Saturday, March 19, 2016

Yankees Spring Training Open Thread 3/19

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

The New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves faced off with Michael Pineda making the start for the Yankees. Big Mike allowed just one run on four hits in four innings pitched while Aroldis Chapman and Chasen Shreve followed them in the bullpen.

Chapman allowed a run and Shreve retired all three men he faced. Shreve has not allowed a hit or a run in over six innings this spring.

Starlin Castro is making that trade look awfully one-sided with another 2-for-3 day.

Jacoby Ellsbury was hit on the wrist by a pitch and left the game. X-Rays were negative. Ellsbury should be fine.

Tyler Cloyd, Richard Bleier, Mark Montgomery and Vinnie Pestano are headed down to minor league camps along with Ben Gamel, Jonathan Diaz and Donovan Solano.

You Know What? Good for Adam LaRoche!

The now former Chicago White Sox first baseman and DH Adam LaRoche has officially retired from the game he loves, Major League Baseball. Many people were shocked when they learned of the news, LaRoche isn’t old and he had one more year on his contract worth $13 million so why would he walk away? Family, that’s why and good for him!

The White Sox organization led by President Kenny Williams confirmed that they asked LaRoche on two different occasions to “dial it back” with his 14-year old son and his time in the clubhouse. Drake LaRoche, son of Adam LaRoche, has spent a good amount of time in the White Sox clubhouse apparently and the organization was worried it would affect the team’s ability to focus in 2016. Kenny, it’s spring training. Loosen up.

LaRoche is 36-years old and is currently with his sixth team in his career. As a veteran player he wanted to spend time with his family while he could. Again, it’s spring training. If Drake is traveling with the club and hanging out during the season that’s one thing, this is another. LaRoche’s decision has been abrupt and quick but it’s the same decision I think I would have made. The game will one day leave LaRoche behind, if he ultimately doesn’t leave it first, but his family will always be there. His family was there before the game. Good for him for choosing family first over a game. A job. Any job. Good for him.

Look, I truly do see both sides of it. Williams doesn’t want LaRoche’s son distracting the team (although he mentioned numerous times in his interviews that Drake was far from a distraction) and Williams wants to win first and foremost. I also see the side of LaRoche and am left wondering what Prince Fielder, Cal Ripken Jr., Ken Griffey Jr. and a slew of others would have been in this game if they had not come to the ballpark with their fathers on a day-to-day basis. It’s a family game and family comes before any job or any game. Again, the game is going to leave LaRoche behind one day and will turn its cold shoulder on him but Drake won’t.

In a world of deadbeat dads and missing fathers who don’t even know their kids it’s refreshing to see someone put their children and their family first. If I ever meet you Mr. LaRoche I am going to shake your hand because in my eyes you made the right decision. You made your money presumably, you’ve had your fun and your family comes first. The way it should be. 

The Yasiel Puig Rant You All Knew Was Coming

I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time on this rant because honestly, what’s the point? Major League Baseball is going to do what they are going to do and I am going to think what I am going to think. No one is changing MLB, no one is changing my opinion and no one is changing your opinion as the reader. I don’t agree with the Aroldis Chapman suspension as you may or may not already know and I don’t agree with the fact that Yasiel Puig received zero games suspension either, imagine that. 

And before I get too involved in this I will say that no, I am not this upset because Chapman is a Yankee and received a suspension. I followed this situation long before he was a Yankee and I followed it just the same, no more and no less, after he was a Yankee. I know that Chapman did not put his hands on his girlfriend, not enough to leave marks anyway, because if he did and there was evidence that he did he would have went to jail. If there was evidence of domestic violence there would have been domestic violence charges brought against him, but there wasn’t. What there was though was a girlfriend’s story who kept changing and witness accounts that changed more than I change my underwear. Now I’m no lawyer but if you keep changing your story you’re either really forgetful or you’re really just bold face lying. And yes Chapman was an idiot, my opinion, and shot his own registered and legal gun in an UNNATTACHED garage (not enough people are reporting that) that he owned with his kid in the house. It was a dumb ass move but the garage was unattached. If that’s enough to cause a suspension for “domestic violence” then lock me up because I’ve shot in my yard and such with my kids in the house plenty of times. 

But enough about Chapman and on to Puig. In the Chapman case the only evidence they had pointed to the girlfriend’s brother assaulting Chapman (and Chapman assaulted no one but a wall in his UNATTACHED garage) while Puig had a physical altercation with a bouncer. Now I don’t pretend to know why Puig had a physical altercation with the bouncer and video evidence supports that Puig did not hit his sister but what’s the difference? You had the same amount of evidence in the Puig case as you did the Chapman case with the same number of charges filed and sentences handed down. Well minus the one for Chapman where he took his 2nd amendment rights into his own hands and shot his legally owned gun in his UNATTACHED (ok I’m done with the caps lock.. promise) garage that he owned. 

I just have to wonder if Puig was facing a potential free agency year and if the league knew that if he was suspended so x amount of days his free agency would be pushed back a year if they would have bullied Puig as well. The world may never know. You may have your opinion and I will never stop you from having one but it’s awful convenient that Chapman had to get a suspension less than 45 days to become a free agent in 2016 and the league “knocked off” 15 games and settled on a 30 game suspension for domestic violence without any evidence of domestic violence if he didn’t appeal said suspension. That’s called taking advantage of your power and taking advantage of a situation. That’s called bullying. If it’s good for one it should be good for them all. Well it should be anyway. 

Yankees ST: Atlanta Braves @ New York Yankees 3/19

If this were only a regular season game and if this were only in Atlanta instead of George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida. Today the New York Yankees and the Atlanta Braves face off head-to-head in their latest Grapefruit League schedule game as a part of spring training. The Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound looking to be "Big Mike" once again while looking to continue his impressive spring.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network. Go Yankees!

Ruben Tejada, YAY or NAY

EDIT: This was written before Tejada declined a minor league deal from the Yankees. Let's assume this article is for a Major League deal to avoid any confusion.

Spring Training is good for more than a few things as far as Major League Baseball is concerned. It means that games that actually mean something and count are right around the corner and it’s also the last chance for teams to get their rosters in order before the season starts. Every year we hear about spring competitions around the league and we hear about “out of options” players who have to make their respective clubs or be forced onto the waiver wire and free agency. The New York Mets had one such “out of options” player just clear the waiver wire and hit free agency in Ruben Tejada, should the New York Yankees be interested?

Truth be told I believe the St. Louis Cardinals will snatch up Tejada and turn him into a .300 hitter and an All Star but for the sake of the post let’s debate whether New York would be interested in Tejada. The former Mets second baseman can play second base, third base and shortstop so his versatility is something the Yankees would presumably like but his bat leaves much to be desired. Tejada finished the 2015 campaign with just a .261 average with three home runs, 28 RBI and 23 doubles for the Mets before being taken out by Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs. For the $550,000 he will presumably sign for, the major league minimum, that’s sufficient production for a bench piece but he’s definitely not worth the $3 million the Mets were about to be on the hook for.

The Yankees needed a legitimate back up third baseman entering the spring but the move of Robert Refsnyder to third base may have alleviated that situation. If Refsnyder showed he couldn’t handle the position or if Tejada had one of those bats you have to make room for it would be a different thing but Refsnyder has done a lot to impress not only me, his biggest fan aside from his mother, but the Yankees organization as well. Tejada is a good player and will likely latch on somewhere and do well but I don’t think that will be back in New York and I don’t think it will be with the New York Yankees unfortunately. 

Brett Gardner & the Yankees 2016 Starting Lineup

The New York Yankees finally got their first glimpse of Brett Gardner this spring on Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays and while the Yankees left fielder went hitless he said he felt good after the game. What he did in that game is not the biggest story to come out of it though, in my opinion anyway, but what was more important was the lineup for that game and what it could potentially mean for the upcoming season. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with Gardner hitting second followed by Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez. Brian McCann had the day off while Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro hit at the bottom of the order. Was this just a mid-March lineup or is this a preview of what’s to come this season?

Let’s assume Brian McCann hits sixth followed by Headley, Castro and Gregorius in that order that would give the Yankees a pretty deep lineup and a headache for opposing managers. The Yankees will once again stack their lefty leadoff hitters at the top of the lineup before putting two switch hitters, a right-handed bat, a left-handed bat, another switch hitter, a righty and a lefty. How does one matchup their bullpen in the later innings against a lineup that alternates like that?

The lineup will likely move around a bit against left-handed pitching as well with Castro possibly hitting second, one of Gardner or Ellsbury sitting and Aaron Hicks getting his turn in the rotation of the outfield. Gary Sanchez may also get at bats against lefties for Brian McCann while Robert Refsnyder could presumably also play second base while Castro plays shortstop for lefty-hitting Gregorius. The mixing and matching this season, assuming health and effectiveness, are unlimited for a manager that loves playing the numbers and mixing and matching.

The team may hit too many damn home runs and they may simply sit back and wait for the three run home run while refusing to hit against the shift but they should not run into the buzz saw that they did last season against left-handed hitters. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/19: The YES Network Debuts

On this day in 2002 as the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network, more commonly known as the YES Network, makes its debut as a regional cable TV channel. The Yankees owned network will televise Bronx Bombers games as well as covering the then New Jersey Nets games in the NBA.

On this day in 1989 the Yankees traded catcher Joel Skinner and a minor league player to the Indians for outfielder Mel Hall. New York was looking to replace the injured Dave Winfield after the future Hall of Fame outfielder missed the season due to back surgery.