Hey Bobby V….Shut Up

The Red Sox new skipper has had the most active mouth so far this spring….and games haven’t even started. Bobby V is attempting to change the culture of the Red Sox who suffered one of the most epic collapses in Major League history.But I don’t think he is going about it the right way.

He banned alcohol in the clubhouse good…he talks smack about A-Rod and The flip play….WHAT??

You know how many wins Valentine has as the Red Sox manager ZERO.

Am I biased because I’m a Yankee fan, obviously this is a Yankee blog. But what is Valentine doing bringing up a play from 2001 and a fight between Tek and A-Rod that happened years ago.

I think Jeter said it best when he said. “Who cares? Why are we talking about this? They must be bored over there, huh? I don’t understand.

I also don’t understand why Valentine has decided to bring up things from the past that he has nothing to do with but it will make it sweeter when the Yankees win.

Spring games haven’t even started but I already miss Terry Francona. I respected him as a manager and I feel he was similar to Joe Torre.

I think the Yankee vs Sox rivalry just got a shot in the arm….it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

The flip play is about 1 minute into this video

Y4L

JM

Makin’ Moves

Hey Yankee Nation. The Yankee’s have been busy the past few days and I think both moves are for the best.

Lets start with the big news of A.J. Burnett getting moved to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a couple low level prospects. I think it was imperative for the Yanks to dump Burnett. With their plethora of starting pitching and Burnett rumored to be on the move since the 2011 season ended I couldn’t see a scenario where they could bring him back in a positive light. Burnett finished with a 34 and 35 record in three years in the Bronx with an e.r.a of 4.79. His best season was his first year in 2009 when the Yanks won it all, Burnett went 13-9 with a 4.04 e.r.a. After that it was all down hill for him. I have definitely been critical of Burnett over the past couple years because I think you can file him with the Carl Pavanos and Kevin Browns of the world who just couldn’t pitch in pinstripes. I wish nothing but the best for Burnett in Pittsburgh. I actually believe that he will pitch significantly better and can easily be the ace of that staff. So thanks A.J. for your role in the ’09 championship season, I will always remember you as that Yankee.

The other big move to note is that we signed Raul Ibanez to DH against righties. He is guaranteed 1.1 million dollars but could make up to 4 million with incentives.  This fills the last big hole the Yankees had this off-season. With Andruw Jones DHing against lefties and Ibanez now DHing against righties the Yanks have a set lineup. Ibanez has played for 16 seasons amassing over 250 homers and 1000 r.b.i.s. Since 2005 Ibanez has hit at least 20 home runs in all but one season. It has been said Ibanez is a good clubhouse can and compliment this Yankee lineup well.

I like the move but am a little bummed we won’t see Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui back next year. Do I think Ibanez is the best out of the three, yes. But I have a soft spot for the other two since they won back in ’09. However the biggest upside to Ibanez that no one can argue is that he is still capable of playing the outfield when needed. The other two are definitely defensive liabilities at this point in their careers.

So here’s to saying good bye to A.J. and saying hello to Raul.

Spring training is right around the corner and I can’t wait.

Y4L

JM

Yankees Dump More Than Just AJ

The Yankees traded Starting Pitcher AJ Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday for two minor league prospects. The Yankees will eat around $18 million of Burnett’s contract over the next two years as part of the deal. The Yankees found no need for Burnett after acquiring starting pitchers Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda several weeks ago.

The Yankees received relief pitcher Diego Moreno and outfielder Exicardo Cayones. Neither player is considered a highly valued prospect but Moreno could find his way into a Major League bullpen, as a 12th or 13th man, as early as 2014. Cayones is only 20 but has only 471 professional at-bats, odds are he will never be seen in a MLB uniform. The trade is more or less a salary dump by the Yankees who relieve themselves of around $13 million dollars over the next two seasons.

Burnett should have more success away from the bright lights of Yankee Stadium and the AL East. Burnett will now be in a league where pitchers bat and in a division with very poor line-ups. Burnett hopes to rekindle the success he had last time he pitched in the AL for the then Florida Marlins.

The Pirates hope Burnett regains some of that success so he can be a valuable asset at the trade deadline either this season or next season. Pirates basically bought a 30+ start per year pitcher for about $6.5 million per.

NOTES: It was reported on Friday that Burnett nixed a trade to the Los Angeles Angels because his wife is afraid of flying. The deal was reported to be Burnett for Angels DH Bobby Abreu. The Yankees will now turn their attention to a left-handed DH such as Raul Ibanez who is rumored to be the front runner to sign with the Yankees. Ibanez has an OBP of .289 with 29 HRs and 84 RBIs last season with Philadelphia.

-Jaime Eisner-

Long Distance

Hey fellow Yankee fans…and everyone else too. Sorry for the delay life been crazy..but I’m back to talk about a player who owns two of the longest homeruns in New Yankee Stadium. You know who I’m talking about…

Yup Russel Branyan. Bet you didn’t see that one coming. The 36-year-old infielder signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training today.

Many of fans have heard the rumors of possiblily bringing back a former Yankee stars Johhny Damon or Hideki Matsui or even Raul Ibanez to fill the currently vacated DH role. But with today’s signing at least the Yanks have a plan B…well maybe more like a plan C or D. Branyan is career .232 hitter with 194 Major League home runs in 14-year career has played with the Indians, Reds, Brewers, Rays, Padres, Phillies, Cardinals and Mariners.

But to his credit he is the only player to hit a home run in the upperdeck in the New Yankee stadium. Who could forget that moon shot off of Javy Vazquez on Aug. 21, 2010.

I do believe Branyan has some pop left in that bat of his but I would much prefer to see a Damon or Matsui fill that void.

Matsui (left) Damon (right)

Hopefully one of them will budge on their asking price and be in pinstripes again.

Yankee For Life,

JM

Why the Pineda trade looks even better…

MLB.com has been posting “Prospect Watch: Top 10 (insert position)” and the other day they posted their top 10 catching prospects of 2012.

Number 4 on the list is Yankee prospect Gary Sanchez. To many, including myself, foresee Austin Romine as the future Yankee backstop but Sanchez is rated higher then Romine. Sanchez has a similar skill set as Jesus Montero (Ranked 1 on the list), big power and sub-par glove.

Gary Sanchez

Sanchez is only 19 years old and has time to develop. Russel Martin looks to be the primary catcher in 2012 with Franciso Cervelli probably as the backup.

The wild card in mix is Austin Romine. He got a taste of the majors last season in 9 games he got 19 at bats where he collected a few hits and an RBI. Romine is a career .281 hitter with a .333 OBP in the minors but the yankees are very high on what the 23 year old catcher can do in the future.

Austin Romine

So while it would seem like trading away the number 1 catching prospect could hurt the Yankees’ behind the plate in the long run it isn’t the case. With two young catcher in the system and another season with Martin behind the plate I don’t think the lose of Montero will be felt while the new presence of of Pineda on the mound will be felt for over the next decade.

Side Note: I found this other Yankee blog called Bleeding Yankee Blue, check it out. http://bleedingyankeeblue.blogspot.com/

Y4L

JM

Top 10 catching prosepct list http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120118&content_id=26377496&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

Yankeeball

“How can you not be romantic about baseball.” – Brad Pitt as Billy Beane in Moneyball

 After watching Moneyball….again… I sat and reflected on how much the game has changed in the last decade. The 2012 season will mark a full decade since the Oakland Athletics won the AL west division by changing the game of baseball. The theory behind the implementation of moneyball, by Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane and A’s Assistant General Manger Paul DePodesta, was that teams did not need to buy players buy to buy wins. And, the way to buy wins was to buy runs. From then on, the A’s proceeded to acquire players with a high on-base percentage and heavily valued walks. This led to all teams using this philosophy including the Boston Red Sox who attempted to hire Beane as their GM after the 2002 season. The Red Sox then won a World Series 2 years later with GM Theo Epstein using many of the same tactics Beane introduced.

Moneyball also inspired a movement in the direction of sabermetrics. As you have seen on this site, I like to use OBP instead of average, and mention such sabermetrics as WAR (wins above replacement), UZR (ultimate zone rating), amongst others. In 2010Seattlepitcher Felix Hernandez won the American League Cy Young award with only 13 wins which was a major victory for sabermetics and marked the official shift of all in baseball into the new era.

Now as it relates to the Yankees, many think that the large market teams don’t implement the moneyball system. That would be incorrect. The theory behind value and determining how to buy runs is always used, but a team like the Yankees can over-pay for value. Also, teams such asNew YorkandBostonplay a key role in the moneyball theory. They provide the young talent for teams who cannot afford big stars. They send young talented players (or in some cases draft picks) to teams that can develop and play them and garner their value. Without those kinds of teams, moneyball would be hard to implement.

While there is always a buisness side to all sports, there is a reason why Major League Baseball is called “the show.” And as the final scene in the movie Moneyball shows, sometimes all you need to do is…..

Just Enjoy The Show….

-Jaime Eisner-

From Scarcity to Surplus

How quickly things can change in the Bronx! One day Freddie Garcia is our 5th starter and another day Hughes or Burnett could be traded because the Yankees have too much pitching depth. The decision to pass on CJ Wilson has turned out to be the best move made, by not being made.

I will start with the big trade: Jesus Montero (C/DH) and Hector Noesi (P) toSeattlefor Michael Pineda (SP) and José Campos (P). Before I discuss the acquisitions in the trade, let me address the departing Yankees. For several years now, those in Yankee land have been buzzing and told to buzz about a prospect named Jesus Montero. He slugged .539 in 2009 for AA Trenton (nearly equivalent to an MLB slugging percentage of Albert Pujols last year). That was followed by two AAA seasons where he slugged above .500 and had nearly 40 Home Runs. Montero got his first taste of the majors last season playing in 18 games. He recorded 9 Runs 4HR 12 RBI with a .328 average and an OPS of nearly 1.000 in 61 at-bats. While that is obviously a small sample size, it does show promise. The issue with Montero was and will continue to be position. There was hope that Montero could learn to play Catcher effectively enough to continue to catch in the majors. That was clearly not the case as he was a major liability at catcher in his three starts at Catcher last season. He allowed four stolen bases in five attempts and would account defensively for -19 runs over a full season according to Baseball Reference. With an aging Alex Rodriguez and the ability to sign mega free agents, the Yankees did not want to clog up the DH spot.

Hector Noesi is a pitcher who has had success in the lower level of the minors but has only played nine games in AAA. He is only 24 and could project as a back end of the rotation starter at some point in his career, but as of now he is a long man at best.

The big name the Yankees acquired was Michael Pineda. Pineda in his rookie campaign had a 3.74 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP as well as striking out on average more than one batter per inning over the course of the entire season. As a rookie Pineda finished 22nd in the AL in ERA, 14th in the entire league (MLB) in WHIP, 4th in MLB in opponents batting average, 7th in MLB in k/9, all as a rookie! Both Justin and I believe that Pineda will instantly be slotted into the #2 role in the Yankees rotation as well as someday being an AL CY Young candidate.

The forgotten player in this trade is pitcher Jose Campos. He is projected to be a nearly top-tier prospect in the future. He is only 19 and is several years away from even being a September call-up. He is a guy in the coming years you may hear about being moved for a big name player along with others such as Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. Rumor has it that Seattle turned down an offer involving those two players and Montero for Felix Hernandez.

Announced mere minutes after that Montero for Pineda trade, the Yanks signed veteran starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a 1-year $10 million contract. Kuroda in four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers never had a season with an ERA above 3.76 or a WHIP above 1.21. His k/9 has gone up steadily in his first 3 seasons leveling out at a fair 7.3 k/9 the last two seasons. He had a war of 3.7 last year which is well above starter quality. He is a solid pitcher who will be slotted into the #4 role in the Yankees rotation.

This leaves the Yankees rotation as follows (barring any trades):

1. CC Sabathia

2. Michael Pineda

3. Ivan Nova

4. Hiroki Kuroda

5. Phil Hughes

The Yankees have turned a huge concern into a major strength in a matter of minutes!

-Jaime Eisner-

Welcome to the Bronx

One of the main topics that Jaime and I have written about is the lack of depth in the starting rotation. We have talked about the question marks surrounding Hughes to the possible suitors for A.J. Burnett.

But with a trade and a signing all of a sudden the Yanks could have one of the best 1-5 rotations in baseball. The big trade for Michael Pineda is obviously on the forefront of Yankee fan’s minds. He has the potential to be a Cy Young winner down the road. 

Pineda went 9-10 with the Mariners but the losing record is misleading. He had a 3.74 E.R.A. which alone is impressive but then you add that he struck out 173 batters in 171 innings and that puts the icing on the cake. Pineda was also named to the American League Allstar team. He came in 5th in the AL Rookie Of the Year voting, coming in one spot behind Ivan Nova.

Adding Pineda moves everyone not named CC a spot back in the rotation where they belong. Now you have Sabathia, Pineda, Nova for sure with a combo of Hughes/Burnett/Garcia or Kuroda to fill the last two spots.

Where will Kuroda fit?

That brings up the Yanks other move…they also signed the veteran Hiroki Kuroda. Kuroda had a 41-46 record over 4 seasons with the Dodgers. But like with Pineda he losing record is accompanied by a sub-four E.R.A. of 3.45 with his best season coming in 2011 with a 3.07 E.R.A starting 32 games.

Now the Yanks have more depth in the rotation then I think a lot of fans could have foreseen. It’s great to see the front office come up with a huge trade after missing out on other pitchers (Lee,Wilson) but instead bring in a 23 year old fire baller.

I’m sure Jaime can elaborate more on the statistical impact that adding someone like Pineda will have. But for now I’m just going to say welcome to the Bronx.

Y4L

JM

It’s (all but) Official, we’re down to the Dynamic Duo

With the recent announcement that Jorge Posada is planning on announcing his retirement I can’t say I’m surprised.

Here’s a post I wrote back in November saying my goodbyes to Jorge, http://devilsinpinstripes.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/a-yankee-salute-for/

I just read an article by Richard Justice about Jorge and if you’re a Yankee fan I would highly recommend it. http://justice4u.mlblogs.com/2012/01/09/jorge-posada-will-be-remembered-as-one-of-the-greatest-yankees-and-thats-about-the-highest-honor-a-player-can-have/

So here’s one last Yankee Salute for your Jorge, I hope to see you on Yankee broadcasts in the future.

And he ever decides he’d like to coach I 1000000000% support it.

Y4L

JM

Expierence and Health are The Yankees Big Additions

 It has been a quiet offseason for the Bronx Bombers with no major additions or subtractions from a 2011 roster that saw the Yankees win 97 games and the AL East. This off-season has been considered by many as an un-Yankee-like offseason in comparison to those years where the team hands out nine-figure contracts like Halloween candy. But I for one feel it was a good offseason for two reasons, one was the lack of talent on this year’s market, and number two is addition by experience and health.

It has been discussed before on this blog about how scarce the non-firstbase market was this offseason. One of the worst things a team can do is throw tons of money on the best available player in a weak free agent class, ask the San Francisco Giants about Barry Zito. My partner on this blog believed that because “we are the Yankees” that the team needed a big money free agent such as CJ Wilson or even (dreaming as he said of) Albert Pujols. I am fine with the absence of signings because that money does not disappear, it will be there next year when the free agent class will be much improved.

The main concern going into the offseason was the Yankee’s rotation. What is being lost in the discussion about the Yankee’s rotations is that two pitchers are on the rise and will be more valuable this season which may equal a big free agent addition. Those two pitchers are Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova.

Phil Hughes is coming off the worst season in his career but showed significant improvement after a horrific April. He finished April with a record of (0-1), 13.94 ERA and 2.23 WHIP. When he came back, his post All-Star Game numbers were (5-3) 4.55 ERA and 1.35WHIP including a 1.84 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in the final month of the season and finishing with 2.1 scoreless post-season innings. His post All-Star Game numbers are very similar to his numbers in 2010, a year in which Hughes won 18 games.

Ivan Nova is coming off a very solid rookie campaign which saw him earn a (16-4) record with a 3.70 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. As a rookie now heading into his sophomore year there is always room for improvement. But like Phil Hughes, Nova showed marked improvement in the second half of the 2011 season. His ERA dropped from 4.12 to 3.18 and WHIP dropped from 1.47 to 1.15 in starts after the All-Star Game in comparison to before. He also finished strong down the stretch going (2-0) with a 2.67 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in September. Nova also pitched in Game 1 of the ALDS going 6.1 innings and giving up only two runs.

The improvement seen in the second halves of both players seasons projected out over a full season will be just as good if not significantly better and any Free Agent the Yankees could have signed this offseason.

-Jaime Eisner-

I do not own any rights to this imagePhil Hughes

 

Phil Hughes

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