Tuesday, January 13, 2015

MLB.com Writer: Yankees smart to stay away from big free agents

Though some might think otherwise, the Yankees were smart to abstain from signing any big free agents this offseason.

At least that's the opinion of MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince, who argued in a piece Monday the price tags of on-the-market guys like Max Scherzer and James Shields are beyond New York's limits. The Yankees, despite having missed the playoffs last year for the second consecutive season, haven't inked a player to a deal worth more than $52 million this winter, a somewhat strang occurance considering their usual willingness to spend largely. 

From Castrovince: 

"I don't blame any team for abstaining from the Scherzer situation if his price tag is still in the $200 million range. That's too much money for very little certainty, especially given Scherzer's mechanics. And if the rumored offer of $110 million for a 33-year-old James Shields is true (multiple executives I've spoken to have expressed some skepticism), the Yanks are wise to stay away there, too. I actually think Shields, even with all the future concerns associated with his past workload, would be a good get for the Yanks because he's succeeded in the AL East and his '15 impact could be considerable. But that's only if his price tag falls somewhere in the realm of, say, Ubaldo Jimenez (four years, $50 million) and C.J. Wilson (five years, $77.5 million), and at the moment this appears doubtful."

The Yankees definitely have reason to be cautious when it comes to longterm contracts, seeing as the results of the ones they gave to CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira aren't too likable.

Sabathia, whose eight-year/$182-million deal lasts through 2016, is currently experiencing knee issues, while Teixeira, who is set to make $22.5 million over each of the next two seasons, has hurt his wrist numerous times. As for the aging Carlos Beltran, he will also be on the roster for a minimum of two more years, something the Yankees can't be that excited about after he batted just .233 in 109 games for them last season.

Indeed, the Yankees have seemingly made a few bad commitments recently, and their attitude over the last couple of months shouldn't be much of a surprise to anyone.

Garrett Jones Talks Being a Yankee on YES Hot Stove

Garrett Jones sits down with the YES Network's Bob Lorenz and talks about his career, his trade to the Yankees and so much more. Great interview and the more I read and hear the more I like Mr. Jones and his wife Cassie. Enjoy, consider this an open thread for the rest of the night.

Alex Rodriguez May Bring Fans to the Yard in 2015

The last two seasons New York has benefited, financially speaking and attendance wise, from the retirements and farewell tours of greats like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter. With these two gone and no farewell tour in sight for 2015 many fans and personnel are wondering who will sell MLB tickets and who can bring the fans back to Yankee Stadium. Could it be Alex Rodriguez?

According to the stats used by Baseball Reference.com Rodriguez sits just 61 hits shy of the 3,000 hit milestone and would become only the second player in a Yankees uniform to accomplish the feat, the first of course being Mr. DJ3K. A Rod also sits just 60 home runs away from 714 with some guy named Willie Mays within striking distance in the all-time home run chase. Finally Rodriguez needs just 328 RBI to be #1 all-time in the statistic. According to Fangraphs.com Rodriguez has compiled a career WAR of 111.0.

Love Alex or hate Alex you can sort of see why the team is willing to bring him back and not eat the remaining $61 million and three years on his contract. New York has morphed into the business it always could be and less of the hobby and Rodriguez makes too many dollars and too much sense to let him walk away without selling some Yankees tickets first. 

As we all know Alex was subject to a 162 game suspension in 2014 due to his involvement in steroid use and the now defunct Biogenesis clinic down in Miami run by Anthony Bosch. This marks the second time Alex was linked to a large scale steroid probe and Alex didn't buy any fans by suing the league, the Yankees and anything that wasn't tied down. Now Alex will look to mend fences, if that's possible, and get back his fans trust and love, again even if it's possible, and the only way he can do that is production. If Alex comes out and hits 20 home runs and knocks in 70 RBI in 2015 I think a lot of the fans give him a break. If not, and if he can't put the butts in the seats at Yankee Stadium, then I think we may see the last of Mr. Alex Emmanuel Rodriguez, in a Yankees uniform at least. 

Yankees Acquire Chris Martin, DFA Gonzalez Germen

The New York Yankees have acquired big, and I mean big, right handed reliever Chris Martin from the Colorado Rockies for cash considerations. In a corresponding roster move the team has designated Gonzalez Germen for assignment. There is a great possibility that Germen clears waivers and will be back with the team anyway but that's always far from a given.

Germen was acquired and thought of as an upgrade over Preston Claiborne and now Martin is being thought of as an upgrade over both at 28 years old.

Meet Alan Cockrell

If you’re looking for the latest and greatest in New York Yankees trivia rest assured that this question will be asked eventually. Who was the first assistant hitting coach to be hired by the New York Yankees? The answer is Alan Cockrell as he was hired for the 2015 season to back up Jeff Pentland. Let’s meet the man and see just what he has to bring to the table in the Bronx.

Cockrell is a former major league outfielder that dabbled in both football and baseball as a player before jumping into coaching. Cockrell attended the University of Tennessee where he was an All-American outfielder for the baseball team and the starting quarterback for the football team. Cockrell suffered a significant knee injury as a QB and was never the same for the Volunteers football team and ultimately left the school before his senior season to enter the MLB First Year Player’s Draft.

The San Francisco Giants made Cockrell the ninth pick overall in the 1984 draft but unfortunately Cockrell never met the high expectations that seemingly followed him around. Cockrell spent nine seasons in the minor leagues with five different organizations, the longest coming when he spent five seasons with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, before making his major league debut with the Colorado Rockies on September 7, 1996. Billy Wagner struck him out in his first at bat but three days later Cockrell would extract his revenge when he roped a pinch hit double off Tom Glavine for his first major league hit. Nine games later Cockrell’s major league career was over for good.

Cockrell spent the next few seasons in various positions in the Rockies organization before being named the hitting coach for the Rockies before the 2007 season. During that 2007 season the Rockies slugged their way to a national League Championship and a World Series appearance against the Boston Red Sox. That season Colorado led the NL in batting average, OBP and total hits. The Rockies could not follow up that success in 2008 which resulted in Cockrell’s firing. Cockrell latched on with the Seattle Mariners for the 2009 season as their hitting coach but lasted just a year and a half before being fired once again. Now Cockrell is the assistant hitting coach to the Yankees and we welcome him to the family with open arms. 

The Mystery Behind Alex Rodriguez’s Instagram Photo’s

A photo posted by Alex Rodriguez (@arod) on

Ted Berg of the USA Today gets it and he shares it with the rest of us in this semi-sarcastic and highly comical article SEEN HERE. Enjoy, because lord knows I did. Maybe being an Alex Rodriguez fan swayed my opinion a little bit but he does make a lot of sense in the article and I found myself shaking my head in agreement a whole lot. Anyway, enough of me. Read on:

That smug jerk. How dare he share photos of himself on Instagram? And training for the upcoming baseball season, of all things! What utterly, shamefully reckless behavior. It’s clear that one of five or six things must be happening here. A-Rod either:

1) Is trying to defraud the unblemished reputation of the storied New York Yankees franchise by posting photos of himself working out and looking healthy so he can maintain to his insurers that he made a good-faith effort to play baseball and physically cannot, walking away from the sport but collecting a fat paycheck in the process.

2) Is tormenting us all by reminding us that he’ll soon be allowed to play baseball again, flaunting the leniency of the arbitration process that granted him a suspension only 112 games longer than typical punishment for first-time performance-enhancing drug offenses in baseball, and one based in part on the testimony of a guy who actually sold performance-enhancing drugs to high school kids.

3) Is shilling for his new line of business-casual workout wear, which would actually be kind of awesome in about the most A-Rod way of all time.

4) Is openly defying the words of GM Brian Cashman, steward of the celebrated New York Yankees tradition, after Cashman said Rodriguez would be a DH in 2015. Look at him, smugly participating in baseball activities only six weeks before he’ll be expected to do them every day at spring training.

5) Is on steroids again and showing off the energy and flexibility he has obviously achieved only through artificial, illegal and disgraceful means, mocking the collectively bargained drug-testing process that has yet to catch him dirty.

6) Is taking some grounders at his old high-school field, and someone who was there thought, “Hey, it’s a nice day and the baseball season is around the corner. Alex got a nice response from fans to his Instagram post wishing everyone a happy New Year, and maybe sharing a photo of him earnestly working out in his humble setting would be a nice way for him to connect with more fans on social-media and not at something that will make the internet explode with speculation about his motives.”

So, yeah. Who knows why A-Rod would so brazenly post a photo of himself to his Instagram? But it’s probably one of those six things, or something else you’ve decided it might be. Alex Rodriguez’s Instagram is a prism through which we can read goodness and light or darkness and evil or hope and humility or arrogance and deceit. Or maybe it’s just a photo of him working out.

Meet Jeff Pentland

Jeff Pentland was recently hired to be the hitting coach for the New York Yankees replacing long-time hitting coach Kevin Long. Pentland comes with a lot of experience in the job and should command a lot of respect from the veterans and young guys alike on the team and the more and more I read about the signing the more I think the team is going to be okay. Let’s meet the newest Yankees hitting coach, Jeff Pentland.

Pentland has coached not only at the major league level but was a college coach as well in his 69 years of living. Pentland also played college baseball for the Arizona State University as a pitcher compiling a 32-12 win/loss record and a career 2.25 ERA. During his tenure with the Sun Devils pentland made the 1967 College World Series baseball team before spending three seasons in the San Diego Padres organization as a pitcher. Pentland quickly learned he wasn’t destined to make the majors and signed on as an assistant coach at the University of California, Riverside from 1975 through 1982 before coaching for Arizona State from 1983 to 1992. Pentland finally got his opportunity to manage and coach a major league team in 1993 when he joined the Florida Marlins coaching staff.

Halfway through the 1996 season Pentland was moved to the Marlins hitting coach which landed him a job in the same position with the Chicago Cubs. Pentland was the hitting coach from 1997-2002 including the time that Joe Girardi was there as a player. Pentland moved on in 2003 to take the hitting coach job for the Kansas City Royals where he managed a younger Carlos Beltran to one of his best hitting seasons of his career and stayed there until leaving for Seattle in 2005. Pentland stayed in Seattle as their hitting coach until the 2008 season when the Los Angeles Dodgers hired him as their secondary hitting instructor before promoting him to hitting coach in 2010. Pentland was fired in 2011 and has been out of the game until the Yankees came calling in 2015.

Now you know the man and what he has to bring to the table, now it’s time to get to work. Good luck Jeff and welcome to the family. 

Brendan Ryan to Washington Nationals for Anything

The New York Yankees once again have an opportunity to get younger, better and more versatile this offseason and all they have to do is trade away Brendan Ryan. Sounds easy enough right, the guy can play all over the infield extremely well and has a modest salary. While Ryan comes with obvious offensive question marks there are certain teams out there that could afford to survive with a defense first (only) second baseman, the Washington Nationals.

The Nationals do not seem very comfortable with handing the second base job to Danny Espinosa and the team would rather have the likes of Anthony Rendon at third base and Ryan Zimmerman at second base. I don’t pretend to be an expert in the Washington farm system but a quick google search and some research tells me that their best prospects who could take over the position spent the 2014 season in High-A ball and are probably two years or more away.

If the Nationals would take Ryan and his salary for essentially a throw in player, probably a big pitcher that we can drool over that’s in A Ball, New York could make room for Jose Pirela on the bench. If Didi Gregorius were to struggle the recently signed Stephen Drew could serve as the backup while Pirela could serve as the backup at second, his most natural position anyway. It is also worth mentioning that Pirela played every position in the minor leagues except for pitcher and catcher so it would not be out of the realm of possibilities to plug him in at short, or anywhere for that matter, in a pinch.

With this trade the Yankees save a couple million bucks, they get younger, they give a shot to one of their own and ultimately I think the team gets better. This trade seems to fit the mold of everything Brian Cashman has been trying to do this offseason, doesn’t it? 

Also, as an FYI, if you want to remove the words "Washington Nationals" and replace them with the words "New York Mets" that works also. 

Meet Joe Espada

Joe Espada has been named as the infield coach for the New York Yankees for the 2015 season. Espada will be the teams third base coaching replacing Rob Thomson as he moves to the bench coach position. Let's take a quick look at where Espada has been, what Espada has done and what Espada can bring to the table in the Bronx in 2015. 

Espada was actually in the Yankees organization during the 2014 season as a special assistant to Yankees GM Brian Cashman after turning down a managing position for the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Class A Advanced Florida State League. Espada is a resident of Jupiter, Florida so for him to take the job with the Yankees over the head coaching job shows a bit of loyalty if you ask me, but that’s just if you ask me. Espada was also a third base coach with the Miami Marlins before joining the Yankees organization so he definitely has experience coaching at the major league level.

Espada also played some professional baseball after being selected by the Oakland Athletics in the second round (45th overall) of the 1996 MLB First year Players Draft. Espada was left unprotected in the 1998 Rule V Draft and was selected by the Minnesota Twins before failing to stick and being returned to Oakland. Espada bounced around the minor leagues before signing a minor league deal with the Florida Marlins in 2001 only to be traded to the Colorado Rockies. Espada bounced around the minors until 2005 when he retired having never made the major leagues after stops with the Royals, Cardinals, Rangers and then Devil Rays.

Espada retired and joined the Florida Marlins organization as the hitting coach for their Class A affiliate in 2006 before being bumped up to Class A+ in Jupiter in 2007 for the same position. Espada spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons as the Marlins minor league infield coordinator which led to being named the Marlins third base coach for the 2010 season. Espada stayed as the Marlins third base coach through the 2013 season before being reassigned to manage Jupiter while also managing the Puerto Rican national baseball team during the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Obviously Espada turned down the managerial job to join the Yankees front office and is now New York’s major league infield instructor. Congratulations to Mr. Espada and a warm welcome to the family from everyone here at The Greedy Pinstripes.

The Tanyon Sturtze Situation & "Journalism"

This whole Tanyon Sturtze situation really makes me ashamed to call myself a blogger, or a journalist, a writer or whatever word you want to associate with the job. I'm not going to simply copy and paste what others have said because I frankly feel like I am better than that. Also I haven't contacted Tanyon about his comments and I don't feel right frankly cherry picking his Facebook post. Honestly I probably won't, although if you're reading Tanyon and you want to talk I would be honored to pick your brain because it sounds like we have the same opinions and thoughts on the Hall, and I find it horrific that this kind of hack journalism is still going on.

I'm not going to copy and paste what is going on, you can Google it easy enough if you really want to know, this is simply calling out those who choose the same profession as me. Be a man, Tanyon will talk to you if you approach him about his comments. He's a cool dude. Just don't simply copy and paste and publicize his stuff, you're better than that.


This Day in New York Yankees History 1/13: RIP Joe McCarthy

On this day in 1978 Joe McCarthy, Hall of Fame manager, dies at age 90. The former Cubs, Yankees, and Red Sox manager compiled a 1460-867 record in his career which included nine pennants and seven World Series rings in his 24 years as a skipper. RIP.