Friday, January 30, 2015

Yankees Sign Scott Baker to Minor League Deal

The New York Yankees have added a bit of starting pitching depth to stash in Triple-A today when they signed Scott Baker to a minor league deal. Baker will receive an invitation to Spring Training camp this year but is likely nothing more than insurance at the lower levels for New York.

Baker is not going to win you 15 games like he did in 2009 but there might be something left in the tank and there is no such thing as a bad minor league deal. Welcome to the family Scott.

Miami went all out for Ichiro

The Miami Marlins announced their one year deal with Ichiro Suzuki this week making the one year and $2 million deal official. Miami went all out to make their new 41 year old fourth outfielder feel welcome as the team made an 18 hour journey to Japan to announce the deal.

Five team executives made the 18 hour flight to Japan in an effort to make a strong first impression to Ichiro and to welcome him to their family. Ichiro was said to be humbled and energized by the gesture and was quoted as saying “I feel incredible enthusiasm. My feeling then was that somehow I really wanted to respond to their enthusiasm. That’s also a very good driving force to be a good player for this team. Now what I needs to do is prepare for this great season I’m anticipating.”

Ichiro will be the first Japanese born player in the Marlins franchise history after starting his career off in Seattle with the Mariners before being traded to the New York Yankees in 2012. Suzuki is a 10 time All-Star and a mere 156 hits away from the 3,000 hit mark in the United States.

Suzuki will join Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna in the Marlins outfield and will join an ever growing list of newcomers to the team including Dee Gordon, Michael Morse, Mat Latos, Dan Haren, David Phelps and Martin Prado. 

Would it be better to cut your losses?

Would it be better for the New York Yankees to simply cut their losses, write Alex Rodriguez a check for $61 million and ask him to go away quietly? This circus that is surrounding the team right now, which will only get worse if the team flat out refuses to pay Rodriguez his $6 million bonus for tying Willie Mays, may be worth writing the check and cleaning their hands of the situation.

New York is sliding down a slippery slope, and you know it’s true when the MLB Players Association is willing to back Rodriguez even after he sued them last season, when refusing to pay a player for something that is stipulated in their contract. This not only hurts the team fiscally but it hurts the team on the field, A Rod doesn’t need any more distractions in his life right now, and it hurts their image across the league and with the fans.

The Yankees biggest advantage is definitely fiscal as the team seemingly has more money to spend, if they so choose, than anyone else in the league. The Yankees brand is bigger than any other brand in the world and for the team to stoop down to this level does not look good for the current fans, future fans or the brand.

Cut your ties, write the check and let him go. Open the roster spot for Jose Pirela or Robert Refsnysder and continue to get younger, more versatile and overall better. 

The Need for a “Defined” Closer

Here we are just two days away from the beginning of February, and Prospects Month on the blog in case you needed a reminder, and the New York Yankees still don’t know who the team’s closer is going to be. Gone is David Robertson after signing with the Chicago White Sox this offseason and gone into the sunset are the days of Mariano Rivera. What the team is now left with is Andrew Miller, probably the team’s biggest free agent signing this winter, and Dellin Betances. Neither of these men have much closing experience, although Robertson didn’t have much before 2014 and pitched admirably in the role, so would the Yankees be better off signing a defined one inning closer? In a word, yes.

The good news for the Yankees is that even this late in the game there are more than a few capable closers out there on the free agent market. Both Rafael Soriano and Francisco Rodriguez have shown that they can handle the market and the fans in New York with the Yankees and the Mets respectively and both could be had for cheap(er) one year deals.

The thing that makes both Betances and Miller special, besides the fact that they absolutely dominate any and every batter that the opposing teams puts up to the plate, is that they can pitch anywhere in the game and for multiple innings. Sometimes a game can be “saved”, whether the statistics reflect it or not, or “held” in the bottom of the sixth, the top of the seventh, or the bottom of the eighth inning. Taking away the “fireman” role from these two men would be the equivalent of taking our fastest runner or best defender, Brett Gardner or Mark Teixeira respectively, and making them the DH for the upcoming season.

New York has made it their goal to have the best and deepest bullpen in the game in 2015 and it is a great plan but the plan is not complete without a defined 9th inning closer in my opinion. 

TGP Daily Poll: Ichiro Will Not Reach 3,000 Hits in 2015

Ichiro Suzuki signed a one year deal with the Miami Marlins for the 2015 season. Barring a major injury in the Miami outfield early in the season there is no way Ichiro will reach the 3,000 hit mark this season. Ichiro is 156 hits shy of the record.

Vote in our prediction poll on knoda. 

RiverDogs Announce Four Special Packages for Valentine’s Day

Here is the press release:

Romantic dinner-date for two at The Joe highlights the holiday bundles in 2015

CHARLESTON, SC – Make this Valentine’s Day one to remember and surprise your sweetheart with a very special delivery from Charlie T. RiverDog.

Cupid’s big day is right around the corner and with that the Charleston RiverDogs announce their special Valentine’s Day packages.

“Love is always in the air this time of year,” said General Manager Dave Echols, “these packages allow everyone, whether in love with someone else or themselves, to bring that love to the ballpark this season.”

During this time of love, the RiverDogs are providing their fans four distinct packages from which to choose, highlighted by the new “Deferred Date Package.” For $75, this bundle includes two box seats to a Tuesday RiverDogs game and a three-course feast at The Joe ordered from a romantic menu of ballpark cuisine put together, with love of course, by Food and Beverage Director Josh Shea. Note that the dinner is NOT on Valentine’s Day, but on a specified Tuesday “Date Night” game at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. The lovebirds will choose from items such as the Out of the Ball Park Garden Salad, Sassy Jerk Chicken Sausage and Deep Fried Oreo Churros listed on the special menu.

Other bundles offered include “For Him,” and “For Her” packages which come with four upper reserved vouchers and two gifts for $50 and a special “Lonely Heart’s” package with one upper reserved voucher, one frozen dinner, and one pint of ice cream for $20.

Loveable mascot Charlie T. RiverDog will once again deliver all of the Valentine’s Day packages ordered by the end of the day on Tuesday, Feb. 10 to their Valentines throughout the Lowcountry. Packages will be delivered on Thursday, Feb. 12 and Friday, Feb. 13, pending availability.

For more information and to order your special Valentine’s Day Specials, please contact the RiverDogs at 843/577-DOGS (3647) or online

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/30: The Yankee Years

On this day in 2009 Joe Torre was on CNN's Larry King Live answering questions about his new book "The Yankee Years." The book caused a firestorm of reaction from former players, fans, and the Yankees organization just a week after its release.

Also on this day in 2007 The Yankees agreed to help establish baseball academies in China and sent coaches, scouts, and player development staff over to give a hand. Randy Levine, the Yankees team President, committed the Yankees to help the Chinese Baseball Association develop young talent while also trying to promote baseball to a community that does not know baseball.