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POLL: Who is the Face of the Yankees?

Vote in the poll below to let us know who you think is the Face of the Yankees for our Face of the MLB tournament.

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Yankees guildlines to make the postseason

In 2013 the New York Yankees had a record of 85-77, which made them 12 games behind the Red Sox for first place.  Tied for third place with the Baltimore Orioles, they went out and spent half a billion dollars in the off-season.

As of now the Yankees rotation is above average, having three of the five spots available being ace type pitchers.  Having CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Masahiro Tanaka, and Ivan Nova at the top 4 in the rotation makes that rotation a successful looking one.  David Phelps is throwing good so far this spring and may push for the final spot in the rotation.  Michael Pineda threw a simulated game yesterday and is scheduled to make his debut sometime next week, who is also looking to be a staring pitcher in 2014.  As long as CC goes into the season and pitches like an ace, the Yankees will be in good hands.  Kuroda must pitch like he has in the first half the past two seasons.  He can not over work if Joe Girardi wants him to pitch through the post season.  Masahiro Tanaka has to show that he is worth $155 million.  If he ends up pitching like a number two the Yankees will take it.  Ivan Nova has to prove that he deserves to be an ace some day.  If he can pitch like he did after the All-Star game then that will prove he can be in the top of the Yankees rotation.  Now about that last, and final spot… Michael Pineda is the front runner to pitch in the rotation, but after seeing Phelps pitch thus far he is my pick.

Everyone knows the story about the Yankees infield.  Mark Teixeira, and Derek Jeter are coming off a season they do not want to have again.  As well as Jeter retiring.  Tex will begin playing Spring Training games this week, meanwhile Jeter has already started.  Teixeira will have a bounce back season, as well as having one of his best seasons.  Jeter will not only be busy playing shortstop, and batting second but getting gifts along the way.  Now how about Brendan Ryan, Eduardo Nunez, Brian Roberts, and Kelley Johnson.  Brendan Ryan, and Nunez will be role players, playing once or twice a week.  Johnson, and Roberts will be playing third base, and Roberts at second base.  Catcher Brian McCann will be a key role in the Yankees lineup.  Jeter can play up to 145 games this year, while hitting around the .300 average.  Tex like I said will have one of the best seasons of his career.  If McCann can bring up his average a little bit and still hit 30 long balls, he will be a key role for the Yankees getting to October.  Roberts, and Kelley Johnson will both play around 130 games while playing around an average player.  The two role players will play good defense.  Yes Eduardo Nunez will have some glove power in 2014.  As long as Brendan Ryan hits above .230 I’ll take it.

The crowded Yankees outfield will be the best outfield in all of baseball.  Two speed demons, and a switch hitting power hitter will fit perfectly in NY.  They all have the ability to hit above .300.  Alfonso Soriano will hit at least 30 Home Runs and drive in 100.  Ichiro Suzuki will be a great defensive player taking out Beltran or Soriano.  Gardner, and Ellsbury will steal 30 bags or more while tracking down most fly balls.  The outfield may be there strongest position in 2014.

The Yankees bullpen may not be as strong as 2013 but still have some decent pitchers.  The only real players to count on are David Robertson, Shawn Kelly, and Matt Thornton.  You can maybe trust Matt Daley, and Preston Clairborne.  Andrew Bailey was a nice pickup, but will not be able to pitch until July.  They are still looking at Joel Hanrahan, but as him too not eligible to pitch until July due to injuries.

If the Yankees play like the All-Star players they are, then count them in for the playoffs.

New York Yankees Needs

The Yankees are back to being the Bronx Bombers.  They spent over half a billion dollars this off-season trying to add to the team.  The big signings were pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and backstop Brian McCann.  You can no doubt say they have improved the ball club from a year ago.  The key losses were sluggers Robinson Cano, and Curtis Granderson, and pitchers Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera.

The starting rotation seems okay with four out of the five spots.  The fifth starter will most likely be Michael Pineda who hasn’t thrown a pitch in pinstripes.  Plan B would be David Phelps who spent time in the rotation, and the bullpen in 2013.

First base should not be a problem in 2014 with Mark Teixera penciled in.  If he is healthy he can hit 40 long balls, and drive in 100.  For the past nine years the Yankees had All-Star Robinson Cano at second base.  After he signed the massive deal with the Mariners, the Yankees signed Kelly Johnson, Brian Roberts, and Scott Sizemore to play second.  Roberts hasn’t been healthy for a few years, as well as Sizemore.  Kelly Johnson will see his time at third base, where he only played in about 15 games there in his career.  Derek Jeter is retiring after the season.  As long as he is healthy he can have 200 hits and a .300 BA.  Catcher Brian McCann will hit 30+ HR with the short porch in Yankee Stadium.

The outfield consists of five players.  Brett Gardner in left field, Ellsbury in center, and Beltran in right.  Beltran and 38 year old Alfonso Soriano will split time between right field and designated hitter.  It looks like the odd man out is Ichiro Suzuki.  Maybe not.  I know he is 40 years old, but he said that he has drastically improved from last year.  In reality he is on the bench, but don’t count him out if someone is struggling, or injured.

The great Mariano Rivera retired following the 2013 season.  Former set up man David Robertson will take the ball in the ninth inning.  Guys like Shawn Kelley, Preston Clairborne, Mark Montgomery, and Delin Betances will compete for the ball in the eighth inning.  Matt Thornton is now the left handed specialist after Boone Logan left for Denver.  The long relievers will be Adam Warren, David Phelps, and maybe Vidal Nuno.

If the Yankees had to make one more move, they should sign Stephen Drew.  He would fit perfectly in the Yankees left side of the infield.  He could be the short term option to fill Jeter’s shoes.  Drew could spend time at third base this season, and that would move Johnson back over to second base, his normal position.

Another option for the Yankees should be a pitcher.  If they sign someone, it would be a starter.  If they want a reliever they would have to make a trade.  Ervin Santana is a name.  He would be an okay option for the fifth spot in the rotation, but he gives up to many HR and that is not good at Yankee Stadium.  Right now they would take any reliever with major league experience.

Derek Jeter Replacements

Derek Jeter announced earlier this month through his Facebook page that he would be retiring after the season. The captain leaves a large hole, and someone will eventually have to play shortstop. The question is, who will play? The Yankees have an awful farm system, because they spend a lot of money and make trades for good players. So there will not be a good shortstop called up by the Yankees. This means that they will have to pursue the free agent shortstops that will be on the open market next year.

Hanley Ramirez will be a free agent at the end of the 2014 season.  In his career he has spent time with the Red Sox, Marlins, and the Dodgers.  At the conclusion of the following season, Ramirez will be 30 years old.  You know he can handle the media considering he is playing in Los Angeles right now.  He can play third base as well as shortstop.  He only played in 86 games in 2013 but still managed to hit 20 homeruns.  He said that he would love to be a Dodger for the rest of his career, but I’m guessing he will land wherever the most money is.  The Yankees will overpay for the infielder, following the depart of Derek Jeter.

Troy Tulowitzki has been in the league for eight years.  I don’t think he will play his entire career for the Colorado Rockies.  Back in 2010 Tulo signed a seven year contract, so would reach free agency no earlier than 2017.  He is a premier hitter, and defender, but is a risk.  He hasn’t played in more than 145 games since the 2009 season.  His best overall season was in 2011, when he hit .302 with 30 homeruns, and 105 RBI.  He would go over to the Yankees via trade.  Do the Yankees have anyone intriguing enough?  The answer in reality is no.  The Rockies will not accept an average or below average prospect.  They will not dump his contract.  That’s what the New York Yankees will try to do.  Either convince them that they will take on his contract or say that he is declining and just hand Tulo over to us.

Asdrubal Cabrera could be a more realistic expectation for the Yankees. Cabrera has played with the Indians since 2007 and has been named an All-Star twice and a Silver Slugger once. 2013 was a bad season for Cabrera, as he hit only .242 and had 14 home runs. His WAR, as calculated by Baseball Reference, was only 1.2. Overall, it was not a fantastic season for Cabrera, but he will be a free agent as young stud Francisco Lindor makes it up the ranks of the Indians farm system. Cabrera will most likely rebound this season, as it is a contract year, and he would most definitely like the money.

Hanley Ramirez, Troy Tulowitzki, and Asdrubal Cabrera could be the answers.  Yes, they are some of the best at what they do.  That does not mean they are right to fill future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter’s shoes.  Does anyone know who the right person is?  Brian Cashman, and Hal Steinbrenner might have an idea, but no one knows for sure.

The Stephen Drew & New York Yankees Saga

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees made an offer to free agent infielder Stephen Drew earlier in the off-season, believed to be for two or three years, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Nevertheless, the report indicates, the Yankees do not appear to be one of the four teams still pursuing the 30-year-old.

At the time of the offer, says Sherman, New York was making offers to multiple players while explaining that they would pull them back as necessary as things developed. Drew hoped at the time to land a bigger deal, and the club ultimately withdrew its offer at some point during its massive outlay on several prominent free agents.

Notably, Sherman’s article does not indicate that the Yankees have current interest in Drew, but instead throws more cold water on the idea. (Other recent reports, of course, have said that the team does not intend to pursue him.) Sherman writes that principal owner Hal Steinbrenner called for a halt to spending after signing Masahiro Tanaka, and that the club is “not bending for Drew”.

Without Drew, argues Sherman, the club will likely find a mid-season need for a player of his like, but will be hard-pressed to acquire one. With Brendan Ryan at second base and Kelly Johnson at third, the Yankees are really lacking depth-wise in the infield.  Drew has already said he would be willing to play second or third, so he would be a good fit in front of Ryan or Johnson. Sherman presented the situation that the Yankees will be hard-pressed to acquire an infielder like Drew to Steinbrenner for comment, and his response seems to indicate that the team feels ready to move forward as presently constructed:

“No team is without concerns. We will address those concerns as we go, just as we did in several areas last year. … I am comfortable with our payroll as it stands now. … We have a very good club and we will continue to improve in areas that we see need it; not just in areas that need it on paper. We need to see what actually transpires in those areas and react.”

Who knows where the shortstop will land when the time comes.

Theoretical Trade: Brett Gardner for Brandon Phillips

A few weeks ago the New York Yankees declined a trade from the Cincinnati Reds.  The trade was sending Brett Gardner to Cincinnati and Brandon Phillips to the Bronx.

In Brett Gardner’s six year career, he has a .268 batting average.  His speed is his best feature, with 161 steals in his career.  2013 has been his best year of his career with a .273 BA, 8 HR, 52 RBI, and 10 triples. Gardner is 29 years old, and currently in his prime.

Brandon Phillips is 32 years old.  His slugging percentage was .396. his batting average dropped to .261 in 2013.  Phillips is exiting his prime, and instead of getting better each year, he is deteriorating,

The team that made the right choice was the Yankees.  They do need a second baseman, but Phillips is not the guy.  The Reds would have caught a chance if New York accepted the trade.  They could have gotten rid of Phillips’ salary, and have back up for rookie speedster Billy Hamilton.

Is Alex Rodriguez Finished?

Alex Rodriguez has been in hot water for many years. Accused of taking steroids in the past, but in the end of the 2013 year he was accused of taking testosterone, human growth hormone (HGH), and insulin growth factor one. All of these are illegal for player usage in the MLB. The MLB and MLBPA came to an agreement for a 211 game suspension, which is over an entire season for the MLB. Alex Rodriguez pleaded not-guilty to taking these steroids. Recently the MLB has downgraded his suspension to 162 games.

The Truth Released

Anthony Bosch opened up about injecting Alex with these substances saying that he personally injected him with these substances because Alex was “scared of needles. ” Bosch said that Alex payed nearly $12,000 monthly for performance enhancing drugs. He took these drugs nearly after he hit his 600th home run, wanting to get to a higher number of 800 home runs.

Yankee’s Decision

Alex Rodriguez has been faced with the highest number of games for a suspension on the history of a MLB suspension. Alex is now 38 years old and with the Yankees having to give Rodriguez $61 million until 2017. The Yankees are going to try to shake Alex of their backs. The Yankees could pay Alex the $61 million now and release him, or they could let Alex step back on the field in 2015. If Alex Rodriguez is found guilty of his charges then he is allowed to step back on the field in 2015, but will the Yankees allow it? Will the Yankees cut Rodriguez if he is guilty?

Keep vs. Release

It looks as if the Yankees have two options. The first option, is to keep Rodriguez. If they do this they will have to pay him $61 million until 2017. The risk here is if Rodriguez gets suspended again, or injured. They will still have to pay for him, and another 3rd baseman. Making the Yankees fielding another step in the wrong direction. If the Yankees decide to keep Rodriguez, then they can give him his money and let him run. The Yankees will not have to worry about him getting injured and/or suspended again. They can focus on moving further and finding another 3rd baseman. The only problem is that the man who sues everybody nowadays, Alex Rodriguez, could take legal action on the Yankees, so the Yankees might not be done with him, as much as they think they are.

What are His Options?

Alex Rodriguez is under contract with the Yankees until 2017, so if the Yankees don’t cut him, he could beout of baseball for while.  Since he is not on the Yankees’ major-league roster, he can only go to minor-league spring training.  If he shows up at major-league spring training, the Yankees could suspend him from minor-league ball as well.  Since Rodrguez is still property of the Yankees, he can’t play independent ball or leave the team.  He has already been offered a job by the Torrington Titans of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League with an assistant coaching position, as well as an invite from the independent team the Long Island Ducks, neither of which Rodriguez can pursure.  So to answer the question, it would appear Rodriguez will be out of baseball for quite a while.

Is Tanaka the next Darvish?

We’ve all seen the extreme amounts of money teams are willing to spend on Japanese prospects without even knowing they can measure up to the high level of talent present in Major League Baseball. Many players have made the successful transition from Japanese baseball but we’ve also witnessed some failures and a lot of wasted money along the way.  Look at Daisuke Matsuzaka: the Red Sox invested over $100M in him and, seven years later, he is playing minor-league baseball on a $1M contract.  Recently, the success of Yu Darvish has been a prime example of the advantageous possibilities that can emerge from the signing of a sought after prospect. No one will know until we see him in action at the start of April but the question is, will Masahiro Tanaka live up to the hype and prove that he is worth the $22 million per year the New York Yankees have agreed to pay him? Combining the $155 million he will receive through seven years and the posting fee of $20 million being paid to his former team, the Yankees have invested a total of $175 million all predicated on stats and awards he earned in Japan. In 2012, the Texas Rangers devoted nearly $108 million for Darvish between the posting fee and the $56 million he is promised through 2017. So far, Darvish has put forth two solid Major League seasons finishing 2nd in AL Cy Young award voting in 2013 and remaining much more consistent than we have seen with other Japanese pitchers.

We all know Darvish and Tanaka were extremely dominant during their Japanese careers, both finishing their final seasons before being posted with winning records and exceptionally low ERA’s. In 2011, before Darvish began his career with the Rangers, he went 18-7 with a 1.44 ERA and ended the season with 276 strikeouts in 236 innings all while averaging 8.5 innings per start. Tanaka’s closing season in Japan produced even more impressive results in 2013 when he went a remarkable 24-0 in the regular season with a 1.27 ERA earning him his second career Sawamura Award, given to the best pitcher in Japan. It’s no secret that both Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka stood out among their fellow Japanese players but it takes a lot more than statistical data to be a successful Major League pitcher. Darvish has proven himself worthy thus far and Tanaka’s previous dominance points toward a similar success. We will find out soon enough whether Tanaka can handle Major League hitters and remain consistent despite the overwhelming attention he will receive playing in New York.

Is Greg Bird the Future Yankees’ First Baseman?

I just spent some time watching highlights of of Greg Bird in high school and he can flat out hit home runs. He would tape measure opposite field shots 380 feet with a wood bat, in high school! This is 9 minutes of him just crushing dingers. Pretty sweet swing.

He can drive the ball to any part of the field and he’s left handed so he would fit nicely into Yankee Stadium. Although he was only in Single-A ball last season, he did bat .288 with 20 home runs and 84 RBI in 130 games. Plus baseball reference has him listed at 6’3″, 215 pounds so he will probably continue to bulk up and add power.

He’s 21 now with a major league ETA of 2016, which coincidentally is the last year on Teixeira’s contract. If he keeps improving, this guy could definitely be making an impact with the Yankees in the not-so-distant future.

Why Kelly Johnson is Huge for the Yankees

The New York Yankees have a had a huge offseason! They’ve signed Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and veteran Brian Roberts to their lineup with the addition of Masahiro Tanaka to their rotation. Along with that, one of the most least talked about moves was the signing of Kelly Johnson. Jonson will be 32 years old by the start off the season.  He plays third base, second base, and left field.  The fact that he plays second and third is huge for the Yankees since they have wholes at both of those positions, and if Roberts needs a day off at second, Johnson can play there and they can stick Nunez at third. Also, having a versatile infielder like Johnson will extinguish the need of another infielder, such as Stephen Drew, although the Yankees are considering him.  The plan for Johnson at the moment is to be there everyday third basemen. The one thing that sticks out to be about Johnson is his bat. Johnson has 924 career hits along with 124 home runs. He had a monster season in 2011 were he hit a combined 39 home runs with the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks after he was traded to Arizona mid-sesion. That year he also batted in 107 runs! In 2013 with the Rays, Johnson hit 16 home runs, drove in 55 runs and stole 14 bags in 118 games. Johnson was not an everyday player, but when he was in the game,  he was a huge power threat addition for Tampa Bay. Now coming to the Bronx, Johnson will most likely have to start possibly everday at third base. Johnson did start nearly every other year of his career besides last year so that isn’t concerning. Now that Johnson is playing in Yankee stadium with the short porch in right,  his power will be very useful, and he may be able to have a 2010-type season, when he hit 26 homers with a .284/.370/.496 slash line for the Diamondbacks. This signing will end up being a great one for the Yanks if Johnson keeps putting up his big power numbers.