Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Carlos Beltran Has Successful Elbow Surgery

Carlos Beltran wasted no times in getting his bone spurs removed from his elbow as the right fielder had successful elbow surgery this afternoon. Beltran can begin a throwing program in six weeks and can theoretically be in a game in 12 weeks if all went well so this should not affect Beltran's offseason in any way. Beltran says he will rehab all winter as he works towards a productive 2015 season.

Yankees Working on New Deal for Brian Cashman

Brian Cashman officially becomes a free agent in one month's time as his current contract only runs through the month of October. The New York Yankees are already working on a new deal to keep their long tenured General Manager in New York and off the free agent market. The Steinbrenner's have already announced that they would like to bring Cashman back and I haven't heard any whispers of Cashman wanting to leave so a deal seems like a formality at this point.

Cashman has been the GM of the Yankees since the 1998 season and has seen his share of ups and downs and highs and lows and while we have seen more of the downs and lows lately I think New York brings him back anyway on a shorter termed deal. There are arguments for both sides whether its a good idea to bring him back or not but the good news is we won't have long to wait before we find out which side won.

Bring Back Too Many Damn Home Runs

It's officially the offseason for the Yankees and with the whole hot stove season ahead of us it's time for some optimism and change in New York. It may be time to bring back the "too many damn home runs" philosophy because this new philosophy hasn't worked in the last two seasons.

This season the Yankees scored just 633 runs which was 13th best in the American League, more like the Bronx Bombless than the Bronx Bombers. The team was only able to hit 147 home runs which was 7th best in the AL. This season came after another disappointing and frustrating 2013 season in which New York began their new found philosophy to get away from hitting home runs in a ballpark that was made for them.Last year New York scored 650 runs which was 10th best in the AL while hitting 144 home runs, the 14th best team in the American League.

In the 2012 season the Yankees scored the second most runs in all of baseball when Yankees crossed the plate a staggering 804 and times. New York slugged 245 home runs, which led all of the American League, and was a Derek Jeter broken ankle away from the World Series.

The biggest reason for too many damn home runs?

2014 Record: 84-78 (2nd Place)
2013 Record: 85-77 (3rd Place)
2012 Record: 95-67 (AL East champions)

Girardi "Sure" Yankees Will Make Some Moves This Offseason

Yankees' Manager Joe Girardi is confident the team will makes some moves this offseason.

Girardi, whose Yanks went just 84-78 this year despite spending $503 million the subsequent winter, said so during his final 2014 press conference yesterday. Girardi said he is "sure" the Yankees will do something prior to Spring Training, but didn't clarify exactly what.

"I'm sure there will be some pieces added," Girardi told The Wall Street Journal. "I can't tell you exactly what, but I don't remember the last time the Yankees haven't added a piece during the offseason."
For New York fans, the hope is that a notable upcoming free agent, such as Jon Lester, Victor Martinez, or Nelson Cruz, will be one of those pieces. Nonetheless, Girardi still expressed belief in his current players during the discussion, claiming that a healthier club next season will limit the direness of its current situation. 
"I look around and say we have a lot of good pieces. We do," he said. "We expect to be a healthier club next year with people being a year removed from surgery. And we saw some people have some pretty good years, so I'm not sure the task is maybe as big as a lot of people think."
If guys like Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran produce in 2015, then yes, that speculation would be true. Still, since success at this point simply can't be guaranteed acquisitions probably do need to be brought in this December, as having another ace-like hurler right now would only necessitate a good offense less. 

Optimism: Yankees Will Get Younger in 2015

The New York Yankees season is over and as the American League Wild Card game is played tonight I, as well as many other Yankees fans, are already missing the game. I try to remain optimistic as much as I can so I want to start the official offseason off right, with some optimism. No matter what the Yankees do this winter the team conceivably has to get younger, doesn't it?

The Yankees are losing their 40 year old shortstop to retirement and the oldest starting pitcher in all of Major League Baseball in 40 year old Hiroki Kuroda as well. It is unclear whether Kuroda will retire, return to Japan, or sign with a team like the Dodgers but it seems unlikely that New York will retain the Japanese righty. Ichiro Suzuki's 41 year old legs will likely be gone from New York as well now that the season is over. Chris Capuano is 36 years old and is set to hit free agency and is likely to not be retained by the club giving the Yankees a few positions to fill with younger talent.

 This also includes players that the Yankees have already designated for assignment this season in 37 year old Brian Roberts and 37 year old Alfonso Soriano. If you're looking on the bright side here the Yankees could once again fill all their gaps with veteran players and still reduce the average age of the team while getting better, baby steps for a rebuilding franchise.

Will Girardi's "Team Meeting" Hurt The 2015 Yankees?

As we all learned this week manager Joe Girardi held a closed door meeting with his New York Yankees club and ultimately ripped the team. Rumors have come down that Girardi called out certain players for being overweight, which is a low blow, and not being hungry enough, which I agree with even though the two together are awfully ironic. Unfortunately I think this little team meeting may hurt the Yankees going forward as some players do not react well to being ripped into like that and degraded for their weight. Potential 2015 free agent signings like Chase Headley, Brandon McCarthy, Chris Capuano, Stephen Drew, and others were in on the meeting and know what was truly said behind closed doors.

Some players are overly sensitive and may not appreciate being a part of this team meeting. The disconnect between player and coach may grow as well for the players already under contract for 2015 and beyond like Martin Prado, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Mark Teixeira. With what I like to call the "Derek Jeter Effect" now gone could the Bronx be burning again in 2015?

I didn't even begin to mention what potential free agents could be thinking right now after reading these reports and you know agents will use this as an excuse to get a few extra million or a few extra years on their clients contracts. This meeting could end up being a disaster for the Yankees in the long term and Girardi's short term thought process obviously didn't see that. Sure the team won a few meaningless games at the end of the season but somehow the team may be worse in 2015, all because of one little closed door meeting.

Good work Joe.

My Top Five Questions

There is going to be a lot to talk about this offseason. But here are the top five questions in my mind...

By the way, I'm cutting the intro short. See, most people see a list and go right to it, skipping the intro entirely. So why bother? Right?


1. Will the Yankees bring back Chase Headley to play regularly at third base, while Alex Rodriguez is the designated hitter? Or will ARod be the regular third baseman while Carlos Beltran is the regular DH? However, even if Alex does DH while Beltran plays RF, it's no guarantee that the Yankees won't look past Headley and go after somebody like Pablo Sandoval.

2. On that note, can Beltran be counted on as the regular right field? Will Martin Prado continue in RF? What about... nah, next year's RF is definitely on the roster. Right? Well, if Prado were to play second base, and Beltran had to DH, then what? Ichiro wants to keep playing, apparently. Nelson Cruz would give the lineup some much needed power, but could we live with his sub-par defense?

3. If Prado were to regularly be in right field while Beltran DHs, then who plays second? Should Rob Refsnyder get a shot? Jose Pirela got the late call-up to the Yankees this past season, so does he have the inside track on the job? If Ben Zobrist's option wasn't picked up by the Rays I'd scream for the Yankees to go hard after him, but I don't think the Rays are stupid. Rickie Weeks is a fine hitter, but his defense is extremely poor.

The fact is, while Martin Prado's positional flexibilty is great, it's going to make Brian Cashman's job a heck of a lot tougher this offseason. While it's nice to have so many options, figuring out the best combination is not going to be simple. I suppose it all hinges on whether or not Carlos Beltran can play regularly in right field, or if he'll have to spend a large chunk of time at DH? The hardest part is that that answer is probably based more on faith than actual evidence.

4. What about shortstop? Jose Pirela played 8 games at short this past season in AAA, but that's it since 2011, so I don't see him taking over for Derek Jeter. Carmen Angelini played the most at SS for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but it surely wasn't because of his bat (.238/.271/.336), so I think it's safe to count Angelini out. Brendan Ryan is signed for at least one more season (there is both a player and a team option for 2016), but there's no way the Yankees are going to settle for a guy with an OPS of .526 to be the heir for Jeter. I think it's a safe bet that the Yankees Opening Day shortstop next season will come from outside the organization. So could it be JJ Hardy? Should they re-sign Stephen Drew? Hanley Ramirez?

5. On the surface the starting rotation looks good. CC Sabathia is not the ace he once was, but I think he still has value going forward. And then there's Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, David Phelps, and Shane Greene. When those guys are all healthy the team is in great shape without doing anything this offseason. But that's the thing... can you count on their health? I'm not going to review all the injuries those guys have suffered, but the only guys whose health is not a question (at least not as much as any other pitcher's health) are David Phelps and Shane Greene. Heck, Ivan Nova probably won't be able to return for a couple months (I'm sorry, I said I wasn't going to review the injuries). So what do they do? Bring back Hiroki Kuroda, who had a solid season? Personally, I'd rather see them bring back Brandon McCarthy, who actually had a sub-3.00 ERA for the Yankees. And I'm sure you've heard that Jon Lester, James Shields, and Max Scherzer are free agents. Hmm.

I say this every year, but you can't deny the fact that this offseason is going to be a really interesting one. In previous offseasons the questions simply revolved around filling holes on the team, whether through free agency or trades. But this offseason will be more difficult thanks to so many players recovering from injury, having more positional flexibility, and the return of some guy named Alex Rodriguez.

Tell you what I'm going to do, though... I'm going to just be a baseball fan for another month or so. It stinks the Yankees aren't a part of the postseason, but the American League has three teams I could really get behind in the Orioles, Athletics, and Royals. My best friend's favorite team, and by proxy a team I'll root for, the Cardinals are there in the National League. And it would be cool to see the Pirates make some noise, too.

It's been a very trying season for Yankees fans. It will be nice not to have to stress about tonight's upcoming game... that's for sure.

Where The Hell Are The Steinbrenners?

Say what you will about George Steinbrenner but he always did the right thing when it came to honoring players. Actually Steinbrenner did the right thing a lot of the times and has made the Yankees the team of class and pedigree that it is today. I know one thing, George would have been there in Derek Jeter's final game at Yankee Stadium and, God willing, he would have been there for his final game in Boston against the Red Sox. This begs the question, where the hell were Hank and Hal Steinbrenner this week?

Hal Steinbrenner basically owns the team while Hank is a high ranking official with the team but neither were present on that last night in the Bronx. In fact I can't remember seeing Hank present during Derek Jeter Day either in Yankee Stadium but I digress. Also neither made the short trip to Boston to see Jeter finish out his career against the rival Red Sox, not that I saw anyway.

While Hal and Hank are no George Steinbrenner and are not nearly hands on as the Boss was but still, it's Derek Jeter. You can thank Jeter for every sellout in the Bronx this season and probably 60% of all tickets sold this season, not to mention the memorabilia and such. Hal being the fiscally responsible and coupon clipping one owed it to Jeter to at least be present and pretend to be entertained.

Do us all a favor and sell the team to Jeter if you're going to care that little about the club you inherited from the great man that was your father. Hank and Hal Steinbrenner are a disgrace and make me ashamed to be a Yankees fan, and that's tough to do.

TGP Daily Poll: Pittsburgh Wins the NL Wild Card Game

Tonight the National League Wild Card Playoff game is played in Pittsburgh between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Francisco Giants. Many believe the Pirates screwed up pitching Gerrit Cole on the final day of the season but not me, Pittsburgh takes it home today.

Vote in our poll!

Quick Hit: The 2015 MLB Draft Order

1. Diamondbacks
2. Astros (for failure to sign 2014 No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken)
3. Rockies
4. Rangers
5. Astros
6. Twins
7. Red Sox
8. White Sox
9. Cubs
10. Phillies
11. Reds
12. Marlins
13. Padres
14. Rays
15. Mets
16. Braves
17. Brewers
18. Blue Jays
19. Yankees
20. Indians
21. Mariners
22. Giants
23. Pirates
24. Athletics
25. Royals
26. Tigers
27. Cardinals
28. Dodgers
29. Orioles
30. Nationals
31. Angels
Compensation Round A: Unlike regular draft picks, Compensation Round picks can be traded.
32. Astros (via Marlins)
33. Rockies
34. Cardinals
35. Brewers
36. Padres
37. Indians

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/30: Yankees Win 100 Games

On this day in 1927 Babe Ruth would break his own record for home runs in a single season when he hit his 60th of the season off of Senators starter Tom Zachary. In a side note Hall of Famer Walter Johnson would make his final appearance of his major league career when he pinch hit in this game.

On this day in 1962 Mickey Mantle belted his 30th home run of the season off of the White Sox's Ray Herbet. This would be the Mick's eight consecutive season of hitting at least 30 home runs in a season. This was amazing considering Mantle missed a month of the season with a leg injury.

On this day in 1966 Roger Maris blasted a two run home run in his final at bat as a member of the New York Yankees. Maris would be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals after the season for utility man Charley Smith.

On this day in 1973 the Yankees played, and lost, their final game played at the old Yankees Stadium before George Steinbrenner had the field renovated. The 50 year old Cathedral of Baseball would take two years to renovate while the Yankees played their home games at Shea Stadium.

On this day in 2004 the Yankees won their 100th game, something they have done in three straight seasons, and their seventh consecutive American League Eastern Division championship. The Yankees join only the Braves from 1997-1999, the Orioles from 1969-1971, and the A's from 1929-1931 as the fourth team to win 100 games in three straight seasons.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Derek Jeter's Final At Bat


Derek Jeter's Final Yankee Stadium Game Highlights

McCarthy Wants to Return to Yankees Next Season

Yankees' Starting Pitcher Brandon McCarthy wants to return to the team next season, he told The Star Ledger's Brendan Kuty yesterday. 

McCarthy, 31, was acquired by the Yanks from the Diamondbacks July 6 in exchange for struggling lefty Vidal Nuno. In his time with New York, which was preceded by a bad first few months, McCarthy flourished against a number of solid opponents, going 7-5 with a 2.89 ERA.

"There's nothing in my time that I've seen that makes me think (not)," he said.

McCarthy, who will be a free agent this winter, cited the people around him in the organization as reasons. Since joining the club, as you may or may not already know, McCarthy has often credited Pitching Coach Larry Rothschild for his successes due to the latter's assertion that he throw more cutters. 

"The coaching staff is great," McCarthy said. "Teammates are great. The facilities, everything is top notch. There wasn't anything that turns you off."

Hopefully the Yankees are thinking the same thing, as re-signing McCarthy would likely be a cheap way to better their rotation. 

Comparing Dellin's 2014 Season to Rivera's 1996 Season

Many all season long have compared Dellin Betances first full season in the majors to Mariano Rivera's first full season in the majors. With the season over we can truly get a look at the final products for both players and see how they compare.

90 135 1 14 4 277 1.64 0.778 3.7 1.4
107.2 130 5 25 1 240 1.88 0.994 5 2.09

The top line is the season of Dellin Betances and the bottom line was Mariano Rivera's 1996 season. I took the liberty of bolding the "better" stat from each player for their respected seasons. As you can see I think the Yankees found a gold mine at the back end of their bullpen for a long, long time.

Thank You! from The Greedy Pinstripes

Wow, what a roller coaster ride the 2014 season was, no? While the season didn't end the way any of us wanted to it was still a successful season on the blog. We just wanted to take a quick second to thank everybody  for their continued support here on the blog, in the comments section, on Twitter, on Facebook, and wherever else everyone finds us and reads our work.

A big thank you goes out to our writers Bryan Van Dusen (co-owner), Bryan Knepper (new daddy, congrats bro!), Jack Niemuth, Neil Dwyer, patrick (always a little p) Walsh, Kent Seven, Michael Pawluk, Adam Hamburger, Thomas Culkin, John Balas, Zane Lipsitz, Nick Sentman, Judy G. (guest writer), and Erik Carlson. You guys and gal continue to bring great content to the blog and the readers and myself truly appreciate it.

All our Twitter followers that interact with us on a daily basis, you're really the reason we continue to do this for free. We don't get compensated, actually this site is a money pit at times, and we don't expect it because we love what we do. If you guys weren't reading and giving us feedback, positive or negative, we wouldn't do it.

Thank you Yankees family and let's get ready for the offseason, we never take a break here!

TGP Daily Poll: Kansas City Will Defeat Oakland In Wild Card Game

Tomorrow the American League Wild Card winners, the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics, will play in the AL Wild Card game to see who will face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Oakland has fallen off the face of the Earth in recent weeks and has definitely limped into the postseason and I cannot see them taking down a young and hungry Kansas City Royals team.

Vote in our poll.

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/29: Don Mattingly Six Grand Slams

Don Mattingly had a career with the bases loaded in 1987 as he hit more home runs with the bases loaded this season then some people hit in their entire careers. Mattingly set a major league record on this day by hitting his sixth grand slam of the season passing Ernie Banks (1955 Chicago Cubs) and Jim Gentile (1961 Baltimore Orioles). What makes this more amazing is Mattingly played 14 seasons in his career and never hit another grand slam outside of the 1987 season.

Also on this day in 1934 Babe Ruth hit his 659th and final home run in a New York Yankees uniform. Ruth had 49 home runs with the Boston Red Sox before being sold to New York and would add six more with the Boston Braves before retiring in the 1935 season.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Jeter Drives in Run in Season-Ending Win Over Red Sox

Derek Jeter hit an RBI infield single in his second and final at-bat and Michael Pineda tossed 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball today as the Yankees ended their season with a 9-5 win over the Red Sox.

Prior to that memorable top-of-the-third knock, the 3,465th of Jeter's career, the Yankees took an early lead off Boston's Clay Buchholz on an Ichiro Suzuki two-run triple, one that could very well wind up as his last big play, too.

So yeah, thanks to that, Jeter's big moment, a Mark Teixeira sac fly and a five spot off Craig Breslow in the seventh the Yanks won this contest pretty handily, a happening that was certainly assisted by the efforts of the aforementioned Pineda.

No, Pineda wasn't able to keep the Sox off the board this afternoon due to Esmil Rogers' allowing of an inherited runner to score, but since he did still strike out nine while surrendering just a trio of singles his outing was definitely a good one, as it helpfully gave New York plenty of time to pull away.

Did Capuano Pitch His Way Onto The 2015 Team

Chris Capuano was acquired from the Colorado Rockies this season making the New York Yankees his third stop this season and boy has he made the most of it. Capuano started the season with the Boston Red Sox as a relief pitcher before heading to the Rockies minor league system. The Yankees traded for Capuano out of bare necessity and plugged him into the starting rotation and the team got more than they could have ever expected.

Capuano's final line with the Yankees isn't as impressive as he really was as he finished with a 2-3 record and 4.25 ERA. Capuano started 12 games for the Yankees and finished with a 3.85 FIP, 1.31 WHIP, and 65.2 innings of work. New York went 6-6 in Capuano's starts but that was more the offenses problem than Capuano's inefficiencies.

Capuano allowed no more than four runs in a game in any of his 12 starts and allowed less than four runs in six of those starts including not allowing a run in three of his starts. Capuano went into the 6th inning in all but two of his starts and finished the 6th or went beyond in eight of those starts saving an overworked Yankees bullpen.

Capuano may have pitched his way onto the 2015 Yankees squad whether it be in the bullpen, as a long man, or at worst on a minor league deal. I can't say I was Capuano's biggest fan but I can't say I would be against it either.

9/28 Open Game Thread vs. Boston Red Sox

Welcome to the Game 162 open game thread of the season and the last in 2014. The New York Yankees will take on the Boston Red Sox in both team's final game. Michael Pineda will head to the mound for the Yankees to face off with Clay Buchholz for the Red Sox. The game will be played at 1:35 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, TBS, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with WFAN.

Follow the blog on Twitter this offseason by following @GreedyStripes because we don't take the offseason off like some. Also be sure to find our page on Facebook by searching for The Greedy Pinstripes. Enjoy the game Yankees family, Go Yankees!

9/28 Game Preview vs. Boston Red Sox

We made it Yankees family, Game 162 of the 2014 Major League Baseball season. This is it, the last game preview of the season. The New York Yankees will finish their season not in the postseason but in Fenway Park to take on the last place Boston Red Sox. The Yankees will get one more look at Michael Pineda this season as he faces off with Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox. The game will be played at 1:35 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, TBS, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio one more time with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Pineda is coming off a start in which he threw 7.1 innings against the Baltimore Orioles giving up just one hit and shutting down a very powerful team. Pineda has thrown 70 innings and went 4-5 with 1.93 ERA heading into his final start of the season.

Buchholz is coming off a start in which he shut out the Tampa Bay Rays for seven innings before falling apart in the eight inning. Buchholz started the inning by giving up a two out two run double which led to five earned runs in the inning.

No more pushing tickets this season so I leave you with this.... Go Yankees!

Shutting Down Betances & Pitching Robertson Doesn't Make Sense But Will Make Dollars

It's the final day of the season and the New York Yankees aren't making the playoffs so I have a long winter ahead of me. What will I complain about and what will I rant about on the blog before the Winter Meetings and free agency start? Better get all my ranting and raving in now and this one has to do with free agency. I can understand that Dellin Betances has thrown a ton of innings this season and Joe Girardi seemingly wants to shut him down and rest him for the 2015 season. Why is the same not being done with David Robertson?

Robertson is the free agent at the end of the season and shutting him down makes sense for his arm and for the Yankees checkbook. Every save Robertson wracks up this season makes dollars and for a newly found fiscally responsible team that just doesn't make sense. D Rob has already stated that he would test the free agent market and that the time had passed for a hometown discount for the Yankees so every appearance, every strike out, and every save tacks on a few dollars on that contract he is going to sign for 2015.

It's the last day of the season so I know this is too late to be complaining about but when it's on my mind I have to put the pad to paper, well finger to keyboard but you get the point. Robertson isn't going to accept a qualifying offer he is going to want the contract of his career and the Yankees are making sure he gets it with every garbage time save he gets this season.

TGP Daily Poll: Jeter Won't Manage Final Game

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi has told Derek Jeter that he has free reign this weekend to do whatever he wants. Jeter already asked for Friday off and has the opportunity to manage the final game of the season. Jeter has expressed no interest in managing in his career and I think he will respectfully decline Girardi's offer.

Vote in our poll.

Girardi Downplays Recent Team Meeting

Yankees' Manager Joe Girardi downplayed the team's recent meeting after yesterday's loss to the Red Sox.

The assembly, which took place prior to Thursday's walk-off W over the Orioles, is rumored to have included an angry rant by Girardi. According to a source in contact with ESPN New York, the skipper called out his players on their disappointing season in it, even attacking some for their physical status and others for not being "hungry" enough. 

"I addressed the team and told them what I expect for next year," Girardi told the YES Network. "Yeah, we're all disappointed that we didn't make the playoffs. But I addressed the team because it's easier to do it in our ballpark and because we need to be better. We have to be execute better next year."

Girardi also said that he addresses the club after every year, regardless of their record.

"I address the team after every year," he said. "Sometimes I do the night when we make it or are eliminated. I do it different ways. I chose to do it the next day and just to let them know what we expect."

Whatever he said appears to have worked that evening, with the Yankees putting together a great overall performance in the 6-5 victory. Nonetheless, since the nice effort happened on September 25 and not April 1 it's tough to think Girardi's speech didn't come too late, as Saturday's 10-4 defeat clinched for New York their worst winning percentage since 1995.

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/28: Mussina Wins 20 Games

Mike Mussina had pitched many stellar seasons both in Baltimore with the Orioles and in New York with the Yankees but never won 20 games in a single season, until this day in 2008. On the last day of the 2008 season Mussina would improve his record to 20-9 becoming the oldest player in major league history to win 20 games for the first time. It took Mussina 18 seasons to win 20 games when he threw six shutout innings against the Red Sox in Fenway Park in a Yankees 6-2 victory.

Also on this day in 2005 Alex Rodriguez broke the Yankees All-Time record for home runs in a single season by a right handed batter when he slugged his 47th home run of the season. DiMaggio hit 46 home runs in 1937 and Alex passed him as the Yankees beat the Orioles 2-1.

Also on this day in 1955 Elston Howard, in his first World Series at bat, hit a two run home run off the Dodgers right hander Don Newcombe. This marks the first time that a black batter hit a home run off a black pitcher in the history of the World Series.

Finally on this day in 1947 the Yankees held their first Old Timers Day on the final day of the season. General Manager Larry MacPhail came up with the idea along with public relations director Red Paterson as an idea to honor the ailing Yankees legend Babe Ruth.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Tanaka Struggles as Yankees Lose Jeter's Second-to-Last Game

Derek Jeter went 1-for-2 before being pinch-hit for and Bryan Mitchell tossed four innings of one-run ball, but since Masahiro Tanaka had his worst start of the season and the offense struggled mightily against Joe Kelly the Yankees dropped the now-DH's second-to-last game today, 10-4, to the arch-rival Red Sox.

Throughout his five-out performance this afternoon, surprisingly, Tanaka really did labor, surrendering seven hits and five earned runs as Boston crossed home nine times in their first two at-bats.

So, as is usual when that sort of thing happens, he and the Yanks couldn't find a way to win, not even circling the bases until the seventh when Brendan Ryan connected on a sac fly.

Indeed, this contest wasn't a fun one for them, but since they still rallied for a top-of-the-eighth trio when Chris Young singled with the bases loaded and Stephen Drew knocked in two with a ground-rule double the aforementioned Kelly wasn't able to record a quality start, the only positive you can take from this blowout in which Tanaka's ERA rose to 2.77 and the Daniel Nava/Yoenis Cespedes duo dominantly drove in five.

My Fondest Derek Jeter Memory

Set the stage, a hot and muggy night in Atlanta, Georgia the date was June, 14 2012 and the New York Yankees were in the ATL to take on the Atlanta Braves in Interleague play. This was the night after Alex Rodriguez hit his 23rd grand slam of his career tying the great Lou Gehrig for first on the All-Time list and it was about an hour before game time. I had been at the ball park since the gates opened at 5:00 pm and I watched the Yankees take batting practice, I watched the team stretch and joke and have fun, and I saw what would become my greatest Derek Jeter moment of my life.

As you know I was born in the Bronx, New York and moved to Atlanta with my mother in 1999. I was in New York for the 1996, 1998, and 1999 World Series and the 1997 and 1995 playoffs so I got to see plenty of Jeter first hand. When I moved here to the south the thing I missed most was my Yankees and seeing them, Jeter specifically, play live. That’s weird that I didn’t miss my childhood friends that I had made in my 14 years as a New Yorker, my school, etc., all I missed was my Yankees. With this in mind when the Yankees come down to Atlanta I always purchase my tickets well in advance for the best seats in the house as close to the Yankees dugout as I can get.

On this day I had second row seats directly to the left of the Yankees dugout, you could see inside the dugout the entire game. The game was not my fondest memory though, it was when the Yankees came off the field shortly after 6:00 pm ET and Derek Jeter walked over to the stands to say hello and to sign autographs. Immediately my section was flooded with fans but I didn’t mind and neither did Jeter. I tried to get an autograph that day but obviously all the children went first and we were so swarmed I never got close enough to but that was okay too. I was more than content watching Jeter sit there and sign autographs and interact with fans, Yankees and Braves alike, until the 7:00 hour when the National Anthem was played in Atlanta. Derek sat there and signed autographs and took pictures and interacted with us for right at an hour.

These are the kinds of moments that most of the casual fans will never know about or hear about because MLB Network and ESPN aren’t talking about it. This is something that all true Yankees fans know, love, and appreciate about Jeter and this is just a sliver of what made him truly unique and special to not only the fans but to the game of baseball. Jeter played the game like a kid and acted like a fan and we love him for it. Thank you Derek and if you see AJ Burnett around, who snubbed thousands of fans more than once on that night, tell him I said hello. 

9/27 Open Game Thread vs. Boston Red Sox

Welcome to Game 161 and the open thread for the matchup between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. Derek Jeter has two more games in his career including this afternoon so enjoy him while it lasts. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound this afternoon to face off with Joe Kelly for the Red Sox. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on FOX, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with WFAN.

Get your Yankees tickets here on the blog for the last days of Derek Jeter. Also be sure to follow the blog on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and please Like our page on Facebook by searching for The Greedy Pinstripes.

It’s an open thread so go crazy Yankees family. Enjoy the game and as always, Go Yankees!

Tanaka Looking to Gain Offseason Confidence With Today's Start

Yankees' ace Masahiro Tanaka's goal today is to gain confidence for his first Major League offseason.

Tanaka, 13-4 with a 2.47 ERA this year, returned to the team after a two-and-a-half month absence last Sunday, holding the Blue Jays to just one earned run over 5 1/3 innings.

“(Getting through today healthy) should give me some confidence and just be able to go back home to Japan and work out the way I want to,” Tanaka recently told The Journal News. "I do really want to go out there again and check to see how my arm is. That’s kind of the main thing I’m looking for."

In last week's outing, Tanaka surrendered just five hits while striking out four. It was the third time this year he had beaten Toronto and the second time he had done so at Yankee Stadium.

“I still want to go out there and check to see how my arm, how my body is,” Tanaka said. “But obviously, compared to the first time, to last Sunday, no I’m not (concerned). There’s no fear or anything.”

This afternoon's start will be Tanaka's twentieth in Pinstripes. Of the first nineteen, interestingly, sixteen have been quality, or lasted at least six frames while allowing no more than three runs.

9/27 Game Preview vs. Boston Red Sox

Welcome to the penultimate game of the 2014 New York Yankees season as the Bronx Bombers take on the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park in Game 161. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound, Happy Tanaka Day everybody, to face off with Joe Kelly from the Red Sox. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on FOX, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Tanaka is making his second start off the 60 day disabled list as he continues to rehab a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. Tanaka’s first start since July 8th came last Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays where he allowed just one run over 5.1 innings pitched. Tanaka will be limited to right around 85 pitches this afternoon.

Kelly is pitching towards a 2015 rotation spot for the Red Sox and has posted a 4.00 ERA in nine starts since being acquired on July, 31. Kelly held the Baltimore Orioles to just two runs and three hits on seven innings in his last start on Sunday.

Go Yankees!!

Derek Didn’t Cry & Neither Did I

Mariano Rivera set the bar pretty high in 2013 when Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter took him out of his final game in the Bronx by sobbing on the mound in Andy’s arms. I think we all hoped and halfway expected Jeter to cry during his last trip to the Bronx but he didn’t, and neither did I.

If the Yankees had taken him out the way they had planned with a parade around the field and players like Bernie Williams, Tino Martinez, Joe Torre, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Rivera, etc. I think I would have sobbed like a baby and I think Derek would have to. Instead Derek went out the way Derek wanted to go out, playing a full nine innings, being the hero, and winning the game.

It’s hard to cry after you get so emotionally pumped up after a walk off victory. A victory that I halfway take credit for as when the bottom of the 8th started I predicted on Twitter that David Robertson would blow the save so that Jeter could walk off. I have been known as the “Yankee Wizard” on Twitter in recent weeks due to predicting almost everything but the winning lottery numbers and Thursday night was no different. It truly amazes me that Jeter continues to one up himself and it amazes me even more than we haven’t come to expect it yet.

I didn’t cry Thursday night and neither did Jeter but I truly think that will be a totally different story tomorrow when his season and his career ends after 20 great and magical seasons. Well, at least one of us will cry and I’m not afraid to admit it. 

TGP Daily Poll: Derek Jeter Will Play The Outfield In Boston

There has always been this speculation that Derek Jeter could not finish his career at the shortstop position due to his age and lack of range. The speculation has always been that Jeter would likely have to move to a different position, whether it be second base or the outfield, to finish his career. Mariano Rivera stated that he would always like to play the outfield before he retired, although he didn’t, so why not put Derek in the outfield just for a change.

Vote in our poll. 

Derek Jeter & The Yankee Wizard Strike Again

Does last night count as something spectacular?

This is probably pretty hard to predict, and I admit that, but just go with it. We all know Derek Jeter has the flare for the dramatic and tends to come up huge in big spots so with that in mind, do you think Jeter does anything spectacular this weekend or next week against the Orioles as the Yankees finish out their Yankee Stadium schedule?

Vote in our poll!

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/27: 4,000,000 Plus Fans

The New York Yankees continued to sell tickets and smash records in the 2000’s and on this day in 2006 the stadium in the Bronx saw its 4,000,000th fan enter the ballpark. This marked the second consecutive season that New York surpassed 4,000,000 fans in one season. The Yankees and the 1991-1993 Toronto Blue Jays are the only teams in major league history with 4,000,000 plus fans in more than one season.

Also on this day in 1998 the Yankees won their seventh straight game to end the 1998 season 114-48. The Yankees .704 winning percentage marked the first time a team finished a season with over a .700 winning percentage since the 1954 Indians who went 111-43.

Finally on this day in 1938 we finish on a somber note as Lou Gehrig would hit his 493rd and final home run of his career. Gehrig’s home run came off Dutch Leonard of the Washington Senators. It is also worth mentioning that one this day 15 years earlier Gehrig hit his first home run of his major league career off the Red Sox Bill Piercy. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Capuano's Gem Leads Yankees to Low-Scoring Win Over Red Sox

Chris Capuano gave up no earned runs in 6 2/3 innings and Francisco Cervelli reached base three times tonight as the Yankees took the opener of this season-ending series, 3-2, with a nice effort against the Red Sox.

In his start this evening, likely his last with the team, Capuano had arguably his best outing since coming over from the Rockies, surrendering just four hits while striking out five for his third win of the year.

Still, after a Chris Young fielding error helped Bryce Brentz get an RBI in the bottom of the second Capuano and the Yankees trailed 1-0 early, a deficit they'd quickly erase in their half of the third.

Facing Boston knuckleballer Steven Wright with Eurey Perez on second in that frame, the aforementioned Cervelli lined one off the Green Monster for a run-scoring single, a clutch knock that was followed by a Mookie Betts bad throw two batters late to plate the former.

So, thanks to those plays and the recurring dominance of Capuano, New York led 2-1 until after Wright's removal before the sixth, when Zelous Wheeler drove John Ryan Murphy home with a sac fly that provided the bullpen with all the support they needed.

Granted, the first pitch Shawn Kelley threw to Rusney Castillo with two outs in the seventh was hit into the left field parking lot, but since the Adam Warren/David Robertson duo was able to pick up the slack in the last two innings things still worked out for the visitors in the end, with the save by Robertson going down as his 39th.

9/26 Open Game Thread vs. Boston Red Sox

Welcome to the open thread before the penultimate open thread of the season as the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox begin a three game set this week in Fenway Park. The Yankees will send Chris Capuano to the mound for his final start in Pinstripes and he will be faced off with Steven Wright of the Red Sox. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with WFAN.

Get your Yankees tickets for this final series of the season. Follow the blog on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and Like our page on Facebook by searching for The Greedy Pinstripes.

It’s an open thread so go crazy Yankees family, as always go Yankees!

9/26 Game Preview vs. Boston Red Sox

This is it Yankees fans the final series of the season for the New York Yankees. Tonight the Yankees travel to Boston to take on the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park in their final three games of the season. Derek Jeter’s career will end in Fenway Park after an emotional goodbye last night at Yankee Stadium. Tonight the Yankees will send Chris Capuano to the mound to face off with the Red Sox Steven Wright. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the MY9, MLB TV, and can be heard on the radio with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Capuano will be making his 12th start of the season for the Yankees and his last in the place where his season began, in Fenway Park. Capuano has a 6.61 ERA in September and it all started in Boston when he allowed for runs to these same Red Sox.

Wright will be making his first major league start tonight and second of his young career. The Knuckleballer has a 3.38 ERA and a 9.00 K/BB ratio this season as a long reliever in Boston. Wright replaces Rubby De La Rosa in the rotation.

Go Yankees!!

Jeter to DH, Not Play SS, Versus Red Sox This Weekend

Yankees' Shortstop Derek Jeter will DH this weekend in Boston instead of playing shortstop.

Jeter, whose walk-off single against the Orioles yesterday ended the home part of his Hall-of-Fame career, revealed the decision after last night's victory, in which he went 2-for-5 with three RBIs.

"I played my last game at shortstop," Jeter told Newsday's David Lennon. "I wanted to take something special from Yankee Stadium and the view from shortstop here tonight is what I want to take from it."

Jeter added that he's not sure if he'll play tonight, but still wants to appear in the series out of respect for the New England fans. Remember, in the usually-bitter rivalry Jeter has often proved to be one of the few players liked by both sides, regardless of how dominant he's been for one of them.

"Out of respect for the Red Sox, their fans and the rivalry, I'm going to DH," Jeter said. "I don't know about [Friday night]. I'm not sure I will play. I hope people can respect my decision. I've only played shortstop my entire career and the last time I wanted to play was tonight."

Jeter's choice to do this stops his number of games started at the position at an impressive 2,674, the second highest total in baseball history. Indians great Omar Visquel is first on that list with 2,709.
My views on Derek Jeter

By now, you've all seen the great moment Derek Jeter had to send Yankee Stadium into mass hysteria. I'm going to reflect on Jeter for a little while. Let me start off by saying I'm only 21 years old, so his early years before 2000 are a bit of a grey area to me. But, I've seen everything since and remember it dearly, as I'm sure all of you do. 

Let's talk about Jeter for a minute, why not? This is a guy if you're being completely honest with yourself never was the most talented shortstop in his career at any point in time. From '97-'03 you had guys like Nomar Garciaparra, Alex Rodriguez, and Miguel Tejada. All of those guys did one or multiple things very well, that on a scouting grade would rate an 80 (also known as a 100 in school). Jeter probably had his highest grade around a 65, which is very good, but nothing like A-Rod or Nomar. Jeter was what scouts like to call a Halloween bucket. A bucket of a bunch of good things that you're happy with, but nothing's great or terrible. 

You know what made him what he is today? His hard work, perseverance, and most of all will to win. When you put those great virtues mixed with the Halloween bucket, you get Jeter's playing ability. 

It's also seemed quite apparent that he's had a knack for the moment, no? I've always been quite interested in why he always seems to do the Hollywood-esque play when it's least likely. I heard someone on ESPN today remark about how unlikely his career was, I believe it was Colin Cowherd. He brought up the example of back in 2011 how Jeter needed 2 hits to get to 3000, but was slumping very hard. The All-Star break was coming up and the Yankees were set to go off on a long trip after the break. What does Jeter do? Naturally breaks out of his skid against David Price and goes 5-5. Those types of games and plays are littered throughout his career. Let's take last night for example. Yankees are leading 5-2. One of the top closers in the game David Robertson comes in, Sure thing, no? He gives up the lead on two rockets to left field. A guy named Jose Pirela whom the MLB Network broadcast was mispronouncing his name all night gets a hit to lead off the 9th. Who'd have thought? A well placed bunt and Jeter is up, wouldn't ya guess it, to win the game. 

Every producer and director would read this script and throw it in the garbage. Why? Because it is too good to be true. That personifies Derek Jeter's career, too good to be true. A guy who came up from the minors with no great tool to become the greatest offensive shortstop of the live ball era. Who'd have thought? 

My thoughts are rather mixed and odd, I know, but this is the perspective a ton of scouts and I have regarding Jeter. Just wow. We will not see another player like him for a long time. Farewell Captain. MLB fans everywhere will miss you, now, or in the future.

Chase Headley is the Most Important Yankee FA Signing For 2015

The New York Yankees have quite a few players hitting free agency in 2014 including Ichiro Suzuki, Hiroki Kuroda, Stephen Drew, Derek Jeter (who is obviously retiring), Chris Capuano, and Chase Headley to name a few. Headley has been long sought after in Pinstripes and while his production has fell off he still may be the most important free agent that the Yankees sign this winter.

Headley was advertised as an average defender at third base by GM Brian Cashman who has proven to be a terrible player evaluator as he called Masahiro Tanaka a third our fourth starter before the season. Headley has been fantastic at third base this season defensively but has also filled in at first base and the outfield in small sample sizes extremely well. With this team being built on versatility, flexibility, etc. Headley may be the perfect fit for the Yankees along with Martin Prado.

Headley also helps to balance out the lineup as he is a switch hitter and a clutch hitter. Headley has already walked off three times this season as a Yankee and did not arrive until July of this season. Brian McCann has been in the Bronx all season and has two walk offs while Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran, and others only have one each.

Some people can hack it in New York and some people simply cannot and I think Headley has proven that he can. New York shouldn’t let him slip away simply because Alex Rodriguez is returning because this guy can play all over the field and may be the glue that holds this aging team together in 2015 given the opportunity. 

Looking Back: My Predictions For the 2014 World Series

Earlier in the season I predicted all the major award winners, the standings, the playoff teams, and who would win the World Series. All this week we have been looking back at those predictions and with this post we conclude that look back by looking at the World Series winning predictions I made back in March. I am a Yankees fan and I refuse to pick against my team so of course I had the team in the World Series against the Washington Nationals. I had the Yankees ultimately beating the Nats in seven games on paper even if I didn't believe it in my heart. While the Nationals have a real shot at the World Series this season the Yankees, not so much.

Here is the post we made back in March: 

Here are your playoff teams, bolded teams win their series:

Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox in Wild Card game

Detroit Tigers vs. Texas Rangers
New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

When the Yankees won the 2009 World Series they had to go through the best teams in the league that season including a team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, that have given them fits in the playoffs in recent years. The same can be said with the Detroit Tigers who have given the Yankees a heck of a time in the postseason recently and it's about time the Yankees reversed this run and made yet another trip to the World Series.

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals in Wild Card game

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals

The Dodgers do not know how to spend billions of dollars and actually win, not yet anyway, and will run into a buzz saw with a hot, young, and fresh Washington Nationals team. The Nats have Natitude and the power pitching, the young power pitching at that, to succeed in the postseason. Mix in some Jayson Werth timely hitting and the speed at the top of their order and the Nationals will be too good to lose this season, even against the Dodgers.

Not that kind of homer...
The homer in me wanted to go for the Atlanta Braves and the Yankees again in the 2014 World Series because being a Yankees fan in exile living in Atlanta Georgia I would be able to go to a few games but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I know this will not be a popular pick but the Washington Nationals have too much pitching and too much hitting for the National League to compete. The Yankees did the most this offseason, had a decent core to begin with, and I am a homer with a Yankees site, sue me, so they are my American League representative. And the winner is...

The New York Yankees in seven games, I refuse to pick against my team ever. The Yankees have the pieces to compete and the minor league depth to either make a trade or fill in holes and a lot of the rest of the league have taken small steps back. It's time for the Commissioners Trophy to come back to the Bronx and I think it will in 2014.

2015 and Being Cautiously Optimistic

There are three more games during the 2014 season left to play out but as far as I am concerned the season is over. Derek Jeter will never play another game at home in Yankee Stadium unless it’s Old Timer’s Day. The Yankees will once again miss the postseason for the second consecutive season, which is unheard of during my generation. The 2014 season is over, the Boston series or not, and it’s time to start thinking towards and building towards the 2015 season.

There is the potential to be a lot change in the Bronx once again this offseason. Brian Cashman’s contract runs out at the end of the season and while I am almost certain he will be retained for next season I am cautiously optimistic that the Yankees will jump on Frank Wren for the GM job. The news that Cashman’s job was safe was announced before the Wren firing and before the team missed the postseason once again. We discussed yesterday here on the blog why Wren would be a good fit for the Yankees so I will refrain from getting into that again, look it up.

I’m cautiously optimistic that Alex Rodriguez will return to the game and be a healthy and effective part of the Yankees offense. Gone are the days of him hitting .300 and knocking 50 home runs but I would be more than happy with .265 and 25 home runs from the right hander. I know many think that’s out of the realm of possibility with his age, missing basically two seasons, and the hip surgery but I believe Alex could do it. He showed no ill effects last season in his limited playing time and even showed an enormous amount of power to the opposite field. That’s encouraging to me, but maybe it’s just me.

I am also optimistic that the Yankees will somehow someway find a position for Jacob Lindgren and Robert Refsnyder to play out of spring training next year. With Josh Outman designated for assignment and Rich Hill a free agent at the end of the season the time seems to be now for Lindgren. Refsnyder may be a tougher sell with Martin Prado likely to spend a bulk of his playing time at second base next season. Unless the Yankees can move either Prado or Refsnyder to shortstop for 2015 though I am not holding my breath.

The 2015 season will be here before you know it and I refuse to be negative about it. I don’t want to get in the habit of saying “there’s always next year” so hopefully the Yankees can do something this winter to change that. 

Mad Respect For Phil Hughes

In the offseason I was perfectly okay with letting Phil Hughes walk. From 2012 through 2013, his final two seasons with the Yankees, Phil had an ERA of 4.62 to go along with a record of 20-27. I saw no reason to keep him with CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka (hopefully, at least, as Tanaka was a month away from signing when Hughes and the Twins agreed to their deal), Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, and Hiroki Kuroda. Not to mention guys like David Phelps that could fill in if/when needed.

But what I read today makes me think the Yankees should have taken another look at Phil. No, it's not because of the 3.52 ERA, along with 16 wins, he had this season. It's not even because of his record setting K/BB ratio of 0.7. The reason comes down to one word... loyalty.
I owe too much to this organization for the next two years to risk getting hurt for an incentive," Hughes said. "For whatever reason it wasn't meant to be. There's a lot bigger problems out there. I'm proud of my season.
Phil Hughes last start of the season was cut short due to a rain delay. Now, having your start cut short sucks in and of itself, but Phil was one out away from triggering an incentive that would have gotten him an extra $500,000. And Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, along with general manager Terry Ryan, were willing to put Hughes into another game for a shot at that half million dollars. But Phil turned it down.

Mind you, it's not like Hughes would be hurting for money without that $500,000. He was guaranteed $8 million this season, along with another $16 million the next two seasons, to go along with already getting another $500,000 for getting to 180 and 195 innings. But it's just one more out we're talking about. And the chances of Phil getting hurt in that short outing are slim to none. But Hughes would rather be safe than sorry, and make sure he's healthy.

That's a great mindset, and the Twins should count themselves very lucky to have somebody like that.

Looking Back: My Predictions For the Standings in 2014

This may be the hardest of all the predictions to make but I took a shot at predicting all 30 MLB teams records, the standings, the division winners, the Wild Card winners, etc. I can tell you I had the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox as the top two teams in the AL East and the Baltimore Orioles finishing last, whoops. I had the Kansas City Royals in fourth place, the Texas Rangers winning the AL West, the Atlanta Braves winning the NL East, the Pittsburgh Pirates winning the NL Central, and the Arizona Diamondbacks almost making the postseason. Again, whoops.

See below for the original post made back in March:


New York Yankees (99- 63)
Boston Red Sox (94-68)
Tampa Bay Rays (90-72)
Toronto Blue Jays (81-81)
Baltimore Orioles (80-82)


Detroit Tigers (100-62)
Cleveland Indians (92-70)
Minnesota Twins (89-73)
Kansas City Royals (82-80)
Chicago White Sox (75-87)


Texas Rangers (95-67)
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (91-71)
Seattle Mariners (88-74)
Oakland Athletics (86-76)
Houston Astros (70-92)


Atlanta Braves (97-65)
Washington Nationals (95-67)
Philadelphia Phillies (84-78)
New York Mets (80-82)
Miami Marlins (72-90)


Pittsburgh Pirates (94-68)
St. Louis Cardinals (92-70)
Cincinnati Reds (86-76)
Chicago Cubs (83-81)
Milwaukee Brewers (80-84)


Los Angeles Dodgers (100-62)
Arizona Diamondbacks (91-71)
San Francisco Giants (84-78)
San Diego Padres (81-81)
Colorado Rockies (69- 93)

Looks like the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians will win the two Wild Cards in the American League and the St. Louis Cardinals and Washington Nationals will make it for the National League. The playoffs would be stacked this season with really all the best teams making the cut.