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Pinch hitting: Our own SJ44

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Jan 18, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

He doesn’t have his own blog but SJ44 has been a loyal and prolific poster on this blog for a long time. A businessman from Florida, Joe keeps close track of the prospects and has had a chance to meet several people in the organization. Because of his knowledge of the prospects, I invited him to give some thoughts:

We have now entered what I like to call Prospect Season.

Prospect Season consists of various perspectives from people who follow minor league player development. With the Yankees, this has become a growing passion due to the fact we actually have prospects again! So much so, there are people in baseball who now feel the Yankees have one of the three or four best farm systems in the game. A FAR cry from 2004 when the consensus was the Yankees had the worst farm system in baseball.

One of the problems I encounter with these lists are they often fail to inform fans whether or not the listed players can actually help the parent club in 2008. Let’s face it, that’s what most fans want to know when it comes to prospects.

To that end, I have compiled a list featuring the four players who can impact the Yankees this season. I did not include Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy on the list. Mainly because, in my mind, they are no longer prospects. They are young players with an expected role on the team. My list features guys some fans may not think about when it comes to players who can help the Yankees win in 2008.

So, here goes:

Jose Veras: In my mind, he is the one guy whose success (or lack of success) can lead to a domino effect on the Yankees this season. If he is successful, Joba becomes a full-time starter faster, bullpen roles become more defined and the Yankees have another young, power arm in front of Mariano. If he is not successful, Joba may stay in the bullpen, guys like LaTroy Hawkins and/or Kyle Farnsworth will have to take on bigger roles (not what the Yankees want) and they may have to go outside the organization (and part with a player or two they don’t want to lose) to strengthen the bullpen. Does that put a lot of pressure on Veras? Perhaps, but he is showing that he may be up to the task. He is coming off a dominant Winter League season. His fastball was consistently clocked in the mid-90’s and the bite returned to his slider. More importantly, his control was outstanding. If Veras’ performance from the winter carries over to spring training, he is not only going to make the team, he will have a key role in the bullpen. Mariano Rivera once told me he thought Veras had the most potential of any of the younger guys they have tried in the bullpen. This spring, we will see if he is correct.

Ross Ohlendorf: Here is another young, power arm whose success can make life easier for the Yankees. Unlike Veras, who could develop into an 8th inning guy, Ohlendorf is a guy who can pitch two innings at a time, something the Yankee bullpen may need early in the season. He gives hitters a different look from Veras, Hawkins, Farnsworth and Chamberlain because of his power sinker. has always been his biggest enemy. If he can harness his control, he is another young, power arm who will have input toward the Yankees hopes in 2008. If he can’t, he becomes trade bait because there are too many young, power arms in the organization. If he doesn’t perform well this year, chances are he will be passed by other guys in the next year. Simply put, 2008 is a make or break year for Ross Ohlendorf in the Yankees organization.

Juan Miranda: While we like to concentrate on pitching (and rightly so), Miranda is an intriguing guy to watch this season. While his defense won’t remind anybody of Donnie Baseball, the guy can flat out hit. Last year was the first time he played organized baseball in almost two years. By the end of the season, every time he made contact, he hit bullets. He will start the season in AAA. However, I think it’s safe to say Jason Giambi won’t hold up physically for a full season. If Miranda hits, it’s not inconceivable to see he and Shelley Duncan platooning at first base at some point in the season.

Mark Melancon: I have been high on Melancon since the first time I saw him pitch at The University of Arizona. Bases loaded, no outs against rival Arizona State and he struck out the side to get out of the jam. He was the most dominant college relief pitcher in the country in 2006, and he pitched most of that season with a sore arm. He is now 100 percent healthy, and is cleared to throw all of his pitches at the start of spring training. The plan is for him to start the season in Tampa and gradually make his way through the system as the weather gets warmer. I not only expect him to be in New York after the All Star Break, I believe he will play an important role in the stretch run. He is that good. He has everything you look for in a relief pitcher: stuff, location, makeup, guts and a short memory.

Comments

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161 Responses to “Pinch hitting: Our own SJ44”

  1. John January 18th, 2008 at 11:07 am

    Great stuff SJ44

  2. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Save the Three Musketeers! January 18th, 2008 at 11:09 am

    I have heard nothing but great things about Melancon, I can’t wait to see this guy in action.

  3. Jeff NJ January 18th, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Ok so SJ44′s real name is Joe. Great post Joe. I agree with you so many lists that have Tabata or Brackman on them probably won’t influence the major league team. I think the bullpen will be just fine with the pitchers you mentioned plus the pitchers you haven’t like Horne, Marquez, Jackson. Miranda is certainly intriguing for the fans.

    Cashman continues to rebuild, but other GM’s should look at how the Yankees did it as the model for contending and rebuilding. Even Boston misses the playoffs every so often, the Yankees have not.

  4. Tseng January 18th, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Great post, I’m looking forward to seeing whether or not these four can make it.

  5. saucy January 18th, 2008 at 11:23 am

    fantastic as always. thank you SJ44!

  6. raymagnetic â„¢ January 18th, 2008 at 11:25 am

    “Cashman continues to rebuild, but other GM’s should look at how the Yankees did it as the model for contending and rebuilding.”

    Jeff, I totally agree with you. I think Cashman and co. have done a great job of reloading the Yankees on the fly while staying in contention these past three years.

  7. saucy January 18th, 2008 at 11:28 am

    re Miranda: “Last year was the first time he played organized baseball in almost two years.”

    anyone know why? injury?

  8. McLovin January 18th, 2008 at 11:28 am

    I like the rebuilding but the Brian Cashman biggest knock is in free agency.Yes the late 90′s team had great farm systems players but they had also great freeagent players that made a differance.David Cone,Paul O’Neil,David Wells,Mike Stanton were not from the farm but was as imporant as Jeter and Pettitte.Brian is doing a good job rebuilding this team with young talent buts needs to read the free agents like Kei Igawa,Kevin Brown,Jaret Wright and not fall on his face.IF we gave up Wang or Cano for Beckett we we being celebrating a 2007 World Championship and keeping Phil Hughes.

  9. jay destro January 18th, 2008 at 11:30 am

    the biggest downfall of the rebuilding of the farm system is the cashman detractors who claim that his picks from free agency have mostly backfired. the strong farm system mainly consists of pitching with a lack of depth in position players, something that will eventually need evaluation.

  10. SJ44 January 18th, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Depending on which story you believe, Miranda was either in a Cuban prison for two years or was suspended from playing with the Cuban National Team for two years because they suspected he was looking to defect.

    I don’t know which story is legit but, they are both out there, concerning his two years away from the game.

  11. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Save the Three Musketeers! January 18th, 2008 at 11:32 am

    Saucy: He’s a Cuban defector. I imagine that might have something to do with it, somehow.

  12. raymagnetic â„¢ January 18th, 2008 at 11:37 am

    “the strong farm system mainly consists of pitching with a lack of depth in position players, something that will eventually need evaluation.”

    I think the reason for this is because when Cashman got complete control he was drafting more pitchers with high upside because that was the Yankees greatest need. Last year the Yankees drafted and signed a bunch of position players which we will probably start hearing a lot about this year.

  13. Jeff NJ January 18th, 2008 at 11:42 am

    McLovin you said “Yes the late 90’s team had great farm systems players but they had also great freeagent players that made a differance.David Cone,Paul O’Neil,David Wells,Mike Stanton were not from the farm”

    I got news for you, Cone and O’Neill came via trade of prospects. Bottom line is having a strong farm system is absolutely key to being competitive and Cashman has prioritized it again. It’s a shame the Yankees didn’t focus on that for as long as they did, the team could be just as good with half the payroll.

  14. Buddy Biancalana January 18th, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Great post Joe. Your optimism about the prospects is awesome. I think Veras & Melancon will be invaluable to the Yankees in the bullpen, particularly if Rivera passes on the baton to Melancon to closer of the Yanks.

  15. i miss bernie January 18th, 2008 at 11:46 am

    SJ44 cracks a pinch-hit homer! nice job!
    LETS GO GIANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Blargh January 18th, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Good post by SJ44

    Kevin Brown was a trade. Remember that Jeff Weaver (along with a couple of others and buckets of cash) was traded for Kevin Brown…also, at the time, it looked pretty nice. Kevin Brown posted an era of 2.39 (ERA+ of 169) in 2003. Jeff Weaver posted an era of 5.99 (ERA+ of 73) that same year.

    Jaret Wright looked nice at the time of the signing. In 2004 with the Braves, he posted an era of 3.28 (ERA+ of 131).

    Of course, time has passed, they flopped, and we’re disenchanted with the NL ;)

  17. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Great over view Joe, you really need to start a blog on the kids in the minors!!

  18. TurnTwo January 18th, 2008 at 11:52 am

    SJ, as always, great job.

  19. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Great analysis JOE44,

    Im surprised you didnt have Horne in that list. I can picture one or more starting pitchers getting hurt during the long year. Who do they bring up to take someones spot. I would assume that Horne will be a Hughes or Joba type this year. The savior from the minors.

  20. Camaroon15 January 18th, 2008 at 11:58 am

    This has been one of the better guest posts. Didn’t rehash much that has already been spoken about, and the look at these prospects from the view of “what can you do for me now?” certainly puts a different view on things. Thanks again.

  21. hmmm January 18th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    “IF we gave up Wang or Cano for Beckett we we being celebrating a 2007 World Championship and keeping Phil Hughes.”

    you always post the same things over and over without listening to what other people tell you.

    is was Wang AND Cano for Beckett. never one or the other.

    you have to remember this was in late 2005. Wang and Cano were hardly stars at that point. one of them alone was not enough to land Beckett.

    and trading both would have been an awful, awful trade.

  22. Todd January 18th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    SJ44, Do you think Humberto Sanchez can be thrown into that list as a possible contributer in the season’s second half? Any opinions on him?

  23. saucy January 18th, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    the thing about Jaret Wright that made most scratch their heads was the 2004 was his only very good season… in the NL at that…

  24. kd January 18th, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    SJ44,

    Thanks a lot, we’ve all been looking forward to this list for a long time. Do you think Miranda is actually his listed age? Any chance he’s a few years older, e.g. Soriano?

  25. Blargh January 18th, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    saucy: The magic elixir power of Leo Mazzone? :P

    Our-Favourite-Whipping-Boy also really only had one great (full) season under his belt too at the time of the signing. Although, overall his career at the time was better than Wright’s.

  26. Yanksin08 January 18th, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Great read love our prospects!

  27. myrtlebeachfan January 18th, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Josh Beckett is overrated.

    Great post SJ44. You should get a guest spot on this blog weekly, especially during the season. Updating on prospects or whatever else you have a unique take on. Your insight on prospects is one that I regard highly and that I feel I can trust.

  28. myrtlebeachfan January 18th, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Great post SJ44. You should get a guest spot on this blog weekly, especially during the season. Updating on prospects or whatever else you have a unique take on. Your insight on prospects is one that I regard highly and that I feel I can trust.

    Josh Beckett is overrated.

  29. Florida Yank January 18th, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Jose Veras showed good signs at the end of ’07 with the outings he was given and although he wasn’t on the postseason roster, he was considered. He can make his case this spring and with some guidance from Mariano and Dave Eiland, could very well be a solid contributor out of the bullpen.
    As SJ44 states, Ross Ohlendorf has the pitches and needs to harness them. He’ll be watched closely in the spring.
    Mark Melancon could be a big lift after the All Star break depending on his progess.
    Juan Miranda is another that will be closely watch at spring training but projected to start the season at AAA. If he puts up good numbers, Giambi could be relegated to pinch hitting duty and possibly not on the postseason roster.
    I’m one that believes all teams have middle relief questions but the Yankees have a variety of young arms to choose from to correct the questions.

  30. Vince January 18th, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Juan Miranda has a lefthanded swing made for Yankee Stadium and playing some winter ball furthered his progress.

  31. CB January 18th, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Interesting thoughts as always SJ44.

    I agree with you on Veras – if he can contribute the dynamics of the bullpen completely change. He absolutely has the stuff to be an effective set up guy if (and this is the big if) he can command his stuff.

    He had a terrific season in AAA in 2006 with a k/9 of over 10 and finally harnessing his control. He looked good in the cup of coffee he had at the major league level also and I know the yankees thought he was ready.

    He recovered as well as can be expected from the elbow surgery and you could tell when he came up in September that his arm strength was back.

    What concerns me about him is his command. It was not there when he came up this past season. He unfortunately seemed to fit in well with the yankee’s collection of farnsworth’s and bruney’s – throw hard, not sure where its going.

    Now with elbow surgery the last thing to come back is usually command so I’m not too troubled by his lack of it in 2007 (even in his stint in the minors he walked a lot of hitters). But command can take 2 years to come back. I don’t know what to expect from Veras this season. Winter ball was encouraging but he only threw around 8 innings. And in general Veras hasn’t had ever had great command in the minors.

    Hopefully he pans out. If he does much of the bullpen questions are taken care of. If not they move onto the next option.

    I also like Melcon a lot but I disagree on whether he’ll contribute this year. Coming off TJ you just don’t know what his control is going to be like. On top of that his total minor league experience to date is 8 innings at Short Season Staten Island.

    I know he has strong college experience to build on but the combination of coming back from TJ and lack of minor league experience make him a major question mark in my mind. I’m not counting on him contributing at all this season at the major league level other than perhaps a September call up.
    But I hope I’m wrong about that.

    before his TJ surgery it looked like he was going to be in the majors very soon.

    He has outstanding stuff and has The issue that really concerns me about

  32. TurnTwo January 18th, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    speaking of Shelley Duncan, we havent really heard much about him since we found out he was released from the hospital.

    Pete or SJ, any follow up info available on him? is he on track to start Spring Training as sched?

    from what Ive heard and read about Miranda from all over the web and his stat sheets, it seems like a perfect platoon situation, if Duncan (against lefties) and Miranda (against righties) continue to develop and produce like they did at the end of last year.

  33. YankeeFan January 18th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    nice to reading something from sj44 again.
    his additional insight is very interesting.
    thanks

  34. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    #5 IGAWA

  35. YankeeFan January 18th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    now, where’s bobcat ?

  36. Fran January 18th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    SJ144 – Thanks for a really good post and all that you contribute to the blog.

  37. Blargh January 18th, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Well, Carlos Pena reached a preliminary 3 year/24.125 million pact with the Devil Rays
    Until finalized, it’ll be a makeshift 1 year/6 million deal to avoid arbitration

  38. Buddy Biancalana January 18th, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    McLovin=McIdiot

  39. G. Love January 18th, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Awesome job SJ. I think Pete should let you do this periodically through the year to give us your take and insight on the prospects.

    This was the best and most informative guest blogger post in my opinion.

    I also have a lot of hope for Veras. You could just see last season that he would uncork a completely nasty pitch. I think a team/manager that shows confidence in him from the get go might get his consistency to where he’ll be a stud in the pen.

    You’ve got me frothing to see Melancon now.

    So am I reading into this too much that you didn’t include Alan Horne in your piece?

    I’m just wondering if you don’t think he’s going to help the major league club this year.

    If not, don’t you think they should trade him and sell high at this point? He’s not getting any younger.

  40. Joe Buck ruins my life with his bad MLB/NFL playoff announcing January 18th, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Good post. The 8th inning still is up in the air.

  41. Blargh January 18th, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Ah, more roundup of deals – http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22718746/

  42. saucy January 18th, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    lol click

  43. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Buddy I don’t know why anyone bothers to reply to him anymore. I see his posts, and I skip right over it.

  44. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    Does it ever end??

    The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that “Twins officials privately say they think [Johan] Santana will be traded before spring training opens next month.”

    The newspaper speculates that “the Twins have seemed most intrigued with the Mets’ offer” recently, but adds that the Yankees and Red Sox remain in the mix. The Mets were previously said to have offered Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, Philip Humber and Kevin Mulvey, but the Twins are rumored to be holding out for Fernando Martinez. Jan. 17 – 9:57 am et

  45. saucy January 18th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    McLovin falls into the category of ‘drive by poster’. spewing a bunch of nonsense, but never sticking around for the aftermath (aka, responses stating how wrong the original post was)…

  46. Blargh January 18th, 2008 at 12:40 pm

    Jennifer: Remember, Santana is LEGEND
    All this talk about his movement is part of…THE LEGEND

  47. Hockey January 18th, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Favoritism at its best. You said that “Rule” was that you HAD to have an ESTABLISHED BLOG. Why does this guy get an exception made for him but not others? This place just lost all credibility.

  48. Buddy Biancalana January 18th, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    There has been talk of SJ44 doing a writeup of the Yankees’ prospects for a longtime now, before the guest blogger idea, that piece was just the beginning (hopefully).

  49. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    I would prefer someone with info that has no established blog than an established blog that continues to bring up the same things we already know.

  50. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    Reading today that the braves might sign Texiera long term makes it more of a must that Miranda shines. I cant think of another first baseman that is going on the market worth getting. Who knows maybe Eric Duncan might surprise us this year and live up to all the hype. Being healthy for a change cant hurt.

  51. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Another drive by poster, hey everyone was begging sj to write up the prospects, and were asking Pete to allow him to post. We wanted to read what he said. Obviously you have no interest in the farm otherwise you would have enjoyed what Joe wrote.

  52. from Captain Clutch to Derek Choker January 18th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Buddy Biancalana = IDIOT

  53. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    S.o.S.27

    He is my sleeper pick, I said it a few days ago. I think he might finally get it together this year.

    Now I’m not saying that Horne et al, won’t make an impact on the Yankees. It is just that a lot of people have written Eric off. He had injury plagued years, and I think he will finally get started.

  54. Phil January 18th, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    SJ44: About time!!! :)

    Seriously, great post, as always.

  55. from Captain Clutch to Derek Choker January 18th, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    what a big disaster that betemit trade was. should’ve just kept cairo.

  56. DMan January 18th, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Nice post.

    Always love the prospect talk.

  57. mel January 18th, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    SJ44 (Can I call you Joe?),

    Great, great insight. Your assessment on Jose was particularly interesting. He seemed to be very quiet and unassuming, but Mariano’s quiet and unassuming, too. As for the endorsement of Mariano, sometimes the best scouts are the players themselves.

    I know you’re a busy person, Joe, but you’ve really topped yourself here and we won’t be satisfied until you get your own blog.

    As for Miranda, can anyone tell me how he ended up with the Yankees?

  58. from Captain Clutch to Derek Choker January 18th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    he swam from cuba

  59. mel January 18th, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Joe,

    Forgot to ask, do you see Melancon having a similar (better?) meteoric rise like Joba did? How do the two compare?

  60. Ed FL January 18th, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Excellent post, SJ44. Thanks.

    Saucy,
    Miranda is a Cuban defector. He moved to the Dominican Republic. He was suspended from playing in Cuba, The reason? He was suspected he wanted to play professionally in the USA.He was never in prison for two years according to his family in Miami( I know them personally ).

    kd, Miranda is 24 years old.

  61. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Mel, the Yanks outbid other teams when Miranda hit the international FA market. I believe he took up residence in the DR and his agent held an audition.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/.....id=2693552

  62. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    jennifer,
    Hopefully Eric back holds up. I just keep thinking of the year he was m.v.p. of the winter league and how young he is. I also want to add that he doesnt have the pressure this year of having to perform to expectations. Im rooting for him.

    Horne IMO will be in the Bigs by late May. I have heard that he has control problems. I just think he has been dominating even without all the control. Immangine when he does.

  63. YankCrank20 January 18th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    ok so miranda is only 24, he can kill the ball but i hear his defense is absolutely awful…to the point where he makes giambi look like mietnwjchsosjfjdk. with giambi coming off the roster next year and abreu off of the outfield mix along with matsui, couldnt miranda just come in and be our full time dh and not have to worry about picking up a glove? much like douche ortiz?

  64. from Captain Clutch to Derek Choker January 18th, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    miranda cant hit lefties

  65. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    YankCrank,
    Matsui has one more year after this one. I can see him taking the dh duties next year. With half his games at dh this year. Keep in mind 2 years from now we will have Posada needing to start moving over their as well.

  66. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    S.o.S.27

    YOu think he’ll be up that early? I’d say before all star break.

  67. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    YankCrank20
    January 18th, 2008 at 1:16 pm
    ok so miranda is only 24, he can kill the ball but i hear his defense is absolutely awful…to the point where he makes giambi look like mietnwjchsosjfjdk. with giambi coming off the roster next year and abreu off of the outfield mix along with matsui, couldnt miranda just come in and be our full time dh and not have to worry about picking up a glove? much like douche ortiz?

    ===========================================
    If Abreu puts up the same kind of numbers this year that he has been, don’t expect the Yankees to just cut him loose.

  68. Old Goat January 18th, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    S.o.S.27 where did you read that about Teixeira? I just read that he signed a ONE YEAR contract for 12.5 million. Not a word of anything beyond that. He is a Boras client, so it seems unlikely that he wouldn’t “test the waters” of Free Agency. I also read a few times that Atlanta wasn’t planning on signing him after this year.

  69. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Jennifer,
    I hope im wrong. The reason i say this is for the last few years we have had injuries to our pitching staff right from the start of the season. Plus you have our young 3 with innings caps. Unless they go with Igawa just so Horne can work more in Scranton.

  70. 17-0* January 18th, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Go Pat-Pats !

  71. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Hey spin it into a postive, Horne could be throwing so well in AAA that you can’t ignore it.

  72. kd January 18th, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    thanks ed. my point was can we really be sure that he’s 24. it’s probably not the biggest concern but something to think about

    with all these arms coming up through the ranks, it’s a great time to be a yankee fan. so much better than last year when AA pitchers were giving up 4 homers in a row

  73. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    Old Goat,
    The Braves signed arbitration-eligible Mark Teixeira to a one-year, $12.5 million contract Thursday, and Braves Nation can only hope future negotiations go so smoothly with the slugger’s agent. “I don’t know that it signals that, I just know that we’ll continue working at [a contract extension],” said Braves GM Frank Wren, who has had plenty of recent conversations with Teixiera’s famously hard-driving agent, Scott Boras. “We’ve had quite a bit of dialogue.” The Braves and Teixeira won’t say whether an extension might be worked out before or during the season or if Boras will have his client wait to test the free-agent waters when he’s eligible next winter.

    Your right it is Boras. But for them to even be talking about it now should be of concern. Hopefully Boras continues to be Boras.

  74. CB January 18th, 2008 at 1:33 pm

    Many people think Miranda is considerably older than his stated age. As with other international signees it can be hard to know. Some people speculate that he could be 26 or so.

    I think its far too early to assume that he can’t hit left handed pitching and is only a platoon player. He was completely out of the game for two seasons and given that had a very strong season last year.

    His timing against left handers may still be coming back. He didn’t face many left handers last year – it may just be an issue of seeing more of them again.

  75. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    kd
    January 18th, 2008 at 1:31 pm
    thanks ed. my point was can we really be sure that he’s 24.

    Next your going to tell me that EL DUQUE isnt really 31.

  76. mel January 18th, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Thanks, GB7.

    As for Abreu, BA had him on the team in 2011!

    I guess that means that he’s still killing at the plate, gettin on base, and protecting the Lord in the lineup. Unfortunately that means that one or both of the OF prospects were more dud than stud. Or fortunately that means Melky got traded for Santana.

    I can see Abreu on the team for another year, but not too far beyond that because of the youth thing. Unfortunate, he’s a good guy but the fans start to lose patience with old outfielders who fear the wall. ;)

  77. RosterRooster January 18th, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Everyone here like predicting the future right?

    The Question is: Who will hit the second most HR’s on the yanks next year.

    Last year I bet combined homeruns of AROD+Giambino versus Manny+Ortiz, against a red sox fan. I won, and it was glorious. But this year, I dont think A Rod will carry me as much, and im not sure how many PA’s Giambi will have. So, who will hit the second most HR’s on the yankees?

    It seems the Candidates are: Matsui, Posada, Giambi, and Abreu.

    Im guessing it will be Jorge, unless he gets hurt, which is a definate possibility. Thoughts?

  78. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Mel, I don’t think that Tabata in particular or any of the young outfielders will be ready by the start of 2009 other than possibly Jackson. Gardner could fill in and be sort of a Juan Pierre type the first year or so, but, most likely is a 4th-5th outfielder type. Colin Curtis is probably the most experienced of the other minor league outfielders, but, he really hasn’t shown that he would be ready and Fortenberry is now at Tampa. There’s few mashers in the outfield that are withing 2-3 years, yet. The infield is loaded from Tampa down, so a couple of them may move to the outfield.

  79. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    My guess Cano, he hit 19 last year I think he can hit at least 25.

  80. Old Goat January 18th, 2008 at 1:58 pm

    Thanks S.o.S.27, the report I read left out all the other stuff on further talks going on. Some of that might just be for the fans though. Hard to say, so many teams have big bucks now, so signing a high priced player isn’t as hard as it used to be.

    I don’t think that Teixeira is a must have, either, but it would be nice to see the Yankees with a great firstbaseman. That position hasn’t been all that swift for a while now.

  81. mel January 18th, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    GB7,

    Where do you get your minor league info? I’ve never even heard of Colin Curtis.

    Roster Rooster,

    Jorge or Matsui if he’s right again. Forget the G-man, though I look for a good year from him in his contract year. There’s just not enough AB.

    Keep your eye on Juan Miranda though ;) , this is from his MLB profile:

    Fantasy Comparison:
    Alex Rodriguez 2814
    Hanley Ramirez 2439
    Jimmy Rollins 2362
    Jose Reyes 2313

  82. Old Goat January 18th, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    RosterRooster, I don’t see it being Giambi either. Posada had a big year last year, but I don’t see a repeat being likely. I would go with either Cano or Abreu. Abreu has been trending down, but I think he is going to come up big this coming season. Cano should be hitting more of them, but I don’t think I would bet on it.

  83. i miss bernie January 18th, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    RR
    gotta go with godzilla. jorge is likely to see a somewhat decreased workload with a good defensive backup and girardi (defensive guy) filling out the lineup card

  84. Buddy Biancalana January 18th, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    When Giambi is healthy, he could easily hit 40 bombs, he has a lot to prove this year. He is quite the unknown.

  85. RosterRooster January 18th, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Yeah, I guess Cano might be the safest bet.

    I hate how people love to rag on Abreu. He always has tons of Total bases and NEVER gets injured.

    At this point, he’s probably the best leadoff hitter on the team. Girardi is known for having an imagination, and if(when) damon gets hurt, i bet youll see Bobby in the 1 hole.

  86. mel January 18th, 2008 at 2:09 pm

    Here’s a great, great long article on Humberto Sanchez (I just love saying his first name!). If there was ever a kid destined to be a Yankee, it’s him. Some cute stories and a lot of great sentiments. He’ll be a month behind the other pitchers and may be slotted for SWB.

    http://web.minorleaguebaseball.....;fext=.jsp

  87. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    Mel, Curtis was on the Tampa and Trenton teams in 2007. He’s moved fast, a good outfielder. Not a ton of power, though. Line drive/gap hitter with decent to good speed. He’s also a left handed hitter. I saw him playing in Tampa in about 8-10 and another 5-6 games in Ft Myers, Fla. last year. Think Chad Curtis, a little taller, though.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com.....rtis.shtml

  88. saucy January 18th, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    RosterRooster, 2nd most HRs in 2008

    i’ll go out on a limb and pick Damon

  89. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Old Goat,
    My fear with a Texiera is he will probably sign for 7 years or close to it. I cant wait for this year to be over so that we can rid ourselves from dead weight Giambi and Mussina. I dont believe we should invest in anyone more than 5 years.Too many things that can happen within that time. All it does is handcuff the orginization. Even AROD IMO as good as he is and as well as he keeps his body in good condition was signed for 3 years too many. That is signing the best player in baseball. Keep in mind Texiera had leg injuries last year.

  90. i miss bernie January 18th, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    wow, im the only 1 picking matsui. take out the broken wrist year and he’s gone 31,23,25. maybe cano rises up but matsui’s a pretty solid bet to get mid 20′s

  91. mel January 18th, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Are we having a contest Roster Rooster?

    We should definitely have one for the end of the year to see who can correctly guess the Yankees regular season record.

  92. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Mel, I’ll go with a 98-64 record in 2008.

  93. RosterRooster January 18th, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Im just worried about Hideki not getting enough playing time. injuries are a concern, but also these logjams insure he wont be playing every day.

    Cano and Abreu WILL be playing every day, so are virtual locks for at least 15 home runs. If AROD gets 50, that makes 65, a total that would beat Manny+Ortiz about half the time (given their declining productivity)

    I think its a safer bet. If i go with Matsui, Giambi, Damon, or Posada, theres a chance they get 5 if something crazy happens.

  94. Todd January 18th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Matsui or Giambi will be second on the team in HR. Giambi if he stays healthy enough … Matsui if he doesn’t.

  95. Old Yanks Fan January 18th, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    It is easy to love a big bat, but we need to stay away from one-dimensional players. If Miranda is that bad at first, can we see how he looks in the OF?

    I like Mats, but if he posts an .850 OPS or less, with no glove, no arm and no speed, he is not helping the clib that much.

    When you have a Hafner, Bonds or Ortiz, guys that always post .950 and usually higher, it’s fine to have a fulltime DH. But using the DH for a .850 OPS guy is not that great, especially when you have older players that need days off… or at DH.

    Jeter can’t field, but he is great on popups, a great cutoff man and an excellent runner. But Giambi and Matsui are basically 1D guys. Posada may be in a year or 2.

    I hope we can get more all around athletes on the club. Guys like AJax, and even Melky to some extend, offer more then just a bat. If Miranda truly stinks in the field, he may be better used as trade bait to a weak hitting team with no DH.

  96. rbizzler January 18th, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Jennifer, et al.

    There are a number of Yankee blogs out there that deal with Yankee prospects. Mike A. at River Avenue Blues and EJ and co. over at Pending Pinstripes are the best that I have found. I am not affiliated with either blog, but I recommend checking them out. Not that SJ isn’t a reliable source, but there is plenty of info out there to be had, if you remain interested.

    Ed FL,
    Being that you know Miranda’s family personally, do you really think that he is actually 24? His age has been questioned by a lot of pundits and has, at least, some impact in his prospect status.

    Oh, and I am sure SJ knows that Miranda doesn’t hit lefties well, that is why he mentioned him as part of a possible platoon with Shelley.

  97. i miss bernie January 18th, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    mel my prediction is 102-60 best record in baseball this year.

  98. Old Goat January 18th, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    S.o.S.27 that point about the number of years is true, I wasn’t thinking of that. If it were to be a 5 year with 2 options I would be more comfortable.

    I would think the Yankees would have been a bit hesitant to sign a long deal after what went on with Pavano, and that wasn’t a long deal – it just seems that way. Teixeira did have the hamstring I think, that kept him out for a while, but at least it wasn’t the full season.

    RosterRooster, Abreu had the ribcage injury last year which probably had a lot to do with his prolonged slump. He is a good batter though, and I think, with this being a contract year for him, that he will be hitting a few more out of the park.

    Its a tough call though. At least you don’t have to worry about Jeter or Melky being second in the HRs for the Yankees.

    Matsui is a puzzle. He is streaky, but some of last year was his knees. Those are cleaned up now, so maybe he will put out more power again.

    Glad I don’t make bets like that. :lol:

  99. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Cano for 26 in 08.

    I would have gone with Matsui but i think he will play less games this year with left field and dh rotations.

  100. Boston Dave January 18th, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    SJ -

    I’m pleasantly surprised with you saying Veras control was outstanding. I’m skeptical that he’ll maintain that but if he does, he has the stuff to be pretty good.

    I’m also skeptical of Miranda being ready for the majors in 08 but we’ll see.

    Good post.

  101. mel January 18th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    GB7,

    Wow! That’s optimistic! We need to get Pete, Rebecca, or another blogger (Phil Hughes?) to host the contest.

  102. Old Yanks Fan January 18th, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    Remember that olds guys seem to often have good years on their contract year. Lets hope Moose, Bobby and Giambi feel they have something to prove.

  103. mel January 18th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    imb,

    wOw. Even more optimistic! What will Rebecca’s guess be?

  104. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Mel, If NY can win 94 games using 28 pitchers, 11 of them rookies and 14 starters, they should be able to win four more games, using less. I don’t expect to see the injuries of last year, and fully expect Jeter and Damon to be healthier than last year. All depends on health.

  105. Old Goat January 18th, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Old Yanks Fan
    January 18th, 2008 at 2:31 pm
    Remember that olds guys seem to often have good years on their contract year. Lets hope Moose, Bobby and Giambi feel they have something to prove.

    Amen to that!

    Even with this batting problems last year, Bobby had a pretty productive year.

  106. i miss bernie January 18th, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    well, i just figured that this is the same team as last year, replace clemens with phil and put joba in as set up and you have a better team. also i dont expect then to fall on thier faces out of ST. Also i expect BOS to show some WS hangover.

  107. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Im not sold on Abreu’s homerun power. He has been declining since 04. He also has the homerun derby curse on him. Didnt Tejada also win that? I predict Matsui and Damon will have more homers than Abreu.

    126-49 BEST RECORD EVER!! #27 in the books.

  108. murphydog January 18th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    SJ:

    Nice work. I’m taking what you said to the bank.

  109. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    Old Geezer…err…Goat. Abreu missed the last portion of spring training and came back pretty quickly from that oblique strain. I’m wondering if that along with the weather was a problem that he refused to admit? That’s usually a 2-4 week stay on the DL.

  110. stuart January 18th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    SJ44 great job… What are you feelings on Edwar??? Can he be effective enough with his fastball to make his change affective?? Or is he a great AAAA pitcher?

    What about JB Cox, how do you asses him?

    They need to have some arms in the pen that can go multiple innings because of the innings limitations for the young guys and the limitations on Krazy Kyle…

  111. mel January 18th, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    O.K. the pressure’s on Rebecca. Undefeated?

  112. Butthead January 18th, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    huh-huh, you said cox…. and asses….

  113. RRS1603 January 18th, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Rich (NY, NY): Hey Keith, wanted to know what you thought about the bullpen situation in the Bronx in 2008. Right now Cashman is saying he plans to fill the middle-innings roles with mostly young guys–maybe Ohlendorf, Kennedy (assuming he won’t be in the rotation), Britton. Do you think he’s serious about this? And if so, how do you feel about this strategy? I think it’s a great idea.

    Keith Law: I do too. You can’t buy a good bullpen. The Yanks tried it repeatedly and failed. The White Sox are trying it now, and I predict they’ll fail too.

  114. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    SoS27, Abreu has never been a home run hitter. He’s a line drive type hitter. Playing in Philly helped, but, he only had the 2 30 homer seasons…his next highest was 25. A slight dip while changing leagues isn’t all that uncommon. His career average is 22 homers a year. As long as he scores 100 and knocks in 100, I don’t care how many he hits.

  115. i miss bernie January 18th, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    sos, where do i get my tickets for those extra 13 games?

  116. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    126-48 :)

  117. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    i miss bernie

    He is including ps games. We win the ws next year!

  118. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    GreenBeret7,
    agreed.

    i miss bernie
    January 18th, 2008 at 2:46 pm
    sos, where do i get my tickets for those extra 13 games?

    Tickets go on sale in October. Tough to get though. GOOD LUCK.

  119. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    Damnit this year!!

  120. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Jennifer, are you looking at a 11-1 Post Season run?

  121. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    yes I am!! 8)

  122. mel January 18th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    imb,

    playoffs maybe?

  123. Old Goat January 18th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    GreenBeret7
    January 18th, 2008 at 2:38 pm
    Old Geezer…err…Goat. Abreu missed the last portion of spring training and came back pretty quickly from that oblique strain. I’m wondering if that along with the weather was a problem that he refused to admit? That’s usually a 2-4 week stay on the DL

    Hey, who you calling Old? ;)

    That’s what I meant about his injured rib cage, forgot it was the oblique strain, but I think it affected his swing through the large part of the season. For a while it was probably still bothering him, then it threw his swing off because he was compensating. He also lost some weight as the season went along, so that might have helped out a bit as well.

  124. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    MY PREDICTION-126-49 BEST RECORD EVER!! #27 in the books.

    jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge
    January 18th, 2008 at 2:48 pm
    126-48

    What are we playing name that tune?lol. Who is going to go on the limb and beat Jens prediction.

  125. i miss bernie January 18th, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    wish i could b as optimistic about the PS, but an ace is gonna hafta rise up for that to happen.

  126. mel January 18th, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Alright, guys. I’m seriously thinking of putting together a blog pool.

    Categories so far:

    -Reg. Season record
    -Runs scored
    -HR total for Alex
    -Wins for Phil Hughes
    -# of 1B starters

    No guesses yet, just ideas please…

  127. Jaewon January 18th, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Abreu: 27 jacks
    Jeter: 27 steals
    Arod: 27 K’s
    Wang: 27 wins
    Farnsworth: 27 strikeouts

    Yankees: # 27!

  128. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    # of dp by Wang

  129. Jaewon January 18th, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Oh and does anybody know anything about the arbitration stuff today? All the MLB headlines are teams getting deals done. . .

  130. saucy January 18th, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    mel,
    -best ERA for a starter
    -team ERA
    -saves for mariano
    -2nd most saves

  131. RosterRooster January 18th, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    # of times Girardi gets thrown out
    # of team HBP more then the second team in that category

  132. i miss bernie January 18th, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    here’s a telling stat that is a good indicator:
    # of games started by pitchers not on opening day roster?

  133. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    over under 6 times Joe G thrown out.

  134. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    There is a 16 Bad Luck Club read on SI.COM. The women that have given bad luck to sports athletes. Can anyone believe that is Martina Hingis in that picture. Amazing how nice a women can look with her hair down.

  135. jep January 18th, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    so sj44 is really JOE girardi

  136. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    # of DH’S
    # of game winning hits for AROD
    # of times Farns gets suspended from Girardi for attitude.
    # of hits Giambi has to the left side.
    # of assist Melky has.
    # of times Mussina stares at his teamate after making an error.

  137. i miss bernie January 18th, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    # of road rage accidents caused by Sterling singing show tunes?

  138. mel January 18th, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    Good ideas guys, keep ‘em coming.

  139. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    What’s the prise, Mel? If it’s an emailed homecooked dinner and 6 dozen chocolate chip cookies, I’m in.

  140. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    # of times Posada looks in the dugout with disgust while catching Farns.
    # of times Abreu catches a ball against the wall.
    # times Posada gets thrown out trying to get a double of a ball that hits the wall.

  141. GreenBeret7 January 18th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    prize**

  142. mel January 18th, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    # of times Souxie Waldman gets emotional and completely loses it.

    Betemit gets a deal, hopping to the next thread…

  143. S.o.S.27 January 18th, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    # of walks for Cano

  144. Yanksrule57 January 18th, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    # of times the manager falls asleep on the bench, oh wait, never mind.

  145. Jaewon January 18th, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    freerice.com

    completely random, but check it out. It’s really cool although it isn’t sports related

  146. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 18th, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    # of Triples Jorge gets
    # of times Joe picks his nose on bench, ooops wrong one.

  147. G.R. January 18th, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    Really great post SJ44! Pete, how about a weekly SJ report? I would love it.

  148. Yazman January 18th, 2008 at 3:53 pm

    Very informative post, SJ44. Thanks!

    I like the pool idea. Stat projections for each player would be fun, or over/unders for each stat vs. 2007 (e.g., AVG, Runs, HR, RBI, SB for A-Rod: over, under, under, under, over).

  149. Doreen January 18th, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    SJ44 -

    Just sat down to my computer. What a pleasant surprise this post was! And well worth the wait, might I add.

    I am probably repeating what many others have already said, but I like that your focus was on players who may actually be in a position to help the Major League club this season. It’s exciting to read about these players and your excitement about these players comes through with each written word.

    So, SJ44/Joe, what shall we call you?

  150. ken777 January 18th, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    Nice Post SJ44

    I always enjoy reading your comments, but don’t agree all the time…nobody ever dose.
    Saw a few of these guys play last year, a few times. You made some very nice picks an assumptions about them. They may surprise some of the naysayers, some are playing for their future in the yanks organization. Hopefully, most of them show everyone what they are capable of in the future.

  151. Doreen January 18th, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Mel -

    I’ll bake the cookies (if they’re a prize!)

    RR -

    I like Hideki for 2nd most HRs on this team. He probably stands to see a lot of DH time, and unlike Giambi, he’s shown he can produce in that role. Cano could get over 20 this year, if he gets off to a better start than last year. If Damon is healthy and sees a lot of playing time, he should do 20-plus as well.

  152. Larry Jaffe January 18th, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Great Post Joe! You should have your own blog. This was the most informative of all the pinch blogs. Thanks.

  153. blunkness January 18th, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks SJ. Always a pleasure to read your posts, glad you got the spotlight for a minute and the info was great. Can’t wait for pitchers and catchers to report.

  154. xxx January 18th, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    SJ If you ever get a blog ny friend, count me in.

  155. dontfirecash January 18th, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    SJ,
    good stuff as usual…however, I disagree with your assertion that Melancon will be in the Bronx after the all star break. This is a guy who has thrown something like 10 professional innings(all in ’06 in SI and Hawaii). A pitchers ability to control his pitches is generally the last thing that returns to a player after TJ surgery, so I think it is simply unrealistic to expect Melancon to contribute this year.

  156. Dave January 18th, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    SJ44 —

    Thank you for the insightful report on the farm system that has big potential to help out this year.

    We read articles on prospects all the time, but you had the right focus to really make it count. We all love hear about how Joba/hughes/kennedy can be great, but it was relieving to learn more about the other big arms whose names we dont know so well yet.

    Thanks for taking the time to keep us informed.
    Dave

  157. Bob from NJ January 18th, 2008 at 11:08 pm

    I’m not sure if Veras is really a ‘prospect’ but I agree that he can be a valuable contributor this year. I believe Edwar will emerge as the guy that will keep LaTroy and Farnsy from pitching in high leverage situations, but if it’s Veras, fine by me. Hopefully both can succeed.

  158. RonH January 19th, 2008 at 10:27 am

    SJ44,

    Great job, much appreciated! Very informative as all your posts are. Please keep updating on folks like Sanchez, Cox, Whelan, Gardner, etc.

  159. Felipe from Brazil January 19th, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks SJ44, you just make this blog better than it already is!

  160. bodhisattva January 20th, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    McLovin:

    Cano is the best player on the Yankees, and will join the exclusive pantheon of ‘greatest ever’ hitters in all of baseball. Trade him? We’d be celebrating? Laughable. Cashman will never deal this gem.

  161. bodhisattva January 20th, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    mel,

    Melancon has makeup to pull a Joba. He doesn’t throw nearly as hard, but his curve is awesome and both fbs he throws have great movement. He is also much more of a contact guy than Joba, and he’ll use his C-up as well. Don’t think TJ will disorient Melancon’s control for too long. Totally see a post All-Star entrance, and from there he’ll be Mariano’s eighth-inning man

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