Monday, January 25, 2016

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 2003 World Series Game Two HERE

Game Two of the 2003 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Florida Marlins.

Former “Yankee” Update: Ronald Torreyes

This is a bit of an awkward former Yankees update isn’t it? Especially when we are updating on someone who was only technically and never physically a Yankees player. The New York Yankees filled their 40 man roster with the trade of Rob Segedin and a player to be named later or cash considerations to the Los Angeles Dodgers for LHP Tyler Olson and infielder Ronald Torreyes. Both would have been invited to Yankees spring training camp this season but Torreyes unfortunately won’t be able to make it to George M. Steinbrenner Field this year.

Torreyes, before being on the team officially a week and long before ever donning the Yankees pinstripes, was designated for assignment by the Yankees and placed on waivers for the second time in less than two weeks. Torreyes has been in DFA limbo until the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim claimed him today adding him to their organization.

Good luck to one of the shortest-tenured “Yankees” in the history of the team. 

ICYMI: Age Is Just a Number

By Eliot Podgorsky seen HERE:

For years, the fans, columnists, and anyone under the sun has claimed the Yankees are too old to compete for a World Series. When Jason Heyward signed with the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason and indicated that the Cardinals age was a reason he left many reporters took that as an indication that the Yankees had no shot at signing him either.

With the infusion of young talent like Nathan Eovaldi, Didi Gregorius, Starlin Castro, Luis Severino and Greg Bird on the roster I wanted to see how many older players the Yankees are using in comparison to their five most recent World Series victories and the two years they failed to make the postseason.

The results are not what I thought they were going to be. First off the Yankees last five World Series victories.

In 1996, the Yankees used 48 total players, 5 players were 35+. Older players made up 10.4% of the roster.
In 1998, the Yankees used 38 total players and 6 players were 35+. Older made up 15.8% of the roster.
In 1999, the Yankees used 39 total players and 7 players were 35+. Older players made up 17.9% of the roster.
In 2000, the Yankees used 34 total players, and 11 players were 35+. Older players made up 32.4% of the roster.
In 2009, the Yankees used 45 total players, and 7 players were 35+. Older players made up 15.56% of the roster.

Next up the last two times, the Yankees missed the playoffs as well as 2015 to bring it all together.

In 2013, the Yankees used 56 total players and 8 players were 35+. Older players made up 14.3% of the roster.
In 2014, the Yankees used 58 total players and 8 players were 35+. Older players made up 13.8% of the roster.
In 2015, the Yankees used 56 total players and 4 players were 35+. Older players made up 7.1% of the roster.

The Yankees have been using fewer players 35 and older as the years have gone on which would seem contradictory for a team described as "old." The key, however, is the overall usage of the older players. They are using fewer players, but they are relying on them more. In 2000 when the Yankees used 11 35+ players only 3 of them were regular contributors, David Cone, Roger Clemens and Paul O'Neill. In 2013, the Yankees used eight 35+ players, and all of them were expected to be regular contributors. The 2000 team had older players play in a combined 487 appearances. The 2013 team had older players play in a combined 589 appearances.

That trend continued in 2015 as three of the four older players the Yankees used were regular contributors. The Yankees look to reverse this trend through the on the fly rebuild they have been going through. In 2016, I estimate the Yankees will again have four 35+ players but younger players like Greg Bird, Aaron Hicks will allow them to use Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez more effectively.

Most Popular Article of the Week: Cliff Lee Gets More Specific on the “Perfect Fit”

Earlier this winter a team of doctors cleared former Philadelphia Phillies left-handed starting pitcher Cliff Lee to pitch again in the Major Leagues after a pair of scary elbow and arm injuries in 2014 and 2015. Lee was bought out of his contract with the Phillies and allowed to hit free agency at 37-years old leaving many to wonder if he would simply retire rather than give it another go. Lee responded to these rumors and speculations by saying that he would have to have the “perfect fit” to come back to the Major Leagues in 2016 and if he didn’t find it he would be content with simply riding off into the sunset with his family into retirement. There hasn’t been much Cliff Lee chatter since but this week Lee got a little more specific on just what the “perfect fit” is for him and his family.

Lee, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, wants to pitch for a contender in 2016. Lee is also said to be asking for a high base salary despite his health questions rather than a smaller deal with incentives written into the contract like many pitchers at this stage would sign after not pitching in a MLB game since August of 2014. Many teams have shown interest in Lee including the New York Yankees, the Houston Astros, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Baltimore Orioles, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Texas Rangers and the Kansas City Royals but all teams involved are worried about his readiness to pitch again at the big league level.

The high base salary may scare off the Yankees and their owner Hal Steinbrenner but New York is one of the few teams that intends on competing in 2016 while also having the flexibility both on the roster and fiscally to take such a chance on Lee. I’m not sure the same can be said for teams like the Pirates, Orioles, Blue Jays and Royals after the way this winter has gone down and the way most of these teams have thrown money around already this offseason.

Sure there are rumors that Lee is not comfortable pitching in New York, he already once turned down a seven year deal worth $148 million from Yankees GM Brian Cashman, and sure there are reports that his wife Kristen was not happy with the Yankees fans but it could still happen. It especially could still happen if not too many teams come knocking on Lee’s door as we inch closer to spring training. You have to have a short memory as a pitcher, hopefully that extends both on the field and off the field for the Yankees and Lee so they can come to a mutual agreement.

2016 Yankees Statistical Predictions: The Rotation

It’s that time of the year again Yankees fans, the time of the year when I make a complete fool of myself by predicting the stats for each and every member of the Yankees team. Whether you’re in the starting lineup, the bullpen, on the bench or in the starting rotation I want to take a stab at what each player will do statistically so I can either look like a genius (won’t happen) or a damn fool (the most likely scenario) when we look back at these at the end of the season. Today I wanted to focus on the starting rotation where I believe the 2016 season will be made or broken. 

Masahiro Tanaka had offseason elbow surgery which the Yankees think could help his overall performance in 2016. Brian Cashman specifically referenced the bone spurs to Tanaka’s inability to get full extension on his split-finger fastball which limited is effectiveness. With this in mind I went a little high on Tanaka. 
Masahiro Tanaka
28 starts, 18-10 record, 2.80 ERA

Luis Severino is the Yankees #2 starter in terms of talent but will likely pitch towards the back end of the rotation so the Yankees can limit his starts and innings from time to time. Severino was nearly untouchable in his debut last season and while I can’t see him being that untouchable for the 2016 season I think he has a fine sophomore campaign.
Luis Severino
25 starts, 15-9 record, 3.33 ERA

Michael Pineda, he’s either Big Mike or he’s not. I can’t see that changing much in 2016, not until he shows me some consistency. Sometimes Pineda will be dominant, sometimes he will struggle but ultimately I think we finally get a healthy season out of Pineda.

Michael Pineda
30 starts, 14-11 record, 3.85 ERA

Nathan Eovaldi can’t possibly improve on his 14 win campaign in 2015, can he? He received close to seven runs of support per game from the Yankees offense last year, although for much of the second half he didn’t even need three of them to win a game, and seemed to take huge strides last season in his development. I think that development continues in 2016.

Nathan Eovaldi
33 starts, 16-11 record, 4.14 ERA

CC Sabathia, does he have one last hurrah in him? Well if you’re the Yankees you’re either hoping that he has left shoulder issues (quietly and yes they are terrible people for doing so) or you hope that he has two last hurrah’s in his left arm and right degenerative knee. Did the alcohol affect CC on the mound and can he pitch through a new knee brace and another year of wear and tear on that landing knee? I’m not as confident as I should be in the 35-year old.

CC Sabathia

25 starts, 10-14 record, 5.01 ERA

Suspending Chapman Sets a Scary Precedent

Major League Baseball is treading water in uncharted territories this offseason when it comes to the league’s newly enacted domestic violence policy. This is the first such policy in MLB and there are already three such cases that the league and Commissioner Rob Manfred have to decide on in just the first few months of its existence. Aroldis Chapman, Jose Reyes and Yasiel Puig have all been accused in some way, shape or form of domestic violence this winter and the league has threatened action in terms of suspensions and/or fines for all three of them because of it. Suspending Reyes is fine and suspending Puig is okay by me but in my opinion, and no it’s not because I am a Yankees fan, suspending Chapman would set a scary, scary precedent for the league.

I say it would set a scary precedent because the evidence is not there to support the fact that Chapman did anything “wrong” in the matter. Is he a jerk and an idiot? Absolutely, I’m not trying to downplay anything that he did or didn’t do and I’m definitely not for domestic violence in any capacity nor am I for shooting off guns inside your garage or home, 2nd amendment be damned, with children in the house. What I am adamant about though is innocent until proven guilty and the prosecutors and police in Florida where the event occurred or didn’t occur haven’t proven a damn thing.

I’ll even take it one step further, the police and prosecutors in the state of Florida  have decided not to file charges whatsoever in the case of Chapman due to a lack of true and/or tangible evidence. There’s no evidence and there is conflicting reports of what happened that night by both parties. Pictures were taken by the police of Chapman’s girlfriend and no marks were found on her, not even a red mark, and the only thing Chapman did for 100% certainty was fire a gun that he owned inside of a house that he owned.

The police closed the case completely and this did not even come to light until almost three months later when the Los Angeles Dodgers did some digging around before acquiring the left-handed closer. If Chapman hit his girlfriend then shame on him and he should be punished by the law, by the league and by his maker but you can’t punish him in my opinion just because you think he did it. He may have done it, and if he did he’s an asshole and he’s dead to me as a person, but you know there is that possibility that maybe he didn’t do it as well. No one is talking about that side of the story though even though the evidence supports it. Suspending him, even though if it were for more than 45 days it would benefit the Yankees, would set a scary precedent for the league and it would make the league and its domestic violence policy loses all credibility and gains a black eye. Again, in my opinion. 

Quick Hit: Once Again Floating the Six-Man Rotation Idea

The New York Yankees have made many additions and twice as many subtractions to the 2016 squad this winter due to Brian Cashman’s wheeling and dealing. Cashman stated early on in the offseason that he wanted to add another reliable starting pitcher into the fold and preferred to have a young and cost controlled guy with three years or less of service time. To date Cashman hasn’t been able to pull off any trades to address the starting pitching leaving the same cast of characters from 2015 competing to bring the team back to the playoffs in 2016. The injury concerns are still there for this club so to limit them and to possibly improve the team would a six-man rotation work in New York?

I know I’ve asked that question numerous times but the Yankees must feel the same way I do about the whole situation. More than once last season they tried to get the six-man going and every time it was derailed by injuries. Masahiro Tanaka will have those same doubters wondering why he didn’t have Tommy John surgery after every ball in the dirt he throws and they will especially be coming out in droves after his bone spur removal surgery this offseason. Luis Severino will be on some sort of innings limit presumably while there will always be concerns with some sort of Nathan Eovaldi’s, CC Sabathia’s Ivan Nova’s and Michael Pineda’s body.

The Yankees, in some circles anyway, don’t have a bonafide ace in their rotation so taking away starts from an ace is not a road block that the Yankees face. The closest thing to an ace the Yankees have is Tanaka and they skip his starts whenever possible anyway so it wouldn’t make that much of a difference while they are already talking about skipping Severino’s starts whenever possible as well to limit his innings this season. This keeps everyone healthy and fresh and outside of Pineda’s struggles with extra rest it makes everyone better, on paper anyway.

Not that the team needs my seal of approval on this but if they did they would get it because I support the idea of a six-man rotation on THIS team. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 1/25: Jorge Posada Says Goodbye

On this day in 2012 the second of the Cour Four announced his retirement when Yankees catcher Jorge Posada announced it at a SRO Yankee Stadium news conference. Posada played with the Yankees for his entire 17 year career and joined Bernie Williams and Andy Pettitte in retirement.

Also on this day in 2008 the New York Yankees offered Robinson Cano a six year contract worth $55 million to buy out his arbitration and some free agent seasons. Cano was 25 years old and was under contract through the 2011 season with the Yankees, although New York held two team options for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Cano was coming off a season in which he hit .306 with 19 home runs and 97 RBI's.

Also on this day in 1999 the Yankees lost one of their free agents after winning the 1998 World Series in Tim Raines. Raines signed with the Oakland Athletics on a one year deal worth $600,000 at age 39.

On this day in 1966 the Yankees Tony Kubek announced his retirement after nine seasons. Kubek was diagnosed with having three crushed vertebrae from a childhood injury and decided to retire rather than risk further harm to his back.

Also on this day in 1945 the Ruppert estate sells the New York Yankees to Dan Topping, Del Webb, and Larry MacPhail for $2.8 million. Topping and Webb, who ended up buying out MacPhail two years later, will sell 80% of the Yankees to CBS for $11.2 million after 1964.

Finally on this day in 1943 The New York Yankees sold Lefty Gomez to the Boston Braves. Gomez will be released before playing a game with the Braves and will sign with the Washington Senators in May.