Saturday, December 5, 2015

Nine Reasons Why a Jason Heyward Signing Doesn’t Necessarily Make Sense for the Yankees

Jacoby Ellsbury
Carlos Beltran
Brett Gardner
Aaron Hicks
Aaron Judge
Tyler Austin
Ben Gamel
Slade Heathcott

Mason Williams

There is such a thing as too much depth and too many warm bodies vying for one position and I think the Yankees have that with this stable of men. There are just too many outfielders, barring a trade or three, to justify bringing in a Justin Upton or Jason Heyward. 

Then again it's still awfully early in the offseason...

Comparing the Yankees & Orioles Lineups

The Baltimore Orioles may have been the biggest underachieving team in the entire American League in 2015. Many had the defending American League East champions not only winning the division again in 2015 but many had the team making a deep run into the postseason despite the loss of Nelson Cruz at the DH position. Chris Davis bounced back in a big way and Manny Machado had a relatively healthy and productive season while Adam Jones battled injuries for much of the second half. Matt Wieters though did not bounce back from his Tommy John surgery the way the team had hoped and JJ Hardy didn’t really either. The injuries piled up and the underperformance did as well leaving Baltimore in third place in the division and on the outside looking in at the postseason. Baltimore was left looking up at the Yankees and left watching the Yankees play for the American League Wild Card. Now Davis is gone, Wei-Yin Chen is too and a slew of others but Wieters is back on a qualifying offer, will he and the core in Baltimore be enough to catch the Yankees and the mighty Toronto Blue Jays in 2016? Well it all starts with the offense…

Brian McCann/ Matt Wieters

First Base
Mark Teixeira/ Ryan Flaherty

Second Base
Robert Refsnyder/ Jonathan Schoop

Third Base
Chase Headley/ Manny Machado

Didi Gregorius/ JJ Hardy

Left Field
Brett Gardner/ Nolan Reimold

Center Field
Jacoby Ellsbury/ Adam Jones

Right Field
Carlos Beltran/ Junior Lake

Designated Hitter
Alex Rodriguez/ Mark Trumbo

Looking at the final tally I have the New York Yankees “winning” six spots out of the nine. Remember, bolded player wins. Baltimore is going to miss Chris Davis and his home run power more than they think they will in my opinion. I can see the Orioles adding a bat via free agency, maybe even a Justin Upton or a Jason Heyward to be honest, but as it stands today this offense needs a lot of help. Big names are gone but so are the role players like Steve Pearce that are not mentioned nearly enough but are maybe just as important to the team as the Davis’s and Chen’s. Baltimore has some work to do and Dan Duquette is likely to put in that work but as it stands today the Yankees lineup, again in my opinion, is far superior to Baltimore’s at many key positions. 

You're A Tool, David Price!

"I think I was just saving all my postseason wins for the Red Sox."
-David Price
First, this is for the Tampa Rays fans, who must be incredibly ticked off at David. In four starts for the Rays during the postseason, Price was 0-4, and gave up 17 earned runs. In fact, his only postseason win for Tampa came in a relief role back in 2008 against the Red Sox.

So what about Detroit Tigers' fans? Well, I have a hard time feeling too bad for them, seeing as how Price threw eight innings in his only postseason start for them, giving up just two runs in a loss to the Orioles. It still sucks for any fan to hear a former player say something like that, but in this case I'm not quite so sorry.

That brings us to Toronto Blue Jays fans. I have no love for the Jays, or more specifically their fans, but Price's words had to sting quite a bit. In David's three starts this past postseason for Toronto, he was 0-2 (that lone win coming in another relief performance), and gave up 13 earned runs. Not only that, but Price allowed the Rangers to score three more runs in a three-inning relief effort. While they still have some bullets left in the chamber, the Blue Jays nearly mortgaged their future in order to get David Price at the trade deadline, only for him to throw like a bottom of the rotation starter. And then Price had the audacity to verbally spit in the face of ever Jays fan.

Note: I can't say how often I'm going to do these posts, but I plan on calling out more tools in the future.

Oh, So Now You Want a Salary Cap?

The Boston Red Sox handed the biggest contract to a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball recently, the whole David Price contract… maybe you’ve heard of it? Price got seven years and $217 million with an opt-out clause after three years. When I got online the next day to read some of the reactions around the league I expected the Boston Red Sox to be praised and for Dave Dombrowski to be elevated to King status but what I actually saw came as a bit of a surprise. The David Price contract brought the “MLB needs a salary cap” voices to the front of the line.

Including the top four major North American sports Major League Baseball is the only one of the four that does not have a salary cap. That sits well with many MLB fans but when you consider that Price makes more annually than every single player in the NFL, NHL and NBA you can see why there may be a little bit of envy going on around the sports world. Price isn’t the first one to ruffle the feathers of the other sports and their players because of a big contract either, MLB owns 27 of the top 30 richest sports contracts across the four major sports according to Wikipedia.

Major League Baseball and their Players Union have it figured out. The cap is not needed. The players are making their money and the owners are making even more money with the split of revenues and profits tilted slightly in the owners favor. The bottom line is this, there is plenty of money to go around and everyone, not just the owners like in the cap leagues, are benefiting from it.

The salary cap will only make the owners richer. Major League Baseball is always wanting to interest more players to come to their game instead of the NFL and NBA, maybe using the lack of a salary cap and the draw of millions and millions of dollars without a cap or floor is just what they need instead of intense commercials and youth baseball programs. Just saying.

The salary cap is not coming to Major League Baseball without a work stoppage, a strike and probably another cancellation of the World Series. You can take that, and your $217 million check, to the bank. 

Yankees Winter Meetings Priority Checklist

Here we are, we’ve almost made it to the first major milestone of the winter. The MLB GM Winter Meetings in Nashville, TN. This is where most of the activity usually goes down during the winter. This is where the trades are made and this is the week that most of the big-money free agents wait for before fielding or signing off on offers. David Price jumped the gun a bit and so did Zack Greinke but there are plenty of big names still left on the board for Brian Cashman and his brain trust to look at this week. Will Cashman bring in any talent either via free agency or via trade and does Cashman have a plan? Just in case he doesn’t I made him a little check list to carry around with him this week in Nashville.

Starting Rotation
The starting rotation should be the priority this week, either sorting the starting five or improving on the starting five. The Yankees conceivably have seven options vying for just five starting rotation spots, you know the names, and lots of young pitching is said to be available including Shelby Miller, Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco to name a few. I can’t see the Yankees making a free agent signing though, especially after the Ryan Zimmermann, Zack Greinke and David Price contracts.

The bullpen was an obvious strength in 2015 but it can be better in 2016 with another signing or two. The Yankees just don’t know what they will get out of Chasen Shreve heading into next season, the first half version or the second half version, so adding another arm or two (Darren O’Day por favor) would be ideal for New York. Well that and holding onto Andrew Miller.

Minor League Deals
There is no such thing as a bad minor league deal. The cost is relatively small in terms of dollars, years and commitment. Rarely do you see a multi-year deal for a minor league player and many of the deals have splits in them now paying a certain salary, usually the league minimum, for minor league time while the player can achieve an entirely new salary if he reaches the Major Leagues. These veteran Triple-A signings rarely have any bearing on the season but they don’t hurt to have, especially on an aging, veteran and injury prone team in recent seasons.

No Knee Jerk Reactions
Who cares what the Red Sox and Blue Jays are doing? The team is finally getting the contracts of CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran off the books. Don’t add more of them we’re going to regret later.

Comparing the Yankees & Rays Lineups

We’ve had so much success in comparing the lineup for the New York Yankees to both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays that I decided to compare the Bronx Bombers to the rest of the American League East as well. That continues this afternoon with a comparison of the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays struggled to put runs on the board in 2015 and relied heavily on their pitching, led by Chris Archer and Nathan Karns. Karns is gone and Brad Miller is in, will that improve the Rays offense and put to bed their offensive woes that kept them in fourth place in the AL East in 2015? Not likely but let’s take a look anyway.

Brian McCann/ Rene Rivera

First Base
Mark Teixeira/ James Loney

Second Base
Robert Refsnyder/ Logan Forsythe

Third Base
Chase Headley/ Evan Longoria

Didi Gregorius/ Brad Miller

Left Field
Brett Gardner/ Desmond Jennings

Center Field
Jacoby Ellsbury/ Kevin Kiermaier

Right Field
Carlos Beltran/ Steven Souza Jr. 

Designated Hitter
Alex Rodriguez/ Logan Morrison

Looking at the final tally I have the New York Yankees “winning” six spots out of the nine. Remember, bolded player wins. The Rays offense stunk up the joint for much of the 2015 season but the team stuck around in the second Wild Card chase despite it all. The Rays are now trading from a position of power, prospects and pitching, in hopes of improving the offense a bit. As it stands right now, and again we will do another one of these before the 2016 season begins after the free agency dust begins to settle, the Rays offense is only marginally better than it was in 2015. The pitching, in my opinion, took a step back both in the rotation and the bullpen. Alex Cobb will be back and Matt Moore should be better but that means very little when you’re losing games 1-0 and 2-1. As it stands today I see a lot of that happening and a lot of, well no probably not a lot of but a few, unhappy fans inside Tropicana Field this season. 

MLB’S Adderall Exceptions Fall in 2015

Major League Baseball, and society as a whole truth be told, has a drug problem. The war on drugs that the government and law enforcement are fighting are against illegal street drugs but there is a bigger and much worse problem here in the United States, prescription drugs. Prescription drugs as a whole are good for those who need them and it’s not the drugs fault, it’s the people who abuse them. The people who Have “anxiety” who ruin it for all the people with anxiety and the people with “ADHD” that ruin it for the people that have ADHD as a couple of examples. Adderall is running rampant in Major League Baseball, although the exemptions for the anxiety and attention deficit disorder drug were down in 2015.

How many less exceptions were made in MLB from 2014 to 2015? One. Just one. When the final tally was made there were 111 therapeutic use exceptions (TUEs) approved for the use of Adderall in 2015. This is down for the second straight year after a high of 119 players received TUEs in 2013. 15% of MLB players are legally using the drug Adderall.

Ten players tested positive for banned substances in 2017, seven for PED’s, two for stimulants and one for supplement DHEA. No players tested positive for HGH. Five of the seven PED tests showed that Stanozolol was used, which is the new name for Winstrol that you undoubtedly remember from the Mitchell Report.

Drugs are still rampant in Major League Baseball and an independent committee is not being used to screen for TUEs and drug exceptions. Major League Baseball still has the final say though. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/5: Yankee Stadium and Citi Field

On this day in 2001 mayor Rudy Giuliani announced that he wanted to get new stadium deals in place for both the New York Yankees and the New York Mets before he left office. This was coming off the heels of the September 11th attacks on New York and Washington and was thought to boost morale and finances for New York.

Also n this day in 1984 the Yankees acquired Rickey Henderson and pitcher Bert Bradley from the Athletics for pitchers Jay Howell and Jose Rijo along with outfielder Stan Javier and minor league players Tim Birtsas and Eric Plunk. The Yankees, in a separate deal, also acquired pitcher Brian Fisher for catcher Rick Cerone.

Finally on this day in 1975 the Yankees hired Yogi Berra as their manager after he was fired unexpectedly by New York in 1964 following a 99-63 record and an American League pennant. Billy Martin was also hired to be Yogi's bench coach this season.