Saturday, October 4, 2014

Royals Pitching Coach: Shields Could Handle New York

Royals' pitching coach Dave Eiland thinks soon-to-be Free Agent Starter James Shields could handle playing for the Yankees. 

Shields, who competed in the AL East as a member of the Rays from 2006-2012, is set to make his next playoff outing tomorrow against the Angels. If Kansas City loses it and two more contests afterwards, Shields' career with the team will end, a fact that seems so certain right now due to KC's financial limits.

“He can, it’s just a matter of ‘Where is he going to want to pitch?’ ” Eiland told The New York Post yesterday. “That, I can’t answer. I’ve never had that conversation with him. I probably won’t. It’s none of my business. But he’s a guy that can pitch on any stage. Obviously, he’s going to have his choices, I would think.”

Eiland is currently in his third year working with Shields, serving as an advisor with the Rays in 2011 before reuniting with him last spring.

“I had a pretty good idea from opposing him all those years with the Yankees,” Eiland said in referance to his time in New York from 2008-2010. “Then I was around him more that year in Tampa Bay and worked with him in spring training."

Basically, Eiland knows what he's talking about when it comes to the right-hander. Nonetheless, considering Shields struggled pretty mightily in the Royals' Wild Card win Tuesday some skepticism here would be healthy for the Yanks, who plan to add some pieces this winter after again failing to reach October this season.

Ben Affleck Refuses To Wear Yankees Hat In "Gone Girl"

Good for you, I refuse to watch the new Batman so I guess we're even huh? Here's the quote:

During a scene set at a New York airport, Mr. Affleck’s character, Nick Dunne, tries to evade recognition by donning a baseball hat. (Director David) Fincher, Mr. Affleck said, wanted the character to wear a Yankees cap, because he believed that worked best for the movie. 

“I said, ‘David, I love you, I would do anything for you,’” Mr. Affleck recalled. “‘But I will not wear a Yankees hat. I just can’t. I can’t wear it because it’s going to become a thing, David. I will never hear the end of it. I can’t do it.’ And I couldn’t put it on my head.”

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Johnny Damon

Johnny Damon was the caveman, center fielder, and self-proclaimed “idiot” that came over to the New York Yankees from the Boston Red Sox after winning the World Series in 2004 with Boston. Damon helped exercise the demons and the ghost of Babe Ruth and brought the Red Sox their first World Series championship in 86 years. Damon went from the most beloved and loved Red Sox in history to the most wanted man in a matter of a year and a few months, all because he put on the pinstripes. Damon left Boston after the 2005 season and signed a four year deal with the Yankees worth $52 million and a free haircut and shave.

Johnny Damon unofficially started his Yankees career when he was quoted as saying “there’s no way I can go play for the Yankees, but I know they’re going to come after me hard. It’s definitely not the most important thing to go out there for the top dollar, which the Yankees are going to offer me. It’s not what I need.” Damon also addressed the Yankees facial hair and dress code policy by saying he was going to shave his shoulder length hair and beard anyway but waited until after switching sides of the rivalry in order to prevent speculation.

Damon wasted no time becoming a Yankee as he helped annihilate the Red Sox and crush their 2006 playoff aspirations in the five game series that many called the “Boston Massacre II” that saw Damon hit two home runs, collect eight RBI, and score eight runs in the first three games with nine hits in 18 at bats. After less than notable 2006 and 2007 seasons Damon collected his first walk off hit as a Yankees on June 7, 2008 when he went 6-6 in a 12-11 win over the Kansas City Royals. One month later Damon ended up on the 15 day DL for the first time in his career with a bruised AC joint in his left shoulder. Damon at the time was one of only three players who had played at least 10 seasons and never had to go on the disabled list.

Damon really made his mark as a member of the Yankees in the 2009 season which started when he hit his 200th career home run on July 27 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Damon finished the season with a .282 average and scored 107 runs. The Damon led Yankees had the best record in all of baseball in 2009 and went storming into the postseason. Damon was a huge contributor in taking down the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in 2009 when he hit a home run in Game 3 and Game 4 of the ALCS. The Yankees went on to the World Series and Damon was right in the middle of it again for New York. Damon got credit for two stolen bases in one play when the Phillies shifted against Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira and left third base unoccupied.  Damon would win his second World Series ring of his career when the Yankees won their 27th World Series championship in that 2009 season.

Damon entered the 2009 offseason expressing an interest to return to the Yankees but at his price range, at least $13 million a season for four years. After hearing of his demands New York went in a different direction signing 1B/DH Nick Johnson to a one year worth $5.5 million despite Damon lowering his demands in the final days. New York also signed outfielder Randy Winn to a one year deal worth $2 million closing the door on Damon and his Yankees career. We had memories, the walk off weekend against the Minnesota Twins, the double steal, and the World Series, and after 2009 it was over. 

Alex Rodriguez The 2015 Starting Shortstop

Many around the Yankees blogosphere and many of the Yankees fans are wondering if the best bet for New York going forward is to have Alex Rodriguez man the shortstop position for 2015 and I could not disagree more. Alex Rodriguez is going to be 40 years old next season and outside of two or three weeks of games in 2013 has not played in two full seasons. Alex has had major hip surgery on now both of his hips limiting an already depleting range, he will be 40 years old and we got a first-hand glimpse at what a 40 year old shortstop can do as we watched Derek Jeter this season, and I truly don’t believe it should even be considered an option outside of an emergency in 2015.

I am not going to stand here and talk about the aura of the shortstop position for the Yankees and how Alex shouldn’t replace the great Jeter because of this and that, get over it. I want the team to win and if Alex at shortstop does that then I am all in for it, but it won’t. Many have argued that Alex came back with a much shorter rest and rehab program in 2009 and still hit 30 home runs and knocked in exactly 100 RBI even though he missed the first month or so of games. Alex was 33 going on 34 when this happened, not going on 40, he had no other issues with his legs/hips during that surgery, and he all but admitted to being on steroids that season. We will see a much different situation and a much different Alex Rodriguez in 2015.

This post was not meant to bash Alex at all, his opposite field power in 2013 was encouraging to me after missing almost the entire season, but it is more meant to be realistic. If the eye test and the obvious doesn’t convince you that Alex probably couldn’t hack it at shortstop, because I am more than willing to admit that none of us truly know for sure whether he can or not, then defensive metrics should. Now while I admit that comparing the SS and 3B positions are a totally different can of worms and so are comparing a 2012 season to a 2014 season bear with me. It will not tell the whole story, no stat does, but it will paint a clearer picture of what to expect, as best as a flawed defensive stat can anyway.

Derek Jeter 2014 UZR/UZR150/Defensive WAR

-8.3 / -12.5 / -4.0

Alex Rodriguez 2012 UZR/UZR150/Defensive WAR

-4.2 / -9.5/ -7.1

That doesn’t exactly give me the warm and fuzzy feeling and it shouldn’t give you one either. You have to expect that A Rod’s metrics will fall from that 2012 season and end up somewhere close to, or worse than, Derek’s 2014 and final season. 

Will Boston Steal David Robertson?

The New York Yankees have made it a habit lately of taking players from the Boston Red Sox and putting them on the team to win a championship or five. Just while I have been alive and watching I can remember the Wade Boggs’, Johnny Damon’s, and Jacoby Ellsbury’s of the world just to name a few. Is it finally time for the Yankees to get their “payback” and will the Boston Red Sox sign David Robertson out from under the team? I hope not, but I do worry.

The Red Sox have a ton of money to spend this offseason and will look to re-tool and rebuild this winter. One place that Boston can afford to upgrade is definitely in their bullpen, especially if the team decides to not re-sign closer Koji Uehara. I can definitely see the Red Sox swooping in and upgrading their bullpen by a lot while severing the Yankees at the same time not only to compete in 2015 and beyond, but just because.

I have been on record as saying that the Yankees need to bring back Robertson no matter what in 2015. Even if the team decided to hand the closers role over to Dellin Betances next season Robertson is just too hard to replace. I am still unsure why you would want to replace the man that saved 39 games this season, blowing five opportunities, for New York anyway.

Robertson is a homegrown player, a good person on and off the field (Follow him on twitter by following @DRob30), and excellent on the field as a player. Sign him up before Boston makes us regret it. 

TGP Daily Poll: Playoffs Will Do Better Ratings w/on Yankees & Red Sox

Believe it or not after the American league Wild Card playoff round I believe the ratings for this year’s MLB postseason may be better without the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

Vote in our poll. 

ICYMI: Derek Jeter on Jimmy Fallon

Derek Jeter discusses retirement, his farewell tour, and his future plans on Late Night w/ Jimmy Fallon.

This Day In New York Yankees History 10/4: Bronx Bombers are Back

The 2009 New York Yankees squad could beat you just about any way they wanted. They had great defense, timely hitting, pitching, and the power to simply outslug you. The power was on full display on this day in 2009 on the last day of the season when Alex Rodriguez hit a three run home run to cap off a ten run sixth inning. Alex’s home run was the teams 243rd of the season, a new Yankees franchise record. A Rod went deep later in the inning as well with the bases loaded to finish the season with exactly 30 home runs and 100 RBI.

Also less notable marks for this day include Dave Righetti extending his major league record saves total for one season to 46 in a doubleheader sweep of the Red Sox in 1986, Hank Bauer extended his World Series hitting streak to 17 games on this day in 1958, and Mickey Mantle became only the fourth Yankee to ever hit a World Series grand slam on this day in 1953.