Saturday, December 27, 2014

Remembering 2014: Jacoby Ellsbury

Remembering 2014: Dellin Betances

The New Years Eve and 2015 countdown has officially begun. Let's remember 2014, the good stuff about 2014 anyway, by taking a look back at what Dellin Betances brought to the team. Enjoy.

Why the Yankees Should Pursue Jordan Zimmerman

We all know about the Nathan Eovaldi trade and the re-signing of Chris Capuano. We all probably know those moves should put an end to the Yankees' offseason.

After making them, the Yankees have five respectable starters they can use to put up a decent fight in 2015. Again, they're respectable, not necessarily above-average.

Basically, the Yankees' rotation is mediocre right now. Considering their weak offense, the Yankees will likely only be able to win next season with pitching, so why aren't they still looking for arms? They've shown no interest in doing so up to this point, but that can change. The Nationals have expressed interest recently in trading Jordan Zimmerman to make room for Max Scherzer, so the Yankees can always go after him. They have to in my opinion, and here's why:

1. Zimmerman is Reliable:
I personally believe that Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda will do fine next year, but that doesn't mean everyone one else will as well. CC Sabathia is losing velocity, Eovaldi's a mystery, Capuano's not really supposed to dominate, and Ivan Nova is coming off Tommy John surgery. Zimmerman would bring reliability to the Yankees if acquired, giving them a nice trio to cancel out the others' inevitable struggles.

2. Zimmerman's a Cheap Ace:
It may be too good for Brian Cashman to believe, but Zimmerman's actually affordable. He only has one year left on his contract, but in it he's set to make just under $12 million. That's not bad, especially when the Yankees have already proved more than willing to give Capuano just under half that. Not to mention, Zimmerman's also an ace, so if Tanaka or Pineda go down, the Yankees need not worry.

3. The Yankees Can't Pass Up the Opportunity:
If next season's second base battle's going to be between Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela, then why don't the Yankees just pick their favorite and send the other to DC? I don't want to do that, but trading's all about sacrificing. A nice prospect package is worth nothing compared to Zimmerman.

To put it simply, we've all been wishing, secretly or openly, the Yankees make a run at the aforementioned Scherzer, and we all know New York's current group isn't championship-caliber. Unfortunately, signing Scherzer won't happen, but that doesn't mean the Yankees can't still improve. Zimmerman's better than James Shields, cheaper than Scherzer, and healthier than Tanaka. Why the Yankees wouldn't at least try to get him, frankly, beats me.

Fangraphs: Defense Metrics Numbers Are In

Many people believe the eye test is a more suitable way to project what a player is going to be and what a player is going to do in any given season. The rest of us rely on the metrics and the numbers that sites like Baseball Reference and Fangraphs feeds us. Fangraphs has released their defensive metrics numbers for the 2015 season and surprisingly the numbers are favorable for the Yankees. 

New York is considered one of the three most improved teams defensively this season along with the Cleveland Indians and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The three best teams according to Fangraphs with the best defenses are the Kansas City Royals, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles. With the best comes the worst and the three worst defenses in the game next season are the Houston Astros, the Chicago White Sox and the Minnesota Twins. While the Yankees are one of the three most improved teams there are three teams that took the largest steps back for this season and they are the San Diego Padres, the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Team2015 ProjectionZ Score2014 UZRZ ScoreChange, Z
Blue Jays1-0.1-7-0.20.1
Red Sox190.8491.5-0.6
White Sox-26-1.6-39-1.2-0.4

If Jordan Zimmerman is Available...

The New York Yankees have seemingly made it their goal to get younger, deeper and more flexible this offseason while still trying to compete. The additions of Nathan Eovaldi, Didi Gregorius and the presumable addition of either Robert Refsnyder and/or Jose Pirela to second base are evidence of a team trying a new philosophy when it comes to team building. Should that new team philosophy force Brian Cashman to make a phone call to the GM of the Washington Nationals if Jordan Zimmerman really is available? Sure, why not.

If the Nationals want to sign Max Scherzer and have to trade Zimmerman to accommodate then New York should definitely try and help. Zimmerman would give the Yankees a true ace, not an ace in waiting and not an ace with health questions in 2015, and while he would cost a lot for a one year rental he could be re-signed to an extension before the season begins. Scott Boras does not represent Zimmerman and the Yankees broke their policy of not negotiating with free agents before their current deal expires so it would not be out of the realm of possibilities for an extension to be a part of the negotiations. Zimmerman is 28 years old and will be 29 entering free agency so if worst came to worst New York could offer him a qualifying offer and get a first round draft pick as compensation if he left.

I don't pretend to know what the Nationals need or what they would want from us so I could be totally off base with this trade idea but it seems Washington may be nearing a cap to their spending. With the likes of Wilson Ramos, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg set to hit free agency soon they would obviously need a replacement or some salary relief elsewhere. Gary Sanchez could be ready by the time Ramos is set to be a free agent and could headline the deal. The rest of the deal I'm not so sure about but if it took a controllable NL pitcher like Nathan Eovaldi and another prospect or two to get the job done then it seems worth it to me.

What say you?

Dwight Gooden: Letter to my Younger Self

Courtesy of Derek Jeter's site The Player's Tribune and former New York Yankees player Dwight Gooden. Gooden writes a letter to his younger self and parts of it were kind of bone chilling to me. I really enjoyed this and wanted you all to see it as well if you haven't already. Enjoy.

Dear Doc,
I’m writing you this letter from the future — many, many fastballs and curveballs from where you’re standing now. It may seem farfetched now, but in the coming years you will achieve your greatest dreams and be forced to confront a lot of pain and darkness. I can’t shield you from all the mistakes and errors — these are the things that will shape the man you ultimately become — but here’s some guidance about the journey you’re going to embark on.
When you’re a 13-year-old in Tampa Bay, a man will tell you that one day you’re going to play for the New York Yankees. His name is George Steinbrenner and you should listen to him.
If Mr. Steinbrenner offers you a small stake in the Yankees several decades later, maybe think twice before turning him down out of respect for your friendship.
On that note, your agent will approach you about becoming an early investor in a fast food chain called Checkers. At the time you might assume that it won’t be able to compete with Burger King. Maybe reconsider that decision as well.
$2,400 a month is not a good deal for an unfurnished, windowless basement apartment in Port Washington in 1984. Find a place closer to the stadium — you can afford windows, man.
I can’t believe I have to tell you this, but the reason fans are following you to the grocery store is because you decided to put a strip that says Mr. Dwight on the windshield of your Z20 Camaro. You’ll remember this car as the one with the bunny rabbits painted on both sides. Oh, and the big fuzzy dice. Try to practice a little discretion. The jheri curl, large medallion and gold teeth you’re rocking won’t do much to help you blend in either. Your teammates won’t say anything to your face, but you better believe they’re talking about you.
Take a moment to thank the Lord that social media will not exist during your playing career. The entire ‘86 Mets team probably would have been locked up.
You’re too stubborn to listen to me on this, but your arm isn’t indestructible. The damage you do to your body off the field will eventually catch up to your performance on the mound. Trust me when I say that those 150 pitch shut-outs will add up quickly, so try to take care of yourself.
There is one pitch that will forever haunt you. It will happen during the 1988 NLCS with your team up 4-2. In the 9th inning, you’ll walk John Shelby on four pitches, and then face Mike Scioscia. The guy is not a home run hitter but you should respect him as a veteran with a lot of experience. Everyone in the stadium, including Scioscia, knows that you’re going to throw a fastball. With your first pitch, your instinct will be to try to throw it over the middle to get ahead on the count with a quick strike. What you should do is throw it low and away.
Read that last line again. Throw it low and away.
New York Mets
Everything will come much easier if you always remember that the media is not the sole judge of your successes and failures. If you think you pitched a good game, that’s all that matters.
I should tell you that the biggest challenges you’ll face in your lifetime will not relate to baseball. Baseball is something that will always come naturally to you. You’ll struggle with the things that don’t come as naturally.
Someday your father will pass away, and when he does, going to the ballpark will start feeling like a job for the first time in your career. At that point, take some time away from the game to reevaluate what’s really important in life. If you don’t allow yourself time to emotionally recover, the wins won’t bring joy and the losses won’t bring disappointment. That’s when you know it’s time to retire.
Eighty percent of your drive will come from your desire to make dad proud, while the other 20 percent will be for you. Do your best to flip those numbers around, otherwise his absence will cause you to spiral. There are steps you can take to stop this decline, but you’ll have to discover them the hard way.
Your yearning to be liked should not define you as a person. Not everyone has your best interests in mind.
Drugs and alcohol are only a false sense of security. Neither thing will fill the void you feel. Unfortunately it might take you a few missed Christmas Days with your family to learn this.
You will want to try to fix your issues on your own. This is how you think a man handles his problems. It isn’t. Being a man is about reaching out for help when you need it. If your curveball isn’t working, you’ll know how to fix that. If the control on your pitches is off, you’ll know how to fix that. But you will face a lot of hardship because of your inability to realize that you can’t fix yourself.
Finally, please know this: I love you. It’s going to take you a long time and a lot of pain to realize this, but accepting it will go a long way towards healing. The journey will be trying, but it ends in a good place.
Keep getting those Ks,
Dwight ‘Doc’ Gooden

This Day In New York Yankees History 12/27: The YES Network and CBS

On 2001 the Yankees moved their spring training, regular season, and postseason games to WCBS-AM from WABC. The Yankees then signed a five year deal with the newly created YES Network worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million.

Also on this day in 1984 the Yankees signed Ed Whitson to a five year deal worth $4.4 million. Whitson went 14-8 with the NL Champion San Diego Padres the season before but the Yankees never got close to that production out of Whitson. Whitson only lasted a season and a half with the Yankees and compiled a 15-10 record with 5.38 ERA in 44 games.

Finally on this day in 1943 former Yankee infielder Roy White is born. White would go on to play 15 seasons for the Yankees while batting a career .271. Not bad for a Los Angeles boy.