Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wanted: Major League-caliber center fielder


















Bet everyone wishes they could return their God-awful "Got Melk?" t-shirts right about now.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Screw Obama; Hank Steinbrenner for president

From today's Daily News:

"Hank Steinbrenner has a message for Major League Baseball: make the National League 'join the modern age.'"

Friday, May 30, 2008

Mea culpa

So my guest post on River Ave. Blues yesterday was pretty well-received by the masses, and even elicited comments from two of the Yankees' top beat reporters, Mark Feinsand of the Daily News and Tyler Kepner of the Times.

The zero people who read this blog know I was highly critical of Feinsand last week, but he not only stood by what he wrote, he essentially put me in my place. In hindsight, I was probably a bit too hard on both writers in my RAB piece, and deep down I do appreciate the tremendous work they do every day. I mean Christ, I've been following the Yankees in the New York tabloids for 13 years, so as much as I might rib the News or the Times, they're still a critical part of following the team on a daily basis. Additionally, not only do Mark and Tyler provide unparalleled access and insight into the world of the Yankees, but they are both significantly ahead of the pack as far as recognizing what bloggers bring to the table.

As Mark wrote yesterday, "We serve different purposes. I can’t remember the last time a blogger without access broke a story about the Yankees, just as I can’t remember the last time I provided a sabermetric analysis of the bullpen. We do different things, and they are both worthy and valid. I’m the farthest thing from that lunatic Buzz…I love many of the blogs out there, and the idea that bloggers and newspaper guys can’t co-exist is ridiculous."

And Tyler also made a great point - "...the mainstream media to a large degree still sets the agenda. Without our access, our writing and our reporting, fans would know a whole lot less about the teams. I agree with my friend Mark tFeinsand hat we serve different purposes, and there’s no reason bloggers and mainstream media can’t co-exist and applaud each other’s work."

Well said on both parts.

Given that both gentlemen apparently read River Ave. Blues among numerous other Yankee blogs, needless to say my foot is lodged so far down my throat that I can kick my own ass.

And it may have just been by sheer coincidence, but Mark, who yesterday said he couldn't remember the last time he provided a sabermetric analysis of the bullpen, did manage to insert this otherwise-unassuming nugget in today's paper:

"Giambi has 14 hits in his last 30 at-bats, lifting his average from .191 to .244. He ranked fourth in the AL in slugging percentage and OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), establishing himself once again as a force after a slow start."

Can't remember the last time - if ever - I saw OPS cited in the Daily News, but I sure do like it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Come on Feinsand, you're better than that

From "A-Rod homers in return, but Derek Jeter and Yankees pounded by Orioles" [New York Daily News]

"An error by Derek Jeter and a dismal outing by Mike Mussina put the Bombers in a huge hole before A-Rod could even pick up a bat, rendering his return worthless - unless you count his garbage-time two-run homer that allowed the Yankees to avoid the added humiliation of being shut out."

Shame on you, Mark Feinsand. You know better than that. I know you know better than that, because you've displayed at least some modicum of baseball comprehension in your blog posts. Even in a 12-2 drubbing, you can't call A-Rod's two-run homer "garbage time." The guy's been on the DL for three weeks; if anything Yankee fans should be elated that he came right off the DL and was able to knock the ball out of the park.

The mainstream media acts as if it's so easy to hit a home run, and that a baseball player can pick and choose whenever they want to hit one. What the hell was A-Rod supposed to do when the score was 9-0? Would you have actually been happier had he rapped into a double play? Last I checked, there's no such thing as a nine-run home run in baseball. Additionally, as FJM has noted approximately 8 billion times, a home run is the best possible outcome for a hitter. There is not one thing a hitter can do that is a more productive use of his time at the plate than hit the ball out of the fucking park.

Anyone who derides a home run of any kind as "garbage" or "unclutch" because it came in the midst of a blowout doesn't know anything about baseball and should be banned from ever watching another game again.

Friday, April 25, 2008

2.5

So the Yankees are 2.5 games out of first place on the morning of April 25, 2008. They could've cut the deficit to 1.5 last night.

I know it's incredibly early, but 2.5 games is a bigger deficit than people realize. Even though the Red Sox somehow have a two-game losing streak, I expect they'll snap it tonight and they may not lose more than two in a row all year. The Yankees have to capitalize on their opportunities.

Wouldn't it be amazing to grab first place in May and never look back? We haven't been able to do that in four years. I'm tired of being in Boston's rear-view mirror.

At least Farnsworth is injured. With any luck, he'll be out for the season. Also, if Latroy Hawkins isn't DFA'd ASAP I may have to start rooting for another team.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

BREAKING: Red Sox to go 140-0 rest of year

I passed out on the early side last night, fully expecting the Yankees to drop a game that they were losing by one measly run. I hate when that knee-jerk feeling of hopelessness kicks in, but they really do tend to look atrocious and completely incapable of surmounting any deficit at any given time, not just the 2008 model, but pretty much every Yankee team since 2004 has shown little fight when trailing. Plus, the numbers bear me out, as prior to last night the Yanks were 0-9 in games they trailed after the 6th inning.

So I was certainly pleasantly surprised to see that they actually came back and picked up a much-needed victory, considering that, once again, all of baseball has decided it has absolutely zero interest in beating the Red Sox, ever. In fact, it would not surprise me one iota if the Sox were to go 140-0 the rest of the year. The moment I saw that they were playing the Angels at Fenway I had to laugh. Did anyone even think for a single second that the Angels had a fucking prayer? Have the Angels ever beaten the Red Sox? Sure as hell doesn't seem that way.

How come the Yanks don't have any one team that they own? Back in the day you could count on domination of the D-Rays, but obviously that hasn't been the case since the Yanks last went to the World Series. Other than that, I've never seen a team roll over for the Yankees the way the Angels (and pretty much every other team in baseball, especially the quadruple A squads in the National League) absolutely and utterly die when they play Boston. Pathetic.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Now pitching, number 48, Kyle Farnsworth

Hey, everyone!

Relax.

So our boy Phil didn't have a great outing yesterday. I didn't see the game, but it sounds like the weather conditions and the umpire's insane strike zone weren't exactly a recipe for success.

I'm not going to sit here and make excuses, but it's easy to forget that we're only eight games into the season. Phil Hughes has pitched twice. Already there are concerns about his velocity, whether he might be injured, and God only knows what else.

As for me, I'm obviously going to give the kid rope. As much faith as I have in Phil, he's going to take his lumps. It would be ludicrous to expect him to go 25-0 and pitch to a 2.50 ERA. We know he's going to lose sometimes. Though he threw way too many pitches yesterday, he still left the game with the Yankees only down by a run, so I'd take that as a sign of encouragement.

I know we're all excited and it feels like the season's already considerably underway, but it's still only the second week of April. It could be worse; the team could be 0-7. There's a whole year of baseball to be played. And remember, so far the weather this month has been fucking disgusting.

Once the team gets in the swing of things and it stops raining every Goddamn day, those of us who are keeping the faith with our young pitchers are going to be rewarded.

Monday, April 7, 2008

What about Bonds?

With the Yankee offense incredibly averaging less than three runs/game through the first six contests of the 2008 season, and Jason Giambi shockingly developing some kind of injury that may keep him out of the lineup for an indeterminate amount of time, I got to thinking - what about Barry Bonds?

There was some scuttlebutt among Yankee bloggers in the offseason regarding the Yankees and Bonds, although it doesn't seem like it was ever an idea the front office thought seriously about, but given the early returns on the team, it seems like a no-brainer. Why not toss Bonds an incentive-laden one-year deal to DH? He won't have to risk injuring himself in the field, and the Yankees will instantly add the current active leader in career OPS to the heart of their order.

I know detractors will speak of the media circus Bonds' presence would create, but I call horseshit on that. When aren't the Yankees a damn media circus? Did everyone forget Clemens' return last year? This team is allotted more media coverage, had far more more words written about it and analyzed more closely than anything else in the New York Tri-State Region by far, so despite the negative press that would come with an acquisition like Bonds, I'm pretty sure everyone will quickly shut the hell up when he starts ripping homers over the right field porch.

I realize this is probably an unpopular suggestion, but I really think the Yankees need to explore this possibility. We know the offense isn't going to average 2.73 runs for the rest of the season, but we also know we have an aging team - as noted by River Ave. Blues, the team is not only not taking its pitches, but Derek Jeter has been grounding into double plays at a record pace, and Johnny Damon, Giambi and Jorge Posada (admittedly in limited action) haven't exactly been tearing the cover off the ball.

Why not take a flier on Barry Bonds and see what he can do? If he turns out to be a disaster, cut bait and move in. It's not like the team can't afford it.

Sometimes it sucks to be right

"Determined to smite the youth movement, Yanks sign yet another ineffective 80-year-old middle reliever" [12.10.07]

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's not homerism to be excited about the three best young pitchers the Yankees have ever had

I've been a longtime reader of Steve over at Was Watching, and have greatly appreciated the Yankee insight and commentary he's been providing during the last several baseball seasons.

However, during the past year, Steve has been by far the most skeptical Yankee fan I've ever read with regards to our boy Phil Hughes. While I appreciate and understand Steve's "non-rose-colored-glasses" and "non-fanboy" point of view, I began tiring of his relentless Hughes-bashing right around the time the whole Santana nonsense began escalating.

At first I thought it was because he genuinely didn't like Hughes, but the more I read his grasping-at-straws posts suggesting reasons that Hughes might fail, it's become clearer that it's more a traffic grab than anything else.

Even the most jaded Yankee fan in the world can't not be excited by the possibility of a Phil Hughes. I don't believe rooting for a pitcher on one's team who has at times been regarded as the best pitching prospect in the game can be called homerism. The fact is, this is the first time during my Yankee-rooting career that we've ever had a multitude of pitching prospects to be excited about.

Clearly, one must take things with a grain of salt - yes, we know being lights-out in the minors is no guarantee of major league success, but does that really matter? What matters is the glimmer of hope these young kids provide, and the genuine excitement that develops organically from watching young stud pitchers come up through your team's farm system and be significant contributors to the big-league club.

All offseason, Steve has been tempering his expectations for our youngsters, which I can understand on a superficial level - that way if they fail, not only can he insulate himself from disappointment, but he can tell everyone who reads his blog that he was right. But what Steve has ignored is that, what other option do we have? His Cashman-bashing posts (which I do agree with to a certain extent) have continually pointed out Cash's failings with signing high-profile pitchers during the last 10 years. Clearly the Yankees realized they were doing something wrong, and decided to go about fixing the business model.

The last few years have seen a bounty of pitching prospects scooped up by the Yankees. Are they all going to succeed and be contributors at the major league level? Of course not. But as a fan for nearly 20 years, it's exciting as hell to finally have players in our system that have a chance to excel. Phil Hughes was essentially a league-average starting pitcher in 2007 at age 21, pitched to an under-3.00 ERA in September and saved the Yanks' asses in Game 3 of the ALDS. In less than a full year, Phil has already experienced more success and exhibited far more poise than the following pitchers: Randy Johnson, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, Kevin Brown, Jose Contreras, Jeff Weaver and Javier Vasquez, to name a few, and we're somehow supposed to be skeptical of his future?

I'll gladly root my ass off for Phil, Joba and IPK to succeed any day of the week over signing crap off the scrap heap like Kyle Lohse. Maybe it's a generational thing with Steve, and maybe he's been burned too many times in the past with hyped-up pitchers coming in and failing, but even if that were the case (and I'll still take my chances with the Big Three regardless), isn't it still better than the alternative? I'd much rather fail with our guys than overpriced hack veterans.

For younger Yankee fans, I believe we're about to enter one of the most exciting seasons of our lifetimes. For the first time in forever, we'll have two sub-25-year-olds in the rotation, and hopefully at some point, all three of our stud pitchers. We've got a host of young guys ready to vie for spots in the bullpen, and if they don't work out, there's enough depth that chances are we can find someone else internally who will.

The last few seasons have started off with the Yanks looking listless in April and stumbling out to poor records. Joe Girardi has already shown us he's a firebrand and the intensity should be ratcheted up right out of the gate. A lot of the guys on this team have a lot to prove, and I think there's a hunger there that may not have existed in previous years. This year's Yankee team knows that they're just as good if not better than every other team in baseball in 2008. Quick, name one team that scares you. Sure, Boston's going to be good again, but the Yankees in all likelihood would have won the pennant again last year if not for two horrible months of baseball in April and May. The Tigers? The lineup looks stacked, but we all know that teams who are supposed to score 1,000-plus runs on-paper seldom reach that goal. And don't even get me started on Quadruple A the National League.

So get excited, Yankee fans. Even if the team loses more than 70 games and misses the playoffs, 2008 is still going to be an incredibly memorable year. For the record, I feel confident enough in the team that I predict a first-place finish. I won't go as far as calling a championship, but I do feel that this year's team is as good if not better than any of the teams of this decade, and I can't tell you how ready I am for another summer of amazing baseball in the last year of the old Yankee Stadium by your team and mine, the New York Yankees.

Monday, February 25, 2008

That's what I'm talkin' about!

From Pettitte and Hughes throw some BP [Pete Abe]

"Hughes was, in a word, terrific. He made Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu and Francisco Cervelli look foolish at times. He got Abreu to swing and miss at a curveball and had Damon fouling balls off the other way, a sign of how late his swing was. Jeter only swung at 3 of the 10 pitches he saw and fouled all of them off.

Now, keep in mind, the hitters have been facing live pitching for four days and Hughes started throwing off a mound in Tampa in mid January. But what was encouraging is the confidence with which Hughes threw his curveball.

That was the pitch he was throwing when he blew out his hamstring in Texas last May. For Hughes to throw the curve the way he wants, he has to follow through with his body and 'snap' the pitch off. Without confidence that your legs will hold up, it’s a hard pitch to throw.

As he said later on, he never had his true curveball last year after the injury. Now it’s back. Hughes is working out with Pettitte six days a week and has dropped 10 pounds since last season. You can never say never, but all the work he has done should help him avoid leg injuries."

And there were actually people who wanted to trade this kid.

Is it March 31st yet?

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Crappiest 25-Man Yankee Roster of All-Time

After reading Ben's excellent post about how annoying Mike Mussina is (I seriously think the River Ave. Blues guys and I share a brain; their posts say pretty much exactly what I'm thinking about the Yankees at all times), my buddy and I thought it might be amusing to come up with a 25-man roster of our all-time most-loathed Yankees.

In executing this idea, I realized that it was actually even more entertaining to come up with a roster of my all-time suckiest Yankees. The roster is pretty much exclusively made up of players from the last 18 years or so, which makes sense given that 1990 was the year my nine-year-old self started paying closer attention to and actively rooting for the team. Despite the 1990 campaign being one of the worst in team history, I was born with Yankee blood, and my dad's love of the team ensured that I'd always be a huge fan regardless of their fortunes.

Picking position players was pretty easy, but narrowing down the starters and the bullpen was tough, considering the ungodly amount of terrible, terrible pitchers we've had during the last two decades. And actually, upon even further review, the list of crappiest pitchers is probably not all that different from what a "Most Despised" starting rotation would look like.

Anyway, here's my roster of All-Time Crappiest Yankees. Feel free to post your all-time crappiest Yanks in the comments.

Yankees | Crappiest 25-Man Roster of All-Time

Starters

C: Sal Fasano
1B: Miguel Cairo
2B: Enrique Wilson
3B: Andy “Stanky” Stankiewicz
SS: Alvaro “Career OPS+ of 66” Espinoza
LF: Terrence Long
RF: Ruben Rivera
CF: Bernabe Williams post-2003
DH: Ruben Sierra

SP: Kei Igawa
SP: Jeff Weaver
SP: Kevin Brown
SP: Andy Hawkins
SP: Kenny Rogers

Bench

IF: Mike Humphreys
IF: Wil Nieves
OF: Mike Figga
OF: Andy Fox

Bullpen

RP: Juan Acevado
RP: Felix Heredia
RP: Kyle Farnsworth
RP: Danny Rios
RP: Jay Witasick
Set-Up: Darrel May
Closer: Tim Redding

Manager: Stump Merrill
Bench Coach: Dallas Green

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Dear fans of New England sports teams,

Suck it.

Love,
Save Phil Hughes

P.S. Red Sox, prepare to be owned by Hughes/Joba/Kennedy come October '08.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thursday, January 17, 2008

First base: Where Yankee offense goes to die

Pardon me while I hop on the Steve Goldman memorial soapbox for a second.

In all the back and forth regarding whether or not the Yankees are still in the Johan Santana sweepstakes, a far more pressing issue -- one that has dogged the Yanks for several offseasons now and that Brian Cashman seems to have zero interest in resolving -- continues to rear its ugly head and yet receives very little media attention: who's on first?

While Cashman appears content with a three-headed monster (possibly four, depending on how non-roster invitee Jason Lan fares in spring training) of a broken-down 37-year-old Jason Giambi, and not-ready-for-prime-time players Shelly Duncan and Wilson Betemit. Don't get me wrong; I think the latter two make fine bench ornaments, but let's be honest here: neither one is a passable starter on a Major League Baseball team, unless your franchise calls western Pennsylvania home.

Giambi had that feel-good comeback season in 2005 and remained a threat the following year, but in 2007 he was pretty mediocre in limited duty. Anyone with reasonable vision can see that Giambi -- barring another miraculous rejuvenation -- is on the downside of his career, and while he should be good for a .375-plus OBP if healthy, that's probably a little optimistic. Giambi's 108 OPS+ in 83 games last year, his second-worst in the last 10 seasons, along with the fact that he's an absolute butcher with the glove should have Yankee fans praying he stays at DH and discovers some sort of legal performance enhancer or the fountain of youth.

In even less game action than Giambi in 2007, Shelly Duncan posted an 128 OPS+, which screams small-sample size. Duncan's a nice reserve, but it's highly unlikely he'll ever maintain that level of productivity as an everyday player.

In 37 games as a Yankee, Wilson Betemit had an OPS+ of 80. For those of you unfamiliar with OPS+, 80 is bad. For those more comfortable with less advanced metrics, Betemit's OBP was .278. That's Alvaro Espinoza territory.

As you can see, the Yankees' current first-base solution truly is a disaster, and they'd never have found themselves in this mess in the first place if they'd just held on to good ol' Nick the Stick and his OBP domination.

Phil Hughes has a blog!

In the coolest news ever, Phil Hughes himself has started his own blog.

Let me be the second to say welcome aboard, Phil! In case you couldn't tell by the title of this blog, I'm a pretty big fan.

I couldn't be happier to see my favorite player develop his own web presence and I look forward to his commentary as he leads the Yanks to multiple championships over the next decade-plus.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sounds like Hankenstein may have finally gotten my memo

From "Yankees may give up on Johan Santana" [NY Daily News] -

"Steinbrenner added that opinions offered by several unspecified Yankees during the course of conversation in recent weeks have contributed to his change of heart.

'I'm growing more and more comfortable with what we have, and the veteran players I've talked to seem to be pretty comfortable with what we have. But we'll see what happens,' said Steinbrenner."

Listen up, Hank. You're happy with what we have? I'm a rabid die-hard Yankee fan, and I am absolutely unabashedly fucking elated at what we have.

Just check out our starting rotation once someone wises up and demotes Moose to AA:

Wang
Pettitte
Hughes
Chamberlain
Kennedy

All homegrown, biatch. When the hell was the last time the Yanks had an all-homegrown rotation? I'm guessing the answer is right around never.

Sit back, relax and get ready to drool, Yankee fans.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Screw steroids, MLB should be cracking down on whatever the hell Carlos Delgado is smoking

Carlos Delgado claims Mets were best team in baseball in '07 [ESPN]

"[2007] was very disappointing because we know that we had the best team. And I believe that we still have a great team," Delgado said Thursday on a conference call.

The Mets had the 8th-best OPS in all of baseball last year. Higher than four of the eight teams that made the playoffs, including two of the National League entrants. The Mets were certainly a very good team in 2007.

But the best? Remember how Boston throttled the ever-loving shit out of Colorado back in October? In addition to the the Rockies OPSing the hell out of the Mets, the Religious Nuts' Rockies' pitching staff, surprisingly enough, slightly out-WHIPed the Mets'. The Metropolitans posted a better OPS against, but now we're just splitting hairs.

The fact is, none of these numbers are remotely close to what the Red Sox did in 2007. The BoSox were far and away the most well-rounded team in baseball last year. Additionally, even if the Mets had made the playoffs and advanced to the World Series, they almost certainly would've folded like a house of Cardinals, because for whatever reason NL teams are obsessed with rolling over and dying when it comes to playing Boston in the Series.

However, as ridiculous as it is how overmatched NL squads look against the Sox, it's actually almost kind of endearing, like watching your son's terrible little league team show up to play the best team in the league. You know they're gonna get crushed, but they still look kind of adorable during the decimation.