Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Years Yankees Family!

Wow Yankees family, we made it. We all made it another year and here we sit on New Years Eve. Here's to hoping that you did everything you wanted to this season and then some, and if not the good news for you is that you have a few more hours left. A few more hours to do what you wanted to do, say what you wanted to say and burn or repair the bridges that you want or don't want it life. Take it from me, do it now before it's too late.

Happy New Years Eve everyone. Be safe, have fun and forget those resolutions. No one likes a skinny, rich good-nature person anyway.

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/31: #BringBackTino

On this day in 2004 the Yankees agreed to a contract with Tino Martinez for a one year reunion after the Tampa Bay Devil Rays declined his $8 million option. Martinez was coming off a .262 batting average with 23 home runs and 76 RBI's and signed a $3 million deal with New York. Tino played in New York from 1996-2001 and was replaced by Jason Giambi in 2002 before coming back in 2005 to be Giambi's backup.

Also on this day in 1974 free agent pitcher Catfish Hunter ended an unprecedented bidding war when he signed with the New York Yankees. Hunter signed for $3.75 million, which ended up being three times more than any other player at the time, to leave the A's for New York.

Friday, December 30, 2016

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/30: Return of the Rocket

On this day in 2002 Roger Clemens signed a one year deal worth $10.1 million with the Yankees at age 40. Clemens was coming off of a 13-6 season with a 4.35 ERA and states that this would probably be his last season. The six time Cy Young Award winner was only seven wins shy of 300 victories for his career.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens… In the Hall?

I have sent my Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) ballot in and on my ballot I listed a few questionable and/or controversial names. Two of those names were Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. With the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) ballots due on New Year’s Eve the early numbers suggest that I may not be alone in my thought process in adding these two to the ballots. Could we see a year where both Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are in the Hall of Fame?

Ryan Thibodaux tracks the votes for the BBWAA and reportedly he has seen 122 of the 435 ballots come through as of the beginning of the week. According to Thibodaux the pair of historic suspected steroid users are garnering votes at a much higher rate than last year and at a much higher rate than expected. Last year Bonds had 44.3% of the vote while Clemens had 45.2% of the vote, as a reminder any player needs at least 75% of the vote to gain entrance into the Hall of Fame, but this year according to reports the pair each have tallied a whopping 71.3% of the vote to date.

Thibodaux also adds that Manny Ramirez, who has failed a pair of tests during the testing era and was suspended in both 2009 and 2011, has received 32% of the vote thus far. This is surprising and this actually makes me a little weary about what’s to come in the coming years but that’s another blog post for another day.

What a way to kick off 2017. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds… both potentially Hall of Fame players finally. Stay tuned, it may happen. 

David Robertson Reunion Time? Not Likely

The New York Yankees starting rotation may once again start the season with more question marks rather than answers and for that reason the team may once again look to build a super bullpen that can take some of the innings and the pressure off the rotation while locking down some wins. The team already has Dellin Betances, Aroldis Chapman, Adam Warren and Tyler Clippard among others in the fold but rumors have begun to show up regarding the team having yet another reunion with a bullpen arm this winter. Those rumors involve the Chicago White Sox trading former Yankees closer David Robertson back to the Bronx in a deal that may or may not involve Jose Quintana. While Quintana to the Bronx may actually be a thing that comes to fruition this winter it is looking less and less likely that Robertson is closing games in the Bronx as a Yankee any time soon.

The acquisition of David Robertson would undoubtedly give the Yankees one of the better bullpens in the American League once again in 2017. Robertson has had his struggles with walks and making save opportunities interesting in general but despite his seven blown saves in 2016 the former Yankees right-hander did finish the season with 37 saves. At age 31 the White Sox are looking to move the right-hander in the midst of their own fire sale in hopes of bringing back not only prospects but some salary relief as well as Robertson is owed $25 million over the next two seasons. The White Sox may get those prospects and they may get that salary relief as well but I cannot see the Yankees being the team to bring that to Chicago this offseason.

Now New York could always take Robertson’s contract in a good faith gesture to keep the prospect package for Jose Quintana down to a comfortable level but I can’t see Hal Steinbrenner signing off on another almost $30 million in salary. The Yankees are in a Catch 22 here. Their GM, Brian Cashman, does not want to give up the prospects necessary to acquire a talented arm like Quintana but at the same time the team does not seem willing to take on the salary of a Robertson in order to potentially give up a lesser prospect package. The Yankees want their cake and they want to eat it too and that alone will likely keep the team from getting now only Robertson, but Quintana as well.

Just my opinion. What’s yours? Leave it below in the comments section.

Bring Back Peter O’Brien

The New York Yankees are in the midst of a youth movement so wouldn’t it make sense to bring back one of the young guys they traded away not too long ago? I mean, it makes sense to me as there is no such thing as a bad minor league deal so what are the Yankees waiting for? Bring back Peter O’Brien.

O’Brien was the Yankees second round pick back in the 2012 MLB First Year Players Draft and he toiled around in the Yankees farm system until the 2014 season when Yankees GM Brian Cashman traded him to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Martin Prado deal. Prado was nice for the half-season he was in the Bronx but O’Brien was full of potential with his heavy bat and impressive batting average numbers in the minor leagues so losing a talent like his hurt a bit.

O’Brien destroyed Triple-A pitching in 2015 which led to his MLB debut with the Diamondbacks and continued to crush minor league pitching in 2016 but for whatever reason that never translated into much success at the MLB level. Sure in eight games in 2015 he finished with a .400 batting average but in 2016 the former catcher and third baseman managed just a .141 batting average with a .571 OPS with five home runs in 64 at-bats leading to the team designating him for assignment this winter.

O’Brien’s numbers at the MLB level are ugly, no one can deny that, but he’s still just 26-years old and won’t be 27-years old until the heat of the summer in 2017 leaving some upside for the former Yankees prospect. With O’Brien having experience at the catcher position as well as first base, third base, right field and left field the Yankees may want to keep him around at the Triple-A level just in case an injury or three happens this coming season. The Yankees, and specifically manager Joe Girardi, love flexibility and versatility and O’Brien brings a ton of both with his heavy, power-hitting bat.

What’s the worst that could happen with a minor league deal with an invite to spring training? He flops? So what? Now what’s the best thing that could happen? Well he could beat out Tyler Austin for one of the final Yankees bench spots and he could take advantage of the small dimensions inside Yankee Stadium giving the Yankees a legitimate power hitting threat off the bench. All for a minor league deal and potentially $507,500. Sounds like a win-win to me. Get it done.

How Have the Yankees Done in "Star Wars Years"

Okay guys, I know I'm late to this party as usual but I finally, FINALLY, saw the new Star Wars movie recently and I loved it. Truth be told I was never a huge Star Wars movie guy. I watched the movies and I liked the movies but I was not one to dress up as a Storm Trooper and go to conventions and stuff, you know? Recently my son got into Star Wars though and we've been growing our fandom together. While playing Star Wars Commander on our iPads I got thinking about how I could link Star Wars to the New York Yankees. I know the Bronx Bombers have a lot of success in the years that a Democrat is a President of the United States so I got thinking about how well the team did in the year of a Star Wars movie release.

Well the first year that a Star Wars movie was released was 1977. I don't need to tell you how that worked out for the Yankees. Reggie Jackson had three home runs in three at bats in Game Six and had a home run in his final at bat of Game Five to win the World Series and bring the trophy back to the Bronx, despite the fact that the Bronx is Burning.
Episode II, which is now Episode V, came out in 1980 but despite this being a thing in the movie the empire did not strike back in the Bronx. Well that depends on if you follow the whole "World Series or Bust" mantra. The Yankees did finish with 103 victories but the team was swept in the American League Championship Series 3-0 by the Kansas City Royals. Tommy John won 22 games and Ron Guidry won 17 games this season and Reggie Jackson said goodbye to the Bronx just one year later.

Episode VI, the Return of the Jedi came out in 1983 but the Yankees did not make the cut in Jedi training. The Yankees did win 91 games that season but it was only good enough for a third place finish in the American League East. At least the team had plenty of time to watch what was thought to be the final movie of the trilogy.

The prequel trilogy began in 1999 when the Phantom Menace came out and it came out just in time for the dynasty years of the New York Yankees. The Yankees would win their third World Series title in four seasons in 1999.

Episode II Attack of the Clones came out in 2002 but the Yankees were not able to clone their success from 1999, 2000 and 2001. The Yankees won the World Series in 1999 and 2000 and were one out away from another in 2001 but the team did not make the cut in 2002. The team did win 103 games and win the AL East but an ALDS loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim left a bitter taste in the Yankees mouth.

Episode III Revenge of the Sith came out in 2005 and the Yankees were looking for revenge. The year prior the team had lost a 3-0 lead to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS and watched from home as they broke the Curse of the Bambino and the Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was not happy about it. Once again New York won 95 games and once again won the AL East but one again the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim did them in. Another season and another ALDS loss.

In closing the Yankees have had success in almost every single season that a Star Wars movie has been released. The team has won World Series or at worst won 90 games in every single season besides the most recent 2016 season giving New York some hope for 2017, well if the past is any indicator of the future anyway. Well, unless the 2015 movie is the reason for the successful 2015 season despite coming out after the MLB season. I guess we'll have to stay tuned for 2017 to find out. Stay tuned and Rogue One!

Report: Michael Pineda Drawing Trade Interest

The New York Yankees went into this offseason seemingly willing to trade away any veteran or high priced player that wasn’t tied down. We’ve seen it with the Brian McCann trade and we’ve heard rumbles of potential Chase Headley and Brett Gardner deals but what about another player from the team that is reportedly drawing trade interest this offseason. What about the potential idea of trading away Michael Pineda before he gets too expensive or before he reaches free agency after the 2017 season? Would it work for New York?

There’s no denying the potential and the talent that Pineda has. What you can deny is whether he will ever put it all together over the course of an entire season or whether he can get out of his own way, Pine Tar Gate anyone?, long enough to put it all together long enough to have a great career. For that reason alone there will at least be some teams that will be intrigued and interested in Michael Pineda if he were to come available this winter via trade. I believe that a lot of teams could see the right-hander as a one-year stop gap and/or a buy-low candidate this season due in large fact to his peripherals, his raw stuff, talent and his age.

Last season Pineda finished the season with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP, neither of which are very impressive by any means, but when you look at his FIP you can see that according to sabermetrics he was a much better pitcher. Pineda had a 3.80 FIP, a 3.30 xFIP, a 10.61 K/9 ratio, a 3.91 BB/9 ratio and a .339 BABIP (batting average on balls in play) which suggest that his defense, and maybe a bit of bad luck, didn’t do him any favors in 2016.

According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York the Yankees have fielded offers for Pineda but have denied all trade requests to date due in large part to their lack of quality arms in the rotation. Plus it’s worth noting that the Yankees have always been high on his upside and would presumably rather see him flourish or finally figure it all out in the Bronx rather than for another time like we’ve seen far too many times in recent years.

This is it for Pineda though as time is running out on his tenure in the Bronx. Pineda is set to hit free agency after the 2017 season so it’s time to put up, or shut up. Let’s hope for the former and not the latter although it could be either and he could still be traded this summer if the Yankees are out of contention. Stay tuned. 

Welcome Back Nick Rumbelow!

The New York Yankees are at it again, this time they brought back Nick Rumbelow. The team designated Rumbelow for assignment earlier this winter as the right-hander will miss most of, if not all of, the 2017 regular season as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery but the team has brought him back on a new minor league deal according to Robert Pimpsner and our friends over at Pinstriped Prospects.

Rumbelow, just 25-years old, was originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the seventh round of the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft out of LSU. By the 2015 season Rumbelow had already reached the Major Leagues appearing in 17 games down the stretch before hurting his arm just one game into the 2016 season.

Rumbelow had Tommy John surgery this season after going on the disabled list on April 11th so a late August or September call up is not completely out of the realm of possibilities but it is very likely that he misses the entire regular season just to be sure he’s healthy and ready. Either way, welcome home.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/29: Melissa Ludtke

On this day in 1977 Melissa Ludtke filed a lawsuit against major league baseball, the New York Yankees, and New York city officials after the Sports Illustrated sports writer was denied access to interview players in the locker room during the World Series. Wonder if Reggie didn't want her to see the straw that stirred the drink.
Also on this day in 1933 Babe Ruth lost an opportunity to manage the Cincinnati Reds after being denied a release from the Yankees by Jacob Ruppert. Ruth was 38 years old at the time and was coming off a .301 season with 34 HR's and 103 RBI's in the 1933 season.

Also, although this is relatively minor, the Yankees traded Shawn Kelley to the San Diego Padres on this day in 2014 for RHP prospect Johnny Barbato.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Pitchers, Tommy John Surgery and the Analysis of Why

I hope you find the topic of Tommy John surgery, who it’s happening to and why it’s happening so frequently in today’s game an interesting subject because it’s going to be the only subject we really talk about today on the blog. I put a lot, and I mean a lot, of research into this blog post and rather than have it buried in the masses here in a couple of hours and pushed to the second page I am going to give this post the time on the front page it deserves. All day long. It may take you all day long to read it so take your time and really let the information soak in as we take a look at the pandemic facing Major League Baseball right now. Tommy John surgery.

For the sake of this post we took the last 100 Tommy John surgery recipients and pooled our data from that. I felt like 100 ulnar collateral ligaments not only gave an ample sample size for any conclusion we could draw but it’s also a nice, even number that didn’t require a $400 graphing scientific calculator to spit out the numbers I wanted. Lazy, yet efficient. After pooling the last 100 Tommy John surgery victims we looked at certain criteria listed below in the excel spreadsheet in order to see if we could find a pattern, common denominator or something that may lead to figuring this whole thing out. Do I expect to change the world with this post? No, but I’m hoping that maybe I can spark the mind that does and that would be payment enough for me.

MLB Player Analysis has a Google Doc that you can reference online and that is where most of the information below both in the chart and written in this blog post came from so kudos to them. I included certain things in the chart like average fastball velocity, build/frame and other materials as well that I thought may piece together the puzzle as well so if you want to see the original document you can find it HERE. Without further ado here is the last 100 Tommy John surgery victims (at the time of this writing) and some pertinent information that we will dissect below.

Here are a few bullet notes from what we found that I think really can help us figure out what is going on here and why this is happening at such an alarming rate:

*      84% of the pitchers were born in the United States while 8% were from the Dominican Republic, 5% were from Venezuela, 2% were from Japan and 1% were from Australia.

*      82% of these pitchers were age 30 or younger while 18% were above 30-years old.

Now this raises an interesting question. 84% of the last 100 pitchers to get Tommy John surgery (at the time of this writing) were born in the United States. Now Major League Baseball, a sport that thrives on being culturally diverse, has players reach the big leagues from all over the country so why are mainly American born pitchers having the surgery and not players from Mexico, Canada, Korea and other parts of the world having this pandemic with their arms? Why have only two from Japan, one from Australia, 5 from Venezuela and 8 from the Dominican Republic had the surgery?

Is it the throwing at such an early age? Is it the throwing of breaking balls as early as Little League? Is it pitching once every five days in the Major Leagues where Japanese pitchers for example throw once a week? Every pitcher not named Mariano Rivera throws breaking stuff so is it fastball velocity? Or is it merely a coincidence? It’s hard to call 84% a coincidence but let’s keep delving into this and see what we find out.

The final thing I wanted to look at was a pitcher’s frame and how fast they throw a fastball. Some say mechanics may have a lot to do with it but when I see a fluid delivery like Chase Whitley and Ivan Nova undergo the surgery while in Yankees uniforms while pitchers like Aroldis Chapman and Tim Lincecum not going under the knife for elbow ligament replacement surgery I tend to think the windup and delivery has little to nothing to do with it as well. For every Carter Capps on this list you have another 10-20 Nathan Eovaldi’s who simply rear back and throw. Is it velocity? Is it frame? Is it both? Or is there simply no common factor here? Let’s look.

The average height and weight for a man in the United States according to a simple Google search is 5’10” and 195.5 pounds. Common sense would tell you that the higher above that average, up to a certain extent of course, the more “durable” you would be assuming conditioning and such being comparable across the board. Well as you can see there is no rhyme or reason to the pitchers frame either. You have big build undergoing the surgery, where stereotypically the bigger framed pitchers are thought to be more durable, while you also have some, albeit less, smaller framed pitchers undergoing the surgery as well. For the longest times the Johan Santana’s and Pedro Martinez type frames were considered to be a walking time bomb but this excel spreadsheet shows that to not be the case anymore, at least when it comes to Tommy John surgery.

And as you can see, and probably already know without me listing it, you have examples from every part of the velocity map here as well. You have your hard throwers like Nathan Eovaldi and the recently deceased, your soft tossers like Bronson Arroyo and Chase Whitley (and remember Jamie Moyer when you consider whether velocity has any bearing on Tommy John surgery) and about everything in between. They are all throwing off the same mound dimensions, using the same ball, etc. etc. etc. You also have players who have had duplicate Tommy John surgeries, Tim Collins, and players who never spent a day on the disabled list throughout their careers, Bronson Arroyo, on the list showing it’s also not a durability issue. It seems like these things simply just happen. And when you replace the ligament these things can still happen. And happen again.

Onward to the “probably useless knowledge but I wanted to include anyway because I found it interesting” portion of the program ladies and gentleman. Carry on.

*      72% of the pitchers were right-handed while just 28% were left-handed.

*      46% were from American League teams while 54% were from National League teams.

*      28% of players never returned to the Major Leagues after their Tommy John surgery while 19% are still under that 12-15 month window which signifies they are still recovering.

*      If 12-15 months is the general and average time to be out after a Tommy John surgery then 25% of pitchers missed that mark (again keeping in mind that 19% are still yet to be determined and 28% never returned). Only 28% of pitchers had the surgery and were back in the Major Leagues in 15 months or less.

*      44% of these pitchers had Dr. James Andrews conduct the surgery.

So there you have it folks. Are we any better off or more knowledgeable than we were 20 minutes ago? Maybe not but like I said I don’t expect to change the game or the world with this post but maybe, just maybe, I can spark the mind that does with it. One can only hope. I hope you enjoyed reading and I hope this post wasn’t too awful long. If it was I at least hope you learned something from it. Have a great day everyone.

Oh, and please pass this post along to anyone and everyone you think may be interested in it. I put a lot of work and research into this and I want this post to touch as many people as possible. Thank you.

Rise in Average MLB Salary Lowest Since 2004

Major League Baseball players have seen their average annual salaries go up every year basically since the 2004 season when the percent dropped 2.5 percent. Major League Baseball was in the midst of cleaning up the game then and the mega contracts were becoming scarcer but now injuries were almost to blame for another drop in salary. In 2016 the average MLB salary was $3,966,020 which was up just 0.35 percent from last season’s $3,952,252.

As a whole MLB said that salaries increased from $3.58 billion to $3.69 billion through August 31st of last season including those players who were on the disabled lists. That salary figure included 964 players on active rosters and disabled lists which was up from 933 players on the eve before September call ups in 2015.

In 2016 there were 561 different disabled list trips which led to more than 31,500 days spent on the disabled list. Both were MLB records. This led to more young players being called up at the league minimum of $507,500 which kept the overall growth down.

I find it hard to feel sorry for the players even getting paid $507,500 a year to play baseball let alone the ones getting paid multi-millions of dollars annually. I want to add that I am not one of these “they shouldn’t be getting paid millions to play a kids game” type of people or fans, I think that is obvious by my blog name and my work on the blog over the years, but at the same time…. I’d play MLB for $20 if they’d let me. You know? Sometimes your love for the game has to take over your wants, needs and greed for the green.

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.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Trenton Thunder 2017 Coaching Staff Released

Yankees Set 2017 Thunder Coaching Staff
bobby mitchell email

The New York Yankees today announced that Bobby Mitchell will return to lead your Thunder for the 2017 season at ARM & HAMMER Park.

Mitchell, who managed the team to an 87-55 record and berth in the Eastern League Championship Series in 2016, will be joined by Pitching Coach Jose Rosado, Hitting Coach Tom Slater, Bullpen Coach JD Closser, Defensive Coach Lino Diaz, Athletic TrainerJimmy Downam, and Strength & Conditioning Coach Anthony Velazquez.

"I am looking forward to returning," said Manager Bobby Mitchell. "We had lots of success last year because of my coaches, players, front office staff, and the great fan base in Trenton. I look forward to being part of it again in 2017."

The Thunder made their sixth appearance in 23 seasons in the Eastern League Championship Series under Mitchell during the 2016 campaign. The 87 regular season victories is the second-highest total in franchise history and the team's winning percentage of .613 was the third-best mark all-time. Three members of the team went on to make their Major League debut during the season with INF/OF Tyler Austin and RHP Jonathan Holder reaching the Yankees in 2016, while RHP Vicente Campos made his major league debut following a mid-season trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Pitching Coach Jose Rosado returns for his third season with the Thunder. The team has ranked in the top-3 in ERA in the Eastern League in each of his first two seasons as Pitching Coach. In 2016, the Thunder led the league in strikeouts with 1,239 and set the franchise record for lowest team ERA in a season with a 3.12 mark that led the league by 0.36. In his tenure, Rosado has presided over a combined no-hitter thrown by Ronald Herrera and Jonathan Holder on April 26, 2016, and nearly a dozen pitchers who have already gone on to big league careers. The Puerto Rican native was twice named to the American League All-Star team in 1997 and 1999 as a left-handed starter while with the Kansas City Royals.

Tom Slater returns to Trenton as the Hitting Coach after spending the 2015 and 2016 seasons as the Hitting Coach for High-A Tampa. Entering his ninth season as a coach or manager in the Yankees system, Slater served as the Hitting Coach for the Thunder in 2012; aiding a club that led the Eastern League in home runs and slugging percentage.

Bullpen Coach JD Closser returns to the Thunder for a second season in 2017. A former major league catcher with the Colorado Rockies, Closser contributed to one of the most successful regular seasons in the Thunder's history. Closser oversaw the development of catcher Kyle Higashioka as well as aided in the development of a pitching staff that set the franchise record for ERA in a season and led the Eastern League in strikeouts.

Lino Diaz spent the past two seasons as the Defensive Coach for the Gulf Coast League Yankees 1. Diaz enters his fourth season as a coach in the Yankees system following 11 seasons with the Cleveland Indians in various roles and the 2013 and 2014 seasons as the Cultural Development Manager for the Chicago White Sox, traveling with the Major League club for all games as part of the dugout staff. A native of Panama, Diaz will focus on infield defense while coaching with the Thunder. Diaz was a 30th round selection of the Kansas City Royals in the 1993 Amateur Draft and batted .284 in five seasons in the Royals minor league system.

Athletic Trainer Jimmy Downam was born in Somers Point, NJ and spent the last three years as the Trainer for the Single-A Charleston Riverdogs. Downham enters his fifth season as a trainer with the Yankees, joining the Staten Island Yankees in 2013. Downham spent the 2012 season as an intern with the Philadelphia Phillies organization at the team's rehabilitation facility in Clearwater, Fla. A 2009 and 2012 graduate of Liberty University (Va.), Downam resides in Lynchburg, Va.

Anthony Velazquez spent the previous three seasons as the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Charleston Riverdogs. Velazquez spent the 2013 season in the same position with the Clearwater Threshers, a Single-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Prior to his positions in minor league baseball, Velazquez held strength and conditioning positions at the University of Michigan, University of South Florida and University of Maryland.

The 2017 season, the 24th in franchise history, will begin at ARM & HAMMER Park on April 13 when the Thunder host the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox) at 7:00 p.m. Single game tickets will go on sale in March 2017. For more information on the Thunder, or call 609-394-3300.

My Thoughts on Edwin Encarnacion Heading to Cleveland

Another slugger off the board as the dominoes may finally begin to fall in the 2016/217 free agent offseason. The Cleveland Indians got probably the top slugger over the weekend and on a steep discount in my opinion as the team agreed to terms with Edwin Encarnacion on a three-year deal worth $65 million with a $25 million option for the fourth year. Now for a team like the Cleveland Indians that sounds like an absolute ton of money but when you remember what Encarnacion has done to American League pitching over the last few seasons he may be worth every penny, and more. Here are my thoughts on the signing.

The Toronto Blue Jays offered Encarnacion, reportedly anyway, a four-year deal worth $80 million at the beginning of free agency to keep him and the first baseman/ designated hitter rejected it in search of a $100 million contract on the open market. Obviously Encarnacion fell well short of that with this deal with Cleveland and honestly it’s not surprising to me. Encarnacion is so limited defensively that he should be advertised as a first basemen only, although he did play a lot of first base out of necessity last season in Toronto. Even with that said Encarnacion, who will be replacing Mike Napoli, is a huge upgrade for Cleveland at $100 million, the $65 million guaranteed to him or the $90 million he could receive if the team option is picked up on the right-hander.

The problem with Encarnacion though, and one of the reasons he likely didn’t get the contract he was searching for this winter, is that he will be 34-years old on Opening Day and is entering the 2017 season looking to cut down on a career high strikeout rate from 2016. Even with that Encarnacion is still a 4.0+ WAR type player year in and year out and while the Indians have to give up a draft pick to acquire Encarnacion the team is in a win-now mentality. With Encarnacion the team is an automatic favorite once again in the AL Central and in the American League for 2017.

The Indians reached the World Series in 2016 and took the Chicago Cubs to extra innings in Game 7 of the World Series. Now the team just got better. This makes the Blue Jays weaker, which helps, but it makes the Cleveland Indians much better. The Yankees weren’t getting him so I guess this is a good deal for New York, they see Cleveland much less in a season than they do the Blue Jays, so I call it a win. Congrats to Cleveland and to Encarnacion. 

Yankees vs. Red Sox…. In London? Maybe!

Rivalry renewed! Rivalry not only renewed but taken overseas and battled out over foreign lands. Maybe. The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are at least discussing the possibility of having a game between the two clubs in London, England as soon as the 2018 season. I love it when Major League Baseball, an international game, goes international so this news obviously excites me just a little bit.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and Red Sox owner John henry have been discussing the possibility according to the Boston Herald. Randy Levine has stated that the Yankees have been at the “forefront” of bringing the game to London so the possibility of this finally coming to fruition may finally be a real thing here in a couple of seasons.

Olympic Stadium, which was built for the 2012 Summer Olympics, is reportedly the leading candidate to host the games if the series were to come to London. MLB has not announced the deal and it’s merely just speculation and discussions at this point but you have to start somewhere and the movement towards games in London has at least begun.

This is exciting news. Stay tuned. 

My Thoughts on Ivan Nova Heading Back to Pittsburgh

The New York Yankees traded Ivan Nova to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a pair of prospects last summer before the right-hander could hit free agency this winter. With the Yankees starting rotation more of a question mark than ever many wondered if the Yankees would have gone after Nova after trading him much like they did with Aroldis Chapman in hopes of tightening up the rotation while taking some innings off the Yankees bullpen but those hopes and dreams went by the wayside over the weekend as Nova signed a three-year deal with the Pirates to remain in Pittsburgh. The deal was worth $26 million, here are my thoughts on the matter.
In this market, a market that is starved for even inning eating pitchers let alone ace type starting pitchers, as thin as it is for starting pitchers and top-tiered free agents in general you would think Nova would have gotten more than a shade over $8 million annually, no? Maybe that’s just me but even at the back-end of the Yankees rotation an $8 million pitcher who could give you six innings or more every fifth day is a bargain. In Pittsburgh he’s a steal, especially if he pitches for them like he did after the trade in August. 

Nova finished his 2016 season on a 5-2 run in 11 starts with Pittsburgh including a 3.06 ERA and a strong 3-1 record and 2.45 ERA at home inside PNC Park. This was a huge improvement over his 7-6 record and 4.90 ERA with the Yankees in 15 starts last season. Now honestly I don’t expect Nova to be a sub-three ERA type pitcher no matter where he pitches but his control was pinpoint and he finally looked healthy again while pitching in Pittsburgh. There’s something about pitching with a chip on his shoulder that seems to motivate Nova and he looked awfully chippy and awfully motivated last season in Pittsburgh, something the Yankees could have and should have taken full advantage of.

Now maybe I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here and maybe Nova simply wanted to stay in Pittsburgh while giving them a discount. Maybe not. Even at $10 million a year I find Nova to be a bargain for any team, even at the back-end of the starting rotation. The Yankees missed the boat here in my opinion, especially on a three-year deal or less. This won’t be a move that we look back at this time next year and think “man the Yankees would have won the World Series if they made this move” but if they had Nova in their rotation he may have been the difference maker between sitting at home next October and at least winning a Wild Card. And before you flip out at that statement please remember how close they were to winning the Wild Card last year, that’s not the bold statement many people will probably take it as. 

My Thoughts on Andrew McCutchen to the Yankees and the Entire Hot Stove Season

Ok. First of all, good morning. I hope everyone’s holiday and Christmas was great. I know mine was. Enough with the pleasantries though, let’s get straight into this. Who in the hell is Brian Bilek and how does he “know” so much about the potential trade between the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox?

In the reported three-way trade reported by Mr. Bilek the Chicago White Sox would send left-handed pitcher Jose Quintana to the Pittsburgh Pirates while the Yankees would get Andrew McCutchen. The Chicago White Sox would receive a package of prospects headed by Tyler Glasnow of the Pirates farm system. Ok. This is a big rumor and a rumor that no one else, literally no one else, is reporting or have gotten wind of. If it looks like a fish, and smells like a fish it’s probably a fish and this smells awfully fishy to me.

First of all the Pirates just acquired Ivan Nova off the free agent block, more on that later, and secondly what do the Yankees need with another outfielder? I thought the Yankees needed pitching, i.e. Quintana? I mean I guess I get it if it’s deemed that the Yankees cannot match the price for Quintana that the Pirates are willing to pay that they would want to manipulate where the lefty went as to not have to face him 15 times a season but how much is that really worth to them? And how much is McCutchen really worth to them?

McCutchen is 29-years old and is set to make $14 million in 2017 and $14.75 million in 2018 assuming whatever team has his rights that season opts to pick up his team-friendly team option. I mean, on paper maybe this works…. But why do the Yankees need another outfielder? And if they needed an outfielder why wouldn’t they stop gap with a Jose Bautista or something, why give up a top prospect for McCutchen? I just don’t get it, and I can’t say I believe this to be true.

It is stories and rumors like this that made me want to get into this game. Don’t be first, don’t make up crap. Just get it right and do it often. That’s the motto I try to live by. Oh well. Stay tuned and see if the Yankees get McCutchen, my opinion is that they won’t though. 

Staten Island Yankees to Remain “Yankees” For Now


STATEN ISLAND- In June, we announced plans to change our team name for the first time since arriving on Staten Island in 1999. Change is never easy, especially when your name is associated with one of the most iconic brands in sports, the New York Yankees. It is a privilege to be the starting point for many young men trying to work their way to the Bronx, but operating as a minor league team in the same marketplace under the same moniker presents inevitable challenges, so we began seeking an identity of our own.

Since the announcement, our organization enthusiastically devoted its full effort into the research and planning related to this endeavor, but over time it became clear that the approval and acceptance of the new name and artwork would take longer than initially anticipated. With that taken into consideration, we decided to table the rebranding process for the upcoming season and remain the Staten Island Yankees in 2017.

“We had a favored name, logo and branding plan. We were prepared to move forward, but encountered obstacles that unfortunately delayed the process beyond industry deadlines. These delays also would have compromised the quality of the product we aim to bring our fans,” said Staten Island Yankees President Will Smith. “I always said that until there is a new name, we are the Yankees. That remains true today.”

“Nevertheless, the passion and enthusiasm for our community’s team that surfaced during this process has not gone unnoticed. Most important is what comes first in our name – Staten Island – and all monikers aside, our goal remains the same: To provide family-friendly entertainment in a safe, clean environment at an affordable price. We are taking many steps to make the experience at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George the best it has ever been in 2017, and can’t wait to share those steps with you in the coming months.”

The Staten Island Yankees are the Single A-Short Season Affiliate of the New York Yankees and play at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George. The Staten Island Yankees are six-time New York-Penn League Champions (2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011). For more information, visit

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/27: The YES Network and CBS

On 2001 the Yankees moved their spring training, regular season, and postseason games to WCBS-AM from WABC. The Yankees then signed a five year deal with the newly created YES Network worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million.

Also on this day in 1984 the Yankees signed Ed Whitson to a five year deal worth $4.4 million. Whitson went 14-8 with the NL Champion San Diego Padres the season before but the Yankees never got close to that production out of Whitson. Whitson only lasted a season and a half with the Yankees and compiled a 15-10 record with 5.38 ERA in 44 games.

Finally on this day in 1943 former Yankee infielder Roy White is born. White would go on to play 15 seasons for the Yankees while batting a career .271. Not bad for a Los Angeles boy.

Monday, December 26, 2016

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/26: George Herman Ruth

On this day in 1919, although not official until January, the Yankees purchased pitcher in outfielder Babe Ruth from the Boston Red Sox. Ruth would end up costing the Yankees $100,000 with a $300,000 loan with Fenway Park as collateral. Too bad they didn't default on that huh?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas from The Greedy Pinstripes!

Merry Christmas from everyone here at The Greedy Pinstripes! It's been a heck of a year, at least for me, and truth be told I'm surprised I made it this far. The blog has done well, my baby boy turned three years old and my oldest boy started first grade at his school. A lot has changed in my routine and a lot has changed in my life but I truly think its all been for the better. We made it though, and that's all that matters.

As we wake up this morning we see that Santa has been good to us this year, probably better than we deserve. We are truly blessed and we appreciate everything in our lives and everything we get from this blog. We have some of the best commentators, Twitter followers, readers, followers and fans. I've said it a million times but I only say it because I mean it. We are NOTHING without you guys and girls. Thank you, I truly mean that.

Merry Christmas everyone! If you don't celebrate Christmas then Happy Holidays! No matter what you believe or what you celebrate we still appreciate your support and wish you nothing but the best this year and next.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/25: Merry Christmas Everyone!

On this day in history long,long ago George Steinbrenner had one too many beers with that elf on the shelf, put on the ugliest Christmas sweater he could find, bought a slay and went around the world spreading Christmas cheer. He was later named Santa Claus for the Yankees haters because they cannot put aside their differences even on Christmas but that's okay, we continue to pray for the Yankees haters. Long story short this morning you can tell your kids that Santa brought them all their presents but we all know that it was George Steinbrenner who started it all.

Merry Christmas all! And if you don't celebrate Christmas then Happy Holidays. And if you don't celebrate anything I hope that you have a great day anyway and enjoy the paid day off for not believing.... in Santa that is.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees Past Part III

Every good trilogy needs a good ending. Well, I take that back. Back to the Future didn’t have a great ending and if you want to count the Karate Kid movies when they had a female Karate Kid as a trilogy then that didn’t have a good ending either. Hopefully this will have a great ending though as I conclude my trilogy to my series entitled “George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees Past.” Merry Christmas everyone and enjoy the story.

When we last checked in with Hal Steinbrenner he was left on Christmas morning with his head hanging in shame. The empire and the organization that his father had built was crumbling. The Yankees had missed the postseason again after an embarrassing show the season before that resulted in the team limping into the postseason only to get shutdown in the AL Wild Card Game and in years past heads would be preparing themselves to roll. Not this year, not this regime. Not the Hal regime. In the Hal regime money has become the main focus of the team and its owners and winning has taken a step back from it all. When it comes to Christmas time though the Yankees and their fans want a shiny new toy each and every year. Has Hal learned anything from the past two seasons and should Yankees fans around the world expect something big to wake up to tomorrow morning? Keep reading.

Set the scene once again. Hal Steinbrenner sitting in his huge office that we have all grown accustomed to seeing this time of year. Hal, sitting at his desk, is nodding off as he shuffles through miscellaneous paperwork and reads through various emails when an all too familiar face appears behind him, George Steinbrenner. George Steinbrenner, the Ghost of Yankees past. Hal looks over at his father with a look that suggests he halfway expected to see his father show up at any time and he barely even acknowledges that there is a ghost standing beside his desk that is about three times the size that it should be. Hal looks over at his father with a sarcastic grin and asks “What did I do this time?” Without saying a word the two are off on another adventure that should last through the night and into the wee hours of the morning. Hopefully this time Hal and George can beat Santa Claus home.

The first stop on the magic adventure is back to the Burch house and to the home of the owner of The Greedy Pinstripes, Daniel Burch. The duo didn’t have to go too far back in time for this one, earlier in the same week Daniel was sitting at his desk frustrated, stressed out and trying to hammer out an apology letter to his readers, subscribers, friends and family about his lack of a presence on the site lately. Daniel had grown frustrated with the whole ordeal and with life and even typing out something from his heart had become troublesome. This was weird for Daniel as he has been able to pump out content left and right for the better part of four or five seasons now. You know what though? That’s not because of anything the Yankees, and specifically Hal Steinbrenner, had done for once. As Hal watches Daniel struggle through the article there is a flash the two flash back to the 2016 season where a much happier, less frustrated, Daniel is sitting in the same spot still violently typing away at 70-some words a minute. Instead of that discouraged look on his face the blog owner has a smile. Why? The Yankees have recently traded away Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller for top prospects while Dillon Tate and others were being fitted for uniforms after Carlos Beltran had also been traded. Gary Sanchez was getting the bulk of the playing time behind the dish for the Yankees and the youth movement was in full effect. The Yankees were out of the playoff race by the time the calendar changed to September but Daniel knew brighter, and much better days, were to come.

George smiled at the sight and that scared Hal. Hal wondered in his head, but wouldn’t dare say it out loud, why his father was happy that the Yankees were going through a youth movement, trading away veteran pieces and about to miss the playoffs again. He didn’t dare ask and before he even could anyway his father had swept him away to the second house on their tour. The house of the Yankees GM Brian Cashman.

It’s the Hot Stove season and despite Cashman declaring that the Yankees “heavy lifting” was over after acquiring Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday the Yankees GM was still working the phones and fielding calls, even on Christmas Eve. It’s unclear what GM that Cashman was speaking to or what player or players could potentially be traded in the deal but the discussion ends abruptly when Cashman is overheard saying “no deal” before quickly hanging up the phone. Hal didn’t catch the entire discussion but he did specifically hear the names Luis Severino, Clint Frazier and Jorge Mateo uttered. George looks at his son and tries to fill him in with his eyes, as George has still yet to say a word on the evening, but before he can the flash reappears and the two go back in time once again to sometime in the mid-2000’s. Cashman and George are sitting in an office having a heated discussion over control. Cashman wants more power and wants at least the power of the other 29 general managers around Major League Baseball while George wants it done “his way.” Phrases like “he’s just a prospect” and “trade ‘em all!!” are uttered before Cashman storms out of the room angrily. Again, back in the same office as before, Cashman is back on the phone with another GM but the mood is much lighter this time. Cashman is seemingly in the positon of need and not in the positon of power in this deal and simply asks the unnamed GM to “name his price.” Cashman agrees and hangs up after a “thank you, and great doing business with you” and the deal is announced. The Yankees have acquired another superstar for prospects, the farm system is barren and Cashman is once again unhappy.

George still doesn’t speak as they flash back into the present, Cashman still sitting in his office looking at his computer. He’s likely reading The Greedy Pinstripes blog for ideas but neither George nor Hal can see his screen, just his concentrating face. This time George says, again with his eyes, that maybe this was not the best way to handle that situation. George knows that he handled the situation poorly and by the time he had tried to rectify it he was too late in his life for the scars to heal and the feelings to be mended. George’s biggest regret, presumably, was leaving the world with people still disgusted by the mention of his name. George wanted to be loved by all and wanted nothing more to win, and sometimes the two don’t go hand-in-hand. George knows that now and by the look on Brian Cashman’s face he may know that now as well. Cashman wanted to keep two of his top five prospects plus Luis Severino and he did despite the fact that this deal would make the team an immediate contender for a postseason spot in 2016. It’s Cashman’s world now though and the tyrant is long gone. Austerity, youth and the future now control the lay of the land in the Bronx.

Hal is still confused as to what his father is trying to show him but before he could even think of asking the two are swept away to the third and final stop on their journey for the evening. As the two fly into the house of Ken Hans the world as they know it begins to erupt. One minute they are in Ken’s house, the next they are in patrick (always with a little “p”) Walsh’s house, then Ken Reed’s house, then Daryl “he who have no last name’s” house, then Jeff Levin’s house, then Kip Raymo’s house and the so on and so forth. The duo spent just a few minutes in each house getting just a glimpse what they were doing in each before being shifted away with another bright flash. Some were happy with the direction of the team, some were still angry with the direction of the team or they felt like what the team had done was inadequate and one in particular just wanted to see one last World Series title before the good lord took him home. Screams of “This is a $3.4 billion franchise” and “Yay we got Chapman” and “Dammit I’m too old for this” ring out as the flashes increase in speed and brightness until everything goes white….

George finally speaks.

“Son, do you know why I brought you to these specific places and showed you these specific lives and stories?” Before Hal could answer George, in a way only George knows how, continued to speak as if the question was rhetorical. “I took you to Daniel Burch’s house because the young man is frustrated now but he is happy overall in what you’ve done. You’ve committed to a youth movement, even on the fly, after years of begging from him and I think he has a voice that many Yankees fans can relate to. Despite not seeing a youth movement in my entire time as the Yankees owner I have to say that losing for a season or two will be a flash of someone’s memory if and when the team creates another dynasty. Well done on that front.”

George continues.

“I was never the best human being but my heart was always in the right place and I think, well more so I hope, people knew that and accepted that in my final days. When I demanded things of my managers, my general managers, my employees, my players, my family and friends it was always out of a good place in my heart. Good plan, bad execution is what I always used to say and unfortunately it was a motto that I could live by. I treated people like crap, son. People didn’t adore me like I thought they did, not until after I calmed down and after I was gone. They were scared of me. They hated me. You have a long way to go to win over the fans, the toughest fans in the world to win over, but you’ve done well with Cashman I think. I can tell.”

And George concludes. 

"Hal, I couldn't be more proud of you. I take that back, I could be more proud of you. You've done a lot of good things for this team, the fans and the organization in your short time calling the shots but there are also a lot of things you still haven't quite grasped yet. Ticket prices are too high. You've run the families out of the stadium and most of the Bleacher Creatures including Bald Vinny Milano. You can't print tickets at home anymore and it's no longer fun or feasible to take the family out to the ballpark a couple times a week just to watch the Yankees play no matter who the opponent was. No matter what we're still the New York Yankees, dammit. We are a $3.4 billion franchise, no scratch that. We are a $3.4 billion EMPIRE. Start acting like it Hal!!!!" 

As soon as George finishes his sentence he's gone. Another flash. Hal is back in his office and it's one minute before midnight. As the clock strikes 12 it is officially Christmas Day 2016. Hal decides to finish off a glass of wine and head to bed but not before he sends out a text message to Brian Cashman, his GM. It reads "Merry Christmas Brian, best wishes from your friend Hal. Also, and no this is not the egg nog talking, we need to talk on Monday. It's time to start acting like the Yankees again. Hope you're well. - Hal." 

The scene fades out from Hal as he enters his bed for a slumber and fades into a close up on George Steinbrenner and the Ghost of Yankees past....

"I'm George Steinbrenner after all, you didn't think this was going to be ALL good... did you?" 

Merry Christmas everyone! And if you don't celebrate happy holidays or happy Saturday for you as well! Hope everyone has a great day, stay safe out there. Much love. 

Daniel Burch

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/24: Jose Contreras, Santa Claus & the Evil Empire

On this day in 2002 the Yankees officially got the moniker the "Evil Empire" from the Boston Red Sox when they reached an agreement with free agent Jose Contreras. The 31 year old right handed Cuban defector would sign a four year deal.

Also it is highly unreported that on this day George Steinbrenner bought Santa Claus from the North Pole for season tickets to the new Yankee Stadium.

Friday, December 23, 2016

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 Steinbrenner and 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 loyalty. 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 among 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.”