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.