Saturday, January 17, 2015

Randy Johnson to enter Hall of Fame as an Arizona Diamondback

Randy Johnson was recently elected into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame as we all know and many wondered what team the Big Unit would go into the Hall supporting. Johnson spent time in Seattle, Houston, San Francisco, Montreal and New York during his career but his time in Arizona apparently meant the most to him, and was the most successful for him truth be told. For that reason Johnson will head into the Hall of Fame wearing his #51 in red and black supporting the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Obviously Johnson was not going to wear a Yankees cap in the Hall after spending just two seasons in the Bronx, although he did win 34 games in two seasons, so this should come as no surprise to anyone. Johnson will be the first true Diamondbacks player to enter the Hall, Roberto Alomar spent time in Arizona but did not enter the Hall as a Diamondback, after winning the first World Series for the franchise among a slew of other achievements and accomplishments.

Congratulations to Randy once again and congratulations to the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and their fans. This has to be truly special and an honor for them.

The 2014 Yankees vs. the 2015 Yankees – Starting Rotation

We have taken a comparable look at the 2014 and 2015 New York Yankees offenses so no better time than the present to look at the biggest question mark for the team, the rotation. The rotation has the ability to be one of the best in the league if healthy and effective in 2015 while also having the possibility of being the absolute crap storm it was for most of 2014. Much of this comparison depends on health and productivity and will be hard to really judge and not guess at but I promise to do my best.

2014 Rotation:

CC Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Ivan Nova
Masahiro Tanaka
Michael Pineda

2015 Rotation:

CC Sabathia
Masahiro Tanaka
Michael Pineda
Nathan Eovaldi
Chris Capuano

Obviously Capuano, in a perfect world, is just keeping the last rotation spot warm for Nova as he continues to rehab and work himself back from Tommy John surgery. You have to think, although no one can confirm just yet, that Sabathia will be better in 2015. Even if Sabathia isn’t the ace he once was you have to think a half season of rest and a cleanup knee surgery will at least help the big man. That and a box of Captain Crunch. Sabathia is a question mark just as much as Tanaka and Pineda are due to their health. If healthy and effective that is a three headed monster that many teams would not like to see in a series or in the playoffs. If they fall under the knife or Eovaldi continues to lead the league in hits allowed it could be a long, long summer for the Yankees. New York no longer has the stability and the stopper in Kuroda and he may be the biggest asset lost this season that no one seems to be talking about. Well they aren’t talking about it yet anyway, let’s revisit this conversation in June. 

A Cautionary Tale & Max Scherzer

The New York Yankees are still flirting with the idea of signing top free agent starting pitcher Max Scherzer this offseason, if you believe Hal Steinbrenner anyway, for what presumably would be a pretty lengthy and awfully expensive deal. If history is any indicator of what the future will look like that might not be a great idea for the Bronx Bombers if they go past, say, five years for Scherzer. There have been plenty of starting pitchers, especially lately with inflated payrolls and television contracts, to eclipse the $100 million mark on long term deals and we are starting to see them now surpass $200 million overall. Most deals have been bad but there have been a few saving graces for the teams interested in Scherzer, or James Shields for that matter, to look at and shoot for.

Remember Kevin Brown’s seven year deal worth $105 million where he averaged just 3.27 WAR per season? Brown’s was the best of the bunch as far as $100 million plus deals go when Brown made two All-Star teams and accumulated a +22.0 WAR making that contract the best of the bunch. Brown’s semi-successful contract was followed by not so great contracts including Johan Santana’s six years and $137.5 million (2.53 WAR average), Barry Zito’s seven year and $126 million (0.43 WAR average) and Mike Hampton’s eight year deal worth $121 million (0.36 WAR average) to name a few. Matt Cain’s current deal with the San Francisco Giants may be another cautionary tale for teams which may be drying up the market for these two top free agent pitcher.

Are either Shields or Scherzer the next Mike Hampton?

For every five to ten Hampton’s teams eventually get one five year and $120 million contract from Cliff Lee. Sure Lee has elbow and arm troubles in 2014 but pitched absolutely fantastic from 2011-2013 accumulating a 21.2 WAR during that span. Also it’s worth mentioning that the Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw contracts are looking good right now but there is always plenty of time for those deals to go awry. CC Sabathia’s first deal worked out well for the Yankees but he opted out after three years of his seven year deal worth $161 million so I’m not quite sure that deal really applies, especially looking at what he has done since signing his new contract.

Scherzer and Shields could either be the next Lee or Kevin Brown, the next Masahiro Tanaka or the next Barry Zito or Mike Hampton. There are more Zito’s and Hampton’s than there were Lee’s and Brown’s though so it may be a bad idea for him to be the next anything in New York. 

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Will Invite 17+ Players to Spring Training

It’s just about that time for teams to announce the list of players that they are inviting to Spring Training and I predict the Yankees will invite at least 17 players to camp in 2015. Most of them will be pitchers.

Vote in our poll!

Yankees Finalize Deal with Stephen Drew

The deal between the New York Yankees and Stephen Drew is now official after Drew passed his mandatory team physical. Drew will be paid $5 million plus incentives for one year to presumably be the Yankees starting second baseman and emergency shortstop in 2015. Drew is coming off a season in which he hit .150 with three home runs and 15 RBI in 155 plate appearances with the Yankees after being acquired on July 31st from the Boston Red Sox.

If you’re looking for a silver lining or an inkling of hope here Drew did bat .253 with 13 home runs and 67 RBI in 2013 as a member of the World Series Boston Red Sox before turning down their qualifying offer, sitting out until June of 2014 and struggling all season long because of the layoff. 

Eury Perez was designated for assignment to accommodate the Drew signing. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/17: Alex Rodriguez Decides

On this day in 2006 Alex Rodriguez announces that he will be a member of Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Rodriguez had the option to either play for the United States team or the Dominican Republic's team, the homeland of his parents, but chose the USA.

Not really Yankees history as much as Houston Astros history but on this day in 2005 the Astros offered Roger Clemens $13.5 million in arbitration after Clemens asked for $22 million. That amount would make Clemens the highest paid pitcher in Major League history and would be the most given in arbitration passing the Yankees Derek Jeter in 2001 when he received $18.5 million.

Finally on this day in 1970 the Yankees drafted Fred Lynn in the January phase of the free agent draft. The Chicago native would become the first player in baseball history to win the MVP and Rookie of the Year Awards in the same season but he did it for the Boston Red Sox in 1975, not with the Yankees. Lynn chose not to sign with the Yankees.