Daily Archives: March 25, 2012

Phillies Have Interest in Ramiro Pena, Roster Moves

Phillies Have Interest in Ramiro Pena, Roster Moves

by Mike D.

 According to George King of the NY Post, the Phillies are interested in the Yankees’ utilityman Ramiro Pena. Chase Utley has suffered injuries with both knees and the Phillies are looking for infield help. Pena really doesn’t have a whole lot of value as a trade chip – so if he does get traded, don’t expect much in the way of return.

The Yankees have also made some roster moves, via Anthony McCarron of the NY Daily News. Pena has been optioned to Triple-A, and Manny Delcarmen, Colin Curtis, Jose Gil, Kevin Whelan, and Cole Garner have all been reassigned to minor league camp. The Yankees active roster now sits at 31, so we’ll be seeing more roster moves in the coming days.

Pineda looks strong as Yankees and Tigers tie at 1 in 10 innings

The Opening Day lineup (minus Nick Swisher) took the field at George M. Steinbrenner Field as Michael Pineda took the mound. It wasn’t only a big day for Pineda, but it was a big day for David Robertson who returned after 2 and a half week since bruising his foot in a freak accident at his home.

Pineda looked strong as the game went on, going 5 innings with 1 run on 5 hits with 2 BB and 4 K’s.  Mariano Rivera pitched a scoreless inning, but gave up a hit, Rafael Soriano had a scoreless inning, David Robertson had a scoreless inning with 1 hit, Manny Delcarmen had a perfect inning and Clay Rapada as well had a perfect inning with 1 strikeout.

The only offense for the Yankees came from Derek Jeter in the 1st inning on a lead-off homer. The Yankees had runners on almost all afternoon but the Yankees had trouble hitting with RISP.

Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch in the ribs during the 7th inning and was immediately taken out. Rodriguez is expected to be fine and tests will be done in the meantime.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Yankees have an off-day tomorrow so there will be no baseball, but Phil Hughes will get his work in by pitching in the Minor League camp. The Yankees return to prime time on Tuesday as they take on the Toronto Blue Jays. The game will be on YES Network and first pitch will be at 7:05pm.

Making The Leap To The AL East

When the Yankees signed Hiroki Kuroda in January to a one year deal worth ten million dollars my initial thought was that the money would have been better spent on a bat. Nothing I’ve seen this spring from Kuroda has changed my mind.

Kuroda has pitched four seasons in MLB with the Dodgers and put up solid, but not stellar numbers.  His lifetime ERA is 3.45 but it is important to note that his ERA was compiled while pitching the majority of his games in the weak hitting NL West in very pitcher friendly NL West ballparks.  Kuroda’s lifetime ERA in 68 2/3 innings pitched against AL teams is 4.33

As you can see, Dodger Stadium ranked 22nd last year in park factor. Only Arizona (5th) is a hitter’s ballpark in the NL West.  Petco and Candlestick ranked 28th and 30th in park factor.  The rule of thumb that many use in predicting the movement in an NL pitcher heading to the AL is to add .50 to his ERA. I use this rule as a guideline but in Kuroda’s case I could see his ERA jumping as much as a full run.  Kuroda’s lifetime ERA in 68 2/3 innings pitched against AL teams is 4.33, almost a  full run higher than his lifetime ERA vs all teams.    Kuroda is heading from the pitching friendly NL West ballparks to the very hitting friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, which was 6th in park factor in 2011. The AL East possesses only one pitching friendly park in the form of the Trop (29th in park factor).  Fenway (3rd in park factor), Rogers Centre (4th in park factor), and Camden Yards (12th in park factor) are hitter’s paradises where fly balls often land in the seats.

The transition from the NL West to the AL East is the most extreme jump in difficulty that a pitcher can make in MLB.  Kuroda tied for 8th in the NL last year in HR’s allowed with 24. If he allowed 24 HR’s in the pitching friendly confines of Dodger Stadium and the NL West then just how many could he give up in the hitting friendly parks that are Yankee Stadium, Fenway, Rogers, and Camden?  Right-handed pitchers are extremely vulnerable to allowing left-handed home runs to Yankee Stadium’s short porch in right and to say I’m pessimistic about the impact Kuroda will have on the Yankees staff would be a gross understatement.

Further adding to my skepticism on this signing were the reports last season approaching the trade deadline that Kuroda did not want to pitch on the East Coast.  It was only this December that Kuroda and his agent stated that Kuroda “would be willing” to pitch on the East Coast.  I don’t buy that Kuroda’s strong opposition to pitching on the East Coast changed due to anything other than the East Coast teams being the only candidates who appeared willing to pay him what he was seeking in salary.  If he didn’t want to pitch in the East last year then why would his mindset be any different this year?   New York is a hard place to pitch if your heart isn’t into it all the way.

Some recent attempts at moving to the AL East by pitchers who had been pitching in the National League were not at all successful.  The last time the Yankees brought in a starting pitcher from the NL  was in 2010.  The disastrous trade of Melky Cabrera, and Arodys Vizcaino for Javier Vazquez still causes many Yankee fans to get nauseous.

Kevin Brown and Jaret Wright anyone? You can add those two to the list of pitchers who came to the Yankees from the NL with great expectations and failed to live up to their contracts and hype.

While it’s not unrealistic to imagine Kuroda having a solid season in the pinstripes this year, any expectations beyond that should be tempered to reflect the reality that he will be taking a step up in class.  If Kuroda is able to eat innings and keep his ERA in the area of 4.00-4.50 he should give the Yankees plenty of opportunities to win games that he starts.

Spring Training: 3/25/12 Lineup

Lineup vs. Tigers

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Russell Martin C
Andruw Jones DH
Eduardo Nunez RF
Brett Gardner LF

RHP Michael Pineda

Start time: 1:05pm
Stadium: G.M.S Field
T.V: YES Network
Radio: WCBS

Pregame Notes

— Once again it is almost the Yankees Opening Day lineup with the exception of Nick Swisher. Swisher reveals that he doesn’t know when he’s going to come back but he’s not going to rush it.

 Mariano Rivera is slated to pitch after Michael Pineda today as well as David Robertson. Let’s see if Robertson is ready!

Enjoy the game everyone!

Morning Bits: Nova, Pettitte, Chamberlain, Ibanez

Good morning everyone and happy Sunday to you all. To get started, all of us at Yankees Fans Unite would like to wish one of our writers Matthew B. a very Happy Birthday! Let’s hope  the Yankees win against the Tigers today! Onto the morning links: 

— One of my favorite articles from Matthew B. was about A.J Burnett’s effect with the Yankees. (Keep in mind, this article was written before Burnett was traded).

— Phil Hughes, Michael Pineda & Freddy Garcia have been mentioned as the possible odd man out of the rotation, but should we start adding Ivan Nova’s name into the equation?

— Except for Andy Pettitte, the New York Post reports the Yankees have done a poor job stocking up on southpaws

— Joba Chamberlain believes that he could be back on a mound in July. We kind of wish that Brian Cashman could be just as optimistic.

— After 2 and a half weeks of playing in a Yankees uniform, Raul Ibanez finally  has his first major hit of the Spring;  A 2 run blast that paved the way for a Yankees 4-2 win in 10 innings.