Thursday, January 14, 2016

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

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

Luis Arroyo, Former Yankees Pitcher, Dies at Age 88

Former two-time All-Star and member of the New York Yankees Luis Arroyo has passed away today after his battle with cancer, he was 88-years old. Arroyo was a former Yankee and World Series winner in 1961 behind the big bats of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.

Arroyo was the first Puerto Rican-born player to play for the Yankees in the team’s storied history when he joined them in 1960. Arroyo made the World Series in 1960 and was one out and one shot heard round the world away from a pair of World Series rings with the club.

Rest in peace to Mr. Arroyo and our condolences go out to the family, friends and anyone who was affected. RIP. 

This Ain't A Scene It's A --- Damn Arms Race

Prepare yourselves Yankees fans because the American League East is not a scene anymore, it's about to become an arms race. The New York Yankees have beefed up their bullpen with Aroldis Chapman and put out a potential CC Sabathia-less starting rotation with every pitcher under 28-years old while the Boston Red Sox added David Price and Craig Kimbrel. Not to be outdone the reigning and defending AL East Champions added Drew Storen from the Washington Nationals along with JA Happ and a severely underrated Jesse Chavez to beef up their pitching staffs. There won't be many easy inter-division games this season, even the Rays and Orioles are pesky, and it's all going to come down to pitching.

The Yankees have a plethora of options in case one of their starters go down and Joe Girardi, as he loves to do, has a ton of options to mix and match in his bullpen as the season goes on. Names like Bryan Mitchell, James Kaprielian, Luis Cessa and Chad Green can step into the starting rotation alongside presumed long reliever Ivan Nova while the list of bullpen options for Girardi and the Yankees would take me until late into the weekend to list. To hit the high points you have Jacob Lindgren, James Pazos, Chasen Shreve, Nick Rumbelow, Nick Goody, Johnny Barbato, Kirby Yates and the minor league signings like Vinnie Pestano.

Could the options be better? Sure, most teams could say that though. Are there plenty of options now and plenty of insurance? Again, sure. As it stands now with everyone healthy and ready to go, obviously a lot can change between now and then. I'm just glad the Yankees have plenty of available arms ready for the arms race that will soon become the American League East Division.

* The title references a song by Fall Out Boy and is not my own. Send them the hate mail :)

Fantasy Baseball: Who Are the Chicago Cubs?

Fantasy Baseball is just around the corner and it’s never too early to start doing your homework on your league and your team specifically. We went over a team already that I personally thought many wouldn’t know in the Atlanta Braves so I wanted to go back into your comfort zone with today’s team, the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs added a few key pieces to an already young and stacked team as they look to not only compete in the National League Central Division but as they look to break that Curse of the Billy Goat. 

You know the names of Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist and what they bring to the table but what about the rest of the team? There’s plenty of talent on this Cubs team that you may want to draft but one pitcher you may want to stay away from, at least early on, is John Lackey. Lackey pitched brilliantly in St. Louis last season posting a 2.77 ERA with the Cardinals but the peripherals and other stats paint a different story. Lackey left an amazing 82.6 percent of his batters on base last season and is not likely to duplicate that in 2016, especially with the smaller dimensions inside Wrigley Field and especially with the wind blowing out during all those day games. Lackey also posted the lowest strikeout rate in his last three seasons in 2015 and will be entering his age 37 season in 2016. Stay clear unless it’s late. 

Addison Russell took over for Starlin Castro last season and will have the starting shortstop job until he loses it in 2016. Russell is just 22-years old and has a long way to go in his development but he did show signs of life in the second half of 2015 posting a .259 average with seven home runs in August and September alone. Russell has the potentially, maybe not necessarily in 2016 but soon, to his 30 home runs and steal a ton of bases. Who wouldn’t want that on your fantasy team, especially at the second base position? 

Adam Warren should get a ton of opportunities in Chicago both as a starting pitcher and as a reliever but how will he stack up in fantasy? Well he was easily the Yankees most consistent starter last season outside of Luis Severino and will presumably finally get a shot at a starting gig all season in 2016. For that reason alone Warren should see an uptick in his stats as he struggled in both the bullpen and rotation the first couple appearances after switching from the other. The Yankees tinkered with a pitcher and hurt his value in doing so? Joba, say it ain’t so. 

The final piece to the Cubs piece of the puzzle is right fielder Jorge Soler. Soler is not going to steal you 30 bases a season nor is he going to hit for a .300 average and knock in 120 RBI. He does have the power to hit 30 home runs though as he has shown an ability to hit the ball far when he makes contact. Soler won’t go in the first 10-15 rounds in my opinion unless it’s a pretty deep league so it might be useful to add his occasional power to the end of your draft to boost your team and power your way to another league victory. 

Those are the Chicago Cubs in all their glory. Can they help your team? Absolutely, just be smart about it though and don’t reach for the Soler’s, the Lackey’s or the Javier Baez’s too awful early and you should be just fine.  

Complete List of Players Who Filed for Salary Arbitration



BALTIMORE (8) — Brad Brach, rhp; Zach Britton, lhp; Ryan Flaherty, 2b; Miguel Gonzalez, rhp; Manny Machado, 3b; Brian Matusz, lhp; Chris Tillman, rhp; Mark Trumbo, of-1b.
BOSTON (3) — Joe Kelly, rhp; Robbie Ross, lhp; Junichi Tazawa, rhp.

CHICAGO (4) — Avisail Garcia, of; Dan Jennings, lhp; Brett Lawrie, 3b; Zach Putnam, rhp.

CLEVELAND (5) — Cody Allen, rhp; Lonnie Chisenhall, 3b-rf; Jeff Manship, rhp; Bryan Shaw, rhp; Josh Tomlin, rhp.

DETROIT (4) — Jose Iglesias, ss; J.D. Martinez, of; Andrew Romine, inf; Justin Wilson, lhp.

HOUSTON (6) — Jason Castro, c; Josh Fields, rhp; Evan Gattis, dh; Marwin Gonzalez, inf; Dallas Keuchel, lhp; Luis Valbuena, 3b.

KANSAS CITY (7) — Drew Butera, c; Lorenzo Cain, of; Louis Coleman, rhp; Tony Cruz, c; Danny Duffy, lhp; Jarrod Dyson, of; Mike Moustakas, 3b.

LOS ANGELES (3) — Kole Calhoun, of; Garrett Richards, rhp; Fernando Salas, rhp.

MINNESOTA (6) — Eduardo Escobar, ss; Casey Fien, rhp; Kevin Jepsen, rhp; Tommy Milone, lhp; Eduardo Nunez, inf; Trevor Plouffe, 3b.

NEW YORK (6) — Dustin Ackley, 2b-of; Aroldis Chapman, lhp; Nathan Eovaldi, rhp;Didi Gregorius, ss; Ivan Nova, rhp; Michael Pineda, rhp.

OAKLAND (4) — Yonder Alonso, 1b; Josh Reddick, of; Fernando Rodriguez, rhp;Danny Valencia, 3b.

SEATTLE (3) — Charlie Furbush, lhp; Leonys Martin, of; Evan Scribner, rhp.

TAMPA BAY (10) — Alex Cobb, rhp; Hank Conger, c; Logan Forsythe, 2b; Brandon Guyer, of; Desmond Jennings, of; Jake McGee, lhp; Logan Morrison, 1b; Erasmo Ramirez, rhp; Rene Rivera, c; Drew Smyly, lhp.

TEXAS (7) — Robinson Chirinos, c; Jake Diekman, lhp; Mitch Moreland, 1b;Jurickson Profar, 2b-ss; Tanner Scheppers, rhp; Shawn Tolleson, rhp; Tom Wilhelmsen, rhp.

TORONTO (8) — Brett Cecil, lhp; Jesse Chavez, rhp; Steve Delabar, rhp; Josh Donaldson, 3b; Drew Hutchison, rhp; Aaron Loup, lhp; Michael Saunders, of; Drew Storen, rhp.


ARIZONA (7) — Welington Castillo, c; Patrick Corbin, lhp; Rubby De La Rosa, rhp;Randall Delgado, rhp; Daniel Hudson, rhp; Shelby Miller, rhp; A.J. Pollock, of.

ATLANTA (2) — Arodys Vizcaino, rhp; Chris Withrow, rhp.

CHICAGO (7) — Jake Arrieta, rhp; Chris Coghlan, of; Justin Grimm, rhp; Hector Rondon, rhp; Pedro Strop, rhp; Adam Warren, rhp; Travis Wood, lhp.

CINCINNATI (2) — Zack Cozart, ss; J.J. Hoover, rhp.

COLORADO (3) — Nolan Arenado, 3b; Charlie Blackmon, of; DJ LeMahieu, 2b.

LOS ANGELES (6) — Luis Avilan, lhp; Yasmani Grandal, c; Chris Hatcher, rhp;Kenley Jansen, rhp; Justin Turner, inf; Scott Van Slyke, of.

MIAMI (8) — Carter Capps, rhp; Jose Fernandez, rhp; Dee Gordon, 2b; Adeiny Hechavarria, ss; Tom Koehler, rhp; Bryan Morris, rhp; David Phelps, rhp; A.J. Ramos, rhp.

MILWAUKEE (3) — Wily Peralta, rhp; Jean Segura, ss; Will Smith, lhp.

NEW YORK (9) — Lucas Duda, 1b; Josh Edgin, lhp; Jeurys Familia, rhp; Matt Harvey, rhp; Jenrry Mejia, rhp; Addison Reed, rhp; Ruben Tejada, ss; Carlos Torres, rhp; Neil Walker, 2b.

PHILADELPHIA (3) — Freddy Galvis, ss; Jeanmar Gomez, rhp; Jeremy Hellickson, rhp.

PITTSBURGH (7) — Francisco Cervelli, c; Jared Hughes, rhp; Jeff Locke, lhp; Mark Melancon, rhp; Jordy Mercer, ss; Chris Stewart, c; Tony Watson, lhp.

ST. LOUIS (4) — Matt Adams, 1b; Seth Maness, rhp; Brandon Moss, of-1b; Trevor Rosenthal, rhp.

SAN DIEGO (4) — Andrew Cashner, rhp; Derek Norris, c; Drew Pomeranz, lhp; Tyson Ross, rhp.

SAN FRANCISCO (2) — Brandon Belt, 1b; George Kontos, rhp.

WASHINGTON (5) — Danny Espinosa, 2b; Wilson Ramos, c; Anthony Rendon, 2b-3b; Ben Revere, of; Stephen Strasburg, rhp.

What is “Andro” and Why Is it Banned?

Every year about this time the debate whether steroid era players should be in the Hall of Fame or not gets heated but do people really know what they are talking about? That’s not meant to be an insult or a questioning of your intelligence by any means but I’m serious, do people actually know what these steroids are and do people actually know what they do or do they follow along with the other sheep and baaaaaa all the way to the pasture? I like to think of myself as a leader and a trendsetter but also an educator when I can and I will attempt to do the latter today as I try and explain what exactly “Andro” is and explain why it is banned by Major League Baseball.

The word Andro, or Androstenedione, is a hormone that you used to be able to buy over the counter at any local GNC or pharmaceutical company that was made famous when Major League Baseball added it to its banned substance list in 2004. This was long after a reporter saw a bottle of it in Mark McGwire’s clubhouse locker in 1998 when he went on to save baseball from the strike and when he went on to break the single season home run record held by former Yankees All-Star Roger Maris and long after Mike Piazza admitted to using it in a 2013 autobiography he wrote. Why did sluggers like McGwire and Piazza want to take this? Well it was a muscle builder that promised it could increase your testosterone levels by as much as 400%. Andro also reportedly keeps your red blood cells healthy, enhances your recovery and shortens your recovery time from injuries and exercise and heightens your sexual arousal and performance but Andro does not come without its risks.

Those risks led then President George W. Bush to sign into law the Anabolic Steroid Control Act in 2004 which added Andro to the list of banned non-prescription steroid-based drugs. It was then that MLB, the NFL, college sports and the Olympics followed suit also banning Andro from their games. Andro is dangerous as a sudden spike in testosterone levels could absolutely destroy your liver for example while the drug also significantly reduces your “good” cholesterol number which could increase the risk of heart disease in longtime users. But if it works it is worth it right? Well according to a study done by Iowa State the stuff didn’t even really work anyway on its own.

Iowa State students and scientists did a study on Andro in 1999 with 20 healthy men as their control unit. Ten of them took Andro and 10 of them took a dummy pill made of rice flour while both sets of men underwent eight weeks of weight training and the gains in muscle bulk and strength were recorded. At the end of the eight weeks the numbers were almost identical. Either rice flour should be banned as well from MLB or Andro, again as a stand-alone drug, was a bust.

Which leads me to my conclusion, Andro is good for one and not to other? When I say “good” for one I mean Mike Piazza who was just elected into the MLB Hall of Fame with the other being Mark McGwire who has not yet been elected and was damned from baseball for a few years after his retirement. Scientists don’t even think Andro is worth a damn, again by itself, and yet we’re still keeping players out of the Hall of Fame because of it? Instead of, and this is directed towards the BBWAA, thinking you’re God, judge and jury how about you take a second to read a book and become educated on the matters before altering the course of MLB history because you think Andro altered it first.

This concludes another steroid-laced Hall of Fame rant by Daniel Burch. 

Quick Hit: Free Agent Starting Pitching Clearance Carts

The New York Yankees are a franchise that tends to contradict themselves, especially when it comes to the whole hot stove and free agency market. One minute Bubba Crosby is the Yankees starting center fielder and the next Johnny Damon is shaving that ridiculous long hair and beard and flashing peace signs in a Yankees uniform. One minute the Yankees are looking to add a starting pitcher to their rotation for some stability and innings and the next the rotation is full and so full in fact that the Yankees are looking and willing to trade away Ivan Nova one year away from free agency. Who knows what is going on inside Brian Cashman’s head right now and what’s going on in Hal Steinbrenner’s wallet pocket right now but if they need me to lay out a few bargain basement signings for them I will, and I will right now in fact.

Cliff Lee would pitch again in 2016, and has been cleared again to pitch in 2016, for the perfect fit. The Yankees have the innings to give him and they have the need for a veteran left-handed starting pitcher on a short one-year deal worth chump change as far as MLB starters are concerned and that’s all Lee is likely to command. Lee undoubtedly wants to win and with a healthy and effective Lee the Yankees can do just that. Lee is Plan A.

New York has three “Plan B’s” in Tim Lincecum and Doug Fister and they all fit the same mold. They can start or they can relieve. Both of them remind me of what the team traded away this winter and have yet to replace, Adam Warren. Any of these men could be a safety net for the rotation and none of them will require salaries that would come anywhere near that of Jordan Zimmermann, David Price or Zack Greinke.

With every Plan A and Plan B comes a Plan Z and the Yankees have two of them. Mat Latos and Aaron Harang. Both struggled mightily in 2015 in the National League and both are likely to command minor league deals only in 2016, if anything. If the Yankees feel like they need more Triple-A insurance, sure sign them. If not, no thank you.

This Day in New York Yankees History 1/14: Jesus “Beast” Montero

On this day in 2012 the Yankees traded top prospect Jesus Montero along with Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for pitchers Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. This deal has been a bit of a disaster for both teams until 2014 when the Yankees finally got a glimpse of their young right hander. All the while Montero showed up to Mariners camp 40 lbs. overweight and was trolled by a news reporter in a minor league dugout with an ice cream cone. Yeah, New York won this trade.

Also on this day in 1987 Yankees and Athletics ace Catfish Hunter and outfielder Billy Williams were elected to the Hall of Fame. Hunter was one of the game's first big money free agents when he signed his very lucrative deal with New York.

Finally on this day in 1970 former Yankees top relief pitcher, now known loosely as a closer, and New York Mets general manager Johnny Murphy dies of a heart attack.