Sunday, August 14, 2016

Aaron Hicks Sucks. Bench Him.

EDIT: I don't want to hear about a 12 game sample size when I am using multiple seasons as a sample size in my side of the argument. Don't bother, I won't acknowledge.

Many have been granted the honor of having every single at bat scrutinized and called out by the crew here at the Greedy Pinstripes but we will anoint one more soul before the end of the 2016 regular season, his name is Aaron Hicks and he sucks. Many have heard the chants before him. Stephen Drew sucks. Chase Headley sucks, although he turned it around after hearing it for a month or so, and Mark Teixeira sucks to name a few but now it’s Hicks turn and here is why he sucks and why the Yankees need to bench him. Now.

Aaron Hicks was acquired in the offseason from the Minnesota Twins to be an occasional fourth outfielder and replacement for Chris Young but for whatever reason in Joe Girardi’s infinite wisdom he has become basically an everyday player for New York. Hicks has had a load of excuses made for him for his lack of hitting, it takes switch hitters a lot longer to get going because they have to fine tune both swings as an example of one of those excuses, but there is absolutely no excuse for what we are seeing day in and day out. His defense sucks, or at the very least is not nearly as good as advertised, and his ability to do simple things like run the bases, steal bags and bunt have been downright terrible. Turrible in fact.

Hicks hasn’t hit right-handed pitchers and he hasn’t hit left-handed pitchers either. His UZR/150 is negative and so is his fWAR and his batting average at the time of this writing is below .200. This is all going down while the Yankees have a farm system absolutely overflowing with talented outfielders including Aaron Judge (who has been called up), Ben Gamel, Tyler Austin (who has also been called up to play first base), Clint Frazier and Jake Cave to name a few and all while the Yankees are losing games. Bench him, designate him for assignment or give him away for a bag of baseballs. I don’t care at this point. You can all point out the Jackie Bradley Jr. comparisons all you want and commend Boston for the patience they showed their young outfielder but there is one difference that many people don’t point out, this is for you Mr. Cashman, when they make those statements. Bradley struggled for a year in the Major Leagues when the Red Sox waited him out, Hicks has been struggling for many years now. It’s all about sample size and the sample is big enough and the writing is on the wall… you just have to take off the rose-colored glasses to see it.

Aaron Hicks sucks. Wish him goodbye, please?

The Cry For Homegrown Talent May Be Ill Advised: 1999

The New York Yankees have two World Series in the 90's with the perfect mix of homegrown talent, free agency, International signings, and trades. Many fans, including myself, have been blowing up Twitter asking for a shake up and to bring up the talent in the farm system but that may not be the best recipe for success. If you don't learn from history you are doomed to repeat it and I'd like to repeat another dynasty so let's see how the Yankees kept this dynasty going in 1999.

The Yankees infield looked a lot like the previous years infield in 1999 with Tino Martinez, Chuck Knoblauch and Scott Brosius joining the homegrown talent of Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. The designated hitter role went mainly to Chili Davis, Jim Leyritz, and Darryl Strawberry three non homegrown players.

The outfield looked very similar to the 1998 squad as well with Paul O'Neill in right field, Chad Curtis in left, and the homegrown Bernie Williams in center. New York had Ricky Ledee and Shane Spencer on the bench once again and we also were treated with a Tony Tarasco (Baltimore, think Jeffrey Maier) appearance or two before it was all said and done.

The pitching wasn't changed much for the defending champions as Roger Clemens (Blue Jays) joined Orlando Hernandez, David Cone, Hideki Irabu, and the only homegrown talent in Andy Pettitte.

The bullpen once again had mainstays Mike Stanton and Jeff Nelson along with Jason Grimsley (Angels, Indians), Dan Naulty (Twins), and Allen Watson (Angels and others) as the new guys in the pen. The Yankees once again had Mariano Rivera in the pen but got another homegrown talent to join him in Ramiro Mendoza.

Another season, another World Series, and another team, built more around free agency, trades, international signings, etc. and less dependent on homegrown players.

Rays Avoid Sweep, Blow Out Bombers 12-3

On a sweltering afternoon in New York where it appeared every fan was accompanied by a handheld fan, the Yankees celebrated their Hall of Fame bound former closer Mariano Rivera. Mo was presented with the plaque that will be placed in Monument Park tomorrow morning for all eternity and capped off the pregame ceremony with a phenomenal speech to a crowd of thousands seemingly decked out in number 42 jerseys all across the ballpark.

The Bombers sure could've used Mo's right arm today as they were blown out by the Rays in the final game of the three-game weekend set. The loss marked the sixth time this season that the Yankees have failed to complete a sweep and also prevented them from pulling to within 5 1/2 games of first place in the AL East. Taking the ball and the loss for New York today was Luis Severino, falling to 1-8 as he got knocked all over the ballpark during his arduous afternoon. Taking the mound for Tampa Bay was Jake Odorizzi, one of the many Rays rumored to be on the move at the trade deadline. Odorizzi definitely showed why there was so much interest in the young right-hander, improving to 7-5 with his impressive outing this afternoon.

It didn't take very long for the Rays to get to Severino, scoring on the young righty in the top of the first. Logan Forsythe took the very first pitch of the ballgame and ripped it into the corner in left field for a leadoff double. Two batters later Evan Longoria continued to be a thorn in the side of all Yankee pitchers, smacking a double to right that scored Forsythe to give the Rays an early one run lead. And it was Logan Forsythe who beat Severino again in the top of the third, this time for a solo shot to right that extended the Rays lead to two.

In the midst of all the Tampa scoring, one of the big heroes in yesterday's game Aaron Judge continued to introduce himself to the league, smacking his second homerun in as many days, a solo blast to right in the bottom of the third that cut the deficit back down to one.

The Rays continued to put the pressure on Severino as they took the lead in the top of the fourth inning. Matt Duffy started the scoring rally with a single to left field, advancing to third on a Nick Franklin double. Corey Dickerson then launched a three-run opposite field bomb to left that extended their lead to 5-1. After giving up back to back singles to Steven Souza Jr. and Bobby Wilson, and then got Logan Forsythe to strike out, Severino was pulled for Luis Sessa, who immediately walked Kevin Kiermaier to load the bases for the Yankee killer Evan Longoria. And the Tampa third baseman delivered once again, lining a shot over the outstretched arms of Aaron judge to clear the bases and put his team up by a 8-1 advantage. Because Severino was responsible for two of the three runs, his final line was an ugly 3.2 innings pitched, allowing seven runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out seven.

Another Baby Bomber who introduced himself this week, Gary Sanchez got two of those runs back for the Yankees in the bottom of the fourth. After a leadoff single by Brian McCann, Sanchez took an Odorizzi fastball into the seats in left for a two-run round-tripper, scoring McCann and pulling the Yankees back to within five.

Although Sessa pitched well after the bases-clearing double, the young right-hander got lit up for four runs in the top of the seventh to break the game wide open. Evan Longoria stayed hot by smoking a one-out single to left, which was followed up with consecutive singles to center by Brad Miller and Matt Duffy, with the latter scoring Longoria from third to make it a six run game. Nick Franklin then lined a homer just over the wall in right that made the score even more lopsided at 12-3.

No more runs crossed the dish for either team, as the long, hot, disappointing afternoon finally ended with the score at 12-3.

The Pinstripers have a quick turnaround as they welcome in one of the many teams above them in both the Wild Card and Division races, the Toronto Blue Jays, with first pitch scheduled tomorrow  for 7:05 PM/EST.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 8/14

Here we go one last time this weekend between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. Like I said in the game preview post here on the blog this has been a great weekend but it's been a bit of a draining weekend as well. The good news for the Yankees is that they have plenty of youth in order to deal with this including today's starting pitcher Luis Severino. Opposing Severino on the mound will be another young guy for the Rays in Jake Odorizzi. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees welcome Toronto to the Bronx tomorrow and the Blue Jays won't have Jose Bautista in the lineup which is always a sigh of relief. The youth movement will continue next week and if you want to see them live click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog. Judgement Day is coming ladies and gentleman.

To follow along during this game or any game this season either like us on Facebook or give us a follow on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes. Odorizz vs. Severino. Go Yankees!

An Early Prediction at the 2017 Yankees Opening Day Roster

The New York Yankees have shook up things a bit and despite their best efforts to remain cool, calm and collected to the media this team is building for the 2017 season and beyond. The 2016 season has become a wash at this point so excuse me for looking into the future a bit as I take a stab at predicting the Opening Day roster for the Yankees come 2017. Obviously a lot can change between now and then, injuries and free agency/trades for the most part, so this is obviously subject to change but this is how I think it stands as we sit here today.

Masahiro Tanaka
Michael Pineda
Luis Severino
Nathan Eovaldi
CC Sabathia

If the Yankees decide to give CC his $5 million and ask him to go much like they did to Alex Rodriguez then I could see Chad Green or Luis Cessa, maybe even Bryan Mitchell taking his rotation spot.

Dellin Betances
Tyler Clippard
Adam Warren
Chasen Shreve
Ben Heller
Nick Goody
James Pazos

The bullpen is seemingly wide open again as you can mix and match a ton of these names and come out with a similar or comparable bullpen. The main three-to-five pieces at the top may be mainstays though in my opinion.

Positional Players:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Brett Gardner, LF
Aaron Hicks, RF (barf)
Greg Bird, 1B
Starlin Castro, 2B
Didi Gregorius, SS
Chase Headley, 3B
Brian McCann, C
Aaron Judge (others), Rotational DH

Rob Refsnyder, RF/2B/1B
Gary Sanchez, C
Ronald Torreyes, 3B/SS/2B
Tyler Austin 1B/3B/OF

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 8/14

What an exciting weekend here in the Bronx. Alex Rodriguez said goodbye to the Yankees and their faithful fans on Friday night, the team said hello to Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin on Saturday while looking back at the 1996 World Series championship team and this afternoon it's just a boring and lazy Sunday in the Bronx. Today the Rays and the Yankees finish this awesome series as the two teams return to a little bit of normalcy, if that's even possible in the Bronx. This afternoon the Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound as he makes his return back to the Yankees rotation, again, while the Rays counter with Jake Odorizzi.

Severino was sent down to Triple-A after his last start but due to an elbow injury for Nathan Eovaldi the Yankees future ace is back in the Bronx armed with a refined pitching repertoire. The Yankees sent Severino down to work on his offpseed pitches, namely his changeup, in hopes of turning his season around.

Odorizzi had been pitching to the tune of a 20.2 innings scoreless streak before facing off with the Toronto Blue Jays last time out. Odorizzi did not have his best stuff in that start but he tends to bring his "A" game against the Yankees which is evident by his 1-1 record and 1.12 ERA against the Bronx Bombers this season.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. Again, what an exciting weekend here in the Bronx. It has also been a draining weekend here in the Bronx with the goodbye of a Yankees legend and the introduction of two potential future Yankees legends. If only every weekend were like this. Go Yankees!

Weekly Prospects Check In: Aaron Judge One Last Time

One last time let's do a weekly prospects check in post with Aaron Judge because I don't think we see him down on the farm at all again this season. Or next season either. I've been telling you all season long that Judgement Day is coming so surely I was going to get it right eventually and I did this week. Aaron Judge made his MLB debut yesterday afternoon in the Bronx after toiling down in the minor leagues all season long marking the beginning of #JudgementDay.

Let's see what Judge has done thus far this season down in Triple-A:


This Day In New York Yankees History 8/14: RIP Phil Rizzuto

The best part about being a fan of the New York Yankees is the history, the aura, and the prestige of watching not only a team that wins a lot but watching one that expects to win a lot. The worst part about being a fan of the Bronx Bombers is watching those players grow old, retire, and eventually pass away. This was the case on this day in 2007 when Yankees legend and play by play man Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto passed away in his sleep. Rizzuto was the oldest living Hall of Famer at the time when he passed away at a New Jersey nursing home from complications with pneumonia. Rizzuto was 89 years old.

Scooter was the Yankees shortstop during the dynasty seasons in the 1940's and 50's, appeared in numerous commercials, did color commentary for the Yankees, and even sung with Meat Loaf on his song "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" that won a Grammy.

Also on this day in 1933, a little happier moment in Yankees history, New York retired the #44 jersey of Reggie Jackson in a pre-game ceremony. Mr. October was fresh off an induction into the Hall of Fame after playing with the Yankees from 1977-1981 helping the Yankees reach the playoffs four times and win two World Series championships.

Finally on this day in 1960 Mickey Mantle was booed by the Yankee Stadium crowd and benched by then manager Casey Stengel for not running out a routine ground ball (cough Cano cough). The ground ball resulted in an inning ending double play in a Yankees 6-3 loss to the Washington Senators. On the play Roger Maris was also hurt as he bruised his ribs sliding hard into second base trying to break up the double play.