• Rob Refsnyder

    Posted by on June 6th, 2014 · Comments (8)

    He’s playing like a man who knows Brian Roberts is toast.

    Trea Turner

    Posted by on June 6th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    Padres got him in the draft yesterday. He went high – as expected.

    For some reason, he’s the guy who interested me the most in this draft. I think he could be very good. Maybe not Derek Jeter. But, for sure, he’ll be better than Matt Bush.

    He’s a very exciting player – at least to me. I think he could be just as good as Jose Reyes, if things go well for him.

    Jacob Lindgren

    Posted by on June 6th, 2014 · Comments (4)

    BBA America had him at #89 in their top 200 prospects list.  Yankees took him at #55.

    Short lefty relief pitcher with a fastball-slider combo.

    At best, maybe he can be Billy Wagner or Ricardo Rincon. At the worst, he can be Joe Klink. In the end, he’ll probably be somewhere in between.

    So, It’s 11:46 PM On June 3rd, And, I’m Sitting Here Watching The Yankees Game On TV…

    Posted by on June 3rd, 2014 · Comments (10)

    …and, the question is “Why?”

    From The Flip To The Foul

    Posted by on June 3rd, 2014 · Comments (0)

    Somehow, I don’t think there’s going to be a line of Steiner Collectibles celebrating “The Foul.”

    The story via the AP

    Derek Jeter jogged nonchalantly down the left field line with the ball in his glove, thinking the play was over.

    For a star with a resume full of memorable moments, he then nearly made a blunder worthy of a blooper reel.

    Jeter’s rare mental mistake helped give Kyle Seager his second triple Monday night to go along with a homer and a double in the Seattle Mariners’ 10-2 victory over the New York Yankees.

    “I almost gave it to a fan,” Jeter said. “I thought for sure the ball was foul because I was in foul territory.”

    The play that confused the Yankees captain came in the fourth inning, when Seager hit a blooper down the line that bounced off the glove of sliding left fielder Brett Gardner. Jeter was also giving chase and had a chance to make the catch off the deflection, but couldn’t come up with it.

    With his back to third base umpire Brian Gorman, Jeter did not see the fair signal. When he corralled the ball in foul ground, he took several more steps toward the corner. He looked surprised when he turned, and his throw to third was too late.

    “It was a weird play,” Seager said. “I basically just kept running.”

    Yankees starter David Phelps (1-3) hollered “throw the ball!” as Seager headed to third. After the play was over, Jeter could be seen on television saying “I thought it was foul” as he walked back to the infield.

    “My emotions got the best of me,” Phelps said. “I was trying to scream at him to get his attention, hoping he didn’t throw the ball into the stands.”

    #Season2Watch

    Actually, this “play” just may become the signature moment of this Yankees season. And, that’s very sad.

    Yankees Gave Out A Bunch Of Bats Today…

    Posted by on June 1st, 2014 · Comments (11)

    …they should have kept some for themselves.  Well, that, and, they should have prayed for rain after 8 innings.

    I was at this one today.

    Other than getting some nice seats cheap on StubHub, having my son get a free bat, not much positive to say about the trip.

    When I saw the line-up, I thought “This is a major league team?”  I got my answer once they started playing.

    We Play Today, We’re Insipid Today. Dat’s it.

    Posted by on May 31st, 2014 · Comments (5)

    Via Wally Matthews -

    The Yankees did not pitch well, they did not hit well and they did not run the bases well in their 6-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins at the Stadium tonight.

    But playing poorly was not the worst of their sins; even the best of teams can have a bad night now and then.

    In this one, however, the Yankees weren’t just bad. They were boring, and that is a lot worse.

    How boring were they? In the sixth inning, down by just three runs and with Ricky Nolasco, a pitcher with a 6.12 ERA still in the game, what was left of the announced crowd of 42,245 began doing the wave.

    Not just once and not just twice. At least four times, the silly shouting and raising of hands circled the ballpark. Clearly, the crowd had no further interest in watching a game that on the scoreboard at least was not close to being out of reach.

    On the field, however, it was a different story. The Yankees had nine hits, and three of them were timely — Jacoby Ellsbury’s RBI double in the third, Derek Jeter’s single in the fifth that looked like it would score a run but wound up turning into a soul-crushing, inning-ending rundown thanks to the arm of Twins right-fielder Oswaldo Arcia and a rare baserunning mistake by Jeter, and Yangervis Solarte’s single in the sixth, that looked as if it would score Roberts — until a rifle shot from Arcia nailed him at the plate for the final out.

    But it seemed as if the crowd had come in with little faith in the Yankees’ ability to score runs tonight, and with good reason. Time and again, their big hitters failed in clutch situations. Three times, Brian McCann came up with runners on base, twice with a runner in scoring position. He made an out all three times, ending the inning twice. He did manage a two-out single in the eight, which went nowhere when Brian Roberts flied out. Roberts also got picked off first after leading off the second inning with a single.

    The sad fact is that right now, every team but the Yankees is taking advantage of their homer-friendly ballpark. Arcia hit a long solo homer in the second. Josh Willingham hit a longer solo homer in the fourth. Two batters later, Trevor Plouffe hit the longest homer of all, into the mesh above Monument Park, to give the Twins a 4-1 lead. All of them came off Vidal Nuno, who took the loss.

    Meanwhile, the Yankees — formerly known as the Bronx Bombers — rank eighth in the AL and 17th in baseball with just 47 home runs, and have no player in double digits. (The Toronto Blue Jays lead the pack with 80).

    “This is not a lineup that’s filled with a ton of power, so we’re going to have to put hits together and hit doubles and steal some bases and do some things like that,” Joe Girardi said.

    The manager then launched into a bizarre justification in which he ridiculed people who said the Yankees were too reliant on home runs in previous seasons. “Now we’re hitting singles and now we’re not hitting home runs and I’m being asked why we’re not hitting home runs,” Girardi said. “I was thinking back a couple of years, people were asking me, well, all you do is score runs with home runs. What are you going to do when you don’t hit home runs?”

    Girardi’s team provided the answer tonight: Lose. And lose boringly.

    On the bright side, Tanaka is pitching today.

    Kendrys Morales To The Yankees?

    Posted by on May 30th, 2014 · Comments (3)

    Here’s one story that says it could happen.

    No idea how big or hairy Kendrys is…?

    Have The Twins Fixed Phil Hughes?

    Posted by on May 29th, 2014 · Comments (3)

    Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants?

    She Throws A Lot Better Than 50 Cent

    Posted by on May 28th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    Yanks Have Won 8 Of Their Last 12

    Posted by on May 27th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    Is this the start of something big?

    The Yankees Are On Pace To Win 85 Games This Year

    Posted by on May 21st, 2014 · Comments (24)

    Worse, there’s only been three times this season where they have won more than 3 games in a row.

    Maybe they should be renamed “The New York Yawnkees”?

    The only ring this team is going to win is the “ring” at the end of “Bore-ring!”

    #Season2Watch …NOT!

    Time For The N.L. To Adopt The D.H.?

    Posted by on May 20th, 2014 · Comments (3)

    Or, they can just enjoy those Bartolo Colon At Bats.

    CCU Much Later

    Posted by on May 19th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    Via ESPN -

    New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia’s knee injury is likely to keep him out of action until July 1 and possibly longer, according to general manager Brian Cashman.

    Speaking on ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney’s podcast, Cashman said Sabathia has some breakdown of cartilage in his right knee, which caused the pain, swelling and fluid buildup that sent him to the disabled list on May 11, the day after he allowed three long home runs in a 5-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Sabathia visited noted orthopedic surgeon James Andrews last week and was given a stem-cell injection in his knee, a painful procedure that left the 33-year-old left-hander on crutches.

    “It’s an unpredictable time frame,” Cashman said. “I’d say you’re talking at least six weeks until you see him on a major league mound again.”

    Cashman said Sabathia would need to keep weight off his knee for a period of time and would begin with exercises in a pool to reduce the strain on his knee. He would gradually progress through strengthening exercises and eventually a return to pitching.

    But Cashman cautioned that even a return in six weeks, or around July 1, might be overly optimistic.

    “If we predict anything before six weeks, then we’re probably setting ourselves up for disappointment,” Cashman said.

    It’s OK. Jeremy Bleich is just down the road in Trenton.

    Joe Girardi Spits In The Face Of Pythagorean

    Posted by on May 19th, 2014 · Comments (4)

    For reals.

    Look at the Yankees run differential last year. Look at it this season. Look at what the Yankees Pythagorean W-L% was last year and is this season, to date. Then, look at their actual won-loss records.

    Somehow, Joe Girardi gets his team to win more games than they should…or, have a right to win.

    At some point, the MSM and others have to give him props for this, no?

    Brian Dozier

    Posted by on May 19th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    I’m sorry…but he never hit 10 home runs in a full season in the minor leagues, ever.

    Who Will Be The Yankees SS & 2B In 2015?

    Posted by on May 18th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    This is Derek Jeter’s last year. And, it should be Brian Roberts last season.

    So, who plays SS and 2B for the Yankees in 2015? Brendan Ryan and Yangervis Solarte?

    There’s no one in the farm system ready to step in at either position. (No shocker there.) And, there are not many, if any, trade chips in the minors for the Yankees that will net a quality keystone player in a trade.

    Or, to the Yankees just open up the checkbook and sign Asdrubal Cabrera and Jed Lowrie after this season?

    This – if not earlier – is the time to get a plan in place, right?

    Time To Lower The Mound?

    Posted by on May 14th, 2014 · Comments (3)

    Via Tom Verducci -

    What used to be an injury of attrition (Tommy John was 32 and had thrown more than 2,000 major league innings before his groundbreaking surgery) has become an injury of too much too soon — too much velocity and too much stress. The average age of the 22 major league pitchers to need Tommy John surgery this year is just 23.4 years old.

    Wait, it gets worse: A study out just this month in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons found that year-round play in the amateur market has contributed to a 10-fold increase in Tommy John surgeries for youth pitchers.

    What can be done? It’s time for Major League Baseball to lower the mound — and for the entire amateur market to follow its lead. When I took part in an MLB Network roundtable discussion last week on the epidemic of Tommy John surgeries, what struck me as most profound was the statement of fact by both Mets team physician Dr. David Altchek and biomechanics expert and former pitcher Tom House that the greater the slope of the mound the greater the forces that are applied to the arm. Reduce the height of the mound and you reduce the forces upon the arm.

    It makes perfect sense. What makes no sense is that 13-year-old kids are pitching off the same size mound as major league pitchers. Little Leaguers should be throwing off flat ground. (What’s the first step for pitchers as they come back from injury? They throw off flat ground. Why? It’s less strenuous.)

    There happens to be another compelling reason to lower the mound besides saving the elbows of pitchers: the game needs offense. People, especially inside the game, are not paying nearly enough attention to how the game has been bastardized in just the past five years by the increase in velocity and the specialization of bullpens. Games are getting longer and longer with less and less action — a terrible combination in any era, but especially this one in which commerce and culture move at a quickened pace. The proliferation of pitching changes (men standing around killing time, pitchers warming up after they just spent the past 15 minutes warming up) and strikeouts are harming the pace of action more than anything else.

    Strikeouts are up for a ninth straight year. Singles have reached an all-time low. But what is happening in the late innings of games is a particularly insidious problem. Offense dries up to absurdly low levels and the ball doesn’t even get put into play enough. The long endgame is about managers bringing in one hard-throwing specialist after another in the eternal quest to gain the platoon advantage and keep the ball out of play. Some teams are using eight-man bullpens and clamoring for a 26-man roster so they can add yet another arm. This trend must stop.

    Most every sport increases action and drama as the game draws near to its end; football teams can go to a hurry-up offense, hockey teams can pull their goalie, basketball teams can shoot more three-pointers . . . but the closer baseball games get to their conclusion the more they slow down and the less likely teams are to get a hit, which makes the excitement of the comeback less likely.

    Let’s use the National League as an example. From the seventh through ninth innings, nearly one out of every four at-bats ends in a strikeout (24.1%). In those innings, batters are hitting .232.

    Now here’s the context you need to know about that batting average. The worst hitting in the league’s history occurred in 1908, when batters hit .239 for the season. So what is happening in today’s game is that the late innings have turned into a brand of offensive baseball that is worse than the deadest of the Deadball Era years.

    The overall MLB average in innings 7-9 is .240; only three full seasons ever have been worse: 1888, 1908 and 1968 — the year hitting was so bad it prompted MLB to lower the mound. Scoring immediately shot up 19 percent.

    It’s time to act again. We have reached a convergence of the biggest on-field problems affecting baseball: the increase in strikeouts, the drag on offense and pace of play caused by increased bullpen usage and the epidemic of Tommy John surgeries on young pitchers. All of those problems can be addressed by lowering the mound. Baseball shouldn’t wait for more young stars to blow out their elbows before deciding to do something about it.

    I still cannot believe that it’s the mound which is causing arm and offense issues in MLB. It’s the same mound that they used in the 1970′s, 1980′s, and 1990′s, right? There’s more to all this than just the mound…

    Why Not Willie Randolph For The Next G.M. Of The Yankees?

    Posted by on May 12th, 2014 · Comments (4)

    Brian Cashman’s contract as G.M. of the Yankees is up after this season. Should the Yankees not bring him back, why not consider Willie Randolph as his replacement?

    Randolph had a near Hall of Fame career as a player. He’s also been a coach and a manager at the Major League level. Clearly, he knows the game. And, during the 1993 season, Willie Randolph served as Assistant General Manager of the Yankees – so, he’s got some front office experience. He also knows New York and is not going to melt in front of the media.

    “Willow” is more more like Stick Michael and Bob Watson – who were the Yankees G.M.’s before Cashman.

    Put it this way: Looking at Cashman’s track record over the last decade, could Randolph do any worse?

    CC Disasthia

    Posted by on May 11th, 2014 · Comments (11)

    Via Brendan Kuty -

    Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia will get a second MRI on his right knee Monday to confirm there’s no structural damage, he said.

    An initial MRI showed no serious problems, other than fluid in his knee that has swollen after his last two starts, he said.

    But the second test will come after Yankees team doctor examines the knee and drains it of the fluid that’s causing the swelling, Sabathia said.

    Sabathia had surgery in 2010 to repair a torn meniscus in the knee.

    The 33-year-old said he was briefly reluctant to tell the Yankees about the swelling, considering the state of the rotation.

    Ivan Nova will miss the rest of the year due to Tommy John surgery and Michael Pineda might not return until June while he recovers from a strained back muscle, manager Joe Girardi said Girardi.

    On top of that, their replacements, David Phelps and Vidal Nuno, have been adequate at best; Hiroki Kuroda has been up-and-down and Sabathia himself has 5.28 ERA in eight starts.

    Only Masahiro Tanaka, the 25-year-old Japanese rookie, has been reliable.

    “It’s tough,” Sabathia said, “and that’s why I didn’t want to say anything. But I think I was doing more damage to the the team than helping the team by trying to hide it.”

    Sabathia said he felt the pain during his May 4 start, which lasted just 3.2 innings — the shortest of his Yankees career.

    “I didn’t know what was making it swell up,” Sabathia said. “It got pretty big on me after the start (May 4), and then (Sunday).”

    Well, it’s a good thing the Yankees had all that pitching depth to cover for a situation like this one…

    …uh, um, er, never mind…

    Double G Wants A Hot Dog

    Posted by on May 9th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    2014 Detroit Tigers

    Posted by on May 9th, 2014 · Comments (7)

    Best team in baseball right now?

    Actually, they have been a very good team for four years now (including this season).  But, if they don’t win a ring, it don’t mean a thing.

    A-Rod Is Not One Of Cashman’s Big Hairy Monsters

    Posted by on May 8th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    Now it all makes sense.

    Mo: Pedroia > Cano

    Posted by on May 6th, 2014 · Comments (11)

    Seriously.

    Never saw that coming.

    What’s Wrong With Sabathia?

    Posted by on May 6th, 2014 · Comments (3)

    Here’s one slice on it:

    What is wrong with C.C. Sabathia?

    Jerry Crasnick: …I saw him pitch last week in the Robinson Cano game, and his stuff is just very fringy now. A scout at the game told me that his command almost needs to be perfect, or he’s gonna get whacked. CC is a real warhorse, but he’s thrown a lot of high-stress innings, and all that wear and tear has taken a toll. Whether he’s actually healthy now, we’ll see. But you have to wonder.

    By the way, the Yankees only owe him $73 million after this season.

    It will be $52 million if:

    1) He ends 2016 on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury, or
    2) He spends more than 45 days in 2016 on the disabled list with a left shoulder injury, or
    3) He only makes five or less relief appearances in 2016 because of a left shoulder injury.

    That’s a lot of money to eat..when you’re going to be eating A-Rod’s money (Remember him?) at the same time.

    The Pitching Rub: Arm-Side Or Glove-Side?

    Posted by on May 6th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    No mention of what side you should apply your hidden (or not so hidden) pine-tar…

    Think The Yankees Rotation Is Bad? Actually, It’s Worse

    Posted by on May 5th, 2014 · Comments (5)

    There is not a bunch of great hitting teams this season, at least so far, in the American League:

    Tm R/G G PA R HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ ▾
    LAA 5.30 30 1204 159 40 96 248 .260 .326 .440 .766 116
    OAK 5.00 31 1256 155 28 143 229 .253 .344 .398 .742 112
    DET 5.00 26 1001 130 22 76 168 .283 .339 .428 .767 108
    TBR 4.31 32 1263 138 28 123 223 .255 .333 .396 .728 105
    TOR 4.74 31 1207 147 38 112 227 .254 .328 .420 .748 105
    CHW 5.09 32 1247 163 35 103 286 .263 .328 .422 .750 103
    NYY 4.23 30 1164 127 28 88 226 .264 .325 .410 .735 103
    MIN 5.14 29 1172 149 22 141 268 .248 .343 .377 .720 102
    LgAvg 4.47 30 1171 135 27 104 232 .253 .324 .395 .719 100
    BOS 4.16 32 1245 133 27 137 265 .244 .337 .385 .722 98
    TEX 4.39 31 1185 136 18 107 219 .264 .338 .381 .719 98
    CLE 3.97 31 1158 123 23 116 205 .236 .318 .364 .682 95
    BAL 4.31 29 1107 125 22 66 214 .264 .314 .393 .707 94
    SEA 4.21 29 1092 122 24 72 255 .234 .294 .371 .665 91
    HOU 3.48 31 1156 108 33 95 278 .219 .291 .372 .663 84
    KCR 3.87 30 1109 116 12 78 174 .251 .305 .360 .665 82
    4.47 454 17566 2031 400 1553 3485 .253 .324 .395 .719 100
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/5/2014.

    .
    And, yet, look at how the Yankees starting rotation has done (hint: Very Poorly!) so far this year:

    Tm RA/G ▴ GS QS QS% GmScA IP/GS
    OAK 3.35 31 22 71% 56 6.1
    DET 3.96 26 17 65% 58 6.0
    SEA 4.28 29 13 45% 53 5.6
    KCR 4.30 30 16 53% 53 6.1
    BOS 4.34 32 22 69% 52 6.1
    LAA 4.37 30 15 50% 54 6.1
    BAL 4.52 29 9 31% 49 5.7
    TBR 4.53 32 11 34% 50 5.5
    LgAvg 4.54 30 15 48% 51 5.8
    CLE 4.55 31 13 42% 50 5.8
    TEX 4.68 31 12 39% 49 5.7
    TOR 4.74 31 14 45% 50 5.5
    NYY 4.77 30 15 50% 50 5.8
    MIN 5.07 29 10 34% 43 5.7
    CHW 5.22 32 16 50% 46 5.6
    HOU 5.26 31 14 45% 50 5.6
    4.54 454 219 48% 51 5.8
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/5/2014.

    .
    And, that includes the great numbers from Tanaka.

    Thank you, Brian Cashman. Great job with the pitching, as usual.

    Yankees Have Lost 8 Of Last 14

    Posted by on May 4th, 2014 · Comments (9)

    Looking more and more like an 87-win team, everyday.

    Maybe McCann’t Should Be His Name?

    Posted by on May 2nd, 2014 · Comments (6)

    On March 19th, I wrote:

    Over His Last 889 MLB PA, Brian McCann Hit .242

    And, his OPS+ was 99.

    Lastly, in the second half of 2013, his BA/OBP/SLG line was .220/.296/.384 (in 196 PA).

    Hey, it’s always possible that the Braves let him walk for a reason…

    Well, in his first 94 PA this season, McCann’s BA/OBA/SLG line is .225/.266/.348 – which is an OPS+ of 70.

    How many more MLB PA do we need to tack on to this run before it’s time to raise the white flag and say this guy cannot hit anymore? Or, are his last near 1,000 MLB plate appearances not evidence enough?

    And, yes, Yankees GM Brian Cashman signed McCann to a $85 million, five-year, contract.

    So…get ready for the Cashman apologists to fire up the ol’ “It seemed like a good idea at the time” excuse machine (aka “Brian Cashman, He did Meanwell”).

    Seriously, did the Yankees even look at the numbers before signing this guy?  And, how many more PA have to flow under the bridge before the Yankees realize that the “bust” flood is happening?

    Mayday For The First Place Yankees?

    Posted by on May 2nd, 2014 · Comments (3)

    The Yankees are 5-6 in their last 11 games. During this span, their pitchers had an ERA of 5.27 and their batters posted an OPS of .643 – and, for the record, those are bad numbers.

    Next, the Yankees play the Rays for three games – which is never easy. After that, they have an insane road trip where they play the Angels and the Brewers. This is followed by four games against the Mets.

    Overall, sans maybe three players, the Yankees are not hitting:

    Rk Pos Age G PA BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ ▴
    1 2B Brian Roberts# 36 23 88 11 16 .213 .310 .280 .590 66
    2 C Brian McCann* 30 24 94 4 12 .225 .266 .348 .614 70
    3 SS Derek Jeter 40 22 96 9 20 .271 .347 .306 .653 84
    4 LF Brett Gardner* 30 25 100 8 24 .270 .343 .337 .681 91
    5 DH Alfonso Soriano 38 26 109 4 23 .248 .284 .426 .710 96
    6 CI Kelly Johnson* 32 22 69 5 17 .219 .275 .453 .728 100
    7 RF Carlos Beltran# 37 25 107 6 21 .253 .299 .495 .794 118
    8 CF Jacoby Ellsbury* 30 26 107 9 18 .309 .364 .464 .828 130
    9 3B Yangervis Solarte# 26 23 92 12 13 .304 .402 .456 .858 139
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/2/2014.

    .

    And, outside of Tanaka, their starting pitching is a mess:

    Rk Age W L ERA G GS IP HR BF ERA+ ▴
    1 Ivan Nova 27 2 2 8.27 4 4 20.2 6 96 51
    2 Vidal Nuno* 26 0 0 6.59 5 2 13.2 3 63 65
    3 Hiroki Kuroda 39 2 3 5.14 6 6 35.0 4 151 82
    4 CC Sabathia* 33 3 3 5.11 6 6 37.0 6 161 82
    6 Masahiro Tanaka 25 3 0 2.27 5 5 35.2 5 139 185
    9 Michael Pineda 25 2 2 1.83 4 4 19.2 1 77 232
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/2/2014.

    .
    Yes, the Yankees are in first place. But, is that soon about to change?

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