The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Notes and links on a slow, slow day01.09.11

I think we have an early leader for the slowest baseball news day of 2011. I used the complete inactivity to finalize the schedule for the Pinch Hitter series. I started the process by picking the submitted ideas that I felt positive would be included, but I ultimately had to trim even from that group. There were a lot of overlapping ideas, so I tried to eliminate any sort of repetition. All told, I was surprised at the number of really great suggestions.

I sent out the first wave of confirmation emails tonight, and I’ll be emailing more people in the next couple of days. Thanks again to everyone who submitted an idea. I picked some guest posts that I absolutely disagree with, but that’s kind of the point of this series: A new voice and new perspective never hurts.

As for some notes and links from today…

• Terribly sad story: The little girl killed by that crazed gunman in Arizona was the granddaughter of former Yankees manager Dallas Green.

• Very briefly a member of the Yankees organization, pitcher Shane Lindsay has signed a minor league deal with the White Sox. Brian Bruney previously signed a minor league deal with the White Sox.

• Interesting take in the Times about the Hall of Fame candidacy of Kevin Brown, who didn’t even get enough votes to stay on the ballot for a second year. The conclusion from Dan Rosenheck: “Kevin Brown isn’t an easy guy to feel sorry for. But he deserved much better than this.”

• Oops. The Matt Garza Era isn’t off to a great start for the Chicago Sun-Times.

• Looking for a big time trade, the place to look might be the NBA where the Nets are apparently on the verge of a three-team trade that will land them Carmello Anthony, Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 129 Comments →

Price too high for Yankees to land Matt Garza01.09.11

The Yankees had early discussions with the Rays about trading for Matt Garza, but Brian Cashman told the Daily News that the cost was going to be too high, possibly greater than what the Cubs gave up.

“Strong impressions were that it would be something that would cost us more because we are in the division, kind of like Roy Halladay,” Cashman said.

That suggests a significant package of prospects, especially considering most analysis I’ve read in the wake of the Garza trade suggests the Cubs might have overpaid slightly for the starter. At the very least, there’s a strong sense that it was a good deal for the Rays.

Hard to imagine the Yankees going beyond that, regardless of their rotation situation.

Also in the Daily News report, Cashman once again said he will not give up his first-round pick for any remaining free agent, but he said pitching remains an offseason target.

“But pitching is the focus, more than anything else,” Cashman said. “Nothing has changed from that standpoint.”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 109 Comments →

Could the Rays become an offseason pest?01.09.11

Just thinking outloud here…

In the wake of the Matt Garza trade, the Rays have insisted they want to compete in 2011. They saved some money by sending Garza to the Cubs, and the Rays want to use that payroll space to add pieces. According to Marc Topkin, the Rays have committed only $32 million in payroll — $32 million! — so they have some room to spend and maintain limited spending. Topkin notes that they’re looking to add one or two relievers and one or two hitters. The addition of catcher Robinson Chirinos could also leave them free to trade Kelly Shoppach.

What I’m wondering is whether the Rays remaining free agent targets and Yankees targets might overlap.

Relief pitchers
The remaining Type-A relievers are former Rays Grant Balfour and Rafael Soriano. Brian Cashman has indicated the Yankees aren’t willing to lose draft picks to sign either of them, and my guess — strictly a guess — is that the Rays would like to spend elsewhere and get those draft picks when Balfour and Soriano land elsewhere.

If that’s true, it would leave the Yankees and Rays looking through the exact same group of relievers, with the Rays able to offer the ninth inning to any pitcher with an eye on being a closer. Even before the Garza trade, the Rays were said to be interested in Brian Fuentes to take over the ninth inning.

The most natural fit for the Yankees is a right-handed-hitting corner outfielder who can come off the bench and start occasionally against lefties. Isn’t that the same sort of outfielder the Rays will be looking for?

B.J. Upton and Desmond Jennings can play center field, so the Rays primarily need help in the corners, and they already have Matt Joyce and new addition Sam Fuld swinging from the left side. The left-right preference probably isn’t as significant with the Rays as with the Yankees, but my guess is that it’s there to some extent because they already have two left-handers who are strictly outfielders, and one DH option — Dan Johnson — is also a lefty.

Designated hitter
This is the most obvious difference between the Rays needs and Yankees needs.  The Rays could pump some of their money into the significant DH market, while the Yankees seem unlikely to be involved. The Rays could also get into in the first-base market — where the Yankees also won’t be involved — though that market is down to nothing more than low-cost options like Russell Branyan and Casey Kotchman.

Obviously it’s better for the Yankees if the Rays spend their time and money on players who don’t fit the Yankees plans.

Associated Press photo of Garza

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 573 Comments →

Rays send Garza to the National League01.07.11

One of the few teams in baseball with more than enough starting pitching, the Rays have agreed to trade Matt Garza to the Cubs for a collection of young players.

Headlining the prospects package is right-handed starter Chris Archer, who was just days ago ranked as the Cubs top prospect by Baseball America. Archer was touted as having two plus-plus pitches — a mid-90s fastball and a big slider — and BA suggested he could develop into either a front-line starter or a closer.

The rest of the package included SS Hak-Ju Lee (the No. 4 Cubs prospect), OF Brandon Guyer (Cubs minor league player of the year), C Robinson Chirinos (Cubs best defensive catcher who hit 18 homers last year) and OF Sam Fuld (injury prone fourth outfielder type). The Rays will also include a minor league pitcher and minor league outfielder.

That’s not a small package of players coming from Chicago, especially in terms of depth and proximity to the big leagues. If you’re wondering, yes, I think the Yankees could have matched and exceeded that package pretty easily, but it would be hard for me to imagine the Yankees sending a group like that within the division. Same with the Rays sending a player like Garza to New York. It just doesn’t seem likely.

As for the Cubs, Gordon Wittenmyer makes the case that adding Garza makes it easier for the Cubs to trade away a starter, but not from the Ryan Dempster-Carlos Zambrano crowd that might help the top of the Yankees rotation. Instead, it seems more likely that the Cubs would be willing to part with Andrew Cashner, Randy Wells, Carlos Silva, Tom Gorzelanny or Jeff Samardzija. Those five bring various levels of immediate talent and long-term upside — and one of them might be able to help the back of the Yankees rotation — but they’re not the kind of pitchers who are going to slide in behind CC Sabathia or make the Yankees no longer want Andy Pettitte.

For the Rays, dumping Garza clears some payroll and makes it easier for Jeremy Hellickson to find a spot in the Opening Day rotation.

UPDATE, 12:43 p.m.: Fernando Perez is the outfielder going from Tampa to Chicago. (tip of the hat to MLBTradeRumors)

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Miscwith 95 Comments →

Game 145: Yankees at Rays09.14.10

YANKEES (87-57)
Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Lance Berkman DH
Austin Kearns LF
Colin Curtis RF
Francisco Cervelli C

RHP Ivan Nova (1-0, 2.92)
Nova has not faced the Rays

RAYS (87-56)
John Jaso C
Ben Zobrist 2B
Carl Crawford LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Matt Joyce RF
Dan Johnson DH
Carlos Pena 1B
B.J. Upton CF
Reid Brignac SS

RHP Matt Garza (14-8, 3.68)
Garza vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:10 p.m. / MY9 and MLB Network

UMPIRES: HP Ron Kulpa, 1B Lance Barksdale, 2B Ed Rapuano, 3B Tom Hallion

WEATHER: Oh the weather outside is weather. Forgetting Sarah Marshall? Anyone?

HIP HIP JORGE: Jorge Posada has been named the AL East finalist for the 2010 MLBPA Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. The award is given to a player who inspires others to higher levels of achievement by their on-field performance and off-the-field contributions to the community. Each division chooses one nominee.

TOUGH TO SWALLOW: The Yankees have suffered five walk-off losses this season, three in the past four days. They had four walk-off losses last year. The Yankees last had three walk-off losses on the same road trip in 2003 when they lost in Boston and Oakland. That was during a nine-game trip.

PUTTING UP ZEROS: The last time the Yankees played in a game in which both starters pitched eight scoreless innings was June 18, 2003, also against Tampa Bay. That day it was Roger Clemens and — of all people — Victor Zambrano who traded zeros. The Yankees won the game on Alfronso Soriano’s walk-off single in the 12th.

Jay Z Eminem Yankee Stadium ConcertTHE SHOW GOES ON: Last night was the first ever concert at Yankee Stadium. It featured Jay-Z and Eminem performing to a sold-out audience. They will perform again tonight. That’s an AP shot of Jay-Z on the right.

UPDATE, 7:48 p.m.: Had some computer issues for a while, but things are back online. The Yankees got two on with no outs in the second inning, but the bottom third of the order left both runners stranded. Now Nova is trying to strand a runner in the bottom of the second.

Also, in case you didn’t see it, the New York Post is reporting that Mark Teixeira has been playing with a broken little toe.

UPDATE, 7:57 p.m.: Derek Jeter walked, Curtis Granderson hit his second double of the night and Mark Teixeira hit a sac fly for a 1-0 Yankees lead. It’s just that easy, folks.

UPDATE, 8:05 p.m.: This is the lineup the Yankees remember. RBI single by Rodriguez and now a two-run home run by Cano. It’s a 4-0 Yankees lead in the third inning.

UPDATE, 8:10 p.m.: That’s a four-run inning for the Yankees, and a 30-pitch inning for Matt Garza.

UPDATE, 8:30 p.m.: Four scoreless innings from Nova. Meanwhile, Andy Pettitte’s night is finished in Altoona. He went five innings and allowed two runs, one of them on a leadoff homer in the first inning.

UPDATE, 8:35 p.m.: Home run A-Rod, 5-0 lead Yankees.

UPDATE, 8:43 p.m.: Jake McGee is a pretty big left-handed prospect in the Rays system, and he’s making his big league debut here against Colin Curtis. Garza is finished after 4.2 innings.

UPDATE, 8:47 p.m.: McGee walked Colin Curtis to load the bases, then walked Francisco Cervelli to bring in a run, now he’s facing Derek Jeter. Think this is how he imagined it?

UPDATE, 9:05 p.m.: Looks like Joe Girardi was trying to find out something about Ivan Nova here. He had Boone Logan up, but let Nova stay in to face the lefty Matt Joyce. When Joyce singled in another run — the third straight Ray to reach with two outs — Girardi pulled the trigger. Nova threw only 74 pitches. Logan’s in with Johnson and Pena due up.

UPDATE, 9:11 p.m.: Aybar pinch hits for Johnson and takes Logan deep, a three-run home run that has given the Rays a 7-6 lead in the fifth.

UPDATE, 9:28 p.m.: Robinson Cano doubles in the tying run on a broken bat drive to right. The Rays have intentionally walked the bases loaded for Austin Kearns. Here comes Chad Qualls.

UPDATE, 9:33 p.m.: Kearns struck out, Curtis flied out and the game remains tied at 7 in the middle of the sixth.

UPDATE, 10:01 p.m.: Big inning from Joba Chamberlain. Heart of the order has a chance now in the eighth.

UPDATE, 10:08 p.m.: Kerry Wood has pitched three out of the past four days. Maybe the Yankees ran out of red stars during last night’s game.

UPDATE, 10:17 p.m.: Robertson is up in the Yankees bullpen. This is at least the second time he’s started throwing, maybe the third.

UPDATE, 10:32 p.m.: At no point did I believe Curtis Granderson had a shot at that ball. Not once. An incredible catch that left Robinson Cano standing with both arms raised on the infield dirt. Even the Rays fans here at the Trop gave him a standing ovation. One of the best I’ve ever seen.

UPDATE, 10:40 p.m.: Mariano Rivera was already getting loose, but Jorge Posada has given him a chance to close out a big win for the Yankees.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 1,472 Comments →

Game 103: Yankees at Rays07.31.10

YANKEES (65-37)
Derek Jeter SS
Lance Berkman DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Curtis Granderson CF
Francisco Cervelli C
Brett Gardner LF

RHP Javier Vazquez (9-7, 4.54)
Vazquez vs. Rays

RAYS (64-38)
John Jaso DH
Carl Crawford LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Matt Joyce RF
Sean Rodriguez 2B
B.J. Upton CF
Kelly Shoppach C
Jason Bartlett SS

RHP Matt Garza (11-5, 4.06)
Garza vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 7:10 p.m. / YES Network

UMPIRES: HP Scott Barry, 1B Bill Welke, 2B Mike DiMuro, 3B Tim Welke

WEATHER: Same as the weather in your living room.

FROM THE BEGINNING: With Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns on the team, the Yankees now have nine players who were drafted in the first round (Berkman, Kearns, Hughes, Jeter, Moseley, Rodriguez, Swisher, Sabathia and Teixeira). Joba Chamberlain was a supplemental first-round pick.

NO-NO NO PROBLEM: Matt Garza threw a no hitter in his previous start. The last time the Yankees faced a starting pitcher coming off a no-no was 1991 when they won against Wilson Alvarez. They had eight hits off Alvarez and won on a Roberto Kelly walked off single. That’s coming from Elias.

HEARTY AND HUSTLEY: Gritty, gutty Brett Gardner has been named the yankees winner of the MLB Players Alumni Associated Heart and Hustle Award. The award honors a players who “demonstrate passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game.” An overall winner will be chosen from the 30 individual team award winners.

UPDATE, 7:32 p.m.: Double. Single. Sac fly. Those were the first three batters Javier Vazquez faced, and they were enough for a 1-0 Rays lead in the first inning.

UPDATE, 8:10 p.m.: Brett Gardner clearly thought he could make that catch, instead his dive turned a double into a triple with one out here in the third inning.

Meanwhile, the game is tied because of a sac fly in the second. Sorry for the lack of updates. Just a little too much to write right now.

UPDATE, 8:12 p.m.: RBI single by Crawford brings the run home and gives the Rays a 2-1 lead.

UPDATE, 8:45 p.m.: Garza just sent the side down in order in the fifth. So far, Robinson Cano has two doubles, and that’s it for the Yankees. Garza has absolutely shut them down. Vazquez has pitched well, but the 2-1 lead remains.

UPDATE, 8:55 p.m.: Double. Sac bunt. Sac fly. It’s only one more run, a two-run lead seems massive considering the way Matt Garza is pitching. Rays are up 3-1 heading into the sixth.

UPDATE, 9:00 p.m.: For whatever reason, I like the word clobbered and try to use it only when it absolutely applies. Mark Teixeira just clobbered that ball to right field for a two-run homer that has tied the game at 3. Whatever word you like — crushed, smoked, destroyed — feel free to use it. Teixeira hit that ball very, very hard.

UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: Not sure whether TV showed this or not, but Javier Vazquez came off the mound positively screaming at himself after giving up a solo home run to Matt Joyce. Obviously things would be a lot different right now if Joyce weren’t with this team. Rays are up 4-3.

UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.: Swisher’s 20th homer of the season has tied the game at 4. Safe to say he was pretty excited about it.

UPDATE, 9:34 p.m.: No chance Vazquez was going to face John Jaso again. Here comes Boone Logan. By the way, the Rays played the song Hey Joe while Girardi walked to the mound. Well done.

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Gameday Threadwith 791 Comments →

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