Thursday, March 28, 2013

Yankees Worth $2.3 Billion According To Forbes

The New York Yankees baseball empire is now valued at a little over $2.3 billion according to Forbes, easily the highest valued baseball team in the league for the 16th consecutive season. This ranking is higher than any other sports franchise in the world and are valued at $700 million more then their nearest competitor the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Yankees were worth $1.85 in 2012 so this is actually a significant jump over one season. We can all say thank you to the YES Network, the subsequent sale of 49% of the network, and the new stadium for the significant jump in value. Thank you Hal Steinbrenner...

Lyle Overbay Added To Wives & Girlfriends Section

One of these three lovely ladies is the wife of newly acquired Yankees first basemen Lyle Overbay and you will have to click HERE to see which one it is. Welcome to the team and the Wives & Girlfriends section Lyle. 

Boesch Joining Team On Opening Day

After reading that Lyle Overbay and Ben Francisco will make the team, I've learned that Brian Cashman told Joel Sherman that Brennan Boesch will also be with the Yankees on Opening Day.

Based on this information I think the Active Roster, positional player-wise, is going to look like this:

Catcher - Francisco Cervelli
1st Base - Lyle Overbay
2nd Base - Robinson Cano
3rd Base - Kevin Youkilis
Shortstop - Eduardo Nunez
Left Field - Vernon Wells
Center Field - Brett Gardner
Right Field - Ichiro Suzuki
Designated Hitter - Travis Hafner

Chris Stewart (C)
Ben Francisco (RF/LF)
Brennan Boesch (RF/LF)
Jayson Nix (2B/3B/SS)

Although, since their Opening Day game is against a lefty (Jon Lester), I could see Nix starting at 3B, Youkilis starting at 1B, and Lyle Overbay being on the bench. Either way I'm pretty underwhelmed.

For the hell of it, I decided to put together a starting lineup if everybody on the team were healthy:

Catcher - Francisco Cervelli
1st Base - Mark Teixeira
2nd Base - Robinson Cano
3rd Base - Alex Rodriguez
Shortstop - Derek Jeter
Left Field - Brett Gardner
Center Field - Curtis Granderson
Right Field - Ichiro Suzuki
Designated Hitter - Travis Hafner (LHB)/Kevin Youkilis (RHB)

Chris Stewart (C)
Kevin Youkilis (1B/3B)/Travis Hafner (DH)
Vernon Wells (OF)
Eduardo Nunez (2B/3B/SS)

That makes me feel a little better about things. Although we may not see Rodriguez nor Teixeira again this season.

Juan Rivera Released

"Sorry sir, but this bus won't take you all the way to Venezuela."

Juan Rivera was released by the Yankees, and said that the team will carry Lyle Overbay and Ben Francisco.

Rivera had a good spring batting average wise (.305), but his inability to draw walks and hit for power (.328 OBP, .390 SLG) has apparently led to the team deciding to go another way. And unlike Ben Francisco, Rivera has had plenty of opportunities, both off the bench and as a regular, to get the job done. Juan has averaged over 470 plate appearances a season over the past 4 years, while Francisco has averaged 289.

As for Ben Francisco, he had a pretty poor 2012, putting up a batting line of .240/.285/.385 in 207 plate appearances for Toronto, Houston, and Tampa Bay. However Ben has hit .333/.418/.688 this spring, so perhaps regular playing time will get him back to the guy that hit 15 home runs in 2008 and 2009. Not that he was really impressive then, but he was a serviceable player (between 2007 and 2010 his OPS+ was never lower than 104.

When it comes to the 36 year-old Lyle Overbay, I can only figure that this goes back to the Yankees liking to have veterans on their bench. It's not as though Lyle's .234/.327/.340 this spring wowed anyone, nor did his line of .259/.331/.397 last season between Arizona and Atlanta.

I imagine some people are upset about Rivera being let go, as they think he may have something left. But let's face it... he's 34 years old, and he is what he is. Juan hasn't hit above .258 in the past 3 seasons, so if you really think he could have batted close to the .305 he had in Spring Training this season then you're kidding yourself.

That's not to say either Overbay or Francisco are clearly better choices, but I'm going to trust the team on this one.

Logan OK After Being Hit By Line Drive

You may have heard that earlier today Boone Logan got hit by a line drive, and was taken out of the game. It ball appeared to him Logan near his hip, but according to Boone it actually hit him in "the left fat". Not sure what that means, but we can breathe a sigh of relief as Clay Rapada is already scheduled to start the season on the DL.

Final Spring Notes: Rivera, Boesch, Overbay, Mustelier, Francisco, Teixeira, Jeter, Granderson

Spring Training has come to close and GMS Field is done with Yankees games until next March, but the Yankees still have a job to do before Opening Day on Monday. That includes making cuts, adding people and setting their roster for Opening Day. Here's what happened after today's game.

Juan Rivera Juan Rivera was released by the Yankees following today's game, so it's apparent that he won't make the Yankees. The Yankees had to pay $100,000 in order to keep him on Tuesday and cut him today. Hopefully he'll attach to another team. Unfortunatley, that team won't be the Yankees.

Ronnier MustelierRonnier Mustelier had a slim chance of making the roster but he was very impressive this Spring. Brian Cashman made it clear that Mustelier didn't make the team after suffering a knee bruise. He was supposed to play last night in Sarasota but was scratched. Mustelier will stay in Tampa instead.

Brennan Boesch, Ben Francisco & Lyle OverbayThe Yankees seem keen on having Brennan Boesch, Ben Francisco and Lyle Overbay on the Yankees, and Cashman coy-fully suggested that the three of them would be at Yankee Stadium on Monday. I know we only saw Overbay for two days, but his defense was impressive and I wouldn't mind having him on the team. Francisco and Boesch since coming to Yankees camp impressed, so it's not surprising that they're being considered for a role with the ball club.

Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson & Derek JeterThe Yankees are breaking camp today and only one of these three players will actually go north with the team. Mark Teixeira will go with the Yankees and will get checked on Monday by the doctor for his wrist. If all goes well, Teixeira can take off the brace and will start strengthening his wrist. Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter are staying in Tampa because they are closer to baseball activities than Teixeira. For example, Granderson can shag fly balls, pick up a bat and grip it without the arm hurting. Derek Jeter will get into a baseball game next week. Teixeira is a little far off from doing those quite yet.

Releasing Adams Made Sense

"Wait, which way do you want me to run?"

I just came across some very interesting information regarding the release of David Adams.

A few days ago Adams was released, and many Yankee fans were up-in-arms over the move. I wasn't as upset as some, but I was a bit confused as to why the team would let go of a guy that's shown some promise. In 5 seasons of minor league ball, Adams has posted a batting line of .295/.378/.448, including a line of .306/.385/.450 with AA Trenton last season.

Even though Adams is currently blocked from the Yankees by a number of players (Cano, Youkilis, Rodriguez, Nunez, and Nix in particular), he's of some value even as a trade chip. Especially when you consider he's a second baseman, and that position is not exactly chock full of amazing talent.

So why would the Yankees release him?

Well the Yankees are having some real issues with their 40-man roster, as they try to fill holes thanks to a number of injuries. And the fact of the matter is that Adams was not going to be needed by the Yankees this season, while guys such as Juan Rivera and Ronnier Mustelier may very well be. So it made sense to cut Adams first. Unless, you think Adams is a better prospect than Corban Joseph, which is arguable as Joseph hit .266/.366/.474 the past season in Scranton.

The thing to keep in mind though is that the Yankees did not want to release Adams. They've told people that they are interesting in bringing him back, should he be available. And that's where releasing him, instead of designating him for assignment, comes into play.

You see, a player that's released has the option of going to the team that claims him or becoming a free agent. So the Yankees have given themselves a chance of holding onto David Adams. Would a player take a non-40-man gig from a team that just cut him? I don't know, but I like that the Yankees have given themselves a shot.

Spring Training 3/28/13 Lineup

Here we go, it's the Spring finale for the Yankees!

Ichiro Suzuki CF
Vernon Wells LF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Juan Rivera 1B
Ben Francisco DH
Brennan Boesch RF
Jayson Nix SS
Francisco Cervelli C

RHP Hiroki Kuroda

Start Time: 1:05 p.m
T.V: None
Radio: (Pittsburgh Pirates Radio)

10 Reasons to like the 2013 Yankees

[caption id="attachment_15279" align="aligncenter" width="604"]A healthy Brett Gardner hitting leadoff all season could be a big lift for this team A healthy Brett Gardner hitting leadoff all season could be a big lift for this team[/caption]

It's been a rough Spring Training for the NY Yankees and coming on the heels of an unspectacular off-season has many fans very pessimistic about 2013.  In fact, some could argue that since the WS win in 2009, Yankee management have made a series of bad decisions that have the organization set up for its worst stretch since the early 90s.  The end of the line for "the Core", the lack of young talent on the MLB roster and the upper minors combined with the decision to significantly cut payroll in coming years makes for a rough outlook for 2013 and beyond.  There are many things to be concerned with but for today, let's put on our optimistic hats and look at some positives for the 2013 season.

1 - Robinson Cano - As bad as things get, you can always look forward to Robbie's 4-5 ABs every game. He's hands-down, the best 2B in MLB and one of the top 2-way players in all of baseball. Cano is a superstar and MVP-caliber talent who is a magician with the glove at 2B and is as durable as anyone in the sport. He's looking to show the league that he is worthy of the monster contract he's asking for so I'd expect a huge year. Last yr he struggled vs LHP and with RISP yet he still had a career year (.929 OPS) and he has shown he can hit well in both situations in the past so look for a bounce-back there.  The biggest question is can he remain patient and wait for his pitch when pitchers are sure to pitch around him given the team's lack of dangerous bats around him. Last yr his Walk rate jumped from 6.1% with no one on base to a whopping 16.9% with RISP.  Expect that to rise even more but Cano has to accept those Walks rather than get himself out this yr for the team to succeed.

2 - A healthy Brett Gardner - Gardy missed nearly all of last year and the team became a plodding station to station offense without him.  Brett is healthy, in his prime at 29 and will be given a premium spot at the top of the order to start 2013. He is a valuable weapon who can see a ton of pitches, get on base a lot, steal bases and generally annoy the heck out of opposing pitchers. If he can avoid the freak injuries I see a big year for Gardner with a .350-.360 OBP, 50 SBs, 100 Runs Scored and dozens saved in CF/LF as a Gold Glove defender.

3 - An opportunity for Eduardo Nunez - Jeter's injured ankle has opened a door for Nunez to start as the team's everyday SS.  While he has been an adventure defensively, he played his best defense in 2011 when he played Short on a daily basis when Jete was on the DL and he's had the same chance this ST and it will extend into at least April.  I like Nunie's offensive potential as a guy with a quick bat and blazing speed.  I see someone who could be a .280 hitter with 10 HRs and 35+ SBs if he played every day for a full year.  However, he must show he can be trusted at SS and if he does the yanks will be able to let Nunez and Jeter share SS and right-handed DH. They need his speed and RH bat in the lineup this year and beyond as the 25-yr-old is one of the team's few young position players.

4 - A Strong Rotation - the Yankees rotation was solid last year finishing 5th in the AL with a 4.04 ERA, and 2nd in both IP & Ks.  It returns intact with a nice blend of 3 vets and 3 kids and it has the potential to be stronger in 2013.  Ace CC Sabathia dealt with injuries all season and had his elbow cleaned up in the off-season so I expect a typical great season from the big fella. Hiroki Kuroda was the team's most consistent starter in his first A.L. season and Andy Pettitte is healthy after only making 12 starts a year ago. Phil Hughes improved as the season wore on last yr and will have a lot to prove in his Walk yr this season.  He'll begin the yr on the DL with what is hopefully a minor back issue thus opening up a spot for David Phelps who was the team's most pleasant surprise last yr and has looked great again this ST. Ivan Nova has made some mechanical changes working with Larry Rothschild as he looks to return to the form that saw him be the team's #2 starter as a rookie in 2011.  Rothschild has had a positive impact on the staff as all of the starters have lowered their Walk totals while also raising their K rates since Larry took over. The Yankees will rely on their staff more than ever as they will score less runs and this staff has the horses to rise to the occasion.

5 - Walk Years - With the goal to get under the Luxury Tax Threshold in 2014, the front office has been very reluctant to lock players up past 2013 so the result is a ton of players reaching Free Agency in 2014.  While Cano is the big FA, the majority of the team will also be due including key players like Granderson, Youkilis, Hughes, Kuroda, Hafner, Joba, Aardsma, Logan, etc.  That's a lot of key players who will have something to prove in 2013.

6 - A More Dynamic Approach? The yanks crushed a record 245 HRs in 2013 with 10 players hitting 14+ HRs.  This year's lineup won't come close to duplicating those power numbers.  However, they have players with other skills that could lead to a more diversified offense.  They've added some hitters with better contact skills and also have many hitters that can work a count.  In Gardner, Ichiro & Nunez, they have 3 players capable of  stealing 40+ bases each which is a big change for a team that was 22nd last yr with just 93 total SBs.  A HR is the best possible outcome in baseball but last year's team struggled moving runners, hitting with RISP and cashing in runners on 3rd with less than 2 outs.  This year's team will have to be better fundamentally because they don't have the power to make up for their mistakes.

7 - Old Nemesis Kevin Youkilis was a hated opponent for years with Boston but will be counted on heavily this season as the likely cleanup hitter.  I think Youk will have a bounce back year and will be a very important cog batting behind Cano this year.  With Jeter down, the Yanks will also count on Youk for his leadership in the infield with the young Eduardo Nunez playing next to him.  Fellow old nemesis, Ichiro will also be counted on for a big season.  He saw a nice bounce in performance after coming to NY last yr and I hope he can maintain it for a full season in 2013. Ichiro will be counted on to not only set the table but also to help drive in runs this yr.  I think he'll come close to his carer-high 15 HRs playing a full yr in YS.

8 - Underdog Status? For the last 15+ years, the Yanks have always started the season with huge expectations and a big target on their backs as preseason favorites.  This year, most "experts" and projection tools are not picking the Yankees to win the AL East.  Toronto is the popular choice with Tampa also often picked ahead of NY.  While ownership and the fans always expect the team to make the playoffs, perhaps the Yanks can use the doubts and picks to lose as motivation. Let Toronto deal with the lofty expectations while perhaps the Yanks can sneak up on people as underdogs.

9 - Minor League Development Yankee prospects received a lot of accolades this Winter with most publications rating the team's system in the 11-14 range despite not having ANY top prospects above A-ball.  A strong yr could vault the system into the Top 5 in all of baseball. This year, most of the top prospects will either start the yr in AA or will be there by mid-season.  OFs Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin & Ramon Flores will start in AA Trenton and could move up fast with some success. The team's 2 top-rated prospects - Gary Sanchez & Mason Williams - are a step behind but could see call-ups to AA by June.  The prospects are more important than ever with the Yankees apparently sticking to a lower payroll in 2014.  if a prospect or 2 can take a starting job, it will leave more money to spend on other positions. It is without a doubt, a huge year for the Minor League system.

10 - Farewell to Mo.....the G.O.A.T. - Rafael Soriano did a tremendous job last year as the team's closer after Mariano injured his knee but the greatest ever is back this year for one last season.  We should all treasure watching Mo pitch in 2013 because we will be witnessing the best reliever ever to pitch for the last time.  He has the best ERA+ of ALL-TIME with a 206+ mark. His standard ERA of 2.21 is 13th best ever but the ERA+ accounts for the era he pitched in, his ballpark and his relation to other pitchers of his time.  Not only is his 206+ ERA the best ever it is 52 points better than the #2 pitcher, Pedro Martinez at 154+.  Mo is 1st All-Time in Saves (608), 2nd all-Time in WHIP (0.98), 4th All-Time in so/BB rate (4.04), 5th All-Time in H/9 (6.9).  And his Post-season records are even more amazing - a 0.70 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 42 Saves and just 2 HRs allowed in 141 IP.  Savor this last season of Mo. There will NEVER be another player so dominant for so long while at the same time doing it with basically 1 pitch.....and always doing it with dignity & class.

2013 Predictions : The Playoffs Teams

The 2013 season is right around the corner and this time Major League Baseball is going to do the playoffs and it's scheduling the right way. No more hanging by a thread because of a rain delay, a potential tie breaker, etc this time around. Here are the teams that I expect to win their respected divisions and the wild cards while fight their way to a World Series trophy.

American League East Champion
New York Yankees

American League Central Champion
Cleveland Indians

American League West Champion
Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

Wild Card #1 Winner
Tampa Bay Rays

Wild Card #2 Winner
Detroit Tigers

National League East Champion
Washington Nationals

National League Central Champion
Pittsburgh Pirates

National League West Champion
Los Angeles Dodgers

Wild Card #1 Winner
Philadelphia Phillies

Wild Card #2 Winner
Atlanta Braves

Check in tomorrow to see how these teams will fare in the playoffs!