Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 4/11

It feels like it’s been forever but technically it’s only been two days since we last saw the New York Yankees on the field this season. The game before Sunday’s game was rained out was an afternoon game and yesterday was a scheduled off day for New York as they traveled from Detroit to our neighbors from the north in Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays. There is no love lost between these two clubs after a bitter chase down the stretch last season in the AL East Division race last season. Today we will watch as Masahiro Tanaka takes the mound for New York to face off with Aaron Sanchez for the Blue Jays.

The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET inside the Rogers Centre and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. It can also be heard on the radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Be sure to click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to get your Yankees tickets in hand before the team returns home to the Bronx. Don’t worry, Ticket Monster will send you the real tickets and not the print-at-home variety. Support the blog and see the Yankees, it doesn’t get any better than that. 

Nick Swisher's Not-So-Great Reunion

Earlier today Daniel mentioned the team bringing back Nick Swisher, and what might need to happen to see him with the Yankees. I wanted to give my thoughts on Swish's return, so here goes...

"I'm back, baby!!!"

Like Paul O'Neill (happy birthday!), one of my favorite players of all time, Nick earned the love of Yankees fans. He was a big part of their run to the 2009 World Series title, batting .249/.371/.498 with 29 home runs. He continued that production in 2010, batting .288/.359/.511 to go along with another 29 home runs, including a spot in that season's All Star game. And while his final two years in New York weren't as productive, Swish still hit .266/.369/.461 with 47 homers between the 2011 and 2012 seasons.

After signing with the Cleveland Indians before the 2013 season, Nick turned in a batting line of .246/.341/.423, with 22 home runs. Not quite what he was doing in the previous four years with the Yankees, but good enough that many Yankees fans wondered if it was a mistake to let him go.

Then came the 2014, which saw Swishalicious theoretically fall of the cliff. He slashed .208/.278/.331, and was only able to hit eight homers. However, he faced some health issues that season, which led to him only appearing in 97 games that season. So perhaps that poor production was just an anomoly.

"Like when I saw this picture, one word came to mind... 'nope'."

His start to the 2015 season was no better. Actually, it was worse. Nick batted .198/.261/.297 with just two home runs in 30 games for the Tribe. He was then traded to Atlanta, where he was able to improve slightly (.195/.349/.339 and four home runs, in 46 games).

That brings us to this, the 2016 season. in which the Braves decided to pay $15 million for Swisher not to play for them. That was back on March 28th, so for more than a month nobody was willing to sign him despite only having to pay him the league minimum. Which in and of itself is pretty telling.

Now he's a Yankee again, albeit in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he will fight for at bats with Chris Parmelee, Deibinson Romero, and Cesar Puello. But thanks to Mark Teixeira not being the most durable player, there's a chance he'll get another shot in the Majors again.

I hate to say it, being a fan of the guy for what he did in his prior stint in pinstripes, not to mention him being a former Ohio State Buckeye, but if Swisher ends up playing for the Yankees again that will be a bad thing.

Not just because Swisher has been really bad the previous two years, but because he would likely be filling in for Mark Teixeira... the guy that was the team's best hitter last season, and is off to a very good start this year (.278/.381/.611 with two home runs).

Furthermore, Swisher's playing in New York would not only mean an injury to Mark Teixeira would have happened, but also would likely mean somebody in the outfield went down, which led to Dustin Ackley being the team's 4th outfielder.

Oh, and if Swisher were needed in the outfield, that not only would mean an injury to one or more of Beltran, Ellsbury, Gardner, Hicks, and Ackley, but that would mean Aaron Judge wasn't doing enough in AAA for the team to give him a look in the big league.

By the way, I didn't even mention the fact that Swisher is not a good fielder any more, especially in the outfield. So the team would not only lose a big chunk of offense with his bat replacing somebody like Teixeira's, but would lose a big chunk of defense by replacing anybody in the outfield not named Carlos Beltran.

I'm sorry I have to be the guy that rains on Swisher's parade. I would like nothing more than for circumstances surrounding his return to the Yankees to be better. But that's simply not the case. Nick Swisher is not at all the same player we saw 3+ years ago for the Bombers.

So I, for one, will be a Yankees fan that will cheer for the guy, but be happy that he's not needed by the big club.

"Sorry it's not 2009 again, guys."

Former Yankees Update: Jose A. Ramirez

The New York Yankees had a ton of right-handed relief pitching options last season and they let one go when they acquired utility player Dustin Ackley from the Seattle Mariners last season. When New York acquired Ackley they sent outfielder Ramon Flores to the Mariners along with right-hander Jose A. Ramirez. Ramirez was not long for the Mariners organization though as the Mariners flipped him to the Atlanta Braves for cash considerations or a player to be named later this offseason and Ramirez's journey back to the majors continued in Atlanta... until recently.

The Atlanta Braves have decided to designate Jose Ramirez for assignment giving the righty the chance to hit free agency. Ramirez is just 26-years old and appeared in two games for the Braves this season after winning a job in spring training and he struck out four batters in two innings of work. That's the good of it all, there always comes a bad though and that bad included six runs allowed, five hits and four runs despite a 95 MPH fastball.

Will the Yankees bring him back for more bullpen depth after losing Bryan Mitchell and Nick Rumbelow to injuries already this season? Possibly, I guess we'll just have to all stay tuned as it works itself out.

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

The USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings are back here on The Greedy Pinstripes and back again for the 2016 MLB season. In the preseason rankings the New York Yankees were ranked 14th overall while the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants occupied the top spots in the rankings. Has one week of regular season and meaningful baseball done anything to change any of that? Let’s find out.

Like always we start with the biggest rise of the week and that prestige goes to the Baltimore Orioles after a strong start to the season. Baltimore climbed all the way to the 13th position overall after climbing seven spots during the week. With every big climb you have to have a big fall though and that fall goes to the team that was ranked 3rd overall when the season began, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals were ranked 3rd when the season began but just a week later the team finds themselves sitting in the #11 spot after falling a whopping eight spots, ouch. I have a sneaking suspicion they will be back before things are all settled in the league.

The New York Yankees dropped a spot this week to the #15 position on the rankings. You can’t get any more middle-of-the-road than that, can you? To round out the rest of the American League East Division you can find the Toronto Blue Jays at the #7 position, the Boston Red Sox at the #10 position, the aforementioned Baltimore Orioles #13 and the Tampa Bay Rays bringing up the rear at the #19 position.

The top five this week belong to, in order, the Chicago Cubs, the San Francisco Giants, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Dodgers while the five worst teams, again in order, according to the rankings, are the Minnesota Twins, the Colorado Rockies, the Milwaukee Brewers, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves.

The thing about these early season power rankings is that you KNOW they are going to change. Teams will rise after slow starts just as quickly as teams will fall after hot starts and/or injuries. It happens. The consistent teams make the postseason while the teams that fly all over the rankings usually don’t. It sounds simple enough but it really is that simply if you make it that simple. Check in weekly and see where the Yankees fall and see how consistent they are in their search for the organization’s 28th World Series Championship.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 4/11/16

The New York Yankees have essentially had the last two days off and should be well rested with all hands on deck for this three game series with their division rivals, the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees were rained out on Sunday night before a scheduled off day and travel day on Monday giving New York their ace in the opener on extra rest. Today Masahiro Tanaka takes the mound on six days rest to face off with the Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez.

Tanaka heads into his second start of the season after his start Sunday night was rained out in Detroit. Tanaka last pitched on Opening Day where he threw just 87 pitches in 5.2 innings before leaving the game and complaining of fatigue late in the outing. Was this due to the Yankees coddling Tanaka and handling him with pampered hands or is it simply due to the cold weather and the early season schedule? We find out more tonight in Toronto because I personally don’t have any of those answers unfortunately.

Sanchez faced off with the Tampa Bay Rays in his first start of the season and it was a successful one which saw him strike out a career-high in the outing. Sanchez struck out eight Rays batters with his curveball and sinker combo and looks to keep that going tonight in Toronto against the New York Yankees.

The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET inside the Rogers Centre and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. Go Yankees!

Cause For Concern After Week One

Yankees fans are excited for Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorious, and rightfully so. While Didi is batting .333, with a home run, and a stolen base. Castro has arguably been the best hitter for the team so far this season, batting .450, with two home runs, eight RBI, two doubles, and two stolen bases.

By the way, the word "arguably" was added because of Brian McCann. McCann is hitting .467, with a home run, a double, and three walks.

Although I'm normally one to look at the positive things going on, I can't help but be concerned due to some players who started the season off poorly.

On the offensive side of things there's Jacoby Ellsbury, who is only hitting .217. Mind you, two of those hits were doubles, and one of them was a triple, so my concern level here isn't that high. That is not the case for Chase Headley, who has just one hit in 12 at bats.

To be honest, the offense as a whole is not worrisome. Are they going to keep up their current rate of seven runs per game? No. However, they are not going to struggle to score this season.

Giving up three runs in five innings is not awful, but allowing the other team to get 10 hits is, and that's what Luis Severino did on Friday against the Tigers. Now, to be fair, he did strike out 5 while walking nobody, so the start wasn't all bad. But I don't think I'm alone in expecting better out of Luis the next time around.

Nathan Eovaldi's performance the day before was worse. He also went five innings, and while he didn't give up many hits, Nathan did allow the Astros to score five earned runs. The strikeout to walk rate in that game, like with Severino, made things better (7 strikeouts to 0 walks). So will Nathan's ERA be 9.00 much longer? I doubt it. But I'll be watching his next start earnestly.

Six earned runs, off of eight hits, in five innings. Not what you'd expect out of your #2 starter, is it? Like Luis and Nathan, Michael Pineda's five strikeouts without a walk is great, but he's got to limit the hard contact. In fact, three of those hard hit balls by Houston last Wednesday went over the fence for home runs. Big Mike has to be better than that.

"Do not make me angry."

CC Sabathia was the only pitcher to toss six innings in his first start, throwing those six innings against the Tigers on Saturday. And he was pretty good. giving up three earned runs off of just four hits. That's nice and all, but CC walked four batters while only striking out three. He's not out of the woods yet.

Masahiro Tanaka had the best start for the Yankees in their first week, giving up just two earned runs in 5.2 innings of work. And I'm cool with him giving up just four hits and a walk, too. But I'd be lying if I didn't say I expect a little more out of the team's #1 starter.

The concern doesn't stop with the starting pitching, either. Dellin Betances hasn't given up an earned run yet this season, but he has allowed two hits and walked two in three appearances, Oh, they weren't earned, but three runs have scored while he was on the mound, and that is certainly not what I expect to see from Dellin this season.

Week two is going to be very interesting as I look for a number of players on the team to improve.

Diets Die With New Food Options at Yankee Stadium

Very few would consider ballpark fare to be the pantheon of health food. The Yankees hopped aboard the growing trend of ridiculous food with a few of their options. Makre sure your belt is better than Pablo Sandoval's.

The Tape Measure Cheesesteak: You know that manageable Carl's Philly Cheesesteak you get at the game when you don't want a hot dog? Well if you like footlongs you and a friend (or more) can split the two-foot cheesesteak. Carl's give a choice of cheese, white American or Cheez Whiz, wit or wit onions and sweet or hot peppers are available on the side.
Calorie Count: 1,795 calories  (897.5 a foot)
Cost: $27
Available At: Section 107

Double Double: The Double Double is a cheeseburger with all the standard toppings plus onion rings. Seems pretty standard except the Yankees have taken a  page out of fast casual dining restaurants by making it a gimmick burger. The buns are grilled cheese sandwiches. So this meal is a cheeseburger and two grilled cheese sandwiches. Bring your appetite.
Calorie Count: 1,120 calories
Cost:  $20
Available At: "Triple Play" stand in Section 115

G.O.A.T Burger: G.O.A.T stands for "Greatest of All Time" I'm not sure if the Greatest of All Time Burger was inspired by any Yankees player past or present but I've heard Mariano Rivera referred to as the G.O.A.T, but I can't imagine he would eat this. The burger features custom blended beef, topped with bacon, pastrami, American cheese and "G.O.A.T." sauce. I was unable to find what "G.O.A.T" sauce is. You'll have to see for yourself.
Calorie Count: 1,050 calories
Cost: $16
Available At: "Triple Play" stand in Section 115

Barnyard Wedding: Sometimes it's hard to choose between a burger and chicken so just take both throw it on a burger with some other stuff and call it a day. The Barnyard Wedding is a burger with a custom blend of beef, crispy fried chicken cutlet, shredded potato hash browns, BBQ sauce and aged cheddar cheese on a pretzel bun.
Calorie Count: 1,120 calories
Cost: $16
Available At: "Triple Play" stand in Section 115

Honorable Mentions: Some of the new options at Yankee Stadium did not come with calorie counts but are sure to be gut busters.

  • Chicken Fingers: No longer just fried they come in three new available flavors, Thai Chili, Maple Bourbon Bacon and Spicy Buffalo. They are available throughout the stadium.
  • Grilled Cheese: Sweet Cheesus there are a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches at Yankee Stadium. Available at The Grilled Cheese Stand at Sections 107 and 227. Sandwiches include French Onion Grilled Cheese, Four-Cheese Grilled Cheese and Brisket and Bacon Grilled Cheese.
  • The Classy Pig: This is my favorite name of a new item because the ingredients make it seem classy but you'll eat it like a pig. A shaved roasted pork sandwich, featuring Italian-Style marinated pork, broccoli rabe, topped with cherry pepper mayo and provolone cheese. Try not to drip on your scorecard and pick yours up at the N.Y. Grill Stand in Section 121.
  • Jim Beam Chicken Sandwich: Before you can purchase one you'll have to drop some dough as this sandwich is only available at the Jim Beam Suite Lounge. The sandwich is pretty standard fare and features a chicken cutlet covered with Swiss cheese, honey mustard, pickles and a Jim Beam-flavored BBQ sauce.
  • Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla: I dare you to name something that cannot be made using Buffalo Chicken. This quesadilla is available at the Tacos and Empanadas Cart in Section 321.

What Scenarios Allow Us to See Nick Swisher in the Bronx this Season?

A lot has to go wrong for us to see Nick Swisher back in Yankees pinstripes and back in front of a Yankee Stadium crowd, right? Well if you think about it, and mix in a little speculation with a sample size of history and decisions made by this front office and organization, there probably doesn’t need to be much go wrong to see Swisher in 2016. Not much at all actually.

First and foremost Brian Cashman stated before the season that the last bench spot would be used primarily as a revolving door all season long much like the bullpen was used in 2015. That means the spot that Ronald Torreyes currently occupies could go to another outfielder when necessary, Slade Heathcott and Ben Gamel come to mind immediately, or another infielder like Robert Refsnyder in a pinch. Why not Swisher? And I’m not saying I want Swisher to occupy the spot and I’m not saying I think it’s a good idea or a bad idea for Swisher to occupy the spot but I do think the Yankees could allow him to occupy the spot and that’s the point of this post.

Swisher has a June opt-out date written into his minor league deal so he can leave on his own sometime in June anyway, I can’t see the Yankees letting a veteran like Swisher walk away for nothing, not without giving him a shot on a trial basis similar to the one they gave Refsnyder before the All-Star break in 2015, with or without an injury.

If there is any injury to Mark Teixeira then Swisher is the first one on the shuttle from Scranton to the Bronx but what if an outfielder goes down? Would the team rely on Ben Gamel or Slade Heathcott or would they call on the veteran Swisher to ride the bench while Hicks gets the majority of the playing time for New York? History would tell you it would be Swisher and his switch hitting bat and goofy personality taking the bench slot while Heathcott, who they couldn’t rely on to make the Scranton Shuttle on time, and Gamel, an unproven rookie, stay down in Triple-A for the time being.

Not a lot has to happen for Swisher to join the Yankees and I think he ultimately will before the end of the season. I’m reserving judgement on whether it would be a good idea and situation or a bad idea and a bad situation for now but it’s coming, so brace yourselves.

Weekly Check In: Adam Warren

Yes I realize that Adam Warren is no longer a New York Yankee and yes I realize that this is a New York Yankees blog and website. I realize it, I just don't care. As we give the prospects down on the farm a chance to build a sample size for our weekly check in's that start next week I wanted to go over the short sample sizes for not only the new Yankees faces but for the former Yankees faces in new places as well. The Chicago Cubs starter Adam Warren, what's he up to? Let's find out!

2016 0 0 0.00 1 0 1.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3.21 0.000 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/12: Pope on a Rope Soap

On this day in 2008 the Yankees Low A affiliate, the Charleston Riverdogs, commemorate the first visit of Benedict XVI to the United States with a Pope on a Rope Night promotion. The first 1,000 fans received a soap figurine which looked like the Holy Father.

Also on this day in 1953 Mickey Mantle was informed via the public address announcer that Mickey Mantle had just became a father. Mickey Mantle Jr. was the first of four sons by Mickey and Merlyn. Here is the Brooklyn Dodgers announcement at Ebbets Field: "Mickey doesn't know it yet but he has just become the father of an eight-pounds, twelve ounce baby boy."

Also on this day in 1935 the Yankees named Lou Gehrig the fifth captain in their history. The then 33 year old first baseman joined Hal Chase(1912), Roger Peckinpaugh (1914-1921), Babe Ruth( six days in 1922), and Everett Scott(1922-1925).

Finally on this day in 1931 former Chicago Cubs Joe McCarthy made his managerial debut for the New York Yankees. The future Hall of Fame manager, who has the most wins of any manager in Yankees history with 1,460, saw eight pennants and seven World Series titles during his 16 years in the Bronx.