This is just another update regarding our contest. The contest to win the free DVD set will run until Opening Day. On Opening Day, we will announce the winner. Just as a reminder, the contest is to send in your funniest memory of Yankee Stadium/regarding the Yankees. Kevin and I will read through the stories, pick the funniest, and send the winner the free DVD set! If you haven't sent in a story to be considered, please do, because the DVD set is really fantastic. Our emails are on the right hand side of the blog. We really encourage you to participate!

Baseball Bets

I'm a gambling man, it's the truth. So here are my tips for placing bets for the year based on the vegas odds here.

Bet on the Marlins (20/1), Giants (25/1), and/or Reds (40/1) to win the NL Pennant. They're sleeper picks, and those odds are great.

Bet on the Rangers (35/1), Mariners(50/1), and/or Royals (50/1). Seattle and KC have great pitching upside, and Texas has a great offense, and the pitching isn't great, but could keep them in contention. Great odds again.

On the World Series Level those teams have great odds again Marlins (40/1), Giants (50/1), Reds (80/1), Mariners (100/1), Rangers (70/1), and Royals (100/1).

For Over/Under for Regular Season Wins, here are my almost sure thing picks:

Boston- 94.5 (under)
Milwaulkee-80.5 (under)
Philadelphia- 87.5 (under)
Chicago White Sox- 79.5 (over)
Cincinatti-80.5 (over)
Florida- 76.5 (over)
San Francisco-80.5 (over)
Seattle-72.5 (over)
Texas 73.5-(over)


Roster Move Ideas

Trade Xavier Nady. I'd rather play Swisher. Nady's too expensive ($6.55mm)to be a bench player.
Trade Melky Cabrera. Gardner won the starting job, and Ajax is on the Horizon. I love Melky, but he's the odd man out.
Trade Damaso Marte. He's expensive ($4mm), and there are plenty of other options for the 'pen that can be just as good. Mark Melancon and Brian Bruney should be the primary setup men by the end of the season, and Veras, Albadejo and Coke can hold up the other roles in the pen. Marte's an established reliever and could bring in someone valuable.
Trade Edwar Ramirez. Edwar's one of the less talented guys trying to win a bullpen spot, even though he is a great strikeout pitcher (63 K's in 55 innings last year). He's not a bad pitcher, but I'd rather have the other guys in the pen. Edwar could bring back a Grade B prospect or be part of a package deal for something bigger.
Trade Juan Miranda. We've got Teixeira at first for 8 years. We have Nick Swisher as the backup. Then we have Jesus Montero who could outgrow the catcher's spot and need to play 1st. Basically, there's no spot for Miranda, so let's deal him for something that will give us more value.
Trade Angel Berroa. Ransom won the 3rd baseman slot, and will be relegated to backup duty when A-Rod's back. Also, Ramiro Pena is a younger, faster, more athletic alternative to Berroa as a backup infielder.
Trade Dan Giese. Giese is one of my favorite players, but Aceves should be the long reliever. Ian Kennedy could be a long reliever too. And if Hughes takes Andy Pettitte's rotation spot at some point we could see Pettitte in the pen. Giese is older than Kennedy and Aceves, and less experienced than Andy, so he's just the odd guy out here.

Possible Off-Season Targets

After this year the Yanks have Nady($6.55mm), Molina ($2mm), Pettitte ($5.5mm), Damon ($13mm) and Matsui ($13mm) coming off the books. Hughes will most likely take over for Pettitte, so we won't have to find a replacement for him. Francisco Cervelli or Austin Romine could end up taking over the back-up catcher role from Molina, so a new back-up won't be a huge concern. Matsui is a DH, which is a role I'd rather use to rest other players. Damon and Nady will need to be replaced in the outfield though. Right now, using only internal options, our 2010 outfield would be Brett Gardner in Left, Ajax in Center, and Swisher in Right. That's not necessarily bad, depending on how Swish and Gardner do this year, and how much Ajax improves, but the outfield could be better. The Yanks will most likely make a run at Matt Holliday, who will most likely get 6+ years and around $20mm a year. I've watched Holliday his whole career, and he's a phenomenal player, but buying him when he's 30 means he'll only get worse over the next 6 years. He'd end up like Jason Giambi, he'd still be productive for most of the contract, but would be way overpaid. If Tampa doesn't pick up Carl Crawford's $10mm option he would be my first choice because he has speed, power, average, and is two years younger than Holliday. He also has experience in the AL East...not the NL West. Rick Ankiel has some power and could be another option, he'd be less expensive and wouldn't require as many years. Randy Winn could be a one year option too. On the trade front we could look at anyone on this list: Jeremy Hermida, Josh Willingham, Andre Ethier, Brad Hawpe, Delwyn Young, Carlos Gonzalez, Seth Smith, and Jeff Baker. Those guys will all come at different prices, but could all put up acceptable stats. Also, we could see Jeter move to the outfield as has been rumored for a while. Holliday and Crawford will definitely be Type A free agents, and Ankiel and Winn could very well be type A's as well, so remember that they would cost us a first round draft pick if they're offered arbitration by their former clubs.

The only other free agent who I'd really like on the team is Chone Figgins. He's fast and can play almost anywhere on the field. He's one guy who I would have no problem putting in if A-Rod, Jeter, or Cano got injured. And if Ajax, Gardner, Swisher, or a new outfielder got injured we could put him in for them as well. He's just a great guy to have on your team because he so versatile and athletic. He's a much better player than someone like Cody Ransom.

We shouldn't have to sign a starter becuase we'll have CC, AJ, Wang, Joba, Hughes, and Kennedy, with Brackman, Betances, McAllister and others on the horizon. We shouldn't sign a reliever because we'll have Mo for his final season and then a great young relief corps that should be almost identical to what we have this year. We have first, second, third, and short covered. Jorge might not be able to play every day behind the plate, but most likely he will be. Then we also have top prospects Austin Romine and Jesus Montero, so don't expect a big free agent catcher signing. So it will really just come down to the outfield and possibly the utilityman roll next off-season.

Thoughts? Comments? Ideas? Put 'em in the comments.

My Opening Day Roster

So...we'll see the final Opening Day Roster soon enough, but here's how I would set it up if I were Girardi.

C Jorge Posada
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
3B Cody Ransom
SS Derek Jeter
LF Johnny Damon
CF Brett Gardner
RF Nick Swisher
DH Hideki Matsui

C Jose Molina
RF Xavier Nady
IF Ramiro Pena
CF Melky Cabrera

1P CC Sabathia
2P Chien Ming Wang
3P AJ Burnett
4P Andy Pettitte
5P Joba Chamberlain

CL Mariano Rivera
SU Brian Bruney
SU Damaso Marte
MRP Jose Veras
MRP Jon Albadejo
LHS Phil Coke
LR Alfredo Aceves

And then you have A-Rod on the DL.

I think we should get rid of Edwar Ramirez, because unlike Girardi I think we need a long reliever, especially with such an injury prone rotation, thus Aceves needs a spot. Albadejo and Veras are better than Edwar in my opinion. I also am not opposed to trading Damaso Marte when we bring up Mark Melancon. I'm sure we could turn Marte and Ramirez into some position prospects or a better stopgap at 3rd(I'm not sold on Ransom, even though I really want him to do well).

Also, Melky, Juan Miranda, X-Man, Ransom and Angel Berroa seem expendable to me. I'd rather give Ramiro Pena some experience at the big league level or get someone reliable like Mark Grudzielanek than play Ransom and Berroa.

I am a big X-Man fan though(well a bigger X-man fan than I am a Ransom fan)...so I had a kinda crazy idea. Nady played 18 errorless innings at 3rd in 05, maybe he could play 3rd now...But, he hasn't been training there so don't think that would actually happen, just a funny thought.

A lot of people, including Girardi, want Nady to start in Right because of his career year last year. But his line in New York (not Pittsburgh) last year was .268/.320/.474. Swish's line for the year was .219/.332/.410. I think batting average is sooo overrated still, and I usually just ignore it and look at OBP instead. Swish's OBP beat Nady's by 12 points. And when his average comes back up to near his career avg (.244) it'll raise his OBP as well. Swish only hit one home run less than Nady did all year, and he just seems like a better bet for a good year than Nady is, because Nady's coming off a career year, and thus should regress, whereas Swish is coming off a career worst year, and thus should improve. Add in that Swish is two years younger and signed past this year, and it just makes sense to make him an integral part of the team. I like Nady, but if we can trade him for something more valuable let's do it.

Phil Hughes will find his way into the rotation by July somehow. Someone will get injured, I'm sure. Andy Pettitte is clearly the weak link in the rotation right now, and I wonder if Girardi would just let Hughes take over for him if there weren't an injury. Pettitte's such a part of Yankee tradition that it is hard to imagine the Yanks trading him (unless its to Houston) or relegating him to 'pen duty. But, if Hughes is good enough we could see that happening.

Also, if Gardner can't handle the starting center field job and Austin Jackson starts off hot in Triple A we could see AJax making his debut sometime around the all-star break.


Brett Gardner

Via PeteAbe, Joe Girardi announced that Brett Gardner will be the starting CF for the 2009 NY Yankees. I am far from shocked, considering Gardner has had a fantastic spring. In 22 ST games, Gardner has hit .385/.448/.673. Unfortunately, I have a hard time believing that Gardner will put up these epic numbers in the regular season. I sure hope he continues his hot hitting, but its probably not going to happen. Even if he hits .280/.340 that would be a success, because his defense is pretty great.


Scout's Point of View

I was just reading RAB and came across this very interesting article. The article is from Mark Feinsand, who discusses the state of the Yankees with a Major League scout. It's a very interesting article.



CC Sabathia has been named the Opening Day Starter for the 2009 season. According to Girardi, Sabathia will start the season opener and the opener of the new Yankee Stadium. Despite the fact that he's new to the team, I think he deserves it. He is the best starter on the team and will be our ace for the next 7 years. The Yankees are starting another era with new digs, and why not start with the  ace?

On another note, I wanted to remind everybody of the contest again. We at 6P8OBJ are giving away a free DVD set, titled, "New York Yankees: The Essential Games of Yankee Stadium". The set is made A&E TV and it is very very impressive. The games on the set include 1976 ALCS game 5, '77 WS Game 6, '95 ALDS Game 2, '96 WS Game 6, '01 WS Game 4, and '03 ALCS Game 7. It's so cool to be able to relive these games. The quality of the games are fantastic and it's really enjoyable to watch. ANYWAY, if you want to win one of these free DVD sets, send Kevin or me and email. The email should include  your most hilarious/bizarre experience at Yankee Stadium or any funny thing regarding the Yankees. Kevin and I will vote on the winner and then send it out. You won't even need to pay for shipping!

Please, please send in your entries!



I was just watching the ST game against the Red Sox and A-Jax just hit a bomb for a grand slam. I'm very excited to see this kid develop.

Xavier Nady

Well, Joe Girardi named his starting RF for the 2009 season. It's Xavier Nady. I am still against this decision, simply because of the fact that Swisher will offer more range in the outfield and is far superior to Nady with regard to OPB. We lost 2 of our biggest OPB guys in Abreu and Giambi, and having Swisher in the lineup everyday would definitely ease that void. Then again though, it's not like Swisher will be designated to bench duty. He'll get plenty ABs and plenty of time in the field over the course of the year. Although I disagree, you have to think that Girardi has very good reason to make this move.



In Response to Kevin's Post...

I don't care about what A-Rod does. 
At all. 
Is he a model citizen? Probably Not.
Is he a fantastic baseball player? Yep
What is he paid to do? Play Baseball.

Us NY fans have been spoiled by the combination of great ball players and great people. In recent years, we've experienced Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Mo, and Jorge, all great players who are devoted to helping the community and having a positive influence on people. Here is the harsh reality of the sporting world, not all players are model citizens. Jose Canseco, John Rocker, Curt Schilling, Scott Boras, and Barry Bonds are just a few examples of these jerks that populate professional sports today. In the NFL you see people like TO, Michael Vick, and Plaxico Burress who just seem to have no regard for anybody except themselves. A-Rod can probably be thrown into the same crowd, simply because of the mistakes he has made. I don't really think that A-Rod is a jerk, but just plain stupid.

Kevin talked about A-Rod's divorce, his situation with Madonna, his cheating, his steroid use, and his feuding with the captain. A-Rod is 32 years old and he is human. Of course he is going to make mistakes in his life. But honestly, how many people go through messy divorces out there? How many people get caught in a bad situation? Am I endorsing any of this behavior? Not a chance, and I don't think that he should be allowing himself to be subjected to these things, but A-Rod should not be regarded as some godly humanitarian just because he can hit the hide off a baseball. Unfortunately, all of these problems that many people have in life are shown to the world because he is in the media circus of NY. He isn't the only jerk out there. These people are so quick to blame the guy for something just to get a quick buck and essentially ruin the guy's life. It's almost as pathetic as these decisions A-Rod has been known to make.

Again, I want to stress that I am not endorsing any of these jerks behaviors. I think that A-Rod has an obligation to his fans and to his endorsers to promote a positive image. He is a role model for many people, and he needs to cut the crap. But seriously, who cares about A-Rod's private life. Will he be in the news for the idiotic choices he makes? Absolutely. But to be honest, I couldn't care less.



A-Rod File:
Messy Divorce...check
Public Feud with team captain...check
Choking in the playoffs...check
Cheating on his wife...check
A-Rod apparently used some hookers and dated Madan Kristin Davis.

What a dick. Can he just leave already?


WOW, this is so late. I'm very sorry. I was actually in NYC over the weekend andcomputerless, so posting has been a bit of an issue.
Without further ado, the final installment of the position profile series...

Starters- The starting job for RF comes down to Nick Swisher and Xavier Nady. Personally, I think that the job will be Swisher's, but since I already analyzed him, I'll use this room to talk about Nady. Nady is a pretty solid hitter, with a career line of .280/.335/.458. Last season (Pirates and Yankees), was Nady's best season. He hit .305/.358/.510 for the cumulative season last year, which is pretty impressive. His fielding isn't fantastic, but he is definitely competent in the corner OF slots. Will he repeat his great hitting season that he had last year? Probably not, but he will be a fine RF for the Yankees or a very good 4th OF. 

Backup- The backup RF will be the loser of the RF position battle between Swisher and Nady.

Commisioner Ideas

Bud Selig has got to fix the WBC. Too many people have gotten injured, and not enough people in the US are follwing the tournament. So...Here's my solution.

1. Keep the first two rounds during Spring Training.
2. Move the Semis to the All-Star Break. And...have the All-Star game, the Home Run Derby, and the Semi's in a foreign country. It's not every year, so moving the festivities out of the States doesn't ruin the tradition. I say the festivities should be on a rotation...Japan, Europe, Latin/Central America, USA. Games in Europe may bring in a new fan base, games in Japan engage the greatest MLB fanbase outside of the US, games in Latin America will give a great show for a location where many MLB players come from, and games in America will just have our regular American fans.
3. Make the finals a best of 3, and play them the week after the World Series. Everyone misses baseball after the World Series, so let there be a final competition to give everyone their baseball fix. The Finals should be on a rotation as well. Latin/Central America, USA, Europe, Japan. Then there's always two different locations for the Semis and the Finals.

On the non-WBC front...

MLB needs to keep looking for new sources of fans and players. I say that MLB should sponsor little leagues in other countries, and build baseball academies in different areas. I say we need to build two baseball academies in India (one North, one South), three in Europe (UK, Spain, Netherlands), five in Africa(South Africa, Ghana, the Congo, Egypt, and Morrocco), and one in Australia (Sydney). I know these all cost money, but if MLB can pay Bud Selig $18mm a year, then they can find money for these Academies.

Partner with the NFL and create an official organization called Athletes against Performance Enhancing Drugs (APED). This organization should have commercials and big advertisements against steroids (kind of like the Drug-Free commericals), but the ads should utilize real professional athletes (clean athletes) and have the MLB and NFL logos in each commercial. Football is becoming the most popular sport in America, and partnering with them would reach a greater number of fans. MLB needs to make a big public stand against steroids if they want to overcome this problem.

That's all for now, but I'll be back with more ideas.


Interview with Tim Dierkes

Tim Dierkes was nice enough to answer a couple of questions for us. Here is the interview. 

Conor Cashel- If you were Brian Cashman, would you regret signing A-Rod to the 10 year deal, now that his use of PED's has come to light? Despite Brian Cashman saying otherwise, could you see a deal that would bring a 3B in to fill in for A-Rod? Do you think that Cody Ransom will work out as the backup?

Tim Dierkes- I would regret the contract, yes.  Perhaps more so because of the hip condition than the admitted PED usage.  I don't believe A-Rod has used PEDs in recent years, but that is only a guess.  Regarding the contract, there is just so much that can go wrong in the course of ten years when you are paying top dollar.  His defense and health may start to decline even if he does continue to hit.  I could see a very minor deal for another third baseman...like a minor league deal for Mark Grudzielanek, something along those lines.  I expect Ransom to be the team's worst regular when he's out there.

CC- What was the best free agent signing this offseason? Which organization came out as the "biggest winner" of the offseason?

TD- I liked a lot of the one-year deals - Randy Johnson, Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Orlando Cabrera, Orlando Hudson, Brad Penny.  With the focus on winning in 2009, you have to give the Yankees the claim to the best offseason since they brought in three star-quality players. 

CC- Which of the Yankee acquisitions (Swisher, Sabathia, Burnett, Teixeira) do you see having the biggest impact on the team in the short term? Long term?

TD- Short-term Sabathia, long-term Teixeira.  Tex is more of a steady performer with less risk of injury, but Sabathia could burst onto the NY scene as a 7 win player in 2009 and lead a revamped rotation. 

CC- There has been much discussion over who will play RF for the Yankees next season. If you are Joe Girardi, who is your everday RF? Nick Swisher or Xavier Nady? Do you go with a platoon?

TD- Platoon doesnt really make sense, as Swisher hit lefties pretty well before last year.  I'd go with Swisher, Nady would get plenty of playing time as a quality fourth outfielder/bench bat. 

CC- What major trade deadline deals could you see happening? Who could the Yankees potentially pick up at the deadline to ease their CF situation (if Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner don't work out)? Do you see Austin Jackson coming up at some point in the year if Gardner and Melky don't give the Yankees what they are looking for?

TD- It would not surprise me to see Roy Halladay dealt.  Rick Ankiel, Erik Bedard, and Adrian Beltre are other possibilities.  The Yanks could go after Ankiel or renew the Mike Cameron talks.  Marlon Byrd could also make sense.  I can see Jackson taking over at midseason with a respectable first half. 

CC- With the weak economy, it has been suggested that some teams may be in full salary dump mode come midseason. Could you see this happening to any teams in particular? What kind of players would be traded both on the salary dump side and the salary pick-up side?

TD- I could see a team like the Tigers dumping salary en masse, with someone like Magglio Ordonez being a well-paid player but not an albatross.  The Tigers also have many truly bad contracts.  The Astros have Miguel Tejada (others would have to be willing to waive no-trade rights).  The Blue Jays have Vernon Wells.  The Rangers could try to move Kevin Millwood and/or Vicente Padilla. 

CC- Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, Nick Swisher, and Robinson Cano are all coming off rough seasons, whether it be due to injury or just poor playing. Which of these players is most likely to return to their full potential? Who's return to potential/strength will have the biggest impact on the team's success?

TD- I see Cano as the most likely to bounce back, with an honorable mention to Swisher.  The 2008 seasons of those two players seem more the product of bad luck than health.  But Posada's potential bounce back will have the biggest impact because catcher is so hard to fill and if he has to DH there's nowhere to play Matsui. 

CC-Last time we spoke to you, you predicted that the Yankees would finish with 92 wins, win the Wild Card , but lose to the Red Sox in the ALCS. Have your predictions changed over the last 3 months?

TD- That still seems like a reasonable outcome to me...I could see the Yanks winning even more regular season games maybe.  I know this looks like a cop-out but I can see the Yanks, Red Sox, and Rays all winning more than 90 games and any playoff outcome involving those three would not surprise me.   

CC- Just for fun, let's hear what you think the 3 biggest hot stove headlines will be in December 2009?

TD- 1.  Matt Holliday's free agency
2.  Even less free agent spending for non-star players
3.  Manny. 


Jon Heyman has up a list of prospects that are creating buzz. They're all guys that most people have heard of, like Matt Wieters, Tommy Hanson, Cameron Maybin, David Price, Pedro Alvarez, Matt LaPorta, and Rick Porcello. It's cool to see who's having success and who isn't though. Phil Hughes is the only Yankee on the list. I can't believe Heyman didn't put up Brett Gardner though...

Here's an article at looking at prospects in the DSL.

Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects by the Numbers, and Top 100 Prospects.

This is just kindof filler, but really...who doesn't love propsect profiles?

Back...and some notes

Hey all, I just got back to the states from Guatemala. I'm traveling now, but I'll be getting some posts in when I can.

It's nice to know that tickets at the New Cathedral are real affordable. You'll never have to pay more than $2,625 for a seat....

Everyone's favorite failure, Kei Igawa, is having a pretty strong spring training. As of today, he's got a 0.00 ERA through 9.2 innings, with 9 K's and 4 BB's. You have to wonder if he might actually be in the Bronx this year, or if he'll be traded...

Andruw Jones will decide whether or not to opt out of his contract next week. I don't see him coming to the Bronx, not with the spring Gardner's had.

Joba's hearing got pushed back another time. He'll be solving world hunger, curing AIDS, and solving the Palestine-Israel conflict, so he has to push the DUI hearing back.

Tex hit his 1st homer as a Yank. Remember that he always starts slow, so don't be upset if he doesn't hit many more until May or June.

Andy Pettitte has been helping Jorge Posada work on his arm strength. They've worked together for a long time, so Andy knows how Jorge should look behind the plate. They played with Trenton against Scranton, and both looked good.

The Melkman hasn't given up on winning the starting CF spot. I've always been a Melky fan (I hung my "Got Melky?" shirt on my wall in mourning when he was sent down to Triple A last year). However, I love Gardner's hustle and speed, and will to win. Whoever wins, Yankee fans should be happy.

Joba is a starter, don't question that. BUT, if Mariano were to get injured, he would move to the closer's role. But Mo isn't going to get injured. He'll be fine all year. Personally, I would just move Bruney, or Marte, or perhaps even future closer Melancon to the spot, because I think Joba needs consistent time in the rotation. But, I guess we have enough back-ups (Hughes, Kennedy, Aceves) to fill in the starter's role if Joba had to close.


Check Back tomorrow...

Hey everybody, 
I am not going to be able to do my RF profile today, or anything else, as I have a massive essay on 1968 due tomorrow and an entire application to NHS. FUN!!! Anyway, I'll continue tomorrow. Sorry again for the lack of posts.



CF- This is where things get a little interesting...

Starters- The job is kind of a toss up between Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner. At this point in the spring, I would say the job will end up going to Gardner, just because he is tearing up the Grapefruit League. For spring, Gardner is hitting .382/.447/.765 with 3 HR in 34 ABs. That is absolutely ridiculous. Despite the fact that he is absolutely raking in March, he didn't fare too well in the regular season last year. He ended up hitting .228/.283/.299, which is pretty bad, but he showed great improvement towards the end of the year. Kevin Long has been working with him on opening up his stance. Hopefully, these changes will help Brett to develop at the plate. Gardner is very quick, swiping 13 bases in 42 games. He is a constant threat on the base paths. His speed also factors into his solid fielding. Because of the speed, he has great range in CF and can track balls down very well. It doesn't hurt that he has a very very strong arm. I, personally, see Gardner as the Opening Day starter. I think he can have a really solid season out in CF. 

Backup- Melky Cabrera did not live up to expectations at all last season. He only his .249/.301/.341. It was by far his worst season in the Bronx and it earned him an extended trip down to AAA. Melky really needs to find his swing again if he wants to be considered for the CF job. As a fielder, Cabrera has a very strong arm, but is constantly criticized for the awkward routes he takes on fly balls. If he doesn't win the job for CF and continues to play poorly, he should be the backup OF. If he continues to struggle, he will be a very competent 4th OF.

Prospects- Austin Jackson is our main CF prospect. Last season in AAA, Jackson hit .285/.354/.419, which is not too shabby for a 21 year old. He is a very strong defender, and pretty much has all 5 tools, so I am pretty excited about the emergence of this young kid. 


Left Field

Hey Everybody
Before I write about LF, I just wanted to apologize for the relative infrequency of my posting. This week is proving to be a horribly stressful week. I need to get through this week and then its smooth sailing... ANYWAY:

Starters: Johnny Damon will be the starting LF when the season starts. The 34 year old Damon is entering the final year of the 4 year 52 mil contract he signed in 2005. Damon has been very consistent for the Yankees. Last season, Damon hit .303/.375/.461, which was one of his best hitting seasons with the Yankees. Damon had an injured shoulder last season which caused him to miss some time. Damon also has a lot of speed, which is great for our lineup. Last year, Damon stole 29 bases, his high with the Yankees. He has been a great leadoff hitter in his time with the Yankees, and I have no doubt that he will continue doing well in that role. As for his fielding, Damon was the CF for the first 2.5 years with the Yanks. His lack of range has forced him to move to LF, which is no issue because he is one of the best defensive LF the game has to offer. Not only is he a solid player, he is great in the clubhouse and seems to be a fan favorite. I'm very confident that Damon will have another good season with the Yankees.

Backups- Nick Swisher. I'm saving him for RF. You could also throw in Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner as potential backups. 

Prospects- The two Yankee LF prospects are John Rodriguez and Colin Curtis. According to RAB, "Rodriguez is the best pure hitter on the team (AAA) and has had at least a .363 OPB and .500 SLG in 4 of the last 5 seasons". Curtis had a bit of a rough showing in AA last season, hitting .255/.329/.368.


Third Base

Starter- In 5-8 weeks, Alex Rodriguez will be the starting 3rd baseman for the New York Yankees. As you all know, he just had surgery on his hip and will be out until mid May. A-Rod has been the Yankee 3rd baseman for 5 years.  He came over in a deal that sent Alfonso Soriano to Texas and shifted A-Rod to 3rd. Last offseason he was inked to a 10 year, 275 Million Dollar deal, breaking his own record for the richest player in baseball history. Despite his tendency to create controversy (Steriods, Madonna), he has been a fantastic player for the Yankees, winning 2 MVP awards. In his 5 years as a Yankee, A-Rod has hit .303/.400/.573 with an OPS+ of 153, which is absolutely stellar. He is most often chastised for is his lack of "clutch" play. In his last 3 playoff series, A-Rod has had a .157 batting average. He has not performed in the playoffs, but let's be honest, we would not have gotten to the playoffs (especially in 2007) without A-Rod. Do I want him to step it up in the late innings and in the playoffs? Absolutely, but booing the guy isn't helping the situation. He has done fantastic things for the Yankees, and let's just hope his great play will continue when he comes back from his injury. 

Backups- Cody Ransom is the back up 3B for the Yankees. He will be the teams starter for the next couple of weeks with the absence of A-Rod. The guy is a minor league journey man, playing 11 years in the minors. His minor league numbers aren't great, hitting .242/.322/.426. Last year with the big club, Ransom hit .302/.400/.651 with 4 HR in only 43 AB. Sure, he isn't likely to live up to these stats, but I can see him hitting better than his minor league stats show. And hey, the guy can jump really really high. I can see him being a perfectly fine fill in for the next 5 weeks. 

Prospect- Eric Duncan was really rushed throughout his minor league career. His minor league stats are .247/.329/.416. I think that the organization could have taken more time with Duncan, but, they didn't and it might have hurt them in the long run. Duncan will be playing AAA this year. 



We also started a facebook group for the blog. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=56712789823. There's the link. Please Join!


Hey All
I had an extremely busy day today, so I'll have the 3rd Base "profile" up tomorrow. 
In other news...

Jorge Posada played his first game at catcher today. He caught 4 innings, 3 for Andy Pettitte and 1 for Phil Coke. According to PeteAbe, Posada said his shoulder felt strong after the outing. In addition to catching 4 innings, Posada did his share at the plate, going 2-2. This is very good news for Yankee fans. Having Posada back for a full season will do wonders for the team. Let's just hope he stays healthy...

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that the Yankees are "keeping an eye" on Bobby Crosby of the A's.

Joe Girardi says that A-Rod is already off his crutches. I find that so remarkable. Say what you want about the guy, but he really does work hard, and boy does it pay off.

So Kevin and I have decided on the topic for our contest. To be considered to win the free AE DVD set, please email me your most interesting/bizarre/hilarious experience at Yankee Stadium. Kevin and I will read through the submissions and pick a winner when he gets back from Guatemala. My email is cbrdbr@gmail.com. Make sure to send in an experience! Here is the DVD information http://shop.aetv.com/detail.php?p=71428&SESSID=171b579e0c4c32bf45ca3aa6808de5f6&v=All.

New Yankee Stadium Photos

Wow. Bob Ruffolo got some amazing shots of the New Yankee Stadium. Please check these out.



Starter: I think it's pretty clear who the starting SS will be in 2009. Captain Clutch will be entering his 13th year as starting shortstop for the New York Yankees. Over his 14 seasons with the Yankees, he has hit .316/.387/.458. Jeter's performance in the playoffs has been absolutely stellar as well. In 25 playoff series, Jeter has hit .309/.377/.469. People have good reason to call him captain clutch. Jeter is very consistent at the plate, so you know what you are going to get from him every year. He is getting older, so his HR might decline, but expect his AVG to hover right around .300 as it always does. Despite winning 3 Gold Gloves, Jeter is said to be the worst defensive shortstop in the MLB. To be honest though, this doesn't bother me. Jeter does so much for the team on and off the field that (I think) outweighs his poor defense.  Jeter is a role model for so many people because of his good sportsmanship, strong desire to win, and selflessness. He has emerged as the good guy from the "steriod era" because he consistently put up great numbers and has never/will never be accused of steriods. He is the poster child of Yankee Baseball, and I hope that he can continue his great play. I really can't say enough about Derek Jeter

Backups- Angel Berroa is the backup. Since his ROY season, he has fallen off the perch. His career stats are .260/.305/.378, which is pretty bad. He will be a fine backup for the occasional Jeter day off, but I don't think he will suffice if Jeter goes down for an extended period of time. 

Interesting Read

I just read an interesting article comparing Derek Jeter to Martin Brodeur. The have pretty similar careers, which is pretty cool. The article is titled, "The Man Derek Jeter Should Envy (But Likely Doesn't). With all due respect to Reed Albergotti, I don't think Jeter should be envying to many people.

I'm about to hop in the car to drive home from Vermont. Great ski weekend for all of you ski fanatics. I'll post about the SS situation when I get home.


Second Base

Starter: Robinson Cano has been the Yankees primary 2B since 2005. Despite his rough season last year, Cano has been a fantastic addition to the team. In his first season with the Yanks, he hit .297/.320/.458 and finished 2nd in the ROY votings. His following season, he hit .342/.365/.525, was voted onto the All-Star team, won a Silver Slugger Award, and came in 3rd for the AL Batting Title (behind Jeter and Mauer). In 2007, he had another great year, hitting .306/.353/.488. Last season, he only hit .271/.305/.410, which, granted, is rough, but clearly not indicative of his talent and potential. He did a lot of work with Kevin Long at the end of last season and over the winter to rework his swing, which will hopefully lead to him getting back to where he was in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Cano has often been criticized for his lack of plate discipline, but he worked with Long on this as well. Unfortunately, he isn't a great fielder, but he is by no means terrible. One thing that I like about Cano is the energy he brings to the team. Him and Melky have great chemistry and together they really seem to give the team a boost. Cano has taken a lot of heat for his off season last year, but what people have to realize is that he is still young (25) and has plenty of time for major improvement. I have no doubt that Robinson Cano will return to form and really contribute to the team's success this season. 

Back up- Cody Ransom is the backup at second base. I'm not going to profile him right now though, because I wanted to wait for 3rd base, where he will have a much greater impact with the A-Rod injury.

Prospects- Kevin Russo is the Yankees primary 2b prospect. He posted impressive stats in AA Trenton last year, hitting .307/.363/.416. He figures to be the everyday 2b for AAA next season, but if Cano goes down, Russo should get a look.

Brett Gardner: Revamped

So I didn't know this, but Brett Gardner did a bit of an overhaul on his swing this year. According to PeteAbe, Kevin Long approached Gardner after he had gotten sent down (August) and asked him to "plant his foot firmly and open up his stance". Before this, Gardner "took a big stride, leaving his body unbalanced and unable to generate power". The new stance mirrors Albert Pujols. It certainly seems to be paying off in camp, and lets hope it continues during the season.


First Base

Today I'm going to continue my "series" with First Base.

Starters- The first base situation for the Yankees is pretty much on lock down for the next 8 years. As everybody knows, the Yankees signed free agent 1b Mark Teixeira to a 8 year mega-deal, worth 180 million dollars. The Yankees haven't had a regular first baseman since 2001, when Tino Martinez manned 1B. Teixeira has been consistently awesome, spending time with the Rangers, Braves, and Angels. His career stat line is .290/.378/.541, which is very impressive. His best performance came in the second half of last year, where he hit .358/.449/.632 with the Angels. His bat isn't the only facet of his game. Teixeira is a two time Gold-Glover (2005, 2006) and has constantly been regarded as one of the best defensive first basemen in the game. In my opinion, Teixeira is probably the 2nd or 3rd best 1b in the game, behind the amazing Albert Pujols. I think that the Teixeira signing was great for the Yankees because he provides them with a stellar all-around 1b, something that they haven't had in a while. He professional attitude, strong work ethic, and great talent will surely make him a fan favorite in NY.

Backups- The back up 1B for the Yankees this season will probably be the newly acquired Nick Swisher. Swish was slated as the teams first baseman when originally acquired from the White Sox, but the signing of Teixeira pushed him into the outfield. Swisher has solid power, hitting 21, 35, 22, and 24 HR in the last 4 seasons, respectively. He isn't known as an average guy, but his OPB greatly outweighs his low average. In 153 games last season, Swisher hit .221, but still managed to pull off a .332 OPB. In 2007, his OPB was .381, while only hitting .262. Swisher plays a pretty solid 1b, so if Tex goes down, he will be a very capable replacement.

Juan Miranda is another guy to consider if Teixeira goes down. Miranda had a very good season in AAA last year, hitting .287/.384/.449. His fielding isn't incredible, but it's not bad either. Another good option for 1B if Teixeira gets injured

Stuck- There were a few players who were subject to speculation in regard to taking over the 1b job at the tail end of their career. Jorge Posada and Derek Jeter, sorry, but it's not happening. Jesus Montero figured to move to 1b (size), but is now stuck at catcher as well. To be honest though, this doesn't bother me at all. Teixeira is a fantastic player and I'm extremely excited to have him in pinstripes.

Don't forget to send in your ideas about the contest...



Hey All, 
Over the next week or so, I am going to analyze the Yankees at each position, their starters, and the depth that the respective position has in the farm system(except for starting rotation, which I analyzed in my Top 5 Rotations post). Today, I'll start off with the Yankee Catchers.

Starter- Jorge Posada will undoubtedly be the starting catcher this season. He has had the catching job in NY since 1998 ("spilt" time with Girardi, playing 33 more games than the now-manager) and will hopefully fill the void that he left last season. Posada has been a great player for the Yankees throughout his career and was an integral part of the World Championship teams of the Late 90s. For his career, he has hit .277/.380/.447 OPS+124, which has consistently put him among the best offensive catchers in the game. His most impressive season came in 2007, when he hit a spectacular .338/.426/.543 with an OPS+ of 154. Last year, Posada had an injured shoulder, and it really took a toll on the team. Posada's offense was clearly missed, and he will be a huge addition to the line-up if his shoulder holds up. Age might become an issue soon, considering he is 37 years old this year. He is signed through 2011, but I find it hard to believe that he will remain at catcher the whole time. He is extremely important to the team, both as a leader and an offensive presence, and I am very excited to have him back.

Backups- The two other catchers on the 40-man roster are Jose Molina and Francisco Cervelli. Molina served as the backup last season, and ended up playing a lot because of the Posada injury. The 33 year old Molina played in 100 games for the Yankees this season, posting a line of .216/.263/.313, which is pretty bad. In fairness to Molina, he has never been known for his stick. His great defense is his claim to fame. Last year, he threw out 44% of baserunners, which is pretty solid. Molina is definitely a capable backup, but lets hope that he isn't given as big a role as he was last season, strictly because of his poor hitting.

Francisco Cervelli is also on the 40-man, but probably won't be given the backup job, at least not right out of camp. Cervelli is 23, and is also known more for his defense than his offense. In 21 games with Trenton last season, Cervelli hit .315/.432/.384. He could be another viable option for the backup role this season.

Prospects- The Yankees have 2 main catching prospects, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine. Montero is an absolute beast. He stands at 6-4, 225 lbs and is only 19 years old. He is definitely known for his huge bat. Last season in A ball, Montero hit 17 HRs with a line of .326/.376/.491. According to Baseball Prospectus, he is the number one prospect in the Yankees farm system. It has been said by many that he is too big to remain at catcher for his whole career, but the Yankees have made it clear that they will have him stick it out behind the dish. He definitely needs to improve his defense though.

Austin Romine also appeared on Baseball Prospectus's list, falling at #4. According to Baseball Prospectus, Romine "should be considered the catcher of the future". They went on to say that he "provides above-average potential at the dish and behind it", which is a promising statement. The 20 year old hit .300/.344/.437 last year in Charleston. 

There you have it. Let's hear what you have to say in the comments. I'll do a piece about 1st base tomorrow.

Please be sure to comment and/or send me an email regarding ideas for the contest. It should be fun and we would love your input.



Hey Everybody,
Kevin is gone for the next 10 days so it's just me! I'm totally swamped with work right now, but I wanted to quickly introduce a contest that we will be holding.

A&E was nice enough to send Kevin and I a few copies of their new disc set, "The New York Yankees" Essential Games of Yanke Stadium". It's a six disc set that includes 1976 Game 5 Vs. KC, 1977 WS Game 6, 1995 ALDS Game 2, 1996 WS Game 6, 2001 WS Game 4, and 2003 ALCS Game 7. Kevin and I have watched a couple of games, and the series is really really great. We are going to be doing a full review of the disc set in the coming weeks, but the 22 hours of footage is taking us a little while. Here is a link, so you can view the set on your own http://shop.aetv.com/detail.php?p=71428&SESSID=171b579e0c4c32bf45ca3aa6808de5f6&v=All. From what I have seen so far, its an awesome set. 

Anyway, A&E sent us another copy to give away on 6P8OBJ! So, we are going to hold a contest to see who gets this great DVD set. Here's the thing, we haven't picked a contest yet... SO, Kevin and I were wondering if you could provide some insight and maybe leave some ideas for contests in the comments. We would both love your input. Once the contest idea is picked, we'll run the contest, probably in the next 2 or 3 weeks. 


Chone Figgins

I want Chone Figgins. That's all there is to it. Here's why...

The 30 year old Angel is very very versatile. In his career, he has played every infield position (besides 1st base) and every outfield position. He tends to play most of his games at CF and 3rd base, which would simply be perfect for the Yankees. He could fill in at 3rd for the 6-9 weeks that A-Rod and then be moved to CF. He would then fight for the CF job against Brett Gardner (ST Phenom) and Melky Cabrera, who have been vying for the job for the last year and a half. If he failed to get the CF job after A-Rod comes back, he would be an ideal utility player because he has a ton of speed (238 SB in 7 seasons) and because of his ability to play most positions. 

Offensively speaking, he isn't fantastic. His OPB hovers around .350 every season (.356 career), his high coming in 2007 when he had a .393 OPB. He holds a .290 career Batting AVG and a .387 career SLG. His main offensive threat comes on the base paths. Over the last 4 seasons, he has stolen 62, 52, 41, and 34 bases, respectively. The last 2 seasons he has had injuries that decreased his SB output. 

Overall, he would be an excellent addition to the team. He could fill in for A-Rod, play CF after A-Rod returns, or simply improve a bench that definitely needs help. Unfortunately, he will cost a lot. Even so, I would love to see Cash make an attempt to get Figgins to NY. What are your thoughts?

Operaton A-Rod Surgery: Accomplished

A-Rod had his surgery on his hip today. According to PeteAbe, Dr. Philippon said that the surgery went just fine, which is good news for the Yankees. According to Pete, A-Rod's "rehab protocol requires him to be riding an exercise bike by the end of the day today. He is wasting no time getting back into shape. He'll be back in 6-9 weeks. 


A-Rod to have Surgery

A-Rod will have the surgery on his hip. Bob Dutton writes that the Yanks could be interested in Mark Teahen. Peter Abraham says that right now Cody Ransom is the only option for third base. I say we sign Ray Durham or Mark Grudzielanek. If there was any chance that Swisher or Nady could play third, I would be up for that too. If we are going to make a trade, we have to remember that A-Rod will be back in May, so we need someone that can move around and become a reliable backup. I've said it before, and I'll say it again...I want Chone Figgins. It won't happen most likely, but I sure wish it would. The Angels need power, so a Nady/Figgins trade would let them put Brandon Wood play third and then have Nady play first. Nady isn't a first baseman by trade, so Swisher would make more sense for the Angels, but the Yanks would probably prefer to keep Swish.


World Baseball Classic Update

Just a quick run-down of what's happened so far...

China lost to Japan 4-0.

Taiwan lost to Korea, 9-0.

Then, China beat Taiwan 4-1, eliminating Taiwan.

Japan beat Korea 14-2, and they only played 7 innings.

The Netherlands pulled an upset over the Dominican team, 3-2. Basically a team who's best player is Sidney Ponson, beat a team that has Edinson Volquez, Pedro Martinez, Carlos Marmol, Robinson Cano, Hanley Ramirez, David Ortiz, and Jose Reyes. Anything can happen in baseball.

As I am writing, the Americans are losing 2-1 to Canada in the fourth.

I say that Korea and Japan will come out of Pool A, Cuba and Mexico from Pool B, The US and Venezuela from Pool C, and the Netherlands and Puerto Rico from Pool D. Then Cuba and Japan from Pool 1, and the US and Venezuela from Pool 2. Then a Japan vs. the US final, with the US winning.


God, I wish this were true...

Impacto Deportivo reports that the Yanks are trading Alex Rodriguez to Seattle for Adrian Beltre. THe aricle says the trade is "grande y complicado" (big and complicated). I am about 99.9% sure this isn't true, but if it were....I'd be stoked. I'm not a big Beltre fan, but I want A-Rod out of New York. Imagine if we made a Ichiro-Beltre for A-Rod swap, God that would be great. Anyways, Impacto Deportivo is known for just making stuff up(Like when they said the Yanks were going to sign Manny...), so don't read too much into this. It's just funny entertainment. By the way, the link is in Spanish.


Yikes Joba

Joba didn't have the best day, he couldn't even finish the first inning. He walked 4 and was charged with 5 earned runs. It's still early, but this wasn't good. Joba's still the man, he'll figure stuff out and be ready when the season starts. Don't worry.

ARod Update

A-Rod won't have surgery. His cyst was drained, but he has a torn hip labrum. Supposedly they're going to try "rest and rehab." Surgery would keep him off the field for 4 months, which is why they would rather see if it could be fixed just by rest and rehab. Cashman said that surgery will be needed at some point, since the tear won't heal on its own. Whether he'd have surgery now, or after the season is unknown. Either way, its not good. All this info from PeteAbe's blog. If A-Rod is out for the year, I would love to see Chone Figgins man third base for the Yanks. He's awesome.

A-Rod could be out for 10 weeks.

Alex Rodriguez is going to have surgery on Monday to remove a cyst from his hip. He could be out 10 weeks, as a best case scenario. Remember how all off-season I said we needed a better backup infielder. Well, I bet the team regrets not pursuing one now. We could possibly try to make a trade. Peter Gammons suggests trading for Garrett Atkins or Chad Tracy. As Peter Gammons said, 10 weeks is a long time, and we need someone better than Cody Ransom or Angel Berroa manning third. I wonder if Ray Durham would play 3rd base if we signed him, same with Mark Grudzielanek. I could also see names like Jack Wilson, Chone Figgins, Troy Glaus, and David Eckstein being mentioned as trade candidates, as they are all free agents after the season. Gammons suggested that the Yanks would have to give up some good young starting pitching for someone like Atkins, perhaps Hughes or Brackman, which I can't see Cashman doing. There's a chance we see Xavier Nady or Nick Swisher trying to man third base, or we could see one of those two traded for a third baseman. I hate injuries.

Manny's in LA

This is a little late as reports have been being confirmed and denied for a day or two. Now, it seems like Manny has signed a 2 year $45mm with the Dodgers. I'm just glad he's not in the Bronx(I'm scared of his attitude) and not anywhere else in the AL (I'm scared of his bat).


Top 5 Starting Rotations in the MLB

With the season not too far away, we thought it would be nice to preview the 5 best rotations in baseball.


1. Tampa Bay Rays 

2. New York Yankees

3. San Francisco Giants

4. Chicago Cubs

5. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 


The AL Champion Rays’ rotation can be described in one word, Beast. Last season, they boasted a team ERA (bullpen included) of 3.82, which is pretty remarkable. The only loss from their rotation this offseason was Edwin Jackson who gave them a solid 14 wins and 183.3 innings; this "hole" should be more than filled with the fantastic David Price. The rotation starts off with James Shields, who will be 27 this coming season.. Last season he pitched an impressive 215 innings, with a 3.56 ERA, 1.153 WHIP, and a 4:1 K:BB ratio. Interestingly enough, he pitched the same number of innings the year before, with a 3.85 ERA a ridiculous 1.107 WHIP, and a 5.11:1 K:BB ratio. This young guy has been consistently effective over the last couple of years, and should only continue to put up impressive stats this season. Scott Kazmir, still only 24, is another one of the great pitchers in the Rays’ rotation. He has had his fair share of injury troubles, but when healthy he is dominant. Last season, he had an ERA of 3.49, 166 Ks, a WHIP of 1.267, and threw 152.3 innings. He tends to walk a few more guys than he should. He has shown great potential when he has been healthy, leading the AL in Ks in 2007 (239), and being voted onto the All-Star team in both 2005 and 2007. With his young age, he will only continue to get better and grow as a pitcher for the Rays. Matt Garza, their #3, is another young guy (24) who had an effective season for the Rays. He was brought over to the Rays along with Team MVP Jason Bartlett in the Delmon Young deal last offseason. In his first season with the Rays he had an ERA of 3.70, a WHIP of 1.240, and a K:BB ratio of 2.2, which could certainly be improved upon. Again remember, he is very young and will only continue to improve. Sonnanstine, the Rays #4, will be 26 next season and had a season very similar to Andy Pettitte. He had an ERA of 4.38, a WHIP of 1.288, and a 3.1 K:BB ratio. He picked up a good amount of innings in ‘08, throwing 193.3 in total. David Price is the only Rays’ starter who scares me. The 22 year old had great composure in the Playoffs last season and just made people look stupid. He did the best he could to justify the # 1 prospect tag he has been given. The Rays have the best rotation in major league baseball. Statistically they fare well in the ERA and WHIP categories, and with not one of their starters being older than 27, they have a promising future.


Next up, is our own New York Yankees. The Yankees made some serious improvements to their rotation this season, adding the best lefty in baseball,CC Sabathia, and the 08 strikeout leader, AJ Burnett. In doing so, they made their rotation younger (Sabathia is 27, Burnett is 32) and more effective. They lost Mike Mussina, who at 38 was coming off of a stellar 20-win season. Their rotation is clearly formidable. CC Sabathia is the team’s ace signing on with a 7 year $161mm contract. His ’08 season was spectacular, as he carried the Brewers into the playoffs. He was quite the workhorse, throwing 253 innings between the Indians and the Brewers. He sported a cool 2.70 ERA, with an insane 1.65 ERA in his 17 games with the Brewers (7 of which were complete games). His 251 Ks, 4.25 K:BB, and 1.115 WHIP made me water at the mouth. Hopefully, his workload over the past couple years won't hurt him this year or in the future. Burnett, another big free agent signing, had a very solid season for the Jays in ‘08. He hurled 221.3 innings with a 4.07 ERA (a little bit higher than we’d like). He had 231 Ks and a WHIP of 1.342. He is obviously a huge injury risk, but hopefully he can stay healthy in his first year in pinstripes. Burnett’s biggest strength is his electric stuff, as he pitches for power as well as movement. He could be the ace on almost any other team, but instead he’ll take the role of the #2 in the Bronx. Chien Ming Wang has been incredibly consistent in his time with the Yankees. In both 06 and 07, his ERA was under 4.00 and he totaled 19 wins both years. He was off to a great start last year as well before his season was cut short by a foot injury running the bases in Houston. He has been criticized for his lack of Ks, but Wang’s whole approach is to pitch to contact, as he is one of the best in the league at making batters hit the ball into the dirt. His consistency and nasty sinker will lead to another great year for the Yankees. Andy Pettitte sits at #4. He came up with the Yankees and has been a fan favorite for a long time. He is another workhorse, throwing 204 innings last season despite being hurt as the year wound down. He had a high ERA (4.54), but don’t fret, as that was the result of a weak second half while he was battling soreness in his shoulder. His WHIP was a bit high as well (1.412), and he had a 2.87 K:BB. Andy isn’t what he used to be, but he’s guy you still count on to take the ball every 5th day and pitch quality innings. The Lord Our Savior Joba Chamberlain will be the 5th starter for the Yanks. The 22 year old made the transition to starter for a limited time last season, before hamstring problem landed him on the DL, and pushed him to the ‘pen upon his return. His 2.60 ERA, 1.256 WHIP, and 3.02 K:BB impressed everyone. I'm very excited to see how he'll do in his first full season as starter. Another great thing about this Yankee rotation is the great depth we have. If a starter goes down, we won’t have to worry about sending Sidney Ponson or Darrell Rasner to the mound, instead we’ll see Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, or Alfredo Aceves. Beyond that, the Yanks’ have veteran insurance with Sergio Mitre (after he serves his 50 game suspension), Brett Tomko, and Dan Giese. The Yanks could easily be the best rotation in the league, but there is too much uncertainty with Sabathia’s workload the past two years, Burnett’s injury history, Wang coming off an injury and a half season, Pettitte’s age, and Joba’s lack of experience as a full time big league starter.


The Giants boast the 3rd best rotation in baseball. Their ace, Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, is dirty, unbelievable, and has already proved himself to be a superstar. The 24 year old had a 2.62 ERA, a 1.172 WHIP, 265 Ks (led league), in his Cy Young campaign. Not bad for a 24 year old. Matt Cain, their #2, had a 3.76 ERA, had 186 Ks, and a 1.364 WHIP. He is another guy that will give you a bunch of innings, with an average of 202 innings over the last 3 seasons. Future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, signed with San Fran this offseason, and will be 45 this year. Sure, he's old, but his stats were still impressive last season, with a 3.91 ERA, and 1.239 WHIP, and 173 Ks. His age could catch up with him though, and his constant back issues could pose a problem as well.. Barry Zito, who has done nothing but disappoint for the Giants, is the #4. He has struggled immensely in SF, posting a 5.15 ERA, 1.600 WHIP, and an abysmal 1.17 K:BB ratio last season. He was a fine pitcher across the bay in Oakland, even picking up a Cy Young in ’01, so he could still have a comeback in him. The #5 spot will go to Jonathan Sanchez, but Noah Lowry could still fight him for it. Sanchez, 25, throws a ton of Ks, with 157 in 158 innings last season. His ERA was high at 5.01, a result of a weak second half. He hasn’t been in the big leagues for long, so he could still break out. Lowry had a 3.92 ERA and a 1.551 WHIP in 07, but missed last season with an injury. He walked loads of batter in ’07, with just as many walks as K’s. That’s not a good sign. San Fran certainly has some question marks in Johnson, Zito, Sanchez, and Lowry, but with such a strong 1-2 combo, and tremendous potential from the others’ this rotation can destroy the NL West. When it comes down to it, it’s nice to have a rotation with 3 Cy Young winners.



The Chicago Cubs come in at #4. The Big Z (Carlos Zambrano), is their ace. He had a decent season last year with a WHIP of 1.293 and 3.91 ERA. His strikeout rates were down from previous seasons, as he only punched out 130 in ‘08. The highlight of his season was his impressive no-hitter. He has proven himself to be a force, and will certainly give the Cubbies lots of quality innings.He pitched over 200 innings each year from 03-07. His biggest flaw is his excessive number of walks. Ex-Yankee Ted Lilly is the #2. The lefty had an ERA of 4.09, 184 Ks, and a WHIP of 1.226. He had a bit of a down season, compared to his "usual stats", so it wouldn't be improbable to see a jump in his stats. Ryan Dempster, #3, had a great season for the Cubs last year. Until last season, he was used primarily as a reliever, but he showed that he can be a very successful starter. He threw 206.66 innings last year with an ERA of 2.96, a WHIP of 1.210, and 187 Ks. He signed a new four year deal with the Cubs this offseason. Typically, relievers-turned-starters have a tougher time their second year, as they fatigue earlier in the season.. Rich Harden, the #4, can be ridiculously dominant when healthy. He showed that last season with a 2.07 ERA and a filthy 1.061 WHIP while pitching for the A’s and Cubs. If he can stay healthy, a big IF, he will be a force in this tremendous Chicago rotation. Rounding out the rotation is Sean Marshall. The converted reliever had a 3.86 ERA and a 1.270 WHIP. He is still young, so there may be serious improvements ahead of him. This rotation will be dominant, but if they somehow manage to reignite talks for Padres’ ace Jake Peavy, and land him, I wouldn’t be surprised to see their first World Series Championship since 1908.


The Angels have the 5th best rotation in the league. Their #1, John Lackey, has shown dominancy for years and is entering his contract year. He had a 3..75 ERA, a 1.231 WHIP, and 3.25 K:BB last season. He was sidelined for a considerable amount of time with a strained tricep. Expect to see him continue to put up strong stats, and bring home some W’s. The youngErvin Santana (#2) had a breakout season for the Angels last year. His 3.49 ERA 214 Ks, and 1.119 WHIP impressed all of baseball. He has shown strengths before, so expect him to keep pitching well this season. #3 Joe Saunders had a great year in ‘08 with a 3.41 ERA, 1.212 WHIP, and a 17-7 record. We’ll see if Saunders can repeat what was the best season of his career so far. Jered Weaver had a less than stellar season for the Angels last year. At 25, he posted a 4.33 ERA, a 1.285 WHIP, and 2.8 K:BB ratio. Look for him to improve this year, now that he has some more big league experience. Rounding out their rotation should be Dustin Moseley who only started 10 games last season. He has great potential, and we’ll see if he can live up to it. This is clearly a talented rotation, but the Angels are relying heavily on repeat seasons from Santana and Saunders, and a bounce-back season for Weaver.


Honorable Mention- 

Boston Red Sox- The Sox have Josh Beckett, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield, John Smoltz, Clay Bucholz, and Brad Penny as viable candidates for the rotation. This could be a great rotation, but Dice-K is overrated, Wakefield is old, Bucholz is a question, and Smoltz and Penny are injury prone.

Florida Marlins- A strong young core could turn heads, but without being “proven” you can’t be sure of how effective they will be.


What do you guys think? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.

The Best and the Worst

Just thinking about how great Brett Gardner is got me thinking about my favorite, whether justifiably or not, and least favorite players of the past 10 or 15 years. So here's a list in no particular order:

JD Closser
Yorvit Torrealba
Ryan Spilborghs
Melky Cabrera
Our Lord The Savior Joba Chamberlain
Clint Barmes
Brett Gardner
Bubba Crosby
Ricky Ledee
Aaron Rowand
Orlando Hudson
Hanley Ramirez
Carl Crawford
Francisco Liriano
Aaron Small
Chone Figgins
Chuck Knoblauch
Alfonso Soriano
Ian Kinsler
Miguel Cairo
Brian McCann
Paul O'Neill
Joakim Soria
JJ Hardy
Kelley Shoppach
Troy Tulowitzki
Joey Votto

The Hated:
Manny Ramirez
Pedro Martinez
John Rocker
Eric Byrnes
Jason Varitek
Jonathan Papelbon
Curt Schilling
Carl Pavano
AJ Burnett(I'm trying to change...)
Denny Neagle
Trot Nixon
Francisco Rodriguez
Barry Bonds
Brett Myers
Brian Giles
Chipper Jones
Jose Canseco
Sammy Sosa

Thoughts? Additions? Subtractions? Reasons? Questions? Let's hear em in the comments.

Joba the Genius

Great Picture at PeteAbe's blog. Here it is above. Wang is throwing souvenirs into the crowd, but look at Joba on the left. You have to love the glasses and the sweater. Classy JChamb, classy.

Some other things of note.

Derek Jeter is the Captain of team USA. In the words of Ricky Bobby, "Hey, it's me, America!" The USA team played the Yanks today. Winning 6-5. Roy Oswalt picked up the win, Phil Hughes got the loss, despite pitching well.

PeteAbe talks about Hughes' newer, tighter curveball. I hope we can get Hughes to the Bronx somehow this year. He'll almost definitely be the first call-up when someone gets injured, and even with a healthy rotation he could come up and displace Andy Pettitte by the end of the season.

A-Rod is coming out to my home state of Colorado tomorrow to have his hip examined in Vail.This could hold A-Rod out of the WBC. If anyone knows A-Rod, tell him he should find me when he leaves Vail and I'll take him out to a nice fancy meal. I'm still debating whether to get him a Juicy burger at Wendy's, or some Jamba Juice. Okay, bad joke, I know, but I couldn't help myself. In all honesty though, he should go to Elway's in Denver. Every superstar should be like John Elway, who's the subject of this touching story by Rick Reilly.

In other news, Brett Gardner is my boy. He's just the man. Through 10 spring at bats BGard has a batting average of .500, and OBP of .545, and is slugging 1.300. He's hit two solo homeruns (one on the first Yankee at bat of the year), hit two doubles, and stolen 2 bases. He's got 13 total bases already and I honestly can't help but cheer for this guy.


NL Playoff Predictions

NL East: Florida Marlins
NL Central: Chicago Cubs
NL West: San Francisco Giants
NL Wildcard: New York Mets

I doubt many predictions have these four teams, but here's my reasoning.

The Marlins will win the East simply because they are the best team in the division. Do they have power, you ask? Yes. See Hanley Ramirez (33 HR), Dan Uggla (32 HR), Jorge Cantu (29 HR), Cody Ross (22 HR), and Jeremy Hermida (17 HR). Do they have speed? Yes. See Hanley Ramirez (35 SB), and Cameron Maybin (21 SB in double A). Do they have a starting rotation? Yes. See Ricky Nolasco (3.52 ERA, 186 K's), Josh Johnson (3.61 ERA), Chris Volstad (2.88 ERA), and Anibal Sanchez (5.57 ERA through to starts in 08, but a career 3.86 ERA). Do they have a bullpen? Yes. See Matt Lindstrom (3.14 ERA), Leo Nunez (2.98 ERA), Logan Kensing (4.23 ERA, but struck out 55 in 55.1 innings) and prospect Jose Ceda (2.08 ERA in 30.1 innings at the double A level last year. Add in the fact that the Marlins won't have to deal with aging players, and they seem like a clear choice for the Division Champs.

The Cubs will win the Central, because, well...how can they not? They have a rotation of Carlos Zambrano(3.91 ERA), Ted Lilly(4.09 ERA), Ryan Dempster(2.96 ERA), Rich Harden(2.07 ERA) and Sean Marshall(3.86 ERA). They also have Aaron Heilman as insurance. Not to mention, they could still possibly swing a trade for Padres' Ace Jake Peavy once ownership issues are settled on both sides. They have a ridiculous lineup with the likes of Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto, and Ryan Theriot. If Milton Bradley stays healthy and performs like he did in 08, he could be another major threat in the lineup. They have some quality arms in the bullpen such as Carlos Marmol, Kevin Gregg, and Jeff Samardzija. The Cubbies' closes competitor in 08, the Brewers, lost their primary ace (CC Sabathia) as well as their secondary ace (Ben Sheets) to free agency. The Reds have a great young core of talent, but too many dominoes have to fall into place for them to beat out the Cubs. The Astros have a fine offense, but have way too many question marks in the rotation. After Roy Oswalt, you can't be sure of anything from the other starters. The Cardinals could be good, since Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Kyle Lohse, and Todd Wellemeyer have all succeeded at the major league level, but their offense, particularly their infielders not named Albert Pujols, is incredibly weak. And the Pirates... I mean do you really expect them to do anything?

The NL West will be won by the team with the best pitching. Since the Rockies just lost their ace(Jeff Francis) for the year, the Padres have only two established starters, one of whom they may very well trade away, and the Dodgers have a very injury-prone rotation, I see the division title being fought for between the Giants and the DBacks.A San Francisco rotation of Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum(2.62 ERA), Matt Cain (3.76 ERA), future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson (3.91 ERA), former Cy Young winner Barry Zito (he's been terrible since arriving in San Fran, but a new year could mean new success...maybe), Noah Lowry (missed all of 08, but had a 3.92 ERA in 07), and youngster Jonathan Sanchez (showed promise until the all star break, before fading down the stretch) could be one of the best in the league. Arizona has Brandon Webb(3.30 ERA) and Dan Haren (3.33 ERA) leading their rotation. Then they trot out league average veterans Jon Garland(4.90) and Doug Davis(4.32 ERA) as their 3rd and fourth starters. In the 5th spot we could see top prospect Max Scherzer come in and make a big impact. Overall, it seems more likely that San Fran will have 3-5 successful starters than Arizona will, so I say San Fran will win the West

There are not teams in the Central or the West that are good enough to win the Wild Card, so I am almost certain it will come from the East. I don't think the Phillies can defend their title, not with the overrated Brett Myers (4.55 ERA), the 46 year old Jamie Moyer(3.71 ERA), and the mediocre Joe Blanton (4.69 ERA). Phillies slugger Ryan Howard has seen his batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, and walk total decline each of the past two years. Third baseman Pedro Feliz had a .302 OBP in 08. And Catcher Carlos Ruiz had a .320 OBP and a .300 SLG in 08. This isn't a playoff team. So the Wild Card comes down to the Mets and the Braves. Lets do a quick comparison.

Derek Lowe(3.24 ERA) Johan Santana(2.53 ERA)
Javier Vasquez (4.67 ERA) Mike Pelfrey (3.72 ERA)
Jair Jurrjens (3.68 ERA) Oliver Perez (4.22 ERA)
Kenshin Kawakami (Played in Japan) John Maine (4.18 ERA)

Both teams will have a fight for the 5th rotation spot. The Mets will let Livan Hernandez, Freddy Garcia, Tim Redding, and Jon Niese fight for the spot, while the Braves will let Jorge Campillo, Jo-Jo Reyes, and Tom Glavine hold down the spot until top prospect Tommy Hanson is ready to take over. The Mets have a stronger lineup with superstars Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Jose Reyes, and Carlos Delgado. The Braves have a nice core of young talent, with guys like Brian McCann, Yunel Escobar, and Kelly Johnson, complemented by veterans Chipper Jones and Garrett Anderson. Then the Mets have a bullpen with JJ Putz and Francisco Rodriguez, as well as Duaner Sanchez and Pedro Feliciano. Meanwhile the Braves have Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano among others. The Mets seem to have the edge, and after two late season collapses they have everything to prove.