Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Meet A Prospect : Daniel Lopez

This was written by our good friend Gregory over at Evil Empire Prospects , who also posts with us at Daily Sports Pages (our favorite Yankees forum). He explains why he thinks Daniel Lopez will be the Yankees sleeper prospect in 2012. It was a great read, as all of his posts are, so I figured I would share. Enjoy!

My Yankees Super Sleeper Prospect
Super Sleeper of 2012. Image thanks to BeGreen90 on flickr

This time of year it seems as though the en vogue thing to do is to pick a prospect that few expect to have a good season and predict that they will do just that, placing themselves right on the prospect radar. Yes, it is time to pick a sleeper pick. Admittedly I am a bit late on this one, as everyone and their mother has already chosen Matt Tracy as their this year top 20 next year top 10 prospect. Ten days ago, before all of the ruckus about him, he probably would have been my choice as well. At this point, however, I would not label him a sleeper because so many people know about him, and most are expecting a big season from him. His sleeper status has taken a hit by what he has gained in notoriety. Others, such as Ben Gamel, Nik Turley, Tim Norton, Ramon Flores and Slade Heathcott have also gotten a lot of press.
For my pick, I am going to try to think even further outside the box for what I call my yankees super sleeper prospect. This kid wasn't even on my radar by the end of the season, as is evidenced by his absence on my Top 50 Prospects, but the more I read about him this offseason, the more I regretted that choice. He's already moved up to my top 30-35 (a rough estimate). Another season with improvement like last year and this guy will be on everyone's map, likely a top 20 selection. This pick will surprise even the most knowledgeable of prospect gurus, but then again that is what makes this guy a sleeper. My super sleeper of 2012 is...
Drum roll....  Daniel Lopez!
Now here's what you need to know about Daniel Lopez. Daniel just turned 20 this January, and he'll likely be starting off next season in Staten Island, unless something goes horribly wrong with one of the golden boy prospects that will start the season at Charleston. Then again he played 3 games at the end of 2011 in Charleston, and performed well, so it will be interesting to see what management decides to do with him. He's 6'2, weighing in at 175 lbs according to He's from Santiago, Dominican Republic, and he throws and hits right handed.
The main tool that Lopez carries with him is his speed. This is why the Yankees signed him back in 2009. He sported a 60 yard dash of 6.2, and his game will continue to be built around that lightning speed. Since being drafted, Lopez has worked tirelessly to increase his strength and has seen his power numbers increase each season as a result. Thus far, the increase in strength and power has not effected his speed, if anything the opposite if you go by stolen bases. Let's make one thing clear though, Lopez will never be accused of being a power hitter.
His stats won't necessarily jump out at you, but the trends are important to consider. As a 17 year old in the Dominican Summer League, he hit .259/.394/.370 in 18 games. He had 2 triples, no homeruns, and 2 stolen bases in 54 at bats. Limited sample size, but the patience is what jumps out at me in his first professional season. In 2010, he improved upon his average and slugging with a .293/.382/.385 triple slash in 70 games. This time he hit 10 doubles, 6 triples, and 1 homerun, stealing 17 bases and being caught stealing 10 times. Not the best rate, but at least he was more aggressive, and his power numbers were better, even if slightly. Lopez's true breakout season, at least thus far in his career, was in 2011 at the age of 19. He started again in the DSL, but only lasted 11 games as he tore through the pitching to the tune of a .424 average. At this point he was promoted to the GCL Yankees, where he continued his torrid play. At the end of the season he got to play 3 games in Charleston. He played extremely well in those 3 games, but alas small sample sizes prevent me from drawing any conclusions from that data. All in all, 2011 saw him hit for a triple slash of .327/.413/.490 over 61 games across three levels. He increased his power numbers with 11 doubles, 7 triples, and 3 homeruns. He stole 27 bases and was caught just 3 times. His OPS was .904.
Reports would indicate he is a strong defender with an average arm and excellent speed and route taking.
Better yet, as gaudy as these numbers may seem, he flew almost completely under the radar in 2011 because of a star studded class of players in the GCL. Reports indicate that Lopez is an extremely hard worker, and spends countless hours lifting and in the cages. So far, this hard work has payed real dividends, and given his athleticism I will not be among those in the blogosphere who ignore this kid.
As far as his projection goes, his speed, patience, and still young age will allow him to have a high floor. I believe he will be on a 25 man roster at some point in his career, and barring injury I am relatively confident about that. His ceiling is that of a 15 HR, 50 SB center fielder, although the 15 homeruns seems pretty generous at this point. Remember though, he has a projectable frame at 6'2 and still has lots of room to fill out at just 175 lbs. We are talking about ceiling here, which means that maximum potential he could ever reach, so I'm allowed to be lofty. He's gotten progressively better every season in every way, getting more powerful, hitting for a higher average, becoming more patient, and reading pitchers better. I see no reason why this trend will not continue as long as he continues to put the work in during the offseason. I understand that getting excited over GCL numbers presents a ton of problems, however this is why he is a sleeper.
 Thus, Daniel Lopez is my super sleeper pick for 2012.

MLB to expand playoffs to 10 teams in 2012

Being borrowed from our friends over at Bronx Baseball Daily 

Major League Baseball will announce this week that they are expanding the playoffs from eight teams to 10, including a pair of new wild-card teams, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
The new system will include three division winners from each league and then the two teams with the best record in each league will play a one game playoff to determine who moves on to the LDS. It is a way to both expand the playoffs, more money for baseball, and punish wild-card winners who previously had no punishment compared to division winners.
This obviously puts a huge importance on winning the division because winning the wild-card means that an entire season can be taken down in one game. This is much different than in recent years where winning the wild-card was essentially the same as winning the division and it will avoid situations like we saw in 2010 where the Yankees tanked the division in order to face a weaker opponent in the ALDS.
It’s going to hit home right away as the both the Red Sox and the Yankees will not have a clear path to the playoffs. It’ll mean that when both teams are on their way to 95-100 win seasons September baseball will mean something again. We won’t have to wait until October to watch meaningful baseball.
It extends beyond that of course. The Rays, Orioles, and Blue Jays will all now have a better chance of actually beating the Yankees and Red Sox. And in every division, not just the AL East, it will increase competitiveness as that extra wild-card spot will guarantee nothing for good teams and will give a chance of hope to a team right on the boarderline of winning.

Spring Training Day 11

Hello Yankees fans and welcome to March! Leap Day!

Nothing much happening in Yankees camp today to report on unfortunately on this last full team workout before the games start. Mariano Rivera threw 34 pitches in a bullpen session today and reportedly felt and looked great, as usual. Joe Girardi is not decided on when Mo's first outing will be but he thinks it will be around the middle of March.

Russell Branyan, a long shot to make the team as a left handed DH, has to miss some time with what is being described as a "sore back". Branyan did not stand much of a chance to make the team, as we said, with the additions of Ibanez and Chavez but he still would have been interesting to watch this spring. He has a nice defensive glove at first base, not gold glove caliber by any means but more then adequate, and has some nice pop and home runs numbers. Maybe he will use this minor set back as more incentive to sign a minor league deal and go split some time with Jorge Vazquez down in Scranton.

Joe Girardi did not know how many of his regulars were set to play in tomorrows exhibition game and did not know how many at bats and such they would get so I guess we will all have to tune in tomorrow to watch as baseball finally returns!

The Greedy Pinstripes Top 20 Prospect List

Everyone is doing these prospects lists, especially in the quiet and boring months of January and February, and the Greedy Pinstripes are no exception. Over on our favorite Yankees forum, Daily Sports Pages, we have been compiling, debating, and voting on our favorite Yankees prospects and along the while ranking them and compiling a list... here is the list.

1. Manny Banuelos 
2. Dellin Betances 
3. Gary Sanchez 
4. Austin Romine 
5. Mason Williams
6. Ravel Santana
7. Jose Campos
8. JR Murphy
9. Dante Bichette Jr
10. Adam Warren
11. David Phelps
12. Tyler Austin
13. Slade Heathcott
14. DJ Mitchell
15. Zoilo Almonte
16. Cito Culver
17. Jose Ramirez
18. Angelo Gumbs
19. Ramon Flores
20. Matt Tracy

There is the list. Anyone too high? Too low? Totally omitted? Should have been omitted? What say you?

Fantasy Baseball - Yankees vs. Red Sox

No, I'm talking about a different fantasy baseball.

I've been gearing up for fantasy baseball, as I'm sure a lot of you have. The draft is always my favorite thing to do for fantasy baseball, and I'll go as far as to create a spreadsheet that has every position along with goals I'm trying to hit for each category. That way I can make sure I'm drafting the best possible team, instead of getting a bunch of guys that rack of home runs and runs batted in, but do little in terms of runs, stolen bases, and batting average.

Anyway, while putting that together I was curious as to what the Yankees would do against the team that won the championship in my league last year (my team actually shared the title, as a tie occurred in the championship game). Unfortunately, since we use 5 outfield positions, as well as a middle infielder and corner infielder, it would have been impossible to fairly compare the Yankees to my fantasy team.

That's when I decided to use the same scoring system that my league uses (R, HR, RBI, SB, and Batting Averge) in order to compare the Yankees with the Red Sox.
Oh, and I decided to stick with offense. Maybe I'll do it for pitching as well if enough people are interested.

As for the numbers I used Bill James predictions for each player. Not only does Bill know what he's talking about, but his projections are easy to find as they are on Fangraphs, and I use Fangraphs all the time. So I plugged them into a spreadsheet with the projected lineups for both teams.

*I boosted the numbers for Saltalamacchia and Punto to equal 125 games, as Bill James only predicted that Jarrod would be in for 95 games, while Nick would be in for 99.

The Yankees just destroyed the Red Sox here, taking 4 of the 5 categories quite handily. Heck, even though the Yanks lost in batting average, it was only by .005 points.

So does this mean the Yankee offense is going to be that much better in 2012? LOL, no. Honestly I'd guess the answer would be "yes", but this was just a fun little game to play.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What about Mike Gonzalez?

There isn't a whole lot to talk about when it comes to the Yankees, so many fans have turned their attention to the 25th spot on the active roster. Every other spot seems to be locked up except for one more arm in the bullpen.

And it makes sense that the team, in particular Joe Girardi, would like a second lefty in the bullpen. Cesar Cabral probably has the inside track on that job, but the Yankees do have Clay Rapada in camp as well (I'd rather go with Cabral). But what about adding another arm, preferably to a minor league contract with incentives?

Mike Gonzalez has had plenty of success in MLB. Over the last three seasons he's thrown 152.1 innings, with an ERA of 3.37 and a strikeout-rate of 10.18 K/9. However he does walk a decent amount of batters, as over the last 3 years his walk-rate has been 4.02 BB/9. But he did lower that walk-rate last year to 3.5 in 53.1 innings, although his strikeout-rate dropped to 8.6.

But looking at last year he's really only good against left-handed batters. Versus right-handed batters Gonzalez's triple-slash against was .287/.375/.525 in 120 plate appearances. However, against left-handed batters, Mike's triple-slash against was a really good .214/.264/.311.

So although he may not be somebody you want to see face opposite-sided hitters, he does seem like somebody the Yankees should look into. Heck, at this point, one would wonder why he's even available at all. But looking at his injury history it becomes clear why...

In the last three seasons Mike has missed 116 games due to injuries to his elbow, forearm, lower back, shoulder, and knee (he had surgery on his knee last November). Mind you, the majority of his time away came in 2010 when he missed 89 games due to two tears in his rotator cuff, and a frayed labrum. But you can see that he's not the most healthy person in the World, so it's far from a no-brainer for any team to sign him.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Gonzalez is a Scott Boras client. That means he's likely to hold out for more guaranteed money, as Boras clients are not ones to leave money on the table at all. And due to Mike's upside there may be a team willing to give him a Major League contract. Now, if a Minor League contract would get it done, then I see no issue what-so-ever bringing him on board. But the Yankees are in a position where they absolutely do not need to give out a Major League deal, especially to somebody with the injury track record that Gonzalez has had.

Sherman: Hughes chosen one in Yankees rotation battle

Being borrowed from Joel Sherman from the NY Post:

TAMPA — We can pretend there is a competition going on for the Yankees’ No. 5 starter spot, but that is what it is. Pretend. The WWE stages more realistic battles.
The Yankees are saying it is Freddy Garcia vs. Phil Hughes. But their general manager is also saying this: He believes Hughes is, right now, a top-of-the-rotation starter. That has not been said about Garcia since, oh, about 2001.
So this is a competition only because the Yankees want to sell you that this is a competition. They do not want a prideful veteran in Garcia to be offended. They do not want Hughes, who showed up out of shape last year, to feel he is being handed anything. And with six weeks to Opening Day, the potential for injury or stumble means the Yankees see no reason to publicly declare even a front-runner, much less a winner.
A HUGHES SHAM: With all the high praise Phil Hughes (above) has received at spring training, Joel Sherman says the “battle” between Hughes and Freddy Garcia for the fifth spot in the Yankees’ rotation is merely for show.
A HUGHES SHAM: With all the high praise Phil Hughes (above) has received at spring training, Joel Sherman says the “battle” between Hughes and Freddy Garcia for the fifth spot in the Yankees’ rotation is merely for show.
But understand this: The competition is rigged. If it is close, Hughes wins. If it is advantage Garcia, but only slightly, Hughes wins. Hughes can only lose this by doing what he did last spring, having his fastball go on a mysterious hiatus. The early signs are Hughes’ better dedication to offseason conditioning has led to less gut and more heat.
Normally anything in February or March should be ignored, but it was obvious in his first live batting practice session yesterday that Hughes’ arm was quick and his fastball had life.
“It is a heavier ball,” Russell Martin said. “He changed his body. He looks more explosive. He has more arm speed, which leads to a better breaking ball and more deception on the changeup.”
For his part, Hughes is mostly dismissing early signals as pretty inconsequential and promoting the idea of a fierce competition in which he must earn his way into the starting five.
But, again, we turn to the general manager, Brian Cashman, who when asked about rotation competition talks about “six guys for five spots.” But when asked specifically about Hughes, Cashman says: “Aside from last year he was viewed, and not just by us, as one of the better young arms in the game; with success to prove it. He was a dominant reliever for us in 2009 and an All-Star as a starter in 2010. Why would I judge him by last year when he was injured? It feels like everyone wants to take him down a peg. I think he is a top-of-the-rotation starter.”
And why exactly would “a top-of-the-rotation starter” not be at least the No. 5 man? Especially when the words associated with Garcia are “dependable,” “competitive” and “savvy.” When he was signed for one year at $4 million, the Yankees had not yet pulled off their trade for Michael Pineda or their signing of Hiroki Kuroda.
So not only was Garcia in the starting five, but so was A.J. Burnett. The additions of Pineda and Kuroda to join CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova enabled the Yankees to trade Burnett and, now, de-emphasize Garcia. If everyone is healthy (big if) come April, Garcia will be the long man, a proven safety net.
The sport has been gravitating the past few years toward more high-end pitching, and the Yankees believe to survive in the AL East you have to have elite stuff. Garcia finished last year at 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA. But against Boston and Toronto, the two best offenses in the division not belonging to the Yankees, the righty was 2-5 with a 5.31 ERA. Hughes had a 7.43 ERA against teams with a better than .500 record. But the Yankees do not think that was the real Phil Hughes.
At 25, he is 10 years younger than Garcia. These days the best Garcia can do is maintain his now-limited fastball and rely on his unflinching nature and high pitching IQ to compensate.
Also, the Yankees are committed to Garcia only through this season. Hughes, though, as young as he is, can be a free agent after next season. So, right now, he is like a college senior who has yet to declare a major. Is he starter or reliever, back end of the rotation or front?
Cashman believes he is front of the rotation. So the No. 5 competition today is just theater. Nevertheless, Hughes’ scholarship ends after this. Time to declare who he is.

Read more:

Spring Training Day 10

10 days into Yankees spring training camp already huh? Where does the time go?

Joe Girardi came out today and said "the only two locks in the rotation are CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda" and that the rest of the rotation spots are up for grabs. Personally I think this is nothing more then making competition out of nothing because if anyone believes that Nova and Pineda are not going to be in this rotation then they are dreaming or a Yankees hater. Girardi claims that the starting rotation is NOT only limited to Hughes vs Garcia but raise your hand if you believe him... I'll wait...... No hands? Exactly!

Girardi also pretty much stated that Cano would be in the 3 spot, as my friend Bryan said in an earlier post, for the 2012 season. I think this is the best move for the Yankees for next season and beyond. You put your best hitter in the #3 spot and he is absolutely our best hitter no doubt. I am glad to see that Girardi had to gonads to finally make a hard decision that "hurt" or changed the routine of a veteran player (Mark Teixeira).

Joba Chamberlain finally threw off of a full mound today, only throwing 16 pitches. He looked great and felt great but this is just the first step in the long process of getting back on the field in a real game. He will be re-evaluated tomorrow to see how he feels but everything looks good in the Joba camp and he still hopes to be back in the Bronx well ahead of schedule. Speaking of tommy john surgery survivors David Aardsma arrived at Yankees camp donning the #34 jersey that AJ Burnett has worn the last 3 seasons so I guess that puts to bed any chance of the Yankees retiring it right? By the way Aardsma is eyeing an all star break return to the Yankees pen.

Minimal news but David Robertson and Boone Logan both threw batting practices today and both looked and felt great. The bridge to Mariano Rivera has all appeared in spring training and all look and feel good. Health is always a good thing in spring training camp , especially before our first game on March 2nd. Until then join us at for all your up to date spring training news and notes. Go Yankees.

Our New Home, Finally

The Greedy Pinstripes now own a domain and while we had trouble with the hosting wanting to update and such it is all fixed now. Our new web address is but dont worry WILL automatically redirect you to the new domain. Enjoy the new home and we look forward to growing with you even more in the 2012 season! Go Yankees!

Cano, Girardi, and the 3-Hole

I just read this over at the LoHud Yankees Blog -
In the past, Joe Girardi has talked about his lineup as if the team is strong considering Robinson Cano in the No. 3 spot. Today he talked about his lineup as if Cano is locked into the No. 3 spot, and the rest of the lineup will be built from there.

“Is there an immoveable piece?” Girardi said. “I don’t think so. When you think about it, you’d probably like to hit Robbie third. That’s the one guy you’d like to keep.”

Otherwise, Girardi said he doesn’t have to be “married” to one lineup. He said he’s “not necessarily” locked into having Cano hit immediately behind Curtis Granderson, and he said flipping Granderson and Derek Jeter is “a possibility you could talk about.”

“We started talking a little bit the other day, some different things (about the lineup),” Girardi said. “I kind of want to see how guys look as we enter spring training, and we’ll try to iron out a lineup by Opening Day. It may take until then for us to make up our minds.”
I like this news for two reasons...

1. I believe Cano is the teams best all-around hitter. Robbie led the team in batting average, was 2nd in slugging percentage, and 5th in on-base percentage. And generally you want your best hitter batting 3rd, as it not only gives him many opportunities for RBI, but also gets him more plate appearances.

2. It shows that Girardi is not afraid change. He was lambasted by fans and media for not getting rid of the 6-man rotation earlier last season, especially when he said he was going to do just that. Which is a good criticism, in my opinion. If you say you're going to do something... do it. And I believe, along with many others, that he waited too long to take Teixeira out of the 3-hole last season as well. Moving Cano to the 3-hole isn't happening as soon as some of us would have liked, but the fact it apparently is changing is a good thing.

I'm not going to lie, I'm an apologist for anything Yankees. That doesn't mean I accept everything they do or say, but for the most part I will see the good in their moves before I will see the bad (assuming I see the bad at all). But even the biggest Girardi hater has to agree that hearing this from Joe is a good thing.

Our New Home

I posted on Twitter last night that we got a new home/domain. Unfortunately we are having some troubles moving the site over there. We'll keep you updated.

Meet A Prospect : The Yankees Analyst Top 20 List

Being borrowed from our friends at The Yankees Analysts:

They did a top 20 prospect list and me, as a confessed "prospect humper" decided that I wanted to share while we at Daily Sports Pages, compile our own top 20 list. Here is the list...

Manny Banuelos is the consensus #1 prospect for us and I do not see how anyone could disagree with that because the guy is 2 years younger then Dellin Betances and a little better. Throw in the fact that he is left handed and he projects to be an ace (as his ceiling) and what more do you need?

Brad putting Austin Romine as the #3 prospect is a reach if I have ever seen one. The absolute highest that I would put Romine would be at #4 behind Banuelos, Betances, and Gary Sanchez. REACH!!!

Brad.. really? Adam Warren #7? Talk about optimism. I guess that he took MLB readiness into account and put a lot of stock into it. I personally like to go with ceiling and projections more but to each his own.

Overall I would change a few things but the lists seem to be consistent with everything else that is coming out these days. This list will look nothing like ours that comes out (SPOILER ALERT) so stay tuned for The Greedy Pinstripes top 20 Yankees prospect list.

Monday, February 27, 2012

AJ Burnett Pays Dan McCutchen For #34

Being borrowed from our friends over at River Avenue Blues

No, this has nothing to do with a Yankees, but it’s a cool story and does involve two familiar names. According to Bill BrinkA.J. Burnett will open a college savings plan for Dan McCutchen’s unborn daughter in exchange for his jersey number, #34. “When a veteran comes in and takes a number, some of the guys usually get something,” said McCutchen, who went from the Yankees to Pittsburgh in the Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte trade back in 2008. “I know he has kids. He asked me what I wanted, I brought that up.” 
Usually you hear stories about watches or fancy dinners or whatever, but bravo to McCutchen and Burnett for thinking outside the box. Obligatory Snark: I’m glad to see some of the money the Yankees are paying Burnett is going to a good cause.

Bravo AJ... Bravo. That is why you were my favorite Yankee the past 3 years. Well no, not really, it had more to do with a 9 walk no hitter but semantics right? Great gesture by AJ either way. I know this is not Yankees news anymore but I thought it was still worth posting since it had two former Yankees and it was a good story.

Spring Training Day 9


Andy Pettitte stopped by Yankees camp today to "hang out". Jokingly he said that he could easily throw some BP and would throw his has at being the 2nd lefty in the Yankees bullpen this season. If he were only serious right? Andy also said that he was willing to come back every spring to work with the Yankees so maybe he can make this a habit because he can be a mentor to a lot of our young guys.

The Yankees made the Eric Chavez signing official today on a 1 year deal worth 900K plus incentives. The Yankees only had 39 players on the 40 man roster so they did not have to make a roster move for Chavez (remember they outrighted Chris Dickerson to AAA to make room for Chavez) but they also placed David Aardsma on the 60 day DL so the Yankees roster still remains at 39 players... Clay Rapada anybody?

The Yankees early spring training rotation was announced today by Joe Girardi and it goes as such:
3/2 - Adam Warren
3/3 Ivan Nova
3/4 Freddy Garcia
3/5 Michael Pineda
3/6 CC Sabathia/ Phil Hughes
3/7 Hiroki Kuroda

No new injury news to report and everything was described as routine from Yankees camp today. Go Yankees!

Drinking at Work

Das Boot!

I'm not writing this to bash the Boston Red Sox. Their on-field product gives me enough ammunition for that. I'm actually writing this because I agree, 100%, with the decision by Bobby Valentine to ban alcohol from the Red Sox clubhouse.

I look at the clubhouse sort of like the break room at a "normal" job. It's a place to get dressed/ready for work, keep personal things (my break-room has lockers), get something to eat or drink (non-alcoholic), or just take a... well... break. Maybe some of you have had a job where you could drink in the break room, but I haven't. In fact, I've worked at a couple places that serve alcohol, and both of them looked down upon employees drinking on the premises... whether on the clock or not.

The main argument I've heard for allowing alcohol in the clubhouse is that players can't just go to a bar after work, like you and I can (I'm assuming no celebrities read this blog, but if so... sorry for including you here). They can't stop by the gas station and pick-up a six pack on the way home either. I understand that, but here's what they can do...

1. Celebrities can be put into certain sections at bars or clubs often considered "VIP".

2. Many hotels, where players stay while on the road, serve alcohol. And I'm pretty sure a player can have alcohol sent to their rooms.

3. Players may not be able to stop by a gas station to get some beer, but I'm pretty sure they can either have a friend or relative get some for them and take it to their house/apartment, or they could probably pay a clubhouse attendant to get some for them to bring home.

I see no reason why alcohol needs to be allowed in the clubhouse. None. I understand that not everybody is going to abuse it if it were allowed, and we're talking about adults that should be responsible. But MLB is a business. An employer if you will. And I really don't see why an employer should be okay with alcohol being consumed at the workplace.

Meet A (Potential) Prospect : Rafael DePaula

We do not know much about Rafael DePaula except for the fact that he is 21 years old and the Yankees signed him to a 500K deal in 2010, which he has been stuck in VISA limbo ever since. Recently , on River Avenue Blues, they posted two videos of DePaula throwing that it I thought were interesting. Here they are..

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dickerson clears waivers

Shows what I know.

I figured there was no way that Chris Dickerson would clear waivers. In 582 MLB plate appearances, Dickerson has hit .266/.351/.399. That's not a line that would get anybody excited about claiming him, but he is a left-handed batter with a career line vs. RHP of .270/.355/.415 and 9 HR. Surely somebody in MLB would like him as their 4th OFer. Apparently not. Oh well, I'm happy he's still with the organization, being sent to AAA (along with being taken off the 40-man roster).

Then again, perhaps this news means he's not the player I, and others, believe he is. Either way though, you can't be upset over having more depth.

Spring Training Day 8

  • MARIANO IS ON THE MOUND!! Spring Training is boring, especially before the games start, so we look for these little things to get excited about. Today was one of those instances as Mariano Rivera threw his first bullpen session to Gustavo Molina. All 25 of his pitches looked sharp, were down, and "in and out" as described by Molina. This is usually pretty early for Mo to be pitching but he says the warmer weather has allowed him to get ready a little earlier this spring. 
  • Nick Swisher has come in to Yankees camp with a totally different body apparently. He worked out this offseason with football players and has added a ton of muscle while not losing or gaining any weight. He even said that "this is the strongest that I have ever been". That could mean great things for Nick in 2012 which is a contract year for him. He also claims to be faster and has improved his throwing since last season. All good signs from the Swisher camp, I guess being a married man to a hot woman will do that for you.
  • No bullpen sessions are scheduled for today but tomorrow should be interesting as both CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda are scheduled to throw tomorrow.    
Thats all for now from Yankees camp

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spring Training Day 7

Our friends at Yankees Lohud interviewed Raul Ibanez and the topic of the 2009 World Series came up. As many of you know Raul was on that 2009 Phillies team that lost to the Yankees team in route to their 27th World Championship. Anyway, here is the write up.

Raul Ibanez remembers standing in left field, watching Johnny Damon break for third. He remembers pointing and screaming and feeling helpless. He remembers losing.
“I was still mad about the 2009 World Series loss,” he said this morning. “Until about a week ago.”
Ibanez came into camp with a good reputation as a good clubhouse guy, and today he made a good first impression. He talked about his struggles last season, his opportunities this winter and the feeling of brand new pinstripes.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “It didn’t really hit me until I pulled up to the stadium and realized I will be working here… It’s an honor and a privilege.”
Seems like a good guy. Now he’s just got to hit…

News from Yankees camp came down today that Brian Cashman will not work on an extension for Russell Martin until after the season, which is expected. I would like to see how Martin performs and how his health stands up before we give him the security of a long term deal.

Austin Romine is listed for batting practices this morning so his health must be improving or improved totally which is always a good sign. Nothing new on the George Kontos front but an oblique is a pretty hard injury to heal overnight.

CC Sabathia is now working with Michael Pineda on his changeup. This could be an amazing duo for the next 5 years if Pineda can get this changeup working and get comfortable with it. CC described Pineda as "electric" on the mound and I think CC would know better then most. Thumbs up from day 7 with more to come because all the batting practices and bullpen sessions are scheduled for this afternoon.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Yankees Sign Burt Reynolds

From Our Friends Over at Bronx Daily Baseball

The Yankees have signed minor leaguer Burt Reynolds, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.
Reynolds is a 23-year-old who has played at the four corner positions in the infield and outfield. He was drafted in the 30th round by the Nationals in 2006. Since then he has never put together an impressive season and spent last year with the Neward Bears.
But he’s Robinson Cano‘s cousin and he’s got an awesome name. Since somebody has to play in the minors the Yankees signed him. I wasn’t even going to write about him, but I found this awesome picture of Burt, who was recently on my favorite show, Archer.

Spring Training Day 6

This has been the most boring day yet in Spring Training for the Yanks. The pitchers and catchers did their conditioning drills but did not throw bullpen sessions. The positional players checked in and we saw a couple live batting practice sessions.... Day 6 over. All of the players have reported to camp and the first full camp workout will be scheduled for tomorrow morning so I am looking forward to that. I am excited to see Bill Hall, Raul Ibanez, etc. show what they can do in Yankees pinstripes.

Martin's Extention Pt 2

My apologies, Mr. Martin

After speaking with somebody over at the Daily Sports Pages Yankees' forum, I've changed my tune on Russell Martin.

A few days ago I wrote that I was against an extension for Martin. I felt that he's starting to enter the downside of his career, he wasn't that potent with the bat, and Austin Romine would be an okay replacement.

First of all, it's not like it's unheard of for a guy to catch in his 30s. Brad Ausmus caught regularly throughout his 30s (he caught over 900 innings at age 38 with Houston, AJ Pierzynski was 34 last season and caught over 1000 innings for the White Sox, and Jorge Posada caught 100 games for the Yankees when he was 37 in 2009.

His offense wasn't bad compared to other catchers either. As for fWAR, he did come in 4th out of 9 AL catchers with at least 450 plate appearances last season. Bill James predicts a bump in batting average and on-base percentage, while maintaining pretty much the same slugging percentage (.256/.355/.400 with 14 HR).

As for Romine, he's not ready. He may have gotten into 9 games for the Yankees last year, but he's still got some work to do in the minors. And like Jorge Posada did with Joe Girardi, it wouldn't be a bad thing at all for Romine to sit on the bench and learn from Martin for a couple of years. This is weird as I'm normally the last person to count on a prospect like I did, and it took a guy that's big on prospects to point that out to me.

I guess I allowed my plan for getting Hamels and getting under $189 million in 2014 cloud my judgement.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spring Training Day 5

Thought since it was a slow day on the diamond that I would post pictures of the new Yankees in their new uniforms for fun. Also, to note, Austin Romine is "sore" but did catch today so he sounds like its nothing too serious. Other then that a pretty boring day in Yankees camp. On to those pictures.

Russel Branyan
Bill Hall
Jayson Nix
Raul Ibanez

ARod Brings Own Food Into Fancy Restaurants... And We Care Why?

Being borrowed from our friends over at The Bronx Goblin:

Some people bring a lunch to work, and others like A-Rod bring a cooler of food to restaurants.
That is the latest information to hit the news wire. In an effort to keep to a strict diet, A-Rod has been bringing protein packed food out with him to fancy eatery's.
One person claims they saw a full sized fish, bag of cheese curds, bottle of milk, peeled blue berries and a pudding pop in his cooler.
This seems a bit overboard, but as long as A-Rod plays better, we can let it slide.

Why do we care about what and where Alex Rodriguez is eating his food? Win me a ring and/or an MVP award and you can eat whatever you want off my car hood for all I care. Yankees haters, all you can do is shake your head and flash your rings(all 27 of them).

What New Jersey Are You Buying

Are you Yankees fans out there buying a new jersey this season? If so, what is it? Will it be Michael Pineda's new #35? Hiroki Kuroda's #18? Andruw Jones #22? My personal new jersey this year was Robinson Cano's away jersey, pictured above. Open thread to talk about jerseys (or whatever you guys want)

Cashman: Baseball Can Thank Me For New Playoff Format

Via the Sporting News –
Brian Cashman is taking partial credit for Major League Baseball’s new playoff format.
The Yankees’ general manager on Sunday admitted what many people suspected: The Bombers essentially conceded the American League East to the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010 once it became clear that both teams were postseason-bound. New York finished a game behind in the division race and claimed the wild card.
“I’m not taking away from Tampa Bay, but we didn’t try to win the division,” Cashman told reporters at the Yankees’ spring facility in Tampa, Fla. “We tried to line ourselves up for the playoffs and that worked.
“The division title was rendered meaningless the way the set-up was. It really meant nothing more than a T-shirt and a hat.”
That, Cashman said, led to commissioner Bud Selig’s push for a second wild-card team in each league and a one-game wild-card playoff, which should motivate teams to win their division. The new format could begin as early as the 2012 season.
“Baseball took notice and made, I think, a very smart change. Bud Selig did a remarkable thing adding the wild card and I think he’s now doing another remarkable thing by enhancing the playoff push,” Cashman said. “It certainly brings back the importance of being a division winner again.”
No response from MLB was reported.

I wonder if he was kidding when he said this... The Yankees were not the first team to line up their pitchers and forget about the division. Hell we kind of did it in 2011 too when we skipped CC for his last start, it just did not work out as well. Anyway either way the change is coming so let us just embrace it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yadier Molina in pinstripes?

I'm sure you've all read about the possible contract extension for Yadier Molina (if you haven't click here). It seems as though whenever even a decent player looks to be available, whether now or in the future, there will be some Yankee fans jumping up and down while repeatedly yelling "SIGN HIM". Well allow me to speak my peace before that inevitably happens and say "no thanks".

First of all, Yadier will turn 30 this July, and as I've said before I tend not to trust the health of a catcher at that age. Not that there haven't been catchers that age that could play for a full season, but it's hard for me to feel good about their health. For example, before this past season, Buster Posey was being looked at as the catcher of the future for the Giants (Baseball America posted the Giants Top 10 Prospect list on December 13th, and had Posey listed as the catcher for them in 2014). However, a week before BA posted that, ESPN reported that the Giants planned to give Posey some time at 1B. Anyway, this age issue would be exacerbated by the fact that the deal would probably go for 3+ years.

By the way, I'm well aware of the fact that Russell Martin is not much younger than Molina (about 7 months). But, as I pointed out not long ago, I'm not keen on signing Martin for 3 or so years either. So that last part was basically a vote against both men, more than a "one or the other" thing. But, better the devil you know, right?

Secondly, I'm not sold that Molina would be a better offensive weapon than Martin. Yadier had a great 2011 season, in which he posted a line of .305/.349/.465 with 14 HR, but every one of those numbers is well above Molina's career averages (.274/.331/.377 with 9 HR). On the other hand, Russell Martin put up a line of .237/.324/.408 with 18 HR. The BA and OBP were well below Russell's career averages, while the SLG and HR are right in line with them (.267/.359/.398 with 15 HR). You can take that to mean that Molina would be due for a drop in numbers thanks to moving to the AL from the NL (like Martin did), or that Molina will come down to Earth while Martin will come up (?) to Earth.

Lastly... defense. Man, I'm not a fan of comparing players' defense. I'm a numbers guy, and there is no statistic/metric that's good for such a thing. So I'll simply leave it at this... both men are excellent behind the dish. Hell, Molina might be better, but Russell has done a damn good job back there. So all this leads back to the "devil you know" saying.

There. Now when I hear a Yankee fan talk about going after Yadier, I can either link them to or quote this post. Feel free to do the same.

Spring Training Day 4

Mariano Rivera, which is an oddity, will travel with the team on the road this Spring Training according to Joe Girardi. Mariano Rivera also shared with us today that Derek Jeter was the only non family members that knows whether Mariano was going to retire after this year or not but Derek was not telling when asked by reporters today. I wonder when Mariano is going to let us know his decision instead of teasing us and leading us on like a school boy in high school.

Joba Chamberlain was scheduled to throw off of a full mound today but instead threw off of a 5 inch mound. All signs and reports are that Joba looks ready to go, does not look tentative, etc in his rehab from tommy john surgery. Speaking of tommy john surgery the Yankees signed closer David Aardsma today to a potential steal of a major league deal worth 500K with an option for the 2013 season. David is also coming back from tommy john surgery and is penciled in as "a month" behind Joba in his progression. The Yankees would like to see him for themselves before making such distinctions and time tables for Aardsma but , as my friend Bryan mentioned in his article about the signing, this could be a steal for the Yankees for not only this season but next season as well.

George Kontos says his oblique is not that sore this morning so that is a good sign. Rafael Soriano threw his first bullpen session today and it was described as "routine". Mariano Rivera is still not scheduled to throw a bullpen yet but that is nothing new for MO in spring training.  No new injuries were added so that is always a good sign. So far so good from Yankees camp.

Ninja Cashman strikes again

Earlier today we found out that the Yankees signed David Aardsma to a MLB deal for one year, with an option for a second in 2013. Aardsma had Tommy John surgery back in July, so he wouldn't even be able to help the Yankees until about midway through the season. Therefore the option for 2013 is the key part here, especially since Mariano Rivera could retire... leaving a big hole to fill in the bullpen.

No, I'm not saying Aardsma is the heir to Mo as the team's closer. As of right now I think that will be David Robertson. But even if you move Robertson to closer, and Soriano to set-up man, that still leaves key innings for somebody in the bullpen. That's true even if Joba Chamberlain were to take over the 7th inning role that Soriano currently holds.

Now, if you were to believe Brian Cashman, then this move has nothing to do with Rivera's possible retirement. But I call "bull****" on that. While it may be true that Cash and Aardsma have been speaking to each other all winter, I don't think Cashman was serious about bringing David aboard until it looked like Mariano was indeed on his way out. I believe this is a case where Cashman liked Aardsma, but until recently didn't see a spot or reason to sign him. As soon as he saw a spot possibly open up, Brian jumped on Aardsma.

Seeing that Aardsma can be added right to the 60-day DL, and therefore won't take up a spot on the 40-man roster, then this signing isn't much different than a minor league deal. And at only half a million dollars, which is only slightly more than the league minimum of $480,000, the risk is minuscule (at least for a team with the financial might of the Yankees).

Not really an "out of nowhere" type deal, but it looks like Ninja Cashman has struck again.

Meet A Prospect : Zoilo Almonte

Zoilo Almonte was invited to Yankees Spring Training camp, mainly due to the fact that he is on the 40 man roster, and part of the Yankees AA affiliate the Trenton Thunder. Let's meet a prospect, let's meet Zoilo Almonte.

Zoilo has been in the Yankees system since 2007, being signed as a an international free agent (IFA) at age 16. He has consistently flown under the radar in the Yankees system being overshadowed by Slade Heatchott, Ravel Santana, Melky Mesa, etc. Zoilo had his coming out party in 2011, at age 22, putting up a triple slash of  .298/.373/.522 and instantly putting himself in the discussion of possible replacements for Nick Swisher after the 2013 season. Almonte put himself on the radar with a plus arm, an athletic build, and a will to be a great defender. As a switch hitter Almonte has shown plate discipline ahead of his time and showing maturity which can be seen in his BB% and his power numbers despite a small frame.

Zoilo does not project to be a 30 home run guy, he might not even be a 20 home run guy, but he hits the ball to all fields with extra base hit power. His speed will make him fun to watch on the base paths, in the field, and when at the plate. I fully expect him to reach AAA Scranton Wilkes Barre by the end of 2012.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Yankees And Chavez Make It Official

From our friends over at MLBTR, the Yankees have signed Eric Chavez to another 1 year deal worth 900K plus incentives. Offseason complete!! here is the write up

Yankees, Eric Chavez Agree To One-Year Deal

The Yankees have agreed to terms with third baseman Eric Chavez on a one-year, Major League contract, pending a physical, according to Jon Heyman of (Twitterlinks). The deal is worth $900K and also includes incentives, tweets Ken Rosenthal of

Right Field Options for 2013

Being borrowed from our friends over at Yankees Fans Unite who want to look at our options for RF in 2013. It really is a great read from a great site so I suggest that you check out both. Anyway, here is the write up.

New York Should Be Saluting You Back Nick

On November 13, 2008 Brian Cashman made one of his finer trades as the Yankees GM. He traded Wilson Betemit and minor league pitchers Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez to the White Sox in exchange for Nick Swisher. Swisher had the worst season of his career in Chicago batting .219, with 24 HR’s 69 RBI, and a .743 OPS. Swisher clashed with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen who played Swisher out of position by playing him in center field. He also had him out of position in the lineup by having him lead off in 29 games. Swisher has revitalized his career with the Yankees, but some are questioning whether his postseason struggles will leave him looking for a new team in 2013.
Swisher has been a really solid player for the Yankees for the last 3 years. He has provided the team with great energy, has hit for good power, and has gotten on base a lot. He is a fan favorite among many and I think upper management has a real affinity for him as well.  I have sat in right field for some games and he is quite entertaining out there. It is hard not to love him. However, the big issue with him has pretty much been an automatic out in the postseason. He has hit .169 in his career in the postseason with 4 HR’s, 6 RBI, and .617 OPS.  Whether to give up on a guy who produces in the regular season but not in the post season is always a hot button issue with fans and is a really tough issue. 
Brian Cashman said after this year’s bitter postseason exit that decisions are not made based solely on playoff performance.  It is hard to base decisions on a few AB’s when you have over 500 AB’s as a sample size in the regular season. Even some Hall of Fame players have had postseason struggles. I can give you two of the greatest hitters ever as examples in Barry Bonds and Willie Mays. Bonds had a career .200 batting average, hit 1 HR, and 6 RBI until he had a monster postseason in 2002 to help the Giants get to the World Series. Mays is a career .247 hitter in the playoffs with 1 HR, and 10 RBI. Now obviously I am not comparing them with Swisher please do not get me wrong. The point I’m making is you really do not know how a guy will perform in the playoffs compared to the regular season. You have no idea of knowing how Swisher or anybody will perform when they get in the playoffs because it is unpredictable. Sure he has a bad history, but that doesn’t mean he cannot turn it around.
I cannot give you an answer as to why Swisher has struggled in the postseason because like I said it is really tough to know. My best guess is the obvious one and that is that he is putting to much pressure on himself. His personality would strike me as someone who would get to hyped up for postseason games and try to do to much.  Some have said he struggles against elite pitching. However, during the regular season he hit .367 against the Rangers, .273 against the Tigers, and .233 against the Rays last year, which is not bad against last year’s playoff teams.
The big issue with replacing Swisher next year is that there are limited options to replace him. They have no outfielder in the upper minor league levels ready to step in.  Everybody’s dream scenario of Matt Kemp got ruined this offseason. The only corner outfield free agent’s next year who are even in Swisher’s league are Josh Hamilton, who is a notch above, and Andre Ethier, who is probably a notch below.  On the field Hamilton is a great fit. He has a swing fit for Yankee Stadium and he would be good enough defensively, since he would be playing in the shallow part of the park.  He won the MVP in 2010 and has proven he can hit elite pitching. The problem is that he is a recovering alcoholic, which stunted his career in the beginning, and there would probably be to many temptations for him in New York. Hamilton just recently had a slight relapse, which he apologized for.  He has also had injury issues as he has only played in 121 games, 133 games, 89 games, and 156 games in the last 4 years respectively. Ethier has played pretty well the last 2 years, but not like his breakout year in 2009 when he hit .272, hit 31 HR’s, and had 106 RBI.                                                             
It will probably come down to Swisher’s year this year as to whether he will be signed again or not. If he hits at the pace he has for his 3 regular season for the Yankees and performs in October then I believe he stays. However, if he does not perform again in October the Yankees may look for a replacement.