Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers 5/23

And just like that it is game time here in Arlington, Texas between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers. In the finale of this three-game set this week the Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound to square off with Doug Fister for the Rangers. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Globe Life Park in Arlington and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast with the legendary duo of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Follow us on Twitter, @GreedyStripes, and “Like” us on Facebook, The Greedy Pinstripes, to keep up with us and the team all season long. Enjoy the game, it’s Gleyber Day, and go Yankees!!

Joe Girardi, Meet Buck Showalter

Man, you have to feel for manager Joe Girardi right now, don’t you? The man that has managed the New York Yankees for the last ten seasons was not offered a contract after the 2017 season leading the team to hire Aaron Boone, an inexperienced manager, to lead the Baby Bombers. Those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it and this entire situation seems awfully familiar to me. Remember when, like Girardi, Buck Showalter managed through some bad seasons in New York only to be fired a season before the team began a dynasty? Does this not have the same feel to it? Does Girardi not seem like he is following the same pattern as Showalter did, and does that make Boone the next coming of “Clueless Joe?”

The Yankees were fresh off a trip to the American League Division Series as a Wild Card team in 1995 when Showalter was not brought back for the 1996 season. Joe Girardi led the Wild Card winning Yankees to the American League Championship Series in 2017 and was within one game of the 2017 World Series. In 1996 the Yankees did not bring back Showalter and brought in a surprising choice for manager in Joe Torre. See the offseason and the Aaron Boone signing for similarities in the story, they happened. The 1995 Yankees were young and had a promising group of players coming through the farm system including Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and eventually Jorge Posada. The 2018 Yankees? You know the names. Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Tyler Austin and others.

The Yankees had to sacrifice Showalter in order to get Torre, and that led to a dynasty. Whether it would have led to a dynasty with Showalter running things is a discussion for another day. Will the sacrifice of Girardi lead to another dynasty under Aaron Boone? Stay tuned, but how could it not?

…But is Cole Hamels REALLY an Option in July?

Earlier this week, albeit sarcastically, I declared it “trade season” in Major League Baseball and for the New York Yankees. While I believe it is still a little too early to start making concrete plans for the trading deadline before the calendar even strikes June, I think it may be safe to remove one player particularly from the Yankees wish list. His name is Cole Hamels and he was the starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers last night against the Yankees.

Cole Hamels is intriguing. Hamels is a veteran pitcher now pitching at 34-years old, and a pitcher with a ton of postseason experience including the 2008 World Series where Hamels won the MVP award. Hamels can still be an elite pitcher, not every fifth night but from time-to-time and is still throwing in the low 90 MPH with a devastating changeup. The Yankees would presumably love to add Hamels to their postseason push and to the mix, but Hal Steinbrenner is not likely to sign off on any acquisition for the Rangers left-hander. Why? Money.

Steinbrenner has stated the Yankees will keep payroll under the $197 million luxury tax threshold this season no matter what. Hamels is due to make $23 million in 2018 and would come with a $20 million club option or $6 million buyout for the 2019 season. Sure, with a trade the Yankees would only be on the hook for around $13.7 million of that, a prorated $7.7 million if the trade were to happen on July 31 plus the $6 million buyout, but that leaves New York a lot closer to the threshold cusp than they would like to be. The Yankees would have to pay more if they were to acquire him before July 31, that’s the way prorating works, and there will be plenty of competition for him making him equally as expensive in terms of prospects.

This is all before you remember that Hamels can veto ANY deal to 20 teams this July, including the New York Yankees. Hamels may make the financial decision a moot point, who is to say that Hamels even wants to come to New York? Hamels has his World Series ring, so he may or may not be chasing a ring, or another shot in the postseason. Hamels may be content just pitching the rest of the season in Texas for all we know. Hamels may want to return to Philadelphia. We just don’t know!

Thankfully did an interview with Hamels this week while the team was in Texas and there were a few nuggets that came out of the Q&A. Here are a few questions and answers, for the entire list head over to and read their amazing write up on Hamels and his potential trip to the Bronx.

Q: Are you aware that a lot of Yankee fans are bringing your name up quite a bit thinking that you're going to the final piece to their next championship?

Hamels: “Shoot, I helped them get a World Series in ‘09, so I’m sure they like me! … No, no. I understand it. It’s kind of the nature of what happens, and I think anytime you get traded once, you understand that the possibilities are there. And as you get older if you’re able to play well and keep of what I know I’m capable of doing, then it’s each year you could be on a different team hunting down a postseason. So, it’s kind of the nature of where I think I am in my career and in the contract and in the situation. (The Yankees) have a tremendous team. So really looking at them, it’s some of the best baseball is now being able to watch the Yankees and Boston and I think that’s just exciting for baseball fans in general and the game and the scope of it now creates with that drama that they’ve always had in their history. It’s been good to see.”

Q: You've always been super competitive. How important is it for you to be in a playoff race as opposed to just pitching?

Hamels: "I think you always look at it as you want to win every game that you go out and play. And then there’s a lot of games that I don’t get to play in, and you want to be able to see the sort of winning environment, that sort of atmosphere, the excitement from everybody. I think that’s kind of the energy that now has being created over in the AL East with those guys."

Q: Cliff Lee chose the Phillies over the Yankees when he was a free agent after the 2010 season. (Lee brought up his wife being harassed at Yankee Stadium in his signing presser with the Phillies). How do you feel about New York?

Hamels: “Actually, that’s not really the truth. I think it was between the Phillies and Texas truthfully. I don’t think the Yankees really had that sort of opportunity (to sign Lee in 2010). Knowing Cliff, it was Phillies and Texas. For me, it’s to play baseball. This is where I wanted to be. I’m fortunate enough to be here, and we made pretty good runs in ‘15 and ‘16. Last year was kind of tough. This year we’re working through some things. But for me, it’s just to go out there and play. This is the team I enjoy the most to be a part of. But I think you just have to look at it and it is what it is. I don’t really necessarily make the decisions or point the direction of what we’re trying to do or what ownership and management is trying to do. I’m just one piece that’s trying to help win ballgames. It’s a matter of being here and doing what I can until there’s a different situation or the time has come. So, I don’t really get to affect it as much as I think people think.”

Q: Why did you pick the Yankees as a team that you could block from trading for you?

Hamels: “It’s just a list. Really, it’s just kind of like heads up. So, I think what it really comes down to is it’s something that’s there. It just kind of provides a little bit more information, a little bit more bargaining power. That’s kind of really what that entails. But at the end of the day, situations kind of come up and I think everybody understands what can transpire. It’s just kind of a formality. I don’t think it’s anything that kind of needs to be looked into too deeply. I love it here (in Texas) and I’d love to be able to win here. But if management changes the direction, (getting traded) is just an opportunity to win and get to October. I think that’s the real baseball. That’s kind of where you test your skills the most.”

Q: Did you get to know Yankees manager Aaron Boone from his days at ESPN? Have you been interested to see how he's doing with no manager experience?

Hamels: “I think knowing his personality, and I know with him being around baseball so long, I don’t think you have to look at it as inexperienced. I think he was born and bred into baseball, so I think he would know better than anybody you don’t need a college degree to move around lineups and know momentum and who’s better matching up. The initiative of just being who he is has been pretty good. And he’s got a pretty good team to be able to manage too, so I think that helps."

Q: What's it going to be like facing the Yankees with Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge?

Hamels: “I didn’t get to face them last year. I think I was on the DL during the two times we played the Yankees. It was unfortunate because it’s always fun to pitch against the Yankees and especially in that sort of (atmosphere). But they do have a lot of power, so you just have to limit the damage. Solo home runs are probably the key. If you’re going to give up 500-foot home runs, try to make sure they’re solo and they’re not bunched together in fours and fives. Like anybody, there’s holes (in their lineup) and you just have to exploit it and you have to be able to locate. I think really what it comes down to, it’s a chess match and you try to study up as possible. But really at the end of the day you have to execute, and whoever executes the best and the most often comes away with the win.”

Q: You joked about blowing the 2009 World Series. Does your (five-run, 4 1/3-inning) performance in Game 3 still bug you?

Hamels: “The opportunity that I was given … I was a lot of runs early and to not be able to hold that (3-0) lead. The series was even. To not be able to hold that lead, I think it as kind of a pivotal moment and that kind of changes the tide in a series, especially when you’re home. So, I think that kind of always leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, especially against the Yankees. You always want to go to the postseason and beat the Yankees. I think that was kind of how I grew up (in San Diego). I got to watch all those (1990s and 2000) Yankees teams win as a kid, especially when they took down the hometown Padres (in 1998). You always want to try to get one on ‘em, but they got me (in 2009). I wasn’t able to solidify the job and then I didn’t have an opportunity for a Game 7 (because the Yankees won in six games). Who knows what would have happened if I had even been there (in Game 7). It wasn’t a very good postseason for me. It definitely taught me a lot. If that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have the type of pitches that I have (now) and the repertoire and obviously that toughness.”

So, will Hamels end up in the Bronx? Maybe. Stay tuned.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Texas Rangers 5/23

Good morning everyone and welcome back to Arlington, Texas, the location of the third and final game of a three-game set between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers. The Yankees offense has remained hot and the pitching has done enough to keep the team rolling and they will look to do so again tonight with CC Sabathia toeing the rubber for New York. The Rangers will counter with Doug Fister for the finale. Let’s get to it here in Arlington, Texas.

Sabathia finally took his first loss of the 2018 season in his last start against the Kansas City Royals. Sabathia pitched well enough to win but his start was foiled by shaky defense behind him including two errors by Gleyber Torres.

Fister does not have a win for the Rangers since March 30 despite having his best start of the season last time out. Fister pitched seven scoreless innings last time out against the Chicago White Sox striking out four while allowing six hits, but the start ended in a no-decision for the Rangers right-hander.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Globe Life Park in Arlington and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast with the legendary duo of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Enjoy the game, like a good Gleyber… Torres is there, and go Yankees!!

Hello… How the Mighty Have Fallen

Good morning everyone and Happy Hump Day to all. We are halfway there, and former Yankees right-hander and phenom Phil Hughes is presumably halfway to finding himself on a new team for the 2018 season. Phil Hughes was designated for assignment by the Minnesota Twins this week, how the mighty have fallen.

Hughes is making $13.2 million this season and will make another $13.2 million for the 2019 season, a total that the Twins will presumably be obligated to pay after the DFA. Hughes has pitched just 12 innings this season for the pitching-starved Twins and sports a 6.75 ERA as both a starter and as a relief pitcher.

The New York Yankees drafted Hughes with their first-round pick in 2004 and subsequently let him walk via free agency before the 2014 season. Hughes signed a three-year deal worth $24 million with the Twins before the 2014 season and posted a 16-10 record with a 3.52 ERA in 32 starts and 209.2 innings pitched. That was a high for Hughes, it was all downhill from there. Hughes dealt with back issues in 2015, a broken leg in 2016, a surgery to remove a rib, a bout with thoracic outlet syndrome, arm fatigue, hand numbness, and shoulder discomfort.

The Twins now have a week to trade him or let him walk with his $26.4 million. Must be nice to suck and make more than I will ever make over the course of my life while being awesome. And humble too. Former Yankees update, Phil Hughes sucks! The end.

And my baby, I love you. Seven more days. Lucky number seven. I’ve always loved you, and I will always love you.

This Day in New York Yankees History 5/23: David Wells First Start Since Perfection

On this day in 1998 the Yankees David Wells extended his American League record for consecutive outs to 38 when the Red Sox leadoff hitter Darren Lewis grounded out to start the game. Wells was coming off his perfect game in his previous start and retired the last ten batters he faced in Kansas City in the start before setting history.

Also on this day in 1962 the Yankees Joe Peptione hit two home runs in the same inning to become the second player in Yankees history to do so. The Yankees scored nine times in the eighth inning and would beat Kansas City 13-7. Joe DiMaggio became the first Yankee to do it as a rookie in 1936.

Finally on this day in 1948 the Yankees Joe DiMaggio would hit three consecutive home runs with the first two coming off the Indians Bob Feller. The Yankees would beat the Indians 6-5 on this day behind DiMaggio's offensive outburst.