Saturday, September 30, 2017

Article Revisit: Who is Going to Say “No” to CC Beyond 2017?

We discussed this earlier in the season but we also discussed it almost one year ago today as well, should the New York Yankees bring back CC Sabathia for the 2018 season? You know what my opinion is now, a couple weeks back I opined that the Yankees should bring back the veteran left-hander on a one-year deal with a reasonable base salary, but what did I think back in 2016? Find out in this article revisit from the 2016 season. Enjoy and leave your comments below on CC and whether the Yankees should retain him for next season below in the comments section. Thanks!

 Saturday, October 1, 2016

Who Is Going to Say No to CC Beyond 2017?

The New York Yankees were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Thursday night despite completing a sweep of the Boston Red Sox in a three-game set. Too little too late for the Bombers this season but it may not be too little too late for the man who was on the mound in that start, CC Sabathia. Once thought to be “done” and “washed up” after losing velocity on his fastball and after dealing with a degenerative knee condition the Yankees veteran left-handed has learned how to finally “pitch” rather than just throw the ball by everyone in the league and the results have been spectacular. After a relatively healthy season in 2016 and a solid season by all accounts Sabathia has his eye not only on 2017 but beyond that as well once his current contract expires with New York. Right now, who is going to tell him no that he can’t come back to the Bronx in 2017? Not me.

Sabathia was a machine from 2009 to 2012 with the Yankees posting a 74-29 record but his health and velocity dropped off suddenly leaving CC unsure of what to do. CC was used to rearing back and finding 95+ MPH to get him out of any situation, not Sabathia was left with an 88 – 92 MPH fastball that he had to pinpoint every single time to be successful. After working with pitching coach Larry Rothschild and a former Yankees ace that went through a similar transformation in Andy Pettitte the big man seems to have finally figured it out in 2016. We saw Sabathia make steps towards putting it all together in recent years but when he got into trouble he could still be seen trying to simply blow hitters away, now CC isn’t afraid to walk a guy or pitch around a guy to maximize efficiency and outs making him a perfect and durable candidate to anchor a young and upcoming Yankees rotation from the 5th starter spot.

CC will never be the 2009 version again by any stretch of the imagination but CC has somehow found a way to be dominant nonetheless while also leading the team in starts made and innings pitched. Overall Sabathia finished the year with 29 starts, a 4.02 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP but I can remember at the beginning of the season when CC held a sub-3.00 ERA and a 3.17 ERA into the month of July before getting hit around a bit. I can’t think of a team that wouldn’t take a veteran arm who’s been there on a reasonable contract at the back end of their bullpen, especially if he brings the health and stability he brought to the Yankees this season. Why not make that team the Yankees?

I know a lot can happen between now and this time in 2017 but if you’re asking me right now, this instant, I’m signing him up if he’s healthy. You can have all the young guns and rising stars in the rotation you want but they are going to need the old, savvy veteran to show them how it’s done. That’s CC.

Article Revisit: 2017 Closes the Door on Another Era

Back almost one year ago to the day I wrote the following article labeled “2017 Closes the Door on Another Era” and the basic premise of the article was “out with the old and in with the new.” In the article I described how Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira would be riding off into the retirement sunset while other veterans such as Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, Ivan Nova and (temporarily at least) Aroldis Chapman had said their goodbye’s after being traded away. I opinioned that in their place would come members of the Yankees as a youth movement would finally hit the Bronx and I finished the article with the words” Embrace the change, it’s coming either way.” Who would have thought the change that was coming was going to be this sudden, this extreme and this damn fun? Well besides me of course. Enjoy the article as we look back on it from one year ago.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

2017 Closes the Door on Another Era

The 2016 season has been a huge season for not only the New York Yankees team but for the entire Yankees organization in many ways. Out with the old and in with the new seemed to be the theme as players like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira either retired or announced their intentions to retire while other players like Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran, Ivan Nova and Aroldis Chapman said their goodbye’s after being traded to other teams. The door is being shut on the era that began back in 2009 when Brian Cashman unloaded on the free agent market adding any and all top talent that he wanted and that door and era will be completely shut after the 2017 season.

Leftovers from that era are CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Masahiro Tanaka among others and all four could be free agents after the season. Sabathia, Pineda and Eovaldi’s contracts run out while Tanaka can opt out after the 2017 season while looking for a new deal and assuming his health I find that opt-out a true possibility heading into next season. In their spots may be a combination of Luis Severino, Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell, Chad Green, James Kaprielian and others.

Yes, Brett Gardner has a deal that runs through the 2018 season while Jacoby Ellsbury is owed somewhere near $90 million but while Gardner is moveable the Ellsbury contract is probably not. We won’t see a 100% turnover after the 2017 season but the era will be closed nonetheless, especially if Gardner is moved this offseason or next July. Brian McCann may also be moved this offseason back to the Atlanta Braves so they can sell tickets in their new stadium. Either way the only constant is change and a new door is opening for New York beginning in 2017.

That door is labeled “youth” and it’s a beautiful thing. So as we say goodbye to the latest era of bad contracts and veteran presences in the clubhouse we say hello to manageable contracts, youth and possibly a new core. Or maybe a new dynasty. I’m not going to be the one to tell them it won’t happen. Embrace the change, it’s coming either way. 

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 9/30

You know what really makes me feel like a kid again? Well a lot of things unfortunately, haha, but I can always remember every Saturday afternoon staying inside (against my friend’s suggestions and teasing mind you) to watch Saturday afternoon on baseball on FOX so whenever it happens, which is happening less and less lately for whatever reason, I always get a bit nostalgic. Whenever the game features the New York Yankees like it does this afternoon, well I just get downright giddy. So here we are, two days before the end of the regular season and the Yankees are playing host to the Toronto Blue Jays this afternoon on FOX inside Yankee Stadium. What a treat. The Yankees will send Jaime Garcia to the mound, one last time…. Jaime Garcia sucks, to square off with Marcus Stroman for the Jays. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET. Enjoy the game!

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and follow along with us during the game. Go Yankees! Need a win, get a damn win.

Prediction: Yankees win 11-4

Slamming the Door, The Tale of Tanaka to Chapman...

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP
Yankees 4, Blue Jays 0...

I ripped Masahiro Tanaka for his last start and he looked at me and said "F-U!" with his latest performance. I love it! Outside of Dellin Betances, I liked everything about this game as the Yankees took down the Jays for their 90th win of the season on Friday afternoon.

While many people were speculating about whether this was Masahiro Tanaka's final regular season start wearing a Yankees uniform, Masa-hero came out strong. I always like to use the first inning as a barometer and Tanaka was firing on all cylinders, striking out the side on thirteen pitches.

In the bottom of the first, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a one-out single through the hole to shallow left field off Blue Jays starter Joe Biagini. With Aaron Judge at the plate, Ellsbury stole second for his 22nd stolen base of the year. Judge ended up taking a walk anyway. Didi Gregorius was next and he singled to right on a looper that dropped in front of right fielder Michael Saunders to load the bases.  Starlin Castro hit a soft grounder between third and the pitching mound, and Biagini had no play by the time he got to the ball. Ellsbury scored on the play.  Greg Bird's sacrifice fly to deep center scored Judge. It was the seventh consecutive game with a RBI for Greg Bird who has gone from a season afterthought to one of its prime performers in a matter of just a few weeks since he returned from the disabled list.  

Credit:  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Headley struck out to end the inning but the Yankees had a 2-0 lead.  

Tanaka held the Blue Jays hitless through two outs in the top of the 5th inning, when Ezequiel Carrera hit a grounder to second. Starlin Castro went hard after the ball, crashing his knee against the ground, but his throw was not in time to get Carrera at first. With Raffy Lopez batting, Carrera stole second. However, Tanaka got out of the inning when he turned to fire a perfect strike to Didi Gregorius at second to nail Carrera who was trying to dive back to the base. 

Austin Romine led off the bottom of the 5th with a single over the second baseman's head into right center. Romine was forced out at second when Aaron Hicks hit a grounder to second but Hicks was safe at first. With Jacoby Ellsbury at bat, Hicks stole second. Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to first for the second out.  Aaron Judge followed with a single to left, scoring Hicks. Blue Jays catcher was up the line for the outfield throw so there was no play at the plate but they got Judge between first and second for the final out.  

Ryan Goins picked up the Blue Jays' second hit off Tanaka in the 6th, a single to center that dropped in front of Jacoby Ellsbury, but Tanaka was still mowing hitters down so Goins didn't go anywhere when Tanaka struck out the side again. Thirteen strikeouts through six innings for Tanaka.  Incredible.  

Matt Dermody replaced Biagini in the bottom of the 6th inning. Didi Gregorius led off with a single to left. With Starlin Castro batting, Didi Gregorius stole second on what appeared to be third strike on Castro. However, Joe Girardi came out with the argument that it was a foul tip. The umps agreed with Girardi, and Didi returned to first base with Castro coming back to the plate.    Two pitches later, the outcome was the same. Castro swung at the third strike but Didi successfully stole second. Next, Greg Bird (rapidly becoming one of the Yankees best post-trading deadline "acquisitions") drilled a line drive single off the wall in the right field corner to score Gregorius. Danny Barnes entered the game in relief of Dermody and induced Chase Headley to hit into an inning-ending double play, but no matter, the Yankees had increased their lead to 4-0.

Tanaka allowed one more hit, a double down the line into the left field corner by Josh Donaldson in the top of the 7th, for a total of three. Donaldson got as far as third on a ground out, but Tanaka retired the next three batters in order including two by strikeout to end the inning and his time in the game. He finished with fifteen strikeouts to go with no hits, no runs, and no walks.  It was simply an outstanding performance by Tanaka. If this was his final regular season start as a Yankee, thank you very much. It was a masterpiece to remember.

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP

David Robertson pitched the 8th inning. It started with the first walk by a Yankees pitcher in the game, but the runner was erased on a beautiful double play. Raffy Lopez hit a grounder to Greg Bird at first. Bird threw to Didi Gregorius for the force at second. Didi's throw back to first hooked out but Bird sprawled out on the ground for the catch with his right foot still on the bag.  Excellent defensive play by Bird. D-Rob struck out Ryan Goins to end the inning.  

The 9th inning was not quite as much least not at the start. Dellin Betances came in with a chance to prove he has finally righted the ship. Richard Urena had other ideas and led off with a single to right, a one hop off the wall.  With Teoscar Hernandez at the plate, a Betances pitch went off Austin Romine's glove for a passed ball on the catcher. Urena moved to second. Betances ended up walking Hernandez and all you could do was shake your head. End of Betances, who is running out of time to prove that he can be trusted with late inning relief again. I hate to say it, given my disdain for the man, but Dellin is proving Yankees president Randy Levine was right for his critical comments about Betances after the reliever's arbitration hearing in the off-season.  

Credit:  Abbie Parr-Getty Images

Enter Aroldis Chapman. Man, oh, Man, I am so happy this guy is the Missile again. He struck out Josh Donaldson on three pitches for the first out. Jose Bautista hit a grounder to short and the Yankees were able to force Hernandez out at second but they couldn't turn the double play when the ball went over Greg Bird's head. The ball bounced back so Urena had to hold at third. With Rob Refsnyder batting, Bautista took second on defensive indifference. Chapman laid three 100+ mph fastballs across the plate for Refsnyder, with the last pitch hitting 102 mph. Three swings and misses by the former Yankee. Game over. Yankees win!

The Yankees (90-70) looked like a playoff team in this game. They picked up a game on the Boston Red Sox, who lost 3-2 to the Houston Astros at Fenway Park. The Yankees trail the Sox by two games with two to play. I don't expect the Yankees to catch the Red Sox but they've certainly made it interesting these final days of the season.  

Mike Axisa had a great tweet after the game about Tanaka pitching on seven days rest: "One day it will be acknowledged that Tanaka does not actually pitch better on extra rest. Today is not that day."

The Yankees have announced a pitching change for today's game at 1:05 pm ET.  CC Sabathia (13-5, 3.84 ERA) gets the start over Jaime Garcia since the Yankees are still in contention for the AL East title. Considering I am not a fan of Garcia, I like the move even if it doesn't yield the division title. Sabathia will be opposed by Toronto's Marcus Stroman (13-8, 3.06 ERA). A great long-time (soon to be ex?) Yankee versus a great potential future Yankee? Today, let's go with the past!

Odds & Ends...

Brad Ausmus became the first managerial casualty when it was announced earlier this week that he would not be retained after the season by the Detroit Tigers. I can still remember being disappointed when the Colorado Rockies chose Ausmus, a catcher, in the 1992 Expansion Draft out of the Yankees farm system. Of course, I didn't really know anything about a guy named Jorge Posada at the time. The latest non-returnee is Pete Mackanin of the Philadelphia Phillies. After the season, Mackanin will become a special assistant to Phillies GM Matt Klentak. As a rebuilding team, I thought that Mackanin would be back but apparently the Phillies leadership team felt otherwise. Two managerial job openings and counting although it's been widely speculated that Terry Collins of the Mets will not return. So make it three...

The Minnesota Twins have activated their best hitter, 3B Miguel Sano, off the disabled list. Sano was placed on the DL in August when he fouled a ball off his left shin. Sano will have the weekend to get ready for next Tuesday's Wild Card game.

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-AP

Tonight, I will be at Coors Field to watch Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the Colorado Rockies. It will be Kershaw's final appearance of the regular season as he tunes up for his NLDS Game 1 start next week. This will be the first time I get to see Cody Bellinger play in person.  It should be a great game. As a former Los Angeles resident, I have so missed the ability to go to Dodger Stadium on a regular basis.  

Have a great Saturday! My only request for today is a Pinstriped victory! Let's get Greedy! Go Yankees!

Every Team’s 2017 Regular Season MVP… Because Why Not?

Boston Red Sox: Chris Sale
New York Yankees: Aaron Judge
Baltimore Orioles: Jonathan Schoop
Tampa Bay Rays: Steven Souza Jr.
Toronto Blue Jays: Justin Smoak

Cleveland Indians: Corey Kluber (could have been one of many players though)
Minnesota Twins: Brian Dozier
Detroit Tigers: Michael Fulmer, because Justin Upton was traded
Kansas City Royals: Eric Hosmer
Chicago White Sox: Jose Abreu

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Mike Trout
Texas Rangers: Elvis Andrus
Houston Astros: Jose Altuve
Seattle Mariners: Nelson Cruz
Oakland Athletics: Khris Davis

New York Mets: Jacob deGrom
Washington Nationals: Anthony Rendon
Atlanta Braves: Freddie Freeman, as a first baseman or a third baseman.
Miami Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton
Philadelphia Phillies: Aaron Nola

Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant
Milwaukee Brewers: Eric Thames because I feel bad giving it to Travis Shaw for half a season
Pittsburgh Pirates: Andrew McCutchen
St. Louis Cardinals: Tommy Pham, potential Rookie of the Year if it weren’t for Cody Bellinger
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto

Los Angeles Dodgers: Cody Bellinger
San Francisco Giants: Buster Posey
Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul Goldschmidt
San Diego Padres: Brad Hand, because who else would it be?
Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon

Leave your thoughts, gripes and disagreements below in the comments section. This was all for fun though, treat is as such. Thank you in advance!

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 9/30

And then there were two. Well, technically for the New York Yankees there is at least three games left this season if you include the playoffs but there are just two games left during the regular season including this afternoon’s affair with the Toronto Blue Jays,. In the middle game of the three-game set this weekend the Yankees will send Jaime Garcia to the mound for likely his final start in Yankees pinstripes while the Blue Jays will counter with hopefully a future Yankee in Marcus Stroman. I have written about the Yankees potentially acquiring Stroman before and I stand by my thoughts and wishes for the New York-born righty to join the squad in 2018, even if it costs a guy like Jordan Montgomery plus prospects. That may be foolish and it may be the fan in me talking, I admit that, but I just really like Stroman on the mound. I can’t help it.

Garcia was not sharp in his last start for the Yankees against these same Toronto Blue Jays allowing five runs on four hits, walking three and striking out four on September 24. Garcia will have to be better this afternoon in his final start as a Yankees presumably this season.

Stroman heads into the final start of the season for himself just three innings short of 200 innings for the season. Stroman is also seven innings shy of tying a career high in innings pitched for him in a single season of 204 innings, a mark Stroman set back in 2016. Stroman has the stuff to go nine or even ten innings though when he is on so stay tuned to see if the right-hander can reach those milestones.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on FOX. I am pretty sure the nationally televised games on FOX are blacked out on MLB TV and everywhere else but don’t quote me on it as I am not 100% sure. I know they are for me though, so be advised. Enjoy the game, need a win so get a win. Get two more wins actually. Go Yankees!

So it Seems… Happy Saturday Morning

Good morning all and happy Saturday. Welcome to the weekend, officially. I hope everyone had a great night of sleep and a great work week, and if you didn’t then I hope you make up for it on the weekend. There’s just two games left during the regular season before the playoffs and before the eventual and inevitable long winter ahead. Don’t worry, I won’t tell you to brace yourselves… that winter is coming. I won’t make any jokes about winter already being here either, or dead dragons, or even men named Snow. I’ll just tell you good morning and I’ll thank you for checking in with the blog each and every day.

Especially you. HEY YOU. Good morning beautiful. I love you. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/30: Yankees Win 100 Games

On this day in 2004 the Yankees won their 100th game, something they have done in three straight seasons, and their seventh consecutive American League Eastern Division championship. The Yankees join only the Braves from 1997-1999, the Orioles from 1969-1971, and the A's from 1929-1931 as the fourth team to win 100 games in three straight seasons.

Also on this day in 1973 the Yankees played, and lost, their final game played at the old Yankees Stadium before George Steinbrenner had the field renovated. The 50 year old Cathedral of Baseball would take two years to renovate while the Yankees played their home games at Shea Stadium.

Also on this day in 1966 Roger Maris blasted a two run home run in his final at bat as a member of the New York Yankees. Maris would be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals after the season for utility man Charley Smith.

Also on this day in 1962 Mickey Mantle belted his 30th home run of the season off of the White Sox's Ray Herbet. This would be the Mick's eight consecutive season of hitting at least 30 home runs in a season. This was amazing considering Mantle missed a month of the season with a leg injury.

Finally on this day in 1927 Babe Ruth would break his own record for home runs in a single season when he hit his 60th of the season off of Senators starter Tom Zachary. In a side note Hall of Famer Walter Johnson would make his final appearance of his major league career when he pinch hit in this game.