Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Yankees Spring Training Open Thread 3/8

What went down today at New York Yankees spring training camp? Let's catch up!

Jon Heyman filled us in on a few details of the mega-deal that the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves discussed last offseason. In the deal Andrelton Simmons,Jason Heyward, Melvin Upton, David Carpenter and Chris Johnson would have gone to the Yankees while the Braves would have received Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Ian Clarkin and Manny Banuelos. For what it's worth the Yankees said "no" to the deal, Simmons spent 2015 in Atlanta before being traded to the Angels for the 2016 season, Heyward was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, Banuelos was traded for Carpenter and Chasen Shreve and the Yankees kept their top prospects. Thank goodness.

CC Sabathia made his spring debut this afternoon against the Miami Marlins and passed the first test of the season with flying colors. Sabathia pitched two hitless innings this afternoon against Miami but more importantly he came out of the whole experience healthy. Baby steps, especially with that knee.

Luis Cessa also threw two innings today while Kirby Yates and Tyler Olson threw one each. Nick Rumbelow gave up the only Miami run in the game.

The Yankees lost the game to the Marlins 1-0.

Yankees Sign 10-Year Old Born Without Hands or Legs to One-Day Contract

The New York Yankees strike again as they lead the charge not only on the field but off the field as well. A 10-year old boy named Landis Sims was born without hands or lower legs but that did not stop him from realizing his dream to be a member of the New York Yankees. The team, often called the “Evil Empire” by some in Boston and around the country, signed Sims to a one-day contract this week and invited him to spring training game. The fourth grader watched some of his idols take batting practice and participate in spring camps as a part of the team.

Sims uses a prosthetic, which dons Derek Jeter’s #2 by the way, to play second base in his school in Elizabeth, Indiana and doesn’t let his 4’7” frame slow him down. Landis uses a football shinguard in his glove to field and uses a prosthetic attachment to help him hold the bat while hitting and even played Little League in recent years with the devices.

The best part of it all though? Besides being an inspiration, making a few people cry and living out his lifelong dream? He received a signed bat from Alex Rodriguez that was signed “to a great teammate.” From one inspiration to another. Well done New York, well done. 

My Early Spring Predictions of the Lineup

The New York Yankees and their starting lineup is where manager Joe Girardi and I probably disagree the most. Not that I know any more than he does, lord knows I don’t because the Yankees organization knows more than they ever release, but I tend to think after all my research and all the years I have watched, studied and written about baseball exclusively that I could hold my own in a debate with the old skipper. So here I will give who I think Girardi will pencil in one day one of the 2016 season and below I will note any changes I personally would make for whatever they are worth.

Jacoby Ellsbury – CF
Brett Gardner – LF
Alex Rodriguez – DH
Mark Teixeira – 1B
Carlos Beltran – RF
Brian McCann – C
Chase Headley – 3B
Didi Gregorius – SS
Starlin Castro – 2B

I love having the idea of Castro and his right-handed bat in the #2 hole much like Derek Jeter was for 20 seasons in New York. Having Castro in the second hole drops Gardner down to the 8th spot leaving Didi in the 9th spot, unless Headley sits in the 9th spot where his production warrants. 

MLB Hopes For Rule Changes on Cuban Market

The relationship between the United States and Cuba are hopefully on the mend and the relationship between the Cuban government, their players and Major League Baseball may be as well. In years past Cuban-born players simply defected from their native country, established residency elsewhere in the world and waited a year or longer to get unblocked by the United States before pursuing their MLB career. MLB wants this to change and have proposed news rules that will specifically affect the Cuban amateur and professional player market.

Currently there is an embargo on Cuban imported goods and players which forces the players to establish residency elsewhere and keeps the league from setting up similar deals like they have with the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization in Japan and the Korean Baseball Organization in Korea. It would be unlawful for teams to send some sort of monetary compensation back to Cuba so the league is looking for a bit of a loophole in the way of non-profit entity creations that will help develop baseball on the island of Cuba. 

In theory the team that acquires a Cuban-born player would donate money to this fund as compensation for the player. The difference between this non-profit fund and simply sending the money to the team is that this is non-taxable income and this would not directly or indirectly head to the Castro's and the Cuban government. It is unclear whether the United States Treasury Department will agree to this or approve the deal, stay tuned. 

Yankees ST: New York Yankees @ Miami Marlins 3/8

The New York Yankees and the Miami Marlins will face off this afternoon inside Roger Dean Stadium, the spring training home of the Marlins. This game has all the makings of a pickup basketball game with CC Sabathia making the start for the Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton possibly roaming the outfield for the Marlins, Aaron Judge potentially getting a few at bats this afternoon and the probability of one of the three-headed monster in the Yankees bullpen getting into a game. They may play baseball today too though.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and will not be televised or accessible on the radio unfortunately. Go Yankees regardless!

The Yankees Offensive Players in Fantasy Baseball: Draft 'Em or Ditch 'Em

March is Spring Training but it is also fantasy baseball time. I do four fantasy baseball leagues a year, one head to head and three rotisserie leages. I'll admit I'm prone to valuing Yankees players higher when there are comparable players on the boards. That being said after my first draft I went through the Yankees roster on FantasyPros to see if they players should be drafted or ditched.

C: Brian McCann - McCann is ranked as the 3rd best catcher even with a slight drop of in statistics (home runs and RBI's) but he still has the best power of any catcher and will again be a solid pick. 

Verdict: Draft him as a starter

1B: Mark Teixeira - Teixeira had a bounce back season until a broken leg sidelined him late in the season. FantasyPros has him ranked as the 17th best First Basemen and his Zeile Consensus has him taking a step back in home runs, average, and RBI's. First base is one of the deeper positions in fantasy and sleepers and breakouts can be found throughout the league.

Verdict: Draft him in the late rounds, if he's your starter you're in trouble

2B: Starlin Castro - Castro is actually ranked higher as an SS than as a 2B (14 to 17). He is projected to have better stats across the board but none of them high enough to stand out as major reasons to draft him. Shortstop and second base are two fantasy positions without a ton of depth but there are still players you can acquire as starters before drafting him.

Verdict: Draft him for his versatility as a middle infield backup

3B: Chase Headley - The only reason Headley wasn't the worst 3B in the AL East was because Pablo Sandoval was horrendous. Headley is projected to have more home runs but his at-bats, average and hits are all projected to take a hit. He is ranked as the 29th best 3B behind Yangervis Solarte and Martin Prado which I found ironic. The only silver lining with Headley is that of the 11 fantasy gurus polled 10 think he'll outperform is Average Draft Position (ADP) of 316.

Verdict: Ditch him

SS: Didi Gregorius - Just like with arbitration defense doesn't pay in fantasy baseball. Didi is ranked as the 39th best shortstop and his projected starts are about the same as his actual 2015 stats. His value isn't in his offensive and that is something to avoid

Verdict: Ditch him

OF: Brett Gardner - Gardner is the 33rd ranked outfielder. In a 12 team league 36 outfielders are drafted for the position so he makes the cut as a starter. However his ranking indicates that he shouldn't be your first or even your second OF pick. 37 of 42 (88%) Fantasy Experts believe that Gardner will outperform his ADP. 

Verdict: Draft him as your 3rd or bench OF

OF: Jacoby Ellsbury - Ellsbury is ranked as the 27th outfielder in FantasyPros which I found surprising considering his past two seasons. He is projected to be better across the board. His average ADP is 90 which would put him in the 5th round. I find it hard to believe that he'll stay healthy the entire year so be sure to draft bench players you'd feel comfortable starting for a month or two.

Verdict: Draft him as your 2nd or 3rd OF

OF: Carlos Beltran - The days of Beltran's fantasy relevance are long gone. Beltran is currently ranked as the 70th OF he is likely to be drafted in some leagues but overall there are better options as back up OF's.

Verdict: Ditch him

DH: Alex Rodriguez - While researching FantasyPros I found it strange that he is projected to have a worse season but all 41 of the Fantasy Experts who reviewed him believe he will outperform his ADP. Rodriguez is currently the 12th ranked DH. The concern with drafting Rodriguez is that he is strictly a DH which means you lose some versatility by having him on your roster, just like the real Yankees!

Verdict: Draft him if you don't mind only be able to use him as a DH

How do you think the Yankees offensive players will do this year?

Carlos Beltran Wants to Play Two More Seasons

ESPN's Wallace Matthews has the access to the New York Yankees players that I wish I had and I ultimately strive to have. This is why he is an information gatherer and reporter that doesn't need to use his opinion to create content for a blog and why I enjoy doing what I do. If it weren't for people like Matthews, who recently interviewed Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran down at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, we wouldn't know that Beltran wants to play for at least one more season after his current Yankees contract expires.

According to the interview Beltran stated that his goal was to reach the magical 20 years mark in Major League Baseball. Beltran broke into the league in 1998 with the Kansas City Royals and has spent time with the New York Mets, Houston Astros, San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals before coming to the Bronx with the New York Yankees. If Beltran wants to play in 2017 you would think he would have to settle for a DH position in the American League after his defense and his defensive metrics have taken a hit in recent years.

Beltran finished the 2015 season with a .276/.337/.471 triple slash with 19 home runs showing the league that there is nothing wrong with his aging bat. If he can stay healthy and effective through 2016 there is no reason he won't get a job in 2017 as a DH, it just seems unlikely that this job will come with the Yankees as they have Alex Rodriguez under contract for one more season at the position in 2017.

A lot can happen between then and now though so stay tuned.

Joey Chestnut Bobbleheads Headline 2016 Thunder Promotions


The 2016 season at ARM & HAMMER Park promises to be the most fun summer at the home of the Trenton Thunder. The team is thrilled to announce many of their promotions for the season today.

The Thunder will celebrate the most famous Trenton delicacy, Pork Roll, on Friday, August 12 by giving the first 2,000 fans, ages 14 and up, Joey Chestnut Bobblehead dolls, presented by Case's Pork Roll. The team's annual pork roll celebration on August 12 will feature free pork roll sandwiches to all fans and a few lucky fans will receive a variety of Case's Pork Roll products.

The fun starts at ARM & HAMMER Park on Thursday, April 7 with ARM & HAMMER Knit Caps given away to the first 2,500 fans, ages 12 and older, to open a seven-game homestand to begin the season. On Saturday, April 9 the first 1,000 fans, ages 18 and older, through the gate will receive Fleece Blankets presented by Black Bear of the Black Forest. Kids Opening Day, scheduled for Sunday, April 10 will feature a Luis Severino replica jersey giveaway to the first 1,000 kids, ages 5-15 years old, presented by TD Bank. Kids giveaways will continue on Sunday, April 24 when the first 1,000 fans, ages 5-15 years old, will receive a Kids Pennant.

The Thunder will help all fans kick off the golf season with the first annual Golf Night on Thursday April 21 when the team hosts the Akron RubberDucks. The first 1,000 fans, ages 12 and up, will receive a Thunder Golf Towel and one lucky fan will go home with a great prize from a closest to the pin contest after the game. All fans will have the chance to win great prizes from local golf retailers and clubs. Kids will have the opportunity to learn from the pros with educational lessons provided by the New Jersey Golf Foundation on Golf Night.

The fun continues with the premier fundraiser for Trenton Thunder Charities on Saturday April 23 with the return of the Thunder Treasure Hunt. This popular event will send participants on an excursion throughout Bucks, Burlington, and Mercer Counties to hunt for items on their treasure list. The team that collects the most points will win a $1,000 cash prize. Registration and additional information are available at www.trentonthunder.com/treasurehunt

On Friday, May 13, ARM & HAMMER Park will turn pink to raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer, thanks to Radiology Affiliates Imaging. The first 1,500 fans, ages 18 and up, will receive RAI pink and navy caps. Breast Cancer Awareness Night was originally scheduled for Friday, June 3.

The fun will continue on Tuesday, May 17 when the Thunder host the Richmond Flying Squirrels with MLB Network Night. Fans will have the opportunity to meet and collect an autograph from an MLB Network on-air personality.

ARM & HAMMER Park continues to be the most dog-friendly environment in all of Minor League Baseball and on Monday May 23, fans can bring their well-behaved dogs to the game for the Thunder's Bat Dog Celebration.

Sunday, June 5 marks another kid-friendly giveaway as the first 1,000 fans, ages 5-15, will receive St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center Fielding Gloves.

The first 2,000 fans will go home with posters, courtesy of White Eagle Printing, when the Thunder host the Harrisburg Senators on Wednesday, June 15. Fans will run back to ARM & HAMMER Park on Thursday, June 16 to try their luck, with the first 2,000 fans, ages 18 and up, receiving Instant Lottery Tickets courtesy of the New Jersey Lottery.

On Thursday, June 30 the Thunder will honor some of the heroes in the local community with a Hometown Heroes Card Set Giveaway and post-game fireworks. The card set will contain the name and picture of local heroes nominated by their peers. Fans that are interested in nominating a hometown hero can connect with Group Sales Manager Jon Bodnar at JBodnar@trentonthunder.com for more information.

Bobblehead dolls continue to be one of the most anticipated giveaways each season and the Thunder will have four total on the schedule this year. The first bobblehead giveaway will take place on Friday, July 15 when the Thunder host the Reading Fightin Phils and fans will go home with Greg Bird bobblehead dolls, presented by Hyundai. On Friday, July 29 fans will have the opportunity to take home Luis Severino bobblehead dolls, presented by TD Bank. The third bobblehead giveaway will take place as part of the Case's Pork Roll Celebration night on Friday, August 12 with Joey Chestnut bobbleheads. The final bobblehead giveaway of the season will take place on Friday, September 2, when the Thunder host the Reading Fightin Phils for Labor Day Weekend, fans will have the chance to go home with Aaron Judge bobblehead dolls, presented by Verizon. All bobblehead giveaways are to the first 2,000 fans, ages 14 and up.

Another kid-friendly giveaway will take place on Sunday July 31, when the Thunder host the Altoona Curve at 5:00pm, when the first 1,000 fans, ages 5-15, will receive Drawstring Bags, presented by Capital Health.

The newly-branded Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies) will make their only trip to ARM & HAMMER Park in 2016 for a three-game series beginning on Tuesday, August 2. That night will be Yankees Magazine Night, where the first 1,000 fans, ages 12 and up, will receive the latest issue of Yankees Magazine. On Thursday August 4, Thunder fans will enjoy post-game fireworks as part of Irish Heritage Night.

On Saturday, August 13, the Thunder will help kids get set for the new school year with Macy's Back-to-School Night. The night will feature post-game fireworks and giveaways from Macy's throughout the game.

The Thunder will have one of their most unique giveaways of the season on Tuesday, August 23 when the first 1,500 fans, ages 5-15, will receive Cloudman Soap Dispensers, presented by NJEA. August 23 will also be Jewish Heritage Night at ARM & HAMMER Park.

Smith's Ace Hardware is celebrating their 70th anniversary and will give Thunder two chances to take home brand new grills. On Saturday, May 14, Smith's Ace will giveaway a Kamodo Joe Ceramic Grill to one lucky fan and on Saturday, July 16 one lucky fan will go home with a Big Green Egg Grill.

Your Thunder are also proud to announce several theme nights at the ballpark this season, including: Golf Night (April 21), Super Hero Night (May 6), Military Appreciation Night (May 7), Mother's Day Brunch & Baseball (May 8) Medical Professionals Night (May 12), Girl Scout Night (May 24), Star Wars Night (May 25), Scout Sleepover Nights (June 3, June 17 and July 29), Twins/Multiples Day (June 5), Faith & Family Nights (June 18 and July 30), Bike Night and the Fathers Day Picnic (June 19), Hometown Heroes Night (June 30), Daddy/Daughter Date Night (July 19), CrossFit Night (August 2), Irish Heritage Night (August 4), Hockey Night (August 18), Football & Cheer Night (August 22) and Jewish Heritage Night (August 23).

See the entire promotional schedule, including 21 spectacular fireworks shows, by clicking here.

Distribution of promotional items is for guests in attendance only, while supplies last. All promotions, dates and giveaways are subject to change and/or cancellation.

The 2016 season, the 23rd in franchise history, will begin at ARM & HAMMER Park on April 7 when the Thunder host the Erie SeaWolves (Detroit Tigers) at 7:00 p.m. Season tickets, group outings, Pic-A-Plans and Mini Plans are on sale now by calling 609-394-3300. For more information on the Thunder, visit www.TrentonThunder.com.


This Day In New York Yankees History 3/8: Yankees vs. Cuba

On this day in 1947 the New York Yankees beat the Dodgers 1-0 in Havana's new stadium delCerro. The Yankees Snuffy Stirnweiss had a tenth inning single which proved to be the game winning hit, the only Yankees hit of the game.

Also on this day in 1930 Babe Ruth signed a two year deal for $160,000 with the Yankees keeping him as the highest paid player of all time for his era. Ed Barrow, the Yankees General Manager at the time, said that "no one will ever be paid more." Alex Rodriguez and Clayton Kershaw say hello.