Thursday, June 13, 2013

Derek Jeter Cleared To Run & More

The Yankees team doctor has cleared Derek Jeter to run and resume all baseball activities. This is great news and big time progress for Derek Jeter after cracking his ankle for the second time in less than a year. Jeter is still on track to come back some time after the All Star Break and will more than likely be held back a lot after the previous set back. Either way Jeter seems to be on his way back to the Yankees and that is all that I need to know right now.

Yankees Announce Old Timers Day Roster

The Yankees will hold their 67th Annual Old Timers Day on Sunday June 23rd at Yankees Stadium at 11:15 before the Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays. The roster for this annual event has been announced and here is the list of players that will be returning for Old Timers Day.

Yogi Berra
Whitey Ford
Goose Gossage
Rickey Henderson
Reggie Jackson
David Cone
Paul O'Neill
Lou Pinella

Also we have a list of former Yankees that will be attending their first Old Timers Day.

Orlando Hernandez
Brian Dorsett
John Flaherty
Todd Greene
Scott Kamieniecki 
Andy Phillips

It is interesting to see Andy Phillips on the roster because he is only 36 years old making him younger than current Yankees Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Ichiro Suzuki, Lyle Overbay, and Travis Hafner.

This should be an interesting game to watch as it always is so check it out next Sunday on YES before the game.

Francisco Cervelli Injury Update

Francisco Cervelli is rehabbing a broken right hand is coming along quite nicely as we learned today from manager Joe Girardi. Cervelli has started playing catch and catching bullpen sessions so obviously his hand is okay to throw. No word on whether he is swinging a bat yet but if he were I bet we would have heard about it today so I doubt that he has yet. Cervelli is said to be ahead of schedule and ahead of Curtis Granderson right now but it is still unclear whether he will be back before the All Star break or not.

Yankees Hoping To Sign Ian Clarkin Soon

The Yankees are hoping to come to terms with their 1st round Yankee hating draft pick Ian Clarkin as early as next week. Ian is expected to take his physical on Monday and sign sometime next week which is a great sign because he was definitely not expected to sign when we drafted him. His slot recommendation is $1.65 but everyone expects him to sign for more than that. The Yankees got some help as 6th rounder John Murphy signed for only $20,000 which was around $190,000 less than the slot recommendation. That almost $190,000 will likely end up in Clarkin's pocket by this time next week.

Yankees Sign 3rd Round Pick Michael O'Neill

The Yankees have signed third round pick, and nephew of former Yankees outfielder and current YES announcer Paul O'Neill, Michael O'Neill to a contract worth $500,900. Michael, who just turned 21 years old, signed for exactly what the slot recommended so good for him and the Yankees.

Former Yankees Update Clay Rapada

The Yankees designated lefty Clay Rapada for assignment before outrighting him to AAA after a shoulder bursitis injury kept him out for much of spring training. The Yankees later released him and he has latched on with the Cleveland Indians on a minor league deal. Clay has been sent to AAA Columbus for the Indians and looks to get his career back on track. Say hello to Nick Swisher for us Clay and good luck!

Yankees Made Two Offers To David Ross

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported that the Yankees sent David Ross, current catcher for the Boston Red Sox, two offers. However, Ross decided to go with the Sox as they seemingly wanted him more, and the Yankees were still waiting to see if Martin would return to the Bronx.

Although Yankee catchers only have a wRC+ of 80 so far this season, Ross isn't doing a whole lot better, as he has a wRC+ of 88. So Yankees fans shouldn't feel too bad about missing out here.

New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 6/13

The Yankees and the Oakland Athletics will finish up their three game set tonight in Oakland in another one of those dreaded west coast games. The Yankees will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound to face off with Jarrod Parker. The game will be televised at 3:05 pm ET on YES.

Game 66 Lineup: Yankees @ Athletics

Can the Yankees take at least ONE of these games? Please? Anyway, here's the lineup.

Brett Gardner CF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Travis Hafner DH
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Vernon Wells LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chris Stewart C

Hiroki Kuroda P

Meet A Prospect Eric Jagielo

Eric Jagielo was drafted with the New York Yankees first round pick in the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft 26th overall. Eric spent his college years playing for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish manning their hot corner and mashing the heck out of the ball. Jagielo stands 6'3" and weighs in at 215 lbs while hitting left handed and throwing right handed and while his natural position is third base he does have some experience in the outfield, although limited. This is not Jagielo's first time being drafted as he was drafted in the 50th round by the Chicago Cubs in the 2010 draft.

Jagielo put himself on the map in 2012 when he went out and hit .310 with 13 home runs as a sophomore for the Fighting Irish. Jagielo would follow up that impressive performance with a trip to the Cape Cod League that summer where he put up an equally impressive .291 average with 13 home runs to go with a .374 on base percentage. Jagielo would finish his 2013 season with a very impressive .388/.500./.633 with 19 doubles and nine home runs on his way to being named 201 Big East Player of the Year.

Jagielo is a patient hitter and a power hitter that has a left handed stroke that is made for the new Yankees Stadium. He has a very upward stance that allows him to keep his hands low and compact and allows him to drive the ball. He has a bit of a long swing but it allows him to spray the ball to all fields with ease. He will strike out his fair share but he more than makes up for it with his ability to see a ton of pitches, grind out at bats, take his walks, and knock the ball to all fields in gaps and over the fence. I have seen his hitting graded on the normal scale of 0-80 as high as 55 which is considered to be above average. I have also seen his power rated as high as a 60 on the same scale with a strong lower half and an ability to punish mistakes.

Jagielo is not considered to be a speedy guy but is also not considered to be a liability on the base paths either so you take the good with the bad I guess. His quickness is one of the major downfalls of his defense. He can make the plays and has a nice throwing arm but his speed really limits his range and ability to get to certain balls. He is still widely considered to be an average defender and made big strides over the winter and this season before the draft so there is always the possibility for improvement there. His arm is considered his best defensive attribute and would also translate to left field or first base if he were ever transplanted off the hot corner.

MLB ETA 2015

Yanks have missed the boat with talented IFAs

[caption id="attachment_15921" align="aligncenter" width="604"]The IFA market is where the Yanks can find high upside talents like Yasiel Puig The IFA market is where the Yanks can find high upside talents like Yasiel Puig[/caption]

Anyone watching Sportscenter for the last week or so has seen Dodgers OF Yasiel Puig put on a show, cracking opposite field HRs and gunning runners out from RF.  He has jump-started the anemic Dodgers offense and energized their fan base while looking like a young Bo Jackson on the field.  Watching Puig and being reminded of fellow Cuban OF Yoenis Cespedes while playing the A's tonight, I couldn't help but cringe when thinking that both of these talents were available to the Yankees a little more than a year ago.  At a time when the Yankees offense is putrid and their corner OFs are the worst in baseball it is very frustrating

Puig was one of 3 talented Cuban OFs who were available to the highest bidder in 2012.  Cespedes and highly regarded Cubs prospect Jorge Soler were the other 2.   Many of us fans thought the Yankees would sign at least one of them and it's beginning to look like they made a big mistake by passing on these talents.  Under Brian Cashman's leadership, the Yankees have become extremely conservative on the International Free Agent market.  After being burned by the signings of Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa, the team has refused to spend significant money on any IFA.  In an interview this winter with Drew Voros, Cashman said. "We have learned over time to be very conservative and cautious in acquiring pitching talent from Japan, for instance. It’s a different game there"

Cashman has been applying that conservative approach to all IFAs, signing only a few low-priced players like Adonis Garcia and Ronnier Mustelier.  While it's natural to be conservative, it seems the team has become gun-shy and is more afraid of making a mistake.  When you have the largest payroll in MLB, you can afford to take some risks on high-upside talents.  While it's true you cannot expect success in Japan, Cuba, Korea or any other league to equate to success in MLB, talent plays anywhere.  And that is where the Yankees are missing the boat.  If a 20-yr old LHP in the U.S. was consistently throwing 98-100 MPH or when a trio of young OFs are displaying 4 out of 5 plus tools or a 6'5' 225 pitcher is throwing 3 plus MLB pitches with great command and poise, you have to get involved!  The Yanks let all of the above players pass them by when all they would cost was draft picks, no players in trade.  Where else can the Yankees obtain talent like that? The answer is no where.  While I think the Yanks did well in this year's amateur draft, they never have access to elite amateur talent picking at the end of the first round and the financial restraints put on them in the new CBA when it comes to signing amateur foreigners, they are going to have trouble finding high-end talent there also. Well, no problem, the Yankees have always just been able to buy Free Agents at the Major League level, right? Well that window has been closing also.  Teams are locking up their young talented players before they become FAs and the small number of big talents that do hit the open market are able to command huge salaries since so many teams have money to spend.

The Yankees MUST become players on the IFA market again.  They are paying $27 Million for washed up Vernon Wells and Ichiro to play LF and RF this year and next - approximately $6.5M per yr for each of them.  Meanwhile, 22-yr old stud Yasiel Puig signed with LA for $6 Million a year for 7 years and the A's 27-yr old slugging OF Yoenis Cespedes (36 HRs and .843 OPS in 181 games) is earning $9M per season over 4 years.  And they aren't the only IFA players doing well.  Japanese OF Norichi Aoki had a strong year for Milwaukee last season hitting .288 with 10 HRs and 30 SBs and is hitting .300 with a .375 OBP this season while earning just $1.25 M per yr (plus a $2.5M posting fee for his rights).  These are just some IFA OFs who were signed in the last year or2 but there are other IFAs all over MLB from Shin-Soo-Choo to Dayan Viciedo to Alexi Ramirez, etc.

There has also been a wave of talented foreign pitchers doing well in MLB the last year or 2 also.  The 100-MPH lefty I mentioned of course is Reds closer Aroldis Chapman who has a 15.4 K/9.  Texas Ace Yu Darvish was a guy I thought the Yanks should have been all over.  He's a true #1 type starter in his prime at just 26 and signed for the extremely reasonable 6 years @ $56M. An ace pitcher hitting the FA market would get nearly triple that. And make no mistake about it, Darvish is an Ace.  He's 7-2 with a 2.75 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and a 12.0 K/9 pitching in the offensive haven of Texas.  And he's not alone as a front-end starter, Korean LHP Ryu-Hyu Jin is 6-2 with a 2.89 era in his first year for the Dodgers,  Japanese RHP Hisashi Iwakuma is 7-1 with a 1.89 ERA and 0.81 WHIP for Seattle in his 2nd season and 27-yr old Taiwanese LHP Wei-Yin Chen has been Baltimore's best starter the last year and a half.

It's time for the Yankees to dive back in to the IFA waters.  George Steinbrenner was a trailblazer who was all over talented IFAs.  While it worked brilliantly with Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez and Hideki Matsui, the failures of Irabu and Igawa seem to have the Yankee brass afraid today.  It is poor reasoning to write off all big-ticket IFAs because of a couple of failures.  This is the last market where the Yankees money can be used to acquire high-end talent.  Amateur IFAs are subject to spending limits and penalties in the CBA but for veteran IFAs 23 and older, it's still an open market and one which the Yankees must begin to capitalize on or they will have to continue to spend their money on the veteran has-beens like Wells and Ichiro.

Morning Bits

Good morning everyone!

The Yankees lost their second straight game to the A's last night by a score of 5-2.

Phil Hughes had a bad outing, allowing 3 earned runs on four hits and five walks, lasting only 4 1/3 innings.

Joba Chamberlain struggled in relief, allowing 2 earned runs on 3 hits in 1 1/3 innings.

The heart of the Yankees order was dreadful, with Mark Teixeira, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells and Kevin Youkilis going a combined 0-13 in the 3-6 spots in the order.

The Yankees managed only four hits.

Brandon Moss homered twice to lead the A's.

The Yankees fell to .500(3-3) on their brutal ten game West Coast trip and also fell three games behind the division leading Red Sox.

Hiroki Kuroda(6-5, 2.84 ERA) will face Jarrod Parker(5-6, 4.68 ERA) today in a game that starts at 3:35 ET.  The game will be broadcast by YES.

Now on to today's news links:

George King III of the New York Post has this article about Derek Jeter getting closer to resuming baseball activities.

Scott Miller of points out the inability of the Yankees to come from behind in games.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that Mariano Rivera has gotten into the pizza delivery business!

Have a great day everyone!


This Day In Yankees History 6/13

On this day in 1948 the Yankees held Babe Ruth day and retired the sluggers number 3 uniform.

On this day in 2003 Roger Clemens became the 21st pitcher to ever win 300 games. This was Clemens fourth attempt at the feat as the Yankees won the game 5-2.