Sunday, April 30, 2017

Who Was That Masked Man?…

On Saturday, the Yankees were led by slugging outfielder Brett Gardner and the Hit Machine, Austin “So Fine” Romine.  Wait a minute!  Say what?  You’re friggin’ kidding me, right?  Gardner entered the game hitting .188 with no home runs or RBI’s.  Romine, a seemingly career minor leaguer until he finally became a Major League back up last year at age 27, came into the game with a more respectable .277, but only a single homer and five RBI’s.  On Saturday, the two went off for combined nine RBI’s as the Yankees throttled the Baltimore Orioles, 12-4.  The Yankees, in scoring 26 runs in two victories, have ensured that they’ll leave April, pending the outcome of today’s game, no worse than tied for the American League East lead.

Gardner hit not one but two home runs in doing his best impersonation of Aaron Judge, albeit a short one, and drove in four Yankees runs.  His 2-for-4 performance raised his batting average above .200 (to .206).  With a 2-for-3 day (which also included a home run), Romine boosted his average to .300 and bested Gardner’s RBI total by one.  I really didn’t expect Romine to start on Saturday after catching Friday night's game, but I am glad Manager Joe Girardi penciled his name in.  By the way, Aaron Judge sent one out but that’s getting to be old news.  The big news anymore is the days he doesn’t send a ball screaming out of Yankee Stadium at record speed.  Seriously, Judge is locked in right now and is tied with Khris Davis of the Oakland A’s for the most home runs in the American League with ten.  Things are going so well for Judge, he even stole a base against the O’s, with footsteps that must have reverberated throughout the Stadium as the big man ran toward third.  

Credit:  Al Bello/Getty Images

Michael Pineda was the winning pitcher with 5 1/3 innings of work.  He got into some trouble in the sixth inning when Manny Machado doubled and subsequently scored on a Chase Headley throwing error.  Girardi had a quick hook and pulled Pineda despite the 7-1 lead to avoid a potential return to “Bad Mike”.  Big Mike’s day finished with five hits, two runs (although none earned), one walk, and eight strikeouts.  He picked up his third win (3-1) of the year.  

The Yankees are 15-7, and a game up on the Orioles for the AL East lead.  Aaron Judge is on pace for 74 home runs (I know, it’s not sustainable) and this is an absolutely fun team to watch.  What a difference a year makes!  Last year on April 29th, the Yankees fell to the Boston Red Sox 4-2 to drop their season record to 8-13.  Last April, the 2016 club felt lethargic and old. This year’s team is enthusiastic, supportive and energetic.  I am not saying this is the 1998 Yankees but this is the best team chemistry I have seen since the golden years of the late 90’s.  

Credit:  Noah K Murray/USA TODAY Sports

Today, the Yankees will send Jordan Montgomery to the mound to face the O’s Wade Miley in the finale of the three game series.  The Yankees stay at home to begin a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday.

Yankees pitching prospect Chance Adams is soon going to be making noise for Big League consideration.  So far this season, he is dominating Double-A for the Trenton Thunder.  Through four starts, the 22-year-old is 3-0 with 0.82 ERA (13 hits and 2 earned runs in 22 innings).  Although he has walked 10 batters, he was struck out 22.  He’ll no doubt get the call to make the trip to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre soon and is positioning himself for a possible late-season call-up to the Bronx.  If the Yankees need an emergency starter, I am sure that it would be Chad Green or Luis Cessa.  But Adams is ensuring that his name will soon be in the conversation.  Good problems to have.

News around Baseball the last few days has shown the risk of making big trades.  On December 9, 2015, the Arizona Diamondbacks packaged promising young shortstop Dansby Swanson, pesky outfielder Ender Inciarte, and pitcher Aaron Blair in a deal to acquire starting pitcher Shelby Miller and a minor leaguer.  Miller has struggled in Arizona and this week it was announced that he’ll undergo Tommy John surgery.  Like James Kaprielian, he won't be back until late 2018 at the earliest.  Last year on December 7th, the Washington Nationals traded top young pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning to the Chicago White for outfielder Adam Eaton after their failed attempt to acquire Andrew McCutheon from the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Yesterday it was announced that Eaton will miss the remainder of the 2017 season with a torn ACL in his left knee.  Ouch!  These were very high prices to pay for nothing.  I hope that both Miller and Eaton are successful in their respective recoveries and return one day stronger than ever, but it doesn’t help either the D-Backs or the Nationals today.  The Nationals have a World Series contending club and now they need outfield help in addition to the desperate need for a proven closer.

Have a great Sunday!  I have no desire to see former Yankees manager Buck Showalter gain a victory today…let’s sweep this series!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Mystique & Aura Were Dancing The Night Away…

Credit:  Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Despite CC Sabathia pitching like this is truly his final year in Pinstripes, the Yankees staged a very improbable and dramatic comeback to beat the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night.  

Mark Trumbo’s grand slam in the sixth inning off reliever Bryan Mitchell had me switching channels to check out what was happening with the NFL Draft.  At 9-1, I was fairly confident the Yankees would be falling to two games behind the O’s in the AL East standings when the night was done.  Fortunately for me, none of the current 25 men on the Yankees roster shared my opinion.  

Yesterday before the game, Bryan Van Dusen of The Greedy Pinstripes made this observation about CC Sabathia:

“It's hard to judge CC Sabathia, seeing as how he's a different pitcher than he was just a couple of years ago. However, I believe his final ERA this season will be closer to 5.00 than it will be to 3.00 (he's currently at 2.70).”

While I agreed with Bryan’s comments, I just didn’t expect it to come true on a single night.  By the time CC was pulled last night in the sixth inning, his season ERA had ballooned from the aforementioned 2.70 to 4.34.  CC’s line was very ugly…5 2/3 innings, 9 hits, 7 runs, 2 home runs.  It doesn’t matter that he managed to strike out 6 batters.  It was an awful night for CC and most nights, it would have been one for the “L” column.

Although the Yankees scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth, which included a two-run homer from Aaron Judge, to close the gap to 9-4, it looked like the Orioles were going to have a monster inning in the seventh.  They scored a couple more runs off Mitchell to push their lead to 11-4 and had the bases loaded with one out.  In perhaps the best pitching performance of the night, Jonathan Holder came on to thwart the O’s and the end the inning without further damage by retiring the always dangerous Manny Machado and slugger Mark Trumbo.  

When Jacoby Ellsbury hit his first career grand slam in the bottom of the seventh to bring the score to 11-8, it still felt like it was too little too late but the door was cracked.  It was a game again.  Coming into the bottom of the ninth, it still felt like the 11-8 score was too much to overcome.  With elite closer Zach Britton on the Disabled List, the O’s had to go to Brad Brach for the attempted save.  After picking up a run on a force-out, Starlin Castro launched an improbable game-tying two-run home run from his knees.  

The game moved into extra innings and Aroldis Chapman held the O’s in check in the top of the 10th despite allowing a single to Mark Trumbo.  He racked up his second strike-out of the frame by ending the O’s threat on a called third strike to Chris Davis.  

Enter bottom of the tenth.  Orioles reliever Jayson Aquino came on to replace Brach, and proceeded to walk the first two batters (Aaron Hicks and Kyle Higashioka).  Chase Headley had an opportunity to be the hero but struck out swinging as he chased a few high pitches.  Next up, Matt Holliday, a member of the New York Yankees for a grand total of 21 games.  Aquino opted to throw a soft change-up to Holliday with his first pitch.  Big mistake.  Game over.  Yankees win, 14-11.  Wow, games don’t get much more exciting than this.  For new players to the Bronx, there is often a long adjustment period.  For Holliday, he decided that patience is not a virtue and decided to go ahead and carve his own piece of history into the hallowed grounds of Yankee Stadium three weeks into his new Pinstriped career.  It was an incredible game.

The Yankees and Orioles are tied for the AL East Lead with 14-7 records entering today’s action.  I know, it’s still early and it is a long season, but this Yankees team is very fun.  It’s been fun since the trading deadline last year and has continued.  Aaron Judge ended up hitting two home runs on the night which I didn’t really address in this post.  He is rapidly becoming ‘must-watch’ with every at-bat.  Matt Holliday’s accolades for Judge were overflowing in his post-game comments.  We are clearly watching the blossoming of a Yankees superstar before our eyes.  Had Judge homered in the bottom of the ninth instead of walking, this game would have been on continual replay on the YES Network.  

Have a great Saturday!  It will be tough to top Friday night, but let’s take this series today.  Go Yankees!

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/29: Blue Jays, Thumbs Down

On this day in 2006 the Yankees rout the Toronto Blue Jays 17-4 to become the sixth American League team to score in all eight innings that the team came to bat. The only other time a New York Yankees team scored in every inning of a full game was in July of 1939 when they beat the Browns 14-1 in Yankee Stadium.

On this day in 1939 Lou Gehrig came up to plate at Yankee Stadium in the fourth inning and laced a single off of Washington Senators pitcher Ken Chase for his 2,721st and last hit of his Major League career. Gehrig would finish with the Yankees franchise record for most in history, recently passed by Derek Jeter. The Iron Horse and the Yankee captain's record would stand for 70 seasons until another 35 year old captain passes him in 2009.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 4/28

Game time in the Bronx as the New York Yankees head home to play host to the Baltimore Orioles in the first of a three-game set inside Yankee Stadium this weekend. In the opener the Yankees will send their veteran southpaw CC Sabathia to the mound to square off with the Orioles ace Kevin Gausman. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MASN and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio with WFAN’s John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

You can also follow along and interact with us all season long by giving our Twitter account @GreedyStripes a follow. We are inching towards 5,000 followers so tell you friends, share our account and let’s achieve this together! Go Yankees!

The Yankees Best for the Month of April

I think someone forgot to tell the New York Yankees players that they were supposed to have a down season this year and next before buying out the free agency market en route to a World Series victory in 2019. Whoops. The Yankees have been great thus far this season, yes I know it’s early, and that’s due in large part to a total team effort from the club. There were a few standouts that deserve some recognition though so here are a few of the Yankees best players from the month of April. If I omitted someone leave them and their case below in the comments section.

Many thought the season was over, at least temporarily, when Gary Sanchez went down but Austin Romine has really surprised a lot of people. Through his first 42 plate appearances this season Romine has posted a .840 OPS, which is up from his career .586 OPS in the Major Leagues, while calling great games behind the dish and flashing good defense and a strong throwing arm. He won’t win an MVP Award or anything like that but he has been severely underrated in the absence of Sanchez much like our next “best” from the month.

Ronald Torreyes is among the Yankees leaders in RBI this season. No that is not a typo and no Sheldon that is not sarcasm. Torreyes has always brought a solid defensive glove with him to the ballpark but the emergence of his bat, albeit in a small sample size, has kept the Yankees afloat while the Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius has been injured. Welcome back Didi.

Aaron Hicks is really putting the pressure on the Yankees outfielders, specifically Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, and Aaron Judge has been brilliant thus far this season. The two Aaron’s are hitting the ball over the fence with a great consistency and they are both drawing walks at an elevated rate, although Hicks is walking a lot more than Judge is to be fair.

Luis Severino, who we already spoke about this morning so I won’t spend too much time here, has been great in his last three starts and has gotten better and better with every start this month. The more arm strength he build and the more confidence he gains the better he, and the Yankees, will be going forward.

The final “best” from the month of April is surprisingly Chase Headley. After going from Chase Headley to “Chase Headley Sucks” in 2016 the Yankees third baseman has seemingly turned around his Yankees tenure with a great month of April this season. Some have even called Headley the Yankees best player when you mix in his impressive plate appearances and strong defense although I think that may be a stretch. Either way you ride his success all the way to the Promised Land. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 4/28

The New York Yankees survived their trip to Fenway Park and looked pretty good doing it but nothing beats playing in front of the home crowd, something the Bronx Bombers will do tonight. The Yankees are back home inside Yankee Stadium to play host to the best team in the American League East and possibly the best team in the American League, the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound looking to slow down this powerful offense while the Orioles will counter with their ace and Opening Day starter Kevin Gausman.

Sabathia lost some of his early season magic in his last start against the Pittsburgh Pirates and will look to regain some of that back tonight in the Bronx against the O’s. In that start Sabathia allowed four runs on seven hits in just five innings pitched including a couple home runs. Pitchers have short memories though, they have to be in order to be successful, and Sabathia will show that temporary amnesia tonight in the Bronx. Bet.

Gausman has not looked comfortable or right all season long for the Orioles, a trend that we hope continues tonight in the Bronx. Gausman has just one quality start this season and is fresh off a struggle against the Boston Red Sox in his last start where he gave up four runs in the first inning.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman’s broadcast on WFAN.

Go Yankees!!

Peering Into My Crystal Ball

Writing this post has been unusual for me. The vast majority of the time I'm optimistic. Hell, I have defended some horrible players and moves over the years (for example, I didn't think bringing back Javier Vazquez was a bad thing, and I was a little off on that). But how can anybody look at this team and honestly believe they have the 5th best offense and pitching in MLB?

So I looked down the roster, particularly at the starters at each position, to try and predict the future. Here's what I found...

What will get better?

1. I believe Gary Sanchez will hit better than Austin Romine. And that's not to say Austin has been hitting poorly, either. Romine's batting line of .273/.327/.386 is about average for a catcher in the AL. However, Gary Sanchez is... well... Gary Sanchez. I don't have to explain to you guys why he should hit better than "average".

2. Greg Bird will not hit this poorly all season. That's not to say I believe Bird will hit like he did in Spring Training, but I certainly don't believe he's this bad. From what I've seen and read it's all a timing problem, which can be fixed. Will that happen in MLB or AAA? That I don't know. But I think we can expect more of a contribution from Yankee first baseman in the future.

What will stay the same?

1. While the individual batting stats may change a bit (he'll bat higher than .231, and his SLG should rise a bit too), Matt Holliday's overall production will likely be around the same. The main thing I'm seeing with him is that he's striking out more than he ever has, while walking a lot more than normal too. And at age 37, can we really expect better than an OPS+ of 119? I don't.

What will get worse?

"This is quite a long list."

1. Starlin Castro is not going to fight for a batting title. He's currently hitting .346, which is the 2nd best batting average in the American League. That's not to say Starlin will be flirting with the Mendoza line, but his home run rate is probably going to drop and he'll draw fewer walks.

2. The return of Didi Gregorius is not going to change a whole hell of a lot. Ronald Torreyes is currently batting .308, which is better than Didi has ever hit in a season. And while Ronald's OBP of .308 is kinda bad, Didi's OBP was actually lower last season and only 10 points higher than that the year before. Didi may hit a few more home runs than Torreyes would, but the overall production is unlikely to change much.

3. When was the last time Chase Headley had a batting average over .300? If you said "never" you're a winner! When was the last time Headley's OBP was .377 or higher? If you said "never" you win again! When was the last time Chase had a SLG... you get the picture. Chase Headley is not going to produce at the plate like he was so far this year.

4. Unlike Headley, Jacoby Ellsbury has seen similar success with the bat in his career. Unfortunately that success hasn't been seen since 2013. It would be nice if Ellsbury figured something out, especially since I don't see the Yankees getting rid of him before his contract is up, but after two straight poor seasons I'm not going to buy into what we've seen so far in 2017.

5. I love what Aaron Judge is doing this season, both with the bat and glove (that catch against the Red Sox the other night was great, if not scary). But nobody is going to convince me he'll finish this season with an OPS+ of 171. Such a season would have finished second to Mike Trout in 2016. But unlike with Ellsbury, I don't see Judge's overall production dropping that much. Probably just a few less home runs than he's on pace for is all.

6. Not a single Yankees pitcher, starter or reliever, currently has an ERA over 4.20. And that 4.20 belongs to Masahiro Tanaka, who is probably the only pitcher on the Yankees that will improve in that category. I'll just look at their pitchers in bullet points...

  • Despite him still being a little homer-prone, Luis Severino has pitched really well so far this season. But can he keep that walk rate lower, and strikeout rate higher, than he averaged in the minors? I'm not betting on it.
  • It's hard to judge CC Sabathia, seeing as how he's a different pitcher than he was just a couple of years ago. However, I believe his final ERA this season will be closer to 5.00 than it will be to 3.00 (he's currently at 2.70).
  • What Michael Pineda is currently doing is probably a little better than what he'll do from here on out this season. The fact of the matter is his floor is much lower, while he's likely already exceeded his ceiling.
  • Like with Judge, I've been enjoying what Jordan Montgomery has done this year. But he's also only thrown 16.2 innings in MLB, so let's not get ahead of ourselves. While his peripherals make sense based on what he did in the minors, I have a feeling that once opposing teams see him more things could change for the worse. 
  • The bullpen, particularly Bryan Mitchell, Tyler Clippard, and Adam Warren, are not going to continue getting the same results. Mitchell is going to give up more hits, Clippard's k-rate will slow down, and Warren will walk a few more guys while striking out less. I'm not saying it's going to get "bad", but the only guys in that bullpen that will finish with an ERA of  around 1.51 (our reliever's current ERA) are Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances.

I'm going to urge you all to read this post again. Not because it's life-changing or amazing, but because it's one of the few times you're going to see me take a dump on the Yankees. Sorry if I'm raining on anyone's parade, but if this team actually contends for a playoff spot I'm going to be extremely surprised.

Oh, and also extremely happy.

"Go Yanks. Go Yanks! GO YANKS!"

Hopefully, The Weekend Won't Be For The Birds...

Credit:  Elsa/Getty Images

Well, I should qualify that by saying I hope it is for the Bird (as in Greg)...just not for the Birds of Baltimore.  

The Yankees head back to the Bronx for a weekend series against the AL East front-running  Orioles.  The series begins tonight at 7:05 pm ET with CC Sabathia  (2-1, 2.70 ERA) scheduled to take the mound versus the O’s Kevin Gausman (1-2, 7.50 ERA).  In Gausman's last start on Sunday against the Red Sox, he gave up back-to-back home runs in the first inning to Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez as the O's fell to Boston 6-2.  

The Yankees are playing much better than they did when the O’s took 2 of 3 earlier this month.  When the Yankees salvaged the final game of the series with a 7-3 victory on April 9th, it was the start of an eight-game winning streak.  They left Baltimore with a 2-4 record, and now stand at 13-7 as they prepare for the rematch.  The Yankees currently trail the Orioles by just one game.   

The X Factor is the return of shortstop Didi Gregorius, who returns tonight after missing the first 20 games of the season.  Didi performed his rehab assignment at High A Tampa, where he hit .290 with a homer and 13 ribbies.  Credit is owed to interim starting shortstop Ronald Torreyes.  My preference had been to promote prospect Tyler Wade as I didn’t feel Torreyes (or “Toe”) was up to the task.  He proved me wrr, wrrr...not exactly right.  The little guy came up big in clutch situations, and played admirably in the field.  Toe now moves to the critical super-sub role with the ability to cover for Gregorius, Starlin Castro or Chase Headley.  At this point, if you told me that he could play catcher too, I wouldn’t argue.  There’s a reason that Brian Cashman is paid to the general manager and Joe Girardi is paid to be the manager, while I write for free on this blog site.  

Now the question is what becomes of backup shortstop Pete Kozma.  Is he simply optioned to AAA (retaining his spot on the 40-man roster) or designated for assignment?  Personally, for me, the emergency backup shortstop is Wade so I’d shake Kozma’s hand for helping out and then hand him his walking papers.  

Catcher Gary Sanchez is also very close to returning.  He’ll begin his rehab assignment next Tuesday for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  Like Torreyes, catcher Austin Romine has done a terrific job filling in for Sanchez.  Obviously, he’ll never be the bat nor the arm of Sanchez, but he held his own at the position.  

This has been a crazy year for guys going on the disabled list.  The San Francisco Giants losing ace Madison Bumgarner for two months due to a dirt bike accident is probably the craziest.  But it seems like no team has been immune from the DL plague.  Soon, the Yankees will be back at full strength for a team that is already playing better than expected.  There is reason for great optimism at 161st and River.  

The pitching match-ups for the rest of the weekend are:

Balt:  Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0, 5.95 ERA)   
NYY:  Michael Pineda (2-1, 3.86 ERA)    

Balt:  Wade Miley (1-1, 2.08 ERA)
NYY:  Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 3.78 ERA)

I am very glad that we won’t be facing a Chris Sale-like pitcher in this series.  So far this season, the best pitcher for the Orioles has been Dylan Bundy.  The Yankees will miss Bundy (3-1, 1.65 ERA) this go-around.  You have to like the Yankees’ chances in this series, particularly considering they are at home.  Welcome back, Didi!  It will be great to see #18 on the field again.  


Yesterday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred disputed the reports that the group led by Yankees Legend Derek Jeter and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush had won the exclusive rights to purchase the Miami Marlins.  Per Manfred, there are still two groups involved in the running but that resolution should be reached within a matter of days.  So, hold your horses, Jeter may not be trading in his pinstripes just yet.  It would be cool if the Steinbrenner Family would sell Jeter part of the Yankees, but that’s not going to happen.  For Jeter’s sake, I hope his group’s bid is successful.  Ownership is his dream and the best case scenario without the Yankees in play is a National League club to avoid frequent competition.  

What did last night's game against the Boston Red Sox look like?...

What can you say about Masahiro Tanaka's masterful performance against the Red Sox?  It was an absolute masterpiece as Tanaka out-pitched Boston ace Chris Sale for the the 3-0 victory.  Tanaka went the distance, allowing only three hits and no walks, while striking out three.  It was Tanaka's best start of the year and one of his greatest in pinstripes.  Sale, who came into the game with a career 1.17 ERA against the Yankees, allowed three runs (two earned) in the loss for the Red Sox.  

For the majority of the game, the Yankees held a slim 1-0 lead, thanks to a sac fly by Matt Holliday in the fourth inning.  Finally, they knocked Sale out of the game in the ninth inning after he allowed singles to the first three batters, including a run-scoring hit by Holliday to pick up his second RBI of the game.  Reliever Heath Embree gave up a hit to the first batter he faced (Starlin Castro), scoring Chase Headley, with the run charged to Sale.    

Chris Carter, carrying the rep of a one-dimensional home run hitter, played very solid defense at first base even if he couldn't get his bat going against Sale.  

This was one of the more enjoyable victories over the Red Sox in recent memory.  Hats off to Tanaka, and congratulations to the team for the two-game sweep.  

Have a wonderful Friday!  It's time to cook some Birds!  

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda & Eric Thames

So let’s play a game that has no winners, no rules and the point of it all is really just an exercise in nothingness. Let’s play the “Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda” game with the lefty swinging and home run smashing Milwaukee Brewers player Eric Thames and let’s just salivate at the thought of the possibility, and almost the reality, of him being in Yankees pinstripes this season rather than in Milwaukee.

The Yankees needed a designated hitter last season after essentially forcing Alex Rodriguez into retirement and the team went all the way to Korea to try and find it. The Yankees organization contacted Thames and his agent last season about a possible deal to bring him to the Bronx and back to the states but apparently the financial numbers didn’t match up and Thames stayed where he was. Man would Thames look good in pinstripes right now.

At the time of this writing the New York Post had Thames on pace to hit 81 home runs in 2017. I’ll give you a second to let that sink in. 81 home runs. Now obviously I doubt he is going to keep up with this torrid pace and I absolutely cannot see him even seeing enough to hit to achieve that number even if he wanted to but still…. 81 home runs. 81 home runs in Milwaukee is probably like 145 home runs, a slight exaggeration, for a left-handed hitter inside Yankee Stadium. Barry Bonds who?? Okay, I’ll stop.

Thames stepped into Milwaukee’s lineup to replace Chris Carter who the Yankees signed to a one-year deal this offseason and has done nothing but set the world on fire since arriving. Carter was an absolute steal as far as his salary goes but Thames may be the bigger catch when all is said and done after signing a three-year deal with Milwaukee for just $16 million. That’s before you even mention the one-year deal and $13 million that the Yankees gave Matt Holliday this season as well. Both Carter and Holliday have begun their 217 campaigns sluggishly while Thames has absolutely taken off which begs the question… could you image the Yankees lineup right now with Thames in the middle of it? Could you imagine a lineup with Thames, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez? Ladies and gentleman that’s a little thing I like to call “Game Over.”

Looking back now the Yankees certainly “shoulda” and I certainly wish they “woulda” because we all know that the financial reasons for not signing him are all bogus because we all know that they “coulda.” 

So it Seems Luis Severino is For Real

You know I don’t want to be that guy, although I reserve the right to be that guy, but I purposely “favorited” all those numerous tweets on Twitter about how the Yankees should give up on Luis Severino and either trade him or banish him to the bullpen for forever so I could find them easily if and when I needed them. Well ladies and gentleman it is getting close to needing them, isn’t it?

After Severino completely shut down the Boston Red Sox offense for seven innings in his last start and after notching his first win in over a year three starts ago it seems like Severino may finally be for real again. In between his two starts was a great start for the Yankees wedged in between that he pitched well enough to win but didn’t, FYI, so the sample size is growing and so is my love for the guy.

Severino may have his faults and he may never live up to the Pedro Martinez in his prime comparisons but the righty is continuing to prove that he is far too talented and has far too much upside to simply give up on him or banish him to the bullpen at this stage in his career. So stop doing it and if you have in the past stop praising the guy now, you made your choice. I kid, a little bit anyway.

Have a great Friday everyone. TGIF, we made it. Hey you J

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/28: Yogi Berra Fired, Billy Martin Hired (Again)

On this day in 1985 Yogi Berra was fired as manager of the New York Yankees after starting the season 6-10. Billy Martin is hired to replace Berra who would be managing the Yankees for his fourth time. Berra vows to never return to Yankee Stadium for as long as George Steinbrenner is the owner of the team and he didn't for 14 years. Eventually Berra and Steinbrenner reconciled and Berra is now a mainstay at Yankee Stadium and in spring training camps.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox 4/27

Game time and rivalry time once again as the New York Yankees make the trip back to historic Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox in the final game of their two-game set this week. Tonight we have another treat of a pitcher’s duel as the New York Yankees send their ace Masahiro Tanaka to the mound looking to quell one of the many Boston Red Sox aces in Chris Sale. The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Fenway Park and can be seen on the YES Network, NESN, MLB Network and MLB TV while you can also follow along in your cars by tuning into WFAN.

Follow along and interact with us all season long by giving our Twitter account @GreedyStripes a follow. We’re always on there trying to be social so drop us a line. Go Yankees!!

To Protect James Kaprielian or to Not Protect James Kaprielian

Contrary to popular belief the Greedy Pinstripes is not the only shop in town covering the New York Yankees and their minor league affiliates. I say that with extreme sarcasm but there are some publications out there that truly either think that or at the very least act like it. That’s not me and that’s not us. We strove to be different and do it our way when we started this blog over five years ago and I think we’ve done a pretty damn good job at it personally, but I am clearly bias on the matter truth be told. I said all that to say this. I’m not afraid and have never been afraid to read other people’s work and I absolutely have no problem giving credit where credit is due which leads me to Lou DiPietro’s recent article regarding James Kaprielian, the upcoming decision on whether to add him to the 40 man roster and whether to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft or not. Here are my thoughts on his article which can be seen on the

As we all know the Yankees right-handed pitching prospect underwent Tommy John surgery last week which will keep him out at least until the halfway point of the 2018 season. This is important because the Yankees have until after the 2018 season to decide whether they should and will add Kaprielian to the 40 man roster as a way of protecting him from being taken by other teams in the annual Rule 5 Draft. This, in my opinion, should not even be up for discussion. Protect Kaprielian, period.

Kaprielian missed basically the entire 2016 season with a right flexor strain in his elbow and will miss all of this season as well with the elbow injury but don’t think that will deter teams from taking him in the Rule 5 Draft. If history has taught us anything it is that Kaprielian will be taken regardless, whether it is in the Major League phase or the minor league phase of the draft. In his article DiPietro points out that the Yankees have lost pitchers like Ty Hensley in the minor league phase in recent years and Hensley has had many more injuries and is farther away from the Majors than Kaprielian is today. Without a doubt if Kaprielian is left unprotected one of the other 29 teams in the league will snatch him up, there is zero doubt in my mind.

There’s some pitchers and players you take a chance with in the Rule 5 Draft, Dietrich Enns for example this past season who I thought would ultimately be taken and wasn’t, and there are others you absolutely cannot take a chance with, Miguel Andujar from this winter for example, and Kaprielian is definitely more of the latter than the former. So for now, and I doubt my mind changes much between now and October of 2018, you must protect Kaprielian on the 40 man roster.

What say you? Leave it below in the comments section or tweet us @GreedyStripes with your thoughts. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox 4/27

The rivalry wasn’t renewed as often as we all expected it to be due to Mother Nature postponing the game on Tuesday but tonight the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will finish their series regardless. In the finale of this rain-shortened two-game series the New York Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to square off with Chris Sale for the Boston Red Sox. Tonight’s scheduled starter CC Sabathia will start tomorrow night in the Bronx when the team welcomes the Baltimore Orioles to town. Before we get too ahead of ourselves and start thinking about tomorrow too much let’s focus on getting a win tonight first.

Tanaka pitched an absolute gem in his last start against the Chicago White Sox so changing the Sox color should make little difference to the Japanese-born right-hander. Tanaka allowed just one run on six hits in seven innings of work last time out in a victory for the Yankees. Tanaka attributed his best splitter of the season for his success in his last start.

Sale has been absolutely dominant for the Boston Red Sox since coming over from the Chicago White Sox and his sub-1.00 ERA makes the decision to trade top prospect Yoan Moncada for him a good one thus far. Sale has struck out at least ten in three of his first four starts this season and has gone at least seven innings in all four of those aforementioned starts. It could be a long, long night for the Baby Bombers tonight inside Fenway if Sale is on.

The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Fenway Park and can be seen in New York on the YES Network, in Boston on NESN, MLB Network nationally and anywhere you and your device are on MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio in your cars by tuning into WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

It doesn’t matter if the series is two games long or eight games long it is still “Go Yankees” regardless!

House Stark Has Fallen...

Mindblowing!  That’s how I felt when I saw the news about the ESPN layoffs and the inclusion of veteran Baseball writer Jayson Stark.  I have long viewed Stark as the foremost Baseball authority at ESPN.  He consistently wrote interesting, objective, and fact-based stories.  After 17 years and recognized as a leading Baseball sportswriter, he was given the swift boot by ESPN.  Amazing.  I am not going to cry for Stark.  ESPN’s loss will most certainly be another media giant’s gain.  This proves that no industry is immune to economic turmoil.  Most likely, all of us, at one point in our lives (or more), have been victimized by financial downturns in the economy.  Still, it doesn’t make the losses any easier.  

I will be anxious to see where Stark lands.  He is too valuable to lose in this chaotic sport.  While there were a number of notable names included in the ESPN layoffs, the other that stood out to me was NFL reporter Ed Werder.  I've been following Werder since his days as the Dallas Cowboys beat writer for The Dallas Morning News.  He has been an institution for the NFL.  Like Stark, he has spent 17 years at ESPN.  Also like Stark, I doubt Werder has any problems finding his next gig but I hope it is one that affords him a national presence as I don't really follow Dallas area sports anymore.

It was definitely a crazy doubt.  Best of luck to all those affected by the layoffs.  Hopefully their entries into the free agent market will be very short-lived.  

In 2007, the Yankees first round selection (30th overall) was the long forgotten pitcher Andrew Brackman.  Once slated to be part of the Killer B's along with Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances, the 6'10" Brackman was never able to realize his potential following Tommy John surgery and was later released.  He is now out of baseball.  The same year of the draft, the Yankees chose a college player in the 39th round (1191st pick overall) by the name of Eric Thames.  Thames didn't sign and went back to Pepperdine University.  Fast forward ten years, and Thames, after spending three years in Korea and now with the Milwaukee Brewers, is the Major League leader in home runs with eleven.  He has also scored a Major League-leading 27 runs.  Although he was pulled from Wednesday's game for a tight hamstring, he should be back to increase his homer total on Friday.  Wow, where did this come from?  In the off-season, the Brewers cut last year's first baseman, Chris Carter, who tied Nolan Arenado for most homers in the NL with 41, and signed Thames as his replacement.  While it is unlikely that Thames will continue at his current pace, the Brewers haven't missed a beat in getting huge production out of their first basemen.  Too bad those scouts who found Thames in 2007 didn't see the potential in the Korean Leagues.  Kudos to the Brewers scouts who did.  The year after the Yankees had drafted Thames, he was picked in the seventh round by the Toronto Blue Jays which clearly showed the Yankees had uncovered a potential diamond in the rough.  Thames did fail in chances with the Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles and Houston Astros before finding his niche in Korea.  Still, there's probably a few Yankees scouts saying "I told you so".  

The Yankees win!...

It was a very laborious 9th inning, but the Yankees beat the Red Sox 3-1 in the opener of their rain-shortened two game series at Fenway Park on a very foggy night.  Luis Severino was quite simply...incredible.  He did not look like the same pitcher on the mound.  I don't know if it was his best Major League performance but it might be his most impressive.  Sevy (2-1) was in charge throughout his seven innings of work, giving up only three hits and no runs.  He walked two and struck out six.  This is the Severino we have been waiting for.  The youngster has grown up.  Very exciting stuff.  The offense was 100% Baby Bomber-powered.  Aaron Judge, celebrating his 25th birthday, slugged a second inning two-run homer to right off AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello (1-3).  Greg Bird, showing that a Bird #33 jersey is no longer something to cheer for in Boston, delivered a run-scoring single in the sixth, scoring Judge. Judge also made a highlight reel catch that carried him into right field foul territory stands in the third inning.  I was worried that the three runs might not be enough when Aroldis Chapman clearly didn't have it in the 9th.  He gave up a hit and allowed two walks and a run.  Boston had the winning run on base but with Chapman's 33rd pitch of the inning, he struck out Josh Rutledge to end the game.  Big sigh of relief...

Credit:  Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other Yankees to homer at Fenway Park on their birthday are Yogi Berra and Roger Maris.  8, 9, and 99.  Very select company for Aaron Judge!  By the way, Happy Belated Birthday to him!

Have a great Thursday!  Hopefully today is a sweeping success for everyone!

OK Guys, Calm Down About Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter, Jeb Bush and their group of investors haven’t officially purchased the Miami Marlins yet and I have to say I am already so sick and tired of hearing about it, especially from the fans of the New York Yankees.

Let’s start at the beginning. Jeter, Jeb Bush and a group of investors have come together and made a bid to purchase the Miami Marlins franchise for a shade over $1 billion. Depending on where you read the group have either won the bid or not been awarded with the top bid, I’ve read both as of the time of this writing although that is subject to change, but what I am being bombarded with more so is all this nonsense from Yankees fans who are actually upset about Jeter purchasing a stake in a franchise other than the New York Yankees. Say what?

I’ve seen quotes something along the lines of that Jeter is “no longer a true Yankee” and such as that because he is buying the Miami Marlins franchise, reportedly anyway. Again. Say what? So with that line of thinking I guess that Tino Martinez, a beloved Yankee who had his own day inside Yankee Stadium a couple seasons back, is not a true Yankee either since he was the hitting coach for Miami and played for other teams including the St. Louis Cardinals. Paul O’Neill? Not a true Yankee, he played for Cincinnati. Don Mattingly? Nope, he managed the Los Angeles Dodgers. Joe Girardi? Nah, he played for the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies among other teams and also managed the Miami Marlins before the Yankees. I can keep going but I think you get the point. I get it, I do. It’s Jeter. Jeter is supposed to be and built up to be the exception to the rule by Yankees fans but come on…. I think this is exaggerating just a little too much and taking it a wee bit too far.

Chill, people. Jeter spent 20 seasons at shortstop for the New York Yankees and left everything he had on the field every single night and during the latter part of those 20 years Jeter was quite vocal about owning an MLB franchise one day. Sure he would probably like to and prefer to buy the New York Yankees but they aren’t for sale. Don’t be mad at Jeter for that and let that tarnish his career and his legacy with you, blame Hal Steinbrenner and his greedy brother Hank for that. 

So it Seems Didi Is Back?

Good morning and happy Thursday everyone. It’s almost TGIF!! It’s hard to be upset on a Friday, at least for me, although tomorrow I have a feeling will be a rough day at work. I will be tested physically and emotionally as we have just two people doing six people’s worth of work… so if you don’t hear from me that’s why. LOL. Anyway, I digress and I refuse to stress about it because Monday is another day. Enjoy today, worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.

The good news is that Didi Gregorius is expected to come off the disabled list tomorrow night before the New York Yankees play host to the Baltimore Orioles inside Yankee Stadium. Gregorius has been on a minor league rehab assignment and all signs point to his right shoulder strain being completely healed and healthy after missing basically the first month of the 2017 regular season with the injury.

Didi is back and the Yankees offense is already clicking… things are about to get scary for everyone else here in the Bronx. Have a great day everyone. Oh, and hey you :) 

This Day In New York Yankees History 4/27: Steinbrenner Sucks!

On this day in 1982 after Reggie Jackson left the New York Yankees via free agency for the California Angels he came back to Yankee Stadium and promptly hit a home run in a 3-1 Angels victory. The crowd was none to PLEASED and chants of "Steinbrenner Sucks" erupted while Jackson rounded the bases. FYI, George Steinbrenner the Yankees owner was in attendance in his press box on that day.
On this day in 1947 a crowd of 58,000 attended Babe Ruth Day at Yankee Stadium to honor the Yankees legend. The crowd was treated to an old fashioned pitchers duel when the Washington Senators Sid Hudson beat the Yankees Spud Chandler 1-0.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

3 Minus 1 Equals 2...

Credit:  Globe Staff/John Tlumacki

Impressive math skills, huh?  With Tuesday’s rain-out, the 2017 opening Yankees-Red Sox series becomes a two game affair.  It plays havoc with a wager I hold every year with a die-hard Red Sox fan.  Years ago, when we were both bloggers, we started making bets on every series.  Over the years, I’ve had to wear Red Sox caps in photos (including a pink one one year), write long posts about past and present Red Sox players, and sport Red Sox-related profile pics through social media.  My friend no longer blogs so the current bets tend to revolve around FaceBook profile and cover pics.  With only two games, a split means the win goes to the team with the most runs scored.  The loser has to use a Red Sox player as their FaceBook profile pic for three days under the current bet.  So, I have a vested interest in the Yankees to take this series.  Yes, it’s all about me.

The rained out game will be made up on Sunday, July 16th as part of a day-night double-header.   The scheduled starters are pushed back a day so Luis Severino takes the mound today against AL Cy Young Award Winner Rick “Justin Verlander Deserved It More” Porcello while Masahiro Tanaka, in the series marquee matchup, faces Chris Sale on Thursday.  CC Sabathia becomes an observer for this series, with a probable early flight back to New York for Friday’s start against the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles.

It’s raining again today in Boston but hopefully the rain gods will make way for the 7:10 pm EDT start time to allow a few hours of clear skies.  Oh yeah, this is Yankees-Red Sox, better make that four hours of clear skies.

I am not sure what I think about the possibility of Derek Jeter becoming an owner in Major League Baseball.  As Bloomberg reported yesterday, the group led by former Presidential candidate and Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Jeter won the auction for exclusive negotiating rights to buy the Miami Marlins.  The sides still have to hammer out a formal written agreement that must be approved by MLB owners, but I do not see any roadblocks to the eventual sale.  

I suppose that all things considered, it would have been worse for Jeter to buy his local Tampa Bay Rays.  Under that scenario, the Yankees would have had to face a Jeter-owned team 19 times a year in the fight for the American League East.  With Jeter owning a National League team, the Yankees won’t face the Marlins except for every few years in inter-league play.  There’s the possibility that the Yankees could face the Jeter-owned Marlins in the World Series at some point.  But for the most part, they won’t step foot on the same field at the same time.  So, this is probably the best situation for Jeter’s dream to be a Major League owner, particularly considering the Steinbrenner Family has no interest in selling the Yankees.  

It was tough to watch Don Mattingly, a lifetime Yankee, put on another team’s jersey.  If I have a second favorite or National League favorite team, it is probably the Los Angeles Dodgers (okay, not probably, it is).  Mattingly as an assistant coach for Joe Torre in Los Angeles and then later the manager was very palatable.  I was fortunate to live in Los Angeles during the Mattingly regime and I enjoyed having a long-time favorite player as manager of the local team.  I remain a fan of Mattingly’s even though he now calls Miami home, but it’s weird.  I am hopeful that he finds his way back home to Yankee Stadium one day.  I do not know Jeter’s intended ownership percentage or how active he will be as the face of the organization.  Unlike Mattingly, he won’t be putting on a Marlins uniform so technically the Yankees uniform should remain his only one.  Magic Johnson is one of the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers but activity-wise, he is a bigger part of the Los Angeles Lakers.  Will Jeter take that type of passive ownership role or will he be the front man for the team like Denver Broncos non-owner John Elway?  I can’t really see Jeb Bush taking a backseat to Jeter unless Jeter has the greater ownership interest.  These are the things that will shake themselves out in the course of the coming days, weeks and months.  Congrats to Jeter for apparent achievement of his lifelong dream.  I hope he still finds time to visit the old stomping grounds on occasion.  

Credit:  Getty Images

I saw an article today on the YES Network asking if the Yankees should protect James Kaprielian on the 40-man roster next year in advance of the 2018 Rule 5 Draft.  I want to say now, they had better make room.  This should not even be a discussion.  I will be very upset if the Yankees do not add him to the 40-man next year and risk losing him.  I was mad about the sequence of events that led to Jacob Lindgren signing with the Atlanta Braves.  I hope we do not have a repeat situation with Kaprielian.  I know that he has been plagued by injuries and his body of work in the minor leagues is fairly slim, but he is a top talent.  If, I know…ifs and buts…, if he can stay healthy, I really feel that he’ll be a high end starter in the rotation.  I am steadfastly a fan of Kaprielian’s and I look forward to the day he takes the mound at Yankee Stadium.

The San Diego Padres, who had been carrying three catchers including Rule 5 draftee Luis Torrens (from the Yankees), demoted one of the catchers to AAA.  Starter Austin Hedges has played very well this year.  The catcher sent to AAA, Christian Bethancourt, was attempting to be a combo pitcher/catcher.  The demotion leaves the soon-to-be 21 year-old Torrens as the primary backup for Hedges.  In reality, Torrens should be no higher than A or AA so I am optimistic that events will force the Padres to upgrade backup catching to more seasoned talent to pave the way for the return of Torrens to New York.   But as each month goes by, the chances decrease.  Time will tell.

Have a great Wednesday!  I hope it’s a dry one!