Girardi and Cashman on ALCS, signings, and Dave Eiland

    Monday, October 25, 2010, 7:09 PM [General]

    Manager Joe Girardi and General Manager Brian Cashman sat down with the media today to discuss what happened in the ALCS and what may and will happen in the future.

    The first announcement was the real reason Andy Pettitte didn't start in Game 2.  It was first reported before the start of the series that the reason Phil Hughes was to pitch Game 2 was because he had done well in Texas during the season.  It turns out that this was not the case.

    Pettitte aggravated his back after his start in Game 2 of the ALDS against Minnesota.  Cashman said that if the Yankees went to five games that series Pettitte would not have pitched in the ALCS.  Pettitte had also cut short his bullpen session after his ALDS Game 2 start.

    "I think you look old when you don't play well," says Cashman on the Yankees performance in the ALCS.  "Against Minnesota we didn't look old at all.  Texas made us look old."

    Questions arose about Joba Chamberlain's future with the Yankees.  Girardi said, "We consider him a bullpen guy in the back end of the bullpen."  It still wasn't clear whether or not Chamberlain is being considered an option for a trade.

    When asked about signing Cliff Lee Girardi said, "I'm sure we'll definitely look at the free agent market pitcher."  Obviously the Yankees are still not backing away from attempting to sign Lee.

    Questions of negotiations with Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter were also discussed.  Cashman commented saying, "These aren't regular negotiations.  These are legacy players."

    Cashman was quesitoned about Jeter's physicality.  He said, "[Jeter] is still one of the better shortstops in the game.  There's still game left in that guy.  He's going to be part of this franchise.  We'll work something out."

    Cashman was also asked about the possiblity of having top catching prospect Jesus Montero on the roster next season.  He said, "We have a lot of people who believe he is MLB ready, but no one gets handed anything here.  [Montero] will have to earn it."

    Questions arose about last year's trades and how they have affected the season.  "I didn't have a great winter last season," said Cashman.

    Cashman admitted that Johnny Damon was his first choice.  Had Hideki Matsui stayed on board he was choice number two, which left Nick Johnson as choice number three.  Since the Damon and Matsui negotiations didn't work out Cashman went with Nick Johnson.

    About Javier Vazuqez, Cashman said, "Javy Vazquez didn't work out to my hopes at all."

    On Girardi's return, negotiations will take place tomorrow between Cashman and Girardi's agent.

    "I want to be back.  I hope it gets done quickly," said Girardi.

    Cashman then dropped a bomb to the media about pitching coach Dave Eiland.  He annoucned that Eiland will not be returning as the Yankees pitching coach next season.  The reasons were not known.

    "[Eliand's] not being blamed for what took place...I hope you believe me on that," said Cashman.  "I'm not going to comment on what the reasons are.  They're private."

    "Bottom line is pitching is keys to the kingdom," said Cashman.

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    Trade and free agent options

    Monday, October 25, 2010, 9:58 AM [General]

    All season long Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford have been among the talks of free agents the Yankees could possibly pick up.  Lee is definitly an option, however I don't see the Yankees pushing too hard for Crawford.  Expect him in an Angels uniform in 2011.

    The best free agent pitcher after Lee is Bronson Arroryo of the Cincinnati Reds.  The Reds, however, are expected to pick him back up.  After Arroryo the pitching free agents are thin.  Carl Pavano and Jack Westbrook are behind Arroryo and there's NO WAY Pavano would ever see pinstripes again.

    The top outfielder after Crawford is Jayson Werth.  The Red Sox are one of the teams so far that are targeting Werth, who are trying to nab another outfielder.

    One of the top trade options for pitching is Zach Greinke.  If they Yankees want Greinke, they would probably have to give up top catching prospect Jesus Montero.  Since Montero is believed to be the new Yankees catcher by the 2012 season, I don't see the Yankees giving him up.

    Kerry Wood would be a nice option to keep, however he might want more money than the Yankees are willing to offer.  If Wood doesn't stay then Phillies bullpen pitcher Jose Contreras is looked at as an option.  He would be of some help in the middle innings since Alfredo Aceves' back injury fears will be in mind during the 2011 season.

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    3 DOWN, 8 TO GO: MISSION 28

    Monday, October 11, 2010, 9:14 AM [General]

    After many questions about the the offense and the starting roation, the Yankees found it very easy to sweep the Minnesota Twins in the American League Division Series.

    CC Sabathia was considered the Yankees only hope in the starting rotation.  If Sabathia didn’t do well then the Yankees would be in trouble.  Well guess what, Sabathia didn’t do well.

    Sabathia went six innings and gave up five hits, four runs, and three walks.  In that outing alone his ERA was a 4.50.  His command was a little off, but Sabathia was able to pick up the win.

    After Sabathia not doing well, everyone feared that the Yankees were in trouble.  What many seemed to forget was that Andy Pettitte was up next, the greatest postseason pitcher in Major League Baseball history.

    Pettitte struggled in the first two innings, but came to his normal self after a chat with pitching coach Dave Eiland in between innings.  Overall he went seven innings and gave up five hits, two runs, and one walk and struck out four.

    “I’ve never felt so unprepared going into the playoffs,” said Pettitte.  “I felt like I was going to have a good outing.  I felt like I got locked in mechanically, I felt great.  I asked the good Lord to help me get through it. Jorge [Posada] called a great game and it helped me get through it and get comfortable.  We were on the same page.”

    I had a lot of confidence and Phil Hughes, but I don’t think anyone saw coming the outing he gave.  Hughes was absolutely stellar going seven innings and giving up just four hits and ZERO runs to close out the series.  He also struck out six Twins with his dominant fastball.  He picked up his first postseason victory in his first October start.

    “I felt like from pitch one I had good stuff,” said Hughes.  “It’s just a matter of keeping my emotions in check and making sure I threw strikes and that I was ahead in the count, which I was able to do for the most part.”

    “I really loved his stuff tonight,” said manager Joe Girardi of Hughes.  “I was really impressed.”

    When the Yankees offense was in question they, too, answered back with a bang.

    Curtis Granderson had the best series at the plate.  He went 5-for-11 with three RBI’s and scoring two runs.  He ended the series with a .455 batting average, the best on the team so far.

    Lance Berkman had two huge clutch hits in Game 2 by breaking the tie twice.  First he hit a homerun to left center and then broke the tie again with a double to center.

    Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher were both looking to end their postseason woes from last year by getting some hits.  In this series they were both able to contribute.

    Teixeira was the hero of Game 1 when he hit a two-run home run to give the Yankees the lead and essentially the victory.  Nick Swisher gave big hits in game three, one of which a monster homerun to give the Yankees some insurance in Game 3.

    “I think I had more hits in this game than I did in last year’s postseason,” Swisher joked.  He then got serious and said, “It’s a different year for me.  I’ve got a different mindset, and being around these guys and these winners in the locker room, to learn from them, to feed off of them, it’s really helped me out.  I really appreciate it.”

    Most Valuable Player awards are not given out in the division series, but if I had to pick one the honor would go to Phil Hughes.  It was his first postseason start in his career and he pitched like a veteran.  To start off the postseason with a 0.00 ERA is pretty impressive, especially for someone his Hughes’ shoes.  I can’t wait to see his next start.

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    Final regular season report card

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 9:17 PM [General]

    The 2010 regular season is over.  At the all-star break I gave out grades to players based on their first half of the season.  Here I’m giving out final grades on the season in it’s whole.

    Individual grades first:

    AJ Burnett
    Burnett has been a complete head case this season.  He’s been known for that for years, but this year has gone to a whole new level.  His body language was uncomfortable.  It seemed like if he were to make a mistake in the beginning of the game he wasn’t able to get himself together at all.  He’s had his really good games, like the complete game he pitched in Kansas City, but still took the loss because the Yankee bats weren’t alive.  However, AJ has had two months this season where he didn’t collect a win.  All of his starts in June were losses.
    Grade: D

    Joba Chamberlain
    I think Joba had a much better second half than the first, but overall I think he did a pretty decent job out of the bullpen this season.  He started the season as the set up man for Mariano Rivera, but lost that spot a little after the all-star break to David Robertson.  When Joba was used in other innings after than move he was able to do his job.
    Grade: B

    Chad Gaudin
    Another guy where you never know what you’re going to get. Gaudin has had his good outings, but he’s had more bad ones.  There were a handful of games where the Yankees have had a comfortable lead that Gaudin turned into a slim lead.  There were also times where the Yankees have had a slim lead and Gaudin came in and prevented further runs.
    Grade: B-

    Phil Hughes
    Hughes had a phenomenal first half. His second half hasn’t been as extraordinary, but he still has been a sensation to the Yankees starting rotation.  His worst outing of the season came in Toronto where he didn’t go more than four innings.  He’s also had a couple of outings where he gave up an early run and pitched great the rest of the game, but the offense wasn’t able to pick him up and keep him from losing.  Hughes had an outing in Tampa where he shut down the Rays lineup up until the 8th inning where his only mistake of the game led to a two-run homer that brought the loss.  Overall, Hughes has indeed been excellent and one of the trustworthy pitchers in the rotation.
    Grade: A

    Boone Logan
    Logan’s first half was sub-par and he was sent down to AAA Scranton for a while.  When he was brought back he’s been more than great for the Yankees.  The injury to Damaso Marte left Logan to step up and be the left handed specialist the Yankees needed him to be.  There were fans that couldn’t trust him in the first half, and then were silenced when he returned.
    Grade: B+

    Sergio Mitre
    Mitre started off the season very well.  He was on the DL for a while, but when he returned he has not been good.  After Andy Pettitte was placed on the DL for the strained groin, the Yankees looked to Mitre to step into Pettitte’s starting spot.  After one dreadful outing, Joe pulled him from the starting spot.  His outings from the bullpen have not been very good either.  He’s been a much different pitcher in the second half, and I’m sure his spot in the posteason roster will be in question.
    Grade: C+

    Dustin Moseley
    After Mitre couldn’t get the job done, Moseley stepped into Pettitte’s spot in the rotation.  In my opinion he did a pretty good job.  He’s had his ups and downs, but some seem to forget his excellent outing against the Red Sox on Sunday Night Baseball.  His last three starts have not gone well, however, nor have his last handful of bullpen appearances.
    Grade: B

    Ivan Nova
    Nova has been a fireball from the start.  He was labeled “Super Nova” after his little confrontation with Jose Bautista in Toronto.  He has great confidence and good stuff, but he has trouble in the fifth inning.  It never fails.  Nova will cruise through a start, but every time he got to the fifth inning he seemed to fall apart and give up a few runs.
    Grade: B+

    Andy Pettitte
    Pettitte’s first half was absolutely fantastic.  His injury to the groin was a huge upset after the all-star break.  In his first start since coming off the DL against the O’s he did a great job, but the O’s won the game in walk-off fashion.  His next outing against the Red Sox was not very good when he gave up seven runs.  His following start which was also against the Red Sox wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great either.  These last few starts does not have a huge effect on his season overall.  If only his injury had not occurred.
    Grade: A

    Mariano Rivera
    There’s not much to say about the sandman other than how excellent he always is.  We’ve seen recently a little more blown saves than we are comfortable with, but there’s no reason to worry about him.  Put it this way, who would you rather have out there? Papelbon? I think I’ve said my peace.
    Grade: A+

    David Robertson
    Robertson started off a little slow, but he has been outstanding since the all-star break.  He basically took of the bridge to Mariano and has been lights out.  I have full confidence in Robertson.
    Grade: A

    CC Sabathia
    There’s one phrase I’ve agreed with all season:  “Thank God for CC Sabathia.”  He has really brought out everything he has in his bones to keep the Yankees rotation alive and keep the team in the game.  He has done everything the organization has asked him to do.
    Grade: A+

    Javier Vazquez
    ::sigh:: Vazquez started off awful.  Then he started to pitch well and be on my good list.  Then all of a sudden he fell apart again and could not seem to get it together; even in the bullpen.  I’m very disappointed in Vazquez.
    Grade: D

    Kerry Wood
    When Brian Cashman made the trade for Wood, I remember a lot of people being against it.  I wasn’t against it, but I was concerned about whether or not he would stay healthy.  He proved me wrong.  Not only was Wood able to stay healthy, he has also become a vital part of the bullpen.  He is very successful against left handed pitching which is important in case Boone Logan is in need of a rest.  Wood has surpassed all of my expectations.
    Grade: A-

    Francisco Cervelli
    Cervelli did a great job in the beginning of the season when he had to fill in for an injured Jorge Posada.  However, after the all-star break, he has not been playing well.  He had a very low on base percentage and his defense was not as sharp.  He was a little better in September, but he’s really going to have to step it up in the postseason.
    Grade: B-

    Jorge Posada
    I think Posada played his season just like he always does.  He had to fight injuries, but his bat stayed a live.  His defense, however, has not been at his best.  Late in the season also he has had some clutch hits to help the Yankees win games.
    Grade: B

    Lance Berkman
    When Berkman first come over to the Yankees he did not get off to a very good start.  He started to hit a little and then he had to go on the DL for an ankle injury.  After coming off the DL he started hitting much more, but overall he has trouble hitting at Yankee Stadium rather than on the road.
    Grade: B

    Robinson Cano
    There’s no question that Cano is having an MVP season.  His second half has not been as great as his second half, but he still has been stellar.  I can’t wait to see where he finishes in the MVP race.
    Grade: A+

    Derek Jeter
    Jeter clearly had one of the worst seasons of his career.  When we’re used to seeing Jeter being a .300 hitter, he only hit .270 and seemed to ground into double plays in almost all of his ABs.  He stepped it up in September which is a good sign that he’ll do his normal transition into the posteason.
    Grade: B-

    Alex Rodriguez
    Rodriguez had a better second half than the first this season.  His saw the DL for a little while with a strained calf, but came back strong.  He found his clutch AB and has contributed his normal great hitting.
    Grade: A-

    Mark Teixeira
    Teixeira had one of his worst starts to the season of his career, but it was quickly forgotten.  He had a MUCH better second half.  When everyone worried about his season, I had said he will still hit at least 30 homeruns and 100 RBI for the seventh season in a row.  And that he did.
    Grade: A-

    Brett Gardner
    Gardner had a fantastic first season.  I had said that the Yankees would not have had the best record in baseball without him.  His second half, however, was not as good.  I’m not at all worried about Gardner for the postseason.  He started to step it up again in September.  As long as he doesn’t bunt I think it’ll be ok.
    Grade: A

    Curtis Granderson
    Granderson’s start as a Yankee was not a very good one, but that, too, was quickly forgotten.  After meeting with hitting coach Kevin Long, Curtis changed his swing and has seemed unstoppable.  I’m very proud of his transition.
    Grade: A-

    Austin Kearns
    Like Berkman, Kearns started off slow when first getting to the Yankees and then he started to heat up.  But unlike Berkman, he wasn’t able to keep it up.  Lately in the last month of the season he has seemed to strike out in almost all of his ABs.  He’s really going to have to step it up this October.
    Grade: C+

    Nick Swisher
    What more is there to say about Nick Swisher other than the fact that I’m so proud of him.  He has really embraced the pinstripes and realized during the offseason how much he would need to work on to earn them.  He worked on his hitting and fielding and has been nothing short of tremendous.  I’m proud of you Swish, and so are all of the fans of the New York Yankees
    Grade: A+

    Marcus Thames
    I think Thames is quietly having a fantastic season.  A lot of people kind of gave Thames the cold shoulder in the first half because he didn’t have many ABs to show everyday what he can do, and when he played defense he was pretty dreadful.  However, he really big clutch.  He does have two of the four pies by the way.
    Grade: A

    Overall grade as a team: A-
    I know the Yankees have had their flaws this year, but they managed to have one of the best records in baseball throughout the season.  They’re going into the posteason healthy and ready to battle.  I know they will be ready.

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    Yankee fans remember: Best record in baseball!

    Friday, August 13, 2010, 2:50 PM [General]

    I was just listening to the new Off the Wall podcast with Chris Shearn and Joe Auriemma.

    I found this podcast in particular very entertaining and all I could say during it was, “AMEN!”  You’re a Yankee fan.  You know other Yankee fans.  You’ve seen other Yankee fans.  There’s one safe word to describe not all (but most) Yankee fans:  SPOILED.  It’s true.

    Here are the reasons why Yankee fans are spoiled
    1.  27 World Series Championships
    2.  Derek Jeter
    3.  Mariano Rivera
    4.  Just the core-four in general
    5.  A better farm system than most teams
    6.  1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 (the fact we win in bunches)
    7.  Past greats like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle (the list can go on forever…)

    But the biggest reason of all is the 27 World Series Championships.  It’s quite the accomplishment.

    I’m not saying that energy and heart is bad when cheering for the Yankees, and I understand why fans can get worked up.  This is just a reminder that WE HAVE THE BEST RECORD IN BASEBALL.  Fans complain we never score runs when we lead the league in runs scored.  Fans cried at the beginning of the season about Mark Teixeira and now he’s leading the team in homers.

    Chris mentioned in the podcast of a tweet that really made me cringe because it just didn’t make any sense.  After the loss to the Rangers this week, Chris came across a tweet that said, “Losing to the Rangers is like losing to the Orioles.”  My response:  WHAT?!?!  First of all, how can someone compare the Rangers to the Orioles.  This is a team who has the biggest division lead in baseball, an ace like Cliff Lee, and a hitter (Josh Hamilton) who is among the leaders in baseball in batting average.  Also not to mention that we did lose two games to Baltimore this season.

    I remember earlier this season when Mariano Rivera blew his FIRST save of the season.  Someone asked Kim Jones in a live chat what was wrong with Mo.  Kim replied that nothing was wrong with Mo and that he just had a bad outing.  She finished saying, “Yankee fans are spoiled.”  She couldn’t have put it better.

    What also amazes me is how fast everyone loves a player to how quickly they move on hating them.  Poor Francisco Cervelli had a fantastic first half.  He hasn’t started off the second half as great, but it hasn’t been terrible.  But according to some fans it’s been awful and then, “Call up Jesus Montero” chants began.  First of all, Cervelli is A BACK-UP CATCHER!  He had more games to play in the first half because of Jorge Posada’s broken foot and did a great job.  Now that Posada’s foot is better, Cervelli has played less games.  Not all of his outings have been great, but to say that suddenly he’s terrible is ridiculous.  Fans forget that he still has a high average with runners in scoring position.  He’s not going to hit .300 and once in a while he’s going to have a bad defensive game.  It happens.  Even to Posada.

    All I’m saying is when we lose a game, RELAX.  We can’t win all 162 games.  That’s what makes baseball a funny sport.  We are going to have good games and we’re going to have bad games.  I just want fans to remember that we have the best record in baseball.  Say it with me everyone:  BEST RECORD IN BASEBALL!!

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