Friday, October 31, 2014

Ex-Yankees Closer Rivera Doesn't Think A-Rod's Return Will Be a Distraction

Former Yankees Closer Mariano Rivera doesn't think next season's return of Alex Rodriguez to the team will be a distraction.

Rivera, talking to The New York Post's Mike Puma yesterday, actually seemed to give Rodriguez a rather good amount of sympathy. According to the future Hall of Famer, since the troubled third baseman has accepted his punishment, he should be considered just as legitimate as everyone else going into next April, an opinion many tend to disagree with.

“He paid his dues, he paid his suspension and he’s legitimate like the rest of the league," Rivera said. "Hopefully he comes ready to play and does well for the team, because he has a contract. He has to be there for the team and hopefully he does well.”

Rivera added that with Derek Jeter now gone he's not sure whose team the Yankees are now. One month into their offseason, as most have probably noticed, numerous names have already come up as possible successors to the longtime Pinstripes' shortstop, those of Hanley Ramirez, Korean Free Agent Jung-Ho Kang, and Asdrubel Cabrera included.

“I don’t know whose team it’s going to be – as long as [Rodriguez] performs for the team,” he said.

That's certainly a big "as long as," especially when one considers that Rodriguez hasn't played more than 100 games since 2012. Nonetheless, since he did still hit a respectale .272 that year it'd be illogical for the baseball world to not at least give him another chance in 2015, regardless of what off-the-field issues he's recently gotten himself into.

Yankees Will Offer David Robertson a Qualifying Offer

And the offseason begins for the Yankees... Good call by Brian Cashman and company. I hope he accepts.

Yankees Sign Eric Chavez

Eric Chavez is back with the New York Yankees but not at third base, this time Chavez will be a special assignment scout. Chavez was a backup third baseman for the Yankees and will return to the organization off the front line. Having Chavez back in the organization is fun for the fans and could potentially be a precursor to another move. Many around the league consider Chavez to be a hitting coach type guy later on down the road and the Yankees may be ready to hand him that job is, say, Marcus Thames was named as the MLB hitting coach.

Stay tuned...

Mark Reynolds is a Suitable Plan C

Mark Reynolds was a member of the New York Yankees during the 2013 season as Brian Cashman tried to acquire some much needed right handed power. Cashman's plan was to bring in Reynolds and have him lead the team along with Alfonso Soriano to the postseason. Obviously that plan did not work and Cashman did not bring Reynolds back for 2014 as he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers on a one year deal worth $2 million even though he made a ton of sense for the Yankees this season, will New York bring him back to the Bronx in 2015?

The Yankees are not planning on Alex Rodriguez playing 100+ games at third base this season and may not expect that total out of first baseman Mark Teixeira either making the need for a backup player at both positions even more dire. Chase Headley played the second half with the Yankees this season and is being viewed as a Plan A or Plan B on the team in my opinion. Reynolds is actually a better first baseman than Headley in defensively and is considered to be above average at third base, both a need for the Yankees. Reynolds is also a power hitter, although it is more of a power or nothing type of attack, and is right handed which balances the lefty heavy Yankees lineup.

Reynolds may not be the Yankees Plan A or even a Plan B but he would be a pretty good Plan C this offseason.

2015 Free Agency Royal Rumble – Bullpen

Ladies and gentleman welcome to the 2015 Major League Baseball free agency Royal Rumble brought to you by The Greedy Pinstripes. Tonight we have all the potential bullpen outfield options for the New York Yankees heading into this winter in one ring vying for the contract of a lifetime, let’s go down to the ring.

In the red corner stands former Yankee Rafael Soriano, in the blue corner stands Andrew Miller, in the green corner stands Koji Uehara, and in the black corner stands Joba Chamberlain. Let’s get it on!

To be honest I added Joba to the list more or less for nostalgia and a joke, more so for the latter than the former, and I personally throw him over the top rope and leave the true winner of the day. Miller walks up and shakes my hand as I leave and continues to show me his qualifying offer after I am out of the ring while Uehara throws him over the top rope and to the floor. Uehara is 40 years old and is now tired from throwing Miller over the top rope and does not help the team get any younger as Soriano eliminates him from the contest. 

Soriano is the winner and will receive a one year deal at $10 million to help the Yankees bullpen in 2015.

Right a Wrong, Sign Torii Hunter

Before the 2013 season the New York Yankees were set to lose Nick Swisher to free agency. Almost immediately after the World Series ended and free agency began the name Torii Hunter was linked to the Yankees to be their right fielder and Swisher's replacement. As we all know Hunter wanted a two year deal, that he got in Detroit, while the Yankees refused to go above two years for the then 37 year old. New York ended up with Ichiro Suzuki on a two year deal in his age 39 season, I don't get the logic either, but the Yankees are in the position to right a wrong this offseason by bringing Hunter to the Bronx.

Hunter is now in his age 39 season but has not significantly dropped off in his production at the plate or in the field. Hunter spent much of the season batting in the #2 hole and playing right field for the Tigers this season. Hunter has played in at least 140 games in each of his last four seasons and has compiled at least 16 home runs and 80 RBI. In fact if Hunter was on the Yankees in 2014 he would have led the team in runs batted in.

It's hard to depend on Carlos Beltran in the outfield for more than 100 games so it would be a good idea to get someone that can split time with him. Hunter is right handed and could play the outfield while Beltran played DH or took the day off while balancing the Yankees lineup. Hunter is undoubtedly looking for a place to win a World Series before he retires and with him on the team that very well could be the Yankees.

Baseball America's Top 10 Yankees Prospects

Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and John Ryan Murphy stepped aside, as a few newbies found there way onto Baseball America's Top 10 Yankees Prospects.

After a great season, in which he had an ERA of 2.52 and a strikeout rate of 10.1/9IP between three different minor league levels, Luis Severino landed at the top of the list.

Here is the list...

1. RHP Luis Severino
2. RF Aaron Judge
3. SS Jorge Mateo
4. 1B Greg Bird
5. C Gary Sanchez
6. LHP Ian Clarkin
7. 2B Rob Refsnyder
8. LHP Jacob Lindgren
9. C Luis Torrens
10. 3B Miguel Andujar

If Not Hanley Ramirez, What About That Cuban Guy?

Yesterday I posted an article going over my ideas for the offseason. That post was done with only free agents in mind, as you can't predict trades. If the Yankees could make a deal for a better hitter at third base than Chase Headley, then I'd be okay with finding a better defender to play shortstop. The bottom line is that the team needs to do is improve the offense.

Now, I'm picturing numerous people yelling at their computer monitors, with the name "Pablo Sandoval" being said somewhere between all the spit. My response to Sandoval is two-fold...

Stop yelling and let me explain.

For starters, the Giants have a history of re-signing guys that are key to the team and the fans love. Look at Tim Lincecum, and his 2-year $35 million deal, as evidence.

Secondly, I don't trust the guy. I'll never fully believe a guy that's overweight is somebody you can count on for five or so years.

He's an extreme example, but Cecil Fielder garnered MVP votes from his age 26 season through his age 29 season. After that he not only didn't get a single MVP vote, he didn't appear in any All Star games, and he only had one more healthy season (1996, when he was traded to the Yankees). In fact, if it wasn't for being able to hit quite a few home runs between the ages of 30 and 33 (and by a "few" we're talking 28, 31, 39 and 26), he would have been a below replacement-level player.

Sandoval hasn't got as much power as Fielder did, doesn't get on base as much as Fielder did, and his batting average... while higher than Fielder's... is nothing to get excited over (.279 over the past two seasons).

Perhaps Chase Headley can improve on his last two seasons, and get closer to what he was 2012. But I'm not counting on that, and neither should the Yankees. They need to find a sure way to improve the offense first. And Hanley Ramirez seems to be that guy.

Unless, like I said in the introduction, the team could swing a trade. Or...

"You've got my attention. Now, this better be good."

If the Yankees could either void the remainder of Alex Rodriguez's contract, or decide to just release him, then that would open up the DH slot for Carlos Beltran. Then the Yankees could sign Headley for third base, find a better defender for shortstop, and improve the offense by adding a middle of the order bat in outfielder Yasmani Tomas.

At 24 years old Tomas has yet to reach his prime. Baseball America gave him a 70 out of 80 on the power scale, and go on to say he's a decent runner for his size. While Yasmani could jump right into MLB, BA went on to say that he may need to spend some time in AAA to get accustomed to things in MLB. If so, the Yankees would want to add a good 4th outfielder who could handle things for a couple months or so until they call up Tomas.

However, there would be risks. Tomas ran into an outfield wall last season, which resulted in him losing playing time during the second half of the Serie Nacional season. His power that season took a big hit, as he could only manage 6 home runs (he had 15 the year before). But the fact that he was able to continue to hit well (batting average at .290), along with a solid on-base percentage of .346, makes me think the power will return.

And due to all the hurdles Yasmani needs to jump through before even being eligible to sign a contract, such as gaining residency in another country and get an unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, he may not be able to sign until well into 2015. At that point the other good options could be off the table.

Perhaps just signing Hanley Ramirez would be easier, but there are options rather than dealing with more sub-par defense from our shortstop. Let's hope Brian Cashman and Co. are smarter than I am.

The Best Freak Injuries In Major League Baseball

Jose Canseco accidentally shot himself while cleaning a gun on Wednesday which got me thinking what were some of the best freak and accidental injuries in Major League history? Here is my list, what's yours?

  • Sammy Sosa threw his back out in 2004 when he sneezed twice and got back spasms. 
  • Chris Coughlin tore a meniscus putting pie in the face of Wes Helms in 2010. 
  • Marty Cordova fell asleep in a tanning bed in 2002 and missed games due to the burns.
  • Joel Zumaya hurt his wrist and forearm playing Guitar Hero in 2006. 
  • Hunter Pence walked into a sliding glass door after getting out of a hot tub in 2008. 
  • Jeff Kent broke his wrist washing his truck in 2002. 
  • Carlos Quentin broke his wrist punching his bat in 2008.
  • Carl Pavano ruptures his spleen shoveling snow 

Does This Mean The Mets Wont Be Amazing In 2015?

The last time the Kansas City Royals won the World Series was the 1985 season when rookie pitcher Brett Saberhagen won a decisive Game 6. Saberhagen had some help as the Royals put up 11 runs on the board in that contest to force the Game 7 that Kansas City would ultimately win. Enter Game 6 of the 2014 World Series when rookie pitcher Yordano Ventura shut down the San Francisco Giants in Game 6 behind a 10-0 victory for the Royals. As we all saw in Game 7 the San Francisco Giants showed that a stud lefty is more valuable than home field advantage any day.

In 1986 the Amazing Mets won the World Series over the Boston Red Sox in the Bill Buckner series. Does this mean the Mets wont come out of nowhere and win the 2015 World Series? Hey, you never know. 

Quick Hit: Happy Halloween

This is every kid's dream isn't it? Halloween on a Friday or Saturday night so you can stay out all night conning people out of their candy and stay up all night eating it all? Happy Halloween everybody from everyone here at The Greedy Pinstripes.

We have a drinking idea, every time you see an Elsa you take a shot. Get the paramedics on call first though!

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/31: A Rod in the Middle Once Again

On this day in 2009 Alex Rodriguez hit a long fly ball in right field at Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia that resulted in being the first instant replay call in World Series history. Originally the fly ball was called a double but the play was overturned and ruled a home run in the Yankees favor. If you can remember back that far this was the ball that hit the camera on the fence in right field and bounced back into the field of play.

Also on this day in 1957 Yogi Berra ruffled a few feathers when he admitted that the Yankees returned money to their players from fines collected in the Copacabana fight. Players like Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, and Moose Skowron to name a few were involved in a brawl while celebrating Billy Martin's 29th birthday in May.  This obviously garnered some unwanted publicity for the storied New York Yankees franchise so the fines handed down were supposed to calm the waters until Yogi blew the lid off of the whole ordeal.