseman said so during a phone interview Monday, a day after the Yankees passed him up for the opening in favor of Joe Espada. Randolph was reportedly interviewed for the job by the Yankees earlier this month, but was informed by GM Brian Cashman last week he wouldn't be getting it.

"I was disappointed because I wanted that opportunity to come back to the team that I love and help them get back to a world championship, like I've always done," Randolph told ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand. "Anytime you put your name in the pot for a job like this, you hope that you get it. So when it doesn't happen, you are a little disappointed."

It would be understandable if Randolph was upset about being rejected by the Yankees, seeing as he's spent 24 of his 36 years in baseball with them. 

He played for the Yankees from 1976-1988, and was their bench coach from 1994-2004. During his 13 seasons on the field with New York, Randolph hit .275 with 48 home runs and 549 RBI, including a .305 batting average in 1987.

He said he was the one who initiated the interview with the Yankees, and wants to work in the game again.

"I'm always doing my due diligence," Randolph said. "I'm always trying to make everyone aware that I would like another opportunity [to get] back in the game that I love."

Randolph left the Yankees in 2005 to manage the Mets, who would fire him four years later after the club missed the playoffs. He then served as the bench coach of the Brewers from 2009-2010 before occupying multiple positions with the Orioles in 2011. 

He hasn't worn a uniform since, but said he would like to return to managing someday. 

Yankees Announce Staff.. Finally

Press release from the Yankees:

The New York Yankees today announced Joe Girardi’s coaches for the 2015 season, with Jeff Pentland (hitting), Joe Espada (third base) and Alan Cockrell (assistant hitting) joining the staff. Larry Rothschild (pitching) and Gary Tuck (bullpen) will each return to the roles they served in 2014, while Rob Thomson will now be the club’s bench coach and Tony Pena will serve as first base coach.
Pentland, 68, begins his 17th season as a Major League hitting coach, having previously served in that role for the Marlins (1996), Cubs (1997-2002), Royals (2003-05), Mariners (2006-08) and Dodgers (2008-11). In 2012, he was the hitting coach for Seattle’s Triple-A club in Tacoma and during the 2014 season, Pentland held the position of hitting coordinator in Miami’s player development system. He was a scout for the Marlins from 1992-93 before becoming a minor league hitting coach from 1993-96. In 1997, he was a minor league hitting coordinator for the Mets before joining the Cubs.
Prior to coaching at the professional level, Pentland was an assistant coach at Mesa Community College (Ariz.) in 1972, Arizona State University from 1983-91 and the University of California, Riverside in 1974. He was also the assistant athletic director for Wichita State University in 1973.
Born in Hollywood, Calif., Pentland earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Arizona State University where he was a member of the school’s 1967 NCAA championship team and was later inducted into the University’s Hall of Fame in October 2002. He also spent three seasons in the Padres’ minor league system (1969-71) as a left-handed batter, playing first base, outfield, catcher and pitcher.
Espada, 39, will begin his fifth season as a Major League third base coach, having held the same position for Miami from 2010-13. Prior to joining the Major League club with the Marlins, he was the hitting coach for Single-A Greensboro in 2006 and Single-A Jupiter in 2007. From 2008-09, he was Miami’s minor league infield coordinator. His current position is his second in the Yankees organization, having been a professional scout for the club in 2014. This offseason, he is managing the Gigantes de Carolina of the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League.
The Santurce, Puerto Rico, native was selected by Oakland in the second round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft. He played in nine minor league seasons (1996-2004) in the Athletics, Marlins, Rockies, Royals, Cardinals, Rangers and Rays organizations, as well as one season with independent-league Pensacola (2005), combining to bat .286 (811-for-2,838) with 24HR and 287RBI in 779 games.
Espada attended the University of Mobile, where he still ranks among the offensive leaders in several categories, owning the school’s top two single-season batting averages (.468 in 1995 and .446 in 1996) and top career batting average (.442). From 2004-05, he was the school’s assistant hitting coach.
Cockrell, 52, will begin his fourth stint as a member of a Major League coaching staff, having served as hitting coach for Colorado (2002 and ’07-08) and Seattle (2009-10). In 2007, the National League-champion Rockies led the NL in batting average (.280), hits (1,591) and on-base percentage (.354). He was also a minor league roving hitting coordinator for Colorado in 2001 and hitting coach for their Triple-A affiliate from 2003-06. He served as manager for rookie-level Portland in 1999 and Single-A Salem in 2000. He most recently served as a roving hitting coordinator in the Diamondbacks organization, holding the position from 2011-13.
Cockrell was born in Kansas City, Kans., and attended the University of Tennessee, where he was an All-American baseball player. He was also the Vols’ starting quarterback for two seasons (1982-83) and helped lead the team to a Citrus Bowl victory in 1983.
The former outfielder was selected by San Francisco as the ninth overall selection in the 1984 First-Year Player Draft. He played in 1,414 career minor league games from 1984-96, batting .278 (1,322-for-4,760). Cockrell made his Major League debut with the Rockies in 1996, playing in nine games and batting .250 (2-for-8) in his final professional playing season.
Pena, 57, will enter his 10th season on the Yankees’ Major League staff and fourth as first base coach, having also held the position from 2006-08. He served as the club’s bench coach from 2009-14 and was the Yankees’ catching instructor from 2006-13. Prior to the 2013 regular season, he managed the 2013 World Baseball Classic-champion Dominican Republic team and became the first WBC manager to lead his team to an undefeated record (8-0).
Rothschild, 60, will begin his fifth season as Yankees pitching coach and his 41st in professional baseball as a player, coach or manager. Since joining the Yankees in 2011, the club’s pitchers own a 2.90 strikeout-to-walk ratio (5,143K/1,773BB), the best such mark in the Majors over the four-year span. In 2014, Yankees pitchers posted a 3.44K/BB ratio (1,370K/398BB), the second-highest such mark in the Majors since 1900, trailing only the 2014 Nationals (3.66). The 1,370K by Yankees pitchers set a single-season franchise record, surpassing their 2012 mark (1,318). Prior to joining the Yankees, Rothschild spent nine seasons (2002-10) as the Cubs’ pitching coach.
Thomson, 51, will enter his 26th season as a member of the Yankees organization and eighth on the club’s Major League coaching staff. The 2015 season will mark his second as the Yankees’ bench coach, having also held the position in 2008. From 2009-14, he served as the club’s third base coach. The Ontario, Canada, native also oversees the Yankees’ outfielders.
Tuck, 60, will begin his second season as Yankees bullpen coach and 33rd year in professional baseball as a player, coach or scout. Prior to joining the Yankees, he served as Boston’s bullpen coach for six seasons (2007-12) and as Joe Girardi’s bench coach for the Florida Marlins in 2006. Tuck’s current assignment with the Yankees marks his fourth stint with the club, having served in various other roles for the organization from 1989-90, 1996-99 and 2003-04. Overall, he has coached or scouted for seven teams that have reached the World Series, with five of those clubs—including the 1996, ’98 and ’99 Yankees—going on to become world champions.

This is Brian Cashman's Team, Finally

For much of the 2000's and into the 2010's many Yankees fans complained that management had their hands in the day to day operations a little too much. Too many times have we seen management, Hank and Hal Steinbrenner along with Randy Levine, jump in and re-sign Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, trade for Ichiro Suzuki etc. Too many times have we seen management limit Brian Cashman's hands and let free agents like Russell Martin and Torii Hunter walk away or walk elsewhere. Looking at the transactions from the last 12-15 months we may be finally seeing a finished product of Cashman's team, not managements team, for better or worse.

Looking back Cashman has replaced every position on the field with the exception of first base and their ace in the last year or so while he waits out the contracts of Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia. Cashman has let stars walk like Robinson Cano, and he should have, and has plugged in a plethora of youth all around the diamond. This is not a finished product, I don't think we see the finished product until after the 2016 or 2017 season, but it looks to me like Cashman may finally have the reigns of the team that he was promised so many years ago from the late George Steinbrenner.

Most Popular Article of the Week: Would a Salary Cap Actually Help the Yankees?

No, seriously. Would a salary cap instituted in Major League Baseball actually help the New York Yankees? I say yes, why not? With a cap on spending you would also have to see a salary floor which would also help New York in a huge way, the removal of the luxury tax threshold. With so many teams, maybe not so much in the last few seasons, spending barely more or sometimes less than what the team is receiving in luxury tax and pocketing every merchandise sale, television deal, ticket sale etc. it makes the game more of a business and less of the game that we all know and love. With all the money in the game now with television deals and attendance on the up and up a salary cap may be at least discussed when the new collective bargaining agreement expires in 2016.

Most Yankees fans think that a cap would hurt the Yankees because it takes away our biggest asset, our ability to out-spend everyone, but I don't think that's so much the case anymore. The Dodgers are already out-spending the Yankees by a large margin while teams are passing the luxury tax threshold every single season. The new CBA has already restricted the Yankees ability to throw money around in the draft and now in the International market and honestly a cap would only help.

It's a well known fact that the rumors and hot stove season can be annoying if you're a Yankees fan. New York could have three Albert Pujols' in his prime playing first base, backing up and playing DH but if a fourth came up on the free agent market the Yankees would be "interested." The Yankees aren't interested our name and monikers are thrown around to simply drive the price up. With a cap no longer could teams do that and no longer could agents like Scott Boras give the team "the last call" to squeeze a few million out of owners and teams. With a cap if a Max Scherzer wanted $30 million a season and the Yankees had $15 million to spend it would really help the fans and these teams see through the bull crap and see the real rumors and interest.

Also, believe it or not, there are still players around Major League Baseball that actually want to be Yankees. There are still MLB players and veterans that want a chance to play for a World Series before they retire. Much like you see in the NBA a lot the Yankees could use this to their advantage while they maneuver around the cap. If New York has around $10 million to spend on the cap and a couple of key and productive veterans want to come over to chase a ring they could/would sign for exponentially less for the opportunity to play in October. The same could be said for players like Troy Tulowitzki who wants to be a Yankee if he were a free agent, if he is asking for $30 million and the Yankees only have $20 million he would be more inclined to take a discount or a back loaded contract to fulfill his dream and fill the shoes of Derek Jeter.

Many fans around the league want a salary cap and if it happens, as a Yankees fan, I say bring it on. This is only going to help the Yankees and their aura and tradition may give them the step up above the league that they once had and have lost in recent seasons. There can't be anything wrong with that.

Some Hope for the Yankees in 2015

Opening Day is not tomorrow so a lot can still go down between then and now, especially with the likes of Max Scherzer and James Shields still on the market, but looking at the teams in the American League East now there may be some hope for the Yankees in 2015. Pay attention, I did not say the Yankees would win the AL East or would lose the AL East, I'm saying there is hope. That's it. While the Yankees have had a quiet offseason, for New York anyway, so have quite a few other teams. Let's take a look at what teams in the AL East have added and lost using WAR.

Orioles - 96-66:

Baltimore has lost Nelson Cruz (4.7 WAR), Nick Markakis (2.1 WAR) and Andrew Miller (0.9 WAR w/ Baltimore). Adding that up, without a significant addition to the roster yet, means the Orioles could potentially be eight games worse in 2015.

Yankees - 84-78:

New York has added a full season of Chase Headley (3.5 WAR), Andrew Miller (1.8 WAR), Didi Gregorius (1.1 WAR), Nathan Eovaldi (0.2 WAR) and a full season of Stephen Drew which should be better than his -0.6 WAR in 2014. For this purpose I am going to assume a full soring training and such gets Drew back to at least an even 0.0 WAR.

New York also lost Brandon McCarthy (1.6 WAR), Hiroki Kuroda (2.4 WAR), David Robertson (1.2 WAR), Derek Jeter (0.2 WAR) and Ichiro Suzuki (1.0 WAR) this offseason among others. Taking into account the losses and the gains in WAR the team could potentially win 84 games again like they did last season, or worse.

Blue Jays - 83-79:

Toronto added Russell Martin (5.5 WAR) to one of the best lineups in the AL East but also lost Melky Cabrera (3.1 WAR) and Colby Rasmus (0.9 WAR) this offseason. It looks like the Blue Jays won't necessarily improve this season whatsoever, they may be destined for another third or fourth place finish and 84 victories.

Rays - 77-85:

The Rays are in last place in 2015, I don't necessarily feel the need to list everyone they have lost and the few "key" acquisitions they have added.

Red Sox - 71-91:

Sure Boston added Rick Porcello (4.0 WAR), Pablo Sandoval (3.4 WAR), Hanley Ramirez (3.5 WAR), Wade Miley (0.8 WAR) and Justin Masterson (-0.9) but the team also lost Jon Lester (2.7 WAR), John Lackey (1.4 WAR), Yoenis Cespedes (1.3 WAR), Rubby De La Rosa (0.4 WAR) and Burke Badenhop (1.5 WAR). Sure Boston added 3.5 wins according to WAR and sure they probably added more than that when it's all said and done but did they make up 20 games? Looking at the pitching staff I wouldn't be so sure.

ICYMI: Should MLB Eliminate Guaranteed Contracts?

"That's right, ladies. I'm awesome."

TGP commenter Jeff Levin is having a pretty good week.

On Sunday Daniel posted an article covering a conversation he and Jeff had in the comment section of a previous article. Here we are today, and it's my turn to bring up a quick conversation that Jeff and I had on Monday in another comment section.

Mr. Levin felt that it wasn't right that players in Major League Baseball had guaranteed contracts. Why should Alex Rodriguez get paid all $61 million left on his contract after admitting to steroid use, having two hip surgeries, and producing at replacement level when he has played recently*?

* I wanted to be fair and point out that while ARod hasn't played like he did in 2007, his triple-slash of .265/.352/.428 with 25 home runs in 710 plate appearances between 2012 and 2013 is better than "replacement level".

Jeff didn't mean to just pick on Alex, as he did mention others that haven't lived up to their contracts like Josh Hamilton, Prince Fielder, Carl Crawford, and Barry Zito. No matter who he did or didn't bring up, or whether you feel they did or didn't live up to their contracts, Jeff brings up a very good point. Especially when you see players in the National Football League get cut and lose money all the time.

While the chances of teams being able to cut players without paying them the money left on their contracts are as good as a salary cap being implemented in MLB, that doesn't mean it's pointless to talk about.

Okay... maybe it is pointless. But why not do it anyway? It's not like you have something better to do than read about baseball. Am I right?

I agree that teams should be able to cut players based on under-performing, being convicted of a crime, or failing a drug test (and probably a few other things, but I'll let you discuss that below). But I don't agree that those players should lose every cent owed to them. At least not in every case. I mean, if a players is convicted of rape or murder, then MLB should totally cut ties with the player and not pay him another penny.

But if a player goes from finishing in the top five of Cy Young Award voting for three straight years from 2009 to 2011, to having a combined ERA of 4.87 from 2013 to 2014, then perhaps their team shouldn't be on the hook for all $73 million left remaining on his contract (assuming his option for 2017 vests).

"Wait a second..."

Let's keep going with the case of CC Sabathia. There could be a clause in his contract stating that if his ERA rose above 4.50 for at least two straight seasons, the Yankees could cut him and only have to pay him 50% of the money remaining on his contract. In Sabathia's case you have a vesting option to deal with, and my thought would be that it would be considered guaranteed. Therefore, the Yankees could cut CC now and only have to pay him $36.5 million instead of the $73 million still remaining (again... assuming the vesting option is guaranteed).

Of course, CC's high ERA could be due to injury, meaning the reason for cutting him may have to be different, but you should understand where I'm coming from.

This could all just be more Yankees fans crying about having to pay big money to under-performing players that make a ton of money like Rodriguez, Sabathia, and Mark Teixeira. But I don't think you can totally dismiss this idea, either.

Oh, and one last thing, regarding the first picture in this article... I doubt Jeff looks like Neil Patrick Harris.

Quick Hit: Johan Santana Making Another Comeback Attempt

Johan Santana has went from being a nobody, to a Rule 5 Draft pick, to an All-Star, to traded to the Mets, to the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the history of the Mets, to being injured and out of the game since. Johan has had two torn shoulder capsules in his shoulder, and FYI one surgery is usually the end of a pitcher's career, and is now rehabbing a torn achilles muscle. Many would take their licks and go home but not Johan as he is once again attempting a comeback to the major leagues.

Santana has been pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League this winter and hopes to latch on with a MLB team on a minor league deal in 2015. Santana is still only 35 years old and was likely to break camp with the Orioles last season before the achilles tear ended his season. Santana is reportedly only throwing 86-89 MPH while showcasing for teams and has said, through his agent, that he wants to go out of the game on his terms. Good for him, maybe the Yankees are watching.

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/12: Nothing

Nada? Not a single free agent signing? George Steinbrenner didn't buy or fire someone on this day? Wow. Enjoy the day everyone, this extremely boring day.