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Jacoby Ellsbury works on Wall Street

You may have already seen the “Jacoby Elsbury is a Trader” photo that has been circulating around the web. Personally, I prefer the Johnny Damon defection signs that read, “Looks like Jesus, throws like Mary, acts like Judas,” but hey, to each his own… until you bring grammar and spelling into it. Now, you’re on my turf and I gotta come after ya.

Look, I studied English in college, and while I don’t claim to be a master (and lucky for me, I have a copy editor that fixes my mistakes – Thanks, Dr. Girlfriend!), I do try to check my work before publishing it. Now, I’m going to let the fact that this young lady is at a Yankees/Astros game and is wearing a hat of a team that’s not playing go. Let’s concentrate on the two big problems with the sign:

1. ‘Ellsbury’ has two Ls in it. If you’re going to be pissed at the guy, at least bother to look up the proper spelling of his name.
2. A “trader” is someone who trades stuff. Like a trader on a wall street, a kid who trades baseball cards, people who trade vintage dictionaries… that’s what trading is. A “traitor,” on the other hand, is one who betrays trust – that sort of thing. Kinda like the way this lady betrays all of her former teachers with her atrocious grammar and spelling.

Anyway, if you’re going to display a sign at a sporting event that’s not especially relevant to the game at hand, at least bother to get the grammar and spelling right.

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Brian Cashman is sad that the Yankees have lost their first series to the Astros

"Boy, I sure am glad the Yankees organization spent all that money this past off season just so we could lose a series to the Astros. The Astros. The team that prognosticators are picking to win 70 games this year – an improvement over last year’s 51 wins. The Astros. Seriously. Imagine if we miss the playoffs by one or two games this year? That would be AWESOME."

Opening Day shows some promise but little return for Yankees

It sure does suck to lose to the Houston Astros, huh? Well, that’s just what happened to the Yankees – a hell of a way to start the season.

The reasons the Yankees lost were obvious – CC Sabathia was awful in the first two innings and the infield didn’t play so well behind him. It seemed to me that he pitched pretty well in innings 3, 4, 5 and 6, but when he gives up 6 runs in the first two innings, it hardly matters. Meanwhile, the bullpen was lights out behind him, so that was nice, but too little, too late.  Sabathia is going to have to adjust his pregame so he starts the game with his A control.  Maybe Andy Pettitte can help with that while the Yankees are in Houston…

The offense was sputtering – there were a few hits and walks, but it’s easy to blame Alfonso Soriano for striking out and grounding into a double play to end potentially big innings.

Still, I like this team… at least, I like this team a hell of a lot better than the 2013 edition. Sabathia might end up being the worst starter in the rotation… who knows. If this team stays healthy, they might do great things. Might.

There are two games left with the Astros. I’m not a big believer in winning streaks (they sure do help, though), but if you’re a good team, you have to win series against bad teams, so the Yankees need to take these next two. If they start the season by losing a series to the Astros… whew. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

QUICK NOTE: THE END OF AN ERA
The Yankees have designated Edwardo Nunez for assignment. The grand experiment (which everyone should now readily admit was a huge, embarrassing failure) is finally over. Who knows where Nunez will head next, but I think it’s safe to say, his days in pinstripes are over. That’s probably a good thing. The fact that he couldn’t make this team even with the added help of the Brendan Ryan injury speaks volumes about what the Yankees think of Nunez.

The 2014 Yankees opening day lineup

Opening Day is almost here and now, we’ve got a good idea of what we’re going to see on a day to day basis from the Yankees. The only real question is whether or not Jacoby Ellsbury starts the season on a DL.

If Ellsbury does start the season on the DL, think we’ll get this:

LF Brett Gardner
SS Derek Jeter
DH Carlos Beltran/Alfonso Soriano
1B Mark Teixeira
C Brian McCann
RF Alfonso Soriano/Carlos Beltran
3B Kelly Johnson
2B Brian Roberts
CF Ichiro Suzuki

If Ellsbury is healthy, then we’ll get this:

CF Jacoby Ellsbury
SS Derek Jeter
DH Carlos Beltran/Alfonso Soriano
1B Mark Teixeira
C Brian McCann
RF Alfonso Soriano/Carlos Beltran
3B Kelly Johnson
2B Brian Roberts
LF Brett Gardner

I have Beltran and Soriano in the same spot because either could be DH or RF; I think Beltran will bat third and Soriano will bat sixth assuming they’re both in the lineup. Meanwhile, Jeter and Teixeira are both nicely insulated/protected in the lineup, so hopefully, this will get them both some fastballs to hit… who knows what to expect out of either of those guys this year.

On paper, this lineup looks like it can do damage, but in reality… who knows. The good news is, the waiting is almost over!

Yankees need to sign a legitimate 5th starter

After the blockbuster signing of Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees 2014 starting pitching rotation goes a lil’ something like this:

  1. CC Sabathia
  2. Masahiro Tanaka
  3. Hiroki Kuroda
  4. Ivan Nova
  5. ?

As you can see, there’s a hole down there at the bottom, but let’s put that aside for a second and look at the Yankees top four pitchers.

CC Sabathia was kinda stinky last year. True, an off season elbow clean out messed up his off season workouts, but he’s not getting any younger. Now I don’t think Sabathia forgot how to pitch and will be that bad in 2014, but it’s worth mentioning that 2013 was (without looking at the data) probably his worst season ever.

Again, the Yankees have signed international superstar Masahiro Tanaka, but this guy has been the United States like three times in his whole life, never mind the fact that he’s never pitched for an MLB team. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’ll be fine, but we can’t ignore the fact that growing pains should be expected.

I love me some Hiroki Kuroda, but let’s be fair – the guy completely ran out of gas last year. He’s a great pitcher, but he’s not exactly a spring chicken. They’ll need to control his workload carefully to keep him viable for an entire season and, hopefully, the playoffs.

I think Ivan Nova has enormous potential, but the guy has never put together a full season of quality pitching. I think he can and will be an above league average pitcher for a full season and beyond, but until he does it, he remains an unknown quantity.

So there’s a lot of "buts" in there – a lot of question marks, right?

Given all of the aforementioned details, who should the Yankees pick for their 5th starter? Here are the in house candidates and their 2013 innings pitched.

  • Vidal Nuno: 45 IP between the majors and minors
  • David Phelps: 86.2 IP
  • Adam Warren: 77 IP
  • Michael Pineda: 40.2 IP, minors only

Yeah… this seems like a problem to me. I think a lot of these guys have some potential: Pineda obviously has the best overall stuff and I like what I’ve seen out of Nuno (and he’s left handed), where as Phelps probably has pitched the best as a Yankee… I’d probably like to see both Warren and Phelps in the Yankees pen…

The bottom line is the Yankees need something like 150 innings out of one of these guys, and I don’t see that happening. It’d be a huge increase for any of them based off last year’s work load. Maybe they could do some rotation of these guys migrating from long reliever and/or minor league starter to MLB starter… I dunno, but I don’t see one of these guys getting the job out of spring training and keeping it all year.

I don’t know what the answer is, but the Yankees need another reliable starter. The free agent market is thin and the Yankees trade chips are not great… I don’t have any suggestions, but the internal options seem like a pipe dream.

Yankee Stadium Beer Prices

In case you’re wondering how much two imported beers cost at Yankee Stadium in 2009…  well, now you know.   Don’t ask me why I saved this receipt.

Two Reasons why A-Rod's suspension is important to Yankee fans

Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for what is effectively a year; 162 games and the 2014 playoffs. Both myself and anyone even remotely interested has written about this ad nauseum, so I’ll just assume you’re up to date on the drama and info (or rather, the lack of info) and are sick of the topic from that standpoint. But, no matter how tired we are of this situation, it still matters. Here are two reasons why A-Rod’s suspension is important to Yankee fans:

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Yankees 2013 Christmas Wish List

Once you actually look at what the Yankees need in a list format – well, it’s daunting to say the least! Getting everything they need while meeting their payroll goal just doesn’t seem likely.

Jay Z is pitching Robinson Cano to the Mets because… I dunno

According to numerous reports, Jay Z met with New York Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, general manager Sandy Alderson and assistant GM John Ricco to discuss current unrestricted free-agent Robinson Cano, because… uhm… actually, I have no idea why this meeting occurred.

I get that the Mets are not exactly tight at second base, but their financial issues have been well documented – as well documented at the $300 million/10 year deal Jay Z is seeking for Cano. When you couple these two things together, it’s hard to understand why Jay Z would initiate a dinner meeting with the Mets and then pitch Cano to them. Here is an example of the Mets current frugal-ness:

The Mets have been on austerity for years. The largest contract Alderson has handed out to a free agent in four offseasons as the Mets’ general manager was to Frank Francisco, who received a two-year, $12 million contract during the 2011-12 offseason.

Now, you may counter that since this meeting was promptly leaked to the press – and not leaked by the Mets, mind you – it’s easy to start putting two and two together and calculate that Jay Z is trying to create urgency in the marketplace for his client. This seems like a fine strategy… if Jay Z was meeting with the deep pocketed Dodgers, not the bargain basement retreads, we’re seeking a partner to sell part of the team to, thank god our rookie pitching is working out Mets. This gives off the appearance that Jay Z is not aware of the realities around the league. Oh, and speaking of realities around the league, the Dodgers have publicly stated that they have no interest in signing Cano.

It’s not unusual for the free agent market to take this long to take shape – things don’t usually start happening until during or after MLB’s winter meetings, but so far, I’m not sure I understand Jay Z’s strategy… or his new single, for that matter.

Yankees worth makes 2014 austerity plan baffling

A recent Forbes article states that the Yankees are worth over $2 billion dollars, making them the most valuable team in baseball. $2 billion plus? That’s a spicy baseball.

Any conversation about the Yankees and money is always gonna lead us back to $189 (that is, the Yankees planned 2014 payroll austerity measure, which will keep them below the luxury tax threshold) – it’s inevitable. I do get the idea that the Yankees don’t want to spend extra money that doesn’t necessarily benefit them on the field, but those are the luxury tax rules. I can remember watching games on channel 11 in the late 80s and the stadium looking empty because the team wasn’t winning… that seemed like a red flag and somewhat similar to the 2013 season attendance issues. (Although it seems that attendance is down all over baseball.) I guess it all comes down to what the bigger source of revenue is – and if their TV deals are all sewn up for years to come, then it would seem they’re getting most of their earnings from ticket sales, other in stadium sales and so forth, so, the best way to increase the team’s earning power would be to put a winning product on the field, because paying fans go to watch winning teams. Without knowing all of the figures, it’s hard to get an understanding of the team’s actual net income, but I am confused why a multi billion dollar franchise is plotting to save a few million in luxury task fees that seems to cost them even more in future revenue.

After all, who wants to pay to see the animated corpses of Vernon Wells and Ichiro? I don’t see how that helps generate revenue… but the World Series has just begun and there are many miles to go before the 2014 season begins.

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