Posts Tagged ‘Jacoby Ellsbury’

I can’t count how many times I watched ‘The Sandlot’ as a child. Whatever number it was, it was an unhealthy one. With some time to burn in spring training, some players on the Yankees roster re-enacted the classic scene in the movie when Smalls realizes the ball he handed over to “The Beast” was autographed by the greatest ballplayer who ever lived, Babe Ruth (and not some wimpy deer). The video stars: Dellin Betances, Brian McCann, CC Sabathia, Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury. McCann deserves an Oscar nomination for playing Ham Porter.

Click here to watch the video.

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Just when we started to think Hal Steinbrenner was nothing like his father, he starts showing us signs that he may have a little “Boss” in him. Up to this point, the Yankees have acquired three big-time free agents in McCann, Ellsbury and Beltran. Following today’s press conference for Jacoby Ellsbury, Hal was questioned on the recent signing and what the organization had planned for the rest of the off-season. His response: “We’re not done yet.” That’s exactly what Yankees fans wanted to hear. George always put money back in the team because he felt like the New York fans “deserved it”. Lately, Hal has taken over that same sentiment, and I gotta say..it’s nice to hear. I’d bet there might be a few more presents nestled under your Christmas tree this year that you don’t know about.

Years ago, George spoke about letting the “young elephants” into the tent, and it was the beginning of a transitional phase. George knew his reign was coming to an end, and it made the fan base worry if the Steinbrenner family would even still be owners of the ball club after he was gone. Hal and Hank haven’t exactly been the most visible or outspoken owners of the last few years, making an occasional newspaper headline, being seen inside the Steinbrenner box or attending a stadium event. At the same time, I don’t think anyone could possibly fill the void that George left behind. Prior to the 2009 season (George was still alive), the Yankees made a big splash in the off-season with the new ballpark opening up. They brought in CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira. Even though George wasn’t in complete power at the time, one can look back and say that was “George’s last hurrah.” Looking at the way the Yankees are acting now, maybe Hal and Hank grabbed the ends of those reins that their father left behind.

Jacoby Ellsbury

Photo Courtesy of the New York Yankees

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Does this mean Cano is a goner? 

Via Jon Heyman: 

Star free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury is in serious talks with the Yankees and the sides appear to be close to reaching a seven-year deal. sources said.

“It could happen,” said someone familiar with the talks.

It is believed the deal would exceeed Carl Crawford’s $142-million, seven-year deal.

Update: 8:34PM ET:

“Also, according source, even with McCann and possible Ellsbury, Cano still in play for Yanks.”

Update: 8:50PM ET:

“Yankees deal with Ellsbury is seven years and $153 million.”

Jacoby Ellsbury

Jacoby Ellsbury

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There can be no doubt that the American League East is easily the best division in baseball. In fact, this year could wind up being historic in terms of division play, as my projections show 4 of the 5 teams capable of winning 90+ games this season – a feat that’s never been accomplished before. Is the talent level in the East really that much better than the rest of the AL? In a word, YES.

Both the Boston Red Sox and Yankees look to be the class of baseball this year. I project both teams to win 105 games this year and finish tied for the division crown. How evenly matched are the two juggernauts? The projections also have them splitting the season series, 9-9. Many prognosticators are giving the edge to the Red Sox this year, based on their starting rotation of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Clay Buchholz. While the Yankees rotation is known to be unsettled, relying on a return to form by AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes avoiding regression from his 18-8 2010 season, and a collection of rookies and reclamation projects to fill the 4 & 5 spots, the Sox rotation also has question marks. Can Lackey reclaim his form? Can Beckett come back from an injury plagued season? Will Buchholz ever deliver on his promise? Can Matsuzaka come back from injuries and inconsistency? In short, both teams could have excellent rotations – or horrible ones, once you get past the aces. But offensively, both squads are loaded 1 – 9. The Yankees projected line-up of Derek Jeter, Nick SwisherMark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano, Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin and Brett Gardner may actually be better than the team that led the league in runs scored last season. Boston counters with Carl Crawford, Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, JD Drew, Marco Scutaro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury. Both line-ups are capable of scoring 1,000 runs. The real differentiators between the teams are in the bullpens and on the bench. The Yanks have a slight edge in the bullpen, with the 1 – 1a tandem of Mariano Rivera and Rafael Soriano. The Sox have a slight edge on the bench.

As for the rest of the division, Tampa Bay suffered some tremendous free-agent losses. Despite that, they come into the season with their only real question being the strength of the bullpen, where the oft-traveled Kyle Farnsworth heads a makeshift relief corps. The additions of Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon, along with new shortstop Reid Brignac and rookie Desmond Jennings, should actually make the offense better. And Tampa’s rotation remains one of the game’s best, led by David Price. But while good enough to win pretty much any other division in the game, this year’s Rays aren’t in the same class as either New York or Boston.

The same goes for the Orioles, although Baltimore may have the most improved team in the league. The infield was completely remade, as Mark Reynolds, Derek Lee and JJ Hardy join Brian Roberts. The O’s also brought in veteran slugger Vladimir Guerrero and closer Kevin Gregg. Add in what looks to be the league’s best young rotation and proven winner (and old friend) Buck Showalter as manager, and Baltimore is poised to shock people the same way Toronto did last year.

As for the Blue Jays, this team lost too much – and replaced those parts with questionable signings – from last year’s overachieving squad to compete this year. They’ve brought in pitching guru John Farrell to lead the team, but this team will suffer from losing Cito Gastons “let-’em-fly” attitude on offense. Include a rookie catcher, changes at 1st, 3rd and all three OF spots and it will prove to be too much turnover to overcome. One bright spot for the Jays this year could be rookie starter Kyle Drabek, one of the game’s more hyped young pitchers.

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  Curtis Granderson #14 Of The New York Yankees Hits

The Pitching:

Andy Pettitte didn’t get much work this past spring due to the inclement weather, and many questioned if he would be ready for the start of the season. The guy was born ready. He couldn’t have asked for any better weather either, as it was a beautiful day today.

In the beginning of the game, Andy gave many Yankee fans a scare when he tumbled to the ground, while trying to tag out Jacoby Ellsbury before he reached 1st base. Pettitte really didn’t have much of a chance anyway, but thankfully he was okay. The trainers rushed out on the field, saw him take a few warm-up pitches and he was fine and dandy after that.

Pettitte tossed 6 solid innings, allowing one run on 6 hits. His pitching line was: 6.0IP 6H 1R 1ER 3BB 4K (94 pitches, 54 for strikes) He didn’t factor into the decision though. Joe Girardi decided to hand the ball over to Chan Ho Park after Andy left the game, leaving many fans biting their nails. He didn’t have a very good outing on opening night, so everyone was on the edge of their seats. Thankfully, Park pitched really well. Girardi felt like Chamberlain needed some rest, and went with his gut. Chan Ho tossed 3 scoreless frames, and gave up only one hit. I didn’t think it was a smart move for Joe to send him out for a third inning, but it all worked out so I won’t complain. If Park imploded in that inning, you would have seen some major bashing by the media and fans. Let’s not forget that he had a rested David Robertson in the bullpen as well. Park picked up the win, moving his season record to (W, 1-1). Mariano Rivera got the ball in the 10th inning, shutting down the Red Sox 1-2-3 and picked up his second save of the season (S, 2).

The Offense:

Nick Swisher went 1-for-4 on the game and picked up an RBI. Curtis Granderson went 2-for-4, with a run and an RBI. (Single, Home Run) In the top of the 10th inning, Granderson went yard off of Jonathan Papelbon to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. In that same inning, Mark Teixeira (who still doesn’t have a hit on the season) hit a chopper to short, which allowed Brett Gardner to cross the plate and gave the team an insurance run.

Final Score: Yankees 3, Red Sox 1 

The Yankees will have the day off tomorrow. The ball club will travel to St. Petersburg, Florida to face the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Friday night. The game is slated to start at 7:10PM ET. The game will be televised on the YES Network. (more…)

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In part two of our Yankees vs Red Sox series we examine the outfield between both teams. You can see our infield comparison here. We will be judging each outfield starter on their defensive and offensive contributions this year.

Brett Gardner/Randy Winn vs. Jacoby Ellsbury

Offensive Edge: Ellsbury. Gardner in a small sample last year didn’t light the world on fire and Winn came off a bad season. With as much speed Ellsbury possesses, he doesn’t need to hit the ball far to create havoc. If Winn rounds back into pre-2009 form (.300 BA, 10-20 HR, 60-80 RBI) and Gardner continues to have success with his speed, the platoon of Winn/Gardner could be better than Ellsbury by himself.

Defensive Edge: Slight edge to Ellsbury. Ellsbury (minus taking weird routes to flyballs) was a good CF’er in 2009. With a smaller field to work with in 2010 he should have similar success in Boston’s 5 sq feet of left field. Winn is a serviceable outfielder however, he is getting older and we have seen the effects of age (see Damon) on older players. It is possible that Gardner could be just as good as Ellsbury and time will tell.

Curtis Granderson vs Mike Cameron

Offensive Edge: Granderson. Granderson has potential to be a .280, 30 HR, 100 RBI hitter with 30+ stolen bases while Cameron has never hit above .272 in his career. Cameron has 25+ HR power and ability to drive in runs in buckets, but that doesn’t over come his .250 lifetime batting average.

Defensive Edge: Slight edge to Cameron. What Cameron lacks in batting average, he makes for fielding ability. He is a three time Gold Glove winner. The only question is how long can his 37 year old legs allow him to defend well? Granderson is also a good fielder in his own right, however he had a down year in 2009 and looks to rebound in a smaller ballpark.

Nick Swisher vs J.D. Drew

Offensive Edge: Slight Edge to Drew. Drew and Swishalicious have comparable stats, however, Drew has a higher career average and consistently hits .270-.280.

Defensive Edge: Negligible. Another one that I had to go to the stats for. From what I can tell, these two won’t light the world on fire, but they will get the job done.

Overall Edge: This round goes to the Red Sox, unfortunately. However, I feel that the differences between the two outfields are so small, that any change or injury could swing the difference either way.

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