Thursday, January 7, 2016

Starlin Castro WORKOUT

Check out Starlin's latest post of himself getting ready for the season.

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 1998 World Series Game One HERE

Game One of the 1998 World Series between the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres

Yankees Sign Donovan Solano to Minor League Deal

The New York Yankees are lacking in middle infield depth, especially in the minor leagues, after trading Brendan Ryan and Jose Pirela away and the team did something to rectify that today in their signing of Donovan Solano. Solano, a former Miami Marlins product, signed a minor league deal today with a presumed invitation to spring training camp this year.

Solano has played a ton of third base, second base, shortstop and left field in his professional career that started way back when with the St. Louis Cardinals. Solano has 361 big league games under his belt with the Marlins and owns a .257/.307/.328 triple slash with eight career home runs and 11 stolen bases.

Solano will likely start the season in Triple-A although there is a possibility that he wins the last bench spot for the team. Welcome to the family Donovan.

Cashman: Is the Rotation Full or is the Rotation "Full?"

"Who is Bubba Crosby?" - Hal Steinbrenner

Brian Cashman once garnered the name from Yankees fans "Ninja Cashman" for the way he carried himself and the way he conducted business as the GM of the New York Yankees. Whenever Cashman would make a deal, and most of his major deals specifically, no one would read about it on MLB Trade Rumors or other media sites weeks or days or even hours in advance. You wouldn't hear about the first bit of interest and then boom, the player is acquired. Remember when "Bubba Crosby was the Yankees starting center fielder" only to see him sign Johnny Damon a few weeks later? There's plenty of other instances as well including the most recent trade involving Aroldis Chapman but that's not important, what is important though is the fact that Ninja Cashman could be lying in the weeds for another attack.

In an interview with reporters during a conference call last week Cashman responded that the "rotation was full" when asked about whether he was going to acquire another starting pitcher or not. Sorry Cashman but I find it hard to take you at face value anymore. Is the rotation full? Or is the rotation "full?"

It's hard to say either way. A trade could be in the works and he could be saying this to keep the price down. He could be working on a deal that bring Wei-Yin Chen to the Bronx and doesn't want to tip his hand or he could be serious about the seven starting pitching options he currently has at his disposal on the 40 man roster. The thing at this point is, who know for sure?

Does Cashman even know? I doubt it. Stay tuned.

Aroldis Chapman vs. Craig Kimbrel – The Ultimate Fantasy Showdown

The American League East Division boasts some of the best relief pitching and closers in all of Major League Baseball. The Toronto Blue Jays have an up-and-coming closer in Roberto Osuna while the Yankees bumped the reigning Mariano Rivera Award winner to the 8th inning after acquiring Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds. Meanwhile the Boston Red Sox added a new 9th inning guy themselves this offseason trading four top prospects to the San Diego Padres for Craig Kimbrel completing the AL East closer trifecta. While Osuna is good, and no disrespect is intended towards him, he’s not on the same playing field as Kimbrel and Chapman. While I cannot predict how it will play out on the field for these two and their respective teams I can take a guess at how it will work out for them in the fantasy world.

I told you fantasy baseball talk was coming to the blog and I meant it. Chapman and Kimbrel are both top closers in baseball and in fantasy but which is better? If we’re looking at strictly the career numbers on the back of a baseball card you have to think that Kimbrel is better, he’s been the best closer in the league since he came bursting onto the scene, but that doesn’t necessarily make him the better fantasy option in my opinion. Keep reading.

The Boston Red Sox starting rotation and bullpen were big suspects in 2015 and the team, led by Dave Dombrowski and company, did what they could to patch up those holes with the Kimbrel acquisition and the free agent signing of David Price. While I think the team will be better in 2016 I can’t see them simply winning the division after finishing in last place in the division last season because of just two guys. The bullpen is still weak behind Kimbrel, although I personally like Koji Uehara, as is the starting rotation. Wade Miley is gone from Boston, at worst a 200 innings eater, and in his place is “Cy Young Award winner from 2015” Joe Kelly. Rick Porcello, in my opinion, is overpaid and Clay Buchholz, again in my opinion, is overrated because of the uniform he wears. Both are nice pieces, don’t get me wrong, but they aren’t the top of the rotation guys that Boston is paying them, expecting them to be and needing them to be. You can have the greatest closer on the planet but if he only gets 30-35 opportunities to close out a game a season it kind of nerfs his ability to be a dominant closer, fantasy baseball and statistically speaking. I’m also not convinced that the offense can be loads better than it was in 2015 for Boston leaving the Red Sox to love many 3-2 or 4-3 ball games.

Meanwhile in New York the team was built around a strong bullpen and locking down saves. The offense is good enough, despite what they showed in the last month of the season and in the playoff game against Houston, to match almost any offense in the league despite the score. The Yankees offense will win an 11-10 game and then win a 1-0 game the next night. The starting rotation is built to give you 5-6 strong innings, seven on a good day, before handing it over to a shutdown bullpen. When the Yankees had a lead after 7 IP and after 8 IP the game was basically over every single time. This will equate to a ton of saves for Chapman and a ton of opportunities. Lots of K’s, lots of saves and lots of fantasy points for whoever owns him.

If you have the opportunity to grab Chapman I think you almost have to, even if it means grabbing him in the 5th-7th rounds. It’s a risk, especially with the suspension looming, but it’s a risk worth taking. Kimbrel is a good consolation prize but in this battle he is just that, a consolation. Maybe it’s the Yankees fan in me talking or maybe I’m making a ton of sense. You decide and let me know how he does for your fantasy team. 


Los Angeles – In its seventh annual Hall of Fame election, the IBWAA selected Ken Griffey, Jr. unanimously (230 votes) and Edgar Martinez, with 75.22% of the vote (173 votes). A 75% threshold is required for election.
Trevor Hoffman finished in third place with 70.87%, followed by Mike Mussina (68.26%), Roger Clemens (66.09%, after receiving 64.76% in 2015) and Barry Bonds (65.65%; 63.44% last year). There are 423 members in the IBWAA; 230 voted in this election.
The 2016 IBWAA Hall of Fame ballot compared identically to the BBWAA ballot, with the following exceptions:
1. Mike Piazza’s name did not appear on the IBWAA ballot because he was elected by the group in 2013.
2. Jeff Bagwell’s name does not appear on the IBWAA ballot because he was elected by the group in 2015.
3. Tim Raines’ name does not appear on the IBWAA ballot because he was elected by the group in 2015.
Per a group decision in January, 2014, the IBWAA allows members to vote for up to 15 players, instead of the previous 10, beginning with the 2015 election. In the 2016 election, 99 members voted for 10 or more candidates. Twenty-one members voted for 15 candidates. The average vote per member was 8.74.
Complete voting results are as follows:
Player Name
Ken Griffey, Jr.
Edgar Martinez
Trevor Hoffman
Mike Mussina
Roger Clemens
Barry Bonds
Curt Schilling
Alan Trammell
Larry Walker
Fred McGriff
Mark McGwire
Jeff Kent
Lee Smith
Gary Sheffield
Billy Wagner
Sammy Sosa
Jim Edmonds
Nomar Garciaparra
Mike Hampton
Mike Lowell
Troy Glaus
David Eckstein
Garret Anderson
Jason Kendall
Luis Castillo
Mark Grudzielanek
Mike Sweeney
Brad Ausmus
Randy Winn
Ballot tabulations by Brian Wittig & Associates.
The IBWAA was established July 4, 2009 to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA). Voting for full season awards takes place in September of each year, with selections being announced in November. The IBWAA also holds a Hall of Fame election in December of each year, with results being announced the following January.
In 2010, the IBWAA began voting in its own relief pitcher category, establishing the Rollie Fingers American League Relief Pitcher of the Year and the Hoyt Wilhelm National League Relief Pitcher of the Year Awards.

Among approximately 400 others, IBWAA members include Jim Bowden, Jim Caple, David Schoenfield and Mark A. Simon of; Tim Brown, Yahoo! Sports; Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports Hardball Talk; Bill Chuck,; Derrick Goold, St. Louis Post-Dispatch; Danny Knobler, Bleacher Report; Kevin Kennedy; Kostya Kennedy, Sports Illustrated; Will Leitch, Sports on Earth; Bruce Markusen, Hardball Times; Ross Newhan; Dayn Perry and Matt Snyder,; Tom Hoffarth and J.P. Hoornstra Los Angeles Daily News; Pedro Moura, Orange County Register; Tracy Ringolsby,; Ken Rosenthal,; Eno Sarris, FanGraphs; Dan Schlossberg, USA Today; Jesse Spector, Sporting News and Wendy Thurm.
Association membership is open to any and all Internet baseball writers, with a yearly fee of $20, or $35 lifetime. Discounts for groups and scholarships are available. Members must be 18 years of age to apply.

For more information please visit


Howard Cole
Founding Director, IBWAA

Kenta Maeda and Fantasy Baseball

It’s never too early to start thinking about next season, just ask a Chicago Cubs fans, and it’s especially never too early to start thinking about your next season’s fantasy baseball league. Last season I tried to bring as much fantasy baseball discussion and advice as I could to the blog and based on the view count and interactions it seemed to go over well. Have no fear because we’re bringing it all back again this offseason and we start things off with the newest face to join Major League Baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mr. Kenta Maeda.

Maeda will turn 28-years old in April and pitched for the Hiroshima Carp of the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan last season. While pitching alongside former Yankees and Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda with the Carp Maeda posted a 15-8 record with a 2.09 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 175 strikeouts in 206.1 innings pitched. How that will translate into Major League Baseball is anyone’s guess but we’ve seen enough Japanese-born pitchers come over to the states to take a pretty educated guess if I don’t say so myself.

Maeda is a smaller guy standing just 6’0” and 165 lbs. and he’s not the overpowering bringer of heat like many. Maeda’s fastball sits at about 90-93 MPH which allows him to throw more changeups and curveballs keeping hitters off balance. Maeda is not a huge strikeout guy and relies more on his command and his control while pitching more to contact than anything. The closest comparison you have for Maeda is Philadelphia Phillies rookie Aaron Nola who pitched 77.2 innings in the Majors last season. They have similar builds, velocities and they both pound the strike zone. Neither are huge strikeout guys and rely more on ground balls and fly balls to get their jobs done.

Maeda will be helped by Dodgers Stadium and he should be helped by the fact that he faces the pitchers spot three or four times a night but rest assured he will not be the next Yu Darish or Masahiro Tanaka. His scouting report does sound a lot like Hiroki Kuroda’s and Hisashi Iwakuma’s though so there is some upside associated with him. I wouldn’t take him necessarily early but by around Round 10-15 he should be available and prime for the picking. 

Ryan Howard & Ryan Zimmerman Are Suing Al Jazeera

Remember right after Christmas when the Al Jazeera Network released a documentary about steroids in sports while releasing the names of Peyton Manning, Mike Neal, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Howard and Taylor Teagarden? Well the Guyer Institute-Gate hasn’t quite taken off like the Biogenesis Clinic debacle but that hasn’t stopped the players involved from throwing their weight around in terms of lawsuits. Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman have filed defamation lawsuits against Al Jazeera after naming them specifically in the Guyer Institute and steroid documentary.

The name of the documentary is “The Dark Side” and it showcases that steroids are still prevelant in not only Major League Baseball but in all North American sports. In the documentary Howard and Zimmerman claim that Al Jazeera has damaged by “outrageously false and defamatory statements recklessly made by the cable news network” according to the lawsuit they filed on Tuesday of this week.  Both Zimmerman and Howard are seeking damages in excess of $75,000, the maximum allowed in a civil case filed in federal court.

This is going to get ugly before it gets resolved. Stay tuned. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/7: Yankees Trade the Big Unit

On this day in 2007 Randy Johnson agreed to a two year deal worth $26 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks leaving only a physical and approval by MLB to finalize the trade with the Yankees. The Yankees will receive reliever Luis Vizcaino, minor league right handed pitching prospects Ross Ohlendorf and Steven Jackson, and minor league infielder Alberto Gonzalez.

Also on this day in 2006 former Yankees GM Bob Watson received the Jackie Robinson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The honor was given to the first black general manager in baseball history during the Legacy Awards in Kansas City.

Finally on this day in 1920 Babe Ruth reacted to being called "the most selfish and inconsiderate man to ever put on a baseball uniform" by former owner Harry Frazee. Ruth was quoted by the Boston Evening Standard saying "Frazee is not good enough to own any ball club, especially one in Boston."

Oh and also on this day in 2015 the New York Yankees signed Stephen Drew to a one-year deal. There's always that.