Wednesday, April 23, 2014

30 for 30 Review: The Deal

So I am watching the latest 30 for 30 after the Red Sox won Pine Tar Game 2 over the Yankees and it just so happens to be about THE DEAL, as in the deal that SHOULD have sent Alex Rodriguez to the Red Sox after the 2003 season.

At the end of 2003, the Red Sox were the "also-ran" team in the AL having lost the ALCS to the Yankees off of an Aaron Boone walk-off home run in Game 7.  The Yankees had just lost a heartbreaking World Series to Josh Beckett and the 2-time World Series Champs Florida Marlins in Game 6 (still can't believe I watched that in person).

In 2000, Alex Rodriguez signed a free agent contract worth 252 million over 10 years, exactly double the largest professional sports contract in the history of sports contracts.  A-Rod was still owed $179 million over 7 years and would only agree to be traded to Boston or New York.

The Yankees got first shot at Alex but passed as they were still the top of the AL, had a $180 million payroll, and oh yeah had this superstar shortstop named Derek Jeter.  John Hart of the Rangers let Cash man know that he would be going to the Sox next and Brian told him he understood.

At this point Theo Epstein worked out a way to get A-Rod by basically trading Manny Ramirez, Nomar Garciaparra, and Jon Lester for A-Rod, Magglio Ordonez, and Brandon McCarthy using the White Sox as a third party in the deal.  All that had to be done was for A-Rod to renegotiate his mega-deal and to have the union approve it.

On December 17, 2003, that deal between the Rangers and Red Sox was turned down by the MLBPA.  I remember that day vividly as just a few days prior we were all but certain he was heading to the Sox.  This was just another shot to Boston who had let Ruth go 80 plus years prior and hadn't seen any success since.

Alex Rodriguez wanted to be the second coming of Ted Williams and bring World Series rings to Boston.  Boston was ready for it to happen (just ask Kevin Millar).  But wasn't to be.  Poor Larry Luchino!


Aaron Freaking Boone decides to injure himself playing basketball and all of a sudden the Yankees need a third baseman.


Brian Cashman didn't want A-Rod...let's be clear on that.  January 25th...Cash has dinner at an event next to Alex and the rest is history as The Boss coveted players of A-Rod's abilities and hype.

The deal the Yankees make is to send Alfonso Soriano and "another player" to Texas (that player was Arias instead of Cano...whoops) for A-Rod and cash to satisfy the MLBPA and MLB.  This effectively reduced the Yanks part of A-Rod's contract by $67 million.  The deal was done and the Yankees won...or did they?

By the end of the 2004 season it appeared that the Red Sox had gotten the last laugh having secured the employment of Curt Schilling and his bloody sock...the Yankees went up 3-0 on the Sox in the 2004 ALCS only to see A-Rod's bat go cold and the Yanks become the first team ever to lose a 7 game series being up 3-0 and then watch their bitter "rivals" erase the curse and win the World Series.

Was this the reverse curse of the A-Rod?

Another huge contract, disappointing playoff series vs the Tigers, a comeback to win the 2009 series, and all of the steroid drama and 2014 suspension later, I guess that depends on which team you are rooting for.  Isn't this rivalry great?

Pineda ejected, offense nonexistent in 5-1 loss to Red Sox

Michael Pineda surrendered two earned runs in 1.2 innings and the bullpen followed him with 3 more unearned trips around the bases tonight as the Yankees dropped the middle game of this series to the Red Sox, 5-1. After getting that fifth out, Pineda was ejected for having pine tar on his neck, already the second time this season he's been caught doing so. 

Anyway, the Bombers offense couldn't do anything this evening against Red Sox starter John Lackey, scoring just once in 8 innings when Alfonso Soriano drove in a run with a sac fly. Besides that, the bats really struggled here, collecting just 8 hits while striking out 14 times to pretty much hand Boston the game. 

Still, the Pinstripes did get some solid relief in this one from Matt Thornton and Adam Warren, who threw 1.1 and 1 scoreless frames respectively. Those performances didn't affect the contest's outcome, but since they still happened I guess it wouldn't hurt to know about them.

Michael Pineda Presents Pine Tar Gate Part II

Did Michael Pineda learn nothing from the last edition of Pine Tar Gate? He is back at it again but this time he has the pine tar on his neck. Pineda never claimed to be intelligent, and I wouldn't agree with it anyway after his DUI, but this is just stupid. At least TRY to hide it Pineda, try. I smell a suspension or a fine this time around, especially if Major League Baseball talked to him after his last start against Boston like they said they would.

Michael Pineda has been ejected from the game in the second inning against the Red Sox. Wow.

Game Thread: Yankees @ Red Sox 4/23

The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox play the middle game of their three game set tonight at historic Fenway Park. The pitching matchup is Michael Pineda for the Yankees and John Lackey for the Red Sox, no word on whether pine tar will be involved but I would have to think if it was it will be on a Boston pitcher this time around. The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN, on the computer with MLB TV, and on the radio with WFAN.

You can talk all about the game with us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes or by dropping us a line in our comments section of the site. We have a great group of guys over there that love to talk Yankees baseball 24/7, myself included, so drop us a line. While you're here join our mega prediction game where we wager points on whether the Yankees will win or lose every single night. And while you're at it you can get your Yankees tickets, home or away, for all 162 games right here on the blog so be sure to check that out.

Enjoy the game Yankees family and enjoy the rest of your evening. It's Wednesday, we're halfway there!

Ivan Nova To Seek Dr. James Andrew's Third Opinion

Ivan Nova has told the New York Yankees that he plans on getting a third opinion on his partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right throwing forearm and will seek the opinion of Tommy John surgery expert Dr. James Andrews. Nova has already been told he needs the surgery by the MRI team that initially did his scan and by the Yankees team doctor Dr. Christopher Ahmad but Nova wants to be triple sure. I cannot blame the guy since a Tommy John surgery means he would miss all of this season and a huge chunk of next season if the Yankees tendency to baby their pitchers is any indication of how they will handle this situation. Nova just wants to be sure before getting cut open and ending his season prematurely.

The Yankees have sent Nova's MRI's to Dr. James Andrews but it is still unclear whether Ivan will head to Alabama to see the doctor himself. It's also not been said either way whether Dr. Andrews will perform the surgery on Nova but if I were a betting man, and I am, then I would say Andrews will be the one that day in the operating room.

John Lackey Tries To Lower His ERA... Meme

I know this is probably a low blow but it was too funny to pass up. Don't worry Boston fans we will have plenty of low blows tonight from the ESPN and their crew tonight directed at the Yankees. Two wrongs don't make it right but it does make it even... Enjoy the game everyone.

Lineup Analysis: Yankees @ Red Sox 4/23

Game 2 of the Red Sox and Yankees rivalry from Fenway starts tonight. Last night i showed my first tailored lineup of the year along with some predictions for hitters and let's just say it wasn't my finest set of predictions, but the Yankees won and that's all that matters! Nice night last night for most of the lineup except for the guy i had leading off in Yangervis Solarte who struggled.

Game 2 will have a regressing John Lackey on the mound to shoot off against the Yankees booming offense; there has hardly been a stretch this year where the hitters looked terrible and the Pinstripers look to keep this thunderous start going tonight.

John Lackey this year has not been better than his average numbers state from 2011 to 2014, Lackey has a 5.25 ERA and his FIP indicates that it should be around 4.70 which is still an above (or below) average and not very good ERA. Whilst John's K/9 rate is higher than in the past his BB/9 rate is also higher along with HR/9 and BABIP. Lackey is .500, albeit his season is only 4 games in, at 2-2 in 24.0 IP averaging around 6 IP per outing. The Highlanders will look to get to Lackey early and get to a bullpen that has been overworked since Patriots' Day, 2 games ago, with their 'pen having thrown 11 IP since then.

The Yankees lineup stacks up like this tonight:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Carlos Beltran, DH
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Alfonso Soriano, LF
6. Mark Teixeira, 1B
7. Brett Gardner, RF
8. Brian Roberts, 2B
9. Kelly Johnson, 3B

Joe Girardi slotted the same three batters to lead off the game as last night. Soriano is batting fourth instead of fifth and Big Mark Teixeira will be batting sixth instead of fifth. McCann moves from sixth in the lineup up to the cleanup spot against Lackey. Yangervis Solarte and Ichiro Suzuki who started yesterday at the seventh and eighth spots respectively. Brian Roberts moves from the ninth spot yesterday to eighth tonight and Solarte is replaced by Kelly Johnson.

I agree with the benching of Solarte, the kid as been struggling lately and after last night against Lackey, in which he did not put up much of a fight at the plate, i think it's best for his confidence, mindset, strikeout total and batting average that he sits tonight even if it is against a declining pitcher.

I still would prefer to see Ellsbury hit third in the order and i think his 2-5 performance with 2 XBH (1 triple and 1 double) with 2 RBI rest my case. Carlos Beltran will hit third with his .296 AVG. Carlos leads the Yankees with 5 HR AND 13 RBI. Brett Gardner after the night off at the plate is back in the lineup hitting in a spot im not too fond of, seventh, Gardy should aways be at the very bottom or the very top of the lineup thanks to his speed and grinding ability. Ichiro whom has remained hot with sit with Soriano playing in LF again. Alfonso, while hitting .270 on the year, went only 1-5 last night. Ichiro, while he doesn't qualify thanks to a limited number of ABs this year, leads the Yankees with a .371 average after another 2 hit performance last night in 5 plate appearances; also drawing 1 walk.

The 39 year old shortstop remains hot and is hitting .298 so far this year. Brian Roberts is hitting .118 points lower with a staggering, sadly not in a good way, .180 average. Mark Teixeira has looked pretty good off the DL with an April slump, so far, nonexistant. Kelly Johnson is playing third for Solarte, slotting his 0.4 WAR and .226 AVG into the lineup. Brian McCann will round out the infield cleaning up. McCann as the everyday catcher also has a 0.4 WAR and a .262 AVG.

My revised lineup for maximum success tonight looks like this:
1. Brett Gardner, RF
2. Derek Jeter, SS
3. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
4. Carlos Beltran, DH
5. Brian McCann, C
6. Mark Teixeira, 1B
7. Alfonso Soriano, LF
8. Kelly Johnson, 3B
9. Brian Roberts, 2B

Not too much to say today as a lot was covered yesterday or above. Brett Gardner should be leading off and Jeter is 
always best at the number 2 spot, after all he wears number 2! Ellsbury, the best hitter on the team right now, should be 
hitting 3rd. Carlos Beltran has been the most productive RBI and HR man for the Bombers this year so cleaning up is 
optimal. Tex and McCann are interchangeable but it's hard for me to slot Tex too high fearing the slump, although April is 
winding down and closing out soon; this is why i kept Tex where Joe put him. McCann has been flashing some opposite 
field pop lately, a promising sign indeed, so i like him along with his better plate discipline over Soriano batting fifth. 
Soriano seventh, no disrespect to him but with everyone hitting at the same time it is quite tough to keep a solid lineup, i'd 
have him seventh tonight and in the future until he gets a little more consistent with RISP. He has been showing some
pop lately though, so we'll watch Alfonso closely. Kelly Johnson will hit eighth as a lefty and the inept and ineffectual bat 
of Brian Roberts would be slotted ninth.

As you guys will soon find out i never like to stack batters although it may help vs the starter it may not when the 'pen 
comes in. Tonight's lineup has the effect of lefty-righty-lefty-switch-lefty-switch-righty-lefty-switch. It might not be too 
effective some days but it should get the job done.

As always, it’s a long season so remember that one game doesn’t make the season! Enjoy the game everyone!

Preview: New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox 4/23

The New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox will continue to renew their rivalry tonight playing in their second game of the three game set at Fenway Park. The Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound to face Boston for the first time since Pine Tar Gate so expect to put your television on mute tonight. The Red Sox will counter with John Lackey facing off with Pineda. The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN, on your computer with MLB TV, and on the radio with WFAN.

Pineda has pitched six innings in each of his first three starts this season and has not allowed more than a run in any of the starts. Pineda beat the Red Sox on April 10 scattering four hits and allowing a solo home run striking out seven. You won't hear about his Comeback Player of the Year Award bid tonight though, especially with the game on ESPN, all you will hear about is the pine tar. Even though Pineda dominated the Cubs without pine tar on his hand, it doesn't matter, he cheated and the game is on ESPN.

John Lackey is pitching for the Red Sox, did I mention the game is on ESPN? I don't feel compelled to say anything about Lackey and his past starts because I am sure John Kruk will do plenty of talking about him for me.

Go Yankees!!

Yankees May Be Going "Down Undah" In 2018

According to news outlets in Australia the talks between the Sydney Cricket Grounds Trust and the New York Yankees are "heating up" for as soon as the 2018 season. The head of the SCG Trust Jamie Barkley is hopeful to strike a deal during this season to open the 2018 season in Australia. This is on the heels of the success from this season in Australia between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Major League Baseball sees the iron hot and they are looking to strike once again.

This would not be the first time that the Yankees have opened up overseas, remember ten years ago when they opened in Japan in the Tokyo Dome against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays? There is already a huge following of the Yankees in Australia that only increased when they signed 17 year old pitcher Brandon Stenhouse out of Australia to a big six figure deal. Possible opponents, albeit speculation and very early, could be the Oakland Athletics. I have to say this would be pretty cool, get it done.

Pineda Isn't The Only Cheating Pitcher Pitching Tonight

This is not as much of a John Lackey bashing post as much as it was aimed to put into perspective just how insignificant Michael Pineda's cheating really was. The world lost their ever loving minds when Pineda went out with a little, well since we're being honest it was a whole lot, of pine tar on his right pitching hand. Everyone in and around the league confirmed that the pine tar did not help Pineda do anything but grip the ball better. Pineda cannot get any other advantage such as cutting the ball, velocity, etc from the pine tar but was crucified in social media and on the major sports news outlets, looking at you especially ESPN. Well Pineda is not the only cheating pitcher that will be on the mound tonight.

Lackey divorced his absolutely beautiful wife Krista Lackey in the middle of her fight with breast cancer. Krista had both breasts removed and while fighting the deadly disease had to endure her husband cheating on her. Look, I know probably 95% of ball players cheat on their wives but you don't do it and then divorce them while they are in a fight for their lives. Whatever happened to "in sickness and in health" and until death do you part?

Let's win it for Krista tonight.

Quick Hit: Vidal Nuno Is Your Ivan Nova Replacement

Vidal Nuno has been named the replacement in the starting rotation for the New York Yankees, at least for now. Nuno is expected to make the start this Saturday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim taking over for the injured Ivan Nova. I have to say I am a tad disappointed, not because Nuno is not deserving because lord knows he is, but because I think a David Phelps or Alfredo Aceves makes more sense for this team right now.

The Yankees are with only one left handed pitcher in their bullpen in a Boston Red Sox series that usually tends to be very situational where every pitch and at bat seems to matter. With Matt Thornton the only lefty you can only pitch to David Ortiz with a same side pitcher once a game instead of twice, something that is probably more important than we think. 

Maybe I have just grown spoiled over the years, except for last year obviously, with having two or more left handed relief pitchers in the bullpen. It would have been nice to see an old face in Aceves in the fifth spot and Nuno back in the pen in a bigger role but I admit this is what's probably best for the tea, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. 

Charleston Riverdogs Game Recap 4/22

O'Neill Leads Offense as BlueClaws Even Series
Michael O'Neill was responsible for most of Charleston's runs, hit his fourth career homer

LAKEWOOD, NJ - Despite two runs scored and driven in by Michael O'Neill, including a solo home run, the Charleston RiverDogs ended up on the wrong side of a 7-5 decision against the Lakewood BlueClaws on Tuesday night at FirstEnergy Park in South Atlantic League action.
The RiverDogs are now 9-9 while the BlueClaws improve to 5-12, snapping a four-game losing streak. This three-game series, the only scheduled meeting between these teams, is tied at 1-1.
Lakewood picked up a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning. Back-to-back singles opened the frame, putting J. P. Crawford on third base. Crawford scored following a wild pitch by Giovanny Gallegos and moved the BlueClaws in front. Carlos Tocci went to second on the play and scored after a RiverDogs error on a ground ball to give Lakewood an early two-run edge.
Charleston answered immediately by cutting the BlueClaws lead in half during the second inning. O'Neill led off with a single and scored from first when Jose Rosario doubled to left field, bringing the RiverDogs within 2-1.
The BlueClaws scored in the second and third innings to build their advantage. Wilmer Oberto hit a solo home run to right field, his first round tripper of the season, and put Lakewood ahead 3-1 in the second. Tocci's sacrifice fly in the third brought in Crawford for a 4-1 lead.
O'Neill scored again in the fourth to keep the RiverDogs close at 4-2. O'Neill drove a home run off Tyler Viza and trimmed Lakewood's lead to two. His four home runs lead Charleston and ranks second in the Sally League, trailing Asheville's Ryan McMahon with eight.
In the fifth inning, the RiverDogs came close to tying the contest. Aaron Judge had a full count with two outs and runners on first and second. The runners left on the pitch and Judge doubled to center field. Abiatal Avelino scored but Tyler Wade was cut down at the plate by a relay from Tocci to Crawford to Gabriel Lino. That kept the BlueClaws ahead by a 4-3 margin.
Another Lakewood home run provided some breathing room in the sixth. This time, Dylan Cozens connected on his second home run this season to give the BlueClaws a 5-3 advantage.
New Jersey native Mike Ford sparked a game-tying rally during the top of the eighth. Ford singled against reliever Julio Reyes, scoring Tyler Wade in the process. O'Neill tied the game at 5-5 when he singled off Cody Forsythe to score Judge and even the contest.
That tie would be short-lived as the BlueClaws jumped ahead 7-5 in its half of the eighth. Facing RiverDogs reliever Cesar Vargas, Cozens brought in Tocci with a triple to break the tie before scoring himself after Willians Astudillo's single.
Although Forsythe allowed the RiverDogs to tie the game, he would be the winning pitcher and move to 1-0 after a scoreless ninth inning. Vargas dropped to 0-1 after suffering the loss.
COMING UP: Morning baseball is set for the series finale as the RiverDogs and BlueClaws will play at 11:05am on Wednesday. Charleston RHP Brady Lail (1-1, 6.14 ERA) will be opposed by Lakewood RHP Alejandro Arteaga (1-2, 6.23 ERA). Starting on Tuesday, April 29, the RiverDogs will host a seven-game homestand at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park. Harris Teeter 2-for-$20 Date Night Tuesday, presented by Nash FM 96.9, offers a great deal with two tickets, two tacos, two fountain drinks, and one nacho tray for just $20 for couples that show their VIC card at the box office! Tickets may be purchased at the Riley Park Box Office, (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or on-line at If fans cannot make it to the ballpark, they are encouraged to tune in to all the action this year both home and away worldwide on and locally on 1250 WTMA, the new radio home for RiverDogs baseball.

Being posted with permission from the Charleston Riverdogs. The original article can be seen HERE

Trenton Thunder Game Recap 4/22

Bases-Clearing Triple Clutch in 4-3 Win

Dan Fiorito's three-run triple in the bottom of the eighth inning boosted the Thunder to a 4-3 victory over the RubberDucks on Tuesday night at ARM & HAMMER Park.
Trailing 3-1, the Thunder loaded the bases with one out against reliever Francisco Valera. Shawn Armstrong entered and struck out Yeral Sanchez before Fiorito lined an 0-1 offering into the right field corner to score all three baserunners.
Brandon Pinder earned the victory with two scoreless innings of relief, including two strikeouts.
Bryan Mitchell took a no-decision in his return to the Thunder rotation, allowing just one run on four hits and one walk over five innings; he struck out six. RubberDuck starter Joe Colon also earned a no-decision despite allowing just one run over six innings.
Akron broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning with a solo home run off the bat of Giovanny Urshela. In the seventh, Francisco Lindor singled home Tyler Naquin with two out to take a 3-1 lead.
The Thunder managed double digit hits for the fourth straight contest. Ben Gamel, Rob Segedin and Rob Refsnyder each had two hits in the game. Gamel improved his on-base streak to 17 straight games with a first inning walk.
The Thunder continue their four-game series with the Akron RubberDucks on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. The home team will start RHP Zach Nuding (1-0, 2.89), the 'Ducks will counter with RHP Kyle Davies (1-1, 3.50). Listen live on 91.3 WTSR and beginning at 6:45 p.m.

Being posted with permission from the Trenton Thunder. The original article can be seen HERE

This Day In New York Yankees History 4/23

On this day in 1903 the New York Highlanders, formerly the Baltimore Orioles and soon to be the New York Yankees, win their first game in their franchises history. Spitballer Harry Howell went the distance and threw a two hitter to get the victory when they beat the Washington Senators at American League Park 7-2.

On this day in 1985 Don Baylor collected his 999th and 1,000th RBI of his career when he hit a two run home run off of Oil Can Boyd against the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees lost 5-4 but the 36 year old designated hitter ended his 19 season career with 1,276 RBI's.

On this day in 2000 the Yankees Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada become the first set of teammates to each homer from both sides of the plate in the same game. The Yankees would beat the Blue Jays 10-7 on this day.