Thursday, January 28, 2016

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

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

Yankees Avoid Arbitration w/ Ivan Nova

Yankees Almost Acquired Jose Reyes?

The New York Yankees almost made me look like an idiot and the Colorado Rockies are the ones left with egg on their face. What do I mean? The New York Yankees and the Colorado Rockies must have been reading my blogs because they attempted to hook up on a trade involving Reyes before the July 31st trade deadline came to a close. After a winter where Reyes was charged with domestic violence issues this could have been a disaster for the Yankees, a disaster that I asked for many times while blogging this winter.

Reportedly Colorado asked for “big-time” prospects back in return for Reyes at the trade deadline according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and the Yankees were one of the teams that were interested. The Yankees were interested in Reyes and his, at the time, $54.37 million contract as a second baseman as long as Colorado was willing to pay at least some of the contract down. It’s unclear whether the two sides got really close on a deal but you have to think that Colorado is kicking themselves right now if the two sides were close.

So instead of Starlin Castro manning second base for the Yankees this season it could have been Jose Reyes. How interesting that could have been to see Reyes back in New York. 

What Would a DH in the NL Mean for 2017?

The current collective bargaining agreement that has allowed Major League Baseball to go another four seasons without a work stoppage is set to expire after the 2016 MLB season. While there are no indications that a work stoppage or strike is imminent and while all signs point to continued labor peace between the players and the league in 2017 and beyond that doesn’t mean this set of negotiations is going to be a walk in the park for either side. The biggest ticket items over the last two CBA’s were steroids and with testing stronger than it’s ever been, and whether it’s working or not saved for an entirely different blog post, the new big ticket items will be luxury tax thresholds, profit sharing and whether the designated hitter position would come to the National League as soon as the 2017 season when the new CBA takes effect.

What would it mean if the National League got the DH position? Well almost immediately offense would go up around the NL which would bring more casual fans to the ballpark and in front of their televisions which has been one of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s ultimate goals in his year-plus as being the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. This is just my opinion but I don’t feel that I’m that far off base but National League baseball has a slower tempo to American League Baseball and at times it can be extremely boring. Sure the suicide squeeze by the 8th hitter in the lineup in the bottom of the 8th inning is one of the most exciting plays in baseball but we’re talking about the casual fan and trying to attract people who are not currently watching the game, not the hardcore fans that know this can happen. By the time the bottom of the 8th come along those fans have changed the channel or gone to bed. Having an automatic out in the 9th spot four or five times a night and sometimes in the 8th spot as well as you sacrifice defense and fundamentals for offense can be boring, predictable and is not a good selling point when trying to sell newcomers to the game.

Secondly this would allow National League teams and their fans to enjoy having one player play for the team for their entire career. While this doesn’t happen nearly as much as it used to or as much as it should it would increase slightly with the DH in the National League. Too many times have we seen players who have lost a step in the National League be forced to come to the American League because of the DH position. This would also open the potential pool of teams vying for a DH candidate from 15 teams to 30 teams which would in turn extend players careers who still have the ability to hit but lose out to a simple numbers game, see Raul Ibanez and Jason Giambi as recent examples of this.

I know I am may be a bit bias since I am an American League fan and a fan of the New York Yankees but I think the DH is good for baseball and is good for everyone involved. No one watched the NFL team that flirts with 0-16 and no one watches the NBA team that is flopping in order to gain the possible first draft pick overall, why should they watch a pitcher who (and this is generalizing all pitchers, I understand that some pitchers actually can hit consistently) is 85-90% of the time going to strikeout or make an out? If I wasn’t a fan of MLB and I started watching a National League team while trying to get into the sport I would likely get frustrated pretty quickly as a novice fan. “Why are they taking so-and-so out with only 80 pitches in the 6th inning? He’s only down by one run” or “Why are they leaving in so-and-so to bat when the team is down by only one run and there is a base runner in scoring position, we could have scored there if you pinch hit so-and-so!” It’s frustrating, it’s not helping the sport in my opinion and it’s a progressive thing to do. The hardcore “never change what isn’t broken” fans won’t agree with this but the sport doesn’t have to try and lure those fans in, they are already here. What the sport needs, assuming Manfred really wants to grow the sport and the brand, is more offense, less pitchers hitting and the DH position in the National League. 

Yankees Yearly Question about Retired Jersey Numbers

Bill Dickey, The "Man Nobody Knows"

The New York Yankees organization and brand is one of the most recognizable in not only Major League Baseball but maybe around the world. For the longest time everyone wanted to be a Yankee and were honored to don the Yankees pinstripes no matter what number was on their back. Recently it seems like players either don’t want to play for the Yankees for whatever reason, their archaic facial hair policy for one and lack of spending recently for another, which may be a good thing or a bad thing for the organization. It’s a bad thing because the recognizable names and star players is what drives the financial monster that is the New York Yankees but it’s a good thing because the team is running out of numbers to retire.

We post some sort of post like this every single season only because every single season it seems to be getting worse and worse for New York. Logically speaking the Yankees have room for 101 uniform numbers during the season including 0, 00 and 1 through 99 but the true options for Yankees players is dwindling down. We’ve seen the Yankees spring training invited share numbers for two seasons in a row and after New York brings its entire 40 man roster, non-roster invitees and a mix of non-Rule 5 Draft eligible players to Tampa next month it looks like the players will have to share for a third straight season. New York has yet to announce their full list of non-roster invitees but it will likely be somewhere around the 27 they brought to camp last season bringing the tally to 67 players in uniform with the 40 man roster.

When you consider the Yankees need numbers for eight uniformed coaches and a bullpen catcher you find the number climbing to 76 guys before you even consider the massive number of retired numbers the Yankees no longer have in circulation. The Yankees have retired 20 different uniform numbers in their history including two different players, Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey, who wore #8 and Mariano Rivera and Jackie Robinson’s shared #42 inside Monument Park. That’s also before you consider that the Yankees won’t hand out Derek Jeter’s #2, Paul O’Neill’s #21 or the list of other numbers the team refuses to hand out.

Will the Yankees be the first team to head into triple digits after becoming the first team to even retire a number team wide? It sure is looking like it, isn’t it? Until next year when we have even more numbers retired (presumably) and even less to talk about in terms of spring training jerseys. 

2016 Yankees Statistical Predictions: The Bench

The New York Yankees have one thing this team has lacked much of in a long, long time, a suitable bench and a major league backup at every single position. The Yankees have not only built a team around depth and versatility but they also have a strong bench that could get an absolute ton of playing time in 2016. Think about it this way, this team is heavily reliant on the offense of Brian McCann, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira much like in 2015 but this time around Rodriguez won't have to play over 150 games. This time around the Yankees can plug in suitable backups without missing much of a step thanks to a strong bench, but just how strong will the bench be?

Aaron Hicks
70 games, .263 average, 13 HR, 40 RBI

Dustin Ackley
91 games, .255 average, 12 HR, 39 RBI

Gary Sanchez
82 games, .271 average, 19 HR, 66 RBI

Robert Refsnyder
54 games, .288 average, 7 HR, 31 RBI

Greg Bird
50 games, .266 average, 15 HR, 41 RBI

Call me Crazy: What about Roger Clemens Day in 2016?

The New York Yankees have made it a habit of holding a day to honor their stars from past and present and have even seemingly made it a yearly thing in the Bronx. New York has held days for Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada, Joe Torre and others in recent years as the team acknowledges and honors the “Core Four” and the “Dynasty Yankees” but the team has done little to honor the pitching staff that toed the line for many of those World Series Championships. I know this is going to be an unpopular decision, and call me crazy, but what about a Roger Clemens Day in 2016?

Before you click the little red “X” at the top of your browser hear me out a second. I didn’t say induct the guy into the Hall of Fame and I didn’t say retire the guy’s number inside Monument Park. All I’m saying is honor the guy for what he did in the Bronx with the Yankees. Clemens came to the Yankees before the 1999 season from the Toronto Blue Jays in a deal that sent David Wells, Homer Bush and Graeme Lloyd back to the Blue Jays and immediately won a pair of World Series with the team in 1999 and 2000.

Clemens enjoyed many accolades, milestones and achievements inside a Yankees uniform that in my opinion should be honored by the team in some capacity. Clemens set the ALCS record for strikeouts in a game against the Seattle Mariners in 2000 when he struck out 15 batters while he followed it up with his sixth Cy Young Award in 2001 with a 20-win season. Clemens also won his 300th game inside a Yankees uniform and recorded his 4,000th strikeout in the same game becoming the 21st pitcher in MLB history to win 300 games and just the third ever (at the time) to record 4,000 strikeouts joining Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton and eventually Randy Johnson, now all Hall of Fame pitchers. Clemens also went on, after a short stint with the Houston Astros and retirement thrown in the middle, to win his 350th game in a Yankees uniform including 83 wins inside of a Yankees uniform.

Clemens was no slouch in the postseason either posting a career 12-8 record in 34 starts with a 3.75 ERA, 173 strikeouts and a 3-0 World Series record with a 2.37 ERA. Clemens may have had his struggles with steroids, former trainers trying to ruin his image and tarnish his career and he may have even fallen short every year in the Hall of Fame voting but that doesn’t mean he is any less of a person. Clemens has since been cleared of any perjury charges and, for what it’s worth, never failed a steroid or drug test in his career. And lastly, before you mention how few years he pitched for the Yankees and before you bring up his recruitment of Andy Pettitte to the Astros I want you to go Wikipedia the name “Reggie Jackson.” Enough said.

Hey if the Cincinnati Reds can do it with Pete Rose then why can’t the Yankees, right?

FORMER Yankee Update: Chris Capuano

You know Yankees family I have been extremely worried about a certain Yankee pitcher and his possible return to the club this offseason, I even wrote about it once this winter. Chris Capuano, seemingly Brian Cashman’s “BFF,” I compared to Candy Man stating that if I said his name three times that the Yankees GM would be forced to re-sign him. I felt bad that I had accidentally said his name three times and I was just sitting idly waiting on the news that the Yankees invited him to spring training or signed him to a minor league deal or something. Good news though Yankees fans, Capuano will not be back in the Bronx in 2016.

Capuano signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers this week and will head to their spring training camp looking to break the active roster with the club out of camp. Capuano, now 37-years old, went 0-4 with a 7.97 ERA with the Yankees last season in 22 appearances and had as many losses as he had designations for assignment with the club. In 11 seasons in the majors Capuano has posted a 76-91 record and a 4.39 ERA including a five-year stint with the Brewers from 2004-2010.

Good luck Chris, I truly mean that.

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/28: Nothing but a Bold Prediction

There was absolutely no history or news to report on this day in New York Yankees history so I will instead start the day off with a bold prediction, the fact that the New York Yankees will sign someone today. It might be a minor league deal for Mat Latos or it might be a relatively minor signing for the bench like David Freese but I just woke up with a gut feeling this morning that it is going to happen. Write it down and tell me I'm wrong tomorrow. 

Song: Wake Up by Coheed and Cambria