Well, it’s finally here. It’s July 31st, otherwise known as the non-waiver trading deadline, and in a matter of hours the Yankees will have either added another bat, or decided to ride out the remainder of the season with the guys they have.
Coming off a stinging loss by way of a walk-off single by Dodgers’ second baseman Mark Ellis, the team now stands at 55-51. Slowly sinking closer to the mediocre .500 mark, the Yanks have now fully embodied the club we all expected them to be when the season opened – a power-less, atrocious offense coupled with good, but not great pitching.
Sitting 8.5 games out of first place in the A.L. East and somehow just 3.5 games out of the Wild Card race, the Yanks are by no means “done”.
Brian Cashman Ownership brought back Alfonso Soriano, Jeter has returned, and Curtis Granderson is finishing up his rehab assignment, so the lineup will certainly be given a boost by having those guys back.
Meanwhile on the pitching front, (aside from CC and when Hughes starts at the Stadium) things have been improving. Pettitte is finding his groove again, Nova is pitching even better than in his breakout 2011 season, and Kuroda continues to be a dark horse in the A.L. Cy Young race. The bullpen continues to impress with the likes of Shawn Kelley, Boone Logan, D-Rob, and of course Mo, so there is nothing to really be concerned about there.
This is stating the obvious, but for the first time in years, the lineup is the overwhelming achilles heel to this season. Even with Sabathia’s treacherous season and Hughes’ long-ball woes, this current pitching staff coupled with any Yankees lineup from the past decade would easily win 90+ games.
But that’s the thing – this isn’t any Yankees lineup from the past decade. It’s 2013’s.
There’s no Sheffield, no Bernie, no Giambi, no Abreu, no Matsui, no Posada, no Swisher, no Teixeira, no A-Rod…must I keep going? Even with Sori, Jeet, and Grandy, they would need a Giancarlo Stanton-caliber bat added to the mix to really make them a threatening team. With the way Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and Boston are all playing, even if there are signs of improvement from the players currently on the roster, I can’t imagine it being enough in the end.
As mentioned, the Yankees are either going to make a move, or they won’t. Stanton is not on the block, nor does the team have the caliber of prospects needed to make a deal even if he was. The best hitter that could be on the move is Hunter Pence, followed by Michael Young, Nate Schierholtz, and [depending on Schierholtz] David DeJesus. Pence is adamant about staying with San Francisco, Young prefers Boston than the Bronx, and the Yankees have too many outfielders to realistically take on a Schierholtz or DeJesus.
Like I said, even if any of those guys were to be fitted for pinstripes in the next few hours, it wouldn’t make much of a difference when comparing this “Bombers” lineup to that of the Orioles, Red Sox, or even the Rays. Power is not the tell-all, be-all factor of a team, but all three clubs have, and can out-slug the Yanks, even in their own bandbox known as the new Yankee Stadium.
It would be great to see the team rally around Mariano Rivera’s final season and go out and make a valiant playoff push, but I just don’t see it happening. At it’s worse the pitching has been steadily above-average, but at it’s best the lineup is nothing close to deserving of a spot in October.
Maybe I’m being harsh, and perhaps this club as constructed could have been better in another season with less competition. But the fact remains that the Yankees picked the worst year possible to let so many core guys (Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, and Raul Ibanez) leave via free agency, and just hope that the oldest team in baseball would have one last magical run in them.
Clearly they don’t, and no matter what happens by 4 o’clock PM today, the Yanks should begin making plans to go golfing come this fall. It’s unfortunate, but we can’t act like we didn’t see this coming.
The New York Yankees have a new player on their team, although it’s not the way that everyone prefers. Instead of signing a free agent, the Yankees claimed Russ Canzler off waivers from the Cleveland Indians. He’s speculated to compete for the 4th OF spot with Matt Diaz. In the minors Canzler hit .289/.365/.508 with about 1,000 AB in the International league.
To make room for Canzler on the 40-man roster, the Yankees have designated OF Chris Dickerson for assignment. Honestly Yankees, everyone’s getting tired of the ‘Lets DFA Chris Dickerson‘ game. He’s a great RF and for a moment, I considered him a great bench/Swisher replacement–before you DFA’d him…today.
In Other News:
— There has been no date set for Alex Rodriguez‘s surgery. No one is sure if it’s a set-back but it could be a problem if Rodriguez’s return is postponed by a week or two. Brian Cashman already believes that the 2013 Yankees aren’t going to hit as many HR’s as the 2012 Yankees since the departure of Nick Swisher and Russell Martin along with the injury to A-Rod. Well, maybe if you went to the Winter Meetings and got some big pieces like you were supposed to, then hitting HR’s wouldn’t be a problem.
When the Yankees ended their 2012 season with an ALCS loss to the Tigers, the pieces that the Yankees have to pick up again seemed legitimately small. They knew they were going to have to sign Hiroki Kuroda and Mariano Rivera to contracts. They knew they had to wait for Andy Pettitte’s decision on whether or not he would return in 2013–which came quickly this year. They knew they were going to have to replace the right fielder since Nick Swisher most likely won’t come back next season. They also knew that they were going to have to re-sign Russell Martin to another contract to play behind the plate in the Bronx. Well, as of last night Brian Cashman’s list got a little bit longer.
Although he was able to re-sign closer Mariano Rivera to a 1 year, $10 Million contract, he let another player get away–Russell Martin. The offseason plan has always been to take care of starting pitching first before going off and extending contracts to other players. Apparently, Russell Martin couldn’t wait for that, signing a contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2 years and $17 Million, rejoining ex-Yankee A.J Burnett in the process. This leaves Brian Cashman heading into the Winter Meetings on Monday with no catcher and no right fielder, two moves that he has to fill up before Spring Training.
With Martin gone from the Yankees, heading to Pittsburgh there are two legitimate catchers on the free agent market that are still available: A.J Pierzynski and Mike Napoli. Although the Yankees aren’t reportedly targeting either catchers, at this point they don’t have much of a choice.
Last season if Martin had ever gotten hurt, Francisco Cervelli would have been the starting catcher. Now that Martin is gone, that looks to be the case with Chris Stewart at backup and Austin Romine as an emergency choice. As much as I like Cervelli (he’s a big fan favorite), he’s not a power hitter. The same goes for Chris Stewart. Although Stewart is an amazing defensive catcher, he doesn’t have the pop in his bat.
Brian Cashman believes that the answer to the catcher situation could possibly already be on the team, but with players like Cervelli, Stewart, Romine and new Yankee (who is currently in the process of clearing waivers) Eli Whiteside, I don’t see a legitimate starting catcher in the Yankees organization. 2014 is a year away Cashman. Time to take out your wallet and make a deal for someone for this year, no matter what it takes.
The New York Yankees ended their day with a serious blow when catcher Russell Martin signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates for a 2 year, $17 Million contract joining ex-Yankee A.J Burnett as his teammate. According to a source, the Yankees never made an offer to Martin with good reason–the Yankees were busy taking care of their rotation first like they do every offseason. The Yankees attention could now turn to A.J Pierzynski who is the second best defensive catcher on the market behind Martin.
In Other News:
— The Yankees signed closer Mariano Rivera to a 1 year, $10 Million deal which includes incentives such as award bonuses.
The Yankees rotation looks less and less uncertain with the signing of Andy Pettitte. Over an hour ago, the Yankees signed Pettitte to a 1 year, $12 Million contract which also includes a $2.5 Million awards bonus meaning that Pettitte could earn up to that much should he win awards in the 2013 season. To make room for Pettitte, the Yankees designated catcher Eli Whiteside for assignment even though the Yankees signed him to a 1 year contract to avoid arbitration earlier this week. The Yankees next order of business? Signing the greatest closer in all of baseball, Mariano Rivera.
In Other News
— Yesterday, Russell Martin revealed that he wanted a 4 year deal for $9-$10 Million per year, and the team that could give Martin what he wants is the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates (along with the Yankees) are one of the front runners for Martin and it could all come down to what happens in the Winter Meetings next week. Come on Pirates, we gave you A.J Burnett. That should be enough.
Looks like the Yankees are beginning to get the ball rolling in this offseason game, and this time Andy Pettitte has control. According to Buster Olney, Andy Pettitte had decided to pitch for the Yankees in the 2013 season. According to Joel Sherman, the contract is rumored to be between $10-$11 Million for one year. Pettitte had confirmed when the season ended that he was going to take about a month before he decided what he planned on doing and that it would happen definitely after Thanksgiving. Pettitte started working out a couple of days after Thanksgiving, leading the Yankees fanbase to believe that Pettitte wanted to return.
In Other News:
— Mariano Rivera revealed that he also wanted to pitch in 2013, but the Yankees haven’t officially signed him as of yet. The deal should happen sometime this week before Winter Meetings next week.
— Despite rumors last night, the Yankees have not re-signed Ichiro Suzuki to a contract. As a matter of fact, the Yankees and Ichiro haven’t even come close to an agreement! If the Yankees end up signing Ichiro then that will close the chapter on the Nick Swisher saga.
— Russell Martin is reportedly looking for a 4 year deal for $9-$10 Million PER year. I seriously doubt that the Yankees will succumb to Martin’s demands. Then again, is it Martin that wants the contract or his agent?
There hasn’t been a lot of Yankees news going around–until today. For the Bronx Bombers, it pays to be in the postseason.
— The New York Yankees are going to get $115,065.28 for playing in the 2012 postseason. That was for making it to the ALCS. The San Francisco Giants get the most money out of the players that played in the postseason since they won the World Series with $337,002.64. That’s the most made in the postseason for a team that won the World Series. The Texas Rangers and the Atlanta Braves also got a piece of some money, the Rangers making $16,999.09 and the Braves making $19,609.04. And for those asking, yes Alex Rodriguez will get a share of that money just for striking out and doing nothing.
In Other News
— The New York Yankees signed catcher Eli Whiteside to a one year contract, avoiding arbitration. I still don’t get the point of trading for Eli Whiteside when they have Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli.
— The Yankees are going after Russell Martin, but Russell Martin has visited other cities for teams that have interest in him. Martin however did say that he is interested in playing for the Yankees next season.
— Andy Pettitte is slated to make a decision soon but according to Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, Pettitte has already started training.
In News Around The League
— Here’s the shocker that made me spit my coffee out this morning: The Tampa Bay Rays extended Evan Longoria‘s contract until the year 2022. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you: Alex Rodriguez 2.0. It will be interesting to see how this contract turns out.
Good morning everyone. Hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving break and of course the great deals of Black Friday. Let’s enjoy this wonderful Sunday before we have to head back to school and work tomorrow by starting off with some Yankees news. Here are your morning links!
— According to ESPN New York, Ichiro Suzuki is willing to wait for the Yankees to offer him a contract. According to his agent, Ichiro would like to appear in Pinstripes for the 2013 season. With no right fielder and not a lot of options yet, the Yankees could always re-sign Ichiro…or they could re-sign Swisher. Take your pick.
— In other news, Russell Martin wants to eventually get rid of the catchers mask–and play shortstop for the World Baseball Classic. If Martin’s shortstop dreams do come true, that will be great to watch. Considering the World Baseball Classic won’t have Derek Jeter this year, I say why not?
Good evening Yankees fans. Today is one of those days where we ask ourselves–“Is it February yet?” Anyway, onto tonight’s notes that circle around Yankees baseball!
— The Yankees announced today that they have made qualifying offers to Nick Swisher, Hiroki Kuroda and Rafael Soriano. The bigger question here is–why didn’t the Yankees make an offer to Ichiro Suzuki or Russell Martin? Do they plan on letting them go? We’ll find out more as the “Off-Season Saga” continues. (BTW, the Yankees would get a draft compensation pick if either of the three sign elsewhere).
— Speaking of Russell Martin, the Yankees did not make him a qualifying offer. Martin can still sign with the Yankees but they won’t get compensation for him if he goes to another team.
— The Yankees also announced that they plan on keeping Rule 5 pitcher Cesar Cabral for the offseason. They want him to come back to Spring Training and compete for the job in the bullpen. Last season, Clay Rapada beat out Cabral for the job (mostly because Cabral fractured the tip of his elbow) but this season Cabral would have to make the team or he gets sent back. A loophole however is if Cabral makes the team, he doesn’t have to spend the whole year on the team. He can be optioned to the minor leagues at any point during the season.
— And finally, Michael Pineda–might miss the entire 2013 season. There’s no information as of yet but tune into MLB Tonight on MLBNetwork to find out why. (And for those who hate the Red Sox, David Ortiz might be out the entire season as well). MLB Tonight airs at 6pm. Check your cable provider for which channel.
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 had been a long, trying season for the Yankees where so much has happened. Yankees have lost Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, at a point lost Brett Gardner, David Robertson, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, suffered through hitting slumps by Russell Martin, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson and a surprisingly good regular season by Nick Swisher. But the Yankees didn’t realize that the season doesn’t end after 162 games and fell flat against the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS and will now spend their offseason trying to piece it all together. The Yankees have to make decisions before the 2013 offseason, but if you were the GM of the Yankees who would you keep and who would you dump? Infield
Right around the corner is the most exciting time of the year for any team—the postseason. While there are teams that have clinched their spot in the postseason, there are teams like the Yankees that are so close to clinching that they could taste it. However, they still have to battle to stay in 1st place in the American League East. While it is almost certain that the Yankees will be in another postseason, the Yankees have other things on their minds as in after they clinch a spot. What will they be doing? They will be preparing their 2012 ALDS roster (if they are in first place by the end of the season). After observing the Yankees for a while, I decided to compile a list of who would make the 25-man roster for the ALDS series against what looks to be the Detroit Tigers. (Statistics are as of the morning of September 28, 2012).
Derek Jeter (2012 Season: .318 AVG, 15 HR, 57 RBI): Of course, you cannot be in the postseason without the Captain Derek Jeter. Jeter has had a phenomenal year and will end the year with an average over .300. The last time Jeter finished with an average over .300 was in 2009. How did that end out for the Yankees? Jeter had silenced the critics and had done his thing, but can he continue into the postseason and lead the Yankees to another championship?
Robinson Cano (2012 Season: .300 AVG, 30 HR, 82 RBI): Robinson Cano is one of the best second baseman in the game and he knows how to hit. While Cano has been up and down this year, he has been consistent defensively and can help Yankees pitching by preserving runs and getting double plays with a flick of a wrist. He makes that pivot to first base better than any second baseman than I have seen. Cano was one of the very few Yankees who had a hot bat during last year’s ALDS (along with Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner respectively), so it would be nice to see Cano get on a tear.
Mark Teixeira (2012 Season: .255 AVG, 23 HR, 81 RBI): Comparing Teixeira’s numbers from 2011 and from this year, this year has not been Teixeira’s best. But can you blame the guy? He has been sidelined with a Grade 1 strained calf. While he will make the roster for the play-offs, I doubt he will be 100 percent healthy. Teixeira also is one of the few culprits that seem to mysteriously lose his hitting talents in the play-offs. He needs to have a hot and consistent bat in the play-offs or else it could be an early exit for the Yankees—again.
Alex Rodriguez (2012 Season: .276 AVG, 18 HR, 56 RBI): Now, if the stats were for another player say maybe Eduardo Nunez, Chris Dickerson or Brett Gardner that would be a hell of a year. Unfortunately, it is for the guy that the Yankees gave a lucrative contract that last for another 5 years and did not hit the way that the Yankees were expecting. A-Rod is going to make the roster…but all season he has looked terribly lost at the plate. He is also another culprit that has not hit in the postseason in recent years (no, I am not counting 2009). A-Rod needs to get his act together and very quickly or else…you know. A first round exit for the Yankees.
Russell Martin (2012 Season: .209 AVG, 19 HR, 49 RBI): So this hasn’t been Russell Martin’s best year offensively (the 19 HR’s make the .209 AVG look less hideous) but the reason he makes the postseason roster is because of his defense. He also has been heating up at the plate as of late which means he could be on a tear any day now. He also was the only one that did not look lost during the ugly 6-0 loss to the Blue Jays on Thursday night, cranking 2 hits off Morrow. Martin could add to the offense, which could be something that the Yankees need.
* An A-blog for A-Rod takes a closer look at Boone Logan.
* Bronx Baseball Daily has the video of Mike Francesa falling asleep on the air.
* It’s about the Money Stupid writes a good article on the rule of run differential.
* Pinstripe Alley dives into Sabathia and his disappearing fastball.
* River Ave Blues looks into the resurgence of Russell Martin.
* The Captain’s Blog says the Yankees need Sabathia to come up aces.
* The Greedy Pinstripes ponders who should be on the hot seat.
* The Yankee Analysts ask who would you want to pitch in a one game playoff?
* Yanks Go Yard questions who should be the Yankee MVP.
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.