Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Posada To Be Ready To Assume Catching Duties In 09

When Jorge Posada missed most of this season with a torn labrum, many of us felt unsure about his future behind the plate. According to Joe Girardi, Posada will be able to catch 120 games next season. Now whether this is true remains to be seen, but if it is true it would be huge. Even if Jorge has just an average year for him, that is probably an immediate 3-4 win upgrade without even making any free agent acquisitions.

The Coaching Staff

Although I know next to nothing about coaching major league baseball I`m going to speculate about it anyway.

I`m happy with most of the coaching staff. However, Bobby Meacham has to go. How many times were Yankees gunned down at the plate this year? I think they need to fire him. Here`s my absurd speculative solution:

1) Fire Bobby Meacham
2) Move Tony Pena to third base, he`s been around these players for a while now and should know when they can make it home and not.
3) Move Rob Thomson to first base. If he chooses to quit then replace him with Luis Sojo.
4) Hire Willie Randolph as the bench coach.

Joba Okay?

Joba Chamberlain may not be alright after all. Luckily he`s got all winter to get healthy. Maybe we`re getting paranoid about Joba's arm.

Cashman Update

It turns out he`s back for three years for about a total of 6 million dollars. Is it just me or are GM's relatively underpaid? They determine the direction of the franchise and yet they get basically the same amount of money as the average bench player.

Three years is a good amount. It gives him enough time to see his plan play out and whether or not Hughes, Joba, and others can be top prospects.

Cashman Back

I just heard on WFAN that Cashman has decided to come back.

I`m happy with this, especially since only the Yankees know for sure which moves were actually his. He`s done a good job rebuilding the farm. However, he has a challenge in front of him.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mike Mussina

The Yankees have a ton of question marks for the coming offseason. However, the biggest one could be about Mike Mussina. If you had asked me a week ago then I would have said he would be back but right now it seems he will leave.

At age 39 he managed to win 20 games and was the Yankees ace and MVP. If he comes back it will go a long way towards solidifying the rotation. However, if he leaves it mean the Yankees will have to fill two rotation spots. I`m not expecting him to pitch like he did this past year if he comes back. However, its not inconceivable that he could be a solid, steady, Jamie Moyer like guy. Today, guys like that have a ton of value.

Across Town

Right things may look bad for the Yankees. However, the Mets are in an even worse spot now. Outside of Johan Santana, they have no reliable starters. Even Pedro is not what he used to be. Their bullpen is truly pathetic. They`ll probably end up overpaying for K-Rod or Brian Fuentes in the offseason out of desperation. Their offense is all they have. On top of all this they have no farm system to speak of.

They collpased for the second year in a row and extended their GM Omar Minaya. So, things could be worse.

Joba

Pete Abe talked to Joe Girardi and he hinted that Joba may be starting the year in the rotation. They would take some creativity to keep him under his innings limit. However, I think this would be a great thing for the Yankees to do. The rotation is extremely questionable. I`d be shocked if Sabathia ended up a Yankee and I`d be surprised if Mussina returns.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Well, It's Over

So, the Yankees split their double header with the Red Sox today (congrats to Moose) to finish the season. Obviously, this season has not been what any of us expected, and for the most part has been disappointing, and there is a lot of work to be done in the offseason, which I will get to later. However, this season has not been as bad as it seemed, and there is actually less improvement needed than many of us think. Despite not making the playoffs for the first time since 1993, the Yankees still won 89 games, and finished the season tied for the seventh best record in the majors, and were better than two of the teams that made the playoffs. I think that if this season were to be played out a thousand times, this would have been one of the worst outcomes. This team is not as bad as it seems.

Fantasy Update!!! And the Winner Is....

And the winner is......

Charlie!!!!

I defeated Nate in a 6-4 thriller 

Mostly because of my great in week pickups of Jamie Moyer and Jesse Litch. 

Andrew Brackman Makes Long-Awaited Debut

Last night was the first night of the Hawaiian winter baseball league, the lesser of the two off-season development league. Brackman was unspectacular, but the important thing is that he pitched. In 2.1 IP, he gave up 6 earned on 7 hits and two walks, while striking out three. Brackman has an almost limitless ceiling, but he also has a very low floor. It will likely take him a few years to figure out his mechanics, due to his height. For this reason, I think he and Dellin Betances will have similar paths to the majors. Brackman is definitely capable of figuring out his mechanics becoming a great pitcher, as he is a great athlete, also playing basketball at NC State.

A Shift

For years the problem with the Yankees has been their pitching. They`ve always had a strong offense with a core of guys like A-Rod and Jeter. However, this is starting to change. For the first time this year the Yankees offense began to struggle. Much of this can be blamed on injuries but we may see more of this.


The Yankees top hitters are getting older and hitting their declines. How many years do Posada, Giambi, Jeter, Abreu, Damon, and Matsui really have left of being top hitters? Even A-Rod will probably begin to show signs of decline in the next few years. Only Nady and Cano are still relatively young and Nady isn't really a star player. The Yankees only really great positional prospects are Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero. The Yankees need to get guys that can anchor their offense for years to come.

They need to trade for a guy like Nate McLouth for centerfield rather than leave Damon there or trusting Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera. Mark Texiera could be one of these guys. However, the longest I would give him is six years (until age 34) and he`ll likely want more. Their needs to be some concern about the offense and I wouldn't be against trading some of our pitching prospects for a centerfielder o first baseman.

Rookie Hazing

I`m in a rush so I`ll take the easy way out here and just link to this post at RAB.

http://riveraveblues.com/2008/09/27/rookie-hazing-photos-4748/

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Aceves Struggles- Yankees Win

I missed most of this game for the presidential debate but it was nice to hear Boston will be forced to settle for the wild card. It doesn't matter much but I was happy to hear it.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Brackman To Kickoff HWB

The Yankees 2007 first round pick Andrew Brackman has yet to throw a pitch as a professional baseball player. He was a top five talent in the draft, but he fell to the Yankees because he needed Tommy John Surgery, from which he has since been rehabbing. Tomorrow night, Brackman will take the mound in Hawaii, his first game action since the Yankees drafted him. We shouldn't expect too much from him, as it is his first start in about two years, but the 6'10" righty could be an ace one day.

Yankees Free Agents

The first part of the offseason is usually figuring out who will come back, who will leave, and who will get arbitration. So lets take a look at the Yankees coming free agents with their FA ranking and current annual salary.
  • Bobby Abreu- Type A- 16 million- Abreu has been great since being traded to the Yankees. However, I think its time for him to go. He doesn't hit well enough to merit letting Giambi go and moving Damon/Matsui to first base and unless they do that their's no room for him. They should offer him arbitration and take their draft picks. If he surprises everyone and accepts its a dissapointment but not a disaster. Abreu for one year really isn't that bad.
  • Jason Giambi- Type B- 22 million (5 million buyout, option for 22 million)- Giambi`s a tough decision for me. He`s been one of the Yankees best hitters this year. They also may get a big discount on him. He really seems to love New York. I would prefer Mark Texiera but only if they can get him on a 6 year deal or shorter which seems unlikely. I would also like to see Manny Ramirez signed and Matsui or Damon moved to first base. However, Manny's contract demands are also a concern. I think Giambi on a short deal is a better option than Adam Dunn and ultimately I think he will be back on a two year deal for about 11 million a year. I would not offer Giambi arbitration or resign him before making runs at Texiera and Manny.
  • Andy Pettitte- Type A- 16 million- Its looking more and more like Pettitte will return which is a good thing. For him its either the Yankees or retirement. He wants to come back and he`ll probably get a one year deal but not for as much as he earns now. They need him to fill out the rotation. He`s not a fantastic option at this point but he`s a solid innings eater who got a little unlucky this year. Again, I think he`ll be back and I`d like to see him return.
  • Mike Mussina- Type A- 11 million- We`re hearing conflicting reports about whether he wants to return or not. He`s had a great year and he`s reinvented himself so he can keep pitching well past where we expected him to retire. If he returns he should get a raise and either a one or two year deal. For him its the Yankees or retirement. Its critical to get both Pettitte and Mussina back.
  • Damaso Marte- Type A- 7 million (option)- He was a dissapoinment. When he came over in the Nady trade he was expected to be an anchor at the back of the bullpen and a lefty specialist. Phil Coke has basically stolen his job but Marte is still important. The Yankees should (and probably will) decline Marte's option and offer him arbitration to get draft picks for him. He`ll decline arbitration becuase he can get a multi-year deal elsewhere. If he accepts its hardly the end of the world.
  • Carl Pavano- Unranked- 11 million (option)- We all know about this guy. I had previously considered bringing him back on an incentive based contract but after his last start I`ve really given up on him.
  • Ivan Rodriguez- Type B- 10 million- Another big dissapointment. He was projected to be a Type A when he came over but he`s played so poorly he`s a Type B now. The question si whether or not to offer him arbitration. Will he want a multi-year deal and a starting job badly enough that he declines arbitration? At this stage in his career I think so and it might be worth gambling on offering it to him. If he accepts then the Yankees have enough money to pay his 10 million and he`s a very good backup.

This plan brings back (probably) Pettitte, (hopefully) Mussina, and (maybe) Giambi. It adds two first round draft picks and three sandwhich round draft picks. It also clears up around 50 million dollars off the payroll. Thoughts?

Nate McClouth

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/09/26/heyman.cubs/index.html

In Heyman's latest article he says the Yankees may make a big move to try and get Nate McClouth. Most stats have him as a poor fielder but he hits well in a pitchers park. He can hold centerfield down for a year until Austin Jackson is (HOPEFULLY) ready. Then he can move to a corner spot (Matsui, Damon, and Nady are all free agents after 2009). It`d depend on what they gave up and I think David DeJesus may work better but McClouth would be better than Gardner or Melky.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fantasy Update!!!

Now that the Fantasy baseball season is coming to an end I thought I would give an update about how our league panned out. Nate got the first seed from me going into the playoffs and I was stuck with the second seed. In the first week of the playoffs Nate and I both tied our opponents but we moved on because we had the higher seed. Now Nate and I are battling it out in the finals for the 1st place prize! Right now I am winning 5-4-1. I will update you once the week is over (by then I will have crushed Nate with the iron left fist of Cole Hamels) 

Carl Pavano

Believe it or not, Carl Pavano has actually been pretty solid for the Yankees. His K/BB is at 1.75 right now which is not really good but not really terrible either. He`s also been doing this not at full strength. Tonight's start will be a big one for him. If he does well then the Yankees should really consider bringing him back on an incentive filled contract. The 5th spot in the rotation should be a major question mark next year.

Sabathia

Buster Olney has a good post on his blog. He has some news on C.C. Sabathia. He think the Yankees will offer him about 140 million dollars while nobody else will give him more than 90 to 100 million. This makes me feel like we may have more of a chance at getting the ace. It might be tough for him to turn down 40 to 50 million dollars to play near home.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hughes Impresses

Hughes is probably fighting for a 2009 rotation spot right now and he looked great. He threw 7 innings, gave up 1 run, walked none, and had five strikeouts. This is the second solid start in a row for Hughes. At this point he has to be at least considered for a rotation spot next year.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's Over

While the Yankees won their fifth game in a row today, it was too little, too late. The Red Sox defeated the Rays 5-4 to clinch the playoffs. It is now official, the New York Yankees will not make the playoffs for the first time in thirteen years.

Heyman

Jon Heyman said in his latest column the Yankees are tossing around a few different ideas for centerfield. Nate McClouth, Matt Kemp, and David Dejesus are all trade candidates. Dejesus may be the best fit. I know little about McClouth but from the stats I see he`s an awful fielder. We have enough corner outfielder. Also, trading for Matt Kemp would probably mean giving up Robinson Cano which just makes another hole to fill. Dejesus hits well, he`s under 30, and seems to be a solid fielder. Any ideas on what it might take to get him?

Cashman wanted

Kat O`Brien is reporting that Hal Steinbrenner (and the rest of the organization) want Cashman back. The only question is whether or not he wants to come back. I`m a fan of Cash and only those inside the organization know for sure what moves were from Cashman and which were from Tampa.

Game 157: Yankees at Blue Jays

YANKEES (85-71)
Damon LF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady DH
Cano 2B
Molina C
Gardner CF
Mussina RHP

Monday, September 22, 2008

Matsui Out For The Season

Earlier today, Hideki Matsui had season-ending surgery on his left knee. This is something that easily could have happened months ago, but Hideki wanted to come back. However, since his return he has not played well, and it was obvious he needed the surgery. He was able to play in the Stadium's final game last night, but will now shut it down for the rest of the year, and come back in April ready to play, presumably as the full-time DH.

Goodbye

Last night was just about perfect. The ceremonies were fantastic although the interviews began to get redundant after a while.

The game also went just as planned. Pettitte wasn't at his best but he battled for five innings and handed the ball to a bullpen. It ended with Rivera, as expected. After the game he said he was more excited for this game than any World Series or All Star game he pitched.

After the game the players looked about as happy and excited as I`d ever seen them as they took a lap around the stadium. Jeter's brief speech was also a nice touch as he padded our (the fans) egos a bit.

I`m sad to see the old stadium go and if I had the choice it wouldn't be coming down. However, one day, I may be able to go to a game with my son or daughter, walk over to the public field that Yankee Stadium turns into, and have a catch in the same place Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter once played. I think I`ve made my peace with the new field.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Memories of the Old Yankee Stadium

Today was my last game at Yankee Stadium. After 10 years of Saturday season tickets I have accumulated a few memories of the greatest sports venue in history. To celebrate the Stadium I thought I would share my favorite of them with you. The memory that I cherish the most is game 5 of the 2001 World Series. In the 9th Scott Brosius hit a wondrous home run in the 9th to send the game into extra innings. When the ball cleared the fence the stadium went CRAZY. Under my feet I could feel the stadium shaking up and down. I hugged 4 dudes and slapped five with the whole section. In extras the rookie, Soriano, got the game winning hit. I have been to many thrillers, like todays game, filled with walkoffs and heroics. I have been going to this stadium since birth and it is hard to believe that it will be gone next year. Yankee Stadium has been my favorite place in the world my whole life and it hard to see it go.

















Yankee Stadium- Greatest Place on Earth

Friday, September 19, 2008

Verducci Article

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/the_bonus/09/18/yankee.stadium/index.html

Check out this article. Its really great and well written. It just sums up everything.

Its hard

Why is it so hard to write about the old stadium memories? With only three games left in it (two and a half now) its only expected that we should all be writing about our many memories of it. However, whenever I try it ust doesn't seem right. It feels like I`m just recounting events and fail to capture the real feelings of these things. Its still hard to believe that its coming down and we all have very mixed feelings about the new stadium. In the end it may be for the best but right now I`m just very sad about seeing the last games at this stadium.

Mussina wants to come back

Mussina got a win yesterday and kept his chances for twenty wins alive but more importantly, he said he wants to come back. If the Yankees want him they can have him. It would be a huge blow if Mussina wouldn't come back next year.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hughes

Hughes made his return yesterday and looked pretty good. Not great but good. He struck out a ton and his cutter looked very good. His velocity, which was the subject of a ton of controversy early in the year, was also back up to the mid 90's.

Giambi/Abreu

Joel Sherman is saying the Yankees will probably let both Abreu and Giambi go. I`ve been a big supporter of seeing Abreu go and I`m coming around to the idea of seeing Giambi leave as well. It means they will acquire either a first baseman or a corner outfielder and move Matsui or Damon to first base. This would cut 37 million dollars off the payroll.

I have no interest in a long term commitment to Texiera. He won't be getting his ten year deal but I could see some team giving him seven or eight years which is still ridiculous.

Adam Dunn is to much of a defensive liability at first base or even in left-field. Besides, he`s not as good a hitter as this next guy and will probably require more years.

This next guy is the best hitter available, he`s been consistent for years, he has experience in the AL East, and probably won't need more than 3 years. I`m talking about Manny Ramirez of course. 207 was the first year he`s had an EQA below .300 since 1994 when he was 22 and played in 91 games. He had an EQA of .292 that year and .297 in 2007. Damon can play left, Matsui can move to first, and Manny can be the full-time DH.

This solves our offensive problems perfectly and can Matsui really be much worse at first base than Giambi? Both he and Damon has volunteered for it. Please post any thoughts in the comments section.

Cano Trade?

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees are seriously considering trading Cano. The Dodgers are interested and Orlando Hudson would be a potential replacement. I`m extremely reluctant to do this but I`d have to consider it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sabathia

Jon Heyman is reporting that Sabathia does not want to play for the Yankees. This is not the first time we`ve heard something to that effect. I`m dissapointed by this situation. I`d be very surprised to see them get the ace pitcher. I see Ben Sheets as a much more realistic option at this point. I`d certainly be happy with this rotation:

1) Wang
2) Sheets
3) Mussina
4) Joba
5) Hughes/Pettitte

If we have to settle for Burnett though or fail to get even him we may need to work out a trade. As I`ve stated before, Damon is a candidate to be traded. With a few prospects (short of Jackson or Hughes) he might be able to bring in a good starter.

I`m worried about the rotation though. With Joba starting the year in the bullpen I don't know how they`re going to pull this off. A lot will become clearer early on when Pettitte/Mussina make their decisions.

Game 151: White Sox at Yankees

YANKEES (80-70)
Damon DH
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Cano 2B
Molina C
Gardner CF
Pettitte LHP

NOTES: I'm going to this game. My 2nd to last game at the old stadium.

Monday, September 15, 2008

08 Sucked














Owwww that kinda hurt, Never use a rusty X-Acto knife to get a point across.

Anyway back on topic:

4th Place- New York- 79-70, 10 games back

Yankees AL Ranks

2008 American League Ranks
AVGROBPSLGOPSSB
.271719.342.427.769104
5th8th4th6th6th4th
ERABAAOPSSVWHIPQS
4.38.269.740381.3872
8th7th7th7th9th8th

Junichi Tazawa

Here`s an excellent article on Junichi Tazawa:

What is the solution to this problem? Obviously, baseball is extremely popular in Japan and Japanese baseball is far more than just AAA level. Its not really right for ML teams to essentially turn it into another minor league level. Besides, Japan can retaliate by signing an American amateur or refusing to post their best players. On the other hand, Japanese teams just can't afford to hand out deals like the Yankees or Red Sox can. If Japan and MLB go to war MLB will win.

I don't see how this is going to end well for Japanese baseball. The best competition and the most money is in North American baseball. Can you blame the players?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wuss

Cano Removed For Lack of Hustle

A lot has been made this season of Robinson Cano's apparent laziness this season, but it wasn't until today that Cano was disciplined. He was taken out of the game in the fifth inning for not going after a ball that was booted by Jason Giambi. Some people have said that Cano has been playing poorly this year because of Larry Bowa's departure to Los Angeles. I don't buy that. Cano has had one of the unluckiest seasons in history. He currently has a Babip of .274 compared to his career line of .321, while his line drive rate is right in line with his career rate, 18.8 compared to 18.9. I think this is the reason for his apparent laziness, as well as his decline in fielding. While he probably doesn't feel that he's been playing poorly, the production has not been there to say the least. This has to be incredibly frustrating for him, and may have taken that frustration with him into the field. Now this is just my completely unfounded theory, so tell me what you think in the comments.

Pavano Hurt

I think I`ve actually run out of bad jokes about Pavano. Somehow he`s injured again. He landed badly after a pitch and now his left hip is hurt. He`s probably ruined any chance he may have had of getting a contract with the Yankees. This probably means Sidney Ponson will finish the year with the Yankees. Hughes will likely move into Pavano's spot. Just totally absurd.

Phil Coke

Has anyone else noticed that Phil Coke has sort of stolen Damaso Marte's job? After originally being reported that he was trade for Marte he has really done great. He`s become the left-handed reliever everybody thought/hoped Marte would be. Its a small sample size but I like what I`ve seen so far.

Game 149: Rays at Yankees

YANKEES (78-70)
Damon LF
Jeter SS
Giambi 1B
A. Rodriguez DH
Nady RF
Cano 2B
I. Rodriguez C
Ransom 3B
Gardner CF
Pavano RHP

Adam Dunn a Yankee???























I can only hope...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Free Agent Starters Ranked

While thinking about the Mussina/Pettitte scenario I decided to rank the free agent starting pitchers by 2008 FIP. Its a really quick and dirty way of doing it though so don't take it to seriously.

Type A:

Sabathia (2.96)
Sheets (3.23)
Lowe (3.32)
Mussina (3.44)
Burnett (3.57)
Pettitte (3.66)
Perez (4.84)

Pettitte doesnt stack up that well but considering he`ll come on a one year deal he`s not a bad option. However, Mussina is actually ahead of Burnett. Considering Burnett is having a career year that`s pretty good. Derek Lowe being so high is surprising.

Pettitte/Moose

Right now the Yankees only two solid starters are clearly Mussina and Pettitte. However, both have contracts up after the year and are getting to that age where you never know when they`ll hit a wall. Despite this, I believe the Yankees need both of them back. Here`s a look at the two of them:

Pettitte`s ERA has taken a jump this year and lately he has struggled greatly. However, his periphereals are still very good. His GB% and his K/BB are both solid. The real problem for Pettitte has been a high BABIP. His FIP is very good at 3.66 as well. For a one year deal I would love to have Pettitte back. The biggest concern with him is retirement.

Mussina has been incredible all year. He`s always been a control pitcher but he`s had the lowest BB/9 of his career this year. That`s been the biggest difference for him. However, his K/9 and GB% both rose as well. He`s managed to overcome a .322 BABIP and a FB which continues to get slower. Looking back at his 2007 nmbers he seemed to have been getting more than a little unlucky as well. His BABIP was an incredibly high .340. The question with him is whether or not he`ll come back on a one year deal. I may actually be willing to go for two years on him.

Lets assume they sign a big free agent starter and bring back one of these guys. Look at this rotation:

1) Wang
2) FA starter
3) Joba
4) Mussina/Pettitte
5) Hughes (?)

This isn't bad but Joba will be starting 2009 in the bullpen. Who is the 5th starter then for the first few months? Aceves? Kennedy? Igawa? Not to mention we don't have much depth in the scenario. I just don't feel comfortable at all in this scenario. If they can sign two top FA starters then I`m fine with it but what are the chances of that happening?

Pettitte to pitch last game

This comes as no surprise. It looks like Girardi juggled the rotation a bit to make it possible.

Hughes

After his insanely dominating performance in the AAA playoffs Phil Hughes has been called up. He`ll be starting Wednesday. Hoepfully he`ll be replacing Ponson.

I`m very happy with this call-up. I`m personally excited to see him pitch.

David Robertson

David Robertson has been called up. We may as well see some more of him to find out if he can pitch next year in the majors.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hughes Brilliant as Scranton Wins Governor's Cup

The AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees defeated the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay) today to win the Governor's Cup three games to one. Possibly the biggest story of the game was Phil Hughes. His line: 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 12 K (!), 0-2 GB/FB. Yes, that's two balls put in play in five innings. A few too many walks, but come on, 12 strikeouts! Hughes needs to get some starts in the majors this year. Obviously it won't get the Yanks to the playoffs, but Hughes is just toying with AAA right now. Anyway, Scranton will play the winner of the PCL in the Bricktown Showdown on Tuesday.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Yankees News and Notes

Some minor Yankees news you may or may not have already heard:
  • Hank the Tank Steinbrenner will be forming an advisory committee to review the entire organization this offseason. Brian Cashman would be leading it, but it seems like this is taking away some of his power. Although I would like to see Ca$h return, it would not be devastating to lose him, as the Yankees have able replacements in Gene Michael and Damon Oppenheimer.
  • The Padres have claimed Scott Patterson off waivers and have sent him directly to the majors. This is news to me, as I was unaware that Patterson was put on waivers. I don't understand, as I think Scott deserved a chance in the majors. Here's hoping he has a successful career in San Diego.

Junichi Tawaza

Junichi Tawaza has decided to sign with a major league team. He`s a Japanese, amateur pitcher. In other words, he`s a prospect. I imagine Gene Michaels will take a look at him while he`s over there and the Yankees are said to be interested. I know nothing about him but I hope we scout him better than Igawa.

Sabathia

It turns out C.C. Sabathia has not bought a house in southern California according to Ken Davidoff.

It probably doesn't mean much but its been an argument by many fans that he will be going to the west coast.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ACEves!

I realize this is a day late, but I have been too busy to post recently and now I finally have some time, and I thought Alfredo's start was worth mentioning. Aceves went 7IP, 5H, 0BB, 1 ER, 2K, and a 14/8 GB/FB ratio. Obviously only one start, but his numbers between the majors and minors have been impressive. He should be a useful piece next year, whether its as a starter, spot starter, or reliever.

Pete Abraham

Although his analysis is usually terrible this is a good article. It looks like Pettitte wants to come back. He`ll get a huge salary cut though.

Pettitte Struggles Again

Pettitte's second half struggles have been a dissapointment. I still would like him back as a fifth starter. However, right now I`m starting to second guess myself. The bullpen did very well. Coke has been especially impressive to me. Its always good to have a lot of depth in the bullpen. They`ll get Melancon and others who will get chances as well next year.

The Yankees are in 12th place in all of baseball now. I doubt they`ll be able to drop far enough to get a protected first round pick but their's always hope.

Congratulations to the Angels on clinching the division. Good luck to them in the playoffs. Especially if they play Boston in the first round.

Advertising

Hey All,

Today we lost our advertisement from Vivid Seats. If anyone out there is interested in advertising on the elegant Chuck Knoblog please don't hesitate to email me at ceo108@gmail.com. We provide good rates and your site will be viewed by a large audience. The funds we receive go into keeping the site up. So please email me and let us work something out. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Game 145: Yankees at Angels

YANKEES (76-68)
Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
Moeller C
Aceves RHP

Gerald Laird on the Block

The Rangers will be looking to trade Gerald Laird in the offseason and Steve Adams from MLB Trade Rumors think the Yankees could be interested. The Rangers are looking for pitching.

I don't like the idea unless Posada absolutely can't catch and they're desperate. Laird is 28 which means he should be in his peak years and he`s just not really that good. Last year he hit like Jose Molina and he can't field nearly as well.

On the other hand, I would be much more interested in Taylor Teagarden or Jarrod Saltalamachia. Either one could be the catcher of the future. This would allow them to let Giambi go and move Posada to first base. I would give up top talent for those two. The Yankees have a ton of young pitching and not many young position players with Cano and Melky's terrible years and Jose Tabata's trade.

John Smoltz???!!!!

John Somltz made these comments to Jay Busbee of Atlanta Magazine:

"I say this for the first time, without reservation, if I'm going to bust my butt and if I feel like I'm good enough and it doesn't work out here, I will be pitching somewhere else...My dream scenario would be to pitch in the playoffs again, and that's coming from a guy who's been in 13 of them. To me, that's what I'm about. So if the door gets closed here, it'll have to be explored somewhere else."

I have very little doubt this is just a ploy to get more money out of the Braves. However, its a very interesting thought to consider.

Smoltz has unbelievable numbers, even recently. His FIP's for the past three years (counting a very short 2008) are 3.44, 3.21, and 2.31. His K/BB's are outstanding at 3.84, 4.19, and 4.50. They`re not a result of just low walk totals either. He still strikes guys out. His stuff is still pretty good as well with a fastball in the low 90's.

Yes he is on the wrong side of 40 (not a typo), yes he is coming off of surgery, yes he is coming from the NL, and feel free to make as many Kevin Brown/Randy Johnson comparisons as you want. However, its something worth looking into. He`s been nothing but dominant for the past few years. If negotiations are not working out to well with the Braves could the Yankees swoop in and make him an offer?

Their are other repercussions to this as well. If Smoltz went to a team seeking pitching that may take a team out of the Sabathia sweepstakes. I do still want to emphasize I would still be shocked if he left Braves and pretty much everything I`ve wrote in this post is a complete and utter fantasy.

AL Relievers rankings

We now have rankings for AL relievers.

  • Damaso Marte is a Type A free agent. They may be able to get picks for him. He`s only getting 2 million dollars this year and I think he`ll be able to get a multi-year deal elsewhere. They should buyout his option and offer arbitration. I was in favor of bringing him back before but now that he`s a Type A I prefer the draft picks.
  • Kyle Farnsworth failed to get Type B status. I`m surprised by this. In any case it makes that disastrous trade for both sides look a little better for the Yankees.
  • Darren Oliver somehow managed to get Type A status. How did that happen?

Derek Lowe

Derek Lowe has become a Type A free agent. This makes the Yankees need Pettitte more now than ever.

Is Sabathia being abused?

A very interesting article at the Hardball Times on C.C. Sabathia. It makes me think the Yankees need him even more than before now. Getting Sabathia is absolutely crucial for them. He`s one of those rare superstars who actually hit free agency. When was the last time a pitcher as good as Sabathia hit free agency?

Signing Sabathia and getting Wang back could turn the pitching rotation from bad to being very good and able to match up with the Red Sox or Rays. I do believe he will go to an NL team (probably the Dodgers) but the Yankees still need him.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Yankees Send Gene Michael to Japan

According to Mark Feinsand, the Yankees sent Gene Michael to Japan to scout players. Feinsand lists Koji Uehara, Kenshin Kawakami, both righthanders and Hitoki Iwase, a lefthanded reliever. This seems like a good idea, as Michael has a good eye for talent, and the last time the Yankees signed a Japanese player, there obviously was not enough scouting. This news does not mean that will sign one of those players, they are probably just doing their due diligence.

A random question

My ipod was stolen earlier today. I read on google that you can use the serial number (which I have) to track the ipod. Is this true? Sorry to get off topic.

Baseball and Grunge?

Baseball and Grunge?

I don't usually like mlb.com but I had to post this story. I just find this totally awesome.

For those who don't know, the Melvins were one of the first underground bands to start playing "grunge" music. They came from Aberdeen, Washington, the same town as Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana. Cobain actually tried out for the band as a guitarist but failed terribly. They ended up being a huge influence on bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and all those other northwestern bands that got big in the early '90's.

I`m not the only person on the planet both obsessed with underground music and baseball!

Game 144: Yankees at Angles

YANKEES (76-67)
Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
A. Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
I. Rodriguez C
Pavano RHP

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hughes dominates

Down in AAA they are actually playing meaningful playoff baseball. Remember that?

Phil Hughes faced off against Boston's AAA team and Bartolo Colon. It went into extra innings tied at 0-0. Eventually the Yankees won with a walk off HR by Shelley Duncan (remember him?). The most impressive part though was Phil Hughes.

He pitched eight shutout innings, gave up four hits, no walks, and struck out 12. Can you really get much better than that? I`m certainy not ready to give up on Hughes yet. He may indeed be a bust but its to soon to say.

The Scranton Yankees will face of in their equivalent of the World Series next against Tampa's team.

4th and 11th place

With a Yankees loss and Toronto win the Yankees have dropped into fourth place in the division and are tied for the 11th best record in all of baseball. While a fourth place finish would be admittedly embarrassing think about what team finished third in 2006. Then think about what they did the next year. The difference between second and third is really no different from the difference between second and last. They`re closer to having a protected first round pick at least.

The game started out well for the Yankees with homers by Nady and Jeter but they really couldn't score anything after that. Its going to be very hard for Moose to get his 20th win which he really deserves.

Congratulations to Jeter on tying Babe Ruth for second most hits as a Yankee.

Game 143: Yankees at Mariners

YANKEES (76-66)
Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
Molina C
Mussina RHP

MARINERS (55-86)
Suzuki RF
Reed CF
Beltre 3B
Ibanez DH
Lopez 2B
Balentien LF
LaHair 1B
Johjima C
Betancourt SS
Feierabend LHP

J-E-T-S

Nate and I are both big Jets fan and today is the start of a new season for Gang Green. This season is looking good by the great off-season moves especially acquiring Brett Favre and the improved offensive line. The Jets start the season facing the rebuilding Dolphins in Miami. Farve is going up against former Jet and power arm QB Chad Pennington. This is a must win for the Jets because if the can't beat Miami who can they beat. 

Saturday, September 6, 2008

First Base

Next year the Yankees have the opportunity to shake up their first base situation and get rid of a huge contract in Jason Giambi. The question is, should they? Here are their options for first base next year:
  • Resign Abreu to a multi-year deal and move Nady or Damon to first base. Giambi leaves.
  • Sign Mark Texiera to a long term deal. Both Giambi and Abreu leave.
  • Resign Giambi to a short one or two year deal for a discount. Abreu leaves.

Keep in mind this is all assuming we don't magically pull off a trade. I didn't list this because of its unlikeliness and also because its impossible to predict what we would give up.

I`m leaning towards the third one.

I don't want Abreu back. First of all, he`s a big defensive liability and he would force somebody to play out of position at first base. Believe it or not Giambi would probably be a better fielder at first then Nady or Damon. More importantly though I think Giambi is a better hitter than Abreu. EQA (which takes into account pretty much every offensive stat) has Giambi ahead over the past three years. Giambi beats Abreu in 2008 and 2006. As an added bonus Abreu will be a type A free agent while Giambi will only be a type B.

Although Texiera would fill the first base spot perfectly I would stay away from him. He`s looking for a ten year deal. In my opinion their are very few guys in baseball who are worth that. They need to focus as much money as possible on Sabathia. It would be great to have him but at what cost?

At the start of this year I was looking forward to Giambi being gone. However, he`s been one of the few guys on this team that actually hit. They can get him on a one or two year deal and he wants to be back so they may get him on a discount.

I`d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. Thanks :)

The Chuck Knoblog Minor League Awards: Best Breakout Candidate

And the Knobby goes to...
Austin Romine, C, 19, Low A Charleston
Austin Romine was a second-round pick in the 2007 draft. In his first year of full-season pro baseball, he was solid, with a .778 OPS in a pitchers park, in a pitchers league. He was a highly-regarded prospect coming out of high school, and the main reason he got so little publicity this year is that he spent this season in Jesus Montero's rather large shadow. The two split catching and DH duties. He has a good contact rate, and a decent walk rate, which should improve. Considering his 35 extra base hits in a pitchers park, his .437 slugging percentage should improve. Next Romine should be in a more hitter friendly league, and has a good chance at putting up an OPS over .800. Romine does not have the ceiling of Jesus Montero, but could become the Yankees' catcher of the future if Montero is moved to first base.

Game 142: Yankees vs Mariners

YANKEES (75-66)
Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
A. Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
I. Rodriguez C
Ponson RH

A New Approach

The season is over obviously and at this point is winning really a good thing?

The Yankees are tied with St. Louis for the 10th best record in baseball at the moment. Both have winning percentages of .532. At the end of the year all free agents are assigned rankings based on their performance the past two years. "Type A" free agents are the top tier free agents. C.C. Sabathia, Ben Sheets, A.J. Burnett, and Mark Texiera are all type A free agents. Teams that sign a type A free agent give up their first round pick to the team that lost the free agent.

The Yankees clearly need at least one Type A free agent next year. The teams with the 15 worst records in baseball don't have to give up their first round draft pick when they sign type A free agent. Can the Yankees drop that low? It at least gives us something to root for. :D

Aceves to replace Rasner

Alfredo Aceves will be replacing Darell Rasner in the rotation. Rasner did what he could for us and had that one awesome month way back in June but sinc then he hasn't been getting the job done. Although I wish it was Sidney being replaced I`m happy with this move.

Aceves has an outside chance of being our 5th starter next year. It`ll be good to see some of him. If nothing else they can showcase him to other teams who may be willing to trade a centerfielder.

Yankees to Send 36 Players to Instructional League

Here's the list, courtesy of Pete Abe:

Pitchers: Manuel Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Jeremy Bleich, Noel Castillo, Wilkins de la Rosa, Christian Garcia, Brett Marshall, D.J. Mitchell, Jhonny Nunez, Mike O’Brien, Dave Phelps, Matt Richardson, Amauri Sanit, Nik Turley, Arodys Vizcaino.

Catchers: Franciso Cervelli, Kyle Higashioka, Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Chase Weems.

Infielders: Dave Adams, Carmen Angelini, Mitchell Delaney, Corban Joseph, Brandon Laird, Garrison Lassiter, Eduardo Nunez, Jimmy Parades, Damon Sublett, Brad Suttle.

Outfielders: Abraham Almonte, Kelvin DeLeon, Eduardo Sosa, Taylor Grote, Francisco Santana, Chris Smith.

The team will play a six game schedule beginning on September 22.

Friday, September 5, 2008

...

Game 141: Yankees at Mariners

YANKEES (75-65)
Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Matsui DH
Cano 2B
Molina C
Pettitte LHP

The Chuck Knoblog Minor League Awards: Hitter of the Year

And the Knobby goes to...
Jesus Montero, 19, C, B:R T:R, Low A Charleston
When Jesus Montero was signed out of Venezuela as a sixteen year old, he was the cream of the international free agent crop. Now, three years later, Montero is arguably the second best catching prospect in just his first year of full season ball. Thus far, Montero has been everything we believed he could be as a hitter. This year, he torched the Sally league to the tune of a .326/.370/.491 (.863 OPS) with a ridiculous 52 extra base hits (34 2B, 1 3B, 17 HR). Keep in mind, he did all this in a pitchers park. When the Riverdogs travelled to Greensborough, a hitter's park, Montero absolutely crushed the ball. Jesus posted an 84.2% contact rate, very good for a power hitter, and a 6.6% walk rate. That is obviously a little low, but considering Montero is just nineteen, that is a solid rate. Also, consider that Montero's walk rate steadily improved as the season went on, and should continue to improve to the point Montero becomes a very well-rounded hitter. Now, the defense. I have never seen Montero play, so I will not comment on his defense. I have heard very different reports on his fielding abilities. Some say he will never stick as a catcher, some say he is destined for first base. However, most of these reports say he does not have a future at catcher because he is 6'4", 225, and not because he lacks athletic ability. While the size is an issue, there are guys his size that can still catch, like Joe Mauer, or the top catching prospect in baseball, Matt Wieters. Basically, only time will tell, but Montero's bat will play at any position. Next year he will start in Tampa, and my guess is he stays there all year, regardless of how he does.

More Rankings

Eddie Bajek at Tigers Thoughts has updated his site to add rankings for NL starters. A couple notes:

  • Sabathia and Sheets are unsurprisingly type A's. I think its important for the Yankees to sign one of these with Burnett as a solidly far back Plan C.
  • Oliver Perez and Kyle Lohse are both somehow Type A's. Perez I never had interest in. However, Lohse being a type A dissapoints me. I liked him but he`s not worth a first round pick.
  • Derek Lowe being a Type B is very interesting. I`ve written on my old blog about him and I was hoping he might be available at the trade deadline. Although he was roughed up the last time he was in the AL East he had a high BABIP that year. He should be a top target next year for the Yankees if Pettitte chooses to leave. Heck, he might even be an upgrade over Pettitte.
  • None of the other free agents are very interesting.

Deadspin Interview

Rick Chandler over at Deadspin was kind enough to lend some of his time to answer a few questions for us. Here they are:

1.) What do you think was the main cause of the Yankees woes this year?

Besides Giambi shaving his mustache? I'd point to the pre-game buffet. Due to new MLB restrictions, no longer is HGH provided with the waffles. Also injuries, which come to think of it, again could be due to lack of steroids. I also think it could be time to come to grips with the fact that -- however incredible this may seem -- Joe Torre may have known what he was doing. And how did they not get Manny? This isn't beginning well, is it?

2.) Who do you think is the best team in baseball?

Last week I would have said the Cubs. But then Zambrano's arm fell off (Know who caught it? Steve Bartman! Weird!). Despite the fact that the Rays have the best record in baseball, I'm going to go with the Angels. To me it's been a foregone conclusion that they're going to win it all. West coast, represent.

3.) Who made the best move before the trade deadline this year.

Best single move: Dodgers with Manny, especially since they're not even paying his salary. Best moves overall: Yankees. Xavier Nady, Damaso Marte ... and Ivan Rodriguez for Kyle Farnsworth was inspired greatness. 

4.) Who is your AL and NL MVP?

NL: Will Leitch has paid me to say Albert Pujols. Between you and me though, it's Ryan Howard. AL: Carlos Quentin.

5.) Who is your AL and NL Rookie of the Year?

Can I show some Royals love with Mike Aviles? NL: Um, Fukudome?

6.) Who is your Al and NL Cy Young winners?

AL is Cliff Lee, hands down. In the NL I'm going with Tim Lincecum. I strongly suspect that both are robots from the future ... Lee concludes every interview with suspicious questions about Sarah Connor. Which brings up this point: Where would the Indians and Giants be without these guys? Answer: They'd be demoted to a lower league, like in European soccer.

7.) Which teams do you think are going to make it to the World Series?

Um, Angels and ... wait for it ... Mets. Yeah, sorry. My belief is that there are always cosmic forces at work evening out events in the universe, and after last season's epic late-season crash and burn, fate owes one to the Mets.  

8.) Which of those two teams will win it all?

I think that in the end the California Angels of Anaheim in Los Angeles County near Fullerton will hoist the dangerous, pointy World Series trophy. Rally monkey will celebrate by gorging himself on bananas and blow.  

9.) Who do you think is the most promising Yankee prospect?

My prediction of greatness for Ian Kennedy seems to have hit a snag. Austin Jackson and Jose Tabata, I suppose. My coverage of the minors skews more toward weird promotions, like the Altoona Curve's Frivolous Lawsuit Night.

10.) Do you think they should bring Cashman back?

I don't see how Cashman gets his reputation as a bad dealmaker. He brought in Jeter and Rodriguez, Giambi, Joba, all those guys. He restocked the minors with good talent. He got rid of David Wells, which is probably the most impressive of all. Plus he makes an avocado dip fit for the Gods.

11.) Overall how do you think Hank and Hal are running the team?

Hank and Hal always remind me of Big Enos and Little Enos from Smokey and the Bandit. Hal is always dragging out his money clip and signing Jason Giambi, and then hiring Jerry Reed to pick him up and deliver him by semi in less than 72 hours. But actually Yankee Stadium is more like Cuba. One day we woke up and Raul was in charge. As with all dictatorships, it's the people who suffer most.

Funny stuff. Thanks again for your time Rick!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Chuck Knoblog Minor League Awards: Pitcher of the Year

And the Knobby goes to...
Zach McAllister, 20, RHP, High-A Tampa
Z-Mac was a 3rd round pick out of High School in the 2006 draft, and has really broken out this year. He started the year in Charleston, where he excelled in ten starts. He had a 2.45 ERA in 62.1 IP, with 7.65 K/9, 1.16 BB/9, .43 HR/9, 8.52 H/9 and a 1.07 WHIP. After his promotion to Tampa, he made 15 appearances, 14 starts. In 88.2 IP in Tampa, Zach had a 1.83 ERA, 6.29 K/9, 1.32 BB/9, .61 HR/9, 8.49 H/9 and a .98 WHIP. While Z-Mac is not the prospect that Dellin Betances is or Phil Hughes/Joba was, he has put up astonishing numbers this year. The strikeouts are the reason he is not a top prospect, but while he does not have elite strikeout numbers, McAllister's K rates are still solid, and the lack of walks and ability to prevent the long ball are major plusses. McAllister does not have dominating stuff, he is a sinker/slider guy. He does not have the highest ceiling in the system, but could easily become a solid number three starter one day.

Disclaimer: A lot of guys were up for consideration here, especially in the low minors. This was by far the hardest decision of any award I have given out so far, and I think Mark Melancon deserves and honorable mention.

Abreu out

Abreu hurt his hand when he was out stealing yesterday. He`s out of the lineup today.

Game 140: Yankees at Rays

YANKEES (75-64)
Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
A. Rodriguez 3B
Nady LF
Giambi DH
Ransom 1B
Cano 2B
I. Rodriguez C
Rasner RHP

RAYS (84-53)
Iwamura 2B
Upton CF
Pena 1B
Floyd DH
Aybar 3B
Hinske LF
Navarro C
Gross RF
Bartlett SS
Kazmir LHP

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Chuck Knoblog Minor League Awards: Most Improved Player

And the knobby goes to...
Dellin Betances, 20, RHP, Low-A Charleston Riverdogs
Betances is a huge righty with a huge ceiling. He stands 6'8", 245 lbs, and has been a highly touted prospect since he was signed to a way overslot million dollar signing bonus as an eighth round pick in the 2006 draft. Everybody around baseball knew that Dellin had a chance to be a great player one day, but like many tall pitchers, he took more time than others to show that potential. From the start of his professional career, Dellin has had the ability to strike out batters, but he had a lot of trouble with walks. Last season, though he only pitched 25 innings in the Gulf Coast League due to injury he had 6.12 BB/9. It's tough to call a player in just his first year of full season ball the most improved player, but the early part of this year compared to the rest has been night and day for Betances. Dellin's BB/9 this season in Charleston is 5.49, which is bad. However, let's look a little deeper. In April and May, Betances had a 6.55 BB/9. Since then, with a short DL stint mixed in, he has a 2.83 BB/9. Besides walks, Dellin's other numbers have been stellar. In 82 IP, he has a 3.62 ERA, 6.04 H/9, .99 HR/9, 10.32 K/9, 1.28 WHIP. Next year Dellin should start the year in Tampa, and I would assume he will spend the whole year there. Considering his size, I do not think the Yankees will fast-track him, but I expect big things from Dellin next year, as he is now starting to show indications that he may reach his ceiling as an ace.

God Bless You Eddie

Eddie at Tiger's Thoughts's has compiled the free agent rankings for the free agents next year. Its absolutely amazing work. Please go over and give his blog a look.
Here is the link:

Some Notes:

  • Jason Varitek has somehow managed an A ranking. I wonder if Boston will offer arbitration to their captain. If they get two picks that corpse of a baseball player I`m going to be really annoyed. Meanwhile, Pudge is only a type B. Elias desperately needs to change their formula. Pudge is a very borderline type B though and could become a type A.
  • Abreu is unsurprisingly a Type A. This just enforces the idea that he should be let go.
  • Giambi is a Type B. The Yankees wouldn't dare offer him arbitration anyway. He`ll be back on a 2 year deal next year.
  • The market for centerfielders is incredibly thin. Only Mike Cameron is decent at all. He is a type B but he also has an option for 2009. He may be an option if they can't pull off a trade.
  • Mussina and Pettitte are both Type A free agents but I don't think it matters. Mussina should be back and if Pettite is offered arbitration he`ll either accept or retire.
  • A.J. Burnet should be a free agent and would be a Type A. I don't know about him. He`s an injury risk and has never been truly amazing. Is he worth the risk of a long-term deal and two draft picks?
  • Jon Garland is a Type B free agent. Although some fans are suggesting he is signed as a back-end of the rotation guy I don't like the idea. His K/BB is to low for comfort.
  • C.C. Sabathia and Ben Sheets haven't been done yet but when they are done they will probably (obviously) be type A's.

That's about it for now. Now sit back and watch the game.

Joba to Start Season in Pen

Just saw on Sports Center that according to Brian Cashman Joba is going to start next season in the bullpen because he hasn't recorded enough innings this year. We will keep you posted.

#17

We all know the season's just about over but their's still a few reasons to watch the games. One is to see if Mike Mussina will get to 20 wins. Although its a next to meaningless stat, the writers who vote for the Hall of Fame value it highly. Having his first 20 win season at Mussina's age would go a long way for his chances.

A-Rod and Nady both hit HR's. Nady's seemed like it hit the ceiling of Tropicana Field and A-Rod's tied Mike Schmidt. Is A-Rod the best player to ever play third base? His next HR will give him the most by anyone who has spent significant time at the position.

Joba looked good in his inning and a third as well.

Little Steins Want Ca$h Back

Both Steinbrenner bros, Hank the Tank and Hal, both agree that they want Brian Ca$hmen back as the Yankees GM. They all met in Tampa yesterday where no contract was offered but the Steinbrenners expressed their feelings that they want to bring the Ca$h back. Ca$h had this to say:
"We have gone through the frustration and disappointment," Cashman said. "Now the focus is on the small things. Try and pick up a game a week and get to Fenway Park and make that series meaningful."Is it too much, a game a week?" Cashman said. "It's not out of the realm of possibility. You can't do it in three or four days. Make up a game a week and get to Fenway Park with a chance. If (Boston) wants to make it easier, I'll take that."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Chuck Knoblog Minor League Awards: Biggest Disappointment

Today we have the second and least prestigious in our series of six Chuck Knoblog Awards (Knobbies).
Biggest Disappointment: And the Knobby goes to... Alan Horne, 25, RHP, AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre
Coming into this year, big things were expected from Horne. Last year in AA Trenton, Horne had a 3.11 ERA with 165 Ks in 153.1 IP, winning him the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year award. This year was expected to be another step forward for Horne. If all went well, Horne was expected to see time in the majors. However, that did not happen. Horne is the biggest disappointment not because of performance, but because of injuries. Horne threw just 39 innings between Tampa and Scranton this season, and recently received treatment on a torn rotator cuff. In his limited time, Horne had an ERA of 8.77 with 30 Ks and 27 BBs. This was basically a lost season for Horne, who should continue next year in Scranton. If he makes a full recovery, it is possible that Horne can see major league time tomorrow, but there is a relatively long way to go.

Ponson to stay in rotation?

Joe Girardi said yesterday after the game that Ponson would remain in the rotation. I don't see what the point of this is. He's clearly terrible and he has not future with the Yankees. Girardi has been known to lie about stuff like this but if he starts that game against the Rays every Yankees fan should be annoyed. Phil Hughes pitched yesterday giving up 1 run in 5 and 2/3 innings. He struck out 8 and walked 4. Obviously, he walked to many but even if you don't want Hughes then why not give the start to Alfredo Aceves? Ponson doesn't give the team the best chance to win and he`s not a rookie that has to go through growing pains. He`s a veteran who is far past his prime.

Feinsand: Joba to Bullpen

I guess for the last month of the meaningless season its necessary and alright. However, Cash and Girardi seemed to leave the door open to him relieving next year. This is just stupid. I have no idea how they plan to pull this off. Going into the the offseason with only Wang as a sure thing to be in the rotation next year is a dangerous idea. The bullpen has been the lone bright spot this year. The Yankees just tried out a bunch of different guys with good stuff for the bullpen. Some of them worked out brilliantly (Veras, Ramirez, and Bruney) and some of them failed. Next year Mark Melancon, Chris Britton, Jonathan Albaladejo, Humberto Sanchez and plenty of other guys with good arms could get a shot next year in addition to what they already have. The bullpen is not a concern going into next year. They need a centerfielder, first baseman and starting pitching.

If Hughes pitches great for the rest of the year, Mussina comes back, and they sign two of Burnett/Sheets/Sabathia then I guess I'm okay with the move. However, I'd be extremely disappointing if I never saw Joba start a game ever again.

Monday, September 1, 2008

The Chuck Knoblog Minor League Awards: Biggest Surprise

Well, since the minor league season is over at some levels, and the playoffs are starting at others, I have decided to give out my minor league awards. There will be six in total, and each will be announced over the next six days, the first one coming today:
Biggest Surprise:
And the Knobby goes to.......
Wilkins De La Rosa, 21, LHP, High-A Tampa
De La Rosa is a converted outfielder in just his second year of pitching. Last year in the GCL, he pitched 24.0 innings with a 2.63 ERA. Good numbers, but nobody was really expecting De La Rosa to do much this year, and nobody really considered him a prospect. Position player to pitcher conversions rarely work out, but so far, De La Rosa has pitched very well. He began this year in Low-A Charleston, and threw 90.1 innings to the tune of a 2.29 ERA, a 1.10 WHIP, 10.96 K/9, 3.89 BB/9, .2 HR/9 and 5.98 H/9. He was then promoted to High-A Tampa, where he continued to pitch well. In 16.1 IP, he had a 1.10 ERA, a 1.04 WHIP, 8.27 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 0 HR/9 and 6.61 H/9.


Next Years Outlook: De La Rosa will likely begin next year in Tampa with a possible promotion to Trenton later in the year. His mid-nineties fastball is already good, he just needs to develop his secondary pitches. De La Rosa has a long way to go, buthe probably has the highest ceiling of any lefthander in the Yankees system.

Minor League Notes

I have been in Massachusetts this weekend with my Red Sox fan relatives and I can honestly say that the Red Sox have the single most brainwashed fanbase out of any team in any sport. Anyway, here is some minor league news from when I was gone:
  • Alan Horne has a torn rotator cuff. The injury is not as bad as it sounds, and rehab should not take as long as it usually does for this type of injury. It is unclear when this injury happened, but Horne has had arm troubles all year, and it is probable that this has played a part. This has been a lost season for Horne, as he was expected to see major league time this season, but instead only threw 39 innings between Scranton and Tampa.
  • Phil Hughes and Humberto Sanchez will see time in the Arizona Fall League this year. Both pitchers have big ceilings, but have struggled with injuries this season, and will be going to the AzFL to build up inning totals. Austin Jackson and Kevin Russo will also represent the Yankees in the AzFL. The Yankees still have three more spots to fill.

Runs?

It wasn't pretty but the Yankees offense somehow got them a win. Phil Coke had an impressive ML debut which was one of the sole bright spots for the pitching.

In a way Sidney Ponson's performance was also kind of a good thing. This latest terrible start may finally convince the Yankees that their's no reason for him to be on the team anymore. I believe Hughes is pitching today. If he does well he can be called up. If not we can see Alfredo Aceves. Posnson gave us a few good start but he`s really not part of the Yankees future.

Game 137: Yankees at Tigers

YANKEES (72-64)
Damon CF
Jeter SS
Abreu RF
A. Rodriguez 3B
Giambi 1B
Nady LF
Matsui DH
Cano 2C
I. Rodriguez C
Ponson RHP