Monday, March 21, 2016

Yankees Spring Training Open Thread 3/21

What happened down at Yankees spring training camp today? Let's get caught up!

Not much to get caught up on today unfortunately. The Yankees did not platy in the Grapefruit League today ad they prepare to play host to the New York Mets tomorrow in spring training. Like they have often this spring the team has an off day so they also didn't work out or anything either.

A true day off, what's that like? I don't remember.

ICYMI: Are the Yankees & Angels Now Trade Partners Again?

Just a quick hit and a little bit of me thinking out loud here. The New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were thought to be potential trade partners for much of the winter with zero trades getting done when all the ink was dry. Are these two teams potentially trade partners again just a few weeks into their spring training schedules?

All winter long many of the fans wondered if the Angels would part with some of their young starting pitching to acquire the Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner. The Angels were looking for some outfield help to replace the traded Josh Hamilton and were able to find it elsewhere leaving Gardner back in the Bronx presumably for another season. Now the Yankees, who looked for starting pitching much of the winter, may have an extra starter or two on their hands while the Angels are stuck looking for at least one heading into the season.

The Angels have already lost a pair of starters this spring in Jered Weaver, who is dealing with chronic neck pain, and C.J. Wilson, who is struggling with his shoulder after injuring it last season. There is no word on when Weaver will continue throwing this spring but all signs point to Wilson being on the disabled list on Opening Day 2016 so is it time to make a deal?

The Yankees seem extremely impressed with what Luis Cessa has been able to do this spring and it almost seems like the ultimate “hype him up and sell him high” scenario that Brian Cashman is becoming known for. Would the Angels GM, and former Yankees assistant GM, Billy Eppler bite on Cessa or would he rather a commodity that he is already familiar with. A commodity like Ivan Nova or Bryan Mitchell perhaps?

I don’t pretend to know what the state of the Angels system is, their strengths and weaknesses, but if New York could turn Cessa into a nice prospect or two that would go a long way in making the Justin Wilson trade not hurt so bad. If the Yankees could sell even higher on Nova, who has also looked great this spring by the way, and fetch two or three starting prospects in his contract year then even better. If not then it may be another season without the postseason for the Angels and frankly, either would suit me just fine.

Most Popular Article of the Week: A Different Sense of the Game: Baseball Through the Eyes of the Blind

I would like to introduce you to our newest writer, his name is Benny Tomko. This is his introductory article. He would have posted it himself but we had some issues with getting him signed up, Google can make things awfully difficult at times. So without further delay I introduce you to the latest writer in the stable of writers we are building here, Mr. Benny Tomko.

Please comment and welcome him to the site and if you want to follow him on Twitter follow @BennyTomko.

The crack of the bat, the smell of fresh cut grass. These are things that baseball fans with eyesight tend to take for granted. I should know, I was a part of that demographic at one point in my life. I played baseball, catcher, and all I ever wanted to do was wear the pinstripes of the Bronx Bombers. But, the Man upstairs had different ideas. On October 31, 1996, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the portion of the brain that controls eyesight (occipital lobe). Ultimately, I was blessed enough to be cancer free, but, would lose my eyesight as a result. This, however, would not remove my passion for the game

The last game that I attended with 20/15 vision was game two of the 1996 World Series. Greg Maddux pitched an absolute gem against my boys, in route to a 4-0 shout out. All told, he threw 86 pitches, and, gave up four hits, none of which were particularly hit hard. I remember being so frustrated with the outcome that I was unable to appreciate my surroundings. It took the gleamy eyes of my grandfather, Sparky, to remind me just exactly where we were; Yankee Stadium. If I knew then what I know now, I would have soaked it up just a little bit more.

These days, going to the ballpark is a bit different then it used to be, but that's OK. Now, I take my cane, radio and headphones, and attend the game with someone that I can communicate throughout the game, as to not be "in the dark". I always used to tease others when I saw them at a major-league baseball game with a radio and headphones. I thought, "the game is right in front of you, why do you need someone to tell you what's going on?" Now, I completely understand, and, feel kind of bad about the Smack I used to talk about others. I guess it's the same sense of humor that is used when I used to tease people about going bald, and now, I am. Karma is a funny, funny beast.

Now, I am a degree holder, husband, father and still head over heels for my New York Yankees. I have been able to convey my passion for baseball upon those closest to me. My wife never gave a second thought to the game of baseball, but since she has met me, it's a completely different story. I am so blessed to still be able to appreciate the game that I so love. And now, I get to write about it every day.

I look forward to providing a unique commentary on the game that is the backbone of our great nation. Thank you, Daniel. Put me in, coach, I'm ready to play 

The KBO Posting System Is About to Change

This would normally be the Yankees spring training Grapefruit League post but the Yankees are off today as they prepare to play host to the New York Mets tomorrow. With that said we will cover something that could not only affect the Yankees and the Mets but the entire league, the Korean Baseball Organization posting rules are about to change.

Currently the way Korean-born ballplayers make their way to the United States and the Major Leagues is through the blind posting system much like the Japanese League and Nippon Professional Baseball Organization had until recently. Major League Baseball wants the KBO to adopt a similar or identical policy as well after an influx of talent including Jung-Ho Kang and Byung-Ho Park have made their way over to the states in recent years.

When a Japanese league player is posted a MLB team has to basically post up $20 million to be in the pool of teams that the player picks from and the same will likely come from the KBO players as well. The posting fee will not be as high, the rumor right now is just $8 million, but the basic premise of the policy will be the same.

What the Latest Roster Cuts Truly Mean

In case you missed it on Saturday afternoon the New York Yankees sent down another group of players to minor league camps. By my unofficial count the Yankees now have 40 players left in spring training camp meaning that 20 more need to be cut before Opening Day 2016. What do these latest rounds of roster cuts mean for the players left and their chances of making the club when the team heads north.

First and foremost it is almost a foregone conclusion that Robert Refsnyder is going to be the team's backup third baseman against the Houston Astros and Dallas Keuchel on Opening Day. Donovan Solano is down and so is Jonathan Diaz leaving little in the way of competition.

Ben Gamel is down so it looks like Aaron Hicks will be the starter if Jacoby Ellsbury is not ready, and he should be just as an FYI after taking a pitch off the wrist, and someone like Slade Heathcott would be the 4th outfielder in this worst case scenario.

Chasen Shreve is also the inside man for one of the open spots in the Yankees bullpen. Bryan Mitchell is another along with the loser of the Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia spring battle. The dark horse for the final spot though? Is it James Pazos? He still has a chance but the Yankees seem completely enamored with a young man named Luis Cessa right now.

Mel Stottlemyre is Back in Good Health!

Good news to start your morning Yankees family and it comes from the New York Daily News and John Harper. According to the New York publication former Yankees pitcher and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre is winning his battle with myeloma cancer and his health is improving, great news!

Mel was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the cancer of the blood, back in 1999 and he presumably thought he was losing his battle with the disease last summer at Old-Timers Day in New York. Mel told the Yankees crowd during a surprise ceremony and plaque presentation in Monument Park that he was ready to coach in Heaven but a change in medications may have saved Stottlemyre's life.

The 74-year old Stottlemyre is living his life again and is considering taking up golf and fishing again, a long cry from the brittle man we saw last June in the Bronx. This is great news and I couldn't be happier about Mel and his new-found health.

Congrats Mel!

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/21: Robin Roberts #36

On this day in 1962 in a ceremony prior to a spring training game the Phillies honored the newest Yankee, and former Philadelphia player, Robin Roberts by retiring his number 36 uniform number. Roberts wore the number for 14 seasons while with the Phillies and started the game against his former team giving up four runs in three innings. Roberts, the future Hall of Fame right hander would get the win in a 13-10 Yankees victory.