Daily Archives: November 11, 2011

Open Thread

There really isn’t much going on in the Yankee Universe today, other than Joe Girardi’s press conference. Therefore, I’ll just recap some of the “Hot Stove” events of the day.

— Now former Red Sox closer, Jonathan Papelbon has signed with the Phillies. It is a 4 year / $50MM deal, with a vesting option for a fifth year. It really tells you how desperate the Phillies were for a closer. 4+ years, and 50 million – yikes. Have fun with that contract, Philly!

— Speaking of the Red Sox, they are not overly committed to having Daniel Bard as their full-time closer. They are expected to pursue Ryan Madson and Heath Bell.

— The Miami Marlins so said “ability” to spend has been continued. They are rumored to have made offers to Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Mark Buehrle.

Talk about whatever you’d like on this thread. Have a great night.

Joe Girardi press conference: Sabathia, Posada, Montero and pitching

Joe Girardi press conference: Sabathia, Posada, Montero and pitching

By Delia E.

Joe Girardi hasn’t spoken in a press conference since the end of the 2011 season, but he finally spoke to them this morning at Yankee Stadium. He didn’t give any news, but he gave his thoughts on certain players such as CC Sabathia, Jorge Posada, Jesus Montero & finding starting pitching. Here is what Girardi had to say on each subject.

On finding starting pitching: “I think we will try to add some (pitching) depth like we did last year. This is an organization that feels like you never have enough pitching, and that’s the way we approached it last year. The way I look at it, it takes two people. It takes our organization, and it also takes a player wanting to come here and this being the right fit for him. I’m sure were going to be active, but it also takes two. I know we have great things to offer here, I do know that, and I think the players that have come here have been very happy.”

On re-signing CC Sabathia: “Obviously he had the right to opt out in his contract. I felt that, what he has done here in the first three years, and his love for this team, I always thought he would be a Yankee, that something would be worked out. I’m glad I was right. I didn’t want to imagine life without CC.”

On Jorge Posada: “It’s hard to imagine him in another uniform, but it’s the desires of the heart if he wants to continue to play and there’s not a spot here, I would encourage him to do it because as a player, I think you have to make sure that all of that is out there for you before you decide to retire.”

On replacing Jorge Posada: “Our DH is something that might be a rotating DH a little bit next year. I’m not sure. You’ve kind of  got to see how things shake out as we get into December and January.”

On using Jesus Montero next season: “We believe that this kid has a lot of talent. He’s a work in progress. He’s got great bat speed, and we think he’s going to be able to provide some offense for us. You’ve got to see how a young player does and how he approaches spring training, comes into spring training and does his job. We see him as a guy that can do some different things for us. You think about how old he is, we’ve heard about Montero for so long, I think we all think he’s about 24 or 25 years old. He’s a baby, and there’s going to be some growing pains as you go through with him, but I think the kid is extremely hungry, I think he’s talented, and I think he can help us.”

On Jorge Posada’s Hall of Fame chances: “I think he has a very good chance, I do. When you look at the catchers over the last 15 years, Jorge has been one of the most dominant catchers.”

On A.J Burnett: “You look at the game that he pitched in the playoffs for us and you try to feed off of that. To me it’s just trying to shorten (the amount of time) when he does go in a little rut.”

Joe Girardi also says he could see Hector Noesi as a rotation option next year and metioned David Phelps, Adam Warren, D.J Mitchell, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances as pitchers that could compete for a rotation spot if neccesary. “If we need one spot, the they are all going to compete for a spot.” Girardi said.

Also, Joe Girardi said that the Yankees have not finished signing on the coaching staff. When asked if everyone will be back next year, he replied “I think our guys did a great job last year.”

Girardi has seen the Yoenis Cespedes viral scouting video. When asked to comment on that, Girardi said, “Obviously he’s a very impressive athlete.”

Girardi admits that he did not see every inning of the 2011 World Series since he was spending time with his family, but he did remember watching Game 6 where the Cardinals mounted a comeback and forced a Game 7. “I’m happy for Tony LaRussa, for what he means to this game.” Girardi mentioned. “I had a chance to play under him for one year-unfortunately I was hurt a lot of the year-but I was impressed with what he did and loved to pick his brain. I’m really happy for him.”

State of the Yankees Rotation

The much maligned 2011 New York Yankees starting rotation exceeded all expectations. It was the reason most prognosticators picked the Boston Red Sox to win the AL East. However, nobody expected a rookie of the year campaign for Ivan Nova, or renaissance years from Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia. The Yankees finished a very respectable 4th in the AL in team ERA, with a 3.73 team ERA.   The starting rotation also pitched well in October, with the notable exception of CC Sabathia, and once again was not the reason the Yankees went home early. Yet, Brian Cashman has gone into this offseason, like last offseason, looking to improve the starting rotation.

In my opinion, I think we can expect a pretty similar rotation to last year’s.  This year’s crop of free agents is extremely weak.  The Yankees already got their main job done by extending CC Sabathia’s contract. Sabathia did the Yankees a favor by not going to free agency, and potentially getting a 7 year offer that Cashman would have been hesitant to match.  Sabathia vowed to come to spring training in better shape, so he does not falter down the stretch again. Ivan Nova stepped up and proved to be a capable number two starter.  Nova had a sparkling rookie year going 16-4, with a 3.70 ERA, and a 1.33 WHIP.  The development of Nova’s slider as a put away pitch catapulted him down the stretch. However, in a perfect world, the Yankees would find a starter to slide in between Sabathia and Nova. That pitcher is not a free agent right now, unless the Yankees see Japanese star Yu Darvish as that guy. However, that guy may be available at the trade deadline, or in next year’s free agency class. Cole Hamels and Matt Cain are ideal candidates.  Dan Haren and James Shields would also make great candidates if their team options are not picked up.

Now that we have dealt with the top of the rotation we will move onto the bottom. This is where you will probably see the Yankees add a starting pitcher. The Yankees have been linked to Edwin Jackson, Mark Buehrle, and Hiroki Kuroda already, but it is was too early to get a sense of what Cashman will do. The Yankees and Freddy Garcia also seem to have a mutual interest in putting a deal together to resign Garcia for next year.  I would have no issue with Garcia returning as a back of the rotation pitcher. Garcia can get by on his smarts and guile alone, especially against young and free swinging teams.  It is when he faces the patient teams that will make him throw strikes, is when you are worried.  If Garcia could repeat his year of 12-8, with a 3.62 ERA, and a 1.34 WHIP the Yankees would love it. Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett are two Yankees who can help the rotation if they can pitch to their capabilities.  Hughes will have to earn his spot in spring training, especially since the Yankees will probably bring in at least one pitcher via free agency or trade, other than Freddy Garcia.  Hughes struggled with injuries, fastball velocity, and putting hitters away in 2011. However, he did have his best stuff in the playoffs. so perhaps that can carry over. Like it or not, A.J. Burnett will more than likely have a spot in next year’s rotation based on his contract.  Burnett’s last two years have been brutal, posting ERA’s over 5.00 in each of them, and walking what seems like a village per start. Burnett does have two shining moments in his Yankees career. He did pitch the biggest game in the 2009 World Series by getting the Yankees a split at home. If he stinks up the joint there, the Yankees are probably still searching for their first title since 2000. Also, Burnett came through big time by extending the Yankees’ season in game 4 of the ALDS last year. One can only hope that will give him some confidence going into next year, but unfortunately that is probably wishful thinking.

Again, I do not see any huge changes with the Yankees starting staff heading into the year. I see Sabathia and Nova as obvious locks and Burnett is pretty close to one. Another spot I see going to a new pitcher, and the last one going to Hughes, or a resigned Freddy Garcia. I would also expect the Yankees to add that number two starter to place in between Sabathia and Nova at the trade deadline, or next year in free agency. If the starting rotation can repeat what they did last year the Yankees would almost surely sign for it.  They boast the one of the league’s top offenses and one of the top bullpens to help take the burden off the rotation.  The Yankees will rely on the continued growth of their rotation to have success in the 2012 season.

Morning Bits: Buehrle, Posada, Spring Training

Good morning all. Here are your links:

In the opinion of Jeff Bradley of the Star-Ledger, Mark Buehrle could enhance the Yankees’ rotation, as Jimmy Key did in the 90s.

— Joe Torre and David Cone talked about Jorge Posada’s career as a Yankees. Torre said he thought Posada was Hall of Fame-worthy.

As you know, the Yankees’ Spring Training schedule was released yesterday. Click this link to see the official press release.

Have a great Friday.