Tebow Should Help Jets

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 3:22 PM [General]

    As a Jets fan, I was stunned to hear that my team was in play. I shook my head. I took a little while to think about things, and when the dust settled, I came to my conclusion:

    I like the acquisition of Tim Tebow. 

    I can't remember a more polarizing trade acquisition in Jets history. Twitter blew up. Fights broke out on my Facebook page. There are all kinds of layers to this deal, including the business aspect of things that Mike Francesa focused on so much in his show Wednesday afternoon. Will Tebow help the Jets sell more jerseys? Sure. Ticket sales aren't much of an issue for the club nowadays, but there's nothing wrong with team management being concerned with the bottom line. Remember, pure as we all may want them to remain, sports is a business.

    The main concern I've seen from people is what kind of an effect that Tebow's presence will have on Mark Sanchez. Without question, the New York media and the Jets' passionate fan base (of which I'm a part of) will be whipped into a frenzy if Sanchez struggles for a few games. Calls for Tebow to start are going to grow loud. It's on Sanchez to cut down on the turnovers and improve. In the wake of the "I'm Sorry" extension he got when the Jets came up short in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes, Sanchez is getting big guaranteed money for the next two years, but the Jets could cut him after the 2013 season without losing any more cash. In the ideal situation, Sanchez develops properly. If he doesn't, the Jets have an out, and maybe Tebow develops along the way.

    Yes, there is a possibility nobody is mentioning: that Tebow, entering his third professional season, could actually put in work to make himself a more respectable NFL QB, one worthy of starting.

    In the immediate future, Tebow is a backup with the Jets, one capable of helping the offense. Some people may say the "wildcat" is dying, but anyone who saw Tebow himself run all over Gang Green in a comeback win during week 8 of last season would beg to differ. Detractors who say he can't throw can be pointed to Denver's playoff win over Pittsburgh last year, when Tebow completed several deep balls (not including the game winning catch-and-run from Demaryius Thomas). He can throw. He also needs to work on his mechanics and accuracy, two areas that almost every young quarterback has had to polish up throughout their careers. Until he does, he is not a legit threat to Sanchez, not after seeing how defenses have handled him as a starter thus far. However, with his ability to operate in certain packages, Tebow is a clear upgrade at back quarterback when compared to 41-year-old Mark Brunell or the newly signed Drew Stanton, who Detroit never trusted to do much.

    The major concern is that the Jets' locker room could become divided. We've seen that kind of story before with teams throughout the league, and the Jets' own Antonio Cromartie has already questioned the idea of Tebow on the roster via his Twitter feed, @ACromartie:

    "Why bring Tebow in when we need to bring in more weapons for @Mark_Sanchez? Let's build the team around him. We already signed (him) to (a) 3 year ext."

    It's March. There is plenty of time to iron out any initial unrest with training camp still months away from starting. 

    A move for Tebow definitely falls under the heading "high profile gamble." It cost the Jets a couple of mid-round draft picks, and the potential trade could blow up in spectacular fashion.  

    From just a skill perspective though, their roster is better with Tebow than it was before he was traded to the team, and when you're trying to build a winner, it all starts with talent. 

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Pitching Possibilities w\Pettitte In Place

    Saturday, March 17, 2012, 8:19 PM [General]

    Andy Pettitte is back. So is my blog! It’s been awhile since I’ve written, and we can all thank the real #46, not Donovan Osborne, for making that happen.

    I won’t lie – I was shocked when I returned from getting my car re-registered at the DMV this past Friday and saw my Twitter timeline filled with fans referencing the original tweet from @JackCurryYES reporting Pettitte’s return to the Yankees on a minor league deal. Nobody knows how long it will be for, though I do think it’d be great if he tried to stick around long enough to make a run at Whitey Ford’s all-time franchise record of 236 wins, which Pettitte trails by 33 entering this season.

    That’s another issue for another time though. Right now, I’m wondering how the Yankees rotation will shake out once Pettitte is ready to go. Here’s my take.

    Brian Cashman has said Andy won’t go north with the team right when Spring Training finishes, so the situation might just work itself out during the year as so many others have through the years. Maybe someone gets hurt and Pettitte slides into their spot. We can’t assume injuries though. If everyone’s in good health and the roster remains as it is, that would leave six pitchers for four rotation spots. I say that because we all know CC Sabathia is in, and some people like to think Michael Pineda isn’t.

    It all starts with Sabathia, the horse, and after 16 wins plus a sub-4 ERA last season, Ivan Nova earned himself a seat at the table as well. Then there’s Pineda, whose velocity in Yankees camp has been the biggest topic of conversation since…well…Phil Hughes’ velocity last year. It’s Spring Training. Stop with the radar guns for now. If velocity is down in June, then maybe there’s a problem. Some people also like to make a big deal about Pineda’s rough ending to last season. BREAKING NEWS: rookies struggle. Pineda also made the A.L. All-Star team in his first year, and the Yankees traded arguably the biggest prospect in baseball, Jesus Montero, in order to land him. In no way do I believe Pineda is in legit danger of starting the year with the Triple-A “Empire State” Yankees (we’ll see you soon, Scranton-WB). The kid stays in the picture.

    So that leaves us with Freddy Garcia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Hughes, the same righty who dominated out of the bullpen in 2009.

    Why, we can just slide him into the ‘pen, no problem, right? Well, I may have advocated for that if David Robertson’s foot injury was serious, but it’s not. Cashman has said in the past that he sees Hughes as a front of the rotation type starter, and numerous reports out of Tampa would have fans believe that the fifth starter derby has been skewed in favor of Hughes over Garcia. Hughes will turn 26 in June, and he’s healthy. It’s time to see what he can give the Yankees as a full time starting pitcher. Period. He’s in my rotation.

    That leaves the veterans, Garcia and Kuroda. I can’t see both of them in the same bullpen, and they have one –year contracts. Only one has a no-trade clause: Kuroda.

    The 37-year-old has said he’s preparing for this season as if it will be his last. He also has said that he joined the Yankees with the hope of winning a World Championship. In my pitching plan, he goes to the bullpen as the team’s long man, albeit an expensive one. Yes, he was signed for $10 million to perform his usual role as a starter, and I understand that he was the only pitcher aside from Sabathia who Joe Girardi name checked last month as being assured of a rotation spot. The picture, however, is changing with Pettitte now in the fold. It might seem crazy to have such a pricey pitcher in the bullpen, and who knows if Kuroda’s mechanics would translate there, but hey, the Yankees have gotten lesser returns out of other pitchers who were committed for more years and many more dollars. In that role, Kuroda would also act as a terrific insurance policy if something did happen to one of the rotation starters.

    Finally, we come to Garcia, who performed so well last season after making the Yankees on a minor league contract. Not that I would expect a market for him to be huge, but I see him as trade bait. He’s proven he can still be effective and he’s only on a contract of around $4 million for one year. Garcia deserves better after his performance in 2011, and as MLB insider Jon Heyman recently pointed out, Garcia has to approve any trade prior to June 16, but that's an obstacle that may be able to be worked around. The situation reminds me a bit of last spring, when the presence of six capable starters, including Garcia, made Sergio Mitre expendable and brought back a useful piece from Milwaukee, Chris Dickerson.

    So if everything holds serve, and Pettitte is ready to join a fully healthy pitching staff, that’s my rotation: Nova, Pineda, Pettitte, and Hughes in no particular order after Sabathia’s ace designation. Kuroda to the bullpen, and Garcia on the trade block.

    That is, of course, unless Mike Mussina comes out of retirement in a few days when I go to get my tires rotated.

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Jesus should reign

    Saturday, March 5, 2011, 4:47 AM [General]

    At this point, Jesus Montero is in pole position to win a spot on the Yankees. 

    Personally, I shared Michael Kay's sentiment and thought Montero was a favorite to win a place on the team even before Francisco Cervelli suffered a broken left foot fouling off a ball Wednesday. Now Cervelli is on the shelf for at least a month, and barring Montero's own injury or a full-on face plant in March, there isn't anything stopping the uberprospect from breaking camp with the big club.

    Let's not let Cervelli get lost in the shuffle though. He's done exactly what he's been asked to do over his time in the Majors. From his broken wrist in 2008 to his concussion last spring and now the broken foot, Cervelli has had terrible luck. As he turns 25, there is plenty of baseball in his future. I hope he recovers quickly and fully.

    Before we get back to Montero, there's Austin Romine, and I confess I'm treating Gustavo Molina like an afterthought here. If you're in the "let Montero start at Triple-A where he can play every day" camp, having Romine serve as Russell Martin's backup is probably your top idea. It's certainly within the realm of reality, though the 22-year-old has never caught a game beyond the Double-A level. Any concerns about Montero's development being stunted by serving as a backup should also apply to Romine, a touted prospect in his own right, though not on the level of his counterpart.

    Would Montero's development really be stunted if he were to become an MLB reserve though? His bat has been considered ready for quite some time. We've heard about big strides he's made on defense, aided undoubtedly by a full year catching at Scranton-WB last season. Is there anything left for him to prove in the Minors? At this point, perhaps it's time for him to add some experience at the Major League level to his skill set. There's no guarantee he'd even wind up "merely" a backup. Russell Martin is coming off hip surgery last season and knee surgery over the winter, so if he were to stumble, Montero would have a chance to claim a large piece of the playing time pie -- one bigger than that of a garden-variety backup. Maybe he even ends up taking the starting job outright from Martin, who's on only a one-year contract.

    We won't know unless Jesus gets his shot. I think he can handle the opportunity.


    3.7 (1 Ratings)

    Youngsters spring ahead

    Monday, February 28, 2011, 3:27 PM [General]

    So we're a few games into Spring Training, and I have to say, I'm wondering where January and February went. If I blink, I might miss Opening Day! The main storylines surrounding the Yankees in Tampa have begun to play out, and after seeing the first couple of games, I just thought I'd give my take on some of the most notable kids we've seen so far. 

    Ivan Nova - looked sharp in a couple of innings against Philly. I'm curious to see how he'd do if he pitched deep into his spring time outings, as Nova's problems as a starter in the Majors last season came around the fifth innings of his outings. Still, coming off a great showing in winter ball in the Dominican League, I don't think there's any way he doesn't claim one of the two openings at the back of the Yankees starting rotation. Bartolo Colon looked OK in his first audition for the other. Freddy Garcia, come on down.

    Dellin Betances - set Twitter ablaze with a strong inning of work in Spring Training game no. 2 against Philly. Topping out at 97 on the radar gun, breaking stuff in the low 80s, smooth delivery...the reasons to be excited are easy to see. YES' Jack Curry suggested the thought of possibly using the 22-year-old righty in the bullpen at first to ease his way into big league life. Had the Yankees not signed Rafael Soriano, and if the team had glaring holes in the 'pen, I'd be all for it. I know a lot of fans probably have bad memories of Joba Chamberlain's situation, but remember, Phil Hughes was a huge part of the Yankees' 2009 championship season as a reliever and he's turned out fine. Still, with a deep bullpen and other rotation candidates, I think the Yankees' best bet is to start Betances at Triple-A, let him continue to refine his game, and he'd be my first choice if another starter was needed due to injury or back-end inconsistency from whoever emerges from Spring Training in the rotation.

    Brandon Laird - last year's Eastern League Rookie of the Year and MVP has not looked overmatched, but he did struggle at Triple-A last year following a late-season promotion. He appears to be in competition with veteran Eric Chavez for a back-up spot, and like my feeling with Betances, I feel Laird would be best served in Triple-A for now. Provided Chavez doesn't suffer an injury, let Laird play first base and the outfield on a regular basis in Scranton and continue to develop. He won't turn 24 until September and appears to have real potential.

    Jesus Montero - we'll see more from him as the spring goes on for sure. We know his bat is ready, and after Betances credited Montero for his strong spring debut, all I personally need to see from him now is a few throws to second. My stance hasn't changed. If Martin can handle the everyday job behind the plate as the season begins, Montero should make the roster as the back-up catcher (with Jorge Posada #3 of course). Maybe my stance would change if Martin's knee and hip issues meant he couldn't handle heavy workload coming out of the gate. If that were the case, I'd say Francisco Cervelli should stick around due to his MLB experience. In my Yankees Universe though, Montero gets a roster spot to open the year.

    (Blogger's dislcaimer: this was written before seeing video of Manny Banuelos' outing Monday against the Tigers. However...a scoreless inning on seven pitches, two strikeouts? It sure looks impressive from the box score.)

    0 (0 Ratings)

    Did you hear? Carmelo got traded.

    Monday, February 21, 2011, 10:48 PM [General]

    I'll never forget where I was when our long, national nightmare came to an end. February 21st, 2011, night after the NBA All-Star Game. I'd just finished watching the latest episode of 'Being Human,' a nice little show on the SyFy Network in its first season. Twitter began to explode. I wondered if the rumors were true. Sources from Denver had given out bad info before on the subject in question, so I was cautiously optimistic. Then, finally, with this tweet, the Melodrama, in my eyes, came to an end:

    @FisolaNYDN: Source confirms Knicks get Carmelo. Deal done.

    Thank goodness. I just couldn't take it anymore, and let's be honest. You were tired of it too. The constant chatter from all angles. Daily questions about contract extensions. Secret meetings held in public restaurants. A good producer could probably put together a great movie about the Carmelo Anthony saga, even though I think it was obvious at the end that Manhattan, not Brooklyn, was the only place he was going to wind up.

    To me, it's simple. If Anthony would have been willing to sign an extension with the Nets at any point, he would have been traded east earlier this season before principal owner Mikhail Prokhorov said that the Nets were 'walking away' from trade talks regarding the four-time All-Star. Once news came out that the club had become engaged in talks with Denver once again, there was no way any 'Melo-to-the-Nets rumors could be taken seriously. The discussions reeked of a Nuggets organization desperate to get another team deeply involved in talks so that a better offer could be leveraged out of the Knicks.

    Seriously...I'm just glad it's over.  


    0 (0 Ratings)

    Page 1 of 2  •  1 2 Next
  • As a Jets fan, I was stunned to hear that my team was in play. I shook my head. I took a little while to think about things, and when ... more
  • Andy Pettitte is back. So is my blog! It’s been awhile since I’ve written, and we can all thank the real #46, not Donovan ... more
  • At this point, Jesus Montero is in pole position to win a spot on the Yankees.  Personally, I shared Michael Kay's sentiment and ... more
  • So we're a few games into Spring Training, and I have to say, I'm wondering where January and February went. If I blink, I might miss ... more

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