• No Faith In Jesus

    Posted by on February 28th, 2014 · Comments (5)

    Via the Seattle Times

    Jesus Montero is the forgotten prospect. He’s no longer something to build on. He’s something to be salvaged. To many around baseball and within the organization, he’s just another guy filled with potential, but unaware that he’s squandering it.

    This should have been a seminal offseason for Montero. He was coming off one of the worst years of his professional career. He was given the starting catching job in the offseason, lost it two weeks into the season, was sent to Triple A in May and told he was converting to first base, he injured his knee requiring surgery and then after coming back for a handful of games he was suspended for the remainder of the season for being linked to the BioGenesis.

    It was a full year of disappointment.

    For most players, a season like that would be the ultimate motivation. For most players, they would take the offseason to prepare like they’ve never prepared before and come to camp ready to have writers pump out the “best shape of his life” stories.

    Instead, Montero came in heavier than ever. He even admitted it, making the regrettable line: “after winter ball, all I did was eat.”

    After each season, players meet with training and medical staff to set up their offseason. Each player is given a target weight they are expected to come in at for the following season. According to sources, Montero has never once met that target weight since joining the Mariners. This year he came in 40 pounds over the weight the Mariners wanted him to come in at.

    It’s led to frustration within the organization. General manager Jack Zduriencik was particularly critical of Montero and his future.

    “We are disappointed in how he came in physically,” Zduriencik said bluntly.

    That disinterest in conditioning in the offseason didn’t do much change the minds of people who have been skeptical of Montero’s work ethic. It certainly didn’t inspire Zduriencik, who was clearly unhappy with the situation.

    “It’s up to him,” Zduriencik said. ” I have zero expectations for Jesus Montero. Any expectations I had are gone.”

    Hmmm…Dr. Evil likes them big and hairy!

    Kelly Johnson = Curtis Granderson?

    Posted by on February 28th, 2014 · Comments (2)

    In terms of the amount of times he’s going to whiff, per plate appearance, yes, I think it’s close.

    Boy, The Mets Are Bad

    Posted by on February 28th, 2014 · Comments (10)

    Did you know that 28 of MLB’s 30 teams have had at least one winning season in the past five years? The two who have not are the Mets and the Astros.

    Maybe Mets fans should consider “The Curse of Willie Randolph”?

    Ichiro, The Bench Player

    Posted by on February 28th, 2014 · Comments (5)

    Via Barry Bloom

    “He’s a player in waiting,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Thursday as his team opened its home spring schedule with an 8-2 loss to the Pirates at George Steinbrenner Field. “We have [Alfonso] Soriano, [Carlos] Beltran, [Brett] Gardner and [Jacoby] Ellsbury currently ahead of him. He obviously provides a great deal of speed and defense and is a contact hitter. He’s going to be a choice for [manager] Joe [Girardi] off the bench. And that could be a very important role for us.”

    Asked if Suzuki would be on the Yankees’ 25-man roster for the April 1 season opener in Houston, Cashman added: “Oh, no question. Yes!”

    Let’s face it, the last time Ichiro was an above average player was 2010. And, in the last 3 years, he’s gotten worse each season.

    Granted, he does have some useful skills coming off the bench – fielding, base running, and the ability to make contact. But, will he be happy in that role? Time will tell.

    So, Which Team Will Derek Jeter Own Someday?

    Posted by on February 27th, 2014 · Comments (4)

    I’m not sure.  But, it will interesting to see who when it happens…

    Something You Will Never See In Baseball

    Posted by on February 27th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    In the major leagues, a catcher who steals 40+ bases in a season.  It’s never happened, to date, in the history of the game.

    Cashman Has Concerns

    Posted by on February 27th, 2014 · Comments (16)

    Via George King

    However, Cashman does have concerns.

    “I am more focused on the bullpen, the rotation and how that will shake out and the infield that is not Mark Teixeira or Derek Jeter,’’ Cashman said.

    That’s a strong indication the Yankees will look to upgrade at third and second base, where Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts and Eduardo Nunez are in the mix.

    “I have said it’s a developing story that the Yankees have to keep focused on,’’ Cashman said of second and third. “Do we have the answer, the exclamation point right here in camp? If the answer is no, we have to look outside.’’

    Cashman said any possible upgrade from the outside won’t cost the Yankees much.

    “If we need to do improvements it has to be cheap,’’ Cashman said. “We spent our money.’’

    It’s really a shame that the Cano free agency snuck up on Cashman the way it did, with no warning, so that he couldn’t have years of forewarning that he was going to need a second baseman in 2014. Ditto on the A-Rod suspension. I mean, it’s not like Cashman knew for over a year that he may need a third baseman in 2014, right?

    Cashman: Yanks Were Over-Achievers Last Year

    Posted by on February 27th, 2014 · Comments (11)

    Via Ken Davidoff

    These 2014 Yankees have more ground to make up than you might realize. The good news for those of you who root for this team is the team’s decision-makers know it.

    “Our team over-performed last year,” general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday, before the Yankees defeated Florida State, 8-3, at Steinbrenner Field. “It’s a credit to everybody involved in that process. But the record didn’t reflect the talent. And so when you take a sledgehammer to the roster like we did this winter and spend the money we did, it’s more reflective of recognizing. Of not being fooled.”

    If you watched the 2013 Yankees play, carrying essentially 2 ¹/₂ valuable position players — Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner, plus a half-credit for Alfonso Soriano — you know their 85-77 final record, the fact they remained mathematically alive into the season’s last week, carried an air of improbability to it.

    The math backs that up. The 2013 Yankees scored 650 runs (their lowest total since tallying 603 in 1991) and allowed 671 runs, and that gave them an expected won-loss mark of 79-83. Therefore, Cashman and his front-office teammates went to work with the mentality they needed to improve upon a 79-win club, rather than an 85-win team.

    …the record didn’t reflect the talent…

    Remind me again: Who is responsible for placing talent on the big league roster? Funny, that whole point is somehow forgotten, as it always is, when it comes to Cashman.

    Bigger Than The Game

    Posted by on February 26th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    Gotta check this one out.

    I loved his first two books.

    Good Luck, Mets

    Posted by on February 26th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    Via the Post

    In less than two weeks with the Mets in spring training, Jose Valverde has emerged as the leader of, what the reliever calls, the team’s “Dominican Mafia.”

    The members include young pitchers Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Rafael Montero and Gonzalez Germen, and meetings are held in a corner of the clubhouse near Valverde’s locker. Another veteran Dominican pitcher, Bartolo Colon, also presides.

    “It feels like we are brothers here,” Mejia said Tuesday.

    Valverde views his leadership of the “Dominican Mafia” as part of the job description, as he attempts to land a spot in the Mets bullpen, after signing a minor league deal with the club this month.

    Omar Minaya could not be reached for comment.

    Another Reason Why The Yankees Should Be Embarrassed

    Posted by on February 26th, 2014 · Comments (19)

    Every season, Baseball America lists their “Top 100 Prospects” in the game.  And, they do a pretty good job with it.  I would estimate that 90% of those who make their list go on to play in the major leagues.

    This season, the Boston Red Sox have 8 players in the Top 100.  The New York Yankees have 2 players –  and only the Angels, Giants and Rays have less than two players in the Top 100.

    Further, one of the Yankees two is Masahiro Tanaka – who really shouldn’t be considered as a “prospect find” by the Yankees.

    Why Brian Cashman still has a job is beyond me?

    Stephen Drew & Kendrys Morales

    Posted by on February 25th, 2014 · Comments (4)

    Are they going to sit the first half of the season? See:

    Scott Boras, agent for free-agent 1B Kendrys Morales (Mariners) and SS Stephen Drew (Red Sox), said both players are willing to wait until after the draft to sign with a team since there would not be any draft compensation linked to them.

    I wonder if they would be willing to play for some Indy team, until June, just to stay in shape and showcase themselves?

    Where Nobody Knows Your Name

    Posted by on February 25th, 2014 · Comments (2)

    This one looks good.

    Another Reason Why Buck Showalter Is Great

    Posted by on February 25th, 2014 · Comments (1)

    Gritty, Gutty, Going Nowhere For Five Years

    Posted by on February 24th, 2014 · Comments (2)

    Via Bob Klapisch

    Remember all that off-season chatter about Brett Gardner being traded, especially after the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury as a free agent? You can forget the subject was ever raised, as Gardner agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $52 million Sunday.

    Even though he wasn’t eligible for free agency until after the 2015 season, the Yankees had no intention of letting Gardner slip away, giving him a huge raise over the $5.6 million he’s earning in 2014.

    “The numbers worked out for both sides,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “Brett is tough, and has really developed into a solid, everyday major league player.”

    Gardner’s willingness to forego free agency might’ve seemed odd considering how much outfielders are currently earning, including Ellsbury’s $153 million, seven-year deal. But as much as Gardner was “intrigued” by possibly testing his value on the open market, he also said he was “scared” of free agency.

    That, along with his desire to begin and end his career with one team, moved along negotiations that began a few weeks ago and ended with Sunday’s announcement.

    Where Gardner fits in 2014 largely depends on several other factors, including how many times Derek Jeter is used in the DH spot. If the captain is healthy, Gardner will be in left field every day, especially at home where he and Ellsbury, with their speed, will be especially suited for the Stadium’s vast dimensions in left-center. But if Jeter can’t play more than 120 games at short, and instead needs to increase his DH at-bats, the Yankees might be forced to use Alfonso Soriano in left more than they’d like. The Bombers would like to use Soriano as the primary DH and limit his exposure to right field, where he has never played.

    For now, however, Gardner is happy with the deal and happy to be staying put. “Where I come from [Holly Hill, S.C.], this is a lot of money,” he said.

    That’s a lot of money for a guy whose lifetime OPS+ is 97 (in 2,228 big league PA). Of course, yes, that’s just the bat and you have to include Gardner’s glove into the equation as well.

    To me, Gardner is a lot like Lance Johnson. And, it would not shock me to see him have good seasons for the next four years – in terms of being a league average hitter with speed who plays very good defense.

    I’m not saying he will do that…just that he might/could do it.

    Time will tell…

    Also: What does this say for the state (and future) of Yankees outfield prospects, now that the Yankees have two runners locked up long term – and that Beltran will be around, contractually, for a while?

    Yanks Ink Andrew Bailey

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2014 · Comments (33)

    Via CSN

    The Yankees and Andrew Bailey have agreed to an incentive-laden minor league, Buster Olney tweets.

    Bailey had surgery in July to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder and the Red Sox were comfortable letting him walk. Bailey managed to record just 44 innings after being acquired by the Red Sox from Oakland in a 2011 winter trade.

    Following the surgery, Bailey likely won’t be ready to pitch until mid-May at the earliest.

    There were reportedly more than 15 teams interested in Bailey’s services, but in the end, the Yankees end up poaching their second Red Sox of the offseason. The Yanks signed Jacoby Ellsbury earlier in the winter.

    Born in New Jersey and went to High School there. And, he attended college on Staten Island. Expect the Yankees to work the local boy angle coming home to death…

    Consider this David Aardsma, Part II.

    Cashman specializes in this move – signing those who should be left for dead.

    Barry Bonds Is Back In Baseball, Sort Of…

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2014 · Comments (1)

    The story

    Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays strolled into the Scottsdale Stadium clubhouse Saturday morning, a small bag hanging over his right shoulder. The next member of the 600-homer club to walk through the door will bring considerably more baggage.

    Barry Bonds is scheduled to return to the Giants from March 9-17, serving as a special instructor for the organization’s young hitters. Bonds has long wanted to take on a more active role with the organization, but the two sides have not been connected in an official capacity since 2007, Bonds’ last season in Major League Baseball.

    The years since have been filled with performance-enhancing drug allegations, a perjury trial and a conviction for obstruction of justice, but the Giants are not worried about Bonds being a distraction.

    “He’s part of what we’ll do here,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He’s going to be part of the group of instructors, like (Will) Clark, (J.T.) Snow or (Jeff) Kent. He’s going to be like the other guys and help where he can.

    “I don’t have any concerns.”

    During an appearance at AT&T Park in 2012, Bonds told reporters that he had approached Giants CEO and President Larry Baer about working for the club in some form. The conversations have continued informally since then, and the Giants felt that the timing was finally right to bring back one the best players in baseball history, albeit one with a complicated history.

    “Collectively within the organization, we felt that given Barry’s desire to continue to contribute to the Giants, we should be open-minded about giving him the same invite that we have given to other players in the past,” Baer said.

    The first thing I thought of, for whatever reason, when hearing this story was Barry’s old recliner. More on that:

    The chair in front of Barry Bonds’s lockers at Pacific Bell Park is big and black, a $3,000 Sharper Image leather recliner so large that it appears to block off one side of the San Francisco Giants’ clubhouse. All other members of the team — no matter how well established — sit in dinky folding metal chairs, the kind found leaning against the back wall of high school auditoriums. Sometimes, when San Francisco scribes feel like taking a poke at Bonds’s legendary ego, they will write about his four lockers and his Moby Dick of a recliner.

    “You know, it’s just a massage chair,” says Bonds, reclining three hours before a recent Giants home game, an ice pack on his neck as he glances at the movie showing on the 32-inch TV on the floor by his footrest.

    I wonder if the chair will be showing up with Bonds this spring training?

    Lucchino & Levine Are At It, Again

    Posted by on February 22nd, 2014 · Comments (21)

    Via Sean McAdam

    The rivarly between the players on the field — save for an occasional Ryan Dempster target practice at A-Rod — has cooled. But as long as Larry Lucchino and Randy Levine are around, the Red Sox and Yankees will always be the Hatfields and the McCoys.

    In his annual spring-training meeting with the media on Friday, Lucchino seemed to take more than a little satisfaction in watching the Yankees spend more than a half-billion dollars this winter on free agents Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Masahiro Tanaka, trying to play catch-up to the world champion Red Sox.

    “We’re very different animals,” the Red Sox CEO said of the Sox and Yanks. “I’m proud of that difference. I always cringe when people lump us together.”

    By contrast, the Sox continued the philosophy that brought them a championship, signing complementary players — like catcher A.J. Pierzynski and pitcher Chris Capuano — to cheaper, shorter-term deals.

    The Yankees, said Lucchino, “are still, this year at least, relying heavily on their inimitable old-fashioned Yankees style of high-priced, long-term free agents. And I can’t say that I wish them well, but I think that we’ve taken a different approach.”

    Well, you knew Levine — the Yankees’ president and CEO, who has tangled with Lucchino in the past — wouldn’t take that lying down.

    “I feel bad for Larry; he constantly sees ghosts and is spooked by the Yankees,” Levine said. “But I can understand why, because under his and Bobby Valentine’s plan two years ago, the Red Sox were in last place.”

    Well then.

    “[Boston general manager] Ben Cherington and the Red Sox did a great job last year winning the World Series,” continued Levine, “but I’m confident [Yankee GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi] and our players will compete with a great Red Sox team to win a world championship this year.”

    Lucchino and Levine are both blowhards who need to learn to stay quiet. Lucchino only talks when he team has done well and then he crawls under a rock when they tank. And, Levine needs to learn that playing the ghosts card died in 2004. On the whole, they both need to wake up and realize that they are not Williams and DiMaggio, or Fisk and Munson, or even Schilling and A-Rod, and no one wants to hear a couple of stuffed shirts trying to be macho.

    The Only Real Game

    Posted by on February 21st, 2014 · Comments (0)


    King Of The Hill

    Posted by on February 21st, 2014 · Comments (0)

    Nice run.

    The Yanks Headline That Made Me Throw Up My Dunkin Donuts Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwich This AM

    Posted by on February 21st, 2014 · Comments (9)

    Cashman to be last Yankee standing.

    Soooooo Cool!

    Posted by on February 20th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    Down Goes Frazier…Jeter Memory Lane

    Posted by on February 20th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    Story never gets old.

    No Save Needed Ferris, For One Day

    Posted by on February 20th, 2014 · Comments (0)

    Via the Dallas News

    Ferris pitcher Evan Pontley had a simple philosophy at Mabank on Monday night: stick mainly with his fastball, and “throw it as hard as I could.”

    It resulted in the game of his life.

    Pontley pitched a complete game no-hitter in a 13-3 win, striking out 22 batters – one more than the number of outs in a seven-inning game.

    “Everything I threw was working,” Pontley said.

    After the first inning, Ferris actually trailed 2-0, despite Pontley striking out the first six batters. The two batters that scored during the inning reached on dropped third strikes and throwing errors by the catcher, scoring on a passed ball and a dropped third strike.

    “I was a little embarrassed after that first inning,” Ferris coach Matthew Wolfe said. “That would drive any coach crazy, and I think it took a few years off my life. But they gathered their composure and played pretty flawless after that.”

    Pontley struck out the first 20 batters he faced until a fly-out in the sixth inning.

    Ferris (1-0) tied the game in the third inning, and broke it open with a nine-run sixth inning.

    At that point, Wolfe went to Pontley – whose pitch count was in the low 80s – to ask him how he was feeling.

    “He said, ‘I don’t feel anything. I’m finishing this game,’” Wolfe said. “And I’m like, ‘You bet.’”

    Pontley finished allowing no hits, no earned runs and one walk, throwing 97 pitches. A Class 3A all-state shortstop last season, he went 2-4 at the plate as well, with two RBIs and a run scored.

    According to the National Federation of State High School Association’s record book, Pontley’s effort is tied for seventh-most in high school history. Lingleville, Texas pitcher Brett Jennings holds the record for strikeouts in a seven-inning game, with 24 in a 6-3 loss to Santo in 1986. Pontley said it was “unbelievable” that his game on Tuesday could put his name in the national record book.

    “It’s crazy – and means the world to me,” he said.

    Sounds like the kid was throwing strikes…at least a bunch of them swinging.

    Playing 2,500+ Big League Games For One Team Only

    Posted by on February 19th, 2014 · Comments (2)

    It’s a very small group:

    Player WAR/pos G From To Age PA R H HR RBI BB SB BA OBP SLG
    Mel Ott 107.8 2730 1926 1947 17-38 11348 1859 2876 511 1860 1708 89 .304 .414 .533
    Carl Yastrzemski 96.0 3308 1961 1983 21-43 13992 1816 3419 452 1844 1845 168 .285 .379 .462
    Cal Ripken 95.5 3001 1981 2001 20-40 12883 1647 3184 431 1695 1129 36 .276 .340 .447
    Al Kaline 92.6 2834 1953 1974 18-39 11596 1622 3007 399 1583 1277 137 .297 .376 .480
    George Brett 88.4 2707 1973 1993 20-40 11625 1583 3154 317 1596 1096 201 .305 .369 .487
    Brooks Robinson 78.4 2896 1955 1977 18-40 11782 1232 2848 268 1357 860 28 .267 .322 .401
    Robin Yount 77.0 2856 1974 1993 18-37 12249 1632 3142 251 1406 966 271 .285 .342 .430
    Derek Jeter 71.5 2602 1995 2013 21-39 11968 1876 3316 256 1261 1047 348 .312 .381 .446
    Ernie Banks 67.7 2528 1953 1971 22-40 10394 1305 2583 512 1636 763 50 .274 .330 .500
    Craig Biggio 64.8 2850 1988 2007 22-41 12504 1844 3060 291 1175 1160 414 .281 .363 .433
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 2/19/2014.

    Pretty cool that most of these guys are still alive.

    It’s Not Where You Start, But Where You Finish

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

    In his first professional season, Derek Jeter batted .210 (in Rookie and A-Ball, combined). The next year, he had 56 errors during the year.

    In the end, things worked out pretty good for him, eh?

    Picturing America’s Pastime

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

    Pretty cool.

    Keri On The Yankees

    Posted by on February 19th, 2014 · Comments (2)

    Via Grantland

    It’s hard to overstate how bad this Yankees infield might be from first base all the way around to third. Aside from the Grantland-approved Brian McCann signing, things are bleak. Mark Teixeira is coming off a lost season and has admitted that his wrist hasn’t fully healed; Brian Roberts is expected to start at second despite failing to play more than 77 games in a season since 2009; Derek Jeter is almost 40 and is coming off an injury-ravaged year; and Kelly Johnson looks like the best bet at third with Alex Rodriguez suspended.

    The Yankees obviously addressed needs by spending loads of money to get McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Masahiro Tanaka, but it would be a mistake to use last year’s 85 wins as a baseline and assume the Yankees will now coast to 90-plus. This team was so old and leaky in 2013 that it’s a damn miracle Joe Girardi coaxed it to a better-than-.500 finish. The offseason additions are nice, but the Yankees’ former best player is now in Seattle, the bullpen looks weaker without Mariano Rivera, and Andy Pettitte’s quiet consistency will be missed in its own right.

    This is a good team, but it still might not be a playoff team.

    Can’t disagree with any of this…

    Brian Johnson

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

    Brian Johnson is a prospect in the Red Sox chain. If he makes it, I wonder how many times he will be asked about this:

    Man, that was scary. Glad he turned out OK.

    Saw Kingman Do This Once At Yankee Stadium

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

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