Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Goodbye To Robinson Cano: 2013 Highlights


As we bid goodbye to Robinson Cano why not look at what we will be doing without while he is in Seattle. Good luck to you Robbie and I appreciate everything that you did for us since coming up through the organization. Thank you and goodbye.

Yankees Trying To Trade Ichiro Suzuki

The 40 man roster is absolutely stuffed and so is the outfield and the Yankees may try to clear that logjam with an Ichiro Suzuki trade according to Chad Jennings of LoHud. I have heard speculation that Ichiro could be traded to the San Francisco Giants to play left field over there. The problem is Ichiro struggled last year and is on the wrong side of 40 years old making $6.5 million. We cannot even sell the chase for 3,000 hits in the states unless he wants to play at least one more season in the majors. The problem at the end of the day is Ichiro has little to no trade value and we may be forced to keep Ichiro and cut Vernon Wells.

Ichiro does have the ability to play center field and plays a lot of "Billy Ball" with his speed kills mentality which I like. Also he can hit left handed pitching, can still steal 20 bases, and wreaks absolute havoc on the base paths. If we have to keep one we need to keep Ichiro and cut Wells, unless of course we get something of use in return for Ichiro, like a Marco Scutaro for example.

Ellsbury & Kuroda Signings Have Been Made Official

It's official Jacoby Ellsbury will be a New York Yankees for at least the next seven seasons with an option for an eight season. The deal will pay Ellsbury $148 million with a $21 million team option with a $5 million buyout that will take him into his age 37 season. Ellsbury and his guaranteed $153 million will be introduced at Yankee Stadium on Friday, lunch is on Jacoby.

The 40 man roster is now full and an outfielder will likely get the cut when the Carlos Beltran signing is announced. Ramon Flores could get the DFA since he would likely clear waivers and return to the team. If the Yankees do not go that direction we could see an Ichiro to the San Francisco Giants trade or a Vernon Wells outright release. Either way I am happy.

Hiroki Kuroda was also officially signed this afternoon while me and the newborn napped on a one year deal worth $16 million for his third and likely his final year in pinstripes. The deal was actually official Thursday night but we didn't get the news until right now, dropped the ball you have my apologies. #HIROK

Yankee Fans: The 5 Stages of Grief

I got 99 problems and my love for the New York Yankees is a BIG one. 

Loving The New York Yankees may be a thing we all have in common but it looks different on everyone. My problem? I'm too damn loyal. Most Yankee fans have this problem… I know we say that we support what is on the front of the jersey over what is on the back, but it would be a lie to deny that we all have our own favorite players. When one of our favorite players retires, gets traded, or signs with another team during free agency, it's upsetting/infuriating/depressing. 

I understand that trades happen throughout the entire season, but at least we are able to distract ourselves with games during those times. All we can focus on during off season are the trades.  

Let me be clear… this isn't just about Robinson Cano. It's about Andy, Mo, Grandy… Swisher, Bernie, Posada… It's about loss. It's about change.

I've been told (numerous times) that when we suffer a loss we move through 5 different stages of grief. The first stage is denial, simply because the loss is so hard to imagine. Next is anger, angry with anyone and everything related to the loss. The third stage is the bargaining stage. This is when we try to offer up everything we have… try to find a way to undo the loss. This will ultimately fail and then we enter the depression stage. Once we overcome the sadness, we enter the acceptance stage. This final stage is when we accept that we have done everything we can and we slowly learn to let go and move on.

Yankee Universe is experiencing a LOT of change during this off season. I think we are doing a great job moving through the 5 stages of grief though...






It's been an emotional off season, but it's far from over! The Road to 28 has officially started... 

Imagining The Worst Case Scenario For 2014: Part 2

Apparently I am feeling a bit nostalgic today as I have been posting 2013 highlight videos and already have one article revisit up this morning so why not another, right? In this article revisit I once again looked at what the Yankees would do if they lost Andy Pettitte, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, and Robinson Cano in the same offseason, article SEEN HERE, and it looks like we almost got that scenario down. I feel obligated to re-post as I mentioned quite a few names on here that the Yankees actually got thus cementing the fact that a combination of Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner, and Randy Levine read my stuff.

Imagining The Worst Case Scenario For 2014: Part 2

Let's start off with the pitching because I believe, and I cannot believe I am saying this, that this will be the easiest of the holes to plug this season. The Yankees will be without two of their starting pitchers and the greatest closer of all time the day the World Series ends and will have five days to offer all three of them a qualifying offer. Now like I said Mariano Rivera is going to retire and so is Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda is either going to come back, jump ship to the Los Angeles Dodgers, or go back home to finish his career in Japan so how do we rebuild and retool? The Yankees pencil in a starting rotation that looks something like CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Vidal Nuno, and David Phelps in no particular order and that is not going to fly with the fans or in the American League East. The Yankees will add at least one veteran to the fold and I have a couple guys in mind in Hiroki Kuroda, the obvious choice regardless of running out of steam in August and September now two years in a row, or Matt Garza. The Yankee also need to at least make a run at Masahiro Tanaka and exorcise the demons left by Kei Igawa and Hideki Irabu.

It is never a good recipe for success if you have to rebuild the entire left side of your infield in one off season especially if you have to also replace your second basemen in the same off season. With the loss of these three infielders the Yankees would take a huge hit not only on the offensive side but the defensive side as well. The Yankees problem is only compounded because of the lack of suitable replacements already on the roster after lackluster years from David Adams, Eduardo Nunez, Jayson Nix, and Corban Joseph to name a few. The Yankees, in my opinion, should go after a mixture of youth along with veteran leadership with a little bit of versatility sprinkled in. Enter Michael Young, Kelly Johnson, Mark Reynolds, and Brendan Ryan. This year the ONLY good short stop we had was Brendan Ryan, I hate to say that but it is true, and I see no reason why he cannot be back in 2014. Sure we are sacrificing offense for defense but we have a few other positions that I will touch on in a minute that can be upgraded and hide this automatic out. Michael Young can play all over the infield, is a good right handed bat, and would be the perfect fit for the Yankees. He could play second base one day, third base the next, and really give the Yankees some options to mix and match with someone like a Mark Reynolds. Reynolds has done well this season with a little reported help from Kevin Long and if he is willing to come back on a reduced role then he absolutely has a spot on my field and on my bench. Enter Kelly Johnson the man that nobody wants to be, the man that essentially replaces Robinson Cano. While looking at potential second basemen I wanted to look at guys who could hit for a little power and not be a huge loss defensively at second and the guy that stood out was Johnson. Kelly has the potential to put up 20 home runs in a season, maybe more as a left handed batter in Yankees Stadium, with a batting average around .275 for about $25,000,000 less than Robinson Cano will probably get in 2014. That is all without mentioning that Johnson has had a positive WAR every season he has been in the majors, he is taken away from the rival Tampa Bay Rays, and has experience playing second base, left field, third base, first base, and other outfield positions in his career. Signing Johnson allows him to move all over the field and significantly lessens the loss of Robinson Cano with a healthy and productive season, and please notice I did not say replace Robinson Cano because NOBODY is replacing Cano.

The Yankees need to get the most out of every single player at every single position to make up for these deficiencies and that is where I begin my navigation this off season. I refuse to sugar coat it because I simply cannot sugar coat it, our catchers sucked this year after Francisco Cervelli wen't down with a right hand injury. I am not convinced that Cervelli's production this year was caused by any kind of illegal substances, although I could be wrong, but I am not quite sure we want the guy around anyway with the media circus that is sure to follow. I would explore a trade for Cervelli but ultimately I see Cervelli simply released and let go while we keep Austin Romine for the back up catcher position. I know you are waiting for the upgrade here so enter Brian McCann who I personally think we can get four or five good years out of giving the likes of Gary Sanchez plenty of time behind the dish to develop. McCann's left handed swing is made for Yankees Stadium and he is no slouch behind the plate or at controlling the running game. Between a mixture of former catcher Joe Girardi and Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long I think we may see more of the younger version of Brian McCann more than the catcher slowly trotting out of his prime. This would obviously be plan number one and the biggest upgrade that we could make at the catcher position and offensively. Oh and you noticed I did not mention Chris Stewart here? Eff Chris Stewart!

The Yankees are going to need a ton of production out of their designated hitter position this year and cannot afford a DH only type like we did with Travis Hafner this season and Raul Ibanez last season. What we need is someone who can smash the ball but also give the outfield guys a nice rotation so we are not over using the likes of Brett Gardner and Alfonso Soriano. What I present is two options that can do that, obviously one more so than the other, in Kendrys Morales and Cuban defector Jose Dariel Abreu. Both Morales and Abreu can fill in time at first base giving Mark Teixeira a day off or can be "full time" DH positional players and coincidentally are both made from the same mold. Obviously Morales is the more complete player and has less question marks that come with him so he would be the obvious choice here but Abreu and his youth and young bat and legs would not be a bad addition either, low average and strike outs and all. If we did not get one of these two players for the DH spot I think we would be in a ton of trouble offensively next season so I would make this near the top of my priority list.

The Yankees searched for an outfielder all season long in 2013 before finally pulling the trigger on a trade with the Chicago Cubs bringing Alfonso Soriano back home to the Bronx. The outfield may actually be "set" with little wiggle room and flexibility to make any moves and improvements. Soriano is going to be your Opening Day let fielder, Brett Gardner is your lead off man and center fielder, and some sort of combination of Ichiro Suzuki, Vernon Wells, and Zoilo Almonte will seemingly man right field.  The Yankees could conceivably simply cut Vernon Wells for a $0 luxury tax hit if we think a Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Morse, Rajai Davis, Curtis Granderson, Shin-Soo Choo, Corey Hart, or Nelson Cruz type could be an upgrade. While Davis is a big stolen base threat, Choo hits righties well but is dismal against south paws, Ellsbury is considered injury prone and has been sucked of all his power the last couple of years, Cruz should come cheap coming off a steroid suspension and Hart as well coming off of an injury, why not just bring back Curtis Granderson? Granderson missed a huge chunk of the 2013 season due to bad luck injuries, hit by pitch injuries, and should come cheaper than a qualifying offer on a one or two year deal which is perfect for the Yankees. He is going to strike out a ton and will probably never hit for a huge average but it is hard to shy away from 40+ home run power on a suddenly offensively anemic team. Zoilo would simply replace Wells on the depth chart and would add versatility with added speed, young legs, and a switch hitter into the lineup.

Here is what the roster would look like after this retool and rebuild:

C: Brian McCann
1B: Mark Teixeira
2B: Kelly Johnson
SS: Brendan Ryan
3B: Michael Young
LF: Alfonso Soriano
CF: Brett Gardner
RF: Ichiro Suzuki
DH: Kendrys Morales/Jose Abreu

BN: Austin Romine
BN: Zoilo Almonte
BN: Eduardo Nunez
BN: Mark Reynolds

SP: CC Sabathia
SP: Ivan Nova
SP: Michael Pineda
SP: David Phelps
SP: Hiroki Kuroda/ Masahiro Tanaka/ Matt Garza

CP: David Robertson
SU: Shawn Kelley
RP: Cesar Cabral
RP: Preston Claiborne
RP: Dellin Betances
RP: Vidal Nuno
LR: David Huff/ David Phelps

With these additions and moves I think the Yankees can be just as good, if not better, than the 2013 version we are watching right now. I know that most of you reading this will not be happy with another 89-92 win team in 2014 but you have to remember the hypothetical that we lose Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, and Alex Rodriguez. Also you have to remember that the team can look a whole lot different on August 1st then it did on April 1st. Speaking of that whole July 31st and August 31st trading deadline...

To be continued....

What Does America Think Of The Robinson Cano Signing

Hiroki Kuroda 2013 Ultimate Yankees Highlights

Here is a look at the newest old Yankee, no age pun intended, Hiroki Kuroda as he is back for one more year with the pinstripers.

Yankees Getting A Ton Of Calls On Brett Gardner

According to Andy McCullough the Yankees have been getting significant interest from teams calling about the availability of center fielder Brett Gardner. The line of thinking seems to be that since the Yankees have signed Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran that Gardner would be available but the Yankees, as of right now anyway, seem to be willing to hold on to Gardner. Gardner is one year away from free agency and has been one of the better defensive outfielders in the game for a few years now. Not to mention the prospect humper in me wants to keep the last real outfielder we developed and used out of our farm system since probably Bernie Williams.

If a team wants to blow us away with an offer, like say a starting pitcher, then I think we at least have to consider it but in the end I want Gardner in pinstripes in 2014.

Robinson Cano Did Not Like Playing For Joe Girardi

Robinson Cano, according to George A King, did not like playing for Yankees manager Joe Girardi. His reasoning, which is pretty damn selfish, was that Girardi batted him second in the lineup and Cano thinks of himself more as a middle of the order type hitter. He is a middle of the order type hitter, I think everyone knows that, but sometimes the team comes first.

I know this is probably just the Yankees using the media to vilify Cano to make themselves look good for letting him walk but this is ridiculous. If there is an inkling of truth to this report then I am glad Cano left because he is not the type of player that we want nor do we need.

Have fun hitting in the middle of a last place lineup in Seattle.

Yankees Have Zero Interest In Dan Uggla

The Atlanta Braves are said to be trying to trade their second basemen Dan Uggla to clear some money but the Yankees are not interested. The Yankees were sure to at least receive a phone call from Frank Wren after losing Robinson Cano to the Mariners but the Yankees do not seem interested in the 33 year old. Uggla is coming off of a season in which he posted a triple slash of .179/.302/.362 with 22 home runs and he lost his starting job to Elliot Johnson in Atlanta.

Uggla is owed $13 million in each of 2014 and 2015 and the Braves are almost willing to give him away so the Yankees should at least keep this card in their back pocket. He is not a Plan B, Plan C, or maybe not even a Plan D but he takes his walks, 14.3%, and hits for power but his average and defense are atrocious.

Robinson Cano Someone Else's $300 Million Man

Here is an article revisit from just a couple weeks ago on November, 24 about how Robinson Cano was set to be the next $300 million man, just for somebody else SEEN HERE. Well while Cano only got $240 million from the Seattle Mariners the premise of the post remains the same. I kind of feel like a prophet, yes I am being semi-sarcastic, as I wrote a post back in September before Andy Pettitte announced his retirement laying out a plan for our worst case scenario that if Andy, Mariano Rivera Pettitte, and Derek Jeter retired along with Cano walking away in free agency and Alex Rodriguez being suspended. PART 1, PART 2, and PART 3 laid out a plan that included signing Brian McCann, Kelly Johnson, Curtis Granderson (whoops), and bulking up the pitching staff. Sound familiar?

Here is the article:

The more and more I read about this debacle that is going to be the New York Yankees and Robinson Cano negotiating thing the more I am thinking that we should just let Cano get his way and get his $300 million 10 year contract, with someone else.

Think of it this way is Robbie ever going to be able to live up to that kind of contract, probably not, and he is going to be vilified for holding out and being greedy, something we can appreciate here. Cano thought he was doing good putting Jay Z on the map as a sports agent but in reality, if this remains on the same path that it has been on, Mr. Shawn Carter is simply going to bring Cano down with him. I already hear the clamoring from Yankees fans on Twitter to simply let Cano go and spend that money elsewhere and it got me thinking that the Yankees would probably be better off if Cano left anyway to be honest. Let’s put this is dollar terms because most people understand those the best, Robinson Cano wants 10 years and $300 million to be a lifetime Yankees player. What could the Yankees do with $300 million to improve the team if they did not have Cano in the fold for 2014 and beyond you ask? Let’s look…

Obviously the first question is who would replace Cano on the roster at second base, take your pick. We have been interested in Stephen Drew, Jhonny Peralta, Omar Infante, Kelly Johnson, we could trade for Dan Uggla on the cheap, the options are plenty. None of them will be as good as Cano but none of them, outside of probably Drew, will cost more than $20-$25 million on a short term deal in my opinion. The Braves are willing to eat a ton of salary off of Uggla’s contract to get him moved and would require very little in terms of prospects to acquire him. Uggla seems like the type of trade that the Yankees and Brian Cashman specialize in and usually win taking on salary for prospects that I, a self-professed “prospect humper,” have never even heard of or know about. Omar Infante would be nice because he hit’s for a great average and has a nice glove to go with it but as a Plan B if the Yankees are willing to look at a Raul Ibanez return simply for some pop in the lineup then Dan Uggla would suit us just fine in Yankee Stadium.

Running tally - $25 million for Infante/Peralta and around $10 million for Uggla

*note - this was written and scheduled before McCann signed for $85-$100 million last night*

If the Yankees take less production at second base then they will have to upgrade elsewhere to make up for it and why not start where we had our worst production in 2013, the catcher position. Enter Brian McCann and ignore the rumors that McCann is getting $100 million because he isn’t. When are people going to learn that free agents ask for the moon at the beginning of free agency, teams low ball, and they generally meet in the middle. NO ONE is going to give McCann $100 million on the wrong side of 30 coming off of multiple years of injuries, NOBODY. The Yankees could get him somewhere in the range of five years and $75-$80 million, not that I want it to go that high and for that many years but I am trying to be realistic, and give guys like Gary Sanchez plenty of time to develop in the minors and gives us the opportunity to DH McCann in years four and five.

Running tally - $105 million

The Yankees got crap for production out of third base last year as well before the return of Alex Rodriguez, and this is assuming that he is suspended for most or all of the 2013 season, so why not make that out next priority? Enter Jhonny Peralta who we learned is seeking a four or five year deal in the $56-$75 million dollar range. Peralta has had up and down numbers over his career, especially recently, but can play both the shortstop position and the third base position which adds depth and versatility. Peralta has the potential to hit 20+ home runs, and did in big stadiums like the one in Detroit, and can hit at the top, in the middle, or at the bottom of a lineup. If the Yankees need a substantial upgrade from their 2013 production then the man from Detroit, Biogenesis ties or not, should be our man.

Running tally – $180 million

The Yankees need a big shot in the arm in right field because the Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki duo is not going to cut it. What we need is a guy like Corey Hart or even Carlos Beltran If he comes off his high horse named “four year deal” at age 37. Hart and Beltran are scary identical when you look at their stats the last three or so years, obviously not counting Hart’s lost 2013 season, and when you look at their games and their baggage they are similar as well. Both have concerns with knee issues and a history of injuries, both play right field although Hart could fill in at first base and give the Yankees the opportunity to rotate their outfield again like they did last year, and both should be signing shorter term deals. The difference between the two is money as Beltran will probably receive a $15 million AAV over the course of his contract where I believe we could get Hart for somewhere around $8 million AAV. I would even be willing to go two years on Hart if that was what kept him from returning to Milwaukee in 2014.

Running tally - $188 million

The pitching is going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and either makes us or breaks us in 2014.  Enter Masahiro Tanaka who, not counting the posting fee, is going to cost in upwards of $75 – $90 million. There is no way Tanaka is going to go back to Japan for 2014 and it may take a while, much longer then we expected, but he will be posted ultimately at the end of the day. With teams like the Texas Rangers spending big money and posting themselves out of the Tanaka sweepstakes it can only be good news for us the longer we can be patient.

The Yankees are looking for two pitchers and, for the sake of keeping these numbers under the $300 million that Cano is asking for, my thought process is the Yankees will have to sign a Kuroda type one year veteran deal to shore up the rotation. Enter Roy Halladay who not so long ago was the best pitcher in the world. He did not look like himself for much of last year but seemed to get better with every start and stronger with every start which I think is important. I think on a one year deal in the neighborhood of $10 million gets the job done and gets us an absolute steal and upgrade for the rotation.

Running tally with Tanaka- $278 million
Running tally with Roy Halladay- $288 million

So for the low low price of $288 million we could improve our team in five or so different areas as opposed to giving Robinson Cano a mega deal that does not improve us whatsoever over the 85 win team that we all saw in 2013. That also gives you an extra $12 million to throw Joe Nathan's way if you are silly enough to believe that David Robertson is not ready to replace Mariano Rivera as the Yankees closer.

 Take a look at the rotation and the starting lineup we would throw out there as well:

Brett Gardner
Derek Jeter
Mark Teixeira
Alfonso Soriano
Brian McCann
Corey Hart
Jhonny Peralta
Ichiro Suzuki
Omar Infante/Dan Uggla

CC Sabathia
Masahiro Tanaka
Roy Halladay
Ivan Nova
Michael Pineda

The longer this goes on and the longer that this drags out the more I believe that Robby Cano is going to be the next $300 million man, just not for us.

Carlos Beltran 2013 MLB Highlights

Welcome to the family Carlos! Take a look at high 2013 highlights with the St. Louis Cardinals. 

Royals & Cubs Interested In Joba Chamberlain

Lost in the shuffle of all the Yankees signings is, well basically everything else Yankees related, Joba Chamberlain included. I predicted that the Rays would get Joba in my yearly free agency predictions but a couple new teams have entered the mix in the Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs. Joba would be an absolute disaster in Wrigley Field so I tend to believe that Theo Epstein is a little smarter than that but Kansas City is an interesting option. Either way I hope Joba just gets a shot to rebuild his character, his value, and have fun playing the game again. End the curse of the midges.

Jay Z Makes The Mariners Hat More Famous Then....

Well you guys know the rest. Here is my weekly "I Love NoMass" post. 

Current Projected Lineup (Updated)

After a whirlwind of action this week, the Yankees look very different from last year's projected lineup:

2013 Starting Lineup (as was planned):

1) Jeter - SS
2) Cano - 2B
3) Teixeira - 1B
4) Rodriguez - 3B
5) Granderson - CF
6) Hafner - DH
7) Suzuki - RF
8) Cervelli - C
9) Gardner - LF

Of course that starting lineup ended up looking like this on Opening Day:

1) Gardner - CF
2) Nunez - SS
3) Cano -2B
4) Youkilis - 1B-3B
5) Wells - LF
6) Francisco - DH
7) Suzuki - RF
8) Nix - 3B
9) Cervelli - C

3 of the projected starters were actually on the field at the start of the 2013 season.

Compare the 2013 injury-filled season in which the team went 85-77 (not bad really) with this MONSTER LINEUP that looks nothing like the 2013 edition:

2014 Projected Starting Lineup:

1) Jacoby Ellsbury - CF
2) Derek Jeter - SS
3) Carlos Beltran - RF
4) Alfonso Soriano - DH
5) Brian McCann - C
6) Mark Teixeira - 1B
7) Kelly Johnson - 3B
8) Brandon Phillips - 2B (yeah, I said it!)
9) Brett Gardner - LF

Bench: Nunez, Ryan, Romine, Suzuki, of them won't be here much longer and since they just signed Ryan to an extension it won't be him...

2014 Projected Rotation:


Umm...has anyone else noted that every starter's name would end in an 'A'?  Elias Sports Bureau needs to verify this, but I believe that would be a first for Major League Baseball...

What is your projected starting lineup?

Post in the comment section...

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/7

On this day in 1939 the Yankees Iron Horse Lou Gehrig was elected into the Hall of Fame. The five year waiting period was waved for Gehrig, who played his final game on June 30th of 1939, because of Gehrig's diagnosis of ALS.

Also on this day in 1939 the owners voted on a new rule that would prevent the team who won the pennant the previous year from buying, selling, or trading players the next season. Boy the efforts to hold the Yankees down have been going on forever. The Yankees would finish in third place the next season due to this winter meetings decision.

On this day in 1962 the Yankees rookie short stop and left fielder Tom Tresh would win the Rookie of the Year award from the BBWAA. The 24 year old got 13 of the 20 votes from the voters to win the award.

On this day in 1973 the Yankees acquire outfielder Lou Piniella from the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Ken Wright and pitcher Lindy McDaniel. The Yankees definitely won this trade as Piniella would hit .295 in 11 seasons as a Yankee including four trips to the World Series. McDaniel would only win six games in his two seasons in Kansas City

On this day in 1995 the Yankees acquired a couple former Seattle Mariners players. First New York signed Tino Martinez to a deal worth $20.25 million on the same day his wife gave birth to replace Don Mattingly at first base. Also the Yankees swung a trade to acquire relief pitcher Jeff Nelson for Sterling Hitchcock and Russell Davis.

On this day in 2001 the Yankees and the Mets made a rare trade as the Yankees acquired third basemen Robin Ventura for outfielder David Justice. This is only the sixth time these two teams have made a trade in the 40 years the Mets have been around and the first time since the 1992 trade of Kenny Tanaka to the Yankees for Kenny Greer.