Friday, March 27, 2015

And the Yankees Opening Day Starter is....

And the Opening Day starter for the New York Yankees will be one Mr. Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka will be followed in the rotation by Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi and the fifth starter winner in that order. It is worth mentioning that Sabathia has started the last six Opening Day's for the Yankees and that streak comes to an end in 2015. It's also worth mentioning that the Yankees fourth and fifth starters to start the 2014 season were Tanaka and Pineda in that order. Oh the difference a season can make.

Predicting the Comeback Player of the Year Award Winners in 2015

Every year around this time I begin the season long process of completely embarrassing myself by trying to predict the major award winners, playoff teams, and World Series victor before the season even begins. This season will be no different and I will start the 2015 prediction show by predicting the Comeback Player of the Year Awards for both leagues. I should, and wanted to, pick Alex Rodriguez for the American League side of the award but I feel like most would stop reading and remove your bookmark for the blog so rest assured, it’s safe to keep reading.

For the American League I am going to stay with the Yankees, I’m a homer sometimes what can I say, and I am going to pick Masahiro Tanaka. There aren’t many comeback trail type stories except for Barry Zito’s this season so I will go with the player that is coming back from a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow in 2014. I believe Tanaka, after following the diagnosis and advice of four highly acclaimed doctors, did the right thing in resting and rehabbing the elbow rather than going under the knife and will show the dividends of that decision in 2015. Tanaka has altered his mechanics a bit and added more of an attack to his repertoire with the addition of a two-seam fastball that he will use more consistently and should be better physically. The results have looked great thus far in spring training despite what the stat line says as the velocity is consistent with what it was last year before the injury and the command and control is as crisp as ever. I may be totally forgetting someone and it may just be the Yankees fan in me but I am going with Tanaka as my Comeback Player of the Year in 2015.

For the National League I thought about going with Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals or Matt Harvey for the New York Mets but I ultimately decided on Carlos Gonzalez of the Colorado Rockies. Why you ask? For the first time in his career the Rockies are at least toying with the idea of trading Gonzalez and/or Troy Tulowitzki out of Colorado to a contender. Every player wants to win and having a big season so he can be traded to a playoff contender is the ultimate motivator. Gonzalez has done nothing to make you believe this is going to come true so this may be a bit of a bold prediction but I get these wrong nine times out of ten anyway so go big or go home, just like Gonzalez is going to this season. 

Spring: New York Yankees @ Philadelphia Phillies 3/27

The New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies face off today in their latest Grapefruit League scheduled game as both teams get one step closer to the games actually meaning something and Opening Day. I don’t know why the spring has to drag on for so long but I don’t make the rules and Rob Manfred reads my emails about as much as Bud Selig did, but I digress.

The Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound this afternoon to face off with Aaron Nola for the Phillies. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen locally for Phillies fans on TCN. Enjoy the game Yankees family. It’s Friday, we made it to another weekend. Go Yankees!!

Weekly Check In on Jacob Lindgren

Jacob Lindgren was taken in the 2014 MLB First Year Player’s Draft by the New York Yankees in the second round, the Yankees first overall pick in the draft, and seems to be standing on the doorstep to the major leagues. I have seen many sites keep track of one or a few Yankees prospects weekly, bi-weekly and daily so I figured we would do the same. Starting today and hopefully every Friday from now one we will update you statistically on what Mr. Lindgren is up to whether he is in Scranton with the RailRiders or in the Bronx where he belongs.

Today we start with Lindgren’s Spring Training stats as the young lefty vies for one of the last two remaining bullpen slots in the Yankees bullpen. Lindgren makes my Opening Day roster but I am a self-professed prospect humper and Joe Girardi, self-professed or not, is not. It remains to be seen whether these stats will warrant him a spot on the roster on April 6th when the Yankees face off with the Toronto Blue Jays but with stats like these it’s going to be hard to keep him down for long.

G: 7
IP: 6.1
Saves: 1
ERA: 0.00
K: 9
BB: 2
WHIP: 0.947
W/L: 1-0

The Future Yankees Are More Fun Than The 2015 Version

While I always try to be optimistic about the Yankees' chances of being good, I can understand why some people have their doubts.

"Prove me wrong."

Mark Teixeira's bat is too slow, Alex Rodriguez has had multiple surgeries and is pushing 40 years old, Carlos Beltran is 37 and coming off of elbow surgery, Masahiro Tanaka's elbow could explode on Opening Day, CC Sabathia's knee could give out while getting out of bed tomorrow morning, Michael Pineda's shoulder is far from "great", Nathan Eovaldi has to control that big fastball of his, and the list goes on.

The 2015 season for the Yankees could end with a World Series victory celebration, or it could end after the regular season with them at the bottom of the American League East standings. It's going to be that type of season.

So how about we forget what is going to be a crazy season and look to the future? I'm not thinking a year from now, I'm thinking about two years from now.

After the 2016 season the contracts for Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran will be over with, and I don't need the Long Island Medium or some other future telling con-artist to tell me the chances of them being re-signed hover around "none". And that is after the Yankees can say "goodbye" forever to Stephen Drew and Chris Capuano.

Yes, Alex Rodriguez's contract runs through the 2017 season, so he could very well be around. The way things have gone I think it's a pipe-dream that the Yankees would release him, and eat the remaining $20 million on his deal.

So what does that leave us with? Well, let's assume the Yankees aren't interested in future free agents like Ian Desmond, Justin Upton, David Price, Alex Gordon, Jason Heyward, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmerman, and Jeff Smardzija.

Position (2017 salary/remaining contract)

C - Brian McCann ($17m/signed through 2018)
1B - Greg Bird (pre-arbitration)
2B - Rob Refsnyder (pre-arbitration)
SS - Didi Gregorius (arbitration)
3B - Chase Headley ($13m/signed through 2018)
LF - Brett Gardner ($12m/signed through 2018)
CF - Jacoby Ellsbury ($21.2m/signed through 2020)
RF - Aaron Judge (pre-arbitration)
DH - Alex Rodriguez ($20m/signed through 2017)

SP1 - Masahiro Tanaka ($22m/opt-out after 2017 season)
SP2 - Michael Pineda (arbitration)
SP3 - Luis Severino (pre-arbitration)
SP4 - Nathan Eovaldi (arbitration)
SP5 - CC Sabathia ($25m/vesting option for 2017, dependent on health of left shoulder)

FYI, the total salary for those same positions this season, before taking into account players that are pre-arbitration or arbitration-eligible, is $176.7 million (that includes Chris Capuano's $5 million). The total for those players I just listed for the 2017 team, again... before pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players, is only $130.2 million.

I bet that your eyes jumped back up to that list of upcoming free agents.

Does Spring Training Mean ANYTHING?

When spring training first starts it is extremely exciting as the fans can finally welcome baseball back into their lives. Somewhere around three or four weeks later, at least for me anyway, I grow anxious and impatiently wait for the games to count and mean something. Spring training was designed to get your work in as a player, build arm strength, stamina and get into playing shape for the grind that is a 162 game season. Does spring training really need to last almost two months? Also do the games even really mean anything?

I don't like to speak about a lot of things before my time because anyone can simply do a Google search and become an "expert." Instead I will focus on every season of baseball that I have watched in my lifetime starting with the 1994 season and ending with the 2015 season. I believe this is a large enough sample size to truly determine whether spring training games mean anything other than getting out healthy and alive.

* denotes playoff berth
** denotes American League East title
*** denotes World Series victory

1994 ST: 12-15
1994 RS: 70-43 (World Series cancelled)

1995 ST: 4-8
1995 RS: 79-65 *

1996 ST: 16-15
1996 RS: 92-70 ** - ***

1997 ST: 20-11
1997 RS: 96-66 *

1998 ST: 15-12
1998 RS: 114-48 ** - ***

1999 ST: 14-19
1999 RS: 98-64 ** - ***

2000 ST: 13-20
2000 RS: 87-74 ** - ***

2001 ST: 9-20
2001 RS: 95-65 ** (lost in World Series)

2002 ST: 20-14
2002 RS: 103-58 **

2003 ST: 16-13
2003 RS: 101-61 ** (lost in World Series)

2004 ST: 13-9
2004 RS: 101-61** (one win away from World Series, thanks A Rod)

2005 ST: 14-15
2005 RS: 95-67 **

2006 ST: 15-16
2006 RS: 97-65 **

2007 ST: 14-13
2007 RS: 94-68 *

2008 ST: 14-12
2008 RS: 89-73

2009 ST: 24-10
2009 RS: 103-59 ** - ***

2010 ST: 13-15
2010 RS: 95-67 *

2011 ST: 13-15
2011 RS: 97-65 **

2012 ST: 18-12
2012 RS: 95-67 ** (one Derek Jeter broken ankle from World Series)

2013 ST: 14-18
2013 RS: 85-77

2014 ST: 17-12
2014 RS: 84-78

2015 ST: (record before play Friday) 13-11
2015 RS: ???

In a nutshell, no. These games mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. The earlier some people realize this, the mulch heads (hat tip to Bryan Van Dusen), the better. It's spring training, nothing more.

TGP Daily Poll: Pineda Dominates Philadelphia

Michael Pineda is ready to take the next step in his major league career and finally have a full, healthy and dominant season for the Yankees in 2015. The next step to achieving that goal is to dominate the Philadelphia Phillies this afternoon in spring training, and he will. Four inning and one run or less.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Impressive List of Trenton Thunder Promotions in 2015

Phillie Phanatic, Bernie Williams Bobbleheads Highlight New Thunder Promotions

The 2015 season is right around the corner at ARM & HAMMER Park and the Thunder revealed new promotions that have been added to the previously announced promotional calendar for this season.

On Friday, August 14 when the Reading Fightin' Phils come to town, one of baseball's most famous mascots, The Phillie Phanatic, will appear at ARM & HAMMER Park. After the game, fans can enjoy a spectacular fireworks show.

Fans will get a chance to add to their collection of bobblehead dolls on Friday, September 4 when the team will giveaway Bernie Williams Bobbleheads to the first 2,000 fans through the gate, thanks to Verizon Wireless. It was previously announced that the team would giveaway CC Sabathia bobbleheads on Friday, July 24, courtesy of TD Bank, and Dellin Betances Bobbleheads on Wednesday, August 5, courtesy of Hyundai.

The Thunder will host a special Star Wars Theme Night on Monday, May 4 (May the Fourth Be With You). Characters such as Darth Vader, Storm Troopers and Clone Troopers will be in attendance at ARM & HAMMER Park and Star Wars themed t-shirts and jerseys will be available for purchase at the Thunder Company Store.

Wednesday, May 6 will give the first 2,000 fans, age 6 and older, Thunder Team Pictures presented by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.

Fans can join the Thunder's special Bat Dog Celebration on Wednesday, July 1, when the team hosts the Altoona Curve, by bringing their dog to ARM & HAMMER Park. The first 1,500 fans, age 18 and older, will get Dog Dental Treats, courtesy of Fetch 4 Pets.

Wednesday, August 26 will feature a special 2:00pm start for the Thunder's Business Persons Special. Businesses can access a special group rate for tickets ($8 each) with a purchase of just five tickets. Additionally, the first 1,000 fans through the gates, age 18 and older, will receive Business Card Holders.

During the opening homestand of the season, the Thunder will host a Celebrity Softball Game, in conjunction with Dover International Speedway and Pocono Raceway, featuring the two most recent winners of the Daytona 500; Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Joey Logano. All fans that hold a ticket to the Thunder's game on Tuesday, April 21 against New Hampshire may attend the softball game and see the drivers up close and personal. Gates will open at 4:00pm with the first pitch of the softball game scheduled for 4:30pm.

The Thunder, the Double-A Affiliate of the New York Yankees, will begin the 2015 season on April 9 in Erie against the Seawolves. The first home game at ARM & HAMMER Park is on Thursday, April 16. Tickets for 2015 games are on sale now All Thunder games can be heard on 91.3 FM WTSR and online at

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/27: Hideki Matsui Gets Married

On this day in 2008 at the start of spring training Hideki Matsui made a wager with his teammates on who would be the first to get married. What Matsui did not tell his fellow Yankees players was he already had plans to wed in a few weeks’ time. Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu agreed to pay off their bet after Matsui married his wife on a Yankees off day.