Friday, February 24, 2017

Matt Holliday: The Leader

I know it is probably the most cliché thing you can say about a veteran player that was signed by a team either in transition or towards the end of a rebuild but this is truly what is going on in the Bronx right now with their newly acquired designated hitter Matt Holliday. Holliday was signed to mash from the right side of the plate as a designated hitter, to add some insurance and depth at both the first base and outfield positions and to give the Yankees another big presence in the middle of the order but it seems like he may have been signed for another reason as well. Holliday may have been signed as a mentor for the young Yankees and may have also been signed to be a leader for the team. If he wasn’t signed with that purpose in mind he has taken it upon himself anyway to take the job with open arms, you know like a true Yankee would.

Holliday is specifically working with one of the Yankees top prospects Aaron Judge and he has a lot to potentially bring to the right fielder. About 11 years ago Holliday added a leg kick to his swing that would forever change his career as he immediately became one of the most potent hitters in baseball. From 2006-2012 after adding his leg kick Holliday averaged a .316/.393/.544 triple slash with 28 home runs, 104 RBI and 102 runs scored average per season. Holliday also made six All-Star teams during that seven-year span and will look to do the same for Judge and his career after an abysmal start to his MLB career in 2016.

Holliday has been surrounded by leaders and coaches his entire life so it makes sense that he is now in the position to pass along that knowledge. Holliday’s father, Tom, was the assistant baseball coach at Oklahoma State and Holliday spent time with players like Todd Helton and Albert Pujols as a younger player in his career. Now Holliday looks to be to Judge what Pujols, Helton and his father were to him because Holliday is a leader and is already showing that in his short time with the Yankees.

Judge was seen taking batting practice at George M. Steinbrenner field this week when Holliday walked up to Judge and said something to him. The very next pitch Judge belted over the fence for a home run, which is obviously very encouraging. If Holliday can work with the Yankees presumed everyday right fielder and get that kind of immediate success we could be in for a great season in 2017. 

Former Yankees Update: Joba Chamberlain

The New York Yankees have an uncanny way of taking care of members of their family, whether it be past or present, so we here at The Greedy Pinstripes like to do the same whenever we can. This afternoon is one of those instances as we look at and check in with a former member of the Yankees bullpen and an arm that I personally advocated for the Yankees to sign this offseason on a minor league deal. His name is Joba Chamberlain, maybe you’ve heard of him?

The man simply known as “Joba” was drafted by the New York Yankees and sent on a hot shot courier almost straight to the Major Leagues. Joba and his slider took the league by storm and the only thing that could stop him was a swarm of Cleveland-based midges and a Tommy John surgery that replaced his ulnar collateral ligament. Ever since his UCL replacement surgery Joba has simply not been the same pitcher that lit up American League batters for the Yankees and most recently the right-hander, still somehow just 31-years old, signed a deal to pitch for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2017.

Joba signed a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training this season and this week he threw his first live batting practice of the spring. Joba could be an asset to a team that is in the midst of a rebuild like the Milwaukee Brewers are, especially considering his 385 regular season games of experience as well as his 21 postseason appearances he has under his belt, and manager Craig Counsell seems intrigued by having Joba on his roster on Opening Day. This all sounds good on paper but Joba has to put in the work though and thus far, and yes it is extremely early, he has.

Joba knows he has to put in the work but all signs point to him having fun in Brewers camp as well and that may be the most important thing of all. You have to be comfortable where you are in order to do well and you have to have fun as well or what’s really the point? So far so good for Joba, here’s to hoping he continues the good work in Brewers camp this spring.

Let’s Have a Little Fun with Intentional Walks Gone Wrong

Rest in Peace to the intentional walk and everyone here at The Greedy Pinstripes sends our condolences to anyone affected by its loss. Commissioner of Major League Baseball, alongside the Major League Baseball Players Association, announced this week that the intentional walk as we know it is no longer a thing in Major League Baseball. Instead of the mostly boring four soft tosses well out of the zone before the batter subsequently takes his base opposing managers and players will now simply just wiggle four fingers to signify they want to intentionally walk a player. This must kill the purist fans of the game but for me personally I’m not too up in arms about it. Sure we may miss a blunder here or there, and we will cover just a couple of those blunders here in a moment, but overall it speeds up the game a tad and it does so without changing the face of the game that I love and adore. So without further ado let’s check out and remember a couple of those intentional walk blunders and bloopers that the purist of the fans want to hold deep in their memory. Enjoy. 

Just last season we watched as Gary Sanchez took an intended intentional walk pitch and lofted it into the Yankee Stadium outfield for a sacrifice fly. Sanchez didn’t miss the home run by much and this may go down as my favorite intentional walk blunder if it weren’t for Barry Bonds…. 

Barry Lamar Bonds was one of the most feared hitters in all of Major League Baseball during his prime and this was never more evident than the time Bonds came up to the plate in 1998 with the bases loaded only to draw four straight balls outside for an intentional walk. The Arizona Diamondbacks intentionally and willingly gave the San Francisco Giants a free run by walking Bonds rather than pitch to him with the bases loaded and potentially give up four runs. That’s respect right there. 

Remember way back when Vladimir Guerrero was still wearing a Montreal Expos uniform? Yes kids, the Montreal Expos really were a thing back in my day and yes kids, I realize I am getting old. Anyway, I digress. One time back in 2001 Guerrero actually hit a home run off an intentional walk pitch that will forever go down in the history of intentional walks as one of the absolute best moments in baseball.

Image result for john olerud intentional walk

The final intentional walk blunder we will cover this afternoon is infamous for all the wrong reasons. John Olerud was at the plate back in 1996 when an intentional walk pitch went awry, kind of. The intentional walk was faked and Olerud was left with the bat on his shoulder when strike three went right down the middle of the plate. Talk about insult to injury.  

I know I probably missed a few, and admittedly I tried to keep them all current and during my lifetime and during my fandom years, so if you have a few please feel free to leave them below in the comments section or by giving us a follow on Twitter @GreedyStripes. Thanks!

And the Injury Bug Has Hit Yankees Camp…

It’s never too early for the injury bug to hit a team and unfortunately for the New York Yankees that bug has hit the club even before their first spring training game in 2017. According to Bryan Hoch of the Yankees will be without both Ronald Herrera and James Reeves for a few weeks after sustaining injuries during spring workouts.

Herrera, who was traded to the Yankees from the San Diego Padres in the deal for Jose Pirela a couple years back, will miss at least two weeks with shoulder inflammation while James Reeves, an underrated left-handed reliever that could have snuck onto the Yankees Opening Day roster with a strong spring, will miss at least 3-4 weeks with a left elbow sprain. Bummer.

Herrera is just 21-years old and is coming off a 2016 campaign that saw the right-hander put up a 10-7 record with a 3.75 ERA in 132.0 innings in Double-A with the Trenton Thunder. Herrera struck out 123 batters in those 132 innings but he also continued to show he was vulnerable to giving up hits which was evident by his nearly hit per inning ratio last season. Again though, he’s 21. He has plenty of time to put it all together and improve. That’s what the minor leagues are for.

Meanwhile Reeves was a 10th round draft pick in the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft for the Yankees and is coming off a season with the High-A Tampa Yankees where he put up a 5-1 record with a 2.27 ERA mostly out of the bullpen. I say mostly because Reeves did start 12 of his 25 games that he appeared in last season but it still viewed as more of a reliever than a starting pitching prospect at this point in his career.

Get well soon boys and get back to the grind. We’re always rooting for you. 

Another failed Romney attempt?...

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports Network reported yesterday that Mitt Romney and his son, Tagg,  are in talks with the Yankees to buy a small percentage of the team.  Based on the franchise’s estimated value of $3 billion, a percentage point in the team could be worth $25 to $30 million.  The Romneys are said to be interested in one or two percentage points.

The former Massachusetts governor and lifelong Red Sox fan had previously tried to buy the Miami Marlins and had expressed interest in the Los Angeles Dodgers before their sale.  

Romney has apparently denied involvement, but Heyman’s reporting of the alleged interest leads me to believe there is some life to it.  

I am not really interested in an owner, even a minority owner, that is a Red Sock by blood.  

Let’s say that the Romneys want to buy two percentage points.  Assuming each percentage point is valued at $30 million, I have a price for the Mittster.  For the bargain price of $149,571,428, he can have his 2%.  $30 million x 2 = $60 million + Remainder of Jacoby Ellsbury’s Contract with 2021 buyout at $89,571,428.  That’s the only palatable way that I can see to allow a Red Sock into the ownership group.  

With reports that Dellin Betances is already throwing nasty pitches in spring training, I couldn’t help but think that he must be visualizing each batter with Randy Levine’s face.  I am never excited when a player participates in the WBC but at least Betances will be playing for a Yankees coach (Tony Pena) on the Dominican Republic team.  On the downside, Team DR will most likely advance very deep into the competition if not winning it all.  Hopefully there are no injuries to any of the Yankees participating in this year’s WBC competition.

The spring baseball schedule kicks off today with the Philadelphia Phillies visiting Steinbrenner Field.  Manager Joe Girardi has said he’ll start all of his regulars except for Jacoby Ellsbury, a late arrival to camp following the birth of his second child.  Bryan Mitchell will start and will probably throw two innings.  Alec Asher will start for the Phillies, with many names in the lineup that I do not recognize outside of Tommy Joseph, Cesar Hernandez and Chris Coghlan.  Well, except for Daniel Nava , who is listed in today’s Phillies lineup as he attempts to make yet another comeback with a new team.

Even though it’s just a meaningless exhibition game with early departures by the regulars, it’s great to see the Yankees take the field again.

Play ball!

So it Seems We Have a New Look

My apologies as this was long overdue but the website took a turn in a different direction as far as the looks of it goes. I have finally, and again I apologize, taken the time to update the site’s pictures on the side bars. Gone are the players that have walked via free agency, retired or been traded away and in are some of the new players and prospects that should be around for a long, long time.

The schedule for the 2017 season is updated as is the payroll and roster pages (thanks Bryan!). The Wives and Girlfriends section still needs to be updated while the TGP T-Shirts and Yankees Tickets links are still up and running properly. Also we are preparing for our 9th season (wow… nine seasons of this) of the Mega Prediction Game which has also been updated on the site.

So check out the new additions, and some of the old functions that have been updated and at least consider joining us on the Mega Prediction Game. It’s fun, although it’s a season-long commitment, and we seems to have a lot of fun with it. I know that I do anyway. I’m a three time champion, Bryan Knepper is a three-time champion and Ken Reed is a two-time champion. Who wins season nine? Stay tuned.

Oh, because Kode, you are still my favorite thing. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 2/24: Ed Lopat, Come on Down

On this day in 1948 the Chicago White Sox traded Ed Lopat to the New York Yankees for Aaron Robinson, Bill Wright, and Fred Bradley.