Despite having a 6-4 win, the Yankees had multiple injury issues. Let’s address them one by one as if it’s one big sandwich.
— Let’s start with Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli was hit in the knuckles by a pitch from Ivan Nova in the first inning. Cervelli was taken for x-rays and the results weren’t good. Cervelli has a broken hand that requires surgery, and he’s expected to be sidelined for a minimum of 6 weeks. Having surgery means that the fracture wasn’t a clean fracture and the doctors would have to open him up to see how bad the damage in his hand is. The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow. A huge blow for the Yankees and bad luck for Cervelli who was playing so well for the first couple of weeks.
— Let’s continue onto Ivan Nova. Two innings later, Ivan Nova was pulled out of the game by Joe Girardi and fans initially thought that he pulled a hamstring. It was revealed that he had pain in his elbow and was sent for an MRI. The results of the MRI weren’t back by the time the Yankees finished the game, so we’d have to wait until tomorrow to see the results.
— And Finally, we shall end it with Kevin Youkilis. Kevin Youkilis has been out of the lineup for almost a week (tomorrow makes seven days) and the Yankees were attempting to avoid the DL with him. However, if his back isn’t well by tomorrow then the Yankees could possibly place him on the 15-day DL. Now, he wouldn’t have to spend an extra fifteen days sidelined. The Yankees could retroactive his DL from the day he stopped playing.
The Yankees have been the walking wounded since the season began…and now they’re going to have to walk wounded some more.
Ever since 1989, John Sterling has been in the broadcast booth calling Yankees games through thick and thin. He’s entertaining, he’s interesting and one of the few radio announcers I can turn to when it’s time to mute a FOX game. One of the reasons that I enjoy listening to Sterling is for his inventive and interesting home-run calls. His home-run calls are one of those staples that are needed to be memorized by every Yankees fan. Over the years, he has created home-run calls that cannot be forgotten. Remember Bernie William’s famous home-run call “Bern Baby Bern” or Tino Martinez‘s “Bam-Tino?” Yep, that was John Sterling’s entertaining mind. When a new Yankee hits a home-run, fans turn and ask “What’s John Sterling’s home-run call for this player?” Well, being the John Sterling radio fanatic that I am, I compiled a list of some of our favorite New York Yankees home-run calls for the players on the current team. (that includes our new Yankees brethren as well).
Brett Gardner: Brett Gardner has two home-run calls, depending of the mood that John Sterling is. Personally, I love hearing them both since Gardner rarely hits HR’s. The first one is fun to say because he went yard, yet the second one is a pun on his last name ‘Gardner’ which is an actual word.
1) “Gardy goes Yardy!”
2) “Gardner plants one in the (left or right) field seats!”
Ichiro Suzuki: Ichiro’s home-run call. I felt like John Sterling could have been more inventive with Ichiro’s home-run call, but it is what it is.
“Ichiro, the Yankees rising son, says sayonara.”
Curtis Granderson: The second home-run call is one of my favorites. The first one is a pun on his last name, but the second one you get to sing! Every time Granderson goes to bat, I find myself singing it. I can’t wait to start singing it when Granderson comes back from the DL.
1) “Isn’t he something sort of Grand-ish?”
2) “Oh, the Grandyman Can! Oh, the Grandyman can!”
Derek Jeter: Derek Jeter is the captain of the Yankees, so his home-run call is rather fitting.
Mark Teixeira: Mark Teixeria is another one of those Yankees that has two home run calls. I actually enjoy the first one more since it’s a pun on getting a text message. (And I like to look at my smartphone and ask why haven’t I got a ‘Tex’ Message yet when he goes to the plate).
1) “Mark sends a Tex Message to the (left or right) field seats!
2) “You’re on the Mark, Teixeira”
Alex Rodriguez: Everyone knows A-Rod’s HR call. It’s not a secret.
“An A-Bomb for A-Rod.”
Robinson Cano: If I were John Sterling, I would trademark this home-run call. It’s became a very popular saying among Yankees fans.
“Robbie Cano, Don’t Ya Know!”
Francisco Cervelli: I personally am a sucker for this home-run call. It simply reminds me of food.
“Cisco the Kid Cerv’s one up!”
Travis Hafner: All right, I love John Sterling and all but…this call was L-A-M-E! It lacks the magic. Did Sterling figure that he wasn’t going to be a Yankee past this season and gave him a home-run call that was sad yet lame?
1) “The Pronx Bomber.”
2) “A Hafner Homer.”
Vernon Wells: So Vernon Wells has two HR calls that are slightly better than Travis Hafner’s. Wells’s walk-up song may be awesome…but his HR call is something that’s almost cringe-worthy.
1) “The Bronx is Vernon.”
2) “Wells rings the bells.”
Kevin Youkilis: So all of my favorite things in life has to have carbon copies of something? My favorite T.V show has carbon copies of the original characters and Kevin Youkilis’s HR call is a carbon copy of Alex Rodriguez’s.
“A Nuke for Youk.”
Yeah, that was really inventive.
Yep, we may love them and we may hate them but the John Sterling HR calls are iconic to the Yankees. When a new Yankee hits a home-run, you never know what call John Sterling could come up with.
If you made a bet with someone that Andy Pettitte was going to be the first Yankees pitcher to lead the Yankees to victory, then congratulations. You’re correct. If you made a bet with someone that Mariano Rivera would come in the 9th inning and save the game as he’s done time and time again for the Yankees, then congratulations. You’re correct. Now, if you made a bet that a player like Robinson Cano would hit a HR before players like Brett Gardner and Francisco Cervelli, then you’d be wrong. As a matter of fact, a lot of people didn’t see those HR’s coming. In the end, the Yankees were able to shut the door on the Red Sox and avoid the sweep with a 4-2 victory.
Andy Pettitte pitched 8 innings of one run baseball before handing it over to his longtime teammate and friend Mariano Rivera to shut the door on the Red Sox. Rivera did give up a run, but that is easily overlooked because:
a) The Yankees won
b) It’s his final season
c) He’s Mariano Rivera.
The Yankees offense was supplied with a two run single by Lyle Overbay in the second, which plated both Travis Hafner and Eduardo Nunez. Brett Gardner followed with a solo home-run in the third and Francisco Cervelli hit his own in the seventh after the Red Sox scored their run off Pettitte to bring the lead back to three runs for the moment.
— Brett Gardner went 2-for-3 tonight with a home run, a walk and a great defensive catch. Eduardo Nunez went 2-for-3 tonight while flashing the leather. Francisco Cervelli was 1-for-2 with a HR and a walk. Andy Pettitte pitched 8 innings of one-run ball. Mariano Rivera received career save #609.
— Robinson Cano went 0-for-3 and now he’s batting .091. It’s a small sample size but that’s his average for the Red Sox series. Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-3 and his average is .111. Again, it’s a small sample size.
Looking back at the game, the second inning is where the Yankees fell flat. CC Sabathia made some costly pitches which resulted in the Red Sox scoring four runs off of the Yankees ace. The three run ninth inning by Joba Chamberlain didn’t make matters any easier. In the end, the Yankees looked as flat as Sabathia’s fastball in the fourth inning. The offense was barely existent, minus the two run single by Francisco Cervelli in the fourth. To put it in perspective, the Yankees as a team looked sluggish. So sluggish that by the time the ninth inning rolled around, no one was in their seats.
The Yankees had one chance to score some more runs in the seventh when Cervelli and Brett Gardner got on base with back to back walks, but Eduardo Nunez, Robinson Cano and Kevin Youkilis struck out to end the inning, and any chance of the Yankees coming back in the game.
The Yankees pitching wasn’t as sharp either. David Phelps was able to tightrope out of danger in the sixth inning due to a base-running blunder by Jacoby Ellsbury, but the seventh was where everything fell apart. Phelps gave up a run with the assistance of Boone Logan, Chamberlain gave up three in the ninth. Now it’s back to the drawing board for the Yankees, as they prepare to take on the Red Sox again on Wednesday night.
— Mark Teixeira went to visit the doctor today and got the OK to take off the brace on his wrist–but he has to wear it when he works out.
— Derek Jeter had some treatment done in Tampa today and played catch in the OF. Although Jeter could come off the DL on Saturday, I doubt he would since the Yanks want him to play a full nine innings before he returns.
— Curtis Granderson had X-Rays on his forearm and told reporters in Tampa that his arm is feeling better. He’s allowed to shag fly balls but he can’t throw them back in the infield.
— Phil Hughes pitched in an extended Spring Training game today, and went seven innings. Hughes will next pitch for Scranton Wilkes-Barre in five days, meaning he’s on track to return on April 11. Girardi left open the option that Hughes could return by Saturday but David Phelps is still in line to make that start.
The more we chant “It’s Just Spring Training”, the more frustrated we become. Why? Because the Yankees last (and only) win came one week ago, tomorrow. Now, the fans don’t like to see the Yankees lose, but the Yankees are playing sloppy baseball. That’s what summed up today’s 10-5 loss against the Phillies. Sloppy.
There was more bad than good that came out of the game, a game that was plagued with four errors. Now, let’s try to look at the bright side, because that’s all that we can do at this point.
Francisco Cervelli: Francisco Cervelli is seemingly pulling himself away from the catchers competition, going 2-for-2 with a walk, and throwing out yet another runner. Chris Stewart hasn’t played since the second inning of yesterday’s game, where he was ejected for allegedly pointing at the umpire after the umpire warned him not to point, so it gives Cervelli an edge so far this Spring.
David Robertson: D-Rob came into another tight jam, relieving Hiroki Kuroda who only went 1.2 IP and allowing 4 runs (1 earned). In five pitches, Robertson got out of the jam and stopped the game from further damage at that point. I said it once and I’ll say it again: D-Rob is in midseason form.
Hiroki Kuroda: Now, some people will argue that Kuroda had a bad outing, but when you watched the game, the numbers don’t translate to how he actually pitched. He actually got the ground-balls when he needed them, unfortunately, the infielders were unable to field the ball and their positions, allowing three unearned runs to score. Was Kuroda sharp? No. But did he look decent for his first time on the mound? Yes.
Melky Mesa: If the Yankees are looking for someone to take Curtis Granderson‘s spot for the next 4-6 weeks, then I strongly suggest Melky Mesa. He played the entire game, and hit another home run. He hit one yesterday vs. the Astors as well, making his total 2 HR’s and 4 RBI’s in the last two days. His bat’s on fire, and just in time too. He’s planning on going to the World Baseball Classic.
— The Yankees will try again to get their second win of the Spring tomorrow against the Detroit Tigers, who are coming from Lakeland to Tampa. Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira are both slated to play their last game with the Yankees before heading off to their separate teams for the World Baseball Classic. That game will be at 1:05 p.m. on YES Network.
Ir seems to me that things aren’t turning out the way the Yankees planned during Spring Training. However, we have to remember a couple of things before we get crazy about the standings (which we shouldn’t be doing).
1. The Yankees Major League starting pitchers haven’t even been in a game so far.
2. The Yankees hitters have only went about 5-6 innings before getting taken out.
3. It’s Spring Training. Almost everyone’s rusty.
However, it would be nice to see the Yankees win a game or two. Let’s break down the good (and bad) that came out of each game. That seems like an easier way to recap the split-squad games.
Blue Jays vs. Yankees
Gardner & Ichiro are locked in: If the season started today, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki wouldn’t mind. At all. Both of them as of right now are easily the best hitters on the team, with both of their batting averages over .500. Gardner went 1-for-3 today, now successfully hitting in four-straight games. Ichiro also had a 1-for-3 day, extending his hitting streak. It’s nice to know that out of the gate the two speedsters are ready for the 2013 season. Now if everyone else behind them can catch up, that would be great.
Clay Rapada is unstoppable (and undefeated): Clay Rapada had the quickest 1-2-3 inning, that if you went to the kitchen to get a glass of water and come back, the inning would be over due to his sheer brilliance on the mound. There’s also an interesting fact that YES gave about Rapada: He’s been in 148 games and his overall record is 8-0 in the Majors. That means that Clay Rapada has never lost a game in his Major League career. Never. Ever. Just judging by today’s game, I would already have a nice roster spot for Mr. Rapada. He looked in mid-season form.
Chris Stewart ejected: Chris Stewart only had one at-bat. And that one-at bat would be the last at-bat that he would have on the day. He hit into a bang-bang play at first base. YES instant replay showed Stewart’s foot touched the bag before the ball went into the first baseman’s glove. However, Marty Foster called him out. Stewart said something and then was ejected from the game, making him the first ejection of the Spring. Just so you know, Spring Training ejections don’t happen very often, so that must mean Marty Foster in in mid-season form.
David Phelps pitches strong: David Phelps had another strong outing, going 3 innings, giving up 2 hits, 1 walk and 1 strikeout. Phelps’ future with the Yankees could be either one of two things at this point: he could either be in the rotation, taking the 5th spot from Ivan Nova, or he could be in the bullpen, helping out in later innings. I don’t see him going back to the minor leagues, at all.
Yankees vs. Astros:
Melky Mesa has great game: The young CF looks to be in the front running of who could take Curtis Granderson‘s job for the next 4-6 weeks after the big day he had at the plate. The young CF went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI’s on the day. I wonder what John Sterling’s HR call would be for the young OF if he ever had a chance to play on the big league club–and if he homered.
Nunez helmet won’t stay on: Another day, another chance to see Eduardo Nunez‘s helmet fall off his head. Just as I had hoped that Nunez would be able to keep the helmet on while running down the first baseline, it came off when he hit a lead-off single in the first inning. Maybe someone should add a chin strap or get him a helmet like Francisco Cervelli‘s. That way it can’t come off.
Cervelli’s strong day behind the plate: Speaking of the young catcher, Cervelli had a great day behind the plate, throwing out two runners who were attempting to steal. Offensively, he went 0-for-3. Maybe it didn’t help that Chris Stewart was ejected because judging by what happened today, it looks like Cervelli took the lead in the catching competition.
Marshall has a good start: Another Brett on the Yankees ball-club had a great day as well, and his name is Brett Marshall. Through three innings, he struck out three and only allowed one hit. Now that is some impressive numbers from the young starter, who is one of the few players actually impressing this Spring Training.
— The Phillies will take the drive from Clearwater to Tampa in order to play the Yankees at GMS Field tomorrow. Robinson Cano is expected to be in the lineup tomorrow and Saturday before leaving on Sunday for the World Baseball Classic. The game will be at 1:05 p.m. on the YES Network.
David Phelps knew how vital this start could be in the factoring decision on whether or not he would get the fifth rotation spot. So far, so good for the young pitcher who is entering his sophomore season in the majors with the Yankees and is desperately trying to win a roster spot, whether it be in the rotation or in the bullpen.
Yesterday, Joe Girardi said he expected Phelps to go two innings or throw 37 pitches. Phelps made it through his two innings, not allowing a single run. Phelps’s final line was 2 innings, no runs, three hits, no strike outs and no walks.
The Yankees bats were quiet for the first two innings but a third inning where the Braves committed two errors, a pass ball and a wild pitch opened the door for them when Zolio Almonte hit a two run homer, bringing home Melky Mesa. Eduardo Nunez also reached on an error and Robinson Cano reached on poor fielding, putting on a four spot in the third. Cano homered in the fifth inning, extending the Yankees lead while Austin Romine hit a two run single with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh.
The Yankees displayed both Francisco Cervelli and Austin Romine in the game, Cervelli throwing out a runner in the second and Austin showing off his bat in the seventh.
Major League Players Look
— Robinson Cano went 1 for 3 with a HR and an RBI.
— Mark Teixeira went 0 for 3, grounded into a double play and has an RBI on a fielders choice.
Back at Yankees camp:
— Derek Jeter ran on the field back in Tampa, showing progress on trying to make it back to the Yankees by Opening Day.
The Yankees will take on the Toronto Blue Jays tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m, the first televised Yankees game by YES. Players such as Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Ichiro Suzuki and Kevin Youkilis are expected to be in the lineup. Adam Warren is slated to start the game.
The main event for the Yankees today was the bullpen pitching, provided by none other than Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera. Rivera threw his second official bullpen of the Spring, and feeling more and more comfortable on the mound.
“There’s no piece of mind when I say ‘OK, I feel good now.” Rivera said. “No, I knew the job that I put in during the whole year, it’s been a hard job and I always tell you guys I trust myself. I trust God first, then I trust myself. I’m capable to do this. I was expecting this, it feels good. I feel good.”
So what would be the biggest test for Rivera as he gets ready for the season while wearing a knee brace?
“Bunting. Comeback liners. Cover first. All that stuff. You can’t think, you have to react.” Rivera said. “That will be, what I think, the biggest test.”
CC Sabathia is also coming back from surgery, and hopes to make all his starts while staying healthy.
“After the season I had last year, being on the DL a couple of times, getting a little older, I just want to concentrate on staying healthy.” Sabathia said. “Any kind of numbers I feel will be there if I’m healthy, so that’s the only thing I’m worried about.”
— Francisco Cervelli has confirmed that he will not play in the World Baseball Classic for Team Italy and made sure that he let the manager know.
“I talked to the manager a couple of days ago, and he understood the situation.”
So what was the situation? Apparently, Cervelli wants to win the catching job with the Yankees in Spring Training.
“This is what I’ve been waiting for.”
— In…interesting…news, Joba Chamberlain has been reportedly been acting a little–out there at camp today. According to Bryan Hoch, he got into a laundry cart and asked Boone Logan to push him in it. That just shows that 1) Chamberlain has an awesome child-like imagination and 2) it’s not all work and no play with that guy.
— Even the manager of the Yankees has to get in some Spring Training workouts this season. After workouts were finished, Joe Girardi spent time doing batting practice with his son Dante, warming up his catching arm. I wonder if Girardi is considering the role of ’emergency catcher’ this season. I think he still has some game in him.
Day two of Spring Training has come to an end and there were interviews from three different Yankees: Francisco Cervelli, Andy Pettitte and of course Mariano Rivera. Let’s cover Francisco Cervelli first and then go from there.
As we all know, Cervelli’s names were handwritten on the Biogenesis report which meant that Cervelli at least visited the Miami clinic after his foot injury.
“When I got my foot injured in 2011, I checked with doctors and someone recommended me Biogenesis. I went there for maybe suggestions, and that’s it. I walked away without nothing in my hands. I just went there and talked, that’s it.” Cervelli said during the 11 minute press conference.
“Right now, I realize that it was a mistake to go there, but it already happened so what can I do?”
Cervelli wouldn’t say who recommended him to go to the Miami clinic but he did say that it wasn’t a player (and it wasn’t Alex Rodriguez). Cervelli went to Biogenesis once and he met with Anthony Bosch during that one visit.
“Sometimes when we’ve got injuries, we get a little desperate to come back quick and we always want a second opinion. I went there. Someone told me. I take my responsibility. Nobody put a gun to my head to go there. And that’s it.”
Now, let’s move on to a non-controversial topic: Andy Pettitte. Pettitte threw a bullpen session today and then met with the media about how he’s feeling along with if he plans to retire in 2014.
“I feel like I’m better than I am at age 30. Heck, I want to win 20 games. That’s it.” Pettitte said during his 11 minute press conference. Joe Girardi even spoke about Pettitte during another press conference this morning in Tampa.
On the topic of whether Pettitte will retire in 2014, Girardi said “I think Andy still loves to compete.” To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Andy Pettitte return in 2014. That’s a true competitor right there.
And last but definitely not least, everyone’s favorite closer: Mariano Rivera. Mariano Rivera said that he made a decision on whether or not he will pitch next season–but he’s not telling anyone just yet. However, he did say that he was going to reveal whether he planned to retire or not before the season begins.
“You guys have been patient enough.” Rivera said during his press conference. When it came to rating how his knee was doing, he said it was a 9 out of 10 but by the time Opening Day rolls around, Rivera plans to feel 100%. He’s doing agility drills and threw a bullpen session his first day of camp, which is out of the norm for Rivera since he doesn’t throw bullpen sessions his first day.
Now, the main question that came from Rivera’s press conference: will he shag fly balls this season even though he tore his ACL doing what he loved last season? Yes. He will. He will just have to be careful about it when he’s in the outfield. It didn’t take much convincing for Joe GIrardi to let him shag again.
“I don’t want to take it away from him.” That’s the verdict from Girardi–but with one small, tiny exception. “Just not in Kansas City.”
Courtesy of Bryan Hoch from MLB.com, here are some pictures from today’s Spring Training’s events:
The World Baseball Classic rosters were released today, confirming that Mark Teixeira made the Team USA roster while Robinson Cano and Francisco Cervelli made different teams. Robinson Cano will play for Team Dominican Republic while Francisco Cervelli will play for Team Italy. One name that was noticeably not on the roster was Andy Pettitte despite reports swirling earlier this week about Pettitte being on the roster. Here are the rosters for Team USA, Team Italy and Team Dominican Republic.
Team Dominican Republic
IF Eric Aybar
IF Adrian Beltre
IF Robinson Cano
IF Edwin Encarnacion
IF Hanley Ramirez
IF Jose Reyes
IF Miguel Tejada
OF Melky Cabrera
OF Nelson Cruz
OF Carlos Gomez
C Miguel Olivo
C Carlos Santana
P Santiago Casilla
P Octavio Dotel
P Pedro Figueroa
P Kelvin Herrera
P Alexi Ogando
P Joel Peralta
P Fernando Rodney
P Wandy Rodriguez
P Esmil Rogers
P Pedro Strop
P Edinson Volquez
IF Willie Bloomquist
IF Brandon Phillips
IF Jimmy Rollins
IF Mark Teixeira
IF David Wright
IF Ben Zobrist
OF Ryan Braun
OF Adam Jones
OF Giancarlo Stanton
OF Shane Victorino
C J.P Arencibia
C Jonathan Lucroy
C Joe Mauer
P Jeremy Affeldt
P Heath Bell
P Mitchell Boggs
P Steve Cishek
P Tim Collins
P R.A. Dickey
P Luke Gregerson
P Derek Holland
P Craig Kimbrel
P Kris Medlen
P Chris Perez
P Glen Perkins
P Vinnie Pestano
P Ryan Vogelsong
IF Jeff Bianchi
IF Chris Colabello
IF Anthony Granato
IF Alex Liddi
IF Nick Punto
IF Anthony Rizzo
IF Alessandro Vagilo
OF Lorenzo Avagnina
OF Mario Chiarini
OF Chris Denorfia
C Drew Butera
C Francisco Cervelli
C Tyler LaTorre
P Chris Cooper
P Yovany D’Amico
P Tiago Da Silva
P Jason Grilli
P Alex Maestri
P John Mariotti
P Luca Panerati
P Nick Pugilese
P Dan Serafini
P Brian Sweeney
P Matt Tora
The 2013 World Baseball Classic begins in March. Which team will be victorious? Tune into MLB Network to find out, all through March.
The Yankees have made it very clear with Scott Boras: They don’t want Rafael Soriano back on a one year-deal. Soriano (who as of today is still a free agent) declined the qualifying offer in October and is now team-less. According to Bob Klapisch, Scott Boras asked if the Yankees would be willing to let Soriano return. The Yankees quickly declined the request. The fact that Soriano declined the Yankees qualifying offer has really hindered his free agency market since if he signs elsewhere, the Yankees would get a draft pick. The Yankees already have one with Nick Swisher (who has signed with the Cleveland Indians).
It was actually an odd coincidence because this morning I woke up thinking that Soriano was still free agent in January (and I tweeted about it). In return I received a question on whether or not the Yankees would want him back. At the time, I was unaware that the Yankees would have said no, but I did mention that there was no need for Soriano since the Yankees have Mariano Rivera as the closer and if Rivera went down with an injury, the Yankees have David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain and David Aardsma ready to do the closing job, depending on who was having the better season. Funny how speculation actually ends up being the day’s news.
In Other News:
— Francisco Cervelli continues his tradition of getting injured in the offseason, suffering from whiplash after getting hit on a foul tip in the Venezuelan Winter League. Cervelli had an MRI done in Venezuela which came back clean but since Cervelli is one of the three options along with Austin Romine and Chris Stewart to be the starting catcher for the Yankees, they opted him to fly to Tampa, Florida so the team could do their own MRI. No results from the team’s MRI have come back yet.
— Yahoo! published an article that I had written earlier today about the many questions that were looming around the New York Yankees in 2013, so read it if you’re interested.
It has been reported that the Texas Rangers have agreed to terms with Free Agent Catcher A.J. Pierzynski. The Yankees were said to have looked into the 35-yr old as an option to replace Russell Martin but ultimately backed off because he supposedley wasn’t strong enough defensively. To me, I thought AJ would be an excellent match for the Yankees but I thought he was out of the picture because he would receive a 2-yr deal from someone. I wanted to see the Yanks offer a Kevin Youkilis type deal – high money for just 1 yr for AJ. In fact I thought they should have offered the same $12M deal to AJ that Youk signed for. Well, I was crushed to see that Pierzynski signed with Texas for a mere $7.5 Million for 1 year. Where was the Yankee offer?
Based on the wreckage that is the current state of Yankees catching and the club’s ridiculous insistence on 1-yr contracts – there really couldn’t have been a better match. I don’t expect AJ to hit 27 HRs and win a Silver Slugger again like he did in 2012, but he seemed to be a good fit and would have improved the team immensely over the Catchers they have now. AJ is a high average , contact hitter who is one of the toughest to strike out in the league. He crushes RHP which would be ideal to match with any of the Yankees RH hitting backups in Stewart, Cervelli or Romine. AJ feasted on RHP in 2012, hitting .287/.338/.536/.874 with 24 HRs in 399 PAs. It would have been ideal to have him start the roughly 110 games this year vs RHP and one of the RH backups to start vs LHP.
Pierzynski is an all-out player with a fiery personality who gets under the skin of opponents. He’s one of the more disliked players in MLB but he’s known to be a good teammate and leader. His demeanor and effort would be a welcome addition to the team. Apparently, the Yankees had concerns that he was only an “average” defensive catcher. This is rather laughable considering the Catchers currently on the team. At this point in their careers AJ is better defensively then Cervelli and Romine. And while Stewart is a solid defender he is like having a Pitcher in the batting order. Pairing AJ with Romine may have been a good move so the young catcher could learn on the job from a seasoned veteran the way a young Posada learned from the veteran starter Girardi.
Looking at the state of catching in MLB, Pierzynski was an excellent option and a no-brainer at the contract he got. Although its been just 114 PAs over the last decade, he’s shown that he won’t wilt in the post-season with a .300 BA, 5 HRs and a .892 OPS. AJ’s LH power also could have made it easier to trade Curtis Granderson for young talent without inhibiting their offense in 2013. There seems to be a multitude of good reasons to have signed Pierzynski to be the Yankees catcher in 2013 yet they had very little interest. I have been perplexed with a number of the team’s decisions this Winter (and the last 2-3 Winters actually) but I totally don’t understand this one. Currently, it looks like the Yanks have perhaps the worst starting Catcher in the A.L. which doesn’t add up with their apparent strategy. All of their moves this offseason make it seem that they are going with a lot of veterans to take one last shot while guys like Pettitte, Mariano and Jeter are still around. They have made no effort to get younger or to make any significant additions for the team’s future beyond 2013. Pierzynski was the perfect fit to go after it in 2013 without adding any further commitment/burden to the 2014 payroll. I want to believe the team has a plan but with each subsequent move and non-move it makes it harder to understand it.
Looking ahead is not a bad thing. The Yankees looked ahead when it came to releasing the 2013 schedule, so why not look ahead to see who could be on the field when you go to a game in 2013. Here is how I picture the Yankees having their alignment of players in 2013.
Let us start in the outfield, shall we? In left field, we have none other than the Yankees speedster Brett Gardner (2012: .321 AVG, 0 HR, 3 RBI). Now keep in mind that Gardner has only played in nine games and was shut down for the duration of the season due to elbow surgery. Gardner is a catalyst for the Yankees and plays the game Joe Girardi hates to play–small ball. He gets on base, he steals, he bunts and he is one of the best defensive players in baseball. Gardner is arbitration eligible so do not expect there to be much of a fight since Gardner has not played most of the year.
In center field, we have another speedster but he is known for his power bat, Curtis Granderson (2012: .233 AVG, 37 HR, 89 RBI). 2013 is Granderson’s free agent year and after the Kevin Long tutorial in 2010; Granderson has become a home run hitter. Now, Granderson does not hit for singles or doubles (note the .233 average) but he is a power bat, which is something the Yankees could use in the heart of the lineup. What happens after 2013, we do not know but—at least the Yanks could see Granderson’s bat in the lineup in 2013.
In right field, you may be a bit surprised by my choice but I believe Nick Swisher (2012: .258 AVG, 20 HR, 78 RBI) will be in Yankees pinstripes in 2013. Now, why do I think Swisher will be a Yankee? Because along with Swisher’s good bat in the lineup, he has a charming and bubbly personality that would be sorely missed if he ever left the team. The Yankees were a serious bunch before Swisher came along and now the team seems livelier. Swisher has left an imprint on the team—but if Swisher signs with the Yanks, he cannot expect a $100 Million contract. We are still recovering from 3 of those.
In the infield, we have of course the third baseman Alex Rodriguez (2012: .276 AVG, 17 HR, 50 RBI). A-Rod this season is not A-Rod but he has come back a hot hitter since getting off the DL. In addition, A-Rod is stuck with the Yankees until his contract expires in 2018 (Yikes).
At shortstop, we have the Captain Derek Jeter (2012: .323 AVG, 15 HR, 53 RBI) who becomes a free agent in 2014. There is not much to explain about Jeter except for the fact he is having his best year average wise since 2009.
At second base, there is the young Robinson Cano (2012: .299 AVG, 30 HR, 77 RBI) who is by far the Yankees best player. He plays second base so smoothly and has a great pop to his bat. For a person who does not think he has home run power—he is mistaken. He is a home run hitter. That is all.
Finally, to round out the infield, we have Mark Teixeira (2012: .255 AVG, 23 HR, 81 RBI). Teixeira is stuck with us until 2017 and even if the Yankees wanted to trade Teixeira (they do not), they cannot because of Teixeira’s no trade clause. We might as well make the best of it so Tex…we are going to need lots of game winning and World Series winning HR’s until then.
It’s September 1st. The day where call-ups happen and where minor leaguers get a taste of what it is like to be in Yankees pinstripes. It is where it is the home stretch towards the play-offs for most teams. However, for the Yankees, they need a good September or they could kiss their play-off hopes and dreams good-bye. The Yankees have struggled mightily since losing Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira as their power players in the lineup. Players like Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson started slumping all at the same time while Nick Swisher has had a hot and cold year. When he is cold, he does not hit a lick. When he is hot, he is on fire. Derek Jeter is the only one that is carrying this Yankees team and right now, it does not seem like it is enough. Players like Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez are not everyday players anymore and players like Andruw Jones—just plain stink.
The Yankees have been playing like the walking wounded the whole season, losing players such as Brett Gardner, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Michael Pineda, and Ivan Nova and for a time David Robertson, Nick Swisher, CC Sabathia and Eric Chavez. With the rosters expanding and with players that are familiar to the Yankees (Eduardo Nunez, Chris Dickerson, and Francisco Cervelli etc.) here are some of the lineup moves the Yankees could do to freshen it up in September.
Eduardo Nunez: SS, 3B, DH
Eduardo Nunez was sent down in the beginning of the season since he had issues with fielding, but the Yankees could use Nunez to give Jeter and Chavez a half-day off here and there. Nunez has Gardner type speed, meaning that he could give the Yankees what they were missing with speed. Nunez is not the best fielder, but he is a one up plus from Gardner for the time being. In addition, Nunez is young which is something the Yankees could use.
Francisco Cervelli: C
Russell Martin and Chris Stewart have played nonstop this year (and Russell Martin had struggled all year) so it would be great for the Yankees to have another catcher. Cervelli performed well during Spring Training so it was a shock that on the final day of Spring Training he was sent to Triple-A instead of heading north with the team. Cervelli is a great backup catcher and he is a good singles hitter. A lot of power, no. However, he is known for hitting in the clutch.
Chris Dickerson: OF
When Chris Dickerson was sent down during the year, it was a bit of a shock since he is a great outfielder and hitter. Dickerson is one of the players you would want in the outfield since the Yankees are in the middle of the pennant race. Think about it, could the Yankees win a pennant race with 40-year-old Raul Ibanez patrolling LF (no offense Raul)? They need someone more versatile and even though Brett Gardner is out for the year, Dickerson is the closes thing we have.
It’s September 1st. The season ends October 3rd. Yankees have a month and 2 days to get it together…and we may not see it now, but these 3 could help us in the long run.