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Posts Tagged ‘Juan Miranda’

Yesterday, the Yankees made their first move of the Hot Stove Season.

Was it signing Derek Jeter? No, although there are numerous reports today of them officially offering the Captain a 3 year, $45 million contract.

Was it signing Mariano Rivera or coaxing Andy Pettitte from the brink of retirement? No, again.

The Yankees traded Juan Miranda to Arizona for Scott Allen.

We’re all pretty familiar with Miranda at this point. A regular call-up over the past three seasons, the first baseman posted a .788 OPS over 94 plate appearances. A lefty swinger with some power (25.3 AB/HR) in the minors, Miranda was hopelessly blocked at the major league level by the logjam that is Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada and Jesus Montero. Because of his frequent trips on the SWB Shuttle, Miranda is out of options: come April 1, the Yankees were faced with two choices; either waive him or keep him on the 25 man roster. So, the Yankees needed to do something to get value in return – even if they were dealing from behind the 8 ball. Here’s hoping the 27 year old Miranda gets a chance to play regularly in Arizona.

In Allen, the Yanks get a 19 year-old left handed pitcher who hasn’t exactly wowed scouts at any level. An 11th  round pick in the 2009 draft, he’s posted a 1.3 WHIP and 8.9 k/9 in 95 minor league innings. Did I mention he’s left-handed? And only 19? So there is a chance for some upside with this trade.

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Throughout the season, you kept on hearing about how well the Yankees were playing and why they were the favorites to win the World Series. They spent 94 days in first place. On the other hand, the Texas Rangers were certainly considered a formidable opponent, but you didn’t hear people talk about them like they were on top of the American League. The Yankees, Rays and Phillies were thought to be the strongest teams in all of baseball.

By Season Half: New York Yankees

First Half: (W-L, 56-32) RS: 469  RA: 352  WP: .636

Second Half: (W-L, 39-35) RS: 390  RA: 341  WP: .527

As the season was winding down, the Yankees looked as if they were dragging their feet across the finish line. They weren’t playing like they did in the first half of the season. Girardi was resting players when they didn’t lock up the AL East division. I just never understood how you could bench your starters (even if they could use a day of rest) if you are in the middle of a pennant race. The bottom of the lineup consisted of Ramiro Pena, Austin Kearns and Juan Miranda. That wasn’t going to cut it with the fans. It’s always good to give your players a rest, especially if you expect to go deep into October, but you can do all that once you lock up that playoff spot.

The month of September didn’t turn out  the way the Yankees had envisioned it. It wound up being the worst month of the season, compiling a W-L record of 12-15 (.444). They were playing under .500 baseball during the most important part of the season. Their offense may have been doing just fine during that period, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the large deficits the pitching staff was placing them in. In the last 12 games of the regular season, the pitching was horrendous, allowing an average of 6.3 runs per game. In that time, they went from 2.5 games up in the division to 1 game back. In the end, the Yankees (95-67) handed the division over to the Rays (96-66). You were actually hearing rumblings from the fans about how they “might not make the playoffs” (even though they had a nice lead over the Red Sox) during the month of September. They took the AL Wild Card and stumbled into the postseason. They had a clean slate after that. They gained some confidence when they swept the Twins in the ALDS. After seeing the Rangers take the Rays in five games, it looked like Texas was for real.

The Yankees took Game #1 of the ALCS, but you wouldn’t see them laughing after that. The Rangers would go on to win the next three games of the series (Lewis won Game #2, Lee won Game #3, & blew out the Yankees 10-3 in Game #4). Lewis pitched really well for the Rangers, but he’s not the type of pitcher who should be shutting down the Yankees. The ball was given to CC Sabathia in Game #5, and he pitched well enough to force a Game #6 (even though he didn’t have his best stuff that day).

The Yankees had their season lay in the balance, and they gave Phil Hughes the ball. Colby Lewis shut down the Yankees offense in embarassing fashion. The Rangers batters eventually got to Hughes in the 5th inning, and it was all over. You can blame the manager in some instances, you can blame the lineup and the pitching staff. In general, the team didn’t play up to what they were really capable of. There were a few players who stood out, such as Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Curtis Granderson. That wouldn’t be enough to get this team to the Fall Classic. The Rangers simply outplayed them in every facet of the game.

We all saw the Rays get knocked off by the Rangers, the Rangers eliminate the Yankees and the Giants beat the Phillies. Now, you can ask yourself..how did that happen? Back in July, the Rangers swooped in and grabbed Cliff Lee from the Mariners, which made them a major threat to anyone they would face in the postseason. Their offense was rolling on all cylinders, and the young arms on the team raised their level of play when it mattered most. Some might say the New York Yankees were the better team, but they simply didn’t step up in big situations. During the regular season, the Yankees went 4-4 against Texas. The Rangers came to play, and they earned every right to be in the World Series. Sometimes, the better team doesn’t always win.

  (2nd From L-R) Kerry Wood #39, Mariano Rivera #42, Derek Jeter #2, And Andy Pettitte #46 Of The New York Yankees Look

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Yesterday marked a memorable occasion for our beloved Yankees. In the 7th inning, both Juan Miranda and Colin Curtis took Angels reliever Scott Shields deep. How rare was it? It’s the first time since 1929 that two Yankee rookies went yard in the same inning. (Those two players? Bill Dickey and Sammy Byrd. Dickey went on to have a Hall of Fame career. Byrd became famous for ending his career by crashing into an outfield wall in the first ever night game.)

The Yankees expect Miranda to pop a few long balls; it is the principle reason he is with the major league squad. But for those who missed it, Curtis’ shot was a direct-from-Hollywood-screenplay type of home run. The only reason Curtis was in the game at all was due to the horrible umpiring: home plate ump Bill Emmerich tossed Brett Gardner, ostensibly for arguing balls and strikes. The only thing was, the count when Gardner was ejected was 0-2. So, not only was Curtis facing a veteran, former all-star pitcher with a 95+mph fastball; he inherited a no-ball, two-strike count. Just to make things more unlikely, Curtis had not gone yard since Spring Training. But like any Hollywood “B” script writer will tell you, the most unlikely scenario is exactly how it needs to play out for the hero and when Curtis’ laser cleared the right-field wall, it was…well, it was just the latest chapter in the Yankees best feel-good story in a long time.

Colin Curtis really deserves one of those “B” movies to be made about his life. When you really stop to think about it, his story is one of those that seem to come straight from a fairy-tale. It is one of those stories that when you tell your grandchildren about it, they’ll swear you’ve been spiking your prune juice – because it is just THAT unbelievable. To put it simply, Curtis stat line says he should be dead, not hitting improbable home runs at Yankee Stadium.

Curtis was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000, at the age of 15. By the time treatment began, it had spread to the blood vessels and lymph nodes throughout his abdomen, making it a stage III cancer, the most advanced form. The five-year survival rate for that type of advanced stage cancer is only 48%. Curtis beat the cancer, returning in time to rejoin his high school sophomore team. He not only rejoined, he played well enough to earn a scholarship to Arizona State, where he wound up hitting .324. After his college career, Colin was selected in the fourth round (134th overall) by the Yankees in the 2006 amateur draft. He then made it to the major league spring training camp as a non-roster invitee this year; where he opened some eyes by hitting a walk-off home run in the Yankees first spring training game. And now he is on the major league roster, having appeared in 14 games so far and hitting what may be the Yankees most improbable home run of the season.

Quite frankly, this kid has beaten the odds at every level. You don’t have to be a baseball fan to want Colin Curtis to succeed. But if you’re a Yankees fan and don’t get a bit of a chill down your spine the next time Colin Curtis is announced, then perhaps you need a transfusion of humanity.

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According to Chad Jennings, Jorge Posada has already been placed in the starting lineup as the DH, and it’s just a matter of who gets sent down to the minors. They are still carrying Chad Moeller on the roster, but there are also guys like Miranda and Russo who could be optioned. They will make the official move after batting practice. Who do you guys think it will be?

Update: 5:40PM ET: Sweeny Murti of WFAN just reported that Juan Miranda was optioned down. I guess the organization wants to hold onto Chad Moeller a little while longer, until they know that Jorge is good to go.

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Game #1:

Pitching

CC Sabathia made his fourth start of the spring, and it looks like he is shaping up for the regular season (77 pitches, 47 strikes). He worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing 2 earned runs on 4 hits.  In the process, he fanned 8 batters. Albaladejo came on in relief, recording the last two outs of the 6th inning. It’s about time he finally recorded a few outs. Rivera, Ring, and Pope all tossed a scoreless frame in relief to finish up the game. All three picked up a strikeout. Sabathia picked up the win, moving his spring record to (W, 1-1).

Offense

Derek Jeter drove in two runs on a single in the bottom of the 2nd inning. A-Rod hit a monstrous home run shot that cleared the scoreboard at George M. Steinbrenner Field. It was his first homer of the spring. Cano picked up a base hit, and has now hit safely in seven of the 10 ST games that he’s played in. Weber went 2-for-2 with a run and an RBI. Golson went 2-for-4 on the game.

Game #2:

Pitching

Sergio Mitre got the start tonight, and he gave it his all.  He tossed five solid innings, allowing two earned runs on two hits. He walked only one and struck out 7 batters. His spring ERA moves to 3.21. Gaudin tossed 2 1/3 innings, giving up 4 runs (3 earned) on 7 hits and 3 walks. He picked up the loss, which moves his record to (L, 0-3). His ERA this spring jumps up to 8.68. Amaury Sanit entered the game in the bottom of the 8th inning with one out. He recorded the two outs with ease and picked up a strikeout.

Offense

Nick Swisher knocked in the first run for the Yankees with an RBI single, scoring Brett Gardner. In the 4th inning, Juan Miranda hit a solo home run blast off Jeff Niemann to put the team ahead 2-0. Those were the only two runs they scored in the game. Jesus Montero went 1-for-1 with a double. (more…)

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Senior Vice President Felix M. Lopez, Damaso Marte, Edwar Ramirez, Robinson Cano, Tony Pena, Francisco Cervelli and Juan Miranda took a trip down to Santo Domingo yesterday. They greeted the Dominican Republic President Leonel Fernandez and presented him with a few gifts.

The Dominican players from the Yankees roster took a visit to the national palace in the Caribbean country to show off their Baseball World Series trophy to Fernandez.

They gave him a chance to hold the WS trophy, and along with that they presented him with a New York Yankees jersey with his name on it and ball signed by the Yankee players. (more…)

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John Sickel of MinorLeagueBall recently listed the Yankees top 20 prospects going into 2010. I am going to include the list with his grades, but without his write ups and analysis. Click the previous link to see his write up of the players.

  1. Jesus Montero, C, Grade A
  2. Austin Romine, C, Grade B
  3. Manny Banuelos, LHP, Grade B
  4. Zach McAllister, RHP, Grade B
  5. Slade Heathcott, OF, Grade B
  6. Mark Melancon, RHP, Grade B-: Borderline C+
  7. Gary Sanchez, C, Grade C+
  8. John Murphy, C, Grade C+
  9. Kelvin De Leon, OF, Grade C+
  10. D.J. Mitchell, RHP, Grade C+
  11. Wilkin De La Rosa, LHP, Grade C+
  12. David Adams, 2B, Grade C+
  13. Corban Joseph, 2B-3B, Grade C+
  14. Adam Warren, RHP, Grade C+
  15. Neil Medchill, OF, Grade C+
  16. David Phelps, RHP, Grade C+
  17. Andrew Brackman, RHP, Grade C
  18. Jose Ramirez, RHP, Grade C
  19. Jeremy Bleich, LHP, Grade C
  20. Bryan Mitchell, RHP, Grade C

OTHERS (All Grade C): Sean Black, RHP; Gavin Brooks, LHP; Jairo Heredia, RHP; Jamie Hoffman, OF; Brandon Laird, 3B; DeAngelo Mack, OF; Melky Mesa, OF; Juan Miranda, 1B; Hector Noesi, RHP; Ivan Nova, RHP; Eduardo Nunez, SS; Kevin Russo, 2B; Romulo Sanchez, RHP; Graham Stoneburner, RHP; Brad Suttle, 3B; Pat Venditte, RHP-LHP; Kevin Whelan, RHP.

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UPDATE 8:38pm:

Johnny Damon has indicated through his people that if the Yankees were to offer less than $13 million per year to not even send in an offer.

Man, talk about someone who thinks highly of himself. The ball is in Cashman’s court now, time to see how Cashman returns Damon’s serve..

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Apparently, Johnny Damon does not care to play the waiting game with Brian Cashman.

Johnny Damon had this to say yesterday:

I am going to start looking around. Teams are getting better and there are teams interested, I can’t wait forever and I am sure [the Yankees] are trying to figure things out. I have to be ready.

At this point in time with the Yankees highly unlikely to be involved in the sweepstakes for Jason Bay OR Matt Holliday, Johnny Damon has become their best option on the free agent market.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, Damon is still seeking a 3 year/$39 million contract. Which might be a little bit richer than what Brian Cashman is wanting. Damon references Pettitte’s raise in salary and the fact that Mike Cameron got two years from Boston as reasons why he wants what he wants.

Considering what options are available (Carlos Delgado, Juan Miranda, Mike Jacobs), if I were Brian Cashman, I would almost try to come close to that offer, maybe make the third year an option year. If Cashman didn’t sit back and let things develop, the Yankees might not even be in this situation. I hope Cashman has some sort of plan, because if he does, he’s not letting us know.

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According to Jon Heyman’s tweet and Mark Feinsand’s confirmation over the last few hours, Hideki Matsui is now an Los Angeles Angel of Anaheim. He signed a 1 year contract for $6.5 million. While I knew this was going to happen — Matsui leaving — it still is a sad event.

You know, this is the second year in a row that the Angels signed a Yankees free agent. Last year Bobby Abreu was signed by the Angels right before Spring Training and had a decent year. I wonder how Godzilla will fare out West?

Oddly enough, Hideki Matsui will be at Yankees Stadium when they raise the banner and hand out the World Series rings as they Yankees host the Angels for their first homestand April 13-15th. Expect a standing ovation.

The real question is, now that Matsui is out of the picture, who’s left to DH? Johnny Damon, Carlos Delgado, Mike Jacobs, Juan Miranda? Who knows…Now that Cashman blew the pooch, it’s his to fix.

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Here are some of the latest news, notes, rumors and opinions involving the Yankees:

Roy Halladay

Yankees 3rd in chase for Doc: “Nevertheless, when it comes to the Roy Halladay Sweepstakes, the Yankees appear to be running third. The Angels, who reportedly made an offer to the Blue Jays yesterday, and Phillies are the favorites.”

Juan Miranda

Can Miranda fill the DH spot?: “Juan Miranda can be a DH,” said Cashman, who cut off a question about not having a DH. “We have Jorge Posada, we have Mark Teixeira and A-Rod and a number of guys who can swing over on their days of rest. We have people we can play in that position internally right now.”

Brett Gardner

Gardner attracting interest: “According to a scout familiar with the situation, the Sox were one of two teams in the American League Central letting the New York Yankees know during the winter meetings this week that they covet outfielder Brett Gardner. The Kansas City Royals also were wondering what it would take to acquire the promising 26-year-old leadoff hitter.”

Chien-Ming Wang

Would the Yankees possibly bring Wang back?: “Many believe the Yankees will simply bring Wang back on a lesser deal filled with incentives. Think again. A source close to Wang told me recently that the pitcher is still bothered that the Yankees took him to an arbitration hearing over $600,000 in 2008 – then gloated publicly after winning the case.”

Ryota Igarashi

Yankees interested in Ryota Igarashi: “The Yanks appear to be interested in Ryota Igarashi after trading Brian Bruney away to the Nationals on 12/7.  The Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, and Baltimore Orioles are also rumored to be interested in Igarashi.  And it seems his agent is looking for a 2-year deal wroth about US$2M-3M.” (more…)

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Before Brian Cashman left the Winter Meetings in Indy yesterday, he had these things to say (Hat tip to Mark Feinsand):

On Hoffmann: “We feel he’s got great makeup, he’s got ability and we project him in the future as an everyday type player. We have all those lefthanded bats, so it will be interesting to see how he mixes in.”

On what he’s looking to do next: “I’m open to an array of choices right now. Depending on what the market values are, I could gravitate to bullpen if I feel like the starting stuff is so expensive. I could gravitate to position players that come into a territory that makes sense, or I could hold.”

On the Yankees’ DH spot: “Juan Miranda could be our DH if we wanted him to. We have Jorge Posada, Mark Teixeira, A-Rod; guys who can swing over on their days of rest. We have people we can play in that position internally right now. I’m not trying to oversell anyboduy, but Juan Miranda will do a nice job against righthanded pitching as a DH if that’s what we have to do. Is that the right way to go? I think the market will dictate that.”

On whether he would move any more prospects in trades: “I’m hesitant to move certain young players because of what they can do for us in the here and now or in the future and the salary off-set they provide. At the same time, for the right player, I’ll move anybody.”

On whether he would wait out the market for a Bobby Abreu-like bargain before spring training: “Patience could benefit you, or it might not. You can wait something out and see if it falls in your lap, but by doing that, you risk not getting something maybe you want or feel you have to have. It’s risky for us to play that game if we really want something.”

On Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain: “They’re starters right now, without a doubt. They’re going to prepare as starters. The relief stuff? That’s a layup. That’s not something that’s hard to do; the starting stuff is hard, so we’ll gear them up as starters. If we decide to change that at some point, no big deal.”

On the trade market: “I’ve had my trade discussions with various teams, and the price tags are what they are. I’m not in position right now to execute any free-agent signings or trades that I would recommend.”

On his feelings leaving the meetings with Andy Pettitte and Curtis Granderson done: “I never feel good about anything, to be honest. You make those decisions and hope they work out, but until you play through it, you don’t know how it’s going to play. We hope this stuff makes us better.

Also, I’m not so sure the Yankees are going to find a Bobby Abreu like bargain close to spring training…

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C.C. Sabathia

Not much to say about this one. The only thing that caught Yankee fans interest in this game was that C.C. Sabathia was going for his 20th win. Besides that, this game had no meaning.

Sabathia didn’t have his usual stuff today, and was blown out of the game early. His pitching line was L, 2.2IP 8H 9R 5ER 5BB 3K. Juan Miranda hit his first career home run as a New York Yankee in the 8th inning. That was pretty much the only highlight of the offense.

The Yankees wound up being blown out 13-4 in the end.

Sabathia had this to say after the game….

“Maybe I’ll get another shot sometime down the road,” Sabathia said. “Right now the most important thing is to win a championship and get ready for the playoffs.” (more…)

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