Monthly Archives: October 2012
Good evening everyone. Hope everyone had/is having a nice Halloween. Here are some Yankees notes that circulated around today.
— Well, it looks as if the ‘untuck’ era is over for the Yankees. At around 2pm, Rafael Soriano opted out of his contract thus making him a free agent. The Yankees now have 14 free agents going into the market. So now the Yankees have no catcher, no closer, no backup closer and no right fielder. Yankees have work to do.
— Casey McGehee elected for free agency after being out-righted off the Yankees 40-man roster.
— The New York Yankees are donating $500,000 to the American Red Cross to support the Tri-State Area in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Now, if only every other rich billionaire team/organization could do the same thing.
They’re known as the Evil Empire. The New York Yankee$. Or in Nickelodeon’s “Fairly Odd Parents”, the Bankees.
Year after year, the Yankees and their fans are constantly discredited and disrespected because of how they take advantage of their surplus of cash, spend it on the best players in the game, and build a perennial All-Star team each year in the Bronx.
2009 is the most recent year anti-Yankee fans point to. After an 89-win 2008 season in which the Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time since 1993, general manager Brian Cashman went on a mission to own the proceeding winter’s free-agent market to put a championship-caliber team in the Yanks’ brand new billion dollar ballpark.
Well, some 400 million dollars later, Cash got his wish. He brought in not only stud lefty CC Sabathia and Roy Halladay’s sidekick A.J. Burnett, but slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira as well. Three players who were all still in the beginning of their primes despite having accomplished plenty in the seasons leading up to their pinstriped days.
As many predicted, the Yankees won the World Series that year by defeating the Phillies in six games. It was a glorious moment (one I witnessed in person), and of course there’s nothing better than your favorite team winning it all.
Besides one thing though: winning it all multiple times.
That’s something this seemingly stacked Yankees team has failed to do, after now three straight playoff failures despite having trophy-worthy regular seasons.
But of course as we all know, that last point is irrelevant to us. No trophy besides the trophy matters. George Steinbrenner set a precedent that is followed by everyone in Yankeeland – that anything short of a World Series is an unsuccessful season. Throw away all the memories and historic moments of the past three years. The Yankees didn’t win it all, and that signals it’s time for change.
Most fans are convinced this offseason will be a replaying of the spending-spree of ’09. Brian Cashman will go out and sign the top free agents [Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke in this case] and the Yankees will become a superhuman team and power their way towards another world championship.
The worst part of it all is that they want this to happen. The same fans that are complaining about A-Rod’s contract are the ones begging ownership to give a drug abusing, clunky, and 32 year old Josh Hamilton hundreds of millions. Not to mention head-case Zack Greinke, who’s an A.J. Burnett waiting to happen.
Don’t get me wrong, those moves would definitely help the Yankees. The question is for how long? I don’t want to win another pennant/World Series, and then suddenly fall apart and fail to win again without a true core in place. This team is too old and has too many holes for it to be fixed with the ‘dough. Hopefully Brian Cashman realizes this and fans can stop their pre-orders of Josh Hamilton jerseys before they arrive at their doorsteps with Red Sox colors.
Just look at the San Francisco Giants. Here they are in a blink of an eye winning their second World Series in three seasons. Biting their lips in the 2000s and watching their West Coast foes enjoy championships and playoff baseball sure paid off, didn’t it? They let their farm system progress, made trades to help the club in a couple years, and locked up young players who clearly had potential others couldn’t see. Now they have two world championships with a roster filled with MVP contenders and Cy Young winners, and most of the players haven’t even reached their prime years yet.
To quote John Sterling, “isn’t that amazing?”
It really is, and quite embarrassing for the Yankees to be witnessing.
Austin Jackson. Phil Coke. Melky Cabrera. George Kontos. Arodys Vizcaíno. Jesus Montero. Ian, Patrick, Kennedy. Do you want me to continue?
Those players (plus many more) made up the future of the Yankees just a couple years ago. It seemed like the Core Four could pass the torch off to this bunch and they could continue the winning and success that Jeet, Mo, Andy and Jorgie enjoyed for the majority of their careers.
Now, after the Cash-man decided to deal away all of those young prospects, the Yankees are left with a team full of senior citizens (baseball-wise). Each season seems like a “last-hurrah” for this whittling core of the Bombers, and had the club simply instilled trust and held on to it’s promising young guns, a new dynasty could have just been getting underway.
Instead, we’re left with a home-run or bust center fielder, two injured pitchers, and suddenly many problems to be addressed this coming winter.
There’s no doubt in my mind this team is certainly still salvageable, and can get younger and stronger for the upcoming season. That’s of course as long as Cashman looks for trades that bring in youth, rather than dealing it away for pretty much nothing.
Then again, that’s just like telling a college student to change his study habits, or lack thereof the night before the big exam. It just won’t happen. Cashman isn’t that type of GM, and it’s certainly hard to be being in the “win-now” atmosphere of New York.
But I’m just flat-out tired of teams taking advantage of the Yanks’ farm system and winning pennants and making superstars due to our front office’s lack of faith in any youngsters. It seems like we hear about these top Yankee prospects for years and BOOM – they’re flipped to the Atlanta Braves for Javier Vazquez. Come on.
I want Curtis Granderson gone. Each time his name is brought up I think of IPK, A-Jax, and Coke. That’s it. He’s done nothing but make me regret that trade year after year. He still has value in being able to hit 40 home runs, and the Yankees could get a great deal including top prospects if you throw in a Phil Hughes or a Joba Chamberlain.
How about Alex Rodriguez? I don’t think he will be traded, and that’s because my personal lack of trust and faith in Brian Cashman. But if dealt, the Yankees could get a big head-case off the team and also either some prospects or a young established Major Leaguer in return.
Look, I am thinking of moves for 2013, 2014, 2015 and beyond. It seems like the Yankees’ offseason policy is just how to win in the next calendar year. And it really annoys me because clearly, that policy has only worked once in the past twelve years. When something ain’t broke, you don’t fix it. But something is clearly wrong in the Yankees organization, be it their outlook on fielding a team or the ones who do the very job.
As I stated, I want to win. But not for one season. I want a dynasty that can last with young exciting players you want to root for.
Hey, what can you say. I’m a Yankee fan. It’s in my blood for me to want that.
This has been a rant on the New York Yankees, sponsored by AARP.
Last night the Gold Glove awards were announced, and our very own Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano were named to the American League winners. This is Robinson’s 2nd time winning the award (2010) and Tex’s 5th win, previously taking home the trophy in 2005-6 and 2009-10. The Russ bus was nominated for the award, but was bested by Matt Weiters. The full rundown of winners is as follows:
Unlike some previous Gold Glove awards, this list isn’t quite as likely to cause a rash of laptop homicides. Yankee players have been on both sides of the GG travesty; Tino losing out to some guy that barely played the position, Jeter taking top honors two years ago over Asdrubal Cabrera among others and Brett Gardner getting the cold shoulder the previous two seasons come to mind. While there are certainly some snubs here, we’ve seen worse. Most notable on my list would be Mike Trout, but he may have lost some votes for playing another position as well *cough Palmeiro cough*. Brendan Ryan was also overlooked, and lost out to JJ Hardy who put up better dinosaur numbers but fell far short of Ryan’s DRS (27 compared to 18) and UZR (14.7 compared to 11.4). Part of the rub there could well be the hitting component, which somehow seems to creep into the managers and coaches minds when voting in their favorites.
With the GG stuff out of the way, let’s get to what I consider the real defensive player awards, The Fielding Bible Awards, brought to you by Bill James and John Dewan. The FB awards the best nine players, one from each position, regardless of the league they play in using scouting, sabermetrics and their own personal observations to come to their conclusions. The panel consists of ten experts, including James and Dewan, along with other notables Peter Gammons, Doug Glanville and Joe Posnaski. Below are the winners of the 2012 Fielding Bible Awards, along with some notes pulled from the FB site:
C-Yadier Molina Yadi lost out last year to the Matt Weiters, but made a comeback to win his fifth FB award. He threw out an outstanding 46% of runners and saved four runs on bunts alone, leaving him with a 16 DRS on the year.
1B-Mark Teixeira Mark was noted for his superb DRS in both 2003 and 2005; 19 and 13 runs saved respectively. In 2008 he ran up a 21 DRS but lost out to Albert Pujols.
2B-Darwin Barney In his second year, Barney blew away the field saving 26 runs at second base. Robinson Cano came in second in the voting, postin a 15 DRS on the year to give a little perspective. Barney flat out killed it this year.
SS-Brendan Ryan This kid is probably one of, if not the best defender in baseball the last few years. His 67 DRS the last three years is the best mark in baseball, and the next highest (Bourn, 51) isn’t even close. As good as that is, had Gardner stayed healthy in 2012 he may have easily beat that.It was Ryan’s .194 average that might have cost him the GG award, but I’d much rather take home the top honor from the FB any day.
3B-Adrian Beltre This makes Beltre’s fourth FB title, and not without cause. The guy has been amazing for some time now, but 2012 was one of the closest calls with Mike Moustakas nipping at his heels.
P-Mark Buehrle Still the champ, Mark takes home his fourth consecutive FB award. In nine years, only 42 runners have swiped a base on him, while 48 have been thrown out and another 31 have been picked off by Buehrle. He’s also racked up a 36 DRS in that span. Mark joins Molina and Gordon as unanimous winner in 2012.
LF-Alex Gordon With the two kings of the LF FB award, Carl Crawford and Brett Gardner out of the mix this year Gordon stepped in to take the title. Similar to Gardner, he lapped the field in 2012 and saved 24 runs on defense with Martin Prado (12) a distant second.
CF-Mike Trout No snub from the fellas of the FB panel here. Mike Trout would have had a shot at matching Fred Lynn in winning the GG, ROY and MVP in the same year had he not been beat out by Adam Jones. Trout’s incredible range allowed him to make outs on 23 more balls than the average CF’er on plays hit deep. He also robbed four home runs this year, besting Cameron Maybin who swiped three from going over the fence.
RF-Jason Heyward After coming close to top honors the previous two seasons this is Jason’s first FB award, saving 20 runs on the season. Despite a below overage gun for a right fielder, he’s made between 30 and 40 more plays than average RF’er the last three years.
So there lie the fielding awards for 2012… who are your picks?
Good evening everyone. I hope everyone is doing well in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and hope that everyone safe.If you have power, you can read this. If not–this article will be here when your power comes back. Anyway, here are some notes from today.
— Yankee Stadium was left unscathed in Hurricane Sandy. The power is on, there’s no flooding but there are a few broken windows. Nothing money can’t fix.
— The New York Post mentions the 5 players the Yankees should probably look into this offseason: Carlos Beltran, Torii Hunter, Jeff Keppinger, A.J Pierzynski and Scott Hairston. If the Yankees want to talk money and short term they should go with Hunter. If they want a consistent bat that will also hit in the playoffs, they should go with Beltran though Beltran is a risk.
— The Gold Gloves will be announced tomorrow and there are 3 Yankee candidates for the award: Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Russell Martin. Remember guys, if you don’t win the award that doesn’t mean you aren’t the best at your position. Remember the Gold Gloves last year and how Brett Gardner was robbed.
— There are seven Yankees that are arbitration eligible. Here is the complete list of Yankees that are arbitration eligible.
It’s that time again where not only the free agents prove valuable, but this is also the time to re-sign some players under arbitration. This year there are seven Yankees that could expect a raise, another contract or head to another team on a shifting payroll. MLB Trade Rumors placed the projected salaries of what they believe each player will get in 2013.
Phil Hughes (SP)
2012 Salary: $3.2 Million
Expected 2013 Salary: $5.7 Million
I have to admit that a $2 million raise is a bit significant for a pitcher that isn’t consistent but to be honest unless the Yankees pull off a blockbuster trade this off-season, Hughes will be in Yankees pinstriped in 2013.
Casey McGehee (INF)
2012 Salary: $2.5 Million
Expected 2013 Salary: $2.9 Million
Casey McGehee might end up being non-tendered since the main reason the Yankees acquired him was due to Alex Rodriguez being on the disabled list. The Yankees don’t really need McGehee, but I’m pretty sure another team does.
Brett Gardner (OF)
2012 Salary: $2.8 Million
Expected 2013 Salary: $2.8 Million
Even though Gardner not playing proved to the Yankees that he’s valuable, it looks as if Gardner’s not getting a raise. What did you expect? The guy injured his shoulder in April and didn’t swing a bat again until October. Well, at least it helps the Yankees payroll.
Boone Logan (LHP)
2012 Salary: $1.9 Million
Expected 2013 Salary: $2.8 Million
Yes, let’s just give the Yankees #1 lefty in the bullpen a raise. He certainly deserved it after last season. Also if you’re one of members of the “Get Boone Logan out of NY” fan club–it’s not happening.
David Robertson (RHP)
2012 Salary: $1.6 Million
Expected 2013 Salary: $2.7 Million
One of the best set-up men in baseball getting a raise? Sounds about right, but I would have given Robertson more money. After all, he’s one of the constants in the bullpen that all Yankees fans can count on.
Joba Chamberlain (RHP)
2012 Salary: $1.67 Million
Expected 2013 Salary: $1.8 Million
Chamberlain could get a small raise but he has been inconsistent since coming back from a freak ankle injury along with Tommy John Surgery. Maybe he has to work the kinks out this winter and we’ll see a consistent Chamberlain in 2013.
2012 Salary: Minimum
Expected 2013 Salary: $900,000
Give the kid the $900,000. Let him come back and be a reserve infielder. He did a great job in 2012 playing the field and even had some key hits in games that would end up determining the Yankees as AL East victors.
Arizona Fall League:
The AFL has been rolling for a couple of weeks now with seven of the requisite Yankees taking part. The AzFL rising stars showcase will feature two of the baby bombers in Mike Adams and hurler Mark Montgomery. The showcase game isn’t so much about the hot hands as it is big names, and the omittion of Slade Heathcott could likely be due to a flush outfield situation.
Dellin Betances, who had fallen from grace earlier this year with a demotion to AA due to a horror show of command may be finding himself pitching into a new role. Dellin was one of those guys who possessed an enormous ceiling, but a low chance of achieving his potential. A move to the pen would put him right where he was pegged to wind up; a lesson for those who set their expectations at the height of possibility and hang from the rafters screaming when it doesn’t happen. Dellin opened the AFL with shades of his MiL performance allowing two runs in 1.2 IP with 2 BB’s and a K, but bounced back in his next two games to pitch 3.2 scoreless innings with 6 K’s while walking only one. If Dellin could find success pitching out of the pen he may just have a future in the BX after all. Fellow right hander Mark Montgomery has continued his dominating of hitters; after allowing a run in his first game Mark has gone on to throw zeroes, totaling 13 K’s in 7.1IP and walking 4. Mark will supposedly get a long look during ST next year and is a strong candidate to join the team at some point in 2013. Zach Nuding and Dan Burawa, who suffered from back issues all year have not fared so well. Zach has allowed 9 runs over 10.2IP, while Burawa has struggled to the tune of a 14+ ERA, allowing 10 runs over 6.1IP. Burawa has some major cobwebs to clear out so maybe this is just a result of not pitching this year.
This brings us to the position players. Both Slade Heathcott and David Adams have gotten off to a rather slow start. Slade is putting up a .200/.364/.200/.564 slash while David a .220/.333/.317/.650 line. The bright points are their defense thus far and the propensity to take their walks; Slade leads the team with 9 free passes (11 K’s) while Adams has taken 7 (4 K’s) so far. Austin Romine has had a nice start to the short season. After missing nearly all of the year for SWB, Romine leads the Scorpions in both OBP and BA (minimum 20 PA) while commiting zero errors along with a 6/7 K/BB rate. We’re talking 41 or fewer AB’s for these guys so the small sample size warning is in full effect.
Quick rundowns of the other action:
Domican Winter League:
Relievers Juan Cedeno and Kelvin Perez have gotten off to a good start in the DR; Cedeno throwing 4.1IP and allowing zero runs on four hits with a pair of K’s and a BB. Perez has gone 2.1IP while giving up zero runs on 2 hits. He also has a pair of K’s and a BB. Jose Ramirez has only gotten into one game pitching 2 scoreless innings giving up two hits with a BB and a K. Lefty Francisco Rondon has recorded two outs thus far yielding a hit with no ER’s, BB’s or K’s. Zoilo Almonte has seen next to no playing time appearing in one game recording a strikeout in one AB. I haven’t seen anything about an injury but I update if anything comes up. Melky Mesa is our other position player in the Dominican, going 6-23 with 5 runs scored, a double, two HR’s, 3 BB’s and 9 K’s. Still hacking away but at least he’s producing.
This has been, and still is Ramiro Pena’s world for the last few years. The kid always seem to mash down here. Granted it’s generally considered a hitters league, but it’s still a kick to see Pena put up video game numbers. So far he’s 13-36 on the year with 5 doubles, 2 HR, 5 RBI’s with 7 BB’s and a SB, and this is a down year for him. Mustelier joined Ramiro in the Mexi League and has gone 13-50 hitting 3 doubles, a pair of homers and drove in 7. He’s also K’d ten times while walking only twice. Not the average you’d expect but it’s still a small sample we’re looking at here. Walt Ibarra rounds out the bats and has been a bit chilly thus far. He’s 6-28 with a home run and a RBI.
On the pitching side, Gio Gallegos got a scoreless inning in, allowing one hit, striking out one and walking nobody. Felipe Gonzalez has pitched and ugly 3.1 innings allowing 3 runs on 3 hits with 4 BB’s and 2 K’s. Luis Niebla has gotten the most work; 9 innings of two run ball over 4 games. He’s struck out 4 and walked 3. Cesar Vargas rounds out the arms pitching 3.2 innings allowing zero runs on three hits. He’s racked up 7 K’s while walking only one.
Venezuelan Winter League:
Utility man Jose Pirela leads the hitters in the VWL, so far he’s at 17-54 scoring 9 runs with 4 doubles and a HR. He’s drawn 9 BB’s and K’d 9 times. He also has a pair of stolen bags and two HBP. Gus Molina has gone 8-37 with 6 runs scored along with a double and five! HR’s, driving in eight. Lot’s of taters. Fellow catcher Jose Gil has played in 6 games hitting a stone cold 3-17 with a run, an RBI and 4K’s. Ramon Flores has also seen a bit of action, playing in 6 games so far going 2-9 with 2 runs scores, a BB, a K and a HBP. Francisco Arcia and Ali Castillo have seen very limited action with a lone hit between them.
Left hander Vidal Nuno has made it to the hill in 5 games, pitching 8.2 innings of 0ER ball on 2 hits with zero walks and nine K’s. Jon Meloan has seen 5.2 innings of work, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits, walking a pair and striking out six. Pedro Guerra has 6IP under his belt thus far and allowed 5 runs on 9 hits, walking 6 and striking out only 3, as well as giving up a pair of HR’s. Not exactly characteristic of Guerra.
The Puerto Rican League will be under way in just over a week; it sounds like both Angelo Gumbs, who missed significant time with an elbow injury earlier this year will be joined by Adonis Garcia. We should have some further roster updates by next weeks reviews of the Winter Leagues.
The 2012 MLB season has come to an end. Sadly, 153 days will pass before the first pitch of the 2013 season will be thrown. Some random thoughts today about the 2012 season.
Ignorant Cliché #1: Pitching Is Everything
Over the last few years “pitching is everything” has been written or spoken too many times by clueless souls who don’t understand baseball of the effect that PED’s had on the game.
While we will never fully understand the depth of the use or just how many players were using PED’s before MLB cracked down on their use, my guess is that we all underestimated and continue to underestimate how many players were utilizing them.
While I have NEVER bought into “pitching is everything”, I will concede that during the PED era that having good pitching was at an all-time premium. Now that a sense of normalcy has been returned to baseball? Hitting has never been more important.
The winning World Series rotation of the Giants, Cain, Vogelsong, Zito, and Bumgarner appeared overmatched by the Tigers rotation of Verlander, Scherzer, Sanchez and Fister. The Tigers didn’t hit, the Giants did, end of story.
Ignorant Cliché #2: Playoff Baseball Is Random
I have to laugh at those who use the “random” explanation for everything that happens after every postseason ends.
This explanation seems to have really caught fire due to its popularity among jaded and bitter Yankee and Phillies fans from 2010-2012. I have witnessed the explosion of the use of this explanation for everything postseason after the 2010 season, when the dream rotation of the Phillies wasn’t good enough to beat the eventual World Series champion Giants while the Yankees lost the ALCS to the Rangers. By the time the Phillies and Yankees were both chased in the first round of the 2011 postseason, despite having the best records in their respective leagues, the use of “random” to explain playoff results had hit new heights.
I notice that Yankee fans never refer to their incredible dynasty that ended in 2000 as a lucky era which was completely random. Make no mistake about it, playoff baseball is NOT random.
While incredible flaws exist in the format of postseason baseball, there is nothing random about it. Managers like Tony LaRussa, Bruce Bochy, and Terry Francona have each won two World Series in the last decade despite not possessing what may have been the “best team” in the regular season. Girardi and Manuel have been blown out early with “the best team” twice while winning only one World Series apiece.
The same hitters seem to hit each year in the postseason, while a different group of hitters seem to vanish when the calendar turns to October. Teams who have at least one hot hitter, play good defense, pitch adequately and are managed well keep winning the World Series. Teams who don’t do those things get eliminated. It’s that simple.
Good GM’s Make Good Trades
While the development of good players through the farm system and good free agent signings have the largest impact on the success or lack of success by teams, good trades are still what define good GM’s.
A look at the rosters of the Tigers and Giants displayed players like Cabrera, Scherzer, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, Omar Infante, Anibal Sanchez, Marco Scutaro, Hunter Pence, Angel Pagan, etc. who were all acquired via trade. Good GM’s make good trades. Bad GM’s make bad trades.
The development of a farm system has very little to do with a GM. The signing of free agents is largely the result of an ownership willing to spend what it takes to acquire a big name or the money that ownership makes available for a GM to spend on free agents. The most valuable skill that a GM can have is the ability to identify and execute a good trade.
Now that the offseason has officially begun, the Players Association released the 137 players (12 Yankees) that are filing for free agency. They are able to negotiate at 12:01 am on Saturday but until then, the Yankees can negotiate exclusively with the following players before Saturday:
There are 3 players that have options but they haven’t picked up as of yet: Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and David Aardsma. Those 3 are unlikely to become free agents. Rafael Soriano however can opt out of his contract and can most likely become a free agent.
The 2012 outfield for the Yankees had somewhat of a different look when Brett Gardner went down with an elbow injury and Ichiro Suzuki came along to fill in for the last 2 months. However, the two (somewhat) constants in the outfield were Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher. With free agency coming up, the Yankees have some decisions to make and frankly, the Yankees could have a completely different outfield (aside from Brett Gardner) in 2013.
Center Field – Curtis Granderson
Curtis Granderson reminds everyone of Detroit Tiger’s Austin Jackson, at least in the speed and strikeout department. Granderson’s power numbers were good: 43 HR’s, 106 RBI’s, the home runs being a career high. However, the disappointing part was the strikeouts and the average. Curtis Granderson struck out 195 times in the regular season and ended the year with a .232 average, his worst since his rookie year in Detroit (.240). Granderson’s postseason was so horrific that fans could actually predict what he was going to do–strike out. He had a .158 AVG against Baltimore in the ALDS and a .000 AVG against the Tigers in the ALCS. How many strikeouts did Granderson have? Sixteen strikeouts in 30 at-bats. That’s counting both series. If it weren’t for Alex Rodriguez and his ridiculous contract, then Granderson would have been hearing a lot of boos from the crowd.
Regular Season Grade: C+
Postseason Grade: F
2013 Outlook: Granderson has an option for 2013, which the Yankees are almost certain to pick up, but 2013 could be Granderson’s last year in Yankee pinstripes. It wouldn’t be all bad. The Yankees have Brett Gardner who can be the CF should the Yankees pick up Granderson’s option and then trade him. The 43 HR’s are nice…but with Granderson’s average and strikeouts, it makes Granderson look like the all or nothing guy.
Right Field -Nick Swisher
Nick Swisher had a good regular year for the Yankees that it almost looked like the Yankees were sure to offer him a contract. I mean, why wouldn’t they? Swisher had a .272 AVG, 24 HR’s, 93 RBI’s, and he walked 77 times in the season. Unfortunately, Nick Swisher forgot that he is supposed to keep hitting in October–and he’s been forgetting that every year he’s been in the playoffs. Against the Orioles, Swisher had a .111 average and against the Tigers, he hit .250. The .250 average looks decent, right? He had three hits in 12 at-bats, and he was five for 30 in the whole postseason. Swisher has a good personality and he lightens up the clubhouse, but the Yankees are not paying him money just so he can smile. He is supposed to have a good bat all year, not become a postseason zombie like his fellow zombies Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson.
Regular Season Grade: B
Postseason Grade: F
2013 Outlook: Nick Swisher will not be a Yankee next year. I can bet on that. Swisher has had too many flubs in the postseason for the Yankees to give him another chance. It is one thing to get into the postseason. It is another thing to go ice cold once you are in. The Yankees could re-sign Ichiro to take Swisher’s spot in right field but when you think about it, at 39 years old is Ichiro really the better choice? The Yankees would have to offer Swisher $13.3 Million when free agency season comes around (which is sometime next week or so) but if he wants Jayson Werth money–he’s going to have to go somewhere else.
Last Saturday, I posted a Keep Em’ or Dump Em’ article where you voted who you wanted to keep or who you wanted to dump. The results…weren’t very surprising. Let’s break down who you’d strongly keep and who you’d strongly throw away.
David Robertson (96.83%): David Robertson wasn’t as good as he was in 2011, but he was still very effective in 2012. Let the good pitching keep on going, D-Rob.
CC Sabathia (95.59%): CC Sabathia coming back in 2013? No brainer. He’s the ace. The workhorse. He’s CC. Enough said.
Derek Jeter (95.33%): It’s not a surprise that fans would want to keep Derek Jeter after a great 2012 season but after his ankle injury where he had surgery, going into the future you wonder if Jeter can continue to play SS or if he might have to go to the DH Spot.
Hiroki Kuroda (94.12%): For his first year in the American League East, Kuroda did a good job. If Ichiro re-signs with the Yankees, Kuroda would have to be a no-brainer to follow.
Brett Gardner (93.55%): So Brett Gardner proved that you don’t have to play in order to be extremely valuable to the Yankees. After seeing Cirque Du Left Field in 2012, Yankees fans can’t wait to get their speedy outfielder back into playing shape and defending LF like we know he can.
David Phelps (91.18%): In his first rookie year with the Yankees, Phelps was back and forth from the bullpen to the starting rotation. For a first year–he did good. Would be great to see him get a shot in the rotation in 2013.
Andy Pettitte (91.04%): Andy sure was dandy in 2012, so there’s no question why he’s on the Keep Em’ list. I’d bring back Andy too. Who cares if Andy’s 40 years old? He still pitches like he’s 25!
Boone Logan (90.63%): Boone Logan being in the category where players were to be strongly kept surprised me just a tad bit. But hey. Boone Logan was good in 2012. Can he do it all over again in 2013?
Ichiro Suzuki (90%): Ichiro was a mid season trade for the Yankees. A mid season trade that made Brian Cashman look like a pure genius after a plethora of failure trades (hint, hint: Javier Vasquez, Curtis Granderson, A.J Burnett). Ichiro might come back to the Yankees next season–if you guys were the GM and not Cashman. Honestly, I’d like Ichiro back to. No doubt about it.
Eduardo Nunez (89.93%): Eduardo Nunez is (almost) the perfect back up shortstop. He can run and he can hit. Why he’s not perfect? He can’t field. Hopefully Winter Ball will help him in 2013.
Freddy Garcia (95.59%): Look at the number of people that don’t want Freddy Garcia. I can’t explain that any further.
Andruw Jones (91.94%): After the terrible 2012 season he had, I can see why Yankees fans wouldn’t want him back in 2013. He says he wants to keep playing. Unfortunately, it’s not with this team.
Nick Swisher (85%): Nick Swisher had a good 2012 regular season but consistent playoff failures according to Yankees fans could be what ultimately sends Nick Swisher and his smiling face–out the door.
Derek Lowe (80%): Derek Lowe could be a great starting pitcher (or bullpen) pitcher for any team–but according to fans, it won’t be with the Yankees.
Alex Rodriguez (70%): Let’s admit it. A-Rod’s contract could possibly be the worst contract in baseball history. He’s deteriorating…and the Yankees still have to give him $110 Million dollars in the next 5 years. Does any team want A-Rod? Going once? Going twice?
* Not all players from the poll are listed. Just the ones that fans strongly wanted to keep and wanted to get rid of.
There’s been a ton of talk about change that is needed for the Yankees to go even further in the playoffs in 2013. Some suggest blowing the team up, while others suggest slight tweaking and bargain-bin signings could get the job done. But what most likely will not change, despite Yankee fans’ cries to, is the left side of the infield, which has been a constant for New York nine straight seasons, and should be again for its tenth.
Shortstop – Derek Jeter
Right now, when you think about Derek Jeter’s 2012 season, you’re still picturing him falling to the ground and being helped off the field in Game 1 of the ALCS. What would be a broken ankle put a startling and abrupt end to one of the Captain’s best seasons, even though his “prime years” have long past. The 38-year old recorded 216 hits (good for a .316 batting average) and was a true jumpstart to the lineup atop it as the leadoff man. His leadership at the plate and in the field matched no other, and say what you want about his range, but he did not cost the Yankees any games in 2012 and hasn’t cost them much more in his 18 seasons. We’ll keep replaying that injury in our minds up until the Captain takes the field again in 2013, which is unfortunate, because up until that moment we saw an incredible season from a future Hall of Famer and one of the true Yankees legends. Grade – A
As great a season as he had this year, expect that ankle injury to slow some of Jeter’s abilities in 2013. We’ve all counted him out before, but it was because of age and not necessarily any physical derailment. Now, he just went under the knife and had surgery to completely repair the ankle, and won’t be back for 4-5 months. He could still start more games at shortstop than at DH, but expect Derek to get a lot of time off and the Yankees to treat him very cautiously. Even still, hitting wise, the man’s a god, and should put up numbers that will be heads and shoulders above any other 39-year old starting shortstop.
Third base – Alex Rodriguez
2012 was definitely a trying year for A-Rod, as once again he couldn’t stay healthy and missed 40 games in the regular season. But when he was on the field he was an above-average third baseman, and that’s saying a lot considering he too is past his prime. He is one of the best defensive third basemen in the game, and that alone was a big help to the Yankees in 2012. And yes, we all know he didn’t hit 40 home runs or was an MVP contender but that era of A-Rod baseball ended in 2007. 18 home runs, close to 60 RBIs and a .272 average are great statistics for a former steroid user who’s in what would be the twilight of a player’s career. Don’t blame him because Joe Girardi decides to bat him third or fourth every night. Grade – C+
His postseason was absolutely horrible, I get that. But so too was any other Yankee player excluding Derek Jeter. So go ahead and come up with any trade ideas you think can get him out of New York, but it’s time to accept it: Alex Rodriguez will be the Yankees third baseman in 2013. Say what you will about his production in October, as detailed he still is a solid third baseman on all sides during the regular season. I expect similar numbers from him in 2013, and maybe even slightly bigger stats should he stay healthy. Which is a big “if”, and the Yankees probably should rest him a bit more than they did this year. But if they do, and A-Rod just does what he does best, and that’s hit, look for another good year from him, despite all his apparent issues this fall that were just simply a 9-game slump.