Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Charleston Riverdogs Deck the Halls w/ Tickets

RiverDogs Deck the Halls with Holiday Ticket Packages Holiday ticket packages perfect for a spot under the tree this year  

CHARLESTON, SC – Sleigh bells are ringing and the holiday season is just around the corner. With that in mind, the Charleston RiverDogs have announced special holiday ticket packages now available to fans with visions of baseball dancing in their heads this winter.

“During the most wonderful time of year what better way for fans in the spirit of giving to spread a little holiday cheer with the gift of a trip to the ballpark?” said General Manager Dave Echols.

A RiverDogs holiday pack includes everything a starving baseball fan could ask for during this season of giving. Each bundle includes four ticket vouchers good for any game during the 2016 season, a Charlie or Chelsea holiday ornament to hang on the tree, and the choice of a RiverDogs cap, baseball, mini bat or Charlie/Chelsea plush toy. 

Holiday pack options include a choice of a bundle that includes four upper reserved vouchers priced at $45 and a set of four box seat vouchers for $80.

Fans that find their very own RiverDogs holiday pack nestled under their tree on Christmas morning can stay in the giving spirit and redeem all four vouchers at once or savor the gift that keeps on giving throughout the 2016 season.

As the stockings this season are hung with care, fans can give a gift that reminds us that baseball season will soon be there.

For more information and to order your own special holiday package, please contact the RiverDogs at 843/577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com.

Searching for Minor League Depth: Tommy Kahnle

EDIT: So much for that. The Chicago White Sox just acquired him.

The New York Yankees left an interesting arm unprotected before the 2014 Rule 5 Draft named Tommy Kahnle hoping that his high walk numbers and relative proximity to the Major Leagues would keep him in the Bronx. That plan did not come to fruition as the Colorado Rockies selected Kahnle in the Rule 5 Draft and hid him as the 25th man on the roster and the last man in the bullpen for the entire 2014 season. Kahnle impressed many in 2014 but was seemingly exposed a bit as he went back to bad habits in 2015 leading the Rockies to designate him and three others for assignment last week. As New York continues to search for minor league depth could Kahnle and his inflated walk numbers possibly be headed back to the Bronx, or Scranton?

Kahnle’s walk rate ballooned to a whopping 7.6 BB/9 in 2015 leading him to fall out of grace in Colorado, even as the long man and the mop up guy in the Rockies bullpen. Kahnle walked a lot of batters when Colorado acquired him and survived enough to warrant a spot in 2014, there is no reason why he can’t continue to keep his walks down in 2016. Getting Kahnle out of Colorado and the thin air inside Coors Field should only help the young right-hander. Well that and his mid-90’s fastball that he can still zing up there with relative ease.

Kahnle is a project and the Yankees love projects. There’s no such thing as a bad minor league deal, especially when a “wrong” is being righted at the same time. Sign Kahnle to a minor league deal and see what our minor league pitching instructors and coaches can do. 

Could a Miller/Gardner/Prospects Package Land a Mets Ace?

This was something that was brought up in our comments section that got the wheels in my head turning so a hat tip to our commenter that goes by the name of “Spade.” Spade asked the question “Would you trade Brett Gardner and Andrew Miller in a package for one of the New York Mets aces?” Truth be told I think it would take more than just Miller and Gardner to land one of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard, although it may be a bit of an overpay for Steve Matz and/or Zach Wheeler, so I thought about maybe adding a prospect or two to sweeten the deal, do you make the deal?

Whether we would make the deal I guess is a moot point, it’s whether the Mets would make the deal. In a perfect world and on paper you have to think the Mets would be interested in the trade. Their bullpen was shaky at best in 2015 with Juerys Familia blowing multiple postseason saves and Tyler Clippard being more “wild” that “effectively wild” for much of the second half. Clippard is now hitting free agency alongside Daniel Murphy, Yoenis Cespedes and others leaving a set of huge holes for New York at the back end of the bullpen, in the outfield and at first base. Those holes could be filled by the Yankees with the Mets trading from a position of power, young and controllable starting pitching.

Miller would give the Mets an immediate 9th inning presence while Gardner could slot into center field to replace Cespedes or anywhere else in the Citi Field outfield. Adding a potential first base option like Tyler Austin and another lower level prospect that many haven’t heard of but has upside could sweeten the pot for the Mets. I still can’t see the team pulling the trigger, that’s a long commitment with a lot of money heading to the budget-stricken Mets, but the deal makes sense for both sides.

The Yankees get another young fire ball starting pitcher to add to Masahiro Tanaka, Luis Severino, Nathan Eovaldi and Michael Pineda while the Mets full multiple holes in one move. Don’t start penciling one of the Mets multiple aces in just yet, although the offseason is the time to dream for fans of the team. 

Clayton Kershaw Wants Yasiel Puig Traded…. Yes Please!

Andy Van Slyke was recently relieved of his coaching duties with the Seattle Mariners and in an epic “Half Baked” type rant he’s not going out quietly. Van Slyke got on Frank Cusumano’s show in St. Louis broadcasted on CBS 920 and opened up about a plethora of incidents around the league including that Mariners ace Felix Hernandez is pitching with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament (Masahiro Tanaka and the decision to rest and rehab his rather than have the surgery haters can now please excuse themselves), he called Robinson Cano not only the worst second baseman he’s ever seen in all his years in the game but he’s also a “awful player” as well and Van Slyke also revealed that Clayton Kershaw wants his Dodgers teammate Yasiel Puig traded.

Yes please! Van Slyke’s son, Scott Van Slyke, has been in the Dodgers organization for the past four seasons now and revealed to his father, presumably of course, that Kershaw suggested to the GM that Puig be traded from LA. I’m not saying that the inmates are running the asylum over in Los Angeles and that because Kershaw suggested a traded, reportedly, that one will happen but mixing this with the news that the Dodgers want to shed around $100 million in payroll before 2016 it does make for a pretty compelling argument and blog post. It’s the offseason, the time for dreams, so let’s have a little fun with it.

Adding Puig would bring a Brett Gardner or Carlos Beltran trade, the former more likely than the latter, and bring a right-handed presence to the team. Adding Puig’s defense and arm strength to the outfield would translate much better in right field, and he would be shifted there after 2016 in my opinion, and adding his bat to the lineup solidifies everything. The defense gets stronger, the lineup gets stronger and you would have to think playing besides players like CC Sabathia, Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran and others would calm Puig down and mature him a bit. New York is not the laid back “surfer dude” environment that Los Angeles is and neither is the fan base. Puig would learn on the fly, you can best believe that.

Adding Puig is not going to happen. Unless the Dodgers get absolutely blown away they aren’t going to trade Puig and they shouldn’t. He’s a young and controllable talent and asset to the team. What they need to do is call him into the office, have a sit down and try to open his eyes. If that doesn’t work, then you call Brian Cashman, shut up and take the team’s prospects. 

Forget Wei-Yin Chen, What about Scott Kazmir?

The New York Yankees are linked to almost every single free agent almost every single season, it comes with the territory and it’s the nature of the beast. The Yankees could have four Giancarlo Stanton’s on the roster and if a fifth one became available someone out there would list the Yankees as interested. Whether that someone is the player’s agent who is trying to milk every penny he can out of a team, the columnists like Jon Heyman who want you to click their articles thus keeping them in a job or if it’s the crew over at ESPN, MLB Network and the equivalents but if you want me to be frank about it, it’s annoying.

It’s annoying when a marginal player or a marginal upgrade to the team is linked to the Yankees just because. For example, Wei-Yin Chen. Chen received a qualifying offer from the Baltimore Orioles this season after spending the last few campaigns as the team’s ace. Chen was the ace of the Baltimore Orioles but on about 90& of the playoff contending teams in 2015 he would not be an ace and would not be considered an ace on the Yankees. Despite being at best a #2 or #3 starter Mark Fiensand and others have linked Chen to the Yankees, a team full of middle-of-the-rotation starters that are much younger and that have more upside. Oh yeah, and none of the six or seven options the Yankees already have in their rotation will cost them the #22 overall draft pick in the 2016 Draft.

If you are hell-bent on signing a left-handed starter to balance out the rotation, or a starter in general, then what about Scott Kazmir? He’s also American League East tested, he’s a veteran, he’s left-handed and he’s shown some durability recently after battling the injury bug for much of his early career with the Tampa Bay Rays. Would Kazmir, using the last two seasons as an example, be better statistically than Chen inside Yankee Stadium and for the New York Yankees?

2014 16 6 3.54 31 185.2 193 77 73 23 35 136 111 3.89 1.228 9.4 1.1 1.7 6.6
2015 11 8 3.34 31 191.1 192 78 71 28 41 153 124 4.16 1.218 9.0 1.3 1.9 7.2

2014 ★ 15 9 3.55 32 190.1 171 81 75 16 50 164 105 3.35 1.161 8.1 0.8 2.4 7.8
2015 7 11 3.10 31 183.0 162 77 63 20 59 155 130 3.98 1.208 8.0 1.0 2.9 7.6

Well according to Baseball Reference I have to think the answer would be yes. While Kazmir enjoyed pitching in spacious ballparks out in Oakland and Houston he is also better suited to pitch in a historically hitter’s ball park in the Bronx. Kazmir induces more ground balls and garners more strike outs than Chen does and would come on a deal less than the five or six year deal that Chen is thought to be asking for this winter despite being attached to draft pick compensation. If you’re just not going to be happy without signing a starting pitcher this winter then just make sure it’s a guy like Scott Kazmir and not Wei-Yin Chen. 

Safety Netting, Slides and Streaming of MLB

Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred came up just short of President Barack Obama in his “change we can believe in” speeches when he was first elected to the position of Commissioner a little over a year ago but not by much. Manfred has changed the games in many ways including revamps to the collision at home plate rule, instant replay, all Game 162’s starting at the same time for optimal scoreboard watching, his pace of play rules and many other aspects of the game including expanding the brand beyond just the United States. Manfred is not stopping there though as Manfred, the league and the Players Union are close to implementing more changes for the better to the game.

No longer is Major League Baseball known as traditional or archaic. Expanded netting at all Major League ballparks will be implemented in some way, form or fashion in 2016 to keep the fans safe without restricting their viewing pleasure.  

No longer will your in-market games that are shown on Fox Sports or an equivalent be blacked out, they will not be streamed for your viewing pleasure as long as you have a cable subscriber. You have to watch the game on the computer or on your phone but in years past you were forced to just keep up with the score via Twitter. 

ESPN is going to televise every playoff team on Opening Day (between April 3rd and April 4th) including a Sunday night game between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets to open the season. 

Baseball is returning to Puerto Rico in 2016. This will mark the first time in five seasons the sport has traveled to the island property of the United States and this will also mark only the second time in the past 11 seasons. The Pittsburgh Pirates and the Miami Marlins will play a two-game exhibition series on Roberto Clemente’s birthday to honor the former legend. 

The “Chase Utley” rule is likely on the way as well after the Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman injured Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada on a take-out slide in the World Series. Also Manfred is looking at the instant replay rule that can penalize a player for sliding into 2nd base feet first and coming slightly off the bag with the tag applied. MLB does not want more players sliding head first and risking further injuries so this ruling is likely to come before Opening Day 2016 as well. 

Change is coming ladies and gentleman and it’s going to be for better or worse. If Manfred’s first season is any indication of his next four seasons (and beyond) though I think the game will look drastically different in 2020, and it will likely be for the better. 

David Ortiz Made a Career Against the New York Yankees

After the success of the first syndicated blog post between Section 36 and myself, both members of the BYB Hub, I wanted to stick to the topic of David Ortiz at least for one more article before we delve into the long, cold winter and hot stove season. Ortiz will not have a similar farewell tour to Chipper Jones, Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter in my opinion. Ortiz has made few friends with his outbursts, his bat flips, the slowest recorded time to round the bases after a home run, etc. and has alienated a lot of fans around the league, especially in New York. There is no love lost between the fans of the New York Yankees and Mr. Ortiz, not that there isn’t the respect he undoubtedly deserves hidden away somewhere deep down, and for good reason. David Ortiz had made a career out of beating the New York Yankees, and he’s done it often and done it well.

New York Yankees 224 977 140 254 72 47 158 129 160 .306 .395 .565 .960 469 .324 108
I think this summation about sums it up. Ortiz, thank you. Not for everything you’ve done but for walking away from the game presumably with something left in the tank. You killed us many, many times and none of us will be sad to see you go. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 11/24: NOTHING

Nada, Rien, ingenting, ei mitään , niente, nihil, niets, nashim, nai, gar nichts, nothing.

Not a single MVP Award, Rookie of the Year award, free agent signing, trade, death, nothing. Just another day in Yankees land.

Carry on.