Chone Figgins

Both Conor and I have made it pretty clear that we are fans of Chone Figgins, and we really wish he was wearing a Yankees uniform. Ken Rosenthal has an article up on our boy Figgins, and his future. Rosenthal has a few interesting comparisons...

The Juan Pierre and Gary Matthews deals...complete failures
The Brian Roberts Extension...we'll see

The thing with Figgins, for me is that he is so versatile. He can play 2nd, SS, 3rd, LF, CF, and RF. He's crazy fast. Like Brett Gardner fast. And he's a free agent after this year. The Angels have Brandon Wood, Howie Kendrick, and Maicer Izturis, so Chone isn't integral to their future. He may cost a pretty penny, but I say he's worth it.

We have Hideki Matsui($13mm), Johnny Damon ($13mm), Xavier Nady($6.55mm) , Andy Pettitte ($5.5mm) and Jose Molina ($2mm) coming off the books. That's a total of just over $40mm Most likely we'll see Austin Romine or Francisco Cervelli take over for Molina at the league minimum. We'll see Phil Hughes take over for Pettitte, also at the league minimum. Nady's RF spot will obviously be occupied by SuperSwisher, who is already on the roster/payroll. Hideki Matsui has been playing DH, and I personally don't like to designate someone for that roll unless they can really really hit. We'll have the aging Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada, and Derek Jeter who will all need an occasional rest at the DH spot. And we have some youngsters like Jorge Vasquez and Juan Miranda who could take on that role. Johnny Damon is the most irreplacable part we have leaving, but there will be plenty of free agent options available such as Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, Rick Ankiel, Carl Crawford (he has a club option, but we'll see), and Jermaine Dye ( who has a $12mm mutual option). So say that Matt Holliday bats .450/.550/.600 for the rest of the year (yes I know I'm being ridiculous and unrealistic, it is intended) and we sign him...he's still not going to get more than $25mm a year, so we'd still have $15mm coming off the books. Then of course CC's salary jumps up $9mm, so we're at $6mm off the books. And Swish gets about a $1.5mm bump, so $4.5mm off the books. But, we have to pay Jason Giambi's $5mm buyout this year, and not next, so we actually would have $9.5mm off the books. I think that at the very most Figgins could get $10mm a year for 4 years. So we add a total of $500K to our payroll, at the very most. So financially, it isn't really a burden. Also, Alex Rodriguez will turn 35 in '10, and Jeter will turn 36 in '10, so injury risks could be high, and as we know, pluggin in a Cody Ransom/Angel Berroa/Ramiro Pena crew just doesn't cut it. We need someone that can step in and be effective.

By losing Johnny Damon we are losing our only established starter that has real speed (B-Gard isn't established, and A-Rod and Jeter aren't exactly speed demons). So, bringing in Figgins gives us some speed on the basepaths, which we could use. Figgins has a career .356 OBP and has stolen at least 34 bases every year since 04, his tops being 62 in '05, He is that leadoff hitter we need so badly. Sure, Jeter's leading off right now, in part because of his DP tendencies, but if Figgins gets on 1st and Jeter comes to the plate, Figgins will either A. Steal 2nd B. Break up the double play or C. Burn a path of fire in the dirt from his feet that move like a Ferrarri. Yes, DJ will hit into some double plays, but it really can't hurt to have Figgins in front of him. And if you really want Figgins to bat second then you can be sure he'll go from 1st to 3rd on a lot of A-Rod or Tex singles, and if they get extra bases he can probably score from first. Yes, he IS that fast. Figgins will get worked into games because we''ll always like to rest someone, be it on the bench or in the DH spot, and so he'll be an everyday player, just without an everyday position.

If we're thinking about the outfield...our 2010 in house candidates are currently Austin Jackson, Brett Gardner, Melky Cabrera, and Nick Swisher. I'm assuming Swisher will be in right, and AJax will probably take over center, barring a huge year from the Melkman or BGard. We'll most likely use free agency to pick up a left-fielder, or see if there is a team trying to dump salary that could get us someone for left. But, say we can't get a left fielder. Or say SuperSwisher flies into some kryptonite, Harlan Chamberlain forbid! Or say that AJax isn't ready as the year starts, well BAM..Chone Figgins. He'll get on base, and bring phenomenal speed and stellar defense, and he'll play wherever we need him to play. He'll step up and take on the role of starting outfielder if need be.

There is no downside to signing Figgins. There will always be a spot for a speedy guy who gets on base and can play wherever you need him. And he'll save us from ever having to deal with Cody Ransom and Angel Berroa again.

Examining 6 Pound 8 Ounce Dear Lord Baby Joba's start

Joba had a pretty great game yesterday. He got through 7 innings on 88 pitches. This is a great sign, because it shows that he is being efficient with his pitches, and learning to pace himself so he can go deeper into games. At that pace it wouldn't have been tough for him to pitch a complete game with 110-115 pitches. The more exciting news though is that he only allowed 1 earned run yesterday. So not only was he efficient he was effective. He allowed 3 hits and and 3 walks, while striking out 6. I'd like to see that walk number go down, but 6 K's in 7 innings is pretty great, and his WHIP was under 1 for the game. I really think this is the kind of performance we should expect to see from Our Lord the Savior pretty much from here on out. He'll have some tough starts, but this was a good look at who he really is. Joba probably could have gone deeper in the game, but since he is on an innings/pitch count for the season, why waste him when we had an 8 run lead. But with the way out bullpen's been looking...who knows... Seems like Mark Melancon is going to be one of our most reliable arms out of the 'pen, but losing Bruney is really going to hurt us. BUT JOBA ISNT GOING BACK TO THE PEN! We need those 7 strong innings so much more that 1 strong inning as the game ends.


MLB Notebook Article

I was recently quoted in an article written by Zach Sanders over at MLB Notebook. It's an interesting read about the rise of blogs. Enjoy



I am personally pretty stoked about today. I've been waiting for Hughes to get a real chance in the bigs for a long time, and now he's getting one, he just can't get injured now...

Hughes was the 23rd overall pick in the '04 draft, and for a long time was considered our most promising young pitcher. During his minor league career he has gone 28-8 over 310.2 innings, throwing to the tune of a 2.40 ERA, a 0.917 WHIP, and fanning 348 hitters. He's earned a spot on this club. We all know he had a rough time in the majors last year, holding a 6.62 ERA over 8 starts (34 innings). But, he's been tearing up triple A with a 3-0 record in 3 starts. He has fanned 19 in 19.1 innings , and boasts a 1.86 ERA. I think he's ready, finally. Through 4 innings he's allowed no runs, walked 2, let in 2 hits, and struckout 4. We'll see if he can keep it up.

Coming to Their Senses

The Yankees have decided to cut prices on the suite seats. They are also giving benefits to people who have already purchased season ticket plans. Here is a link to show how this all breaks down. It's a bit too confusing to put up here.
Hopefully this puts fans back in the seats. It was a smart move by the Yankees.

The Return...

Alex Rodriguez, scheduled to return to the team on May 15th, could be back a bit early. Like, next week early. A-Rod has been progressing very well and quickly. According to the Yankees official site, he is expected to take live BP today and has been running the bases frequently. Hopefully he will be back with the team before May 15th, as we could a boost in the offense.

I must say I am very excited to have A-Rod's bat back in the line-up. I've watched most of the Yankee games so far, and to be honest, the line-up looks a little flat, especially with RISP. The team is hitting .223 with RISP with a .320 OPB. With the bases loaded, the Yankees are hitting a pitiful .071 with a .063 OPB (Thanks to Yankees Fan in Boston). If the Yankees want to win games, these stats must turn around. I think that A-Rod's presence in the line-up will help this in a couple of ways. First of all, when A-Rod comes back, the Yankees will be replacing their worst hitter (Cody Ransom- .180/.226/.320, Ramiro Pena- .235/.316/.235, Angel Berroa- .167/.167/.167) with their best hitter. This alone will do wonders for the line-up. A-Rod's return will also positively impact Mark Teixeira. Hitting infront of Alex Rodriguez isn't the worst thing in the world. 

Say what you want about his attitude, antics, and "negative impact on the team", but Alex Rodriguez can hit the hide off a baseball, and his return should do wonders for the offense.

Phil Hughes goes tonight. I've been a big fan of Hughes for a while now and I really hope he does well, at least better than he did last season.

I'll be back with lineups and what not.


Why not add to our misery?

After a rough game, I have some more bad news to report...

Cody Ransom has a quad injury, so he'll be heading to the 15 day DL.

Chien Ming Wang apparently has a hip related injury, which is a result of last year's foot injury, so he'll go to the 15 day DL as well. Dave Robertson is being called up to take his spot on the roster.

Brian Bruney is in New York to have his elbow examined, apparently it hurt on Wednesday and again today, so he'll have it checked out.

I'm assuming we'll see Phil Hughes and Angel Berroa called up soon, Berroa to start at 3rd in Ransom/A-Rod's absence, and Hughes to take Wang's spot in the rotation. I really wish we would call up Alf Aceves or someone like that to take over the long reliever role, because otherwise our bullpen might get worn down quickly.

We need to fix the 'pen. Today wasn't typical Mariano work, he'll be fine. Phil Coke is alright. Jon Albaladejo is alright. Edwar and Veras...are good enough. But if Bruney's injured there is a huge problem. Add in that Damaso Marte sucks. Yes, he sucks. He is overrated, always has been. I'm not overreacting just to today. Marte hasn't been good ever since he came to the Bronx. His contract is ridiculous, it's like a mini version of the Kei Igawa deal. I would love to see Mark Melancon in New York. I want Rivera, Coke, Albaladejo, Melancon, and Aceves in my bullpen EVERY SINGLE DAY. Can we get rid of Marte somehow or some way? The Cubs just staright up released Luis Vicaino, maybe would could do the same with Marte. Could we trade him for somebody?

Remember when I was crying all off-season for a good utility infielder? Well, I was right wasn't I? We're all worried that we lost our 3rd base backup who is batting a brutal .180/.226/.320 . Wouldn't you rather have Mark Grudzielanek or Ray Durham (both still free agents) or Omar Vizquel (6/14 with a walk) or Willie Bloomquist (.292/.370/.333 )?

Well there's a few things to top off this miserable day. Don't worry, this time tomorrow we'll all be celebrating a big AJ Burnett win.


Joba v. Lester: A Battle of Good vs Evil

It's the middle of the fifth, and the Yankees are winning 2-1. Joba let in a Jacoby Ellsbury run in the first one a passed ball. he let in 5 hits, and walked 3, while racking up 2 K's through his first 4 innings of work. Our stellar infield defense has saved him though, already having turned 3 double plays. Everyone's favorite Cabrera, the legendary Melkman, is 1 for 1 with a single, has drawn a walk, and stolen a base. If he keeps it up, he might start to take over centerfield full time, whether you agree with it or not. I'm a Melky fan, always have been , always will be, and no matter how he plays I love seeing him out on the field. I like Gardner too, don't get me wrong, I just have a stronger connection to Melky. I think he could be good this year, either as a bench player or a starter. He just needs to have a big rebound and should be able to have one, if he stays concentrated. Melky's a fun loving guy, and this new cheerful, youthful, care-free atmosphere in the clubhouse should help him. I'll keep you all updated on the rest of the game...
Joba walks Pedroia, then Ortiz singles, moving Pedroia to third. Youkilis hits a grounder to Jeter, who has a slow turn to Cano, who throws to Tex to just miss the second out of a double play. BUT, don't fret, JD Drew hits the same hit to Jeter, Jeter to Cano to Teixeira, DOUBLE PLAY. And we're out of the 5th. That's 4 double plays on the day. Good work.
Update: Jon Lester has already thrown 107 pitches, and he's on the first batter of the 6th inning (Melky, who just hit a long fly to center, which was caught at the wall by Ellsbury). Let's hope we can knock Lester out soon and start to wear down Boston's 'pen.
Update: Jose Molina singles to left. Our bottom 3 hitters (Melky, Molina, and Ransom) are 3 for 5, with 3 walks, and a stolen base. Melky and Molina have each scored a run, while Ransom has an RBI. And as I wrote this Ransom grounded into a double play, Nick Green-Pedroia-Youkilis.
Update: Mike Lowell lines one at the green monster. Damon lines up to catch it off the wall, but Melky jumps in front of him to try and get it, but it hits off his glove and Lowell gets to second. Don't hate Melky for this little mistake, if he had gotten it he could've thrown Lowell out, if Damon had gotten it Lowell couldn't have been thrown out, so it was a smart decision. Varitek singles. Men on the corners one out...sure could use another DP right here. Nick Green's at the plate.
Update: Nick Green singles to right. Lowell scores, and Varitek goes to second. Joey G's walking out to the mound. Joba's coming out and Phil Coke will come in to face Jacoby Ellsbury. This is Girardi playing those matchups like he likes to do so much (Ellsbury's a lefty, as is Coke obviously). I'm guessing Coke will stay in at least long enough to face Boston's most prominent lefty, David Ortiz, who you might know as Mo Vaugh 2.0 (yes, that's me saying Ortiz is fading, and fading fast).
Update: Coke gets Ellsbury to fly out to Cabrera, and Pedroia (the most undeserving MVP recipient since Jimmy Rollins) to fly out to SuperSwish. Through 6 innings, it is a tie game at 2-2. Hideki Okajima will come in to replace Jon "Extra-Overrated" Lester.
Update: Derek Jeter, a complete and total stud, class-act, total ballplayer, speedster, and a phenomenal hitter hits a fly real close to Pesky's Pole in right, JD Drew tries to catch it, but he's not the brightest around, so it hits off his glove and Jeter gets to second. Damon's up. He lays down a bunt, to move Jeter over, but Hideki Okajima (who's talent level is comparable to complete and total failure Hideki Irabu.) is too slow to the ball, and Damon reaches first. Time for a big Tex hit.
Update: Mark Teixeira RBI bloop single to center. Yanks up 3-2. Damon on 2nd, Tex on 1st. Time for some hip hip Jorge.
Update: Jorge singles to right. Bases loaded as who else but SUPERSWISHER comes to the plate. Okajima is pulled from the game, for righty Manny Delcarmen.
Update: Swish flies out to Bay, but not hit hard enough to score Damon. Robby Cano comes to the plate.
Update: I'm sitting here shouting profanities because Cano flies to the left-center gap, and Jason Bay makes a great diving catch after hustling over, but Damon still scores. The other runners stay at 1st and 2nd. Now we have Robby's best friend, the Melkman, at the plate. Melky grounds out to Pedroia, but it's 4-2 Yanks. Let's keep this lead.
Update: Coke's still in, and he just got Ortiz to fly out to Johnny Damon. Jon Albaladejo is warming in the 'pen for the Yanks. Takashi Saito is warming in Boston's pen.
Update: Coke walks JD Drew, and noe Albaladejo is coming in to face Jason Bay.
Update: With one out, and Derek Jeter at the plate. Cody Ransom steals second base from first. Suzyn Waldman comments on how Varitek's throws are still accurate, but not as hard anymore. All-star catcher my arse.
Update: Derek Jeter grounds out to Pedroia. Ransom apparently hurt himself sliding into second. He gets to third on Jeter's ground out, but they're taking Ransom out for Ramiro Pena, who was catching in the bullpen believe it or not.
Update: Damon strikes out swinging to end the inning. There was no one warming in the pen, so we should see Albaladejo here again. I'd like to see Bruney, but since Lowell, Varitek, and Green are due up, I wouldn't say this is a bad decision. Those guys aren't real intimidating, and Albaladejo should take care of them, then we'll se Mo in the ninth.
Update: Albaladejo strikes out Mike Lowell, on 5 pitches. Now Varitek's in the box...
Update: Varitek grounds out to Cano. Mariano and Marte are warming in the 'pen.
Update: Albaladejo, on an 0-2 count hits Nick Green on the thigh. So Jacoby Ellsbury comes up to the plate. Green on first.
Update: With an 0-1 count on Ellsbury, with two outs, Joey G comes out to the mound and signals to the 'pen. In comes the man, the legend, the hero, the sandman, the all-star, the closer Mariano Rivera.
Update: Ellsbury hits a bloop pop fly to shallow left, Jeter goes back to get it, and should have had it, but dropped it (it's ruled a single, but that's an error no doubt about it).
Update: Rivera strikes out Pedroia to get out of the 8th. Due up in the 9th: Mark Teixeira, Hip Hip Jorge Posada,Nick
Update: In to pitch for Boston, Javy Lopez. Who hits Mark Teixeira on the foot. Tex to first, Jorge to the plate.
Update: Jorge walks. SuperSwish is up. Time for something big from Swish.
Update: Swish walks. Javy Lopez's control is just terrible he's pitching too far inside consistently. Bases juiced with Robby Cano at the plate.
Update: Well, Darn. Robby hits a hard grounder at Pedroia who throw home to Varitek for the out, then Varitek throws to Youkilis to get Cano out. Double play. Men on 2nd and 3rd and the Melkman's at the plate. Let's see that Melky Way.
Update: Melky hits a pop fly in foul territory just left of the plate. Varitek makes the catch and we head to the bottom of the 9th. We have left 25 men on base this game. Yikes!
Update: Gardner comes in as a defensive replacement, with Melky moving to Right, and Swisher coming out. David Ortiz is up. And obviously Mariano's still on the mound.
Update: Mo strikes out David Ortiz. Then Youkilis singles to center field. JD Drew comes to the plate, and Jason Bay is on deck. I'm hoping we can turn 2 here.
Update: Drew hits a weak grounder to Cano, who tosses to Tex for the out. Two down. Man on 2nd. Bay comes to the plate.
Update: Jason Bay hits a game-tying homerun to straight away centerfield. You have got to be kidding me. Lowell to the plate. COME ON MARIANO. GET HIM OUT DAMNIT!
Update: Lowell hits a single to left. Varitek's up. Dave Eiland, the pitching coach, comes out to talk to Mo.
Update: Mo strikes out Varitek...and we head to extras. Due up: Molina, Pena, Jeter. Let's see some clutch hitting from our Bronx Bombers, we sure could use it right now.
Update: Molina singles to center. And Pena moves him to 2nd with a sac bunt. Jeter hits a grounder to 2nd, which Pedroia makes a diving stop on to get Jeter out. 2 outs. Molina on 3rd, Damon at the dish.
Update: Damon Walks. Tex is up; Time to enter Yankeedom Tex.
Update: Tex Strikes out...Damn.
Update: Well, we're screwed. Girardi is bringing in Damaso Marte. How do you not bring in Bruney, or Steven Jackson, or Veras, or Edwar, or anyone besides Marte.
Update: Well, 'll be darned. Marte strikes out Nick Green. 1 down, 2 to go.
Update: Ellsbury pops out to Jeter. 2-2 count on Pedroia. And MARTE STRIKES OUT PEDROIA. I can't believe I'm saying this but THANK GOD, and by God I mean Harlan Chamberlain (Joba's father... duh), for Damaso Marte. The Red Sox are taking Papelbon out and bringing in Ramon Ramirez and we have Jorge, Gardner, and Cano due up. I'd love to see Jorge draw a walk, Gardner bunt him over. And then Cano single him in. But that's just an ideal situation.
Update: Brain Bruney is going to New York to have his elbow examined. Shoot.
Update: Gardner tries to bunt Jorge over, but Jorge is thrown out, while Gardner's safe. Let's see him steal 2nd here.
Update: Robby singles to right. THE MELKMAN"S UP. Here we go!
Update: Melky grounds out to Pedroia, who tags Gardner and throws out Melky at first. We've got Marte out there again.
Update: Kevin Friggin Youkilis hits a game winning homerun. I'm hating life right now.


My Team

And here is my team.
Kevin and I have been discussing A LOT who's team is better. Instead of commenting on his team alone, lets see some comments on why one team is better than the other?

C- John Baker (Ryan Doumit- DL)
1B- Adrian Gonzalez
2B- Chase Utley
SS- Derek Jeter
3B- Aramis Ramirez
LF- Ryan Braun
CF- Grady Sizemore
RF- Matt Kemp
DH- Jack Cust
UTIL- Jason Bay

SP- Roy Halladay
SP- Zack Greinke
SP- Yovani Gallardo
SP- James Shields
SP- Cole Hamels

RP- Jonathan Broxton
RP- Matt Capps
RP- Heath Bell
RP- Kevin Gregg
RP- Dan Wheeler

SP- Justin Verlander
RF- Randy Winn
LF- Raul Ibanez
SS- Ryan Theriot

RP- Joey Devine
C- Ryan Doumit

Here are the trades that I have made...

Send- Alexei Ramirez, Jered Weaver
Recieve- Cole Hamels
I felt this trade had some HUGE upside and I had NO use for Ramirez

Send- Adam Dunn
Recieve- Matt Kemp, Kevin Gregg

Send- Daisuke Matsuzaka
Recieve- Derek Jeter
I made this deal the DAY before Dice-K went on the DL

Send- Mark Buehrle, Johnny Cueto
Recieve- Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez

Send- Hunter Pence
Recieve- Joey Devine, Daisuke

Send- Travis Hafner, Ichiro, George Sherrill
Recieve- Randy Winn, James Shields

Send- Furcal, Kemp, Maybin, Lindstrom
Recieve- Theriot Sizemore, Suzuki, Ramirez, Pence

I'm sorry I just realized I did those in reverse order. You get the picture...

I have taken a very different approach. I have made some big trades, but I don't think any of them were huge gambles. I'm definitely taking a more conservative approach and trying to stick with my team instead of constantly playing the FA wire.

Got to love Fantasy Baseball

So far in the Battle of Baby Joba league that Conor and I are in, my team and his team are the only two teams to have gone 2-0 in the first two weeks. I just wanted to post my lineup, as of tomorrow, and see what you all think. It's pretty stellar if you ask me. Our league is head-head, and counts HR, XBH, SLG,OBP, and SB for offense and IP, K's, ERA, WHIP, and SVHD (saves plus holds) for pitching. Here's my current team

C John Buck
1B Miguel Cabrera
2B Robinson Cano
3B Aubrey Huff
SS Rafael Furcal
LF Adam Dunn
CF Coco Crisp
RF Elijah Dukes
DH Travis Hafner
Util Ryan Howard

SP Rick Porcello
SP Javier Vasquez
SP Erik Bedard
SP Jair Jurrjens
SP Joel Hanrahan
RP Scott Downs
RP Matt Thornton
RP Brad Lidge
RP Brian Bruney
RP Matt Lindstrom

Bench Kevin Millwood
Bench Clayton Kershaw
Bench Jered Weaver
Bench Ben Zobrist
Bench Edwin Encarnacion

DL Kelvim Escobar
DL Jesse Litsch

I've just been alternating my starting pitchers in based on who is starting, hence why Porcello is playing for me tomorrow and Millwood isn't. I know Hanrahan is a reliever, but since he is eligible as a starter too, I basically have another spot on my team that can get me SVHD's, rather than just putting a starter there that won't end up playing that day (obviously if I have 5 starters starting one day I'll move him out and let them rack in points for their starts, but I'll almost always have at least 1 free rotation slot for him. My team's been pretty solid up to this point (other than Furcal) and I'll update once in a while on how they are doing. I'm sure Conor will do the same with his team.

Few notable trades (good and bad) I've made...

Mar. 8th-Traded away Magglio Ordonez for Joakim Soria
Mar 8th-Traded away Ryan Theriot, Grady Sizemore, Ichiro, Hunter Pence, and Alexei Ramirez for Matt Kemp, Rafael Furcal, Matt Lindstrom, and Cameron Maybin (This trade was with Conor, and I'd say he won it).
Mar 9-Traded away Matt Holliday for Cole Hamels
Apr 11- Traded away Hideki Matsui, Justin Upton, and Cole Hamels for Travis Hafner, Huston Street, and Javy Vasquez.
Apr 15- Traded away Carlos Zambrano, Lance Berkman, and Brandon Inge for Mike Napoli, Aubrey Huff, and Robinson Cano
Apr 16- Traded away Joakim Soria and Edwin Jackson for Clayton Kershaw and Kevin Gregg
Apr 16-Traded away Emilio Bonifacio for Brad Lidge
Apr 17-Traded Matt Kemp and Kevin Gregg for Adam Dunn(made this trade with Conor too)
Apr 22- Traded away Alex Rios, Brian Roberts, Adam Lind, Mike Napoli, and John Smoltz for Miguel Cabrera (seems like a hefty package, but I had Cano who I was starting over Roberts, Dukes and Crisp who I was starting over Rios, Hafner who I was starting over Lind, Buck who I started over Napoli, and Smoltz is injured and a Red Sock)
Apr 23- Traded away Joba(hurt my heart, but had to do it), Paul Konerko, Shin Soo Choo, and Paul Maholm for Ryan Howard, Joel Hanrahan, and Erik Bedard.

I've played the waiver wire a lot, a lot, a lot, but trades are always more exciting.

Let me know what you think about any of the deals, good, bad, stupid, etc.

Team Values

Forbes has out their list of team values. Obviously the Yanks were number one, ranked at a total value of $1.5 billion dollars. In case you didn't know, George Steinbrenner III originally bought the Yankees for the grand price of $10 million dollars, so you got to love that profit. The Mets came in second ($912mm) and Boston third (S833mm). Others in the AL East came in 17th(Baltimore-$400mm), 23rd (Toronto-$353mm), and 26th(Tampa-$320mm). For all you who say only big market teams can make the playoffs I just wanted to say that the 2007 World Series had the Rockies (ranked 20th) in it, and the 08 World Series had the Rays(Ranked 26th). Not to mention that the #1 and #2 ranked teams didn't make the playoffs last year.

The 6 teams that had the biggest percent increase in value from last year were the Yanks, Mets, Rays, Cubs, Twins, and Marlins. Other than the Cubs, all the other teams have either built new stadiums, or announced plans for new stadiums.

Also, though you all might want to know that the Marlins had the number 1 operating income last year($43.7mm), the wait for it.....the Washington Nationals came in number two, the league worst Washington Nationals, made $42.6mm. Cubs were third with a net income of $29.7mm, followed by the Rays, Orioles, Twins, and A's. That all goes to show that for those who say their teams can't afford to pay stars so they can win, your teams actually can. you just have greedy owners who are more concerned with making money than with putting a winning team on the field. On the other end of the spectrum, the Yanks lost $3.7mm. The Steinbrenners aren't worried about making a profit, they're just trying to win. We didn't lose as much as Detroit though, who lost a net total of yikes...$26.3mm. Detroit is going to have a tough time with the auto-industries trouble, their overpaid team, and their underwhelming pitching staff. They'll be in firsesale mode by June.

So there's a little financial update for you all. Be sure to check out Forbes' full list.

Red Sox-Yankees First Matchup of 2009.

Our honorable, venerable, classy, fun-loving, professional, dominant, philanthropist, all-star Yankees take on the grimy, grungy, dirty, lame, weak, rude, disgusting, arrogant, ignorant Red Sox for the first time in 2009 this weekend. The series start with Our Lord the Savior Joba Chamberlain matching up against Boston ace Jon Lester on Friday night. For the second time in a row AJ Burnett will face a former teammate from his 03 Marlins championship squad, last time out he pitched against Pavano, and this time out he takes on Josh Beckett. For the final game in the series Classic Yankee Andy Pettitte will take on young Justin Masterson. Dear Justin, The Yankee offense is going to MASTER you SON. (I know...classy eh?) Obviously it is still early in the season, but this could be a big series (every game counts). If we can sweep it will give us a nice little cushion over Boston, and if we can take 2 of 3 we'll at least stay in first. The series will definitely be an interesting one, as we both have our young phenoms piching in the first game, our power pitchers in the second game, and then the veteran Andy Pettitte versus the newbie Masterson in the final game. We will be at Fenway, so expect to hear the boos whenever anyone comes to the plate (especially Teixeira after that little off-season spat when the Yankees signed Boston's first choice free agent). Joba dominated Boston for seven innings in a start against them mid season last year, and has seen their hitters many a time over the past year. AJ was in Toronto all last year, and has faced the Red Sox plenty of times, so he'll know the hitters well, and Andy Pettitte obviously has loads of experience pitching against Boston. It'll be interesting to see how Tex, SuperSwisher, and AJ do with their introduction to the rivalry. I'm also curious to see how the youngsters, Gardner, Ransom, and Pena do as they come into the rivalry. It's going to be the first series we'll really see the fans get into, so be sure to watch a game or two.


This was undoubtedly, one of the best games I have ever attended. The combination of being at/enjoying the beautiful new Yankee Stadium and the fantastic game that took place on the field just made the whole day one to remember.

THE GAME- CC Sabathia didn't pitch very well yesterday. To be honest, I was underwhelmed. He went 6.2 and gave up 7 runs (6 ER). His BB:K rate was off again yesterday as well. He only had 2 Ks and walked 4. Sabathia is, traditionally, a slow starter, so I fully expect that he will find the command of his fastball and pick it up again. In my opinion, the bullpen won the game for us. They went 7.1 innings without giving up a run. Although Melky (2 HR- Walk Off) attracts the most attention because of his game winner, Jose Veras was the MVP for the game, as he went 3.1 innings, striking out 4 and only allowing 1 baserunner (walk). He really pitched beautifully and kept them at 7 runs long enough for our offense to win it. The offense as a whole played very well. Everybody in the starting line up had at least 1 hit, which is always a good thing for an offense. 

Melky played a great game yesterday. He went 2 for 6, with 2 HR. His game winner made the small crowd go nuts. I ran into the Delta Suite to look around quickly and heard John Sterling scream "MELKY CABRERA" and I bolted outside, just in time to see him rounding 3rd and jumping into the mob. The place was so enthusiastic. I was giving random high fives all over the place. Melky did play very well, but this obviously does not give him the CF job. As PeteAbe said, "baseball is a movie, not a series of snapshots". If he wants the job, he has to play consistently at this level, and he has not shown he can do that. That is not to take away from his great start. He is hitting .304/.385/.826 so far, but he needs to keep up his hot hitting. But regardless of whether he is starting or not, Melky is one of my favorite players and seeing him have this huge game made me very very happy.

THE STADIUM- First, I'm an idiot and forgot my camera. So I don't have any pictures, except the ones of my brothers with Joba which I took with my cell phone. Pictures or not, the stadium is absolutely gorgeous. Walking in, you are just overwhelmed by the grandeur of the place. It is HUGE. The Great Hall, is probably 5 times bigger than any of the concourses at the old Yankee Stadium, and it is spectacular. The pictures that hang on the wall are pretty cool, and they really let you know that you are in YANKEE stadium. Everything in the ballpark looks so crisp and new, which is maybe because it is all brand new, but that just added to the amazement that I felt. 

 My favorite part of the stadium was the open concourses. Everything is much wider and all outside, which allows you to watch the game from anywhere in the ballpark, which is cool. You won't miss anything if you run to get food. This reminded me a lot of Coors Field in Denver. 

Security is tight at the New Yankee Stadium. The ushers aren't supposed to let you go into any section, even the bleachers, if you aren't ticketed for that area. My family and I were lucky as we got to go to every part of the ballpark. We checked out the bleachers, the field level, the mezzanine, the luxury suites, and both levels of the upper deck. Let's just say politeness goes a long way with the ushers. I really liked watching the game from the mezzanine section. you were still very close to the field, but the fact that you were raised a little bit gave you a better view of the game.

I have been sitting primarily in the Upper Deck for the last 4 seasons. I actually enjoy sitting the upper deck, because you get a full view of the field. At the old Yankee Stadium, every seat in the upper deck was a good seat, and to be honest, I was nervous that the pulled back upper deck would diminish the great views that I got at the old Yankee Stadium. Although it is further away from the field, the upper deck actually gives you a better view of the whole field, because the corners weren't cut off. At the old Yankee Stadium, if you sat on the first or third base lines, you would not be able to see the left or right field corner. In short, the views from the upper deck are still great, and the fact that the seats only cost 17 bucks make sitting there all the more attractive.

I did not get a chance to go to Monument Park or the new Yankee Museum, which I was bummed about. Next time I go, I would love to see both of these things, because they are supposedly really interesting. 

The Jumbo-Tron is really Jumbo. I was so impressed with it.

People have been saying the new ballpark is very quiet. I didn't really get that feeling. At least where I was sitting, the people were really getting into the game. There were very few people left in the 14th, but those who remained made some serious noise for Melky.

Yes the legends seats were relatively empty. I think the Yankee really need to find a way to fill these seats, but as long as they are winning games, it doesn't really matter. I had a friend sit down in the legends seats and supposedly there is a great lounge for all ticketed people. It sounds pretty cool.

I don't really know what more to say about the new stadium. It was absolutely beautiful, amazing, and spectacular and I can not wait to go back again. If you get the chance, don't walk, run to the new stadium in the Bronx.


Joba Chamberlain

Well, I picked a good game to be my first at the new Yankee Stadium. I took my little brothers and sister to the game today, and boy was it a treat. The stadium is beautiful and the game was just  epic. Melky walking off in the 14th was unbelievably thrilling. Tomorrow morning I'm going to do a bit of a write up on my experience at the stadium and the game in particular. But now, I have a story to tell you. And it's all about the 6pound8ouncebaby himself. For the record, the pictures are of my brothers, and they are both very important to the story.

Ok, so we arrived at the stadium at 11 O'Clock. We were all so excited to be there, and we initially just wandering around the Great Hall. Scoping it out and what not. Some guy who worked at the stadium quickly told us that batting practice was going on and that we should get out to the field. We hustled down to the field and of course were denied entry onto the field level. My frustration with security was definitely rising at this point, so we left and went up to the mezzanine level. After a little begging, the mezzanine security guard let us down to the edge of the section about the RF field seats. We noticed Joba shagging flies for BP. We quickly started to call for him to throw us balls. I ended up catching 2 balls on this "upper" level. 1 from Joba, that I kept, and one from a mystery Yankee (I forgot my glasses) which I gave to my brother. After BP, Joba ran to the RF foul line and started to sign autographs. We decided that we would try everything we could to get down to the field level. We ran down and begged the security guard to let us down, and he was very nice about it and allowed us to go. We moved down to the end of the line and my little brother (top picture), sat up on the wall and passed all of our stuff to Joba to sign. We ended up getting 2 balls, 2 hats, and 1 ticket signed in total. My little brother then asks Joba for a fist pump, and screams "JOBA CHAMBERLAIN TALKED TO ME". Joba loved this and started to take an interest into him. Sean (little brother #1) asked for a picture, and started to take a picture with his phone. I used my phone to help him out, but he wasn't paying attention to the fact that I was trying to take the picture. Joba tried to tell him, but he was too excited at the fact that he was sitting next to the 6pounder. Joba ended up swatting him on the head to get his attention. Sean absolutely loved it. Finn (brother #2) also wanted a picture, and Joba picked him up to get him up on the wall, which Finn just loved. Finn went on to ask Joba for a handshake, that lasted for about 20 seconds. Joba even said "I'm not letting go dude". Finn complemented him after on the "firmness of his handshake" and Joba cracked up. My little sister also played a role. She was making jokes to Joba and he was just loving it. 

The best part about all of this was how thrilled he made my little siblings and I. We could not stop talking about it for the rest of the 7 HOURS we spent at the stadium. It's great to see that these people can have such a great impact on fans. 

It was so funny to have my family give Joba a good laugh. We were "hanging out" with him for a solid 20 minutes. He seems like a really nice guy and got a huge kick out of my little siblings. He is totally worthy of having this blog named after him.

I'll post tomorrow about my experiences today. It was so fantastic. 


Minor Leagues

I just wanted to fill you all in on how the big prospects are doing down in the minors. Here are their stats so far...

Austin Jackson- Austin is hitting .448/.528/.517. He is off to a spectacular start down in AAA. Let's hope he continues his hot hitting. I wouldn't be surprised to see him later on...

Shelley Duncan- You can't really call him "big prospect", but he's off to a hot start as well. Shelley is hitting .381/.458/.714 with 4 HR in 10 games.

Phil Hughes- Phil is off to a fine start down in Scranton. He is 2-0 wiith a 2.31 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. He should be the first person called up in the event of an injury.

Ian Kennedy- IPK is off to a great start. He's thrown 18 innings and has a 2.00 ERA and an outstanding .89 WHIP. HE WILL BE GOOD.

Mark Melancon- Another guy off to a great start. Hes thrown 9 IP and hasn't given up a run yet.

Francisco Cervilli- Not off to such a hot start down in AA. He is hitting .129/.182/.226. I'm sure it will get better for Frankie...

Zach McAllister- He's thrown 10.1 innings so far. His WHIP is 1.26 and his ERA sits at 2.61. Pretty respectable for the young guy.

Austin Romine- .222/.237/.306. Expect him to heat up as well.

Dellin Betances- 11.1 IP so far. He has a 1.24 WHIP and a 2.38 ERA.

Jeremy Bleich- Through 2 starts and 10.2 innings, Bleich has a 1.41 WHIP and a 2.53 ERA. 

Jesus Montero- .395/.452/.658. Good start for Montero.

Andrew Brackman- He's had a rough 3 starts. Brackman has a 5.06 ERA through 16 innings. On the upside, he has 17 Ks and a low 1.19 WHIP.

There you go. 

Xavier Nady

So, maybe he won't be out for the whole season! According to Jon Heyman, Nady has been diagnosed with a partial ligament tear and will not require surgery. Via PeteAbe, the Yankees are hoping Nady will be back in 5-7 weeks. Nady has a slightly more optimistic belief, saying that he will be back in 4-6 weeks. The only question now is whether he will return as an outfielder or in a DH role. Either way, having him back in the lineup will greatly improve our depth. I learned from MLBTR that it was rumored that the Yankees were planning on looking outside the organization for more depth, specifically at Austin Kearns or Jason Repko. This will not longer be necessary. Having Nady back makes or bench much stronger, whether its him sitting on the pine or the great Nick Swisher. 



I am lucky enough to be going to the Yankee game on Wednesday. I must say, this rainout is kind of bumming me out, because it means that I will not be seeing the 6pound8ouncer himself. I guess the 300 pound CC Sabathia will be alright. Anyway, I'm so excited for the game. I'm hoping to get there 2 or 3 hours early so I can really look around and get a good feel for the park. I'm bringing my camera, so I'll be sure to upload some pictures onto the site. As many other websites have done, I'll do a bit of a review of the new place, just to give you all some perspective. I'm also very excited to welcome Jason Giambi back to NY. I was a huge fan of the mustache last year. And the whole gold thong thing was pretty hilarious. He was a great guy and will get a nice ovation, at least from me. Anyway, Let's Go Yankees.

Chien Ming Wang

Chien Ming Wang, our most reliable stater over the last 3 seasons, has had some issues to start the season. The most notable that come to mind are the 23 runs, 23 hits, and 6 walks he has given up in a mere 6 innings. In short, it's bad. Real bad. To be honest, this is probably the worst 3 consecutive starts of any pitcher I've ever seen, except (maybe) Mike Mussina in 2007. According to Wang (quoted in The Daily News), he "felt fine" during his last start, a 8 ER, 1.1 inning outing. His ERA as of right now is 34.50. His ERA alone brings the team ERA from 3.38 to 6.39  According to ESPN's Matthew Berry, he would need 46 consecutive shutout innings to get his ERA under 4. Berry also urged fantasy owners to "drop Wang as quickly as they could". On the fantasy front, the only somewhat positive advice I read about Wang was from Eric Karabell of ESPN, who told fantasy managers to "put him on the bench. He belongs there, not on the free agent wire". Other people in the media are "sure that Wang is injured", but Joe Girardi is insisting he isn't. Wang believes that he "might be leaning to the left during his deliver", which could very well throw off his mechanics. RAB posted a bunch of interesting graphs examining the deliver points and pitch elevation of Wang's pitches thus far. I mostly looked at the pitch elevation one, but the others are not hard to find. According to the graphs, close to 70% of Wang's pitches has been middle to high, which for a sinker baller, is a death sentence. Wang will have his next start skipped, which will give him 10 days to work on his mechanics and hopefully get this all sorted out. I think the great Nick Swisher had the best attitude regarding this whole situation. According to PeteAbe, just as he was leaving the clubhouse "good ‘ol Nick Swisher walked through the clubhouse and tore off the covers of all the Daily News sitting on a table. They read “22-4!” on the front and “You Stink” over a picture of Chien-Ming Wang on the back. “New day,” Swisher shouted. “It’s a new day, brotha.” 
Personally, I think Wang will figure it all out. He has shown over the last few years that he is a very very good pitcher, and probably a front of the line starter. I think that the media and fans are blowing it way out of proportion. Is he having a horrible start to the season? Absolutely, but that in no way means he can't and won't bounce back. I have all of the faith in the world that he will return to form rather quickly.


Q & A with Peter Abraham

Peter Abraham of the Journal News was nice enough to answer a few questions for us....

Kevin Seefried: After Xavier Nady's injury, many writers and fans started claiming that the Yankees need to look outside the organization for some depth on the bench. The Yankees have Melky as a 4th outfielder, and hopefully by June, Matsui might be able to play a game in the outfield once in a while. We have Austin Jackson less than a year away, and Todd Linden,Shelley Duncan, and John Rodriguez as options at triple A. Should the Yanks look outside the organization even though we have all these internal options? It is a bench spot after all, we're not trying to find a new starting outfielder.

Peter Abraham: The Yankees very much need a bat and probably from outside the organization. Melky is a AAAA player. Matsui's knees are a mess now. He'll never be able to play the OF. It's certain half the time whether he can DH. Austin Jackson needs a full year in AAA. Todd Linden, Shelley Duncan and John Rodriguez are AAAA players, too. The Yankees had a terrific bench when they had either Swisher or Nady in reserve. Now their bench is Melky, Molina and Pena. That's not a remotely good enough bench.

KS: New Yankee Stadium is already gaining a reputation of being a hitter's paradise. I was under the impression that the dimensions are generally the same as at the old stadium; why the burst in homeruns?

PA: I'm hardly an expert on these sorts of things. But the open concourses seem to have created a wind tunnel toward the opening in right field. The fence also isn't as high as it used to be and the dimensions appear to be slightly shorter than they were across the street. There is also evidence across the game that home runs are up. I wouldn't put it past MLB to juice the balls to try and help their attendance issues.

KS: Chien Ming Wang is...well let's say he's not playing to his full potential. If we see another mediocre start or two from him what will the Yanks do? Can Wang be sent to the minors? Would Phil Hughes make a spot start?

PA: You can't just give up on him. Look at Mussina in 2007 and how he turned it around. There's a day off on Thursday, so I think the immediate answer is to skip him and give him some time to work out his issues.

KS: The Yankees brought up Anthony Claggett, who I would assume is supposed to be used for multiple inning relief outings. Is he the best candidate for that job? Or should it be given to one of Jason Johnson, Kei Igawa, Brett Tomko, or Alfredo Aceves?

PA: Claggett is already gone. I think they need Aceves as a long reliever.

KS: What is your favorite Nick Swisher moment? Like us, you've expressed your fandom of Swisher frequently. Can you give us a brief lowdown on what makes him such a lovable character?

PA: There is no one particular moment with Swish. He's just a very energetic guy who treats everybody the same way and tries to reach out to everybody, from the clubbies on up to the stars. In spring training one day, I asked him for an interview and he ended up asking me more questions about New York, the media, etc. He's just a good guy.

KS: Our bullpen hasn't been spectacular thus far this year, though it is early. Who do you see being the most effective pitchers in the 'pen this year, and when are we going to get to see everyone's favorite phenom Mark Melancon?

PA: Who do I see being the most effective pitcher in the bullpen this year? Take a guess. That would be Mariano. As for Melancon, I think he'll be here by June 1.

Thanks for your time Pete. Everyone be sure to check out Pete's blog here.


Here's a few links from around the web...

Nationals' Outfielder Elijah Dukes was benched one game, and fine $500 for showing up to practice 5 minutes late. Seems a tad excessive, but not terribly unreasonable. But catch this, he was doing Nationals affiliated charity work with a little league program.

Jayson Stark has a great Useless info article up.

Jeff Passan
has an article up about "indulgence" at New Yankee Stadium. As does Tim Marchman.

Buster Olney has two articles up at ESPN.com about the crazy home run numbers at New Yankee Stadium. Ken Rosenthal gives his take on "Coors Field East."

Tom Verducci has a rather comical poem about Old Yankee Stadium.

Kevin Kernan has overreacted already, and pressed the panic button on the Yankee season.

Jeff Moore
lists main concerns for contenders.

Here's the breakdown on Jorge Posada's "instant-replay approved" home run.

The Return of The Devil: Pavano vs. Burnett

Carl Pavano returned, in an Indians' uniform, and stunningly he pitched 6 innings of 1 run ball, striking out 4, walking one, and allowing 4 hits. He also hit Johnny Damon with a pitch. The Yanks ended on top with the win though, behind AJ Burnett's 6.1 innings of 3 run ball. We took the lead on a 7th inning pinch-hit Jorge Posada two run homerun, which was reviewed, but wasn't overturned. In the eighth Cody Ransom hit a bases clearing double that got lost in the sun to put us up 7-3. Jona Albadejo, Brian Bruney, and Mariano came in to finish off the game.


Wang's Home Debut

Mark Teixeira hit a two run shot to right in the first, his 3rd on the season. Our boy Chien-Ming Wang is off to another bad start. Through 1.1 innings he's already allowed 4 runs, three of them due to a Shin-Shoo Choo home run. He's allowed 6 hits so far. He needs to get his game straight or we'll have some trouble. Stay tuned for more updates.

Update: He's now let in 7 runs. We're still only one out through the top of the second.
Update: Anthony Claggett was brought in to relieve Wang. Apparently the Yankees sent Juan Miranda back down to triple A (after he was called to the bigs yesterday) to bring Claggett up.
Update: Claggett gives up back to back doubles to Hafner and Peralta. Then walked Choo. This isn't going well....
Update: We're now down 14-2, thanks to an Asdrubal Cabrera grand slam and a Grady Sizemore home run. This is one of those days I wish that we'd never let Dan Giese go. He pitched 2.2 innings for Oakland, letting in 2 earned runs, but that's a helluva lot better than Claggett.
Update: We finally got out of that half inning...after 14 runs...a bummer of an inning. The only bright news is that Claggett's two outs were both strikeouts. Just trying to find some type of silver lining. Don't be surprised if we see Swish take the mound again at some point today. I personally say let's send Jose Molina out there. He's a catcher, he's got a good arm. Why not? Maybe Melky could throw? Who knows...
Update: Interesting. Yankees.com says Juan Miranda was sent to triple A, but Gameday says he's on the bench...
Update: Let's just never talk about this game again.....

Rays/Red Sox/ Yankee Comparison

The AL East is supposed to be a three headed monster this year, even though the three teams expected to win the division are in 3rd, 4th, and 5th place. Here's my run down position for position of the Rays, Sox, and Yanks.

Catcher: Jason Varitek/Dioner Navarro/ Jorge Posada
Navarro hits for average, but no power and Varitek can't hit for either, despite his fine leadership and defensive skills. Jorge has the best bat and is still around league average behind the plate.

First Base: Kevin Youkilis/Carlos Pena/Mark Teixeira
Tough call here. All three are fine hitters, but Teixeira's defense puts him ahead of Youk and Pena.

Second Base: Dustin Pedroia/ Akinori Iwamura/ Robinson Cano
I still say Cano will win MVP this year, but Pedroia won it last year, and unless Iwamura or Cano can outplay him for an extended period of time he'll still be considered the best of the crop. He's someone who, as much as I hate to say it. play quality baseball. He gives his all, gets dirty, and plays well both offensively and defensively. Cano can dethrone him, but it will take a big year on his part to steal the spotlight from Pedroia.

Third Base: Mike Lowell/Evan Longoria/ Alex Rodriguez
Lowell is always an injury risk, and he's getting old. A-Rod is obviously a fine ballplayer, but his hip injury shows he isn't superhuman, and the nuisance he is with all his side stories (from Madonna to Steroids) demonstrate that he isn't the best around. That award goes to Longoria who plays gold glove caliber defense, and will hit above .300 with 40-HR potential. The fact that he is the youngest of the three helps him immensely, as he can only improve.

Shortstop: Jed Lowrie/Jason Bartlett/ Derek Jeter
4 World Series rings, team captain, fan favorite, postseason star, career .316 hitter. Is there anything more to say? Jeter has proven himself time and time again to be an all-star player, while Lowrie and Bartlett both haven't proven themselves to be perennial all-stars or anything like that.

Left Field: Jason Bay/Carl Crawford/Johnny Damon
Crawford's speed and defense set him apart from Damon and Bay. Damon is getting older, but maintains some speed and power. Bay mainly offers skills with the bat. Crawford can make many more plays in the field than Damon or Bay could, and he moves around the bases much quicker than the other two.

Center Field: Jacoby Ellsbury/BJ Upton/ Brett Gardner
Upton has the potential to be a 20+ home run hitter. He can also steal 35+ bases. Add in a high OBP and there isn't much more you can ask for. Gardner and Ellsbury's main draw is that they are fast, but Upton is just as fast and brings a powerful stick to the plate as well.

Right Field: JD Drew/Gabe Gross/Nick Swisher
Drew gets injured about as often as Carl Pavano, Gross is really only suited to be a bench player, offering no extreme tools. Swisher is an on-base machine, brings power to the plate, and is a great clubhouse presence. SuperSwish is clearly the better of the three.

Designated Hitter: David Ortiz/Pat Burrell/Hideki Matsui
Burrell has hit at least 29 home runs each year since 05. His lowest OBP in that timespan was .367, and he's slugged over .500 every year since 05. Burrell is the most reliable bat out of the three. He's only played in less than 144 games once since 2001. While we know Ortiz has power, his wrist was a big problem last year, and that may be a recurring problem. Hideki has so many issues with his knees he isn't even in consideration here.

Beckett/Lester/Wakefield/Penny/Masterson(Dice-K's injured)
Shields/Kazmir/Garza/Sonnanstine/Niemann (Coming Soon: David Price)

Last time we looked at rotations, we said the Rays' was the best in baseball. However, without Price I wouldn't call them the best around. Niemann and Sonnanstine may prove me wrong, but we have to wait to see that. Our Yankee rotation is ridiculously talented, though very injury prone. We have Phil Hughes in the wings if someone is hurt, and he's a pretty talented 6th starter. If Wang keeps pitching like he has, then the rankings might change, but for now I'd say we've got the best staff of the three. CC, AJ, Wang, and Joba are all ace-caliber, and Pettitte is a very dependable veteran. Until they prove me wrong, I'm saying we have the best rotation around.

Jonathan Papelbon
Troy Percival
Mariano Rivera

Mariano doesn't dance on the mound, has 4 World Series rings, and is the most successful post-season closer of all time. There is no question he wins here. Mariano's ERA has only risen above 2 once since 2003. Mariano's Groundball/Flyball ratio is much better than Papelbon's, and he composes himself well on the mound, while Papelbon overcelebrates like a 2 year old.

Joe Maddon
Terry Francona
Joe Girardi

I hate to say it, but Francona is a class act. He keeps all his players happy, he's respectful, and he can manage a ballgame well. He has 2 World Series rings, while Girardi and Francona haven't won any while managing.

That's a brief breakdown, we'll go deeper as the season progresses and stats, injuries, and reputations change.


At Long Last...

Sorry for the horrendously long wait... 

Without further ado, here is my review for "The New York Yankees Essential Games of Yankee Stadium". 

Firstly, I would like to talk about what this set actually looks like physically. As you can see by the picture, it comes in a metal case with a really nice picture of the Old Yankee Stadium. There are 6 DVDs in total, with each game on a single disk. On each DVD, there is the box score from the game that's on the disc, which is pretty cool. As a reminder, the 6 games shown are 1976 ALCS Game 5 (Chambliss' Walk Off),  1977 WS Game 6 (Reggie 3 HR), 1995 ALDS Game 2 (Jim Leyritz Walk Off), 1996 WS Game 6 (Clincher), 2001 WS Game 4 (DJ Walk Off), and 2003 ALCS Game 7 (Aaron Boone). There are a bunch of extras too, including...

  • Chris Chambliss on his 1976 ALCS Game 5 home run
  • Ron Guidry 18 Ks (June 17, 1978)
  • First game after Thurmon Munson died, Bobby Murcer hits the game-winner (August 6, 1979)
  • 1976 ALCS Game 1, hometown fans aid Derek Jeter's home run
  • 1999 ALCS Game 1, Bernie Williams' walk-off home run beats Boston
  • 2000 World Series Game 1, first Subway Series since 1956
  • 2001 World Series Game 5, Scott Brosius repeats the impossible, Alfonso Soriano wins it
  • "The Dive" by Derek Jeter (July 1, 2004)

  • Unlike Yankeeography, WS Videos and other such products, there isn't any commentary to go along with the game. It is just the broadcast of the game from when it happened. Although commentary can contribute a lot to the viewing experience, it's not necessary for these games, simply because of their intense excitement. Watching the broadcasts, for me, brought me back to wonderful experiences I had as a kid. I immediately remembered watching a lot of these games with my Dad, which is always a fantastic memory to go back too. For the games in the 70s, it was the first time I was able to see these games in full, so I was able to have new experiences as well. For the younger people, it's really valuable to be able to watch these older games, because it can really enrich your Yankee fandom. Reliving these spectacular moments also just gets me so pumped. For example, when I watched Tino hit his HR in the ninth to tie it and Jeter finish the ballgame with a shot to RF, I literally started cheering and doing a little bit of a fist pump with a huge grin on my face. It's so much fun to be able to have these epic games at your disposal because it can give you quite a boost to remember these amazing moments in baseball history. 

    The quality of the games is fantastic. I've seen other recordings of these games, and a lot of the time the audio lags a lot, which is so frustrating. The video and audio are perfectly clear, and the viewing experience is very very nice. It's just as though you were sitting watching the game in '76, '77, '95, '96, '01, or '03. The only thing I don't like is the fact that Joe Buck commentates some of the games. To be honest, his Boston bias has always made me angry.  

    I would really recommend giving this set a look. It's worth every penny. I personally love to relive these great Yankee moments, and I'm sure that you all will too. 

    Injury Update

    Angels' Right Fielder/ DH Vladimir Guerrerro tore a chest muscle and will be out for at least a month.

    Kansas City Third Baseman Alex Gordon had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip (same as A-Rod). He'll be back in 10-12 weeks.

    Mets' starter Mike Pelfrey will be scratched from his start on Sunday because of forearm tendinitis.

    Mariners' catcher Kenji Johjima was placed on the 15 Day DL because of a strained right hamstring.

    On our home turf...Hideki Matsui's knee (which he had surgery on in September) filled with liquid. He's limited to pinch hitting duty for a while, so Juan Miranda may see some playing time.

    Xavier Nady is on the 15 day DL. Xman will have an MRI tomorrow.

    Tribute to Nick Swisher

    Nick Swisher is quickly becoming a fan favorite, and Conor and I are both huge fans. Here's a small tribute to SuperSwish.

    In Michael Lewis's Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game there is a story about the friendship between Nick Swisher and catcher Jeremy Brown. Brown was an overweight hitter who was only drafted because Billy Beane was enthralled with his extraordinary ability to get on base. Brown was ridiculed for his size and for having "titties" as the scouts said. Swish tried to inspire Brown, "'All that stuff they write in Baseball America--that's bullshit. You can play. That's all that matters. You can play. You think Babe Ruth was a stud? Hell no, he was a fat piece of shit."..."Just like Brown.'" How great is that? He inspired a fat guy, by making sure he knew that Babe Ruth was fat too.

    After Xavier Nady went on the DL, Swish drew an X on his elbow as a tribute to the X-Man and his elbow injury.

    Swish won an emmy for "Swisher Unscripted" a pre-game show that aired weekly.

    He runs "Swish's Wishes" which helps children in need with everything from medicine to education.

    Swish commented on his pitching experience by comparing it to an etch-a-sketch, shaking away the bad part of the game and starting over again.

    Swisher is the man. He was selected by the Oakland A's in the 2002 draft, with the compensation pick Oakland received for Johnny Damon signing with Boston.

    Swisher isn't ever a question, he's the answer.

    Swish played D1 baseball at Ohio State, and he would've played D1 BBall, D1 Football, D1 Hockey, D1 Swimming, D1 Track and Field, D1 Tennis, D1 Lacrosse, and D1 Soccer, but he was too busy saving the world, finding a cure for cancer, teaching Superman how to fly, teaching Aquaman to swim, and working on a solution for global warming.

    Swisher was extremely close with his grandmother, Betty Lorraine Swisher, who raised him. He points to the sky for her after every hit, and has her initials tatooed on his chest. She died from brain cancer in 05.

    Swisher is a class act, a funny fellow, a BA ballplayer, a quality character, and in general a complete and total gangsta'. We look forward to his future with the Yanks.

    You stay classy Nick Swisher, and remember...if you ain't first, you're last.

    Looking at the Bullpen

    It's early, and we can't draw big conclusions about the bullpen obviously, but let's take a look at everyone we have that could be in the 'pen this year. Here's a list of our relievers that we could see in the bigs for a significant amount of time this year....

    Mariano Rivera
    Brian Bruney
    Damaso Marte
    Mark Melancon
    Jose Veras
    Edwar Ramirez
    Jon Albadejo
    Phil Coke
    David Robertson
    Alfredo Aceves/Sergio Mitre/Brett Tomko/Kei Igawa

    Mariano is obviously the closer, as he is the greatest in the history of the game, and he is the best closer in baseball right now (although Joakim Soria and Joe Nathan are close).

    Typicaly a team will have two set-up men, guys who they can trust in the 8th to hold a lead. One of those spots is rightfully Brian Bruney's, as when he is healthy he has always been effective, and has done fine so far this year, with 10 K's in 5 innings of work and a 3.60 ERA.

    The other spot is supposedly Damaso Marte's, but he was innefective as a Yank last year (he had a 5.40 ERA in 18.1 innings as a Yankee last year. He walked 10 and struck out 24 as a Yank last year). I'm not a Marte fan, despite his track record in Pittsburgh and Chicago. He doesn't seem to be as effective as he used to be and he got a deal he didn't deserve this off-season ($12mm/3 years). If Marte isn't effective the Yanks could shop him, or make him primarily a lefty specialist. If he needs to be moved out of the set-up role we could see the spot taken over by....

    Mark Melancon has been deemed the heir to Mariano Rivera. The 24 year old righty is popular amongst all scouts and statisticians. He has been said to have great make-up, meaning he shouldn't have a hard time dealing with the New York scene. So far this season Melancon has struck out 14 in 7.1 innings of work, only allowing one hit, two walks, and not having let in a run. Last year, between Tampa, Trenton, and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre he had a 2.27 ERA over 95 innings of work, striking out 89 and walking 22 in that time. Melancon should be in the bigs by June at the latest, and don't be surprised if he quickly becomes an intricate part of the relief crew.

    Jose Veras was a big part of the pen last year, with a 3.59 ERA over 57.2 innings of work. Veras averaged over a strikeout per inning, and maintained a 1.40 WHIP. Veras will most likely stay in the pen all year and is mostly a 6th or 7th inning guy. His 2.17 K/BB ratio was fine, but his 4.53 BB/9 is higher than we would have liked. Veras is fairly dependable, but is rarely dominant.

    Edwar Ramirez, the 165 pound Dominican,was a staple in the 08 rotation. He had an acceptable 3.90 ERA in 08, but his GO/AO ratio of 0.56 is dangerous, especially if New Yankee Stadium keeps producing home runs like it has so far. I like his 10.25 K/9 ratio, but when Edwar gets hit, he gets hit hard. Edwar is a fine strikeout pitcher, but if a batter makes contact it can be dangerous. Edwar will keep his spot in the bullpen unless he proves he can't hold it down, which could happen if he has 2 or 3 bad outings in a row.

    Jonathan Albadejo was awarded the last spot in the bullpen, and it is because of him that Joe Girardi decided not to have a long reliever in the 'pen this year, he thought Albadejo would be more useful. He had a 0.93 ERA in 9.2 innings of Spring Training work, and struck out 8 over those appearances. He earned his spot through Spring Training, and it is up to him to justify the spot as the year goes on.

    Phil Coke amazed everyone last year, when he came up for 14.2 innings, and struck out 14 while only allowing one run. Coke is a converted starter and will primarily be our lefty specialist this year. Coke came out of nowhere last year, as he was never supposed to be a star, but he had a great stint in the bigs, which earned him his roster spot this year. He could be the first effective Yankees lefty specialist since Mike Stanton, and we'll see what he can do when he must faces the likes of David Ortiz, JD Drew, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, and Carlos Pena, who are the most prominent left handed hitters on the rival Rays and Sox.

    David Robertson was just sent to triple A to make room for Juan Miranda. Robertson pitched 30.1 innings for the Yanks last year, striking out 36 while holding a high 5.34 ERA. The 24 year old will be back in the Bronx at some point this year, but he's behind Marte, Bruney, Melancon, Albadejo, Coke, and Veras in terms of being able to pitch consistently and effectively.

    Alfredo Aceves, Sergio Mitre, Brett Tomko, and Kei Igawa are all at triple A right now. The Yanks decided to keep Albadejo on the roster, rather than bring up a long reliever, and they have paid for it (see Chien-Ming Wang's last start). At some point the Yanks will come to their senses and bring up a long reliever. That spot will go to whoever of these 4 performs the best until that point in time. I personally think Igawa should get another shot, as he did perform well in Scranton last year. Aceves would be fine, but he's good enough to be an effective starter, so we're more likely to see him come up for a spot start, or be traded to a pitching starved team. You might be wondering where this leaves Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. Those two are starting in Scranton, and Hughes is first on the list of people to call up in case of an injury to a starting pitcher. Neither of them will be used as long relievers because that could hurt their progression as pitchers. Someone in the rotation is bound to go down at some point, and we'll see what Hughes can do then.

    There will almost certainly be one or two guys not on this list that come up to the pen at some point, but these are the people we will most likely see coming in to relieve our starters.

    If I were Girardi I'd have Rivera, Bruney, Marte, Edwar, Veras, Coke, and Tomko on the squad. That would leave Albadejo, Melancon, and Robertson in Scranton. Melancon should be called up as soon as he is ready, and the Yanks should listen to offers for Marte, even if they have to pay some of his contract, because he doesn't seem to have adjusted to AL pitching since last year's trade from Pittsburgh.

    Today's Game

    Our Dear Lord 6 Pound 8 Ounce Baby Joba only lasted 4 and 2/3 innings today, letting in 5 earned runs on 6 hits and 5 walks, while striking out 4. Not his greatest outing, but it's Joba, hell be fine. However, if he has another start like this we'll here all those discussions about he should be in the pen (especially with Marte, Veras, and Edwar playing as they have). But, just remember it's early in the year. Things will change. I mean, so far this year Emilio Bonifacio has been the NL MVP, David Price and Matt Wieters haven't played in major league games, and nor has A-Rod. If Joba is pitching like this in Mid-May, and Marte, Veras, and Edwar continue to be bad, then we'll talk about it, but for right now we don't have a big enough sample of games to draw any big conclusions about the team. I mean sure, we can use what we've seen to make some predictions or assumptions, but saying Joba has lost it this early into the year would be a huge overreaction. On a good news front, Mark Teixeira, Johnny Damon, and The Melkman have all hit home runs today, they were all solo shots..but still home runs.

    UPDATE: Robby Cano just smacked a solo shot to right field. 5-4 Cleveland.
    UPDATE: Johnny Damon scores in the 7th on a Vinnie Chuck throwing error, Tex goes to second. In the 8th, Jeter hits a solo shot (his first at the New Stadium) to give the Yanks a 6-5 lead. Phil Coke threw 1 and a third scoreless innings, with one strikeout only letting one baserunner. Jonathan Albadejo pitched one perfect inning. Brian Bruney pitched a perfect inning, striking out Travis Hafner and Shin Soo Choo. And now Mariano is pitching with one out in the 9th, Tony Graffanino is on first, while Asdrubal Cabrera is at the plate. He could get the first New Yankee Stadium save to seal the Yanks' first win at their new home. Stay tuned.
    FINAL: Mariano strikes out Grady Sizemore and Mark DeRosa to get the save, and...BALL GAME OVER. YANKEES WIN. THAAAAAAAAA YANKEES WIN! Great first win at the stadium. Jeter gets the go ahead run with his homer, Mariano gets the save. We see home runs from Damon, Teixeira, Melky, Cano, and Jeter. That's a quality game. Bruney gets the win.

    Miranda Promoted: Robertson sent to Scranton

    The Yanks called up Juan Miranda to the big league club because of Hideki Matsui's lack of success so far this season, and Mark Teixeira's injured wrist. Miranda was hitting .361/.425/.667 at Scranton, with 3 homers in 13 at bats. To make room for him, the Yanks sent David Robertson to Scranton, despite him hurling 2 scoreless innings, with 3 K's, in his only appearance so far this year. If Xavier Nady does need surgery we could see Robertson come back up to take his place on the roster, but I would rather see a long-man come up. I like Robertson and want him in the 'pen, but the Yanks aren't going to put someone like Damaso Marte or Edwar Ramirez in the minors since they have more big league experience (and Marte is expensive), thus Robertson is forced back to triple A. He turned 24 on April 9th, so he's still yougn and we'll see him in the Bronx again sometime soon.


    Not the greatest of debuts...

    The first ever regular season game at Yankee Stadium ended in a Yankee loss, as Cleveland just destroyed us in the late innings. CC pitched fine, with only one earned run over 5.2 innings. It was disturbing though that he had 5 walks, compared to his 4 strikeouts. He also threw 122 pitches (70 for strikes) in his short outing. Jorge Posada hit a solo homerun(the first at the stadium), Johnny Damon had the first ever hit at the new Stadium, Robby Cano went 3 for 4, and Hideki Matsui drew 3 walks over the course of the game (he also had a single in one of his 2 at bats). Our bullpen was terrible, with Jose Veras having 3 earned runs without recording an out, and Damaso Marte having 6 earned runs in one inning pitched. I think we drastically overpaid for Marte (12mm/3 years...when we could have brought in someone like Will Ohman for less, or called up Mark Melancon. I know its early, but he wasn't great for us last year either, and Bruney and Melancon are just better guys to have in the set-up role. I have faith in Jose Veras, despite his complicated delivery, but today wasn't his best game. You might like to know that after Marte served up that grand slam to Grady Sizemore the entire stadium chanted "We want Swisher." SuperSwish went 1 for 4 today with a double, and according to PeteAbe Swish drew an X on his elbow as a tribute to Xavier Nady and his stint on the DL. This guy is quickly becoming a fan favorite, and it seems like he's going to be a big part of the club this year.


    How bout those Red Sox...

    As I write, Boston is 3-6. One of their supposed "Ace-Caliber" pitchers, Dice-K, just hit the DL. He joins Jed Lowrie, Julio Lugo, and John Smoltz there. Their only offensive off-season pick up, Rocco Baldelli, has struck out in 5 of 11 at-bats. Jacoby Ellsbury is batting .194/.256/.194. He has no extra base hits, and only 7 hits total. JD Drew is batting .233/.281/.500. Nick Green is their current shortstop. Yes...Nick Green. The reigning MVP, Dustin Pedroia, is batting .179/.238/.308. Jason Varitek is batting .200/.286/.520. And don't forget that David Ortiz is hitting .176/.293/.206, and is yet to hit a home run. The "future of the Red Sox," Jon Lester has a 9.00 ERA through 11 innings. Tim Wakefield is currently the most successful pitcher on their team. Sure, it's early, but it is definitely nice to see the Red Sox playing poorly, no matter when it is.

    Nady to the Dl; Yanks win

    The Yanks beat Tampa today 4-3. Andy Pettitte pitched 7 and a third, with 6 hits, 3 runs, and 4 K's. He threw 62 of 96 pitches for strikes. Brian Bruney came in and got two outs, both strikeouts. Derek Jeter hit an RBI single, scoring Cody Ransom, to give the Yanks a 4-3 lead before Mariano came in to close out the game. It's great to come back from that 15-5 loss, and then win the next two games against the Rays.

    On a less cheery note, Xavier Nady will be put on the DL with elbow pain, and may require surgery, and may be out for the year, as I wrote earlier. Before anyone says we need to get a replacement, just remember that we have Nick Swisher to play right. And he's been doing so well that Conor has him up in the "6 pound 8 ounce" category of Gods right next to Joba. Nady's gone, but we'll have A-Rod in the lineup in 2 or 3 weeks it looks like, so his loss from the lineup won't be huge. The main issue is that now Girardi can't rest Damon, Tex, Swish, and Matsui as often as he has so far. Melky Cabrera now moves into the 4th outfielder role, up from the 5th outfielder role. Nady's roster spot could be used for a pinch hitter/power hitter type like Juan Miranda, or it might be used to bring up a long man, which the Yanks badly need, as we were reminded in Wang's start. Dan Giese is an Oakland A now, and the Yanks don't plan on using Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy as a long man, as it could hurt their development, so we may see Brett Tomko or Kei Igawa take on that long reliever role. Alfredo Aceves conceivably could become the long reliever, but he's still young at 26, and the Yanks might not want his development to slow either. Remember that the Yanks might just send down a reliever for a long man, and then bring up Miranda to take Nady's spot. Whatever happens, we should see someone from Scranton in the Bronx soon.

    Nady could be done for the year

    Xavier Nady left the game on Tuesday with elbow pain. He has said that his MRI showed a tear, and that he will need surgery. So, all of us that wanted Swisher starting full-time got our wish, but at the price of seeing a fine ball player get injured. This most likely means that Melky will get more playing time as the 4th outfielder on the club, filling in on those days when Gardner, Damon, or Swish need to rest.



    8 Pound 6 Ounce Baby Swish hit another out tonight. Meanwhile, AJ is throwing a No-No through 5. LETS GO.

    Update- No-No through 6!

    6 Pound 8 Ounce Baby Swish?

    I'm not going to lie, I'm a huge fan of Nick Swisher. Not only is he on a hitting tear, hitting .450/.542/1.150, he seems to really bring the clubhouse to life. You can also throw in the 1 IP, 1 K, 0.00 ERA up there too. As I advocated for during the offseason, I really think Swish should be out there in RF instead of Nady. And maybe have Pena at 3rd?

    AJ goes tonight. Let's hope it goes better than last night...

    Here's the lineup-

    Gardner- CF
    Jeter- SS
    Teixeira- 1B
    Swisher- LF
    Posada- DH
    Cano- 2B
    Nady- RF
    Pena!- I looked at the lineup after I wrote my little piece above!
    Molina- C

    Bernie Williams

    I was on mlb.com today and I saw this really cool video of Bernie playing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame". Bernie is my favorite player of all time, so I figured I'd share it with you. He is the man.


    He does it all...

    Our Yanks got spanked by Tampa today, but Nick Swisher had a fairly good day. Nick "Superman" Swisher went 1-3, with a home run. He drew a walk, scored two runs, and had one RBI. Oh, he also pitched a shutout inning, and notched a strikeout (of Gabe Kapler).

    In case anyone was wondering, our starting pitcher, the Taiwanese icon, and former Yankee ace, Chien Ming Wang pitched 1+ innings, allowing 8 earned runs on 6 hits and 3 walks, with only one K. So our backup RF/1B out-pitched the man we considered our ace for the past few years...

    We Have a Winner...

    After much consideration, Kevin and I have decided on a winner for our DVD contest! Because of the hilarious irony of his entry, Brandon has been selected! To all of those who submitted entries, thanks so much and we hope we can do this again soon.

    Here's Brandon's entry-

    When I was about 10 my dad took me to my first Yankees game. It was Yankees vs. Blue Jays at the stadium and the pitching matchup was Jeff Weaver vs. Roy Halladay. My dad and older brother kept talking about how good Jeff Weaver was and how he could win the Cy Young (it was the first month of the year) and I got really excited about the Yankees being favorites to win this game. So I go to the game, the first thing I notice is how good this random guy on the jays looks. So I say "this guy looks good guys" "He isn't very good son, he won't be in the majors for long." The Yankees would lose the game 8-2 and my family would be wrong about both players. I was also on the big screen that game and my friend saw me. 

    Jeff Weaver > Roy Halladay? The Yankees would have certainly been a different team. Thanks again for the entries, I'll be back later to review 2001 WS Game 4 from the DVD set.