Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Adios, Arrivederci, Au Revoir, Cheerio, and Goodbye to Stephen Drew

What a sad day in Major League Baseball and in the Greedy Pinstripes world, former Boston Red Sox player, New York Yankees player, and Major Leaguer Stephen Drew has announced his retirement from the game this week. We have given Stephen a hard time over the years after his short tenure with the Yankees and even have an award named after him in his honor that we give out here on the site. The news of his retirement hit me hard and it left me with just one thing to say… Stephen Drew still sucks.

On a serious note the former 15th overall pick in the 2004 Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft has announced his official retirement from the game after not finding a job this winter. Drew had spent the last two seasons with the Washington Nationals in their organization where he enjoyed a strong 2016 season, before injuries robbed him of his 2017 and final season.

Drew was drafted and developed by the Arizona Diamondbacks where he spent parts of seven seasons with the organization. Drew was ultimately dealt to the Oakland Athletics in August of 2012 where he finished strong before hitting free agency for the first time in his career. Drew signed with the Boston Red Sox for the 2013 season where he put in a mediocre .253/.333/.443 triple slash. Boston extended Drew a qualifying offer for the 2014 season, but Drew declined the offer and ultimately sat out until June 1, 2014 when he was eligible to be signed without the signing team giving up draft pick compensation for his services. Drew ultimately went back to Boston on a one-year deal but was later traded to the New York Yankees where he finished his 2014 season.

Drew was back with the Yankees for the 2015 season further frustrating and infuriating fans of the Bronx Bombers slashing just .185/.257/.347 over the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Drew landed with Washington in a utility role for the 2016 season where he bounced back a bit slashing .266/.339/.524 with eight home runs before injuries robbed him of his 2017 season, and any chance of erasing his legacy with us here at the site.

Drew will coach his children now that his playing days are over. Never forget, and always remember… Stephen Drew Sucks. Enjoy your retirement, and no hard feelings. It is all in fun.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 4/4

Once again, and weather permitting, it is game time in the Bronx between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. In the finale of this quick two-game set the Yankees will look to end on a high note with a victory over their division rivals. Given the task of leading his team to victory will be the ace of the Yankees staff, right-hander Luis Severino. Given the task of spoiling a Yankees victory of the young left-handed starter from Tampa, Blake Snell. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB Network. You can also follow along in your cars, on the radio and if you’re like me while you’re at work by tuning into MLB TV, the MLB At-Bat app or by listening to WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Follow us on Twitter, @GreedyStripes, or “Like” us on Facebook, The Greedy Pinstripes, to keep up with us and the Yankees all season long. Go Yankees!!

I'm Glad Giancarlo Stanton is a Yankee...

Photo Credit: NJ Advance Media for
Don’t Worry, I’ve Got Your Back…

Aaron Judge recently put it in the best perspective. One of the things he likes most about the Yankees was something to the effect that if you don’t do your job, there are 24 guys ready to pick you up. I don’t remember the exact words but that really isn’t the point. This is a team and a group of guys that are ready to back each other, regardless of the circumstances. Team chemistry made the 1998 Yankees a very special team. I am not saying that the 2018 Yankees are the version of 20 years ago, but this is one of the most closely knit teams that I’ve seen in recent years. 

Didi Gregorius had a huge night last evening for the Yankees, powering the team to victory with two home runs and eight RBIs, yet many Yankees fans chose to boo Giancarlo Stanton instead or trash him on social media. Whoa, please step away from the ledge and relax. 

There’s no doubt Stanton had a night to forget with five strikeouts in his Yankee Stadium Pinstriped debut. But, never once did I find myself in a position wanting to boo the man. In jest, TGP’s fearless leader, Daniel Burch, tweeted #TradeGiancarlo. It was amazing how many Yankees fans reacted like that but with full sincerity. Granted, Daniel was not serious (he tagged the comment with #TotallyJoking) but the fans who booed Stanton acted like he was the biggest Yankee disappointment since Chris Carter. 

Photo Credit: NJ Advance Media for (John Munson) 

Stanton’s fault, if anything, was trying too hard to impress the Yankees faithful. He wanted to be the difference-maker, perhaps a little too much. There will be better days. That’s not just my opinion…it is fact. Looking at the attendance figures for the Miami Marlins, it’s obvious that Giancarlo has never played before an Opening crowd of over 47,000 people. The Marlins averaged barely more than 15,000 last year despite an MVP season by Stanton. Stanton has said the right words and we know that he loves New York and he wants to deliver. The pressure he puts on himself is far greater than the pressure we can put on him. He needs our support; not our boos. He didn’t stumble upon 59 home runs last year by accident. Pitchers weren’t lobbing him freebies to hit over the fence. I remember how Dave Winfield would carry the team on his back for weeks. Stanton is that kind of player, only better. 

My favorite quote after the game was Stanton’s remarks about the incredible accomplishments by the Yankees shortstop who batted fourth behind Giancarlo. “That’s what a cleanup hitter does. You clean up the garbage in front of you.” He took ownership of his performance but was not going to let it defeat him. 

Aaron Boone was asked about Stanton after the game and he talked about how the slugger can have an off-night and yet the team produces eleven runs. As Boonie said, “There’s going to be a lot of days when we jump on his back”. Boone added that he was not at all worried about Stanton. Why should he be? Stanton is a stud and I am glad he’s a Yankee.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Elsa) 

What can you say about Didi’s performance?  It was the greatest game for a Yankees shortstop in franchise history. He was 4-for-4 and helped to ensure the snow-postponed, rain-delayed home opener was a success despite the questionable weather conditions. When interviewed after the game, Didi deflected the attention away from him individually and spoke how it was a team effort. 

It was crazy in the off-season when everyone was developing top ten lists and Didi’s name was rarely mentioned in the conversations. I honestly cannot think of anyone that I’d rather have at shortstop for the New York Yankees than Sir Didi (with no offense to Manny Machado or others). Francisco Lindor and Carlos Correa are incredibly gifted but I am glad we can call Didi Gregorius our own. He’s a worthy successor to Derek Jeter and has proven he is his own man. He’ll go down as one of GM Brian Cashman’s best trade acquisitions. 

Photo Credit: NJ Advance Media for (John Munson)

I know all of us kind of wish that Jordan Montgomery had been allowed to go a little deeper into the game, but he was excellent for five innings despite the four walks he gave up. 80 pitches, two hits, one run, and four strikeouts to start the year with an ERA of 1.80. He has looked noticeably better than last year when he did a really good job as a rookie. You have to really like the progress he is making to become a reliable force in the rotation. In many cities, the fifth starter is either a Triple A performer or an older veteran trying to hang on. Gumby has the potential to be an October star. He’ll never be Luis Severino but you don’t need five Severinos to win a World Series championship. You need winners and Montgomery is one. A single run through the starting rotation this season and I am feeling very good about the state of the starting staff. Knock on wood that the present outfield injury plague doesn’t spread to the pitchers.    

Speaking of outfielders, the Yankees claimed outfielder Trayce Thompson yesterday off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers. I realize that Thompson did absolutely nothing in 2017 (55 plate appearances, one home run, two RBIs, .122/.218/.265, .483 OPS) but I like the move. Thompson, 27, was well-liked by Dodger fans and his availability was due to the glut of right-handed outfielders on the Dodgers roster. Thompson, brother of Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors and the son of former NBA player (and champion) Mychal Thompson, hit 13 homers in 2016 before a back fracture ended his season so he has some pop. The guy just needs to play. Sure, he could be back on the unemployment line once guys like Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier return to good health but I think it was worth taking a flyer on Thompson.  The Yankees have one coach who is very familiar with Thompson, bench coach Josh Bard. Bard served as the Dodgers bullpen coach for the two years that Thompson was in LA. So I am sure that Cashman sought input from Bard before making the waiver claim.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Lisa Blumenfeld)

To make room for Thompson on the 40-man roster, the Yankees moved reliever Ben Heller from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day DL (right elbow bone spur). No word yet if Thompson will be immediately added to the 25-man roster or if he’ll start the season with extended spring training. He is out of options. While I am saddened to see Heller’s season start off on the wrong foot, kudos to the Yankees. They had optioned Heller to the minors, but when the decision was made to place him on the DL, they voided the demotion to keep him at the Major League level which means that he is accruing MLB service time and pay while on the disabled list.  I don’t know the circumstances behind the decision but it appears to me they could have placed him on the DL after the minor-league assignment which would have prevented the service time accrual at lesser minor league pay. Outwardly, it appears to be a very generous move by the Yankees to look out for Heller’s best interests. Heller was my breakout candidate for the year so I am hopeful that he has his opportunity before the season is done. 

It’s a new day. When Giancarlo Stanton takes his position in the batter’s box later today, I know I’ll be cheering. Regardless of whether the result is a home run or a strikeout, I will be proud #27 wears Pinstripes. And #18 too, oh, hell yes!  

Go Yankees!

New York Yankees 2018-2019 International Spending Pool

All 30 Major League teams have received notification of their spending pools for the 2018-2019 international free agent signing period according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, and the New York Yankees have $4,983,500 to spend beginning on July 2, 2018. Teams are allotted into their respective pools based on revenues and market size and their allotment is considered to be a hard cap on how much teams can spend on international prospects who are under the age of 25 and have played six seasons or less in an international professional league.

$6,025,400 bonus pool: Athletics, Brewers, Marlins, Rays, Reds, Twins

$5,504,500 bonus pool: Diamondbacks, Indians, Orioles, Padres, Pirates, Rockies, Royals

$5,004,500 bonus pool: Cardinals

$4,983,500 bonus pool: Angels, Astros, Blue Jays, Braves, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Mets, Nationals, Rangers, Red Sox, Tigers, White Sox, Yankees

$3,949,000 bonus pool: Phillies

The Philadelphia Phillies lost money from their draft pool after signing both Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta while the St. Louis Cardinals also lost money after their signing of closer Greg Holland, all three of which rejected qualifying offers from their former teams. Also, just as a reminder, the Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox are still limited to signing players for no more than $300K each under the old international rules that penalized teams for going over their spending pool limits.

With the penalties on these eight teams mixed in with the fact that any team can acquire up to 75% of their international pool limit in trades we could see a lot of teams trading away international money this summer. Bonus pool money can be traded away in $250K increments.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 4/4

The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays are ready to kick off the second and final game of their quick two-game set this afternoon with another showdown in the Bronx. In the second game of the series the Yankees will send their ace Luis Severino to the mound to face off with Blake Snell of the Rays. A battle of the future, let’s get to it in the Bronx.

Severino pitched well on Opening Day throwing 5.2 scoreless innings while allowing just one hit against the Toronto Blue Jays inside the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Severino will look to replicate and build on that success this afternoon against a Rays team that he dominated in 2017 to the tune of a 2-0 record with a 2.00 ERA in three starts.

Snell was also great in his first start of the season holding down that newly revamped offense of the Boston Red Sox. Snell allowed just three hits matching Severino’s 5.2 scoreless innings, although Snell received little to no run support as Tampa Bay was shutout in the loss. Snell received a no-decision. Snell made four starts against the Yankees in 2017 posting a 4.50 ERA which, in the words of Joe Girardi, is not what you want if you’re a Rays fan.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB Network if you are out of market. You can also follow along with the game at work, if you’re like me, or if you’re a displaced Yankees fan, also like me, by tuning into MLB TV, by using the MLB At-Bat app, or by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast with the legendary duo of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Enjoy the game, crush some Rays, and Go Yankees!!!

Hello… Mother Nature Needs to Staaaahp

Anyone else sick of the weather this year? I know as a displaced Yankees fan I may be dealing with more of a sporadic type weather in Georgia than those still in New York, but still. Enough is enough. The Yankees home opener got snowed out on Monday and the game was threatened all day long on Tuesday because of rain, please Mother Nature make up your damn mind. The weather isn’t much better down here, it has been raining every day for what feels like two years now with little end in sight, but I can still appreciate the little things.

The Yankees are getting their games in when they can, I am a lot less stressed at work, I have more time to write and spend time with you all reading this, and I still have the health and happiness of my family beside me. We are taking another big step today towards the ultimate goal and towards ultimate happiness, and damn it will be worth the wait.

Aaron Hicks is on his way back, and Jacoby Ellsbury is hurt again. Surprise, surprise. Oh, and where the hell is Clint Frazier? My goodness, this whole concussion thing seems a bit excessive if you ask me, but that’s only if you ask me. Anyway, I digress…

I love you all, but especially you. Hey you. I hope everyone has a great day today!

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/4: Happy Opening Day 2016

On this day in 1994 a total of 56,706 fans flocked to Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, the largest crowd ever at the House that Ruth Built. Jimmy Key would beat Kevin Brown and the Texas Rangers 5-3 in front of the record breaking crowd.

Also on this day in 1989 Tommy John tied a record on Opening Day by playing in his 26th season. The New York Yankees veteran would beat the Twins 4-2 on this day for his 287th win, putting him 19th overall at the time in career wins.