Friday, April 5, 2013

Rooftop Leaches Of Chicago

I know this has nothing to do with the Yankees, but I had to say something about this bit of news.

I was just reading about the renovations to be done on Wrigley Field, which will cost around $500 million. This includes a new hotel, parking garage, and more night games. What I think is really impressive is that the team has agreed to pick up the tab on the whole project.

This is no small thing for the Cubs, as Rick Reilly recently wrote an article at outlining the negative things that Wrigley Field has done to the Cubbies. Rick went as far as to say Wrigley Field is why the Cubs haven't won there since... forever.

All of the problems Reilly outlined had to do with lost revenue due to the stadium. From not being able to put up advertising, which Reilly estimates could bring the team an extra $30 million a year, to lost money due to not playing more night games that attract better ratings, which Reilly said costs the team like $5 million a season.

What surprised me, and angered me, the most though was when Rick pointed out how much the Cubs lost thanks to people selling tickets so fans could watch games from their rooftops outside the stadium. You ready for this?

Those people that sell tickets, and even season tickets, rake in around $24 million a year. And while the Cubs do get some of that, it's only 17% or $4 million. The Cubs have been forced to allow people, that have nothing to do with the team, to make $20 million a year off of them. How is that even legal? They might as well allow me to record Cubs games, make a highlight video of their season, and sell them on the Cubs official webpage for $49.95 a piece. Although at $49.95 that too should be illegal, as a highlight video of the Cubs season would last approximately two and a half minutes.

Don't get me wrong, Cubs fans still show up in droves. The team was 10th in Major League Baseball in total attendance last season, and that's with the Cubs finishing 36 games out of first place. But Wrigley Field still holds 41,159 people, and averaged just 35,589. That's 5,570 tickets a game that go unsold. And I guarantee you that that number would go down drastically if people had to actually buy a ticket to go inside Wrigley Field to see a live game. That's not chump change the Cubs are missing out on.

That brings me to one thing regarding the renovations I haven't mentioned yet... a new video scoreboard in left field and a large sign in right field. Well those things have made the owners of the rooftops angry. And you know what I say to that? Good! If anybody should make money off of the Cubs, it should be the Cubs. Not some leach that happens to own a house outside the stadium. It sickens me, and it should make the people that run the Cubs feel even worse, that the team gets a paltry 17% of ticket sales on those rooftops.

But that sickness I feel goes even deeper. You see, the owners of those rooftops are threatening to sue. That's right! They say they're going to sue the Cubs for blocking their view.


These people don't love the Cubs. Heck, they aren't fans at all. They're money-grubbing leaches that have done nothing to earn that money from ticket sales. They don't pay the players on the field. They don't pay for the coaches of those players. They don't pay for guys like Theo Epstein that run the team. Do they really think they'd make a penny off of the Cubs if it wasn't for the fact their houses are in a convenient location Give me a break!

I haven't invested a single emotion into the Cubbies. Not that I wish them ill-will, but I couldn't care less if the team disappeared from baseball. But I do have strong feelings towards those people that are threatening to sue the Cubs for blocking their rooftop view of the playing field. And those are feelings of hatred. Hatred for a group of people that don't love the game, but are trying to make money off of the game that they didn't earn.

Oh, and if you tell me they earned that money by purchasing the houses or building where you can watch games from those rooftops, I say "tough sh**!" Millions of people make poor investments, and you don't hear one thing about them. So spare me the sympathy I should feel for those leaches in Chicago.

Here's to you that want to sue the Cubs over your rooftop seats.

Nunez Thought His Arm Was Broken

I never thought the day would come when I said the following...

Thank God Eduardo Nunez will be able to return to the team soon.

My cat gave me this look when I said it aloud.

In the top of the 4th inning of this afternoon's game Nunez was hit in the arm by a Doug Fister fastball. The ball looked to have initially hit Eddie in the chest, then into his bicep, making me think he'd be able to shake it off. But seeing the Yankee shortstop writhe in pain after the pitch hit him made me think it could be more serious. Turns out the ball hit Nunez directly on the top of the bicep, and he actually thought his arm was broken.

X-Rays were taken, and they did come back negative, but it's unlikely Nuney will be able to play tomorrow when Phil Hughes makes his season debut.

One question coming out of this was whether the Yankees would add an infielder at least for tomorrow, but Girardi said that Francisco Cervelli will be the backup infielder while Jayson Nix gets the start. That would be interesting to see.

Phil Hughes To Start Tomorrow

Right after it was announced that Phil Hughes was scratched from starting for Scranton tomorrow, Brian Cashman confirmed that Philthy would start tomorrow against the Tigers.

Although nothing is confirmed, chances are that David Phelps will be sent to the bullpen, while Shawn Kelley will be sent down to the minors. After today's start some may think it's Ivan Nova that should be removed from the rotation, but the plan coming out of Spring Training was to have Nova be a starter, and I think the team will stick with that plan for now. Not to mention that shifting Phelps to the bullpen will give them an arm since Nova just threw 96 pitches today, and Kelley threw a couple of innings.

Farm Team Intros


Scranton RailRiders 

Kicking off the rotation, Vidal Nuno took the ball as the RailRiders' Opening Day starter with Brett Marshall, Dellin Betances, and CM Wang  rounding out the staff. Warren will begin the season with the Yankees, serving as their long reliever until Phil Hughes comes off the Disabled List, and then he'll return to the Scranton rotation. With the injury to Kuroda he may end up making a spot start if Hirok! can't go. 

The Rail Riders bullpen looks to be a strength for the team and could funnel on the the Bronx, starting the season off with Chase Whitley, Jim Miller, Preston Claiborne, Josh Spence and Josh Romanski. Bootcheck will start off in the rotation filling in for Warren, and of course Mark Montgomery rounds out the staff. Montgomery may end up being an early season callup if someone stumbles in the Bronx. He's been a fast mover and impressed in the fall leagues, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see him in a few short weeks.

Corban Joseph, Luke Murton, Ronnier Mustelier,  Melky Mesa, Zoilo Almonte, David Adams, Austin Romine, Dan Johnson, Addison Maruszak and Thomas Neal amke up the lineup for the RailRiders. Adams makes his return after a short leave of absence on the roster, having signed a new MiL contract. Z Almonte will spend his first full year in Scranton while Mesa gets another chance at cutting his K's down and possibly pushing his way to the big club. 

Double-A Trenton Thunder:

Trenton is the team to watch this year, with some of the systems best to start the year and a couple more with a chance to get promoted there. Top prospects Slade Heathcott and Tyler Austin will be starting in the outfield with underdog Ramon Flores rounding out the OF. JR Murphy will be the Thunder's starting catcher with Kyle Higashioka playing backup. Kyle Roller makes the jump up from High-A to serve as the everyday first baseman with big league Spring Training participants Jose Pirela, Walter Ibarra, and Rob Segedin also making the roster. One of the better pitchers in camp, Jose Ramirez will step in to the rotation shortly, joining Nik Turley, Zach Nuding, Matt Tracy and Francisco Rondon. Tom Kahnle, and Branden Pinder will be coming out of the pen. Graham Stoneburner will be returning to Trenton after an injury plagued 2012. 

Trenton has an excellent all-around pitching staff and combined with their offense look to be a formidable group. The outfield is one of the best in the minors, headed by Austin and Heathcott, but don't forget about Flores, who is an excellent hitter in his pown right, and could really climb the prospect ladder if he develops some power. At his age it's not at all out of the question, so keep an eye on the 21 year old in his first year in AA ball. 

High-A Tampa Yankees:

The Tampa squad will be headlined by outfielder Mason Williams and catcher Gary Sanchez. Williams and Sanchez both got the call to Tampa in 2012 along with Tyler Austin, but Williams' season ended early after tearing his labrum and requiring surgery. Neither player is likely to remain in High-A all season, but that will largely depend on the result of their play during the first part of the year, as well as whether or not they will be able to get in regular playing time. The Trenton outfield is rather full with prospects, as is the catcher spot. Williams will be joined in the outfield by Ben Gamel, who put together a strong season in Charleston last year and is also looking to add some power. He supposedly bulked up a bit over the winter, so he could be one to make a move. Second basemen Angelo Gumbs and Anderson Feliz, catcher Francisco Arcia, first baseman Matt Snyder, and infielder Ali Castillo will make up the remainder of the lineup.

Pitching for Tampa has some well known names along with some quick movers in the system. Bryan Mitchell, Shane Greene, and Rigoberto Arrebato all begin the season in High-A, along with fast movers Corey Black and Nick Goody. Goody pitched across three different levels last year after being drafted in 2011. Black will start out in the rotation, but unless he can prove he can maintain his stuff throughout the long haul of a start he'll be relegated to the pen. Both could be on a fast track to reach the majors and continue the trend of excellent relievers to move through the system. Bryan Mitchell might be the biggest name on the pitching side for Tampa, possessing some of the best stuff of any of our young pitchers. He pitched 120 innings for Charleston a year ago and will try to gain some consistency and make yet another move forward. Baseball America considers his curveball to be the best in the Yankees' system, as well as earning praise from Jim Callis.

Low-A Charleston RiverDogs:

Charleston's pitching rotation will be led by newly stateside Rafael DePaula and Jose Campos, in addition to Gabe Encinas, Evan Rutckyj, Brett Gerritse, Cesar Vargas, and Derek Varnadore. The latter three will be used on an as needed basis with the former more set into their starting roles. Charlie Short will also be returning to the Charleston bullpen this season with last year's Staten Island closer, Taylor Garrison.

Campos started off hot in 2012, but a bout of elbow inflammation cost him the rest of his season. He attempted to pitch through what turned out to be unusual soreness, but not wanting to disappoint he trudged on and ended up further injuring himself. A rookie mistake, and one he's more mindful of moving forward. DePaula will be pitching in the United States for the first time after a suspension and then some visa issues that cost him two years. Both pitchers are some of the best in the low levels of the farm, and we're looking forward to see what they can do in a full season for Campos and against better hitters for DePaula. Rutckyj doesn't quite have the name yet that Campos, or DePaula, but he has a lot of potential and could make his name known this year. 

The RiverDogs' offense will be led by Dante Bichette Jr. and Cito Culver, who will be repeating the level to start the season; Bichetter looking to bounce back from an ugly first year in full season ball, and Culver ditching his switch hitting ways in hopes of gaining some consistency from the right side of the plate. They will be joined by catchers Wes Wilson, and Peter O'Brien, hard hitting first baseman Greg Bird, newly reappointed second baseman Rob Refsnyder, and infielders Claudio Custodio, Saxon Butler, and Fu Lin Kuo. Outfielders Yeicok Calderon, Taylor Dugas, and Danny Oh are the projected starting outfielders for the RiverDogs. Bird looks to get settled in at first base after back issues forced him off the catcher spot, and he'll need to keep up his work at the plate if he's going to be a major league first baseman. So far his bat has not disappointed. Refsnyder is still getting settled in at second, but has adjusted nicely and has a great stick for the position. 

Other affiliates:

The short season leagues don't start until later this summer, and will be filled with mostly draftees and those who are rehabbing their way back to the lower levels. These staffs will be filled out following the draft, but keep an eye out for some of the Dominican Summer League guys to make their debuts, namely catcher Luis Torrens and shortstop Abiatal Abelino, who are two of the best from that group. Also pitcher Luis Severino is making waves in camp, and has beend compared to Jose Ramirez, with a big big fastball and some good offspeed stuff for such a young arm. 

The Yankees Can Get Young Soon

This sign may or not be outside of Yankee Stadium.

A lot has been said about the Yankees and being old. I can't disagree with that assessment for 2013, as they are the oldest team in baseball, however I thought about it and in the near future the words "Yankees" and "old" will no longer go together.

Looking at the pitching staff, Hiroki Kuroda (38), Andy Pettitte (40), and Mariano Rivera (43) are, or could very well be, in their last season in pinstripes. As for Yankee batters, you have Travis Hafner (35) in his one and only year under contact, and Ichiro Suzuki (39) possibly being in his final year as a starter (he should be in his final year period, but I digress). Although he's not "old", Curtis Granderson (32) is older than the team's average age of 31, and he probably won't be back in New York after this season.

So I could have looked at next year to show the team is getting younger. However, I decided to look at 2015 to see how much younger the team could be in only two more years. At which time we can finally move past everybody calling out the Yankees for being too old.

To start, here is the current roster of regulars, and their ages, assuming everybody were healthy...

SP1 - CC Sabathia 32
SP2 - Hiroki Kuroda 38
SP3 - Andy Pettitte 40
SP4 - Phil Hughes 26
SP5 - Ivan Nova 26
CL - Mariano Rivera 43
SU - David Robertson 27

C - Francisco Cervelli 27
1B - Mark Teixeira 32
2B - Robinson Cano 30
3B - Alex Rodriguez 37
SS - Derek Jeter 38
LF - Brett Gardner 29
CF - Curtis Granderson 32
RF - Ichiro Suzuki 39
DH - Travis Hafner 35

Average Age: 33.1875

That's a lot of prostate exams.

Now here is what the roster of regulars could look like in 2015...

SP1 - CC Sabathia 32
SP2 - Michael Pineda 24
SP3 - Phil Hughes 26
SP4 - Ivan Nova 26
SP5 - David Phelps 28
CL - David Robertson 27
SU - Joba Chamberlain 27

C - Francisco Cervelli 29
1B - Mark Teixeira 34
2B - Robinson Cano 32
3B - ??? 32 (a guess, based on the Yankees having no good 3B prospects and the average age of free agents)
SS - Eduardo Nunez 27
LF - Brett Gardner 31
CF - Mason Williams 23
RF - Tyler Austin 23
DH - Alex Rodriguez 39

Average Age: 28.75

I wanted to repeat and emphasize the word "could" here. We don't know how well Michael Pineda is going to recover from his shoulder injury, we don't know if Ivan Nova is going to bounce back and be a viable starter, we don't know if David Phelps is going to continue to develop, we don't know about our outfield prospects' futures, nor do we know who could be the team's third baseman in 2015. And those aren't the only questions here. All I wanted to do was show that there's a good possibility that the team could shed the "old" criticism.

So the next time you come across somebody saying "the Yankees are old", just smile and say "yep" while knowing that things could change very soon, and those people criticizing the Yankees for their age will have to think of some other way to hate.

"Oh, I'll find something."

New York Yankees @ Detroit Tigers 4/5

The Yankees will play their first road series after a pretty rough home opener against the Boston Red Sox as they travel to play against the Detroit Tigers for the first of three games at Comerica Park. The Yankees will send Ivan Nova to the mound to face off against Doug Fister. The game will be televised at 1:08 pm ET on YES and on MLB Network.

1. Brett Gardner CF
2. Robinson Cano 2B
3. Kevin Youkilis 3B
4. Travis Hafner DH
5. Brennan Boesch RF
6. Eduardo Nunez SS
7. Ichiro Suzuki LF
8. Lyle Overbay 1B
9. Chris Stewart C

Game 4 Lineup: Yankees vs. Tigers

Here we are with the quick turn-around. Last night the Yankees were in the Bronx, today they're in Detroit. Here's the lineup:

Brett Gardner CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Brennan Boesch RF
Eduardo Nunez SS
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Chris Stewart C

RHP Ivan Nova

Why is Boston over-shifting on Cano?

[caption id="attachment_15345" align="aligncenter" width="480"]Cano's 2012 Spray Chart from Cano's 2012 Spray Chart from[/caption]

I was surprised to see Boston with the massive overshift on Robinson Cano Opening Day.  Robby has always been a hitter who used the entire field - a true foul line to foul line hitter.  Yet Boston was playing their 3B in shallow RF in the hole between the 1B and 2B and their SS also on the right side of 2B.  I had to check Cano's spray chart (above) to see what it is that Boston scouts are seeing.

While the chart does show someone who uses the whole field, it's clear Cano hits a lot of groundballs to the right side.  His pull tendencies aren't nearly as pronounced as a Mark Teixeira or Jason Giambi - as Cano clearly hits the ball on the ground to the left side also.  Yet John Farrell becomes the first manager to use the shift versus Cano and last night, it was effective as it robbed Cano of at least 1 and maybe 2 base hits.  It also got Cano thinking as he squared to bunt in his 1st AB.  So will other teams now start to copy what Farrell has started?

We have seen the shift take a huge chunk out of Teixeira's Batting Average as it robs him of hits and also seems to get into his head a bit.  Will the shift have a similar effect on Cano if other team's begin to use it against him? Perhaps that is part of Boston's strategy as maybe it's enough to just have Cano thinking about it.  Is Cano too diverse of a hitter to let the shift beat him as he serves hits through the vacant left side?  This will definitely be something to keep an eye on all season long.

This Day In Yankees History 4/5

This Day In Yankees History... April 5th

In 1913 the Brooklyn Dodgers played their first game in Ebbets Field against the New York Yankees. Brooklyn would beat the Yankees 3-2 and Yankees Casey Stengel would hit the park's first home run, an inside the park home run, in the loss.

In 1925 Babe Ruth collapsed at a railroad station in Asheville, North Carolina. Later named the "bellyache heard round the world" because of a writer suggesting it was caused by hot dogs and soda this collapse caused Ruth to be out of the lineup until May after a hospital stay and surgery.