Thursday, January 15, 2015

A-Rod thinking positively as return season nears

Ask the average Yankees fan what their opinion of Alex Rodriguez is today, and chances are it won't be a favorable one.

Rodriguez, entering his age 39 season this spring, brought bad publicity upon himself numerous times this winter, and is coming off a year-long suspension for steroid use. He allegedly urinated on his cousin's floor back in November, and has been sued by everyone from his lawyer to his ex-brother-in-law since the summer.

Still, in a somewhat surprising turn of events, the veteran's thinking positively about his upcoming return to the diamond, limited as it might be after the signing of Chase Headley.

"I'm feeling really, really good," Rodriguez told The New York Post's Kevin Kernan this week. "I've been working hard, doing a lot of plyometics, and I am so excited for spring training and to be back with my teammates."

Rodriguez posted pictures of himself in the batting cage on Instagram last Wednesday, so it can certainly be assumed he's doing his part to get ready. He's even been taking grounders at third base, despite the fact he's expected to be the Yankees' DH in 2015. 

But really, can you blame him?

"Alex is looking at this season as a fresh start," a friend of Rodriguez's said. "He's prepared to do the best he can in his role as a DH, but he is also preparing to play third base, knowing there will be times that Headley needs a break."

As things stand, it's likely Rodriguez will be hitting somewhere in the bottom third of the Yankees' order, probably between second baseman Stephen Drew and shortstop Didi Gregorius. According to GM Brian Cashman, the team has low expectations for him in the upcoming season, with Cashman saying months ago that's the smart thing to do from someone in his position's standpoint. 

Nonetheless, A-Rod is making his presence known.

"I'm ready to go," he said.

ESPN Sunday Night Baseball Very Yankees/Cubs Friendly

ESPN Sunday Night Baseball will enter its 26th year of existence in 2015 and the crew over at ESPN has released a preliminary, and obviously subject to change, schedule for the season. The list will make you smile if you are either a Chicago Cubs fan or a New York Yankees fan because the two teams show up more often than not it seems.

ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, ESPN, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Schedule,

ESPN's Sunday night schedule (All times 8 ET):
April 5: St. Louis Cardinals at Chicago Cubs
April 12: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
April 19: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals
April 26: New York Mets at New York Yankees
May 3: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

ESPN Opening Day coverage, April 6 (All times ET):

1: Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees
4: New York Mets at Washington Nationals
7: Cleveland Indians at Houston Astros
10: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks

Will CC Sabathia have a successful season in 2015?

By Eddie Sapienza
CC Sabathia's 2014 season ended in May due to a knee injury. Before the injury he wasn't having a solid season. The question all Yanks fans want to know is will CC Sabathia succeed in 2015.

In this article I will explain why or why not Sabathia will succeed in 2015. So we saw in 2013 and 2014 that Sabathia hasn't been the way he was with the Yanks from 2009-2012. His velocity went down from about 95 MPH to about maximum 89 MPH.

I don't think he will get his velocity back which means he will probably get hit by most teams  in 2015. Which is a huge problem and that is a big down for Sabathia.

Health is another issue for Sabathia. MLB tweeted that CC is healthy and is ready for Spring Training. I hope they're right but we can't believe it until we see it.

What we've seen from CC in 2013 and 2014 is not good. In 2013 he pitched to a good 14 wins but had 13 losses and pitched to a way to high 4.78 ERA. 2013 was a horrific year for the Yankees and didn't really have a guy besides him to lead their rotation.

That was one of the reasons why the Yankees didn't make the playoffs in 2013. 2014 he had limited time and got injured in May. In 2014 he went 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA. These numbers from Sabathia are not making fans feel better about our rotation.

Lucky in 2014 Masahiro Tanaka was their to save the day. At least until he was injured that was. The Yankees rotation was badly injured last year but still managed to pitch well. Fans can have a sigh of relief since we know we have some good backup starters.

With Tanaka may need Tommy John Surgery and Sabathia not guaranteed to be healthy and if he is not playing well this Yankees rotation may be another problem. That could stop the Yankees from making the playoffs for the 3rd straight year.

Sabathia is going to be the Opening Day starter from what I know. The opening series for the Yankees is never good is what the 2012-2014 season said. The opening series in 2013 and 2014 defined the Yankees year. 2013 losing 2 out of 3 from the Boston Red Sox and in 2014 2 out of 3 to the Houston Astros.

If Sabathia has a successful season in 2015 that will be the a key to open the door to the 28th Yankees championships. In Spring Training we can see if he'll be back to his old better self or the way he was the past two years. Only time will tell what happens next.

Should New York Extend Pineda & Eovaldi Now?

The New York Yankees made headlines last offseason when they extended one of their own in Brett Gardner to a deal before his current deal expired. This sent shockwaves through the organization due to the fact that the Yankees had a long unwritten rule that the team refused to even negotiate with a player before their current deals were up. The team didn’t do it for Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte or Jorge Posada but they did it for Gardner. With that now archaic rule in the past should New York and Brian Cashman take advantage of his new found freedom to lock up Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi now?

Pineda came over with five years of team control left on his deal when Seattle sent him to New York for Jesus Montero (with other pieces involved obviously) and two of those seasons went by the wayside due to injury. New York finally got a glimpse into their future in 2014 with Pineda who showed that when he was on the mound he could still absolutely dominate hitters. Young pitching, especially young power pitching, is not hitting the free agent market anymore and is becoming harder and harder to find making Pineda almost a no-brainer to extend a four or five year deal to. Pineda’s remaining arbitration years could be bought out and the Yankees could buy a year or two of his free agency and Pineda would still be 30 years old as a free agent making the deal attractive to both sides.

The same could be said for Eovaldi who is just 25 years old. His case is not as much of a slam dunk since the team does not know what they will be getting from the fire throwing right hander, especially coming from the NL East and going to the AL East, but it may be a risk worth taking. Once again it’s hard to find young power pitching that can touch 98-100 MPH. Eovaldi has had his problems in the past, leading the NL in hits allowed in 2014 for example, and it’s definitely a high risk situation but it could also be a high reward situation. Eovaldi would not be the first, nor the last, to add movement, command, a new pitch, whatever to his repertoire later in his career and be successful. Whether it happens or not remains to be seen but if it happens before the team extends him the price tag only goes up.

Whether Cashman pulls the trigger on these extensions or not remains to be seen but in my personal opinion I think it makes too much sense not to extend at least Pineda before the 2015 season. 

The Ultimate “Get Greedy” Team

If money were no object and we were playing the game like we sometimes play on Playstation what team would you put together if you could? I’m talking about a team of All Star’s from both leagues making up a 25 man roster, a true fantasy draft. I’m bored, this offseason is truly getting to me, so I compiled my own list and frankly, I don’t think this team loses a game. That may be in part to the watered down rosters of the rest of the teams but what can you do. What’s yours? Leave it in the comments box.

Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt has to be the first baseman on this team and I don’t even think it’s all that close. Sure I could make the case for Jose Abreu, and I probably should have given him more thought, but I just really like what Goldschmidt brings to the table in a full and healthy season. My second baseman, after a long consideration, has to go to Robinson Cano even with seemingly dwindling power numbers and a broken toe in Seattle. My shortstop is Troy Tulowitzki, injury history and bad hip and all, because he is far and away the best shortstop. Even with him playing a half a season he is still accumulating more WAR then most, sometimes all, shortstops who play 162 games and something can be said about that. My infield is closed out with the Toronto Blue Jay’s newest toy Josh Donaldson who is probably the best third baseman in the league right now. No disrespect to Pablo Sandoval or any of the others but Donaldson’s numbers in a very pitching friendly Oakland Coliseum truly scare me as a Yankees fan with him now in Toronto. Finally I need a catcher and there are more than a few I could have chosen here including the Yankees own Brian McCann but I think I will have to go with a former Yankee for the spot, and a current Toronto Blue Jay, in Russell Martin to finish out the offense.

Starting with the obvious players I go to my outfield where I have Mike Trout, Giancarlo Stanton, and Andrew McCutchen. I don’t think anyone can make a case for any of these three leaving the starting outfield and moving to the bench, not even Carlos Gomez who I probably place on my bench after a strong 2014 season. My DH has to go to Nelson Cruz right now after leading all of baseball with 40 home runs in 2014 narrowly edging out, in my mind anyway, Victor Martinez and David Ortiz. Joining Gomez and Cruz on the bench has to be Jose Altuve after narrowly missing out on the starting second base job to Cano after winning a batting title with the Houston Astros. I personally want a true backup first baseman on the team which leaves me with Abreu from the Chicago White Sox. I finish my bench off with someone who may not be the sexy name you’re looking for but someone who can play all over the diamond and that man in Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals. Rendon makes my team over Miguel Cabrera and others for the simple fact that I can move him everywhere around the field and not sacrifice defense anywhere. I’m building a team, not a Home Run Derby.

Pitching begins and ends with Clayton Kershaw, it just has to, with the likes of Felix Hernandez, Madison Bumgarner, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale finishing out the rotation. Craig Kimbrel highlights the back end of my bullpen while Adam Wainwright and Corey Kluber join my pen as long relievers and David Robertson, Andrew Miller (homer pick), Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances finish out the pitching. Nobody is touching this starting staff, no one is touching this bullpen and no one is keeping this lineup down consistently for 27 outs, nobody. 

This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race

The New York Yankees bullpen is absolutely stacked for the 2015 season and beyond. Usually I don't like to post these posts that simply list players and make you scroll four or five times down the screen to read a single article but I think that sort of post emphasizes my point here. Brian Cashman has essentially stock piled a ton, an absolute ton, of bullpen arms for Joe Girardi's disposal and use for the foreseeable future. These are the men that could make impacts in 2015 and beyond, the list is impressive.

Dellin Betances
Andrew Miller
David Carpenter
Esmil Rogers
Gonzalez Germen (if he clears and returns)
Justin Wilson
Chasen Shreve
Adam Warren
Danny Burawa
Chris Martin
Branden Pinder
Jose Ramirez
Chase Whitley
Jacob Lindgren
Nick Goody
Nick Rumbelow
Tyler Webb
Mark Montgomery
James Pazos
Chris Capuano
Jose De Paula
Bryan Mitchell
Ivan Nova
Luis Severino

*PS: The title is a Fallout Boy reference.

The Complete List of Arbitration Eligible Players

The deadline has come and gone for players to file for arbitration and now it’s up to the teams and the players to come to a middle ground before it goes to arbitration. The New York Yankees haven’t had a case go to arbitration since the 2008 season where they actually saved money with Chein-Ming Wang and it is unlikely that New York see’s the inside of a court room this season either. Here is the complete list of every single arbitration eligible player to file before the deadline in 2015.


BALTIMORE (10) — Zach Britton, lhp; Chris Davis, 1b; Alejandro de Aza, of; Ryan Flaherty, inf; Miguel Gonzalez, rhp; Brian Matusz, lhp; Bud Norris, rhp; Steve Pearce, 1b; Chris Tillman, rhp; Matt Wieters, c.
BOSTON (4) — Wade Miley, lhp; Daniel Nava, of; Rick Porcello, rhp; Junichi Tazawa, rhp.
CHICAGO (5) — Tyler Flowers, c; Javy Guerra, rhp; Nate Jones, rhp; Hector Noesi, rhp; Jeff Samardzija, rhp.
CLEVELAND (6) — Carlos Carrasco, rhp; Lonnie Chisenhall, 3b; Brandon Moss, 1b; Marc Rzepczynski, lhp; Bryan Shaw, rhp; Josh Tomlin, rhp.
DETROIT (4) — Al Alburquerque, rhp; J.D. Martinez, of; David Price, lhp; Alfredo Simon, rhp.
HOUSTON (7) — Chris Carter, dh; Jason Castro, c; Hank Conger, c; Carlos Corporan, c; Dexter Fowler, of; Marwin Gonzalez, ss; Tony Sipp, lhp.
KANSAS CITY (9) — Lorenzo Cain, of; Louis Coleman, rhp; Tim Collins, lhp; Danny Duffy, lhp; Jarrod Dyson, of; Kelvin Herrera, rhp; Greg Holland, rhp; Eric Hosmer, 1b; Mike Moustakas, 3b.
LOS ANGELES (8) — Drew Butera, c; Collin Cowgill, of; David Freese, 3b; Matt Joyce, of; Cesar Ramos, lhp; Garrett Richards, rhp; Fernando Salas, rhp; Hector Santiago, lhp.
MINNESOTA (6) — Brian Duensing, lhp; Casey Fien, rhp; Tommy Milone, lhp; Eduardo Nunez, ss; Trevor Plouffe, 3b; Jordan Schafer, of.
NEW YORK (3) — David Carpenter, rhp; Nathan Eovaldi, rhp; Michael Pineda, rhp.
OAKLAND (8) — Fernando Abad, lhp; Ryan Cook, rhp; Sam Fuld, of; Craig Gentry, of; Brett Lawrie, 3b; Jarrod Parker, rhp; Josh Reddick, of; Eric Sogard, 2b.
SEATTLE (6) — Dustin Ackley, of; Charlie Furbush, lhp; Austin Jackson, of; Logan Morrison, 1b; Justin Ruggiano, of; Tom Wilhelmsen, rhp.
TAMPA BAY (8) — Alex Cobb, rhp; Logan Forsythe, 2b; John Jaso, c; Desmond Jennings, of; Kevin Jepsen, rhp; Jake McGee, lhp; Rene Rivera, c; Drew Smyly, lhp.
TEXAS (3) — Ross Detwiler, lhp; Neftali Feliz, rhp; Mitch Moreland, 1b.
TORONTO (5) — Brett Cecil, lhp; Josh Donaldson, 3b; Marco Estrada, rhp; Michael Saunders, of; Danny Valencia, 3b.

ARIZONA (3) — Jeremy Hellickson, rhp; Addison Reed, rhp; Mark Trumbo, of-1b.
ATLANTA (2) — Mike Minor, lhp; James Russell, lhp.
CHICAGO (7) — Jake Arrieta, rhp; Welington Castillo, c; Chris Coghlan, of; Felix Doubront, lhp; Pedro Strop, rhp; Luis Valbuena, 3b; Travis Wood, lhp.
CINCINNATI (5) — Aroldis Chapman, lhp; Zack Cozart, ss; Todd Frazier, 3b; Mike Leake, rhp; Devin Mesoraco, c.
COLORADO (8) — Rex Brothers, lhp; Jhoulys Chacin, rhp; Tyler Chatwood, rhp; Jordan Lyles, rhp; Mike McKenry, c; Adam Ottavino, rhp; Wilin Rosario, c; Drew Stubbs, of.
LOS ANGELES (4) — Chris Heisey, of; Kenley Jansen, rhp; Juan Nicasio, rhp; Justin Turner, inf.
MIAMI (7) — Henderson Alvarez, rhp; Steve Cishek, rhp; Aaron Crow, rhp; Mike Dunn, lhp; Dee Gordon, 2b; Mat Latos, rhp; David Phelps, rhp.
MILWAUKEE (2) — Martin Maldonado, c; Gerardo Parra, of.
NEW YORK (5) — Lucas Duda, 1b; Dillon Gee, rhp; Jenrry Mejia, rhp; Daniel Murphy, 2b; Ruben Tejada, ss.
PHILADELPHIA (2) — Domonic Brown, of; Ben Revere, of.
PITTSBURGH (12) — Pedro Alvarez, 3b-1b; Antonio Bastardo, lhp; Francisco Cervelli, c; Josh Harrison, 3b; Jared Hughes, rhp; Mark Melancon, rhp; Sean Rodriguez, inf-of; Travis Snider, of; Chris Stewart, c; Neil Walker, 2b; Tony Watson, lhp; Vance Worley, rhp.
ST. LOUIS (4) — Peter Bourjos, of; Tony Cruz, c; Jon Jay, of; Lance Lynn, rhp.
SAN DIEGO (7) — Yonder Alonso, 1b; Alexi Amarista, ss; Andrew Cashner, rhp; Shawn Kelley, rhp; Ian Kennedy, rhp; Tyson Ross, rhp; Dale Thayer, rhp.
SAN FRANCISCO (5) — Brandon Belt, 1b; Gregor Blanco, of; Brandon Crawford, ss; Casey McGehee, 3b; Yusmeiro Petit, rhp.

WASHINGTON (9) — Jerry Blevins, lhp; Tyler Clippard, rhp; Danny Espinosa, 2b; Doug Fister, rhp; Jose Lobaton, c; Wilson Ramos, c; Craig Stammen, rhp; Drew Storen, rhp; Stephen Strasburg, rhp.

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/15: No Mas #UNTUCK

On this day in 2013 the Yankees saw their shirt get #UNTUCK (grammatical error I know but you get the point) and land in Washington as former Yankees closer Rafael Soriano agreed to a two year deal worth $28 million to close games for the Nationals. Soriano was coming off of a league leading 45 saves for the Rays in 2011 and 42 saves for the Yankees after filling in for Mariano Rivera after his ACL injury.

Also on this day in 1958 the Yankees announced that an unprecedented 140 games would be televised this season on local channel WPIX. You obviously had to buy a package and the deal for the Yankees was worth more than $1 million. The decision to televise so many games, including 63 road games, started when the Dodgers and the Giants high tailed it to California. Good call if you ask me.