Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Remembering 2014: Derek Jeter Day

Derek Jeter Day 2014

Top 5 Worst Yankees Free Agent Contracts Ever

It's the final day of 2014 so let's take a quick look at the worst free agent signings for the Yankees ever:

5. Jose Contreras - 4 years $32 million

He was no "El Duque" and was signed in 2003 and traded in 2004 for Esteban freaking Loaiza. Come on.

4. Kei Igawa - 5 years $20 million

3. Ed Whitson - 5 years $4.5 million

Whitson had ugly ERA numbers for his year and a half in New York, broke Billy Martin's arm in 1985 and received death threats from Yankees fans due to his poor performance.

2. Carl Pavano - 4 years $39.95 million

Four years and roughly $40 million for 26 starts and a 0.4 WAR

1. Alex Rodriguez -10 years $252.87 million plus incentives ($320 million cap)

Enough said.

Honorable mentions:

Dave Collins - 3 years $2.47 million
Spike Owen - 3 years $7 million
Pascual Perez - 3 years $5.7 million

State of the Yankees Bullpen without Shawn Kelley

The New York Yankees threw a bit of a curveball to their bullpen earlier in the week when they traded Shawn Kelley to the sleepless AJ Preller and the San Diego Padres for a RHP prospect. This leaves the Yankees 40 man roster at 39 players and potentially opens the door for a Jacob Lindgren, Tyler Webb, Danny Burawa, Branden Pinder or equivalent.

Set in stone right now seem to be the positions, in no particular order, of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, Adam Warren, Justin Wilson and Esmil Rogers. Rogers is cheap enough to where his spot is pretty fringy at best but without Kelley in the 7th inning his spot looks to be more secure than ever.

Presumably New York will use one of those spots on another long man and that job will likely go down to either Bryan Mitchell or Manny Banuelos. The last spot looks to be wide open with the above aforementioned players and a few others like Jose Ramirez. Either way with the trade the Yankees continue to get younger, cheaper and more flexible while still trying to compete in a watered down version of the AL East. I guess I can see the logic in that.

Key Yankees New Years Resolutions

Right after Christmas I made a phone call to some of the key members of the New York Yankees and asked them what they received for Christmas this season. Most of the players received healthy 2015 seasons or productive campaigns next year while A Rod got money so I decided to check in on this New Year’s Eve to ask what some of their New Year’s resolutions were for 2015. The answers may surprise you.

Mark Teixeira – “I’m going to beat the shift. “

Hal Steinbrenner – “After reading the ‘Ghost of Yankees Past’ I think I’m going to give more power and responsibility to Brian Cashman and be more of an owner and less of a power hungry GM.”

Brian McCann – “I was going to say beat the shift too but as we saw in our race last year Mark Teixeira is just a tad quicker than me. I guess I’m going to have to beat Teixeira instead.”

Brian Cashman – “I’m going to put a real World Series caliber team on the field, it just may take me until the 2017 or 2018 season to do it.”

CC Sabathia – “I’m going to make 30 starts this season and try not to flip out on airport personnel because I missed my flight to Jamaica.

Masahiro Tanaka – Something that roughly translated into either “the disgrace the original Power Rangers brought to his family” or “less practical jokes in the locker room.” My Japanese is rusty.

Brendan Ryan – “Hit above .220 so I actually have a place on the team past June.”

Are the Yankees done this offseason?

The Yankees have made plenty of moves this offseason huge and minor. As the New Year is in less than a day fans are wondering if the offseason for the Yankees is over. In my opinion yes the Yankees addressed some positions that they desperately needed but I think they could be better.

As I said yesterday Max Scherzer would be a good sign to improve the rotation. Doesn't look like that'll happen though. Even though the Yankees 5-man rotation is filled Chris Capuano can be a starter but I'd prefer him in the bullpen.

Scherzer would take the place of Capuano and that would help the Yankees rotation and bullpen. Those two things are probably the key to a successful 2015 season for the Yankees. The lineup wouldn't be bad with adding another bad. Brendan Ryan shouldn't be on this team.

The Yankees may not need to add any bats because they have infielders Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela. Those two guys are very talented and with them the Yankees may not need a bat. I like Pirela over Refsnyder so Pirela should get the starting second baseman job. Here's my projected lineup this doesn't include any unsigned free agents.

1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
2. LF Brett Gardner
3. C Brian McCann
4. 1B Mark Texeira
5. RF Carlos Beltran
6. 3B Chase Headley
7. DH player mix
8. SS Didi Gregorious
9. 2B Jose Pirela
This Yankees lineup could be very successful in 2015.

Quick Hit: An Interesting Quote from Shawn Kelley

I thought this quote from Shawn Kelley, courtesy of Dan Barbarisi's Twitter account, was pretty interesting and worth a share. What about you? Sounds like Kelley knows what's going on and isn't talking and it more importantly sounds like there is actually a plan here, which is encouraging. What say you?

Baseball Beginning to Catch on in Uganda

Major League Baseball’s goal always has been and always will be centered on being a global game. Uganda became the first African country to travel for the Little League World Series when the team made the trip to the United States in 2012. This is all showcased in a documentary called “Opposite Field” which screened in New York City last month. New Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Jimmy Rollins has been very active in the baseball growth in Uganda and even narrated a 2012 ABC feature as well as directed and produced Opposite Field.

The Wall Street Journal’s John W. Miller had the story about going to coach baseball in Uganda with the country’s top baseball administrator George Mukhobe and wrote an interesting piece about it. Here is the entire article from Mr. Miller.

This Day in New York Yankees History 12/31: #BringBackTino

On this day in 2004 the Yankees agreed to a contract with Tino Martinez for a one year reunion after the Tampa Bay Devil Rays declined his $8 million option. Martinez was coming off a .262 batting average with 23 home runs and 76 RBI's and signed a $3 million deal with New York. Tino played in New York from 1996-2001 and was replaced by Jason Giambi in 2002 before coming back in 2005 to be Giambi's backup.

Also on this day in 1974 free agent pitcher Catfish Hunter ended an unprecedented bidding war when he signed with the New York Yankees. Hunter signed for $3.75 million, which ended up being three times more than any other player at the time, to leave the A's for New York.