Daily Archives: December 28, 2011

Open Thread

Will he or won't he be a Yankee?

Hello all lot’s of talk today with the Yankees.  Nakajima decision will come next week.  Garza buzz is getting louder and lots of other news we reported today. Boston also just got themselves a new closer with former A’s Andrew Bailey.    Here is the Open thread to talk about whatever you want.  Enjoy!!

Resolution with Nakajima to come next week

Resolution with Nakajima to come next week

by Matt S.

According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, the Yankees will have a resolution next week with Japanese infielder Hiroyuki Nakajima. The Yankees won exclusive negotiating rights with Nakajima earlier this month with a $2.5 million posting fee. They can’t guarantee him much in the way of playing time and he reportedly doesn’t want to play on the East Coast. Barring something creative like a sign-and-trade, he may opt to return to Japan. Hoch suspects that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman is waiting to see what happens before attempting to re-sign Eric Chavez.

 

Garza Trade talks & Yankees still interested in Jones

Garza Trade talks & Yankees still interested in Jones

by Matt S.

According to David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com, trade talks for Matt Garza are “heating up.” Kaplan hears that the Red Sox, Yankees and Blue Jays are all involved. While the Cubs have considered a contract extension for Garza, they are willing to listen on anybody. Given the recent package of prospects the A’s received from the Nationals in the Gio Gonzalez deal, this could be an ideal time to move him. Garza, 28, is under team control for the next two seasons.

 

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Wednesday that the club remains interested in re-signing Andruw Jones. However, it doesn’t appear as though an agreement is imminent. Jones is currently drawing interest from multiple teams and one report last week linked him to the Red Sox. The 34-year-old batted .247/.356/.495 with 13 homers, 33 RBI and an .851 OPS over 222 plate appearances last season, including a .926 OPS against southpaws.

A-Rod treatment on his knee & Okajima signed to a minor league contract

A-Rod treatment on his knee & Okajima signed to a minor league contract

by Matt S.

According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, Alex Rodriguez recently traveled to Germany for an experimental treatment on his troublesome right knee.  Rodriguez went to Germany after getting a recommendation from Lakers’ star Kobe Byrant, who had the same treatment on his knee and ankle. The procedure, which is called Orthokine, involves taking blood from the patient’s arm and spinning it in a centrifuge. That solution is then injected into the affected area once or twice a week. The Yankees and the commissioner’s office both approved of the experimental treatment. Rodriguez, 36, is expected to be ready for spring training, but his health is obviously a big question mark moving forward.

Yankees signed LHP Hideki Okajima to a minor league contract. The deal also includes an invite to spring training. Okajima, 36, only made seven appearances with the Red Sox this past season before spending the rest of the year in the minors, but he could still have some value as a left-handed specialist. The veteran southpaw owns a 3.11 ERA over 261 career relief appearances.

Expecting (Hoping For) a Hughes Bounceback

Now that it is looking less and less likely that the Yankees will be able to acquire a number-two starter for at least the first half of the 2012 season, it has become obvious that Phil Hughes must absolutely be back with a vengeance next year. We have seen from the first half of 2010 how dominant he can be – a true number-two starter. However, after a poor second half of 2010 and a miserable, injury-ridden campaign in 2011, it has become hard to picture Hughes at his highest potential. Because confidence in the team’s current pitching situation is quite low right now, what better time to show some optimism about Phil Hughes next year?

Simply put, Phil Hughes’ 2011 season may just have been an outlier. A pitcher who relies heavily on his ability to throw his fastball past hitters, usually does not fare well with decreased velocity. With his mystery dead-arm injury, that is exactly what Hughes had to go through this past year. Phil Hughes’ 2011 campaign exemplifies the belief that 1-2 mph can have a profound impact on a pitcher.

If you look at the fastball column, you can clearly see how effective the pitch was in 2010 (or at least the first-half). At 92.6 mph, he had a 14.6 wFB, which is quite good. All of a sudden, with a drop of 1.3 mph from 2010 to 2011, the value of his four-seamer plummeted. Virtually the same thing occurred with his cutter. With a loss of 1.4 mph in 2011, it became just as ineffective as it was effective in 2010.

Therefore, we can make the argument that if Hughes can recover the 1-2 mph lost on his fastball, he will be a very effective pitcher in 2012. Unless the problem is more serious than we were ever told, I really doubt Hughes will continue to suffer from the same arm issue. With a faster fastball: (1) Hughes’s secondary pitches will become much more deceptive and effective, and (2) he will get more swings and misses (and more strikeouts). Ultimately, Phil Hughes’s problems are much simpler than anyone really thinks. With a pitcher like him, increased velocity = increased success. That’s all it comes down to.

We all know it – Phil Hughes is vitally important to the Yankees’ success in 2012. There is certainly room for optimism. If he can fully recover from the shoulder problems of this past season, and regain the lost fastball velocity, I think he should be very effective moving forward.

Morning Bits: Kuroda, Change of times, Posada, Milestones

Morning all it’s already midweek.  Slow week so far with baseball news but that’s the norm during this week.

Let’s get right to the links….

* Are the Yankees bluffing on Kuroda?

* Yankees end days of splurging on talent.

* Phillies among teams talking to Posada.

* Milestones dot the Yankees 2011 campaign.