Friday, October 30, 2015

World Series Game Three Open Thread

Two down, potentially five more to go. Let's not get ahead of ourselves though, it's World Series Game Three as the series shifts to Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets. The Tuesday game goes over five hours and well into the night but when we have a Friday night game it will be over by 11:00 pm ET, book it.

The Free Agency Royal Rumble Returns – Infielders

For the first time in Free Agency Royal Rumble history an incumbent member of the New York Yankees will have his job on the line as both Dustin Ackley and Robert Refsnyder will be in the rumble. Joining Refsynder and Ackley in the rumble will be the Kansas City Royals second baseman Ben Zobrist, the Los Angeles Dodgers second basemen Chase Utley and Howie Kendrick and the incumbent Yankees second baseman, Mr. Stephen Drew.

Howie Kendrick was taken out and backstabbed almost immediately by Chase Utley on an errant slide into the ropes leaving the field at five. Utley hurt himself on the slide, he is 37-years old after all, and was easily eliminated by Stephen Drew who was stat padding his stats in garbage time leaving the field at four. Ben Zobrist felt excited looking at the field remaining, especially considering he is not linked to draft pick compensation but the Yankees threesome quickly took advantage of his head in the clouds, and bulky contract that in my opinion he will never live up to at 35-years old and after all the hype he received in Oakland, and eliminated him.

In a shocking turn of events the Yankees Three, that’s what they are now calling themselves, left the ring hand-in-hand-in-hand leaving the Yankees with all three of them for the 2016 season. According to reports, reports I am making up for the purpose of this post and for fun, Drew will ride the bench and be the backup to Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley while both Ackley and Refsnyder will platoon at second base. When Refsnyder is at second Ackley will relieve one of the corner outfielders, especially Brett Gardner, to keep them fresh and prevent another second half letdown.

The Free Agency Royal Rumble Returns – Starting Pitching

Last year around this time the blog was in full offseason mode with our eyes, as writers, on the 2015 season. The World Series was over and all 30 MLB teams were making their shopping lists and checking it twice for the winter so I thought this year we would do the same with the return of the Free Agency Royal Rumble. This is a bit of a play on the popular WWE PPV, the Royal Rumble, as we pit all the potential starting pitching targets for the New York Yankees and see which one wins the rumble (and is most likely to sign with the club).

The participants in the 2015 Free Agency Royal Rumble for starting pitchers are David Price, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, Jordan Zimmerman, Zack Greinke and Wei-Yin Chen. Men, take your positions the rumble is about to begin.

Immediately the group begins to wrestle and Zack Greinke, feeling his anxiety kick up and wondering what it would be like being booed off the Yankee Stadium field like the team was during the AL Wild Card Game, throws himself over the top rope and eliminates himself from the competition. The rest of the competitors take this opportunity to work together while they still can to get David Price up and over the top rope before his $30 million expected AAV on the wrong side of 30-years old and his postseason demons and monkey’s on his back make it impossible to take him out. Four remain.

Johnny Cueto walks up to Jordan Zimmerman and takes a peak at the contract he is said to be asking for that will undoubtedly set the market and wants to mimic Zimmerman’s demands with his own. Zimmerman catches Cueto peaking and reminds him of his numbers after switching to the American League and his postseason numbers as he throws him over the top rope to eliminate him. While this is happening Mike Leake, the opportunist, is also sneaking a peak at Zimmerman’s proposed contract demands and gets offended that he won’t make that for the rest of his career, let alone in one contract, and throws Zimmerman over the top rope while he is distracted leaving just two contestants remaining.

Mike Leake and Wei-Yin Chen. Leake has been active, eliminating Zimmerman, but Chen has quietly been sitting back resting and waiting for the opportunity. Chen is an ace in the making but is never mentioned alongside the other aces in this market and that has visibly angered him. Chen rushes at Leake intending to take out his frustrations on the former Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants right-hander and knocks him over the rope and to the floor. The problem is his momentum also carries himself over the rope and to the floor leaving no clear cut winner for the Yankees.

Chen is probably the best suited for the Yankees because he won’t command an astronomical contract in terms of years and dollars despite being American League East tested and Leake is the most likely for the same reasons, just on a lesser scale than Chen. With the Yankees already having a ton of depth, although no defined ace as we stand today, it seems unlikely that either are signed, or anyone in this field for that matter. The Yankees may take this rumble as a sign to stand pat here this winter. 

When Did Bat Flipping & Showing Up Your Opponent Become Okay Again?

Many times I find myself not watching the MLB Playoffs or the World Series if the New York Yankees aren’t in it, I can’t help it but the games just aren’t as interesting for me without a vesting personal interest. This season I decided to go against the grain a bit and watch as much playoff baseball as I could, although obviously I’ve missed more than my fair share, and I see a trend developing that I find to be pretty disturbing, the bat flip and showing up your opponent apparently is okay again.

I saw it happen in the American League Wild Card Game when the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros faced off head-to-head. Carlos Gomez is known to be a confident player, I call it cocky but whatever, and had a bat flip while Colby Rasmus did as well on what turned out to be the game-winning home run off Masahiro Tanaka. I didn’t like it as a fan and I’m sure the Yankees players and Tanaka specifically didn’t appreciate it either, just a hunch. The bat flipping didn’t stop there though as Jose Bautista did one as well in Game 5 of the ALDS. I understand that was the biggest postseason home run since Joe Carter’s walk-off home run against the Philadelphia Phillies but there is a higher purpose at stake here, it’s called respect.

In Game One of the 2015 World Series the Kansas City Royals came from behind to beat the New York Mets on a walk-off sacrifice fly by Royals star Eric Hosmer. Naturally when the winning run crossed the plate in front of his home crowd an emphatic bat flip and helmet toss came along with the victory once again. Celebrating is one thing, disrespecting the opposing team, pitcher and fan base is another and there is a fine line. Bat flips, in my opinion, are crossing that line.

Come to think of it… the Astros lost the series after their bat flips. The Blue Jays lost their series against these same Royals after the Jose Bautista bat flip seen round the world. Are the Royals the next victim of some instant karma? Guess you’ll have to stay tuned. 

Revisiting the Omar Minaya to the Yankees Idea from 2014

Just around this time last year the World Series was just ending and the long winter before Spring Training was beginning with little in the way of news. The New York Yankees had missed the postseason for the second straight season despite spending in excess of $500 million the offseason before in trades, signings and extensions and the fans and the organization were hungry for a new voice and vision. That vision and voice was thought to be of Omar Minaya, the former New York Mets GM, but for some unreported reason Minaya never joined his close friend Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees organization, could he before the 2016 season though?

Say what you will about Minaya but the New York Mets are not in the World Series right now without him. Minaya whiffed, and sometimes he whiffed badly, with the Mets but when he hit on a deal he usually struck it big. The problem was he was not given enough time to see some of those deals and his ultimate plan come to fruition.

Minaya is responsible for drafting Daniel Murphy in 2006 and Mike Pelfrey, Bobby Parnell and Jon Niese in 2005. In fact many of the Mets young pieces that are either being utilized now or were used in trades to acquire other pieces were drafted and signed internationally by Minaya including Lucas Duda and Steven Matz. This in no way is meant to discount what Sandy Alderson has done for the club, many of the young aces you see now were signed and developed under his tenure, but he had a little help building a World Series caliber team by Minaya in my opinion.

The Yankees have basically given one of their top scouts Tim Naehring the vacant job left behind by Billy Eppler but they fell short of mentioning him as the team’s assistant GM. Could Minaya fill that void? As long as he’s bringing another Steven Matz with him then I’d have to say yes. What could it hurt when Hal Steinbrenner likely makes the final decision anyway? 

Weekly AFL Check In: Chaz Hebert

The Weekly Arizona Fall League check in posts continue this morning with a prospect that the casual New York Yankees fan probably doesn’t know, Chaz Hebert. Chaz is a pitcher in the Yankees organization that spent time with the Charleston Riverdogs, the Trenton Thunder and the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders this season down on the farm.

Hebert has basically been the piggyback to Ian Clarkin as he has entered in from the bullpen first after both of Clarkin’s starts this fall. Hebert is not the sexy name that we all salivate over in the AFL but he’s climbing the ladder quickly and quietly and may be a common name in your household before you know it.

Chaz Hebert

G: 2
GS: 0
IP: 5.0
W/L: 0-1
ERA: 0.00
K: 7
BB: 7
WHIP: 1.00

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/30: Joe Replaces Joe

On this day in 2007 the New York Yankees signed manager Joe Girardi to a three year deal worth $7,500,000 to replace longtime manager Joe Torre. Girardi was coming off of a Manager of the Year award with the Miami Marlins in 2006 and beat out coaches Don Mattingly and Tony Pena for the job. Girardi would be the Yankees 42nd manager in their storied history.

Also on this day in 2001 President George W. Bush became the eight President to attend a World Series game and the first since Dwight D. Eisenhower to throw out a ceremonial first pitch. This all obviously came on the heels of the September 11th terrorists attacks. Bush brought the nation back together with his thumbs up and his perfect strike off the mound. 'Merica!