Friday, October 16, 2015

2015 Yankees: Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances Highlights

The 1-2 punch for the New York Yankees. 

What if CC Sabathia Retires before 2016?

One of the biggest unknowns heading into the winter before the 2016 season and for the entire 2016 season will not be Carlos Beltran or Alex Rodriguez, it will be CC Sabathia. Sabathia’s 2015 season ended with him checking himself into an alcohol rehabilitation center in the midst of his battle with alcoholism while the left-hander spent another partial season on the disabled list with knee concerns. Sabathia has had trouble with his right surgically repaired knee for three consecutive seasons now and isn’t getting any younger, what would the Yankees do if the southpaw decided to just hang up his spikes and his rosin bag before 2016?

If Sabathia was to retire that would drop the potential list of Yankees starters from eight to seven leaving just Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, Adam Warren, Bryan Mitchell, Ivan Nova and Nathan Eovaldi realistically vying for rotation spots. Theoretically Rookie Davis, Brady Lail and anyone acquired via free agency or in a trade could also make their way to the front of the line but that’s the core as it stands today, October 16th.

I don’t think a Sabathia retirement would lead the team to dip into the free agency pool. Sabathia’s departure would not bring a David Price, a Jordan Zimmerman or a Johnny Cueto. It may bring Warren to the rotation and Davis to the bullpen but that’s about the extent of it. Sabathia is not relied upon as an ace or a stopper anymore and as much as I hate to say it, because I like his leadership, his guts and his fire, he is possibly the most replaceable starter in the Yankees rotation.

I admittedly do not know how the whole contract language in the collective bargaining agreement works so I am unclear how his remaining contract and vesting option would play out if he was to retire. The vesting option triggers if Sabathia does not end the 2016 season on the disabled list with left shoulder injuries or concerns. If Sabathia retires would he technically not end the season on the DL or would he surrender any option years? That’s for Hal Steinbrenner, the MLB Players Association and for a room for a lawyers to figure out. If someone knows for sure please leave a comment in the comments section because I am not 100% sure either way. 

Join us on Tap Sports Baseball 2015

The offseason is long, cold and boring at times so why not spend your winter playing video games? Words to live by, yeah I know. When the playoffs are over and the World Series is won some of you will switch over to the NFL, then to the NBA before coming back to Major League Baseball but I’m not much of a fan of either leagues. I’m a gamer, as much of a gamer as my wife, two kids and two jobs will allow me to be anyway, and I found a great baseball game that we can play together. Tap Sports Baseball 2015.

I’m not being paid to play or promote this game in anyway, I truly just like the game and enjoyed playing with our Twitter followers and readers in the 2014 version of the game. It’s fun. It’s not as deep as MLB The Show 15 or as arcade oriented as RBI Baseball, it’s just simple and fun, yet competitive.

Tap Sports Baseball 2015 username: GreedyPinstripes

What If Carlos Beltran Retires Before 2016?

Here on the blog we like to dream, and sometimes dream REALLY big, during the offseason so why not go big since the team has already gone home? We took a look at what it would mean to the 2016 edition of the New York Yankees if Alex Rodriguez retired at 40-years old but what would it mean if Alex stayed and Carlos Beltran, 39-years old just as an FYI and under team control for one more season, retired leaving a gaping hole in right field?

The team would have a hole in right field that could be filled either from within or through free agency with relative ease as Mason Williams is expected to be ready for spring training, Slade Heathcott will presumably still be on the 40 man roster and the likes of Justin Upton, Gerardo Parra, Ben Zobrist and others on the free agent market. The team would, again correct me if I’m wrong, still be on the hook for Beltran’s $15 million in salary but the roster spot may be more important to New York than the money at this point. Plenty of money is coming off the books after next season and after the 2017 season so the team may be willing to inflate the team salary in the short term in order to still get under the luxury tax, the ultimate long term goal for New York.

The real question, for me anyway, is whether the team would give top prospect Aaron Judge a true look out of spring training in 2016, simply hand the job to Heathcott or Williams or if the team would go with a veteran stop gap to start the season. I know Judge struggled for a lot of the second half of the season in Triple-A but while many are quick to point that out almost no one talks about the “mystery” back injury that was “no big deal” according to the Yankees although it kept him out for almost a week. Could that “no big deal” have been keeping him from being quite right at the plate? Well surely after a full spring training we would all know that answer for sure but right now I would have to say yes.

If Beltran retires I think the Yankees continue the youth movement while keeping the payroll as close to $187 million as they can. The team would insert Judge and ultimately get better in my opinion while allowing a player like Heathcott to be the 4th outfielder.

NOTE: I don’t believe Beltran is going to retire or should retire, just playing a little Devil’s Advocate for the offseason. 

Jason Giambi the Next Yankees Hitting Coach?

In case you didn't know or see the post on the blog from yesterday but the New York Yankees hitting coach Jeff Pentland is set to hit free agency after the 2015 World Series. The Yankees came into the 2015 season with two hitting coaches, Pentland and Alan Cockrell, and will likely decide to do so in 2016 as well. Will that hitting coach be Pentland, assuming he gets some of the credit for having the second highest scoring offense in 2015 and the team ignores the last six-to-eight weeks of struggles with the offense, or will it be someone else? The hitting coach could be Marcus Thames, a hitting coach in the minor leagues for the Yankees, Tino Martinez, a scout and adviser for the team, or could it possibly be Jason Giambi?

Giambi was the Yankees first baseman replacing Tino Martinez from 2002-2008 as he passed the torch to Mark Teixeira and was listed as an active player as recently as 2015 at age 43 with the Cleveland Indians. Giambi hit well during his major league career but his biggest asset was getting on base. Giambi retired with a .399 OBP with 1,366 walks which is 32nd best all time. This is all before you consider his 440 career home runs, MVP Awards and hitting titles with the Oakland Athletics.

Giambi has quite the reputation with the players and has drawn praise from current manager Terry Francona in recent years for his leadership and coaching ability. Giambi has also been one of the few players that have used PED's, admitted it, and came back better and better for it in the league. If anyone can use Giambi as a mentor more than a coach isn't it Alex Rodriguez? A Rod, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, etc. already know how to hit but if they can learn something from Giambi I think he would be worth his weight in gold. Giambi could also be great teaching McCann and Mark Teixeira especially because he faced the shift, and went against the shift, for many years during his playing career.

Giambi was called a future manager by Terry Francona and could use the Yankees hitting coach position as a stepping stone for his ultimate goal. If the Yankees want to bring the Giambino back they have my vote of confidence.

The Chase Utley Rule is Coming

Ladies, gentleman and Justin Upton the Chase Utley rule is coming. Much like Major League Baseball, and specifically Commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred, vowed to protect the catchers in the game the league is now making strides towards protecting their middle infielders as well. We all know the back story by now, Chase Utley went hard and late into second base during the NLDS against the New York Mets sliding well past the bag in a play that resulted in a broken fibula for the Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada. The slide was dirty and it was late but the slide was no worse than any other in recent memory but despite all that Utley was suspended for two games, which he is appealing, for the play. The league, its fans and the players, Justin Upton I’m looking at you here, were immediately up in arms about the play voicing their opinions and those opinions have been heard.

The Chase Utley rule is coming. The rule likely won’t be called that but I think the nickname will stick. Manfred wants to meet with the owners, the players, the umpires and the unions to hammer out a plan to protect middle infielders before the beginning of the 2016 season. Manfred said he began contemplating a rule change as early as this summer, before the Utley and Tejada incident, before the Didi Gregorius and Jose Altuve incident, before the Jung Ho Kang and Chris Coghlan incident that also resulted in a broken leg for the Pittsburgh Pirates rookie and other incidents happened this season. The Utley and Tejada incident was just the icing on the cake for Manfred to work with the league to get a deal done in some capacity.

The league may be reactive instead of proactive here but with a union, the strongest union in the world mind you, and so many moving parts sometimes that can be impossible. Kudos to the league for doing something to protect their assets, MLB is a business first and foremost, and for protecting the young stars playing the game. Some may say the game is getting soft or following in the NFL’s footsteps (the No Fun League) but let them talk because Ruben Tejada’s not having any fun right now and neither is Chase Utley. 

Trenton Thunder Fireworks Shows Planned for 2016


Thunder fans will get 21 chances to see a post-game fireworks show during the 2016 season at ARM & HAMMER Park and on Wednesday the team announced the scheduled dates. Fireworks shows will run on select Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights throughout the season.

"Our awe-inspiring fireworks shows are the best in the Greater Mercer County Area," said Thunder General Manager Jeff Hurley. "Droves of fans come out to ARM & HAMMER Park, each and every season, to witness these spectacular display."

The first show of the 2016 season will take place on Friday, May 6 after the game against the Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals) and then on select nights throughout the rest of the season. The team's annual Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza will take place on Sunday, July 3following the Thunder's game with the Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants). The final fireworks show of the season is scheduled forSunday, September 4 after the Thunder take on the Reading Fightin Phils (Philadelphia Phillies) in their final night game of the 2016 regular season.

The dates below will feature a post-game fireworks show:

Friday, May 6 @ 7pm
Saturday, May 7 @ 7pm
Thursday, May 12 @ 7pm
Saturday, May 14 @ 7pm
Thursday, May 19 @ 7pm
Saturday, June 4 @ 7pm
Thursday, June 16 @ 7pm
Saturday, June 18 @ 7pm
Thursday, June 30 @ 7pm
Saturday, July 2 @ 7pm
Sunday, July 3 @ 7pm
Thursday, July 14 @ 7pm
Saturday, July 16 @ 7pm
Thursday, July 28 @ 7pm
Saturday, July 30 @ 7pm
Thursday, August 4 @ 7pm
Friday, August 12 @ 7pm
Saturday, August 13 @ 7pm
Thursday, August 18 @ 7pm
Saturday, September 3 @ 7pm
Sunday, September 4 @ 7pm

Your Thunder will open the 2016 season at ARM & HAMMER Park on Thursday, April 7 when they host the Erie SeaWolves (Detroit Tigers). Season tickets, group outings and Pic-A-Plan renewals are on sale now. Single game tickets will go on sale in March 2016.

Fans can stay in touch with all the latest information about the Thunder by signing up for Fun on Deck, the team's bi-weekly newsletter. CLICK HEREto sign up.

2016 Schedule with Fireworks Dates

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/16: Aaron Bleeping Boone

Watch the entire Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS right here for free on the blog. 

The most hated and closely played rivalry in Major League Baseball history is between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox. This rivalry was never stronger, at least during my years of being a fan, then in the early and mid-2000’s. On this day in 2003 the Yankees and the Red Sox played Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. After the Yankees came storming back late in the game off Pedro Martinez Aaron Boone came to bat in the bottom of the 11th inning to face Tim Wakefield. On the first pitch he saw the Yankee third baseman slammed a home run down the left field line helping the Yankees capture their 39th American League pennant of the franchise’s history and yet another decisive blow to the Red Sox.

Speaking of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry in the postseason and Pedro Martinez it was on this day in 1999 when Martinez faced off with the Yankees ace Roger Clemens in the ALCS. This was touted as one of the best pitching matchups of all time on paper but that did not translate onto the field. Clemens did not last three innings in the contest as the Red Sox blew out the Yankees 13-1.

Also on this day in 1962 the Yankees beat the San Francisco Giants in Candlestick Park in Game 7 of the World Series to capture the team’s 20th World Series Championship. The Giants threatened late before Willie McCovey lined out to the Yankees Bobby Richardson as New York won the game 1-0.

It is also worth mentioning that the New York Post sucks... sucked back in 2003 and it sucks now.

As we remember Aaron Boone hit that dramatic walk off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning in Game 7 of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox in 2004 to cap off an improbable comeback for the New York Yankees. The NY Post didn’t share the same enthusiasm and confidence as the team apparently as the newspaper released early editions of the paper claiming that the Yankees had fallen to the Red Sox in Game 7. The game was over shortly after 11:00 pm… whatever.