Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Trenton Thunder 2017 Coaching Staff Released

Yankees Set 2017 Thunder Coaching Staff
bobby mitchell email

The New York Yankees today announced that Bobby Mitchell will return to lead your Thunder for the 2017 season at ARM & HAMMER Park.

Mitchell, who managed the team to an 87-55 record and berth in the Eastern League Championship Series in 2016, will be joined by Pitching Coach Jose Rosado, Hitting Coach Tom Slater, Bullpen Coach JD Closser, Defensive Coach Lino Diaz, Athletic TrainerJimmy Downam, and Strength & Conditioning Coach Anthony Velazquez.

"I am looking forward to returning," said Manager Bobby Mitchell. "We had lots of success last year because of my coaches, players, front office staff, and the great fan base in Trenton. I look forward to being part of it again in 2017."

The Thunder made their sixth appearance in 23 seasons in the Eastern League Championship Series under Mitchell during the 2016 campaign. The 87 regular season victories is the second-highest total in franchise history and the team's winning percentage of .613 was the third-best mark all-time. Three members of the team went on to make their Major League debut during the season with INF/OF Tyler Austin and RHP Jonathan Holder reaching the Yankees in 2016, while RHP Vicente Campos made his major league debut following a mid-season trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Pitching Coach Jose Rosado returns for his third season with the Thunder. The team has ranked in the top-3 in ERA in the Eastern League in each of his first two seasons as Pitching Coach. In 2016, the Thunder led the league in strikeouts with 1,239 and set the franchise record for lowest team ERA in a season with a 3.12 mark that led the league by 0.36. In his tenure, Rosado has presided over a combined no-hitter thrown by Ronald Herrera and Jonathan Holder on April 26, 2016, and nearly a dozen pitchers who have already gone on to big league careers. The Puerto Rican native was twice named to the American League All-Star team in 1997 and 1999 as a left-handed starter while with the Kansas City Royals.

Tom Slater returns to Trenton as the Hitting Coach after spending the 2015 and 2016 seasons as the Hitting Coach for High-A Tampa. Entering his ninth season as a coach or manager in the Yankees system, Slater served as the Hitting Coach for the Thunder in 2012; aiding a club that led the Eastern League in home runs and slugging percentage.

Bullpen Coach JD Closser returns to the Thunder for a second season in 2017. A former major league catcher with the Colorado Rockies, Closser contributed to one of the most successful regular seasons in the Thunder's history. Closser oversaw the development of catcher Kyle Higashioka as well as aided in the development of a pitching staff that set the franchise record for ERA in a season and led the Eastern League in strikeouts.

Lino Diaz spent the past two seasons as the Defensive Coach for the Gulf Coast League Yankees 1. Diaz enters his fourth season as a coach in the Yankees system following 11 seasons with the Cleveland Indians in various roles and the 2013 and 2014 seasons as the Cultural Development Manager for the Chicago White Sox, traveling with the Major League club for all games as part of the dugout staff. A native of Panama, Diaz will focus on infield defense while coaching with the Thunder. Diaz was a 30th round selection of the Kansas City Royals in the 1993 Amateur Draft and batted .284 in five seasons in the Royals minor league system.

Athletic Trainer Jimmy Downam was born in Somers Point, NJ and spent the last three years as the Trainer for the Single-A Charleston Riverdogs. Downham enters his fifth season as a trainer with the Yankees, joining the Staten Island Yankees in 2013. Downham spent the 2012 season as an intern with the Philadelphia Phillies organization at the team's rehabilitation facility in Clearwater, Fla. A 2009 and 2012 graduate of Liberty University (Va.), Downam resides in Lynchburg, Va.

Anthony Velazquez spent the previous three seasons as the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Charleston Riverdogs. Velazquez spent the 2013 season in the same position with the Clearwater Threshers, a Single-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Prior to his positions in minor league baseball, Velazquez held strength and conditioning positions at the University of Michigan, University of South Florida and University of Maryland.

The 2017 season, the 24th in franchise history, will begin at ARM & HAMMER Park on April 13 when the Thunder host the Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox) at 7:00 p.m. Single game tickets will go on sale in March 2017. For more information on the Thunder, visitwww.TrentonThunder.com or call 609-394-3300.

My Thoughts on Edwin Encarnacion Heading to Cleveland

Another slugger off the board as the dominoes may finally begin to fall in the 2016/217 free agent offseason. The Cleveland Indians got probably the top slugger over the weekend and on a steep discount in my opinion as the team agreed to terms with Edwin Encarnacion on a three-year deal worth $65 million with a $25 million option for the fourth year. Now for a team like the Cleveland Indians that sounds like an absolute ton of money but when you remember what Encarnacion has done to American League pitching over the last few seasons he may be worth every penny, and more. Here are my thoughts on the signing.

The Toronto Blue Jays offered Encarnacion, reportedly anyway, a four-year deal worth $80 million at the beginning of free agency to keep him and the first baseman/ designated hitter rejected it in search of a $100 million contract on the open market. Obviously Encarnacion fell well short of that with this deal with Cleveland and honestly it’s not surprising to me. Encarnacion is so limited defensively that he should be advertised as a first basemen only, although he did play a lot of first base out of necessity last season in Toronto. Even with that said Encarnacion, who will be replacing Mike Napoli, is a huge upgrade for Cleveland at $100 million, the $65 million guaranteed to him or the $90 million he could receive if the team option is picked up on the right-hander.

The problem with Encarnacion though, and one of the reasons he likely didn’t get the contract he was searching for this winter, is that he will be 34-years old on Opening Day and is entering the 2017 season looking to cut down on a career high strikeout rate from 2016. Even with that Encarnacion is still a 4.0+ WAR type player year in and year out and while the Indians have to give up a draft pick to acquire Encarnacion the team is in a win-now mentality. With Encarnacion the team is an automatic favorite once again in the AL Central and in the American League for 2017.

The Indians reached the World Series in 2016 and took the Chicago Cubs to extra innings in Game 7 of the World Series. Now the team just got better. This makes the Blue Jays weaker, which helps, but it makes the Cleveland Indians much better. The Yankees weren’t getting him so I guess this is a good deal for New York, they see Cleveland much less in a season than they do the Blue Jays, so I call it a win. Congrats to Cleveland and to Encarnacion. 

Yankees vs. Red Sox…. In London? Maybe!

Rivalry renewed! Rivalry not only renewed but taken overseas and battled out over foreign lands. Maybe. The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox are at least discussing the possibility of having a game between the two clubs in London, England as soon as the 2018 season. I love it when Major League Baseball, an international game, goes international so this news obviously excites me just a little bit.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner and Red Sox owner John henry have been discussing the possibility according to the Boston Herald. Randy Levine has stated that the Yankees have been at the “forefront” of bringing the game to London so the possibility of this finally coming to fruition may finally be a real thing here in a couple of seasons.

Olympic Stadium, which was built for the 2012 Summer Olympics, is reportedly the leading candidate to host the games if the series were to come to London. MLB has not announced the deal and it’s merely just speculation and discussions at this point but you have to start somewhere and the movement towards games in London has at least begun.

This is exciting news. Stay tuned. 

My Thoughts on Ivan Nova Heading Back to Pittsburgh

The New York Yankees traded Ivan Nova to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a pair of prospects last summer before the right-hander could hit free agency this winter. With the Yankees starting rotation more of a question mark than ever many wondered if the Yankees would have gone after Nova after trading him much like they did with Aroldis Chapman in hopes of tightening up the rotation while taking some innings off the Yankees bullpen but those hopes and dreams went by the wayside over the weekend as Nova signed a three-year deal with the Pirates to remain in Pittsburgh. The deal was worth $26 million, here are my thoughts on the matter.
In this market, a market that is starved for even inning eating pitchers let alone ace type starting pitchers, as thin as it is for starting pitchers and top-tiered free agents in general you would think Nova would have gotten more than a shade over $8 million annually, no? Maybe that’s just me but even at the back-end of the Yankees rotation an $8 million pitcher who could give you six innings or more every fifth day is a bargain. In Pittsburgh he’s a steal, especially if he pitches for them like he did after the trade in August. 

Nova finished his 2016 season on a 5-2 run in 11 starts with Pittsburgh including a 3.06 ERA and a strong 3-1 record and 2.45 ERA at home inside PNC Park. This was a huge improvement over his 7-6 record and 4.90 ERA with the Yankees in 15 starts last season. Now honestly I don’t expect Nova to be a sub-three ERA type pitcher no matter where he pitches but his control was pinpoint and he finally looked healthy again while pitching in Pittsburgh. There’s something about pitching with a chip on his shoulder that seems to motivate Nova and he looked awfully chippy and awfully motivated last season in Pittsburgh, something the Yankees could have and should have taken full advantage of.

Now maybe I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth here and maybe Nova simply wanted to stay in Pittsburgh while giving them a discount. Maybe not. Even at $10 million a year I find Nova to be a bargain for any team, even at the back-end of the starting rotation. The Yankees missed the boat here in my opinion, especially on a three-year deal or less. This won’t be a move that we look back at this time next year and think “man the Yankees would have won the World Series if they made this move” but if they had Nova in their rotation he may have been the difference maker between sitting at home next October and at least winning a Wild Card. And before you flip out at that statement please remember how close they were to winning the Wild Card last year, that’s not the bold statement many people will probably take it as. 

My Thoughts on Andrew McCutchen to the Yankees and the Entire Hot Stove Season

Ok. First of all, good morning. I hope everyone’s holiday and Christmas was great. I know mine was. Enough with the pleasantries though, let’s get straight into this. Who in the hell is Brian Bilek and how does he “know” so much about the potential trade between the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox?

In the reported three-way trade reported by Mr. Bilek the Chicago White Sox would send left-handed pitcher Jose Quintana to the Pittsburgh Pirates while the Yankees would get Andrew McCutchen. The Chicago White Sox would receive a package of prospects headed by Tyler Glasnow of the Pirates farm system. Ok. This is a big rumor and a rumor that no one else, literally no one else, is reporting or have gotten wind of. If it looks like a fish, and smells like a fish it’s probably a fish and this smells awfully fishy to me.

First of all the Pirates just acquired Ivan Nova off the free agent block, more on that later, and secondly what do the Yankees need with another outfielder? I thought the Yankees needed pitching, i.e. Quintana? I mean I guess I get it if it’s deemed that the Yankees cannot match the price for Quintana that the Pirates are willing to pay that they would want to manipulate where the lefty went as to not have to face him 15 times a season but how much is that really worth to them? And how much is McCutchen really worth to them?

McCutchen is 29-years old and is set to make $14 million in 2017 and $14.75 million in 2018 assuming whatever team has his rights that season opts to pick up his team-friendly team option. I mean, on paper maybe this works…. But why do the Yankees need another outfielder? And if they needed an outfielder why wouldn’t they stop gap with a Jose Bautista or something, why give up a top prospect for McCutchen? I just don’t get it, and I can’t say I believe this to be true.

It is stories and rumors like this that made me want to get into this game. Don’t be first, don’t make up crap. Just get it right and do it often. That’s the motto I try to live by. Oh well. Stay tuned and see if the Yankees get McCutchen, my opinion is that they won’t though. 

Staten Island Yankees to Remain “Yankees” For Now


STATEN ISLAND- In June, we announced plans to change our team name for the first time since arriving on Staten Island in 1999. Change is never easy, especially when your name is associated with one of the most iconic brands in sports, the New York Yankees. It is a privilege to be the starting point for many young men trying to work their way to the Bronx, but operating as a minor league team in the same marketplace under the same moniker presents inevitable challenges, so we began seeking an identity of our own.

Since the announcement, our organization enthusiastically devoted its full effort into the research and planning related to this endeavor, but over time it became clear that the approval and acceptance of the new name and artwork would take longer than initially anticipated. With that taken into consideration, we decided to table the rebranding process for the upcoming season and remain the Staten Island Yankees in 2017.

“We had a favored name, logo and branding plan. We were prepared to move forward, but encountered obstacles that unfortunately delayed the process beyond industry deadlines. These delays also would have compromised the quality of the product we aim to bring our fans,” said Staten Island Yankees President Will Smith. “I always said that until there is a new name, we are the Yankees. That remains true today.”

“Nevertheless, the passion and enthusiasm for our community’s team that surfaced during this process has not gone unnoticed. Most important is what comes first in our name – Staten Island – and all monikers aside, our goal remains the same: To provide family-friendly entertainment in a safe, clean environment at an affordable price. We are taking many steps to make the experience at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George the best it has ever been in 2017, and can’t wait to share those steps with you in the coming months.”

The Staten Island Yankees are the Single A-Short Season Affiliate of the New York Yankees and play at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George. The Staten Island Yankees are six-time New York-Penn League Champions (2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011). For more information, visit siyanks.com.

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/27: The YES Network and CBS

On 2001 the Yankees moved their spring training, regular season, and postseason games to WCBS-AM from WABC. The Yankees then signed a five year deal with the newly created YES Network worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million.

Also on this day in 1984 the Yankees signed Ed Whitson to a five year deal worth $4.4 million. Whitson went 14-8 with the NL Champion San Diego Padres the season before but the Yankees never got close to that production out of Whitson. Whitson only lasted a season and a half with the Yankees and compiled a 15-10 record with 5.38 ERA in 44 games.

Finally on this day in 1943 former Yankee infielder Roy White is born. White would go on to play 15 seasons for the Yankees while batting a career .271. Not bad for a Los Angeles boy.