The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Archive for November, 2011

Cashman ready to rappel again, plus notes and links11.30.11

It was exactly one year ago that news broke of Brian Cashman’s decision to rappel down a building as part of Stamford’s Heights & Lights celebration.

Today, it was announced that Cashman will do it again.

As he indicated at the GM Meetings, Cashman will once again rappel down the 22-story Landmark Building for the annual holiday festivity. The main event is Sunday night, Dec. 4, at 5 p.m.

Cashman will also rappel down the building on Friday morning, participating in a special live broadcast with Rick Reichmuth of FOX News Channel, “FOX & Friends.”

Some other notes and links from today…

• At the New York Times, Tyler Kepner looks at the Yankees patience heading into next week’s Winter Meetings. As Kepner points out, the Yankees could be quiet at this year’s meetings after routinely making noise — including the 2009 deal for Curtis Granderson — the past few years.

• Here’s the Associated Press story about Bernie Williams and this year’s Hall of Fame ballot. 

Short-term Yankees lefty Raul Valdes was one of eight minor leaguers signed by the Phillies and given an invitation to big league camp.

• Always a popular topic of discussion around here, David DeJesus has signed with the Cubs to be their everyday right fielder.

• The Angels added a catcher today by trading for Chris Iannetta. To get him, the Angels sent Tyler Chatwood, one of their top young pitchers, to the Rockies.

The first competitive balance lottery will include 13 teams vying for one of six extra draft picks in 2013. Those teams are the Diamondbacks, Orioles, Indians, Royals, A’s, Pirates, Padres, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Marlins, Brewers and Cardinals.

Associated Press photos

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Williams makes first appearance on Hall of Fame ballot11.30.11

The list of newcomers on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot is considered a relatively weak, but it’s headlined by wildly popular and successful Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams.

In the Hall of Fame press release announcing the ballot, Williams is the first newcomer mentioned. He Hall touted him as, “the switch-hitting center fielder on four World Series champs during a 16-season career with the New York Yankees. A .297 career hitter with 287 home runs, Williams won the AL batting crown in 1998 with a .339 average.”

Tim Salmon and Vinny Castilla are also among the most recognizable names added to the ballot this year, along with other former Yankees Ruben Sierra, Terry Mulholland and Tony Womack, and former No. 1 draft pick Phil Nevin, who was drafted five spots ahead of Derek Jeter back in 1992.

Barry Larkin, Jack Morris, Lee Smith and Jeff Bagwell are the top holdovers from last year.

Next year’s class will be one of the most fascinating we’ve ever seen. Newcomers next year will include Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling and Sammy Sosa.

This year’s full ballot: Jeff Bagwell, Jeromy Burnitz, Vinny Castilla, Juan Gonzalez, Brian Jordan, Barry Larkin, Javy Lopez, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Bill Mueller, Terry Mulholland, Dale Murphy, Phil Nevin, Rafael Palmeiro, Brad Radke, Tim Raines, Tim Salmon, Ruben Sierra, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker, Bernie Williams, Tony Womack and Eric Young.

Associated Press photo

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Teixeira focused on the left side11.30.11

Mark Teixeira said today that his baseball specific workouts won’t begin until January, but he already knows what his focus will be.

“I’m going to do the same things but focus more on left-handed, using the whole field,” Teixeira said before today’s March of Dimes luncheon. “I looked at everything at the end of the season, I went through my entire season. I need to hit more singles left-handed. That’s the fact of the matter. Right-handed, I thought I had a great year. Power wise, I thought I had a great year, but my average was very disappointing. Being able to hit the ball the other way a little bit more, use the whole field, take the shift away, it’s going to really help me out.”

Teixeira has been running and lifting weights, and he’s about 10 pounds lighter than he was during the season. Beginning baseball specific work on January 1 is pretty standard.

Last season, Teixeira hit for his usual power, and he had a .302/.380/.587 slash line as a right-handed hitter. As a lefty, though, he hit just .224/.325/.453, prompting Joe Girardi to drop Teixeira in the batting order against right-handers.

“It doesn’t really matter to me,” Teixeira said. “I could hit anywhere in the lineup, I’m going to hit my home runs and drive in my runs. We have such a great lineup, it doesn’t matter where I am.”

Assocaited Press photo

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Girardi not expecting major changes to the rotation11.30.11

With Freddy Garcia and CC Sabathia back in the mix, the Yankees have five starters returning from last season. They also have Hector Noesi coming off a solid big league debut, a trio of Triple-A prospects who have handled the International League, and the top pitching prospects in the organization — Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances — knocking on the door.

Joe Girardi told The Daily News that he wouldn’t be surprised to see very little change in the rotation between now and Opening Day.

“I think we’ll look at maybe possibly adding some more depth to it, but I feel pretty good about these guys,” Girardi said.

Girardi said he expects an Opening Day rotation of Sabathia, Garcia, A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes.

Obviously that expectation could change between now and then — and obviously Girardi has to create a public image of confidence — but Girardi also said he’s basing his expectations on the organization’s shift toward player development. It might no longer be standard operating procedure for the Yankees to pay top dollar for the top players on the market. The organization seems to be growing more selective, and growing more determined to grow its own talent.

“I think our club is starting to try to develop a little bit more,” Girardi said. “Sometimes you feel that you can overpay for pitching, and it can cost you.”

Associated Press photo

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Teixeira being honored today11.30.11

Mark Teixeira is being honored as the March of Dimes Sportsman of the Year this afternoon. The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team are being recognized as the Sportswomen of the Year. Teixeira and representatives of the soccer team will be recognized at the 28th Annual Sports Luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York.

Joe Girardi was a previous winner of the award.

I have computer training in the office all afternoon, but one of the writers who’s at the event texted me a few minutes ago. Oddly enough, his text mentioned only Hope Solo. Can’t imagine why.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 649 Comments →

Wrapping up the month of November11.30.11

It’s the last day of November, and the Yankees are rounding the corner into December just as Brian Cashman said they would: Piecing together their rotation while showing no signs of aggressive spending on either the trade or free agent markets.

They’ve brought back CC Sabathia and Freddy Garcia. Otherwise, a minor league deal with a utility infielder is the Yankees biggest move of the offseason. The Winter Meetings are less than a week away, and the Yankees front office is showing only calm patience.

Where were we at this time last year?

On the last day of November, 2010, the Yankees still had two major deals they had to complete. Mariano Rivera was moving quietly toward a two-year agreement, and Derek Jeter was waiting for a counteroffer in his surprisingly tense contract negotiations. Meanwhile, Cliff Lee remained the biggest target of them all, with no obvious Plan B on the market. 

Oh, and last November 30 was also the day we learned Cashman was going to rappel down a building in an elf costume.

Safe to say, things are quieter this time around.

Associated Press photo

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Happy birthday Mo, plus a few links and notes11.29.11

After your 21st birthday, it’s really the round numbers that people seem to care about. They make a big deal out of turning 30 — to be honest, it was my 31st that made me feel significantly older — and you’re “over the hill” at 40. I remember my father having a big birthday party when he turned 50, and I’m pretty sure my mother will still deny that her 60th ever happened.

But turning 42? That birthday seems significant for only one man.

Mariano Rivera, No. 42 himself, turned 42 today. The game’s greatest closer is in the second year of a two-year deal, and there is already talk that next season might be his last. My guess is Mo will keep throwing those cutters as long as they’re effective.

Happy birthday Mo, and here are a few notes and links from another quiet Tuesday.

• Not really a note, but I had a conversation with another Yankees writer this afternoon. The topic of discussion: There is nothing going on with this team!

• A quick note on an earlier item from today: When Curtis Granderson opened that playground in the Bronx on Monday, for every home run he hit, the American Dairy Association & Dairy Council agreed to donate $100 to PS19X for school nutrition programs. Curtis actually hit seven, but the ADADC donated a total of $1,500 in honor of his visit.

• The Red Sox have their new manager, and it’s Bobby Valentine. 

• Former Yankees reliever Brian Bruney has signed a minor league deal with the White Sox.

• Jon Heyman reports that C.J. Wilson has asked the Angels for a $100-million deal, which could be a lower-then-usual figure for the opportunity to play in California.

Associated Press photo of Rivera

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Get in depth with Granderson tonight on YES11.29.11

Tonight the YES Network is premiering a new show called Yankees Access, and the debut episode centers on Curtis Granderson’s trip to Taiwan. Jack Curry was on the trip, and has footage of Granderson and Robinson Cano playing in the exhibition games, as well as plenty of off-the-field access throughout the trip.

According to a YES Network press release, at one point in tonight’s show, Granderson is seen taking a shot of snake blood (from a snake that was killed and drained right in front of him).

But this is the part I’m guessing you’ll find most interesting. From the press release:

During an on-field demonstration, Granderson shows Curry step-by-step how he and Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long changed the Granderson’s batting stance in August 2010, which led to a tremendous improvement in his offensive output. To help prove a point, Curry shows how easy it is to push over Granderson while he’s in his old stance, and how difficult it is to do so in his new stance.

Every Yankees writer basically spent the season writing about those mechanical changes, but not matter how many times we described them — and quoted both Long and Granderson talking about them — there’s nothing quite like watching Granderson describe the adjustments. Granderson is good at going into detail and explaining stuff like this, so I’m sure it will be worth watching.

Associated Press photo

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Granderson goes deep again11.29.11

Curtis Granderson was aiming for the fences again yesterday, this time dedicating a new playground in the Bronx by participating in a home run contest with a big red Whiffle ball bat.

“A lot of pressure, just like playing in the Bronx,” he said.

Of course, he was asked about the MVP vote, with his former teammate Justin Verlander winning the award ahead of Granderson and (my pick) Jose Bautista.

“You look at a lot of different reasons why the person should be voted in that,” Granderson said. “And Verlander did anything and everything to help his team win as many ballgames as possible. ?Being a former teammate of his, a friend of his, I just have to give congratulations to him — not only for that, but for the Cy Young Award. It couldn’t have gone to a better guy.”

Associated Press photo

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The temptation of Matt Thornton11.29.11

There’s a lot to like about Matt Thornton. He’s a lefty who throws hard and has experience closing games, and he seems to be available on the trade market.

With the Yankees in the market for a lefty, is Thornton a viable target?

To be honest, it might be overkill. Thornton turned 35 last season, and he’s still owed $12 million through the next two seasons. He’s been used as more of a setup man than a lefty specialist, and the White Sox have clearly valued him that way. His contract is bigger than the Yankees ill-advised deal with Pedro Feliciano, and even though the Yankees wouldn’t need him in the seventh or eighth inning — those spots are certainly claimed — other teams would surely view him as that sort of reliever, so the Yankees might have to build that sort of prospect package to get him.

The Yankees seem to be viewing their bullpen as a strength that might need minor tweaking. A trade for the last two years of Thornton’s contract might be a bigger deal than necessary (and a bigger deal than the Yankees would like to make).

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