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Better get your last looks at Nick Swisher in pinstripes

The Yankees might only have two games left this season… So Nick Swisher fans, be aware: On October 15, Mike Axisa of River Ave Blues wrote, "I’ll be stunned if the Yankees do not re-sign Ichiro Suzuki to replace Swisher next year." I was thinking the same thing.

I tend to agree that this will happen and with this as a move the Yankees should make. There was little chance the Yankees were going to resign Swisher anyway because of their 2014 reduced payroll plan and the big dollars Swisher is likely to command – couple those nuggets with the fact that Swisher has been a dud in all four post seasons he’s played with the Yankees (Swisher’s lifetime quad slash in the post season is .167/.284/.300/.584) and that Ichiro looks to be rejuvenated by playing on a good team and will probably only going to get a 1 or 2 yr deal (at most) for maybe $8 million/yr (at most) where as Swish is more likely to command something like 4 yrs @ $15 mil/yr. Ichiro fits in better with the Yankees long term plans and their needs to diversify their offense by adding more contact hitters. Not that Ichiro will be here long term – maybe 2 years, max – but Ichiro helps them as a stop gap right fielder until they can get their 2014 ducks in a row while a new contract for Swisher will just make their path going forward that much more difficult.

What i’m saying is, better get your last looks at Swisher in pinstripes while you can.

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Yankees offensive slumber continues, NY Giants rock 49ers

Both games started at 4 PM – that’s just genius. I’m sure you know how things went down by now (even though watching all of both games was impossible) – The NY Giants obliterated the 49ers and the Yankees offensive slump continued as the Tigers went up two games to none in the ALCS.

I was surprised that the Giants were able to run all over the 49ers and had two interceptions, but I guess that’s the reality of the situation – I just didn’t think the 49ers were the sort of team that made those kind of mistakes.

Oh the Yankees and their awful, awful offense – what can you say? Here’s some facts that will make you ill: Robinson Cano is hitless since the first inning of Game Two of the ALDS (his last 26 at-bats) and is 2 for 32, and if that doesn’t sound bad enough, please consider:

- it’s the longest hitless streak in Yankees post season history
– 2 for 32 works out to a .063 batting average; small sample size, I know, but still, that’s the number

I know I’m bashing Cano a lot, but I think he deserves it. Well, at least more than A-Rod does. I know A-Rod stinks (3-23 in 2012 post season), but I don’t expect much from him – Cano is in the prime of his career. On the other hand, the umpires took away one hit from Cano and an out he made at second via the tag, so Cano is just having a lot of bad luck in general besides my bashing.

Hiroki Kuroda was brilliant yesterday – let’s not forget about that. Win or loose, I’ll always remember his excellent start in this series. The Yankees need to make bringing him back for 2013 a top priority as this guy was clearly built for the big stage.

Where’s the crowd?
Yankee Stadium looked a little empty – for a playoff game, that is. Just keep jacking up those parking and ticket prices, guys. Oh, and the $12 George Washington Bridge toll is also great for business!

Well, let’s hope Phil Hugues has some magic in him and Joe Girardi continues to yell at the hitters for not making in game adjustments.

Yankees vs Orioles Game 5 of 2012 ALDS: Rocky II ending?

Obviously, last night was a bitter disappointment as the Yankees failed to capitalize when they had scoring opportunities and the advantage they would have had in a potential Game 1 against the Detroit Tigers, who will not be able to pitch Justin Verlander until game 3. Anyway that ship has sailed. Now, it’s time to move on to Game 5.

Like the other three ALDS series, this series is going to the fifth and final round, and a pitching rematch of game 1. CC Sabathia has been masterful of late, so that has to make you feel good, but the offensive corpses of Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and the rapidly decomposing Robinson Cano desperately need to show up tonight for the Yankees to have a real hope of moving on to the next round.

Maybe it’ll be like Rocky II – all of the games have been close (and in truth, the Orioles could have very easily swept this series if things had gone a different way), so maybe in this final contest, both teams will just fall down on the field and the umpires will award the game to whoever gets up within a 10 count.

Yankees 2012 Post Season Roster Speculation

We’re only a few days away from exciting Yankee playoff baseball action against either the Rangers or the Orioles! Who will the Yankees take with them on this quest for the World Series? I’m guessing the following:

Roster make up:
10 relievers
4 starters
11 position players

starting:
C Russell Martin
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
SS Derek Jeter
3B Alex Rodriguez
OF Ichiro Suzuki
OF Curtis Granderson
OF Nick Swisher
DH Raul Ibanez (RHP)/Eduardo Nunez (LHP)

Eduardo Nunez is really my only big move here – the rest is obvious. Nunez is swinging a hot bat and is a good contact hitter in general, and he has decent speed… and is really the only healthy option for backup middle infielder who can hit. But I think he’ll get some DH time against lefties, which should be fun.

bench
IF Eric Chavez
IF Eduardo Nunez
IF Casey McGehee
OF Raul Ibanez
OF Brett Gardner
C Chris Stewart

I had a tough time picking between Andruw Jones and Casey McGehee, but frankly, Jones’ bat has been so cold for so long, I decided to go with a slightly warmer body. It’s not like Jones is especially fast, so can’t pitch run (that’s Gardner’s job), he’d just be a bat off the bench in a line up that doesn’t really need one – particularly one that can’t hit. Anyway, Jones, McGehee, whatever – we’re talking about the 25 man on the roster who probably won’t make it into a game anyway.

starting pitchers
CC Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Andy Pettitte
Phil Hughes

This was a no brainer. Ivan Nova pitched himself out of contention, as did Freddy Garcia. Yankee fans might have their doubts about Hughes, but compared to other fourth starters around the league… I’ll take my chances with Phil and his terrible mustache.

bullpen
Boone Logan – LHP
Clay Rapada – LHP
David Phelps – long, MR
Derek Lowe – long, MR
Joba Chamberlain – 7th
David Robertson – 8th
Rafael Soriano – 9th

I chose Derek Lowe over Cody Epply here because of Lowe’s veteran status (meaning he has huge balls and experience), his ability to go multiple innings and face batters from both sides of the plate. Epply did a great job in 2012 and got many important outs, but I think Lowe makes more sense in the playoffs. Everybody else here is obvious.

Now that we got that out of the way…
Who are you routing for in the American League Wild Card game? I’d rather see the Yankees play the Orioles. I know the Rangers have been on a slide lately, but they have a ton of good players who scare the hell out of me.

MLB Regular Season Wrap Up – payroll vs performance

Now that the regular season is over and we’re just in a holding pattern until the wild card games start, I thought I’d take a look back at my Can you buy a championship? post and see how the big spenders did.

1 New York Yankees $197,962,289 – 95 wins
2 Philadelphia Phillies $174,538,938 – 81 wins
3 Boston Red Sox $173,186,617 – 69 wins
4 Los Angeles Angels $154,485,166 – 89 wins
5 Detroit Tigers $132,300,000 – 88 wins
6 Texas Rangers $120,510,974
93 wins
7 Miami Marlins $118,078,000 – 69 wins
8 San Francisco Giants $117,620,683 – 94 wins
9 St. Louis Cardinals $110,300,862
88 wins
10 Milwaukee Brewers $97,653,944 – 83 wins
11 Chicago White Sox $96,919,500 – 85 wins
12 Los Angeles Dodgers $95,143,575 – 86 wins

Why’d I pick the top 12 teams? Mostly because I grabbed these payroll figures way back in August and since then, the Dodgers, Marlins and Red Sox moved a ton of salary, so I’m not exactly sure where everybody stands. (Also, the Brewers and White Sox are about even, so whatever.)

As you can see, of the teams that started 2012 with top payrolls (no idea where Boston and Miami are now), only five of those teams qualified for the post season with Boston finishing in last place, the Rangers dropping to the Wild Card at the last minute, the underachieving Tigers winning only 88 games and the Yankees getting their shit together in September to win 95 games after a brutal post all star break near collapse. And the Phillies finishing .500, the Angles making all those big time acquisitions last winter for nothing… just crazy.

Now, let’s take a look at the other 5 teams that made the playoffs:

Other playoff teams:
16 Atlanta Braves $83,309,942 – 94 wins
17 Cincinnati Reds $82,203,616 – 97 wins
19 Baltimore Orioles $81,428,999 – 93 wins
20 Washington Nationals $81,336,143 – 98 wins
29 Oakland Athletics $55,372,500 -94 wins

The under $85 million club, huh? And these teams didn’t slide their way in like the Tigers or the Cardinals sporting sub 90 win records – all five of these teams got it done with authority.

In 2012, it looks like money can’t buy a ticket to the post season, but it certainly helps… But wow, I can’t get over the final fate of the top five payrolls! Anyone who told you that the Angels, Red Sox and Phillies wouldn’t even make the playoffs this season should be put in charge of everything because they are a genius!

But, there is still a long way to go – just look at Derek Jeter’s face during the revelation that the Yankees had won the 2012 American League East! If you ever wanted to know what an expression that says "It’s all meaningless until we win the World Series" looks like… well, there you go.

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