Friday, March 18, 2016

Yankees Spring Training Open Thread 3/18

So what happened today down at Yankees spring training camp? Let's get caught back up!

CC Sabathia made his third start tonight against the Baltimore Orioles. The game is currently airing so go check it out!

Robert Refsnyder played third base again, the Yankees are tipping their Opening Day roster hands here.

Evan Rutckyj (pronounced rootski) was given back to the Yankees after the Atlanta Braves took him in the Rule 5 Draft.

More after the game!

The Goose is Still on the Loose

Goose Gossage has fallen into the trap that the media likes to set. Gossage was interviewed by ESPN’s Andrew Marchand earlier in the month and he had a few one-liners that became instant news headlines. He called Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Bautista a disgrace, with a few expletives thrown in between, and also called anyone who went to Harvard or studied analytics a “nerd.” Goose is talking again and he’s not holding back this time either, the Goose is still on the loose!

This time Goose was speaking with Kevin Kernan of the New York Post and he reiterated what he said in the ESPN interview. Goose also went out and took a shot at Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers quarterback in the NFL, saying “it’s a shame, it breaks my heart to see the direction this game is going. What, do we want a bunch of Cam Newton’s running around?”

Goose also doesn’t like instant replay although he still does like using the “F” word just as an FYI. Goose was quoted as saying “Now you sit there for five minutes and wait for a f***ing replay. And half the time you can’t even tell.” Goose went on to also say “who’s died in the last 100 years because of a bad call? Well, they lost a World Series and the kid lost his perfect game. Who died? Leave the human element in the game. You cannot take the human element out of baseball because it is the fabric of the game.

Oh and Bryce Harper is fair game too. “What does this kid know? This kid doesn’t know squat about the game, and no respect for it.” And Goose what are you doing exactly? Representing the game, a kid’s game that many children follow, and representing the Yankees and the Hall of Fame by dropping f-bombs every other word in every interview that you are doing every other day? You didn’t hear my last post obviously or take it to heart so I’ll put it in a language you can understand and relate to.

Goose, shut the **** up. You’re embarrassing yourself nerd. You, my friend, are the disgrace and you are better than this. You’re a Yankee, an advocate for the game, an adult and a role model to children. Act like it or go home. And I don’t condone the use of that kind of language and frankly I only used it to drive home a point with you directly, truth be told I have the utmost respect for you as a person and as a ballplayer, but as a fan your act is getting old. Don’t give in to the machine that is the media because they don’t care about you or what you have to say. They just want you to get fired up, use the “F” word, and sell some papers or subscriptions to their blogs. That’s all. Be better than that. 

2016 Predictions - AL Central

.    With the 2016 MLB season right around the corner, we have already taken a look at the AL East. Today, we are going to examine the AL Central division. This division has represented the American League in three out of the last four world series. Can Kansas City make it three straight trips to the Fall Classic? Let's look.
5. Chicago White Sox

     Last season was a rough year for the Pale Hose, and I'm not sure 2016 is going to be much better. Jeff Samardzija and his 4.97 ERA are gone. And, while that might not be such a bad thing, it forces the likes of Carlos Rodon and Jose Quintana to step up their games. Gavin Floyd and Alexi Ramirez, too, are gone.  They did get Todd Frazier, Brett Lawrie and Jimmy Rollins to help bolster this lineup. However, unless Kris Sale wins 30 games, and Todd Frazier breaks Barry Bonds' home run record, this team won't finish any higher then fifth in their division.

4. Cleveland Indians

     Similar to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Indians are loaded with young starting pitching. Two of the most sought after players via trade this off-season were Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco.  Despite having 2014's Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber, to go along with their other talented starting pitching, their offense will be their demise.  Michael Brantley will miss a considerable amount of time with his shoulder injury.  They traded Michael Bourne, Brandon Moss and Nick Swisher last season and Raburn is now in Colorado.  I don't know where their offensive production is going to come from, and, I don't know if they do either.  Ultimately, like Tampa, I have them finishing fourth.

3. Minnesota Twins

     The Minnesota Twins were possibly the biggest surprise of the 2015 season. They finished the season with 83 wins and nearly made the playoffs, but settled for second place in the division.  The twin cities have some of the best up and coming talent in all of the game, as evidenced by the play of Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton and Aaron Hicks.    And even though they shipped hicks to the Bronx, they received a catcher who is more than capable of calling a great game in the form of John Ryan Murphy.  Brian Dozier had what many consider to be his breakout season, capitulated by his making his first All-Star team. Even with Ervin Santana missing the first 50 games of the season, due to a failed drug test, they still managed to hold their own in the division that held the reigning AL champs.   I know I am not going to make the same mistake of picking them last again. Period. Fool me once shame on you, full me twice shame on me.

2. Detroit Tigers

     When you traded David Price during a season, you expect to get something of major value in return.  The Tigers did just that when they acquired Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd from the Blue Jays at the trade deadline last season. Norris is widely considered to be a potential number two, with a very high ceiling.  Motown also acquired Jordan Zimmerman this off-season to help fill the hole left by the departed Price. A lineup that already includes Ian Kinsler, Miggy Cabrera and a rising star in the form of J.D. Martinez,  just got more robust with the addition of Justin Upton.  Bullpen was another major issue for this team last season,  which they addressed by adding the likes of Joaquin Benoit, Justin Wilson and  Francisco Rodriguez. If they can avoid any major injuries, this team could make some serious noise in the Central.

1. Kansas City Royals

     What else is there to say about the defending world Champs that has not already been said. Yes, they lost Johnny Cueto in free agency, but signed in Kennedy, who has a great relationship with Royals pitching coach Dave Island, dating back to their days together in the Bronx.  They re-signed Alex Gordon and managed to maintain their core which brought them there championship last season. Edinson Volquez had one of the guttiest performances in postseason history last year after losing his father the day of game one of the World Series.  They have one of, if not, the most complete  team in the game and should be a force to be reckoned with for seasons to come.

 Fire away.

Fantasy Baseball: So You Need Some Saves?

Opening Day 2016 is right around the corner and most of you I see are already getting your drafts done for Fantasy Baseball. If the drafts have already been done I doubt that I can help you much but if you haven’t drafted yet and you are worried about having enough saves to stack up with the rest of your league then this is the post for you. Keep it bookmarked, read and enjoy.

I have said it many times this winter but I really want to drive home the emphasis that even on the worst teams you are going to be able to compile anywhere from 30-50 saves or more in a 162-game season. Sure you can draft Craig Kimbrel of the Boston Red Sox, Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees or any of the top closers in the league but once one goes, they all go. It’s a mad scramble and it snowballs, I’ve seen it in almost every single draft that I’ve been a part of and if your luck is anything like mine it starts about a pick or two after I make my pick in the 8th-10th rounds. If you mess up and miss the top closers in the league maybe one or two of these pitchers can help.

The San Francisco Giants are going to win the World Series in 2016, at least recent history would suggest it anyway with the even year thing, and every World Series team has to have a good closer. Take your pick, the Giants have three to choose from in Hunter Strickland, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo, but I think the Giants will pick Strickland before the spring is said and done.

The Seattle Mariners will no longer have the man who shoots arrows in the air after a save trying to close the door in the 9th and it looks like Tony Zych may get the call from Opening Day on. Zych only has 18.1 innings pitched in his MLB career but he impressed with 24 strikeouts and looks ready for the big stage.

Another team who may only win 60-70 games this season but will likely have 30-50 saves is the Cincinnati Reds. Tony Cingrani might not have the repertoire to start but he could be a potential closer for the rebuilding club in 2016. He will have competition from JJ Hoover and Jumbo Diaz but both have question marks and flaws giving Cingrani the open door.

There’s three options for you to get your saves this upcoming fantasy season, I hope it helps. 

Yankees ST: Baltimore Orioles @ New York Yankees 3/18

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles will head down to Tampa, Florida today to face off head-to-head in their latest Grapefruit League schedules. As spring training inches closer towards conclusion these starts are becoming more and more important for both the pitchers and the positional players. No one needs these starts more though than maybe today's Yankee starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia struggled in his last start and will look to turn things around today inside George M. Steinbrenner Field against Miguel Gonzalez and the Baltimore Orioles.

The game will be played at 6:35 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

Prediction on the Attendance inside Yankee Stadium in 2016

This is a picture of the average attended game at Yankee Stadium. This is not a picture of the Jorge Posada or Bernie Williams Day’s or anything like that and it’s not a picture of Yankee Stadium in the postseason against the Houston Astros. This is what the stadium looks like the other 75 or so games a year when it was convenient to print your own tickets at home and show up to a game at a reasonable price during a weekday or on the weekend.

Here is what I predict the stadium will look like after the fans were “protected” by the organization when print-at-home tickets were banned. The average fan can’t sit with the elite and the fan who decides on a Tuesday morning that he got off work unexpectedly and wants to head to the Yankees game can’t because he doesn’t have a ticket in hand or is one of the 19 people left in the world without a smartphone.

For whatever reason though Michael Kay will still announce that 40,000 or so fans showed up to that particular game. Funny how that continues to happen. Attendance will be down, way down, and Hal Steinbrenner will have his excuse not to spend… again. 

Former Yankees Update: Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro Suzuki spent parts of the 2012, 2013 and 2014 seasons with the New York Yankees before leaving for warmer climates down in Miami for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The Yankees signed Ichiro with the intent of having him chase down 3,000 hits in the United States while with the club. While that initial notion did not work out in New York the Marlins may see that exact plan come to fruition down in Miami if the aging Japanese-born star can grab just 65 more hits.

Ichiro, now 42-years old, is playing behind a talent group of core members in Miami’s outfield so the question of whether he will get enough at bats to grab 65 more hits is the question. If Miami plans on contending in 2016, and if you judge their offseason by their intentions then they do plan on contending, how can you sit one of Marcell Ozuna, Giancarlo Stanton or Christian Yelich often enough to get Ichiro the hits? If Ichiro were a few years younger, sure, but these days Ichiro just isn’t the same player he used to be as father time has caught up with him.

Ichiro is still fast and extremely durable, he played in 153 games last season and has played in at least 143 games in each of the past 15 seasons, but his batting average continues to drop the older he gets. Ichiro batted a career-low .229 last season which is a sudden drop off from his career average of .314. Ichiro has not hit .300 since the 2010 season. Can Ichiro do it?

Ichiro had 398 at bats last season and if he bats in the low .200’s again he may need another 300 or more to reach the 3,000 hit plateau. No one can predict what will happen this season. Injuries cannot be predicted and neither can effectiveness or playing time but if Ichiro gets the at bats you have to think that milestone staring him down in the face will be motivation enough to get there. I have faith in him and so should you. And if not, who is to say 2017 isn’t another year?

We’re rooting for you Ichiro. Get there!

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/18: Virginia Tech Heals

On this day in 2008 the "Evil Empire" attempted to help with the healing process on the campus of Virginia Tech University after 32 students and staff became victims of a shooting spree the previous April. The Yankees played the Hokies at Virginia Tech's English Field and George Steinbrenner donated $1 million to a memorial fund while also making arrangements for his team to participate in the exhibition. The ESPN Red Sox did nothing.

Also on this day in 1943 the New York Yankees, and five other teams, had to open spring training camps in northern locations. The Yankees opened up camp in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

Finally on this day in 1937 Lou Gehrig ended his holdout after agreeing to a one year deal worth $36,000 with a $750 signing bonus. Gehrig had originally asked New York for $50,000. The deal still made the Yankees first basemen and last season's American League MVP the highest paid player in all of baseball.