Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Boring Winter Ahead: The 2009 World Series Championship Movie

Tonight marks the end of the boring winter ahead as tomorrow morning spawns a new day, Prospects Month. Enjoy the last time the Yankees won the World Series back in 2009 and watch their movie. I've watched it twice, it's awesome and comes with the highest of recommendations.

40 facts about 40 Yankees

"Wikipedia? Never heard of it."

I haven't been inspired to write much of anything lately, which unfortunately has led to Daniel having to carry the bulk of the load around here. Trust me, I've been looking out for something to spark that desire to write, but since the Yankees have had an incredibly quiet offseason things have been tough.

However, after reading something interesting about one of the current Yankees, I decided to do some research and try to find something about each player on the Yankees' 40-man roster that you may not have known.

If you did know something here please don't yell at me and say I didn't do enough research. It was really hard to find at least something about a few players, so cut me some slack.

So here we go with 40 facts about 40 Yankees...

Johnny Barbato - attended Felix Varela High School in Miami, the same school former Glee star Blake Jenner went to.

Dellin Betances - sat with the Bleacher Creatures during David Wells' perfect game in 1998.

Vicente Campos - he is the cousin of former MLB pitcher Kelvim Escobar and Kansas City Royals' shortstop Alcides Escobar.

Luis Cessa - during an interview with David Conde of, Cessa listed Andy Pettitte as one of his favorite players growing up.

Aroldis Chapman - while many start playing organized baseball around age 7, Aroldis didn't do so until he was 15.

Nathan Eovaldi - in his MLB debut, starting for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Nathan gave up 4 hits in 5 innings... two to opposing starter Joe Saunders.

Nick Goody - while pitching at Louisiana State University, Nick took the closer's role from current teammate Nick Rumbelow.

Jacob Lindgren - while attending Mississippi State University Jacob was part of the rap group "Bench Mobb", where he went by the name "Big Chunk".

Andrew Miller - attended Buchholz High School in Gainesville, FL, which was also attended by former NBA player Vernon Maxwell, as well as former NFL players Ivy Joe Hunter, Lamar Thomas, Billy Latsko, and Doug Johnson.

Bryan Mitchell - during the 2009 MLB Amateur draft many teams passed on drafting Mitchell due to him having committed to The University of North Carolina. However, Bryan was drafted by the Yankees and decided not to enroll in UNC after all.

Ivan Nova - The Boston Red Sox tried to sign Ivan , however in an interview with ESPN The Magazine, Nova was quoted as saying "I really didn't want to sign with Boston. My father and I were both Yankee fans."

Tyler Olson - if the Yankees groundskeepers ever need help, then they can look to Tyler. While at Gonzaga, Olson spent a summer working alongside the baseball team's groundskeeper.

James Pazos - while it's only been 5 innings, Pazos has yet to give up an extra-base hit.

Brandon Pinder - in Pinder's 1st appearance in MLB he got out of the inning thanks to a rare bunt pop-up, where Alejandro De Aza was doubled off 3rd after hitting a triple in the at bat before.

Michael Pineda - while he likes to conduct interviews in English, he sometimes has to get help from Dellin Betances.

Nick Rumbelow - while some aspiring professional athletes would concentrate one that one sport during high school, Nick was an outside linebacker/punter in football and point guard in basketball.

CC Sabathia - actually signed a letter of intent to play football at the University of Hawaii, but decided to go pro in baseball instead.

Luis Severino - grew up a Yankees fan, and particularly Robinson Cano.

Chasen Shreve - was a teammate of Bryce Harper in college, and maybe will be a teammate of his again in a couple years?

Masahiro Tanaka - I've mentioned in the past that 'Hiro is a huge fan of Momoiro Clover Z, a female musical group from Japan, and their songs are played while he warms up. But Tanaka also uses a 5-colored glove for practicing, and wears a glove with a clover leaf during games... both of which pay homage to the same music group.

Kirby Yates - although drafted by the Red Sox in 2005, Kirby decided to attend college at Yavapai College instead. Good call, Kirby!

Brian McCann - Donny Osmond, a favorite of both Brian and his wife Ashley, performed at their wedding.

Austin Romine - his father, Kevin, spent seven years with the Boston Red Sox. Thankfully Austin didn't take after his dad.

Gary Sanchez - he follows Manny Ramirez on Twitter. Hopefully it's his way of learning what not to do.

Greg Bird - Greg was set to play ball for the University of Arkansas but decided to join the Yankees instead. Good call, Greg! You don't want to be in the SEC.

Starlin Castro - As a Cub Starlin hit a home run in his first MLB at-bat. The Yankees have had three guys do that... John Miller in 1966, Marcus Thames in 2002, and Andy Phillips in 2004.

Didi Gregorius - His father, Johannes, pitched for the Amsterdam Pirates. His mother, Sherista, played softball for the Dutch national team. His older brother, Johannes Jr., played in Honkbal Hoofdklasse of the Italian Baseball League, as well as for the national team of Curacao. And his grandfather, Antonio, is known as one of the greatest pitchers in the history of Curacoa. So you can say Didi was destined to do something good in the sport.

Chase Headley - While Chase was a good baseball player in college, including having broke Todd Helton's record of walks in a single season for the University of Tennessee with 62, he was also an Academic All-American with a 3.62 GPA.

Rob Refsnyder - Rob was not raised to be soft, as it wasn't until he was 17 that he beat his father in pick-up basketball. I like that.

Mark Teixeira - Mark is not only a big Broadway fan, but he also appeared on stage in a production of Rock of Ages as "Mark the bartender".

Dustin Ackley - a friend of mine has a son that was born months premature, and I know how strong my friend was going through that. So knowing that Dustin has a son that was born six months premature leads me to believe that he too is a good a strong man.

Lane Adams - when he graduated high school Lane was the fifth highest scoring basketball player in Oklahoma high school basketball history, and was committed to play for Missouri State University before he was drafted by the Royals.

Carlos Beltran - while sliding into second base for his 300th steal, joining the 300–300 club on June 15, 2012, a cross necklace popped out of his jersey, and after the game, he told a reporter that "all the glory" was God's.

Jacoby Ellsbury - Ellsbury released a zinfandel wine called ZinfandEllsbury through Charity Wines, with 100% of his proceeds donated among three charities: The Navajo Relief Fund, Project Bread: The Walk for Hunger, and Ellsbury Read Project.

Ben Gamel - graduated from Bishop Kenny High School, the same school attended by Darren O'Day and Jonathan Papelbon.

Brett Gardner - while you may have heard this one before, I love it... Brett had initially tried to walk onto the baseball team at the College of Charleston. Although he didn't hear anything about making the team afterwards, Brett showed up to practice anyway. The coach asked why he was there, and Brett told him that he knew he was capable of playing at the Division 1 level. The coach allowed him to stay as long as he didn't screw up, and Gardner ended up a third-team All-American and a second-time All-Southern Conference player.

Slade Heathcott - Slade's overcome a lot in his life. When he was younger he was arrested for DUI, and was kicked off the high school baseball team for academic reasons. And is said to have pointed a 12-gauge shotgun at his father during an argument. Thankfully, with the help of Sam Marsonek, a former MLB pitcher, Slade turned his life around.

Aaron Hicks - Aaron actually wore #32 in Minnesota to honor Dave Winfield.

Mason Williams - Williams' father, Derwin Williams, played in the National Football League for the New England Patriots. His grandfather's brother, Walt Williams, played Major League Baseball from 1964 through 1975 as an outfielder with the Houston Colt .45s, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, and New York Yankees.

Alex Rodriguez - we all know how gifted a baseball player Alex was when he was younger, but did you know that he was very close to becoming the next Bo Jackson/Deion Sanders? Before joining the Seattle Mariners, Alex was set to play both baseball and football at the University of Miami?

Although I'd love to see Brian Cashman pull a rabbit out of a hat and make a big splash with a trade that would net the Yankees a good/young starter, part of me hopes nothing happens otherwise I might have to re-do this article.

I tell you what, should it happen I'll include a bit of information about whoever joins the team... but not all 40 of them again.


By the way, if you have something about a player, then put it in the comments. Even if the person isn't currently on the team, or heck... never was, tell us about it. I think stuff like this is really interesting.

Fantasy Baseball: Who are the New York Mets?

The New York Mets are the new version of the New York Yankees? If you read the New York tabloids and sports articles online apparently some seem to think so, me not so much but I digress. Who exactly are the New York Mets? They are a bunch of aces with a Bartolo Colon thrown in who pitch behind players like David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes. But who are the Mets really and how can they help you in your fantasy league draft? Well I’m glad you asked. 

The New York Mets have a new shortstop and a new second baseman now that Daniel Murphy is gone and the team feels good about where their offense is at this point. Asdrubal Cabrera could be the team’s starting shortstop over Wilmer Flores but he may be better suited as a backup for New York and Zack Wheeler is on his way back from Tommy John surgery leaving Bartolo Colon’s future with the team up in the air. 

We’ll start with Walker who has some large shoes to fill, especially if the Mets make the postseason for the second consecutive season. Murphy was an absolute beast in the postseason and although Walker brings much better defense and surprisingly more power to the club he may be overlooked for much of the season. Walker is one of the better second baseman in the National League in my opinion and may be a solid, not spectacular, pickup for you at the position if you can wait him out until the middle rounds. 

Asdrubal Cabrera’s position with the team is not set in stone yet and likely won’t be until the end of Spring Training. With Wilmer Flores currently manning the shortstop position and Ruben Tejada expected back sometime in early 2016 Cabrera may be forced into a super utility role. Cabrera is solid everywhere but not really spectacular at anything leaving much to be desired as a starter, although he wouldn’t be the worst 20th round pick or so in the world. If he’s a bench player he has little fantasy value but if he’s a starter he may be worth a shot late. 

Finally you have the return of Zack Wheeler and what it may mean to Bartolo Colon. It is thought that Colon is simply keeping the seat warm for Wheeler until he can return from Tommy John surgery but as we all know, injuries happen. Colon is durable and will likely make his 20 starts or more this season and will somehow continue to defy the odds in the National League. He may even run into a pitch or two and help you with your on-base percentage at the plate (yes I know that is not counted in most leagues for pitchers…. It’s a joke). Grab both if you can, especially Wheeler with say your last pick. Lots of wins there I think between the two. 

There you have it, those are the Mets. Hopefully the Mets can help you lead your team through the postseason and to the Promised Land much like Daniel Murphy led that team to the World Series in 2015. 

MLB, Diversity, a New Program and Rachael Robinson

Major League Baseball is one of the most diverse sports in the four major sports in North American with players of every ethnicity, color and shape playing while representing every corner of the globe. Rachel Robinson, the widow of the great Jackie Robinson, wants more diversity in the sport and Commissioner Rob Manfred is going to try and give it to her.

MLB has hired Tyrone Brooks from the Pittsburgh Pirates to be their senior director in their new front office and field staff diversity pipeline program. This new program is designed to increase the pool minority and female candidate for on-field and baseball operations positions around the league. Brooks will report directly to Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem after spending his time as the Pirates director of player personnel.

Renee Tirado was also hired by MLB to serve as a senior director of recruitment in the new program and will report directly to Steven Gonzalez, the senior vice president and deputy general counsel for labor and human resources for the league. Tirado recently left her job as head of diversity and inclusion at AIG before coming to work for Manfred and MLB.

Welcome both, do us proud.

Yankees the Only Team to NOT Sign a Free Agent this Winter

Here we stand on the final day of January and on the final day before we kick off Prospects Month and I don’t quite know how to feel. The Yankees have had a successful winter in some minds, they did acquire Aroldis Chapman for essentially very little and they did acquire Starlin Castro is a bit of a buy-low situation, but to some the winter has been a failure. The Yankees have not done much to address their starting pitching rotation and the team, surprisingly to some even though Brian Cashman revealed his plan early on, has not signed a single free agent this winter. New York is in fact the only team to not sign a major league free agent this winter.

Times be a changin’, no? In years past the Yankees would have not only signed the top free agent pitcher David Price and positional player Jason Heyward but they would have likely also signed Zack Greinke as well as Ben Zobrist. That’s a lot to feel nostalgic about but at the same time the Yankees would have likely traded Luis Severino by now as well as Robert Refsnyder, Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo and Gary Sanchez as well.

The Yankees made additions to the ball club without breaking the bank or really adding much payroll whatsoever. They did it via trade and they traded other not-so-useful contracts like Brendan Ryan in those deals to offset a bit of the salary. It’s a new strategy we haven’t seen used in New York, at least not in my lifetime, and I think I kind of like it. Sure I love sitting by my computer constantly refreshing MLB Trade Rumors like the next guy but I also hate mortgaging the future and giving a guy an extra year or a few million dollars too much just because the team is bidding against themselves.

It’s a new era in New York and it’s a new era in Major League Baseball. I wonder what the league will do to counteract this in their next collective bargaining agreement. Maybe a fine for not signing free agents now? Seems like something Bud Selig would do so thank goodness for Rob Manfred. 

Tim Lincecum is on the Yankees Radar

The New York Yankees have not signed a major league free agent for more than a calendar year now and have not signed any during the winter before the 2016 season. New York is the only team not to sign a MLB free agent this offseason but they have one pitcher on their radar that could change that, former San Francisco Giants and Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum.

According to rumors the Yankees are at least interested in Lincecum as he prepares to put on a throwing showcase for teams next month in hopes of landing a new deal. While the deal will likely be, and should be in all honesty, a minor league deal teams like the Yankees may have to guarantee the deal in order to sweeten the pot a bit for Lincecum.

Lincecum is still only 31-years old and while injuries have derailed his career a tad the “freak” threw for his first positive WAR season (0.3 in 2015) since 2011 this year. Lincecum would bring the veteran presence that the Yankees love along with an absolute ton of playoff and World Series experience to a club on a very low risk and high reward type deal. Lincecum is no longer the ace he was in San Francisco but he still could be a solid #3 to place behind Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka or he could be a nice piece out of the bullpen as well. It all comes down to the health of his hip.

Early reports out of Lincecum’s camp say that he is healthier than he has been in years and is throwing every single day in preparation for the 2016 season. Of course the Lincecum camp is going to say that though, why wouldn’t they? The true test will be the showcase and while the team hasn’t formally announced it you have to think they will send scouts there to watch.

You have to think that all 30 MLB teams will be interested in Lincecum in some capacity so if the Yankees are truly serious about adding another low-cost arm they may have to pony up the 40 man roster spot and guaranteed deal with incentives for Lincecum. Honestly, I’m okay with that. It’s just money and the problem can be rectified with a simple DFA if it doesn’t work out. Get it done Cash before some other GM does. Or before Tom from Myspace does…

Quick Hit: Pace of Play Rules Tweaked Again

Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred has been in the top position overlooking the league for a little over a year now and the amount of change he has brought the league is astounding. I’ve listed his accomplishments and changes many times on the blog and you all probably know them by heart by now but one I haven’t paid much attention to is the pace of play changes.  Manfred wants to shave some time off the games and he did just that in 2015 but the Commissioner is far from done. Manfred announced more changes to his pace of play rules for the 2016 season and I bring them here to you today as an FYI.

MLB and the MLB Players Association have not finalized these plans yet, keep that in mind, but the two sides are working towards an agreement. Since these have not been finalized we do not have the entire and complete list to bring to you but we can confirm, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post anyway, that the league is trying to eliminate the slow walk to the mound and/or all the stalling tactics many managers use to give their relief pitcher a few more throws in the bullpen. The possibility of a time limit for making a pitching change has also been discussed. Also MLB is going to shave off another 20 seconds of commercial time in-between innings. Last season the fans had to wait 2:25 seconds during commercials and this season it will go down to 2:05 at the end of every half inning. The idea would be that the batter would be in the box with 20 seconds left on the commercial break timer while the pitcher would be required to throw the pitch once the timer hits zero.

I think the most important thing here is that Manfred is shaving time off the game without noticeable changes to the sport and game itself. This is keeping the purist happy, the traditionalist, the hardcore fans, the casual fans and the new fans alike happy and content I think. The best sort of change is change for the better but, and maybe this is the ignorance is bliss in me talking, the second best change is the change that you don’t notice. Well done Manfred and well done MLB. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/31: Prospects Month Eve

On this day in 2007 Major League Baseball announced that the 2008 All Star Game would be played at Yankee Stadium. The announcement was made at New York's Gracey Mansion and would mark the fourth time that the All Star Game would be played in the Bronx, the other three times in 1939, 1960, and 1977. This was also especially special because this would be the final season of Yankee Stadium before it was torn down for Yankee Stadium III.