Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Boring Winter Ahead: Watch the 1999 World Series Game Three HERE

Game Three of the 1999 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves.

Yankees Add Anthony Swarzak on MiLB Deal

The New York Yankees continue to add minor league depth and plenty of options for the 2016 season and they did a bit more of that today. The Yankees announced that relief pitcher Anthony Swarzak has been signed to a minor league deal and will receive an invitation to spring training. Swarzak will make $750K if he makes the big league roster at any point this season.

Swarzak joins Vinnie Pestano as former top end relief pitchers to come to Yankees camp looking for a deal. Swarzak is 30 years old and has experience both starting and relieving. When Swarzak did relieve he pitched multiple innings at a time, a la Adam Warren.

We'll meet Swarzak the way we always do later this week.

Meet a Prospect: Tyler Jones

The New York Yankees, like they do every season, have been adding a ton of depth to their minor league system from outside the organization. The team has been adding high upside players who have struggled in recent seasons, Vinnie Pestano, players who fill a specific role, Donovan Solano and Jonathan Diaz, and players who could merely fill in depth spots at Triple-A just in case. The latter belongs to the newest member of the organization and a former member of the Minnesota Twins organization, Tyler Jones.

This is Meet a Prospect: The Tyler Jones Edition. Tyler Jones is a right-handed starting pitcher that was born in September of 1989. The Minnesota Twins drafted Jones out of LSU in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB First Year Players Draft as a starting pitcher before switching him to the relief role full time in 2013.

Jones was a mediocre starting pitcher at best and posted a 4.67 ERA in his first professional season in 2012. After Jones switched to the relief role in 2013 he struck out 66 batters in just 52 innings while holding opposing batters to just a .196 batting average. Jones was promoted to High-A Ball before the 2013 season and he repeated that stop in 2014 where he continued to strike out players at a high rate. The biggest issue with Jones though, and this began to show its head once again in 2014, was the lack of control and command for Jones.

Jones brings a mid-90's MPH fastball to the Yankees and a sharp slider that is devastating to right-handed hitters. Left-handed hitters have done well against Jones in his professional career and that may be his fast-track to the Major Leagues. Jones cannot walk nearly four batters per nine innings if he wants to make the major leagues with the Yankees and he will have to continue to strike out batters more like the 11.4 K/9 ratio he had in 2013 and not the 9.4 K/9 he had in 2014.

Jones is the underdog here and I always root for the underdog. I'm rooting for you Tyler, make us proud and welcome to the family.

Books about Baseball to Pass the Time

The MLB offseason right now has went from a snail’s pace to something slightly slower than a snail’s pace and frankly, I’m bored. When I’m not working on the blog, working my 9 to 5 or being a dad I am usually reading so I figured why not share my favorite baseball related books that I’ve read. Maybe they can help you pass the time while we wait on pitchers and catcher to report, Justin Upton, Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis, Yoenis Cespedes and other to sign and Opening Day. If I missed one or haven’t read one then please leave that in the comments section below for everyone to take advantage of, thanks.

Five Seasons: A Baseball Companion by Roger Angell

-       -   This book collected Angell’s New Yorker columns from 1972 to 1976 which talked about changes in the game of baseball, the Oakland A’s Moustache Gang, Hank Aaron’s pursuit of Babe Ruth’s home run record, the 1975 World Series and so much more.

Red Smith on Baseball: The Game’s Greatest Writer on the Game’s Greatest Years

-       -   Many of these columns are a bit outdated for my liking, the 1940’s and 1950’s, but the amount of wit and humor that Smith uses encourages me and drives me to be a better writer.

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

-          - Who hasn’t read Moneyball or at least seen the movie right?

The Bronx Zoo by Sparky Lyle with Peter Golenbock

-          - The author and the title kind of give this one away but it is the story of the 1978 World Series champion New York Yankees. George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin (again) and Reggie Jackson make for pure entertainment. 

Back to my Powerball Dreaming this Wednesday Morning…

So I and around a million other people didn’t win the big Powerball lottery drawing on Saturday that reached to above $900 million in winnings. When I was at my local gas station buying mine I spoke to a man who flew in from overseas, and me being in a hurry I didn’t ask where exactly but I know it was Europe,  just to purchase his ticket and apparently had big plans for the winnings much like I highlighted in my last post regarding it. I outlined how I would add players to the Yankees via free agency and give other players their walking papers but if I win it tonight this time I’m shooting for the moon. With the winnings expected to be well over $1 billion dollars I plan on getting an investment crew together and I plan on buying the New York Yankees.

Obviously this is totally fictional as I’m not going to win the lottery with their 1-in-500 million odds or whatever it is and Hal Steinbrenner is very unlikely to sell off the Yankees. Could you imagine though? So let’s have fun with this “what if.”

The first thing I would do is walk into Hal Steinbrenner’s office and introduce myself. I wouldn’t make an appointment and I wouldn’t stop at his receptionist’s desk. I just won the biggest Powerball in US history, no introduction is needed. I’d have the contract all drawn out and the price and terms would be left blank. Even Hal knows how to fill in the blanks on his own I presume. When a price was agreed upon by myself, the Steinbrenner family and my group of investors I would shake his hand, walk out of his office and the real fun would begin.

I’d start at the top. Pink slips for all. Randy Levine gets the honor of the first but, and I know a lot of people are ready to click off this post now, Brian Cashman can stay. We don’t know what kind of GM Cashman is because he’s never received a chance to do his thing uninterrupted. He has two years left on his deal and I’d let them see it to fruition. I’d also keep Joe Girardi and his staff, albeit with a short leash, because I don’t want to see anyone necessarily lose their jobs. 

At the bottom I would immediately lower ticket prices and parking pass prices. Would they go back to how cheap they were in the old Yankee Stadium? I doubt that’s feasible but the stadium would return back to the fans regardless when I am the owner. Suits don’t cheer and they don’t deserve to be in the ballpark if they aren’t a fan. 

The fans would take back the Yankees and the Yankees organization would have to once again answer to the fans… and all because of a little two dollar ticket I bought at my local gas station. You’re welcome. 

Predicting the Rest of the Top Free Agent Destinations

Before the MLB Hot Stove season began I predicted all the top free agent destinations with varying degrees of success. When I say varying degrees of success I mean I did terrible, see HERE. I have seven correct and none of them were the top free agents on the list, so is life I guess. There are plenty of these top guys remaining including Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes, Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis, Ian Desmond, Yovani Gallardo, Ian Kennedy and Howie Kendrick. I predicted them once without a single free agent coming off the board but we have a much clearer picture now so I'm going to take a second stab at it.

Justin Upton

Original Prediction: San Francisco Giants
New Prediction: Baltimore Orioles

Yoenis Cespedes

Original Prediction: Chicago White Sox
New Prediction: Chicago White Sox

Wei-Yin Chen * predicted before he signed, left up to show I'm humble :)

Original Prediction: Boston Red Sox
New Prediction: Washington Nationals

Chris Davis

Original Prediction: Washington Nationals
New Prediction: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Ian Desmond

Original Prediction:New York Mets
New Prediction: San Diego Padres

Yovani Gallardo

Original Prediction: Texas Rangers
New Prediction: Texas Rangers

Ian Kennedy

Original Prediction: Baltimore Orioles
New Prediction: San Diego Padres

Howie Kendrick

Original Prediction: Chicago White Sox
New Prediction: Arizona Diamondbacks

Quick Hit: Wei-Yin Chen is off the Board… Now What?

Let the snowballing begin? Wei-Yin Chen is off the board to the Miami Marlins on a five-year deal with an option for a sixth year as Chen looks to lead Miami back to the Promised Land. Chen will now pair up with Jose Fernandez and that young core of players down in Miami that struggled so mightily in 2015 and will look to anchor a rotation that can compete in the AL East. Miami struck the big deal but what does this mean for the rest of the league and specifically the Yankees? A lot actually.

The top starting pitcher is off the board now and all that’s left is what I like to call, and no disrespect intended here, bargain basement pitching. What does it mean for the Yankees? It means if they want a Doug Fister or Tim Lincecum his price tag just went up but at the same time you would have to think that Ivan Nova’s did as well. This doesn’t necessarily mean the Yankees will sign Fister or trade Nova but the likelihood definitely increased with this move.

This also means, officially, that Chen will not head back to Baltimore or Boston or anyone that can really hurt the Yankees in 2015. The dominos should now begin to fall as the interested teams list gets narrower not only for pitching but for all prospects. We needed a big domino to fall and it just did in Chen.


This Day in New York Yankees History 1/13: RIP Joe McCarthy

On this day in 1978 Joe McCarthy, Hall of Fame manager, dies at age 90. The former Cubs, Yankees, and Red Sox manager compiled a 1460-867 record in his career which included nine pennants and seven World Series rings in his 24 years as a skipper. RIP.