Daily Archives: February 8, 2012

Yankees List Invitees For Spring Training

Yankees List Invitees For Spring Training

By Delia E.

Anthony McCarron of the Daily News listed that the Yankees are to invite 27 men for Spring Training. Names include Russell Branyan, Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima, Dewayne Wise, Manny Banuelos, Adam Warren, Bill Hall, Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez & JR Murphy. Murphy & Sanchez are non-roster invitees and it will also be the first time they are invited to Spring Training.

Position players report on February 24 with workouts commencing on February 25.

Damon vs. Ibanez

Via Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York:

Nearly a month ago, we told you that if the Yankees were to add a DH, it would be “late and cheap,”, according to a source.

Well, it is late so the Yankees are halfway there. Now, they are just waiting to see who will accept the cheap. The three main candidates to come to the Bronx are Raul Ibanez, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. They are all in the aisle in the free-agent market as older players who could be good fits for the Yankees as part-time, left-handed DHs.

Against left-handed pitching, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez can DH more with Eduardo Nunez getting more playing time in the field. Against, righties, Ibanez, Damon or Matsui could get the call a lot of days and nights this summer.

Me? I would go with Damon because he gives the Yankees power, with an added element of speed. And, most importantly, he plays.

“That is a tough one,” an AL scout said when presented with the three options. “Based on their versatility, I almost take Damon because he has remained the most healthy.”

Yup, Damon plays.

He has played in at least 140 games in 16 straight seasons. That ties Pete RoseHank Aaron and Brooks Robinson for the longest consecutive streak of 140-game seasons, according to researcher Katie Sharp. Only three players have had more 140-game seasons (non-consecutive): Rose (19), Carl Yastrzemski (17) and Brooks Robinson (17).

The Yankees’ philosophy on guys at the end of the bench is to take chances on players a little past their prime because they have more to recapture or, even if their skills have diminished, they still have more left. With Damon, there is a very good chance he is going to be healthy, even if he is in his late-30s.

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Yankees Sign Russell Branyan

Yankees Sign Russell Branyan

By Delia E.

The New York Yankees & Russell Branyan agreed on a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training the New York Post reports. The move doesn’t impact the fact that the Yankees will sign another lefty bat and the Yankees are still interested in either Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui or Raul Ibanez.

With the Diamondbacks & Angels in 2011, Branyan hit .197 with 5 HR’s & 14 RBI’s. If the Yankees sign Eric Chavez then Branyan can give Chavez a run for his money, since Branyan played both 1st base & 3rd base in his career.

Branyan made the Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day roster in 2011 but was let go. Angels then signed Branyan  who was used in a pinch hitting role.

AL is Loaded

Despite the National League winning the last two championships, the American League has always been considered the dominant league. That gap has widened even further this offseason. Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, two of the NL’s biggest slugger’s, have gone over to the AL and will make the competition ever fiercer. Also, the Yankees got what most people would consider a number two starter in Michael Pineda to further bolster the team that led the AL in wins last year.  There are likely six teams that will fight for four playoff spots, without considering a surprise team cropping up.  With the addition of the second wild card team winning the division will be of utmost importance for the Yankees.

The battle for the Yankees to get into the playoff will probably come down to five teams for three spots as I see the Tigers as a virtual lock to win the AL Central. They won it by 15 games last year and that was without Prince Fielder. In fact if you asked me right now I would say they are the team to beat in the entire AL. I know they will have issues on defense, but when Fielder and Miguel Cabrera hit over .310, with about 35 HR’s, and about 115 RBI each it will not matter as much. They also have a very nice top of the rotation in Justin Verlander, Doug Fister, and Max Scherzer and a very good back end of the bullpen.

The Yankees will in all likelihood be battling the Rays, Red Sox, Rangers, and Angels for the other 3 playoff spots. Right now I would consider the Yankees the favorite in the AL East.  They won it last year with 97 wins and improved more than the Red Sox or the Rays did with the addition of Michael Pineda. I would consider the Rays a close 2nd and the Red Sox 3rd. The Sox have issues all over the diamond right now. Their outfield is a mess right now as Carl Crawford might not be ready to start the year and they still have a hole in RF, even though they signed Cody Ross.  I do not understand them replacing Marco Scutaro with Mike Aviles at SS. They still have issues at the backend of the rotation as nobody knows how Daniel Bard will transform to the rotation.  Their backend of the bullpen is also completely new and will have to prove themselves. Meanwhile, the Rays might have the best rotation in MLB and I like the acquisition of Carlos Pena to provide more power to their offense.  But, the Yankees definitely have the edge over the Rays in offense and bullpen and they are not that far off in the rotation, which I think puts them over the top.                                

If the Yankees were to not win the AL East they will face a stiff competition for the wild card spots and not just from the AL East. Whoever doesn’t win the AL West between the Angels and Rangers will be battling for the wild card spots. The Angels greatly improved themselves with the additions of C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols. They also have one of the best rotations in the MLB led by Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, C.J. Wilson, and Ervin Santana.  The Rangers have one of the best offenses in MLB led by Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Mike Napoli, Adrian Beltre, and Elvis Andrus. Yu Darvish will try to replace Wilson in the rotation and Neftali Feliz will make an interesting jump to the rotation. Both of these teams are legitimate threats to the Yankees.

As you can see the AL will be an absolute dogfight this year with all of these talented teams. All of this is subject to change of course with injuries and trades. You also know their will be a surprise team that will compete who I did not talk about. The Yankees have their work cut out for them in the AL this year, but if they play to their potential they should not have much of a problem.

Morning Bits: Stadium Parking, Soccer at the Stadium?, Bill Hall, Kuroda

Good morning.  Some news yesterday with the Bill Hall addition.  Maybe some more today?  We shall see.

Enjoy the links….

* Parking at Yankee stadium could soon cost $55.   Ugh this is getting ridiculous.

* A soccer match between Real Madrid and Inter Milan could happen this summer at Yankee Stadium.  Something different that would be cool.

* The Yankees agreed to deal with Hall.

* The Daily News reports that Martin really likes the addition of Kuroda to the Yankees rotation.

* Joel Sherman of the New York Post claims the Yankees are still in the hunt for a DH.