Monday, December 28, 2015

TOMMY JOHN SURGERY: Facts, Myths, Risk Factors and Prevention

TOMMY JOHN SURGERY: Facts, Myths, Risk Factors and Prevention

Nick Maniscalco PT, DPT at The Rehab Report - 4 days ago
During my 18 yrs as a Physical Therapist no topic has induced more discussions with my clients than Tommy John surgery (AKA ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction or UCL). Questions range from "What is it?", "Should I still draft Matt Harvey to my fantasy baseball team?", to "How can I prevent my Little Leaguer from hurting his elbow?". Here is my attempt to satisfy all.      

Analyzing The Aroldis Chapman Trade

When I started writing this I wanted to talk about the reports of Aroldis Chapman choking his girlfriend and pushing her into a wall. Not to mention shooting his gun eight times in his garage afterwards. I wanted to say that what happened doesn't make Aroldis into a horrible person, who shall be shunned forever. Good people are capable of doing horrible things. But it's impossible to put my thoughts into words when I really don't know what to think about the whole thing.

So... yeah...

Major League Baseball is investigating the incident, and Rob Manfred will make a decision on a possible suspension, fine, or whatever. And I believe Brian Cashman didn't just say "meh, whatever" and trade for Chapman. The New York Yankees are one of the most well-known sports entities in the World, and to believe Cashman doesn't know that and is willing to harm their "good" name is ridiculous. 

So I'm going to stop there when it comes to the off the field stuff. And when looking beyond the off the field stuff this trade is a total steal. 

According to Baseball America's Top 10 Prospect list, none of the prospects traded to Cincinnati are in the Top 5. Rookie Davis is actually the #6 prospect in the organization, But Davis has only thrown 33.1 innings above A-ball, and I wouldn't say he "killed it" in his short time at AA Trenton (he went 2-1 in five starts, with an ERA of 4.32).

I wasn't happy to see Eric Jagielo included in the trade, but I'm certainly not heartbroken over his loss. Jagielo is a third baseman, who some think is destined for first base, and corner infielders aren't that difficult to replace. Plus there's the fact that Miguel Andujar, who is a better fielder and finished strong at high A Tampa last season, could be a future third baseman. Meanwhile, Greg Bird looks to be the Yankees' first baseman of the future.

"Yep. I'm the man."

Caleb Cotham is the third prospect that the Yankee sent to the Reds. Cotham threw 9.2 innings for the Yankees this season, giving up 7 runs and 14 hits (four of which were home runs). Caleb could have possibly been a part of the Yanks bullpen in the future, but I don't think it would be a significant part at all.

The last part of the trade was Tony Renda, who the Yankees acquired when they traded David Carpenter to the Washington Nationals. Mind you, Carpenter had been designated for assignment, so Renda wasn't looked at as much more than minor league filler. Renda hit .269/.330/.358 in AA last season, and I have yet to hear anybody saying anything along the lines of "he'll be missed".

Now, I don't have to tell you what Aroldis Chapman can do for the Yankees. I begged for the Yankees to re-sign David Robertson, so that they could deploy the three-headed monster out of the bullpen. Unfortunately that didn't happen, but almost a year later Brian Cashman came through for me. Chapman, Dellin Betances, and Andrew Miller will scare the bejesus out of any and all Yankees opponents next season. If the Yankees have a two run lead going into the 7th inning you may as well say "game over". Heck, even having a one run lead will be pretty darn good.

But will the Yankee starters be able to hand a lead over to the killer threesome? 

Although Masahiro Tanaka was the only starter to average at least six innings per start, I'm confident that Michael Pineda will have a better season than last knowing that his shoulder can hold up over an entire season. 

Luis Severino is looking at pitching only around 150 innings, so he won't be totally let loose next year. But for the most part the team can count on him to hand over a lead to the three-headed monster. 

Nathan Eovaldi averaged 5.7 innings a start in 2015, so I can see the bullpen needing a couple more outs from the bullpen when he starts. Chapman threw more than an inning four times last season (twice in the last month), Miller threw more than one inning eight times, and of course we all know Betances is capable of giving the team more than an inning at a time. 

And then there's CC Sabathia. Daniel recently posted about Sabathia, and reasons to be optimistic about him next season, so I'll just direct you over there. If that's too much for you, let's say that he could be a fine starter next season, and hand over plenty of leads to the three-headed monster next season.

"I think you're a little too trusting."

When speaking of Nathan Eovaldi I mentioned that Dellin Betances is well-known for throwing more than one inning, which led to him throwing a ton of innings the previous two years. Many people rightfully see that as a problem, especially after seeing Dellin's effectiveness go down towards the end of last season. With Aroldis on board, chances are Dellin will not be leaned on nearly as much to giving the team more than an inning at a time. 

It would be nice if Cashman could acquire a better starter, but I have a feeling it won't happen. I hope to be proven wrong, and it wouldn't be the first time, but after talking about those five above I just don't see a strong enough need to pay the price that a young/good starter would cost.

In fact, I'm not holding my breath for anything else "big" to happen this offseason. There are a few teams out there that would probably love to have Brett Gardner, but it doesn't seem like Cashman really wants to deal away Brett, and I don't see any team offering enough for acquire him. 

It would be a shame if this was the last "big" thing to happen, but as things stand right now I kind of like this team's chances of making a run next year.

Image: Aroldis Chapman in a Yankees Hat

The picture isn't official but it will give you something to think about and drool over until the pictures are official and the pinstripes are donned. Have a good evening Yankees family. Go Aroldis!

Remembering 2015:Brian McCann Highlights

ICYMI: George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees Past Part II

Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. That is a quote probably made famous by someone else but one that I use quite often in my day-to-day life. My name is Daniel Burch and if you remember from last Christmas Eve you will remember that I was visited by George Steinbrennerand the ghost of Yankees past. The Boss visited many people that night and many of those people learned the lesson that was brought to them that cold winter night, but some did not. This is the story of those who did not and George’s last ditch effort to save them… before it’s too late.

Once again we set the scene. Same office building, same fire roaring and same rich man bearing the Steinbrenner name that just doesn’t get it. Hal Steinbrenner, sipping on his wine, looks up from his Excel spreadsheet to see the ghost of his father standing in his room. Hal, with that same obnoxious smile and coy look about him, sighs and says to his father “what now?” George is not amused by his son’s tone nor his attitude and responds with an extremely tongue in cheek “Merry Christmas to you too son.” Hal is not amused, he almost seems aggravated at the sight of his father, and looks away to continue working. That’s when he feels his feet leave the ground and before he knows it he is flying out the window, his father by his side, and they are once again traveling to check on those affected by Hal’s poor decisions since taking over the team.

“Hal,” George says to his son while flying to their first destination, “it doesn’t matter what your payroll is you’re still cheap. Stop telling the fans that you aren’t because they know. They are the smartest fan base in the entire world. They know that the Mark Teixeira contract and the CC Sabathia contract and the Alex Rodriguez contract and many of the contracts still hampering the team were given out while I was still in charge, not you. You preached frugality for two seasons in a row only to take a shot at trying to be me. You failed. Three years for a 37-year old Carlos Beltran? Seven years for Jacoby Ellsbury? Do you know what you’re doing to MY team?” The good news for Hal is he didn’t have to wait long as they arrived at their first stop, Mr. Ken Hans’s house.

Ken Hans lives in New Jersey, something that apparently rubs a few people the wrong way, and the Steinbrenner’s are coming at a bad time for Hans. He is in the middle of a fierce online debate which can be heard for miles. Hans is not only typing like a mad man but he is quoting himself out loud as he posts. “The water pistol” this and the “water pistol” that and something about Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, its full blown hysteria at the Hans household. The subject, the New York Yankees and the lack of ability to do much by Brian Cashman. Hans is not a fan of Cashman, he refers to him as the elf, and wants to see the team return back to its glory days. The days when a Steinbrenner got what a Steinbrenner wanted and when the team was expected to win the World Series, not content with a Wild Card berth and a huge blown lead in the division after July 31st. Hans wants the days of simply waiting out a contract to be gone and the days of eating and/or trading a contract to come back to the Bronx. So does George. “See what you’ve caused here, and this is just one of many frustrated households of frustrated Yankees fans” says George. “This is a season ticket holder, well now probably a former season ticket holder, and one of the many that made you who you are today. Without the fans, and without those fans being happy and excited, we are nothing Hal. Especially in New York. Last year we visited disappointed fans, discouraged fans. This year we’re fearing angry fans. Next Christmas Eve do you want to have fans to visit at all?” Hal looks down with shame as the Steinbrenner’s fly off to the next household and to visit the next Yankees fan.

The next stop on this adventure takes the Steinbrenner’s young and old to the house of their GM Brian Cashman. Hal Steinbrenner looked confused and knew where the conversation was going. Hal had just talked to Cashman a few hours ago and Cashman was obviously ruffled when he got off the phone with the new Yankees owner. Cashman had asked for the money for David Price and was laughed at, but not as hard as he was laughed at when he asked to sign Zack Greinke. Cashman was hung up on when he asked to move Brett Gardner in order to sign Jason Heyward and he was simply waved away when he pointed out the fact that Justin Upton was a Top 5 left fielder in the game while Gardner was lucky to be a Top 10 LF in the league. Cashman was given full power by George Steinbrenner before he passed and has only seen that power be taken away once again by Steinbrenner Jr. George and Hal did not talk, they merely listened and let is all sink in. Cashman was on the phone with someone and he was visibly upset. "My hands are tied though. I ask to trade (Andrew) Miller and Gardner to make some room financially and I get shot down. I ask to sign a starting pitcher or piece that we need and I got laughed at. Literally laughed at. I love this team and I would never quit on this team, I am a New Yorker through and through, but my passion is gone." George simply looks over at Hal with disappointment in his eyes as Cashman continues. "I even had to trade Justin Wilson just to make room for Starlin Castro on the roster fiscally. This is a $3.5 billion operation making nearly $600 million in revenue in a year where attendance and YES Network ratings are down across the board. I wish we would start acting like it again." George doesn't have to say a word and Hal is not having fun anymore. As they leave Cashman's study they hear him turn down an offer to go to a rival team for more money because he believes in this team and believes in loyaly. Hal Steinbrenner begins to cry as they head to yet another stop on their tour. 

The final stop on the tour takes the Steinbrenner’s to Hell’s Kitchen to visit a man simply known as Mr. Reed. Mr. Reed is a lifelong veteran and fan of the New York Yankees who, despite his ferocity and angry typing at a whopping five words per minute, knows he’s not as young as he used to be. Reed is a knowledgeable man, although he does struggle with names from time to time, and a good man that just wants to see one more Yankees World Series before he goes on to meet his lord and maker. Mr. Reed, above all, is a patient man. Remember Mr. Reed lived through the later 70’s and 1980’s editions of the New York Yankees and almost snickers when fans complain about going two straight postseasons without a berth or six straight seasons without a World Series. Mr. Reed knows the struggle and the wait in between World Series victories and has learned to cherish them like they all should be cherished. Mr. Reed, much like George, knows that it was the meddling and the controversy that drove much of the mediocrity that followed the post-Bronx is Burning Yankees and The Boss see’s many of those same trends showing their ugly face again. “Hal, I’ve said it many times. Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. Take it from me, I ran this team into the ground once and it was only my ban from the game that allowed the team to turn the farm system around which turned the team, the organization and the city of the Bronx around. It was only then that the dynasty years came to fruition.” George then quickly points out that the ownership driven deals of Rafael Soriano, Ichiro Suzuki, Carlos Beltran and others have not worked out for the team, the organization or the fans. Another common theme amongst the Steinbrenner family and another common theme for Hal specifically, he lowers his head and shame as his father takes him home for yet another Christmas morning.

The Steinbrenner’s barely beat the sun rise home on Christmas Day and Hal is wearing the shame on his face from the previous night. Hal never thought he was meddling and he never truly thought he was being cheap. As far as Hal was concerned the signings of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran had worked out for the team and the team was World Series caliber. As far as Hal was concerned there was no problem with a $3.5 billion franchise wanting to lower payroll and not sign free agents because of a 50% tax levied on each dollar of the contract over the luxury tax threshold. As far as Hal is concerned this team is set to compete for a World Series Championship in 2016. Has Hal learned his lesson and will the Yankees defy the odds in 2016? I guess you’ll have to wait until next Christmas Eve to find out.

Merry Christmas Yankees family. I hope Santa brings you everything you need and most of what you want tonight. I appreciate each and every one of you reading this and I hope you enjoyed the second edition of my novel “George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees Past.”

Yankees Get Aroldis Chapman!

Breaking news ladies and gentleman, the New York Yankees have acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds. More details when they become available but this is exciting!


Per Jack Curry the Yankees will give up four minor league players for Chapman but they will not be one of Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez or another elite prospect like that.


The package is in and it includes Rookie Davis, Caleb Cotham, Eric Jagielo and Tony Renda. Even for one season that's a steal.

Most Popular Article of the Week: New Amenities Coming To Yankee Stadium?

By Eliot Podgorsky SEEN HERE

I have been to 15 MLB stadiums so far, and all have different amenities for keeping game attendees entertained. The Mets, for example, have a bunch of activities in centerfield including dunk an opposing fan and whiffle ball in centerfield. The Diamondbacks have a pool, and the Rays have a ray touch tank. The Yankees only have 3 "entertainment" areas that don't cost extra, Monument Park, The Yankee Museum and a pitching mound. On occasion the Yankees partner with a sponsor for special promotions such as the "Say Goodbye to Mariano Rivera Booth."

The Arizona Diamondbacks Pool

Yesterday I received an interesting email from the Yankees with the invitation to take a survey regarding my experiences as a season ticket holder at Yankee Stadium. The point of the survey seemed to be gathering information on increasing entertainment value of fans and game attendees.

The Yankees survey focused on two entertainment types. "In Stadium Family Entertainment Zones" and "In-Stadium Social Gathering Spaces

In-Stadium Family Entertainment Zones are described as "A number of Major League Baseball stadiums also include a variety of family entertainment zones located throughout the concourses and in the outfield. In stadium family entertainment zones are to be open to all fans regardless of seat location, and generally include activities such as a batting cage, pitching mound, home run derby, jungle gym, and other such interactive games."

In-Stadium Social Gathering Spaces are described as "Popular general fan enhancements have also included the addition of a variety of new social gathering spaces located throughout stadium concourses. In-stadium social gathering spaces are open to all fans regardless of seat location, and provide areas for fans to congregate and socialize before and during the game. In-stadium social gathering spaces generally offer high-top tables and other standing-room-only spaces (including a fire pit area), as well as TV monitors and areas for fans to purchase general stadium food and beverage options.

The Yankees seem to be ready to move on three potential entertainment enhancements.
  • Stadium Terrace - The In-Stadium Social Gathering Spaces. They mention the fire pit area again, they must really want a fire pit.
  • Loge & Group Party Areas - Accommodates 4-8 people in prime seating locations these areas. Think of this as a smaller luxury suite with drinks, catering, TV and more.
  • Centerfield Lounge - This appears to be an expansion of the seats that are above the Mohegan Sun Sports Bar in centerfield. The description mentions areas to "mingle and network", a "chef-inspired menu featuring locally-sourced ingredients" and "in-seat technology" amongst other amenities like TV.
They better put these far away from any A-Bombs and Tex-Messages

All these entertainment areas seem to be catering to the casual fan as an alternative to the traditional game atmosphere.

What do you think of the Yankee Stadium and the Yankees possibly adding more entertainment areas? If you have any questions about the survey, feel free to tweet me @EliotRants.

Yankees Bench: What About Chris Johnson?

The New York Yankees have built a team around youth, defense and versatility recently and the plan is finally starting to come to fruition. The additions of Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro up the middle with the veteran stalwarts Chase Headley and Mark Teixeira at the corners has given the Yankees potentially one of the best defensive infields in recent memory but what about the Yankees bench? At this point it looks like Aaron Hicks will be there as the fourth outfielder, Gary Sanchez will back up Brian McCann and give Alex Rodriguez an occasional day off at the DH position and Dustin Ackley will play all over the infield and the outfield. New York may have room for one more guy on the bench, assuming Pete Kozma doesn't win a job out of spring training, and that job may go to Chris Johnson.

If you look at the most glaring hole on the Yankees bench right now it is the fact that the team lacks a true third base option. Chase Headley led the team in games played last season for that very reason, the Yankees lack serious third base options. Castro is the current backup at third base although he hasn't played more than seven games at the position and those were all in the minors. Brendan Ryan was an option but he was traded to the Chicago Cubs as a player to be named later in the Castro deal and has not been re-signed since the Cubs let him go a mere week later. Johnson is an option for New York after the Cleveland Indians designated him for assignment and released him before working out a deal with another team on a trade. What would Johnson bring to the table?

Johnson is listed as a third baseman and first baseman according to Baseball Reference and he hits from the right side, three checks on the Yankees want list. While New York lacks a true backup at third base the team also lacks a true backup at first as well with Greg Bird in the minor leagues and Johnson could fill both those holes. It would also allow Headley to get more rest, especially against left-handed pitching, keeping him fresh longer throughout the season. Johnson hit .326/.354/.391 against left-handed pitching last year while Headley hit just .283/.335/.408 in almost double the at bats.

Johnson hit much better with the Indians in 2015 than he did with the Braves suggesting that maybe a change of scenery could help the third baseman harness whatever he had during his good 2010, 2012 and 2013 seasons. Something about putting on the Yankees pinstripes can revitalize a guy, even if he's just 31 years old like Johnson. You would think since Johnson passed through waivers and was not traded after his DFA that many teams aren't knocking down his doors so maybe the Yankees can find lightning in a bottle with him. Or maybe they will just bring Brendan Ryan back....

Remembering 2015: Mark Teixeira Highlights

Updated 2016 MLB Draft Order

The Washington Nationals pulled some last minute Christmas shopping last week and signed former New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy to a three-year deal. Murphy was offered a qualifying offer by the Mets and rejected the offer leaving Washington to sacrifice a first round draft pick for his services. This is Yankees-related news because the Yankees move up another slot in the draft while the Nationals have to wait until at least the second round to pick. Let's take a look at the updated 2016 MLB Draft order after the Nationals signed Murphy.

1. Phillies
2. Reds
3. Braves
4. Rockies
5. Brewers
6. Athletics
7. Marlins
8. Padres
9. Tigers
10. White Sox
11. Mariners
12. Red Sox
13. Rays
14. Orioles
15. Indians
16. Twins
17. Angels
18. Astros
19. Yankees

Remember the first 10 picks are protected every single season so every pick from the Phillies pick to the White Sox pick is protected no matter what they do or who they sign. This offseason 20 free agents were offered qualifying offers with three of those players accepting their deals. Two players, Marco Estrada and Hisashi Iwakuma, went back to their original teams leaving nine players left on the market that are linked to draft pick compensation. Theoretically, although highly unlikely, the Yankees could climb all the way to the 11th spot in the draft. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/28: Two New Stadiums in New York

On this day in 2001 outgoing Mayor Rudy Giuliani announced that both the New York Yankees and Mets have reached a tentative deal with New York City to build a pair of retractable roof $800 million stadiums. Mayor elect Michael Bloomberg will ultimately have the final say in what would be the biggest private-public venture in baseball history.