Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mariano Rivera Up For Two Player's Choice Awards

Mariano Rivera is up for two Player's Choice awards for this season, the Man of the Year award and the American League Comeback Player of the Year. The winners will be announced on MLB Network on November 4th at 8:00 pm ET.

Here is the list of the finalists for all the awards:

  • Most Outstanding Player: Miguel Cabrera (Tigers), Chris Davis (Orioles), Mike Trout (Angels)
  • Most Outstanding Pitcher: Yu Darvish (Rangers), Aníbal Sánchez (Tigers), Max Scherzer (Tigers)
  • Most Outstanding Rookie: Chris Archer (Rays), José Iglesias (Tigers), Wil Myers (Rays)
  • Comeback Player of the Year: Scott Kazmir (Indians), Victor Martinez (Tigers), Mariano Rivera (Yankees)

  • Most Outstanding Player: Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks), Andrew McCutchen (Pirates), Yadier Molina (Cardinals)
  • Most Outstanding Pitcher: José Fernández (Marlins), Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), Francisco Liriano (Pirates)
  • Most Outstanding Rookie: José Fernández (Marlins), Shelby Miller (Cardinals), Yasiel Puig (Dodgers)
  • Comeback Player of the Year: Marlon Byrd (Pirates), Francisco Liriano (Pirates), Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies)

Player of Year Award: Miguel Cabrera (Tigers), Chris Davis (Orioles), Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers)
Man of the Year Award: Carlos Beltran (Cardinals), Raúl Ibañez (Mariners), Mariano Rivera (Yankees)

Chicago Cubs Will Try & Lure Away Joe Girardi

The Chicago Cubs have had internal discussions regarding bringing in the Yankees manager Joe Girardi after firing their own manager this week in Dale Sveum. Joe Girardi's contract runs through October 31st of this year and becomes a free agent starting at midnight on November 1st and the Cubs plan on making a big push on that day. The Yankees seem worried about this as they are hesitant to let Girardi speak with other clubs before his deal runs out.

The Yankees and Brian Cashman have announced that they planned to meet with Joe Girardi this week to discuss a possible new contract for the manager. Speculation has been that the Yankees have had to, and are willing to, give Girardi a significant raise to keep the skipper. No idea whether he will tuck and run to Chicago or stay with the Yankees but the early numbers are pointing towards Girardi heading back to Chicago to help the ailing Cubs.

Rafael DePaula Ranks 17th In Latest Prospect List

Rafael DePaula has ranked #17 in the Low A South Atlantic League top 20 prospects list released by Baseball America today. DePaula was the only Yankee to make the list while the top two players were Eddie Butler of the Colorado Rockies and Tyler Glasnow of the Pittsburgh Pirates. DePaula sits comfortably at 91-93 MPH but can hit 95-97 when he really needs to dial one back to get an out. Repeating his delivery and other delivery issues have kept him back from having more than an average breaking ball or further developing his change up but the fact that he has not been pitching professionally long still gives us hope for the future. DePaula is in his age 22 season and posted a 2.94 ERA and a 2.03 FIP in 64 innings for the Charleston Riverdogs before being promoted to Tampa with the Yankees.

Brendan Ryan Wants To Stay A New York Yankee

Yesterday we reported that Mark Reynolds wanted to stay a member of the New York Yankees after spending the latter part of 2013 with New York and now Brendan Ryan wants to stay as well. Ryan was acquired in September as a defensive back up for Derek Jeter and Eduardo Nunez before Jeter went on the DL for the fourth and final time this season. Ryan was immediately rushed into the starting role and, for lack of a better word, excelled at it.

Now we all know that Ryan has no bat, his .220/.258/.305 triple slash with a home run in 62 plate appearances this season made that obvious, but his defense is the best we saw out of anybody all season long. If the Yankees could bulk up elsewhere offensively, namely right field, designated hitter, and catcher, we could afford to have Ryan as a back up. Obviously all this depends on Derek Jeter coming back healthy and fully from a multitude of leg injuries in 2013.

2014 New York Yankees Arbitration Eligible Players

Let's take a closer look at the Yankees slew of arbitration eligible players coming into the 2014 season. I truly think that this crop of players will make or break the Yankees plans of getting under the $189,000,000 luxury tax thresh hold. Just as an FYI you can be arbitration eligible three times before becoming a free agent so guys like Brett Gardner and David Robertson will be in their contract years for the New York Yankees in the 2014 season.

Here is the list:

Brett Gardner (3rd time)
2013 salary - $2,850,000
Prediction: $7,000,000

David Robertson (3rd time)
2013 salary - $3,100,000
Prediction: $5,000,000

Shawn Kelley (2nd time)
2013 salary -$935,000
Prediction: $1,500,000

Jayson Nix (2nd time)
2013 salary - $900,00
Prediction: $1,750,000

Ivan Nova (1st time)
2013 salary - $575,600
Prediction: $850,000

Michael Pineda (1st time)
2013 salary - $528,475
Prediction: $650,000

Francisco Cervelli (1st time)
2013 salary - $515,350
Prediction: $1,000,000

Chris Stewart (1st time)
2013 salary - $515,100
Prediction: $1,115,000

David Huff (1st time)
2013 salary - $494,000
Prediction: $900,000

Derek Jeter Should Decline His Player Option

I was reading Yankees news this morning, and I came across a bit about Derek Jeter not knowing whether or not he'll exercise his player option. The writer went on to say that he couldn't imagine Jeter declining the option, as he has zero leverage in negotiating a new two or three year deal. On top of that, I highly doubt Derek is going to call it quits.

But what if The Captain did decline the player option, and simply signs a one year deal?

I've figured out that the average annual value (AAV), which is what is used when figuring out a team's payroll for Luxury Tax purposes, of Jeter's contract will be $14.375 million in 2014. Derek could decline the option, sign a one year deal worth $12 million (which is actually $2.5 million more than he'd make next season), and save the team $2.375 million towards the Luxury Tax. Which could be big when it comes to getting under $189 million.

Would Bud Selig call foul on that? Clearly the Yankees would be trying to manipulate things in order to save money on the Luxury Tax, which is a no-no. But can Selig do anything about it? Jeter would be well within his rights to decline the player option, and there's no rule saying the Yankees couldn't sign him to a new one-year contract.

Again, this is probably beyond wishful thinking on my part, but it does seem like a win-win solution for both Derek Jeter and the Yankees.

What I'd Like To See For 2014: Introduction

I was going to start this series by talking about the 2013 season, but I don't think I'm alone in wanting to forget about what happened over the past 6 months and instead focus on 2014. The team has a number of key holes to fill, unlike in previous seasons where improving the bullpen was among the top three concerns for the Yankees going into the offseason.

I wish improving the bullpen was all I had to worry about.

As of right now the team's outfield is full of questions marks, the best hitter on the team the past four years is a free agent, and there are only two good pitchers that we can see in next year's starting rotation. Even with a lot of money coming off of the books, it won't be easy for Brian Cashman and Co. to build a winner for next season.

We've had the austerity budget jammed down our throats for a while now, yet some people don't believe it. And after the Yankees dismal 2013, it wouldn't surprise me to see the team say "hell with it" and go on another spending spree, similar to one they went on after missing the playoffs in 2008 when the Yankees brought aboard CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and AJ Burnett.

On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if the front office stuck with the $189 million target. Although you can't blame all the Yankees issues this past season on injuries, you can't argue that they didn't play a huge part.  Francisco Cervelli, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Travis Hafner, and Curtis Granderson all spent a significant amount of time on the Disabled List, and all five were expected to play key roles for the Yankees this season. And then there were injuries to Zoilo Almonte, Jayson Nix, and Kevin Youkilis.

On the pitching side of things, Andy Pettitte missed a handful of starts due to lower and upper back issues. Even though the team didn't lean on Michael Pineda to do anything this season, it didn't help matters that he wasn't able to return at all in 2013.

By the way, it was probably a good thing that Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain missed some time.

But what would happen if management gave Brian Cashman permission to go ahead and sign whoever he wants... regardless of cost? If that were the case, and I was Mr. Cashman, this is what would happen.

The first thing I'd do is sign Brian McCann. Brian is a career .277/.350/.474 hitter, who has averaged over 20 home runs in each of the last three seasons with Atlanta. His left-handed power would play incredibly well in Yankee Stadium, where 30 home runs wouldn't be a stretch at all. He isn't the best defender behind the plate, but his caught stealing percentage was still a respectable 25% this past season (Chris Stewart's was 31%). But while Stewart had a bWAR of 0.3, McCann's bWAR was 2.4. Gaining two wins from just one position is a very nice upgrade to me.

I've been very impressed with Carlos Beltran as well. In the past three years Beltran's had a batting line of .288/.357/.503 to go with 31 homers a season. While he's not a true left-handed hitter like Brian McCann, Carlos might be better thanks to his switch-hitting. He's not much of a defender, so we'd have to hope that being in a smaller place like right field in Yankee Stadium would help. But his bat would surely make up for any runs he cost us with the glove.

"This bat is like a wand, making magic happen."

If I were running things with a blank check I'd also bring back Curtis Granderson. While his home run rate seems to have fallen, I don't think that will be a problem come next season. Grandy's walk and strikeout rates remained the same, while he actually had a higher than average line drive percentage, all of which tells me that another 35+ home run season is not out of the question for next season. I would be concerned with having a batter that hits below .240 on the team, which Curtis did in 2012 and 2013 (.232 and .234, respectively), but seeing as how the lineup had enough middle of the order bats, I think we could get away with bringing Granderson's big stick back to the Bronx.

While I, and what should be every other Yankees fan, loves Derek Jeter, it's time to face the fact that his time at shortstop has got to come to an end. He just doesn't have the range for that position anymore. However, he does do a fine job on balls he gets to. That's why I'm advocating that he be moved to third base.

Moving Jeter to third base gives the team more options in free agency. Not that free agent shortstops are plentiful, but they are actually better than the options at the hot corner. Before the idea of moving Jeter was brought up, I was thinking the Yankees may as well sign Michael Young. But if the team were to switch Derek to third, that means they could acquire either Jhonny Peralta or Stephen Drew to play short. Both men are solid hitters, sporting wOBAs of .359 and .336 this season. They are also good defenders, with UZR/150s of 5.2 and 4.4 in 2013.

I was on the fence on which guy I'd sign, and ultimately went with Stephen Drew. It may be silly, but it came down to the fact that Peralta was suspended due to being linked with Biogenesis. And with ARod and Cervelli already suspended for being linked to the PED distributor, I didn't think the Yankees should have another one.

So if I were to take over for Cashman, and allowed to do whatever I wanted, this would be my starting lineup for 2014...

1. Brett Gardner* - CF
2. Carlos Beltran# - RF
3. Robinson Cano* - 2B
4. Alfonso Soriano - DH
5. Brian McCann* - C
6. Mark Teixeira# - 1B
7. Curtis Granderson* - LF
8. Derek Jeter - 3B
9. Stephen Drew - SS

"So far I like."

I would also look to sign Matt Garza and Masahiro Tanaka for the rotation. While the team might be able to get away with acquiring just one more starter, who could go into the rotation with Sabathia, Nova, Pineda, and Phelps, I wouldn't feel that good about things. However, if they could get a solid starter in Matt Garza, and a possible top of the rotation starter in Tanaka, then things would look a whole lot better.

Those signings would give the Yankees a rotation like this...

1. CC Sabathia
2. Matt Garza
3. Masahiro Tanaka
4. Ivan Nova
5. Michael Pineda

With all that "spend all I want" stuff out of the way, I wanted to say that ideally Brian Cashman would be able to pull of a nice trade or two. After all, the team does have some decent trade bait. With Francisco Cervelli around to be the backup catcher, the team could deal away one of Austin Romine or JR Murphy. Then they also have guys like Adam Warren, Slade Heathcott, Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, Rafael De Paula, and Jose Ramirez. Not that I want to see any of those guys traded, but chances are a trade or two will be necessary for the Yankees to turn things around and build another dynasty.

But since trades can't be predicted, as rumors are always swirling about this guy and that team, I'm going to go through the entire team using free agency to fill the holes. I'm going to break down what I'd like to see happen by starting with the infield, which will be posted next Monday morning. Then, for the next three Mondays, I'll move onto outfield, the starting rotation, and finish up with the bullpen and bench.

Meanwhile try and enjoy the postseason, even though the Yankees won't be a part of it. And make sure to visit The Greedy Pinstripes often.

"You got it!"

Look Back At My '13 Playoff, World Series Predictions

2013 Predictions : The Playoffs & World Series Winner

Yesterday I shared my predictions on who I think will win their divisions and the wild cards in the coming season and today we will go over how each team will fare. If you missed yesterdays post it can be seen HERE. On to the predictions!

Wild Card Round:
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Detroit Tigers

Tampa Bay Rays vs New York Yankees

Cleveland Indians vs. Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

New York Yankees win the American League Pennant and advance to the World Series

Wild Card Round:
Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Atlanta Braves vs Washington Nationals

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

I fully predict the Atlanta Braves to go to the World Series and try to create the beginning of yet another dynasty.  #UptonBrothers

Now obviously the New York Yankees did not make the playoffs so they will not be winning the American League pennant nor will they be winning the World Series. The Tigers won the division and the Cleveland Indians won the Wild Card and I had that switched, call it dyslexia. I also had Tampa Bay winning the other wild card and they did so go me but I had the Angels winning the division, not the Oakland Athletics, and the Angels finished in third place so I guess you cannot get them all right. 

New prediction has to be that, and this hurts, the American League and the World Series has to go through the Boston Red Sox. 

I had a blatant disrespect for the National League Central division before the season and hyped up the National League East and boy do I have cake on my face right now. The Braves won the division easily and I had them winning a wild card. The Washington Nationals did not win the division and did not even make the playoffs after a late wild card push in September, whoops. The Phillies finished in fourth place behind the New York Mets, no excuse for being this wrong. I did predict the Dodgers would win the National League West along with 6,825,178 other people so there is always that. The Pittsburgh Pirates I had winning the division but will have to settle for a one game wild card with the Cincinnati Reds after both teams seceding to the National League Central champion St. Louis Cardinals. 

New prediction is the same old prediction, the Atlanta Braves will make it to the World Series and will lose but to the Boston Red Sox, not the New York Yankees. Also Craig Kimbrel will be the bets closer in all of baseball next season after Mo retires. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 10/2

On this day in 1932 the Yankees win their 12th consecutive game in the World Series sweeping their third consecutive World Series. The Yankees beat the Cubs 13-6 as they banged out 19 hits in the clincher.

On this day in 1936 the Yankees routed the New York Giants 18-4 in the most lopsided victory in the history of the World Series. The Yankees would take a two games to one lead in the series.

On this day in 1978 I have three words for you and all Boston Red Sox fans, Bucky F&#*ing Dent. The Yankees would score a 5-4 come from behind victory over the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park off a unlikely three run home run by Bucky Dent. Goose Gossage would get the save and the playoff spot for the New York Yankees on the final game of the season.

On this day in 1986 Don Mattingly set a new team record when he smashed his 232rd hit of the season establishing the new hits record for a single season. Earl Combs had the previous record when he hit 231 hits in the 1927 season. Mattingly finished with 238 hits for the season.