Archive for December, 2010
Bartolo Colon has been pitching well in winter ball and he says in a Dominican Republic newspaper that the Yankees are one of the teams interested in him. But the 37-year-old former Cy Young winner has been on the downside for a good while now. Not sure he would help if he joined the starting pitching pool.
I was at Yankee Stadium Thursday for the inaugural Pinstripe Bowl. Syracuse managed to hold on, 36-34, against Kansas State. There was a really questionable call for excessive celebration in the final two minutes. It wasn’t excessive. The Kansas State receiver saluted the crowd briefly after his touchdown, pushing a potential tying two-point conversion try back to the 18-yard-line.
Team president Randy Levine said it was George Steinbrenner’s wish to have a bowl game here. The Orange was awarded the George M. Steinbrenner championship trophy. The Stadium was not packed. They announced the paid crowd at just over 38,000, mostly Syracuse fans, although some K-State fans made the trip. The Yankees also said more than 6,000 free tickets were given to community groups, youth programs and veterans. It’s good to have a bowl game at the Stadium, but you would think they’d have to invite a team from the region or it might not draw. The windchill reached 26 degrees from what I could tell on weather.com.
Back to baseball, our quiet week continues.
So Happy New Year to everyone, especially fans of the LoHud Yankees blog. We’ve appreciated all your support in 2010. Most of all, I wish you good health, good fortune and much happiness in 2011.
The eighth inning • 12.30.10
The Yankees, according to an SI.com report, have showed interest in free agent Rafael Soriano. The question is, would the ex-Rays closer be interested in trading the ninth inning for the eighth for at least a couple of years? If so, he would be a good answer.
As for another good answer, Joakim Soria, saying he wouldn’t block a deal to the Yankees, Royals GM Dayton Moore indicated to the New York Post that he would deal anyone for the right return. Who would you like to see in that eighth-inning role, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, a committee or one newcomer?
The ex-Red Sox third baseman, Adrian Beltre, is after a five-year deal and the Angels appear to be the frontrunners at the moment to give it to him. The Rangers may still be in the mix, but the A’s look out of it.
I’m at Yankee Stadium today for chilly Pinstripe Bowl coverage.
Pettitte, Teixeira and this and that • 12.29.10
The Yankees are still hoping Andy Pettitte comes back even though they think he’s leaning toward retiring. If Cliff Lee had signed with them, they wouldn’t have had to worry so much. But team president Randy Levine spun the positive side of not spending all that money when he spoke to reporters at Tuesday’s Pinstripe Bowl promotional event, stressing the room in the payroll to spend. He said that there’s still time to improve the team and endorsed Brian Cashman’s patient approach.
The Yankees are among those teams being speculated as interested in starter Jeff Francis as well as reliever Brian Fuentes, although they already have two lefties in the bullpen with Boone Logan and Pedro Feliciano.
Besides saying he thinks Pettitte is indeed leaning toward retirement, Mark Teixeira told the media at that bowl game event that his hamstring is fine again following the tear suffered during the ALCS.
The Jays apparently have agreed on a one-year deal with 37-year-old Octavio Dotel, and his agent indicated he will get the chance to close. Dotel had an uninspiring 4.08 ERA and 22 saves with three teams last season.
Bobby Jenks is joining the setup crew at Fenway. He sounds less than thrilled with his old team, the White Sox.
The field at Yankee Stadium won’t be in the best shape after the second college football game in a month, with Syracuse playing Kansas State Thursday, but an AP report Tuesday stated that the plan is to resod.
Pettitte’s future • 12.28.10
Mark Teixeira has been texting with Andy Pettitte. The Yankees’ first baseman spoke to reporters at a Pinstripe Bowl promotion in Times Square Tuesday. It sounds like he received the same vibes that Brian Cashman received in his conversations with Pettitte, that the 38-year-old lefty is leaning more toward calling it a career.
But no one knows for sure at this moment. Pettitte went 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA last season, although that groin injury sidelined him for much of the second half. Teixeira hasn’t given up on him leaning the other way.
How about Soria for the eighth inning? • 12.28.10
So much for the Yankees being on Joakim Soria’s no-trade list. This story comes from mlbtraderumors.com and a Mexican newspaper. The Royals’ closer says he wouldn’t block a deal to the Yankees or any other team supposedly on his list.
He sure would solve the eighth-inning void with Kerry Wood’s departure and be a worthy heir to Mariano Rivera’s throne. But would Kansas City be willing?
Yankees vs. Red Sox • 12.28.10
The Yankees’ main focus right now is putting on this inaugural bowl game Thursday at Yankee Stadium, the Pinstripe Bowl between Syracuse and Kansas State. Besides Mark Teixeira, Randy Levine, Lonn Trost and the George M. Steinbrenner championship trophy will be at the Times Square Visitor Center promotional event today at 3.
In baseball dealings, it was the Mets making a deal Monday, albeit a very minor one, acquiring a possible backup middle infielder from the Dodgers, Chin-lung Hu, who hit .130 last season over 23 at-bats and 14 big-league games. And the Brewers signed a setup man in Takashi Saito.
Milwaukee is taking an all-in approach before Prince Fielder probably hits the open market, also adding starters Zack Greinke from the Royals and Shaun Markum from the Blue Jays. Octavio Dotel, according to reports, does appear close to joining the Toronto relief mix. Maybe the Jays will be able to leap the Rays this season.
The Red Sox still look to me like the class of the division with their improvements (especially Carl Crawford), returning players who were injured and rotation. But I think their bullpen is still a little suspect, even with the addition of Bobby Jenks.
Of course, we have about seven weeks for the Yankees to make some additional moves before pitchers and catchers report to Tampa. But, being objective, would you rank the Red Sox ahead of the Yankees right now?
Greetings, Brian Heyman here pinch hitting this week for the vacationing Chad.
Mark Teixeira was supposed to appear today at the Times Square Visitor Center as part of an event to promote Thursday’s inaugural Pinstripe Bowl between Syracuse and Kansas State at Yankee Stadium. The event was originally cancelled because of the snowstorm aftermath, but it has now been rescheduled for Tuesday at 3 p.m. It will feature an unveiling of the George M. Steinbrenner championship trophy that goes to the winning team.
So what should the Yankees do about this rotation problem if Andy Pettitte indeed retires? There’s a lack of depth since the top prospects like Dellin Betances and Manuel Banuelos almost assuredly need more minor-league time. Can the offense compensate? And why would Larry Rothschild be able to make A.J. Burnett consistent when Dave Eiland couldn’t? Questions, questions.
Even if Pettitte does come back, they still need depth in case of potential injuries. But CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes, Pettitte, Burnett and Ivan Nova could be wild-card worthy, not that there aren’t questions about most of the group.
If Pettitte doesn’t come back and Sergio Mitre is next in line, they have to make a move. The thing is, the alternatives, possibly Joe Blanton, Freddy Garcia or Jeff Francis, aren’t particularly appealing, either, at least to me. How about to you? The Phillies could move Blanton after investing so much in Cliff Lee. Both Garcia and Francis have had shoulder problems in the past. Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
If any news comes up this week, we’ll be posting it here. Stay warm.
And, we’re back • 12.27.10
Not sure what happened to the blog last night. Everything was fine, then I went to see my friends’ newborn be baptized, and when I got home there was nothing. Couldn’t see the blog. Couldn’t login to the blog. Couldn’t write on the blog.
I’m guessing the insane weather back in New York had something to do with it.
Anyway, we appear to be back up and running. As you might expect, Sunday wasn’t the worst day for the blog to go missing. J.C. Romero re-signed with the Phillies, and the Rangers decided to take a shot on Brandon Webb. Otherwise, it was a pretty quiet day.
I’m actually on vacation for the next week, and the blog will be in the hands of our friend Brian Heyman. I will see you all in the new year. Enjoy the last few days of 2010, and those of you back in New York, stay warm and be careful.
Teixeira participating in Bowl Week kickoff • 12.26.10
Tomorrow, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira will participate in an event to kick start the week leading up to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Here’s the announcement from the Yankees.
The New Era Pinstripe Bowl will officially kick off its inaugural Bowl Week on Monday, December 27, with a special event at the Times Square Visitor Center.
New York Yankees All-Star first baseman Mark Teixeira, former Syracuse quarterback and Brooklyn-native Don McPherson and Kansas State Director of Athletics John Currie will join New Era Pinstripe Bowl executives to officially launch the Bowl Week. Also on hand will be members of the five-time Tony-nominated musical Rock of Ages. Festivities will also include the unveiling of the George M. Steinbrenner championship trophy, which will be presented to the bowl game’s winning team.
At the conclusion of the press conference, fans will be able to purchase tickets for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at the Times Square Visitor Center, where they will remain on sale leading up to the game. Fans may also purchase tickets at www.pinstripebowl.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets.
During the New Era Pinstripe Bowl Week, both participating schools’ players, coaches and staff will take part in events, showcasing their respective universities to the New York-metropolitan area. Special events, promotions and community outreach will take place throughout New York City during the week of the bowl game to create an unforgettable experience for fans, families and visitors to New York City.
In addition, leading up to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl Game – from Monday, December 26, through Thursday, December 30 – businesses throughout Manhattan and the Bronx are participating in the inaugural Bowl Week by offering a special discount to all New Yorkers and visitors in celebration of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. For a listing of all participating businesses, visit http://web.pinstripebowl.com/visitors/index (certain restrictions apply).
The Yankees best of 2010 • 12.26.10
About a week ago, MLB Network announced its 2010 GIBBY Awards to recognize the year’s best players, moments and games. The Yankees were shutout, but it’s easy enough to look back and choose a Yankees winner for each category.
Player of the Year
Gibby: Josh Hamilton
Yankees: Robinson Cano
Easy decision. I guess I could try to surprise you with some other pick — or try to drive people crazy by raving about Alex Rodriguez’s RBI total — but I’ll stick with with the obvious.
Starter of the Year
Gibby: Roy Halladay
Yankees: CC Sabathia
Again, pretty easy choice. Phil Hughes impressed in his first full season as a big league starter, and Andy Pettitte made a strong case for starting the all-star game, but Sabathia began the year as the Yankees ace, and it ended it that way too.
Gibby: Carlos Gonzalez
Yankees: Brett Gardner
I thought about Hughes in this spot, but he was so good out of the bullpen last year, you could make the case that 2010 was simply the next logical step. He had a great year, but I think Gardner is the one who really broke onto the scene from the deep shadows.
Gibby: Ichiro Suzuki
Yankees: Robinson Cano
Sabathia finished fourth in the GIBBY voting, and obviously Mariano Rivera fits here, but I like Cano in this spot. He played nearly every game, never went through an extended slump, and — according to Baseball Reference — he hit .354/.406/.522 in high leverage situations.
Gibby: Joaquin Benoit
Yankees: Kerry Wood
I think you could make a strong case for Dave Robertson — he was actually with the team the entire year, had a terrific second half — but clearly it was Wood who brought the bullpen together and made it a complete unit down the stretch.
Gibby: Elvis Andrus
Yankees: Brett Gardner
I think you could go three ways with this one: Cano was outstanding and Mark Teixeira was great — regardless of his advanced metrics — but I’ll go with Gardner. He had a big left field to cover at Yankee Stadium, and he did more than flash his obvious range. Gardner also showed that an accurate arm and quick release can make a difference, and he was a more-than-capable fill-in when Curtis Granderson couldn’t play center.
Executive of the Year
Gibby: Brian Sabean
Yankees: Mark Newman
This award doesn’t really work within a single organization, but I’ll give Newman credit for the Yankees terrific success in the minor league system this year.
Manager of the Year
Gibby: Bruce Bochy
Yankees: Joe Girardi
Again, this one doesn’t really work within the Yankees system. It’s hard to compare what a Major League manager does against what a minor league manager does. I’m amazed at the work Dave Miley and his staff have done to keep Scranton/Wilkes-Barre consistently winning in Triple-A, but I’ll give Girardi credit, if only because I think he took more heat than he deserved. His moves were wildly unpopular, but he had a team that was falling apart in September, and he got them healthy in time for October. It’s impossible to manage a team that simply stops hitting at the wrong time, and in the end, that was the Yankees problem.
Rookie of the Year
Gibby: Buster Posey
Yankees: Ivan Nova
I’m pretty sure Francisco Cervelli burned his rookie status in 2009 — more than 45 days on the active roster — which leaves only a few candidates on the Yankees roster. Of the young guys who came up from Triple-A, Nova gave the Yankees the most significant and most lasting boost.
Gibby: Tim Lincecum
Yankees: Curtis Granderson
I also like Rivera for this one, and Pettitte would be a solid choice, but I’ll go with Granderson and his .357/.514/.607 slash line in the playoffs.
Close of the Year
Gibby: Brian Wilson
Yankees: Mariano Rivera
You were expecting Jonathan Albaladejo?
Gibby: Carlos Ruiz
Yankees: Marcus Thames
Specifically, it was Thames’ ability to hit right-handed pitching that was an x-factor for the Yankees. The Yankees brought him in expecting a platoon player, but when Nick Johnson landed on the disabled list and Randy Winn was shipped out of town, Thames became the Yankees top bench option and primary designated hitter. His .549 slugging percentage against righties made him a viable everyday option when necessary.
Oddity of the Year
Gibby: Roy Oswalt in left field
Yankees: Marcus Thames at third base
Maybe Juan Miranda’s walk-off walk? Chad Gaudin being cut in spring training and still pitching in 30 games? Chan Ho Park’s unexpected postgame interview in Boston? Derek Jeter’s fake hit by pitch? For absolute oddity, I like Thames’ spending one inning at third base, making a nice backhand play and then making perhaps the worst throw in the history of the game. The fact the game was already over made it OK for everyone, including Thames, to laugh at the play. Jeter’s phantom HBP got more press, but that’s just because it was Jeter. I’m not sure it was actually all that unusual.
Play of the Year
Gibby: Mark Buehrle’s between-the-legs flip
Yankees: Greg Golson’s throw from right field
Cervelli went tumbling into the dugout and Gardner made more than one leaping catch in the outfield, but I can’t look past Golson’s throw to nab Carl Crawford trying to go second-to-third in the ninth inning. It was a game-ending play, by an unexpected player, in the middle of a hot pennant race. One of the best moments of the year.
Moment of the Year
Gibby: Dallas Braden’s Mother’s Day
Yankees: Winning in memory of The Boss
It was inevitable that the first game after George Steinbrenner’s death would be emotional, but it would have been difficult to predict a late-inning rally and ninth-inning walk-off. The Boss would have been proud.
Gibby: That guy who let the foul ball hit his girl friend
Yankees: Nick Swisher being elected to the all-star game
I know the GIBBY awards were looking for something more off-the-wall than my choice, but Yankees fans made a big push to get Swisher elected, and it worked. Girardi knew what he was doing when he picked his right fielder for the final vote ballot.
Performance of the Year
Gibby: Armando Galarraga
Yankees: Alex Rodriguez
Choose one: Rodriguez hitting the 600th home run of his career, or Rodriguez going deep three times during a game in Kansas City. Since this is really all about a single performance, I’ll go with the three-homer game, which played no small part in A-Rod getting back to 30 homers for the year.
Game of the Year
Gibby: Strasburg’s debut
Yankees: Comeback in Los Angeles
The GIBBY award voting had the Sabathia-Price duel ranked fifth, but the first game that jumped to my mind was the Yankees comeback against the Dodgers at the end of an interleague series in L.A. The Yankees had to rally against Jonathan Broxton, Mariano Rivera pitched two scoreless innings to get the win and close it out, and both Chad Huffman and Colin Curtis played significant roles. Can’t say I disagree with Sabathia vs. Price — that was epic — but the Dodgers game jumped to my mind.
Postseason moment of the Year
Gibby: Halladay’s no-hitter
Yankees: Game 1 of the ALCS
Granted, it was all downhill from there, but when the Yankees opened the ALCS with a five-run rally in the eighth inning, it really seemed to set the stage for something special. Guess not.
Associated Press photos